What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – November 11, 1996

by Logan Scisco

-Vince McMahon and Jerry “the King” Lawler are in the booth and are wrapping up the Raw taping in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Opening WWF Tag Team Championship Contest:  The British Bulldog & Owen Hart (Champions w/Clarence Mason) defeat “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels & Sid (w/Jose Lothario) after the Bulldog pins Sid after Shawn Michaels accidentally Sweet Chin Music’s his partner at 10:14 shown:

Steve Austin appears in the split screen and says that he isn’t going to apologize for his actions on last week’s show.  They use the standard tag formula, with Sid and Michaels dominating the first few moments and Owen and the Bulldog pounding on Michaels after cheating.  The only thing that stands out is the ending, where Michaels goes to hit the Bulldog with Sweet Chin Music, but the Bulldog ducks and Sid eats the move for the finish.  You would’ve expected more here from three of the four participants, but they didn’t do a good job selling the idea that Sid and Michaels had a chance to walk out as the champions.  Today, Sid and Michaels probably would have won the titles heading into Survivor Series, but the WWF had a little more respect for the tag titles and was unwilling to hot shot them onto an awkward pairing just for the hell of it.  As another side note, this is another big victory for Owen and the Bulldog in a tag team match against Shawn Michaels this year, but they never could get the best of him in a singles match when the WWF title was on the line.  Rating:  **

-Call 1-900-737-4WWF to find out who the mystery partner for Yokozuna’s team will be at the Survivor Series this weekend!  This was SUCH a letdown back in 1996.

-Kevin Kelly is backstage and he says that WWF officials have placed Sid and Shawn Michaels in separate locker rooms.

-Dok Hendrix gives the Survivor Series report.

Mankind (w/Paul Bearer & the Executioner) defeats Freddie Joe Floyd via submission with the Mandible Claw at 2:41:

Floyd continues to play the role of a jobber to the stars, as he jobs to Mankind in less than three minutes.  The WWF really wasted Tracy Smothers with this gimmick, but I’ve said that more times than I can count.

-After the match, the lights in the arena go out and a cage with a dummy of Paul Bearer hanging upside down is lowered.

-Kelly announces that Killer Kowalski and the Valiant Brothers will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this year.

-Rocky Maivia video package.  Maivia was the WWF’s first third generation superstar.

-Kelly interviews Sid backstage.  Sid says that he’s tired of giving Shawn Michaels the benefit of the doubt and that he will end Michaels title reign at the Survivor Series.

-Steve Austin says that he’s going to give Bob Holly a quick wrestling lesson and tells Bret Hart that he’d better watch the match so that he’s ready for their match at the Survivor Series.

-The Karate Fighters Holiday Tournament sees Sable defeat Dok Hendrix in first round action.

-Shawn Michaels appearance on the Regis & Kathy Lee show is shown.

-Kelly interviews Shawn Michaels in his locker room.  Michaels tells Sid that tonight was a mistake, but even though it was a mistake it showed that he can knock Sid out with his finishing move.

-“Stone Cold” Steve Austin pins Bob “Spark Plugg” Holly with the Stone Cold Stunner at 6:01 shown:

Although Holly is also a jobber to the stars at this stage of his career like Freddie Joe Floyd, he was higher on the pecking order and he’s allowed to work in some significant offense against Austin, which includes his hurricanrana and dropkick.  Of course, the outcome of this match wasn’t in doubt, but you had two veterans that gave it a good effort considering the time constraints and their positions on the card.  Rating:  *¾

-Austin walks to Bret Hart’s locker room, but decides not to charge in.  Austin yells through the door that he’s going to make Bret suffer at the Survivor Series this Sunday.

-Tune in next week to see Steve Austin face off with Vader!

The Final Report Card:  A disappointing first match set the stage for the rest of the show, but this provided a good build for the Survivor Series pay-per-view.  It’s nice to look back at the beginnings of the Bret-Austin feud and see how their first encounter at the pay-per-view was a straight wrestling match and didn’t need any gimmicks to sell it.  Oh, the good old days.

Monday Night War Rating:  2.5 (vs. 3.7 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Down