The second RAW of the year is the go home show as we approach the 1997 Royal Rumble. There is a quick recap of the events of the previous week’s RAW with Sid powerbombing Pete Lothario.
Immediately we have in-ring action between Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Jerry “the King” Lawler versus Goldust and Marc Mero. Goldust and Hunter were set to square off at the Rumble for the Intercontinental Championship. It was apparent that the stock of one Marc Mero had definitely fallen as it didn’t appear fans were into him and he was just the fourth body in this match. Goldust’s personal animosity towards Hunter led to his team being disqualified as he refused to adhere tot he five count and ended attacking everyone including his partner.
We move on to the two men involved in the WWE Championship at the Rumble. Sid starts the promo with the quote “In the search for monsters, ensure you don’t become one.” Initially I thought this was the beginning of a very good promo but then Sid goes on and on that all of Shawn’s family and friends will see the monster. Sid also says that “All Mexicans from Mexico” will make up the 70,000 in the Alamodome–a very absurd comment. Sid ends it with his standard “Ruler and master of the world!”
Shawn speaks from Park Palace with fans all around him and some right up on him. It was a bit comical that Shawn seemed displeased to be among his hometown fans given he was the babyface here. Shawn addresses all the comments by Sid and speaks with a lot of passion and says he will be champion and is the man to lead the new generation.
Bret Hart comes out next limping from the attack by Stone Cold. Bret joins the Honky Tonk Man and Vince McMahon on commentary for the match between the British Bulldog and Rocky Maivia. Bret is very complimentary of Maivia and Honky Tonk Man continued his search for his protege. Owen Hart, who accompanied Bulldog out was standing right in front of his brother. Austin ends up coming out and attacking the Bulldog, The story here is that Austin appears to be targeting threats in the Rumble match. Maivia gets back in the ring as Bulldog is counted out. Bret hobbles to chase off Austin and Owen follows him.
We have the Nation of Domination backstage. Vince McMahon asks if it will be every man for himself at the Rumble and Faarooq and Crush say they will “Dominate by any means necessary.” Next is our main event between Crush and the Undertaker. A very boring main event. Vader comes in to attack Undertaker as they will square off at the Rumble. Ahmed Johnson makes a late save after Taker receives two Vader bombs. Johnson is also attacked with the 2×4 he brought to the ring as Ahmed and Faarooq prepare for their encounter at the Rumble as we go off the air.
Overall, all the key matches at the Rumble were showcased on this episode. Not only was I left excited to see the Rumble match but I was also intrigued in the personal animosity between Sid/HBK, Goldust/Hunter, Ahmed/Faarooq and Vader/Undertaker and so I’d say this was a excellent go-home show leading to one of the top PPVs!