January 17, 2005
Graham Cawthon

WWF Monday Night Raw
March 11, 1996
San Antonio, TX
Freeman Coliseum

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin (w/ Ted Dibiase) vs. Savio Vega

The Match:

Thanks to a less-than-impressive cable company, the show cut in with the match joined-in-progress. I guess that’s what I get for living in panhandle Florida at the time.

Austin sends Savio to the corner but Savio bursts out with a spin kick that sends Austin to the mat. Vega makes the comeback with a series of punches and a hiptoss. Austin is thrown into the corner and Savio connects with a spin kick, with Savio flipping over the top and landing gracefully on the floor. Austin is not as lucky as the momentum of the blow results in him tumbling to the outside.

A slugfest errupts, Savio tries to get back in but Austin pulls him back down. The two men brawl on the apron as the referee calls for the bell.

The ring announcer announces the match as a double count-out while Savio and Austin continue to brawl and roll around the mat. Savio connects with a leg lariat that sends Austin to the floor, where he falls flat on his face. Dibiase runs around the ring to check on his man while the fans cheer Savio on.

As a disgruntled Austin makes his way backstage, Vince McMahon cuts to footage shot before Raw went live. Then-future Olympian Mark Henry is being interviewed in the ring by Jerry ‘the King’ Lawler until he says something he shouldn’t have and is press slammed for his effort. Henry leaves the ring while Isaac Yankem checks on Lawler.

While Lawler complains about Vince airing the footage, McMahon cuts away to update us on the WWF Tag Team Championship Tournament. Two days earlier on WWF Superstars, Savio Vega & Razor Ramon went over the 1-2-3 Kid & Tatanka. The last first round match would take place the next week on Superstars when the Bushwhackers meet the Body Donnas.

Goldust’s music unexpectedly plays throughout the arena and the WWF Intercontinental Champion is led to the ring by Marlena while McMahon and Lawler hype a confrontation between Goldust and Roddy Piper after the show returns from commercial break.

*Commercial Break*

McMahon is in the ring and introduces Roddy Piper. The interim WWF Commissioner has a stern look on his face as the bagpipes play in the background. Piper immediately takes control of the segment, with Vince, Goldust, and Marlena also in the ring.

“What exactly is your major malfunction, you fruit cake? Coming out, painting up your face so you look like some sort of transvestite.” - Piper

“I saw your movie. I saw all that stuff you’ve been talking about in Hollywood. You know something, I’ve made 17 movies and I’ve never even seen you outside the catering truck. Nothing. One time maybe in a dark alley. How many quarters did you make? How proud of yourself can you be for that? You know what you’re doing, cream puff? You’re embarrassing me. You’re coming to the WWF and you’re trying to get attention, that’s all you’re trying to do.”

“Mind games. I’m the one that dealt with Adrian Adonis (Lawler: “Wow!”). I beat him half to death with a baseball bat. These mind games that you are playing are not fooling me for one second.”

“Hey, let’s first of all, let’s get our sexuality right. You are what you are. Me, I’m a lesbian, ok?”

Piper goes on to mention all the kids in attendance and says Goldust is only messing with him to help himself in the rankings.

“Not even Freddy Krueger comes into my nightmares.”

Goldust takes the microphone, quotes “Patriot Games”, and gets on his knees. As he continues his monologue, the title holder slowly moves around Piper’s kilt as he invites him to his “back lot”. As Goldust goes to get a “sneak preview” of what’s underneath Piper’s kilt, Piper prevents him which leads to a face-to-face stare down. Piper shoves Goldust which Goldust returns with a punch to the face. Piper, dazed but not confused, returns with a blow that sends Goldust to the mat.

“You want a back lot fight? You want a fight, you jerk? Then a fight you’ve got. And you know what? I’m going to make a man out of you!”

Vince repeats Piper’s name twice as the crowd pops and the show goes to commercial. A new match has been made for WrestleMania.

*Commercial Break*

Henry & Phinneas Godwinn (w/ Hillbilly Jim) vs. Alex Porteau & Jerry Meade

The Match:

Moments into the match, Phinneas goes berserk, knocking both opponents to the floor before Henry comes in the ring to settle him down. Porteau goes for a reverse crossbody off the top but Phinneas catches him in mid-air and hit’s a powerslam. Seconds later, Henry hit’s the Slop Drop on Porteau, rolls him over like a pig might do, and gets the pin.

Vince says that the Godwinns might be on their way to WrestleMania which leads us to a WrestleMania hype package.

Promo Package
WWF World Championship - Bret Hart © vs. Shawn Michaels - 60-minute Ironman Match

We’re now taken to a personal profile of Shawn Michaels’ training for his big match at WrestleMania. Shawn stands outside the Alamo and, for the first time, introduces Jose Lothario. We’re taken to a training montage as Shawn and JR give narration.

"Shawn has practiced the methods of his legendary mentor for over 11 years. And now he finds himself on the threshold of his lifelong dream." - JR

“At 19, you had to say “You can do it, you can be World Wrestling Federation Champion.” But did you really think I could do it?” - Shawn

“Of course, of course. Let me tell you why the reason I did. When I saw the enthusiasm that you really had, and I put you through a real heavy training, hoping you would give up but you never did. And I said this kid’s gonna make it.” - Jose

All those clips of Shawn lifting weights, staring out the window, running the stadium steps, and training with Jose that ended up in so many future hype montages … this is when they originally aired.

From Shawn we now turn to the frozen tundra of Calgary.

“Like the cold, Canadian Rockies, Bret Hart is rugged, dangerous, and respected.” - JR

We see Bret outside, with the Saddledome in the background.

“Through the years, if you go back and look at the wrestling where I grew up, the roots that I came from. it’s a really hard, tough style of wrestling. I mean, it’s tough. I don’t think if it was ever tougher than it was right here. Shawn’s roots, you’re talking about a really sharp tie in with the Mexican wrestling - jumping, running, and moving, a lot of action. But as far as being tough, I don’t know of any really tough Mexican wrestlers.” - Bret

We then see clips of Bret training in the Dungeon with his father Stu, running on the treadmill as he watches his match against Davey Boy from the December In Your House.

“He reminds me more of a tennis ball bouncing around the ring but he doesn’t really have any really effective moves. He’s got one which is his big kick and the other is the conditioning factor as an overall."

“People actually believe that Shawn Michaels is the best wrestler in the whole World Wrestling Federation. That he’s the best one, better than I am. And that just drives me nuts, just drives me nuts (said with a smirk on his face).”

“That’ll be the one thing that rings throughout this whole match - Shawn Michaels is very good but he is not and he never will be the best.”

A great little segment that, in 5 minutes, laid out a perfect back story to both men and did a fantastic job of pushing the world title match.

*Commercial Break*

Hunter Hearst Helmsley makes his way to the ring, alongside his female escort Michelle Snickler, as the show comes back from break. Vince McMahon announces that the future Triple H will meet the returning Ultimate Warrior at WrestleMania. Lawler is in shock as we’re taken to a 30-second hype package of the Warrior. Clips of him dominating Hogan, Savage, etc are shown before we’re taken back to the arena.

Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. Vin Grier

The Match:

Helmsley dominates Vin Grier with a “Harley Race” high knee, a series of stomps, and a delayed suplex. After a series of punches in the corner, Hunter drops the Pedigree and squashes Grier as though he were Chris Jericho.

And now to the Geriatric Control Center.

One of the lovely side effects to the Monday Night War - the Hukster, Nacho Man, Scheme Gene, and Billionaire Ted skits. This one involves hype for the WrestleMania XII geriatric match pitting the “Immortal One” against “Mr. Madness”. An added stipulation just announced states that no handcuffs or ladies shoes would be allowed at ringside (and if you’re familiar with WCW during this timeframe, you understand the references).

As funny as this quote is, it’s amazing the lengths that both companies went to bury the competition.

“Don’t forget to call me on the hotline! Rumors are flying around the sun and the possibility of darkness tonight. Will there be nightfall? I can’t tell you on TV but call me for the exclusive information!” - Scheme Gene

Yokozuna’s music plays as we’re taken to commercial break.

*Commercial Break*

We return with a hype package on the next week’s Raw in which WWF World Champion Bret Hart meets Tatanka in one-on-one action.

The lights go out and the Undertaker’s music plays as the crowd pops like it hasn’t all night.

A split screen shows Diesel backstage watching the match. Big Daddy Cool makes mention of several house shows the coming weekend in which he and HBK take on Bret and the Undertaker. He plans to get a closer look at Taker then but hopes that the rumors surrounding HBK aren’t true. When asked for further details, Diesel refuses to comment. By the way, it was one of those before mentioned house shows, at MSG, where Diesel turned on his little buddy.

The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) & Yokozuna vs. Davey Boy Smith & Owen Hart (w/ Jim Cornette)

The Match:

Yoko & Taker come face-to-face in the ring, as though they might fight each other, but instead go right to work on Davey Boy Smith & Owen Hart.

The four men pair off, with Taker and Owen in the corner and Yoko dropping a leg across Smith’s face. Seconds later, Diesel comes ringside and gives Paul Bearer a short clothesline and a pounding on the floor as Taker battles Owen on the other side of the ring. Taker spots Diesel leaving ringside, sees Paul on the floor, and then goes to stalk Big Daddy Cool in the backstage area.

*Commercial Break*

As we return, Yoko is double teamed by the opposition as he’s left alone in the ring. Within moments, Vader makes his way to the ring just as Yoko gains the upper hand. The referee calls for the DQ.

One forearm blow to the back of the head by Vader drops Yoko to the mat. Ahmed Johnson runs to the ring and lays out Owen, Davey, and Vader. Just as Ahmed is triple teamed, Jake the Snake makes his way out to even the odds.

Referees and officials swarm the ring as the six men pair off in opposite corners, Yoko and Vader rolling around on the mat. Cornette rounds up his men as Vader grabs a chair and slams it violently against the steel ring post. Vince hypes the one-on-one match between Yoko and Vader at WrestleMania.

Cornette’s men leave ringside as Yoko, Ahmed, and Jake celebrate the moral victory.

The broadcast ends.

My View:

Very little filler here. Everything serves a purpose, save perhaps the Godwinns match but even that was used to get over the tag team tournament.

The Bret / HBK segments were classic. Diesel foreshadows his turn on Shawn. Mark Henry makes his TV debut. The Savio / Austin feud begins. Hunter is built up to face the Warrior. The seeds are planted for the 6-man tag at WrestleMania. Roddy Piper was classic on the mic and did his best to be a stand-in for Razor against Goldust.

Overall, an enjoyable 60-minutes. Recommended.

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