The SmarK 24/7 Rant for Monday Night RAW – 02.24.97
– And now, RAW is ECW!
– Live from the Manhattan Center.
– Your hosts are Vince McMahon, Jerry Lawler & Paul Heyman
– So with everyone off touring Germany and establishing the European title, we’re left with a skeleton crew, to be filled out by ECW’s roster. This was, to say the least, huge for ECW.
The Godwinns v. The New Blackjacks
This is the debut of the short-lived revamp of Bradshaw & Barry Windham. Big brawl to start and Henry slams Windham, and Phineas dumps him in the corner. Over to Bradshaw, who can’t overpower PIG, so he slugs him in the corner instead. An elbowdrop misses, however, and it’s back to Henry for a quick double-team elbow, and that gets two for Henry. Clothesline as the rough and tough cowboys continue to bump all over the place for the pig farmers, and finally Windham gets a cheapshot and drags Henry out to beat on him. Back in, Bradshaw gets two. Windham gets a backdrop suplex as we cut to a visiting Ultimate Fighter in the audience, someone named Ken Shamrock. That guy should try wrestling sometime. Bradshaw pounds away with forearms in the corner, but runs into a boot, and it’s tags on both sides. Phineas puts Windham in a sleeper for god knows what reason, and Bradshaw breaks it up with the Clothesline From Hell to finish at 5:51, despite the foot being on the ropes. Another ref tries to overturn the decision, to no avail. It’s funny that they cared enough to protect the GODWINNS. This one pretty much killed the Blackjacks out of gate, although it’s not like the original team was such a huge draw that they needed another one. *1/4
– Just for the heck of it, the Eliminators hit the ring with Paul Heyman and lay out a ringboy with Total Elimination.
Little Guido v. Big Stevie Cool
Vince’s non-plussed reaction to the BWO is surreal stuff. I’m pretty sure that Rob Feinstein’s appearance here as “7-11” is his only RAW appearance. Stevie gets a blockbuster slam on Guido and a sideslam. Awesome bit on commentary as Lawler calls the BWO a rip-off, and Heyman immediately responds “Who are they ripping off?” in a great moment, leaving both Lawler and Vince speechless. Raven comes out and distracts Stevie, allowing Guido to get a rollup. Whip into the corner gets two, and Guido hits the chinlock. Bulldog gets two. Stevie comes back with a fameasser for two, which sets up the powerbomb and Steviekick to finish at 3:37. Vince again reiterates that they’re not to be confused with the “New World Order clothing line”. Match was nothing special. *
– And now, from revolutionary to time-wasting crap, as we get an arm-wrestling match between Sunny and Marlena, with the usual heel stalling from Sunny and lecherous refereeing duties by Honky Tonk Man. And if you’ve watched wrestling for more than two weeks, you’ll be able to figure out that Sunny cheats and attacks Marlena when she’s on the verge of losing. Savio Vega and Goldust hit the ring off of that, and we take a break before returning with…
Savio Vega v. Goldust
We’re joined in progress with Savio choking Goldust on the mat, and a sideslam gets two. The ECW fans amuse themselves by chanting “Candido” at Sunny, in the days when that was still a big secret. Savio does some more choking in the corner. Miguel Perez on color commentary is the DEFINITION of excitement. And why do they always ask Spanish-speaking wrestlers to say something to their fans in Spanish? They’ve been doing that since Pedro Morales. Savio dumps Goldust and pounds on him out there, and back in for an axe kick and some more choking. He switches to a nervehold, but Goldust breaks free and gets a bodypress for two. Savio takes him down with another kick, for two. He pounds away in the corner to maintain the blistering pace of this match, but Goldust fights back with a DDT. Savio recovers first, but misses a splash and Goldust comes back. A pair of clotheslines and he gets the mounted punches in the corner, but goes up and gets crotched. Savio makes the mistake of slapping Goldust’s ass, however (truly a cardinal error) and gets knocked down. Goldust stomps him, but misses an elbow, as does Savio. This is a total trainwreck. Savio totally whiffs on a leg lariat, missing by a foot, and Goldust kind of half-sells it as things get more embarrassing by the minute. Finally Crush runs in for the DQ at 8:27 to mercy-kill this. This just went on and on. 1/2*
– Jerry Lawler stops by to annoy Ken Shamrock at ringside.
Taz v. Mikey Whipwreck
Taz takes him down a couple of times and then hits a northern lights suplex for two. Tiger suplex follows, but Mikey gets a sunset flip for two. Taz creams him, but Mikey evades him in the corner for a bit before Taz whiplashes him on an alley-oop attempt. Sabu hits the ring by diving off the “R” in RAW onto Team Taz, but Taz finishes Mikey with the Tazmission anyway at 3:33. Vince calls him “Mickey” and Paul counters with “You need to watch the tapes that Bruce Pritchard leaves on your desk” in a great comeback.
The Headbangers v. The Legion of Doom
And so the LOD returns, although really they had nothing for them to do. The LOD cleans house and they work on Thrasher’s arm, but Mosh comes in and Hawk beats on him, too. Funniest line of the show from Vince: “No censorship here in the WW[bleep]” Hawk holds a chinlock for a while, and gets a dropkick for two. Mosh tries a sunset flip and gets hammered as a result, and Hawk gets a delayed suplex. The LOD works on Mosh in the corner, but he fights over and tags Thrasher, and he’s got nothing either. Animal chokes him out in the corner, but Hawk misses a blind charge and the Bangers double-team him on the floor as we take a break. Back with Thrasher getting two. Hawk makes the hot tag and it’s a big brawl. A big boring brawl. And everyone is counted out at 7:36. The crowd’s initial excitement at the return of the Road Warriors was tempered by how much they sucked, I think. 1/2*
– And now, the greatest moment of this show or any other, “Tell Me A Lie,” a music video dedicated to Shawn Michaels. And a more appropriate song title you couldn’t think of.
D-Von Dudley v. Tommy Dreamer
Tommy blocks a hiptoss with a bulldog to start and tosses him, and he grabs some weapons from fans at ringside. Then, for fun, he dropkicks the ring steps into D-Von’s face. It’s funny to hear Vince and Jerry all morally outraged by this stuff when 2 years later the entire promotion would be based around that style. D-Von comes back with a chairshot, and a sideslam on the chair. Legdrop on the chair as Paul and Jerry into an epic argument on commentary. D-Von misses a flying headbutt and Tommy gets the piledriver, but Sign Guy gets involved with Beulah at ringside, distracting everyone. She goes low on D-Von and Tommy finishes with a DDT at 4:27. This was crazy stuff for a RAW in 1997, especially when the Dudleyz hit 3D for the first time on RAW, but of course not for the last time. Sandman makes the save and lays them out with chairshots, although Jerry isn’t impressed. The match was fine, but Lawler calling Paul Heyman a “jock-sniffer” adds an extra star. **
– Last week, Sid wins the title back from Bret Hart and pisses off Bret in the process. Not as bad as Vince would later that year, of course.
– We take another crack at interviewing Ken Shamrock, with Todd Pettingill doing the honors this time.
Faarooq v. The Undertaker
Undertaker beats on poor D-Lo Brown, who doesn’t even have a name at this point, and then hits the flying clothesline on Faarooq in the ring. Old School ropewalk and UT follows with an elbow, and Faarooq bails. Back in, Taker walks into an elbow and Faarooq walks into a boot to even things up. That gets two for Taker. Short clothesline, but he misses an elbow and Faarooq gets two. He dumps Taker, and D-Lo gets his revenge as he stomps UT. Back in, Faarooq goes to work on the knee, clipping him twice and getting two as a result. Taker comes back with a rather impressive fameasser, but misses a legdrop and hurts his knee again. Faarooq goes back to it and wraps the knee around the post, but Taker evades a charge and gets a rollup for two. Faarooq hits the chinlock as the crowd gets embarrassingly thinned out, with tons of empty seats after the ECW guys are gone while the supposed big stars are in the main event. Taker fights back, but Faarooq powerslams him for two. He goes up, and Taker powerslams him off the top to come back. They head out and Faarooq tries to use the stairs, but gets them kicked back at him. That looks pretty laughable compared to what Dreamer and D-Von were doing with them. Back in, Faarooq gets a piledriver, but UT no-sells, and Savio runs in for the DQ at 10:56. Why am I not surprised? Dull but watchable. **
I gotta say, this one makes for a tough decision as to who the winner is this week. Nitro wasn’t about anything, but the matches were pretty good. RAW was vital and fresh on the ECW side of things, but the WWF matches featured an array of screwjobs IN EVERY MATCH. Would one clean finish have killed them? As much as it pains me to say, I liked Nitro better this time around, as RAW was a chore to watch during the matches and only felt fun when ECW was invading. Still, both are well worth watching this time around.