Sunday, December 7, 2014

The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW–01.15.96

The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 01.15.96

Apparently additions resume this week, so we might as well go back to these again. No idea why 01/01 and 01/08 were omitted and no one from the Network seems to be particularly helpful in that regard. Oh 1996 WWF, why can’t I quit you?

Taped from somewhere at the end of a cycle.

Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler

Marty Jannetty v. Owen Hart

They trade facelocks to start while Marty’s neon outfit threatens to crash the Network. There’s not enough bandwidth in the world to contain that much ugly! Marty with a powerslam for two and he works a headlock, but walks into a belly to belly suplex. Vince and Jerry talking about the “classic confrontations” in the Rumble is laughable considering that the roster was so decimated at this point that they were using Dick Murdoch and Carlos Colon to pad out the match. Owen with the chinlock and he pounds away in the corner, and a gut wrench gets two as we take a break. Back with Marty making the comeback as the announcers are TALKIN’ SPORTZ! See how hip and with it that Vince is? Marty with a powerslam and he dumps Owen, but back in Owen finishes with a reverse cradle at 8:00. So that was a whole lot of nothing. **

Meanwhile, Todd has the Rumble report, and some jabroni named Vader is entered into it. Also, some doofus named Ringmaster.

The Ringmaster v. Matt Hardy

So this is Austin’s WWF RAW debut, as the Million Dollar Champion and stuck in a midcard geek position right away. Ringmaster works a headlock and follows with the Thesz Press before pounding Matt down and stomping away in the corner. Front suplex gets two and he chokes away on the ropes, but Matt makes a brief comeback before walking into the stungun. Million Dollar Dream finishes at 4:30. Who would have ever, ever thought this loser gimmick would spawn the biggest star in history?

The Smoking Gunns v. The Spiders

We’re joined in progress for some reason with the Gunns finishing in 30 seconds with the Sidewinder.

BILLIONAIRE TED’S RASSLIN’ WAR ROOM. Watch for the Vince Russo cameo. Billionaire Ted wants to buy the WWF, but can only get their “disloyal hasbeens from the 80s”, which is RICH. Especially Randy Savage, who was banished to the commentary desk and didn’t have any loyalty shown to him. Things would only get more mean-spirited from here.

Goldust gets interviewed by Vince, who may or may not have an extra microphone in his pants. Probably not.

The Undertaker v. Isaac Yankem

So this would take on a different slant in just a couple of years. Taker attacks and slugs away in the corner, then no-sells a clothesline out of the corner and goes for the tombstone before Yankem bails to escape. They slug it out on the floor and literally just stand there fighting for a choke before Taker sends him into the post. Lawler tries to steal the urn/chain from Paul Bearer and gets chased off, as we take a break. Back with Yankem in control with a bearhug, but Taker escapes with a suplex while Vince gives us a disclaimer about how Goldust does not represent the gay community, regardless of his alleged sexual preference. When you have to literally do on-air apologies for your gimmicks, they’re probably not very good. Yankem tries a tombstone, but Taker reverses out and finishes with his own at 7:30. DUD

Meanwhile, Goldust cuts a promo about facing Bret Hart next week, but Razor Ramon attacks him for a pretty wild brawl to end the show.

The Pulse

You can definitely feel the tendrils of Vince Russo starting to slowly creep into the product with a more mature direction (like Sunny in the bathtub for literally no reason) but the product was still not really showing signs of life yet.

87 comments:

  1. It's gonna get worse before it gets better.
    When it came to the 1996 Rumble, I was just in awe at how many "Nobodies" were in it. Dory Funk (I was 10, remember), Doug Gilbert, Takao Omori, and the Headhunters (Called the Squat/Swat Team?). I honest to God expected Jake Roberts not to show up... I was a semi-smart 10.

    ReplyDelete
  2. "Vince gives us a disclaimer about how Goldust does not represent the gay community, regardless of his alleged sexual preference."

    At least Vince had to balls to put a character like Goldust on TV back then. Now that he has sold his grapefruits to Hasbro and the other PG sponsors, he will never allow such a controversial gimmick again. Look at Goldust today, he's just a dude in face paint and latex with no personality whatsoever.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The sooner Marty forms the New (and Improved) Rockers, the better.

    ReplyDelete
  4. On the new Savage dvd doc, Lanny says Randy got super pissed at those Billionaire Ted skits.

    ReplyDelete
  5. "And here come the New Rockers! What an ovation!"
    "That's not Jannetty's partner Monsoon, that's his dealer!"
    "WILL YOU STOP?!"

    ReplyDelete
  6. It's time for tonight's rousing edition of "MARTY JANNETTY: DRUNK, HIGH OR BOTH?"

    Place your bets!

    ReplyDelete
  7. "WWF: NO OLD HAS-BEENS HERE!"
    *puts Dick Murdoch's old ass and Carlos Colon's older ass in the rumble*

    ReplyDelete
  8. "Who would have ever, ever thought this loser gimmick would spawn the biggest star in history?"

    How did this retroactively spawn Hulk Hogan?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Carlos Colon was a youngster! Gorilla Monsoon said so!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Drunk on passion. High on life.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Neither Dick Murdoch nor Carlos Colon were in the 1996 Rumble.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I would be, too. Unlike Hulk, Randy wanted to stay but Vince didn't want him as anything but a commentator.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I think Scott meant as years went, WWF roster thinned out and they had to pad out with outside talent.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Well, yeah, he's young compared to Monsoon, who was also 4 days older than sand.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Judge Death (and the rest of the dark Judges) is a great baddie, and I hope Karl Urban eventually gets to face him on-screen.

    ReplyDelete
  16. It also didn't help the fact that Vince on commentary was burying some of these guys. Mr. Perfect did his best to sell some of these guys such as reminding Vince that Omori isn't an underdog just because little is known about him, or talking about tagging with Doug's brother Eddie/how he comes from a great wrestling family. The best one was when Mr. Perfect tried to put over Gilbert when he was getting pounded on by Vader by saying that "Gilbert won a tournament in Memphis to qualify [for the Rumble match], right?" which Vince immediately blows off with a "I don't know what!"

    ReplyDelete
  17. What's the over/under on "both"?

    ReplyDelete
  18. Virgil's Gimmick TableDecember 8, 2014 at 12:34 AM

    "I didn't invent them! Why would I care?"

    ReplyDelete
  19. The Ringmaster in his final match passed the torch to young Flex Kavana.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Yeah it was disappointing how the Owen/Marty matches were since it seems like both guys could gel and have a great match with their eyes closed.

    ReplyDelete
  21. At least everyone else had an excuse to be there since WWF like having legends/random Jap guys/indy guys in there, but the Headhunters was a headscratching move because originally I thought Headhunters were going to be WWF's new full time team, but only ended up lasting a day in the company. They should have at least used them to put the Gunns over the next night on Raw or something.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Also Dick was sadly dead at this point.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I thought Dicky did pretty well for himself in the 95 Rumble as the guy looked good and showed he could still go.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I wanted to like them SO BAD, but WWF insisted on treating them like jobbers :(

    ReplyDelete
  25. One (admittedly very good) dropkick doesn't make up for the fact that he was 48.

    ReplyDelete
  26. First time I saw The Ringmaster wrestle, it was the first time I saw Austin wrestle PERIOD, and it took him FOREVER to demolish a jobber. I figured him for a nobody immediately. Funny how that works out.

    ReplyDelete
  27. 48? My God, I thought he looked 65 years old in there!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Murdoch looked more believable as a potential winner than 90% of the field, but that's not too much of a compliment when that 90% includes Well Dunn, the Bushwhackers, the never-before seen BLu Twins, Mantaur, Aldo Montoya, the Smoking Gunns, Mo, KWANG, Doink, Duke the Dumpster, the Heavenly Jobbers, and I'm sure others that escape my mind.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Yeah as I mark, I use to determine a wrestler's credibility with how quickly they demolished a jobber too.

    ReplyDelete
  30. The guy had a little bit of name value and if he could still go, there's no reason not to bring him back. Hell, WWE brought back Finlay, a guy similar to Murdoch's stature in his late 40's too.


    Of course the biggest knock on Murdoch at the time was his health as he died later that year and in hindsight would have looked bad if the guy died on company watch.

    ReplyDelete
  31. So wait, you're saying this RAW features probably the first Undertaker vs. Kane match AND the company debut of who would become arguably the biggest star in history? I MUST WATCH THIS.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Well I knew Austin from WCW and couldn't believe they gave him such a boring gimmick. When the first Goldust teaser appeared I thought they were for Austin, because they said "from Hollywood California" and Austin was in the Hollywood Blondes, so... it's the same with Cena feuding with Rollins and not Big Show for TLCaS.

    ReplyDelete
  33. If you want to get technical, the first match was in SMW just before Jacobs jumped ship http://dai.ly/x7vpwq

    ReplyDelete
  34. Austin doing the Goldust gimmick is now an image I can't get out of my head.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Virgil's Gimmick TableDecember 8, 2014 at 3:18 AM

    The biggest knock on Murdoch actually was his KKK membership, but that's a fifteenth story for a different time...

    ReplyDelete
  36. I didn't thought that he would do the Goldust Gimmick LOL ;-D but the Hollywood Blondes Gimmick.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Are you on the WWE payroll, Keith? Only logical explanation to you referring to Austin as the "biggest star in history." That's total WWE rhetoric....brother.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Who are you calling brother, brother?

    ReplyDelete
  39. If he was on the payroll, wouldn't he have said that about Trips?

    ReplyDelete
  40. Sunny was in a tub? Funny I can't find mention of it this whole recap beyond that one throw away line.

    ReplyDelete
  41. I think it was in the show's opening where she said viewer's discretion is advised. Not really worth making a note on.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Glad to see Kane and UT stinking it up way before anyone cared about their matches.

    Why even do the Goldust stuff if they are so scared?

    ReplyDelete
  43. This was a change that was slowly being implemented to attract the adult demographic and Vince probably knew he'd upset a few sponsors along the way when trying to experiment with different things. I think Vince was simply taking the CM Punk approach where he did things first then apologize later for it.

    ReplyDelete
  44. If Keith was on the WWE's payroll, he would have said "John Cena is the biggest star in history."

    ReplyDelete
  45. If Keith was on the payroll he'd laugh at us and call us suckers while telling us that he gets the Network for free where everyone else has to pay 9.99.

    ReplyDelete
  46. According to JBL, R Truth is an exciting young superstar

    ReplyDelete
  47. Yep, in 1993, Double J actually needed to use mind games and cheating to beat his first jobber. Lost credibility in my eyes right there.

    ReplyDelete
  48. I guess he meant past Rumbles during that era. The 1996 one had Doug Gilbert, and the Kongs, baby!!

    ReplyDelete
  49. That was a general comment, not specific to the 96 Rumble. They tended to do that sort of thing a lot in the New Generation era.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Austin drew way more than Hogan, even on a shorter timeframe, brother.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Of course Matt Hardy lost. He was in there against the Master of the Ring!

    ReplyDelete
  52. I actualiy think that was a good idea on WWE's part where they'd get a random legend for one night. I much rather take Dick Murdoch over Bushwhacker Luke for instance. And in next year's Rumble, if I had a choice to pick between Vader or Heath Slater entering the Rumble match, I know who I'd pick.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Slater might be preoccupied (aka, in jail)

    ReplyDelete
  54. Personally, I had no problems with Kwang or Droese. They were perfectly fine wrestlers, they just weren't given pushes.

    ReplyDelete
  55. It wasn't so much they weren't given pushes, but their gimmicks sucked, but you're right that they were pretty solid workers and just needed a decent gimmick to justify a small push for them. Kwang kind of got that push as Savio, but Droese was never given a second chance.

    ReplyDelete
  56. I agree that Droese was a dumb gimmick, but I really saw nothing wrong with Kwang's martial arts gimmick. Don't know why he got so much hatred looking back. But again, he just never won any big matches.

    ReplyDelete
  57. MikeyMike, WitnessDecember 8, 2014 at 6:12 AM

    He's just making a correct statement.

    ReplyDelete
  58. MikeyMike, WitnessDecember 8, 2014 at 6:13 AM

    The Kongs were those two fat little guys right? They had quite the embarrassing performance. I still love that 96 Rumble though.

    ReplyDelete
  59. MikeyMike, WitnessDecember 8, 2014 at 6:15 AM

    Crazy how different the product becomes between early 96 and late 96.

    ReplyDelete
  60. I was a mark at the time, and I was actually looking forward to Kwang's debut because he was a ninja and I loved ninjas, and ended up being disappointed with what I saw. It was just the wrong guy for the wrong gimmick. I still think a ninja gimmick could still work, but they need to give it to a good high flyer worker.

    ReplyDelete
  61. He's just being his douchey self for no particular reason. It's what he does.

    ReplyDelete
  62. 1996 Sunny in a tub is *ALWAYS* worthy.

    ReplyDelete
  63. I believe they were eliminated 3 times. (yes, 2 guys, eliminated 3 times).



    At least they played their roles well, getting tossed out by Yoko and Vader, thus making them the dominant big guys.

    ReplyDelete
  64. At this point Bret has the belt and probably thinking to himself how much he loves the company and by late 96 he sees Shawn with the belt and thinking to himself how much he hates the company.

    ReplyDelete
  65. Why don't you ask Vince who made him more money? 100% guarantee he'll say Austin.

    ReplyDelete
  66. Not unless Steph is nearby giving Vince the stinkeye, then Vince will probably cower down and say HHH was the one that made him the most money.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Put me on your calendar to teach you about a little thing called "inflation"

    ReplyDelete
  68. Honestly, has any major wrestler been a bigger scrub than Jeff Jarrett? He comes off as the kid that thinks he's really cool, but he's really a huge loser.

    ReplyDelete
  69. Just because he failed at becoming a Country music star doesn't make him a loser.

    ReplyDelete
  70. Had he made it, I still believe that in 2002, the WWF would indeed have turned into the Double J-F, instead of WWE.

    ReplyDelete
  71. One thing I would factor in, Austin's era had monthly PPVs, while Hogan's era was 99% house shows. So Austin probably had a huge advantage when it comes to money drawing shows.

    ReplyDelete
  72. I think Hogan also worked something like one show a month whereas Austin worked more on a full time basis.

    ReplyDelete
  73. I appreciate the detail of the art but a most of the scenes, like Mean Machine in the bar, looked more like Mega City than Gotham. Judge Death has pretty much been treated as a joke since Necropolis but the next big event looks promising.

    ReplyDelete
  74. Awfal news. I was just watching the Havenly Bodys vs the Steiners from Summerslam '93 this morning! Rest In Piece.

    ReplyDelete
  75. I was sure they were going to do it at WM 26 in about October the year before - Taker even tombstoned Cena after a match and the smart money looked to be on Taker/Cena and HHH/HBK as the matches. I think Shawn's retirement and desire to have his last match with Taker changed their minds.

    ReplyDelete
  76. That's an interesting "What if" for sure. HHH retiring Shawn might have made some sense, although I'm not sure what the stakes would have been. Even if you have Hunter as champ and do "Title vs. Career" it's hard to buy, since Shawn never really showed (kayfabe) interest in the title during his 02-10 run. If HHH's career is on the line, the finish is too obvious. I definitely think that show would have been a million times better though if it's Cena vs. Taker and HHH vs. HBK. Maybe throw in Miz vs. Morrison and keep Orton vs. Punk and ADR vs. Edge

    ReplyDelete
  77. Interesting. I'm glad they didn't, since the Streak wasn't really even a big "thing" by 2004

    ReplyDelete
  78. I don't know how much of a "hook" it is though. People are conditioned to know that Undertaker is disappearing after Wrestlemania. Brock did the same until SummerSlam's build-up. Not much to hook new subscribers

    ReplyDelete
  79. To me it's a simple proposition: Did you ever buy Maven as a threat to Undertaker, either during their feud or (especially) after it? If the answer is "No", then he didn't put anyone over in the least

    ReplyDelete
  80. Wrestling is EXTREMELY disturbing sometimes.

    ReplyDelete
  81. The Streak is a relatively new thing and I'd argue that breaking it has only meant something - a lot, sure - for a few years. The Royal Rumble has I would argue had a longer shelf-life as being a Big Deal. Not every year, but a lot of them.

    ReplyDelete
  82. Being a Rumble winner has become almost irrelevant, especially if the winner goes on to lose at WM. Does anyone still care that Alberto del Rio won the biggest Rumble match of all time? I highly doubt it. Plus there's a winner every year.

    OTOH, the Streak can only be ended once, by a single person. It's a once in a lifetime thing and will never be duplicated again. I don't think the two are even comparable to be honest.

    ReplyDelete
  83. Was he related to Sara?

    ReplyDelete
  84. And yet I was and still am comparing them!

    ReplyDelete