WWF Monday Night RAW - October 6, 1997
by Scrooge McSuck
- Currently available on WWE Classics on Demand, this is an episode of Raw that is very dear to my heart, and an episode I haven't seen since it aired. For those unfamiliar with my personal history of watching the WWF and the going on's of the time that made me almost give up on the WWF, this is the episode that brought me back.
- Vince McMahon opens the show to announce to the live audience (and, of course, us watching at home) about the untimely death of Brian Pillman. This might be the first time that the WWF had the entire roster gather together at the top of the ramp, regardless of babyface or heel allegiances. It's unfortunate this had to happen several more times over the years. We're live from the Kemper Arena, in Kansas City, MO, just to let you know.
- After the show opens proper, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, and Chyna make their way to the ring for an interview conducted by noobie, Michael Cole. Yes, 16 YEARS AGO, Michael Cole was brand new to the WWF. They give him a wedgie as a welcome to the WWF. It was the night before at Badd Blood where Shawn Michaels somehow defeated the Undertaker. By somehow, we mean an incredible amount of interference from a particular someone we will get to later. I wonder if Shawn's remarks about "Icon's" and "Fossils" is a little dig at WCW being headlined by Hogan/Piper at the time. You know, I don't mind self-glorifying promos, when done now and then, but when they became a weekly thing with the same old people, it became quite tiresome by about 2001-2002, and is still a consistantly annoying problem still going, today. For whatever reasons, they show the "MSG Incident" with Shawn, Hunter, Diesel, and Razor, complete with comical reactions from DX to cheese off Vince McMahon.
We return from commercial, with Shawn STILL giving Vince crap, and out comes Bret Hart, reigning WWF Champion, and the rest of the Hart Foundation. Bret plays it up like a heel to taunt another heel... I don't understand it. After watching the Bret/Shawn DVD set, it's just hard to grasp what was a work, what was a shoot, when someone crossed the line, when something outrageous and "over the line" was actually a work... anyway, this is just a lame reason to set up their match at Survivor Series, because quite honestly, they really haven't done much interracting with each other since SummerSlam. Bret offers a match against Hunter Hearst Helmsley for later in the show... you think it's going to be at least 4/10? Running nearly 30-minutes with the commercial break... talk about overkill. I honestly remember flipping back and forth to Nitro by the end of this promo. I still wasn't used to long winded promos
Lumberjack Match: The Headbangers vs. The Godwinns (w/ Uncle Cletus):
The Godwinns won the Tag Titles the previous night, but this is Non-Title for whatever reasons. Not exactly the proudest few months for the WWF Tag Titles (that is until they, too, became a worthless prop). Why is this a Lumberjack Match? Seems pretty pointless to use a gimmick match for the sake of using a gimmick match. Mosh stage dives onto the Lumberjacks, and they body surf him around the ring in a cute spot. It's all downhill from there, pretty much all punchy-kicky crap. Honestly, the only wrestling "move" used is a clothesline. We get a lame ref' bump for no apparant reason, which brings not only the LOD in, but THE REST OF THE ENTIRE DAMN ROSTER... and yet the match continues, and Mosh rolls Henry up for the three count at 4:17. What, did the referee die and come back to life over the course of that nonsense? What a stupid waste of time. I bet Russo booked it.
Marc Mero (w/ Sable) vs. Miguel Perez:
Before the match, we see a "earlier in the day" reaction from the Boricuas about Mero being a chump. Mero's making his in-ring return after missing a good 6-7 months due to injuries. He also appears to be sporting a new attitude. Slugfest to start, won by Mero, who uses some old boxing techniques to take control. Whip, boot to the midsection, and a running high knee connects. Mero with a snapmare, followed by an elbow drop. He takes it to the corner for more rights and lefts. Whip to the corner, Perez meets him with a boot, and runs through him with a clothesline. Perez with a slam, followed by a leg drop. Whip to the corner, and he comes in with another clothesline. Mero catches him off the ropes, and the unnamed TKO finishes at 2:24. Jim Ross colorfully remarks "That's a TKO right there!" in a cheap way to introduce the eventual name of the move.
- Jim Cornette is standing by for some shoot comments. Arn Anderson and Ric Flair are mentioned, as is Mick Foley, for talent who are over-looked and/or have their legacies tarnished. The New World Order is a bunch of guys in the backyard in a treehouse clubhouse. Kevin Nash is "the biggest no-talent in the business", Sean Waltman is employed because everyone thinks it's funny when he gets drunk and throws up on himself, and Eric Bischoff is a mark for himself and hangs around with big tough guys to make himself feel like he has a "big johnson." Eh... he did other promos where he equally attacked WWF talent, but this seemed more like another WCW smear campaign.
The British Bulldog (w/ The Hart Foundation) vs. The Rock (w/ The Nation):
Yay, heel vs. heel, which means the crowd won't get behind either man. With so many at ringside, expect a crap finish very quickly. Lockup, Rock with a boot to the midsection, followed by rights. Whip to the corner, Bulldog comes back with a clothesline, and sends the Rock to the floor following an arm drag. Back inside, Rocky goes for the arm, but Bulldog quickly counters, takes him over with an arm drag, and hooks an armbar. Whip to the ropes and Rock with a knee to the midsection. Rock puts the boots to Davey Boy, triggering a "Rocky Sucks" chant. Rock with a slam, and my GOD, the early form of the "People's Elbow" is laughably bad. Bulldog offers a comeback, taking him over with the delay vertical suplex. Whip to the corner, Bulldog charges in, only to meet a boot. Rock with an Oklahoma Roll for two. Bulldog with the Running Powerslam, and we get a three count at 3:42... wow, didn't expect to see that finish. Afterwards, Faarooq starts whipping people, and now the entire Nation and Hart Foundation go at it. Nothing match, in a series of them tonight.
- We get photos from Badd Blood and the instant classic between the Undertaker and Shawn Michaels. All the hype this match got after the fact made it one of the most anticipated matches for me in the history of all professional wrestling. I remember one Raw running a lengthy, maybe 5-6 minute long, video package of match highlights, and loving every second of it.
Time for HOUR TWO! (War Zone?)
- "Stone Cold" Steve Austin comes out for more talking. It was last night at Badd Blood where he cost Faarooq his match against Owen Hart, ensuring that Hart would regain the Intercontinental Title. Austin's been inactive since SummerSlam, when a blown spot lead to a near instant career ending injury, but has made his presence felt on an almost weekly basis without having to step in the ring for an official match. Short and to the point... Austin wants the belt back and he wants it from Owen. Oh, and for no reason, he steals Lawler's crown and gives it to a plant.
WWF Intercontinental Championship Match:
OK, who did Hawk defeat to earn a shot at the title? Did he win a Battle Royal on Shotgun that we weren't informed about? Hawk with a knee to the midsection, followed by a press slam and a neck breaker for two. Whip to the corner, and Hawk follows in with a clothesline. Owen avoids a second charge, forcing Hawk to ram himself to the post. He feeds the foot and lays Hawk out with an enziguri Owen with a slam and second rope elbow as we see the Godwinns make their way to ringside. That was quick. Owen with a back breaker and sloppy gutwrench suplex for two. Whip to the corner and Hawk comes back with a clothesline. He lays in with chops and rights until Owen goes low. Hawk no-sells a DDT, but gets tripped up by the Godwinns. Here comes Animal, who for some reason didn't feel like being at ringside to begin with. Hawk with a slam, heads to the top, and connects with the clothesline, but he lands near Henry Godwinn, who KO's him with the lucky horse-shoe, and Owen covers for three at 3:22. Ugh... Owen needed that kind of finish to go over a washed up tag team wrestler?
Owen Hart © vs. Road Warrior Hawk:
- In a somewhat disgusting act, Vince McMahon puts Brian Pillman's widow on the air for an interview, basically asking her about Pillman's health and what might have lead to his death. I don't know how some people like to spin things. I've read it was tasteless to some because Vince came across as if he was trying to clear the WWF from being held responsible for it, but I just think it's wrong because this woman lost her husband THE DAY BEFORE, and you're preasuring her for details that couldn't possibly have been available that quickly.
- The Hardy Boys (Matt and Jeff) are getting ready to take on Recon and Sniper of the Truth Commission... but then the lights go out, there's a burst of fire, and out comes Paul Bearer, along with Kane, the long-believed-to-be-dead brother of the Undertaker. I see they got sync'ed up with the pyro a bit better as the weeks went on. He quickly goes after the Hardys and lays them out with a double chokeslam. He tosses Matt to the floor, then press slam LAUNCHES Jeff over the top, onto Matt, who was pretty much on the ramp for the catch. Paul Bearer gets on the microphone to formally introduce the WWF and the rest of the world to Kane. In what should've been a "one and done" gimmick, the excellent work from Paul Bearer cutting promos every week hyping him up, the surprisingly solid booking of making him an indestructable force, and obviously being a decent enough worker to stick around, extended what was meant to be a 6 month long gimmick into a 16 year run, and still counting.
I hate to beat a dead horse in the mouth, but again, I must make it clear how much I loved the whole angle surrounding Kane and the Undertaker, but more specifically, for Kane, the character. The must-watch vibe they gave him because of his unpredictable appearances and lack of wrestling on television made everything he did seem important, and dare I say, was the more hot topic of mine at lunch at the wrestling geeks table in school than the same old "Steve Austin is cool" and "DX is cool" crap everyone else spouted off. If not for word of mouth of what happened at Badd Blood, I wouldn't have watched Raw, wouldn't have gotten instantly hooked again, and who knows, maybe I would never have watched wrestling again. Of course, I said that back in 2007, and by 2012, I was back again, so even when it comes to watching it, forever isn't always forever.
... Wait, there's still more to this episode? Okay, let's finish things up...
Non-Title Match: Bret "Hitman" Hart vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/ Chyna):
It's our "Main Event" of the evening, right? Well, yes it is, but that's more of a jab at anyone who insists the last match is the Main Event, instead of, say, the most highly promoted match. Helmsley is still sporting his greenwich blue blood attire and music, so he's still making the transition. Lockup into the corner and Bret unloads with rights. He takes Helmsley over with a suplex, followed by a Russian leg sweep. Helmsley goes to the eyes and chokes across the top rope. It's more Punchy-Kicky Mania. Bret comes out of the corner with a clothesline, followed by a DDT for two. Shawn shows up as Bret hits the chinlock, and does nasty things to the Canadian flag. Who green-lit this stuf!? Bret suffers a lapse in judgment, allowing Helmsley to take over with a running high knee.
We come back from break, with Owen, Neidhart, and Bulldog now at ringside. Helmsley comes off the ropes with a knee drop, and takes Bret over with a suplex for two. Whip to the ropes, and he grabs a sleeper hold. I doze off a bit, but from what I could tell, Bret fought free, only to be brought down with a DDT. Whip to the ropes, Bret punts him on the chest, sweeps the legs, and slaps on the Sharpshooter. Unfortunately it's near the ropes and Chyna offers assistance. Bret goes for the Ringpost Figure-Four, but Chyna interrupts and distracts Bret long enough for Michaels to lay him out with Sweet Chin Music, and it's a cheap Count-Out victory for Helmsley at 7:50 (minus one break). Total paint-by-numbers.
Final Thoughts: If not for Nostalgia over the debut of one of my favorite performers of all-time, there's not a whole lot to this show. Yes, it does a lot to build up stuff for Survivor Series, most notably Bret/Shawn and Owen/Austin, but there's really no heart behind either program, and were mostly served as a "let's get it over with" scenario rather than anything inspired. All other angle/character development included Marc Mero's subpar heel turn, more of the Godwinns/LOD, and really, what was with that Cornette promo!? Throw in a bunch of crappy matches and way too many heel vs. heel pairings, and you have yourself quite a boring 95 minutes to sit through.
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