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

7 Submitted by on Thu, 07 February 2013, 20:33

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 V

 

As we head full speed into the month of June, there is a huge blow off Raw in War before the star studded lineup that waits at the annual King of the Ring pay per view. Just as happened at this time in the world of sports entertainment, many factions are now beginning to come together in the WWF on the heels of the red hot nWo angle that was still gaining steam in WCW. The feuds between Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart (and the rest of the Hart Foundation) in addition to both of these men and their conflict with Steve Austin continue, as does the Undertaker’s reign as WWF Champion. We left our final Raw of Part IV on a cliffhanger that will continue to play out as we move along in the story in this chapter that begins on another Monday evening in Huntington, West Virginia. (Once again, as in the previous two parts, there one moment that actually did occur that has either left as is, despite being altered briefly for the purposes of this story. This moment is noted with three stars (***) and numbered. The date which it actually occurred on will be listed with the corresponding number at the end of this section. Once again, the credit for these recaps of those moments goes to the website, www.thehistoryofwwe.com.)

Raw is War- June 2, 1997- Huntington, WV

Tonight’s show kicks off with the Raw intro before we immediately hear the Hart Foundation’s theme music. All five men head towards the ring, with Bret no longer in a wheel chair, but walking with the assistance of one crutch. The faction hits the ring, and Bret begins to speak as the music cuts.

Bret: “So, I thought we were past this point here. I was such a fool to believe that my blood, sweat, and tears that I have given to you, the fans and to this company had earned me even an ounce of respect. Gorilla Monsoon, the President of the WWF obviously has it out for me and for my Foundation here. He obviously has some type of bias against Canadians, I guess, and come to think of it, it is safe to say so do all of you American wrestling fans. Wait, can I still call it wrestling with the soap opera, sports entertainment garbage that we are involved in here in the WWF these days? Anyhow, President Monsoon and the WWF brass in their infinite wisdom have decided that I have to fight not one, but two men this Sunday at King of the Ring, even though I am obviously injured. You know what, I say? I say, that is just fine. Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels are a disease that needs cleansing. Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels are the scum that has littered a company that I was once proud to represent. You ignorant and ruthless fans have glorified these two criminals and made them your heroes, while a true hard working, role model, like myself has been labeled a complainer and even a faker here lately. Well, get ready Steve Austin, and get ready Shawn Michaels, because Sunday, you are both going to be handed the worst beating of your lives courtesy of the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be. Another thing, this ‘man in black’ nonsense that Shawn keeps pulling. I don’t care if you hire someone to act like it’s you once in a while Shawn, I know it has been you attacking me for the most part under that mask and I will do everything I can here to prove it and expose you again as a complete fraud. Now, enough about me, we need to get down to Foundation business. Gorilla Monsoon, I demand right now on behalf of my brother, the Intercontinental Champion and on behalf of my brother-in-law, the European Champion, that you come out here right now and tell them who their opponents will be this Sunday at King of the Ring. Brian Pillman and Jim Neidhart need to know who they are facing as well, so put down the banana long enough to come out here and do the fair and honest thing and let them know who they will be facing.” (Monsoon walks out only as far as the stage and responds)

Monsoon: “Well, “Hitman,” I understand where you are coming from here. It is completely understandable that you would like me to be fair and honest with you and your cronies out here and tell them who they will face at King of the Ring and we will get to that here in a second, sort of.” (Bret fires back)

Bret: “Sort of? That is the unfair playing field I speak of Monsoon. Sort of, isn’t good enough, we need to know right now.”

Monsoon: “Well, Bret, I do have some news to break about King of the Ring and that does pertain to members of the Hart Foundation. First off, let me address your triple threat match. I respect the fact that you obviously are ailing somewhat and I respect that you are going to be fighting both Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels even though you are at less than 100 percent. So, to sweeten the pot a bit in that one and reward you for your bravery, I am adding a stipulation to that match that states as follows. The winner of the triple threat match at King of the Ring between Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, and Steve Austin will face the reigning WWF Champion, whomever that may be at SummerSlam to be held in the WWF’s huge return to the Meadowlands in New Jersey this August. Now, moving on, as far as Owen and Davey Boy and their opponents at King of the Ring go,   I will get to that in due time, but first I would like to announce a huge addition to the card at King of the Ring, and that will be a tag team match that will determine who will be the number one contenders to the titles that after tonight will either be held by the team of Shawn Michaels and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin or the Legion of Doom. Depending on that bout tonight, this match could even have higher stakes, as Legion of Doom are a part of the match I speak of at King of the Ring as well. Thus, if they win the titles tonight, they will be defending them at Sunday’s pay per view. Either way, whether it is a title match or a number one contender’s match, this Sunday, the Legion of Doom will face the New Blackjacks, Windham and Bradshaw.” (Bret again cuts in)

Bret: “Um, hello, that has nothing to do with us, come on, Monsoon, we haven’t got all night here.”

Monsoon: “Well, if you would let me finish, I was not done with that match, as after careful consideration, I have decided to make that tag affair a triple threat match, with the third team being Hart Foundation members, Brian Pillman and Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart.”

Bret: “You think you are pretty smart and sneaky, don’t you Monsoon? Well, that is just fine by us, because you just gave Pillman and “The Anvil” a chance to bring the Tag Team belts back to the Foundation, so, whether it is Sunday or not, we will grab that gold and own it once again. So, thanks, thank you for the opportunity. What else do you got for us? What about Bulldog and Owen?”

Monsoon: “Well, Bret that is where it gets a bit dicey. I have had some opponents for them in mind, but due to some blockbuster negotiations we have going on, my initial choices for their matches are no longer necessarily who they will face. So, as far as that goes, Owen and Davey Boy will defend their titles, but their opponents will both be named Sunday at the pay per view. Hey, everyone loves a surprise right, so I figure with as good as you guys claim to be, it should be no problem for them to retain those belts. That is all from me, Bret, now I hope that leg feels better by Sunday and I hope everyone hear enjoys the rest of the show.” (Bret is steaming mad again, shouting over the ropes and pointing his crutch as he complains to Vince McMahon. The entire Foundation is noticeably unhappy as we go to the first break.)

After the break, we see the third and final segment of the Jim Ross/Mick Foley interview. After again showing the WWF fans a glimpse into the real life of the match, the interview concludes in bizarre fashion, as Foley puts Ross in the Mandible Claw. After this we go back to ringside for a King of the Ring Quarterfinal match that sees Rocky Maivia upset Faarooq after Savio Vega again sees his attempt to interfere backfires, allowing Maivia to score the pin. Once he is up, Faarooq again berates Savio and fires him from the Nation of Domination. Crush tries to smooth over the situation, but is told by Faarooq that if doesn’t like it, he can either learn to deal with it and fall in line or follow “that loser” out the door. Crush ponders the words and seems to opt to stick with Faarooq. Following this, the broadcast team tells us that in addition to the other King of the Ring quarterfinal bout and the tag team title match between Austin and Michaels and the L.O.D., that we will see Goldust in action later tonight against “The World’s Most Dangerous Man,” Ken Shamrock. We then go to a break.

Returning, Raw goes again back to ringside for the final King of the Ring quarterfinal matchup. Hunter Hearst Helmsley’s dream of becoming King of the Ring stays alive in this one, as he wins over Ahmed Johnson by disqualification, when Crush attempts to interfere and blatantly cost Ahmed the match at Faarooq’s request. When Crush tries to enter with a chair and hit Ahmed though, Johnson ducks and he blasts Helmsley, just as the referee walked away from Faarooq distracting him. Seeing Crush hit Helmsley, he called for the bell and awards the match to Hunter who will now face Rocky Maivia in the semifinals Sunday. Faarooq has it out again with Crush after the miscue and Crush walks away from him, telling him to “stick it.” Immediately after this, we go to the back, where Kevin Kelly stands by with Ken Shamrock.

Kelly: “Ken Shamrock, this Sunday, you get Mankind at King of the Ring, with the winner getting a chance to move on and actually fight for the crown. There has been some bad blood between you two in the past few weeks, with both of you attacking the other, but it has seemed somewhat even so far. What is your thinking as you prepare for this madman on Sunday?”

Shamrock: “Well, you know Kevin; I have felt the wrath of Mankind. I know he is an intense competitor and I know his high threshold of pain. But I have also come to know that he is not this maniac that everyone thinks he is. I watched his sit down with Jim Ross, and under the craziness, is an intelligent human being. After I see those interviews, and have traded punches with him, I can’t help but say I have a little bit of respect for Mick Foley the man. (As he says this, the screen shows a split screen to the “Unholy Alliance” locker room, Foley watches it on a monitor with Bradshaw and Windham, who both crack jokes about Shamrock’s words and send Foley out to attack him again. The screen then goes back to regular view) He is a very tough man, and all I can say is that at King of the Ring, may the best man win.” (Foley shows up in the picture as Shamrock says this. Shamrock gets in a fighting stance, as Kevin Kelly puts the microphone toward Foley, who removes his Mankind mask before making a very simple response to his comments.)

Mankind: “Respect, huh? Respect? (Nods his head) We will see on Sunday, Ken, and I am with you there, may the best man win.” (He simply turns and walks away, as again on the split screen, the Blackjacks and now Bearer look over the monitor, questioning Mankind not attacking when he got to the interview area as we hit another commercial break.)

After the break we go to the back and a close up shot of the WWF Champion the Undertaker, who again speaks in a very, real and serious manner.

Undertaker: “Goldust, six days and vengeance is mine. Six days before I tear you limb from limb and make you rue the day you ever stuck your nose in my business. Am I sorry your wife got hurt last week? Hell no, I suggest you leave her pretty little face home to heal on Sunday, because she is not going to want to see the violence and carnage that I bring down on you at King of the Ring. Sunday night, Goldust, I say to hell with you resting in peace, the only place you will be resting is in the hospital, boy.”

We then go back up to the ring, for the introduction of the Goldust and Shamrock match. Goldust enters first, in his street clothes, with Paul Bearer at his side, but without Marlena. Shamrock is then introduced as the official calls for the bell.

Match: Goldust (w/Paul Bearer) vs. Ken Shamrock- Shamrock allows his short temper to get the better of him as this match begins, when Paul Bearer makes a comment directed his way and he hops to the floor and begins pummeling him. Goldust follows, and attacks him on the floor, shoving him from behind head first into the ringpost. The match really never gets much of a chance to get under way though as, suddenly the Undertaker sprints from the back and chases Goldust through the crowd. Still all worked up, Shamrock turns his attention back on Bearer as he puts the manager in the ankle lock on the floor. We see the Blackjacks and Mankind looking on again on the split screen, as Bradshaw and Faarooq tell Foley, “come on, let’s get him.” Mankind hesitates as the Blackjacks head to the ring. Bradshaw and Faarooq race to their managers’ aid and jump Shamrock, beating him down on the outside before officials step in and stop the attack. Not having much luck in stopping Bradshaw and Windham, finally we see the Legion of Doom appear and the two powerhouse teams slug it out around the ringside area. Just before a commercial, we again see a split screen in which Mankind is shown, again with no mask on standing in the back, appearing to be deep in thought. He is rolling a suitcase and after thinking for a few seconds, he walks out a door, heading away into the parking lot.

Returning from the commercial break,  we return for the main event World Tag Team Championship match. The Legion of Doom comes out first with their manager Paul Ellering (who is still carrying Paul Bearer’s urn). Following their intro, Shawn Michaels is introduced and then “Stone Cold.”

*** Match- WWF Tag Team Championship Match- Champions- Shawn Michaels and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. The Legion of Doom (w/Paul Ellering)***- The Legion of Doom defeated WWF tag Team Champions, Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin via count out when the champions begin fighting each other on the floor.***(1) During the match, Ellering sat in on commentary and spoke of how he has his sights set on the first and possibly a second recruit for his new and improved Legion of Doom stable. He says that at King of the Ring we will find out more. Following the referee counting out the champions, the New Blackjacks hit the ring and attack Hawk and Animal. At the same time, Owen Hart, British Bulldog, Brian Pillman, and Jim Neidhart rush down and jump on Austin and Michaels, who at first stave off the attackers, but eventually get beat down by the Foundation. Bret Hart slowly limps behind as this chaos continues to erupt with brawls going on seemingly everywhere. Bret instructs Pillman and Neidhart to get on their opponents for Sunday, and they enter the fray with the Blackjacks and L.O.D. In this confusion, Bradshaw slides away and pushes Ellering down, stealing back the urn for his manager and then using it to get the better of the other two teams they are battling. Austin and Michaels mean while fight back and are now getting the better of Owen and Bulldog with the odds evened up. Just as they start to take an advantage, Bret backs up toward the stage, when the ‘man in black,’ leaps the side railing by the ramp and catches him unexpectedly with a vicious hangman’s neckbreaker before racing back into the crowd. At the same time, with Bulldog and Owen fought off, Austin and Michaels again turn their attention toward one another, when from behind the commentators table, another ‘man in black,’ “possibly the same one we saw next to the original last week,” as described by Jim Ross, sneaks behind Austin , dropping to one knee before sending Austin to the floor writhing in pain from a low blow. Much like the first masked attacker we saw, immediately after delivering the shot, this one also disappears back through the crowd. Raw goes off the air to a shot of Bret lying on the ramp in pain and then Michaels still working over Austin as J.R. reminds us to tune in and order King of the Ring on Sunday.

King of the Ring- June 8, 1997- Providence, RI

The free for all portion of the show starts us off, as The Headbangers score a win over the team of Jesse James and Bart Gunn. The announcers for the event, Jim Ross, Vince McMahon, and Jerry Lawler then run us through the star studded lineup we have ahead of us, detailing each match on the card before the eight o’clock hour hits and we get ready to begin the pay per view portion of the show.

After a lead in video detailing the Hart/Austin/Michaels saga and the Undertaker/Goldust feud, we return to ringside, where the night is about to begin with the first semifinal matchup in the King of the Ring tournament. Just before heading to ringside, the cameras take us backstage, where the Undertaker barges into President Monsoon’s office. The WWF Champion walks right to Monsoon’s desk and leans over, demanding that the title match between he and Goldust go on first tonight. He explains that he had waited long enough and the time has come for his payback. Monsoon is sympathetic, but explains that while he would love to give the Undertaker what he wants, that he will have to compromise, as the ‘King of the Ring’ participants must be the first two matches, as the winners will have to fight in a second bout later in the evening. Although not totally satisfied with waiting through two matches, “The Dead Man” reasons with the President and agrees that going on third would be a fair compromise. ‘Taker leaves the office and Monsoon shakes his head, muttering, “Man, I would not want to be Goldust, tonight.” Before we hit the ring, we see Goldust, Marlena, and Paul Bearer watching this on the monitor in  their dressing room. Goldust, in his full body suit and face paint, notes, “Paul, we better get the ‘big package’ ready earlier than planned,” as we head back to the ring for the first K.O.T.R. semifinal, where Hunter Hearst Helmsley  keeps his dream alive, once again with and assist to an outside figure as he pins Rocky Maivia. Shockingly, the interference came from Ahmed Johnson, who had accompanied Rocky to the ring. In an unexplained turn, Faarooq walked to the stage when the referee was down and gave his fist in the air salute, which was returned to him by Ahmed after he entered and hit Maivia with the Pearl River Plunge, allowing Helmsley the easy pin and also making it clear that Johnson has now joined his former enemy as part of the Nation.

Next up, we go right back to the ring for the second semifinal match, pitting Ken Shamrock against Mankind. Their recent interaction on Raw is reviewed by the announcers prior to the bout and then both are introduced. Mankind winds up winning the match by disqualification, after Shamrock “snaps” and belts him with a chair, prompting the New Blackjacks to run in and attack Shamrock, saving Mankind. Foley, however, stops his stable mates from attacking him and after a second of confusion, the two jump on him also. Bradshaw and Windham  work over Mankind, power bombing him through a table on the outside, when Shamrock gets up and starts fighting back, helping Foley. The two Blackjacks are simply too much for one competitor though, and they get an advantage on Shamrock and prepare to spike him through a table as well.  Before they can send him crashing through the table though, the Legion of Doom hit the ring and chase the ‘Alliance’ off. As the ring is cleared and the Blackjacks walk to the back, we see the entire Hart Foundation backstage, walking into the office of President Monsoon, who is sitting down, watching the action on a monitor in his office. Bret, as always, speaks for the group, demanding to know Owen and Bulldog’s respective opponents for the night. Monsoon looks back up from the monitor and tells them, “one man at a time gentleman, and Owen Hart, you will be in the matchup following the WWF Championship bout that is up next  here tonight, defending your Intercontinental Championship. I have still not decided for sure on your opponent, so it looks like I will have to tell you when you get out there to compete.” The Foundation leaves in a huff, and we head to ringside for the WWF championship match.

Match- WWF Championship Match- Champion, The Undertaker vs. Goldust (with Marlena and Paul Bearer)- Goldust is introduced to his extravagant entrance, with both Bearer and Marlena dressed in shiny gold as well. Undertaker appears before Goldust’s entrance has even finished, nailing him from behind on the ramp before the bell even rings. He whips him from side to side on the ramp, back first into the railing, before nailing him up and into the crowd with two huge uppercuts. With the match not still officially started, the Undertaker pummels Goldust all over the arena, beating him with rights and lefts down one whole row of fans, before Goldust hops over another row or two and tries fleeing. The “Phenom” is hot in pursuit though and he catches back up to his challenger and begins using any objects in the area to continue his attack. He blasts him twice in the skull with a garbage can, before noticing a nearby stop sign that he picks up and levels the “Gold One” with. Goldust is now sliding away, begging for mercy, as Jim Ross reminds us, “This damn World Title match hasn’t even started yet.” Finally returning to the entrance ramp, Undertaker remains on the offensive, as he doubles his opponent over with a big right to the stomach and smacks his forehead off the steel ramp with a DDT. After busting Goldust open with the DDT, ‘Taker slings him up over his shoulder and marches to the ring, depositing him in through the second and top rope. Before entering, he stops and levels Paul Bearer with a right hand and then Marlena jumps on his back. He quickly lifts her over his head and sets her down in front of him, as before she has a chance to beg, he plants a big, long kiss on the manager. “I guess you might call that the kiss of death,” remarks J.R., as Lawler notes, “Those dead guys, they get all the girls.” Undertaker enters the ring and as the bell sounds to officially start the match, he continues the one sided beating, dominating Goldust with two “Snake Eyes,” hitting one at each corner followed by a sidewalk slam that could’ve easily spelled a three count, but the champion pulled Goldust up at two to continue the beating. “That is never a smart move in my book,” J.R. added, “when you have a man down, you get the win.” After pulling Goldust up, Undertaker whips him to the buckle and follows full speed with a clothesline that rocks the challenger. Not missing a beat, he then rings his arm and climbs up for the “Old School” forearm smash, once again flooring Goldust. Paul Bearer has finally began moving on the outside and he begins crawling toward the ramp, seeming to motion for help. Undertaker, meanwhile Irish whips his foe to the ropes and nearly beheads him with a huge boot to the face, before stalking around behind him and waiting for the chokeslam. Just as Goldust struggles Undertaker’s way, Marlena jumps up on the far side apron and hiking her dress up a bit gets the attention of the official. Undertaker plants Goldust with the chokeslam, and turns to the crowd, motioning his thumb across his throat to signify the Tombstone is coming next for his blood soaked opponent. As he makes the motion though, he sees Blackjack Bradshaw come down the ramp, with Blackjack Windham behind him, driving a forklift with an enormous gold-foil wrapped gift box, complete with a silver bow. While Marlena still distracts the official, Undertaker points at the vehicle heading toward ringside. He turns, but giving Goldust a few seconds of recoup time, as he does, gets grabbed by the front of his tights and pulled forward, hurling him into the referee. As Marlena steps to the side, the official flies all the way to the floor, but the Undertaker is still unphased and possibly even angrier that before. He slides under the ropes and catches Bradshaw with a huge uppercut and as Windham has lowered the package at ringside and is still in the driver’s seat, ‘Taker reaches in and pulls him out by his throat, spinning and spiking him viciously on the floor with a modified chokeslam. He again knocks Bearer to the floor with one punch, and readies to finish off Bradshaw, when the package opens with a flash and the ‘Dead Man’s’ face is engulfed once again by a fireball. As he staggers in shock and the excruciating pain from the flames, Bradshaw levels him with a running lariat that bounces the back of his skull of the floor on impact. As the box is now moved away, we see a face we have not seen in several weeks emerge as the ‘flame thrower,’ as Vader takes two big steps out of the huge box and turns the champion into a pancake with a 450 pound splash on the floor. Bradshaw and Vader roll the burned and beaten Undertaker into the ring, just as Marlena has tended to the referee and she helps him back under the ropes. The groggy official rises to see Goldust scoop the stunned Undertaker up and bring him down with a “Curtain Call,” before the arena sits in stunned silence as the referees hand slaps, one, two, three, and unbelievably, Goldust is the new WWF Champion. The Blackjacks and Vader help Paul Bearer into the ring to celebrate, as Goldust and Marlena slither over the fallen Undertaker, with the new titlist holding the strap in one hand while doing so. “I can’t believe I am saying this, but Goldust, yes, Goldust in what would have to be considered a huge upset,  is the new WWF Champion, and Paul Bearer and the ‘Unholy Alliance,’ I will be damned to say it, but they are right back on top of the mountain here in the WWF,” remarked a somewhat stunned Jim Ross. “He is a disgrace, he is a disgrace to that prestigious title,” barked McMahon, as a close-up shot of Goldust saw him with the WWF belt slung over his shoulder as he blew kisses and barked silently into the camera. On the heels of that stunning title bout, we go back to the backstage area, where President Monsoon is in his office, shaking his head as he turns away from the monitor, where the Blackjacks and Vader continue to assault the Undertaker, holding him down, as the “Mastodon” drops two huge Vader Bombs from the second ropes onto the helpless former champion. Finally, security and a host of officials separate the ‘Alliance’ members from the Undertaker, as Monsoon readies to address the crowd and Owen’s opponent in the next bout as EMT’s attend to the injured superstar.

Monsoon: “Wow, well, if we can get this mess cleared up here. Owen Hart, you have an Intercontinental title defense up next, and since you like to run and stick your nose in everyone else’s business, just like one other big, huge thorn in my side does, I am going to ask that before the entire group there heads back to the dressing room that Vader stays out in the ring, because he is going to be the opponent of Owen Hart in the Intercontinental Title bout that is set to begin, well, it is set to begin right now.”

We head back out to ringside, where the commentators, although still stunned,  are excited with the selection of Vader for the Intercontinental Title bout. Owen waits in the ring with Bulldog, as we see Paul Bearer rushing back down the ramp to second Vader as the new WWF Champ, Marlena, and the Blackjacks head to the back in celebration mode.  Vader completely dominates the match up with Hart right from the opening bell, using all of his bulk and power to his advantage. After a brutal powerbomb, followed by a ‘Vader sault,’ he goes for the pin, when Davey Boy enters the ring and lays the boots to him, blatantly getting Owen disqualified and giving the match to Vader, but saving Owen’s Intercontinental Title. Seeing the interference, the Blackjacks again come down the ramp to help their stable mate, but Pillman and Neidhart follow them out and the teams fight on the ramp, before being separated, setting the stage for their big match, which is actually on next. “All hell has broken loose here at King of the Ring,” observes J.R., “the officials out here have no chance of restoring any type of order here.” Once the agents separate the teams, Bulldog and Owen are ordered to the back, and Vader leaves as well, with Paul Bearer again staying put to be at the side of Windham and Bradshaw. Once the commotion settles down, both the Pillman/Neidhart team and the Blackjacks are introduced, and then the Legion of Doom’s music hits to a big pop from the capacity crowd.

The “Triple Threat Number One Contenders Tag Team Match” begins and all hell breaks loose as expected. All three teams take the advantage at several points in the bout, before eventually the L.O.D. takes command. Just when it appears they have things within their grasp, Animal hoists Pillman on his shoulders for the Doomsday Device, when again, Owen and Bulldog race down the aisle as the official is preoccupied with Ellering and Bearer on the floor. “Here we go again,” Ross exclaims, as once he sees the intruders, Hawk jumps down from the ropes and goes at Bulldog, as Owen slides in and skulls Animal with the I-C belt. The two and Neidhart then jump on Animal, as Windham slides in and steals the win for the Blackjacks with an easy three count from the returning referee. As the beating continues on L.O.D., the Blackjacks join in and Vader returns to not only get the Road Warriors, but also looking for revenge from earlier.  Shamrock then storms the ring to try and also return the favor from earlier and aid the outnumbered Hawk and Animal, but he too gets overwhelmed by the numbers game. Then, in the second big return of the night, Sycho Sid then appears. When he hits the ring, Bearer and his men look to greet him , but he cleans house of all three of them, getting a big ovation after chokeslamming the 450 plus pound Vader. The Hart Foundation backs off as Sid dominates his former stable mates and puts an exclamation point on his return by powerbombing Paul Bearer. As the Hart’s begin to flee and the ‘Alliance’ escapes after taking their lickings, Ellering stands tall in the ring with Hawk, Animal, Sid , and Shamrock all locking hands and raising their arms in a moral victory in what would appear to be the unveiling of the new look Legion of Doom. After the ‘Alliance’ has made it to the back , and just before the Harts walk back through the curtain, we see President Monsoon again appear on the Titan Tron. He tells all of the Foundation members other than the Bulldog to return to the back and he instructs Davey Boy to remain near ringside to hear some news on his European title defense. With the new and improved (and expanded) L.O.D. listening on, Monsoon makes another startling announcement.

Monsoon: “Well, things have now gotten completely out of hand out here tonight, but, since Davey Boy needs an opponent and it seems tonight is a night of many returns, I think it would be totally fair considering the gang-like warfare that the Hart Foundation faction has been using of late that he face the newest member of the newest faction right here next, all by himself, for the European Championship. So, referee, please ring the bell, as this next bout will be European Champion, the British Bulldog, versus Sycho Sid.”

Bulldog argues his case momentarily, shouting up at the screen, before Hawk and Animal snatch him from behind and toss him into the waiting arms of Sid in the ring. Taking full advantage of the shock factor, as Davey Boy slides in a hops to his feet, Sid slaps his hand to the European champ’s throat and to a raucous response from the crowd plants him hard with a chokeslam. When Bulldog slowly rolls over, Sid hits a huge powerbomb and the referee jumps in for the three count, and in the blink of an eye, Sycho Sid is the new European Champion. The Road Warriors, Shamrock, and Ellering all hop back into the ring to congratulate the new champ, when once again, bedlam ensues, as Pillman, Owen, and Neidhart return and the three along with the shell shocked Bulldog brawl with the federation’s newest faction. “You have got to be kidding me, what the hell is it gonna take to restore some damn order around here,” complains Ross as the ‘King’ second his comments, adding, “These guys are complete animals, they are out of control.”

 

Once the chaos has settled, it is time for the finals of the King of the Ring Tournament. Hunter Hearst Helmsley is the first to be announced, accompanied as always by Chyna. The announcers question whether Mankind could possibly be at 100 percent as he is the second to come to the ring. They talk about the Blackjacks putting him through a table earlier, as a replay of the incident shows. Mankind appears just fine however, as he dominates the majority of the bout. In the end however, Helmsley again receives assistance from yet another seemingly unrelated outside interferer, as while Chyna argues with the official as the two men battle on the floor, the masked ‘Man in Black’ once again appears and takes Mankind’s head off with a chair shot before scurrying back into the crowd. Helmsley rolls the limp body of his opponent back in following the blast and hits a pedigree for the three count, achieving his dream as he is crowned the 1997 King of the Ring.

Following the coronation of Helmsley, we head back to the interview area, where Dok Hendrix is standing by with the World Tag Team Champions, Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels, who will be facing off against each other and Bret Hart tonight in the triple threat main event.

Hendrix: “Well, gentleman, you are the current and reigning WWF Tag Team Champions, but tonight, you face off in a triple threat match against each other and a man that neither of you have any love lost for, Bret “The Hitman” Hart. Will we see the two of you strategize to eliminate Bret and then battle it out, or will we see the two of you go right at one another like we have over the past few weeks on Raw is War?”

Michaels: “Dok, with all due respect to my partner, this one tonight is for more than just a title shot at SummerSlam, it is  for bragging rights. This one tonight pits what would have to be considered the three top performers In this company battling it out to see who the best man is. It doesn’t hurt that we both hate Bret Hart’s guts, and to be quite honest, neither of us are too fond of the other standing before you here either. So, I am not gonna talk for my co-Tag Champion partner here, but I can tell you that the “Heartbreak Kid” is in it to win it tonight, and that means going through Bret and Mr. Austin.”

Austin: “In it to win it? Going through me? Bragging rights? Let me be very clear of one thing and one thing only here, Mr. Heartbreak Kid. I don’t give a steaming crap about any of those things. Not too fond of you? I hate your stinkin’ guts, too. You make me sick the way you prance around out here in your little red tights. I am here to whip Bret Hart’s ass, I am here to whip your ass,and earn me a WWF title match at SummerSlam and that is all I got to say about that. When this thing is over, we can worry about the Tag Team Titles, but since it ain’t over yet, son, you are in for the ass kickin’ of a life time and that’s the bottom line ‘cause Stone Cold said so.” (The two stare each other down, before we go back to ringside, where the commentators question regardless of the doctor’s report, just how bad the knee of Bret Hart is and how it will factor into the match tonight. On the heels of this Bret’s music hits and he walks with a very pronounced limp to the ring. Austin follows and then Michaels is the final man introduced as we get ready for the main event.)

Match- Triple Threat Match to earn a WWF Title Shot at SummerSlam- Bret “The Hitman” Hart vs. Shawn Michaels vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin- The match begins and Bret, always the thinking wrestler, shoves Michaels from behind into Austin, and the two begin battling. Nursing his bad knee, the “Hitman” actually sneaks to the floor to try and stay clear of further injury as HBK and the Rattlesnake get into it. The two trade punches, with Austin getting the better of the exchange.  He whips Michaels in and levels him with a shoulder block, but Shawn kicks right back up to his feet. Austin sends him in for another shoulder block, dropping him to his back a second time, but HBK again bounces right back up. A third Irish whip sees Shawn slip under a clothesline attempt and spring off the ropes with a beautiful flying forearm that rocks Austin. He pounces on his tag partner and bounces the back of his skull off the mat repeatedly as he mounts on top of him. Seeing this, Bret sneaks in behind, but is not quite as crafty as he thinks, as Michaels quickly rolls off Austin and sweeps Bret’s bad leg out from under him. He drops three straight elbows on the leg and immediately drags him over to the corner, sliding out of the ring so he can wrap the bad leg around the ringpost another three times. Seeing this, Austin also slides to the floor, and grabs Bret’s other leg, wrapping it around the post three times as well, before the tag champions, seeming to have fun at this point, trade off bouncing the ‘Hitman’s” legs around the steel two more times. With crowd cheering wildly after the spot, Michaels turns to the fans and when he does, Austin levels him with a forearm to the back of the head. He then grabs Shawn by the arm and whips him face first off the same ring post, stopping before he continued on Michaels to pull both of Bret’s legs toward the outside, flip the pleading Hart a double bird, and then crotch him on the corner post. “If Bret Hart wasn’t seriously injured, there is one hell of a chance he is now,” chimed in Jim Ross, as Austin followed up on Michaels, grabbing him around the waist and running his back into the ring apron three consecutive times before whipping him the opposite way, back first to the steel guardrail. “The referee is really letting these guys go in this one,” Ross remarks as senior official, Earl Hebner is now on the floor trying to get the action back into the ring. Austin pays him little to no attention, as he pounds Michaels with right hands as his arms are still draped over the rail. Hebner actually gets right between the two as Austin attempts a whip back into the apron, allowing Michaels to reverse the try and send Austin crashing into Hebner and both of them to smack of the guard rail, with the referee crumpling in a heap. Angered, Austin stomps on the unconscious official, while seeing an opening, HBK grabs a nearby chair. He blasts Austin across the back twice, knocking him to the floor, before he heads back into the ring, where the “Hitman” still lays and is begging his rival for mercy. Shawn gives none, bringing the steel down over both legs, as Hart screams in pain. Michaels then carefully places Bret’s ankle in the chair and rolls to the floor in search of a second one. “He is gonna break Bret Hart’s leg,” observes J.R., as Shawn retrieves another chair. “Well, here comes the cavalry, had to know it was a matter of time with the way this night has gone,” notes Ross as Neidhart and Pillman hit the ring and remove Bret’s leg from the chair trying to help him and sliding the weapon back to the floor. In helping Bret though, they  allow HBK and Austin who retrieves the second chair to re-enter the ring and begin whaling away on the two. “’The Anvil’ and “Loose Cannon” are running like a pair of scalded dogs,” screams J.R. as the tag champs chase them away before returning their focus to the ring. This time, it is Michaels who strikes his partner though as when Austin turns, Shawn again drops him  with another chairshot. He follows in and goes for a suplex on the floor, but Austin blocks and lifts Michaels over, smacking him spine first off the floor with a suplex of his own. Medical personnel has now removed Hebner and a second referee has entered the match. With Austin and Michaels down and the seriously injured Hart still in the ring, he begins his ten count. It reaches eight before the Tag Team Champions start stirring and both just beat the count, not allowing for Bret to steal the win. They return to the ring and in a fast and furious sequence, Austin catches Shawn with a boot to the stomach and goes for a stunner, but HBK pushes him off. When “Stone Cold” bounces back from the ropes, Michaels tries a superkick, but Austin ducks and following underneath it, nails a second boot to the gut and hits with the stunner this time. Unfortunately for Austin, the impact sends Michaels flying and he rolls under the bottom rope to the floor, not allowing the “Rattlesnake” to get the pin. Frustrated, Austin turns back toward Bret, who had finally climbed to his feet and gingerly was sneaking up on him. He immediately kicks the bad leg out from under Bret and twists him into a sharpshooter. Bret fights and struggles almost to the ropes, but just as he reaches out, Austin drags him straight to the center of the ring. Just as it appears Bret has no choice but to tap out, it seems that he may have passed out from the pain, just as Austin had a few months prior in their classic “I Quit” match. The referee checks Hart’s arm and it drops once, then twice, and just as he went for a third try, HBK yanks the official to the floor, sliding him under the bottom rope, where his head bounced off the floor, knocking him out on impact. With Austin still leaning back on the sharpshooter, HBK hurries in and nails him with “Sweet Chin Music.” He jumps over and hooks the leg, but there is no referee. We then see a third official, sprinting to the ring as Shawn encourages him to hurry, but the delay was too long, as “Stone Cold” lifts a shoulder at two and three-quarters. Frustrated beyond belief, Michaels argues with the official that the count should’ve been three, as the second official just begins struggling to get to his feet.  As he does though, the ‘Man in Black’ reappears and clocks the referee across the back with a chair shot, prompting the third official to run to the floor and admonish the masked man. As he tells the mystery man to leave, once again, we see a second ‘man in black’ from the other side of the crowd, and this one drops the referee that still stands with a chair shot. “Well what in the hell else can possibly go on here tonight. We have seen some of the damndest things here that I have witnessed in all of my days,” questions J.R., as now the two masked assailants circle the ring, with one appearing to have their sights on  Bret and the other Austin. The one approaching  Bret nears his target, but with the officials out again, Owen and Bulldog charge from the dressing room and chase him off before any more damage can be done to their leader. They also race around and chase the second masked man back through the crowd as well, appearing to completely thwart their interference attempt. As Michaels has watched all of this develop, Austin has slowly risen, while Owen and Bulldog still tend to Bret in the far corner. Shawn finally turns back to Austin, but is met with a stunner that lays him flat on his back. Bouncing back up from hitting his finisher, Austin is surprised and dropped out of nowhere, by what would appear to be a third ‘man in black.’ “Are you kidding me? What is there an army of these guys? What the hell?” The mystery man hits a picture perfect hangman’s neckbreaker and now Austin lays next to HBK unconscious on the mat. Seeing the man hit and run, Bulldog and Owen’s eyes both open wide as Davey sprints over and revives one of the fallen officials and Owen drags Bret over and lays one arm over each of his two fallen opponents. The returning referee slaps the mat for a three count and a semi-conscious Bret Hart completely steals the victory and the title shot at SummerSlam. Owen and Bulldog celebrate, as Pillman and Neidhart return and hoist a battered and unaware Bret on their shoulders in celebration as J.R. takes us home. “Ladies and gentleman, the 1997 King of the Ring pay per view will go down as maybe the damndest thing top to bottom that I have ever been a part of here in the World Wrestling Federation. They say anything can happen here in the WWF, well tonight anything did happen and then it happened again, twice. I reckon we will try to put this thing together and figure out what exactly we just witnessed when we see you all tomorrow night on Raw. I can tell you that Bret Hart will be fighting the WWF Champion at SummerSlam. I can tell you that we have a new WWF Champion in Goldust, yes that is correct, Goldust, and we also crowned a new European Champion in Sycho Sid tonight. Outside of that, I am sorry folks, but I cannot tell you much, we are out of time, see you all tomorrow night.”

Raw is War- June 9, 1997- Hartford, CT

Raw begins with a video montage spotlighting the endings of every bout from the King of the Ring, focusing on the sheer madness that occurred the night before. After this and the intro, J.R., the “King, and Vince talk about the falling out from the night before. We are told that the Undertaker was hospitalized with severe face burns and broken ribs after the brutal attack in the final minutes of his match last night and that they currently are unsure if or when he will return. We are also told that Bret Hart was injured, but that he is in Hartford tonight to address the crowd and he will be joined as always by the entire Hart Foundation. We are also told of several blockbuster matches for the show, as the Intercontinental Title will be on the line as Owen Hart will defend against the newest member of Paul Ellering’s Legion of Doom, Ken Shamrock. Also, the Road Warriors will face off against Hart Foundation members, Brian Pillman and Jim Neidhart, following the events at the end of their bout at the pay per view. They then tell us that in the main event tonight that the WWF Tag Champions, Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels will defend against the new number one contenders, the New Blackjacks. Finally, they tell us that in addition to all of this, we will hear from the new WWF Champion, Goldust and the newly crowned King of the Ring, Hunter Hearst Helmsley during the broadcast. After this, we go to the ring, where Faarooq and Ahmed Johnson challenge Rocky Maivia to find a partner and take on what they refer to as the “New Nation.” Ahmed, appears on crutches though, as the two explain that he was injured while planting Rocky the night before in a freak accident and will not be able to compete for some time. They reveal two other new members of the nation to be Kama Mustafa and D-Lo Brown and note that Kama will tag with Faarooq in the match. Maivia responds, bringing out Savio Vega as his partner, but the Kama and Faarooq team is victorious in the end thanks to outside interference from the other new member of the new-look Nation,  D-Lo. As the Nation raises a fist in celebration, we cut to a commercial.

After the break, we are all set to hear from the Hart Foundation, as their music hits and the entire faction walks out, with Bret being pushed once again in a wheelchair by his brother, Owen. They enter the ring and Bret begins to speak.

Bret: “Well, looks like another attempt by the WWF to keep Bret Hart out of the World Title scene has failed miserably. You see, (looks to the broadcast table) McMahon, you can play your favorites with Shawn Michaels or Steve Austin, or whoever you like, but the brass facts are you cannot stop greatness or destiny. I am the best there is, the best there was, and the best their ever will be and that is not just some stupid catch phrase, it is reality. The bloodthirsty American wrestling public was salivating at the fact that Bret Hart was nearly crippled, yet he still had to fight two men last night at King of the Ring. The neanderthals that pass as wrestling fans here in the United States cheered on their heroes, Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels, as they battered me with foreign objects last night to the point of near unconsciousness. The savages, just like all of you here in Hartford tonight even cheered when several cowards that are too gutless to show their own face came from the crowd with steel chairs and cheated so Shawn Michaels could win and go on to SummerSlam to face the WWF champion. Well, guess what? You ignorant fans can kiss my Canadian ass, because even with all of those things stacked against me, I won the triple threat match last night, and I will be the five-time WWF Champion come SummerSlam and their isn’t a damn thing anyone in this company or even in this cess pool of a nation that you idiots call your home can do about it.” (Bret hands the microphone to the Bulldog)

Bulldog: “Before we go, I also have a bone to pick with President Monsoon and the WWF officials. I was robbed of my European Title last night by that big goon, Sycho Sid. He is an embarrassment to have the belt representing my homeland around his waist and it makes me sick to even think about that. Now, Monsoon, you screwed over Owen by making him fight a 450 pound monster, and then after getting through him you are making him fight Ken Shamrock tonight. Well, after he defends his belt against him, I want to inform you that next week on Raw I will be invoking my rematch clause and taking back what is rightfully mine, the European title, and furthermore, the week after that, Owen and I will be utilizing our rematch clause for the Tag Belts and taking back those titles against whoever wins tonight as well. These were iron clad clauses, written into our contracts for the matches we had, so there isn’t a damn thing any of these anti-Hart Foundation pencil pushers around here can do about it. So, by the time we have our big homecoming next month at the “Calgary Stampede” event, we will return home, where we are all actually appreciated with all the gold in this company.” (The entire group nods in agreement as they carefully wheel Bret back up the ramp, and we go to a commercial break.)

After the commercial, we return and the newly crowned King of the Ring, Hunter Hearst Helmsley comes out with Chyna. He gloats over his big win and details the recent roll he is on, noting that “big things” are happening for him and that in the coming weeks and months he plans to play a major role in “changing the face of the WWF.” He talks of how he defeated the WWF Champion (Undertaker) in a non-title bout and adds that now with him being the new “King of the Ring,’ he deserves a chance at the championship. He gushes over beating the “hardcore legend” Mankind to win the crown and issues an open challenge for the upcoming Calgary Stampede “In Your House” Pay Per View. Following this, his opponent for tonight Crush is introduced, and Helmsley keeps his current winning streak alive, once again getting the victory after an apparent non-related outside party assists him, as Kama, D-Lo, and Faarooq attack the former Nation member, Crush before the match begins, making him easy pickings for the awaiting Helmsley. Following this we go backstage to an interview with Mankind, who rocks back and forth on the floor of the Hartford Civic Center’s boiler room.

Mankind: “Last night, I was robbed of becoming King of the Ring by a snot nosed punk, Hunter Hearst Helmsley. I was beaten down by men that were supposed family of mine in the ‘Unholy Alliance,’ and left on the arena floor busted up and bruised.(He tears his mask of at this point, stands up and gives a very serious look into the camera as he speaks in a more Cactus Jack-like scream) But, I did learn a thing or two last night, I did learn a thing or two about something called respect. I learned respect for Ken Shamrock, as he is one hell of a fighter and it was an honor to do battle with him. I learned that my so-called friends had no respect for me as they drove me through a table. I learned something else that I knew all along about respect, too. I remembered the respect I once had for myself. The respect I had for this business when I was killing myself for one hundred dollar payoffs in Japan and sleeping in Motel 6’s and in my damn car, paying my dues in this business. R-E-S-P-E-C-T, I found out what it means to me, and it means that Mankind, or Mick Foley has earned the right to be respected. When a punk like Hunter Hearst Helmsley has some hired thug take me out to deny me the respect as King of the Ring, that pisses me off, and if history shows us anything, just like the Incredible Hulk once said, you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry. So, I have realized that I have no room for those who do not respect me and what I have sacrificed to be where I am today. Paul Bearer and the ‘Alliance,’ your loss is my gain, as I no longer work for you or for anyone. It is not going to be a ‘nice day’ for you or any other of my opponents here any longer, as Mick Foley will from here on out no longer be asking for respect, he will be beating the hell out of any man stepping in his path and making them respect me. The act is up, as it is my time and I am damn sure going to make the most of it at any cost. Bang, Bang.” (Foley walks from the boiler room and is immediately jumped by Vader. The two roll around on the floor and both get several sickening shots in before a host of bodies show up to break them up. Vader screams at Mankind, calling him a traitor, as Foley responds continuing to talk about respect as we go to a break.)

After the break, the Hart Foundation team of Brian Pillman and Jim Neidhart come back out to the ring for their tag team matchup. The crowd erupts as Hawk, Animal, and Ellering are introduced second. The matchup is a wild one, with the referee eventually counting both teams out of the ring as the brawl about the ringside area. After flooring Hawk with a low blow in their exchange on the floor, Pillman savagely attacks Ellering, taking the manager down and bringing the point of a chair down repeatedly on his arm after wrapping it around the post. With Hawk down and Animal seeing this, he left the brawl to tend to their manager, as Sid also came to ringside. The Hart Foundation duo leaves, seeming to be very pleased with the damage they have done. After a quick commercial, we go back to the ring, where Sycho Sid remained. He takes a microphone and talks about how glad he is to be back and to be with the Legion of Doom. He holds the European Championship over head as he talks of wanting to be a fighting champion, unlike the British Bulldog. He says he can’t wait for their matchup next week and that he plans to again run over Davey Boy and then says that he heard Hunter Hearst Helmsley out here earlier saying he wanted championship opportunities and issuing an open challenge for the ‘Calgary Stampede’ event. He accepts Helmsley’s challenge and tells him that he will put the title up and that he can’t wait to see him north of the border come July 6 for the match.

After this, we head backstage, where Kevin Kelly stands by with new WWF Champion, Goldust, Paul Bearer and Marlena. Goldust wears a black cowboy hat, no makeup, and a black vest with the title slung over his shoulder.

Kelly: “Well, Goldust, you are the new WWF Champion after a very controversial win last night at…” (Goldust grabs the microphone and pushes Kelly away)

Goldust: “How dare you talk to the World Champion like that. A win is a win, and just like Paul Bearer promised and just like I told you all, I delivered. Not only am I WWF Champion, but I have ended the career of the Undertaker. I did it all by myself. (Bearer and Malena look on, nodding in agreement) All I ever needed was a chance and when given one, I put an end to the most legendary figure this company has ever seen. The ‘Dead Man’ is just that, dead, yesterday’s news. I embarrassed him, I outsmarted him, and then I put him in the hospital and took his championship. End of story. Now, this company had better prepare for a long run as champion by me, Goldust, because I waited way too long for this and I will do anything, (blows a kiss at the screen) and I mean anything to stay on top and to make sure that each and every member of the WWF roster will never, ever forget the name, Goldust.” (The three mug for the camera as the show heads to break.)

After the break, Ken Shamrock is introduced and he is seconded by Sycho Sid. Owen is introduced second, and the Bulldog escorts him to the ring.

Match- Intercontinental Title Match- Champion, Owen Hart (with British Bulldog) vs. Ken Shamrock

(with Sycho Sid)- The match begins and a first seems to have the makings of a scientific classic, with

both Shamrock and Owen trading armdrags and armbars, followed by each gaining an advantage on

the mat with takedowns into a front face lock. After being separated and locking up again, Shamrock

finally gets the upper hand, scoring with a pair of hip tosses that frustrate Owen. Hart then wildly

charges, but Shamrock side steps with a drop toe hold and floats on top, smashing his opponent with

a combination of right and left forearm crossface smashes as he stands behind the “King of Harts.”

Shamrock is now in total control, as he hits a big backdrop and the a belly to belly suplex for a two

count. Following a pair of running clotheslines, Shamrock hits the ropes for a third, but Davey Boy

pulls the top rope down and the “World’s Most Dangerous Man” falls to the floor. After flipping over

the top, Shamrock somehow manages to land on his feet and rocks the Bulldog with a forearm. The

two trade shots as Sid approaches. Just then, Bulldog tries to whip Shamrock into the post, but when

he is reversed, the momentum slings him toward Sid’s huge boot, which is outstretched and meets

him right in the face. Sid returns to his corner, but when Shamrock goes to climb back in the ring,

Owen hits him with a spinning heel kick, knocking him down on the apron. Hart then “brings him in

the hard way,” nailing a suplex to bring Shamrock back in, which was good enough for a count of two.

The champion is now rolling, as he hits a perfect leg lariat and climbs the ropes and nails Shamrock

with a missile drop kick for another very near fall. He follows this up with the sharp shooter, as

Shamrock tries to fight his way to the ropes. After fighting through the pain for over a minute, he

Finally reaches the bottom strand, causing the break. Owen throws his arm up in celebration

following this, as the referee explains that his opponent did not give up. Confused, Owen turns and

goes for an insiguri kick on the slowly rising Shamrock, who ducks and immediately latches on to the

ankle lock. As Owen squirms, Bulldog jumps to the apron, but Sid races around and yanks him off as

Shamrock pulls Hart to the ring’s center. Risking his ankle being broken, Owen taps out and Ken

Shamrock is the new Intercontinental Champion. He and Sid celebrate in the ring as we go to

commercial.

After the commercial, we see a replay of the title change, before we are told that it is main event time

And the Blackjacks are the first introduced, accompanied by Paul Bearer. Following this, Austin is

introduced alone first, followed by HBK.

Match- WWF Tag Team Title Match- Champions, Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels vs. The New

Blackjacks (with Paul Bearer)- The main event of the night begins, with Austin and Michaels arguing

on the floor and actually shoving one another. After the brief exchange, they start coming to blows, as

Michaels can be heard saying, “I thought we were on the same page with the titles.” As they fight, the

screen goes to a split and we see Bret Hart smiling as he watches this unfold in the back on a monitor.

As the screen returns to one, the two have now gotten into it pretty good, rolling around on the floor

as the referee tries to separate them and actually start the match. The Blackjacks are fully amused by

this, watching as they lean over the top rope. Michaels and Austin’s brawl head up the ramp, as

Stone Cold’ begins getting the better of the exchange, bouncing his partner’s head off the railing. As

he goes to introduce Shawn’s head to the railing a second time, two arms come from over the barrier,

grabbing the back of Austin’s head and bringing his throat down over the same railing. As the

momentum sends him backwards and he clutches his throat, Austin is met on the rebound by “sweet

chin music,” leaving him lying on the floor as we see a shot of the now familiar “man in black”

scurrying through the crowd as the person who grabbed “the Rattlesnake.” Just as this transpired, the

other two ‘mystery attackers from the night before snuck out of the crowd at ringside, taking out Paul

Bearer and then sneaking behind both Blackjacks, dropping to a knee in unison and taking both men

down at the same time, giving them both an uppercut between the legs from behind. As Bradshaw

rolled in pain and the pair of attackers fled, Michaels returns to the ring and hits a second superkick,

this time on Windham, while the referee, who followed him back from his brawl with Austin stood in

confusion for a second before jumping down for the three count. Seeing the attack from the back,

Vader and Goldust storm the ring, but Michaels is too quick for them and just like the black masked

intruders, he heads out through the audience. As the entire ‘Unholy Alliance’ stands in the ring after

helping the stunned Blackjacks and Bearer to their feet, suddenly the arena lights turn off completely.

We then see a few flashes of lightning and some fog around ringside, as the ‘Alliance’ as a whole

shake in fear in the ring. Suddenly, one purplish ray of light comes from the ceiling and shines only on

Goldust, who looks around in fear as a familiar gong tolls over the house P.A. several times. The lights

come back on and sitting right next to Goldust is a wrapped gift box, with black wrapping paper and a

purple ribbon and bow. He picks it up and shakes it, still with a look of terror on his face, and as he

opens it, everyone steps back as he pulls out an all black bullrope that in place of a cowbell has the

undeniable sign of the Undertaker attached. Raw goes off the air as the new WWF Champion drops

the rope to the ground and stares wide eyed and visibly shaken, questioning each of his stable mates

in the ring as they look equally uneasy with what had just occurred.

Raw is War- June 16, 1997- Lake Placid, NY

We begin this week’s broadcast with a recap of the appearances of the apparent multiple ‘Men in

Black’  and their attacks at King of the Ring and last week. We also are shown the closing segment

with the lone light shining down on WWF Champion, Goldust before the lead in music and pyro to

start the program. As Raw hits the air, we are once again brought to the desk of WWF President,

Gorilla Monsoon.

Monsoon: “Good evening fans, I come to you tonight to address a situation that has been allowed to

develop for far too long. Obviously, you have all seen the interference over the course of the past few

months by a masked attacker that we have come to know as the “Man in Black.” This situation from the

beginning has seemed to be in some way tied to the “Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels, and after seeing

him leave through the crowd last night just as this mysterious entity has repeatedly done, I have come

to the conclusion that this is not just coincidental. Whether or not this person is at times Mr. Michaels,

masquerading under a black mask, I cannot say for sure, but regardless, and especially as we have seen

this attacker expand to not only be one intruder, but at times two and in the past week three separate

persons that have altered not only matches here in the WWF but also had a hand in several title

changes, I feel I have no choice but to take action on this matter. Being that Shawn Michaels is in some

way involved with these thugs and as stated before they have changed the course of the title picture in

our company, even last week during the WWF Tag Team Championship match, I have decided after

much consideration that the “Heartbreak Kid” will have to face the repercussions of these actions. Thus,

effective immediately, I am stripping Shawn Michaels of his half of the WWF Tag Team Championship.

I will ask that Steve Austin join me in the ring later tonight, so I can discuss the ramifications this has on

him as the other half of the champions.  Also, in an effort to stop these attacks, I am giving Shawn

exactly what he so greatly desires at our next “In Your House” pay per view, emanating from Calgary,

Canada, on one condition. So, at the Calgary Stampede, it will be one last match to end the rivalry of all

rivalries, as Shawn Michaels and Bret “The Hitman” Hart will settle things once and for all inside the

confines of a fifteen foot high steel cage. This will be the last time these two enemies battle it out and

they will fight to a finish. They will fight to a finish if and only if there are no more attacks by any of

these ‘men in black’ masked attackers between now and the pay per view. If there is an appearance and

interference by whoever these persons may be, not only is that match scratched, but Shawn Michaels

will be suspended from active duty indefinitely. I know these are drastic measures, but enough is

enough. As far as tonight’s program goes, we have several big title matches to go down, as the British

Bulldog will get his rematch for the European title against Sycho Sid, and in our main event, we will see

the first WWF Title defense of new champion, Goldust, as he will take on the newly crowned King of the

Ring, Hunter Hearst Helmsley. That is all for now, I look forward to meeting Mr. Austin out in the ring

later tonight and hope you all enjoy the rest of the show.

After Monsoon’s address, we head up to the ring, where The “New” Nation again calls out Rocky

Maivia and challenge him to bring a partner to face the team of D-Lo Brown and Kama, as Faarooq

and the injured Ahmed Johnson look on. As Maivia is shown pacing through the back halls, he is

stopped by Crush, who offers his services. The Nation team again scores the win with help from

outside interference from Faarooq just when it appeared that Crush had the bout won for his team.

Following a quick commercial break, we go backstage to the interview area, where Paul Bearer and

Vader stand by with Kevin Kelly. (Always the bully, Vader pushes Kelly around and orders him away as

he grabs the microphone himself)

Vader: “Mankind, you idiot, you freak. You all of a sudden want to talk respect? Respect for this

business? Respect for you? You are an animal, you are a deranged freak. You are no more than a damn

stunt man and you deserve no respect. You will certainly get none from me. You turn your back on the

‘Alliance?’ You turn your back on me and this man (Points to Bearer) who took you in and made you the

star you are today? Well, now it is time for you to pay and now it is time for me to teach you a little

about respect, boy. So last week when I heard you out here…(Mankind at this point leaps into the

picture, taking out Vader and pummeling him as he mounts on top of him. He screams “respect” as he

plunges his fingers down Vader’s gullet and locks in the mandible claw as the scene is cut and we go

back to another quick break, advertising the upcoming “Calgary Stampede, In Your House pay per

view.”)

When we return, we go back to the ring as the Legion of Doom’s music hits and Hawk, Animal, Sid,

and Shamrock come to the ring minus their manager, Paul Ellering. Sid takes the mike first and speaks

about his title match tonight with the Bulldog and then about his upcoming match at “In Your House”

with Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Shamrock has a few words next reminding the Hart Foundation how he

made Owen tap out last week in becoming the new Intercontinental Champion. Lastly, the Road

Warriors trade off speaking. They tell us that Ellering’s arm was broken in last week’s attack by Brian

Pillman and that they will not be satisfied without returning the favor and breaking his arm in revenge

for their longtime mentor. They throw out a challenge for the upcoming pay per view, for any three

members of the Hart Foundation to face them and Shamrock in a six man tag at the pay per view, as

they want to get their vengeance in front of the Hart’s hometown crowd in Calgary. They continue to

talk until they are interrupted by the entire Foundation on the TitanTron. Bret as always speaks for

the group, and explains that he will be facing Shawn Michaels in a cage match at the event, but that

the other four members only fight together as a unit. So he accepts, but tells the Legion that they

must either take them on in a four on three handicapped match or find themselves another partner to

stand with them. L.O.D. readily accepts the terms and closes the segment by saying that they “have

enough to get the job done with just the three members standing here, and we will see you in

Calgary.”  The camera then heads to the back, where we see alternating shots of President Monsoon

and Steve Austin walking as the announcers tell us that they are heading to the ring and that segment

will be right after the break.

As we return, Monsoon is already in the ring, as Austin’s music continues to play and he enters as

well. Both are handed microphones as they walk in.

Monsoon: “Steve, I thank you very much for joining me, as I am sure you just like everyone else is very

interested in the state of the WWF Tag team Championship belts” (Austin interrupts)

Austin: “Look, don’t thank me for anything, all I need to know is what the hell is going on around here?

You told me to be out here, so save your big words and your mumbo jumbo crap for someone who

actually gives a damn. Don’t sugar coat nothin’, and don’t beat around the bush here. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin is a  busy man, and he doesn’t have time for this crap, so lay it on me.”

Monsoon: “Fair enough, I will lay it on you. As you saw earlier, I have stripped your partner, Shawn

Michaels of his half of the WWF tag Team titles for whatever his involvement with these masked

attackers has been over the past few months. However, I am not stripping you of your half, so here is

how this is going to work. Starting immediately after this segment, I am sanctioning an eight team tag

team tournament to name a new number one contender to the belts. This will continue on for the next

few weeks and the finals will be held at the “Calgary Stampede” pay per view. Whoever emerges

victorious from that final match at “In Your House,” will move on to face the former champions, Owen

Hart and the British Bulldog, who still have a rematch clause, the night after the pay per view on Raw.

Then , the winner of that contest will move on to face you and any partner of your choosing, other than

Shawn Michaels the very next week following that event right here on Raw is War. I think this is a fair

solution, it gives you time to find a viable replacement and it will also give the victorious team a week

after what is sure to be a hellacious battle  to prepare for the title match.”

Austin: “Well, one thing is for sure, you don’t have to worry about me choosing Shawn Michaels. That

pretty boy, yellow coward has had me run down for the last time. His scrawny ass had best just stay the

hell out of my way. Another thing, I don’t need a damn partner, I will whoop any team’s asses that you

put in front of me all on my own, and that’s all I got to say about that. As for Owen and the Bulldog and

all those other Canadians, that includes you, Bret, I still ain’t done with you either. I hope to see those

two win their return match, because Steve Austin loves nothing more than he loves making those Hart

boys whine and cry after I take a piece out of their pink and black hides. So, we will see, maybe I will

come across a partner by then, but either way, “Stone Cold” will defend the tag team straps against any

of these sorry sons of bitches you put in front of him, and that’s the bottom line, ‘cause Stone Cold said

so.” (After this, we go directly to the back, where Dok Hendrix waits with Shawn Michaels to get his

reaction on these rulings.)

Hendrix: “Shawn Michaels, there you have it, you have been stripped of your half of the tag team titles

by order of WWF President Gorilla Monsoon. What are your thoughts and feelings on this and on top of

that, what are your feelings on your one last showdown in the steel cage at “In Your House,” with Bret

Hart, right in the “Hitman’s” own backyard.”

Michaels: “Well, Dok, first off let me say, as I have said all along, I am not the ‘Man in Black,’ nor does in

any way shape  or form does the ‘Man’ or ‘Men,’ or whatever they are, ‘in black,’ work for me, the

“Heartbreak Kid.” Hell, I’m way to pretty to hide this face under a mask. So, Gorilla Monsoon wants to

drink the Bret Hart Kool-Aid and lump me in with them, costing me my half of the Tag Team titles, that is

just fine by me. I couldn’t stand to spend one more second with that ignorant hick, Steve Austin any

how. With all these groups and gangs running around out here, and with a ludicrous decision by

President Monsoon like this, I will say one thing, though. Mark my words, things are going to get very

real around here in the very near future. You want to give ol’ “HBK” the shaft, the he is gonna give it

right back to you all. So stay tuned on that one, because a revolution the likes of which this company has

never dreamed will be coming soon. But for now, all I really care about  is that I got what I wanted. Me

and you Bret, one on one, one last ride, in the confines of a fifteen foot high steel cage right in front of

your senile old man, Stu, your decrepit old mother, Helen, and all nine hundred and fifteen of your

ignorant, Canadian brothers and sisters. I get to embarrass you in that backwards, inbred, country you

call home and when I do, it’s all over Bret. Finally, I can be done with you and say once and for all that I

truly am the better man. I will be patrolling and being one hundred percent certain that no one in a

black mask is anywhere near any action around here for the next month, because there is no way in hell

that I am not leaving you laying just like I always do, in front of your toothless, maple syrup suckin’

countrymen at “In Your House.” Remember, Bret, the “Heartbreak Kid” is not only the “show stopper,”

he is not only the “Main Event,” but after “Calgary Stampede,” he is going to be the new great Canadian

hero, while you lay flat on your back as always, as nothing more than a big fat zero.” (Camera fades out

for commercial)

After break we go to ringside for the first matchup of the Tag Team tournament, that sees the

Godwinns lose to the unlikely team of Jerry “The King “ Lawler and Rob Van Dam. Lawler at first came

to the ring alone, but gave a grand introduction to the ECW star, dubbing him “Mr. Monday Night,”

upon his introduction. They got the win, when Honky Tonk Man and “Rock-a-Billy” Gunn appeared,

and Gunn walloped Henry O. with the guitar. After the bout, Honky also got involved, laying out

Lawler with his “acoustic equalizer,” before joining the broadcasters for the remainder of the show.

Next up, we go right back to the ring, as the British Bulldog is introduced, followed by Sycho Sid as we get set for the European championship match. Bulldog is again accompanied by Owen, while Shamrock seconds Sid.

 

Match- European Championship Match- Champion, Sycho Sid (with Ken Shamrock) vs. the British Bulldog (with Owen Hart)- The bell rings and Sid takes the quick upper hand, trying to repeat his quick win at King of the Ring. Two clotheslines, followed by a side back breaker has the Bulldog reeling, as the Sycho waits behind him poised for an early chokeslam. Bulldog, sensing trouble though rolls to the floor for a breather, but Shamrock is there to greet him and rolls him right back in. As the ref admonishes Shamrock, Sid goes for the chokeslam, but Davey Boy takes advantage of the distraction and lands a kick below the belt to drop the European champ. The Bulldog follows up with a spectacular dropkick, followed by a running clothesline, before hoisting Sid on his shoulder and driving him upside down into the corner, leaving him hanging that way by his feet. A quick running start leads to a baseball slide dropkick that catches Sid right in the chops, as he falls over out of the corner and Bulldog hooks a leg for a two count. After the kick out, Davey again goes for an Irish Whip to the buckle and follows up by setting his huge opponent up on the top rope before climbing and raining ten straight punches down on his head. After the right hands, he locks Sid in a facelock and yanks him over for a picture perfect superplex, rolling on top for another long two count. Bulldog is frustrated and argues with the referee to no avail, and as he turns back at Sid, he spits over the top rope, right on Shamrock. Incensed, Shamrock’s wild temper gets the better of him as he charges into the ring. As he wildly goes at Davey, Owen enters from the other side and levels him with a spinning heel kick, dropping the I-C champ. This distracts the official again, and seeing the opening, Bulldog rolls to the floor and retrieves Sid’s European belt. Owen continues to tie up the official as Davey reenters the ring with Sid slowly getting to his feet. In the meantime, “Stone Cold” emerges and sprints to ringside as the crowd goes berserk. Bulldog blasts Sid with the belt, but when he turns to slide it out of the ring, Austin enters and nails him with a stunner and lays Sid’s arm on top of him before sprinting back to the dressing room. The referee returns, as now Shamrock fights back on Owen, freeing the official to make the three count as Sycho Sid retains the European championship. As Sid and Shamrock celebrate we see a graphic that the WWF title match is up next as we go to our final commercial break.

 

After the break, we see a quick backstage shot in the Hart Foundation locker room, where they are all up in arms over Austin interfering and costing Bulldog the match. Bret, still in a wheelchair, calms the group down and tells them they will address the problem next week and he has the perfect plan so they all can get even with “Stone Cold.” Then we go back to ringside, where  the King of the Ring, Hunter Hearst Helmsley is introduced and he as always is led to ringside by Chyna. Next, we get the elaborate introduction of Goldust, who comes out in his street clothes, a black cowboy hat, jeans, and a sleeveless back shirt, accompanied by Paul Bearer and Marlena. Goldust still appears very nervous as he looks all over as he walks to the ring.

 

Match- WWF Championship Match- Champion, Goldust (with Paul Bearer and Marlena) vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley (with Chyna)- As the bell rings to start the bout, Helmsley jumps on the obviously preoccupied champion and knocks him to the mat, laying the boots to him in gaining the upper hand. He pulls Goldust up and slings him off the ropes, hitting a high flying knee and nearly get a quick pin. He again whips his foe in and catches him with a boot to the gut and a spinning neckbreaker for yet another very near fall. He follows this up with a flurry of pinning attempts, as he tries to steal a quick win, rolling Goldust up, then using a small package, and finally a backslide, each of which garnered a count of two. “Goldust had better get his head in the game or we are going to have a new champion,” observes J.R., as Helmsley continues on the offensive, scoring with two inverted atomic drops and then a snap suplex for yet another two count. Pulling Goldust up, Helmsley slings him to the turnbuckle, and spins to charge, but in desperation, Goldust gets a boot up and catches him in the jaw coming in. As Helmsley staggers, Goldust shakes the cobwebs quick and scores with a running bulldog that was good enough for a two count of his own. He then takes advantage and leaves his feet, hitting a big flying clothesline, before mounting on top and delivering a series of right hands to the challenger. “Goldust, once focused, appears to be all business tonight. No silly stuff or psychological games, just smash mouth straight up fighting,” Ross once again observes. With a hand full of hair, the champion pulls his challenger up, and returns the earlier atomic drop to Helmsley, before sliding behind and hitting a belly to back suplex and getting another long two count. He then pulls the reigning King of the Ring to the ropes and drapes his throat across the second strand, getting a running start and jumping down on his back, before sliding to the floor and hitting a big uppercut from the outside. Slipping back in, Goldust again gets a two count before pulling Hunter back up and rocketing him into the corner with such force that he flips upside down and over the top to the floor. Goldust follows him out sensing victory, when just as happened the week before, the arena goes completely black. The momentary darkness is then ended, as from the entrance ramp, eight druids, each carrying a torch walk toward the ring, wheeling a casket as some type of strange chanting plays over the house P.A.  Goldust again trembles in fear, as Marlena hides behind him and Paul Bearer does also, even though he tries to calm the champion somewhat. The druids reach ringside and as they stand right before Goldust, the lights come back on and his fears are heightened as he can now see the casket is one that is entirely shiny and gold in color. In this confusion, Helmsley has slid back in the ring, as the druids open the box and inside is what appears to be Goldust himself, in his full gold body suit, face paint, and wig. The actual Goldust trembles as he looks at himself in the coffin, as the druids slowly turn and head back up the ramp. As this episode unraveled, the referee had begun a count in the ring unbeknownst to the preoccupied champion, and his count reaches ten, giving Helmsley a count out win over the champion. Raw again goes off the air to the visual of the WWF Champion, quaking in his boots, as he stands over “himself” laying in the open casket.

 

Raw is War- June 23, 1997- Detroit, MI

 

Raw comes on the air and we see, Paul Bearer and Marlena trying to calm Goldust, who is visibly still shaken and searching high and low back stage, nervously trying to avoid the Undertaker. The again plain clothed WWF Champion walks into WWF President Gorilla Monsoon backstage, who wears a sly smirk on his face as he approaches and hears Goldust tell the two that he is “getting the hell out of here.” Monsoon tells him that he will be going nowhere, as not only will he have a title defense tonight against Mankind, but he will also want to stick around to hear the huge announcement the President will make later regarding his defending of the title at “Calgary Stampede” on July 6 in Calgary. Goldust, Bearer, and Marlena plead for details, but Monsoon walks away and the two managers try to calm the champion as the music and pyro intro hit to begin the show.

 

Following the intro, we go right up to ringside where Jim Ross and Vince McMahon tell us they will be joined after an interview he conducts after this bout by the Honky Tonk Man. We are then told that Jerry Lawler was injured by the guitar shot from one week ago. It is revealed that due to a concussion he suffered that Lawler will not be competing in the rest of the tournament and that Rob Van Dam will have a new partner when he competes in the semifinals of the tourney next week on Raw. We then head right up to the ring for a tag team tournament match that sees the Headbangers move on with a victory over the team Bob Holly and Flash Funk, to set them up for a semifinal bout next week with Van Dam and whoever his partner may be. After this, we go to the back, where Rocky Maivia is interviewed by the Honky Tonk Man. Maivia says he is sick and tired of the Nation and challenges them to a six man tag match at “Calgary Stampede,” noting that his two partners will be men that are very familiar with Faarooq’s back stabbing ways, Crush and Savio Vega. After the interview, we head to a commercial.

 

After the break, we get set for the second tag tournament match of the night, as Doug Furnas and Phil Lafon are introduced. Just before their opponents, Jesse James and Bart Gunn are introduced, we see the two backstage. They walk past the Honky Tonk Man, who has words with them , when “Rock-a-Billy” Gunn sneaks in and lays out his brother, Bart with a guitar shot. Honky and Billy explain to the “New Double J” that his partner should be Billy and not Bart, and that he carried the Smokin’ Gunns to their tag team glory. Without much of an option with his partner down, James hesitantly agrees, and the strange pairing of recent enemies hits the ring and scores the upset win, working surprisingly well as a team and actually shaking hands after earning the win. We then head once again backstage, where the Hart Foundation stands by at the interview area with Kevin Kelly.

 

Kelly: “Well, Bret Hart, members of the Hart Foundation, we heard from you last week that you had a plan to get even and get revenge on “Stone Cold” Steve Austin for costing the British Bulldog his chance at regaining the European title last week. You said we would hear about it tonight, so here we are, we are all ears and can’t wait to hear about it.”

 

Bret: (Still sitting in his wheelchair, with the other four members at his back and side) “Please, Kevin Kelly, you are all ears? Don’t insult me by acting like you are any different than the rest of these scumbag American wrestling fans that were cheering wildly as your hero, Steve Austin blatantly cheated us out of a title once again. Don’t patronize me and sit here and act like you are not just like Gorilla Monsoon and Vince McMahon and all these other suits around here that are kissing Shawn Michaels ass every step of the way not matter what crap he pulls around here, ok. Don’t do it. First, let me address the “Boy Toy,” Shawn Michaels. Shawn, I cannot wait to get you alone in the steel cage in front of some real wrestling fans in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. It will be nice to look out as I beat you once again, and wash my hands with the American filth that you represent and see some young kids and some families out in the audience enjoying some actual wrestling for once and not cheering for unbridled violence, foul language, and the smut that people like you and Steve Austin peddle to these ignorant savages here in the U.S.A. I will be out of this wheelchair later this week, and after a week on crutches, I will be ready to step in and destroy you and everything that you and your phony, plastic, materialistic obsessive country stands for and it will be an absolute honor to do it in my home land of Canada. Actually, Shawn, if you are man enough, and I know you are not, I would like to challenge you to meet me later tonight out in the ring for a confrontation, so I can say a few things I’d like to get off my chest to you face to face. So, if you have the guts, I will see you later tonight, “Boy Toy.” So now, on to Austin. You want to keep saying you are not done with me and the Hart Foundation, well, we aren’t done kicking your ass either, Steve, so I came up with a little idea. As much as I would love to beat you again, my schedule is a little full at the pay per view, but it seems that the remaining four Hart Foundation members are facing off against a team consisting of the Road Warriors and Ken Shamrock that needs another partner. So, I know no one likes you because you are a foul and vile, hyena that epitomizes the selfish and booze soaked American regular Joe, but why don’t you join up with those other cheaters and make it an even four on four, so the Hart Foundation can hand you your ass right on our home field, at the Saddledome on July 6. You want more of us, you got it big mouth, and this time you have bitten off way more than you can chew. So, Austin, these guys are salivating waiting for your answer, and Shawn Michaels, I will see you face to face later tonight out in the ring.” (We see a split shot of Michaels and Austin looking at monitors in their dressing rooms, with both smiling and nodding their heads as Raw heads to commercial.)

 

Upon returning, we head back to the ring for the third and final opening round match of the tag tournament, where the New Blackjacks, with Paul Bearer make very quick work of Brian Christopher and Scott Taylor, to move on and set up a semifinal match for the following week with the “Real Double J and “Rock-a-Billy” at the conclusion of the match, we go to Dok Hendrix in the back with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Austin immediately accepts their challenge for the pay per view and notes that while he doesn’t necessarily like the L.O.D., that he respects their legacy and Shamrock’s Ultimate Fighting past, plus he would welcome any chance to “whip some Hart ass.” As he continues speaking, Owen, Bulldog, Neidhart, and Pillman attack him, beating him down until Hawk, Animal, and Shamrock make the save and chase the Foundation off. As Austin gets back up, he and his three partners for the upcoming pay per view lay out a challenge to face off against the Foundation next week in individual matches involving Austin and Shamrock and a tag match versus Hawk and Animal. Austin calls out Pillman, Shamrock does the same to Neidhart, while the Road Warriors challenge Owen and Bulldog. Following this we return immediately to ringside, where Sycho Sid is introduced for a European title defense against Leif Cassidy. Sid destroys his challenger in under two minutes in the match, which Hunter Hearst Helmsley joined the announce team for commentary during. Helmsley gloated throughout, speaking of his current win streak, his King of the Ring victory and his two recent wins over WWF title holders. Chyna was with Helmsley, but did not speak at all during the match. After Sid’s lopsided win, he held the belt out and taunted Helmsley as Hunter and the champ traded words before the show went to commercial. 

 

After the break, the Hart Foundation wheels Bret to the ring. With a cocky swagger, he sits in his wheelchair, and orders his team to go back to the dressing room, telling them that “I got this one on my own.” They leave their leader, and HBK’s music hits, as always eliciting a pop from the crowd. As Shawn enters, Bret calls for the music to cut and begins to speak.

 

Bret: “Okay, okay. Let’s cut the music here before Shawn starts taking his clothes off again. (Michaels sarcastically gives a few shakes in Bret’s face as he is seated in his wheelchair) Please, that is disgusting. That is completely disgusting and exactly what is wrong with the state of the WWF today. No one needs to see you bringing little kids in here teaching them to pull their pants down, Shawn. That’s not wrestling, that’s not entertainment. Hell, that is borderline pornography, and it is no wonder that these twisted pervert American fans cheer it, because just like you they are sick, demented freaks that have lost sight of the wholesome family values that at one point were what made our company and our show an honor to be a part of and represent. You, Shawn Michaels, are what is wrong with America today. You play your politics and creative card around here to get ahead the easy way rather than earning your keep like I did and like the great warriors that graced this ring before us did.” (Shawn puts a hand on both of Bret’s shoulders, cutting him off as he responds)

 

Michaels: “Are you about done? Are you kidding me? I have heard enough of you bashing America and the WWF fans and what they should like and what they should cheer for. Here is a newsflash, “Hitman,” these fans pay good money to be here. They can cheer or boo whatever the hell they want. Maybe these ladies out here, like to see the “Heartbreak Kid” do a little dancin’ for them, did you ever think of that? (Bret interrupts)

 

Bret: “Yeah right, maybe the men out here like it more, if you catch my drift there ‘Boy Toy.’

 

Michaels: “Yeah, ha ha, Bret, I catch your drift, and you know what though, maybe they do. They can if they like, because this is the land of the free and the home of the brave and we have a little thing around here called freedom of expression, ever heard of it? If you and your family doesn’t like it, I got an idea, how about you get the hell out of this country and go back to Canada? This is America, Bret, the country that helped make you a superstar, the country that made you a very wealthy man. Didn’t hear you bitching when you were cashing those big paychecks, did we Bret? (Bret tries to interrupt, but Shawn cuts him off, slapping his microphone to the mat.) No, I have heard enough from you Bret, you say what you want about me, but when you are running down the fans that put food on our family’s tables and the greatest country in the world, I won’t stand for it. (Bret rolls to his microphone and retrieves it, Michaels follows and appears ready to strike the “Hitman, but pulls back and stops, shaking his head)

 

Bret: “Oh, what, is Mr. America, Shawn Michaels, the male stripper gonna hit a guy in a wheelchair. A defenseless man in a wheelchair? That would be just like you and all of these violence craving animals to attack a defenseless man. It’s the easy way, rather than hearing the truth and taking it like a man and then waiting until I’m healthy to fight me in Calgary at the pay per view. Go ahead, Shawn, let’s see your true colors, you coward, hit me while I’m helpless in a wheel chair and wave the stars and stripes like the rest of these morons cheering you on here tonight in…(Michaels levels Bret with “Sweet Chin Music,” knocking him backwards out of the wheelchair and on his back. The arena explodes, as Shawn’s music hits and he stands over Bret shaking and dancing, giving several ‘crotch chops’ as he stands above him as the show heads to a commercial.)

 

After the break, we come back to ringside for the WWF Championship match between Goldust (with Paul Bearer and Marlena) and Mankind. Goldust obviously remains very preoccupied with the events surrounding the past two weeks during his appearances.

 

 

Match- WWF Championship Match- Champion, Goldust (with Paul Bearer and Marlena) vs. Mankind- Just before the bell was about to ring, we hear the voice of WWF President, Gorilla Monsoon, and he appears on the TitanTron. Goldust, already a nervous wreck looks on, once again still in his “cowboy” wear. Monsoon addresses the champion.

 

Monsoon: “Well, I promised a big announcement, and I didn’t think you would want to wait any further, so here goes, champ. Well, actually, first, since I also have some news pertaining to your opponent, Mankind, let us go there first, you don’t mind waiting do you, Dustin? (Goldust kicks the ropes and shakes them in frustration) Mankind, you have finally been showing some signs of humanity around here lately. You have seemed to realize the talents you have and you suddenly seem to have seen the light, dropping that piece of garbage out there, Paul Bearer and showing respect to this business that you have worked so hard to become a star in. (Foley nods his head in approval) So, out of respect to you, I have signed a match for you at “Calgary Stampede,” and in that bout, you will face off against the man they call Vader. Here is the respect part, if you are victorious in that match; you are entitled to face any opponent of your choosing, in any type match you select at SummerSlam. How’s that for respect. (Foley again nods in approval and gives a thumb’s up) Now, on to you, Goldust. You will also be defending your title at the “Calgary Stampede” event, and since you thought you were so crafty and so smart in playing your little games and getting the championship off the Undertaker in addition to seriously injuring him with the help of your ‘Unholy Alliance,’ you will be facing the ‘Phenom’ in a rematch for that title on July 6 in Calgary. (Goldust shakes his head in disbelief) Oh yeah, and since you insisted on playing your little games, that bout will be just any type of match, it will be one that the Undertaker, and hey I guess after last week, you as well are pretty familiar with, as at “Calgary Stampede,” it will be you and the Undertaker in a Casket Match. (Goldust nearly falls down, as Marlena and Bearer hold him up against the ropes upon the announcement) So, there you have it champ. Referee, ring that bell and start this World title match.” The bell rings, and Mankind charges. Marlena and Bearer dive out of harm’s way and Foley hits a clothesline, catapulting Goldust and himself into a 360, over the top and to the arena floor. With Goldust stunned and down, Mankind gives a quick “bang, bang,” as he runs down the apron and scores with his patented flying elbow on to the floor. He quickly scoops the champion up and rolls him back into the ring, where he whips him to the buckle and when he bounces off meets him with a boot to the gut and a double arm DDT for a two count. “The champion is in trouble early. Mankind is all over Goldust,” screams J.R. Foley follows up with another whip to the corner that flips Goldust upside down. Mankind follows and ties his opponent to the “tree of woe,” racing full speed into his exposed foe with a vicious knee before backing up and racing at him again and hitting a flying elbow to the chin. Bearer jumps to the apron to try and untie his man, but Foley sinks his fingers in to his former “uncle’s” mouth and yanks him into the ring while latching on a mandible claw. Marlena also hits the apron to try and free the champion, but Foley gives her the same, dragging the tiny female in over the top rope with his dreaded finisher. The official moves around to the front of Mankind to try and free the manager, and when he does, the desperate champion manages to throw a hard kick between the legs of the challenger, dropping him in a heap with a low blow. Goldust slumps to the mat and crawls toward the fallen challenger as his managers scurry back to the floor. He buys himself some more recoup time as when Foley slowly rises, he catches him from behind with a running knee that knocks him to the floor. Goldust catches his breath and then slides to the outside and scores with a belly to back suplex on the floor that knocks Mankind silly as his head bounces loudly of the concrete. “Dammit, that is the sickening thud of human skull meeting concrete, and the champion has a distinct advantage after that blow,” Ross chimes in. At this point, the arena light flicker just a touch, sending Goldust into a frenzy, as he looks all around in fear. His managers console him and try to keep him focused as he turns and rolls Foley back into the ring, cautiously looking over his shoulder. Another flicker of the house lights causes the champion to again pause, and he has now given the challenger too long to bounce back as this time, when he turns, he walks again into a boot to the stomach and then a sickening spike piledriver that nearly is enough for a three count. Mankind then gets in position and waits for the champion to rise, looking to finish him, as when he does get up; he locks the mandible claw in the center of the ring. As Goldust fades, he falls to his back and Foley really locks the claw in. “Mankind, Mankind, Mankind. Mrs. Foley’s baby boy from out on Long Island is about to realize his lifelong dream of becoming…wait, wait what the hell, oh come on,” is the call we hear from Jim Ross as Vader hits the ring and blasts Foley in the skull from behind with his infamous steel wrench, causing the official to immediately disqualify Goldust, giving the match to Foley, but keeping the strap in the ‘Alliance.’ Vader then turns and concusses the referee with the wrench too, and he pulls Foley’s limp body to the corner for a “Vader Bomb.” Just as Goldust somewhat recovers, he walks over to join his stable mate in the attack on Mankind, when once again the arena goes pitch black. We again see two crashes of lightning and fog surrounding the ring, and  when the lights do come back on about ten seconds later, Vader, Bearer, Marlena, and Mankind are inexplicably no longer in the ring. Goldust quivers in fear as he stands alone, when suddenly, a purple gloved hands shoots up through the bottom of the ring and latches on to his leg. He fights and struggles as the opening widens, but to no avail, as another identical hand emerges and pulls him through the opening and underneath the ring as a cloud of fog continues to pour out of the hole. “Oh my god. Goldust is being dragged into the fiery depths of hell. He is being dragged straight to hell by the Undertaker,” screams J.R. as Raw ends and the screen fades to black.

 

This is the end of Part V of our story. We head into the month of July 1997 with the Hart Foundation readying for their homecoming at the Calgary Stampede pay per view in what is being built as the final chapter in the storied Bret and Shawn feud. Many other sizzling storylines continue to build toward a pay off as the groundwork is already being laid for the huge summer time blockbuster SummerSlam and beyond as we continue to ponder the long term effects  of the question, “What if Shawn Michaels never lost his smile or forfeited the WWF Title in February of 1997.”

***As stated in the intro to this part, one of the matches in this part played out as it actually did in WWF. This  instance in this story was recalled as told by the website, thehistoryofwwe.com .  The actual date in which this event took place is listed below.***

1)-Raw is War-June 2, 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.
7 Responses to "Rewriting The Book: What if … Shawn Michaels never lost his smile? (Part V)"
  1. TheAman says:

    In the first RAW, when you discuss Farooq and Bradshaw coming down, do you mean Windham and Bradshaw?

  2. SilentStranger says:

    Still going strong, but man, making Goldust the champ? Did not see thta coming.

    • C.G. Scum says:

      Thanks for the feedback, Stranger. Always love to hear it. Thought it was a surprising and interesting twist to strengthen the Bearer stable with he add of Goldust, especially given his opening up as his “real” self at the time. That feud I had a lot of fun writing, it keeps rolling into the next part, stay tuned!

  3. simongr81 says:

    Just caught up fully. Already ready for part VI! :)

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