The Best And Worst Of WWF Monday Night Raw 5/13/96: Pre-Generation X

Pre-show notes:

Click here to watch this week’s episode on WWE Network. You can read about previous episodes on the Best and Worst of WWF Monday Night Raw tag page. As a reminder, we’ve jumped ahead three years to coordinate these columns with the Best and Worst of Nitro.

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And now, the Best and Worst of WWF Monday Night RAW for May 13, 1996.

Worst: Ahmed Johnson, The Stupidest Man Alive

So, this week’s episode starts with Ahmed Johnson cutting a promo so bad they cut away from it in the middle to edit it down. Seriously. Jim Ross is like, “Hey Ahmed Johnson, what’s it gonna be like wrestling these cheating gym guys,” and Ahmed responds with something that takes at least five listens to decipher. I believe it’s, “Jeff Jarrett’s guitar didn’t stop me, British Bulldog’s table didn’t stop me.” The first sounds like LKASHFLSKHFALKFH. It’s like the production guys watched this and were all, “Yeah, no, cut back to the Bodydonnas and fast forward to the end.”

When Ahmed’s done “speaking,” Sunny shows up with her hands covered in baby oil and offers to further oil┬áhim, which is like offering to dump out your ice trays on the North Pole. Ahmed is either asexual or is wearing so many elbow pads around his crotch that he’s lost feeling, because he turns her down and “disses” her (according to Lawler), saying his mama told him to take trash OUT, not IN. Sunny is upset, but hey, at least she gets to stop touching the sludge minefield that is Ahmed Johnson’s torso.

Sunny was offering to lube you up. If you’re a smart babyface, why not let her do it for a while and THEN diss her? At least get your moobs wetted by the hottest lady in the world. What, was it poison baby oil? Was the plot to keep Ahmed distracted backstage and cause him to miss the match? There’s really not a major negative consequence here. Ahmed, you’re dumber than Mongo’s dog.

Best/Worst: Ahmed Johnson Is Impervious To Twin Magic

WWE’s obsession with “twins” goes back decades. For whatever reason, Vince McMahon has terrible facial-recognition skills and thinks any two people who look similar are identical twins. This results in situations like the Basham Brothers or the Bella Twins, where they’re clearly different people but can somehow still switch places due to “twin magic.” WWE referees are trained to look at wrestlers like Magic Eye pictures, where they keep their eyes unfocused and look slightly up and to the left at all times.

The Bodydonnas were one of the worst examples of this, because they did not even kind of look the same. They just wore matching gear and had blonde buzzcuts. They switch out multiple times per match, and most of the time the referee is too ignorant or blinded by Ahmed Johnson’s gross beached seal body to notice.

Ahmed earns points for simply killing both versions of “Skip” and winning the match. That’s what you get for wrestling the man version of Muk, Bodydonnas!

Worst: Phrasing

WWE never, ever knew how to book Vader. It’s so bizarre.

He’s the easiest to understand wrestling threat ever. He’s a 6-foot-5, 450-pound former football player ginger who wears a steaming mastadon helmet and a jock strap on his head and he is pissed off and wants to punch you in your ears. When he’s done with that, he’ll climb up to the top rope and back flip off onto you. You will be dead. He is BIG VAN VADER. He is named after Darth Vader and a HUGE VAN.

The WWF never stopped f*cking with perfection, and got the crappiest version of Vader ever. For example, on this episode he wrestles Duke ‘The Dumpster’ Droese, the wrestling garbage man. Vader should punch the f*cking wrestling garbage man once and kill him, right? Boom, wrestling garbage man goes down, Vader rules. Instead, the announce team spends the entire match burying Vader as a coward, saying that when he’s on offense he’s powerful, but when he’s on defense he turns into a chicken. Wrestling Garbage Man then basically beats him up for five minutes. It’s VADER, YOU IDIOTS. Why is he cowering to the WWF’s answer to Roc?

If you want to see a real big load, there you go.

Best: Goldust’s Gold Coffin

WCW gets made fun of a lot for not making sense, but if you compare ’96 Raws to ’96 Nitros, Raw DESTROYS them in the not making sense department. Take for example the Goldust vs. Undertaker feud.

They’re set to have a casket match, so The Undertaker — a zombie mortician who is also a dark wizard, managed by a funeral parlor attendant who f*cked his mom and created Undertaker’s demonic half-brother… that becomes important later — custom orders a gold coffin with a star and Goldust’s name on it. Vince McMahon tells Taker — again, a zombie mortician who is also a blah blah — that Goldust is without a doubt the most bizarre competitor in WWF history. I think “a guy who is into movies and acts gay to weird people out” instead as bizarre as like, the Mantaur, but Vince is the authority. This brings out Goldust, who quotes Tombstone (because get it) and tries to flirt with Taker. There’s more to it, including zombie sit-ups and Jerry Lawler cackling because Goldust is about to rape the Undertaker in the ring or whatever, but you get the gist.

It’s great if you pretend you’ve just fallen in your living room and hit your head on the coffee table.

Best: Zeb Colter Is The Same Character In 1996

The next match is The Portuguese Man O’War Aldo Montoya vs. fat indies Chris Hero.

Wait, sorry, that’s JUSTIN HAWK BRADSHAW, the pre-Crisis cowboy alias of JBL. He’s essentially the same character in his youth, before he matured and learned how to invest his money. He has the same taunts and body language, and even wins the match with the Clothesline from Hell. He’s managed by another unchanged character: “Uncle Zebekiah,” aka Zeb Colter. Zeb sits in on commentary and yammers on about how all of the WWF’s top stars are afraid to wrestle Bradshaw, and he’s always like one second from ranting on the Portuguese and asking if Aldo Montoya is “his real name.”

One of the best things about the APA is that they started out so strangely. Bradshaw was a dumpy, faux-Barry Windham cowboy, and Ron Simmons was what, an aqua gladiator?

Worst: The Gulf War

Most of Raw is devoted to WWF patting itself on the back for visiting Kuwait and making an already war-torn people sit through a series of Ahmed Johnson matches. They show footage of WWF stars in the Middle East, and cap it off with The British Bulldog attacking Shawn Michaels on a beach and throwing him into the ocean.

Like, that sounds a lot cooler than it is. In your head you’re probably imagining Bulldog in his wrestling gear bounding onto the beach, lifting HBK over his head and hurling him hundreds of miles into the sea. It’s actually just two guys in bathing suits fussing around on a private beach and grunting a bunch while they frolic in the tide.

Best: Let’s Get Ready To Get Ready To Suck It

Behold, Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H in the spring of 1996, about a year before they found a mutual love of cock jokes and asshole showings.

It’s probably the best match of Hunter Heart Helmsley’s career up until this point, as he looks like a competent pro wrestler instead of like a character that would peak when he got backdropped into some pig shit in a Hog Pen Match. They play it up as non-title, which helps, because you don’t know if Bulldog’s gonna show up and cost Shawn the match or if HHH is going to dig deep and pull it out. He goes for a pedigree at one point and you’re like, “oh, shoot, maybe we’re onto something,” and then no. He’s not Triple H yet. He’s not even the goofy Art Carney Triple H from the first months of D-X.

It’s good, though. I’d be able to rate it more effectively if I hadn’t sat through at least 60,000 Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels matches and watched them lie around in a Hell in a Cell for 40 minutes, but it’s good. On a 1996 Raw, “good” goes a long way.

Worst: Shifty Vince McMahon

The show ends on an exceptionally weird note with a promo from the British Bulldog, and the announcement that Shawn will be on color commentary for next week’s Bulldog match. Bulldog’s like, “Shawn’s not going to get anywhere near my wife” and Vince goes YES HE WILL, HE TOTALLY WILL. Vince is straight-up wishing harassment on this lady, as though he believes a deep-dicking from his beautiful, precious champion will wash away her demure Canadianness and turn her into Sable. HE’LL GET NEXT TO YOUR WIFE AND THERE’S NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT, YOUR WIFE IS IN FOR IT, HAHA, SEE YOU NEXT WEEK FANS.