Raw Rewind: 28 April 1997

Craig Wilson

Raw Is War Logo (1998)

This #Rawrewind takes in the show from 28 April 1997 which is headlined by WWF Champion The Undertaker taking on the European champion The British Bulldog. Elsewhere, Brian Pillman explains why he jumped his former WCW tag partner on the previous week’s show whilst Owen Hart challenges Rocky Maivia for the Intercontinental title.

All the previous Raw Rewinds can be located here.

Champion Roll Call:

WWF Champion: The Undertaker
WWF Intercontinental Champion: Rocky Maivia
WWF Tag Team Champions: Owen Hart and the British Bulldog
WWF European Champion: The British Bulldog

Footage is shown from last week’s Street Fight between Bret Hart and Stone Cold, including the mugging by The Hart Foundation and the save by Shawn Michaels. We also see Austin attacking Hart in the ambulance and Pillman jumping Austin to end Raw.

Your hosts are Vince McMahon, Jim Ross and Jerry ‘the King’ Lawler at the Civic Center in Omaha in Nebraska.

The show begins with Brian Pillman making his way down to the ring. He said he is a sensitive soul and a religious man and encourages the fans to join him in prayer. He prays for a speedy recovery for Bret Hart, prayed for the forgiveness of those who enjoyed the savagery of last week’s Raw and those who exalted in the devious actions of Austin.

Austin finally interrupted and addressed Pillman via the Titantron and offered to beat Pillman, to great cheers from the crowd. Pillman said he’d turn the other cheek to Austin and mooned him. Austin made his way to the ring but is jumped by Owen Hart and The Bulldog but is able to escape through the crowd and states “I ain’t that stupid.”

Pillman, Hart and Bulldog pray in the ring for Hart as Austin is shown in the backstage area locating an axe handle that he runs to the ring with and clears the ring. With one eye clearly on the Raw ratings from the previous week, Vince announces that Austin will be at Raw throughout the whole two hours just as he was on the previous episode. The commentators hype the rest of the show with Owen challenging Intercontinental Champion Rocky Maivia and The European Champion The British Bulldog taking on the WWF Champion The Undertaker.

Match 1: Flash Funk v Rockabilly (w/ Honky Tonk Man): Lock up to start and Gunn is pushed into the corner and pushes Funk over but Funk catches him with a dropkick and an arm drag. Rockabilly fights back and backdrops Funk out of the ring but he comes back with a flying body press off the top rope and goes back to working on the arm.

Two kicks to the face sends Gunn out of the ring and Funk takes him down with a clothesline to the outside off of the second rope. Funk goes up top again but Honky distracts him allowing Rockabilly to gain the upper hand. Rockabilly suplexes Funk back into the ring for a two count.

Funk fights back with a series of punches but is dropped with a Fameasser and Gunn goes up top but is caught with a superkick and knocked groin first onto the turnbuckle but Gunn is able to hit a spinning DDT from the second rope. GUnn brings Honky onto the apron but is whipped into him and Funk hits a Hurricanrana for the win. What a strange ending…

Your winner: Flash Funk via pinfall. The ending made no sense, why did Rockabilly get Honky to step onto the apron? Nothing match. Funk wasn’t doing much and the crowd didn’t care much for the Rockabilly gimmick.

After the match, Rockabilly drives the guitar into Funk’s head leaving him lying in the ring.

Bret Hart is shown on the titantron being wheeled to the ring by Bulldog and Owen as Gorilla Monsoon and security looks on as we go to a break.

We return with Vince introducing Bret Hart, to the jeers of the crowd, out for an interview. Owen and The Bulldog stand guard on the stage as Hart addresses them from that area. Hart says it’s great to have Pillman back before describing Austin as a “hyena” that has managed to injure a great lion (Hart). A typical anti-America promo then follows.

Footage is shown of Henry Godwinn’s neck being broken as we learn that the Legion of Doom are in action next.

Match 2: The Legion of Doom v Doug Furnas and Phil Lafon: A double feature is shown of a backstage interview with Lafon and Furnas where they address why the WWF fans don’t take to them before putting the boot into the LOD and the fans.

Animal and Lafon start with Animal being taken down with a spinning heel kick but he regains advantage with a flying shoulder tackle and Furnas and Hawk are tagged in. Hawk catches him with a clothesline into the corner and a neckbreaker, as the commentators discuss Godwinn’s neck break. Lafon kicks Hawk in the back from outside the ring and Furnas hits a overhead belly-to-belly suplex and a legdrop to the back of the head. This gives Lafon, who is now in, a nearfall.

Lafon punches away in corner and hits an underhook suplex before applying an arm bar on Hawk. A snap suplex follows this but Hawk dodges a spinning heel kick and a double clothesline puts both men down. Animal and Furnas are in and Animal cleans house before Lafon and Furnas double team Animal.

LOD go for the Doomsday Device on Furnas but Lafon breaks it up but Hawk hits a clothesline from the top rope on Furnas for the win.

Your winner: LOD via pinfall. Poor Furnas and Lafon. Undoubtedly talented by the crowd just did not care at all about them. Quick and fairly one sided victory for LOD.

We see footage from Shotgun Saturday with “Sunny undercover” with The Headbangers climbing into bed with her. Sunny then walks onto the stage wearing an ‘Austin: 3:16’ t-shirt that Dok Hendrix advertises.

Vince speaks with Ahmed, who is backstage, and he rants against the NOD and how the battle has always been weighted in their favour but he’s up for the fight. We then see The Hart Foundation having a strategy meeting backstage before Pillman is shown praying for Owne Hart ahead of his IC title match.

The Castrol ‘Slam of the week’ is from the culmination of last week’s Raw is War with Goldust and Marlena jumping Triple H and Chyna.

Match 3: WWF Intercontinental Champion Rocky Maivia v WWF Tag Team Champion Owen Hart (w/ Bret Hart and The British Bulldog): Hart jumps Rocky to start the match but Rocky catches him before he can strike the Champion with the belt.

Irish whip is reversed but Maivia catches Owen with a clothesline and a dropkick before applying an arm bar – as was very much the norm for Rocky at this stage. Owen catches Rocky with a back elbow but is caught with a powerslam for a 2 count. Rocky then reapplies the arm bar but Owen fights back to his feet and pounds on Rocky in the corner.

Rocky back body drops Owen and again reapplies the arm bar as Bret Hart looks on from the stage. Shoulder block knocks Owen down but he recovers and tosses Rocky out of the ring and baseball slides the IC Champion face first into the guard rail.

Hart tosses Rocky back into the ring and hits a top rope dropkick for a nearfall before applying the reverse chinlock. A drop toe hold takes Rocky down and applies a leg grapevine as he works on the champions leg. The crowd chant “Rocky Rocky” as Hart continues to methodically work on the left leg.

A small package gets the IC CHamp a nearfall as the two trade blows in the ring until Owen kicks the knee, regaining control. Owen calls for the Shaprshooter but Rocky pulls Owen by the hair, breaking the move. He blocks a clothesline but his knee gives way and Hart hits a suplex and stomps away on the champion.

Rocky hits a spinning DDT out of the corner and both men are down as Bulldog shouts encouragement from the stage. Rocky gets a nearfall. Both men are back up and Rocky knocks Hart down with a series of punches and momentum is on his side. A rock bottom gets another nearfall.

Owen is whipped into the corner but comes out with a spinning heel kick and goes up top but Rocky counters with a back suplex for a 2. Owen blocks a suplex attempt and rolls up Rocky Maivia to win the Intercontinental Championship.

Your winner and new WWF Intercontinental Champion: Owen Hart A really good match-up as the Hart Foundation gain even more gold. Rocky needed to lose the belt and reinvent himself a bit as the crowd weren’t buying into him as much as they needed to.

Owen presents his brother with the IC belt as they celebrate ta the top of the stage.

Austin is shown backstage wheeling himself about in a wheelchair as we enter the edgier ‘Warzone’.

Vince McMahon is in-ring and introduces Stone Cold Steve Austin who enters the ring via the crowd, complete with wheelchair and axe handle. Austin asks the crowd “who wants to see a wheelchair match?” as he sits in his chair in the middle of the ring. He states he wants to go “wheel to wheel” with Hart. Austin then talks about his WWF Title shot against The Undertaker at the next In our House event.

Bret Hart appears on the titantron and tells Austin he’ll be leaving the arena in an ambulance this evening.

Vader is back in the USA and we see footage of him being arrested in Kuwait after being asked if wrestling was fake. Vince then hypes the match between Vader and Ken Shamrock. A video package is then shown on Shamrock.

Match 4: Jesse James v Vader: JR puts the boot into Vader as he makes his way to the ring for this one, calling him an embarrassment to the WWF. They lock up but Vader pounds away on Jesse James in the corner. An Irish whip is reversed and Jesse James catches Vader in the corner and pounds away but Vader fights back and knocks him down.

James is dragged into the corner and Vader hits a second rope splash but pulls him up to stop the count. He then hits a Vader Bomb for the win.

Your winner: Vader via pinfall. A squash match with virtually no offence from Jesse James.

JR enters the ring after the match to interview Vader. Ross asks Vader if he has any remorse for the embarrassment that his actions in Kuwait caused the WWF and his family. Vader states he has no remorse and he has nothing or noone to apologise to. Ross asks him if he thinks he overreacted when asked if wrestling was fake. Vader threatens to finish the interview from Kuwait right there as he knocks Ross’ hat off his head. Vader pushes and prods JR into the corner before grabbing him by the throat that prompts Shamrock to hit the ring and belly-to-belly suplexes him down as Vader scarpers. Shamrock states that when they get into the ring it won’t be Vader time, it will be “hard time.”

Goldust is shown backstage with Marlena as he pleads with her not to accompany him to the ring for his match against Triple H.

Match 5: Triple H (w/ Chyna) v Goldust: Goldust charges to the ring and this one is on. He pounds away and hits a series of flying clotheslines. He pounds on Helmsley in the corner and whips him into the other where he hits 10 punches.

Triple H counters another 10 punch attempt with an inverted atomic drop and both men are down in the ring. Goldust dodges a clothesline but is caught with a high knee before Goldust is thrown to the outside, where Chna attacks. Marlena makes her way down to the ring to even things up.

Goldust is rolled back into the ring and has his face driven into Helmsley’s knee. It’s now Triple H’s turn to work on his opponent int he corner. The two then trade blows but Goldust is able to take the advantage and catches Helmsley with a punch to the face and a clothesline.

Marlena throws powder in Chyna’s face and with the powder blinding her, she attacks Triple H – who is counted out and Goldust wins this one.

Your winner: Goldust via count out. A good enough brawl here and the ending keeps the storyline going for a few more weeks at least.

The Undertaker is then shown on the titantron where Vince asks him if he feels remorse for burning Paul Bearer at ‘In Your House: Revenge of the Taker’. Taker then addresses Stone Cold ahead of their match at the next IYH.

Sable then makes her entrance to advertise the new Undertaker t-shirt with Dok Hendrix again providing the voice over for this promo.

Austin is shown pacing the backstage area as The Hart Foundation make their entrance for the Bulldog’s non-title match against The Undertaker.

Match 6: WWF Tag Team and European Champion The British Bulldog v WWF Champion The Undertaker: Bulldog grabs the mic pre-match and dedicates the match to the man who introduced him to his wife Diana, “his inspiration” Bret ‘the Hitman’ Hart. He says he’s going to win the WWF title in the following match for Bret Hart. Ignoring the non-title part of things…

Taker whips Bulldog into the corner and picks him up with a two handed chokeslam as Owen and Bret look on from the stage. We return from a break with Bulldog hitting a hanging suplex on Taker for a nearfall. Taker ducks a clothesline attempt and hits a chokeslam as he signals for the Tombstone. Owen hits the ring and the tag champs double team The Undertaker, ominously leaving Bret Hart alone on the stage.

Your winner: The Undertaker via DQ. This one didn’t get long enough to really get going but all the fun was found after the match.

Austin makes the save through the crowd and he attacks the tag champions. Taker fights The Bulldog at ringside as Owen scarpers through the crowd. Austin grabs the WWF title and poses with it in the ring as the champion looks on. The two then go face to face and Austin drops Taker with a stunner and celebrates on the top turnbuckle. Austin stands over him taunting but The Undertaker sits up and chokeslams him.

Stone Cold now spots Bret alone at the top of the stage and makes his way towards him as Hart stands up, with the aid of his crutches. Just as he’s about to pounce, Austin is jumped by Jim Neidhart before Hart knocks Stone Cold off the stage as we end the show with the original Hart Foundation celebrating. The show ends with the cameras focussed on the deranged looking Brian Pillman.

Overall: An enjoyable show with all the focus on the Hart Foundation and Stone Cold feud. Good match, and big title switch, between Rocky and Owen Hart and the surprise return of Jim NeidHart.

One thought on “Raw Rewind: 28 April 1997

  1. Pingback: Meanwhile, in WCW: 1997 Week 17 | Ring the Damn Bell

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