The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 11.10.97
This episode was truly the low point for many Canadians fans, but ironically it was the start of the biggest ratings run in the show’s history.
Live from Ottawa, ON.
Your hosts are JR & Cornette. Where’s Vince?
And wouldn’t you know, the very first thing on this show is the debut of D-Generation X’s new music and Titantron video, as the crowd has no idea what they’re seeing. Rick Rude does the intro of Shawn to a huge “Bullshit” chant, and JR announces that Bret has left the promotion. What a weird atmosphere. This is Shawn at the height of his egomania and influence. He talks about banishing Bret down south with “the other dinosaurs” and notes he’ll never say “I Quit” to anyone, ever. That brings out Ken Shamrock as the first challenger in the new era. He cuts a brutally bad promo, which D-X totally no-sells by making faces at him. Sgt. Slaughter comes out and informs D-X that Shawn will defending the title against Shamrock at the PPV, and Shamrock faces HHH TONIGHT.
Ahmed Johnson v. Marc Mero
Mero grabs a headlock to start and Ahmed clotheslines him down and out to escape. Back in, Mero gets a cheapshot and slugs away, putting him down with a KO punch. Ahmed comes back with a horrendous attempt at a bicycle kick and follows with a spinebuster, but Mero goes low for the DQ at 2:26. Mero gives him a TKO afterwards and Ahmed can barely even take the move properly. Brutal. DUD
Devon Storm v. Taka Michinoku
Storm attacks and tries a powerbomb, but Taka flips out and hits him with a springboard dropkick. To the floor for the quebrada, but Storm comes back with a drop onto the apron and a splash from the apron. Back in, Storm with a unique snap front suplex into a somersault legdrop for two. Taka comes back with a tornado DDT for two, but Storm gets a german suplex and goes up. Taka brings him down with a rana for two, but misses a flying splash. Storm with a death valley driver for two. Storm goes up and misses a moonsault, allowing Taka to get a superplex and a flying spinkick that’s botched like everything else tonight. Brian Christopher gets involved, but the Michinoku Driver finishes at 4:56. *1/2
Goldust joins JR for an interview, as he debuts the blackface look and essentially becomes The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust, blaming his “fat old man” for making him the way he is. Vader storms out to demand an explanation for Goldust walking out on him the night before, and none is forthcoming, so a powerbomb ends the segment.
Meanwhile, Barry Windham has been laid out in the bathroom and Bradshaw is upset about it.
The Headbangers v. The Truth Commission
Recon gets dropkicked by Mosh and tags out to Sniper, and the Bangers double-team him. Thrasher gets a powerslam for two, drawing Jackyl into the ring for a quick trip off the apron. Recon & Sniper get a double big boot on Thrasher and Sniper follows with a corner clothesline. Recon with a sidekick for two. Sniper misses a dropkick and Thrasher falls over for the “accidental” low headbutt. Hot tag Mosh and the Bangers finish Recon with a powerbomb at 4:56. I think I actually fell asleep at one point. * DOA and the Truth Commission do the big meaningless brawl afterwards.
Steve Austin joins us with his newly won Intercontinental title, but is quickly interrupted by The Rock, who is looking like a bigger and bigger star at this point, although at the time we were dreading this feud. Austin challenges him to get a better haircut (Done!) and tells him he doesn’t suck because the fans say it, but rather because Stone Cold said so. I can’t even imagine how awful these months would have been without the two biggest stars of the 90s waiting on the sidelines to take up the slack left by Bret.
JR interviews Steve Blackman, who quickly fights off Los Boriquas for no adequately explored reason.
The Blackjacks v. Road Dogg & Billy Gunn
Still no team name, music or introduction yet. Windham is out, so Bradshaw gets to face them alone in their continuing attempts to get Bradshaw over as the second coming of Stan Hansen. He dumps both of the Outlaws and sends Gunn into the stairs, then breaks the timekeepers’ table on his head and puts Jammes down with a chair. Into the ring, Gunn DDTs him on a chair and gets the pin at 1:38. What was the point of THAT? Bradshaw got all the offense and it was barely even a match.
Jeff Jarrett sits down for an interview with Jim Ross and he’s still ridiculously dull. This was supposed to make him into a big star?
Marc Mero comes out to threaten Butterbean in a feud that was one of the low points of an already low period.
The Undertaker v. Kama Mustafa
Taker is apparently pissed about the whole Kane thing, as he attacks and boots Kama down to start, then follows with a legdrop for two. Blind charge hits elbow, however, allowing Kama to slug away in the corner and kick him down. Taker has finally had enough and chokeslams him, then puts him on the floor with a clothesline, but the lights go out and that’s a Sportz Entertainment Finish at 3:00. Kane and Paul Bearer come out for the promo. Funny story: According to the Observer at the time, Vince Russo was seriously pitching a match between Kane and Undertaker on this show, in a street fight, where Undertaker would go over. Anyway, Undertaker vows that he’ll NEVER fight Kane. Unless of course Kane digs up his parents and lights their graves on fire, but how likely is THAT? I mean, you almost never see that.
HHH v. Ken Shamrock
Shamrock attacks and throws knees to put HHH down, and they head up to the ramp for a brawl. Back down to ringside after more of a beating from Shamrock, and Shamrock pounds away on the mat. Shamrock finally puts his head down and takes a facecrusher as a result, and now the fans start with the “We want Bret” chants. HHH gets in Sarge’s face while Rick Rude heads down and we take a break. Back with HHH holding a chinlock, then following with a kneedrop for two. Back to the floor and the fans want Bret, but they ain’t getting him. Back in, Shamrock fires back in the corner, but the power of the KNEE puts him down again for two. HHH goes to the chinlock, but Shamrock fights up and gets a leg lariat for two. He gets a nice variat on the Frankensteiner out of the corner, but HHH goes with the direct approach and attacks the ref for the Sportz Entertainment Finish at 7:00. D-X lays Ken out and we’re done. *1/2
Man, historic RAWs can sure suck. Although it’s strange to think that, at the time, Vince was taking a huge chance by trying to replace Bret Hart with the duo of Steve Austin and The Rock. Guess that’s why he’s the billionaire.