Monday Night Raw – October 7, 1996: Halloween Comes Early

Monday Night Raw
Date: October 7, 1996
Location: Hersheypark Arena, Hershey, Pennsylvania
Attendance: 3,923
Commentators: Kevin Kelly, Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

Things have picked up a bit since we left off about ten months ago. Shawn Michaels is now the reigning WWF World Champion and the company is in a nosedive with the NWO running roughshod over the wrestling world. We’re coming up on In Your House: Buried Alive, meaning it’s going to be a lot of Undertaker vs. Mankind. Let’s get to it.

The opening video previews tonight’s events, including Shawn and Vader, Goldust vs. Sid and an interview with the REAL Double J (oh yeah that thing).

Opening sequence.

Mark Mero vs. Fake Diesel

Mero’s Intercontinental Title isn’t on the line. Jim Ross comes out with Diesel here as this stupid angle continues. For those of you not around at the time, the idea here was that JR turned heel (just go with it) and said he was the reason Diesel and Razor Ramon were around in the first place so he was bringing them back.

Now this could have been a good dig at WCW if the WWF was going with the idea that it was the WWF who created the characters and the people didn’t matter, but instead they were acting like these were the real people, thereby making JR look stupid. It didn’t help that Fake Razor looked like he was in a Razor Halloween costume. Fake Diesel on the other hand looked a lot like Diesel, at least if you didn’t get a good shot of his face. You would know Fake Diesel better as Kane.

Diesel charges into a boot in the corner to start and a dropkick puts him on the floor for a no hands dive. Back in and Diesel drops him throat first across the top rope to take over and slow things WAY down. The slow beating continues and we go to Fake Razor and WOW it’s even worse than I remember. His Cuban accent is as good as Lana’s Russian and thankfully we go to a break without having to listen to much more. Back with Mero rolling Diesel up for two and Razor coming out to watch. Mero dives onto Razor, which is probably the best thing he’s done all night. Ramon comes in for the DQ a few seconds later.

Rating: D. Mero and Diesel were actually having a half decent match but my goodness this has to be one of the dumbest stories I’ve ever seen. It’s not funny, it’s not clever, THEY DON’T EVEN LOOK LIKE THE PEOPLE THEY’RE SUPPOSED TO BE and the matches aren’t that good. Oh and stop trying to make JR a heel. It’s stupid.

The beating continues post match.

Undertaker has dug a grave for Mankind.

You can get a denim shirt with Bret, Undertaker or Shawn on the back for FORTY NINE BUCKS EACH. Sweet goodness no wonder I’ve never seen anyone wearing one of those things.

Mr. Perfect will be back in two weeks. Well kind of but not as they’re implying.

New Rockers vs. Smoking Gunns

I still can’t believe the Gunns were a thing in late 1996. Sunny has left the Gunns due to them losing the Tag Team Titles so they’re definitely on their last legs. With the Gunns in the ring, we go to pre-recorded comments from the two of them, saying they want the titles back so they can get Sunny with them. Sunny calls in to the show and isn’t happy that Ahmed Johnson will be on Livewire with her on Saturday.

Billy and Cassady (Leif Cassady, better known as Al Snow which I’m sure we’ve covered before) start things off as Sunny brags about how awesome she is and lists off the Livewire fax and e-mail contact information. Bart and Marty come in as Kelly apologizes for not calling the first two and a half minutes of the match. It’s not like anything was happening but it wasn’t the nicest thing in the world. Marty gets two off a small package and it’s time for JR to go on a rant about how much he hates Vince McMahon.

Bart gets punched down by Cassady (Marty was in there too but his punch didn’t make anything close to contact so I’m not counting him) and Leif plants him with a swinging Rock Bottom. Billy finally does something by kneeing Marty from the apron as the crowd is just silent. A low bridge sends the now legal Billy out to the floor and it’s Leif cleaning house with right hands. Billy makes a blind tag though and the Sidewinder puts Cassady away.

Rating: D. Long, slow and boring here which is one of the worst combinations you can have in a match. The tag division was such a mess around this time and it would take years to improve, oddly enough with Billy Gunn as one half of the least likely tag teams in wrestling history. But yeah, bad stuff here.

We recap the REAL Double J angle which involved Jeff Jarrett pretending to sing his big song With My Baby Tonight when it was really the Roadie singing the whole time. Both guys left for over a year and are finally back to reignite the feud. Of note here, as Roadie talks about everything that’s happened, Jim Johnston is seen next to him and is even mentioned by name. We see Jammes (Yes Jammes, not James.) accidentally tripping Jeff to cost him the Intercontinental Title, which was his last appearance for a long time. We’ll get more next week, even if Jarrett would be WCW by the end of the month.

Goldust isn’t worried about Sid.

Livewire ad, complete with the yet to be named Vince Russo in the background.

JR brings out Jim Cornette and Vader for a chat. Vader gets to face Sid at Buried Alive in a #1 contenders match but Cornette has no idea why that’s necessary when he’s beaten Shawn four times since July, including last week. Very fair point but Vader will be fine with beating Sid again.

Ad for the Hall of Fame/Survivor Series.

The Sultan vs. Aldo Montoya

Sultan has Bob Backlund and Iron Sheik in his corner with the former sitting in on commentary. Aldo speeds things up as Bob says he can’t hear without his glasses on. A suplex drops Montoya as Backlund is on an anti-drug rant. Sultan whips him hard into the buckle and a German suplex gets one. The camel clutch makes Montoya give up.

Rating: D-. Just a squash here but the commentary was dominating everything with Backlund doing his ranting and JR talking about being vice president with twelve names signed under his watch. Sultan clearly wasn’t going to go anywhere but it was an interesting idea to give him two famous managers like this.

Mankind gets in the grave but doesn’t want to be buried alive.

Goldust vs. Sycho Sid

Goldust jumps Sid from behind as JR is still babbling on about how much he hates Vince. Sid comes right back with an atomic drop and a clothesline as Shawn Michaels calls in to say he’ll have to be more than resilient to beat Sid or Vader. Goldust drops Sid across the top rope and stomps away as Shawn starts swearing a bit too much. Cue Jim Cornette as we take a break. Back with Sid hitting the chokeslam and powerbomb for the pin. There was no need for that commercial.

Rating: D-. This only existed to have Shawn call in, which wasn’t exactly thrilling stuff. It’s a boring match with two guys who weren’t exactly thrilling around this time and it was clear that things needed to change. You can only get so far with Goldust being a toned down version of what made him great and he had long since hit that wall.

Post match Vader comes out to beat on Sid, who no sells a middle rope splash and hits a chokeslam to end the show.

Overall Rating: F. This was absolutely horrible and one of the worst episodes of the show I’ve ever seen. They were obviously running out of ideas here and there was almost no reason for them to keep going in this direction, especially with WCW killing them the way they were. At some point you have to put on something interesting and that’s just not what was happening here.

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