WWF Monday Night Raw – June 10, 1996
Fayettville, NC (taped 5/27/96)
Commentators: Vince McMahon and Jerry “The King” Lawler
The King has a portrait made for The Ultimate Warrior that he’s going to gift tonight as a peace offering. Also, in the Main Event, The Undertaker will tangle with The British Bulldog. But first, it&/ more first round action in the King of the Ring Tournament.
King of The Ring Tournament First Round Match:
Yokozuna vs. “The King of Harts” Owen Hart (w/ Jim Cornette)
Result/Analysis: Hart via pinfall (3:59) after Yokozuna falls off the ropes when attempting the banzai drop. Owen wrestles with a cast on his broken arm here. What a trooper. Vince notes Yokozuna now weighs in at 666 pounds! That’s 150 lbs. more than he was the last time he was WWF Champion. Sad. Yoko could barely move. The ring isn’t that big in actuality yet the match had to be contested in half of it. The end was nearing for Yokozuna. Owen advances to the quarterfinal round in the KOR Tournament. He’ll face Bodydonna Skip or “Wildman” Marc Mero. No doubt on the winner there.
Highlights are shown from the Attitude Adjustment Tour now as Vince promotes his brand.
Jake “The Snake” Roberts openly discusses his real life drug addiction. Now that’s RAW!
Meanwhile, Jim Ross checks in with an obviously despondent Yokozuna in his locker room following his loss to former tag-team partner Owen Hart. Yoko has checked out on the WWF and lost his way. He tells JR he’s got to go; go and find himself, again. May I suggest not eating twinkies, egg roll or those five pounds of rice with every meal? And to think of how good he was in 1993 and 1994.
King of The Ring Tournament First Round Match:
Skip vs. “Wildman” Marc Mero (w/ Sable)
Result/Analysis: Mero via pinfall (10:29 shown) following a top rope hurricanrana. It’s quite the lengthy TV match for the obvious result. Still, you see Chris Candido (Skip) more in his element wrestling singles action while Mero benefits by working with someone who has a clue. The Snake was on commentary for this bout though he had no invested interest in the outcome. I suppose it’s another opportunity for him to share his road to redemption. Mero wrestles a Lucha-Libre/Mexican style at this point but would be far more enjoyable later on after ditching much of his moveset. That, and as a babyface, he never garnered that much fanfare. Mero played out to be a WCW transplant that never caught on. He needed Sable. In time that played itself out. Mero/Owen in the KOR QF’s. As for Skip (and Zip), you can write to WWF headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut if you have suggestions for the new manager for The Bodydonnas. To think people may have done this! LMAO.
Next week on RAW, Mero and Owen tangle in the quarterfinals. Savio Vega pairs off in the bracket with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. The Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw versus Jake “The Snake” Roberts QF comes on WWF SuperStars. Check your local listings. The winner of Hawk v Snake will face Vader at the KOR pay-per-view in the semi-final round.
The King is ready to hold court as Vince introduces The Ultimate Warrior! At KOR, it’s Lawler versus The Warrior in the most random pairing you could dream up. Warrior oddly is wearing a baseball cap here with his hair tied in a pony tail. I mention this because it’s significant to what transpires in the interview segment. More on that in a bit. Lawler first apologizes to Warrior for costing him a shot at being King of The Ring. But, no hard feelings intended he says. Therefore, as a peace offering, after he complements Warrior on his artwork from his self-titled comic book, King, being the artist he is, says he’s here to present Warrior with a framed likeness portrait. Which, is pretty damn good and if Lawler sold that he’d make good money for it. Warrior responds by calling Lawler an “artist” but also someone who’s also the biggest con-artist there ever was. Warrior says he appreciates the art and the time it took to get the portrait done but there’s only one King standing in the ring and that’s him. Warrior touts his career accolades and self-taught life principles to vouch for himself. At the KOR, Warrior says, “I’m going to kick your ass!!!” Vince backs off not so much appreciating the vulgarity spoken as Lawler moves in and smashes the portrait across Warrior’s head. Remember the baseball cap now? Warrior completely no sells the glass breaking, however, and Lawler runs off with Warrior following in hot pursuit. WEAK!!! The backstory is that Warrior S-H-I-T all over the angle that he wore a baseball cap to the ring for the segment so as to protect himsrlf ftom the possibility of being cut by the broken glass. Pfft. It’s a weak look when a guy such as Mick Foley is on the same roster and had done/would do anything to work an angle or match. Enjoy Warrior while he’s around because the clock is ticking on his latest WWF tenure.
Shawn Michaels/British Bulldog KOR promo. Davey Boy Smith had reportedly given his 90 days notice for a departure he later reneged on and there’s no way HBK wasn’t going over clean in their re-match after the draw booked at IYH: Beware of Dog. Thus, how can you promote the match?
The British Bulldog (w/ Jim Cornette, Owen Hart and Diana) vs. The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer)
Result/Analysis: Bulldog via count-out (13:10 shown) as Mankind crawls out from underneath the ring to prevent The Undertaker from making it back inside. Davey Boy wins. Cheap heat for that. Mankind one-ups Taker again to further their one-sided feud heading into their first-ever match at KOR. Effective booking. This is a good match. Bulldog dips and dives at the beginning. Taker tosses Davey into the corner, hits him with body blows and follows with a standing double armed choke. Taker hits the walking top rope clothesline, then adds a slam and a leg drop for a two count. Bulldog fights back with kicks and clubbing forearms and follows up with an impressive standing vertical suplex. Taker sits up and fights back but Bulldog gets a powerslam for a two count. Bulldog works a rear headlock for a while but Taker fights back. Bulldog hits a swinging neckbreaker followed by a leg drop and gets a two count. Bulldog adds a corner whip and returns to the rear headlock. Taker eventually breaks loose with back suplex counter. He attempts the tombstone but Bulldog counters into running powerslam. Taker counters that into a shot to throat. Taker wins a slugfest. From there, it’s a flying clothesline and a chokeslam as Cornette hyperventilates. Taker clotheslines Davey outside. Bulldog pulls Taker out and posts him. Taker counters a reversal next by tossing Bulldog into the ring steps. Taker throws Davey inside as Mankind appears from underneath the ring to prevent Taker from making it back inside. Count-out. Mankind and Bulldog club Taker and throw him in the ring. Cornette gets Bulldog and company out of dodge, however, leaving Mankind all alone with Taker. Piledriver. Mandible Claw is threatened but a slew of WWF officials rush out to prevent it. The show ends there. A lot is accomplished in the Main Event. Cornette announces to Michaels on commentary before the match, and to Vince and King, that Clarence Mason has forced WWF President Gorilla Monsoon into allowing for a Special Referee at KOR for the WWF Championship Match. A special referee that’s hand-picked, per Cornette. This is the result of the sudden angle switch away from Diana being propositioned by Michaels to the Monsoon physically assaulted Mason thingy. Whatever. Bulldog actually did threaten to leave the WWF (for WCW) had the Diana angle not have been dropped. There’s no announcement yet on whom the special referee will be, but I know, and next week, his identity is revealed. Michaels won’t like it.
The Verdict: There’s nothing groundbreaking here. King of The Ring Tournament action, the stupid Lawler/Warrior segment and a decent Main Event. Mankind is rightfully outfoxing The Undertaker leading into their PPV match. Michaels gets to worry about a special referee, though it’s clear he’s a flop as the champion already and abusing illegal substances to cope. The summer of 1996 was so transitional as the WWF became an afterthought in wrestling for the first time and for a while.