WWF RAW is WAR 7-21-97

Live from Halifax, Nova Scotia

Airdate: July 21, 1997

Attendance: 8,544 (sold out)

Hosted by Vince McMahon, Jim Ross, & Jerry “The King” Lawler

Who will win the flag match? The beloved Canadians or the hated Americans? What role will Michaels play at the PPV? How will Bret react? Let's find out!

Opening montage.

Prior to the opening match, we revisit IYH XV when Shamrock beat Vader albeit while still learning to wrestle.

Match 1: Ken Shamrock versus Vader (w/ Paul Bearer)


Rating: **

Summary: This was Shamrock's first TV loss thanks to Smith. I fear for Smith's life at Summerslam '97.

Pre-recorded comments from Halifax wrestling fans aired.

RAW is WAR is sponsored by Big Red.

Vignette for Brakkus airs.

In the ring, Vince interviews Bret with the Hart Foundation. As they receive a raucous response from the Halifax faithful, Bret compares the shape of the United States with a toilet bowl. Yikes! The Halifax faithful then chants "US sucks" while Bret complains about the American wrestlers' refusal to face the Hart Foundation tonight. When he challenges Undertaker for a match tonight, the Halifax faithful ROARED.

Smith then cuts a promo on Shamrock and wants a piece of him TONIGHT. As Owen refers to Austin as "slime," he challenges Austin tonight.

Ask and you shall receive! Austin answers the challenge at the entrance. While Austin calls Halifax "a living hell," he accepts the challenge for the flag match.

Promo for Summerslam '97 airs. It will be LIVE on PPV on 8/3. Order NOW!

According to Vince, both DoA and Los Boricuas were suspended for one week due to last week's actions. In reality, since neither faction was on the tour schedule for the week, the WWF saved money by not flying them in for the show.

We then revisit last week's show when said actions occurred. Each faction will face one another in an eight-man tag at the PPV. Gee, I can't wait.

Prior to the next match, we revisit Shotgun Saturday Night when the Lawlers attacked Scott Putski culminating in a spike piledriver on a steel chair. How dastardly!

Match 2: Brian Christopher versus Brian Walsh


Rating: *

Summary: Showcase match for Christopher.

Vignette for the Truth Commission airs.

After a commercial break, the WWF flashback was when Matt Pomposelli won a house at IYH I.

Vince then shills the $1 million-dollar chance at Summerslam '97 while the Halifax faithful chant "Sa-ble."

Video featuring the many incarnations of Mick Foley airs. Specifically, they focus on Dude Love. Vince then mistakes "one-night stand" for one-hit wonder. Pre-recorded comments from Austin followed.

After a commercial break, we revisit last week's episode when the Godwinns destroyed the Road Warriors. According to Vince, the Road Warriors will face the Godwinns at the PPV. Pre-recorded comments from the Road Warriors followed.

We then revisit Shotgun Saturday Night from 4/28 when the Road Warriors inadvertently broke Henry's neck.

Match 3 (triple-threat): The New Blackjacks versus the Godwinns versus the Headbangers


Rating: DUD

Summary: Who in their right mind thought THIS was a good idea? The Halifax faithful, in droves, sought popcorn so none of these teams is over.

Ross then shills the WWF Superstar Line teasing Sid's possible retirement.

Lawler then disparages Canadians for "commandeering a ferry." That was random.


In the ring, Ross interviews the "Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels who performs a back flip from the top rope to the mat. What knee injury? Michaels then refers to Ross as "Garth Brooks" and runs down Canadians. While the Halifax faithful vociferously believes that Michaels isn't a heterosexual, he volunteers to join Austin in the flag match.

While the Halifax faithful chants "we want Bret," Michaels reveals that he will be the special guest referee for the WWF title match at the PPV. That won't sit well with Bret. According to Michaels, if he "doesn't call (it) down the middle," he'll never wrestle in the US again. This was a good test should Michaels ever turn heel because he played well against the jeers of the Halifax faithful.

More pre-recorded comments from the Halifax faithful air.

Vince then shllls the Discovery Zone $1 million-dollar chance. Clue #4 is "of luxury" brought to us by Wink Collins. Thus, the clues are "A key to a life of luxury." Enter NOW!

Match 4: The Patriot versus Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/ Chyna)


Rating: NONE

Summary: The match was merely a backstory for the Vince-Bret brawl. Methinks Vince and Bret have not seen the last of one another.

Afterward, officials escort the Hart Foundation backstage.

Upon completion of a commercial break, Vince remains speechless while Ross interviews Bearer. While Bearer details that both Kane and Undertaker possess half of a statue and he has Kane's portion, he reveals a charred Grim Reaper. When Ross questions him about Kane's existence, Bearer gets hostile and threatens to bring him.

Match 5: Goldust (w/ Marlena) versus Faarooq (w/ Kama Mustafa)


Rating: -*

Summary: Suspension of disbelief is an integral part of enjoying pro wrestling. This match made it difficult to do just that. What a waste of time.

More pre-recorded comments from the Halifax faithful air.

After a commercial break, we see a dazed Michaels refusing medical attention in the locker room. Obviously, they're making an angle out of the real fight between Bret and Michaels last month. When Vince comes in, Michaels swears at him while angry about the situation.

Match 6 (flag): WWF champion Undertaker and WWF tag champions Stone Cold Steve Austin, & Dude Love versus Bret “Hitman” Hart, WWF Intercontinental champion Owen Hart, & WWF European champion the “British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith


Rating: **

Summary: Give Owen a ton of credit for holding the match together. Despite cheering for the Canadians, the Halifax faithful didn't boo much outside of Austin's antagonism. That, along with Dude Love and Undertaker's inability to work heel, caused the match to be flat. The ending, although screwy, made sense since the Hart Foundation can cheat at will and still be loved in Canada.

After the match, Bret and the Hart Foundation celebrate their victory with the Halifax faithful. As the program ends, Ross states "Austin is PISSED."

Conclusion: As a social experiment, this show succeeded due to Halifax's opposite response of the American wrestling audience in previous episodes. On the other hand, as a wrestling show, it was merely mediocre because its sole purpose was to shill the PPV. In addition, as an episode of RAW is WAR during the Monday Night War, it stunk because, due to being unopposed, the WWF filled the program with pre-recorded fluff since it cannot do that when Nitro is on TNT. Personally, I'd skip this episode unless you've never seen the flag match.

TV Rating: 4.05

Stay tuned for WCW Monday Nitro 07-22-97!

Comments? Suggestions? Send them to me at rsg@rockstargary.com and follow me on Twitter (@rockstargary202).

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