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What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw - October 20, 1997

by Logan Scisco

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

-Opening Contest:  Rocky Maivia & Kama Mustafa (w/Faarooq & D-Lo Brown) defeat Ahmed Johnson & Ken Shamrock (w/The Legion of Doom) when Maivia pins Shamrock after Faarooq hits Shamrock with Rick Rude’s briefcase at 6:44:

As the match gets underway, D-Generation X comes out to sit by the entrance and they showcase signs that read “Spank Me Vince,” “Who Booked this Crap?,” and “I’d Rather be in Chyna.”  One of them is the non-politically correct “Uncle Tom 3:16”, which I’m surprised they didn’t catch a great deal of heat for.  The crowd is hot for this and Maivia and Shamrock have a good exchange in a small preview of what is to come in their 1998 feud.  Faarooq spends much of the match talking with Rick Rude and Kama forgets to nail Shamrock when he runs the ropes to trigger the initial finishing sequence and all of this results in a small upset for the Nation.  Rating:  *¾

-After the match, Ahmed goes after the Nation and gets beaten down and the Legion of Doom just casually walk to aid him before they are intercepted by WWF officials. Then out of nowhere the Godwinns jump onto the entrance ramp and attack the LOD with garbage cans.

-McMahon says that tonight a former WCW champion will be with us tonight.

-Michael Cole is in the locker room and shows us the Nation of Domination’s locker room, which has been painted with anti-black graffiti.  A Canadian flag is left behind, along with a “Canada rules,” which is meant to implicate the Hart Foundation.  THIS did get the company in hot water with civil rights groups if I remember correctly.

-The Nation come out and get in McMahon’s face about the graffiti in their locker room and allege that he is a racist and is running a racist company.  Faarooq gives his pro-black message and demands that WWF Champion Bret Hart come and face him immediately, despite their match being booked for later in the evening.

-Non-Title Match:  Bret “the Hitman” Hart (WWF Champion w/The Hart Foundation) pins Faarooq (w/The Nation of Domination) after Steve Austin gives Faarooq a Stone Cold Stunner at 5:12 shown:

D-Generation X quickly makes their presence felt and Shawn Michaels accuses him of being a racist on commentary.  Bret goes after Michaels, but he is restrained by the Nation and that leads to a brawl between the Nation and the Hart Foundation at ringside.  Bret works the leg, but when he goes for the ring post figure-four the Nation attacks him.  In the midst of the chaos, Steve Austin comes into the ring and attacks Faarooq to a nuclear crowd reaction and that enables Bret to pick up a cheap win.  The match was butchered by the commercial and extra curriculars and Austin’s interference adds an extra ½ to it.  Rating:  *½

-The 1997 edition of the Milton Bradley Karate Fighters Holiday Tournament is previewed by Kevin Kelly and Grandmaster Robbie.  Next week will be the first match of the tournament between Jerry Lawler and Brian Christopher.

-Jeff Jarrett comes out, thereby making his return to the company, and says that since we refused to resign with WCW, Eric Bischoff tried to bury him.  He says that WCW put a lid on his potential and he criticizes being placed with “an ex-football player’s ex-wife that defines dumb blonde.”  He runs down his old WWF country music gimmick and McMahon’s handling of his career.  He then runs down Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, and Steve Austin.  This “shoot” promo might mean more if Jarrett was as valuable to the wrestling business as he thinks he is.  None of this would amount to much since Jarrett would soon go back to his old country music gimmick and would be partnered with Debra when she came to the WWF.  In fact, it actually hurt Jarrett in 1999 since Austin refused to work a main event program with him because Jarrett called the 3:16 part of Austin’s gimmick “blasphemous.”  Austin rightly worried that Jarrett’s comments could have led to a Christian boycott of the WWF and derailed his push.

-Marc Mero (w/Sable) defeats “Too Sexy” Brian Christopher with a TKO at 4:11:

This match begins the “Mero is jealous of Sable” storyline, as Lawler puts a Steve Austin hat on Sable during the match and when Mero sees it he takes it off of her face and throws it into the crowd.  Aside from that, this match is okay but no one cares about it.  Mero uses a low blow to set up the TKO, thereby showing that he is moving away from his babyface roots.  Rating:  *½

-The announcers hype the house show circuit.

-A video package hypes the title for title match between Shawn Michaels and Owen Hart.  It recounts the enziguri incident with Shawn Michaels and the SummerSlam piledriver on Steve Austin.

-Title for Title:  “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels (European Champion) wrestles Owen Hart (Intercontinental Champion) to a disqualification at 6:20 shown:

Owen challenges Michaels to leave his crew backstage and Michaels agrees.  Michaels gives Owen a piledriver on the arena floor, which would have meant Owen’s career was over in Memphis, but he rallies with his belly-to-belly suplex.  I hate when big moves like that are done on the arena floor since by wrestling standards moves on the arena floor are ten times as devastating as those done in the ring.  This is an interesting match from a crowd reaction perspective because they don’t necessarily care for Michaels, but they don’t like Owen either.  Owen counters Sweet Chin Music with the enziguri, but Steve Austin comes out from the crowd.  The referee makes the mistake of getting in his way and eats a Stunner and Michaels KO’s Owen with the Sweet Chin Music, which leads to Bret running out to tear apart Michaels and this is thrown out.  Owen-Michaels is always a great match, but they just didn’t have the time to take this to another level.  Rating:  **½

-Call 1-900-737-4WWF to hear another one of Jim Cornette’s rants!

-The Undertaker in a pre-taped segment says that he has carried the grief of his family for a long time and argues that Paul Bearer has poisoned Kane’s mind.  He promises to never fight Kane.

-The next match is scheduled to be the British Bulldog against Dude Love, but Kane interrupts after Love’s entrance.  Love clotheslines Kane over the top rope and hits him with a chair, but Kane barely sells it and chokeslams Love twice on the entrance ramp.  This lays the foundation for a Kane-Foley match at Survivor Series.

-“The Road Dogg” Jesse James & “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn defeat The Headbangers when James pins Thrasher after Gunn hits Thrasher with a boom box at 4:05:

Road Dogg cuts a promo to introduce himself and “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn.  Gunn’s attire is something like Taka Michinoku would wear, but it at least gets him away from the cowboy gimmick he has been sporting in some fashion since 1993.  If you are looking for some trademark New Age Outlaws spots you aren’t going to get them in this match since this is one of the formative outings of the team and they are still working out the gimmick.  The Headbangers look to have the match in hand, but Gunn smashes Thrasher over the head with a boom box that explodes on impact, thereby putting some of those Paul E. Dangerously cell phone shots to shame, and the soon to be named Outlaws pick up a win over former tag team champions.  A really boring match until the finish and you would think from the ring work that the Outlaws weren’t going anywhere, but James’ mic work put the team on the map.  Rating:  *

-Marc Mero giving the TKO to a jobber on Shotgun Saturday Night is the Lazer Tag Slam of the Week.

-Bret Hart’s appearance on Mad TV is shown.

-Sunny comes out to be the guest ring announcer for the next match.

-Footage of Taka Michinoku signing a long-term contract with the WWF is shown.  Could they do anything more to telegraph the fact that this guy was going to be the light heavyweight champion?

-Light Heavyweight Exhibition:  Taka Michinoku beats Tajiri with a Michinoku Driver at 2:52:

Tajiri gets the jobber entrance.  Ross finally gives us a date for the beginning of the light heavyweight championship tournament, which will kick off on the November 3rd edition of Monday Night Raw.  Tajiri folds Michinoku up like an accordion on a sit out powerbomb and the two proceed to put most of the light heavyweight matches done so far to shame.  They work a fast match, which has the predictable finish, but the WWF just didn’t know what they had with Tajiri at this stage of his career.

-Jim Cornette reads some fan comments about his rant against Phil Mushnick last week.  He urges fans to make their voice heard and McMahon tells fans to write to TV Guide and voice their displeasure with Phil Mushnick.

-Footage of the Godwinns losing the tag team championships to the Legion of Doom last week is shown, along with their beating of Uncle Cletus.

-The Godwinns are scheduled to face the Disciples of Apocalypse, but the DOA do a four-on-two attack on the Godwinns before the Truth Commission comes to the Godwinns aid to continue their feud.

-Mankind cuts a promo from the arena boiler room, where he says that he is the master of mayhem and if the Undertaker will not fight against his own brother then he will.

-Tune in next week to see Bret Hart defend the WWF title against Ken Shamrock!  See, they didn’t have to do Montreal unless they really wanted to.

The Final Report Card:  This episode was a version of crash TV as tons of different angles fly at the audience from all kinds of different directions, but it made for a quick and enjoyable show.  The matches were brief and not very exciting outside of the light heavyweight exhibition and Shawn-Owen, but everyone has something to do and that keeps you invested in the non-main event matches.

Monday Night Raw Rating:  2.9 (vs. 4.6 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up


  1. That Mushnik thing is so weird to think about these days, because he was effectively ten years ahead of time with his criticisms. Of course, at the time wrestling fans were all "HEY FUCK THAT GUY CUZ HE HATES WRESTLING!!"
    Also, I think the entirety of the Light Heavyweight Division is weird- I mean, they telegraphed Taka's win SO BAD, and the best guy they could get to feud with him was Brian Christopher?

  2. Wow, I had no idea Tajiri was ever in WWF before his ECW run. That's wild.

    Also, I remember Jarrett's infamous "Austin 3:16 is blasphemy" comment but I'd forgotten how he bashed Debra. That's pretty hilarious in hindsight.

  3. Jerry Lynn was also there and Super Crazy was also in the light heavyweight tournament. Sadly, they didn't take advantage of the talents of any of those guys.

  4. I always thought Faarooq got a raw deal. Once they decided they didn't want him exposing the evilness of whitey the gimmick really had no teeth.

  5. He also made a comment about working with a drug addict while in WWF, which I'm assuming was Road Dogg.

  6. I always assumed that was Razor. He and Road Dogg were friends and I don't think he'd take a shot at him like that.


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