In this #Rawrewind we look at the episode of ‘Raw is War’ before ‘In Your House 16: Canadian Stampede’ with the show largely furthering angles ahead of the event. We also get the big reveal from Paul Bearer on The Undertaker’s secret and a main event pitting Stone Cold Steve Austin against The Hart Foundation’s Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart.
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
Show begins with a video package showing the relationship between The Undertaker and Paul Bearer including Bearer turning on him and then threatening to reveal a dark secret about the WWF Champion unless he returns to his side. This week on ‘Raw is War’, Bearer will reveal that secret.
Your hosts are Vince McMahon, Jim Ross and Jerry ‘the King’ Lawler in Des Maines, Iowa.
Match 1: Ken Shamrock v Triple H (w/ Chyna): Shamrock now has the music htat he’d use for the duration of his WWF run. They lock up to start but Shamrock arm drags the 1997 King of the Ring winner to the mat. Triple H tries again but this time he’s fireman carried over.
Both men then attempt arm drags but the other blocks and Shamrock applies a leg submission but Helmsley reaches the ropes. Lock up and Shamrock is backed into the corner. No clean break as Helmsley rakes the eyes and stomps away in the corner.
Earl Hebner drags Helmsley by the hair from the corner to cheers from the crowd. Triple H snapmares Shamrock out of the corner and hits a running knee drop for a two count. Shamrock fights back but is again raked to the eyes and tossed over the top rope to the outside.
There, Chyna hurls him into the ring steps. Triple H makes his way to the outside and throws ABC’s ‘The World’s Most Dangerous Man’ back in the ring. At this point, Mankind – Shamrock’s future partner in The Union – makes his way to the ring and distracts Helmsley allowing Shamrock to hit a belly-to-belly suplex for the win.
Your winner: Ken Shamrock via pinfall. A not bad opener at all. A quick match designed to break Shamrock gently into WWF’s brand of wrestling. The ending both protected both stars as well as advancing the storyline between Triple H and his nemesis Mankind.
Lawler hypes the Paul Bearer announcement from later in the show before we see a video package showing Ahmed turning on The Undertaker and joining the Nation of Domination. We also see Ahmed’s justification of his actions and the arrival, last week on Raw, of Crush’s new group The Disciples of Apocalypse (DOA) and the brawl that ensued. Vince then informs us in the melee last week, Ahmed tore his ligaments. That was the thing with him; he either injured others or himself and it wouldn’t be long before he was shipped out.
Backstage Michael Cole interviews LOD ahead of their match with NOD tonight with the winner advancing to the finals of the WWF Tag Team Tournament. That’s after the break. Sunny is advertising the casket full of a $1 dollars ahead of the prize that is up for grabs at Summerslam.
Match 2: D’Lo Brown & Farooq (w/ Kama) v Legion of Doom: They brawl to start, Animal overpowers Farooq but is caught with a knee but still manages to powerslam him off the top rope. Hawk is in and drops an elbow but is raked in the eyes.
D’Lo is in now but is caught by Hawk, who pounds away. The Godwinns stand at the top of the stage and look on as Hawk suplexes Brown. D’Lo fights back and stomps away in the corner. He puts his head down and is dropped with a neckbreaker which gets a two count that’s interrupted by Farooq.
Animal hits a powerslam off the ropes on D’Lo as Hawk tosses Farooq into the steps at ringside. They connect with the Doomsday Device on D’Lo but with the referee distracted, The Godwinns nail Hawk with the slop bucket allowing Farooq to pick up the win.
Your winners: Farooq & D’Lo Brown via pinfall. Another quick match but a big win for the new Nation of Domination.
Post-match , LOD chase The Godwinns to the back before NOD summon McMahon into the ring. Farooq states that with Ahmed on the shelf, one of the NOD deserve the chance to take his spot against The Undertaker for the WWF title. D’Lo then regurgitates that point in his promo.
Vince asks Farooq to address Crush’s return. Savio Vega then hits the stage and announces his group which would later be known as Los Boricuas. Officials hit the ring to break things up.
The DOA then hit the ring and the three teams brawl even as security hit the ring. The scene looks like a Royal Rumble…
Michael Cole is backstage and catches up with Savio Vega and his new cohorts. Vega announce his group is called ‘Los Boricuas’ and tells NOD they are in trouble as they are here to “kick some ass”.
A promo for Raw Magazine airs, the magazine features a bikini shoot featuring Sunny and Lawler announces photos of a liason between her and Brian Pillman.
Match 3: Scott Putski v Brian Christopher: Putski enters as the WWF show footage of his father, Ivan, in action. Footage of Jerry Lawler is shown as Christopher makes his way to the ring to faux outrage from The King.
After some posing and shoving, an overhead belly-to-belly suplex sends Christopher down. Putski gets a two count with a side suplex. A backbreaker and a clothesline gets Putski another nearfall. Christopher fights back and hits a face buster cum Russian legsweep and a dropkick to the back of the head for a two count.
Christopher follows up with a snap suplex and a running shoulder charge. He attempts a Hurricanrana but it’s blocked and Putski drops him with a powerbomb. He’s back in control and hits a running clothlesine and a top rope splash.
Jerry Lawler climbs to the apron to distract the referee but Putski Irish whips Christopher into him. He attempts a running powerslam but Lawler grabs his leg giving Christopher the win here.
Your winner: Brian Christopher via pinfall. An OK match with a bit too much outside nonsense going on both in terms of interference and the announcers focusing on Christopher’s lineage.
After the match Lawler and Christopher top rope piledrive Putski. We are shown footage from the new ‘Austin:316’ video including Stone Cold imitating Hulk Hogan.
Vince interviews The Undertaker, who is in the dressing room. He tells the fans that they are going to hear a slanted version of what was the worst night of his life when Bearer reveals the secret.
A Great Sasuke video airs ahead of his match with Taka Michinoku at Canadian Stampede this upcoming Sunday.
Match 4: Brian Pillman v Mankind: Mankind makes his way to the ring with the ‘Pick me Steve’ sign around his neck and a gift for JR which he presents him with at the commentary table. The gift is a prosthetic hand…
In the ring, Mankind catches Pillman coming off the top rope with a back elbow. He stomps away on The Loose Cannon in the corner and hits a charging knee. Pillman fights back and chokes Foley on the top rope. Mankind is able to knock Pillman down with a clothesline.
We see Triple H and Chyna watch on from the ramp. Pillman is sent to the outside where Mankind follows. However, the referee tries to stop Mankind allowing The Loose Cannon the chance to drill him with the ring bell.
He then tries to attack Mankind’s ear with a pencil but the referee grabs him. We’re back in the ring momentarily before Mankind throws his opponent back outside. He misses a running charge and sends himself into the ring steps.
Pillman attempts a kick but Mankind grabs his foot and drags him to the ringpost where he wraps his knee and ankle around that post. He sends Pillman into the ropes but his ankle gives way and he drops to the mat.
At this point Helmsley and Chyna hit the ring. Pillman drops Mankind with his boot but Helsmley nails Pillman with a steel chair by mistake. Helmsley and Chyna flee, followed by Mankind who is counted out.
Your winner: Brian Pillman via countout. Pillman was a shell of his former self, wrestling wise, here and this match was nothing much to write home about. The only thing notable was the continuation of the Mankind and Triple H feud ahead of their match at ‘Canadian Stampede’.
Vince asks Bearer what the big secret is. Bearer tells The Undertaker that this is the beginning of his end before we go back to the titles as we enter ‘The Warzone’.
Bearer begins by telling a story that begins in a family run funeral home where the father was the mortician and the wife was the receptionist and there were two little kids there. One was a “little red headed punk” – The Undertaker – and a “sweet little kid” named Kane. Bearer states he was the apprentice working at that funeral home and The Undertaker’s father taught him everything he knew.
The Undertaker is described as the “Devil’s seed” and witnessed how he led Kane astray. Bearer tells a story that he left for college one day and when he returned he saw fire trucks and the funeral home in ashes. Inside, were the family that had looked after him except The Undertaker who was hiding in the bushes. Bearer accuses The Undertaker of burning down the funeral home and killing his family.
After the break, we return with Vader calming down Paul Bearer backstage before Sable and a peeved looking Marc Mero continue to hype the Summerslam $1m prize giveaway.
Match 5: The Headbangers v WWF European Champion The British Bulldog & WWF Intercontinental Champion Owen Hart: Mosh and Owen kick this one off. Owen kicks to stomach and pounds away in corner. An irish whip is reversed and Owen is sent into a turnbuckle then slammed for a two count.
Thrasher is tagged in and the duo double flap jack Owen, giving Thrasher a two. Owen is up first and drops The Headbanger with a jawbreaker and Bulldog is in. He’s dropped with a drop toe hold and a series of arm drags.
Owen makes a tag behind Thrasher’s back and sends him to the mat with a spinning heel kick and the pair double team Thrasher with a leg split. A suplex gives Owen a two count. A double clothesline keeps the former tag champions in control with Davey Boy getting a near fall.
Bulldog sets Thrasher up for a hanging suplex and tags in Owen as Vince speaks with Bret Hart on the phone. Owen hits a dropkick but Mosh prevents the count and with Mosh distracting the referee, Owen and The Bulldog double team Thrasher.
Thrasher roles Owen up with a small package for a two count but Owen is again up first and tags Bulldog in. Thrasher comes off the ropes but Bulldog puts his head down and is kicked in the chest as both men tag in their partners.
Mosh enters on fire with a pair of powerslams then a pair of dropkicks. They set Owen up for the finish but Bulldog pushes Thrasher off the top and Owen rolls Mosh up for the win.
Your winners: The Bulldog & Owen Hart via pinfall. A solid enough match with Owen & Davey Boy in control for much of it. A good finish to the bout.
Post-match, Jim Cornette comes out and introduces his tag team who didn’t join the WWF early enough to enter the tournament. The duo are The Headhunters although named The Arabian Butchers here. The pair briefly wrestled for the WWF in early 1996 before a stint with ECW.
The duo brawl with the other two teams before Bulldog & Owen retreat leaving The Headbangers to take a top rope headbutt and a 400 pound moonsault.
We return from a break and hear from The Undertaker who admits that what Paul Bearer said was true, they were playing with matches. The Undertaker, however, states that it was Kane who caused the fire at the funeral home and that having seen his family’s charred remains, he will take strength from that and strike Paul Bearer down.
Match 6: Rockabilly (w/ Honky Tonk Man) v Vader (w/ Paul Bearer): Before this one can start Rockabilly smashes Honky’s guitar across the back of Vader. This doesn’t cause the DQ you’d expect it to and Vader starts to attack but before he can do much of anything The Undertaker charges to the ring. He starts attacking Vader as Bearer shouts “murderer” into the microphone at his former charge.
Taker grabs Bearer and demands that he tell the truth to which Bearer responds: “He’s alive! Kane is alive. He’s breathing. Just like everybody in this room. Kane’s alive. I swear, it’s the truth. It’s the truth!”
Your winner: No contest
The commentators discuss the importance of this announcement as we go to a break featuring an advert for the Stone Cold Steve Austin video.
Match 7: Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart v WWF Tag Team Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin: Neidhart is riding solo tonight with the rest of The Hart Foundation watching on from their dressing room.
Anvil attacks to start and pounds away in the corner. We see footage from the back of Ken Shamrock also watching on. Austin fights back with a kick to the gut and a series of punches in the corner. He then drops Neidhart with a pair of clotheslines before a powerslam gets a 2 count.
Neidhart is able to power out of a side headlock and applies one of his own before dropping Austin with a shoulder block. More headlocks before Austin fights back with a Lou Thesz press however he can’t get the Sharpshooter, so he settles for an ab stretch and uses the ropes for leverage.
They take the fight to the floor and Neidhart gets slammed on the rampway before we head to a break. When we return, Bret Hart has showed up in Des Moines and is shown attacking Shamrock in the backstage area. In the ring, Neidhart keeps Austin grounded until Stone Cold fights back with a jawbreaker out of a chinlock. As he stomps on Neidhart, Bret Hart runs in and attacks Austin for the DQ.
Your winner: A solid enough match further hyping the upcoming Canadian Stampede main event.
After the bell, Hart applies the ringpost figure four on Stone Cold until Mankind makes the save, applying the Mandible Claw on Bret. The Hart Foundation then all run in as the show ends.
Overall: A great show storyline wise but a bit of a run-in fest although you would expect that from this time period ahead of a PPV. The Undertaker/Kane stuff is obviously very memorable from this show and the rest of the show is largely to hype Canadian Stampede.