What the World Was Watching: Monday Night RAW – October 16, 1995

Isaac Yankem and Bret Hart cut dueling promos against each other from inside of a steel cage to hype their match tonight.  Jerry Lawler adds his thoughts for good measure.  The setting looks cool as the ring is only illuminated by a few stage lights while the rest of the arena is dark.

Vince McMahon and Lawler are in the booth and they are concluding the tapings from Grand Rapids, Michigan.  This is the last RAW before In Your House 4.  McMahon lets us know that Dean Douglas and Mabel were each fined $7,500 for their actions after the six man tag team match on last week’s RAW.  The Undertaker is temporarily written off television by the WWF saying that he suffered his facial injury due to Mabel’s attack.

Opening Contest:  Hunter-Hearst Helmsley (18-0) pins Doink (9-4) after a Pedigree at 3:49:

The Doink character is really dated by this point and his last televised appearance takes place here, putting over the young Helmsley as the Greenwich snob continues to establish himself in the midcard.  McMahon announces during the bout that Helmsley will face Fatu at In Your House 4.  Some fans may have thought that was a signal that Helmsley was set to lose his first match because Fatu defeated Helmsley in a dark match at In Your House 3.  There is not much to this one, with Helmsley largely swallowing up Doink, avoiding a reverse flying body press off the second rope, and Helmsley using his finisher to inch closer to a 20-0 record.  Rating:  *½

Barry Horowitz tries to talk to Hakushi about baseball so he can teach him more about American culture.

PG-13 cuts a promo, arguing that they are going to lasso the Smoking Gunns and win the WWF tag team titles.

Interim WWF President Gorilla Monsoon says that Mabel will face Yokozuna at In Your House 4 since Yokozuna helped hurt the Undertaker so it seems fitting that Yokozuna will be the Undertaker’s replacement.

WWF Tag Team Championship Match:  The Smoking Gunns (Champions) (22-3-1) defeat PG-13 (1-0) after Billy pins Wolfie D after a Sidewinder at 4:59 shown:

McMahon subtly puts over PG-13 on commentary, although he does not talk about where they come from or what their gimmick is supposed to be.  PG-13 are treated as glorified jobbers here, getting some brief offense on Billy after they cheat, but the match sends the signal that they are no match for the champions as Bart cleans house after a hot tag and J.C. Ice cannot even get back into the ring to save his partner after a Sidewinder, tripping over the bottom rope as the referee is counting the pinfall.  Despite the loss, PG-13 showed potential and arguably should have been signed considering the dearth of teams in the division.  However, the company was in cost cutting mode and they would not reappear until the Nation of Domination would get going at the end of the following year.  Rating:  *

Dok Hendrix interviews the British Bulldog and Jim Cornette in a taped segment from the WWF’s Tour de Force tour.  Cornette says that the Bulldog will use whatever means necessary to win the WWF title at In Your House.  The Bulldog says he is tired of being disrespected and will take what is rightfully his this Sunday on pay-per-view.

Ahmed Johnson’s vignette about his mother making minimum wage is replayed.

Footage of Dean Douglas attacking Shawn Michaels on last week’s RAW is shown.

Dean Douglas (3-0) beats Joe Dorgan after the Final Exam at 2:06:

McMahon tells the audience about Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels getting beaten up in Syracuse over the weekend, saying that the attack was unprovoked and that Michaels was beaten up “by ten thugs.”  Michaels calls into the show, saying that he does not feel good but is going to fight back and will be at in Your House.  Douglas wrestles somewhat uninspired here, doing some knee drops along the ropes and then hitting the Final Exam for a quick win.

Hendrix urges us to buy a Two Dudes with Attitudes t-shirt for $20 (plus $3.95 shipping & handling)!

Since these were the days when it took the ring crew some time to put together the blue bar steel cage, McMahon and Lawler kill some time talking about In Your House 4.  Lawler tells McMahon that he better not get raised in a separate cage if he tries to interfere in the cage match because he has a fear of heights.

Goldust says that he is going to give Marty Jannetty a makeover at In Your House.

Footage of Mabel, and later Yokozuna, beating up the Undertaker from King of the Ring to last week’s RAW is shown.  Paul Bearer screams about the Undertaker’s face being crushed by both men but he vows that the Undertaker will return to claim their souls.

Steel Cage Match:  Bret Hart (14-2-2) defeats Isaac Yankem (3-1) at 15:27 shown:

A “special bulletin” scrolls on the bottom of the screen during this bout to encourage fans to call the Superstar Line so they can hear more about Shawn Michaels condition.  Bret seems to have the match won a few minutes after the encounter starts, but referee Tim White cannot get the padlock off the door because Lawler has the actual key hidden underneath his crown at the announce table.  Bret appears headed for victory a second time after a Sharpshooter, but Lawler blocks him on the top of the cage, prompting WWF officials to run out and toss Lawler in an individual cage per the orders of Gorilla Monsoon.  When Lawler is foisted above the ring he screams and then starts bleeding from the nose, one of the first times that blood had been seen on WWF programming since 1993.  Lawler later said in a WWE.com interview that he picked a scab in his nose to cause the bleeding and that it was something he did not discuss with McMahon ahead of time.  Sadly, Lawler is the only entertaining thing about the match as Bret and Yankem’s climb out sequences lack adequate drama and the match goes way too long for what it is supposed to be.  People are actually shown on the hard camera side walking out of the arena in droves as Bret makes his comeback.  Lawler tosses Yankem a key to get out the door, but Bret cuts that off and slays the giant of the month with a low blow and five moves of doom before escaping.  Rating:  *

The show comes back from commercial with Lawler still trapped in his cage and McMahon telling him that technical difficulties might keep him up there a while longer.

Tune in next week to see Bertha Faye defend the WWF Women’s Championship against Alundra Blayze!  Also, a twenty man battle royal will determine who gets to face the Intercontinental Champion on the following week’s RAW!

The Last Word:  Fans did not know it at the time, but Bret Hart’s victory over Isaac Yankem permanently shut the door on his three-year long feud with Jerry Lawler.  It also ended Bret’s run of wrestling midcard heels as the Hitman would be repositioned to contend for the WWF title after In Your House 4.  As for this show, it was a very weak “go home” effort and when the highlight is an announcement of a heel versus heel match at In Your House 4 between two fat guys then you know something is wrong.  Dave Meltzer would later say that this show was awful because the company needed another week of programming before the next RAW taping date, so they spliced and diced up the broadcast with matches that may never have made the air otherwise, such as the awful cage match, to make it work.  Still, the WWF won the nightly clash with Nitro, proving that gimmick matches were a big draw in the Monday Night Wars.

Monday Night War Rating:  2.6 (vs. 2.2 for Nitro – Arn Anderson & Brian Pillman vs. Ric Flair & Sting)

Up Next:  WWF Superstars from October 21, 1995!