WWF Thursday RAW Thursday

Live from Lowell, MA

Airdate: February 13, 1997

Attendance: 2,347 (sold out)

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

Feeling like you lost something? Are you sensing the need to surrender? What is Shawn Michaels talking about? Read on!

Damn, this place is almost as small as the Lost Batallion Hall in Queens, NY. Will any ECW talent appear?

To begin the program, Vince informs us that the WWF title will be declared VACANT. WTF? So, the winner of the Final Four match at the upcoming PPV` will become the new WWF champion.

Opening montage.

Match 1 for the WWF Intercontinental title: Hunter Hearst Helmsley (champion w/o Curtis Hughes) versus Rocky Maivia


Rating: ***

Summary: Surprisingly good and tremendously historic match as Maivia won his first title in the WWF.

After the match, Dok Hendrix interviews Maivia at ringside.

Promo for IYH XIII: Final Four this Sunday on PPV.

The M&Ms slam of the week was the tombstone of Helmsley on the escalator at Penn Station by Undertaker.

Match 2: The Headbangers versus “Sparkplug” Bob Holly & Aldo Montoya


Rating: *

Summary: Showcase match for the Headbangers.

In the ring with WWF President Gorilla Monsoon, Vince interviews WWF Champion the “Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels. Dressed in street clothes, Michaels speaks humbly as the Lowell faithful chants “We Want Sid.” He then states that he can’t do this job “half-ass.” Instead, he needs to wrestle full throttle. Along with the great ride he’s had (TV shows, limousines, and autograph sessions), he’s lost his toughness and subsequently hands the WWF title belt to Monsoon. Lastly, he notes that he “lost his smile.” While he appreciates the great year he had on top, Michaels is “going to go home now.”

RSG’s take: While it looked genuine, with twenty years of hindsight, we know that Michaels was FULL OF SHIT. According to WWE: Greatest Rivalries: Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart, Michaels went to an orthopedist but not one who normally handled sports medicine. Cautiously, said orthopedist recommended that Shawn curtail wrestling for the sake of his knee. Shortly after this show, Michaels sought a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews who felt that Michaels’ knee didn’t require surgery.

The rule of thumb in pro wrestling was that if you could step into the ring, you could do the honors and lay down. Although the Sid/Michaels match for this show wasn’t supposed to result in a title change, Michaels’ running away felt like a breach of trust with the locker room and the fans. After all, he should have faced Bret in a rematch at WrestleMania XIII and lost. The fact remained that he didn’t want to do business and conjured an excuse to get out of it. To me, it’s insulting, immature, and unnecessary.

But I digress..

Upon giving both Vince and Monsoon hugs, Michaels leaves the ring and gives the Lowell faithful a victory lap. As Michaels goes backstage, Ross says “Goodbye, Shawn.” Will this be the last we see of Michaels in the ring? I’m not even betting a nickel on it.

Match 3: Undertaker versus Savio Vega (w/ the Nation of Domination)


Rating: *

Summary: Showcase match for Undertaker, but why job Vega this soon after his heel turn?

After the match, the NoD hits the ring until Ahmed Johnson saves Undertaker. Unfortunately, the numbers catch up to Johnson until Undertaker revives and chokeslams PG-13 simultaneously. Johnson and Undertaker then clear the ring to end the segment.

Vince shills IYH XIII: Final Four sponsored by Western Union.

Prior to the next match, Hendrix interviews Monsoon who implies BULLSHIT by Michaels but is excited to announce that Sid will face the WWF champion on RAW this Monday.

Match 4: Stone Cold Steve Austin versus Sycho Sid


Rating: *

Summary: Too short to be worth much, but it was intended to be more angle-driven.

After the match, Sid nails Bret for costing him the match. A brawl breaks out until officials separate them.

Back in the locker room, Vader with Paul Bearer stumbles over his words.

After a commercial break, Lawler shills for Western Union as the Lowell faithful chants “Burger King.”

We then revisit the **cough**BOGUS**cough** knee injury speech by Michaels as he surrendered the WWF title.

Match 5 for the WWF tag team titles: The “British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith & Owen Hart (champions w/ Clarence Mason) versus Faarooq & Crush (w/ the Nation of Domination)


Rating: **

Summary: More angle development as Owen lost by countout for the second week in a row.

After the match, Faarooq gives Smith a Dominator as Owen fluctuates between helping Smith and limping.

Promo for IYH XIII: Final Four airs.

Match 6: Bret “Hitman” Hart versus Vader (w/ Paul Bearer)


Rating: **

Summary: More appetizer for the main event on Sunday.

After the match, Austin threatens to jump from the balcony to get to Bret as RAW leaves the air.

Conclusion: Unlike Nitro, this was an extremely historical episode with both the WWF title surrender and Maivia’s incredible upset. Pardon me, while I get a Pepcid though as Michaels’ speech made me nauseous.

TV Rating: 2.70

Stay tuned for WWF In Your House XIII: Final Four!

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

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