The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 10.21.96
I have been waiting SO LONG to get to this episode, and the buffering was killing me because it set my progress back so far.
So this one is HUGE, with the return of Bret Hart, the payoff the Perfect angle, and for me personally it was the launch of RAW live on TSN each and every Monday night, so we in Canada could finally watch the show as it was meant to be seen. And after the previous week did a 1.78 rating, by far the lowest in the history of the show, this was finally the point where Vince McMahon apparently woke the fuck up and decided to do something about WCW kicking his ass every week.
Live from Ft. Wayne, IN
Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler
Sid v. Owen Hart
There’s actually an Owen Hart DVD set coming out sometime in December, but according to Bret it’s completely neutered by Martha’s interference, which is a huge shame. No Stampede footage (on an Owen Hart DVD!), no addressing of the accident…this sounds pretty bad. You’d think enough time has passed where we can just celebrate his career without having all the bitterness factor into it, but apparently not. Sid tosses Owen out a few times and blocks a flying bodypress, but Owen hits a missile dropkick and Sid looks like “How the fuck do I sell falling backwards?” and just kind of slowly falls down to the mat. Bulldog comes out to tell him how shitty his selling is, and Sid goes after him, so Owen attacks Sid’s knee as we take a break. Back with the Harts taking turns working over the leg, but Sid comes back with a slam and totally ignores the damage. Legdrop misses and Owen goes back to working on it with a leglock as poor Owen just has no idea what to do with this goof. I’m still shocked Shawn got a **** match out of him, which just speaks to the incredible run that Shawn was on as a worker in 96. Finally Sid just randomly pops up and chokeslams Owen, and Bulldog runs in for the DQ at 8:50. ** Kind of weird to be protecting Owen with the DQ there. The Harts try a beatdown, but Shawn makes the save.
The Smoking Gunns v. The Godwinns
Whole lot of nothing to start and we take a break. Back with PIG taking a bump to the floor and Billy wants to go for the kill, but Bart is hesitant. Billy misses the corner splash and it’s hot tag HOG, as the Gunns collide again and the Slop Drop finishes Bart at 6:13. Nothing to this one. * And still no breakup yet, although it’s coming soon.
The WWF Hall of Fame: New inductees include Vincent J. McMahon, Pat Patterson, and…uh…Jimmy Snuka. Well that’s awkward.
Meanwhile, HHH rams a rolling cart into Mr. Perfect’s knee backstage, putting his return in jeopardy.
Bret Hart returns, and he’s happy to be back. WCW made him a big offer in good faith and he’s not going to say anything bad about them, but he’ll be with the WWF forever. Vince at ringside is very happy to hear that, since he literally did not know what Bret would say until he came out there. So although he’s got his eyes set on Shawn Michaels in the long run, for the moment he’ll face the “best wrestler in the WWF”, Steve Austin, at Survivor Series. Cute bit in the back with Brian Pillman gleefully celebrating while Austin shoots him a dirty look, sowing the seeds for their feud right away. Bret promised his dying nephew he’d come out of retirement, so here he is. In retrospect, he should have taken WCW’s deal.
Mr. Perfect v. Hunter Hearst Helmsley
So after weeks of buildup and advertising Perfect’s return, they do the old bait-and-switch, but at least it had a good payoff. Gorilla will not allow Perfect to wrestle, so Marc Mero steps up and offers to take his place.
Intercontinental title: Marc Mero v. Hunter Hearst Helmsley
Mero dropkicks him to the floor and slaps him around, and back in with a sunset flip for two. Backslide gets two. Hunter takes over with a kneedrop for two and high knee for two. Mero slingshots him into the corner for two, but Hunter puts him down with a clothesline for two as we take a break. Back with Mero hitting a slingshot legdrop for two and going up, but Hunter shoves the ref into the ropes to bring him down. Mero keeps coming with the Merosault for two. Hunter bumps the ref and grabs a chair, but Perfect runs in and steals it…and turns on Mero. KICK WHAM PEDIGREE and HHH wins his first ever title at 8:32. So you see, Perfect was just stealing HHH’s skanks in order to motivate him, and we’re off the air as they celebrate. ***
…and then Lloyds of London discovered that Perfect wasn’t as injured as he claimed, and suddenly he retired again. But this was still awesome.
One of my favorite episodes ever.