This #Rawrewind takes in the Raw is War from July 14 1997. The show is headlined Stone Cold and a mystery partner taking on the winners of the WWF Tag Team Title Tournament, Owen Hart & The British Bulldog, with the tag titles on the line.
Elsewhere, Vader locks up with Flash Funk, Ken Shamrock takes on Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart and LOD are scheduled to face The New Blackjacks as the WWF continue the countdown to Summerslam.
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 in San Antonio, Texas.
A video clip airs showing the reaction that The Hart Foundation got over last week’s Canadian Stampede weekend, including the episode of Raw recorded in Canada. However, this week Raw is War takes place in San Antonio Texas so we expect quite a different reaction for the group.
After the opening sequence, The Hart Foundation’s music hits and they make their way to the ring to a crescendo of boos from the Texas crowd for an in-ring interview with Vince McMahon. Bret states that Texas is full of rats being hyping how much of a force his group is.
He then addresses his contractual agreement now that if he can’t defeat The Undertaker for the WWF title at Summerslam he won’t wrestle again on American soil. Bret states the stipulation is fine with him as “Canadians always do their best and always keep their promises.”
Owen is interviewed next about facing Stone Cold Steve Austin at Summerslam. He states he doesn’t give a damn who he faces and states that he and the Bulldog will regain the WWF tag titles later on in this episode of Raw is War.
Bulldog is asked about facing Ken Shamrock at Summerslam. He states that if he can’t retain his belt at the event, he will eat a tin of dog food after the bout. Pillman then announces that if he can’t beat Goldust at Summerslam then the following night on Raw he will wrestle wearing a dress. Finally, Neidhart pledges to shave off his beard on the Raw after Summerslam if any of the Harts lose.
Just as Bret Hart pledges that it will be a ‘Canadian Summer’, Stone Cold’s music hits and he walks onto the stage. He is joined on the stage by Shamrock as the commentators wonder if it will be the world’s most dangerous man that will pair with Austin later in the show. Then The Patriot and Sycho Sid also join them on the stage. The last man out, to the biggest pop, is home town hero Shawn Michaels.
Match 1: Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler & Brian Christopher v Ivan & Scott Putski: Footage is shown of Lawler helping Christopher get the win over Scott Putski two weeks ago and the post-match beat down they administered. The Putskis hit the ring and Lawler and his son dive from the ring.
As Ivan sings, Lawler and Christopher jump the pair and double team Scott with a back body drop. A second attempt is foiled with Putski hitting a powerbomb on Brian Christopher. Christopher grabs Scott from behind allow Lawler to hit a dropkick but Putski dodges it.
Putski then runs into a kick to the gut before fighting back and hitting a flying clothesline. Lawler trips Putski coming off the ropes and the pair double team him at ringside as the referee contains Ivan Putski.
Christopher is sent into the ropes but Scott puts his head down and it’s driven into the mat. Lawler is in now and the pair again double team Scott behind the official’s back. Lawler hits a piledriver but Christopher interrupts, wanting to hit his finisher and make the pin. However, he misses his top rope leg drop before a double clothesline sends both men down.
Lawler is tagged in and grabs Scott Putski for a superkick but Scott ducks and Lawler is sent to the mat. Scott makes the tag and Ivan works away on Lawler at one side of the ring as Scott drives Christopher into the ringsteps on the outside. Ivan connects with the Polish Hammer for the win.
Your winners: Ivan and Scott Putski via pinfall. An entertaining enough match with Scott being in for the majority of the match with his father only in for a few moments and to pick up the win. Still, keeps the feud between Brian Christopher and Scott Putski going.
Footage from last week is shown of Stone Cold dropping Mankind with a Stunner before Mankind promises to do something very different this week on Raw is War. Vince then interviews Mankind with Foley not answering any questions, instead just sitting rocking.
We return from a break with Paul Bearer backstage where he again accuses The Undertaker of killing his parents and disfiguring his brother Kane. He states next week on Raw is War he will prove that Kane is still alive.
Match 2: Tajiri Yoshihiro v Taka Michinoku: Yoshihiro is Tajiri of ECW and later WWE fame. As Taka makes his way to the ring, we see highlights from his matches against The Great Sasuke.
Series of arm bar and flip outs start this before the trade arm drags. A test of strength and the two again trade flips until a dropkick sends Tajiri to the outside where he is caught with a top rope plancha.
Taka attempts to suplex Tajiri in but it’s reversed before Taka flips out of a German suplex. This is quicker than a hiccup. Tajiri hits a sit out powerbomb for a two. A spinning heel kick connects and Taka goes to the outside where Tajiri hits an Asai moonsault.
Michinoku attempts to re-enter via the top rope but Tajiri catches him with a dropkick. The two trade chops until Taka is briefly felled by a back kick. They then trade open handed slaps before a bridging German suplex gives Yoshihiro a nearfall.
It’s comeback time, Taka connects with a top rope dropkick to the back of the head before the Michinoku driver for the win.
Your winner: Taka via pinfall. A good spot filled match that you would expect. Often too fast to call but entertaining enough.
Ken Shamrock joins from backstage and states that he won’t be Stone Cold’s partner before hyping his match-up against Neidhart later in the show. Vince informs us that Los Boricuas will be in action later as we see footage of them arriving at the arena from earlier in the day. Later they will face The Headbangers.
As we return from a break, Vince and JR promote a feature on Brian Pillman that is contained within August’s WWF magazine.
Match 3: The Headbangers v Jose & Miguel (w/ Los Boricuas): Footage is shown of DOA dropping Jesus from Los Boricuas across the Harley Davidson on last week’s Raw is War. Thrasher and Jose start this one off.
Thrasher dodges a clothesline and sends Jose down with a back suplex before tagging in Mosh. The pair hit a double flapjack before Mosh connects with a butt bump into the corner as JR asks Vince if he’s ever been in a mosh pit. Miguel is tagged in.
Los Boricuas trade quick tags before Mosh gets a two with a sunset flip. Miguel works on the arm and tags in Jose who connects with a dropkick in the corner. He goes to the well once too often and is caught the second time with a head scissors sending Jose face first into the turnbuckle.
Both men make the tag and Thrasher connects with a series of shots to the face as all four men brawl in the ring. Mosh is back dropped to the outside but a double team move is foiled. Thrasher sets up Miguel for the powerbomb but Migeul rolles out of it and rolls up Thrasher for the win.
Your winners: Los Boricuas. A pretty average match here. Serves its purpose though as the match afterwards brought out the DOA
Post-match all four Los Boricuas beat The Headbangers in the middle of the ring before The DOA ride down to ringside. DOA join The Headbangers in clearing the ring to the cheers from the crowd.
The Patriot is standing by backstage and is asked if he’s going to team with Stone Cold later. He said he’d be honoured but he’s here to defend the USA from attacks from The Harts. Shawn Michaels is then shown pacing backstage as Vince announces that we’ll hear from him next. Another promo video airs for the ‘Cause Stone Cold Said So’ video.
JR then voices over highlights from the 1997 Royal Rumble where Shawn Michaels, in front of a San Antonio crowd, regained the WWF title. Michaels gets a huge pop from the crowd as he makes his way out for an in-ring interview with Vince McMahon. I expect this to be a love-in.
Vince asks him directly if he will be Austin’s tag team partner later in the show. He states that he is not 100% yet but also that when he and Austin won the belt neither were 100%. However, he says the decision is up to Stone Cold Steve Austin. He then addresses Bret Hart’s commitment to never wrestle on US soil again if he can’t beat The Undertaker at Summerslam. He says he has been waiting a long time for Bret to take his sorry ass out of the USA.
Michaels gets down on his knees and begs for the opportunity to be part of Summerslam either by setting up the ring, selling merchandise or tickets or even shine Vince’s shoes. That ends Raw is War.
We enter The Warzone that will feature Stone Cold and a partner of his choice face Owen Hart and The British Bulldog with the WWF tag team titles on the line.
Once we’ve seen the opening credits again, we’re interrupted by Savio Vega who announces there’s been an accident backstage and drags a camera man back with him to investigate. Vince and JR then discuss who exactly will be Stone Cold’s tag team partner.
We join Vega backstage as he joins up with the other Los Boricuas with one of them destroying a DOA bike. This brings DOA into the action and the four brawl backstage until officials separate them and Los Boricuas drive off. They are followed by Skull and 8-Ball, on Harleys, as Crush checks on Chainz.
They air the promo poster for Summerslam before we are shown highlights of Los Boricuas brawling with The DOA.
Match 4: Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart v Ken Shamrock: Jerry Lawler has joined JR and Vince on commentary for this one. Neidhart shoves Shamrock to start this one off before Shamrock retaliates with a kick to the leg.
Shamrock rolls Neidhart up and applies an arm submission but The Anvil made it to the ropes. They lock up again but Neidhart connects with a series of blows to the face before Shamrock again rolls him up, this time with a leg bar. Shamrock then focusses his attention back on the arm with arm bar but Neidhart is able to make it to the ropes.
The commentators announce that next week’s episode of Raw will again be from Canada, this time from Halifax. Neidhart pounds away on Shamrock and, after a snapmare, applies a reverse chinlock. Shamrock rolls out but Neidhart connects with a series of blows to the face to derail the comeback.
Ken Shamrock attempts another comeback but Neidhart quickly regains control with another snapmare and reapplies the reverse chinlock. The Anvil slams Shamrock but is caught with a shot to the gut as he comes off the top rope. He Irish whips Neidhart then connects with a Hurricanrana that is no sold. From nowhere, though, he applies a standing chokehold submission and Neidhart taps out.
Your winner: Ken Shamrock via submission. An OK match but a strange ending that seemed to come from nowhere.
As Shamrock celebrates, The Bulldog hits the ring and they hit a spiked piledriver. The Patriot makes the save and hits a pair of Full Nelsom Slams.
We are again shown footage of Stone Cold dropping Mankind with a Stunner last week on Raw and his subsequent promise cum threat. The third clue is then aired for a chance to win $1m in the Summerslam Million Dollar Challenge.
Match 5: The New Blackjacks v The Legion of Doom: LOD drop their shoulder pads on the stage and walk to the ring but they are jumped by The Godwinns and take a steel chair shot each to the back. Henry then drops Hawk on the aisle with a Slop Drop ahead of their match at Summerslam.
No contest. All about hyping their Summerslam match. This is a very storyline heavy card.
Match 6: Vader (w/ Paul Bearer) v Flash Funk: Vader attacks to start and connects with a splash in the corner. A flapjack attempt is countered with Funk connecting with a dropkick to the knee. A series of dropkicks then send Vader to the outside. Funk knocks Vader down with a suicide dive before whipping him into the ring steps.
His comeback, however, is derailed when Vader connects with a shoulder charge. A splash then gets a nearfall. A powerbomb is countered with Funk rolling free and hitting a spinning heel kick then a moonsault for a nearfall of his own.
Funk, however, runs straight into Vader again and is dropped with a release powerbomb for the win.
Your winner: Vader via pinfall. Essentially a squash match.
Afterwards, Vader hits a Vaderbomb. We then cut to Stone Cold Steve Austin who states that there is no chance in hell that he won’t be leaving Raw is War tonight without the tag straps. Another video promo airs of ‘Cause Stone Cold Said So’.
Tag Team Title Tournament Match: WWF European Champion The British Bulldog & WWF Intercontinental Champion Owen Hart v Stone Cold Steve Austin: Austin attacks from the offset. It doesn’t appear that he needs a partner. It’s Owen and Stone Cold that start this.
Owen connects with a spinning heel kick then pounds on Austin. Owen misses an Enziguri and attempts to apply a Sharpshooter but Bulldog breaks it up. They double team Austin until Earl Hebner clears Bulldog out of the ring.
The European champion is tagged in now and works away on Austin in the corner. Austin charges out of the corner with a clothesline but is tossed to the outside. With the referee distracted, Owen drops Stone Cold face first on the guard rail before whipping him into the ring steps.
We’re then told Austin’s partner has arrived as we go to a break with the camera showing on his partner’s feet. Back in the ring, Owen hits an overhead belly-to-belly suplex before tagging The Bulldog in. A double team move is foiled with a clothesline sending both Bulldog and Owen down.
However, his momentum is shortlived with a chopblock sending him down. Bulldog stomps on the leg as the announcers wonder who this mystery partner is. Owen is back in and Stone Cold stomps away. He is caught charging into the corner by Owen’s knee and Hart hits a neckbreaker for a two.
Owen slams Austin in the middle of the ring and heads to the second rope. He’s caught coming off the rope and Austin stomps away in the corner and attempts a stunner but is sent into Bulldog, sending him to the mat on the outside before back dropping Owen on top of him.
Mankind then appears on the screen in full tie-dye as ‘Dude Love’. He said he’s out to save the day and makes his way out to a huge cheer from the crowd. With Dude Love distracting Austin, Owen jumps him from behind. Austin however counters and tags in Dude Love.
He connects with a running knee into the corner but Austin refuses to tag back in. Owen gauges the eyes and tags in his partner. Bulldog sets up Love for the running Powerslam but he counters with a Mandible Claw. With the referee admonishing Owen Hart, Stone Cold drops The Bulldog with a Stunner allowing Dude Love to pick up the win.
Your winners: And new WWF Tag Team Champions Stone Cold Steve Austin & Dude Love. A good match with Stone Cold holding his own for much of it. The introduction of Dude Love was good fun and leaves us all wondering how they will coexist.
A number of groupies hit the ring and surround Mrs Foley’s baby boy. Austin presents Love with the belt and shakes his hand before leaving the ring.
Overall: A good Raw. The run up to Summerslam is always a hot point on the WWF calendar, no pun intended, and this Raw was no different. Obviously the main event is the big talking point with new WWF Tag Champions crowned. Elsewhere, it was all about the build-up to Summerslam but still an enjoyable show.