(I did the two new Hidden Gem additions and then kind of ran out of ideas for other stuff to review, so you get this instead. That’s the way it goes sometimes.)
The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 03.06.95
Taped from Macon, GA.
Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jim Cornette.
The British Bulldog v. Shawn Michaels
This was actually an incredibly important match in getting Shawn to the next level as a believable main event guy with a real finisher. Bulldog tosses him around and Shawn stops to cut a punch-drunk promo on Vince at ringside, as Bulldog won’t let him back into the ring. Finally he comes back in with a cheapshot, but misses a charge and gets hurled to the floor again. And you wonder why he was retired with spinal fusion less than three years after this? Bulldog works a headlock, but Shawn takes him down into a short-arm scissors. Jim Cornette is marking out for that, but of course the move is designed for Bulldog to power out and drop Shawn on his head, which is what happens after we take a break. I find hard to believe that they worked a short-arm scissors for 3:00, but whatever. So Bulldog keeps turning Shawn into a ragdoll physics demo and then hooks a bow-and-arrow submission as this is a really different type of match for Davey than his usual bullshit at this point. Shawn escapes, but charges and lands in the loving arms of Sid. Sid tosses him back in and Shawn gets two off that, but Bulldog hammers the back again and hits a delayed suplex for two. Finally Shawn tosses him and Bulldog tweaks his knee on the way down, and Shawn takes over. He slugs away in the corner and goes to a lengthy chinlock that kind of drags things down a bit, but Bulldog powers out with a suplex as we take another break. Back with both guys out on the mat, but Bulldog recovers first with a sleeper and Shawn hits the post making the escape. Bulldog comes back with clotheslines for two and a press slam onto the top rope, as Shawn bumps all over like crazy. Bulldog charges and hits the floor, and Sid just has to stand there to draw heat, but he chooses to boot Bulldog into the post anyway. Bulldog beats the count, and Shawn rolls him up for two. Superkick finishes clean at 24:00. And there you go, Shawn wins clean and now the superkick is a legit main event finishing move. **** Meltzer only gave it ***1/4 at the time, but it has aged incredibly well.
Meanwhile, at the Wrestlemania XI press conference, Diesel recounts his feud with Shawn Michaels, and Lawrence Taylor accepts Bam Bam’s challenge. The mainstream media absolutely ripped this to SHREDS, mocking LT for taking part and saying he had lost all cred. For me personally, I didn’t know who Taylor was and I thought it was fine as a wrestling angle and a great celebrity match. The more I learned about LT’s history from reading the Observer after the fact, the more it became obvious that he had no cred left to lose anyway.
Coming to Wrestlemania weekend: The second annual fan festival, where you can learn what it’s like to be a wrestler. The kid in the promo bit is wearing a fanny pack so he’s already halfway there and probably grew up to be Zach Ryder or something.
Mr. Bob Backlund v. Buck Quartermaine
Jesus, if they’re gonna haul Quartermaine around the country with them for these TV tapings, why not repackage him and give him a push? He’s got a good look and mighty mullet, so he’s no worse than any of the other idiots they were debuting. Buck actually holds his own on the mat with Bob for a bit, escaping a hammerlock and rolling out of a headlock on the mat. Bob is actually bleeding from the lower lip, and Buck leads some chants against Backlund to drive him more nuts. Finally Bob hooks the chickenwing and gets the submission at 5:13. Overly long for a squash.
Next week: Bret Hart v. Jerry Lawler in a feud that’s actually built up much better than the Bret-Backlund match that’s third from the top at Wrestlemania. Really they could have blown off the Backlund character on RAW rather than Wrestlemania.
Duke Droese v. Steven Dunn
Dunn takes over after Wippleman distracts the Dumpster, and a dropkick gets two. Dunn throws some headbutts while Cornette wins the internet with “Stu Hart is so old that when he was in school they didn’t have History yet.” Duke comes back and finishes this with a Trash Compactor at 4:00. Pretty sure Timothy Well got injured by Mabel and left the company, hence the singles run for Dunn. And then we get a weird angle with Duke finding a $100 bill in his trash can. Was that supposed to be going where I suspect it was going?
Meanwhile, Paul Bearer and Mr. Fuji get interrogated by the guy from NYPD Blue and both end up in drag. Don’t even get me started on this one.
Highlights from the press conference and the previous matches wrap up the show. Did they run out of stuff to show or something?
(Hell, might as well just add the Hidden Gems at the end here, since I’m gonna have a shitload of wrestling to review this weekend anyway.)
The SmarK Rant for WWE Network Hidden Gems (and Random Rasslin’) – 07.11.19
Only a couple of additions to the Gems this week, so my schedule is WIDE OPEN for wacky YouTube content tonight.
So yeah, the two themed additions are “ECW guys getting tryouts”. I always love these dark tryout matches.
The Path of the Suplex Machine (05.05.93)
The Tazmaniac v. Skippy Taylor
I’m sure this was on a DVD somewhere because it seems familiar. Naturally, Taz is from The Dojos of Tasmania, back when he was still dressing like Captain Caveman. Skippy (Scotty 2 Hotty Taylor) works the arm but gets thrown, then comes back with a dropkick and slugs away before getting a hiptoss. Taz comes back with a pretty great exploder and goes to the chinlock, but Skippy fights out and Taz suplexes him again. Back to the chinlock and Taz cuts off a comeback with a clothesline, but Taylor fires up again. Taz with an overhead suplex to finish at 3:49, however. Outside of a few suplexes, this wasn’t a particularly impressive tryout for Taz.
Too Extreme (10.18.93)
Sabu v. Scott Taylor
Poor Scotty gets to job to another ECW tryout guy later in the year! There’s actually a bit of buzz from the RAW crowd when Sabu gets introduced and charges into the ring, and he immediately takes Taylor down by the leg a few times. Taylor reverses to his own kneebar, but Sabu pounds on him in the corner and hits the slingshot legdrop for two. Spinkick puts Taylor on the floor and he follows with a crazed somersault plancha (in 1993!) and then kind of hits Taylor with a quebrada, nearly overshooting him and smashing into the railing. That’s our Sabu! Back in, Taylor comes back with a backdrop and dropkick, and a neat somersault kick. Taylor goes up and Sabu cuts him off and brings him down with a rana from the top for two, then finishes with the springboard moonsault at 4:35. No idea why he didn’t get a job based off this, unless they were worried about him killing himself in the ring off a missed spot or something. Because he misses a shitload of them here.