Raw is War (03.10.97)

WWF Raw is War
March 10, 1997
Worcester, MA
The Centrum

LIVE!

The current WWF champs were as follows:
World Champion: Psycho Sid (2/17/1997)
Intercontinental Champion: Rocky Maivia (2/13/1997)

European Champion: Davey Boy Smith (3/3/1997)
World Tag Team Champions: Owen Hart & Davey Boy Smith (9/22/1996)

Explosions are happening inside of a warehouse! Reflections of WWF superstars are seen on walls! People are fighting each other! IS THAT EVIL MARILYN MANSON MUSIC I HEAR? It must be the debut of RAW is WAR.

A tougher-looking show was just the thing the WWF needed at the time. We see pyro, we see the debut of the giant Titan Tron, and we see the steel rampway. All this change and yet we still have the same old red-white-blue colored ring. They may now have Attitude, but Vince is still totally 100% American. Those colors don’t run, ya know.

Your hosts are Vince McMahon, Jim Ross, and Jerry Lawler.

The WWF champ Psycho Sid is the first person we see. He reluctantly teams up with the Undertaker tonight to face Vader and Mankind in the main event. Sid wouldn’t trust the Undertaker as far as he could throw him. So yeah, no match tonight. Since Vader and Mankind have Paul Bearer on their side, how does he know UT and Paul Bearer aren’t going to stab him in the back so he’s nice and weak for WrestleMania 13? No traps will befall Sid. No way, no how. He tells UT to stay in the cemetery, which is exactly where he will be put for good come WrestleMania. The Undertaker interrupts and takes a few moments to get to the ring. UT tells Sid that he’s talking nonsense considering he’s not going to let Sid get hurt and ruin his chances of beating him at WrestleMania. I mean, CMON. If Sid is scared, he can just stay in the locker room while UT takes out Vader and Mankind by himself. Hmm, well you haven’t been too successful with doing that in the past, my dead friend. Here comes Vader and Mankind lead by Paul Bearer. After Bearer throws out some insults directed at UT and Sid, Vader and Mankind attack. During the melee, UT thinks Sid popped him in the back of the head, but it was really Mankind. Oops! Now there’s extreme distrust and absolute hatred between Sid and the Undertaker! How can they possibly co-exist in the main event tonight? This is Russo 101, folks.

  • WWF Intercontinental Champion Rocky Maivia vs. Tony Roy

Bob Backlund and the Iron Sheik stand on the rampway with the Sultan as they bark insults at Maivia. This becomes a recurring theme of the night. FLYING BODYPRESS by Maivia wins in no time. (1:38) The Sultan comes down for a fight, but Rocky clears the ring of him. These two will go at it at WrestleMania 13! Rocky Johnson’s former tag partner Tony Atlas jumps the rail and celebrates with Rocky Maivia as they head to the back. ¼*

The Playstation Slam of the Week is Ahmed Johnson destroying Leif Cassidy on Shotgun Saturday Night!

  • Latin Lover, Octagon & Hector Garza vs. Pierroth Jr, Heavy Metal & Pentagon

Well, dang. It’s a AAA trios match. Unless you like lucha libre, the only guy here you might have heard is Hector Garza who spent time in WCW and most recently TNA. They basically use this match to hype the rest of the show. Lawler wonders why Vince is bringing in these AAA and ECW guys to be featured on RAW. No answer. During the lucha action, Chyna gets spotted in the crowd and escorted out of here by security. Commercials! When we come back, Vince shows us why this lady has been made to leave by showing all of her interruptions as of late involving Marlena and even Bret Hart. Brian Pillman even makes a split-screen appearance! He’s ready to do something crazy on Shotgun Saturday Night because the show comes on at midnight when those censors are fast asleep. NICE. Meanwhile, the AAA guys are diving out on top of each other. That whole sequence is topped off with the signature Corkscrew Plancha by Garza. Back in, Latin Lover completely misses a frog splash and gets caught in La Magistral cradle from Heavy Metal for the 1-2-3. (7:42 shown) You just can’t pile a bunch of unrecognizable AAA wrestlers in a match and expect the same reaction you might with six of WCW’s finer luchadores that they had spent with some of them at least nine months building. WCW started with only Rey Mysterio (or even Konnan for that matter) and then started bringing in more talent. They didn’t just bring in a bunch of people like the WWF is doing here, which is why it was doomed to fail right from the start. *

  • Ahmed Johnson vs. Roy Raymond

The Nation of Domination stand on the ramp and rap about it. Axe kick, Spinebuster, and the PEARL RIVER PLUNGE ends Raymond. (2:02) Faarooq preaches the evil ways of the white man from the ramp. Ahmed is less than interested and shows the world who he is bringing with him to WrestleMania: the Legion of Doom. Probably would have been cooler had they not debuted two weeks earlier, but this is after all the Monday Night Wars where sometimes you blow a good idea in the name of a ratings pop. Ahmed tells the Nation that even the black dudes in the group are looking white after seeing the Legion of Doom. YOU’RE GOING DOWN! ¼*

Like the stinking paparazzi, JR runs up behind Owen and Davey Boy on their way to the ring to ask about their problems of mistrust between the two of them. Does Owen have any bad feelings towards Davey Boy for winning the European title last week instead of him? Inquiring minds NEED to know. Owen tells JR to leave him alone.

  • WWF World Tag Team Champions Owen Hart & Davey Boy Smith vs. The New Blackjacks

Whoever gave the New Blackjacks a microphone made a huge mistake. Just as Windham starts to call Davey Boy an SOB, Bradshaw takes the mic away and tells Owen that he’s got some real pretty lips. Kinky! That creates a huge brawl to start. Out on the floor, Owen makes sure Bradshaw eats the ringpost. Back inside, Davey Boy is *your* face in peril while we listen to Vader and Mankind talk. IT’S VADER TIME! Windham low blows Owen to cool down the house of fire. While Davey Boy gets drawn in, we go to the floor where the Blackjacks take turns with Owen. Commercials! When we come back, Bradshaw jawbreakers out of a sleeper by Bulldog which gets him all staggered for a LARIAT from Windham. More problems for Davey Boy. Pumphandle slam from Windham gets two. We go to the split-screen again to hear Taz threaten Jerry Lawler. Back to the match, Bulldog fights off a SUPERPLEX from Windham and clotheslines him down to HOT TAG OWEN! Spinning heel kicks and missile dropkicks follow. Owen applies the SHARPSHOOTER on Bradshaw, but Bulldog costs his team the match by DQ when he throws the ref to the side. (7:23 shown) JR, Vince, and Lawler all miss the reason why they were disqualified. Decent formula tag. Nothing more, nothing less. *½

Catch the 1997 Slammy Awards show on Friday March 21 at 11PM EST/10PM CST on the USA Network! The nominees for the “Loose Screw” award are: Psycho Sid, Mankind, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Seinfeld’s Kramer (???), and Bob Backlund. Vote now and vote often.

When we return, Taz is out here trying to get at Jerry Lawler, but Bill Alfonso is holding him back. While Lawler and Taz are at each other’s throats, Sabu runs in and tries to dive on them. They separate at just the right moment and Sabu goes flying through an unnecessary ringside table. The Eliminators take Taz to the locker room while Sandman, Tommy Dreamer, and Paul E. Dangerously help Sabu to the back.

  • Miguel Perez Jr. vs. Leif Cassidy

Match goes nowhere as it’s just a bunch of feeling out stuff. JR makes the “diverse styles” comment, which means this match isn’t going too well in his eyes. Meanwhile, Paul E. Dangerously appears on the split-screen to threaten Jerry Lawler with his *extreme* friends. Back to the match, Cassidy misses a flying moonsault. Perez flips out of a powerbomb and delivers the WHEELBARROW VICTORY ROLL for the 1-2-3. (4:11) Not the worst match I’ve ever seen, but they just really didn’t mesh. ½*

Psycho Sid reacts in the back by saying he will not react to hearing about his upcoming WWF title match in a cage with Bret Hart next week on Raw is War just thirteen days before WrestleMania. It’s all going to be okay because he is the man, the master, and the ruler of the world. Well, of course you knew that already.

HOUR NUMBER TWO! I know this because they replay the “Beautiful People” intro.

JR has Ken Shamrock in the ring. The news has been confirmed that Ken Shamrock will be the guest referee for the Bret-Austin submission match at WrestleMania 13. He’s going to be fair and square, folks. If Austin and Bret don’t like it, that’s their problem. Well, Stone Cold Steve Austin interrupts on the Titan Tron to vent on how it’s BS that Bret gets a WWF title shot just six days before their match at WrestleMania. Naturally, he really hopes Bret regains the WWF title next week so he can win the WWF championship himself at WrestleMania. Austin says that the bottom line is that after he’s done making Bret submit at WrestleMania, he just might sweep the floor with Ken Shamrock while he’s at it. In that case, Shamrock sends out a challenge to Austin to meet him in the ring – RIGHT NOW! Well, now Bret Hart interrupts. God forbid we forget about Bret in this equation. First off, this is the first time on Raw that he’s had a chance to tell us what he thinks about losing his fourth WWF title to Sid three weeks earlier. Since he was SCREWED out of the WWF title, he’s glad to hear that WWF President Gorilla Monsoon is finally issuing some justice and granting Bret a rematch for next week’s RAW is WAR. In a passive way, Bret calls himself the best submission wrestler in the world with Ken Shamrock standing right there. Ken Shamrock says he’s not here to care about Bret’s problems, just to referee his match with Stone Cold. Before we go, Stone Cold Steve Austin appears on the rampway and flicks them both off. Boy, that gets Bret awful hot as he starts to take off his shirt.

  • Billy Gunn vs. Aldo Montoya

Before replacing Jerry Lawler on commentary, Honky Tonk Man comes out to sing a song to “Wooster”, but decides the town isn’t worthy of his talents. By the way, Billy Gunn is BACK. I think. I’m confused by what has happened with Billy Gunn. Anyways, they use this match to run down the upcoming LIVE WWF events. Also, Sunny appears on the split-screen wearing a fancy silk robe to hype her “Undercover With Sunny” segments on Shotgun Saturday Night where he dishes on all the latest gossip and dirt in wrestling. Besides all the gossip and dirt surrounding her, I’m sure. Billy finishes off Montoya with the Flying Legdrop. (2:49) Can’t say the WWF didn’t try to get that guy over. ¾*

In the back, Mankind clutches the Undertaker’s urn to his chest and then chucks it when he tells everybody that he doesn’t need the urn. He pulls on his hair while he talks about his upbringing. You know, typical Mankind stuff here. He talks so long, we have to leave and take a commercial break.

  • Goldust (w/Marlena) vs. Tim McNeedy

What’s the chances of an appearance from Chyna here? And almost right after the bell, HHH and Chyna appear on the rampway. I’m telling you – they are making the best use of that rampway tonight. They watch on as Goldust quickly gives McNeedy the CURTAIN CALL for the 1-2-3. (1:37) Afterwards, Chyna and Helmsley attack. Marlena hops on Chyna’s back for a sleeper hold until Vince’s stooges come out and restrain her. Chyna tosses away Pat Patterson and several referees (including Harvey Wippleman who takes a MANLY bump) to get her hands on Marlena again. Finally, HHH takes his man-lady and retreats to the locker room. ¼*

And now it’s time for the Great Debate between Jerry “the King” Lawler and the ECW representative Paul E. Dangerously. As Jerry Lawler gets to putting down ECW, the Dudley Boyz and the Eliminators surround the ring. He makes the valid argument that the WWF sells out the Philadelphia Spectrum with 20,000 people while ECW brags about keeping an old bingo hall filled up with only 1,100 people every month. Paul E finally goes on the defense as Sandman, Tommy Dreamer, and Beulah head down to ringside. Sandman jumps in the ring and all he wants to do is cane Lawler. Anyways, Lawler and Dangerously start “shooting” on each other. Lawler calls Dangerously a little light in his loafers because all he wants to do is hang around all these ECW athletes. Well, that incenses Tommy Dreamer to the point that he calls out Lawler’s friends he says he has brought with him to come on out and fight. Nobody shows. The ECW guys close in on Lawler until he has no choice but to leave the ring in defeat.

  • Psycho Sid & The Undertaker vs. Vader & Mankind (w/Paul Bearer)

They have out the pyro sign for Sid tonight. Might as well. He’s only thirteen days left to use it. Undertaker doesn’t show up until after the bell sounds. He makes the save with a Chokeslam to Vader. Even so, Vader hits a short-arm clothesline and a splash gets two. THE MASTERS OF THE POWERBOMB EXPLODE! Vader grabs a chinlock all the way into a commercial break. And we’re back! Sid delivers a suplex to Vader while UT and Mankind brawl on the floor. Once that’s over, Mankind gets a tag. He hits a running elbow drop for two, but Sid kicks out and makes the HOT TAG TO THE UNDERTAKER! Chokeslam to Mankind! The match breaks down and spills out to the floor where Taker drops an axe handle on Sid by accident from the apron. That causes some problems as Taker brings Sid back into the ring to give him a Chokeslam. With Vader and Mankind in the aisle, Taker wipes them out with the ZOMBIE MAN PLANCHA! Back inside, Sid gives Undertaker a POWERBOMB and leaves him laying as Vader rolls on top of Taker for the 1-2-3. (8:23 shown) That’s now TWICE in two months that the Undertaker has jobbed to Vader. After the match, Vader tries to sneak in a Pump Splash on Taker, but Sid won’t have that and pie-faces him down. That allows Taker to come back and clean house before he heads to the locker room looking for Sid. *½

We check in with Bret Hart before we go. Next week, we will find out that Bret truly is the best there is, was, and ever will be. Great stuff.

WWF presents WrestleMania 13 live on PPV on Sunday March 23!

– MAIN EVENT: WWF World Champion Psycho Sid vs. The Undertaker
– WWF Intercontinental Champion Rocky Maivia vs. The Sultan
– WWF World Tag Team Champions Owen Hart & Davey Boy Smith vs. Vader & Mankind
– Bret Hart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin – Submission Match with Ken Shamrock as Special Referee
– Ahmed Johnson & The Legion of Doom vs. Faarooq, Crush & Savio Vega in a Chicago Street Fight
– Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. Goldust

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