The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 05.20.96 Taped from Sioux City, IA Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler Stone Cold Steve Austin v. Wildman Marc Mero It’s the battle of bitter Bischoff firings! Austin works on the arm and they trade hammerlocks on the mat, and Mero gets a crossbody for two and they exchange more mat wrestling until Mero dropkicks him to the floor. Back in, Mero charges and walks into a stungun in the corner. Austin takes over with choking on the ropes and we take a break. Back with Mero getting a rollup for two, but Austin takes him down and drops the middle rope elbow for two. I should note that this is either really early in the taping or really late because there are dozens of empty seats on camera side and you can see people getting up and leaving during the match. Austin goes to a lengthy chinlock, but Mero fights out and hits a double axehandle for two. Clothesline gets two. Dibiase trips up Mero and Austin goes up to finish, but Savio Vega runs in for the DQ at 12:00. *1/2 Meanwhile, things are bad in Kuwait, but AHMED JOHNSON and America team up to rescue them from devastation. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t want to be walking around the Middle East wearing American flag themed Zubaz at the best of times. Savio Vega v. 1-2-3 Kid Yay, more Savio. He tosses the Kid and goes to a chinlock back in the ring, and that goes on for a while. Finally Savio gets distracted by Ted Dibiase and Kid takes over with a spinkick for two. Vince and Ted discuss the merits of being a chauffeur while the Kid gets a flying splash for two. Hey, maybe if Savio had gone with the chauffeur gig he could have ended up in the Hall of Fame like James Dudley! Kid goes to the chinlock as we take a break, and we return with Kid getting a legdrop for two. They slug it out and Kid chokes him out on the ropes, but Savio hits a kick for two. Savio with a nice uranage for two, but Kid spinkicks him again and then misses another flying splash. Savio rolls him up for the pin at 9:43. And then Steve Austin attacks in revenge for the last match. Slightly less boring than the opener, I guess. ** Meanwhile, at Madison Square Garden, the Godwinns win the tag titles from the Bodydonnas and Sunny tricks PIG into signing a contract for her managerial services. And so the Godwinns will now defend against the Gunns during the PPV pre-show, thus giving them a tag title reign of a little over a week. Why they didn’t just have the Gunns return and beat the Bodydonnas directly, I have no idea. Undertaker does an interview from a casket, and yet again Mankind attacks him and seals him into the casket. Well really he was kind of asking for that one. The British Bulldog v. Jake Roberts We get a bunch of silliness before the match with Diana filing a restraining order against Shawn Michaels, so Gorilla sends her back to the dressing room so that Shawn can come out and do commentary. In the Observers at the time, Meltzer was really white-knighting this storyline, pointing out how strong business was and how great of a heel reaction that Davey Boy was getting all over. Jake quickly gets the kneelift, but Bulldog bails for advice from Jim Cornette. That advice? “If the people in the Dairy Queen drive-thru screw up your order, stand up for yourself!” Bulldog works on the knee for a while as we get some thrilling action of both guys laying on the mat and selling. Bulldog stays on the knee while Jerry assassinates Shawn’s character on commentary. They really should have done more with the subplot where Marty Jannetty also threatened to come clean with Shawn’s dirty laundry from the Rocker days. They actually could have gone somewhere with that and had him blackmailing Shawn or something along those lines. Jake finally fights back and sets up for the DDT, but Bulldog takes out the knee again and goes to a half-crab now. Jake makes the ropes, so Bulldog drags him out again and goes back to working on the leg to slow down the torrid pace of this classic encounter. And then with a minute left in the show, the damn Network starts lagging and buffering again. As if to punish me by elongating this shitty, boring match on this shitty, boring show. Back to the half-crab, but now Diana wanders out as we take a break. Back with Shawn beating up Jim Cornette and no apparent finish after 13:00 of “action”. DUD Great way to build up Bulldog for that title match on Sunday. The Pulse God damn fourth week taping cycle shows. Next week: Everything up until now was basically a prologue to what happens on Nitro. THE MONDAY NIGHT WARS BEGIN!