WWF RAW September 15th, 1997 (taped September 9th) – Worthen Arena – Muncie, IN
Raw is War opens with replays of Austin’s stunners to Jim Ross and Commissioner Slaughter. Too much guards, and not enough spies! We are in Muncie, Indiana… but not live, as this show was taped the day after last week’s Raw. This would be standard practice for the next few years. Vince McMahon is “on assignment” and not at the announce desk tonight, meaning no Maneuvers this evening. In other news, a fan asks Chyna to “marrie” him via a sign.
Ken Shamrock faces Faarooq in an Intercontinental tournament match, gaining an early advantage with a flurry of kicks. Faarooq finally turns it around with a spinebuster. Shamrock starts bleeding from the mouth due to his patented Internal Injuries™, but the human juice box fights through, pinning Faarooq with a belly-to-belly. The Nation leader retaliates with a post-match Dominator. The rest of the faction rushes to the ring to join in the beatdown but are fought off by the LOD. The Road Warriors and Shamrock face the NOD in a six-man tag at Badd Blood.
Later tonight, Dude Love faces Brian Pillman, pictured chocking Marlena, in another IC tournament match. To prevent Goldust from attempting to rescue his wife from sex slavery, Commissioner Slaughter has banned him from the arena. Speaking of not in the arena, Lawler thinks Vince McMahon has no-showed because he’s afraid of Steve Austin.
Backstage, Steve Austin says he’s there to whip everybody’s ass. Can he say that on TV? He’s also indifferent to Owen Hart’s “big surprise” promised for tonight. Lawler points to Stone Cold’s “cordial” responses as evidence of the King’s superiority as an interviewer.
El Pantera, Spanish for the male panther, takes on Taka Michinoku in Light Heavyweight action. Lawler is in denial that Taka beat his good friend Brian Christopher. Taka has a cheering section in the front row; even after the man in the catsuit performs a senton to the outside, they still give him the old corte de manga. Taka topples Pantera with a top rope crossbody to the outside, and in Vince’s absence, Jim Ross fills the void with Maneuvers. Later, Pantera takes down Taka with a Stratusphere years before Trish (and in more revealing tights). Jerry Lawler, as a less than objective commentator, declares victory for Pantera at the count of one following a huracanrana rollup, then celebrates Scott Putski’s injury at the hands of Biain Christopher. Taka kicks out of a Magistral cradle at the count of 2.999 and later hits the Michinoku Driver for the victory (although Pantera tries to kick out at one).
The Truth Commission is backstage, where The Commandant cuts a promo on the LOD. The cameras zoom in on The Interrogator (Kurrgan), although he won’t be wrestling. In other tag action, Bret Hart and Davey Boy will challenge the Head Bangers for the tag titles.
Hawk and Sniper start out the match, then tag out to James Laurinaitis and Josh Briggs’s respective dads. Interrogator whips Animal into the steps, allowing the Commission to isolate him. Ross notes that the Truth Commission “allegedly hails from South Africa” (in fact, only their manager does; the rest are from the US and Canada). Hawk gets a hot tag, powerslams Recon, and moves out of the way when Sniper tries to drop an elbow. The LOD then put Recon (Bull Buchanan) in what Jim Ross calls, the “Devastation Device”. Jim Ross declares the end of the Truth Commission’s winning streak (though none of those wins have ever aired before midnight). However, the Interrogator breaks up the pin, drawing a disqualification. Ken Shamrock evens up the sides in a post-match brawl, though the giant Interrogator won’t go down. The Nation of Domination then enters the fray, joining forces with the Truth Commission, “if you can believe that”, adds Ross. Since both teams are heels, I assume he’s referring to the Black Nationalism/Apartheid divide. Yeah, that is a biggie. Kurrgan deals out the punishment with his big “size 18 foot”, says Lawler, scooping Ross. It’s chaos out here. Time to bring in the Minis!
Sunny is out to introduce the Minis. She gets her own special chyron, plus a marriage proposal from one fan. And “marry” is even spelled correctly! El Torito and Piratita Morgan take on the tecniquitos Max Mini and Mr. Lucky (“Mascarita Sagrada” being too hard to pronounce). Max Mini takes advantage of his height to look up Sunny’s minidress.
The match is contested under Mexican rules, where tags are not necessary if a wrestler leaves the ring. Ross even thinks the two teams have switched corners at one point, but it’s not the case. The action is too fast to call, therefore I won’t. However, during one lull in the action, the camera zooms in on a row of shirtless men with the letters “S-U-N-N-Y” written on their backs. This is of course highly impractical, as now they can’t see the match. Max Mini wins with a diving headbutt at the seven-minute mark, making this match nearly twice as long as any other match so far. “Doggone it!” says the King. A dance with Sunny soon puts him in a good mood again. “She’s young enough to be your niece”, says Ross. Or girlfriend. Speaking of deviants, a replay airs of Brian Pillman’s escapades with Marlena.
Dude Love faces Pillman, who is not only not wearing a dress, but has dressed Marlena in a revealing dress of her own. “I miss my baby, I miss my husband”, says Marlena. “I just want to go home.” But Lawler is too horny to feel compassion, instead wondering whether she is wearing undergarments; cameras cut away just before he can find out for sure.
The Dude does the old test-of-strength switcheroo and punches Pillman to kick off the match. Marlena attempts to walk away early on, but Brian chases her down and brings her back to ringside where Lawler can catcall her. Jim Ross notes that the winner of this match faces Owen Hart, meaning Pillman would face his Hart Foundation teammate should he win. Though she is clearly in distress, Lawler claims she’ll have to have her smile surgically removed. Marlena does crack a smile when Dude Love dances the Charleston and beats up Pillman in the corner. The Dude sets up for Sweet Shin Music, but Goldust (in street clothes) runs in to wail on Brian. Pillman whisks Marlena away and celebrates his victory (among other things).
Too much Young, and not enough Cy! It’s time for War Zone, where Jerry Lawler is in the ring to interview “The Rattlesnake”. The King says that he almost needed his smile surgically removed (like Marlena) after Austin stunned JR. He also laughs about Stone Cold’s stunner to Commissioner Slaughter, but he really wants Vince McMahon to get it.
Austin says Owen has hell to pay, which draws the Hart Foundation (sans Pillman) onto the stage. Bret says that in Canada they call people like Austin, “hosers”. “I’ve waited a long time to say that”, he notes, proud of himself. Fed up with Stone Cold’s shenanigans, they send a skinny lawyer in a bad suit to serve him a restraining order. And if he comes within 100 feet of the Harts, his “ass is going behind orders”, says Owen. “And that is exactly where an animal, an animal like you belongs!” An animal such as an ass.
The King reads over Stone Cold’s shoulder, saying that they really took out a restraining order against “Steve Amstin”. Did the judge make a typo? No, Lawler just misspoke. But as he’s leaning over, Amstin (or “Austin”) gives him the stunner. And thus ends Jerry Lawler’s weeklong fandom of Stone Cold.
Jim Cornette fills in for Jerry Lawler, who is backstage in a neck brace and being loaded vertically onto a back board.
Up next is Owen Hart vs. The Patriot, whom Jim Ross calls, South Carolina’s contribution to the World Wrestling Federation”. That sounds like a dig at South Carolina. Cornette points out how much of a doofus The Patriot was for trying to put the Sharpshooter on Bret Hart, having it reversed, and then submitting.
Owen, who faces Brian Pillman next week, locks up with The Patriot. Ross defends an “Owen sucks” chant as free expression. Jim Ross notes that The Patriot and Vader will face Bret Hart and The Bulldog at Badd Blood in a flag match, which Cornette bugs Ross about for not explaining to the fans. “The former Blue Blazer”, as JR calls him, wishbones Del Wilkes as the fans start stirring; Steve Austin is on stage with police officers.
After the break, Austin is gone, but the police remain, having escorted Stone Cold away. All the fans who saw the Austin tease and stayed tuned during the commercial are surely relieved that order has been restored. Jim Cornette notes that Jim Ross’s voice is giving out, blaming the Stunner he took last week. The Patriot telegraphs a back body drop, which Owen unsuccessfully tries to parlay into a piledriver. Owen goes sternum first into the turnbuckle and gets back-suplexed, resulting in a double-down spot. First to his feet is The Patriot, whom Ross calls, “the big Gamecock”. Maybe he should team up with “The Game”, Triple H. And Flash Funk. With The Patriot pummeling Hart, Owen is on “Weird Street”, says Cornette. Yes, “weird”. Owen makes a comeback out of the corner just as Austin makes his own comeback to ringside. Hart does an hilarious double-take when he sees Stone Cold, who tears up the restraining order. I don’t think that act is legally binding, Steve. Regardless, The Patriot rolls up a distracted Owen for the victory. Hart grabs the mic and demands the arrest of Austin, who exits through the crowd.
The announcers promote upcoming WWF events in glamorous big cities like Poughkeepsie, Scranton, and Liberty. Plus there’s a Raw is War being held in some garden, so it will probably be a very small crowd.
Backstage, the cops are still looking for Steve Austin. They open a double door, look inside for two seconds without turning the lights on, and move on.
Jim Cornette wonders about the reception Shawn Michaels will get next week in a “jam-packed” Madison Square Garden. Speaking of jam-packed, HBK is wearing those bike shorts with socks stuffed down there. Last week, he and Hunter attacked Davey Boy Smith because he wants to hold the European title. This would make him the first man to hold all four titles, he explains as a jump cut eliminates any footage of him trying to ram his crotch into Ross’s face. JR, whose voice is back, asks Shawn about his match with the Undertaker at “Hell in the Cell” [sic]. Michaels responds by sticking out his crotch and blaming his heat with Taker on “the powers to be”. Now filmed from the waist up like Elvis, Michaels says that if he goes down, he’s taking everybody with him.
The Undertaker appears on the Titantron, promising to take Shawn’s soul at “Hell in the Cell” [sic]. HBK challenges Taker to come down to the ring and fight him, but this is edited out of the broadcast version, seeing as Taker wasn’t actually in the building at the taping. All that remains is Shawn’s vow to make The Undertaker taste his own blood at “Hell in the Cell” [sic]. As for whom Stone Cold vows to put the Stunner on, you can find out the whole list on the WWF Superstar Line ($1.49/minute, $2.49/minute in Canada).
Bret Hart and Davey Boy Smith, a rare permutation of the Hart Foundation, challenge the Head Bangers for the tag team gold. If Mosh’s manhandling of the Phillie Phanatic at a recent baseball game is any indication, the Foundation doesn’t stand a chance of taking the titles. Speaking of titles, Davey Boy defends his title against Shawn Michaels this Saturday at One Night Only, a key detail that didn’t make it to air in Shawn’s promo tonight.
Thrasher, wearing a Green Day shirt, starts off with Bulldog. Both men tag out to their respective partners, which leads to this rare sentence from Jim Ross: “Mosh actually outwrestling Bret Hart”. Jim Ross’s voice is raspy again, implying that he got sick sometime between last Tuesday’s taping and whenever he recorded this commentary. Mosh works over Bret’s arm, then tags in Thrasher for a flapjack double-team. Jim Cornette puts over The Head Bangers’ newfound effectiveness and thinks the Hart Foundation has underestimated them. Mosh’s boxer shorts have split wide open, but thankfully he is wearing something underneath. Bret and Davey corner Mosh as the War Zone heads to its final break.
Hart and Smith still control the match after the commercial, but the announcers note that they don’t appear to be on the same page. Bulldog hasn’t been smoking crack with Anvil again, has he? Hart misses an elbow smash, then tags Bulldog, allowing Mosh to tag Thrasher. Two-on-two action ensues, and in the mix-up, Bulldog powerslams and pins the wrong Head Banger. Thrasher immediately complains, and the referee orders the match to continue. Bret complains to Earl Hebner, who is never one to screw the Hitman. Outside the ring, Bulldog seizes an American flag from a fan and hits Thrasher with it, costing his team the match and backing up my Anvil Hypothesis. Bret chokes out Mosh with Old Glory until Vader and The Patriot clean house.