Raw Rewind: 21 January 1997

raw-old-shadowCraig Wilson

Part three of the #Rawrewind see’s us in Beaumont Texas for the Raw after the 1997 Royal Rumble, held in the Alamodome in San Antonio Texas. The two big things coming from that event were Michaels beating Sid to win the WWF Championship and Steve Austin winning the rumble match by last eliminating Bret Hart after officials failed to spot Austin having himself been eliminated.

Champion Roll Call:

WWF Champion: Shawn Michaels
WWF Intercontinental Champion: HHH
WWF Tag Team Champions: Owen Hart and the British Bulldog
We start with a video recap of the Royal Rumble including various stills from the main event match before we see some of the controversy from the Rumble match itself. Vince advised us that WWF President Gorilla Monsoon will be at Raw tonight to announce who will face Michaels at Wrestlemania 13

Your hosts are Vince McMahon, Jim Ross and Jerry ‘the King’ Lawler.

Bret Hart interrupts the opening of the show by cutting an in-ring promo, directed at Vince McMahon, going over the promises McMahon made to him since returning and the screwjobs that happened in his match with Psycho Sid at In Your House ‘It’s Time’ and at the previous evening’s Royal Rumble. Hart said he had been screwed by Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin, the WWF, and McMahon; moments later, he said since he wasn’t going to get his WWF title shot, he quit; Hart then slammed the mic down and left through the crowd.

‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin then appeared in the ring and claimed Bret was a whiner and told him to go back to Canada because the only person he could beat was his own father; he then said he was supposed to wrestle Sid later in the show but WWF President Gorilla Monsoon said Sid was at home with a concussion and he would be facing the Undertaker instead; Austin then challenged Taker to an immediate fight, during which McMahon left the broadcast table and went backstage for a reason that was not explained to viewers.

We return to ringside with The British Bulldog’s music playing with McMahon still gone and JR and Lawler covering commentary duties in the meantime.

Match 1: WWF Tag Team Champions Owen Hart & Davey Boy Smith (w/ Clarence Mason) v Doug Furnas & Phil LaFon in a non-title match: We start by seeing footage from the Rumble of Owen playing a part in eliminating the Bulldog.

JR continues to praise LaFon and Furnas to the hilt but despite their undoubted in-ring talents, they lacked the “it” factor to make it in the WWE. LaFon and Owen start this one and you see the quick paced action you would expect from these two superstars. Big spin kick has Owen down and Furnas is tagged in and takes him down with a shoulder tackle and a dropkick for a near fall.

Owen hits a spinning heel kick of his own and the British Bulldog is tagged in but Furnas hits a fantastic hurricanrana for another near fall. We learn during this match that Monsoon fined The Undertaker his entire “Royal Rumble purse” for chocking a referee at the conclusion of his match with Vader.

Owen gets a two count with a top rope dropkick after tagging in without Furnas noticing. Owen continues to work on Furnas but is unable to lock in the sharpshooter but Owen is still in control and prevents Furnas tagging out and now the Bulldog is in.

The tag champions continue to dominate with Owen nailing Furnas with an inziguri and the Bullodg hitting a holding suplex. A belly to belly suplex keeps Owen in charge of proceedings but he misses a top rope headbutt and LaFon is tagged in as is the Bulldog.

This one ends at the 12 and a half minute mark with The Bulldog pinning LaFon with a running powerslam after Owen hit LaFon with his slammy.

Your winners: The British Bulldog and Owen Hart via pinfall: Good match although crowd not that into it after the excitement of the opening sequence.

We return to ringside with The Nation of Domination music playing as we see a video recap of Ahmed taking out the members of the NOD at the Rumble.

Match 2: Farooq v Bart Gunn: You’d probably be forgiven for forgetting about Bart Gunn. He hits the ring to the ‘Smoking Gunns’ music. Gunn starts well with an arm drag and works on the arm of the leader of the Nation of Domination.

After the commercial break Farooq is in charge and hits a huge spinebuster for a two count. The match goes back and forth with Gunn nearly picking up the win with a bulldog but outside interferences breaks up the count.

The NOD attack Gunn outside the ring before Crush rolls him back in and Farooq hits the Dominator for the three count.

Your winner: Farooq via pinfall. Essentially a squash match but Gunn does get in some offence before he’s just outnumbered by outside interference.

Vince McMahon is now in the ring for the interview with Gorilla Monsoon, the WWF President. Monsoon announces that while Austin did win the Royal Rumble, he would not earn a WWF World Title shot at WrestleMania due to the controversial nature of the finish. Instead, a four-man No DQ bout was announced for the next PPV – In Your House 13: The Final Four – involving Taker, Austin, Vader, and Hart – if Hart chose to accept the invitation. Whoever won that match would then face the Champion at WrestleMania 13. Austin reappeared and reminded Monsoon that Hart was gone before confronting Monsoon and McMahon at the announce table until Hart came back out from the crowd, got in the ring, and accepted the invite. Hart and Austin then began brawling all the way down the aisle until various referees, Gerald Brisco, Tony Garea, and Rene Goulet spent several minutes trying to break it up, leading into the main event. The referees are still trying to drag Bret Hart away as The Undertaker’s music hit. The Undertaker and Bret then start brawling before Austin jumps him from behind.

Match 3: The Undertaker v ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin: This one gets underway when the two superstars make their way into the ring after scraping all around the ringside. Vince McMahon has returned to commentary for this one.

The crowd is, unsurprisingly, superhot for this one and go wild for every big spot. Early on the Undertaker goes for, what is now known as, “Old School” before beating Austin down in the corner with a foot to the throat and a series of punches and thrusts. It is all Undertaker at this stage before The Taker puts his head down with Austin coming off the ropes and Austin hits a neckbreaker but ‘taker sits up.

Lawler is urging Austin to go for The Undertaker’s injured ribs and it is very weird hearing ‘The King’ cheer for the rattlesnake. Austin hits a couple of kicks to the Undertaker’s head before he can stand up and a back elbow off the ropes gets a two count but The Undertaker easily kicks out.

The Undertaker fights back with a shot to the ribs but that only momentarily stuns Austin who hits kicks and ties the Deadman in the ropes and drops him throat first over the second rope. Austin then rams ‘taker head first into the turnbuckle but The Undertaker fights back and throws Austin into the other corner. But he’s then caught with a big boot as he runs in and Austin gets a two count after a double axe-handle from the top rope.

Lawler leaves the commentary booth in order to cheer on Austin but Austin is caught with a kick to the groin as he attempts to beat the Undertaker in the corner. Austin then hits a stunner but is too beaten down to capitalise.

We cut to backstage as various superstars help pull apart Vader and Bret Hart. We return to the ring as Austin gets a two count following an elbow drop before hitting a series of elbow drops on the ‘taker. Austin goes up to the top rope as The Undertaker gets to his feet but takes too long and The Undertaker kicks the top rope to send Austin groin first into the turnbucklele.

High risk from The Undertaker as he attempts a superplex but is pushed off and Austin hits an elbow drop from the top rope for a two count before The Undertaker sits up and ducks an Austin clothesline before hitting a flying one of his own and goes for a chokeslam as Vader hits the ring and it is Vader that is on the receiving end of the chokeslam. Bret Hart then hits the ring as the crowd go utterly nuts as they see the main event competitors from ‘In Your House: The Final Four’.

Post match Hart returned to the ring and joined in a brawl with Austin, Taker, and Vader, with Hart and Austin brawling in the aisle and Taker and Vader fighting in the ring as the show came to a close.

Your winner: Via DQ, The Undertaker after Vader attacked him.: A match that the crowd were so into. It’s clear that all the hype from now on is going to be on these four men ahead of the next ‘In Your House’ pay-per-view.

Overall: This show was all about Austin, Hart, Undertaker and Vader and when any of those were involved in proceedings then the crowd was hot for the action. Crowd understandably a bit flat for the other matches but this Raw was all about setting up the four-man match main event for ‘In Your House 13’.

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One thought on “Raw Rewind: 21 January 1997

  1. Pingback: Meanwhile, in WCW: 1997 Week 3 | Ring the Damn Bell

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