December 3, 2007
Mike Abitabile

Raw is War
Worcester Centrum, Worcester, MA
3/10/97

This is a historic night in the WWF, as it is the first episode of Raw is War and the unofficial start of the attitude era. The Fed finally went full throttle with their two hours and the fight with WCW was on. Of course, next week’s episode will be more memorable, but we will get to that in ….. well, in a week. 24/7 has edited out Marilyn Manson’s “Beautiful People” which was the original theme song and set the tone for what the WWF was trying to accomplish. Instead, they are using “Thorn in Your Eye” which is off the Full Metal CD released in the mid 90’s.

We are live in the Worcester Centrum and are welcomed by fireworks and shots of the huge tron (which still has the old Raw graphic on it) and entrance stage and ramp. Vince tells that tonight, Raw is War! Sid is on his way to the ring right now to talk to JR. Vince reminds us Sid will team up with the Undertaker, his Wrestlemania opponent, later tonight. JR says Sid is reluctant to join forces with Taker. Sid says everyone must think he’s a fool. Sid insinuates that Taker is in cahoots with Mankind, Vader and Paul Bearer. He says he will beat Taker at Wrestlemania and says he refuses to team with Taker tonight. He tells Taker to stay in the cemetery because after Wrestlemania, Sid will put him there “once and for good.” All of a sudden we hear Taker’s music and the Dead Man makes his way to the ring. Taker says that, if Sid is scared of Mankind and Vader, just admit it. He says Sid’s logic doesn’t add up. If anything happens to Sid tonight, Taker doesn’t get a title shot at Mania. But on the other hand, if something happens to Taker, Sid doesn’t have to fight him at Mania. Taker declines being Sid’s partner and will fight them himself. Sid gets ready to respond but Paul Bearer, Mankind and Vader make their way to ringside. Paul says Taker and Sid have both felt the wrath of his men and they are both cowards. Vader and Mankind come in and a brawl ensues. Vader hits Taker from behind but Taker thinks it was Sid. They stare each other down as we go to break.

IC Champion Rocky Maivia vs. Tony Roy

Vince tells us that regardless of each wrestler’s feelings on the issue, Taker and Sid will in fact team up tonight. Interesting note: the two sets of ring steps have been put next to each other (with a board on top to cover the holes used to slide them into the ring posts) right at the bottom of the stage. This is the only time that happened. Right after the bell rings, we hear the Iron Sheik threatening Rocky. He is joined by Mr. Bob Backlund and The Sultan on the stage. As Rocky is distracted, Roy jumps from behind and gets the early advantage. Rocky puts a stop to that with a clothesline and follows it up with the “Layin the Smack Down” DDT. He heads up top and hits his high cross body block for the quick win. Backlund is still rambling to new announcer, Lance Wright (from ECW “fame”). After the match, Sultan runs in and attacks Rocky but Rocky takes him down and out with a dropkick. Rocky then hits Sheik and Backlund and bails as Sultan comes back in. Rocky then sees Tony Atlas in the front row and pulls him out of the crowd. Atlas, who teamed with Rocky’s Dad, Rocky Johnson, seems to have Rocky’s back and leave with the kid.

Heavy Metal, Pentagon and Pierroth vs. Hector Garza, Octagon and Latin Lover

This was part of the talent exchange program with AAA. Everyone hails from Mexico, by the way. Hector starts off with Heavy Metal. They lock up and Metal puts on an arm bar. Garza reverses into a school boy for two. Chain wrestling follows as the announcers ignore the match and discuss the rest of tonight’s show. The Latin Lover and Pierroth tag in and Pierroth chops away. Lover reverses and hits his own chops and follows them up with an arm drag. Pierroth comes back with a clothesline. Lover hits a super kick, which I’m sure Vince loved. King wants to know why they are bringing in AAA and ECW guys and assumes it’s because the MLB will have interleague play for the first time this season. Octagon and Pentagon tag in and they trade arm drags and backbreakers. They are in the same exact ninja-like attire except Octagon had red trim while Pentagon has white trim. Heavy Metal and Hector Garza tag back in and trade blows until Heavy Metal goes over the top and out. Back in and they shake hands. Vince mentions there is a fracas in the crowd and it seems as though that “bionic woman” that is always hanging around Hunter is in the arena. The guards are trying to remove her from her seat, but she has done nothing wrong. Back to the action and Pierroth and Octagon are back in. Pierroth has enough and tags in Pentagon so Octagon tags in Latin Lover. We see them escorting that woman out of the arena. Vince likes it, King thinks it is unfair. We go to break.

We return and Heavy Metal is working over Hector Garza’s leg. Latin Lover runs in out of nowhere, without a tag and makes the save. So Pierroth does the same for his team. We see split-screen footage of that Amazonian woman’s path of rage – starting with Marlena and ending with her challenging Bret hart last week. Vince tells us she was arrested and that Hunter, who was scheduled for an interview after this match, has left the arena. Lover lands a spinebuster but Pierroth is up and chops away. Standing by in the back in Brian Pillman. We see him in a split-screen. Vince welcomes him back to the WWF and asks if he is ready to return to action. Pillman says he will return on Shotgun Saturday Night because it’s on so late, he can do whatever he wants. He’s the ammo for the shotgun. Vince can’t wait. Back in the ring, all six guys are flying out of the ring onto each other and Hector Garza ends it with a 360 into a cross body onto the pile. Back in the ring, it’s Latin Lover and Heavy Metal. Lover misses a frog splash so Heavy Metal rolls him up and gets the win. JR promises more lucha action like this on Shotgun and Brian Pillman will join them for commentary on the show, too.

We see the Wrestlemania 13 commercial. Sid may be the man, but Taker will do anything to win the gold. Faarooq may dominate, but Ahmed will dismember the entire Nation. The angry Hitman has a score to settle, but his target is a Stone Cold killer himself. There’s only one Wrestlemania and it only happens once a year!

Ahmed Johnson vs. Roy Raymond

Roy attacks from behind and hits a suplex. All of a sudden, the Nation music hits (with the rappers rapping) and they watch the match on the stage. The music continues to play during the remainder of the match. This only angers Ahmed and he destroys Roy Raymond. JR just wants to have a match without an interruption tonight. Ahmed throws Roy outside the ring then throws him back in. He hits a scissor kick on Roy and sends him to the ropes for a spinebuster. He follows this up with the Pearl River Plunge for the win. The music stops and Faarooq says Ahmed may have accepted the match, but he doesn’t know anything about the streets. When Faarooq gets Ahmed in Chicago, Ahmed’s people will let him down. Faarooq says Ahmed will show up stupid and alone, while he will show up with the entire Nation behind him. JR is in the ring with Ahmed. Ahmed calls Faarooq a punk and says he isn’t scared because they don’t scare him. But, because Faarooq has a Nation, he got the two baddest, meanest, nastiest men he would find. Faarooq can bring the Nation because Ahmed is bringing the entire city of Chicago with him. All of a sudden, the LOD’s music hits and Hawk and Animal enter the arena through the crowd. The arena explodes and the Nation looks nervous. LOD enters the ring and high fives Ahmed. Hawk says the gang is here and ready. He tells the Nation they will look like old sweat socks when they are done with them. Animal says the power of the WWF fans will help them win. Ahmed says all the black members of the Nation just turned white. He leads the crowd in a “You’re Going Down!” chant.

Tag Team Champions Owen Hart and The British Bulldog vs. The New Blackjacks

As Owen and Bulldog are introduced, JR comes out of nowhere on the stage to congratulate Bulldog on his win last week and to tell them they had an excellent match. Owen doesn’t want to talk about Bulldog winning the title. He says he could have won. JR asks if Owen is jealous and he denies it. He accuses JR of stirring up trouble. Owen tells him to leave them alone. We then see some clips from last week’s match and Bulldog’s win. Blackjack Windham says they would win the titles tonight if this was a title match (it is a non-title match). Bradshaw says Owen has been living off the Bulldog for a while. He says the only good thing about Owen is that he has “perty” lips. Owen attacks him and Bulldog goes after Windham. Owen goes outside and sends Bradshaw to the steel post. In the ring, Bulldog dumps Windham out while Owen comes back in. Vince tells us Owen and Bulldog will defend their tag titles at Wrestlemania against Vader and Mankind. The Blackjacks regroup. Bradshaw comes in and starts with Bulldog. He backs him into the corner and pounds away. He then throws Davey into Windham’s foot and tags in his partner. Windham slams Bulldog and misses an elbow drop. Bulldog takes him over with an arm drag and Windham gets up and tags in Bradshaw. We hear from Vader and Mankind in the back. Vader says they are going to win the tag titles at Wrestlemania and he fears no man. He also says Mankind feels no pain. Back to the action, Bradshaw hits Owen, allowing Windham to come in and double team Owen. Bulldog tags in Owen who hits a huge back body drop on Windham. Windham hits a low blow on Owen and tags in Bradshaw. Bradshaw sends Owen to the ropes and hits a big boot. He then tosses Owen out of the ring and distracts the ref while Windham beats Owen up and slams him on the floor. Owen crawls back in and Windham, who crawled in too, switching places with Bradshaw, hits a textbook suplex. Owen tries to fight back with fists, but Windham goes to the eyes and Owen goes down. As we go to break, Windham tags in Bradshaw after sending Owen into his foot.

We return from break and Bulldog has a sleeper on Windham until he drops down into a jaw breaker. Bradshaw comes flying in with a clothesline (not yet from hell) and it gets two. As he backs Bulldog into his corner for some double team action, Vince tells us he was just handed a note. Next week, live on Raw is War, only six days before Wrestlemania, Bret Hart will finally get what he wants – a rematch with Sid for the WWF Title and it will be inside of a steel cage! The ramifications for that match could be huge. Bradshaw hits a pump-handle slam on Bulldog and it gets two. Windham tags in and hits a side suplex for two while we hear from Taz who is in the back with Bill Alphonso. He says that if Vince wants to hire a joke teller to sit next to him, that’s his business. But his boss hires extreme athletes and if Lawler makes one more wisecrack about him, he can say it to his face. Lawler: “If he wants to come out here, I’ll tell him how short he is to his face, if I can bend down that far.” Windham sets Bulldog up for a top rope suplex but Bulldog pushes him off and hits a clothesline. He finally gets a tag to Owen and he is on fire. He hits a spinning heel kick on each member of the Blackjacks and a top rope dropkick on Bradshaw but it only gets two as Windham breaks it up. Owen goes for the sharpshooter on Bradshaw and Bulldog stops Windham from interfering. The referee tries to stop Bulldog from getting involved and tries to tell him to leave the ring three times. When Bulldog won’t listen, he calls for the bell and DQ’s the tag champs. Therefore, the winners are the New Blackjacks.

As we are about to go to a video package on the Slammy’s, Taz has made his way ringside and wants at Lawler. King gets up and starts walking towards him. They grab each other by the throat and Sabu tries to dive at them over the top from the ring and ends up going straight through a table instead, as Taz and King move. JR wonders which guy Sabu was aiming for. The ECW guys come to see if Sabu is okay.

Leif Cassidy vs. Miguel Perez

I should note we didn’t go to a commercial break after the last segment, which is something new they are trying with their new format. We see clips of Miguel debuting a few weeks ago in the Manhattan Center and saving Goldust from Savio Vega and the Nation. They lock up and Leif goes down with a hip toss and gets arm dragged. Miguel applies an arm bar. King is hot and says he is just going to punch Paul E. later tonight during the debate – he won’t even talk to him. JR says that wasn’t the agreement and King says he doesn’t care. Leif hits a shoulder block and Miguel pops up. He follows up with a dropkick and an arm ringer. JR says that somewhere down the road, Miguel will get his hands on Savio. Paul E. is standing by in the ECW locker room as Leif lands a release German suplex. Vince hopes Paul can restrain his guys to which he replies that he will as long as Vince restrains his comedian. Paul says there are no more games – forget Paul E. It’s Jerry Lawler vs. Paul Heyman in a debate later tonight. He will bring his friends and King should bring his. He will show them how extreme he can be. Leif gets a two count. Miguel gets thrown into the corner and Leif pounds away. Leif slams him and calls for the top rope moonsault. It misses and Miguel is able to go fists of fire and hits a huge clothesline on Leif. He tries a back drop but Leif tries a power bomb to reverse it and Miguel reverses that by rolling him up and getting the three count.

Sid is in the back and he is not happy about having to defend the title next week against Bret Hart. He says he will go to Wrestlemania to face Taker no matter what and will continue to be the master and ruler of the world after it.

Hour number two officially starts and Ken Shamrock is on the way to the ring to make a big announcement. JR informs us that Ken Shamrock will be the special guest referee for the Submission Match between Bret Hart and Steve Austin at Wrestlemania. JR also mentions that this match could even be a title match, if Bret Hart defeats Sid next week on Raw. Ken says it is great to be in the WWF and an honor to be part of Wrestlemania 13. He thanks Vince for letting him do it. He knows all about submissions so this makes a lot of sense. He will do the best job he can and will not be intimidated by either Bret or Austin. He will be a fair ref. All of a sudden we hear Austin’s voice and he tells Shamrock to shut his hole. We see him on the tron and he says he should come out there and beat up Ken right now. He is mad that Bret keeps getting title shots, but is happy because it means he could get a title shot at Wrestlemania, if Bret wins next week. Austin says he never gave up before and he isn’t about to start now. He says he’ll knock Shamrock’s lights out after he is done with Bret. Shamrock calls out Austin right now! All of a sudden, Bret Hart’s music hits! Austin hears it and gets mad and says he’ll knock Bret on his ass too, and leaves whenever he was in the back as Bret makes his way to the ring.

Bret says it’s nice of the WWF to finally let him speak after three weeks. He was happy to win the title at Final Four but it was stolen from him the next night and apparently, no one is doing anything about it. People may think Bret is crying again, but he’s just had enough of the lack of justice in the WWF. He’s happy that Gorilla Monsoon has finally given Bret his rematch next week. This is all pretty funny because Bret is just going on and on and not even recognizing the fact that Ken Shamrock is standing there next to him. He says Sid isn’t as good as he is and he will win the title for the fifth time next week. He feels sorry for Taker who has his hopes up for a title match at Mania. He says nobody around here knows submission wrestling like him, which raises Shamrock’s eyebrows. Bret lists everyone who has screwed him – Shawn Michaels, Sid, Stone Cold, referees, Gorilla Monsoon and Vince McMahon. He then finally acknowledges Ken Shamrock and says he likes him. Bret is cool with him – as long as he doesn’t try to screw him over. Shamrock says he is not a marriage counselor and isn’t here to listen to Bret’s problems. He will raise the hand of the winner and it will be fair and square. And now Austin is on the stage and he isn’t happy. Bret tells him to come to the ring and we go to commercial.

We return and the Honky Tonk Man is the ring. He says it’s been a long time since he played “Wooster” but won’t sing because the fans didn’t give him any respect last time he was here! Honky joins the commentators for the next match.

Billy Gunn vs. Aldo Montoya

Vince reminds us the last time we saw Billy Gunn, he was being carried out of the ring after being injured by his brother, Bart. Billy jumps Aldo to start and throws him in the corner. He sends him hard into the opposite turnbuckle and slams Montoya. Honky says he has made no progress trying to find his new protégé, but mentions Vince is on the list! Billy Gunn drops a knee on Montoya’s forehead. He then ties the kid to the tree of woe while Honky tells us he wishes he could clone himself. Gunn kicks away and Aldo Montoya eventually frees himself. Vince tells us Hunter has returned to the arena and we will hopefully have that interview with him soon. Aldo reverses a back drop into a sunset flip and gets two. Billy Gunn beats Aldo to his feet and takes him down with a clothesline. Aldo hits an enziguri and tries to get the fans behind him but no one flinches. He hits chops and a flying fist to Billy but telegraphs a back drop and gets DDT’d for his troubles. And now, here’s Sunny to tell us she will also be on Shotgun Saturday Night doing her “Undercover with Sunny” gossip segment this weekend. While this is happening, Billy Gunn hits a top rope leg drop for the win. Honky was impressed by the leg drop.

We go to the back with Mankind. He tells us he has a better grasp of reality than people think. He doesn’t need the urn anymore. He doesn’t need Mommy anymore. He says they should make a big deal out of him and Vader and not Taker and Sid. They cut him off in the middle of his promo to go to commercial.

Goldust vs. Tim McNeedy

Marlena is with Goldust. Vince is happy the woman has been removed from the building as it rains gold dust. JR tells us Goldust will fight Hunter Hearst Helmsley at Wrestlemania. Before the action can start, we see Hunter and the woman standing side-by-side on the stage. Goldust gets distracted so McLovin… I mean, McNeedy, throws him to the ropes but gets a shot to the face and clotheslined. Dust follows this up with the butt bop as JR wonders how this woman is back. He thinks there might be two of them. God forbid. King pieces it together and determines Hunter went down and bailed her out. Their presence has only made Goldust angry and he hits the Curtain Call for the quick win. He dedicates it to Hunter. The woman takes off her leather jacket and is headed to the ring. Goldust grabs Marlena to protect her but Hunter attacks Goldust from behind. Marlena jumps on the back of the woman and chokes her! The crowd explodes. Once they get her off, it takes four referees (including Harvey Wippleman), two officials and Pat Patterson to hold the woman back, while Gerry Brisco holds back Marlena. The woman throws officials to the ground to get to Marlena, and when she gets there, Marlena slaps her! The woman bench presses Harvey! Wow. Goldust has gotten back up and is protecting Marlena again. Hunter leaves with the woman. Geez.

We return with clips of what just happened. JR is in the ring and is going to moderate tonight’s “Great Debate”. He introduced King, who will be representing himself. He then brings out Paul E. Dangerously, who will be representing ECW. Paul comes out by himself. They will be discussing if ECW should even exist. We will start with King. He gets 90 seconds. King says it’s not if ECW should exist, but whether it does exist. He says Paul is being seen by more people right now than he has in his entire life. ECW is misfits, has-beens and idiots. The ECW contingent has made their way to ringside now. King says they can’t wrestle, so they just beat the living hell out of each other. Paul just sits and listens, waiting for his turn. JR tries to stop King because his time is up. He won’t stop. He says ECW brings 1,100 people to their shows and WWF brings 22,000 to the Spectrum in Philly. Paul E. tells King to shut up. He says the fact that WWF brings 22,000 people to an arena has nothing to do with King. He says ECW gained the respect of the 1,100 people by busting their asses and that is what ECW is about. Sandman comes in and says he’ll cane King’s ass right now, but Paul stops him. King says Paul should be thankful that he can plug his pay per view on Raw. He says there’s 4 million people in Philly, there’s got to be 1,100 that will come to watch paint dry!

Paul wants to know if Lawler wants to shoot. Paul asks how things are going at the see-saws. He says King’s own sons won’t call themselves Lawler’s because they are ashamed of him. King says Paul is a 35 year old man who still lives with his parents. He says Paul hangs out with these guys because he is light in the loafers. Tommy Dreamer tells King to get his friends and we’ll start a war right now. The podium gets destroyed. King calls for his friends. But, no one comes out. King: “I’ve got friends!” I guess he doesn’t. Paul tells King to leave or they will make him leave. Honky says the guys in the back couldn’t hear King. We go to break.

We come back as Vader and Mankind are making their way to the ring. King has not returned to ringside, so Honky will be calling the main event with Vince and JR.

WWF Champion Sycho Sid and The Undertaker vs. Mankind and Vader

Paul Bearer accompanies Mankind and Vader to the ring. Vince reminds us that Sid will defend against the Undertaker at Mania, if Bret Hart is not successful next week. Before Taker makes his entrance, Mankind and Vader jump Sid from behind. Sid takes down Vader with a clothesline and pounds away on Mankind. Vader attacks Sid from behind again and the two double team the champion in the corner. Vince wonders where the Undertaker is. All of a sudden, Taker runs down the stage and goes right after Vader. He sends him to the ropes and hits a running clothesline and follows it with a chokeslam. A big boot sends Vader over the top and out. Mankind hits his clothesline on Taker and takes them both over the top rope but Taker lands on his feet and pounds away. Taker goes to a neutral corner and it looks as if Sid and Vader are the legal men. Vader pounds away on Sid and hits a short arm clothesline. Vince says we are running late and we thank USA Network for giving us additional time to show this match in its entirety. Vader hits a running splash and it gets two. Vader then applies a chin lock. In the background, we see Mankind crawls back up to his corner. The crowd gets behind Sid but Vader maintains the advantage and the hold. Vince wonders where King is and says “he asked for all his friends to join him, and they did.” We go to break.

Back to the action and Sid suplexes Vader and wants to make a tag to Taker, but Mankind has distracted him so Taker is beating him up. When Sid gets to his corner, there is no one there. Vader takes the opportunity to hit a huge clothesline and tags in Mankind. He hits an elbow on Sid but it only gets two. Sid finally tags in Taker and he hits a big boot on Mankind and then a chokeslam! This gets two as all hell breaks loose. Sid goes after Vader and Taker dumps Mankind. Taker jumps outside to take out Vader but he misses and hits Sid. Sid responds by punching Taker. The two crawl back in the ring and Taker chokeslams Sid! He then runs to the ropes and launches himself over the top rope onto Vader and Mankind! Wow, considering he hopped over the ring steps too. Taker throws Vader back in and goes after Mankind. Vader realizes Sid is still out from the chokeslam so he tries a pin and gets two. Sid goes out after Taker and throws him back into the ring. He then hits the power bomb on Taker and walks out! JR: “Dead man laying!” Vader covers Taker and gets the three count! Vader then drags Taker to the corner to hit a Vader Bomb but Sid comes back and actually saves Taker. Taker is back up and throws Vader over the top and he wants Sid. Sid goes through the curtain and Taker follows.

Before we leave, we hear from Bret Hart. Vince asks how he got the title match. Bret sarcastically says he assumes he got it by crying. He says next week, he’s taking his title back. We shall see.

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