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World Wrestling Federation 1997

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Word: Triskadeikaphobia

Part Of Speech: Noun

Etymology: Greek - Tris (three) + Kai (and) + Dek-a (ten) + Phobia (fear)

Definition: An irrational fear of the number thirteen.

Irrational?

Pro Wrestling Illustrated Weekly

February 1st, 1997 - February 7th, 1997

SHAWN MICHAELS' SHOCKING APPEARANCE ON NITRO!

For those of you caught channel surfing this Monday, you're not seeing double. WWF World champion Shawn Michaels actually appeared on both WCW's NITRO and the WWF's RAW this week. In order to acquire enough un-aired footage for an upcoming meeting with USA Network executives, the WWF taped this and next week's RAW a week prior, while WCW aired NITRO live as usual. Needless to say, WWF officials were stunned to see Michaels hobble to the ring on NITRO and offer his services to J.J. Dillon as special guest referee for the SuperBrawl main event.

No mention of Shawn's status as WWF World champion was made, and rightly so as he is no longer the recognized champion. At the aforementioned RAW tapings, Shawn relinquished the title, citing a severe knee injury as the cause. Behind the scenes, Michaels used the injury to make a graceful exit from his contract and join fellow "clique-sters" Scott Hall and Kevin Nash in World Championship Wrestling. However, Shawn has yet to comment as to whether or not he intends to join the New World Order.

As for the WWF World Title, an announcement will likely be made this Thursday (more on that in a moment) as to it's future. With Michaels now a WCW-contracted wrestler, it remains up in the air whether or not footage of him relinquishing the championship will actually air or not. Sources have notified PWI that WCW President Eric Bischoff has already filed an injunction to prevent such footage from airing, likely to protect the notion that Shawn is the reigning champion of the rival organization. Likewise, WWF has taken legal action against WCW as well in an attempt to keep their title's status out of NITRO's storylines. As always, PWI will continue to cover this topic closely.

WEEKLY AWARDS

WRESTLER OF THE WEEK - STEVE WILLIAMS

The rough and tough "Dr. Death" nearly made away with ECW's biggest prize at "Crossing The Line". After an impressive victory over the equally tough Axl Rotten, Dr. Death challenged the diabolical Raven and nearly ended his reign as ECW Heavyweight Champion. Despite failing to secure the gold, his efforts are more than enough to make him PWI's Wrestler of the Week.

MATCH OF THE WEEK - HARLEM HEAT vs. THE STEINER BROTHERS

As two of the preeminent tag teams in WCW, all eyes were on these four as they battled to establish themselves as number-one contenders to The Outsiders. Unfortunately, no challengers were named as Public Enemy and The Faces of Fear crashed the party, attacking both teams and causing a double-disqualification. After dispatching of Meng, The Barbarian, Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge, the Heat and the Steiners demanded to continue on, proving that this Match of the Week won't be the final chapter in this heated rivalry.

NEWS & NOTES

RAW'S CRUCIAL THURSDAY BROADCAST

This Thursday, the USA Network will air RAW at a special time. Sources within the company say USA is very close to extending RAW's time-slot to match NITRO's two-hour broadcasts, a definite big step in the WWF's attempt to reestablish ratings dominance. However, after the tumultuous week the WWF has had, that extension is now in severe jeopardy. This Thursday, we may all bear witness to the most crucial hour in WWF history.

MORE WWF DEFECTIONS TO COME?

The word behind the scenes is that the WWF locker room has paid very close attention to what their former roster-mates have done since defecting to World Championship Wrestling. Given the incredible strength the New World Order has amassed, many within the Fed believe the grass may be greener on the other side. Strong rumors say that one WWF wrestler in particular has already made plans to make the jump, regardless of whether or not he wears championship gold.

ARENA RESULTS

NEW YORK

NEW YORK - WWF Shotgun Saturday Night taping from Mirage Nightclub: Ahmed Johnson defeated Vader via disqualification... Mankind defeated Davey Boy Smith... Savio Vega defeated Jesse James... The Godwinns and The Headbangers wrestled to a no-contest.

(02-01-97)

PENNSYLVANIA

PHILADELPHIA - ECW "Crossing The Line" from the ECW Arena: Louie Spicolli defeated Mike Awesome... Lance Storm defeated Balls Mahoney... Stevie Richards defeated Ricky Morton... Steve Williams defeated Axl Rotten... Heavyweight champion Raven defeated Steve Williams... The Sandman defeated D-Von Dudley... Tag team champions The Eliminators defeated Rob Van Dam & Sabu... Terry Funk defeated Tommy Rich... The Pit Bulls & Tommy Dreamer defeated Brian Lee, Chris Candido & Shane Douglas.

(02-01-97)

TENNESSEE

MEMPHIS - WCW Monday NITRO live broadcast: Ultimo Dragon defeated Ray Mendoza Jr.... Glacier defeated Billy Kidman... Ice Train defeated La Parka... Harlem Heat and The Steiner Brothers wrestled to a no-contest... Dean Malenko defeated Mike Enos... Dallas Page defeated The Renegade... Alex Wright defeated Super Calo... Konnan defeated Chris Benoit via disqualification... Jeff Jarrett defeated Steve McMichael via count-out.

(02-03-97)

NEXT WEEK

FULL WWF IN YOUR HOUSE XIII PREVIEW

It's the last big pay-per-view before WrestleMania XIII and PWI Weekly will have the full and complete card next week!

Thirteen days before the thirteenth "In Your House" pay-per-view, the final pay-per-view broadcast before the thirteenth WrestleMania... Vince McMahon suffered his own bout of bad luck.

His top champion...

His WrestleMania main event...

His most trusted homegrown talent...

Gone... leaving only a gaping hole at the top of his card.

And fear.

WCW already running roughshod over him...

USA Network losing confidence...

Threats of more talent raids...

Morale at an all-time low...

Legal threats...

He now had nothing left to lose... not even a smile.

With one phone call, he sought to reverse his misfortunes by making an unprecedented "deal".

A deal with the devil... the thirteenth angel.

Pro Wrestling Illustrated Weekly

February 8th, 1997 - February 14th, 1997

NEW WWF WORLD CHAMPION TO BE CROWNED AT IYH XIII!

After an emotional Thursday night broadcast of RAW, WWF President Gorilla Monsoon formally vacated the WWF World Title, leaving it hanging in the balance as four men battle it out this Sunday at In Your House XIII. Former champion Shawn Michaels officially relinquished the championship weeks prior at a television taping, but thanks to legal action by WCW the footage went un-aired. The incident was ignored as Monsoon claimed to have stripped Michaels of the title due to "failure to fulfill championship duties", specifically the previously advertised return match against former champion Sycho Sid.

After January's chaotic Royal Rumble, won by "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, the final four have been called back into action to decide a rightful winner, and now, new World champion. Bret Hart had initially eliminated Austin by tossing him over the top rope, but the referees at ringside missed the call, allowing Austin to sneak back in and outlast Hart, The Undertaker and Vader to earn the honor of challenging for the World Title at WrestleMania. It's now a win-win situation for "Stone Cold" as a victory Sunday can propel him into that match as champion while a loss will still leave him as number-one contender.

As for Austin's opponent, Hart will be looking to tie Hulk (Hollywood) Hogan's record and win his fifth WWF World title. Undertaker will seek his second, having first become champion over five years ago at Survivor Series 1991. As for Vader, despite multiple impressive reigns as WCW World champion, a victory Sunday will mark his first title in WWF after well over a year with the company. Only one can emerge as champion. Tune in Sunday to find out which one.

WEEKLY AWARDS

WRESTLER OF THE WEEK - ROCKY MAIVIA

The WWF's first third-generation wrestler made his father and late grandfather proud by becoming WWF Intercontinental Champion on Thursday. Despite having a title match already set for Sunday's In Your House pay-per-view, Rocky capitalized on former champion Hunter Hearst Helmsley's overconfidence and put him away with a cross-body-block to win the gold. It remains to be seen whether Hunter will get the last laugh and end Maivia's reign prematurely in a return match, but Rocky's win alone earns him this week's Wrestler of the Week honors.

MATCH OF THE WEEK - DEAN MALENKO vs. EDDY GUERRERO

After an incredible series of matches in ECW, Malenko and Guerrero have taken their rivalry to the national stage in WCW. This unique "title versus title" match saw both Malenko's Cruiserweight Title and Guerrero's United States Title hang in the balance. In the end, both men left with the gold they came in with. Guerrero suffered a count-out loss when the New World Order's Syxx appeared at ringside, attempting to steal his title. After the match ended, Guerrero humbly offered his conqueror a handshake, but the "Ice Man" would have none of it. Hopefully more technical masterpieces will be on the way between the two, assuming of course, Guerrero can settle his score with Syxx.

NEWS & NOTES

WCW SLASHES ROSTER, RELEASES 29 FROM CONTRACTS

Twenty-nine World Championship Wrestling talent contracts were cut short over the course of the week as Eric Bischoff attempts to streamline the roster and reduce excess spending. Among those released are: referee Billy Silverman, Debra McMichael, Squire Dave Taylor of The Blue Bloods, Meng, WCW developmental standout David Flair, Glacier, The Barbarian, Horace Hogan and Ice Train. Many of the unlisted casualties were developmental talent signed at the WCW Power Plant and other assorted undercard tag teams.

FULL WWF IN YOUR HOUSE XIII PREVIEW

World Title Battle Royal: Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin vs. The Undertaker vs. Vader... WWF World Tag Team Title Match: Doug Furnas & Phil LaFon vs. champions Owen Hart & Davey Boy Smith... Intercontinental Title Match: champion Rocky Maivia vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley... Crush, Faarooq & Savio Vega vs. Bart Gunn, Flash Funk & Goldust... Marc Mero vs. Leif Cassidy... This Sunday live from the UTC Arena in Chattanooga, Tennessee!

ARENA RESULTS

MASSACHUSETTS

LOWELL - WWF Thursday Night RAW taping from Memorial Auditorium: Rocky Maivia defeated Intercontinental champion Hunter Hearst Helmsley to win the title... The Headbangers defeated Aldo Montoya & Bob Holly... The Undertaker defeats Savio Vega... Steve Austin defeated Sycho Sid via disqualification... Crush & Faarooq defeated World tag team champions Davey Boy Smith & Owen Hart via count-out... Bret Hart defeated Vader.

(02-13-97)

NEW YORK

NEW YORK - WWF Shotgun Saturday Night taping from Penn Station: Crush & Faarooq defeated The Godwinns... Intercontinental champion Hunter Hearst Helmsley defeated The Undertaker via disqualification... Aldo Montoya and Savio Vega wrestled to a no-contest... Crush, Faarooq & Savio Vega defeated Aldo Montoya & The Godwinns.

(02-08-97)

UTICA - WCW Monday NITRO live broadcast: Cruiserweight champion Dean Malenko defeated United States champion Eddy Guerrero via count-out... Konnan defeated Bobby Eaton... The Giant defeated Ron Powers... The Steiner Brothers defeated High Voltage... World tag team champions The Outsiders defeated Ace Darling & Devon Storm... Television champion Lord Steven Regal and Rey Misterio Jr. wrestled to a no-contest... Kevin Sullivan defeated Maverick Wild... Hugh Morrus defeated Alex Wright... Chris Benoit & Steve McMichael defeated Chavo Guerrero Jr. & Jeff Jarrett.

(02-10-97)

NEXT WEEK

WWF IN YOUR HOUSE XIII RESULTS & FULL WCW SUPERBRAWL VII PREVIEW

The new WWF World champion, plus a detailed look at WCW's first super-card of the year will all be featured next week!

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We need another old-time WWF diary! I'll be reading.

Shawn Michaels leaving is an odd move, It'll be interesting to see who leaves IYH with the belt. I'm going for Hart or Austin.

Best of Luck.

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I actually really like this idea, and I hope it goes forward. With that said, I think I'd rather see the WCW side of things, as it is kind of like a dream idea that HBK heads to WCW to join Nash, Hall, and Syxx, plus we have the potential for such matches as Flair/Michaels when both men were closer to their prime, Sting/Michaels a match that as far as I can find has never happened, Savage/Michaels which again I can't find any record of ever happening, and finally any combo of Michaels with Nash, Hall, or Syxx. However as that's not your scenario, and I can't say I blame you as this opens up a ton of potential ideas for WWF, I'll concentrate on where you are headed. Well, I will right after I wonder aloud how long before Hunter heads south.

Okay, with that out of the way, I think you have the potential to create a brand new pecking order in the WWF. Now I have no idea what or rather whom the thirteenth angel is, but ignoring that for a second, this would be a great time for Vader to step up and be given the ball he got screwed out of in the WWF by Michaels. By making him a top level monster heel again, the WWF could build towards many a great match as any number of faces try to rally and take the title off of him. Of course, the longer he holds it and the more faces he destroys, the better for the man who eventually pins him and takes the belt.

Hart was headed down the road towards heeldom at this point, or was he already a heel? I actually forget if The Hart Foundation was refounded or not by now, but either way, it would make sense to push Hart as the top heel of the company. Actually scratch all of that, I remember now. Austin was a heel starting to get great face pops, and Hart was a whiny face that the fans were sick and tired of hearing whine. So, Hart could continue his descent into being a full blown Anti USA heel, as happened in reality, and actually giving him the title here and then having him get screwed out of it in fast fashion would be a good idea as well, similar to things that actually occurred.

Austin simply isn't ready yet, although he's so very very close. However at this point I'd have to say that giving him the title and saying run could prove to be a huge mistake.

Taker is Taker. He's never ever needed the belt to be or stay over, and that's something that McMahon, Russo, and creative in general always seemed to realize. Plus putting it on him and taking it away again considering the gimmick is a very ahrd thing to do without creating massive screwjob endings that while continuing storylines has never been all that satisfying. Oh, and Sid/Taker at the real WM was not even close to a good match, so please dear god please don't go with that again.

So in closing on this topic, I'd have to say go with Vader, unless you want to recreate Hart's storyline, in which case go with Hart and then quickly have his ass drop it.

Rocky Maivai should be fun for you to play with. A super nice face who the fans start to hate or a super nice face that the fans actually accept? Which way shall you go? I don't see Hunter as having a chance in hell of winning his IC Title back so soon, but you never know. I guess part of this depends on whether or not he has plans to move south again as I wondered about above.

All in all, you have me massively intrigured, as should be obvious based on my rather lengthy reply to a mere BS. I hope to see more soon, and much much more as the weeks and months pass by on this really good idea. Good luck.

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wow, i must say I really am intruiged with this. I love the whole 13 thing going on and you've played very well as to the 13th Wrestlemania, 13th In Your House event etc etc. I'm very intruiged as to whom the 13th Angel is, esepcially with the build up your going for. After all, i dont think you've specified exactly who they are, they could be the owner of another company, a wrestler, a manager, hell the options are huge. I have to agree with thegodcomplex, Austin was getting over around this time before if memory serves me correct, Bret Hart went over him at WM13 so still a bit of time before the big push. I wouldn't be heartbroken if Sid never won the title again! And how much of a part, if any, will Kane play in the future?

All in all this diary is really intruiging and I am definately gonna keep on following this! Good luck

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Guest Power Master

Like people have said you have a load of different options to choose from. I like how HBK has gone to WCW, He was pretty much non-existant in WWF until Summerslam in 1997. (Plus I don't really like him) Now like thegodcomplex said about Vader becoming WWF champion, he should win it! I would put the belt on someone else first Maybe Bret (Have him belt the belt at Mania to Taker, Then Vader beat him at KOTR) Now that is advacne booking, but I'd like to see what you do. I'm also going to be reading!

Edited by Power Master

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Thanks for the early replies, everyone.

Andre's Top Fan - Thanks. I'll definitely some luck on this one. It's actually a re-creation of a game I've screwed up a bunch of times.

TGC - The weekly PWI newsletters will actually cover WCW quite a bit, though this is still a WWF diary. I'm going to try to keep WCW as true to life as possible though, but I plan on covering it much more than most WWF diaries would normally.

DaveKOTW - Oddly enough, Kane doesn't seem to even be in the scenario I'm using. I never even thought to look until just now. Then again, at this point, really anybody could be Kane.

PowerMaster - Thanks also for the reply. Enjoy the show. :)

WWF In Your House XIII: Final Four

Chattanooga, Tennessee

UTC Arena

Hosts: Jerry Lawler & Jim Ross

DARK MATCH: The Headbangers (Mosh & Thrasher) vs. The Godwinns (Henry O. Godwinn & Phineas I. Godwinn, with Hillbilly Jim)

Henry pinned Thrasher following a Slop Drop reverse DDT. After the decision, The Godwinns emptied a pair of slop buckets over the losing team's heads at ringside.

OVERALL RATING: 59%, CROWD REACTION: 49%, MATCH QUALITY: 69%

Crowd - "WHOO! YEAH!"

Jim Ross - "Good evening and welcome! Thank you once again for allowing us 'In Your House'. I'm Jim Ross, alongside Jerry 'The King' Lawler and... King, we are less than two hours away from crowning a NEW World champion!"

Jerry "The King" Lawler - "J.R., this is WWF history in the making!"

J.R. - "As many of you know, tonight's 'Final Four' main event stems out of the events of last month's Royal Rumble. 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin was the winner, but after reviewing the tape, President Gorilla Monsoon threw out the decision..."

The King - "Unfairly!"

J.R. - "...and ordered this rematch between the 'Final Four'. As those of you who saw this Thursday's special edition of RAW know, this match is now for the WWF Championship."

The King - "J.R., there's only one thing better than walking into WrestleMania as the number-one contender... and that's walking in the CHAMPION!"

J.R. - "For one of these four, that fantasy will become a reality."

PA - "ROWWWWWWWRRRRR!"

Howard Finkel - "The following contest is scheduled for one fall! Introducing first, accompanied to the ring by Sable..."

The King - "SABLE!"

Fink - "Weighing in at 235 pounds, 'The WILDMAN' MARC MEROOOOO!"

J.R. - "Mero has struggled a bit here in the World Wrestling Federation since last fall when he lost the Intercontinental Title."

The King - "If walking to the ring with Sable is a struggle... sign me up!"

Fink - "And his opponent, accompanied to the ring by Marty Jannetty, weighing in at 232 pounds from Lima, Ohio, he is one-half of The New Rockers... LEIF CASSIDY!"

J.R. - "Leif Cassidy... what do you think of this guy, King?"

The King - "What more can you say? He's a teen idol!"

J.R. - "Leif Cassidy? Teen idol?"

The King - "Don't worry, J.R. Nobody expects you to know."

SINGLES MATCH: "Wildman" Marc Mero (with Sable) vs. Leif Cassidy (with Marty Jannetty)

Cassidy started early by attacking before the bell and clubbing away at Mero's shoulder. He applied an armwringer, but Mero used a few punches to break his grip, then ran straight into a deep armdrag. On the mat, Leif cinched in the armbar, applying tremendous pressure to the elbow and shoulder. Again, Mero fought out and powered to his feet, but Cassidy rotated around into a double chickenwing. At ringside, Sable pounded the mat, cheering her man back into the fight.

Mero lunged forward and ducked his head beneath the top rope, effectively breaking the hold. After taking the referee's four count, Cassidy released the hold and backed away... but not before slapping the Wildman in the back of the head! Mero immediately whipped around and shot Leif an irate glare, but Cassidy was unimpressed. He motioned for Mero to charge in, then smoothly hiptossed him as he did so. Cassidy returned to the armbar but the enraged Mero would not be so easily subdued. He fought his way up, used his free arm to hit a few punches, then reversed the hold into a Irish whip. Cassidy bounced off and came back at him... running right into a standing dropkick!

Cassidy crashed to the canvas and rolled out of the ring, realizing he'd made a big mistake. Marty made his way to his side and advised him to take advantage of the referee's count, forcing Mero to cool off in the ring. As the two exchanged strategies... Mero pounced over the top rope and floored both with a suicide dive! The crowd erupted as The New Rockers lay sprawled out at ringside. Mero quickly pulled Cassidy up and tossed him back under the bottom rope. As he moved in to return himself, Jannetty grabbed his ankle and halted him. Mero responded by hurling him into the guard rail... but the recovered Cassidy was able to punish him with stomps as he climbed back in to avoid the count-out.

Back in control, Leif continued to work over Mero's arm with clubbing shots. He applied a hammerlock, scooped Marc up and slammed him down on his own arm. After scoring with a double arm DDT, Cassidy hooked the leg to pick up the match's first near fall. Mero mustered a kick-out but was powerless to stop Cassidy as he stomped away on him. Leif backed him into the corner and whipped him chest-first into the opposite turnbuckle. After contorting Marc's arm around the top rope, Cassidy stepped back and delivered a dropkick, causing the Wildman to collapse in agony.

Sensing the end was near, Cassidy cupped his hand to his ear, urging the fans to cheer as he stood in the corner and stomped his foot. Disgusted by the shameless mockery of ex-WWF World champion Shawn Michaels, the crowd booed Leif and chanted for Mero to come out of his groggy stupor. It worked. Mero caught Leif's foot as he fired a superkick, spun him around and dropped him with a huge haymaker! Cassidy popped back up quickly, but another hard punch by the former amateur boxer sent him right back down. Cassidy bounced up and suffered a third knockout blow, this time staying down as a result.

Mero delighted the crowd by pointing to the top rope, signaling for the finishing blow. He climbed up... but Marty Jannetty hurried to the apron and grabbed his foot, preventing him from jumping off. As Mero struggled with Marty, Cassidy regained his composure and climbed up to deliver a few shots to the head. He cradled Marc's head in preparation for a superplex... but Mero broke it up with punches to the ribs, then shoved Cassidy down to the canvas. Jannetty again tried to intervene, but a big punch knocked him off the apron. Mero stood atop the turnbuckle, waited for Leif to stand, then spun around and delivered the Merosault to end the match.

Mero scaled the ropes and saluted the appreciative fans. Meanwhile, Jannetty rolled into the ring and admonished his partner for the loss. Cassidy sheepishly hung his head... then joined Marty in pulling Mero down from the top rope! The New Rockers began stomping away at him in the corner. Just then... Sable slid into the ring! She grabbed Cassidy, spun him around and kicked him right between the legs! As he doubled over in front of her, she showed amazing power by scooping him up and planting him with a Sable Bomb powerbomb! Jannetty stared at her in amazement... then was spun around and floored by a right hand by Mero! Thoroughly outdone, The New Rockers begrudingly escaped and allowed Mero and Sable to enjoy their victory.

OVERALL RATING: 70%, CROWD REACTION: 61%, MATCH QUALITY: 79%

Fink - "Here is your winner... 'The WILDMAN' MARC MEROOOOO!"

The King - "WOW! Did you see that, J.R.?!"

J.R. - "Absolutely. Sable is incredible. She's going to stand by her man... her 'wildman', that is. Impressive victory for Marc Mero to kick off In Your House: Final Four."

The King - "I think I'm in love..."

J.R. - "Something tells me you're not her type, King."

The King - "Why not? She is the 'queen of the jungle', after all."

J.R. - "Just trust me, King. Now, our next..."

PA - "WE ARE THE NATION! OF DOMINATION!"

The King - "Uh oh."

PA - "Nation. Of Domination. WE ARE THE NATION!"

J.C. Ice - "We are the Nation!"

Wolfie D - "Live and in color!"

J.C. - "Don't dis the man..."

Wolfie - "Or we'll bum rush ya mother!"

J.C. - "Listen what I'm sayin'!"

Wolfie - "It's fo' real, not playin'!"

PG-13 (in unison) - "FAAROOQ IS THE MAN!"

J.C. - "Hit ya knees..."

Wolfie - "And start prayin'!"

Fink - "The following contest is scheduled for one fall and is a six-man tag team match! Introducing first, accompanied to the ring by Clarence Mason and PG-13, weighing in at a combined weight of 864 pounds... Faarooq, Crush and Savio Vega... THE NATION OF DOMINATION!"

Crowd - "BOOOOOOOO!"

J.R. - "This group, this 'nation' as they call it... they're nothing but a gang of thugs if you ask me."

The King - "Nobody asked you, J.R. Look at Wolfie D! HAHA! These guys are great! The WWF needs more colorful characters like these."

PA - "OOOOH, FLASH! You are SOOOOO FUN-KAY!"

Fink - "And their opponents, at a combined weight of 742 pounds, accompanied to the ring by The Funkettes... and Marlena, FLASH FUNK, BART GUNN and GOOOOOOOOLDUUUUUUUST!"

The King - "You want to talk about a gang of thugs..."

J.R. - "They are undoubtedly an odd team, but what they might lack in team unity, they make up for in ability. Despite his appearance, Flash Funk is a formidable threat on the mat or in the air. You can never underestimate the toughness of a rough, tough Texan like Bart Gunn, himself a three-time World tag team champion. And then... there's the bizarre Goldust. Nobody is going to be able to figure Goldust out."

The King - "Not even Freud."

J.R. - "Still, he's a master of mental manipulation. I suspect this match will be a bit more even than you think, King."

SIX-MAN TAG TEAM MATCH: The Nation Of Domination (Faarooq, Crush & Savio Vega, with Clarence Mason, J.C. Ice & Wolfie D) vs. Goldust (with Marlena), Bart Gunn & Flash Funk (with The Funkettes, Tracey & Nadine)

As the leader of The Nation, Faarooq opted to start the match for his team. Across the ring, the mismatched trio settled on Flash as their representative. Funk met Faarooq in the center of the ring and dared him to bring it on. Faarooq took a moment to appeal to Funk's sensibilities and attempted to talk him into joining The Nation. Flash shook his head, refusing the offer, then called him on yet again. Faarooq nodded in acceptance and again asked for a sign of good faith, this time in the form of a pre-match handshake. Flash conceded... and for his trust was rewarded with a vicious headbutt to the bridge of the nose!

Faarooq battled Funk back to the ropes with hard punches, then whipped him across the ring. He bounded off the near side ropes and collided with a bone-jarring flying shoulder tackle, sending the funky one crashing backwards back into enemy territory. Flash managed to escape a quick pin attempt by Faarooq and began crawling towards his partners. Faarooq cut him off and dragged him back into The Nation's corner as he tagged out to Savio.

After a series of nasty chops in the corner, Vega floored Flash with a hard clothesline and covered him for yet another near fall. Savio rained stomps down on Funk's head as he desperately tried to get up. When Funk made it to his feet, Vega quickly tied him up in an abdominal stretch. Across the ring, Bart Gunn began clapping, imploring the crowd to join in and will Funk out. Flash responded and slowly eased out... but Vega reached back, grabbed the top rope and applied even more pressure, killing Funk's momentum. The referee carefully examined the situation so Savio released the rope. He reached out to Crush for the tag, then held Flash in the stretch for the four count as Crush punished him with hard punches to the ribs.

Crush applied a big bear hug in the center of the ring and squeezed away at Flash's aching ribs and preventing him from taking a deep breath. The Funkettes climbed onto the apron and joined in Bart's clapping, prompting the crowd to join in the rhythm. Flash fed off of the energy and began clapping himself... then clapped his hands across Crush's skull, ringing his beel and breaking the hold! Crush lunged forth with a clothesline, but Funk tumbled beneath it, popped up and floored the big man with a dropkick!

Flash quickly scaled the turnbuckles and twisted off into the Tumbleweed, dropping a leg across Crush's throat. He made the cover... but Vega broke up the pin with a big stomp. Bart Gunn rushed to his partner's aid and popped Savio with a big punch, knocking him through the ropes to the floor. As the referee forced Bart from the ring, Flash dragged Crush towards the corner and climbed up top. He launched into the 450 degree Diss That Don't Miss... but it failed to live up to it's name. Crush evaded the splash and rolled to tag Faarooq. Faarooq moved in for the kill... but Flash clutched his ribs and tumbled away to bring in the fresh Goldust!

Goldust surprised Faarooq with a string of brutal punches, staggering him back into a neutral corner. Goldust climbed up the turnbuckles and delivered ten punches, as counted by the crowd, before climbing back down. Faarooq groggily stumbled out of the corner... right into a flying bulldog! Faarooq narrowly escaped defeat as he lifted his shoulder from the canvas just before the three count. Goldust pulled him up and hooked his head in preparation for the Curtain Call reverse gourdbuster.

Luckily for Faarooq, Crush clobbered Goldust from behind in mid-move, stopping him from driving Faarooq into the canvas. As Goldust turned to face Crush, Faarooq capitalized from the mat with an uppercut to the groin, then took Goldust up, over and down with a colossal standing powerslam! Goldust was unable to kick out of the move... but the impact had landed him close enough to the ropes to prop his foot on the bottom rope, effectively breaking the count. After the referee forced Faarooq to back away, the bizarre one scooted to his corner and tagged in Bart.

Stepping into the match for the first time, the fresh cowboy rocked Faarooq with hard lefts before planting him in the center of the ring with a bodyslam. Again Savio and Crush came to their leader's aid... but Bart ducked their double clothesline and sent them charging across the ring, right into the springboard double clothesline of Flash Funk! Even Clarence Mason attempted to intervene as he called for the referee from the apron. A Gunn standing dropkick sent him flying off... right into PG-13 at ringside! The crowd exploded as Bart stood alone over the fallen Nation army!

Eager to put Faarooq away, Bart headed up top and took aim. He was distracted as the numbers game caught up with Funk at ringside. Crush and Vega began double-teaming him, then turned their attention to Goldust as he moved in to help. Still dazed, Faarooq lucked into capitalizing as he stumbled into the ropes and incidentally crotched Gunn on the top turnbuckle! With chaos surrounding the ring, Faarooq shook off the cobwebs to spot Gunn hanging precariously from the top rope. He moved in, latched onto him at the waist and hoisted him onto his shoulder. With a big Dominator, he drove Bart face-first into the mat! Goldust slid under the bottom rope... but Crush grabbed an ankle and held him from breaking up the attempted, and ultimately successful, pin.

OVERALL RATING: 69%, CROWD REACTION: 64%, MATCH QUALITY: 75%

Fink - "Here are your winners... Crush, Savio Vega and Faarooq, the NATION OF DOMINATION!"

J.R. - "The winning ways of The Nation continue here at In Your House: Final Four."

The King - "Winning ways? HA! J.R., that was DOMINATION, just like I said."

J.R. - "Nevertheless... our next match is our first of three huge championship matches tonight. If you joined us three days ago for a special 'Thursday night edition' of Monday Night RAW, you know that there's a new Intercontinental Champion here in the World Wrestling Federation. He is a young man by the name of Rocky Maivia."

The King - "I'm sorry, J.R., but... winning a title doesn't make you a champion."

J.R. - "Actually... that's exactly what it means."

The King - "You know what I mean! Just like it takes a king to know a king, it takes a champion to know a champion. You're no champion. I've been a champion, and I'm telling you we're about to see a REAL champion, Hunter Hearst Helmsley, show you exactly what a fluke this Rocky Maivia is."

J.R. - "A fluke? You do realize Rocky is a third-generation superstar, don't you?"

The King - "So what? Hunter Hearst Helmsley is third-generation American ROYALTY! Have you ever been to his palatial estate in Greenwich?"

J.R. - "No... I can't say that I have."

The King - "Why am I not surprised?"

J.R. - "At any rate, the rematch is now. Let's get back to the action."

Fink - "Ladies and gentlemen, the following contest is scheduled for one fall... and is for the INTERCONTIN..."

??? - "Hold it! Hold everything!"

Fink - "...NENTAL CHAM..."

??? - "I SAID STOP!"

Crowd - "BOOOOOOO!"

J.R. - "What is going on here? What is...? What is THIS guy doing here?"

The King - "Brian Pillman! 'The Loose Cannon'! You're right. What IS he doing here?"

INTERVIEW: "The Loose Cannon" Brian Pillman

Brian Pillman - "Get outta the ring, bald man!"

Fink - "..."

Pillman - "GO!"

Howard Finkel did as instructed, leaving Brian Pillman alone in the ring with a microphone.

Pillman - "Now... I'm sorry I had to bring a stop to things, but... well, I need to get something off my chest. You see, there's one thing I simply CAN NOT STAND! That one thing... is a liar. I believe you people deserve better than to be lied to... and tonight, I'm gonna set some things straight... WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT!"

Crowd - "BOOOOOOOO!"

Pillman - "The first liar I wanna talk about... is Gorilla Monsoon, the WWF President. Monsoon... you're a LIAR! You wanna tell these people you decided to vacate the WWF Championship? You wanna tell the world that it was because of you?! LIAR! You lied, Gorilla... and I have the proof. ROLL IT!"

Crowd - "..."

The WWF logo appeared on the large video wall... then cut to black.

Pillman - "NO! NO! NO! You listen up, you idiots in the production truck! I know you have that tape! Show it... or I swear to GOD the things I'll do will make a lawsuit from WCW feel like a picnic! SHOW THE DAMN TAPE!"

After a few moments of silence, the image of Gorilla Monsoon appeared on the video wall, standing in a ring next to Vince McMahon. McMahon spoke as the footage began...

Vince McMahon - "And now, would you please welcome the most flamboyant, the most charismatic WWF champion, perhaps of all time, here to surrender the World Wrestling Federation Championship. Ladies and gentlemen... the one, the only... SHAWN MICHAELS!"

PA - "OHH! OHHH! SHAWN! I think I'm cute. I know I'm sexy. I got the moves..."

The video continued with Shawn Michaels, donning the WWF World Title belt over his shoulder, hobbling to the ring. Monsoon held open the ropes for him as he climbed in. The music faded out and McMahon continued...

Vince - "This comes, obviously, as a shock. It's a shock to WWF fans all over the world. Maybe it really shouldn't be, considering what you give. Obviously, Shawn Michaels, what you bring the World Wrestling Federation has taken its toll on you... specifically, your knee. And, as you are facing a knee operation, I wonder if you would share with the millions of your fans all over the world... what's going through your head?"

Shawn Michaels - "Well, it seems... like we've done this before and... this time, unfortunately for me, it's much more serious than last time. I've never had... a doctor look at me in the face and say... that I may never be able to wrestle again, and I was... I was told that the other day. Of course, you know, I... it's not something I believe, but the fact is, it's something that I have to deal with. Time has taken it's toll on... on my body."

Vince - "I know you're just as disappointed, more so than anyone else, that you're not defending the WWF Title against Sycho Sid... or, for that matter, whomever would have been stacked up against you. And no one has taken on more challengers, no one in the history who has ever won this championship belt has ever had the schedule... has ever had to endure the kind of schedule that you have so readily taken upon yourself."

Shawn - "Well, there's... one thing about me is I can't do anything halfway and I... and I come here and I hear the people and they chant... Sid's name or they chant Bret's name or they chant a lot of people's names. And one thing's for sure... you're going to have all of that in the future... and that's what I want for the World Wrestling Federation fans. In spite of... what people may think about me, what I've always wanted for all these people is... is for them to have a good time and to enjoy themselves. I've always tried to be the one to provide it, whether it was on the 'good side' or the 'bad side'. But... what was always important to me was the performance... was the performance. So that these people, each time they reached in their pocket, they paid to get a WWF ticket... they didn't regret it because they knew that, if they saw my name on the card, they could yell. They could come and they could cheer and they could boo and they could do whatever they wanted, as long as they had a good time."

Crowd - "WHOO!"

Shawn - "Over the last couple of months... there's been a lot of talk of people... having bad attitudes, and a lot revolving around this belt. All I know today is that one thing that's not going to revolve around this belt, for a long time, is going to be Shawn Michaels. I don't know where I'm at right now. I have to... I have to have everything checked. I may have... I may be beyond reconstructive surgery. I may or may not be able to fix it. But if I can't come back and perform at the level I performed at before... I can't. I can't perform. I can't come out here and just go half-ass. I have to come out here and I have to romp and stomp and I have to get tossed around, I have to toss people around and I have to have fun. The schedule, over the last year, I took on because I didn't feel like I could say no. I wanted to do everything. I wanted to enjoy my life as the WWF champion. I wanted to... I wanted to ride in Lear jets and ride in limousines and I wanted to be on TV shows and I wanted to do autograph sessions... and I got to do every bit of that. If nothing else, I have all that to take with me. Again, and I know right now we're in the middle of a time where toughness is real big here in the World Wrestling Federation, and unfortunately, all I've got right now for you is a lot of sorrow, a lot of tears and a lot of emotion. I don't have any toughness for anybody, so... I guess, here you go. Here's your belt."

With that, Michaels passed the WWF Title to Vince and took a deep breath for adding...

Shawn - "What I'm going to do is go back home and see what's left for me, whether it'll be in this ring... whether it'll be out of this ring. I know that over... the last several months, I've lost a lot of things and one of them has been my smile and...."

Pillman - "STOP THE TAPE!"

On Pillman's command, the tape immediately paused...

Pillman - "Can you believe that?! I'm sorry for what I'm about to say, but that... that, my friends, is BULLSHIT!"

Crowd - "Booo!"

Pillman - "Can you believe that son of a bitch?! Can you believe the nerve of that piece of garbage?! To stand before each and every one of you and tell a bold-faced LIE?! You should ashamed of yourself..."

Crowd - "..."

Pillman - "GORILLA MONSOON!"

Crowd - "..."

Pillman - "Who did you think I meant?"

Crowd - "BOOOOOOOOOOO!"

Pillman - "You say it was YOUR decision to vacate the WWF Title? Well... the proof is on the screen. That man, that brave son-of-a-bitch Shawn Michaels, stood before God and the world and came clean about his injury... and you have the nerve to take credit for it? My God, Gorilla! THE MAN LOST HIS SMILE! Do you have any idea what that is like? To lose your smile, Gorilla? IT HURTS!"

Crowd - "Pillman sucks! Pillman sucks! Pillman sucks!"

Pillman - "For Shawn Michaels to stand in a WWF ring, to give up the richest prize in this entire sport and to turn away and leave... all with a debilitating 'lost smile'? That, Mr. Monsoon, takes courage! It takes a hell of a lot more courage than it would to come here to this hellhole, Chattanooga..."

Crowd - "BOOOOOOOOO!"

Pillman - "...and get in this ring and defend the title before the fans who paid to see him do it! It takes a hell of a lot more courage than it would to go to WrestleMania and face Bret Hart in one of the biggest, most anticipated rematches in history! It takes a hell of a lot more courage than it would to honor the generous contract that he signed with the WWF, the organization that made him who he is, instead of breaking his word, moving to Atlanta and bending down to kiss Eric Bischoff's ASS! More than anything though, it takes a HELL of a lot more courage than it would to allow this company to air that footage, footage produced in THEIR arena at THEIR show, even if it incidentally made him look like a whiny, pissy, gutless, cowardly crying PUSSY!"

Crowd - "BOOOOOOO!"

Pillman - "Gorilla, you are a liar... and another lie you told was when you called the 'final four', the people in tonight's main event, the 'top contenders' to that title. Lies. Vader, a top contender? Lies! Steve Austin, a top contender? Lies! The Undertaker, a top contender? Lies! Bret Hart, a top contender? Lies! ALL LIES! There is only one... ONLY ONE top contender to the WWF Championship. Only one, Gorilla."

Crowd - "Pillman sucks! Pillman sucks! Pillman sucks!"

Pillman - "Sycho... Sid."

Crowd - "..."

Pillman - "Only one man is the former WWF champion, Gorilla. Sycho Sid. Only one man was promised a return title match against the champion, Gorilla. Sycho Sid. Only one man would, assuming he had the SMILE to show up and DO HIS JOB, have destroyed Shawn Michaels and left with that title TONIGHT, Gorilla. Sycho Sid. And, ironically, only one man got screwed over when you made this 'final four' FARCE. Sycho Sid."

Crowd - "BOOOOOOOOOO!"

Pillman - "Monsoon, it WILL be made right. I know you don't think so... but I bet you didn't think anyone would ever see that tape either. It's time to tell the truth for everyone in the WWF... and everyone out of it."

OVERALL RATING: 75%

J.R. - "Uh..."

The King - "We can't get into any trouble for that... can we?"

J.R. - "Fans, I apologize for that. This probably goes without saying, but the opinions expressed by Brian Pillman don't necessarily represent the viewpoints of anyone with the World Wrestling Federation. I suppose they don't necessarily NOT represent them either, but..."

The King - "What about that tape? There were legal threats against..."

J.R. - "Uh... according to what I'm being told... let's not talk about it."

The King - "But what did he mean by 'it will be made right'?"

J.R. - "Let's just move on."

The King - "But...?"

Fink - "Ahem. The following contest is STILL scheduled for one fall and is for the INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP! Introducing first, the challenger..."

Crowd - "BOOOOOOO!"

Fink - "Accompanied to the ring by his butler, Mr. Hughes, weighing in at 279 pounds from Greenwich, Connecticut, HUNTER HEARST HELMSLEY!"

Crowd - "BOOOOOOO!"

The King - "You ever seen a butler that looked like THAT, J.R.?"

J.R. - "Certainly not."

Fink - "And his opponent, weighing in at 272 pounds from Miami, Florida, he is the World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Champion... ROCKY MAIIIIVIA!"

Crowd - "Rocky sucks! Rocky sucks! Rocky sucks!"

J.R. - "A somewhat 'controversial reaction' from the crowd for the WWF's first third-generation superstar."

The King - "Don't listen to these people, Jim. They're from Chattanooga, Tennessee!"

J.R. - "Aren't you from Tennessee also?"

The King - "..."

J.R. - "..."

The King - "Not Chattanooga."

WWF INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE MATCH: Rocky Maivia (defending champion) vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley (challenger, with Mr. Hughes)

Maivia appeared to be quite nervous, likely stemming from a combination of the less-than-receptive crowd and the foreboding image of Mr. Hughes at ringside. Helmsley capitalized during the opening lock-up. Despite being briefly overpowered by the defending champion, Hunter threw a knee to the gut and began hammering away at the back of his neck. Rocky struggled to remain vertical. With Maivia doubled over before him, Helmsley was eager to redeem his loss from three nights prior. He quickly snatched Rocky's arms in position for the Pedigree. Showing wisdom beyond his years, Maivia slipped free, dropped to the mat and escaped to the floor.

After suffering some more ringside heckling, as well as menacing glares from Hunter's butler, Maivia broke the ten count and returned to the ring. Helmsley caught him as he stepped through the ropes with a running knee and continued his relentless assault with more punches. An Irish whip sent Rocky off into the ropes, but the athletic youngster leapfrogged Helmsley as he rebounded off, avoiding the back body drop. Rocky tried to take command with a whip of his own... but Hunter reversed it and caught him with a huge spinebuster, resulting in a two count.

With Maivia on the mat, Helmsley applied a reverse chin lock and grounded him, keeping the pace of the match manageable. Rocky stretched his arm from the ropes but was far too far away to warrant a break. With the hold cinching tighter and tighter at his neck, Rocky pounded on Helmsley's arm, desperately trying to escape. He fought his way up and to Helmsley's side, but shoved him off into the ropes. He ducked his head as Helmsley rebounded off at him. Without missing a beat, Helmsley stopped short, curled his arms under Maivia's and drove him face-first into the canvas with a sudden Pedigree!

With his opponent lying lifeless on the mat, Helmsley took a moment to brush his hair out of his face and flash a smug grin to the crowd before rolling the champion over. He made a nonchalant cover... and was stunned as Maivia's arm shot up off the mat! The crowd, while not favoring Maivia, applauded his refusal to stay down and delighted Helmsley's abject horror. The American blueblood nervously backed away as the gutsy champion slowly rose from the mat.

At ringside, Mr. Hughes pounded the canvas and cheered Helmsley on, urging him to finish the job. Helmsley charged in with a clothesline, but the groggy Maivia ducked it. After ducking a second attempted clothesline, he countered a third and hiptossed the challenger to the down. Helmsley instantly popped up... but ran flush into an armdrag. At long last, Maivia launched a dropkick to send Helmsley tumbling through the ropes and out to the arena floor. Mr. Hughes quickly stood over him, bending to help his boss up. Rocky saw his opportunity and took it... using a baseball slide to knock Hughes off-balance and send him splashing down onto Helmsley!

After being knocked from the ring and crushed by his butler, Helmsley was in no condition to answer the referee's count. Luckily for him, Hughes scooped him into his arms and shoved him beneath the bottom rope, just barely beating the ten count. Maivia still saw the opportunity for victory and quickly dropped down for the cover. Again, Hughes proved to be the difference maker by grabbing the limp leg of the challenger and draping it across the bottom rope. The referee stopped the count and ordered Rocky to back away, giving Helmsley some much needed breathing room.

Helmsley backed into the corner to collect himself while an impatient Maivia prepared to move in for the kill. Once Hunter took his hand away from the rope... Rocky pounced, unleashing a flurry of punches to the head. He quickly scooped Helmsley up onto his shoulder, charged across the ring and dropped him across his knee with a big shoulderbreaker! With the challenger running on fumes, Maivia scaled the turnbuckle and waited for him to slowly get up. Once he did... Maivia launched into a breathtaking cross-body block from the top rope!

Helmsley took the impact flush in the chest, but rolled with Rocky's momentum and landed in a pinning combination. He quickly cinched a handful of tights and hung on for dear life as the referee made the count. He reached two before noticing the illegal cover and stopping the count, refusing to allow Helmsley to win that way. Hunter stood up and shouted in protest, insisting the count should stand. As they argued... Rocky reached up and pulled Helmsley down into a school-boy roll-up for a near fall of his own.

Maivia pulled Helmsley up and whipped him across the ring. He leapfrogged him as he charged head-on... then jumped to leapfrog him again as he bounced back. Helmsley stopped... and swung an uppercut, nailing Maivia directly in the groin! Helmsley ignored the referee's admonishments and spun Rocky around. He tucked his head, hooked his arms and delivered a second skullcrushing Pedigree in the center of the ring! After a deep sigh of relief, Helmsley rolled him over, hooked a leg... and was shocked as Maivia kicked out yet again!

Helmsley looked over to Hughes, who simply shook his head in disbelief, then glared angrily at Maivia as he slowly began to stir. He stood, paced angrily, then delivered a big kneedrop to Maivia's forehead. Again, Rocky hoisted his shoulder before three, refusing to stay down. After pounding the mat in frustration, Hunter pulled him up by the hair and administered a third and final Pedigree, at long last putting the champion away. Helmsley embraced his newly recaptured championship as Mr. Hughes climbed into the ring and joined him in celebration.

OVERALL RATING: 79%, CROWD REACTION: 77%, MATCH QUALITY: 81%

Fink - "Here is your winner... and NEEEW Intercontinental champion, HUNTER HEARST HELMSLEY!"

J.R. - "And a new champion is crowned here at In Your House: Final Four... Helmsley regains the Intercontinental Championship."

The King - "Was there ever a doubt in your mind?"

J.R. - "Absolutely. Rocky Maivia gave his all here tonight. There were several points during that match I thought it was over."

The King - "So did I... after each one of those Pedigrees! I'll give the kid credit. To kick out of two of those, he's got to be either tough or really stupid. Either way, that's quite a legacy to leave here in the World Wrestling Federation... a three day run as Intercontinental Champion."

J.R. - "Legacy to leave? King, this is just the beginning for this young man. Even you have to believe that."

The King - "Even me?! What does THAT mean?"

J.R. - "Forget it. Todd Pettengill is live backstage with one of the participants in 'final four' WWF Title match later tonight. He is standing by... with the man they call Vader. Take it away, Todd."

The King - "No, what did you mean by that?"

ANGLE: MEETING OF THE MANAGERS

Todd Pettengill - "Thank you, Jim. Fans, I'm here right now with one of the 'final four' participants in the Royal Rumble, as well as one of four men who will vie for the vacant WWF World title here tonight... the man they call Vader. Joining us is Vader's manager, Paul Bearer, along with Mankind and The Executioner. Vader, your thoughts on tonight's incredible main event?"

Vader - "..."

Pettengill - "Uh..."

Paul Bearer - "To-o-o-odd Pettengill, the time for talking is o-o-over! Tonight, my Undertaker will be destroyed by the NEW phenom of the World Wrestling Federation... the Mastodon."

Pettengill - "Undertaker? What about the WWF Championship? Isn't that more important than...?"

Mankind - "HEY! Don't you talk to my Uncle Paul like that!"

Bearer - "Oh-h-h-h-h, don't you see? Tonight, the Mastodon will kill two birds with just one sto-o-o-o-one. One of those birds... will be my Undertaker. The championship? Merely a beautiful decoration... to be placed on his grave."

Mankind - "HEEHEEHEEHEEHEEHEE! You did it once, Vader! You can do it again! DESTROY THE UNDERTAKER!"

Vader - "..."

Pettengill - "But what about 'The Hitman' Bret Hart and the Texas Rattlesnake, 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin?"

Bearer - "Oh-h-h-h-h, the new phenom has plans for them as well. It will be a busy night... in my funeral home."

Mankind - "But Uncle Paul! We only brought one..."

Bearer - "SHHHHHH! No-o-o, Mankind. Don't say anything more. It want it to be a surprise!"

Mankind - "HEEHEEHEEHEEHEE! It's like it's my birthday... BUT BETTER! HEEHEEHEE!"

Pettengill - "There's definitely a plan in place back here, guys. J.R.? King? Back to..."

??? - "Hold it just a second, Pettengill."

Pettengill - "Jim Cornette?! What are you doing...?"

James E. Cornette - "Enough yap outta you, Pettensmell. I need a minute with Uncle Fester here. Paul, I think it's time I tested your memory a bit... see if you've inhaled too much embalming fluid. You remember what I said when you asked for the man they call Vader's help in your little spat with that big, dead freak? You remember?"

Bearer - "..."

Cornette - "I said I was happy to help... and I was. A World Wrestling Federation free of The Undertaker is just fine with me. Thus, I let you have the services of the one-man destruction crew you see before you... but I did so on a TEMPORARY basis, you dig? At the Royal Rumble, you learned first-hand what this man is capable of. He annihilated The Undertaker! Beat him within an inch of his... well, you get the idea. Tonight, you want him to finish the job in the 'final four' battle royal. I have no problem with that. Just remember something. When the dust settles and his hand is raised... I'M the one going to be managing the new WWF World champion."

Bearer - "O-h-h-h-h-h?"

Cornette - "Yeah! This is a business deal, Paul. I've got the contracts. You don't have a leg to stand on. After tonight, Vader comes home to 'Camp Cornette'... with the WWF Title."

Bearer - "Ji-i-i-im, perhaps we should let VADER make that decision?"

Cornette - "Perhaps you should try a little less SPF in your sunscreen, Casper. The decision has been made. After tonight, you and your freak-show rejects can sit around with a Ouija board on Undertaker's grave or whatever you want. Just remember who the 'manager of champions' is."

Bearer - "O-h-h-h-h... what do you think, Vader?"

Vader - "..."

Cornette - "Stop doing that, Paul. You know by now Vader only thinks of destruction, carnage and..."

Vader - "TIME!"

Cornette - "..."

Bearer - "..."

Just then, the World tag team champions, Owen Hart and Davey Boy Smith approached...

Owen Hart - "Jim, come on."

Davey Boy Smith - "We've gotta go."

Cornette - "What did you just say?"

Vader - "Time..."

Cornette - "..."

Vader - "It's time..."

Bearer - "Oh-h-h-h-h yes!"

Vader - "IT'S TIME..."

Bearer - "OH-H-H-H-H YES!"

Vader - "IT'S... VADER TIME!"

Cornette - "..."

Owen - "Jim? COME ON!"

Cornette - "I..."

Speechless, Cornette followed his team out...

Pettengill - "J.R., back to you."

OVERALL RATING: 80%

Paul Bearer gained overness from this segment.

James E. Cornette gained overness from this segment.

J.R. - "Thanks, Todd. Time is ticking away for the four superstars in our main event. Very soon we will know the new WWF champion."

The King - "Oooh, I can't wait!"

J.R. - "Well, while you do, we've got this for you... a match for the World Tag Team Titles. It's the impressive young team of Furnas and LaFon against Owen Hart and 'The British Bulldog'. King, who do you think is going to win?"

The King - "Are you kidding? He just said it! Camp Cornette is where ALL the gold is gonna be! He's the manager of champions! In fact, I hear Wheaties is looking to put him on the front of the box."

J.R. - "Really? I heard it was Froot Loops."

Fink - "The following contest is scheduled for one fall... and is for the WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP!"

Crowd - "YEAH!"

Fink - "Introducing first, the challengers... weighing in at a combined weight of 485 pounds... DOUG FURNAS and PHILLIP LAFON!"

J.R. - "This is a team with a great mix of styles. On your left, you see the power man, Oklahoma's own Doug Furnas. On the right, that's the incredible technician from Montreal, Phil LaFon. Together, there's nothing they can't do in the ring."

The King - "Montreal?"

J.R. - "Yes, sir."

The King - "Well... how in the heck are they supposed to communicate?"

J.R. - "He's bilingual, King."

The King - "Wow. Too much information there, J.R."

Fink - "And their opponents, accompanied to the ring by Mr. James E. Cornette and weighing in at a combined weight of 472 pounds, they are the World tag team champions... 'The Slammy Award Winning' OWEN HART and DAVEY BOY SMITH... 'the Brrriiiitish BULLDOG'!"

WWF WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: Doug Furnas & Phil LaFon (challengers) vs. Davey Boy Smith "The British Bulldog" & "The Slammy Award Winning" Owen Hart (defending champions, with James E. Cornette)

Hart and LaFon started for their respective teams, quickly trading moves and countermoves in a great exchange of catch-as-catch-can wrestling. Owen quickly twisted Phil's arm, but the technically sound French-Canadian handily reversed it. Hart tumbled on the mat to alleviate the pressure and hurried to his feet, applying a top wristlock. LaFon bridged backwards briefly but powered back up. Owen used a handful of hair to take him straight back down, but the determined challenger continued to fight back and reversed the hold. Owen broke his grip and moved around for a waistlock... but LaFon broke free, pounced off the ropes and floored him with a sky twister press!

Owen escaped a pin attempt at the count of one and scrambled to the ropes, stunned by LaFon's maneuver. At ringside, Cornette ran to his man's side and encouraged him to return to the fight. Owen refused and rolled out to the floor. He demanded LaFon tag out, no longer wanting any part of him. With his momentum successfully broken, LaFon relented and tagged out to Doug Furnas. Satisfied, Owen climbed back into the ring... but Davey attempted to stop him. Smith insisted on matching power for power with Furnas, but Owen told him everything was under control. Little did he know, Furnas would prove to be a much tougher foe.

Hart and Furnas locked up... and Doug instantly shoved Owen to the mat. Again, Owen attempted to tie-up but Doug used his power to hurl him away once more. After being thrown a third time, Hart realized he wouldn't be able to overpower him and turned to tag in Davey Boy. Unfortunately for the Slammy Award winner... Furnas gripped him by the back of his singlet, pulled him back to the center of the ring and locked in a full nelson! Owen squirmed in an attempt to escape, but Doug hoisted him high and drove him down with a full nelson slam. He made the cover but Hart narrowly escaped at just two.

Firmly in command, Furnas pummeled away at Owen in the corner with hard forearm shots. He pulled him to the ropes and launched him with an Irish whip. Showing tremendous ring presence, Hart grabbed the ropes as he bounced off and halted his forward momentum. Meanwhile, Doug leapt into the air for a dropkick, catching nothing but air as he came crashing to the mat. Owen immediately capitalized with a sharp elbowdrop to the knee, then cranked away with a leglock.

Gutting through the pain, Furnas crawled towards his corner, reaching for LaFon's outstretched hand. Owen felt Furnas slowly writhe his way to his partner, feeling the grip on the leg grow looser and looser. With a few punches to the knee, he momentarily broke Doug's strides... then stood and dragged him by his leg to the center of the ring. As a disheartened crowd groaned, Hart grinned with sadistic glee as he repeatedly pounded Furnas' knee into the mat. Finally, the assault came to a crescendo as Owen stepped between the legs and crossed them to apply the dreaded Sharpshooter. With a final burst of energy... Doug drove his crossed feet into Hart's chest and kicked him away!

Owen fell backwards into the turnbuckle, smashing his head into the pad. With the crowd at his back, Furnas slowly rose to his feet and limped towards LaFon... only to have his knee clipped by Davey Boy Smith! Smith tagged in and dove at the leg, instantly cutting Furnas off from his partner once more. LaFon watched in anger as Smith again dragged Furnas by the leg to the center of the ring. After a series of clubbing blows to Doug's back, Davey stood and taunted LaFon... prompting him to step into the ring and fight! The referee quickly intervened... turning his back as Cornette passed his tennis racket to Owen and cheered as he callously smashed Furnas' knee with it!

Unable to use his legs, Doug relied purely on his upper body strength to power out of the Bulldog's cover and keep hope alive for the challengers. With Furnas literally on his last leg, Smith pulled him up and attempted to finish him off. He hoisted Doug onto his shoulder and paraded him around the ring before backing into the corner. He charged, looking to plant Furnas with the running powerslam... but Doug wriggled free and landed behind him! Powering through the searing pain, Furnas proppeled himself up and blasted Davey Boy with a huge dropkick!

Both Smith and Furnas lay sprawled out on the mat. Disoriented by the blow, Smith rolled towards a neutral corner, giving Furnas the chance he desperately needed. He dragged his aching leg across the canvas and tagged in LaFon! From ringside, Cornette shouted instructions to the groggy Bulldog, verbally guiding him towards his partner. Just as he reached to tag in Owen... LaFon gave him a taste of his own medicine and dragged him back to the center of the ring!

After dropping three consecutive elbows across Smith's back, LaFon whipped Davey Boy into the corner and began unloading with a series of forearm shots to the face. Smith covered up as best he could but the barrage of blows sent him slinking lower and lower in the corner. Phil grabbed a wrist and whipped Davey out... but held his ground and flung him right back into the same turnbuckle, face first! As the Bulldog staggered out of the corner, LaFon floored him with a superkick. He hooked a leg, but Smith managed to raise a shoulder before the three.

LaFon tried again with a magistral cradle, but again Smith managed to barely kick out. Both men scrambled to their feet, but LaFon went right back to the mat with a small package. For a third time, Smith escaped. Not letting the Bulldog have even a second of rest, Phil attacked again, lighting Davey Boy's chest up with a series of knife-edge chops. He whipped Smith to the ropes and leveled him with a spinning heel kick, then stood poised and ready to deliver the final blow. Davey slowly got up... and ducked LaFon's step-up enzuigiri! He quickly grabbed Phil, hoisted him up and charged for the running powerslam. Unfortunately for the proud Brit... LaFon laced his arms around the head and neck and began squeezing, causing Smith to collapse to his knees in center-ring, trapped in a dragon sleeper!

Smith tried to fight out of it but quickly faded, slowly succumbing to the hold. With his meal ticket in jeopardy, James E. Cornette made a drastic move... an attempt to save the championships with a blatant disqualification. He rolled into the ring, raised his tennis racket above his head and took aim, ready to strike down LaFon! Just then... Doug Furnas locked him in a full nelson! The referee moved in to help Furnas subdue the interference... completely missing Smith's signal of submission.

With Cornette, Furnas and the referee across the ring, Owen Hart was able to sneak in undetected and bludgeon LaFon with his Slammy! The crowd cried bloody murder as the oblivious official turned around and saw the barely conscious Bulldog draped across the prone body of LaFon. He registered the fall and awarded the match to the champions. Furnas released Cornette, allowing him to scamper away, then turned to check on LaFon. Meanwhile, Hart helped Smith to the back, proudly raising both his championship belt and his Slammy above his head.

OVERALL RATING: 80%, CROWD REACTION: 71%, MATCH QUALITY: 89%

The WWF World Tag Team titles have gained in image.

Fink - "Here are your winners... and STILL WWF tag team champions, OWEN HART and DAVEY BOOOOOY SMITH!"

J.R. - "NO! Not this way!"

The King - "Yes! What did I tell you? James E. Cornette IS the 'manager of champions'!"

J.R. - "An amazing tag team championship match just... just ruined by this 'Camp Cornette'. What a damn shame."

The King - "Shame? You must be talking about those losers still in the ring."

J.R. - "No. Not one bit. Doug Furnas and Phil LaFon... those two superstars have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of, King. They gave it their all."

The King - "Yeah... and their all just wasn't good enough!"

J.R. - "Folks, we're just moments away from our main event... the very match this night has been named for. It's the 'final four', the last four participants in last month's Royal Rumble. After a controversial decision, WWF President Gorilla Monsoon has ordered these four BACK into the ring to get a clear winner."

King - "Yes... but this time, the stakes have been raised."

J.R. - "It's not about a trip to WrestleMania anymore, folks. This time, it's for the richest prize in the World Wrestling Federation."

The King - "The WWF Championship!"

Fink - "The following contest is the MAIN EVENT of the evening..."

Crowd - "WHOO!"

Fink - "...and is the FINAL FOUR BATTLE ROYAL! The rules are simple. A superstar is only eliminated when he has been thrown OVER the top rope and BOTH feet touch the floor. The last man standing will be the winner... AND NEEEW WORLD WRESTLING FEDERATION CHAMPION!"

PA - "IT'S TIME! IT'S TIME! IT'S... VADER TIME!"

Fink - "Introducing first, accompanied to the ring by PAUL BEARER, he weighs in a 450 pounds. From the Rocky Mountains... VAAAAAAAAAAADEEEEER!"

Crowd - "BOOOOOO!"

J.R. - "Vader, 450 pounds of uncontrollable fury... if size is going to play a factor here, we may be looking at the next WWF champion."

The King - "J.R., you heard the rules. OVER the top rope. Even if the other three superstars could coexist... could they even get this guy over the top rope?"

PA - "GONG!"

Crowd - "YEAH!"

PA - "GONG!"

The King - "Did it just get cold in here?"

PA - "GONG!"

Fink - "His opponent, from Death Valley, weighing in at 328 pounds... THE UUNDERTAAAKER!"

J.R. - "The phenom of the World Wrestling Federation... there is no other."

The King - "Look at Paul Bearer, J.R. He looks like he's seen a ghost!"

J.R. - "So much history between those two... such bad blood. I'm not sure we'll ever fully understand why Paul Bearer turned his back on The Undertaker. Whatever the reason, it's deep seated in the cold, black hearts of both of these men."

PA - "SKREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!"

Crowd - "YEEEAH!!!"

Fink - "And their opponent, from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, weighing in at 234 pounds... BRET 'The HITMAAAN' HART!"

J.R. - "Former four-time WWF champion... Bret Hart looks to tie the all-time record and leave here tonight with his fifth championship."

The King - "It's not gonna happen, J.R. You and I both know it."

J.R. - "One thing I've learned in all my years here in the World Wrestling Federation... never underestimate the 'excellence of execution'."

The King - "Sometimes I wonder if you listen to me all..."

PA - "KRASH!"

Crowd - "Yeah! BOO!"

Fink - "And their opponent, from Victoria, Texas, weighing in at 241 pounds, he is the 1996 King Of The Ring, as well as the winner of the 1997 Royal Rumble... 'STONE COLD' STEVE AUSTIN!"

The King - "Hear that, J.R.? WINNER of the Royal Rumble."

J.R. - "I find it hard to hear ANYTHING over this raucous... and rather mixed, ovation."

The King - "I SAID HE'S THE..."

J.R. - "Yes, I heard. Official records show that Austin is the winner... but this match wouldn't be taking place if that wasn't a disputed victory."

The King - "I don't get it, J.R. Since when are there 'do-overs' in wrestling?! Austin won, whether anyone likes it or not."

J.R. - "If that's the case, he can do it again... right now."

WWF WORLD TITLE FOUR-MAN OVER THE TOP ROPE BATTLE ROYAL: Vader (with Paul Bearer) vs. The Undertaker vs. Bret "The Hitman" Hart vs. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin

Austin shot an angry glare to the slew of ringside officials, obviously irate that his Royal Rumble victory was being thrown out in favor of a decisive rematch. As Austin targeted the referees with his rage, the other superstars in the match made it a point to target Austin, realizing the 'Texas rattlesnake' had outsmarted them once before. At the opening bell, Hart, Undertaker and Vader all pounced on Stone Cold, pummeling with chaotic offense. The three-man alliance quickly broke down as Vader delivered a meaty punch to Bret's kidneys, pulling the Hitman away from the fray and seeking to pick him off as the smallest man in the punch. After suffering a few more punches, Bret fired back with a headbutt, sending Vader staggering backwards.

The Undertaker continued to dominate Austin, rocking him with body blows in the corner. Austin fired back with a few weak punches, but the sheer size and power of the phenom was too much to overcome. After wearing Austin down with punches, Undertaker pulled him out of the corner and lifted him up for the Tombstone! Through a desperate flailing of his legs, Austin managed to break free and land behind him. Steve lined up his shot and fired a forearm at the back of 'Taker's head... but Undertaker quickly spun around, gripped him by the throat and chokeslammed him down!

Knocked silly by the blow, Austin wisely rolled beneath the bootom rope and tumbled to the floor for a breather. Unfortunately for him, he landed at the feet of Vader's manager, Paul Bearer. With the "every man for himself" maxim firmly in play, Bearer felt no remorse about putting the boots to Austin on the arena floor! Despite being unable to disqualify any participants, the referees on hand hurried to separate them, backing Bearer away and ordering Austin to return to the ring. As Bearer backed against the ring apron... The Undertaker reached down, grabbed a handful of his hair and pulled him up! Bearer begged for mercy as The Undertaker gripped him by the throat and prepared to knock him off with a punch.

Across the ring, Hart struggled to force the enormous and relatively fresh Vader out, using his entire body to lift just one of Vader's massive legs up to the top rope. Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted Austin rolling back into the ring past the referees who were amassed near Bearer and Undertaker, attempting to save the portly mortician's life. Hart immediately abandoned his struggle with Vader, marched past the downed body of Austin and demanded the referees' collective attention. After being assured Austin was reentering the ring fairly... Hart turned and dropped an elbow right into his heart!

Bret delivered a snap suplex to Austin as the officials pried apart Undertaker and Bearer. Bearer was ordered to leave ringside, a request he didn't take kindly to. Meanwhile, Hart pulled Austin up and delivered a brutal piledriver to him! With Austin down and out, Bret bent down to pull him up for the elimination. Just then... a recharged Vader rushed at him with a kneelift, knocking the Hitman between the ropes and out to the floor! The realization of his manager's ejection prevented him from capitalizing though and The Undertaker soon locked horns with him, whipping him to the ropes for a face-crushing big boot!

Paul Bearer made it halfway up the aisle... then stopped. He motioned to the back, summoining out his minions. Mankind and The Executioner emerged through the curtains moments later... wheeling out "Uncle Paul's surprise", a casket! As they wheeled it to ringside, the officials swarmed the scene, attempting to stop them. Meanwhile, Undertaker continued pummeling Vader while Steve Austin took full advantage of the referees' distraction and began attacking Hart on the arena floor, strangling him with some errant electronic cables!

In the ring, Undertaker unloaded with punch after punch on Vader's face, staggering the Mastodon. He hit the ropes and delivered a clothesline, but the big man didn't budge. Another running clothesline staggered him... followed by a third which sent him crashing to the mat! With the phenom standing over him, Vader stared up to see the frightening image of The Undertaker drawing his own thumb across his throat, signaling for the end. Bearer saw it too and immediately ordered Mankind and Executioner to rush to Vader's aid!

Mankind climbed onto the apron, but a running boot by 'Taker sent him sailing off and crashing onto the casket! At the time, Executioner was prying the lid open. Mankind's fall caused the casket to slam shut on Executioner's fingers and the masked beheader to collapse in agony. With his disciples in a heap at his feet, the frightened Bearer scuffled back, fearful of The Undertaker's wrath. He tripped over the fallen Mankind and fell to the floor. As he tried to crawl away, Mankind tightly gripped his pant leg and begged his "Uncle Paul" not to leave.

Hart and Austin soon arrived at the scene as Austin took Bret's head and smashed it onto the casket lid. As he shouted expletives at the Hitman and bashed him face first into the casket, Bret fired him with an elbow to the ribs. Having created a bit of distance, he quickly grabbed Austin with a Russian leg sweep... and drove both of them back first into the ring apron! In the ring, The Undertaker surveyed the ringside carnage, then returned his focus to Vader... only to be met by a clubbing forearm to the face!

Austin and Bret slowly pulled themselves up, using the casket as something of a crutch. Bret fired a few weary punches... but Austin popped the lid, shoved Bret's head in and slammed it down hard, jarring Hart's senses! From there, Stone Cold rushed the Hitman with a spear, tackling him into the ring steps. The exhausted grapplers continued slugging it out on the floor as the referees desperately tried to restore order to the ever-growing chaos.

Paul Bearer frantically kicked away at Mankind as the mangled freak clung to his leg. Like Bret and Austin, he used the casket to pull himself up. Mankind finally let go, causing Bearer to involuntarily lurch forward... and tumble into the open casket! He began frantically shivering and screaming in a ghostly wail, demanding Mankind and Executioner remove him that instant. They tried, but Bearer's panicked flailing stopped them from getting a grip. Meanwhile, Hart and Austin began trading punches nearby, battling closer and closer to the casket again. In the ring, Vader clocked Undertaker with another punch and flung him into the ropes. Seeing the perfect opportunity at ultimate retribution... Undertaker pounced with an astounding leap, bounded over the top rope and wiped all four wrestlers at ringside out with an impressive flying quadruple clothesline!

Fink - "THE UNDERTAKER HAS BEEN ELIMINATED!"

Standing over four fallen bodies, The Undertaker hamefully hung his head as he realized what his decision had cost him. The only thing snapping him back into coherence... as Bearer's desperate cries for help from inside the open casket. His head snapped up, his hair flew out of his face... and his eyes rolled back as he took hold of the casket lid. The crowd erupted as he took one last look at his former manager and slammed the casket shut... on Mankind's mangled fingers! Mankind howled in pain as he realized the lid had actually latched on his hand! Undertaker quickly silenced him with a tight grip of the throat!

Executioner quickly popped the latch and opened the casket, allowing Mankind to free his likely broken fingers... and jam them down the throat of the 'Taker! Executioner helped Bearer out of the box as Mankind and Undertaker each gripped tightly on their respective holds, neither willing to back down. After rescuing his manager, Executioner grabbed a chair and bashed 'Taker from behind repeatedly, wearing him down as he slowly succumbed to the mandible claw. On Bearer's orders, the dastardly duo slowly loaded Undertaker into the casket and locked it shut. Bearer, still trembling from his "near death" experience, followed them out. Executioner wheeled the casket out while Mankind lay atop it, squealing in horrific glee.

With The Undertaker eliminated and removed from the proceedings, Vader waited patiently as his remaining two opponents struggled to return to the ring. Austin was first to reenter the fray, but quickly got laid out by a Vader charge. Vader backed him into the corner and began driving his shoulder deep into the ribs, forcing all the air out of his lungs with every blow. Austin tried to mount a comeback but Vader boxed his ears with hard shots, then pushed him towards the ropes and began muscling him over and out.

An exhausted Bret Hart rolled back into the ring on the opposite side and slowly pulled himself to his feet. He looked over to see Vader struggling to eliminate Austin and headed over to help. Halfway across the ring... he paused. Scoping out the massive frame of Vader, he realized he would have a better shot at victory by aiding Austin in eliminating Vader and not vice versa. The crowd cheered as Bret pulled Vader away from Austin and dropped him with a Russian leg sweep! With the big man down, Bret took his ankles, raised his legs and dropped a headbutt into the lower abdomen.

After several stomps, Bret called the recovering rattlesnake over and asked for help in dispatching of Vader. Austin nodded in agreement and together the two dragged the Mastodon to the ropes. Bret took one leg and lifted while Austin took the other... but Stone Cold suddenly stopped. He clutched his back and groaned in agony. Bret stopped to check on him... then wound up face-to-face with a middle finger! Austin reached out, snatched Bret by the head and positioned him for the Stone Cold Stunner! Hart, half-expecting the betrayal, slipped his head free and shoved Austin into the nearby ropes. As Steve came back at him, Bret kicked him in the gut and positioned him for a piledriver. Austin, however, got the last laugh as he back body dropped Hart over the top rope to the floor!

Fink - "BRET 'HITMAN' HART HAS BEEN ELIMINATED!"

The crowd cheered, some applauded Hart's valiant effort, others Austin's cnning deception. As a dejected Hitman headed away from the ring, the thoroughly spent Austin stood face-to-face with his final obstacle... the Rocky Mountain menace himself. Perhaps choosing the lesser of two evils, the crowd threw their support behind Austin... only to be met by a disinterested sneer from the Texas rattlesnake. Throwing caution to the wind, Austin charged... and dropped Vader with a Thesz press! He instantly began unloading lefts and rights on the big man before standing up and daring Vader to bring the pain.

Vader slowly made his way to his feet and staggered around... then walked into a boot to the gut. Austin grabbed the head for a Stunner, but Vader roughly pushed him away, sending him into the far side ropes. Austin bounced off the ropes, and collapsed... the victim of a vicious chair shot! At ringside, an unkempt man, donning tattered jeans, flannel... and an unfamiliar championship belt, stood proudly holding the weapon. Austin made it back to his feet... only to be leveled by a Vader clothesline. The impact sent him backwards, flipping over the top rope and crashing to the floor... at the feet of Raven.

OVERALL RATING: 84%, CROWD REACTION: 83%, MATCH QUALITY: 85%

Raven debuted his new "extremist" gimmick, it got a positive response.

The WWF World title has lost image.

Fink - "Here is your winner... AND NEEEW champion... VAAAAAADEEEEER!"

Crowd - "BOOOOOOOO!"

J.R. - "..."

The King - "..."

J.R. - "..."

The King - "..."

J.R. - "What... have we just seen?"

The King - "..."

J.R. - "King? Tell me, King..."

The King - "I don't know, Jim. I honestly don't know."

Crowd - "BOOOOOOOO!"

J.R. - "This is... this is just..."

PA - "EXTREEEEEEME..."

The King - "Oh, God. Not this!"

PA - "CHAMPIONSHIP..."

J.R. - "King, this isn't what I think it..."

PA - "WRRRRRRRRRESTLING!"

ANGLE: THIS... IS EXTREME!

??? - "KNOCK KNOCK!"

As Raven stood over the fallen body of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, wrestlers clad in street clothes began pouring in from the crowd. They were followed by one man, coming from backstage, donning a large black trenchcoat and matching baseball cap. While not everyone in attendance knew his identity, those who did were too speechless to tell the uninitiated...

Paul Heyman - "I think you hear us knockin'... and I think we're COMIN' IN!"

Crowd - "ECW! ECW! ECW! ECW!"

Heyman - "Oh, you know! YOU know! And soon... the entire world is going to know! THIS... IS... THE TRIBE... OF THE EXTREME!"

Crowd - "ECW! ECW! ECW! ECW!"

Heyman - "The point had to be made! And when EXTREME CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING makes a point, we make it in the biggest way possible!"

Event security crossed the guard rail to restrain the unwelcome guests... but a chair shot by Raven sent one staggering back into the rail! The maniacal Sabu and unflappable Shane Douglas raised their fists on one side of him, while The Eliminators, Perry Saturn and John Kronus, did the same on the other side. In the center stood The Sandman, wildly swinging a Singapore cane, daring any of them to step up. Of course, none did...

Heyman - "The 'point' is this. This isn't just a two-horse race anymore. On April 13th, another pony is coming to play! On that night, Extreme Championship Wrestling proudly presents 'Barely Legal', live and only on pay-per-view from the world famous ECW Arena! Yeah! It's gonna be 'In OUR House'!"

The King - "I can't believe this. This is just..."

Heyman - "Here's the thing. You see, when I say we are 'extreme'... I mean, we are EXTREME! So extreme, in fact, that... well, we haven't had the easiest time getting the message out. Yeah, it seems there are a lot of people out there who don't want word getting out. Apparently, there are a lot of people, some even within the wrestling business... hell, some even within THIS wrestling business, who don't want wrestling fans to know about the BEST GOD-DAMN WRESTLING SHOW OUT THERE TODAY!"

Crowd - "ECW! ECW! ECW! ECW!"

Heyman - "So, being the kind of people we are, we figure... if people won't 'give' us the attention we deserve... we'll TAKE IT! And, lo and behold, here we are... in your house. Guess what? You'd better get used it... because this is the gauntlet! I'm throwin' it down now! Extreme Championship Wrestling has come here to get what we so rightfully deserve... the attention, the prestige, the respect... all of it! Tonight, we've issued a challenge... a challenge to the WWF. You claim to be the best? PROVE IT!"

Heyman paused and turned towards the curtain. After a brief moment, he turned away...

Heyman - "You know what? This is stupid! This is just a waste of time. Like anyone here is going to accept our challenge. I knew this was a dumb idea. Well, I know you guys are listening, so hear this! This isn't over. Not by a long shot. We are NOT WCW! We are NOT the NWO! WE ARE E-C-FUCKING-W! Ignoring us is NOT an option! Not today. Not tomorrow. Not ever. Our threat is REAL. If we don't have your attention... we'll get it."

As he spoke, Heyman made his way down the aisle, joining his troops at ringside. He softly chuckled as he looked down at Steve Austin, lying motionless on the floor...

Heyman - "Thanks for being such 'gracious hosts'. I hope we didn't make too much of a mess... heh heh heh. We'll see you again... soon."

With that, Heyman led his "tribe" out through the crowd, leaving them dumbfounded in their wake...

OVERALL RATING: 90%

Perry Saturn debuted his new "extremist" gimmick, it got a positive response.

Shane Douglas debuted his new "extremist" gimmick, it got a negative response.

The Sandman debuted his new "extremist" gimmick.

Sabu debuted his new "extremist" gimmick, it got a positive response.

John Kronus debuted his new "extremist" gimmick, it got a positive response.

Paul Heyman gained overness from this segment.

J.R. - "King, I don't believe this! Extreme Championship Wrestling has just thrown down the challenge! Do you have any idea what this could mean?"

The King - "You know what, J.R.? I don't... I don't even want to do this. Just... just close the show yourself."

J.R. - "King?"

The King - "..."

J.R. - "King? Jerry?"

The King - "..."

J.R. - "Fans, I... I apologize. I'm a little at a loss for words here. I... well, I want to thank you for joining us, for allowing us into your home this evening. Tomorrow night, Monday Night RAW is live in Nashville. Hopefully, we'll have more information on... on whatever it is we just saw. Thanks again for joining us. For Jerry 'The King' Lawler and all of us at the World Wrestling Federation, I'm Jim Ross saying 'good night from Chattanooga'."

OVERALL RATING: 79%

BUYRATE: 0.80

Edited by C-MIL

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I like the idea for the diary, And thought the PPV was pretty good with the card you had to book. I am surprised to see you giving up on the Rocky Maivia experiment this early, But I'm glad the title is with Helmsley. Hopefully, You'll find a way to get him over with the snob gimmick. Vader as the champ is all right, But I think it's going to be hard to make him seem credible, Especially since he had been a joke after his feud with HBK. I sense Vader versus Taker versus Sid at Wrestlemania. Pillman's interview was awesome, Just great imo. The ECW invasion is interesting, And it'll be cool to see if they amount to something. But I don't like the idea of Raven feuding with Austin, As you still have to wrap up the Hart/Austin feud. I like seeing Mero and Sable with a little edge, And maybe you'll turn them heel like it was planned? I would like to see you do something with Leif though.

One thing though, Both The Executioner and Mr. Hughes were out of the WWF by February. Looking forward to checking out more shows. (Y)

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Well ya know, I thought the 13th thing might have had to do with Tazz, since when he deubted the number 13 was a big part, but that was 2000, not 1996, so I tossed that thought aside. However it looks like I was on the right track, eh? ECW in WWF, and they just made Vader the WWF Champion? Most intriguing.

-I always liked Wildman Marc Mero, but I adored The New Rockers. I hope that they aren't just played as jokes and jobbers, but actually allowed to thrive a bit in your WWF.

-Pillman is the man. That was so good. That was so awesome. That was SO something The Loose Cannon would do. No, it's not threatening to piss on TV and "whipping" out your johnson, but showing footage that WCW threatened you with a lawsuit if you showed? I think Russo is booking now isn't he? Or is Heyman holding the book? Or are thy co-booking? Very well done.

-Can this ECW stable invasion thing somehow lead to the return of 2 Cold Scorpio and the death of Flash Funk? Please?

-Wow, I thought it was a foregone conclusion that Rocky was retaining. I am shocked. However you made him out to be one tough sob, so obviously this is not the end of his push. This could be interesting to see how Rocky develops from here on out, as well a Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Although I would suggest doing away with Mr Hughes and putting someone else in his corner. I'm not saying he has to get Mr Perfect, although I did love those two together for the short thime that they were, but he needs someone better than Hughes.

-So Vader wins the big one, finally? Awesome. However he now really needs to be fixed. Hewey nailed it, as Vader lost a lot of lustre after his feud with HBK. He needs to be re-monsterized now. Winning the title only with the help of Raven doesn't do that, nor does him just wandering off as ECW takes over the PPV. If you are indeed headed to Vader vs. Sid vs. Taker as Hewey suggested, although that doesn't seem to likely, then hopefully he can dominate in that match. Of course to do so Taker's WM streak comes to an end at least ten years early, so I'm not sure. To me Vader vs. Austin vs. Hart makes far more sense for a WM Main Event.

-Has Rockabilly debuted yet in reality? Cuz I loved me some Rockabilly.

Great start, and I am very glad to hear that we get to learn about WCW as time goes on too. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention I loved how Pillman totally verbally buried HBK. Brilliance.

Overall Rating B

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Great start for you. I can't wait to see what direction you're going to take the ECW stable in. Also lovin' Vader as champ, hopefully you keep that going for awhile. Good luck, you got a reader :)

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WWF Monday Night RAW #197

Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville Arena

Hosts: Jerry Lawler, Jim Ross & Vince McMahon

ANGLE: WWF MAGAZINE PRESENTS IN YOUR HOUSE XIII

Still images appear on the screen, courtesy of WWF Magazine, from last night's In Your House XIII: Final Four pay-per-view. They are accompanied by audio soundbytes from the show...

Steve Austin, Bret Hart, The Undertaker and Vader fighting...

Jim Ross - "The time has come... the 'final four' are in the ring. It's now or never for these four superstars."

Jerry Lawler - "J.R., one of these men is going to be our next World champion!"

The Undertaker's incredible leap, ultimately resulting in his elimination...

J.R. - "LOOK OUT! THE PHENOM IS GONNA FLY!"

SFX - "BOOM!"

The King - "Did you see that?!"

SFX - "Ding! Ding! Ding!"

J.R. - "No! The Undertaker eliminated himself!"

The King - "HAHAHAHAHAHA! That's the price you pay for revenge!"

Steve Austin flipping off Bret Hart...

J.R. - "They're going to work together! They're going to eliminate big Vader! NO!"

The King - "HAHAHA! Idiot! Never trust a rattlesnake!"

J.R. - "And the Hitman is gone! Unbelieveable!"

Raven hitting Steve Austin with a chair from behind...

J.R. - "What is this?! What is going on?"

The King - "Who is that?!"

J.R. - "I... I don't believe this! Somebody just jumped out from the audience and hit 'Stone Cold' with a steel chair!"

The King - "Where's security?!"

SFX - "Ding! Ding! Ding!"

J.R. - "NO! Vader becomes the new WWF champion! All thanks to that... that..."

Paul Heyman shouting into a microphone...

Paul Heyman - "If people won't 'give' us the attention we deserve... we'll TAKE IT! ... Extreme Championship Wrestling has come here to get what we so rightfully deserve... Tonight, we've issued a challenge... a challenge to the WWF. ... WE ARE E-C-F...ING-W! Ignoring us is NOT an option! Not today. Not tomorrow..."

J.R. - " Extreme Championship Wrestling has just thrown down the challenge!"

OVERALL RATING: 83%

Paul Heyman gained overness from this segment.

Vince McMahon - "WELCOME EVERYONE to the Nashville Arena in Nashville, Tennessee! Welcome to Monday Night RAW! I'm Vince McMahon, alongside 'Good Ol' J.R.' and Jerry 'The King' Lawler."

J.R. - "Great to have you with us here on the USA Network. As I'm sure you all know by now there is a NEW World champion here in the WWF... the man they call VADER!"

The King - "Correction, J.R. He's 'the man they call WWF CHAMPION... VADER!'"

Vince - "Tonight, you're going to see, and hear from, the new WWF champion for the very first time."

J.R. - "Plus, it's the 'rubber match' for the Intercontinental Championship. This title has changed hands twice in the past four days... and it could happen again tonight. Rocky Maivia challenges Hunter Hearst Helmsley for the gold!"

Vince - "They've each won one. Tonight, we break the tie. Also, you're going to see, in action... BRET 'THE HITMAN' HART!"

The King - "And not only that... what about the man who stuffed The Undertaker in a casket last night?! I'm talking about Mankind!"

J.R. - "Mankind in action just a bit later on and so much more, but we're kicking things off with our first of two huge championship matches!"

Howard Finkel - "The following contest is scheduled for ONE FALL and is for the WWF WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP!"

Crowd - "WHOO!"

PA - " Welll... don't go messin' with a country boy..."

Fink - "Introducing first, the challengers... accompanied to the ring by Hillbilly Jim, they weigh in at a combined weight of 590 pounds... Henry and Phineas, THE GODWINNS!"

J.R. - "The pride of Bitters, Arkansas, The Godwinns look to regain the titles here tonight!"

Fink - "And their opponents, they are the WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS!"

Crowd - "BOOOOO!"

Fink - "First, hailing from Leeds, England, weighing in at 245 pounds... DAVEY BOY SMITH 'The Briiiitish BULLDOOOOG!' His tag team partner, hailing from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, weighing in at 227 pounds... he is the 'Slammy Award Winning' OWEEEEN HART!"

J.R. - "These two made it out of In Your House with those belts by the skin of their teeth last night!"

The King - "Stop exaggerating."

Vince - "Noticeably absent is James E. Cornette, manager of the tag team champions."

The King - "Trust me, guys. I talked to the 'manager of champions' himself earlier tonight. He's here. You know, just not... HERE."

WWF WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: Davey Boy Smith "The British Bulldog" & "The Slammy Award Winning" Owen Hart (defending champions) vs. The Godwinns (Henry O. Godwinn & Phineas I. Godwinn, challengers, with Hillbilly Jim)

Boasting the most impressive physique of all four participants, Davey Boy proudly flexed his mighty arms in the face of Henry O. Godwinn... also to receive a hard right hand for his efforts! Godwinn hammered Davey back into the corner amd began kicking away at his ribs. Smith slugged his way back into the fight, then scooped and slammed Henry down, injuring the hog farmer's lower back. He made a quick cover but it wasn't enough. Henry kicked out.

After suffering a series of clotheslines, Godwinn rolled to his corner and tagged in Phineas, then rolled out to the floor to lick his wounds. As Hillbilly Jim checked on him, Phineas began unloading with punches on Smith. He dropped the Bulldog with several clotheslines... but Davey Boy suddenly retook control with a hard powerslam out of nowhere! Smith attempted to clear his head, then tagged in the fresh man, Owen Hart.

Together, Owen and Davey Boy backed Phineas against the ropes and whipped him off to the far side... then dropped him with a double back elbow. Smith made his way to the apron, then watched in disbelief as Owen arrogantly posted his foot on Godwinn's chest for a cover. Despite being stunned, Phineas easily kicked out and made his way to his feet. Davey Boy shouted for Owen to keep the pressure on, but the cool Slammy Award winner merely muttered that he had everything under control.

Owen's overconfidence cost him. He charged in with a clothesline... but Phineas ducked it! Godwinn spun around, hooked Owen's head and planted him with the Slop Drop reverse DDT! It took a running axehandle blow by Davey Boy to break up the cover on Hart. Henry, still nursing a possible back injury, moved in to even the odds, but the referee had already removed Smith from the ring by the time he hit the scene. Owen slowly got to his feet and nailed a few punches, but big Phineas overpowered him once more, using a backbreaker to put him down for another two.

After countering a Phineas DDT with an incredible Northern lights suplex, Owen made the tag out to the British Bulldog. Smith hammered away with punches on the mat, then used a running clothesline to knock Henry off the apron and down to the floor. He lifted Phineas for the running powerslam... but P.I.G. slipped free and hooked him for the Slop Drop. Unfortunately for the challengers, Hart swung his leg through the ropes, kicking Phineas in the kidneys and enabling Smith to rotate into an inside cradle. Hillbilly Jim tried to call the referee's attention to Smith's healthy handful of overalls... but the three count came down just the same.

OVERALL RATING: 73%, CROWD REACTION: 68%, MATCH QUALITY: 79%

The WWF World Tag Team titles have gained in image.

Fink - "Here are your winners, and STILL WWF tag team champions, OWEN HART and DAVEY BOOOOOY SMITH!"

Vince - "The winning ways of the World tag team champions continue here on Monday Night RAW. What a way to kick things off!"

J.R. - "Coming up next, more World Wrestling Federation action!"

INTERVIEW: Sycho Sid

Todd Pettengill - "Fans, I'm backstage with former World Wrestling Federation Champion Sycho Sid. Sid, last night, you were originally scheduled to use the 'return match' clause in your contract and challenge for the WWF World Title. How did it feel to see Vader walk out of In Your House with the title some say you should've had an opportunity to win?"

Sycho Sid - "Todd... you see... Vader is but one man... a large man, yes, but only one man. And yes, Vader is... as you put it... the WWF World champion. However, the key factor missing in this equation... is what Vader is not. Vader is NOT the #1 contender! Sycho... Sid... is. Vader is NOT going to leave next week's RAW as the WWF World champion! Sycho... Sid... is. And, above and beyond all else... Vader is NOT... the master... and the ruler... of the WORLD."

Pettengill - "..."

Sid - "..."

Pettengill - "And... Sycho Sid is?"

Sid - "HEH HEH HEH HEH HEH!"

Pettengill - "..."

Sid - "You are learning."

OVERALL RATING: 77%

Sycho Sid's turn was completed, and he is now a face.

Sycho Sid gained overness from this turn.

Sycho Sid lost overness from this segment.

J.R. - "What an announcement! Next week, Sycho Sid goes one-on-one with the new WWF champion in Vader's first title defense here on RAW!"

Vince - "First, J.R., and perhaps... his only title defense."

Fink - "The following contest is scheduled for one fall! Introducing first, from Portugal, weighing in at 215 pounds... 'The Portuguese Man O' War' ALDO MONTOYA!"

PA - "WHOOOOSH!"

Fink - "And his opponent, from Bucksnort, Tennessee, weighing in at 236 pounds... T.L. HOPPER!"

Crowd - "BOOO!"

Vince - "T.L. Hopper, and of course 'Betsy', are on their way to the ring for the next match here on RAW."

The King - "Vince, I like this T.L. Hopper guy. He sends a positive message out to our younger viewers."

Vince - "You think so?"

The King - "Yeah. Just say no to crack!"

SINGLES MATCH: "The Portuguese Man O' War" Aldo Montoya vs. T.L. Hopper

Plumber by day, wrestler by night T.L. Hopper opened the bout with a series of clubbing forearms to the back of Montoya's neck, pounding him down to the canvas. Aldo suffered blow after blow after blow as Hopper quickly wore him down, only mustering the gumption to launch a few lackluster punches to Hopper's gut. After an ugly inverted atomic drop, Hopper dropped Montoya with a discus lariat. He hiked up his trousers before making a cover, carelessly neglecting to hook the leg. The Man O' War raised a shoulder at the count of two.

Hopper continued the assault with more brawling tactics. After administering a few shoulder thrusts in the corner, T.L. whipped Aldo across the ring hard into the opposite turnbuckle. He charged in after... but Montoya lifted his boot to kick him in the face! Hopper was momentarily jarred, but charged in again, this time only to taste a back elbow. Montoya spun out of the corner and drove Hopper's face hard into the turnbuckle, then unloaded ten big punches as he stood on the middle rope. Dazed, Hopper stumbled forward and flopped face first onto the canvas.

Montoya's offense was short lived, however. He perched atop the ropes and waited for Hopper to rise up off the mat. He leapt off, looking for a flying bulldog... only to hit hard on the canvas below. Hopper dodged the move. He moved in for the kill, hoisted Montoya up and spiked him with the Down The Drain brainbuster, ultimately leading to the pin. After the final bell, Montoya suffered the ultimate indignity... a face to face meeting with 'Betsy', Hopper's trusty plunger.

OVERALL RATING: 52%, CROWD REACTION: 45%, MATCH QUALITY: 60%

Aldo Montoya lost overness from this match.

T.L. Hopper gained overness from this match.

Fink - "Here is your winner... T.L. HOPPER!"

Vince - "A big win for T.L., and of course 'Betsy', here on Monday Night RAW!"

The King - "T.L., be careful! You don't want Betsy to pull that mask off!"

J.R. - "King, I'm pretty sure that Hopper has put that plunger in contact with things much worse."

The King - "HA! You've obviously never seen Aldo Montoya's face!"

Vince - "Stay with us, fans! Next up on Monday Night RAW... BRET 'HITMAN' HART!"

INTERVIEW: The New Rockers (Leif Cassidy & Marty Jannetty)

Sunny - "Ladies and gentlemen, I'm joined by Marty Jannetty and Leif Cassidy, The New Rockers, moments before heading to the ring for action. Leif, tonight you're facing Bret Hart, former WWF champion. What's your strategy heading into this match?"

Leif Cassidy - "Well, Sunny, I..."

Marty Jannetty - "RELAX!"

Cassidy - "OH! Oh, jeez... man. Don't scare me like that."

Jannetty - "Dude, don't worry, man. Sunny... just back off."

Sunny - "Huh?"

Jannetty - "Look. Right now, Leif's a little bit nervous right now... especially regarding the ladies."

Cassidy - "What?"

Jannetty - "Look, Leif... what happened last night, with Sable? That was a fluke, man."

Cassidy - "Yeah, I know."

Jannetty - "Okay? You can take a girl, man. You could take her."

Cassidy - "Marty, what are you...?"

Jannetty - "NO! Leif, come on! You need to believe this, bro. Repeat after me. 'I can beat a girl.' Say it."

Sunny - "..."

Cassidy - "Marty, I really don't think this has anything to do with..."

Jannetty - "SAY IT!"

Cassidy - "I can beat a girl."

Jannetty - "..."

Cassidy - "What?"

Jannetty - "Like you mean it?"

Cassidy - "Fine... I can beat a girl. Happy?"

Jannetty - "..."

Cassidy - "WHAT? I can! I can beat a girl! Everyone knows that!"

Jannetty - "That's more like it! Now... you go to the ring and you believe that, okay?"

Cassidy - "I DO believe it! What's not to believe?"

Jannetty - "Right! Now let's go."

Cassidy - "Wait!"

Jannetty - "..."

Cassidy - "You believe it, right?"

Jannetty - "..."

Cassidy - "Marty?"

Jannetty - "..."

Cassidy - "MARTY?!"

Sunny - "Guys... it's time for your match."

Jannetty - "Come on, man. Let's rock!"

Cassidy - "But..."

OVERALL RATING: 74%

Leif Cassidy debuted his new "putz" gimmick, it got a positive response.

Leif Cassidy's turn was completed, and he is now a heel.

Leif Cassidy gained overness from this turn.

Marty Jannetty's turn was completed, and he is now a heel.

Marty Jannetty gained overness from this turn.

Leif Cassidy gained overness from this segment.

Marty Jannetty gained overness from this segment.

Fink - "The following contest is scheduled for one fall. Introducing first, accompanied to the ring by Marty Jannetty, weighing in at 232 pounds from Lima, Ohio, he is one-half of The New Rockers... LEIF CASSIDY!"

J.R. - "Cassidy enters the ring with something to prove after a less-than-shining moment last night at In Your House... and I'm not talking about the tough loss at the hands of Marc Mero."

The King - "You sicken me!"

J.R. - "Huh?"

The King - "You're taking about Sable, aren't you?"

J.R. - "Yes, I am. Let's face it... that's not going to go down as Mr. Cassidy's finest moment."

The King - "I suppose you'd rather have seen Leif tear Sable apart limb from limb!"

J.R. - "Not at all."

The King - "Because he could."

J.R. - "..."

The King - "He could!"

PA - "SKREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!"

Crowd - "YEEEAH!!!"

Fink - "And his opponent, from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, weighing in at 234 pounds... BRET 'The HITMAAAN' HART!"

Vince - "Listen to the ovation for the Hitman! UUUUN-BEEEEE-LIEVEABLE!"

SINGLES MATCH: Bret "The Hitman" Hart vs. Leif Cassidy (with Marty Jannetty)

Eager to redeem himself, Cassidy jumped Bret as he handed off his trademark sunglasses to a young fan at ringside. He blasted Hart with a few hard punches to the kidneys before smashing his face into the guard rail and rolling him into the ring. Leif slid in the ring himself and made a quick cover, picking up a two count. Bret kicked out but Cassidy maintained the aggression, whipping him over with a snap suplex. A second pin attempt by Cassidy was foiled as Hart kicked out yet again.

Despite still feeling the effects of In Your House's grueling main event, Bret fired back, jarring Cassidy with a headbutt. After putting him down with a Russian leg sweep, the Hitman used an elbowdrop from the second rope to pick up a near fall. He softened up Leif's back with a backbreaker, then drove a headbutt deep into the New Rocker's lower abdomen. With the crowd firmly backing him, Hart laced Leif's legs and flipped him into the Sharpshooter! Marty Jannetty watched on in disappointment as Cassidy gave it up, giving Bret a quick and decisive win.

OVERALL RATING: 80%, CROWD REACTION: 77%, MATCH QUALITY: 83%

Fink - "Here is your winner by submission... BRET 'The HITMAAAN' HART!"

J.R. - "And in nearly record time! Bret Hart begins the long climb back to the top of the WWF with an impressive victory."

The King - "Poor Leif Cassidy."

J.R. - "Absolutely."

Vince - "Don't go anywhere! We'll be back with more Monday Night RAW, including the Intercontinental Title 'rubber' match, after this commercial break!"

ANGLE: CHALLENGE ACCEPTED?

The show resumed with Vince McMahon standing alone in the ring...

Vince - "Ladies and gentlemen, for those of you who missed last night's In Your House show, there was an incident at the end of the show involving a rival 'rebel' promotion. First and foremost, on behalf of the World Wrestling Federation, I'd like to apologize for some of the coarse language used by these unwelcome guests."

Crowd - "..."

Vince - "For over fifty years, the WWF has been a revolutionary force in sports entertainment. Last night, Extreme Championship Wrestling vowed to bring a challenge to us. They offered us a challenge... to put their talents on display alongside ours to prove who is the TRUE preeminent promotion today."

Crowd - "Yeah! ECW! ECW!"

Vince - "Well, on behalf of WWF President Gorilla Monsoon... I'm here to announce that that challenge... HAS BEEN ACCEPTED!"

Crowd - "YEAH!"

The King - "WHAT?!"

Vince - "Next week, right here on Monday Night RAW, you are going to see Extreme Championship Wrestling! As invited guests of the World Wrestling Federation, ECW wrestlers will be allowed to show exactly what they're made of inside a WWF ring."

J.R. - "King, can you believe this? WWF officials have accepted the challenge!"

King - "..."

J.R. - "King?"

Vince - "Now, on a personal note, I'd just like to say that neither I, nor any other WWF official, condone what ECW did last night. However, they wanted our attention... and they got it. Paul Heyman, I suggest you bring your best... because you're stepping into the BIG LEAGUES now!"

Crowd - "YEAH!"

J.R. - "Fans, if you're not familiar with Extreme Championship Wrestling... well, I'm not quite sure how I'd describe it. It's no holds barred, anything goes, rules be damned chaos. These wrestlers... I don't think they care at all about their physical well-being. If it means spilling their own blood to spill that of their opponents, then... wait. What the heck is The King doing?"

As Ross shilled away, Jerry Lawler joined McMahon in the ring...

Crowd - "BOOOOO!"

The King - "Shut up, you good-for-nothing peons!"

Vince - "Jerry?"

The King - "Vince, listen to me, okay? You've got to go talk to Mr. Monsoon. Get him to reconsider this. Please!"

Vince - "King, I..."

The King - "We can't 'Extremely CRAPPY Wrestling' come here next week! Think about the message it's going to send! These ECW wrestlers... they're not WWF SUPERSTARS! Like you said, they're out of their league."

Crowd - "ECW! ECW! ECW!"

Vince - "I see what you mean, King... but look at the bigger picture."

The King - "NO! YOU LOOK! ECW, what they did last night... it was criminal! They're nothing but a low-brow, one-note, broke-down, backwater company in Philadelphia! The World Wrestling Federation is a global phenomenon. What Gorilla Monsoon is saying is that any gang of losers from off the streets can come in, pound on their sunken chests and claim to be great... and the WWF will give them more exposure for it! It's the wrong message!"

Crowd - "Burger King! Burger King! Burger King!"

The King - "Would you idiots SHUT UP?!"

Vince - "King, as I said, I don't agree with Paul Heyman and ECW's methods... but I do agree with the message this sends."

The King - "Huh?"

Vince - "It says the WWF, the greatest sports entertainment franchise in the world today, won't back down from a fight!"

Crowd - "YEAH!"

Vince - "It says we won't tolerate being blindsided or unfairly attacked. It says we will take on any challenge, no matter how big, head on! And, as much as I don't like it, it says that we in the WWF... we respect BALLS!"

The King - "B-balls? BALLS?!"

Vince - "Face it, King. No matter what you think of ECW, they came at the WWF with guns blazing. They didn't try to take us down in a courtroom... or a boardroom... or even in a locker room. They did it where it matters... in the ring! For that, the wrestlers of ECW, as well as the fans the world over, deserve at least one chance to see what they can do. Next week in the Manhattan Center, the birthplace of Monday Night RAW... they'll get that chance!"

The King - "..."

Crowd - "ECW! ECW! ECW! ECW!"

J.R. - "Mark your calendars, fans! Next week... RAW goes to the extreme!"

OVERALL RATING: 83%

Fink - "The following contest is scheduled for one fall!"

PA - "Spend my days workin' hard on the go... but the hands on the clock keep spinnin' too slow... I can't waaait to be alone with my baby toniiiight..."

Fink - "Introducing first, from Nashville, Tennessee..."

Crowd - "WHOO!"

Fink - "Weighing in at 251 pounds, he is the REAL Double J... JESSEEEEE JAMES!"

The King - "I can't believe Gorilla Monsoon. What is he thinking letting these ECW clowns come on RAW?"

J.R. - "King, the WWF is the 'land of opportunity'. Don't you think the ECW wrestlers deserve a chance?"

The King - "Have you SEEN this crap?! It's all blood and tables and barbed wire! It has nothing to do with 'wrestling' at all!"

Vince - "Regardless, I have to agree with President Monsoon's decision. Besides, it's clear these 'extremists' are going to do whatever they please anyway, with or without an invitation."

Fink - "And his opponent, accompanied to the ring by Paul Bearer, weighing in at 287 pounds... MANKIND!"

Crowd - "BOOO!"

J.R. - "Good point, Vince. Paul Heyman said himself that ECW wasn't going to be ignored. By inviting them to participate here on RAW, the WWF may be sparing themselves another unwelcome 'invasion'."

The King - "I still want to know how they pulled what they did off last night in the first place!"

SINGLES MATCH: "The Real Double J" Jesse James vs. Mankind (with Paul Bearer)

James made the classic mistake of approaching the match as if it were any other... never sound strategy when facing the likes of Mankind. Mankind charged past his collar and elbow tie-up attempt and began swinging fists, rocking Double J back into the corner. The assault continued as he unloaded on Jesse, shrieking with joy as his clenched hands bounced off of James' skull. James staggered to his feet, but instantly found himself flipped upside-down and tied to the tree of woe! Hanging precariously, Jesse watched in horror as Mankind crossed the ring, then charged, driving a knee into his completely exposed midsection! Before releasing him from the ropes, Mankind dropped a headbutt right into his face!

James again came to his feet and shook off the cobwebs, but Mankind absolutely refused to let up. Jesse surprised him as he charged in with a stiff jab, then followed up with another... and another. He began to swivel and gyrate comedically after the third, giving Mankind an opportunity to retake control. Throwing caution to the wind, Mankind rushed with a clothesline and knocked Jesse over the top rope to the floor. However, during the move, Mankind's head and neck became tangled in the top and middle rope! Both Paul Bearer and the referee rushed to save him as he hung above the ring apron.

Amidst the chaos, James came to. He made his way to the scene and pulled Bearer off the apron, then shoved him into the guard rail. He pushed the referee away as well, then began unloading punches to Mankind's masked face as he helplessly dangled from the ropes! The referee quickly restored order, threatening to disqualify Double J if he didn't back off. He did so, and the official was able to free Mankind from his snare. The masked maniac slowly backed away, desperately trying to catch his breath... but Jesse James attacked him from behind and planted him with a pumphandle slam!

Mankind managed to kick away from the pin and crawled to the corner for a breather. After resting a moment, he pulled himself to his feet. James charged in with a running clothesline... but ran straight into the mandible claw! Backing Jesse to the center of the ring, Mankind let down his guard. James threw a kick straight between the legs, successfully breaking the hold! Unfortunately for the real Double J, Mankind caught him a second time as he charged in and thrust his twisted fingers down the crooner's gullet. Moments later, Jesse collapsed and succumbed to the paralyzing hold.

OVERALL RATING: 82%, CROWD REACTION: 73%, MATCH QUALITY: 92%

Fink - "Here is your winner, as a result of a submission... MANKIND!"

Vince - "The deranged Mankind with yet another victory courtesy of that paralyzing mandible claw... the same move used to put The Undertaker in a casket."

J.R. - "We still haven't seen or heard from The Undertaker since last night. God only knows what horrible things he was subjected to at the hands of Paul Bearer..."

The King - "Not so fast, freak show!"

Crowd - "BOOOO!"

Vince - "Jerry Lawler? What is he doing?"

ANGLE: WHO IS CACTUS JACK?

As Mankind and Paul Bearer made their way up the ramp, Jerry Lawler left the broadcast booth to confront them...

The King - "I said stop! You're not getting away that easily!"

Mankind - "..."

The King - "Don't give me that look! You know what this is about!"

Mankind - "Uncle Paul? W-w-what's happening?!"

The King - "Shut your mouth and open your ears... er, ear! I've been thinking this over. Last night, Paul E. Normous-Pain-In-The-Ass and his extreme clown squad completely sabotaged our pay-per-view show. I didn't think about then, but... these morons couldn't have done this by themselves."

Mankind - "..."

The King - "Don't you people get it?! Somebody had to help them sneak into the building. Somebody... on the inside."

Paul Bearer - "Huh?"

The King - "I don't know too many people here in the WWF willing to risk their jobs to help those losers... but I do know at least one CRAZY enough to!"

Mankind - "CRAZY?! Who's crazy?! Crazy people... hee hee... SCARE ME!"

The King - "Don't play dumb, you freakin' psycho! It's YOU!"

Bearer - "Wha-a-a-a-t?"

Mankind - "NO!"

The King - "YES! You're not fooling anyone with that mask... CACTUS JACK!"

Crowd - "WHOO! Cactus! Cactus! Cactus!"

Mankind - "..."

The King - "..."

Mankind - "What did you call me?"

The King - "You heard what I said... Cactus Jack. It wasn't that long ago that you were working for ECW under that name, throwing yourself onto thumbtacks and into barbed wire and flaming tables! If anyone is crazy, or just plain stupid, enough to help ECW pull off their little stunt last night, it's you."

Mankind - "..."

The King - "..."

Mankind - "Cactus... Jack?"

The King - "..."

Mankind - "Cactus... JACK? CACTUS JACK?! CACTUS JACK! CACTUS JACK!"

Bearer - "NO-O-O-O-O!"

As he repeated his former moniker, Mankind began to violent thrash about, clawing at his mask with his mangled hands. He collapsed to the ground and began rolling around, tumbling towards and then through the curtain. Bearer hurried after him as Lawler looked on in disbelief...

Bearer - "MANKIND! NO-O-O-O-O!"

OVERALL RATING: 81%

Vince - "It's main event time here on Monday Night RAW and what a week it's been for these two."

Fink - "The following is scheduled for one fall... and is for the INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP! Introducing first, the challenger, from Miami, Florida, weighing in at 272 pounds... ROCKY MAIIIIVIA!"

Crowd - "Boooo!"

J.R. - "This all started last Thursday on a special edition of RAW. Rocky Maivia pulled off the biggest win of his young career, defeating Hunter Hearst Helmsley to become the Intercontinental champion."

Fink - "And his opponent, accompanied to the ring by his butler, Mr. Hughes, from Greenwich Connecticut, weighing in at 279 pounds, he is the World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Champion...HUNTER HEARST HELMSLEY!"

Vince - "Indeed. However, last night at In Your House, Maivia's reign was cut short as Helmsley recaptured the championship after an incredibly hard fought match."

J.R. - "Thus, it all comes down to this... the tie-breaker. Who's gonna walk out of Nashville with the Intercontinental Championship?"

WWF INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE MATCH: Hunter Hearst Helmsley (defending champion, with Mr. Hughes) vs. Rocky Maivia (challenger)

Helmsley, well aware of Maivia's exceptional ability, sought to make their third match in four days as short as possible. He challenged Rocky to a test of strength... then callously booted him in the gut as he took the bait! Hunter quickly hooked Maivia's arms for the Pedigree, but the challenger powered out and backdropped Helmsley all the way over the top rope to the arena floor! With his gameplan shattered, Helmsley did some quick thinking and distracted the referee from the floor. As he did so... Mr. Hughes slid in the ring and leveled Maivia with the title belt! From there, Rocky was slim pickings as Helmsley rolled into the ring and made a nonchalant cover to win in record time.

Crowd - "BOOOOOO!"

Fink - "Here is your winner, and STILL Intercontinental champion... HUNTER HEARST HELMSLEY!"

Hughes presented the champion with his title as Helmsley sneered as the irate crowd, then flashed his butler a knowing grin. They weren't the only two wise to the ruse. As the referee checked on the fallen challenger... another official rushed out from backstage and hit the ring! He quickly explained what had transpired. Helmsley stepped in, firmly denying the claim... even offering Hughes as a character witness. With two words against one, the referee in charge sided with Helmsley... that is until the second referee revealed instant replay footage on the video wall! Caught red-handed, Helmsley decided to make a run for it. As he headed to the back, the referee summoned over Howard Finkel for his official decision.

Fink - "The referee has informed me that due to outside interference... this match shall CONTINUE!"

Crowd - "YEAH!"

Fink - "Furthermore... Mr. Hughes has been officially BARRED from ringside!"

Crowd - "YEAH!"

Helmsley shouted in protest as the second referee moved up the aisle to escort Hughes out. With his pleas falling on deaf ears, Hunter waved off the match and followed his butler out, opting to accept retention via a count-out loss. Having been fooled once, the referee wasn't about to make it quite that easy on him.

Fink - "Also, the referee has informed me that due to the extenuating circumstance involved in this match... the Intercontinental Title CAN change hands via count-out or disqualification!"

Crowd - "YEAH!"

Fink - "Therefore, Hunter Hearst Helmsley has until the count of TEN to return to the ring... or he will FORFEIT the Intercontinental Title!"

Crowd - "ONE! TWO! THREE! FOUR! FIVE! SIX! SEV..."

After taking a very brief moment to think it over, Helmsley raced back to the ring for the continuation of his title defense. Hoping Maivia still felt the effects of the belt shot, he moved in and made a cover. Rocky powered just before three, frustrating the champion even further. Hunter aggressively jammed his forearm into Maivia's throat for another cover but the plucky challenger refused to stay down. With his associate gone and his plan foiled, Helmsley had to think quickly of another way to end the match.

Maivia slowly got to his feet, reaching up to his forehead to feel a tiny laceration from which blood was flowing. He struggled to shake off the cobwebs as Helmsley backed away to the ropes. The champion charged off, looking for a running knee to the skull... but Rocky ducked, scooped him up and planted him with a colossal Samoan drop! Showing his tremendous athleticism, Maivia kipped up off the canvas to his feet in one fluid motion. Helmsley reacted quickly and without thinking... firing an uppercut to Rocky's groin that sent him right back to the mat!

Crowd - "BOOOOOOOOO!"

Fink - "Ladies and gentlemen, here is your winner, as a result of a disqualification... AND NEEEEEEEW Intercontinental Champion... ROCKY MAIIIIIVIA!"

Crowd - "Rocky sucks! Rocky sucks! Rocky sucks!"

The referee took the title from the timekeeper and handed it to the agonizing Maivia... who pushed it away! The referee explained the circumstances, but Rocky, while gripping his sore crotch, shook his head and refused the belt! He briefly glanced into the unloving crowd, then told the referee his wishes. Throwing his hands up, the referee succumbed to Maivia's wishes and moved over to whisper a message to Howard Finkel.

Fink - "Ladies and gentlemen, the referee has just informed that... this match will CONTINUE!"

Crowd - "YEEEAH!"

A stunned Helmsley returned to his feet, completely shocked by Maivia's benevolence. He mistook Rocky's act as generosity and quickly found it born of his competitive nature... as Maivia began hammering away with punch after punch after punch! Jarred, Hunter was unable to defend himself as Rocky's fists bounced off his aquiline nose. As he staggered back, Maivia launched a leaping clothesline and floored his opponent, then quickly covered him for a near fall.

Refusing to let up, Rocky stomped Helmsley in the shoulder before shifting around and dropping an elbow. Unfortunately for him, Helmsley rolled away from the contact and quickly capitalized by keeping him on the mat with a reverse chinlock. Maivia wasted no time in getting to his feet and powering out, pitching Hunter off into the ropes. As he bounced back, Rocky caught him and drilled him with a massive spinebuster! He paused for a moment, wiped the blood from his forehead, then dropped down for the cover. Hunter's shoulder came up mere milliseconds before three.

With victory in sight, Rocky battered Helmsley back into the corner and whipped him off to the other side. After crashing into the turnbuckle, Helmsley still had the wherewithal to sidestep a running charge... sending Maivia shoulder-first into the ringpost! Hunter quickly rolled Rocky up and propped his feet on the middle rope, adding considerable extra leverage. Try as he might, Maivia was unable to lift his aching shoulder before the three. After the bell, Helmsley breathed a sigh of relief and clutched his championship belt tightly. Maivia, unaware of the ill-gotten means used by his opponent, extended a hand... only to be snubbed as Hunter rolled out of the ring and headed to the back.

OVERALL RATING: 79%, CROWD REACTION: 77%, MATCH QUALITY: 82%

Fink - "Here is your winner... and STILL Intercontinental champion... HUNTER HEARST HELMSLEY!"

Vince - "After a trying week, Helmsley emerges as the champion. However, young Rocky Maivia has certainly earned plenty of respect nonetheless."

J.R. - "Indeed. This is only the beginning for this exciting young superstar."

The King - "I didn't know you liked Hunter Hearst Helmsley, J.R."

J.R. - "I was referring to Maivia."

The King - "Oh."

Vince - "Stay with us. Up next, the NEW WWF World champion!"

ANGLE: THE TIME IS NOW!

Proudly clutching a microphone in one hand and his trademark tennis racket in the other, along with a clipboard under his arm, James E. Cornette stood in the ring, grinning from ear to ear...

James E. Cornette - "Ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to introduce to you... your NEW heavyweight champion of the WORLD... VAAAADEEEEER!"

Crowd - "BOOOOOOOOO!"

PA - "IT'S TIME! IT'S TIME! IT'S... VADER TIME!"

With the WWF World Title draped over his montrous shoulder, the mammoth Vader marched down the aisle and into the ring. He taunted the crowd before raising the gold proudly above his head, much to Cornette's delight...

Cornette - "Vader, ladies and gentlemen! Give him a round of applause!"

Crowd - "BOOOOOOOOO!"

Cornette - "Vader, baby... you did it! Finally, you are the WWF World champion! Congratulations!"

Vader - "..."

Cornette - "I mean, I always knew this day would one day come, but... God, I'm just so proud of you! I couldn't be any prouder if... if it were MYSELF wearing that title!"

J.R. - "A horrific image indeed..."

Vader - "..."

Cornette - "Finally, the man they call Vader is the man... period! The WWF World champion! Do you realize what this means?"

Vader - "..."

Cornette - "It means, after years and years and YEEEARS... I am TRULY the 'manager of champions'!"

Crowd - "BOOOOOOO!"

Vader - "..."

Cornette - "Momma! Call the papers! Call the press! Call the local news! Your baby boy's done it!"

Cornette dropped the clipboard and raised his arms for a short victory lap around the ring before continuing...

Cornette - "Whew! Hold on... let me... catch my... whew!"

J.R. - "Isn't this supposed to be VADER's moment?"

The King - "Oh, J.R.! You don't know anything about being a manager. Your client's is YOUR victory... and Jim Cornette just won a big one!"

Cornette - "Okay... where was I? Oh, yeah. In less than five weeks... it's the biggest show of the year. March 23rd... the Windy City... WRESTLEMANIA!"

Crowd - "YEAH!"

Cornette - "And history WILL be made! The man they call Vader, the WWF World champion, competes in the WrestleMania main event for the very first time!"

Vader - "TIME!"

Cornette - "..."

Vader - "..."

Cornette - "As I was saying..."

Vader - "No! You've said enough."

Cornette - "What?"

Vader - "Time... time... time... over one year's worth of time..."

Cornette - "Listen I..."

Vader - "WASTED!"

With that primal scream, Vader lunged forward and gripped the terrified Cornette by the throat...

Cornette - "WHOA! Vader, h-h-h-hold on! Let's talk about this for a minute!"

Vader - "A minute? A MINUTE?! Do you have any idea how many minutes I've spent on you?!"

Cornette - "Vader, please! I..."

Vader - "NO! 'Finally, you are the man... finally, you are the champion.' FINALLY?! Don't you get it?! This... this isn't a victory! Winning this championship isn't something to be proud of! IT'S A YEAR OVERDUE!"

Cornette - "Of course! A-a-absolutely!"

Vader - "I should have been GIVEN this the moment I stepped through the doors of the World Wrestling Federation! Instead, what did I do? I had to clean up YOUR messes and rid the WWF of Yokozuna! I had to deal with YOUR politics and petition Gorilla Monsoon for title matches... when instead I should have been DESTROYING the other contenders! I had to sit back and be a part of YOUR team instead of unleashing my fury on the weak, pathetic pretenders all around me!"

Cornette - "M-m-m-me?!"

Vader - "And the VERY SECOND that I stepped away from you... BOOM! VADER TIME! I became World champion with a month! A MONTH!"

Cornette - "YES! I MEAN... NO! NO! NO! NOOOOOOOO!"

Vader stuffed Cornette's head between his legs, hoisted him high and drove him into the canvas with a vicious powerbomb!

Vince - "OH MY!"

J.R. - "DEAR GOD!"

The King - "JIMMY!"

Vader - "I'm done letting you waste my time. I'm done letting anyone waste my time. IT'S TIME! IT'S MY TIME! IT'S... VAAAAAADER TIIIIIIIIIME!"

Crowd - "BOOOOOOOOOOO!"

OVERALL RATING: 69%

The King - "Somebody get in there! The manager of champions needs help!"

J.R. - "The destructive force of the man they call Vader has been unleashed! Dear God... it truly is Vader Time now."

Vince - "Fans, we're all out of time. Thank you for joining us for Monday Night RAW! Tune in next week, only on the USA Network!"

J.R. - "The stars of Extreme Championship Wrestling will be with us... and hopefully you will too!"

The King - "Ugh! ECW..."

Vince - "For J.R. and The King, I'm Vince McMahon. See you next time."

The King - "Next 'Vader' time!"

OVERALL RATING: 75%

NIELSEN RATING: 5.03 (NITRO 6.42)

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That was a good Raw with just enough to keep the interest while the rest of it was typical early 97 Raw matches.

-Aren't you just the epitome of a worthless jobber when you lose to TL Hopper?

-So we get another face of Foley coming in the guise of Cactus Jack? Is that it? Well I'm intrigued to say the least. Hopefully Jack can drop Bearer too.

-That was such an excellent Main Event. I was convinced that Rocky was going to win it after the match was restarted the first time, but once he refused to accept the win and the title, it became clear Rocky wasn't taking home the gold. What a moron.

-With him Powerbombing Corny, you run the risk of turning Vader into a face. He'll need some heelish actions to make up for this soon.

-I know your goal was to turn Mary and Leif heels, and you said it worked, but I didn't get that from the segment. To me Marty turned heel, yes, but Leif just became a loveable loser. Not really a face, but not a heel. Oh my goodness, the Attitude Era is here isn't it? In any event I liked the bit with Cassidy, so hopefully when he's not wrestling Bret or Sable he can pick up some wins, unlike Aldo.

Good show. I totally enjoyed it.

Overall Grade B

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Good follow up to IYH. But like TGC said, I think Vader came off more of a face in his segment with Cornette than as a heel. Though, If you keep Vader with Bearer, You won't send out mixed messages. I liked the main event, But I think you're just going to end up getting Rocky far more hated as a babyface, I don't know if it's your goal right now, So you could end up turning him heel, But him refusing to win the title would have been booed out of the building. I like the fact that you're atleast trying to get The New Rockers over, And hopefully, It leads to good stuff. I don't really like Mankind possibly turning into Cactus Jack right now, As I'm more interested in seeing him being on the WWF side of things against ECW. Mankind Vs. Sandman, Mankind Vs. Dreamer, Mankind Vs. Raven etc, Are all matches I'd like to see. I was also surprised to not see Austin, Pillman and Undertaker after the big PPV. Anyways, Keep up the good work.

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Thanks for all the great feedback everyone.

TGC - Actually, the New Rockers "turn" was really just my way of correcting an error in the scenario as they were already heels by this point in time. With more forethought, I'd probably have not fixed and used them as the "lovable losers" as you put it, but... well, forethought's not my specialty.

Hewey - I agree with your thoughts on Rocky. At this point, he was definitely struggling as a babyface and I'd like to acknowledge that as best I can. This was definitely a shifting point in history as WWF learned their methods of face/heel booking were outdated and needed to be changed. Instead of just immediately embracing "antiheroes", this diary will (I hope) reflect that shift of philosophy.

Thanks again for all the comments. Since ECW is playing a major role in what goes on in the WWF at this point, I'll also write up a brief recap of their syndicated programs, the first of which is posted below. They're not so much "part" of the diary, but rather a supplement. Enjoy. :)

ECW Hardcore TV

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

ECW Arena

Host: Joey Styles

Joey Styles - "Good evening and welcome to ECW Hardcore TV. I'm Joey Styles... and what a week it has been here in Extreme Championship Wrestling. As many of the regular viewers of the WWF know, ECW 'invaded' Sunday's In Your House pay-per-view show. Later on tonight, ECW's Paul Heyman will speak out on this war. Plus, we'll have details about Saturday night's return to the ECW Arena. I'm talking, of course, about CyberSlam. Also, our main event... six-man tag team action as 'The Franchise' Shane Douglas, Chris Candido and Brian Lee take on The Pit Bulls and 'The Innovator Of Violence' Tommy Dreamer! All this, and so much more as the road to Barely Legal continues. For more on that... here's TAZ!"

INTERVIEW: "The Human Suplex Machine" Taz with Bill Alfonso

With a ratty towel draped over his head, Taz seethes in a dark corner as Alfonso's shrill whistle blares...

Bill Alfonso - "TWEEEEEEEEEEEEET! SABU, BABY! SUNDAY, APRIL 13th, BARELY LEGAL, DADDY! IT'S TAZ! IT'S THE TAZMISSION! IT'S BARELY LEGAL, BABY! YOU GONNA DIE! DADDY, YOU GONNA DIE! BABY..."

Taz - "ENOUGH!"

Alfonso - "..."

Taz - "Sabu... I'm sick and tired of all the hype. I'm sick and tired of all the noise. I'm SICK and TIRED of ALL the BULLS...T! For years, you've run around this place... you're homicidal, you're suicidal, you're genocidal. Well... I'M TAZ! April 13th, I'm the guy that's gonna suplex you all over the ECW Arena, and when I'm done... I'M the guy that's gonna CHOKE... YOU... OUT! You ain't gonna ignore me no more, Sabu. At Barely Legal... homicidal, suicidal or genocidal, it doesn't matter. You are going to tap. BEAT ME if you can... SURVIVE if I LET YOU!"

Alfonso - "YEAH, DADDY! SABU GONNA DIE! TWEEEEEEET!"

OVERALL RATING: 66%

Bill Alfonso gained overness from this segment.

PA - "Deeeeesperado... why don't you come to your senses?"

Crowd - "YEEEEEEAH!"

Bob Artese - "...and his opponent, from the Double Cross Ranch in Amarillo, Texas... TERRRRY FUNK!"

Crowd - "WELCOME BACK! WELCOME BACK! WELCOME BACK!"

Styles - "Ladies and gentlemen, Terry Funk is BACK... in Extreme Championship Wrestling!"

CLIPS: Terry Funk vs. "The Big Don" Tommy Rich

  • Funk unloaded with punch after punch after punch...
  • After punch after punch...
  • Funk teased the spinning toe hold, but Rich kicked him away...
  • Rich scored with a clothesline, then propped Funk on the top turnbuckle facing the crowd...
  • Funk used back elbows to stop a super back suplex...
  • Moonsault by Terry Funk!
  • Crowd - "ECW! ECW! ECW!"
  • Both men were slow to get up...
  • Funk planted Rich with a DDT for the three count!
  • Crowd - "Welcome back! Welcome back!"
OVERALL RATING: 59%, CROWD REACTION: 53%, MATCH QUALITY: 66%

Styles - "Terry Funk returns to the ECW Arena on February 22nd as part of a colossal CyberSlam main event! Funk joins forces with 'The Innovator Of Violence' Tommy Dreamer to take on 'Prime Time' Brian Lee and the ECW World champion... Raven."

ANGLE: CYBERSLAM HYPE VIDEO

The Smashing Pumpkins' "Bullet With Butterfly Wings" was the soundtrack as a music video promoted the CyberSlam main event, highlighting the undying rivalry between Tommy Dreamer and Raven, as well as the triumphant return to ECW of Terry Funk.

OVERALL RATING: 66%

CLIPS: "The Innovator Of Violence" Tommy Dreamer (with Beulah McGillicutty) & The Pit Bulls (Pit Bull #1 & Pit Bull #2) vs. "The Franchise" Shane Douglas (with "Head Cheerleader" Francine), "Prime Time" Brian Lee & "No Gimmicks Needed" Chris Candido

  • All hell broke loose at the opening bell!
  • The pier-six brawl spilled out of the ring...
  • Dreamer lit Lee up with chops as The Pit Bulls, Candido and Douglas brawled around ringside...
  • Candido was laid out by a vicious Pit Bull #1 clothesline...
  • Dreamer and Lee spilled over the rail into the crowd...
  • The Pit Bulls dragged Shane back into the ring...
  • They set him up for the Super Bomb!
  • Francine used a low blow to make the save...
  • Beulah joined the fray...
  • Styles - "CATFIIIIIIIIGHT!"
  • Meanwhile, Tommy and Lee fought their way up to the balcony...
  • Lee threw Dreamer over the rail... and threatened to chokeslam him off of it!
  • Dreamer raked Lee's eyes and saved himself from a hellacious fall...
  • Candido returned to the ring and saved Douglas from another Super Bomb attempt...
  • Candido and Douglas took control and put the boots to The Pit Bulls...
  • Dreamer and Lee fought back down to the ground floor and later ringside...
  • Candido missed a top rope elbowdrop...
  • The Bulls grabbed hold of him and destroyed him with the Super Bomb!
  • They chased Douglas from the ring...
  • Shane gathered his Television Title and his girl and fled the scene, abandoning his team!
  • Pit Bull #2 covered Candido... but Lee broke it up just in the nick of time!
  • A Lee big boot sent Pit Bull #1 over the top rope to the floor...
  • Pit Bull #2 rolled out of the ring after suffering the Prime Time Slam...
  • Lee was the last man standing..
  • He turned around... right into a Dreamer DDT!
  • Dreamer scored the pin to give his team the win...
  • After the match, Dreamer stood over Lee and assumed the crucifixion pose, sending a clear message to Raven.
OVERALL RATING: 67%, CROWD REACTION: 57%, MATCH QUALITY: 77%

Styles - "ECW returns to the ECW Arena THIS Saturday for CyberSlam! If you can't be with us in Philadelphia, visit out ECWwrestling.com for all the info, as well as a chance to get up close and personal with your favorite ECW stars. A colossal TRIPLE tag team main event! The Eliminators defend the ECW WORLD Tag Team titles against Rob Van Dam and Sabu... tables and ladders WILL be legal. The Pit Bulls take on the Triple Threat's Chris Candido and 'The Franchise' Shane Douglas. Plus, the big one... ECW WORLD heavyweight champion Raven teams with 'Prime Time' Brian Lee against 'The Innovator Of Violence' Tommy Dreamer and... good God, he's at it again... Terry FUNK! Saturday, February 22nd, LIVE in the ECW Arena. For more details, call us up on the hotline... 1-900-RUN... 4-ECW!"

INTERVIEW: Paul Heyman

Heyman laughed sinisterly before a promotional banner for Barely Legal...

Paul Heyman - "So... Vince McMahon wants to... OOPS! I'm sorry! I, of course, mean 'Gorilla Monsoon' wants to invite the stars of Extreme Championship Wrestling to the flagship show in professional wrestling television... Monday... Night... RAW. HAHAHAHAHA! I just LOVE it when a plan comes together. I mean it. This is better than I could have hoped for! ECW... prime time, nationwide and in your face! Forget about the 'phenom' The Undertaker... but this Monday, you are going to see true darkness in the face of RAVEN! Forget about the 'excellence of execution'... because this Monday belongs to the 'Human Suplex Machine' TAZ! After it's said and done, people won't be talking about a 'Nation Of Domination'... they'll be too busy SCREAMING for TOTAL ELIMINATION! And WrestleMania will be nothing but a memory as the entire wrestling world shall brace itself for the REVOLUTION that is BARRRELY LEEEGAL! In Your House was just a knock. Now, invited or not, ECW is going to blow the doors off of the World Wrestling Federation! Tell everyone that ECW is coming to RAW, folks... but the fact of the matter is, this Monday, RAW... will be taken... TO... THE... EXTREEEEEME!"

OVERALL RATING: 77%

Copyright 1997, Extreme Championship Wrestling...

OVERALL RATING: 68%

NEILSEN RATING: 0.03

Pro Wrestling Illustrated Weekly

February 15th, 1997 - February 21st, 1997

ECW INVADES THE WWF!

Much like last year's NWO invasion, wrestling fans were stunned and wondering what to expect when eight employees of Extreme Championship Wrestling (Raven, The Eliminators, Sabu, Shane Douglas, Tommy Dreamer, The Sandman and Paul Heyman) appeared at ringside at the close of WWF's In Your House pay-per-view. After interfering in the main event (see Match Of The Week below), the group issued a challenge to WWF officials to determine which promotion was superior. Speaking on behalf of WWF President Gorilla Monsoon, Vince McMahon answered the challenge and invited ECW to Monday's RAW. The challenge was later accepted by Heyman on ECW's syndicated Hardcore TV program.

The shocking events resulted in a sharp upturn for WWF in their ratings war with NITRO as many tuned in to see the fallout from In Your House. While not enough to break NITRO's long running streak of ratings wins, RAW broke the 5.0 mark for the first time in 1997 and hopes to improve with next week's ECW appearances. Unfortunately, the show will be up against the post-SuperBrawl VII edition of NITRO. Statistics indicate shows directly following pay-per-view events usually draw more viewers, especially for WCW which has made a habit of giving PPVs "cliffhanger" endings. However, WWF has promoted the "RAW Goes To The Extreme" broadcast as a once in a lifetime event and is banking on ECW's incredibly loyal fanbase as well as those curious about the company to tune in.

In an interview with the Pro Wrestling Torch, ECW Owner Paul Heyman stated the association between the promotion and the WWF is "a temporary symbiotic relationship". According to Heyman, ECW and the WWF will continue to work together until after April's Barely Legal, ECW's pay-per-view debut. In exchange for promotional consideration for the show, the WWF will be permitted to use ECW talent and trademarks at it's limited discretion, as well as Heyman's creative services. Heyman added that he is considering doing freelance work for the WWF indefinitely even after this cross-promotion period.

WEEKLY AWARDS

WRESTLER OF THE WEEK - REY MISTERIO JR.

As the smallest wrestler on the WCW roster, many have doubted Rey Misterio Jr.'s ability to succeed beyond the cruiserweight division. This past Monday on NITRO, Rey silenced many of those critics by finally defeating Lord Steven Regal, ending his nearly six-month reign. Misterio had come close on several occasions in recent weeks, but the title's stringest ten-minute time limit cost him those victories. No more. Congratulations, Rey, on your success, your new championship and on becoming PWI's Wrestler Of The Week.

MATCH OF THE WEEK - VADER vs. THE UNDERTAKER vs. BRET HART vs. STEVE AUSTIN

With the WWF World Title hanging in the balance, four of the top names in the business did battle in a unique over the top rope battle royal to decide a new champion. After witnessing interference from rivals Paul Bearer, Mankind and The Executioner, The Undertaker eliminated himself. Bret Hart made the crucial mistake of trusting Steve Austin and met his end as a result. Moments later, Austin was eliminated by Vader after ECW heavyweight champion Raven interfered as well. Offering the perfect mix of historical significance and total chaos, this match easily earns Match Of The Week honors.

NEWS & NOTES

VADER CAPTURES WWF WORLD TITLE

Following the aforementioned "ECW Invasion" at Sunday's In Your House pay-per-view, Vader was awarded his first WWF World Title. The following night on RAW, he sent a clear message to any potential challengers... at the expense of former spokesman James E. Cornette. Despite witnessing the brutal assault on Cornette, #1 contender Sycho Sid will boldly challenge the new champion this Monday on RAW! See below for full results from the In Your House pay-per-view.

FULL WCW SUPERBRAWL VII PREVIEW

WCW World Title Match: champion Hollywood Hogan vs. Roddy Piper, with special guest referee Shawn Michaels... San Francisco Death Match: Chris Benoit vs. The Taskmaster... Jeff Jarrett vs. Steve McMichael... Three-Way Match: Public Enemy vs. Harlem Heat vs. The Faces Of Fear... WCW United States Title Match: champion Eddy Guerrero vs. Chris Jericho... Dallas Page vs. Buff Bagwell... WCW Television Title Match: Lord Steven Regal vs. champion Rey Misterio Jr.... Konnan, La Parka & Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. Juventud Guerrera, Psicosis & Ultimo Dragon... WCW Cruiserweight Title Match: Syxx vs. champion Dean Malenko... This Sunday live from the Cow Palace in San Francisco, California!

ARENA RESULTS

FLORIDA

TAMPA - WCW Monday NITRO live broadcast: The Taskmaster defeated Kaz Hayashi... Steve McMichael defeated Hugh Morrus... Cruiserweight champion Dean Malenko defeated Robbie Brookside... Public Enemy defeated Amazing French Canadians... Rey Misterio Jr. defeated Television champion Lord Steven Regal to win the title... Randy Anderson defeated Nick Patrick... Chris Benoit defeated Roadblock... United States champion Eddy Guerrero defeated Konnan via disqualification... The Giant defeated Johnny Swinger & Top Gun in a handicap match... Chris Jericho defeated Jeff Jarrett.

(02-17-97)

NEW YORK

NEW YORK - WWF Shotgun Saturday Night taping from Penn Station: Mankind defeated Barry Horowitz... Aldo Montoya & Bob Holly defeated Justin Bradshaw & Barry Windham via disqualification... Bart Gunn defeated The Brooklyn Brawler... Sycho Sid defeated Billy Gunn.

(02-15-97)

TENNESSEE

CHATTANOOGA - WWF In Your House XIII pay-per-view from the UTC Arena: The Godwinns defeated The Headbangers... Marc Mero defeated Leif Cassidy... Faarooq, Savio Vega & Crush defeated Goldust, Bart Gunn & Flash Funk... Hunter Hearst Helmsley defeated Intercontinental champion Rocky Maivia to win the title... World tag team champions Davey Boy Smith & Owen Hart defeated Doug Furnas & Phil LaFon... Vader defeated The Undertaker, Bret Hart and Steve Austin in a battle royal to win the vacant WWF World title.

(02-16-97)

NASHVILLE - WWF Monday Night RAW taping from the Nashville Arena: World tag team champions Davey Boy Smith & Owen Hart defeated The Godwinns... T.L. Hopper defeated Aldo Montoya... Bret Hart defeated Leif Cassidy... Mankind defeated Jesse James... Intercontinental champion Hunter Hearst Helmsley defeated Rocky Maivia.

(02-17-97)

NEXT WEEK

WCW SUPERBRAWL VII RESULTS

Will Shawn Michaels call it down the middle... or he is NWO for life?

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Great diary on all accounts. The defection of Shawn Michaels to WCW is a great idea for a big "What If?" diary. While most people do "What if WCW was still around?" or "What if the 'Invasion' didn't suck?", but with one of the WWF's biggest draws going over to the competition, that changes everything. There would be no DX to help spearhead the "Attitude" movement. Triple H probably wouldn't go on to become the main event superstar he is today. In fact, I'm kinda suprised you gave him the IC title back, let alone not completely buried him. When the MSG Incident happened, it was Triple H who got punished. Now with HBK gone and the Clique practically dead (unless you count Aldo Montoya :-P), I'm surprised that Triple H isn't suffering any repercussions. But I'm sure something will happen along the way. So I'm glad you're not jumping the gun on so many things and letting them play out. Right now, your diary plays out like the pre-Attitude era (which I actually enjoyed) would've happened, but just a bit better. And you're incorporating the ECW invasion in too, which I think will be awesome, especially with the Mankind/Cactus Jack deal. This is definately a diary to keep an eye on and I'll forgive the FUSE hiatus if you keep rocking on this one.

PS - More Pillman!!

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WWF Monday Night RAW #198

New York, New York

Manhattan Center

Hosts: Jerry Lawler, Jim Ross, Paul Heyman & Vince McMahon

Vince McMahon - "WELCOME EVERYONE to the Manhattan Center, the birthplace of Monday Night RAW! Tonight, we have a very special night of action scheduled for you. Joining us as our esteemed guest are the men and women of Extreme Championship Wrestling!"

Jim Ross - "It's going to be special indeed. This is many of these men's first opportunity to perform on national television, and they, like us, want to thank you for welcome us into your home this week."

Jerry Lawler - "Their first time on TV? I wonder why..."

J.R. - "Folks, if you have not seen this 'extreme wrestling' before, I suggest you stay tuned. Like it or not, it's something anyone who appreciates smashmouth, slobberknocker-style wrestling should see at least once."

The King - "And only once! Can we stop talking about this crap now, Vince?"

Vince - "Well, your opinion of ECW has been duly noted, King. Why don't you tell us about tonight's main event?"

The King - "GLADLY! It's going to be for the World Wrestling Federation Championship! The man they call Vader will take on Sycho Sid! I can't wait! We ALL know what time it is!"

J.R. - "It might be 'Vader Time', but Sycho Sid has yet to have a chance to recapture the title he lost at January's Royal Rumble. Tonight it could be HIS time... for redemption."

The King - "J.R., you need to check your watch!"

PA - "EXTREEEEME!"

Crowd - "YEEEEAH!"

Vince - "Whoa, boy! Here we go!"

PA - "CHAMPIONSHIP!"

J.R. - "Will you listen to this ovation?"

PA - "WRRRRRRESTLING!"

Fink - "Ladies and gentlemen, introducing at this time tonight's 'guests of honor'... EXTREME CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING!"

Crowd - "ECW! ECW! ECW! ECW!"

ANGLE: A ROYAL PROCLAMATION OF PROTEST

Flanked by a group of security guards, ECW Owner Paul Heyman trudged from the entrance to the broadcast position. There, Jim Ross and Vince McMahon greeted him with handshakes...

Vince - "Paul Heyman, welcome to Monday Night RAW!"

Paul Heyman - "Mr. McMahon, believe me... it is MY honor. On behalf of Extreme Championship Wrestling, I'd like to thank the World Wrestling Federation for their unbelieveable hospitality tonight."

The King - "..."

J.R. - "I've known you for a long time, Paul. I don't think I've ever seen you this excited!"

Heyman - "It's not just me, J.R.! Listen to these fans!"

Crowd - "ECW! ECW! ECW! ECW!"

Heyman - "God bless each and every one of 'em... and you good people at home too!"

Vince - "Paul, I hope you'll sit out here with us tonight and help explain some of the stuff we're going to be seeing."

Heyman - "HAHA! If I can, sir... I'd be happy to."

The King - "Are you serious? First, you let these idiots come to RAW... and now you're letting this piece of crap call the action?!"

J.R. - "King, I..."

Heyman - "That's okay, J.R. I don't mind. On a night like tonight, NOBODY... not even a 45-year-old man wearing a CROWN, can kill my buzz! This is ECW's night, pal! Like it or step off!"

The King - "..."

Vince - "Guys, can't we have a little civility here tonight? Please?"

Heyman - "I don't mind. Jerry?"

The King - "You know what? NO! I'm sorry, J.R., Vince... I just can't do this. If you guys want to sit here and watch this crap, fine with me. I won't do it! This ECW crap is a plague! It's a stain on professional wrestling itself! It's disgusting and you should all be ashamed!"

Crowd - "ECW! ECW! ECW! ECW!"

The King - "YOU should ALL be ashamed I said! If you people want this garbage, you can have it!"

With that, Lawler threw down his headset and stormed off, leaving the remaining three announcers to cover the action.

OVERALL RATING: 79%

Vince - "I apologize for that, Mr. Heyman."

Heyman - "Forget it. Like I said, there's NOTHING that's going to ruin this night for me. Not even.."

??? - "WE'RE TAKIN' OOOOOO-VER!"

Vince - "WHAT THE HELL?!"

Heyman - "Relax, Mr. McMahon! This isn't what you think it is!"

J.R. - "Dear God... who are these guys?"

Heyman - "J.R., that's Big STEVIE Cool, Da' BLUE Guy and Hollywood NOVA... the BLUE World Order!"

Vince - "Blue... World Order?"

J.R. - "They bear a striking resemblance to, uh..."

Heyman - "Believe me, J.R. The resemblance ends with those T-shirts."

Big Stevie Cool - "I SAID... WE'RE TAKIN' OOOOO-VER!"

Crowd - "BWO! BWO! BWO!"

Heyman - "They can't sue if it's a parody!"

Da' Blue Guy - "..."

Crowd - "..."

Meanie - "Hey yo."

Crowd - "YO!!!"

Meanie - "It's time to take a survey. How many people here tonight came to see... WWF?"

Crowd - "Yeah!"

Meanie - "Okay, okay... now... how many people here tonight came to see... E-C-FREAKIN'-W?!"

Crowd - "YEAH!"

Meanie - "All right... NOW... how many people here tonight came to see... THE BLUE WORLD ORRRRRDER?!"

Crowd - "YEEEAH!"

Stevie - "We are Big Stevie Cool, Da' Blue Guy and Hollywood Nova, the BWO... and that is just TOO SWEE..."

PA - "TOTAL. ELIMINATION."

Crowd - "YEAH!"

Stevie - "Uh oh."

Heyman - "Fans, feast your eyes... the ECW WORLD tag team champions, Perry Saturn, John Kronus... THE ELIMINATORS!"

NON-TITLE "EXTREME-RULES" TAG TEAM MATCH: The Eliminators (John Kronus & Perry Saturn, ECW Tag Team champions) vs. The Blue World Order (Big Stevie Cool & Da' Blue Guy, with Hollywood Nova)

Facing not only an opportunity to display their ability on nationwide television but also the chance to collect a win over the reigning tag champs of ECW, The Blue World Order struck quickly and attacked Saturn and Kronus before the bell. The former Blue Meanie hammered away on Saturn while Big Stevie Cool sized Kronus up for his patented Stevie Kick. He failed to connect and Kronus made him pay for it by twisting into a leaping sidekick and sending him over the top rope to the floor. Across the ring, Meanie's overconfidence got the better of him. Assuming Saturn was far more winded than he was, Meanie paused and posed to the crowd... leaving himself wide open for a crushing T-bone suplex by Saturn!

Saturn dragged the big man to the corner and ordered Kronus to head up top. Perry backed off, giving Kronus plenty of room to launch into the 450 splash! At ringside, Stevie tried desperately to pull his partner by the ankle out of harm's way. It was only when Hollywood Nova joined him in his efforts that he was able to drag Meanie from the ring. Incredibly, Kronus managed to correct himself in mid-air and land on his feet. The BWO had a brief pow-wow at ringside... which was promptly broken up by a double suicide dive by The Eliminators!

Outside the ring, the wrestlers took advantage of the "extreme-rules" stipulation. Da' Blue Guy grabbed onto a nearby steel chair and blasted Saturn with it, sending the bald bruiser hard into the guard rail. Meanwhile, Nova propped up a chair and aided Stevie in sitting Kronus on it. Nova held Kronus in position as Stevie stomped his foot and prepared to blast him with the Stevie Kick. As he threw the kick... Kronus ducked his head out of the way, sending Stevie's foot clear over it and into Nova's face!

After realizing his error, Stevie quickly spun around... only to see Kronus pounce of the seat of the chair into a spinning sidekick! He quickly ducked the move and hit the deck. As a result, Kronus sailed through the air until his foot connected with Da' Blue Guy's chair! The impact sent the chair bouncing back into Meanie's painted face! Da' Blue Guy collapsed in a heap at ringside, leaving Big Stevie all alone to battle The Eliminators.

Afraid for his life, Stevie slid back into the ring and watched nervously as Saturn and Kronus slowly closed ranks around him. As the crowd screamed for his blood, Stevie tightly shut his eyes, clenched his teeth and awaited the final devastating blow. Saturn spun into a leg sweep, clipping his legs, while Kronus nailed him in the face with a spinkick! The crowd-pleasing Total Elimination finisher was enough to put Big Stevie down for the three and give The Eliminators a big opening match victory.

After the bell sounded, The Eliminators soaked up the rabid fans' adulation by climbing the turnbuckles and proudly raising their titles above their heads. As they celebrated... Hollywood Nova slid into the ring and began posing, flexing his muscles and cupping his ear to the fans. saturn and Kronus did not take kindly to this and approached him... but Nova warned them to back away. When they refused, Nova began circling the ring and shaking, "hulking" up the courage to stand toe-to-toes with them. Finally, he paused and told them to bring it on. One Total Elimination later, Nova was left sprawled out in the center of the ring.

OVERALL RATING: 55%, CROWD REACTION: ??%, MATCH QUALITY: ??%

Crowd - "YEAH!"

Bob Artese - "Here are your winners... THE ELIMINATORS!"

Crowd - "ECW! ECW! ECW! ECW!"

Vince - "Impressive victory for those two to kick off Monday Night RAW! Stick around because our main event is for the WWF Title! Vader versus Sycho Sid, right here on RAW!"

Heyman - "But up next, MORE EXTREME CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING!"

ANGLE: TEAMWORK ENVY?

As the broadcast team threw it to break, backstage cameras caught the WWF World tag team champions watching on a monitor, in stunned silence...

Owen Hart - "Whoa."

Davey Boy Smith - "Yeah."

Hart - "I mean..."

Bulldog - "Yeah."

Hart - "They just..."

Bulldog - "Yeah."

Hart - "Whoa."

Bulldog - "Yeah."

Hart - "..."

Bulldog - "..."

Hart - "You know, I bet if WE tried to do that, we totally could."

Bulldog - "Yeah."

Hart - "I mean, they can't be better than us."

Bulldog - "Yeah."

Hart - "WE'RE the WWF tag team champions."

Bulldog - "Yeah."

Hart - "Not them."

Bulldog - "Yeah."

Hart - "..."

Bulldog - "I mean... no."

Hart - "Yeah."

Bulldog - "Yeah."

OVERALL RATING: 73%

Vince - "Welcome back to Monday Night RAW, featuring our guests this evening, ECW."

Heyman - "Again, thanks SO much for having us."

J.R. - "Paul, ECW makes it's pay-per-view debut on April 13th of this year. Tell our fans a little bit more about it."

Heyman - "Gladly, Jim. Sunday, April 13th, LIVE from the ECW Arena in South Philadelphia, ECW presents Barely Legal. It's been a true labor of love for this organization, one I'll admit I once doubted would ever occur."

J.R. - "And the main event is going to be a barnburner, isn't it? You've got..."

PA - "Can you remember? Remember my name? As I flooow through your life..."

Crowd - "Boooo!"

Vince - "What's going on? Who's this?"

Heyman - "How quickly you forget..."

J.R. - "I don't have this on my format sheet, Paul."

Heyman - "Format sheet?! This is ECW... and THIS is 'The Franchise', the ECW WORLD Television champion!"

Vince - "And with him?"

Heyman - "That would be the lovely Francine, his 'head cheerleader'. Get it?"

Vince - "..."

Heyman - "HEAD cheerleader?"

Vince - "Sorry, I... I don't get it."

Heyman - "Oh. Well... she does. And she GIVES it pretty good too!"

J.R. - "Now that we know who he is... why is he here? With a microphone?"

Heyman - We're about to find out together! Censors, get your fingers on the button. We're about to get UNSCRIPTED!"

Vince - "CENSORS?!"

INTERVIEW: "The Franchise" Shane Douglas with "The Head Cheerleader" Francine

Shane Douglas - "Francine... baby... where the HELL are we?"

Francine - "Monday Night RAW!"

Franchise - "Oh, yeah! I knew it seemed... familiar. Man alive! Of all the places I never thought I'd come back to, this HAS to top the list. Hey, Francine... the word is irony. DEFINITION?!"

Francine - "Uh..."

Franchise - "HAHAHAHAHAHA! Don't worry, baby. I'm just fu..."

Francine - "..."

Franchise - "Uh... FOOLING... with you. Heh. Just in case anyone around here doesn't remember, or doesn't want to... I'm not 'Dean Douglas'."

Crowd - "Boooooo!"

Franchise - "My name is 'The Franchise' Shane Douglas and I am the ECW WORLD Television champion! Tonight, I've been asked to do something I NEVER thought I'd ever do again. Tonight, I've been asked to stand here in the middle of a WWF ring... and talk about ECW Barely Legal."

Crowd - "ECW! ECW! ECW! ECW!"

Franchise - "And you know what? I'd honestly LOVE to do it. You see, regardless of what I think of the ECW fans, it's damn nice to work for a company that not only believes in you... but one that you believe in. April 13th, ECW Barely Legal... it's more than just a pay-per-view. It's the culmination of a journey! It's the end of a long, hard road! It's the PROMISED LAND!"

Crowd - "ECW! ECW! ECW! ECW!"

Franchise - "And for me, it's redemption. You see, a few years back, I made the biggest mistake of my life. I left Extreme Championship Wrestling to come... here. That's right. I sold my soul to the almighty dollar and I became a WWF superstar! Why? That's easy. Back then, I saw it as an opportunity. I saw it as my chance to become the champion I always knew deep down inside I would be. Now, I'm certainly not going to SAY that the WWF 'held me back'. I'm not going to SAY that the WWF didn't recognize my talents. I'm certainly not going to stand here in the WWF's backyard and SAY that things while I was here SUCKED and that they're not much better now. All I'll say is this. While I was here in the WWF, things for me just didn't... CLICK. You see, there were a few guys running things around here that weren't able to pull their heads outta their ASSES long enough to see that the damn 'Franchise' was standing right in front of them!"

Crowd - "..."

Franchise - "One of those guys... he was pretty smart. I really mean it. He was a sharp guy. Like... RAZOR-sharp. Unfortunately, he had a few too many drinks, killed a few too many brain cells and now he's spends his weekends waxing Hulk Hogan's car!"

J.R. - "Um, Paul..."

Heyman - "Just let him talk, J.R."

Franchise - "There was this other guy, kind of a tall fellow... built like a truck. I mean it, just like a DIESEL engine truck. He had a hell of a run here though, spent a year as the WWF World champion. I suppose most of you wouldn't know that though... since nobody seemed to care. Maybe if he had a little more GAS in the tank, Lawrence Taylor wouldn't have been able to steal the show from him!"

Vince - "Uh... he's referring, of course, to gasoline."

Franchise - "Beyond those two, there were a couple of KIDS I didn't get along with. Let's see... there was ONE... TWO... THREE of them?"

Francine - "I think just two."

Franchise - "Oh, right. Two kids. That was it. One of them wasn't very big at all. Maybe just a hair over SIX."

Francine - "Inches?"

Franchise - "No, feet."

Francine - "Oh. I was going to say... I know that kid and there's NO WAY he's over six inches."

Franchise - "I'll take your word for it."

Crowd - "She's got herpes! She's got herpes! She's got herpes!"

Franchise - "That last kid though, he was the one who really didn't like me. I'll be honest... I didn't like him either. It didn't BREAK my HEART when I heard he hurt his leg, it didn't BREAK my HEART when I heard he lost his pretty smile and it sure as hell didn't BREAK my HEART when a drunk sailor beat the crap out of scrawny ass up the road in Syracuse!"

Crowd - "YEEEEAH!"

Franchise - "Oh, and there was one other guy... but our gracious hosts have requested I don't mention him. I'm sure you'll all figure out who he is though after he leaves here to go to Atlanta and carry those other guys' bags! I'm sure he's just sitting backstage, counting the days left on his contract while the boys take turns crapping in his gym bag!"

Vince - "Fans, we'll be right back with more..."

Franchise - "That's right I said it! And if this guy had a nut in his sack, he'd walk his ass out here, stand nose-to-BIG ASS NOSE with me and explain why he helped those sons-of-bitches railroad me outta here!"

Vince - "Ahem. We'll be..."

Franchise - "Or better yet... he'd bring it to MY house. He'd come to the ECW Arena and do something about it there! If any of them had the BALLS, they'd ALL be there!"

Crowd - "YEEEEAH! ECW! ECW! ECW!"

Franchise - "The invitation's open. April 13th, South Philadelphia... Barely Legal. Don't bring your butler. Don't bring your belt. Just bring your clique and your ass... and prepare to be FRANCHISED!"

J.R. - "Did he just challenge the...?"

Heyman - "The CLIQUE! April 13th, Barely Legal!"

Vince - "Fans, we'll be right back with more Monday Night RAW after these messages."

OVERALL RATING: 66%

Francine debuted her new "bitch" gimmick, it got a positive response.

Heyman - "Gentlemen, there's something I would like to show you both... something nearly a YEAR in the making."

J.R. - "What is it?"

Heyman - "Imagine if you will a man, a battle-scarred warrior with no regard or remorse for his own body. He is a suicidal... homicidal... genocidal... death-defying maniac, willing to risk life and limb simply to incapacitate an opponent. Imagine this, and you are imagining... SABU!"

J.R. - "Sabu?"

Heyman - "Born in the savage city of Bombay, India, Sabu is the very definition of a hunter. And yet, for nearly a full year, gentlemen... he himself has been hunted."

Vince - "By...?"

Heyman - "By a one-man wrecking crew, born and bred right here on the mean streets of New York. He is a capable fighter, able to perform spine-shattering suplexes and apply crippling submission holds at will! Imagine the perfect wrestler, the 'human suplex machine', and gentlemen... you are imagining Taz."

J.R. - "Good God."

Heyman - "YES! Never before and perhaps never again have two more dominating foes crossed paths. On Sunday, April 13th, the 'path of rage' comes to an end as Taz and Sabu finally lock horns... in the ECW Arena."

ANGLE: "THE PATH OF RAGE ENDS" VIDEO

Brief clips of ECW footage accompanied Silverchair's "Abuse Me" as the Taz/Sabu rivalry rapidly played out...

Clips of Sabu entering the ring, pointing the sky, gesturing to the crowd...

Silverchair - "Need to whisper questions

Calling out my name

Nothing seems to bother

Wish I had a clue

C'mon abuse me more I like it..."

Clips of Taz marching to the crowd, removing his tattered towel, crossing his arms in front of his chest...

Silverchair - "Well I don't think you like me

Well I hate you as well

No one seems to like you

Wish I couldn't tell

C'mon abuse me more I like it..."

Footage of ECW officials swarming the ring to separate the two before they tear one another apart...

Silverchair - "C'mon keep talking 'cause it's true

C'mon abuse me more I like it

C'mon keep talking 'cause it's true..."

A montage of Sabu's daredevil suicide dives, Arabian facebusters and wicked chair throws...

Silverchair - "Throw the sailors overboard

Throw the sailors overboard

Throw the sailors overboard

Throw the sailors overboard, overboard..."

More footage of the two's separation, punctuated by them breaking through the officials and clawing at each other again...

Silverchair - "C'mon abuse me more I like it

C'mon keep talking 'cause it's true..."

A montage of Taz' patented T-bone Tazplexes, table Tazplexes, head and arm Tazplexes, pygmy Tazplexes and other assorted Tazplexes...

Silverchair - "Throw the sailors overboard

Throw the sailors overboard

Throw the sailors overboard

Throw the sailors overboard..."

The video ended with more rapid fire clips, telling the story of this lengthy blood feud as it boiled over into the final stretch...

Silverchair - "Throw the sailors overboard

Throw the sailors overboard

Throw the sailors overboard

Throw the sailors overboard, overboard..."

OVERALL RATING: 68%

J.R. - "Incredible."

Heyman - "For the first time ANYWHERE, 'The Human Suplex Machine' Taz... 'The Homicidal, Suicidal, GENOCIDAL' Sabu... one-on-one as ECW presents Barely Legal, Sunday, April 13th only on pay-per-view!"

Vince - "We'd also like to thank Silverchair for that great song 'Abuse Me'. You can find that on their latest album 'Freak Show' in stores everywhere right now!"

J.R. - "Don't go away! Next up, the stars of ECW do battle... in an extreme battle royal!"

Heyman - "A Monday Night RAW first!"

Vince - "Plus, still to come, Vader... Sid... the WWF Title! Don't go away!"

"EXTREME-RULES" BATTLE ROYAL MATCH

As RAW resumed, the ring was filled to the brim with ECW wrestlers for the "extreme-rules" battle royal. All hell broke loose at the opening bell as the wrestlers began swinging fists every which way. The inaugural graduate of the ECW House Of Hardcore training academy, Chris Chetti, quickly recused any notion of being a weak link in the match. After clearing himself some room, he launched into a flying dropkick which caught Little Guido right in the face! The impact caused Guido to spill over the top rope to the floor, eliminated within the first minute of action!

Chris Candido, known better to WWF fans as Bodydonna Skip, chose to use intellect rather than brute strength. As Pit Bull #2 and Lance Storm worked together to force big Mike Awesome out, Candido slipped behind them and charged, knocking all four off-balance and over the top rope to the floor! Meanwhile, Pit Bull #2's partner, Pit Bull #1 slugged it out with D-Von Dudley in the corner. Just as it appeared D-Von was ready to dispatch of him... the team of Axl Rotten and Balls Mahoney came to the rescue! The two rocked Dudley with punches, sending him staggering into the ropes. Tragedy struck as they attempted to double clothesline him over though. D-Von dropped to the mat and pulled down the rope, causing them both to fly over the top to the floor!

Irate over their elimination, Axl and Balls took out their frustrations on the nearest person they could find, the unlucky Louie Spicolli. The grizzly duo tripped Luoie up, dragged him from the ring, then took turns bouncing a steel chair off his skull before depositing him back into the ring and exiting. Moments later, British import Johnny Smith picked up Louie's remains and dumped him out while big Brian Lee and Candido joined forces to eliminate Pit Bull #1, New Jack, Chris Chetti and Tommy Rich in short order. The field dwindled further as Spike Dudley's attempt to use the Acid Drop on "Dr. Death" Steve Williams resulted in him taking a nasty spill over the top to the floor, leaving only seven participants remaining. As the battle continued, loud metal began pumping through the arena speakers, barely audible over the roaring crowd...

Crowd - "SAY YOUR PRAYERS, LITTLE ONE! DON'T FORGET, MY SON! TO INCLUDE EVERYONE!"

As the crowd sang along with Metallica, The Sandman emerged from atop the stands and slowly waded through the sea of people to the ring, armed with some cold beers and a Singapore cane. The action in the ring all but stopped as even the wrestlers were transfixed by Sandman's incredible entrance. After destroying a few beer cans against his gnarled forehead, drawing blood in the process, he spewed beer all over the rabid fans and jumped the guard rail. Seeing the hardcore icon, armed with his trusty cane and oozing blood from his self-inflicted wounds, Mikey Whipwreck let out a girlish shriek and dove over the top rope, eliminating himself.

Sandman stood in center-ring, twirling his cane above his head and staring down the remaining combatants. Technician Johnny Smith chose not to engage the inebriated warrior and eliminated himself as well. Brian Lee stepped forward... but Chris Candido stopped him and convinced the big man to join him and leave, deciding victory simply wasn't worth it. The cocky Rob Van Dam stepped forward, jacking his thumbs to his neck arrogantly... but a menacing lunge by Sandman was enough to convince him to make an athletic leap over the top to the floor. The only wrestler actually willing to engage Sandman was D-Von Dudley... who quickly changed his mind after being cracked in the forehead by the Singapore cane! D-Von began violently convulsing on the canvas, then crawled to the ropes and exited over the top.

Sandman stood alone in the ring, save for one man... Steve Williams. Sandman glared into the eyes of Dr. Death, then smiled sinisterly, thankful to have at least one willing dance partner. Williams was less enthused and shouted for him to bring it on, which Sandman gladly win. Williams screamed at the cane struck his meaty shoulder, then again as it cracked against his other arm. A third blow struck him right in the head, but he refused to back down. Sandman again unloaded a brutal shot to the skull, still unable to faze him. Finally, a third head shot was blocked at Williams grabbed the cane in mid-swing and ripped it out of Sandman's hand!

Gripping the weapon at either end, Williams bent it until it snapped in half, then violently threw down both pieces. With his cane gone, Sandman paused for a second, then charged... right into a huge spear by Dr. Death! Sandman clutched his ribs as he got up, but Williams flung him into the ropes and tossed him high into the air with a back body drop. Steve then pulled Sandman up and locked in a deep bearhug, using his power to crush Sandman's aching rib cage.

Trapped in Williams' vice-like grip, Sandman fed off the crowd's energy and fought back by smashing his own bloody forehead into Dr. Death's, eventually breaking the hold. As Williams reeled from the final headbutt, Sandman bent down, grabbed half of the broken cane and jammed it into his eye! From there, he moved to Williams' side, stuck the jagged wood against his throat and dropped backwards into the White Russian Leg Sweep! As Williams hacked and wheezed against the ropes, Sandman delivered a running clothesline to finally knock him over and secure the victory.

OVERALL RATING: 50%, CROWD REACTION: 47%, MATCH QUALITY: 65%

Chris Candido debuted his new "no gimmick needed" gimmick, it got a positive response.

New Jack is losing overness because of his weak "gangsta" gimmick.

Heyman - "J.R., Mr. McMahon... allow me to introduce 'the extreme icon' himself, THE SANDMAN!"

Vince - "The Sandman, by virtue of some quite unconventional tactics, gets the win in this 'extreme battle royal'."

Heyman - "Mr. McMahon, there's no such thing as unconventional in ECW!"

J.R. - "Stay with us, fans! Still to come, Sycho Sid and Vader do battle with the WWF Title hanging in the balance!"

Heyman - "But, up next... 'The Innovator Of Violence' Tommy Dreamer!"

Vince - "Innovator of violence?"

INTERVIEW: Bret "Hitman" Hart

PA - "SKREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!"

Crowd - "YEEEAH!!!"

RAW continued with an unscheduled appearance from Bret Hart, who made his way to the ring wearing his street clothes. As he took the microphone from ring announcer Bob Artese, he briefly glanced at the broken Singapore cane still lying on the canvas...

Crowd - "Bret! Bret! Bret! Bret!"

Hitman - "I'm glad to see you're all out here, having a good time tonight."

Crowd - "Whoo!"

Hitman - "Tonight's a pretty rare occasion for me personally, seeing as I'm off tonight, thanks to the ECW."

Crowd - "ECW! ECW! ECW!"

Hitman - "Yeah? You like 'em? You like the ECW? That... that's great. I'm really glad you guys are getting treated to a show that you enjoy. You paid for your ticket. You deserve it. I'm glad to see you guys aren't being let down. I, unfortunately, haven't been having such a good time watching the ECW, especially with the match I just watched."

Crowd - "..."

Hitman - "Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to take anything away from these ECW guys. I've met a few of 'em, talked to a few of 'em and they seem like good people. They're working hard and trying to make a name for themselves. That's what it takes to make it in this business. I don't have a problem with anyone in the ECW at all. It's just..."

Bret trailed off as he bent down and picked up The Sandman's broken cane...

Hitman - "You know what? Maybe I just don't get it. Maybe I just don't get being 'extreme'. Maybe I just don't get guys going through tables or beating each other senseless with chairs and sticks and... whatever else. I don't know. Maybe it's just not my thing. It doesn't matter really. You guys like it and that's all anyone needs to care about."

Crowd - "ECW! ECW! ECW!"

Hitman - "Right. 'ECW', Extreme Championship Wrestling. I might not get 'extreme', but as a former four-time WWF World champion, I definitely know a lot about championships. I know a lot about champions, champions like Vader..."

Crowd - "Booooo!"

Hitman - "I don't like Vader a bit. I never have and never will. However, I can't deny the fact that he's one of the toughest guys I've ever been in the ring with. Every punch... it's like being a car wreck. For a guy that size and that powerful to move like he does... I can't deny he's a champion."

Crowd - "Booooo!"

Hitman - "Then, there's Hunter Hearst Helmsley..."

Crowd - "Booooo!"

Hitman - "Yeah, I don't like him either. However, beneath all that prissy rich-boy stuff, Hunter Helmsley is a great technical wrestler. I don't like his tactics at all, but during the last week, he proved to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that he's a champion."

Crowd - "Booooo!"

Hitman - "And finally, there's the tag champions, Davey Boy Smith and my brother Owen."

Crowd - "Booooo!"

Hitman - "It's no secret that Hart family reunions are more than a just a little tense, but I can honestly stand here before all of you and say, regardless of how I feel about 'em, Davey and Owen are champions. I know what it's like to go through my father's dungeon. It's grueling. It's pure hell. I did it, and with the tools I learned from it, I became a champion. Not many people can say they did, or even could, survive my father's training... but Owen and Davey Boy can."

Crowd - "..."

Hitman - "And then... there are the champions of the ECW. You've got some guy who goes around reading poetry and hitting people with chairs, you've got some foul-mouth blowhard running his mouth about how he's a 'franchise' and finally, you've got two tattooed up guys who are a hell of a team, but all they seem to want to do is hit people with chairs and put 'em through tables."

Crowd - "We want tables! We want tables!"

Hitman - "I know you people like it. Besides, what I think of the ECW doesn't matter. What I think of the 'extreme-rules' stuff doesn't matter. What I think of the champions doesn't matter. However, there's a third part of it... wrestling. Pure wrestling. From what I've seen, the ECW just doesn't seem to have any."

Crowd - "BOOOOOO!"

Hitman - "But... we'll see. I'm going to give the ECW a chance to prove me wrong. Tonight... tonight is their coming-out party. Tonight should be about giving the ECW fans what they want. Next week, though, I want to invite the ECW back to RAW. However, we're going to keep all the 'extreme-rules' stuff there. So ECW, consider this an open challenge! Next week, one of you guys come back to RAW and face me, one-on-one. Forget this 'extreme' stuff. Forget about 'championships'. This will be about 'wrestling', pure and simple. I'm inviting anyone in the ECW to take on the 'excellence of execution' in a pure wrestling match, one fall to a finish. No chairs, no tables, no barbed wire... just wrestling. Come show me where the 'W' in the ECW is... and I'll show you why I'm the best there is, the best there was and the best ever will be."

PA - "SKREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!"

J.R. - "An open challenge from the Hitman to any ECW wrestler next week?"

Heyman - "On behalf of ECW, let me just say now that come hell or high water, ECW WILL answer this challenge next week!"

Vince - "Stick around! Up next, the ECW's main event of the evening!"

OVERALL RATING: 92%

Bob Artese - "The following contest is the ECW main event! Standing in the ring at this time, from Dudleyville..."

Joel Gertner - "GIVE ME THAT!"

Crowd - "BOOOOOO!"

Gertner - "Ahem. Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce myself. I am 'The Quintessential Studmuffin' Joel... everyone else is excited because ECW has come to RAW..."

Crowd - "ECW! ECW! ECW!"

Gertner - "But I'M excited because Sable refuses to wear a BRA!... Gertner."

Crowd - "BOOOOOO!"

Gertner - "And tonight, I proudly introduce the pride of Dudleyville! Standing an impressive 6'3" tall and weighing at a slim, trim, tough, buff..."

Crowd - "..."

Gertner - "Weight... unknown."

Crowd - "BOOOOOO!"

Gertner - "The apple of Big Daddy Dudley's Eye... BUH BUH RAY DUDLEY!"

Crowd - "BOOOOOO!"

PA - "IIIIII'm the maaaaan in the box, buuuuried iiiin my s..t..."

Crowd - "YEAH!"

Artese - "And his opponent, from Yonkers, New York..."

Crowd - "YEAH!"

Artese - "Weighing in at 245 pounds, 'The Innovator Of Violence'... TOMMY DREEEEAMER!"

Crowd - "ECW! ECW! ECW! ECW!"

Heyman - "Gentlemen, get ready to see the heart, the soul... the very essence of Extreme Championship Wrestling, Tommy Dreamer."

"EXTREME-RULES" MATCH: "The Innovator Of Violence" Tommy Dreamer (with Beulah McGillicutty) vs. Buh Buh Ray Dudley (with "The Quintessential Studmuffin" Joel Gertner)

Tommy took the fight straight to his bigger opponent, blasting Buh Buh Ray with a series of punches before scooping him up and slamming him to the mat. The move forced him to immediately slow things down as every muscle in his back tightened from lifting the 300-plus pounder. Dudley took the opportunity and returned to his feet, pelting Dreamer with close range jabs before dropping him with a bionic elbow to the head. As Dreamer staggered into the corner, Dudley reached out and tore his shirt open, exposing his chest so he could hack away at Tommy's bare flesh with knife-edge chops.

Dudley whipped Dreamer out of the corner and charged after him... but Tommy stopped short and bent down, catching Buh Buh Ray on his shoulders as he ran at him. Despite the searing pain in his lower back, Dreamer hoisted the big man up, moved to the center of the ring and delivered a brutal death valley driver! He made the quick cover... but Joel Gertner climbed up on the apron and distracted the official! As the portly manager flailed around wildly, Dreamer and the crowd unofficially counted the pinfall and then some.

Dreamer abandoned the cover, allowing Dudley to roll out of the ring. Meanwhile, Beulah McGillicutty moved towards Gertner and delivered a big low blow, knocking him off the apron! As the crowd praised her actions, the wind was instantly taken from their sails as Dudley returned to the ring and waffled Dreamer with a sickening chair shot to the skull! With "extreme-rules" in effect, the referee was powerless to stop Dudley from annihilating Dreamer with the chair. Beulah, however, was not. The brave valet rolled fearlessly into the ring, snuck up behind Dudley and ripped the chair from his hands in mid-swing.

Harnessing all of the strength in her 110-pound body, Beulah raised the chair and struck Dudley in the head with all the force of a flyswatter. As she attempted a second shot, Joel Gertner entered the ring and dealt her a dose of her own medicine as he stole back the weapon. Helplessly trapped between the armed manager and the monstrous wrestler, Beulah cowered frightfully and awaited whatever punishment they saw fit to dish out. Buh Buh Ray quickly snatched up a handful of her hair and painfully yanked on it and Gertner, grinning from ear to ear, took aim with the chair. In a surprising turn of events, Buh Buh Ray pivoted around and stepped in the crossfire, ordering Gertner to lower the chair.

Dudley's act, initially misconstrued as merciful, proved to be most sinister seconds later. He merely ordered Gertner to lower the chair so he could leave the ring and rummage underneath for a press table! Beulah shrieked in terror as Gertner slid the table in the ring, then returned inside and propped it up. Dudley shouted a menacing threat into her ear before stuffing her head between his legs and positioning her for a powerbomb! Just before she was to be hoisted over the table... McGillicutty dropped to her knees and delivered another low blow. Dudley instantly doubled over and smacked his head against the edge of the table before collapsing next to the fallen Dreamer.

With Dudley down and Dreamer starting to stir, Gertner wisely ducked out of the ring. Beulah evacuated moments later, but not before sliding the fallen chair towards Dreamer. Gripping his groin, Dudley climbed back up to his feet at the same time Tommy did. Dudley moved in for the kill... but Dreamer thrust the edge of the chair into his gut! Dreamer charged for the ropes and bounced off, looking for a clothesline, only to find it was Buh Buh Ray's turn for a reversal. Dudley grabbed Dreamer in a sidewalk slam and drove his spine down hard onto the steel chair!

Buh Buh Ray hooked Tommy's leg for the first near fall of the match. Despite the pain, Dreamer raised his shoulder before the referee could hit three. Realizing how much pain Dreamer was in and his will to continue, Dudley knew it would take something drastic to put him down for good. Luckily for him, he had just the solution. Buh Buh Ray pulled Tommy up by his hair and draped him across the table, then scaled the turnbuckle to the top rope! Dudley took flight, leaping into a flying senton... only to put himself through the table as Dreamer escaped the crushing move! Tommy slowly pulled himself up, pulled Buh Buh Ray out of the debris and spiked him with a DDT to get the much deserved duke.

As Gertner pouted at ringside, Beulah rolled into the ring to check on her man. She helped him to his feet and raised his arm in victory... when Mankind suddenly hit the ring! She barely ducked out of the way as Mankind charged Tommy, thrusting his fingers into his mouth. The referee desperately tried to pry Mankind's kind out of Dreamer's mouth but the deranged one simply shoved him away with his free hand, screaming unintelligibly. After more ECW officials hit the scene, Dreamer was finally saved from the mandible claw. He hacked and sputtered as he rolled out of the ring beneath the bottom rope, curled at Beulah's feet.

Gertner applauded the psychotic act... until Mankind pounced on the unconscious Buh Buh Ray and began pummeling away with punches to the face. Once again, the referees intervened and pulled Mankind off, allowing Dudley to slip out of the ring to safety. As Mankind thrashed around, shrieking horrificly, the officials slowly backed away. Their pace quickened after Mankind picked up the downed steel chair and flung it at them, sending it sailing between the ropes to ringside.

OVERALL RATING: 65%, CROWD REACTION: 64%, MATCH QUALITY: 83%

Mankind debuted his new "split personality" gimmick.

Heyman - "WHAT THE HELL?!"

Vince - "The psychotic Mankind has hit the ring and..."

Heyman - "No, no, no, NO! This was NOT part of the deal! What are you guys trying to do?!"

J.R. - "Paul, if anyone in the WWF marches to the beat of his own drummer, it's Mankind."

Heyman - "Are you kidding? This is obviously a set-up! What other explanation is there?"

J.R. - "I don't know."

Vince - "ANYTHING can happen in the World Wrestling Federation!"

INTERVIEW: Mankind

As the battered ECWers fled, Mankind remained in the ring, thrashing violently and ripping at his hair and mask...

Mankind - "No. No. No. YES! No! Go away! GET THIS DAMN MASK OFF ME! No! No, I won't take it off, Mommy. I promise. MOMMY? MOMMY?! YOU IDIOT! Please make it stop, Mommy! Please! HAHAHAHAHAHA! YOUR MOMMY CAN'T HELP YOU NOW! LIKE IT OR NOT... I'M BACK! No! BANG BA... No! I won't let you! You... YOU CAN'T STOP ME, MANKIND! Please leave me alone! Uncle Paul! It hurts, Uncle Paul! IT'S ONLY BEGUN TO HURT, YOU SNIVELING LITTLE BABY! Waaaah! Waaaah! SHUT UP! LET ME OUT NOW, DAMMIT! I... I can't! HAHAHAHAHAHA! No! RAIN, RAIN, GO AWAY... CACTUS JACK WANTS TO PLAY! Cactus Jack?! YES! No! No! No, no, no, no, no! You're not real! You're not real! You're not real!"

Mankind slowly lowered his hands from his face and breathed deeply...

Mankind - "He's not real. He's not real. He's not real."

Repeating his mantra, he left the ring and lumbered up the aisle to the back...

OVERALL RATING: 83%

J.R. - "That is one severely disturbed individual."

Heyman - "Who just ruined MY main event!"

Vince - "Stay with us! The WWF Title, on the line... in moments!"

Heyman - "And coming up next... RAVEN!"

J.R. - "Raven?!"

ANGLE: THE END OF THE INVASION

The show resumed with Paul Heyman standing proudly in the ring with a microphone...

Heyman - "Ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of Extreme Championship Wrestling, it is my pleasure to introduce the ECW WORLD Heavyweight champion... RAAAAAVEN!"

PA - "You gotta keep 'em separated..."

Crowd - "Boooo!"

Raven, wearing the ECW Heavyweight Title, stepped through the curtain and made his way to the ring...

Heyman - "Raven, thank you for joining me."

Raven - "..."

Heyman - "Sunday night, April 13th, ECW presents Barely Legal, the most insane, the most severe, the most EXTREME broadcast ever to hit pay-per-view! Raven, as the ECW champion heading into this show, I'd like to know you exactly what you think of it."

Raven - "Throughout the history of human events, mankind has been plagued by it's own inability to regulate feelings of rage, anger and frustration. It is the same internal struggle that has planted the seeds for the trees of war and genocide that populate the forest of history. On April 13th, that natural course shall continue. Barely Legal will be the cataclysmic event the wrestling world has been waiting for. It will shake this industry to it's very core, altering the fiber of every being it's sphere of influence encompasses. And when it is over... only one shall remain. One man, the new messiah of professional wrestling, will be left standing. His time of struggle, of sacrifice, is nearing it's end. His reign begins. So it is written. So it shall come to pass. Quoth the Raven... nevermore."

Heyman - "ECW Barely Legal, Sunday, April 13th! Live and only on..."

PA - "KRASH!"

Crowd - "Yeah! BOO!"

Heyman - "What the hell?!"

The driving beats of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's music played as the Texas rattlesnake marched angrily to the ring...

Heyman - "DAMMIT! I knew the WWF wasn't going to play fair! I knew this was a set-up! I knew..."

Steve Austin - "Hey."

Heyman - "..."

Stone Cold - "Shut up!"

Crowd - "Yeah!"

Stone Cold - "As for you, you grunged-up piece of trash... you wanna come here to the World Wrestling Federation, looking like you're livin' on the streets, and say that you're the new messiah of wrestling? Well... good for you. I don't give a rat's ass about the World Wrestling Federation."

Crowd- "Booo!"

Stone Cold - "The bottom line, boy, is this... In Your House, you stuck your damn nose where it didn't belong. Now I realize you're just tryin' to get people's attention... but you got the WRONG MAN'S attention, son. You understand me?"

Raven - "..."

Stone Cold - "I asked you a question, boy. Now do I need to say it again slower or do you get it?"

Raven - "The very notion that I would be unable to comprehend the inane ramblings of a..."

Stone Cold - "DAMMIT, BOY! It's a yes or no question!"

Raven - "..."

Stone Cold - "You wanna talk about a struggle, about a sacrifice? Let's talk about it then. You see, ain't NOBODY in this business had the struggle I'VE had this past year. Comin' up I win the damn King Of The Ring. Do I get any respect because of it?"

Raven - "..."

Stone Cold - "No. I sure as hell don't. That's fine, I tell myself, because Austin 3:16 says I'm just gonna whip somebody's ass... and that's exactly what I did. I didn't just whip one ass there, son. No, it wasn't even two asses I whipped. Three? Four? TRY TWENTY-NINE! Twenty-nine pieces of trailer park trash in the ring... and out at the Royal Rumble. You know the Royal Rumble, don't you?"

Raven - "..."

Stone Cold - "The winner is supposed to get an automatic spot in the main event at WrestleMania. However, when I win the damn thing... all of a sudden, all that changes. All of a sudden, NOW we've gotta do it over. We've gotta bring back the 'final four' and let them do the whole thing over. And what happens then?"

Raven - "..."

Stone Cold - "AHEM! AND WHAT HAPPENS THEN?"

Raven - "..."

Stone Cold - "Boy, you answer me when I ask you somethin'!"

Heyman - "Steve, Steve, Steve, Steve! Please!"

Stone Cold - "..."

Heyman - "I'm actually glad you came out here, Steve. You and I... we've got a little history going back a few years. What I want to say to you, and have for quite a while, is that what happened at In Your House was absolutely nothing personal. Okay? On behalf of ECW, and Raven, I'd like to apologize for what happened that night. We showed, wanted to make our message clear and... well, things got a little carried away."

Stone Cold - "..."

Heyman - "Okay?"

Stone Cold - "Well... I appreciate that, Paul. I really do."

Heyman - "Yeah? Well..."

Stone Cold - "I mean, it means a lot to me. It really does."

Heyman - "Steve, you know I have nothing but..."

Stone Cold - "I mean, to THINK that I had the WWF World Title in the palm of my damn hands, so close I could TASTE it... only to get hit from behind by your freak-show Nirvana wannabe over there... and I'm talkin' about YOU, boy..."

Raven - "..."

Stone Cold - "...and then you bring your little gang here to RAW and have your little 'take over' and promote your little pay-per-view and... APOLOGIZE? TO ME? Why, Paul... that just simply means the world to me."

Heyman - "Like I said..."

Stone Cold - "GO SIT DOWN BEFORE I STOMP A MUDHOLE IN YOUR FAT ASS!"

Crowd - "YEEEEAH!"

Heyman - "..."

Stone Cold - "Go. GO! This ain't got a damn bit to do with you anymore. This has to do... with you."

Raven - "..."

Stone Cold - "After the year I've spent climbin' the ladder here in the WWF, rung by damn rung by damn rung... after all that, to be beat down by YOU in front of the entire world on pay-per-view? No, son. This story ain't gonna end like that. No damn way. You got a receipt comin', boy... and it's comin' right now!"

Crowd - "YEEEAH!"

Raven - "Hold on a second! Just hooold on! Let me say something first, Austin."

Stone Cold - "..."

Raven - "You see, what you have here is a choice to make. Whatever the fates hold for us, Steve, our story does not end here. This is merely the beginning. You see, what you seek is not revenge against me. You seek revenge against the man who cost you everything, the man who has held you down for a full year, Steve. You seek revenge... against yourself."

Stone Cold - "..."

Raven - "I understand your fear, Steve. I understand what it's like to be a constant victim of your own self-destructive behavior. I understand and I empathize. That's why I chose you, Steve. Do you understand? I chose to show you at In Your House your true path to success. I know the rage, the anger, the frustration you feel inside... and I know how to harness it. I can teach you, Steve. I can teach you a better way... in ECW."

Stone Cold - "..."

Crowd - "BOOOOOOOOOO!"

Raven - "Don't think about it, Steve! Your thoughts, they're just illusions. You're trying to trick yourself into failure again. FIGHT IT! Use that anger, your hate for me, use it to guide you to your new path. Sunday, April 13th, Barely Legal... that is where our story will end."

Stone Cold - "Barely Legal?"

Raven - "Think about it. There is no justice if we were to fight today, Steve. There is no lesson. Come to my nest. Invade my territory like I invaded yours. Abuse me before my own people like I abused you before yours! Come and take from me like I took from you! Join ECW, Steve. You know by now you could never succeed in a place like this. Chaos is your order... and ECW is where you belong."

Stone Cold - "..."

Vince - "What is he... is he thinking about this?"

Heyman - "Steve... just say the word and I'll make the match. Raven versus 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin for the ECW WORLD Heavyweight Title. Just say the word."

Stone Cold - "..."

Crowd - "Boooo!"

Stone Cold - "I want the match."

Crowd - "BOOOOOOO!"

Stone Cold - "Raven..."

Heyman - "Done."

Stone Cold - "Versus 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin..."

Heyman - "Done!"

Stone Cold - "For the ECW Title..."

Heyman - "Ladies and gentlemen, you heard it here first! At..."

Stone Cold - "At WrestleMania."

Crowd - "YEEEEEEEAH!"

Vince - "WHAT?!"

Heyman - "..."

Raven - "..."

Stone Cold - "Heh heh. You understand? You chose me? You want to show me a new path? OH, HELL NO!"

Crowd - "YEEEEEEEAH!"

Stone Cold - "You're right about one thing, Raven. Tonight ain't the right time. If I whip your ass tonight, it don't mean a damn thing. So that ain't what's gonna happen. What's gonna happen is you and your merry little band of freaks are gonna march outta the WWF. Then, you're probably gonna piss and moan about how you're the 'new messiah' and how your daddy never loved you... or maybe how he loved in 'the bad way' or somethin'. Then, you're gonna go to the barber and get your hair cut, go to the dentist and get your teeth straightened, go to a damn tailor and get those raggedy-ass clothes fixed... and on Sunday, March 23rd, YOU ARE GONNA GET YOUR ASS WHIPPED ALL OVER CHICAGO!"

Crowd - "YEEEEEEEAH!"

Stone Cold - "And it ain't gonna be in front of all your buddies wives and girlfriends in some bingo hall... it's gonna be on the biggest damn stage this industry has got! WRESTLEMANIA!"

Crowd - "YEEEEEEEAH!"

Stone Cold - "And when it's all said and done, you, this fat bastard, everyone in ECW, everyone n the WWF and everyone in the entire damn world is gonna know EXACTLY what happens when you mess with the Texas rattlesnake... and THAT'S THE BOTTOM LINE..."

Crowd - "'Cause STONE COLD said so! YEEEAH!"

PA - "KRASH!"

With that, Austin dropped the microphone at Raven's feet, shot him a final angry glare and turned to leave...

J.R. - "I can't believe this! This entire 'ECW invasion'... it was all just a plot to get Austin to jump. Thank God the rattlesnake saw through it."

Vince - "..."

As Austin stepped the ropes, Raven unfastened his belt and nailed him in the head with it...

Heyman - "NO! You listen here, you bald son of a bitch! This isn't how it's going to end! ECW is taking over! You understand?! You just made the biggest mistake of your life!"

Raven continued to hammer away, then fired Austin off into the ropes. Austin bounced off... and floored Raven with a Thesz press! He began wailing away on the ECW champion...

Heyman - "NO! DAMMIT!"

Heyman rushed to the ropes, but Austin caught him, spun him around and dropped him with a Stunner! As he taunted the unconscious ECW Owner, Raven came to his feet and attacked! The two continued to brawl until the ECW contingent flooded the ring and joined in the battle...

J.R. - "DEAR GOD! It's ten-on-one... twenty-on-one! Austin is being destroyed by Extreme Championship Wrestling!"

Vince - "Look out, Jim! Here comes the cavalry!"

Out from the back charged Goldust, Rocky Maivia, Davey Boy Smith, Owen Hart, Jake Roberts, Marc Mero and a slew of other WWF superstars to join the fray! A severely outnumbered team of security officers followed closely behind...

J.R. - "It's ECW versus the WWF! It's all hell breaking loose!"

Vince - "This isn't about friendships. It isn't about rivalries. This is full-scale WARFARE!"

J.R. - "What?! No, not now! Oh, I'm getting word from our production team that we have to go to a commercial break! Stay tuned, fans! Sycho Sid challenges Vader for the WWF Title when we return! I hope!"

OVERALL RATING: 91%

Steve Austin gained overness from this segment.

Raven gained overness from this segment.

Vince - "Welcome back to Monday Night RAW. During the break, our 'guests' from Extreme Championship Wrestling were escorted from the building by security."

J.R. - "I can't help but think it was a terrible mistake to invite them here in the first place."

Vince - "Agreed. Let's send it to Howard Finkel for the introductions of tonight's main event."

Howard Finkel - "Ladies and gentlemen, the following contest is your MAIN EVENT of the evening!"

Crowd - "WHOO!"

Fink - "It is scheduled for one fall... and is for the WORLD WRESTLING FEDERATION CHAMPIONSHIP!"

PA - "EEE! EEE! EEE! EEE! EEE! EEE! EEE! EEE!"

Fink - Introducing first, the challenger, from West Memphis, Arkansas, weighing in at 318 pounds... SYCHOOO SID!"

Crowd - "Yeah!"

J.R. - "Sid won his first WWF Title last November right here in New York at the Survivor Series. His reign was cut short at the Royal Rumble in San Antonio. However, this is his 'return match' for the belt."

Vince - "And look at the look on Sid's face. The determination is terrifying, Jim."

J.R. - "It won't be a walk in the park though..."

PA - "IT'S TIME! IT'S TIME! IT'S... VADER TIME!"

Crowd - "BOOOOO!"

Fink - "And his opponent, from the Rocky Mountains, weighing in at 450 pounds... the World Wrestling Federation champion... VAAAAADEEEEER!"

J.R. - "Who's going to win this clash of the titans and leave the Manhattan Center with the WWF World Title?!"

WWF WORLD TITLE MATCH: Vader (defending champion) vs. Sycho Sid (challenger)

The monsters stood toe-to-toe in the center of the ring as the referee raised the gold up high for all to see before calling for the opening bell. Sid enjoyed a healthy height advantage but gave up over a hundred pounds to the Mastodon, a statistic Vader quickly exploited to his benefit as the two locked up. Vader quickly muscled Sid back into the corner, then gave the challenger a clean break and returned to his starting position for another go. Sid wasn't quite so lucky after being forced into the corner a second time as Vader began unloading with punches to the ribs and chest.

The champion continued his onslaught with a couple of shoulder thrusts to the gut, then hiptossed Sid out of the corner to the mat. Sid came right back to his feet, but a scoop slam put him down. Again, Sid came back strong and again Vader overpowered him with a slam. In an effort to keep him down for good, Vader jumped up and delivered a big splash, squashing Sid on the mat. He hooked a leg but only managed to keep the former champ down for a one-count.

Eager to put Sid away in short order, Vader placed him in position to deliver the powerbomb. As a well-known practioner of the move, Sid easily escaped and countered into a back body drop, flipping Vader to the canvas. Sid got surprising hangtime as he jumped up to deliver a big legdrop on Vader. He rolled over for the cover but Vader powered out at just two. Sid then pulled Vader up, fired him into the ropes and nailed him with a big boot, knocking him out on his feet.

Ready to topple over, Vader swayed unsteadily in the center of the ring. Sid bounded off the ropes with a clothesline, staggering him further. A second clothesline had him reeling. A third would have most assuredly fell the Mastadon, but Sid opted instead to drive his boot into Vader's gut and go for the powerbomb! He bent down and prepared to hoist the mammoth champion... but it was no use. Vader's center of gravity was too great a foe to overcome. As he backed away, Vader rushed with a shoulder thrust to the gut, driving Sid back into the turnbuckle.

As Sid stood propped against the ropes, Vader charged with a crushing avalanche splash! Vader slammed the weary psychopath to the canvas, then positioned him near the corner. Once he was satisfied, he climbed up to the middle rope, bounced up and flattened Sid with the Vader Bomb reverse splash! It was academic from there as Vader hooked the leg and awaited the three count. It never came. As the referee counted the fall... Brian Pillman scrambled into the ring and leveled Vader with a double axehandle to the base of the skull! The attack successfully broke up Vader's pin, but also secured him a disqualification victory.

As Vader shook off the cobwebs, half-dazed from the sudden blow, half-dazed from the sheer surprise of it... Pillman left the ring and ripped the chair out from beneath the timekeeper. He tossed it into the ring at Sid, then rolled in from the other side and delivered a few more shots to the groggy Vader. Sid, still unaware the match was over, came to and saw Vader standing over him, both his arms pinned behind his back by Pillman. Brian screamed for Sid to pick up the chair and bludgeon Vader with it, demanding he exact a little revenge for the punishment doled out by the Mastadon moments before.

Fink - "Here is your winner, as a result of a disqualification... and STILL World Wrestling Federation champion... VADER!"

Coming to the realization of what had just occurred, Sid snapped into his focus, reached out and grabbed his victim by the throat. He hoisted him up... and drilled Brian Pillman into the mat with a massive chokeslam! He then pulled the lifeless body of Pillman up and positioned him for a powerbomb! As he bent down to make the lift... Vader clubbed him over the back with the chair! Upon his release, Pillman fell to the mat and rolled out underneath the bottom rope. Vader, meanwhile, spun Sid around and delivered a devastating powerbomb to him, leaving him sprawled out in the center of the ring! Vader remained the last man standing and celebrated with his title as RAW left the air.

OVERALL RATING: 64%, CROWD REACTION: 82%, MATCH QUALITY: 51%

Sycho Sid basically no-sold everything, which ruined the match.

The WWF World title has lost image.

J.R. - "My God! What in the hell was Pillman thinking?!"

Vince - "Another unpredictable night in the World Wrestling Federation comes to a close. We thank you for joining us this week and invite you to join us again next Monday as RAW emanates from Berlin!"

J.R. - "Until then, this is good ol' J.R. saying 'auf wiedersehen'!"

OVERALL RATING: 70%

NIELSEN RATINGS: 4.64 (NITRO 6.81)

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Loved the last Raw.

- The way you have made the Mankind character portrayed during the ECW invasion is making him unsure if he wants to be Cactus Jack or not. Good idea because he was such a big impact in ECW, and at the same time during this time period in WWF as Mankind. I pray for a Cactus return though.

- The commentating with Heyman, Vince and J.R was classic, as I could actually picture the interaction actually going the way you had it. And King PMSing over ECW being on the show = gold.

- Funny Owen Hart/Bulldog segment "Yeah"

- Pillman right now the way you have him as a character is probably my favorite to watch. His loose cannon, say anything, "shoot" feel he makes during his promos makes him almost like when he was briefly in ECW. Pillman for champ!

- Hitman heel turn? I like the direction if its heading that way.

Good overall show man, and this is a good diary right now too, love the detail in the matches and your promo's especially with Pillman, are intense and awesome.

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Nice out of control Raw. I can't believe you gave ECW that much attention, As I thought we'd see like one or two matches, But I'm glad you really tried to get them over on this show. Shane Douglas stole the show in my opinion. His interview was awesome. Just awesome stuff. I don't like the fact that we got Austin versus Raven for Wrestlemania though. I really wanted to see Austin and Hart end their issues, And it looks like Hart himself is headed for a lackluster match come Wrestlemania. I am interested in seeing who will accept his challenge. I am looking forward to seeing Owen and Bulldog try to out do The Eliminators, And I could see a match coming out of this. Pillman ruining the main event was a shocker, And I guess he's going to end up facing Sid at Wrestlemania? As awesome as the diary is going right now, It hurts your Wrestlemania due to a challenger not being named to face Vader. I really hope you announce the number one contender soon, And give the title match some much needed hype. Keep up the good work. (Y)

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I'm loving this so far. The last RAW was just great, however so much happened that after just reading it I'm struggling to remember it all! The Douglas promo was top notch, in fact all of the wrestler's characters have been spot on. Douglas/Hunter at Barely Legal, that'll be an interesting one if it goes down. I didn't like the Extreme Battle Royal though, the fact that so many wrestlers just left the ring when The Sandman appeared struck me as odd, one or two I could cope with but so many was strange, particularly when he could have easily eliminated them with cane shots. The Mankind/Cactus stuff is fun as well, an interesting way to bring in the Cactus gimmick to a larger audience. The Raven/Austin stuff is great and should lead to an interesting match at Wrestlemania, I can't see Raven going in as champion though as I can't imagine Austin taking the title and I can't imagine him losing the match. It'll be interesting to see what goes down there. So Pillman interfers in the main event, I imagine that'll lead to Pillman/Sid at Wrestlemania, which leaves Vader open to be challenged by James E. Cornette's newest client, The Undertaker! That's my pick anyway.

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ECW Hardcore TV

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

ECW Arena

Host: Joey Styles

Joey Styles - "Good evening, fans. I'm Joey Styles, the voice of Extreme Championship Wrestling, welcoming you to another action-packed edition of ECW Hardcore TV. On this week's show, we'll revisit the absolute chaos from this Monday's episode of RAW, featuring the stars of ECW. plus, our main event, for the ECW WORLD Tag Team Championships... The Eliminators defend against Rob Van Dam and Sabu. And yes, tables and ladders are legal!"

ANGLE: BATTLE ROYAL HIGHLIGHTS

Brief clips of the February 24th Monday Night RAW "Extreme-Rules" Battle Royal aired, accompanied by additional commentary from Joey Styles...

Chris Chetti's dropkick eliminating Little Guido and Guido's post elimination tantrum...

Styles - "And... OH! Guido is gone! I suppose that means elimination in thirty seconds or less or it's free!"

Axl Rotten and Balls Mahoney taking turns blasting Louie Spicolli with a chair...

Styles - "The hardcore chair-swingin' freaks are living up to their name!"

SFX - "KLANG!"

Styles - "Oh..."

SFX - "KLANG!"

Styles - "My..."

SFX - "KLANG!"

Styles - "God."

The moments preceding the entrance of The Sandman...

Styles - "And Rob Van Dam scores with..."

Crowd - "YEEEEAH!"

Styles - "Uh... oh."

Crowd - "SAY YOUR PRAYERS, LITTLE ONE..."

Styles - "The Sandman has arrived! And there goes Mikey Whipwreck over the top rope! Mikey doesn't like it."

Sandman confronting Steve Williams...

Styles - "Dr. Death doesn't look like he's going to back down..."

SFX - "THWACK!"

Styles - "OOOOH! Vicious shot with the cane and Williams goes... nowhere?"

SFX - "THWACK!"

Styles - "How is he still standing after THAT?!"

SFX - "THWACK! THWACK!"

Styles - "The Singapore cane is having absolutely no effect! This is insane and... oh my God."

SFX - "CAH-RACK!"

Styles - "Dr. Death just snapped the cane in two!"

Sandman eliminating Williams for the win...

Styles - "Clothesline by The Sandman and it... is..."

SFX - "Ding! Ding! Ding!"

Styles - "Over! The Sandman wins this special 'extreme' battle royal. Now... somebody get his keys!"

OVERALL RATING: 82%

The Sandman gained overness from this segment.

Bob Artese - "This match is scheduled for one fall! Introducing first, to my left, from Little Italy, he is accompanied to the ring by 'The Big Don' Tommy Rich... the Sicilian Shooter, LITTLLLLE GUIDOOOOO!"

Crowd - "BOOOOOO!"

Styles - "Guido was not happy at all this Monday as he was the first wrestler tossed out of the ring in the extreme battle royal. Tonight, he's looking to gain a measure of revenge for that embarrassing outing."

Artese - "And his opponent, hailing from Amityville, New York... he is the first graduate of the ECW House Of Hardcore, CHRIS CHETTI!"

CLIPS: Little Guido (with "The Big Don" Tommy Rich) vs. Chris Chetti

  • Chetti floored Guido with a flying clothesline...
  • Off the top rope, Chetti crashed down with a double jump moonsault for a two-count...
  • Chetti lifted Guido up for the Amityville Horror...
  • Guido escaped and locked on a deep shoulderlock...
  • Crowd - "Where's my pizza?!"
  • Guido dropped a leg across Chetti's throat...
  • The Sicilian Crab was applied in the center of the ring...
  • Chetti gutted through the pain and reached the ropes to force the break!
  • Guido sat atop the turnbuckle and hooked Chetti for a tornado DDT...
  • Chetti countered with a Northern lights suplex!
  • Guido barely kicked away!
  • Crowd - "OHH!"
  • Chetti bounded to the top and sprang off with a moonsault on Guido...
  • Lifting Guido on his shoulders, Chetti spiked him with the Amityville Horror!
  • Chetti hooked the leg and scored the pin...
  • Rich berated Guido at ringside as Chetti celebrated in the ring.
OVERALL RATING: 49%, CROWD REACTION: 31%, MATCH QUALITY: 80%

Chris Chetti gained overness from this match.

Styles - "Earlier, we showed you footage of ECW's appearance on WWF Monday Night RAW. Later that night, the carnage continued as the 'superstars' of the World Wrestling Federation answered the call and came to the battle against Extreme Championship Wrestling. For legal reasons, we can't show you what occurred at the Manhattan Center as the WWF rather CONVENIENTLY cut to a commercial, but we can say this... March 23rd, Chicago, Illinois, for the first time in history, the ECW WORLD Heavyweight Title will be defended... at WrestleMania?"

INTERVIEW: Raven

Black and white footage of Raven, seated alone on a swing in a children's playground was shown...

Raven - "No wound cuts as deep or takes as long to heal than that of the loss of a child's innocence. The scar that is formed does not just become part of the adult psyche... it is the adult psyche. We are all made of scars. We are victims of the loss of innocence. 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin, I have come to envy your infantile wisdom. You truly believe in immortality. I can see it in your eyes as you speak of an alleged 'showcase of immortals'... WrestleMania. I envy you because I too once believed. I believed in the spectacle, the glitz, the glamour. I too was seduced by a fantasy that, if only once a year, a night of magic fell upon my black calendar... a night during which all things were possible. Steve, I haven't the heart to sit here and shatter your illusions... your fantasies. Even if I did, they appear to be too strong to be destroyed by words alone. On March 23rd, though... your dreams come to an end. On that 'night of magic', I will be forced to show you the grim reality that is truth. There is no immortality, Steve. There is only our dark today... and our darker tomorrows. Enjoy your tomorrows while you can, Steve. As for me... I'll simply have to enjoy my scars. And yours. Quoth the Raven... nevermore."

OVERALL RATING: 89%

Raven gained overness from this segment.

Styles - "Next week, right here on ECW Hardcore TV, former ECW Triple Crown winner Mikey Whipwreck will be in action... against 'The Human Suplex Machine' TAZ! At Barely Legal, Sunday, April 13th, Taz FINALLY goes one-on-one with Sabu. After a year of hunting the death-defying maniac, the match has finally been made. However, the question is... will these two be able to wait that long? Right now, Sabu competes in our main event as he and Rob Van Dam challenge for the ECW WORLD Tag Team Titles against The Eliminators. Oh... and tables and ladders? LEGAL!"

CLIPS: Sabu & Rob Van Dam vs. The Eliminators (John Kronus & Perry Saturn)

  • All hell breaks loose within the opening minute of the match!
  • Sabu and Van Dam throw The Eliminators out the ring...
  • The challengers waylay the champions with stereo suicide dives!
  • Crowd - "ECW! ECW! ECW!"
  • Sabu slid a table into the ring as Rob retrieved a ladder...
  • Sabu propped the table up in the corner...
  • As Rob tossed his partner a chair, The Eliminators rolled back into the ring...
  • The champions closed ranks around Sabu... and set him up for Total Elimnation!
  • Saturn hit the leg sweep... but Sabu threw the chair into Kronus' face!
  • Van Dam quickly dropped the ladder onto Saturn, then splattered his own body on it with a tumbling splash!
  • Simultaneously, Sabu dropped a leg across his chest...
  • Van Dam pushed the ladder away and made a cover...
  • Kronus broke it up at two...
  • Saturn ducked the Van Daminator and trapped RVD's head and leg, then drilled him into the canvas with a deadly pygmy suplex!
  • Saturn dragged Van Dam to the corner as Kronus climbed to the top rope...
  • Sabu quickly propped up the ladder, bounced off it and nailed Kronus with a flying sidekick as he prepared to finish Van Dam off!
  • Styles - "OH MY GOD!"
  • Kronus fell off the top rope into the guard rail and down to the floor...
  • Sabu blasted Saturn with a chair and laid him out on the mat...
  • Van Dam climbed to the top of the ladder and signaled for the Five-Star Frog Splash!
  • Just then... TAZ hit the ring!
  • Taz climbed the ladder and German suplexed Rob off of it!
  • Crowd - "HOLY S...T! HOLY S...T! HOLY S...T!"
  • Sabu dove to the mat and attacked Taz, hammering him with wild punches!
  • The heated brawl spilled out of the ring and into the first row of fans!
  • Crowd - "ECW! ECW! ECW!"
  • Meanwhile, a woozy Kronus climbed the ladder and crushed Rob with a 450 splash for the pinfall!
  • The show ground to a halt as security tried to separate Taz and Sabu as they brawled deeper into the crowd and out of sight.
OVERALL RATING: 66%, CROWD REACTION: 60%, MATCH QUALITY: 88%

Rob Van Dam lost overness from this match.

John Kronus gained overness from this match.

Perry Saturn gained overness from this match.

ANGLE: CHALLENGE!

The Eliminators' post-match celebration was interrupted as Deep Purple's "Perfect Strangers" began to play! Out came The Triple Threat's Shane Douglas and Chris Candido, along with Francine...

Crowd - "BOOOOOOOOO!"

Shane Douglas - "Everybody shut the f...k up!"

Crowd - "BOOOOOOOOO!"

Franchise - "I've got something to say, and I'm only saying it once! Listen up! I'm SICK and TIRED of the gossip, the rumors, the lies, the BULLS...T! It ends now! To all of you out there saying there's dissension within the ranks of The Triple Threat... to all of you saying I abandoned my team at Crossing The Line... to all of you, I stand before God and my father in heaven, and I stand next to Chris Candido, a man I love like a brother, and I say this... F...K YOU!"

Crowd - "BOOOOOOOOO!"

Franchise - "The Triple Threat is the most unified God-d...n team in this business today! Not the New World Order! Not the Nation Of Domination! Not even the f...king Nest! No team has dominated their home turf like we have! NOBODY! F...k the critics! F...k the non-believers! F...k you all! We OWN Extreme Championship Wrestling and we own each and every one of you people!"

Crowd - "BOOOOOOOOO!"

John Kronus - "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa!"

Franchise - "..."

Kronus - "The most dominant team in ECW? Is that what he just said?"

Perry Saturn - "That's what I heard."

Kronus - "Huh. And I thought... WE were the ECW WORLD Tag Team champions!"

Crowd - "YEAH!"

Saturn - "That's what we are."

Kronus - "Whoa, whoa, whoa... wait a minute! This means that The Triple Threat is the most dominant team in ECW?"

Saturn - "Yep."

Crowd - "Booooo!"

Saturn - "Besides US!"

Crowd - "YEAH!"

Candido - "Oh, hell no! WE'RE the top team in ECW! We'll prove it! Anytime, anywhere!"

Kronus - "Anytime?"

Saturn - "Anywhere?"

Kronus - "Okay. You're on! How about... HERE?!"

Saturn - "And NOW!"

Crowd - "YEAH! ECW! ECW! ECW! ECW!"

Franchise - "You want it?! You got it!"

Styles - "OH MY GOD! An impromptu ECW WORLD Tag Team Title match! Fans, we're out of time! Join us next week for the conclusion of this match on ECW Hardcore TV! Good night... from the ECW Arena!"

ECW Hardcore TV faded to black as the teams clashed in the center of the ring...

OVERALL RATING: 62%

John Kronus gained overness from this segment.

Perry Saturn's turn was completed, and he is now a face.

Perry Saturn gained overness from this turn.

John Kronus's turn was completed, and he is now a face.

John Kronus gained overness from this turn.

Copyright 1997, Extreme Championship Wrestling...

OVERALL RATING: 68%

NIELSEN RATING: 0.04

Pro Wrestling Illustrated Weekly

February 22nd, 1997 - February 28th, 1997

RANDY "MACHO MAN" SAVAGE: NWO FOR LIFE!

When the New World Order promised to introduce a new charter member at SuperBrawl, most onlookers assumed WCW newcomer and former WWF star Shawn Michaels was the next to don the black and white. When Michaels volunteered to referee the Hollywood Hogan/Roddy Piper main event, everyone in WCW grew weary of Michaels' intentions. Nobody expected Randy "Macho Man" Savage to join Hogan's evil army. However, that is exactly what occurred.

Savage appeared at ringside before the match and promised to look out for "his boy", assumingly Piper. He watched Michaels like a hawk during the match, all the while picking his spot to attack. When Hogan's foot slipped beneath the bottom rope during Piper's sleeperhold, Savage saw his opportunity. Believing he had won, Piper celebrated with the WCW World Title, forcing Michaels to turn his attention away and take back the title. It was at this point Savage slipped Hogan a pair of brass knuckles which the champion used to finish Piper off once and for all.

While it is not yet known whether or not Michaels was party to Hogan and Savage's plot, he made no attempt to stop them as they put the boots to Piper following the match. The NWO was chased away moments later when Sting rappeled down from the ceiling. However, Michaels did not flee with them. SuperBrawl ended with a tense staredown between Sting and Michaels and the following night's NITRO offered no further indication of Shawn's true allegiance in WCW.

WEEKLY AWARDS

WRESTLER OF THE WEEK - THE ELIMINATORS

Three huge victories in seven days, including two in one night, make it hard to choose between Perry Saturn and John Kronus for Wrestler Of The Week honors. Thus, this week The Eliminators shall share the award. At ECW's CyberSlam, they not only retained the ECW Tag Team Titles in a harrowing "tables and ladders" match, they returned later in the evening to retain them once again over Chris Candido and Shane Douglas. While both of thse victories were tainted to a degree, Saturn and Kronus redeemed themselves one night with a decisive victory over The Blue World Order in their Monday Night RAW debut.

MATCH OF THE WEEK - CHRIS BENOIT vs. THE TASKMASTER

The bitter blood feud between Chris Benoit and The Taskmaster came to a violent climax at SuperBrawl VII as the two waged war in a San Francisco death match. The brawl quickly spilled out of the ring and continued throughout the entire Cow Palace, including a brief stop in the men's bathroom. Benoit attempted to end it with a diving headbutt off the top rope through a table, but after Taskmaster moved, Benoit's valet Woman sacrificed her own physical well-being and dove into harm's way to save Benoit from colliding head-first with the empty table. The image of Woman being carted out on a stretcher fueled Benoit's fire as he soldiered on to savagely beat Taskmaster into submission. For sheer brutality, Benoit won this incredible Match Of The Week, but the cost proved to be high the following night on NITRO as Woman sobbingly confessed to losing a pregnancy in the ordeal.

NEWS & NOTES

USA NETWORK CANCELS WWF SUPERSTARS, RAW NEXT TO GO?

The WWF's Saturday morning recap hour SuperStars is no more, thanks to USA Network executives. Hosted by Todd Pettengill and Sunny, the show's ratings failed to impress execs, especially when compared to another WWF broadcast, the syndicated Shotgun Saturday Night. Reports indicate that the WWF refused USA's request to feature original matches on SuperStars, forcing the network to pull the plug. Despite it's recent ratings resurgence, WWF's other USA Network show, Monday Night RAW, may be in jeopardy as well. RAW still finishes well behind NITRO in Neilsen ratings and plans to expand the show to two hours this year were suddenly scrapped after the defection of then-WWF World champion Shawn Michaels to WCW.

TWO WWF CHAMPIONS INJURED IN CAR CRASH

WWF World champion Vader and WWF World tag team champion Davey Boy Smith both suffered arm injuries when their rental car suddenly crashed in the wee morning hours of February 27th. Owen Hart and James E. Cornette were also in the vehicle at the time of the crash but reportedly no injuries. The injuries are minor, a small fracture for Vader and strained tricep for Smith. Neither will miss ring time as a result but both have been relieved from house show duties to ensure their health for March 23rd's WrestleMania. Police reports of the incident make no mention of drugs and alcohol as a contributing factor.

ARENA RESULTS

CALIFORNIA

SAN DIEGO - WCW Monday NITRO live broadcast: Public Enemy defeated Jeff Jarrett & Steve McMichael... Jim Duggan defeated Damien... Hugh Morrus defeated Joe Gomez... The Taskmaster defeated La Parka... The Faces Of Fear defeated Chris Jericho & Eddy Guerrero... Television champion Rey Misterio Jr. defeated Juventud Guerrera... Ultimo Dragon defeated Dean Malenko via disqualification... Bobby Eaton and Dallas Page wrestled to a no-contest... Harlem Heat and Lex Luger & The Giant wrestled to a no-contest.

(02-24-97)

SAN FRANCISCO - WCW SuperBrawl VII pay-per-view from Cow Palace: Syxx defeated cruiserweight champion Dean Malenko to win the title... Konnan, La Parka & Chavo Guerrero Jr. defeated Juventud Guerrera, Psicosis & Ultimo Dragon... Television champion Rey Misterio Jr. defeated Lord Steven Regal... Dallas Page defeated Buff Bagwell... United States champion Eddy Guerrero defeated Chris Jericho... Public Enemy defeated Harlem Heat and The Faces Of Fear in a three-way match... Steve McMichael defeated Jeff Jarrett via disqualification... Chris Benoit defeated The Taskmaster in a San Francisco death match... World champion Hollywood Hogan defeated Roddy Piper.

(02-23-97)

DELAWARE

WILMINGTON - ECWA "Super 8" Tournament from St. Matthew's Parish Hall: Quarterfinal round matches: Billy Kidman defeated Reckless Youth... Ace Darling defeated The Inferno Kid... Simon Diamond defeated Ravishing Ronny... Cheetah Master defeated Devon Storm. Semifinal round matches: Cheetah Master defeated Billy Kidman... Ace Darling defeated Simon Diamond. Final round match: Ace Darling defeated Cheetah Master. Non-tournament matches: B.W. Brown defeated King Kong Bundy... Viper defeated heavyweight champion Glen Osbourne to win the title.

(02-22-97)

NEW YORK

NEW YORK - WWF Monday Night RAW taping from the Manhattan Center: The Eliminators defeated The Blue World Order... The Sandman last eliminated Steve Williams to win an "extreme battle royal"... Tommy Dreamer defeated Buh Buh Ray Dudley... World champion Vader defeated Sycho Sid via disqualification.

(02-24-97)

NEW YORK - WWF Shotgun Saturday Night taping from Penn Station: Bart Gunn defeated The Brooklyn Brawler... Aldo Montoya defeated The Goon... Barry Windham defeated Freddie Joe Floyd... Flash Funk defeated Salvatore Sincere... Billy Gunn defeated Bob Holly.

(02-22-97)

PENNSYLVANIA

PHILADELPHIA - ECW "CyberSlam" from the ECW Arena: Chris Chetti defeated Little Guido... The Blue World Order defeated Axl Rotten & Balls Mahoney and Lance Storm & Johnny Smith in a three-way match... Spike Dudley defeated Mike Awesome... Abdullah The Butcher & New Jack defeated The Dudley Boyz... Taz defeated Mikey Whipwreck... Terry Funk & Tommy Dreamer defeated Brian Lee & Raven... The Sandman defeated Steve Williams in a "loser leaves ECW" match... Tag team champions The Eliminators defeated Rob Van Dam & Sabu in a "tables and ladders" match... Tag team champions The Eliminators defeated Chris Candido & Shane Douglas.

(02-22-97)

GERMANY

BERLIN - WWF "Xpress Tour" house show from Olympiahalle: Alex Porteau defeated Joe E. Legend... D'Lo Brown defeated K-Krush... Vic Grimes defeated Baldo Bloom... Dr. X defeated Erin O'Grady... Tiger Ali Singh defeated Dave Heath... The Suicide Blondes defeated The Hardy Boyz... T.L. Hopper defeated Scott Borders... Rocky Maivia defeated Intercontinental champion Hunter Hearst Helmsley in a non-title match... Brian Christopher & Scott Taylor defeated PG-13... Steve Blackman defeated Andrew Martin... The Sultan defeated Barry Horowitz... Mark Henry defeated Justin Bradshaw... Jesse James defeated Shawn Stasiak... Doug Furnas & Phil LaFon defeated The Headbangers... Jake Roberts defeated Steve Bradley... The New Rockers defeated The Godwinns... Rocky Maivia won a 40-man battle royal... Ahmed Johnson, Goldust & Marc Mero defeated Faarooq, Crush & Savio Vega via disqualification... The Undertaker defeated The Executioner in a casket match.

(02-26-97)

NEXT WEEK

RIC FLAIR INTERVIEW

The "Nature Boy" sits down with PWI and answers some tough questions about the WCW/NWO war, other promotions and what lies ahead for his career!

Talk about luck! I get a "View Incident!" on Feb. 27th that says both Vader AND Davey Boy Smith are injured. Turns out it's only a month and they're good as new in two days. I was really sweating there for a second.

Thanks again for all the great feedback, everyone. It's much appreciated.

TheRyno - Sorry about the FUSE hiatus. I had a computer crash that I thought had wiped out everything and the computer I had to use while getting mine repaired couldn't run a modern-day EWR game, only the smaller retro scenario. Thus, the game you see unfolding. Once I got my PC back, I really struggled while trying to write the next FUSE show. The characters had just sort of run together and all became pretty similar. I figure I better stick with this until I can get that sorted out. Sorry again.

Kold - Sorry but something tells me "Justin" won't be showing up on RAW, unless of course I pick up Bill Wiles, the original J.C.

Twoonglue - I seem to remember Lawler's anti-ECW crusade beginning in '95 so it'd be wrong not to acknowledge it in some way. As for Pillman, I'll just say things are just getting started as far as his insanity is concerned.

Baby Hewey - I honestly remember ECW having most of the airtime during the actual RAW for that date, though I know my memory's not all it's cracked up to be. I reworked that Douglas promo at least five times. It's actually pretty hard for me to imagine a Douglas promo suitable for live (even though RAW was on tape delay) television. Glad you liked it.

Natural Born Thriller - I did sort of pack RAW, but it was something of a milestone event with the cross-promotion and all. The Sandman's XBR shenanigans were really because 1) having a full-length twenty-man battle royal would've eaten up too much time, 2) I wanted to impose a limit on how "extreme" things actually got, one I believe the WWF/E themselves would impose and 3) I figured ECW would want to get as many faces on TV as possible. Plus, the ultimate goal was to put Sandy and Dr. Death over as the real bad-asses of the match.

In other "news", I decided that despite this being a WWF diary, I am going to write out Barely Legal in full. I've just had too many fun ideas to cover it in a little PWI write-up ala WCW. I'm not sure how that'll be received out of a "WWF diary" but I suppose anyone who prefers not to know can just ignore it.

Thanks again for all the support, feedback or otherwise. Later!

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WWF Monday Night RAW #199

Berlin, Germany

Olympiahalle

Hosts: Jerry Lawler, Jim Ross & Vince McMahon

Vince McMahon - "WELCOME EVERYONE to Monday Night RAW! I'm Vince McMahon, alongside good ol' J.R. and 'The King' and we come to you tonight from Germany!"

Jim Ross - "Gentlemen, I'll speak for everyone when I say that it's been absolutely wonderful coming out and meeting all the great fans here in Deutschland!"

Jerry Lawler - "You shouldn't call it that! This is actually a pretty nice place."

J.R. - "Uh, King... Deutschland is German for Germany."

The King - "Well, regardless of what they call it, if they keep making those hot dogs so tasty, I might just up and move my castle here!"

J.R. - "You mean wienerschnitzel?"

The King - "On second thought... that doesn't sound tasty at all."

Vince - "Fans, we've got a tremendous night of action in store for you! Get ready because it's time for..."

??? - "HOLD IT! HOLD EVERYTHING!"

Vince - "What in the world?"

The King - "Look who it is!"

J.R. - "Oh, boy..."

INTERVIEW: "The Manager Of Champions" James E. Cornette

The show came to a sudden stop as James E. Cornette, donning a neck brace, limped out to the ring, clutching a clipboard...

James E. Cornette - "Everybody stop! Halt! Freeze! 'Vershtoppen'! Whatever you idiots say here! I've got an announcement to make!"

Crowd - "Booooo!"

Cornette - "All you morons need to pipe down and listen! What I'm about to say is going to change the face of the WWF, and WrestleMania, FOREVER!"

Crowd - "Boooooo!"

Vince - "WrestleMania? What's he talking about?"

The King - "SHHHHHHHHHHHH!"

Cornette - "That's fine, then! I don't mind shoutin' over you people! I don't care if you hear it anyway! This announcement is for one person and one person only... and that's YOU, VADER! Yeah, I know you're watchin' at home. I know you didn't come over on this tour. Well, I'm gonna give these people a minute to SHUT UP and while I do, I want you to put down the pork rinds and sour cream, drag your fat ass up outta that La-Z-Boy, walk right up to that big screen TV and listen close!"

Crowd - "..."

Cornette - "You all see this neck brace I'm wearin'? That's because of you! For the past two weeks I've been lyin' at home in Louisville, bedridden under my doctor's orders. I'm just so blessed that Mama Cornette was willing to stay home from bingo and take care of me."

The King - "Mama Cornette... bless her heart."

Cornette - "You caused me two weeks of agony! Well... get ready for your receipt!"

Crowd - "Yah!"

J.R. - "Oh, my Lord. Is Cornette challenging Vader to a match at WrestleMania?! That's suicide!"

Cornette - "This document in my hand is a legal binding contract... a contract that YOU signed, Vader. Back in 1995, when you first came to the World Wrestling Federation, you and I made a deal. I agreed to manage you, handle everything for you, serve as your spokesman... DO EVERYTHING! In return, I would receive the standard managerial salary of 35%."

Vince - "35%?! The standard?!"

The King - "Quiet, McMahon!"

Cornette - "Over the past two and a half years, do you realize what I've done? Think about it, Vader. Think hard! January 1996... what happened? You attacked President Monsoon LIVE before a nationwide audience. You were dead to rights, buddy! Grounds for immediate termination... until I stepped in! SummerSlam, that same year... what happened? I FINALLY got Monsoon to give you the championship match you deserved, no easy feat by the way. What happened? Count-out victory! I got you an INSTANT rematch! What happened? Disqualification victory! I got you ANOTHER INSTANT REMATCH! The Royal Rumble, this year... Steve Austin wins illegally. I got you placed back into the 'Final Four' match! ME, VADER! ME! I DID IT ALL! And between? Between cleanin' up your messes? Every hotel you slept in, every plane you flew in, every meal you ate... and there were a LOT... EVERY SINGLE MOVE YOU MADE! It was all because you had ME lookin' out for you! ME, DAMMIT! 'THE MANAGER OF CHAMPIONS' JAMES E. CORNETTE!"

Crowd - "Boooooo!"

Cornette - "And FINALLY, after a FULL year of waitin', of sacrificin', of slavin' away from you... it happens! The clock strikes Vader Time! Just when I wasn't sure about you anymore, you did it, Vader. You did it. You became the World Wrestling Federation CHAMPION! Vader, I said it then and I'll say it now... I couldn't have been prouder if it were myself, if it were ME holdin' that title belt. And then... then, Vader... you threw it all away. Right when everything I've ever done for you was about to finally pay off, you attacked me! ME! And with that one selfish, stupid, careless, STUPID move, you threw everything away..."

Crowd - "..."

Cornette - "...or so you thought. Heh heh heh."

Vince - "Huh?"

Cornette - "Vader, I wish it could've been different. I wish you could see how good a team we've been... and could've still been. Still, what you did... it doesn't change anything. I am STILL the 'manager of champions' and, thanks to this contract, STILL YOUR MANAGER!"

J.R. - "WHAT?!"

Cornette - "That's why you're not here tonight, Vader! It wasn't some slip-up in the front office. It wasn't a mistake. As your manager, I pulled you off this show!"

Crowd - "Boooooo!"

Cornette - "And guess what, big man? I can do it again. I can do whatever I want with you! I can have you in Siberia, defending that title against a pack of polar bears TOMORROW! I can have you booked in the Pacific Ocean against Aquaman by Friday! Vader, and you mark my words... if I want to, I can make you crawl all the way down into the ninth circle of Hell and fight the Devil himself ANYTIME I WANT! And I'd do it... but these fans don't deserve to see the WWF World champion..."

Crowd - "BOOOOO!"

Cornette - "...even if it is YOU. I won't keep you in suspense, 'champ'. Your next title defense will be... Sunday, March 23rd, Chicago, Illinois, WRESTLEMANIA XIII!"

Crowd - "YAAAAH!"

Cornette - "And your opponent? That's the best part. You're gonna be facin'..."

Crowd - "..."

Vince - "..."

J.R. - "..."

The King - "..."

Crowd - "..."

Cornette - "You know what? No. No, no, no... not like this. Check your mailbox tomorrow, Vader. There will be tickets for a flight to Worcester, Massachusetts. Show up on RAW next Monday, because I wanna see the look on your face when you find out... find out who's gonna be the NEXT WWF CHAMPION!"

Crowd - "BOOOOOOOOO!"

Cornette - "Oh, and one more thing, Vader... I hope you don't mind flying coach. Heh heh heh."

With that, Cornette smugly walked off...

J.R. - "Somebody call the Denver Police Department! Vader's gotta be LIVID about this!"

The King - "HA! Jimmy Cornette! The greatest manager in the World Wrest... no, you know what? The greatest manager in the world, period!"

Vince - "With an ace up his sleeve it seems. Next week, we find out Vader's opponent. More RAW when we come back!"

OVERALL RATING: 76%

Howard Finkel - "The following contest is scheduled ONE FALL and is for the World Wrestling Federation INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP!"

Translator - "Der folgende Wettbewerb wird für EINEN FALL festgelegt und für die World Wrestling Federation INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP!"

Crowd - "YAAAH!"

PA - "VRRROOOOOOOOOOOM! ERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRK!"

Fink - "Introducing first, the challenger, from Talladega, Alabama, weighing in at 231 pounds... BOB 'SPARK PLUG' HOLLY!"

Translator - "Zuerst einführen, der Herausforderer, vom Talladega, Alabama, das bei 231 wiegt... BOB 'SPARK PLUG' HOLLY!"

Crowd - "YAAAH!"

Vince - "A terrific ovation from this capacity crowd for the WWF's only dual-sport superstar. He's a champion on the track and tonight... he could become a champion here in the WWF."

Fink - "And his opponent, accompanied to the ring by Mr. Hughes..."

Translator - "Und his konkurrent, vorbei begleitet zum ring MR. HUGHES..."

Crowd - "BOOOOOO!"

Fink - "From Greenwich, Connecticut, weighing in at 279 pounds, the World Wrestling Federation INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION... HUNTER HEARST HELMSLEY!"

Translator - "Vom Greenwich, Connecticut, das bei 279 wiegt, er ist der World Wrestling Federation INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION... HUNTER HEARST HELMSLEY!"

WWF INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE MATCH: Hunter Hearst Helmsley (defending champion, with Mr. Hughes) vs. Bob "Spark Plug" Holly (challenger)

Helmsley tried to outsmart Holly as he leaned his head through the ropes, apparently engaging Mr. Hughes in a last-minute conversation. It proved to be simply a ruse as Holly turned his attention away, allowing Helmsley to blindside him as he charged across the ring. Though the tactic enabled Hunter a brief period of control at the onset, Holly quickly regrouped and began firing back, rocking him with punches before blasting him with a big dropkick! He dropped down for a cover and hooked a leg, picking up a very close two-count for his efforts.

As he formulated his plan of attack, Holly cinched in a side headlock and tried to keep Hunter at bay. The champion attempted twice to power out by lifting Bob up, but Holly kicked his legs to keep himself in command. After suffering a quick series of punches to the rib cage, Holly took Helmsley down with a headlock takeover and cranked away on the mat. Again, Helmsley powered his way to a vertical base and finally escaped the hold by shoving Holly off into the ropes. He ducked down for a back body drop, but the agile NASCAR driver easily leapfrogged him and charged into the far side ropes. He bounced off and launched into a cross body block... but Helmsley caught him in mid-air and drove him down hard with a powerslam!

After failing to keep Holly down for three, Hunter attempted to weaken his neck with a reverse chin lock. This time, it was Holly's turn to fight back underneath, using the energy of the crowd to fuel his fire as he rose back up. He employed Helmsley's own strategy and popped him with shots to the ribs to break the American blueblood's grip on his head and neck. Hunter released the hold, but quickly recovered and snapmared Bob back down. As Holly sat up in agony, Helmsley drilled the toe of his boot into the lower lumbar region with a vicious kick, causing a loud smack to echo throughout the arena!

With Holly's back now tender, Hunter moved in for the kill, planting him in center-ring with a big scoop slam. He backed into the corner, genuflected arrogantly, then rushed and leapt up for a big double knee drop... only to find no one home at the time of landing! As the pain shot up Helmsley's thigh as he stood, Holly made a last-ditch effort to get up. Hunter attempted to cut him off with a flying knee strike, but his leg was too damaged to give him a proper take-off. Holly capitalized by crooking Helmsley's damaged knee with his arm and twisting him into an awkward and devastating slam!

As Hunter's head bounced off the canvas, he was immediately knocked senseless. He struggled to sit up as Holly dragged him towards the turnbuckle, then climbed up top. With the Intercontinental Title within his grasp, Holly jumped off into his patented Pit Stop Plunge splash... only to crash and burn as Helmsley rolled to safety! Seconds after reaching his feet again, Holly was snatched up and driven face first into the mat with a Pedigree! The champion cried out in pain as his knee crashed once more into the mat, but the pain was quickly soothed by the glory of a pinfall victory.

OVERALL RATING: 67%, CROWD REACTION: 64%, MATCH QUALITY: 86%

The WWF Intercontinental title has lost image.

Fink - "Here is your winner... and STILL Intercontinental Champion... HUNTER HEARST HELMSLEY!"

Translator - "Ist hier ihr sieger... und NOCH Intercontinental Champion... HUNTER HEARST HELMSLEY!"

Crowd - "Boooooo!"

Vince - "Helmsley's winning ways continue here on RAW, to no one's delight but his own."

The King - "Speak for yourself! I know I wouldn't want someone like BOB HOLLY representing the WWF as the Intercontinental Champion!"

J.R. - "Speaking of speaking for yourself, it looks like Helmsley is about to do just that. He's asked for a microphone."

INTERVIEW: Hunter Hearst Helmsley

Hunter Hearst Helmsley - "..."

Crowd - "BOOOOOO!"

Helmsley - "It's come to my attention that a certain 'organization', and I use that term as loosely as possible, has made an invitation to me... and some of my very close associates, for a 'party'. Tonight, I speak on behalf of my friends when I say... so sorry, ECW. We already have plans."

Crowd - "Boooooo!"

Helmsley - "In fact, one of my secretaries called me this morning and reminded me of a previous pending engagement for Sunday, April the 13th. It appears my associates and I are going to assemble at my mansion in Greenwich, which coincidentally is probably large enough to house three or four of your ECW Arenas, and we're going to order the Barely Legal pay-per-view..."

Crowd - "..."

Helmsley - "...and proceed to LAUGH OUR ASSES OFF at all the chumps we got kicked out of the WWF! HAHAHAHAHA!"

Crowd - "Boooooo!"

Helmsley - "No. You're right. I'd best save it for April 13th. Until then, ECW... congratulations on being franchi... ha ha ha ha! I'm sorry. I can't do it with a straight face. It's so stupid."

OVERALL RATING: 79%

The King - "Way to go, Hunter! Those ECW clowns don't deserve the time or attention of people as dignified as us!"

Vince - "Uh, King... I think he was referring some 'other friends' of his."

The King - "Oh."

J.R. - "Why? Were you invited to Greenwich to watch the show at Helmsley's mansion?"

The King - "I wouldn't even want to go. Not if it was to watch Extremely Crappy Wrestling's Barely PEOPLE!"

J.R. - "That wasn't my question. Were you invited?"

The King - "..."

Vince - "Stick around, fans! More Monday Night RAW, live from Germany after these messages!"

ANGLE: BENEVOLENCE

Just before RAW cut to break, cameras caught James E. Cornette relaxing backstage, still celebrating his moral victory from earlier in the evening. With a pair of Slammies in tow, up walked Owen Hart...

Owen Hart - "James!"

Cornette - "Owen! Great to see you!"

Owen - "Good to have you back. I missed you, man. You look great."

Cornette - "I'm feelin' a LOT better... especially NOW! Ha ha ha! We've got Vader RIGHT where we want him! At WrestleMania, he's gonna be the man they call LOSER!"

Owen - "Heh. That's great. Great. In fact... that's kinda why I came over to talk to you."

Cornette - "Oh? What's the matter?"

Owen - "Well... I know you've got a big announcement to make next week."

Cornette - "Do I ever!"

Owen - "And... well, I think I KINDA know what it's going to be, you know?"

Cornette - "Owen, my friend... you know me well."

Owen - "Exactly! That's why I just wanted to ask you, before it's too late, to change your mind."

Cornette - "Change my mind? Why?"

Owen - "Because I think I've got an even BETTER idea!"

Cornette - "..."

Owen - "Okay, picture THIS! WrestleMania XIII, the main event... the WWF champion Vader, one-on-one with... one-half of the WWF TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS OF THE WORLD!"

Cornette - "But I..."

Owen - "DAVEY... BOY... SMITH! OH, YEAH!"

Cornette - "Owen, I... wait. Davey Boy?"

Owen - "Uh huh."

Cornette - "You want me to pick Davey Boy?"

Owen - "Yep."

Cornette - "Really?"

Owen - "I know what you're thinking. Listen, don't worry about me, okay? I've had my WrestleMania moment, remember? WrestleMania X? I pinned my brother Bret LIVE in front of a jam-packed Madison Square Garden! People still talk about it to this day, you know."

Cornette - "Yeah..."

Owen - "But Davey Boy? He's never really had a moment like that in his career, you know? He's never done it. I want him to have that moment. Don't you?"

Cornette - "Of course. Davey Boy's a dear friend."

Owen - "Family, even. Great, so it's settled. Oh! Yeah, also... DON'T tell him I came and talked to you like this, okay? Like I said, this is all about his moment. I'd hate for him to know that he wasn't really the first choice, you know?"

Cornette - "Well, actually I haven't..."

Owen - "All right?"

Cornette - "Yeah. Sure."

Owen - "Great! Thanks for taking care of it, James. You know... I probably don't say this enough, but I appreciate all you do for me and Davey Boy. Vader was an idiot to take the 'manager of champions' for granted."

Cornette - "That he was... and he'll pay for it. Heh, just between you and me... I'm going to write out the contract for the match myself. Forget about any kind of 'championship advantage' for him. This is gonna the toughest title defense of his life!"

Owen - "And... his last!"

Cornette - "HAHAHAHAHA! Thanks a lot, Owen. I'll be honest. I was dreadin' havin' to pick between you guys. You just made the process a whole lot easier. Thanks."

Owen - "Hey, this is Camp Cornette. All for one, one for all, right?"

Cornette - "Exactly. In fact... I'm gonna go type up that contract right now while I've got all these ideas floatin' around in my head!"

Owen - "Go for it!"

Cornette left the room to draw up the match stipulation, visions of a tortured Vader dancing in his head. Meanwhile, Owen grinned as he plopped down on a chair and opened a magazine on his lap. As he leafed through it, he quietly muttered to himself...

Owen - "Whew. Poor Dave."

OVERALL RATING: 78%

Vince - "Welcome back to WWF Monday Night RAW, right here on the USA Network!"

J.R. - "Fans, if you joined us last week, you got to see the Philadelphia-based promotion known as Extreme Championship Wrestling appear as our guests."

The King - "Or, if you were smart... you didn't!"

J.R. - "Either way, the stars of ECW did what they do best, but one WWF superstar didn't take to it well. That man is none other than Bret 'The Hitman' Hart."

Vince - "Bret made a request that one of the 'extremists' of ECW join us again here tonight and take him on, one-on-one, in a standard WWF rules match."

The King - "As if you needed a reason to hate Bret Hart... now he's inviting these degenerates back after security had to kick 'em out!"

Vince - "We understand that ECW has in fact sent a representative here to Germany to answer this challenge..."

The King - "How did he get through customs?!"

Vince - "... so here now, we send it to Howard Finkel for the introductions in this most unique match."

Fink - "The following contest is scheduled one fall!"

Translator - "Der folgende wettbewerb wird für einen fall festgelegt!"

PA - "Welll you can telll by the way I use my walk, I'm a woooman's man, no time to talk... music loud..."

Crowd - "..."

Fink - "Introducing first, representing EXTREME CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING, he is accompanied to the ring by 'The Big Don' Tommy Rich... from Little Italy, weighing 201 pounds... LITTLE GUIDO!"

Translator - "Zuerst einführen, darstellen Extreme Championship Wrestling, vorbei begleitet zum ring 'Big Don' Tommy Rich... vom Little Italy, das bei 201 wiegt... LITTLE GUIDO!"

Vince - "J.R., what can you tell us about this young man?"

J.R. - "I've got some notes here I'll read from. Obviously, with a name like 'Little Guido', he's not one of the larger wrestlers in ECW, but he is one-half of The Full-Blooded Italians with his partner, Tommy Rich, who's joining him tonight."

The King - "Tommy Rich?! Italian? Are you kidding?!"

J.R. - "All jokes aside, Guido is a well-trained mat technician, trained by the legendary Billy Robinson."

Vince - "Hmmm... impressive resume."

Fink - "And his opponent..."

Translator - "Und sein konkurrent..."

PA - "SKREEEEEEEEEEEEE!"

Crowd - "YAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!"

Fink - "From Calgary, Alberta, Canada, weighing 234 pounds... BRET 'HITMAAAAAAAAN' HART!"

Translator - "Vom Calgary, Alberta, Canada, das bei 234 wiegt... BRET 'HITMAN' HART!"

Vince - "And he'll need to be every bit as good as that resume suggests... because he's facing the former three-time WWF champion BRET HARRRT!"

The King - "I can't believe I'm saying this, but since this little punk IS representing ECW... come on, Hitman!"

J.R. - "Wow."

Vince - "Once again, it's proven... ANYTHING can happen in the World Wrestling Federation."

SINGLES MATCH: Bret "Hitman" Hart vs. Little Guido (with "The Big Don" Tommy Rich)

In an effort to be a gracious and proud representative of the WWF, Hart insisted in shaking Guido's hand before the opening bell. Guido donned a sly smirk as he accepted the gesture... then as Bret turned away, ran his fingers beneath his chin, gesturing offensively towards him! The crowd's disgusted reaction to this caused Hart to turn back around, but the wily Italian denied any knowledge of why they had suddenly started booing, even glancing behind himself to see if the source of their rancor was coming from that direction.

At long last, the two locked up in center-ring, jockeying for position. Bret, the more powerful of the two, resisted the urge to drive Guido into the corner and instead opted to keep things technical, transitioning into a hammerlock. Trapped, Guido could only step forward and grab the rope, forcing a break. Hart gladly broke the hold and gave Guido plenty of room to recover. After taking a few seconds to restrategize, Guido charged in aggressively... only to run into a double leg takedown!

Hart wasted no time in grabbing Guido's feet and stepping through, employing the initial technique to lock in the Sharpshooter. Panicked, Guido began flailing and kicking his legs, breaking Hart's grip. Once he had, he scrambled out of the ring and collapsed at Tommy Rich's feet, tightly clinging to The Big Don's legs for safety. Hart refused to follow him to the outside and ordered the referee to get Guido back in the ring. The referee dutifully began counting Guido out as he sought counsel from Rich. Guido did an immediate double-take when Tommy whispered instructions into his ear, but later nodded as Rich explained the plan further.

At the count of nine, Guido rolled back in and loosened up in the corner, preparing to lock horns once more with the Hitman. Bret moved in, looking for a collar and elbow tie-up... then stopped dead in his tracks. Guido stood strong in the center of the ring, challenging Bret to the classic "test of strength", a Greco-Roman knuckle lock! Surprised at his opponent's tactics, Bret took a step bac, then carefully interlocked fingers with Guido and met the challenge head on.

With his height and strength advantage, Hart easily overpowered Guido, forcing the extreme underdog down to his knees. Mustering all the strength in his body, Guido rose back up to his feet, fighting Bret with everything he was worth. Just as it appeared he may actually outpower Bret... Guido took the shortcut and fired a kick into Hart's breadbasket, doubling him over and destroying the integrity of the contest.

With a smug smile, Guido swung his leg up and across Bret's neck, setting him up for the Sicilian Slice rocker dropper. Bret quickly stood up to power out of the move, sending Guido flipping backwards as his leg was lifted high in the air. Guido showed tremendous athleticism by flipping backwards and landing flat on his feet... but Bret dropped him a split-second later with a hellacious clothesline! the impact nearly caused Guido to flip again as he crashed to the canvas!

Literally knocked for a loop, Guido was in no way able to stop Bret as he quickly locked in the Sharpshooter! Too far from the ropes, Guido howled in pain as Hart sat in deep over the small of his back and ripped at his legs. The referee moved in to ask Guido if he wanted to give it up... but before he could answer, Tommy Rich blasted Hart in the head with a home run swing with the Italian flag! The Hitman collapsed in a heap, immediately releasing the hold as The Big Don whacked him again, obviously unaccustomed to the lack of "extreme-rules" in play.

Fink - "Here is your winner, as a result of a disqualification... BRET 'HITMAN' HART!"

Translator - "Ist hier ihr sieger, resultierend aus einer disqualifikation... BRET 'HITMAN' HART!"

Guido rose up from the mat as the ring announcer's decree, grimacing as he surveyed the situation. He briefly argued with Rich, but like any good Italian family, quickly settled the argument with an embrace. With nothing left to lose, the two full-blooded Italians stood over Bret and began putting the boots, and flagpole, to his downed body, savagely beating him as the crowd cried foul.

After nearly breaking the flagpole over Bret's midsection, Rich passed it to Guido and held the Hitman up for what was sure to be the final blow. As Guido took aim... from behind, he suffered a bone-jarring blow to the back of the head! As he saw Guido drop to the mat, Rich was shocked by the face behind the swinging chair. Immediately, he ducked through the ropes to safety, abandoning both his victim and his partner. As he fearfully backed up the aisle, he stared up into the ring as the crazed eyes of Terry Funk stared back.

Guido rolled out of the ring and joined Rich in his exit as Funk wildly swung the chair, daring them or anyone else with designs on attacking the Hitman to try their luck. Of course, facing such an obstacle, none did and the F.B.I. made their defeated yet proud escape. With danger averted, Funk lowered the chair and knelt to the agonizing Hart's side. As he tried to help Bret up, the Hitman pushed him away, determined to leave Olympiahalle on his own accord.

OVERALL RATING: 65%, CROWD REACTION: 64%, MATCH QUALITY: 83%

The King - "SEE?! Do you see now?! These ECW guys are nothing but scum!"

J.R. - "I don't know WHAT I just saw... but I think Terry Funk just rescued Bret Hart. I think."

Vince - "Fans, while we try to make sense of this, let's send you backstage to Sunny who's standing by with... oh, dear... 'The Loose Cannon' Brian Pillman."

INTERVIEW: "The Loose Cannon" Brian Pillman

Pillman - "AAAAAAARGH! DAMMIT!"

Sunny - "Brian! BRIAN! Calm down! Please!"

Pillman - "Calm down? CALM DOWN?! Listen here, you little TRAMP! NOBODY tells me to calm down!"

Sunny - "..."

Pillman - "Do you... I mean, do you even REALIZE what's gone on? What I've done? Do you? DO YOU?!"

Sunny - "I...

Pillman - "ANSWER ME!"

Sunny - "I... don't know, okay? Whatever it is, I'm sure it'll be okay."

Pillman - "HA! Ha ha ha ha... YOU'RE sure it'll be okay. Wow. That's just... what a weight lifted off my shoulders! Thank you, Sunny, for that ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT comment!"

Sunny - "You're..."

Pillman - "SHUT UP! You shut your mouth right now!"

Sunny - "..."

Pillman - "I swear to God, you say another word... you, you don't even wanna know, okay? I've got nothin' to lose anymore. Not after last week."

Sunny - "..."

Pillman - "..."

Sunny - "..."

Pillman - "WHAT?!"

Sunny - "..."

Pillman - "Oh, God! Oh, God, Sunny... Sunny, I'm sorry. I... I didn't mean to scare you. DAMMIT! What the hell is wrong with me?! Everything I touch, EVERYTHING, it all falls apart! EVERYTHING!"

Sunny - "Brian?"

Pillman - "What?"

Sunny - "What's... what's going on?"

Pillman - "I really messed up this time. I ruined EVERYTHING! AGAIN! But you saw it! You saw I had to do it! Vader... he was going to kill him or something! I... I HAD TO!"

Sunny - "Kill who?"

Pillman - "SID! Oh, man. I was only trying to help and I RUINED IT! Sid was going to reclaim his rightful place as the WWF World champion! I should've just had faith! No! No, I had to try to help. DAMMIT! Sid got disqualified and now... now this thing with Cornette and Vader and the title... and polar bears. What do I do, Sunny? Help me!"

Sunny - "Oh... I don't know, Brian. I'm still kinda confused about all this."

Pillman - "That's it?"

Sunny - "Sorry?"

Pillman - "..."

Sunny - "Brian?"

Pillman - "That's it."

Sunny - "Huh?"

Pillman - "THAT'S IT! Oh, my God, Sunny! You're a GENIUS!"

Sunny - "I... well, yes, but..."

Pillman - "I gotta go, okay? I've got a LOT of work to do... but thank you. Thank you SO much!"

Sunny - "Uh... you're welcome?"

Pillman trembled with nervous glee, grabbed Sunny tightly, kissed her on the mouth, cackled maniacally and walked away, leaving behind a bewildered blonde bombshell...

Sunny - "Uh... Brian Pillman, ladies and gentlemen. From backstage here at Olympiahalle, I'm Sunny... the 'genius', heehee. Back to you guys at ringside."

OVERALL RATING: 74%

J.R. - "Thanks, Sunny. What do you gentlemen make of that?"

The King - "That man is a complete basket case."

Vince - "Speaking of those with... ahem, 'colorful' psychological profiles, Mankind will be in action tonight as he teams up with The Executioner."

J.R. - "Their opponents are the team of Doug Furnas and Phil LaFon, an incredible young team looking to work their way back up the ladder of contention."

Vince - "That's our main event, but when we come back... it's time to get FUNKY! Flash Funk in action, next!"

The King - "You? Get funky? This I gotta see!"

J.R. - "We'll be right back."

Fink - "The following contest is scheduled for one fall. Introducing first, from Venice, Italy, weighing 247 pounds... Salvatore SINCERE!"

Translator - "Der folgende wettbewerb wird für einen fall festgelegt. Zuerst einführen, vom Venice, Italy, das bei 247 wiegt... Salvatore SINCERE!"

Crowd - "Booo!"

PA - "OOOOOOH! YOU ARE SO-O-O FUNKAY! FLAAAASH!"

Fink - "And his opponent, accompanied to the ring by The Funkettes, from FUNKYTOWN, U.S.A., weighing 222 pounds... FLAAAAAAAASH FUNK!"

Translator - "Und sein konkurrent, vorbei begleitet zum ring Funkettes, vom Funkytown, das bei 222 wiegt... FLASH FUNK!"

Crowd - "YAAAH!"

Vince - "The crowd here in Germany, VERY appreciative of Flash Funk... or maybe it's the Funkettes."

The King - "I know I appreciate 'em!"

Vince - "And here we go! One-on-one competition, right here on Monday Night RAW!"

SINGLES MATCH: Salvatore Sincere vs. Flash Funk (with Tracey and Nadine, The Funkettes)

Funk and Sincere circled the ring, sizing each other up before the eventual collar and elbow tie-up. Flash forged ahead with all his might but the burly Italian proved to be too strong and backed him into the turnbuckle. The referee moved in to pry the two apart, ordering both to break cleanly. Flash raised his hands, relenting to his wishes. Sal released his grip too and backed off... but not before firing a shot over the official's head, stinging Funk's face with a demoralizing slap!

The irate Flash charged out of the corner swinging, blasting Sal with a flurry of wild rights. He dropped Sincere with a clothesline, then rushed to the top rope. Sal quickly returned to his feet... and caught Funk as he leapt off the top, taking him down to the mat with an armdrag! Both men were quick to get up again, but another armdrag put Flash right back down. With the high-flyer grounded, Sincere cinched in a deep armbar and cranked away at the elbow as Flash struggled to escape.

After tumbling on the mat to alleviate the pressure of the hold, Flash made it to his feet. Sincerely quickly reached up for a handful of hair and yanked Funk back down, causing him to slam his head hard into the canvas. He made a quick cover for a two-count before returning to the hold and continuing to isolate Flash's arm. Again, Funk rolled through and kipped up to his feet, moving in close to Sincere as he backed towards the ropes. Funk made a quick charge, escaping the hold and whipping Sincere off to the far side of the ring. As he came bouncing back, Flash rearranged his dental work with a picture-perfect standing dropkick!

Flash paused in the corner to do a brief danc, then waited for Sincere to rise up off the mat. Once he did, Flash floored him again with a brilliant spinning superkick, knocking him right back down! With Sal on dream street, Flash quickly moved him into position and signaled for his finisher. He climbed up top and pounced off, launching into the Diss That Don't Miss. It didn't miss... but Sincere was able to lift his knees at the last second, causing Flash to crash sternum-first onto them!

As Funk desperately tried to catch his breath, Sincere grabbed him and rolled him into a pinning combination. With a tight grip of Funk's attire, Sincere hung on until the three-count was levied. Flash managed to kick free a split-second too late, then watched in humiliation as Sincere ducked out of the ring and made his way out, blowing kisses to the unappreciative crowd as he exited.

OVERALL RATING: 55%, CROWD REACTION: 57%, MATCH QUALITY: 67%

Fink - "Here is your winner... SALVATORE SINCERE!"

Translator - "Ist hier ihr sieger... SALVATORE SINCERE!"

J.R. - "An upset victory for Mr. Sincere here on Monday Night RAW, and a tough loss for Flash and The Funkettes."

The King - "Upset? You really mean that, J.R.?"

J.R. - "I do, King. Sincerely."

Vince - "Don't go anywhere! Monday Night RAW will be right back with a word from WWF President Gorilla Monsoon!"

ANGLE: A BLESSING AND A CURSE

RAW returned from commercial with Vince McMahon standing in the ring...

Vince - "Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the President of the World Wrestling Federation... Mr. GORILLA MONSOON!"

Crowd - "Yah!"

The WrestleMania theme music hit and out walked Monsoon, cheerfully waving to the crowd as he made his way down to and finally inside the ring...

Vince - "Gorilla, thank you for joining us here tonight."

Gorilla Monsoon - "It's my pleasure, Vince. I've got to say, just real quick, it has been an absolure honor to come here to Germany..."

Crowd - "YAAAAAAH!"

Monsoon - "And I want to thank all of the great WWF fans here for making this tour such an incredible success!"

Vince - "Indeed, thank each and every one of you for coming out and supporting the World Wrestling Federation. Speaking of success, I've got to ask you, Mr. President... WrestleMania XIII is just around the corner, twenty short days away."

Monsoon - "You're absolutely. WrestleMania, the biggest night in the WWF, is in less than three weeks and I'm incredibly excited about what we have in store for those of you joining us either in Chicago or from your homes by pay-per-view."

Crowd - "Yaaaah!"

Vince - "I'm sure it will deliver on every promise... but I'm also sure that's not what you've come here tonight to say, is it?"

Monsoon - "You're right, Vince. It isn't. I came here tonight to publicly address something that I've been asked about NON-STOP for a full week now... and that's 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin."

Crowd - "Boooo!"

Monsoon - "Last week, Mr. Austin chose to..."

PA - "KRAASH!"

J.R. - "Uh oh."

Crowd - "BOOOOO!"

The arena virtually pulsated as the driving beats of Steve Austin's theme music played, ushering the Texas rattlesnake to the ring...

J.R. - "Looks like business is about to pick up."

Vince - "Uh, Mr. Austin, I..."

Steve Austin - "Shut up!"

Vince - "..."

Stone Cold - "You got somethin' to say to me, you say it to my face or you don't say it. Understand? I don't give a damn if you're the President of the WWF or NOT! Austin 3:16 says I'll whip your ass just as quick."

Vince - "Gorilla, I apologize. If we can just... security?! Security?! Can we...?"

Stone Cold - "I SAID SHUT UP! This ain't got nothin' to do with you. Why don't you take your ass and whatever that piece of trash is sittin' on your head and get the hell out of here?"

Vince - "Security!"

Monsoon - "No, no, no. It's okay, Vince. Really. In fact... I'm glad you showed up tonight, Steve. There's something I wanted to say to you, and you're absolutely right, I SHOULD say it to your face."

Stone Cold - "So? Start talkin'."

Monsoon - "Steve, in my tenure as President of the World Wrestling Federation, I'm not sure I've even seen somebody quite like you. You... you simply REFUSE to abide by ANY authority. You do whatever you want, wherever you want, whenever you want to WHOEVER you want it seems... and thus far, nobody's been able to put you in your place."

Stone Cold - "AND THAT'S THE BOTTOM LINE 'CAUSE..."

Monsoon - "That's NOT the bottom line! Austin, every time I hear you talk, I'm reminded that you're 'being held back' and that you're 'too wild and untamed' and all the other EXCUSES you make!"

Stone Cold - "..."

Monsoon - "If you want a 'bottom line', I'll give it to you, Steve. This past year, you have done things that few other WWF superstars in history have done. Last summer, you won the King Of The Ring. Earlier this year, you won, by hook or by crook, the Royal Rumble. Only one other superstar in WWF history can claim both those accolades in the same year... Bret Hart."

Crowd - "YAAAAH!"

Stone Cold - "..."

Monsoon - "You're in pretty good company there, whether you like him or not. However, there's a difference. The difference is... Bret made the most of those opportunities. Bret didn't make excuses. Bret climbed the ladder of success until he reached the VERY top, the WWF championship!"

Stone Cold - "..."

Monsoon - "You hear me, Steve?! I said he..."

Stone Cold - "I heard you, you fat son of a bitch!"

Vince - "HEY! Just who do you think you're talking to?!"

Monsoon - "Vince, let me..."

Vince - "No, no, no, President Monsoon. LET ME! Steve, it's time for you to face facts. There's a reason you haven't reached that pinnacle yet, and it has absolutely nothing to do with anyone in charge here in the WWF. It's all you, Steve. YOU. Last week was a perfect example. You HAD the WrestleMania shot. You HAD it. Instead, you gave it up. You... you gave up the opportunity to compete for the richest prize in sports entertainment history on the biggest night of the year! You threw it all away... and for what?! An opportunity to become the ECW champion? To win a belt that means absolutely nothing?"

Stone Cold - "..."

Vince - "Maybe, just maybe... Austin 3:16 should stand for 'I just flushed the biggest opportunity of my life DOWN THE TOILET!' That's exactly what you did, Austin! EXACTLY! Raven was right! You're nothing but low-brow, foul-mouthed, trailer park trash... AND YOU LIKE IT THAT WAY! You have absolutely nobody to blame but YOURSELF! Tell him, Gorilla!"

Stone Cold - "..."

Vince - "Tell him!"

Monsoon - "He's right, Steve."

Stone Cold - "..."

Monsoon - "And if I were you... I'd have done the same damn thing."

Vince - "Uh..."

Monsoon - "Steve Austin, whether I or anyone else likes you or not, the 'bottom line' is this. You did the right thing. It's not going to help your standings here as far as the WWF is concerned, but what you decided was a matter of personal pride. Whether anyone in the WWF chooses to acknowledge it or not, we, as an entity, are at war right now. There's a lot of people in a lot of places, not just in ECW... and not even just in the sports entertainment industry, trying to put the WWF down. ECW might be the most open and brazen about it, but they're not alone in their efforts to tear this company. What we in the WWF need right now, more than anything else, is a leader. We need someone willing to stand up and say 'I BELIEVE in the WWF'! Tonight, I've come here to say it... and since you're here, I'd like you to ask you join me. Whether I agree with your tactics or not is irrelevant now. The 'bottom line' is, while I may not like what I see when I look at you, what I see is a leader... and perhaps, a future WWF champion."

With that rousing endorsement, Monsoon extended his hand to Austin, offering an olive branch to the rebel as well as a sign of solidarity to all those opposing the WWF. Austin, meanwhile, just stared at it...

Stone Cold - "What you see when you look at me? What YOU see when YOU look at ME? Do you really think I give a rat's ass what you see?! Do you really think I give a rat's ass about YOUR war? I said it as plain and as simple as I could, but I guess I gotta say again... AUSTIN 3:16 SAYS I JUST WHIPPED YOUR ASS! It ain't a catchphrase, son. It's the gospel! If you think I can't, or if you think I won't... it's only 'cause I HAVEN'T YET! One by damn one, I am gonna march up and down the ladder here and I am gonna knock EVERYBODY off! You wanna look around for enemies, Mr. President? Don't look in Philadelphia. Don't look in Atlanta. Don't even look in Washington. You look right here into MY damn eyes, boy. I'm the only son of a bitch who's gonna destroy this company. Bit by bit, piece by piece, superstar by superstar... one... at... a... time! ECW? Raven? That goofy bastard only bought himself a ticket to the front of the line when messed with me. That's all. You piss me off, it happens sooner rather than later... but it WILL happen. Future WWF champion? You bet your ass. It ain't gonna be 'cause I worked my way up no ladder though. It's gonna be by PROCESS OF ELIMINATION! By the time I get done, there ain't gonna be NOTHIN' left. Nobody above me, nobody below me... ONLY me. You want a leader? Okay. Ladies and gentlemen, I BELIEVE! Dear God Almighty, I believe! I believe... that if you don't take your hand outta my way, you're about to have a religious experience of your own."

Crowd - "BOOOOO!"

Monsoon retracted his hand and his head, disappointed by Austin's utter disregard for the Federation...

Stone Cold - "Wise move, old man. You just bought yourself a little more time. Besides, I sure as hell didn't wanna do this twice tonight."

Vince - "Twice? What do you mean by th... OOOOF!"

Austin fired a boot into McMahon's gut, then dropped him with the Stone Cold Stunner!

Monsoon - "NO! NO! Dammit, Austin!"

Stone Cold - "Try flushin' THAT down the toilet, you stupid son of a bitch!"

Crowd - "Yaah! Boooooo!"

Monsoon - "Security! Somebody get some security out here NOW!"

Steve lunged for Monsoon as the event security team swarmed the ring, quickly pouncing on him and holding him down as the WWF President escaped. As McMahon convulsed on the canvas, the officers subdued Austin and dragged him back up the aisle to the back...

J.R. - "This Austin is a mad man!"

The King - "Can you believe he talked that way to Gorilla Monsoon?! He's gonna be FIRED!"

J.R. - "That unprovoked assault on Vince McMahon... somebody's GOT to get this guy under control!"

The King - "How?"

J.R. - "Fans, stay tuned through our final commercial break. Our incredible tag team main event is up next!"

OVERALL RATING: 87%

ANGLE: BENEVOLENCE II

Back in his dressing room, James E. Cornette struggled as he clicked away at a typewriter. As he paused to grimace and rub his neck, Davey Boy Smith entered and approached him...

Davey Boy Smith - "All right, Jim?"

Cornette - "Ugh. Yeah, how about you?"

Bulldog - "My arm hurts a little. Beyond that, I'm good. Just wanted to stop by and welcome you back to RAW."

Cornette - "Thanks. It's great to be back."

Bulldog - "What'cha doing?"

Cornette - "Oh. Just hammerin' out the final details with this WrestleMania match."

Bulldog - "Oh, great. In fact, I came to talk to you about that. You see..."

Cornette - "Check THAT out! HAHAHAHA! Oh boy, is Mama Cornette gonna be proud!"

Bulldog - "Huh? Oh... 'Chi-Chicago Street Fight'?!"

Cornette - "Yeah. I was thinking, you know, the challenger doesn't get anything out of a count-out or a disqualification anyway. Why not just eliminate 'em altogether?! Brilliant, huh?!"

Bulldog - "Yeah..."

Cornette - "In fact, let me just finish typin' this up and you can sign it now."

Bulldog - "Huh?! Me?!"

Cornette - "I was gonna have it be a surprise but... oh, what the hell? YES! Congratulations, Davey Boy! YOU are goin' to WRESTLEMANIA!"

Bulldog - "Me? But I... I..."

Cornette - "..."

Bulldog - "What about Owen?"

Cornette - "Owen? Well... uh... he would've been my second choice, sure, but..."

Bulldog - "NO! I mean, you... you gotta pick Owen, Jimmy. He'll be crushed if you don't."

Cornette - "Yeah?"

Bulldog - "Yeah, definitely."

Cornette - "But what about you?"

Bulldog - "Oh, Jimmy. I'm the 'British Bulldog', man. 65,000 people gathered in Wembley Stadium to watch me win the Intercontinental Title! Owen though... he's never had a big title win like that. Never."

Cornette - "No?"

Bulldog - "Why do you think he's always braggin' about those bleedin' Slammies? He's craving that individual glory, man! Being the tag champs, well... that's quite enough for me. Owen, though... he wants more."

Cornette - "But he told me..."

Bulldog - "Hmmm?"

Cornette - "Er, nothing. So let me get this straight. You want me to give OWEN the match with Vader?"

Bulldog - "Hey, not just a 'match', Jimmy. A Chicago Street Fight!"

Cornette - "Right. Well, I kinda already decided..."

Bulldog - "Oh, I know. I know, Jim, and believe me, I'm flattered. I'd love to go in there and just rip Vader apart like he's nothing, you know? I'd like it... but Owen? He NEEDS it, Jim. Needs."

Cornette - "He does?"

Bulldog - "Trust me. He wins that match and he's FINALLY out of the shadow of his brother. That's what he wants... and as his partner, and brother, that's what I want. Understand?"

Cornette - "I guess so."

Bulldog - "Good. So remember, whatever you do, DON'T put MY name on that contract, all right?"

Cornette - "Yeah."

Bulldog - "Oh... and don't tell Owen this, you know? He's... he's fragile. Let him think HE'S the first choice."

Cornette - "Yeah, well actually he..."

Bulldog - "It'll be our little secret, okay?"

Cornette - "Yeah."

Bulldog - "Yeah?"

Cornette - "Yeah."

Bulldog - "Good... whew!"

Cornette - "What?"

Bulldog - "Nothing. I'm gonna go get ice for my arm. You want some?"

Cornette - "No thanks."

Bulldog - "Right. Later on, Jim."

With that, a relieved Davey Boy Smith left Cornette alone to finish. Sitting over the typewriter, Cornette let out a frustrated sigh...

Cornette - "Now what do I do?"

OVERALL RATING: 73%

J.R. - "Welcome back, folks. We're a man down after that unfortunate incident moments ago, but The King and I are still here and... well, the show must go on."

The King - "Before we get to our main event... J.R., what a show we're going to have next week!"

J.R. - "Indeed, King. As we learned earlier in the broadcast, James E. Cornette is going to name the number-one contender for the WWF Title at WrestleMania XIII."

The King - "Plus, the man who had that spot locked up and gave it up to go for... ugh, the ECW belt, 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin is going to be in action! As we just learned, ANYTHING can happen when this nut job is involved!"

J.R. - "If that wasn't enough insanity for you, former WWF champion Sycho Sid competes in singles competition!"

The King - "All this and a whole lot more, next week as we come to you from Worcester, Mass!"

J.R. - "...achusetts."

The King - "Gesundheit."

Fink - "The following contest is scheduled for ONE FALL and is the MAIN EVENT of the evening!"

Translator - "Der folgende wettbewerb wird für EINENFALL festgelegt und ist der HAUPTFALL des abends!"

Fink - "Introducing first, at a combined weight of 485 pounds, DOUG FURNAS AND PHILLIP LAFON!"

Translator - "Zuerst einführen, an einem kombinierten gewicht von 485, DOUG FURNAS AND PHILLIP LAFON!"

Crowd - "YAAH!"

Fink - "And their opponents, accompanied to the ring by Paul Bearer, at a combined weight of 572 pounds, THE EXECUTIONER and MAAAANKIIIND!"

Translator - "Und ihre konkurrenten, vorbei begleitet zum ring PAUL BEARER, an einem kombinierten gewicht von 572, THE EXECUTIONER and MANKIND!"

Crowd - "Booo!"

J.R. - "And here we go! Main event time here on Monday Night RAW!"

MATCH: Mankind & The Executioner (with Paul Bearer) vs. Doug Furnas & Phil LaFon

Furnas began the match for his team, as did the psychotic Mankind who continued to struggle with the pervasive ideation of Cactus Jack in his mind. Unable to fully focus, Mankind's match opening charge was easily sidestepped by the burly Oklahoman, sending him careening into the turnbuckle. Doug wasted absolutely no time in jumping on the opportunity, lighting Mankind up with a series of knife-edge chops to the chest. Despite the stinging pain, Mankind forged ahead and rushed Furnas again, only to be scooped up and planted with a vicious Samoan drop!

Mankind muscled out of a pin but Furnas continued to apply the pressure as he yanked him up off the mat by the hair and tossed him back into the turnbuckle. As he fired kick after kick to the gut, Furnas reached over to tag in LaFon. Now legal, Phil stepped through the ropes and joined his partner in stomping Mankind down, then pressed his back against the ropes and flung him across the ring. Furnas ducked his head and launched Mankind up with a back body drop. As the crazed freak sailed through the air, LaFon reached up and grabbed him by the tights, hurling him to the canvas even harder!

The referee was preoccupied with moving the illegal Furnas out of the ring and briefly missed LaFon's cover, giving Mankind some needed extra time to kick out of the pinfall. Still firmly in control, LaFon hammered Mankind with some punishing shots before snapping him over with a quick floatover suplex, picking up yet another near fall. Furnas called for the tag back in and decided to set up the team's assisted back body drop combo once more. Luckily for Mankind, when Furnas ducked his head he was able to blast him with a big front kick! Doug recoiled back... only to get splattered face first on the mat by a double arm DDT! LaFon was right there to break up a cover, but the deranged Mankind had bought himself the opportunity he had needed since the opening bell.

Mankind stood on wobbly legs and made a beeline towards his partner... only to stop mid-ring and turn in the other direction. He flailed around in agitation, clawing at his mask with his left hand while using his right hand to grab his wrist and pull his hand away. Eventually, he ended up in a neutral corner where he repeatedly and violently drove his head into the turnbuckle pad, resorting to self-abuse to quiet the voices inside. After a few sharp headbutts, he paused and shook his head, snapping back into coherence. He quickly scaled the ropes and dropped an elbow... but his internal strife had given Furnas enough time to come to and roll out of the way!

Both men began crawling for their respective corners with Furnas finishing first and tagging in LaFon. A double axehandle blow to the back halted Mankind's progress and allowed Phil to drag him back to his team's half of the ring. After a few hard stomps to the chest, LaFon pulled Mankind up and tagged in Furnas. As Furnas climbed through the ropes, Mankind was peppered with punches by LaFon, then sent spinning around by a big shove. He stopped, face-to-face with Doug who jumped up for a big huracanrana. Mankind dropped to a seated position, driving Doug down with a big surprise powerbomb!

Too out of it to hook a leg, Mankind again crawled to The Executioner, this time successfully tagging out. The masked headsman hurried into the ring but neglected to cover the downed Furnas for the pin. Instead, he pulled him up and pinned his arms behind his back, holding him in a vulnerable position as he shouted instruction to Mankind. With his sadistic tendencies overpowering his fatigue, Mankind pulled himself to his feet, crooked his hand in position and charged to apply the mandible claw! Just as he was set to drive his fingers down Furnas' throat... Executioner released his captive prey, ducked down and caught his charging partner with a spinebuster!

The stunned crowd were joined by Furnas and LaFon as they watched Executioner stand over Mankind, then calmly pull his glove off, revealing a heavily taped hand, particularly in regards to the thumb. Executioner raised his taped hand up to his face and tore off his mask, revealing the face of the one and only Terry Gordy!

Furnas and LaFon, having recognized Gordy from their extensive tours of Japan, immediately rushed in and charged him. LaFon met the big man first... only to run smack into the taped thumb as it stuck him hard in the throat! The crushing impact of the Asiatic Spike on his larynx caused the French-Canadian to drop in a coughing heap. Furnas suffered the same fate as he moved in, taking Gordy's bandaged thumb in the gullet and stopping dead in his tracks. After holding him by the throat briefly, he released Furnas, dumping his body on top of the fallen Mankind who lay unable to defend himself as the referee counted the controversial pin.

With the match over, Gordy pulled Furnas up by the hair and tossed him over the top rope, then stared down sinisterly at Mankind. He extended his thumb and took aim, looking for the windpipe. As he shot his hand forward... Mankind reached up and grabbed his wrist! with his free hand, Mankind plunged his fingers into Gordy's mouth, applying the mandible claw!

Gordy stumbled backwards as Mankind pulled himself up, then backed his former partner into the corner. As Gordy's head was forced back, Mankind's fingers dug deeper and deeper into the nerves running beneath his tongue. Seeing his only remaining clients fighting one another, Paul Bearer climbed onto the apron and ordered Mankind to stop. Mankind acknowledged him with a look, but cocked his head sharply and flashed him a toothless grin. He extended his thumb and forefinger at Bearer and squealed "BANG BANG" as the pallid mortician watched on in horror.

Seconds later... Mankind was blindsided from behind by a meaty running clothesline! The impact broke the mandible claw and sent him staggering out of the corner, stumbling straight into a brutal powerslam! As his every organ was jarred by the impact, Mankind only opened his eyes and peered through his mask's eyeholes... staring up at the menacing visage of "Dr. Death" Steve Williams. Williams began blasting him with vicious stomps to the face as Gordy rolled out of the ring. Howard Finkel stood to announce the final decision... only to be attacked by the Asiatic Spike himself!

OVERALL RATING: 71%, CROWD REACTION: 71%, MATCH QUALITY: 87%

The Executioner debuted his new "old school heel" gimmick, it got a positive response.

Steve Williams debuted his new "old school heel" gimmick, it got a positive response.

Phil LaFon gained overness from this match.

Doug Furnas gained overness from this match.

Mankind's turn was completed, and he is now a face.

Mankind gained overness from this turn.

Fink - "Here are your winn... EYAAAH!"

J.R. - "What the hell is going on?! The Executioner is TERRY GORDY?! Steve Williams?! What IS this?!"

The King - "I don't know, J.R., but I don't like it one bit!"

J.R. - "Oh, this is DEPRAVED! Why are these men doing this? To MANKIND, of all people?!"

INTERVIEW: Death Row with Paul Bearer

As Williams continued to stomp away at Mankind, Paul Bearer joined him in the ring, ripped off his jacket and threw it to the canvas. Gordy rejoined them moments later, armed with the timekeeper's chair...

Paul Bearer - "YES! YES! OH-H-H-H-H YESSSS! HAHAHAHAHAHA!"

J.R. - "My God!"

As Bearer turned back around, vividly emblazoned on the shirt draped across his chest... was the ECW logo...

Bearer - "Surprise, surprise, surprise! Mr. Heyman, consider this the FINAL payment, my good man. It's been a pleasure doing business with you."

J.R. - "Business? What is this?"

Bearer - "By now, you're probably all wondering exactly why 'Dr. Death' Steve Williams is here. Well... get used to seeing him, because he and 'Executioner' Terry Gordy aren't going ANYWHERE! Thanks to the good people at Extreme Championship Wrestling, this 6'1", 265 pound DEATH MACHINE... is all mi-i-i-i-ine! OH-H-H-H-H YES!"

Crowd - "BOOOOOOOO!"

Bearer - "And all it took was simply helping the ECW wrestlers break into In Your House. You would be amazed and how many security guards can be drawn away from their post by dragging a casket through an arena! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

J.R. - "Paul Bearer set that up?"

The King - "I TOLD YOU! I told you there had to be somebody on the inside!"

Bearer - "And all that was left was to destroy the man responsible for ruining the ECW's show last week... my Mankind. Mankind, you pathetic, sickening, retarded FREAK! LOOK AT YOU!"

As he shouted over the barely conscious Mankind, desperately begging for his "Uncle Paul" to help him, Bearer smirked... and fired a nasty gob of spit into his masked face! It would be the last image Mankind would see before being knocked unconscious by a skullcrushing blow to the head with the chair...

J.R. - "NO! NO! NOOO!"

Bearer - "Don't you forget, you quivering WORM! I know the TRUTH! I know what's under that mask. I've seen the face that you can't stand to see, Mankind! I'm finished with you, just like I was finished with The Undertaker! You two and your sad little 'psychological warfare'... take a look at what REAL DESTRUCTION LOOKS LIKE! No masks. No light shows. No creepy music. Dr. Death and The Executioner are just simply two BAD sons-of-bitches who'll KICK YOUR ASS!"

Crowd - "BOOOOOOOO!"

Bearer - "And who are YOU? Huh? Don't try me! I'm not afraid to turn these two loose on EVERYONE! 'Dr. Death' Steve Williams, 'The Executioner' Terry Gordy, and myself, Paul Bearer... we're putting EVERYONE in the World Wrestling Federation on notice! Pray! Pray for that phone call from the governor, because right now... you're ALL sitting on DEATH... ROW! OH-H-H-H-H-H YESSSSS!"

OVERALL RATING: 76%

Steve Williams gained overness from this segment.

J.R. - "Death Row?! Good Lord! Paul Bearer just put the entire WWF on notice!"

The King - "Dammit! Those ECW... aaaargh! They're gonna pay for this!"

J.R. - "Where... where are you going?!"

The King - "..."

J.R. - "Fans, we're all out of time! Join us next Monday night for another action-packed hour of Monday Night RAW! For... uh, Jim Ross, I guess... I'm good ol' J.R. saying good night from Berlin!"

OVERALL RATING: 73%

NIELSEN RATING: 4.66 (NITRO 6.82)

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Okay, so lemme just first say that I'm really enjoying this one thus far. Michaels leaving is definitely an interesting conundrum, and leaves you with a lot of interesting places to take this without HBK on the roster. It'll be especially interesting to see what you get up to as far as Bret is concerned, seeing as he's basically lost the person who took him through '97 here, and obviously Montreal won't be happening either, at least not in the same way. Perhaps, without Michaels, he'd even stay on and not sign with WCW, who knows? Yikes, a lot to think about, certainly. You've also got a good thing going with the ECW invasion, which is probably my favourite part of this diary thus far as you're treating the ECW crowd like a serious threat to the WWF, a ballsy move for sure and it keeps this angle from looking tame or from getting overshadowed by anything and everything else that's going on.

Okay, onto reviewing your Raw is War for this week, writing as I read...

- Firstly I've gotta say that I really dig the style you're using for your write-ups. It's very clear and easy to read, and the interaction between the announcers is very well realised. Usually I find having announcers in the write-ups doesn't serve much of a purpose, is often fairly arbitrary, and can even take away from the writing itself. But you've dealt with it very well, so kudos for that one.

- Gotta love evil bastard Cornette. You write characters pretty well, Cornette is especially well-realised here and he's going to dick Vader around in the run-up to WrestleMania it seems. I'll be interested to see what kind of match he's got going on, and who he's going to have challenge the big man. I'd imagine one of Camp Cornette, but you never know with him, do you?

- HHH retains, Bob Holly looks fairly good with all of the work on the knee, and the post-match interview lets everybody know just what HHH thinks of ECW and Shane-O in particular. Good times. It's interesting that you're keeping HHH in the picture, as you'd think the WWF would've been quite happy to bury him again after what just went down with Michaels. Good for him that he's surviving, mind.

- Owen doesn't want the title shot?! Interesting development, shows the duo are a real tag team and good friends at least, if maybe a little unrealistic. I mean, come on, this is the WWF title! Sure, he's beaten Bret like he said, but still... meh. Anyway, it'll be good to see what Davey has to say on the subject.

- Bret faces... Guido? Hmm, you'd have thought ECW would've sent one of the marquee players to face the Hitman, but whatever. Guido looked surprisingly good in this one, I figured it'd be a squash here, and Bret wins by DQ. Some good touches between Guido and Rich, I liked the image of Guido gesticulating at Bret and then playing innocent when Bret calls him on it, and Terry Funk appears to be on the WWF's side in this one. Fair enough for the time being, but I can see Funk's allegiance being called into question in the future.

- What the fuck is Pillman talking about? I have no idea, which is great, and that was a pretty good interview which got Pillman down well I thought. Sunny being all giggles at the thought of being a genius is nice, and I'm looking forward to seeing what Pillman's talking about.

- Sincere beats Funk, Funk isn't happy about it. Move along, nothing to see here.

- ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC segment there, segment of the night thus far. Austin is really well-written in this diary, fantastic portrayal of the sociopathic fuck on the rise here. It'll be interesting to see how you handle his development, 'cause IIRC he was still pretty much a heel at this point, and he went on to become the biggest babyface of the 90s. He's still clearly a heel right now, Stunning a helpless announcer and talking trash to Gorilla, and the Stunner on McMahon was a nice foreshadowing of a possible Austin/McMahon thing if you do decide to take the real-life route with Stone Cold.

- Haha... now that was good. I was a little unsure about Owen's actions earlier, but having Davey doing the same is gold. Pretty funny segment in light of the first one, and it certainly leaves Cornette in an interesting situation. Owen and Davey looking out for each other's feelings whilst still, sort of, thinking they're the superior one in the team is a nice touch, and who knows what Cornette is gonna do now? Triple threat match? Handicap? Definitely a lot of options here.

- Executioner turns on Mankind and kills everybody. Yikes. And there's Dr. Death! Geez, Williams and Gordy is a tag team and a half, they could pretty much go on a rampage through most of the roster at this point. Mankind's development into a crazy, crazy bastard is nice, and I really like the whole split personality thing you've got going on here with him. It's a nice way to introduce the Cactus Jack character to the WWF audience, and of course the ECW angle coming up should give you a lot of scope to play with Jack and Mankind. Bearer turning on Mankind struck me as a little odd, seeing as last week he seemed so anguished at the sight of the Mankind/Cactus struggle going on in his head, but I'll trust you on this one for now.

- Good promo from Bearer to close, and he's the one who's been helping ECW out. My money was on Gordy or Funk or somebody, but Bearer turning on the WWF in return for a new 'toy' in Williams makes a lot of sense.

Overall a damn good show, a couple of unusual leaps of logic but nothing too out-of-the-ordinary for the period, and I have faith everything will be ironed out in time. Really enjoying this one, C-MIL, it's a damn good read and I'm looking forward to the next installment.

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Im absolutely loving this diary man, top notch, with some great twists and turns along the way! Although, i hope its neither Owen nor Bulldog facing Vader at Wrestlemania, though i have a feeling it will actually be both!

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Great Raw, Easily the best one thus far. But the only thing I don't like is that Wrestlemania is like two shows away, And we only got one match set for it. I am seriously hoping the main event becomes a three way with Owen/Bulldog/Vader. Vader seems like he's turning into a face, And he could come out strong with a win over the champs. I loved the stuff with Owen/Bulldog here. It's alot better than what the WWF did with them when they teased the split. The Austin segment was great. I was surprised to see Vince coming off as a bit heelish, But Austin beating his ass was classic. Isee Death Row facing Mankind and Undertaker at Wrestlemania, With hopefully, Taker and Mankind winning. I didn't care for Guido being Bret's opponent, As he was nobody at the time, And I think Hart should have gone over him cleanly. Helmsley continues to be a good champ. Maybe he can defend the title at Wrestlemania against Mero, Goldust or Ahmed Johnson, Who haven't been doing anything? Keep up the good work.

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Williams and Gordy... ITS THE MOTHERFUCKING MIRACLE VIOLENCE CONNECTION~! My favourite tag team of all time right there, it don't get no better than that.

Another great show, I loved the interaction between the Camp Cornette guys but who is going to go on and face Vader now? Needs to be finalised pretty soon so you can actually get some build in for the match I'd imagine.

The Austin character continues to flourish and it'll be interesting to see where you go with from here.

Keep you up the good work.

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