The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 09.30.96
Hey, thanks to James Dixon for the shout-out in Titan Shattered. I didn’t even know that was coming. Even better that it was positive and not the usual “Thanks for setting the bar really low with your own books, jerk.”
Taped from Hershey, PA
Your hosts are Jim Ross, Kevin Kelly and Jerry Lawler
Steve Austin v. Jake Roberts
Jake is now shirtless again, so maybe he was doing DDP Yoga back in 96 or something. Austin works a headlock as the stuttering video problems continue, even though I’m watching this at 11:45PM when no one else in their right mind is up watching anything on the Network, especially not random shitty episodes of the shittiest period in the history of the show. Jake slugs away and sends Austin fleeing, but then gets caught with a sneak attack after spending too much time going after Lawler. Jake really should have been the sneaky bastard heel using dirty tricks to stay in the game, because no matter how terrible he looked he could still play that role. Austin stomps away to control while Jim Ross still won’t shut up about Razor and Diesel, even after last week’s disaster of a rating. The announcers debate what to call Fake Razor Ramon, and JR notes that they should call him Razor Ramon, which is what it says on his tights. I do appreciate guys who put their name on their gear, because it makes them easier to identify. Austin drops the elbow for two and we take a break. Back with Jake making the comeback off a chinlock. DDT gets two, but Austin is in the ropes, so Lawler spits Jim Beam in Jake’s face and the STONE COLD STUNNER finishes at 11:00. This was pretty acceptable for Jake during this time, actually. **1/2
Hunter Hearst Helmsley calls out Mr. Perfect for stealing his women and being a COWARD who is gutless.
The Grimm Twins v. The Godwinns
Oh man, I forgot about this pathetic attempt to repackage the Harris brothers yet again, this time with crew cuts and plain black tights. Like some bald guy with black tights and a goatee would ever get over. I’m pretty sure that they win the award for most repackagings without actually getting over (The Bruise Brothers, The Blu Twins, The Grimm Twins, DOA, Ron & Don Harris, Creative Control…I’m probably forgetting something too), although the Godwinns would also qualify. So these goofs do a boring tag team match with Phineas as idiot in peril while the real important development sees Mr. Perfect accepting HHH’s challenge for the next live RAW in two weeks, before PIG finishes with a Slop Drop out of nowhere at 4:23 without even getting to the hot tag or anything. *
Meanwhile, we learn the dirty secret of Jeff Jarrett, as it turns out that the REAL Double J is Jesse Jammes. I am SHOCKED and APPALLED that this repackaging failed to make the Roadie into a main eventer while simultaneously ruining Jarrett in WCW forever. It was a foolproof plan! They should have made MILLIONS! Also, why bother trying to embarrass Jeff Jarrett? He does a good enough job of that himself.
Fake Razor Ramon v. Savio Vega
I also find it hilarious that they immediately follow up their angle about exposing one fake with their angle of trying to pass off another completely different fake. Poor Rick Bogner got stuck with this death gimmick because he could do an impression of Scott Hall, but couldn’t actually work like Hall. Razor slugs away in the corner while Gorilla Monsoon buries the entire deal on commentary, calling everyone involved a bunch of liars and fakes. Like what, as a fan, was I supposed to be thinking about this whole deal? Was I supposed to be angry? Excited about the new versions? Because I can tell you I was mostly embarrassed to be watching it. Bogner throws these weird punches where his arms go all floppy, and he doesn’t sell anything like Hall. I did enjoy Jim Cornette’s story about training them to be Hall and Nash, as he was instructed to watch tapes of Nash to get the moveset down and only needed six to cover everything…including the hair flip. Ramon keeps working an armbar as this dies a death before our eyes, with flabby Razor looking like the sad super-green curtain jerker that he was. Nothing against Bogner, he was put in an impossible situation where he wasn’t going to ever make it without this gimmick, but wasn’t ever going to get the gimmick over. He ended up being the scapegoat for people way above him. We take a break from this excitement before Savio makes the comeback and JR rages against clowns in the WWF. So then Big Daddy Dentist comes out and attacks Savio for the DQ at 9:15. Well that’s a hot start for these two goofs. And then we get the world’s worst Razor’s Edge on Savio, although at least Glen Jacobs can do a decent powerbomb. Real, real bad start for the angle. -*
Meanwhile, Undertaker prepares a grave for Mankind. I wish he would have buried the previous segment alive while he was at it.
Vader & Jim Cornette v. Shawn Michaels & Jose Lothario
So this was the original main event of Mind Games before they came to their senses and gave Mankind the spot instead. Vader beats on Shawn to start, but Shawn reverses a powerbomb into a rana and crotches Vader on the post to take over. I should note that Shawn was completely falling apart at this point, getting heat from all sides for the ratings freefall and a record low MSG house show, and he was more than ready to drop the title to Sid in November. Vader slugs away in the corner to put Shawn down again, but Vader brings in Cornette and Shawn tags in Lothario. Vader quickly comes back in again and goes after Lothario, but he wisely tags out to Shawn as that ended up a whole lot of nothing. Shawn quickly makes the comeback and drops the elbow, but Vader ducks the superkick and clotheslines him for two. We take a break and learn about something called a Crash Bandicoot (I’m more of a Smash Badger fan myself), then return with Vader going for the pump splash at the Network starts to die AGAIN. Come on, there’s like two minutes left in the show, knock it off! Shawn blocks the splash and makes the comeback, slamming Vader, but a second try backfires on him. Powerbomb and pump splash finish clean at 10:30 as they actually attempted to rebuild the poor guy a bit before Sid squashed him at Buried Alive. Fun match that thankfully did not involve the managers in the least. ***
They actually did a decent job of building Buried Alive, although that show still did one of the all time pathetic buyrates for the promotion, which was kind of a trend for that year. There was some glimmers of hope here, like the Helmsley-Perfect feud or Steve Austin getting more over by the day, but the fake Ramon and fake singer stuff was just cringe-worthy garbage that felt like it belonged to a different time.