WWF: Raw is War (04.21.97)

WWF: Raw is War
April 21, 1997
Binghamton, NY
Broome County Arena

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)

PDRwrestling fans, we have now officially made it to the Vince Russo Era of the WWF. This one is widely considered by many WWF fans to be one of – if not the – top Raw show to date. I hope I do it justice.

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

The show starts off with a clip from last night’s PPV with the Undertaker giving Paul Bearer a face full of fire. That sure would look pretty BRUTAL out of context. It does either way, really. Anyways, there’s a good chance that we won’t see that man on the program tonight.

Now that the introduction is over, Stone Cold Steve Austin hits the ring to speak with Vince McMahon. First we hear from JR and Lawler that Austin meets Bret Hart in a street fight – TONIGHT! Then in the ring, Vince tells us that Steve Austin takes on the Undertaker for the WWF title at the next PPV on May 11. Austin doesn’t want to talk about the Undertaker because he ain’t done talking about Bret Hart. UH-UH! Not by a long shot. The reason Austin didn’t finish off Bret last night was because Owen Hart and Davey Boy Smith interfered. Now’s the time, Bret. Don’t worry about your little black and pink tights because they look like crap anyway. GIT ON OUT HERE! Austin gives Bret one minute to respond. There’s even a timer and everything. Well the minute is up and Bret is nowhere to be seen, so Austin goes a-hunting. Right as he leaves the ring, the Hart Foundation appear together on the TitanTron as Bret Hart accepts the match. Bret uses this screen time to tell the US audience that a street fight is fine with him even though all they want to see is more violence because they have no family values or morals. He also mentions how Bret nearly tore Austin’s leg apart last night and how the Americans just loved the cruelty of it all. Interesting – Bret becoming MORE destructive than usual in that to prove his point about American fans. That’s brilliant. Of course Bret has to mention the absurdity of Austin getting a WWF title shot. It doesn’t matter much though because after tonight when Bret gets through with him, Austin will be going straight to HELL. If Austin’s going to hell, Bret is certainly coming with him. END SCENE. Feel the hate!

  • Ahmed Johnson vs. The Sultan (w/the Iron Sheik)

Last night at the PPV, Ahmed accepted Faarooq’s challenge to face the ENTIRE Nation of Domination. If he wins, they leave the WWF. Bicycle kicks and Axe Kicks everywhere to start. Sultan kicks Ahmed back and delivers a piledriver. Johnson comes back with a sitout front suplex. Spinebuster connects and he calls for the PEARL RIVER PLUNGE, but then the Nation of Domination appear at the top of the ramp and Ahmed heads out to the floor to dare them down to ringside. That distraction allows Sultan to attack from behind as he runs Ahmed into the post. Now the Nation begins to make their way down. Lucky for Ahmed, he’s laid out directly where there’s a convenient 2×4 under the ring. You know how the Nation hates 2x4s. Maybe it’s just wood that they can’t stand. I don’t know. Anyways, this match gets out of hand as Ahmed makes an example out of the Sultan with the 2×4. (4:52) It gets even MORE out of hand as refs and agents head out to escort Ahmed to the back. ½*

Austin is tearing up backstage to find the Hart Foundation. He can’t wait another second.

Before we go to break, Sunny comes out and models the Undertaker’s new t-shirt! Only $20! Dok Hendrix tells us Sunny is *not* included in the deal. Remember the days when the Divas knew their place? I’m sorry. That was awfully rude.

When we return, Austin finds the Hart Foundation locker room and tries to break in. Bret DEMANDS some respect since he’s been in the WWF all these years. He wants the street fight to start in the ring, so looks like that’s how it’s going to be.

We now go to video footage of the debuting Tiger Ali Singh winning the 1997 Kuwait Cup by defeating Owen Hart.

Next, they give us an update on Vader Held Hostage: Day 9 – obviously a graphic made to parody the news coverage of the Iranian hostage crisis way back in 1980. They seem to think this whole thing is so funny too. Lawler even did some artwork to show Vader working in the desert shoveling camel poop with missiles flying over his head.

Speaking of Vader, Ken Shamrock joins the commentary team to comment on Vader and hype their “No Holds Barred” match for the next PPV. The man hates bullies. That’s really where it ends and begins with Vader. Also, Ken Shamrock lays out a challenge to MIKE TYSON! He says people want to see who the most dangerous man on the planet really is. He and Lawler have a hilarious exchange of words. Time for the street fight!

  • Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart – Street Fight

As we wait on Bret, we see the clip of Austin putting his head down and eyes closed on the top turnbuckle that’s in a TON of Attitude Era videos. Out comes Bret by himself, but Owen Hart and Davey Boy Smith show up and attack Austin from behind. It’s a total 3-on-1 assault until Shawn Michaels appears through the crowd wielding around a steel chair to chase Owen and Bulldog away. He took a swing at Bret, but Bret just ducked it to remain at full strength. Just loads of heat here from the crowd. Bret delivers a piledriver and brings a chair into the ring. He tries to PILLMANIZE the leg, but Austin dodges the bullet and WHACKS Bret in the knee with the chair. And the chair assault begins. Once he’s done enough, Austin slaps on the SHARPSHOOTER. He ain’t letting go, folks. Even JR thinks Austin needs to calm down. Finally, a team of refs force Austin off Bret as we take a commercial break. (around 8:00) Just great booking here reminiscent of ECW booking. Not intended to be a classic fight, but it was violent and that was the point.

After the break, Owen and Bulldog tend to Bret Hart in the ring while cursing Austin’s name. Bret has supposedly suffered a broken leg and wrist. As they help usher Bret onto a stretcher, we go backstage where WWF President Gorilla Monsoon confronts Steve Austin about his behavior. Since Austin has broken ALL the rules tonight, Monsoon tells him to get out of the building for the night and calm down. NOBODY talks to Austin like that, but tonight he decides to cut Monsoon a break.

Meanwhile at ringside, Bret is in just too much pain to stay on the stretcher, so Owen and Bulldog help him to the back as we ENTER THE WARZONE.

  • Tiger Ali Singh vs. Salvatore Sincere

This is Tiger Ali Singh’s long awaited WWF TV debut. Almost immediately, we go to the split-screen to see Bret Hart having a hard time being wheeled on a stretcher over towards an ambulance with Owen and Bulldog making it even harder for the EMT help. Oh yeah, the Spinning Heel Kick from Singh scores the victory. (4:43) Hilariously enough, Tiger Ali Singh would now disappear from WWF television for close to eighteen months. Typical JTTS match. ½*

Backstage, Bret Hart finally makes it to the ambulance. Unfortunately for Bret, Stone Cold Steve Austin has indeed NOT left the building and has commandeered the ambulance. He comes from the driver’s seat to the back where Bret is at and continues to beat the heck out of him. Owen and Bulldog try to stop him, but Austin kicks them away and keeps at it. He even slides Bret out of the ambulance and delivers a barrage of wide open punches while he remains strapped to the stretcher! Finally, refs and agents get Austin off Bret as Owen and Bulldog help Bret back in the ambulance as it drives away safely. As Owen and Bulldog watch the ambulance drive away, they VOW to kill Austin. OH SNAP.

When we return, we go back to moments ago for the Bret Hart ambulance beating.

Back to live action, Owen and Bulldog go a-hunting for Steve Austin.

  • Jesse James vs. Rockabilly (w/the Honky Tonk Man)

It’s a PPV rematch that no one wanted to see! This match gives our esteemed commentators time to advertise things. Rockabilly controls much of the action, which isn’t very exciting. Brief comeback by JJ gets shut down with the classic SHAKE RATTLE AND ROLL from Rockabilly for the win. (8:48) A truly boring affair, but actually booked how last night should have been. Jesse James tries to attack Rockabilly after the match and Honky Tonk Man KABONGS James to end all that noise. ½*

In the locker room, Shawn Michaels tells Steve Austin that he didn’t come out there to help him, but to hurt the Hart Foundation. Austin responds saying that doesn’t need Shawn Michaels. It’s a whole big argument. Gorilla Monsoon – ever the corny kayfaber – tells Austin that he’s THIS close to losing his wrestling license and tries to get them both to calm down. I thought you wanted Austin out of the arena?

SLAM OF THE WEEK: Presented by Castrol Super Clean All Wheel Cleaner – From In Your House, Undertaker jabs Mankind with the steps to send him off the apron doing a nose dive through a table.

Before we go the main event, Mankind appears on the TitanTron from the boiler room to lament over the terrible condition of Uncle Paul’s melted face. Now Paul Bearer is disfigured – just like Mankind. Only in wrestling could somebody get closer to someone else who just got their face burned by flash paper.

  • WWF World Champion The Undertaker vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Chyna)

JR reminds us this is non-title, folks. Undertaker still has his face bandaged. Standard Undertaker beat-em-up to start. Finally, Helmsley goes after the burn and gets a two-count off a knee drop. Then, HHH telegraphs a backdrop and there’s the Ray Stevens corner bump. Back to a nerve hold. Helmsley fights out and dumps UT on the floor to bounce his face off the steps. Back in, Hunter cheats with his feet on the ropes during a chinlock. Oh, but wait. Who is this in the front row? It’s Goldust and Marlena, but since they are out of character, they get called out as Dustin and Terri Runnels! Somebody goes over and tells her not to smoke in the building. It’s a little late for that one, brother. She’s been doing that since she came to the WWF. Commercials! When we come back, HHH is still in control stomping a mudhole in the Undertaker. There’s the comeback and wait a second. Mankind appears on the rampway with a blow torch! Even Vince admits this is now getting way out of hand and leaves the table. As Mankind beats Taker down with the tank, the ref calls for the bell. (12:12 shown) Once UT is knocked out, Mankind tries to start up the torch. Much like last night, he couldn’t start the fire. There’s got to be a Billy Joel joke in there somewhere. Since that took too much time, Taker awakens and GOOZLES Mankind to start some fisticuffs. That fight ends up in the crowd until they disappears. As Chyna looks on from the guardrail, she doesn’t seem to notice Marlena is sitting RIGHT THERE. Marlena starts choking her with her purse while Goldust jumps the rail and goes after Hunter Hearst Helmsley. A huge co-ed brawl erupts until once again refs and agents break up the fight. Busy night for those old men. Match was another borefest though. *

Once again, we go back to moments ago when Dustin and Terri Runnels attacked HHH and Chyna.

And now, the WWF REWIND: Presented by Motel 6 (free morning coffee and HBO!) – It’s another chance for us all to see the Bret Hart ambulance beating.

Stone Cold Steve Austin comes out one last time to close the show. Why are they not kicking him out of the building? RATINGS, my friend. It’s a *shades of grey* promo, but the crowd still cheers the man. If you think Austin is going to be a good role model for the kids out there, you got another thing coming. So basically, he’s taking the Charles Barkley approach. As Austin begins to close, Owen and Bulldog jump him in the ring and beat the crap out of him. Vince tries to pull them off Austin, but Owen shoves Vince away. Next thing you know, Shawn Michaels makes the save – still swinging that chair around to send what’s left of the Hart Foundation running. However, he doesn’t seem concerned with Austin as he doesn’t take one look at him and just leaves him lying there in the ring. As Vince returns to the table and Austin stands to his feet, we see BRIAN PILLMAN jump the railing and then continues the beatdown on Austin inside the ring. JR brings up to speed as why Brian Pillman when he was the first victim of the PILLMANIZER. Just as he’s about to return the favor to Austin, Shawn Michaels returns to the ring again and runs Brian Pillman out of the ring as we close the show.


Posted on January 10, 2012, in WWE and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. In re-reading these reviews, why do I feel like Vince was setting up a long build to Austin vs Michaels at WM 14 by this point? Soon after they become the reluctant partners that don’t trust anyone, and that storyline only ended because Shawn went home after his backstage fight with Bret during the summer. Makes me wonder how things would have went if they stayed tag champs into Summerslam.

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