October 22, 2007
Mike Abitabile

Thursday Raw Thursday Live!
Memorial Auditorium, Lowell, Massachusetts
2/13/97

This, obviously, aired on Thursday night because Monday Night Raw was pre-empted for the yearly dog show this week. As the show comes on the air, we see a somber video of Shawn Michaels with Vince McMahon’s voice telling us that tonight, the WWF title will be declared vacant, and the winner of this Sunday’s Final Four match, which was originally set to determine the number one contender for the title at Wrestlemania, will be declared the new WWF champion. Tonight, live, Shawn Michaels will forfeit the World Wrestling Federation championship.

The theme song airs with the voiceover man repeatedly saying “Thursday Raw Thursday” over video of recent WWF happenings. Vince welcomes us and we hear Rocky Maivia’s music, as he makes his way to the ring. Vince is with JR and King, and tells us that they always said anything can happen in the WWF, but no one could have seen Shawn Michaels having to forfeit the belt later tonight coming. Vince informs us that, instead of HBK vs. Sid for the title, which was originally scheduled for tonight, Sid will be fighting “Stone Cold” Steve Austin later on.

Intercontinental Title Match: Champion Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. Rocky Maivia

There is no sign of Curtis the Butler. That’s okay because Hunter will have someone else backing him soon enough. Vince mentions that Hunter is scheduled to defend the IC title against Ahmed Johnson this Sunday at In Your House: Final Four; as long as he gets by Rocky tonight. Vince calls this match a risk for Hunter, and JR calls it overconfidence. Rocky has been on a roll, but King says it’s going to come to a screeching halt tonight. Hunter starts off by throwing Rocky to the ropes and hip tossing him. Hunter bows to him. Hunter gets a hammer lock and Rocky reverses into an arm bar and they trade reversals. The crowd breaks into “Rocky Sucks!” chants and everyone ignores it. Vince mentions Rocky Johnson, Rocky’s dad, is watching from Florida. Hunter works on Rocky’s legs and paint brushes him. Rocky is getting frustrated, a rookie mistake. JR says that many feel Hunter is the more “cerebral” IC champion since the Honky Tonk Man. Vince laughs at this. Hunter goes back to the headlock and Rocky sends him to the ropes, a shoulderblock takes him down but Rocky hits a hiptoss on the way back and Hunter rolls out. Hunter makes his way back in. Hunter comes right at him and pounds away. He takes Rocky down and again applies a headlock. JR again says HBK will forfeit the title tonight and Vince tells us President Gorilla Monsoon will be here to explain it all. Rocky fights back and hits another dropkick sending Hunter over the top. JR thinks it hit Hunter right on the nose! Rocky sets Hunter up against the steel post and goes for a clothesline, but Hunter ducks and Rocky takes himself out clotheslining the post. Hunter sends him back in and, smartly, goes to work on the arm. Now the fans chant for Rocky. Make up your minds people. Rocky fights out of an arm lock but gets his arm DDT’d. That gets a two count. Hunter sends Rocky head first into the turnbuckle and chops away. We go to break.

We return from commercial and Hunter is still in control. During the break, Hunter hit a swinging neck breaker. Honky Tonk Man is making his way to ringside. Hunter just noticed him, but he still hits a textbook vertical suplex and then drops the running knee on Rocky’s head for a two count. Honky is on headset and he says he was in the back and was tired of hearing them talk about him, so he came out. He calls Hunter a good champion, but he’s no Honky Tonk Man. He’s still not telling us who his new protégé is. He says everyone in the WWF has let him down, making me think he’s looking elsewhere for a protégé. Hunter sends Rocky to the ropes and locks in a sleeper hold. Honky says it’s no “Shake, Rattle and Roll” and Vince knows what it feels like because he almost did it to him! Anyone know when that happened, because I don’t remember it. Rocky sends Hunter to the ropes and locks on a sleeper hold of his own, but Hunter runs to the turnbuckle and drops out of the way, sending Rocky face first into the corner. Hunter stays on the offensive, kicking away. Rocky fights back with fists of fury and a back body drop! Honky is not impressed. Rocky goes upstairs and tries a high cross body block but Hunter reverses it and gets two a and half. Hunter gets up and drives Rocky’s head into his knee and hits a standing neckbreaker for a two count. Rocky is half out of it and Hunter hits a piledriver, which King says was just for him, but Rocky kicks out at two. Hunter is getting frustrated. He puts Rocky on the top turnbuckle and slaps him. He hits a top rope suplex and Rocky again kicks out at two! Pedigree time, but Rocky is out on his feet. Hunter can’t even hold him in position for the Pedigree. Hunter bows to a limp Rocky, again picks him up for the Pedigree but Rocky rolls him up in a small package for the three count! We have a new Intercontinental champion! Doc Hendrix is with Rocky and congratulates him. Rocky can’t believe it. He dedicates this to his dad and grandfather. He guarantees everyone he will be the best he can be. Hunter is freaking out and Honky and King don’t believe it.

We see the new Final Four commercial which informs us we will now see a new champion crowned this Sunday night. Sunny’s music hits and she is on her way to the ring to guest ring announce for our next contest. She forgot where she put the cue cards, but then remembered where she situated them. Hint: King: “I don’t know what the Seven Wonders of the World are, McMahon, but Sunny’s got two of them.”

The Head Bangers vs. Aldo Montoya and Bob Holly

Mosh taps Thrasher on the shoulder during their entrance and when he turns around, he spits water in his face. Holly and Mosh start the match. Collar and elbow tie-up and they back into the corner. Mosh doesn’t break clean and punches Bob. Holly fights back with a Frankensteiner and a beautiful dropkick. Holly tags Aldo in. Vince says HBK will be out next. Aldo hits an enzuiguri on Mosh and tags Bob Holly back in. The announcers put over HBK and say he always gives 110% every night, and you may not like him because of the way he lives his life, but you have to respect him and feel bad for him. Holly and Mosh screw up an Irish whip, so it’s a good the announcers weren’t paying attention. Once they get it right and Holly gets sent to the ropes, Thrasher kicks him as the ref is distracted by Aldo. Thrasher tags in and hits a clothesline off the second rope. Vince is worried the injury to HBK could alter his career, and possibly end it. He points out this wasn’t a sudden injury but one that built over time. JR says the knee has to be completely restructured. The Bangers double team Holly after Mosh tags back in and go for a suplex but drop him face first instead. King says not to sugarcoat it – the doctor said “complete restructuring” and “career ending” but Vince says “not necessarily” and they won’t know until they got inside the knee. Thrasher beats on Holly in the corner and makes a tag to Mosh. He hits a side suplex and King blames Vince and JR for HBK’s injury because they always say he is resilient and he has to live up to it. Vince feels partially responsible because of the schedule and points out no one ever had the schedule HBK has had. Mosh body slams Holly and Thrasher front suplex’s Mosh off the top onto Holly, but doesn’t go for a pin, instead opting to tag back in Thrasher. Vince reminds us to watch the Forbidden TV comedies, Saturday nights on USA Network (that’s Lost on Earth at 7pm and Duckman at 7:30pm). JR says he is a Duckman fan and Vince concludes, “Oh, are they forbidden!” Thrasher misses a moonsault and tags Mosh back in as Holly finally makes the hot tag to Aldo. He comes in like a house of fire and takes both Bangers down. He hits a huge high cross body block off the top and gets a two count. Mosh gets tired of this so he sets up the stage dive on Aldo to get the three count! Sunny, with her cue cards sitting between her two wonders of the world, announces The Head Bangers as the winners.

We see HBK talking to Gorilla Monsoon in the back before we go to break. When we come back, Vince is in the ring with Gorilla Monsoon. He introduces the most flamboyant and charismatic WWF champion of all time, Shawn Michaels, to surrender the WWF title. HBK limps down to the ring and waves to the fans as JR recaps the story. JR: “Love him or hate him, if you’re a wrestling fan, you have to respect him.” Vince says this is a shock, but maybe it shouldn’t be, considering the way HBK performs. He asks HBK to share with his fans what is going through his mind.

HBK: "Well, it seems like we've done this before. And this time, unfortunately for me, it's much more serious than it was last time. I've never had a doctor look at me in the face and say that I may never be able to wrestle again. And I was. I was told that the other day. Of course, you know I, it's not something that I believe. But the fact is it's something that I have to deal with. Time has taken its toll on, on my body." The fans start chanting “We Want Sid!” Vince says he knows HBK is disappointed he won’t be defending the title tonight or in the foreseeable future.

HBK: "Well there's… one thing about me is, I can't do anything halfway and I… I come here and I hear the people and they chant Sid's name or they chant Bret's name or they chant a lot of peoples' names, and one thing's for sure, you're going to have all of that in the future and that's what I want for the World Wrestling Federation fans. In spite of what people may think about me, what I've always wanted for all these people is… is for them to have a good time and to enjoy themselves. I've always tried to be the one to provide it whether it was on the good side or the bad side. But what was always important to me was the performance… was the performance so that these people, each time they reached in their pocket, they paid to get a WWF ticket, they didn't regret it because they knew that if they saw my name on the card they could yell - they could come and they could cheer and they could boo and they could do whatever they wanted as long as they had a good time. Over the last couple of months there's been a lot of talk of people having bad attitudes and a lot revolving around this belt. All I know today is, that one thing that's not going to revolve around this belt, for a long time, is going to be Shawn Michaels. I don't know where I'm at right now. I have to… I have to have everything checked. I may have... I may be beyond reconstructive surgery. I may, or may not be able to fix it. But if I can't come back and perform at the level I performed at, before...I can't, I can't perform. I can't come out here and just go half-ass. I have to come out here and I have to romp and stomp and I have to get tossed around. I have to toss people around and I have to have fun. The schedule over the last year I took on because I didn't feel like I could say no. I wanted to do everything. I wanted to enjoy my life as the WWF Champion. I wanted to, I wanted to ride in lear jets and ride in limousines and I wanted to be on TV shows and I wanted to do autograph sessions and I got to do every bit of that. If nothing else, I have all of that to take with me. But again, and I know right now we're in the middle of a time where toughness is real big here in the World Wrestling Federation, and unfortunately all I've got right now for you is a lot of sorrow, a lot of tears, and a lot of emotion. I don't have any toughness for anybody. So I guess, here you go, here's your belt." At this point, HBK hands the WWF Title to Gorilla Monsoon and the fans have finally started to come around and feel bad for Shawn Michaels, as the cameras scan the crowd and people are almost in tears.

HBK: "What I'm going to do is go back home and see what's left for me. Whether it'll be in this ring...whether it'll be out of this ring. I know that over the last several months, I've lost a lot of things and one of them has been my smile. And, and I know it doesn't mean a whole lot to everybody else, but it means a lot to me. So I have to go back and fix myself, and take care of myself, and I have to go back and I have to find my smile because somewhere along the line I lost it and I don't care, really, I don't care if it's unpopular, and I don't care if people want to make fun of me because I'm an emotional guy. But this is all I've ever wanted to do and over the last year I got to do it and whether you like me or not, I just want to tell you that last year was the most wonderful year of my life. And if I never do get to do it again, it'll be okay because I got to live one full year as being the number one guy in this business and it was the single greatest year of my life. And I have you to thank (talking to Vince), and I have everybody here to thank, and it means a lot to me and I'm gonna go home now. Okay?" At this point, Shawn Michaels hugs Vince McMahon and Gorilla Monsoon. JR says he’s never had the pain in his gut he’s got right now in his 25 years in this industry. HBK walks around ringside shaking people’s hands and crying. He hugs JR and Finkel and JR wonders how you prepare for losing a franchise player. We see Vince in the ring looking worried. JR: “Goodbye Shawn. Godspeed.”

We are back and Vince has returned to the announce table. He says the WWF owes Shawn Michaels and hopefully, he can come back from this. King says if anyone can, it’s Shawn Michaels. Vince calls it tragic and says they will update us on HBK’s situation as they have it.

The Undertaker vs. Savio Vega

The rappers, D-Lo and Clarence Mason accompany Savio the ring. JR says Gorilla Monsoon will be back to explain his decision regarding Final Four and the WWF Title situation. The match starts during the commercial and when we return, Taker has taken control and thrown Savio into the corner. The ref tries to stop Taker, but he stalks him and Mike Chioda runs. Taker chokes Savio in the corner. Taker sends Savio to the opposite corner and hits him with an elbow running in. Savio takes control but Taker hits a big boot and a leg drop in return. This gets a two count. Taker goes Old School and back body drops Savio. Vega tries to run and when Taker goes to get him, Savio hits a low blow behind the refs back. Taker regains control though, until Savio hits a pair of standing spinning heel kicks and a running one, which get a two count. Savio puts Taker’s head over the ring apron and elbows away. Back in and Savio pounds away in the corner, but Taker fights back. JR confirms Farooq and Crush are in the house. Savio halts that comeback and chokes Taker on the middle rope. The rappers choke Taker some more when Chioda is distracted. Taker rallies, but gets hit with a spinning heel kick again, for a two count. Savio locks on a nerve hold. He hits a spinning neck breaker for two. Savio puts his head down and Taker fame asses him. Taker with a chokeslam out of nowhere and that’ll do it! The Nation tries to attack Taker, including Farooq and Crush, but Ahmed makes the save and goes bonkers until they overpower him. Taker sits up and takes control. Taker and Ahmed clean house and stand tall.

In the back with President Gorilla Monsoon is Doc Hendrix. Gorilla say he thought making the Final Four match for the title was the fairest decision he could make for everyone involved. Doc wants to know where this leaves Sid. Gorilla is trying to be fair to everyone. Sid was supposed to get a shot tonight, but he’s going to get it Monday night on Raw instead, the night after the pay per view, against the winner of the Final Four match.

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Sycho Sid

Vince mentions, after that ruling from Gorilla, we could be seeing a preview of the match we will be seeing Monday night. King hopes so. Austin attacks from behind and works on Sid in the corner. Sid goes to choke slam Austin but he kicks his way out of it. Austin takes Sid outside and they pound away at each other. Sid puts Austin in a headlock but Austin shoves him off into a ring post. Back in the ring, Austin hits an elbow as Sid comes off the ropes and gets a two count. He locks on an abdominal stretch and even grabs the rope to cheat. The ref makes him break it when he sees it. Sid locks on a sleeper, but Austin ends that with a modified Stunner. That get’s two. Back up and both men pound away at each other. Austin tries to lock on the sharpshooter, but Sid kicks out. He hits Austin with a big boot but, out of nowhere, Bret Hart runs in and goes after Austin! I guess he didn’t like that Austin went for a sharpshooter. Sid doesn’t like this, as he just lost the match by DQ and goes after Bret as Austin bails! The referees try to break it up, but Bret and Sid want each other bad. Both men are taking their frustrations out on each other.

In the back, Vader is with Paul Bearer. Vince asks Vader his thoughts on Final Four. Vader says he beat Taker, Austin and Bret multiple times in the last few weeks. King says Vader is the man and it’s Vader Time!

We come back and King is sending a Western Union Money Gram to his Mother for Valentine’s Day. We see some clips from HBK forfeiting the title earlier tonight.

Tag Team Title Match: Champions Owen Hart and The British Bulldog vs. Farooq and Crush

D-Lo the rappers, and, interestingly enough, Clarence Mason accompany Farooq and Crush. He manages both teams. Owen and Crush start out. Collar and elbow tie-up and Crush powers Owen down but he nips up and follows up with a clothesline and a top rope cross body block for two! Crush muscles up Owen and drops him on his face and then bench press slams him down. Owen tags in Bulldog. Crush tags in Farooq as we go to break.

We return from commercial and Bulldog is just getting piledriven by Crush, which gets a two. Crush then dumps Bulldog out and Farooq attacks him while the ref is distracted by Owen trying to get in. Vince mentions Owen and Bulldog aren’t functioning as a cohesive unit. Farooq throws Bulldog back in and Crush gets a two count. Farooq tags in and he and Crush double team Bulldog in the corner. Crush locks Davey in a nerve hold.

Bret joins us from the back and Vince asks his opinion on HBK’s announcement. Bret seems to be under the impression that HBK is retiring because he can’t believe he is hanging it up. He feels bad and says, whatever you think about Shawn, you can’t deny he always gives it his all. He thinks HBK will be back though. Bret has a score to settle, but he hopes HBK gets his career back. Vince asks about his match with Vader next. Bret says you can’t underestimate Vader – it’s like wrestling a cement truck. He’s looking forward to avenging his loss to Vader last month.

Back to the action and Farooq has tagged in and is in control. He tags back in Crush while stopping Bulldog from making a tag to Owen. Crush locks on a body scissor. Don’t forget, Monday nights at 10pm, right after Raw, is La Femme Nikita. It doesn’t get any hotter than Pita Wilson! Crush pounds away at the back of Bulldog and hits a back breaker and tags in Farooq. Bulldog is able to belly to belly suplex Farooq, who tags in Crush and again stops Bulldog from making the tag. Farooq distracts the ref while Bulldog makes the tag, but the ref didn’t see it, so he won’t allow it. While Owen argues with the ref, Bulldog gets double teamed. Crush and Bulldog double clothesline each other and Bulldog finally makes the tag. He goes to work on Crush and hits a running spinning heel kick on both men! He goes up top and hits the top rope missile dropkick on Crush and gets a two count. Farooq breaks up the pin. Bulldog dumps him. Crush throws Owen over the top rope and Owen apparently jammed his knee on the way down. Bulldog and Farooq are slugging it out on the other side outside the ring and Owen gets counted out. Bulldog now gets double teamed and tries to get in to help the Bulldog, but his knee is really hurting. Farooq hits the Dominator on Bulldog and the Nation celebrates their count out win. Bulldog goes to check on Owen and is going to help him to the back, but Owen wants to go back for his Slammy.

Bret “Hitman” Hart vs. Vader

Vince says “What a match to finish off Raw Thursday Raw.” Don’t worry Vince, I’ve made that mistake myself over the years. Bret gets a huge ovation. Bret gives his sunglasses to a fan, which Vince calls a young man, but it’s actually a girl. That one, I can’t help you with McMahon. Before the match begins, we hear the Undertaker’s music and the lights go out. Taker is at the entrance way with Doc. He says he doesn’t get respect anymore. In four days, at Final Four, Bret and Vader have to deal with Taker, just like Austin. They know they can’t beat him. They will all rest in peace. Vader attacks from behind and pounds away at Bret. He throws Bret out of the ring and we go to break as Austin comes out of nowhere and attacks Bret! We come back and Vader is in control, pounding away at Bret in the corner. We see clips of Austin attacking Bret during the break.

Vader nails Bret with a stiff clothesline. He goes to the second rope and Bret catches him jumping off and power slams Vader! Bret goes for the legs and throws Vader to the ropes. Nails him in the midsection and hits a Russian leg sweep then body slams Vader. Bret goes for the sharpshooter but Vader kicks out. Bret nails a side suplex and hits his second rope elbow drop. Vader misses an avalanche in the corner and Bret trips him up and applies the sharpshooter, but Vader is in the ropes and Bret is forced to break the hold. Austin is now in the balcony taunting Bret. Vader takes advantage and takes Bret down and goes for the top rope Vader-sault. Bret rolls out of the way and Vader misses. Bret hooks a leg and gets the three! Austin is still jaw jacking with Bret, from the balcony. He wants to jump off the balcony to get to Bret, but they are stopping him as we fade to black!

Next week, Sid gets a title shot against the winner of Final Four.

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