WWF: Raw is War (04.07.97)

WWF Raw is War
April 7, 1997
Muncie, IN
Worthen Arena
(Taped on 4/6/97)

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)

Oh my gosh! Mankind threw a fire ball in the Undertaker’s face! Oh wait, that happened last week. The Raw theme song changes again. It’s less “Beautiful People” and more “Thorn In Your Eye”. Also, the ring ropes are no longer American colors (red and black for now) and the ring apron has changed with the rest of the classic Raw is War set.

HOUR NUMBER ONE! Your hosts are Vince McMahon, Jim Ross, and the Honky Tonk Man. HTM has the gee-tar with him in a plastic bag that Jesse James smashed last week.

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

Before the match, Owen thanks Bret for bringing their family back together last week. He also warns Shawn Michaels that he better not say anything bad about Bret tonight because Owen and the Bulldog will come down and DESTROY him. The Godwinns bring some little girl down with them that’s ugly as sin carrying an FFA sign. Hey, that’s cool since you’re in Indiana and all. But this isn’t a house show, so why would the rest of the world care about some local FFA chapter? Owen and Henry start the match. Henry slams Owen around and then slams Phineas on top of him. Owen does his fancy wristlock escape and tags Davey Boy. While Bulldog jaws with the crowd, we go to the split screen with Shawn Michaels backstage. Shawn says he plans to upset not just Owen and the Bulldog, but also a lot of other people. It is LIVE TV, after all! Back to the match, Phineas cleans house and has a retard fit until Henry calms him down. Blind tag to Owen sets up Phineas for the Spinning Heel Kick. He becomes your Redneck in Peril as we go to commercial. When we come back, Phineas is STILL caught on the wrong side of town. Henry tries to save, but that just means more double-teaming on Phineas. He finally drops Owen and Bulldog with a double clothesline and makes the HOT TAG TO HENRY! Wheelbarrow faceslam to Davey Boy gets two. Hey, now the Legion of Doom are on the split-screen. They get the tag champs at In Your House on April 20! While they make threats to Owen and Davey Boy Smith, Henry hits the SLOP DROP on Bulldog! As the ref is taking care of Phineas, Owen lowers the boom on Henry and covers for the 1-2-3. (7:11 shown) As the tag champs walk up the aisle, the Legion of Doom are there to meet them at the tunnel! Owen and Bulldog cower back, but the Godwinns are waiting behind them with a slop bucket. They duck and the LOD get SLOPPED~! Well, this is bad news bears for the Godwinns. Davey Boy and Owen get the heck out of there while LOD and the Godwinns brawl at ringside until a team of referees pull them apart. **

In the back, we get a reaction from Bulldog and Owen. Davey says LOD getting slopped was the funniest thing he’s EVER seen. Really? Funnier than the Shockmaster debut? They watch it happen again and again. WHOA! Suddenly, Stone Cold Steve Austin is shown nearby and he starts barking at Owen and Davey Boy. Stuff like that certainly gives this show a *live* feel.

  • Steve Austin vs. Billy Gunn (w/the Honky Tonk Man)

What’s this about? Gunn looks confident to start, but that’s before he ever gets near Austin. The crowd cheers on every move Austin makes. Back to the split-screen, we get MORE Owen and Davey Boy Smith. They didn’t like Austin cutting in on their interview time. Owen says Austin can forget about Bret, Austin can have he and the Bulldog to worry about if he wants it that way. In the ring, Austin is working the arm as JR plugs Sunday Night Heat back when it wasn’t another WWF show but the USA Network’s Sunday night lineup. Gunn catches Austin telegraphing a backdrop and delivers a swinging neckbreaker. Austin’s trick knee acts up all over Billy’s balls. The ref Tim White gives Austin a pretty good tongue lashing, so he gives White the double bird when he turns his back to him. And the crowd approves! The times they are a-changing. Before you know it, there’s the STONE COLD STUNNER for the win to a huge pop. (6:09) Seems odd that they would feed Billy Gunn to Austin so quickly after joining him up with the Honky Tonk Man after all that ‘searching for a protégé’ talk. ¾*

Afterwards, Honky Tonk Man tries to assure Billy Gunn that even after last week when he tried to bring Jesse James under his wing and he refused, Billy was always his number one choice for a protégé. When it comes to shaking hands, Billy punches HTM in the face. Poor Honky! Nobody wants him around.

Dok Hendrix plays a little Don West and tries to sell you an Undertaker door banner. Sheesh, looks like something the Columbine kids had in their rooms. Hey, it’s only 30 BUCKS~! What a deal!

A strange looking man who would be known as the Commandant of the Truth Commission steps out onto the rampway to hype not only next week’s Raw is War from Johannesburg, South Africa but also that his troop of commandoes have come to America to study the effects of democracy over some serious sounding B-film music. Imagine the WCW Wargames music played while Tony Schiavone gives you the rules of the match. He calls us “sissy, liberal Americans”. Hey now, my dad voted for Bob Dole! Who is the one who speaks the truth to this man? Why, it’s Bret Hart of course! People love Bret in South Africa. They show a pre-taped interview with Bret that sounds like it was done in an old bathroom, so its kind of hard to hear him very clearly. He insults Steve Austin and threatens Psycho Sid since they are scheduled to face each other at In Your House. Shawn watches the interview from his locker room. Bret carries with him the REAL red, white, and blue flag to the ring to a huge ovation –of course its the South African flag.

Bret Hart and Bart Simpson make the cover of the WWF magazine. Bret appears on season eight episode 21, which is also the same night as the In Your House PPV. Shawn reminds Bret that everything Bart does – its just a cartoon, Bret. It’s not REAL~!

Right before the 10PM hour, out comes Shawn Michaels to talk about things and stuff! Last time we saw Shawn two weeks ago, Bret had him in the ringpost figure-four. Shawn explains how Bret’s real motives behind his return, in addition to his obsession with the WWF Title, have been money. Everything bad that’s happened to the Hart clan has been because Bret has allowed it to happen for the right price. It was Bret who has constantly involved his family in everything. He relates how the two have been jockeying for position at the top of the WWF for the last six years. Shawn hints that he gladly let Hart get all the build up back then, and when it came to Shawn’s turn, Hart only did so “kicking and screaming!” He calls Bret’s claims that he “had to” come back “horses#!t!”. Shawn reveals that Bret used a “rival organization” to get more money out his comeback, presumably threatening to go to this other organization if Vince didn’t pony up enough money. (The assertion here is that Bret never had any intention of going elsewhere, but he used that threat to satiate his own personal gain). Shawn goes on to say that Bret’s “time off” was him merely watching to see if the WWF with Shawn Michaels at the helm would fall flat on it’s face. Shawn says they didn’t and, to the contrary, the WWF did better business than they have in years. “You run the company. Isn’t that correct?” Vince nods in agreement. The segment ends with Shawn saying that, though it would anger Bret, Shawn was going to do a little dance and take off his clothes because this is America and you can do whatever the heck you want to here. Umm, no thanks Shawn. Owen and Bulldog have had enough and head to the ring to attack, but Shawn guards himself with a chair so they decide to fight another day. Come on guys. There’s TWO of you and ONE of him. It’s not a chair that shoots poison darts or anything.

TIME TO ENTER THE WAR ZONE! Your hosts are still Vince McMahon, Jim Ross, and the Honky Tonk Man.

  • The Headbangers vs. Freddie Joe Floyd & Barry Horowitz

Horowitz tries to control Thrasher with a headlock, but then Mosh gets a blind tag and flies in with a clothesline. Ken Shamrock’s first opponent in the WWF will be Vernon White. They meet each other later in the program. He’s supposed to be one of Shamrock’s students at the Lion’s Den. Horowitz gets worked over some more before tagging in Freddie Joe Floyd better known as Tracy Smothers. Mosh counters a bulldog with a side slam. There’s the STAGE DIVE and it’s all over. (4:32) Just a quick little squash to put over the announced ‘bangers win streak. ½*

  • Ken Shamrock vs. Vernon White

Before this “exhibition”, Vince hypes UFC 13! He specifically names the main event: Vitor Belfort and Tank Abbott. This appears to be a worked shoot fight similar to Takada’s UWF in Japan. I really enjoy that type of wrestling though. Vernon White gets away from Shamrock and kicks him real good. That just makes Shamrock angry as he pounces on White and punches away (some definite worked punches if you know what I mean) until White taps out. (2:00) JR gets a word with Shamrock afterwards. He admits he lost his temper there a little bit, but that’s how it goes. Vader and Paul Bearer interrupt. He wants to fight this Shamrock dude and I have to say – that sounds like a good idea to me. No rating.

  • Vader (w/Paul Bearer) vs. Frank Staletto

That last interaction gets Vader all JAZZED up. He drops Staletto with a release German suplex and then goes crazy on him in the corner. Mankind joins us on the split-screen and tells us he has a presentation to make tonight. Hopefully, Undertaker likes it. Back to the ring, Vader delivers a couple pump splashes and hits the POWERBOMB for the 1-2-3. (2:20) This was VINTAGE Vader. ½*

So come to find out, Psycho Sid has not made it to the building for tonight’s main event against Mankind. WWF President Gorilla Monsoon changes the main event to Austin v. Mankind. Austin comes by and tells Gorilla that ain’t happening because he’s already wrestled tonight. He’s not going to do it because he doesn’t want to be told what to do. However, Austin plays hard ball and tells Monsoon that he’ll wrestle tonight as long as he gets Bret Hart at In Your House – in a manner of speaking. Gorilla makes the deal.

After Mankind makes his entrance, JR asks him why he threw a fire ball in the Undertaker’s face. He just wanted to make the Undertaker feel like he does. That’s all! If you can’t believe somebody would actually marry Mankind, then he actually wants you to change the channel and watch another wrestling program while he’s on the screen because reality is what he’s dealing with here. I can’t wait for the Dude Love character to appear. This guy is a total downer! So what does Mankind have to present to the Undertaker? It’s another Mankind mask. Once Mankind wins the WWF title, they can be twins! The lights begin to flicker and the Undertaker’s Titan Tron video appears on the screen. There’s just a voice over though as he says Undertaker things – mostly vowing revenge on Mankind and Paul Bearer. Meanwhile, Mankind is covering his ears rocking back and forth on the mat.

  • Steve Austin vs. Mankind (w/Paul Bearer)

So obviously Sid never showed up. Word on the street is, Sid was supposed to put over Mankind here and decided to have an injury instead. That’s also why Bret’s match at In Your House is changed to Bret v. Austin III. These two brawl on the rampway to start with Mankind taking some back bumps. Dang, ANOTHER Owen and Davey Boy split-screen interview. They are pissed that Bret’s match was changed at the drop of a hat when he’s not even at the show to defend himself. Back to the match, Mankind fails to use a chair and Austin drops him on the guardrail. Vince wonders if Mankind will set Austin’s face on fire tonight. After Austin stomps the balls, he grabs a chinlock as we see Owen and Davey Boy watching on up in the crowd with their arms crossed. As Austin spots them, we go to commercials. When we return, Mankind is holding a chair and Austin is down on the floor. Back in, Austin fights out of a chinlock with a jawbreaker, but misses an elbow drop. Now Mankind tosses Austin onto some bare concrete and delivers the elbow drop from the apron. He takes Austin over to the rampway for a piledriver, but Austin shoves him off the rampway down onto the guardrail! OUCH. Back inside, Mankind goes low to avoid a superplex as Owen and the Bulldog come a little closer to ringside. Austin nails Mankind as he comes off the top. As Bulldog and Owen jump the rail, out comes the Legion of Doom. They chase the tag champs around ringside while Austin stomps a mudhole in Mankind inside the ring. Vader ZOOMS past everyone and as he goes to attack Austin, he nails Mankind instead. (11:12 shown) Fun little brawl as these two always had good chemistry together. Of course, Sid v. Mankind would have served a much better purpose business-wise for the upcoming PPV even though it would not have been as good as this was. **½

While Austin and LOD chase the Hart Foundation out of here, Mankind and Vader trade blows until Paul Bearer gets in between them. Could we see a split? Nope. They hug it out.

WWF In Your House presents: Revenge of the ‘Taker
LIVE on PPV – April 20 from Rochester, New York
Here is the card as it looks at the end of this show:

MAIN EVENT: WWF World Champion The Undertaker vs. Mankind
WWF World Tag Team Champions Owen Hart & Davey Boy Smith vs. The Legion of Doom
Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin

It looked like Shamrock v. Vader was going to happen too, but then Vader had to go and protect the biz on live TV over on “Good Morning Kuwait” on April 11. He was then detained in Kuwait for the next ten days.


Posted on September 11, 2011, in WWE and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Hey, just a heads up…I attended this RAW, and it was actually taped the night before on Sunday, 4/6/97. :-)

  2. Very good! Thanks.

  3. I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good.
    I do not know who you are but definitely you are
    going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already
    ;) Cheers!

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