July 26, 2010
Matt Peddycord
The Powerdriver Review

Monday Night Raw
January 6, 1997
Albany, NY
Knickerbocker Arena
(Taped on 12/30/96)

The current WWF champs were as follows:
World Champion: Psycho Sid (11/17/1996)
Intercontinental Champion: Hunter Hearst Helmsley (10/21/1996)
World Tag Team Champions: Owen Hart & Davey Boy Smith (9/22/1996)

Your hosts are Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler.

TONIGHT: Bret Hart is going to find out what time it is. I’m assuming 9PM, but Vader has a different point of view.

If you missed out on Shotgun Saturday Night, Ahmed Johnson gave the PEARL RIVER PLUNGE to some poor suit from the Nation of Domination on the hood of a car! Plus, Marlena flashes her boobies at the Sultan! Bob Backlund isn’t pleased and yet – he is. Now hit that edgy Raw intro!

Owen Hart (w/Clarence Mason) vs. Mankind (w/Paul Bearer)
Mankind charges into a belly to belly suplex right at the bell. Owen looks to end this with the SHARPSHOOTER, but Mankind quickly finds the ropes. Mankind goes to the throat and whips Owen into the corner for the running knee to the face. Owen tries to break Mankind’s arm over his shoulder, but he manages to counter that into a sleeper of sorts down on the mat. Owen bites and stomps on his Mandible Claw, but Mankind fires back with the Cactus Clothesline. Out comes a chair, but Owen nails Mankind in the gut with his Slammy award and then hangs him out to dry on the guardrail. Back inside, Owen stays on the ribs and grabs an ab stretch. Mankind hiptosses out, but then Owen puts him on the floor with the Enziguri Kick. Owen heads out after him, but gets yanked into the guardrail and hit over the head with some Rubbermaid. E-C-DUB! Commercials. When we return, Mankind is in control with a swinging neckbreaker. Mankind wants another swinging neckbreaker, but Owen keeps the momentum going and catches Mankind with a DDT! Owen flies down into the MANDIBLE CLAW, but he escapes and knocks Mankind away with the Spinning Heel Kick. Owen misses a corner charge and runs into the post, which sets him up for a Pull Up Piledriver to give Mankind the three-count. (7:08 shown) Good TV match that showed some decent chemistry between these two. **½

In the back, Shawn Michaels, Jose Lothario, and his son are vowing revenge on Psycho Sid in the Alamodome.

Recap shown from Shotgun Saturday Night: Crush hit Ahmed Johnson with a chair, but that didn’t seem to stop him as Ahmed took one of the Nation of Domination security guys into the parking lot and gave him the PEARL RIVER PLUNGE on the hood of a car. Mother Smucker and Sister Angelica (the short-lived Flying Nuns tag team better known as the Headbangers) with Brother Love in their corner make their debut against the Godwinns. Riiight.

Doug Furnas & Phil LaFon vs. Razor Ramon II & Diesel II
Honky Tonk Man joins us on commentary to get a closer look at possibly making one of these four his personal protégé. Of course, the person he’s looking for has to be able to sing, play guitar, and wrestle. Diesel starts off with LaFon. Vince mentions that Furnas and LaFon will meet the Flying Nuns on Shotgun Saturday Night. LaFon stops a suplex and tries to drive Diesel down into a Fujiwara armbar, but Diesel pushes LaFon back into his corner to tag Razor. Terrible looking Fallaway Slam takes down LaFon. He fires back with a running corner clothesline and gives Ramon a snap suplex. Tag to Furnas. I’m assuming Razor is doing his best imitation, but man it’s awful. Furnas stands up out of a stepover armbar and sends Razor crashing to the mat. Good try, but Diesel nails Furnas from the apron to slow him down. Diesel (soon-to-be Kane) is certainly the stronger imitation of the two. Not to mention just a better wrestler. Pumphandle slam by Razor sets up a commercial break. When we come back, Furnas hiptosses away an ab stretch. Too bad Diesel cuts off the hot tag. Side Slam gets two. The heels do some illegal switches which leads to Diesel delivering the Bossman Straddle. Diesel misses a corner charge and then takes a dropkick that sends him crashing into the corner again to set up a HOT TAG TO LAFON! A pair of enziguri kicks sends Diesel down. Spinning heel kick gets two. Diesel backdrops out of a double-underhook. LaFon slides down his back as Furnas sneaks in and dropkicks Diesel down for 1-2-NO! Diesel Big Boots LaFon on the way down from the top. Razor tags in, but walks into a release Northern Lights suplex. Tag to Furnas, he runs into a clothesline. Could it be time for the RAZOR’S EDGE? LaFon stops him from behind. FRANKENSTEINER from Furnas! Cover, 1-2-NO! Diesel makes the save, but then takes a double-clothesline out to the floor. Doomsday Device followed by a jackknife rollup by Furnas scores the 1-2-3. (9:17 shown) Not bad. I think the Can-Am Express were just too All-Japan for the WWF crowds to get into at the time. Maybe if they had come about three or four years later with the influx of Benoit and Malenko, they would have gotten over much more easily. **

Honky Tonk Man is still searching for that one individual.

Let Us Take You Back to Last Week: During the Goldust-Lawler main event, Hunter Hearst Helmsley (who joined Vince and I’m assuming HTM for commentary) jumped up and tried to KIDNAP Marlena. When Marc Mero stopped him in the aisle, he throws Marlena at Mero and then sidesteps Goldust to cause him to crash into Mero and Marlena! That sets up Mero & Goldust-Helmsley & Lawler for next week.

Evidently Marlena was feeling better because she showed off her ta-tas on Shotgun Saturday Night to distract the Sultan. Every 13 year old boy that had the internet at the time knew Marlena had something that actually covered them up for the live crowd, but the effect certainly got over on TV.

In the back, we get a word from Bret Hart. Vince tells him that Shawn Michaels will be at ringside. Bret says he would like to see Shawn stick his nose in his business just so he could beat him up. As for Vader, he’s just big and stupid. Psycho Sid’s music interrupts and Bret feels SCREWED again.

When we return from a commercial break, the WWF champ Psycho Sid is in the ring – complete with the SID fireworks sign. Jim Ross is also there to ask the big question: Is Sid even the least bit intimidated to meet Shawn Michaels in his hometown at San Antonio. Of course he’s not. The day he was born was when he became ‘the man’. Funny how it’s a retarded claim when Sid says it, but not when Ric Flair calls himself ‘the man’. Sid says he will enter and leave San Antonio as ‘the man’. Why? Because he’s the ruler of the world. WHAT. Shawn Michaels interrupts and takes his place as only he can by Vince McMahon at the commentary table for the main event. Jose Lothario is with him, but he doesn’t get a headset. After seeing Shawn’s over the top entrance, Sid responds with an apology – for what he’s going to do to Shawn Michaels at the Royal Rumble because he won’t be held responsible.

Bret Hart vs. Vader
Where’s Jim Cornette? Oh that’s right. Undertaker gave him a TOMBSTONE on Superstars. After they show the clip, Vince calls JR – the lead PBP man on Superstars – the best play by play man in the business. Huh. Vader pounds Bret in the corner and takes him to the floor, but then Bret reverses a whip and sends Vader into the steps. Vader eats the ringpost and we’re back in the ring. Bret grabs an armbar, but Vader shoves him off and delivers the Body Attack. More corner pounding by Vader sets up a nasty short-arm clothesline. Body Attack from the middle rope leads to a commercial break. Hey, Stone Cold Steve Austin is watching on from the back! When we return, Vader is doing more of the same. Splash from the second rope gets two. He wants a Pump Splash and then wastes time teasing a Vadersault. When he does go for the Pump Splash, Bret brings up the knees. HERE COMES BRET! Austin is still watching on from the back. Russian Legsweep and a Body Slam (because a backbreaker would just be stupid) sets up the Flying Vertical Elbow. Cover, 1-2-NO! Shawn makes sure to comment how Bret’s matches are the same all the time. Ouch. Back suplex scores another two-count. Crossbody by Bret takes them both over the top rope. As Vader and Bret slug it out, Psycho Sid returns to ringside and drags a cameraman with him. While Vader is turning over the steps and causing chaos, Steve Austin sneaks down and clips Bret from behind. STONE COLD STUNNER on the concrete! As Austin sneaks back up the aisleway without the ref seeing a thing, Vader drags Bret back into the ring for the Pump Splash for the 1-2-3. (8:41 shown) Kind of an upset there, but not surprising looking back when you consider Vader didn’t need a loss going into his match with the Undertaker. With the Bret-heavy Royal Rumble, a loss here wouldn’t really phase him that much. Decent enough match, but not an epic storyteller I always felt they could have put together. **¼

Once Vader clears out, we go to the back where we see that Psycho Sid has attacked Jose Lothario’s grown son as both Shawn Michaels and Jose Lothario storm to the back. Still, the man can’t handle “the man”. Sid powerbombs him onto a table that doesn’t break. After a quick break, Shawn Michaels stands over the guy while Aldo Montoya and Savio Vega both cry out for help.

You gotta love the slow-mo replay of Jose Lothario’s son being slammed onto the table.

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