The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 05.13.96
Kudos to the people behind the Network who have finally cleared up all the issues with buffering and crashing as far as I can see. I guess whatever upgrades they did for Wrestlemania have been left in place and I can now use the Roku without wanting to hurl my remote through the screen in anger. I mean, aside from the shitty booking on these shows, but that’s a totally different issue.
Taped from Sioux City, IA
Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler
Ahmed Johnson v. Zip the Bodydonna
Hey, using the tag champions as TV jobbers, why not? Actually, the Observer at this point notes that the WWF hired Sal Sincere, Freddy Joe Floyd, TL Hopper and Alex Porteau to fill exactly this sort of position, so at least they were aware of the problem. This match provided me with the perfect opportunity to relate the infamous story about Candido and Ahmed and the hotel room and the bag of coke to my wife. And indeed, Sunny interrupts an Ahmed “promo” before the match and tries to rub baby oil on him. I think he’s already at maximum saturation per square inch of skin. Ahmed quickly overpowers Zip and Sunny distracts the ref, which allows Skip to switch off and take over. Ahmed escapes a chinlock with an electric chair, but the Donnas switch off again, and this time the ref won’t allow it. Ahmed finishes Skip with the powerbomb at 2:28, just like he finished Sunny…well, let’s just move on. *
Meanwhile, The Ultimate Warrior wants YOU to come learn the principles of Destrucity at Warrior University! Kind of like Scientology, but slightly less insane.
The Man They Call Vader v. Duke Droese
Droese valiantly uses his lame offense to go after Vader and they tumble to the floor as we take a break. Back with Vader destroying him with a splash before going to a lengthy chinlock, but Duke fights back with a spinebuster and goes up with a flying splash, which misses. Vaderbomb finishes at 7:42. Why in the blue hell was Vader selling ANYTHING for this goof? Droese was little above a TV jobber by then. Apparently they had Vader doing jobs to Warrior all week at house shows as well at this point. And then they wondered why he didn’t draw on top against Shawn. **
Undertaker and Paul Bearer join us with their gold casket for Goldust. What a lazy feud this was. You’d think they’d at least have Goldust steal the urn and melt it down into an Oscar statue or something. Goldust tries to seduce him and Taker throttles him, but Mankind pops in and lays out Taker again with the Mandible Claw, which kind of foreshadowed the finish of the casket match on the PPV. And then Goldust goes way over the top by straddling Undertaker and licking him, which results in a massive jump cut to Undertaker sitting up and chasing him off. Vince was getting massive heat from the network and sponsors over the Goldust stuff, and rightly so.
Justin Hawk Bradshaw v. Aldo Montoya
Apparently there’s a big house show at MSG on the upcoming weekend, featuring the last appearances of Diesel and Razor Ramon. Wonder if anything significant will happen there which will get buried for 15 years and then overexposed to death in documentaries for years after that? I mean, I doubt it, but you never know. Bradshaw tosses the jellyfish around the ring like a piece of garbage while we get a funny bit with Uncle Zeb introducing himself to Jerry Lawler at the commentary table. See, they already know each other very well after years of feuding and teaming. That’s the joke. Aldo dodges a blind charge and comes back with the Portuguese martial arts, but the CLOTHESLINE FROM HELL finishes him at 3:42. Total squash.
Meanwhile, in Kuwait, Vince is still trying to sell the story of the peace-loving innocent Kuwaitis who yearn for freedom, five years after the Gulf War. Anyway, Bulldog attacks Shawn Michaels on the beach and Ahmed wins a tournament.
Shawn Michaels v. Hunter Hearst Helmsley
OH MY GOD I’M SO SICK OF THIS FUCKING MATCH…oh wait, I guess this is the first one. Never mind. This of course marks the last time HHH would get anywhere NEAR the main event for a long time afterwards. Hunter uses some scientific wrestling to frustrate Shawn, and we take a break. Back with Shawn taking him to the floor with a Cactus clothesline, and Shawn stops to hit on Hunter’s arm candy. Now, keeping in mind that the main storyline is that Shawn is supposed to be falsely accused of going after Bulldog’s wife, how does that possibly help his cause? Clearly he’s a womanizing sleazebag. Those kind of details drive me crazy. Back in the ring, Shawn hits Hunter in the nose a few times and showboats, but Hunter dumps him as Mr. Perfect joins us at ringside and we take a break. How many fucking angles that consist of “Some guy comes down to ringside to scout some other guy” can they run at the same time? COME UP WITH NEW IDEAS! Back with Hunter getting two and he slugs away in the corner before going to a chinlock. Shawn fights out and Hunter punts him in the ribs to put him down again. Shawn makes the comeback, but Hunter hammers him into the corner. Gee, Shawn is sure happy to sell for HHH for some reason…is the headline of the Obvious News Weekly. We take a THIRD commercial break and return with another chinlock for Shawn to fight up from. HHH tries the Pedigree, but Shawn catapults him into the corner and makes the comeback for real. Flying elbow gets two. Hunter actually tries a powerbomb, which Shawn reverses into a rana, and Hunter turns that into a sunset flip for two. Vince trying to call that sequence was the most brain-meltingly stupid thing I’ll see this week, I’m sure. Shawn backdrops out of another Pedigree and finishes with the superkick at 19:01. This was pretty great, and I feel like they might even have something better in them if they, say, wrestle sixty million more times over the period of a decade to work out the bugs. ***3/4
Definitely check out the Shawn v. HHH match, but you can probably skip the rest without feeling too bad about it.