WWF Raw – November 17th, 1997 – Civic Complex, Cornwall, ON
WWF Raw features a cold open this week where the “finish” to last week’s main event airs to the strains of the “Cold Sweat” stock music. They even show the actual finish, which got cut off by USA: Slaughter pulled the referee out of the ring, then counted the three when Shamrock rolled up Shawn Michaels. His opponent was Triple H. If Shawn could have pinned, say, Jim Neidhart in Montreal, they wouldn’t have needed to do the Screwjob!
Too much Judge, and not enough Sly! It’s WWF Raw is War, coming to you from… an arena somewhere. Jim Ross doesn’t say where they are, perhaps to cover up the fact that they’re still in Canada (Cornwall, ON, to be exact) supposedly seven days after WWF Raw in Toronto.
Stone Cold comes to the ring for promo time, taking the mic away from Tony Chimel mid-introduction. Austin steps on and walks across the announce table, then calls out The Rock. Rocky then steps out on stage with the Nation, who march to the ring without him. While Austin is distracted pounding on D’Lo Brown, The Rock swoops into the ring and steals the Intercontinental belt, which he’ll challenge for at the D-X pay-per-view.
Upset at the theft, Austin flips off the Nation (which is cut off by strategic camera work), then throws D’Lo’s hat at Jim Ross like a lady throwing her panties at a rock star. He then grabs a headset and threatens Jim Ross (twice) and says he’ll be around for the rest of WWF Raw, in case viewers were tempted to switch to Nitro.
Later in the show, Jim Cornette promises an investigation into the “Bret Hart controversy” . Also, Butterbean is at ringside again tonight, Dude Love faces Rocky Maivia, and Jerry Lawler faces Marc Mero.
In Karate Fighters action, Sunny defeats superfan George, advancing to the semi-finals.
Jim Ross awaits the arrival of Marc Mero and Sable. “Or maybe we should say, ‘Sable and Marc Mero’”, he clarifies. Sable waves at a starstruck Butterbean, who blows a kiss and waves back. This draws Marc down to the arena floor to yell at The Bean. Jerry Lawler, seeking revenge for Mero’s low blow to his son, comes to the ring next. As Lawler is not on commentary, he can’t rebut Ross’s paternity accusations.
Jim Ross also notes that Sable was kicked in the head by her horse and knocked out a few days ago. We’re told she’s wearing dark sunglasses tonight because of a black eye — fortunately, she’s been wearing those all year so fans don’t even notice. Jim Cornette says Sable looks like a horse; that used to be Jerry Lawler’s schtick, but his horniness has recently overtaken his heelishness.
Brian Christopher comes to ringside to cheer on his mentor and favorite wrestler. They soon have a meeting of the minds when Mero baseball-slides the King into Christopher. Brian hypes Jerry’s boxing skills even as Mero lands punch after punch. Jerry finally ducks, sending Marc to the outside where Brian kicks him. Too Sexy then aggressively hits on Sable with pen in hand and demands her phone number. This goes on for minutes until Marc Mero finally catches on.
King takes advantage of the distraction and piledrives Mero, but Sable chokes King with her whip. Now he doesn’t know how to feel! The Burger King wins by DQ.
Sable drops her sunglasses in the process, revealing either a black eye or smudged mascara. After punching Lawler in his crown jewels, Mero berates Sable for triggering a disqualification. Butterbean fumes at ringside because he, like the rest of the fans, doesn’t know “the story about the horse”. Jim Cornette says the audience has “the wrong impression” about Sable’s black eye, implying they think Marc did it.
The “WWF Attitude” promo that debuted at Survivor Series airs again, this time with Bret Hart edited out. This time, it’s Shawn Michaels who dares the naysayers to lace his boots. They just don’t make video packages like this anymore — specifically the part where HBK brags about suffering a dozen concussions.
In his sit-down interview with Vince McMahon, Jim Ross asks the boss whether he screwed Bret Hart (professionally speaking). No, Bret Hart screwed himself (professionally speaking), and Bret can “look in the mirruh and know that”. Vince speaks of the “time-honored tradition” that Bret didn’t want to honor on his way out. Fans who read The Wrestling Observer don’t believe this, of course, while fans who don’t follow wrestling outside of TV think he’s referring to the monitors Bret smashed.
Regarding Bret’s early exit from his WWF contract (nineteen years early, in fact), Vince says it was a joint decision. He allowed “Ted Turner’s wrostling [sic] organization to ‘steal’” the Hitman for $3 million a year because Bret didn’t like Shawn “stealing his spot”, and because Vince thought he was overpaying Bret. McMahon was actually doing Hart (who had been working at half his agreed-upon salary since June) a favor.
Bret’s “bitterness” after his “loss” at Survivor Series manifested in him spitting on Vince, breaking the equipment, and finally, punching Vince McMahon. What a poor sport! At least that explains Vince’s black eye — I thought maybe he’d gotten kicked by his horse. McMahon also says he could take legal action for the punch, although he also says he let Bret do it.
If Vince could have “written the final chapter” of Bret’s WWF career, he would have had Bret lose but demonstrate sportsmanship in — you guess it — the time-honored tradition (Not that Vince had any use for that time-honored tradition in the 80s when guys like Hulk Hogan jumped to the WWF overnight). As for sympathy, Vince has none whatsoever for Bret Hart.
In a Jakks WWF action figure commercial, The Headbanger play with the LOD figures, who end up kicking their asses. Plus, there’s a Yokozuna figure that Jakks might as well release now, since he’s never coming back.
Savio Vega and Miguel Perez come to the ring while Jim Ross plugs the second part of his Vince McMahon interview, to air during the WarZone. The Boricuas’ locker room was vandalized tonight, even though the Hart Foundation isn’t here. Billy Gunn and Road Dog then come out to the Boricuas’ music, wearing their clothes, as the Dog speaks in mock-Nuyorican.
Vega and Perez pound the Gunn-Dogs to start the match. When Billy and Roadie start laying in some offense of their own, the rest of the Boricuas run in, triggering the second straight disqualification of the night. Total match time: 44 seconds.
We take a “special look” a Ken Shamrock, consisting of 100% recycled footage and three replays of him taking down Bret Hart.
For the New York market, Dok Hendrix promises forty superstars for WWF Raw is War in Long Island, including Ravishing Rick Rude (who is a very busy man tonight).
The Lazer Tag Slam of the Week is Ken Shamrock’s belly-to-belly suplex of Triple H. The announcers also give a positive update on Gorilla Monsoon.
Sunny is here in referee stripes to officiate a minis trios match, pitting Torito, Battalion, and Tarantula against “Mini Nova, Mini Tusk [?], and Max Mini”. That second-to-last luchador is named Taurus, despite what Tony Chimel says. Sunny leaves her gum with a ring attendant, who will likely sell it on eBay.
The much smaller babyfaces dazzle the crowd with lots of arm drags and head scissors. The giant heel minis strike back until even Sunny gets in on the action, leapfrogging Torito. The lights then go out; Kane’s music plays as Jim Cornette cries foul. “No! No!” Jim Ross concurs that Kane’s impending attack on the minis is “hideous”.
The minis scramble out of the ring and hide behind the announce table as Kane looks on from the ring. The Headbangers then sneak up behind Kane and smash him in the head with their boombox. This and their aerial strikes don’t faze Kane, who tombstones both Mosh and Thrasher.
Before tonight’s cold open airs once more in its entirety, a replay airs of Kane’s altercation “earlier tonight on WWF Raw”. Ross speaks as if it didn’t happen five minutes ago, and as if WWF Raw is a totally separate show from…
Too much Plugg, and not enough Spark! …The WarZone! A bearded Rick Rude, who appeared live and clean-shaven an hour ago on Nitro, is in the ring to introduce D-X. “Boy, this guy gets around,” says Cornette. D-Generation X (or, as their Titantron calls them, Degeneration X) make an absolutely nauseating entrance —
— not because they’re being gross or anything, but because the production truck keeps flipping back and forth between the regular feed and their Titantron video multiple times per second. “Dr. Timothy Leary would be so proud,” says Cornette, referring to the famous proponent of LSD. I don’t think that’s what Shawn is on tonight, though.
Shawn slurs some harsh words for “Ken Shamrocks”, saying he beat his friend Bret Hart and he’ll beat him, too. Three weeks ago, Shamrock made bret tap out to the ankle lock, but whatever. In the crowd, a fan holds up a sign telling Michaels he has a “small d_ck”; I doubt this guy has ever been to Shawn’s neighborhood, let alone seen his deck.
Triple H then tells Commissioner Slaughter to get his fat ass out there (as opposed to getting his fat ass out somewhere else). He tells Slaughter, nose-to-chin, that D-X are the ones who run the show. Also, that Sarge is impotent and that he’s going to have sex with Slaughter’s wife. The Commish slaps Hunter, but D-X strips off his shirt and beats him four-on-one with Rick Rude’s briefcase (which they’d better enjoy while they have it). Helmsley Pedigrees Slaughter, then places an X over his body with toilet paper. I hope they suspend Rick Rude again for this.
Tonight’s WarZone is brought to us by Jakks figures, and by Foot Action: For every action, there’s foot action. Just ask Tony Atlas.
In the Light Heavyweight tournament, Scott Taylor faces Eric Shelly, who has lost an E since the brackets were first announced. Shell(e)y was last seen in July stinking up the joint against Brian Christopher before getting spiked by both Lawlers. Eric, notes Cornette, is from Montreal, which could give him home advantage if this show were taking place in Canada instead of, uh, nowhere in particular.
Jeff Jarrett speaks over the phone, complaining about the lack of promotion tonight for his major announcement. Jarrett announces that next week, he will return to the WWF ring, calling Stone Cold a “one-move wonder” in the process. Fortunately, Jarrett’s call isn’t affected by the crowd noise, as there isn’t any.
Cornette apologizes for neglecting the match going on in the ring; there’s nothing particularly wrong with the match, except nobody knows who either of these guys are. Taylor comes off the top rope and DDTs Shelly – what JR calls a devastating maneuver — to win the glorified dark match. Speaking of dark matches, Adam Copeland defeated Christian Cage before this show started taping.
Before Taylor is done celebrating his tournament win (and the only definitive finish of the show), Marc Mero is back with Sable. Mero demands an interview with Jim Ross, as he’s not a big enough star like Steve Austin or D-X to simply grab a mic and start talking. Mero complains that Butterbean has been stalking his “property”, Sable.
Marc takes off his robe and rants like some kind of wild man, touting his amateur boxing credentials and challenging Butterbean to a fight right there. Mr. Esch climbs over the railing and goes face to face with Mero, who threatens him and calls him a fat ass. Marc pushes Butterbean, who shoves him right to the mat before the referees arrive to separate them.
In part two of “Why Bret Why?”, Jim Ross asks Vince whether he would allow Bret Hart back in the WWF (like, say, if his new boss cut his salary in half). McMahon says he would, as long as Bret apologized for being selfish and understood that Vince had to do what he did. McMahon says Bret Hart did sell out for the money, which is fine.
His only regrets are that Bret Hart made him do what he did, that Bret has subjected his fans (if there is such a thing, he wonders) and family to this controversy, and that his dear son Shane had to witness Bret’s assault on him. This man is contrite! But Vince chooses to remember the good times they had. Jim Cornette quotes some John Mellencamp lyrics to wrap up the segment.
Jim Ross promotes the Degeneration X pay-per-view, which is so unpredictable they can’t even agree on how to spell it. Vince McMahon, he tells us, will be live on America Online to answer your questions after the show. I’m sure that should go great.
Vader faces Goldust, who comes to the ring with Jerry Brisco and his arm in a sling (Brisco is not in the sling). Besides checkerboard face paint, the Bizarre One also wears a golden silk pajama top and panty hose. Ross and Cornette stumble over each other to make Elton John and Liberace references, respectively. The human PNG tells Vader he’s an invalid and can’t wrestle him tonight. Despite Goldust’s doctor’s note, Vader says, “I don’t give a — I don’t care what this letter says.” After Vader crumples up the note and throws it in Brisco’s face, Goldust clubs the big man with a foreign object, knocking him down. That makes two no-contests, two DQs, and one pinfall tonight.
On the WWF Superstars, Jim Ross promises a shocking update on the status of the Hart Foundation.
A “WWF Attitude” video airs of Steve Austin, who tells anyone listening that “if you want mercy, take your ass to church.” Whose slogan is that? The Catholic Church, or the Episcopalians?
Commissioner Slaughter is back with a new shirt and jacket to call Triple H, “scum”, “slime”, and a “maggot” [sic]. He makes a match between himself and Triple H at the next pay-per-view, where he promises to spit in his face (and call him scum?).
Rocky Maivia walks to the ring with the Nation. While he’s not wearing a shirt with a giant R on it, he can still be identified by the Intercontinental belt he carries with him. He cuts a promo clarifying that his match tonight with Dude Love is a non-title affair. He also recounts his previous time as the popular Intercontinental champ, even if Jim Cornette is confused by the third-person language. “He got an identity crisis?” asks Corny. “Who’s ‘The Rock’?”
Mick Foley, back from a very brief departure from the WWF after Montreal, is here as Dude Love. Jim Cornette brags that Rocky trusted him with the IC belt until Jim Ross reminds him that Austin is coming for it. He then plops it down in front Ross. Cornette also looks forward to the wrestling return of Sgt. Slaughter, who “owned the Carolinas and Virginia at one time”. I believe he’s got Sarge confused with the King of England.
The future Rock ’n’ Sock Connection start off the action slow, which would be fine if there weren’t five minutes left in the broadcast. Just when things start picking up, the show cuts to commercial, returning with barely two minutes left.
The Rock delivers a pre-People’s Elbow, or Preople’s Elbow, to the Dude. The Love man fires back with exactly nine turnbuckle smashes in one corner, followed by one more in the opposite corner. The Dude then warms up the band for Sweet Shin Music, kicking Rocky and DDTing him. Before Dude Love can pin the not-Intercontinental champion, the rest of the Nation runs in and puts the boots to him. Before Maivia can whack Dude with the belt, Stone Cold rushes to the ring. As he and his former tag team partner fight the rest of the Nation two-on-three, The Rock marches up the ramp with the belt.