Written by: Matt Peddycord
WWF: Raw is War
December 15, 1997
Whittemore Center Arena
The current WWF champs are as follows:
World Champion: Shawn Michaels (11/9/1997)
Intercontinental Champion: Rocky Maivia (12/8/1997)
World Tag Team Champions: Road Dogg & Billy Gunn (11/24/1997)
European Champion: Shawn Michaels (9/20/1997)
Light Heavyweight Champion: TAKA Michinoku (12/7/1997)
TIME TO GET RAW! Your hosts are Jim Ross, Michael Cole, and Kevin Kelly.
Michael Cole interviews the Undertaker to start the show. Cole announces that the Undertaker will face Shawn Michaels for the WWF title in a casket match at the Royal Rumble. Taker says he has faced Shawn twice, but nothing has been settled. He knows he can beat Shawn though when it’s just one-on-one. Cole reminds Taker that this will be in a casket match. Taker says he has only lost one casket match over the years and it took ten of the best wrestlers in the biz to do it. Since DX doesn’t have ten members and Shawn doesn’t have ten friends, he thinks he’ll be okay. Taker warns Shawn to give his soul to the Lord because his scrawny self belongs to him. No matter the outcome, one of them at the Royal Rumble will rest in peace. The lights go out and here comes Kane and Paul Bearer out to the ring. WELL, WELL, WELL. Bearer reminds Taker once again that he killed his own parents and that all the damage Kane has been dishing out on the WWF the past couple months is on his hands. If Taker would just accept a match with his brother, all of this carnage will end. In order to provoke his brother, Kane slaps Taker across the face one good time. He tries to slap Taker again, but Taker stops his hand. Taker shakes his head no as they stand eye to eye. Before Kane can do anymore provoking, Taker walks away and heads up the ramp. With his back turned, Kane sets the turnbuckles on fire in a great visual.
TAKA Michinoku vs. Jerry Lawler
Obvs, the light heavyweight title is not on the line. Ross gives an upcoming UFC PPV the rub. Lawler makes fun of TAKA’s size to start. It’s the only opponent he’s had in the WWF that’s smaller than him. TAKA kicks Lawler out to the floor and delivers his highlight reel plancha. Back in, Lawler thinks he’s shown up TAKA with a dropkick. TAKA answers with a dropkick of his own, but sort of misses a moonsault. Lawler slows the action down considerably here. He hits the PILEDRIVER, but TAKA slides away from the FLYING FIST DROP and delivers the MICHINOKU DRIVER. As he covers Lawler, Brian Christopher runs out and breaks up the pin for the DQ. (5:45) Heel miscommunication ensues and TAKA escapes to the floor to safety from the Lawler boys. Unless I’m mistaken, it doesn’t appear Brian Christopher ever received a title match except on house shows. ¾*
With the announce of LOD vs. DX in tonight’s main event, we get a word with the Legion of Doom. WELL, Hawk says he never thought he would wrestle Michael Bolton (before the haircut), Fabio, and RuPaul all at the same time.
Out comes the Nation of Domination to the ring. They replay Steve Austin forfeiting the IC title to Rocky Maivia and then stealing it back after giving him a STONE COLD STUNNER. Rocky starts talking about himself and naturally can’t seem to find a stopping place there. Faarooq – the LEADER of the Nation of Domination – tries to speak, but Rocky continues to talk. He orders Stone Cold Steve Austin to come out immediately and return the IC belt to him. I don’t think that will fly. However, Austin does come out through the curtain and tells the Rock that he showed him some mercy last week. He calls Maivia a piece of trash and whatnot. Austin says if the Rock wants to see what’s going to happen to his little IC belt, he needs to return to the back and watch it on a monitor. Austin just can’t believe Rocky would be dumb enough to mess with the 3:16, son. After Austin leaves, Rocky gives him exactly one hour before he and the Nation search the building and drag Austin out to the ring for another butt whooping. Faarooq continues to look miffed that Rocky would treat him like his subordinate. The seeds are planted, folks.
Dude Love vs. Road Dogg (w/Billy Gunn)
Last week, Dude Love pinned Billy Gunn and then received a nasty beating afterwards. Now he gets his hands on the Road Dogg. Billy Gunn joins us at the commentary table. Ross names the tag champs the New Age Outlaws. Billy seems to like the name and thinks he and Road Dogg will use it. After the Outlaws draw Dude into a trap, he catches Road Dogg charging him in the corner with the MANDIBLE CLAW. Foley doesn’t know if he’s Dude Love or Mankind! He shoves Road Dogg to the floor and pulls out his hair like Mankind used to do. After some ringside violence, Dude takes him back in the ring for the running knee in the corner. He rocks back and forth on the mat and then gets up to set up for SWEET SHIN MUSIC. Dude connects and delivers the DOUBLE-ARM DDT for the pinfall. (4:39) Afterwards, Gunn tries to attack him with a chair. Dude sees it coming and takes him to the floor with the Cactus Clothesline. They fight up the aisle until Road Dogg joins his partner. The NAO suplex Dude on the stage and really want to shove him off the stage down to the concrete. It takes a few tries, but ultimately Dude takes a bump off the stage onto a table. Really nasty stuff. When the NAO go to check on him, they decide to stomp him some more just to show how tough they are. I am digging this feud. Pretty simple, but effective. *
Mark Henry vs. The Brooklyn Brawler
This is Mark Henry’s return to RAW. Ross reminds us that he broke his ankle during his wrestling training. He also tells us that Steve Austin has left the building, but has a remote camera crew to follow him. Nevertheless, Henry destroys Brawler and wins with a BEARHUG at 2:03.
We see a video package highlighting the recent interactions between Shawn Michaels and Owen Hart over the past eight days.
ENTER THE WARZONE! Your hosts are Jim Ross & Jim Cornette.
Vince McMahon saunters out to the ring to give a message for Owen Hart. He’s not concerned with what he does to Shawn Michaels, but he doesn’t want him endangering the ringside fans by appearing through the crowd. Since he has a WWF contract, Owen must honor the agreement. Vince orders him to come to the ring because he knows Owen is in the building. Owen appears from the crowd wearing black clothes and shades. When Vince asks Owen what he thinks he’s doing, Owen starts cursing Vince and tells him the bullshit stops here. Bret, Neidhart, and Bulldog left to go to WCW and Owen will remain here in the WWF. He’s spent nine years in the WWF to earn a reputation and nobody will run him out of here. Vince thinks Owen is just trying to squeeze his way into a WWF title match since that’s the one title that has always alluded him. Owen says he doesn’t care about a leather strap with a piece of tin on it. THIS IS REAL LIFE, VINCE. Owen says his purpose now is to make Shawn Michaels life a living hell. Since Shawn started this issue, it’s time for the Little Nugget to end it. Vince calls down some policemen to escort Owen out of the building. You know, for the safety of the ringside fans. Next week, Owen will start coming down the aisle just like all the other WWF superstars. On his way out, Owen grabs Vince by the suit and shoves him back. Vince’s facial expressions are amazing. The crowd chants for Owen as the boys in blue take him away. Cornette – “In my opinion, Owen has got some big nuggets!”
They take us back to last week on RAW when Sable took off her potato sack and gave us a REAL show. As Cornette put it, Sable stripped and Marc Mero flipped.
The Sultan (w/The Iron Sheik) vs. Tom Brandi
Ross announces that Dude Love has suffered fracture ribs. Apparently, the Sal Sincere character is no longer thanks to Mero’s comments last week. Ross tells us that Steve Austin has been sighted at an abandoned bridge outside Durham. Brandi is hot to start, but he’s cooled off with a piledriver. From there, it’s your standard Sultan squash. Brandi hooks Sultan with a swinging neckbreaker though and goes after the Iron Sheik once he’s on the apron. Heel miscommunication ensues as Sultan runs into Sheik allowing Brandi to roll up Sultan for the upset win. (3:50) After the bell, Marc Mero runs down and low blows Brandi before putting the boots to him. He lets the Sable chants bother him though. I’m digging the heel Mero character doe. ¾*
After a video package highlights the situation between Steve Austin and the Rock over the past eight days, we get some extra footage from once Raw went off the air last week where a super pissed off Vince picked up a chair and threatened to whack Austin! CRAP. Refs and agents were able to cool him down though. Now onto the Nation of Domination who are waiting in the ring. Time to give up the IC title, Austin. We now go to Stone Cold who is standing out on an abandoned bridge over the Oyster River. Austin has brought some scuba gear with him and throws all of it into the river below. If Rock is somehow able to retrieve the belt, there’s a cell phone so that he can call Austin to let him know. He’s even got a beeper option there for him too. Both of those things get thrown into the river as well – and then so does the Intercontinental title, you piece of trash.
Austin – “Go swim out there and find the damn thing. If he’s lucky, he’ll find it. If he don’t, maybe he’ll drown. I don’t really give a damn what he does.“
“The Cure for the Common Show”: This is the video editorial where Vince McMahon tells us that they are just like every other TV show in the world and they will now change with the times. Funny how he talks about the WWF will be more extemporaneous than ever before and how opposite it is today. Put the kids to bed – the Attitude Era is officially here.
Steve Blackman vs. Jose Estrada Jr. (w/Los Boricuas)
Ref Tim White sends the rest of Los Boricuas to the back to prevent any shenanigans. This is the RAW wrestling debut for Blackman. We haven’t seen him since Survivor Series. He kicks Estrada around and pins him with a GERMAN SUPLEX in 1:39.
In the back, DX respond to Owen Hart’s comments from earlier. Shawn says he’s not a hard man to find and welcomes Owen to come get some. Helmsley thinks that since he took out Jim Neidhart and Shawn took out the British Bulldog and Bret Hart, it’s Chyna’s turn to handle Owen. Michaels thinks the WWF would never go for that because Chyna would rip him apart. Instead, they settle this conundrum like every other: a game of rock, paper, scissors. HHH wins, so he’ll be taking care of Owen for DX. As for LOD, DX will tear them up as well.
Shawn Michaels & Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Chyna) vs. The Legion of Doom
Neither HBK nor HHH can handle Animal to start as he shoulderblocks them down. Shawn grabs hold of the ropes and slides out to the floor to avoid a clothesline off a whip, but gets drilled with a clothesline by Hawk. DX regroups and catches Hawk in the back of the head with a kick from the apron by HBK. That turns the tide as DX antagonizes Animal drawing him into the ring while they double-team Hawk. Commercials! When we come back, Animal gets the hot tag and runs down DX with the usual. Billy Gunn comes down to ringside and gets Hawk’s attention. When Hawk goes to nail Gunn, Road Dogg appears and knocks him out with a chloroform rag, I assume. Meanwhile, Chyna takes care of Animal with a low blow for the DQ. (7:41 shown) Afterwards, Chyna whacks Animal with the European title belt. An unconscious Road Warrior Hawk gets rolled into the ring and has one of his Mohawks shaved in a HUGE moment. As if that wasn’t enough, Animal takes a four-person powerbomb off the apron through the announce table. To continue the madness, Gunn delivers a flying legdrop to Hawk and then HBK delivers one of his signature Flying Elbows. Hawk appears to be foaming at the mouth. As the New Age Outlaws shuck and jive back to the locker room, we see Shawn say that he’s impressed with the tag champs. **
As a lifelong fan of the Road Warriors, I was actually pretty sad watching the aftermath of this match.
TOTAL BELL-TO-BELL TIME: 25:37.