Written by: Matt Peddycord
WWF: Raw is War
June 2, 1997
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: Shawn Michaels & Steve Austin (5/26/1997)
Your hosts are Vince McMahon and Jim Ross.
While Raw opens with a montage showing what happened last week and Undertaker’s long entrance, Nitro already has the audience hooked with the promise of Scott Hall challenging Ric Flair. Undertaker tells Vince AND THE WORLD why he rejoined Paul Bearer and the dark side. It’s all because Paul is blackmailing him. He did what he did to protect the ones he loves. Is the Undertaker capable of love? He seems a few tweaks away from any kind of a healthy relationship. No one will understand why he did this since the information and people Undertaker is trying to protect will not be made public. And oh yeah, Paul Bearer is certainly going to hell. Out comes Paul to pull the reigns back on his champion. Paul looks forward to destroying everybody in the WWF with the Undertaker so he can become the ruler of the world. Did somebody say ‘ruler of the world’? That’s Psycho Sid’s cue to return from injury and demand his WWF title rematch after losing the strap to the Undertaker back at WrestleMania 13. Considering Faarooq is supposed to face the Undertaker the following Sunday at the King of the Ring, he certainly has an issue with this match. He heads out with the Nation of Domination. Faarooq calls Undertaker a coward for backing down to blackmail, so Taker comes over and chases his crew away while Sid soaks up the cheers in the ring.
Faarooq (w/the NOD) vs. Ahmed Johnson
Folks, this feud has been happening for over ten months now. Either have a cage match and settle this once and for all or have Ahmed turn heel and join your crew. Let’s just PLEASE stop having these matches. Faarooq attacks at the bell, but Ahmed fires back and whips him with his own belt like a GOVERNMENT MULE. Ahmed hits a Bicycle Kick, but Faarooq fights up with a jawbreaker and goes to work on the lower back. Savio trips up Ahmed from the floor, which brings out the Undertaker to suddenly care about what the Nation of Domination is doing. Faarooq comes out and joins Taker to trade fisticuffs. Eventually, Taker whips Faarooq into Ahmed, which accidently sends him into the ringsteps. Whoops! While the Nation gangs up on Taker, Faarooq quickly rolls Ahmed back inside for the cheap 1-2-3. (3:10) Once the Nation completely clears out, Taker meets Ahmed in the ring. He’s clearly pissed after the loss and tries to confront the champ, but Taker doesn’t really care and leaves Ahmed laying with a Chokeslam for being bold, I guess. ½*
Let Us Take You Back To Last Monday: Steve Austin attacked Bret Hart after winning the tag belts with Shawn Michaels and “reinjured Bret’s knee so his match with Shawn Michaels will no longer be happening at the King of the Ring”.
Out comes the Hart Foundation. Vince has Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin in split-screen (meaning they are staying in separate dressing rooms) on the TitanTron. Bret says he’s tired of these Texans making excuses over their bad legs – even getting in a dig on Michael Johnson who got SMOKED by Canadian sprinter Donovan Bailey. He continues to tell Shawn that he doesn’t get his big dream match at the King of the Ring because Steve Austin reinjured his knee. Shawn makes sure to follow up on the ‘smoked’ comment by giving it a different meaning. This guy is an adult, right? HBK blames Austin for making it so he can’t rid the USA of Bret Hart. Austin says he tried to take out Bret for good, not just in the US. Shawn keeps saying Austin can’t get the job done, so Austin tells him to come find him. HBK obliges and it’s basically a high school courtyard fight – a lot of yelling and trash talking, but no punches thrown. Back to the ring, the Hart Foundation are loving what they are seeing. Bret gives Pillman an idea and then he tells the world that he’s willing to give up his chance to take on Stone Cold Steve Austin at the King of the Ring so that Shawn Michaels can face him instead so they can work out their differences so long as Pillman gets a match with him real soon. Austin says after he beats HBK at the King of the Ring, he’ll be more than happy to kick Pillman’s crippled, raspy, horse-voiced behind on Raw next week. AND THAT’S THE BOTTOM LINE, CUZ STONE COLD SAID SO.
After the break, it appears Shawn is having some kind of disagreements with the WWF agents.
WWF Intercontinental Champion Owen Hart vs. Bob Holly
Two weeks ago, Bob Holly upset Owen in MOBILE, ALABAMER. Now he gets a title match. The rest of the Hart Foundation watch on from the ramp. Fast start as Holly snaps off a hurracanrana (with punches!), but here comes Owen with a Belly to Belly Suplex. Owen hits a backbreaker and tries to put Holly away quickly, but here comes Bob with the comeback. Best Dropkick in the Business gets two. He tries another rana, but Owen blocks with a powerbomb and hooks the SHARPSHOOTER for the victory. (3:18) Well, that settles that. *
Vince asks Shawn who is backstage if he will accept the challenge to face Stone Cold at the King of the Ring. Absolutely he will and Pillman can have what’s left of Austin next week.
They show us some of the crazier parts of Mick Foley’s interviews with Jim Ross from last week. We will get part three in the next hour.
Goldust (w/Marlena) vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Chyna)
Why do they honestly think they can beat WCW with rematches that have been done to death over the last six months? Goldust punishes HHH with clotheslines to start. Ten count corner punch leads to the Ray Stevens bump in the opposite corner. Winner of this one gets a European title match next week. Vince tells us it’s the first time the title has been defended on Raw, which is kind of sad considering it’s been a title now for three months. Helmsley finally fights back with a Facebuster and the High Knee. HHH continues to control the match until Chyna gets a hold of Goldust from the apron. As That Spunky Marlena goes over to pull her down, Chyna lets go of Goldust even though HHH is on the move with another High Knee and knocks Chyna off the apron. Goldust sneaks the rollup and gets the 1-2-3. (3:50) Who would have ever thought a year ago that Goldust would be cheered in West Virginia? While HHH and Chyna are disgusted over what just transpired, Chyna heaves the ref out of the ring. Next week, Bulldog v. Goldust for the European title. ¾*
In the back, Hawk says he and Animal have never had the problems Shawn and Austin have had and that will be their demise. Hawk says they will kick Shawn’s teeth down Austin’s throat. Vince – “HAHAHAHAHA!”
HOUR NUMBER TWO! Your hosts are Vince McMahon and Jim Ross.
WWF Tag Team Champions Shawn Michaels & Steve Austin vs. The Legion of Doom
They show us the clip of the time the LOD won the tag belts at SummerSlam 1991 over the Nasty Boys in a huge moment where they became the only team to ever win the AWA, NWA, and WWF tag belts. Common sense says LOD win the belts here, but we’re in the Russo Era, people. Hawk and Michaels start the match. He press slams HBK and goes for a flying splash, but there’s no water in the pool. Shawn gets stuck in the LOD corner and plays pinball between the two. Austin has enough of Shawn dropping the ball and comes in to fight. Nevertheless, LOD clean house on the tag champs. Michaels and Austin begin to get up in each other’s faces while the Hart Foundation say things and point from the ramp. Commercials! When we return, Austin tries the Arn Anderson method (which never works well for him) by dropping out of the ring off a whip on the wrong side of the ring as Hawk beats him back inside to Animal. Austin has to resort to his trick knee acting up all into Animal’s testicles. Tag to Michaels, Animal fights out of their corner and tags Hawk. He delivers a backdrop, but then Austin is up to his old games as he nails Hawk from the apron. That allows Shawn to attack from behind as they finally show some team work and beat the heck out of Hawk. Back to Austin, he hits the flying vertical elbow for two. Shawn tags back in and we get a false tag spot at the expense of LOD. During the chaos, Animal accidently runs Earl Hebner down. He’s not completely dead though as he gets up fairly quickly, but it’s still enough time for Austin to nail Hawk with one of the tag belts. Cover by Shawn, 1-2-NO! He tags Austin, who flies down and gets nailed in the gut. Double-clothesline though and there’s the HOT TAG TO ANIMAL! Dropkicks everywhere! He nails Shawn over the top rope out in front of the Hart Foundation. Austin rallies back against Animal and goes out to pull Shawn by the hair back to the ring. That sort of abuse and disrespect triggers a brawl between the two to give LOD a countout victory. (7:05 shown) Actually, not a bad contest. They showed just the right amount of camaraderie to get through the match without making you think they were totally cool with each other to further the match. This needed a better finish though and hindsight says the LOD should have gone over here considering the muddiness of the tag team titles scene over the next three months. You really just needed a more solid team holding the straps. After the WWF agents head down to stop the HBK-Austin fight, Shawn shoves Austin knees first into the ring steps, which I’m sure will be played off at the King of the Ring. **½
Mick Foley Interview Part 3. He discusses basically what he did in between his WCW and WWF runs, which was mostly FMW death matches and working for ECW. Lots of footage shown with Foley and Terry Funk. Next week, he’ll talk about what he’s done so far in the WWF.
Mankind vs. Savio Vega (w/the NOD) – King of the Ring Quarterfinals
Since Jerry Lawler faces the winner of this match in the KOTR tournament this Sunday, he joins Vince and JR for commentary. This is Mankind’s first match since his humanizing and relatable interview series started, so he gets a big pop. Mankind baseball slides into Savio, but then charges into a backdrop. Savio comes off the top with a big dive to the floor. Meanwhile, Jerry Lawler makes fun of all three Mick Foley interviews. Eventually, Mankind gives Savio the Cactus Clothesline in front of the announce table. Afterwards, he grabs Jerry Lawler and pulls him over the table. Meanwhile, Mankind hops back in the ring and moves out of the way of an elbow smash from Crush who hits Savio by mistake to give Mankind the pin. (3:03) Lazy finish! That’s the third time that finish has been used in some kind of fashion tonight. This leads to Crush and Savio getting into a schoolyard fight. Faarooq comes out the curtain, but throws his hands up at them both and leaves. ¾*
Sable heads out and gives the King of the Ring inflatable chair (only $59.99 with $11 S&H!) a lap dance.
WWF Champion Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer) vs. Psycho Sid
It’s the rematch you feel lukewarm about. The match starts during the break as Sid dominates early with his chokes and stomps. He hits a Chokeslam for 1-2-NO! Back to choking and stuff. Taker escapes a chinlock and hits the Flying Lariat to mount the comeback. TOMBSTONE gets the 1-2-3! (4:47 shown) Boring as all get out. Out comes the Nation to attack the WWF champion. Sid tries to save with Chokeslams, but the numbers are just too great. None of the wrestlers – not even the Legion of Doom – come out to help these two. Finally, WWF agents “do their best” to get the Nation of Domination out of the ring. ¾*