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What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw - December 16, 1996

by Logan Scisco

-Vince McMahon, Jim Ross, and Jerry “the King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from parts unknown.

-Bret Hart comes down to the ring angry, so Ross interviews him.  Bret says that the WWF has changed during his absence and that there are no more rules.  He complains that Shawn Michaels violated his pledge not to interfere in his title match at In Your House and says that since there are no rules anymore he will do whatever it takes to get to the top.  He also announces his entry into the Royal Rumble and says that he’s going to do guest commentary just like Shawn Michaels did last night for the next match.

-Opening Contest:  Stone Cold” Steve Austin defeats Vader (w/Jim Cornette) by disqualification when Bret Hart interferes at 4:30 shown:

This match was supposed to happen a month ago, but Vader’s injury at the hands of Yokozuna sidelined him for a few days and he missed a whole month of Raw tapings.  Talk about having your momentum halted.  The crowd gets worked in to a frenzy, as both guys beat the hell out of each other inside of the ring and out into the crowd.  Austin avoids a Vader Bomb with a low blow, but Bret gets involved shortly thereafter, locks in a Sharpshooter, and creates the disqualification.  It’s too bad Vader was on his way out in 1998, because he could’ve been some great corporate muscle for Vince to use against Austin.  Predictably, Vader gets angry at Bret and brawls with him as WWF officials come out to separate them.  This was an entertaining opener, but it was cut way too short.  Rating:  **½

-Ahmed Johnson’s appearance at In Your House last night, where he called out Faarooq and told him and the Nation of Domination that they are going down is shown.

-The Fake Razor Ramon & The Fake Diesel defeat The Godwinns when Diesel pins Phineas with a Jackknife at 6:26:

Hillbilly Jim isn’t with the Godwinns, but I don’t think the fans care.  In a nice opening spot, Phineas catches the toothpick Ramon tosses at him, puts it in his mouth, spits it in the air, and then throws it back at Ramon.  The match is pretty decent and it follows the usual formula you would expect, with the Godwinns dominating Razor and Henry becoming the whipping boy of the heels.  They have a hot finish, where Henry gives Ramon a Slop Drop, but the referee forces him out and Diesel uses the opportunity to hit a Jackknife and the heels get the win.  Everytime I see Glen Jacobs give someone a Jackknife I just pray the guy taking the move doesn’t get killed.  Rating:  **

-WWF Champion Sid is in the locker room and he says that he doesn’t think anyone can beat him.  He says that he thrives on adversity and he says that it will be sweet to beat Shawn Michaels in his hometown at the Royal Rumble.  He warns Jose Lothario not to show up.

-Shawn Michaels says that fans in Texas don’t like what Sid did to Jose Lothario at the Survivor Series and that he’s going to win his title back at the Royal Rumble.  He says that Bret Hart can whine all he wants, but it won’t do him any good.

-Doug Furnas & Philip LaFon defeat TL Hopper & Dr. X after LaFon pins Hopper after a cobra clutch suplex at 3:16 shown:

Dr. X is a masked jobber, who Ross says is a newcomer to the WWF, but I don’t think he has much of a future.  This match is joined in progress and it allows Furnas and LaFon to showcase their power/submission style.  I’m surprised they had Hopper and not X take the pin, since the fans at least knew who Hopper was, but let’s face it, a jobber is a jobber is a jobber.  Rating:  *

-Jerry Lawler faces Sable in the Karate Fighters Holiday Tournament championship match.  Hunter Hearst-Helmsley is with Lawler and Marc Mero is with Sable.  Helmsley gives Lawler some tips on using his Karate Fighter, which is pretty funny, and Lawler takes shots at Sable’s gender.  In the ensuing match, Sable wins.  Lawler demands a rematch and when Mero gets in his face, Helmsley attacks him from behind.  Mero receives a heel beat down until Goldust, of all wrestlers, makes the save.  As Mero chases Helmsley through the crowd, Lawler says that Goldust shouldn’t be mad that Helmsley made a pass at Marlena because he’s gay.  Goldust refutes that and nails Lawler with a right hand and turns face.  Well there goes Goldust’s character in one fell swoop.  By the way, is this what happens when you play Karate Fighters with your friends?  A fight breaks out, you get beaten down, and a freaky guy saves you from injury?

-Billy Gunn and Bart Gunn wrestle to a no contest at 3:40 shown:

Well it’s finally time for the Smoking Gunns to explode.  They should’ve just had a blow off where they gave both guys pistols and filmed a duel segment on a Western movie set.  It would’ve fit their gimmick and only left one cowboy in the WWF.  One of the worst blowoff matches of all time follows and is brought to an end when Bart hot shots Billy and Billy feigns paralysis as his wife rushes the ring and yells at Bart.  This was a ridiculous attempt by the booking staff to get ratings.  It didn’t work.  Grade:  DUD

-Tune in next week to see Bret Hart face the Fake Razor Ramon!  Also, Hunter Hearst-Helmsley defends the Intercontinental title against Marc Mero and he can lose the title by count out or disqualification.

The Final Report Card:  Billy’s neck injury was a work and he vanished from WWF TV for a few months after this match.  The first half of the show was really exciting, with the Austin-Vader match and subsequent Bret beat down serving as a breath of fresh air.  However, the second half of the show was the complete opposite.  The Karate Fighters segment was fine, but the Smoking Gunns blow off needed to be a lot more and the worked injury angle came off as a bad imitation of the Shawn Michaels-Owen Hart concussion angle that was done a year prior to this.

Monday Night War Rating:  N/A (vs. 3.2 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down


  1. Shawn looked as messed up on Raw as he did on the PPV. And I always get a kick out of Bret paying back Austin for all the run-ins and interferences.

  2.  Austin and Vader had tremendous chemistry together and I'm saddenned they never got to work a PPV match together. Same with Bret and Vader too. WWF really shot themselves in the foot with the constant burial of Vader.


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