October 3, 2007
Mike Abitabile

Monday Night Raw
Lamar University, Beaumont, Texas

This would be the final Raw that was taped over a week in advance. Up until this point, Raw was taped four at a time, usually the night after a pay-per-view, and aired over a month’s time. Due to Nitro’s dominance, Raw had to change that strategy. Raw would be taped again in the future, but never as far back as a month before its airing. This week’s Raw was taped after the 1/20/97 Raw went off the air.

Raw starts with a recap video of the Rumble match and last week’s show, where all hell literally broke loose. We are shown Bret quitting, Austin responding, Gorilla making his decision, Bret returning, and the aforementioned all hell breaking loose. King tells us all four of the guys in the elimination match that Monsoon made are here tonight, and reiterates that all hell is going to break loose again. And I promise not to say “all hell breaks loose” one more time in this recap.

Ahmed Johnson vs. Crush

We are shown clips from the Madison Square Garden house show on Saturday afternoon when Ahmed’s tag team partner, Savio Vega, turned on him. Later in the night on Shotgun Saturday Night, Savio actually joined the Nation. Vince says Farooq and Savio are conspicuous by their absence tonight, (in Savio’s case, that’s actually because this was taped before he joined the Nation). Crush and Ahmed start on the outside and Crush slams Ahmed’s head into the ring steps. Crush throws Ahmed in the ring and the bell rings to finally officially start the match. Ahmed gets the upper hand and hits a Booker T-like scissor kick. He kicks Crush in his kidneys. Vince promises to take us back to MSG with more clips later. Ahmed sends Crush into the corner and hits a bad Stinger Splash. He follows this up with a side kick. He then misses a running, spinning elbow drop. Vince blames that on being distracted by the Nation members are ringside. Crush hits a belly to belly suplex and wastes time. He then locks on a blatant choke hold, which he breaks at four. Crush then works on Ahmed’s kidneys and locks on a body scissor! Farooq is standing by the entrance way as we go to commercial. We return with no Farooq and Crush on Ahmed’s back, so he drops backwards! Crush hits a backbreaker, but only gets a one count. Crush goes up to the second rope and Ahmed hits a dropkick to Crush’s mid section as he came down. He then sends Crush over the top rope but throws him right back in. As the ref is attending to Crush, Farooq runs down and attacks Ahmed, sending him into the steel steps. He throws Ahmed back in to Crush, who picks him up, hits the heart punch and gets the 3 count! That’s somewhat of an upset. Vince blames it on the actions that took place over the weekend finally catching up to Ahmed, citing Saturday’s events and an unidentified situation that took place just yesterday on Sunday morning Superstars.

Vince promises we will hear from Shawn Michaels in 30 seconds. We get a commercial for Thursday Raw Thursday Live, coming in two and a half weeks. The matches announced are Bret Hart vs. Vader and a WWF Title rematch with Shawn Michaels taking on Sid. The best laid plans of mice and men, often go awry. I’ll get to that show very soon.

We are back with clips of what just happened between Ahmed and the Nation. “We Want Shawn” chants, that seem piped in to me, but I might be wrong. And on cue, here comes the new World Wrestling Federation champion, Shawn Michaels to do an interview with Vince. King says that Vince told him that he will be inviting all four individuals in the four way match to ringside, which could lead to fireworks. Vince says that at last years Wrestlemania, the boyhood dream came true. And at the Royal Rumble, the dream lived on. Vince asks about the rematch at Thursday Raw Thursday. HBK says it’s no longer a dream, it’s a reality. As for the rematch, Sid and HBK have a strange relationship, but Sid gave HBK the shot, so HBK will return the favor. He will hold onto that title by hook or by crook. Vince says that, if Shawn is successful against Sid, he will have to defend against the winner of the four-man elimination match, at Wrestlemania. They are four of the best, says HBK. Shawn says Bret isn’t happy with him, Austin isn’t happy with anyone, Taker is just plain scary and Vader is a monster. The title brings out the best AND the worst in everyone. That’s saying a mouthful. He wants to stay champion. King keeps begging Vince to bring the four guys out, so here we go.

First out, is Bret Hart! HBK extends his hand. Bret ignores it. McMahon goes to ask him a question and Bret takes the mic from him. Bret screws up and tells HBK to do whatever he has to do to keep his title at “Wrestlemania” (but I assume he meant “Thursday Raw Thursday”) because HBK is the guy Bret wants to face at Wrestlemania. He will win the Final Four, so HBK just has to do his part. Bret: “I don’t want any excuses, I don’t want you to injury yourself; I want you at 100%.” Ummmm…. anyway, Vince asks Bret if he is overlooking Sid. Pretty funny because Bret has to hold the mic, since he stole it, while Vince asks the question. Bret says he’ll be rooting for HBK and might even watch his back against Sid.

With that, Vince brings out the Undertaker. Taker says he respects Bret (he urned, I mean earned, it at Rumble 96), but he is getting tired of hearing how Bret keeps getting screwed. He says he’s been screwed too, but he doesn’t cry about it. It’s time the WWF Title came to the dark side. Taker says it will be Shawn and him at Wrestlemania. Vince says everyone is overlooking Sid. Well, you started that. Vince brings out “Stone Cold” Steve Austin now.

Austin stands in the aisle and has JR interview him. He says he is the toughest SOB here, but he’s not a moron. He ain’t getting in that ring with “three crybabies and little boy blue (referring to Vince in his blue suit)!” They can all piss and moan about whatever they want. He’ll wait until the pay-per-view and just win it. No dq is right down his alley. He goes to leave and Vader is standing behind him at the entranceway. Austin turns back around and says “On second thought, I’ll whip your asses right now.” He heads for the ring and Vince scurries away. Austin doesn’t get in the ring though, he goes back up the aisle towards Vader, tells Vader where to get off, and heads to the back. We go to commercial.

“The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith vs. Doug Furnas

Vince lets us know that Ahmed is roaming the locker room halls with a 2 x 4. Hoooooooo! Owen and Clarence Mason are at ringside, as is Phil Lafon. Bulldog starts off with a headlock and King wants to know what it felt like for Vince to be in the middle of all that tension. Vince says he was scared. Standing dropkick by Furnas sends Bulldog out of the ring. Back in, Furnas is back on the attack. Standing vertical suplex, which Furnas didn’t hold as long as the Bulldog usually does. Furnas sends Bulldog into the corner, but misses a shoulderblock and goes flying over the top rope. Vince tells us these two teams will face off at In Your House: Final Four in a tag team title match. Bulldog is rearranging furniture and decides to drop the ring steps on Furnas, right in front of the ref! Well, Mike Chioda is being very lenient tonight because he lets the match continue. Bulldog rolls back in and Vince says Ahmed caught up with the Nation and they will have that for us when we return from commercial.

Back from commercial and we see Ahmed attacking various inanimate objects (as he passes by that thing they use for Sid’s entrance…. the big thing that has sparklers and says “SID” in big letters) as he makes his way to the Nation’s locker room. He knocks the door down to find out the Nation wasn’t in there. D’oh. King says they tricked him. Back to the action and the Bulldog is in control. He’s got a headlock on Furnas. Furnas fights his way out, but gets caught with a knee lift. The previously mentioned MSG highlights will be shown after this match, according to Vince. Furnas fights back but Bulldog takes him down with a huge clothesline. Furnas reverses a piledriver attempt. Furnas sends Bulldog to the ropes and hits a release overhead belly-to-belly suplex, followed by a powerslam, which got a two count. Furnas went for a hurricanrana, but Bulldog reverses it into a powerbomb which gets a long two count. Owen gets on the apron, and Lafon tries to tell the ref, but ends up distracting him instead. This allows Bulldog to attempt to send Furnas into Owen so he could hit him with a Slammy, like last week. Only problem is, Furnas reverses it and Davey Boy runs into the Slammy! That only gets a two count though. Furnas goes for a sunset flip and Bulldog cradles the legs, figuring, since it worked for Bret against him, he might as well give it a shot and it works for a 3 count! After the match, Bulldog is mad at Owen because of the Slammy hit. Owen hands Davey the tag title and Davey throws it down! The fans chant “Bulldog!” Owen puts down his Slammy and it tips over, which Vince calls a very bad omen. Clarence Mason calms everyone down and everything seems okay after the boys shake hands. A pretty good match, but why are Furnas and Lafon getting a title shot if they can’t beat the champions?

Footage from the previous Saturday’s MSG house show is now shown. Vince says there was a crowd of 16,000+. We see Ahmed in control of both Farooq and Crush, but Savio wanted the tag. Ahmed went over to make it, and Savio turned on him. Later in the night, live in Webster Hall on Shotgun Saturday Night, Savio explained that he didn’t mean what he did and blamed it on his Latin temper. Then he turned on Rocky regardless, and cemented his status as a member of the Nation of Domination by raising him fist in the air, if you still weren’t sure. King had a good line here when they showed one of the dancers at Webster Hall doing her thing….. “hey look, she’s double-jointed.” After, the rest of the Nation joined in on the attack on Rocky Maivia, Farooq, Crush and Savio gave the Nation salute. Vince plugs this weekend’s Shotgun, which returns to the Mirage, the location of the first episode. King wants to know if the double-jointed girl will be there. Vince isn’t sure.

Henry and Phineas Godwinn vs. Vader and Mankind

Paul Bearer is with Vader and Mankind and Hillbilly Jim is with the Godwinns, who don’t even get an entrance. Vince informs us that Ahmed Johnson is now combing the parking lot looking for the Nation. We start things out with Phineas and Mankind brawling. Vince plugs next weeks Royal Rumble Raw from Skydome in Toronto, Canada, claiming that the Rumble match has not been seen on broadcast television since 1989. A little back story.

My assumption is that, since Raw was scheduled to be two hours next week, they had plans of showing the entire Rumble match for one hour (which Vince actually confirms), then show new wrestling for the next. Things didn’t work out that way though. Personally, my guess would be that they decided to take the two hours and showcase new wrestling. More on that in my next recap. Also, I think Vince meant 1988, since that was the first Rumble and it was on USA Network. Unless they showed the 1989 Rumble (which was the first on PPV) on Prime Time Wrestling or one of the other shows. Maybe someone can confirm or deny that one. Regardless, Royal Rumble Raw will start at 7:57 Eastern next week! Now, back to the action.

Phineas makes the tag to Henry and now Mankind and Henry are brawling. Not a lot of wrestling action here, just a lot of punching. And right as I say that, here’s a bodyslam by Henry. Vader wants the tag, but Mankind isn’t tagging him. The story is that they can’t co-exist as a team, not because they don’t want to, but just because Mankind is so unorthodox. Vader is getting mad though. Phineas is tagged back in and finally Vader tags himself in. He’s unloading on Phineas in the corner. Vader then sends him to the ropes and takes him down with a HUGE clotheslines. Damn. Mankind is back in and he’s punching Phineas again. He locks in the Mandible Claw on Phineas, but Henry hits Mankind from behind, sending both he and Phineas over the top to the outside. Phineas tries to suplex Mankind back in, but Vader holds Mankind’s legs and Phineas gets sent back outside instead. A little double team action by Vader and Mankind brings Henry over and all four men start brawling as we go to commercial.

Back from commercial and Phineas and Mankind are the legal men. They both make tags and Henry takes it to Vader. That doesn’t last long as Vader just pounds on Henry O. Vader then drops the elbow in the lower abdominal area. Henry is sent outside and Vader holds Henry up for a Mankind chair shot. However, Henry moves and Mankind hits Vader! Mankind appears to be smiling and there was indeed time between when Henry ducked and Mankind hit Vader for Foley to hold up and stop. The Godwinns win by count-out. Just a brawl, not much wrestling. It was what it was. We go to commercial.

We return with Ahmed finally catching up with a Nation member (one of the rappers) in the parking lot. He swings his 2 x 4 and misses, but the member gets thrown into the trunk of the limo, which promptly takes off. The other rapper is hanging out the window! Ahmed chases the limo but can’t catch it as Raw goes off the air.

Don’t forget, next week is Royal Rumble Raw!

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