WWF RAW – October 20th, 1997 – Myriad Convention Center, Oklahoma City, OK
Too much drudge, and not enough smiles! It’s WWF Raw Is War! Opening the show are the new tag team champions, the Legion of Doom. They are soon joined by Ahmed Johnson and Ken Shamrock to take on the Nation of Domination. Johnson has been sidelined with a cut-up hand, Shamrock with Internal Injuries™. In the crowd, a middle-aged Boy Scout cheers the babyfaces on. Although there are eight men at ringside, this match is strictly a two-on-two affair, with Rocky Maivia & Kama Mustafa taking on The World’s Most Dangerous Johnson.
A brawl before the bell clears the ring of all the non-participants, but the match is slow to begin, with Rocky refusing to start wrestling until Ahmed tags in. Meanwhile on stage, Shawn and Hunter hold up signs with such slogans as, “I’d rather be in Chyna”. D-X are clearly poor spellers, as the country is “China”; “Chyna” is the name of their female bodyguard! While the announcers debate the First Amendment, Ahmed barrels over Rocky, sending Ahmed to the floor and hanging Rocky upside down by his ankle.
Back on stage, D-X holds up signs reading, “Uncle Tom 3:16” and “Buckwheat Rules”, just in case the racism was too subtle in last week’s banana stunt. Ken Shamrock clears the ring before cameras return to D-X; the announcers do their best to ignore the racist messages by focusing on one sign claiming Vince wears shoulder pads. Ken Shamrock and Kama square up, but before the two MMA legends can fight, Maivia blindsides Ken. Rocky hits a People’s-style Elbow for a two-count. The World’s Most Dangerous Man takes Maivia down with a huracanrana, but Rocky punches Ken in his Shamrocks to avoid a vertical suplex.
At ringside, Rick Rude speaks with Faarooq. Moments later, the Nation leader hits Shamrock in the back with Rude’s briefcase behind the referee’s back, allowing Maivia to score the pin. Vince is equally outraged at the interference and Shawn Michaels’s mooning, which he thought was a riot in 1996. At least Triple H censored it this time!
Speaking of exposed asses, Ahmed Johnson storms up the ramp to attack the Nation but is soon quadruple-teamed. The Road Warriors follow slowly behind but are sneak-attacked with trash cans by The Godwinns. Wearing shirts this time, the hog farmers were able to avoid detection.
After the break, Vince McMahon promises a “former WCW champion” will be in the ring tonight (and he doesn’t mean Rick Rude). Also, The Undertaker will speak for the first time after Badd Blood, Bret Hart will take on Faarooq (who isn’t the former WCW champ Vince was talking about, either), and Shawn Michaels will face Owen Hart in a match with both men’s titles on the line.
Backstage, Michael Cole is in the Nation’s locker room, which has been defaced with racist graffiti. Gee, I wonder who could have done that? Certainly not DX! Why would they have written that “Harts rule”?
Faarooq chews out Vince at the announce table and accuses him and the WWF of racism (while a fan holds up a sign about Ebonics), then goes to the ring and calls out Bret Hart. On commentary, Vince says the Nation is right to be angry about the vandalism, though he isn’t sure about “any suggestion of racism”. “Vandalism does not necessarily relate to racism!” he clarifies. Again, this is the locker room:
Maybe the perpetrators vandalized the wrong locker room; after all, no one in the Nation is named Tom, nor are they anyone’s uncle in the WWF.
The Hart Foundation come out on stage one by one, then walk to the ring. “If in fact the Hart Foundation is responsible for what happened to the Nation’s locker room”, says Vince, “I for one hope that Faarooq kicks Bret Hart’s keister!” The match starts earlier than scheduled but is immediately interrupted by D-X’s arrival. On commentary, Shawn is shocked, shocked at Bret Hart’s racism. When Bret tries to get at Shawn, the Nation and the Foundation get in a brawl, allowing D-X to escape.
The “unbelievable mee-lay” continues during the break, but order is restored when the show returns. Bret has a lot of trouble dragging his opponent to the ring post for a Figure Four, as if Faarooq’s but is made of sandpaper. Before he can apply the hold at last, the Nation attacks the champion, leading to another brawl. Again, there is no bell. Faarooq stands alone in the ring until Stone Cold sneaks over the rail and stuns him. Maybe Austin was the one who did the graffiti! Confused to see Faarooq prone on the mat, Hart hesitantly covers him for the victory.
Kevin Kelly and a guy named Grand Master Robbie preview this year’s Karate Fighters tournament, which features four new fighters who can morph! Next week’s first round match pits Jerry Lawler against Brian Christopher.
This month’s WWF Magazine has an article titled, “Planting the Demon Seed”, which I believe is about Paul Bearer’s fling with Taker’s mom. But first, Jeff Jarrett has wandered to the ring! Jarrett can’t wait for an introduction before cutting his worked-shoot promo. Jeff says Eric Bischoff buried him last week on Nitro for refusing to re-sign. Bischoff held Jarrett down because he wasn’t one of his “boys”, if you can imagine such a thing. The fans aren’t sympathetic to Jarrett’s plight. Due to his lack of “stroke”, he was booked against “an ex-football player who can’t even lock up”, referring to Mongo McMichael, whose wife “gives new meaning to the phrase, ‘dumb blonde’”. For the record, Jeff lost his US title to the former, and brought the latter to the WWF as his manager. Kayfabe’s weird, man.
Jarrett then points the finger at Vince McMahon for making him a country music star with a gold tooth. Right then, a fan pelts the announcer table with a Scream mask, which an amused Vince tries on. Vince had a vision for “Double J”, but, says Jarrett, “your vision sucked!” Of course it did; that’s why he has to wear his cheaters! Vince laughs it off and admits, “It may have!”. If Gorilla Monsoon were here, he’d say Vince resembles that remark. The former Double J continues, complaining about his programs with a clown (Doink), a drug addict (half the roster, but I think he means Scott Hall), and “a Black man who can’t even speak the English language” (Ahmed Johnson). Hey, maybe Jarrett was the one who did the graffiti!
Jarrett says Vince buried him because he couldn’t buy out Jerry Jarrett’s Memphis territory. As for “With My Baby Tonight”, Jarrett tells Vince to “stick it up your butt”. And if Vince tries to bury him again, Jarrett promises to leave the WWF again, which draws the only cheers of this entire promo. And he still keeps talking!
Bret Hart, says Jarrett, is a has-been. Shawn Michaels is only capable of wrestling once a week. Steve Austin says “ass” too much and his catchphrase is blasphemous. “Stone Cold, no no no, Stone Cold,” says Jarrett, “you will always be The Ringmaster!” The fans, many of whom started watching only in the past year because of Stone Cold, don’t know what this means. Vince paid Jarrett a lot of money, says Jeff, and he hopes McMahon’s investment will be worth all his headaches. (It won’t).
Brian Christopher comes to the ring with his #1 fan Jerry Lawler. He faces Marc Mero, ACCOMPANIED BY SABLE. “Oh, have mercy!” says Vince, doing his best Dude Love impression. “Take a look, if you would, at the beautiful, magnificent Sable there,” he continues, before adding, “along with Marc Mero.” No one cares about Marc, says Jerry Lawler, suggesting the announcers focus on one of the two sexy people at ringside (Sable or Brian). Too Sexy tries boxing with Mero, with Vince suggesting it’s a bad idea to “throw a little bit of leather” with Marc. Sable, on the other hand…
Fans chant, “Jerry’s kid” at Brian Christopher, who does not, for the record, have MS. Apropos of nothing, the King decides that Sable needs to model the new Stone Cold baseball cap, so he walks over and sticks it on her head. Mero corners Christopher with a punching combination, capped off by a “hard right hand”, before exiting the ring and confronting Sable over her hat. Mero tosses the hat into the audience, then falls prey to a sneak attack by Mero. Marc shortly reclaims the advantage with another hard right hand, so Jerry Lawler steps onto the apron to distract the ref, allowing Brian to rake Marc’s eyes. In turn, Mero punches him right in his royal family jewels, which the announcers compare to the boxing tactics of Andrew Golota.
At the top of the second hour, a video package airs of Owen Hart’s various “hits”, such as knocking out Shawn Michaels and breaking Stone Cold’s neck. This footage is juxtaposed with D-X’s verbal and physical attacks on the Hart Foundation. Along the way, Vince McMahon announces a Devastating Maneuver, but it’s old footage, so it doesn’t count. Too much grunge, and not enough shine! It’s time for the WarZone!
Owen Hart challenges Shawn Michaels to keep both D-X and the Hart Foundation away from ringside so that the better man can walk out with two titles. “And two Slammys”, he adds. On stage, Hunter, Chyna, and Rick Rude confer. They are wearing pink, purple, and brown, respectively, as D-X has not yet settled on a color scheme. After a long time, they finally find a working microphone, allowing Rick Rude to introduce Shawn Michaels to the “sleazy, slimy Oklahoma idiots”. Michaels comes to the ring alone and chucks his belt out of the ring, which allows Owen to pick it up. Reluctantly, Owen relinquishes both titles. Owen wrestles as the babyface in this match, though no one cheers him, unleashing a flurry of offense at the outset of the match. Michaels then cuts off his momentum by guillotining him on the railing. The rest of the Hart Foundation huddles around a 12 inch monitor as the show goes to commercial.
A replay airs of Shawn piledriving Owen on the floor during the break. Jim Ross dreads the prospect of the arrogant Michaels holding two titles, leading him and Vince to debate whether Shawn is a bigger or equal ass to Owen. JR argues the former, and Vince gives Hart credit for defending his IC title regularly. Michaels ascends to the top rope for a High-Risk Maneuver (#1), dropping an elbow on Owen. When Shawn attempts Sweet Chin Music, however, Owen ducks and hits him with an enzuigiri à la 1995. Vince declares the match all but over, but Steve Austin hops the rail again to spoil the party for Owen. Arguing with Jack Doan, Stone Cold stuns the referee. Amid the distraction, Shawn Michaels superkicks Owen and covers him in vain.
Bret Hart rushes to the ring and punches out Michaels, resulting in a D-X/Hart Foundation shmozz. Vince McMahon, meanwhile, can’t understand why Austin interfered; Jim Ross says Stone Cold doesn’t want anyone winning the title off Owen before Survivor Series, but Hart was about to win before the interference. If Austin had played his cards right he might have been able to beat Owen for the Intercontinental and European titles at the PPV.
On the Superstar Line, says Jim Ross, Jim Cornette delivers a rant too hot for TV against some “folks in the wrestling industry”.
The Undertaker delivers a promo in a dark room saying Paul Bearer has poisoned Kane’s mind. He also claims he will never fight Kane. Well, that settles that!
Undertaker might not be fighting Kane, but Bret Hart will be wrestling Ken Shamrock next week with his title on the line. That should be a good match; one might even say, “sensational”, as Vince describes Dude Love’s entrance video. Tony Chimel bills the Dude from Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, which is coincidentally Cactus Jack’s hometown.
Jerry Lawler wonders whether JR’s Mama will be at the Tulsa event tomorrow night; JR hopes so. While Dude Love expects to face the British Bulldog, he is instead greeted with a blackout. Kane arrives and takes a swing at Dude Love, which the Dude ducks. Although it’s not a love thing, the Dude then throws punches at Kane, who no-sells them. Dude Love clotheslines Kane over the top rope, but Taker’s brother lands on his feet. The two then brawl on the outside, where Dude hits Kane in the head with a chair to no effect. In response, Kane chokeslams Dude Love onto the ramp twice and exits.
The WWF advertises its Survivor Series Flashback special, which features Undertaker vs. Hulk Hogan (where Hulk loses), Bret Hart vs. Diesel (where Kevin Nash loses), and “100 superstars” including Randy Savage and Ric Flair.
Headbangers, who were tag team champions two reigns ago, arrive. This week, their name is spelled as a single word. The Road Dog gets on the mic and does his own ring introduction, introducing “the original bad ass”, Billy Gunn. Both future Outlaws share a Southwestern motif on their clothing. Road Dog alternately encourages fans to call somebody and page somebody.
As the match gets underway, Jim Ross asks Road Dog, “What’s all this pelvic stuff?” “Pelvic thrusts”, says McMahon, “seems to be all the rage as of late.” In the ring, Mosh leapfrogs Billy Gunn (“Bad Ass Billy Gunn,” clarifies Vince) for a Maneuver(#2) before awkwardly colliding with Gunn on the next go-round. Fans chant, “Roadkill” at Road Dog, who Ross says has yet to accomplish anything in the WWF.
While the referee tries to move the illegal Headbanger out of the ring, Billy Gunn smashes a boom box in Thrasher’s face, busting him wide open. Road Dog thus scores the pinfall, although Ross is quick to point out the pieces of boom box on the canvas that betray the heels’ cheating. The referee doesn’t hear JR, though, perhaps due to the Road Dog’s theme music blaring over the PA. Over at the announce table, the Dog calls Ross and McMahon freaks, and Lawler a certain other f-word. Jerry obviously isn’t gay, though it’s funny to imagine his commentary if he were (“Hee-hee! you think we’ll see grapefruits, JR!?”).
The Lazer Tag Slam of the Week is Marc Mero’s TKO on Marty Garner (the jobber who piledrove himself because he didn’t know what a Pedigree was). Fortunately, Garner lands properly this time.
Footage of Bret Hart from Mad TV airs; his episode will air on November 1st at 11 PM. You’ll need to “check local listings” to find out what channel it’s on, because USA won’t let the WWF display the name of a rival network. Regardless, the voiceover guy says, “FOX”.
Sunny is here, and her heels are killing her. She introduces Tajiri Yoshihiro (or “Tijari”, as the graphic reads) and his opponent “Taka Michu-noku”. That’s still more accurate than what the announcers have been calling him. Last week, “Michinoko” signed with the WWF.
Tajiri kicks off the action with two consecutive Maneuvers (#3 & 4): a handspring elbow and an Asai moonsault. With nmoves like that, it’s a shame he won’t be in the Light Heavyweight tournament, which starts in two weeks. Not to be outdone, Taka hits an Unbelievable Athletic Maneuver (#5) of his own, a spinning heel kick from the top rope. Both men exchange lots more unbelievable maneuvers, though they aren’t labeled as such, until Michinoku hits his eponymous Driver and wins. Sunny pronounces the winner’s name correctly before sitting on Jerry Lawler’s lap.
Jim Cornette is back on our screen again, this time reading angry comments from wrestling fans on TV Guide’s message board. Undeterred by the barrage of hate comments, Phil Mushnick reiterated his view of wrestling fans as knuckleheads. Jim Cornette implies that the Founding Fathers and NASA were wrestling fans before Vince McMahon encourages viewers to write to TV Guide and complain about Mushnick.
With only five minutes left in the show, the Godwinns come to the ring for the de facto main event. Sporting Sooners t-shirts with “Texas Lnghorns” written on them, they show disdain for the Oklahoma audience. Two full minutes of replays air of last week’s loss to the Legion of Doom before the Godwinns manhandle Mike Chioda (the referee who counted the pin).
The Disciples of Apocalypse take a leisurely ride to the ring, then beat the Godwinns up four-on-two before the Truth Commission make it six-on-four. An odd way to end a broadcast, but it’s a testament to the depth of the Federation’s roster that they could put on the most racist episode of WWF Raw ever and still have the Confederate hillbillies, Aryan bikers, and apartheid soldiers left over as an afterthought.
In the boiler room, Mankind challenges Kane for the sake of that “innocent kid” Dude Love before WWF Raw signs off.
5 Maneuvers (Year total: 130)
1 JR’s Mama