WWF Monday Night Raw 1/29/96

WWF Monday Night Raw – January 29, 1996

Stockton, CA (taped 1/22/96)

Commentators: Vince McMahon and Jerry “The King” Lawler

Match 1: “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith w/ Jim Cornette vs. “Big Daddy Cool” Diesel
Result/Analysis: Diesel via pinfall (6:13 shown) after Yokozuna, who came to ringside during the match, and then entered the ring with Cornette distracting the referee, misses a legdrop that lands on The British Bulldog. Diesel is the #1 Contender, thus, a more convincing win, with a jackknife powerbomb, would have fit the bill here. Instead, it’s the near escape go-to. Eh. Diesel was supposed to be running roughshod thru guys on route to his rematch with Bret Hart for the WWF Championship at IYH so I’m not digging the logic behind this finish. Then again, the WWF Championship Match at IYH 4 in October 1995 between these two was/is regarded as one of the worst PPV matches in the company’s history so why complain?
Rating: *3/4

Dok Hendrix updates the IYH 6 card for February 18. Hart versus Diesel in a Steel Cage Match for the WWF Championship, Shawn Michaels puts up his WrestleMania XII Title shot on-the-line against Owen Hart, Razor Ramon and The 1-2-3 Kid square off in a “Cry Baby Match” with the loser fed a baby bottle and put in a diaper, and Duke “The Dumpster” Droese continues his riveting feud with Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Now, it’s onto the next Billionaire Ted vignette despite an actual cease-and-desist order that came from Eric Bischoff and WCW. Yes, that happened!

Billionaire Ted calls a press conference to explain his motives for trying to put the WWF out of business. Various “reporters” shout their questions to which most are deflected or agreed to by Billionaire Ted from how the WWF saw things. The Huckster and The Nacho Man are present to back up Billionaire Ted and comment on their upcoming match. LOL. These skits would continue on awhile longer as did the growing disdain between the rival promotions. The “War” had just begun.

Match 2: The Bodydonnas [Skip & Zip] w/ Sunny vs. The Godwinns [Henry & Phineas] w/ Hillbilly Jim
Result/Analysis: The Godwinns via pinfall (2:18) when Phineas pins Skip after the slop drop. This match received little time allotment. It could have been half-way decent I suppose?
Rating: 1/4*

A video montage of Vader’s destructive actions is shown, capped off by WWF President Gorilla Monsoon being beaten down on Raw last week. In response, Jim Cornette and Vader have hired Attorney Clarence Mason to fight Vader’s indefinite suspension. Monsoon will respond next week. Next, McMahon will announce whom Monsoon chose to be Acting WWF President in his stead.

Hot Rod! Yes, the one, the only, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper is announced as Acting WWF President. He gets a racous ovation so his pop still exists. Piper reminisces at first before lauding today’s crop of WWF SuperStars to which McMahon gushes over. He says they’re all in good hands just a little confused as that’s what they’re one problem is. Piper ends the segment by giving McMahon an airplane spin because eventually everyone has got to pay the Piper. Piper is the perfect figure-head.

Mankind, long before his in-ring WWF debut, and not as Mick Foley or Cactus Jack, and, hired at the request of Jim Ross who knew of Foley’s work in WCW years prior, gives an introductory promo. It’s here, that an out-of-nowhere Hall of Fame career got its start. No one had any idea. That’s twice in one month with Steve Austin, of course, saddled with The Ringmaster gimmick, debuted in the WWF. Both were hugely pivotal in helping the WWF eventually win “The Monday Night Wars” and carry the company into “The Attitude Era.” Just think if WCW had the foresight and creative geniuses at their disposal and had kept both men …

Match 3: Yokozuna w/ Jim Cornette vs. “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels
Result/Analysis: Michaels via pinfall (7:48 shown) following Sweet Chin Music. Owen Hart comes to ringside early on to stack the odds against HBK. Owen levels several cheap shots unbeknownst to the referee as Yokozuna whips Michaels from pillar to post while working in a nerve hold. HBK has bursts of offense that frustrate Yokozuna but he mostly bumps his way through the match. Owen attempts to kick Michaels in the head at the conclusion of the match but he misses and the kick hits Yokozuna instead. The superkick follows and Michaels escapes. Yokozuna and Owen argue with each other after the match before Cornette and The British Bulldog calm the tension. Camp Cornette turns to Michaels but Diesel comes down to squelch that. Cornette challenges HBK and Diesel to a tag-team match on behalf of The British Bulldog and Yokozuna for next week. The Kliq or “Two Dudes With Attitude” accept. This match was actually pretty good.
Rating: ***

The Verdict: The Kliq consumes the night with Michaels’ monster push in full throttle now. No Bret Hart this week as the WWF Champion gets the night off. The Undertaker will receive his Royal Rumble re-match next week for the belt it was announced. Piper is the de-facto WWF President, which gave “Hot Rod” the forum to mouth off and be in place for his feud with Goldust that was yet to come. Mankind was introduced for the first time, too. This was a tidy show.

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