WWF Monday Night Raw – April 29, 1996
Sioux City, IA
At the conclusion of In Your House the night before, the WWF began an angle whereby The British Bulldog aka Davey Boy Smith alleged his wife Diana Hart-Smith, the sister of Bret and Owen Hart, had been sexually assaulted by WWF Champion Shawn Michaels. Racey. That is where Monday Night Raw on April 29 picks up, with the next In Your House only four weeks away. Gone are Bret (sabbatical), Diesel and Razor Ramon (WCW defections) – kept off television until their contracts expired in May, and The 1-2-3 Kid (suspension). The cupboard was looking bare.
Commentators: Vince McMahon and Jerry “The King” Lawler
Bart Gunn vs. Mankind
Result/Analysis: Mankind via submission (8:38 shown) with the mandible claw. It’s the same Mankind match as his prior two RAW appearances except Bart Gunn controls WAY TOO MUCH of the action. That, I don’t understand. Just job the F out. Fugly match with sloppy brawling and Gunn getting near falls. That didn’t make sense. Bart was cut on his left arm or side early in the match and Mankind’s fingers and face had blood. Vince decided Mankind had war point on. Idiot. After the match, Jim Ross seeks commentary from Bart on the mandible claw but he can’t speak much. Mankind jumps him anyway to reapply the mandible claw. With commercial breaks factored in, this was 1/3 of the show. The Undertaker/Mankind feud was slow walked while Mankind took apart mid card scrubs on a weekly basis. As for Bart, Billy Gunn was due back any day so The Smoking Gunns were back as a tag-team and feuding with The Bodydonnas.
Scott Taylor vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin (w/ “The Million-Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase)
Result/Analysis: Austin via submission (2:40) with the Million-Dollar Dream. Taylor had no offense and he offered no resistance. Taylor, of course, enjoyed later fame as Scotty Too Hotty but he was employed jobber fodder in 1996. Austin stomps a mudhole in him and walks it dry. Savio Vega joined Vince and King on commentary and challenges Austin to a Carribean Strap Match at the next In Your House. DiBiase waves Vega off after the match so Vega jumps Austin and hits him with the strap. The WWF surprisingly got a lot of mileage out of the Austin/Vega feud.
The British Bulldog, his wife Diana and Jim Cornette join Vince in the ring. Shawn Michaels is then introduced to face the allegations being levied against him by Diana and Davey Boy. This angle, given his later creative storylines deemed more controversial, had Vince Russo’s likely input. Vince blows Shawn to start off talking about his unbelievable victory at IYH the night before against Diesel. Bulldog, Cornette and Diana stand there in disgust. Michaels touts himself to stroke his own ego and also Vin-Man’s well, you know … by telling everyone how he adapted to the styles of both Bret Hart and Diesel in the past month to defeat them when no one thought he could. Vince is gushing! Michaels says he and his Clique are ready to adapt to any style and take on the best the WWF has to offer. Bulldog and Diana aren’t impressed. Cornette steps in. He wants to get down to brass tacks and not spend any more time on Michaels’ great victory last night. He calls Michaels a pervert and says the real story of last night is how Shawn tried to sleep with Bulldog’s wife. Diana looks sudden to play the part of a woman accosted. LOL. Vince asks Cornette for the proof for these outlandish accusations. Cornette has video from IYH whereby Diana gets up from her seat during Bulldog’s match to be called backstage. Cornette’s claim was that she was called back for him when in fact, it was Michaels who was waiting and he took her to a dark corner and propositioned her! Diana nods to the affirmative. Cornette gets in Shawn’s face, after calling him a punk, and says everyone knows that he thinks he’s God’s gift to women as “The Heartbreak Kid.” But the answer on everyone’s mind is what kind of a man or sexual deviant before one of the biggest matches of his life, would be in the back in a dark corner trying to cozy up to somebody else’s woman, someone as innocent as Diana, to force her to think of breaking her matrimonial bonds and try to corrupt her, sully her and desecrate her. Cornette says Diana isn’t a jezebell or a scarlett woman but he points to Shawn and says you are a sleaze-bag. This is good! Cornette brings Diana over to stand face-to-face with Shawn. He asks Michaels to look into the eyes of the woman he tried to deflower, sully and ruin. He asks Diana to look into Shawn’s eyes, the man who tried to lay his hands on her most private parts, the man who’s a fornicator! Vince plays dumb and he doesn’t believe any of it. But, he asks Diana if she has anything to say. “Yeah. Yeah, I do,” she responds. “Shawn, I know that you want me.” The crowd erupts. King says, “What? He does! He wants every woman! He’d go after a snake if it had a skirt on.” OMG. Shawn responds. “Mrs. Smith, with all due respect, please do not flatter yourself.” The crowd cheers. Diana is pissed. She pauses after a bewildered look and then smacks Shawn across his face with a hurtful look! Yes!!! Get that pervert. Vince tries to squelch the flared tempers by throwing control back to King. Shawn steps in, though, and says, “Well, we know who wears the pants in The Smith Family.” Bulldog charges Shawn for that comment and all hell breaks loose as a brawl erupts. The crowd is into this big-time! Of course, RAW breaks off to commercial.
The melee continued into the break before various WWF officials broke Bulldog and Shawn apart. In the capper, as Shawn and José Lothario are walking out, The New Rockers run out for their match with both Leif Cassidy and Marty Jannetty throwing shade at Michaels. LOL. That’s just great.
Meanwhile, next week on RAW, “Wildman” Marc Mero has an IYH/Free-For-All re-match with the 1-2-3 Kid and The Undertaker battles Owen Hart with Goldust sitting at ringside for that match.
#1 Contender’s Match: The winners receive a Tag-Team Titles opportunity vs. The Bodydonnas
New Rockers [Leif Cassidy & Marty Jannetty] vs. The Godwinns [Henry & Phineas] (w/ Hillbilly Jim)
Result/Analysis: Double Count-Out (7:39 shown). Oh, what a delightful match this was. The dorky middle-aged New Rockers against the hog farmers from fictitious “Bitters,” Arkansas wherein the pre-match stipulation is thrown out with no declared winning team. All of the attention is on Phineas and his desires for Sunny. The New Rockers just dick around and mostly stall or bail out because they realize The Godwinns are (a) crazy and (b) smelly. Who wants to wrestle that mix? Sunny comes out to cheers as the fans want nothing to do with the match and she dances around ringside flaunting the tag-team title belts. Phineas and Jannetty wind up on the outside but they’re the legal men and get counted out. That leaves The Bodydonnas without challengers for the time being.
In the bowels of a dark stairwell, Jim Ross asks Mankind to explain the mandible claw, to which he does in great detail. Eerie. He says, “There is NO escape! Temporary paralysis overcomes the body and the ONLY HOPE is Mankind’s love for hunanity and I assure you I HAVE NONE!!!” Ross asks Mankind if he fears the retribution of The Undertaker? Mankind responds by saying he was surprised at how easy it was (to take out The Undertaker) and he’s becoming bored with Taker, whom he calls a gutless ghoul. “Have a nice day!”
Isaac Yankem D.D.S. (w/ Jerry “The King” Lawler) vs. The Ultimate Warrior
Result/Analysis: The Ultimate Warrior via pinfall (1:49 shown) following a big splash. There’s nothing here. It’s a squash. I’m sure Warrior only agreed to return for complete squash matches. Apparently there was to be some feud between Lawler and Warrior but I can’t recollect it. The Warrior’s return and exit were on top of each other that you have to remind yourself he came back at all in 1996.
The Verdict: The wrestling was abhorrent. The lack of star power the WWF had to work with was draining their hourglass. Thus, they concoct a salacious storyline to attract eyeballs. Hey, those 5-8 minutes, plus Mankind’s interview with Jim Ross, were the highlights of this RAW. The IYH card had all been locked in. Michaels and Bulldog for the WWF Title. We knew of Vader/Yokozuna, Marc Mero/HHH. Savio Vega and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin are set for a Caribbean Strap Match. Next week, The Undertaker returns to RAW so what will Mankind have planned for “The Dead Man”?