The SmarK Rant for WWF Monday Night RAW – 11.17.97
By Scott Keith on 12th October 2022
The SmarK Rant for WWF Monday Night RAW – 11.17.97
So as you saw a few weeks back after I redid Survivor Series 97, I skipped the redo of the abysmal November 10 episode and just reposted the 24/7 rant I did, and now we get to a fairly notable episode the week after.
Last week: HHH is about to pin Ken Shamrock, but Commissioner Slaughter way oversteps his authority and pulls out the referee, and then Shamrock rolls up and pins Shawn Michaels to win the match with Hunter because wrestling.
Taped from Cornwall, ON, on November 11, drawing 3700 for a sellout. Man they were running some SMALL buildings at that point, but it looked packed for TV.
Your hosts are Jim Ross & Jim Cornette
Steve Austin joins us to start and he calls out Rocky Maivia and then orders the sound guys to play the Nation’s music so they have music to come out to. Well that’s nice of him. So Rocky comes out with his Nation backup, but then heads back to the dressing room and lets Faarooq, Kama and D-Lo handle things. So it’s KICK WHAM STUNNER for poor D-Lo, at which point Rocky charges down and steals the Intercontinental title to officially kick off that feud. But then Austin heads over to the desk and promises that Rocky will lose the belt back as soon as he goes through airport security because he’s going to stalk and presumably hurt him.
Marc Mero v. Jerry Lawler
First up, this is one of those RAW episodes where they enter stage right, which always messes with my equilibrium. THE TITANTRON IS SUPPOSED TO BE ON THE LEFT! Second, WTF is this nonsense? Apparently the idea is that Lawler is seeking revenge for Brian Christopher for a random TV match a month before, although he still doesn’t acknowledge the relationship. Thirdly, Sable is wearing sunglasses due to what JR calls an injury suffered by getting kicked in the face by her horse. These days, the horse would be wearing sunglasses after getting kicked in the face by her husband. Lawler stalls to start and goes to yell at Butterbean in the front row to set up another stupid feud that bombed. So Lawler does his Memphis heel stalling act to dead silence as no one really wants to cheer either guy, and then Mero gets tossed and Brian Christopher, who is also here for those like myself having trouble following all the stupid shit happening on a given week, gets some shots in on Mero. NO ONE CARES. Back in the ring, Lawler beats on Mero while Christopher puts the moves on Sable, and finally Mero sees what’s happening and goes to slap Brian around. But Lawler catches him with a godawful piledriver, and Sable comes in for the DQ at 4:46 to save Mero, at which point Mero hits Lawler with a low blow and then gives him a TKO anyway. And of course the camera makes sure to show Sable’s black eye to make people think that Mero was beating her. This was incredibly awful on so many levels, badly worked and with a dead crowd. -**
Meanwhile, TRY LACING THEIR BOOTS. That’s tough with Austin because he’s got that huge knee brace and it’s pretty complicated. Also, they should get that wrestling dog to do a WWF Attitude spot, except everything would just be “Woof, woof woof! Woof woof woof!” I heard Tony Khan wanted to sign the dog to a 5 year contract but the dog’s agent advised against it because it would be, like, 35 years for him.
YES I JUST WANTED TO WORK THAT WRESTLING DOG JOKE IN HERE SOMEWHERE, WHAT ABOUT IT? I don’t go down to the street corner where your mom is working and tell her how to do her job, so don’t tell me how to do mine. The pizza guy has already burned out his 2 minutes of Twitter fame anyway so I have to jump on this one while I can.
Meanwhile, in non-dog related news, Jim Ross sits down with Vince McMahon to discuss that Bret Hart. The interview is titled WHY BRET WHY? So you know it’s impartial. Did Vince “screw” Bret Hart? Vince’s take on that is that Bret Hart screwed Bret Hart. JR asks him to clarify and Vince notes that he’s not above apologizing when he makes a bad decision. But you see, there’s a TIME HONORED TRADITION that you have to show respect to the organization on the way out, and Bret didn’t want to do that. I mean, unless of course the organization fires you via text message as a cost-cutting measure. Also, this is coming from the same person who literally told people to leave the AWA without giving notice to come work for him in 1984 in order to screw over Verne Gagne. MOVING ON before I get more worked up, Jim asks about the 20 year contract, which “some folks on the internet” heard about, and Vince notes that breaking the contract was a “joint decision” between the two of them. Vince thought that he was overpaying for Bret and Bret thought he was playing second banana to Shawn Michaels. So Vince talks about how Bret signed this better deal with WCW for $9 million over 3 years, which is the biggest deal in the history of wrestling. Also hilarious given that Brock Lesnar doesn’t even get out of bed for less than $10 million in Saudi blood money these days. Next, Vince talks about getting punched out by Bret, and he allowed Bret to strike him. Now I’m picturing Vince doing the Obi-Wan speech from Star Wars before getting punched out. And JR asks Vince how he would have preferred to write Bret’s final chapter in the WWF, and Vince thinks he would have given Bret a “story” where he could have left with dignity, which would of course have involved the TIME HONORED TRADITION and giving back to those who made him, and then standing up like a man and congratulating the person who pinned him so that the TIME HONORED TRADITION could be fulfilled and thus he would go out like a true champion. Via the TIME HONORED TRADITION. Meanwhile a month later and Shawn loses the European title by laying down for Hunter in a joke match and then Undertaker has to threaten him with bodily harm to make him drop the title to Steve Austin.
Coming later: Part two of the interview! That one’s got a high bar of bullshit to clear after this one.
Los Boriquas v. Road Dogg & Billy Gunn
How do you say “scissoring” in Spanish? Dog-Ass attacks and hits them with low blows, but the other Boriquas run in for DQ at 0:48 to end this epic. I’m really starting to question how and why I even started liking these guys.
Wait, dammit, I should have used the dog joke here. Oh well, too late now.
Ken Shamrock: He likes to hit people.
Mini Nova, Mini Taurus & Max Mini v. El Torito, Battallion & Tarantula
Sunny is the special ref here as she continues to do absolutely nothing of note for most of the year. Anyway they do some of the usual mini wackiness for 3:00 and then the lights go out and Kane comes out to chase them off. But then the Headbangers attack Kane and smash a boombox on his head to no effect, and Kane destroys both of them as 10s of people are horrified at the Headbangers getting tombstoned and possibly sent into early retirement due to their injuries.
D-Generation X joins us to kick off the second hour, which is the second notable thing to happen on this show because Rick Rude had already been on WCW Monday Nitro earlier in the evening, prompting Cornette to quip “Boy, this guy gets around!” in an inserted commentary soundbite. I’m assuming Rude didn’t do the TIME HONORED TRADITION before appearing on Nitro at the same time as RAW was airing. So Shawn aims his promo guns at Ken Shamrock, and he’s not going to show respect to Ken, and they already ran Bret Hart out of the WWF and beat every member of the Hart Family so now they’re gonna beat up Bret’s friends, which is apparently Shamrock. Next up, Hunter calls out Commissioner Slaughter because “we run the place and make the rules”. Yeah, that’ll be the day. So Hunter repeats a rumor that Slaughter’s wife is not thrilled with his Privates. YOU KEEP SLAUGHTER’S PRIVATES OUT OF YOUR MOUTH! Wait a second, that didn’t turn out the way I intended. And then DX assaults Sarge and Hunter gives him a Pedigree, and I was hoping to see Nelson and Kernodle jump out of the audience and make the save, but sadly it doesn’t happen and they just bury Sarge in toilet paper instead. Appropriate given that this show has been 80 minutes of complete shit thus far.
Man you know I’m gonna have to redo the D-Generation X PPV though just to see if it was as historically awful as I remember.
Light Heavyweight tournament: Scott Taylor v. Eric Shelley
I met Shelley at a couple of indie shows in Edmonton, and he was a nice guy and a pretty good worker. His gimmick was giving out what we call Freezies in Canada, which I think are called Otter Pops or something equally dumb in the US. Shelley trades hammerlocks with Taylor and they land on the floor while Jeff Jarrett calls in a promo and whines about how they’re continuing to promote Bret Hart while ignoring him. Bret Hart still drew more money while not even being in the company. Taylor gets a dropkick off the railing and they trade rollups in the ring for two. Shelley gets a fisherman’s suplex for two, but Taylor gets an Angle Slam for two. Shelley takes him down for two, but Taylor wraps him up in a Regal Stretch and then hits a low dropkick for two. Shelley with a powerbomb and jackknife cradle for two, but Taylor slugs back in the corner and dropkicks him into the corner, then hits a flipping kick to the back of the neck. He goes up with a leaping DDT from the top and that’s enough to finish at 5:33. A shockingly good match that no one gave a crap about and probably even scored the first ever negative rating in TV history. *** I mean, that’s all well and good for Taylor, but what he REALLY needs to round out his ring experience is doing the Worm in the ring, I’m pretty sure.
Then we roll right into Marc Mero joining us again, bitching that Butterbean has been stalking his wife, and he wants to fight Butterbean RIGHT NOW. So the Bean heads into the ring in “the biggest pair of Zubaz pants I’ve ever seen” in the words of Cornette, but the referees break up the fight before anything untoward occurs.
WHY BRET WHY? Part two. Jim Ross continues asking the tough questions, starting with “Would you ever let Bret Hart come back to the WWF?” Vince would absolutely allow it, as long as Bret apologizes to him and understands that there’s “no more free shots”. Strictly from a man standpoint, you understand. Jim notes that Bret didn’t leave for the money, but Vince is proud of helping Bret sell out, and it’s not a big deal. In fact, he thinks there’s going to be a big lineup of people outside the locker room begging him to help THEM sell out, too! Well good thing he fired all those people and helped them get big contracts with AEW, then. Does Vince have any regrets? Yes, he regrets that Bret didn’t do the right thing and honor the TIME HONORED TRADITION and he regrets that Shane had to watch everything happen in the locker room. And in the end, he made a tough decision that was the right one for the fans and remaining WWF wrestlers. What would Vince say to Bret right now? That Bret made a mistake that he’ll regret for the rest of his career, and hopefully they can get together again one day, and he’s sorry that a relationship was destroyed because one person forgot that it’s a business. But Vince is over it already (Yeah another 20 years of Montreal finishes say that’s probably not the case) and in the end, Bret wasn’t the best and in the end, he failed to live up to it in his final match.
Hoo boy. No wonder everyone in the world instantly turned Vince McMahon into the biggest heel in wrestling history after this interview. This was some Lex Luthor level supervillain genius.
The Man They Call Vader v. The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust
Goldust is now painting his face like a checkerboard and coming to the ring in pajamas and slippers while wearing a giant cast and sling on his arm. And he’s got a doctor’s note! And of course he pulls a hammer out of his sling and knocks out Vader before walking off.
This show is…something.
Commissioner Slaughter joins us again, talking about how he gave up his combat fatigues and took an office job, but now DX has crossed the line with him and he’s coming out of retirement to face Hunter at the DX PPV. Gosh, facing DX on the show that’s NAMED AFTER THEM? Can’t see any problem with that. Granted this show has been so bad that maybe they should ask Hunter to book. Nah, that’s a dumb idea.
Rocky Maivia v. Dude Love
So after getting destroyed by Kane as Mankind, Mick has apparently reverted back to the Dude. Rocky does a promo before the match where he clarifies that this is a non-title match while Cornette mocks him for talking about himself in the third person. Wrong side of history on that one, Cornette. Given Mick’s protests the night before, I’m pretty sure the result here isn’t going to be in doubt. Rock works the arm, but Dude pokes him in the eye. Dude sends him to the floor, but Rock comes back in with the DDT and puts the boots to him and lays the smackdown on him in the corner. We take a break as Rock drops the PEOPLE’S ELBOW, and you can tell it’s a taped show because they cut away when he starts the windup and then returns with him dropping the elbow. So they literally cut out 5 seconds for the break. Can you IMAGINE Rock coming back today and having them go to a break in mid-Elbow? Dude makes the comeback and the Nation runs in for the DQ at 5:00. For those keeping track, that’s three DQ finishes, two non-finishes, and one actual finish in the light heavyweight tournament match that no one cared about. And then Steve Austin comes out and Rocky runs away and we’re out. *
Holy crap this show was so bad that it actually invented brand new ways to be terrible thanks to the Vince McMahon interview and Rick Rude showing up on the other channel. Is there something lower than thumbs down? Because I think we need it.