WWF Monday Night RAW Review: January 27th, 1997
Last week, we witnessed Stone Cold Steve Austin, Bret “The Hitman” Hart, Vader & The Undertaker brawling against each other, taking it up a notch & closing the show by representing the main theme of The Attitude Era- Chaos.
Also, unlike Brock Lesnar & Roman Reigns “tugging” it out for a championship belt amongst each other (remember that?), last week’s show actually showed us how to pull off ambiguous endings perfectly.
For those who have no idea about what went down during last week’s show, (20th January 1997) you can check my exclusive recap by clicking here.
Nevertheless, will this week’s RAW (27th January 1997) live up to all the high expectations established a week before?
In order to find an answer to that question, let’s throw ourselves (once again) into the crazy, upside down world of the WWF where chaos is indeed, a synonym for stability…
1) Crush (w/ Nation of Domination) vs. Ahmed Johnson.
2) The British Bulldog (w/ Owen Hart & Clarence Mason) vs. Doug Furnas (w/ Phil Lafon).
3) Mankind & Vader (w/ Paul Bearer) vs. Henry & Phinneas Godwinn.
Nation of Domination & Ahmed Johnson: Rivals Forever.
MATCH #1: CRUSH (w/ Nation of Domination) vs. AHMED JOHNSON.
Throughout my weekly recaps, I have noticed that both The Nation of Domination & Ahmed Johnson have been battling it out with each other since eternity, that too, without any proper conclusion.
Johnson gets screwed every time, The Nation SCREWS him every time & whenever Ahmed Johnson gets some sort of revenge, it doesn’t really matter- because next week, the whole process starts all over again.
This is like a Marvel movie, except nobody wants another sequel...
The Nation of Domination is a very well-known stable now. But if you watch their ‘96/early ’97 stuff on a weekly basis, one can easily see that the Nation come off as a mid-card version of the N.W.O.
Just like their feud, this match works on the basis of what I like to call- “The Johnson formula”.
Ahmed Johnson will get some preliminary offense in order to yield some early crowd cheers. Then, his opponent will go for Johnson’s “lacerated kidney” (as McMahon puts it) which will indirectly slow the pace down. Throughout the remainder of this slow-paced section- Johnson will be in pain. By that, I mean that those four letters (PAIN) will figuratively ooze out of Ahmed Johnson’s body. At last, Johnson will make his comeback, & then the finish will happen.
A pretty standard mechanism, which gets tiring to watch week after week.
One important story also plays into their feud this week. You see, in Madison Square Garden last Saturday- Johnson teamed up with Savio Vega to face Crush & Farooq from N.O.D.
Unexpectedly, Vega betrayed Johnson, which allowed N.O.D to pick up an easy victory.
So throughout this match, the commentators are plugging that revelation, pointing out that Ahmed cannot perform at his 100% capability after what went down on Saturday. Ahmed less than his “usual” 100% does nothing but pours more tar over this bout’s progress.
One interesting moment in this pretty standard Ahmed Johnson match happens when commentators note that Farooq seems to be barking orders from the entrance ramp. What struck me as comical is that when the camera finally pans to the entrance ramp, we see Farooq masked in shadow, partially standing between the slits of a huge RAW logo that replaces today’s mini-titantron.
It looks like N.O.D’s own leader is too “chicken” to come out & be with his teammates.
As described above, this match follows “The Johnson Formula” up until its climax, where the Nation’s leader (Farooq) finally comes out of the backstage area and pushes Ahmed Johnson from behind, sending him crashing into the steel steps.
Farooq rolls Johnson into the ring, unbeknownst to the referee. Crush puts down the ex-NFL star with a “Heart Punch”, or what fans usually call a “normal punch to the heart which only hurts ten-times more because it is a finisher”.
That’s it. Crush wins the match. N.O.D celebrate whilst the crowd hurl garbage into the ring.
RESULT: Crush wins the match via pinfall.