(I’m actually getting a few weeks ahead on the Observers now, so here’s a couple of RAW reposts to catch up again, especially since the 3.27 show is literally one match!)
The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 03.20.95
Taped from Stockton, CA
Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jim Cornette
Razor Ramon v. Henry Godwinn
This is a weird match, especially so early in HOG’s run. Danny Davis is wearing stripes for some reason instead of the standard blue shirts. Maybe it’s the long sleeves that are so off-putting, I dunno. Was this like one of those weeks where Vince suddenly decided that the color of referee shirts was making and/or breaking the product? True story, he used to change up the ref shirts depending on what WCW was doing, so that they would always have the opposite. Test of strength leads to Godwinn putting Razor down with a clothesline and he pounds away. Elbowdrop gets two and he runs Razor into the mat to cut off a comeback and chokes him down in various ways. Vince shills the WWF Hotline and notes that “unlike OTHER hotlines…”, back when wrestling hotline competition was the only thing they were battling over. No wonder Nitro pissed him off so badly, if the time that hotline billing begins brought out that kind of reaction. We take a break and return with Razor making the comeback with a sloppy bulldog for two. The ref actually counted three and Razor looked pissed. This brings the Roadie out to run interference, and Godwinn hits Razor with a clothesline from behind. However, now the Kid comes out and attacks Roadie, and Godwinn gets all distracted, allowing a Razor’s Edge at 8:00 to finish. Kind of a cute twist on the distraction finish, although clearly they were giving up on Godwinn’s big heel push already. *1/2
Meanwhile, Lex Luger faces Tatanka in a cage match on Sunday Night Slam, aka the Wrestlemania buildup show, plus Jeff Jarrett defends the IC title against Bob Backlund to pay off the contract hijacking from last week.
Fan Festival is also next week, and Vince actually has the gall to claim that “no one cares more about you the fan than the WWF!” Long as you don’t cheer for the wrong guy, then they’ll never run TV there again.
Meanwhile on the Action Zone, Bam Bam demonstrates his football skillz on Doink, but more importantly NIKOLAI VOLKOFF IS ALIVE! I was getting worried about him there.
Steve McMichael gets brought out to replace Jim Cornette on commentary. Kind of surreal that he actually managed to springboard this minor gig into a wrestling career. Well, “career”.
King Kong Bundy v. Raven Clarke & Adam Croomes
Both geeks try for a slam and get rammed together, as Vince is worried about seeing a potential DONNYBROOK at Wrestlemania. Perish the thought. Bundy pins one of the geeks with one foot at 2:45. More importantly, Kama comes out to talk shit at Mongo and they get into a pretty good brawl at ringside. Future US champion, ladies and gentlemen.
Wrestlemania Report with Todd. Nothing new here.
WWF tag titles: The Smoking Gunns v. The Heavenly Bodies
I think this is it for the Bodies, actually. Billy gets a bulldog on Pritchard off a criss-cross and the Gunns clean house, and Bart adds a press-slam on the Doctor. The Gunns double-team Del Ray in their corner and Bart controls with a headlock, leading to more double-teaming from the Gunns. We take a break and return with Bart suddenly playing face-in-peril as Del Ray works on the back. Kind of a dull heat sequence with Pritchard getting a suplex and Del Ray using a chinlock before going up and whiffing on a flying splash. They clothesline each other and it’s hot tag Billy, as they quickly hit the body-vice into a neckbreaker. The Bodies try the switch, but Del Ray only gets two after a DDT. Billy backslides him for the pin to retain at 14:30, however. That was a weird finish, as they did the Midnight Express heel finish (where Eaton would come off the top onto Ricky Morton and put Condrey on top behind the ref’s back) but instead of the standard switch where the other babyface would then do the same thing while the ref was dealing with the illegal heel, they just kept wrestling and did the lame backslide finish instead. Pretty lethargic match, but it’s hard to screw up tag team wrestling. **3/4
The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 03.27.95
Taped from Stockton, CA
Your hosts are Jim Ross & Gorilla Monsoon, so I guess this is a repackage of the Sunday Night Slam show? And why not show THAT in between the 3/20 show and this one? I know the people putting this network together aren’t actually paying that much attention, but GEEZ. This is actually the kind of thing people are complaining about.
Vince McMahon and Todd preview Wrestlemania, recapping the Diesel v. Shawn storyline and then the LT v. Bigelow one. Hey, and then Jarrett v. Razor as well, as the entire first 2/3 of the show is WM previews.
No Holds Barred: Bret Hart v. Owen Hart
So they meet again for the first time for the last time! Bret attacks and hammers away in the corner to start, then tosses him and beats him up on the floor as well. And we go back to the dressing room, but this isn’t 1998 so Bret hauls him right back to the ring again. Back in, Bret pounds away on the ropes, but Owen drops him with a cheapshot and PULLS DOWN THE STRAPS. Oh, it’s on now! Owenzuigiri gets two. He tosses Bret and runs him into the railing, and we take a break. Back with Owen holding a chinlock, and he hangs Bret in the Tree of Woe and pulls the turnbuckle off the other corner. The ref helps Bret down, and that triggers a RAGE in Gorilla, because he fucking hates referees who interfere with the wrestlers. Bret reverses Owen into the exposed turnbuckle and drops an elbow for two. Backbreaker gets two. A NASTY piledriver gets two. Owen blocks the Sharpshooter with the old eyepoke and runs Bret into the exposed turnbuckle, which gives his usual bump a double whammy of awesome. Owen to the top, but Bret sidesteps the missile dropkick and slingshots him into the turnbuckle in a fantastic sequence, before putting him away with the Sharpshooter at 14:15. Had the done this at Wrestlemania instead of Bret-Backlund, it would have stolen the show. ***3/4
Next week: The fallout from Wrestlemania, as Shawn’s luck goes from bad to worse!