WWF Monday Night RAW 11-17-97
Taped from Cornwall, ON
Airdate: November 17, 1997
Hosted by Jim Ross & Jim Cornette
How does Vince tell the Bret Hart story? Does DeGeneration-X provide us with an unintentionally historical promo? And will Austin and Maivia share their love for one another? Let’s find out!
When we last left our WWF buddies, HHH’s ready to steal a victory from Shamrock thanks to Michaels’ interference with Rude’s Halliburton. As the episode begins, we see the aftermath where Slaughter shoves HHH out of the ring. Shamrock then rolls up Michaels, and Slaughter counts the pin. That would have improved the quality of last week’s program.
Stone Cold Steve Austin heads to the ring with the Intercontinental title belt. According to Ross, Austin will face Rocky Maivia for the title at the PPV. Austin the commandeers the microphone, walks around the ring, and cuts a promo on Maivia. When Austin asks Maivia to answer his challenge, the Nation of Domination stands at the entrance.
Instead of Maivia, Faarooq, D’Lo Brown, and Kama walk to the ring. Brown enters first, and Austin kicks his ass six ways to Sunday. While the NoD ties up Austin, Maivia scampers to ringside and swipes the belt. How dastardly! Austin responds as only he can.
But before the segment ends, Austin threatens to get his belt back not once, but twice as he manhandles Ross.
Prior to the match, Sable waves at Butterbean; hence, Mero confronts him. We then revisit last week’s episode when Mero defeated Brian Christopher although not as cleanly as he should.
Match 1: Marc Mero (w/ Sable) versus Jerry “The King” Lawler (w/ Brian Christopher)
Summary: More storyline than match as the Mero-Butterbean saga continues.
After the match, Mero low-blows Lawler and hits the TKO. He then berates Sable to a chorus of boos.
Attitude Era promo minus Bret airs.
The Bret Hart story gets told as Bret destroys monitors at ringside after the PPV. Ross then interviews WWF owner Vince McMahon who feels that neither Hebner, Michaels, nor he screwed Bret. On the other hand, “Bret Hart screwed Bret Hart.” Next, Vince mentions a “time-honored tradition” that Bret “didn’t...honor.” Ross then mentions the 20-year contract, and Vince states “it was a joint decision...for (WCW) to “steal Bret.”
Vince then says that for financial reasons Bret’s contract made no sense. For creative reasons, Vince continues that Bret felt like “second banana” and Michaels “stole his spot.” Afterward, Vince reveals that Bret received a 3-year $3 million contract (from WCW). He’s “very disappointed that Bret hit (him).” At the moment, Vince isn’t seeking legal action against Bret. To finish the segment, Vince concludes that Bret’s story should have been to follow the time-honored tradition, he has no sympathy for Bret, and repeats “Bret screwed Bret.” Part 2 airs later tonight.
HOT TAKE: Powerful interview that reveals a lot about the story to the uninitiated viewer. While I understand Bret’s point-of-view, Vince’s makes better sense.
Match 2: Road Dog & “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn versus Los Boricuas
Summary: Not really a match other than more shenanigans by Road Dog and Gunn.
Video featuring Ken Shamrock airs.
Match 3: Max Mini, Mini Nova, & Mini Taurus versus El Torito, Tarantula, & Battalion
Summary: Unless these mini-luchadores want to get lawn-darted into the Cornwall faithful, they’d better scram.
Kane along with Paul Bearer head to the ring as the minis hide behind Cornette. Amazingly, the Headbangers storm the ring and BASH their boombox directly into Kane. Nevertheless, Kane no-sold it. The Headbangers attempt a double top-turnbuckle move, but Kane’s having none of it. He then chokeslams and tombstones Thrasher. While Mosh jumps on his back, Kane tombstones him too. Methinks the Headbangers are finished as a tag team.
Hold the phone! It’s Rick Rude! In case you hadn’t read my Nitro reflection yet, this appearance marked the first time a wrestler appeared on both shows on the same night. Since this was taped six days earlier, Rude still wore a full beard. With the commentary being live, Cornette’s response was “boy, this guy gets around.” HA!
Nonetheless, Rude introduces DeGeneration-X. Michaels then cuts a promo on Shamrock and profoundly states that he “ran (Bret Hart) out of the (WWF).” Next, HHH calls out Slaughter, and the WWF Commissioner complies. HHH then stands face-to-face with Slaughter and makes dick jokes at his and his wife’s expense. Rightfully, Slaughter stands up to HHH by nailing him. Michaels then gets Slaughter’s attention, so Rude tosses the Haliburton to HHH who WALLOPS Slaughter.
Chyna then rips off Slaughter’s t-shirt and hammers him with a forearm smash. Following that, Michaels and Rude whip Slaughter into a head shot with the Haliburton by HHH. Upon putting Slaughter in position, HHH delivers a pedigree to him. They then drape toilet paper in the form of an X across him.
WAR ZONE is sponsored by FootAction USA and Jakks.
Match 4 for the WWF Light Heavyweight title (first round): Scott Taylor versus Eric Shelley
Summary: Solid match that tried its best with spots rather than story-telling. Points for the finisher by Taylor notwithstanding.
Mero with Sable returns to the ring and demands Ross give him an interview. While he accuses Butterbean of stalking Sable, Mero incites a “Sable” chant. He then challenges Butterbean to a fight RIGHT NOW. As Butterbean jumps the steel railing and enters the ring, Mero threatens him. Butterbean then shoves Mero down, but officials separate them before anything else happens.
The Bret Hart story continues as Vince would absolutely welcome Bret back in the future despite the events following the Montreal Screwjob. Meanwhile, he would also expect an apology. In response to fans’ believing that “Bret sold out,” Vince is proud that he assisted Bret in doing so. Personally, Vince regrets having to make the decision, Bret not making the right decision for both the WWF and himself, hurting Bret Hart fans, causing emotional discord among Bret’s family, and having Shane McMahon witness the locker room fiasco.
If Vince could speak to Bret, he’d say Bret “made a mistake that he’ll regret.” He and Bret would have to agree to disagree about the decision. He’s saddened that Bret “forgot that we’re in the sports entertainment business.” Next, he’ll remember the good times Bret gave the WWF fans. However, he finishes by stating “it’s too damn bad that in the end, Bret really wasn’t the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be.” According to Vince, Bret failed.
HOT TAKE: Up until now, Vince McMahon’s “character” was as an announcer who shills his product with great enthusiasm. With this interview, the Mr. McMahon character was unearthed. While he made a lot of good points, he irked the WWF fanbase with his cold, hard demeanor.
DeGeneration-X will be LIVE on PPV on 12/7. Order NOW!
Match 5: Vader versus Goldust
Another Attitude Era ad airs.
Slaughter returns to the ring and defends his decisions as Commissioner. Following that, he informs HHH that he “crossed the line.” He then challenges HHH for a match at the PPV.
REAL Match 5: Dude Love versus Rocky Maivia (w/ the Nation of Domination)
Summary: The Cornwall faithful truly reacted to Maivia, and seeing Maivia-Foley in its early stages wasn’t a pretty sight. It had its moments though.
After the match, the NoD triple-team Dude Love while Maivia retrieves the Intercontinental belt. Suddenly, Austin storms the ring, but Maivia hightails it with the belt. Austin and Dude Love then clear the NoD from the ring to close out the show.
Conclusion: Since the DeGeneration-X promo was both time-consuming and essential to current WWF storylines, it couldn’t be scrapped. By showing it, wrestling history was made with Rude’s double duty. Also, the Austin-Maivia situation heats up with Maivia’s theft of the IC belt. Lastly, the birth of the Mr. McMahon character makes this an episode not to be missed. Could RAW is WAR finally overcome Nitro in the ratings?
TV Rating: 3.2
Who won? Nope, Nitro won by almost a full ratings point. The WWF has some rubble from which to remove itself, so WCW provided great wrestling to blow them out of the water this week.
Stay tuned for WCW World War III ‘97!
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