WWF RAW October 6th, 1997 – Kemper Arena – Kansas City, MO
Vince McMahon opens Raw is War in the ring to announce a ten-bell salute for Brian Pillman, who died the day before. All the WWF Superstars are there, except The Undertaker, Triple H, Chyna, and Shawn Michaels, who felt it would hurt their gimmicks. Jeez, even Marlena is on stage grieving with Goldust, and she’d spent the past month as Pillman’s sex slave.
The soon-to-be-D-Generation-X comes to the ring after Raw’s intro and are greeted with a chorus of boos. Presumably, they’d have gotten cheered had they been on stage for the Pillman tribute. Michael Cole asks HBK his thoughts on last night’s Hell in a Cell match, but Shawn won’t answer until Chyna gives Cole a wedgie. A “sophomoric wedgie”, specifies Vince. Triple H joins in and, with Chyna, lifts Cole about three feet off the ground by his tighty-whiteys. Michaels gloats about beating The Undertaker and declares himself “The Icon That Can Still Go”, presumably in contrast to Hulk Hogan and Roddy Piper. Triple H, taking over for Michael Cole, rattles off a list of questions for Michaels, who responds that the greatest force in the WWF today is “The Clique” (again, they haven’t named themselves D-X yet).
Shawn asks the production truck to show footage from last night’s match. After about a minute, footage finally airs on the Titan Tron, but it’s of the infamous MSG Curtain Call. Shawn and Hunter feign confusion about good guys and bad guys intermingling, while Vince McMahon looks legitimately hurt. They then walk over to the announce desk and taunt Vince. You can tell this is supposed to be a “shoot” because Jerry Lawler looks angry and isn’t joining in on the insults. Vince McMahon says he’s “had enough of this crap” and cues a commercial break.
When Raw returns, Rick Rude is at ringside, while Shawn and Hunter (the latter of whom is *not *pilled out of his mind) continue to berate McMahon. The Hart Foundation’s music plays to interrupt the “most disrespectful diatribe”; Bret calls Michaels the “lowest form of scum”, which HBK sells with mock outrage. “Shawn Michaels”, continues Bret, “you’re nothing but a degenerate.” A confused Hart says he knows what the “HHH stands for in HBK”, because Shawn’s “nothing but a homo”. The crowd cheer. “The guy in the green shirt is nothing but a homo!” continues Bret, before Hunter assures the Hitman, “Oh, I’m no queer!”
Hart refers to Rick Rude and Chyna as “those other two guys”, while Diesel is Shawn’s “other boyfriend” whom Bret ran out of town along with Razor. Bret challenges Hunter, who again feigns shock, to wrestle “The Best There Is, The Best There Was, and The Best There Ever Will Be” tonight. The quick-witted Michaels replies, “Yeah, but do you want him to wrestle *you* tonight?” In fact, his wit is so quick that no one gets the joke, including Bret, so he repeats himself. The Hitman, thinking Shawn wants to wrestle him, says he’ll wait until Survivor Series to kick his “little scrawny ass”, which garners a pop.
The Harts leave the stage, and now it’s Shawn’s turn to speak again. “Is this a debate?” asks a disgusted Jim Ross. Shawn says he has two words for Bret Hart (“Suck it”), but he says it so nonchalantly that no one notices or bleeps him out. The Hitman, says Michaels, only gets to wrestle in the main event when he’s wrestling Shawn. Speaking at 16 rpm, Shawn says the Clique owns the wrestling business, and it will own Bret at Survivor Series. He and Triple H do crotch-crops at the hard cam as Vince segues to a shot inside the late Brian Pillman’s home.
At long last, this segment is over.
The Head Bangers, who lost their tag team titles last night to the Godwinns, seek revenge against the champions in a lumberjack match. It’s non-title. Phineas and Henry, along with Cletus the Slack-Jawed Godwinn, carry belts, buckets, and a raggedy Confederate flag. The feud is so hot that, with both the former and current champions in the ring, the crowd chants, “L-O-D!” Mosh planchas onto the Truth Commission who, along with their new manager The Jackyl, catch and crowd-surf him to another side of the ring. Jim Ross points out that, thanks to the lumberjacks outside the ring, no one will be able to escape tonight; maybe the lumberjacks should block the arena’s rest rooms instead.
When Mosh spills to the outside, The Truth Commission starts, in JR’s words, “beating the truth” out of him; that wordplay would work a lot better had the faction stuck with its original name, “The S**t Commission”. Meanwhile, Vince McMahon chides Shawn Michaels for showing “tasteless footage” from 1996 (supplied to the production truck by Rick Rude). This is the same episode where Vince interviews Brian Pillman’s widow the day after his death. After a ref bump, the LOD storm the ring to attack the Godwinns. The rest of the lumberjacks jump in, too, but every single one of them clears out before the referee comes to, thus avoiding disqualification. Amid the confusion, Mosh schoolboys Phineas for the victory.
Speaking of confusion, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler absolutely stumble over each other announcing the upcoming WWF live events. This includes a show in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where Jim Ross’s mama will be (#1). Hey, Vince won’t be saying “Maneuver” after this month, so I might as well start keeping track of JR’s mama references. Over at the Pillman house, a picture of the Hollywood Blonds hangs on the wall. Backstage, Jim Cornette gets miked up for what Vince unenthusiastically describes as “his own personal diatribe”.
In pre-recorded backstage comments, Miguel Perez of the Boricuas promises to beat the returning Marc Mero in two minutes. In Spanish, he says that after he’s through with Mero, Sable might join up with the Boricuas.
Mero enters with new ring gear, a new haircut, new music, and Sable; precisely one of those things garners cheers. Jerry Lawler is quick to point out that people only want to see Sable, not Marc. Mero throws punches at Perez, giving Ross a chance to address his amateur boxing credentials. Lawler then exhausts his own knowledge of boxing with an ear-biting reference. Foreshadowing Jim Cornette’s upcoming rant, Vince McMahon suggests viewers set their VCRs (and no just so they can watch Nitro live). Jim Ross describes the Cornette remarks as “scintillating”, a word he doesn’t use lightly! In the ring, Mero hits his new finisher, a Devastating Maneuver (#1). McMahon asks Jim Ross how he would call that Most Unique Maneuver (#2). Ross, who initially declared the move a “TKO”, isn’t sure its name. Several replays air of the High-Impact Maneuver (#3) before the Jim Cornette rant.
Cornette opens his speech with a disclaimer that the views expressed are solely his own. Jim puts over the likes of Arn Anderson, Ric Flair, and Mankind, while burying members of the nWo (Nash, Hall, and Syxx) and Eric Bischoff (who is acknowledged for the first time on WWF TV).
Rocky Maivia is in the ring, with the Nation at ringside, to take on the British Bulldog. The Hart Foundation accompanies him, leading Vince to rather macabrely observe that Brian Pillman is “conspicuous by his absence”. The agile Bulldog wrestles circles around Rocky (something he would never do again), who regroups on the outside. Jim Ross puts over Maivia for being “intelligent” and “articulate”. Vince echoes these compliments by describing the entire Nation as “very articulate”, “very educated”, and “a credit to their race”. I made that last one up.
Later, Rocky delivers an early version of the People’s Elbow to Bulldog’s “chest area”. He even attempts to score a pin with a Magistral cradle, but Davey Boy kicks out. Bulldog hits the running powerslam for the victory.
As the Hart Foundation celebrates in the corner, Faarooq ambushes them with a leather slap. Fortunately, the Harts are wearing leather jackets. The scene plays out like a sitcom where an old lady whacks the characters with her purse. Soon, all hell breaks loose, with everyone from D-Lo Brown to “The Anvil Jim ‘The Neidhart’” [sic] joining the fracas.
Stills of last night’s Hell in a Cell match air to hype the encore presentation of Badd Blood. Vince has already re-dubbed his reaction to Kane, his original “That’s gotta be Kane!” being insufficiently emphatic. Too much rum and not enough scotch! It’s time for War Zone, where Vince assures the audience they will be “royally entertained”. Among the royally entertained fans is someone holding a “Stone Cold 3:16” sign; it appears the Austin 3:16 meme has mutated right back around to where it started.
The Badd Blood theme (soon to be adopted by Steve Blackman) plays over stills of last night’s Intercontinental title match. Twenty four hours later, the announcers are still puzzled by Austin’s interference, which allowed Owen Hart to win the title… so Austin can win it back from him. It’s not that complicated, really. Stone Cold comes to the ring and explains his actions to McMahon thusly: he felt like it. Vince gets hit with a fan’s crumpled up pieces of paper, which Austin picks up and throws in McMahon’s face. Austin doesn’t have a doctor’s note, so McMahon presents him with a hold-harmless agreement. Stone Cold says that if he signed that document, he’d be the dumbest SOB in the WWF… then promises to sign it anyway, on the condition that he gets one (1) title shot against Owen Hart. Two years later, Austin would reinstate Vince McMahon on the condition of 1 (one) title shot against Triple H. Dumbest SOB, indeed.
Faarooq interrupts, threatening to kick Austin’s “honky ass”. Having a shaved head and “tattoos on each arm”, says Faarooq, doesn’t make Austin tough (Here, he might be confusing Steve with Skull or 8-Ball). He also harangues Austin’s frivolous use of the word, “ass”, because where Faarooq comes from, they use the word “ass” to mean “your ass belongs to me”. Admittedly, that’s much scarier. Stone Cold agrees to take on Faarooq and the whole Nation as soon as he gets his contract sorted out. He then steals Lawler’s crown and punts it into the audience like Lita’s baby.
Backstage, Hawk cuts a promo on his opponent, Owen Hart, comparing him to a loogie stuck in his “lar-nyx”. At least it’s better than being a nugget.
After reading ad copy for the US Army and Snickers, Ross and Lawler tout the WWF’s recent attendance numbers. Vince is no longer on commentary.
Owen Hart is in the ring challenging Stone Cold and claiming that Austin tried to get him disqualified last night. Hawk comes down and dominates the early going before ramming himself into the ring post. JR is suspicious of the Godwinns when they come down to ringside, leading King to accuse Ross of anti-southern bias. Hawk clotheslines Owen Hart “right out of his boots, literally”, but the clearly-not-barefoot Hart fights back with a mule kick to the groin. He then DDTs Hawk, who pops right back up only to catch a bucket to the head from Henry Godwinn. The Road Warrior escapes the subsequent pin before Animal arrives to brawl with the hog farmers. Hawk then hits a diving clothesline on Owen but gets clubbed by Henry’s horseshoe, allowing the Intercontinental champion to retain.
Vince McMahon is on a split screen talking with Melanie Pillman; his first order of business is to find out the cause of Brian’s death. A heart attack, says Melanie, although medical examiners don’t yet know what caused it. Vince suggests that it could have been an overdose of painkillers, so just in case, could she deliver an anti-drug message? And how are the children taking it? Oh, and how are you going to be able to support your five children as a single mother? How would you like Brian to be remembered? Melanie says Brian was the world’s best father, and that “he lived for this business”. Wonderful! “And I guess you could say he died for this business.” Uh-oh! Better roll that video tribute now.
Jim Ross narrates Brian Pillman’s life story, from his childhood battle with throat cancer to his wrestling career, including “a horrific accident with a drunk driver”. While that last part might have been technically true, it was single-car accident, so draw your own conclusions.
In the ring are The Hardy Boys, making their Raw debut as a tag team. They are scheduled to face the Truth Commission. Instead, the lights go out and Kane’s music plays. Kane enters the ring and lights the turnbuckles on fire, but the Hardys, unwilling to forfeit their payday, stay put. Kane chokeslams Matt and Jeff at the same time, then chucks Matt out of the ring. Finally, he presses Jeff over the ropes to the outside, where lands with his junk in his brother’s face. A fan at ringside cackles.
Paul Bearer introduces Kane and tells The Undertaker to look at his eye. “He’s missing an eye, and it’s your fault!” It’s hard to tell which eye it is that’s supposed to be missing. Bearer vows that Kane will destroy every wrestler until he gets to The Undertaker. They then leave in time for the main event.
Triple H and Bret Hart square off in a non-title heel vs. heel match, while Vince McMahon is back on commentary. Vince deflects Lawler’s WCW questions and really goes to work, calling the action as Bret works on the midsection with hard right hands. McMahon recalls last night’s “tremendous” tag team match involving Bret Hart, while Jim Ross puts over the “greatest cage match” before McMahon forces him to clarify for the next twenty seconds that it wasn’t a cage, but a cell. Vince reiterates Bret’s desire to be the role model who advocates family values “and things of that nature”. Shawn Michaels then walks down the ramp, politely chopping his crotch and telling fans to suck it, before sticking Bret’s Canadian flag up his nose. “Look at that arrogant little punk”, says an indignant McMahon. Jim Neidhart and Owen Hart approach the ring before the last commercial break.
Hunter hits his patented phantom knee drop as Jim, Owen, and now Davey Boy look on. Bret Hart makes a comeback, but Triple H cuts it short with a boot to the face as Hitman attempts an elbow smash. Jim Ross acknowledges accusations that Hart is too predictable, although Hitman has already stepped out of his comfort zone tonight (by calling his opponents, “homos”). One thing we can all agree isn’t predictable is the giant, newspaper-sized paper airplane that lands in the ring.
Triple H telegraphs a back body drop, allowing Bret Hart to execute the Sharpshooter. Hunter tries to Maneuver (#4) his way to the ropes. Bret is forced to relinquish the hold before attempting a figure four on the ring post. Chyna punches the Hitman, but he manages to withstand the onslaught of the two-hundred-pounder. Before he can punch back, Shawn Michaels superkicks Hart and chops his (Shawn’s) crotch, allowing Hunter to win by countout. Michaels grabs a big ol’ handful of Helmsley’s ass amidst the celebration. The show closes with a slow-motion replay of HBK’s superkick to Bret’s head, which does not actually connect (unlike Bill Goldberg’s).
1 JR’s Mama
4 Maneuvers (Year total: 118)