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What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw - December 22, 1997

by Logan Scisco

-A video package recaps the Legion of Doom’s legacy and their beat down at the hands of D-Generation X and the New Age Outlaws on last week’s show.

-Jim Ross, Michael Cole, and Kevin Kelly are doing commentary and they are taped from Lowell, Massachusetts.  Lowell’s arena is really small, but I always liked the intimate feel it gave off on television.

-D-Generation X comes to the ring in bath robes except for Chyna.  Triple H gloats about beating down the Legion of Doom last week and says that they aren’t happy about the New Age Outlaws trying to take credit for it.  As a Christmas present, DX takes off their robes and boxers to reveal thongs, which are censored.  Commissioner Slaughter comes out and says that Shawn Michaels needs to defend the European title tonight and books him to face Triple H.  Michaels and Triple H argue over that as we head to a commercial break.

-Cole interviews the Godwinns, who say that they want a title shot from the New Age Outlaws.

-Opening Contest:  Thrasher (w/Mosh) defeats Henry Godwinn (w/Phineas Godwinn) by disqualification after Phineas interferes at 1:09:

Before this match really gets going, Phineas interrupts the count after a flying body press and the Godwinns beat down the Headbangers and whip them with belts before WWF officials break things up.  The Headbangers have really taken a beating lately from all kinds of teams.

-A video package recaps Dude Love’s issues with the New Age Outlaws.

-Mankind cuts a promo from the boiler room and warns the New Age Outlaws that beatings are ahead.

- Call 815-734-1161 to get your copy of WWF the Music:  Volume 2.  It costs $20 for CD and $15 for the tape (plus $4 shipping & handling)!

-A recap of Steve Austin tossing the Intercontinental title off of a bridge last week is shown.  Austin coming out at the end of last week’s show and giving Santa Claus imposter a Stone Cold Stunner is also played as a “RAW exclusive.”

-A camera outside of D-Generation X’s locker room overhears Shawn Michaels and Triple H arguing.

-Dok Hendrix hypes the next Madison Square Garden card.  In a steel cage match, Shawn Michaels & Triple H will face Steve Austin & the Undertaker.  Also, the Rock defends the Intercontinental title against Ken Shamrock, the New Age Outlaws defend the tag team titles against the Legion of Doom, and Vader faces Goldust.

-Non-Title Match:  The Rock (Intercontinental Champion w/The Nation of Domination) wrestles The Undertaker to a no contest at 7:31 shown:

The Rock is playing the appropriate role this time in Lowell, as he was booed out of the building in February when he upset Triple H for his first Intercontinental title win.  The Nation use their numbers to put the Rock in control, with Kama Mustafa doing much of the work to take vengeance for his failed efforts against the Undertaker in 1992 and 1995.  The Rock throws everything that he has against the Undertaker, but the Undertaker rebounds with a chokeslam and Tombstone before the lights go off and Kane and Paul Bearer come to the ring.  These two showcased some good chemistry, although that never manifested in their future bouts when the Rock rose to the top of the card.  The Rock’s selling was also really good in this match.  Rating:  **½

-Bearer proceeds to insult the Undertaker’s parents and Kane unleashes a flurry of strikes against him when he tries to shut Bearer up.  The Undertaker grabs Kane by the throat, but still refuses to fight back.

-As we enter hour two, Ross and Jim Cornette take over announcing duties.

-The European championship match between Shawn Michaels and Triple H is scheduled to happen next, but Owen Hart does a hit and run attack on Triple H during his entrance.

-Call 1-900-RUMBLE-98 to register yourself in the Steve Austin pickup truck contest!  It’ll cost you $1.99 or you can send a postcard to Devon, Pennsylvania.

-The New Age Outlaws are shown carefully venturing into the bowels of the arena and they beat someone up, but it isn’t Mankind.

-Marc Mero (w/Sable) beats Scott Taylor with a TKO at 2:25:

Sable’s outfit this week is a reindeer mascot.  Taylor gets in most of the offense in the match, but gets caught with a TKO out of nowhere and maintains his jobber status.

-After the match, Mero gives Taylor a low blow and sets him up for another TKO, but Tom Brandi breaks that up.  Mero appears to hurt his knee going into the guardrail and Sable takes advantage by taking off her reindeer outfit and she waves to the crowd in a Miss Claus outfit.

-Call 1-900-737-4WWF to find out the new superstar that has signed with the WWF with this week, new Bret Hart rumors, and why Shawn Michaels had a good time in Hollywood!

-Triple H tells the announce team that if Shawn Michaels wants to face him then he’s going to get all that he can handle.  He tells Chyna that he has everything to prove by beating Michaels tonight.

-Kurrgan (w/The Jackal) defeats 8-Ball with a sidewalk slam at 2:38:

Jackal cuts a promo during the match saying that the revolution is at hand and hyping his intellect.  8-Ball gets Kurrgan down to one knee, but the Jackal holds his foot when he runs the ropes and that leads to the finish.

-After the match, the Truth Commission beats up 8-Ball, but Skull runs in with a 2x4 and forces them to flee.

-The New Age Outlaws search for Mankind continues, but they don’t find anything.

-Tonight’s Kane-Undertaker confrontation is this week’s 1-800-COLLECT Rewind segment.

-Ken Shamrock beats D-Lo Brown (w/Faarooq & Kama Mustafa) via submission to the anklelock at 2:22:

This match has some good chain wrestling to start, but D-Lo gets in very little offense as Shamrock rolls through him with ease and gets the submission victory.

-After the match, the Rock comes out and runs down the UFC and offers Shamrock an Intercontinental title shot at the Royal Rumble.  He calls off the Nation from attacking Shamrock and says that all of those things are Christmas gifts.  Faarooq does not appear to be happy at having his power usurped.

-WWF and European Champion Shawn Michaels says he will take care of Triple H later tonight and then tells Chyna that he is going to have to kick Triple H around to prove a point.

-The New Age Outlaws are in the third part of their search and this time they find Mankind behind some boxes and he sings Christmas carols as he beats them down.  However, numbers overwhelm him and they lock him in a freezer.

-Goldust and Luna come out and Goldust is dressed as a Christmas tree.  Goldust reads “The Night Before Christmas” as Santa Claus comes out and tosses candy into the audience.  Goldust doesn’t appreciate the interruption, but continues reading until Santa gets into the ring and gives Goldust a stiff shot with his bag of goodies.  Santa, of course, turns out to be Vader.  Call me crazy, but Goldust’s craziness and Vader’s stiff attack made this highly entertaining.

-European Championship Match:  Triple H pins “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels (Champion) after a lockup to win the title at 1:37:

Forced to fight each other, D-Generation X stalls and Michaels lays down for Triple H, who pushes him down after a lockup and then runs a few laps between the ropes before doing a slow big cover and getting the win.  Genius booking from a storyline perspective and I remember hating DX even more after this as a fan.

-After the match, Shawn Michaels mocks his “Lost Smile” promo, which was cut in Lowell back in February, and DX mocks Commissioner Slaughter, who is in the entrance.  Slaughter just smiles and says that Triple H will defend the title next week against Owen Hart.

The Final Report Card:  For those expecting a competitive main event this show was a letdown, but the New Age Outlaws search for Mankind, the Undertaker-Kane segment, and the Goldust-Vader interaction were entertaining segments.  The rumor for why the European title switch happened with Triple H on this show is that Michaels refused to job the title to Owen Hart.  In terms of the Royal Rumble, the show setup another title match between the Rock and Ken Shamrock as well.  Due to the entertaining angles and the strength of the Rock-Undertaker match, I’ll give this show a thumbs up, but it almost ended up in neutral territory.

Monday Night War Rating:  3.1 (vs. 3.5 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up


  1. I went to the Lowell Memorial Auditorium back in May for an event, and I couldn't figure out why the building looked so familiar even though I had never been there. Then I realized that some of the most memorable RAW moments from 1997 were filmed there months later. The place is so small in person, it's pretty amazing to see the reactions they'd get in there, and it makes me wish RAW would do a return to Lowell occasionally, instead of always going right to the Boston Garden.

  2. This was the show that ran against Scott Norton and Buff Bagwell moving around metal stage pieces, right?

  3. It's too bad that the rumored mini-feud between Owen and HBK never materialized for the Rumble. That would have been a hot match coming out of the Montreal screwjob, and the in-ring work would have been great.

    I remember marking out pretty hard for a moment in late 1997 when Owen came out of the crowd and went after Shawn, first time on TV since the Montreal incident... and I was a huge HBK mark at that point, I loved his 'smart-ass, shit-disturber with a side of anarchist' character that gave way to DX.

    But that moment, which lasted for all of like 45 seconds, had such a feeling of spontaneity and intensity, that I couldn't help but mark for Owen. That feeling of spontaneity, where the audience felt like fights could just break out at any time, has been missing from WWE product for quite awhile IMO.

  4. Is the Tsongas Arena the same place?

  5. Yep, that's the one.

  6. This was great stuff. Makes me feel old reading this though

  7. Could not agree more. It was an awesome moment and could have led to something much more. But the long term plan was always to kill Owen in 99 as revenge for Bret leaving

  8. Yeah, what he sa...wait, what?

  9. I'm sincerely hoping that just came out wrong.

  10. "Obviously everything that happens in wrestling is planned, but as far as pushing storylines goes, it often feels more exciting when the events feel unplanned, spur of the moment, emotion boiling over, etc."

    I think that's why Punk's pipebomb promo came off as well as it did. At least in addition to him saying what so many of us were thinking.

  11. No, the Tsongas is bigger than the Auditorium, and wasn't built until 1998. It holds about 7,500 people. They do house shows there occasionally.

  12. Just rewatched the show tonight on WWE Classics but that kid who showed up for the Santa-Stone Cold segment looked just like a Fatu twin, which would make since since Rikishi was working as The Sultan at the time.


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