’97 RAW is WAR Review: April 14

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This week’s edition of RAW takes place in both the United States and South Africa. McMahon and Jim Cornette are on commentary in the US while Jim Ross and Honky Tonk do commentary (sparingly) in Johannesburg.

The Godwinns def. LOD
This match takes place in the US. LOD seeks to get revenge on the Godwinns after being slopped last week. Bulldog ends up nailing Animal in the back of the head with the tag belt and the Godwinns capitalize for the win.

Hunter Hearst Helmsley def. Jesse James
In South Africa we have two future DX members squaring off. Recaps of Jesse James’ interactions with Honky Tonk and Chyna and Marlena respectively. Honky Tonk leaves the commentary table and grabs the foot of Jesse James and turns into a Pedigree. A rather boring and basic match and apparent audio issues as there wasn’t much commentary during this match. James challenges Honky Tonk to come in the ring and we learn he’ll face Honky’s protege on the upcoming In Your House.

Savio Vega def. Rocky Maivia
A non-title match here for the South African fans. McMahon chimes in from the US and ask Honky Tonk Man if he’s met Nelson Mandela. Honky Tonk just replies “Be quiet ‘MACMAHON’!”. Honky Tonk proceeds to say that there is something going on down here and says “It’s like when you part your hair, what is it Cornette?” Cornette yells “Apartheid you idiot!” A casual approach to such an atrocity. Ahmed Johnson also has a backstage promo and is just obnoxious to JR and his questions. A lot of rest holds in this match making another boring match. Maivia hits a Rock Bottom on Vega but it isn’t called that on commentary. Vega kicks out and ends up winning this one with a schoolboy and holding the tights. Post-match, the NOD get in and beat down Rocky. Faarooq begins to whip him with a strap until Ahmed runs down to make the save.

Recap of Austin and Monsoon discussing Austin being in the main event in exchange for a match with Bret Hart. Austin comes out for an in-ring interview with McMahon in the US. McMahon says Austin got what he wanted, he got the match. Austin says it’s about time he got what he wants because he’s been held down. McMahon says talent can’t be held down; it always rises to the top. Austin does a tremendous go-home promo speaking with such fire and conviction and had one thing in store of Bret Hart and that was a a** whipping!

Goldust def. the Sultan by DQ
Goldust is wearing a leopard style face paint in this one. We see a pre-recorded promo of Bret Hart saying American fans cheer Steve Austin and the live crowd in Kuwait boo this. Back to the match, the Sultan hits a devastating piledriver but Goldust kicks out. Hunter all of a sudden comes down and attacks Goldust for the DQ. The Sultan, Chyna, and Hunter all beat down Goldust.

Bret Hart continues his promo from the pre-recorded promo. Bret says he stands for the truth and he is the truth. He says Americans don’t know right from wrong and he’ll beat Austin again. Odd they’d use a house show promo (and matches for that matter) on their go-home show before the pay-per-view.

Mankind & Vader def. the Headbangers by DQ
This match takes place in the US. Mosh spits a liquid into the eyes of Mankind and this leads to a DQ. This is clear precedence for Jinder Mahal in 2017 against Gronk and that he should have been victorious over Mojo Rawley by DQ. Mankind is still blinded from this and bumps into Vader and applies the Mandible Claw taking down Vader.

Back in South Africa, the Undertaker comes over the speaker and threatens the soul and well-being of Mankind leading to their match with the lights flickering and going out. Seeing as Mankind was competing in the US this made no sense but I guess the South African live crowed enjoyed it.

As RAW concludes we have highlights of a bikini contest at the Slammys. The Commanding Officer comes out in front of his hometown fans. He cuts a similar promo to the one he did last week and reinforces that they’ll beat the truth into their opponents and that law abiding citizens of South Africa and the US have nothing to worry about.

Ahmed Johnson def. Crush
This is a RAW main event and I will declare that any RAW main events involving these two are the worst main events in RAW history. JR says Johnson is proud to be in his mother land. I don’t recall Johnson promoting any allegiance to Africa. He rolls up Crush for the win. Post match, Faarooq challenges Johnson to take on all members of the Nation and if he defeats each member, the NOD will disband.

If you missed this RAW you missed nothing. I was excited to hear Cornette on commentary but there weren’t many matches in the US on this edition of RAW. Last week’s RAW was promo heavy and so this countered with a lot of matches. The South African footage was clearly from a house show there and I assume all the RAW segments were taped after the previous week’s RAW. A poor showing going into a pay-per-view.

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