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WWF Monday Night RAW - March 10, 1997
by Scrooge McSuck
Presented LIVE from the Worcester Centrum in Worcester, MA. Tonight, history is made, because RAW IS WAR, with a new intro and a brand-new set with a stage, ramp and the debut of the TITAN-TRON. The WWF had a video wall over the years, but this is the ‘Tron we're all familiar with when it comes to the Attitude Era and moving forward. Marilyn Manson's "The Beautiful People" didn't survive the Network/Peacock era, unfortunately. That seems WAY ahead of its time considering McMahon's penchant for being out of touch with the modern audience. Vince McMahon, Jim Ross, and Jerry "The King" Lawler are calling the action, unless otherwise noted.
WWF Champion Sycho Sid joins us to kick things off. Tonight, he'll team with the Undertaker to face Vader and Mankind. BREAKING NEWS: Ken Shamrock is here for a major announcement! BREAKING NEWS PART TWO: The ECW "bums" are in the house, and we'll have a debate! Wow, that sounds less important now that I think about it. Ross joins Sid in the ring for his thoughts on tonight's Main Event. Yes, Sid's theme music keeps playing as he suggests something fishy might go down with Undertaker and Paul Bearer at ringside at the same time... what the hell is he talking about? He tells Undertaker to stay in the cemetery where he belongs, because that's where Sid will put him, once and for good. Suddenly, the lights go out and out comes the Undertaker. I don't think he appreciated those threats. Taker says if Sid is scared, then say he's scared, and that his logic doesn't make sense. If something happens to Sid, there goes his chance at the title, but if something happens to him, that leaves Sid the WWF Champion. Neither man wants to team and wants to go it alone tonight. Paul Bearer interrupts the party with his goons in toe. Both men have felt the wrath of Mankind and Vader and calls both men cowards. Mankind and Vader go in for the attack, and we got ourselves an old fashion slugfest.
Rocky Maivia vs. Tony Roy:
Rocky is the reigning Intercontinental Champion, but this is clearly a Non-Title Match. The bell rings and suddenly the Iron Sheik is talking at the top of the ramp with the Sultan aggressively gripping the jacket of Lance Wright. I guess Rocky is defending the Intercontinental Championship against the Sultan at WrestleMania the 13th. Backlund refers to Rocky as "Johnson" because he's gone mental. Roy attacks from behind, but Rocky quickly turns it around, reversing a whip and hitting Roy with a clothesline. Backlund continues to ramble nonsense and the crowd couldn't give less a crap. Rock with the spin-around DDT and he finishes with a flying body press at 1:38. Post-match, the Sultan rushes the ring, but Maivia unloads with right hands and sends him to the outside with a dropkick. Then we see Tony Atlas in the crowd to give Rocky props as we get a history lesson of Atlas' relationship to the Johnson family.
The Latin Lover, Octagon, and Hector Garza vs. Pierroth, Pentagon, and Heavy Metal:
What, we're STILL running the AAA guys out there?! Garza and Metal start. Metal catches Garza in a front face-lock and transitions into a side arm bar. Garza with a flip through to counter an arm bar and takes Metal over with a hip toss. They go through another series of counters and get zero reaction. Pierroth comes in and lays into Latin Lover with chops. Latin Lover blocks a hip toss but is nailed with a clothesline after a short crisscross sequence. Latin Lover with a twisting flying body press, followed by a Super-Kick. Octagon and Pentagon in. Octagon with a series of arm drags and a tilt-o-whirl back breaker. Heavy Metal and Garza back in. They meet in the middle with a shoulder tackle and Metal springboards off the ropes with an elbow. Metal misses something in the corner, taking a bump out of the ring. Meanwhile, the BIONIC AMAZONIAN WOMAN is in the crowd. This earns a split-screen. Pentagon unloads on Metal as we see the women being forcefully removed from her seat, despite doing nothing to warrant the abuse. Why wasn't this poor treatment trending on social media?! We come back from commercial (this dumpster fire gets to go TWO segments?!) and see a replay of what happened... with the woman, not the match in the ring. We get ANOTHER split-screen to show the mystery woman physically assaulting Marlena and getting in Bret Hart's face. Latin Lover with a spine-buster on Pierroth. He pops right up and lays in with chops as we get YET ANOTHER SPLIT SCREEN, this time with the returning Brian Pillman! He's coming back to Shotgun Saturday Night, when all the censors are asleep, and he can do whatever he wants. We get our obligatory sequence of high spots and who cares at this point. At least the crowd is finally reacting, I guess. Back inside, Latin Lover misses a body press. BREAKING NEWS: Hunter Hearst Helmsley has left the building. Latin Lover misses a frog splash on a STANDING OPPONENT and Metal wraps him up with a magistral cradle for three at 7:46 (shown). Post-match, Vince "compliments" them by calling them matadors. Train wreck. The constant split-screen and lack of focus on the ring made it impossible to follow.
Ahmed Johnson vs. Roy Raymond:
I guess they're bringing in the enhancement talent from Canada, based on Mr. Roy and Mr. Raymond (who happens to have the first name "Roy"). Raymond attacks from behind and takes Ahmed over with a suplex. Suddenly, the Nation of Domination make their way out. Ahmed pops up, more annoyed than hurt, and unloads on Raymond in the corner with forearms. Whip and Ahmed sloppily throws Raymond over the top rope as the production team has a hard time focusing on either the match or the Nation at the top of the ramp. Back inside, Ahmed with a scissors-kick, spine-buster, and Pearl River Plunge for the easy victory at 2:01.
The Nation theme played the entire time, and still plays even after Ahmed's victory is announced. Faarooq tells Ahmed he doesn't know what the streets are about and calls him an "Uncle Tom". He promises he's bringing the entire Nation with him to WrestleMania. Jim Ross enters the ring to get Ahmed's answer to who he's bringing to Chicago for the Street Fight. Ahmed isn't scared of them and found the two baddest men he could find. Faarooq can bring the Nation, because he's bringing the city of Chicago with him. We hear the familiar music of the Legion of Doom, and I think we have our answer. Ahmed and the LOD vs. The Nation in a Chicago Street Fight! Hawk says the gang is here and ready. When they're done with the Nation, they'll look like a sweaty fly-covered pile of raw sweat-socks. It wouldn't be an Ahmed promo without leading the crowd in a chant of "You're going down!" He enunciated it this time.
The British Bulldog & Owen Hart vs. The New Blackjacks:
Non-Title Match. Bulldog and Owen will defend at WrestleMania the 13th against Mankind and Vader, while the Blackjacks will battle Furnas and Lafon, The Godwinns, and the Headbangers in an Elimination Match for a FUTURE TITLE OPPORTUNITY. I'm going to leave that one alone. Bulldog is now a double Champion, having won the European Championship in an instant classic last week. Ross is a busy man, stopping the Champions at the top of the ramp and asking Owen if he's jealous of the Bulldog. The Blackjacks are introduced simply from "Texas." The Blackjacks continue to stir the pot, with Bradshaw noting Owen has "purr-ty lips" before being attacked. Windham CAN'T GET OVER THE TOP AFTER TWO CLOTHESLINE ATTEMPTS. Meanwhile, Owen sends Bradshaw to the post. Bulldog finally gets him over on the third try as Owen stomps Bradshaw out of the ring. That was a complete cluster-f*ck of a sequence. Back inside, Bradshaw unloads with knees and right forearms on the Bulldog. Meanwhile, Vader and Mankind are standing by as this show is clearly formatted by someone with ADD. Windham with a slam, but he misses an elbow drop. Bulldog takes him over with an arm drag and grabs the arm bar. Bradshaw back in with more body blows. Whip to the ropes and the Blackjacks take turns booting the Bulldog. Owen gets an ice hold hot tag and takes Windham over with a BAAACK body-drop. Windham goes low, with the referee conveniently distracted. Bradshaw with a whip and boot to the face. Owen gets dumped out and send into the guardrail. Back inside, Windham with a stalling vertical suplex for two. Owen unsuccessfully tries to trade punches. We come back from commercial, with Bulldog back in and grabbing a sleeper on Bradshaw. He counters and Windham lays Bulldog out with a diving clothesline for two. BREAKING NEWS: Sid defends the WWF Title against Bret Hart inside a Steel Cage NEXT WEEK! Bradshaw with a pump-handle slam and elbow drop for two. Meanwhile, Taz and Bill Alfonso are backstage to talk trash on behalf of ECW. Bulldog fights off the super-plex and lays Windham out with a clothesline. Owen in with a diving clothesline on Bradshaw, followed by a spinning heel kick. He comes off the top with a missile dropkick, but Windham saves. Owen with the Sharpshooter. Windham tries to save, but Bulldog repeatedly knocks him back with clotheslines, all practically no-sold. The referee gets in the way at one point and gets tossed, and we've got a Disqualification at 7:41 (shown). I don't think we're getting a good match on this episode. The Blackjacks have no cohesiveness as a team and have zero heat. ½*
Taz shows up at ringside to get his hands on Lawler, but here's Sabu to dive off a chair and go crashing through a table that is randomly set up at ringside. Suddenly, a bunch of ECW guys show up, including The Eliminators, Tommy Dreamer, The Sandman, and Chris Candido.
Miguel Perez vs. Leif Cassidy:
Cassidy is so far removed from the early days of the "New Rockers" persona he might as well change his name to someone more marketable. On top of the manic formatting, we're getting a lot of low-tier matchups. I guess the show moving along at a quicker speed makes it easier to digest. This is Miguel's first match on Raw, making his only in-ring appearance on Shotgun taped from the Manhattan Center. Lockup and Cassidy with a fireman's carry into an arm bar. Lawler says Perez is here because he's jealous of Savio Vega. Perez escapes and takes Cassidy over into an arm bar of his own. Whip and Cassidy with a shoulder tackle. Perez nips up, so Leif gives him a chop. Crisscross and they botch a leapfrog, so Perez throws a dropkick to make up for it. Cassidy wins the waist-lock battle and takes Perez down with a release German suplex. We cut from the action to do a split screen focusing on Paul E. Dangerously and Lawler. Back to the action, Cassidy hits a clothesline for two. Cassidy pounds away in the corner and plants Perez with a slam. He misses a moonsault, opening the door for Perez to make a comeback. Whip and Perez with a clothesline. Cassidy avoids a back body-drop, but a Powerbomb is countered with a victory roll, giving Perez his first win on Raw at 4:09. This was moves and more distracted formatting. *
Sycho Sid is standing by with his thoughts on next week's title defense against Bret Hart. This man is an amazingly awful promo, no matter the situation.
Jim Ross is standing by with the "World's Most Dangerous Man" Ken Shamrock, "from the Ultimate Fighting World" as Vince McMahon would say. We don't waste time finding out that Shamrock will be the SPECIAL REFEREE for the Submission Match between Bret Hart and Steve Austin. He's not going to let either man intimidate him and promises to be fair down the middle. He also says there won't be rule breaking, but the match won't have any rules, so that shouldn't be a problem. Steve Austin pops up on the titantron and tells Shamrock he should be honored not to have his guts stomped out right now. Austin says he hopes Bret wins the WWF Title because that means he gets a shot at the title at WrestleMania. He's never given up at anything in his life, and he won't start with WrestleMania. Now we get an interruption from Bret Hart, who is casually attired for the occasion. It may have been a few weeks ago, but he's still bitter about how he was robbed of the WWF Title after winning it for a 4th time. He's sorry he's crying, but he's had it with the lack of justice. He's been screaming for so long that Gorilla Monsoon finally gave him a little credit, and that means he gets Sid inside the cage next week. He tells Sid he's not as good as he is and promises to leave Raw a 5-time WWF Champion. He feels sorry for the Undertaker, but it'll be Steve Austin with a lucky break because he'll get a title shot at WrestleMania. He keeps going on about being screwed over by everyone and warns Shamrock that if he wants to screw with him, it'll be the biggest mistake of his life. Shamrock isn't a marriage counselor and isn't here to listen to his problems. He's going to do his job, and that's all he'll do. Steve Austin shows up on the ramp and flips off Hart to wrap up the segment.
The Honkytonk Man is in the ring to sing his song for "Woo-ster." The only problem is he doesn't think they're ready for him to let it all hang out, and last time they didn't give him the respect he deserved, so he's not singing ANYTHING. This has been another pointless moment(™).
Aldo Montoya vs. Billy Gunn:
I don't have the data in front of me, but is this Billy's first appearance since the worked stinger suffered at the hands of his "brother" Bart? Three months away and he's back at random, still serving a role in the prelims. Gunn opens with a boot to the midsection and whips Aldo aggressively into the turnbuckle. Honky joins commentary to go on about his search for a protégé. Billy with a slam and knee drop. He positions Aldo in a tree of woe and continues to put the boots to him. Whip and Montoya surprises him with a sunset flip for two. Billy pops right up and takes Aldo down with a clothesline. Montoya feeds the boot and hits an enzuigiri. Whip to the ropes and Montoya with a double knife-edge, followed by a diving forearm. Whip and Billy counters a back body-drop attempt. He connects with a DDT and comes off the top with a guillotine leg drop for three at 2:49. During the finish, we cut to a split-screen of Sunny promoting her gossip segment on the next episode of Shotgun Saturday Night. Basic squash. Billy looked fine, but the crowd didn't have a reason to be into this one.
Mankind and Paul Bearer are backstage with more menacing words.
Goldust (w/ Marlena) vs. Tim McNeedy:
I'm sensing a lack of roster depth to pull off so many matches on a 2-hour show without the use of outside talent and enhancement guys. Vince reminds us that the Bionic Amazon Woman was arrested earlier tonight for sitting in the crowd. If you didn't already know, Goldust faces Hunter Hearst Helmsley at WrestleMania the 13th. They stall locking up while we see Helmsley at the top of the ramp "WITH THAT WOMAN!" McNeedy attacks from behind but Goldust quickly cuts him off with a drop-down uppercut and clothesline. Whip and Goldust with a jumping hip attack. Short whip to the corner, boot to the back, and Curtain Call finishes at 1:36. Post-match, THAT WOMAN makes a slow stride to the ring, allowing Helmsley to sneak in from the other side and jump Goldust with a clothesline off the top rope. They put the boots to Goldust, so Marlena hops on the woman's back and the crowd goes nuts for it. It takes a group of referees and the usual cast of agents (Pat, Brisco, Hebner) to separate everyone. Pat even takes a bump out of the ring! After being treated like a helpless victim, it was great to see Marlena get physically involved.
Jerry Lawler is in the ring for the "Great Debate" with ECW's Paul E. Dangerously. Lawler won the imaginary coin toss to get first word in. He doesn't understand why ECW exists. More people are watching ECW now than ever before because of the WWF. He calls the ECW wrestlers misfits, thugs, and has-beens that can't catch on with a legitimate organization. "Maybe if we can't wrestle, we can beat each other over the heads with frying pans!" All they can do is draw 1,100 people once a month in a Bingo Hall. Paul E. finally responds and doesn't have an answer other than they earn the respect of every single fan in the audience. Oh, and they've got a Pay-Per-View coming. Sandman shows up, offering to "cane his (Lawler's) ass." Lawler says he should be thankful he's allowed to plug his PPV on this show. Now they're "shooting" with personal attacks that I'm sure were given the green light earlier in the day. Lawler calls for his reinforcements and nobody shows up. Great comedy. No harm comes to Lawler. Unless Vince was getting a cut of ECW's PPV numbers, I don't see how this makes sense to fill valuable time with 13 days until WrestleMania.
Sycho Sid & The Undertaker vs. Mankind & Vader (w/ Paul Bearer):
Oh my GOD, a match with a bunch of stars who the crowd is into! Not a heck of a lot of time left, so this shouldn't over-stay its welcome. Mankind and Vader attack before the Undertaker makes his entrance. Sid holds his own for a little while, laying both men out and putting the boots to them. Vader cuts him off with an attack from behind and they double team him in the corner. Undertaker suddenly sprints out WITHOUT MUSIC and hits Vader with a diving clothesline. Taker with a chokeslam and big boot, knocking Vader out of the ring. Mankind with a clothesline, taking himself and Taker over the ropes. Taker lands on his feet and rams Mankind into the steel steps. Vader with a short clothesline on Sid, followed by a splash off the ropes for a two-count. Things slow down with a lazy chin-lock. We come back from commercial with Sid taking Vader over with a suplex. Meanwhile, Taker is hammering away on Mankind at ringside, unavailable for Sid to tag in. Whip and Vader with a clothesline. Mankind with an elbow drop for two. Undertaker finally tags in, throwing more right hands. Whip to the ropes and he scrapes the forehead with a big boot. He plants Mankind with a Chokeslam and now it's Sid and Vader brawling. Taker comes out to help, but accidentally clobbers Sid. Sid doesn't appreciate it and they exchange blows. Taker gives Sid a Chokeslam and hits a tope suicida on Vader and Mankind! Sid recovers, tosses Taker into the ring, and gives him the Powerbomb! Vader comes back to life and covers for the three-count at 8:15 (shown). Post-match, Vader teases a Vader Bomb, but Sid makes the save before leaving. Not much of a match, just chaos, but that was the designed purpose. **
We get closing comments from Bret Hart with one last hard-sell for next week's title match.
Final Thoughts: If you're expecting a lot of good wrestling matches, that's not what the show is morphing into. There's a lot of short matches and even more promos. With the lack of the syndication market, there's less opportunities to sell angles the way the company has done for as long as Vince McMahon has been the owner of the company. I'll never be a fan of 10-15 minutes promo segments, especially with weak promos like Sid, but it was a necessary change. The mix of squash matches into the show were done with varied results, thanks to odd-ball formatting. While I couldn't stand having the Nation theme playing during a 2-minute match, the promo and reveal of the LOD afterwards added to what I feel was a cold idea for a one-on-one match with Ahmed and Faarooq. I still have no interest in anything to do with the tag team division, but there's work in progress right now to give more people things to do.
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