The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 11.20.95
LAST NIGHT! Diesel Power runs out of gas for good, as Bret Hart wins his third WWF title to put a merciful bullet in the reign of Kevin Nash.
LIVE from Richmond, VA!
Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler.
The 1-2-3 Kid v. Hakushi
Kid works a headlock, but Hakushi goes an armbar while Marty Jannetty tries to run in and gets mugged by a roving gang of referees as we take a break. Damn punk refs! Back with Kid working on a chinlock, but Hakushi fights out and misses a dropkick. Kid drops an elbow for two. Flying splash gets two. Hakushi fights back with a spinkick and flying shoulderblock for two, and Kid bails to the floor. Hakushi tries to follow with a dive, but Dibiase pushes him off the top and Kid finishes with a leg lariat at 8:46. Didn’t really get going. **1/2 Marty Jannetty again tries to exact revenge, but this time Sid lays him out. This poor bastard. (Well this ended up being a timely repost!)
In Your House SLAM JAM with Dok. So we’ve got Bret v. Bulldog and HOG v. HHH thus far. And no one buying it.
Skip of the Greenwich Bodydonnas v. Savio Vega
Before the match, Barry Didinski shills a jean jacket with various gaudy WWF logos on it. C’mon, even a Canadian wouldn’t stoop THAT low, and we pioneered jean jackets as formal wear! Savio slugs away and catapults Skip into the corner, but Skip gets a bodypress for two. Savio with a suplex and he throws chops in the corner, but Diesel (basically just dressed in Kevin Nash street clothes) comes out and beats up Skip to end the match at 3:00 or so.
He ain’t apologizing for his actions, because he’s not SOME CORPORATE PUPPET that was created by Vince any longer. In fact, 24 hours after he won the title, the suits told him to start smiling more, and he’s sick of it. So he’s back, basically. And he’s only high-fiving fans who wear his merchandise. That’s a distinctly Kevin Nash point of view. This was pretty mind-blowing, fourth-wall shattering stuff for the time, although now dripping with irony in that they based a whole storyline around a babyface getting neutered and seeking revenge for it, and then made the exact same mistake with Shawn Michaels immediately afterwards and nearly drove HIM to WCW as a result. I mean, Vince would never let him leave, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. Anyway, I wish Diesel would have cut this promo months beforehand, because it would have saved his title reign.
Shawn Michaels v. Owen Hart
So yeah, this is pretty famous. They trade some near-falls off a headlock to start and Shawn dropkicks him out of the ring while Vince notes all the terrible head injuries that Shawn sustained last night. FORESHADOWING. Owen clotheslines him out of the ring and follows with a baseball slide as the official count of Marines is up to “nine hoodlums”. Owen fires away with forearms back in the ring and follows with a backbreaker before going to the chinlock. Shawn fights out and Owen gets a leg lariat for two as we take a break. Back with Shawn making the comeback, but Owen cuts him off with a clothesline for two. Shawn slugs back but does a great job of selling his concussion problems, and he reverses a superplex attempt for two. Shawn makes the comeback with the flying forearm and flying elbow for two, but Owen hits him the ENZUIGIRI OF DEATH and goes for the Sharpshooter. Shawn fights him off and clotheslines him to the floor, but clowns around and passes out in the middle of the ring and EVERYONE FREAKS THE FUCK OUT. Match is stopped at 12:25 and the show just grinds to a jarring halt as no one seems to know what to do. We take a break and return with Vince himself assisting EMTs in the ring and no commentary, which gives it an extra sense of realness, exactly the sort of thing that Vince Russo spent years trying to duplicate with little success. Match was excellent before the wacky finish, by the way. ***1/2 Although it should be noted that WCW still won the night, 2.6 to 2.3, so it was not yet the reality era in WWF.
Really great show up and down this week.
Next week: Kama v. Undertaker!
The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro – 11.20.95
LIVE once again, from somewhere not mentioned.
Your hosts are Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan & Mongo
Scott Norton v. The Shark
The epic feud continues! Shark attacks in the aisle and goes to a bearhug in the ring, which turns into a belly to belly. Shark’s gear was just so hideous at this point that I have no idea how anyone was supposed to take him seriously. Shark with an Avalanche and he pounds away, but Norton no-sells and hits a standing powerslam for the pin at 1:45. ½*
Jimmy Hart tries to drive a wedge between Hogan and his friends, pointing out that Hulk invited Randy Savage to do Baywatch with him, not Sting. But I thought Hogan was DARK now and didn’t care about Sting anyway? This storyline is so confusing.
Eddie Guerrero v. Brian Pillman
They advertised Flair, but he’s far too big a star to bother with Eddie, so he’s letting Pillman handle the dirty work instead tonight. Notable moment here, as Eric points out that “the other guys” are showing a commercial right now, so we should stay here. That’s pretty genius. Eddie slugs away to start and goes up, but misses a dropkick and Pillman takes over with some biting and cheapshots. Eddie with a rollup for two, and he comes back with chops, but Pillman backdrops him for two. Suplex gets two. Powerslam gets two. Finally he spits on Eddie to get him fired up, and puts Eddie on the floor. Pillman follows with a dive, but lands on the railing and Eddie follows with a crazy dive halfway up the aisle. Back in, Eddie hits a brainbuster and goes up, but Pillman brings him down. Eddie fights him off, however, and the frog splash finishes at 6:27. **1/4
Last week, Lex Luger injures Randy Savage’s arm, which was a cover for a legitimate triceps tear on his part. However, the storyline was then that Savage was faking the injury to dupe the Dungeon of Doom, even though it was a real injury that figured into the finish of the PPV match with Luger! That Hogan storyline was such a trainwreck.
Hawk v. Big Bubba Rogers
Bubba attacks and gets backdropped, but Hawk slugs him down in the corner while Eric infers that someone from the WWF is going to jump ship and win World War III on Sunday. I know Adam Bomb was trying desperately to jump at this point, for one. Hawk walks into a spinebuster for two and Bubba chokes him out on the ropes. Hawk comes back and goes up with a clothesline that misses, and Bubba tapes up his fist, only to have Jim Duggan trip him up so that Hawk can pin him at 3:58. The explanation is that Bubba hit himself in the head on the way down. Who is he, Cody from Big Brother? DUD (This reference was a bit less timely.)
Hulk Hogan v. Sting
Even by 1995 standards this is a pretty huge match to give away on free TV. Dark Phoenix Hogan comes out of the crowd to show that he can attack from behind if he wants. Sting attacks and slugs away, but Hogan gets the corner clothesline and the crowd boos the ever-loving fuck out of him. Sting fights back with a pair of dropkicks to put Hulk on the floor, but Sting misses his splash and hits the railing. Hulk adds a suplex on the floor. Back in, Sting gets a bodypress for two, but Hulk takes him down and starts working on the arm. We get a laughable cross armbreaker and they trade headlocks on the mat before Hogan goes to a bearhug and the Axe Bomber for two. This crowd is not loving Hogan. Backdrop suplex gets two, but Sting comes back and now he goes to work on Hogan’s leg before going to the Scorpion Deathlock. Hogan makes the ropes and Hulks up, but misses the legdrop and Sting gets another Scorpion. And then the Dungeon hits the ring for the DQ at 9:34. Very interesting how easily Hogan slipped into the heel role here and how accepting the fans were of it. **1/2
Next week: No idea, but World War III will see a new champion crowned!