’97 RAW is WAR Review: May 12

We see a few highlights from last night’s pay-per-view and the Hart Foundation makes their way out. Bret says he surrounds himself with the best the WWE has to offer and that he’d take these men into the mouth of hell to fight the devil. He adds, he’d trust these men to breathe for him and to pump his blood with their hearts and names each member of the Hart Foundation. Bret says the fans have painted him as a bad guy but he isn’t a bad guy and that the fans are the bad guys. He sarcastically calls Steve Austin a “hero” and that as a true American hero he picked on a guy in a wheelchair. Bret calls Austin a loser and says he couldn’t even win the WWE championship one time. Bret says he has a surprise but heads backstage instead of revealing it.

King of the Ring Quarter-Final Matchup
Ahmed Johnson def. Hunter Hearst Helmsley by DQ
The King of the Ring Tournament kicks off in this one. Unfortunately for Hunter, Chyna nails Ahmed with a steel chair leading to him being disqualified. Chyna tries to apply a sleeper on Ahmed as he was beating down Helmsley.

Up next we have an “Stone Cold” in-ring interview with Vince McMahon. McMahon tells Austin it was a hell of a match last night. Austin says he doesn’t need McMahon to kiss up to him cause he’ll knock his head off his neck. Crowd cheers this. Austin admits defeat but says sooner or later he’ll be champion and if he says it than it’ll happen. Crowd cheers. Austin has Bret’s crutch and tells Bret to come out and get it. No Bret. Austin calls Bret a piece of trash. Austin calls the Hart Foundation a snake and that Bret is the head. He explains to McMahon how to kill a snake and that you cut off the head but he’ll have some fun instead and start with the snake’s a**. Crowd cheers (notice a theme?). He says the snake’s a** is Brian Pillman. Austin talks about crippling Pillman before and that he carried him in his back pocket in the bush leagues (WCW) and that Pillman’s a** belongs to him and that’s the bottom line because Stone Cold said so! (Do I need to add the crowd continues to cheer?)

Scott Putski def. Leif Cassidy
image_6483441 (3)We have highlights of Ivan Putski prior to his son’s debut. Ross praises the abilities of Leif Cassidy. JR also notes that he’d like to see more of the light heavyweights; guys who are 215-220 (Maybe 205 Live needs to up it’s weight limit). Putski wins this one but is clearly still very green. Cassidy attacks Putski post match but Putski clears Cassidy from the ring. Cassidy gets in the face of the commentators and says he’s won displaying hints of the future Al Snow character.

LOD def. JC Ice & Wolfie D (NOD)
The Nation aggressively sends these two to the ring with Hawk and Animal awaiting. They destroy these two within minutes hitting two Doomsday Devices. The second one on Wolfie D sends him flipping right onto the body of his lifeless partner as the Legion of Doom wins this one.

image_6483441 (2)Mankind is out next. He talks about the wall (not great balls) of fire he used to set the Undertaker on fire and talks about the Undertaker not taking revenge on him but on an innocent man in Paul Bearer. Mankind says Bearer is here tonight and Mankind brings him out with his entire face and head bandaged up. Bearer tells the Undertaker he has one more chance to return back to him or he will reveal a secret about the Undertaker.

image_6483441 (1)Faarooq is out next for an in-ring interview segment with Vince McMahon. McMahon asks how it feels to be the #1 Contender to the WWE Championship. Faarooq says it feels great, that McMahon’s seen plenty of number one contenders before and brings up beating Ahmed Johnson last night. Faarooq says “Let me ask you a long awaited question. When was the last time the WWE had a black man wear that belt? Can you answer me that?”. McMahon says “Never.” Faarooq goes on to say that the WWE has had “token blacks” as champion like Ahmed Johnson as Intercontinental champion or Bobo Brazil as US Champion for short periods of time. Faarooq says these people don’t feel a black man i is worthy of being champion of the WWE but that they do feel a black man is worthy of washing their car, washing their clothes or raising their kids. He continues and says no longer are they (African Americans) marching or calling radio stations but taking things into their own hands. Faarooq says they (the fans) understand when he swings fists and kick feet. McMahon interjects and says this has nothing to do with being black and what’s the matter with him? Faarooq says their white saviour, the Undertaker, will be a dead man. McMahon asks “Don’t you feel your comments are racist?” Faarooq says he isn’t a role model but that he’s sure there’s a black kid somewhere who feels the anger he does. He says no longer are “we” passive and gonna take things into his own hands and that’s by any means necessary. Absolutely incredible to see such a promo on WWE programming. Race and wrestling is always a topic of discussion but I do believe that it represents a microcosm of the issues American culture faces at large.

Undertaker def. Savio Vega by DQ
This non-title match ends with the NOD attacking the Undertaker before he can defeat Vega. Faarooq proceeds to whip the Undertaker. Faarooq grabs the title and holds it up and then tosses it at the Undertaker who remains laid out.

Rob Van Dam def. Jeff Hardy
Yes you read that correctly in this recap of RAW in 1997. The King enters the ring and talks about his previous comments about ECW. RVD adds his own disparaging remarks about ECW. King titles RVD as Mr. Monday Night. Mid match, RVD dives out the ring and nails Hardy and gets his feet caught on the barricade and lands brutally on his head. RVD hits a Frog Splash and then a Split Legged Moonsault for the win. This was not a showcase for Brother Nero but his return 20 years later he’s still a top guy!

The second part of the Dustin Runnels interview is up next. King says he saw him crying in this part and asks if he is a sissy and that he thought this interview was to prove he wasn’t a sissy. JR responds saying he’s a real man. This language is incredibly dated in 2017 with it’s categorization of hetero- and homosexual men. This interview was kind of repetitive of what was shared in the previous interview. He says he wants to give his best for the fans and be a family a man and be there for his daughter contrary to his childhood experiences. He talks about his love for his father and how hard it was to become a wrestler and that he is now Goldust and hopes his dad is proud of him.

Undertaker addresses Paul Bearer’s comments from earlier in the night. He says there are things that occurred in the dark side that are better off never seen in the light of day. Undertaker addresses Faarooq next and says he has never won matches with his physical conditioning but his mental state of mind. He says he must unleash a demon to do battle with a Nation of Destruction and that they’ll rest in peace. Sounds like Undertaker needs a 15 year old Finn Balor to defeat the NOD.

Four Corners Elimination Tag Team Match
Owen Hart & British Bulldog def. Furnas & LaFon, the New Blackjacks and the Headbangers
My favourite tag team TV match is back; the RAW bowl. Furnas and LaFon are eliminated first by the New Blackjacks. New Blackjacks are eliminated next, during the commercial break, as LaFon holds down Bradshaw’s foot without the referee seeing. King brings up Frank Gifford, husband of Kathie Lee. He notes Gifford has been seeing a flight attendant on the side. Lawler then asks JR “Ross isn’t your wife a flight attendant?” JR says what an asinine thing to say and King laughs. Although it was a silly, sophomoric comment for heat, it was nice to hear a Jan Ross reference. My thoughts and prayer continue to go out to JR. This match ends with Bulldog hitting a powerslam on Thrasher for the win despite neither man being the legal man.

Final segment is Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels for an in-ring confrontation. Bret sends the Hart Foundation to the back. Bret tells Michaels “There was a time when I just couldn’t stand you, but now when I look at you I realize that I hate your guts. And the reason I hate your guts, the biggest reason…” Bret doesn’t finish his point here as Michaels removes his suit jacket. Bret says that symbolizes Michaels as he’s hot, then he’s cold. Bret says Michael’s dancing, arrogance and cockiness is representative of America. Bret goes on a few more tangents saying Shawn never faced him at the past Wrestlemania, he responds to accusations about his pay and his family’s inclusion in the program. Bret brings up Shawn’s piercings, tattoos and his posing in magazines. Throughout this time, Shawn has yet to say anything. Bret says Michaels has to deal with whether he is as good as Bret and Shawn smirks as the crowd makes chants. Hart turns to the crowd and says “You people know he isn’t as good as me.” Ross notes RAW is going off the air. On the WWE Network we see the off camera footage with Bret finally telling Michaels he’d like to do something but he doesn’t have the insides to. image_6483441Shawn responds with a superkick to a standing Bret. The Hart Foundation comes down and tries to beat down Shawn. An Austin chants erupts as Bulldog proceeds to press slam Shawn off the stage area. Austin comes out for the save. The Hart Foundation check on Bret in the ring as Austin makes his way back up the ramp and this bonus footage concludes.

This edition of RAW was probably the most capitivating RAW of 1997 to date. I thought you saw a lot depth to a lot of characters from the continued rise of Steve Austin, to Faarooq and his conquest to overcome barriers of oppression. The use of a sitdown interview to learn more about the man Goldust is a great tool and we even saw Leif Cassidy and RVD be given some depth. The feud between the Undertaker and Paul Bearer has also been given a new element as the secret will let us in to the seldom explored background of the Undertaker. Lastly, the personal issue between Michaels and Bret intensifies. We know that Shawn’s kick didn’t make TV and its notable that behind the scenes this led to this feud going from the script to real life. I absolutely loved this RAW and it feels that as the weeks go on the the brutality intensifies, the characters are getting stronger and the program is becoming must see!

 

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’97 IYH: A Cold Day in Hell Review: May 11

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I thought this was a pretty standard WWE pay-per-view with average to good matches. It is incredible to go back and see a card that included: Triple H, Mick Foley, the Rock, the Undertaker and Steve Austin all competing on it.

Hunter Hearst Helmsley def. Flash Funk
A little assistance from Chyna in this one as the addition of Chyna continues to help Hunter ascend, much like how Maryse has helped the Miz in 2017.

Mankind def. Rocky Maivia
This match was originally supposed to be Mankind versus Sycho Sid but the Rock became the replacement. Of course these two would go on to have an incredible feud later in 1999 but it was cool to see this match in their early careers. Maivia cuts a promo prior to the match saying perhaps it was too much too soon for him in his young career but it isn’t about his destiny but his determination; a generic promo proving that Maivia needed more attitude. Ross notes that in the RAW Magazine they bring up that Mankind is in fact a loving father and JR says “A father of what?” CC: Noelle Foley. Maivia hits a rock bottom (still not called that) on Mankind on the steel ramp. At the match’s conclusion, Maivia attempts a cross body but Mankind manages to sink in the Mandible Claw as they both hit the mat and Maivia passes out as Mankind picks up the victory.

Gauntlet Match
Nation of Domination def. Ahmed Johnson
JC Ice and Wolfie D rap noticeably off key during the NOD’s entrance. Ahmed has a good line prior to the match saying the issue is between him and Faarooq but he brought the other two to the dance so let them dance. Ahmed starts off first for Crush so I certainly tuned out. He defeats him. Next is Savio Vega. Vega is being dominated (forgive the pun) so he intelligently uses a steel chair to soften up Johnson for the final man as Vega is disqualified. Faarooq who had a fake arm injury takes advantage and surprisingly (albeit logically) capitalizes and defeats Johnson as the NOD remain intact and Johnson doesn’t overcome the odds.

Ken Shamrock def. Vader by submission
I was interested to see these two go at it. The template for how to do MMA vs. WWE Superstar would come 16 years later as Brock Lesnar squared off against John Cena in 2013. The ropes hurt this match as they had to break the holds every time one man would be pushed against the ropes which happened often in this one. Eventually it just became a wrestling match. I believe Shamrock broke the nose of Vader in this one prior to applying the Ankle Lock for the win.

WWE Championship
The Undertaker def. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin
The Hart Foundation have finally arrived and now taken their seats in the front row. The first opportunity Austin has he exits the ring and drags Owen over the barricade and nails him. Undertaker comes for Austin and sends him shoulder first into the steel steps. Undertaker sends Owen back over the barricade with a shot of his own and punches the Bulldog for good measure. King notes “They are attacking our fans!”. The match picks up in the final sequences. Pillman hops the barricade and makes his way to the time keeper’s area. He rings the bell prematurely as Austin had just covered the Undertaker after a Stunner. Referee Earl Hebner admonishes Pillman as he stopped the count at 2. Austin reverses a tombstone attempt by the Undertaker but the Undertaker then reverses and drops Austin right on his head. This wouldn’t be the last time Austin is dropped on his head but this is equally as gruesome to see. Undertaker picks up the victory here but the Hart Foundation immediately rush the ring and attack him. Austin sees Bret alone and tips him over in his wheelchair. Austin and Undertaker clear the ring of the Hart Foundation and Undertaker chokeslams Owen. Austin then stuns the Undertaker and stares down the Hart Foundation. Undertaker eventually gets up and makes his way to the back as the show ends.

’97 RAW is WAR Review: May 5

We have a recap of last week’s RAW with organ music playing over all the segments where Brian Pillman was praying.

The Hart Foundation kicks off RAW. Bret talks about his disdain for the American fans and thanks all his fans worldwide for their support. Bret continues to get great heat from the American fans really making him the most despised on the roster. Bret thanks every member of the Hart Foundation for what they did the previous week (Owen winning the IC title and Neidhart save). Bret says he knows the American fans hate him and he says he hates them too. Bret notes that Austin will not be here tonight which elicits Austin chants. Bret says the fans are jealous because the Hart Foundation has all the gold; tag team gold, Intercontinental gold, European gold, gold in the Anvil’s teeth. He says even Pillman is the expert on the golden rule. Pillman says “Do unto others and enjoy it.” and laughs. Bret ends and says they got rid of Austin and onto Michaels. Great opening segment and Bret’s confidence on the mic is an all time high.

Rockabilly def. Ahmed Johnson by DQ
Rockabilly looked to nail Johnson with a guitar when the referee is distracted by the Honky Tonk Man. The ref turns around and Johnson takes the guitar from Rockabilly and blasts him in the head.

Hart Foundation are searching for Shawn Michaels. There is another Ken Shamrock video package looking at Shamrock’s personal life and mixed martial arts background. Shamrock has a son named Ryan, presumably named after his aunt.

Vader def. Goldust
Shamrock is on commentary during this one. I forgot just how big Goldust was as he was eye to eye with Vader. Vader exits the ring and confronts Shamrock at the commentary table. Vader nails a Vaderbomb for the win. Vader invites Shamrock in the ring and spits at Shamrock. Shamrock rushes the ring and takes down Vader. Mankind comes into attack Shamrock but Goldust evens things out and fends off Mankind.

We now have the sitdown interview with Dustin Runnels and Jim Ross with Marlena (Terri). They talk about Dustin being the son of Dusty Rhodes. Dustin notes he was always in his father’s shadow and it was always about his dad and he was Dusty’s son with no real identity of his own. They discuss the controversy of Goldust and that created even more disrespect. They talk about homophobia and bring up a time when Razor Ramon refused to work with him. He says he now has a identity as Dustin and when he puts on that suit he is Goldust. They talk about whether he has Dusty’s respect and Dustin says they haven’t talked in two and a half years. Dustin says he hopes his dad is proud and loves him but he is taking care of his family. Terri is supportive of Dustin throughout the sitdown interview. They say part 2 is next week. I thought a great interview to get over an upper mid card wrestler and that this could work for a lot of guys today in 2017!

The Hart Foundation are outside a men’s washroom but it isn’t Michaels who comes out but the Hart Foundation beat down the guy anyways.

Crush loses a Gauntlet Match
Crush is scheduled to square off against three jobbers in a Gauntlet match. McMahon notes that Johnson won’t be competing in this style of match on Sunday (it ended up being a Gauntlet match). Crush disposes of the first two but the third man comes in a hoodie and pantyhose over his face. The individual hits the Pearl River Plunge for the win and this ended up being Ahmed Johnson who looked as ridiculous as you could imagine.

The Hart Foundation are out in the parking lot looking for Shawn Michaels. Michaels makes his way ringside for an interview which makes the Hart Foundation look completely stupid. We see a clip of Austin nailing HBK which I think was off air. Michaels says everyone is saying they don’t need the fans so Michaels says he’ll start sucking up. McMahon says the search is on by the Hart Foundation. McMahon asks Michaels when he’ll wrestle again? Michaels announces it will be at the King of the Ring PPV next month. Michaels says he stands up for the American public against Bret and that he’ll go through the whole Hart Foundation and tear Hart to pieces. Bret gets on the titantron and says he should have finished the job he started when he had the figure four leglock around the ring post. Michaels takes his shirt off and Bret asks if that for the guys or girls? Bret tells Shawn his knee seems fine and if he’ll accept a challenge to fight the Anvil. Owen, Bulldog and Anvil come down and beat down Shawn but the LOD come to make the save.

Furnas & LaFon def. the LOD
We see a clip of Michaels being held back backstage against the Hart Foundation. During this match Owen and Bulldog return ringside. Animal confronts Bulldog on the ramp. Owen, who came through the crowd, grabs Hawk and pulls him on the top rope behind the referee’s back. Furnas pins Hawk for the three count.

Shawn Michaels is backstage fighting Brian Pillman and Jim Neidhart backstage. Steve Austin arrives at the arena and helps Michaels fend off these two as they take off.

Undertaker comes out for his go-home promo before his title defense this Sunday. Undertaker says someone has stolen his belt but that doesn’t make him champion. He says it will be a cold day in hell (name of the ppv) if Austin thinks he winning the title. It would be interesting what Undertaker would say if this match was to take place at WWE Great Balls of Fire although that may fit last months 1997 PPV.

Sunny comes out next to model an Austin 3:16 shirt.

Steve Austin def. the British Bulldog
After the match we see Owen with the absconded WWE Championship beating down Austin. LOD comes out to make the save. Furnas and LaFon come down to help the Hart Foundation although you LaFon brawling with Owen for some reason. Michaels makes his way ringside. Lights go out and we hear a gong. When the lights are back, the Undertaker is in the middle of the ring. Everyone clears but Austin and Undertaker. Austin picks up the championship  and Undertaker grabs it from him. Officials are out to separate the two as Undertaker knocks them away and he and Austin brawl to end RAW.

This Cinco de Mayo 1997 RAW edition was alright. I don’t think anything got me anymore excited for In Your House. I think the lack of Austin was noticeable but segments with the Hart Foundation were great. I am looking forward to seeing an upcoming King of the Ring Tournament. Also, this was a fun RAW to go back and watch and compare some events taking place in the WWE presently.

 

 

 

’97 Shotgun Saturday Night Review: May 3

Brian Pillman and Jim Ross on commentary in this one. JR tells Pillman he should be ashamed of his mockery of religious values.

Owen Hart & British Bulldog def. The New Blackjacks by DQ
This ends in chaos and I think this was announced as a Tag title match so it makes the New Blackjacks look foolish for getting themselves disqualified. Rule of thumb moving forward, anything titled the “new” version is deemed to fail.

A Dustin Runnels interview on RAW is promoted saying Goldust will come out of the closet but not the closet you think.

Shawn Michaels comes out for an interview with Kevin Kelly. Michaels notes that in the RAW magazine, Vic Venom otherwise known as Vince Russo, wrote that Shawn almost had a nervous breakdown when he announced his knee injury. Shawn dismisses this and goes over to the fans and receives a good pop. Michaels say he knows it isn’t cool to be “chummy” (his words not mine) with the fans but he dictates what’s cool. Michaels continues to make references to backstage on-goings which are a bit out of place with what we see on TV.

We see the same disappearing/reappearing Ken Shamrock video package we saw on RAW.

Vader wins a squash match

Ahmed Johson wins a squash match
Johnson says prior to the match he didn’t take his Prozac.

Recap of the final segment of RAW with the Anvil returning and Austin falling off the stage.

Crush & Savio Vega win a squash match
Pillman on commentary says Ahmed fell for the trap laid by Faarooq. Pillman adds the trap probably had fried chicken and collard green. JR apologizes for this comment. Pillman asks if they’ll lose their sponsor K-Mart or KKK Mart. JR tells him to stop. As Faarooq whips one of the jobbers, Pillman comments “we may see a lynching”. Jim says that isn’t clever. I understand the Loose Canon gimmick but most of these comments didn’t hype the feud between Faarooq and Ahmed, two African-American superstars. They sounded a bit forced and controversial for the sake of controversy.

The closing segment is Under the Covers with Sunny. It is basically Sunny giving some insider info that you’d get from the dirt sheets but I guess titling the segment Dirty Sheets would be in poor taste. Sunny updates on Henry Godwinn and says Phineas may be looking for another hillbilly partner. She says Furnas and LaFon are frustrated because they are a team based on technical skill and not flash but the fans don’t support them like they do other teams. Sunny says she may be what they need and that she is a barricuda and that she bites. Pillman notes she also swallows. She finishes by talking about the gold in Hart Foundation and that most think Bret will be the one who goes for the WWE Championship but she says one who is animal enough for her may be going after it to, in reference to the Bulldog.

Overall, the only thing of note was Pillman on commentary and his lewd and offensive comments that didn’t add much to any stories. It’s too bad Pillman doesn’t have a definitive feud at the moment so that a babyface could physically address his comments.

’97 RAW is WAR Review: April 28

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RAW starts with a recap of what happened last week and all the attacks. It was notable that the times of the recapped events were in the corner. I’m not sure if this was done to tell wrestling fans when to flip over to WWE programming.

Brian Pillman makes his way out to begin RAW. Pillman says many may think he is crazy but Pillman says he is religious. Pillman asks the crowd to pray with him and they boo this. Pillman begins to “pray” for Bret Hart and all those who cheered the attack on him. He continues and “prays” for those who cheer Austin and to see his annihilation and destruction. Pillman continues his blasphemous conduct and calls Bret Hart the saviour.

Steve Austin interrupts and tells Pillman to pray he doesn’t come down there and beat his a** and that Bret won’t save him. Pillman tells Austin his belief of an eye for an eye and to turn the other cheek and he positions his rear end to the titantron. Austin makes his way to the ring but Owen and Bulldog follow immediately behind him and he retreats through the crowd to avoid a 3-on-1 attack. Pillman invites Bulldog and Owen to join him in prayer and they do so. Meanwhile, we see Austin backstage as he finds an axe handle as an equalizer and returns ringside to clear the ring of the three.

Flash Funk def. Rockabilly
Returning from commercial break we see Brian Pillman backstage “praying” for Bret. Rockabilly nails Funk with the guitar following his loss.

Bret Hart comes out in his wheelchair for a promo. He thanks Pillman for the prayers but says he knows nothing will change and that he remains a hero everywhere but America. He says the American people make him sick and they are Austin’s people.

LOD def. Furnas & LaFon
Furnas and LaFon have an insert promo before the match and talk about how the fans don’t support them otherwise they’d be winning matches. They say they are wrestlers and the LOD are just painted up and they don’t understand the fan’s lack of support. They were the most charismatic I’ve seen them and entertaining. Similar to current day Neville, who was a great wrestler but only showed personality when he turned on the crowd because of their lack of support; this slowly becoming one of my favourite wrestling gimmicks. We hear well wishes for Henry O. Godwinn who was injured by the LOD. After the match, LaFon says it was basically 2-on-1 and Furnas says he had to do the referee’s job as it concerned the legal man; logical points coming across as totally whiny, love it!

Ahmed Johnson is backstage and apologizes for how brutally assaulted the Sultan. He suddenly explodes in rage and says he doesn’t know what people expect when it’s 3-on-1. Johnson yells it’s a gang fight and throws stuff and says I’m a gang member which is the most eloquent way I’ve heard someone declare they are a gangster which sounds far more intimidating.

Intercontinental Championship
Owen Hart def. Rocky Maivia (c)
Owen dedicates this championship match to his brother Bret. Surprisingly, Owen didn’t cheat to steal the championship but gets a roll up for the victory. He adds more gold to the Hart Foundation and Bulldog’s celebration of jumping and running in a circle is must see.

Austin is seen rolling around in a wheelchair of his own as we go to commercial. Back from break, Austin makes his way ringside. He has the wheelchair folded up under his arm and a kendo stick in hand. Austin sets up the wheelchair and sits in it. He challenges Bret to a wheelchair match, which could possibly be better than whatever a House of Horrors match is (this Sunday on Payback on the WWE Network). Austin also talks about his championship match and complains about the Harts and Pillman. Bret on titantron says Austin will leave in the same ambulance which Hart arrived in at the arena.

There is a video package of Ken Shamrock up next with his WWE highlights that we’ve seen before. There is also a clip of Shamrock in an empty arena and he appears, disappears and reappears in the ring. Strange.

Vader def. Jesse James
Squash match really as Vader wins with a Vaderbomb. Jim Ross interviews him after the match. JR asks if Vader has any remorse, is ashamed and if he overreacted to a dumb question. Vader said he doesn’t apologize for anything and asks JR if he should finish what he started back in Kuwait. Vader tosses JR’s hat and removes his glasses but Shamrock makes the save quickly and hits a belly to belly suplex and Vader leaves the ring.

Goldust def. Hunter Hearst Helmsley by Countout
Marlena throws powder in the eyes of Chyna. Hunter goes to check on her and she mistakenly thinks it’s Goldust as she begins to choke him out and slam him which leads to Hunter being counted out.

Undertaker promo over the titantron. He says that no man deserves to be burned but that Paul Bearer played with fire. Undertaker says Austin being distracted may lead to him needing more than just a wheelchair.

The Undertaker def. the British Bulldog by DQ
Pillman is seen praying for the Bulldog prior to his match. Bulldog says he’ll become the WWE Champion for Bret despite this being a non-title match. Whether it’s intentional or not the Bulldog appears to have great comedic timing. Owen interferes leading to the disqualification. Stone Cold comes down for the save and he and Undertaker send Owen and Bulldog into the crowd. Austin grabs the WWE championship and tosses it to the Undertaker. Undertaker stares him down and Austin hits the Undertaker with a stunner. Austin stands over the Undertaker and gives him the middle finger but Undertaker sits up and chokeslams Steve. Austin rolls out the ring and looks up the ramp and sees Bret all alone. Bret stands up using his crutch as Austin tosses away his wheelchair. Just as it looked as though Austin would beat down a one-legged Bret Hart out comes a returning Jim “the Anvil” Neidhart who assaults Austin from behind. Bret then swings his crutch and sends Austin flying off the edge of the ramp. Referees and medical staff check on Austin and he is placed on a stretcher. Brian Pillman is seen smiling maniacally to end RAW.

The Hart Foundation are a great heel faction here and it’s incredible that they have majority of the gold. I think this is great as it will make any babyface stronger as they dethrone these despised anti-Americans. Some filler on this RAW but segments with Austin and the Hart Foundation are must see!

 

 

 

 

’97 Shotgun Saturday Night Review: April 26

Here we get an episode of Shotgun Saturday Night. This episode only had one notable event take place but was mostly a recap of last week’s RAW.

LOD def. the Godwinns
We have Jim Ross and Brian Pillman on commentary who work well with one another. The LOD  continue their brief feud with the Godwinns after being slopped. Unintentionally they get their retribution by defeating the Godwinns and hitting nasty Doomsday Device on Henry O. Godwinn. He takes a nasty bump on his head which we’d find out is ruled a broken neck. It didn’t look too reckless on the part of the LOD and just tough move to take when you’re a 300 plus pounder. I know I’ve complained about LOD in previous posts as I’ve despised their 1997 run so far but at least they are doing B shows like Shotgun.

We get highlights of last week’s In Your House: Revenge of the Taker. It is a highlight of the Austin vs. Bret Hart match and the street fight the next night. We get a recap of the awesome ambulance attack by Austin and the final segment where Brian Pillman attacked Austin.

Goldust wins a squash match.
Nothing to say here but we got a medical update previously on Henry O.

Recap of Undertaker burning Paul Bearer and Ross notes Bearer has escaped the burn unit. We also see the blow torch attempted attack by Mankind from last week.

Mankind comes out for an interview with Kevin Kelly. He holds up a lighter and Kelly takes off given recent events. Mankind says only one person ever believed in him and the Undertaker almost took that person away. Mankind exits the ring and comes up to the bars of barricade near the front row. He creepily asks a little girl if she goes to school and the girl in presumed fear and discomfort nods “no”. Mankind asks if they teach about explorers like Lewis & Clark, Columbus or Magellan who all together wouldn’t be able to find Sycho Sid’s courage. Mankind once again proving his brilliance on the mic. He says Sycho Sid didn’t compete a few weeks because of injury and Mankind contrasts that to the bump he took head first through the table. Mankind says if he complained about every injury he wouldn’t compete much. He tells Sycho Sid to find a spine and that he has a surprise and the crowd should think about it and try to have a nice day!

Recap of Vader and the incident in Kuwait.

Crush, Savio Vega & D’Lo Brown def. Freddy Joe Floyd, Aldo Montoya, Steve Corino
This was the in-ring debut of D’Lo Brown. He quickly became the best worker in the Nation. It’s still funny to see characters like Floyd and Montoya remain as we enter the infancy of the Attitude Era.

A final update on Henry O. Godwinn announcing he has a broken neck.

Flash Funk wins a squash match.
Nothing to say here either. This was essentially what Shotgun was becoming. It was no longer in a nightclub or unique venue and appeared to be taped prior or after RAW like WWE Main Event or 205 Live.

’97 RAW is WAR Review: April 21

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Steve Austin opens RAW as he approaches the ring for an interview segment. It’s great to see the WWE start the show off hot with the man who is quickly becoming their most popular superstat. Austin is named the new #1 Contender at the next In Your House PPV. Bret versus Austin in a Street Fight is announced for tonight on RAW. There is a timer for Bret’s acceptance despite the match being announced, Bret gets on the titantron and accepts the match. Also to be noted, this is apparently the debut of the Austin 3:16 t-shirt.

McMahon announces it will be Ahmed Johnson vs. the Sultan tonight as well Ken Shamrock to challenge Mike Tyson, an update on Vader being detained in Kuwait and our main event is the Undertaker versus Hunter Hearst Helmsley.

The Sultan def. Ahmed Johnson by DQ
The Nation come down during this match as Ahmed and the Sultan are battling outside the ring. Ahmed sees them and grabs a 2×4 from under the ring. The Nation backs up the ramp. Ahmed nails the Sultan for the DQ. As the Nation looks on, Ahmed continues to beat down the Sultan with this 2×4.

Austin is backstage trying to get into the Hart Foundation dressing room. Bret has agents with him and tells them to tell Austin to get to the ring and that he’ll be there.

Ken Shamrock versus Vader is also announced for the next In Your House. There is a recap of Tiger Ali Singh winning the Kuwaiti Cup. This leads to why Vader was Kuwait and we see highlights of Vader on the talk show. He is asked if wrestling is fake and gets heated and flips a table and grabs the host by the tie and asks if it feels fake. Vader challenges the frightened host to come to the show to see if it ‘s fake. Shamrock talks about bullies and says Vader is a bully and after his trial he’ll have Shamrock to deal with. Ken then talks about hearing what would happen if he and Mike Tyson ever got in the ring. He challenges Tyson and says he is a bully too. I wonder the box office appeal of Tyson/Shamrock compared to McGregor/Mayweather.

Street Fight
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart ends in a No Contest
I like that both men were in jeans and shirts and not their wrestling attire for this street fight. Bulldog and Owen attack Austin prior to Bret making his way down. Shawn Michaels then comes through the crowd with a steel chair. He nails Owen in the face and then blasts Bulldog with the chair to clear them from the ring. Owen and Davey Boy run through the crowd with Michaels in pursuit. Bret, with the upperhand, continues to beat down Austin. He grabs a chair and looks to shatter the ankle of Austin. As Bret readies himself to stomp from the top rope, Austin moves and grabs the chair and viciously assaults the knee of Hart. Stone Cold then applies the Sharpshooter on Bret and refuses to let it go as referees attempt to get him to relinquish the hold.

Monsoon confronts Austin afterwards in the back and says he’s out of control. Austin ignores Gorilla and Monsoon says he wants Austin’s a** out of the building. Crazy to hear the family friendly Gorilla Monsoon of the 90s with some attitude.

Bulldog and Owen are with Bret and deem the EMTs useless as they help carry Bret off the stretcher and hold him up and walk towards the back.

Tiger Ali Singh def. Salvatore Sincere
Singh wins in his RAW debut in a less than impressive match.

Owen and Bulldog are backstage and continue to give out medical advice of how to best take care of Bret. Bret is now being stretchered out and Bulldog repeatedly keeps muttering “This shouldn’t have happened.” Every groan by Bret gets Owen irate as he yells “WATCH HIS KNEE YOU IDIOT!” to the medical staff. As Bret is placed in the back of the ambulance the paramedic tells the driver they are ready to go. We see Austin in the driver’s seat and he makes his way to Bret and continues his assault. Owen and Bulldog drag away Austin and the commentators are reacting to what they are seeing. As the ambulance drives off, Owen and Bulldog say they will kill Austin. Funny how 20 years later you have another ambulance spot. In 1997, this spot was designed to get Austin cheered for destroying a man on a stretcher. Braun Strowman was also cheered despite being a heel. This ambulance attack was, well, stone cold given who was involved compared to the cartoonish attack by Braun as he yelled “I’M NOT FINISHED WITH YOU!” and proceeds to flip the ambulance.

Rockabilly def. Jesse James
This gimmick sucks. Rockabilly uses Shake, Rattle and Roll for the win. Jesse James attacks Rockabilly post match and is nailed with a guitar by the Honky Tonk Man.

We go backstage and you see Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels arguing. Michaels says he wasn’t there to save Austin but to get a piece of the Harts. Monsoon tells both guys t calm down.

Mankind gives an update on Paul Bearer as he describes the smell and the sound of scraping off skin as Bearer is presumed disfigured. Mankind ends with a “Get well Uncle Paul.”

Undertaker def. Hunter Hearst Helmsley by DQ
It is remarkable to see the featured talent in 1997 who still hadn’t reach their peak; Austin, Mankind, Rocky Maivia (not on this show) and Hunter who’d go on to be the pillars of the WWE in upcoming years. Mankind makes his way ringside with a blow torch (yes you read that right). Mankind attempts to burn the Undertaker but Undertaker fights him off and they brawl through the crowd. During the match we see Goldust and Marlena out of character. As Hunter and Chyna walk by after the Mankind interference, they are attacked by Marlena and Goldust. Marlena has her purse straps around the neck of Chyna as the two men exchange fists.

Our final segment of the night is the same way we started RAW. Austin says he’s sent Bret back to Canada. The crowd cheers and Austin says he doesn’t understand why everyone is happy because he did it by himself. He says they wave around Austin 3:16 and McMahon is suddenly complimentary of him on commentary but Stone Cold obviously doesn’t care. He talks about his championship match and says it will be a cold day in hell for the Undertaker and that he won’t be a good role when he is champion.  Owen and Bulldog once again attack Austin. McMahon tries to break it up but Owen shoves him. Shawn Michaels again comes to the ring to make the save and chases off the tag team champions. Austin is left alone in the ring when Brian Pillman comes through the crowd and attacks him. Pillman looks to destroy the ankle of Austin, something Austin had done to him previously. Before he can get his revenge. Shawn makes his way back ringside and Pillman retreats as RAW ends.

I thought this was an exciting and captivating edition of RAW is WAR. I know Stone Cold was in numerous segments on the show but he was tremendous in every one of them. As a Bret Hart fan as a child I never truly appreciated Austin but I am absolutely loving his rise to the top. He always spoke with confidence and emotion and you could believe in him which is probably why his fanbase would continue to grow. The ambulance attack was great and Owen and Bulldog were equally awesome in all their segments. Owen and Bulldog’s comedic antics and timing was great and comparable to Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho in late 2016/early 2017. I liked the surprises of Michaels and Pillman being added to the main event story. As noted this is a very strong roster and has me excited for the upcoming stories in the weeks to come!