The Spotlight On Attitude Era Raw- 12/29/1997

Hello everyone and welcome to another edition of the spotlight on Attitude Era Raw where each week we continue our journey through every episode of Monday Night Raw that took place during the famous Attitude Era as listed on the WWE Network’s Attitude Era Raw section.  Remember the hope is to have these listed for you as you’re waiting for this week’s Raw so that if you’d like to wet your wrestling pallet prior to Raw, you can go back and watch this episode.  This week we journey back to December 29th, 1997 in which Raw took place in the Nassau Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum.  For what it’s worth, the Nassau Coliseum is my favorite venue to watch a wrestling show, at least it rivals Madison Square Garden.  I have been going to shows at Nassau Coliseum since I was all but five years old in 1991.  With that said, however, I hadn’t gone to any television tapings until the late 1990s so I was not present for this Raw taping. Regardless, this was a really fun and eventful episode of Monday Night Raw so let’s get right into it with the highlights of the show.

Highlights
1) Crapper 3:16-   The highlight of highlights on this show has to be the opening segment featuring the brawl between The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust (Coming to a Do you remember section of this blog near you) and Stone Cold Steve Austin.  TAFKA Goldust comes out as the single most annoying character back then, dressed as the new year’s baby as this was the final Raw of 1997.  This leads to Stone Cold Steve Austin showing up and lowering a porta john from the rafters before throwing Goldust into said porta john.  It’s one of the great Stone Cold Steve Austin memories that I feel gets overlooked because it took place early in his run pre-McMahon feud but to me it’s one of my favorite memories of the Stone Cold character, well worth going out of your way to track down.
2) Jim Cornette’s Rant-  This is an interesting episode of Monday Night Raw because in many ways it’s a transition episode.  This being the final episode of 1997, a year in which WWF lost mostly every week in the Monday Night War and lost Bret Hart in well documented controversial fashion, this is right before the WWF started one of it’s most successful year’s in history, that being 1998.  Thus, in this episode you get a heartfelt thank you from Vince McMahon thanking the fans for sticking by the WWF and also to expect big things from the WWF in 1998.  Also on this episode, in a similar vein, you get a pretty controversial promo from Jim Cornette about the state of wrestling of 1997.  It’s worth taking a few minutes to check out and I’ve embedded the video for you guys above.
3) Shawn Michaels Vs. Owen Hart- The war between Sgt. Slaughter and D-Generation X continued this week as Triple H pulled out of his title match with Owen Hart, due to injury, only to have Sarge declare that Shawn would now have to defend his world title against Owen instead.  This is really a packed show as this was also the night that The Undertaker’s casket arrived to scare Triple H only to have Shawn pop out of the casket dancing to start the build for their match at the Rumble.  As for match quality, I’m trying to give you one each week and, even though there’s a screwy finish, it doesn’t get much better than Shawn Michaels vs. Owen Hart.  Owen was still super hot at the time as it seemed that perhaps he would be getting that major push towards the world title following the Montreal Screwjob.
Do You Remember…
Chainsaw Charlie?!?!?- This episode of Monday Night Raw won’t only be remembered for the great DX and Stone Cold Steve Austin segments, oh no!  This stacked Raw will also be remembered for the night in which Chainsaw Charlie made his debut.  If you don’t remember Chainsaw, this was the character portrayed by Terry Funk during the time period where Mick Foley (Now Cactus Jack) was searching for a partner to help him out in his battles against The New Age Outlaws.  So yes that man with the pantyhose over his face in the picture above is WWE Hall of Famer Terry Funk!
Closing Thoughts
Overall, this was obviously a stacked episode of Raw that’s worth going out of your way to check out.  I really like that not only did they start to put such an emphasis on the Royal Rumble (In December) but they also started to cement some of the seeds for Wrestlemania that year, three months out.  It’s because of long term booking like this that midcard matches at Mania that year like Owen Hart Vs. Triple H and The New Age Outlaws vs. Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie meant so much more.  That’s going to do it for this week, I’ll be back early in the morning with the spotlight on this week’s Raw and back next week looking at the first Raw of 1998!

The Spotlight on Attitude Era Raw-12/22/1997

Just last month the WWE Network launched a collection of 55 episodes of Monday night Raw that were titled “Attitude Era Raw”. The Raws started with the final two episodes of Raw from 1997 & spanned up until the first Raw from 1999. This means that for the first time since its inception, every single Raw from 1998, one of the most successful years in WWF history, is available in the on demand section of the WWE Network. So beginning today, I’m going to go through every single Raw on that list once a week spanning a full year. The idea with this is not to break down every segment of every Raw, but to do the Spotlight on each Raw like I have everything on here with some highlights of each show & also some overall thoughts.  There will also be a “Do You Remember?” feature which will cover a variety of superstars, storylines or matches that you may have forgotten about, most of the time with good reason. My plan is to release these over a full year and drop these posts at 630PM EST so you have the full 90 minutes to check out these classic attitude era Raws prior to this week’s Raw, if you’re so inclined.  Thus, without any further ado let’s get to Monday Night Raw from December 22, 1997 which took place at the memorial auditorium ins Lowell, Massachusetts.

Highlights 

1) Raw Is Christmas–  I’m a sucker for holiday themed wrestling specials.  I always used to feel like the old Survivor Series events that took place in and around Thanksgiving did a great job incorporating Thanksgiving into the show and getting you into the holiday spirit.  Well this episode of Monday Night Raw is, arguably, the most Christmas themed episode of in history (and this includes the Raw hyped around the good santa vs the evil santa just a couple of years ago).  From the infamous clips of Stone Cold giving Santa a stunner the week before, to Sable coming out first dressed as a reindeer then revealing a sexy mrs claus get up, to vader  claus, to the merry DX mas mooning to start the show to even the entire arena being decked out in red & green while snow fell throughout the night, made this a very festive Raw.

2) D Generation-X in Classic Form– The main story of this episode of Raw was the continuing saga of the feud between DX & Commissioner Sgt Slaughter.  The show starts with Slaughter, offended by DX’s antics mooning the crowd & wearing mistletoe G strings to the ring, forcing World Heavyweight Champion Shawn Michaels to defend his European Championship against Dx counterpart Triple H.  The entire show is then built around this developing tension between Shawn & Triple H with the announcers wondering if this was the end of DX.  Of course in the end DX was in on it and Shawn basically lays down for Triple H as the two laugh at Sgt. Slaughter to end the show, but not before Sarge gets one last jab in on DX by saying that next week Triple H would defend his title against Owen Hart.  I always liked this about Raw back then, they always gave you something to look forward to the following week.  I also felt that DX vs. Sgt. Slaughter was a really underrated feud.

3) The Rock Vs. The Undertaker– From an in ring standpoint the only real match that you were able to sink your teeth into was an often forgotten but solid match between the Rock and the Undertaker.  This was during the time period where the Rock was in the Nation of Domination and still finding his way as the intercontinental champion but still this was a fun match that went about 10 minutes.  In the end, their really wasn’t a finish as Kane showed up.  This was during Kane’s first few months in the WWF and so he was still trying to get The Undertaker to fight him.  Kane was so scary upon his debut, the character was so great.

Do You Remember…

Kurrgan?- This was still during the period of time in which Kurrgan was apart of the Truth Commission, with Snyper, Rekon & The Jackyl.  On this show Kurrgan destroys 8-Ball while The Jackyl cuts a promo throughout the entire match.  While Kurrgan looked menacing, there wasn’t much to this match or the entire Truth Commission vs. DOA feud.

Closing Thoughts

This was obviously a taped show as the announcers are shown in front of a green screen.  This was also during the period of time in which they would separate Raw into Raw is War and the Warzone.  They’d end the show at 9 and then have a separate introductions, theme songs and announcers (Except Jim Ross he called both shows) for each half of Raw which I never understood why they did that.  There were also a ton of video packages and highlights on this show so it looked like they filmed the few matches and DX storyline before or after Raw the previous week.  It was also interesting to see how much the crowd was into the Legion of Doom who were taken out the week before.  I also liked that on a Raw in December you already saw some of the pieces coming together for Wrestlemania 14 with Kane-Undertaker, HHH-Owen and Mankind-Outlaws.  Overall a fun show and they got you excited for the next week by announcing that Owen Hart would finally be able to get his hands on DX following the Montreal Screwjob.

The Spotlight On WWE Raw Albany- 4/20/2015

Hello Everyone and welcome to the spotlight on WWE Raw where every Tuesday we’ll have your highights and lowlights from the previous night’s episode.  Now I shoud make it clear that highlights include anything that I personally enjoyed and that I feel like you should go out of your way to see.  Lowlights, on the other hand, can either be something on the show that didn’t work for me whether it be a bad match or bad booking, something you won’t miss much of if you decided to skip that portion of show or maybe just something that all around left an overall bad feeling for whatever the reason.  With that out of the way let’s get into Raw.

The highlights 

1) RKO Outta Nowhere- I loved the use of Randy Orton last night as I felt that by delviering a promise in the beginning of the show that Rany would RKO everyone before finally getting to Rollins, then hitting people with an RKO throughout the course of the night before finally delivering an RKO to Rollins at the end of the night was all great.  It gave fans tuning in at 8 pm that hook, then kept them engaged throughout the show wondering where he would show up next (the highlight for me being catering) and then delivering that payoff at the end of the show was a great way to lay out Raw and get everyone ready for Extreme Rules on Sunday.

2) The Big Red Machine–  I really enjoyed the Kane stuff last night especially his passionate promo against Seth Rollins.  I felt this was the best thing Kane has done since he feuded with Bray Wyatt.  Say what you will about Kane but it seems like the people really want to see him in a babyface role.  I even thought his match with Cena was pretty good and I like that Cena acted very serious for his match with Kane as he had with every US title open challenge.  I’m just hoping like anything that this is not some kind of Authority setup because we just went through that with Rollins a weeks before Wrestlemania.

3) Ambrose and Harper– These guys are just a joy to watch and they remind me to the days of the hardcore division that has been missing from WWE over the last several years.  Ambrose and Harper are both so good and fearless in some of the things they do.  I liked that they brawled around the arena and appreciate the sacrifices both of them take seemingly every time out. 

The Lowlights

1) The Battle For “The Miz”- I’m not sure what I was expecting but it was more than this. Miz & Mizdow had been, what I thought, a great feud with tons of momentum behind them following their breakup at the Royal Rumble. Fast forward just a little more than three weeks & their first blow off match doesn’t even happen on a pay per view and is given just a little more than five minutes here. The ending was also predictable as I don’t think anyone believed Summer Rae was going to be featured against her Marine 4 co star. Then in the end the Miz (who I really feel can be a main event heel for WWE) became a bit player in Randy Orton’s onslaught & did quite possibly the silliest face after taking an RKO. In the end, I just hope these two don’t get lost in the shuffle now that their feud is done, especially Sandow who I thought was on the verge of something good. 

2) Bo Dallas- I liked his promo, I always have, but to me it’s just a shame that their isn’t more to be done with Bo Dallas. I’m in no way suggesting he should have gotten one over on Roman Reigns but to me there’s more to Bo than a comedy heel. Prior to NXT’s rise on the Network, Dallas was a focal point of the brand and I hope he gets a little more juice moving forward. It’s especially sad that while Sheamus got months of build for his return, that Dallas got nothing at all. He’s young, he’s great on the mic & solid in the ring. I hope WWE notices all of this as well. 

3) “Kiss Me Arse”- Sheamus has been on fire since his return to the company as a badass heel. Likewise, Dolph Ziggler has also looked like a cranked up a notch star since the two have been feuding over the last several weeks. I’m sure that the two of them will have a great match on Sunday but that “Kiss Me Arse” stipulation is rubbing me the wrong way. That is a stipulation that should be reserved for the likes of Santino Marella or Henry Godwin, not two former world champions. 

That’s going to do it for me this week but before I go I would like to wish a speedy recovery to Daniel Bryan. I hope that the injury is minor as I would hate to see Bryan go through anymore turmoil in his life.