What the World Was Watching: WWF Monday Night Raw – March 4, 1996

Monday Night Raw

-Sunny is still at the beach and she reminds us that some of the material is going to be too hot for viewers.

-Vince McMahon and Jerry “the King” Lawler are in the booth for this week’s show and they are in Cincinnati, Ohio.

-Opening Contest: The 1-2-3 Kid (w/Ted DiBiase) vs. “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels:

The Kid gets the jobber treatment and he tries to attack Michaels before the opening bell, but Michaels backdrops him over the top rope and finishes his entrance. I always enjoy that spot. Michaels remains in control and clotheslines the Kid over the top rope and then skins the cat back inside. The Kid regroups with DiBiase as Bret Hart appears in the split screen and says that he’s impressed by what he’s seen so far, but that Michaels won’t be doing those things to him at WrestleMania. Back in, the Kid blasts Michaels with a spinning heel kick and a dropkick sends Michaels over the top rope. Bret appears back in the split screen and says that their WrestleMania match will come down to who can punish the other the most. Isn’t that all matches? The Kid dives onto Michaels on the floor and rams his head against the ring mats. DiBiase gets in some cheap shots behind the referee’s back and Bret says that that’s terrible. If they wanted Bret to do all of this why didn’t they just put him on commentary? Cutting back and forth is really distracting. Back in, the Kid unleashes his martial arts offense and dropkicks Michaels against the buckles for two as we head to a commercial break.

When we return the Kid nails Michaels with a reverse enziguri for two. Michaels catches him with a flying clothesline off the ropes for the double KO. The Kid gets up first and thinks he has the advantage, but Michaels kips up and makes the comeback. The Kid’s flying leg drop misses and Sweet Chin Music finishes at 9:12 shown. After the match, Michaels dances with a young fan in the ring. This was a really exciting match that would’ve been better if the Kid was seen as a credible threat. Rating: ***¼

-.24 Karat Productions brings us Goldust’s latest film: “Piper’s Pit.” Goldust is wearing a kilt and is on the old Piper’s Pit set. Goldust feels up a picture of Piper and says he’s gotten quite a “rise” out of Piper’s Hollywood films. Goldust blows on the bag pipes and you can quickly figure out what that’s meant to imply.

-McMahon recaps the career of the Ultimate Warrior, making sure to play up his WrestleMania victories over Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage. McMahon announces that the Warrior will make his return at WrestleMania XII.

-Hakushi vs. Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw (w/Uncle Zebekiah):

Back in 1996 if you had told me that Bradshaw would go on to become a great heel and have a long run as world champion I would’ve thought you were crazy. Bradshaw quickly pounds away as WWF Interim President “Rowdy” Roddy Piper calls in and talks to McMahon. Piper says that he’ll tell WWF fans who the Ultimate Warrior’s WrestleMania opponent is going to be next week and that it will blow their minds. Piper says he’ll give Goldust a piece of his mind next week as well. The crowd gets restless until a Bradshaw blind charge eats buckle and Hakushi makes the comeback. Hakushi connects with a pescado, but Bradshaw pops right back up and rams Hakushi’s back into the apron. Back in, Bradshaw connects with another big boot and a lariat gets the win at 3:50. After the match and in the midst of piped in crowd noise, Bradshaw ties Hakushi up and brands him. This would be Hakushi’s last WWF appearance. Rating: *

-Mankind says that no one will have a nice day when he gets to the WWF.

-Call 1-800-TITAN-91 to get your commemorative WrestleMania XII chair for $79.95 (plus shipping & handling). Call now and the WWF will make sure it gets to you in time for the event so you can sit in it as you watch the show. I think a Lazy Boy would be more comfortable.

-Non-Title Match: Bret “the Hitman” Hart (WWF Champion) vs. Hunter Hearst-Helmsley (w/Random Woman):

A young fan’s emotional reaction to Bret giving them his shades at a recent show at the Meadowlands is shown and McMahon proceeds to talk about the WWF’s culture of caring. Helmsley pounds away, but Bret fires back and works over the arm as Shawn Michaels says “screw the split screen” and comes out to watch the match at ringside.

After a commercial break, Bret continues his assault on the arm and gets two on a body press. Bret interrogates Michaels about why he’s out there, but maintains the advantage until Helmsley catches him with a high knee. Helmsley hits a knee drop for two as we head to another commercial break.

When we return, Helmsley’s dive off the second rope eats boot and Bret makes the comeback. A backbreaker and second rope elbow drop that never gets a three count gets two before Helmsley puts his foot on the bottom rope. When Bret argues with the referee Helmsley rolls him up for two and Bret’s kick out sends Helmsley to the floor. Back in, Bret avoids Helmsley’s dive off the second rope and locks in the Sharpshooter for the submission at 8:51 shown. After the match, Michaels applauds Bret’s effort and walks to the locker room. There wasn’t much here and Helmsley wasn’t over enough to generate significant heat during the match. Rating: *½

-Billionaire Ted appears on Tee Vee Trivia, a mock game show. The show uses controversial quotes from Ted Turner’s past and Billionaire Ted is the answer to all of them. After Ted loses he pulls the plug on the show because he owns it.

-Tune in next week to see the Undertaker and Yokozuna team up for the first time to take on Owen Hart and the British Bulldog!

The Final Report Card: The Shawn-Kid opener was great, but the rest of the card drags down the show. Since it has been fourteen years since I’ve seen this episode I thought they were going to create more tension between Bret and Shawn in the main event, but they chose not to go that route. It’s also sad that this was Hakushi’s last WWF appearance. He had a lot to offer the company, but his run was scuttled by backstage politics.

Monday Night War Rating: 3.6 (unopposed)

Show Evaluation: Neutral

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