The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 07.01.96
Taped from Green Bay, WI
Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler
Shawn Michaels v. Marty Jannetty
Shawn doing the “Kliq Cam” gimmick and hauling super-old Jose Lothario around with him just makes this such a cheesy deal to sit through these days. The Rockers have Jim Cornette with them for this, although that ended up being just a one-shot deal. They do the usual stalemate sequence to start with a nice fight over a backslide, and Marty slugs him down. Shawn comes back with armdrags and Marty runs away for advice from Jim Cornette. That advice? “Never hire ultra-violent black guys as a tag team in your southern-based promotion.” That’s some oddly specific fake advice. Shawn gets tossed and lands on the railing, allowing Marty to take over in the ring. Sadly, the camera cuts away from his goofy dance celebration. Marty suplexes him onto the top rope for two and we hit the chinlock and take a break. Back with Marty still holding that chinlock, but he misses a blind charge. Shawn tries to monkey-flip him, but Marty lands on his feet and puts Shawn down. He takes over again and goes up, but Shawn gets his foot up and makes the comeback. Shawn with a powerbomb, reversed by Marty, reversed by Shawn into a sunset flip for two. Crossbody is reversed by Marty for two. We take a second break and return with Marty hitting the Rocker Dropper, but the flying fistdrop misses. Shawn escapes a suplex and follows with a piledriver, and the flying elbow. Superkick finishes at 18:14. Dull start but the last 10 minutes were spectacular. ***1/2 It should be noted that although Vince is still hyping Ultimate Warrior as Shawn’s partner, two days earlier the relationship completely went into the toilet and Warrior left the promotion for good.
Meanwhile, on Superstars, Sunny tells off Phineas Godwinn once and for all and the Gunns attack him, but Hillbilly Jim makes the save and Phineas slops Sunny to get his revenge. Now you’d think this would be leading to yet another Gunns v. Godwinns title match at the PPV, but no, it was Gunns v. Bodydonnas in a non-title match instead. Vince uses his “HE’S…HE’S GONNA PUKE!” voice to express his excitement over this development.
Mankind v. Duke Droese
We randomly take a break 20 seconds into the match with Mankind choking away in the corner. Even production has been getting sloppy on these shows. It’s an odd juxtaposition, because although ratings were in free-fall, Shawn was drawing on the road as champion at this point and crowds were described as “super-hot” up and down the card. Mankind pounds away in the corner, but walks into a spinebuster and Duke comes back with a sleeper as they overdub cheering fans onto the half-asleep crowd. Duke tries a bearhug for some reason, and Mankind applies the Mandible Claw to escape and finish at 6:13. Pretty much a squash. * Jerry Lawler and Jake Roberts spend the whole match sniping at each other on commentary, setting up one of the worst feuds and matches of the year.
Meanwhile, call the Superstar line to find out why Ultimate Warrior is in the doghouse! Answer: His father died. The WWF response: Have the ring announcer tell crowds that “Ultimate Warrior refuses to wrestle in an arena like this one” to explain his no-shows. Classy out the assy.
Goldust v. Marc Mero
Speaking of comings and goings, Barry Windham returns at this point. Here’s Meltzer’s snark on it:
“Barry Windham had a meeting with Vince McMahon this past week. He was said to have been around 275 pounds, maybe 20 pounds overweight, and was interested in making a comeback at the age of 36. It looks pretty good that he'll be coming in. Maybe they can team him with Dustin Rhodes as Silverdust.”
From this actually launched a substantial rumor that Windham was going to be Silverdust. Not that the New Blackjacks was much better, but there was a pretty low ceiling for Barry at that point anyway. Mero gets a crossbody for two and Goldust bails while Steve Austin continues to show personality on commentary. Back in the ring, but Goldust bails again off a dropkick as we take a break. Back with Goldust taking over after a clothesline while the announcers discuss the weird period where Marlena was supposed to be hitting on Sable. Gee, I wonder who come up with THAT one? Mero escapes a chinlock, but Goldust dumps him and continues his stalling. And then it’s back to the chinlock. Steve Austin goes on an awesome rant on commentary about how he beat everyone in the WWF by proxy when he won the tournament, except for Davey Boy Smith and Shawn Michaels, but everyone knows he can beat them anyway. Mero escapes and gets a rollup for two, but Goldust comes back with a fistdrop as we take another break. Back with, you guessed it, another chinlock. Mero comes back with a powerslam for two while Marlena heads over to put the moves on Sable. Thankfully Terri’s acting would improve to at least passable levels by 1999. Mero goes up with a double axehandle for two and he follows with a kneelift, but Mero gets distracted by the quality acting on the floor. Goldust finishes with the Curtain Call at 16:20.
Next week: Ultimate Warrior has his swan song in the WWF against Owen Hart.
Shawn v. Marty is worth checking out, but the rest is the usual dead crowd and boring storylines from around this time.