WWF Monday Night Raw – February 19, 1996
Vince McMahon highlights the WWF Title match outcome at IYH with Bret Hart retaining the championship against Diesel, with The Undertaker coming up from through the ring mat to prevent “Big Daddy Cool” from winning the Steel Cage Main Event. Tonight on Raw, The Undertaker battles “Native American” Tatanka. Also, Razor Ramon will try to become the first-ever five-time Intercontinental Champion as he squares off once again with Goldust. “Larry Fling Live” will debut with special guest Billionaire Ted. Plus, there’s news on The Ultimate Warrior!
Commentators: Vince McMahon and Jerry “The King” Lawler
Match 1: WWF Intercontinental Championship
“The Bad Guy” Razor Ramon vs. Goldust (c) w/ Marlena
Result/Analysis: Ramon via countout (5:34 shown). Goldust flees ringside to avoid losing the title. Ramon wrestles aggressively as Goldust mostly takes a whipping. In a shorter time duration, prior to the countout finish, this match was far superior to whatever it is they worked at The Royal Rumble in January. At one point, Ramon executes his signature fallaway slam but he does so up against the ring ropes to send Goldust over and out onto the floor. Nice spot. After the match, in a rarity, Ramon cuts a promo whereby he wants “Rowdy” Roddy Piper to make a match between him and Goldust. Ramon says he doesn’t want Goldust’s belt; he wants his ass. Well then. If only Ramon’s drug-related suspension didn’t follow soon after. The blowoff at WrestleMania XII … rumored to be a “Miami Street Fight” … never happened. By the time Ramon returned, he was all but off to WCW.
Meanwhile, backstage, Paul Bearer looks on as The Undertaker exits a stand up casket.
Dok Hendrix recaps IYH for the masses of people who missed the event.
Vader, accompanied by Jim Cornette, however, walks out to the ring. Good. Hendrix was putting everyone to sleep. Vader destoys the tag-team of Aldo Montoya and Barry Horowitz, who were scheduled to wrestle The Body Donnas. You’d have thought Yokozuna to the rescue but nope.
A video package for The Ultimate Warrior is shown. He’s coming back!
WrestleMania XII infomercial
Sunny, wearing red lingerie and sipping wine, sings “Happy Birthday” Mr. President. Sultry.
Mr. Bob Backlund is spotted in the crowd lobbying for votes for his Presidential campaign. LOL.
Match 2: Marty Jannetty vs. The Ringmaster w/ “The Million-Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase
Result/Analysis: The Ringmaster via submission (5:16 shown) with The Million-Dollar Dream. First, it’s hard to believe a sleeper hold still won someone a match in the mid 1990’s. Second, The Ringmaster gimmick was a flop at the box office as Steve Austin was getting zero traction from it. Third, Austin makes his debut here with a cleanly shaven head, wearing black trunks, and McMahon, on the broadcast, called him “Stone Cold” when referencing his demeanor. Interesting. It would seem that the wheels were in motion only one month into his WWF career for Austin to be a repackage candidate. He, of course, was in mere months and the rest is history. It was certaintly odd to see a brawler like Austin working as a mat-based submission specialist. The crowd is dead for the match. No one cared about Jannetty, not that anyone ever did. He became a JTTS (jobber to the stars) as a singles wrestler post 1993. Then again, Jannetty was about to form The New Rockers tag-team with Leif Cassidy (Al Snow) though that venture never flourished much success, either.
Mankind gets his latest vignette. On the 8th day, God created him and all his atrocities. He curses the world for making light of his deformities: face, ear and fingers. Mankind couldn’t arrive soon enough to the Federation. Lord knows, his debut was long drawn out.
1996 Slammy Awards infomercial – who will win?
Next week on Raw, Yokozuna vs. The British Bulldog and Owen Hart in a Handicap Match, Diesel unleashes his fury, Jake “The Snake” Roberts battles Isaac Yankem D.D.S. plus their first face-to-face encounter in an interview with Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart.
Match 3: Tatanka w/ “The Million-Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase vs. The Undertaker w/ Paul Bearer
Result/Analysis: The Undertaker via pinfall (4:22 shown) following the tombstone piledriver. The match was a sidepiece to what Diesel was doing. He comes to the ringside carrying an axe, commandeers a camera man and returns backstage to take said axe to then destroy The Undertaker’s coffin. McMahon cries out that’s The Undertaker’s home! In the ring, Taker makes quick work of Tatanka before seeing Diesel’s actions on the video wall. Lawler tells McMahon he’ll head backstage to get a gauge on The Undertaker’s reaction. It would have been fitting to do a Casket Match at WrestleMania with Diesel and The Undertaker seeing as how the casket was utilized so much in mind games in the build up to their match and Diesel was leaving the WWF anyway.
It’s Larry Fling Live w/ special guest Billionaire Ted on BNN (Billionaire News Network). The pointless segment features call-ins by The Nacho Man and The Hukster and Larry Fling making Billionaire Ted sweat over a series of questions related to an SEC investigation into his business, purported losses by his wrasslin’ company and the Geriatric Match at WrestleMania XII between The Hukster and The Nacho Man. I understand the blowback at WCW but pure jeslousy by McMahon allowed these skits to air ad naseum on a weekly basis, often at the end of Raw, while on Nitro, WCW was actually having a Main Event match for its paying customers.
Raw concludes with The Undertaker and a hysterical Paul Bearer surveying the casket remains. Diesel, “you’re going to pay for this,” says Bearer.
The Verdict: Diesel vs. The Undertaker at WrestleMania and furthering their feud was the focal point. My takeaway, for historical reference, was Austin debuting his defined look while still as The Ringmaster and McMahon first referencing him, albeit offhandedly, as “Stone Cold.” Mankind’s vignette was great. The WWF needed him so why the wait? The Ultimate Warrior is returning which signals desperation. Ramon/Goldust at last is heading somewhere until that falls apart. Vader ambushes jobber scrub talent which feels a natural way to go. WrestleMania XII has a much different look six weeks out than the final card winds up as. No Bret Hart or Shawn Michaels off IYH as the slow burn to their impending collision for the WWF Championship simmers for one week.