Last week on Raw is War, Ahmed Johnson turned on The Undertaker and defected to The Nation of Domination joining the other new member Kama Mustafa. In this week’s #Rawrewind we continue the WWF tag team tournement and Owen Hart defends the Intercontinental Title against Triple H and Goldust.
All the previous Raw Rewinds can be located here.
Champion Roll Call:
WWF Champion: The Undertaker
WWF Intercontinental Champion: Owen Hart
WWF Tag Team Champions: Stone Cold Steve Austin & Shawn Michaels
WWF European Champion: The British Bulldog
Your hosts are Vince McMahon and Jim Ross at the Cobo Hall in Detroit.
This episode of Raw is War is dedicated to the memory of Stan ‘the Man’ Stasiak who died on 19 June 1997.
The NOD make their way to the ring for an interview with Vince McMahon in order for Ahmed to explain his actions from last week. He states his turn was because no one had his back. That’s pretty much the only thing that was understandable from his promo… Kama then blows his own trumpet for pinning The Undertaker last week and who can blame him. D’Lo grabs the microphone and cuts a promo in a style that would lead to DX parodying – i.e. recaping everything that was just said, complete with shaking head…
As NOD make to leave, The Disciples of Apocalypse, led by Crush and joined by The Harris Brothers and Brian ‘Fake Undertaker’ Lee, debut and boy is Crush pissed at being thrown out of the NOD. Crush states that he’s never heard so much crap in his life and introduces his group before the two stables brawl in what was a very hot start to the show but which also led to Ahmed being injured.
Vince and JR hype tonight’s show including Farooq and D’Lo Brown taking on The Undertaker and The Godwinns locking up with the Legion of Doom. Additionally, the first triple threat WWF match is set to take place pitting WWF IC champion Owen Hart against Triple H and Goldust.
We cut to the back where Hawk and Animal are speaking ahead of their match against The Godwinns later in the show and then we see Ken Shamrock, who is in action next.
Match 1: Ken Shamrock v Rockabilly (w/ Honky Tonk Man): NWA world champ Dan “The Beast” Severn debuts and joins JR and Vince for colour commentary to put over Shamrock. Before we start we see footage from Shamrock’s UFC career.
Arm drag puts Shamrock in control early on as JR hypes the previous encounters between Shamrock and Dan Severn. Shamrock blocks an arm drag and applies an ankle submission that is broken when Rockabilly reaches the ropes.
With the referee speaking to Shamrock, Gunn attacks from behind and unloads with a series of punches to the face. He stomps away in the corner as JR talks about how Shamrock is still getting used to the WWF style.
An elbow to the back of the head gets a two count for Rockabilly. Shamrock blocks a powerslam attempt and hits a belly-to-belly and applies the Anklelock for the win here.
Your winner: Ken Shamrock via submission. A quick win for Shamrock. The Rockabilly character really was doomed.
Post match Honky is caught trying to hit Shamrock with the guitar. Shamrock then makes his way towards Dan Severn and the two shake hands at ringside.
Backstage we catch up with The Godwinns before their match with LOD which is next.
Match 2: The Legion of Doom v The Godwinns: This is the first time the sides have met since LOD broke Henry’s neck a few months previously. I guess that makes the first round tournement match a bit more interesting. We see footage of that neckbreak as The Godwinns make their way down to the ring.
LOD get a huge pop as they make their way to the ring. The Godwinns throw slop at LOD to start this one off and that fires up their opponents. Both teams brawl with Hawk and Animal knocking The Godwinns down with a pair of clotheslines.
Animal and Phineas start as JR announces that Shamrock has been attacked backstage by The Hart Foundation. Animal clears the ring and Henry is in. Hawk is tagged in and he takes Henry down with an enziguri that Henry no sells and piledrives Hawk which he no sells.
Hawk drops Phineas with a neckbreaker and tags in Animal. Phineas is no in and he tosses Animal over the top rope and, with the referee distracted, he’s thrown into the ring stepps.
Phineas is caught off the top rope with a clothesline and Hawk and Henry are tagged in. Hawk enters with a series of clothesline and all four men are in the ring. Phineas prevents LOD hitting the Doomsday Device but Hawk knocks Henry down with a top rope clothesline for the win.
Your winner: LOD via pinfall. A quick match again with all the real fun happening after the match.
The Godwinns attack LOD with the slop buckets before The Hart Foundation hit the ring and attack LOD as Bret Hart looks on from the stage.
The Undertaker is backstage, with Paul Bearer, and he is asked how much he is going to take before he snaps. Bearer tells him to shut up and Taker grabs him by the throat and is released when he starts talking about fire.
Match 3: Flash Funk v Sabu (w/ Bill Alfonso): In wrestling tonight, Sabu becomes the first man to appear on WWF Raw, WCW Nitro and ECW Hardcore TV.
As Funk makes his way to the ring, Vince catches up with Owen Hart who questions why he has to fight in a triple threat match and describes the decision as a “bunch of crap.”
Showing ECW clips on WWE TV now is a fairly common occurence now but less so back in 1997. We see Sabu doing some his crazier stunts. Paul E. Dangerously joins Vince and JR on commentary.
JR talks about Alfonso being a former WWF referee as Dangerously mentions Sabu being related to The Sheik. Sabu puts Flash on the floor with a springboard leg lariat and follows up with a somersault plancha. He then finds a table under the ring, but as this is 1997 WWF we don’t do that here yet. Fast forward a few months and things would be different but that’s for a later date…
Back inside, Flash hits a flying splash for two. Another top rope move is blocked and Sabu hits a top rope Hurricanrana for a two of his own and follows up with a springboard leg drop for another nearfall. Paul E mentions Alfonso’s stint as a WWF referee and how he adopted Alfonso from the Betty Ford clinic.
Funk hits a superkick and again goes up top but is caught yet he still manages to hit a top rope clothesline and a flying martial arts kick sends Sabu to the outside. A pescado then sends Sabu down.
Back in and Sabu hits a dropkick to the knee that puts him back in control. Funk hits a corner splash then a powerslam and a moonsault for a two count. Flash misses a charge and is backdropped to the floor. Sabu meets him on the outside with a slingshot headscissors and sets up a table and we’ve got a double-countout.
Your winner: No contest with a double DQ. Pretty high flying offence from both guys here. A good match that showcased just how good Funk was. Such a shame the WWF wasted him with the gimmick that they did.
Post match Sabu, on the third attempt, puts Funk through the table. The WWF tables are clearly built of stronger stuff, certainly at this point, than the ones in ECW.
Match 4: WWF European Champion The British Bulldog v Mankind: This is a non-title match btw. Mankind comes out wearing an Austin 3:16 shirt and a sign around his neck that says ‘Pick Me Steve’. Mankind grabs a mic and dedicates his efforts in the next match to his friend Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Mankind attacks from the start in the corner and drops him with a snapmare that’s followed up with a legdrop. Austin joins for a phone interview, not that familar an occurence at the time, and calls Mankind a “kind man” but states that he will likely stick with HBK as his tag team partner as that’s what the powers that be want.
In the ring, Bulldog knocks Mankind down with a clothesline and pounds away after ripping off the “pick me Steve” placard. The two trade blows before Bulldog is sent to the outside and Foley follows him. Bulldog is rammed headfirst into the guard rail. Back in the ring, a suplex attempt is blocked and Bulldog pounds away and rams his opponent head first into the turnbuckle.
Mankind dodges a clothesline and drops the European champion with a double underhook DDT. Instead of going for the cover, he continues to attack and both men are sent to the outside with a trademark Mankind clothesline.
On the outside Bulldog whips Mankind into the steps and suplexes him onto the ramp. We return to action in the ring and Bulldog sets up a running powerslam but slips out and applies the Mandible Claw from behind which is broken with a low blog. Bulldog grabs a steel chair and levels Mankind in a move that prompts a DQ. In a sick spot, Mankind takes a series of steel chair shots to the head, including one to the face.
Your winner: Mankind via DQ. A good match that would become ten a penny within a year’s time.
Post match, Mankind applies the Mandible Claw as Bulldog poses. The European Champion escapes and makes his way to the back.
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. Gorilla grants permission for Pillman to be in Owen’s corner.
We get a quick video of the history of the title belt – featuring Pat Patterson, Pedro Morales, Tito Santana, The British Bulldog, Ahmed Johnson and Marc Mero.
It’s hour two and that means only one thing – ‘The Warzone’. Your hosts are still Vince McMahon and Jim Ross.
Match 5: WWF Intercontinental Champion Owen Hart (w/ Brian Pillman) v Triple H (w/ Chyna) v Goldust (w/ Marlena): The first IC Champion Pat Patterson is the referee for this one. We are shown clips of all three winning their first IC titles.
No superstar has the advantage here. Each tries to gain early pinfalls but those are broken up by the third man. 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 for a quick win and we have a new IC champion. Or do we? No we don’t as Owen had his foot on the bottom rope. Gorilla Monsoon and Earl Hebner make their way to the ring to let Patterson know about it.
Once the match restarts, Goldust fights off both men. Owen tries to take advantage with the Sharpshooter but Helmsley clotheslines him off. Goldust and Hunter then knock Owen down before they trade punches. Owen then flies in with a double missile dropkick.
Owen then drops Goldust with a spinning heel kick but Triple H breaks the pin. Owen and and HHH go to the floor and Chyna hits a Hurricanrana on Goldust. Back inside, Owen nails Hunter with the enziguri. As he goes to cover Helmsley, Goldust comes off the top rope and Owen moves as Hunter gets splashed. Pillman grabs hold of Goldust while Owen covers Helmsley for real this time and gets win.
Your winner: And still IC Champion Owen Hart. A very fast paced match and a really solid triple threat match that was, at times, difficult to call. A good ending too.
Backstage we see Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart watching the match on the screen and showing their pleasure at the result.
Bret and The Anvil then head out to the ring for an interview 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 actual best team ever is in the ring right now with McMahon.
Bret then turns his attention over to Thomas Hearns, at ringside, 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 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.
Match 6: Brian Christopher (w/ Jerry Lawler) v Scott Taylor: The King joins Vince and JR on commentary. Thus continues, in quite boring fashion, the USWA v. ECW feud on WWF TV. Christopher hits the Scorpion Death Drop out of the corner and follows that up with the the top rope legdrop – later known as the Hip Hop Drop, for the win.
Your winner: Brian Christopher via pinfall. Nothing but a squash match. Nothing much to see here.
Match 7: The Undertaker & Vader (w/ Paul Bearer) v Farooq & D’Lo Brown (w/ NOD): Taker owns D’Lo to start. The Disciples of Apocalypse head down the ramp with their arms crossed.
We head to a break and when we return, the DOA are gone and the match continues with Vader hitting the Pump Splash on D’Lo. Farooq is tagged in and he catches Vader coming off the second rope with a powerslam. D’Lo is back in and 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.
Your winners: Farooq & D’Lo via pinfall. Another in a long line of fairly cheap main events on Raw. A pretty poor ending all in all.
Overall: Some good stuff here, the NOD and DOA stuff particularly. Really enjoyed Sabu v Flash Funk, definite match of the night then the triple threat IC title match, which was also stellar.