What the World Was Watching: WWF Monday Night Raw – February 5, 1996

Monday Night Raw

-Vince McMahon and Jerry “the King” Lawler are in the booth and they are still in Stockton, California.

-Opening Contest: Yokozuna & The British Bulldog (w/Jim Cornette) vs. “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels & Diesel:

Michaels and the Bulldog have a posing contest and Michaels wins on crowd reaction. I’ve always wondered why heels ever bother with those things. Michaels clotheslines the Bulldog over the top rope and skins the cat back in. All hell breaks loose when Yokozuna tries an ambush, but Diesel throws Shawn on top of Yoko and heels regroup. Back in, Yoko eats some Diesel clotheslines before giving him a Samoan Drop. That’s why Yoko was so awesome. He’d take a zillion moves and completely wipe his out his opponent with just one of his. A big fat elbow drop misses, though, and we have a brief double KO. Michaels tags in, but when he runs the ropes Cornette pulls them down and Michaels crashes to the floor. The Bulldog does some damage behind the referee’s back and the heels work over Michaels on their side of the ring as we go to a commercial break.

When we return it’s nerve hold time. Yoko releases it voluntarily and the heels continue their assault. A big fat splash misses and we have double KO #2. Diesel gets the momentum swinging tag and cleans house. Diesel nails Yoko with a big boot and Michaels splashes him from Diesel’s shoulders. The Bulldog tries to leg drop Michaels, but Diesel moves and Yoko takes the blow. Diesel clotheslines the Bulldog to the floor and Michaels knocks Yoko to the floor with Sweet Chin Music. Owen Hart runs out and tries to help the Bulldog throw Yoko into the ring, but they can’t do it because he’s too fat and Michaels and Diesel win by count out at 10:00 shown. A pretty fun tag match, but they never made it seem like Michaels was in any danger of being pinned. Rating: **

-After the match, Cornette “verbally rapes” Yokozuna (Vince’s words, not mine) and Yoko has enough. When he goes after Cornette, though, Owen and the Bulldog attack him. Yoko drives them off and chases them to the locker room. Samoan face turns never seem to go well and Yoko’s was no exception.

-The latest Mankind vignette remains focused on his ear.

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

The Kid has a big baby bottle with him because he’s going to face Razor Ramon in a cry baby match at In Your House. Thank god that gimmick match was never done again. Both men flip around a lot and Hakushi ends that with a thrust kick. The Kid bails and confers with DiBiase. Back in, Hakushi unloads until the Kid tosses him over the top rope. The Kid cannonballs onto Hakushi and DiBiase gets in a cheap shot behind the referee. Back in, the Kid shows off his martial arts skills in the corner and dropkicks Hakushi against the buckles as we go to a commercial break.

When we return the Kid hits a suplex for two. The Kid goes to the top rope and dives, but Hakushi dropkicks him in the gut on the way down and we have a double KO. Hakushi makes the comeback and a flying forearm gets two. A reverse enziguri sends the Kid to the floor and Hakushi hits a springboard plancha. Back in, a flying shoulderblock off the top rope for two. What’s a shame about this match is there’s some great wrestling, but McMahon just wants to talk about Billionaire Ted and Clarence Mason. Both men trade near-falls on a roll up sequence, and Hakushi hits a hurricanrana for two. Hakushi goes to the top rope, but the Kid crotches him with a dropkick and a superduper double underhook suplex gets the win at 7:23 shown. This started slow, but once it got going it was great. Rating: ***

-Clarence Mason and Jim Cornette argue how WWF President Gorilla Monsoon has no constitutional authority to indefinitely suspend Vader and that they demand his suspension be lifted immediately.

-Gorilla Monsoon, sporting a neck brace, talks to Vince McMcMahon and runs through his injuries with some Gorillaisms. He didn’t injure his external occipital protuberance, so don’t worry too much.

-Cast your ballot for the 1996 Slammy Awards! You can vote for Manager of the Year and Rookie of the Year. I still don’t know why Sunny won Manager of the Year. Jim Cornette was robbed. But why waste my breath talking about an award show most people don’t even remember?

-WWF Championship Match: Bret “the Hitman” Hart (Champion) vs. The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer):

McMahon reminds us that there will not be a Raw next week because of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. That’s right new fans. In the 90’s Raw used to be pre-empted for a DOG SHOW. The Undertaker pounds away in his slow, methodical style and eventually Diesel comes out to do some guest commentary. Bret tosses the Undertaker off the top rope when he goes for his ropewalk spot and he goes after the Undertaker’s leg. This match is really dull, just like their Rumble match. On that note we go to a commercial break.

When we return the Undertaker hits a side suplex and tosses Bret to the floor. Outside, the Undertaker takes Bret to the guardrail and when he gets back into the ring the Undertaker successfully pulls off the ropewalk spot. The Undertaker hits a flying clothesline, but when he lifts Bret for the Tombstone Bret’s leg takes out the referee. Bret schoolboys the Undertaker after escaping, but there is no referee to count the pinfall. The Undertaker misses an elbow drop and Bret goes to work on the leg again. Diesel leaves the booth to take out Bret from behind, but the Undertaker decides to come to the rescue and takes Diesel to the steps. Diesel quickly recovers and wallops the Undertaker with a chair. If this happened today, the WWE would book a triple threat match for the next pay-per-view. The referee is STILL out, as Diesel gives the Undertaker two Jackknifes and we go to another commercial break.

When we return, McMahon informs us that Bret went after Diesel during the break and the Undertaker followed and we have a draw as a result at 11:13 shown. These two had a terrible match at the Rumble and somehow managed to create another terrible match here. The Diesel beat downs woke me up, but they couldn’t save this thing. This is also one of the few times you will see a match end during a commercial break. Rating: ½*

-The second half of Billionaire Ted’s press conference is shown. He says he doesn’t care if his wrasslin’ company has lost millions because he’s having fun and he won’t care even when the AOL Time Warner merger goes through. McMahon says that an anti-Ted Turner ad was rejected by the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, but a modified one will be in the New York Times financial section on Sunday. Man, I forgot how personal the WWF made this anti-Turner campaign.

-Tune in next time to see the Undertaker square off with Goldust!

The Final Report Card: In retrospect, the Turner bashing looked very bush league and as a young mark at the time all of it went over my head. The WWF threw a lot out there for this show and it had to be disappointed when it saw that Nitro beat it in the ratings. Maybe the fans just didn’t want to see Bret-Undertaker II when the first round at the Rumble wasn’t that exciting or they might have been able to smell the cop out finish. Overall, a good show until you hit the main event, so I can’t complain that much. What is unusual about this show is that this was the go home show for In Your House 6, yet they did very little to give us a hard sell for the pay-per-view. We’ll review that show next week.

Monday Night War Rating: 2.7 (vs. 2.9 for Nitro)

Show Grade: Thumbs Up

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