#25. THE NINETH WONDER OF THE WORLD
February 19, 1997 -- Nashville, TN
Chyna burst on the scene in a big way on this night. Running out of the crowd, she blindsided Goldust's valet Marlena (a.k.a. Terri), manhandling her like a ragdoll. Fans were taken aback by the freakishly muscular woman, who revealed herself to be the bodyguard of Hunter Hearst Helmsley.
#26. BIRTH OF A TITLE
March 3, 1997 -- Berlin, Germany
The European Championship was the first new WWE title in 18 years, and it was fitting that the tournament final to crown the first champion took place in Europe. In this classic encounter, Tag Team co-Champions Owen Hart and the British Bulldog took each other to the limit, but it was Bulldog who triumphed.
#27. RAW IS WAR
March 10, 1997 -- Worcester, MA
As sonn as fans heard the opening guitar chords of Marilyn Manson's "The Beautiful People" instead of the usual Monday Night RAW theme, they knew something big was happening. The new opening featured Stone Cold Steve Austin walking through a flaming warehouse as various Superstars did battle all around him. The show that followed represented a dramatic change in the direction for WWE. Now two hours instead of one, fans were treated to a much edgier show than they had seen before. An entire program of pay-per-view quality matches, a brand new set complete with ramp and TitanTron, and best of all, an edgier, grittier feel that permeated everything.
The show was reborn as RAW IS WAR. With the WWE/WCW ratings war leaning more and more in favor of Ted Turner's company, the time had come to send a message, and this show was it. Now it was time to fight back. The phenomenon of Monday Nitro now had some competition to be feared. Although the term wasn't being used yet, it was on this night that "Attitude" was born.
#28. THE HIT MAN SPEAKS HIS MIND
March 17, 1997 -- Worcester, MA
In a precursor of things to come, Bret Hart and Vince McMahon nearly came to blows on this unforgettable episode. After losing a cage match to WWE Champion Sycho Sid due to outside interference from Steve Ausin, a frustrated Hart let loose on the mic with a tirade of uncensored profanities the likes of which had never been heard on a WWE broadcast. When Vince McMahon tried to calm him, Bret angrily shoved him down on the mat.
#29. HART TO HART
March 31, 1997 -- Rockford, IL
In the wake of WrestleMania 13, Bret Hart had become the most hated man in WWE. Bashing America and glorifying his native Canada, Bret had few friends left. To better insulate himself, he turned to his fellow Canadians and family members---brother Owen, brothers-in-law Jim Neidhart & British Bulldog, and family friend Brian Pillman. After a tearful reunion between Bret and Owen, the new Hart Foundation was born.
#30. AMBULANCE RIDE TO HELL
April 21, 1997 -- Binghamton, NY
The bitter war between Bret "Hit Man" Hart and Stone Cold Steve Austin was in full swing, and as a result, Austin had bcome the hottest Superstar in the company. After Stone Cold assaulted Bret on RAW, the injured Hit Man was loaded into an ambulance. As the ambulance pulled away from the arena, it was revealed that Austin had commandeered the vehicle! The Rattlesnake proceeded to continue the beating on the helpless Hart.
#31. J.R. FEELS FOLEY'S PAIN
June 9, 1997 -- Hartfor, CT
It was designed as a promotional piece to help fans better understand the real man behind the deranged Mankind. In a special interview, Jim Ross questioned Mankind about his past, revealing him for the first time to be Mick Foley of Long Island, New York, and discussing in-depth his childhood love of wrestling and the ordeals that transformed him into the strange individual he later became. But the interview soon got just a little too personal for Mick's taste. When J.R. probed a little too deeply, Foley exploded, trapping the annoucner in his dreaded mandible claw hold.
#32. THE SUMMER OF LOVE
July 14, 1997 -- San Antonio, TX
Fans had long known Mick Foley in his WWE persona Mankind. But on this night, they would become acquainted with the persona that was closest to Foley's heart: Dude Love, the character he portrayed in his childhood wrestling fantasies. When Stone Cold Steve Austin--one half of the WWE Tag Team Champions--was forced to find a partner to replace his injured teammate Shawn Michaels, Dude Love stepped up to the plate. Austin and Love teamed for the first time to beat Owen Hart & The British Bulldog, solidifying their claim as Tag Team Champions.
#33. THE STUNNER HEARD 'ROUND THE WORLD
September 22, 1997 -- New York, NY
There is a lot of debate over exactly when the much-remembered Stone Cold Steve Austin/Vince McMahon rivalry actually began. A damn good case could be made for this edition of RAW IS WAR, the first ever to be held in Madision Square Garden, WWE's tradtional home arena.
Upset ober having been stripped of the Intercontinental Championship and denied a timely return to the ring due to his neck injury, Steve Austin was fighting mad. He made a scene in the middle of the Garden that eventually caused the NYPD to fill the ring and take Austin into custody. It was then that Vince McMahon--still the smiling, stately WWE TV announcer--intervened on Austin's behlaf, persuading the cops to let him go.
But Stone Cold wasn't to happy with Vince's insistence that Austin "play by the rules" and not make any more trouble. His response was to do the unthinkable, and give Vince McMahon a Stone Cold Stunner!
The crowd erupted wildly as Vince writhed on the mat and Austin taunted him. Never before had a Superstar put his hands on the owner. Before long, the more sinister side of Vince McMahon would become known to everyone, and all hell would break loose. The first shot of the war had been fired.
September 22, 1997 -- Binghamton, NY
Mick Foley's tie-dyed alter-ego Dude Love was slated to lock up with Hunter Hearst-Helmsley in New York's Madison Square Garden. But when Dude Love was seen on the TitanTron, his other personality, Mankind, was seated next to him. Both claimed that as much as they'd each like to batter Triple H, there was somebody better equipped to accomplish the task. As the crowd looked on in bemused disbelief, Cactus Jack--the character Foley had portrayed prior to his WWE days--made his way into the frame. Despite Chyna's liberal interference during the match, Cactus eventually piledrove Triple H through a table, falling on top of the "Cerebral Assassin" to cap a triumphant return.
#35. ENTER THE D-GENERATES
October 13, 1997 -- Topeka, KS
After Shawn Michaels blew his nose on the Canadian flag, Calgary native Bret "Hit Man" Hart branded the Heartbreak Kid and his cohorts "D-Generates." Instead of acting insulted, Shawn declared that his "Kliq" had a new nickname: D-Generation X. As the night wore on, the group did their best to live up to the new moniker. Michaels swiped announcer Vince McMahon's headset, while Triple H commandeered Jim "J.R." Ross's microphone. Rick Rude fed his pals bananas during their play-by-play, as Chyna glared menacingly into the camera. Later on, when Michaels locked up with Flash Funk, the troop invaded the ring, with Helmsley making the three-count, Chyna ringing the bell, and Rude declaring the Heartbreak Kid victorious. Then, Shawn introduced the world to D-Generation X's signature crotch chop.
#36. "BRET SCREWED BRET"
November 17, 1997 -- Cornwall, Ontario Canada
As the wrestling world was buzzing over Bret "Hit Man" Hart's dressing room attack on Vince McMahon after the recent Survivor Series, McMahon, in a stunning interview, went out of character to discuss his side of the story. He explained that Hart had recently chosen to leave WWE for rival WCW, but that the Hit Man had refused to live up to wrestling's "time-honored" tradition in his WWE Championship bout with Shawn Michaels--a man Hart was said to personally detest away from the ring.
Because of Hart's obstinacy, McMahon claimed that he was forced to take drastic measures. As Michaels had Hart tied up in the Sharpshooter, McMahon demanded that the timekeeper ring the bell, and the audience was told that Bret submitted. Later in the dressing room, a furious Hart slugged the WWE owner. Sporting a black eye, McMahon claimed that he'd suffered a concussion and some lingering vision loss. But he stressed that he didn't regret his decision. Hart should have lost the title cleanly to Michaels, he insisted, in order to prove his devotion to the industry.
McMahon conceded, "I'm not perfect," and told fans that he took full responsibility for the circumstances surrounding the Hit Man's loss. But when confronted with the allegation that he'd "screwed" the dethroned titlist, McMahon emphatically stated, "Bret screwed Bret."
#37. I WILL CALL HIM...MINI-HIT MAN!
November 24, 1997 -- Fayetteville, NC
Even when Bret Hart departed from WWE, his old nemesis, Shawn Michaels, continuted to fire volleys at him. During a D-Generation X appearance, the crew promised to bring out the Hit Man. When "Hart" finally surfaced, fans were shocked to see a midget dressed like the former champion. Mocking the events of the past Survivor Series, Michaels locked the imitator in a Sharpshooter. After the mini Hit Man "submitted," he declared Michaels the greatest wrestler ever.
#38. SABLE IN A SACK
December 8, 1997 -- Portland, ME
Prior to a match against Salvatore Sincere, Marc Mero took the microphone and began educating fans on insider wrestling terminology. He called Sincere a "jobber" and "jabroni," then revealed that the buffed youngster had previously been known as Tom Brandi. Mero also demanded that his sexy valet Sable cover herself with a potato sack. Sable's response was slipping off the covering, revealing the skimpiest outfit ever seen on WWE television. With Mero looking on in disbelief, Sincere dropkicked him out of the ring.
#39. GOLD MEETS WATER
December 15, 1997 -- Durham, NH
After Stone Cold Steve Austin forfeited the WWE Intercontinental Championship to Rocky Maivia, the Texas Rattlesnake refused to deliver the title to the new kingpin. Instead, Austin was seen on the TitanTron, taunting his rival from a nearby bridge. Austin announced that he was hurling some items into the river specifically for his opponent: a scuba mask, snorkel, regulator, air tank, flippers, cell phone and beeper. As Maivia watched the tirade from the arena, Stone Cold hurled the Intercontinental title from the bridge.
#40. CHRISTMAS HAMS
December 22, 1997 -- Lowell, MA
It was DX's Christmas present to the world--Shawn Michaels and Triple H clad only in misteltoe-laden thongs. Fed up with his latest DX antic, then-WWE Commissioner Sgt. Slaughter reminded Michaels that he had not defended his European Championship in ages. In a ploy to cause dissension within the renegade group's ranks, he ordered Michaels to put up the Eurpoean Championship against his pal Triple H. Thinking one step ahead of Slaughter, the duo stepped through the ropes, and staged a make-believe match, exaggerating their movements and gestures. Finally, Michaels fells to the mat and allowed Hunter to pin him. Triple H then began threatrically crying, claiming that the win represented the most important moment of his life.
#41. "CRAPPER 3:16"
December 29, 1997 -- Uniondale, NY
Spectators were bewildered when Goldust and his devious companion Luna Vachon came to the ring, with the Flamboyant One decked out in a diaper and baby bonnet. He then proclaimed that he had a special present for Stone Cold--a shiny thong bikini. Goldust suggested playing dress-up--he would be Barbie, Austin would be Ken. Suddenly, Austin barged onto the scene, lowering his own gift from the ceiling: a large, cloth-draped object. Unveiling the present, Austin presented Goldust with a portable toilet labled "Crapper 3:16." Goldust attacked, but Austin zapped him with a Stone Cold Stunner, shoved him in the outhouse, and tipped it over.
#42. IRON MIKE VS. STONE COLD
Janyary 19, 1998 -- Fresno, CA
Mike Tyson's involvement in WWE was responsible for a surge in new sports-entertainment fans. But, because of Stone Cold Steve Austin, the marriage almost didn't take place. Tyson was scheduled to serve as a "special enforcer" for the upcoming WrestleMania XIV main even between Austin and Shawn Michaels. But as Tyson was telling a RAW audience about Bruno Sammartino, Nikolai Volkoff and other childhood wrestling heroes, Austin stormed in the ring. A bewildered Tyson offered to shake hands, but Stone Cold refused. Instead, he went on a rant about the boxer's shortcomings. "I respect what you've done Mike," Austin said. "But you're out here calling yourself the 'baddest man on the planet.' RIght now, you got your beady little eyes locked on the eyes of the world's toughest son of a bitch." Aftfer vowing that he could beat Tyson in a one-on-one confrontation, Austin flipped the guest a double-bird.
Up to this point, Tyson had been relatively restrained. But now, he advanced on Stone Cold, and was prompty shoved to the mat. Chaos ensued. Wrestlers, officials, and members of Tyson's entourage piled into the ring and separated the two antagonists. As Austin and Tyson struggled to break free and rip into each other, WWE owner Vince McMahon focussed his ire on Stone Cold. Flailing his arms and kicking at the WWE Superstar, McMahon shouted, "You ruined it! You ruined it, damn it!" With his son Shane holding him back, McMahon continuted to rage, fearful that Stone Cold's erratic personality had destroyed this marketing opportunity.
#43. DUMPSTER-DIVING WITH CACTUS AND THE FUNKER
February 2, 1998 -- Indianapolis, IN
When Cactus Jack challenged his best friend, Chainsaw Charlie (a.k.a. the legendary Terry Funk) to a no-holds-barred skirmish, both men brought dumpsters full of weapons to the ring. After bashing each other with ladders, garbage cans and an assortment of other lethal objects, Cactus backdropped Funk into a dumpster, climbed the TitanTron, and dropped an elbow into the garbage bin. Then, suddenly, Billy Gunn and the Road Dogg appeared, shutting the lid of the dumpster, wheeling it off stage and sending it plummeting to the arena floor.
#44. TYSON + DX = RATINGS
March 2, 1998 -- Cleveland, OH
With WrestleMania XIV looming, speculation swirled over whose side "special enforcer" Mike Tyson would favor. Unexpectedly, Shawn Michaels announced that he was issuing a challenge to the celebrated pugilist. As the pair squared off, the Heartbreak Kid grabbed Tyson by the shirt and tugged. Underneath, the boxer was wearing a D-Generation X T-shirt. Soon, Triple H and Chyna joined the pair in the ring, as a beaming Tyson stood in the middle of the unit, doing the crotch chop.
#45. THE DEADMAN RETURNS
March 2, 1998 - Cleveland, OH
The last time anyone saw Undertaker he was being destroyed by his brother Kane, who attacked him during his casket match against Shawn Michaels for the WWE Championship. Kane, making his much-awaited WWE debut, choke-slammed 'Taker into the casket, then set it ablaze. As Kane was set to face Stone Cold Steve Austin this night, he attacked a fan, then hauled the timekeeper and the bell into the ring as Paul Bearer aSked for a 10-bell saulte for the supposedly deceased Undertaker. Kane choke-slammed the timekeeper, but then the lights went out, and another more ominous bell began to toll. A casket appeared on the stage, which was struck by a bolt of lightning, revealing Undertaker lying atop it. 'Taker then said he would do what he vowed never to do--fight his brother at WrestleMania and leave him to "rest in peace."
March 17, 1998 - Phoenix, AZ
In between bodyslams and hurricanranas, the fans were entertained by the presence of the NBA's Phoenix Suns cuddly mascot arriving via the ceiling of the arena. The fluffy gorilla then amused the audience even further by putting on an "Austin 3:16" T-shirt. But in the dark recesses of the dressing room, Kane wasn't laughing. Interrupting the show, the masked man put a damper on the fun by choke-slamming the gorillan, then laying him out with a Tombstone piledriver.
#47. THE KID COMES BACK
March 30, 1998 - Albany, NY
In the early 1990s, WCW raided a good portion of WWE's talent. But by 1998, many of those who'd jumped ship in search of larger paydays had grown disenchanted. Sean Waltman (formerly known as the 1-2-3 Kid) decided to use his return from WCW exile to voice his feelings about this situation. After ripping into WCW head Eric Bischoff and the organization's most recognizable star Hollywood Hulk Hogan, Waltman began talking about friends still under contract to the rival group: Scott Hall (former Razor Ramon) and Kevin Nash (who'd wrestled as Diesel when he'd held the WWE Championship). The way Waltman described it, Nash and Hall were virtually being held hostage by WCW. He claimed that, if not for their iron-clad agreements with the company, the two would immediately defect to WWE. To fans both in the arena and watching at home, it was obvious that the Superstar--who was now calling himself X-Pac--was speaking for his heart, as opposed to delivering explosive oratory simply to garner publicity. As the night wore on, there was another shocking suprise. As a cage match between the New Age Outlaws (Billy Gunn & Road Dogg) and Cactus Jack & Chainsaw Charlie (Terry Funk) was winding to a close, Cactus attempted to exit the enclosure. Suddenly, Waltman leaped forward, bashing Foley in the head with a chair. Then, Triple H and Chyna also partook in the proceedings. When Road Dogg pinned Cactus Jack, the Outlaws became the new WWE Tag Team Champions--and announced that they, along with Waltman, were officially joining DX.
#48. AUSTIN GOES CORPORATE
April 6, 1998 - Syracuse, NY
Hoping to suppress Stone Cold Steve Austin's uncontainable style, Vince McMahon demanded that the Texas Rattlesnake act more like a "Corporate Champion." It seemed like Austin was willing to go along with this plan when he came to the ring in a suit and tie. McMahon appeared satisfied, and Austin asked if he was interesting in taking a photo together. Vince gleefully agreed--before Austin hit him with a low blow and elated the fans by ripping off the suit.
#49. THE DUDE SNAPS
April 13, 1998 - Philadelphia, PA
Knowning how badly McMahon wanted to hurt him, Austin agreed to a match with a unique stipulation: he'd battle the company owner with one arm tied behind his back. McMahon seemed to derived unusual pleasure from watching his flunkies, Gerry Briscoe and Pat Patterson, bind Stone Cold's limb. Then unexpectedly, Mick Foley--in his Dude Love persona--came down to the ring. At first, fans expected the playful character to entertain them. However, when Dude Love disabled Austin with the dreaded Manible Claw, the party abruptly ended.
#50. HARDCORE HEAVEN
May 4, 1998 - Richmond, VA
Perhaps the wildest clash between Mick Foley and Terry Funk, a Falls-Count-Anywhere Match, featured a brawl through the crowd and into the concession area. There, Foley slammed a hot dog vendor. Then, Funk climbed to an upper level and delivered a moonsault onto both his foe and the hot dog salesman. By the time the battle ended, Stone Cold Steve Austin had interfered; Foley punished special referee Pat Patterson with the Mandible Claw; and Vince McMahon danced with Dude Love's shapely "Dudettes."