Retro Ratings: RAW is WAR (November 17, 1997) - Bret Screwed Bret

RAW 234

NOVEMBER 17, 1997

ROH World Title Bout Official For ROH 19th Anniversary Event

Location: Cornwall, Ontario, Canada* (UNANNOUNCED)

Synopsis: "Mr. McMahon shares his side of Survivor Series in an infamous interview. DX shows Commissioner Slaughter how much they respect him."

Overall: If you watch WWE solely for the wrestling than you're definitely not going to enjoy this episode of Raw. It is almost entirely story and character building. There are some spots that drag, but I found everything that involved either Vince McMahon or Austin and Rock to be tremendously entertaining. Additionally, I think they're doing a remarkable job of building towards their In Your House: D-Generation X PPV. The matches all feel must-watch and it's a credit to the work being done every Monday night.

Previously on Raw

  • The show begins with a recap of last week’s main event segment that, much to my chagrin, went off the air before the match between Ken Shamrock and Triple H had concluded.
  • Jim Ross reveals that the cameras kept rolling and caught the confounding conclusion.
  • After Commissioner Slaughter broke the referee’s count (as we caught a glimpse of before the broadcast cut out) he entered the ring and pushed Triple H through the ropes.
  • An irate Shawn Michaels came to his friends defense, but was also shoved. This time, however, Ken Shamrock rolled him up (for some inexplicable reason) and Slaughter counted to three, declaring Shamrock the winner of the match.
  • Commentary is quick to point out that Michaels was not apart of the match and that this will not hold up as an official victory for The World’s Most Dangerous Man.
  • No matter how you break it down, this is a bizarre ending. I understand keeping Shamrock strong, but there must have been a better idea than this, no?

Stone Cold Steve Austin Promo

  • Austin looks angry. He quotes Vince McMahon as saying that anything can happen in the World Wrestling Federation. He proceeds to walk on top of the commentary booth and asks the audience if they want to see Rocky Maivia get his ass kicked. The response is overwhelmingly in favor.
  • The Rock is called out. Stone Cold is impatient and tells the production team to "play their music so they got something to come out to."
  • The Nation of Domination appear at the top of the ramp, but Rock heads back behind the curtain and sends his friends to the ring. If you have a numbers advantage it only makes sense to use it.
  • I was expecting all three men to attack Austin after surrounding the ring, but D'Lo went in alone. He is quickly stomped and Stunnered. Why would Faarooq and Kama not jump in and help him?
  • With Austin's back turned, Rock slides into the ring and steals the Intercontinental title.
  • The Nation of Domination stand tall at the top of the stage. You can see Stone Cold mouth the word "bullshit" before throwing both middle fingers high in the air.
  • I've never loved the stolen belt angle, but it generated some heat (with the live crowd at any rate) and is true to Rock's character as an entitled and slightly delusional braggart.
  • Austin grabs Jim Ross' headset and says that Rock has no place to hide (including airport security), and that he'll be around for the whole show and will get his payback!

Singles Match

Jerry Lawler defeated Marc Mero (with Sable) via Disqualification

3/10

  • Commentary points out that Sable is wearing sunglasses to cover up a black eye that occurred when she was kicked in the head by her horse.
  • Jerry Lawler with a nice hip-lock takeover. Brian Christopher comes to ringside.
  • Mero with a baseball slide that knocks Lawler into Christopher.
  • Punches are being exchanged but not much more. The crowd is silent.
  • Christopher is trying to get Sable's phone number. His pick up line is "Come on, I'm sexy! What's your number? You want me!" I feel so bad for Sable right now.
  • Mero see's what is happening and tries to shoo Christopher away. Jerry Lawler capitalizes with a piledriver.
  • Sable hops into the ring and breaks up the pinning attempt. The King wins via disqualification. Mero takes this opportunity to strike with a low-blow and TKO.
  • Mero yells at Sable for costing him the match. She looks scared and on the verge of tears.
  • Jim Cornette mentions that the live audience might have the wrong impression of the black eye, having not heard the story about the horse. Based on their on-screen relationship I'm somewhat surprised they didn't try and work a domestic abuse angle.

Why Bret Why? The Untold Story - Part One

  • Jim Ross cuts right to the chase and asks Vince, "Did you or did you not screw Bret Hart?"
  • "The referee did not screw Bret Hart. Shawn Michaels certainly did not screw Bret Hart. Nor did Vince McMahon screw Bret Hart. I truly believe that Bret Hart screwed Bret Hart." - Vince McMahon
  • Vince says that their is a time honored tradition in wrestling where you give back to your fellow Superstars and to the company for helping you achieve a certain level or success. Bret did not want to show that respect.
  • Bret's 20 year contract is brought up. Jim Ross wonders who wanted to nullify it. Vince responds by saying it was a joint effort. He didn't think Bret was worth what they were paying, and Bret didn't like his situation creatively, so they orchestrated a scenario where Ted Turner could "steal" him away from the WWF. Vince says he was the first to congratulate Bret on his 3 year/$3 million contract.
  • The hope was for Bret and Vince to sit down and work things out as gentlemen. Vince is disappointed that Bret punched him, but says he will get over it.
  • No charges are currently being pressed, but it all depends on Bret whether or not that happens.
  • Vince has no sympathy for Bret, a supposed wrestling traditionalist who refused to do the right thing for the business that made him what he is today.
  • This segment alone makes this episode of Raw an absolute must watch!

Tag Team Match

Los Boricuas (Miguel Perez and Savio Vega) versus Road Dog and Billy Gunn - No Contest

N/A

  • Jim Cornette talks about the Boricuas locker room being broken into and how their clothes and jewelry were stolen.
  • Road Dog and Billy Gunn come out to the Boricuas music, wearing all of their gear. They are greeted on the ramp and a brawl breaks out.
  • Road Dog kicks Savio Vega in the groin. I heard a bell, but all four men are in the ring so I don't know why the referee would have started the match.
  • The remaining two Boricuas come out and help their brethren. Billy Gunn and Road Dog get away as the show heads for commercial.
  • This happened so fast that I couldn't justify give it a rating. I don't even know if what I saw was an official match.
  • Gunn and Road Dog are clearly the heels, but all the teams they're messing with are kind of lame so their jackassery is actually endearing them to the audience, it seems.

Six Man "Mini" Tag Team Match

N/A

  • Sunny serves as the special guest referee and her entrance is almost as long as the match.
  • Why is this on Raw? Commentary didn't even talk about the match unless it was to mention how Max Mini is the world's smallest athlete and could be part of P.T. Barnum's circus.
  • The lights turn off and Kane's music starts playing. Jim Cornette does a great job of freaking out and putting over the level of concern everyone should be feeling. 
  • "The Mini's are like rats trying to find a corner is a silo." - Jim Cornette
  • Everyone goes and hides under the commentary booth. 
  • The Headbangers appear behind Kane and break a boombox over his head. He is not phased one bit and proceeds to beat the hell out of Thrasher and Mosh. Chokeslam, Tombstone, Repeat.

War Zone

D-Generation X Promo

  • Rick Rude is in the ring and introduces DX. November 17, 1997 is the day when Rude appeared on both WWF and WCW television. This was a pre-taped episode of Raw.
  • The amount of cuts during their entrance is literally nauseating.
  • Shawn Michaels tells Ken Shamrock that DX respects absolutely nobody. HHH spits his gum at the camera.
  • HBK talks about running Bret Hart out of town and says that he's going to start beating up his friends, which includes Shamrock.
  • Triple H tells Slaughter to "get his fat ass out here" before reminding him that DX makes the rules.
  • Triple H gets in Slaughter's face and repeats everything he said earlier. He then goes on to insinuate that Mrs. Slaughter has an issue with the commissioner's "private". "From what I hear, you're having a little problem going past half-mast." Where's SRS with a segue when you need one?
  • Slaughter slugs HHH after he threatens to go by their house and show his wife what standing at attention really means. Jim Cornette breaks out the "Yes" chant after the punch.
  • Shawn hits Slaughter in the back with Rude's briefcase. They bring him to the corner and Chyna rips his shirt off. He is thrown across the ring and belted in the head with the briefcase yet again. The sound it made got an audible reaction out of me. Shawn even grabbed a microphone and said "good god, that's going to leave a mark."
  • The segment ends with a Pedigree and a toilet paper "X" laid over top of the Commissioner. I guess that solves the mystery of what Rick Rude was carrying around in his Halliburton this whole time.

Light Heavyweight Tournament

Scott Taylor defeated Eric Shelly

3/10

  • Jeff Jarrett calls in from his home in Hendersonville, Tennessee.
  • Taylor executes a shoulder tackle and baseball slide to the outside. The crowd is uninterested and honestly, so am I. WCW's Cruiserweight division this is not.
  • Double J announces that he will make his in-ring debut next week on Raw.
  • Dropkick from off the barricade by Taylor. He follows it up with a sunset flip from off the top rope.
  • Shelly is trying to add a sense of urgency to the match with a series of pinning combinations.
  • Both men look sluggish. I'm not entirely sure how that's possible, they've been wrestling for about three minutes.
  • Taylor wins after hitting a "modified version of a DDT" from the top rope. He advances to the semi-finals of the tournament.

In-Ring Segment

  • Marc Mero and Sable come to the ring while Scott Taylor is still celebrating with fans near the ramp.
  • Jim Ross is summoned and seems annoyed. He asks "So what do you got to say?"
  • Mero is upset that Sable is "being stalked by some big, fat, Pillsbury boxing wannabe" and that the WWF is doing nothing about it.
  • Butterbean is shown in the crowd. Mero wants him to stop waving at her. He is throwing a hilarious temper tantrum. A huge "Sable" chant breaks out.
  • Mero wants to fight Butterbean right now. Oh boy, I really hope we see him get "knocked out."
  • Props to Butterbean for rocking the tucked in t-shirt and Zubaz.
  • The two men push each other, but it's broken up immediately. Mero jumps out of the ring for some reason. He instigated this whole situation. Why is he running?
  • It sounds like we're gonna see them square off at In Your House on December 7th.
  • Sable looks fed up with Mero's antics as they head towards the back.

Why Bret Why? The Untold Story - Part Two

  • When asked if he would welcome Bret back, Vince tells J.R. that this is a strange business and that he would allow him back, but with the condition that they both say sorry to each other, and that Bret no longer gets anymore "free shots."
  • Vince says that he would rip up Bret's contract with WCW and bring him back. This is a great interview, and it's fascinating to watch Vince straddle the line between babyface and heel.
  • "Bret seems to be sensitive to the idea that he sold out. I helped Bret sell out. That's what he did!" - Vince McMahon
  • Vince thinks that Bret loses credibility every time he says that he didn't do it for the money. At $3 million per year to work 125 dates, Vince believes there would be a lineup of wrestlers outside the locker room also asking for his help to "sell out."
  • The general sentiment coming from Vince is one of regret. Regret that he was forced to make the decision he did and regret that Bret wasn't willing to do the right thing, something that wouldn't have costed him a single dollar on his deal with Ted Turner.
  • Vince is unwavering in his point of view that Bret made a mistake, one that the is going to regret both personally and professionally. He is sad that a 14 year relationship was ruined because one of the people forgot that they are in the sports entertainment business.
  • The interview ends on a more spiteful note with Vince saying "I'm going to remember Bret as the Excellence of Execution. It's just 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. He had the opportunity to live up to that in his final match in the WWF and he failed."

In-Ring Segment

  • Vader and Goldust are scheduled to compete in a singles match.
  • Goldust comes out wearing gold slippers, a gold robe and black nylons. He also has his arm in a sling. He is accompanied by Gerald Brisco.
  • "It looks like someone put a Purina One Dog Chow wrapper on his face." - Jim Cornette on Goldust's new face paint.
  • The doctor has not given Goldust the go-ahead to compete. Vader does not care about his medical note.
  • Goldust pulls a mallet from his sleeve and hits Vader over the head. This is a quick and effective way of building more heat for this match.

Commissioner Slaughter Promo

  • Slaughter is fed up with DX, especially Triple H, and has scheduled a match for them on December 7th.
  • He is not concerned with winning or losing. All he wants to do is give Triple H a beating that will stay with him forever.
  • This has been building for a few weeks. There is a definite score to be settled and it should make for a good fight.

Singles Match

Dude Love defeated Rocky Maivia via Disqualification

6/10

  • I thought he was still Mankind, but I like the idea of Foley switching back and forth randomly. It's like the United States of Tara, but 12 years earlier.
  • Rock comes out wearing the Intercontinental Championship belt, Nation of Domination by his side. We have still yet to see Austin.
  • Rock gets on the mic and tells the audience that his match tonight will not be for the title. He refers to himself as The Rock a few times and Jim Cornette asks J.R. who he's talking about. It's so much fun watching his transformation out of the Rocky Maivia character.
  • Dude Love controls the early going with a number of right hands, but Rock takes control after a DDT.
  • After a commercial we see Rock dropping an elbow in the middle of the ring.
  • Rock gets slammed face first into the top turnbuckle ten times.
  • Dude Love teases Sweet Chin Music, but instead stomps on Rocks foot and hits a double under-hook DDT. 
  • Nation of Domination hop in the ring and break up the count. Dude Love wins via disqualification, but is being stomped into oblivion. Rock has the wherewithal to quickly grab the belt before anything can happen to it.
  • Austin runs out, but Rock is able to slip away in the nick of time. Austin and Dude Love clear the ring, with D'Lo being the victim of yet another Stone Cold Stunner.
  • The bell is being rung repeatedly, J.R. is enthusiastically calling the action, and the crowd is going absolutely wild. Austin and Rock are staring each other down. What a way to end the show! I need to fire up the next episode right now.

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.

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