WWF: Monday Night Raw (12.16.96)

mondaynightraw

Monday Night Raw
December 16, 1996
Tampa, FL
Ice Palace

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)

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

We start off the program with the appearance of an unhappy Bret Hart. Clearly he has not become the WWF champion for a fourth time. Jim Ross handles the interview in the ring. Bret says there’s no reason why he’s not the WWF champion right now. Things have changed since he came back to the WWF and admits there are no rules here anymore. As for Shawn Michaels (the little prissy), he lied to his Kliq fans when he said he wouldn’t interfere in the main event last night because he can’t handle the fact that he’s not as good as Bret Hart. Bret says he will do whatever it takes to get back on top and announces he will be in the Royal Rumble. Just like Shawn did last night at In Your House, Bret says he’s going to sit at the announce table and just mind his own business. AWESOME way to start the show.

  • Steve Austin vs. Vader (w/Jim Cornette)

Bret gives Vince his word that he won’t interfere in the matches tonight. Totally different attitude from Bret here. I like it. Austin lets Bret know he doesn’t want him here, but doesn’t get physical just yet. Vince touts this as a Toughman contest. It’s never quite clear what that means. Vader pounds Austin in the corner and drills him with the Body Attack. Austin fires back with the Thesz Press and stomps a mudhole. He punches Vader to the floor and the crowd is getting BEHIND Austin. As they start brawling around ringside, we go to commercial. When we come back, Austin and Vader are seen fighting into the crowd. A chair gets involved for a moment. Back in the ring, Austin avoids the Vader Bomb with a shot to the balls. Vader cools him off though with a backdrop to the outside. That’s when Bret Hart walks over and clips Austin’s knee. He puts Austin in the SHARPSHOOTER until he gets caught by the ref for the DQ. (4:31 shown) Very mixed reaction from the crowd. Vader comes over to beat up Bret for costing him the match, but refs and agents back up Vader. Bret returns to the SHARPSHOOTER on Austin and has to be forced off Austin. Yeah, still awesome. Great little fight, too. **½

GREAT GOOGLY MOOGLY! Last night at In Your House, Ahmed Johnson returns to the ring for an interview with Vince McMahon. Faarooq – YOU’RE! GOING! DOWN!

  • The Godwinns vs. Razor Ramon & Diesel

No Hillbilly Jim this week. Godwinns control Razor to start. Henry slams Phineas onto Razor for a good time. Now over to Diesel, Henry receives the elbows and knees in the corner but fires back on Diesel with a back elbow of his own. Razor tries to nail Henry from the apron and can’t really even do that right. Nevertheless, Diesel catches Henry from behind and the fake ones are off to the races. Razor grabs the stepover armbar that Scott Hall has been known to use. Vince hypes a match for next week between Razor Ramon and Bret Hart. Back over to Diesel, he catches Henry with a big boot and the Bossman straddle. VINTAGE DIESEL! When a backdrop is telegraphed by Diesel, Henry makes the hot tag to Phineas. He’s cooled off quickly though by Razor as the RAZOR’S EDGE is coming. After dumping out Diesel, Henry comes up behind Razor and delivers the SLOP DROP. Before Phineas can make the cover, Diesel slides back in and gives him the JACKKNIFE. Razor crawls over to Phineas for the 1-2-3. (6:26) Well then. That was actually a high energy little tag match. Good going, guys. **

Vince asks Psycho Sid from backstage who can stop him after beating both Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart in 30 days. NO ONE CAN, VINCE. What will meeting Shawn Michaels at the Royal Rumble in San Antonio mean? SID THRIVES ON ADVERSITY SO IT WILL BE HIS VICTORY WHEN HE BEATS SHAWN MICHAELS IN HIS OWN BACKYARD. What about Jose Lothario? STAY AT HOME AND WATCH THE SHOW ON PPV, JOSE.

We now go to Shawn Michaels for a response. He’s looking forward to his WWF title match in San Antonio and can’t wait for all those fans to see him get revenge on Sid for what he did to the Texas legend Jose Lothario. Talk turns to Bret Hart now. Will there be any excuses if he loses at the Royal Rumble? There will be no excuses. Believe him, he will leave San Antonio the WWF champion. As for Bret, he’s not the Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels. Even if he wanted to be, he couldn’t do it.

  • Doug Furnas & Phil LaFon vs. TL Hopper & Dr. X

We JIP with this match. Boy those WWF people sure believe in Furnas and LaFon, don’t they? This is the last appearance of TL Hopper on RAW. Dr. X is Tom Prichard under the hood. Hopper at least puts up a fight, but LaFon puts him down with a Cobra Clutch Suplex for the pinfall at 3:20 shown as they continue their winning ways. JR thinks they have a shot at becoming the best of the tag team division.

Over to Billy Gunn, he tells us he will prove why he is the top Gunn.

  • Karate Fighter Finals: Jerry Lawler (w/Hunter Hearst Helmsley) vs. Sable (w/Marc Mero)

Yes, this is happening in the ring, folks. Since Lawler knew Sable would bring out Mero, he grabs Hunter Hearst Helmsley to be in his corner. Sable wins and I can almost FEEL half the audience flipping over to Nitro. Anyways, Lawler calls her a cheater and gets pummeled by Mero until Hunter steps in to help out. They put the boots to him until of all people GOLDUST comes out for the save. He beats Helmsley clear over the guardrail and into the crowd. Mero goes after him though as Sable follows after them. Meanwhile, Lawler confronts Goldust and calls him a freak. Lawler tells us that Helmsley made a pass at Marlena. Why so mad? Helmsley is at least a REAL man after all. Lawler beats around the bush and ultimately asks Goldust if he’s queer. Well, Goldust takes the mic and says NO. He punches down Lawler and Marlena joins him in the ring for some fawning. So maybe those people switching over to Nitro just missed a face turn.

  • Billy Gunn vs. Bart Gunn

The SMOKING GUNNS EXPLODE. We immediately go to a commercial though. When we come back, the action has slowed down immensely with Billy in control. We see that both Billy and Bart’s wives are in attendance. Billy is working on the neck with a chinlock and then a reverse neckbreaker. Back to chinlock, Bart escapes and drops Billy with a hotshot. It doesn’t look like Billy is going to get up from that, so the ref calls for the bell. (4:11 shown) Now the wives get in the ring and they try to sell this as a shoot. Bart is totally beside himself here. Billy does a stretcher job to end the program. That’s the last we see of Billy Gunn until the Honky Tonk Man starts courting him in a few months. Since this isn’t the tag team breakup anybody wanted to see, I’m pretty much fine with what we got here. As for Bart, he would be on occasional JTTS duty until the brief recreation of the Midnight Express and the Brawl for All stuff, which ended him in the WWF thanks to Butterbean. ½*

NEXT WEEK: IC Champ Hunter Hearst Helmsley meets Wildman Marc Mero where Helmsley can lose the title on a DQ/countout! Plus, Bret Hart takes on Razor Ramon! I’m sure other interesting things will happen too!

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