Wrestling fans lived in some interesting times in December 1997. Bret Hart had gotten screwed in Montreal at the Survivor Series and was on his way over to World Championship Wrestling. WCW was building towards Starrcade with three huge long built up matches. The Battle of the giants between Kevin Nash and the Giant, a Steel Cage Match between Ric Flair and Curt Hennig, and of course Sting against Hollywood Hogan for the WCW Championship. Also Eric Bischoff was schedule to take on Larry Zbyszko where if Bischoff won, than the NWO would get total control of Nitro. Meanwhile over in the WWF, DeGeneration X was running wild with Shawn Michaels as the WWF Champion, backed up by Triple H and Chyna.
The Undertaker's long lost brother Kane was going after him to get the Undertaker in the ring but the Undertaker refused to lay a hand. Stone Cold Steve Austin was on the road to super stardom. The Rock, previously Rocky Maivia the smiling cheerful rookie sensation and later just simple Nation of Domination lackey, was becoming electrifying, just becoming the WWF Intercontinental Champion, although Stone Cold stole his belt. Long suffering midcard acts Billy Gunn and Road Dogg formed an impressive tag team, defeating the Legion of Doom, the legendary Road Warrior Hawk and Road Warrior Animal. Plus Vince McMahon, formally a goofy announcer with a million cliches(BACCCK Body Drop!), was getting a bit of attitude. It was truly the Attitude Era in the World Wrestling Federation.
Nitro on December 15th 1997 was a big one for World Championship Wrestling. Sting had returned the previous week and Bret Hart was about ready to make his debut on that night. Plus Ric Flair was not going to wait until Starrcade, he wanted to get his hands on Curt Hennig in his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. There were great matches, with Juventud Guerrera and Rey Mysterio Jr teaming up for the first time against La Parka and Psychosis, getting the win. Fit Finlay scored a win over Dean Malenko, with a little help from Eddie Guerrero, who was facing Malenko at Starrcade. Randy Savage had an epic match with Booker T, who had previously been a tag team wrestler in Harlem Heat. This was a sign of things to come for Booker T. Chris Benoit was denied his shot at Raven yet again, beating Scotty Riggs. Buff Bagwell triumped over Lex Luger by disqualification, leading to their Starrcade match where Lex Luger was poised to get his revenge over Buff. Yet there were those two big events of the night, first
Bret Hart had made his debut...announcing that he was going to be the referee for the match between Bischoff and Zbyszko at Starrcade. Also the match between Curt Hennig and Ric Flair didn't really get going. Hennig(showing up rip roaring drunk to work I might add, causing Eric Bischoff to point out that fact out on camera. The NWO beat down Flair and broke his ankle. This lead to Diamond Dallas Page making the save and establishing that he would take Flair's place at Starrcade 97. It made sense as Page and Hennig had been having a series of matches over the United States Championship, although it was a real disappointment that Ric Flair would not be getting his revenge against Hennig inside a Cage at Starrcade. And we have another staredown between Hollywood Hogan and Sting, leading to their big clash at WCW Starrcade 1997.
This brings us to RAW is WAR
WWF RAW is WAR Results 12/15/97
The lights go out and the Undertaker is in the ring, with Michael Cole waiting to get a few words. It is announced here that it will be the Undertaker going one on one with Shawn Michaels in a Casket Match for the WWF Title at the Royal Rumble. Undertaker says that he only lost one casket match at this point to Yokozuna at the 1994 Royal Rumble, where 10 men interfered. Actually wrong, he also lost to Goldust at In Your House: Beware of Dog Part II(the part II being that the original Beware of Dog had a storm outside that knocked out the power in the arena and several matches had to take place in the dark and broadcast transmitter was blown as well), with help from Mankind. Taker says that Shawn Michaels only has Chyna and Triple H in his corner and therefore Undertaker is finally going to get his hands around the throat of Michaels and put him in the casket. Then here come the red lights and here comes Kane to the ring. Kane stares down the Undertaker, as Paul Bearer crows how this was a family reunion of sorts, only without the Undertaker's parents, who he murdered in the same fire that scarred Kane. Kane slaps the Undertaker several times but Taker blocks one and for a moment we have a staredown, but Undertaker leaves. Thus the tension continues and the slow build to the Undertaker and Kane.
TAKA Michinoku defeated Jerry Lawler via disqualification.
A rather fun match all things considered. It does seem like a mismatch for sure but Lawler and TAKA really did click well in many ways. TAKA dazzles the King with some high flying moves, but Lawler gains the advantage and hits the piledriver on TAKA. Lawler prances around, and goes for a fistdrop but TAKA moves. TAKA spikes Lawler with the Michinoku Driver to a huge pop, but out comes Brian Christopher to break up the pin. Double team on TAKA for a bit but TAKA avoids it and Christopher punches Lawler.
Hawk and Animal, the Legion of Doom, are talking about their huge match tonight as DeGeneration X in the main event. A dream tag team match for sure.
A look at last week with Steve Austin forfeiting the WWF Intercontinental Title Belt and then the Rock getting beaten up, with Austin stealing it back. That out comes the Nation of Domination, with the Rock referring to himself as the People's Champion and the best WWF Intercontinental Champion of all time. Faarooq cuts in but the Rock cuts him off. The Rock calls Austin a thief and calls him out. Austin comes out, saying the Rock doesn't tell him what to do and Austin will show him where the belt is later. The Rock says that Austin has one hour or the Nation is going to beat him up. Faarooq is not too happy with the Rock acting like the leader.
Dude Love defeated The Road Dogg.
Last week, Dude Love beat Billy Gunn, this week he has a match with the Road Dogg. This is the time, where Road Dogg and Billy Gunn were first called the New Age Outlaws, in an off handed manner on commentary. Pretty decent little match right here. Dude Love gets the win with some Sweet Shin Music. Then afterwards, Billy Gunn goes for a chair shot for Dude Love, but Dude narrowly avoids the attack. Dude Love is double teamed and driven on the ramp with a double suplex, before he is launched off of the ramp to the concrete with a sickening thud! The New Age Outlaws act like they regret their actions but then they beat up Dude some more.
After the break, Dude Love slowly gets to his feet and is helped to the back.
Mark Henry made the Brooklyn Brawler submit to a bearhug.
This is Mark Henry's first return to WWF, after spending a year on the shelf with knee problems. He only had one match with Jerry Lawler. Henry had to stare somewhere and his win over the Brooklyn Brawler with the bearhug gets the win.
Stone Cold Steve Austin has left the building, as the plot thickens.
A recap of Owen Hart attacking Shawn Michaels from D-Generation X In Your House and then again this past week.
Out comes Vince McMahon, who demands Owen Hart to make his way to the ring. Vince's true colors continue to shine through, as he pretty much says that he's Owen's boss and he commands that Owen will come down to the ring or suffer the consequences. Owen Hart comes to the ring, dressed in black, with dark shades and a beard, looking particularly bad ass. Vince asks Owen who he thinks he is but Owen turns it around, ripping into Vince, asking McMahon who he thinks he is. Owen says that Bret, Bulldog, and the Anvil did what they had to do, but Owen will do what he has to do and stay in the WWF. He spent nine years in this company and no one, not Vince, not DX, will run him out of the company. McMahon tries to state that this is but the WWF Championship but Owen snarls that this isn't about a stupid piece of tin, this is about his life, his respect, his reputation, and his dignity. His one purpose is to utterly destroy Shawn Michaels, while making his life a living hell and he doesn't care who likes it. Shawn Michaels started this, and its time for Owen to end it. Vince calls security to escort Owen out. Sadly a good start to a storyline that didn't go really anywhere for various reasons but we'll get to that later.
Recap of that abhorrent segment last week with Marc Mero and Salvatore Sincere or as he'll be named, Tom Brandi.
Tom Brandi pinned The Sultan(w/the Iron Sheik)
Brandi gets the win quickly over the Sultan, who you might know better as Rikishi, the father of current WWE Superstars, Jimmy and Jey Uso. Then Marc Mero comes out and beats up Tom Brandi afterwards.
Another recap from the events of last week and then the Nation of Domination comes to the ring and the Rock demands his belt, and Stone Cold Steve Austin responds by throwing the Rock’s belt off of the bridge. Stone Cold Steve Austin throwing the belt off of the bridge might be second only to Austin and the Beer Truck in the most memorable Attitude Era moments. The Rock is none too happy with Stone Cold Steve Austin's little throwing the belt in the river. The belt would appear a couple of more times, as someone apparently fished the belt out of the river(in a vignette that sadly never aired on television), but would be replaced by the WWE Intercontinental Title belt commonly used today.
Vince McMahon appears to talk about the direction where the World Wrestling Federation will be going towards in the future from this point forward.
Steve Blackman pinned Miguel Perez Jr.
The WWF signals debut for Steve Blackman in the Attitude Era tonight on RAW. He wins handily with a German Suplex. That's what it was.
We have a look at DeGeneration X, where Triple H will face Owen Hart next week. Or maybe not, but well get to that when we get to it.
Legion of Doom of Hawk and Animal defeated DeGeneration X of Shawn Michaels and Triple H via disqualification.
This had the makings of a good match and in fact, what happened, this encounter was good. Hawk and Animal battered Shawn Michaels for most of the early period of this match, with Michaels bouncing around like a super ball. Hawk is caught in the corner and double teamed by DX, but Animal makes the tag and out comes the New Age Outlaws. Road Dogg has a rag soaked in ether, which he is quickly able to put Hawk to sleep with. Chyna interferes with a low blow and then four on one assault, with DX and the Outlaws power bombing Animal through the announcers table! Then Hawk is beaten down and his mohawk is shaved off! Triple H and Shawn Michaels applaud the Outlaws, although it would be a few months before they join DX.
The LOD are laid out. Is the rush over?
Next week, the Rock goes one on one with the Undertaker for the first time ever and much more.