The SmarK 24/7 Rant for Monday Night RAW – December 8 1997
– So it’s the night after the DeGeneration X PPV and big stuff is afootâ€¦
– Live from Portland, Maine.
– Hour 1 is hosted by Jim Ross & Michael Cole & Kevin Kelly. My dream team! Actually they’re not so bad here because their entire role is to read pre-scripted bits of the conversation in between JR’s actual points. Like they’re going over the Shamrock-Michaels title match and Kelly’s bit will be “Indeed the match was a mixture of speed and technique” and you won’t hear him again. I can deal with that.
Vince McMahon, slowly but surely getting into the swing of his Chairman Vince character, starts us off with a discussion of Steve Austin and how driving a pickup truck into the arena endangered the lives of the fans, and that’s just going too far. As well, he beat up a referee, so Vince DEMANDS that Steve Austin defend against the Rock (“who some of you may feel is indeed ‘The People’s Champion’â€¦”) in a rematch tonight. Austin comes out to clarify that you don’t “order” him to do anything. Vince clarifies that he’s Austin’s boss (the quivering voice here is great) and there will be CONSEQUENCES. But he’s just getting warmed up, as he’s also concerned about Austin’s language (about which Austin swears at him). So Austin’s gonna go back and have a hot dog and make Vince sweat, and when he comes back out, someone’s getting their ass kicked. MONEY. Well, I mean, duh, right, but just watching the electricity from the crowd here is amazing, even knowing how successful it was.
– Meanwhile, Jerry Lawler wins the Karate Fighters tournament over Sunny, but scandalous footage of cheating and malfeasance on his part reverses the decision. But what about the drug testing? He should have won regardless!
The Legion of Doom v. The Godwinns
Dogg & Gunn are at ringside with their South Park shirts (for those who don’t remember, that was really edgy 12 years ago), although I’m wishing they’d get a name soon. Henry slams Hawk, but misses an elbow, and Animal comes in with an elbowdrop of his own. Hawk adds a clothesline and dropkicks him into PIG for the tag, which gives us the world’s worst slugfest. Hawk with a neckbreaker, but he misses the flying clothesline and that allows the Godwinns to take over. However, in grand Russo tradition, it’s lights out and Kane heads out for the Sportz Entertainment Finish at 2:30 or so. DUD Kane piledrives Hawk and it’s no-sold (when does Kane ever do a piledriver?) so he adds a chokeslam and tombstone to finish him off. Did JR really call Kane the “one-eyed monster”? No wonder Kane dumped gasoline on him years later. And we continue angle overdrive as Gunn & Dogg take advantage of the fallen Hawk with a beating, until Animal chases them off with a chair.
– Back from the break, Road Dogg is STILL talking, as introduces the term “OLD” and declares that there’s no competition left in the tag team world, so they’re issuing an open challenge to any singles wrestler.
Dude Love v. Billy Gunn
Gunn attacks on the floor while Road Dogg does commentary and “interviews” Dude as Billy is pounding on him. That’s pretty funny. Into the ring, Gunn chokes away on the ropes, but Dude gets a backslide for two. Gunn comes back with a clothesline for two. Kelly: “You guys looked pretty tough hiding behind the Spanish commentators.” Dogg: “Yeah, well the Spanish commentators ARE pretty tough!” And it’s true, Tito Santana is badass. Dogg coins the name “Southern Justice” for the soon-to-be repackaged Godwinns while Dude makes the comeback and rams Gunn into the turnbuckles. That sets up Sweet Shin Music, but Gunn dodges it and hits a Fameasser. Dude recovers with Sweet Shin Music at 3:38 for the pin. And in true fashion for the team, Dogg immediately lays him out with a chairshot and the beatdown commences. Amazingly, this actually went somewhere.
Jim Cornette brings out the winner of the first WWF Light Heavyweight champion, Taka Michinoku. Jerry Lawler quickly interrupts before this can turn into too much of a trainwreck. Taka calls him a jackass, and Cornette introduces the first challenger, “El Unico”. Oh please, it’s so obvious who it is. And indeed, “Unico” is Brian Christopher. WHAT A SWERVE. They had no clue what people wanted from this division.
Flash Funk v. Kurrgan the Interrogator
Jackyl notes that Kurrgan’s days of being a sideshow freak are over, which is pretty funny given what he turned into a couple of months after this. Kurrgan pounds Funk down and no-sells his comeback and puts him down with a big boot. IRON CLAW finishes at 2:24. DUD Kurrgan goes CRAZY and won’t release, so the other Truth Commission members try to pry him off, and the ref reverses the decision. Yeah, that’ll show him. Jackyl’s cult leader character was always really interesting, but no one could make it work for whatever reason.
– Hour #2 is hosted by Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler.
DeGeneration X starts us out, doing their usual verbal blowjob of themselves, before Shawn gives another classic one: Owen Hart is the nugget of turd that just won’t go away. He says what we’re thinking! OK, not really. HHH freely cracks up here, but Chyna has to stay in character, sadly. So they’re just gonna sit here and play strip poker until Owen comes out and faces him like a man.
Skull & 8-Ball v. Jose Estrada & Miguel Perez
Yup, the Boriquas v. DOA feud continues unabated. Skull powerslams Jose and drops elbows, and 8-Ball gets a clothesline for two. Miguel comes in with an elbow in the corner and a dropkick, but a sunset flip is blocked for two. The Boriquas choke away in the corner as Shawn does progressively worse at poker on the floor. Hot tag to the other bald guy and Savio uses a 2×4 on him and the Boriquas win at 4:43. Just brutal. 1/2*
– So the poker game continues, with Shawn now puffing on a cigar and refreshments served, and Chyna keeps winning. Sadly, the Headbangers come out and interrupt the game, so Shawn smashes the whiskey bottle on Mosh’s head and Thrasher goes through the table. Good, that was pretty rude of them. And now Owen Hart finally does his run-in and beats on Shawn, before escaping into the crowd again.
Jeff Jarrett v. Vader
Aztec Warrior Jeff! Sadly, TAFKA Goldust heads out and “flashes” Vader, leading him on a chase that results in Jarrett winning by countout. Clearly they had no clue what to do with Jarrett.
Salvatore Sincere v. Marvelous Marc Mero
Mero goes on a rant before the match, EXPOSING Sincere as a “jobber” with a “stupid gimmick” named “Tom Brandi”. My ears are burning at this use of insider terminology! Someone call Vince! McMahon, not Russo. JR responds to Mero’s shots at the gimmick with “I’m a b-a-a-a-a-ad man”. Touche. Sable comes out in a potato sack, but quickly reveals a very small bikini, giving us our second non-match countout finish in a row. Brandi’s all “Who’s the job guy now, huh?” Still you, Tom. Still you.
Intercontinental title: Steve Austin v. The Rock
Nope, another non-match, as Austin refuses to defend the title, so he has to face Vince’s “consequences”. And THE ROCK THINKS YOU SHOULD FIRE HIM. Vince: “You stay out of this.” Awesomeness. Austin is looking past this rinky-dink title anyway, so Rock can have the belt, because he wants the WORLD TITLE. Rock’s delight at getting the belt is great, as is his shocked reaction when Austin turns on him and gives him the stunner anyway. Austin takes the belt back (although Rock is the champion officially now) and promises big ratings next week.
Man, you sure don’t watch these shows for the wrestling, as we’re clearly into the Russo era now, with swerves and industry-exposing interviews and non-finishes out the yin-yang. But for 90 minutes that flies by and entertains the hell out of you, there’s nothing better.
Tags: 24/7, Raw, shawn michaels, SmarK Rants, Steve Austin, The Rock, vince mcmahon, Vince Russo, WWE