WWF Monday Night Raw – May 6, 1996
Sioux City, IA (taped 4/29)
The death of Ray “The Crippler” Stevens is mentioned at the top, with RAW dedicated in his honor.
Commentators: Vince McMahon and Jerry “The King” Lawler
Shawn Michaels as “The Homewrecker” is further revealed tonight on Monday Night Raw as we hear from a woman who claims “The Boy Toy” is responsible for ruining her marriage.
The 1-2-3 Kid (w/ “The Million-Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase) vs. “Wildman” Marc Mero (w/ Sable)
Result/Analysis: Mero via pinfall (9:36 shown) after countering an attempted superplex. Hunter Hearst Helmsley joins Vince and King on commentary and HHH puts Sable down while enlightening the viewers about Mero’s many shortcomings. This is a fun bout. Mero is on point with everything and the live crowd is electric for him. He was a good signing at the time by McMahon. The Kid also brings his working boots and he even makes a sleeper hold interesting which is hard to do. Unfortunately, The Kid was soon a goner from the WWF with drug rehab in his future before an outright release and heading South. Mero and Helmsley will finally clash at In Your House in three weeks on May 26. Their feud began at WrestleMania XII on March 31. Theirs wasn’t rushed.
Meanwhile, from WWF SuperStars over the weekend, DiBiase accepted Savio Vega’s challenge to “Stone Cold” Steve Austin last week on RAW for a “Caribbean Strap Match” come IYH. DiBiase accepts on the stipulation that if Vega loses, he’ll become his chauffeur. Evil laugh.
Moving on, a woman, or a paid-off stand-in, whose identity is video distorted, claims Michaels and her slept together behind her ex-husband’s back (some ex-wrestler, who wasn’t). As a result, their one-time fling ruined her matrimonial life as Shawn got his fixings. Oy! This skit was worse than ALL the “Billionaire Ted” nonsense from earlier in the year. Shawn was no doubt a ding-dong – in reality – up and down the road but the storyline being Diana Hart-Smith alleging his improprieties could have been enough for the made-up on the fly rationale for their sudden feud. The WWF could have gotten creative and even more salacious positioning Diana in awkward situations with Shawn, no?
Speaking of The British Bulldog, he’s in action next against Fatu, who’s still making a difference. Yeah, that gimmick went nowhere.
Fatu vs. The British Bulldog (w/ Diana and Jim Cornette)
Result/Analysis: Bulldog via pinfall (8:15 shown) following a running powerslam. Fatu rattles Bulldog to start to he bails out to regroup with Diana checking him over. Bulldog crotches Fatu on the top rope to take the upper hand and clotheslines him out. Cornette chokes out Fatu with his tennis raquet as Vince speculates what Diana is doing at ringside. King answers that she’s out there for her safety and Bulldog’s peace of mind as that sexual predator Shawn Michaels is lurking backstage. Ha! King was fantastic for so many years with his one liners to accentuate feuds. With the match heading to a commercial break, The Samoan Gangster Party (Headshrinker Samu and Matt Anoa’i, who later on had a career as Rosey alongside Hurricane Helms) come out to scout Fatu. Their intent was to reign in Fatu after he went soft. Anyway, Bulldog low blows Fatu and clotheslines him with Fatu selling it with a mid-air spin. From there, it’s Bulldog circa 1991, as a running powerslam cements his victory. I expected very little but this is a fine TV match. Bulldog flexes after the pin, receives congratulatory applause and an embrace from Diana. LOL. Lawler speculates Diana will take her story to the national talk show circuit: Phil Donahue, Sally Jesse Raphael, Jerry Springer and Oprah Winphrey. Ha! The SGP confront Fatu as he walks up the aisle and Fatu wants none of their advice telling them they’re not his family but the WWF (and its fans) are. Whatever.
Vince announces Michaels/HHH next week on RAW … years later fans would pay the big bucks for their matches … Vader will be in action, too, versus Duke “The Dumpster” Droese, and The Undertaker will have a special interview.
Non-Title Tag-Team Match:
Tekno Team 2000 [Travis & Troy] vs. The Bodydonnas [Skip & Zip] (Tag-Team Champions) (w/ Sunny)
Result/Analysis: The Bodydonnas via pinfall (6:53 shown) when Zip pins Troy after a double-axehandle from the top rope. Terrible. Zip had no impact with the move, though I guess, Skip, who hit a frankensteiner on Troy from a seated position on the top turnbuckle, had actually hit the finishing move? Whatever. The Bodydonnas were the single worst WWF Tag-Team Champions ever. Vince actually says during the match, however, that the tag-team competition was really heating up. Considering, there was The New Rockers as the #1 Contender’s, along with The Godwinns, The Bushwhackers, and now Tekno Team 2000, dragged up from the wretches of the developmental USWA promotion, and it’s hard to argue. 🙄 This match is so riveting you could hear a guy fart from the front row. OK, I made that up, but suppose it happened. Harvey Wippleman stood in the aisle taking notes on official Jack Doane as Vince said he was preparing a report on officiating for WWF President Gorilla Monsoon. Jesus. Tekno Team 2000 has a flurry of offense early on but I’m too blinded by their hideous-looking futuristic ring attire to care. I frankly had forgotten this team existed before this RAW came up next on the 1996 calendar. Speaking of The Bushwhackers, who were under contract, they’d have been a better match-up here. At least Sunny being chased off by Butch or Luke would have garnered a crowd response. The New Rockers had defeated The Godwinns to earn a title shot but The Godwinns soon won the belts as Sunny moved onto “managing” them and The Bodydonnas went away and no one missed them. No single year in the history of the company before or since comes close to 1996 and how bad the tag-team division was. WCW had every legit tag-team but even they kept the belts on two singles wrestlers. The Smoking Gunns were soon to be back in action with Billy healed from neck surgery so there’s that.
Jim Ross is with Vader and Jim Cornette. JR tells Cornette Yokozuna will be 100-percent on May 26 when Vader must face him after taking him out of action. Cornette refutes that Yoko will ever be 100-percent again. He’s a 650-pound man with one bad wheel who can’t match up to Vader because Vader has the quickness and agility Yoko never had, plus the heart he lacks. As for Duke “The Dumpster” Droese next week, Cornette can’t think of a man that’s better suited to take out the trash and Droese’s future is looking dim and he won’t last.
Goldust and Marlena join Vince and King at ringside prior to The Undertaker’s match with Owen Hart. Goldust begins to fondle Vince as RAW heads to a commercial break. LOL. After the break, with Owen being introduced, Vince alerts Goldust to the stipulation for his match at IYH with The Undertaker. It’s a Casket Match with the Intercontinental Championship at stake. Say what?!? When and where did this feud originate from? The “Dark Match” after Good Friends … Better Enemies? Naturally, Goldust freaks out at the announcement and walks off only here comes The Undertaker! Remember when Goldust was feuding with Razor Ramon? Then it was “Rowdy” Roddy Piper with Ramon suspended. Then it was The Ultimate Warrior, only that went nowhere. Oh, let’s not forget the two-week Savio Vega angle over the IC Title. And now, it’s The Undertaker, who has the beginnigs with Mankind, Goldust is randomly paired with. Who came up with all these ideas???
Goldust is hilarious on commentary as The Undertaker has his entrance as he hyperventilates over the impending Casket Match and says “No, no, no, no … tell them to cut, tell them to cut.” Goldust is in fright at the sight of The Undertaker as the lights come back on. His teeth chatter and he cowers behind Marlena. LOL. Dustin Rhodes sold the SH** out of the gimmick!!!
“The King of Harts” Owen Hart (w/ Jim Cornette) vs. The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer)
Result/Analysis: The Undertaker via pinfall (6:52 shown) following a tombstone piledriver. The match is nothing. Goldust being at ringside freaking out about facing The Undertaker while also playing to his fantasies for “The Dead Man” was the point of this. Granted, this was entirely random and scripted off-the-cuff because nothing had occurred prior to this to make anyone think their would cross. The reality of the roster being decimated by the departures of Diesel and Razor Ramon, and the WWF not wanting to rush the inevitable Mankind feud with The Undertaker, meant they decided to randomly do a “Goldust is afraid of death angle” because he had no one to work with. Poor Owen Hart is the pawn used for the match, but it’s a match just to have The Undertaker in a match while Goldust did his antics around it all. Goldust fondles Paul Bearer, who refuses to let Goldust take hold of the gold urn, making him hightail it backstage. After Taker wins the match, Bearer returns pushing a gold casket with Goldust’s star emblem on top of it and Goldust backs into the casket and runs off in fright. So there you have it … the forgotten Goldust/Undertaker thing from 1996. A legitimate feud could have been interesting but this was as random as things got.
The Verdict: The WWF was seemingly booking its shows week-to-week instead of month-over-month as was customary. Therefore, angles and matches were as random as a 10-year-old coming up with them. It led to some interesting prospects but few materialized into anything but one-offs such as Goldust and The Undertaker or The Ultimate Warrior working with Goldust during the previous month. 1996 is an interesting year to review because a lot of what happens in the spring and summer months has been forgotten over time. The stars of the future were mostly on the roster so looking back on their beginnings is what I’m enjoying most. That, and the Shawn Michaels-era.