WWF RAW 3/24/1997
Written by: Kevin Kindelberger
Match Write-up/Ratings/Thoughts: Written by Bob Colling
World Wrestling Federation presents RAW
From: Rockford, IL
Usually the night after WM there are new storylines and new angles. Instead we get a lot more continuity for better or worse. The Nation and Ahmed will continue to feud until Faarooq and Ahmed have a blow off match. Austin and Bret are not done and throw in the Undertaker, Sid and Shawn and that has months of potential. I am not sure where Goldust goes from here or Vader and Mankind. Davey and Owen are back on the same page and the only legit is the Legion of Doom right now. They have the ECW angle and it was never satisfactorily concluded. In fact the WWF can go many different ways as they are not really tied into one big angle and this could be helpful down the road. Hopefully, with another live show the WWF maintains the momentum that they have had. WM did not have that feel normally associated with it but it was above average; the only match that really stood out was the Austin/Bret match and the rest while good could have been on any PPV. RAW saw a slight bump with a 2.4 or 2.6 for a 2.5 total. While Nitro dipped to a 2.9 and 3.1 for a 3.0 total.
Vince McMahon welcomes everyone to RAW and quickly notes that the Undertaker is the new WWF World Champion. Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler are on commentary and it’s announced that Mankind will challenge the Undertaker at the next pay per view in April.
Opening Contest: the Headbangers defeated WWF World Tag Team Champions Owen Hart/British Bulldog by disqualification: Mosh and Owen kick off the match with Mosh controlling Owen with a hammerlock. Owen blocks a hip toss with an arm drag and leg whips Mosh. Thrasher enters and clotheslines Owen while he was talking to Bulldog. Thrasher is now the legal man but is taken down by Owen as Bulldog tags in to leg drop Thrasher. Bulldog scoop slams Thrasher and press slams Owen onto Thrasher for a two count. Legion of Doom show up via split screen and say they want the WWF World Tag Team Championships and don’t care who have the championships. Mosh misses a splash in the corner and Owen tags out to Bulldog. Bulldog drives Mosh to the mat with a spine buster and Owen leaps off the top with an elbow drop for a near fall. Mosh is able to slow Owen down and tags out to Thrasher. The challengers knock Owen down with a double clothesline. Bulldog tags in and connects with a delayed vertical suplex on Thrasher. Thrasher is able to stop Bulldog with a knee lift and slows the bout down with a headlock. Bulldog goes off the ropes and knocks Owen off the apron. Thrasher nearly rolls Bulldog up from behind but only gets a two count! Owen and Bulldog have an argument on the floor. Owen tells Bulldog he doesn’t need him and walks up the ramp as RAW goes to commercial! Mosh is choking Bulldog when the show returns, but Owen is back on the apron. Thrasher prevents Bulldog from tagging out and allows Mosh to get a few shots in. Mosh holds Bulldog over the top rope and Thrasher leaps over Mosh to splash down onto Bulldog’s back for a two count. Owen continues to short arm Bulldog from the apron. Bulldog comes off the ropes and plants both men with a DDT. Owen finally tags in and he spin kicks both challengers. Owen takes Thrasher over with a belly to belly suplex for a two count. Owen drives Thrasher down with a back breaker but tags out to Bulldog. Bulldog power slams Thrasher for a near fall. Owen connects with a gut wrench suplex on Thrasher and leaps off the top rope hitting Thrasher with a missile dropkick. Owen avoids a dropkick and locks in the Sharpshooter but Mosh enters to break the hold. Bulldog enters and power slams Thrasher. Bulldog grabs Owen but is shoved away by Owen. Bulldog ends up shoving the referee down and that causes the DQ. (**. It wasn’t that bad of a match, really. I thought the Headbangers were able to keep the match interesting with their double team moves and quick tags. Plus, the aftermath with Bulldog and Owen finally seemingly breaking up was nice to see.)
After the match, Bulldog takes Owen down to the mat and they trade right hands on the mat. Owen grabs a microphone and takes credit for the team’s success. He believes he could beat Bulldog for the WWF European Championship. Owen wants a title shot and is convinced he is better than Bulldog. Owen calls him a coward and wants to know if he has the guts to wrestle him. Bulldog mentions beating Owen in Berlin for the championship but accepts the challenge.
Scenes from WrestleMania and the encore is tomorrow night!
Mankind is sitting down in a corner and rubbing his arm saying he is gone and that he left him. He has already beaten the Undertaker and in less than a month will be the champ but Paul left him and he needs his family and wants him back. He does not want to have to find him and starts yanking out his hair.
Before the next match, Bret Hart appears on the big screen wanting to say something. Hart wants a chance to get something off his chest. McMahon tells him to not use any abusive language. He will get time later tonight.
Second Contest: Hunter Hearst Helmsley defeated Bart Gunn: Well, this is going to get a long story short treatment since it’s going to be a extended squash match. During the bout, Goldust shared some thoughts about what happened at WrestleMania last night. He makes it clear that HHH will never forget the name Marlena. Bart is sent to the floor where Chyna scoop slams him on the floor and sends him into the ring post. HHH soon hits the pedigree back in the ring to win the bout.
A highlight from the Slammy’s and Sable is in a bikini….no masculinity there.
Third Contest: Venum/Super Nova/Discovery defeated El Mosco/Hysteria/Abismo Negro: Long story short, Nova pins Hysteria after a top rope hurricanrana. Actually, I don’t know who got the pin or lost, but that’s my best guess.
JR is with Rocky and Rocky Johnson before the show started. His dad wanted to surprise him and so travelled the entire way. He was so proud but when his son was jumped he had to help him but will never do that again and gives him a big hug.
Fourth Contest: Flash Funk defeated the Brooklyn Brawler: So, Funk wins this squash following a 450 splash off the top rope. Next…
Ken Shamrock is in the back and as far as he saw Austin was in unconscious, so he had to call the match. Austin did not quit but he had to protect Austin. Vince asks about after the match and Bret attacking him. Austin could not protect himself and Ken thought he was trying to end Austin’s career. He and Austin have had words before but he admits that he has no quit. Austin is one of the toughest that he has seen.
Bret is pacing in the back and he is up when he gets back…..Hour number two.
Bret is coming out and the fans still respond enthusiastically. He grabs the mic from JR and he delays speaking as now he hears some boos. He wants to apologize to his fans in Germany, Britain, and to all of them in Europe and Japan and to the Middle East down into South Africa as well as his great fans in Canada. And to his fans in the USA and he apologizes for nothing. He beat Austin to a bloody pulp and no matter how often he wins he feels like he lost. Austin is a gutless creep and the fans cheered him like he won even though they knew he lost. It goes back to last year when he champ last WM where the belt belongs. The fans cheered a pretty boy on who screwed him. When he was watching RAW at home he realized that the WWF needed heroes and that a guy who has piercings all over his body and poses for a girly magazine that may not be for girls and that it is a gay magazine as fans chant for Austin. He wanted to clean up the WWF, so he came back and he beat Austin and he thinks he garnered some respect. Then against Sid their hero Shawn interfered and no one did anything about it. So he had to go against 29 others in the Rumble and he won; he was the last legal man. The fans somehow justified that Austin won and a better man would have quit and maybe he should have and many fans cheer. Vince and Gorilla begged for him to come back and he did and now he turns to the Final Four and the winner would get a title shot at WM and he thinks that is a good idea so he comes back. Then their hero Shawn Michaels comes up with this life threatening injury and how he has to find his smile. So he goes into the Final Four and he won and then won the belt. He was told he did not get time to rest and he had to fight Sid and he did not run or hide and he had Sid tied up in the middle of the ring. He claims he was booed through most of the match and Austin runs out and uses a chair and that is acceptable in America and his American fans did not care. Bret wanted Austin because he has made his life a miserable Hell. He gets the news that he will battle Sid in a cage match and in that match outside interference played a big role and the Undertaker happened to be there and cost him the title and the fans seem to like that. He has been screwed over by the WWF and abandoned by his US fans, he decides to go into the submission match against Austin and give him an old fashioned ass whipping and he beats him to a bloody pulp, the fans cheer for Austin instead. He has tried to be everything the fans want him to be but they do not understand what it means to have dignity and poise and who brings class to the WWF because they would rather cheer for people like Charles Manson and OJ because Americans have no class or respect. It is clear to him that American wrestling fans do not respect him and the fact is he does not respect them and they do not deserve it. From here on in the US fans can kiss his ass….Here comes Shawn Michaels and he wants to get one thing straight; Bret can say anything about Shawn and everyone knows that it takes a hand written note from the Lord Almighty to get a match from Bret. Shawn is not putting on a facade like Bret and Shawn is well aware of his faults and admits them. As far as Austin is concerned he did not give up and even Bret has to admit that Austin is one tough SOB. Shawn has tried to take the high road and he is no shape to wrestle and Bret is tougher than him and he does not have to be number one, Bret though obsesses and has to be number one. When people pay money they have the right to cheer or boo anybody they want. Shawn has been booed before and does not get bent out of shape about it….A fan bellows that he is lying and also while Shawn is claiming he is being cheered tonight in reality there are quite a few boos! Shawn mentions the First Amendment….Thanks Shawn. People can live how they want and Vince calls it freedom of expression and he brings in fans and piercings and dating, uses them as examples. Shawn is ready to go right now and Bret grabs the mic from JR. Now Shawn states: America, Love it or Leave it. Bret tells him to get out of his face and Shawn gets up in his grill and says he is not good with authority and wants to know how Bret knew he was in the girlie magazine and Bret walks away and Shawn continues that Bret had to flip through them just a bit. Bret goes up to him and kicks the back of the knee and then stomps on it. He wraps it around the post and applies the Figure Four. Refs are there, trying to pull him off and Vince gets up and Sid comes out and Bret retreats and walks back up the ramp. Sid is bellowing at him and Bret decides to come back and the fans love it. Nope he decides to flip off Sid and walk to the back instead. Shawn is writhing on the ground as Sid leaves.
Vince is stunned by what happened with Bret and I think he is a little stunned by the crowd reaction of Shawn getting beat up!
Fifth Contest: WWF Intercontinental Champion Rocky Maivia defeated Leif Cassidy: Yet another squash match. Bret Hart makes his way down to ringside to get on commentary. Cassidy is actually controlling Rocky with an interesting face buster which was pretty much a power bomb with Rocky being thrown face first into the mat. Rocky battles back with a float over DDT. Rocky heads to the top rope and hits a cross body to win the bout. Yawn.
After the match, Bret Hart enters the ring and attacks Rocky’s left knee to show McMahon he can be wickedly bad.
Main Event: Ahmed Johnson defeated Savio Vega by disqualification: Vega attacks Johnson before the bell with right hands but Johnson battles back only to miss a spear in the corner and hits the ring post. Vega controls Johnson with more right hands and stomps in the corner. Vega scoop slams Johnson and taunts the fans. Johnson blocks a backdrop with a big boot but runs into a double big boot from Vega. Vega delivers several shots to Johnson’s kidneys to regain control of the contest. Johnson atomic drops Vega and crotches him on the top rope until Johnson charges towards Vega and they both fall to the floor as RAW goes to commercial. Johnson blocks a suplex attempt and connects with one of his own. Johnson heads to the top rope and hits Vega with a somersault dive, which was impressive. Johnson misses an elbow drop after coming off the ropes. Vega avoids a backdrop by super kicking Johnson. Vega puts a sleeper hold on Johnson but isn’t able to keep him down for long. Johnson drives Vega down to the mat with a Rock Bottom and follows up with a spine buster. The Nation begins to make their way down to the ringside area and Vega is pulled out of the ring by Vega. Johnson grabs a 2×4 to keep the Nation from entering the ring. (*. Aside from the top rope move by Johnson, this match didn’t really do anything for me. This feud needs to end.)
After the match, Johnson says this has gone too far and is going to deal with them. He notices that Faarooq isn’t here. If he beats one of them they all leave the World Wrestling Federation. Apparently, the Nation accepts the challenge.
Paul Bearer is in the back looking nervous and he does not want to talk to Vince and he should know who he wants to talk to but Vince does not.
Here comes the Undertaker and Vince is in the ring and he is struggling to spit out welcoming the Undertaker down but figured it out. Wow he takes his time coming to the ring. Vince congratulates him for winning the title. UT welcomes the creatures to the dark days of the WWF. He is their knight that will fight anyone who attempts to take the title. UT is asked about the match last night and UT thanks Sid for being a man and stepping into the ring with him and will give him a rematch down the road. Now to Mankind and he is the number one contender. UT has to stay sharp and Mankind is the most dangerous person in the WWF and it makes the Undertaker a better gladiator. Paul wants the Undertaker to listen to him and he can beat him up if he likes and now Mankind whines for Uncle Paul and Paul whines he did it all for the Undertaker as Mankind whines and it fades.
Final Thoughts: Honestly, this show was really boring. Sure, the Bret Hart promo and the Bulldog/Owen segment were entertaining but the bad outweighed the good this week. I don’t understand why they continue to put on squash matches while WCW continues to run wild on the ratings war. The only positive out of doing it is they aren’t giving away money drawing matches on free television. For a post WrestleMania RAW, it was pretty bad and there weren’t really any new angles/feuds developed which only means we can expect the same stuff from the past six months moving forward.
Thanks for reading.