The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 12.09.96
Taped from New Haven, CT
Your hosts are Vince McMahon, Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler
Sycho Sid v. Hunter Hearst Helmsley
This is the battle of the champions, albeit with no titles on the line. Sid attacks him in the aisle and they head into the ring so that Sid can toss him around as Hunter bumps all over the place. Sid chokeslams him and powerbombs the shit out of him, but Hunter wisely runs away and gets counted out at 2:30. Hunter literally didn’t even get one offensive move. DUD
Goldust v. Bart Gunn
Apparently Bart Gunn had the IC title WON from HHH on Superstars, but Billy Gunn stole it away from him. He bulldogged HHH! And Bart is playing someone from Texas! That’s like doing a piledriver in Memphis. So, you know, the fake Gunn brothers are really mad at each other leading up to their match next week on RAW. Meanwhile, Bart gets to lose to Goldust. Sorry, spoiler alert. Goldust dumps him and beats on him outside while Vince tries to convince us that just because we’ve already seen Mankind v. Undertaker a million times this year, it doesn’t mean tonight’s main event won’t be awesome. It’s NO HOLDS BARRED. Zeus might show up! Someone might try a 12-6 elbow from the top and the ref will say “Hey, that hold is barred!” but then Undertaker will quickly correct him because it’s NO HOLDS BARRED. Meanwhile, Goldust does a chinlock, which is a hold that is definitely legal on this show and every other one from this period. Bart fights back while covered in glitter and looking like even more of a doof, but we take a break and presumably miss his whole comeback. Back with Bart slugging away in the corner, but Bart goes up and misses a flying kneedrop like a moron and Goldust pins him at 5:58. ½*
KARATE FIGHTERS TOURNAMENT…PREVIEW.
Todd Pettingill analyzes the very limited strategy for both Jerry Lawler and Sable leading up to next week’s anticipated finals.
Justin Hawk Bradshaw & Uncle Zeb v. Double J Jesse Jammes
Jammes quickly tries to clean house and dumps Zeb, then drops a pair of legdrops on Bradshaw for two. Did someone just clone young Bradshaw and breed him into Chris Hero? Because it’s a really uncanny resemblance. JR, meanwhile, is pretty sure that the Bret-Sid match this Sunday will be a “stem-winder”. Is that a good thing? The heels still can’t get their shit together, but finally Bradshaw hits Jammes with a backdrop suplex and drops an elbow for two. Bradshaw pounds away in the corner while you can LITERALLY see fans getting up and leaving, and a sideslam gets two. Is there anything more brutal than a fourth-week RAW taping? They fight to the top and Jammes comes down with a clothesline and makes his boring comeback. Bradshaw stupidly calls in Zeb with the branding iron, and gets hit in the face in an O. Henry-ish twist of fate and pinned at 5:52. And then they break up, and I don’t even remember which one was supposed to be turned babyface, but Vince is still mad at Bradshaw so I guess it was Zeb? They’d probably reconcile in 2016 and go vote for Trump together anyway. DUD
Bret Hart is out for a quickie promo about the PPV on Sunday.
NO HOLDS BARRED: Undertaker v. Mankind
This might be even more brutal than Hell in a Cell, so if you’re squeamish you might want to stop reading this review right now. You’ve been warned. Taker quickly chokeslams him and goes for the tombstone, but the Executioner runs in and draws him away as we take a break. Back with Taker beating on Mankind on the floor as Executioner has vanished, and Taker drops the stairs on Mankind’s claw-hand. The camera angle clearly shows it made no contact whatsoever. Back in, Mankind clips him and chokes away to take over. Meanwhile, Undertaker faces Executioner on Sunday in ARMAGEDDON RULES, which is totally distinct from and even more dangerous than NO HOLDS BARRED. To the floor, where Taker gets whipped into the stairs and fans in the front row chant “He’s hardcore”. That’s a generous assessment. Mankind beats on him by the announce tables and drops an elbow from the apron onto Taker’s knee, which is a pretty cool spot for 1996. He’s a like a young Shane McMahon! Taker gets pissed and slams Mankind on the table as we take another break. Back with Mankind working on the knee again, and using a drop toehold to counter the chokeslam. Mankind grabs a chair, but Taker punches it back in his face and sets up for the tombstone, which Mankind counters with the mandible claw. Undertaker, however, counters out with the tombstone at 14:11. OK, this was pretty great. ***1/2 Sadly, Executioner spoils the celebration with the dreaded ASIATIC SPIKE on Undertaker as apparently this is a thing we’re supposed to be excited to see on Sunday.
Well, RAW wins the poo-flinging monkey contest this week, as both shows were terrible but RAW had the better main event at least. I’ll probably do It’s Time next, because the IYH shows are shorter than Nitro anyway.