Written by: Matt Peddycord
WWF: Raw is War
May 19, 1997
Mobile Civic Center
The current WWF champs were as follows:
World Champion: The Undertaker (3/23/1997)
Intercontinental Champion: Owen Hart (4/28/1997)
European Champion: Davey Boy Smith (3/3/1997)
World Tag Team Champions: Owen Hart & Davey Boy Smith (9/22/1996)
Your hosts are Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler.
In the ring, JR gets an interview with Stone Cold Steve Austin. The only reason Austin says he came out and saved HBK last week was because he saw another chance to beat up the Hart Foundation. And that’s it! While Austin talks about weeding through the Hart Foundation to get to Bret, Shawn Michaels interrupts and tells Austin that he hadn’t been saving his backside because he likes Austin either because he just hates the Hart Foundation too. HBK says he’s been around in the WWF long before Austin ever got here, son. Austin never said Shawn wasn’t tough, but what he is saying is that needs to take his little bandana and go backstage before he kicks his teeth down his throat. Shawn sends some threats Austin’s way and that triggers a huge pull-apart brawl. Owen Hart appears on the TitanTron laughing his head off at these typical stupid Americans. They’re too busy fighting each other to the point they can’t even handle the task at hand, which is taking out the Hart Foundation. Owen issues Austin and HBK a challenge for the tag team titles match next week if they can get their “crap” together. In response, neither Austin nor HBK say they want to team up. Geez guys, get a ROOM! More sexual tension between you too than an episode of Ally McBeal. It’s quite obvious that you both love each other.
Crush (w/the NOD) vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Chyna) – KOTR Quarterfinals
And here’s your answer as to how HHH gets back in the KOTR tournament. Vader’s nose is broken from the Ken Shamrock match and can’t compete. WWF official Gerald Brisco explains that ref Tim White was not clear in the pre-match instructions and told HHH that he could only advance in the tournament with a pinfall or a submission and not disqualifications. To avoid “legal action”, Helmsley gets a second chance against Crush. Helmsley starts off strong slugging Crush and delivering a swinging neckbreaker. Crush slows down his offense with the Tilt-a-Whirl Backbreaker. Another backbreaker and a bearhug follows. Crush misses a flying fist drop, but whips HHH in for the Ray Stevens bump in the corner. He gives Helmsley a military press into a gutbuster for two. Terrible Facebuster starts HHH’s comeback. He hits a reverse neckbreaker and tries for the PEDIGREE, but Savio Vega hops up on the apron. While the ref is busy with him, Chyna tries to get in a shot on the other side of the ring. When that fails, the ref tries to get Chyna down while Savio and Crush encounter some miscommunication problems. Savio kicks Crush by mistake and costs him further advancement in the KOTR tournament. (3:55) Savio and Crush start arguing with each other, but Faarooq comes out and handles his bidness IF YOU WEELLLL. ½*
WWF Intercontinental Champion Owen Hart (w/Davey Boy Smith & Jim Neidhart) vs. Bob Holly
Hilarious bit as wrestling fans from Alabama give Bob Holly some pre-match encouragement since he’s also from Alabama. Lawler doesn’t feel like those people TRULY represent Alabama, so he interviews two people who appear to have been a part of a (not so) successful inbreeding experiment. Non-title match, by the way. Classic wrestling matchup though. The hometown boy against the hot heel. Neidhart and Bulldog head back up to the ramp thinking Holly will be no match for Owen. However, Holly delivers a Hurracanrana and the Best Dropkick in the Business for a pair of nearfalls. Spinning Heel Kick from Owen helps him regain control. He whips Holly from corner to corner and executes a backbreaker to further set him up for the Sharpshooter. Holly fights out a chinlock, but gets tossed over the top to the floor. He sunset flips back in for two. As Owen rolls out, he tries the SHARPSHOOTER only for Holly to counter with an inside cradle for the upset 1-2-3! (3:38) Owen’s tantrum afterwards is awesome. Holly jets over the railing and through the crowd as Bulldog and Neidhart run down to the ring. And Holly has pinned yet another Intercontinental champion on TV. *½
The video signal starts to fade as eventually all we see is the Monday Night Raw logo. We can still hear the audio as they end up just going to commercial.
When we return, Shawn Michaels is standing backstage with Ken Shamrock. Looks like HBK has found his partner that isn’t Steve Austin. Apparently, Shawn feels he can trust Shamrock. Ken says he’ll take care of Davey Boy Smith if HBK can take care of Owen.
Since we’ve had the opportunity to watch a sit-down interview with Goldust and Marlena the last couple weeks, this week JR sits down with Mankind. Before they go to the interview, a series of his most incredible stunts over the last year are shown. Just a classic Raw segment. They call him by his real name and show footage of his ‘Dude Love’ days as Mankind recounts childhood stories such as being kicked in the lip and bleeding all over his white Chicago Bears sweatshirt and eating worms to prove he wouldn’t let people of a certain ‘clique’ steal away his pride. You think he got very many dates with the smell of worms on his breath, JIMMY?! This was almost all parody. Some people will get the humor, but many wrestling fans will find Mankind to be a more sympathetic character. Next week in part two of this sit-down interview, they will discuss more about Dude Love and the ‘disturbing psychological evolution’ in becoming Cactus Jack.
Leif Cassidy vs. Scott Taylor
Lawler says RVD was supposed to appear tonight, but ECW owner Paul Heyman has executed some kind of legal proceeding that has kept him off tonight’s Raw is War. However, they do show highlights of his match against Jeff Hardy from last week. With the start of a light heavyweight division coming up, Scott Taylor finally gets his own entrance after nearly six years of being a TV job guy. On his way to the ring though, Cassidy flies out through the ropes on top of him. Inside the ring, Taylor dropkicks Cassidy out and springs off the middle rope from the apron onto him. Back in, flying bodypress gets two. Meanwhile, JR says that interview with Mankind ends up being the most terrifying experience of his life. We’ll see why next week. Taylor tries a float over in the corner, but Cassidy catches his legs and Alabama Slams him down for a great bump. Sitout gourdbuster goes well for Cassidy. He tries another, but Taylor counters into a small package for the win. (2:41) Didn’t we just see this finish? Cassidy erupts over at the announce table again for his second consecutive loss on Raw. *
In the back, Austin is going around looking for a tag partner and stops by Sable’s dressing room. He’s just trying to sneak a peek at her boobies, but he’s unsuccessful due to his own Austin 3:16 t-shirt. Irony! Wait a minute, how is no one even mentioning that she’s a married woman?
Elsewhere, it appears Bret Hart is in the building. He’s out of the wheelchair and just using crutches. Not the best time period in wrestling to be walking around on crutches.
HOUR NUMBER TWO! Your hosts are Vince McMahon, Jim Ross, and Jerry Lawler.
They kick off the second hour showing what we missed after they went off the air last week. Bret stands up out of his wheelchair, which leads to HBK giving Bret some Sweet Chin Music as he goes spilling all over his wheelchair. The Hart Foundation head out and beat him down until they decide it’s a good idea for Davey Boy Smith to throw Shawn off the stage. That’s when Steve Austin saves the day with a crutch.
Out comes the Hart Foundation to announce their big surprise. After Bret makes fun of the rednecks of Alabama, he announces that a *real* hero will be returning to action at the King of the Ring. That hero is Bret Hart himself. As for Shawn Michaels, Bret challenges him to a match and says if he can’t beat Shawn in less than ten minutes, he’ll never wrestle in the United States again. Shawn responds via the TitanTron. He says that Bret couldn’t beat him in sixty minutes, much less ten minutes. To make things even, Shawn says he’ll wrestle Bret if he agrees that the other four Hart Foundation boys be handcuffed to a different ringpost around the ring. HBK feels it’s time to settle this once and for all. Shawn goes on to say that Bret couldn’t go ten minutes in any situation. Wink wink, nod nod. Even though lately Bret has had some “sunny days”, he still can’t get the job done. Nobody makes anything of that comment and just lets it pass. Bret agrees to the stipulation and can’t wait to smoke Shawn. HBK thinks Bret has a snowball’s chance in hell of beating him in less than ten minutes.
Goldust vs. Rockabilly (w/the Honky Tonk Man)
Well, this gets real cute as the relatability factor for Goldust and Marlena goes a little too far. Goldust and Marlena bring out their daughter Dakota to prance around the ring. Marlena takes Dakota backstage before Rockabilly heads out. Rockabilly makes fun of Goldust for crying on camera, which triggers a huge butt whooping. Finally, the Rocker Dropper lays out Goldust. Rockabilly flies off the middle rope onto a boot and here comes the Flip Flop and Fly as a call out to his dad. Running Bulldog gets two. Goldust sidesteps a charge and Rockabilly gets his arm tied up in the ropes. While the ref is helping Rockabilly, Honky Tonk Man tries to KABONG Goldust. That fails and HTM eats wood just as the ref turns around for the DQ. (4:05) Can you imagine just a year before that Goldust would have gotten this big of a face reaction in Alabama? Not a chance. ¾*
On the WWF Superstar Line, you will not believe what is going on with Psycho Sid. You just won’t believe it.
In the back, Vince asks Ahmed Johnson for comment on what Faarooq had to say last week. While he doesn’t like Faarooq, he really can’t argue with what he had to say. Ahmed’s not racist though, but he does want to be the Hank Aaron of the WWF. Not sure I get that analogy. He was the home run king at the time, but still. Johnson says he wants to be the first black WWF champion.
After the break, Steve Austin tries to convince Harvey Wippleman to be his tag partner next week. He’s a little scared though. That’s when the Brooklyn Brawler stops by and asks for the opportunity. When he won’t shut up, Austin tosses him aside and stomps him because Brawler is a bigger piece of trash than Wippleman. Ouch! Okay, looks like Austin has forced Harvey to be his partner for next week’s tag titles match.
This week, Sunny squirts Jim Cornette with a Super Soaker.
There’s supposed to be a Godwinns match, but McMahon says it gets cut. HA! Thanks, Vince.
Faarooq (w/the NOD) vs. Rocky Maivia
Being a fellow brother, Faarooq tries to get Rocky to raise the “black power” hand signal. Rocky tells him what he thinks of black power. He hits a powerslam and a crossbody block for two. Rock Bottom gets two. Hurricane DDT connects, but Faarooq crotches Rocky up top and delivers the DOMINATOR for the win. (2:49) Crush and Savio puts the boots to Maivia, but Faarooq gets them to stop and orders them to leave. Wha? ½*
In the back, the Hart Foundation are beating up Bob Holly with what appears to be broomsticks until a bunch of refs and agents intervene.
Vince McMahon introduces the Undertaker. McMahon wants to talk about Paul Bearer’s secret, but Undertaker wants to discuss Faarooq, so it looks like we’ll be hearing his thoughts on Faarooq. He says he’s not white. He’s like Stephen Colbert. He can’t see race. People tell him he’s white and he believes them. Anyways, Taker is the REAPER OF WAYWARD SOULS. The reason Faarooq isn’t the WWF champion is not because he’s black, it’s because he couldn’t beat the Undertaker. Before he leaves, Vince asks Taker one last time about Paul Bearer’s secret. Taker tells him that this is not the time. Just as that goes down, Paul Bearer appears on the TitanTron with his face still all wrapped up. Paul once again tries to get the Undertaker to return to his side or else he will reveal this dark secret. Taker says he needs more time. Next week, Undertaker must give him his answer. If Undertaker doesn’t return to him, then Paul Bearer will open Pandora’s box and tell the world Undertaker’s darkest secret. OHH YESSSSSSSSSSSSS! Taker bows his head as we go to a commercial break.
Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Jim Neidhart
This is Neidhart’s first match on Raw (not counting the Who gimmick) since December 1994. Austin has a crutch with him. Once the bell rings, Brian Pillman heads down to join the commentary table while Owen and Bulldog hang out at the top of the ramp. Anvil and Austin pound on each other for a while. No reason to get too in depth here. Austin spots Pillman at ringside and heads out after him. As Neidhart beats Austin back inside, Pillman attacks Austin from behind with a swing of the crutch and breaks it in two for the DQ. (1:50) The Hart Foundation do a number on Austin until Shawn Michaels saves with a chair. Once they clean house, McMahon announces that Monsoon has confirmed that Austin and HBK will have to team up next week against Owen and the Bulldog for the tag titles. So much for Shamrock, I guess. Anyways, Michaels and Austin get into another big pull-apart brawl as we go off the air.