WWF: Monday Night Raw (12.09.96)

mondaynightraw

Monday Night Raw
December 9, 1996
New Haven, CT
New Haven Coliseum

The current WWF Champs were as follows:
World Champion: Psycho Sid (11/17/96)
Intercontinental Champion: Hunter Hearst Helmsley (10/21/96)
World Tag Team Champions: Owen Hart & Davey Boy Smith (9/22/96)

Whoa. We get a viewer discretion advisory at the opening here.

Your hosts are Vince McMahon, Jim Ross, and Jerry Lawler.

  • Psycho Sid vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley

It’s champion versus champion, but neither title is on the line. Sid makes HHH look like a total jabroni. I don’t think he actually got in ANY offense. He gives Helmsley a POWERBOMB and the IC champ rolls out to the floor for the countout. (2:58) Our esteemed commentators tout that Helmsley doesn’t need this match since he has an IC title defense this Sunday against Marc Mero, but Sid has a WWF title match too, so I don’t find the logic very sound. ½*

  • Goldust (w/Marlena) vs. Bart Gunn

JR talks about how Bart Gunn almost won the IC title from Hunter Hearst Helmsley yesterday on Superstars if it hadn’t been for Billy Gunn’s interference. We’ll see the BATTLE OF THE GUNNS next week on Raw. Goldust throws gold dust in Bart’s face and Marlena blows cigar smoke in Bart’s face to control things to start. Billy shows up for a backstage interview as he watches the match on the monitor. Billy says the usual heel stuff when a tag team breaks up: I carried the other guy to success all these years. This might be fine if they weren’t brothers. This certainly isn’t the Bret and Owen feud. After a commercial break, Bart comes back and hits the BULLDOG, which may be his finisher. He didn’t have a singles run long enough to develop much of any singles offense. Bart misses a crossbody block out of the corner and damages his knee. Goldust clips him from behind and pins Bart for the win. (5:57 shown) Just a nothing happening match. While this is the fourth RAW taping for these people, the crowd was literally silent for this whole thing. Vince and JR used this time to hype other things like a Bret Hart interview for later in the show. After the bell, Billy Gunn comes out and bullies his brother. Bart punches back until Billy rolls out of the ring and heads to the locker room. ¾*

Clips of the Buried Alive match between Mankind and Undertaker to hype this No Holds Barred match.

In the back, Justin Hawk Bradshaw and Uncle Zeb call Jesse James an idiot for wanting to take them both on in the same match. What an idiot!

KARATE FIGHTERS FINALS: Jerry Lawler versus Sable. Oh, not just yet. Todd Pettengill just discusses what will happen.

  • Justin Hawk Bradshaw & Uncle Zebekiah vs. Jesse James

JJ is a house of fire to start, but he’s still pretty green wrestling-wise and doesn’t look all that impressive against these two. He fights off a double-team and armdrags Bradshaw over. James is smart enough to keep their gameplan off balance, but ultimately Bradshaw takes control with a bulldog out of nowhere. Back suplex leads to a flying elbow off the second rope from JHB. Tag to Zeb, JJ quickly gets him in a small package behind the ref’s back. Back to Bradshaw, he cuts off JJ with a side slam. JJ avoids a superplex and barely catches Bradshaw with a flying clothesline. Since JJ is too busy messing with Zeb, Bradshaw is able to come back. Finisher attempts are traded, but neither man lands their move. Bradshaw grabs JJ and motions for Zeb to whack him with the branding iron, but JJ ducks and Bradshaw gets nailed instead. Jesse punches down Zeb and covers Bradshaw for the win. (5:51) Well, I’ll be. Total by the numbers handicap match. Afterwards, Bradshaw turns on Zeb and floors him with the CLOTHESLINE FROM HELL. Jesse James is just barely a competent worker here. Not ready for primetime, if you ask me. ½*

Jim Ross brings out Bret Hart to the ring for a special interview. They replay the angles where Bret and the British Bulldog helped each other out when dealing with Psycho Sid and Stone Cold Steve Austin. Bret knows this won’t be a technical wrestling match, but says Psycho Sid will be excellently executed by the best there is, was, and ever will be. Man of many words.

ACCLAIM SLAM OF THE WEEK: Flash Funk hitting the Tumbleweed on the Goon from last week’s RAW.

Clips of the SummerSlam match between Mankind and the Undertaker gets shown – specifically when Paul Bearer ended his relationship with Taker.

  • No Holds Barred: Undertaker vs. Mankind (w/Paul Bearer)

Taker controls to start with the jumping clothesline and Old School. He even hits a Chokeslam and picks up Mankind for the TOMBSTONE when the Executioner comes out and disrupts things. Taker chases him to the back as we go to commercial. When we come back, Taker and Mankind are brawling at ringside. Taker rips half the steps apart and starts stomping the Mandible Claw hand on the steps. As if that wasn’t enough, Taker drops half the steps onto Mankind’s hand. Back inside, Taker smashes Mankind’s hand on the turnbuckles until Mankind finds a moment to clip the leg. Cactus Clothesline takes Taker to the floor, but he lands on his feet. He looks to whip Mankind into the steps, but Mankind reverses the whip and sends Taker in knees first. They brawl over to the announce table where Mankind drops the Cactus Elbow onto the knee placed on a chair. JR could hear bones snap! Mankind tries to go to work on the knee, but Taker kicks him back with the other leg and sends him backwards into the guardrail. Evidently his knee doesn’t hurt too bad because Taker then picks up Mankind and slams him on the SAT. More commercials! When we return, Mankind is in control. He counters a goozle with a drop toehold (!!) and grabs a chair. Taker knocks the chair back in his face a couple times though. He hoists up Mankind hoping for the TOMBSTONE, but Taker sells the knee and Mankind slips off his shoulder to apply the MANDIBLE CLAW. Taker nearly goes out, but then comes back and attempts to either hotshot Mankind or dump him over the top rope. Nevertheless, the hold is broken and Mankind is still in the ring. He charges Taker and gets caught up in the TOMBSTONE for the 1-2-3. (10:32 shown) Not the crazy sort of brawl you expect from these two. This was actually pretty tame and a decent TV match. Not spectacular, but had good psychology and told the story they needed to tell. The pace was a little slow, but even that was storytelling when they had sold all night with video clips of how intense their battles have been over the past six months. Afterwards, the Executioner comes back out and applies the ASIATIC SPIKE to get their match going for In Your House. ***

Everything after the handicap match was decent to good, so that’s at least an improvement over last week’s embarrassment of a show.

NEXT WEEK: The fallout from In Your House. Plus, Bart and Billy EXPLODE~!

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