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Raw History: Episode 216 and Reliving Nitro: Episode 94

January 8, 2018 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
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Raw History: Episode 216 and Reliving Nitro: Episode 94  

Raw History
Episode #216
June 30th, 1997 | Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Des Moines, Iowa

WWF Champion: The Undertaker (2) since 3/23/97
WWF Intercontinental Champion: Owen Hart (1) since 4/28/97
WWF European Champion: British Bulldog (1) since 3/3/97
WWF Tag Team Champions: Vacant since 6/16/97

A video package opened things, focusing on the Undertaker/Paul Bearer saga. Bearer is set to reveal the big secret tonight. Vince McMahon, Jerry Lawler and Jim Ross were in the booth.

Hunter Hearst Helmsley w/ Chyna vs. Ken Shamrock
Strange to see them go right into a match. Hunter got insert promo time to say he was bringing the “world’s most dangerous woman” to combat Shamrock. Shamrock started in control until HHH resorted to a thumb to the eye. He took over with generic heel offense and the high knee. Chyna got in a cheap shot, sending Shamrock into the steel steps. Mankind strolled to ringside to distract HHH. Shamrock connected on a belly to belly suplex to win in 4:42. Basic booking here. The face wins heading into a big PPV match, while the heel loses and builds his upcoming match. The match was a lot of nothing, though. [¾*]

RECAP ~ Highlights of the recent Nation of Domination stuff aired. From Ahmed Johnson joining to the DOA debut. During the brawl with DOA, Ahmed tore ligaments in his knee and is out of action once again. He gave short words about his eventual return. So what happens with the PPV WWF Title match in six days?

Backstage, new correspondent Michael Cole interviewed the Legion of Doom about the NOD, who they face next. It was standard LOD fare.

Elsewhere, Sunny had money in her cleavage to hype the Million Dollar Chance promotion that would go down at SummerSlam.

WWF Tag Team Championship Tournament Semi-Finals: D-Lo Brown and Faarooq w/ Kama Mustafa vs. The Legion of Doom
A brawl opened this. That made sense considering the styles they guys work (sans D-Lo). Animal caught a leaping Faarooq into a powerslam for an early highlight. The Godwinns showed up to watch from the stage, still pissed about Henry’s neck getting broken by LOD. D-Lo got to do most of the work, showing that he had some skill. JR announced that the NOD were pissed to hear that Vader would face The Undertaker for the WWF Title at Canadian Stampede and not another NOD member. LOD hit the Doomsday Device, but the referee was distracted. Henry came down and hit Hawk with the slop bucket, so Faarooq (not the legal man) covered for the win in 3:02. Hawk kicked out IMMEDIATELY after three, because he’s Hawk. [½*]

LOD ran to the back to find the Godwinns. Faarooq demanded Vince enter the ring so he could complain about an NOD member not getting the PPV title shot. Faarooq said Vader got the shot because he’s white. To be fair, Kama should get the shot. He pinned Undertaker. D-Lo did his parrot thing for his part of the promo. Faarooq was asked about Crush and he called the DOA a group of disciples for The Undertaker. Interesting considering their real life friendship with Taker. Savio Vega interrupted, causing Faarooq to call him a jalapeno picker. Savio charged the ring with a debuting group of fellow Hispanics, leading to another big brawl. After officials calmed things down, DOA revved their motorcycles to join the fray. RACE WARS! They joined things, but it was broken up rather quickly.

After a break, Savio introduced his gang as Los Boricuas.

RAW MAGAZINE ~ Get the new issue to find out about a relationship between Sunny and Brian Pillman. There’s photos and everything.

Brian Christopher vs. Scott Putski
They showed clips of Ivan Putski to hype Scott and did the same with Lawler for Christopher, but called him Brian’s mentor and not his dad. Scott had the size advantage, leading JR to mention a football scholarship he got. He just can’t help himself. Lawler hilariously responded with, “WHO CARES?” Scott had the match won with a splash, but Lawler got on the apron for the distraction. Scott sent Christopher into Lawler, but Jerry got the last laugh. He tripped Scott during a slam attempt and Christopher rolled him up to win in 3:38. Best match of the night, but that’s not saying much. It was decent at best. [*¼]

An agitated Putski clotheslined Christopher, so Lawler got in the ring. He and his “mentee” jumped Putski and took him out with a spike piledriver.

Backstage, The Undertaker explains that Paul Bearer is going to reveal the events from the worst night of his life. He wants his “creatures of the night” to allow him to say his side before judging him.

THIS SUNDAY ~ Two great light heavyweights will do battle at Canadian Stampede when The Great Sasuke faces TAKA Michinoku.

Brian Pillman vs. Mankind
Earlier today, Pillman was supposed to apologize for actions that got him fired from Shotgun Saturday Night. Instead, he apologized for basically being the only guy in the WWF with any balls. Mankind still had his “PICK ME STEVE” sign. He also brought a gift for JR as an apology for attacking him. It was a mannequin hand with Mankind’s finger tape on it. Strange. Pillman jumped him from behind. While they battled inside, Steve Austin got a split screen promo. He called Mankind smart for wanting to team with the best talent in wrestling, but said he felt that Mankind sucked. With Mankind in control, HHH and Chyna walked onto the stage for a closer look. After a break, Pillman attacked Mankind’s ear. That’s certainly different, but makes sense. Mankind fought back by going after Pillman’s bad ankle. He went for the Mandible Claw, but HHH got on the apron. Mankind put it on him, but Pillman nailed him with his boot. HHH tried using a chair, but missed and hit Pillman. Mankind chased HHH and Chyna with the chair. Pillman got in the ring for the countout win in 6:03. Hectic match. The ear/ankle stuff was clever and it built towards the PPV. [**]


Vince McMahon brought Paul Bearer out for the big announcement. A “creature of the night” (always a dumb name/concept) jumped the guardrail to attack Bearer. She was quickly pulled away. Bearer proceeds to tell the story of Undertaker’s childhood and how he set his home on fire. The fire killed Undertaker’s parents and his little brother. Bearer said his name was Kane and he was a sweet little kid. He calls the Undertaker a murderer and certainly took the long way to get to the point. Lights flicker and thunder and lightning went off, but Undertaker didn’t show up. Kooky as it was, I always dug this storyline, even when Bearer went long like this.

Backstage, Vader congratulates Bearer on the announcement. The camera panned over to Sable showing off the million dollar casket SummerSlam promotion. Marc Mero was there and wasn’t pleased with her showing off her rack.

WWF Tag Team Championship Tournament Semi-Finals: British Bulldog and Owen Hart vs. The Headbangers
The Headbangers got off to a bit of a hot start, before Thrasher got isolated. Bret Hart joined in from Calgary via phone. He wasn’t at Raw to rest up before the PPV, not because he’s scared of Steve Austin. Bulldog busted out the stalling vertical during this segment. Mosh got the hot tag and did his thing for a bit. Bulldog cut off the Stage Dive and Owen rolled Mosh up to win in 4:08. Nothing match that felt like background noise to the Bret conversation, even though that wasn’t important. [*]

Post-match, Jim Cornette came to the stage to say he had a tag team that arrived too late to enter the tournament. Out ran the Headhunters to brawl with both teams. Owen and Bulldog quickly bailed, leaving the Headbangers alone. This new, formidable team promptly got their asses kicked and were gassed within seconds. It took a Cornette distraction to finally get something going. They took out the Headbangers with a diving headbutt and moonsault. Shit debut for a shit team.

Following a break, Undertaker cut a promo backstage. He admitted to everything, but said the only reason he wasn’t at their funeral was because Paul Bearer dragged him to see his dead family two days earlier. Looking at their burnt bodies is what made him the Undertaker. Now, he draws strength from the spirit of the dead. Okay, so maybe not all aspects of the feud were winners.

Rockabilly w/ The Honky Tonk Man vs. Vader w/ Paul Bearer
Billy whacked Vader with the guitar, only for Vader to no sell. He wailed on Billy for a bit until Undertaker ran out to attack him, giving us a no contest/DQ in about 0:20. [NR]

Undertaker kicked Vader’s ass until Bearer shouted “MURDERER!” Undertaker grabbed him and demanded he tell the truth. Bearer shouted into a microphone that Kane told him, because “KANE IS ALIVE!” A shocked Undertaker was frozen enough for Vader to nail him. He and Bearer exited, leaving a stressed WWF Champion behind.

Jim Neidhart vs. Steve Austin
The Hart Foundation watched from the back, sans Bret who was in Calgary. Neidhart looked for a slow pace, but Austin wanted none of that. He brought a Lou Thez Press and kept the pressure on Neidhart. He went for the Sharpshooter, but Neidhart powered out of it. The fight moved to the outside, where Austin slammed Neidhart on the ramp. Look at Jim taking the bumps. During a commercial break, Bret Hart jumped Ken Shamrock backstage. BUT HE’S SUPPOSED TO BE IN CALGARY! Goldust wasn’t in attendance and LOD left earlier, so Shamrock was Austin’s only remaining PPV partner. Back to the ring, a gassed Neidhart took Austin to rest hold city. Austin broke free, but before he could do any real damage, out came Bret Hart to cause the DQ in 8:24. It started fine enough, with a hot Austin and Neidhart taking a ramp bump, but ended on a whimper. Neidhart stopped doing anything interesting after that bump and killed time until the DQ. [*]

The attack continued after the bell, with Bret putting Austin in the ring post figure four. Mankind ran down to help the guy he wants to team with. He put Bret in the Mandible Claw until the Hart Foundation showed up to help and the show closed.

Reliving Nitro
Episode #94
June 30th, 1997 | MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada

WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Hulk Hogan (2) 8/10/96
WCW United States Champion: Jeff Jarrett (1) since 6/9/97
WCW World Tag Team Champions: The Outsiders (1) since 10/27/96
WCW Television Champion: Steven Regal (4) since 5/18/97
WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Chris Jericho (1) since 6/28/97
WCW Women’s Championship: Akira Hokuto (1) since 12/29/96

Hour one hosts were the usual trio of Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay and Larry Zbyszko.

Mean “WOO” Gene introduced Ric Flair to kick things off. He came halfway to the ring before Roddy Piper’s theme hit. Out came two women carrying a mannequin dressed like Piper. Gene tried asking the women questions, but they both botch it. One mistook a question about Flair as being about Piper, while the other poorly delivered her line. Flair basically said Piper couldn’t hang and he’d go on living his party lifestyle, while Roddy would play family man. This segment did nothing to make me interested in this feud. It was poorly handled and highly unoriginal.

WCW Cruiserweight Championship: Chris Jericho [c] vs. Juventud Guerrera
During an internet exclusive show (they had those in 1997?) over the weekend, Chris Jericho dethroned Syxx for the Cruiserweight Title. That’s big for WCW, as they’ve continually failed to take titles from the nWo. Some quick back and forth to start. Jericho took things to the mat, where he held a clear advantage. Juvi fought back with aerial stuff, but slipped on a few moves. The crowd was pretty loud for Jericho. Jericho ended up outside and Juvi successfully connected on a plancha. Inside, he picked up a near fall with a 450 splash. Jericho then blocked a rana with a double powerbomb to a huge pop. He finished Juvi off with a super rana and Liontamer in 6:49. That was quite fun. The crowd was way hot for Jericho and him working the mat was smart. If Juvi wasn’t so sloppy, this would’ve scored higher. [**½]

Mean Gene interviewed Chris Jericho about winning the title. Jericho called it a WCW title, not an nWo one. Syxx interrupted to say he thinks the only person Jericho beat was himself in the hotel room. Gene was all, “YOU CAN’T SAY THAT ON TV, DUDE!” As far as the nWo is concerned, Syxx is still champion. Syxx threw in a cheap shot, leading to a pull apart brawl that lasted through a commercial break. We got some heat in the cruiserweight division!

While they’re being separated, Alex Wright came up to Gene Okerlund. He was there for interview time and complained that WCW held him down because he’s a good looking German.

Dean Malenko vs. Eddie Guerrero
Eddie attacked Dean during his entrance. Lots of fighting among the smaller, lower card guys. They made it to the ring, where the bell sounded even though Dean was barely up to his knees. Tenay did a great job mentioning Eddie’s past with a hated group in Mexico, stating those could be his true colors. Eddie was in control until he missed a dive. They continued blocking and countering one another, showing how much they’ve wrestled in the past. Dean hit one of his stiff powerbombs, but Chavo Guerrero Jr. strolled to ringside. He got on the apron and Eddie sent Dean right into him. He then hit a brainbuster and the Frog Splash to win in 3:59. A fun sprint. Lots of good action, though it wasn’t anything new from them. [**¼]

Mean Gene brought out Rey Mysterio Jr. for an interview. Rey’s tired of being pushed around by Kevin Nash and the Wolfpac. He challenged Nash to a match tonight, which brought the big man out. He found this rather comical and agreed to the match.

Eric Bischoff came to the ring on a motorcycle and brought out Hollywood Hogan for a promo. Hogan hypes the upcoming tag match with Dennis Rodman, before putting the focus on tonight’s matches, including Nash/Mysterio. It’s odd to bring out Hogan to mostly shill other people’s matches.

WCW Television Championship: Lord Steven Regal [c] vs. Hector Garza
They once again hyped Garza’s Tornillo. He hasn’t been on WCW TV enough for people to care. They begin chanting “USA” in a match featuring a Brit and a Mexican. Oh, Americans. They moved to chanting “boring” as Regal pounded on Garza. Garza somersaulted over Regal and dropkicked him to the outside. That led to the Tornillo, which is the one reason he’s been booked lately. Regal got his knees up on a moonsault and did a strange taunt. He applied the Regal Stretch to retain in 3:37. Fine little sprint, but the crowd just wasn’t into it at all. [*¾]

Mean Gene brought out the Steiner Brothers, who reminded everyone that Eric Bischoff stripped them of the Tag Team Titles a few months back. They called out Hall and Nash to accept their title challenge (I thought the match was set for this week). The nWo B-Team music hit, but was then changed to the normal one as the Wolfpac came out, flanked by Buff Bagwell, Scott Norton, Vincent and Masahiro Chono. Zbyszko kept getting his “Worm Pack” diss in. Between that and “New World Odor” he thinks he’s so clever. Hall had a contract for the shot and the Steiners signed it without reading. Idiots. Hall announced they signed a contract to face Chono and the Great Muta instead. Nash put over their intelligence. This was why it was hard to get behind WCW in this feud. They were dumb as hell.

Psychosis w/ Sonny Oono vs. Super Calo
Calo hadn’t been seen since La Parka attacked him with a chair. After some quick exchanges, an Oono distraction put things in favor of Psychosis. Oono got in his kick combo. Inside, we got the cheap finish where Calo rallied and went for a suplex, but Oono tripped him and Psychosis landed on him to steal it in 2:40. [NR]

Super Calo attacked Psychosis until La Parka ran in and hit him with a wooden chair. Juventud Guerrera rushed out to make the save and sent the heels packing.

HOUR TWO! Bobby Heenan replaced Larry Zbyszko.

Buff Bagwell, Masahiro Chono and Scott Norton vs. Chris Benoit, Ric Flair and Steve McMichael w/ Debra
It’s an odd match to have. The Horsemen officially turned heel again after jumping Piper, yet they’re booked against the nWo. I know it’s WCW vs. nWo in general, but the Horsemen barely fought them as faces. Flair and Bagwell had a decent exchange to start, before a tag came to Mongo. He got worked over in the corner by quick tags from the nWo. Mongo battered Chono to the Horsemen corner and tagged Benoit to a huge pop. I wasn’t expecting that kind of reaction. Benoit hits the diving headbutt, but Vincent hopped in the ring to ignite a huge brawl that led to a DQ finish in 3:32. Was this just here to fill time and get guys on the card? It didn’t make much sense, but the crowd was hot and the match wasn’t awful. [*]

Mongo used the briefcase as the Horsemen sent the nWo packing. Strange.

VIDEO PACKAGE ~ A poorly produced hype video aired to promote the Kevin Sullivan/Chris Benoit match at Bash at the Beach. This feud never ends.

High Voltage vs. Mortis and Wrath w/ James Vandenberg
The Mortal Kombat boys beat on High Voltage with relative ease to start. Ernest Miller and Glacier showed up, with Glacier distracting Wrath. That allowed Miller to roundhouse kick Mortis and Rage covered to steal it in 1:17. Not much of a match, but it at least continued the feud. [NR]

A white limo arrived outside. WHO COULD IT BE? IS IT THE IMPACT PLAYER THEY’VE HYPED FOR WEEKS? The door opened and closed immediately. Tony Schiavone, “STAY TUNED, WE COULD FIND OUT NEXT…OR LATER”

A Bash at the Beach ad ran, focusing on Dennis Rodman and Hulk Hogan.

In the crowd, Raven was spotted! Mike Tenay noted that he’s not signed with WCW, but has won titles in several companies.

WCW United States Championship: Jeff Jarrett [c] vs. Konnan
Jarrett is on Horsemen probation, so he didn’t get to play with them earlier. He’s gearing up to defend the US Title against Mongo at the PPV, so the outcome here was never in doubt. Jarrett and Konnan went through the motions for the most part. Konnan slipped on a simple kick to the gut. Is he ever not sloppy? Eventually, Flair strolled out and distracted Konnan, leading to the Figure Four. Konnan rolled him over a bit, but then Flair held Jarrett’s arms for added leverage to make him submit in 4:11. That felt like a big waste of time. [¼*]

Jarrett and Flair strutted together in the ring. Mean Gene and the rest of the Horsemen joined the ring. Gene asked about their status. Jarrett put over Flair, but said the issue was jealously because he beat all other members of the Horsemen. Flair announced that Jarrett was no longer a Horsemen, which upset the US Champion. Ric said Jeff wasn’t a member because of him, but because Debra liked him for a bit. She horribly addressed Jarrett in typical cringe worthy fashion. Jarrett told Flair he’ll be the man to put him out to pasture, so Benoit told him that he blew his opportunity to be with the Horsemen. Good, because Jarrett was a lame member.

WCW World Tag Team Champion Kevin Nash vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.
Rey charged the ring and nailed a springboard dropkick. Several more dropkicks staggered Nash, before a springboard somersault knocked him down. Nash did the powerhouse kickout spot, before catching Rey and giving him a massive atomic drop. A Jackknife later and it was over in 1:49. The expected squash, though props for Rey starting hot. [NR]

Kevin Nash added another Jackknife after the match. Konnan appeared on the stage and watched, while Tenay brought up their training history in Mexico. Nash added a third Jackknife and Konnan entered the ring. Nash exited the ring, leaving Konnan alone to attack Rey’s knee. HE WOULD GO ON TO HAVE SURGERY ON IT FIVE TIMES! During the commercial, Rey did the stretcher job.

Mike Tenay went to the crowd to get a word with Raven and find out if he’s possibly DDP’s mystery partner. Raven shoved him away and didn’t respond.

We’re supposed to get DDP, Giant and Luger against Savage and the Outsiders. Instead, the two teams brawled with the bell never ringing to start things. That went on for several minutes, with no end in sight. It probably went a bit too long. Hogan came to ringside and used his title as a weapon. The rest of the nWo appeared, just as DDP started getting jumped in the ring. Sting was seen in the stands, but then the real Sting came down from the rafters! Hogan backed away like he saw a ghost. Sting sent the nWo packing, before Curt Hennig casually strolled to ringside, making his debut. IS HE THE IMPACT PLAYER? Raven hopped the guardrail as well, coming face to face with Scott Hall. AND THAT’S ALL, FOLKS! Hot closing scene, making Raven look important, bringing back Hennig and continuing Sting/Hogan.

Raw Rating: 2.5
Nitro Rating: 3.1

The final score: review Average
The 411
RAW: As a go home show, this worked pretty well. They built towards HHH/Mankind, Vader/Undertaker and the big ten-man tag in solid fashion. There was also the important Bearer segment that makes the episode memorable. Despite those things, it was a chore to sit through at times. The Bearer segment ran long, most of the matches weren’t interesting and the gang warfare was already lackluster. 5.5

NITRO:  One of the better Nitros in recent memory. Most of the show delivered important, key moments. We have the debut of Raven, the return of Hennig, Jarrett getting booted from the nWo, the continuation of Steiners/Outsiders and Sting/Hogan and a handful of solid matches. It didn’t feel like it ran long and everything but the TV Title and random six man tag mattered, while building the PPV. 8.0


article topics :

Monday Night War, Nitro, RAW, WCW, WWE, Kevin Pantoja