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The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW–03.18.96

The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 03.18.96

We’re on the Road to Wrestlemania…12. Hopefully the PS3 won’t let me down like Roku and XBone have been doing with the Network as of late. Oddly it’s the only device that gives me chapter breaks for RAW replays.

Taped from San Antonio, TX

Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler

The British Bulldog v. Jake Roberts

How can they seriously gripe about “washed up” stars like Hogan and Savage while putting these two 80s leftovers out there as “New Generation” stars? Vince bitches about the latest Tyson boxing match only going 8 minutes on PPV and how “boring” that is. You’re right, who would want to watch spectacular knockouts in a boxing match? Jake tries for the DDT a few times, but Bulldog escapes and pounds him in the corner. Bulldog chokes and stomps away, but he misses an elbow and Jake comes back with the kneelift, but Bulldog catches him from behind with the powerslam, which Jake turns into the DDT. Cornette pulls Jake out at two, and Jake chases after Cornette and gets counted out at 4:50. Jake was worthless here. ½* Lawler hypes up a match he’s having on Superstars this weekend, which turned out to be him squashing a jobber while doing his own commentary, and it was pretty hilarious.

Meanwhile, Bret and Shawn continue their respective training. Bret feels like he’s a better role model. Man, you can really see the seeds of that heel turn planted here.

Goldust v. Fatu

I seem to recall Bischoff burying this RAW on the Nitro opposite it, come to think of it. Goldust is wearing a kilt in honor of Piper, and Fatu attacks him and pounds away. He gives Goldust a low blow behind the ref’s back and we take a break. Back with Fatu hitting a Diamond Cutter and going up, but a dive misses and Goldust finishes with the Curtain Call at 4:35. The announcers totally ignored the match while talking with Piper on the phone. Nothing match. *

Camp Cornette is out to accept the challenge for the six-man at Wrestlemania. Cornette insinuates that he pushed Mr. Fuji down the stairs to explain his disappearance. That’s pretty funny. Yokozuna pops up on the video wall and now he’s a thug life Samoan after years of only saying “Bonzai”. That’s quite the change. If the babyfaces win, Yoko gets five minutes with Cornette. Which of course did not happen.

Meanwhile, at MSG on the weekend, we got Bret Hart & Undertaker v. Shawn Michaels & Diesel in a match that actually sold out the arena for a house show for the first time in many years. And Diesel turned on Shawn once and for all to set up the first post-WM program.

Diesel v. Barry Horowitz

Diesel throws up the Kliq sign on the way to the ring…could this be a secret alliance with the Young Bucks? Does Shawn Michaels throw Superkick Parties? CALL THE HOTLINE TO FIND OUT! Diesel beats on Horowitz as expected, but a casket gets wheeled down to ringside and Horowitz gets some shots on the distracted Diesel. Diesel casually puts him down with a big boot, gets two, and then punches him in the head for the pin at 2:09 while literally paying no attention to him. Poor Barry looked like the geek jobbers of all geek jobbers after that finish. Diesel opens the casket to find a creepy Diesel mannequin in there. Man, if Nash had died young like many of his contemporaries that would have been one of the most incredibly oogy segments in history. As it is, it was still pretty poor taste, especially for a show that was supposed to be family friendly.

Bret Hart v. Tatanka

Bret takes over quickly with a clothesline from the middle and works on the arm, and a bodypress gets two. The Kid heads down to ringside and Tatanka gets a cheapshot to take over. His big plan: Choke Bret out in the corner. THAT FIEND. Sideslam gets two. I should note that Tatanka is getting pretty fat at this point, like past the usual “cycling off steroids” bloat. Tatanka drops an elbow and throws chops in the corner, and he’s clearly blown up like Brock Lesnar in the third round of a title fight already. We take a break and return with Tatanka holding a chinlock. Bret makes the comeback with the FIVE MOVES OF DOOM, but Kid interferes, only to collide with Tatanka and allow Bret to get the rollup for the pin at 9:00. Was this official “every match must have a shitty finish” night? Nowadays we just call that “Monday”. **1/4

And NOW the stream starts dying on me. Well at least I made it through the actual show.

The Federal Turner Commission sees the WWF in full court press whine mode, as Billionaire Ted defends himself against accusations of creating a monopoly in the TV industry. All this was even more ridiculous considering that Ted was forced out of the industry less than 5 years after this. Some “omnipotent” billionaire. And then they have the balls to ask fans to write to the real FTC because of concerns over the Time-Warner merger. Fuck right off with this.

The Pulse

Another shit week.

Comments

  1. I watched these Raw's for the first time since they aired last week...I think it was Bret's true annoyance at Shawn taking his spot bleeding through but if it was planned they planted the subtle seeds of his heel turn brilliantly.

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  2. If the fans HAD stopped the Time-Warner merger, WCW mught still be around to this day.

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  3. It wasn't the Time-Warner merger that killed WCW. It was the AOL merger five years later that did, as AOL took over control of programming and they wanted nothing to do with wrestling.

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  4. Cornette: "Mr. Fuji fell down the stairs. I don't know how it happened. I was right behind him at the time!"

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  5. Could be wrong, but wasn't this the first appearance of Fake Diesel? Wouldn't that mean the Brothers of Destruction were working together even in 96? Could we still see Diesel vs. Fake Diesel at Wrestlemania 31?

    TURN INTO NITRO TO FIND OUT!

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  6. Mr Fuji then showed up at WrestleMania, didn't he? Waving the American flag.

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  7. Theberzerker, #1 HUSS CHOMPIONMarch 23, 2015 at 9:26 PM

    I remember this RAW. I think next week Diesel takes a chainsaw to the casket, which at the time I thought was flippin' awesome.

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  8. Yuppers. He hung around for a TV taping or two, then disappeared. Didn't help him much that Yokozuna was constantly taken off TV (and/or the road) to try and lose weight.

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  9. I take it Vince is a fan of those Floyd Mayweather hour long borefests where he always wins despite doing nothing for 97% of the match.

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  10. The billionaire Ted sketches actually turned me on to WCW. I was 12, only watched WWF, and assumed that Hulk and Savage had retired.

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  11. Stranger in the AlpsMarch 23, 2015 at 9:42 PM

    Totally ripped off from Showgirls.


    Which I just saw last night. Time and perspective have made that film a cult classic.

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  12. How many times has Sting actually hit the Stinger Splash on the guard rail?

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  13. Wow. **1/4 from 1996 Tatanka is practically a ***** match from him then. Of course, its with Bret but still.

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  14. He hit it during a really good match with Austin Aries on Impact two years ago.

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  15. Robert Davi and Gina Gershon's performances were quite good. And....well, those were the only bright spots I found in that movie.

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  16. 18 years later, Goldust would win tag team gold....from Fatu's kids.


    Circle of life and all that good shit.

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  17. But it was Time Warner that okayed the AOL merger in the first place so Zanatude and obviously Ted Turner and his accountant would agree that he never should have merged with Time Warner.

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  18. This RAW's ending > tonight's RAW's ending.

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  19. Bret always played a subtle heel everytime he worked with another babyface. I like to think it Bret was being selfless, but in the case of Shawn Michaels, I don't think he wanted to help the guy at all and took great pleasure in watching him fail on top.

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  20. They completely had given up on trying to mask the Ted skits under the guise of humor at this point. Ted's rant doesn't even contain a shred of a joke, it's just a full-blown psycho heel promo (that I realize is lifted from A Few Good Men).

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  21. "And I'm enjoying the relationship between Showgirl and the seamstress!"

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  22. Hmm, I wonder if WWE started taking potshots at TNA if it would bring more viewers to TNA with the casual fans just assuming that Kurt Angle retired back in 2006.

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  23. I really hated the finish of that match, just because it made Bret look weak needing a rollup finish to beat a JTTS guy. Compare that to Shawn Michaels who was beating everyone with superkicks.

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  24. I dunno, this RAW could have benefited from a tug of war.

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  25. This was definitely so far from "comedic purposes" that as a kid, I had no idea what the hell the point was going on, but they came back with the wonderful match on the WM 12 Free For All.

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  26. LOL I just spit water on my screen

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  27. Wasn't the Diesel 'mannequin' at some point Nash himself? I remember him making a big deal in an interview about him coming up with that idea (i.e. splicing the shots of him in the casket into a taped broadcast) and complaining that the WWF short changed the promo on the feud since he was leaving.

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  28. So you could argue that what we see today is simply vintage WWE? ;)

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  29. It looked way too good to be a cheap dummy.

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  30. Even watching the build back then, you could tell who Vince had a hard-on for and to whom it was pointing at.

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  31. I haven't any issues at all with the Network on my Roku. Don't know what any o' you fools been goin' on about

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  32. That Diesel Mannequin bit was fucking awesome- SUCH an amazing psyche-out move by The Undertaker.
    The Lawler Commentary Jobber Matches were all pretty funny- I recall there being a few. I liked how in one, he started taking a bunch of offense, but still HELD ON TO THE MIC, so you got to hear all of his screams of agony. Great stuff.
    Seeing Horowitz jobbed out like this is pretty sad- he actually got really over doing his "Miracle Victory Run". But I can see how most of the other wrestlers would have balked and doing the job to a guy who was an ACTUAL JOBBER.

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  33. Tatanka was nearly always booked to look strong, by my recollection. He had a long Undefeated Streak, generally only jobbed by cheap ways, and more. I can't remember him taking too many falls, even after his mid-tier Babyface run had ended.

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  34. It helped that Bret was one of the few babyfaces who actually cheated in matches. The Hart Foundation were notorious for that, often nailing guys with weapons and doing cheap-shots from the apron. Heel commentators like Ventura LOVED that, and even Eddie Ellner gave Bret props in PWI as "the bad boy the fans love to cheer".

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  35. Tatanka was protected as a babyface, which was fine because he did well in that role, but as soon as he turned heel, it was all over for the guy as WWF stopped protecting him and he lost decisively to everyone up and down the card, which was also fine because he sucked in that role.

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  36. Check out @RatedArtistic's Tweet: https://twitter.com/RatedArtistic/status/580206267555131392?s=08

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  37. I'll just end this in saying we have WAY different tastes. But hey, at least you'll be one of the people who likes the current booking.

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  38. If I didn't get any entertainment out of it, I wouldn't watch it at all. But I also don't like to damn a match that hasn't happened yet, featuring one of my all time favorites.

    And shit man...its wrestlemania. For $10. The spectacle, the mystique, its a fucking show. I'm gonna enjoy or try to.

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  39. The Ghost of Faffner HallMarch 24, 2015 at 1:45 AM

    What about the gratuitous female nudity? I call that a bright spot.

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  40. absolutely. as mentioned before. young me didn't really read any "backstage reports" at that time but I was 100% sure Michaels was going to win just based on the buildup - Michaels is superman, overcoming all the odds, while Hart is being utilized to put over the Diesel/Undertaker feud (to me, it seems it would have been better if the IYH match against Owen Hart had ended with Michaels losing to the enzuigiri, creating at least some kayfabe suspense and also building a more "natural" post-WrestleMania feud instead of the very forced Michaels/Bulldog/Diana angle).

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  41. Seems to be happening mostly to people who purchase the network in another country than their residence.

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  42. I never saw his wife on tv back then.

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  43. Huh? Not quite sure if you agree with me or not. Lol

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  44. Battle Kat LitterMarch 24, 2015 at 5:16 AM

    Did they recycle that "mannequin in a coffin" angle recently or am I imagining it? I'm thinking some time in the last 5-6 years

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  45. Battle Kat LitterMarch 24, 2015 at 5:20 AM

    I googled it. They did in 2005. My timescale was a bit off. Knew I remembered something

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  46. A large part of boxing is not getting hit.

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  47. Battle Kat LitterMarch 24, 2015 at 6:01 AM

    They shouldn't have bailed on it. A guy improving his skills and performance and starting to win is a genuine, real story. I always hark back to British boxer Duke McKenzie who lost his first 14 amateur fights, but improved and went on to become three weight World Champion.

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  48. I was curious so I looked it up, and the Telecommunications Act of 1996 was signed by Clinton about a month prior to this episode of Raw, so even if anyone wanted in on the letter-writing campaign, there wasn't a thing the FTC could (or would) do about it. They might as well have started a letter writing campaign to tell WCW to stop booking triple-cage matches.

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  49. Hey, he's been successful at it for years now!

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  50. For me the Rock sucked until the nation and the "you suck" chants for Angle were there for a reason. :-)

    It needed some time until the fans were good with both guys.

    However I think the Problem with Reigns is not that he isn't an indy guy or he is too green, but he has to play a lame ass face, whil in the beginning as a heel he was more interesting. And that they returned Daniel Bryan for the Rumble.

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  51. Bobby was such a pro always.

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  52. The Network is fully rolled out in Canada there, sunshine.

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  53. Somewhere "Pretty" Paul Roma is crying.

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  54. Vince bitching about someone creating a monopoly. Yuuuup.

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  55. AverageJoeEverymanMarch 24, 2015 at 8:20 AM

    I use the Amazon Fire Stick for the Network in my living room now. Works wonderfully and does have chapters which is the first time Ive seen them (also use Roku stick, Xbox360, and Kindle). I highly recommend the device.

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  56. I always got a kick out of when they played Showgirls on TBS. They just played Goodfellas again on Spike. Seriously, fucking WHY?

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  57. So, you aren't using unblock and the U.S. feed anymore?

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  58. Yeah I know they did it when Taker was feuding with Randy and Bob Orton in late 2005 (maybe a month before Eddie died... freaky). I feel like they did it a few times with Mark Henry and maybe Kane too.

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  59. There's no "US feed", it's the same feed everywhere in the world.

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  60. So you're NOT using unblock and a fake address?

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  61. I watched it recently and I think it was. The rapid camera cuts seem to be a give away imo.

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  62. If you're saying that people wouldn't buy Rollins as the champion, then nobody is ready to be elevated because he's the most set.


    Bryan already got to the peak of the mountain, so he doesn't count.

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  63. I definitely think babyfaces need more time to get over than heels.


    I think the issue is that we don't know anything about Reigns. He's never had a feud that forced him to dig deep or reveal his depths. He's basically just walked around and punched everybody to death with zero true challenges. Nothing has looked difficult for him, so now when he's up against the MOST DIFFICULT GUY, we don't know what to think.

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  64. Horowitz was really over -- in the opener to Survivor Series 1995 the crowd was chanting "Barry! Barry! Barry!" (though I suppose with the other babyfaces in the match being Bob Holly, Hakushi and Marty Jannetty there wasn't much for the crowd to cheer for).


    The finish to the Diesel / Horowitz match was so screwy....Nash had never pinned anybody after the big boot (it was strictly a transition move), so it made perfect sense for Horowitz to kick out there...looks like Nash screwed up in not actually telling Barry that that was to be the finish, so he has to improvise with the punch to the face (his finisher when he first started wrestling in the WWF in mid 1993, but this was of course when the jobber was dazed & standing upright). This is the match that pretty much finished Barry's career for good...

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  65. None of Brock's title fights ever reached the third round. He never blew up in an MMA bout either, as his only third round saw him literally spanking Heath Herring.

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