WWF RAW July 21st, 1997

WWF Raw July 21st, 1997 — Metro Center — Halifax, Nova Scotia
This week, Raw is back in Canada, this time in Halifax. Last week it was in San Antonio. The week before, Edmonton. Who’s booking these tours? On Shotgun this weekend, the Harts challenged any three Americans to a flag match. After the intro theme, Vince declares, “It’s war!” Oh no! “Raw is War”, he clarifies. Phew. This week there will be a (first-ever) triple threat tag team match between the Headbangers, the New Blackjacks, and the Godwinns. No, really. Shawn Michaels is also here with a blockbuster announcement.

Vader, who is in the middle of a one-match winning streak, faces Ken Shamrock in a rematch from the May In Your House. Despite being booed as part of the American team at Canadian Stampede, Shamrock gets an ovation here in Halifax, or “Hal Fax”, as Vince keeps calling it. Although Ken admits that Vader has been one of his toughest opponents, he still considers this a warm-up match so he can get in his “zone” and “knuckle up” against the Bulldog at Summerslam. He then holds up a can of Pedigree. Shouldn’t he save that for a feud with Hunter Hearst Helmsley?

If the thought of eating dog food weren’t gross enough, a fan holds up a sign reading, “Undertaker is a necrophile”. I bet this guy thinks he’s getting away with something, putting that word on WWF TV. Just wait five years, buddy. Although this is a standard singles match, the flags and flag poles for the main event are already set up.Vader, the mastodon whom Vince calls a “big buffalo”, thumbs Shamrock in the eye to turn the tide of the match in his favor. Vince writes off Ken Shamrock after a Vader splash, but Ken kicks out. While the referee is distracted, Paul Bearer hits Shamrock in the face with his shoe. “Those are Bruno Maglis!” said Jerry Lawler. “Let’s not go there”, says McMahon. Bruno Magli was the designer shoe worn by OJ Simpson that was used as evidence in his civil trial earlier this year. Just two years ago, Raw held a poll over OJ Simpson’s guilt, but now Vince wants to shy away from such matters. Shamrock slips out of a Vader powerbomb, gives him a belly-to-belly, and locks him in a knee bar until Paul Bearer rakes his face. Shamrock punches out Bearer, but is ambushed on his way back in the ring. Vader hits a second-rope splash on Shamrock, who kicks out. Vader then tries his bomb (S/T), but Ken gets his knees up. He tries a huracanrana, but Vader drops him to the outside where, with the referee distracted again, Bulldog attacks him from behind. Powerslammed onto the ramp, Ken can’t get back in the ring and is counted out, losing his first match and extending Vader’s winning streak to two.

It’s time to hear what the Canadian fans have to say about tonight’s flag match. “We had an occasion”, says Vince, “to pick up these relatively partisan comments from a number of individuals in here in Hal Fax”. One Canadian fan gives Steve Austin the good news that hospital stays are free in Canada. Tonight’s Stridex Triple Action comes from Shotgun, consisting of a big boot and a Slop Drop from Henry Godwinn. That’s only two actions, if you’re keeping count.

Jim Ross reads off a bit of Halifax history, but Jerry Lawler doesn’t want to hear it. He’s more interested in “the brand new German sensation”, Brakus. Speaking in German, he says he’s from Germany and coming to America and the WWF to take on the Hart Foundation. Or join the Hart Foundation. I don’t speak German.Speaking of the Hart Foundation, not only do they kick arse (according to a sign), but they’re out next. Three of them, at least. Pillman’s not with them, and Jim Neidhart has disappeared altogether. To make up for the absences, Owen’s Slammy awards are holding miniature Canadian flags. Bret says that the US is shaped like a toilet bowl because most Americans are full of crap. Fans chant, “US sucks”, but Jim Ross says it won’t be like this next week in Pittsburgh. Yeah Jim, but I hear that place is the pits. See if Bret Hart agrees next week. The Hitman says no Americans have accepted his challenge (perhaps because the challenge only aired on Shotgun. Bret challenges the Undertaker, Bulldog challenges Ken Shamrock, and Owen challenges Steve Austin, whom he calls a pervert who wants to kiss his butt. “I damn well know he can’t kiss my butt, and he certainly won’t kiss my ass”, says Owen, who sounds like he’s saying Austin will win their match and not have to make good on his wager. “But if he wants,” Owen continues, “he can suck my toes.” Yeah, that oughta show him who the pervert is. Austin, who JR says “doesn’t give a darn”, says he’ll come to the ring and stick the Hart Foundation’s toes straight up their asses. At home in Miami, Rocky Maivia is taking notes. Stone Cold accepts the challenge.

Vince McMahon announces the absence of Los Boricuas and the Disciples of Apocalypse, explaining that “both individuals, both factions [are] suspended for one week considering their recent actions”. He gives no explanation for the Nation of Domination’s absence last week, although the announcers do say that the Nation will be back together “in their entirety” this weekend. Just like last week, the entire DOA-Boricuas parking garage incident is replayed.

In Light Heavyweight action, former jobber Bryan Walsh is already in the ring, where he is announced as Canadian, but now residing in Rhode Island. This supposed to make Walsh the babyface (as do the mini Canadian flags he holds), but the Canadian fans boo him. His opponent is Brian Christopher, whom fans pelt with their own miniature Canadian flags. Christopher, who along with Jerry Lawler beat up Scott Putski last Saturday on Shotgun, snaps one in half. This week, though, he demonstrates even more dastardly tactics by picking up one of Walsh’s flag and eating it! (Or at least he tries to, but he doesn’t swallow. And yes, I know there’s a cheap joke about “swallowing” to be made about Too Sexy, so I might as well say it: Canadian flags are harder to swallow than Jerry Lawler’s denials that Brian Christopher is his son). Christopher keeps that flag in his match for an entire minute before he gets to take a breather. After some back-and-forth, Brian hits Bryan with a reverse DDT from the second rope, a Devastating Maneuver that is followed by a flying leg drop and a pinfall.

The Truth Commission, who have already appeared on Shotgun, will appear next week on Raw for the first time. Logically, the South African military faction should feud with the Nation of Domination. Up next, though, is “The Dude Love Story”.

A replay airs of the house giveaway from the first In Your House in 1995. What’s better than a house? A million dollars! And what’s significantly lamer than a million dollars? A 1-in-100 shot at winning a million dollars, which is what this year’s Million Dollar Chance is offering. Fans chant for Sable, who shows off some of the cash while a jealous Marc Mero stands by.Vince McMahon narrates the Mankind interview footage and other clips from recent weeks. For years, says McMahon, Mick Foley shelved the “Dude Love” persona due to his “less than Herculean physique”. There’s nothing new to see, but Nitro’s not on tonight, so Raw gets to take a breather. After the segment, a fan holds a sign reading, “America Disrespects Canada”. Can they show that on TV? In pre-recorded comments, Austin says Foley proved he can get the job done, but he doesn’t want a tag team partner. The good news for Stone Cold is that in two weeks, he won’t have to team with Dude Love anymore.It’s July, and you know what that means! Time to buy a calendar. In this case, it’s an 18-month WWF calendar, covering July 1997 (which is almost over) to December 1998. Various familiar faces from WWF commercials preview the calendar, including George and Adam, who ogle the September photo. I assume they’re looking at Sable for September ’97, because September ’98 is Vader spread-eagle doing a Vader Bomb.

For the New York market, Dok Hendrix runs down the Summerslam card, including the Intercontinental title match where, if Steve Austin doesn’t win, “he’ll put a liplock on Owen’s booty”. Mankind will face Hunter Hearst Helmsley in a steel cage match, which has still not been mentioned on Raw.A replay airs of the Godwinns’ attack on LOD last week. In comments recorded after War Zone, Animal is irate, saying they broke Henry Godwinn’s neck fair and square, not with a sneak attack. Hawk says the Legion of Doom have been beaten up in all sorts of ways, but they’re “still stinkin’ here”.The Godwinns arrive for the triple threat tag match, with the winner receiving a tag team title shot next week. They have new banjo music (opening with the squeal of a pig) to replace their “Don’t Go Messin’ With A Country Boy”. At least it’s better than the banjo music WWE dubs over their old theme. Hillbilly Jim is gone, too. Don’t worry, though; he still has his action figure money. The Godwinns, says McMahon, “have become very, very mean”. In this match, there will be three men in the ring, and a wrestlers can only tag his own partner. “It’s going to be extremely difficult for an individual to win this match-up”, says Vince. Or for a team, for that matter. McMahon wonders whether the LOD are rooting for the Godwinns in this match, as there’s a chance their Summerslam match will turn into a title match. That’s much better odds than the Million Dollar Chance. Jerry Lawler asks and receives permission to complain about Canada some more, then rails against the 15% sales tax as an unfair trade-off for free healthcare. Also, the people in Halifax are so poor that a taxi driver will sell you his car for $50.As with most early triple threat matches that were worked worked semi-realistically, this one is chaotic and hard to follow. Ross says this type of match is perpetual motion, which Lawler compares to Jim’s mouth. Vince chuckles, but JR takes exception. Hey, there are much worse match types to compare to one’s mouth (a 20-man battle royale, for instance). The Headbangers attempt a double team on Bradshaw, who reverses it, causing Thrasher to leg-drop Mosh instead. Phineas hits Windham with an empty bucket, allowing Henry to pick up the pin.Advertising the WWF Superstar Line, Jim Ross wonders whether Sycho Sid has wrestled his last match. The answer: Of course not. He’d be back 15 years later to beat Heath Slater. Jerry Lawler, on the other hand, is more concerned with some troubling headlines coming out of Canada, including one about a ferry boat.

Too much mud, and not enough sties! It’s time for War Zone, which Vince McMahon erroneously claims will be kicked off by the flag match. Instead, Jim Ross welcomes Shawn Michaels . The fans, one of whom holds a sign of the Hart Foundation urinating on a giant American flag, boo Shawn as he struts shirtless to the ring. Michaels, who is still nursing his knee injury, backflips off the top rope in his loafers. Soaking in the boos (that’s b-o-o-s, boos), HBK gives an air crotch chop, then brings up that ferry story Lawler was talking about. Shawn has the story backwards, saying that the US just freed Canadian ferries when in fact it is Michaels says he’ll be in tonight’s flag match (that’s f-l-a-g, flag), but that’s not his blockbuster announcement. His blockbuster announcement is that WWF officials [looks at Vince] have named him the special referee for the main event at Summerslam. But, if he’s biased against Bret Hart, HBK himself will be banned from wrestling in the US again. That sounds like a big deal, but Shawn’s next two title victories come outside the US. Shawn says that if he’s banned from wrestling in America, he’ll have to move to Canada and wrestle in front of the Canadian crowd every day for the rest of his life, which draws more boos. As his music plays, Shawn dances and reaches down his shorts, at which point the production truck displays the main event’s match graphic.We hear more comments from Nova Scotians, one of whom hasn’t liked America since they beat Canada in hockey (which was last year at the 1996 World Cup of Ice Hockey). Another Canadian fan says something, but I’m too distracted by the silhouette of a well-endowed fat man in a hat that he’s got painted on his face.

This week’s Discovery Zone Rewind is the announcement Shawn made a few minutes ago. It’s now time for the fourth and final clue for Discovery Zone’s Summerslam Million Dollar Chance. In the video, three women in bikinis attend to Director of WWF TV Kerwin Silfies, who reveals the last clue: “Of Luxury”. The four clues therefore make the following sentence: The Key 2A Life Of Luxury, which he and Vince spells out in case the fans weren’t watching the past three weeks.

Hunter Hearst Helmsley faces the debuting Patriot, who will face a hostile crowd in Canada tonight. The Patriot says he values the love of any country, but says you shouldn’t “blind yourself to the actions of some of those that live in it”, referring to Hart Foundation.The Patriot enters to Lex Luger’s old theme (which Wikipedia says is something called, “Stars & Stripes Forever”). Naturally, the fans boo him and instead cheer for Hunter Hearst Helmsley (who uses a version of the Suddenly Susan theme) by default. Helmsley faces Mankind in a cage match at Summerslam, says Ross. Vince wonders whether The Patriot would be better received if he were to debut next week in Pittsburgh; McMahon would not apply this lesson to his re-launch of WCW in Spokane instead of Atlanta in 2001. Bret Hart comes to ringside with Owen and Davey to yell at Vince McMahon about Shawn’s referee gig. Hart, who does not have a mic, accuses Vince of “swerving” him, then slaps the headset off his boss. The Hart Foundation holds Bret back, but he then grabs McMahon, knocking over a cameraman in the process. To his credit, Vince has studied up on his hockey and pulled Bret’s shirt over his head. The Patriot intervenes, prompting the Hart Foundation to stomp him at ringside and cause a DQ.

The announcers are at a loss for words when War Zone returns. Backstage, Paul Bearer presents his proof that Kane is still alive: half of a Grim Reaper statuette that the future Brothers of Destruction split as children. When Jim Ross expresses doubt and wants to see Kane in person, Bearer tells him to shut up, but vows to show Kane to the world if he has to.Faarooq (with Kama Mustafa) arrives to a mostly negative reaction, although there are Nation sympathizers in the audience giving the salute. Goldust and Marlena, on the other hand, are cheered. In pre-recorded comments, Goldust asks Marlena to pick out a dress for Brian Pillman, while Marlena implies that Pillman has a small penis. Vince McMahon gets his headset working again and reiterates that Shawn Michaels is contractually bound to be unbiased as a referee. McMahon thinks Bret didn’t hear Shawn’s interview. See what happens when you don’t Raw? Not only do you miss your chance to win a million dollars, but you might end up assaulting your boss. “Oh no,” says a dejected McMahon before leaving the announce table. Jim Ross relays a message from the back: Bret Hart has injured Shawn Michaels in the locker room.Faarooq grounds Goldust, then grinds over him, swiveling his hips in mockery of the Bizarre One. Goldust mounts a comeback but is then pulled out of the ring and beaten by Kama. Marlena then gets the referee’s attention and points out the interference; Jimmy Korderas looks but does nothing. An eternity later, Faarooq hits the Dominator and covers Goldust, but the referee turns around and belatedly disqualifies Faarooq. Goldust, who just took an unnecessarily long beating that could have been stopped by the ref at any time, raises his arms in victory.

Backstage, Shawn Michaels is tended to by Vince and the stooges. He calls McMahon an idiot for letting this happen. Although they don’t know whom besides Stone Cold they’ll be facing, the Hart Foundation come to the ring for the main event. While the Canadian national anthem plays, Bulldog holds up the American flag-pissing sign, as is protocol. Jim Ross stands for the anthem over Lawler’s objections. Proving that Canadians aren’t all Celine Dions and Robert Goulets, the crowd sings along poorly. Austin enters, followed by Dude Love. They start the match two-on-three. Jerry Lawler would join him, but he’s a broadcast journalist. Owen Hart tries to capture the Canadian flag, but Stone Cold knocks him off the top rope and to the floor. As War Zone goes to commercial break, the crowd is surprised by the Undertaker’s dong.

As the show returns from break, Davey Boy covers Dude Love, which of course does not count in a flag match. The Undertaker’s presence in the match means that all five champions in the WWF are present in this match. However, the Dead Man clearly hasn’t had time to mentally prepare for this match, as evidenced by his attempted pin on Owen after hitting a chokeslam. But what’s Davey Boy’s excuse? Austin tags in, grounds Owen with a chinlock, then drags him to the Americans’ corner. Lawler and Ross are concerned about the time remaining on the broadcast, but JR says they’ll stay with the match until there is a winner. Lawler is concerned about War Zone eating into “the other programming”, but I imagine La Femma Nikita is a re-run tonight. The Dude tags in; Owen slides through his legs and goes for the flag, but Dude Love hits him in the groin.A text-crawl informs La Femme Nikita fans to stay tuned, as the show will air in ten minutes. Although USA will stick with the match until there is a winner (or until 10:10 PM), they also need to pay the bills, so War Zone takes a commercial break.

When the show returns, USA’s Peta Wilson countdown is down to just five minutes. Austin ducks an enzuigiri and tries to put Owen in the Sharpshooter. Owen tags in Bret, who tries to put Austin in a ring-post figure four before Dude Love bails him out. Undertaker tags in and takes on Bulldog, who is somehow the legal man now. Bret replaces Davey and does the double-clothesline spot with Taker. The Dead Man tries to climb the turnbuckles but is delayed by Owen. Taker and Bret then race to grab their respective flags; Brian Pillman shows up from under the ring to attack Undertaker, allowing Bret to win the match for the Anglo-Canadian contingent.

Final Tally:

1 Maneuver (Year total: 91)

Discuss This Crap!