July 13, 2008
Mike Abitabile

Raw is War
Huntington Civic Center, Huntington, West Virginia
6/2/97

Raw starts with clips from last week’s tag team title match. We see Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels stun the world and win the tag titles. After the match, the Hart Foundation attacked HBK while Austin bailed on his partner and attacked Bret Hart, who was left alone. According to Vince’s voiceover, Austin re-aggravated the injury to the Hitman’s knee. In addition, we see the Undertaker kneel down to Paul Bearer in order to keep the secret private. The theme song and video hit and we are live in the arena as the pyro goes off. Vince welcomes us to the show. He is joined at ringside by JR. They are interrupted by the music of the World Wrestling Federation champion, the Undertaker.

Taker heads to the ring by himself, seemingly to explain his actions from a week ago. Vince meets Taker in the ring and asks him for an explanation. Taker says it is simple, yet complicated. It’s all about blackmail and he did what he did to protect the ones he loves, not himself. It felt great having Paul Bearer by his fat neck, but Taker did what he had to do. When Taker passes on, he won’t be going to hell because he is living it right now. Taker is prepared to feel a backlash from his creatures – but they are the ones he cares about most. He finishes by telling Paul Bearer that he will make a deal with the Lucifer to make sure Paul burns in eternity. And speak of the devil, no pun intended, here comes Paul Bearer.

Paul says Taker talks too much. Paul says he should do a little bit of talking as well. Taker points at him and Paul says he knew Taker didn’t want that. Paul is mad Taker came down to talk behind his back and tells Taker to do whatever he tells him to do. Bearer says Taker will destroy the entire roster for him and then he will be the ruler of the world. Out of nowhere, the music of Sycho Sid hits as he makes his return to the WWF. Sid enters the ring and tells the fat man he doesn’t rule anything – Sid rules the world! Sid says he didn’t want to ask Taker for a rematch because Taker wore the belt with pride and honor. But now, Sid has lost some respect for Taker because of his recent actions. Taker takes offense and gives Sid his Wrestlemania rematch tonight!

And now the Nation of Domination music hits. Faarooq, Savio, Crush and D-Lo come out onto the stage and Faarooq tells the men in the ring they can argue over who rules the world, but by this time next week, a black man will rule the World Wrestling Federation. Faarooq then takes a shot at the Undertaker for giving in and listening to Paul Bearer. Taker goes after the Nation, but they bail, and Paul Bearer follows Taker to the back. Sid stands in the ring posing for the crowd. Before we go to break, we heart from Ahmed, who will be fighting Faarooq in a few moments. Ahmed says he is taking Faarooq out tonight.

Faarooq vs. Ahmed Johnson

Savio, Crush and D-Lo accompany Faarooq to the ring. Before the match starts, we see a video review of the history of Faarooq and Ahmed. It starts with Faarooq’s debut (in his gladiator outfit) last July on Raw, when he ruptured Ahmed’s kidney. As a result, Ahmed was forced to forfeit his Intercontinental title and was sidelined for six months. During this time, Faarooq built the Nation of Domination and the feud picked up when Ahmed returned. Nothing was settled at the Royal Rumble and Ahmed was standing tall at Wrestlemania, with help from the LOD. During the match, Faarooq was injured and tonight, the war continues.

Faarooq jumps Ahmed from behind and sends him to the corner. Ahmed charges out with a clothesline. Ahmed has Faarooq’s belt and whips him with it while the ref sends the Nation up the ramp. Faarooq bails and Ahmed follows him to the floor. Ahmed throws him into the steel steps then back into the ring. Faarooq begs off, then goes to the eyes. Faarooq sends Ahmed to the corner again and this time runs into a back elbow. Ahmed comes flying out with a scissor kick! Faarooq hits a jawbreaker and works on Ahmed’s lower back. Faarooq lands a shoulder block and goes for another but Ahmed catches him with a spinebuster. The Nation makes their way back to the ring as Ahmed tells Faarooq to get up. Ahmed runs to the ropes but Savio trips him up. Faarooq drops an elbow then, out of nowhere, the Undertaker runs out and attacks the entire Nation! Faarooq even comes out to brawl with the Dead Man. Ahmed comes out to help but Taker accidentally throws Faarooq into Ahmed Johnson, sending him right into the steel steps. Faarooq quickly throws Ahmed back in and gets the three count! The Nation attempts to trap Taker on the ramp but he takes out D-Lo and Crush then chases Faarooq out of the ring. Now Taker and Ahmed are alone in the ring and Ahmed is not happy about what Taker did. Ahmed shoves Taker and he responds by chokeslamming the Pearl River Powerhouse! We see a replay of the chaos before we go to break.

We return with the Hart Foundation in the ring with Vince McMahon. Bret is on crutches. Vince introduces Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin in a split screen on the titan tron (they are in separate dressing rooms). Everyone wants to know the extent of Bret’s re-injury. Bret says he will not be able to wrestling this Sunday night at the King of the Ring because of Steve Austin’s actions last week. Austin responds by laughing. Bret tells HBK he doesn’t get his dream match and he can thank his partner for that. HBK says Bret is making excuses then blames Austin for not being able to fight Bret at the King of the Ring. Austin doesn’t give a rat’s ass. The tag champs start a shouting match and Austin tells Michaels to come find him and they’ll continue this face to face. Michaels disappears and we see him making his way to Austin’s locker room. He gets there and the champs go nose to nose and tell themselves they can’t do it without the other.

Back in the ring, the Harts are laughing. Bret whispers something to Brian Pillman while Neidhart cackles. Pillman tells Vince they are enjoying the lovers quarrel but they have a proposition for them. Pillman says he’ll back out of his match with Stone Cold at King of the Ring so that Michaels and Austin can go one on one at the pay per view. Austin agrees to it and says he’ll beat Pillman next week on Raw instead! Pillman wasn’t expecting that and JR wonders if HBK will agree.

Intercontinental Title Match: Champion and Two-Time Slammy Award Winning Owen Hart vs. Bob Holly

Before this match begins, we see footage of Bob Holly upsetting Owen Hart in a non-title match two weeks ago. The Hart Foundation accompanies Owen but stay on the stage. Both men lock up to start. Owen applies a headlock and Bob sends him to the ropes. Owen takes him down with a shoulder block then goes back to the ropes but Bob catches him with a hurricanrana. Bob sends Owen to the corner and hits a power slam for two as Owen comes out. Now Owen sends Bob to the ropes and catches him with a belly-to-belly suplex and kicks him in the midsection. Owen throws Bob to the turnbuckle and hits a spinning heel kick, which gets two. Owen hits a backbreaker and gets another two. The crowd chants “USA!” Bob tries to fight out of the corner with kicks but Owen goes to the eyes and drops Holly with a head butt. He sends Bob to the ropes again but puts his head down early so Bob slams it to the mat! Bob pounds away on Owen and sends him to the ropes and hits a back elbow. He again sends Owen to the ropes and gets another two with a beautiful dropkick. Holly hits Owen with an inverted atomic drop and a clothesline for two. Again to the ropes and Bob telegraphs putting his head down so Owen hits a swinging neck breaker. Owen taunts the crowd and Bob sneaks in a backslide for two. Once again Bob sends Owen to the ropes and goes for a hurricanrana but Owen reverses it into a power bomb and applies the sharpshooter. Bob taps out and Owen retains! Owen heads up the stage to celebrate with his family.

We go to the back and Vince asks HBK if he accepts Austin’s challenge. HBK says he admires Vince’s guts for giving him a live mic then accepts the match at King of the Ring. Remember, these two men have a title defense later tonight!

Goldust vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley

Before this match starts we see footage from April 28th on Raw when Chyna got blinded with powder and choked out Hunter! Back live and Marlena is with Goldust and Chyna is with Hunter. Dust charges in and goes right after Hunter with fists. Dust hits a clothesline off the ropes and works on Hunter in the corner. He hits 10 punches and finishes it up with a kiss! Dust sends Hunter to the opposite corner and Hunter goes upside down and inside out! Dust takes him down with a punch. JR tells us the winner of this match will face the British Bulldog next week on Raw for the European title. Hunter bails then pulls Dust to the outside. He charges Goldust but he ducks and Helmsley goes face first into the steel post. Dust throws Hunter back in and goes for another 10 punches in the corner but Helmsley hits an inverted atomic drop, which Dust no-sells and responds with a clothesline, which gets two. Dust sends Hunter to the ropes but puts his head down too soon, allowing Hunter to drop Goldust’s face across his knee. He sends Goldust to the ropes and hits a running high knee. Hunter puts Goldust in the corner and chops away after unzipping Dust’s body suit. He sends Dust to the opposite corner hard. Hunter bows to Dust. Dust to the ropes and taken down with a back elbow. Hunter shoves the referee and pounds away on Goldust. Chyna gets up on the apron to hold Dust but Marlena grabs her leg. As Hunter charges in, Goldust moves and Hunter nails Chyna! She goes flying as Dust rolls up Hunter for the win! Hunter argues with the referee while Goldust takes off. JR notes Hunter didn’t get any momentum going into the King of the Ring. Chyna throws the referee over the top rope.

The War Zone starts with the theme music and video once again. The pyro explodes one more time as the LOD music hits.

Tag Team Title Match: Champions “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels vs. The Legion of Doom

This match was agreed to last week by Austin and Michaels, if they were successful against Owen and Bulldog. They were, which brings us to tonight. Before the bell rings, we see footage from August 26, 1991 – Summerslam at MSG, of LOD winning the tag titles from the Nasty Boys. Michaels and Austin start jaw-jacking with each other, so the LOD grabs the tag belts and pose with them. The champs respond by coming up from behind and taking them back. Michaels and Hawk start. They lock up and HBK applies a headlock. Hawk sends him to the ropes and takes him down with a shoulder block. Austin tells HBK to get up. Hawk bench presses HBK then drops a fist. He goes up top and misses a big splash. HBK gets a quick two count. All four men start brawling and the LOD takes the advantage throwing the tag champs out of the ring with power moves. Michaels and Austin regroup as the Hart Foundation, sans Bret Hart, make their way out to ringside. We go to break.

We return with Animal throwing Austin to the ropes, but Austin holds on and bails. Hawk punches him and throws him back in. Animal hits a flying shoulder block on Austin for two. Austin goes to the eyes and hits a low blow on Animal while the referee was with HBK. Michaels tags in and Animal fights both men off as they try to double team. Vince tells us the Harts were escorted back to the locker room area during the break. Hawk tags back in and chops Michaels down. He sends HBK to the ropes and hits a back body drop. Hawk is sent to the ropes and Austin hits him from behind. When he looks at Austin, Michaels hits Hawk. Austin goes to work on Hawk behind the referees back allowing Michaels the chance to choke Hawk on the bottom rope. Austin tags back in and snap mares Hawk over. He hits the second rope elbow for two. Austin pounds away on Hawk and sends him into Michaels boot. HBK tags back in and the champs take Hawk down with a pair of back elbows. Amazingly, the tag champs are working together as a team. Michaels applies a front chancery to slow the pace down but Hawk powers up and is able to tag Animal but the referee doesn’t see it because Austin distracted him. Animal runs in and accidentally takes out referee Earl Hebner with a shoulder block. While the referee is getting his bearings, Austin hits Hawk with the tag title belt and that only got a two count. Austin is tagged back in legally and goes to work on Hawk. Both men go down with a double clothesline as the Harts return. Animal is tagged back in and hits a pair of dropkicks on the champs. He takes both men down himself and sends HBK to the floor right in front of the Harts. Austin takes down Animal then goes out after the Harts as well. He grabs Michaels by the hair, seemingly to bring his attention back to the match. Michaels of course doesn’t like this and here we go! Austin and Michaels start brawling on the floor and get counted out. The LOD wins the match, but not the titles. HBK sends Austin into the ring steps and is escorted to the back by officials.

Jerry Lawler makes his way to the ringside arena to join Vince and JR for our next match. He will face the winner at the King of the Ring, Sunday night.

But first, we go to the next installment of JR’s sit-down interview with Mankind. Tonight, we explore his early years in wrestling. Success wasn’t achieved until Mick Foley brought out Cactus Jack. Mankind says Cactus wanted it a little bit more and was willing to go the extra mile to achieve his dream. In the era of bodybuilder physiques, Cactus Jack did it his way. Promoters even had to tell him to tame his behavior. Instead of giving in, he went to Japan. Mankind says he didn’t care because it was his destiny. The first time he saw barbed wire strung up instead of ring rope he said, “I’m finally home!” We see footage of him wrestling on beds of nails, thumbtacks and C4 explosives. He didn’t care how mutilated he was because he healed himself spiritually. He didn’t care because for the first time, he was respected. JR points out that Mankind has been rubbing his scars since they started talking. Mankind shows the scars on his arm and says each scar is significant and has a story. Mankind quotes Shakespeare and JR points out he is very well read. Mankind tells a story about how a woman on a plane spent double the money to move back to coach just so she didn’t have to sit next to him. Next week will be the final installment and will delve into the creation of Mankind.

King of the Ring First Round Match: Savio Vega vs. Mankind

Savio is accompanied by Crush and D-Lo, but no Faarooq. Vince asks King who he wants to face. Lawler says it doesn’t matter to him. There’s only room for one king – himself. Amazingly enough, Mankind comes out to cheers and without Paul Bearer. We go to break and return with the match just starting as Mankind hits a baseball slide on Savio who was outside the ring. Mankind follows him out and gets back dropped on the steel ramp. Savio goes up top and hits a huge flying body block to the floor. Savio then slams Mankind head first onto the ramp then throws him back into the ring. They trade blows until Savio gets the upper hand and chokes Mankind on the second rope. Savio hip tosses Mankind then pounds away on him some more. Mankind fights back with fists and sends Savio to the corner but it is reversed and Savio rushes in with a spinning heel kick. He sends Mankind to the corner again but misses a big splash. Mankind hits a side suplex as King says if Mankind loves the pain, if he gets in the ring with him, it’ll be the happiest day of his life. Mankind clotheslines Savio over the top rope right in front of the announce table. King yells at Mankind while they get up so Mankind grabs King and pulls him over the table! As the referee tries to get King back to the announce table, Crush accidentally hits Savio with a right hand as he tried to hit Mankind, allowing Mankind the opportunity to pin Savio and get the win! After the match, Savio gets in the face of Crush, who responds with a kick and they begin brawling! Faarooq starts to come out to help but he stops on the ramp, throws up his hands and walks to the back. The referees try to break it up as JR runs down the King of the Ring card.

Non-Title Match: WWF Champion The Undertaker vs. Sycho Sid

Only Sid could invoke his Wrestlemania rematch clause and it somehow turns out to be a non-title match. Paul Bearer accompanies his “instrument of destruction” to the ring. We go to break after introduction and return with Sid choking the Undertaker over the top rope. Vince tells us Taker was distracted by Paul Bearer telling him what to do at ringside, so Sid attacked him from behind to start the match during the break. Sid pounds away on Taker for a few minutes straight. When Taker finally goes down, Sid lays the boots to him. Taker tries to fight back but Sid sends him to the ropes. Taker reverses it but Sid is able to choke slam the Undertaker! This gets a two count. Sid sends Taker to the turnbuckle but Taker comes out and throws Sid in then unleashes a flurry of fists. Taker intimidates the ref and pounds away on Sid. Taker sends Sid to the ropes but puts his head down early and Sid drops a forearm across his back. Sid chokes Taker across the second rope then drops some fists and gets a two. Sid applies a chin lock but Taker is able to fight back up and break the hold. Sid sends Taker to the ropes but Taker ducks a clothesline and hits a flying clothesline on Sid then hits the Tombstone out of nowhere to get the win! After the bell rings, the entire Nation comes running out and attacks The Undertaker! Sid comes over to make the save and chokeslams Crush! And one for Savio! Faarooq chops Sid’s knee and now the Nation attacks Sid. The Nation continues to attack both men as officials try to hold them back. The Nation stands tall as Raw goes off the air and Faarooq seemingly has a ton of momentum going into his title match with Undertaker Sunday night at the King of the Ring.

Next week, we’ll see the fallout from the King of the Ring (which won’t include Bret Hart of Shawn Michaels – more on that next week) and also the conclusion of JR’s sit-down interview with Mankind.

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