WWF RAW July 7th, 1997

Steve Austin, Raw 1997

The recap of last night’s Canadian Stampede pay-per-view opens with the front page of the Calgary Sun (Headline: “Road Tragedies”). Vince McMahon calls the Canadian fans’ support for the Hart Foundation, “blind patriotism”, which of course he can’t stand.

When Raw begins, Bret Hart enters wearing an Edmonton Oilers jersey. He’ll speak with Vince McMahon, who notes that the Hitman will face The Undertaker at Summerslam on “August three” (The WWF started running their PPVs at the beginning of the month so that people who only buy one wrestling show a month will be more likely to purchase the WWF’s PPVs over WCW’s). As far as “America: Love it or leave it”, goes, Bret says that he looked forward to “lovin’ leavin’ it”. I think he misspoke. Bret cites Canadian track star Donovan Bailey as proof that the US isn’t number one, then puts over Canada’s health care system and gun control. Canada, he says, isn’t “riddled with racial prejudice and hatred”, although the Nation, Los Boricuas, and the Disciples of Apocalypse are all on tonight’s card.

Bret promises that if he doesn’t beat The Undertaker “in the Summerslam”, he’ll never wrestle on American soil again (which was the stipulation for his canceled match against Shawn Michaels). He then introduces his brother Owen, who last night beat “the Great American Scum” (not to be confused with WCW’s latest pay-per-view offering).

Owen sports a crew cut, an Oilers shirt, the Intercontinental belt, and two Slammys. Bret’s confidence that his brother will destroy Stone Cold “in the Summerslam”. Out next is the British Bulldog, who defends his European title against Ken Shamrock “in the Summerslam”. The three Hart Foundation members, each wearing a jacket with their name on it, turn to the Canadian flag on the Titantron while O Canada plays. Towards the end, Steve Austin attacks all three with a chair.

A solemn Vince McMahon condemns the actions of Steve Austin and his “total disrespect for a national anthem”. Bret Hart’s comments to that effect during the break are replayed, framed by the camera in such a way that Owen’s Slammy awards appear as tall as Bret, Owen, and Davey. Vince McMahon then apologizes on behalf of the WWF.

Tony Chimel then introduces Taka Michinoku. “Well, that’s close”, says McMahon. The announcers then call him “Michinoko” throughout the match. He wrestles the Great Sasuke, or “Sah-soo-ki”, in a rematch from last night. Players of THQ’s WCW The World should recognize these two Japanese wrestlers as Black Belt and Black Ninja, respectively.

Brian Christopher comes to the ring uninvited before Sasuke, who recorded some comments earlier tonight. None of the announcers understand Japanese, however, making the clip utterly pointless. Brian Christopher is on commentary, annoying listeners with his high-pitched squealing laughter. It reminds me of someone. Sasuke swantons over the ropes onto Taka and later hits a series of kicks. Lawler says Sasuke kicks like a girl, but, says Vince, that girl must be Chyna or something.

Taka knocks Sasuke out of the ring with a flying dropkick, then slips on the top rope attempting a springboard moonsault. He still lands on Sasuke, then performs an Asai moonsault that camera misses almost completely. Lawler calls Taka, “Taco”, while Brian Christopher calls the men, “two japs”. “Excuse me, that’s Japanese”, says Vince. Sasuke avoids a moonsault, but gets dropkicked out of the air while performing a lionsault. “These men are just hurling their respective bodies,” says McMahon. “And it must take a toll on their physiques.” Sasuke hits a springboard swanton plancha over the top rope, a Kamikaze-Type Maneuver that Taka barely catches. Taka kicks out of a German suplex, but not the subsequent Thunder Fire Bomb, Sasuke’s crucifix powerbomb.

Tonight’s lineup includes the tag team tournament final between Owen & Davey and The Nation (which still includes Ahmed Johnson in the match graphic), Steve Austin vs. HHH, and Bret Hart vs. Goldust.

A recap airs of the WWF’s “faction warfare” before Savio (with Los Boricuas) takes on Crush (with DOA). Savio and another Boricua shakes hands with Spanish language broadcasters Tito Santana and Carlos Cabrera, who wishes him good luck. The DOA, the fan favorites, ride carefully to the ring to no music. As the match begins, Jim Ross gives some background on Savio Vega, who started out in Puerto Rico as TNT and has a black belt in tae kwon do. But where was Savio in 1994?

After a few minutes, Savio rolls out of the ring, where the bikers attack him. The referee rings the bell shortly before both gangs brawl on the outside. Something tells Vince McMahon that we haven’t seen the last of either faction (unfortunately). On the WWF Superstar Line, Jim Ross offers exclusives on Shawn Michaels, Sycho Sid, and Summerslam. Paul Bearer is shown backstage to entice viewers not to turn to Nitro during the break.

This year’s Summerslam is dubbed, “Hart & Soul”, which was the caption on the Calgary Sun’s front page this morning. Stridex sponsors the event for the third straight year. Vince interviews Bearer over the PA, asking if he’d like to apologize for what he called The Undertaker (a murderer). Bearer asks why he should apologize if he’s not the one who killed Taker’s family. As for why the fans should believe Bearer when he says that Kane is alive, Bearer responds that Kane told him so himself. Damn, that’s airtight. Unfortunately, Kane is disfigured, has “charred body parts”, and feels “pure adulterated [sic] hate” for his evil brother.

Out next is The Nation. “Conspicuous by his absence, ladies and gentlemen, one Ahmed Johnson”, says Jim Ross. Kidding! Obviously, it’s Vince. They face Davey Boy & Owen in the tournament finals, with the winner facing Steve Austin and a partner of his choosing for the tag team titles. The former champs are accompanied by Jim Neidhart and Brian Pillman, who holds up a fan-made sign reading, “Nation of Masturbation”.

In the locker room, Stone Cold reiterates that he doesn’t care who his partner is, but he doesn’t want to tag with Mankind. As Vince tries to end the interview, Austin tells him to shut up. “Now wait a minute,” says McMahon. “You’re out of line! You’re just out of line! We’re gonna cut him off, and we’ll be back. Stay with us.” It looks like, if you want to hear what Austin has to say, you’ll have to order his new video tape (whose commercial airs right now).

Sable is in a bubble bath, which has something to do with the Summerslam Million Dollar Chance.

Owen Hart starts out with his future Nation colleague D-Lo Brown, but both men quickly tag out. Though D-Lo and Faarooq are the official participants from the Nation, “Kama bin Mustafa” sneaks in some cheap shots to Davey Boy in the corner. Jerry Lawler says that D-Lo stole hubcaps has a kid, but Jim Ross says he’s a college graduate and a certified public accountant. No college football, I assume. Vince says that Shawn Michaels will be on Raw next week in his home town, but won’t not necessarily compete, while Jerry Lawler takes an opportunity to insult the Canadian fans.

After a hot tag, Owen and D-Lo end up back in the ring, but Kama pulls down the top rope, sending the IC champion to the floor. Brian Pillman hits Kama with the British flag, then chokes D-Lo with it. As everyone, officially in the match or not, brawls on the outside, the referee does not issue a disqualification, but instead declares a countout after Owen sneaks back in the ring. Mankind comes to the ring in an Austin 3:16 shirt to have words with the new #1 contenders.

Back in the locker room, Steve Austin says he’s not above punching Chyna, then tells Vince to shut up again. That match is next… on the War Zone! Vince again condemns Steve Austin’s interruption of the Canadian national anthem before the Raw/War Zone intro plays. Too much blood, and not enough dye! As Austin makes his entrance, Vince quotes him as saying he doesn’t “give a rat’s ass”; to prove that statement, Stone Cold wipes his face on the cloth covering the announce table and steals Vince’s water bottle.

Former King of the Ring Austin faces HHH, the current King of the Ring. Austin looks to give Hunter the double middle finger, but instead curtsies to the Blue Blood. For his part, Helmsley gives Austin “the finger” in a certain bodily orifice (his eye). With Helmsley locked in a front face lock, the “donnybrook” takes a commercial break.

Back from the break, Vince McMahon says the Canadian fans secretly want to cheer Steve Austin. Regardless, Helmsley garners cheers when he clotheslines Austin, cutting off his comeback. “I can’t believe that some people are actually cheering for Helmsley”, says Vince. Chyna pushes a chair into the ring, then trips Stone Cold. The referee turns his attention to Chyna, allowing Helmsley to pick up the chair. Mankind rushes onto the apron and gets a chair shot to the head, allowing Austin to hit a distracted HHH with a stunner.

A victorious Stone Cold grabs the mic and calls Mankind a long-haired freak and a piece of trash, but offers to make Mankind his partner. Mankind hugs Austin, who then gives him a stunner. “DTA”, says Austin, “Don’t Ever Trust Nobody.” Stone Cold reneges on his offer, reiterating that Mankind is a piece of trash and a long-haired freak (and also that he sucks). No wonder Ross calls him, “the man with the personality of a rattlesnake” (later shortened to simply, “The Rattlesnake”). As Steve Austin exits up the ramp, Mankind vows to take drastic measures that will change himself, Austin, and the WWF forever.

Sunny comes out as the guest ring announcer, but the camera shifts to the announcers. Vince lampshades the inconvenient camera cut, then announces the rules to the Million Dollar Chance contest, where fans need to write all four clues on a postcard and mail it in. Alternative entry forms can be obtained through WWF Magazine or the Discovery Zone. For tonight’s clue, Mr. Tee-Vee Trivia calls Sable out of her hotel room bath. The clue is “2A”.

In Light Heavyweight action, Canada’s Eric Shelley faces “Too Sexy” Brian Christopher (who, at 214 and one quarter pounds, is dangerously close to the weight limit). In response to Christopher’s and Lawler’s double-team on Scott Putski last week, Ivan Putski has challenged them to a tag match next week. Lawler accepts Putski’s challenge, which he says was faxed with a stamp on it (because he’s a “Polack”). Shelley scores a two-count with a hideous cazadora attempt that Vince nonetheless calls a Beautiful Maneuver (#2). Shelley then dropkicks Christopher over the top rope, then performs a jogging plancha that Too Sexy avoids easily. McMahon compares the move unfavorably to one of the Great Sasuke’s, a Maneuver that Brian Christopher says he would avoid. Shelley’s comeback, marked by a failed kip-up, is short-lived; Too Sexy hits a reverse DDT from the second rope and a leg drop off the top to secure the pin. Lawler takes a break from Polish/Alzheimer’s jokes to give Shelly another spike piledriver with Too Sexy.

Steve Austin is out to speak with Vince McMahon, who shows Austin being handcuffed last night. He chides Austin for his obscene hand gestures before asking Stone Cold about Raw next week in Texas. Austin says no one can stop him from giving the finger, much to the chagrin of the guy with the “Family Values” sign. He again says he doesn’t care about who is partner is next week, and that Gorilla Monsoon can pick one for him if he dares. As for his Summerslam match against Owen Hart, Austin one-ups Bret’s pre-match bet with his own: if he doesn’t beat Owen Hart, Stone Cold will kiss his ass. Nope, there’s no way this could possibly backfire. His exact wording is that this would happen after Owen pins him. “Good grief!” says Jim Ross, while Lawler contrasts the stipulation with his own Kiss My Foot match from 1995. Austin drops to his knees and pantomimes an ass-kissing.

As Goldust comes to the ring, Vince repeats the clues from tonight and last week about how to win “a million dolluhs”. Marlena is “conspicuous by her absence” due to Dakota’s illness. Last night he called Marlena not only a “super mom”, but a “super lady”, a term usually reserved for Sable. Both Goldust and Marlena were guests recently on the Family Channel’s Home & Family Show, making tea scones.

Bret Hart is out next; he vowed tonight to never wrestle in the USA should he lose in the Summerslam. Jim Ross points out that Summerslam is held in East Rutherford, New Jersey, which is in the USA. It is not, however, in New York, no matter what WWE would try to imply about Wrestlemanias 29 and 35. As for Stone Cold’s bet, Vince isn’t sure whether that could be shown on pay-per-view, although the following year, they’d show both Sable and Jacqueline topless.

Bret has Goldust on the ropes, literally, when the Disciples of Apocalypse ride to ringside for some reason. “They don’t care who they run over”, says McMahon, although the bikers clearly take precautions not to cause any accidents on their leisurely ride to the ring. The Hart Foundation starts down the ramp before the break.

Jim Ross doubts Bret Hart will receive the same ovation in Texas as he has in Canada. “You don’t mess with Texas”, says Ross, quoting the anti-littering campaign slogan. Bret gives Goldust the second-rope elbow smash and covers him. “One, two, and he got ‘im!” says Vince, even though Bret has won maybe one match in his whole career with that move. “No he didn’t, no”, he then clarifies. He also informs the audience that “one of the Boricuas” was injured in the brawl with DOA tonight. Perhaps if one of the Disciples gets injured, he can form a new faction with the injured Boricua and Ahmed Johnson. “We are joined by more individuals”, says McMahon, referring to LOD and Ken Shamrock, then Steve Austin. Amid the brewing tension, Bret reverses a sunset flip to pin Goldust, not unlike how Bulldog pinned Bret in the Summerslam 1992. The Hart Foundation celebrates in the ring, while the other eight guys at ringside just stand around.

Final Tally:

  • 3 Maneuvers (Year total: 83)

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