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The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW–02.05.96

The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 02.05.96

Taped from Stockton, CA.

Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler.

Shawn Michaels & Diesel v. British Bulldog & Yokozuna

This was still the weird tweener phase for Diesel, while Yoko was getting prepped for the babyface turn no one asked for. We get rock-paper-scissors and a posedown to start, so clearly this is an important match for everyone. Vince pushes that Shawn & Diesel are undefeated…which is of course because they lost the titles without getting pinned…TWICE! Is this really something to be proud of? Shawn bumps around a bit for Bulldog, but the Dudes clear the ring and we get MORE stalling. Diesel slugs it out with Yoko before walking into a samoan drop, but Yoko misses the elbow. Shawn comes back in, but gets flung over the top rope and he’s YOUR male stripper in peril. Kind of a clever directing spot sees them panning over to Vince and Jerry on commentary at ringside during the beating on the floor, so we can see them seamlessly doing LIVE comments on the match. Normally camera shots on taped shows would accidentally reveal them sitting there silently, so that was a nice touch. And then we take a break and return with that exact thing occurring, so I take back my compliments. Anyway, there’s also a match, and much of it involves Yokozuna holding Shawn in a nervehold. Bulldog tosses Shawn around by the hair and does some showboating, back when he could backflip without his knees collapsing on him, but Yoko misses the big splash, and Shawn launches off his ass to make the hot tag. That was pretty cute. Diesel cleans house and boots Yoko, allowing Shawn to come off Nash’s shoulders with a flying splash for two. A superkick puts Yoko on the floor for the countout at 12:40 and Lex Luger wins the WWF Title! Wait, I’m all mixed up now. Shawn and Diesel completely goof on the inspiring win, two guys who could not give any fucks at that point because they knew they ran the company. Match was reasonably entertaining for what it was. **1/2 Afterwards, Cornette gives Yokozuna the gears, which Vince describes as “VERBALLY RAPING HIM”, and Yoko chases off the other heels for his babyface turn.

Meanwhile, Mankind is coming. Have a nice day.

The 1-2-3 Kid v. Hakushi

So we were building to the first (and thankfully last) “cry baby” match with Razor Ramon, where the loser gets diapered. They trade armbars and Hakushi kicks him down and out of the ring, teasing a Space Flying Tiger Drop before the Kid moves away. Back in, the Kid continues to demonstrate his impressive martial arts cred by waving his arms around menacingly, then dumps Hakushi and follows with a dive. I will say that Ted Dibiase in a simple suit is much more impressive as a heel manager than his goofy sequined jacket. We take a break and return with Kid in control after a spinkick, but he goes up and gets dropkicked on the way down. Hakushi makes the comeback with a handspring elbow for two and Kid hits the floor, which allows Hakushi to hit a nice springboard bodypress out there. Back in for the flying shoulderblock for two. Kid spinkicks him down again for two, but Hakushi reverses for two and follows with a rana for two. Hakushi goes up and Kid brings him down with a butterfly superplex to finish at 9:50. Turned into a hell of a match. ***1/4

Meanwhile, Clarence Mason promises to sue if Vader isn’t reinstated. He’s got CASE LAW! Stevens v. Steiner!

WWF title: Bret Hart v. Undertaker

This is quite the match to give away on a random taped RAW show. Bret pounds him in the corner, but Taker chokes him down in a variety of ways. Taker tries the ropewalk while Diesel joins us on commentary, but Bret yanks him down and goes to work on the leg. Diesel notes that he’s not afraid of Undertaker because he’s got “one of those rechargeable flashlights at home” to counter the darkness. So Bret continues working on the knee and we take a break. Back with Taker in control and pounding on Bret outside. Diesel is remarkably quiet on commentary tonight, as usually Nash with a headset is just begging for hijinks. Taker with the clothesline, but the ref is bumped on the tombstone attempt and Bret gets a visual pinfall with a rollup. Bret goes to work on the leg again, but Diesel pops up and runs Bret into the post to end his epic commentary debut. Undertaker breaks them up, so Diesel lays Taker out with a chairshot and powerbombs him in the ring. Poor Tim White is probably losing brain function given how long he’s been out without medical attention. And we take a break with the match being thrown out during the commercial. What a finish. And they wonder why Nitro was beating them?! *1/2

Main Event: Billionaire Ted’s press conference continues, despite legal threats from Turner! Vince is a hero! One of the questions is about how WCW lost millions of dollars, which isn’t fair to the stockholders. Gee, good thing nothing like THAT is happening right now, huh? What an embarrassment as a fan. And it still took another year for Vince to grow some balls and improve his product instead of whining like a little bitch!

Comments

  1. Say, you know what now costs less than one month of WWE Network?

    Here's a hint: http://imgur.com/Yw4fUkw

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  2. The quarterly conference is gonna be quite the entertainment.

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  3. not really; I mean, how many different ways can Vince and Barrios dodge legitimate questions? I think we've seen every method by now.

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  4. I feel like they should film it in Billionaire Ted fashion. The parallels are starting to get eerie.

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  5. "Millionaire-Who-Should-Be-a-Billionaire Vince" has a nice ring to it.

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  6. Did we ever get a Jean Pierre Lafitte/Henry Godwinn match? Or did the Clique ruin that for is to?

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  7. What the hell is Monday Nitro Raw?

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  8. I mean, thanks for the great review Scott :)

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  9. That's probably the most star stacked RAW of all time to this point.

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  10. It always bothered me how guys like Yokozuna and Hakushi would turn face and just be jobbed out. Sends a bad message.

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  11. Yokozuna was pretty much done by this point but I don't know what happened to Hakushi.

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  12. His biggest mistake in terms of his WWF employment was remaining Japanese.

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  13. Did he really say "verbally raping" him? Wow. I guess I shouldn't be surprised; I even remember JR using rape metaphorically in commentary in the Attitude Era, even though this is pre-AE.

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  14. In 2004, Kurt Angle raped The Big Show of his dignity.

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  15. As a more markish fan it just bugged me. These guys finally become "good" and turn into losers.

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  16. Other than the original batch of "warroom" Turner bashing, the only one I found slightly enjoyable was the Larry Fling with Huckster and Nacho Man bit. The rest seemed like they were going over the head of the WWF's target audience (a.k.a children).

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  17. It was kind of like... they had lost their edge.

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  18. And Lawler statutory raped a 15-year-old!

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  19. I had this Raw on tape for freaking YEARS afterwards, simply because it featured the entire uppercard on one show save Owen, plus that really good Kid / Hakushi match.

    (Amazing that the fans still totally bought Hakushi even this late into his run; they could easily have built him up again had he wanted to stick around)

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  20. That was a take on the exact thing happening to Andre a little more than 20 years earlier.

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  21. Is that the infamous "you never really met a real black black" promo?

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  22. Was Nacho - Jimmy Garvin?

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  23. I watched this Raw a couple of weeks ago, and Vince's "verbally raping him" comment caught me COMPLETELY off guard. And it sounds like such a typical Vince-ism in hindsight, lol.

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  24. This was the point where Raw officially became the A-show. They moved Superstars off syndication and onto USA and turned it into the mid-card show. The top stars appear frequently from here on out.

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  25. Are you saying Shawn Michaels got out of dropping a belt TWICE?

    Shenanegans.

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  26. Was kind of hoping we'd get the corresponding Nitro in the same rant like Scott used to do in the 24/7 era.

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  27. Well technically they don't win it the second time, but they really should have had their Wrestlemania main event job to the New Headshrinkers or Men on A Mission.

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  28. The WWF has always had all kinds of weird treatment of their black wrestlers. Say what you will about WCW, say what you will about Bill Watts and his thinking, but he put the world title on Ron Simmons and he was treated well.


    WWE has never even had an African American world champion yet even in 2015, all of their black superstars are just there to shuck and jive.


    How they've never faced a race-related lawsuit in all these years, is astonishing to me.

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  29. hilarious. I cannot believe people were buying that a year ago when it was in the low 20s.


    negative EPS. ow.

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  30. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogJanuary 20, 2015 at 2:19 PM

    Only $9.97 Maggle!

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  31. Rock and Booker T were both world champions in wwe

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  32. Vince has used "raped" a number of times on commentary--especially during Andre's beatdown and haircut by Studd and Bundy in 85 "raping Andre of his dignity." Just like Whoopi Goldberg, Vince doesn't understand "rape" and "rape-rape" as she calls it. Dummies.

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  33. I'll say this--Rock is half black and WAS the centerpiece of the company. Booker was given the midcard world title, and was never the 'A+ player" that they used.

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  34. Vince usually did this after he was done with a big heel--he'd half ass and babyface turn to see if it works. More than not, they were gone within 6 months.

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  35. THey didn't technically move it--syndication costs were threw the roof and they were always being pre-empted for baseball or anything. WWF was in the crapper and syndicated networks didn't really care for them anymore, so they had to go to USA.

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  36. I know he wouldn't want to do it but Nash in the jbl commentary role would be pretty cool

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  37. Who do you want them to put the belt on? Virgil??? Isn't cena acting like g money enough?

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  38. The Rock is not African-American.


    Booker T never held their top title, their prestige title, he only held the Smackdown big gold belt, which at that stage was effectively the Intercontintental title.


    An African-American has NEVER held the TOP title in the WWE.

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  39. They've had plenty of talented and/or popular African-American superstars over the years. But for whatever reason, the powers that be at WWE haven't once felt that one of them deserved the top title within their industry.


    I'm not saying that it's been a 'white-only' title, far from it! The Rock, Yokozuna and others have proved that.


    I just wish I knew why Vince McMahon has never felt that one of his African-American talent was deserving of a run with the company's primary belt.

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  40. Hakushi could've been a great face. He was a terrific worker and an absolutely A+ badass look. I remember watching the guy for the first time and literally gasping when he revealed he was covered in Japanese writing tattoos.

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  41. He dropped more titles by vacating them by being pinned in the ring.

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  42. The Rock's dad is black.

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  43. Yeah, and Canadian.

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  44. That's splitting hairs.

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  45. I still have this tape. Best. Episode. Ever.

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  46. Rock isnt black enough! And Booker's fake wrestling title was fake! He was feuding with Batista over the damn title and Batista eventually feuded with UNDERTAKER over it.

    If Undertaker is holding the belt it's a top title.

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  47. Bobby Lashley held the ECW Title which was offered to Taker since he won the Royal Rumble. He chose to go after the Filipino.

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  48. Unrelated but you're the resident movie fanatic on the blog(or at least I consider you to be and thus you are)

    I watched the Drop last night and really liked it. What did you think of it?

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  49. I thought it was a good solid film. James Gandolfini's role made his role even more poignant and Tom Hardy brooding is always a good time. I think a lot of critics, particularly AVClub, misinterpreted the ending

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  50. The first half or so I was a little put off by Tom Hardy's performance(I'm a huge fan of his) but by the end his performance made total sense and gave me more appreciation for it. And like you said, Hardy brooding is always awesome. He does so much with his eyes too. Gandolfini was great too. His last role right?

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  51. That call was a classic moment; "Verbally RAPING him!" was a very poor choice of words, to quote the Joker.

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  52. Yea. You should see Enough Said. It's a nice little romantic comedy though Gandolfini's presence (it came out a few months after he died) makes it really sad.

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  53. The Rock's Dad was Canadian and never held the top title in the WWE.


    I don't see what this has to do with there having been no African-Americans to ever hold the WWE's top title, other than corroborating what I'm saying.

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  54. Because The Rock, a black guy, is one of the faces of the company.

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  55. "Black" - that's very simplistic. He is of mixed Samoan, Canadian, African and American heritage. You wouldn't refer to say, Hideo Itami as "yellow", would you?


    Anyway, The Rock was one of the faces of the company - but he's not African-American, is he?


    I mean, it doesn't matter to me if someone is black, African-American, African-Canadian, British-American. But it matters enough that the distinction exists and like it or not, that's just the world that we live in.


    And it's a world in which an African-American has never won the top title of the leading American company.

    For shame, WWE.

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  56. But he did job to Hogan in spite of the comedy selling - so all is forgiven.

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  57. When it drops to five - I'll buy 20 shares.

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  58. Or Sid/Kid, or Owen/Bulldog, or Owen/Yoko, or the Allied Powers, all legit teams of the same time period. So your new excuse is there was nobody worthy of Shawn jobbing to so it's better he forfeited all his belts and jobbed to nobody at all ever. He was doing Vince a favor by not lowering himself to some lesser talent's level! How selfless. Your apologetics are mind bending.

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  59. Sounds like a great show.

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  60. Wasn't Lashley one?

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  61. Nope, he never won the big one. The WWE-ECW world title sure, but y'know....


    It looks good on him in TNA.

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  62. Now would the Allied Powers have gotten the belts on Raw, where Bulldog? Or Nitro, where Luger was? They didn't even win he tag team titles in 1995, it was a Dusty finish so they could celebrate with them to end the show because they booked themselves into a corner with the match stipulations. But no, I really don't think it's a big deal they gave up the titles in 1994 when Nash is days away from the WWF Chanpionship and Michaels is going to be built up as his Wrestlemania opponent.

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  63. Angle would have just as easily worked with Shawn's errant super kick costing them the belts. Why not take a shot and attempt to give another team(no matter how shitty) the rub? Shawn was probably more than willing to job to anyone but Vince never asked him, right?

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  64. The Rock is of partial African American descent, and Booker got the big gold belt during brand split, but it's pretty slim pickings, yeah.

    Also, booker's King Booker gimmick was odd, to say the least.

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  65. Partial? For such a large group of people as African Americans are, does "partially one" winning the top title seem representative of their chances in an American sports entertainment business?

    Kudos to Booker for winning the Smackdown title, but he himself frequently says how much he still hungers to win THE title in WWE and that was even pre-unification.

    Maybe because he wants so badly to say Booker T was the first African-American to hold the top title in WWE.

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  66. That would have worked to, but there were no teams really worth the effort at the time and Diesel/Shawn's angle was bigger than the tag Divison at the time. Could have done it but it's not a big deal they didn't.

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  67. Yes it's a big deal they didn't. They won them by pinfall, they lose them by pinfall. Either way I'm done arguing this point with you. You're a religious zealout and Shawn walks on water for you. No amount of reason and logic will sway you, because you have blind Boy Toy faith. Other people try to avoid jobs and they're pieces of crap, but when Shawn does it there is always a "well technically" or a "yeah but". As I've said before no one is arguing what an in-ring talent he was, one of the best ever. However it is OK to admit he's you're favorite wrestler while also admitting he was a selfish manipulative jerk. Not mutually exclusive points of fact. The end.

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  68. What African-American in WWE would you have put it on? Aside from Lashley (where all indications were that it would've been an inevitability before he left).

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  69. He was an asshole plenty of times but he wasn't wrong in every situation. People talk about how bad the roster and product was in 1995 and then say the best guys on the roster were only pushed because they were assholes who somehow did whatever they wanted while working for a control freak. There are times Shawn's been an asshole and a lot of other times where he gets ragged on because the internet says something and it becomes gospel. Who cares that two of the biggest singles stars in the company didn't job the tag team titles in a shitty tag team division? How do you know he faked and injury to avoid losing to Bret? Because Bret said so? He was stripped of the IC title because he was suspended immediately - then came back and put over the new champion cleanly.

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  70. Put over the new (one of his best friends) champion cleanly (not by pinfall but in a gimmick match). Also, I never mentioned Bret in this discussion. Not everything must boil down to Shawn v. Bret. We're done here.

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  71. You're just being ridiculous at this point.

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  72. You're just giving up discussion (because I'm right) in favour of simplistic insults now.

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  73. Any of them really. So that it wasn't an embarrassing statistic like this.

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  74. Tokenism isn't any better.

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  75. True, but there reaches a point where you have to choose between tokenism and apparent racism, if only so that your audience doesn't decide for you.

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  76. Some people thought WCW named their show Nitro because Monday "Night Raw" sounds like a bit Monday "Nitro" or "Nitraw".

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  77. Yes, the whole point of the ladder match wasn't to have a great match at Wrestlemania, it was just so Shawn could say he didn't really lose - and putting over his friend in a classic Wrestlemania match? Dick move! That should have been Bob Holly's spot! The worst part about it is that Razor wasn't even related to Shawn - not even by marriage!

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  78. Oh no, not at all. You're not correct in the slightest. You're just choosing to stick your fingers in your ears and ignore that he is African American.

    Black Nova Scotians are people of African-American descent whose ancestors fled Colonial America as slaves or freemen, and later settled in Nova Scotia, Canada during the 18th and early 19th centuries

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  79. I've never denied that The Rock has an African-American ancestry along the way. But it would be akin to suggesting that Vince McMahon counts as an Irishman to hold the WWE's prize gold, because he has Irish blood in him some generations back.

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  80. I'm not sure about Nash but Chet Lemon would rule.

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  81. Superstars wasnt off syndication until fall 96. Also, raw was always the A show to superstars being a B show.

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  82. No it wasn't. Raw was a total B-show from 1993 until mid-95. The first few shows were stacked to draw new viewers but over the next 2 years, it was a total jobber and mid-carder show with rare appearances from the top guys. Most Raws would feature a lot of recaps of important shit that happened on Superstars or at House Shows.

    That started to change in early '95, and by September Raw and Superstars were 1A and 1B.

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  83. Superstars was a jobfest with maybe one non jobber match if you were lucky in 1994. Timothey Well vs Duke Dumpster drose would be your featured match. Go back and watch it again and get back to me. Sure Superstars would have some angle's and occasional title change but biggest matches of the week, angle's, talent was Raw.

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