WWF Through The Years 1996 – Week 7

Set your brains back to 1996 once again as we head back in time to cover the WWF television shows from February 1996. We’re on our way to WrestleMania but we have a stop along the way at In Your House 6 for what would be the first time the WWF ever held a PPV in between the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania. With the card taking shape all that’s left is for the WWF to continue the build to the show and that’s what we’re going to see on this week’s television shows from the 5th to the 12th of February 1996.

LAST WEEK! Two big singles matches on RAW between Diesel and British Bulldog and Shawn Michaels and Yokozuna resulted in two wins for the good guys, so Jim Cornette challenged Michaels and Diesel to a tag team match against Bulldog and Yokozuna for this week’s RAW. Also, Rowdy Roddy Piper became the new interim WWF President, Phineas Godwinn debuted to be his cousin Henry’s tag team partner, Clarence Mason promised retaliation for Vader’s suspension, and the Billionaire Ted skits continued despite my protests.

wwf-raw-logo

WWF MONDAY NIGHT RAW
5th February 1996

We’re still in the Stockton Civic Auditorium in Stockton, California which means we’re NOT LIVE again, our hosts are still Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler, there’s not even time for an opening video package as the combatants in the first match are already getting ready, but TONIGHT! BRET HART! UNDERTAKER! WWF TITLE MATCH! And as for NOW!

SHAWN MICHAELS & DIESEL vs. YOKOZUNA & BRITISH BULLDOG

We’re kicking things off in a big way with four of the top stars, Michaels and Diesel, or Two Dudes With Attitudes as they’re also known, have never been beaten as a team. LET US TAKE YOU BACK to last week when Yokozuna crushed Bulldog and Owen kicked Yokozuna to create some tension in Camp Cornette. Michaels wins the Rock, Paper, Scissors match to start off, I would have preferred Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock personally.

Bulldog starts for the opposition, but first we get a pose-off for the crowd which Michaels gets the bigger cheer for. Bulldog grabs a headlock to start, Michaels sends him off the ropes but a shoulderblock from Bulldog knocks Michaels all the way out of the ring. Michaels takes his time getting back in the ring but does eventually, Bulldog grabs another headlock, Michaels tries to hip toss him but can’t, Shawn gets lifted up in a military press but rakes the eyes of Bulldog, Michaels then clotheslines Bulldog over the top rope and skins the cat back in himself. Yokozuna “sneaks” up from behind and lands a couple of right hands but he sends Michaels into the arms of Diesel who then throws Michaels back at Yokozuna. Diesel gets Yokozuna outside and we have a bit of a stalemate. Yokozuna and Diesel finally get tagged in for the standard BIG MAN BATTLE, Diesel wins a slugfest but can’t get Yokozuna down with two clotheslines, a third one is ducked by Yokozuna who catches him with a Samoan Drop (psst, don’t tell anyone he’s not Japanese). Yokozuna then misses with an elbow drop allowing Diesel to tag Michaels back in, Yokozuna sends Michaels into the ropes but Bulldog pulls the top rope down to cause Michaels to go over the top, the Englishman then sends Michaels into the steel steps. Bulldog throws Michaels back in and the two members of Camp Cornette land a double headbutt, Bulldog stays in the ring and delivers his trademark stalling suplex before placing Michaels into the corner where Yokozuna chokes him as we go to a commercial break.

When we come back Yokozuna is hammering Michaels with some big right hands, Yokozuna then snapmares Michaels and locks in the NERVE PINCH. He stays there for a while until Bulldog tags in and unloads a series of right hands to the grounded Michaels, Bulldog then sends Michaels off the ropes and nails him with a knee to the ribs. Bulldog picks Michaels up by the hair and slams him down again, he then does his signature handspring flip to show off. Yokozuna comes back in for another double headbutt, Michaels try to throw some right hands to the body but shockingly they have no effect, Yokozuna slams Michaels but Shawn rolls out of the way of a very, very big running splash. Both men are down now until Michaels crawls over the prone body of Yokozuna to get the hot tag to Diesel. Big Daddy Cool comes in with some right hands for Yokozuna and a big boot for Bulldog, Diesel then crushes Yokozuna’s throat on the middle rope and big boots him down too. Michaels gets the tag and lands a splash from the shoulders of Diesel on Yokozuna, Michaels covers but has to stop to avoid a leg drop from Bulldog that hits Yokozuna instead. Diesel clotheslines Bulldog over the top rope before Michaels nails a Sweet Chin Music on Yokozuna, however he falls through the middle rope instead of landing in the ring. Owen Hart comes out now to try and help Bulldog get Yokozuna back in the ring, but they can’t do it before the count of 10 so Diesel and Michaels get the victory.

After the match Cornette is in the ring blaming Yokozuna for the defeat (because he’s too fat mainly), to quote Vince McMahon “Cornette is verbally raping Yokozuna”. HE REALLY SAID THIS. Yokozuna isn’t best pleased and shoves Cornette down, however Bulldog and Owen save their manager from further trouble. Yokozuna ROARS Owen and Bulldog away and as Owen and Bulldog head backstage with Cornette we see Yokozuna SORT OF RUN AFTER THEM. It’s more of a waddle.

Winners: Shawn Michaels and Diesel via Count-Out
Time: 10:53 (Televised)

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We get a new promo for Mankind, things are apparently getting a little out of control in the WWF and that’s the home Mankind is looking for so he can have a nice day. Jerry Lawler calls it “ear-ie”.

No more time to waste, we have another match already!

HAKUSHI vs. 1-2-3 KID

1-2-3 Kid is embroiled in a feud with Razor Ramon, Hakushi is just waiting to be released. Kid carries a baby bottle to the ring to remind us once again of the ridiculous match we have in store at In Your House. They lock up and do a bit of chain wrestling to start, each time they get back to their feet in a stalemate. Kid sends Hakushi off the ropes but Hakushi knocks him down with a shoulder block, Hakushi then blocks a hip toss, ducks a clothesline and catches Kid in the throat with a side kick. Kid heads outside for a chat with Ted DiBiase, when he gets back in Hakushi remains in control with some chops, Hakushi then catches a kick and SWEEPS THE LEG. Hakushi kicks Kid in the gut but Kid reverses a whip and sends Hakushi over the top rope, Kid then follows him out with a cannonball plancha and lands on his feet. Kid gets back in the ring whilst DiBiase kicks Hakushi a few times, when Hakushi gets back in the ring Kid sets him up in the corner and nails a few kicks. Kid then sends Hakushi to the opposite corner and follows up with a running dropkick as we head to a commercial break.

When we come back we a replay of an enziguri from Kid, then back “live” we see a suplex from Kid that gets a two count. Kid heads up to the top rope but takes too long doing it, Hakushi gets time to recover and connects with a dropkick when Kid dives off the top. Hakushi lands a couple of throat thrusts and a spinning kick to the sternum, Hakushi then sends Kid into the corner and nails his handspring back elbow, Hakushi then connects with a diving double punch for a two count. Kid rolls to the outside but Hakushi is right behind him with a springboard cross body to the outside. Hakushi rolls Kid back in and heads to the top, a diving shoulder block from the top rope connects but only gets a two count. Hakushi sends Kid off the ropes but Kid connects with a spinning heel kick to the jaw, Kid goes for a cover that gets a 2 count as Hakushi reverses it into a cover of his own for another 2 count. Kid lands a kick but a whip to the corner is reversed, Hakushi uses a hurracanrana and falls into a cover but gets 2 again. Hakushi gets back to the top rope but is too slow and Kid dropkicks him to crotch him on the top rope. Kid then joins him on the top rope and delivers a super double underhook suplex, that’s enough to get the three count and end this very entertaining match.

Winner: 1-2-3 Kid via Pinfall
Time: 8:36 (Televised)

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Clarence Mason and Jim Cornette have a pre-recorded interview to clarify that if Vader is not immediately re-instated they’re going to sue. We then get some words from Gorilla Monsoon who is resting at home recovering from the injuries he sustained, he wants to apologise to the fans for attacking Vader and not showing restraint, and thanks the fans for the get well wishes he has received. He’s not going to apologise to Vader, but the decision to re-instate him rests with the board of directors. His decision to make Piper the interim president is because he’s a “MAN’S MAN”.

Time for our main event! Yes, already!

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WWF Title Match

BRET HART (C) vs. THE UNDERTAKER

Vince informs me that there’s no RAW next week due to the Westminster Dog Show. It’s going to be a short article next time… or is it? LET US TAKE YOU BACK to the Royal Rumble where Diesel pulled the referee out of the ring to prevent The Undertaker from most likely defeating Bret for the title.

Bret uses his speed to avoid a right hand from Undertaker and lands some punches to the body, but Undertaker headbutts him to take control. Undertaker lands a throat thrust but Bret comes back with a kick, however a headbutt to Undertaker doesn’t work. Undertaker punches Bret into the corner and chokes him with his boot, Taker then chokes Bret across the middle rope. A big right hand lands for Undertaker and he then sends Bret head first into the corner, more choking in the corner and another big right hand knocks Bret down. HERE COMES THE CLAW HOLD. It’s like they’re trying to re-create the Rumble match to torment me. There better not be a kneebar. Diesel wanders out to ringside as Undertaker goes for the “old school”, Diesel distracts Undertaker and Bret drags Undertaker off the top rope. Bret starts working on the knee of Undertaker as Diesel joins the commentary team, Bret elbows the leg of Undertaker and HERE’S THE KNEEBAR. Bret keeps it applied for a while as Diesel re-iterates that he’s not scared of the dark, Undertaker eventually gets out but Bret trips him again, heads outside and drags Undertaker to the corner where he wraps the leg across the ring post. Bret heads back in but Undertaker gets a couple of uppercuts from his back to knock Bret down as we go to a break.

When we come back Undertaker is delivering a back suplex to Bret, he then throws Bret to the outside and follows him out to throw him into the railings. Bret slowly gets back in the ring but gets an uppercut for his trouble, Undertaker then hits the old school move he didn’t hit earlier. That knee that Bret was working on must have healed quickly. Undertaker runs off the ropes and delivers a diving lariat, at least he remembers to sell the leg when he gets back up. Undertaker lifts Bret up for a snake eyes but the feet of Bret knock the referee down. Bret rolls Undertaker up but the referee, when they get back up Undertaker nails a clothesline but misses an elbow drop. Bret goes back to working on the leg, Bret again goes outside to wrap the Undertaker’s leg around the ringpost again, but Diesel gets up and nails Bret from behind and sends Bret into the post. Undertaker comes after Diesel and nails a kick and some punches before ramming Diesel into the steel steps. Undertaker goes towards Bret but Diesel grabs a chair and smashes it over the back of Undertaker, he then sends Undertaker into the ring and gives him a Jacknife Powerbomb. To be fair that looked pretty impressive. Just to show off he gives Undertaker another Jacknife and it’s actually better than the first one. Diesel leaves the ring and we go to a commercial break with both participants down.

When we come back we see Bret stumble after Diesel and nail some punches… and apparently the match is over? Well that’s an anti-climax. We’re told the match is officially a draw as both Undertaker and Bret have gone backstage to try and find Diesel. Oh well.

Match Ended As A Draw
Time: 12:01 (Televised)

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To finish off the show we get the conclusion of the Billionaire Ted press conference from last week. The next question is about how Ted’s Wrasslin’ company has lost money every years it’s been in business but he doesn’t care. Ted doesn’t care about the stockholders or what they think about the Wrasslin’ company losing money, he’s motivated by money and power and wants to own everything so he can tell his daddy to kiss his ass when he dies. These skits have gone from being harmless jabs to full on personal insults against Turner now while the WWF still live in their world of being the underdogs against the multi-billion dollar opposition.

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This was a very heavily wrestling-orientated show and I enjoyed it because of that, the opening tag match had a load of heat and was pretty good, the Hakushi/1-2-3 Kid match was superb and I can’t see anything on Superstars beating it for the match of the week honours, and Bret/Undertaker was pretty much the same as the Rumble but with a worse finish. It did have those two great Jacknifes from Diesel though. Overall it was definitely an enjoyable show and they’re doing a very good job of building to both In Your House 6 and WrestleMania.

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SSTARS1996

WWF SUPERSTARS
10th February 1996

We’re still in the Convention Center in San Jose, California for the third of four tapings for Superstars! TONIGHT! We look back at everything we’ve just gone through from RAW! And probably some matches! Your hosts are Vince McMahon, Jim Ross and Mr. Perfect and it seems like we’re not getting the awesome theme song this week. This makes me sad. Let’s get started with a match!

THE RINGMASTER vs. FATU

Fatu is the man who would be known as Rikishi, Rikishi would run over Stone Cold Steve Austin, Austin would start his WWF career as The Ringmaster. Isn’t it crazy when life goes in circles like that. This match was set up at the Royal Rumble when Fatu eliminated The Ringmaster, not only did the cameras barely catch it (we get one angle through a crowd of other people) but none of the commentators at the time made any mention of it. Vince very suspiciously says that Ringmaster has a “stone cold” demeanour putting as much emphasis as possible on those words, so I’m guessing the name change was in the works at this point.

They lock up and Ringmaster gets control with a side headlock takedown, Fatu gets back up and sends Ringmaster off the ropes only to knock him down with a hard right hand. Another lock up sees Fatu eventually get control with a hammerlock, Ringmaster backs him into the corner and lands a hard elbow and some right hands. Fatu fights back with a headbutt but Ringmaster ducks a side kick and takes out the leg with a chop block, Ringmaster then nails a clothesline allowing Fatu to do his trademark 360 bump. Ringmaster drags Fatu to the corner and wraps his leg around the ringpost twice, Ringmaster then climbs the apron and drops an elbow to the throat of Fatu. We get some pre-taped comments from DiBiase and Ringmaster (with SUNGLASSES), he just says that he’s going to take advantage of his opponents weaknesses in the most boring interview Steve Austin has ever given. Back in the ring Ringmaster chops the chest of Fatu, snapmares him down and lands a knee drop, Fatu falls too close to DiBiase who lands a punch as we head to a break.

When we come back Ringmaster has an Indian deathlock applied to Fatu, he then opens Fatu’s legs and lands a stomp to the midsection. Ringmaster tries to drive Fatu’s head into the turnbuckle but Fatu blocks it and sends Ringmaster into it instead, Fatu then whips Ringmaster into the opposite corner and follows up with an avalanche. Fatu comes out with a bulldog and heads to the top rope, however DiBiase goes over and takes out the leg of Fatu causing him to crotch himself. Ringmaster joins Fatu on the top rope and superplexes him off, and Ringmaster then gets the Million Dollar Dream locked in, Fatu fights it as best he can but eventually goes nighty-night to give Ringmaster the victory. “HE’S STONE COLD!” shouts Vince when Ringmaster refuses to break the hold.

Winner: The Ringmaster via Technical Submission
Time: 6:30 (Televised)

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LET US TAKE YOU BACK to RAW when Yokozuna cost his team the match, Vince outright says that Bulldog and Owen couldn’t move “the mass of humanity”. Because he’s FAT.

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TATANKA vs. ROBERT THOMPSON

Ted DiBiase is going to have a busy night by the looks of things. Tatanka kicks Thompson in the gut to start and knocks him down with a hard chop, Tatanka then gets Thompson into the corner and lands some right hands, a whip to the opposite corner is enough to knock Thompson down again and Tatanka chokes Thompson with his boot. JR announces that Tatanka will be taking on Jake Roberts in Roberts’ first singles match since his WWF return. Tatanka uses a gutwrench suplex to take Thompson down again. DiBiase speaks to the camera to say the Million Dollar Corporation is on a roll as Tatanka sends Thompson skyward with a back body drop, Tatanka then hits the End of the Trail to finish Thompson off in quick time.

Winner: Tatanka via Pinfall
Time: 1:49

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Rowdy Roddy Piper has signed a triple threat match between Undertaker, Bret Hart and Diesel as a result of the happenings on RAW, it’s not happening on a television show though, just a big show at the Meadowlands.

HEAD TO THE WWF STORE! This week’s exclusive item is a t-shirt with the face of your favourite superstar on the front and back. Just make sure your favourite superstar is Shawn Michaels, Diesel, The Undertaker or Bret Hart. Only $20! CALL NOW.

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1-2-3 KID vs. WAYNE BRADLEY

MORE DIBIASE! LET US TAKE YOU BACK to last week’s Superstars when 1-2-3 Kid assaulted Razor Ramon with a stroller before Ahmed Johnson saved the day. Next week! Ahmed takes on 1-2-3 Kid! This week, 1-2-3 Kid takes on someone much smaller, and much whiter. Bradley starts off with a side headlock but Kid sends him off the ropes and lands a martial arts chop to the midsection and a spinning kick to the face. DiBiase taunts Razor Ramon with a baby bottle to build up to the horrible cry-baby match, Bradley gets thrown outside where Kid continues his striking attack including another spinning heel kick. We get an inset promo from Razor Ramon who tells Kid to forget about this “stupid Cry-baby match” he’s more interested in giving Kid a beating. Kid chokes Bradley in the corner and lands another spinning kick, Kid then shouts abuse at Bradley before whipping him into the other corner and hitting a running dropkick. Kid gives Bradley a scoop slam before heading to the top rope and hitting a leg drop, Kid then uses an ARROGANT COVER~! to get the pinfall. I think there were more spinning kicks than minutes in this match. DiBiase shoves the baby bottle into Bradley’s mouth, but more importantly he then does the DIBIASE LAUGH.

Winner: 1-2-3 Kid via Pinfall
Time: 2:26

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We get the same Mankind promo as we saw on RAW. It still only shows his missing ear so there’s no sign of the mask yet.

Vince McMahon is in the ring and introduces Shawn Michaels for an interview. Despite it being just an interview Shawn comes out in full entrance attire and ring gear. Vince asks Michaels about his match with Owen Hart at In Your House 6, Michaels tells us that Owen is someone who is trying to take his job, and someone who takes pleasure in incapacitating other people. He does this in a very sarcastic manner. Michaels says that he and his “clique” of fans may have got knocked down but they get up again, you ain’t ever gonna keep them down. I may have paraphrased that. Michaels says that he’s going to give the performance of a lifetime, and that his house is the penthouse, Owen’s house is the outhouse. When Owen’s done HBK and the clique are going to party their way to WrestleMania. Michaels leaves through the crowd and they go nuts, but when he speaks he really was an objectionable babyface at this time.

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OWEN HART vs. ALDO MONTOYA

Michaels gets a seven minute interview segment, Owen gets two sentences in his entrance to say that he’s going to end Shawn Michaels’ career and go to WrestleMania himself. Montoya gets in Owen’s face and they have a shove-off, Owen wins that with a slap. Owen sends Montoya into the corner but Montoya leapfrogs over him and nails a shoulder block. Montoya comes off the ropes and nails a dropkick, then arm drags Owen down. Owen gets backs to his feet and this time catches Montoya when he comes off the ropes to deliver a belly to belly suplex. Owen stomps Montoya in the midsection and whips him hard into the turnbuckle twice, he then delivers a backbreaker to the Portuguese Man O’ War. Owen nails a stiff European uppercut on two occasions then applies a rather clumsy looking sleeper hold, it’s more like a neck crank to be honest, either way Montoya is able to break free but runs into a knee to the gut from Owen. Another uppercut allows Owen to put the neck crank back in, again Montoya gets free and this time gets a roll-up for a two count only for Owen to clothesline him down again. Montoya slams Owen into the corner twice and knocks him down with a series of clotheslines, Aldo then heads to the top rope for a crossbody but Owen kicks out at 2. Montoya catches a kick from Owen but that just results in Owen nailing his patented enziguri to apparently knock out Montoya, Owen only needs a lethargic cover to get the three count. Owen locks in the Sharpshooter after the match just because he can and shouts abuse at Shawn Michaels down the camera as he does.

Winner; Owen Hart via Pinfall
Time: 4:23

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We’re going to Slam Jam before we finish with Dok Hendrix and his BRIGHT ORANGE JACKET, the hype is for the show at the Meadowlands rather than In Your House. On that card will be Owen Hart and British Bulldog vs. Shawn Michaels and Yokozuna, and the triple threat match between The Undertaker, Bret Hart and Diesel. Except it’s not a triple threat match, it’s more like a gauntlet with the winner of a first match going on to face the third participant in a different match. Somehow the order will be decided by a coin toss despite there being three people. Also there will be Ahmed Johnson vs. Jeff Jarrett in a No Disqualification match, we get an AHMED PROMO about that, Johnson says that in his “hood” what Jarrett did at the Royal Rumble (hitting him with the guitar) was like a drive-by. Yes, a drive-by. Ahmed then explains to us what a drive-by is, saying that anyone who does a drive-by doesn’t have the guts to fight someone face-to-face. Johnson says Jarrett will be singing rap when he’s finished. Also on the card is 1-2-3 Kid and Goldust vs. Savio Vega and Razor Ramon, and Duke Droese vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley. This really does seem like a bigger show than In Your House and I won’t get to watch it.

We finish with the story of Vader, Gorilla Monsoon, Roddy Piper, Jim Cornette and Clarence Mason, and then the second part of Billionaire Ted’s press conference. We already know what happens in all that.

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Well that ends the week’s television shows, Superstars was about the same as usual with some squash matches and a decent opener between Ringmaster and Fatu. I really didn’t like the Shawn Michaels interview personally as I found his whole character at this time to be really annoying and I find myself wanting Owen Hart to beat him. Thankfully when Michaels wasn’t talking he was fantastic thanks to his in-ring ability. The highlight of Superstars for me was Ahmed’s promo because it was just so, so awful.

Match of the week this time is the simplest choice so far, the RAW contest between 1-2-3 Kid was a very entertaining battle between two high-fliers who certainly did their fair share of high-flying throughout the match. Even though Kid is the one in a major feud and Hakushi is the guy stuck in limbo it was a surprisingly even contest albeit with a decisive conclusion in the end. The WWF Title match probably takes second place, not because the match itself was any good (CLAW HOLD. KNEE BAR.) but the storyline that was built around it with Diesel made it very memorable. Another highlight of the week was Yokozuna’s attempt to run. It didn’t go well.

That’s it for now, but join me next time as we cover two shows from February 1996 again. As there’s no RAW to cover from the 12th February due to it not airing because of the dog show I’m going to cover the Superstars from 17th February and then In Your House 6 from the 18th February as it’s only a 2 hour show. See you then, and thanks for reading!

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