December 7, 2008
Mike Abitabile

Raw is War
Des Moines, Iowa
6/30/97

Raw begins this week with a video package focusing on the history of Undertaker and Paul Bearer. Will the secret from the Undertaker’s past be revealed later tonight?

Raw is War begins, as always, with fireworks and fans going crazy. Vince welcomes us to Des Moines.

Ken Shamrock vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley

Chyna accompanies Hunter to the ring. Shamrock is wearing a red robe, and accessory of his which I totally blocked out of my mind. Earlier today, Hunter explained that he’s not scared of Shamrock because he’s bringing the world’s most dangerous woman to combat the world’s most dangerous man. They lock up and Ken takes Hunter down with an arm drag then a fireman carry takedown. JR reminds us that Shamrock will be in the big ten man tag team match this Sunday night and Hunter will be facing Mankind. Shamrock locks Hunter in a submission hold then rolls it into a pin that gets a one count. He works on Hunter’s arm until Helmsley lands the old thumb to the eye to take the upper hand. Hunter continuously kicks away at Shamrock in the corner and pushes referee Earl Hebner out of the way, to which Earl responds by pulling Hutner’s ponytail to get him off Ken. That got a pop. Hunter applies a chin lock until Ken breaks it and hammers away. However, Hunter stops it with another cheap shot then dumps Shamrock over the top rope. Chyna comes over and throws Ken hard into the steel steps while Hunter distracts the referee. Hunter mocks Ken’s fighting stance then throws him back in the ring. All of a sudden Mankind makes his way to the ring and Helmsley becomes distracted. This allows Ken the chance to get back up and hit his belly to belly suplex on Hunter for the win! Mankind charges the ring but Hunter bails. It’s going to have to wait until Sunday.

At the booth, Vince introduces footage profiling the simmering feud between Undertaker and Ahmed Johnson. Last week Ahmed explained why he joined the new Nation, but was injured in a brawl with the Disciples of Apocalypse, taking him out of the title match against Taker at In Your House. After surgery, Ahmed tells Undertaker he will be coming for him when he is healthy again.

The debuting Michael Cole, who looks to be 100 pounds soaking wet, is in the back with the LOD. Animal says no team in the WWF that can beat them. Hawk tells the Nation that they should be worried. Oh, what a rush!

Sunny is in the back with a casket full of one million dollars, and there are even a few bills placed between her….. well, her best parts.

Tag Team Tournament Semi-Finals Match: Faarooq and D-Lo Brown vs. The Legion of Doom

Remember, the winners of the tournament get to face Steve Austin and a partner of his choosing for the tag team championship. Kama Mustafa accompanies the Nation to the ring. Animal starts with Faarooq and power slams him then drops an elbow. Hawk tags in and drops a fist. Faarooq is up though and goes to the eyes then tags in D-Lo. He and Hawk duke it out until Hawk hits a suplex. The Godwinns come out to watch this match on the stage. The LOD broke Henry’s neck a few months ago then beat the Godwinns last week to advance to this match. D-Lo pounds away and chokes on Hawk in the corner. D-Lo BADLY telegraphs a back body drop so Hawk turns it into a neckbreaker. It gets a two count as Faarooq comes in to break it up. Animal comes in and hits a power slam on D-Lo then calls for the Doomsday Device. They hit it but the Godwinns interfere while the referee is distracted by Kama. Henry hits Hawk in the back of the head with the slop bucket and Faarooq gets a three count when the referee turns around to advance to the finals of the tournament. JR points out that Faarooq made the cover but wasn’t the legal man. The LOD chases the Godwinns to the back as Faarooq forces Vince to come in the ring and interview them.

Faarooq is angry that Vader was named the new number one contender to replace the injured Ahmed Johnson at In Your House. He feels that the next in line should have been himself or another member of the Nation. Faarooq thinks that they weren’t picked because of the color of their skin. D-Lo agrees. Vince wants to know about Crush. Faarooq doesn’t care about Crush because he couldn’t get the job done, just like Savio. Faarooq also feels that the Undertaker sent the DOA out to injure Ahmed last week. And now, speaking of Savio, he makes his way down the ramp. Savio says he isn’t by himself anymore. He brings out three of his friends and we have yet another brawl! The officials come down to break it up. When it is finally calm, the DOA comes out on their motorcycles to join the fight. All hell breaks loose and even the uniformed security can’t break it up!

We go back to Michael Cole again who tells us the LOD has left the building, chasing down the Godwinns. Then, Savio and his gang enter. Savio says they are the Los Boricuas. And now, more Sunny! My god. During a photo shoot for Raw Magazine, the photographers got some interesting photos of Sunny having a secret meeting with Brian Pillman. For the story and pictures, check out the latest issue of Raw Magazine.

Brian Christopher vs. Scott Putski

Scott is the son of for the legendary “Polish Power” Ivan Putski. Vince has exclusive footage of Brian Christopher’s mentor, Jerry Lawler. King says Brian watched him through his entire career. Vince wonders if Paul E. was telling the truth or not when he claimed King was Brian’s father. King refuses to answer one way or the other. Both men pose for the crowd until Brian gets frustrated and attacks, but Scott counters with a belly to belly suplex. They trade blows until Putski hits a sidewalk slam for two. He follows up with a backbreaker and a huge clothesline. This gets another two count. Christopher reverses a backdrop and hits the move now known as The Stroke. King tells a Polish joke and Vince tells him to stop while Brian gets a two count after a dropkick to the back of the head off the second rope. Brian Christopher hits a running shoulder block into the corner then goes for a hurricanrana but Scott sits down and hits a sit-out power bomb on Brian. He follows up with a few clotheslines then goes up top. King is freaking out while Putski hits a Superfly splash. King jumps up on the apron to distract Scott but he sends Brian Christopher right into King! Putski goes for a powerslam but King grabs his foot to trip him up. Brian falls on him for the win! King comes in and they double team Putski and hit a spike piledriver on him! King grabs a microphone and tells Scott to go home to his father.

In the back, Undertaker tells his creatures of the night that they will hear a slanted version of the worst night of his life. That night changed him forever but Paul Bearer is going to tell us his version of the events, which Taker asks us not to believe until he can explain his side.

Back from break, JR plugs the Light Heavyweight Match coming this Sunday night at In Your House pitting the Great Sasuke (who is pictured in the graphic) against TAKA Michinoku (who isn’t pictured). For those curious, I will be posting the graphic in the Screen Cap Thread on the official HistoryofWWE.com Message Board.

Mankind vs. Brian Pillman

Last week on Shotgun Saturday Night, Brian Pillman beat up a fan who heckled him which forced Gorilla Monsoon to fire Pillman from his commentary position on Shotgun. Well, there went the only reason left to be watching that show. Earlier today, Gorilla Monsoon forced Brian to make a public apology. Pillman says he deeply regrets his senseless act on a helpless fan. He also apologies for being the only athlete in the WWF with guts and for being the voice of reason. Pillman is not joined by the Harts for some strange reason, and Mankind comes to the ring wearing a “Pick Me Steve!” cardboard sign. He is also carrying a gift wrapped package, which he gives to JR. JR says he doesn’t hold Mankind responsible for what happened during their sit-down interview, but opens the gift anyways. It’s the mandible claw covering on a mannequin hand. Pillman jumps Mankind from behind and beats him with the mannequin hand then goes after JR! Back to Mankind, Pillman tears up the sign then drags Mankind in the ring. Pillman hits a back elbow but gets taken down with one from Mankind. JR thought it was a nice gesture by Mankind. Mankind hits a running knee to the face of Pillman while we are joined by Steve Austin in the back. Austin says Mankind is smart for wanting to partner with Stone Cold but he thinks he sucks. Austin doesn’t give a rat’s ass about Mankind or Shawn Michaels. But the tag titles will stay with him and whoever his partner is. Back to the action and Pillman has the upper hand and is kicking away on Mankind until he hits a short clothesline. And now, Hunter and Chyna make their way onto the ramp to watch this match as we go to break.

We return with Hunter and Chyna watching from the ramp as Mankind kicks Brian Pillman out of the ring. Mankind comes over but Brian Pillman hits him with the ring bell! He then sends him to the ring post, ear first! Brian then grabs a pencil from the announce table and tries to stab Mankind with it! Thank god Earl Hebner was able to stop him. Mankind is able to reverse the momentum and tries to sandwich Pillman between his knee and the steel steps, but Brian moves and throws Mankind back in the ring. Brian then bites what is left of Mankind’s ear as JR references Mike Tyson. He is out of control. He then goes for a kick but Mankind grabs his leg and drops him. He drags Brian over to the ring post and wraps his bad ankle around it. An eye for an eye I guess. Or maybe an ankle for an ear. Pillman can’t stand so Mankind goes for the Mandible Claw until Hunter comes down and distracts Mankind. Chyna grabs the referee allowing Brian Pillman the chance to hit Mankind with his boot. Pillman holds Mankind up and Hunter tries to hit him with a chair but Mankind ducks and Hunter hits Brian Pillman! Mankind chases Hunter away and Pillman rolls back into the ring before the ten count, which gets him the count out win.

Hour number two is on the air and the War Zone begins with Paul Bearer making his way down to the ring to reveal the Undertaker’s secret. While he is making his way to the ring, he is attacked by a female fan, as JR tries to pass it off as a creature of the night taking revenge. Vince ignores it. Paul says we have to go back twenty years to a funeral home on a hill. A wonderful family owned the funeral home. Vince is laughing while Paul is telling the story! He keeps putting head down so he can laugh. All right, that’s classic. According to Paul, the family had two kids. One was a red headed punk. The other was a sweet little kid named Kane. Paul was the apprentice and worked under the red headed punk’s father. Paul then confirms the red headed punk was the Undertaker. Paul says Taker was the devil’s seed. Kane followed Taker wherever he went because he was Kane’s hero. Paul claims Taker corrupted Kane. One day, Paul says he saw Taker and something didn’t seem right. Later that night when Paul got back home, there were fire trucks and ambulances everywhere. The funeral home was in ashes and he saw Taker in the bushes looking on. Paul accuses Taker of burning down the funeral home and killing his family. Then he calls Taker a “god damn murderer” and as the lights begin to flicker, we go to break.

We return with Paul in the back being consoled by Vader. The cameraman turns around and we see Marc Mero and Sable. How convenient! Sable poses with the million dollar casket but Mero doesn’t look too happy about it. The first clue for our opportunity to win a million dollars is “The Key.”

Tag Team Tournament Semi-Finals Match: European Champion The British Bulldog and Intercontinental Champion and Two Time Slammy Award Winner Owen Hart vs. The Head Bangers

Owen and Mosh start out. Owen goes to work with kicks but Mosh fights back with a back drop and a slam which gets two. Thrasher tags in and the Bangers hits a double flap jack on Owen. Owen fights back with a jaw breaker and tags in the Bulldog. Thrasher hits a few arm drags but Bulldog makes a blind tag and Owen comes in with a spinning heel kick to the unsuspecting Thrasher. He follows up with a suplex and it gets two. Bulldog tags back in and gets another two after a double team clothesline. Bret Hart joins us on the phone from Calgary now as Bulldog hits his standing delayed vertical suplex. Vince wants to know why Bret isn’t here tonight. Is it because of Steve Austin? Bret says he isn’t scared of Austin, but he wants to wait until Sunday night. Bulldog and Owen double team Thrasher in their corner as Mosh accidentally distracts the referee. Thrasher then gets a surprise roll up which gets two. Bulldog is back in but gets kicked in the face for his troubles. Bret says he’s finally coming back and he’s got the support of his family around him. Mosh finally makes a hot tag and takes out both men with dropkicks. They call for the Stage Dive but Bulldog is able to crotch Thrasher on the top rope as Owen rolls up Mosh for the win to advance to the finals next week!

After the match, Jim Cornette makes his return after a six month absence to introduce the Squat Team. This is the second or third time these two big guys came into the WWF. They were in the 1995 Royal Rumble match and I seem to recall them making an appearance on Raw around that time. They brawl with the Head Bangers after Bulldog and Owen bail. The Bangers beat them up pretty good until Jim Cornette distracted them allowing one big guy to hit a head butt off the top rope and the other to hit a moonsault off the top!

In the back, Taker is pacing and confirms that the story Paul Bearer told is true. His parents and little brother burned to death in the family funeral parlor. But the fact is it was an accident. Taker says he and Kane were playing with matches that day, but he was punished when his father saw them. Taker says he saw Kane leaving the embalming room with the flammable liquids in his hands. Taker never thought Kane would do anything crazy, but now he lives with the fact that he should have went after Kane every day of his life. When Taker returned, he saw the flames and heard the sirens. He knew what happened. He then confirms he wasn’t at the funeral, but not because he was guilty, but because Paul forced him to see the bodies of his family members the night before. The image is burned in his head to this very day. After that, he couldn’t go to the funeral. This is why Taker draws strength from the spirit of the dead. He then threatens Paul.

Vader vs. Rockabilly

The Honky Tonk Man brings Rockabilly to the ring and Paul Bearer is with Vader. Vince calls this an unusual matchup, which is code for “a heel versus heel match is happening.” In the ring, Honky distracts Vader which gives Billy the chance to destroy the guitar over Vader’s back. Unfortunately for Rockabilly, Vader doesn’t even flinch. Vader nails him with clubbing forearms. All of a sudden, the Undertaker rushes the ring and goes crazy on Vader! Paul Bearer has a microphone and just keeps repeating “Murderer! Murderer!” Taker goes outside and attacks Paul Bearer. Taker screams at Paul to tell everyone the truth. Paul says he is telling the truth. He then says Kane told him and that’s how he knows. JR is confused. Taker paintbrushes Paul Bearer. Paul: “Kane’s alive Undertaker!” Taker stops in his tracks and Vader attacks him from behind, which allows Paul to make a getaway. We go to break.

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

Again, no Harts are with Anvil, but they are watching from the locker room. Neidhart attacks from behind and pounds away on Stone Cold. Shamrock is shown watching from the backstage area. Austin fights back with fists and a clothesline! He then slams the Anvil and gets a two count. Neidhart takes down Austin with a shoulder block and then applies a headlock to slow down the pace. Austin fights out and hits the Lou Thesz Press! Austin then tries to apply the Sharpshooter but Anvil powers out of it with his legs. Austin applies an abdominal stretch and uses the ropes for leverage. The hold is broken when the referee sees this, then the two brawl outside the ring. Anvil tries to slam Austin on the steel ramp but Austin reverses it and slams Anvil instead! Vince tells us something is happening in the locker room. Vince: “Bret…” Then they go to break.

We’re back with footage from moments ago. We see Shamrock watching the match in the back and all of a sudden, he is attacked by Bret Hart, who was supposedly in Calgary! Vince points out that Shamrock was the only member of Austin’s team who was here (LOD left earlier tonight after chasing the Godwinns from the arena and Goldust wasn’t even here to begin with), and now he’s been attacked. It’s five on one if the Harts want it. Back to live action and Anvil is in control. He chokes Austin and breaks at four. During the break, Anvil threw Austin into the ring steps. Stone Cold fights back but it’s only temporary as Anvil regains control with a kick to the face and gets a two count. The Anvil locks on a sleeper hold but Austin breaks it with a modified Stone Cold Stunner, which gets two. They continue to slug it out until Austin takes control. As Austin begins to stomp a mud hole in the Anvil, Bret Hart attacks before he can walk it dry. The original Hart Foundation double teams Stone Cold and Bret Hart applies the figure four around the ring post! Mankind is out to make the save! He locks the Mandible Claw on Bret but Pillman comes out to attack Mankind. Owen and Bulldog arrive as well and beat Mankind up with steel chairs as we fade to black!

Next week we’ll have the Canadian Stampede fallout (including an amazing rematch from the show) and we’ll see if Paul Bearer can deliver any proof to back up his claims.

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