WWF Monday Night Raw – June 17, 1996

WWF Monday Night Raw – June 17, 1996
Fayettville, NC (taped 5/27/96)

Commentators: Vince McMahon and Jerry “The King” Lawler

King of the Ring Tournament Quarterfinal Match:
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Savio Vega

Result/Analysis: Austin via pinfall (8:03 shown) following the Stone Cold Stunner (in its first usage). These two had been feuding more more than three months so the baseline was already established on how they worked a match. Austin tries to roughhouse and take out Savio’s vertical base only it’s he who meets that same fate as Savio successfully grounds him. Austin is on the defensive throughout as Savio methodically weakens the legs. Vega had been the King of the Ring runner-up a year earlier, losing to Mabel in the finals, so a repeat performance was unlikely. Austin’s push came about from Hunter Hearst Helmsley being punished for his role in the MSG Curtain Call Incident back in May for it was HHH who was the decided upon King in 1996 until that happened. Austin became Plan B, though, even in winning these tournament matches, you don’t necessarily sense big things are upon him. At least without Ted DiBiase, Austin could spread his wings and forge his own path. It’s all quite amazing how his eventual stardom is birthed from ground zero. Austin debuts the Stone Cold Stunner as his finishing move on this night, without Vince giving it a name and without any set-up for it as Austin backed into the move. Austin advances on to the semi-finals of the King of the Ring Tournament to be held at the Pay-Per-View in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He’ll wrestle the winner of Owen Hart and “Wildman” Marc Mero that’s still to come on RAW.
Rating: **1/4

Vince recaps Mankind and The Undertaker from the past several months. At KOR, they’ll have their first-ever match. In pre-recorded comments, The Undertaker promises to make Mankind pay for his sins as he’ll take Mankind’s tormented soul and plunge it into the darkness for which he is master.

The Sega Saturn Slam of the Week: Jake “The Snake” Roberts DDT’s Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw on WWF SuperStars to advance on in the King of the Ring Tournament to meet Vader in the semi-finals this Sunday. Jake’s unlikely underdog comeback fairytale story continues …

In Memoriam: “Dirty” Dick Murdoch (1946-1996)

King of the Ring Tournament Quarterfinal Match:
“Wildman” Marc Mero (w/ Sable) vs. “The King of Harts” Owen Hart (w/ Jim Cornette)

Result/Analysis: Mero via pinfall (9:43 shown) with a roll-up. Predictable. Austin stuck around for color commentary for part of the match as his insight and personality is showcased. Finally. Owen plays up his injured arm in complaints to the referee to draw heat. Mero keeps trying to establish “The Wildman” gimmick to the fans but no one was buying in except for Vince. It’s a decent match but mostly thanks to Owen’s skill set as he pulls out a Boston Crab and executes a PerfectPlex. Owen misses a flying splash off the top rope allowing Mero to make the comeback and gets the pin off a roll-up. Mero had been around for three months and he still lacked a finishing move. WTH? Austin and Mero will meet in the KOR semi-finals at the PPV. After the matcg, Owen attacks Mero with his cast before he leaves and knocks Mero out with it. Owen was a master at generating heat.
Rating: **

Meanwhile, Jim Ross is at a “LIVE” WWF event to interview The British Bulldog. LIVE! Keep in mind this RAW had been taped weeks beforehand as the WWF scheduled their RAW tapings four weeks at a time in one location in these days due to budget constraints. Times were tough. Bulldog tells JR he’s extremely confident he’ll become the WWF Champion at KOR. He promises Shawn Michaels he’ll take his most prized possession – – – the title – – – unlike Michaels attempt at stealing Diana, as Davey Boy calls her his most prized possession. Diana is standing in the ring with Bulldog dressed in all white nodding her head at every word like the budding tulip she is. Bulldog promises he’ll chew Shawn up, spit him out and bury him like an old dog bone. Ross alerts Bulldog that Michaels is here at the arena. Bulldog doesn’t care and he calls Shawn out. Michaels soon obliges and runs out from the back catching Bulldog by surprise. He wails on Bulldog as various WWF officials, Barry Horowitz and another jobber try to break up the fight. Diana looks on in horror. The WWF SuperStars banner is hanging above the ring so it’s hard to believe this segment is airing from a LIVE event after all. Pfft.

Dok Hendrix wants all WWF fans to call the WWF SuperStar line to find out who the five new SuperStars are that will debut soon in the WWF. Do TL Hopper, The Goon, Salvatore Sincere and two other jobbers make you want to dial that 1-900 phone number? There’s no need to ask your parents permission before calling kids. Now had it been the return of Strike Force, that being the tag-team of Rick Martel and Tito Santana, that would be worth a phone call. They were available …

Vince and Lawler discuss The King’s KOR match with The Ultimate Warrior. Lawler is tired of hearing about The Warrior and all of his self beliefs, though, so he ditches McMahon to go in the ring so he can make his own statement by attacking Aldo Montoya. Lawler snaps and hits his signature piledriver on Montoya who Vince says was to face HHH. Jake “The Snake” Roberts comes out for his match with Goldust so Lawler scurries back to the broadcast table to continue spouting off. Classic.

Earlier in the day, Brian Pillman officially signed a guaranteed contract to join the WWF. This announcement/press conference came two months after Pillman was in a car accident that nearly ended his life. He had briefly wrestled for ECW following his abrupt WCW departure earlier in 1996. Pillman expresses gratitude and thanks for the opportunity to compete in the WWF calling it a dream come true that few athletes get to experience.

Non-Title Match:
Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. Goldust [WWF Intercontinental Champion] (w/ Marlena)

Result/Analysis: Roberts via reversed decision (11:51 shown). Marlena had given Goldust a handul of glitter which Goldust throws in Jake’s eyes. Goldust gets the pin only for referee Harvey Wipeman, yes the ex-manager, to reverse his decision once he notices Jake blinded. Stupid. The match is nothing despite its length. Goldust stalls and stalls and stalls. Jake uses the bag with his snake in it to psych out Goldust. Jake’s face meets the ring post later on and Goldust gets his many feels in because that’s what he does. Jake comes back following a Goldust kiss with the short clothesline before the glitter finish ensues. After the reversed decision, a blinded Jake staggers to his feet as Goldust threatens more foreplay only it’s WrestleMania VII all over again as Snake hits a DDT that cues up his music. But, enough of that.
Rating: 1/2*

Mr. Perfect is standing by with Cornette to close out RAW. Perfect tells Vince he’s been told by Cornette just who the special referee will be for the Bulldog/Michaels WWF Championship Match at King of the Ring. Cornette goes over his list of qualifications and only one man could be the “Perfect” referee: Mr. Perfect. Perfect says, of course, he’ll call the match right down the middle just like his previous referee assignment at a past WrestleMania. LOL

The Verdict: Two yawner KOR Tournament matches produce obvious winners. The Main Event takes up time. Lawler makes an example out of scrub Aldo Montoya. Brian Pillman signs with the WWF only he’s far away from being able to wrestle. Bulldog and Michaels have no juice for their re-match and Mr. Perfect announced as the special referee wasn’t going to give it a jumpstart. I admittedly had turned away from WWF programming at this point in 1996. I didn’t miss much really.

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