Written By: Bob Colling
World Wrestling Federation presents RAW
From: Fayetteville, NC
RAW opening video
Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler welcome everyone to the show and hype up what will be seen on the broadcast. Lawler reveals a portrait that he has drawn of the Ultimate Warrior, which he will be giving Warrior later on.
Opening Contest: Owen Hart defeated Yokozuna in a first round match to advance in the 1996 King of the Ring tournament: Hart hammers away on Yoko before the bell with several right hands. Yoko sends Hart into the ropes and connects with a clothesline followed by a right hand. Yoko drops Hart with a short arm clothesline and a scoop slam. Yoko comes off the ropes but misses an elbow drop. Cornette hits Yoko in the throat with his tennis racket. Owen jumps onto Yoko’s back as Yoko was on the middle rope throat first. Hart delivers several right hands and chops but Yoko doesn’t go down. Hart comes off the ropes and finally manages to knock Yoko off his feet with a spinning heel kick. Hart misses a leaping elbow drop off the middle rope. Yoko absorbs a couple of head butts before dropping Hart with a head butt and a clothesline. Yoko throat thrusts Hart and goes for the Bonsai Drop. Yoko loses his balance on the middle rope and crashes down to the canvas. Hart rolls Yoko up while using the ropes for leverage to win the bout. *1/4
Footage from WWF Action Zone were Jake Roberts talked about his drug issues and how impacted his marriage is shown.
Backstage, Jim Ross interviews Yokozuna. Yokozuna says he doesn’t know what to think and can’t believe he lost to Owen Hart. Yoko knows this isn’t the old Yokozuna and can’t concentrate because he wants to hurt Cornette. Yoko says he needs to go and find himself.
Second Contest: Marc Mero defeated Skip in a first round match to advance in the 1996 King of the Ring tournament: Mero backs Skip into a corner but cleanly backs away. Skip backs Mero into a corner and cleanly backs away as well. Mero hip tosses and arm drags Skip few times. Mero dropkicks Skip to the floor and leaps to the apron only to slingshot back into the ring. Mero arm drags Skip and keeps control with an arm bar. Mero hip tosses Skip out of the corner and uppercuts Skip. Mero runs into a big boot from Skip and Skips delivers a few right hands. Skip drops Mero gut first across the top rope and stomps away on Mero briefly. Snap suplex by Skip and leaps off the middle rope connecting with a fist drop. Skip maintains control with more right hands and stomps in the corner. Mero crotches Skip on the top turnbuckle but is shoved off the middle rope by Skip. Skip leaps off the top rope but is dropkicked in midair! Skip recovers and has Mero in a bow and arrow submission. Skip crotches Mero on the top rope and goes for a hurricanrana but Mero blocks it. Mero leaps off connecting with a sunset flip for a two count. Skip gets up and clotheslines Mero to regain control. Skip gets a near fall after a head butt to Mero’s lower midsection as RAW goes to commercial. Mero gets out of a sleeper hold but runs into a knee lift from Skip. Gut wrench suplex by Skip but only gets a two count on a cover. Skip power slams Mero and drops an elbow for a two count. Mero blocks a backdrop with a boot and knocks Skip down with a right hand. Mero knee lifts Skip and attempts a cross body but Skip moves and Mero flies over the top rope to the floor. Skip misses a slingshot cross body attempt on the floor. Mero connects with a somersault dive to the floor and a slingshot body press back into the ring for a two count. Mero places Skip on the top rope and connects with a hurricanrana to win the bout. *3/4
Vince McMahon is standing in the ring with Jerry Lawler and introduces the Ultimate Warrior. Warrior comes out to a decent ovation from the fans. Lawler says he needs to get his differences with Warrior settled. Lawler tells Warrior that being a king is a very difficult job and it’s not easy being him. Lawler believes that he saved Warrior a lot of trouble by costing him his match against Goldust last week. Lawler gives Warrior the portrait he displayed earlier. Lawler doesn’t believe they need to have a match at the King of the Ring. Warrior calls Lawler the biggest con-artist he has ever met. Warrior can appreciate the art and effort but says he is going to kick Lawler’s ass at the King of the Ring. Warrior turns his back to play to the fans and is hit with the portrait frame by Lawler. Lawler runs away as Warrior isn’t affected and runs to the backstage area.
Before the main event, WWF World Champion Shawn Michaels talks about his rematch with Bulldog at KOTR. Michaels has the chance to “right a serious wrong.” Cornette chimes in and asks Michaels how it felt to be beaten by Bulldog. By the way, Michaels is being interviewed from the WWF Studios. Cornette says that after a settlement from Clarence Mason’s lawsuit on Gorilla Monsoon, Cornette was allowed to pick a special referee for the title match.
Main Event: British Bulldog defeated the Undertaker by count-out: Bulldog avoids several right hands from Taker to start the match. Bulldog hammers away on Taker in the corner but Taker tosses Bulldog into a corner and hammers away on Bulldog for a few moments. Taker lifts Bulldog up in the air by the throat and drops Bulldog to the mat. Bulldog rolls to the floor trying to recover from the attack. Taker works on Bulldog with a throat thrust and right hands in the corner. Taker grabs Bulldog’s arm and walks the top rope before jumping down across Bulldog’s arm! Taker chokes Bulldog in the corner followed by a scoop slam and a leg drop for a two count. Taker sends Bulldog into a corner but runs into a back elbow and is hammered on by Bulldog. Bulldog drives Taker down to the mat with a delayed vertical suplex but Taker quickly sits up and punches Bulldog several times. Bulldog catches Taker coming off the ropes with a big power slam for a two count as RAW goes to commercial. Bulldog has a sleeper hold on Taker for several moments. Taker fights to his feet and punches out of the hold with several punches. Bulldog comes off the ropes connecting with a swinging neck breaker and a leg drop for a two count. Bulldog sends Taker back first into the corner and goes back to a sleeper hold. Taker gets out of the hold with a back suplex. Bulldog gets out of the tombstone but is sent chest first into the corner as Taker gets out of the running power slam. Taker knocks Bulldog off his feet with a few right hands. Taker maintains control by ramming Bulldog head first into the corner as RAW goes to another commercial. Taker knocks Bulldog down with a leaping left arm clothesline after ducking a clothesline from Bulldog. Taker goes for the choke slam and connects! Taker clotheslines Bulldog over the top to the floor. Bulldog pulls Taker underneath the bottom rope to the floor and sends Taker into the ring post. Taker sends Bulldog hip first into the ring steps. Taker tosses Bulldog into the ring and tries to enter the ring but is held by Mankind from underneath the ring! Taker is counted-out. *3/4
After the match, Taker is attacked by Bulldog, Mankind and Owen Hart. Cornette tells his men to leave the ring and Mankind stomps away on Taker. Mankind spikes Taker with a pile driver. Several referees come down to the ring keep Mankind away as RAW comes to an end.
End of show
My Take: I’ll assume that Yokozuna is being written off as any kind of serious threat in the WWF at this point. His match with Owen went pretty quickly and seems like Yoko’s character is just floating around without any real feuds or anything. It was a good three and half year run but I think Yokozuna is done in the WWF. The match was pretty basic and didn’t really do much for me.
I think Mero and Skip were trying to make their match a fast paced contest with high spots but at some point they just gave up on the idea. A lot of rest holds from two guys I wouldn’t have expected that from. My initial thought was it was going to be a good high spot match but I was instead forced to watch two guys do very minimal work and kill the crowd. Mero seems to be struggling to produce good television matches it seems like to me.
A very simple interview segment between Lawler and Warrior to hype up their match at KOTR, I thought. I should mention that when Lawler hit Warrior with the portrait he hit Warrior with the backside of it. As a result, glass almost sliced Lawler in the face. I don’t see how hitting someone with the backside of a portrait would hurt, but oh well.
Bulldog/Taker was not a good main event match. The last two minutes or so had some okay action but the overall match was really lackluster. Seems like if it’s not Bret Hart or Shawn Michaels in the main event people are just lazy in the ring. The ending was fine to keep Taker strong and the beat down by Mankind continues to make Mankind look like a big threat to Taker.
Overall, I thought this week’s RAW was another boring episode.
Thanks for reading.
34-year-old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Long-time fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls, and Minnesota Vikings. An avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on old-school wrestling.