July 5, 2010
Jack Stevenson

WWF RAW 28TH JULY 1997

This Raw takes place on my birthday, but in 1997 I was a mere young grasshopper. The World Cup has slowed down my wrestling viewing to a minimum as of late, but I have squeezed in the time to do this show. Also, Iíve decided to get into Dragon Gate after being impressed by them in ROH. I started off with the Best of Wrestlejam Volume 1 and its good stuff, although I am assured it gets better. Still, if you can find it for cheap you should take a punt at it, as it is mostly rewarding viewing. Anyway......

Live from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Your hosts are Vince McMahon, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler

The Hart Foundation are out first, and in stark contrast to last week they are not popular at all. Ross informs Bret Hart that his punishment for his attack on Shawn Michaels last week could have been a suspension, but that would cost the fans the match against the Undertaker at Summerslam, so no action will be taken until after the event, when a new commissioner will be appointed. Ross asks if Bret has anything to say to these American fans. Of course he does. He tells the American fans there is no justice in America, and the people here do anything they can to screw you. The camera immediately focuses on Vince McMahon. FORESHADOWING ~!

When Bret said he would never wrestle in America again if he lost to the Undertaker at Summerslam, he only meant it as a figure of speech, but Canadians keep to their word, even if the deck is stacked against him. Next week, at Summerslam, despite Shawn Michaels being the WWF referee, supposing he doesnít call it fair and square, then all that will happen is Bret will be screwed again, and Shawn sits at home for 10 years finding his smile again! Bret promises that he will win the WWF Title at Summerslam though.

Bret demands Shawn apologise to the Canadian fans for his comments. If you were going to give the USA an enema, youíd stick the hose in America! Bretís getting some good haymakers in here. Finally, he turns his attention to the Patriot. The Patriot has allied himself with the wrong people. A loud chant breaks out which I canít quite make out. The Patriot set the wrong example, but tonight, he will set a good example. The Patriot will be added to the list of Americans to have been flushed down the toilet. The Undertaker is next on his list, and at Summerslam, he brings the WWF Title back to Canada where it belongs! Strong promo by Bret Hart.

Tonight, Steve Austin and Dude Love defend the tag titles against the Godwinns, and Shawn Michaels is here tonight! Plus, Crush Vs Faarooq, and in a good note for Faarooq, Ahmed Johnson is back! The L.O.D will also take on Los Boricuas, and the Truth Commission debut! Surprisingly enough, all the American fans think the Undertaker will beat Bret Hart at Summerslam this weekend.

MATCH 1- LOS BORICUAS VS THE LEGION OF DOOM
Los Boricuas are confident of victory before the match. Representing the Puerto Rican pugilists will be Savio Vega and Miguel Perez. Two weeks ago, the Godwinns launched a vicious attack on the Legion of Doom, bloodying Road Warrior Hawk.

Hawk and Vega kick things off. Hawk lands a clothesline and a big neckbreaker. Tag into the Animal who runs right through Vega, forcing him to tag in his partner. Animal hits a powerslam and an elbow, but Hawk misses an elbow, and Perez takes control. Tag made to Vega, and Los Boricuas double team the smaller road warrior. Slam and a standing moonsault gets two for Miguel. Hawk fires right back and a big boot forces Savio to break up the cover. Animal dumps him to the floor, but the Doomsday Device is broken up by invading Boricuas for the DQ.

Rating- *- Not a bad match by any means, but you could almost predict the next move time after time.

Post match the Godwinns come out to hit Road Warrior Hawk with another slop drop.

Itís time for an interview with Hunter Hearst Helmsley, who is facing Vader next. Before all that though, we see all the fighting between him and Mankind in the recent weeks. They will meet in a Steel Cage match at Summerslam. Helmsley defends Chyna for attacking Mankind recently, saying he was the one who got the job done, Chyna just left the calling card. As for Vader, he thinks it isnít Vader time, itís Jennie Craig time!

MATCH 2- HUNTER HEARST HELMSLEY VS VADER
As Vader walks down to ringside, Chyna stares him down, turning her back to the ring. This allows Mankind, dressed as a cameraman, to assault Hunter Hearst Helmsley! Chyna tries to make the save off the top rope but slips and lands on her nether regions. Mankind and Hunter then brawl off into the crowd! Helmsley is in the end able to flee the clutches of his deranged foe, allowing Mankind to garner a mental victory heading into the cage match at Summerslam!

We go to the back, where the leader of the new stable the Truth Commission, the Commandant, has some words. He assures us that the truth will hurt, and finishes up with an evil laugh.

IBF Heavyweight Champion Michael Moore is at ringside. Another debuting superstar is Brakkus, who says some stuff in German. You can make out the phrase ďNation of Domination.Ē

MATCH 3- JESSE JAMES, FLASH FUNK AND BOB HOLLY VS THE TRUTH COMMISSION
The Truth Commission are represented by Recon, Sniper and the huge Interrogator, who is better known as Kurrgan. The Commandant is at ringside.

Recon and Flash Funk start. Funk connects with a nice dropkick, slam, and crossbody off the top rope. In comes the Sniper, in comes Jesse James. James hits a crossbody for two. Recon slips in a sneaky knee to the back, allowing Sniper to smack him with a back elbow. The tag is made to the Interrogator, who dismantles James. Quick tags between the Commission ensure they keep control until the Interrogator misses a blind charge and Bob Holly takes them all on. This doesnít turn out too well for him, as he waltzes right into a sidewalk slam for the win.

Rating- *- Too short to get dull, but also too short to be worth anything.

We get a video package for the Patriot, taking a look at his entrance into the WWF and his beat down at the hands of the Hart Foundation last week. After the commercial break, the Patriot accepts the challenge of Bret Hart. He doesnít like Bret Hart, so tonight he will perform his duty with pleasure. This whole character was so gratingly goody-goody Iím surprised it got over at all.

MATCH 4- CRUSH VS FAAROOQ
As previously mentioned, Ahmed Johnson is back and is in Faarooqís corner along with the rest of the Nation of Domination. Counteracting this, Crush has got the rest of his D.O.A backing him up tonight.

Faarooq tries to come off the top early but gets caught in mid air with a powerslam. The N.O.D leader is able to fight back and connect with a backbreaker for two. Faarooq gets over confident though and is dropped with an electric chair. A piledriver and a big boot looks to have Crush in control, but Kama trips Crush up as he hits the ropes and that is a cue for everyone to jump in for a mass brawl!

Rating- Ĺ *- Dull as dishwater while it lasted, but at least it was short.

As the D.O.A and N.O.D brawl, Los Boricuas sneak out and pearl harbour Crush, slamming him into the entrance ramp! The Puerto Ricans flee, allowing the Nation of Domination to assert their numbers advantage and clear the ring of the Bikers.

Hour Two- The Warzone!

MATCH 4- WWF TAG TEAM TITLES- STEVE AUSTIN AND DUDE LOVE VS THE GODWINNS
The British Bulldog and Owen Hart join us on commentary for this WWF Tag Title defence. Itís safe to say Steve Austin is fairly popular, and he starts off a slugfest from the offset!

Dude Love and Phineas become the first legal men. Love goes up top but then thinks better of it and drops Phineas with a clothesline. In comes Henry Godwinn to take a beating from Steve Austin. A double arm DDT only gets two for Love as Phineas breaks up the cover. On commentary, the British Bulldog challenges Ken Shamrock to an arm wrestling match.

The Godwinns temporarily take control of Dude Love as Phineas slams Henry onto Dude Love. The hardcore hunk quickly comes back with a bulldog, and itís a tag to Steve Austin! The rattlesnake cleans house and drops Henry with a stunner! Phineas saves the day by knocking Austin to the floor, which allows Owen to deck Steve with the IC Title as Dude Love inadvertently distracts the referee. Austin is counted out, allowing the Godwinns to take the win, but not the title.

Rating- *- A tag match that had more action than you would expect, but didnít really click.

Post match Steve Austin launches himself at Owen Hart and we have a brawl on our hands! Dude Love and the British Bulldog join in, before the Godwinns make it 4 on 2. The Legion of Doom run out to even the odds, and the heels beat a hasty retreat. Steve snatches Vince McMahonís headset and tells Owen Hart that the bottom line is that Owen Hart will get his ass kicked at Summerslam!

MATCH 5- ACE DARLING VS DEVON STORM
Pre match, Ken Shamrock brings a table down to ringside, obviously for the arm wrestle the British Bulldog just challenged him to. Devon Storm would later have minor success in the world of wrestling as Crowbar.

Storm goes for a monkey flip but Darling lands on his feet. A crossbody off the second rope and a victory roll gets two. Jerry Lawler gives the verbal blowjob to Brian Christopher as Storm counters Ace Darlingís huracanrana into a roll up for the win! Boy, with long, competitive matches such as this itís an absolute shock that the light heavyweight division didnít get over.

Itís now time for the arm wrestling match between Ken Shamrock and the British Bulldog. It goes back and forth for a little while but with the Bulldog firmly in control. Shamrock looks like he will turn the tide, so Bulldog gives him a head butt and then demolishes him with repeated steel chair shots. To add insult to injury he covers the Worldís most Dangerous Man in dog food.

MATCH 6- GOLDUST VS ROCK-A-BILLY
At ringside a mannequin models the dress Brian Pillman must wear should he lose the match at Summerslam. Pre match Goldust knows Brian Pillman is watching, and next week Pillman wearing the dress at ringside. Marlena joins in to gauge audience opinion on whether Pillman should wear the dress. Itís a unanimous yes.

Billy stomps Goldust down to start. Goldust returns fire by clotheslining Billy to the floor. Billy gets into it with IBF heavyweight champion Michael Moore, who knocks out Billy with a big haymaker! As this goes on, Pillman leaps in and assaults Goldust, breaking the mannequin and tearing off the dress. Marlena leaps onto the back of Pillman to try and get him off, and the two have to be separated by officials.

We take a special look at the Undertaker in a video package. Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels and the British Bulldog pay their respects to the champion, along with some comments from the Undertaker himself, where he says his soul and spirit inspire him.

Itís now time for a Shawn Michaels promo. HBK starts off by refusing to apologise for his comments about Canada last week. Shawn isnít a brain surgeon, but he knows heís safer in the ring then he is the locker room, because he isnít the most popular guy in the WWF. Heís decided to do colour commentary as the Patriot takes on Bret Hart next! In the back, Bret Hart is fuming.

MAIN EVENT- BRET HART VS THE PATRIOT
Bret stops to have some words with Shawn. Think weíll have some sarcastic comments from Shawn in this? We do from the outset, as Shawn talks about the ďspecial bondĒ he and Bret have. Bret gets in the ring and demands the people shut up so we can listen to the Canadian national anthem. Shawn fakes emotion at ringside. The Patriot, as you probably know, comes out to a version of Kurt Angleís WWE theme, which sounds horrible with him. The Patriot wants the American national anthem. Bret goes on the attack halfway through and beats the heck out of the Patriot as the national anthem comes to his conclusion. Bret hammers away, dominating the Patriot in the early going. The Patriot blocks a blind charge and connects with a clothesline. They brawl on the floor as the WWF announce they will stay with this match for as long as possible. A flying shoulder tackle off the top rope gets two as we head to a commercial break.

We come back with Bret connecting with a side slam on the Patriot. The cocky Canadian nails his patented side Russian leg sweep for two. A great back suplex leaves the Patriot flat on his back for a top rope elbow drop. The Patriot makes a comeback with some big punches, but the Uncle Slam is countered when Bret pushes off the top rope with his legs and crashes into the referee. Bret connects with a piledriver, but the referee is out. Bret tries to help the official up, dropping a leg in between. Bret hits a headbutt to the groin comes in, but Shawn comes in to break up the cover, not that it mattered as the referee was down. The Patriot catches Bret, distracted by Shawn, with a tight roll up for the one two three!

Rating- **- Pretty damn good for the time it got.

Post match the Patriot celebrates with the American flag. Bret tries to get at the Patriot but canít due to a wall of referees. Bret turns his attention to a very smug Shawn Michaels, but here comes the Undertaker, and we donít get to see what went down as we head off the air!

Overall- Really good episode of Raw. This is so interesting to watch, as the WWF ticks towards Montreal with arguably the hottest storyline in itís history lighting up crowds and on occasion providing some splendid wrestling. If you can find them, go through the Summer of 1997 in the WWF in chronological order, or at least pick up the Canadian Stampede PPV if you want an amazing snapshot of what a motivated creative team can do with limited resources.

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