Rewriting The Book: What if … Shawn Michaels never lost his smile? (Part III)

1 Submitted by on Sun, 27 January 2013, 17:19

Rewriting the Book

By C.G. Scum

 

 

What if Shawn Michaels never “lost his smile” or forfeited the WWF Title in February of 1997?

Part III

Following WrestleMania, there is now a new WWF Champion, Bret “The Hitman” Hart, however, many of the other major players despite the outcomes of their respective matches have a lot of unfinished business and unanswered questions in their storylines as the month of April 1997 approaches and they begin to take form as the new faces of the company heading onward in the early stages of one of the WWF’s most exciting periods in history. (NOTE- As we move forward in Part III of the story, there are some events at this point in WWF history that actually took place that stay within the major storylines of this “Rewriting of the Book,” which I personally believe are better off left as they occurred. Thus, although the dates of when the happenings occur in some cases may be a few weeks off as far as when they actually occurred, they do play well in continuing the story as well as continuing to build where they will go heading forward. In my eyes these happenings would have happened regardless of the “losing of Shawn’s smile”(or for the less significant events, they just fit perfectly) and are some of the more memorable moments in the company’s history and leaving them out I think would lessen the story I am moving along with. Some of these moments, I do add a few minor twists to, but for the most part they are untouched. In giving credit and recalling these moments, I will label them with three stars before and a corresponding number after these segments (***) and in doing so give credit in my brief explanation in recalling these spots to the website thehistoryofwwe.com , where I got the descriptions that I am using.  At the bottom of this part, each numbered event will be explained.) That being said, our story continues at Raw is War on the night after WrestleMania 13 in Rockford, Illinois.

Raw is War- March 24, 1997- Rockford, Illinois-

The show begins with a recap of the WWF Championship Ladder Match, ending with the shot of Bret high above the ring on the ladder with the title belt. Following this, the opening music sequence runs and the announcers inform us that there will be a “World Title Celebration” tonight, with “The Hitman” later in the show. Additionally, we are told that the number one contender to the new champion, Sycho Sid, will face off against “Stone Cold” Steve Austin in a lumberjack match and the the WWF Tag Team Champions, Owen Hart and The British Bulldog will face The Legion of Doom. The opening bout of the night sees the “New Double J” Jesse James defeat Flash Funk, before we get sent to the Raw is War interview area where standing by with Kevin Kelly is former WWF Champion Shawn Michaels.

Kelly:  “Well, Shawn Michaels, it was a hell of a match up last night at WrestleMania, another one for the ages between yourself and “The Hitman.” Unfortunately, someone had to lose and that someone was you. After a crazy up and down past two months that saw you nearly forfeit your title then return in grand fashion at “Final Four” before suffering an injury and then dropping the coveted championship last night, just one question remains and that is where does Shawn Michaels go from here?”

Michaels:  “You know Kevin Kelly that is the question of the day, where does HBK go from here? Last night was a battle and Bret Hart, you won that battle, but you know what they say about winning the battle, right? HBK isn’t worried about one battle, he is worried about winning the war and the way I see it, the war is far from over, actually it has just begun. So, Bret, enjoy it, you beat me at my own game. You got you precious title back, for now, but don’t think that I am just going away that easily. Now about a month or two ago, I was broken down and beaten up and planned to take some time off to get better, both physically and emotionally, but Bret Hart just couldn’t accept that. Honestly, I may have been able to ignore anyone else calling me a fraud and a coward, but Bret, I hate your stinkin’ guts and so I got baited into sticking it out. So, where does HBK go from here? HBK goes home, to get better. He doesn’t go home for good, he’ll be back and he’ll be back to take that title back, Bret, but for now Kevin, HBK goes home.” (Kelly looks on stunned as Shawn bows his head and walks away and the show goes to break)

Upon returning, the tag title match is next, as the Champions, British Bulldog and Owen Hart’s recent troubles come to a head following the match with the Legion of Doom which is ruled a no contest after The New Blackjacks (who are the number one contenders) interfere and attack the champs while the Nation of Domination (Faarooq, Savio Vega, and Crush) also interfere and attack L.O.D. Ahmed Johnson returns the favor from WrestleMania to save Hawk and Animal, chasing the Nation from the ring with a two by four. After the chaos stops, Owen shoves his partner, calling him a coward and then challenges him to a European title match next week. Davey Boy accepts and again the cameras go to the back to President Monsoon’s office. When the cameras get there, Monsoon is arguing with Paul Bearer, Vader, and Mankind.

Monsoon: “I don’t care how much the guy loves pain. He is sick and he is twisted, we get that. But he has suffered a serious concussion and he is not cleared for in ring competition. I have a show here to run and he is a liability.”

Bearer: (Vader and Mankind throwing arms up and arguing) “This is unfair Gorilla Monsoon, ohhhh so unfair. Mankind thrives on pain. He enjoys a concussion and he wants to finish the job he started on the Undertaker.”

Monsoon: “I don’t care what he wants, or what you want, or what this animal over here wants (Points to Vader) you and your “Unholy Alliance” are totally out of control. I have had it up to here with all of you. The doctor’s orders are that Mankind cannot compete in in ring competition for six weeks and that is final, end of story, and I am not going to tell you and your man Vader again about the outside interference or the attacks on Steve Austin or Ken Shamrock or anyone else in the WWF locker room. Last night was his chance against Austin, and he blew it, he lost. You need to get these men in line and do it fast. Vader, you are on thin ice with me, I don’t know who you think you are, but this is it, this is your last warning. If there is one more attack, you will be heavily fined and suspended from action, and that is final.”

 

Bearer: (He and Mankind are holding Vader back as he tries to grab at Monsoon; they push him towards the door.) “This is a grave injustice Monsoon. You think you can stop us, but ohhhh no, you can’t stop us. You can’t stop what is unholy, Gorilla Monsoon, and ohhhh yessss, no matter how hard you try, we will own the WWF title next week when Sycho Sid defeats Bret Hart, and no matter how hard you try, we will continue to grow and get stronger. (Flashes a big smile) Yesss, yessss, yesss.”

Monsoon: (As the three exit) “Please, give me a break. Get out of here you piece of garbage.”(Just as they leave, Ken Shamrock enters)

Shamrock: (Huffing and puffing) “What the hell was that? I want that big piece of crap Vader and I want him now! Did you see what those clowns did to me? I will break his big, fat ankle like a twig.”

Monsoon: (Sighs) “Good grief, not you now, too. Listen, that was totally uncalled for, but you are not a rostered wrestler here, with all due respect. I can’t just be putting you in a match with that animal, Vader. It is another liability. I appreciate the great job you did last night, but I cannot in good faith give you Vader.”

Shamrock: “Well, I ain’t going anywhere, Monsoon. I am going to be around until you make me a rostered wrestler. I will do whatever it takes to earn that spot around here, I will do whatever it takes, to earn my stripes, and when I do, that is all I want in return is a piece of that big slob. I will not rest until I get it. You want order restored around here? Fine, I will restore order, but in return, you give me what I want.”

Monsoon: (Nods his head) “Mr. Shamrock, I tell you what. I am a reasonable guy and I do need help restoring order. If you help me out over the next few weeks here, I can help you get what you want in return. My good man, you have yourself a deal.” (They shake hands and it goes to commercial)

After the break, we see a taped interview with Vince McMahon and I-C Champ, Rocky Maivia along with his father, Rocky Johnson. They discuss the attack by Sultan, Iron Sheik, and Bob Backlund and warn them to not try it again. Action then goes to the ring, where Hunter Hearst Helmsley (with Chyna) defeats Bart Gunn after a pedigree. During the match the announcers explain that Goldust is not at Raw due to his worries over Marlena’s safety after the attacks by Chyna. Goldust speaks to this and vows revenge on Helmsley in taped comments that air on a split screen during the bout. He appears without the Goldust makeup on and says Helmsley and Chyna have put his wife in danger, making it real personal. Just before the next commercial, a back stage the camera shows a close-up on the Undertaker, who addresses the comments earlier of Paul Bearer.

Undertaker: “Paul Bearer, I got to all of your hired help at WrestleMania. I taught Mankind and Sid some respect and I even got to Vader. But apparently they did not learn. Mankind wants to finish me off? It is me who will be finishing him off as soon as he is allowed to step back in the ring with me. As for Sycho Sid, I am not done with him either. You see, I soundly defeated both of your men last night, but obviously; the respect I was seeking is still not there. So, in a few weeks, at ‘In Your House,’ the name of the event is profoundly enough ‘The Revenge of the ‘Taker,’ and Sycho Sid that is the perfect name for an event in which I finish with my process of both teaching you respect and of taking your unholy soul. On April 20 in Rochester, New York, ‘Sycho Sid’ you will once again, rest in peace.”

Right before the break we are informed that the “World Championship Celebration” is next. Upon coming back on the air, the ring has a red carpet in it, and Bret Hart’s music hits. Vince McMahon and President Monsoon wait in the ring, as Monsoon announces the now four time champion. Pink and black balloons drop from the ceiling as he enters. Monsoon and McMahon congratulate Bret with a hand shake as he enters and McMahon begins the segment addressing “The Hitman.”

McMahon: “Ladies and gentleman, I give you the four-time WWF Champion, the winner of the Ladder match at WrestleMania, and the ‘Best there is, the best there was, and best there ever will be, Brrrretttt “Hitmaaaaan” Haaaaart.”

Bret: “Wow, well thank you Vince, thank you President Monsoon, this is quite the party we have going on here tonight. Quite frankly, if you don’t mind me saying, it’s about time. Just like I have been saying, it was just a matter of me catching up to and getting my hands on the ‘Boy Toy’ Shawn Michaels and again, just like I said, here I am once again the WWF Champion. After a long year of chasing him around and watching him come out here and bring little kids in the ring and show them how to take their clothes off and dance like a stripper, the WWF fans have a champion they can once again be proud of. The WWF fans finally once again have a champion that it is ok to tell your kids they can look up to and come out here in the crowd and cheer for. Just like in my previous runs at the top, I give you the WWF fans my word that I will be a fighting champion, and I will duck no challengers, and I will prove that the pink and black is back and that just like you said I am Vince, I am the best there is, the best there was , and the best that there ever will be and I will start showing that right here next week on Raw when I take out that big goof Sycho Sid.” (Right at this moment, the glass again shatters and “Stone Cold’s” music hits. Hart looks over disgusted, while McMahon looks on nervously)

Austin: “Well, Bret, I would say congratulations are in order, but then I’m in the back here listening and I still here you out here whining and complaining, pleading your case. Damn son, it’s a party out here, it’s a celebration. You won last night, enough of running your mouth and flapping your gums, I’d say you best enjoy it. Or should I say enjoy it while it lasts, because “Stone Cold” Steve Austin ain’t finished with you by a long shot. No, I sure as hell am not, and what I’d like for you to do is keep that little belt nice and warm for me. Go on out there next week and whoop Sycho Sid’s ass, because I spoke with your little friend Gorilla Monsoon over there earlier and I hate to spoil your good time out here, but it’s gonna be you and me for that their belt at ‘In Your House’ and Iam walking out of that ring right there as the next WWF Champion and that’s all I got to say about that. So, Mr. Four- Time Champion, Mr. Role Model for the kids, you better get your ass ready and by ready I mean be ready for a grade “A”, first class ass whipping come April the 20th and that’s the bottom line ‘cause Stone Cold said so.” (Austin begins walking away)

Bret: “Seriously? (Looks to Monsoon and McMahon leaving the ring and at Austin who laughs as he backs up the ramp) Seriously, Steve  Austin, again? How many times do I have to beat Steve Austin before there is some other competition. This was my night, this was my celebration and once again, I have this rude, foul mouthed hyena Steve Austin out here interrupting me and trying to take my spotlight.” (From behind Bret, a person dressed all in black, wearing a black mask comes out of the crowd and slides into the ring with a steel chair. As he turns around to continue speaking he is walloped as a loud bang echoes throughout the arena as the steel meets his head. He goes down like a ton of bricks as Monsoon and McMahon head back into the ring and kneel over him and the mysterious intruder slides back under the ropes and heads back into the crowd as the show cuts to a commercial)

Returning from break, after they replay the chair shot and the announcers questioned who the mystery attacker was,  the lumberjacks come out to ringside for the next match as Vader, Paul Bearer, Owen Hart, British Bulldog, Faarooq, Savio, Crush, Hawk, Animal, Ahmed Johnson, Rocky Maivia, The Sultan, Blackjack Windham, Blackjack Bradshaw, and the Undertaker surround the ring. Both Sid and Austin are introduced, but before the bell sounds, President Monsoon appears on the TitanTron.

Monsoon: “Gentleman, I can already see with the mix of personnel assigned as lumberjacks that this match is going to be completely out of hand. So, I would ask the official in the ring right now to please step to the outside, as he will be the second official for this bout. To control that amount of muscle out there, I have appointed a special enforcer referee to call this match, and that man, will be none other than “The World’s Most Dangerous Man,” Ken Shamrock.” (Shamrock comes to the ring in a referee’s shirt.)

Match- Lumberjack Match- “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Sycho Sid (Ken Shamrock is Special Referee) -Shamrock enters the ring and has words with Vader on the outside, in addition to getting right in Sid’s face  as he calls for the bell. Austin goes to push the referee out of the way to get at his opponent, but Shamrock quickly turns and pushes back, now jawing at “The Rattlesnake.” Austin responds in typical fashion, flipping him the bird, leaving himself open for an ambush by Sid, who clubs him to the mat with a big forearm smash. Sid opens up on Austin, putting the boots to him before resting his arms and throat across the second rope. He bounces from the far side and charges, leaping at the last moment and laying a leg across Austin, bringing his throat down over the strand. He uses his feet to shove him to the floor, where The Blackjacks and the Sultan begin working him over. L.O.D. and Maivia come over and begin brawling with the aforementioned threesome, as the secondary official steps in and demands Austin be tossed back in. Upon his return, Sid lays in wait, dropping “Stone Cold,” with three consecutive moves, slinging him in for a clothesline, then tossing him off the ropes and landing a big boot, before scooping him for a side walk slam that scored a near fall as Shamrock’s count reached two. After the kickout, Sid went for a second cover and again Austin kicked out, prompting Sid to holler at Shamrock, actually pie facing him following the verbal lashing. Shamrock responded with a pie face back, and Sid takes a round house swing that misses, as Shamrock sides steps him and tosses him to the floor at the feet of Ahmed, Rocky, and Undertaker, who take a few shots at him before rolling him back in. Austin bounces back following this and drops a knee on Sid as he is rolled back in. With his man still down, Austin stomps away at the monster, before pulling him up and leading him by the hair to the corner, bouncing his head of the top buckle as the crowd counted along to a ten count. With Sid dazed, Austin sneaks in behind and locks the “Million Dollar Dream,” rendering Sid nearly helpless. As the big man fades, Vader tries to intervene, but Shamrock chases his way to stop him. Shamrock returns and checks Sid’s arm. It drops the first two times, but just before the check on the third time, Paul Bearer hops to the apron. Shamrock jumps up to chase the manager off, as he waves the urn while on the apron. Austin shouts at Shamrock in protest as the Undertaker comes from the far side of the ring and yanks Bearer down and floors him with a right hand, causing him to drop the urn as he goes down. The place comes alive as the ‘Taker retrieves his one time “source of power” and returns to his spot across the ring. “Stone Cold” releases the hold and spins Shamrock around, arguing as all hell breaks loose on the outside of the ring following Undertaker striking Bearer. The “Phenom” and Vader trade blows, as several others try breaking it up and within seconds, nearly all the lumberjacks pair off with their rivals and began battling outside the ring. As Vader and ‘Taker exchange big blows, the urn has again been dropped to the floor. Austin and the “enforcer referee” continue to argue and shove each other as chaos continues to ensue. From the back, Mankind appears and makes his way to ringside, unseen by the ‘Dead Man.’ He grabs the urn and drops his rival with a crushing blow to the back of the head before mounting him with a mandible claw. As several other officials appear to restore order with the lumberjacks, most get back in their assigned spots around the ring, as Sid arises and sneaks up on Austin, catching him with a chokeslam when he turns around. Shamrock’s count again reaches two, but Austin kicks out, again seeing Sid once again voice his disapproval to the referee. Shamrock again warns him and the two trade words. As “Stone Cold” struggles to his feet,  Sid turns and sets him up for a powerbomb, but Austin blocks and counters with a backdrop. As Sid gets up, “The Rattlesnake” is waiting, catching him with the boot the stomach and a “stunner.” Shamrock counts, one, two, and is yanked from the ring by his feet by Vader. The two stand off and Shamrock has had enough and calls for the bell, giving Austin the win by DQ. Unphased,  Austin rolls on top of Sid and begins pummeling him with rights. The other referees (all but Shamrock) try to pry him off Sid, and in the confusion, multiple brawls again erupt amongst the lumberjacks. Two men who noticeably are not involved are the New Blackjacks, who crouch at ringside and pull a duffle bag from under the ring. With Shamrock distracted by Vader and the all-out chaos, the two sneak into opposite sides the ring as Bradshaw has retrieved the infamous wrench from his bag and Windham slides in the other side, in need of a weapon, scooping up the urn that still lies on the floor after Mankind’s attack on the Undertaker. Windham enters in clear site of Austin, who pushes the officials to the side and goes at him. Just as he starts to charge, Bradshaw drills him in the back of the skull with the huge tool, knocking him out face down on the mat. Like thieves in the night, The Blackjacks take off, putting the wrench and urn in their bag as they flee. Agents have separated Vader and Shamrock, and Raw goes off the air with a series of camera shots showing  the lumberjacks brawling as L.O.D. and Ahmed battled the Nation, Rocky and Sultan tear into each other, and Owen and Bulldog trade fists as well. Vader, Sid, Mankind and Bearer all convene together also, as the final frames show Austin face down in the ring with Shamrock tending to him and Undertaker being assisted by several agents on the floor.

Raw is War- March 31, 1997- Peoria, IL- 

Raw begins with footage airing of the Bret Hart WrestleMania Title win and the shot of HBK saying he was “going home,” followed by the beginning of last week’s “celebration,” and finally the sneak attack on Bret by the mystery attacker. The show starts as we go to the announce table and Jim Ross, Vince McMahon, and Jerry Lawler give us details on several things that will go down on tonight’s broadcast, including the European Title match between The British Bulldog and Owen Hart, a rematch from WrestleMania for the Intercontinental Title between Rocky Maivia and The Sultan, and the WWF Championship match between Bret “The Hitman” Hart and Sycho Sid. Just as they finish up, Bret’s music hits and he comes to the ring with a microphone in hand.

Bret: “Last week here on Raw, I came out here to celebrate a landmark victory for both myself, all of my fans across the world, and for this entire industry just one day removed from winning my fourth WWF Championship at WrestleMania. I was celebrating bringing honor and prestige back to the WWF Title, honor and prestige it lost during the course of the last year with a prima donna like Shawn Michaels and a big dummy like Sycho Sid passing my belt back and forth. So, what should’ve been a great night for me and my fans, gets interrupted first by Steve Austin, a beer swilling, loud mouth that has never once backed up that big mouth when we climbed between these ropes. But, Austin, I’ve come to expect that type of thing from a no class piece of trash like you, and honestly, it will be a pleasure to make you tap out to my sharpshooter at “In Your House,” so I can be done with you once and for all. So after Austin leaves, and after President Monsoon and Vince McMahon are done out here patting me on the back saying how great I am and suddenly some masked thug, a fan for all I know, slides in the ring and blasts me with a chair. (Turns to the broadcast table and looks at McMahon) I have had it Vince, there needs to be some damn control around here. Is that okay in your company here, Vince? To allow someone to come in from the crowd and belt your champion with a chair? What the hell has happened to the WWF? I have always been proud to represent this company, but lately, it seems anything that the bunch of animals on the roster do around here is just fine. Now you and I both know that was Shawn Michaels under that mask, and I suggest you and your stooge Monsoon take some action, before something really bad happens. I want some reassurance tonight that there will not be some intruder costing me my WWF title and I want it before I walk out here to face Sid tonight.” (Hart walks to the outside and tells McMahon to his face “I am not kidding, make something happen here tonight before bad things happen.”)

The show hits a commercial and returns with Goldust losing to Hunter Hearst Helmsley by disqualification after refusing to get off Helmsley while pounding him with punches and the referee cannot force him to stop even after the five count. Both Marlena and Chyna had been barred from ringside for the bout. Once again, Goldust wears no makeup or body suit, he has a white t-shirt on with jeans and a cowboy boots. Following this match, we again see a close-up shot of The Undertaker on the screen and he talks, addressing the events of last week and his upcoming battle with Sycho Sid.

Undertaker: “Mankind, you again have made a grave mistake. You continue to not finish the job and in doing so, you only anger me more. When you get your clearance, rest assured, I will be there, waiting to put you in your final resting spot. As for, you, Sycho Sid, I wish you all the best in your match tonight. Do me a favor and bring that title home, so I can make my vengeance at ‘In Your House’ that much sweeter as I not only lay you down, but I also become the WWF Champion. That way, the ‘Dark Days’ can once again return to the WWF and me and my creatures of the night can finally have the respect we have earned in our time here. But, even if you don’t take that title, you will still stare your worst nightmares in the face as I will get my revenge Sid, and you will rest in peace.”

Raw returns from break and we see President Monsoon in his office with Ken Shamrock. As they chat and Monsoon talks about what to do for the title match tonight, “Stone Cold” barges in. Shamrock steps in his way and they stand chest to chest.

Monsoon: “Whoa, whoa, whoa, what do you think you are doing here, Austin? Haven’t you ever heard of knocking? I have a lot of important business going on here tonight. I don’t have time for your nonsense.”

Austin: “My nonsense? My nonsense? I have been knocked out with a damn wrench three or four times now on your damn show and you want to talk my nonsense? I am fixing to get ready to whip Bret Hart’s ass and take the WWF title here in a few weeks and I got some cowboy blastin’ my brains in with a damn wrench? Eh, Eh, that ain’t how it’s going down. You give me those bastards in a match, I don’t care if it’s one on one, two on one, or what it is , but “Stone Cold” is gonna get him some of those Blackjacks and if you don’t sign off on it, I am gonna raise some hell, the likes of which ain’t never been seen around here before.”

Monsoon: “You know what, fine, you want the Blackjacks, you can have them. I have a ton of stuff going on here tonight, though and this whole company is turned upside down. So next week on Raw, you will face Blackjack Bradshaw in a one on one match and his partner, Windham, will be banned from ringside. How’s that, you happy, now? Can I get some work done around here?

Austin: “Bradshaw? Next week? With no Windham? Oh hell yeah I am happy, but I tell you what, I’d be even happier if I could have the other son of a bitch the next week, so “Stone Cold” can open a can of whoop ass up on both of their greasy, yellow carcasses.”

Monsoon: “Fine, Fine, you got it. Just get out of here and let me address these issues. You got Bradshaw next week and Windham the next after that. Now scram, and please, no problems with either of them tonight.”

(Austin takes one last stare at Shamrock who stood between him and Gorilla during the entire chat and turns and leaves. The action returns to the ring for the European Title Match.)

***Match- European Champion,  The British Bulldog vs. Owen Hart***- WWF European Champion & Tag Team Champion Davey Boy Smith fought WWF Tag Team Champion Owen Hart to a no contest at around the 13-minute mark when Bret Hart appeared and held both men apart after the referee was knocked to the floor and the two participants attempted to use a steel chair on each other; Smith played babyface and Owen heel for the match; after the match, Hart grabbed the mic and said Owen and Smith shouldn’t be fighting for a crowd that knew nothing of family values and spoke of his match with Smith at Wembley Stadium, how they hugged and made up only to return to America and have the fans turn them against each other again; Hart then addressed Owen and spoke of how he looked out for Owen at a young age and helped him get into the WWF; Hart then asked both men for their help and said he needed them, with Bret then telling Owen he loved him, prompting Owen to cry; moments later, the three men hugged and left ringside together***(1)

Following the reuniting of the Hart’s, President Monsoon appears on the TitanTron and speaks to the crowd.

Monsoon: “Okay, good evening fans. As a result of the consistent outside interference in major matches here in the WWF recently, I have made a few changes regarding tonight’s WWF Title match between Bret Hart and Sycho Sid. First off, I have again appointed Ken Shamrock to proceed over the title bout as the referee for the contest, however, Mr. Shamrock will not be in the ring for the match. His job will be to man the opening and closing of the door, as given said interference I feel that  I’ve been left with no choice but to make tonight’s title bout a Steel Cage Match. This way I see no possibly way that we will not have a definitive and clean cut victor tonight on Raw and may the best man win. Thank you and enjoy the rest of the show.”

After another commercial, Ahmed Johnson defeats Crush after a Pearl River Plunge. L.O.D. accompanied Ahmed, while Faarooq and Savio were in Crush’s corner. After a very brief break, we head back to in ring action, as Rocky Maivia retains his Intercontinental Title over The Sultan as a result of a double count out. Backlund and Sheik attack Rocky after the match and Rocky Johnson (who was in Maivia’s corner) attempted to make the save, but he too fell victim to the numbers game, with father and son left laying before the cameras go backstage to Dok Hendrix with Paul Bearer, Vader, Mankind, and Sycho Sid.

Hendrix: “Huge night here for the ‘Unholy Alliance’ as Sycho Sid squares off tonight with Bret Hart in a steel cage match for the WWF Championship. Gentleman, what is racing through those minds as the big moment is almost upon us here?”

Mankind: “Dok, that is a questioned not so easily answered, as you see I am not quite certain you want to know what is going through these three minds. (All begin laughing) Sid is going to bring home the gold tonight and even though I am not cleared for a match, I didn’t hear anything about me not taking care of my business outside of the ring. Actually, I don’t hear really anything on this side (points to his half ear) because my ear got ripped off. Either way, the clock is still ticking ‘Dead Man,’ and the day will eventually come that we do battle again, and finally when it does the ‘Unholy Alliance can celebrate your demise and have a nice day.”

Sid: “You know Bret Hart, I told you I’d cash in and that you owed me one. I told you that… (Sid is interrupted and stops talking as the New Blackjacks walk by the interview area and stop in front of the ‘Alliance.’ Windham unzips the duffle bag he is carrying and pulls out the urn he used on Austin last week. He hands it to Bearer as all of the men present look each other over. Bradshaw then unzips his bag, and pulls the now-infamous wrench out. He hands it over to Vader, and notes “I believe these items belong to you gentleman. That’s all, (tips his cowboy hat to Sid) oh yeah and good luck tonight, big man.” Windham also tips his hat as they walk away in one direction and the ‘Unholy Alliance heads the opposite way, not finishing the interview. Hendrix stands there confused as the show cuts to commercial.)

After the break, the cage begins dropping, as it does, a pre-taped promo from The Honky Tonk Man airs, where the former I-C titlist tells the world that he is  going to debut a new protégé that he will manage at the upcoming April 20 ‘In Your House’ event. Just as the segment ends, they go back up to the ring for the WWF Championship Steel Cage Match.

***Match- WWF Championship Steel Cage Match- Champion Bret “The Hitman” Hart vs. Sycho Sid***- ***Psycho Sid defeated Bret Hart in a steel cage match at 7:40 by escaping over the top after the Undertaker interfered and slammed the cage door into the champion’s face as Hart attempted to exit the cage, moments after Steve Austin interfered on behalf of Hart;*** (2a)After, Austin interfered, Shamrock who was manning the door turned to reprimand him, but Austin backed away. Once Shamrock refocused his attention on the action, Austin laid him out with a chair shot from behind and rammed his head into the cage. Medical personnel attended to Shamrock, as Austin was leaving. 

*** After the bout, Vince McMahon attempted to interview Hart in the ring but Hart shoved McMahon to the mat after he made mention of Bret being frustrated, then responded by saying, “Frustrated isn’t the god damn word for it. This is bullshit!”; after a brief tirade about how the WWF higher-ups were turning a blind eye to all the injustices Hart has sustained in recent weeks, Steve Austin appeared on the Titantron and said he wanted Bret to win the title but Hart was too much of a loser to do so; moments later, Psycho Sid came back to the ring and he and Hart were about to come to blows but then the Undertaker appeared and Hart hit a dive through the ropes onto Taker; eventually, Austin came ringside and began stomping Hart on the outside as Taker and Sid fought in the ring to close the show, with referees and officials trying to separate the four men.***(2b) The final camera shots we get before Raw goes off the air switches between the two separate brawls that are going on and a close up in the crowd of the mysterious attacker from last week, wearing the same baggie black attire and mask, standing in the aisle of the first level of seats, slowly applauding the events that are transpiring.

 

Raw is War- April 7, 1997- Muncie, IN

The show begins with the opening music and pyro before heading straight up to the ring for a World Tag Team Title match which sees the champs, Owen Hart and the British Bulldog successfully defend against the Godwinns. Of note,  Owen and Davey work together seamlessly and the broadcast team notes that it appears that last week’s reuniting with Bret Hart has put them back on the same page. In the waning moments of the match, Bret actually appears and comes to ringside, applauding his family members as Bulldog scoops Phineas Godwin for his running powerslam and gets the pin. Jim Ross leaves his ringside seat to interview the three as they walk up the ramp together.

Ross: “After years of feuding and fighting amongst siblings, it appears that you three are finally on the same page. I am not sure I agree with your motives or all of what you say, but family is family, and the world wants to know, why now? What after all these years was the factor in you, Bret, coming out here last week to bring you all back together.”

Bret: “Well, Jim Ross, it is real simple. Even you should be able to understand. I am sick and tired of getting screwed over and getting jumped from behind around here. Monsoon has no control and the rest of the WWF officials either just don’t care or are totally incompetent, so I took matters into my own hands. You don’t want to believe me? I was robbed of the WWF Title last week. Steve Austin and The Undertaker got past the so-called enforcer referee, Ken Shamrock and both helped in costing me to lose the title. Two weeks ago, I was celebrating my win at WrestleMania and a fan (smirks) who quite frankly, I think we all know who you are, Shawn, jumps me from behind and knocks me out. So, I just realized that it is foolish for myself, and Owen and Davey to fight. We are brothers, we are family. There is a bond there unmatched and I told them, it is not worth fighting, when we mean so much to each other. These bloodthirsty fans and the constant chaos around here actually had these guys beating each other’s brains out last week. There are no more family values here in the WWF. It is not okay to bring your kids out here and watch Steve Austin swear like a sailor and Shawn Michaels parade around half nude in the ring. These fans are savages, they want blood, they want unbridled violence, and they want foul language. It turns my guts to see what this company is becoming and  I just couldn’t watch it anymore. So from now on, the Hart family stands united. I’ve got their backs and they have mine. So, Steve Austin, or Undertaker, or Mister Mystery Man, the next time you try and cheat Bret Hart out of a match, you have the best tag team in the world today to deal with and they will do just like I always do and excellently execute all comers here in the WWF.”

Before break, we see a graphic showing that “Stone Cold” will face off with Blackjack Bradshaw later in  the night and also that President Monsoon has signed a WWF Title Match for tonight, where new champion, Sycho Sid, will defend his belt and he will announce his opponent for the main event following the next segment on the show. After the commercial, the Honky Tonk Man joins the announce team, and actually interferes in the next match, tripping up Jesse James and costing him to lose to Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Goldust again appears on the split screen minus his gold attire, with comments during this bout and reveals that he will be back at ‘In Your House,’ shockingly announcing that he will team up with Marlena in a mixed tag match versus Helmsley and Chyna. He says that it felt good to pummel Helmsley the week before and that he is done being silly and playing mind games with him and that he is simply coming to the pay per view for a good old fashioned fight.  After the match, James goes after Honky and challenges his new protégé that will be unveiled at ‘In Your House’ to a math the same night. The shot moves to President Monsoon, flanked by Ken Shamrock appearing on the TitanTron.

Monsoon: “Good evening, fans. Well, once again, last week, we were left in a whirl wind of controversy regarding the WWF Title bout and even a steel cage couldn’t keep the battle at one on one. On top of that, these goons, the ‘Unholy Alliance’ keep interfering each week, Steve Austin keeps interfering each week, the Undertaker keeps interfering each week, so I am left with a situation that seemingly has no solution. No one wants to follow the rules and regulations it seems, so I have decided that I can play that game too. That being said, Sycho Sid will defend the WWF Championship in our main event tonight. The official for that match will once again be my special enforcer, Ken Shamrock, and Sid’s opponent tonight will be none other than his big buddy, his partner in crime, the man they call Vader.  I am cleaning this show up starting tonight, and I am starting with the disease that has most infected our company, Paul Bearer’s ‘Unholy Alliance.’ Oh, and by the way, if they get any funny ideas, and don’t compete at 100 percent against each other for that title, Sid will be stripped of the World Championship no questions asked. I have to leave the arena now for a bit to meet with members of the WWF Board of Directors, but I will be back before the end of the night. I thank you all, and enjoy the rest of the show.” (Cuts to break)

Raw returns with Dok Hendrix in the back interviewing all three members of the Nation, who challenge Ahmed Johnson and Legion of Doom to a six man street fight at ‘In Your House.’ Ahmed, Hawk, and Animal attack the three as they are being interviewed and accept the challenge as the six men wildly brawl before we head back to the ring, where I-C Champ, Rocky Maivia wins a handicapped match over Bob Backlund and the Iron Sheik. The Sultan again attacks Maivia after the match, before Rocky Johnson once again makes the save and chases the three villains from the ring. Following this, we see Vader, Sid, and Mankind walking with Paul Bearer in the back. They are turning over everything in sight, attacking backstage personnel, several superstars as well, before they walk past the New Blackjacks, and once again the five men simply trade stares, with Bradshaw and Windham, giving a tip of their hats to which Vader responds offering good luck to Bradshaw in his match with Steve Austin later in the show before all of them continue on their way.   

After another commercial, we go back to the ring where Sal Sincere awaits the arrival of The ‘Phenom.’ As he marches down the aisle, Mankind sprints up behind and knock the ‘Taker to the floor with a forearm to the back of the head. Undertaker though, fights back and the two trade punches, with the ‘Dead Man’ gaining the upper hand. At this point, Vader races out and blind sides the Undertaker with the wrench. Knocking him to the steel ramp. Mankind then pulls him up and grabbing his tights as he yanks him up, spikes the ‘Phenom’ with a piledriver on the steel ramp, busting him open before rolling over and applying the mandible claw. The show cuts again to a quick commercial, as officials try to pry a shrieking and wailing Mankind off the bloody ‘Taker. After the quick break, a promo for ‘Revenge of the ‘Taker, In Your House airs, with the announcers detailing the card as it currently stands. After this, we go back to the ring for the introduction of the Austin and Blackjack Bradshaw matchup.

Match- “ Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Blackjack Bradshaw- The commentators remind us that for this matchup, Blackjack Windham has been barred from ringside, as Austin lays into Bradshaw and takes an early advantage. Bret Hart makes his way to ringside and sits in with the commentary team for the bout as the two superstars begin to lock up. Austin runs through his classic offense, hitting a big clothesline off the ropes, a vertical suplex, and then following with three elbow drops that result in a near fall. He then pulls Bradshaw up and whips him in scoring with a Lou Thez press much to the glee of announcer Jim Ross. “Right hands, right hands, Austin, Austin, Austin,” shouts the broadcaster as ‘Stone Cold’ pummels the Blackjack. He again picks him up and goes for a whip to the buckle that is reversed, sending “The Rattlesnake” into the official and knocking him (the ref) cold. At this point, regardless of the stipulation, Windham charges the ring with his bullrope. As he charges, Austin nails a stunner on Bradshaw and turns just in time to hit Windham with a second stunner, bringing the packed house to its feet. Austin scoops the bullrope and picks up Windham, slugging him with the bell, and sending him out of the ring. “Austin is like a man possessed, he is fighting for his life,” Ross declares, as the ‘Hitman’ chimes in, “Austin is a cheater, that is a foreign object, and listen to these blood thirsty fans cheer him on as he breaks every rule in the book. This is disgusting, McMahon, a true disgrace.” McMahon answers Bret, “Please, let’s concentrate on the action, ‘Hitman’,” as Austin hits another ‘Stunner’ and we see Shamrock on a split screen leaving a monitor he is watching in the back and heading to the ring to take over as the official. Before he gets to the ramp, we see Vader cut him off out of nowhere with a clubbing shot, bringing two forearms down on Shamrock and knocking him to the ground. Sid and Mankind jump in and put the boots to Shamrock, before the three head toward the ring. Vader holds the wrench up for all to see as they approach ringside, and Windham slowly sneaks behind Austin. He grabs and holds back both arms as Bradshaw has now slowly arisen. Before the ‘Alliance’ can make it to the ring, the Undertaker sprints out, with his forehead bandaged and chases Mankind and Vader off through the crowd. Vader continues his methodical march to the ring as Austin ducks a big boot from Bradshaw that catches Windham flush in the face again knocking him to the floor. As Austin now sees Vader, Shamrock sprints from the back and tackles the ‘Mastodon’ to the ground, ‘losing it’ as he pounds fists into the big man’s face. Austin has the savvy to duck a Bradshaw lariat and nail him with a third stunner, just as the original referee crawls back in and makes a three count. He picks up Bradshaw and hurls him outside, at the feet of Windham and tosses the bullrope over the ropes at the two. Shamrock and Vader have rolled over toward the announce table, and seeing the wrench on the floor and Austin with his back turned, ‘The Hitman’ scoops it up and sneaks behind his ‘In Your House’ opponent. While Shamrock and Vader’s battle goes over the barricade and through the audience, Bret enters the ring and just as he raises the weapon, Austin turns  and tackles him, mounting him and again throwing repeated punches to Bret’s face.  Bulldog and Owen sprint out and Austin at first fights off all three men, but they eventually get the better of him as Bret sneaks up behind him and wraps the wrench around his knee, before the trio all work over the limb. Bret pulls Austin to the corner and wraps him in his ‘ringpost figure four,’ as ‘The Rattlesnake’ screams in pain. Bulldog and Owen lean over and trade words with the New Blackjacks, challenging them back in the ring, but they do not enter, only reaching in to grab the wrench before high tailing to the back. “Looks like the Blackjacks have a case of the limber tail,” adds Ross, as Bret continues to lay back on the figure four while Bulldog and Owen get booed mercilessly as they raise their hands in celebration in the ring. From behind them, the mystery attacker again enters from the crowd, dropping both of them with a chair shot as they turn around. Seeing this, Bret releases and sprints after the assailant, chasing him out and around the ring, twice. The masked figure slides back into the ring and the once again leads Bret on a chase around the outside of the ring, but as they go past Austin this time, he leaps across and tackles Hart, unable to stand due to the damage to his leg, but still able to get on top of Bret and throw multiple punches to his face. Austin rolls of the battered ‘Hitman,” and begins limping away, hopping off while flipping the former four time champ the bird. As he turned around the corner of the ring though, the attacker laid in wait and blasts Austin with a chair shot, knocking him unconscious as well, before leaving the chair behind and racing to safety through the crowd. Just before the show goes to another break, we see a limousine pull up in the back and President Monsoon gets out. He is immediately greeted by agents, Pat Patterson, Gerry Brisco, and Tony Garea who are frantically telling of the mayhem that has ensued since he left.

Following that break, the introductions are given for the main event. WWF Champion, Sycho Sid comes out first with Paul Bearer, and when Vader’s music hits, he does not appear. A second time his music is cued up, but again, there are no signs of him. We then see on the TitanTron, Vader and Shamrock still brawling, in the backstage area. Sid and Bearer begin retreating to the back, when Vader’s TitanTron video and music restarts again, so the two stop half way up the ramp. Instead of Vader though, the Undertaker comes through the curtain and lights up both the champ and his manager. He drags Sid all the way to the top of the ramp, pummeling him the entire time. After continuing the beat down, ‘Taker turns to his former manager, and slaps his hand against his throat. Walking him to the side of the stage, he scoops up Bearer and chokeslams him off the stage and through a table that laid about ten feet below on the floor. “The Undertaker is bad to the bone and he may have just killed Paul Bearer,” shouts J.R. as Sid escapes toward the ring with ‘Taker’s attention averted. Just as this occurs, Shamrock and Vader then come brawling through the curtain, with the enforcer official getting the better of the big man. Shamrock continues his assault, kicking and punching Vader all the way to the ring, rolling him in and calling for the bell and for the match to finally begin.

Match- WWF Championship Match- Champion, Sycho Sid vs. Vader (Ken Shamrock is Special Referee)- Sid goes to take a swing at Shamrock, but misses wildly and Shamrock opens up on him, too. He floors the Sycho and gets him in the ankle lock, leaving the champion screaming for help. Vader rises and begins going at Shamrock, who releases the hold and reminds Vader that if he does not carry out the match that he is suspended, per the orders of President Monsoon. A split screen shot shows the Undertaker stomping mad still searching high and low for Mankind. The full screen shot returns and we see President Monsoon, Patterson, Brisco, and Garea heading toward ringside as Vader, now done arguing with Shamrock ascends to the second rope and after bouncing off them, springs back with a perfectly placed ‘Vader Bomb.’ He climbs back up and drops a second just as Monsoon and the agents reach ringside. Shamrock reluctantly jumps down for the count as Monsoon snatches a microphone at ringside. “We have got a new champion,” cries out J.R. as Shamrocks hand hits one, two, and before the third slap, the President interrupts.

Monsoon: “Wait just a minute, Ken. Don’t make that third count. (Vader jumps up and is furious, leaning over the ropes in Monsoon’s direction. Ross again chimes in “What in the hell, Vader had his buddy Sid beat for the WWF Title, what is going on here.” Monsoon continues.) I told you Vader that I have had it up to here with you and your interference and that it was coming to an end. Your days of bullying people around and not falling into line are over. Don’t say that you were not warned, but you are gone, pal.. You are out of here and suspended for thirty days. I don’t wanna see you in the locker room, backstage, or anywhere. Hit the bricks , pal. Boys, take him away.”(Uniformed police come and cuff Vader, walking him out of the building as a now recovered Sid looks on and protests despite retaining his title. Just then, as the show is about to go off the air, we are shown a shot in the backstage area of the Undertaker who is laid out on the floor with a referee kneeling over him. The ‘Taker is clutching at his throat, gasping and coughing as a bullrope still lays across his chest just below his hands and throat. )

 

Raw is War- April 14, 1997- Johannesburg, South Africa

This week’s show comes on the air recapping all of the major happenings from the week prior. The scuffle between Bret and Austin that was followed by another appearance from the mysterious masked attacker that took out Owen, Bulldog, and “Stone Cold” was reviewed as was the entire Vader/Shamrock/Sid/ Undertaker/ Mankind/Paul Bearer dramatics. The final shot again showed the Undertaker lying on the floor after apparently being choked out with the bullrope. After the pyro and opening theme we immediately go to the ring where the Undertaker waits with a microphone.

Undertaker: “So, everyone wants to know what happened to the Undertaker at the end of Raw last week. Everyone wants to know who choked me out with that bullrope and left me laying. Well, the obvious choice would be the Blackjacks. They are after all the only ones around this place carrying a damn bullrope. So, yeah, that is the easy answer, but while I cannot for sure say who blindsided me and choked me with in an inch of my life, I can say that it was neither Windham or Bradshaw. I say this, because I saw both of the Blackjacks as I was being choked out. In my last glimpses of consciousness, I could see them with their very own bullrope in hand, leaving the dressing room right next to where I was attacked. They looked and seemed to get a good laugh at my expense, but they kept on their way, so there is zero chance it was them. Now my gut feeling, my instinct tells me that it was that lunatic Mankind, but looking back, I chased his ass out of here last week and earlier this week, I spoke with President Monsoon and with several others who verified that after I chokeslammed Paul Bearer straight to hell of that stage last week, Mankind was in the ambulance with him and rode the entire way to the hospital and stayed with him throughout his time there. His little cronies, Vader and Sid were out here in a match, ruling them out, too. So, I will introduce Mankind to a whole new world of pain and suffering once he is able to return, and I will eliminate Sycho Sid this Sunday and become the WWF Champion, but for tonight I am on a mission. To the fellas in the back, I will say this one time. Unless you want the beating of your life, I would suggest you just stay the hell out of my way as I do some looking around. Like I said,  I have one mission and one mission only tonight, and that is to find out who attacked me and show give them a vacation courtesy of the Undertaker, and that trip they will embark on will be via a one way ticket. A one way ticket to hell.”(Close up shows his eyes roll back into his head as he spikes the microphone and begins his search. Before the break, J.R. breaks the silence after the serious words of the ‘Taker, fretting, “Oh man, that is an angry and pissed off Undertaker. I do not envy the poor soul who feels the wrath of that man here tonight.”)

After break, we see Undertaker still walking in the back searching for some answers. He stops and asks the Honky Tonk Man who is seen chatting with Billy Gunn. The two shrug of ‘The Dead Man’ and Honky chuckles, causing Undertaker to lift him off the ground by his face and slam the back of his head off the wall. Gunn holds his hands up and walks away as ‘Taker continues on his quest. We then go up to the ring for a Tag Team Championship Match, as Owen Hart and the British Bulldog defeat the Headbangers, again seeming to have a new found continuity and mean streak since reuniting with Bret. We then go to an interview via satellite with I-C Champ Rocky Maivia and his father, Rocky Johnson. The two announce that they are tired of the attacks by the Sultan, Iron Sheik, and Bob Backlund and that they will face off with that threesome in a six man tag bout at Sunday’s ‘In Your House’ pay per view. They do not speak of who their partner is, only that they will be bringing an ‘old friend of the family’ to help put an end to them once and for all. Before the break, we again cut to the Undertaker in the back as he stomps past Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Chyna, looking each of them up and down without a word being spoken before he continues on his quest. As he walks away and Helmsley and Chyna continue their chat, Goldust flies into the picture, once again in street clothes, jumping on Hunter and pounding his head off the floor as Chyna tries unsuccessfully to pull him off as the show goes to commercial.

Following the break, we go to the interview area, where Kevin Kelly is standing by with Bret Hart, who is flanked by his brother, Owen and brother-in-law, Davey Boy. Kelly tries to begin asking Bret a question, but Bret yanks the microphone from him and begins talking himself.

Bret: “It is a crying shame what this company has turned into. It makes me want to puke my guts out when I go out and give 100 percent 300 plus days a year, for over fourteen years to give the fans  a great show and then they cheer a savage like “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. They cheer, Shawn Michaels, who needs to hide under a mask because he is too chicken shit to face me or show his face around here after I kicked his scrawny ass at WrestleMania. You got no one around here doing anything about some ‘mystery guy’ laying everyone out with chairs, sneaking up behind them like a coward and blindsiding them and the reason is that it is you Shawn Michaels and we all know that President Monsoon and McMahon and the animals in the crowd out here all love Shawn Michaels. Well, I challenge this “Mystery Man” to meet me in the ring here tonight. You wanna jump me? You wanna jump my family? Come on out and show yourself and I will break your back with a sharpshooter, how is that? As for Steve Austin, I will be putting an end to Steve Austin this Sunday at the pay per view. He wants to act so tough and call himself ‘the baddest S.O.B. in this company?” Well I say prove it Austin, I am going to embarrass you this Sunday and I am gonna throw this down right now. I am going to wash my hands with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin at ‘In Your House’ by making him give up, by making the tough S.O.B. submit. So what do you say Austin? Let’s up the stakes and make it me and you this Sunday in an “I Quit” match? I will be waiting for your answer, just like I will be waiting for the gutless coward in the black mask later tonight in the ring.” ( The show then goes to a commercial, showing the Undertaker still searching high and low backstage for some answers. He walks by Goldust who is readying to leave the building and the two exchange stares. ‘Taker continues on his way and Goldust leaves the building)

After the break we again see the Undertaker back stage. He strolls past the New Blackjacks and stops as they walk out of there dressing room.

Undertaker: “You two know anything about what happened last week? I mean, I know it wasn’t you, but you are a couple of outlaws, right? Who would be stringing me up with a bullrope, fellas?”

Windham: “Look, Mark, I’ve known you a long time and I have also known to not get into your business. (Holds up bullrope) This here is the only one of these we have and if someone else around here is swinging another lasso, then all I can tell you is that you’re looking at the wrong cowboys, man.” (Undertaker looks both men up and down before striding forward. They head in the opposite direction. The camera stays on the Blackjacks dressing room door for a second and when it opens, WWF champion, Sycho Sid looks both ways and then walks out.)

The action then returns to the ring, as Savio Vega gets a pinfall win over Road Warrior Hawk with some help from a handful of tights. The Nation accompany Savio and Animal and Ahmed are in Hawk’s corner for this matchup, as both sides argue and trade words at the conclusion. The camera again goes to the back and sees the Undertaker, who catches a glimpse of Mankind. Their eyes meet and ‘Taker begins to speed up in pursuit, but Foley ducks into a dressing room and locks the door. ‘Taker tries beating it in, but then walks away and continues on looking for his assailant. 

After a quick break, WWF Champion, Sycho Sid comes to the ring, where Jim Ross waits to interview him.

Ross: “WWF Champion, Sycho Sid, it has been a crazy few weeks for you. While you have once again become WWF Champion, you have also aligned yourself with Paul Bearer to form the “Unholy Alliance.” But, since that faction came together, Mankind has suffered a severe concussion, Vader is suspended, and now even your manager, Paul Bearer is hospitalized. You are a man all alone here tonight and heading into a big title defense Sunday against a pissed off Undertaker. How do you plan to combat a force as powerful as the Undertaker, especially in the foul mood he has been in after last week?

Sid: “Well, Jim, (Laughs in microphone) crazy is what Sycho Sid does best. How do I get by the Undertaker? I get by him just like I do everyone else, by dominating and over powering him and beating him at his own game. As for the ‘Alliance,’ don’t you worry. Minor setbacks with Mankind and Vader will not defer us from our goal of total domination in the WWF. We will continue to grow, we will continue to get stronger and we will continue to be the masters of the WWF and the rulers of the world.”

Ross: “Well that sounds all well and good, but it appears you guys are falling apart at the seams.As I said,  even your leader your mastermind, Paul Bearer is in the hospital. So what do you mean, growing and getting stronger? It seems you have a mutual respect going on with the New Blackjacks? Are they who you speak of and if not, the world wants to know? We just saw you leaving there dressing room, what is the deal there?”

Sid: “Whoa, Jim, hang on there fella. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The Blackjacks and the ‘Alliance’ have simply had their paths cross with mutual enemies and that is it. Nothing more, nothing less, at least as far as you and these morons out here need to know. I can associate and speak with whoever I like and that is none of your damn business, got it? All, I can say is just trust me when I tell you, we are not falling apart as you say, but quite the contrary, we are getting stronger from within and we will continue to do just that. ‘Dead Man,’ this Sunday, you meet your maker my friend and when I powerbomb you and get that one, two, three, maybe, just maybe, I will leave a little meat on your bones for Mankind to come back and finish off the job. This interview is over.” (Sid drops microphone and head to the back)

After the break, we get the intros for Austin versus Blackjack Windham, who again comes to the ring alone as Bradshaw is banned from ringside. As the match is set to begin, the announcers inform us that President Monsoon has gotten word to them that the Austin/Bret Hart match at ‘In Your House’ will indeed be an ‘I Quit’ Match and that the special referee will again be Ken Shamrock, He added that due to the chaos in last week’s Austin vs. Bradshaw contest, that Shamrock will also be the official for this bout between ‘Stone Cold’ and Windham here tonight.

Match- “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Blackjack Windham (with Special Referee, Ken Shamrock)- Once again, “The Hitman” joins the commentary team for this matchup, which begins with Austin jawing at him from inside the ring. Windham looks to take advantage of Austin’s preoccupation with Bret, sneaking up behind him, but “Stone Cold” is too quick and ducks before opening up on his opponent and tossing him over the top rope. He follows after to the floor and immediately grabs Windham by the back of the hair and hurls him over the announcers table, right into the lap of Hart, knocking him from his chair to the floor. Bret is quick to rise and the two latch on to each other from across the table. Shamrock comes out and separates Bret and Austin, with J.R. chiming in, “This could be ‘In Your House’ a few days early. These two want at each other in the worst way.” Both men argue with Shamrock as he gets between them, and a now recovered Windham takes advantage this time of the distraction, sneaking up behind Austin with an electrical cord off the floor and strangling him with it. Shamrock and Hart continuing arguing, as Bret tells him, “You’re in my world now, pal. That is a wrestling ring, not an octagon. I rule the roost around here.” As Shamrock turns, Bret gives him a shove, prompting the official to charge at him, but he leaps the barricade and heads into the crowd to avoid contact. “How the hell is Shamrock gonna call this ‘I Quit’ match on Sunday, he has traded blows with both men over the course of only two or three weeks,” questions Ross. Meanwhile, Windham has taken Austin back in the ring, scoring with a dropkick and following that up with a whip to the corner that he follows in with a clothesline. With Austin groggy, he lifts him up to the top rope and nails a picture perfect superplex and the returning Shamrock slides in as Windham covers for a two count. Returning to their feet, the Blackjack drives Austin’s head to the mat with a bulldog before another near fall. A follow up whip to the corner sees Windham slap on a trademark move of his father, Blackjack Mulligan, a claw hold. Austin fades as Hart returns to the broadcast table. “Here we go, let’s see Austin the big quitter give up, I think he is saying yes,” incorrectly states Hart, as McMahon fires back, “No he is not saying yes, Bret, Austin refuses to give up.” As he has faded to one knee, Shamrock moves in to check the arm of Austin, when the tag champions, Owen and Bulldog come down the ramp. “What business do they have out here, Bret? Here comes your family, what the hell are they doing,” asks Ross, to which Bret replies, “I am not sure, maybe scouting Windham for their big title defense, Sunday? Either way, it is a breath of fresh air to have them out here,” responds Bret. Upon seeing them heading toward the ring, Windham releases the hold and challenges them to come to the ring. As they get closer, Blackjack Bradshaw comes out and hits a huge lariat on Owen from behind, as he and Davey Boy begin brawling on the ramp. Bret leaves the broadcast position to aid his brother in law, and Windham starts out after the two as well before Austin comes from behind him and pulls him back into the ring from the apron with a hiptoss. He follows up with an elbow drop from the second rope and nearly gets the win with a two count. A vertical suplex is then followed by the signature Austin ‘Lou Thez Press’ and right hands. Bret and Davey Boy are now double teaming Bradshaw on the floor, laying a flurry of kicks into his ribs and to his head. An Austin Irish Whip and clothesline attempt is ducked by Windham, who returns from the far side and looks for his finisher, the lariat, only to have ‘Stone Cold’ duck and slide quickly behind him with a boot to the gut and a stunner for the one, two, three. Austin refuses to have Shamrock raise his hand and the two are near blows, when Bret, Davey, and Owen hit the ring. Austin valiantly fights of the three briefly before they get the better of him and lay the boots into him as well. Shamrock pulls Bret away, and Bret throws his hands up as if he is obeying his order to stop, but in reality, he is just a distraction for Owen and Bulldog to keep working over Austin. Seeing this, Shamrock approaches the tag champs, but Bret chop blocks his knee and now the three work him over too. Shamrock too is now fighting for his life, gaining a short lived advantage before being overwhelmed by the three. At this point, Windham and Bradshaw have regained their senses, and they come back to the ring and lace into Owen and Bulldog, with all four men throwing big fists and trading blows. With Shamrock and Austin down, Bret goes to the floor and gets a chair. He lights up both fallen superstars, bringing the chair down over the legs of both men. He then pushes Shamrock under the bottom rope to the floor and pulls Austin to the center of the ring, where he spins him into a sharp shooter. The helpless Austin reaches and grasps in pain, but to no avail as there is no escape at this point. Shamrock, slowly gets up and as he shakes off his lickings, gets crazy eyed and jumps to the apron behind Bret. He looks to the crowd for a second, but as he readies to head through the ropes, the mystery attacker again leaps the barricade and blasts him in the back with a chairshot. Knocking him to the floor, the masked assailant then blasts Shamrock a second time over the head with a sickening thud. Hearing the shots, Bret releases the hold, but is too late as the attacker is gone, scooting back into the fans before Bret could get close. Hart looks around and then heads to the back as the show goes to a break.

When Raw returns, we go back to the locker room area. Still unable to find his elusive “strangler,” the Undertaker is shown, obviously frustrated as he pounds his hands into the door of his dressing room, opening it a stomping in. As he sits down and puts his head in his hands, he looks up and sees a neatly wrapped gift on the counter in front of the mirror. He tentatively gets up and unwraps it, growing furious as he pulls out the contents, a bullrope. The camera zooms in as he digs to the bottom of the box and retrieves a card that simply reads, “Guess Who?” As the ‘Taker seethes with anger, we cut away and are shown footage of what went down during the break, as Shamrock finally got up from the chair shots and came to the ring to check on Austin, helping ‘The Rattlesnake’ to his feet, before being the unsuspecting victim of a ‘Stone Cold Stunner. After this footage airs, Bret’s music hits again, and he strides back toward ringside, with a microphone in hand, almost immediately demanding that his music be shut off.

Bret: “Okay, okay. Enough is enough. Real cute the way the so-called ‘mystery attacker’ keeps sneaking around here, slithering around on his belly like a snake, attacking everyone in sight. I know and all of you know it’s Shawn Michaels. He is too embarrassed to show his face after I beat him within an inch of his life at WrestleMania, and I get it, I would be embarrassed too.(Bret has now entered the ring) But to come out here and attack me and my family from behind and then to blindside Steve Austin and Ken Shamrock, too, almost trying to fool people into thinking it’s not you Shawn, come on you yellow gutless coward. The gig is up, so get on out here and fight me, Shawn. Oh, and if it isn’t you, whoever it is, I am calling you out right now. (He pauses and gets no response) Just as I thought, gutless. One of these nights, ‘Mystery Man,’ you’re luck is gonna run out and I am gonna (Bret stops talking as the crowd begins to get loud as the masked man appears and begins walking down the aisle toward the ring in  the same baggy black suit and solid black mask. He carries his trademark chair.) Oh, hey, what do you know, here he comes. Well, we are all waiting.” (The masked man walks to the ring and climbs up on the apron as Bret waits for him in the center of the ring. The volume in the arena again rises as a second masked man dressed exactly the same, with a chair comes from behind Bret out of the crowd. J.R. weighs in, saying, “What in the hell is going on here, we now have two masked men and they look exactly the same?” Just as the first man starts entering the ring, Bret turns his attention to the second intruder. When he turns back around, the man who has entered the ring catches Bret with a boot to the gut and a stunner as the crowd erupts. He tears off the mask and its “Stone Cold.” With Bret down, he grabs the ‘Hitman’s’ legs after giving him a double bird and turns him into a sharpshooter returning the favor from earlier. “It’s Austin, its Austin, ‘Stone Cold’ got Bret, ‘Stone Cold’ got Bret,” hollers Ross as he leans back on the hold and Bret screams in pain. Meanwhile, the other masked man climbs into the ring as ‘The Rattlesnake’ is still leaning back on the sharpshooter, sneaking around in front of him before crushing him with a chair shot, leaving Austin out cold. Once again, he leaves the scene of the crime through the crowd as the show goes off the air with both participants in Sunday’s “I Quit” match down and out in the ring. J.R.brings us home, saying, “What the hell is gonna go down Sunday at ‘In Your House,’ and who in the hell is this ‘Man in Black?’ We’re outta time here, folks, we will see you Sunday night.”

In Your House 14- “Revenge of the ‘Taker”- April 20, 1997- Rochester, NY

The announce team of Jim Ross, Vince McMahon, and Jerry “The King” Lawler will call the action for this huge event, as the in ring portion begins with the “Free for All” portion that sees Flash Funk score a pinfall win over Henry Godwinn. After the match, we see the Undertaker arriving to the arena. He walks from his car and is stopped by an employee of the arena who approaches him with a package, telling him that it arrived for him earlier. The ‘Taker opens the box and again pulls a bullrope from the package, digging deeper he retrieves a card that reads “I’ll be watching you closely tonight. Signed, Guess Who.” He tears the card and spikes the box on the ground, continuing to head into the arena.

Following this the pay per view hits the air and begins with a detailed intro, highlighting both the Hart/Austin “I Quit” match and the Sid/Undertaker title bout to take part later in the evening. ***The first matchup of the night sees Ahmed Johnson & the Legion of Doom defeat Farooq, Savio Vega, & Crush (w/ the Nation) in a Chicago-Style Streetfight at 10:45 when Road Warrior Animal pinned Crush after Crush sustained the Doomsday Device and was sent into a 2×4; after the match, Ahmed and the LOD laid waste to all the other members of the Nation (D-Lo Brown and PG-13)***(3). The next match is the Goldust/Marlena vs. Helmsley/Chyna mixed tag. The Helmsley and Chyna squad gets the win, when Hunter rolls up Goldust and uses a hand full of tights to hold him down. After the match up, Goldust sends Marlena back to the locker room and brutally assaults Helmsley, tossing Chyna to the side and actually slicing Hunter open with a spur that he took off his cowboy boot.(Goldust was again dressed in jeans, a sleeveless t-shirt, and boots.) After this matchup, we prepare for the big six man tag, but first, Kevin Kelly waits in the back with WWF Champion, Sycho Sid. Just as the camera went to the backstage area, we saw a very quick glimpse in the background of the New Blackjacks walking into a dressing room located right next to the interview area.

Kelly: “Sycho Sid, tonight, you meet the Undertaker, who has been even more dangerous than ever in the past few weeks. He appears focused and out for revenge for all of the attacks that he has suffered at the hands of you and the ‘Unholy Alliance.’ Not to mention tonight, you stand alone, Mankind is hurt, Vader is suspended, and I heard Paul Bearer was in the building, but I do not see him here, so I must ask, how do you combat the ‘Dead Man’ and is your manager here tonight?”

Sid: “Little man, let me be very straight with you. Paul Bearer is here tonight, he is still injured badly, but he will be here to stand by my side. I am not sure of his where abouts right now, but rest assured, he will be at ringside tonight. Now, on to the Undertaker, the ‘Dead Man.’ How do I combat him? A better question is how does he combat the WWF Champion? How does he combat the master and ruler of the world? You see, I am not afraid of the dark, Undertaker, as a matter of fact, I kind of like it. So , when the lights go down and you come to get your revenge, there are gonna be a lot of disappointed people out here and you, Undertaker will be at the top of that list. I think that by the night’s end we may change the name of tonight’s event from ‘Revenge of the ‘Taker,’ to ‘End of the ‘Taker,’ because a win is not enough for me tonight. My job here will only be done when I have put an end to the Undertaker once and for all.” (As the interview ends, we again see the same dressing room door we saw before the interview in the background. With a neck brace on as a result of his injuries, we again very briefly get a shot of Paul Bearer opening the door and leaving the room.)

Back up to the ring, as The Sultan, Bob Backlund, and Iron Sheik  are defeated by I-C Champ, Rocky Maivia, Rocky Johnson, and their surprise partner, Tony Atlas. Following this matchup, we again go back to the interview area, where Dok Hendrix is with ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin.

Hendrix: “Steve Austin, tonight, you finally get the chance to prove without a shadow of a doubt that you are the better man out of you and Bret Hart. The only way to win is to make your opponent say ‘I Quit,” words that I have never known either of you two to utter. What is your strategy heading into this huge bout?”

Austin: “ Well, it’s real simple. My strategy is to beat the living hell out of Bret Hart until he whimpers and cries like he always does and make him say I quit. Bret wants to run his mouth and tell everyone that he is a hero and a role model for the kids, but ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin don’t give a damn about being anybody’s hero and he sure as hell ain’t no role model. Bret, tonight, you cannot escape the beating of a lifetime. As for Ken Shamrock and his little white and black striped shirt, he better just stay out of my way and ring the bell when I win, oh yeah and whoever this mystery man is that keeps popping in and knocking me in my head with a chair? Bad move, son, because eventually, the ‘Rattlesnake’ with slither up on you when you least expect it and beat that foolish little mask right off your face. That is all in due time though, because tonight, Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart, I open a big ol’ can of whoop ass up on your ass and make you give up. Tonight, you will be ‘excellently executed’ courtesy of ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, and that’s the bottom line ‘cause ‘Stone Cold’ said so.”

We next head back up to the ring for the introductions of the Tag Title Match

Match- WWF Tag Team Championship Match- Champions, Owen Hart and The British Bulldog vs. The New Blackjacks- The matchup begins with Owen and Windham squaring off. Windham takes an early advantage, overpowering Owen, working him over in his own corner with kicks and punches before tagging in Bradshaw. Bradshaw continues the beating, bouncing him first off the far corner turnbuckle and then whipping him back across to his own corner, with Owen snapping off the buckles and falling in a heap. The Blackjacks continue to make frequent tags and keep the upper hand for several minutes. On the last of their many tags, Windham and Bradshaw sling Owen to the ropes and await with arms outstretched for a double clothesline. Hart ducks however, and quickly turns with a dropkick that saw each of his feet connect with both opponents. A quick burst sees him the score a clothesline to Windham, sending him to the floor and then duck a big boot and land a perfect insiguri on Bradshaw, dropping him and enabling Owen to make the tag to Davey Boy. Bulldog comes in on fire. He hip tosses Bradshaw and also Windham as he charges back in the ring. He nails both foes with a dropkick and then in a great power display press slams each of the two, one after another. Following this, he hoists Bradshaw to his shoulder for the running powerslam, as Owen cuts off Windham from interfering, hitting a cross body on the Blackjack before the two roll to the floor trading punches the entire way. Davey continues with his finisher, but as he leaves his feet to nail Bradshaw with the powerslam, Sid sprints to ringside. The official meets Sid at the apron, arguing with him to return to the back. Davey has had Bradshaw covered for well past a three count, but eventually gets up to go over and talk to the referee. Just as he releases the cover, the mystery masked attacker comes from the crowd and blindsides Bulldog with a huge superkick, before sliding to the outside and nailing Owen across the back with a chairshot and then disappearing back into the crowd. Seeing these developments, Sid backs away, and Bradshaw lays an arm across the Bulldog as the official turns and jumps down to make the three count and crown the New Blackjacks as the new WWF Tag Team Champions. “Like thieves in the night, Bradshaw and Windham have stole one here from Owen Hart and the British Bulldogs, and we have new world tag team champions,” remarks J.R. as the final slap of three hit the mat.

Following this match, we see a recap of the attacks suffered over the past several weeks by the Undertaker and then a replay of his arrival at the arena from the “Free for All,” once finished, the announcer plug the big title match between him and Sid that will go down later in the show. Next up, Honky Tonk Man reveals his new protégé to be “Rock-a-Billy” Gunn, who goes on to defeat Jesse James. After this, we again head to the back, where Dox Hendrix is ready to speak with Bret Hart. (Just as they start speaking, a winded and angry Owen and Bulldog join Bret)

Hendrix: “Bret, the time has come, as up next, you will…” (Bret tears microphone from Hendrix and pushes him away)

Bret: “Enough of this crap, already! I have been screwed over by Shawn Michaels, I have been screwed over by Steve  Austin, I have been screwed over by Ken Shamrock, Sycho Sid, the Undertaker, Gorilla Monsoon, dammit, I have been screwed over by everyone here in the WWF.Now, Shawn Michaels parades around here with a mask on and costs my family the WWF Tag team belts, just weeks after I get screwed by the Undertaker out of my WWF Championship? I don’t think so. This is not happening anymore. Owen, Davey, don’t worry, more than one can play this game. Tonight, I am going to shut Steve Austin’s foul, rude mouth up for good and make him quit. After that the game changes around here. Trust me when I say I will get even with every single one of these people so they can see what it feels like to be screwed.  If three isn’t enough for this family, we will grow and make sure that we have each other’s backs covered, just like a true family does. Those tag belts will be back to their rightful owners soon enough, and Austin, there is a difference between saying and doing, and tonight, it is you that will be ‘excellently executed.’”

A lead in promo for the Bret/Austin “I Quit Match airs next before Shamrock is introduced first, followed by Bret and then “Stone Cold.”

***Match- “I Quit Match”- Bret “The Hitman” Hart vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin with special referee Ken Shamrock***- Bret Hart defeated Steve Austin in a submission match at 22:03 when guest referee Ken Shamrock stopped the match after Austin passed out while in the Sharpshooter after being hit in the head with the timekeeper’s bell; after the match, Shamrock held Hart off from further attacking Austin; moments thereafter, Austin hit the Stunner on an official who attempted to help him to his feet and walked backstage under his own power. (4)***

After this classic, we see a promo video for the championship match, before the champion, Sycho Sid is introduced strangely, even though he was seen backstage earlier, Paul Bearer does not come to ringside with the champion. The impressive entrance of the Undertaker follows. As a surprise to the crowd, which pops very loudly upon hearing the familiar music, Shawn Michaels theme hits after and HBK joins the broadcast team for this bout, noting during the match that he does not appreciate Bret Hart continuing to say that he is the ‘mystery attacker’ and that while he is enjoying his time off that he will be ready to come back to the WWF soon.

***Match- WWF Championship Match- WWF Champion Sycho Sid vs. The Undertaker-*** The Undertaker pinned WWF World Champion Psycho Sid to win the title at 23:54 with the tombstone after Bret Hart came ringside and dropped Sid throat-first over the top rope as Sid attempted the powerbomb; seconds into the match, Hart entered the ring, spoke about the Shawn Michaels situation, blamed the Undertaker for costing him the title on Raw, and called Sid a fraud before the champion hit the powerbomb on Hart; late in the contest, Hart returned ringside and hit the champion with a steel chair as Sid was on the floor; Shawn Michaels did guest commentary for the bout.***(5)

Raw is War- April 21, 1997- Binghamton, NY

***The opening segment for Raw begins and featured Vince McMahon conducting an in-ring interview
with Steve Austin regarding the outcome of his “I Quit “match against Bret Hart, with Austin emphasizing that he never submitted and he bled because of the guardrail and not because of Hart; Austin then said he would be the exact same person whether he was facing ‘a good guy’ or ‘a bad guy’ and then challenged Hart to an immediate fight; Bret then appeared on the big screen, gloated over his win at WrestleMania, and said he was finished with Austin; Austin replied he wouldn’t be finished with him until he was dead and told Bret to get Owen Hart and Davey Boy Smith to back him up if he thought he needed it***(6)

After this, the show went to a quick break and returned with J.R., the King, and McMahon explaining that Sycho Sid was severly injured in the title match last night at “In Your House’ and at the time they had no timetable for his return. They spoke of how all three members of Paul Bearer’s “Unholy Alliance” were out of action at this point and they discussed why Bearer did not join Sid the night before. They end the discussion noting that J.R. will have an in ring interview with the manager later tonight. They also announce that in the main event tonight, WWF Champion, The Undertaker will take on Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Bret “The Hitman” Hart will face off with one half of the new  tag champions, Blackjack Windham and that the Honky Tonk Man’s new protégé “Rock-a-Billy” Gunn will have a rematch from “In Your House” with Jesses James. They then go up to the ring, where The Sultan upsets Ahmed Johnson when the Nation walks down to ringside and distracts Ahmed, leaving him open for the pin from behind. Just before the break, we see Bret, Owen, and Bulldog, in the back speaking amongst one another, looking over their shoulders for Austin, with Owen noting, “I can’t wait, it’s about time he gets his tonight.”

After the break, we go back to the ring where “Rock-a-Billy” scores another win over Jesse James with the shake, rattle, and roll neckbreaker. We then go to Kevin Kelly in the back with new WWF Champion, The Undertaker.

Kelly: “Congratulations are in order here, Undertaker, as you are the new WWF Champion, and as you said you would, you have put Sycho Sid on the shelf. That being said, you have your first title defense tonight, against Hunter Hearst Helmsley and there is still the matter on everyone’s mind as to who was the man that choked you at a few weeks ago and is this person one in the same as the secret gift giver that continue to leave you these packages.”

Undertaker: “I told everyone that Sycho Sid would burn in the depths of hell, and I delivered as I said I would. One by one, I will pick off Paul Bearer’s henchman as they come back until I rid the WWF of the terminal disease that he is. Hunter Hearst Helmsley, tonight will understand what it means to rest in peace, however, I must admit it is hard right now for me to concentrate on that match or celebrate becoming champion. You see, whoever this person is that thinks it is funny to send their notes and constantly remind me of the bullrope attack had better get their kicks right now because it is inevitable that at some point you must show your face, and when you do, you will face my fiery rage and feel my wrath. I will not stop until I squeeze the life out of whoever this is, like they tried doing to  me. (Looks at Kelly) This interview is over, I have some searching to do.”

Following this match, we head back up to the ring for tag team action that sees the Legion of Doom defeat Savio Vega and Crush, when Savio misses Animal with a round house kick and nails his partner, leading to a Doomsday Device and a pin. When Crush comes too, he and Savio argue, but Faarooq appears and smooths things out. We then go to the back again, where President Monsoon is in his office with Ken Shamrock. He thanks Shamrock for doing his best to be an impartial official and notes that he will only sporadically need his officiating services from here on out. He finishes by telling him that as a reward, he has signed a match for the May 11 “In Your House” event that will pit him versus Vader, who will be just finished with his suspension. Shamrock thanks him and tells him that he will be going home to train for the bout, but just to call him if he needs assistance. The two shake hands, but just as they do, the Undertaker walks in his office, asking Monsoon as he walks in “You wanted to see me?”

After commercial, the show returns and we see Undertaker and President Monsoon in his office.

Undertaker: “Whats this all about? What did you need me for?”

Monsoon: “Well first, I wanted to congratulate you on your title victory last night at “In Your House,” it certainly was the “Revenge of the ‘Taker.” More importantly, just as I gave something a moment ago to Ken Shamrock, I am in the giving mood, so I thought you would like to know that at “Cold Day in Hell,” on May 11, I have signed for you to have a WWF Title defense against a man who you have been itching to get your hands on, Mankind. Lastly, I wanted to ask if you have any leads on this attacker. We have a real problem here with both this guy and the masked man that keeps appearing. Now, I don’t know if they are one in the same or who they are, but I am working my hardest to reveal their identities, so they can be dealt with properly.”

Undertaker: “No, I don’t know their identity, Gorilla, but I can tell you that they will certainly be dealt with properly. Anything else? I have a match to get ready for.”

Monsoon: “No, that is all. Thanks for coming by and good luck to you tonight. (as Undertaker walks away, he is stopped by Pat Patterson in the hall, who has a fancy looking gift bag, in one hand and a bouquet of flowers in the other. He stops the ‘Taker and tells him, “Here, these were all delivered for you.” Undertaker rips them from his hand. Once again, a bullrope is in the gift bag and there is a small card on the flowers that reads, “Good job last night. Have you found any new clues?” ‘Taker trashes the flowers and seeths, shaking his head in anger as he walks away. We then cut to a shot of “Stone Cold,” searching around the backstage area for “The Hitman” before heading back out to the ring where Jim Ross awaits Paul Bearer.

Ross: “Well Mr. Bearer, it doesn’t look like the reign of terror and the takeover that you envisioned has panned out now does it? You stand before me in a neckbrace after taking a hellacious chokeslam courtesy of the man who took the WWF title from your man, Sid last night, The Undertaker. On top of that, it has been said that Sycho Sid is on the shelf for at least six to eight weeks. Mankind suffered career threatening concussions and Vader has been suspended. It would appear that you are a man that is all alone now in just a matter of a few weeks time. So , what now of the ‘Unholy Alliance?’ Vader and Mankind are booked to return at “Cold Day in Hell” on May 11, but with that being several weeks out, have we seen the last of your dastardly group, or is there more to this story that we are not seeing?”

Bearer: “Oh, Jim Ross, Jim Ross, Jim Ross, so naïve you are. We have had a few setbacks in the ‘Alliance,’ but you can not kill pure evil. Sycho Sid has failed me and failed me miserably. Upon his return whenever that may be he will have to prove he is worthy of being deemed ‘unholy.’ As for Mankind and Vader, they will be back soon enough to finish what they started, in actuality they may be back sooner than you or The Undertaker may like. As a matter of fact, why don’t we just say that when one or both of those two do return that they have plans on “sparking” back up or “re-igniting” things with our old pal the Undertaker for sure. Also, it is none of your business or anyone elses business what my dealings or my ‘Alliance’s’ dealings are, but I can tell you this, despite Sid dropping the ball, we will return at full strength and when I say full strength, that tank will be even more full than it has ever been before. Ohhhh, yeeesssss, yesssss, yesssss.”

Another commercial break proceeds the “Hitman”/Windham bout. Windham is the first introduced, with Bradshaw at his side, and just as Bret’s music hits and he strides toward the ring, Austin is showed on the TitanTron, walking into the Hart’s locker room with what appears to be several lengths of thin rope in his hands. Bret, confused, glances up but continues to the ring.

Match- Bret “The Hitman” Hart vs. Blackjack Windham- Bret’s preoccupation with Austin entering their locker room costs him early, as Windham attacks with a hard forearm shot to the back. Lifting him up off the canvass, the Blackjack whips Bret to the ropes and when he comes off, leaves his feet and lands a solid forearm to the head. Staying on his man, Windham waits for Bret to get up and scores with a bulldog that was good enough for a two count. Grabbing both legs under his arms, Windham then falls back and catapaults ‘The Hitman’ into the corner, face first. He hurries over and sets him to the top, looking for a superplex, but Bret fights him off and after several punches, knocks him to the mat. Shaking the cobwebs quickly, Hart spreads both of his opponents legs and scores with a headbutt to the lower abdomen. He continues to mount offense as he then gives an Irish Whip which sees a clothesline drop the co-holder of the tag straps. Sliding behind, Bret hits a Russian leg sweep and heads to the corner where he drops an elbow off the second rope to his foes chest and gets a near fall after a cover. Hart then gives two yanks to Windham’s leg and drops an elbow on his exposed knee. He follows with a second or third before grabbing both legs and turning Windham over into the sharpshooter. Bradshaw leaps to the apron and draws the attention of the official, who orders him to get down. Bradshaw responds with a devastating right cross that floors the referee. “Oh come on now, that is a WWF official,” argues J.R.  With the official down, the masked man again appears and once again levels Bret, hitting him with what Jim Ross describes as a “very familiar superkick.” Bradshaw has lifted his opponent up and the two begin pummeling Bret, putting the boots to him as he struggles to get away. Austin again is showed on the TitanTron at this point, calling to Bret. When the camera zooms back, it shows that he has bound and tied Owen and the Bulldog to chairs in their locker room. “With them all tied up, looks like I may have to come pay you a visit,” he says. We see him head toward the Gorilla Position, and his music hits as the place comes unglued. He marches to the ring and the tag champs back off their attack and both look at him. Windham begins to leave, but Austin nails Bradshaw with a stunner, prompting him to return. When he does charge, he meets the same fate as Austin ‘stuns’ him as well. Bret begs off momentarily, as Austin smiles at him, grabbing both of his legs. He delivers a kick below the belt, followed by a “two finger salute,” and then twists Bret into the sharpshooter. “ ‘The Hitman’ is helpless in the sharpshooter of Austin,” relays J.R. as in a blur, a somewhat familiar scraggily haired man in a tie dyed t-shirt slides into the ring. He slides a chair under the ropes first and all in one motion pounces on Austin, driving him face first to the mat and rolling on top of him with multiple rights to the face. “That’s Brian Pillman! That’s Brian Pillman! What in the hell is he doing here?,” asks Ross as the returning Pillman feverishly works over Austin’s leg with the chair before officials come between the two and turns his attention to helping Bret up and to the back.

After the final commercial break, Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Chyna are introduced, followed by the Undertaker for the main event WWF Title bout.

Match-*** WWF Championship Match- Champion, The Undertaker vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley (with Chyna)***- WWF World Champion the Undertaker defeated Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/ Chyna) via disqualification when Mankind came into the ring with a blow torch and attempted to set the champion ablaze; after Taker and Mankind took their fight into the crowd, Goldust and Marlena (who were sitting ringside wearing streetclothes) ambushed Triple H and Chyna as the ‘Taker and Mankind continued to fight through the audience as Raw went off the air.***(7)

This concludes Part III of the story. Heading into the next section, some new faces become more prominent in the storylines as others fade off somewhat or in a few cases leave the picture completely. The continued climb and foundation building toward the “Attitude Era” in WWF will move forward in Part IV, which will begin the following night on Raw is War from Omaha, Nebraska as we continue to visit the question, “What if Shawn Michaels never lost his smile.”

***As stated in the intro to this part, several of the matches in this part played out as they actually did in WWF. These noted instances in this story were recalled as told by the website, thehistoryofwwe.com .  The actual dates and events these events took place at are listed below, for a good feel on how these matches and the company at this point in time were playing out (and to give this story a more realistic feel),  I would suggest, if you have the time, look these up on YouTube and give them a look while moving along here.***

1)-Raw is War-March 31, 1997 (aired on this date actually was taped on 3/25/97)

2a)-Raw is War- March 17, 1997

2b)-Raw is War- March 17, 1997

3)- WrestleMania 13-March 23, 1997

4) WrestleMania 13-March 23, 1997

5) WrestleMania 13-March 23, 1997 

6) Raw is War- March 24, 1997

7) Raw is War- April 21, 1997

 

Written by

Creator, editor and semi-sorta-retired original author of Rewriting The Book, husband, father of three, gamer, lover of 90's MTV animation.
1 Response to "Rewriting The Book: What if … Shawn Michaels never lost his smile? (Part III)"
  1. simongr81 says:

    Loving this story so far. CG, is taking me back to 1997! :)

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