The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 01.22.96
Kind of a giant content dump this week for some reason, with the archives now going to the end of March all of a sudden.
Live from Stockton CA
Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler
Savio Vega v. THE MAN THEY CALL VADER
The crowd is already going nuts for Vader, who beats the hell out of Savio in the corner. Blind charge misses and Savio comes back with chops to put him on the floor, but Vader drops him on the railing to end that comeback. Back in, Vader hits his corner splash this time and the Vaderbomb finishes at 3:00. Total destruction, which you think would make an unfuckupable push, and yet you’d be wrong. Vader continues his run of violence afterwards, powerbombing poor Jack Doan in a great spot, and this prompts Gorilla Monsoon to come out and suspend him personally. Vader doesn’t deal well with rejection, so he slaps Gorilla around as well (after taking some chops from him) and then just destroys him with a Vaderbomb until the Kliq makes the save. This was AWESOME, but sadly took a long time to actually pay off. Gorilla decidedly not taking any shit from the heel was a great touch. This essentially wrote both Vader and Monsoon out of the show for a while.
Meanwhile, Vader tosses garbage cans around backstage in anger. One of the cans accidentally hits a young Dean Ambrose, there on a school field trip, and Dean is so dazed that a young Bray Wyatt hits Sister Abigail for the pin.
Razor Ramon v. Hunter Hearst Helmsley
So this marks another historic first, as HHH brings his first skank with him as arm candy (Shae Marks) in an angle that would eventually lead to the introduction of Sable. Razor slugs away and works the arm to start as Hunter bumps all over and we take a break. Back with Razor on the floor, and Hunter suplexes him into the ring and works on the back. Clothesline gets two. Hunter chokes away on the ropes while 1-2-3 Kid comes out and shoves a baby bottle in Razor’s mouth, resulting in Razor chasing Kid around for the countout at 8:00. Shit finish and the match fell apart after the break. *1/2 This would also lead to one of the low points of Kid’s career and the year in general.
Billionaire Ted’s Rasslin’ War Room: The Final Chapter. “Presented for comedic purposes”, notes Vince. This time, Ted wants original ideas, but Scheme Gene’s idea is too hot for TV and you have to call his hotline. This one landed with a thud. And it certainly wasn’t the final chapter, as claimed. Also, the WWF had no call to be giving others shit about fraudulent hotline practices. After this aired, Bischoff sent a letter to Vince’s secretary asking him to continue doing the skits because it was driving Nitro’s ratings upwards even more. BOOM.
Shawn Michaels is out after winning the Rumble and he’s already starting with the pandering nonsense as top babyface, smiling like a jackass. I will say, however, that was I still 100% team HBK back in 1996, but once he actually won the belt that changed fast. Shawn still wants Owen Hart, so Jim Cornette interrupts and challenges Shawn to a match with the title shot on the line on his behalf. Shawn accepts, and then throws Cornette out of the ring. Cornette lands on Dean Ambrose, and then Bray Wyatt hits Sister Abigail out of nowhere for the pin.
Bret Hart v. Goldust
Goldust now has Marlena and the more familiar version of his music without the looping, as they’re finally tweaking the character to make it work better. Despite both guys now holding titles, this is non-title. We take an immediate break and return with Goldust working on the arm, and then ANOTHER break. Back with Goldust still on the arm, but Bret dumps him and Razor comes out and tosses him back in. And we take a THIRD break. Back with Bret making the comeback and hooking the Sharpshooter at 11:00. Only 5:00 of that actually aired on TV. Can’t even rate the match, really.
Next week: Billionaire Ted has a press conference to reveal why he wants to put the WWF out of business! Oh fuck.
The super-hot Stockton crowd made the opening angle into an all-time classic and carried the rest of the show into being more entertaining than it should have been. Good stuff.