WWF Monday Night Raw – February 5, 1996
Stockton, CA (taped 1/22/96)
Commentators: Vince McMahon and Jerry “The King” Lawler
Match 1: “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith & Yokozuna w/ Jim Cornette
vs. “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels & “Big Daddy Cool” Diesel
Result/Analysis: Michaels & Diesel via countout (10:53 shown) with Yokozuna unable to return inside the ring following Sweet Chin Music. The countout finish … that’s a thing of the past. Camp Cornette controls most of the match with Michaels taking the beating as Diesel watches from the corner. Diesel is full on babyface when teaming with HBK but he’s a tweener otherwise. Bulldog is far more effective in a tag-team role and that’s clear here. After losing the match, Cornette verbally berates, then, puts his hands on Yokozuna, to which Yokozuna loses it and pounds on Cornette, Bulldog, and Owen Hart, who is present for the dissension also experience the wrath. Yes, Yokozuna turns babyface. Who could forget the epic run for him which follows … ?
The weekly Mankind promo comes next. “Maybe soon, I can have a nice day.”
Match 2: Hakushi vs. The 1-2-3 Kid w/ “The Million-Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase
Result/Analysis: The 1-2-3 Kid via pinfall (8:21 shown) following a double underhook butterfly suplex off the top turnbuckle. There’s no wasted energy here, just very good wrestling. Lawler was hysterical on commentary discussing the potential of seeing Razor Ramon being diapered at In Your House. Around that, Hakushi and The Kid mix martial arts, high-flying aerial moves and trade several near falls. The Kid was all business and Hakushi rarely had an off night. Entertaining.
Vader’s Attorney, Clarence Mason, a so-called expert at Case Law he says, threatens immediate legal action if the suspension levied against Vader isn’t lifted immediately. I’m sure the Acting WWF President, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, is shaking in his kilt. Gorilla Monsoon joins McMahon and Lawler on video conference to update his health. He mentions a transverse process of the third cervical vertebrae and torn intercostal cartilage. Yeah, like any of that happened. Monsoon apologizes to the WWF fans for his actions but he doesn’t apologize personally to Vader. He defends his decision to install Piper in his place while he heals up. Vader’s fate, he says, is in the hands of the Board of Directors. What began as a hot angle quickly went to crap. Vader should have continued with Piper.
Match 3: WWF Championship [Royal Rumble Return Match]
The Undertaker w/ Paul Bearer vs. Bret “Hit Man” Hart (c)
Result/Analysis: No Contest. Diesel was sitting ringside with McMahon and Lawler on commentary from the early stages onward so logically he was to involve himself. The match prior to that involvement is a snoozer. Diesel first takes Bret out by running him into the ring post. After Taker momentarily discards of Diesel to still contest the match, Diesel gets up and uses a steel chair to knock The Undertaker down. Referee Tim White had been bumped inside the ring during the match and he was rendered unconscious for an awfully long stretch of time. Inside the ring, Diesel delivers two jackknife powerbombs to Taker before departing to a chorus of boos. Bret brawls with Diesel during the commercial break, which takes them backstage and the match is declared a draw says McMahon. Naturally, you’d have thought Bret vs. Diesel vs. Taker in a Triple-Threat Match at IYH inside the steel cage for the WWF Championship but it was kept Bret vs. Diesel one-on-one, which, led to the logical outcome on February 18th. Yawn.
Billionaire Ted’s press conference concludes. McMahon ran these skits out of jealousy and desperation to get back at his loss of talent, viewers and because his product was lacking. Truthfully, things were made worse because of choosing to spend air time on these productions.
The Verdict: The Main Event angle did further Diesel as a heel despite his Kliq relations with Michaels, still, The Undertaker needed to be added to the IYH match. The Vader angle could have continued on with Piper choosing to reinstate Vader after he was beat up like Monsoon – leading to WrestleMania – but instead, the incredibly cheezy Clarence Mason as Attorney route was pursued. Raw gave fans a countout in a feature tag-team match, a no contest in the WWF Championship, both sandwiched around Hakushi and The 1-2-3 Kid. Or was Billionaire Ted the focal point? McMahon had to ultimately regret this stretch of wasted time. There’s no Raw scheduled for two weeks with The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show airing on USA so In Your House is the next rewind into the WWF’s Road to WrestleMania. WCW will have the eyeballs unopposed for two weeks.