Written by: Matt Peddycord
WWF: Raw is War
May 26, 1997
Roberts Memorial Stadium
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 Vince McMahon and Jim Ross.
Stone Cold Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels head down to the ring to meet JR. They get into a slight argument over who is the team captain. When there’s only two people, does it really matter? They both start to realize that it really doesn’t matter as long as they both get to beat up the Hart Foundation. As the interview looks to have come to a close, the Legion of Doom come down and ask for a tag titles match – if they win, of course. The Hart Foundation head out onto the entrance ramp to stare over at the four men in the ring. Bret Hart is standing on his own now. No wheelchair, no crutches!
The Legion of Doom vs. Brian Pillman & Jim Neidhart
Believe it or not after being signed to the WWF for nearly a year, this is Pillman’s wrestling debut on RAW. Doesn’t look like Pillman has bought any new tights since he left WCW either. LOD clean house to start. Back in, Hawk press slams Pillman around. JR lists off trivia on how Neidhart got the nickname of the “Anvil” and the LOD’s tag team title wins in the WWF, NWA, and AWA. In comes Neidhart, he takes a couple shoulderblocks. Neidhart goes low and tags Pillman. Hawk blasts through a double clothesline and returns the favor on the Hart Foundation boys. Tag to Animal, Pillman gets on his knees and asks for a handshake. Animal obliges and then gives Pillman a powerslam. It gets a little awkward as Animal goes flying over top of Pillman to spill on the floor. While Pillman draws in Hawk, Neidhart nails Animal from behind and off-camera. Back in, Neidhart meaning to whip Pillman in for a corner splash, gets nailed with a running clothesline by Animal. He keeps on running into the Anvil. Hot tag to Hawk, he goes clothesline crazy. Animal dumps out Neidhart and calls for the DOOMSDAY DEVICE on Pillman, but before that happens, out comes the rest of the Hart Foundation to stop all that for the DQ. (4:27) Not a very surprising finish, that’s for sure. This could have been lots of fun, but Pillman just wasn’t the same after his ankle reconstruction and you could already see that here. Maybe his timing was just off. Who really knows for sure. Now HBK and Austin head down for the save. During all the chaos, HBK baseball slides into Austin by accident to erupt another brawl and create even more tension between the two leading up to tonight’s main event. *
This week, Sunny gets Honky Tonk Man all soaking wet with a Super Soaker. JR and Lawler watch on and don’t seem to think it’s all that peculiar.
In the back, Paul Bearer’s face is not quite as wrapped up as it was last week. The Undertaker’s secret is in a safety deposit box with a key that only he and his attorney possess. That way if something were to happen to Paul Bearer tonight, then the secret would get revealed regardless. He’s definitely not the same Paul Bearer anymore. Tonight, the secret will be known unless the Undertaker returns to the side of Paul Bearer.
D-Lo Brown (w/the NOD) vs. Bob Holly
While he’s been in a suit with the Nation of Domination for months, this is just now D-Lo Brown’s wrestling debut on RAW is WAR. Although they never crossed paths there, both guys would be considered alumnus of Smoky Mountain Wrestling. Seems like a meaningless fact then, doesn’t it. Vince and JR remind us of Bob Holly’s big upset win over Owen Hart from last week to give him some cred. Faarooq joins those two at the commentary table to continue his complaints concerning black prejudices in the WWF title picture. Holly executes a hurracanrana and a ten-count punch in the corner. He runs into a boot and takes the fancy D-Lo legdrop. BLACK POWER! Holly comes back with the Best Dropkick in the Business. D-Lo buries a knee and hits a slingshot legdrop. Lots of choking from D-Lo. Holly tries to fight back with another hurracanrana, but D-Lo stops that with a modified SKY HIGH for the 1-2-3. (3:10) Crowd ooh’s for that finish. Not a bad debut for D-Lo. *½
Some technical difficulties prevent us from hearing what Undertaker has to say. Oh wait, here’s our second chance. He’s got almost two weeks to worry about Faarooq, but tonight he is TORN by a decision that could affect the rest of his life.
Here’s an infamous Jerry Lawler interview concerning Goldust and Marlena. Certainly not PC in 2012, but I’m sure the wrestling crowd got a kick out of it in 1997. Lawler calls Goldust a “flaming fag” and that they should have named their daughter “Target” because he heard everybody in Atlanta had a shot at being the daddy. I believe that’s what he MEANT to say.
Buy your King of the Ring inflatable chair today for the (ridiculous) price of $59! That commercial looked like some waste of airtime WCW would do.
Goldust (w/Marlena) vs. Jerry Lawler – KOTR Quarterfinals
Let Us Take You Back: Monday Night Raw, 12/16/96. Lawler called Goldust “queer”. Wow, that’s so EDGY~! Vince – “Well that was then, and this is now.” What’s changed? Lawler just got done calling Goldust a ‘flaming fag’? This is Evansville, Indiana, which was one of the towns on the southern tip of Indiana where Jerry Lawler and his crew of misfit wrestlers toured for the past twenty years, so he gets a huge babyface reaction. They take turns telegraphing backdrops. Goldust comes off the middle rope, but gets caught in the gut on the way down. PILEDRIVER! Instead of covering, Lawler goes over and talks trash to Marlena. Goldust makes sure he gives Lawler a piledriver of his own. Cover, 1-2-NO! Huge “Lawler” chants as he fights out of the corner. JR brings up knowing Dustin Runnels since he was a teenager hanging out in Jim Crockett’s office in Charlotte. While Lawler beats and chokes on Goldust, more trivia from JR as he brings up Lawler’s past life as a radio DJ. Comeback bulldog by Goldust. He follows with a Lariat and starts pounding Lawler in the corner. Goldust misses a corner charge and falls out to the floor. As Lawler goes after Goldust, Marlena walks by and slaps him across the face. JR – “Marlena’s spunky!” Back inside, Lawler goes for the Ric Flair corner pin and gets the win to a big positive crowd reaction. (5:22) Afterwards, Goldust punches Lawler as he rolls back ALL THE WAY DOWN to ringside. Marlena steps on Lawler and keeps on walking back towards her man as the crowd does not seem to care for this series of events. In the end, Lawler advances in the KOTR tournament. Pretty entertaining match as the crowd really boosted this one above what you think it would be like. **
What starts as an interview with Stone Cold Steve Austin backstage turns into another Hart Foundation locker room attack.
When we come back, Austin heads to Shawn Michaels’ room to chew him out for not watching his back while Shawn Michaels had just been beaten up by the Hart Foundation.
Rocky Maivia vs. Flash Funk
So now Rocky is the guy who had too much success too soon. The match kind of plays second fiddle to what is happening with the Headbangers. They come through the crowd carrying those KOTR inflatable chairs and sit right down by the commentary table. They put on headsets and act pretty goofy. In the ring, Flash kicks Rocky to the floor and levels him with a pescado that looked like it killed them both. The Headbangers get up from their seats to go beat up on Rocky and Flash. While Rocky takes care of Thrasher, Mosh bashes Flash in the face with a ghetto blaster and throws him back inside as Rocky comes off the top with a flying bodypress for the win. (3:35) Rocky and Funk embrace after the match so we know they’re cool with each other. Maivia and Funk would go on to face the Headbangers on that weekend’s Shotgun Saturday Night. ¾*
We get a piece of part two of the infamous Mick Foley interview with Jim Ross. He recounts a story of not wearing a cup while playing goalie on the high school lacrosse team and one of his testicles swelling up to the size of a grapefruit. It was the one and only time high school girls couldn’t stop staring at his genital region. What girl does that under normal circumstances? Anyways, there’s the first time the WWF had compared balls to well, anything – but specifically grapefruits. They even mention the time Foley went to see Jimmy Snuka battle Don Muraco in Madison Square Garden. It would be the night that would change his life.
The Sega Slam of the Week: Shotgun Saturday Night, 5/24/97. Brian Pillman’s WWF wrestling debut. He finishes jobber Tony Williams with a reverse neckbreaker and looks all crazy into the camera.
Over to the Hart Foundation. They basically hype their involvement at the King of the Ring. Bret v. HBK and Pillman v. Austin. But for tonight, Owen and Davey Boy can’t wait to expose Austin and HBK as the losers they are since they can’t even get along with each other.
HOUR NUMBER TWO! Your hosts are Vince McMahon and Jim Ross.
Vader vs. Ahmed Johnson
Ken Shamrock joins the crew for commentary. If Vader wins, he gets Ahmed’s spot in the King of the Ring tournament since he “got screwed” out of his KOTR first round match. Ahmed has his fists taped up here. Vader shoves Ahmed back into the corner. That builds some heat until Ahmed fires back all over Vader. Even gives Vader a big slam. JR takes a moment to hype UFC 13 PPV headlined by Vitor Belfort destroying Tank Abbott by KO in the first round. Again, SO STRANGE looking back the UFC being advertised in WWE. Vader runs Ahmed down a couple times. We got to the split-screen to see Paul Bearer looking at his watch. Next thing we know, Vader charges into a Spinebuster for the 1-2-3. (3:06) Vader sure likes working stiff. Ahmed advances for a KOTR semifinal with HHH, which is really just a rematch from their quarterfinal match. ¾*
On the WWF Superstar Line, JR will talk about whether or not there will be new members of the Nation of Domination in the near future. CALL NOW!
Back over to Paul Bearer, Vince asks him if he actually thinks the Undertaker will return to him. Bearer says he can do what nobody else in the WWF has ever been able to do, and that is bring Undertaker to his knees with this mega huge soul-crushing secret.
Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Chyna) vs. Rockabilly (w/the Honky Tonk Man)
For some reason, they show Chyna’s debut when she was choking Marlena at the Final Four PPV. High Knee by HHH to start. Rockabilly fights back with atomic drops, but HHH goes to the eyes. The Facebuster from Helmsley makes him want to bow to the crowd. Suplex and the Harley Race Knee Drop gets two. Rockabilly fires back with the Rocker Dropper, but Chyna pulls him off the cover. With HHH down in the corner, the Honky Tonk Man tries to KABONG him, but Chyna stops that and slams Honky Tonk on the floor. Meanwhile in the ring, HHH avoids a Stinger Splash and drops Rockabilly with the PEDIGREE for the win. (3:17) Even Vince and JR are short on words on what to say about what exactly HHH and Chyna are up to right now in the WWF. ½*
Looks like the Undertaker provides us with his answer on whether he will turn back to the side of Paul Bearer. He tells Paul to do what he has to do and Taker will do what he must do. So there ya go.
Sheesh. Now they got Sable giving the KOTR inflatable chair a super cheap lap dance. This chair is getting a lot of air time. And to think that some men with talent never even make it to the WWF.
Alright, let’s get serious. Part two of the Mick Foley interview. He tells the story of hitchhiking to Madison Square Garden to see Jimmy Snuka splashing Don Muraco from the top of the cage on October 17 1983. That was the night that changed his life forever. How, you ask? He also wanted to be the guy that everybody loved and adored and cried over witnessing him doing amazing feats and acts of bravery inside the ring. Out of that night came the Dude Love character he created. He recalls the first time he met Shawn Michaels and told him how he always wanted to “be” what Shawn was. Not the WWF champ, but to have all the admiration he gets from the fans. We see the Dude Love video where he cuts a promo and jumps off the roof of his house. JR tells us that this video got into the hands of wrestler/trainer Dominic DeNucci, who decided to train Foley because of his guts and not so much because of his skill level. For the next two years, Foley traveled 800 miles round trip every weekend to train with DeNucci – eating and sleeping in the backseat of his 1979 Ford Fairmont trying to realize a dream. Well, the Dude Love character of course never came to be. He guesses nature just didn’t cooperate with him. Some crazy IWA/FMW barbed wire match footage gets shown. Thus, the Cactus Jack character was born and feels right at home. That will take us into part THREE of this epic Mick Foley interview, which we will witness next week!
WWF World Tag Team Champions Owen Hart & Davey Boy Smith vs. Shawn Michaels & Steve Austin
This is Shawn’s first televised match since he ‘lost his smile’. The rest of the Hart Foundation remain at the top of the ramp. Big brawl to start as you could imagine. Once that settles down, Austin and Owen take center stage. Austin buries a knee and drops a couple elbows. He teases a Sharpshooter and blasts Davey Boy when he tries to break it up. Elbow off the second rope gets two. Tag to HBK, he twists on the arm. Owen does his fancy escape all just to rake the eyes. HA! Davey Boy tags in and shoulderblocks Shawn backwards onto the ropes. Leapfrog by Davey Boy fails and Shawn pokes him in the eyes like he’s Roddy Piper. Hurracanrana leads to punches. Enziguri gets two. Back to Austin, he stomps Davey Boy in the balls which brings the Hart Foundation about half way down the ramp. Owen buries a knee into Austin from the apron as he comes off the ropes. It doesn’t really phase him though, but then Davey Boy knees him out to the floor to get dropped on the guardrail and stomped real good. Neidhart and Pillman start to come even a little closer as we go to commercial. When we return, HBK gets the hot tag and nails Davey Boy with the flying forearm. However, Bulldog reverses a whip and presses Shawn so he can drop him crotch-first onto the top rope. Bad news bears! As he falls to the floor, Owen picks up Shawn and drives his back into the ringpost. Back inside, Davey Boy catapults HBK and whips him in for the Ray Stevens bump to set up the RUNNING POWERSLAM! Cover, 1-2-NO! Austin makes the save and when the ref tries to get him out, he makes sure to let him know he’s number one – with BOTH hands! Shawn escapes a chinlock, but comes off the ropes right into a beautiful Belly to Belly Suplex. Another nearfall as Austin makes the save. Owen draws in Austin so they can double-team Shawn in their own corner. HBK surprises Bulldog with a sunset flip, but the ref cannot count with Owen inside the ring. The crowd is going nuts! Finally, Owen goes back on the apron and the ref counts two. Davey Boy gets up and runs Shawn down with a clothesline to take back control. They do the false tag spot, which further pisses off Austin. Shawn pushes off the superplex and delivers a flying bodypress on Owen for 1-2-NO! Spinning heel kick takes Shawn down again. Owen whips HBK into the corner, but Shawn moves and Owen does his best Bobby Eaton corner bump, which I’m sure it was someone else’s bump before it was his. HOT TAG TO AUSTIN! The match breaks down and during the mayhem, Shawn sneaks SWEET CHIN MUSIC on the Bulldog! Austin jumps on top for the 1-2-3! (10:27 shown) We’ve got NEW tag champs. As the Hart Foundation do a number on HBK, Austin could really care less as he spots Bret and takes his half of the championship with him up the ramp to tackle Bret and hammer on his knee. Here come the Hart Foundation to chase him away as their leader has fallen. Meanwhile, Shawn is left completely motionless inside the ring. But you can better believe there will be HELL to pay! Awesome formula tag match as this was just working on all cylinders. Easily the best match on Raw since the Owen-Bulldog match in Germany. ****
Oh yes! We still have to hear from Paul Bearer.
To the back after some commercials, we hear from Stone Cold Steve Austin. He thinks he did it all by himself. That’s when HBK stops by to inform him of what the definition of a tag team is. They continue to argue as something about their match with the Legion of Doom gets brought up by Shawn.
Paul Bearer heads to the ring with his jowls all taped up to meet Vince McMahon. It was not by chance or an accident that Brother Love brought Paul Bearer into the WWF. He was the funeral director at the Undertaker’s parents funeral. However, at that funeral, there wasn’t just two graves, there were THREE! Okay, time for the BONG! The Undertaker meets Paul Bearer in the ring and tells Paul that he absolutely despises – nay, LOATHES him – for what he has to do tonight. Undertaker hopes everyone that loves him can forgive him. People clearly aren’t listening to what he’s saying as they cheer him all the same. Undertaker GOOZLES Paul and backs him into the corner, but then slowly lets go and drops to one knee to show his servitude as they leave us on a cliffhanger.