Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Raw #194 - January 20th, 1997

It’s the night after the Royal Rumble, and Bret Hart interrupts the proceedings, storming to the ring to cut a promo instead of wrestle to open the show. It’s a harbinger of how Raw will operate for the next two decades, except for the fact that Bret repeatedly refers to the “championship belt.” He addresses Vince McMahon as if he, rather than Federation President Gorilla Monsoon, runs the show, airing his grievances about being repeatedly screwed, first by Shawn Michaels in December, and again by Stone Cold at the Royal Rumble, which he would have won had the referees seen Austin get eliminated. Instead, Austin won last night, and Bret Hart unceremoniously quits tonight, hopping the guard rail to a mixture of boos and “We Want Bret” chants.

Austin then grabs the mic and paces around cutting a promo that no one can hear because the mic isn’t working, probably because Hart threw it down. Austin threatens to whoop the ringside attendant’s ass as he hands him a working microphone. Stone Cold says Bret has done nothing but whine since he returned to the WWF, drawing cheers. Austin is angry about Sycho Sid (the loser of last night’s title match) being pulled from tonight’s advertised main event due to a concussion and being replaced by the Undertaker in the match against Rumble winner Austin. Curiously, Steve blames Gorilla Monsoon for this decision, even though Bret pretty much spelled out that Vince is the one who’s really in charge. Vince leaves ringside as Jerry Lawler is audibly excited over the prospect of no Bret hart and no Vince in the WWF anymore.
Furnas & LaFon wrestle a a non-title match against the tag team champions Owen Hart and British Bulldog, whom Owen “accidentally” eliminated last night. Davey Boy claimed last night that he would win the Rumble because he was “bizarre,” puzzling fans for decades to come, as not only is Bulldog not bizarre, but bizarreness is not an important factor in winning a Royal Rumble. Then again, if Bulldog’s claiming against all evidence to be bizarre, and he thinks being bizarre will help him win the 30-man battle royal, then I guess he is pretty bizarre after all. Jerry Lawler urges fans to call their friends to get them to watch Raw tonight. Jim Ross informs us that Gorilla Monsoon fined The Undertaker his entire Royal Rumble purse after chokeslamming a referee last night. Leave it to Monsoon to go after a wrestler’s share of the purse money. That’ll give Undertaker a real negative attitude!

Jim Ross plugs La Femme Nikita on USA, which he promises will have back-to-back episodes after Raw and will not be a bait-and-switch, no doubt referring to something that happened on Nitro recently. The announcers also extol the superiority of Nikita over Robin Hood, but more on that later in the broadcast. Jerry Lawler is still talking about Vince leaving the set, saying he’d never seen Vince look so white. I guess he never saw Vince dance at the 1987 Slammy Awards. Following an Owen belly-to-belly, Jim Ross calls Hart a “suplex machine.” Somewhere in Philadelphia, Taz is vowing to beat up Jim Ross as soon as his first push in the WWF fizzles out. A top-rope headbutt misses Furnas, leading to tags by both teams. LaFon hits a spinning DDT that clearly fails to drop Davey Boy on his head, so JR covers for him and calls it an armbar takedown. Owen hits LaFon with his Slammy, allowing Bulldog to powerslam his opponent for the victory.
We see a replay of Shawn Michaels’s whole entrance from last night’s Royal Rumble to get everybody jazzed up about Shawn being champion again, no one realizing that Shawn wouldn’t even make it to the next pay-per-view.

The Nation of Domination, consisting of Faarooq, Crush, Clarence Mason, PG-13, an unknown D’Lo Brown, and several actors, enters the ring. Conspicuous by his absence is, uh, one of the Nation members. You know, the black guy. He took a Pearl River Plunge through a table last night. Faarooq’s opponent tonight is fellow Sunny protege Bart Gunn. JR again mentions Robin Hood, assuring us that we won’t have to sit through Robin Hood to see tonight’s main event. That’s because last week’s Nitro saw the Hogan-Giant main event air during the commercial breaks of TNT’s new Adventures of Robin Hood TV series following the main program. Faarooq dominates the match until Bart Gunn makes his comeback, only for a PG-13 member to put Faarooq’s foot on the rope. Crush roughs up Gunn on the outside and falls prey to the Dominator (formerly the Tiger’s Bite), allowing Faarooq to make the pin. Vince and Gorilla (who shields his eyes from the bright lights) come to ringside after the match for a “major announcement.”
Vince introduces Gorilla Monsoon, and the fans boo. Pandemonium nearly breaks loose. Monsoon refuses to change the referee’s decision from the Rumble match, but denies Austin the title match at Wrestlemania. Instead, he makes a four-man elimination match at In Your House between Undertaker, Vader, Bret Hart (all of whom were illegally eliminated by Stone Cold), and Austin himself. This match is “very unique” says Monsoon twice throughout his speech. Stone Cold rushes down to the ring and calls Gorilla a jackass. Austin is having some numerical difficulties tonight, not only claiming to have thrown 29 wrestlers over the top rope the night before (which would have set an all-time Rumble record), but that he’s going to beat “them four” at In Your House, a number which includes himself. He then gets in Monsoon’s face. Boy, is he bent out of shape! Bret Hart then comes back through the crowd, grabs the mic, and accepts Monsoon’s offer for a spot in the match, then brawls with Austin in the aisle.

Vince is back on commentary as Bret Hart is escorted away after the commercial break. Undertaker makes his entrance, but interrupts it to brawl with Bret in the aisle before setting his sights on Austin. Jerry Lawler yells at Austin to target Undertaker’s injured rings, prompting Vince to admonish him. “Stop it.” Jerry Lawler does not. Instead, The King gets out of his chair and continues shouting instructions. Taker mule-kicks Austin in the groin, but Austin hits a stunner, leading to a double-down. It’s funny to see the Stone cold Stunner used as a transition move. Backstage, Bret gets the hat trick, brawling with his third opponent at In Your house, Vader, before the two are separated by a number of wrestlers, including Rod Price, who lost to Rocky Maivia in a match taped prior to tonight’s show.
During the break, the two wrestlers had another double-down, this time with the dreaded simultaneous clothesline, although Austin is in control when the show returns. JR reminds us once again about the two episodes of La Femme Nikita coming up next, and, again, how her arms are bigger than Robin Hood’s. Vader then waddles down to ringside to battle his two other opponents, meaning that all four men in the In Your House main event have brawled with each other tonight. All four men punch each other a lot. Then Austin leaves, but Bret runs up the aisle so they can punch each other some more. Then they punch each other at ringside.

Final tally:

0 Maneuvers (Year total: 9)

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