WWF Monday Night Raw – July 8, 1996
Green Bay, WI (taped 6/24/96)
Commentators: Vince McMahon and Jerry “The King” Lawler
At the top of the show, figure-head on-screen WWF President Gorilla Monsoon announces an indefinite suspension has been levied against The Ultimate Warrior for his failure to appear at recent house shows. In reality, Vince McMahon had terminated Warrior’s contract and he was no longer employed. But, since RAW had been pre-taped, The Ultimate Warrior will appear tonight to wrestle Owen Hart as scheduled per Monsoon. The Internet was still relatively new so the WWF got away with airing the pre-taped match despite Warrior being fired in actuality one week prior. So cute. And so embarrassing in retrospect. Apparently, Warrior could have stuck around had he posted his “appearance bond” money, ensuring he will appear as advertised at future events. Warrior going AWOL/off the grid was more his priority. His estranged father had died around this time period and that sent him spiraling. Thus, Warrior’s 1996 return flames out.
“The King of Harts” Owen Hart (w/ Jim Cornette) vs. The Ultimate Warrior
Result/Analysis: The Ultimate Warrior via DQ (8:50 shown) following outside interference by The British Bulldog. Lame but on June 24 when this match occurred, Warrior was at least in the plans for In Your House: International Incident or SummerSlam so having Camp Cornette take him out, capped by a Vaderbomb from Vader, Warrior being completely written off wasn’t etched in stone. Still, what a mess. Poor Owen, ever the soldier, bumps all over the ring as Warrior makes mincemeat of him, until Owen, after five minutes, is allowed to take over and elevate the match. The original commentary for the match is no doubt scrubbed as Vince and King talk in relative terms about The Warrior and his uncertain future. Also dubbed in from WWF Studios, is a taped bit with Ahmed Johnson and Shawn Michaels announcing they’ve found a new partner for IYH, as they’ll tell us shortly. Owen controls the match for a while before Warrior makes his comeback. Bulldog walks out to watch but he gets in the ring to prevent Owen from losing as referee Earl Hebner calls for a disqualification. The beat-down follows which apparently was to lead to Bulldog versus Warrior at SummerSlam but alas it was his last-ever WWF appearance as an in-ring competitor. His return never caught fire. Warrior was a name only. His brand was all he had. His desire had flamed out.
Meanwhile, Shawn says their third man is on his way. Ahmed speaks gibberish. Their third man LOL.
Back “live,” Brian “Effin” Pillman tries to attack Savio Vega with his crutch upon Vega’s ring introduction but he’s held back. Vince once again tells us that Pillman is a ticking time bomb. Yet, Vince, himself, knowingly hired Pillman anyway. Go figure.
Savio Vega vs. Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw (w/ Zebekiah)
Result/Analysis: Vega via pinfall (12:35 shown) following a spinning heel kick off an inadvertent Zebekiah trip up of Bradshaw. In actuality, a commercial break included, this match stretches north of the 15-minute mark. PPV length time for Bradshaw versus Vega, really? Man, was the WWF desperate to fill its airwaves? Vince speculates on just “who” Michaels’ and Ahmed’s partner will be even more here, thinking it could be the mighty Yokozuna or even Mr. Perfect. No and no. King, meanwhile, continues to rip off drunk jokes on Jake “The Snake” Roberts. Lawler held nothing back. To further speculate, is Who going to tag up with Shawn and Ahmed? You know Who? Jim Neidhart, Who! Ridiculous. Bradshaw and Vega wrestle a total snoozer and mess up a few spots. Zebekiah botches the finish so Vega has to improvise on the fly to end the match. To summarize, the match is OK but it’s far too long. Neither Bradshaw or Vega was in any demand at the time. Bradshaw, in fact, had just lost a match to jobber extraordinaire, Freddie Joe Floyd, on WWF SuperStars so his push had clearly stalled out. Even so, Bradshaw, with the help of Zebekiah, brandishes Vega after his loss. They’d warm up the Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada crowd in a dark match before IYH a few weeks later. What a feud.
Dragging the announcement out further, Shawn and Ahmed stall for time to again tell us their tag-team partner is on his way. Meanwhile, over on WCW Monday Nitro LIVE on TNT, there’s this new group called the n.W.o. Perhaps you’ve heard of them? Next week on RAW, however, Michaels is in action when he defends his WWF Championship against Billy Gunn, a future degenerate whom HBK calls “The Drugstore Cowboy.” LOL. Ahmed, yeah, he’s also on tap for another pre-taped episode with Bart Gunn his challenger for the Intercontinental Title. I won’t miss those bouts!
Vince shows highlights from weekend house show action. Missing in action: The Ultimate Warrior.
The British Bulldog & Vader (w/ Jim Cornette) vs. The Godwinns [Henry & Phineas] (w/ Hillbilly Jim)
Result/Analysis: The British Bulldog & Vader via pinfall (12:34 shown) when Bulldog pins Phineas after a powerslam. The fact The Godwinns were ever in a RAW main event does make for a good trivia question. Bulldog and Vader mostly dominate the fact with the live crowd completely dead. Cornette joins King and Vince for commentary so that alone entertains the television audience. Cornette belongs in the WWE Hall of Fame. It’s a crime he’s not. Camp Cornette caps their big night with a victory after taking out the outgoing Ultimate Warrior earlier in the night. There’s nothing to see here other than Cornette’s near apoplexy from The Godwinn’s near falls or just plain referee incompetence. I can’t believe this match was ever a RAW main event.
Cornette is on a split camera with Shawn/Amed and he states Michaels and Johnson have no partner. They’re bluffing. Shawn and Ahmed then reveal Sycho Sid standing behind them. Sid cuts a promo on Cornette like he was just released from an insane asylum. Cornette loses his mind. Funny.
The Verdict: Sid offers more juice to the six-man tag-team main event at IYH than Warrior so there’s that. Nothing else of consequence resulted from this RAW. The WWF was stuck in quicksand and they needed a rope tossed their way and fast! Literally no one was watching the product.