April 16, 2008
Mike Abitabile

Raw is War
Civic Center, Omaha, Nebraska
4/28/97

Raw starts with clips from last week’s show-long story arc concerning Bret Hart and Steve Austin. In case you missed it, make sure you head to the archives and read my recap because it was a very good episode. Nonetheless, just when it looked like Steve Austin finally had the upper hand, Brian Pillman made his return to the World Wrestling Federation to gain revenge on the man that put him out of action for so many months.

The Raw theme plays then the pyro explodes but before Vince can welcome us to Omaha, Brian Pillman makes his way to the ring and he’s got a live microphone in his hand. Always an interesting situation when that happens. He says there are a lot of preconceived notions about who Brian Pillman is and many people think he is crazy. But he wants us to know that he is actually very deeply religious. And since last week, he became deeply disturbed with nightmares because he didn’t know if what he had done was right. Thankfully though, he was overwhelmed with the spirit of truth and he has been compelled to pray for all of our misgivings. He wants to ask each of us to bow our heads, close our eyes and join him in prayer. The crowd instead chooses to chant for Austin, while Brian calmly begins.

Pillman: “I’d like to pray for Bret Hart, that he may have a speedy, quick and successful recovery. I’d like to pray for all the people who rejoiced in the savage brutality of last week’s show - may they be forgiven. And I’d like to pray for all those – even those many among us who exulted in the devious actions of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. May you be forgiven, as well. And I’d like to pray for the millions across America – this great land, who savor the bloodthirsty violence that pervades our society.” At this point, Pillman sniffles and whips the tears from his eyes on his shoulder then gets down on one knee. Pillman continues, now with more anger and belligerence, “Please continue to bow with me in prayer because I’d like to pray for the complete annihilation of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin! I’d like to pray that in this very building tonight, he be stricken down so that he may never, ever again, practice his evil craft! And I’d like to pray to each and every one of you out there right now, to open your hearts and minds and let Bret Hart in. Let Bret Hart, the savior of the WWF, into your heart and soul!”

All of a sudden, we hear the voice of Steve Austin, who is on the titan tron and can’t take anymore of this. He tells Pillman he better pray that Austin doesn’t come out there and beat the hell out of him. Not even Bret Hart is going to be able to save his ass. Pillman says he isn’t afraid of the devil and tells us the Bible says, “An eye for an eye” and to “turn the other cheek.” At this point, he bends over and brandishes his rear end toward the titan tron. Austin has disappeared from the tron and we hear the glass break! Austin makes his way down the ramp as Brian Pillman begs off. As Austin gets to the ring, Bulldog and Owen appear out of nowhere and try to get at him leading Vince and JR to conclude it was a trap all along! Austin scurries out of the ring and avoids the tag champs then leave through the crowd.

Pillman’s not done. “Brother Owen, Brother Davey….. please, we need a moment of silence, we are still in the midst of our prayer! Before we were so rudely interrupted, I’d like to finish our moment of prayer!” Pillman makes Owen and Bulldog get down on one knee and continues to bless this day and asks Davey what he wants to pray for. Davey wants to pray for Bret’s recovery. Now it’s Owen’s turn and he wants everyone to pray for Bret and help him heal. He says everyone is decent and wants people to pray for Austin to clean up his act. While they are bowing their heads, we cut to back to see Steve Austin take the blade off an axe and take off with the handle. By the time Owen looks up, the video is off the tron, so he completely missed it. Vince: “This is bordering on the absurd.” The glass breaks again and Austin runs to the ring with his axe handle! The three run from the ring and head out through the crowd themselves! Austin picks up the mic as Vince tells us Bret is on his way to the building. Austin: “I don’t know where you’re going, but you better give your soul to the lord, or somebody, because your ass is mine!” Vince, JR and King run down tonight’s show before we go to break.

We return with Pillman sitting in the locker room, still praying for Bret and his “beloved” knee. We head back to the arena.

Flash Funk vs. Rockabilly

The Funkettes are totally gone at this point, a causality of cost-cutting measures. Honky Tonk Man accompanies Billy to the ring. King is worried about the well-being of Bret Hart if he comes to the arena tonight, which is hilarious knowing their past. The two men lock up and Billy gets backed into the corner. Flash breaks clean but Billy shoves him. Flash responds with a dropkick and an armbar but Billy punches him in the face to stop that momentum. Billy throws Funk into the opposite corner but Funk reverses and runs in. Billy backdrops Funk over the top, but Flash lands on the apron and dances until Billy turns around into a fist. Vince says Honky picked Billy for the “most bizarre reason I have every heard of anyone ever managing a wrestler.” Well, at least he realizes it. Funk hops up top and hits a spinning cross body block for two. Funk follows up with an arm drag and a few kicks sending Billy to the outside. We see a split screen of an ambulance in the back and the camera pans in to show Bret in the back of it. We go back to action as Flash springboards off the bottom rope to the top then hits a clothesline on Billy on the outside. Funk throws Billy back in and heads up top. Honky distracts Funk though, so Flash goes after him, allowing Billy the chance to clothesline Funk from behind. Billy suplexes Flash and shakes his hips. He finally makes a cover and gets two. Billy stomps on Flash then picks him up then hits a rocker dropper and heads up top. Flash stops him however and crotches Billy across the top turnbuckle. Billy is still able to capitalize though and hits a tornado DDT off the top then plays to the crowd. Billy tells Honky to get up on the apron so he can throw Flash into his fist. Flash reverses it however, causing Billy and Honky to collide, then hits a hurricanrana on Billy to get the win! After the match, Honky distracts Flash, allowing Billy to come up from behind and hit him over the head with his guitar!

As we go to break, we see Owen and Bulldog wheeling Bret into the arena, with Gorilla Monsoon and security close behind. Bret tells them to wheel him to the arena as he’s got something he wants to say. We return from break and Vince tells us that Bret had surgery this past Wednesday on his knee because of injuries stemming from the Street Fight last week. As Vince introduces Bret, we see footage of the surgery. Bulldog and Owen brings Bret out on the stage then stand guard behind him. Bret says he appreciates Brian Pillman’s prayers. But no matter how much he prays, no one can save Steve Austin. Austin didn’t kill this lion, he only wounded him. Bret calls Austin the scum of America. Bret now realizes that all the fans are hyenas, just like Austin. The American wrestling fans are a disgrace around the world. Bret says he was a real hero who stood up and told everyone the truth, and what did he get for it? Injured by Austin, who tried to end his career last week. He calls the American wrestling fans bloodthirsty and a sick, depraved society. Sadly, he’s had to lower himself to the same ilk so he can prove he is the best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be. He’s only got one thing to say – he’s back, even though he’ll be out of commission for a little while. The crowd chants “USA!” as Bret says the ambulance that brought him here tonight better stay close because, before this night is over, Austin will need a ride in the ambulance to the hospital. Bret’s final words: “You people make me sick!”

Before we go to break, we see Steve Austin looking for the first-aid room. We return from break with a commercial involving Mr. and Mrs. Duncan Leslie and their young child – a typical suburban family (as the graphic helpfully points out). Mrs. Leslie tells us that when Grandma passed on, Grandpa was isolated and withdrawn. We see him sitting in his chair polishing his bowling ball, looking at the empty chair next to him. Mr. Leslie tells us that recently, Pop seems to be coming out of his shell. Now we see grandpa with a Vader mask, proclaiming that it is Vader Time! Then we see him with a Mankind mask on trying to apply the Mandible Claw to the baby! Mrs. Leslie says he is starting to scare her as Mr. Leslie tells her not to worry. We end with the words “WWF: Reality Check.”

The Legion of Doom vs. Doug Furnas and Phil Lafon

Before the match begins, we are shown footage from last week’s Shotgun Saturday Night as the LOD broke the neck of Henry Godwinn with the Doomsday Device. Vince tells us he’ll be out of action for a while. Earlier in the evening, JR asked Furnas and Lafon why they haven’t been accepted by the fans. Lafon says he can’t figure it out because they take pictures and sign autographs. Furnas says they are professional wrestlers while the LOD are dressed like clowns. He also blames the fans because they are international superstars and the American tag teams play a home game every night. According to Furnas, if they had that support, they’d be champs right now. Lafon tells us it is very frustrating.

In the ring, Animal starts with Lafon. They go to lock up and Lafon ducks it a few times. He gets a go behind on Animal, who breaks it with an elbow but then gets hit with a spinning heel kick as JR wishes Henry Godwinn well wishes and a speedy recovery. Animal gets sent to the ropes but reverses it and hits a huge shoulder block then an elbow drop. He flexes for the crowd and tags in Hawk while Lafon tags in Furnas. They lock up and Hawk backs Furnas into the corner then sends him to the opposite side and comes in with a clothesline. Hawk then hits a neck breaker and a fist drop. Hawk goes to the ropes but Lafon kicks him in the back, distracting him, which allows Furnas the opportunity to belly-to-belly suplex Hawk, then hit a leg drop on the back of Hawk’s head. Lafon tags in and they hit a double shoulder block on Hawk, which gets two. Lafon puts Hawk in the corner and hits a belly-to-belly suplex of his own then goes to work on the arm. Back up and Lafon hits a snap suplex and sends Hawk to the ropes. He goes for a spinning heel kick, but Hawk ducks and they clothesline each other. They each make a tag to their partners, making Animal and Furnas the legal men. Animal dropkicks Lafon and Furnas then power slams Furnas for two as Lafon makes the save. They start to double team Animal until Hawk makes the save and dumps Furnas. They put Lafon up for the Doomsday Device but Furnas makes the save. Hawk hits the clothesline off the top rope on Furnas instead and gets the three count! JR is with Furnas and Lafon in the ring. He wants to know what cost them the match. Furnas blames the fans. Lafon says it took two men to beat one of them. Something about the illegal man, but Furnas was indeed the legal man. Lafon wants a rematch.

Vince introduces footage of “Sunny Undercover” which was supposed to air on Shotgun this weekend, but didn’t. Sunny was on her bed (which was on the stage) and the Head Bangers interrupt in pajamas. They were there for the sleepover. Speaking of Sunny, she now joins us live modeling the Austin 3:16 shirt. Just 20 bucks, plus shipping and handling! 815-734-1161 - get yours today. Ahmed Johnson joins us in the back. He sent the Sultan to the hospital last week. Ahmed apologizes. But he doesn’t know what anyone expects from him. He snaps and starts screaming and yelling and throwing things. He’s mad he had to apologize and calls himself a gang member. Now we see the Hart Foundation strategizing in the back then we go to Pillman, who is holding Owen’s Slammys and still praying. We go to break.

Intercontinental Title Match: Rocky Maivia (Champion) vs. Tag Team Champion and Slammy Award Winner Owen Hart

Owen is accompanied by Bret and Bulldog, who stay on the stage. Before the match begins, Owen dedicates it to Bret. Vince was going to introduce some footage of Rocky taped earlier today, but Owen jumps Rocky from behind to start the match so we don’t get to see the footage. Owen goes to hit Rocky with the IC belt but Rocky ducks and a slugfest ensues. Rocky gains control and sends Owen to the turnbuckle but it is reversed and Rocky comes out of the corner with a huge clothesline and follows up with a dropkick and a deep arm drag. We see Bret and Bulldog look on as Rocky works on Owen’s arm. Owen gets power slammed when coming off the ropes and that gets two. Bulldog instinctively headed to the ring to make the save but then realized he needs to watch Bret. Owen backs Rocky into the corner and throws Rocky to the opposite turnbuckle. Rocky reverses it and backdrops Owen out of the corner. We are shown a split screen plugging the latest issue of WWF Magazine, with Bret Hart and Bart Simpson on the cover. Inside, there’s an article about Rocky Maivia and the “Sophomore Jinx.” Rocky continues to work on Owen’s arm. Owen gets up and sends Rocky to the ropes and gets shoulder blocked. Rocky to the ropes again and this time Owen side steps him and throws him over the top rope! He follows up with a baseball slide and heads out to work on Rocky. He hits a European uppercut then throws Rocky back in and heads up top. Owen hits a beautiful missile dropkick which gets two. Owen applies a chin lock but Rocky is able to break the hold. He heads to the ropes but Owen takes him down with a drop toe hold then grapevines the leg and goes to work on it. Rocky breaks the hold but Owen continues to work on the leg. He attempts to apply the figure four leg lock but Rocky rolls him up for two. Rocky attempts to fight but Owen goes right back to the leg. Slowly, methodically and systematically, Owen is working on the left leg of Rocky. Owen points to Bret and tries to lock on the Sharpshooter, but Rocky goes to the eyes to break the hold before Owen could turn it over. Owen sends Rocky the ropes but Rocky’s knee collapses out from under him. Owen hits a snap suplex as Bret and Bulldog continue to look on. Owen sends Rocky the corner but Rocky ducks a clothesline and hits the “Layin’ the Smackdown” DDT but is too hurt to make a cover. He finally crawls over to Owen and gets two. Rocky takes Owen down with fists then sends him to the ropes. He lands a kick then hits the Rock Bottom, which only gets two because it wasn’t his finisher at this point. Rocky sends Owen to the corner but Owen comes out of it with his patented spinning heel kick! Owen then goes up top but Rocky catches him and hits a side suplex off the top rope, Razor Ramon style. This only gets two! Rocky goes for a suplex but Owen reverses it and rolls Rocky up from behind with a leg backslide to win the Intercontinental title! Bret and Bulldog are ecstatic as Owen celebrates in the ring. He heads up the ramp and is greeted by his family as they celebrate. Owen puts the title over Bret’s shoulder as they do a victory lap in the wheel chair!

In the back, we finally see why Austin was looking for the first-aid room. He’s wheeling himself through the backstage arena in a wheelchair, to mock Bret Hart! And he’s still got his axe handle.

We return from break and hour number two is on the air. The theme song and video play again and the pyro goes off in the arena again. JR welcomes us back and the glass breaks one more time. Vince is in the ring and introduces “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, who makes his way to the ring through the crowd and he is carrying his wheelchair and the axe handle with him. He gets in the ring and sets up the chair then takes a seat. He takes the mic and gets rid of Vince. Austin asks who wants to see a wheelchair match. The crowd pops. He says if Bret rolls his ass down there, Austin will fight him, wheel-to-wheel. He says Bret has his word that he’ll stay in the chair. Then he takes it back because he’s a lying SOB and he’ll get out of the chair and stomp a mud hole in Bret’s ass and walk it dry. He’s sick of the Harts and Pillman and he knows the last thing they want to see is Steve Austin as the WWF champion. On May 11th, Undertaker will see the Coldest Day in Hell. No matter how many Harts try to stop him, he’ll be at In Your House and he will be the next champ! Bret Hart interrupts on the tron and again tells Austin he’ll be leaving in the ambulance that he arrived in. Austin says if anyone is leaving in an ambulance, it’s the Harts.

We return with Vader sparring in the back and Vince tells us Vader is back in the US after being detained in Kuwait. We see the footage from Good Morning Kuwait when Vader gets physical with the host, as the Undertaker just looks on. Vince then tells us there has been no response from Mike Tyson regarding the challenge made by Ken Shamrock last week. King calls Shamrock a nobody and that’s why Tyson hasn’t responded. Vince introduces a video package on Ken Shamrock, narrated by Todd Pettengill. Shamrock says he likes challenges and works harder to overcome them. Shamrock says he is going to dominate wrestling like he did Ultimate Fighting. Todd says what we have seen so far from Shamrock has been nothing short of impressive. Shamrock fears no one. Shamrock says he is who he is because of what he went through. We then see his family and Todd promises more on Shamrock’s background next week.

Vader vs. Jesse Jammes

Jammes, on his way to the ring, before he sang his theme song: “Raw is War… and I have a feeling I am about to be in one.” No Paul Bearer with Vader. He must still be recovering from the burning incident. JR calls Vader an idiot for what he did in Kuwait. Vader just goes right after Jammes and pounds away on him in the corner. Vader throws Jammes to the opposite turnbuckle but Jammes reverses and follows in with a clothesline after popping his collar and shaking his hips. Jammes follows up with fists and hits the ropes but Vader puts a stop to it with a clubbing blow. Vader sets Jammes up then heads to the second rope and hits a big splash. He could have had a three count but he picked him up at two and JR says Vader is a bully. Vader heads back up to the second rope and hits the Vader splash for the win as we see JR in a split screen going nuts about Vader being a bully. Chill out, JR. JR wants to ask Vader some questions and says he isn’t scared.

JR is in the ring and wants to know if Vader has any remorse or shame for what Vader put his family and the WWF through. Vader isn’t ashamed. He went to Kuwait to do a job and he does his job well. He apologizes for nothing. And he apologizes to no one. JR says he isn’t going to ask Vader if wrestling is fake, but he is going to ask Vader if he thinks he overreacted. King thinks JR is nuts. Vader threatens to finish what he started in Kuwait right now. He takes off JR’s cowboy hat. He wants to know if JR is a tough guy. JR says he is just doing his job. Vader isn’t here to be insulted. Vader shoves JR after he asked the question again. Vader takes off JR’s glasses and goes to strike him but finally Ken Shamrock makes the save and hits a huge belly-to-belly suplex on Vader, who bails. Shamrock says he isn’t scared of Vader and when they get in the ring, it’s not going to be Vader Time, it’s going to be hard time! They go at it, No Holds Barred, at the next In Your House. Before we go to break, we see Goldust in the back doing his makeup. He then tells Marlena he doesn’t want her at ringside tonight because where he is going, is no place for a lady. She protests and wants to be at ringside.

Goldust vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley

Chyna is with Hunter and Marlena is not with Goldust. Dust charges the ring and it’s on. They trade blows to start and Dust takes the upper hand. He sends Hunter to the ropes, but it is reversed. Goldust ducks a clothesline and hits a flying clothesline of his own. He then pounds away at Hunter in the corner. Dust sends Hunter to the opposite turnbuckle but he goes in upside down, Ric Flair style. Dust backs him into the corner and hits 10 punches with a kiss at the end! Dust again sends Hunter to the opposite corner and hits a butt bop. JR pimps the Superstar Line with Sid and Sunny making headlines together. That’s 1-900-737-4WWF. Dust continues to pound away on Hunter in the corner and goes back up for more fists but Hunter hits an inverted atomic drop this time. After slowly getting to his feet, Hunter sends him to the rope and hits a high knee which sends Dust out of the ring. JR tells us Goldust’s story is very compelling and he hopes we all get to hear it soon. We see Chyna put the boots to Dust while Hunter distracts the referee. Marlena comes down the ramp to make the save but the referee gets in between them and sends them to neutral corners. Hunter throws Dust back in and we go to break.

We return with Hunter in control after another knee to the face of Goldust. Vince tells us the main character on the TV show Ellen will come out of the closet this week, but she has nothing on the WWF because Goldust will also come out of the closet next week on Raw as well. This would be the sit-down interviews that JR was alluding to earlier in the match. Hunter and Dust trade blows with Goldust coming out on top and giving Hunter a thrust to the throat. JR tells us Mankind was suspended after his actions last week involving a blow torch but will join us next week and we still don’t know the condition of Paul Bearer. Short clothesline by Dust then he throws Hunter to the corner and hits the bulldog! Chyna makes her way towards Marlena so Goldust comes out to get between the two. When Chyna is distracted by Dust, Marlena throws powder in her face! Hunter rolls out to help, but Chyna doesn’t know it’s Hunter because she is blinded and she puts him in an elevated choke hold! Hunter gets counted out because of it and Goldust wins! Chyna finally puts Hunter down and he is able to inform her he isn’t Goldust. Everyone quickly makes their way to the back as the Undertaker’s bell tolls.

He is on the tron and Vince tells us Taker has to live with what happened last week. Taker says he has no remorse for his actions. Vince wants to know Taker’s thoughts on defending the title against Steve Austin in just under two weeks. Taker says Austin has a lot of momentum built up, but he better not be distracted going into the pay per view. Vince has one last question, but Taker is gone before he can ask it. Sable comes out to model the Undertaker shirt. It’s also just 20 bucks plus shipping and handling. Again, that’s 815-734-1161. Call now. We see Brian Pillman praying in the back again, hoping that Bulldog can beat the Undertaker.

We return from break with Jill and John Bennett talking about their son, Nicolas. He was such a gifted child, who always got straight A’s. But lately, he’s been acting quite strange. We cut to a scene of Nicolas with a skull cap and black 3:16 vest on. “Broccoli? Cauliflower? You treat me like a dog and you expect me to smile? I’m not cleaning my room son, and that’s the bottom line, ‘cause I said so!” John Bennett says his son keep muttering something about whoop ass. Nicolas enters the picture and tells his parents they are completely pathetic. WWF: Reality Check! In the arena, Austin is pacing backstage.

Non-Title Match: WWF Champion The Undertaker vs. Tag Team Champion and European Champion The British Bulldog

Bret and Owen accompany Davey Boy to the ring. They stay on top of the ramp, just like Bret and Bulldog did earlier tonight during Owen’s match. Bulldog dedicates this match to the man who introduced him to his lovely wife Diana, Bret Hart. We then see clips of Owen winning the IC title earlier tonight. Vince says the Hart Foundation has every title in the WWF, except the World Title, and reminds us this is a non-title match. Taker makes his way to the ring, passed Owen, who is protecting Bret. Taker goes right after Bulldog with fists. He sends Davey Boy to the opposite corner then gets him up in a two handed chokeslam. Owen makes the same mistake as the Bulldog did earlier, and heads to the ring to help him, leaving Bret alone. Owen quickly comes running back to Bret. We go to break.

We return with Bulldog in control and he’s got Taker up in his standing delayed vertical suplex. This gets two. Bulldog sends Taker to the ropes and misses a clothesline. Taker choke slam’s Bulldog! He’s calling for the Tombstone, but Owen comes in to make the save. Taker wins by DQ. They continue to double team Taker as the bell rings. Austin makes his way to the ring through the crowd and attacks the tag champs! Together, Taker and Austin are able to clear the ring of Owen and Bulldog, who bail through the crowd. Austin takes the WWF title from the timekeeper and poses with it in the ring. Taker comes up from behind and is not happy. Austin throws the belt down then stuns Taker! Austin stands over Taker and gives him the middle finger, but Taker sits up, reaches up and grabs Austin by the throat and chokeslams him! Austin realizes Bret is all by himself and tells Taker he’ll take care of his ass later. Austin heads over to Bret and Bret gets out of the chair and is trapped. Austin throws the wheel chair and gets ready to hit Bret when all of a sudden, Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart attacks Austin from behind! Bret hits Austin with his crutch and sends Austin off the side of the stage! Bret and Jim hug as officials check on Austin, who is laying motionless on the concrete. They are going to stretcher him out. Looks like Bret was right, Austin will be leaving in the ambulance tonight. We are shown a replay of Austin going off the stage. All of a sudden, we cut to the back to see Pillman still with his head down in prayer. All of a sudden, his head pops up and laughs maniacally!

Next week, we’ll see Goldust “come out of the closet” and reveal all about himself and his character.

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