(Might as well merge the reposted TV rants into one column now. Keeping them split into separate ones wasn’t doing any better numbers anyway. Also, a reminder that these were written at times far apart from each other, in the early days of the WWE Network.)
The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 10.09.95
Taped from Grand Rapids, MI
Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler
Yokozuna, British Bulldog & Owen Hart v. Diesel, Shawn Michaels & Undertaker
Weird cut-in promo of Shawn Michaels at an inner city school ceremony in Washington, as he gets all choked up at being a role model and basically acts more like the real life Shawn we know now rather than the cartoon character he was for most of the 90s. It was actually a really nice human moment for someone who was seemingly always having to be “on” at the time. Owen starts with Shawn and ends up on the floor off a monkey flip, and the Bulldog gets pinballed by the faces to set up a double boot from Diesel and Undertaker on Yokozuna. That was pretty cool. Bulldog gets pounded by Diesel and makes the mistake of bailing to the Undertaker’s side of the ring, and that goes badly for him. Diesel with a leaping clothesline on Yoko, and Undertaker goes old school before walking into a samoan drop. He quickly no-sells that and comes back with a DDT, and the faces keep working on Yoko until he finally drops Shawn with the Rock Bottom for two. Shawn is your face in peril and Owen gets a backbreaker for two. Bulldog gets a press slam for two. Bulldog and Owen was a natural pairing of awesome that I’m shocked it took another year for them to get the tag titles. Shawn is in TROUBLE as we take a break. Back with Owen and Bulldog continuing the double-teaming with an abdominal stretch as we get a parade of heels out taking notes (Waylon Mercy, and then Dean Douglas), but Hebner catches them cheating and Shawn comes back with a backslide on Owen for two. Yoko stops that comeback and then beats Shawn down, and Bulldog headbutts him down for two. Delayed suplex gets two. Owen with the chinlock and he cuts off Shawn with a leg lariat for two, but Shawn rolls him up for two. Owen with the gutwrench and he goes up, but we take another break while Owen is in mid-air. Back with Shawn finally getting the hot tag to Diesel, who hits Bulldog with a sideslam, but runs into a powerslam for two. Undertaker inadvertently distracts the ref, and Yoko drops the HULKBUSTER on Diesel so that Bulldog can get the pin at 16:05. And then you KNOW Bill Watts is booking because Yoko and Mabel proceed to pulverizing Undertaker while Dean Douglas beats on Shawn outside to keep him from making the save. Mabel’s sloppy legdrops actually legitimately fractured Undertaker’s orbital bone, giving us the Phantom of the Opera version of the character. You can actually see his eye turning purple and it’s pretty gross. This was TREMENDOUS, with Diesel doing the job and the heels actually getting some real heat on them for once. Plus it was a great six-man to boot, with Owen and Bulldog doing most of the work with Shawn as the face in peril, which is basically the perfect combination. ***3/4
Meanwhile, at Summerslam, Bret Hart faces Isaac Yankem and they basically show the whole match while Vince and Jerry overdub the commentary and talk about next week’s cage rematch. It’s a pretty good match, but what a strange way to fill time, as this ran about 12 minutes. I remember that cage match as being dogshit, though, so we’ll see if time was kind to it. It wasn’t originally supposed to air on TV and so Bret was going half-speed as usual for a dark match, and Vince changed his mind after the tapings finished for some reason and decided to use it as a RAW main event.
Makin’ A Difference Fatu v. Skip of the Bodydonnas
Man, here’s all that was wrong about 1995 in a nutshell. Fatu chases him around the ring, but misses a blind charge and Skip takes over with a chinlock and goes up with a diving headbutt, and even Vince calls him an idiot for doing that. Who headbutts a SAMOAN? That’s just basic wrestling genetics! Fatu makes the comeback and finishes with the flying splash at 5:45. Skip was pretty much a glorified jobber at this point. *
Meanwhile, Dok Hendrix is unsure about interviewing the babyfaces in the locker room.
Meanwhile, Jim Ross interviews a coked up Jim Cornette while Bulldog mugs for the camera while wearing a cap for some reason. This was pretty wacky, to say the least.
Vince and Jerry continue stretching out the show as long as possible to wrap things up.
Next week: Bret Hart v. Isaac Yankem in a cage, as we somehow get a FOURTH week out of these tapings!
This was basically a one-match show with another half hour of filler, but it was a hell of a match and a great angle. Too bad the PPV was a disaster that pretty much sent the entire promotion off the rails.
The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro – 10.09.95
Live from Chicago, IL
Your hosts are Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan & Mongo
Sting interrupts the opening banter between the announcers, and he’s gonna solve the problems between Luger and Savage.
US title: Sting v. The Shark
You know, if Kerry Von Erich hadn’t been dead at this point, WCW could have put him together with the Shark to form a team. That’s right…SHARKNADO! So I totally forgot about Sting being US champion at this point and I don’t even remember who he lost it to. Was this the point when we got the stupid Kensuke Sasaki – OMG – Konnan run? Because holy shit what a colossal waste of the title that whole period was. The Shark attacks and drops an elbow for two, but Sting quickly hits him with a Stinger splash and bodypress to finish at 1:15. Poor Tenta, falling down a slippery slope. DUD
Last week, Hulk Hogan faces the wrath of the STUNT GRANNY and gets beat down by the Giant.
Sabu v. The Mysterious Mr. JL
So yeah, Sabu in WCW was really a thing. I can’t even tell you how surreal that was at the time. Sabu attacks and slingshots in with a legdrop for two right away. JL puts him on the floor with a running enzuigiri and follows with a dive that the crack camera crew misses completely. Back in, Sabu with a sloppy leg lariat to put JL out again and he hits his own crazy flip dive. He follows with Air Sabu into the railing, but JL hits a german suplex for two in the ring. Sabu with a clothesline out of the corner and a moonsault into the camel clutch, but JL makes the ropes. DDT off the middle gets two for JL and they head up, where JL blocks a rana, but the missile dropkick misses and Sabu finishes with the camel clutch at 4:30. Crazy match, weak ending. ***1/2 I had tons of other matches between them from indy shows that blew this away, but this was crazy, anarchic stuff for national TV at the time.
Sting is out again to play peacemaker between Luger and Savage, and he wants them to have another match at Halloween Havoc if they can beat their Dungeon of Doom opponents. Luger balks at the idea, but Sting tells him to grow a set and quit being a baby, so he accepts. I don’t really get how this was supposed to solve things.
Meanwhile, Chris Benoit arrives. Good thing we had that warning at the beginning of the show.
Disco Inferno shows up to randomly dance again, and once again his buzz is harshed by someone making their entrance.
Big Bubba Rogers v. Road Warrior Hawk
Bubba slugs away in the corner, but runs into a powerslam while Disco again tries to get himself over by dancing on the apron. This earns him a beating from Hawk, and Bubba wins by countout at 1:38. Well, that’s the perfect length for this match. DUD
Hulk Hogan is out and he’s in BLACK, brother. Even his neckbrace is black! What a weird phase this was, when he was acting all heelish and burning copies of the WON and stuff. Hogan wants the Giant right now, but Gene keeps telling him that Giant is barred from the building. So Hulk keeps challenging him, even though he was clearly told that there’s a court order preventing him from being there. However, there’s one thing stronger than legal injunctions, and that’s MONSTER TRUCKS, as Giant tries to drive into the arena. Uh, could that truck even fit into the door? Hulk doesn’t care, and he goes out to confront the Dungeon of Doom, possibly in his own monster truck! Bischoff informs us that a bunch of Chicago police are out there making sure they’re keep apart. Don’t the cops have LITERALLY anything better to do with their time? Like, name any petty crime that needs attending to and it would be a more effective use of taxpayer dollars.
Cage match: Ric Flair v. Arn Anderson
Flair slugs him down in the corner, but Arn sends him into the cage as we take a break. Back with Flair throwing chops, but he walks into the spinebuster. Arn pounds away and goes all cheese grater on the cage, but Flair comes back with a suplex. Bischoff notes that they were so close that people thought they were literally brothers. Actually, they were cousins, but point taken. Pillman tries to get into the cage and Flair foils him and then goes for the figure-four, but Arn counters with an international object to the head for the pin at 6:42. **1/4 Flair cuts a crazed promo at the announce table, and challenges Anderson & Pillman to a handicap match next week, because if he can’t find a partner, he’ll take them on alone! And we must have gone short because the announcers pad out the running time by recapping everything.
This continues to be a really fun show to watch.
Next week: DDP v. Johnny B. Badd! Hacksaw Duggan v. Meng! Chris Benoit v. Eddie Guerrero!