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[1997-08-11-WWF-Raw] Shawn Michaels vs Mankind

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These two went all out and produced a near-PPV quality TV main event. All the insane asylum bumps you'd expect from these two and very effective in turning Shawn heel. We see the birth of DX here, long before it's called that of course, as HHH and Chyna come out to attack Mankind and Rick Rude hits Foley with a chair to secure the win for Shawn. Really, really good match.

 

Undertaker comes out to confront Shawn as the show goes off the air. Then Paul Bearer interrupts that on the Titantron to tell Undertaker the time is coming near. Kane is coming to make the Undertaker burn in hell! Lots of stuff shaping up in this segment.

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Well, Michaels wasn't full heel here as he gets dropped throat first on the railing. Some kid comes over to check on him and they have themselves a nice hug. His tights and boots are heelish. Big pop from the mandible claw. Sturdy WWF announce table. Triple H and Chyna out to watch. Hmmm. And Rick Rude too! Shawn wins but needs a lot out outside help.

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I don't think I'd ever seen this, but it was a borderline great match, probably Shawn's best of the year to date. They did multiple spots that you normally wouldn't see outside a PPV. Somehow, Shawn always dialed up his offense against Foley. And Mick really put some oomph behind his shots as well. The proto-DX stuff was fine, but honestly, I wanted the match to keep going.

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Fantastic match with wild out of control spots and Shawn showing his heel tendencies. This feels like a real hidden gem in Raw's history and the chemistry between these two continue to be exceptional. The elbow drop on the table, the backdrop on the table, and Foley getting his head bounced against the ring post were all sick spots. The genesis of DX emerges as Rick Rude is the insurance policy Shawn was talking about and HHH/Chyna are there for the proceedings as well. Taker comes out to confront Shawn but he gets stunted by a stern message from Paul Bearer and flames from Kane as we go off the air.

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Absolutely crazy balls-to-the-wall war--one of the most "extreme" matches in Raw history because this felt gritty and intense in a way that many garbage brawls fail at. Some cringeworthy bumps along the way, but they all feel organic as Michaels sort of has to fight to survive. It's not Mind Games, but give it more time and it wouldn't be far off. Triple H, Chyna, and the debuting Rick Rude all help Shawn win, though they're still giving lip service to ambiguity in each man's actions--JR for some reason thinks Rude may have been aiming for HHH with the chair, and Michaels reacts with confusion after winning. Then we get appearances by Undertaker and Paul Bearer--I'll be curious as to what led to Kane's debut being put off, because it sure seems like they're gearing up for him to debut at Ground Zero.

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I couldn't agree with PeteF3 more. It actually kind of felt like one of the 80s brawls from Memphis in comparison to what you usually see with this type of match in WWF. It seemed more reckless with punches and kicks, and the spots did not feel planned out. HBK bashing the back of Mankind's head against the ringpost was pretty crazy. This had a super violent feel to it. The action was fast, and you got the added interference segment with a mean looking chairshot from Rude. Sweet Chin Music gets HBK the win. Really enjoyed this one.

 

#449 - placetobenation.com/countdown-top-500-matches-of-the-90s-450-401/

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Shawn Michaels vs Mankind - WWF RAW 8/11/97

 

This RAW features one of my all-time favorite Shawn promo segments where he retorts to chants of "Shawn is gay" with "Ask your sister or your momma how gay I am!". Between that, his shots at Vince & Slaughter, his brashness towards Bret and Undertaker and just being a general dick, he could do no wrong on the mic. Shawn was God in 1997 in my book.

 

I could have sworn I seen this before, maybe they have another RAW match in September or October, BUT this was FREAKING AWESOME!!! WOW! Mark out city throughout. I was laughing at Jim Ross shilling Hardcore Heaven this Sunday on PPV featuring Lawler vs Dreamer and Vince being all uncomfortable. Shawn and Mankind just go balls to the wall here and have this sick, violent, chaotic brawl. Shawn is throwing nasty punches, over head elbows, eye gouges. This was a nasty Shawn Michaels. Mankind always is one to take a licking and here he was not afraid to dish one. Shawn had great counters for the Mandible Claw first was to go low with a ballshot, the second was to head outside and bash the back of Foley's head into the steel ring spot. There was the trash can in the beginning. That stiff right by Foley to Shawn on the baseball slide. The hotshot into the steel by Foley. Michaels insane elbow from the apron to Mankind on the uncleared announce table. Michales gets cut on the arm. Michaels rips off Foley's mask and mocks him with it. Michaels and Foley are both throwing themselves into these bumps. I think what I like most about this is how organic it feels. They tease HHH & Chyna as the insurance policy, but it is Rick Rude. Mankind gets a Double arm DDT for a nearfall before Rude SMASHES him in the head with a chair and Sweet Chin Music gives Michaels the victory. Awesome out of nowhere brawl!!! ****1/4

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Really good match. Mankind coming out with a trashcan is hilarious & the spots they work with it are really fun. At one point Mankind is wrestling with the trashbag over him like a poncho. All of the table spots are chaotic & brutal. Shawn's flying elbow is especially crazy. HHH & Chyna show up mid-match & Rick Rude shows up a few minutes later to some nice buzz in the building. Mankind makes a great comeback, but HHH trips him up & Rude wallops him with a sickening chairshot to the head. Sweet Chin Music from Shawn & it's over. After the match, Taker comes out to a big pop, but Bearer shows up on the screen screaming about Kane coming soon as the lights turn red & fire bellows out at the entrance. The show closes with a graphic of engulfing flames. Great main event with a hot post-match & strong build to Ground Zero & Kane's debut down the line.

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Man, we were really robbed by not getting a proper months long program between these two as they compliment each other well and have clear chemistry. Their match at Mind Games was one of the company's best and this is an excellent TV main event. Mankind comes down to the ring with a trash can, but he ends up getting nailed with it and has the bin bag over his head and I was kind of hoping he would wrestle the rest of the match rocking his trash bag poncho. Rick Rude makes his return as Shawn's insurance policy and he's clearly paid off as his whacks Foley with a brutal chair shot to allow HBK to steal the win. Undertaker attempts to come to the ring, but Paul Bearer appears on the Titantron and warns him that Kane is coming to the WWF to wrap up the episode. This short, wild and damn fine to close a TV show. 

★★¾

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