Written by: Matt Peddycord
WWF: Raw is War
August 11, 1997
Gulf Coast Coliseum
The current WWF champs were as follows:
World Champion: Bret Hart (8/3/1997)
Intercontinental Champion: Steve Austin (8/3/1997)
European Champion: Davey Boy Smith (3/3/1997)
World Tag Team Champions: Steve Austin & Dude Love (7/14/1997)
LET’S GET RAW! Your hosts are Vince McMahon, Jim Ross, and Jerry Lawler.
JR meets Shawn Michaels in the ring to kick off the show. He’s still upset that the WWF brass are still blaming him for the Undertaker’s WWF title loss. He’s also pissed that he had to find out he was facing Mankind tonight on Raw while sitting at home watching WWF Superstars instead of getting a phone call from that nimrod Vince McMahon. Shawn seems LEGIT pissed right now. “Shawn is gay” chants begin. Shawn tells the guy whose the loudest to ask his momma AND his sister if he’s gay. Zing. Suck it. Shawn uses simple logic to prove to everyone that he can beat the Undertaker even though they have never wrestled, because Bret Hart defeated the Undertaker at SummerSlam and Shawn beat Bret back at WrestleMania 12. Since Shawn feels like he’s such an outlaw in the WWF, he thinks the ‘powers that be’ have it out for him with this new Commissioner Slaughter character always snooping around. Well, that brings out the Sarge. Shawn gets up in the Sarge’s face mocking him and then acts surprised when he gets “spit” on. Slaughter tells Shawn that his decisions are what is best for the WWF, not just for Shawn Michaels. As for his match tonight with Mankind, Shawn needs to put up, shut up, and do something about it. Whatever that means. Shawn responds to the Sarge’s comments by telling him he’s got himself an insurance policy. IS KEVIN NASH RETURNING TO THE WWF? ARE WE GONNA SEE SOME DIESEL POWER? You better stick with the entire show to find out.
Country Whipping Match: The Legion of Doom vs. The Godwinns
Owen Hart and Davey Boy Smith join us for commentary. They both argue over who should beat up the Patriot tonight so that Bret can get his jollies. Oh, the object of this match is the first team to whip their opponents out of the ring wins. Phineas and Animal stay out on the floor while Hawk and Henry take turns choking and whipping each other with a leather strap. When it looks like curtains for Henry, Phineas whacks Animal with a slop bucket and heads into the ring. Animal winds up saving Hawk from a double-team attack and knocks both Godwinns out of the ring for the win. (3:48) Alright then. ½*
Scott Putski vs. Tony Williams
Goldust and Marlena head down to show us up on the TitanTron that they have a hidden camera in Brian Pillman’s dressing room. They think it’s funny to secretly watch him have to put on a dress. A precursor to GTV, perhaps? Maybe Goldust was behind GTV all along. Anyways, this match is almost completely ignored for this nonsense. Not that it would be a great match anyways, mind you. Putski wins via POLISH HAMMER. (3:33) Slaughter comes out and takes Goldust and Marlena with him backstage. ¾*
Some interesting house show and TV dates are mentioned. There’s a big house show planned for the Fleet Center in Boston (mentioned as the site for WrestleMania 14), a Saturday Night’s Main Event taping scheduled for August 23 at the Rosemont Horizon, and Raw is War comes to Madison Square Garden on September 22.
Backstage, Undertaker promises Shawn Michaels will ‘rest in peace’ at Ground Zero.
Get the latest edition of Raw Magazine to find out how screwed up Goldust’s relationship is with his father!
Brian Pillman vs. Flash Funk
For those of us who like our action extreme, our talking heads hype the ‘Hardcore Heaven’ PPV set for August 17. Of course if you ECW fans will remember, Jerry Lawler battles Tommy Dreamer on that show. Sabu’s name is mentioned. On the split-screen, Sgt. Slaughter decides that Owen and Bulldog will get to battle the Patriot, but in a tag match where the Patriot gets the partner of his choice. To start a comeback, Flash Funk hits Pillman with Trouble in Paradise. Moonsault by Funk hits knees. As Pillman drops Funk with a DDT, Goldust and Marlena appear on the ramp to show the peep video of Pillman dressing that was filmed earlier. Goldust has popcorn! Naturally Pillman is very distracted and gets caught in an inside cradle to give Flash the upset win. (3:17) Make sure you bring your dress with you next week, Mr. Pillman. ¾*
Video package concerning Steve Austin and Owen Hart from the last eight days.
Here comes Dude Love to close out the hour. Vince questions him about the fatal four-way coming up at Ground Zero with the Godwinns, LOD, and Owen Hart and the British Bulldog. All he has to say about them is that none of them are very hip. Switching over to Mankind and Shawn Michaels, Dude thinks Mankind will rock and then roll all over that wannabe hippie Shawn Michaels. Once Mankind gets the Mandible Claw on Shawn, the party is over. That causes Shawn to appear on the TitanTron for a rebuttal. He calls both men in the ring “nimrods” and tells Dude to specifically come into the 21st century, which is a century not even Shawn is able to come into at that point in time. Shawn again hypes this insurance policy he’s got and promises Mankind will see him tonight. Sweet Chin Music is coming Mankind’s way, you idiot. Well, Dude Love disagrees. Have mercy! Two different skanks join Dude Love for some crotch grinding and general family entertainment. If I’m not mistaken, I believe one of these chicks is Foley’s wife.
TIME TO ENTER THE WARZONE! Your hosts are Vince McMahon, Jim Ross, and Jerry Lawler.
Owen Hart & Davey Boy Smith vs. The Patriot & Ken Shamrock
Shamrock is the *mystery partner* of the Patriot. Bulldog is LIVID. Real tentative showdown between Shamrock and Owen to start. Once they do lock up, Shamrock is all over him with all kinds of rolls and throws. Tag to Patriot, he matches power with the Bulldog. Shamrock tags in and gets caught in the wrong corner. We look over to see that Bret Hart has appeared on the ramp as we go to commercial. When we come back, Shamrock is still being dominated by the former tag champs. Shamrock lands a crossbody block on both men to lead up to the HOT TAG TO THE PATRIOT! He powerslams Bulldog and hits the Patriot Missile for two. Double KO on Bulldog. Meanwhile, Shamrock is daring Bret to come down the ramp. Commissioner Slaughter runs out and backs up Bret. In the ring, Owen slides Davey Boy a chair. Unfortunately for the Bulldog, the plan backfires as Patriot delivers the UNCLE SLAM to the Bulldog onto the chair! The ref turns around and counts the 1-2-3. (8:09 shown) They are REALLY putting over this Patriot guy who was non-existent in the WWF two months ago. It’s actually amazing how well the crowds have taken to him considering how corny he is. Maybe people just weren’t as cynical in 1997 as they are now. **
Now we get a video package highlighting how well received Bret Hart regaining the WWF title was in Canada. Looks like hundreds of people swarmed him at the Toronto airport last week in his return to his homeland. The dude with the curly hair and the black jacket might be a serial killer nowadays. Can you imagine these people making YouTube videos today? Sadly, they would be LAUGHED OFF the site. It’s actually quite wonderful to see this kind of LOVE for wrestling instead of a bunch of ‘too cool for school’ know-it-all smart marks.
Once that’s over with, we catch Shawn Michaels talking to somebody backstage. All we can see is their back though. When the camera starts to pivot around to try to catch a glimpse of the mystery man’s face, Shawn sees the camera and yells at them to get away.
When we return, the Patriot cuts a promo on Bret backstage right before he’s attacked by the Hitman with a chairshot from behind and a flurry of punches and stomps before refs and agents help him out.
Faarooq vs. Chainz
Any and all NOD and DOA members are banned from ringside thanks to Commissioner Slaughter. We’ll see how long that sticks. Ahmed Johnson is “conspicuous by his absence” tonight after being excommunicated by the other NOD members last week. Match is really unimportant until the ref gets creamed. Enter Rocky Maivia making his quiet return to Raw. He acts all goody two-shoes in the ring and then plants Chainz with the ROCK BOTTOM. Ref wakes up and counts the pinfall. (3:05) Well at least until Rocky eventually takes over the Nation, Faarooq certainly traded up when he got rid of Ahmed. ½*
After the break, we catch Rocky Maivia meeting up with Faarooq and the other NOD members. They kick the camera man out of their locker room when the DOA show up. Again, refs and agents make sure no punches are thrown. Just a lot of yelling.
Sable heads out to introduce the next match. Boobs. She’s interrupted by the Patriot. He doesn’t want to wait until September 7, he wants Bret Hart in the ring right now. Well, Bret obliges him. Unfortunately, he corners himself away from the entrance ramp so that while Patriot is raining down upon him with the gusts of a thousand winds, the other Hart Foundation members (sans Jim Neidhart) run down to get them some. They leave the Patriot laying with the Canadian flag draped over him as more refs, agents, and Commissioner Slaughter try to maintain control.
Before we take a break, Mankind says he hopes Shawn’s insurance policy is life insurance, because tonight Shawn is going to swallow his own liver. Yikes.
Brakus. Coming Soon. BUT WHEN?
Shawn Michaels vs. Mankind
This is Shawn’s first match back since the King of the Ring when he went to a DDQ with Steve Austin and split up the tag titles. He was just a MESS to work with in 1997 says virtually anybody who was around him at the time. Mankind brings a Rubbermaid trashcan with him to the ring. It gets used against him fairly quickly. Michaels dumps the trashcan on Mankind and double-sledges him down. ECW Hardcore Heaven gets shilled again by JR and Lawler. Vince reminds them that they work for the WWF. When he pulls off the trashcan, the trash bag is still on Mankind, but he manages the MANDIBLE CLAW anyways. A low blow ends all that. We go to the floor where Mankind hotshots HBK on the guardrail. Mankind walks into a backdrop on the Raw announce table. Shawn follows up with a crazy elbow drop off the apron. From there, Michaels sends Mankind into the steps and brings him back inside for the Flying Elbow Drop. Shawn tunes up the band, but Mankind ducks SWEET CHIN MUSIC and applies the MANDIBLE CLAW. They roll out to the floor where Shawn breaks the hold by bashing Mankind’s head repeatedly into the ringpost. Shawn proceeds to take Mankind over with a back suplex onto the announce table as Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Chyna make their way to the ring. Oh yeah, plus commercials! When we return, Shawn pulls off Mankind’s mask and acts like it’s going to eat him. Funny stuff. Mankind fights out of a sleeper and beats Shawn down into the corner to set up the Running Knee. He pulls some hair out of his head as RICK RUDE from ECW shows up. JR assumes Rick Rude is the insurance policy Shawn was talking about. Mankind hits the DOUBLE-ARM DDT for 1-2-NO! While Chyna has the ref, HHH trips up Mankind into a chairshot to the skull by Rude! As Mankind turns around, he takes some SWEET CHIN MUSIC for the 1-2-3. (8:42 shown) Quite the shocker if only for ECW fans. Rick Rude hadn’t been on nationwide TV in over three years so he really had to make an impact here for his presence to matter to everybody. Otherwise, this was ROUGH stuff to see on free TV at the time. ***½