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What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw - September 8, 1997

by Logan Scisco

-A video package recaps the events of last night’s In Your House:  Ground Zero pay-per-view.

-Vince McMahon, Jim Ross, and Jerry “the King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from Cincinnati, Ohio.

-McMahon interviews Commissioner Sergeant Slaughter, who receives a chorus of boos.  Slaughter pledges that there will be law and order in the WWF and that Steve Austin will be suspended until he receives a doctor’s order that allows him to compete.  Slaughter announces the beginning of a tournament to crown a new Intercontinental champion, with the finals to be held at In Your House:  Badd Blood, and Austin must present his title to the winner.  Austin comes out to a big reaction, pledges to deliver a can of whoop ass to Slaughter’s front door, and makes fun of his weight.  The last part might seem cheesy, but Austin delivers it in such a bad ass manner that John Cena should take notes.  On his way out, Austin gives Slaughter a Stone Cold Stunner, which makes the crowd lose its collective mind, and he teases attacking McMahon before WWF officials intervene.  THIS is what you call an opening segment.

-The Undertaker’s plancha at Ground Zero last night is the Discovery Zone Rewind segment.

-Footage of Steve Austin giving Jim Ross a Stone Cold Stunner at Ground Zero last night is shown, along with his recent Stunner to Sergeant Slaughter.  Slaughter really sold his like a champ, as he lifted his legs on the way down to give the move more impact.  After these are shown, WWF officials tell Austin to get out of the building.

-The announce crew discusses the lingering Bret Hart-Vader feud and their recent encounters on Friday Night’s Main Event.

-Opening Non-Title No Holds Barred Contest:  Bret “the Hitman” Hart (WWF Champion) wrestles Vader to a no contest at 7:46 shown:

Bret goes for the cheap heat by running down Pete Rose and Bret establishes that this is a no holds barred match by blasting Vader with the WWF title as he gets into the ring.  Bret uses the ring steps too, but Vader proceeds to overcome that and maul him with big strikes.  Vader hits the powerbomb, but when he goes for a Vader Bomb, the British Bulldog runs down and gets involved.  The Patriot makes the save to even the odds, but Owen Hart runs out to make it 3-on-2.  Bret grabs a chair to accelerate the destruction, but Steve Austin prevents the Patriot from taking a spike piledriver on it and tries to go after Owen, but Owen and the rest of the Hart Foundation flee.  This was a fun match, even with all of the interference, and the no contest verdict was justified based on what they are building up.  Rating:  ***¼

-Sergeant Slaughter is shown pacing in the locker room, favoring his neck.

-The action of last night’s Fatal Four Way tag team match is chronicled by the announce crew and footage of the Headbangers celebrating their title victory with their fans in Louisville is shown.

-The Godwinns destroy some jobbers, which were scheduled to face the Headbangers, and Henry Godwinn gets on the mic and challenges the Headbangers to a match after their fluke victory on last night’s pay-per-view.  The Headbangers accept the challenge.

-Non-Title Match:  The Godwinns defeat The Headbangers (WWF Tag Team Champions) when Phineas pins Mosh after Uncle Cletus hits Mosh in the back of the head with a horseshoe at 3:05:

This match has an odd dynamic, as the announce team makes fun of the Headbangers attire and what they stand for while hyping the viciousness of the Godwinns.  Remind me again why the Headbangers were booked to win the titles in the first place?  The Godwinns put Thrasher in peril, but after Mosh hits Phineas with the Mosh Pit, an unknown man in overalls (the soon to be revealed Uncle Cletus) interferes behind the referee’s back and gives the Godwinns a victory.  Rating:  *½

-Ross interviews the Godwinns after the match and Henry says that they have brought their Uncle Cletus to the WWF in order to watch their backs.  Uncle Cletus was played by Tony Anthony, who viewers of the WWF in the mid-1990s will recognize as T.L. Hopper, the evil plumber.

-The announce crew discuss the Ground Zero ”indecent proposal” match between Brian Pillman and Goldust.

-Sunny lets us know that she is going to be in the locker room and showers tonight getting some scoops on the latest WWF news and introduces Dude Love, who she dances with by the entrance.

-Dude Love brings out Goldust for a first round Intercontinental title tournament match against Brian Pillman, but Pillman calls in from home and says he refuses to wrestle until the WWF guarantees his safety.  He then has a tape played of “Brian Pillman’s XXX Files,” where he alludes to having wild sex with Terri last night.  Goldust looks humiliated as the segment comes to a close.

-Max Mini pins Piratita Morgan with a La Magistral Cradle at 2:38:

This is the usual Max Mini-type match where he flies around a lot, gets knocked down a few times by a bigger opponent, and then magically gets a roll up to win.  This is OK filler, but I never got the point of using the minis in late 1997 and early 1998.

-Ross explains the Hell in a Cell match which has been signed for In Your House:  Badd Blood between Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker.

-A video package chronicles the feud between Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker.

-McMahon interviews the Undertaker, who tells ShawnMichaels that last night was only the beginning of his struggle against death.  He makes sure to emphasize that Hell in a Cell will have no way of escape, so Michaels will have to hear the music of the bells that will signal his demise.  Michaels appears on the Titantron, says that he is a survivor, and he will survive again at Hell in a Cell.

-Sunny interviews the Hart Foundation.  Owen says that he is not scared of Steve Austin and he will put him out of the WWF a second time if he tries to touch him.  As insurance, he says that Bret and the British Bulldog will accompany him in his Intercontinental tournament match against Goldust.

-Intercontinental Championship Tournament First Round Match:  Owen Hart (w/Bret Hart & The British Bulldog) defeats Goldust by disqualification at 2:08:

The brackets for this tournament are:

*Brian Pillman-Dude Love
*Owen Hart-Goldust
*Ken Shamrock-Faarooq
*Ahmed Johnson-Rocky Maivia

Goldust attacks Owen prior to the bell and decides to give Owen too many low blows in view of the referee and gets disqualified.  I think that is the only time that I ever recall seeing this finish.

-After the match, the Hart Foundation does a beat down on Goldust until Steve Austin makes the save with a broom.  Austin once again threatens McMahon before leaving.

-As Goldust goes to leave the ring, Brian Pillman calls in to show part II of his “XXX Files”, where he says that he is getting ready to take a shower with Terri.

-McMahon interviews the Hart Foundation and Bret says if Sergeant Slaughter wants to save face that he should suspend Steve Austin from the WWF for life.

-Call 1-900-737-4WWF if you want to hear Brian Pillman’s phone conversation with WWF officials as he sped away with Terri at Ground Zero last night.  The call will cost you $1.49 per minute!

-Savio Vega comes out to do guest commentary because he’s the “king of the triple threat match” after winning one last night at Ground ZeroThe upcoming triple threat is scheduled to be a match between the Patriot, Hunter Hearst Helmsley, and the British Bulldog, but while the Bulldog makes his entrance, Helmsley, Shawn Michaels, and Chyna attack him and go after his right knee.  Meanwhile, the Patriot just stands in the ring in a great display of sportsmanship.

-Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Chyna) defeats The Patriot & Savio Vega when he pins Savio after ramming Savio’s head into the Patriot’s at 11:40 shown:

With the Bulldog injured, Savio demands a place in the match and after he punches Helmsley this one gets underway.  I really hate that the triple threat is being used in a throwaway match like this because the stipulation needs to be used for a special circumstance.  The match gets zero reaction until Shawn Michaels wanders back out to do guest commentary.  Literally NOTHING happens in this match and random pin attempts that are broken up simply because there is a third man in the ring.  One interesting thing happens when the Patriot cradles Helmsley, but does so with his shoulders on the mat and instead of trying to see a double pin, which would logically make him the winner, Savio breaks it up.  Speaking of which, that is a finish to the triple threat that I do not think has ever been tried, so bookers take note.  About fifteen minutes in, if you add the commercial breaks, the crowd works up a very audible “boring” chant.  Savio takes out the referee with a spinning heel kick while trying to block a Pedigree attempt by Helmsley and our finish ends up really convoluted as the Patriot is crotched going to the top rope when Savio slingshots Helmsley into the corner, but cannot get a pin because there is no referee.  Savio then takes a swing at Michaels when he gets on the apron and that allows Helmsley to whip Savio into the Patriot, who is napping on the top buckles, and score a very underwhelming victory.  This has to be the worst triple threat match I have ever seen.  Rating:  ¼*

-After the match, Michaels takes out the Patriot and Savio Vega and Los Boricuas and Vader charge the ring.  The heels arm themselves with chairs in the ring to fight off their attackers and the Hart Foundation walks out as the show goes off the air.

The Final Report Card:  This was a really weird show because you expect RAW to have an okay first hour and a great second hour.  Instead, this show had a pretty good first hour and a really lousy second hour.  The triple threat nearly kills the show and likely did in the ratings as this was the lowest rated RAW in three months, but Steve Austin’s antics in the first hour save it from being a complete waste of time.

Monday Night War Rating:  2.2 (vs. 4.3 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Neutral


  1. You mean this opener is better than a dance contest???

  2. Hhh would never be involved in a boring match! How dare u sir. Actually I really remember watching that match and saying to myself that whoever booked this match is not the same guy who wrote the rest of the show. It was so dull. I'm glad the crowd crapped on it.

  3. That was a boring ass triple threat match. If I remember correctly HHH crotch chopped the crowd or something while the boring chants were going on.

  4. Knuckleberry PinnMay 21, 2013 at 8:32 PM

    They really came up with a brilliant way to keep Austin mega-over despite being on the shelf.

  5. Patriot/Vega/HHH still stands out to me all these years later as maybe the worst match in Raw history. There have others that have been purely crappier, but none that were both crappy and LONG. This match was almost 20 minutes long!

    It's too bad Bret vs. Vader never happened on a PPV where they gave it real time. Would've been a weird dynamic with Vader as a face and Bret as the heel but still, that's a dream match WWE never really gave us.


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