The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW–07.22.96

The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 07.22.96 Season six of Sons of Anarchy finally wrapped up this weekend in our household, and MAN did that finale suck. Someone should have told Kurt Sutter that just because FX offers you a two-hour slot for the finale, you don’t have to take a 40 minute episode and stretch it out by having everyone make dramatic pauses in between lines. And quite the downer for the season to end on, as well. I found most of it pretty rambling and low-stakes once the whole Lee Toric thing was dealt with and I’d call it the second-worst season after the Belfast one. Especially with every episode being overly long like they were. But hey, we’ve got one season left, so hopefully it wraps up nicely. Live from Seattle, WA. This is actually shot like a full arena setup, even with only a 7000 seat capacity for this taping, which gives the show a much bigger feel than it’s been having lately. Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler WWF tag titles: The Smoking Gunns vs. Shawn Michaels & Ahmed Johnson It’s Shawn’s birthday, so Sunny brings a cake with her to celebrate. She likely gave him another birthday present in the locker room beforehand as well, if you know what I mean. By which I mean a nice watch. The Gunns attack on the floor to start, before Shawn can even get his pyro, so Sunny tries to throw the cake in his face and suffers the fickle hand of irony when Ahmed dumps it on her instead. I’m sure he probably dumped another load of something onto her in the locker room, if you know what I mean. By which I mean he had sex with her. So this doesn’t happen, although Gorilla announces after the break that it will be delayed until later in the show…OR ELSE. Marc Mero vs. The Goon The next great uber-jobber gimmick debuts, as apparently Bill Irwin REALLY needed the cash. The Goon attacks with some hipchecks in the corner and an elbow. The touches with the character are kind of funny, actually, like the faux-Devils jersey and skate-shaped boots, but man what a stupid idea overall. Goon with a clothesline and high knee in the corner as Goon takes a ridiculous amount of the offense here and Jake Roberts calls in for an interview while Lawler mocks him on commentary. Mero finally comes back with a dropkick and a rollup for two. Meanwhile, Steve Austin on commentary gets an epic burial of Lex Luger and the time they “painted a school bus red white and blue so someone could go around kissing babies”, and he suggests giving HIM a bus so he could go town to town and whip everyone’s ass. Meanwhile, Goon goes to the chinlock, but Mero comes back with a sloppy headscissors that they manage to mess up, but Goon cuts him off AGAIN and dumps him to the floor. Goon charges and slips on the remains of the cake, and Mero hits him with the somersault plancha and finishes with a slingshot legdrop at 7:15. This was a DISASTER. -* Meltzer details a story about then-wrestler Scott D’Amore doing the same gimmick and making the mistake of telling the WWF about it, only to see them never call him back and then debut the exact same gimmick two weeks later. Meanwhile, Clarence Mason presses Gorilla Monsoon to allow a mysterious former convict to compete in the WWF again. Mankind vs. Freddie Joe Floyd And here’s Tracy Smothers, the next in the line of goofy jobbers. Mankind with the usual dismantling of Floyd, but he misses a charge and Floyd makes the comeback with the enzuigiri and a flying elbow for two. Rollup gets two. Floyd goes up again and Mankind brings him down with the Mandible Claw at 3:49 to finish. Energetic little squash. ** Goldust vs. Barry Horowitz Brian Pillman is on commentary and promises to say the “seven words” at some point. Well Russo wasn’t booking quite yet, otherwise he might have. Goldust finishes quickly with the Curtain Call at 2:10. Pillman is quite excited for the prospect of a three-way with Marlena and Sable before Vince quickly cuts him off and moves on. Vader announces that he’s getting a title shot at Summerslam, and he’s the bully who’s gonna steal Shawn’s lunch money, and by lunch money he’s metaphorically referring to the WWF title. WWF tag titles: The Smoking Gunns vs. Shawn Michaels & Ahmed Johnson Take two. Shawn slugs Billy down to start and clotheslines him to the floor, and Ahmed comes in to work on the arm as we take a break. Back with Bart getting a cheapshot on Ahmed to take over, but Shawn comes in and runs wild on Billy until Bart clotheslines him on the top rope to slow him down again. Press slam onto the top rope follows. Shawn bumping around the ring as face-in-peril is the role he was born to play. The Gunns beat on him outside and Billy gets two in the ring, and we get the classic cutting the ring in half heel tactics from the Gunns. And it ALWAYS WORKS. The fans in the front row are just enraged as we take a break. Back with the wide shot of the arena, where you can see it’s scaled to just the one side like a low-level concert bowl setup. Why ruin the illusion? Billy with the corner clothesline for two and he goes to the chinlock, but Shawn fights out and noggins are knocked. HOT tag Ahmed, as the asskicking babyface half of the tag team is a role that Ahmed was born to play as well, and he cleans house in impressive fashion until FAAROOQ debuts in his gladiator gear and attacks Ahmed on the floor for the DQ at 16:00. I have no idea who thought that look would be a good idea. ***1/2 Also, why would Ron Simmons let himself balloon to 300 pounds like that just before getting a big contract and push? The Pulse Big crowd and hot main event make this is a much easier show to sit through than recent weeks.