The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 04.29.96
Live from Sioux City, IA, as we’re in the rather sad era following the departure of Bret Hart, Diesel and Razor Ramon all at once, with 1-2-3 Kid soon to follow.
Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler
Bart Gunn v. Mankind
Mankind pounds on Bart in the corner, but charges and hits the post. There’s suddenly blood in a variety of places on Mankind’s face and Bart’s shoulders, so obviously there was a shot that hit harder than intended somewhere. Bart bails and they slug it out on the floor and back in for more punching. What a weird match so far. Bart works on the arm and they head outside again, where you can see blood staining Bart’s pants and Mankind’s hands. We take a break and return with more dull brawling as Mankind controls, but Bart slugs back to polite applause. Bart goes up with a missile dropkick for two. Flying elbow gets two. Bart does some ground and pound, but Mankind applies the Mandible Claw from the bottom and finishes at 10:46. What an odd choice for an opener on the live show. * Jim Ross stops Bart on the way out asking for insight on what the Claw feels like, but Mankind attacks him again and lays him out.
I should note that the WON for this week details the tour from hell in Germany, which resulted in the Kliq literally taking a shit in Chris Candido’s food among other wackiness. At least Randy Orton kept it confined to gym bags.
Stone Cold Steve Austin v. Scott Taylor
Austin stomps a mudhole in the corner while Savio Vega challenges him to a CARIBBEAN STRAP MATCH on commentary. Austin with a Giant Swing and middle rope elbow for two while Jerry Lawler insults Puerto Ricans in general while hiding behind Vince. Austin wraps him up in a really bad STF and then finishes with the Million Dollar Dream at 2:30.
The British Bulldog is out, and he wants a word with Shawn Michaels. Shawn puts himself over, and then Cornette makes scandalous accusations of trying to seduce Diana Hart-Smith at the PPV. HE’S A FORNICATOR! Shawn is all “Don’t flatter yourself” and Diana slaps him, triggering a brawl. Meltzer went gaga for this angle and feud at the time, but it completely fizzled out by King of the Ring and was never actually paid off.
The New Rockers v. The Godwinns
Winner of this gets a title shot. There’s your summation of the tag division right there. First 2:30 is stalling before Jannetty controls PIG with armdrags. The Godwinns chase them out of the ring (Leif: “Hold me back!” Vince: “No one is stopping him!”) and we get, you guessed it, another two minutes of stalling as now Sunny joins us to show off the belts and we take a break. Back with the Rockers getting the heat on HOG as this drags on. Marty misses a fistdrop off the middle rope as Vince points out their dorkiness. I think the problem was that they didn’t go far ENOUGH with their gimmick. They could have done vignettes like the American Males where the 30-something goofs were trying to be a boy band or something like that. Sunny distracts both teams and it’s a double countout at 9:51. The crowd is shocked into silence by this development. And silent for the entire match as well, so I can only conclude the whole match was pretty shocking. DUD So no one gets the title shot. Sounds fair to me.
Meanwhile, Mankind is interviewed in the basement and wants to demonstrate the Mandible Claw on Jim Ross. JR wisely declines.
The Ultimate Warrior v. Isaac Yankem DDS
Correct me if I’m wrong, but this would be the one and only in-ring appearance on RAW for the Warrior, would it not? Vince starts plugging the Warrior University nonsense at this point, which was part of Warrior’s deal to come in. Warrior hits Yankem with a pair of corner clotheslines and tosses him as we take a break. Back with Warrior apparently making a comeback with more clotheslines before finishing with the big splash at 3:44. DUD Lawler is so upset that he decides to take care of the Warrior himself, but sadly the director can’t give him any more slack on the headset cord and he’s confined to the desk area.
I was never really into that Bulldog angle, and of course we know what a disaster the Beware of Dog PPV turned into, although not through any fault of theirs. Star power was seriously lacking at this point and it really shows.