WWF Monday Night Raw – May 13, 1996
Sioux City, IA (taped 4/29/96)
Commentators: Vince McMahon and Jerry “The King” Lawler
Zip [WWF Tag-Team Champion] (w/ Skip & Sunny) vs. Ahmed Johnson
Result/Analysis: Johnson via pinfall (3:16) OF Skip following the pearl river plunge. The Bodydonnas play switch-er-oo as the idiot referee at first doesnt’t notice and then does as he refuses Zip re-entry into the match. Whatever. Sunny tries to oil up Johnson (he didn’t need it) prior to the match, interrupting his interview with Jim Ross backstage, but Johnson slaps her off. The thing is, he probably did plenty of slapping, and spanking, with Sunny before this in some skanky hotel room, but I digress. Johnson had just won the ever-prestigious Kuwait Cup Tournament (we’re supposed to be impressed?) as Vince hypes it as a major milestone accomplishment. Since Sunny layed down with whomever, Vince was probably onto something giving Johnson more credit for Kuwait. He probably just tapped into an oil reserve while there. Who did he beat to win the trophy, though? Anyway, this match is nothing. Johnson’s third push, I had lost count, was beginning. Ugh.
Meanwhile, The Ultimate Warrior, out of character, comes on to promote Warrior University in a pre-taped segment. His entire reasoning for returning in 1996 was to pump his wrestling school in Scottsdale, Arizona and to be the one to sell his merchandise to turn a profit. Thus, these infomercials to advertise Warrior University began to air. WWF fans only wanted Warrior to wrestle but they didn’t get much of that. This agreement between Warrior and the WWF soon blew up.
Duke “The Dumpster” Droese vs. Vader (w/ Jim Cornette)
Result/Analysis: Vader via pinfall (5:50 shown) following the VaderBomb. Jim Cornette provided the entertainment value. He has some great one liners on commentary with King and Vince. At IYH on May 26th, two tanks will meet in the ring. Vader as a Sherman Tank and Yokozuna as a Septic Tank. James E. also characterizes Vader’s path of destruction through the WWF as that as a carry-out service since all of his opponents, along with WWF President Gorilla Monsoon, get carted off when Vader is finished with them. Yokozuna is getting a second ride but he’ll have two snapped legs this time. LOL. Droese has an offensive flurry or two in the match but don’t ask me why. It’s not that Vader’s push had stalled out but beating up on lower card talent wasn’t the way to establish him. His push would have meant more had he worked with The Undertaker and put him on the shelf.
Next week, “Wildman” Marc Mero squares off with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Savio Vega wrestles The 1-2-3 Kid. The British Bulldog competes in the Main Event versus Jake “The Snake” Roberts.
The Undertaker and Paul Bearer come out to join Vince. Bearer has pushed Goldust’s gold casket to the ring. See the WWF was slow walking The Undertaker/Mankind feud meaning Goldust gets his freak on with “The Deadman” just for the hell of it. Unless you’re into 1996, as I’m spending this year recapping, you’d have forgotten this side piece ever happened. But, here’s further proof. Bearer, of course, is still speaking for The Undertaker, and says Goldust loves being in the spotlight but at In Your House, he’ll get ready to cross over to the dark side. Ohhh yesss! Taker says he plans to immortalize Goldust but before he can elaborate on what he means, out walks Goldust, and Marlena. Goldust grabs the microphone and says, “Behold, the pale horse and the man who sat upon him was death, and I followed him. Tombstone 1993. Look at you Deadman, so tall, oh, so dark, so clammy, and so stiff. That scent, that scent oh it’s driving me crazy. What is that? What kind of cologne is that? Is that embalming fluid number five? But you know something? That coffin right there, you can lay me in it any time because you know what? There will be no resting once you’re in, no there won’t. I’ve never danced with the devil on the pale moonlight, but I’ll try anything once. Let me just feel your touch, touch you deeper. Do you know what rigor mortis is? Look at me Deadman, it’s a stiffening of the muscle.” And, at last Taker crunches Goldust’s hand and Goldust falls to his knees and holds him down. Then from nowhere appears Mankind to attack Taker. Mankind gets the mandible claw on and Taker falls flat and passes out as Goldust crawls around in the ring watching. Goldust creeps Mankind out by coming up to his ear, or what’s left of his right ear, and blows in it which has Mankind, even in his deranged state, backing off as he releases the mandible claw. Goldust stands over Taker and shimmies off his robe. Oh my. Goldust lays on top of Taker and Jesus it’s full-on here for a second. Goldust rolls off and Taker sits up. Goldust is scared and he’s outta here! Taker follows Goldust on foot as RAW heads to break. Well that was quite something …
“The Portuguese Man O’ War” Aldo Montoya vs. Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw (w/ Uncle Zebekiah)
Result/Analysis: Bradshaw via pinfall (3:47) following the clothesline from hell. Uncle Zeb (Dutch Mantel) and The King renew acquaintances at the announce table (they had a friendly rivalry in the Memphis territory during the 1980’s) while Bradshaw makes mincemeat of Montoya. Zeb claimed the WWF SuperStars were ducking Bradshaw which led to Bradshaw getting on the IYH card. Squash match. Time filler. Nothing to see. Actually, that’s not true. Zeb brands Montoya.
Meanwhile, Vince updates us on the difficult lives for citizens of Kuwait City approximately five years after The Persian Gulf War ended. But have no fear, the ambassadors of goodwill the world over, the WWF SuperStars, recently arrived to spread some much-needed cheer and hope. Oh, please. Shawn Michaels, of course, takes the credit. Then, in exclusive tour footage, as Shawn tries to score some chicks at a local beach, The British Bulldog attacks and beats up Michaels taking it to him in the water. Yes! Shawn deserved that. “Beware of Dog” is the season at hand, you know. Ha!
Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels [c] (w/ José Lothario)
Result/Analysis: Michaels via pinfall (13:11 shown) following sweet chin music. This was Helmsley’s showcase match before that Kliq incident at MSG on the house show circuit coming up soon and Michaels sells every bit of Helmsley’s evolving move set. This is the match when you watch it that you could see Helmsley had the goods. Of course, working with Michaels at the height of his career would make almost anyone look good. Had Helmsley not participated in the Diesel and Razor Ramon WWF curtain call, he was set for a monster push culminating with winning The King of The Ring Tournament in June. As it was, he would win the crown in 1997 and his career skyrocketed a year later so it worked itself out. For now, EVERYTHING was riding on Michaels’ back during his initial WWF Title run. He was THE star. Even more so since The Undertaker hadn’t been humanized as a character meaning he was a separate entity all his own. Shawn somewhat gets ripped for his reign as champion but I think a lot of it in retrospect focused on other things besides his match work. Here, you’re reaction is damn, that Michaels can take beating yet still find that killer instinct to triumph, and hey, that Helmsley fellow can wrestle … now, if only he didn’t have the Connecticut Blue Blood upper class gimmick dragging him down. This is the first match of dozens that Michaels and HHH would have over the next decade. The one thing in common? ALL were fantastic matches!
The British Bulldog is with Jim Ross. Bulldog promises he’ll punish Michaels if he sticks his nose in his business next week, or, if he approaches Diana during his match with Jake “The Snake” Roberts.
The Verdict: As recapped, Helmsley vs. Michaels is terrific. The Undertaker/Goldust segment is hilarious, all the while cringe-worthy. It’s hard to have taped shows when the landscape of the roster in actual time was evolving by the day. Case in point, referencing an International tour when the content being shown had occurred weeks earlier. Did the WWF realize the Internet existed and all of their secrets were out? They were in budget hell, I get it. Wrestling fans sought LIVE action, though, and only one promotion was giving that each and every week. All of that said, this period, as non-descript as it was, still had its moments of intrigue.