Monday Night Raw – May 13, 1996: The First of Way Too Many

Monday Night Raw
Date: May 13, 1996
Location: Sioux City Auditorium, Sioux City, Iowa
Attendance: 4,000
Commentators: Vince McMahon, Jerry Lawler

Maybe this one can pick things up a bit. Last week’s show was about as uninteresting as you can get as we head towards In Your House VIII and the showdown of Shawn Michaels vs. British Bulldog. The story behind the match is Shawn allegedly sleeping with Bulldog’s wife, which is hardly something that’s going to make me want to pay for a show. Let’s get to it.

Zip vs. Ahmed Johnson

Before the match, Sunny rubs oil on Ahmed’s chest until he calls her trash. Ahmed flips him over to start and scores with some clotheslines but has to stop and yell at Sunny. The BodyDonnas switch places despite THE FACT THAT THEY DON’T LOOK THAT MUCH ALIKE! An electric chair plants Skip and the second switch is caught, allowing Ahmed to finish Skip with the Pearl River Plunge. So Ahmed just basically squashed the Tag Team Champions without blinking an eye.

The Ultimate Warrior, without face paint and talking in a normal voice, shills Warrior University. No, this isn’t an angle and no, no one ever graduated from the school.

Duke Droese vs. Vader

Jim Cornette is on commentary as Vader swats at Duke’s head. Duke actually comes back with a big boot and a crossbody to put both guys on the floor. Back from a break with Vader running him over to restore balance to the universe. A splash sets up a chinlock of all things as this is going WAY longer than it should. Vader gets caught in a jawbreaker for the escape, followed by some clotheslines and a dropkick to put Vader down. A top rope splash misses though and it’s the Vader Bomb to give, well, Vader of course, the pin.

Rating: D. Who in the world thought Vader needed to give up that much offense? Just like last week’s tag match, it’s very clear that this company’s talent pool is just gone right now. Other than the top of the card, the whole company feels like whoever they can throw out there for the sake of filling in the card.

Here are Paul Bearer and Undertaker with the gold casket. See what I mean? The best they can do is Goldust vs. Undertaker. How thrilling is that really supposed to be? Bearer talks about Goldust loving the spotlight so one will shine on the casket after In Your House. Cue Goldust and Marlena to interrupt so Undertaker removes his hat. Goldust hits on Undertaker (“What is that scent? Embalming fluid #5?”) and quotes movie lines to suggest he’d enjoy being in a casket with Undertaker.

Mankind comes in and Claws Undertaker, allowing Goldust to grind on Undertaker’s body and then lick his face. That means choking from the Dead Man as this is just WAY over the top and horrible, meaning Goldust was almost forced to change. He’s not bizarre anymore but rather molesting people against their will.

Justin Hawk Bradshaw vs. Aldo Montoya

Of note during the opening: Vince plugs a house show in Madison Square Garden, which would wind up being the Curtain Call. Aldo tries his jobber offense to start as Bradshaw’s manager Uncle Zebekiah (Zeb Colter) gets on commentary to ask why Bradshaw isn’t getting a shot at Shawn Michaels. A good looking gutwrench powerbomb plants Aldo and it’s off to the bearhug. Aldo makes his quick comeback with a missile dropkick but the Clothesline puts Montoya away without too much effort.

Rating: D. Bradshaw of course had talent (why he’s not in the Hall of Fame isn’t clear) but the evil cowboy thing would have been old five years prior to this. There’s nothing wrong with getting your foot in the door though and the potential was there, which is more important than anything else.

We get a serious video from Vince, basically saying that the tour of Kuwait was this big show of freedom. During the trip, British Bulldog attacked Shawn Michaels on a beach and tried to drown him. Ok then.

Shawn Michaels vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley

Non-title and I believe for the first time ever. If nothing else the first time on TV. An early armdrag lets HHH pose a bit and Shawn is already somewhat frustrated. We take a break and come back with Shawn tripping him down and walking over HHH’s back to get some of the heat back. HHH is down on the floor so Shawn takes a quick jog over to the announcers’ table to stare at Lawler and HHH’s latest valet.

A headlock brings HHH back in over the top (think Orton’s DDT) so the referee demands a clean break. Ever the good guy, Shawn lets HHH drop face first onto the mat in a funny bit. HHH ducks a charge and sends Shawn onto the top, setting up a punt out to the floor. Cue Mr. Perfect to watch as we take a second break.

Back again with HHH in control and hammering away in the corner with a fire he’s never shown to this point. We hit the chinlock as Lawler accidentally refers to Mr. Perfect as Hennig. A clothesline cuts off Shawn’s comeback bid and HHH unloads on him in the corner. We take a ridiculous third break and come back with Shawn in a pretty lazy looking chinlock.

The champ fights up with some right hands in the corner, followed by a catapult into the corner for a big crash. Shawn’s top rope elbow gets two so HHH actually tries a powerbomb, which is countered into a hurricanrana into a sunset flip for two on Michaels in a hot sequence. The Pedigree is countered and the superkick finishes clean.

Rating: B. Well of course these two are awesome together. Unfortunately this would be it for HHH’s time near the top of the card for a LONG time due to the Curtain Call this coming weekend. Shawn might not have been the biggest ratings draw in the world but sweet goodness he could wrestle a heck of a match.

British Bulldog isn’t worried about Shawn being on commentary for his match next week.

Overall Rating: C. The main event pretty easily bails this one out as Shawn did so often around this time. What brings it right back down again is the idea of watching British Bulldog vs. Shawn for the title on pay per view as it just sucks the energy and excitement out of me. The rest of the show was your usual 1996 mess but that main event was solid.

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