Thursday, June 4, 2015

The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW–07.15.96

The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 07.15.96

Back to RAW, because why not?

Taped from Green Bay, WI, thankfully for the last show from this cycle.

Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler

Intercontinental title: Ahmed Johnson vs. Bart Gunn

Pretty long stall to start and Ahmed controls with hiptosses until Bart cheats to take over. Bart goes to work on the arm and man isn't that thrilling. Ahmed fights out of the hammerlock and misses a charge, which gives Bart two. Aaaaaaaaand...Bart goes back to working on the arm again. Ahmed gets a powerslam for two and we take a break, returning with Bart back in control with a flying bulldog for two. However, Ahmed has had enough and finishes with the spinebuster and Pearl River Plunge at 13:40 just like that. Frankly I'm shocked they had enough “highlights” to put together a replay at the end. It was literally all Bart lying on the mat working on an armbar for 10 minutes. *

Marc Mero vs. TL Hopper

Yes, it's the RAW debut of Tony Anthony, the wrestling plumber. Astonishingly, they actually have footage of Hopper going over Duke Droese, which must be the only win the poor guy ever had on record. As noted many times by smart-ass online fans at the time, a plumber would be making WAY more than a low-level WWF guy at the time would be making, so why would he care about being a wrestler? They trade headlocks and Hopper beats Mero down off a cheapshot and works him over to a dead silent crowd. Meanwhile Lawler and Vince make butt crack jokes like it's the funniest thing ever. I know this character was never intended to get over, but this has to be an epic low even by 1996 RAW standards. We take a break and return with Hopper hitting a legdrop for two, but he misses a splash and Mero comes back with a flying headscissors and the KO punch for the pin at 10:25. This RAW crowd might be one of the worst ever. Nothing as a match, but Hopper was at least trying to do his best with a shitty gimmick. Pun intended. *1/2

And now, a special look at Undertaker, as they need to stretch this show out for another 5:00 to make up for the Ultimate Warrior bits edited out.

WWF World title: Shawn Michaels vs. Billy Gunn

Vince offers condolences to Bret Hart on the death of his nephew Matt, who died about the worst way that a human being can: Flesh eating bacteria. I would not wish that shit on my worst enemy. So obviously Bret had a lot of heavy stuff on his mind at this point. They trade headlocks to start as Billy really starts to develop the cocky heel persona that would get him over a year later, but Shawn dumps him and gets a sunset flip for two. Billy runs away from a superkick and Shawn chases Sunny around the ring, pretending to be a sex-craved pervert. Yeah, pretending, that's the ticket. Shawn comes off the top rope and gets caught coming down, but Shawn takes Billy down and posts him. Slingshot clothesline and Shawn slugs away on the mat, but Billy clotheslines him to the floor to take over. We take a break and return with Shawn fighting out of a chinlock, but Billy elbows him down for two. Billy works the back while Vince tries to take another break but has to argue with Sunny and Lawler for a minute instead, and then we take our second break as Billy hits a bulldog. Back with Shawn making the comeback with his usual stuff and a flying elbow to set up the superkick. And indeed, that finishes at 15:24. The crowd at least got a little bit excited for Shawn at the end. **1/4

Meanwhile, they insert a new pre-taped segment in the back, with Camp Cornette attacking Shawn before Sid drives in to make the save. This was actually supposed to make us buy a PPV.

The Pulse

Yes indeed, this was the go-home show for International Incident, which I believe set the new record low for PPV buys or close to it. Thankfully, more interesting things happen next week.

78 comments:

  1. Shouldn't Hopper and Droese have been a tag team? The Middle-Class Maniacs? The Well-Paid Warriors? Shit or Get Off The Can?


    ....I'll see myself out.

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  2. How do you give Ahmed/Bart 13 minutes and not be convicted of a crime?

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  3. Hopper vs Drose was a "Home Improvement Match" complete with it's own fancy graphics

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  4. Theberzerker, #1 HUSS CHOMPIONJune 5, 2015 at 12:01 AM

    Because why not? Well...here you go.

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  5. Scott are you or are you not a huge fan of the band The Stampeders?

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  6. If you care what they originally did at the tapings with the Warrior, here ya go:

    "After the match while Michaels was in the ring, Vader, Owen, Bulldog, and Cornette came to the ring and surrounded it. Officials escorted Michaels back to the dressing room while Vince got into the ring to interview the four. Cornette plugged the upcoming six-man match at the Vancouver IYH. Ultimate Warrior called in by cellphone during the interview and said he was coming back to the arena. Then he put Shawn Michaels on the phone, who in turn put Ahmed on the phone, each making comments. Cornette then asked why HBK and Ahmed were in the Warrior's car and how Michaels could have gotten in there when he was just in the ring for a match. That was the cue for the three to come down and chase Camp Cornette out of the ring and back to the dressing room. Vader came back, got in the ring to wrestle Ultimate Warrior and was promptly beaten in about ten seconds."

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  7. Dude. If booking shit matches was a crime, Vince Russo would be on death row.

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  8. I think the actual stip was "winner gets to punch Tim Allen in the face".

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  9. This same week on Nitro was Hogan's first appearance as Hollywood Hogan on Nitro, and just had an overall more exciting energy than Raw. I have to think that Shawn Michaels was pissed to see his buddies being able to act like cool badasses in WCW, while he was forced to have the decidedly unhip boyhood dream gimmick and hug Jose Lothario before and after every match.

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  10. Now International Incident isn't even in the top ten worst WWE PPV buy rates of all time!

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  11. I googled on the late Matt Annis because, yeah, this disease is like your worst nightmares. Matt complained of a sore throat while playing in a makeshift wrestling ring off the family backyard and, even with early treatment, the bacteria spread too quickly and he died merely two weeks later. Absolutely horrifying.

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  12. Pretty sure Shawn was all for having Lothario in his corner, at least.

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  13. Two weeks? Still beats an agonizing death by cancer over years.

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  14. I don't know, I seem to remember a match, I think the Summerslam one against Vader, where Shawn pushes Jose out of the way, presumably because he was pissed that he was in the way of his victory shot on the hard camera. Of course, Shawn was pretty much a prick to everyone back then so that doesn't mean that he didn't want Jose in his corner. I just think Jose made him look uncool, but maybe I'm totally wrong.

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  15. Good info, thanks.

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  16. I'm just going by what Shawn said in his book.

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  17. I'm probably the biggest Shawn mark ever, and even I wouldn't trust what he says half the time.

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  18. Shawn's book is...not the best.

    When it was written+published by wwe+written by ghost writer=shoddy source for such things.

    That said I've never heard anything about him being anti-Lothario.

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  19. This comment is far better than anyone is giving it credit for

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  20. Vader would've jobber in 10 seconds?! Fuck that shit

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  21. He did job in 10 seconds. It just wasn't aired.

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  22. I don't remember where I read it (the Observer maybe?), but I'm pretty sure Shawn hated having Jose around.

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  23. Good lord, the Hart family has gone through an unspeakable amount of tragedy.

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  24. Cornette's KC Timeline 1997 shoot he mentions Shawn hating having Jose around

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  25. I still don't understand why Vince books stuff that he doesn't want to get over. Is that not the most counter-productive thing ever? Let's say plumber guy gets himself over. So you wouldn't push the guy? What else did they have going at this point?

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  26. I kind of liked the idea of using one of the top tag teams as a couple of contenders for the singles Titles for a major show. But the Smoking Gunns didn't really have any kind of cred against Ahmed & Shawn, especially going for that much time.

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  27. It's kind of sad that we can't look to PPV buyrates to judge the success of certain shows. It lent a certain credence to "____ isn't over- look at what that PPV drew!" or "The booking sucked- you can see the prove by the buyrate of ______"

    Granted, people would read whatever they wanted into those numbers ("It wasn't _____'s fault- it was the fault of ______ for not being over/the booking/bad timing!"), but it was still fun to have the numbers.

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  28. MaffewOfBotchamaniaJune 5, 2015 at 5:21 AM

    The very end bit where Sid drives his car into a load of cardboard boxes is great though.

    Sid always had the best luck with cars. ''WHY ME, WHY MEEEEEE''

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  29. "HUHHHHHHHHHHHHHH?"

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  30. They hired quite a few guys around this period, gave them crappy gimmicks and intended on using them as jobbers. I'm sure some of the wrestlers tried to make the best out of a bad situation but once management or Vince sees you as a job guy, it's very hard to shake that stigma off no matter if you end up drawing heat or not. I'm just thankful Jericho was never part of this crew of jobbers.

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  31. Vader and Mankind were jobbing in 30 seconds on all of the houseshow tours.

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  32. My main issue with Lothario was why was he sticking around? I accepted the fact that Shawn needed him to help train for getting his World Title win, but shouldn't Jose have left after that instead of touring the country with him? Just let Shawn come out on his own as world champion.

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  33. Yeah, it would've been better if the New Rockers were pushed as the top team instead. I know they wouldn't stand a chance to win the singles titles either, but at least there's history between Shawn and Marty and a story of Marty being jealous of Shawn.

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  34. I think if they didn't had tried to give them gimmicks and just use them as jobbers, nobody would have complained.

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  35. Not sure if you know, but Bret mentioned in his book that the only way they could save the boy's life was to amputate his arms and legs (though he'll still be brain damaged), but I believe his parents decided to let him die because that's not a life for any human being.

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  36. I think that was the purpose of giving them gimmicks. WWF wanted to slowly do away of those ham and egger matches because I imagine they were ratings death and instead feature jobbers with gimmicks to give the impression that they were at least somewhat special.

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  37. Belee_Matt!_INDEED!!!June 5, 2015 at 6:01 AM

    "As noted many times by smart-ass online fans at the time, a plumber would be making WAY more than a low-level WWF guy at the time would be making, so why would he care about being a wrestler?"


    Fame? I mean, I know who TL Hopper was, but I can't remember the guy who reset the flange on my toilet a couple years back.

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  38. If WWE likes you, it's never your fault, which is why Orton got chance after chance of being on top, but if you're CM Punk or Daniel Bryan, WWE will look at the first PPV that they headlined and if it bombed all the blame will go to them.

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  39. Plus I think being a well paid plumber only happens if you own your own business.

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  40. Belee_Matt!_INDEED!!!June 5, 2015 at 6:06 AM

    Hey, I know....let's try to minimize the impact of getting Flesh eating bacteria!


    Really?


    ^__^

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  41. I think the idea was since he was a tag team champion, WWF wanted to protect him and also give them credibility by being in a competitive match against a top star. I actually prefer this method of booking as opposed to today where they treat their secondary champions like shit.

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  42. I think Shawn is fairly smart to the business so I would like to think that he knew being paired up with Jose was death for him.

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  43. Belee_Matt!_INDEED!!!June 5, 2015 at 6:12 AM

    Hmmm....cool nWo guys and cruiserweights on TNT or male stripper/old guy mentor/fat plumber on USA...?


    What to watch, what to watch....

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  44. Maybe the thinking was that fills would buy into the chances of a TL Hopper, Freddie Joe Floyd, or The Goon winning than Horowitz or Devito. They hasn't been beat over and over, and with gimmicks they could seem better wrestlers than just the usual job guy.

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  45. Actially, he was scheduled for the surgery, but died before they could perform it.

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  46. The same month that WCW has a six man PPV main event with top stars WWF did the same thing.

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  47. They were special - specially bad. I think it hurt the product more than it helped.

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  48. The theory was sound because I imagine more people would watch a match featuring 2 name guys (even if one of those guys was a jobber) compared to watching a ham and egger match, but yeah the execution and the gimmicks given were awful.

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  49. Well if i had to watch Duke Drose vs TL Hopper or Dean Malenko vs Rey Mysterio on the other channel, I know what i'm choosing.

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  50. Old guy mentor is totally underrated.

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  51. Yeah, in his book he said he was for it. I don't know if he pushed for it or just agreed it was a good idea, but he wasn't against it not realizing at the time how lame it made him.

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  52. Shawn having someone in Lothario's role could have worked if it were a more recognizable old school tough guy to balance out Shawn's male stripper act and give him more of a tougher edge.

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  53. They could do that today: New Day with Big E or Kofi going after the titles.


    Before he got injured: Cesaro against WWE champ; Kidd vs Cena or Ryback

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  54. Verne Gagne or Harley Race come to mind.

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  55. What about Greg Gagne? He could have taught Shawn the secrets of the Indian deathlock.

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  56. Billy Graham would have worked well in that role

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  57. RAMBO GREG GAGNE

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgRq9oZ0hxk

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  58. Hahaha what about Bruno?

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  59. It was probably never intended to air, even if Warrior had stayed. Just something to send the crowd home happy.

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  60. could have worked also

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  61. AverageJoeEverymanJune 5, 2015 at 7:37 AM

    And his nickname "Super Sock" always made me think of a long old school sweatsock with 2 or three colored stripes at the top.

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  62. The thing is Jose never did shit. We never saw him give Shawn good advice in a match or beat up someone that interfered so he was basically an old Mexican cheerleader in Shawn's corner.

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  63. Jose Lothario sucked.

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  64. It could've been worse for Tony Anthony... he could've been Who.

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  65. Frankly, I'm shocked that you ever came back after spending weeks trying to get 'gaysex predator' over.

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  66. He did get into a few confrontations with Cornette and he actually had a match with him at IYH: Mind Games.

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  67. Sid hitting him with a camera to a gigantic pop was awesome

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  68. Worse than the Von Erich's.

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  69. I know the story but I don't understand the point. He never gave any of the guys a chance to get over. If they fail to get over then turn them into jobbers. Just seems backwards to me. Don't think he needed to go through all that to find people to take a 3 count

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  70. smh, Scott can't get past his bias and has to go back to the inferior product at the time just because.

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  71. 1) How dare Scott subject us to his "biases" (e.g. preferences) on a site called Scott's Blog of Doom
    2) It seems he's gone Nitro, Raw, Nitro, Raw, Nitro, Raw so what are you even talking about?

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  72. Woah...ok, settle down. Geez. I know it's his blog but he had mentioned last week that he would stick only to Nitro because the majority wanted it and now he reneged on that.

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  73. LOL, same here. What a ridiculous nickname.

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  74. It was completely unnecessary. Shawn got over on his own. Maybe his lame-ass face character still would've been a lame-ass, but adding an old dude of any kind did nothing for him and didn't fit at all.

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  75. "GOLDBEEEEEERRRRRRG!! AAAAAAH!"

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  76. The American InsomniacJune 6, 2015 at 6:27 AM

    So it looked like Veda enjoyed the squash a little too much. Is there a heel turn coming?

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  77. Did you know that that you can generate cash by locking premium pages of your blog / site?
    All you need to do is to open an account on AdscendMedia and embed their content locking plug-in.

    ReplyDelete