Skip to main content

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw - December 30, 1996

-Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels cut brief promos on each other to hype their face-to-face segment tonight.

-Vince McMahon and Jerry “the King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from Albany, New York.

-Opening Contest:  “The Real Double J” Jesse James & Savio Vega (and Bret Hart) defeat Faarooq & “Stone Cold” Steve Austin (w/the Nation of Domination) via disqualification when Crush interferes at 10:26 shown:

This Faarooq-Austin pairing is probably the weirdest pairing I’ve ever seen.  James sings “With My Baby Tonight” on his way to the ring and just as I tire of the song, Austin leaves the ring and nails James in the aisle.  Awesome.  Savio works his usual midcard magic, by scoring some near-falls on his side, but James eventually goes down with a knee injury about an Austin chop block, bringing out Bret, who gets to substitute for the face side.  In kayfabe world that’s really unfair, but the referee doesn’t seem to mind.  Bret receives the momentum swinging tag and tries to apply the Sharpshooter to Faarooq, but Crush runs in and creates the disqualification.  This was a nice way to further the Bret-Austin feud without having a long physical encounter between the two.  Rating:  **½

-After the match, the Nation of Domination lay waste to Bret and Savio until Ahmed Johnson forces everyone to flee with a 2x4.  It looks like James got off easy with a small knee injury here.  Ahmed gets on the house mic and reminds Faarooq that he’s going down at the Royal Rumble.

-Non-Title Match:  Hunter Hearst Helmsley (Intercontinental Champion) pins Flash Funk (w/The Funkettes) after nailing Funk with the title belt at 8:58 shown:

Just like last week, Goldust makes an entrance through the crowd and takes a seat in the lower arena section for this match.  Funk uses his usual aerial offense here, but he’s in a styles clash with Helmsley, who wants to wrestle a more technical encounter.  What you get out of this is a big mess that builds to nothing until Lawler leaves the announce table and insults Goldust on the house mic during the match.  That’s completely distracting, but I’m not shocked that we’re putting angles before the ring work here and it’s not like it’s unwarranted.  The distraction presented by Lawler causes the referee to develop a premature case of adult onset ADD and Helmsley takes advantage for the victory.  This loss cuts off some of Funk’s momentum and Helmsley enhances his status over the rest of the WWF’s ridiculous midcard during this period.  Rating:  *½

-After the match, Goldust comes over the guardrail at Lawler and when Helmsley tries to attack him from behind, Funk intervenes and he rolls Helmsley back into the ring and hits a 450 splash.

-Shawn Michaels says that no one gets in his face and tonight is no exception to that.

-Jim Ross moderates a face-to-face segment between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels.  Bret says that Shawn never apologized for costing him the WWF title at In Your House and rants about getting screwed out of the title at WrestleMania XII.  Bret takes a shot at Michaels for posing for Playgirl and accuses Michaels of degrading the WWF title.  Michaels says that Bret is no role model, but before he gets to go on a tangent of his own, Sid interrupts.  Sid says he’s tired of people talking about his title and he wants some competition, so the Undertaker comes out.  However, as he comes down to the ring, Vader attacks him.  The Undertaker dispatches of him and goes eye to eye with Sid.  That doesn’t last long as Vader comes back and the Undertaker and he head back to the locker room.  Meanwhile, Michaels crotches Bret on the middle rope and dives onto Sid and that takes us to a commercial break.  I know the story they were trying to tell here, but I would’ve preferred to have Bret and Shawn shoot on each other for a while.  I can see why Michaels would be upset by this segment because they let Bret run him down for five or six minutes and he only got one sentence to respond.

-Jerry “the King” Lawler defeats Goldust (w/Marlena) via count out at 2:47 shown:

This match is pure angle fodder as Hunter Hearst Helmsley and the Honky Tonk Man are on guest commentary and Helmsley leaves the announce table minutes into the match and carries Marlena to the locker room.  Marc Mero cuts him off as Goldust chases after Helmsley, but Helmsley tosses Marlena over to Mero and side steps Goldust, causing him to crash into Mero, creating injury to Marlena and causing him to lose the match.  Helmsley pounds away on Goldust and Mero and that plays us out.  A decent ending to Raw, but it’s obvious that they were trying ANYTHING to put heel heat on Helmsley.

-Tune in next week to see Bret Hart face Vader!

The Final Report Card:  The face-to-face segment had promise and Bret started it off well, but it devolved into a sideshow of egos after he finished his part.  The opening tag match was fun, but they didn’t play with it as much as they should have and everything else is very passable.  Looking at this year, it’s amazing that they stuck with Helmsley because he was generating very little heat as champion, but you can never count anyone out in the wrestling business.

Monday Night War Rating:  N/A (vs. 3.6 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down

Now that I have finished reviewing 1996, where do the readers want me to go?  I've got several choices, so any replies/feedback are welcomed when making the decision:

*1993, 1994, 1995, or 1997 Raw
*1994, 1995, or 1996 Superstars
*1994 or 1995 Action Zone


  1. Christopher HirschMay 1, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    Keep going with the 97 Raw's.

  2. exodus316 exodus316May 1, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    My vote would be for 1997.  

  3. Keep on with 1997, I wish I could find those somewhere (wink wink).

  4. I'd say... 1994 Action Zone. Why? Just because it'd be different. Not that your Raw recaps haven't been tremendous, but I for one would love some recaps of a show I never personally watched.

  5. TheRealCitizenSnipsMay 1, 2012 at 12:30 PM

    HHH really enjoys being involved in "kidnapping women" angles, doesn't he?

  6. 1997 Raw is where you should go next.

  7. As much as I love '97 Raw, I'd be interested in your take on '95 Raw. Not a lot of in-depth reviewing has been done of that year.

  8. Anyone know why Flash Funk ended up getting buried? I thought he was an amazing worker and the dude can still go today.

  9. I would prefer Action Zone or Superstars, because really, there are tons of Raw recaps from that timeframe but hardly any for the other shows.

    if it has to be Raw, than I would like the first years more than 1997 - for the same reason mentioned.


Post a Comment