The SmarK Rant for WWF Monday Night RAW – 10.27.97
BACK TO THESE. So I was proceeding through RAW and Nitro at a pretty good clip for a while but MAN these 1997 shows with the dawn of DX were starting to get to me due to the constant stream of bad finishes and bad matches, so I took a break. Which ended up being more than a year, apparently. So I left off with the show after Badd Blood way back when, and then I had a few already written from the 24/7 days, so we pick things up again on the road to some show in Montreal you may have heard about before.
Wait, if there’s too much sun and not enough sky, doesn’t that mean there’s some kind of catastrophic solar event going on? I’d be worried about more than having a thorn stuck in your eye if the sun was literally devouring the sky. I mean, it would still SUCK to have something stuck in your eye, sure…
LIVE (on tape from six days earlier) from Tulsa, OK. I don’t have attendance figures for this one, doesn’t look like much over 5000 in the building.
Your hosts are Jim Ross & Jim Ross.
The Nation of Domination joins us, as Vince McMahon introduces them as “one of the most powerful forces on earth”. Rocky Maivia has a black shirt with a big white “R” on it, which is certainly a fashion choice. So Faarooq demands to know why there’s still racism in the WWF, when Vince himself declared that there was no racism two weeks ago! Look, we all know that Vince McMahon loves to hang with the brothers. Especially Booker T. Faarooq threatens to use his FISTS to solve racism, and Vince is offended by this line of questioning and changes the subject. So Rocky sends Vince back to ringside and talks about all the hatred and discrimination he’s faced all his life, and how he’s going to take it out on the Hart Foundation. Faarooq notes that it “started with a boat ride and it’ll end with a black fist upside your head”. Look this is silly, we don’t have racism in Canada. And Bret Hart comes out to make exactly that point! Bret points out that we don’t hate black or brown or yellow people, we love them all for what they are inside! Well except Newfoundlanders, screw them. Meanwhile, DX interrupts on the Titantron and calls Bret “the Grand Wizard” and his “KKK buddies”. And HHH notes that Bret’s leather jackets were his second choice for outfits, after he couldn’t have white sheets and hoods. He may have even used the “N-word” while spraying the walls! Guys, I think DX may actually be the ones behind this racial hate crime. But the Nation runs out and attacks the Harts anyway, because apparently they’re very dumb. What an incredibly offensive and stupid angle this whole thing was. I mean, pretty much pick a segment of the population and it’s probably offensive to them.
Hunter Hearst Helmsley v. Goldust
BREAKING NEWS: Rick Rude would like all the fat Tulsa tubs of crap to pay some respect to the King of the Ring. Also, Hunter is the future of the World Wrestling Federation, which is just about the stupidest damn thing I’ve heard this week so far. I mean, can you even imagine a time when the WWF would be built around the whims of HUNTER HEARST HELMSLEY? What next, is Donald Trump gonna be PRESIDENT? Hunter attacks and gets nowhere, as Goldust slugs away in the corner while Shawn Michaels joins on commentary and annoys Vince. Shawn notes that it’s a rare occasion because Tulsa gets to show that they can count to 10. Goldust charges and lands on the floor, allowing Chyna to get some abuse on him. Vince: “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander” JR: “But is she a goose or a gander?” Chalk up another one on the Offend Everyone board. Back in the ring, Hunter USES THE KNEE for two to take over, but Goldust slugs back again, so Hunter USES THE KNEE in a second manner to put him down again. And then guess what? He USES THE KNEE again. At least he got a lot better working with the Rock. Goldust comes back with a bulldog for two and Hunter takes a corner bump to the floor, but Chyna runs in and knocks out Goldust with Marlena’s purse, and it’s CROTCH CHOP WHAM PEDIGREE to finish at 5:34. Shawn meanwhile cuts a coked up promo on Vince and JR while standing on the table and then bounces around the ring before laying underneath Hunter and exchange crotch chops with him while Chyna desperately tries to keep from corpsing. Actually calling Shawn “coked up” here would be a bit insulting to coke’s good name. Match was OK. **
Meanwhile, old man Jim Cornette is here to yell at clouds again, this time bitching about Hulk Hogan and Roddy Piper doing the cage match because they’re SO OLD. The WWF would never present main events with people over 40 years old on a regular basis, by jove! Also Cornette gets a throwaway line about Randy Savage, noting “How many records did Frank Sinatra sell last year?” to diss him. Yeah, a quick search reveals that Sinatra has sold an estimated 35 million units of his back catalog since 1998 alone, so the answer to that question would have been A METRIC FUCK-LOAD. I’ve personally bought a couple of his greatest hits packages after he died. So yeah, he goes off on the balding 46 year old champion facing the guy with an artificial hip, which sure sounds like a match that’s been presented for the entertainment of Saudi princes more than a few times in the past decade. And of course, Hulk Hogan and Roddy Piper were both back in the WWF by 2003. Talk about a promo that aged like milk. Also for extra sour grapes, Nitro did it’s largest opposed number in history the week before, just completely decimating RAW with the old guys.
Meanwhile, we celebrate Oklahoma legends with Danny Hodge, Bill Watts and the Brisco Brothers.
Intercontinental title: Owen Hart v. Ahmed Johnson
For those keeping track, Ahmed is back as a babyface after his brief tenure as a member of the Nation, where he immediately got injured and then kicked out of the group. Owen slugs away in the corner, but Ahmed fires back and beats him down in the corner. They head to the floor and Ahmed slams him out there and then rips up the Canadian flag, which is pretty low class for a supposed babyface. So Owen kicks him in the nuts to teach him some respect for other countries, and Ahmed won’t even sell that, doing a weird stiff sell while falling to the floor, and then taking a clunky bump into the stairs. So Owen smashes the stairs on his broken hand and stomps on it as we take a break. Back with Owen working a sleeper in the ring, and that gets two. Owen puts the boots to him and Ahmed won’t sell that, just standing up and making the comeback with a clothesline and looking completely bored of the match. Ahmed with a half-assed axe kick and spinebuster, but Steve Austin runs in and hits Ahmed with a stunner for the DQ at 9:28, which at least wakes up the crowd after this disaster of a match. Ahmed wouldn’t even go all the way down on his own offensive moves! DUD
KARATE FIGHTERS TOURNAMENT UPDATE!
This week, Jerry Lawler faces Brian Christopher, with Bruce Prichard as JR on commentary, and Lawler advances.
Mankind joins us in the ring for an interview with JR. So last week, this guy Kane took out Dude Love, but now Mankind is back to avenge the Dudester, and he’s going to prevent Kane from rolling over everyone on the way to the Undertaker. So Commissioner Slaughter (sans Privates, sadly) will not sanction any matches with Kane due to Mankind suffering a concussion from the attack last week. “What if I said…please?” Still nope. So Mankind decides to give Slaughter the Mandible Claw, and if that doesn’t win him over, I don’t know what will!
Wrestling match total in the first hour: Two matches. Three if you count the Karate Fighters tournament, I guess. But yeah, WCW are the ones who don’t know how to present a wrestling show, apparently.
WWF title: Bret Hart v. Ken Shamrock
Oh man, I’m watching this with headphones, hopefully Shamrock doesn’t blow out my eardrums yelling spots here. Vince thinks that Bret might be “blinded by his own ego”, and then admits that…
Perish the thought. Shamrock takes him down with headlocks to start while Vince notes that Lawler isn’t here because he’s in mourning for the Cleveland Indians losing the World Series. Well, no worries, he’d only have to wait for another…oh…never mind. Bret slugs away on Ken while Vince hypes a special on USA, promising to show some classic Hogan matches, not like the “low impact cage match from last week”, but rather stuff like his match against the UNDERTAKER! That match was horrible, Vince, what are you smoking? Bret takes out the knee and gets the ringpost figure-four, which should be no problem for a big tough UFC fighting boy like Shamrock to handle. Bret stays on the knee and follows with a DDT for two. Bret with a spinning toehold and we take a break. We return exactly where we left so they just inserted a break in post and I guess didn’t do this one live to tape. Bret tries another ringpost figure-four, but Shamrock uses his UFC SHOOT FIGHTING SKILLZ to escape and runs Bret into the railing, just like in the UFC. WORLD’S MOST DANGEROUS MAN. Back in the ring, Bret brings a chair into the match, but Shamrock uses a UFC reversal by stepping on it to block, and comes back with a rana that’s so intense he just has to YELL. AAAAAAAAAAAAGH! Belly to belly suplex gets two. Bret comes back with a corner clothesline to set up the Sharpshooter, but Shamrock is something of a sharp shooter himself and reverses to an anklelock, bumping in the ref in the process. Bret taps out with the ref unconscious, although the very idea of Bret submitting his title to a submission hold in a match where Earl Hebner is refereeing is ridiculous on the very face of it, but then Shawn Michaels runs in and attacks both guys and Shamrock goes all BIG TOUGH SHOOTY BOY on him until DX pull them apart. And then we get a big brawl between Bret and Shawn with the refs and assorted stooges pulling them apart. There doesn’t appear to have been a decision rendered in any of this but no one watches wrestling for wins and losses, and I’m sure we’ll settle things at that Survivor Series show. Shamrock was just a tad green here. **1/4 Speaking of fashion choices, Shawn and his tan suit with no shirt look is certainly a choice.
Meanwhile, Bret is going to be backed up 100% by his fellow Canadians and he’ll finally get his hands on Shawn’s scrawny neck and get rid of Shawn once and for all. Yeah, about that.
The New Blackjacks v. Road Dogg Jesse Jammes & Bad Ass Billy Gunn
Blackjack Bradshaw puts the boots to Road Dogg in the corner and then chases Billy Gunn around the ring as well. Bradshaw runs wild with clotheslines on Dogg, but Billy hits him with a chair and Dogg falls on top for the pin at 2:20. I’m still astonished that Vince didn’t give up on these clowns after two weeks and send them back to Shotgun. DUD But instead he let them get themselves over and they got awesome. Also this is apparently leading to a Survivor Series match of some kind so there’s that to look forward to. Also Vince keeps hammering on the “Survivor Series Flashback” show on USA, where we will apparently see “Hulk Hogan in his prime against the Undertaker”, which is hilarious because Vince was actively trying to talk Hogan into Hollywood retirement by that point and move the belt onto other people. And he was already 41 at that point and main eventing as WWF champion! Yeah I know, Vince is a giant hypocrite, film at 11.
KANE and Paul Bearer join JR for a red-tinged promo in the ring, and Paul is pretty sure it’s going to go badly for Mankind at Survivor Series.
Meanwhile, we’re back in the DX locker room because they haven’t been all over this show enough, and this gives us Shawn mooning the camera while Hunter tries to cover it up with an “X” sign. Yeah. Vince declares this ass humor a new low, which is rich coming from him.
Marc Mero v. Flash Funk
Funk trades headlocks with Mero to start and Flash takes him down with an armdrag, but Mero gets a samoan drop and goes to the top, before Funk cuts him off and follows him up. Mero comes back with the Merosault for two and puts him down with a kneelift as the crowd dozes, but Funk hits TROUBLE IN PARADISE for two. Well he’s not Jamaican but he does enjoy the culture, I hear. Funk goes to the top with a very nice moonsault for two, but Mero goes low and finishes with his fancy new TKO finisher at 3:40. That move must really do it for Sable. *1/2
Meanwhile, Jeff Jarrett sits down with JR to discuss why he left the WWF and went to stinky WCW. See, it was all Vince’s fault because he got forced into being the electric cowboy and didn’t just get to be Jeff Jarrett. But then he went to WCW and got NO OPPORTUNITY. He didn’t have “strong enough stroke” to get the spotlight there because he wasn’t one of Bischoff’s boys. Yeah. That’s exactly why he didn’t get over in WCW. Also, WWF house shows are better than WCW house shows. LOL WUT? Anyway whatever this was attempting to do for Jarrett, it failed on every level, and AZTEC WARRIOR JARRETT was the nail in the coffin on top of that.
WWF tag team title: The Legion of Doom v. Los Boricuas
For their latest prank, the unnamed team of Billy Gunn and Road Dogg have stolen the hats of the Blackjacks and cut them up, and now are wearing them around their necks while watching at ringside. This is the kind of dangerous, cutting edge comedy you just don’t get in WCW! So Gunn and Dogg immediately steal the shoulderpads while we get what can laughably be called a wrestling match in the ring. Hawk misses a blind charge and the Boricuas beat on him. Billy Gunn might have been Bad Ass, but Hawk was Half Ass at this point. Hawk continues to get the “heat”, haha, yeah I know right, but Road Dogg suddenly trips Miguel and Hawk pins him at 2:50 to retain. Yeah thanks for coming. DUD
Meanwhile, Ahmed Johnson makes football metaphors about scoring on Steve Austin next week. Yeah good luck with that.
These pre-Survivor Series shows are so bad it makes me want to watch NITRO by comparison. And Vince told us several times that there’s nothing but “low impact aerobics” from guys who are over 40 on that show, so it must be even worse than this!
(Small point of comparison: Dolph Ziggler, just to name one current over 40 guy at random, has been in WWE as an ongoing character for a period of time longer than the entire 11 year history of World Championship Wrestling as an organization, if we’re counting 1990 as the starting point. Granted he’s a bit more high impact aerobics.)
Thank god for the complete chaotic upheaval of the promotion saving things in two weeks.