May 25, 2008
Mike Abitabile

Raw is War
Civic Center, Mobile, Alabama
5/19/97

As you may remember (and if you don’t check out my Raw recap from last week, elsewhere on the site), as Raw went off the air last week, Bret Hart was verbally laying into Shawn Michaels. Raw had to fade to black though, due to time constraints. This week, we waste no time in finding out what happened when Raw went off the air. Vince welcomes us to the show and gives us a quick recap of what we did see – Bret calling out Shawn Michaels and tearing into him while HBK looked on from inches away. Then we see what we missed. At 10:01 PM, Bret Hart stood up from his wheelchair. Bret: “You’d like to hit me, but you don’t have the insides to do it!” At this point, Shawn Michaels hit a perfectly placed Sweet Chin Music on Bret Hart who stumbled backwards into, then out of, his wheelchair. The Hart Foundation made their way to the ring and tried to get at Shawn but he dodged Pillman, Neidhart and Bulldog, as Owen checked on Bret. Michaels grabbed one of Bret’s crutches then, as they finally caught him on the stage at 10:02 PM, Bulldog attempted to bench press HBK off the stage to the concrete floor. All of a sudden, Steve Austin comes out and makes the save with his own crutch! Michaels and Austin cleared house and held off the Foundation. Vince says that The Harts inadvertently forced two opposites to attract. At 10:04 PM, the Harts helped Bret up and Vince tells us that Bret is scheduled to be here tonight to finally deliver his big surprise, which he never got a chance to do last week. Hit the music!

We are live in Mobile, Alabama and the fireworks go off. Suddenly, the glass breaks and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin is on his way to the ring. JR is in the ring awaiting him for an interview. JR says he wants Austin to address his actions from last week. Austin says he doesn’t give a rat’s ass about Shawn Michaels. He was only there to take out the Harts. As far as HBK is concerned, he can thank his lucky stars that Austin was there, though. The Harts run in a pack and he’s weaving his way through the pack with or without Shawn Michaels. At this point, Shawn makes his way down the ramp. Austin says he isn’t Shawn’s friend but he has no problem with him. HBK grabs the mic and wants to tell Austin something. HBK reminds Austin that he saved Steve’s rear end from the Harts a few weeks ago as well. He says he did it for the same reason – not because he likes Stone Cold, but because he hates the Harts. HBK says he’s been getting beat up long before Austin got here. He says that if Austin wasn’t there last week, being tossed off the stage would have hurt, but he would have gotten up, like he always does. Austin tells him to leave before he kicks his teeth down his throat. HBK takes exception to that, seeing as his move is to kick people’s teeth down their throat. HBK says he’d stun Austin and stomp his guts in. And here we go! Austin and Michaels are going at it and the referees are in to break it up! JR bails. It’s taking every referee to hold them apart. All of a sudden, Bulldog, Owen and Neidhart come on the titan tron and mock Austin and HBK for fighting each other. Owen says he wishes Bret was here to see these two idiots. Bret will be here in a few minutes though. Owen then challenges Austin and HBK to fight them for the tag titles next week on Raw, if they can get long. Neidhart laughs. Shawn says he would be more than happy to find a partner to fight them. It won’t be Austin though. Stone Cold says he doesn’t need HBK’s sorry ass to help him, but he’ll find someone else himself and get the tag title shot. And they are going at it again! JR: “I think, next time King, you can do this interview!” King is enjoying this, though. And they still can’t be pulled apart in the ring!

We go to the booth and JR tells us we will continue the King of the Ring tournament tonight. Vince is nowhere to be found tonight. King tells us Vader is supposed to be fighting Crush in the first round tonight and this is even accompanied by an on-screen graphic, which I will post in the Screen Cap Thread on The History of WWE.com message board if you are interested in that sort of thing. But that match isn’t going to happen. We’ll hear more when we return.

As we return from the break, Crush is in the ring with the Nation, including Savio, Clarence Mason, Not-Yet-D-Lo and two other members with no names. JR tells us that Vader is not at 100% after his no holds barred fight with Ken Shamrock 8 days ago and is not cleared to wrestle. We see Vader in the back with tape over his nose then see clips from the pay per view fight. So, instead of fighting Vader, Crush will be fighting the man who was eliminated from the tournament last week, Hunter Hearst Helmsley. How could that be, you ask? We go to Gerald Brisco for clarification. He informs us that referee Tim White failed to inform Hunter that he could only advance in the King of the Ring by pinfall or submission before the match started last week. So, to avoid any legal action, Hunter is getting a second chance.

Crush vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley

Chyna is on the outside for Hunter. They lock up and Crush backs Hunter into the corner then misses a clothesline. Hunter pounds away on Crush then lays in some kicks. Hunter sends Crush to the ropes but it is reversed and Hunter hits a spinning neck breaker then bows to Savio. He lays in some more fists and hits the ropes. Crush ducks then hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and goes to work on the lower back of Hunter. Crush then hits a standing back breaker. Crush throws Hunter to the ropes and catches him in a bear hug then turns it into a spinebuster. Crush pulls Hunter into the center of the ring then goes to the second rope. He salutes the Nation and goes to drop a fist but Hunter moves out of the way. Crush regains the advantage and sends Hunter into the corner but he does a Flair flip and comes back into Crush, who press slams Helmsley then drops him across his knee with a gutbuster. This gets two. Crush goes to suplex Hunter but it is reversed and Helmsley drops Crush’s face across his knee. JR then calls Hunter “Triple H” for the first time that I am aware of. Hunter hits a neckbreaker then attempts to set up the Pedigree. Savio is up though to distract the ref. This allows Chyna the chance to get up on the apron but Crush is able to avoid her and the ref runs over to stop Chyna. This allows Savio the chance to try and kick Hunter but he moves and Savio hits Crush! Hunter makes the cover and gets the win! Savio tried to get in but Chyna holds his foot and wouldn’t allow him to get in. After the match, Crush pulls in Savio and shoves him. Savio shoves him right back! Faarooq comes running out to stop this. He is able to diffuse the situation. We go to break.

Non-Title Match: Intercontinental and Tag Team Champion Owen Hart vs. Bob “Spark Plugg” Holly

Owen is accompanied by The British Bulldog and Jim Neidhart. JR mentions that Bob Holly is in his hometown tonight. Some of his fans spoke to the WWF cameras earlier tonight. We see one kid wish Bob luck. Then we see a girl who says she is from Alabama and so is Bob, and that makes him tough and she knows he’s going to kick Owen’s butt. King is disgusted. He says he also spoke to some Alabamans earlier tonight and wants the director to roll his footage. We see a scruffy looking old man with Coke bottle glasses on and what appears to be his son, sporting a Tasmanian Devil shirt, a WWF hat and a rather large overbite. The old man says his name is James. The son is named Eugene and he’s doing “perty good.” King: “James, if you and your wife got divorced, would you still be brother and sister?” James has no response and looks confused. King: “That’s a tough one!” Back at the booth and King enjoyed that. JR is embarrassed. JR mentions that Bob Holly was the Intercontinental champion for a short time. I guess being involved in a split decision where the title was held up now allows you to lay claim to being a former champion. Nonetheless, he did get a pin on Jeff Jarrett (who’s foot was on the bottom rope during it) in April of 1995, so I guess it’s better than nothing. King says Bob is a horrible race car driver because he had to take a pit stop to ask directions! The fans chant “USA!” They lock up and Owen applies a headlock. Bob sends him to the ropes but Owen takes him down with a shoulder block. Back up and Bob goes back to the ropes and hits a hurricanrana for two! Bulldog and Neidhart have made their way up to the top of the ramp, leaving ringside. Bob sends Owen back to the ropes and hits a dropkick, which gets another two. He backs Owen into the corner and hits a few punches. Bob hits a running clothesline which gets another two. Owen is sent to the ropes but he reverses and Owen hits a spinning heel kick to take control. He kicks Bob in the midsection then sends him to the corner hard. Owen hits a standing backbreaker and again sends Holly hard to the corner. Owen slams Bob and goes tot the second rope and hits an elbow, Hitman-style. This gets two. Owen applies a headlock. Holly fights out with right hands then charges Owen who sidesteps him and dumps him over the top rope! Holly slowly gets up on the apron then hits a shoulder to the midsection and slingshots in for two. Owen goes for the Sharpshooter but Bob reverses it and rolls him up for the three count! Bulldog and Neidhart charge the ring but Bob Holly bails through the crowd! The Harts are livid and Owen is shocked.

JR recaps Paul Bearer’s revelation from last week and we see footage. If the Undertaker doesn’t allow Paul Bearer to be his manager, Paul will reveal a secret which he promised he would never speak of. Taker told Paul that some things should never see the light of day. This response tells JR that there is truth to what Paul says. We go to break. We return with Shawn Michaels and Ken Shamrock in the back. HBK says Shamrock will be his partner against Owen and Bulldog. HBK says he can count on him and trust him. Shamrock says it is a privilege and he will have HBK’s back. Apparently we are having some satellite issues and JR apologizes. They are in the middle of a tough storm. At this point, we go to a sit-down interview with Mankind. Apparently, the sit-down with Goldust went so well, they are trying it with someone else.

Most people think Mankind is deranged. His path of carnage has made him one of the most feared superstars in WWF history. Over the next few weeks, JR will take us on the lifelong odyssey of a boy named Mick Foley and a boyhood dream that turned into a living hell. JR asks Mankind what the biggest misconception is by the fans about him. Mankind responds by saying they think he is a bad person. He says people can hate him, but not for rumors and non-truths. He has always been the underdog and stood up for what he believes in. We see footage of Mick jumping off the roof of his friend’s house into some mattresses. JR says Mankind has always liked pain. Mankind tells a story of an incident in kindergarten when he busted his mouth open. Children ran from him and he was in pain, but he loved it. He found something he can do better than everyone else – handle pain. He loved the attention he got from the other kids and wanted to do something every night where he could get the attention. He says he and his brother watched wrestling as kids and wanted to wrestle. But when he backdropped his brother into the bedroom wall and broke his nose, Mom said no more wrestling. But she didn’t say no more dreaming. We again see footage from his backyard wrestling. Mankind says kids ganged up on him by throwing worms at him because he was different. In retaliation for wounding his pride, Mick picked up a worm and ate it, to prove to them they can’t hurt his pride. But they would just turn the story into “Mick eats plates of worms.” He never had the chance to show the world he could love and be loved. He had no dates in high school. It scared his soul. Next week, we’ll look into his dream of becoming “Dude Love” and his years as Cactus Jack.

We return to the arena and King is upset. He is mad that Paul Heyman made a legal move to keep Rob Van Dam off of Raw. King shows us clips of how talented Rob Van Dam is, from last week. King says Heyman would rather keep Rob’s talents in a bingo hall.

Scott Taylor vs. Leif Cassidy

This is Scott Taylor’s debut on Raw, according to JR. As he makes his way to the ring, Leif jumps through the ropes and land on him with a plancha. Leif pounds away then throws Taylor in. Cassidy sends Scott to the corner, but it is reversed. JR mentions that Scott’s Dad is a carpenter and his Mom works in a convenience store. Taylor hits the ropes and lands a dropkick to take Leif out of the ring. Taylor fakes a plancha then hops off the second rope and throws Leif back in. Scott hits a high cross body block off the top rope for two. JR calls Leif mentally unbalanced. Taylor hits kicks in the corner than a leg clothesline off the ropes. He snap mare Leif and hits a dropkick. Taylor throws Leif to the ropes but telegraph’s a back drop allowing Leif to hits a clothesline. He sends Scott to the corner then hits a sick Alabama Slam on the kid as he tried to reverse it. Leif picks him up and hits a face first suplex. He calls for it again but Taylor reverses it and gets the win with a rollup! Leif is outside the ring yelling and screaming at JR now. He says he can’t take it anymore. JR tells him to get help.

We go to the back and apparently Steve Austin has found himself a partner. He enters Sable’s dressing room and she’s got no top on. She’s holding an Austin 3:16 shirt in front of herself though. Austin says “forget about it” and leaves. Now we see Bret Hart arriving in the back and being welcomed by the Hart Foundation. We go to commercial. When we return from break, we see Bret talking to the Foundation and JR promises we will hear the surprise tonight. Again, we see the same video that opened the show concerning what happened when Raw went off the air last week. This leads into the second hour and the War Zone is on the air with pyro!

Vince joins JR and King on commentary and the Hart Foundation is on their way to the ring. Bret is out of the wheelchair and now just on crutches. Vince wants to know if the surprise is King joining the Hart Foundation. King says that’s not it. Bret has a microphone. He asks the people to do him a favor and shut up. He says last week, Shawn Michaels, the great American hero, wouldn’t even allow Bret his right to free speech. That’s typical though. He calls the fans rednecks and mocks their accents. Last week, HBK proved he is no better than Steve Austin by beating up an invalid who can’t even defend himself. Bret says he doesn’t care who HBK picks for a partner next week, and he doesn’t even know who would want to be aligned with him. Bret says everyone wants to know what the big surprise is. Bret says HBK has announced that he has recovered from his knee injury and will return at the King of the Ring. Bret says someone else – a real hero and a real man, will also return at the King of the Ring from a bad knee. That would be Bret Hart. Bret challenges Shawn Michaels to a match at the King of the Ring. If he can’t beat HBK in less than 10 minutes, he promises he will never wrestle in the United States of America again. The crowd pops for that one.

At this point, HBK joins us on the titan tron. HBK says Bret couldn’t beat him in 60 minutes at Wrestlemania XII, so what makes him think he can beat him in 10 minutes? It must be the gang he’s got around him. One-on-one, Bret wouldn’t have a chance. HBK wants the Hart Foundation to be ringside for the match. Bret says they will be there. Shawn says that each one of the men must be handcuffed to a ring post, that way they can settle this once and for all. Shawn says Bret couldn’t go ten minutes in any situation, even though he’s had some “Sunny Days” lately. Bret says Shawn is on. Shawn says Bret has a snowball’s chance in hell of beating him. We go to break.

Goldust vs. Rockabilly

Vince enjoyed learning more about Goldust the past several weeks. Dust has a mic and asks who wants to see Marlena tonight. He says he can do one better than that. He’s got two Marlena’s – a big one and a little one. Dust introduces Marlena and their daughter Dakota, who is in a gold dress with a gold purse. She runs down the ramp to her Dad’s arm and he pulls her into the ring. The kid grabs the microphone and walks around with it. They try to get her to say “Goldust” but she keeps saying “Daddy.” King is disgusted. The fans seemed to enjoy it though. Marlena takes Dakota back up the ramp to the back. Honky accompanies Rockabilly to the ring. The bell rings and Billy mocks Goldust for bringing his daughter out here. Dust responds with a right hand then throws Billy into the corner. He hits 10 fists to the head then kisses Billy! He throws Billy to the opposite corner then hits a hip toss and an arm bar. Dust works on the arm but Billy hits a knee to the midsection and follows it up with a rocker dropper. Billy pounds away on the head of Goldust and gets a two count. He then chokes Dust. Billy chokes Dust over the second rope then slams him. He sets Dust up then goes to the second rope and misses a flying fist as Dust got his boot up! The crowd gets behind Goldust and the two trade fists. Dust gets the advantage then hits the bionic elbow! Dust hits a flying clothesline and the running bulldog! It only gets two though. JR mentions that Goldust is using many of Dusty Rhodes mannerisms tonight. Billy sends Dust to the ropes but he reverses it and dumps Billy over the rope, but Billy’s arm gets caught so the referee tries to free him. Honky comes in and tries to hit Dust with the guitar but Dust grabs it and knocks Honky into tomorrow with it. The referee turns around and calls for the bell. Apparently, Goldust has been disqualified for hitting Honky. I don’t see how that’s possible, but we’ll go with it I guess.

We are joined by Ahmed in the back. Vince says Faarooq played the race card last week. Ahmed says he will tell Vince the truth. He calls Faarooq a sellout, a liar and a cheat. But what Faarooq said last week, was the truth. Ahmed wants to know when a black man got a shot at the title. Vince says many got a shot but there has never been a black WWF champion. Ahmed wonders why. He says he will be the first black WWF champion. We go to break.

We return with Austin in the back still looking for a tag team partner. We can’t see who he is talking to, but whoever it is, Austin says he just has to stand in the corner and Stone Cold will do all the work, so it’s legal. The guy says he is scared. Austin moves and we see he is talking to Harvey Wippleman! All of a sudden, the Brooklyn Brawler comes in and says he will be Austin’s partner. He wants a chance. Austin thinks about it then throws Brawler through the Raw interview set. Austin: “You suck! You’re a bigger piece of trash than he is!” (pointing to Wippleman). Austin threatens Harvey and tells him he better be there to be his partner.

Faarooq vs. Rocky Maivia

Vince tells us we are running late, so the Godwinns return match (as Henry was out with a broken neck, thanks to the LOD) will not be seen tonight, but will be on Shotgun this weekend. The entire Nation is out with Faarooq, except for the rappers, who haven’t been seen since last week’s match against the LOD. Faarooq wants Rocky to salute him. Rocky goes to do it then stops and tells Faarooq to shove it. Faarooq throws him in the corner and runs in but Rocky gets his elbow up. He takes Faarooq down with a clothesline. Faarooq regains control and sends Rocky to the ropes but Rocky reverses it and hits a powerslam for two. Faarooq hits a jaw breaker out of nowhere. Vince points out that Crush and Savio aren’t standing near each other at ringside. Faarooq works over Rocky’s lower back and again sends him to the ropes but Rocky comes flying at him with a shoulder block. Rocky hits a Rock Bottom for two as JR mentions both of these men were great college football players. Rocky then hits the Layin’ the Smackdown DDT and calls for his body block off the top rope. Faarooq hits the ropes, causing Rocky to crotch himself, then hits the Dominator for the win. Crush and Savio started to pummel Rocky after the bell but Faarooq won’t let them. He tells everyone to leave and Vince says something is going on in the back concerning the Harts.

We cut to the back and see referees running to break something up. It looks like the Hart Foundation has gotten to Bob Holly and is quadruple teaming him.

We go to break and return with the Undertaker on his way to the ring. Vince wants Undertaker to talk about Paul Bearer, but Taker wants to talk about Faarooq. Last week, Faarooq played the race card. Taker isn’t the white savior because he doesn’t recognize color. He’s not black or white – he is the reaper of wayward souls. When it is all said and done, Faarooq won’t be the champion because he couldn’t beat the Undertaker, not because he is black. Taker goes to leave, but Vince stops him and asks for a comment on Paul Bearer. Taker says this is not the time. Paul Bearer comes on the titan tron and says it is the time. He still has his whole head wrapped in gauze. He asks Taker if he remembers when he promised he would never let the secret out that day they buried his parents. Paul says it is time. Taker asks him to wait. Paul says he doesn’t owe Taker anything and won’t wait. He will open up Pandora’s Box. Taker says he needs more time. Paul will give him one more week. We go to break.

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Jim “The Anvil Neidhart

Austin makes his way to the ring with a crutch. Neidhart is by himself, but we know the Harts are here in the arena. They trade blows to start as sure enough, Owen, Bulldog and Pillman make their way onto the stage. Austin snap mares Neidhart over and hits an elbow off the second rope. Pillman joins the booth for commentary. Austin goes for the legs but Neidhart powers out. Austin hits a clothesline though then chokes Neidhart over the second rope. He drops a leg across Neidhart and sends him to the rope. Neidhart reverses it and takes Austin down with a clothesline. Austin gets up on the apron and drops Neidhart over the top rope then goes after Brian Pillman! Neidhart makes the save and throws Austin back in. Pillman comes in though and attacks Austin from behind, breaking the crutch over his back. Owen and Bulldog run in and attack Austin. Shawn Michaels comes in and makes the save! He cleans house with a steel chair! Bret watches on from the top of the stage. HBK drops the chair and Austin picks it up but Shawn turns around to see Austin with it before he can use it. JR enters the ring to tell Austin and Michaels that President Gorilla Monsoon has made his decision regarding next week’s tag team title match. Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels must team up. Austin and Michaels aren’t happy about it and say they won’t do it because they can’t trust each other. And again, HBK and Stone Cold come to blows. They roll around on the canvas until the referees come in. And just like before, you can’t keep them apart. Raw goes off the air with the challengers for the WWF tag team championship trying to kill each other on the mat.

Next week, the King of the Ring continues, we get more from the sit-down with Mankind and the historic tag team title match!

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