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The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW–10.23.95

The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 10.23.95

Ad Roulette! Still only the one ad I’ve ever seen. So they’re rolling it out REALLY slowly. YouTube, on the other hand, has been inundated with ads lately, especially on stuff like the Game Grumps or Machinima.

Live from…ugh…Brandon, MB. THAT place gets a live RAW in 1995 but Edmonton and Calgary didn’t get one until 1997?

Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler

20-Man Battle Royale, Winner is #1 contender to Intercontinental title

So you’ve got pretty much everyone in the midcard here, including King Kong Bundy who had previously left the company and must be back for a one-shot. And indeed he’s thrown out in 20 seconds. Isaac Yankem doesn’t even have wacky dentist gear, just coming out in a pair of workout pants as an outfit. This guy has NO commitment to a gimmick. Perhaps they should repackage him as something else. Perhaps a fake version of the World champion or long-lost evil brother of a bigger star, whatever. Skip throws out Aldo Montoya around 2:00 in. Just a lot of boring punching and kicking. Bob Holly gets tossed out by Sid at 4:00 and then Duke Droese goes at 4:30. Horowitz backdrops Skip out at 6:00 and we take a break with literally nothing going on. We take a break and return with the ring cleared of HOG, Rad Radford, Kama and a couple of other luminaries. Sid shoves Yankem out at 9:13 and Owen hangs on through various means. It’s basically Sid and five jobbers left, but Bam Bam shoulderblocks Sid out at 10:22. The only heels left are Owen and the pirate, so I’m thinking it’s Owen who wins this parade of sadness. We take another break and return with the final four of Owen, Lafitte, Savio and Marty Jannetty. That is some impressive star power. Owen tries to boost Marty out a few times, but he’s obviously too drunk to cooperate and goes dead weight to stay alive. Marty gets Owen to the apron and stops to celebrate, so Owen gets back in. This thing stretches on and on until Marty pulls both Savio Vega and Lafitte out with a skin the cat move, leaving us Marty v. Owen for the title shot. Marty tries to clothesline him out, but Owen hangs on the apron like the proverbial nugget and necks Marty on the top rope. Owenzuigiri and he tries to put Marty out, but it was only through the middle rope and so it doesn’t count. Jannetty stops to go after Cornette, and that brings out British Bulldog for a beatdown, which easily allows Owen to throw him out for the title shot at 20:00. This was real, real bad, although Owen Hart v. Marty Jannetty seems like a RAW match that would be entertaining. Meltzer actually gave this ***1/2, so obviously he’s a lot more forgiving of battle royales than me. Am I the crazy one here?

Owen Hart promises that next week we find out who the real bad guy is. The answer, of course, is Jian Ghomeshi. If you’re not Canadian you’ll probably have to Google that joke.

KARATE FIGHTERS PRESENTS THE SURVIVOR SERIES SLAM JAM! WITH DOK HENDRIX! Dok is seemingly on meth this week, jumping around like a maniac while running down the card. And then we get an Ahmed Johnson promo as a bonus! He’s gonna teach us the meaning of wiakakdjakdadkaka.

Avatar v. Brian Walsh

Oh fuck me, it’s fucking Avatar. Poor Al Snow. So yeah, the gimmick is that he’s a ninja who comes to the ring unmasked and then puts it on before the match to channel his inner ninja or some shit. Snow was actually in something of a bidding war at the start of the Monday Night Wars, and THIS is what he chose as the best alternative. He misses a moonsault on the jobber while the crowd is deathly silent, but comes back with a backbreaker and standing moonsault for the pin at 2:32. This gimmick was DEATH, and it wasn’t even the stupidest thing they’d try with him!

WWF Women’s title: Bertha Faye v. Alundra Blayze

Faye quickly overpowers Blayze and slams her a few times, and a legdrop gets two. Blayze with a sunset flip for two, but a second one is blocked with a buttdrop for two. Faye pounds away in the corner and we take a break. Back with Blayze making the comeback with some impressive hiptosses and a missile dropkick for two. She uses a few hairtosses and tries a piledriver, but Bertha goes up and gets taken down by Blayze. Harvey tries to interfere, that goes badly, and Blayze regains the title with a german suplex at 8:54. This was OK but fell apart at the end. ** The idea was supposed to be Blayze doing her next program with Aja Kong for a while before dropping the title at Royal Rumble, but plans changed significantly on that front, of course.

Next week: Razor Ramon v. Owen Hart! Goldust debuts against Savio Vega!

But first, Shawn Michaels has a sitdown interview with Jim Ross, still showing two black eyes from his beating at the hands of 18 armed marines.

Back with more on the weekend, hopefully, assuming they continue with the three-per-week pace.

Comments

  1. Had he picked WCW instead, they would have brought him in as Al Snow. He would have had a bunch of good matches in the mid-card with Guerrero, Jericho, Benoit, etc then jumped ship in the
    late 90s to WWE and have a decent career there.

    Best career move the Radicals and Jericho ever made was going to WCW first. Because if a guy like Jericho went to the WWE first, he would have been a Bodydonna or some such shit and never recovered.

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  2. He would have been the Goon, to be completely accurate.

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  3. Wouldn't it have helped more to get Shawn Michaels over to say that he 'won' the battle with the marines a little worse for wear than to say he got his ass kicked? Why didn't they follow the Bill Watts philosophy that if you were a wrestler and got beat up by someone who wasn't a wrestler then you were severely reprimanded? Obviously I don't think Shawn should have been fired, but it seems like kayfabe saying he won the fight would have got him more over.

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  4. Would have been worth it just to see him try a Lionsault in those skate boots.

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  5. Is there something wrong with the ninja gimmick? I always thought it was a cool gimmick as a kid.

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  6. Why even acknowledge it at all? Just film a backstage bit where he gets attacked by a heel.

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  7. Imagine if they had actually managed to convince Jericho to take the Goon job, and say, talked Mick Foley into doing the TL Hopper gimmick (because that seems like a role he could fill). Maybe Steve Austin as Freddie Joe Floyd? The world would be a different place.

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  8. I thought Goldust debuted against Marty Janetty?

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  9. The whole reverse masking thing was ridiculous, and Snow looked like a pudgy white guy at that point, and he blow a ton of spots in the squash match. Just the wrong thing on the wrong guy at the wrong time.

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  10. Since when have you started being completely accurate?

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  11. On PPV, yes. This is his TV debut next week.

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  12. Virgil's Gimmick TableOctober 30, 2014 at 12:40 AM

    HEY PUNK! IB YOU OUGHTTA AGT LIGE YOUR TUFF, YOU GAND HANDLE AHMED JOHNSON. WONTON BEEF STEW A LESSEN. YOU GUBBA GID YOUR ASS GIGGED BY DA BADDESD SUBERSTAR IN THE DUBBA DUBBA EFF. SO DAGE MY ADVICE. AN DON PIG A FIGHT WIT THE SAND RIPPA!

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  13. I can't remember his debut as Avatar, but I remember his debut as Shinobi where he blew a ton of spots against Ahmed. And the unmasking thing was stupid I agree, but the ninja gimmick was fine as a underdog JTTS gimmick and Snow should have replaced Waltman talented underdog spot after Kid jumped to WCW instead of using Savio to replace Kid's role.

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  14. Really? I think they would all just flop around until they fell into the same roles that they got over with.

    Or maybe they would have been cut before that happened. I wonder who was the greatest star that never happened due to bad gimmick luck...

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  15. Virgil's Gimmick TableOctober 30, 2014 at 12:42 AM

    Ninja gimmicks are proof that it's still not taboo to make fun of Asians in wrestling. Even when the guy under the mask is not Asian.

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  16. Jericho would of been a natural for the Techno Team 2000


    Alex The Pug needed a partner to

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  17. Even something lame like the Ringmaster. It got a decent push so it was easier for Austin to shed it and not let it ruin him.

    I don't care what the gimmick is, you can't become a top guy with one. Every single guy since Hogan has been a top guy by evolving past whatever the gimmick was and being more of a "normal" person.

    Bray will never get past where he is until he makes his act background noise and starts cutting promos that people can relate to. The first promo he cuts that is basically "I'm going to kick your ass" people will go crazy and he will become a star.

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  18. The prototype for Sin Cara!

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  19. The role Snow was playing in SMW was miles ahead of this garbage, though. He was doing the chickenshit heel hiding behind Glen Jacobs thing and it was great. He didn't find his groove in the WWF until he got to clueless heel Leif Cassidy.

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  20. It's difficult to say since we only know those guys as JTTS, but I always thought Chris Masters could have been a main event guy. Also Al Snow should have accomplished more than he did.

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  21. Shane Douglas probably.

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  22. Those three gimmicks were specifically designed to be TV jobbers, though, who could go on the road with the company and be recognizable faces without ever needing to win matches. That's a tough one to overcome.

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  23. It's not really about guys becoming stars, it's mostly how management perceives you. Austin wouldn't have become the star he became if Vince had zero confidence in the guy for instance and I imagine bookers being reluctant in pushing Jericho if they just knew him as The Goon guy.

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  24. I can't remember anything that happened at SS 95.

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  25. You can't remember a famous title change?

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  26. It was one of my favorite PPV's at the time, so I watched the show ad nauseam.

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  27. Vince didn't have any confidence in him. Not until Austin was able to shed the gimmick and take advantage of the chance to be more like himself.

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  28. The Suicidal, Homical, Genoci...oh wait, just Suicidal.

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  29. First table-breakage in WWF history. That counts for something.

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  30. YUH! GUWIN! DUN! YUH! GUWIN! DUN!

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  31. Snow had made a name for himself as a smartass heel in Smoky Mountain, so let's give him a gimmick where he never talks...yeah. The casual kiddie audience didn't care and the hardcore audience saw it as a blatant Hayabusa ripoff, which it was once the mask was on.

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  32. I dunno, that sounds more insulting, especially by '95 when even in the fledgling Internet days that stuff was much harder to cover up. It happened, it's out there, there's no sense in pretending that it didn't.

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  33. Wasn't it actually a Hayabusa mask he was wearing? I remember seeing this only once, when it originally aired. I think he did a few other matches as Avatar... one was a tag with Aldo Montoya right?

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  34. Fuck the bad wrestling show.

    SCOTT WATCHES THE GAME GRUMPS

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  35. Vince only started having confidence in Austin after he cut his 3:16 promo at KOTR 96 off the cuff, the arenas filled with 3:16 signs and made a ton of money all summer on t-shirts even while Austin only wrestled in the pre-game show for SummerSlam

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  36. Masters even got a lot of positive main stream press when he saved his mom from a burning building, TMZ and everything... but making money isn't as important as Triple H burying him on tv with a lame joke about his build after he followed the companies own "wellness policy" ... nice management figure

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  37. whoever was under the masks for the Ding Dongs probably wishes for a second chance

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  38. Just like with The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar before him, Bray will become a big deal by cutting Everyman promos and being less different.

    That's how I interpret your comment. Sir!

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  39. Oh wow, so Lita vs Steph WASN'T the first women's match to headline a RAW

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  40. I suspect Vince had seen ads that year for The Mask and the Avatar gimmick was his brilliant and entirely original take.

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  41. Well, good job interpreting it all wrong.

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  42. I'm saying that what you said doesn't hang up to scrutiny. It's bollocks. Sorry, I was trying to be nice about it.

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  43. You couldn't pick a worse example than Brock Lesnar. It proves my point. His character/gimmick is the most generic of all time.

    And Taker is obviously the exception to the rule. But yet even with him, he didn't become a day in day out main event guy until he back storied his gimmick in 96/97.

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  44. If it was just Michaels against a bunch of random dudes in a bar fight, sure, you can claim he won. Michaels against 15 Marines, however? Even the markiest of WWF fans wouldn't believe that.


    Then again, it made no PR sense anyway to focus on your next big face star fighting a bunch of soldiers. What a dick move. Can you imagine that happening in today's ultra-patriotic WWE? If Roman Reigns got into a fight with a bunch of Marines, he'd be fired the same day, future star or no. You'd also see a bunch of Marines sitting in the front row of the next Raw, as Cole talked about WWE's strong commitment to the armed forces.

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  45. Virgil's Gimmick TableOctober 30, 2014 at 3:16 AM

    It was actually a really good pay per view. Bret vs Diesel with some innovative psychology and the first ever table breakage, the wild card elimination match which was loads of fun, a fun (mostly) cruiserweight elimination match, and Aja Kong killing bitches with spinning backfists.

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  46. 1995 Survivor Series was a hell of a show, easily the best WWF pay-per-view of the year.

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  47. Hold that 10 for Johnny B. BadOctober 30, 2014 at 3:53 AM

    If anyone hasn't seen this, they should...Open Gangrel Style. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzc4b9w5x_Q

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  48. Did anybody watch "Lucha Underground" last night? John Morrison (aka "Johnny Mundo"), Chavo Guerrero, Konnan, Blue Demon Jr. and a guy called Prince Puma who looks like he's gonna be a star were involved in the first episode. Matt Striker and Vampiro on commentary.

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  49. That reminds me of this documentary I saw called "Wrestling for Jesus" about an indy promotion in South Carolina that combined wrestling with ministry. At one show they put a rookie White kid under a mask and gave him some generic Asian name. So they introduce him as "from Japan," and the crowd starts booing even though it was his debut match so it wasn't like anyone knew he was supposed to be a heel.

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  50. I thought that was Harley Race when he fought Hulk Hogan on SNME?

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  51. On my list of "things I'd like to do", getting gigged by Ahmed Johnson is close to the very bottom of the list. He'd probably pull a Mass Transit on me.

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  52. I've been sick in bed since Tursday and I've watched TONS of network stuff and I haven't seen one add.

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  53. That whole YouTube set series is hilarious.

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  54. Wow, zero memory of that battle royale. And I usually remember *EVERYTHING*. Strange.

    Looking forward to Kid's heel turn, where they basically announced it in advance.

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  55. Table never broke in the Race vs. Hogan match...I remember Scott commenting that if it had broke, WWF would've been the first major company in North America to do a spot like that, preceding ECW by quite a few years...

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  56. Oh it broke at least a little.

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  57. Just finished watching this week's TNA episode on DVR, and I have to say, the Bobby Roode vs. Bobby Lashley story -- even without the bells and whistles of WWE production value -- has been told better than John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar.

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  58. It buckled, but didn't break. The joke that Scott made referred to when Hogan and Earthquake had a match in Philly at SummerSlam 1990 where Hogan slammed Earthquake on (but, inexplicably, not through) a table.

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  59. Always the contrarian...*shaking head*

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  60. AverageJoeEverymanOctober 30, 2014 at 7:04 AM

    "Am I the crazy one here?"

    Yes, because Battle Royals rule

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  61. Vince? Isn't that what he does with guys who don't come through the WWF system? Have to make sure they prove they "want it" before you push them. Just ask Jericho and a few others about that.

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  62. Wasn't expecting to read about Jian-gate here...

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  63. I am NOT a contrarian!! (see what I did there?)

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  64. That table probably did an evil laugh with a monocle afterwards.

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  65. I think the kinds of people in SC who would go to a "wrestling for Jesus" show boo all kinds of folks that aren't straight and white.

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  66. AverageJoeEverymanOctober 30, 2014 at 7:09 AM

    the scene is Shawn walking by camera very carefully only showing one side of his face, all of a sudden a heel pops up out of nowhere and socks him with a big huge fake as hell punch, camera zooms in on fallen HBK who sits up and slowly turns his face to the camera showing off his black eye and gives a "what a day" shrug to the camera. End of story.

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  67. AverageJoeEverymanOctober 30, 2014 at 7:11 AM

    He probably asked Rey that year at WM why he was dressed up in Al Snows old outfit.

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  68. In 1995 99% of the crowd would have had no clue. The internet was very much "fledgling." WWF was also hardly the haven of smark fans spending their nights on RSPW. It's not like some internet fan was handing out a sheet at the arena to tell everyone else the latest backtage dirt. Just do an injury backstage and fuck the 472 people in the country who actually would have attended a WWF show and known the true story.

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  69. Also has two really good elimination matches (and watch out for the power bomb off the top rope!), including a joshi-powered ten minutes of insanity. The wild card elimination match is fun and different, too. I love that show.

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  70. I taped it. I can't wait to watch it, because I'm a big lucha guy and I'm excited for English commentary. I think Prince Puma is Ricochet, the best North American wrestler. I could be wrong on that. I know Ricochet is under a mask and they have major plans for him.

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  71. This could very well be, but I swear I have no recollection of what happened. I must've been wrapped up in Nitro.

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  72. Automatic upvote for the Botchamania reference. Stuff like this is why I like you guys.

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  73. There was cool little kayfabe moment that I liked too. Razor's "wild card" team were all heels. Taker is a loner, so his team, Savio, Godwinn and Fatu weren't with him before the match. So we saw backstage that Razor was hanging out with those 3 guys while watching the Kid's match. Not sure why I remember this, but ya know.

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  74. "Ey, Hoser. Next time use a safeword, guy!"

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  75. Be an interesting thread to talk about who did make it to the top as a gimmick. Obviously UT got a brief title run and was an attraction for years in the mid 90s as a gimmick. One could argue Yokozuna was a gimmick. Really it depends on your definition of gimmick. Do you have to have a day job like a plumber or a garbageman or does white rapper or Andre's son count as a gimmick? It's a gray area and I think there would be some disagreement on who was a gimmick and who wasn't (Ultimate Warrior would probably be quite an argument for one). Ultimately though I think you are right that to really make it you have to inject some of yourself into your persona, gimmick or not. It's why scripted promos that leave less individuality stifle the WWE creating new breakout stars that connect with the fans.

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  76. Not at all. Brock Lesnar is someone who has always had a mouthpiece, who then and now has benefitted from being treated as an enigma, an unknown quantity. Same with Undertaker. Same with Kane.


    Back story is one of thing. When were the "I'm gonna kick your ass" star-making promos that those three guys (for example) all had?


    When was the Ric Flair promo where he became a star by telling us all about how he was down with the common man? There wasn't one. He was above the common man. Some people should be. Bray Wyatt is one of those and has been consistently booked as such so far.

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  77. Everybody's a gimmick on some level, it's just how it is presented.


    Generally, if your gimmick is "some job by day, wrestler by night", its chance of success is... not good. And this era of WWE had more than its share of such gimmicks... Race car driver, plumber, dentist, garbageman, TWO different crossover athletes (although, IIRC, both had been "banned" from their sports)... and I know I'm forgetting some.

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  78. If there is one aspect of wrestling I am completely tired of based on the last 16 years or so, it's the overbearing heel authority figure.

    Wrestling worked perfectly well without overbearing authority figures for decades (just guys like a WWF President or NWA/WCW Commissioner to pop in and make decisions from time-to-time). I'd love to get a break from that.

    Austin vs. Vince was awesome in 1998 because of Austin and Vince. Cena vs. Stephanie in 2014 does not work in the same context.

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  79. YankeesHoganTripleHFanOctober 30, 2014 at 7:37 AM

    Kayfabe would remain 18 years later when The Undertaker wouldn't hang out with Daniel Bryan and Kane before their match.

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  80. YankeesHoganTripleHFanOctober 30, 2014 at 7:38 AM

    Yes but was Avatar a SUPER ninja.?

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  81. Neither was this. Alundra Blayze v Bull Nakano on the Raw after Wrestlemania XI.

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  82. I agree. In 95 while people had net access, it wasn't widespread yet and you could easily hide that if they wanted to.

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  83. What kind of loser puts his mask on AFTER going out? No wonder he never got over.

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  84. Owen vs Jannetty could, and should, have been a nice little mid-card/IC title level feud during the mid-90s. Could have gone on and off, kind of like the Bret-Lawler feud, to stretch out over a couple of years, and would have produced quality stuff during a period when they could have used all the quality they could get.
    Oh, Marty. Why did you have to be such a fuck-up?

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  85. The Youtube ads are even worse at work because we have "safety mode" on and the only ads that get through the safety screen are negative political ads, political ads for a congressional district that I don't live in and my work isn't in either. I get it, Youtube! Pete Gallego hates veterans, children, women, Texas and babies. Let me just enjoy my lunch break...

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  86. Totally, totally agree. I wrote about this exact thing last month at P2B.

    http://placetobenation.com/bray-wyatt-god-complexes-and-breakable-glass-ceilings/

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  87. If you count the last match as the main event, even when a non-wrestling segment ends the show, lots of Divas and midcarder matches have "main evented" Raw. I remember back in 2010, an Eve Torres vs. Alicia Fox match that probably didn't go 2 minutes was the last actual match of the night on a Raw episode.

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  88. Jian ghomeshi's favourite tv show? Eight is Enough.

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  89. He would become a 5 star ninja ...

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  90. Where are you getting the stuff about Bundy leaving the company? Was that in the Observer? I ask because he was on TV through to the end of August, and was working house shows in September and October, up to (and after) this battle royal.

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  91. A Super Giant one, even?

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  92. In the comment section for Scott's October 1995 IYH review, I asked the Canadian blog members about the hate for Winnipeg and they brought me up to speed. This show was taped in...Brandon, MB? You got me on this one, and I'm pretty good when it comes to geography (for an American, lol). I looked it up on Wikipedia, and it says the population is about 45,000. Wow. There's suburbs of Chicago that are twice that size. And they tape 4 shows from there? Nitro, live from [fill in the blank] vs RAW, tape in Brandon, MB? Jeez. Because 1995 WWF, I guess. They sure found some odd places to tape their flagship program that year.

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  93. Or on the other hand, he foresaw the Nickelodeon series and/or the James Cameron movie, and...nah...

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