Monday Night Raw – July 22, 1996: I Love Cake

Monday Night Raw
Date: July 22, 1996
Location: Key Arena, Seattle, Washington
Attendance: 6,755
Commentators: Vince McMahon, Jerry Lawler

We’re past the dreadful and worthless In Your House IX and nothing has changed. Vader pinned Shawn Michaels to become the de facto #1 contender and thankfully we’re about a month away from Summerslam so maybe things can pick up a little bit. Things have been so boring around here lately that I’m ready for anything new. Let’s get to it.

We open with a look at Seattle for a change of pace.

This arena is HUGE compared to the tiny places we’ve been in lately and it really makes things feel better.

Tag Team Titles: Shawn Michaels/Ahmed Johnson vs. Smoking Gunns

The Gunns are defending and it happens to be Shawn’s birthday so Sunny has a cake. She offers him a piece on the way to the ring (oh come on that’s too easy) but the Gunns jump the challengers from behind. Billy eats Sweet Chin Music (I’d prefer cake) and Ahmed shoves the cake into Sunny’s face. Shawn of course licks some of it off and there’s no match.

Post break, Gorilla Monsoon says the Gunns will defend the titles later tonight or they’ll be stripped of the titles.

The Goon vs. Marc Mero

What did Mero do to deserve these horrible matches? Steve Austin sits in on commentary to spice things up a little bit. Goon tries a hip check and various other hockey moves and they’re uh, bad. A snapmare sets up a chinlock on Mero as Jake Roberts calls in so Lawler can make alcoholism jokes. Goon kicks him in the face as the call ends. Mero hooks a horrible looking victory roll for two as Austin goes on an anti-Lex Luger rant for some reason. Oh and he’ll be ready to beat up Undertaker next week.

Goon grabs a chinlock as the alcohol jokes continue. At least it allows me to notice Goon’s ice skate shaped boots, a very nice touch. They head outside where Goon slips on the icing (oh geez) and hip checks the steps. Mero takes him down again with a flip dive, followed by a slingshot legdrop for the pin.

Rating: D-. Another horrible match here as Goon was a wrestling hockey player. I’ll give them something for having so many nice details but at the end of the day they’re putting this much effort into such a stupid gimmick. The crowd popped a lot stronger at the end and that’s a good sign, but can we PLEASE find a more interesting match already?

Shawn and Ahmed say they’ll win tonight.

Bob Backlund campaigns for President.

Attorney Clarence Mason lobbies Monsoon to let an ex-con back into the WWF. You can see Crush from behind as he stands next to them so it’s not really a secret.

Mankind vs. Freddie Joe Floyd

Freddie actually kicks Mankind outside to start but Mankind throws him into the ropes and pulls his own hair out. A discus clothesline sets up some choking in the corner and I’ll let you guess who is in control. Floyd is caught in the Tree of Woe but he avoids the running knee. Mankind eats a good looking top rope back elbow to the jaw but the Mandible Claw ends Floyd in a hurry.

Rating: C-. Actually not bad here, especially for a squash. Floyd was an energetic and talented guy who had a lot of success elsewhere (as Tracy Smothers in case you’re not familiar) so it was no surprise that he was one of the better options for this batch of losers who are running around the company at the moment.

Goldust vs. Barry Horowitz

Brian Pillman is on commentary and promises to say the seven words you can’t say on television. If nothing else we get the rocking Hava Nagila theme for Horowitz. Before we’re ready to go, we hear from Marc Mero about giving Vader cat scratch fever next week. Oh and he’s feuding with Goldust to make this actually matter. Brian makes lesbian jokes about Marlena and Sable as Goldust slowly beats on Barry. The Curtain Call wraps this up in a hurry.

Sunny and the Smoking Gunns are livid but know they’ll keep the belts.

Jim Cornette announces Vader as #1 contender for Shawn’s title at Summerslam. He’s going to take Shawn’s lunch money you see.

Tag Team Titles: Smoking Gunns vs. Shawn Michaels/Ahmed Johnson

The Gunns are defending again as that actually hasn’t changed in the last half hour. It’s a brawl to start with the challengers cleaning house and sending the Gunns outside. We settle down to Shawn punching Billy to officially start with Gunn quickly being knocked outside. Ahmed comes in to work on the arm as Billy begs off faster than someone asked to watch a Billy Gunn tape. Vince calls the team of Ahmed and Sid a threesome and I’m leaving that one alone.

A release powerslam (worse than it sounds) sends Billy flying and it’s back to Shawn for two off an ax handle. Bart finally cheats by breaking up a flying headscissors to put Shawn in trouble. The beatdown continues and of course the referee misses the tag off to Ahmed. Back from a break with Billy sending Shawn into the buckle for a near fall before slapping on a chinlock. That goes nowhere and the hot tag brings in Ahmed to clean house. Bart low bridges him though and here’s the debuting Faarooq (in full blue gladiator attire) to destroy Ahmed for the DQ.

Rating: C. This was already a huge improvement over everything we’ve seen in recent weeks and even then it’s still not all that great. It just helps when they have so much energy in a match like this, despite the screwy finish that set up something more down the line. At least this can get Shawn out of this story and ready to fight Vader.

The beating continues with Lawler actually mentioning Ron Simmons. Faarooq pledges his loyalty to Sunny to end the show.

Overall Rating: D+. Bad Goon match aside, this was much better than the previous weeks with some passable wrestling and a hot crowd. The fact that we’re coming up on Summerslam helps too as we’re actually getting ready for a show that matters instead of a mess like In Your House IX. Hopefully things stay warm like this as I can tolerate these shows for a little while at least.

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