-Sunny is on the beach and says that tonightâ€™s action may be too hot for some viewers. Viewer discretion is advised indeed.
-Vince McMahon recaps Dieselâ€™s destruction of the Undertakerâ€™s casket on last weekâ€™s show.
-McMahon and Jerry “the King” Lawler are in the booth and are still in Cincinnati, Ohio.
-Opening Contest: Isaac Yankem D.D.S. vs. Jake â€œthe Snakeâ€ Roberts:
This is Jakeâ€™s Raw debut. Lawler isnâ€™t a big fan because Jake dumped his snake, Revelation, on him at the Royal Rumble so I guess that establishes a small backstory for this match. This is also a battle over identical finishing maneuvers. Roberts misses the short-arm clothesline and Yankem hammers away for a long time. A blind charge eats boot, but Roberts puts his head down too early and gets kicked in the face. Yankem goes for the DDS, but Roberts grabs the ropes to block it and hits the DDT for the win at 3:12. The crowd wants Roberts to dump Revelation on Yankem, but Roberts just goes back to the locker room instead. Did Roberts have any good matches when he returned in 1996? Rating: *
-The Ultimate Warrior is coming back!
-Dieselâ€™s destruction of the Undertakerâ€™s casket on last weekâ€™s show is shown.
-Bob â€œSpark Pluggâ€ Holly vs. Diesel:
Diesel ignores fans that have black gloves on his way to the ring and he receives a mixed reaction from the crowd. Holly tries to pound away in the corner, but Diesel pushes him away and runs through his power offense. Diesel puts his head down too early and Holly makes a small comeback, knocking Diesel off his feet with three clotheslines, and we head to a commercial break.
We rejoin the action with Diesel Jackknifing Holly and getting the three count at 2:56 shown. For a taped show Iâ€™m surprised they didnâ€™t cut the match better than that. Rating: *
-As Diesel heads back to the locker room the lights in the arena go out and the Undertaker appears in the ring. Diesel smiles and starts walking to the ring, but the lights go out again and the Undertaker disappears. The lights go out a third time and the Undertaker appears on the video wall and he says heâ€™s the master of mind games and heâ€™ll see Diesel on the Dark Side. I think heâ€™ll see him at WrestleMania XII first, though.
-Shinobi vs. Ahmed Johnson:
Shinobi is a ninja gimmick sported by Al Snow after the Avatar gimmick flopped. As Johnson chases Shinobi around the ring, Goldust calls in and talks to McMahon about how WWF Interim President â€œRowdyâ€ Roddy Piper makes him hot. Johnson tosses Shinobi around and Shinobi botches a springboard dive into the ring. A spinebuster and Pearl River Plunge finish at 1:47. A simple squash match, but Johnsonâ€™s are always entertaining.
-Mankindâ€™s latest vignette sees him talk about his mother to a rat. He says heâ€™s going to come to the WWF to alleviate his pain and that his mom should leave the light on because heâ€™s coming home. These Mankind vignettes were great.
-Call 1-800-TITAN-91 to get your WrestleMania XII t-shirt for $18 (plus shipping & handling). Itâ€™s not a bad shirt design, with the WrestleMania XII logo on the front and the dates of past WrestleManiaâ€™s on the back.
-Doc Hendrix recaps the WWF Tag Team Championship Tournament that is taking place on WWF Superstars.
-McMahon conducts a special interview with â€œThe Heartbreak Kidâ€ Shawn Michaels and WWF Champion Bret â€œthe Hitmanâ€ Hart. Michaels says that heâ€™s the best wrestler of 1996 and Bret responds by saying that he respects Michaels, but that heâ€™s going to successfully defend the title at WrestleMania. The crowd is completely on Michaels side and it was so unusual at this time to see Bret booed anywhere. The interview goes into a discussion about stamina and really starts to drag until Roddy Piper comes out. Piper criticizes the crowd for booing Bret and the crowd doesnâ€™t take kindly to that. Piper says that there will be a winner at WrestleMania XII and that both men will face off in a one hour Iron Man match. So see, when Bret complained that there shouldnâ€™t have been overtime at WrestleMania XII he really has no leg to stand on because Piper guaranteed us a winner. Bret and Michaels finish the segment by shaking hands.
-The British Bulldog and Owen Hart push a camera man out of their locker room.
-Call 1-900-737-4WWF to find out if Goldust and Roddy Piper are an item! Please tell me no one called to find this out.
-Yokozunaâ€™s face turn on Raw two weeks ago is shown.
-Handicap Match: The British Bulldog & Owen Hart (w/Jim Cornette) vs. Yokozuna:
Yoko destroys both of the heels, but a Yoko blind charge eats buckle. Owen connects with a missile dropkick and the heels pounds away as Cornette distracts the referee. With that, we head to a commercial break.
When we return, the heels are still in control. Owen misses a flying headbutt off the top rope to give us a double KO. Owen tags the Bulldog and Yoko pounds away as Vader comes to ringside. Cornette fails to hold him back and Vader clotheslines Yoko to draw the disqualification at 3:32 shown. The heels pound away until Ahmed Johnson and Jake Roberts make the save. Johnson and Vader tease a showdown, but Roberts ruins the fun by scaring Vader off with Revelation. This match didnâ€™t have much time to develop into anything special, but its goal was to setup a six man tag at WrestleMania XII and it did that. Rating: *
-The latest edition of Larry Fling Live sees Larry Fling interview the Huckster and the Nacho Man. Nacho says they left the WWF because they couldnâ€™t keep up with the New Generation. The Huckster threatens to hit Larry with a chair, but Larry shows him a red shoe and the Huckster runs away. Billionaire Ted joins the fun and hypes the Huckster-Nacho match at WrestleMania XII. The segment ends with the Huckster hitting everyone with a chair. This was such a mess, but the shoe bit got a laugh out of me.
-Tune in next week to see Shawn Michaels face the 1-2-3 Kid! Also, Bret Hart squares off against Hunter Hearst-Helmsley.
The Final Report Card: The WrestleMania XII card started to come together at this show, but it came at the expense of the matches. The WWF wasnâ€™t doing a very good job planning for commercial breaks at this time as matches had two to three commercial breaks and fans only got to watch two to three minutes of action. Overall, there just isnâ€™t anything that stands out about this weekâ€™s show, but next week promises to be better.
Monday Night War Rating: 3.1 (vs. 3.2 for Nitro)
Show Evaluation: Thumbs Down
Tags: Ahmed Johnson, al snow, Billionaire Ted, Bob holly, Bret Hart, Diesel, Dok Hendrix, HHH, Hunter Hearst-Helmsley, Isaac Yankem DDS, Jake Roberts, Jerry Lawler, Jim Cornette, Mankind, monday night raw, Owen Hart, Raw, Rowdy Roddy Piper, shawn michaels, Shinobi, Sunny, the 1-2-3 Kid, the British Bulldog, the Huckster, the Nacho Man, The Ultimate Warrior, the undertaker, vince mcmahon, What the World Was Watching, wrestlemania xii, WWE, WWF, Yokozuna