October 12, 2007
Mike Abitabile

Monday Night Raw
SkyDome, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
2/3/97

As I mentioned in my last recap, this is “Royal Rumble Raw.” The original idea was to air the entire 1997 Royal Rumble match, in its entirety. Apparently though, at some point between when last week’s Raw aired (Monday, January 27, 1997) and this one was taped (Friday, January 31, 1997), that idea was scrapped, even though they continued to call this episode “Royal Rumble Raw.” In their defense, the WWF did air a lot of footage from the Rumble during this week’s episode, so that’s probably why they kept calling it that.

We start right off the bat with Vince welcoming us to the SkyDome where over 25,000 fans are here. Vader is on his way to the ring. We take our first trip back to the Rumble and they show us the controversial ending, in its entirety. Bret Hart eliminated Austin, but the ref’s missed it, so he crawls back in and takes out Taker and Vader in one swoop because they are both against the ropes. At the same time, Diesel II gets dumped by Bret, not Austin (a key point, otherwise he’d be in the Final Four match somehow) and Austin then eliminates Bret. The referees declare Austin the winner, and Bret goes nuts, screaming, yelling and getting physical with the refs. Back to Raw, we see Bret pacing backstage. For the first time in a few weeks, we get the Raw theme song and video. As mentioned, Vader is in the ring already awaiting his opponent, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin!

Vader vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin

This should be a doozy. Wait a minute, here comes Bret Hart! He attacks Austin from behind. Vader pulls Bret off and starts hammering away on the Hitman! Four officials, Patterson, Brisco and more are trying to break it up. Bret and Austin are going after each other in the aisle now. Paul Bearer got knocked down in the melee, so Vader goes to check on him. They finally get Bret out of there and the match begins. Austin is still in his vest. He stomps a mud hole in Vader in the corner. He also walked it dry, for those keeping score. Austin continues to pound away on Vader. He finally goes to take his vest off, and Vader takes down Austin from behind.

JR and Vince run down tonight’s action: an IC title match with Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Marco Mero, a no disqualification tag match with Taker and Ahmed vs. Farooq and Mankind, and JR will interview Sid.

Vader continues working on Austin in the corner, with shot after shot. Vader gets Stone Cold in position for a second rope Vader splash, but decides to make it a top rope moonsault! He thinks better of it and goes back down to the second rope, and Austin gets up and low blows the big guy! Austin tries to send Vader into the turnbuckle, but he reverses it and Austin collides with the ref! He’s down. Back from commercial and the ref has just gotten up. Vader is in control and goes for a sit down splash on Austin, who moves out of the way and body slams Vader. Patented second rope elbow by Austin gets a two count. Both guys just pound away at each other. Austin hits another low blow and pounds away at Vader’s face. Vader is in the ropes and Austin continues to kick away and the ref is trying to back him up. The ref physically tries to pull Austin back, which I promise isn’t a smart idea, so Austin turns around, kicks the ref and stuns him! Crowd explodes. Vader with a shot from behind sends Austin to the outside and the brawl is on. They fight their way back up the aisle as the officials try to break it up. Vince proclaims Austin has been dq’d, but points out that can’t happen at the Final Four, since it is no disqualifications.

We see the commercial same commercial for Thursday Raw Thursday Live that we saw last week. It’s now only 10 days away, and is the next episode of Raw, due to the annual dog show pre-emption.

Flash Funk vs. Savio Vega

On his way to the ring, JR grabs Savio and asks him about turning on Ahmed and joining the Nation. Savio tells the fans to stick it and says the Nation is number one. Savio is accompanied by Clarence Mason, D-Lo Brown and a few other no-named individuals. At this time, Doc Hendrix joins Vince in the booth. Great. Savio starts off by pounding on Flash. Vince wonders if the reason Savio joined the Nation was his frustrations with Ahmed, or if it was premeditated. Doc thinks it was premeditated. Savio is in control, but Funk keeps showing, well, flashes, of offense. Savio with an illegal choke. That’s the new Savio, points out Doc. While he’s getting his tail handed to him, Vince reminds us Flash is up for the “New Sensation of the Squared Circle” Award at this year’s Slammy’s. Savio pounds and kicks away at Flash, who finally starts fighting back with chops. He sends Savio to the ropes and gives him a back body drop. Vince wonders where Farooq and Crush are. Funk with a spinning side kick. He’s going upstairs. Funk hits a spinning splash, which gets a two count. Funk goes back up for a moonsault, but instead jumps outside to attack the Nation. Once that’s done, he goes back up for the moonsault but the extra time gave Savio a chance to recover, so he moves out of the way and gets the three count after Funk misses. Now Farooq and Crush comes out and Savio hugs Farooq.

Earlier tonight, Vince was able to interview Peta Wilson, the star of La Femme Nikita, who was at ringside. He puts over the show big time and says it’s on after Raw. I don’t think she even knows where she is, but she’s happy to plug her show.

Sid is here to make his first comments since losing his title to HBK at the Royal Rumble. JR introduces Sid. He gets a pretty good crowd reaction. A shot from the roof shows a HUGE crowd, which Vince calls “the biggest crowd in the history of Monday night.” I assume he means between Raw and Nitro, without mentioning Nitro, and isn’t including any NFL games in there. JR runs down Sid’s last few months – winning the title at MSG, beating Bret Hart on ppv, and then losing the title at the Rumble. JR wants to know what Sid thinks about HBK. He says they have a roller coaster relationship. He says, and I quote “evil is evil.” Okay. He says when the roller coaster ride is over, he will be the last man standing.

Joining us now from the locker room are Owen and the Bulldog, the tag champs! Vince reminds Davey Boy that Owen dumped him out of the Rumble. Owen goes on the defensive and says it was an accident. They show footage from the Rumble of this and Bulldog calling Owen an idiot after he got eliminated! The two of them start arguing in real time between themselves, all thanks to Vince!

Tag Team Title Match: Owen Hart and “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith vs. Doug Furnas and Phil Lafon

On his way to the ring, Owen says he hates Canada. JR, who has returned to the both says, “He lives here!” Doc remains in the booth even though JR is back. JR thinks the problems between Owen and the Bulldog stem from Clarence Mason not being able to give them enough attention, as he is busy with the Nation. Bulldog starts off with Lafon. Lafon with a flying body scissor takes Davey down. Lafon goes for a body block off the second rope, bull the Bulldog catches him and goes for the powerslam, which is stopped. Bulldog tags in Owen and Vince announces that Furnas has the flu tonight. Doc points out that the flu helped HBK at the Rumble. Owen sends Lafon over with a monkey flip, but he lands on his feet and puts Owen in an armbar with his legs. JR mentions the past of Furnas and Lafon in All Japan. Furnas is tagged in and looks good. Owen tags in the Bulldog. Test of strength ends with Bulldog kicking Furnas in the gut. Vince mentions Shawn Michaels will join us later. Owen makes a blind tag and hits his spinning heel kick as Furnas is running to the ropes. Beautiful. Quick tag back to Bulldog. The tag champs are in control.

Doc plugs Thursday Raw Thursday and says tickets are still available. If I were you, I’d be attending. You never know what’s going to happen. Furnas hits a sunset flip and has Owen’s shoulders down for at least a five count, but the ref is with Bulldog. By the time Earl Hebner gets back over, Owen is able to kick out. Bulldog comes back in and goes to work on the lower back of Furnas. JR lets us know that Hunter Hearst Helmsley’s butler, Curtis, and Sable will be barred from ringside in the upcoming Intercontinental title match, later tonight. Owen with a neck vice on Furnas. Furnas gets up and electric chair drops Owen! Bulldog makes the tag and stops Furnas before he can make the tag. Furnas gets a small package on the Bulldog and again has a five count before Hebner turns back around again. And this time, once Hebner does, Bulldog kicks out after two. Quick tag to Owen, who takes control. After pounding away on Furnas, Owen wants to tag in Bulldog, but Davey Boy has his back to the action and is talking to the crowd. Owen wants to know what Davey is doing and Furnas rolls him up from behind! This gets a two count, and as Owen kicks out, he propels Furnas into the Bulldog. Owen takes advantage but starts yelling at the Bulldog. We go to commercial as they are jaw jacking.

We return with Owen and Bulldog still in control over Doug Furnas. An overhead release belly-to-belly suplex finally gives Furnas the chance to make the tag. Bulldog does the same and the fresh men are both in. Lafon lays in the offense, and gets a three count after a spinning DDT! But the ref sees Owen’s foot was on the bottom rope and the match continues. Owen and Bulldog decide to do some double teaming. Owen goes to throw Lafon into the ropes where Bulldog will be waiting to back drop him over the top. Lafon reverses it however, and Owen gets backdropped over the top by the Bulldog! Davey turns around and hits the powerslam on Lafon while Owen seems to have twisted his knee from the fall. He’s asking for a time out. Remember, he is the legal man. This leads to Owen getting counted out and Furnas and Lafon winning by count out. The cameras catch Owen running in the aisle and Vince concludes that Owen was intentionally counted out to save the titles and is lying. Good call, McMahon! Well, at least Furnas and Lafon didn’t go 0-3 against the tag champs in the last three weeks.

We go back to the Rumble. We see Austin brawling with Farooq and Ahmed decides that’s the perfect chance to attack Farooq. He hits Farooq with a huge 2 x 4 and Farooq goes over the top, eliminating himself. In the back, we are joined by Ahmed Johnson. He says the Rumble was just the start. Nothing is over. He says he isn’t taking Prozac anymore, so everyone is screwed. I am actually scared by that comment. He’s also mad at Savio and starts screaming about it. As this is happening, Crush is on his way to the ring, as we are shown a split screen. Ahmed is not happy. He says he will go to the ring right now and take care of business. Before he can leave, Taker appears out of nowhere and puts his hand around the throat of Ahmed. Ahmed tells Taker he will be deader than he is now if he does that again. Taker’s response? “If you go now, you go alone. If you wait, we’ll bury them together.”

Crush vs. Goldust

As we come back from commercial, there’s someone outside SkyDome dressed like Goldust. JR says “Look, there’s Doc!” Oh snap. The Nation joins Crush, including Savio, but not Farooq. Marlena is with Goldust. Vince and JR confirm we will see that no DQ tag match later, still going on about that Nitro bait and switch involving Robin Hood from a few weeks ago. Collar and elbow tie-up to start. Goldust gains the advantage. He hits Crush with a clothesline and follows up with punches. Vince calls this a much more aggressive Goldust then we’ve seen before. There seems to be a case of that going around the WWF recently. Clothesline sends Crush over the top to the outside. He runs back in and Goldust takes him down with a drop toe hold. The “Jail Bird” chants commence. Goldust with an arm bar, and he remains in control. Hunter Hearst Helmsley is on his way out to ringside. The distraction allows Crush to gain the upper hand. Hunter leaves us once that happens. Crush sends Goldust into the turnbuckle and pounds away. Crush is punching Goldust a lot. Crush hits a leg drop and gets a two count. Vince assumes that Ahmed listened to Taker, since he isn’t out here right now. Belly-to-belly suplex by Crush, followed by a fist drop from the second rope, which missed. Goldust reverses a piledriver attempt into a backdrop, but Crush punches him in the breadbasket. Goldust hits a ddt and gets a two count. He follows this up with a running clothesline and hits his running bulldog. It only gets a two count as well. He signals for his Curtain Call, but Savio hits a spin kick behind the back of referee Jack Doane which allows Crush to hit the heart punch and get the three count. Slow match with a lot of punching and kicking.

A vignette is shown for the impending debut of The New Blackjacks. Footage of Blackjack Windham and Blackjack Bradshaw pouring water on a camp fire is show, while they warn everyone.

The Army Slam of the Week is from the Rumble. Footage from the WWF Title match is shown – Michaels hitting his flying fist and his top rope elbow drop and Sid hits the power bomb on the floor.

Vince McMahon is in the ring and asks us to welcome the WWF Champion, Shawn Michaels. Even before the Screw Job, they are all over him in Canada. He’s in wrestling attire too. I believe he wrestled Bret and Taker in a dark match three-way (one of the Fed’s first). Vince asks HBK to respond to Sid’s comments from earlier tonight. HBK agrees that the title brings out the evil in people. A year ago, he would have disagreed, but now, not so much. He calls Sid wacky, but says he is right. Vince goes to ask a follow-up, but HBK cuts him off and says “I’m not through yet Vin Man. You know better than to put a live mic in front of me!” He says, if being bad is what you have to be to be the champ, then he’ll be the worst guy the WWF has ever seen. As for the crowd, turnabout is fair play. He got his jollies at the Rumble in San Antonio, so the Canadians can be happy for Bret now. They show Bret in the back watching HBK talk. HBK says he doesn’t have to be Mr. Popular. Vince says that Bret and HBK obviously don’t see eye to eye. HBK said he is used to being disliked. He compares himself to Muhammad Ali and says people hated him when he was champ, but now he’s the greatest. He says it’s because he has the belt around his waist. Bret can be the best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be, but he can’t be the champion. And here comes Bret.

Bret says HBK isn’t like Muhammad Ali. More like Dennis Rodman. Bret says he tries to like HBK but he finds it harder and harder. He says HBK hit the nail on the head when he called himself a degenerate and that HBK prides himself on being a jackass. He calls Michaels a punk and tells him to stop him whenever he wants to. So HBK does. Austin comes in out of nowhere and attacks Bret! Michaels just stands and watches. Now Sid comes to the ring. Once again, all hell is breaking loose!

Back from commercial, Austin and Sid are gone and we are left with Bret and Shawn in the ring, eye to eye, with the title belt at their feet between them. Michaels goes to get his belt and Bret steps on it. Michaels removes his entrance vest and Bret picks up the belt. Bret goes to hand the belt to HBK, but he drops it at his feet instead and Michaels is forced to pick it up. He poses with his belt. Man, if you didn’t know where they were going with this, you were blind. Awesome segment.

Before we went on the air tonight, Tiger Ali Singh signed a contract to compete in the WWF. He was joined by Bret Hart and he says he hopes to be the best. JR says we expect great things from Tiger Ali Singh. In the end, forget the “great” part, it turns out they didn’t even get the “things” from him.

Intercontinental Title Match: Champion Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. “Wildman” Marc Mero

Vince says “we told you we’d give you a title match and here it is. No bait and switch crap here.” Again, both Sable and the butler, Curtis, have been barred from, not only ringside, but, according to Vince, the SkyDome. Highlights are shown from Superstars eight days ago and Superstars from just yesterday. In the first clip, Curtis interfered and helped Hunter retain against Ahmed, and in the second clip, you get to see Sable kick the Undertaker. Woah. Well, because neither has been on their best behavior, that’s why they aren’t allowed out here tonight.

They start by reversing arm bars and leg take downs. JR reminds us how Hunter won the title here on Raw by outsmarting everyone. He doesn’t go into too much detail because they can’t talk about Mr. Perfect. Or maybe they just don’t want to. Hunter cowers in the corner, and Vince compares him to Robin Hood and again says Nikita would kill him. JR ponders why Vince got to interview Peta Wilson while he got to interview Sid. Mero with a few arm drag takedowns and a dropkick. Hunter kicks Mero and takes control. Vince mentions the original plan for the IC title at In Your House: Final Four and says that, if Hunter can get through Mero here, he has to defend against Ahmed at the PPV. More on that in my next recap. Back body drop by Mero, then he sends Hunter outside the ring. Mero follows and throws Hunter back in. He tries a slingshot body splash back in, but Hunter gets the knees up. Huge standing vertical suplex by Hunter, giving Bulldog’s a run for its money. He follows that up with the knee drop. Two count. Mero seems to be a few steps quicker than Hunter, but HHH stops that with a knee lift. He really likes using his knees. Hunter pounds away on Mero in the corner as we go to commercial.

We return and Mero has just moved out of the way and Hunter goes right to the turnbuckle. Hunter telegraphs a back drop and Mero slams his head to the canvas. A slugfest ensues, followed by a spinning head scissors by Mero. Helmsley gets sent to the turnbuckle and goes over the top, all the way to the floor. Mero follows with a summersault plancha. Back in, Mero hits a leg drop and gets a two count. HHH gets the feet up as Mero follows him into the corner. Hunter goes up top and Mero stops him and hits the hurricanrana! That only gets a two. Mero seems to have hurt his knee on the way down. He runs to the ropes and Hunter catches him with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Hunter removes the turnbuckle pad and tries to send Mero into it. That didn’t work, so Mero hits the Samoan drop and goes for the Wild Thing 450 splash. Hunter gets up, so Mero reserves course, spins around and hits the Mero-sault! Only gets two though. Again, Hunter tries to send Mero into the exposed turnbuckle, but instead puts on the breaks and shows the ref the pad is missing. Hebner tries to fix the pad, and in the interim, Hunter takes a foreign object out of his boot, nailed Mero and gets the three count! Not a bad little television match. So it’s on to Final Four for Hunter to face Ahmed, right?

We go to another Royal Rumble highlight. Bret locks Austin the sharpshooter and they are the only two in the ring at the time. The clock counts down and King’s music hits. He’s doing commentary, but apparently, he’s in the Rumble too, so he takes off his jacket, says “It takes a King….”, gets in the ring, immediately gets punched over the top rope by Bret Hart, goes back to the announce table and says “to know a King.”

No DQ Tag Match: Farooq and Mankind vs. Undertaker and Ahmed Johnson

The Nation and Paul Bearer join the heels. The 2 x 4 joins Ahmed. Farooq gets Mankind to make the Nation salute! Footage is shown from last week when Mankind accidentally hit his partner, Vader, with a chair. Vince plays “I told you so” because there is no bait and switch here either. We see the clip from earlier with Taker and Ahmed in the locker room. We start things off with Ahmed and Farooq pairing off in the ring and Taker and Mankind outside. They are brawling up the aisle, while Ahmed throws Farooq off the top rope. Farooq then locks on a sleeper until Taker throws Mankind into the barricade and comes to save Ahmed. He pounds away at Farooq in the corner until Farooq takes down Taker with a clothesline, which Taker sits up from. Ahmed is brawling outside with Mankind and Paul Bearer looks worried. Taker goes Old School with Farooq and Clarence Mason high tails it out of here with some other Nation members because Ahmed chases them. This is just a brawl, as JR points out; there has been no teamwork anywhere. Before we go to break, Crush and Savio come out with the rest of the Nation.

We are back and Taker is going Old School on Mankind, but he catches him with the Mandible Claw on the way down. Ahmed makes the save and Pearl River Plunges Mankind. Farooq then and hits the Dominator on Ahmed! As he goes for the cover, Taker sits up and breaks up the pinfall attempt. He then goes after Mankind, who hits a low blow. Mankind has a chair but Taker kicks it back into the face of Mankind. The Nation gets a little too close to Ahmed and he’s going off on Crush and some unnamed members. Chokeslam on Mankind by Taker! Savio hammers away at Ahmed but he gets the 2 x 4 and chases the entire Nation to the back! He goes back into the ring and takes out Farooq with the 2 x 4 and chases Farooq to the back as well. In the ring, Mankind hits a swinging neck breaker on Taker and wants to throw powder in Taker’s face. That backfired and Foley get’s blinded. Vader comes out of nowhere and splashes Taker! Foley holds Taker up for a Vader chair shot, but Taker ducks and Vader nails Mankind. Vader then takes the chair and nails Taker anyways, who doesn’t flinch. Vader gets dumped and Taker hits the Tombstone on the chair on Mankind to get the three count! Fun little brawl.

Next time, Thursday Raw Thursday Live and we get some history.

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