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What the World Was Watching: Friday Night's Main Event - August 29, 1997

by Logan Scisco

-Jim Ross and Jim Cornette are in the booth for tonight’s show.  Location of the taping is not given.

-Ross interviews Shawn Michaels, who brings out the dented chair he hit the Undertaker with eleven days ago on RAW.  He says that the WWF pushed him into a corner so he had to respond with radical methods and he will not lay down and die for the Undertaker at Ground Zero.  He then claims that if the Undertaker does knock him down at Ground Zero that he will take down everyone with him in a blaze of glory.  After the crowd gets on him about his sexuality, Michaels threatens to go into the crowd and do some vile things to people’s girlfriends and mothers.  This was a solid promo that hyped the Ground Zero match and explained Michaels recent motivations.

-Opening Contest for the WWF Championship:  Vader (w/Paul Bearer) defeats Bret “the Hitman” Hart (Champion) by disqualification when the Hart Foundation interferes at 3:58 shown:

This match was setup by the last RAW episode, where Vader refused to give a Vader Bomb to the Patriot.  Vader is in face territory here, but he still has Paul Bearer in his corner.  Bret promises to kick Vader’s ass before the match and that’s something you don’t want to say to Vader, as he bowls over Bret to a huge pop.  Vader runs through his power offense, with Bret kicking out of a splash at two, and Bret brings a chair into the ring, which Vader gets a hold of.  However, before he can inflict damage, the Hart Foundation runs in and draws a disqualification for the champion.  Rating:  **¼

-After the bell, the Hart Foundation beats down Vader and Bret applies a ring post figure-four until the Patriot comes out and breaks it up.

-The Patriot tells Ross that he helped Vader to get back at Bret and he promises to win the WWF title at Ground Zero.

-Sunny comes out to do some guest commentary and she says that she does not care for Brian Pillman’s antics on RAW.  The announcers recap Pillman’s allegation that Dakota is his love child.

-Goldust (w/Marlena) pins Salvatore Sincere after a Curtain Call at 3:20:

Since Goldust needs an opponent to build some momentum for Ground Zero, the WWF decided to take Sincere out of mothballs.  Ross and Cornette talk about how Sincere needs a manager, completely glossing over when Sincere was briefly managed by Cornette in late 1996.  A complete squash here, albeit a good one because of the energy Sincere brought to it.

-After the match, Pillman calls out Goldust from the crowd.  Pillman brings up the love child angle and Goldust goes after him.

-Steve Austin’s interview with Jim Ross, which aired on RAW, is replayed.

-Dude Love beats Rockabilly with a double arm DDT at 4:12:

Without the Honky Tonk Man around, this Rockabilly gimmick serves no function anymore.  Rockabilly musters a decent amount of offense, but most of it consists of chokes and the contest ends up as a kick-punch affair.  Love pulls out “Sweet Shin Music” where he mocks Shawn Michaels stomping of the mat and kicks his opponent in the shin to set up the double arm DDT.  I’m surprised Michaels agreed to that in hindsight, but from what I remember he was a supporter of Foley.  Rating:  ½*

-After the match, Love tells Ross that he trusts Steve Austin will be ready for their tag team title defense at Ground Zero.  Love dances with some groupies on the way to the locker room.

-Sunny goes into the locker room to interview Bret Hart, but Bret kicks her out because she is an American.  Owen tells her to tell Sergeant Slaughter to give him another crack at Steve Austin.

-Ross interviews the Undertaker, who says that he has not faced Shawn Michaels in ten years because he wanted someone to stick around and tell the story of the Undertaker.  He promises to destroy Hunter Hearst Helmsley next week and that he signed Shawn Michaels death warrant with the blood from his forehead from last week’s RAW.

-Sable models the Austin 3:16 t-shirt, which you can buy for $20 (plus shipping & handling) by calling 815-734-1161.

-Non-Title Match:  Hawk (w/Animal) defeats The British Bulldog (European Champion w/Owen Hart) by disqualification when Owen Hart interferes at 4:56 shown:

It takes no time for Ross to warn the crowd that this match is not going to be pretty.  However, the match establishes a good pace and both men’s partners interject themselves into the contest before the Godwinns wander out.  Hawk busts out a nice looking powerbomb, but before he can finish the Bulldog with a flying clothesline, Owen nails him with the European title in plain view of the referee and that gets the Bulldog disqualified.  I was expecting a train wreck, but this one defied my expectations.  Rating:  **

-Sunny interviews Los Boricuas, who say that they returned the Disciples of Apocalypse motorcycles because Sergeant Slaughter got mad at them.  Seriously, that’s the reason.  Savio Vega claims that he will win the Triple Threat at Ground Zero and yells a lot in Spanish.  The Boricuas sexually harass Sunny before we go back to the ring.

-Crush & Chainz defeat Faarooq & Rocky Maivia by disqualification when Los Boricuas attack Crush at 4:14:

You can tell that Crush really doesn’t care anymore, as his selling in this mach is awful.  This rushes through the usual tag team formula until Los Boricuas come out when all hell breaks loose.  Crush gets attacked, which sparks a gang war between all of the factions and some WWF officials get abused in the scuffle until Sergeant Slaughter comes out and restores order.  Rating:  *½

-Light Heavyweight Exhibition:  Taka Michinoku beats Jerry Lynn at 5:31:

It is so weird seeing Lynn clean shaven.  He literally looked ten to fifteen years older than this when he had his big break in ECW two years later.  Lynn showcases what he can do with a somersault plancha and a nice headscissors and Michinoku responds in kind with a super hurricanrana and springboard plancha.  Michinoku misses a moonsault, where he gets awesome hang time, and Lynn hits a sit out powerbomb, but that only gets two and Michinoku outmaneuvers Lynn and hits his Michinoku Driver for the win in a very enjoyable match.  Was no one in the locker room watching this match?  I would have immediately drawn up a contract, put it in Lynn’s face, and signed him immediately.  Who needs Brian Christopher as the heel of the division when you have this guy?  Rating:  ***¼

-Sunny interviews the Truth Commission and the Commandant gets mad that his men are concerned with addressing Sunny with their eyes.  This is the first time the Truth Commission have been seen in a while.

-Sniper & Recon (w/The Commandant & The Interrogator) defeat The Headbangers when Recon pins Mosh with a roll up at 4:08 shown:

It does not take long for Sniper and Recon to put Thrasher in peril and he remains in that position for much of the match as the announcers try to sell the Headbangers as wrestling fans who love to watch old footage.  When all hell breaks loose, the Headbangers go for their powerbomb-flying leg drop combination, but the Interrogator pushes Thrasher off the top rope and when Mosh yells at him he costs his team the match.  The full version of this may have cracked **, but it missed a lot with the commercial break.  The WWF really has no idea what they want out of the Headbangers as they give them title shots one week and job them to new talent the next.  Rating:  *½

-A music video package that recaps tonight’s show plays us out.

The Final Report Card:  This match followed the Saturday Night Main Event formula by placing the big match at the beginning of the show and filtering out from there.  There is another Friday Night’s Main Event next week, which will feature the Undertaker against Hunter Hearst Helmsley and the Patriot against Owen Hart.  Overall, this show was fine.  The Lynn-Michinoku match was a treat and aside from Rockabilly-Dude Love everything else was serviceable.

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up


  1. Good review! I agree this show was set up more like a SNME, but it's unusual to be done during this time. Starting off with the best match and ending with a dud like the Truth Commission vs. the Headbangers is a bit of a head scratcher for me.

    I think its obvious the WWE missed the boat on the Lightheavyweight division. Not just because of the Brian Christopher mess, but because they had so many talented individuals participate in the tournament or early and then didn't retain any of them. Certainly Jerry Lynn was a miss, but I'd also say not taking Devon Storm was a mistake as well.

  2. Christopher HirschApril 30, 2013 at 2:24 PM

    Sincere was managed by Cornette? Anyone have a link to video of that?


  4. Christopher HirschApril 30, 2013 at 2:36 PM

    Thank you!

  5. Christopher HirschApril 30, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    This caption for a photo of X-Factor on sums them up quite nicely.

    "X-Factor members Albert, X-Pac and Justin Credible walked to the ring to an Uncle Kracker song."

  6. I may have mentioned this in a previous review, but I remember being psyched seeing Devon Storm and Ace Darling in the WWE. Those guys were hyped so much in the independent sections of the Apter Mags + PWI that it was awesome seeing them compete. I always remember being puzzled about why "Cheetah Master" never made it since the Apter mags put him over big too.

  7. Just wanna throw out there I'm pretty sure this was taped in Chicago.

  8. Yes I remember reading the same thing and anxiously waiting to see them. The other one I couldn't wait for was Christopher Daniels and I think he lived up to the hype.

  9. The HBK / Taker match that was being built to here sure coulda been used to save KOTR 95

  10. While HBK/Taker did have some awesome chemistry, I doubt they could of had a great match in '95 as Taker was still in that zombie phase, and only became more humanized in '97. Just look at Royal Rumble '96 where Undertaker's gimmick basically ruined what could had been a great match with Bret.

  11. True enough

  12. Scream09_HartKillerApril 30, 2013 at 9:49 PM

    I forgot about that to, although it's vaguely familiar.

    I don't think he needed Cornette though. His name was Sincere, and he pretended to be sincere, but he really wasn't sincere at all. That gimmick had teeth.

  13. Scream09_HartKillerApril 30, 2013 at 9:58 PM

    Off topic - but do you think Michael Hayes ever looks in the mirror and just thinks....what the fuck happened?''

    On topic - Raw was awesome back then. I couldn't tell you what happened on the last episode of Raw I watched fully, but I can tell you where I was when I watched this one - laying in bed, eating Salt and Vinegar chips, watching Raw at 1am on TSN.

  14. Scream09_HartKillerApril 30, 2013 at 9:59 PM

    I'm pretty sure this was one of the taped Raw's that was bumped for that dog show on USA. I can't remember if it ran another night or ran later in the night - if it ran late maybe they wanted to put the good stuff up front before people went to sleep.

  15. Scream09_HartKillerApril 30, 2013 at 10:06 PM

    I was the same way. It's funny how those magazines could hype someone up. I vaguely remember reading an article putting over Hector Garza, then when he showed up on Nitro I was like "Aww shit, WCW even has Hector Garza now!".

  16. The "Big Match" on the big show and it's over in less than 4 minutes? WTF? It's funny to think that shows featuring Rockabilly & the Truth Commission and the GANG WARS were basically the predecessor to the peak of the business.

    I forgot about Jerry Lynn being in the early LHWgt. Division- what a waste to throw him away and focus on Christopher (who I always found boring at the time- even Herb Kunze's columns point out what a bad choice he was as a Cruiserweight-style worker, since he was basically a small guy who fought the basic Heavyweight Style). Though I think I hate Christopher much more in retrospect, largely because at the time he was easy to ignore and I never really thought about him. Reading recaps I'm all of a sudden reminded of how LITTLE he really accomplished given what was put into him.

  17. What could have saved KOTR 95 would've been Shawn going through the whole tournament and winning instead of that lame draw.

  18. "I’m surprised Michaels agreed to that in hindsight, but from what I remember he was a supporter of Foley."

    So much so that he was pushing for Foley/Austin at Wrestlemania XV rather than Rock/Austin.

  19. They should've booked a Shawn-Hakushi final. No idea why they didn't put Hakushi in the tournament.

  20. I'm like you guys. In the early/mid '90s those magazines were great for reading about new talent. Reckless Youth was another one that the Apters hyped the shit out of that never made it either.


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