WWF Monday Night Raw – May 20, 1996

WWF Monday Night Raw – May 20, 1996
Sioux City, IA (taped 4/29/96)

Commentators: Vince McMahon and Jerry “The King” Lawler

Last night at Madison Square Garden, a famed “Curtain Call” Incident went down, with a certain Kliq going off script … oh wait, that’s not it … yes, Sunny kissed Phineas Godwinn and The Bodydonnas, in turn, kissed the Tag-Team Championship goodbye. Oh Vince, you’re a coy one.

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin (w/ “Million-Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase) v “Wildman” Marc Mero (w/ Sable)

Result/Analysis: Austin via DQ (9:42 shown) as a result of outside interference from Savio Vega, who hits Austin in the back with a leather strap. At IYH, coming up in real time six days after the airing of this RAW, Austin and Vega will compete in a Caribbean Strap Match. Therefore, Vega’s interjection here is logical. As for Mero, he has Hunter Hearst Helmsley at IYH, which just so coincides with HHH in Vince McMahon’s doghouse for Helmsley breaking kayfabe at MSG. Place your bets on “Wildman.” Now Austin and Mero, then Johnny B. Badd, had a lenghty feud in WCW in the Spring of 1994, so they have a history together. Vince never, ever, ever alluded to his SuperStars previous backgrounds prior to joining the WWF so I’m mentioning this for all you peons out there. Unlike the series of matches from a few years hence, this encounter is pretty standard and vanilla. Call the match a standard catch-as-catch-can WWF style match, too. Austin hones his arsenal. Mero flies around. They swap near falls a few times only the crowd is completely dead from the three prior tapings. Either Vega or HHH had to interfere because jobbing Austin – the next King of the Ring or Mero – a future Intercontinental Champion, who had the HOT valet, didn’t make sense. The booking is spot on. The wrestling is acceptable. Austin became one of wrestling’s biggest stars while Mero flames out in the biz within two years. In 1996, they were looked at equally. That’s comical now.
Rating: **

Meanwhile, in Kuwait, forgetting we saw this LAST WEEK, Ahmed Johnson lifted the spirit of the people there by winning the first-ever (and last) Kuwaiti Invitational International 16-man single elimination Tournament. LOL. Well, the Kuwaiti people may have cared but WWF fans Stateside couldn’t have given two craps about it. Ahmed Johnson, the liberator. Vince was on crack.

Next week on RAW, in first round action in the King of the Ring Tournament, the aforementioned Ahmed Johnson will square off with Vader. In another KOR qualifier, Intercontinental Champion Goldust is scheduled to go up against The Ultimate Warrior. I say scheduled because Warrior was too busy signing autographs for his self-titled comic books which brainwashed the youth all while reaping the profits. Goldust may advance on in the tournament with a Warrior no-show. We’ll see.

Savio Vega v The 1-2-3 Kid (w/ “Million-Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase)

Result/Analysis: Vega via pinfall (7:49 shown) with a roll-up. DiBiase joins King and Vince on commentary to discuss Savio losing to Austin at IYH and having to be his personal chauffeur. LOL. Well, it’s not like Virgil is around anymore to be DiBiase’s slave so why not? In present time, The Kid was in drug rehab. This RAW is pre-taped so no one would know. Vega works a rear chin lock for what seems like an eternity but he does bust The Kid’s lip from a spinning heel kick that made a landing. Following a commercial, the match picks up for the audience with The Kid in control, though his moveset is also kick centric. They trade near falls before The Kid misses on a splash from the top rope and Savio awkwardly rolls him up for the pin. The Kid had his first-ever televised crotch chop here, too, if you’re keen on details. After Savio wins, Austin hits the ring and takes measure on Vega for the interference in his match. With The Kid’s help, Savio is hogtied by Austin with the leather strap as DiBiase places the chauffeur’s hat on him. Win or lose at IYH, Austin thankfully moves on from his lengthy feud with Vega. The next time wrestling audiences would see The Kid on television would be in September on WCW Monday Nitro. The WWF roster kept thinning out.
Rating: **1/4

Vince shows match highlights from MSG the night prior as The Godwinns unseat The Bodydonnas to win the WWF Tag-Team Championship. Sunny was the focus, both before and during the match. She goats Phineas into signing her on for managerial services by getting language into the match contract. Lame. The Godwinns win the titles at a house show and turn around for a challenge by The Smoking Gunns at IYH, well, it’s on the Free-For-All prior to the PPV. Transitional champions. Eh.

The Undertaker is being interviewed by Jim Ross as he sits inside an open casket, one that’s personally designed for Goldust and IYH. The lights are dimmed. Mankind comes out and slams the casket shut with The Undertaker stuck inside. He ropes it so Taker can’t escape. Goldust and Marlena appear to walk back Paul Bearer. Mankind repeatedly slams a steel pole into the casket and it tips over on its side. Vince is ever so dramatic on commentary. This is foreshadowing for IYH.

Jim Cornette, The British Bulldog, Diana and Clarence Mason are in the ring. Bulldog opposes Jake “The Snake” Roberts in the Main Event. Thrilling. Cornette tells everyone that Mason has, at Diana’s personal request, drawn up a restraining order against Shawn Michaels which prevents him from being with 100 yards of her prior to IYH. Therefore, Michaels won’t be on commentary for Bulldog’s match. WWF President Gorilla Monsoon comes out to review the contract. Cornette badmouths Gorilla and calls him a baboon. Monsoon deems the restraining order as valid and the WWF will comply with it. However, Michaels was advertised to appear tonight in front of the “live” crowd and for the at-home viewing audience so its Diana who must leave ringside area immediately. Diana has the look and feel of a woman that’s violated. LOL. Monsoon and Mason escort Diana away as HBK walks out and passes Diana clearly in violation of the restraining order. That poor woman.

The British Bulldog (w/ Jim Cornette) v Jake “The Snake” Roberts

Result/Analysis: No idea. RAW concluded. The Bulldog works Jake’s knee over in a match that’s completely secondary for the TV audience to Michaels on commentary and HBK having to answer to and/or refute allegations of his womanizing ways. The King really gives it to Michaels for the duration. It’s hilarious. Shawn, of course, denies any wrongdoing toward Diana Smith. King brings up the rumored relations of Shawn and Pamela Anderson and Michaels admits they had something. The early Rockers days where Shawn and Marty Jannetty were a little wild, um yeah, that’s an understatement, are discussed and Michaels admits he and Marty were young and got a little wild. They weren’t initially called “The Midnight Rockers” for no reason. Girls, boos and “blow” I watched Shawn Michaels A&E Biography so he, himself, has corroborated that period. The match continues to suck and be unimportant so back to Michaels. King gets Shawn to admit posing for Playgirl just “today” 5/20/96, and Vince questions the timing of following through on that commitment. Finally, Diana walks herself out and gets in Shawn’s face. She gives him what for and throws a cup of water at him. Bulldog then ignores Jake and he and Shawn exchange blows as RAW goes off the air.
Rating: 1/2* (for the match)

The Verdict: In Your House 8 – Beware of Dog, is upon is. Beware of Shawn was more apt, given the WWF Title match was based around his rumored philandering ways. There was more going on behind the scenes in May 1996 between unscripted incidents and creative planning than what the WWF gave its fans. As luck would have it, not even the PPV went off without a hitch as a severe thunderstorm during the event caused a power outage at the arena in Florence, South Carolina and the WWF had to scramble to “finish” the event two days later: “Beware of Dog 2.” The Federation was losing talent in droves even though a lot of future talent was on the roster. It was all bad timing given that “The Monday Night Wars” were mere days away from the first real shots fired.

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