WWF RAW September 8th, 1997 — Cincinnati Gardens — Cincinnati, OH
It’s the night after Ground Zero, and Raw opens with a montage of stills from the pay-per-view. Last night, Brian Pillman beat Goldust to make Marlena his sex slave for 30 days, Steve Austin stunned Owen Hart and helped the Head Bangers win the tag team titles…
…Bret Hart beat The Patriot and choked him out with the American flag, and the referee threw out the Shawn Michaels-Undertaker match after too many of his colleagues got beaten up. Princess Diana died during the time since the last Raw, so I shudder to think what Jerry Lawler has to say about it. Vince McMahon introduces Commissioner Slaughter, who Jerry Lawler claims is as popular as Marge Schott, the racist owner of the Cincinnati Reds. Schott once kicked Randy Savage off commentary at a Reds game, which might explain why the WWF brought up her name at every opportunity. At least Slaughter, unlike Schott, gets a special Commissioner’s Seal. He calls Ground Zero, “three hours of complete, uncontrollable chaos”. That sounds worse than anything he ever saw in Vietnam. He insists, to the crowd’s dismay, that there will be law and order whether the “WW officials” or fans like it or not. For example, Steve Austin, who stunned Jim Ross and Owen Hart last night despite being medically suspended since Friday, is now medically suspended (again).Slaughter also announces a tournament, starting tonight to crown a new Intercontinental champion; it will “commence” at Badd Blood 1997, because Slaughter doesn’t know what “commence” means. Austin will have to forfeit the title in person that night, meaning that Sarge trusts him to keep the belt safe for another month and refrain from stunning the new champion. Austin comes to the ring with the belt, which he chucks into the ring and leaves on the canvas while posing on the turnbuckles. Stone Cold picks up the belt and calls Slaughter a jackass. “You sit here and you say, ‘That’s an order’, ‘This is an order’, ‘That’s an order’”, says Austin, despite the fact that the Commissioner is clearly standing. Stone Cold drops his belt again and gives Slaughter the Stunner before doing push-ups and sit-ups in the middle of the ring. Is this a demonstration that he is healthy enough to wrestle again, or is he about to form The New Body Donnas with Sunny and Brakus? Austin leaves his belt in the center of the ring as Vince McMahon and other officials scold him.
Stone Cold teases a Stunner on his own boss, which obviously doesn’t happen. He then steals McMahon’s spot at the commentary table, where fans immediately put their hands on his shoulders and neck. Maybe he does belong on the announce team; he has already shown more composure than Bobby Heenan in WCW. Austin walks out with the Intercontinental belt, which no one even attempted to confiscate despite several clear opportunities.
The Discovery Zone Rewind this week is The Undertaker’s dive over the ropes last night onto Shawn Michaels and the heel locker room (including The Sultan in his mask and a track suit, and Rocky Maivia in his favorite striped polo shirt). He was caught by fellow BSK members The Godwinns and Kama.
The announcers speak over the PA condemning Steve Austin’s actions, which draw cheers from the crowd. Backstage, officials expel Stone Cold from the building.Speaking to the television audience, they narrate replays of Friday Night’s Main Event, where Vader and Bret Hart had several skirmishes. Right now, the two men have a no-holds-barred FNME rematch for the WWF title, while at Badd Blood, Bret & Bulldog will face Vader & The Patriot in a tag team flag match (or flag tag, for short). Judging by last night’s title match, where The Patriot put Bret in the Sharpshooter, then Bret reversed and made Patriot submit before choking him out with an American flag, you’d think The Patriot was done with the WWF.Hart comes to the ring and rags on Cincinnati over Pete Rose. He then calls Vader, “a big, fat, huge piece of human excrement”, which Vader himself would admit in a post-match interview the following year. Vader comes to the ring and immediately gets clocked with the title belt. Vince and JR can’t agree on whether Vader is a mastodon or a buffalo before the big man uses the belt himself. He then snaps the Canadian flag over his knee in two tries. Outside the ring, Hitman throws Vader into the steps and smashes them over his back, but Vader is soon back on his feet. The British Bulldog, who could legally interfere at any moment in this no-holds-barred match, stands on stage as Raw cuts to commercial.
Bulldog, lacking the acumen of a Phineas Godwinn, remains on stage when Raw returns. Vader corners Bret, who counters with a kick to the groin, a Legal Maneuver (#1) according to the rules. Lady Luck has been riding on The Hitman’s shoulders recently, says McMahon, “notwithstanding his extraordinary ability”. Vince plugs the upcoming One Night Only event, which he calls, “the first pay-per-view in the United Kingdom”. Between this and the “first-ever” Fatal Four-Way for the tag titles, it’s as if McMahon has wiped all memory of an event called Summerslam from his mind.Vader powerbombs Bret, then attempts a Self-Titled Bomb in the corner. Finally, Davey Boy runs to the ring to interfere, preventing Vader from hitting the finisher. Davey and Bret double-team the challenger until the Patriot evens the sides. “The pesky Owen Hart” then blindsides The Patriot to turn the numbers game in the Hart Foundation’s favor once again. Bret hits Vader and The Patriot in the back with a chair. Owen and the Hart Foundation try to piledrive Patriot onto a chair, but Steve Austin rushes to the ring and chopblocks Bret to put the kibosh on the move. Austin starts pounding Owen, who grasps the ring skirt as Stone Cold drags him across the ring. Owen tries an enzuigiri on Austin, who ducks. Austin runs off all three Hart family members with a chair. The no-holds-barred match ends without a winner as Vince McMahon, forgetting he owns the company, concedes that Steve Austin is going to be in the arena all night after all.Commissioner Slaughter, still feeling the effects of the Stunner, nurses his neck with a cold pack backstage.
The announcers recap last night’s Fatal Four-Way tag match, in which the Head Bangers won their first (and last) WWF tag team title (excluding the Jerry Lawler mocks the Head Bangers’ skirts (or “dresses”). “Almost as silly as grown men wearing crowns”, quips Ross. McMahon refers to the tag team champions as “Marilyn Manson aficionados”, prompting Lawler to ask if he’s a Marilyn Manson fan. Vince responds that he likes, “The Beautiful People” (so much so that for a few weeks he used it as Raw is War’s theme, possibly without permission according to a The Godwinns then save the mystery man from the security guards and introduce him to Jim Ross as a member of their clan (with a c), Uncle Cletus Godwinn. In fact, it is the Dirty White Boy, known to WWF viewers as TL Hopper. Noticeably shorter than his nephews, he is clearly not a blood relative — it’s not like there’s a whole lot of diversity in the Godwinn gene pool. Vince is none too thrilled with the addition of another Godwinn. On a replay, Vince notes that Cletus, who ran in after Mosh’s Maneuver (#2), has a weapon in his hand — a horseshoe, in fact. The Godwinns leave without the belts, presumably because, as there was no contract for the match, the titles were not on the line. Yokozuna and Mr. Fuji would like a word. Raw next week is at Landover, Maryland’s USAir Arena (USAir being a major American airline back when there were more than, like, four of them). Later tonight, The Patriot, Hunter Hearst Helmsley, and The British Bulldog will square off (triangle off?) in a Triple Threat Match. Like last night’s Savio-Crush-Faarooq match, one man will stand victorious, one will suffer defeat, and the other will just be kind of… around, I guess.Also, Dude Love competes in an IC tournament match against Brian Pillman, with his trafficking victim Marlena, which is disgusting — it sounds as if Pillman won’t be honoring his commitment to wrestle in a dress, despite having yet to win on Monday Night Raw. Again, disgusting.
Stills air of last night’s Goldust-Pillman match, dubbed, “The Indecent Proposal Match” after the Robert Redford movie. They wouldn’t put a bad idea in a film; they’d get sued! Pillman won the match after a mishap with Marlena’s purse, granting him unlimited access to Marlena for 30 days. One can’t overstate how much of a nightmare this is for not only Marlena, but Goldust and their daughter.Anyway, here’s Sunny to pop the crowd and dance to “I Know You Want Me”! Sunny brags that she’ll be in the men’s locker room tonight, right by the showers (for interviews). Vince chuckles. But first, she has to introduce the next match. Out first is Dude Love, whom Sunny calls, “so cool” in the same voice as Elaine Benes suggesting her boyfriend change his name to Deion. Sunny and The Dude do The Bump. In the ring, Dude Love calls Brian Pillman a “nutty, wacky, far-out cat” and says he’ll need moral support for tonight’s match. Goldust arrives with a half-painted face to be in Mick’s corner. Tony Chimel, not Sunny, introduces Pillman and Marlena; if it were Sable being trafficked, Sunny would have gladly done the introduction herself. But Pillman isn’t in the building; he calls in from home and says he won’t wrestle without a guarantee of safety. And there’s no safer place to spend Monday Night Raw than Brian Pillman’s suburban Cincinnati home. He also claims exhaustion from all the sex with Marlena. I take it he’s no longer living with Melanie.Instead of a wrestling match, Pillman presents a home video called his “X-Files”, which doesn’t match the title on the official WWF graphic. Pillman appears in his hotel room smoking a cigar and wearing a towel. Despite the nickname, “Loose Cannon”, Pillman is actually wearing briefs under his towel. He says Marlena is an “animal” in bed who “[bleep] awfully good” (I don’t know for sure what word was censored, but it’s possible he said, “has sexual relations” really quickly). Brian then takes a tour of the hotel room, where furniture and women’s lingerie are strewn about. He also promises a part two, which will be live. Jerry Lawler is giddy, but Vince McMahon is solemn. Don’t give the boss any credit, though; his organization won’t even award the tag team titles to the Godwinns without the proper paper work, but was fine with writing sex slavery into a wrestling contract.
Too much flood, and not enough dry! It’s time for the War Zone, “the greatest fan participation event on television today”. The second hour begins with minis action. Piratita Morgan, a mini version of Pirata Morgan, takes on the 83-pound Max Mini, “the world’s smallest athlete”. I guess they don’t count Little League. Last night, Max Mini defeated El Torito (but not the one who would beat Hornswoggle in the WeeLC match). Max takes down Piratita, whom the announcers keep calling, “Parita”, with a head scissors followed by an Asai moonsault to the floor. The King is worried that his crown might fall off the monitor during the action and threatens to step on either wrestler. Max Mini moves so fast, says Lawler, it’s like he’s been shot out of a cap gun. “You used that line last night, Henny”, says JR. Vince praises the “WWF minis”, although Piratita wrestled on Nitro less than a year ago and isn’t under contract with the Federation. The only time the action slows down is when Piratita runs from one corner to the other, having to cover a distance of 28 feet; this match would be much better suited for the tiny ring they used on the early Shotgun episodes. A fan facing the hard cam holds a sign reading, “Taz: 4 foot 2”. Could he be Max Mini’s next opponent? Max hits a flying dropkick off the top rope (the equivalent of a ten foot drop), then rolls up Piratita with La Magistral for the victory.Vince McMahon asks Jim Ross about the “most unique match” between Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker at the upcoming Badd Blood pay-per-view. It’s called, “Hell in a Cell” (or Cell Hell, for short). In a first for the WWF, this cage will have a top (The following year, the WWF would do one better by hosting a bikini contest without a top). The WWF feels this is the only way to resolve the feud once and for all, but, more importantly for Hell in a Cell matches after 2008, it will take place on an October pay-per-view. Vince McMahon elaborates: “Drastic, uh, situations… deserve…” “Drastic measures?” suggests Jerry. “That’s what I was trying to say”, says Vince. It’s a tautology, anyway.The Undertaker makes his entrance for an interview with Vince McMahon. He (The Undertaker) says he won’t rest until the flesh rots from Shawn’s bones. The camera zooms in on one of Taker’s eyes for a really long time. Is this foreshadowing the debut of Kane, who famously (or not-so-famously) was missing an eye? Shawn Michaels appears on the Tron and calls himself a survivor. “And at Hell in the Cell [sic]”, says Michaels, “I will survive.” Undertaker tells him that at Hell in the Cell [sic], Shawn will rest in peace.
In the Hart Foundation’s locker room, Sunny is with Owen Hart (whom she never slept with), Bret Hart (whom she probably never slept with), and Davey Boy Smith. Owen isn’t concerned about Stone Cold still being in the arena and says he will “kick Goldust’s ass” tonight in their tournament match. The tournament bracket appears on screen, indicating that Brian Pillman’s refusal to leave his hotel room has not been ruled a forfeit.Owen Hart arrives with the Hart Foundation for his tournament match; Goldust presses X to skip his entrance and attack a still-jacketed Owen from behind. Hart tries to crawl up the entrance ramp before being dragged back down by his foot. That’s the second time tonight Owen has used a variation of this spot. Goldust punches Bulldog off the apron, but amid the distraction, Owen punches Goldust in the groin while the production truck cuts to a reaction shot from Bret. To illustrate Goldust’s state of mind to viewers at home, McMahon asks them to imagine losing their wife for thirty days to “a competitor of some sort”. Oh, now I understand perfectly! Jerry Lawler continues to find humor in the situation, stealing a Rodney Dangerfield joke about talking during sex.Even though Owen Hart has been in control for minutes now, he has yet to remove his jacket. He loses his opportunity when Goldust goes on the offensive again, dropping Owen on his crotch with an inverted atomic drop, then, fearing that was too subtle, uppercuts his groin in plain view of the referee. A series of wishbone-style punches to Owen’s junk finally crosses the line, leading the referee to disqualify Dustin. The rest of the Hart Foundation (minus Anvil, who’s been missing for weeks, and Pillman, who’s… you know) gang up on Goldust. The beatdown is apparently so ruthless that Kevin Dunn switches camera angles; fans are treated to a shaky shot of the steps and crowd as the camera man steps onto the apron. Steve Austin arrives with a broom to break up the proceedings, then points it at Vince. McMahon refuses to get in the ring, so Stone Cold sweeps up a bit, throws the broom at him, and exits through the crowd.
Brian Pillman calls in again and shows Goldust and the whole arena his “X-Files”, as he calls them. Its official name is “Brian Pillman’s XXX Files”, as X-Files is already trademarked (as are, presumably, Triple-XFiles and XXX-Files, though I’m not Googling it). This time, Pillman films outside Terri’s shower.Backstage, the Hart Foundation mean-mugs for the camera. “Look at those kissers, if you would”, says Vince. Owen gives the goofiest smile when Vince mentions his advancement in the tournament; for a guy who had just been hit in the testicles half a dozen times, he is certainly in good spirits. We see a replay of Austin running in with the broom; at first, this seems to be the wrong footage, but Vince speaks as if Stone Cold’s interference is what got Goldust disqualified (and not the many nut shots he gave Owen). Doesn’t Vince find it odd that Owen’s “unceremonious advancement” came right after he, Bret, and Davey were triple-teaming Goldust? Bret calls Austin a hyena twice, for old time’s sake, and calls on Commissioner Slaughter to suspend him even harder than he did tonight and Friday. Apropos of nothing, the Bulldog plugs his match with Shawn Michaels at One Night Only.
Jim Ross promotes the WWF Superstar Line, promising a recording of a telephone call made last night from Brian Pillman’s car phone. That’s right, a third dirty phone call from the Loose Cannon, just in case fans weren’t satisfied with the two that aired tonight. Remember, you must be 18 years or have your parents’ permission when calling. And if you’re not 18, what a conversation with mom and dad that will be!Savio Vega comes to the ring without his Boricuas for some commentary — but Vince isn’t exactly sure which announce table he’ll choose. Despite greeting Carlos and Tito as usual, Vega settles on the English table. Having pinned Crush last night in a match also involving Faarooq, Savio is something of an expert on pointless Triple Threat matches. Savio calls The Patriot, whose attempt to beat the Hitman with his own finisher backfired horribly, a loser. The Bulldog starts walking to the ring, but HBK and Hunter Hearst Helmsley jump him from behind. With help from Chyna, Shawn and Hunter smash Davey repeatedly with a chair as fans cheer. Shawn seeks to win his third title off the Bulldog later this month. “¡Este perro no vuelve a ladrar más!” laughs Vega.
When Raw returns, the British Bulldog has been medically eliminated from the Triple Threat match before it even starts. Before a first-ever Double Threat match can begin between Hunter and The Patriot, Savio inserts himself into the bout. Vince calls Savio “the Triple Threat champion” for his victory last night; this title is of course unofficial, unlike the X Division title that could only be defended in three-way matches during Hogan and Bischoff’s tenure in TNA.
The Patriot and The Boricua double-team Helmsley rather well, but Vince warns that the alliance will fall apart as soon as either man attempts a pinfall (or brings up the question of statehood, for that matter). The cooperation ends when Hunter ducks a Patriot clothesline and elbows Savio with a Nice Maneuver (#3); Patriot clotheslines Hunter but is knocked down by a Savio savate kick.Vince McMahon starts discussing Stone Cold, reiterating that he has been suspended for his own good; Jerry Lawler sees this as an opening to randomly bash Bill Clinton. “The government thinks they know how you should run your life better than you do!” he elaborates. At least it’s not the night before a presidential election (yet).In the ring, Helmsley executes his patented miss-by-a-mile knee drop on The Patriot, before a series of inverted atomic drops leave Savio and Hunter clutching their respective testes. Raw cuts to commercial with Shawn Michaels “strutting” (really, just sauntering) down to the ring.The show returns while Michaels is in mid-sentence. Now on commentary, Shawn Michaels explains that, while Slaughter is indisposed, he’s taking it upon himself to enforce the rules. Savio hits Kwang’s patented spinning heel kick in the corner to the outside on Hunter, which leaves Hunter open for a cover. Savio and Patriot take turns breaking up each other’s pins as the announcers ignore the action altogether. Shawn explains that he was simply being proactive in his attack on the Bulldog, his One Night Only opponent. He also claims to really run things in the WWF, bragging that he is “so far up [Vince’s] hiney”.
Fans boo, growing weary of the rather aimless action in the ring. I suppose it’s dawning on them that this is the main event. The Patriot hits the Uncle Slam on Helmsley, garnering no pop, but Savio Vega’s break-up of the subsequent pin draws even more boos from fans wanting the match to end already. “¿Dónde está casa de Pepe?” asks Shawn repeatedly, showing off the extent of the Spanish he learned growing up in San Antonio.The Patriot leads a Human Centipede-like chain of head scissor holds. Vince is apologetic, either because this match is heading to a commercial or because it’s coming back. “Unfortunately, stay with us ladies and gentlemen,” says Vince. “We will return with the conclusion of the Triple Threat match-up…”During the break, Chyna said something to Savio Vega, possibly in Spanish, then slapped him (possibly in Spanish, as well). The crowd chants “Boring!” so loud, it sounds like it’s being pumped in over the PA. Helmsley, taking exception, gives crotch chops to two fans in particular. D-Generation X is nigh.On commentary, Shawn explains that the reason he ambushed and double-teamed the Bulldog was because he’s a bad guy now. Maybe so, but if he superkicked someone right now and managed to end this match, it would be an instant face-turn.The boos and “Boring” chants persist as the finishing sequence is finally activated: Helmsley attempts a Pedigree on Patriot, but Savio interrupts, attempting a spinning heel kick that ends up hitting the referee. The Patriot covers Helmsley off a back body drop, but he can’t win the match due to there being no referee (and because no one wins with a back body drop). Helmsley tries the Pedigree on Vega, who reverses it into a slingshot. With under two minutes remaining in the broadcast, Vince manages to sneak in one last “What a Maneuver!” (#4) for Savio’s sake.The slingshot sends Helmsley into the Patriot, who gets crotched on the top rope. After Michaels distracts Savio, Helmsley attempts a third Pedigree, which is again reversed with a back body drop. Hunter pulls Savio by the waistband into the corner, where he knocks noggins with Patriot. If this finish sounds exciting, I apologize. Helmsley schoolboys a knocked-out Savio to bring this match to a merciful end… but only after a loooong count by the referee, who has just awoken. At last, Helmsley has vanquished his arch rival, Savio Vega.Hunter, Shawn, and Chyna hole up in the ring with chairs to fend off the arriving Boricuas and Vader. Shawn taunts Vader by mimicking his crab-like Vader Shuffle before the Hart Foundation step onto the stage. The show goes off the air before the crowd can boo any louder.
4 Maneuvers (Year total: 110)