October 30, 2008
Mike Abitabile

Raw is War
Hartford Civic Center, Hartford, Connecticut

I’ll start by noting that perhaps the most important action this week took place backstage, before Raw went on the air. This would be the date of the infamous locker room fight between Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart that saw Shawn disappear from television and Bret’s knee reinjured, further pushing back his return. The fight is not referenced during the episode (at least directly) , but it will be brought up and added to the storyline on next week’s show (which we will get to, coincidentally enough, next week).

Vince welcomes us to the arena as the fireworks explode. Strangest quote ever from Vince McMahon: “They brought their signs, they brought their grandmother… yes indeed, they are ready for action tonight on Raw!” Only Vince could equate a sign and a grandmother.

Legion of Doom and Ahmed Johnson vs. Faarooq, Crush and Savio Vega

The Nation is joined by Clarence Mason, D-Lo Brown and a few other unnamed members. Vince tells us Faarooq almost became the WWF champion last night at the King of the Ring. Faarooq salutes his unnamed comrades when he gets to the ring, but Savio and Crush do not. At Faarooq’s request, they finally do, albeit half-heartedly. JR reminds us there has been many problems in the NOD reecntly. Savio starts out with Hawk. They lock up and Hawk takes Savio down with a hiptoss and a dropkick. He follows up with a huge clothesline that sends Savio out of the ring. Vega pulls Hawk to the floor and they slug it out. Back in the ring, Savio telegraphs a back drop and gets his head slammed to the mat. Hawk tags in Animal and Savio tags in Crush. Animal takes him down with a flying shoulderblock and a dropkick of his own to send Crush to the arena floor. Behind referee Mike Chioda’s back, Hawk takes Crush down with a clothesline. Crush has had enough and tags in Faarooq, who doesn’t seem to really want in. As Ahmed is also tagged in, JR reminds us that Ahmed actually Pearl River Plunged Undetaker last night at the pay per view. Faarooq tries to blindside Johnson but Ahmed ducks and pounds away. Ahmed hits a scissor kick from the front of Faarooq, as opposed to the side, as most people do it. Ahmed puts Faarooq in his corner and the LOD double team him behind Chioda’s back. Animal tags in to hit a power slam for two then tags Ahmed back in who drops Faarooq with a sidewalk slam. Faarooq tries to make a tag but Savio and Crush are both distracted by Clarence Mason! Ahmed pulls Faarooq back to his corner and tags in Hawk. He makes a quick tag to Animal who comes in and continues the assault on the leader of the Nation of Domination. Ahmed tags right back in and kicks Faarooq out of the ring. Savio and Crush go to check on him but Faarooq starts yelling at them. This allows the LOD to attack all three members of the NOD and throw Faarooq back in. Hawk, Animal and Ahmed tripe team Faarooq until Ahmed gets the win with a Pearl River Plunge as Savio and Crush take off and leave Faarooq all by himself. Clarence and D-Lo help Faarooq to the back.

We go to the announce location to see Vince and JR. No King tonight? Vince plugs Steve Austin taking on Brian Pillman later tonight as well as Sid facing Owen Hart and the first ever European Championship match on Raw. Plus, we will hear from the new King of the Ring.

We return from break with Vince already in the ring and Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Chyna entering it. Vince introduces Hunter as the 1997 King of the Ring. Chyna is holding the crown. Vince asks Hunter why he pedigreed Mankind on the announce table at the pay per view. Hunter tells us that this should have happened a year ago but because of Vince and his politics, he never got his shot. What Hunter did at the pay per view was take his career and put it in his own hands. Hunter tells us no one in the WWF will stand in his way. He is interrupted by Mankind on the titan tron asking for a rematch. Hunter wonders if Mankind had gotten enough last night. He doesn’t think Mankind deserves a rematch but wants to know what Chyna thinks. For the first time, we hear from Hunter’s backup and she tells Mankind to come kiss her ass. Mankind says he’s a good kisser then heads for the arena. Hunter is ready for him as McMahon bails. Helmsley beats on Mankind with the crown then leaves with Chyna. Mankind then takes the flattened crown and puts it on. The crowd pops for that. Vince is back at the booth and calls Chyna’s language, “unladylike.”

We see video clips from the European Championship tournament that took place this past February in Germany. The British Bulldog beat Mankind, Vader then Owen Hart to win the title and will defend it for the first time on television here tonight on Raw against Goldust.

European Title Match: Champion “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith vs. Goldust

Marlena accompanies Goldust to the ring and Davey comes alone, oddly enough. JR proclaims that, if Goldust wins the European title tonight, it will be a European Dream, as opposed to an American Dream. He then informs us that Bulldog’s wife, Diana Smith, was crowed Miss Calgary last night and reminds us the next In Your House pay per view will take place from Calgary. They lock up and Bulldog takes Goldust down with a shoulder block then taunts the crowd. Goldust is able to gain the upper hand by hip tossing Bulldog but Davey responds with a shove and then some fists. Goldust hits the ropes and then flies off with a clothesline but Davey goes to the midsection to regain control. Davey hits his standing delayed vertical suplex and flexes for the crowd. He sends Dust to the ropes but puts his head down too soon and gets and uppercut for his troubles. Goldust sends Davey to the corner and takes him down with a double chop. The Bulldog sets Goldust up for his power slam but Dust slides out of it and hits a DDT. He covers the Bulldog and gets the three count! Unfortunately, Davey had put his foot on the bottom rope before the three was counted and referee Tim White sees it. We go to break, amid confusion.

We return and Davey is working over Goldust in the corner. Vince tells us that Tim White restarted the match. Goldust’s knee gives out as he is sent to the ropes because of all the work Davey has done to it during the break. He tries to fight back but Bulldog moves out of the way of an elbow and gets a two. He applies a chin lock, slowing down the pace. This time he hits a flying body press but rolls out of the ring before he can make a cover. The two men fight on the floor and get counted out. The official decision is a double count out as Davey drops Goldust headfirst on the steel steps. Marlena comes over and slaps the Bulldog! She then does it a second time! Davey grabs a chair and is going to take his anger out on Goldust. Marlena stands in front of Goldust but Davey looks as if he might take a swing at her until Ken Shamrock comes out to make the save and suplexes Davey. Bulldog wants to go, but then bails, thinking better of it.

Outside the NOD locker room, Doc Hendrix reports there is screaming and yelling behind the locked door. Faarooq busts out and says he has something to say and is going to the ring to say it right now. Doc goes into the locker room (now that the door is opened) to see Savio and Crush screaming and yelling. In the ring, JR is with Faarooq. Faarooq says Savio and Crush should be grateful to him. He then fires Savio and Crush from the Nation. He also fires the unnamed backers of the Nation. All that is left is D-Lo and Clarence Mason. Faarooq then fires Clarence and keeps D-Lo! He then promises a new Nation and challenges Undertaker and Ahmed to face his new Nation on Raw next week.

Vince introduces clips from the October 27, 1996 episode of Superstars where Austin “pillmanizes” Brian’s ankle, putting him on the shelf for seven months. Tonight, the two former partners will face off.

In the crowd, Paul E. Dangerously and Tommy Dreamer make their way down to ringside to sit down and watch the show.

“The (Self-Proclaimed) Most Exciting Tag Team in the History of the World Wrestling Federation” Doug Furnas and Phil Lafon vs. The Head Bangers

The Most Exciting team comes out to no music or pyro. How exciting! Lafon starts things off by attacking Mosh from behind. Mosh responds with a drop toe hold and a pair of arm drags, which sends Lafon over to tag Furnas. Thrasher tags in and the Bangers hit a double flap jack on him. Thrasher hits a side suplex which gets two, as Lafon breaks up the count. Behind the referee’s back, Furnas and Lafon drop Thrasher throat first across the top rope. Furnas hits a release belly to belly suplex on Thrasher then tags in Lafon. He hits a kick to the back of the head of Thrasher then locks on a submission arm bar and shows off. He tags Furnas back in to hit a beautiful dropkick on Thrasher and follows up with a power slam, which also gets two. Furnas lands a frankensteiner for two and goes for it again but Thrasher reverses it into a sitdown power bomb pin. Lafon tries to break up the count but accidentally hits his partner, allowing Thrasher to get the win! We see Tommy and Paul E. looking on, unimpressed.

Hey, there’s King. He’s in the back with Rob Van Dam. Lawler is mad that Paul E. and Tommy are in the arena. He promises hell to pay if they try to interfere in Rob Van Dam’s match. Vince then introduces clips from the November 4, 1996 episode of Raw as Austin attacks Pillman’s friends outside his house. They conveniently leave out the gun incident part.

Hour two begins and the War Zone is on the air! Vince is in the ring and asks us to welcome “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Vince shows clips of Austin attacking Brian Pillman last night then giving him a swirlie in the toilet. The only thing Austin is sorry about is that the toilet bowl was empty. Austin warns Pillman that he is going to beat his ass later tonight. Vince reminds Austin that Bret Hart challenged any five superstars last night to face him and the rest of the Hart Foundation at the next In Your House, which takes place in Calgary. Austin volunteers to be the first guy to sign up. He says he doesn’t need four other guys and he can do it all by himself. He says he’ll beat up the whole damn family, Stu and Helen included. And that’s the bottom line.

A video airs showing highlights from the King of the Ring. Order the replay! Vince and JR read viewer feedback on the King of the Ring, from AOL. KNOX187 thought all the matches kicked ass while ILoveHB enjoyed the Austin/Michaels match and ChipJnes10 can’t wait for Summerslam after seeing the King of the Ring.

“Mr. Monday Night” Rob Van Dam vs. Flash Funk

RVD comes out with King to the ECW theme song, which is kind of weird considering the storyline is he hates ECW. Vince says all the contractual issues have been cleared up and RVD can wrestle on Raw. Tommy wants to get at RVD but Paul holds him back. JR lets us know that RVD and King raised hell at the ECW Arena on Saturday night. Now Paul wants at King and the officials come down to restore order. We go to break.

We return with clips from the Saturday night carnage at the ECW Arena. JR promises more footage this weekend on Shotgun Saturday Night. Funk and RVD trade shoves before starting to wrestle. King joins the announcers and has lost his voice. He blames Mankind for that, placing blame on the mandible claw. Funk dropkicks RVD out of the ring then hits a plancha over the top. King wants Paul thrown out, but Vince can’t do anything since he bought a ticket. RVD goes back in the ring and unleashes a somersault suicide plancha over the top but completely misses Funk, which had to hurt. Back in the ring and RVD trades barbs with Paul E. and gets hit with a spinning kick from Funk. He hits a splash in the corner on RVD followed by a T-Bone Tazplex. Funk hits his top rope moonsault but RVD kicks out of it. RVD hits some nice kicks and power bombs Funk, which gets two. Funk hits an enziguri on RVD but RVD is able to come back from it and hit a top rope split legged moonsault for the win! King gloats and celebrates while Paul jumps the raining and goes after him. Tommy and RVD get involved and it’s a pier sixer! The referees and security try to break it up, but it’s out of control.

Sycho Sid vs. Intercontinental Champion and Two Time Slammy Award Winner Owen Hart

Ken Shamrock joins Vince and JR for commentary. Jim Neidhart comes to the ring with Owen. Shamrock says he had to do something when a man was going to hit a woman earlier tonight. That’s not right, according to Ken. Just to clarify – hitting a woman = bad, walking out of a promotion minutes before its most important show ever = just dandy. Owen attacks Sid from behind to start. He goes to work on Sid’s midsection and chokes him out with Sid’s own leather vest. Sid fights back and slams Owen’s head against the mat and follows up with a big boot. Owen gets clotheslined over the top rope and takes the opportunity to regroup. Nice veteran move. Neidhart then distracts Sid allowing Owen the chance to again attack from behind. Now Owen distracts the referee and Anvil gets in a few cheap shots. Shamrock is disgusted by this. Owen goes to work on Sid’s leg and threatens to snap it off. Owen tries to lock on the Sharpshooter but Sid kicks Owen off him and begins to no sell Owen’s offense. He clubs Owen into the corner and tries a shoulder block but misses. Owen hits a missile dropkick off the top sending Sid to the floor. Owen distracts the referee again and Neidhart again attacks Sid. Shamrock has had enough and goes after Neidhart while Owen gets two on Sid. Sid is up and hits his chokeslam on Owen for the win! Shamrock is in to congratulate Sid and say goodbye to him as he would disappear once again, mere weeks after returning. On the positive side, I won’t miss MS Word automatically changing “Sycho” back to “Psycho” every time I typed it.

Footage from last weekend’s Shotgun Saturday Night is shown when Austin went after Brian Pillman, who was calling the action at ringside. Again, they will get it on later tonight. Sable comes out to model the Raw is War t-shirt. It’s only 25 bucks, plus shipping and handling. 815-734-1161 - get yours now! Marc Mero makes an appearance to come out and take Sable into the back.

JR introduces the last installment of his interview with Mankind. He is disturbed by how it ended and wishes he hadn’t taken the assignment. We go to the video. JR asks why Cactus Jack never came to the WWF. Mankind says Cactus Jack would have set the WWF on its ear. He says every time he puts the mandible claw on someone he pictures Vince McMahon and screams “Why didn’t you take me when I was younger!?” He again discusses his fascination with wanting to be Shawn Michaels growing up. JR wonders if Mankind has ever been diagnosed with multiple personality disorder. Mankind says he doesn’t need a doctor to tell him about himself. JR tells him to look in the mirror and accept the personal responsibility of who he is. JR says Mankind himself has brought about all the problems. Mankind gets offended and calls out JR’s journalistic integrity. He says that JR tells the fans that Mankind doesn’t feel pain, or he likes it. Mankind says he feels just like every other person and punches himself in the face and screams “That hurts!” Mankind gets up and starts screaming and yelling. He smacks the hat off JR then applies the mandible claw! All of a sudden, Mankind calms down and acts as if he is helping JR. “Help….. he’s gonna need some help,” he says as he walks away. Back at ringside and JR says he knows he pushed the wrong buttons and apologizes.

Rockabilly vs. Bart Gunn

The Honky Tonk Man is with Billy. Vince reminds us that these two competitors are brothers and JR harks back to the neck injury Billy Gunn caused to Bart months ago. Billy hits a clothesline to start and pounds away on Bart’s head. Bart reverses the momentum and clotheslines Billy over the top rope. Back in the ring and Billy gets a boot to the face. Vince says Honky requested this match so that Billy can close this chapter of his life before moving on to bigger and better things. Billy and Bart trade punches but Billy gets the upper hand and chokes Bart over the middle rope. Bart slams Billy’s head to the canvas then elbows his brother. Bart makes a mistake by lowering his head too early and gets rocker dropped. Billy sets up the Shake, Rattle and Roll to get the win.

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Brian Pillman

As Austin makes his way down to the ring, he is attacked by Jim Neidhart, Owen Hart and the British Bulldog on the ramp. Again, there is no sign of Bret, but the announcers fail to mention his absence. Pillman joins in on the attack and it is four on one. All of a sudden, Mankind runs out and makes the save! JR is confused as Pillman and Mankind start going at it in the ring as the officials take the rest of the Hart Foundation to the back and help Austin out of the arena. Vince thinks this is an official match between Mankind and Brian Pillman now, as we go to break.

Mankind vs. Brian Pillman

Ah, the old bait and switch. We return from break as Pillman kicks Mankind in the face. Mankind responds with a flurry of fists. He sends Pillman to the ropes and hits a back elbow. Austin’s knee was wrenches in the attack, according to JR. Mankind and Pillman fight to the outside and Mankind rakes Pillman’s face across the steel ramp. Brian responds by side suplexing Mankind on the ramp then slams him into the guard rail. Back in the ring and Pillman works over Mankind and chokes him across the bottom rope. Mankind fights back with head butts, but to no avail. Pillman slaps Mankind several times which annoys him and allows him the motivation to send Pillman to the corner. Mankind misses a splash and Pillman tears Mankind’s hair from his head as JR tells us Pillman and Austin used to be the Hollywood Blonds. Vince finally makes an indirect reference to what happened with Bret and Shawn, saying that Austin was attacked by all the members of the Hart Foundation, “save for one, who was asked to leave earlier tonight.” These two continue to slug it out until Mankind hits an inverted atomic drop and a running kick. Mankind follows up with a double arm DDT and holds up the claw. He applies it! Pillman goes down but the Harts are back to attack, causing a disqualification. Austin limps down the ramp and is followed by Ken Shamrock. The faces clean house as the Harts bail. Austin wants to know why Shamrock is here and ends up stunning him! He then limps over to Mankind and flips him the double bird, as we fade to black!

Next week, Austin finally gets his hands on Brian Pillman (I swear!) and the New Nation debuts.

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