January 19, 2007
Frank Koenen

WWE Monday Night Raw
November 18, 1996

-On Nitro This Week: The final push to the World War III PPV. The nWo continues to wreak havoc, making Tony Shiavone leave the announcers desk. Sting gives Luger a baseball bat, thus continuing the mystery of his motives. Roddy Piper shows up for the first time since Halloween Havoc. Eric Bischoff, who has been claiming to be in talks with Piper, was lying, turns heel and joins the nWo. Piper says he’ll bring a contract to World War III for Hogan to sign.

-The previous night had the Survivor Series, and I’ll give the quick rundown.
Survivor Series match: Doug Furnas, Phil Lafon, Henry & Phineas Godwinn beat Owen Hart, Davey Smith, & The New Rockers.
Furnas & Lafon were the survivors. This was a good match from what I remember, and served its purpose of trying to get Furnas & Lafon over.
The Undertaker pinned Mankind
This match was where Undertaker returned in leather. It was a pretty lame match, even Foley says that in his book. Not that it was bad, just an anticlimactic blowoff to this leg of their feud.
Survivor Series Match: Marc Mero, Rocky Maivia, Jake Roberts, & Barry Windham beat Crush, Jerry Lawler, Hunter Hearst Helmsley, & Goldust
The Rock is the sole survivor. This match was there to get the Mero-Helmsley feud over, and then get the Rock over. It was a better than okay match.
Bret Hart pinned “Stone Cold” Steve Austin
This was an excellent match and a classic. It’s too bad they didn’t have it on the Bret Hart DVD.
Farooq, Vader, Razor Ramon II, & Diesel II vs. Flash Funk, Jimmy Snuka, Savio Vega, & Yokozuna went to a double disqualification.
Jimmy Snuka came back as a mystery partner. This just seemed to jumble together every one else they didn’t put on the card and shove them in a match. Interestingly, supposedly Vader was pencilled in to win the title at this point, but apparently it somehow was switched around to Sid. A lame match, with a lame ending as some of those eliminated return to the ring and it turns into a schmoz and a DDQ.
Sid pinned Shawn Michaels to win the WWF World Heavyweight Championship.
This was probably Sid’s best singles match ever. Shawn kinda carried Sid, but Sid tried like hell here. Match ends with Sid hitting Jose Lothario with a camera after he gets on the apron, then Shawn goes out to help Jose, so Sid hits him with it too.

-LIVE from the Coliseum in New Haven, CT

-Your Hosts are Vince McMahon (Play by Play), Jerry Lawler (Color), Jim Ross (Analyst)

1) Toughman Contest: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Mankind (w/Paul Bearer)
This is Austin and Foley’s first single match with each other. The show opens with Austin’s theme music, no intro. Vader was injured last night (though he was injured before that) and Mankind is his replacement. Mankind jumps Austin as he was making his entrance. Austin starts with a series of punches. The two men continue to brawl at the entranceway as officials try and break it up. Back down towards ringside, Mankind throws Austin into the steel steps. They continue brawling, until they finally get into the ring. Austin beats up Mankind in the corner. He sends Mankind outside, and then Mankind rams Austin’s head into the stairs. Back in the ring, Mankind is in control. Vince hypes Shawn Michaels making an appearance. Austin explodes out of the corner and clothesline Mankind, then gets a series of fist. Mankind is again thrown outside, but he grabs a chair. Austin kicks him before he can use it, and tries to use it himself. The referee takes it away and it lets Mankind knock Austin down. Mankind then goes to whip Austin into the railing at ringside, but Austin reverses it and Mankind goes over it and onto the concrete. Back in the ring, Mankind gets the mandible claw, but Austin uses a low blow to get out of it. Both men are down as they go to commercial. Back from the break, Austin goes off the second rope, but Mankind gets a shot to the gut. In the corner, Mankind continues assaulting Austin, including doing a legdrop on Austin from the apron. Outside again Mankind drops Austin on the railing. Austin gets suplexed back in the ring. Austin, telegraphing, puts his head down too early and Mankind gets a nice swinging neck breaker. Austin goes for a sleeperhold, but Mankind pushes him into the corner to break it. Mankind goes for a piledriver, but Austin gets a back body drop. Mankind lands on his feet on the apron and Mankind snaps Austin’s throat on the top ring rope. Mankind goes up top, but Austin gives a few shots and throws him off the top. Austin then starts stomping and choking Mankind. This is an intense match. Mankind is on the outside and Austin kicks him in the head. Then Mankind returns the favor by shoving Austin’s face on the steel steps again. Then Austin drops Mankind on the railing. Back inside the ring, Austin gets a snapmare and then a elbow from the second rope for a near fall. Mankind starts waiving for someone. In the corner, Austin drives his shoulder in Mankind’s midsection. They continue fighting as Mankind starts falling outside. Bearer comes back to ringside and the Executioner attacks Austin. The referee calls for the disqualification. They double team Austin for a little bit, until The Undertaker with his new leather gear comes to ringside. Austin then clotheslines Undertaker in appreciation. Undertaker reenters the ring, and in a stupid move Austin leaves the ring, looking like a chicken. Way to get your heels over. This was a damn good match, Foley even mentions it in his book, and part of the reason the two had such a good match is because they were both not happy with Marc Mero being given a bigger contract offer then the both of them. This may have been an early experiment with turning Austin face. These two always had a great chemistry and this was no exception. ****
WINNER: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin via disqualification

-Survivor Series replay promo.

-Ahmed Johnson is seen in the crowd. Sunny comes out to ringside. At this point, Sunny really served no purpose other than to come out and look sexy. Not saying she was talent-less, she was being wasted at this point. At least when she’s just paraded around for being hot, she could still be entertaining unlike the divas of today. She introduces Faarooq, and then joins the announcers.

2) Faarooq (w/The Nation of Domination) vs. Savio Vega
PG-13 raps Faarooq to ringside, I always liked that concept. The only ones accompanying Faarooq were Clarence Mason and PG-13. Savio gets a dropkick on Faarooq. Savio gets a hammerlock on Faarooq. The only thing worthwhile thing going on is Sunny’s boobs. Savio continues to control on Faarooq. Faarooq takes over after a little bit. This match needs more shots of Sunny’s cleavage. Faarooq gets a nice snap suplex. Faarooq gets a side suplex and they go to a break. Back from the break, Faarooq has a camel clutch on Savio. Yay, more shots of Sunny. In the ring, the match continues to plod on. Ross mentions that Bret Hart will be back on Raw next week, facing Owen Hart. Savio kinda makes a comeback. Maybe the heat segment was during the break. Bodyslam by Savio, but he then misses an elbow. Faarooq goes up top, but Savio bounces off the ropes, and Faarooq lands on that special place. Savio tries to go for a superplex, which may have saved this match, but they both tumble outside. Vince says “only in the World Wrestling Federation.” Someday I’m just gonna sit down and watch mid 90s wrestling shows where McMahon announced, and take shots for every time he says that or “UNBELIEVABLE!” or “WHAT A MANEUVER!” Yeah, I’ll probably die of alcohol poisoning. Back in the ring, Savio is in control, until he tumbles outside. Then PG-13 hits Savio with the two by four. They roll him back in and Faarooq covers him for the pin. Ahmed then jumps the railing and attacks various members of the Nation. This match just plodded on and I’ll up the rating ½* just for the shots of Sunny’s cleavage. *1/2
WINNER: Faarooq

-They show still photos of the main event from last night. Afterwards, Vince gives a speech about Shawn Michaels now being a man, because he helped Jose Lothario instead of pinning Sid.

3) Doug Furnas & Phil LaFon vs. Leif Cassidy & Bob Holly
Capt. Lou Albano goes over to join the Spanish commentary team, which I find humorous because he could barely master the English language. LaFon and Cassidy start, eventually Cassidy gets sent outside. Furnas gets tagged in, and they go to comments from the tag-team champions Owen Hart & The British Bulldog. Bulldog says they got lucky, Owen isn’t happy about it. Mason claims that Furnas & Lafon have to climb the ladder to get a title shot. They had some good matches over the next few months. They then go to a break. Back from break, Holly and Furnas are in the ring. Holly goes for an elbow drop, but it misses. This match is pretty much Furnas & Lafon to show them off to the fans. Furnas gets a sloppy Frankensteiner on Holly. Cassidy gets a nice full nelson suplex on Furnas. But Furnas gets an even cooler half nelson suplex for the pinfall. This was the big Raw debut for Furnas & Lafon, unfortunately they never fit into the WWF, and were eventually faded away after so much promise.
WINNERS: Doug Furnas & Phil Lafon

-Another commercial for the Survivor Series replay.

-Psycho Sid comes out for an interview with Jim Ross. Ross introduces Sid who, despite his heel actions the previous night, gets a huge pop. Sid is not apologetic for his actions. Sid even says he respects Jose, but he became part of the game when he got on the apron. Sid says he’ll give Shawn a rematch and beat him again. Sid’s interview as it progresses gets sloppier as it goes on. Sid says he’ll be a fighting champion, and runs down some of his potential opponents. He is the master and the ruler of the world. I wish I knew what world Sid ruled. I wonder if it’s even in this dimension.

Comments: This Raw started with a bang with Austin-Mankind, but by the middle of the Faarooq match I think I would have changed the channel to Nitro and not turned it back. Raw at this point has a lot of promise. Sid is the new champion, Bret Hart is back and gonna face Sid at the next In Your House, Shawn hasn’t been seen, The Undertaker is in leather meaning either an attitude change or a new taste for BSDM. Next week on Raw, Bret Hart faces Owen Hart, we’ll see you then.

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