Welcome back in time to 1996 for the ongoing saga of the WWF’s television shows and PPV events from that year. We’re currently on the road to WrestleMania with Shawn Michaels celebrating his victory at the Royal Rumble, Bret Hart defending the WWF Title against Undertaker and Diesel, two men who are feuding themselves, Goldust’s homosexually-charged campaign against Razor Ramon has gained him the Intercontinental Title, and Sunny continues to be pushed as the sex symbol of the company.
The highlight of the last week’s shows was Vader going absolutely nuts and giving WWF President Gorilla Monsoon a beat down that has left the legendary figure in the hospital; as a result the WWF Board of Directors will be appointing a new interim President on this week’s RAW. This week is also a special episode of RAW entitled “Super Monday” to tie in with the Superbowl, and there will be two marquee match-ups headlining the show.
WWF MONDAY NIGHT RAW
January 29th 1996
TONIGHT! Shawn Michaels takes on the two-time WWF champion Yokozuna! We watch Vader attack Gorilla Monsoon again! A new interim president is announced! Big Daddy Cool Diesel takes on the British Bulldog! And we have more from Billionaire Ted despite the (legitimate) threat of legal action (from WCW)! All that and more on Monday Night RAW! We’re NOT LIVE from Stockton, California, Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler are your hosts, and we’re getting straight on with the action!
BRITISH BULLDOG vs. DIESEL
Despite Diesel’s heel leanings in recent weeks he’s still being considered a face in this match-up. Diesel immediately gets in the first shot with a knee lift to the gut, a right hand sends Bulldog to the corner and Diesel connects with a series of knee lifts and back elbows. Don’t use up too many of your moves this early Kevin. Diesel whips Bulldog to the opposite corner and connects with an avalanche, Diesel then sends Bulldog off the ropes, Bulldog ducks a clothesline and attempts a crossbody but you CAN’T CROSSBODY A MEMBER OF THE KLIQ, Diesel catches him and gives him an overhead slam. Bulldog stumbles to his feet but Diesel clotheslines him over the top rope to the outside. Diesel stays in the ring but this ends up being to Bulldog’s advantage, the Englishman grabs Diesel’s left leg and wraps it around the ring post twice. Bulldog gets back inside and starts stomping away at Diesel, he then drops an elbow to the knee of Diesel and locks in a kneebar. I’m having horrible flashbacks to the Undertaker/Bret match at the Royal Rumble. Bulldog breaks the hold and lands a knee to the leg of Diesel, Big Daddy Cool is able to get back to his feet and swings some wild punches that connect, however Bulldog regains control with an eye rake. Bulldog gets Diesel back down with a club to the knee, an elbow drop is then followed by that damn kneebar again. For some reason Yokozuna is lumbering down to ringside as we go to a commercial break.
When we come back Yokozuna is watching Bulldog apply a single leg crab to Diesel, and we come back just as Diesel makes the ropes. Bulldog comes over to ask Yokozuna what he’s doing, the referee then goes to chat with Bulldog giving Yokozuna the chance for a cheap shot on Diesel. Bulldog lands some right hands to knock Diesel down and chokes him with his boot, with Diesel down it gives Bulldog the chance to land a few more shots to the injured knee and we end up BACK IN THE GOD DAMN KNEEBAR, thankfully Diesel kicks his way out of it. Diesel can only stand with the ropes to help and does an admirable job of selling the knee on a whip to the corner, Bulldog then stomps at Diesel until he falls outside and undoes the top turnbuckle. Yokozuna comes over but just throws Diesel back in the ring, Bulldog then tries to send Diesel into the exposed turnbuckle but Diesel blocks it with his good leg and sends Bulldog into it instead. Diesel lifts Bulldog up and gives him a snake eyes on the exposed buckle, Diesel covers but the referee is distracted by Cornette, Yokozuna slowly gets in the ring and tries a leg drop but hits Bulldog instead of Diesel! The referee comes back over and counts the pinfall to give Diesel the victory! Diesel limps backstage while Cornette expresses his disappointment at Yokozuna.
Over to Dok Hendrix in the Slam Jam who again mentions the legal threats made against the WWF for the Billionaire Ted skits, but first we need to do some plugging for the next In Your House show. We get some words from Bret Hart with a black eye who says that he has no respect for Diesel anymore and wants to settle things once and for all in the cage match at In Your House. Bret has never lost a steel cage match apparently. Just added, a “Cry Baby Match” between Razor Ramon and 1-2-3 Kid, the loser gets fed a baby bottle and wrapped in a diaper. Also added is Hunter Hearst Helmsley against Duke ‘The Dumpster’ Droese after the events that unfolded on last week’s Superstars.
Back to Billionaire Ted, a “TBS executive” (Turner Broadcasting System) has sent a letter threatening legal action against the WWF if it does not desist in their parody, having previously called the WWF saying they should keep doing them. This is a true story, and the executive in question was none other than Eric Bischoff who rang the WWF to gloat after a ratings win and told them they could do as many skits as they wanted as it didn’t matter, and then sent the desist letter two weeks later. Nobody from WCW or TBS could reasonably win a legal case as the WWF had the argument that it was could be considered either satire or a parody, both legally allowed on free television. Anyway, this week’s skit is Billionaire Ted giving a press conference with Huckster and Nacho Man posing next to him, Ted refutes that he is not a hillbilly and doesn’t wear cheap suits. The “media” ask questions of whether Ted is trying to put the WWF out of business and why he’s under-cutting them in advertising rates, but he refuses to answer. The whole point is that Ted doesn’t care about the fans, he just wants to run the WWF out of business. Nacho and Huckster start fighting about who’s going to win their match. Ted inadvertently suggests that he is using stockholders money to fund WCW and we get a to be continued screen…. Wonderful.
THE BODYDONNAS vs. THE GODWINNS
The BodyDonnas are accompanied by “the provocative Sunny” as Vince calls her, this is Phineas Godwinn‘s debut as Henry’s cousin and they’re accompanied by Hillbilly Jim. Phineas would go on to be Mideon in the future, and also Naked Mideon.
Henry and Skip start with a lock up, Skip sends Henry off the ropes but gets knocked down by a shoulder block, Henry then connects with two hard right hands before sending Skip off the ropes and lifting him high into the air for a military press, however Zip comes in and dropkicks his leg. Sunny distracts the referee to allow a double team, Skip and Zip connecting with a double suplex. Sunny comes over to flirt with Hillbilly Jim, but the slop bucket sends her scurrying away. In the ring Phineas gets a tag and knocks down both Skip and Zip, however the numbers catch up to him, the BodyDonnas run at him for a double clothesline but Phineas ducks it and Henry grabs the leg of Zip and drags him out of the ring. That leaves Phineas and Skip alone in the ring, Phineas hits the Slop Drop, makes the cover, and gets the victory already. Sunny ends up alone in the ring with the Godwinns and Hillbilly Jim and is forced to take part in a do-se-do. She runs away, but the Godwinns keep dancing anyway.
Winners: The Godwinns
NEXT WEEK! Bret Hart gives The Undertaker a re-match for the WWF Title! Please God let it be better than their last match, although I’m not sure how they could make it worse. Seems like an attempt for ratings against Nitro.
We go over what is being called Vader’s “24 hour WWF career”, his Royal Rumble onslaught, his victory over Savio Vega, his Powerbomb on the referee, and the subsequent crushing of Gorilla Monsoon. We get words from CLARENCE MASON~! who says the suspension is unlawful as Monsoon attacked Vader first and Vader was just defending himself. Mason will move for damages if Vader if not re-instated immediately. The address for the Get Well Gorilla cards gets put on screen. Dok Hendrix is with the RAW BAND and dancing like Michael Hayes at a wedding with a free bar.
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Do not actually do this. I can’t believe there was a time when were tickets available for a WrestleMania in late January.
Vince McMahon is in the ring introducing the man who Gorilla Monsoon has personally chosen to be the acting president of the WWF while Monsoon recovers from his Vader-induced injuries. The man in question? ROWDY. RODDY. PIPER~! A man in a cowboy hat is very excited by this news. Piper looks in great shape, but then this is 17 years ago. Piper asks Vince if that makes him Vince’s boss and demands he call him Mr. President. Even Piper finds it hilarious that he’s been given such an important position. Piper brings up the Snuka/coconut angle because it’s contractually obligated that he has to, and says that the current WWF superstars are a new generation of tough, great athletes than he’s ever seen, but they’re a little confused. Piper rants and raves for a bit and makes very little sense, but says he can be president because he has six kids at home. Piper has made up some rules, but remembers he doesn’t live by rules so ignores them. What can the WWF fans expect from Piper’s presidency? Piper says that they’re in good hands because he loves them. Piper then picks Vince up and gives him an airplane spin. Twice. This was quite the segment of insanity.
We get the first promo for a character that is angry against the world because everyone is scared of him, mainly because he’s lost one of his ears. He then tells us to have a nice day. At them I had no idea who this mysterious man might be, but when it gets revealed I’ve got a story to tell.
MONDAY NIGHT RAW is brought to you by EDGE Shave Gel!
Time for a main event!
SHAWN MICHAELS vs. YOKOZUNA
Shawn Michaels is a popular man, particularly with the female members of the crowd. There’s 11 minutes left in the show and Yokozuna is the size of the gas giant Jupiter, so I’m not expecting this to take up the remainder of the show. They lock-up and Yokozuna immediately muscles Michaels to the ground. Another lock-up with Shawn grabbing a headlock, but Yokozuna sends him into the ropes and knocks him down with a shoulder block. A third lock-up sees Yokozuna nail a chop to the chest, Michaels avoids a clothesline and slides behind Yokozuna and grabs his buttocks. Shawn then nails a series of right hands before a final one knocks Yokozuna out through the middle rope in the slowest, most careful manner possible. Yokozuna is already tired as Michaels does some sumo poses in the ring, Owen Hart comes out to have a discussion with Yokozuna and Cornette as we go to a break.
When we’re back Yokozuna is charging at Michaels in the corner but misses, Michaels climbs to the top rope and connects with a double axe handle that has very little effect, so he goes back up top and hits a perfect diving Moonsault for a 2 count. Yokozuna reverses a whip to the corner and Michaels goes flying over the top rope, Cornette distracts the referee allowing Owen to stomp on Michaels and ram him back first into the ring post. Yokozuna takes some deep breaths in the ring whilst Michaels drags himself towards the ring, but he gets nailed by Owen again. Somehow the referee hasn’t counted Michaels out yet despite HBK being outside for nearly a minute. Michaels eventually gets back in the ring but immediately gets snapmared by Yokozuna and it’s time for a NERVE PINCH. Michaels tries his best to make this move look painful and gets back to his feet in the process, Michaels hits some right hands and comes off the ropes but runs straight into a back elbow. TIME FOR ANOTHER BREAK!
We come back to Yokozuna missing with a leg drop, the crowd chant “USA” at Michaels, born in Texas, and Yokozuna, born in California, Yokozuna carefully moves in to position to allow Michaels to try a diving splash from the top but Yokozuna rolls out of the way. Both men are down for a bit, Yokozuna gets up first but his right hand is blocked and Michaels lands some of his own, Yokozuna reverses a whip to the ropes and Michaels hits two flying forearms to knock the big man down. Michaels heads back up top but dives right into the waiting arms of Yokozuna who crushes him in the corner. Cornette distracts the referee to get Owen the chance to get in the ring, Yokozuna holds Michaels but as is wrestling tradition the heel ends up hitting the heel, Shawn moves out of the way and Owen nails Yokozuna with a spinning heel kick by mistake. Michaels then nails the Sweet Chin Music and covers Yokozuna to get the win whilst Vince McMahon loses his mind with happiness on commentary. Whilst Michaels celebrates Yokozuna and Owen start shoving each other, the British Bulldog comes out to try and make peace and soon all three are staring at Michaels. However before they attack Diesel runs down to even the odds Vince gets up to interview Cornette, he says that everyone’s getting along and there are no problems. He challenges Michaels and Diesel to a tag team match against Bulldog and Yokozuna for next week, and the Two Dudes With Attitudes accept.
Winner: Shawn Michaels
Time: 7:58 (Televised)
Hey, look at that! Yokozuna lasted almost the whole remainder of the show. Way to go sport. This was another good RAW as the show has really stepped up since the Rumble show, it’s almost like someone flicked a switch when they realised WCW were beating them in the ratings and WrestleMania was around the corner. Two big matches from this show merged into another for next week in some sensible booking, and on top of that we have a WWF Title match to look forward to. Good booking and strong match-making makes me a happy article writer. Time for another show as we move into February!
3rd February 1996
We’re still at the Convention Center in San Jose, California for the second week of tapings in this batch of Superstars, as such our hosts are again Vince McMahon, Jim Ross and Mr. Perfect. TONIGHT! Jeff Jarrett vs. Razor Ramon! The Godwinns! And more!
PLAY THE AWESOME THEME SONG! CHECK OUT THE LYIN’ KING! GOLDUST IS MIGHTY STRANGE!
THE GODWINNS vs. JAMES SAMUDO & ED MORETTI
OK, there’s a little bit of confusion now. The match on RAW featuring The Godwinns was their televised debut, but they filmed this match for Superstars five days earlier. So in theory this is their debut match, but not their televised debut… if that makes sense. Phineas comes to shake hands with the announcers on his way to the ring which disgusts Mr. Perfect. Their entrance takes so long that “Don’t Go Messin’ With A Country Boy” reaches a previously unheard key change.
In case you didn’t get it, Henry O. Godwinn and Phineas I. Godwinn have initials of H.O.G. and P.I.G. Really makes you think. Samudo starts with Henry, that start involves running into Henry and falling down. Twice. Hillbilly Jim cuts an inset promo who tells us how proud and happy he is to see the Godwinns in action. Moretti comes in and runs straight into Henry as well. Moretti tries to slam Henry but can’t do it, Henry has no problem slamming him though. Phineas gets the tag, Samudo tries to shoulder block him but nothing happens. Phineas kicks him in the gut, nails him with the Slop Drop after about ten seconds waiting for a crowd reaction, and then covers him for a three count. The Godwinns aren’t getting paid by the minute this week obviously. The post match hoedown takes almost as long as the match.
Winners: The Godwinns
We once again cover the Vader/Monsoon incident now with the comments from Clarence Mason added in. Apparently the suspension is both unlawful AND illegal. Considering how everyone is so horrified this they sure like showing it. We then cover Piper’s arrival as president and heavily cut down his RAW promo to make it somewhat logical. We also get a taped promo from Piper, apparently he started wrestling when he was 15, he says he doesn’t believe Michael Jackson was innocent, or that OJ Simpson was innocent, and Vader’s not innocent either. He then mumbles something about it being harder to jump on him than jump off.
ISSAC YANKEM DDS vs. AVATAR
Back in Smokey Mountain Wrestling these two were the tag team champions under the name of The Dynamic Duo. Now one’s wearing a mask and would soon take it off, and the other would be wearing a much more famous mask eventually. Yankem clubs away at Avatar to start and sends him off the ropes, Avatar uses some of his “oriental kicks” to take control, but eventually Yankem catches him and military presses him. Yankem knocks Avatar down with a series of short arm clothesline as the WWF FAN FAX LINE is plugged, Yankem picks Avatar up by the throat and sends him into the corner, there he lands some right hands and back elbows, Yankem then starts his mouth manipulation, because he’s a dentist you see. Yankem sends Avatar off the ropes and nails a clothesline, Avatar takes a hell of a bump for it as well. Yankem then picks Avatar up, delivers his DDT called the DDS and pins Avatar for the victory. Vince says that Avatar “gave it a really good go”.
Winner: Isaac Yankem DDS
Time for the Slam Jam with Dok Hendrix and we get some plugs for the next In Your House, Bret vs. Diesel in a cage. Bret cuts another promo talking how he has no respect for Diesel any more, and it’s running on Hitman power now. The cage match is “the most dangerous match in all of wrestling” even though ECW was started by now, and King of the Deathmatches were happening in Japan. Shawn Michaels gives us some words about Owen Hart, he’s going to stop Owen talking about how he put Michaels out by “jacking his jaw”.
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MARTY JANNETTY vs. GREG DAVIS
Jannetty is introduced by Vince as one of the 29 men who didn’t win the Royal Rumble which is nice. They lock up and Davis is the one starting with an arm wringer, Jannetty reverses it and arm drags Davis down, and then flips him over with a monkey flip and another arm drag. Jannetty whips Davis off the ropes and monkey flips him again for a two count, Davis tries the same thing shortly afterwards but get a punch in the face for a two count. Davis is able to whip Jannetty into the corner but runs straight into a back elbow, Jannetty then delivers a suplex, picks Davis up to send him off the ropes again to connect with a diving back elbow. Davis is sent into the corner now but Jannetty misses with a charge, Davis suplexes Jannetty but Jannetty fights back by sliding through Davis’ legs when he comes off the ropes, Jannetty then sets Davis up for the Rocker Dropper and lands it to score the three count. The commentators barely mention the victory before they move on.
Winner: Marty Jannetty
Let’s have a look at Raw when Camp Cornette’s members had a few issues with one another, Yokozuna leg dropping Bulldog and Owen spin kicking Yokozuna. Big tag team match on next week’s RAW!
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HAKUSHI vs. BUDDY WAYNE
Buddy Wayne may be a familiar name to anyone who is a member at F4WOnline.com, perhaps even more familiar than Hakushi. We actually get a HAKUSHI INSET PROMO which is in Japanese apart from the line “Hakushi, number one”. Wayne starts off with a headlock and sends Hakushi off the ropes, Wayne drops down so Hakushi cartwheels over him and gives him a throat thrust. Hakushi misses with a chop and Wayne connects with a dropkick, Wayne drops down for some side mounted punches. We get a shot backstage of Jeff Jarrett meeting with the 1-2-3 Kid, they tell the camera to go away. Hakushi gets Wayne into the corner and uses his trademark handspring back elbow, then comes off the ropes with a diving double punch thing. Hakushi heads to the apron for a springboard shoulder thrust, Hakushi then goes up top to connect with a Missile Dropkick, apparently that’s enough for him to take the win.
NEXT WEEK! The Ringmaster takes on MAKIN’ A DIFFERENCE FATU! In just 3.5 years time Fatu would make a difference by running Steve Austin over.
We get a video package going over the current three-way feud for the WWF Title, Diesel was champion for a year, but we’re also told that Bret and Undertaker were “busy” so weren’t challenging him. Bret beat Diesel at Survivor Series 1995 at which point Diesel gave Bret two Jacknife Powerbombs, Undertaker got his urn back and buried King Mabel and got a title shot for his effort, Diesel was angry because he didn’t get his re-match. Diesel finished second at the Royal Rumble then brawled with The Undertaker before the WWF Title match between Bret and Undertaker, Diesel then interfered to mercifully end that match with a disqualification. Two weeks time at In Your House it’s Bret versus Diesel inside a steel cage, but Bret is facing Undertaker on RAW to give him his re-match. THE DEADMAN! THE HITMAN! THE BIG MAN! THREE MEN, ONE TITLE! This was actually very good and showed a surprising amount of storyline sense.
Shortly before our main event we are wished a nice day by Mankind in one of his pre-debut vignettes. Now his name is revealed I can give my story. I was so scared of Mankind when I saw these debut vignettes that I had to turn the TV off whenever they came on, and when he debuted I stopped watching for a while. If I had known he was just cuddly Mick Foley I might have thought differently.
JEFF JARRETT vs. RAZOR RAMON
Both men have had other feuds to deal with recently, Jarrett with Ahmed Johnson and Razor with both Goldust and 1-2-3 Kid. Jarrett attacks Razor at the bell as he’s handing his chains over, Razor goes for the Razor’s Edge straight away but Jarrett scurries away. Razor sends Jarrett off the ropes, Jarrett slides through Razor’s legs but gets up straight into a hard right hand. Another right hand knocks Jarrett down, Razor then sends Jarrett off the ropes again but he bends down too early allowing Jarrett to slam his face into the canvas. Razor finds himself on the middle rope allowing Jarrett to do his leg drop, Jarrett then picks up Razor and delivers a back suplex using the top rope for extra momentum, that gets him a two count. Jarrett goes for a sunset flip but gets a right hand for his effort, Jarrett does eventually get Razor into a pinning situation from that position but gets two again. Jarrett hits a dropkick for another two count before going into a rear chinlock for some HARDCORE RESTHOLD ACTION, Razor doesn’t stay in it long though as he elbows out of it, however Jarrett soon locks in a sleeper hold. Razor gets out of that as well but Jarrett delivers a neckbreaker, however his attempted cover with his feet on the ropes is spotted by referee Tim White. Jarrett argues but gets rolled up by Razor for a 2 count, Jarrett then clotheslines Razor for a 2 count of his own. Back to the rear chinlock but Razor eventually reverses that into a back suplex and both men are down. Here comes the 1-2-3 Kid pushing a baby stroller and carrying a baby bottle, Razor sticks an arm across Jarrett for a 2 count as we head for a commercial break.
When we come back we’re in the middle of a slugfest that Razor wins, he then sends Jarrett off the ropes who tries a crossbody, but YOU CAN’T CROSSBODY RAZOR RAMON as he just catches him and gives him the usual Fallaway Slam. Jarrett is clotheslined over the top rope allowing Razor the opportunity to go outside and nail Kid with a right hand, Jarrett gets back in the ring but misses with a big right hand, Razor sets him up on the top rope and hits a super back suplex. Razor signals for the Razor’s Edge but he takes too long and Jarrett is able to send him outside through the middle rope. Jarrett sends Razor into the steel ring post, Kid then comes over and hits Razor with the stroller right in front of the referee on numerous occasions to draw the disqualification. Ahmed Johnson (in a horrible yellow t-shirt/bright red cap combination) sprints out and chases Jarrett and Kid away before going to check on Razor.
Winner: Razor Ramon via Disqualification
Time: 6:13 (Televised)
We end with one more trip to the Slam Jam, Hendrix goes over the Cry-Baby Match between Razor and Kid, and now we hear from Owen Hart about his match with Shawn Michaels. Owen says he’s going to beat Michaels like he did before and is going to get the WrestleMania title shot. We also get comments from the newly shorn Duke Droese about Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Droese wants revenge for his humiliation, Helmsley holds some of Droese’s hair and says he has no problem facing Droese.
We definitively end with the Billionaire Ted skit from RAW. I’m not going over it again.
So that ends the week in the WWF and again it was a newsworthy one. Superstars had its fair share of angle development especially in the main event, Jarrett and Johnson’s feud had been pretty much ignored since the Royal Rumble but it got a jump-start here, and despite the stupidity of the gimmick match facing them at the next In Your House the Razor/Kid feud continues to develop well. I also thought that the video package covering the WWF Title scene was really well done, not only did it cover everything that had happened to catch new fans up but it also made the WWF Title look really important with three top guys doing anything they can to get their hands on it.
This week’s Match of the Week goes to the opening match of RAW, Diesel vs. British Bulldog. I was tempted to go for the Shawn Michaels/Yokozuna match just because Yokozuna was somehow able to wrestle for over 12 minutes, but I felt the Bulldog/Diesel match was more open and had a better psychology of Bulldog working Diesel’s leg, that brought on comparisons of Bret Hart’s strategy against Diesel when they last fought for the WWF Title, and of course it will be Bret against Diesel for the title at the next PPV so it all ties together. The finish was a bit weird but other than the squash matches there were no clean finishes in any match this week.
Join me next time as we go through the next week’s TV shows and take a step closer to In Your House 6. Thanks very much for reading!