The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 05.05.97
Last week: Brian Pillman prayed for our salvation and then Steve Austin beat him up with an axehandle. Apparently Austin and the Hart Foundation just do not like each other.
Live from Green Bay, WI
Your hosts are Vince McMahon, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler.
The Hart Foundation joins us and they’re united and Owen is carrying all their myriad belts. Bret offers thanks to Owen for winning the IC title (and dedicating the win to Bret) and thanks to Pillman for leading them all in prayer. Austin was going to throw him off the stage, breaking every bone in his body! Austin is not here tonight, because Bret thinks he “doesn’t have the jam”. Plus, you know, Neidhart beat him up so badly that he’s home recuperating with broken bones. Also, Bret Hart hates everyone in the arena because everyone is JEALOUS of him and all the gold his team has. So now they’ve dealt with Austin and it’s time to move their wrath onto someone else: Shawn Michaels. They’re the lions, and he’s the antelope. This was one of the weaker “Bret Hart vs. the USA” promos.
Meanwhile, The Harts wheel Bret around backstage looking for Shawn. Might wanna try Sunny’s locker room.
Ahmed Johnson v. Rockabilly
Ahmed is wearing what appears to be pajama pants, and doesn’t even let Rockabilly play his guitar before attacking him and beating him up in the corner. Billy necksnaps him to escape and Faarooq does a drop-in to let us know that he’s hired “three of the biggest and baddest ghetto men” for Crush to face tonight as a warmup for Ahmed. Is that, like, Kimbo Slice? Billy really takes control of this thrilling match by going to a sleeper, and he actually has him beat, but stupidly releases the hold to dance and grab his guitar. Ahmed steals it and nails him with it at 4:03 for the DQ. They could not have made both guys look more like geeks if they had been trying. Terrible match with a stupid finish. DUD
Meanwhile, we take a special look at Ken Shamrock, examining his troubled youth and daddy issues. And they show him coaching Little League and training people at grapping and generally being at peace, which seems like the worst possible way to make you think he’s the WORLD’S MOST DANGEROUS MAN. They need to show footage of him fucking dudes up in MMA, not this touchy-feely stuff.
The Man They Call Vader v. Goldust
Vader gets some shots in the corner, but Goldust spears him and slugs away. Vader puts him down and butt-splashes him, but stops to go jaw at color commentator Ken Shamrock and we take a break. Back with Vader hitting a splash and going to a chinlock, but he tries a corner splash and Goldust catches him with a slam. Vader literally jumped up and put himself in Goldust’s arms there, it looked pretty ridiculous. Goldust makes a quick comeback, but Vader cuts off the Flip Flop and Fly and finishes him with the pump splash at 7:20. This wasn’t exactly a classic like their WCW matches were, but at least it had a finish. *1/2 Vader suckers Ken into a fight, allowing Mankind to charge in and attack, but Goldust makes the save.
Meanwhile, Dustin Rhodes and his wife Terri sit down with Jim Ross for a special interview, as Dustin talks about wishing people would ask about him and not his dad, and becoming Goldust to get out of his shadow. Also, Razor Ramon apparently refused to wrestle him. Sadly, he hasn’t spoken to Big Dust in over two years, but we’ll learn more next week. This was an interesting idea, but the payoff was not worth four weeks of interviews and really it didn’t do anything to help reheat the character.
Meanwhile, The Hart Foundation has apparently found Shawn Michaels in a bathroom, but it turns out to be some jobber instead. They’re beating him down and Owen goes “Wait a sec, that’s not him”, and then they pause briefly and continue beating the poor doofus up anyway. That was pretty funny.
Crush v. Three Ghetto Men
Crush finishes with the first geek with a press slam backbreaker at 0:32. The second one appears to be wearing some kind of training bra and he tries a cross body but gets killed with three legdrops and a heart punch at 1:30. Ghetto Man #3 runs down, hits him with a Pearl River Plunge, and pins him before SHOCKINGLY unmasking as Ahmed Johnson.
Meanwhile, Bret directs his family in searching underneath the production trucks, just in case Shawn is hiding under there.
This show is majorly dragging and we’re only at the end of the first hour!
Shawn Michaels joins us and promises that he’s here to do the opposite of Bret and suck up to the fans instead of insulting them. He’s also getting anxious to return, so he’ll be back at King of the Ring next month. In the Observer that week, Dave notes that it was supposed to be the long-awaiting Bret v. Shawn rematch, with the winner facing Undertaker at Summerslam, but “Shawn’s WCW friends” have telling everyone that there’s no way Shawn is going to job to Bret. Bret interrupts on the Titantron and he’s offended that Shawn would attack the Simpsons, so Bret sends Jim Neidhart out to deal with HBK while trying to get “you haven’t got the jam” over as a thing that people say. Of course, it quickly turns into a 3-on-1 beatdown from the Hart Foundation, but the LOD makes the save.
Doug Furnas & Phil LaFon v. The Legion of Doom
The Road Warriors have HORRIBLE new gear, with shoulder straps to hide their flabby old man gut, which is pretty damn sad. Hawk slugs away on LaFon in the corner to start, but Furnas comes in and gets double-teamed by the LOD as we take a break. Back with Animal chinlocking Furnas, but he gets dumped and LaFon suplexes him on the floor and gets two. Animal comes back with an atomic drop, but Furnas gets a dropkick as this goes on and on. Hot tag Hawk, but the Harts join us at ringside as they’re rapidly approaching the saturation point this week. And then Owen gets a completely mistimed necksnap on Hawk and LaFon pins him at 7:52 for a complete “slip on a banana peel” win, which Hawk then immediately no-sells by popping up and chasing them off. Furnas and LaFon look like they’ve given up at this point. LOD gets yet another title shot at the Harts based off this at the Cold Day in Hell show, by the way. *
Undertaker is out to let us know that someone has stolen his belt, and that person probably should return it. Like, immediately.
British Bulldog v. Steve Austin
Austin quickly takes Bulldog down and works a hammerlock, and we take a break. Back with Bulldog kicking him in the nuts to take control, then goes to a headlock and follows with a delayed suplex. And we hit the chinlock. Austin comes back with the Thesz Press and tries a Sharpshooter, but Bulldog powers out and goes back to the chinlock. And then we take a second break as this has yet to get out of park, let alone first gear. Back with Bulldog trying the powerslam, but Austin escapes, awkwardly stomps a mudhole in the corner, and then finishes with an ugly stunner out of nowhere at 13:42. Most of the match was contested during commercials and it was REALLY disappointing, unless guys chinlocking each other is your deal. * The Harts storm in for yet another beatdown, but LOD makes the save and then Furnas & LaFon come down for god knows what reason and don’t help anyone in particular. It’s just kind of a heatless brawl until the lights go out and Undertaker materializes in the ring, as it turns out that Owen Hart had the WWF title belt all along. So the heels leave the belt and run away, but Austin grabs the belt and Taker gets all pissy and beats on Austin until the show ends.
Yeah, this show was definitely the point where we hit the oversaturation point for the Harts, but thankfully they toned it down a bit afterwards. Nothing on Cold Day In Hell seems particularly interesting to me after watching these, but it’s only 90 minutes anyway so I’ll redo it next.