WWF RAW August 4th, 1997 — Stabler Arena — Bethlehem, PA
It’s the greatest spectacle in sports-entertainment television, Monday Night Raw! New champion Bret Hart enters with “the entire Hart Foundation” (besides Jim Neidhart). Vince says that Bret will return to Canadian soil tomorrow (meaning, technically, he could still be barred from wrestling in the US if he loses the title tonight).
In the ring, Jim narrates stills from last night’s Summerslam main event, including one of Bret Hart mid-loogie with Shawn Michaels. Audio issues plague the segment, with the Spanish-language commentary track cutting in and out a split-second at a time. As a result, Bret sounds like he is hacking up even more phlegm than he did last night. The Hitman says Shawn Michaels should be banned from wrestling in the US because he showed favoritism towards the Undertaker throughout the match (he even swung a chair at Bret, accidentally hitting The Undertaker and costing the champion the match).
Jim Ross asks Hart for his thoughts on The Patriot. That match is set for In Your House: Ground Zero next month in what is obviously not going to be the main event. The Patriot means nothing to Hart, who also declares that Ken Shamrock won’t get another European title shot against the Bulldog, nor will Brian Pillman wear a dress (despite losing to Goldust).
Owen Hart says he only lost the IC title last night because he showed compassion to Stone Cold, whom he infamously dropped on his head. Owen beat himself, he says (which technically means Austin didn’t beat him and thus should still be forced to kiss Owen’s ass). A replay airs of a rare angle of the piledriver while Owen calls Austin a “crippled freak” who will never wrestle again. He says Stone Cold should just hand him back the IC title (not that it will mean anything, as there’s no way the WWF will survive the year without Austin). To sort out such matters, Jim Ross introduces the new Federation commissioner, Sgt. Slaughter, who enters to the Simon Cowell-produced Wrestlemania theme.Sarge drops a bombshell on Hart, informing him that he’s not really the WWF Champion, as the President Monsoon had already awarded the title to New Jersey governor Christine Todd Whitman earlier in the evening at Summerslam. Nah, I’m just kidding. But Sarge does say that Bret will indeed wrestle The Patriot at Ground Zero, and it will be for the title. “Who did he ever beat to get a title shot?” asks Bret. “You”, says Slaughter. Bret really walked into that one. Moreover, Bulldog will face Ken Shamrock in the near future (He won’t), Brian Pillman will wear a dress tonight, and Owen Hart will face Steve Austin pending a doctor’s approval. Steve Austin then arrives on stage with a neck brace in one hand and a mic in the other to say he’ll face Owen tonight, regardless of what doctors say. Fans interviewed last night after Summerslam agree that The Undertaker was robbed by Shawn Michaels, who hit him with a chair either on purpose or because he’s an idiot. Shawn, pictured with either an exasperated half-smile or a lip full of chew, will explain himself tonight.
At the next pay-per-view, it will be Faarooq vs. Crush vs. Savio Vega in a Triple Threat match where one faction leader will pin another faction leader, letting a third faction leader off the hook by not involving him in the decision. Tonight, though, Ahmed will wrestle Chainz. “Who?” asks Ahmed before making further remarks that are totally unintelligible (because of technical difficulties, of course).Next, Kama faces Ken Shamrock, who last night got a huge ovation. Was it because of his Ahmed-style wedgie? No, he wore an extra pair of trunks underneath. Instead, he was cheered for choking out the British Bulldog, then beating up a bunch of officials. Shamrock bled from the mouth, which would be re-created for the rest of his WWF tenure via blood capsules.
Commissioner Slaughter kicks out the three other Nation members, allowing the Shamrock to take on Kama one-on-one. Vince thinks Kama should take advantage of his “nice, long legs”. The two men circle one another, trying to land kicks; Shamrock kicks Kama in the side with a Nice Maneuver. Shamrock boxes Kama into the corner, but the referee separates them. Kama then whips Shamrock into the other corner and charges at him. “Nobody there!” says Vince as Kama bumps into Shamrock, who is late moving out of the corner. Jerry Lawler wants to know when Commissioner Slaughter will punish Shamrock for assaulting all those referees; McMahon half-heartedly agrees with the King. Vince revives Kama’s old “Supreme Fighting Machine” nickname. The SFM grabs Ken in a wristlock and axe-kicks him in the back of the head, a Devastating Maneuver (#2). Outside of the ring, Shamrock pushes Kama into the ringpost, where the Nation member is suplexed by two of the Boricuas whose names Vince isn’t sure of. “Wait a minute! Boricuas!” says McMahon. Ross identifies them as Miguel (the one with the human hair sweater) and Jesús. They roll Kama back in the ring, where he is belly-to-bellied and pinned by Shamrock. Kama then stands up and starts looking around for the Boricuas, whom he chases through the crowd.Backstage, a camera is stationed outside Brian Pillman’s dressing room. How long has he had a whole dressing room to himself? Tonight, he will wrestle in a dress. Also, a badly-injured Steve Austin will wrestle Owen Hart in a match that they’re definitely not false-advertising to keep viewers away from Nitro.
Brakus, who is coming soon, calls out Hunter Hearts Helmsley in German; Jerry Lawler, unfamiliar with the concept of foreign languages, thinks he talks funny. Speaking of funny, here comes ſunny! Or Sunny, as written in modern script. She’s the guest ring announcer for this next match, meaning she introduces everyone as they come to the ring (except herself; that’s Tony Chimel’s job). Sunny starts by pronouncing Taka Michinoku’s name correctly, something none of the commentators can even do sober. Next up is “Too Sexy” Brian Christopher, who Jerry Lawler thinks is “almost sexier than Sunny”. “He may be sexy,” concedes McMahon, “but can he wrestle?” As the announce team continues to call the Japanese light heavyweight, “Michinoko”, Lawler says he takes pills bigger than Taka. Sunny, however, is not available to lend her expertise on the subject. Vince cuts off Lawler as he starts making jokes about “Orientals”.Brian Christopher takes control after a lot of back-and-forth, hitting Taka with a Rocker Dropper. Christopher very obviously holds Michinoku’s head in place to avoid another Charles Austin incident. After ducking Christopher, Taka jumps to the top rope and planchas onto his opponent on the outside. Christopher recovers from that Maneuver (#3) to suplex Taka crotch-first on the ropes. Brian tries to give Taka the Three Amigos; after the second amigo, Michinoku small-packages Christopher for the victory (although Taka was the one being pinned at the start of the three count). Too Sexy slingshots Taka over the top rope after the match.Backstage, Commissioner Slaughter knocks on Brian Pillman’s locker room. “Here’s your dress”, says Sarge. “Put it on”. Pillman makes some jokes about “Privates”, but Slaughter, unamused, says that Brian will have to wear the dress every night on Raw until he wins a match, or else he’s suspended. Presumably, Pillman would also lose his new private dressing room.
Hunter Hearst Helmsley is set to face Vader this week after last week’s match never officially got underway. Helmsley, whose victory over Ahmed Johnson at King of the Ring was called an upset, is “evenly matched” with Vader in Vince’s estimation.
McMahon has a word with Paul Bearer, who is backstage with his favorite trash can. Bearer says he’s more of a man than Chyna will ever be. “Oh my goodness”, says Vince. Vader, whom Vince calls “the mastodon of the WWF”, and whom Jim Ross calls, “Stinky Vader”, works over Hunter in the corner early on. Soon, the roles are reversed, and Helmsley is stomping a mud hole in Vader. Bearer trips Helmsley, so Chyna dropkicks Bearer into the railing. The King howls. The match itself spills to the outside, where HHH backs Vader up against the ring post, then does the idiot spot where he charges at him but hits the post himself. Hunter then reverses an Irish whip to drive Vader into the ring steps as both men are counted out. Vader, whose two-match winning streak is now over, slams the steps in anger.On the WWF Superstar Line, Jim Ross has news on the Light Heavyweight Division, “international recruiting”, and “no holds barred fighters”, plus info on the Hart Foundation’s celebration last night.
The Sultan, with the Iron Sheik, returns to Raw to take on The Patriot, who is backstage for comments on Bret Hart. Patriot says there is some truth to the Hitman’s criticisms of the United States and says that he’ll be “the first to admit that some things are greatly wrong with this country”. But unlike Bret Hart, The Patriot is doing something about these problems. How? By wrestling. Fortunately, one of the biggest problems facing America today is Bret Hart, so wrestling might be the answer. Bret Hart makes money in the US to provide for his family, yet he criticizes the system, so he’s got to go. Patriot says his win over the Hitman was no fluke, and that his match tonight is a preview of their pay-per-view match. Patriot looks to beat The Sultan, whom he claims, from what he understands, is undefeated. Aside from a bunch of disqualifications and countouts, and televised pinfall losses to Jesse Jammes and Rocky Maivia, he’s right.
The Patriot comes to the ring with Kurt Angle’s music (but with extra dongs) and the American flag. The Sultan waves an Iranian flag with the face of the Ayatollah, who thinks he’s better than America, but when The Patriot responds in kind, Sultan blindsides him. Wilkes fights back with a series of left hands, including one where he winds up by spinning 360 degrees for “even more leverage”. Too bad it’s in the wrong direction.
Jerry Lawler, not a fan of Wilkes, says that patriotism is the last refuge of a scandal, quoting Samuel Johnson by name (he’s the guy from the meme). The Patriot, says McMahon, is “very keen” on such views. Patriot beats The Sultan with a flying shoulder block and a full nelson slam. “Huh?” says King. Bret Hart comes down to the ring with Davey and Owen, whom Slaughter pulls away without Hitman knowing. At ringside, Hart looks around for his back-up, allowing The Patriot to jump him from the ring apron. Referees break up the fight as fans chant “USA”.
Too much guns and not enough knives! It’s time for the War Zone! Vince welcomes the flamboyant but controversial athlete, Shawn Michaels, who does the old strut-and-strip. He receives a lot of boos, but obliges when a woman by the entrance ramp holds a “Kiss Me Shawn” sign. Jim Ross on commentary wants to know why Shawn didn’t stop the match after accidentally striking Taker with the chair. Shawn starts counting on his fingers all the people who blame him for the Bret Hart victory. There’s Vince McMahon (one), The Undertaker (still one), Bret Hart (two), and all of the WWF fans (still two). Michaels slurs his words as he tells Vince to shut up and says he doesn’t give a damn what anyone thinks of him. When asked whether he’s in cahoots with Bret Hart, Shawn calls Vince not just a nimrod, but the “dumbest son of a bitch” he’s ever met; it’s muted on the USA Network, but you can read his lips. Vince cracks a smile but remembers he has to be stern, telling Shawn to finish the interview himself. Michaels, who will face The Undertaker at the next pay-per-view, tells Vince to get his ass out of the ring and that he can “move it or lose it”. We all know how much Vince loves his own ass, so he dutifully moves it. Michaels says in so many words that Bret Hart needs him so he can get his win back, then addresses Taker. Over a chant of “Michaels sucks”, HBK says he lays down for absolutely no one — not Bret Hart, and not The Undertaker (and not Owen Hart & Yokozuna or Dean Douglas or Sid a second time). Shawn tells the fans to go to hell and tells Undertaker he’ll superkick him (which is comparatively less harsh).The Undertaker’s dong stops Shawn Michaels in his tracks, but by the time the Dead Man gets to the ring, Shawn is gone and Vince is in his place. Taker is not here to talk about how he’s mad or bad, but rather to take souls and make people rest in peace — namely Shawn Michaels. Paul Bearer interrupts the murderer’s interview to call him a murderer. Make fun of the fat man all you want, Paul says, but Kane is coming to the WWF. As Taker exits, the ramp is bathed in a mysterious red light.Commercials air for the Summerslam encore on pay-per-view and Walker Texas Ranger, which airs weeknights at 8 pm and which, like La Femme Nikita, is the Cure For The Common Show.
Ahmed Johnson enters to a Nation remix of his old theme music. Backstage, Commissioner Slaughter speaks with a doctor, who has diagnosed Steve Austin with spinal shock syndrome and recommended he not wrestle tonight.
The DOA’s Chainz takes on Ahmed, the man he injured, costing him a title shot and months of his career. Speaking of which, Faarooq is in Ahmed’s corner tonight with the rest of the Nation until the Sarge kicks them out, along with the DOA. “Well, these guys are fighters,” says Ross. “They’re not striking UPS truck drivers.” “What?” says Jerry Lawler, speaking for all of us.Chainz, last seen in the WWF as the fake Undertaker, stands just slightly taller than Ahmed as they go face to face in the ring. Johnson pie-faces Chainz (not literally, although that would bring some much-needed levity to this racially-charged feud). The biker responds with a chop block as Ahmed’s back is turned, immediately disabling Johnson. Jim Ross is impressed with Chainz, calling him “tough as nails”. That’s N-A-I-L-S, nails. They don’t talk about Kevin Wacholz on television.
The crowd is silent until Ahmed levels Chainz with a Michinoku Driver. Johnson then gets up and yells to the announcers. “Everybody’s gonna die?” repeats Ross before calling Ahmed, “incoherent”. Vince isn’t sure what he said, either. With some effort, the hated Ahmed repeats the move on Chainz, whom the fans couldn’t care less about. The Boricuas come to the ring, distracting Ahmed momentarily and allowing Chainz to chop-block his other leg. Riveting. Savio revs up Chainz’z bike, which distracts him, allowing the man from Pearl River to execute his toponymic Plunge for the victory. The Disciples run off Los Boricuas, and the Nation runs to the ring to back up Ahmed. As they salute, they turn on Ahmed, stomping andwhipping him. Gee, his career is going great!
After the break, The Godwinns are already in the ring with a Confederate flag and some dark fiddle music. They face the Head Bangers, who get an entrance. “Hammerin’ Hank” (says JR) faces off against Thrasher first. The two exchange shoulder-blocks and drop-downs until Thrasher takes down HOG with a Nice Maneuver (#4 – drop toehold). Vince McMahon unloads a bombshell on the viewers: Stone Cold Steve Austin, who last night was dropped on his head and temporarily paralyzed, will not be wrestling tonight. Instead, Dude Love will wrestle Owen Hart, but Austin will certainly be around. Jim Ross briefly steers the commentary back to the match going on in the ring, while Vince notes the Head Bangers’ “most unusual ring attire”. He also reminds viewers that Brian Pillman will be up next wearing a dress, although he fails to make he obvious connection between that and the Head Bangers’ skirts. JR says it’s a mistake to make Pillman wrestle in drag because he’s “delicate”, “fragile”, and, realzing those adjectives all make him sound like a wimp, “psychotic”. Mosh rolls Phineas up, O’Connor-style, but the referee’s back is turned, allowing Henry to give the Head Banger a Slop Drop. Phineas reverses the pin to win the match.
Before the break, Goldust and Marlena come to ringside for a close-up view of the Pillman match.
Michael Cole interviews Goldust and Marlena, who are now seated in the front row. Pillman takes forever to come through the current until Sarge drags him out to face Bob Holly. The commentary team’s fashion reviews are brutal, though Jerry Lawler wonders whether Brian is wearing a Wonder Bra. Pillman does the Vito trick and buries his opponent’s head under his dress, which looks like a long t-shirt. Bob Holly retaliates by kicking Pillman right in the groin as the referee momentarily glanced away. He then lifts up Pillman’s dress and spanks him, leading to whistles and catcalls. Goldust and Marlena taunt Pillman with a large bra, drawing him out of the ring for a ten-count. Bob Holly wins (racking up his second victory over the Hart Foundation), so Pillman must wrestle again in a dress next week.
Returning from the break, Vince McMahon is arguing with Bret Hart, who has decided unilaterally to join the broadcast team for commentary. Commissioner Slaughter tells Bret to chill out and be cool, in so many words. Owen Hart, who places his Slammys on the table for safekeeping, shakes Bret’s hand. Lawler thinks Austin should have to give Owen back the Intercontinental title, while Bret thinks Dude Love has no business wearing the Intercontinental belt to the ring. As Vince points out, he isn’t; that’s a tag team belt.Two fans, one of whom is Collette Foley, groove to the Dude’s music and show off their Dude Love tattoos. “They love the Dudeness!” says McMahon. “Dudeness is running wild!” Lawler says he hopes those were only temporary tattoos on “those two broads”, but Vince corrects him: “They happen to be ladies”.Dude Love dazzles the fans with aerial offense by climbing to the top rope and rolling his arms disco-style, then landing on his feet and clotheslining Owen. Backstage, Steve Austin watches on a tiny monitor. Dude mounts Owen in the corner and delivers chops to the shoulder, but Bret Hart nevertheless complains about closed fists from the American.
Vince McMahon calls out the King for sucking up to Bret Hart now that he’s the champion, then asks Bret to explain how he won the title. Bret says he beat The Undertakker despite having to deal with a referee who was “totally and completely bi-assed [sic]”. He means “biased”, as Shawn has only one ass. In fact, in future refereeing gigs, he’d wear shorts so tight there’s no way he could have hid another ass. Bret says repeatedly that he “out-maneuvered” Undertaker, meaning that he’s sucking up to Vince now.
Post-match, Bret checks Owen’s scalp for Slammy-induced injury, while the Dude celebrates with his two groupies. “Wow!” says Vince as the blonde one straddles Dude Love. “Whoa baby!”
4 Maneuvers (Year total: 96)