February 1, 2007
Frank Koenen

WWF Monday Night Raw
November 25, 1996

-The only I have to say, is I'm not going to do the "This Week on Nitro" anymore, because I'm writing Nitro reviews, that should eventually be posted somewhere.

Taped November 18, 1996 at the Coliseum in New Haven, CT
Hosted by Vince McMahon, Jerry Lawler, and Jim Ross

1) Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart (w/Clarence Mason)
There is no opening to the show, the first thing heard is Bret Hartís theme music. This would be Bret Hartís first match on Raw since sometime before WrestleMania XII. They show Shawn Michaels and Jose Lothario in San Antonio, theyíll be on later. The Hart Brothers lock up to start, and Bret backs Owen up into the corner, the ref calls for the break. For some reason McMahon says people say ďHartís performance (at the Survivor Series) was less than stellar.Ē Weíre these people smoking crack-cocaine? That was an awesome match. Owen gets an arm ringer, but Bret keeps nipping out of it. Bret with an armdrag into an arm-bar. Bret releases the hold and then delivers a knee to the shoulder. Another arm-ringer from Bret followed by one from Owen. Bret catches Owen comes off the ropes with an elbow, and then goes into another arm-bar, which he turns into a standard hammerlock. They get into a shoving match, then Bret slaps Owen and gets a roll up for two. Bret goes back into the arm-bar. They continues to reverse hammerlocks on each other. Bret with a headbutt, then another arm-bar. Owen works over Bret in the corner. Bret back body drops Owen, then a rolls him up for a near fall. I think Iím actually hearing an ďOwenĒ chant. Owen gets back in control, and starts kicking at Bretís midsection. Owen is in control, beating on Bret. Owen gets a backbreaker on Bret. Owen throws Bret into the turnbuckle and as always Bret sells it like a pro. I love the way he sells when he gets thrown into the corner, itís always done well. Anyway, Owen locks on a camel clutch like move, but Bret gets out. Owen hits an enzuiguri before going to break. Back from the break, Owen goes up top, but Bret slams him from the top. It looks like Owen was going up top after the enzuiguri, so Iím pretty sure they didnít cut anything out of the match (other than Owen walking to the top, and climbing up). Bret gets a shot to the gut. Then itís time for the BRETBACK (instead of ripping off Scott Keithís ďFIVE MOVES OF DOOMĒ, Iím just gonna call it a Bretback), we get a side Russian legsweep, backbreaker, Elbow drop from the second rope, then a headbutt by Bret into the midsection, which only gets a nearfall. Owen is able to sneak in a rollup for two. Owen sunset flips back in the ring getting another nearfall. Bret starts to go for the sharpshooter, but Steve Austin runs in making the referee call for the disqualification. Austin ties to Pillmanizes Bret, but Davey Boy runs out and takes the chair off Bretís leg, saying ďenough.Ē Owen and Davey Boy argue. Austin just decides to hit Davey Boy with the chair. Then Owen and Austin argue, and finally Austin leaves the ring. This was a lesser version of their matches in years previous. It was like they were getting warmed up for the first five minutes, but that ended up being half the match. To be fair, this would be Bretís second match since September (when he went on tour in South Africa). **Ĺ
WINNER: Bret Hart at 9:28 via disqualification.

-Replay from moments ago. According to Dox Hendrix, Bret doesnít want to give comments, Owen & Davey are having a heated argument. Film at 11.

2) The Executioner (w/Paul Bearer & Mankind) vs. Freddie Joe Floyd
Paul Bearerís entourage gives an interview, revealing that the Undertaker will face The Executioner in an Armageddon rules match. Tracy Smothers vs. Terry Gordy may have been a good big man match at one point, but this is the WWF dammit, we canít give the people a good match between people, then need to be wacky characters having a bad match. Gordy gets a terrible dropkick. Gordy gets a bulldog on Smother for a one count. Gordy chokes Smothers in the corner. He stays on Smothers. Gordy hits a poor suplex on Smothers. This is kinda getting sad. Gordy looks gassed already and itís only two minutes. Slugfest in the middle of the ring, sees Gordy come out on top. He gets a couple clotheslines in the corner. Gordy uses the Asian Spike on Smothers to get the victory. Bad squash, itís kind of sad to see Gordy in this condition.
WINNER: The Executioner at 3:15

-We are live via satellite with Shawn Michaels and Jose Lothario from San Antonio. Jose apologizes to Shawn for costing him the WWF title. He says his health is better now, but is going through tests. At the Royal Rumble Press Conference, it was announced Shawn will get a title shot. Lawler starts insulting both guys. Michaels says he wants Sid next for what he did to Jose. He also didnít care that the fans were cheering Sid, but he wants the fans behind him. Vince calls Shawn very defensive. Shawn says heís going to be more flamboyant and cocky than ever. Jose just looks like he doesnít want to be there. He continues to talk, but he kind of repeats himself. This segment went a little too long. They show a shot of Rocky Maivia, but he doesnít say anything or do anything.

-Sunny comes out to the ring. God how did WWF not win the Monday Night Wars with her alone.

-Milton Bradley Karate Fighters holiday tournament, these are all hosted by Todd Pettingzoo and The King. The semi-finals have Sable vs. Sunny. Sunny wins, but the decision is reversed after gum is found under Sunnyís Karate Fighter. Pettingzoo and Lawler make gum puns. No wonder people would turn to Nitro.

3) Salvatore Sincere vs. Rocky Maivia
What a jerk that Salvatore Sincere. Heís SOOOOOOOO not Sincere. What a high concept gimmick. Captain Lou Albano and Don Muraco gives endorsements for Rocky from the Hall of Fame show. Albano says Rocky could be bigger than the rest of his family and a huge star. God for once Lou Albano says something not only coherent, but predicted the future correctly. Thatís a little scary! Oh yeah, in the ring Sincere throws things at Rocky but he wonít sell, and Rock does a few leap frogs, armdrags, and drop kicks. For the man who would become the biggest star in the industry, itís funny to watch him do Indy Wrestling 101. Of the moves Rocky did, Dennis Rodman could do two by the next year. Sunny is fawning over Rocky and is scouting him for possibly offering managerial services. Rocky goes outside and Sincere gets a baseball slide to send him into the railing. Rocky slingshots Sincere out of the ring. Lawler rips on Rockyís pineapple hairdo that he had at this point. More shots of Sunnyís cleavage, huzzah! Sunny says Rocky could be a guy you could build an entire promotion around. Itís funny, because for once, someone did end up living up to all the over the top hype and even surpassed it. Rocky does an ANGRY FACE! Rocky gets Sincere up and puts him down with a shoulder breaker for the win. Bleh squash to get Rocky over. He wasnít ready for this yet, he was a quick learner, but not that quick. God I love Sunny though. Even though it was a squash, I give *** for Sunnyís presence. (4 if sheís nearly naked, 5 if sheís naked)
WINNER: Rocky Maivia at 4:27

-Vince McMahon interviews Marc Mero and Sable. He says that HHH wonít distract him sitting at ringside.

-Dox Hendrix says that Davey Boy & Owen are not angry at each other anymore. Davey Boy now wants Stone Cold in the ring.

4) Marc Mero (w/Sable) vs. Billy Gunn
WWF IC Champion Triple H is on commentary here. Billy attacks Mero from behind. Mero gets a hurricanrana, which is so much less impressive when the Cruiserweights were doing it better on Nitro. Billy goes outside, and Mero gets a double sledge from the apron. HHH and Mero yell at each other then Mero & Billy throws some fists. Back in, Mero goes up top and hits a moonsault for two. Gunn catches Mero with a fameasser, but since heís not an Outlaw yet, he doesnít bother to even cover. Gunn starts stomping at Mero. Triple H and Vince argue at the announcerís desk. Gunn has firm control of Mero. Gunn grabs a chinlock using the ropes for leverage. Mero fights out, but Gunn dropkicks Mero to the gut. Billy drops a knee to the face for two. Mero is able to get a small package for two. Billy quickly gets a clothesline to get back in control. HHH says Sable has one of his cars still from when they were together at WrestleMania XII. Yawn. Vince says at the next PPV ďItís Time.Ē Gunn goes up to the top, but Gunn ends up being crotched after Mero goes into the ropes. They go to break. Back from the break, Mero hits a hurricanrana from the top, which gets two. They again seem to have just picked up where they left off. Mero hits a TKO on Gunn. HHH starts going after Sable, and this distracts Mero. Gunn hits him from behind. Sable is screaming and god she has an annoying voice. In the ring, HHH and Gunn start double teaming Mero, and the referee calls for a DQ. Jake Roberts runs out to make the save. The heels bail and go to the back. They may end up meeting next week! Wow thatíll remind me not to tune in. This match was pretty pedestrian, it looks like the first attempt at a Billy Gunn singles push. We all know how well that turned out in 1999. Ĺ*
WINNER: Marc Mero at 8:01 via disqualification

Final Comments: I didnít think Raw could get any duller than Nitro, but after the Hart Brothers match it did. I would have probably started watching Raw, then after the opener, switch and not turn back. This week wasnít even a battle in ďMonday Night Wars,Ē it was more of a slap fight between a couple of sissy soldiers.

Raw vs. Nitro: Nitro (barely)

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