HOUR ONE Hosted By: Vince McMahon and Jim Ross.
- In a somewhat interesting development, RAW is now promoted as part of
the USA Network's "USA Sports" line-up, as opposed to USA's "Original
Productions" as it had been for the past few years.
- A quick clip dedicating tonight's show to Stan "The Man" Stasiak, who
passed away last week. Stasiak briefly held the WWF (or WWWF) World
- I sure wish I knew what we are supposed to call this show! The graphic
just says "RAW", while McMahon says "welcome to Monday Night RAW", then
immediately calls it "RAW is WAR". The second hour, meanwhile, is
labeled "The WAR ZONE", yet referred to as "RAW", "RAW is WAR", and
"Monday Night RAW" as well. This will either be further complicated, or
resolved when RAW moves to 9:00 PM Eastern on August 4th. Early word has
it that the second hour will receive a "TV-14" rating, or possibly
(though not likely) a "TV-M" rating, which may be why the two hours are
being promoted under two separate names. The show is currently "TV-PG",
but it's said the second hour may become more "hardcore" and violent to
take advantage of the later timeslot when the move is made.
My personal guess is that USA is waiting to see how the second hour does
in the ratings, and if it's more violent nature pays off (should it
become so). RAW is scheduled to be two hours through September, but the
USA Network hasn't made any kind of official statement on the matter
(other than to submit the August schedule, which lists RAW as two hours).
Arena bookings scheduled through September indicate that RAW will be two
hours still for that month. I'm guessing that if it doesn't work to USA's
satisfaction, they will either tame down the second hour (again, if it
does get more violent), or eliminate it altogether. USA and the WWF still
have yet to negotiate a new fall contract, and the current agreement
expires, I believe, in September. Obviously, this is all currently being
worked out, and some kind of an announcement should be made prior to the
move on August 4th.
- A crowd absolutely bristling with signs boo en masse as Faarooq and his
new Nation of Domination enter. Ahmed Johnson now wears all bleak, and
looks more imposing than ever. McMahon asks the question: "Why?" Ahmed
says he did what he had to do to earn a shot at the World Title. He
accuses Vince of holding him back because he was black. Vince tries to
explain, but Ahmed shuts him up. He says he joined the Nation to take out
Vince's "super-hero", the Undertaker. D-Lo, Faarooq and Kama Mustafa each
make a few comments. Ahmed gets right in Vince's face and warns him not
to look at him, or any other black man, sideways ever again.
The Nation's theme starts up, but before they can leave, a line of men on
motorcycles ride in through the entryway and down the ramp. It's Crush,
followed by Brian Lee, and Ron and Don Harris (aka the Bruise Brothers,
Grimm Twins, and Jacob and Eli Blu). Ahmed rolls his eyes skyward as the
gang park their hawgs and enter the ring. Crush says that he's gotten
reinforcements in his brotherhood, the DOA: Disciples of Apocalypse.
Crush says they "live together, ride together, and damn sure fight
together!" A massive eight man brawl breaks out. Jim Ross screams "it's
a street fight ... a gang fight ... a drive-by!" McMahon retakes his seat
and adds that he's never been so intimidated in his life. Uniformed
security and WWF officials flood the ringside area to split the two
groups apart. After the NOD is cleared out, the DOA roar off on their
Ross and McMahon run down the upcoming card, show some quick comments
from the Legion of Doom, and give us a peek at Ken Shamrock warming up.
- KEN SHAMROCK vs. ROCKABILLY (w/ the Honky Tonk Man)
They recap what occurred between Shamrock and Steve Austin last week. UFC
fighter Dan Severn sits in for color commentary. They play some clips of
Shamrock in the UFC, and note that Shamrock and Severn have fought twice,
with Shamrock winning their first fight, and Severn winning the second in
the same arena RAW is taking place in: Cobo Arena. McMahon heavily
defends the UFC, pointing out there has never been a serious injury.
Severn adds that in the 75 years of "no-holds-barred" fighting, there has
never been a single death. McMahon adds that neither boxing nor pro-
wrestling can make the same claim.
In the match itself, Shamrock has little trouble with Rockabilly. After
dominating most of the match with takedowns and submission attempts,
Rockabilly gets a bit "feisty" and starts pummeling Ken in the head. He
tries a suplex, but Shamrock escapes, nails a belly-to-back suplex, and
takes Gunn out with an anklelock submission hold.
Afterward, Shamrock confronts Severn. Dan removes his headset and the
two stare down. Ken eventually extends his hand and the two shake. Cool.
Fifteen minutes in, and RAW has already debuted a new angle and four new
wrestlers (though Lee and the Harris' have been in the WWF before, and
Severn may or may not have been a one-shot appearance).
The Godwinns close out this segment with some brief comments. They're
heels now, and have stopped wearing shirts for some reason. Phinneas
sports a big fake tattoo that reds "Red Neck". Actually, Henry is the
heel, and the one doing all the talking. Phinneas seems to be just going
along for the ride (until such time as he begs his kin to stop, at which
time Henry will thump him and the two will split up. Excuse me while I
sob softly into this hanky).
- McMahon hypes a workout on Muscle Beach with Shamrock, Hunter Hearst
Helmsley and Chyna. This is part of the festivities in Anaheim,
California, this Saturday. They then show a few clips of Sable, and
mention "Wildman" Marc Mero's recent aggravation over her popularity.
- THE LEGION OF DOOM vs. THE GODWINNS
They show us Hawk and Animal breaking Henry Godwinn's neck four times
(due to the video getting screwed up, they have to re-cue it). The
Godwinns slop Hawk and Animal prior to the start of the match.
Not much to say about this one. The LOD fairly easily handle the two pig
farmers. Early in the match McMahon and Ross cut in to report that the
Hart Foundation has attacked Ken Shamrock in the back, but no footage is
shown. The match, meanwhile, only goes a few minutes. Straight back-and-
forth slugging, with the LOD having the edge. They try and set Henry up
for the Doomsday Device (which broke his neck a few months back) but
Phinneas makes a save. Hawk, who had climbed to the top, comes off anyway
with a clothesline, then covers Henry for the pin.
In what may have been the smartest move of the night, the WWF kept this
one quick. That didn't matter to the live crowd, though, as they were
rabidly behind the LOD.
After the match, the Hart Foundation members run in and lay out the LOD
as Bret watches from the top of the ramp. Hawk and Animal have to be
helped out by several referees.
- Jim Ross notes that boxer Thomas "Hit Man" Hearns is in attendance at
ringside. They then cut to the back for an interview with the Undertaker.
Before he can say much, Paul Bearer cuts him off and says it's all about
him (Bearer). The Undertaker loses his cool and grabs Bearer by the
throat. Vader charges in, but the Undertaker catches him by the throat as
well. He eventually lets go and stalks off, Paul Bearer yelling "remember
the fire!" as he departs.
- Owen Hart delivers a few comments about the upcoming three way match for
the Intercontinental Title. Owen is disgusted by the fact that he can
lose the title even if one of the other two wrestlers get pinned. They
then cut to some footage of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin taken from the
"Cause Stone Cold Said So!" video. Finally, Flash Funk makes a few
comments about his opponent in the next match: Sabu! Paul E. Dangerously
sits in for color commentary.
- SABU (w/ Bill Alphonso) vs. FLASH FUNK
Clips of Sabu in action in ECW are shown, as Paul E. mentions that Sabu
is the nephew of the original Sheik. McMahon's take on Sabu is that he is
unpredictable, but a tremendous wrestler. Ross points out the hideous
scars on Sabu's stomach. McMahon even points out that Sabu and Flash
have fought before in ECW. Paul E. admits that he was once Sabu's
manager, but currently doesn't see eye to eye with him.
The match starts with Sabu diving into a kick to the face. Flash whips
him into the ropes, but Sabu ducks, springs off the ropes, and lands a
back kick. He then hits a spinning heel kick, sending Flash to the
floor. He baseball slides under the bottom ropes, kicking Flash. Those
unfamiliar with Alphonso, who Ross mentions was once a pretty good WWF
referee, must be starting to go nuts, due to his incessant blowing on his
Sabu goes over the top rope with a somersault plancha. Sabu and Alphonso
then pull a table out from under the ring. Paul E. barks out that Eric
Bischoff might claim that the Public Enemy invented table smashing, but
that it was really Sabu who did so. Paul E. add that he should know,
because he's the one who discovered the Public Enemy.
Back in the ring, Flash whips Sabu into the corner and follows with a
spinning splash. He slams him, then goes up top and hits a 180 degree
direction change splash. McMahon is surprised when Sabu kicks out of the
pin attempt. Flash goes up again, but Sabu stops him short and takes him
down with a springboard huracanrana, which gets a loud reaction from the
crowd. Sabu follows with a springboard legdrop. Flash kicks out at one.
Paul E. says that after Alphonso left the WWF, ECW adopted him from the
Betty Ford Clinic. "Really?" asks McMahon. "Really." "That's nice to
know." McMahon deadpans. Ross says Alphonso graduated with honors ...
Flash is whipped into the corner. Sabu then springboards off the second
rope and tries a clothesline, but Flash pulls up short and duck. He then
catches Sabu with a Superkick. Flash goes up top again, but again Sabu
stops him with a punch. He starts to set up the huracanrana again, but
Flash nails him, dropping him astraddle the top rope. Flash then leaps
off and clotheslines him, sending Sabu to the apron. Flash launches
himself into a handspring cartwheel kick, which looked like a Flying
Space Tiger Drop, except he didn't go over the top rope to the floor.
Sabu drops to the floor. Flash vaults over the top rope with a plancha.
Ross goes into his usual about two studs getting it one, which Paul E.
attributes to Sabu's extreme style.
Flash tosses Sabu back in, but Sabu comes back with a dropkick to Flash's
ankle. Sabu lays in a fist, but Flash whips him over to the opposite
corner, following with a splash. Flash then goes up and hits a sweeping,
graceful moonsault, which draws the biggest pop from the crowd yet. Sabu
kicks out. Paul E. says it took ECW to draw this kind of performance out
of Flash, and that's what they can offer the WWF. Ross counters by asking
Paul E. to admit the tremendous exposure the WWF is allowing ECW. Paul E.
says he does so, and that's why he brought his men to RAW, and not to
Sabu, meanwhile, has backed into the corner. Flash charges, but Sabu arm
flips him over the top rope to the floor. Sabu then leaps over the rope
and hits a huracanrana, which draws yet another huge roar from the crowd.
Paul E. and Vince exchange mutual nods of appreciation for what each
company is allowing the other to do ... as Sabu sets up the table on the
floor. McMahon warns that the ECW guys have a tendency to get out of
hand, but Paul E. counters by saying this is RAW, where thing are
supposed to get out of hand. Flash is set on the table and the ref
signals for the bell (whether it's a DQ for Sabu, or a double countout is
never really made clear). Sabu springboards into an Asai moonsault onto
Flash, but the table doesn't break. Sabu, thinking the table weakened,
does a standing splash, but the table again doesn't break. Alphonso ducks
under to check how solid things look below. Paul E. snidely remarks "see,
those aren't pre-cut tables like you'll see elsewhere!" Sabu scoots into
the ring and bounces off the top rope, dropping a legdrop on Flash. The
table doesn't break, it just collapses, with Flash looking half dead. "I
think it killed him!" McMahon exclaims in horror. Paul E. yells "this is
extreme ... this is hardcore ... I warned you about this!"
Sabu leaves the ringside area through the crowd, tossing chairs aside as
- Up next is Mankind vs. the British Bulldog. They show an edited clip of
Mankind's confrontation with Steve Austin from last week. Why does the
WWF bleep "ass" out, when the USA Network censors don't? Shoot, you hear
"ass" on "The Simpsons" at least once a week, and that's a network show!
That's why I don't buy all these rumors of the FCC fining the USA
Network. (First off, it's "FCC", not "FTC" which several of the rumor
websites keep mentioning. The "FTC" is the Federal Trade Commission.
Second, other than the night Bret Hart went nuts, no actual profanities
have slipped past the USA Network censors, meaning there are no
violations that the FCC can point to. Finally, if "ass" was some kind of
an FCC violation, then the USA Network would be bleeping it. They don't.
In fact, the intro to WWF Live Wire, which airs Saturday mornings,
features Austin saying "ass"! Why does the WWF leave that in, yet they
bleep out "ass" whenever they replay something? Go figure.)
- The WWF is so horrified by Sabu's table shot that they show it again.
- THE BRITISH BULLDOG vs. MANKIND
Non-title match. Mankind comes out wearing an "Austin 3:16" t-shirt, with
a sign around his neck that reads "Pick Me Steve". Mankind dedicates this
match to "the toughest SOB in the WWF ... a man I'm proud to call my
friend: 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin! Pick me, Steve!" Gawd, I nearly split
a gut laughing! Mankind wrestles with the sign on as Austin calls in from
his home. Steve says if Vince calls him collect again, he won't accept.
He also says his brother Kevin was stepped on by a bull, and he wishes
him a speedy recovery so he can go back to work and pay Austin that $30
he owes him. The rest of his phone interview is great. He says he will be
back in action starting this Friday. He rattles off his injuries and says
"I'm taking anti-inflammatories, antihistamines, antidepressants ... if
it's got 'anti' before it, I'm probably taking it!" He says Mankind is a
kind man, and that what he is doing is a tribute to the greatest wrestler
in the world (Austin himself) ... but he's still a freak. Steve says he
plans on Shawn Michaels being his partner, though he'd just as soon
defend the tag team belts by himself. Austin finishes up by telling his
wife that she brought him the wrong kind of beer. ("I said light beer,
I'm on a diet!")
Mankind and the Bulldog wrestle a decent match which spills in and out of
the ring. Mankind hits a double arm DDT. Bulldog throws Mankind into the
ring steps. Things wind down when Mankind applies the Mandible Claw. The
Bulldog mule kicks him in the nuts to escape. He then exits the ring and
grabs a chair. The first shot gets the Bulldog DQ'ed. The second is for
good measure. The third hits Mankind square on the head, but he still
won't stay down. The fourth is swung baseball bat style with near-full
force, catching Mankind on the side of the face! The crowd, not knowing
Steve Austin is at home, chants his name. As the Bulldog poses, Mankind
slips up from behind and slaps the Mandible Claw on again. The chair
shots have done their job, however, as the Bulldog is able to escape the
clutches of the weakened Mankind.
- They cut to a big confrontation in the back between Owen and Brian
Pillman, Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Chyna, and Goldust and Marlena. Owen,
seeing as Intercontinental Champion, demands that Pillman be allowed to
second him at ringside, since Goldust has Marlena and HHH has Chyna. WWF
President Gorilla Monsoon says he has no problem with that.
They end the first hour with shots of past WWF IC Champs: Pat Patterson;
Pedro Morales; the Magnificent Muraco; Tito Santana; the Honky Tonk Man;
"Ravishing" Rick Rude; Bret "Hitman" Hart and the British Bulldog at
SummerSlam 1992; Goldust and Ahmed Johnson; and "Wildman" Marc Mero.
Noticeably absent are the Ultimate Warrior and Randy Savage.
HOUR TWO Hosted By: Vince McMahon and Jim Ross.
- OWEN HART vs. HUNTER HEARST HELMSLEY vs. GOLDUST
All three of these men have held the IC belt, and clips are shown of each
when they won it. HHH is shown pinning Marc Mero, while Goldust is shown
pinning Razor Ramon, (and of course, Owen Hart's victory over Rocky
Maivia, who Ross says it out with an injury). An unidentified guest ring
announcer introduces special guest referee Pat Patterson to the crowd.
A great match! The wrestlers keep attacking each other to prevent anyone
from getting an advantage. Since whoever scores a pin or submission will
win the belt, the third man would always break up any pin attempt. Two
men might work together in a double team, then turn on each other. Things
clip along very quickly until HHH sets Goldust up for the Pedigree (just
after getting an assist from Owen in beating on Goldust). Owen bounces
off the ropes and lands a spinning heel kick on Helmsley before he can
complete the Pedigree. With Helmsley down, Goldust then grabs Owen and
hits the Curtain Call (which is a reverse-upside down bulldog DDT type
thingamabob). Goldust covers for the three count, becoming for the third
time the WWF Intercontinental Champion.
But wait ...
Brian Pillman runs in and points out that Owen's foot was on the bottom
rope. Patterson will hear none of it, and stands by his decision. Gorilla
Monsoon comes out and tells Patterson he made a mistake, but Patterson
still seems inclined to call only what he saw. They then go to a break,
during which they replay the pin on the jumbo screen. Patterson sees that
he did indeed miss the foot on the rope and, as is the referees
prerogative, orders the match to continue.
The match continues at it's previous hectic pace. Two would work over the
third until one of them tried a pin attempt, which would draw an attack
from the other. Those two would then fight, with the other waiting for
his opportunity; sometimes joining in for a double team, other times
waiting until a pin attempt. Owen in particular gets double teamed a lot.
He gets clotheslined as he tries to apply a Sharpshooter. Goldust backs
him into a corner and Helmsley drops to the floor, grabs Owen's feet, and
pulls him crotch-first into the post. Helmsley is chased off by Pillman.
Owen gets tossed to the floor, but comes back and does a drop-kick off the
top turnbuckle, hitting both opponents with one boot each. Helmsley and
Owen brawl to the floor. While this is happening, Chyna slips into the
ring and hits Goldust with a standing huracanrana! (Names are being
coined all over the Net for this. My picks, at the time the move took
place, were "FrankenChyna" and "Chynacanrana"). Owen and Helmsley reenter
the ring. Helmsley is whipped into the ropes and Owen tries a kick. HHH
catches the boot, but Owen turns it into an enzuguiri kick to the back of
the head. Goldust can be seen slowly crawling up the corner post. Owen
covers for the pin, sees Goldust coming off the top, and moves aside.
Goldust hits Helmsley with the double axehandle shot. Owen rolls Goldust
off and again covers for the pin. Pillman reaches in and holds Goldust
down as Owen gets the three count.
Bret Hart and Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart are shown in the back celebrating
Owen's win. A wild match, one which the crowd really got into.
- Bret "Hit Man" Hart, accompanied by Jim "The Anvil" comes to the ring for
an interview. Bret runs down the opponents for his Hart Foundation coming
up at the In Your House PPV. Bret says that he and the Anvil are the best
tag team ever, not the LOD. He says Ken Shamrock came from the "Ultimate
Fairy Championships". On Goldust and Marlena, Bret says he has four
sisters at home who will "knock her socks off!" if she tries anything. He
calls Steve Austin the "scum of the earth!" Bret says there's no way that
team can steal a victory.
Speaking of thieves, Bret says he hears Thomas Hearns in the crowd,
and he accuses him of stealing the "Hit Man" nickname. McMahon points
out Hearns, running down his list of accolades. Hart insults him, and
calls him into the ring. After calling him the "Chicken Man", Hearns
leaps the railing and enters the ring. McMahon and an acquaintance of
Hearns try to hold him back. Bret takes of his jacket, sunglasses and
watch and continues to insult him. The Anvil holds Bret back, then turns
into a couple of body shots from Hearns. The Anvil drops to the mat as
the ring quickly swarms with WWF officials, holding Hart and Hearns
apart. The Anvil gets up and staggers around drunkenly.
- Faarooq starts to deliver comments from the dressing room area, but is
interrupted by Savio Vega. Vega calls him a piece of garbage for dumping
him, and tries to take a shot at Faarooq, but is grabbed by Kama and D-Lo
and dropped to the floor. Faarooq starts to whip him with a belt and
McMahon says we've seen enough, and the camera cuts away.
- BRIAN CHRISTOPHER vs. SCOTT TAYLOR
Taylor wrestled Lief Cassidy several weeks ago on RAW, I believe. Both
men are now part of the new Light Heavyweight Division. Comments from
Christopher taped earlier in the day are run and one would have to be a
moron not to notice the resemblance to Jerry "The King" Lawler. Lawler
accompanies him to the ring, then sits in for color commentary.
The match itself was okay, with Christopher winning via a guillotine leg
drop off the top rope. The real story is the commentary, in which Lawler
calls Paul E. a liar in regards to Lawler being Christopher's father,
though he avoids specifically denying the charge. When pressed, he
threatens to reveal Vince and Jim's home phone numbers. The topic is
They replay the clip with the Undertaker, Paul Bearer and Vader from
earlier in the night, as they go to break.
- Paul Bearer and Vader are standing by in the back. McMahon asks what he
meant by "remember the fire!"? Bearer says it didn't mean anything, and
that there's no problems in his stable.
- THE NATION OF DOMINATION vs. THE UNDERTAKER/VADER (w/ Paul Bearer)
McMahon notes that Ahmed Johnson is missing, and says that word out of
the back is that he was injured during the fight with the DOA. McMahon
also reports that Ken Shamrock, who was attacked off-camera by the Hart
Foundation earlier in the night, was only shaken up and will be okay.
D-Lo and Faarooq are the ones in the ring for the match. Ahmed is shown
watching the match on a monitor in the back.
Very quickly in the match, the DOA come to ringside to watch. D-Lo gets
tossed out of the ring and is jumped by the gang. Faarooq and Kama wade
in, and even the Undertaker starts busting heads, not particular about
which gang he beats on.
A commercial break passes and things have settled down. Vader is in, and
looks good against D-Lo. Faarooq tags in and he and Vader go to-to-toe,
bringing back memories of when Ron Simmons beat Vader for the WCW World
Title several years back. Vader goes up for a splash, but Faarooq catches
him and turns it into a powerslam. During all this Paul Bearer is yelling
at the Undertaker. The Undertaker can finally take no more of this and
slugs Vader as he was coming over to complain about the lack of help
in the match. Vader staggers back and is caught by Faarooq with a
clothesline. Faarooq covers for the quick pin. The NOD leave as the
Undertaker enters the ring. Bearer follows him in to yell at him, but the
Undertaker blows him off and starts to leave. Bearer signals to Vader and
Vader grabs the Undertaker, whipping him into the ropes. The Undertaker
reverses it, catches Vader with a big boot to the chin, scoops him up,
and Tombstone Piledrives him. Bearer grabs a house mic and tells the
departing Undertaker that he has sealed his fate, and that he WILL reveal
the Undertaker's secret next week on RAW.
- Matches for next week: Owen Hart & the Bulldog vs. the Headbangers. Maybe
the NOD vs. the LOD.
Comments: The first truly great RAW in many weeks. The wrestling was really
good all around. There were some great interviews, tons of surprises, and
several of the major storylines were advanced.
Shamrock looked good when on offense, but needs a little work on selling
moves. Dan Severn appearing was interesting, to say the least. This is sure
to spark comments stating that he has signed with the WWF, but we'll have to
wait and see.
The same for Thomas Hearns appearing. This, I'm pretty sure, was a one-shot
deal. In all honestly, it was a little silly, but no worse than Kevin
Greene, Reggie White and Dennis Rodman appearing in WCW. The Detroit fans
ate it up, though, and I've read that the local media covered the incident
extensively. I don't watch ESPN or CNN sports enough to see if it was
The Owen/Helmsley/Goldust match was really quite good. I'd rather they
hadn't done the tease title change, but it was done much better than similar
incidents in the past, and didn't detract from the overall pacing of the
match. In fact, it perfectly accommodated the required commercial break.
Sabu looked okay, but a bit rushed and sloppy (which is the way Sabu's moves
look in general). Flash Funk really shone, though, and a rematch seems
likely. I still watch their match from Cyberslam '96 every so often, and
these two guys have the potential to really put on a show. The likelihood of
Flash dropping the name and gimmick look stronger every week. This was also
a tremendous way to introduce Sabu, instead of the usual run-in. The Detroit
crowd was familiar with him, since it's his hometown, but the match served
well to educate the fans at home. It would make a ton of sense to do the
same with Tommy Dreamer and Sandman, if the intention is for them to
continue to be involved in this angle, which shows no signs of slowing down
or going away anytime soon.
Both Taylor and Christopher looked good, but I think it's time to show us
the new belt, and start naming some names as to who will be in the new
division. Jim Ross said a few weeks back the WWF is bringing in a
"double digit" number of new wrestlers. So far we've seen four or five. I
also question saving them for so late in the card, but it didn't seem to
affect the ratings this week.
Speaking of which, RAW pulled in a 2.4 this week, which was ever so
slightly up from last week. RAW started almost tied with Nitro at a 2.2,
then steadily climbed to a 2.6 in the second hour, then leveled back at
a 2.5 for the last half hour of the show. This is the first week in ages in
which there was no big drop at the end of the show. As I mention back
in the Nitro section, Nitro's ratings boost at the end of the show didn't
come at RAW's expense, as RAW didn't lose any viewers in the last
I've no idea how they're going to top this next week. The Ultimate
Warrior rumor seems to have died. Yokozuna seems a good
possibility, but I don't think he'll be the big surprise of the show.