January 16, 2007
Frank Koenen

WWE Monday Night Raw
November 11, 1996

-Hello wrestling fans, this is the first of what I am guessing will be a series of columns following the Monday Night Raw starting in 1996. Iíll give a review of the episodes they show on WWE 24/7 and with it will come a little synopsis of what was on Nitro that week (though I might start writing Nitro in full).

-On Nitro This Week: Sting continued to be ambiguous attacking Jeff Jarrett, who insulted him a week earlier. The Horsemen continue to drift apart. The nWo however is a strong as ever, and for the third week in a row has Hogan closing the show in an interview and shaking his ass. Roddy Piper hasnít been seen since Halloween Havoc, but Bischoff says heís been trying to get him to sign a contract to face Hogan. I may do full Nitro reviews in the future, but Iíve already watched this Nitro, and Rawís one hour vs. Nitroís two.

-Alright finally to put things in perspective. Earlier, during the live portion of the taping, Bret Hart returned to the WWF. This is a week after the infamous Brian Pillman gun episode. Unfortunately my WWE 24/7 service cut out most of the episode, but Iíve seen all the skits on the Pillman DVD.

-Taped October 21, 1996 at the War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana

-Vince McMahon (Play by Play), Jerry Lawler (Color) are the hosts for the evening

1) WWF Tag-Team Champions Owen Hart & The British Bulldog (w/Clarence Mason) vs. Shawn Michaels & Psycho Sid (w/Jose Lothario)
This match is for the titles. This is a week before the Survivor Series, where the match for WWF Title is Shawn Michaels defending against Sid, and Vince Russo must have already been on the booking team, because here is one of his repetitive angles- wacky mismatched partners who have to fight later. Sid & Shawn had been having problems with Owen & Bulldog, facing them in singles matches through the tapings, but theyíve also been getting in accidental scuffles. The Champions come out first, which no matter how big the star(s) is always weird. Itís crazy how over Sid was at this point. Funny thing about him, much like Diesel, is when he was finally given the title the company tanked like crazy.

Stone Cold gives some words, including calling out Bret Hart and threatens to fight him tonight.

Owen does a pearl harbor job on Sid, and Sid looks either angry, confused, or gassy. Sid beats up poor Owen, who makes Sidís bad punches look like Tysonís best shots. Meanwhile Sid sells Owenís shots as if they were butterflies hitting his face or something. Sid tags in Shawn, they have a good segment going back and forth quickly. Shawn clotheslines Owen over the top as we go to break.

Coming back from the break, Shawn and Davey Boy are in the ring. Sid comes back in, and gives the British Bulldog a boot to the gut. Bulldog gets a nice suplex on Sid, but Sid no sells it seconds later. Shawn back in and gets hit by Owen from behind who then tags in. Vince says there has never been a betting scandal in the WWF, after Jerry Lawler makes a Boston College joke. Good thing they werenít on steroids. Shawn is now the babyface in peril. Shawn makes a small comeback, getting a roll up on Owen, but the champions get things going back their way. Bulldog tags in, and kicks at Shawn. Owen back in gets a nice dropkick on Shawn. Thank god Shawn is in, as itís saving this match. We then go break.

-Promo for the Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin match at the Survivor Series. They actually bleep ďass,Ē which Iím guessing is because of the Pillman episode last week.

Back from the break, Bulldog is stomping at Shawnís legs. Sid is reaching for Shawn, but they also act as if heís making Shawn take the punishment. Bulldog tags in Owen, and gets a nice enzuiguri like move. Owen goes for a suplex, but Shawn gets a small package. Unfortunately it rolls Owen right to his corner for another tag with Bulldog. They promote a chat on AOL with HBK. Haha, the Internet was so young and naive at this point. The heels stomp on Shawn some more. Bulldog holds Michaels as Owen goes for a dropkick, but Micheals moves and Bulldog takes it. Now itís time for the hot tag, which Shawn gets. Sid gets a chokeslam on the Bulldog. Sid tries to go for a powerbomb, but Bullodg back bodydrops out of it. Shawn then goes for a superkick on Davey Boy, but Sid the giant idiot run towards Shawn and Davey Boy, realizing Sid to be mentally retarded, moves out of the way and Sid eats Shawnís boot. Davey Boy covers Sid to gain the victory. Overall, it was a good match, except for just about anything involving Sid. Shawn played the classic babyface in peril. Iím knocking a little off because of Sidís portions weakened it, but he was kept out for a good time. ***

WINNERS: and still the WWF Tag-Team Champions Davey Boy Smith & Owen Hart (no time recorded)

-In the back, Shawn and Sid are pissed and in different locker rooms.

-We then go to Michael Hayes (as Dok Hendrix) for the Survivor Series Report.
First we have Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Jerry Lawler, Crush, & Goldust (w/Mr. Perfect) vs. Marc Mero, The Stalker, Mark Henry and some loser named, Rocky Maivia. Never head of him.

Vader, Faarooq, Diesel (Jacobs), and Razor Ramon (Rick) vs. Savio Vega, a returning Yokozuna, a debuting Flash Funk, and a mystery partner. So basically, the only one on the face side anyone would care about is Savio Vega. Who obviously, no one cared about.

Then we have the debuts of Doug Furnas and Phil Lafon (dropping his Dan Kroffat name) teaming with the Godwinns vs. Owen Hart, Davey Boy Smith, and The New Rockers.

-In the back Sid is pissed.

2) Mankind (w/Paul Bearer & The Executioner) vs. Freddie Joe Floyd
They mention the upcoming Mankind vs. Undertaker match at the Survivor Series. For those that donít know, Floyd is Tracy Smothers. Also The Executioner is Terry Gordy under a stupid mask. Ross and Lawler talk about Barbara Streisand for god knows why, maybe to give the impression that they arenít taped weeks in advance. Freddie gets about thirty seconds of offense, before Mankind takes over. The Undertaker hasnít been on television since the PPV where he was ďkilled.Ē I think this was only the tenth time the Undertaker was killed. Mankind of course dominates the squash. Mankind gives a nice piledriver and gets the mandible claw for the win. I donít think Iím gonna rate squashes, because they usually serve their purpose.

WINNER: Mankind at 2:41

-The Undertakerís music begins to play and an effigy of Paul Bearer hung upside down in a cage is lowered.

-A little package on that idiot Rocky Maivia. Heís gonna be a nobody! They talk about him making his debut and show some footage of him training. Itís so weird to see a humble quiet Rock. No eyebrow, no insulting Kevin Kelly, no catchphrases, only being the son of Rocky Johnson, and honestly, not much else.

-Kevin Kelly is in the back with Psycho Sid. Sid thinks that Shawn attacked him on purpose. He also thinks heís the master and ruler of the world. Donít blame me, I voted for Kodos.

-Stone Cold keeps on calling out Bret, and saying heís gonna run through Bob Holly.

-We see the Karate Fighters Holiday Tournament. Basically itís two wrestlers playing Karate Fighters for a few seconds. This week itís Sable vs. Dok Hendrix. Only notable things are them playing Badstreet USA for Dok, and Todd Pettingzoo doing a bad Howard Cossell impression that makes me want to poop on his lawn.

-According to other reviews for this show, at this point they showed footage of Shawn on Regis & Kathy Lee, but 24/7 doesnít show it. Then we go to an interview with Shawn in a towel, thus making teenage female wrestling fans of the times, get we...wait, last week was the gun episode, I guess I canít say that or else the network brass will be pissed. He isnít happy with the rest of the superstars. He will beat respect from Sid.

3) ďStone ColdĒ Steve Austin vs. Bob Holly
Austin is so calm and cool walking out. He just had a presence walking out, thatís why two years later he grossed a shit ton of money. Jim Ross joins the announce crew. He and Vince are still having their feud. Austin controls the match. Bret is watching in the back. Bob Holly gets a hammerlock, then Austin goes back into control. Austin puts Holly in a headlock. Austin gets a stun gun. Then gets an elbow from the second rope. Vader and Stone Cold are scheduled to rumble next week in a toughman contest. There is a commercial break, which throws off the time. This match has gone on for a while, Holly is actually getting some offense. They are acting as if Austin is distracted by Bret Hart. Ross and McMahon are bickering. Holly tries something from the top rope, but Austin puts his boot up. Austin then gets a stunner and pins Holly.

WINNER: ďStone ColdĒ Steve Austin (about six minutes aired)

-Austin goes to the back to fight Hart. Austin changes his mind and says that people are going to have to pay to see him and Bret fight.

Comments: An okay episode of Raw, but Nitro was far more exciting at the time. I think I would have bought the Survivor Series, because Iím a Hitman mark, and would have been pleasantly surprised as it was actually a good show. The focus was clearly on the big three singles matches. It was pretty apparent that the WWF was toning down after the Pillman angle, because only Bret says ďassĒ in a taped promo and itís bleeped.

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