Retro Ratings: RAW is WAR (November 3, 1997) - Final Call for Montréal

RAW 232

NOVEMBER 3, 1997

NJPW New Japan Cup 2021 Updated Bracket: Two More Names Advance To Round Two

Synopsis: Shawn Michaels faces Ken Shamrock in the main event. Goldust says goodbye to Marlena. Plus, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Kane, and more!

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for joining us on the road towards Survivor Series 1997.

Before we arrive at the big event, we have a quick layover in Hershey, PA for the go-home Raw.

If you look on your left, you'll see...

Stone Cold Steve Austin In-Ring Interview

  • Audience is going wild for Austin. His "Other Side, Jackass!" shirt is amazing. I want one.
  • Stone Cold promises a fight, not a wrestling match, at Survivor Series. Plain and simple, he wants to kick Owen Hart's ass. "Paybacks are hell, son, and that’s the damnedest bottom line I ever bottom lined."
  • According to Austin, everybody in the World Wrestling Federation has pissed him off. It's not hard to see why people love Stone Cold. He's a no-nonsense, straight-shooter who is both intimidating and charming.
  • We hear Ahmed Johnson's music. He comes out wearing an absolutely hilarious outfit replete with a red sweatshirt tucked into his skin tight blue jeans, a gold watch and chain, fanny pack, and snake skin cowboy boots.
  • Johnson is still fuming over Austin's interference in last weeks Intercontinental Title match. He challenges the Texas Rattlesnake to a match. Austin accepts.
  • I liked how there were officials and executives in the ring keeping the men separated. This, plus the back-and-forth jawing between Austin and Johnson added an intensity to the segment that made me want to see them wrestle. It was reminiscent of a pre-fight presser where things get out of control.

Light Heavyweight Tournament

Aguila defeated Super Loco

2/10

  • Sunny is the special guest ring announcer. This was definitely an attempt to boost fan engagement.
  • Every move looks like it's happening two-seconds too late.
  • Super Loco appears to botch on a dive to the outside and gets caught up in the ropes. He tries again but goes face first into the guard rail.
  • Brian Christopher is on commentary. He and J.R. have a great rapport.
  • Super Loco tries for a springboard forearm but slips on the top rope and doesn't get all of it.
  • Loco crotches Aguila on the top rope. He tries to hit a spinning heel kick from up top but completely whiffs. He gets up and settles for a clothesline.
  • This comedy of errors continues as Super Loco attempts a surfboard stretch, but cannot lock it in. He tries 5-times, but does nothing more than topple around the ring.
  • Both men trade jumps to the outside before Aguila hits Twisted Bliss for the win, mercifully bringing this bout to an end.
  • I genuinely hated this match.

Jim Ross Interviews Goldust and Marlena

  • There are two all-time memorable segments on this show, this is the first.
  • I remember this being the first time I ever saw Goldust (Dustin Runnels) without his makeup. He looks incredibly annoyed to be doing the interview. Marlena (Terri Runnels), on the other hand, seems positively chipper.
  • A video is shown of the couple with their daughter, Dakota, on the beach. Marlena talks about how happy she is to be back home with her family. She tells Goldust that he is her everything.
  • Dustin says that he can't do this anymore, and that every word out of her mouth is making him sick. He tells his wife that he is tired of living for her and his dad. It's time for him to be his own man.
  • If he wasn't already being a jackass, Goldust drops another bomb and reveals that he has found someone else. Someone who loves and appreciates him unconditionally.
  • Terri is understandably distraught. 21 years later and you can still feel the uncomfortable energy in that room.
  • The interview ends with Dustin taking off his ring, giving it to Terri, and telling her to shove it, and their marriage, up her ass.
  • Incredible work by all involved. I'm hoping this rejuvenates the Goldust character and catapults him into a spot as one of Raw's top heels.

Survivor Series Main Event Vignette

  • A video package previewing the Bret Hart v Shawn Michaels Survivor Series match is next. This is one of the best promotional videos that WWE has ever put together.
  • First, we are given the backstory of why they are feuding and shown all the major tension escalating events. My favorite of which was Bret chirping Shawn about getting beat up by six cheerleaders in Syracuse, NY.
  • Bret hates Shawn so much that he hopes he doesn't have to run him over with his car.
  • The training montage of Bret running on the streets of Calgary with Stampede Park in the background will forever be etched in my mind.
  • This is followed up with a super strange diatribe by Bret in which he attacks Shawn's masculinity. He dislikes the dancing, twirling, and "Mexican style wrestling stuff that just makes me sick." He continues on to say that tough men (miners, lumberjacks and coal miners) want to watch WWF and see a real man, not someone with chains, earrings and a little heart tattoo. 
  • Together they have held 18 titles, but they haven't met in 18 months. This match is a year and a half in the making. I can't remember the last time we saw a build last that long. Things between the two are at their most personal and commentary mentions that this could be the last time we ever see them wrestle.

In-Ring Segment

  • Ahmed Johnson, who is scheduled to face Stone Cold later in the evening, makes his way to the ring. Jim Cornette wonders if Ahmed knows how to read a format.
  • Kane follows suit. As a kid, his pyro scared me for longer than I care to admit.
  • Johnson eats a Chokeslam and two Tombstone Piledrivers. I could have done without J.R. exclaiming "THAT'S THE UNDERTAKER'S MOVE!" I think we get the point.
  • Mankind, who has a match with Kane at Survivor Series, comes out to help. He makes Paul Bearer choke on a Mandible Claw before warping a turnbuckle bolt over Kane's head. The visual of that mangled piece of metal was pretty cool.
  • Kane sits up, and commentary, once again, tells us about how the Undertaker does that.

Stone Cold Steve Austin Open Challenge

  • Stone Cold's music hits and I love how hilariously upset Jim Cornette was over the fact that nobody was waiting their turn.
  • Austin says that Ahmed got his ass whooped, just like he promised.
  • An open challenge to anyone in the locker room is extended. No one immediately answers and Austin asks for a beer and a hotdog.
  • The Nation of Domination come out. It looks like Rocky is going to answer the call but Faarooq holds him back. For the third straight week, the "Rocky Sucks" chants were louder than anything else on the show.
  • Kama gets in the ring but is quickly distracted by the Legion of Doom, who attack the Nation. Stone Cold capitalizes and hits a Stunner on the 6 foot 7 powerhouse.
  • Austin leaves the ring and laughs his way up the ramp while the two teams continue fighting.

WAR ZONE

D-Generation X Promo

  • The first 5 minutes of this promo are unimportant. It's mostly just Triple H heeling on Michael Cole, Shawn making thinly veiled dick jokes and proclaiming that he'll come to the ring naked after beating Bret Hart. Vince is visibly frustrated and concerned.
  • Sgt. Slaughter comes to the ring. It's stupid, but I laugh every time they call him "Chin". Shawn and Hunter put on face shields with windscreen wipers. It's simple, but this is one of my favorite DX's gags.
  • Slaughter makes a match between Shawn and Ken Shamrock for the main event. This is a huge step up after two consecutive lackluster endings.
  • Slaughter tells DX "we had a way of straightening up guys like you in boot camp."
  • The segment ends strangely. Shawn says "I know how you straightened up guys in boot camp, but this is the WWF." There is then a pause. HBK gets a confused look on his face. The crowd proceeds to get really loud. Michaels says “I’m Shawn Michaels, you can’t talk to me like that." It suddenly gets quiet as they head for commercial. You can see Hunter and Shawn exchange words. I'm not sure what happened. Was something edited out?

Marc Mero (w/Sable) defeated Savio Vega

4/10

  • Mero barges in on Sable's getting dressed. Her shirt is not on yet, but he still forcefully pulls her out of the dressing room. I'm ready to see him get his comeuppance.
  • Once in the ring the two men trade punches and shoulder tackles, but nothing eventful happens. This is a quick match and is structured in the exact same way as all of Mero's other matches recently. 
  • Sable distracts the ref and Mero delivers a low-blow and TKO for the win. I'm tired of watching the same thing every week.
  • Michael Cole tries to interview Sable after the match, but a jealous Marc Mero comes along and cuts her off. He claims that he is the star everyone should be clamoring to talk to. This story needs to start progressing because the live crowd seems even more bored than me.

Dog Collar Match

Vader defeated The British Bulldog

5/10

  • Jim Ross wonders who Vader will choose as The Patriot's replacement for Team USA at Survivor Series.
  • Doug Furnas and Phil LaFon come out with Bulldog and Anvil. Jim Ross is upset because Furnas is from Oklahoma. He says that everyone else has legitimate ties to Canada but can't understand why a proud Oklahoman would fight against America.
  • This is essentially a tug-of-war match, the first to touch all four corners wins, but the two men have such large personalities that I cared more than I would have otherwise.
  • Vader went over the top rope at one point and I was legitimately concerned for the British Bulldog's neck.
  • Anvil attacks Vader on the outside, but it made me wonder why they didn't get in the ring and beat him up. Vader had no one there to help him.
  • Vader eventually wears down the Bulldog and wins the match but gets jumped immediately afterwards.
  • Steve Blackman, who is thought to be a fan, jumps in the ring and helps Vader. He hits a few nice kicks before being tackled by Jim Neidhart. Vader pulls Anvil off and smothers Blackman. It looked weird because you couldn't tell if Vader was sheltering or smothering him. Watch the video above and judge for yourself.

Billy Gunn and Road Dog defeated Los Boricuas (Jesus and Jose)

4/10

  • Billy Gunn is carrying around the Blackjack's hat that he punched a hole through last week.
  • Jim Ross informs the audience that Commissioner Slaughter had an altercation with the Legion of Doom backstage and they have been asked to leave the arena. I'm not sure why they felt the need to announce this.
  • Fans are chanting a gay slur at Billy Gunn. It was shocking to hear.
  • I have the same issue with this match as I did with Mero/Vega, I've seen it for three straight weeks. I need something different, even if only slightly. 
  • Road Dog and Billy Gunn win after a distracted referee misses a double team maneuver that turns the tides of the contest.

As we descend into the end of our trip...

Main Event

Ken Shamrock defeated Shawn Michaels via Disqualification

7/10

  • Vince and J.R. make a big deal about Shamrock's performance last week versus Bret Hart. If I didn't know what was about to happen I would have seriously questioned why they were building up Shamrock over the champion. 
  • Shamrock is fired up and attacks Michaels before he can even get his vest off.
  • Michaels tries to fight back but Shamrock has him scouted. He is prepared for everything it seems.
  • The two men are working at a feverish pace. Shamrock is manhandling the European Champion.
  • DX could only be fended off for so long. With the referee distracted, Chyna pushes Shamrock into the corner post.
  • You can see Shawn's demeanor change as the match goes on. He is much more serious than he was at the start.
  • Michael's charges at Shamrock in the corner but goes shoulder first into the post. I don't know that I've ever seen anyone take that spot with as much speed.
  • Shamrock is ready to finish the match and tries for his patented hurricanrana, but Michaels counters it into a powerbomb.
  • Shawn misses on Sweet Chin Music and receives a belly-to-belly suplex for his troubles. He tries once more after a Triple H distraction, but it gets countered into the ankle lock. He quickly taps, but Chyna keeps the referee from seeing it.
  • I can't believe how strong they're booking Shamrock, and against the Survivor Series headliners no less.
  • Rick Rude comes and hits Shamrock with his briefcase. Triple H then delivers a pedigree onto it as well. The referee calls for the bell and Shamrock is declared the winner by disqualification.
  • The broadcast ends with Vince wondering if this could be Bret Hart's fate come Sunday.

Rating Guide:

10- Perfect, 9- MOTY Territory, 8- Excellent, 7- Great, 6- Good, 5- Average to above average, 4- Slightly below average, 3 or below: Poor

Each match starts at a 5 and slides up and down based on entertainment, execution, time, environment, reaction and stakes. The ratings are in no way an indication of a "star rating," which is a completely different system. A standard, non-offensive "TV match" lands at a 5. The gap between 5.75-6 is generally the largest, with anything reaching 6 being recommended viewing.

Get exclusive combat sports content on Fightful Select, our premium news service! Click here to learn more.
From The Web