Monday Night Raw – January 20, 1997: Bret Is Screwed

Monday Night Raw
Date: January 20, 1997
Location: Montagne Center, Beaumont, Texas
Attendance: 4,834
Commentators: Vince McMahon, Jerry Lawler

We’re past the Rumble and Shawn Michaels is the WWF Champion once again. The main story though is that Austin won the Royal Rumble despite being eliminated by Bret earlier on in the match. Bret is rightly angry and odds are he’ll have something to say about that tonight. We’re on the way to Wrestlemania now and things are about to get awesome. Let’s get to it.

We open with the announcers narrating a video on last night’s show, focusing on the two main events.

Here’s a ticked off Bret to open the show. He starts yelling at Vince for lying about Bret getting a title shot if he beat Stone Cole. Bret got his shot but as luck would have it, Shawn Michaels was on commentary for the title shot and cost Bret the title. Then he had to beat 29 other guys in the Rumble, but even after winning that he still doesn’t get a world title shot. The way Bret sees it, he’s been screwed by Shawn, Austin, the WWF and Vince himself. Since he isn’t going to get a title shot, Bret quits and leaves through the crowd.

This immediately brings out Austin whose mic doesn’t work. He threatens to equipment guy with violence for giving him a bad mic before telling Hart to quit whining and go back to Canada. As for Austin, he’s been ripped off for six years and tonight he’s being screwed over again by Gorilla Monsoon. Gorilla has made Austin vs. Undertaker tonight because Sid has a concussion, so Austin has some bananas to stick somewhere on Gorilla.

Vince walks out of commentary to find Bret.

British Bulldog/Owen Hart vs. Doug Furnas/Phillip LaFon

Owen and the Bulldog are tag champions but this is non-title. LaFon starts with Owen as they trade some wristlock counters. They run the ropes a bit before Phillip superkicks Owen down and tags in Furnas. Doug gets two off a quick belly to belly before Owen comes back with a spinwheel kick for no cover. Off to Bulldog who walks into a hurricanrana before it’s back to Lafon. Bulldog pounds away but gets caught by some kicks to the ribs and a jawbreaker for two.

The non-champions work on Bulldog’s leg but a blind tag brings in Owen for a missile dropkick for two on Furnas. Back from a break with Owen dropping an elbow on Furnas for two but the Sharpshooter is blocked. Hart breaks up a hot tag attempt but gets caught by a cross body for two.

Bulldog comes back in with the delayed vertical suplex for two of his own as the match continues its slow pace. Back to Owen for a chinlock before he misses a top rope splash. A double tag brings in Bulldog and LaFon with the powerlifter LaFon snapping off suplexes. LaFon is on a roll but Owen blasts him in the face with a Slammy, allowing Bulldog to hit the powerslam for the pin.

Rating: C-. This wasn’t bad but it never really got going. Furnas and LaFon are very talented but they never reached their potential in WWF. Both guys were better showcased in Japan where they had the time and platform to show how good they really were. Owen and Bulldog were pretty good tag champions but the lack of competition hurt them a lot.

Video of Shawn’s entrance last night.

Video of Ahmed Johnson chasing Faarooq out of the Rumble last night.

Bart Gunn vs. Faarooq

This is when the Nation was still Faarooq, Crush and Savio with other unnamed guys (D’Lo Brown, PG-13 and others). Faarooq runs Bart over as JR makes fun of the Robin Hood episode of Nitro. Bart cranks on the arm with a hammerlock and drives knees into the arm. We take a break and come back with Faarooq stomping away and hitting a powerslam for two. Off to a chinlock on Gunn followed by some stomping for two. Gunn ducks a top rope shoulder block and gets a quick two off a bulldog. Bart has to go after the rest of the Nation and Faarooq gets in a cheap shot on the floor. Back in and the Dominator ends Gunn.

Rating: D. This was a long squash which didn’t accomplish much. The Smoking Gunns being broken left Bart with nothing at all to do other than job until the Brawl For All. Nothing to see here though as Ahmed vs. Faarooq is delayed even longer than the months we’ve already had to endure it.

Here’s Vince with Commissioner Gorilla Monsoon. Gorilla can’t change the winner of the Royal Rumble, but Austin isn’t going to be getting the title match at Wrestlemania that easily. Instead at In Your House there’s going to be a four way No DQ match for the world title match at Wrestlemania. The participants: Undertaker, Vader (both were illegally eliminated by Austin), Austin and Bret Hart.

This brings out Austin who says you can’t have a fourway match with Bret having walked out. There’s no instant replay in the WWF so you can’t keep Austin from his title shot at Wrestlemania. Austin gets in Monsoon’s face before yelling at Vince instead. Bret comes back through the card and the fight is on with Austin. Hart takes over and rams him into the steps as we take a break.

Undertaker vs. Steve Austin

Bret brawls with Undertaker during his entrance but Austin jumps Taker as Hart is taken away by the referees. They head inside with Austin stomping away before having his head slammed into the mat. Old School connects and Austin is in trouble in the corner. Austin comes back with a neckbreaker and kicks Undertaker down during the situp. Austin chokes away on the ropes and rams Taker face first into the buckle.

A clothesline gets two on Taker as Lawler screams at Austin to work on Taker’s injured ribs. Instead it’s off to a chinlock as Lawler is now at ringside shouting about the ribs. Taker hits Austin low but Austin hits the Stunner out of nowhere for no cover. We cut to the back where Vader and Bret are being pulled apart. We take a break and come back with Austin pounding away on a downed Taker. Austin goes up and gets crotched but finally listens to the King and goes after the ribs to maintain control. Taker comes back with a clothesline but here’s Vader for the DQ.

Rating: D+. This was ok but the Lawler stuff was kind of distracting. Since when has he either cared about Austin or gotten involved in something like this? That and the ending was disappointing but understandable given the match that was just announced. Austin and Undertaker never had good chemistry either and it really shows at times.

Bret comes out as well and a long brawl ends the show.

Overall Rating: D+. They really need another hour at this point as they’re still having a ten minute squash featuring Bart Gunn instead of anything else. The main event stuff is interesting but they have to fly through it along with several other stories in order to make things fit. Also, where was Shawn the night after he won the world title in his hometown? Not a good show but once it hits two hours things should be stronger.

Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and pick up my new book on the History of Starrcade from Amazon for just $4 at:

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