Posted on January 11, 2013
WWF RAW Nov 1996 – Austin Vs Hart, Pillman has a gun, The fans begin to turn.
The first RAW of November was one that would go down in history as one of the most controversial episodes for that time. It was so controversial that it was almost got the program taken off the air and the WWF were forced to issue an apology to the viewers and the USA network.
The night included interviews from Brian Pilman’s home. As the night progressed it was clear that Steve Austin would be attacking Pillman at home. Finally Steve Austin arrived just before RAW went off the air. He would beat Pillman’s security guards.
The segment went off the air when the picture went to “black.” We could hear interviewer Kevin Kelly shouting that “Pillman has a gun.”
It was the direction the WWF were going in but at the time it was quite simply a step too far. The segment did a lot to push the “Stone Cold” character and was shades of what Austin would become through the following year. This was attitude era before the WWF attitude era had truly kicked off.
Austin was due to face the returning Hitman at the Survivor Series. The match was one of those classic face vs heel rivalry. The problem was that Austin was gaining momentum and the fans were beginning to turn.
The other match built for Survivor Series was Michaels against Psyco Sid. The rivalry was built with both Shawn and Sid being face wrestlers. But when it got to Survivor Series Sid hit Michaels manager Jose Lothario with the television camera. He also clocked Michaels with the camera in order to pick up the victory.
Despite Sid’s actions the crowd in the match chose to cheer for him and boo Michaels.
A simulator thing happened during Brett Hart’s return match. The Crowd cheered Hart who was returning but they also cheered Stone Cold. The Hart Austin match went to almost half an hour and was an absolute classic. As a wrestling match it was as good if not better than the matches they would have later in the rivalry. It ended when Austin went for the Million Dollar dream after all his other offense had been unsuccessful. Hart using the turnbuckle for leverage reversed into a pin for the win.
Survivor Series proved a strong pay per view showing with the Undertaker getting a win against Mankind and during one of the traditional Survivor Series matches a new young wrestler made his debut. He went under the name of Rocky Maivia. We know him now as the Rock. But at the Survivor Series Maivia was given the role of smiling babyface who was the sole Survivor on his team.
The Survivor series was a great event but also one that sticks in my mind because of the fans. They were telling people as loud as they could that they would no longer buy what was being fed to them.
Raw began building towards a Hart Vs Sid match for the following IYH as the WWF went into it’s transition period