WWF RAW 6/23/1997
Written by: Matt Peddycord
WWF: Raw is War
June 23, 1997
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)
Your hosts are Vince McMahon and Jim Ross.
R.I.P. Stan “The Man” Stasiak. 1937-1997.
The Nation of Domination heads out so Ahmed Johnson can explain his defection to the crew he’s been fighting all year long. The reason is because nobody would back him up and he doesn’t trust whitey anymore. When he has no more respect for the one man who would back him up since he’s hiding behind some blackmail, where does Ahmed have to turn? Oh yeah, and if Taker puts his hands on Ahmed, he won’t be dead enough. Well, I guess if there’s one promo from Ahmed that you would WANT to understand what he’s saying. D’Lo gets on the STICK for the first time I can recall and breaks everything down for us just to get some speaking time, which becomes a running joke as we saw in DX’s Nation parody. After Ahmed scolds Vince for ‘rolling his eyes’, Kama sings his own praises for pinning the Undertaker last week. I mean, you can’t really blame the guy after that accomplishment. As the Nation starts to leave, the Disciples of Apocalypse debuts. Crush leads the way of his motorcycle gang and he’s PISSED after the NOD let him go. This group also includes the Harris twins and Brian Lee. This leads to a HUGE brawl and what sucks about it is Ahmed gets injured – AGAIN. Nice hot start to the show though. Everyone loves a big fight.
Ken Shamrock vs. Rockabilly (w/Honky Tonk Man)
NWA world champ Dan “The Beast” Severn debuts and joins us for color commentary to put over Shamrock. Without the mustache, the man could be Vince’s stunt double. Some Ken Shamrock UFC action is shown. Just so surreal when you consider how times have changed. More interesting than the match is Vince discussing with Severn defending the barbaric nature of UFC. Belly-to-belly suplex and the ANKLELOCK gives Shamrock the win. (2:36) Afterwards, Shamrock comes over and stares down Severn. Nothing come of it though other than a handshake. Alright then. ½*
Backstage, the Godwinns say they’re going to do things their way from now on. Well, they do need another tag team.
The Legion of Doom vs. The Godwinns – WWF Tag Team Championship Tournament Quarterfinals
So LOD broke Henry’s neck a couple months back, which makes this tournament match more interesting, I suppose. One way to piss off the LOD is throw slop at them. The Godwinns do that and LOD clean house on them. Typical LOD match where Animal gets in trouble and Hawk receives the hot tag. Phineas stops the Doomsday Device on Henry, but Hawk still comes off the top with the flying clothesline to advance. (3:43) The Godwinns leave Hawk laying with the SLOP DROP, but Animal scares them away with a chair. In comes the Hart Foundation to beat up Animal with the chair while Bret watches on from the top of the ramp. Good stuff! ¾*
Hey look, boxing legend Tommy “The Hitman” Hearns is in attendance. Vince calls him a REAL hitman.
Elsewhere, UT snaps on Paul Bearer and goozles both Paul and Vader at the same time! When Paul reminds Undertaker of the fire, Taker lets them go. What’s he mean by that? We’ll find out later, I can assure you.
Flash Funk vs. Sabu (w/Bill Alfonso)
Anybody want to take a stab at this one? Is Sabu the first guy to wrestle on ECW Hardcore TV, Nitro, and Raw? You can’t count the thing he did back in February as a match. Showing ECW clips on WWE TV now is no biggie since they own all the footage, but in 1997 I’m sure some nerds were flipping out. They show Sabu doing all his craziest stunts. Onto the match. Sabu puts Flash on the floor with a springboard leg lariat and follows up with a somersault plancha. Sabu finds a table, but this is the WWF and we don’t do that here. At least not yet. Back inside, Flash hits a flying splash for two. Sabu stops Flash up top for a headscissors and a springboard leg drop gets two. Paul E mentions Alfonso’s stint as a WWF referee and how he adopted Alfonso from the Betty Ford clinic. Ouch. Meanwhile, Funk shoves off another headscissors and crotches Sabu before giving him a clothesline onto the apron. Funk gives Sabu a Handspring Pele Kick and a pescado wipes him out. Back in the ring, a big Flying Moonsault from Flash gets the 1-2-NO! Next up, Flash misses a charge and falls out to the floor. Sabu meets him on the outside with a slingshot headscissors. Now the table gets set up by Alfonso and we’ve got a double-countout. (4:38) Sabu finds the tables harder to break in the WWF. After a few dives, the table finally just collapses. Now Sabu and Bill Alfonso leave through the crowd. Vince – “Let’s move on, ladies and gentlemen.” **
WWF European Champion Davey Boy Smith vs. Mankind
Mankind comes out wearing an Austin 3:16 shirt and a sign around his neck that says ‘Pick Me Steve’. Seems like a lot of inspiration for the Rock N Sock two years later in this little relationship. Speaking of Austin, he joins us for a hilarious phone conversation with Vince and almost out of character at times. When he brings up Mankind wearing his shirt, he calls Mankind a “kind man”. He says he still will probably stick with Shawn Michaels as a partner because that’s how the powers that be want it to be. Oh yeah, the match. Mankind hits the Double-Arm DDT and instead of covering, he follows up with the Cactus Clothesline. DBS sends Mankind into the steps though and delivers a suplex onto the rampway. Back in, Mankind slips out of the RUNNING POWERSLAM and locks in the MANDIBLE CLAW from behind. Bulldog low blows out of it and whacks Mankind with a chair for the DQ. (4:10) Davey Boy continues the VIOLENCE and swings the chair at Mankind’s head two more times! Afterwards, he poses and still gets a mouthful of the MANDIBLE CLAW. ¾*
In the back, Owen Hart complains to WWF President Gorilla Monsoon that this triple threat match isn’t fair when the other two opponents have managers, so Gorilla OK’s Pillman being with Owen at ringside.
HOUR NUMBER TWO! Your hosts are Vince McMahon and Jim Ross.
WWF Intercontinental Champion Owen Hart (w/Brian Pillman) vs. Goldust (w/Marlena) vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Chyna)
Clips are shown of Owen, HHH, and Goldust starting their first reigns as IC champ. Of course, this gives them an opportunity to show Scott Hall losing to one of their own. No one has any kind of advantage here. Everybody tries to gain quick pinfalls, but the other guy keeps breaking it up. Owen suckers HHH into working together as he Spinning Heel Kicks HHH off the PEDIGREE on Goldust and out of the ring. That allows Goldust to hit the CURTAIN CALL real quick for the 1-2-3! New champ? Nope. Owen had his foot on the bottom rope. Gorilla Monsoon and Pat Patterson come down to tell Hebner about it and the match continues after the commercial break. Hebner even gets an instant replay of it up on the TitanTron, which NEVER HAPPENS. Once the match starts, Goldust fights off both men. Owen tries to take advantage with the SHARPSHOOTER and Helmsley clotheslines him away. Good action, but hard to transcribe. Goldust and Hunter dump Owen and trade punches, but Owen flies in with a double missile dropkick! Owen and HHH go to the floor. Meanwhile, Chyna hits the CHYNACANRANA on Goldust! Back inside, Owen nails Hunter with the ENZIGURI OF CERTAIN DEATH AND DESTRUCTION. As he goes to cover Helmsley, Goldust comes off the top rope and Owen moves as Hunter gets splashed. Pillman grabs Goldust while Owen covers Helmsley for real this time and gets the 1-2-3. (8:30 shown) Good action, but nothing too special. **½
Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart head out to talk with Vince McMahon. Vince brings up the Canadian Stampede match where the Legion of Doom will be involved. Bret says that the LOD think they are the best team ever, but the REAL best team ever is in the ring right now. He thinks Ken Shamrock came to the WWF from the Ultimate “Fairy” Championship. As for Goldust and Marlena if she wants to get involved, Bret says he has four sisters at home that could knock her socks off. Oh yeah, Stone Cold Steve Austin. He’s the scum of the earth. Justice is coming and it’s called the Hart Foundation. Bret now turns his attention over to Thomas Hearns, who he claims stole the moniker of “the Hitman” from him. There’s not enough room in this town for the two of them, so Bret calls him up into the ring. Bret calls him the Chickenman. You’d think Bret just called him the “N” word as Hearns jumps the rail and goes nose to nose with Bret. Anvil stands between them and gets punched down by Hearns. Now agents and Hearns people are in the ring keeping the two Hitmen separated. JR calls this another SportsCenter highlight for Monday Night Raw.
Backstage, Savio Vega confronts the NEW Nation of Domination and gets beat up for his efforts.
Brian Christopher (w/Jerry Lawler) vs. Scott Taylor
TOO COOL EXPLODES! Lawler joins Vince and JR on commentary. Thus continues the USWA v. ECW feud on WWF TV. I’m guessing this was a last ditch effort to save the USWA from its own certain demise. Christopher hits the Scorpion Death Drop out of the corner and follows that up with the HIP HOP DROP for the win. (2:54) Nothing much more than a squash. ¾*
Vader & Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer) vs. Faarooq & D’Lo Brown (w/Kama) – WWF Tag Team Championship Tournament Quarterfinals
Ahmed watches from backstage nursing his injury. Taker owns D’Lo to start. The Disciples of Apocalypse (which is a name Vince just cannot get used to) head down the ramp with their arms crossed. Another GANG WARZ ensue and instead of a DQ, we go to commercial. When we return, the DOA are gone and the match continues with Vader hitting the Pump Splash on D’Lo. Tag to Faarooq, he catches Vader coming off the second rope for a powerslam, which takes me back to August 92. Back to D’Lo, Vader splashes him for two. Now Vader confronts Undertaker about not really being there for the tag, so Taker punches him back into a running clothesline from Faarooq for the 1-2-3. (5:03 shown) Some CHEAP main event finishes lately. After the bell, Undertaker TOMBSTONES Vader and chases Paul Bearer out of the ring. As Taker starts to leave, Bearer announces that he will in fact reveal to the world this big secret he’s holding over Taker’s head – next week! Taker doesn’t seem to mind because when he does tell, he’s going to – I assume – finish him Mortal Kombat style. ½*