tOA logo tOA Wrestling History
tOA Home Page

WWF Raw
June 30, 1997
Des Moines, Iowa

Hour 1Hour 2Hour 3Composite
2.422.542.50

Written by: John Petrie

HOUR ONE Hosted By: Vince McMahon, Jim Ross and Jerry "The King" Lawler.

- Sweeping, majestic music swells as they recap the relationship between
Paul Bearer and the Undertaker.

- KEN SHAMROCK vs. HUNTER HEARST HELMSLEY (w/ Chyna)
They show brief clips of Shamrock in the UFC, reminding us that ABC
called him "The World's Most Dangerous Man". Cut to Helmsley in the back,
where Chyna says she is the world's most dangerous woman.

Word has it that Shamrock had been using a Frankensteiner at the house
shows last week. We'd see nothing that spectacular here. They trade
takedowns and holds until Helmsley gets "dirty" by going to the eyes.
Helmsley then works him over in the corner, prompting the referee to pull
Helmsley's hair when Hunter ignores the ref's order to break. Later, when
Shamrock is thrown to the floor, Chyna throws him into the ring steps.
Mankind then appears, distracting Helmsley long enough for Shamrock to
belly-to-belly suplex him. Shamrock gets the pin, in a match where he did
nothing but show he can take punishment. That may not be a bad thing, but
it didn't make for an exciting match. Mankind's appearance did nothing
but build on a feud that I have absolutely no interest in. Hopefully
Mankind will beat him this Sunday and that will be the end of it (but I
doubt it).

Oh yeah, after the match Mankind sits in the ring and rocks back and
forth. Shamrock moves over to talk to him, but nothing happens and they
cut away to the announcing desk.

- They run a lengthy package of highlights detailing Ahmed Johnson's heel
turn, including the arrival of the Disciples of Apocalypse. Then they
show comments from Ahmed taped last Friday. They show the stitches on his
knee from last Thursday's operation, and Ahmed promises to take on the
Undertaker upon his eventual return.

- New WWF interviewer Michael Cole gets comments from the Legion of Doom.

- Sunny flashes her cleavage and fondles a casket full of money. Some
things about RAW are still great.

- NATION OF DOMINATION vs. LEGION OF DOOM
I'm going to skip a whole lot of nothing here and merely mention that
following interference by the Godwinns, the NOD wins. The LOD nails D-Lo
with the Doomsday device, but Henry Godwinn hits Hawk with his slop
bucket while the ref isn't looking. Faarooq then pushes D-Lo aside and
covers for the pin.

The LOD take off after the Godwinns, then Faarooq calls McMahon into the
ring. Faarooq and D-Lo accuse McMahon and the WWF of being racist for not
giving himself or Kama the title shot in Ahmed's place at In Your House.
Faarooq says Vader got the title shot because he's white, and the NOD is
black. Faarooq then claims the DOA (Disciples) are lackeys of the
Undertaker sent to take out Ahmed.

Suddenly Savio Vega appears on the ramp with a mic. Just like Crush, he
says he isn't fired from the NOD because he quit. Savio then calls to the
back and three more Hispanics (one of them Miguel Perez) run out, and the
four of them attack the NOD. Just when things seemed as if they couldn't
get more out of control, Crush and his Disciples ride in on their
Harleys, and a massive twelve-man brawl explodes. WWF referees,
officials, and even uniformed security men fill the ring to break up the
melee.

As soon as Savio appeared, I asked my brother "wouldn't it be funny if
Savio brought out his own Puerto Rican gang to fight the NOD?" When they
appeared, all dressed in white like milkmen, I apologized to my brother.
"I didn't mean it! I'm sorry!" Be careful what you "wish" for ...

Actually, the brawl looked impressive, and the crowd really seemed into
the DOA's gimmick.

- Michael Cole interviews Savio and his gang, which he calls "Los Bariquas"
(spelling?) which the closed captioning translated as "Lost Boys". As I
said above, one of them is Miguel Perez (unmistakable by his shiny fur
coating). Another looks vaguely familiar, but I haven't yet been able to
place him. The fourth I never got a good look at.

- Sunny runs around half nekkid again. This time they have photos of a
"secret rendezvous" between her and Brian Pillman. More can be learned by
purchasing the latest issue of the RAW Magazine.

- SCOTT PUTSKI vs. BRIAN CHRISTOPHER
They show clips of "The Polish Hammer" Ivan Putski beating up the likes
of Greg "The Hammer" Valentine. Just as they showed clips of Putski's
father, they then show clips of Christopher's "mentor": Jerry Lawler.
Lawler again ducks the question as to whether or not he's Christopher's
father. Ross mentions that this is a Light Heavyweight match, and the
Great Sasuke is another Light Heavyweight coming in, promising clips of
him later in the show.

Good match. Putski starts off manhandling Brian, but Brian comes back
with a sweet looking forward legsweep/headlock face-smasher kind of deal.
He then hits him with a drop-kick to the back of the head off the second
rope, flawlessly executed. I'll say one thing: this Christopher can
wrestle! He follows that with a belly-to-belly suplex, with his head
tucked in Putski's armpit. He whips Putski into the corner, then charges
after with a shoulderblock. He then goes for a standing huracanrana, but
Putski turns it into a powerbomb. Putski comes back with a series of
clotheslines, then a big splash off the top. Jerry Lawler yells "wait a
minute!" and jumps on the ring apron. Putski gets distracted, allowing
Christopher to nail him from behind with a double axehandle. Brian then
starts to whip him into Lawler, but Putski reverses it and Christopher
crashes into him instead. Lawler flies off the apron and smacks his head
into the table. Putski then scoops Christopher up for a slam, but Lawler
grabs his foot and Putski trips. Christopher tucks him up for the small
package and the pin.

Putski tries to exact a little revenge against Christopher with a post-
match beating, but Lawler joins in and the two beat on him, Lawler
applying a spike piledriver with an assist by Christopher off the
turnbuckles. Lawler and Christopher then work the crowd over the mic,
telling Putski to go home to his dad, and calling him a "dumb pollack".

Putski isn't all that good, but he's got that Ultimate Warrior thing
going for him. The crowd reacted well to both men, and the match as well.

Wouldn't it be funny if Putski brings in his dad to fight Lawler? (Uh-oh,
I didn't say that, did I ... )

- They show a clip of Steve Austin in the ECW doing his Hulk Hogan
imitation, which is pretty funny. Rush out and but "Cause Stone Cold Said
So!" right now! Do it!

- The Undertaker from the back, begging the fans to wait until they hear
his own side of the story, because what Paul Bearer will be telling them
is lies and half-truths.

- They show clips of the Great Sasuke in action, hyping his match against
Taka Michinoku at the upcoming In Your House. I've got about a half
dozen Sasuke matches on tape and they are all spectacular.

- "LOOSE CANNON" BRIAN PILLMAN vs. MANKIND
Didn't we all see this match two weeks ago and hate it? Pillman, who
practically had his leg shattered in an auto accident a year ago, has
wrestled more in the last three weeks that Hulk Hogan has this year. They
mention Pillman's attack on a "fan" on Shotgun last week. Pillman has
been fired as announcer on that show. They then run comments from
Pillman, where instead of making an apology as he was ordered to by
Gorilla Monsoon, he sinks pretty low by bringing up the Mike Tyson bite,
saying he will bite off Mankind's other ear.

Mankind is wearing the "Pick Me Steve" sign again, which is still pretty
funny. He gives Jim Ross a present: a gift wrapped box with a rubber
severed hand that looks like Mankind's. Before they even bother to try
and explain that sick joke, Pillman attacks Mankind. Pillman goes after
Ross, and both he and McMahon yell at him.

They get quick comments from Steve Austin via split-screen. Austin says
he doesn't give a rat's ass about Mankind, and he expects Shawn Michaels
to be his partner again. Noticeable in the background-the only things
hanging on the wall of his lockerroom-are his leather vest, his World Tag
Team Title belt, and an ECW t-shirt. Hmm ...

Pillman has been stomping on Mankind. Mankind strikes back as the camera
cuts to Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Chyna approaching the ring. They cut
to a commercial. (During the break they run an ad for Jackie Chan's next
movie, "Operation Condor". I already have this sucker on tape, since it
came out in Hong Kong several years ago. It's pretty good).

The match spills to the floor. Pillman hits Mankind with the ring bell,
then posts him. Pillman grabs a pencil, but the ref stops him from using
it. They go back in and out of the ring. Mankind charges Pillman, but
Brian moves, and Mankind smacks into the steps. Pillman then pulls "a
Mike Tyson" by biting Mankind. McMahon calls for Pillman to be suspended
or fined. Mankind comes back, pulling Pillman spread-legged into the
post. Mankind then tries to get Pillman's boot off, but the ref stops
him. Back in the ring, Mankind whips him into the ropes, but Pillman's
ankle gives out. Mankind then moves in to apply the Mandible Claw. He
slaps it on, but then breaks it to fight off an attack by Helmsley and
Chyna. Mankind gets Helmlsey in the Claw, but is hit from behind by
Pillman, who had taken off his boot to use as a weapon. Pillman then
holds Mankind as Hunter retrieves a chair. Hunter whacks Pillman by
accident when Mankind moves. Mankind then chases Helmsley off with the
chair, but suffers a countout loss in the process. Mankind yells for
Helmsley over the mic.

Better than their last RAW match, I'll say that.

Paul Bearer promises an end to the Undertaker, closing out the first
hour.

Overall, a good-but not great-first hour. A lot happened, but nothing
really earth shattering. At this point, I was hoping for a "ba-da-boom!"
second hour.

HOUR TWO Hosted By: Vince McMahon, Jim Ross and Jerry "The King" Lawler.

- Paul Bearer comes out to reveal the Undertaker's secret. As he reaches
the ring, he is attacked by a female fan dressed in black. The camera
switches away, so we don't get to see too much. As far as the secret
itself, I'm going to condense this quite a bit. I may do a transcript at
some point in the future (but don't hold your breaths):

Twenty years ago, Bearer was an apprentice at a funeral home owned and
operated by the Undertaker's parents. The Undertaker had a younger
brother named Cain, who emulated everything the Undertaker did. Bearer
says the Undertaker was a wild, unruly child. He and his brother used to
sneak out behind the mortuary for smokes. One day the Undertaker burned
down the mortuary, killing his family. He calls him a murderer. "A god-
damned murderer!" (Which gets blanked out-even on the closed captioning).

That's it. That's the secret.

The lights flickered, and thunder sounded as they cut to a break.

When they come back, Paul Bearer is in the back being congratulated by
Vader. They then show the casket full of money again, this time by Sable
and "Wildman" Marc Mero. They show the first clue for the SummerSlam
million dollar sweepstakes, which consisted of a brief clip of Helmsley
driving a car, leaving it with valet parking, and a guy in a bad smoking
jacket pointing to a key. I have no idea what it means (and wouldn't tell
you even if I did. I want a shot at that million!).

- THE HEADBANGERS vs. OWEN HART/THE BRITISH BULLDOG
This could have been a great match, but it comes off very average. They
show a clip of the Headbangers goofing it up with an east coast TV
weatherman. Bret "Hitman" Hart phones in from Canada, expressing his
eagerness to return at In Your House.

Owen gets the pin on one of the Headbangers. I still can't tell which one
is Mosh and which is Thrasher.

Jim Cornette then appears on the ramp and congratulates the Hart
Foundation. He then says he's brought in a tag team, though it's too late
for them to enter the tag team tournament. He blows on a whistle and out
comes the Headhunters (who appeared at the 1996 Royal Rumble as the
"Squat Team"). A fan at ringside, seeing the first one only, yells out
"Abdullah!" (The Butcher). What follows is a lengthy, unimpressive brawl
between the Headhunters and the Headbangers (Owen and the Bulldog having
slipped out to avoid the attack). The Headhunters take forever to lay out
the Headbangers. One of them does a splash off the top, while the second
does a moonsault. You could have made a sandwich in the time it took them
to flatten the Headbangers.

- The Undertaker gives his reply in a lengthy, but good speech. He says
it was Cain, not he, who started the fire (by playing with matches and
flammable embalming fluids). He's been haunted by this because he could
have stopped Cain but didn't. Paul Bearer made him look at their dead
bodies at the "neighboring" mortuary. That's about it.

(The closed captioning spelled his name "C-A-N-E", but the WWF website
spells it "C-A-I-N", so that's the official spelling. Not "Kane", "Kain",
"Kaine", "Cane" or "Caine").

- ROCKABILLY (w/ The Honky Tonk Man) vs. VADER (w/ Paul Bearer)
Rockabilly smashes a guitar over Vader's back, but Vader barely flinches.
He starts to pummel him, but the match comes to a halt as the Undertaker
runs to the ring. Paul Bearer yells "Murderer!" into a mic. The
Undertaker slugs Vader, then grabs Bearer down on the floor. "Tell them
the truth! Tell them the truth or I'll kill you right now!" "I am telling
the truth! Cain told me ... he's alive! Cain is alive, Undertaker! I
swear!" Vader then jumps him from behind, allowing him to escape.

You know ... this is a lot of trouble to go to just to bring in the
Undertaker's "brother".

- "STONE COLD" STEVE AUSTIN vs. JIM "THE ANVIL" NEIDHART
The rest of the Hart Foundation is shown watching on a monitor in the
lockerroom.

Nothing special here. Rest holds intermixed with brawling. After several
minutes they go to commercial.

Once back, they show footage from moments before of Bret Hart attacking
Ken Shamrock. It seems Hart was lying about being in Canada. Hart stomps
a mudhole in Shamrock, ignoring the pleas of several WWF officials to
back off. Hart beats on him with a steel barrel. Ross makes a big deal
about how Hart lied to him and Vince.

The slugfest continues for several more minutes until Bret Hart finally
runs in, causing a DQ. Hart and the Anvil beat on Austin. Bret wraps
Austin's legs around the post and applies the Figure Four.

Mankind runs out and slaps the Mandible Claw on Bret.

Brian Pillman runs out and beats on Mankind.

Owen Hart runs out and whacks Mankind with a chair.

The show ends.

- Matches for next week: None really announced. NOD vs. Hart Foundation?

Comments: I'm not really certain where to begin ... other than to say this
show was not only a major disappointment, but really annoyed me at times.

Obviously there was a level of expectation that could never be achieved,
partly due to their own hype, but much of it due to wildly erroneous
Internet rumors. I'll deal with the Internet portion first:

No Rick Rude. No Ricky Steamboat. No Tito Santana. No Sid. No Yokozuna. No
Mike Tyson. No Evander Holyfield. No Dusty Rhodes. No Shane Douglas. No
Ultimate Warrior. No Shawn Michaels. No Sabu, Rob Van Dam, Taz, Tommy
Dreamer, Sandman, Terry Funk, nor Paul E. Dangerously. No Demolition. Did I
miss anyone? Believe it or not, all of the above were rumored at one point
or another as appearing on the show this week. Rude, Steamboat, Yokozuna,
Sid and Douglas were the ones most recently still in contention. Tyson and
Holyfield were, again, out of the running. The WWF themselves mentioned
Shawn Michaels as appearing. The Ultimate Warrior was mostly eliminated as a
possibility over the last week. One website in particular out there was
sticking by their Dusty Rhodes prediction. An appearance the ECW in any form
was a given assumption, based on the fact that they had been on every week
for the last month. Kevin Kelly, on an AOL chat last week, said a former
Intercontinental champion would be on the show. Unfortunately, there were
more than enough wrestlers on the current roster to fit that bill (Hart,
Bulldog, Goldust, Mero, Ahmed, Helmsley and the Honky Tonk Man).

Now obviously no one expected all of the above to appear. Even two or three
from that list seemed unlikely. But one of the above, since the WWF
themselves were hinting at such, seemed a possibility.

So who did we get? Savio Vega's Milkmen of Destruction, and the Headhunters.
Wow. (Oh yeah ... Scott Putski came back too).

What was really strange was the total absence of ECW this week. I can only
assume the WWF wanted to focus solely on this weekend's upcoming PPV, though
that doesn't explain the Headhunters. Maybe Cornette plans on taking the
Headhunters to the ECW arena?

We also didn't get to see any footage from the Saturday night show in
Anaheim, even though that too was reportedly taped. The WWF seemed to be
hinting that they would show a clip from the "Best Tan" Contest (which Sable
won). I also don't think they even bothered to mention that the Undertaker
pinned Bret Hart (though I may have merely missed that).

Speaking of the Undertaker, they really let that one be as bad as we all
feared, didn't they? Taking the very vague comments that Paul Bearer made
weeks ago, many people speculated that the story would be that the
Undertaker killed his parents. Nah ... they'd never say that! The only thing
Paul Bearer's wild yarn was missing was an explanation as to how and why he
became Percy Pringle in World Class after leaving the mortuary. The USA
Network thought this was a more appropriate angle than the Papa Shango idea?
Now let us now put this ugliness behind us and never speak of it again.
Hopefully they won't take too long to produce his long lost not-dead brother.

This week's show wasn't entirely without merit, but it's bright spots were
few and far between. Even the recently improved level of wrestling took a
nose-dive this week, with the Christopher/Putski match probably being the
best.

I actually thought the show started out well in it's first half hour. Things
then went awry with the breakneck pace with which they kept throwing little
bits of nothing at us, followed by the overly long, overly dramatic, overly
impossible-to-believe-unless-you're-ten-years-old Undertaker "secret".

The show ended poorly as well, with the "shocking revelation" that the
Undertaker's brother was still alive being a no-brainer. I'm sure most fans
already assumed that he was "still alive" since they bothered to mention him
at all, (otherwise I doubt Bearer would have went to all the trouble to
single him out in the story. He would have instead simply said that the
Undertaker killed all three of his family members).

A personal plea to Vince McMahon: stop putting Hunter Hearst Helmsley on
RAW! He's been on every week this year.


Web Link
SlobberKnocker Central



Copyright ©2002 tOA, All Rights Reserved
All columns and posts represent the views and opinions of the noted authors
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of tOA.