WWF RAW — December 22nd, 1997 — Memorial Auditorium, Lowell, MA
WWF Raw begins with a montage of Legion of Doom career highlights, narrated by Kevin Kelly and Michael Cole. Last week, says Kelly, the “unlikely allies” of D-X and the New Age Outlaws humiliated the Road Warriors by (further) shaving part of Hawk’s head. However, Cole says without evidence that a “rift has developed” between the Outlaws and D-Generation X, and that this rift could “rear its ugly head”. Holy mixed metaphors, Ex-Lax!
Too much crotch and not enough spine! It’s time for WWFRaw is War, where it’s snowing in the arena. Jim Ross, Michael Cole, and Kevin Kelly are the commentators tonight. This being the Lowell Memorial Auditorium (capacity: 2500), the usual WWF Raw is War set isn’t here.
Shawn Michaels and Triple H come out in robes with Chyna, leading Jim Ross to speculate that they’re naked under there. Michael Cole, however, assures us that a censor is on standby, as if this show wasn’t taped 11 days in advance. Kevin Kelly, for his part, wonders whether D-X’s hotel knows where their robes are. Speaking of not knowing where they are, Shawn Michaels begins talking, promising a Christmas present for all the “good little boys and girls”. Cue a camera shot of actual little boys and girls.
Next-uh, Triple H-uh addresses the “Legion-uh of Doom-uh”, then warns the New Age Outlaws not to take credit for ending the Road Warriors’ careers. As for Owen Hart, Hunter says he has a “pacifier” for the “baby” of the Hart Foundation to “suck on”. That’s — ew.
Shawn takes the mic again and tells The Undertaker, his Royal Rumble challenge, that he won’t rest in peace but can instead “stay up all night” (sexually). He and Hunter then disrobe, and to the announcers’ pleasant surprise, they’re wearing Christmas boxer shorts. Of course, they (D-X) immediately strip them off. “Will you look at those nuts?” asks Ross. “Yeah, they’re crazy, JR”, says Kevin Kelly with the save. Many of the fans seem to enjoy the display, including this elderly man.
However, Commissioner Slaughter is here to ruin D-X’s good time and possibly, implies Shawn, violate them. Hunter, trying to get Shawn and Sarge to kiss, holds the mistletoe over Slaughter. The commissioner informs Shawn that he hasn’t defended his European title in over 30 — make that 60 — days, and that he must defend it tonight. Therefore, HBK will defend it against Triple H. D-X goes ballistic, then huddles to talk strategy. Kevin Kelly predicts Shawn won’t even defend his title, but simply forfeit it (for a sixth time).
Triple H then casually mentions that he’d beat Shawn, causing Michaels to call Hunter a loser (with his finger and his thumb in the shape of an L on his forehead). It looks like there’s a rift with an ugly head forming in D-X!
In other news, The Undertaker faces Intercontinental champion The Rock in what is probably a non-title match (Taker’s not allowed to win that belt).
It’s still snowing outside, though the snow indoors has subsided thanks to some quick repairs to the Memorial Auditorium roof. Tonight’s sponsors include Burger King, Jakks WWF action figures, and Skittles, whose ad copy Jim Ross reads in a jarringly subdued manner.
In a throwback to 1995, the announcers stand in front of an obvious green screen, totally unaffected by the colorful lights circling the arena. Where exactly are they supposed to be, anyway?
The Headbangers lick Marvin Martian lollipops on their way to the ring, where Thrasher will take on Henry Godwinn in singles action. Michael Cole gets a word with the Godwinns, dressed tonight like Italian plumbers; Confederate Mario reminds the New Age Outlaws that they’re promised a title shot, while Luigi spits tobacco into a Coca-Cola cup. And Coke’s not even sponsoring this episode!
Cole returns to the invisible announce table to commentate the match, which ends in just over a minute when Phineas interferes and breaks up Thrasher’s pin. The Godwinns then whip the Headbangers with straps, seemingly building to the Country Whipping match at that ill-fated Little Rock house show last Monday.
A video package airs, recapping Dude Love’s troubles with the New Age Outlaws. In the “bowels of the building” sits Mankind, a good friend of Dude Love’s, who feels the Dude’s pain so much that his ribs literally hurt.
Last week, Stone Cold threw the Intercontinental belt into a river. But after WWF Raw went off the air, he went face to face with a man claiming to be Santa Claus. It seems St. Nick was expecting Sable but was audibly disappointed that one of The Sultan’s kids ended up sitting on his lap. Jeremiah Fatu accused the New York-accented Santa of being an imposter. Of course it was true — the real Santa left a month and a half ago with his buddy Bret Hart.
Austin, always skeptical of authority, came down to investigate and quizzed “Santa” on his past Christmas lists. The big guy guessed little Steve had asked for a Barbie doll and Tiddlywinks. This answer was apparently incorrect, as Stone Cold gave the phony Santa the stunner, knocking his wig off and tossing him from the ring. This is how you know Austin is a full babyface — two years earlier, he never would have stood up to Xanta Klaus.
Backstage, Shawn and Hunter argue behind the door to their locker room, which is marked with a makeshift D-X logo. Michaels then leaves in a huff, still wearing his bath robe. Chyna exits, too, wearing pants with a big X on the butt; she would relax this policy during her film career.
Faarooq leads the Nation to the ring for The Rock’s match. Rocky is again without his belt, though fans in attendance don’t yet know it’s in a river. The Undertaker makes his awe-inspiring entrance but gets distracted by D’Lo (as one does), allowing Rock to sneak attack him. Taker quickly gains control and puts Maivia in a wristlock for a while. When he attempts Old School, though, Paul Bearer appears in the aisle. Taking advantage of another distraction, Kama cold-cocks him in his cold cock.
During the commercial break, Dok Hendrix psyches up the New York market for the upcoming MSG show, featuring a tag team cage match main event, plus a grudge match between Vader and lime green S&M Goldust.
When WWF Raw returns, Kama clotheslines The Undertaker on the arena floor, then continues to lay in cheap shots behind the ref’s back. Taker kicks out of the People’s Elbow, then fights out of a nerve hold… eventually. With the official sidetracked once again, Maivia rings Taker’s funeral bells. After the IC champion telegraphs a back body drop, though, the Phenom levels Rock with a fameasser. Maivia kicks out of a weak pin, but Taker then chokeslams and tombstones him.
Just then, the lights go out, and Kane emerges from the locker room bathed in red lighting like some kind of Christmas Creature. The match evaporates into yet another no-contest before Paul Bearer gets on the mic and says Taker’s parents are spending Christmas with the maggots. No, not Sgt. Slaughter’s new recruits, but the actual insect larvae. Taker interrupts the tirade to goozle Bearer, but Kane intervenes and beats down Taker.
“1998 will be the year of Kane”, declares Bearer. Well, he’d hold the WWF title for longer in 1998 than he would for the rest of his career.
“We’re All Together Now” ushers in the second hour of WWF Raw (the WarZone) and its new commentary team. Out are current lead WWE announcer Michael Cole and lead NJPW announcer Kevin Kelly; in is a guy with a podcast.
It’s European title time, with Chyna coming to the ring alone with both of Shawn’s belt. The D-X theme song continues as Shawn Michaels comes to the ring; Shawn looks inexplicably dopey in a baseball cap and a classic HBK vest with a green X plastered on it. Jim Cornette ponders the significance of Shawn Michaels, the champion, entering first.
When Triple H walks out, Owen Hart tackles him and punches him until Commissioner Slaughter banishes him. D-X then argue with Slaughter, who smiles as the faction accuses him of collusion.
When WWF Raw returns from commercial, Ross and Cornette are in Nowhere Land; the Jims tell us that the European title match will still happen later tonight.
Backstage, the New Age Outlaws wear miner’s hats to track down Mankind. Though the tag team champs do find a man and beat him down, they soon discover that it’s not Mankind but some other guy.
With Jerry Lawler out of town, Jim Ross is tonight’s designated horn dog. JR says he wore mistletoe over his head all day looking for Sable, who was wearing some kind of hot outfit. Alas, there is no Sable in sight, only Marvelous Marc, who faces Scott Taylor tonight.
Marc then proudly brings out Sable, covered head to toe in a reindeer costume. I take that back — her toes aren’t covered by the costume, as she is wearing high heels. Or are those supposed to be hooves? The Marvelous One then compliments Sable’s antlers and asks whether they’re real (they’re not) before having his vixen disrobe him.
As the match begins, Sable gets a big pop by taking off her head, although Jim Cornette, ever the pedant, jumps in to argue that it wasn’t her head, but the reindeer’s head. Mero gets sidetracked throughout the brief match, narrowly avoiding two pinfalls before hitting the TKO. For good measure, he punches Taylor in the worm, which is the fourth nutshot of the night. Marc even tries another TKO before Tom Brandi makes the save.
With Mero on the arena floor, Sable strips off her deerskin suit to unveil a slightly revealing Mrs. Claus outfit. “Do you think she’d fit in my stocking?” asks Jim Ross. And vice versa, he should have said. C’mon JR, you can dirty-talk better than this!
This week’s scoops on the Superstar Line include a new signing (perhaps Terry Funk), “personnel changes within the D-X”, and Shawn Michaels being a “big hit in Hollywood”. When recapping Owen Hart’s assault on Triple H, Jim Cornette says Hart “knocked Helmsley’s noggin off”. His comments come just minutes after he went out of his way to debunk Sable’s decapitation.
Backstage, Triple H wears a Chyna shirt (as it should be) and says he’s going to beat Shawn Michaels tonight. Though Chyna attempts to reason with him, Hunter is having none of it.
In the next match, Kurrgan takes on the magic 8-Ball. Will this be a passable match? Outlook not so good. On his way to the ring, Jackyl sweet-talks a young woman and puts a dot on her forehead. Jackyl cuts a promo throughout the entire match; when 8-Ball tries to interrupt, Kurrgan hits him with an axe-handle smash from the apron.
After another Jackyl distraction, Kurrgan sidewalk-slams 8-Ball for the victory. Mr. Ball quickly returns to his feet, however, and brawls with his opponent until the rest of the Truth Commission jumps in. Finally, Skull clears the ring with a 2×4.
The New Age Outlaws are back in the bowels of the building again, where they find… nothing. Yet.
Tonight’s 1-800-COLLECT Rewind is tonight’s Kane-Undertaker confrontation.
The Nation of Domination (minus The Rock) is out in force to back up their “prodigy” D’Lo Brown. His opponent tonight is Ken Shamrock, whose brother Frank won the first-ever UFC Middleweight Title in 22 seconds this weekend. Shamrock, who is the first man to sign up for the Royal Rumble, takes down Brown repeatedly before locking in his “ankle submission”. D’Lo taps after about two and a half minutes — that’s total match time, not total time in the ankle lock.
The Rock, who wrestled far and away the longest match of the night so far, comes out to cut a promo on the Gulf Crisis. But, he quickly decides, that’s not important, so instead he challenges Shamrock to a title match at the Royal Rumble.
Jim Ross teases an appearance by the real Santa Claus, then speaks with Shawn Michaels, who is also wearing a Chyna shirt. He’s going to rough up Hunter, he says.
The New Age Outlaws continue to probe the building’s bowels, where Cornette observes some movement. And it’s not just a poop joke, folks — Mankind really does ambush the Outlaws and throws them into boxes. By the end of the fight, though, the champs have Mankind locked in a freezer.
Luna Vachon escorts The Artist Formerly Known As Goldust to the ring, where he is met with the old spinning WWF logo lights. Goldust is dressed as a Christmas tree tonight (though don’t ask me if it’s trimmed) for a lisped reading of “A Visit from St. Nicholas”.
Well, speak of Santa Claus, and he shall appear! Jolly Old St. Nick tosses presents to fans as Goldust tells him to take a hike. Then, he sneaks up behind the Bizarre One and clobbers him with his sack, prompting Ross to declare, “The real Santa is kicking Goldust’s ass!” Vader Claus then takes off his hat and beard to reveal his true identity (Vader — but you already knew that).
It’s European title time again, and once more Chyna leads the way. Heading into the main event, Jim Ross reflects on the events of this WWF Raw, which include country whipping, a stunner to Santa Claus, Tree Dust, Vader Claus, and “exposed buttocks” (which Ross enunciates).
Hunter and Shawn each arrive in their Chyna merch to do battle in what JR dubs, “Slaughter’s Revenge”. He compares this match to Montezuma’s Revenge, which is diarrhea. Cornette thinks this bout could go a long time, which doesn’t sound like something JR wants to hear, all things considered.
Cornette is giddy at the prospect of a D-X split, but the two opponents are hesitant to lock up. Eventually, the two men lock up, and Hunter slams Shawn to the ground. Michaels then lies in place as Triple H runs the ropes — skips, really — about a dozen times, takes a big leap, lands on his feet, and gently falls onto HBK.
Hunter pins Shawn to become the new European champion as Cornette performs outrage at the ruse (and sounds like he’d rather be anywhere else this Christmas week). Well, the joke really is on all of us, as this wasn’t even the shortest or worst match of the night.
Chyna consoles Michaels, who, as the announcers allude to, lost his smile in this very arena earlier in the year. As D-X cuts tear-filled promos, Commissioner Slaughter stands in the aisle and books Hunter against Owen next week for the title. As he’s not using a microphone, D-X will have to wait until this episode airs eleven days later to even find out!