Written by: Matt Peddycord
WWF: Raw is War
July 7, 1997
Edmonton, AB, Canada
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)
We kick off the show with an IYH: Canadian Stampede montage showcasing the main event and how the Calgary crowd cheered on Hart Foundation each “vicious and aggressive” act trying to turn them heel again.
Your hosts are Vince McMahon, Jim Ross, and Jerry Lawler.
Vince introduces Bret Hart to this very ring. He’s wearing an Edmonton Oilers jersey underneath his leather jacket. He gets a hero’s welcome here. Bret thanks Canada for still letting him be their hero. He mentions the “America: love it or leave it” phrase, but how Bret feels about America is that he loves leaving it. He puts over Canada for being a country who still cares about their people and gun control that limits violence. Some loud guy in the front row is yelling insults at America. HA! Bret tells his Canadian fans that he hopes to live up to his hero status and be the WWF champion for a fifth time. If he fails to win the WWF title at SummerSlam, he promises to never wrestle in America again. Bret brings out who he calls the best technical wrestler in the WWF: the Slammy Award-winning IC champion Owen Hart. Owen is going to destroy Steve Austin come SummerSlam. If your Bret, he’ll destroy Steve Austin at *the* SummerSlam. The European champ British Bulldog is introduced next as the most powerful man in the WWF today. He battles Ken Shamrock at the SummerSlam. A Canadian flag appears on the TitanTron while the Canadian national anthem is being played. While Bret, Owen, and Bulldog stand reverently, Steve Austin comes out of nowhere and destroys the whole thing by beating them up with chairs. Owen takes the first and worst shot to the back. Austin manages to get out of the ring without a scratch and celebrates with his chair held high and a CHORUS of boos.
When we come back, Vince makes a serious apology on behalf of the WWF and Steve Austin for interrupting something as sacred as the playing of a national anthem. Somewhere Nikolai Volkoff is PISSED. During the break, Bret got on the mic and tells the crowd that Austin can walk all over him and his family, but they will not walk all over Canada. Well in my mind, he just secured himself in some kind of Canadian Hall of Fame along the likes of Richard Dean Anderson and Alan Thicke!
The Great Sasuke vs. TAKA Michinoku
“Too Sexy” Brian Christopher becomes the fourth man on the commentary team for this match. Lawler invited him. They’re not related or anything though. Christopher just makes jokes at the expense of the other light heavyweights and laughs at whatever Lawler says. This is a rematch from last night where Sasuke won with a Tiger Suplex. TAKA gets kicked to the floor for a somersault plancha. Sasuke rolls out of a wristlock and grabs a mean half crab until Michinoku reaches the ropes. A kick combo puts TAKA on the floor, but he flies back in with a missile dropkick to the back of the head, which knocks Sasuke out of the ring. TAKA tries a springboard moonsault, but slips on the top rope and falls backward on Sasuke. Michinoku tries to make up for it with an Asai Moonsault right after that. Back in, Michinoku flips out of a German suplex and hits a belly to belly suplex for two. MICHINOKU DRIVER sets up a beautiful Moonsault, but Sasuke rolls out of the way. He sends TAKA to the floor again this time for the Space Flying Tiger Drop. We haven’t seen that since the days of Hakushi! Back inside, the THUNDER FIRE POWERBOMB ends Michinoku. (5:47) They didn’t hit their spots as well as they did last night, garnering a lower rating than that match. This is the end of Sasuke’s run in the WWF after word got out that he told the Japanese press that he would only defend the WWF’s new Light Heavyweight title he was scheduled to win in his homeland of Japan. **¾
The U.S. Army Slam of the Week: Undertaker giving Vader TWO Chokeslams at In Your House.
Video package that details the origin of Gang Warz in the WWF.
Savio Vega (w/Los Boricuas) vs. Crush (w/Disciples of Apocalypse)
These Canadians love DOA for some reason. The match is punch-kick stuff before the DOA and Boricuas start beating the heck out of each other for the DQ. (2:22) Skull and 8-Ball press Jesus Castillo above their heads and drop him on a motorcycle. Besides that, more brawling ensues as agents and zebra men try and break it up. DOA meet in the ring to bask in the glory of their Canadian fans while Los Boricuas point at them in the aisleway helping Castillo backstage. ½*
During the break, there’s an ad for a one-hour special called ‘WWF Summer Flashbacks’ with the objective to hype the upcoming SummerSlam by showing old SummerSlam matches. Majority of the clips are from the 1992 event. Half of the stars advertised are now WCW employees. Hogan, Savage, Flair, Warrior, Bret, Taker, Rude, Austin (really? his two-minute match with Yoko?), Diesel, Michaels, Perfect, Ramon, and Piper. It aired on July 14 on USA network after Raw is War.
McMahon speaks with Paul Bearer who is backstage. He wants to know if Paul wants to apologize for what he said last week about the Undertaker. No way. He’s not the murderer! Why should we believe him? Because Kane told him so. He’s alive and so disfigured. Oh, the pain and agony poor Kane must feel. The only hope Kane has is to come face to face with his evil brother Undertaker. You’re a murderer, Undertaker! You’re a murderer!
Owen Hart & Davey Boy Smith (w/Jim Neidhart & Brian Pillman) vs. Faarooq & D-Lo Brown (w/Kama Mustafa) – WWF Tag Team Championship Finals
Winner of this one faces Steve Austin and a partner of his choosing to settle the WWF tag titles vacancy dispute. Vince asks Austin who is back in the locker room who his partner is going to be. How many times does he have to tell you, Vince! You must have manure for brains! He doesn’t care about a partner or even who he faces next week. McMahon wants Austin to consider Mankind after all he’s done for him, but Austin would just rather the WWF pick his partner because they’re going to screw him over anyways. Davey Boy Smith is *your* face in peril here. The NOD work him over for most of the match. When he backdrops away the Dominator, he makes the HOT TAG TO OWEN! He’s got Spinning Heel Kicks for everyone! Oh, but Kama pulls the top rope down causing Owen to spill out to the floor. That triggers a brawl between the Hart Foundation and the NOD. Since there’s four Harts and three NOD members, Owen is able to sneak back in the ring at the last second to win the match via countout. (6:50) That was actually pretty funny. Wearing an Austin 3:16 t-shirt, Mankind comes out and threatens the Hart Foundation. *½
Since the 1996 KOTR Steve Austin faces the 1997 KOTR Hunter Hearst Helmsley tonight, Vince asks Austin what he thinks about him. Seems like a setup for some Mankind involvement, does it not? Austin says Helmsley is always eating his caviar, but tonight Austin is about to open a can of something else on him to see how he likes the taste. As far as Chyna goes, he ain’t afraid of punching anybody’s lights out, and that’s the bottom line ’cause Stone Cold said so.
TIME TO ENTER THE WARZONE!
Steve Austin vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Chyna)
Helmsley has his forehead bandaged after blading last night against Mankind. We get some EXCITING STILL SHOTS of that match. To have a staredown to start, there’s a very tame reaction as Austin works a headlock. He thinks about giving Hunter the double bird, but instead does the HHH bow. Austin pounds Helmsley in the corner and whips him across for the Harley Race bump to the floor. There’s a little guardrail action, but Helmsley flips out of a suplex and rolls up Austin for two. Back to the headlock as we go to commercial. When we return, Helmsley pushes off a superplex, but eats a boot on the way down. Hunter stops a corner charge though with a boot and then stomps a mudhole into Austin. He delivers the Knee Drop for two. As Austin fires back with the Thesz Press and some clotheslines, Chyna puts a chair in the ring. She trips up Austin allowing Hunter to capitalize. He grabs the chair, but that’s when Mankind still wearing that Austin 3:16 t-shirt runs down and takes the chairshot intended for Austin. After Helmsley turns around, Austin drops him with the STONE COLD STUNNER for the win. (6:17 shown) Despite being the most hated man in Canada, he still managed to garner some cheers here. Just when Austin starts to show he just might care about someone else and lets Mankind be his partner, he gives him a STONE COLD STUNNER as well. DTA! Austin says he would never let Mankind be his partner because he’s a long-haired freak who sucks. HA! Mankind gets on the mic and tells him he was just looking for a friend, so it seems drastic measures must be taken. Next week, Mankind says he’ll have to do something he never thought he would do again, and the WWF will never be the same. AGAYNE. **½
Brian Christopher vs. Eric Shelley
Sunny comes out as the special ring announcer as she has been for most if not all these light heavyweight matches on Raw. Eric Shelley is a second-generation Canadian wrestler. As Christopher comes out, they take us back to last week where Lawler helped him beat Scott Putski, which sets up a father/son tag match for next week where Ivan Putski will make his short return to the WWF. This leads to Lawler making about two dozen Polish jokes. Headlocks and armbars to start. Christopher delivers a Full Nelson Facebuster and a Northern lights suplex. They make a mess of a wheelbarrow rollup. To the floor, Christopher dodges a terrible looking plancha by Shelley. It looked like he was being eliminated from a battle royal. Back in, Christopher hits a missile dropkick to the back of Shelley’s head. Christopher stops a comeback and delivers a Slop Drop off the second rope. That sets up the TENNESSEE JAM for the win. (3:49) After the bell, Lawler and Christopher send the Putskis a message by giving Shelley a Spike Piledriver. *
Vince McMahon brings Steve Austin out for an interview. Since we’ll be in San Antonio next week, both Vince and Austin agree he’ll be getting a much different reaction to his presence than here in Canada. Austin doesn’t care though. Again, Vince asks Austin the question about who his partner will be next week. Austin – “You ask and ask – just like a jackass!” Austin knows if he doesn’t pick a partner, Gorilla Monsoon will exercise his right to decide a partner for him. It’s about time too because Monsoon hasn’t exercised in thirty years, says Austin. He doesn’t mind holding both WWF tag titles by himself. Since Bret made an ultimatum in order to ensure victory at SummerSlam, Austin does the same thing. He says if he can’t beat Owen Hart at SummerSlam, then Owen can pull down his tights and Austin will get on his knees and kiss Owen’s butt right in front of the world. And that’s the way it’s going to be! Lawler – “I’ve heard of a “kiss my foot” match, but this is ridiculous!”
Bret Hart vs. Goldust
Goldust and Marlena were a part of “Home & Family Show” cracking eggs and cooking tea scones, which is an oxymoron if I ever heard it. The match starts off as a brawl on the floor. They work their way back inside where Bret softens the back for the Sharpshooter. The Disciples of Apocalypse appear on their Harleys for some reason. The Hart Foundation follow as we go to commercial. When we come back, Bret is delivering the backbreaker and the flying elbow for two. Russian Legsweep scores another nearfall. Goldust takes over for a little while as Ken Shamrock and the Legion of Doom appear on the ramp. Steve Austin comes up behind them as well. There’s like twelve guys outside the ring right now. Bret blocks a sunset flip for the SummerSlam 1992 finish. (7:57 shown) The Hart Foundation celebrate and bask in their own glory to close out the show. It was strange how disconnected this match felt from the rest of the show. *½
NEXT WEEK: Owen Hart and Davey Boy Smith look to regain the WWF tag team titles, but Stone Cold Steve Austin stands in their way. Will he have a partner or force Gorilla Monsoon’s hand to pick a partner for Austin himself? Plus, Jerry Lawler and his (not) son Brian Christopher take on Ivan & Scott Putski. Shawn Michaels returns after getting his hair pulled out! Lots will happen in San Antonio, my friend!