Written by: Bob Colling
WWF: Raw is War
July 14, 1997
San Antonio, TX
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)
They kick things off with a video package detailing how beloved the Hart Foundation were on the brief tour of western Canada, and how they expect the reaction to be quite different here tonight in Texas.
Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jim Ross.
Out comes the Hart Foundation. It’s another week where Bret talks about how much better Canada is than the USA. Vince corrects Bret when he tries to say that if he loses the WWF title match at SummerSlam, and reminds us that if Bret doesn’t *win* the WWF title at SummerSlam, then he will never wrestle in the United States again, in a nice subtle bit only a heel could pull off. Over to Owen, he pulls out a tube of Blistex and tells Austin that he better “pucker up”, because he’s going to be kissing some butt come SummerSlam. Now to Davey Boy Smith. He’s got a European championship match with Ken Shamrock scheduled for SummerSlam. If he doesn’t beat Shamrock, he’ll eat a can of Alpo. Next, Brian Pillman has a match at SummerSlam as well where he faces Goldust. Pillman puts over Dusty Rhodes for being a terrible dad and neglecting his son in return for feeding his own massive ego (and his face), which turned Dustin into the most celebrated drag queen of the century. Brian knows Dusty broke Goldust’s heart, but Pillman says he’ll rip it out of his chest. If Pillman doesn’t win, he’ll wear a dress. He finishes saying it might as well be one of Marlena’s and he promises her dress won’t be the only thing he’ll be getting into. Jim Neidhart declares that if any of the Hart Foundation members lose at SummerSlam, he will shave his goatee off the next night on Raw. Bret says they’re not confident about SummerSlam, they are just committed to excellence. He feels Canada has prettier money, prettier women, tougher sports, and tougher men. Whether America likes it or not, it’s going to be a Canadian summer.
That’s when the glass breaks and out comes Steve Austin onto the ramp with his WWF tag team title. After he yells and cusses at the Harts, Ken Shamrock walks out. Then the PATRIOT debuts and stands by Steve Austin. Next, PSYCHO SID returns. And finally, San Antonio’s own Shawn Michaels stands beside the other four men. Who is Austin’s tag partner going to be? It’s safe to assume it’s one of these four men, right? Better stick with the whole program to find out!
Jerry Lawler & Brian Christopher vs. Ivan & Scott Putski
As he did many years ago, 56 year-old Ivan Putski sings the Bobby Vinton song “My Melody of Love” before the match. It’s what ALL the kids are listening to these days. Lots of miscommunication errors between the Lawlers. JR says that the King admitted that he and Brian were related, but they were just brothers. Scott plays face in peril and takes a MEMPHIS PILEDRIVER from Lawler. Christopher wants to show off in front of daddy, but misses the Tennessee Jam. Hot tag to Ivan and as the match breaks down, Ivan nails the POLISH HAMMER for the win. (4:55) Little known fact: I actually dig what I’ve seen of Ivan Putski from the 1970s. I get it. ¾*
Let Us Take You Back to: WARZONE, 7/7/97. During the Austin/HHH match, Helmsley hit Mankind with a chair intended for Austin and then turned around into a Stone Cold Stunner. They also show Austin tricking Mankind and then being told he’s going to regret it.
We now go backstage to Mankind. Vince asks him a few questions, but gets no response. Mankind just sits there and rocks back and forth.
Now over to Paul Bearer. JR told us he was going to drop a bomb this week. Bearer promises that next week he’s going to prove that Kane is alive.
TAKA Michinoku vs. Yoshihiro Tajiri
Before making it to ECW in 1999, Tajiri wrestled for many different independent Japanese promotions like Michinoku Pro, WAR, IWA Japan, and most successful in the very hardcore Big Japan promotion. Now he’s here on a very part time basis in the WWF. Without the signature goatee, he resembles a young Yuji Nagata. TAKA gets a video package showing off some of the moves we’ve seen him perform in his matches with the Great Sasuke. Really good lucha libre start to things that ends with Michinoku giving Tajiri a dropkick to the floor. TAKA explodes onto Tajiri with a springboard plancha! Back inside, Tajiri powerbombs Michinoku down and disorients TAKA with a version of the Oklahoma Roll. To the outside again, Tajiri lands an Asai Moonsault. Back inside, we get some heavy blows traded between the two. Dragon Suplex by Tajiri gets two. TAKA quickly rallies back with the missile dropkick to the back of the head followed by the MICHINOKU DRIVER for the 1-2-3. (4:11) This was pretty good and very little error in the spots. While Tajiri wrestles a couple more times on RAW in 1997 to enhance TAKA and Christopher, TAKA appears about once a month before he signs a long term contract in late October to begin the Light Heavyweight title tournament. ***
In the locker room, Ken Shamrock tells us that he’s not Steve Austin’s partner. He was just out there in support against the Hart Foundation. Besides, he’s got his own match tonight against Jim Neidhart. KNUCKLE UP TIME!
Earlier today, Los Boricuas arrive at the Freeman Coliseum in one of those stereotypical, gaudy, tricked-out cars.
Read the latest WWF Magazine for an article on whether or not Brian Pillman’s allegiance truly lies with the Hart Foundation.
In the back, the Headbangers compare Los Boricuas to Cheech & Chong. They’re not very bright.
The Headbangers vs. Miguel Perez Jr. & Jose Estrada Jr. (w/Savio Vega & Jesus Castillo)
Headbangers control to start as they deliver a double gourdbuster to Estrada. Mosh is *your* face in peril. Pretty standard stuff here. Mosh blocks a corner charge and drives Estrada’s head into the middle buckle with a headscissors. Hot tag to Thrasher and the match breaks down. Thrasher wants a powerbomb on Perez, but Miguel counters and victory rolls him up for the 1-2-3. (4:26) As Los Boricuas beat up the Headbangers, the Disciples of Apocalypse ride down to make the save. ½*
Elsewhere, the Patriot says he’s not Steve Austin’s partner either. He just wants to beat up anyone who speaks out against America.
Vince brings out Shawn Michaels to a hero’s welcome for his big return interview. Is he going to be Austin’s partner? Michaels says he’s not at 100%, but that’s never stopped him before. Shawn changes gears over to Bret Hart. He’s looking forward to Bret never wrestling on US soil again. HBK brings up SummerSlam and says it wasn’t his choice to not be a part of SummerSlam, it was someone else’s and looks over at Vince. He tries to appeal to Vince and gets on his knees to beg Vince to somehow be a part of the show. He’ll set up the ring, he’ll sell souvenirs, he’ll sell tickets at the door, he’ll even shine Vince’s shoes if he’ll grant him a ticket to SummerSlam because he doesn’t want to miss the Undertaker defeating Bret Hart and running him out of this country. GET THE F OUT, BRET. Makes you wonder if there isn’t more to that sentiment than a “kayfabe” stipulation. Shawn tries to strip out of his shorts, but Vince covers him up with a towel. Somewhere Pat Patterson is PISSED. Whatever you do, don’t leave us now!
TIME TO ENTER THE WARZONE! Jerry Lawler joins us at the commentary table for the rest of the show.
Savio Vega comes out and grabs a cameraman shouting that there’s been an accident backstage that the world needs to see. It’s just Los Boricuas trying to tear up the DOA’s bikes. That leads another big brawl between the two gangs. As WWF agents and refs break up the fight, Los Boricuas hop in their car and drag one of the DOA bikes behind them. Skull & 8-Ball go after them while Crush stays behind with Chainz.
Ken Shamrock vs. Jim Neidhart
Neidhart is not on his game here tonight. Lots of punches and chinlocks from the Anvil. He looks like he NO-SELLS a hurracanrana and gets put out with a sleeper hold. (4:41) Weird finish. Davey Boy Smith runs out and attacks Shamrock after the match. Not sure if the British Bulldog was supposed to break up that sleeper hold for a DQ or not. There’s a 2-on-1 beatdown, but the Patriot runs down for the save and gives both Neidhart and Bulldog UNCLE SLAMS. ½*
Vince tries again to speak with Mankind. Again, no response.
The Legion of Doom vs. The New Blackjacks
No match. The Godwinns attack the Legion of Doom during their entrance with chairs. Henry gives Hawk a SLOP DROP on the ramp to bust open the back of his head. These two teams will meet at SummerSlam. LOD! LOD! LOD!
Vader (w/Paul Bearer) vs. Flash Funk
Vader pounds on Funk and avalanches him in the corner. Funk fires back with a dropkick that sends Vader to the floor. Flash nails Vader with a plancha and whips him into the steps! Back inside, Vader hits Funk with a body attack and short-arm clotheslines Flash for a splash for two. Funk avoids a Powerbomb and kicks Vader down for a Moonsault! Cover, 1-2-NO! Flash comes off the ropes, but charges into another Body Attack. That staggers Flash and Vader puts him down with a POWERBOMB for the win. (4:11) After the bell, Vader gives Flash a VADER BOMB because he does what he wants to. **½
Vince talks with Steve Austin and asks him if Mankind will be his partner. Austin mentions how Mankind says he’s going to resort to drastic measures, Austin says he hasn’t been 100% all year long and everyday he gets out of bed is a drastic measure. The bottom line is he’s not leaving San Antonio without the WWF tag team championship.
So what was the point of Psycho Sid showing up? Was he not even supposed to be here? He’s been a non-factor all night.
Vacant WWF Tag Team Titles Match: Owen Hart & Davey Boy Smith vs. Steve Austin & A Mystery Partner
Austin comes out alone as he has said all along that he didn’t mind doing. He handles himself okay brawling with both Owen and Bulldog until he tries a Sharpshooter on Owen. A submission in a handicap match is just a stupid babyface mistake. Bulldog throws Austin out for some guardrail action and a trip to the steps courtesy of Owen. Vince informs us that Austin’s partner has arrived. We cut to the backstage area, but all we can see are a pair of white boots and some blue tights. There’s also a little drum beat going over the PA system. Commercials! In the ring, Austin is drilled with a Belly to Belly Suplex by Owen. The heat segment continues until Austin cleans house on the two Hart Foundation members. While Austin waits for them in the ring, Mankind appears on the TitanTron acting completely different and wearing tie-dye and some John Lennon glasses. He doesn’t blame Austin for not wanting to team with a freak like Mankind, but what about the hippest cat in the land Dude Love! He’s coming to save the day. OWWW HAVE MERCY! Out comes Dude Love doing his thing and Austin does all he can to keep from laughing. He tags Dude in against Owen. Dude hits the running knee in the corner and asks Steve if he wants a tag, but he’s not ready for that. Tag to Davey, Dude slips out of the Running Powerslam position and locks in the MANDIBLE CLAW! Owen breaks it up with a Missile Dropkick. While the ref is busy with Owen, Austin sneaks in and delivers a quick STONE COLD STUNNER to the Bulldog. Dude lays on top and covers for the 1-2-3! (7:38 shown) JR – “It’s the Summer of Love, and we’ve got *new* tag team champions.” One of my fave JR calls for some reason. Interesting that when Austin and Michaels won the tag belts two months ago, it was Shawn who gave Austin the assist with Sweet Chin Music to Bulldog behind the ref’s back. Afterwards, a couple chicks swarm Dude Love as Austin hands him a belt. Just a very fun moment and one of the most memorable main events in Raw history. ***
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.