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WWF Monday Night RAW - February 24, 1997

by Scrooge McSuck

Paul E Dangerously

Presented LIVE from the Manhattan Center in New York City, NY, the original home of Monday Night Raw. I'm not sure, but I think the last Manhattan Center Raw took place on September 20th, 1993, though I could very well be mistaken. The WWF chose THIS SPECIFIC WEEK to tour Germany, so we're running with a ghost crew when it comes to the representatives of the World Wrestling Federation.

Vince McMahon and Jerry "The King" Lawler are calling the action, unless otherwise noted.

The Godwinns vs. The New Blackjacks:

It's the fallout from the New Blackjacks debut on Shotgun Saturday Night. Boy, Vince McMahon can't stop trotting the Godwinns out when visiting the unique locations for television tapings. Why couldn't they be thrown on the European tour instead? No Hillbilly Jim at ringside. It feels like he's been missing shows more than usual lately. Windham and Bradshaw attack before the bell. Remember when Lanza and Mulligan had those amazing brawls with Haystacks Calhoun?! Now we get to relive that excitement. Phineas quickly takes control and sends Bradshaw over the top rope with a clothesline. Back in the ring, Henry with a press slam on Windham. Whip to the corner and Phineas uses a head-scissors to send Windham over the top rope. Vince promotes a BIG SURPRISE, as well as Taker vs. Faarooq and Sunny vs. Marlena in an arm-wrestling match. Bradshaw's left knee is heavily bandaged for what it's worth. He thumbs the eye and blasts Phineas with a short lariat. Phineas avoids an elbow drop and tags in Henry for a double clothesline. Whip is reversed and Windham nails Henry from the apron, allowing Bradshaw to attack from behind and knock him over the top rope. Whip and we get a combo boot to the chest and boot to the face. Meanwhile, KEN SHAMROCK is watching from the front row. Bradshaw with a series of forearms. He meets a boot charging into the corner and Henry takes him down with a back suplex. Phineas runs wild with right hands. He grabs a sleeper, but Bradshaw breaks it with a lariat. Windham covers and the referee misses the foot on the rope, counting three at 5:48. A second referee comes out to dispute the count, to no avail, so they slop poor Mike Chioda to make up for it. For those keeping track, the first and second match of the Blackjacks featured a non-finish run-in and a sweep-the-foot-off-the-rope finish. *¼

The Eliminators, Perry Saturn and John Kronus, appear from the crowd and give some poor shlub a Total Elimination (combo leg-sweep and spinning heel kick). They're accompanied by Paul E. Dangerously, here to announce the acceptance of Jerry Lawler's challenge.

Little Guido vs. Big Stevie Cool (w/ The Blue World Order):

In a nice cross-promotion touch, they're using the on-screen graphics used for ECW's television broadcasts. Paul E. Dangerously is acting as the ring announcer before joining the commentary table. For those unfamiliar, the b.W.o. is Big Stevie Cool (Stevie Richards), Da Blue Guy (Blue Meanie) and Hollywood Nova (Mike Bucci, later known in WWE as Simon Dean) doing the most obvious spoof of the era. Guido (later known as Nunzio to WWE fans) nails Meanie from behind, allowing Stevie to attack him. Guido fires back with rights but gets caught off the ropes with a fallaway slam. Whip to the ropes and Richard with a spinning side slam as Lawler accuses ECW of being rip-offs. MEANWHILE, Raven, the ECW Heavyweight Champion, is watching from the aisle, distracting Stevie long enough for Guido to roll him up for two. Guido with dropkicks, sending Stevie to the floor (with Vince incorrectly calling him Stevie Ray). MEANWHILE, Goldust is standing by backstage with comments. Back to the action, Guido sends Stevie to the corner and sweeps him out with a sit-out slam for two. I'll give Vince some credit, this was a much better choice for cross-promotion than the AAA deal. Whip and Stevie catches Guido with a Rocker Dropper for two. He plants Guido with a powerbomb but chooses not to cover. Stevie sets up in the corner and hits the Stevie Kick for three at 3:41. Decent action for sub-4 minutes. **

Sunny is standing by to trash-talk Marlena.

The Honkytonk Man is in the ring to officiate the Arm-Wrestling Contest between Sunny and Marlena. Yes, this IS completely out of left field. Once they moved Sunny away from a managerial position on the roster, she's just doing random stuff every week. Marlena is selling the injury at the hands of that Amazonian Woman that in no way is affiliated with Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Sunny offers Marlena to forfeit and give her the "cheap victory." Marlena implies Sunny is a prostitute and refuses to accept the offer, saying she'd get off her death bed before forfeiting. Sunny does the tried-and-true tradition of stalling. Marlena does it and gets chewed out by Honky for it. They finally lock up, with Honky cheerleading Sunny the entire time. Marlena seems to have it won, but Sunny interrupts by throwing powder in Marlena's eyes. Someone in the crowd can be heard screaming "YOU F'N B****" and that somehow wasn't removed from the Network version. Savio Vega comes out to harass Marlena for REASONS, but Goldust makes the save.

Goldust vs. Savio Vega (w/ The Nation of Domination & Sunny):

What a weird transition from segment to segment. I guess the match started as soon as the referee decided to get in the ring, but we never hear the bell. We come back from commercial with Savio in control, and he's thankfully traded in his ring-gear for a new top that fits the Nation motif. Miguel Perez has joined commentary, and he says Savio is despised in Puerto Rico for turning his back on the fans. DOUBT IT. Savio controls and hooks a nerve hold. He lights up Goldust in the corner with chops. Whip to the ropes and Goldust with a sunset flip for two. Savio quickly regains control, knocking Goldust out of the ring with a clothesline. Crush gets involved with the referee distracted. Vince runs down the upcoming USA tour schedule, ignoring the non-action of the match. Back inside the ring, Goldust fires off a series of rights but Savio kicks him low to cut off the comeback. Can someone tell me how Worcester is pronounced "Wooster"? How many times can Vince say "notwithstanding" in one match? Whip and Goldust with a cross body press. Savio with a standing heel kick for two. Goldust rakes the eyes to get out of the corner and plants Savio with a DDT. Lawler brings up a good question: Why is Sunny at ringside chumming with the Nation? Savio with a slam but he meets knees going for a splash. Goldust counters the back body-drop with a drop-down uppercut and follows with a pair of clotheslines. We keep cutting to Ken Shamrock, who has one expression to his credit. Savio straddles Goldust across the turnbuckle but Goldust can fight off the super-plex attempt, planting a kiss on Savio to send him crashing to the canvas. Goldust blocks a boot diving off the top but gets tripped by Crush. Savio misses an elbow drop and Goldust rolls to the floor to nail Crush. Back inside, Savio completely whiffs the spinning heel kick. D'Lo hops on the apron for another distraction, and suddenly Crush runs in for the DQ at 9:00 (shown). Miguel Perez charges in and gets dumped. He climbs the ropes and nails Savio with a missile dropkick and the unlikely duo of Perez and Goldust clear the ring. I don't know what this was supposed to be, I just know it sucked. ½*

Next Week: The WWF European Championship will be decided in Berlin, Germany!

Highlights from July 19th, 1993 when Jerry Lawler humiliated the late-Tiny Tim.

Jerry Lawler is standing by for an interview with the world's most dangerous man, Ken Shamrock, the "Ultimate Fighting Champion." Lawler says he and Shamrock go way back, implying he's helped Shamrock get to where he is today. Shamrock says he doesn't know who Lawler is and calls him a liar for taking credit for his training. GREAT INTERVIEW, KEN. "Look at that egg dripping all over his face." Great line, Vince.

Mikey Whipwreck vs. Taz (w/ Bill Alfonso):

Paul E. notes how badly this show has stunk without ECW before introducing the next match, complete with more badly dubbed music. Mikey at one point was the loveable underdog, but Taz is the unstoppable force at this point, so the result shouldn't be a surprise. Lockup and Taz with a takedown into a cross arm bar. It's been 10-seconds and the whistle blowing is already on my nerves. Taz wrestles Mikey to the canvas as Lawler and Paul E. bicker. ORDER THE PAY-PER-VIEW ON APRIL 13th. Taz with a Northern Lights Suplex for two. Whip is reversed and Taz hits a double butterfly suplex. We get comments from Faarooq to hype his match with the Undertaker. Back to the action, Whipwreck with a sunset flip for two. Taz lays him out with a clothesline as the crowd chants "Sabu." Whip to the corner and Taz catches Mikey in mid-air with an Alabama Slam. Speaking of Sabu, he's on the giant RAW sign and nearly lands on his head diving onto a pile of Taz's geeks. Taz with a terrible overhead belly-to-belly suplex to send Mikey crashing onto Sabu. Back inside, Taz with another suplex and the rear choke finishes at 3:33. Total squash, with Mikey getting all of one move in. Not worth rating, but I found it less enjoyable than Stevie vs. Guido.

The Headbangers vs. ???:

The HUGE SURPRISE that Vince has teased all night turns out to be the return of THE LEGION OF DOOM, making their first appearance as a team in the WWF since SummerSlam ‘92. My, how things have changed in that 4 ½ year span. Even the ECW fans are geeking out for this appearance. If anything, it breaths a little bit of hope into a division desperately in need of star power and/or credibility. Hawk and Animal attack before the bell and quickly dump the Headbangers out of the ring. Things settle down, with Animal no-selling Mosh's shtick and hitting him with a diving shoulder tackle. Thrasher tags in to get his arm worked over. Hawk does a sorry no-sell of some double-team work before making his own comeback. Whip to the corner and he nails Mosh with a charging clothesline. Hawk throws some chops and gives Mosh a gut-wrench slam as Vince tells fans it's OK to bring their signs, because they won't be censored. HA! Mosh chokes Hawk with his torn shirt, but Animal tags in and plants him with a powerbomb. Lawler name-drops Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson and THE BUTTHOLE SURFERS to get a reaction out of Vince. Loud "Bischoff sucks" chant as Hawk hits Mosh with a dropkick. Whip and Hawk blocks a sunset flip attempt. Mosh continues to battle as we've got the heel vs face formula completely cross. The LOD with some illegal double-team work in the corner. Thrasher eventually tags back in and goes down attempting a shoulder tackle on Animal. Whip to the corner and Hawk meets the post. OH MY GOD, IS HAWK SELLING SOMETHING? Mosh with a diving clothesline from the apron as we take a break. Oh my God, the match continues with the Headbangers in control. Whip to the ropes and Thrasher comes off the top with a clothesline for two. Whip, Hawk breaks through a double clothesline and lays out the Headbangers by himself. Animal in, nailing Thrasher with a dropkick and catching Mosh off the ropes with a powerslam. Suddenly they take it to the floor, and we get a DOUBLE COUNT-OUT at 7:43 (shown). Post-match, Mosh eats a Doomsday Device. Let's recap: LOD gobbled up Mosh and Thrasher for almost the entire match, hit their finisher, and we STILL can't get a clean victory for the returning legends? WHAT THE HELL WAS THE POINT OF THIS?!?! ½*

We get the second version of Shawn Michaels' "Tell Me a Lie" music video, but this one feels less special than the first, knowing the crippling knee injury was anything but, and even a pre-teen mark like me knew that.

Tommy Dreamer (w/ Beulah McGillicutty) vs. D'Von Dudley (w/ Sign Guy Dudley):

Beulah's name is what is so wonderful about professional wrestling: giving an attractive woman one of the homeliest names in the world. They go nose-to-nose and lockup. D'Von quickly pounds away but Dreamer comes back with an inverted atomic drop. Whip is reversed and Dreamer comes out of the corner with a bulldog. He dumps D'Von over the top rope and smashes a frying pan over his head. Dreamer uses a cane and sends D'Von into the steps. Snap suplex and Dreamer with a baseball slide to knock the steps into D'Von's face. Back inside, D'Von sends Dreamer into the steps propped up in the corner. D'Von with a chair to the head, completely unprotected. He follows with a side slam on the chair as Lawler goes on a rant about how disgusting ECW is to him. D'Von with a leg drop with the chair placed across Dreamer's face. D'Von misses a diving headbutt, kissing the chair instead. Dreamer with a piledriver. Beulah feeds him a chair but Sign Guy Dudley picks the ankle of Dreamer. D'Von goes after Beulah and uses her as a shield. She nails D'Von low, and Dreamer finishes with a DDT on the chair at 4:30. Post-match, Buh-Buh Ray Dudley shows up and they give Dreamer a 3-D! Suddenly, The Sandman shows up with a beer in one hand, kendo stick in the other, and chugging a beer. The Dudleys pull him into the ring but Sandman fights them off and we get our second and third completely unprotected chair shots to the head. Lawler and Paul E. continue to bicker and Vince is forced to separate them.

We get a lengthy recap of the saga surrounding the WWF Championship. At the end of the day, the official Championship Match scheduled for WrestleMania 13 is Sycho Sid defending against the Undertaker. ALSO, Bret Hart faces "Stone Cold" Steve Austin in a "No Holds Barred" Match.

Todd Pettengill is standing by with Ken Shamrock, who is more open for a conversation without someone trying to take credit for training Shamrock and claiming to be the reason for his success. Todd asks Shamrock about the "Submission Match" between Bret and Austin, immediately contradicting Vince McMahon's announcement that it was simply a "No Holds Barred" match. Faarooq interrupts to trash talk Shamrock and the UFC, calling them a bunch of cats but in the WWF they're a bunch of tigers.

The Undertaker vs. Faarooq (w/ The Nation of Domination):

Odds we get a pin-fall victory for the guy challenging for the WWF Championship at WrestleMania 13? I'm going to say very low, based on the booking of this entire show. Undertaker worked the final match of the original Monday Night Raw, making him the only wrestler to make an appearance that night and on this show (Bill Alfonso was a referee for the company at the time of the first Raw, but I don't know if he worked the show). Faarooq stalls outside the ring to start. Taker gives chase and works over poor D'Lo. Faarooq attacks in the ring with blows across the back. Whip to the ropes and Taker comes back with a diving lariat. He wraps up the arm and hits the rope-walk clothesline. Slow down, Taker, we still got 10-minutes to fill. Taker with another clothesline, sending Faarooq over the top rope. Lawler continues to insist that he and Shamrock go way back. Back inside, Taker with a boot to the face as Vince acknowledges the passing of Jim Ross' father. Taker with a short clothesline but he misses an elbow drop. Faarooq staggers Taker with a shoulder tackle and clotheslines him over the top. D'Lo gets a little payback, clipping the knee with the referee distracted. We come back from commercial with Faarooq clipping the knee. He plants Taker with a slam but meets the knees going for a splash. Faarooq clips him again and covers for two. Whip to the corner and Taker counters a back body-drop with a Rocker Dropper. Faarooq rolls away from a traditional leg drop and slams the knee into the canvas. Taker counters a charge to the corner and rolls Faarooq up for two. UNDERTAKER. DID A SCHOOL BOY. Faarooq remains in control with a chin-lock, but Taker is able to get to the ropes for the break. Taker with a series of rights but Faarooq catches him off the ropes with a powerslam for two. Faarooq goes high risk and Taker catches him with a powerslam of his own. D'Lo pulls down the ropes, taking Undertaker to the floor. Faarooq grabs the stairs and has them booted into his face. Back inside, Faarooq with a piledriver but Taker no-sells like his name is Road Warrior Hawk. Suddenly, Savio and Crush run in and it's ANOTHER B.S. FINISH AT 11:29 (shown). The Nation attack is short-lived, as the Legion of Doom save with the show going off the air. *½

Final Thoughts: Let's check the stat sheet. The WWF Superstars were featured in four matches on the show, and the results were: pinfall by blind referee missing a foot on the ropes, DQ, Double Count-Out, and DQ. Nothing is worse than letting the LOD squash the Headbangers like bugs and NOT putting them over with a victory. That's booking 101, how hard is it? The ECW portions of the show wasn't the best, but it freshened things up to make it somewhat watchable, and the visual of the Manhattan Center is always going to tug at my nostalgia strings.

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