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

1 Submitted by on Fri, 15 February 2013, 21:55

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 VI

The summer of 1997 continues to roll along at a scorching pace, as our story continues just one week out from the July “In Your House” Pay Per View spectacular set to emanate from Calgary. In what is being advertised as the final showdown in the storied feud between Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart, the two prepare to do battle in a fifteen foot high steel cage, as the remaining Hart Foundation members also continue on in their heated battles against “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and others. The WWF Title picture still swirls around the Undertaker and his seemingly constant battle with his former manager, Paul Bearer and his hired help, while stars such as Mankind, Hunter Hearst Helmsley, and Ken Shamrock continue to cement their spots in the current WWF product. (NOTE- Once again, as we move forward in Part VI of the story, there one event at this point in WWF history that actually took place that stays within the major storylines of this “Rewriting of the Book.” As in previous chapters, I personally believe this was better off left as it occurred. In this case, the actual date of when it occurred was exactly where it played out in my story and like I have mentioned in other parts, it is my opinion that this was something that should have happened regardless of the “losing of Shawn’s smile” and is a very memorable moment in the company’s history and in the legacy of those involved. Leaving points such as this out I think would lessen the story I am moving along with and despite a few minor twists, for the most part it is recalled exactly as it happened . In giving credit and recalling moments like this, I will label them with three stars before and a corresponding number after these segments (***) and in doing so give credit in my brief explanation in recalling these spots to the website www.thehistoryofwwe.com , where I got the descriptions that I am using.  At the bottom of this part, each numbered event will be explained.) This chapter of our story starts at Raw in Des Moines, IA, just six days out from the Canadian Stampede as the company pushes forward toward its major summer blockbuster, SummerSlam and beyond as we continue to see how things might have been “if Shawn Michaels never lost his smile.” 

Raw is War- June 30, 1997- Des Moines, IA-

 

Raw begins as the broadcast team of Jim Ross, Vince McMahon, and Honky Tonk Man (still in for the injured Jerry Lawler) run down a host of major matches that are scheduled for the night’s program that will serve as a precursor of things to come at Sunday’s pay per view event. We are told that all of the members of the big eight man tag match will do battle in some capacity with one another tonight, as Intercontinental Champion Ken Shamrock will face off with Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart in one on one action. Also, the team of Owen Hart and the British Bulldog will square off against the Road Warriors in tag action, while “Stone Cold” Steve Austin is set to do battle against Brian Pillman. In addition we are reminded that both semifinal matches in the tag team tournament will take place tonight, with the winners to face off Sunday at “Canadian Stampede.” Following this run down, the cameras take us backstage, where Kevin Kelly hustles to catch up with WWF Champion, Goldust to get his comments on the bizarre closing of last week’s program, where he was dragged underneath the ring by what appeared to be the Undertaker.

 

Kelly: “Goldust, ironically, with you at times in your career being referred to as the ‘bizarre one,’ last week, we saw Raw end in maybe the most bizarre fashion ever, with you being dragged through the ring in a cloud of smoke and fog by what we have to believe was the Undertaker. This Sunday at “In Your House,” you face the ‘Dead Man’ in his specialty match, the Casket Match. It appears you are scared to death of this man, and rightfully so, with all you have done to him over the past few months. To the best of my knowledge, the Undertaker is not here in Des Moines, as he still nurses his injuries, but regardless, what is your mindset and how does it feel to be on the receiving end of such psychological warfare, when you are used to being the one playing the mind games?”

 

Goldust: (Paul Bearer stands at his side and both look very smug and surprisingly confident) “Scared? No, I am never scared, Kevin Kelly. I am the WWF Champion, what do I have to be scared about, and actually, just like you said, I am pretty sure the Undertaker isn’t even man enough to show at Raw tonight, so what would I possibly have to be scared of. In actuality, like I stated a few weeks, back, I killed the career of the Undertaker, and tonight, Paul, myself and the Unholy Alliance will actually be paying tribute to the death of the Undertaker, as in that very ring out there, we will be holding a funeral for him. So, am I worried or am I scared about the Undertaker’s childish games over the past few weeks? Of course not, Paul has reassured me that all will go as planned and I don’t even think the ‘Dead Man’ will have the guts to show his face this Sunday in Calgary. If for some reason he does, I can assure you of a few things. First, I can tell you there is no way he will leave as WWF Champion and actually, he will once again be leaving in a casket and second, one thing that is definitely for sure is that he will never, ever forget the name of Goldust. (Bearer motions to come along, and Vader and the New Blackjacks come by, wheeling a purple and black casket with the symbol of the Undertaker on the top as the show cuts to commercial.)

 

After the break, we see a taped interview with the “New Nation,” where they accept the challenge laid out by Rocky Maivia last week on Raw. This sets up for Faarooq, Kama, and D-Lo Brown to face Rocky, Savio, and Crush at Sunday’s “In Your House.” Following this, we go up to the ring for the tag tournament semifinals, where the New Blackjacks, accompanied by Paul Bearer defeat “New Double J” Jesse James and “Rock-a-Billy” Gunn, when Honky Tonk Man misses a guitar shot on Bradshaw and lays out the “New Double J” for the pin. Again the Gunn and James team looks very impressive and after the bout, Gunn tends to James and the two ignore Honky, who pleads with Gunn to reconsider no avail, as the two leave together. After this, we go to yet another commercial.

 

Upon returning, we head right back to ringside, where Intercontinental Champion, Ken Shamrock takes on Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart. Neidhart gets the win by disqualification, but is hardly a winner, as the referee originally awards the decision to Shamrock, but reverses it when he refuses to let go of the ankle lock. Pillman arrives and finally Shamrock let’s go as officials hold him back, while the “Loose Cannon” is able to get his stable mate out of the ring and to safety. After this, we go backstage, where Bret Hart is standing by with Kevin Kelly. (Bret is now on crutches and not in the wheelchair)

 

Kelly: “So, Bret, the question on everyone’s mind is after tasting “Sweet Chin Music” last week, is how are you physically heading into Sunday’s big steel cage match against your rival, Shawn Michaels? Will you be on your game for the match and if not, how close to one hundred percent are you?

 

Bret: “Well Kevin, you think you are real funny don’t you? Tasting “Sweet Chin Music?” You are real clever, huh? Well, I am obviously not at one hundred percent, but I wouldn’t miss the chance to beat the hell out of Shawn Michaels if I had to crawl out there Sunday. Just like I thought, he showed his true colors last week, beating up a helpless man in a wheel chair. It’s the American way; take the easy road at any cost. Did you hear the animals in the crowd, lapping it up like a pack of hungry dogs? I may not be at full power, but it will be my pleasure to put an end once and for all to Shawn Michaels and his brand of soft core American porn right in front of a true wrestling crowd in my hometown. It will be my pleasure to get my hand raised and beat down  an American slime like Shawn Michaels in Canada, for all the little ones to enjoy, for all the families and good, wholesome  fans that respect the hard work, dedication and wrestling expertise that I have. You may have got your kicks last week, ‘Boy Toy,’ but enjoy it while you can, because, ‘The Excellence of Execution’ may surprise you with his quick healing power, especially when the prescription for my pain is filled by fifteen to twenty thousand Canadians, screaming my name this Sunday in Calgary.”

 

Following the interview, we return to the ring for the second tag team tournament semifinal match, with the winners moving on to face the New Blackjacks in the finals at Sunday’s pay per view. The Headbangers come out first, and then Jerry Lawler is introduced. “The King” comes out in a neck brace, and introduces Rob Van Dam and then his surprise partner, also a huge star in ECW that has sided with Lawler in his crusade versus the company, Sabu, who is with his manager, Bill Alfonso. The hardcore team of Van Dam and Sabu overwhelm the Headbangers with their unique style and will move on to face the Blackjacks in the finals. As we go to a commercial, we see a contingent of other ECW performers causing a disturbance in the crowd, as Paul Heyman, Sandman, Taz, and Tommy Dreamer have words with the victors on their way out and try to come over the railing, but are escorted from the building.

 

After a short break, we come back on the air and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin is set to do battle with Brian Pillman, before the match ever officially starts Owen Hart and the British Bulldog come to ringside and ambush Austin. The “Rattlesnake” briefly holds his own, before the three on one assault is just too much. The three Hart Foundation members work on Austin’s arm and just as Pillman goes to retrieve a chair and they set his arm in it in an attempt to put him out of commission, Hawk, Animal, and Ken Shamrock hit the ring and chase the contingent off before they can do any further damage.  We then head backstage, where Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Chyna stand by with Dok Hendrix. Helmsley once again gloats about his current winning streak and oozes with arrogance as he speaks of his match on Sunday with European champion, Sycho Sid. Midway through the interview, Sid walks in and holds the title in Helmsley’s face and tells him that while Hunter “may be the King of the Ring, that is nothing but a pittance compared to being the master and ruler of the world.” The two stare each other down, with Sid still holding the gold directly in the face of Helmsley as the show goes to another break.

 

Following the break, we hear the strange chanting music that played when the druids walked the casket to the ring recently on Raw. This time though, Goldust, the New Blackjacks, Vader, Marlena, and Paul Bearer come out to the eerie strains, as a casket sits in the ring, along with a podium and a large photo of the Undertaker, framed in flowers, as the “Funeral of the Undertaker” is next up. The group hits the ring and each offers some very insincere words about the “passing of the Undertaker.” As each man offers their “condolences,” they walk past the closed casket, and “pay their respects,” before bowing their head and leaving the ring, waiting on the floor, side by side at ringside. WWF Champion, Goldust is the last to say his piece, and he again, lays it on real thick. Just as he and Marlena kneel in front of the casket to “say their goodbyes,” once again, the arena lights go to completely black. When the come back on a few seconds later, the casket shoots open and to the horror of Goldust, the Undertaker sits up and then latches his arm out and grabs the champion by the throat. The remaining “Alliance” members are also given a surprise when the lights come on, as Vader is attacked by Mankind, who has appeared at ringside, and the New Blackjacks have also been blindsided by Van Dam and Sabu. With no back up, the terrified Goldust is easy pickings for the “Dead Man,” who comes out of the casket, still squeezing on his rival’s throat and then delivers a vicious chokeslam. As the crowd goes wild, he gives the motion for his finisher and drops the world champ with a tombstone and the scoops him back up and puts him in the casket as the scene at ringside has become complete chaos with the other six superstars brawling all over the place. The ‘Taker slams the casket shut to the absolute horror of Paul Bearer and drops to a knee, with one arm extended, flipping his hair back as he holds the WWF title in his hand. Raw heads to another commercial as we see a close up of this image as the “Phenom” rolls his eyes back just as we cut away.

 

After another break, Shawn Michaels music hits, and HBK comes to the ring, grabbing a microphone as he does. He addresses the crowd, and the words of Bret Hart from earlier in the show.

 

Michaels: “So, Bret Hart still wants to call me a coward, huh? He wants to say I epitomize America, does he? Well, “Hitman,” to that, I say thank you, thank you very much. You see, regardless of what you say, America is the greatest country in the world, and you can run it down all you like, but I am honored that someone would in any way say that I represent this great land. As for me taking the “easy way,” and attacking a defenseless man, you called me out last week, you dared me to come out here, and then you proceeded to insult me, the fans, and the good ol’ U.S.A. So, did I hit a man in a wheelchair? You are damn right I did, and I will do it again if your whiny, Canadian ass wants to limp out here to run your mouth some more. But, maybe, just maybe, as I have said before, the jealous, gutless coward is not Shawn Michaels, oh no, no. Maybe that gutless coward is you Bret. Maybe the real issue here is…” (Bret’s music hits and he strides to the ring on crutches, nodding his head and jawing at Shawn the whole way down. He gets into the ring and pulls a microphone from his pocket.)

 

Bret: “Now there’s a good one. Big, tough, Shawn Michaels. You must be real proud of yourself. The rabid American wrestling fans must be real proud of their hero for beating up a man in a wheelchair. (Michaels sarcastically taunts Bret, nodding and rubbing his eyes like he is crying) Well, enjoy it Shawn, because this Sunday, it all comes to an end, and I am happy to say it comes to an end in front of the greatest wrestling fans in the world in Canada. Not these ignorant hicks in America rooting for people to bash each other’s brains in, but a knowledgeable, educated group of fans, who actually appreciate wrestling, imagine that, wrestling in the World Wrestling Federation. But these morons will get their fill of violence when they tune in on pay per view, because I am going to beat the living hell out of you in that cage and then finally be done soiling my hands with your slimy, little scrawny ass. (Michaels takes a step closer, looking ready to fight almost) What, you want to attack an injured man again, Shawn. Big surprise. See, you know if I am fully healed, that you could never beat me, and it kills you, so go for it big man, take your best shot. (Bret points at his chin as he speaks, as Michaels turns to the crowd and back to Bret a few times, asking the fans if he should nail him. The crowd cheers wildly each time he turns) Go for it you big cheater, take your shortcuts. Listen to these animals, they want to see it. Of course they do because…” (Shawn turns again, and suddenly, Bret drops one crutch and breaks the second one clean in half over the back of Michaels’ head. He picks the second one up and repeatedly blasts HBK while he is down. As Michaels squirms in pain, Bret again speaks.) See, you American fans and Shawn Michaels not only share in your cowardly ways, but another thing you have in common is you are gullible as hell and you are all a bunch of idiots. Take a look, this leg is just fine, and this is just a sampling of the beating you will take on Sunday. Not such a big tough man when you don’t have your little masked buddy around to sneak attack anyone are you, Shawn?” (Bret nails Michaels several more times with the crutch, before turning him into the sharpshooter. The show goes to break with a host of officials trying to pry Bret off and release the hold.)

 

After break, we are set for our main event tag team bout, between the Road Warriors and the team of Owen Hart and the British Bulldog.

 

Match- The Legion of Doom (Hawk and Animal) vs. Owen Hart and the British Bulldog- The bell rings and this match predictably starts with all four men brawling in the center of the ring. Strangely, none of the other participants from the big eight man tag match scheduled for Sunday initially come out with the teams, but as the referee struggles to control the four combatants, this changes quickly, as Neidhart and Pillman appear. With their appearance, the remaining two members of the L.O.D. faction also come to ringside, as Sid and Shamrock take the Road Warriors corner and begin pounding the mat in support of their stable mates as finally the official has just two men in the ring and Hawk takes an upper hand on Owen, hitting a series of clotheslines, followed by an impressive dropkick and then a fist drop that was good enough for a two count. Upon the officials count, Neidhart and Pillman hopped to the apron, as did Sid and Shamrock, as Jim Ross observes, “This is a virtual powder keg, just ready to explode here. This match has turned into a lumberjack match of sorts and almost a prelude to what we will see Sunday at Canadian Stampede.” Hawk tags in Animal, who stays on Hart, running over him with a big shoulder tackle and again nearly catching a fall with a power bomb. Again, the cover prompts the “Anvil” to jump on the apron, and actually begin entering the ring, but Shamrock races across and cuts him off, and the two begin brawling around the ring. As Pillman lends a hand to his partner, Sid charges around and all four men on the floor trade punches. This actually gives Owen and Bulldog a chance to get the fresher Davey Boy in the ring despite never making a tag, as the referee admonished the still battling foursome on the outside. As the ref does return, he questions Davey, who shrugs it off, but the change does little to help the team, as Animal is all over him on entry, catching him with a powerslam on the way in for a very long two count. Animal tags back in Hawk, who scores with a big backdrop and a press slam, before whipping the Bulldog into the turnbuckle and charging hard after. Bulldog is one step ahead though, and he moves, as Hawk, like a human missile flies over top and nails his head on the steel ringpost. Bulldog makes the tag and Owen capitalizes, hitting a belly to belly suplex for a two count and then a devastating spin kick for another close count. In the meantime, Neidhart and Shamrock have taken their fight to the crowd, as the arena is buzzing with the action that has spilled to all corners of the arena. Sid and Pillman’s fight has also traveled, bringing them all the way up the ramp, where Sid has taken a decided advantage.  Owen spins and locks the injured Hawk in the sharpshooter back inside the ring and just when it seems he can’t take any more, Animal makes the save. Seeing this, Davey Boy charges, but his clothesline is ducked, before Animal turns and send him to the outside with a clothesline over the top rope. He follows to the floor, as Owen stays on his opponents, following a swinging neckbreaker up with a sensational top rope elbow drop. Again as the referee’s hand is about to slap for the third time, Animal makes the save, and this time gives Owen a few extra boots upon entry. As the camera again shows the outside brawls, Neidhart and Shamrock have made their way to the cheap seats and are battling their way back toward the ring, while Sid hits a chokeslam on Pillman on the steel entrance ramp and then prepares to powerbomb him off the stage. Just as he sets him up, Hunter Hearst Helmsley appears and blindsides Sid, grabbing him by the tights and back of the hair before hurling the European Champ off the stage and through a table some ten feet below, before smirking as he returns to the back. With Animal still in the ring, Davey Boy reenters and blindsides him, nailing him to the arena floor, as the referee has now lost all control. Owen follows up on Animal, running and diving through the ropes and to the floor with a suicide dive. As the referee tells Owen to return, Davey Boy hits his patented running powerslam on the still legal man Hawk, and then he jumps to the floor and send Owen back in as he continues to batter the downed Animal. As the official continues to admonish the two for fighting on the outside and Owen returns to make a cover, we see Paul Ellering reemerge on the stage and approach the still downed Pillman, with a chair in his hand. He drops several shots to the helpless Pillman’s arm in revenge for the attack on him week’s earlier, which still sees the manager in a cast. At this same point, Shamrock and Neidhart’s fight has also resurfaced at ringside and the official is trying to restore order now to both ongoing slugfests. Owen after having no one to make a count, decides to instead once again go to the sharpshooter on Hawk, as he spins it on and faces directly up the ramp, seeing Ellering approach. Ellering stops just before he reaches ringside and points to the stage, where suddenly, “Stone Cold” sprints through the curtain. A wide eyed Owen sees him coming and releases the finisher, taking a swing as Austin enters. The “Rattlesnake” ducks, however, and hits a huge stunner, before sliding out and heading again to the back as the arena explodes in approval. With the official still trying to restore order, Ellering helps revive Hawk, as Animal slides back behind Owen and hoists him on his shoulders. Finally, the ref returns to see the Doomsday Device and make a three count, as Shamrock holds Neidhart and Bulldog at bay long enough for Hawk and Animal to then slide out and help chase them off. Raw leaves the air as we see the cameras trade between images of Owen, Bulldog, and Neidhart frustrated and still hurt and Pillman slowly trying to get up holding his arm, followed by Ellering, with Animal, Hawk, and Shamrock celebrating in the ring, as the final frame sees a smiling and satisfied Austin flipping the bird at the irate Hart Foundation members.

 

In Your House 16- “Canadian Stampede”- July 6, 1997- Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

The “free for all” portion of the show begins, with Jim Ross and Vince McMahon welcoming Jerry Lawler back to the broadcast team after a few weeks of an absence due to his injuries. As the three discuss the evening’s card, we see the ECW contingent of Paul Heyman, Sandman, Tommy Dreamer, and Taz walk through the crowd and sit directly behind the announcers. The group upon arrival has words and then has to be separated from Lawler. As the crew reviews the Bret Hart/Shawn Michaels feud, and then the big eight man tag match to come, we are shown that the parents of Bret and Owen, Stu and Helen Hart are sitting front row ringside, with many of the other Hart family members, including their son Bruce and their daughter (and the wife of the British Bulldog) Diana. Before we get to the eight o’clock hour, the new make shift team of Jesse James and Billy Gunn score another impressive win, over the Headbangers and it is of note that neither of the two are announced in their recent gimmicks, “New Double J” or “Rock-a-Billy.” After their win, Honky Tonk Man shows on the ramp to congratulate them, but they once again ignore the former I-C Champ and leave him standing alone.

 

As the eight o’clock hour hits, we get a lead in promo package, highlighting the Goldust/Undertaker feud and both of the aforementioned upcoming bouts involving the members of the Hart Foundation. The pay per view starts out with a bang, as a replay is shown of the ECW crew arriving, before the tag tournament finals are set to begin, with the New Blackjacks and Paul Bearer arriving first followed by Rob van Dam and Sabu with Bill Alfonso. In what could be seen as a precursor to what would eventually become the “hardcore division,” the bout was a thrilling and wild one, with Van Dam and Sabu dazzling with their daredevil like aerial attack and the Blackjacks punishing the extreme visitors with an even more violent than usual power game. The bout ends when Sabu misses a springboard suicide dive over the top to the floor where Windham had been set up on a table, sending Sabu crashing through instead. With the referee trying to keep Heyman and company at bay, the Blackjacks drove Van Dam through a second table in the ring with a vicious double team powerbomb that made for an easy three count. After the match, the visiting ECW stars were removed from the building after coming over the railing and attacking Lawler, Van Dam, Sabu, and Alfonso.

 

Following that insanity, we were shown a promo piece for the WWF’s big return to the state of New Jersey and the Meadowlands for the following month’s huge SummerSlam pay per view spectacular. After this, we return to ringside for the six man tag match between Rocky Maivia, Crush, and Savio Vega against Faarooq, D-Lo Brown, and Kama, who are joined by the injured Ahmed Johnson.  The Nation wins this one in another crazy and unpredictable ending, as after Maivia had words on the outside with Ahmed, Faarooq dropped to the floor and attacked Johnson from behind, with Rocky joining him in beating down the already injured grappler. As Kama fought on the other side with Crush, averting the referee’s attention, Savio was blindsided by “Marvelous” Marc Mero, who came through the crowd and nailed a TKO and then his awesome “Marvelousity” shooting star press, as D-Lo followed immediately with a frog splash for the win. After the bout, the group stood as one giving the patented Nation hand salute in the ring, with Kama, D-Lo, Faarooq, Mero, and Rocky standing together as one.

 

After this, we headed to the backstage area, where Kevin Kelly stood by for an interview with the entire Hart Foundation.

 

Kelly: “Well, in a home coming for you gentleman, Bret, tonight you put an end to your feud with Shawn Michaels once and for all in the steel cage match, while Owen, Bulldog, and company, you get a chance to finally get a crack at “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and the Legion of Doom.”

 

Bret: “It is great, Kevin Kelly, to be home. (Live crowd goes absolutely nuts on this comment) It’s great to be somewhere that I see some little kids and their families out here in the crowd. It is great to be in a country where you get a little respect. Tonight, for my family, for my friends, and for the entire crowd on hand here tonight in Calgary, I finish off Shawn Michaels once and for all, and when I do, I would like to dedicate my victory and the beating I give him to the greatest country in the whole entire world, Canada.”(Shot goes to Owen)

 

Owen: “That’s right, big brother. The rest of the Hart Foundation would also like to dedicate our big win over Steve Austin and the Legion of Doom later tonight to the greatest family in the greatest country in the world. So, mom, dad, and all of our family members out here in the audience tonight, (camera shot of the Hart’s in attendance) This one is not just for Canada, this one is especially for you.”

 

We next head back up to the ring, where Hunter Hearst Helmsley is introduced and is accompanied by Chyna. Then, the European champion, Sycho Sid makes his way to the ring for the big title defense. After Sid weathered an early attack that started with Chyna distracting him, the “Sycho” takes an upper hand and dominates the next few minutes of this bout. However, when Chyna again causes a distraction in the bout, for the first time since President Monsoon’s warning was laid out, the ‘man in black’ appears, and actually slides a pair of brass knuckles into the ring, unbeknownst to Sid. The intruder disappears through the crowd, as Hunter scores with a KO punch using the weapon, followed by a pedigree to score the win and become the new European Champion. Immediately after this bout, we see President Monsoon leaving his backstage office and walking into Shawn Michaels locker room. He barges in and confronts HBK, who sits on a bench acting casual as can be.

 

Monsoon: “So, the day finally comes and now we are gonna have this happening again. I told you Shawn, I am not standing for it. You made it through to the pay per view and I am sure it’s no coincidence that the ‘man in black’ doesn’t show until now. You have a big match tonight, I know this, and I am definitely not sure of what the whole story is here, as this guy or guys seem to have it out for a lot of different superstars here, but tomorrow night on Raw, I need you to meet me in the ring and when you do, I want answers. It’s real simple, you either produce the mystery man or I have got some big plans for you regarding SummerSlam, and I can tell you right now that if I don’t get what I want, you will not like those plans. Good luck in your match tonight, but I am telling you right now, this is the last that we see of that nuisance. The mystery just ended, Shawn, got it?

 

Michaels: (Still very casual and even sarcastic in his delivery, as he shrugs) “Geez, Gorilla, calm down, calm down. I don’t know anything about this guy, I am watching it just like you here, (scratches his head, and then again sarcastically continues) but, you know what, maybe I can produce an answer for you by tomorrow. Heck, maybe I can produce some answers even sooner than then. You know what; maybe I can produce more than one, maybe multiple answers. Yeah, I can probably do that between now and tomorrow night. Let me get crackin’ on this Mr. President, and oh yeah, Gorilla, just remember, you asked for the answers, so please remember me telling you that sometimes you should be careful what you wish for.”

 

Monsoon: (As he walks away) “Listen; give me a break, Michaels, okay. I don’t want your little jokes, here, ok. I have made myself very clear I think. You wrestle your match tonight and tomorrow, no matter what, you better produce. Are we clear?”

 

Michaels: “Oh yeah, big fella, oh yeah. Crystal clear.”

 

Following that segment, we head back up to the ring, where Jim Ross informs us that the Mankind and Vader match has changed to a no disqualification match by a ruling made earlier in the day by the WWF Board of Directors. In an absolute blood bath, that sees Mankind take countless brutal chair shots, a powerbomb from the apron through two stacked tables on the floor, and several shots with a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire that he himself introduced to the match, somehow, after being powerbombed at around the sixteen minute mark of the match on to hundreds of thumbtacks that were all over the ring, Foley moved out of the way of a “Vader Sault,” that saw the “Mastodon” pierced by the tacks all over his body. Mankind followed with a gruesome double arm DDT that drove countless tacks into the forehead of Vader before rolling him over for the emotional three count and victory. As a result of the prematch stipulation from President Monsoon set forth on a recent Raw, this entitles Foley to choose any opponent in any type match he desires to face off with at next month’s SummerSlam.

 

Following this bloodbath, we quickly go back stage, where we first get a quick shot of WWF Champion Goldust, listening intently to Paul Bearer, once again he wears a confident smirk as he applies his gold face paint in the mirror, while Marlena looks on and his manager, Bearer, pumps him up for the match. The camera then swaps to a shot of the Undertaker in his locker room, speaking to his druids. He mentions “we are sure we are on the same page here?” and devilishly smiles as he walks away from the three hooded men, as one more druid with his back turned to the camera pulls his hood up and nods his head at the grinning “Dead Man.”

 

We then go back out to the arena, where the eight man tag team match is up next. The Legion of Doom members all come out together, with Paul Ellering first, and the “Stone Cold” is met by a chorus of boos from the Canadian crowd. The place absolutely erupts as each hart Foundation member is introduced individually. They wait for each other at the stage and walk to ringside together, handing out little Canadian flags as they shake the hands of the members of the audience on the way in, before stopping for some hugs and handshakes when they arrive to the spot where their family is seated. The match is all out war straight from the opening bell, as all eight men meet in the ring and pair off, brawling all about the ringside area until Austin and Owen are left in the ring to start the bout. Once order is restored, the Hart faction dominates the early going, with quick tags, isolating Austin and each member getting big cheers from the crowd upon entering the ring. When Austin finally gets a tag, Shamrock swings the pendulum of the bout for his team and overwhelms Pillman as now it is the Austin and L.O.D. squad showing great teamwork. After each member gets a few licks in on the “Loose Cannon,” Austin slides behind him and locks in the “Million Dollar Dream,” until Pillman gets to the ropes and latches on, eventually flipping over the top bringing both he and Austin to the floor. At this point, all hell breaks loose once again, as Austin gets to his feet, turns and grabs a beverage from a fan’s hand and splashes it in the face of Bruce Hart, who sits with his family at ringside. All of the brother’s on hand grab at Austin and start hitting him, pulling him half way into the crowd, as the remaining match participants once again squared off and traded blows. The biggest pop thus far on the evening comes when Austin finally escapes the clutches of the Hart brothers and turns quickly only to be floored by a big forearm smash by Stu, as the arena goes crazy. Scurrying back into the ring, Austin ducks a clothesline attempt from Owen and stops, hitting a boot to the stomach before being pushed away off the ropes as he tries for a stunner. When he hit the ropes, he collides with Bulldog, knocking him off the apron. As he does this, he turns to flip the Hart family a double bird, but when he turns, he walks into a small package form Owen, who grabs a hand full of tights to ensure a three count as the Saddledome again explodes as the hometown heroes take the victory. After the pin, the two teams continue battling, and the Hart brother’s that were involved earlier in the evening actually come over the railing and help chase Austin, Hawk, Animal, Shamrock and Ellering out of the ring and then stay to celebrate and soak in the cheers of the ecstatic crowd.

 

As we cut away from the celebration in the ring, we see a promo package on the WWF Championship Casket match that is coming up next. After the video, we go back to the ring, where Goldust, Paul Bearer, and Marlena are introduced first, followed by the Undertaker, who comes out and walks underneath the torches that have been raised by his druids at the top of the entrance ramp. The druids remain on the ramp as the match gets set to begin and the ominous casket sits at ringside, with the official for the bout standing behind it to call when the lid has been closed and locked to end the bout.

 

Match- WWF Championship Casket Match- Champion, Goldust (with Marlena and Paul Bearer) vs. The Undertaker- The bell rings and just as in their last encounter, Undertaker takes the upper hand immediately. He pounds Goldust from one end of the ring to the other with big right hands, before slinging him to each corner and following right behind both times and leveling him with a running clothesline. With the champion pleading for mercy in the early going, Undertaker backs him against the corner and rocks him with a series of elbow smashes behind the ear, before putting him up on the top rope and flipping him over to the mat with a superplex that rocks the champ. Being that there is no disqualification in a Casket Match, the Undertaker then rolls to the floor and knocks out Paul Bearer with a stiff right before fishing under the ring apron and retrieving the weapon that started this whole feud, a bullrope. He returns to the ring and whips Goldust off the ropes and with the rope wrapped around his hand, blasts Goldust in the head with the cowbell on the end. He pulls him up and repeats the vicious head shot to the delight of the crowd. “Payback, sure as hell is a bitch, and Goldust is getting what he has coming to him,” exclaims Jim Ross as the ‘Taker wraps the rope around the WWF Champion and begins choking the life out of him. With Bearer down and her man fading fast, Marlena then scoots in the ring and jumps on the back of the “Dead Man.” She digs her finger nails into his eyes, causing a break and begins reviving her husband as ‘Taker staggers blindly around the ring. Goldust responds and hits a blatant low blow upon standing up, kicking a field goal between the legs of the “Phenom” as the crowd lets out a collective groan. This obviously drops Undertaker to his knees, and with him now in a precarious position, Goldust grabs the bullrope and begins strangling his foe. He drags the Undertaker all over the ring by his throat, before Irish whipping him toward the ropes with the lasso still around the man’s neck, pulling back sharply before he hits the ropes to create a whip lash effect and drop the “Dead Man” once again. He then slings him to the corner and drapes both legs of the ‘Taker on opposite sides of the second rope before getting a running start and again eliciting a moan from the crowd as he hits the move that would become known as “shattered dreams,” once again directly below the belt. “Well, I know there is no disqualification here, but come on dammit, there is fighting dirty and then there is just outright having no regards for the rules. Those are blatant shots below the belt,” argues Ross, as Goldust quickly follows the kick with a running bulldog.  At this point, Paul Bearer has regained his feet and he scurries over to have the casket opened. Goldust pulls Undertaker up and hits his curtain call finisher, as Vince McMahon chimes in, “fuh-gedd-about- it. No one gets up from the curtain call. Goldust has just got to roll the Undertaker into the casket and he has retained his title.” Just as Goldust turns to roll his opponent, the Undertaker sits up. After taking a step back in shock, Goldust pounces on him, pummeling him back down to his back with right hands. He again then turns to be sure the casket has been opened, but again on returning his focus to his opponent, Undertaker sits up again. This prompts Bearer to slide a chair into the ring, and Goldust, though again taken aback grabs the foreign object and approaches. He takes a swing at the Undertaker, who is still seated, but the “Phenom” gets both hands up and blocks the attempt, standing up as the two struggle over control of the chair. As they jockey for position, Goldust scores a kick to Undertaker’s midsection and gains control of the chair. He takes a few steps back, and charges with the chair, but the “Phenom” rears back and dents the steel with his right hand, punching the chair into the face of the champion. With Goldust flat on his back, the Undertaker grabs the chair and begins taking his opponent apart. Loud and stiff shots rain down on the back of Goldust, who tries to crawl away, getting to his knees. As he again begs off, the “Dead Man” shows no mercy as he blasts Goldust directly in the face with a home run swing that laid him out on the mat. At this point, Paul Bearer motions to the back and the New Blackjacks appear. “Uh oh, it looks like business is about to pick up here,” observes J.R, before quickly changing his tune. “Wait a minute, wait a minute, the druids are not letting the Blackjacks by, and what the hell, these druids are disrobing and the four of them are now taking the former tag champs to the woodshed. Who in the hell are these huge men? The pair of them appear to be identical twins and they all are in black leather. This one man is a huge specimen, and wait, that fourth man is Crush. So, Crush and these monsters in black leather are wearing out the Blackjacks,” continued J.R. Meanwhile, back in the ring, Undertaker pulls up Goldust and drops him back first onto the chair with a huge chokeslam, before motioning for the casket to be opened. Paul Bearer rolls in the ring, but as he charges, Undertaker scoops the chair and hits another long ball, crushing the husky manager in the forehead with another sickening chair shot. He then slaps his hand to the throat of Bearer and chokeslams him over the top rope and into the open casket. Marlena is next to enter, as she suggestively approaches the Undertaker, who isn’t buying it for a second. He presses the tiny woman over his head and deposits her over the top and into the box as well. Now, as a rubbery legged Goldust approaches, while Crush and his three associates have battled the New Blackjacks out of the picture and into the backstage area, Undertaker meets him with a scoop up and onto his shoulder. The “Dead Man” then walks to the chair and hits a tombstone, cracking the skull of Goldust off the steel on impact. He pulls him up immediately, and walks him to the ropes. Just as Marlena and Bearer try to get up, Undertaker tosses Goldust over the ropes and into the casket, knocking both managers back into the coffin. With all three in the casket, Undertaker reaches his hand out and slams the lid shut, watching the official lock it shut as the bell rings and the Undertaker has regained the WWF Championship. He celebrates before the cheering sold out crowd for a few moments, before the lights in the arena momentarily go black. The ‘Taker is perplexed, as suddenly, red flames shoot from each corner of the ring with a loud bang, as some eerie, unfamiliar organ music plays over the house system. After a few seconds of this, the lights return and the Undertaker walks to the back with a somewhat confused look on his face even though he does still seem quite pleased with his win.

 

After the Undertaker walks out, we see the steel cage dropping over the ring as the commentary team reviews the long, historied feud between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. A video piece set to music further details this as we prepare for what has been billed as the final chapter in the feud between these two great competitors. After the video finishes, the Calgary crowd comes completely unglued for a moment, before there cheers turn to jeers as Michaels’ ring music hits and the cocky competitor jukes his way to the ring. The noise level again reaches its peak as Bret’s music hits and the “Hitman” appears, complete with the Canadian flag in hand. The two meet in the center of the ring and following instructions, the referee leaves and waits outside the cage as he calls for the bell.

 

Match- Steel Cage Match- Bret “The Hitman” Hart vs. Shawn Michaels- As we see Hart and Michaels circle each other in the ring and hear the volume stay at a roar from the Calgary crowd, the screen goes to a split and we are shown a quick shot of President Monsoon backstage in his office, speaking to a host of WWF superstars.  Austin, Shamrock, the Road Warriors, Sid, and Mankind sit and listen to him briefly. While we can’t hear what is said, it seems the stars leave in agreement with what the President has said as the screen goes back to one with the “Hitman” taking the upper hand early and running through many of his classic spots. A whip to the ropes sees Bret score with a clothesline and when Shawn bounces up, Bret scores immediately with a dropkick. As Michaels again is quick to his feet, Bret hits a Russian leg sweep and hurries to the corner, where he launches from the second rope with an elbow drop. Pulling Shawn up by his long hair, Bret then hits a perfect vertical suplex and again hurries to keep the advantage, taking HBK again by his hair and introducing him face first to the cage on all four sides of the ring, as the crowd volume reaches a fever pitch. Michaels rolls over and we see he has already been busted open from the shots to the steel, when Bret yanks him to center ring by both legs and drops a head butt to his midsection. Getting right up and staying on the leg, Bret drops two straight elbow to an outstretched leg, before cinching up both legs and going for the sharpshooter. Michaels fights it off, squirming from side to side, before rolling out of the attempt and sending Bret to the mat. Again kicking up, Shawn ducks a roundhouse from Bret and scores with an inverted atomic drop. Bret again swings and misses wildly and a second atomic drop has Bret staggering. Michaels follows and scores with a high flying forearm that drops the “Hitman,” before Shawn hustles in and tries his own sharpshooter. Hart also fights this off, but unlike Shawn’s reversal, he is not able to take his opponent down, so instead, Michaels simply falls back and catapults Bret over top of him, face first into the unforgiving steel bars of the cage. As Hart is now noticeably bleeding from his forehead as well, HBK dropkicks him in the back, again sending the face of the “Hitman” into the cage. Michaels follows and rakes Bret’s face across the steel fence-like caging, as the Saddledome begins to get restless, loudly voicing their disapproval of the “Show Stopper.” He then flips Bret back into the ring and slings him across the ring, with Bret crashing sternum first into the buckle at full speed. Having dropped Bret with the impact of the turnbuckle whip, HBK climbs the ropes and scores with a top rope flying elbow to the face down “Hitman,” leaving him motionless on the mat. (At this point, the screen again goes to a split and once again, we see Monsoon in his office, this time chatting with the New Blackjacks. Once again it is difficult to hear the context of the conversation, but they too seem to be in agreement with whatever they were told as the screen again goes to one.) With Bret down in the ring, Shawn has begun to climb the cage in an attempt to end the match. He gets to the top rope before Bret even moves, but as he starts nearing the top, Hart springs up and quickly latches on an ankle to prevent the escape. Shawn kicks away, but Bret holds on and also begins climbing. The crowd is very loud and hot at this point, as the two now trade punches as both straddle the top of the cage. Michaels starts getting the better of the exchange and slings his legs over to the outside. “If Michaels can just drop to the floor, he has this thing won,” shouts Ross. However, Bret still has other ideas as he recovers just in time to reach over and bounce Shawn’s head off the top bars of the cage. Climbing as he hangs on, Bret again knocks Michaels’ head off the steel and begins pulling him back into the cage. Bret then snatches Shawn in a front face lock and in one swift motion yanks him up and over the top, as the two majestically soar toward the mat via a superplex from the top of the cage. “That’s like falling off a damn building,” compares J.R., as both men lay motionless after the near fifteen foot drop. (For a third time, the screen splits and we again go to Monsoon’s office. This time he sits with Owen, Bulldog, Neidhart, and Pillman, who listen intently and like the other visitor he had earlier, all seem to nod in agreement to whatever had been said to them) Bret slowly is the first up, and he goes again on the offense, taking Michaels again by the back of his head and launching him off his feet, face first to the steel. After a second “introduction,” Bret goes to the well once to many times, as Shawn is able to reverse a whip and again send Bret soaring into the steel. “These two superstars, arguably the best two in ring hands in the game today, are so evenly matched, there is so much history and contempt for one another, this thing could go all night long,” notes J.R., as again both the bloodied combatants are down. This time, in classic HBK fashion, Shawn kicks up to his feet and slings his blood soaked hair back, being met by a chorus of boos as he is the first back up. He pulls Bret up and scores with a suplex, and the scoops him up apparently for a second, only to walk him to the ropes and crotch him over the top strand. After doing this, as Bret moans in pain, straddling the top rope, Shawn backs up and begins “warming up the band,” slapping his knee as he brings his foot up and down repeatedly, waiting for Hart to step free. When he does, Shawn moves in and goes for his superkick finisher, but Bret catches his foot and spins him around. Hart goes then for a clothesline, but Michaels ducks it this time and immediately turns back with some lightning quick “Sweet Chin Music,” dropping Bret in a heap. “Un-bee-lievable,” remarks McMahon, “this is the type of athleticism and action you can only see here in the World Wrestling Federation,” he adds. With Bret knocked cold, Michaels then runs to the far side and again scales in an attempt to leave the cage and win the match. He again gets just about to the top when Bret starts crawling toward him. Bret reaches the corner as Michaels already has one leg slung over the top. The “Hitman” scurries up the ropes and in desperation grabs Shawn’s ankle before he can sling the second leg over, holding on for dear life. Shawn kicks away, trying to shake Bret off, before bringing his other leg back in to really lay a few hard kicks on Hart, dropping him from the top rope back onto the mat. Bret lands and quickly tries to recover as HBK reaches the top of the cage and apparently has the match won. As Bret slowly gets back to his feet though, Michaels stops and looks to the hostile crowd for a split second. As he has both legs to the outside now, Shawn draws even more ire from the crowd, by climbing back up to the top and spitting into the audience. He the carefully stands with his back to the ring, facing the crowd and gives a disrespectful “crotch chop” to the audience before floating back into the ring, flipping with an incredible moonsault body press from the top of the cage, leveling the “Hitman” just as he got to his feet. “I have never seen a move like that even attempted in all of my years,” a shocked J.R. reports, as again, both men lay down in the ring. Both Shawn and Bret slowly crawl to opposite corners of the ring to try and get up after the awesome aerial move, as Ross again voices, “It looks like these two have been in a damn car wreck.” The uneasy crowd then jumps to its feet in anticipation, as once again, Bruce Hart, Bret’s brother hops the rail and runs to the side of the cage, shouting encouragement to his brother as Michaels slowly pulls himself up on the far side. As Bret latches on the bottom rope to get up, his brother slides him what appears to be a roll of coins, and Bret grasps it, at Shawn has now got to his feet and again is “warming up the band.” He approaches and just as Bret gains his footing, stops to direct another “crotch chop,” right at Bruce, and when he does, Bret lunges out and jacks the jaw of HBK with the roll of coins inside his balled up fist. Quarters spill all over the ring, as Michaels goes down and the entire arena comes to its feet in a deafening cheer. With Michaels out cold, Bruce urges Bret to get out the door and follows around the outside to where referee, Earl Hebner waits with the key to unlock the cage. Just as Bret nears the door, the arena gets quiet before erupting in boos and catcalls, as from the back comes the “Man in Black.” Sprinting to the ring, the masked attacker blindsides both Hebner and Bruce with a low blow, before slamming each of their heads off the outside of the cage. Bret argues with the attacker, who now stands at the door and turns his attention back on Michaels, spitting on the intruder before wrapping the near unconscious Michaels into a sharpshooter. “He will break his damn back, no one can stop him, Bret is gonna break Michaels in half with the sharp shooter, and the damn roof is gonna blow off the Saddledome,” hollers a near horse J.R., as we now see President Monsoon striding toward ringside.  Seeing the President near, the attacker moves to the other side of the ring, as Monsoon pulls a set of keys from his pocket and shows them to Bret to signify that he can open the locked cage door. Just as he pulls them out though, a second “Man in Black” appears and drops the President with a chair across the back, before confiscating the keys and laying several boots into the WWF official. As this happens, the crowd grows dangerously angry, as several other of the Hart brothers come over the rail and do battle with the two masks attackers. The “Men in Black” realize they are outnumbered, and start climbing the sides of the cage, as the two Hart boys follow them in hot pursuit. Just as they turn the corner to follow up the cage though, a third black masked competitor comes from the crowd and drops both with a pair of chair shots. Seeing the first two entering the ring, Bret releases the sharp shooter and starts pummeling the first just as he reaches the mat. The second approaches, but as he does, puts something in Michaels hand. Bret fights off the second man as well, taking turns stomping both as the unruly crowd cheers him wildly. The third masked man, still on the outside, reaches in the pocket of the fallen Hebner and now has both sets of keys to the lock. Bret, having laid out both intruders, hustles up the far side of the cage, but as he does the third man races around to the cage and climbs on the outside. As Bret and the man reach the top at around the same time, they start battling as the other two attackers revive Michaels. Bret starts getting the better of the third man, when Shawn rises and climbs to the corner, pulling Bret down to the top rope. Bret scores with an elbow and scoops Shawn, looking for a belly to back from the top rope. As this goes on, we see a split screen in the back and the dressing room labeled Hart Foundation has a forklift parked in front of the door, explaining why we have not seen them come to even these odds. Regardless, at this point, Vince McMahon seemingly breaks character and comes around toward the cage door, as one of the masked men has unlocked it, and removed the lock to enter the cage. As McMahon approaches, the man looks as though he is going to hand over the keys, as McMahon approaches, declaring, “That’s enough dammit. This has gone too far.” Vince reaches up for the set of keys as the masked man holds them out, but he is met with a hard kick to the gut and then he also is bounced off the side of the cage, before being laid out with a vicious hangman neckbreaker on the floor. “This is a real bad scene here,” states a worried Jim Ross, as the crowd begins to seem on the brink of a riot. “The god damn owner of this company and its president have both been laid out on the floor and this pack of wild dogs now has a four on one advantage over Bret Hart in the damn cage.” As Bret lifts to hit the suplex, Michaels pounds him several times with the object he was handed, a set of brass knucks, landing on top of Bret in the fall. The crowd has now begun hurling garbage at the ring and Austin, Shamrock, Hawk, Animal, Sid, and Foley race to the ring as uniformed police begin to swarm the ringside area to hold back the crowd from trying to get over the barricades. The New Blackjacks follow in suit and immediately stop to tend to McMahon and Monsoon on the outside, blurring the lines of reality as the situation pertains to the match. The third masked man to enter has placed a new lock on the inside of the cage door, making entry impossible for the incoming wrestlers, who all start climbing to get in at the attackers, who take turns mauling the defenseless Bret in the ring. Finally, Owen, Bulldog, Neidhart, and Pillman arrive, with Neidhart and Owen stopping to tend to their fallen relatives and Pillman stopping to check on Stu Hart, who although still in the crowd appears on the verge of a coronary episode. As the host of wrestlers climb over the top, Michaels and the three masked men race over the top of the other side of the cage, giving Michaels the victory. The four fight for their lives as they are lead on an escape through the crowd by police and security, as fans try their best to get their hands on them. Owen finally gets into the ring, as an officer has managed to get the bolt on the door cut off and he tends to his brother as all the other wrestlers look on in disbelief and even a tinge of fear as the Saddledome has turned into an insane asylum. A stunned and shaken Jim Ross takes us off the air with the following. “Shawn Michaels has showed his true colors here tonight in spoiling Bret Hart’s homecoming and those colors are yellow. The damn coward and his pack of dogs attacked in a swarm and ran like the yellow scalded dogs they are through the damn crowd after stealing this one. The owner of our company is unconscious on the floor, our president is in serious a serious medical state and one of the most legendary figures in Canadian wrestling history, Stu Hart appears to be having breathing and coronary issues on the heels of the absolute chaos that has ensued here. Damn you Shawn, and damn your coward friends straight to hell. All hell has broken loose here in Calgary tonight and I got a feeling there will be a huge price to pay for Shawn Michaels and his little crew tomorrow night on Raw. We are out of time here folks, thank you for letting us come, “In Your House,” once again tonight. We will see you all tomorrow night at Raw.”   

 

Raw is War- July 7, 1997- Edmonton, Alberta, Canada-

 

Raw begins with an emotionally charged video montage of the roller coaster ride that was the Bret/Shawn cage match from the night before, as the music and pyro to lead the show off starts immediately following. After this we go directly to Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler, who explain the Vince McMahon will not join them tonight, as he was injured the night before during the cage match. They also tell us that WWF President Gorilla Monsoon, who was supposed to meet Shawn Michaels to get “answers” on the “Man in Black” situation, is still in a Calgary hospital following the beating he took during the same match. They tell us that Shawn Michaels is expected to be at Raw, however, and by order of Monsoon and the WWF Board of Directors, he still must come forth and address this topic, and he will do so in an in ring interview with Jim Ross live tonight. They then remind us that the winners of the Tag Team tournament, the New Blackjacks will face Owen Hart and the British Bulldog with the winners to go on and face “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and any partner of his choosing next week on Raw for the Tag Team Championships.  In addition to the tag match, we are told that Hunter Hearst Helmsley will defend his newly won European Championship against Mankind and that Intercontinental Champion Ken Shamrock will face off against the newest member of the Nation, “Marvelous” Mark Mero. Just as they finish talking, Bret Hart’s music hits and the Canadian faithful on hand go absolutely bonkers. Bret comes to the ring alone.

 

Bret: “Thank you, thank you, Edmonton. Like I said last night, it is great to be in front of a crowd that appreciates your hard work and the blood, sweat, and tears that you have poured out for them over the years. Thank you, Edmonton, and thank you Canada, for still letting Bret Hart be your hero. Now, that being said, let’s move on to the biggest pile of horse crap that I have ever been a part of, and that is my so- called last match with Shawn Michaels, last night at Calgary Stampede. Shawn Michaels, once again, you prove that you are nothing more than a coward. I had you beat dead to rights and screaming for your life last night and you had to have your masked buddies come out and beat me down four on one in what was an obviously pre-meditated ambush on me for one reason. Because you knew you could never beat me one on one. You ran out of that building like a complete chicken, with your tail between your legs, and now, I’m sure you are real proud of yourself with that win. Well, Shawn Michaels, you take that cheap win, because, quite honestly, I did exactly what I said I do in that cage, I beat your skinny ass within an inch of your life and you know it. You and your clowns attacked me, my family, you had my father all shaken up, you jumped on the WWF President, and the owner of this company. So, Shawn Michaels, I have one message for you. That may have been our last match last night, but there is no way that when you show up here tonight that you are not dealing with the “Excellence of Execution.” I don’t want a match Shawn, I want to fight you and punch your pretty boy face in, right here in Edmonton, Canada, before the greatest fans in the world. As for the WWF officials that were hurt last night, I told you this had Shawn’s handwriting on it way back in March and you just keep kissing up to him and letting Shawn be Shawn, so I also have one message for you and that is this. If this kind of bullshit is not dealt with and dealt with immediately, you and I both know that my services are wanted in other wrestling companies. With the direction of today’s WWF product, and I never thought I’d say this, but quite frankly, I don’t need this company and I don’t really want this company. So, after last night, I have washed my hands with the constant favoritism to Shawn Michaels. I have a huge WWF title match coming up with the Undertaker at SummerSlam, and Monsoon, McMahon, and the entire WWF, you better take some actions and take them soon, or I am going to win that title and become the five time WWF Champion and then wash my hands with you and this company, too. Ball is in your court, gentleman. So, if you aren’t following me, I’ll make it real simple and you can read my lips. You make the right moves here, or when I become the five-time WWF Champion at SummerSlam, I will take your precious belt, and I will quit and bring it elsewhere.” (Ross and Lawler ponder the ramifications of these statements, as the Edmonton crowd cheers Bret wildly as we go to break.)

 

After break, we go to the Intercontinental Title match, where Ken Shamrock retains the title when Marc Mero is disqualified. The Nation interferes and jumps Shamrock to prompt the dq. After the bell, Maivia and Faarooq drop Shamrock with a vicious double spine buster slam, followed by a D-Lo frogsplash and the “Marvelousity” press by Mero. Hawk, Animal, and Sid charge to chase off the Nation and tend to Shamrock. After the match, we go to the back for a Paul Bearer promo. It is of note that before the entire Nation showed up, Mero was escorted to the ring by his lovely wife, Sable.  The camera shot is a very tight close up on his face, which is bathed in red light, with smoke in the background.

 

Bearer: “Undertaker, you buried me and Goldust last night. You broke the neck of my man with a tombstone on a steel chair. You broke his spirit, you broke his soul. But just when the celebrating began, something happened, didn’t it, Undertaker? Oh, yes, and I know from the look on your face, you know exactly what it was that was happening don’t you? You know who and what that fire represents don’t you, Undertaker? You had a look of disbelief, a look that said this is impossible. Well, Undertaker, I am telling you right now that it is possible and he is very real. Your worst fears, your darkest forgotten nightmare is coming true, because not only is he real Undertaker, he is coming here, oh yess, he is coming the the World Wrestling Federation and he is bringing all his pain with him. He is bringing his pain to you.” (camera fades out and we head to a commercial)

 

Returning, we see Dok Hendrix, running in the back and he catches up with the new WWF Champion, the Undertaker. He follows ‘Taker into his dressing room, where Crush and the other three men who dressed as druids the night before sit across the room, each dressed in black leather vests, bandanas, and jeans. Hendrix does a double take, shakes his head and then addresses the champ.

 

Hendrix: “Well, Undertaker, I will get to these men and your WWF title win in a second, but first, please, let us in on the strange occurrence that happened at the end of your match last night and the ominous words we just heard from Paul Bearer. What is he talking about? Is it just another of many plots by your former manager to take you down, or is he telling the truth, do you know of whatever he is speaking of?

 

Undertaker: “Well Dok, I can say this, I know what he is trying to say and trying to get at, but I do also know that what he is trying to insinuate is not possible. Saying that, (Undertaker looks very sternly directly into the camera) Paul Bearer, I am warning you. Do not mess with family and opening the wounds that you know I have lived with. You can attack me physically and try to play your psychological games, but you know what I say and hear me loud and clear this one and only time I will say this, do not go there. (Shakes his head and backs up) Ok, Dok, so know, on to my friends over here. You see, as the WWF continues to see these groups around here, playing the odds games and jumping on people in two and three on one attacks, I figured I would get me some backup too. So, I talked to my longtime friend, Crush, and asked him to bring me the baddest, no nonsense fighting machines he could, and Dok, let me introduce you to what I like to call the Disciples of the Apocalypse. Now, you all know Crush, but these two men right here are brothers and they are the baddest brothers in the land, Skull and 8-Ball. This other monster here has been cracking skulls for years in organizations all over the world, and I am happy to have him at my back, he is Chainz. So, as I head to SummerSlam, to meet up with Bret Hart, these men can guarantee the odds are in my favor even if the Foundation wants to try and stick their nose into my business. These men can be sure that groups like the Nation or Paul Bearer’s Alliance of Goons will be put in their proper place and when all is said in done they can watch my back. Speaking of Paul Bearer’s goons, I still have a score to settle with his big enforcer, Vader. I have not forgotten when his big ass came out of that box and burned me a few weeks ago, so how about this Paul. How about next week on Raw, we see my first title defense as champion against Vader. Oh, and if the rest of your thugs, the one’s whose necks I haven’t broken decide to stick their noses where they don’t belong, these gentlemen will be more than happy to once again keep them at bay and help me make sure that Vader will do just like Goldust did last night and rest in peace.”

 

After the interview, we head back to the ring for tag team action. We again see the team of Jesse James and Billy Gunn work as a cohesive unit as they score another victory over Scott Taylor and Brian Christopher. After the match Jim Ross talks about the upcoming ECW pay per view, “Hardcore Heaven,” after which, Jerry Lawler cuts a scathing promo on the organization, referring to it as “minor league” and saying that ECW stands for “Extremely Crappy Wrestling.” After Lawler’s promo, we go to another break.

 

Next up, we go to the ring for the Shawn Michaels interview. J.R. waits in the ring for him as he enters to a loud chorus of boos.

 

Ross: “Shawn Michaels, I have always been a big fan of yours and a huge supporter of your work here in the WWF, but last night you crossed a line. Last night you orchestrated a four on one mauling of Bret Hart that wound up putting our president and the owner of this company in the hospital. Now Gorilla Monsoon demanded you come out here tonight with some answers and dammit, I am here to deliver for our fallen president. Who the hell are these guys and what in the hell is their and your agenda?”

 

Michaels: “Whoa, hold on there Jimmy. Who are you or any of these idiot Canadians to question my legacy or to question my agenda. I did what had to be done. I went to Bret Hart’s backyard and I beat him in front of the entire country of Canada in our last match. How do they say it again, oh yeah, he who laughs last laughs loudest. Well, Bret, ha, ha, ha, my hero. As for Monsoon and his threats, please, ok, to steal a saying from the Gorilla, give me a break. Here is a little newsflash. Ever since Shawn Michaels earned his spot around here, in case you don’t recall a little group I like to call the Kliq, I have been making the rules, not following them. HBK marches to the beat of one drum, and that is his own, no matter what you, or Monsoon, or Vince McMahon, or anyone else wants to try and tell me, capice. So, President Monsoon, you want your answer, you want to know what is up with the “Men in Black.” You want the chaos to come to an end? (he shrugs his shoulders, and sarcastically crosses his heart) Ok. You got it. Last night,the mission was accomplished. I give you my word that there will never again be an attack by the “Men in Black.” Not ever again will you see any of those three people here in the WWF in the all black suits and their black masks, ok. Cross my heart and hope to die. Heck, I really don’t even need them anymore; I proved once and for all last night that I am far superior to all of these hornyackers favorite son. I showed this rotten miserable country that its USA all the way, and jeez, I almost killed poor old man Stu.” (Bret charges from the back and tackles Shawn, mounting him and pummeling away on him as the crowd cheers wildly. He stomps him repeatedly and then turns him into a sharpshooter, refusing to let go. Officials and security fill the ring as Bret continues to lay back on the hold, as Michaels screams in pain and we go to break.)

 

After the break, we return for the tag team match and the New Blackjacks stride to the ring first, followed by Owen and Bulldog, who again are cheered wildly by the Canadian crowd. Pillman and Neidhart come out with them, as Bearer and Vader, who wears a large bandage on his forehead after last night’s match, second the Blackjack team.

 

Match- The New Blackjacks (with Paul Bearer and Vader) vs. Owen Hart and the British Bulldog (with Brian Pillman and Jim Neidhart)- The tag bout starts and Owen and Bulldog cut a torrid pace in taking the early advantage, seeming to feed off the crowd. Bulldog dominates Windham, with several armdrags and then an arm ringer as he tags in Owen, who stays on the arm at first, also hitting several armdrags, before slinging the Blackjack off the ropes and scoring with a picture perfect dropkick. Bradshaw charges, but Davey cuts him off with a pair of clotheslines and then a third that sends him to the floor, too. While the Blackjacks regroup, we see “Stone Cold” come to the stage. He is met by loud boos, and when he is seen, Pillman and Neidhart charge him, but after a quick exchange, he actually manages a stunner on both men as he continues toward the ring. With the Austin emergence as a distraction, Windham manages to blindside Owen and hammer him to the mat with a running forearm. He follows this with a suplex and nearly gets a three count after an elbow drop that followed. Bradshaw is tagged in and he takes control, hitting a big boot to the face upon entry and gets another count of two after a powerbomb. Austin pulls up a seat on commentary, telling the viewers that he is actually pulling for Owen and Bulldog, as next week, he plans to fight them alone in defending the tag team belts. He goes on to say he still “ain’t done whipping that Canadian ass.” Bradshaw continues on the offensive, hitting a fall away slam for a two count and then a powerful spine buster that again nearly scores the win. Bulldog has now become preoccupied with Austin, shouting at him from the apron, as Austin tells him to “pay attention to the damn match.” Bulldog actually leaves the apron and walks to the table, slapping “Stone Cold’s” head set off, prompting Austin to arise. As Davey’s back is turned, Vader sneaks around and clubs him from behind, stomping on him as he hits the ground. As this goes on, Austin and Vader trade glances, as Bearer creates a distraction across the other side of the ring. Inside the squared circle, Bradshaw scores with his lariat, but with the ref still tied up, no one is there to make the count. Austin, seeing this, slides in past Vader and nails Bradshaw with a stunner, then places Owen on top, so when the official returns Owen and Davey Boy get the win. Right after the count, Austin scoops up Owen and hits him with a stunner too. As he turns though, he is mauled by Vader, who is soon joined in the attack by the New Blackjacks. Neidhart and Pillman have also returned, and as the “Unholy Alliance” walks away satisfied with the beating they laid on “Stone Cold,” they pick up where Vader, Bradshaw, and Windham left off. Bulldog and Owen return and all four Hart Foundation members stomp on Austin to a rousing ovation of support from the Edmonton crowd. Suddenly, Mankind walks to the ring, holding a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire that is on fire high above his head. The mere sight of the “hardcore legend” approaching with such a weapon chases off the four Foundation members, as Austin slowly starts to get up and when he does he looks around and gives a slight nod of the head to the exiting Foley, who returns the favor with a thumbs up as the show goes to another commercial break.

 

After the break, we see Shawn Michaels walking through the backstage area. He has his bags and walks quickly with a limp. He hustles past Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Chyna, who are readying to hit the ring for the main event. Helmsley stops him and asks where he is going. Michaels tells the European Champ that, “I have had it with this crap. I am out of here.” Helmsley as he still is in passing asks, “Out of here? What do you mean out of here?” to which he gets no response. Helmsley turns and heads toward the ring and is introduced for the main event. Mankind’s music hits next, and he also heads toward the ring. Just as he is about to step through the ropes, the camera cuts to the back and we see just before HBK leaves the building, Bret Hart appears and jumps him again. Hart pummels away with fists to the face of Michaels, then picks him up and continues beating him as the two maneuver back down the hall. The camera then cuts back to the ring as the match is about to start as J.R. notes. “Bret Hart ain’t done with Shawn Michaels. He is beating the hell out him again.”

 

Match- European Championship Match- Champion,  Hunter Hearst Helmsley (with Chyna) vs. Mankind- The bell rings and Mankind attacks immediately, as Helmsley seems a bit distracted. He pounds away at the champ, knocking him back into the corner with a repeated flurry of right hands that sends him to the mat. After saluting the crowd with a quick “Bang, Bang,” Mankind spins and races at Hunter, catching him flush in the face with a running knee, again crumpling him to the mat. Chyna leaps to the apron, and distracts Mankind momentarily, but not long enough, as a desperate Helmsley gets up and charges, only to see Foley side step him as wrestler and female bodyguard collide, knocking Chyna to the floor, and Hunter back a step, where Foley catches a rollup for a very near fall. After the kickout,  Mankind stays on the offensive, using two hands full of hair to bounce the back of his opponents head of the mat repeatedly. Foley deposits his foe over the top rope and to the floor and then the camera shot goes to the entrance ramp, where Bret Hart can be seen coming through the curtain, still pummeling HBK. They hit the stage and the Edmonton crowd erupts, thirsting for Bret to deal out more punishment to his arch enemy. After this brief glimpse, back at ringside, Foley had readied to jump off the apron with his patented elbow drop, only to see Chyna stand over her man and dare him to do so. The screen at this point cuts to a split, with the shots showing both the match going on and Bret, dropping HBK on his skull on the steel ramp with a Russian leg sweep.  As the camera goes back to a single shot of the match, Hart walks off the steps momentarily to retrieve a chair, as the title match continues with Helmsley taking advantage of the breather he was allowed as his bodyguard held off Foley, as when she moved, he leapt up and caught him with a thumb to the eye. He then attempted a whip into the guard rail, but Mankind reverses and hurls Helmsley towards the steel steps, wiping out Chyna in the process as both fly into the steel.  Foley seems a bit remorseful that a woman had been hit, and as the ref checks on her, he slowly backs away and heads back into the ring. The camera shot then goes back to Bret taking a few whacks at the helpless Michaels’ leg with the chair and spinning him again into the sharpshooter as the Canadian faithful cheer wildly. Back at ringside, just as Foley backed up as he reentered the ring, a tall, but stocky person, dressed head to toe in green, with a green mask on comes out of the crowd and sneaks behind Mankind, dropping him with a hangman’s neckbreaker. “That’s the same damn move we have been seeing from the man in black,” notes Ross as the masked man picks him up and drops him with a second neckbreaker before heading back through the crowd. Helmsley slides back in and brings the official with him as he hits an easy pedigree for the win as on the ramp the scene has again escalated to the point of police and security trying to pry the “Hitman” off HBK. After his win, Helmsley, along with Chyna toss the referee from the ring and continue the assault on Foley. Chyna hits a vicious powerslam before Helmsley scores with a second pedigree and jumps on top of the unconscious Mankind and begins punching his face. The crowd is now in an absolute frenzy as Hart still refuses to release the sharpshooter and Helmsley is calling for Chyna to get Mankind up for a third pedigree, as he retrieves a chair to make the move even more devastating. “Well, come on now, dammit, you already won the match. Enough is enough,” pleads J.R. as Hunter slides the chair into the ring. “This is a sickening and heinous attack by Helmsley and that amazon Chyna. Mick Foley has tasted two pedigrees and now they are…wait a minute, wait a minute, its “Stone Cold,” “Stone Cold,” and he’s got a steel chair of his own,” screams Ross, as Austin appears in the nick of time to chase Helmsley and Chyna and return the favor to Foley from earlier. The image of Hunter and Chyna as they escape and then Austin daring them to get back into the ring, switches to Bret finally being pried off Michaels as Raw goes off the air with all hell still breaking loose in Edmonton.

 

Raw is War- July 14, 1997- San Antonio, TX

 

The show starts with a video package recapping the Bret/Shawn cage match and then the attacks by Bret on HBK at last week’s Raw. The package ends by showing Bret threatening to quit and Michaels attempting to leave saying he’ had “enough of this crap,” leading the announcers to open up discussing the possibility of one or both of the two leaving and the ramifications it would have. They then talk about the Austin tag title defense that will occur later in the show against Owen and the Bulldog as they speculate on if he will have a partner. J.R. and the King also talk about the challenge the Undertaker made to defend the WWF title against Vader, noting that we will hear from Vader and Paul Bearer after the first commercial with their response. Lastly, they explain that Vince McMahon will be back to rejoin the announce team next week and that he will be making an announcement via satellite from his home in Stamford, Connecticut tonight  that has come directly from the still hospitalized WWF President, Gorilla Monsoon regarding the Shawn Michaels/ Men in Black situation. On the heels of this we are told that Shawn Michaels where abouts is unknown as no one has heard from him since last week, but they do know that he is not presently at the arena in his hometown of San Antonio. They then go up to the ring, where  the opening contest is ruled a double disqualification as the official completely loses control of a tag team battle between the New Blackjacks and the Disciples of Apocalypse (Skull and 8-Ball). The two teams beat the heck out of each other, prompting interference first from Vader and then from Crush, who got a huge pop from the crowd when he scooped and slammed the 450 pound Vader as he and Chainz came in and cleared the Alliance from the ring. During this match on the split screen, we saw comments from the upstart team of Jesse James and Billy Gunn. They speak of their recent success and question what they have to do to get noticed around here. The mention how both men have been held back by the WWF “machine” through silly gimmicks and such over their time with the company and put a warning out to all teams that they will no longer stand by and be “irrelevant.”

 

After a break, Dok Hendrix catches up with an angry Vader and Paul Bearer backstage.

 

Hendrix: “Vader, Paul Bearer, welcome gentleman. The gauntlet was thrown down last week by the WWF Champion, the Undertaker and he has even offered to put the WWF title on the line here tonight in an attempt at revenge on the two of you. So, the world awaits your answer, will we see this huge match up here tonight in the War Zone?”

 

Vader: “Hahaha, you know Dok, I am sure there is nothing the Undertaker would like more than for us to play right into his little game. You see, trust me, I want to put an end to his charade just as much as he claims that he wants to get his hands on me, but unfortunately, tonight is just not the time. You see, Undertaker, you want me? You best be careful what you wish for, boy, because I do accept the challenge to meet you, but I suggest we do it next week here on Raw. For tonight, the ‘Alliance’ wants to get some more vengenance on not only you, but on your lackeys, too. Those tattooed, freaks that have been a thorn in our side since their debut, so I suggest tonight that you grab one of your boys, preferably Crush, and stand himat your side  to face me and my partner so I can show you what lays ahead next week when I give you the beating of your life and take your  WWF Championship. As for my partner, he is someone who has a little unfinished business with your boy Crush, too. He is a fighting machine and the newest member of the ‘Unholy Alliance,’ that was hung out to dry by your new buddy. He is Savio Vega (Savio, dressed all in black, strolls on to the interview set) They want to get in our business, well know its more than personal and you and your biker boys may have more enemies than ypu realized. Enemies like this man, are going to help me to show your boys what it is like to serve time, hard time, Vader time.”

 

Savio: “Crush, you were my brother. You were supposed to stand by my side, my amigo. We talked about how we had each others back through thick and through thin and then when Faarooq turned his back on me, you stayed loyal to him as he then turned and stuck the knife in your back. So, you abandoned me, my brother, and you run to the side of the Undertaker. I have been watching you and seeing the numbers game that is going on, so I put in a call to Paul Bearer and he welcomes me with open arms, something you could never understand you turncoat. So tonight and from here on out, I stand united with Vader and with the Alliance and I won’t be satisfied until I rid the WWF of you and your scumbag crew.”

 

Bearer: “Ohhh yesss, Undertaker. You will meet your maker next week when the man they call Vader takes your World Title and brings it back to me, yes you will. In addition, you and your feeble warning to not make things personal is no more than a joke and you and I both know this. You see, Undertaker, I know you have a big match upcoming at SummerSlam, and now you have my 450 pound mastodon waiting in the wings next week, but I must tell you that your nightmares will soon become reality. You see Undertaker, in the very near future you will have a choice, and that choice will be to fall in line and do as I say, or have those dark secrets you fear most revealed. You see, he is alive Undertaker, you heard your past and the horrific ramifications this could have on you and the entire WWF, the night after SummerSlam, you have a decision to make and what you choose will shape your destiny. So, think it over and think it over real well. Bring one of your men out to face Vader and our new man, Savio tonight and get ready to see some foreshadowing as to what you will face next week. But again, I can not stress enough, look into my eyes (camera zooms in to close up of Bearer’s eyes) and know that this is very real and he is alive. Yesss, yesss, yesss, alive. (Bearer laughs as the camera cuts back to ringside.)

 

Back at ringside, we get the introductions for the next matchup that will feature Sycho Sid facing off against D-Lo Brown. Kama seconds D-Lo and interferes causing a disqualification win for the Sycho. In a wild melee that ensues, Hawk, Animal, and Ellering charge the ring, but before they reach there are chased down and viciously assaulted by Rocky Maivia, Marc Mero, and Faarooq. D-Lo and Kama join in to make it a five on three attack, as Maivia and Mero put an exclamation point on the attack when Rocky hits a move that would become known as the “Rock Bottom” on Animal through a table and Mero scores with his TKO through a second table on Hawk as Kama holds back Ellering and forces the long time LOD manager to watch the carnage. Sid rose to try and help his stable mates, but unbeknownst to him, Faarooq had snuck behind him, beating him down from behind with a chair, before spiking him with a spine buster on the aforementioned chair in the center of the ring. Finally, Ken Shamrock, who had just arrived at the arena witnessed the attack on a monitor and charged the ring with a baseball bat, running off the Nation, but the damage had obviously already been done.

 

A quick commercial break followed, before we again go backstage, where Kevin Kelly was waiting with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.

 

Kelly: “Steve Austin, tonight, you and any partner of your choosing will defend the WWF Tag Team titles against the former champions, Owen Hart and the British Bulldog. The world wants to know, who is your partner, and whoever it is, can you as such a loner co-exist to retain the prestigious titles?”

 

Austin: “A loner? Coexist? Listen you silly bastard, save your big words and your questions for someone who gives a crap, ok? “Stone Cold” Steve Austin is here to defend the tag team titles, and he don’t need a damn partner to whip the asses of both Owen and Davey, and that’s all I got to say about that. Who is “Stone Cold’s” partner? Well, he has got about six of ‘em, Kevin Kelly. (Austin reaches down and holds up a six pack of Budweiser) See, after I knock down each of these six partners, 12 ounces at a time, I will go to that ring and stomp a damn mud hole in both of their asses and then walk it dry. You got it? All those two need to worry about is, WHAM, out of no where, one stunner for Owen and then, WHAM, when Bulldog comes charging another stunner for his limey…(Owen and Bulldog sprint into the screen and take down Austin. As he fights back with Owen, Davey picks up on of the beer cans and blasts Austin in the back of the head, busting the can open as beer sprays everywhere. The two lay the boots to the fallen “Rattlesnake” before agents and officials show up to pull them off. The show again then heads back to ringside.)

 

The next matchup features European Champion Hunter Hearst Helmsley against challenger, Brian Pillman. Helmsley is seconded by Chyna, while Jim Neidhart flanks Pillman.

 

Match- European Championship Match-  Champion, Hunter Hearst Helmsley (with Chyna) vs. Brian Pillman (with Jim Neidhart)- This match starts out with Chyna on the apron trying to get into Pillman’s face, before Neidhart lifts her by her legs and sets her down on the floor. She responds with a forearm smash to the Anvil, who backs up and nearly hits her back before Helmsley jumps down and between the two, allowing for Pillman to sneak behind and blindside him to get the early advantage. He tosses Hunter back in the ring and mounts him, blasting him with repeated shots to the face before scooping him up and scoring with a devastating clothesline. Staying on his man, Pillman scores with a perfect vertical suplex and scores a two count before the champion kicks out. Chyna again jumps to the apron at this point, and as Neidhart again pursues the official turns just long enough for Hunter to hit a low blow and gain the upperhand. He slings Pillman in and scores with a high knee off the ropes as the ref returns for a count of two. Following two whips to either side of the rings turnbuckle back first, Helmsley hits a well placed neckbreaker and again just misses the victory as he hooks the leg for another near fall.  Hunter again has his attention diverted though, as outside the ring, Chyna and Neidhart go nose to nose again. He jumps to the floor again and the official follows him to separate the two sides. As he does, Pillman slowly rises, when from out of the crowd, what appears to be the same masked man in all green appears and takes out his historically bad ankle with a chair shot. As Pillman wriths in pain, Owen and the Bulldog sprint from the back before any further damage can be done, chasing the attacker off through the crowd. As they chase him into the crowd, Helmsley hops back into the ring and the referee follows, he latches on an Indian death lock, and as Neidhart readies to interfere, Chyna catches him from behind with a low blow, stopping him from breaking the hold up, as Pillman can longer hold out and he taps out before Helmsley injures his leg. Chyna and Hunter continue the attack on Pillman’s leg as he screams in pain and then they move to the fallen Neidhart, as they each grab a chair as they methodically surround him. Just as they have him cornered, Mankind sprints to the ring, with a chair of his own and blasts the European Champion across the back, dropping him to the floor. He scores with a second shot as the crowd roars in approval before he drops the chair and salutes the audience with a “Bang, Bang.” Just as he spins from doing this though, Chyna belts him right across the mouth with a sickening return chair shot. Several follow up shots leave the Hardcore legend squirming as the amazon of a bodyguard rolls him into the ring and an angry Helmsley who has recovered grabs his European title and follows. He sprints at Foley just as he gets up and levels him with the title belt, busting him open as he falls in a heap to the mat. Hunter then lays the belt on the mat and scores with vicious pedigree, driving Mankind’s already bloodied face into the belt as J.R. scoffed from ringside. “This is a damn mugging. Real tough guy, Helmsley is. Him and this amazon, this jezebel, Chyna use numbers and a steel chair to take apart Mankind again. This is disgusting.” Finally, the two arrogantly walk away, laughing into the camera as the show heads to a commercial break. J.R. tells us that in the segment after the break that his broadcast colleague, Vince McMahon will address the crowd on behalf of the still injured WWF President, Gorilla Monsoon.

 

After the break, the announce team prepares us for Vince McMahon’s announcement, when they are interrupted by Bret Hart’s theme music. Bret strides to the ring and grabs a microphone.

 

Bret: “Well, I just couldn’t sit by and watch this from the back, I am waiting with baited breath on this one. The great Vince McMahon, live from his mansion in Stamford. This ought to be good, right. Oh, and by the way San Antonio, where is your hometown hero? Where is the epitomy of the gutless American scumbag, Shawn Michaels after I beat him within an inch of his life last week. Come on, he takes his ball and goes home, again? Or has he changed his colors, from black to green, to get out here and once again cheap shot the members of the Hart Foundation only to run like a chicken through the crowd, hiding his face like he has been for the past several months. This is your people’s hero, right? So, come on, where is he? (As Bret readies to continue speaking, Michaels comes out of the crowd in street clothes to a huge ovation. The pop of the crowd clues Bret in and he turns as HBK tackles him to the ground. They roll around on the mat, trading punches and jockeying for position when a group of referes hit the ring and pull them apart. Just as they try to get back at one another, McMahon appears via sattelte on the TitanTon.)

 

McMahon: “Okay, okay (raising his voice) That is enough, dammit. That’s enough. I have had it with you two. This was all supposed to end in Calgary. You two were supposed to finish your business and move on, but instead as a result, I wind up in the damn hospital and the WWF President is facing life threating injuries because you two and this personal issue of “who is the better man” has just continued to get way out of control. (Ross chimes in “Wow, I have never heard the head of this company speak with such diction. He means business here tonight, King.” Lawler responds, “No kidding, these guys better listen up, Vince is not messing around.”) This issue between the two of you needs to end and it needs to end now. “Hitman,” you want to threaten me. You want to tell me that you are gonna leave this company with the title after SummerSlam? Who the hell do you think you are? This company made you, these fans made you, and dammit, I made you what you are today. You want to threaten me? I will take your ass right out of that title match at SummerSlam if you can’t fall in line, you got it? (Bret shakes his head in anger as he looks on) Don’t make me do it, because you know I will. But the bigger problem here is you, Shawn Michaels, you and your little games with the masked men. So, they won’t show in black, but now they are coming wearing a different color? Real cute, Shawn. But, you know what else is real cute gentleman, let me tell you what is real cute. I visited WWF President Gorilla Monsoon in the hospital last week, and he had one hell of an idea. (Shawn and Bret look on intently) We agreed that since this thing has gotten so out of control that you two are now threatening to walk out on the company, that drastic measures are necessary to ensure that you two can coexist. So, Bret, you are still going to get your title shot at the Undertaker at SummerSlam and you are welcome for that. (Bret nods in agreement, reading his lips, he says “Damn, right I am.”) Shawn Michaels, it seems that you don’t have an opponent currently at SummerSlam, so we tossed around a few ideas. First, we thought, hey, lets make it a triple threat title match between the Undertaker, Bret Hart, and Shawn Michaels. Wouldn’t that be something. (Michaels nods in approval, as Bret argues) But, then we thought why reward a man who has spit in the face of our authority over and over again, so we came up with an even better idea, so hear me out. The main event at SummerSlam will as I said still be The Undertaker versus Bret “The Hitman” Hart for the WWF Championship, but in that huge matchup there will now be a special guest referee, and that will be none other that “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels. (Bret absolutely loses it, while Michaels slyly smiles) But, wait, that is not all. In that matchup, there are two added stipulations. First, for you Bret, since you have been so busy denouncing America and the great fans of the WWF in the good ol’ US of A, your stipulation is as follows, if you lose in any way, and that includes getting disqualified for not heeding to the official, Shawn Michaels, you will never again be allowed to wrestle in the United States. (Bret shouts his disapproval as the crowd erupts and HBK sarcastically applauds) But wait, before you get too happy there Shawn, you also have a stipulation and that is this. If you do not call the match 100 percent fairly and right down the middle or if there is even the sight of anyone in a mask or anyone remotely associated with you even near the building during that bout, you will not only not be allowed to wrestle in America, but you will be fired, no questions asked. (Now Michaels shouts his disapproval, as an indifferent Bret looks on confused.) So, I hope the two of you are happy that it has come to this, and I truly hope that you understand how dead serious I am about these stipulations, because for all your threats and promises last week, make no mistake about it, if you can not coexist and you can not fall into line you won’t have to walk out, both of your asses will be out on the street and fired. We all clear, good. So, I will see you all next week back at ringside and I hope you all enjoy the great World Wrestling Federation action that awaits you for the remainder of the evening. (A stunned J.R. quips before the show heads to a break, “Wow, what a blockbuster! Good for President Monsoon, good for Vince McMahon. It is long overdue that someone took control around here and stopped letting the inmates run the asylum. SummerSlam just got a whole lot hotter, folks.)

 

Following the break we go to the backstage area and into the dressing room of the Undertaker. He sits in a chair with his head in his hands as Crush and Chainz stand over him. Crush ensures him that they will take care of business tonight against Vader and Savio and that the D.O.A. will have his back no matter what when he faces Vader next week in a World Title match. We then head to the ring for the WWF Tag Team Title match,  Owen and Bulldog are introduced first, before “Stone Cold’s” music hits and he strides to the ring alone with both tag belts in tow.

 

*** Match- WWF tag Team Title Match- Champion(s) “Stone Cold’ Steve Austin and ??? vs. Owen Hart and the British Bulldog***- Steve Austin & Dude Love (mystery partner) defeated Owen Hart and  Davey Boy Smith to retain the WWF Tag Team titles at around the 9-minute mark when Dude pinned Smith after Austin hit the Stunner behind the referee’s back; Austin was prepared to wrestle the match as a handicap bout but Dude appeared on the Titantron and offered his services mid-way through the match; after the bout, several Dudettes came in the ring to celebrate the win as Austin shook Dude’s hand and left ringside (Dude’s surprise debut)*** (1)

 

After the break the announcers let us know that it is main event time and the team of Vader and Savio Vega are introduced first, with Paul Bearer at their side. Bearer carries with him a large manila envelope  under one arm in addition to his urn as he strides to the ring with his men. The lights then go down and the WWF Champion, The Undertaker with his partner, Crush head to the ring with Chainz walking a step behind in support.

 

Match- WWF Champion, The Undertaker and Crush (with Chainz) vs. Vader and Savio Vega (with Paul Bearer)- The match up is set to begin, when Paul Bearer gets the attention of the Undertaker, shaking the envelope he carries and telling him “the proof is right here.” ‘Taker meets him with a scowl and shakes his head in anger at his former manager. As he peers over the ropes at him, Vader attacks and knocks him to his knees. Dropping repeated axe handles blows to the champions back, Vader takes a decisive advantage. Winging the Phenom to the ropes, Vader shows his great power, leveling him with a strong shoulder block before hitting the ropes and landing a big splash for a two count. He drags the champ over and tags in Savio, who shows off his martial arts skills, standing the ‘Taker in the corner and scorring with a series of kicks to the leg before flooring him with an impressive spin kick. An Irish Whip to the far corner though, proves a mistake, as Savio charges and runs into a big boot courtesy of the “Dead Man.” Undertaker reverses Vega and puts him in the corner, scoring with a flurry of vicious elbows behind the ear before backing off and landing a combination of rights and lefts that drop Savio in a heap. Undertaker tags in Crush who hurries in and scores with a big side walk slam for a two count. Crush stays right on his former nation-mate, whipping him to the ropes and catching him with a loud clothesine before sliding behind and putting  Vega in a full nelson. After laying into the hold for a few seconds, Crush shows his impressive strength, yanking up on his opponent and turning the full nelson into a modified chokeslam that would’ve scored the win if not for Vader’s interference. When Vader enters, the ‘Taker does the same, and he catches the 450 pounder with a clothesline, sending him all the way over the top and to the floor. Just as he backs up and prepares to dive to the outside, Bearer hops in his way and readies to pull out the contents of the envelope. Undertaker grabs him by the collar and one punches him, knocking the envelope to the floor, as he continues his original plan and dives through the ropes at Vader. The time wasted on Bearer costs him though, as Vader side steps and the WWF Champ flies headfirst into the steel guard rail at ringside. Vader follows up and whips Undertaker shoulder first into the steel ring post, leaving him hurt on the floor.  At this point, the Blackjacks hit the ringside area and wipe out Chainz from behind, distracting Crush, who approaches to aid his friend. With the referee ordering Vader back to the corner and checking on the injured champion, a recovering Bearer hands the urn off to Savio, who blasts Crush over the back of the head with it before he can get out of the ring to help Chainz. Skull and 8-Ball charge and pick up their brawl from earlier with Bradshaw and Windham, as the four huge men trade blows all about the ringside area and up the ramp. As the official returns in the ring, Savio tags in Vader, who picks up the limp Crush and spikes him with a stiff powerbomb, before ascending the ropes and hitting a Vader Bomb for a decisive 1-2-3 and the victory. With Chainz still out and the other D.O.A. members either occupied or down, Savio and Vader continue after the bell with their assault of Crush, battering him with kicks before standing him up so Savio can hit a huge standing side kick as Vader again ascends to the second rope. Just as he readies for another “Vader Bomb,” Undertaker rolls back into the ring and hurls Vega over the top rope. He yanks Vader off the ropes and electrifies the crowd with a big bodyslam, before scooping him up and slapping his hand to his throat in preparation for a chokeslam. While he readies to plant the big man, Chainz has managed to get up and get Crush out of harms way, rolling him to the floor and helping him to the back. ‘Taker hits the chokeslam and stares Paul Bearer down and he runs his thumb across his throat signling a tombstone is on the way. Just as he lifts Vader of the mat, Bearer rolls into the ring after retrieving the envelope he brought to ringside. Just as ‘Taker gives him a glance, the house lights go down for a split second before once again, a loud bang is heard and red flames shoot from the top of each of the four ring posts. The lights come back on and Bearer has now entered the ring as a confused Undertaker pushes Vader to the side. Bearer pulls what looks to be a photo from the envelope and shows the Undertaker, whose reaction is once again one of confusion and disbelief. That look quickly turns to rage as Bearer scoots out quickly under the bottom rope and to the side of the winded Vader. Undertaker takes two steps back and turns to sprint for another suicide dive to the outside on the two, when for a second time the lights dim. He shakes his head as they do not go completely out and readies his jump again, but as he nears he quickly puts on the breaks as mysteriously, flames have shot out from the apron on all four sides of the ring, trapping the WWF Champion in the ring. Raw goes off the air to the surreal scene of a baffled Undertaker standing in the center of a ring that is completely surrounded in fire, as the camera shots alternate to him and Paul Bearer, who is telling him that “I told you he is coming.”

 

This marks the end of Part VI of the story. The cliffhangers surrounding the Shawn Michaels/Masked Attackers and the Undertaker saga continue to unfold as we head into the seventh part of the story and draw close to the huge annual blockbuster that is SummerSlam. How will the “Hitman” and “HBK” coexist? What is the status of WWF President Monsoon, and how does Vince McMahon tie into it heading forward? Where does “Stone Cold” and his unlikely new partner go from here as champions and what will the Undertaker decide in the next few chapters? All of these questions and many more will eventually  be answered as we move along and continue to ponder the question, “What if shawn Michaels never lost his smile and forfeited the WWF Title in February of 1997.”

 

***As stated in the intro to this part, there is one match in this part that played out as it actually did in WWF. This noted instance in this story were recalled as told by the website, thehistoryofwwe.com .  The actual date of this event is listed below, for a good feel on how these matches and the company at this point in time were playing out (and to give this story a more realistic feel),  I would suggest, if you have the time, check it out on YouTube and give it a look while moving along here.***

 

1)- Raw is War-July 14, 1997

Written by

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

    Just finished. Enjoyed part VI. Very historically interesting aligning Brian “Chainz” Lee with The Undertaker. Will it last?

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