What the World Was Watching: WWF Monday Night Raw – March 11, 1996

WWF Monday Night Raw

-A video package hypes tonight’s tag team main event between the Undertaker and Yokozuna and Owen Hart and the British Bulldog.

-Vince McMahon and Jerry “the King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from San Antonio, Texas.

-Opening Contest: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin (w/Ted DiBiase) vs. Savio Vega:

Austin continues to morph into his Attitude Era look by shaving his hair and no longer going by “the Ringmaster” label. Austin gets the jobber entrance, which is just strange. Savio gets a series of arm drags, but Austin moves and Savio twists in the air and falls to the mat. I’m not sure who botched that, but it doesn’t matter because it made me laugh. McMahon announces that Mark Henry is sitting at ringside, making this his on screen debut. And to think that MARK FREAKIN’ HENRY is the only guy involved in this match who’s still in the company. Savio tries a splash, but it hits knees and Austin uses the Flair pin to get two as we go to a commercial break.

When we return, Austin drops a knee to the back of the head for two. A blind charge eats spin kick and Savio makes the Caribbean comeback. A spinning kick in the corner sends both men to the floor, where they brawl until they are both counted out at 6:17 shown. A decent match, but the crowd didn’t care about it. Rating: *½

-A video clip shows Mark Henry gorilla press slamming Lawler before the show went on the air.

-McMahon discusses the Tag Team Title Tournament.

-Call 1-800-TITAN91 to get your WrestleMania XII denim jacket! If you want it it’s going to cost you $68.85.

-McMahon moderates a special segment between WWF Interim President “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and Goldust. Piper runs down Goldust’s homosexual tendencies and warns Goldust that he took care of Adrian Adonis, a reference that goes over the head of just about everyone in the crowd. He says he’s a lesbian and that Freddy Krueger doesn’t dare come into his nightmares. Goldust says he wants to bring Piper down to earth and crawls around Piper and tries to get under his kilt. Piper puts a stop to that and after Goldust slaps him, he fires back and says that he’s going to make a man out of Goldust at WrestleMania. Piper’s rambling at the beginning got the segment off to a bad start, but once Goldust took over it was perfect.

-McMahon and Lawler discuss the Piper-Goldust segment we just saw.

-The Godwinns (w/Hillbilly Jim) vs. Jeremy Mead & Alex Porteau:

The jobbers try to get Phineas into their corner, but he fights out by using some magical hillbilly powers and Henry has to run into the ring and restrain him. The hound dog that the Godwinns have as their mascot doesn’t want to cooperate with Jim at ringside and you can tell he’s annoyed by it. Henry catches Porteau with a Slop Drop and that gets the win at 1:42.

-Jim Ross narrates a video package of Shawn Michaels training regimen. Michaels introduces his trainer Jose Lothario in this video.

-Ross narrates another video package of Bret Hart’s training regimen. Bret says Mexican wrestlers are tough and runs down Shawn’s moveset. I know that Bret isn’t a fan of this video, but the only reason it makes him look bad in the eyes of fans is because he’s coming off as the heel.

-The Karate Fighters Slam of the Week is Yokozuna giving two jobbers a Banzai Drop.

-The Ultimate Warrior is coming back at WrestleMania XII!

-Hunter Hearst-Helmsley (w/Random Woman) vs. Ben Grier:

McMahon announces that Helmsley is going to face the Ultimate Warrior at WrestleMania. So much for that big announcement Piper promised us last week. Even as a nine year old I knew Helmsley had zero chance of winning that one. Helmsley runs through his usual offense, which seems like it is in slow motion, and finishes with the Pedigree at 1:52.

-“Scheme” Gene from the Geriatric Control Center hypes the Huckster-Nacho Man match on the Free for All before WrestleMania XII. He says that no handcuffs or ladies shoes will be allowed at ringside and that Billionaire Ted will be the guest referee. A training video shows the Huckster pulling his back out and he requires massive amounts of oxygen. The Nacho Man is training by trying to grow hair to cover up his bald spot. Call 1-900-LYING-BALDY to get more news.

-Owen Hart & the British Bulldog (w/Jim Cornette) vs. Yokozuna & the Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer):

Since Yokozuna is a face now he doesn’t jump when the lights go off and the Undertaker makes his entrance. Having him do so would’ve been a nice touch, though. As the Undertaker makes his way to the ring, Diesel appears in the split screen and he says he hopes that the rumors about Shawn Michaels aren’t true because he has to team with Michaels to face the Undertaker and Bret Hart at Madison Square Garden this weekend. What rumors? The Undertaker and Yoko have a small face off in the middle of the ring, but eventually clean house and Diesel comes down to the ring and clotheslines Bearer. The Undertaker surveys the damage and heads to the locker room, leaving Yoko to fend for himself as we go to a commercial break.

When we return from the break Owen hits Yoko with a couple of leg drops. The heels pounds away and Vader comes down to the ring and clotheslines Yoko in the back of the head to draw the disqualification at 3:31 shown. Ahmed Johnson comes out and he gets into a stiff brawl with Vader and Jake Roberts comes out to even the sides, but is quickly dominated by Owen. A pretty weak heel beat down commences as officials pour into the ring and eventually the heels flee. This match was a whole bunch of nothing. Rating: DUD

-Tune in next week to see Bret Hart battle Tatanka!

The Final Report Card: This is the worst 1996 episode of Raw that I’ve come across so far. It was sold as a one match show and that one match failed to deliver. This is when the company really needed some new stars near the top of the card because the possibilities for big Monday matches were running thin. I mean Bret Hart vs. Tatanka is the main event next week? For real? No wonder Nitro started to dominate the ratings war by the time the year was finished.

Monday Night War Rating: 2.9 (vs. 3.2 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation: Thumbs Down

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