World Wrestling Federation "RAW is WAR" Continental Airlines Arena East Rutherford, NJ 2/27/97 Announcers: Jim Ross, Paul E. Dangerously Broadcast on the USA Network
The show started with Dangerously in the center of the ring with a mic:
"My name is Paul E. Dangrously, and I am executive producer and head of matchmaking for this, this program, RAW is WAR, the #1 show on cable television. As such, it is my sole discretion to decide who the announcers are for this program. Two weeks ago, I fired Jerry Lawler for making slanderous comments about myself. I gave him two options: turn his tail and return to Memphis, or stay on as a wrestler. To show that there are no grudges, and that I'm not going to retaliate against Mr. Lawler, I'm going to give him a match in tonight's main event, where he'll take on none other than the "Beast from the East" Bam Bam Bigelow!"
A video package aired featuring results from this weekend's "Shotgun Saturday Night," where "Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels defeated "Loose Cannon" Brian Pillman in a Loser Leaves Town match, and WWF Heavyweight Champion Bret "The Hitman" Hart successfully defended his title against the Big Red Monster thanks to interference by the Blue Blazer.
Following the package, Dangerously ran it down as a "cheap excuse for what I used to do" and that "McMahon is out of touch, just doesn't have a clue!" . . . The Flock (Baldo & Puke w/Raven) defeated the Hardyz (Matt & Jeff Hardy) in 4 minutes when Baldo pinned Jeff following a torture rack neckbreaker.
During the match, Ross discussed the newcomers' NFL background before falling in with Raven, while Dangerously called them "an example of the exciting, NEW talent you can only see on RAW is WAR!"
Raven got on the mic postmatch:
"Baldo and Puke have turned down millions of dollars, and the life of luxury a career in football provides because they know that life is shallow, hollow, meaningless. They want more, they need more meaning, so they have come to me. I've taken them places they could never imagine, and shown things that shouldn't be seen. I'm going to help them understand that the only way to enlightenment is thru pain, and inflicting that pain on others. Jerry Lawler, last week they gave you a taste of that pain. Very soon, there will be more. Quote the Raven, nevermore." . . . "Mr. Monday Night" Rob Van Dam pinned "Lionheart" Chris Jericho in 13 minutes following a split-legged moonsault.
The match was fairly even throughout, and was all-action from the openning bell. Finally, towards the end, Jericho was in control following a rana with both men standing on the top rope. He signalled for the Lionsault when he noticed "Man of 1000 Holds" Dean Malenko picking up Jericho's rulebook at ringside. Malenko started ripping pages out of it, infuriating Jericho. This enabled RVD to recover and hit him with a spinkick to the head from behind. A bodyslam later, and he was setting up the split-legged moonsault for the win.
Malenko got in the ring postmatch, and continued ripping pages out of the rulebook and littering them over Jericho before leaving.
Another intro video for "The Bad Guy" Razor Ramon aired. He will be here next week! . . . "No Gimmicks Needed" Chris Candido pinned Jake "The Snake" Roberts after a victory roll in 6 minutes.
Candido's speed found its match in Roberts' experience and guile. "The Snake" was repeatedly able to slow down the tempo, either by taking a breather on the outside, or by grabbing a hold and forcing Candido to the mat. He managed to get the short-arm clothesline and signalled for the DDT, but Candido held on to the ropes to avoid the finisher. As Roberts rose to his feet, Candido got behind him and climbed his shoulders for the victory roll.
The two men shook hands after the match.
Dangerously annouced that next week, the main event for Wrestlemania would be revealed. . . . Jerry "The King" Lawler defeated "Beast from the East" Bam Bam Bigelo in 9 minutes by disqualification.
Dangerously left the announcer's table and took a spot at ringside to get a closer look. Lawler started off hot the match hot, pummeling Bigelow and even giving him a big bodyslam. Bigelow rolled out of the ring to avoid the second-rope fistdrop. Lawler followed him out, which was a mistake, as Bigelow took control and posted him, drawing blood. The rules were rather laxed, as he also used some TV cable and they clearly ran past the count-out time. Bigelow used an over-the-shoulder backbreaker and a bearhug to wear his opponent down and almost got the win after a splash off the ropes. Finally, Bigelow went for, but missed, his flying headbutt.
At this point, Dangerously motioned back to the entrance, and Baldo and Puke ran out and hit the ring. They put the boots to Lawler then got him to his feet for more punishment. Puke gave him a seated powerbomb, then handed him off to Baldo when Evolution X's theme started up. Triple H and Sean Waltman hit the ring. Baldo and Puke stood their ground and a huge brawl broke out. The "Franchise" Shane Douglas came out to back up Bigelow, and Raven watched from the ramp as the camera faded to black.
Drozdov makes a good addition to The Flock. Seems like the type of character that if WCW had signed in real life, that's exactly how he actually may have debuted. Baldo has a lot of potential as I was eyeing him had I not got Batista in the draft. Not that it would be any time soon but I think he can be a lead heel in time in this sort of system. You put him in 1985 territories and he's probably booked similar to Bigelow.
RVD and Jericho feels like an often used match for TV here, but it's also a match that would be hard to not entertain unless it's brought out every other week. Interested to see how you climax the Malenko feud at Wrestlemania.
Hall should be a good addition after a year and a half away from the fed. Wonder if he comes seeking revenge on Triple H as a throwback to how he left?
Lawler and Bigelow would have a good match. Lawler's performance was obviously on the decline but he could always get the most out of the big guys, and Bigelow really seemed to excel in that role on the opposite end. Don't know where all that is going as much of this show felt like a placeholder with much of the A material going to the Shotgun special a couple days earlier. Good to see Douglas hasn't completely faded away here.
Looking forward to next week as the "March to Wrestlemania" begins.