July 5, 2010
Jack Stevenson

WWF RAW 21ST JULY 1997

Last week, new tag team champions were crowned in San Antonio, Texas, as Steve Austin reluctantly teamed with Mick Foley’s newest persona Dude Love to overthrow the Hart Foundation representatives and reigning champions Owen Hart and the British Bulldog. This week we are back in Canada where the Hart Foundation are the heroes. What will happen this week as we roll towards Summerslam? All we know is that the Hart Foundation will face three mystery Americans in a flag match.

Live from Halifax, Nova Scotia
Your hosts are Vince McMahon, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler

As well as the flag match, there will be a Triple Threat tag team match between the Headbangers, the New Blackjacks and the Godwinns, and Shawn Michaels is in the building!

MATCH 1- VADER VS KEN SHAMROCK
In pre recorded comments, Ken Shamrock says he beat Vader the first time they met and he’ll beat him tonight. It’ll put him in the zone for Summerslam, and then the British Bulldog must eat a can of dog food. Sign in the front row- “Undertaker is a necrophiliac.” Shamrock attempts a leg lock early but Vader gets back to his feet and hits a big clothesline to the murderous mixed martial artist. A big splash can only garner two. Paul Bearer goes to work on Shamrock with his shoe as Vader argues with the referee. They head to the floor where Shamrock goes into the steel steps. Vader tries for the powerbomb but Shamrock gets out of it and hits an impressive belly to belly suplex! Shamrock locks in the leg lock but Bearer breaks it up, and receives a punch to the face from the World’s Most Dangerous man! That momentary distraction allows Vader to hit a slam and a splash off the top rope, but only for two! Vader Bomb meets knees, and Ken batters Vader with kicks. He tries for his huracanrana but Vader dumps him to the floor. As Vader distracts the referee again, the British Bulldog comes down to ringside and drops Ken Shamrock with a running powerslam on the entrance ramp! This causes Ken to be counted out, and Vader has caused Ken Shamrock his first defeat, although with a big assist from the British Bulldog!

Rating- ** ½- Solid bout with a faintly shoot style. Had a couple of nice twists and turns, and came off very well considering as we’re in Canada it was for all intents and purposes a heel vs. heel match.

We take a look at the imposing newcomer to the WWF, Brakkus. To be honest, he looks roided up to the gills and would probably be a terrible worker, so it’s a good job he never made an impact in the WWF. In fact, the only thing I can remember him doing in the WWF is the Brawl 4 All Tournament.

Here comes the Hart Foundation to a ridiculous pop! Bret says it’s good to be home, because he had a horrible nightmare he was in San Antonio! He points out the U.S.A is shaped like a toilet bowl, and it is because most Americans are full of crap! The American wrestlers are hiding from him. He wants to fight the Undertaker right here tonight! The British Bulldog says all these great Canadians just saw him powerslam Ken Shamrock on the entrance way. Bulldog wants Shamrock tonight as well! Owen Hart wants that slime Steve Austin to come out here and while he might not kiss his ass, but he can suck his toes instead.

This brings out Steve Austin to call Canada a living hell. He’ll come down and shove all the Hart Foundation’s toes up their asses. Austin accepts the challenge, and he will be a part of the six man flag match! He storms off, allowing the Hart Foundation to soak in the adulation of their home territory!

We learn that Los Boricuas and the D.O.A will face off in 8 man tag action at Summerslam, but both have been suspended after their brawl last week.

MATCH 2- BRYAN WALSH VS BRIAN CHRISTOPHER
Brian slams down Bryan and eats a miniature Canadian flag. Walsh comes back with both variations of monkey flip. The younger Lawler comes back with a stroke and rubs the chewed up flag in the jobber’s face. German suplex is followed up with a plain old suplex, but Walsh takes it back to basics with a slam and an elbow. Christopher goes for a running bulldog but gets driven crotch first into the second turnbuckle. Ten punches of doom and a nice dropkick appears to have Bryan Walsh on a roll, but a crossbody is countered into a powerslam. A reverse DDT variant and a top rope leg drop wraps up the win for Brian.

Rating- *- Nothing wrong with this, but nothing right about in particular either.

Next week the Truth Commission debut, but next it’s the Dude Love story! Anyone who has read Mick Foley’s autobiography knows the story, but for those who somehow haven’t, here’s the cliff notes WWF version told here. Mick Foley made a back yard character called Dude Love who dripped with sex appeal, but it never materialised. Jack Foley, Cactus Jack and Mankind didn’t work out for Foley so well, so he turned to Dude Love, and he won the tag titles in his first match.

Steve Austin can’t believe Dude Love wanted to be his tag partner, but he’s shown some guts. However, he still doesn’t want a tag team partner. Meanwhile, the L.O.D to say the least are annoyed at the Godwinns for their attack from behind.

MATCH 3- THE GODWINNS VS THE NEW BLACKJACKS VS THE HEADBANGERS
Earlier today, the Blackjacks say they plan to earn a tag title shot and become the champions by winning this three way tag match tonight. The Headbangers got 38 minutes of sleep last night, so they are fresh as daisies for this one.

Phineas Godwinn and Mosh form an unlikely alliance to take out Barry Windham, but Godwinn is quick to turn on the Manson-esque mauler. It breaks down into a mess of punching and kicking. Phineas hits a wheelbarrow slam but the pin is broken up by Bradshaw. They take each other down with double clotheslines. Windham comes back in to clean house. The match continues along the line of Wrestler A hits Wrestler B with a move, and Wrestler C breaks up the cover. Wrestler C hits Wrestler A with a move, and Wrestler D breaks up the cover.

The former NWA world champion hits a back suplex on the hog farmer, which is a depressing sentence to type. Thrasher accidentally takes out Mosh, and with the referee watches that, Phineas smacks Windham with a bucket, allowing Henry to pick up the tainted win.

Rating- ¼ *- Nonstop, terrible action.

We take a quick look at some negative things Canadian news papers are saying about the U.S.A.

It’s time to enter the Warzone! And to kick it off, here comes the, shall we say, unpopular, Heartbreak Kid, Shawn Michaels. Slightly overboard sign- “kill the kliq.” Anyway, Shawn Michaels promo is almost drowned out by the boos, which makes it slightly hard to recap. The gist is Shawn takes shots at Canada, and is met with chants of “faggot.” He moves onto the flag match, and confirms he will join Steve Austin on Team USA. He then takes us back to last week, where he begged WWF management to be a part of Summerslam. Earl Hebner is unable to officiate at Summerslam, so he is going to be a special referee- in the main event! He will officiate the WWF Title between the Undertaker Vs Bret Hart! However, Shawn’s been given this on the condition that if he doesn’t call it straight down the line, he also will not be allowed to wrestle in the USA. He pledges to be a fair official, and if you can’t trust Shawn, who can you trust? Good promo with a ton of heat.

MATCH 4- HUNTER HEARST HELMSLEY VS THE PATRIOT
The Patriot tells us that all patriotism is good, but the Hart Foundation are not good examples of it, and Canada shouldn’t be misled by them. That doesn’t go over well with the crowd, and as you might expect Hunter gets a large pop when he attacks the Patriot before the bell.

The Patriot no sells some chops and slugs away on the posh pugilist. A powerslam gets two, and here come the Hart Foundation! The Patriot refuses to let it get to him and connects with a snap suplex on Hunter. The Hart Foundation’s attention however appears to be on the commentary team, and more specifically Vince McMahon. Bret is fuming that Shawn Michaels is going to be the special guest referee at Summerslam. Hart puts his hands on McMahon and it takes both the Hart Foundation and the Patriot to prise the challenger for the WWF Title at Summerslam off McMahon. But then the Hart Foundation remember the Patriot is an American, and beat the hell out of him! Road agents have to escort the Hart’s to the back as we go to commercials. No match but a hell of an angle, and with the Canadian fans fully behind Bret Hart it kind of foreshadows Vince’s heel turn in 1998.

Paul Bearer says he is not a liar, and Kane still lives. You can tell by the Undertaker’s reaction. What’s more, he can prove that Kane lives. When the demonic brothers were younger, they made a statue, cut it in half, and promised they will keep it as long as each other live. He shows us Kane’s charred half of the statue, and says he knows the Undertaker has his other half. Jim Ross wants to see Kane, but Paul Bearer says he doesn’t want that to happen. He will bring him in though, if he has to.

MATCH 5- FAAROOQ VS GOLDUST
Goldust connects with a face buster and powerslam on Faarooq as Vince McMahon stresses Shawn must be a fair and honest official in the main event at Summerslam. Faarooq snaps off a suplex for two. Suddenly Vince mutters “oh no” and leaves the broadcast position to head to the back. Details are sketchy, but Bret Hart and possibly the rest of the Hart Foundation have been seen coming out of Shawn Michaels’s locker room, and Shawn is hurt. Meanwhile, Goldust makes a comeback and nails a bulldog on Faarooq, but as Marlena inadvertently distracts the referee, Kama takes out Goldust on the floor. Back in Faarooq hits the Dominator, but it turns out the official did see the assault and disqualifies Faarooq.

Rating- * ¼- OK-ish action until the very strange finish.

In the back, Shawn has been attacked but is refusing medical action.

MAIN EVENT- FLAG MATCH- BRET HART, OWEN HART AND THE BRITISH BULLDOG VS STEVE AUSTIN, ?????? AND ??????
Pre match, Bret Hart says this night will not go any further until the national anthem of Canada is played! It blares around the arena, giving the Hart Foundation to live their dream of being a barbershop group. Steve Austin comes out, but will not be alone, as he partners with Dude Love!

We get a slugfest to start. Dude Love gets thrown to the floor and it turns into three on one until Bret hits an inverted atomic drop and clotheslines the Rattlesnake out. It settles down to Owen and Dude. The youngest Hart smacks Dude with an enzuiguri, but Owen’s attempt to steal the flag fails, putting the Americans in control. And as we go to commercials, we can hear a familiar gong!

We come back and the Undertaker had indeed joined up with Austin and Love. Taker slugs down Owen Hart and the British Bulldog. Two handed choke slam to the King of Harts! Now a regular Chokeslam! He stupidly goes for the cover, allowing Bret Hart to break it up. Steve Austin tags in and clotheslines down Owen. Nicely executed suplex and an elbow drop and the Rattlesnake is in control. As Steve Austin holds Owen in a chinlock, JR announces we will stay with this match as long as it takes to get a winner, no matter whether they overrun or not. Owen goes for the flag and gets crotched by Dude Love, but catches his foreign foe with a DDT.

Back in comes Austin. He puts Owen on top and tries for a superplex. Owen shoves him off the top, but elects not to fly. A tag is made to the Undertaker as we go to what should be the final commercial break of this episode of Monday Night Raw!

We come back with Love squeezing Owen in a sleeper as the USA Network assures us there are five minutes left in the program, despite Jim Ross’ assertion we are staying here until the match reaches its conclusion. Bret Hart tags in to a massive ovation. He wraps Austin’s leg around the ringpost for the figure four but Dude Love makes the save. Tag to the Undertaker! Chokeslam to the British Bulldog! Tombstone piledriver is blocked by Bret, and the WWF Title competitors go at it. A double clothesline knocks puts them both down but it’s Taker who is first up. He goes for the flag but Owen slows him down enough for Bret to go for Canada’s. It’s a straight race now, but here comes Brian Pillman to take out the Undertaker, and Hart snatches the flag for the win!

Rating- *** ¾- The match itself was a great main event and worth about *** ¼, but it was the heat from the partisan crowd that pushes it closer to ****. A great main event.

Overall- A solid edition of Raw. A great main event and a solid Shamrock-Vader encounter are the highlights here. Not the best Raw episode there would be this year, but it’s still an exciting and unpredictable show, and worth watching.

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