Raw is War Recap (03.24.97)

WWF Raw is War
March 24, 1997
Rockford, IL
Metro Center

LIVE!

The current WWF champs were as follows:
World Champion: The Undertaker (3/23/1997)
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)

HOUR NUMBER ONE! Your hosts are Vince McMahon, Jim Ross, and Jerry Lawler.

JR announces that Mankind is the *new* number one contender to the WWF title and will face the WWF champ the Undertaker at In Your House on April 20. Say whaaaaaat?

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

After winning the four-way match at WrestleMania to earn a tag titles shot, the Headbangers try to take advantage of the dysfunctional tag champs. Owen delivers a dragon screw leg whip to Mosh and starts yelling at Davey Boy to get himself drilled by a DOUBLE GOOZLE. The tag champs come back on Thrasher with a drop toe hold/leg drop combo. Did Cornette book this match or WHAT. Bulldog press slams Owen on top of Thrasher for two. The Legion of Doom interrupt in a split-screen interview to discuss the street fight at WrestleMania and their upcoming tag titles shot at the upcoming In Your House. Dang, already TWO matches announced for a PPV a month ahead in the first five minutes of a post-PPV show! Owen fights back on Thrasher and tags in DBS to deliver the Hourglass Suplex. Davey Boy elbows out of a chinlock and tries to come off the ropes, but runs into Owen. Whoops. Schoolboy by Thrasher nearly ends the match. Bulldog heads out and argues with Owen until Owen decides to walk out on his brother-in-law! Time for an ad break! When we come back, Davey Boy is stuck on the wrong side of town. Owen is back on the apron. He just needed to collect his thoughts. The Headbangers draw Owen in and deliver the double-team leapfrog-backbreaker on DBS. That gets two. The Headbangers actually knock Davey Boy over towards Owen, but Owen is too busy trying to excite the crowd to reach for a tag. They drag him back over to their corner for a jumping frog splash by Mosh for two. Mosh and Thrasher duck low off a whip and eat a double DDT! HOT TAG TO OWEN! Spinning Heel Kick to Mosh! Belly-to-Belly Suplex to Thrasher! Cover, 1-2-NO! After all the punishment Bulldog had received, he gets tagged right back inside. He gives Thrasher a powerslam for two, then tags Owen. Gutwrench suplex sets up a missile dropkick. WOO! Time for the SHARPSHOOTER. Mosh breaks up the hold, but in comes Bulldog to level Thrasher with the RUNNING POWERSLAM. He tries to put Owen on top, but Owen takes offense to winning the match like that for some reason. Ref Earl Hebner tries to stand in between them and gets shoved down by Davey Boy. Well, there’s your DQ. (9:40 shown) Owen drops the F bomb and pushes Bulldog back, which triggers a school yard brawl on the mat. Once a bunch of zebras and agents come out to stop the fight, Owen gets on the mic and tells Bulldog how he really feels. Owen says he’s tired of Davey Boy’s crap and challenges him to a European title match next week. A sure fire way to do that is by calling Bulldog a coward. Davey Boy doesn’t care about Owen’s Slammy awards because he beat him fair and square in Berlin for the European belt. Being the champion he is, he accepts the challenge. **¼

Backstage, we see Mankind as usual hanging out in the dark claiming that Uncle Paul is gone. Don’t make him come find you, Paul.

  • Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Chyna) vs. Bart Gunn

Bret Hart interrupts before HHH’s entrance begging for some TV time so he can get some things off his chest. No more profanity, he just wants to let everybody know what’s on his mind. Helmsley can’t seem to handle Gunn to start. He gets run down and takes the Ray Stevens bump in the corner. Bart hits a stalling suplex, but misses a flying elbow. Goldust joins us in a split-screen interview as he’s crouched down caressing the injured Marlena’s director chair. Next week on Raw, Goldust will get his hands on HHH without either Marlena or Chyna at ringside. Back to the match, HHH hits the High Knee for two. Gunn mounts a comeback and tries for the Running Bulldog, but Chyna pulls the top rope down to cause Bart to spill out to the floor. Chyna gives him a slam. Bart gets pretty angry and gives her a look, but remembers the match is with HHH. As he starts to climb back in, Chyna pulls him down off the apron and shoves Gunn into the ringpost. The ref of course sees none of this. Bart becomes easy pickings for the PEDIGREE as HHH gets the win. (7:17) Just another match to put Chyna over as a threat. *½

They show us the Slammy awards recap we saw at WrestleMania.

  • El Mosco, Hysteria & Abismo Negro vs. Venum, Super Nova & Discovery

They bring in the freakiest looking guys from AAA. That’s something WCW did right by not immediately bombarding you with six Mexicans that you’ve never seen before and that are so different compared to your typical WWF wrestler – and that’s including Goldust! WCW managed to bring only a few luchadores at a time so that you’re not overwhelmed. Bret interrupts this time on the split-screen and asks Vince once again for some TV time. Loads of lucha armdrag spots and headscissors takedowns in this match. It’s all meaningless though as nobody connects with the audience. Of course, everyone takes a moment to fly on the outside. Back in, Super Nova gives Negro a flying hurracanrana for the win. (4:13) Only here to try and parallel what WCW was doing. ¾*

Earlier in the day, Vince McMahon sat down with Rocky Maivia and his father Rocky Johnson, who vowed to no longer interfere in his son’s matches. They share another awkward on-screen hug.

  • Flash Funk vs. The Brooklyn Brawler

Honky Tonk Man joins us for commentary. He’s still trying to find a protégé. Lombardi attacks Funk from behind to start. Flash runs through a couple moves, but a standing moonsault hits knees. Brawler slams Flash around, but Funk quickly comes back with a dropkick. To the floor, Funk dropkicks Brawler through the ropes and follows up with a pescado. He’s clearly going through the motions here. Back in, Funk hits the FUNKY FLASH SPLASH for the win. (3:07) I guess you could call that a glorified squash. ½*

Ken Shamrock explains why he stopped the fight even though Steve Austin didn’t submit. He thinks Austin is by far one of the toughest men he’s ever seen.

HOUR NUMBER TWO! Your hosts are the same people we’ve listening to for the whole show.

Here comes Bret Hart. JR introduces him while Vince sits back and hopes that Bret will apologize for what he did last week. First of all, he apologizes to his fans everywhere in the world except in the US. As for his fans in America, he apologizes for nothing because they show him no respect for beating a creep like Steve Austin at WrestleMania and then cheer Austin when he headed to the locker room like he won. By getting things off his chest, Bret gives us a history lesson of the last year particularly dealing with his opinion of Shawn Michaels, his feud with Austin, and his frustration with constantly getting screwed out of the WWF title the entire year. While this seems pointless on the surface, it just goes to show how well booked Bret’s return has been even with all the outside circumstances. Since Bret feels completely abandoned and disrespected by the WWF fans in America seeing as how he still feels he’s a decent hero, he reminds us of his humble Canadian roots and how Canada is still a country that respects what is good and decent. As for the US fans of the WWF, they can kiss his behind. That brings out the all-American fellow Shawn Michaels. Shawn claims how he’s not a belt mark (in a manner of speaking) like Bret is and how it takes a note from the Lord Almighty to get a belt off him. Shawn continues to say that he will admit his faults all day long. Really? He even reminds Bret that Steve Austin did not submit and that even Bret has to admit that Austin is one tough SOB. Shawn admits that he’s not number one and that’s okay because he doesn’t obsess like Bret does in believing his own BS. OH REALLY? He also reminds Bret that since the fans pay a ticket, they can come and cheer or boo whoever they want. REALLY? Shawn gets all ignorant American on him by bringing up how we have the first amendment and if you don’t like it, you can LEAVE IT. Bret tells Shawn to just get the heck out of his face. HA! Shawn then asks Bret how he knew Shawn was in a Playgirl magazine. Oh, that’s real cute. As HBK turns away to leave, Bret comes up from behind and kicks Shawn in the back of the injured knee. He teaches him a lesson by giving Shawn the ringpost figure-four! Referees and agents can’t break the hold, but Psycho Sid walking down will. Not that he cares about Shawn, mind you. Bret makes his escape up the rampway while Sid cusses him from inside the ring. What an amazing twenty minutes.

  • WWF Intercontinental Champion Rocky Maivia vs. Leif Cassidy

We JIP with this match as it started during a commercial break. They are on the floor as Rocky delivers a flying bodypress off the apron. Bret heads out again and joins us for added commentary. He hasn’t snapped, he’s just opened his eyes. His appearance of course takes ALL the focus off the match in the ring. On the split-screen, we see Lanza and Goulet helping Shawn backstage with his knee all wrapped up. Hurricane DDT sets up the FLYING BODYPRESS as Maivia retains the belt. (2:22 shown) Bret says if you want to see bad, he will show you bad. He heads into the ring and attacks Maivia from behind going right after the knee. On his way out, some young teenager flips him the bird, so the kid gets the bird back from Bret. AWESOME. This actually sets up next week’s main event. Three matches already set, folks! ½*

  • Ahmed Johnson vs. Savio Vega (w/the NOD)

The Nation of Domination (without the injured Faarooq) stay up at the top of the ramp for this match. Ahmed misses a corner charge and eats the ringpost to start. Lots of choking and scratching from Savio. Ahmed comes back with an atomic drop on the top rope. With Savio sitting high, Johnson runs him down as they both fall out to the floor. Commercials! When we return, Ahmed hits a suplex and then comes off the top rope with a Cannonball Splash. Savio fights back with a superkick and grabs a sleeper. Ahmed fights out and hits a uranage. Spinebuster connects and you know what’s next. The NOD head down as Crush pulls Savio out before a PEARL RIVER PLUNGE can happen for the DQ. (6:09 shown) Ahmed grabs his 2×4 and gets on the mic to challenge one of the Nation to a match. If Ahmed wins, they have to leave the WWF. Okay, but what if *you* lose? The Nation of Domination all throw up the Black Power sign as to possibly show they accept the challenge. Who knows. *

Before our last break, we see that Paul Bearer is in the building. He wants to talk to someone and it isn’t Vince.

The Undertaker comes out to welcome his creatures to the dark days of the WWF. Oh how fitting a name for his title run. UT applauds Psycho Sid for being a man and stepping to the challenge of fighting him. For a dead guy, he sure does have a high opinion of himself. As for Mankind, UT thinks he’s the most dangerous man in the WWF. Paul Bearer interrupts and asks the Undertaker to just listen to him for a moment. Now Mankind appears on the TitanTron asking for Uncle Paul. Even JR is confused by what is happening as it seems everyone is talking at once. Just as things seem interesting, WE’RE OUTTA TIME! We’ll see you next week, folks!

Posted on July 5, 2011, in WWE and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. The AAA thing was yet more proof that Vince really never did know how to use smaller wrestlers.

  2. Very true.

  3. I recently watched this show. In my opinion, 1997 was the best time to be a WWE fan. The Raw’s were very well-paced and flew by so fast that it made you want to tune in next week and the week after. The pacing was good because of how they formatted the show. There wasn’t a split second of boredom or dead time. Unlike WWE Monday Night Raw now, they didn’t have 20 minute heavily scripted promos or corny interviewers backstage with bad acting skills. Instead, they had interviews hosted by Vince McMahon, making the promos very realistic,at the announce table and promos that actually built somewhere. Not to mention their talent pool was incredible, especially in the main event scene where you had HBK, Mankind, Undertaker, Bret Hart, Vader, and Stone Cold Steve Austin.

    Ironically, WWF was losing the war to WCW big time and it took another year for them to finally be in front of WCW. By that time came, Jim Cornette was not on the booking team, instead Ed Ferrera joined Vince Russo making Raw a complete trainwreck with their inept car-crash style and with the big talent that were made in this year with a few exceptions.

    Ultimately, Raw in 1997 was an adult oriented show that didn’t slap fans in the face that much with nonsensical angles, promos, or wrestling gimmicks, but instead listened and gave the fans exactly what they wanted: a mixture of cool gimmicks, angles that made sense and were intriguing, a good dose of wrestling on each show, and build the made you want to see great matches on PPV which then would deliver.

  4. Do you think that is what Raw is returning to now in recent weeks? Last week on 7/25, they had two matches to go over ten minutes and another one that went seven minutes. Any talking that took place had purpose and they left you with an arguable cliffhanger ending.

    • I’ve been really digging Raw lately. Maybe they studied some of these tapes and taught them how to book. The corny interviews backstage with really bad interviewers must end and they should keep the long-winded promos that go nowhere to a minimum (which they have). But yeah, Raw has been very impressive. I am digging the new format and structure to the show and the show is giving you a reason to watch the next one, instead of a put-together tag match with the babyfaces going over.

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