WWF RAW November 3rd, 1997

WWF RAW — November 3rd, 1997 — Hershey Park Arena, Hershey, PA

Too much fudge, and not enough pie! It’s WWF Raw is WAR! And a very special one at that. With six days to go before Survivor Series, this is the last WWF Raw before that most infamous event in wrestling history: Vince McMahon leaving the announce team. Fans have absolutely packed into the fudge capital of the USA, Hershey, Pennsylvania, for this live episode. One Hart fan (?) has even drawn the world’s ugliest Canadian flag.

Stone Cold Steve Austin, wearing his new “Other Side, Jackass” t-shirt, comes to the ring for an interview with Vince McMahon. Austin tells Owen Hart that “paybacks are hell, and that’s the damnedest bottom line I ever bottom-lined.” The whole Hart Foundation, says Vince, is at home in Canada, but some of his other, newer enemies are here. That includes both the Nation and Ahmed Johnson, whom he cost the Intercontinental title last week. Johnson, says Stone Cold, was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and under such circumstances Austin will naturally kick one’s ass.

The Pearl River Powerhouse then trudges to the ring in cowboy boots, acid wash jeans, and a fanny pack while Federation officials stand between the two Superstars. “Keep you eye on him”, Vince repeatedly tells the referees about Austin. Ahmed says that he respected Steve Austin until he crossed his “end zone”, so now he’s going to kick his ass. And with good cause — you can’t cross a man’s end zone and expect to get away with it. Johnson challenges Austin to a match tonight, which Stone Cold accepts.

Jim Ross and Jim Cornette run down the rest of tonight’s card, including a dog collar match between Vader and the British Bulldog (who is here tonight, it turns out). In other action, Shawn Michaels may or may not wrestle Ken Shamrock, and Jim Ross presents a pre-taped interview in which Goldust “raped his wife… of her dignity”. Jeez. Plus, the Light Heavyweight tournament kicks off with the US debut of “Agua-la” (Spanish for “water-the”).

Sunny is here to ring-announce; one lucky young fan gets a kiss, while an older fan, holding up a sign bluntly stating, “I’d rather be in Sunny”, does not. “What a Superstar that young lady is,” says JR, who just last year was calling her a Jezebel. Super Loco (Crazy), who JR falsely claims was in the 1997 Royal Rumble, goes one-on-one with the future Essa Ríos, Águila. The masked high-flyer enters the ring to the ludicrously ill-fitting heavy guitar theme that Steve Blackman would later use.

This is a first round match in the Light Heavyweight title tournament, whose bracket features future ECW Champion Jerry Lynn (for now). Jim Cornette is just excited to be around both the sexiest woman (Sunny) and the sexiest man (Brian Chrisopher) in the WWF, as the Light Heavyweight contender joins the announce crew.

The light heavyweights in the ring do a lot of that flippy s**t that Jim Cornette loves, but Brian Christopher isn’t concerned. The way Too Sexy sees it, he’s a man surrounded by a lot of boys. Super Loco gets caught in the ropes attempting a dive, which sends Brian cackling. Águila responds to Loco with a corkscrew moonsault plancha — a scintillating move in Jim Ross’s book. Super Loco’s run of bad luck continues when he seats the nineteen-year-old Águila on the ropes but totally misses a spinning heel kick from the top rope. So he clotheslines him. Having better luck is Gorilla Monsoon, who is now out of the hospital.

Super Loco locks the Mexican sensation in a demonymically appropriate surfboard, followed by a handspring moonsault plancha. Ross can’t keep up with all these fancy moves and their names, so he calls Águila’s next top rope dive simply, “a moonsault-like maneuver”. It was a moonsault. Águila finishes Super Loco off with a twisting press off the top rope, then chops his crotch to celebrate. Could he be joining D-Generación Equis?

Jim Ross rants some more about Goldust’s figurative “rape” of his wife’s dignity before presenting his interview with the couple. It’s ironic that he’d use that word twice now to describe an interview, but not once to describe what Brian Pillman was literally doing to Terri Runnels last month. In the interview, Terri says she’s happier than ever, while Dustin looks sullen. “I can’t do this no more, Terri”, says Dustin, who is sickened by everything his wife is saying. He’s sick of being under Terri’s thumb and not living for himself. While Terri was away, Dustin found somebody else who will let him be himself. Then he takes off his ring and tells Terri to do something with it that Jerry Lawler would really, really enjoy if he were on commentary right now.

Michael Cole narrates a video recap of Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels’s feud, starting in 1996. In a sit-down interview Bret criticizes Shawn’s “certain lack of masculinity”, “twirling around the ring”, and “Mexican style of wrestling”. He also characterizes HBK as a “phony little s***”. Jim Ross says the match will “probably never, ever happen again”.

Ahmed Johnson comes out early, to Jim Cornette’s frustration, and waits there throughout the commercial break. But instead of Steve Austin, it’s Kane who meets him in the ring. You didn’t really think Austin, whose neck is held together with duct tape, was really going to let Ahmed throw him around the ring, did you? Johnson slugs Kane, who drops him with a chokeslam, then two tombstones, until Mankind makes the “save”. Mankind hits Kane over the head with a turnbuckle rod, which bends 45 degrees on contact, knocking Kane down for the first time. He doesn’t stay down, though, as he quickly sits up “just like his Brothertaker”, in Ross’s words.

Kevin Kelly plugs the new Stone Cold “100% Pure Whoop-Ass” t-shirt, which comes packages in a metal can. Is that supposed to be like Ass Cream?

Now that his match is canceled, Austin comes to the ring to challenge anyone in the locker room. With no challengers forthcoming, Stone Cold seeks to settle in with a hot dog and a beer until the Nation comes out on stage. As Kama steps into the ring, the Legion of Doom attacks the rest of the Nation. With Mr. Mustafa now isolated, Austin stuns the Supreme Fighting Machine and strolls up the ramp laughing.

Too much drawl, and not enough jive! It’s time for the WarZone! And a new spelling of “Kane” just dropped!

Vince McMahon is back on commentary for the last time (until 2009, coincidentally also in Hershey, PA). Jerry Lawler is also here, while Michael Cole is in the ring for an interview with Shawn Michaels. Instead of HBK, though, Rick Rude steps out and introduces all of D-X to the “fat, out-of-shape, Pennsylvania pissants”. Shawn walks to the ring with a cup of… let’s say, coffee, then poses while Hunter chops HBK’s crotch. Ross and McMahon feign ignorance of what the gesture means — all they know is they don’t like it.

Michael Cole rolls footage of Shawn Michaels’s interference in last week’s Hart-Shamrock match, but before he can get a word out of Shawn, the Heartbreak Kid kisses Triple H on the lips. A gay kiss in the WWF? These better be mind games! For good measure, Shawn kisses Chyna. Hunter tells the crowd to “s___ it” (“Shut it”) as they chant a slur. Why would these Pennsylvania fans drive all the way up the Hershey Highway just to be homophobic? Chyna then crawls behind Cole before Hunter pushes him over, school boy-style.

Shawn does a Hulk Hogan impression by calling himself an icon and playing guitar on his European title, but before he can call himself a wrestling god, Hunter cuts him off and makes age jokes about the Hulkster. Michaels promises to outdo last week’s mooning by walking out naked on WWF Raw next week, then showing Ken Shamrock his schlong. He then calls out Commissioner Slaughter to make the Shamrock match official; Vince notes that Slaughter has forbidden Michaels to “drop his trou, or anything at all like that”.

Hunter and Shawn don face shields with windshield wipers when Slaughter starts to speak, but their fun ends when the Commish books the match for tonight, not next week. As WWF Raw’s bumper music plays, Shawn starts making a gay joke about Sarge “straightening out” the recruits at boot camp but gets cut off.

WWF RAW November 3rd, 1997

Backstage, Marc Mero shoves a cameraman away as he yells at Sable outside her private dressing room. He faces Savio Vega next. Marc interrupts Sable as she’s putting her top on drags her out of the room.

In pre-recorded comments, Savio says he’s going to get revenge on Marc Mero for what he did to Miguel Perez. Savio has a long memory, it seems. Much longer than mine, as I don’t remember what Mero did, besides beat him in a match four weeks ago. In Spanish, Vega talks about Sable’s big… hair. He says he can’t wait to run his hands through it.

Vince McMahon starts apologizing to the audience for the revealing shot of Sable, but he is quickly overruled by his two broadcast colleagues. McMahon identifies the “absolutely gorgeous” and “absolutely voluptuous” Sable as the star of that couple, while Jim Ross claims Marc stands in her “rather bodacious shadow”.

Piling up on Mero, the announcers criticize his new boxing style, while Vince McMahon calls Savio a bigger superstar than Mero. Not that anyone’s paying attention to the action anyway, as Vince says everyone’s paying attention to the “voluptuous and beautiful Sable”. Savio certainly resembles that remark, stepping away to touch Sable’s hair just as he’d said. Sable, not being bilingual, is caught off guard but lashes at him with her whip, allowing Marc to schoolboy Vega for a two-count. As the referee is out of position, Mero cures Savio of his distraction with a punch to the huevos. Marc wins with his TKO finisher, but Sable is the one Michael Cole wants to talk to after the match. Cole wants her opinion on her boyfriend’s new tactic of punching testicles, but Marc cuts him right off.

On the WWF Superstar Line, Jim Ross has the scoop on Goldust’s broken hand (but not his broken storyline).

Jim Ross puts the time at 10:25 PM EST, which is Vader time; Vince knows that’s right, and says so. Vader will be part of Team USA at Survivor Series, where he will be joined by the new jerkass heel Marc Mero and the even newer jerkass heel Goldust. The Patriot, the team’s leader, won’t even be there, as he’s injured (never to return). USA! USA! The British Bulldog then arrives with Jim Neidhart and his other Survivor Series teammates. Doug Furnas & Phil LaFon, last seen months ago trying to convince he fans they weren’t boring, have returned to give Team Canada one Canadian.

This match will be contested under touch-the-corners rules, with both men attached by the neck. There are therefore no disqualifications, which Team Canada takes advantage of by quadruple-teaming Vader. When Furnas & LaFon have a moment, Michael Cole asks them why they’ve returned to join Team Canada (and then wrestle on Shotgun for a few more weeks). LaFon says he’s Canadian, stupid, while Furnas says that fans from every country except the USA wrote them letters after their car accident.

The announcers, not paying attention, lose count of Vader’s turnbuckles, so when he touches the fourth and final corner following a struggle with Bulldog and Anvil, they think it’s only #3. Vader wins the match right there, to the surprise of the distracted commentators, who don’t even have the beautiful, voluptuous, gorgeous, and bodacious Sable around as an excuse. As Team Canada beats on Vader, 4-on-1, an audience member (who resembles former enhancement talent Steve Blackman) hops the rail and starts kicking ass. As this is a worked shoot, Vader pops up and tackles the fan as Team Canada kicks them both. Officials and police arrive to restore order as cameras zoom in on Vader and the fan. “Get this f**king thing off of me”, says Vader about his dog collar. The fan, say the announcers, will spend the night in jail, otherwise known as the “Hershey Hotel”. Yikes!

The commentators list off a string of Canadian events following Survivor Series, which I’m sure will all go great.

The two lesser Boricuas, Jesús & José, face Billy Gunn & Road Dog following their botched interference last week, which cost Savio & Miguel their match. During his entrance with Billy, Roadie calls the Boricuas, “a stepping stone for the Dog and Mr. Ass”. Now that the Boricuas are feuding with Marc Mero and the future Outlaws, are they babyfaces? Or just too irrelevant to be heels?

As Jesús and Road Dog begin the match, Jim Ross relays news that Commissioner Slaughter has ejected the Road Warriors from the arena after a verbal altercation. Once again, the announcers are too distracted to call the match, this time discussing the prospect of Shawn Michaels getting naked next week. “It’s gonna be D-Generation Sex,” says Lawler. Road Dog briefly does the worm before covering Castillo while fans chant a slur at Billy Gunn. Or, as Vince McMahon calls it, “having some fun”.

But on a more serious note, the second part of Jeff Jarrett’s sit-down interview will not air tonight due to time constraints. Of course, the commentators say, if they owned the network, they wouldn’t have to worry about that (wink, wink, WCW is cheating in the Monday Night Wars, wink). Speaking of time constraints, is that why the Legion of Doom’s “verbal altercation” didn’t make air?

The Ass-Dogs cheat with assisted submission holds and phony tags until Castillo hits a DDT and tags out. Now it’s the Boricuas’ turn to double-team, staying in the ring for an unreasonable amount of time. José hits the first Maneuver of the match, and the last one on Monday Night Raw for twelve years, alley-ooping Road Dog into the top turnbuckle. With the referee having a come-to-Jesús moment, Gunn jumps off the top rope onto Estrada, then puts Roadie on top for the pinfall for a “cheap victory”.

In the main event, Shamrock attacks Michaels before the bell, then chucks him over the ropes onto Hunter and Chyna. While Shawn regroups and takes off his sequins outside the ring, Shamrock orchestrates a meeting of the minds between HBK and HHH. Ken can do no wrong, avoiding all of Shawn’s usual trickery. Shawn tries to bait Ken into the corner? Ken stands his ground. Shawn offers to shake Ken’s hand? Ken boots him in the gut. Shawn shouts “clothesline”, Ken clotheslines him to the outside right before the production cut mutes the sound. Shamrock’s hot streak ends when Chyna shoves him from behind into the ring post, giving new meaning, in King’s words, to the term, “feminine protection”. Ew.

Action from the commercial break airs in replay, with Shawn pulling Ken through the ropes by the front of his trunks. Michaels might have promised to get naked next week, but Shamrock nearly beat him to it. Shawn wears down Ken with a chinlock, then cuts off his brief comeback with a dropkick. HBK brings Shamrock to the corner, but Ken puts on the brakes. After some more spot-calling that the production truck mutes, Shamrock whips him to the far corner for a double-reversal that ends with Shawn ramming the ring post. Ken is firmly in his Zone until Michaels reverses his huracanrana into a powerbomb.

Shamrock then returns to his Zone, reversing a superkick into an ankle lock and making Shawn tap. The referee is distracted by Chyna, however, allowing Rick Rude to bash Ken with a briefcase. The referee throws the match out as D-X gangs up on Shamrock, culminating in Triple H Pedigree-ing him onto the briefcase.

And that’s it for Vince McMahon as a commentator. He would join the broadcast booth for special occasions, such as Halftime Heat in 1999, but he would only commentate on Raw once more, in 2009, calling the Breakthrough Battle Royal with guest host Jesse Ventura. There, Mark Henry would execute one final Tremendous Maneuver, eliminating both Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes.

Final tally:

1 Maneuver

Year total:

136 Maneuvers

All-Time Total for Maneuvers on WWF Raw:

1037 Maneuvers (plus one in 2009)

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