RAW Review: January 27, 1997

Here we have RAW following the announced main event for the next In Your House pay-per-view; the Final Four!

Ahmed Johnson versus Crush is the opening match. We see highlights from the Madison Square Garden house show. Johnson teamed with Savio Vega to take on the Nation of Domination. Mid way through the match, Ahmed looks to tag in Savio but Savio attacks Ahmed allowing the NOD to pick up the victory. We see highlights of Shotgun Saturday night as well, where the NOD with Savio Vega continue their attack on Johnson until Sycho Sid comes out to make the save. In this match with the referee distracted Faarooq attacks Ahmed leading to Crush picking up the win and keeping the Nation very strong and a legitimate threat in WWE at the time.

Shawn Michaels makes his way ringside for an interview with Vince McMahon. McMahon announces the rematch between Sid and HBK on Thursday RAW Thursday. McMahon does a great job promoting the Final Four and asks HBK if he is able to retain there are four men waiting for a shot at that title. Michaels goes over the attitudes of many including himself. I thought Vince and Shawn did a great job emphasizing the point that the WWE Championship is what brings out the best (in-ring) of everyone or the very worst (change in attitudes) and makes it clear everyone will do what it takes to be champion! Bret Hart makes his way to the ring. Bret tells Shawn do what he’s gotta do to hold onto that title because Bret wants Shawn for that title at Wrestlemania. Undertaker is the next one to join the fray. The Undertaker talks about his respect for Bret but says he’s tired of hearing how Bret has been screwed. Taker notes he’s been screwed and sitting back and allowing others to fight for the title and says its time for the title to come to the darkside. Undertaker says it will be Shawn and him at Wrestlemania (that would come more than a decade later). Vince McMahon says many are overlooking Sid. Steve Austin comes out next and conducts his interview from the aisle with Jim Ross. Austin speaks confidently and calls everyone a crybaby and says he won the Royal  Rumble and will win the Final Four. Vader is at the entrance way and he and Austin jaw at one another to end a great segment.

The British Bulldog versus Doug Furnas is next. Owen Hart is who ringside is brilliant talking about LaFon giving a bad name to Canada like “my lousy brother Bret”. Owen Hart is like current day Jericho and Kevin Owens combined. Owen attempts to nail Furnas with his Slammy like he did the previous week but ends up nailing the Bulldog. Davey Boy still manages to pick up the victory but further tension is teased.  Fans begin chanting Bulldog as Owen and Clarence Mason try to calm him down.

Ahmed Johnson seen backstage looking for the NOD. We see more highlights of the Johnson and NOD feud. Savio Vega had asked for the tag before attacking Ahmed at MSG. Savio is interviewed about his actions but says he didn’t join the NOD and respects Rocky Maivia, his opponent at Shotgun Saturday night. To end it, we see Savio and the NOD attacking Maivia proving Vega has indeed joined the Nation.

The main event is Vader and Mankind versus the Godwinns. This is a strange RAW main event as its similar to seeing characters like Bart Gunn competing among the more serious characters. Nonetheless, you have some colossal bodies in this one for a brutal match. Prior to the match we see highlights of the contract signing of Tiger Ali Singh. Mankind nails Vader with a chair and Vader is counted out and it appears Mankind is smiling. This match and outcome didn’t do Vader any favours in the build to the Final Four.

Lastly, Ahmed Johnson is seen in the parking lot beating up one one of the members of the Nation and slamming him in the car trunk as the car speeds off. Vince McMahon says next week will be Royal Rumble RAW where the Rumble would be on the USA Network and also emanate from my hometown Toronto.

Overall, I thought the interview segment with Shawn Michaels and the Final Four was the only highlight on a rather dull RAW. I’m also becoming a fan of the teases between Owen and British Bulldog as it reminds me of the subtle teases we see today between Jericho and Owens.

 

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