Retro Ratings: RAW is WAR (December 1, 1997) - Be Careful What You Wish For

RAW 236

DECEMBER 1, 1997

Erick Rowan On Bo Dallas Not Fitting In The Wyatt Family, WWE Congratulates Renee Paquette | Fight Size

Location: Roanoke, Virginia

Synopsis: "Triple H takes on Jim 'The Anvil' Neidhart in the main event. LOD looks for revenge on the New Age Outlaws. Plus, The Rock, Vader, and more!"

Overall: I was let down by this episode of Monday Night Raw. It was boring and felt like a retread of the previous two weeks. The Luna and Marc Mero interviews were standouts (for better or worse), while the final minute of the broadcast provided the only pulse-pounding action. Otherwise, you're not missing much.

OUDK...WELL YOU BETTER "PAGE" SOMEBODY

  • Road Dog and Billy Gunn cut a promo on the Legion of Doom, calling them nothing more than "wrestling history." They make a lame joke about the Smithsonian Institution in the process.
  • According to the champs, Hawk and Animal are at home "licking their wounds." I doubt it. It seems completely out of character, especially after the damage they did post-match last week.
  • The crowd is chanting L.O.D so loudly that the speaker system is being drowned out.
  • Billy Gunn announces a non-title match against The Headbangers for later in the evening. He claims that the only thing he and Road Dog are worried about is breaking a sweat.
  • Hawk and Animal appear from out of the crowd and clear the ring. Road Dog and Billy Gunn sneak away just before they can be caught. The L.O.D vow to get their hands on the champs before the night is through.
  • The best part of this entire opening was the genuine amazement of Jim Ross and Jim Cornette in seeing Hawk and Animal in street clothes. "No face paint either, that's a first!"
  • I want to commend the commentary team because they did a great job all night of keeping you informed of all the different reasons you should stay tuned in.

Light Heavyweight Tournament - Semi Final

Taka Michinoku defeated Aguila

5/10

  • Sunny is once again serving as the special guest ring announcer.
  • I did some research on Aguila and was surprised to learn that he also portrayed the character of Essa Rios.
  • There is an impressive, if not overly coordinated, exchange to start the match. It ends with a Taka Michinoku springboard plancha.
  • Taka slows the pace with a drop-toe hold into a modified STF.
  • Aguila launches Michinoku into the corner post on the outside. He follows it up with a corkscrew moonsault. Jim Cornette astutely emphasizes the risk associated with the move and the importance of this match.
  • A hurricanrana is blocked by Taka Michinoku. He hits the Michinoku Driver to secure the victory.
  • The match started promisingly, but an obvious time restraint caused for this unfortunately abrupt ending. It's a shame because before the pacing was kicked into overdrive I was actually enjoying myself.

Jerry "The King" Lawler Interviews Luna and Goldust

  • Goldust is using a walker, wearing a dog collar and is attached to a chain. His hair is pink, his outfit is lime green, and he's being gagged. The Virginia crowd is not impressed. WWE read the room perfectly.
  • Luna runs down Marlena, calling her a "scum-sucking gold digger."
  • "I've freed Goldust from his closet, and from now on there will be no rules or boundaries, only whips and chains." - Luna
  • Jerry Lawler mentions Vader, but Luna doesn't seem concerned. “He’ll learn that pain and pleasure go together.” The longer this interview goes the more she veers off track.
  • Luna removes the gag and kisses Goldust with an exorbitant amount of tongue. Cornette got a big laugh out of me laugh with his “WHAT ACTION!” line.
  • This definitely isn’t what I was expecting when Goldust abandoned his wife, but I'll admit that I'm interested to see how weird they're willing to get with the character.

Four Corners Elimination Match

D’Lo vs Chainz vs Miguel Perez vs Recon

2/10

  • Crush is not at ringside because of Kane’s attack on him last week. I like that added bit of continuity.
  • The Rock gets loudest reaction. No one really cares about this match, but the possibility of a Stone Cold appearance is enough to keep me watching.​​​​​​
  • Chainz drops a few high intensity elbows. He tags in Recon. Jim Cornette mentions that you cannot refuse a tag as that would result in an automatic disqualification.
  • Recon with an impressive hurricanrana on D’Lo.
  • Chainz eliminates Recon with a Death Valley Driver.
  • Miguel eliminates D’Lo with a sneaky roll up. He, however, is quickly disposed of by a Chainz Death Valley Driver. 
  • All the teams pile into the ring and start brawling. I don't understand the point of this match. We've seen these teams have pull apart fights before, what does having another one accomplish?

Degeneration-X: A Leg Up On The Competition

  • Shawn comes out in a wheelchair and says that DX played Jim Neidhart for a sucker. He and Triple H seem proud of the fact that they both have suckers in their mouths as well. If only we could all be that clever...
  • Triple H says that Neidhart is known as the White Rhino, but didn't know he was so dumb. DX isn't going easy on Jim. They're really laying on the "he's an idiot" narrative thick. I feel bad for him.
  • Tri” (pronounced: try) as Shawn affectionately refers to him says that Commissioner Slaughter can make whatever match he wants, but that there is one piece of artillery he won't be bringing to In Your House, a piece that he’s saving for Mrs. Slaughter, "and that's the bazooka!"
  • Shawn says that Chyna put him through the paces at the gym and that's why he is using a wheelchair.
  • He’s doing leg workouts to increase his pain tolerance so that he can withstand the ankle submission.
  • To demonstrate his new found pain threshold, Shawn has Hunter apply an ankle lock. Triple H twists what turns out to be a fake foot/leg 360 degrees about five times.
  • This segment stunk! It wasn't funny, it was lame.

WAR ZONE

Singles Match

The Rock defeated Vader via Count Out

4/10

  • The Rock clarifies that this match is not for the belt. 
  • J.R. is put-off by that statement. He works brilliantly as the moral compass of the show.
  • Stone Cold drives his pickup truck into the building. He is blaring music and drinking beer. The Rock’s eyes are bulging and he can’t believe that Austin is in the crowd.
  • Big splash by Vader in the corner. There's nothing fake looking about any of his moves.
  • The camera is more concerned with Stone Cold than the match.
  • Rock counters a Vader dive from the top rope into a powerslam.
  • Swinging DDT by The Rock always looks good.
  • Rock throws Vader outside the ring. Goldust runs out and attacks "The Mastodon."
  • Back in the ring, Rock gets Vader up for a suplex and then hits the not-yet-named Peoples Elbow for two.
  • Vader leaves the ring and chases Goldust, but is counted out.
  • Another inconsequential match. I would have preferred a more heated encounter between Rock and Austin just days before their match at In Your House.

Light Heavyweight Tournament - Semi Final

Brian Christopher defeated Scott Taylor - No Contest

N/A

  • Taylor comes to the ring, but is followed by Kane.
  • Taylor throws four dropkicks but they have no effect. Kane's Chokeslam looked great as he held Taylor in the air for over five seconds.
  • Following a Tombstone, Paul Bearer tells the Undertaker that this carnage will continue until he does what he needs to do.
  • Commentary says that Christopher will advance to the finals, but that doesn't seem fair. I don’t really care, to be honest, the finals were obvious since day one, but if you insist on doing a bracket at least make it legitimate.

Singles Match

Ahmed Johnson vs Jeff Jarrett

N/A

  • This was supposed to be the wrestling debut of Double J.
  • It is revealed that Ahmed rolled his vehicle eight days ago. He's lucky to be here because it looked like a nasty accident.
  • Jarrett appears atop the ramp and says he will not wrestle tonight. Surprise surprise!
  • He calls Ahmed a "water retaining idiot” and claims that he is one of the reasons that he left the WWF in the first place.
  • Ahmed calls him a "chicken shit."
  • Slaughter comes out and tells Jarrett that he will wrestle this Sunday or be suspended indefinitely. His opponent will be the Undertaker. I'm calling Kane interference now. No way they have Jarrett lose his very first match on TV since resigning.
  • Jarrett is not happy with this announcement. For a man who says he’s the best in the world, he sure doesn't look confident.

Tag Team Match

The Headbangers vs Road Dog and Billy Gunn

N/A

  • The crowd is waiting for an L.O.D appearance and they get it almost instantly.
  • The Headbangers control the early stages, but before anything substantial can happen Hawk and Animal come out and attack the champs.
  • Road Dog and Billy Gunn slip away and run to their car. This felt anti-climactic, but I understand wanting to save the showdown for the PPV. I stand by my opinion of it falling flat based on the fact that we saw the exact same thing happen at the start of the show. This didn't add any heat to the feud.

A (Not So) Marvelous Meltdown

  • Cornette: "Please give whatever welcome you feel appropriate to Marvelous Marc Mero and Sable."
  • Cornette is a straight-shooter and tells Mero that since his return from injury the fans couldn't care less if he dropped dead and that Sable is the star of their act.
  • Mero cuts a "you people" promo and babbles on about his athletic ability. He thinks he's demeaning Sable by saying that she's never done a Merosault or competed for the Intercontinetal Championship.
  • "You fail to see my rugged good looks and chiseled body all because you’re chanting "Sable." - Marc Mero
  • The fans start chanting for Sable. Mero, for some reason, turns (even more) on her by saying that she was a nobody when he brought her to the WWF and that she'll be a nobody again when he kicks her to the curb once and for all. WHY IS SHE WITH HIM? In storyline he just told her that they have no future together. What is her reason for staying around? The fans and WWF clearly like her more so it's not like her job is in any danger.
  • I know it's a wrestling show, but they've set themselves up perfectly for a story where you can explore the dynamics of an abusive relationship. Why is she staying? How does she get out? Why is he acting this way? How will this affect Sable in the long run? Is there redemption to be had for Mero? The possibilities are endless.
  • Mero officially enters human trash heel territory when he refers to Sable as his property.
  • This comes to and end with Sable in tears and Mero threatening Butterbean while doubling down on his "property" remarks.

Montreal Screw Job ISO-CAM Footage

  • All night they were touting "never before seen Survivor Series Iso-Cam footage" of Bret and Vince. Sufficed to say, it was a major letdown. It was the exact same clip that's been shown hundreds of times. I would not have been happy if I was watching live and this was the hook that kept me tuned in for nearly two hours.

Singles Match

Triple H vs Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart

6/10

  • Neidhart no sells H's punches and tags him with some stiff ones of his own.
  • Michaels jumps on the apron and Anvil gives chase. This allows HHH to regain control.
  • Shoulder blocks and a powerslam by Neidhart look painful. 
  • Shawn gets on the apron again but this time the Anvil gets ahold of him. Chyna throws a chair in the ring and distracts the ref. Triple H hits Neidhart with the chair and pins him to win the match.
  • I agree with JR, you’d think the referee would hear the impact of the chair shot.
  • This match was below average, but I'm giving it a six because the closing few minutes of the broadcast are tremendously entertaining.
  • DX beats down Anvil after the match with a Pedigree onto the chair.
  • Shawn spray paints "WCW" on Neidhart’s back. So they’re just copying NWO?
  • Anvil fights back with a double clothesline but the numbers game is too much. Chyna handcuffs him to the ropes.
  • Anvil cracks Michaels with a back elbow. Slaughter and Shamrock both come to his defense. The ankle lock is applied to Michaels. He taps! The Cobra Clutch is applied to HHH. He's passes out! Chyna is being held back by Neidhart. The crowd is going wild.
  • This was a great final minute that sent the crowd home buzzing after an otherwise a mediocre evening that had a smattering of cool moments. I'm fired up for In Your House: Degeneration-X. The build has been on point. Let's hope it lives up to the hype.

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.

***

Previously On...

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