WWF Raw — December 1st, 1997 — Civic Center, Roanoke, VA
Too much bugs, and not enough flies! It’s WWF Raw, taped from Roanoke. The commentating Jims (Ross and Cornette) promise footage from the Bret Hart-Shawn Michaels match, which will “end the controversy”.
The new tag team champions enter to their signature theme music, though Road Dog has not yet found his groove with his “Oh you didn’t know”s and suggestions of butt-dialing. Fans drown out his promo with chants of “LOD” while he gloats about his victory over that team. Last week, he says, he and Mr. Ass “spanked them”. What is this, Soviet Russia? Gunn, wearing a t-shirt from the last pay-per-view, announces a non-title match tonight against the Headbangers.
Before he can finish talking, the Road Warriors attack from behind and clear the champs from the ring. The announcers are astounded to see the LOD in street clothes and without face paint. As the Road Warriors aren’t scheduled to be here, they must have “slipped in the back door”, as they once threatened to do to Ric Flair. They’re not going to let the champions leave with the belts tonight, says Animal, and they’re going to be on them “like ugly on an ape”, says Hawk.
Later tonight, we will see Rocky Maivia vs. Vader, both Light Heavyweight semifinal matches, and the “wrestling debut” of Jeff Jarrett against his last WWF rival Ahmed Johnson. Plus, Jim Neidhart wrestles Triple H, leading Cornette to speculate about who from the Hart Foundation will show up (Nobody).
The Lazer Tag Slam of the Week is Flash Funk defeating Taka Michinoku on Shotgun with a corkscrew leg drop. That’s quite the message to send fans about the Light Heavyweight division!
Speaking of which, here comes Sunny, who only interacts with two types of wrestlers these days: Light Heavyweights and Minis. On her way to the ring, she kisses a ten-year-old boy on the cheek (I assume). Is he in the Light Heavyweight tournament? As the female Hulk Hogan (source), Sunny addresses each side of the arena to test their enthusiasm, then announces Águila vs. Taka Michinoku.
Aguila has a new guitar theme, but Taka has something more important: an age advantage against AH-gwoo-luh. Cornette credits the 19-year-old Águila’s four years of experience to “very lax child labor laws”. Just wait until Mrs. Yamaguchi shows up next year! Jim Ross predicts there will be very little mat wrestling in this match, so naturally the two men start out trading holds on the mat. After a few dives, they’re back to more mat wrestling, with Taka applying an STF.
On the outside, Águila runs Taka into the ring post, then hits a corkscrew moonsault from the top rope to the floor (with Taka moving into place just in time to break his fall).
In the ring, Taka attempts a corkscrew moonsault (“A high risk maneuver”, says Ross. Sorry Jim, I’ve stopped counting) but misses. Still, he recovers to deliver a missile dropkick and a missile dropkick to defeat his future WrestleMania opponent and advance to the finals. “Only in America could a young Japanese immigrant have Sunny announce his victory!” points out Jim Cornette, though the same thing happened in Ottawa three weeks earlier.
A promo airs for the DX pay-per-view, with two voiceovers interspersed: the normal WWF voiceover guy, and a very horny voice actress.
Luna Vachon leads Goldust out on a chain. So much for “Forever Unchained”! Goldust waddles to the ring with a walker, wearing a green bodysuit, a metal bra, a G-string, and a ball gag. Longtime fans will recognize the outfit he wore in WWF WarZone for Nintendo 64. Jerry Lawler interviews Luna as “The Artist Formerly Known As Goldust” crawls around the ring like a dog. Jim Cornette suggests Lawler conduct the interview in one of those body condoms from Naked Gun for his own protection.
As Luna talks about “whips and chains”, Jerry Lawler asks her about Vader, who wants to whip Goldust non-sexually. Luna then bites off Goldust’s ball gag and French-kisses him, causing JR’s Mama in Oklahoma to faint.
In Karate Fighters tournament action, “El Matador” takes on Jerry Lawler. Before the fight, the two costumed men in their mid-to-late forties exchange fast food based insults (Burger King and Taco Bell, respectively). The King defeats El Matador in Santana’s last WWF match and tells him to “have another burrito”. Backstage, Vince McMahon is wondering what the hell a burrito is.
Next on WWF Raw is a four-corner elimination match that the match graphic implies is a 4-on-4-on-4-on-4 affair. Alas, that kind of match is reserved for WWF Attitude for Playstation and N64. Instead, one lesser member from each of the WWF’s factions (White biker, White South African, Black, and Puerto Rican) will square off.
Instead of Crush (who is “injured” and not here), the DOA fields Brian “Chains” Lee. Instead of Faarooq, the Nation sends D’Lo Brown to the ring to a mixed reaction (meaning some white fans throw up Black Power gestures, while others hold up Confederate flags). Savio Vega’s Boricuas put in Miguel Perez as their representative. And instead of the big Interrogator, it’s Recon of the Truth Commission who enters the match.
As the match gets under way, Jim Cornette notes that refusing to tag in is illegal and will result in disqualification. Otherwise, there would be no point getting involved until you’re one of the final two men. Barry “Recon” Buchanan surprises D’Lo and most of the audience with a huracanrana, but falls to Brian Lee’s Death Valley Driver a minute later and gets pinned. A minute after that, Perez counters a D’Lo roll-up to eliminate the NOD’s guy. Seconds later, Brian Lee hits Perez with another Death Valley Driver. Two Brian Lee DVDs? I didn’t know he had even one!
Savio breaks up the pinfall, resulting in a four-team shmozz after four minutes of action. That’s one minute per corner. There’s such chaos that Ross calls Chains, “Crush”, which is the opposite mistake that Jeff Jarrett made last week. Noticeably absent from the brawl is The Jackyl, who seeks shelter at the announce table.
For the New York market, Dok Hendrix promotes WWF Raw at the Nassau Coliseum, which will feature an untelevised eight-man main event pitting Taker, Vader, Dude Love, and Austin against the Nation of Domination. Terry Funk would actually replace Vader, who had a grueling match against Julio Sanchez earlier in the night.
For Christmas shoppers, Kevin Kelly introduces the new WWF Shopzone website, with a real URL and everything! None of that “AOL keyword” crap.
DX enters through the curtain, prompting Jim Ross to wonder what’s happened to Shawn Michaels. I don’t know either, Jim; there are so many camera cuts, I can’t tell what the hell is going on. Eagle-eyed viewers without photosensitivity will find Shawn in a wheelchair. Is he really hurt? Could he be faking an injury to avoid dropping the WWF title? Either way, there seems to be trend, starting with Goldust last week, of guys sitting cross-legged in wheelchairs.
Shawn, who, like Triple H, is eating a lollipop, brags that he played Jim Neidhart for a “sucker”. Cute. Are official DX candies available on Shopzone? Michaels passes the mic off to Triple H. “Tell him, Tri!” says HBK, trying to break in a new nickname. “Tri”, repeats Jim Ross derisively. Tri mocks Jim Neidhart for his stupidity, then moves on to more relevant wrestlers like Sgt. Slaughter. Hunter promises to use everything at his disposal against Slaughter in their match, minus his penis. Good to know.
Speaking of body parts, Shawn has been training his legs extra-hard for the Shamrock match. To test his pain tolerance, Shawn has Helmsley twist Michaels’s foot the whole way around. How did he do that!?
On the WWF Superstar Line, you can find out from Jim Ross who the latest wrestler is who has threatened to quit the WWF. My guess is Brian Adams, better known, of course, as Chains.
On a completely unrelated note, Ross rolls footage of the Montreal Screwjob and asks fans to be the judge. Here’s how Jim Cornette spins it: “[Earl Hebner] asked Bret Hart twice, and then he signaled for the bell.” He then adds, “Shawn Michaels did not relinquish the hold until after the bell had rung”. Neat! I’m not sure what that has to do with anything, though.
The mystery I’m really interested is who threw those two giant paper airplanes that nearly landed in the ring. As for Shawn Michaels leaving the ring at Vince McMahon’s behest without celebrating, Cornette suggests that was simply a sensible safety measure to avoid upsetting the partisan crowd.
Before WWF Raw‘s second hour begins, a video recap airs of last week’s Rock-Austin segment. As was the case last week, WWF WarZone opens with “We’re All Together Now”.
JR predicts that Rocky vs. Vader will be a slobberknocker. Speaking of knockers (and maybe slobber), one fan asks “China” to show him her “pecks”. Elsewhere in the crowd, that one white kid with the inch-thick glasses gives the Nation salute.
Over chants of “Rocky Sucks”, not-Intercontinental champ The Rock clarifies that this is a non-title match. Jim Ross protests this statement, but Jerry Lawler points out that it is technically true.
In the front row, one young fan holds up a sign reading, “BBW”. Could we be seeing a return of Bertha Faye? On commentary Jerry Lawler notes that Luna Vachon looked different from when we last saw her in the WWF, suggesting euphemistically that she had a “tongue augmentation”. I don’t know about Luna, but Vader, who waves his “V” hand signal in front of his face suggestively, might be interested in such a procedure.
Before the match begins, Steve Austin pulls a pick-up truck into the crowd while drinking a can of beer, “Back in Black” blaring through the speakers. The Rock tries running through the crowd towards Steve Austin, then sneaks back into the ring and cheap-shots Vader. The big man soon takes control of the match until he comes off the middle rope, which Rock counters into a powerslam.
Austin continues to taunt Maivia from atop his pickup, even as the rest of the Nation works over Vader. Rocky then scoop-slams Vader like it’s nothing, with a nut-punch thrown in for good measure. While the referee tries to hold off the Nation of Domination, Goldust runs to ringside in his lime green bondage gear and pummels Vader.
The Rock delivers a vertical suplex to Vader before hitting his patented elbow. Forget that Mark Henry guy (if you haven’t already) — Rocky Maivia might be the World’s Strongest Man. Because the People’s Elbow isn’t The Rock’s finisher, however, Vader powers out, sending Rocky sailing into the referee. Still, Maivia picks up a win by countout when Vader chases Goldust up the ramp.
As The Rock and Austin trash-talk each other from afar, Jerry Lawler worries that Stone Cold will run over the announcers and members of the audience to get to his PPV opponent. Don’t worry, Jerry; Austin’s only had three beers, tops.
After a video package for Ken Shamrock, Scott Taylor enters the ring for his Light Heavyweight semifinal match. Instead of Too Sexy’s music, though, it’s Kane’s that plays next. Taylor, who’s new around here, stands perfectly still in the ring to await his beating. Taylor then throws several dropkicks, to little effect. Kane chokeslams and tombstones Taylor, effectively eliminating the future Scotty 2 Hotty from the tournament. That means the first Light Heavyweight champion will be either Brian Christopher or Taka Michinoku, neither of whom can beat Flash Funk. Once again, Paul Bearer grabs the mic to blame the Undertaker for the preceding mayhem.
Ahmed Johnson, who got into a major car accident eight days ago in Hampton, Virginia, enters to take on the returning Jeff Jarrett. I guess he walked to Roanoke. Jeff Jarrett, wearing his Aztec robe, comes on stage to gripe about his treatment last week, and again this week. Ahmed Johnson, says Jarrett, was one of the reasons he left the WWF in the first place (or, considering he had already walked out of the company once before, the second place).
Though Jarrett has previously accused Ahmed of barely being able to speak English, Johnson’s claim that Jeff is “chickens**t” is comprehensible enough to be picked out by the censors. Fed up with Jarrett’s refusals, Commissioner Slaughter then books Jeff for the PPV against… The Undertaker! (Player!)
Michael Cole narrates a video package featuring the likes of Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson, comparing Sgt. Slaughter’s Cobra Clutch to an atom bomb or ballistic missile.
The Headbangers take on Billy Gunn and Road Dog, who this week tells us to “page somebody”. Got to keep up with the times! After the commercial, the non-title bout begins with Road Dog and Mosh. One punch from Mosh sends Roadie crawling to his corner to hug the man JR reluctantly calls, “Billy Bad Ass”. “My Mama’s listening,” explains JR. The Headbanger outclass the team of Roadabilly until Gunn clotheslines Thrasher on the apron. Billy hits neckbreaker and a high leg drop before tagging Road Dog, who promptly screws everything up. Soon, the LOD show up and chase off the champs, who make a getaway in their car.
Michael Cole recaps Degeneration-X’s humiliation of Jim Neidhart last week. The shortest-tenured member of D-X was fired from the group via a low blow from Chyna and high promo from HBK.
Next, Marc Mero and Sable come to the ring for an interview with Sable’s #1 fan, Jim Cornette. Sable, says Ross, will be a ring girl this Saturday night at a boxing PPV where Butterbean will also compete. That’s the night before the DX pay-per-view — is it typical for a boxer to fight on consecutive nights? Jim Cornette starts the interview playing up Marc Mero’s accomplishments, before pointing out that the fans care only about Sable. In response, Mero lists off his offensive arsenal and shows off his bod. Yet the fans still chant for Sable!
After demeaning Sable, Marc gives his “property” some mitts with pictures of Butterbean (or maybe burnt toast) for Mero to practice on. Marc pounds the pads so hard, one flies off Sable’s hand. This is the last straw, as Mero berates his woman some more until she cries and leaves the ring.
Before the main event, the announcers narrate footage from the Montreal Screwjob from new camera angles. Among the footage is an inconclusive close-up of Bret Hart in the Sharpshooter as Earl Hebner rings the bell.
More importantly, the paper airplane flies right over Shawn’s head but does not appear to make contact. Jim Ross hopes that the new footage will “put an end to this controversy once and for all”. And it does! No one talks about that paper airplane anymore.
With five and a half minutes left on WWF Raw, Jim Neidhart arrives to face Triple H. Jim Ross plays up the embarrassment and humiliation that Neidhart and his entire family suffered last week, which leads me to believe he is going to win this match. Let’s see if I’m right.
The Anvil tosses Helmsley around by his Slammy Award-winning hair while the announcers run down the card for Sunday’s pay-per-view. Shawn Michaels hops onto the apron to distract Neidhart and the referee, allowing Chyna to hand Hunter a chair. Triple H hammers the Anvil in the back with it and scores the 1-2-3 in two and a half minutes.
To wrap things up, Hunter pedigrees Neidhart, and HBK spray-paints “WCW” on his back. Ever the perfectionist, Shawn even includes the periods; such attention to detail in the ring is why he’s one of the all-time greats.
Anvil then rises to his feet and clotheslines both men before all of DX handcuff Neidhart to the top rope. Commissioner Slaughter then slaps the Cobra Clutch on Triple H, Ken Shamrock locks in his ankle submission on HBK, and Jim Neidhart (still handcuffed), grabs Chyna by the pants so she can’t interfere.
And that’s how Jim Neidhart, alone among the Hart family, left the WWF in the time-honored tradition.
2 JR’s Mamas