July 5, 2010
WWF RAW 14TH JULY 1997
Weíre now going to 1997 WWF. Ratings were in the toilet but the product was amazing- just two weeks before they had produced the incredible Canadian Stampede PPV, universally renowned as one of the best PPVís of the decade. Bret Hart was soon to become WWF champion and was drawing insane heat, DX were on the cusp of being formed, Steve Austin was continuing his meteoric rise in popularity, and for once the WWF seemed to care about their cruiserweight, or as it was called light heavyweight division. It wasnít all perfect, but 1997 marked a sterling year for the WWF, and allowed them to transition seamlessly from the dated cartoony era of the early 1990ís to the Attitude Era that would obliterate WCW and provide them with mainstream acceptance that had not been seen since the glory days of Hulkamania. So, with all that hype.......
From San Antonio, Texas
Your hosts are Jim Ross and Vince McMahon
We kick things off with the Hart Foundation making their way down to ringside, Bret Hart clutching the Canadian flag. Bret says Alberta is rat free, but you canít say the same thing for San Antonio. The rats are in hiding because the Hart Foundation are a force to be reckoned with. He brings up if he doesnít win the WWF Title at Summerslam, he will never wrestle again on American soil. Canadians always keep their promises, but it wonít matter because the Undertaker will be spiralling down at Summerslam.
Owen Hart doesnít care whether he is defending the IC Title against Steve Austin or anyone else at Summerslam, because tonight he is focused on winning the tag titles back with the British Bulldog. Steve Austin will kiss his ass at Summerslam! The British Bulldog says if he loses the European Title at Summerslam he will eat a can of dog food immediately after the match. Brian Pillman criticises Goldust for being a bad father and will rip his heart at Summerslam. If he loses, he will wear a dress against Goldust the following night. If any of the Hart members lose at Summerslam, Jim Neidhart promises to shave his goatee.
Bret talks about all the things Canada do better than America, but is interrupted by Steve Austin! Austin stares down the Hart Foundation, who are looking for a fight considering they have the numbers advantage. But now here comes Ken Shamrock, the Patriot, Psycho Sid and Shawn Michaels! The announcers speculate over who will be Steve Austinís partner in the tag title match later tonight as the two sides continue to stare each other down. Elsewhere, the Headbangers play golf.
MATCH 1- JERRY LAWLER AND BRIAN CHRISTOPHER VS SCOTT AND IVAN PUTSKI
The running joke is everyone knows Brian Christopher is his son, but Jerry refuses to admit it, this time claiming Brian is his younger brother. This is going to be really awful. Putski sings a song before the match but gets jumped by the royal relations, who give the younger Putski a back body drop.
Putski comes back with a tilt a whirl backbreaker. Jerry accidentally dropkicks his son and receives a dropkick of his own from Scott. Putski levels Brian with a flying clothesline but gets tripped from the floor by Jerry. Brian bounces the younger Polish power into the steel steps. A facebuster back in the ring keeps Scott down. Northern lights suplex, and the tag is made to Jerry, who hits his piledriver. He has the pin, but allows Brian to finish him off with a top rope leg drop. But he misses! Putski hits a body slam and we get a double knock down off simultaneous clotheslines.
Brian Christopher accidentally superkicks his dad, and in comes the Polish Power, who looks like a very angry old man. Putski hits the Polish Hammer, and that gets the victory!
Rating- * ĺ- Not too bad a match actually, but nobody should buy the Polish Hammer as a finish beyond 1980.
Last week, Steve Austin refuses to allow Mankind to be his tag partner, and puts an exclamation mark on it with a Stunner, despite Mankind taking a vicious chair shot from Hunter Hearst Helmsley to help Steve Austin win his match with him. Mankind didnít take to it kindly, and promises the WWF will never be the same. Vince tries to get comments from Mankind over what happened, but the deranged masked man stays silent.
In the back, Paul Bearer says the hell Undertaker claims to have been living in is nothing compared to his brother Kane. He claims the Undertaker killed their parents and left Kane a disfigured wreck, but Kane is going to confront him. He is alive, and next week, Paul Bearer will prove it.
MATCH 2- TAJIRI YOSHIHIRO VS TAKA MICHINOKU
Yes, it is the Tajiri we know and love. Taka Michinoku was considered to be for the WWF what Rey Mysterio was for WCW, but it didnít quite work out.
They do a nice wrestling sequence to start. Tajiri snaps off a huracanrana and they trade roll ups. TAKA dropkicks Tajiri out to the floor and flies out with a springboard crossbody.Back in TAKA lands on his feet off a German suplex and catches Tajiri with a belly to back suplex. Tajiri nails a big kick to the head and a sit out powerbomb gets two off a rolling hold. A flying leg lariat knocks TAKA to the floor, and a beautiful asai moonsault by Tajiri. TAKA tries to come back off the top rope but gets smacked with a dropkick and a series of kicks. Simultaneous slaps knock each other down. A dragon suplex by Tajiri gets two. TAKA finally makes a comeback off a springboard dropkick, and the Michinoku Driver picks up the victory.
Rating- ** Ĺ- An incredible sampler for lucharesu. I really enjoyed this.
Ken Shamrock says he will not be Steve Austinís partner tonight, threatening his own opponent tonight, Jim Neidhart.
Earlier today, the Boricuas arrived in a low rider.
In the August Issue of the WWF Magazine, there is an article on Brian Pillman! Well, thatís most definitely the news of the show.
MATCH 3- THE HEADBANGERS VS LOS BORICUAS
Representing the Boricuas is Jose Estrada and Miguel Perez. Earlier today, the Headbangers mistake their opponents for Cheech and Chong.
Thrasher hits a nice back suplex on Jose and tags in his partner. A nice double front suplex is executed, but a ten punches spot goes wrong for Mosh as he gets cheap shotted by Perez. The hairy Hispanic comes in and hits a nice dropkick, and the same happens for Jose. Mosh comes back with a sunset flip for two. Jose suffers a huracanrana which sends him head first into the turnbuckle. Tag to Thrasher, tag to Miguel. It all starts to break down as the Headbangers take control. As I type that though Mosh is sent to the floor. Thrasher fights both of admirably for little while until he gets caught in a roll up, picking up the victory for the Puerto Ricans.
Rating- * Ĺ- Not bad while it lasted.
Post match Los Boricuas launch a 4 on 2 assault, but here come the D.O.A! The biker gang clean house and stand tall, but itís Los Boricuas that win the match.
In the back, the Patriot says he would be honoured to be Steve Austinís partner, but the reason he is here is simply to stand up for his country.
Hype for the new Steve Austin video.
We take a look at Shawn Michaels winning the WWF Title at the 1997 Royal Rumble in his home town of San Antonio, and he is back tonight! Shawn Michaels says he is not 100% tonight, but he is willing to be Steve Austinís tag team partner. He knows that if Bret Hart doesnít win the WWF Title at Summerslam, he wonít wrestle on U.S soil again, and while he isnít scheduled to be at Summerslam, but he gets down on his knees to beg Vince McMahon to allow him to be a part of the Summer Spectacular, because he wants to see the Undertaker run Bret Hart out of the United States! Despite the fact he is doing the interview, Vince wonít give him an answer, and thankfully wonít allow him to get naked at the end of the segment. That would have ruined a pretty solid promo.
End of Raw is War, now it is time for the Warzone!
Savio Vega storms down to ring side, saying a terrible accident has happened in the back. He drags a camera man with him. While we wait for the pictures to come through, Vince hypes the tag title match and Ken Shamrock Vs Jim Neidhart. He rejoin Savio, and it turns out ďsomeoneĒ has destroyed one of the D.O.Aís motorcycles. Unfortunately for Los Boricuas the D.O.A arrive on the scene, and while the Puerto Ricans profess innocence, it doesnít stop a brawl breaking out in the parking lot. As this goes down, the motorcycle is attached to the Los Boricuas low rider, and is dragged out of the lot. Skull and 8 Ball give chase as Chainz attends to a hurt Crush.
At this point, Jerry Lawler joins commentary.
MATCH 4- JIM NEIDHART VS KEN SHAMROCK
Shamrock controls Neidhart on the mat in the early going. Neidhart takes over with some dull striking. Thatís pretty much the match. Ooh, thereís some chin locks too, you canít forget them. Neidhart lands a body slam but when he goes up top flies into a punch to the gut. A huracanrana takes the Anvil off his feet, and a sleeper hold causes the tap out?
Rating- ľ *- Unspeakably dull match with a bizarre finish.
Post match the British Bulldog comes in for a 2 on 1 attack. They land a spike piledriver before the Patriot comes in to clean house with two Uncle Slams! The Patriot raises Ken Shamrockís hand.
In the back, Mankind still wonít talk to the announcers. We see the same footage from earlier of Steve Austin rejecting Mankind. Jerry Lawler thinks Psycho Sid will become Steve Austinís partner.
MATCH 5- THE NEW BLACKJACKS VS THE LEGION OF DOOM
On the face of it, Bradshaw and Barry Windham Vs The L.O.D sounds like it could be a minor dream match, but these two were at completely different places on the card at this time. It doesnít matter anyway, as the Godwinns come down to lay out the Legion of Doom from behind, and they canít compete.
MATCH 6- FLASH FUNK VS VADER
Vader crushes the puny pimp with a body splash. Funk is able to dropkick Vader over the top rope. He connects with a baseball splash and a suicide dive knocks Vader off his feet! The funky one is then able to throw Vader into the steel steps, but his momentum is stopped in the ring with a big blow to the face. Short arm clothesline and a splash can only get two. Powerbomb is countered by Funk and he gets a spinning wheel kick. Moonsault nearly gets an upset, but a powerbomb confirms there wonít be one.
Rating- **- Great stuff while it lasted. If these two crossed paths earlier in their career in a longer match, Iíd certainly like to see that one.
Post match Vader adds an exclamation mark with a Vader bomb.
In the back, Steve Austin doesnít care if Mankind gets involved or Shawn Michaels is 100%, because there is no way he is walking out of San Antonio without the tag titles.
MAIN EVENT- WWF TAG TITLES- THE BRITISH BULLDOG AND OWEN HART VS STEVE AUSTIN AND ???????
Austin cleans house on his own as it would appear he doesnít need a tag partner. Steve hits a suplex on Owen Hart but gets dropped with a flying leg lariat. Hart misses an enzuiguri and gets levelled with a clothesline. A sharpshooter attempt is broken up by the British Bulldog, and the Rattlesnake falls victim to the numbers game. Austin is able to smack Smith with another clothesline but canít build momentum as he is tossed to the floor, where Owen Hart lays on a beating. Information comes through that Austinís partner has arrived, and we see boots walking through the arena to a funky beat....... who could Austinís partner be? Find out after commercial.
We come back with Austin doing a decent job on his own but gets dropped with a belly to belly suplex. Stone cold hits a double clothesline but once again the numbers game is too much. Hart hits a neckbreaker for two. He comes off the top but gets caught with a fist to the gut, and Steve stomps a mudhole in Owen Hart. Both Hart Foundation members are sent to the floor! But thereís an interruption- itís Dude Love! He will be Steve Austinís partner! Steveís facial expressions are just brilliant.
Owen Hart takes this opportunity to attack from behind, but Steve Austin makes the tag to the Dude! Running knee in the corner by the hippest cat in the land! Tag made to the British Bulldog, who attempts a slam. Love goes out the back door and locks in the Mandible Claw! Owen breaks it up with a missile dropkick, but as the referee goes to usher Owen Hart out the ring, itís the Stone Cold Stunner to Davey Boy! Dude Love makes the corner, and Owen Hart is just a millisecond too late to make the save! Weíve got new champions!
Rating- *** Ĺ- The match itself was about ***, but Iím tacking on another half a star for the great angle.
Post match Austin shakes Dude Loveís hand and for once there is no follow up stunner. Dude Love celebrates with his title belt and his groupies as we go off the air!
Overall- The epitome of the hot streak WWF was on at the time. Yes, some of the stuff was a little bleh, like the return of Ivan Putski and the Gang Wars, but it was made reasonably entertaining due to the fact that it had a red hot crowd and was surrounding by a mixture of solid wrestling and superb storylines. A great way to close out the show too, as well as giving fans a compelling reason to tune in next week. Thumbs way up.