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.
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.