What the World Was Watching: WWF Monday Night Raw – November 20, 1995

Monday Night Raw

-Clips are shown of Bret Hart defeating Diesel to become the new WWF Champion at last night’s Survivor Series pay-per-view.

-We’re live from Richmond, Virginia and our hosts are Vince McMahon and Jerry “the King” Lawler. They recap last week’s Raw where Sid defeated Intercontinental Champion Razor Ramon in a non-title match due to the actions of the 1-2-3 Kid, who was the special guest referee. McMahon shows pictures of the Kid’s triumph in the Underdog match at the Survivor Series and how he caused Ramon to be pinned in the Wild Card match later in the show.

-Opening Contest: Hakushi vs. The 1-2-3 Kid (w/Ted DiBiase):

Tonight we get a SummerSlam rematch but the tables are turned because Hakushi has lost his edge and the Kid is now a heel. The crowd works up a “Razor” chant at the beginning of the match and I fail to see how that’s supposed to encourage Hakushi. Ramon does a phone interview with McMahon as the Kid and Hakushi show off their agility. While Hakushi has an armbar locked in, Marty Jannetty rushes to the ring and has to be restrained by WWF officials. I did like the initial stages of the Kid’s heel turn because within seven days he already had two guys that wanted to kill him. Not many newly turned heels can boast that accomplishment.

We return from commercial break and the Kid is using his martial offense on Hakushi in the corner. The Kid works in a neck crank and delivers a reverse enziguri when Hakushi escapes. An elbow drop gets two. A slam and top rope splash gets two. The sad thing is that I bought that as the finish because of the way Hakushi was being used by this point. Hakushi hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker out of nowhere for the double KO. Both men get to their feet at the same time and Hakushi wins a martial arts faceoff. Hakushi hits a springboard elbow smash and a running elbow gets two. The crowd comes to life as Hakushi hits a flying shoulder block off the top rope for two. A thrust kick sends the Kid to the floor but when Hakushi goes to the top rope DiBiase pushes him off. The Kid runs back in and a spinning heel kick gets the pin at 6:46. This wasn’t as good as their SummerSlam 1995 encounter, but the last 90 seconds of action raised its grade. Grade: C-

-Lawler interviews the Kid and DiBiase. DiBiase hypes the Kid’s performance from the Survivor Series and he taunts Jannetty and Ramon. Jannetty comes out but Sid follows him and a beat down results. Sid puts his signature on it by powerbombing Jannetty on the arena floor.

-Slam Jam time with Doc Hendrix and he announces the date for In Your House 5 in Hershey Park, Pennsylvania. The main event will see Bret Hart defend his newly won WWF Championship against the British Bulldog. Hendrix also announces that there will be a hog pen match between Hunter Hearst-Helmsley and Henry Godwinn.

-Call 1-900-TITAN-91 and they are trying to sell some ugly WWF denim jackets. You can get one of the Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Diesel, and Bret Hart. You can get them for the cheap price of $59.75 (plus your shipping and handling charges)!

-Skip (w/Sunny) vs. Savio Vega:

This seems like a really random match since both guys aren’t going anywhere in storyline terms. Both men go back and forth to start and Savio eventually comes out on top by slingshotting Skip into the corner. Savio floats over a Skip blind charge and gets a cross body off the ropes for two. Skip fires away (he’s the heel here, right?) but Savio reverses a suplex. Savio dominates the action as Diesel walks out to ringside. Savio backdrops Skip to the floor and Diesel manhandles Skip creating a no contest at 3:02, which really sucks because I was enjoying the matchup.

-Diesel gets on the microphone and goes on a quasi-shoot where he says today is the first time he’s smiled since he won the WWF Championship. He calls out Vince for trying to make him a corporate puppet and proceeds to rant in ECW and Austinesque fashion against Titan Towers. He says the only hands he’s going to smack from the fans are those with black gloves. This is probably the best WWF promo of 1995.

-Owen Hart (w/Jim Cornette) vs. “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels:

For those that are not familiar with this time period, this match is an important part of Michaels career (which I explain in the final report card). Owen hits a quick shoulder block off the ropes for two. Owen does it again for two. Both men exchange near-falls while doing a wrestling sequence and Michaels gets a series of arm drags and sends Owen to the floor with a dropkick. Back in, Michaels hits a hurricanrana. However, Owen clotheslines Michaels to the floor and delivers a baseball slide. Back in, both men fight over a suplex and Owen maneuvers around Michaels and hits a German suplex for two. Owen goes to work on the back and a suplex gets two. Michaels fights out of a chinlock but Owen catches him with a spinning heel kick and we head to a commercial break.

We return from the break to see Michaels fighting out of another chinlock. Owen, though, hits a neckbreaker and leg drop for two. Owen puts his head down too early and Michaels gets a fluke backslide for two. Owen maintains the advantage but when he goes for a superplex Michaels shifts his weight in mid-air and gets another fluke two-count. Michaels goes under a clothesline and hits a flying forearm off the ropes for a double KO. Owen gets to his feet first and Michaels suddenly kips up and makes the comeback. Michaels hits his trademark top rope elbow smash for two. Michaels goes for Sweet Chin Music but Owen intelligently clings to the ropes for dear life and won’t come out. Michaels tugs him out by his foot and Owen hits an enziguri. Owen goes for a Sharpshooter, but Michaels pushes him away. Both men tussle over a side suplex before Michaels clotheslines Owen to the floor and skins the cat back in. Michaels then proceeds to pose for the crowd before suddenly collapsing. Referee Earl Hebner isn’t quite sure what to do and the match ends at 10:07. Before we go to commercial, Hebner screams Shawn’s name which is a little unsettling because of Owen standing a few feet away. This was the usual good match between these two. Grade: B

-When we back from a commercial break, we see medical personnel attending to Michaels. McMahon is in the ring and Lawler walks around the ring asking what is going on. Some female fans are shown looking distraught. The show runs out of time before we are given an explanation of what is happening.

-Tune in next week to see “The Supreme Fighting Machine” Kama put the remnants of the urn on the line against the Undertaker. Also, Brother Love is returning to interview WWF Champion Bret Hart.

The Final Report Card: This week’s show blew last week’s out of the water. The Diesel promo makes this show notable but what makes it one of the more important Raw’s in history is that it started the Shawn Michaels concussion angle that kept Michaels away from the ring until the 1996 Royal Rumble, where he would win and move on to WrestleMania XII. Very few people at the time knew that this angle was a work and for weeks lots of fans were convinced that Michaels had suffered a severe concussion and might never return to the ring. Checking out the match with Owen from this show is recommended, as they have great chemistry in the ring, but also to see how the WWF sold the angle to the public. This was ground breaking stuff for its time period and I’m honestly surprised that the WWE has not tried to do this angle out again considering all the controversy about concussions today (although I’m sure the Benoit situation might be why they haven’t). Anyway, excellent show here that’s worth a look if you can find a tape or DVD that has it.

Show Grade: B

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