Elseworlds: 1996 WWF: January, Week 3, 1997

Not a hoax, not a dream, but definitely an imaginary story.

FMWFTW Usenet report posted:

Raw opens with Goldust and Taker in the ring. Goldust is already patting himself on the back saying that the tag titles are as good as his and come Rumble, he’ll finally get to have the Wrestlemania moment he’s always dreamed of. Jericho and Piper comes out to rebut as do Austin and HHH. All three teams stare each other down, doing nothing for the time being.

Robert Ford vs Ultimate Warrior
Robert Ford – announced as “Road Dogg Dudley” – came out for a match with the Dudleyz by his side. The moment the Ultimate Warrior’s music hit, he hightailed it out of the ring and tried to run through the crowd when Warrior ran down to the ring. The other Dudleyz stopped Road Dogg from running away and tried to give him some encouragement, which seemed to work as RD Dudley started walking back to the ring until Warrior started shaking the ropes. After some sterner and slightly abusive encouragement, Road Dogg returned into the ring and Warrior completely ran over him. Road Dogg constantly tried to crawl out of the ring, begging his fellow Dudleyz to help him out but they kept shouting… “encouraging” words at him. Warrior hits the Gorilla Press Powerslam and it’s over.

Backstage, ICP are cutting a promo on Kane. They explain that if Vampiro defeats Kane in a match tonight, ICP both get Kane alone in a ring on Sunday.

Kane vs Vampiro. Doink and ICP get in cheap shots on Kane behind the ref’s back. Eventually Kane can endure no more abuse, Vampiro hits the Vanpiro’s Bite chokeslam on Kane and Vampiro covers with his feet on the ropes for the win.

Pillman is backstage. Vince comes up and tells him that he has to defend his Pan-Am title belt at Royal Rumble if Pillman wants to be in the Rumble. Pillman begrudingly agrees. Both men were skilled off the cuff, but surprisingly Vince was the more skilled of the 2.

Royale Rumble Qualification Match: Liger vs Sione, Liger goes over. This was just like their matchup from a few weeks back, Liger using his agility to get the better of Sione, before hitting the SSP for 3.

Fresh Ass Interview Tent. Chris Candido is interviewed, and they each take turns mocking Ahmed Johnson as his words from the previous Raw are replayed on the Titantron. Candido takes a guess that he was challenged to a match at the Royal Rumble, and accepts.

Jake Roberts vs Marc Mero, Roberts goes over. This match was a mess, I think Roberts is somewhat “impaired”, if you pick up on what I’m putting down. Whatever, Roberts hit the DDT for 3.

We have come back to the backlit room. The old man with the frail voice is not sitting down anymore, but standing. He is in what looks like a metal cage, or a jail cell. “There’s not much time left for you now…” The old man raises his arm, and we can see the glint off a chainsaw’s blade. The chainsaw begins to run, and the old man runs it across the bars of the cage, the sparks briefly illuminating his face, still in the stocking. “6 days… that’s all you’ve got, Foley.” This dude kinda flubbed one of his lines a little, kinda weird considering how good he’s been lately.

The camera cuts to Vince’s office, as he talks to Mick Foley. They have just finished watching the pretape, and Vince is reacting in horror, while Foley is almost Zen in his concentration.
“You sure you’re ready for the Rumble? You sure you can handle that guy?”
“Oh, I know I can handle that guy. I know exactly what I can do to him.”
“…Well, uh, I guess that’s good.”

Stan Hansen/Skunkrocker, Hansen goes over. Hansen went through Skunk like wet tissue paper, and even though he got hit with the Skunk Spray while the ref was distracted by Cornette, he didn’t need his sight to drive through Skunkrocker with a Lariat for 3.

Backstage promo, as Gene Okerlund talks to Jim Cornette and Vader. Gene asks who Vader thinks will win the Rumble, and who he wants to win the Rumble. Vader says nobody can beat him so it doesn’t matter who wins the Rumble. The interviewer asks him about a few prospects, including Steve Austin, Bret Hart, Chris Jericho, and HHH. Vader brushes them all off. As well, the interviewer asks him about Stan Hansen, but before he can even finish the name, Cornette abruptly ends the interview. “MY CLIENT DOESN’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT THAT PIECE OF SHIT STAN HANSEN! NO MORE QUESTIONS!” Okerlund wasn’t up to snuff offscript, but Vader and Cornette did admirably.

Mark Henry vs. Scotty Bollea, 14. This barely made it past the opening bell, as Bollea turned to the crowd to flex and brag, leaving him open to a World’s Strongest Slam for 3.

Owen/Vader contract signing. Segment opens with Vince in the ring, which has a table set up with 2 contracts on it. Owen enters first, with Bret in tow. Vader enters second, with his entire entourage in tow. Just as Vader is sitting at the table, Hansen’s music hits, and he enters the ring, standing by Bret’s side, and staring Bulldog down. Off-mic, Vader has a heated argument with Cornette. Once the argument ends, Owen and Vader both look over the contracts, and sign them. Owen, Bret, and Hansen begin to leave peacefully, but Cornette’s Camp tries to ambush them. However, this is halted when Hansen, almost seeing the assault coming, turns around and stops Vader in his tracks with a devastating stare. Hansen, Owen, and Bret leave in peace, Hansen still staring Vader down. Afterwards, Vader and the rest of Cornette’s Camp leave, as Vader continues his argument with Cornette. Owen, Vader, and Cornette were excellent offscript, and Owen came off really well in this segment.

The Brave Lions(c) vs Two Man Power Trip vs Creature Feature
WWF Tag Team Titles
Three Way Dance

The match started with Taker, Jericho, and HHH in the ring. Taker and Jericho do the bulk of the brawling, with HHH sneaking in shots and breaking up pins. When Taker sets up Jericho for the Last Ride, HHH uses this opportunity to roll up Taker.

1…2, Taker reverses the rollup into the modified choke we saw him use at Survivor Series. JR describes the hold as “tighter than the gates of Hell” and it certainly looks like it, as Hunter almost passes out before a Lionsault breaks the hold.

HHH crawls to his corner and tags Austin in, who proceeds to clean house, stomping a mudhole into Jericho and walking it dry before sizing up The Undertaker for a Stunner. Austin goes for the Stunner, Taker reverses into a Chokeslam!

1…2, Austin kicks out. Jericho is just getting up from the mudhole stomping, and hits the ropes, going for a running clothesline on Taker. Taker scouts this, too, and goes for another chokeslam!

1…2, Jericho kicks out. Taker drags Jericho to his feet, and puts Jericho on his shoulder, about to set up the Tombstone before Austin clobbers him with a chair. Taker falls, hitting Jericho with a front powerslam of sorts.

1, Austin breaks the pin, and pins Taker.

1…2…2.9, Jericho staggers to life, and rolls up Austin as Taker crawls to his corner. Taker can’t quite crawl fast enough, so since the ref is busy counting the pin, Goldust claps loudly and enters the ring.

1…2…2.9, Goldust breaks the pin, and sets to both other men, clobbering Austin and Jericho with punches before dropping to his knees, hitting both men in the groin, and setting them up for a double DDT. He drops them down, and covers Austin, as Jericho crawls to tag in Piper.

1…2…2.9, Austin kicks out as Piper comes in, and immediately sets to Goldust, the two men exchanging jabs until Goldust gets the advantage, getting in a good chain of 9 jabs before inhaling and running his hands up his chest in preparation for #10. Piper cuts him off with a poke to the eyes just when Goldust is about to exhale, and follows that up with an inverted atomic drop, before cinching in the Sleeper.

As Goldust struggles against the hold, Austin is able to tag in HHH, who chop blocks Piper, forcing him to break the Sleeper. As Goldust writhes on the ground, HHH stomps on Piper’s now injured leg a few times before chasing Goldust. Goldust is able to get the tag to Taker as Piper gets the tag to Jericho. Taker runs at HHH, to attempt the jumping clothesline, but HHH dodges, and it hits the entering Jericho instead. HHH turns his attention back to Goldust, and drags him to the top. Taker and Jericho begin to brawl, Jericho going for kicks to Taker’s legs. Jericho wears Taker down, Dragon Screws him, and lays in the Liontamer. Taker struggles against the hold, eventually overpowering Jericho, and hitting the Last Ride, though his legs give out partway through the elevation, so it’s not from the height it could be.

1…2…2.9, Jericho kicks out. As HHH sets up Goldust for the Superplex, Jericho continues to brawl with the Deadman. HHH tries to lift Goldust for the superplex, but Goldust blocks it, before headbutting HHH and setting up a superplex of his own. Goldust superplexes HHH to the outside, and it seems both men are down! Austin runs to the aid of his partner, but to no avail.

1…2…2.9, Taker sits up! Jericho tags in Piper, who goes for a double axehandle off the top as Taker staggers to his feet, wincing with every step, Jericho waiting in the corner. The axehandle connects, leaving Taker doubled over. Austin is still on the outside, trying to revive HHH. Jericho runs from the corner, jumps onto Taker, and hits the Canadian Destroyer, driving Taker’s head to the mat. Piper covers as Jericho dives to the outside onto Austin.

1…2…3! The Brave Lions retain the WWF Tag Team Titles. They begin to celebrate as Austin, HHH, and Goldust start to rush the ring.

In a fit of rage, Austin and HHH dump everybody out of the ring, over the top rope, before standing tall to end Raw. Just before Raw goes off the air, we can see Austin and HHH glancing at each other suspiciously.

This was a good show, but continues the WWF’s B- streak. Hopefully the Rumble will break it… in a good way, of course.