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What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw - October 28, 1996

by Logan Scisco

Note:  Thanks to Bobby Daniels for sending me a copy of this show to review.

-The announce crew discusses Steve Austin’s assault on Brian Pillman on WWF Superstars.

-Opening Contest:  “The Real Double J” Jesse James pins Salvatore Sincere with a pump handle slam at 4:14:

McMahon accidentally calls James “Jeff Jarrett” and Lawler has to correct him early in the match.  Both of these guys are serviceable workers, but it’s tough to take them seriously with these gimmicks.  Both men do a great job getting the crowd involved, with Sincere taking a few big bumps to the floor to get a reaction.  James is the new guy on the block and needs a victory and he gets it here after blocking Sincerely Yours and immediately transitioning into his finish.  Rating:  **¼

-Dok Hendrix tries to run down the Survivor Series card, but Steve Austin arrives and curses him for taking up TV time.  Austin complains that Bret Hart is in Canada and he flew up from Texas to be at the show to confront him.

-Marc Mero calls into the show and hypes the Survivor Series match between his team and Hunter Hearst Helmsley’s team.

-Crush (w/Clarence Mason) defeats “The Portuguese Man O’ War” Aldo Montoya with a heart punch at 2:42:

The only person that Montoya can beat at this stage of his WWF career is occasional talent like Jerry Lawler, so he stands zero chance here.  Crush pulls out one of my favorite spots by gorilla press slamming Montoya out of the ring and Jim Ross arrives to do commentary and cracks me up by complaining about this “preliminary match.”  Ross does point out that Mason is now Faarooq’s manager after Faarooq consulted him for legal advice regarding Ahmed Johnson.  That last piece of information is the only reason this match is notable, but it was fun to see Crush toss Montoya around like a ragdoll.

-After the match, Crush gets mad at being called a jailbird by the fans at ringside, so he pulls a “security guard” over the railing and beats him up.

-McMahon says that next week they will interview Brian Pillman from his home and Austin interrupts and says that he’s going to show up at Pillman’s house next week. 

-Kevin Kelly presents a segment that covers Austin’s attack on Pillman on Superstars.  Kelly also discusses Ahmed Johnson’s attack on Faarooq before the last In Your House pay-per-view and how WWF President Gorilla Monsoon has suspended Ahmed pending an investigation.

-Austin promises to show up at Pillman’s house next week and says that the WWF lets him say what he wants because he will bring in money to the company for his Survivor Series match with Bret Hart.

-Sunny comes down to ringside to watch our next match.

-Billy Gunn defeats Freddie Joe Floyd with a flying leg drop at 3:06:

The Gunns had officially broken up at this point, with Billy ditching part when they faced the New Rockers on WWF Superstars.  Bart interrupts the match and challenges Billy to a match, but WWF officials come out and make Bart go to the locker room.  This is a quick squash for Billy, which disguises his lack of singles offense.  Sunny is unimpressed with the win, though, but Billy doesn’t care.  Rating:  ½*

-McMahon moderates a face off segment between Bret Hart, who is in Calgary, and Steve Austin, who is in the WWF studio.  Austin brings the intensity to this segment, while Bret is more reserved.  This is pretty tame based on where this feud will go, but it suffers from most face-off segments in that there can’t be any physical interaction between the participants so it gets awkward as both men run out of stuff to talk about a couple of minutes in.  The best part is the end, where Austin gets mad that the segment is cut off and he assaults a production assistant.

-Non-Title Match:  “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels (WWF Champion w/Jose Lothario) defeats The British Bulldog (w/Clarence Mason & Owen Hart) via disqualification after Owen Hart interferes at 7:55 shown:

An added treat is that Owen is on commentary.  At least Owen brings up the In Your House:  Beware of Dog pay-per-view, where the Bulldog was WWF champion for about a minute.  That’s probably a pay-per-view McMahon wants to forget.  Owen gets really indignant when Michaels busts out an enziguri, which Owen claims is his move.  The crowd dynamic is split, with the older, male fans in the crowd supporting the Bulldog and younger fans supporting Michaels.  Michaels and the Bulldog mesh together well, as per usual, but since there’s nothing on the line it detracts a little from the atmosphere.  The Bulldog’s relegation to tag ranks also makes him look like less of a singles threat and the only person that pushes him as a threat in this match is Owen.  Owen grabs Michaels leg when he tries Sweet Chin Music, drawing the disqualification, which is an unfortunate finish to what was an exciting contest.  Rating:  ***

-Sid runs out to help Michaels when Owen and the Bulldog start to double team him, but Michaels doesn’t appreciate the gesture.  Owen gets on the mic and challenges them to a tag team title match at a later date and Sid and Michaels accept.

-Austin is forced out of the studio by a police officer and appears to be headed for jail.  I guess you could consider this a practice run for some of his exploits during the Attitude Era.

The Final Report Card:  While the card on paper doesn’t look like much, most of the superstar showcased brought the goods and it made for an exciting episode.  Michaels and the Bulldog always put together a solid match and anytime that you can have Owen on commentary it’s a bonus.  It’s a shame that he passed away because he could’ve been the Jesse Ventura/Bobby Heenan of his generation after his career ended.  Next week we get the crazy gun angle with Austin and Pillman, which also features a screaming Kevin Kelly.

Monday Night War Rating:  2.0 (vs. 3.6 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up