Written by: Matt Peddycord
WWF: Raw is War
June 16, 1997
Lake Placid, NY
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: Vacant (6/16/1997)
Your hosts are Vince McMahon and Jim Ross.
As they kick off the program, Vince clears up any notion of Shawn Michaels leaving the WWF and says he’ll be out for 4-6 weeks with another injury after the hair-pulling altercation he had with Bret Hart last week. As far as Bret goes, his “knee hurts” but he’ll be back in a few days. Therefore, the WWF tag team championship is once again vacant and an eight-team tournament will begin tonight. The winners of this tournament will face Stone Cold Steve Austin and a partner of his choosing to decide who the WWF tag team champions will be.
Of course, this is apparently news to Steve Austin, so he heads out to meet Vince in the ring. Austin says he doesn’t need a partner in the first place, which cues Mankind on the TitanTron. He says he felt the bond between the two of them when Austin flipped him the bird last week. Together, he feels that he and Austin can set the tag team scene on FIRE. Austin doesn’t care for it. He didn’t need Shawn Michaels and his long hair and butt-shaking, and he doesn’t need Mankind either. Mankind says he has long hair, can wear one ear ring, and feels he has a great looking behind. Austin doesn’t quite feel the same way. However, Mankind leaves him to consider the proposition. Have a nice day! Vince plays back what happened last week to Austin. Since Pillman didn’t get what he has coming to him last week, tonight he will be flushed down the toilet to join all his little friends in the sewer system. WHAT. Just as Vince reminds everyone that the Hart Foundation will be handcuffed to the ring posts (the original stipulation for the HBK-Bret match that was planned for the KOTR), Ken Shamrock interrupts. He thinks Austin is a bully and we all know this guy HATES bullies. He wants a match with Austin – RIGHT NOW. Austin says he has no problem taking him out after he takes care of Pillman. Shamrock tells Austin it’s time to knuckle up and walks out.
After the break, Brian Pillman appears for a backstage interview. Vince sets up the piece by reminding him of the swirly he received at the KOTR. He tells Vince that even though the Hart Foundation will be handcuffed, he’s the one that’s the convicted felon. Shamrock has nothing to worry about, because Stone Cold is going down the toilet tonight.
Owen Hart & Davey Boy Smith vs. The New Blackjacks – WWF Tag Team Championship Tournament Quarterfinals
Vince calls Owen and Davey Boy greedy for gold since they are already the Euro and IC champions. Owen starts off with Windham here. He misses the spinning heel kick and gets nailed with the Lariat for two. Windham does most of the work here and plays cowboy in peril. Bradshaw gets the hot tag and delivers boots and short-arm clotheslines. When it looks like Bradshaw is going for a powerbomb, Owen nails him with the lethal spinning heel kick and Davey Boy rolls him up to advance. (3:39) Not much more than a squash, but pretty fun. *
We get a recap video of all the Nation of Domination happenings from last week. After that, we go to the Undertaker and Paul Bearer backstage. Bearer has a HUGE gash on the side of his face I never noticed before. Not sure what that is about. As Undertaker starts to speak, Paul Bearer shuts him up and says Taker will do what he says as long as he holds the secret over his head. Ahmed Johnson will do what he says too if he knows what is good for him.
Over to Ken Shamrock after the break, Austin should have never gave him the Stone Cold Stunner. Time to knuckle up!
Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Chyna) vs. Phineas Godwinn
Some strange looking ringside assistant gets pushed down by Chyna. Godwinn delivers the silly mule kick, but falls victim to the Facebuster. There’s the High Knee. Godwinn gets sent to the floor and takes a right hand from Chyna. Back in, HHH flies down into a fist. HERE COMES PHINEAS! He whips HHH from pillar to post and goes for the SLOP DROP. Chyna appears on the apron and pulls him away before he dishes out any damage. Phineas gives Chyna a big kiss and pays for that with the PEDIGREE. (3:35) Afterwards, Henry Godwinn heads down and yells at Phineas for losing. ¾*
To the back, Faarooq promises two BIGGER, BETTER, BADDER, and a whole lot BLACKER members of the Nation of Domination.
Brian Christopher vs. Chris Candido
Sunny does the ring announcing duties and Paul E. Dangerously provides some color commentary for this match. This is all part of the USWA v. ECW interpromotional feud. While ECW had never been hotter, USWA was certainly on its deathbed. More interesting than the match is the commentary. JR acknowledges Candido as Skip of the Bodydonnas. Paul E brings up the fact that Candido is a part of the Triple Threat crew along with former WWF wrestlers Shane Douglas and Bam Bam Bigelow. JR gets Dangerously to talk about Brian Christopher being Jerry Lawler’s son and that neither man has the guts to admit they are related to the other. Reacting to Paul E’s comments, Lawler runs down and pulls Candido down off a superplex to draw the DQ. (2:43) Rob Van Dam joins Lawler and Christopher for a triple beatdown on Candido until Tommy Dreamer comes in and cleans house with a steel chair. Of course in ECW, these two aren’t friends so Candido seems to have a problem with Dreamer getting involved. *
We now see some clips of the WWF appearing at the Toronto Skydome this past Saturday night where the Hart Foundation were treated like heroes. Still sounded like boos for Bret, but it could have been coming from the live crowd in Lake Placid.
Goldust (w/Marlena) vs. Jim Neidhart
Goldust’s quiet feud with the Hart Foundation continues. Mostly punches and stomps here. Bulldog heads down to mess with Marlena. She goes to slap him again, but Bulldog catches the swing. Goldust pops Davey Boy, but Anvil nails him from behind. Back in, Anvil telegraphs the backdrop as Goldust kneels down and uppercuts him for the strange 1-2-3. (3:48) Whoops, that’s Bulldog’s music. Vince calls this an upset victory, but I don’t think anybody else sees it that way. ¼*
Austin says Shamrock wants him to enter his world, but Austin guarantees Shamrock that he will ROCK his world, and that’s the bottom line.
HOUR NUMBER TWO! Your hosts are Vince McMahon and Jim Ross.
Steve Austin vs. Brian Pillman
Without a doubt, the best way to kick off the second hour. Owen, Anvil, and Davey Boy are all handcuffed to separate ringposts. It’s all Austin to start until Pillman baits him to the floor and nails him on the way inside. Austin fires back with a hotshot and pounds away. Pillman begs for a handshake and pays dearly. To the floor, Pillman grabs a chair and that’s slammed back in his face to bust his nose open. Austin goes over and beats on Owen, which brings Pillman over to choke him down with a cable. Commercials! When we return, Pillman remains in control. He works a chinlock, but Austin fights out with a jawbreaker. He stomps a mudhole in Pillman and when ref Mike Chioda tries to pull Austin off Pillman, he takes a Stone Cold Stunner. Ref Jack Doan heads down to replace him. While Chioda is KO’ed, Owen picks his pocket for the handcuff key. Pillman KO’s Austin with some taped knux and covers for 1-2-NO! Once Owen is loose, he sends the key over to Neidhart and attacks Austin for the DQ. (8:28 shown) Once Anvil and Davey Boy are free, they jump Austin as well. Mankind, Goldust, and Ken Shamrock head down to clean house. It comes down to just Austin and Shamrock in the ring. Austin attacks, but Shamrock blocks the punch and gives him a belly to belly suplex. After some schoolyard brawling, the Legion of Doom head down to break up the fight. Goldust gets on the mic and convinces Austin that he, Shamrock, and the Legion of Doom should join him to face the Hart Foundation at the Canadian Stampede PPV. Austin doesn’t care for any of them, but whatever. See ya in Calgary. Fun brawl considering the limitations of Pillman. **½
Bobby Fulton vs. Tommy Rogers
Sable is your special guest ring announcer for this one. This match is showcased as part of the Light Heavyweight division. It gets a graphic and everything. Both guys as you probably know were known as the Fantastics back in the 1980s. Since I guess somebody had to be the heel, a dark headed and pale-skinned Bobby Fulton plays that role. He’s also wearing those strange Zack Ryder tights. Crowd doesn’t care who these two are since they haven’t competed on a national stage in eight years and rarely ever above the Mason-Dixon line. Headscissors and kicks everywhere. Fulton gives Rogers a dropkick through the ropes into the guardrail. Back inside, Fulton tries the Ric Flair corner pin and fails. He walks away thinking he’s won when Rogers drops him with the TOMIKAZE (or the Killswitch) for the win. (2:48) Not so bad, just the wrong audience. Afterwards, Marc Mero stops his skank of a wife from parading around in the ring in those hot pants. ¾*
The Headbangers vs. Jerry Lawler & Rob Van Dam – WWF Tag Team Championship Tournament Quarterfinals
Paul E and Tommy Dreamer look all menacingly from the front row. Vince makes a big deal over those two jumping the rail last week. RVD tries his split and monkey flip routine, but Mosh stomps him on the back of the head and splashes him in the corner. Double Flapjack connects. Thrasher runs into a boot in the corner and takes the monkey flip after all. Jumping kick out of the corner is enough for RVD right now as he tags in Lawler. He pulls on Thrasher’s face and tags out. RVD hits the FIVE-STAR FROG SPLASH and lets Lawler cover for 1-2-NO! Hot tag to Mosh, he goes slam crazy. He knocks RVD to the apron and delivers a springboard clothesline to send him to the floor. Meanwhile, Lawler delivers the PILEDRIVER to Thrasher. While Lawler starts jawing with Dreamer and Paul E and the ref is busy doing something else, the SANDMAN comes in and low blows Lawler with his cane. He exits stage right as the Headbangers deliver the STAGE DIVE to Lawler for the 1-2-3. (3:59) Van Dam tries to get to Sandman and Dreamer, but Paul E manages to keep them back so they don’t ruin their chances of coming back to Raw, I’m assuming. ¾*
Ahmed Johnson & Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer) vs. Faarooq & Kama Mustafa (w/D’Lo Brown)
So smarter heads prevail and Charles Wright does not become Papa Shango again to feud with the Undertaker. Instead, the newest member of the Nation of Domination is the Supreme Fighting Machine turned Muslim. You can tell he was preparing for the Papa Shango character too by being completely bald. Faarooq said there would be two new members of the NOD, so Vince and JR wonder who the fourth member will be. Anyways, Kama does a number on Undertaker before a quick comeback. Faarooq tags in and telegraphs a backdrop as Undertaker gives him the Rocker Dropper. Back over to Kama, he dumps Taker out as the beatdown continues on the floor. After the break, UT hits the Jumping Lariat and the Chokeslam on Faarooq for two. Vince and JR start naming black wrestlers that could be the fourth member. Taker reaches his corner for a tag, but Ahmed goes over and punches Paul Bearer down. A necessary act, but doesn’t prove he’s turned heel. Meanwhile, Kama hits Taker with a Uranage for the HUGE upset victory. (3:49 shown) Once the NOD clear out, Ahmed picks up UT and gives him the PEARL RIVER PLUNGE and joins the NOD at the top of the ramp. Boooooooooo. ¾*
31-year old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Longtime fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Vikings. Avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on the old school wrestling.