Monday Night Raw – September 23, 1996: Just Surrender Already

Monday Night Raw
Date: September 23, 1996
Location: Hersheypark Arena, Hershey, Pennsylvania
Attendance: 3,923
Commentators: Jim Ross, Kevin Kelly, Jerry Lawler

Another day and another review that I don’t remember a reason for. It’s the night after Mind Games and the main story is that Shawn Michaels is still WWF Champion after Vader attacked Shawn for a DQ. Undertaker went after Mankind to continue that feud that will just never die. We start the build to Buried Alive here as well. Let’s get to it.

We get stills of Fake Razor and Fake Diesel attacking Savio Vega last night. Heel JR says he told us so.

Opening sequence.

Intercontinental Title: Marc Mero vs. Farrooq

Title is vacant coming in due to Ahmed Johnson’s injuries. Pat Patterson is introduced as the guest referee to the crowd off camera and Mr. Perfect sits in on commentary. Sable and Sunny are the respective seconds here in a rare occurrence of them being on screen at the same time. Farrooq (still in the blue gladiator outfit) hammers away to start but gets rolled up for a few two counts. An enziguri drops Mero but he avoids a charge and clotheslines Farrooq out to the floor for a BIG flip dive. Back in and a springboard moonsault press gets two for Mero but he gets backdropped to the floor.

Ahmed Johnson calls in to the show and says he’ll be back to win his title. Back in and a powerslam gets two for Farrooq and a middle rope Samoan drop gets the same. Sunny gets in some choking but Sable chases her off, earning Sunny an ejection and a lot of booing. Back with Mero getting two off a backslide but getting clotheslined down with ease. Farrooq stays on the ribs before hitting the chinlock. JR promises to expose Jeff Jarrett tonight, whatever that means.

Mero fights up and nails a clothesline, only to get caught with another quick slam to change momentum. Farrooq goes up top but gets crotched down almost immediately. A top rope hurricanrana puts Farrooq down for two and a double clothesline drops both guys. Farrooq comes out and gets in a slap fight with Sable, allowing Mero to take Sunny’s purse from Farrooq and knock him silly, setting up the Wild Thing (shooting star) for the pin and the title.

Rating: C. Nothing special to see here but the Wild Thing was still a really high spot at the time. No it wasn’t a clean pin, but Mero winning the title is a good idea at the end of the day. He was a solid worker and getting much better around this time, but an injury would shut him down pretty horribly.

Mr. Perfect gives him the title post match.

We flash back over a year to see Roadie cost Jeff Jarrett the Intercontinental Title to Shawn Michaels at In Your House 2.

Mero and some low level friends celebrate in the locker room.

Vince narrates a video from In Your House 2 of Jarrett singing his country song, but something fishy went down. However, new video shows that he was LIP SYNCHING! The real singer is revealed next week.

Body Donnas vs. British Bulldog/Owen Hart

Owen and the Bulldog won the Tag Team Titles last night and have Clarance Mason (attorney) with them but this is non-title. Owen spins out of Zip’s wristlock to start as Mason swears he didn’t cheat Jim Cornette out of anything last night. A rollup gets two on Zip and some ECW guys (including Taz) jump the railing for some attention. We take a break and come back with Bulldog slamming Skip down before it’s off to Owen. That goes nowhere so Bulldog tries a gorilla press, only to be rolled up for a quick two.

Jim Cornette comes in on a split screen and yells about Mason cheating him out of the contract with Owen and Bulldog. Owen goes up but his top rope splash hits knees and the not hot tag brings in Zip to clean house. Skip and Bulldog fight to the floor before a Rocket Launcher gets two on Owen. Not that it matters as Hart comes back with a spinwheel kick and the Sharpshooter for the submission from Zip.

Rating: C-. This was fine though I don’t remember the Body Donnas being faces at all. I do however remember Clarance Mason vs. Jim Cornette being a rather dull feud that went nowhere, though Owen and Bulldog were awesome champions. The match was nothing special but I was surprised that the non-champions got in so much offense.

We see some stills of Mankind vs. Shawn from last night. Sid going after Vader sets up their match at Buried Alive and of course the main event is Undertaker vs. Mankind.

Undertaker is in a graveyard and talks about the betrayal of Paul Bearer. Last night he played mind games with Mankind and Bearer, and at Buried Alive he’ll get his revenge.

Doc Hendrix can’t find Diesel and Razor.

Steve Austin sits in on commentary.

Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. The Stalker

Stalker is Barry Windham as a paramilitary character. He’s billed from the environment, which should tell you all you need to know about the character. Stalker takes him down with an easy armdrag before driving in elbows to the shoulder. A hammerlock slam keeps Helmsley in trouble but he comes back with some knees to the ribs to escape.

They head outside for nothing of note as Mr. Perfect comes out to watch. He’s feuding with Helmsley and stealing all his chicks around this time and the distraction lets Stalker slam him down again as we take a break. Back with Helmsley poking Stalker in the eye and hammering away in the corner.

Stalker escapes a sleeper with a jawbreaker as Austin wants to know why Stalker has so much paint on his face when everyone knows who he is. That’s a good question actually. A headbutt has Helmsley in trouble and a delayed suplex gets no cover. Perfect goes after Helmsley’s chick again as Stalker gets slammed face first onto the mat. The distraction allows Stalker to hit the superplex for the pin.

Rating: D+. Austin summed up the entire problem with Stalker in that one line: it wasn’t hard to tell who he was if you had been watching wrestling for almost any amount of time. The match was nothing all that great either with Helmsley not having any idea what he was doing yet and not being very good at all. It didn’t help that Windham had nothing at this point either.

Mankind and Bearer want to know why Undertaker was in their casket last night. Last night was Undertaker’s gravest mistake, even though Vader had already cost him the match. To be fair though, Mankind was never one to be all that objective.

JR is ready to bring out Razor and Diesel but gets interrupted by a Buried Alive ad.

Back in the arena and Ross says he has no loyalty to anyone but himself. In 1993 he was brought into the company and put into a toga after leaving the Atlanta Falcons. Then he carried the broadcast at the first King of the Ring but Vince fired him for being too good when he had Bell’s Palsy. This was one of the first times that Vince was identified as the owner. Then he was brought back when Raw needed a commentator for half the money. The fans are barely responding to this at all. JR brags about all the talent he’s brought in and brings out Fake Razor and no one cares. Savio Vega jumps Ramon to end the show.

Overall Rating: D. Oh my goodness was this year bad for the WWF. It’s not so much that the wrestling was horrible but the stories were terrible. The main story on this show was JR bringing back Fake Razor which bombed horribly because it looked like a bad Razor Ramon costume instead of Scott Hall. The Title match wasn’t bad but with almost no big stars here and nothing interesting for the most part, this was a rather horrible show.

I’ve already done the next week’s show. Here it is in case you’re interested:

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