Monday, May 11, 2020

RAW After Mania (April 1st, 1996): Picking Things Up...

The night after Wrestlemania 12, where the boyhood dream came true for Shawn Michaels as he defeated Bret "Hitman" Hart to win his first WWF World championship.

We begin the show with the debut of the deranged Mankind; a large, lumbering fellow in a brown leather mask and brown outfit, coming out to ominous spooky music, pulling off his own hair, and making short work of Bob Holly with his signature Mandible Claw nerve hold, upon which a soothing piano piece places in lieu of the earlier music. Yes, they took the former Cactus Jack from ECW and WCW and turned him into a deranged individual in a mask, but that didn't stop some fans from chanting "He's HARDCORE!" This was a simple yet striking introduction to a new face and I'd love to have been sitting in the crowd in 1996, gauging reactions to this person, wondering if they had any clue where he'd end up down the line.

Then we have another debut; the "Wildman" Marc Mero, formerly Johnny B. Badd of WCW fame, making short work of Isaac Yankem DDS despite interference from He Of The Three Hs. He Of The Three Hs and Wildman had an altercation because Hunter got squashed by Warrior at Mania and treated his valet like poop... and so the valet joined Wildman, stuck with him for a few years before posing for Playboy, leaving the WWF and eventually wrestling for good... and ended up marrying Brock Lesnar... so that was a thing.

The Bodydonnas beat Barry Horowitz and the guy with the jock strap on his head... and then we got a promo from HBK, where he refers to fans as his KLIQ... or something. That was lame even back in my VHS watching days. And then Undertaker beats some cowboy guy before getting destroyed by Mankind, kicking off that feud that would be on and off for several years.

This show was a thing mostly for the historical significance, but it's a fun watch regardless, with only Shawn's limp dick promo being the only sour spot.

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