The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 06.10.96
Taped from Sioux City, IA. Week three of a 1996 RAW taping cycle. Feel the excitement. I don’t think there’s much this show could do to top the batshit craziness of Nitro this week, ether.
Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler
King of the Ring Qualifier: Owen Hart v. Yokozuna
Owen attacks and pounds Yoko with the broken arm, showing what a badass he truly was. He’s like Tara on SOA! Yoko chops him down, but misses a legdrop and Owen takes over after a cheapshot from Cornette. Owen hits him with a leg lariat, but goes up and misses a dropkick to allow Yoko to make the comeback. Banzai Drop misses and Owen pins him with his feet on the ropes at 4:03. The end was rapidly approaching for Yokozuna’s career. This was OK thanks to Owen bumping all the place. **
Meanwhile, Jake Roberts has some big problems, man. Choking on his own vomit due to coke and pills and such. But then among us hasn’t been there? That’s why it was such a relatable character.
King of the Ring Qualifier: Bodydonna Skip v. Marc Mero
Mero has been hanging around for three months now and I still have no idea what his character is supposed to be. I kind of wish he had just come in as Marvellous Marc Mero instead of having to fall back on that gimmick after the injury. Mero sends Skip running with some armdrags and a dropkick, but Skip suplexes him on the top rope to take over while Jake continues his sob story on commentary. Skip with a flying fistdrop and Vince plays “What’s in the news?” to show how LIIIIIIIIIVE they are. Skip goes up top after 15 years of this barnburner and Mero dropkicks him on the way down, but Skip goes to a devastating surfboard. Skip misses a top rope rana, but recovers with an enzuigiri to the shoulder for two. And we take a break. Goody. Back with Skip holding a chinlock and he follows with a gutwrench for two. Another chinlock and a slam gets two. Skip dumps him and misses a dive, and Mero gets his own five and finishes with a top rope rana at 12:34. Way too long for what it was. *1/2
Jerry Lawler presents Ultimate Warrior with the infamous framed portrait, while Warrior RUINS the whole angle with that damn baseball cap. They could have drawn millions and outdone the nWo, but Warrior’s baseball cap sunk the whole thing. And in fact Lawler hits him with the portrait, Warrior basically ignores it, and then runs off. Wow, what an angle. Also, Meltzer rips the lid off the whole comic book lie in the Observer this week, noting that Vince made up the whole “#1 comic in the world” thing and that most major distributors don’t even carry it. Shocking. Note to Jerry Lawler: This feud didn’t work because it was STUPID and no one bought Lawler as any kind of threat, not because of any baseball caps.
British Bulldog v. Undertaker
Also, this week in the Observer, Bulldog clears up his issues with the WWF thanks to promises of dropping the entire Diana angle, despite getting a “big money offer” from WCW, and he basically agrees to stay after all. Whew. So now the heat shifts to Jim Cornette being given the right to select a guest referee for the title match instead. Bulldog slugs away in the corner, but Taker chokes him out and Bulldog runs away. Back in, Taker goes old school and drops the leg for two. Bulldog hammers away on him and hits the delayed suplex, but Taker sits up, so Bulldog powerslams him for two. We take a break and return with Bulldog holding a chinlock, but Undertaker makes the comeback. Bulldog cuts him off with a neckbreaker and legdrop for two and goes back to the chinlock again. That goes on for a long time, with Bulldog making O Faces for some reason to really sell the exertion, but Taker finally suplexes out. Bulldog with the powerslam, but Taker escapes and they slug it out. And then we take another break to really stretch things out. Back with Taker hitting the chokeslam and they fight to the floor, but Mankind pops out of the ring apron and holds Taker’s foot, giving Bulldog the countout win at 17:19. Wow, way to really build up Bulldog for that title match in two weeks. Mankind beats the hell out of Undertaker again and we’re out. Does it kind of weird anyone else out thinking about Undertaker as a part of these shows that seemed like a lifetime ago, with everyone dead or retired, and yet Undertaker was just wrestling Bray Wyatt third from the top at Wrestlemania a few weeks ago? I guess it just shows the effectiveness that his character retoolings have had over the years that he can still be a believable part of the show today. **
You literally missed nothing if you skipped this one.