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What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw - May 12, 1997

by Logan Scisco

-Vince McMahon recaps last night’s In Your House pay-per-view.

-Jim Ross and Jerry “the King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from Newark, Delaware.

-The Hart Foundation arrives on the ramp and Bret hypes the qualities of each member.  Bret gives a great promo that blasts Austin for his behavior and “barnyard clich├ęs.”  Bret says he has a surprise to announce, but he gets irritated by the crowd berating him and leaves before revealing it.

-Call 1-815-734-1161 to get your Austin 3:16 t-shirt for $20 (plus shipping & handling)!

-King of the Ring First Round Match:  Ahmed Johnson defeats Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Chyna) by disqualification when Chyna interferes at 3:51:

The 1997 edition of the King of the Ring tournament was the weakest in history, with only eight men participating.  Helmsley is on a small winning streak, but he hasn’t faced anyone of Ahmed’s caliber in a couple of months.  If you close your eyes and listen to the commentary of this match it is eerily similar to the Booker T-Triple H contest from WrestleMania XIX as Ross and Lawler discuss Ahmed’s troubled past.  This is a very abbreviated contest and Ahmed appears headed for a clean win until Chyna gets a chair and nails him with it.  After the match, Ahmed and Helmsley engage in a small brawl on the stage.  Helmsley losing here was a small upset, since it was assumed that Ahmed’s feud with the Nation would cause him to lose this match, but he would be reinserted into the tournament when Vader was too injured to face Crush in another first round match.  Rating:  *

-Sunny hypes the Super Soaker by attacking The Headbangers with it.

-Vince McMahon interviews Steve Austin, who comes out with one of Bret Hart’s crutches and says that sooner or later he will be the WWF champion.  Austin says the quickest way to kill a snake is to chop its head off and he says Bret is the head of the snake of the Hart Foundation.  However, Austin says he wants to have fun with his endeavor, so he’s going to start with the ass of the snake, which is Brian Pillman (who he alludes to carrying in the “bush leagues”).  Great promo to set up Austin’s angles for the next six months.

-A video package showcases Ivan Putski, whose son, Scott Putski, will be making his debut tonight.

-Scott Putski defeats Leif Cassidy with a release German suplex at 4:05:

Another day, another job for Cassidy as he was the resident WWF jobber at this time.  Putski shows some raw talent and has a good look, but his debut took place without any build so the crowd doesn’t know what to make of him.  Somehow Putski avoided getting an embarrassing gimmick out of the gate, but that may be because the WWF was using him as a babyface.  Putski misses a few cues, but Cassidy does a good job covering for them.  An okay match, but the spots needed to be more fluid.  After the match, Cassidy snaps and blasts Putski with a suicide dive.  However, Putski clotheslines him over the top rope when they get back into the ring.  This whole thing showcased Cassidy losing his mind, which eventually manifested itself in the “Head” gimmick.  Rating:  *½

-The Legion of Doom say they can’t wait to mistreat two members of the Nation of Domination like small animals.  Uh, poor choice of words there?

-The Legion of Doom beat PG-13 when Hawk pins both members after a Doomsday Device at 1:58:

In this contest the Legion of Doom were scheduled to face two members of the Nation of Domination and PG-13 assumed that it would be Faarooq and Crush, but they were forced to compete by their Domination brethren.  For people that hate PG-13 this is your match, as the LOD squash them like bugs.  In Jamie Dundee’s shoot interview he said that this match cost them a job in ECW because it made them damaged goods.  This was the end of PG-13’s tenure in the WWF, so no more raps for the Nation from here on out.

-Mankind is shown with a man who has bandages wrapped around his face backstage, who we assume is Paul Bearer.

-Dok Hendrix hypes the next Madison Square Garden house show.  The Undertaker & Sid face Vader & Mankind, Ahmed Johnson faces Faarooq, the Legion of Doom & Steve Austin face Brian Pillman, Owen Hart & the British Bulldog, Goldust takes on Hunter Hearst Helmsley, and Rocky Maivia faces Savio Vega.

-Mankind comes out and brings Paul Bearer, who has his face wrapped in bandages, with him.  Bearer says that he is giving the Undertaker one more chance to get back together with him or he will reveal a secret that only the Undertaker knows.  He alludes to the fact that this deals with the Undertaker’s dead mother and father and thereby kicks off one of the more fascinating and well done angles of 1997.
-McMahon interviews Faarooq, who has been named the number one contender for the WWF title.  Faarooq says that there has never been a black WWF champion even though Ahmed Johnson was Intercontinental champion and Bobo Brazil (!!!) was U.S. champion decades ago.  He gives a race centered promo of how blacks are discriminated against and how he’s going to change that with his fists and feet.  Despite the controversial content, this is by far the best promo Faarooq has given thus far in his WWF career.

-Non-Title Match:  The Undertaker (WWF Champion) defeats Savio Vega (w/The Nation of Domination) by disqualification when the Nation interferes at 3:55 shown:

We join this one in progress and Savio works the leg after a Nation member grabs the Undertaker’s leg when he runs the ropes.  The announcers miss an easy storyline concerning what might happen if Savio wins here, since Faarooq is the number one contender and it might create more rifts in the Nation.  The Undertaker makes a comeback out of nowhere and hits the Tombstone, but the Nation predictably invades the ring and beats down the champion.  Rating:  *¼

-Sable models an Austin 3:16 t-shirt and you can get yours for $20 by calling 815-734-1161!

-Rob Van Dam defeats Jeff Hardy with a split legged moonsault at 2:28:

This was part of an ECW angle where Rob Van Dam and Sabu declared their allegiance to the WWF and aligned themselves with Jerry Lawler.  Lawler hypes Van Dam on the microphone and Van Dam says ECW is low budgeted and low talented.  So basically our storyline here is that Van Dam is making an unauthorized appearance in the WWF.  Van Dam nearly flies into the first row on a plancha and since we are in Delaware he gets a few “you sold out” chants.  A very impressive squash for Van Dam, who works in the ***** Frog Splash and his split legged moonsault, which wows the crowd.

-Part two of Dustin and Terri Runnels interview with Jim Ross is shown.  Dustin talks about his relationship with his young daughter Dakota and talks about how he wanted to be like his father and pulled it off.  He says that he hopes that his father is proud of him.

-Ross interviews WWF Champion The Undertaker on the Titantron.  The Undertaker says that he may have to unleash a demon to deal with the Nation of Domination and that there are some secrets that are better left untouched.

-Non-Title Four Team Elimination Match:  Owen Hart & The British Bulldog (WWF Tag Team Champions) defeat The Headbangers, Doug Furnas & Philip LaFon & The New Blackjacks at 6:59 shown:

Order of Elimination:  Windham pins LaFon with a lariat at 1:42; Thrasher pins Bradshaw during the commercial break by falling on top of his after a suplex when Furnas and LaFon trip Bradshaw; Bulldog pins Thrasher with a running powerslam at 6:59 shown

None of the teams get an introduction, as they are forced to stand in the dark until the Undertaker completes his promo.  This is quite a random match and realistically, none of these teams are on Owen and Bulldog’s level in physique, experience, or overness.  Furnas and LaFon continue to be depushed as they are eliminated less than two minutes into the match because of a miscommunication spot.  The New Blackjacks also continue their lack of direction by going out during the commercial break.  The Headbangers seemingly win after Thrasher superplexes Mosh onto Owen, but Owen puts his foot on the ropes and the referee waves off the count.  Lawler keeps referring to this as the “Raw Bowl” but that doesn’t make any sense because the Raw Bowl in 1996 was held on New Year’s Day and was a parody of the college football season.  Nevertheless, the Headbangers acquit themselves well with some smooth double teams, but the Bulldog and Owen emerge on top when all hell breaks loose and get the victory.  I have no idea what the point of this was since it didn’t put over any new contenders and the whole thing was a mess until it got down to the last two teams.  If they wanted to put over the Headbangers as legit contenders they should have just scheduled a match between them and the champions.  Rating:  **

-Chyna beating up Flash Funk at In Your House is the Super Soaker Slam of the Week.

-Bret Hart and the rest of the Hart Foundation come down to the ring.  Bret tells the rest of the Hart Foundation to go back to the dressing room.  Bret calls out Shawn Michaels and when Shawn arrives works in a nice burn about how his career is “hot and cold.”  Bret goes on a hilarious anti-American rant and says Shawn didn’t face him like a man at WrestleMania XIII and he continues ranting as the show goes off the air. 

The Final Report Card:  Aside from the bait and switch at the end of the show, this was a great effort of storytelling on the WWF’s part.  We have lots of things to follow next week.  First, what is Bret’s major announcement?  Second, what is Shawn Michaels going to do in response?  Finally, what is the Undertaker’s secret?  The glue of the top storylines is what held the show together, but this show provided nothing too terribly offense in two hours and that’s an accomplishment.

Monday Night War Rating:  2.8 (vs. 3.2 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up


  1. That RVD squash is one of my favorite squash matches and I was saddened that PG-13 were no longer doing raps for the Nation. Also that MSG show looked better than a lot of the PPV's we got that year.

  2. I will never understand why they didn't sign RVD long term and build their light heavyweight division around him. The few times he was on Raw back then, he was getting some pretty big crowd reactions and pulling out stuff that no one else was doing.

  3. Totally agree, even back in 97 RVD was special and a lot different to the rest of the roster and while RVD didn't get his big break in 97, he still ended up getting his big break 4 years later and the same thing happened all over again that RVD was still totally different to the rest of the roster and fans fell in love with him all over again.

  4. This was the show where Bret forgot his cue. He forgot the line that was supposed to trigger Michaels into kicking him. Michaels did, in fact, super kick him, but it was off the air... and the guys didn't know until they reached the back. They both go over this in the rivalry DVD.

  5. After the PG-13 squash the lyrics completely disappeared from the Nation theme outside of the chorus.

  6. Yeah that MSG show looks hella stacked...

  7. "Dok Hendrix hypes
    the next Madison Square Garden house show.
    The Undertaker & Sid face Vader & Mankind, Ahmed Johnson faces
    Faarooq, the Legion of Doom & Steve Austin face Brian Pillman, Owen Hart
    & the British Bulldog, Goldust takes on Hunter Hearst Helmsley, and Rocky
    Maivia faces Savio Vega."

    Uh... why isn't this shit on Raw? Why book this kind of goodness for meaningless house shows?

  8. That's how house shows almost always work. They test out matchups and also give you something you won't see on TV to make going to the arena worth it.


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