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WWF Monday Night RAW - April 1, 1996
by Samoa Rowe

Undertaker

-We kick things off with a montage letting the viewers at home know just how bad they should feel if they didn’t order Wrestlemania 12.

-From San Bernardino, CA. Our hosts are Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler.

Mankind vs. Bob “Spark Plug” Holly

This is Mankind’s official WWF debut! Mankind cheap shots over the referee’s shoulder to gain an early advantage. Running knee to the face! Holly mounts a token comeback, complete with a sweet drop-kick. Mankind responds by pulling the ropes to send Holly crashing to ringside. In between dishing out punishment, Mankind rips out his own hair while the smarks in the audience chant “he’s hardcore.” The Mandible Claw finishes it at 3:19! Good squash here as it gave Mankind the chance to get his character and move set over.
Winner: Mankind

-”Wildman” Marc Mero debuted in a backstage interview at Wrestlemania. Hunter Hearst Helmsley blamed his embarrassing loss to the Ultimate Warrior on Mero and attacked him. We find out that Mero’s girlfriend, Sable, is in the audience.

-A bunch of really dorky looking kids express just how much they enjoyed Wrestlemania.

Isaac Yankem vs. “Wildman” Marc Mero

Mero starts off by drop-kicking Kane to ringside and delivering a dive to the floor. Sloppy looking slingshot leg drop gets 2. Yankem eats a spinning head scissors takedown and a scissor kick. Flying axe handle by Mero gets another near fall. Yankem rebounds with a clothesline as Hunter Hearst Helmsley shows up at ringside. HHH starts putting the moves on Sable, which has a negative impact on Mero’s match, to say the least. Mero escapes a chinlock and gets a crucifix pin attempt for 2. Mero rebounds with a series of shots to knock Yankem off his feet. Top rope sunset flip gains Mero the victory at 4:26. This is certainly a surreal match to behold in 2012. Sadly, this was uninspiring stuff.
Winner: Marc Mero

-Sable firmly rejects Helmsley with a slap to the face. Mero carries his girl off to celebrate.

-Next week: The Ultimate Warrior returns to Raw! Yay?

Barry Horowitz and Aldo Montoya vs. The Body Donnas (with Sunny)

The Body Donnas are riding high as the new World Tag Team Champions. Skip and Montoya square off in an even contest. The Body Donnas make a tag but Montoya takes them both down with a leg/head scissors combo. Horowitz tags in and trades holds with Zip. They reach a stalemate so Skip tags in and tries his luck. Horowitz sets Skip up for a double team tag from Montoya. The Body Donnas make a blind tag and surprise Montoya with a double flap jack to turn the tide. Montoya takes a beating but manages to suplex Skip to the floor and then land a flying cross body. Horowitz gets a hot tag and cleans house. Sadly, Sunny prevents the referee from seeing Horowitz’s cover attempt. Montoya returns with a flying cross body but gets caught in a suplex pin for 2. The Body Donnas set Montoya up for the hurricanrana/leg drop combo for the victory at 5:32. As far as five minute matches go, this was really good, with a surprisingly hot finish.
Winners: The Body Donnas

-McMahon introduces the new WWF Champion, Shawn Michaels. HBK says last night was the greatest moment of his life and he thanks the Kliq for making it possible. Vince reminds HBK that he’s no longer the hunter but is now the hunted. Jerry Lawler and Diesel are both going to be gunning for HBK in the coming weeks. Michaels dismisses that to talk about Bret Hart. He says Hart made a believer out of Michaels at Wrestlemania and will always be a champion in his eyes. Michaels vows to hold the title with the honor, dignity, and class that Bret Hart did in the past. Also, HBK promises to send Jerry Lawler back to his “White Castle.” Fast food puns are awesome, right? HBK addresses his former friend, Diesel, who he will be facing at the next In Your House. He says they made good friends, but are now better enemies. Michaels was a tad too smug during this, so it’s understandable to see why crowds would be turning on him as 1996 progressed.

The Undertaker (with Paul Bearer) vs. Justin Hawk Bradshaw (with Uncle Zeb)

Bradshaw is undefeated going into this match and fires away with a series of aggressive shots in the early going. Undertaker blocks with a big boot but runs into a power slam. Taker sits up immediately but eats a clothesline. Bradshaw kicks Taker to ringside as we head to a commercial. After the break, Undertaker suffers a sidewalk slam. Bradshaw goes to the top rope for a flying shoulder block. Bradshaw climbs again but this time Undertaker counters with a big time power slam. Bradshaw shakes off a hard Irish whip to deliver a clothesline. The “power of the urn” gives Undertaker the strength he needs to mount a comeback. The Tombstone Piledriver would have finished it but Mankind runs in and attacks Taker for the DQ at 3:54 (shown). Decent enough match considering the participants.
Winner via DQ: The Undertaker

-Mankind isn’t finished and lays a prolonged beating on Undertaker, complete with his patented elbow drop off the apron. Undertaker falls victim to the Mandible Claw as the referees have a hard time separating them.

Final Thoughts: This episode gave us our first look at WWF Champion Shawn Michaels and introduced us to Mankind. Those two events alone make this a Raw worth revisiting. Thumbs up for a breezy, enjoyable show.

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