The SmarK Rant for WWF Monday Night RAW – 01.01.96
Here’s a fun fact: This show didn’t get added to the WWE Network until WAY after the fact for some reason. So I never had a chance to do it when I was working through the RAW shows originally. I actually went to repost the show for this morning to go with the last Observer Flashback and realized it was missing, and then checked and discovered I had never watched it! In fact I don’t think I’ve ever watched this episode, period. So this is totally fresh content for you, although Nitro is gonna be a repost, sorry.
Yes, it’s THE RAW BOWL! The stepdaddy of the mack daddy of them all!
Taped from Newark, DE
Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler
The RAW Bowl: The Smoking Gunns v. Savio Vega & Razor Ramon v. Sid & The 1-2-3 Kid v. Owen Hart & Yokozuna
Goldust sends flowers to Razor via his usher, but Razor beats the guy up and smashes the flowers. Man, you’d think a guy with so much machismo would be more comfortable with his manhood. Vince and Jerry are way over the top with stupid football terminology. And they’re all wearing football jerseys so you know they spent a good hour planning this out. Each team gets a timeout for use any time in the match, and it’s elimination rules. Bart hits Owen with armdrags to start and Owen immediately tags in Billy so we get the Gunns showdown. But then they do a hiptoss on each other and immediately tag in Owen and Yokozuna. Owen stalls, so Hebner threatens to throw a “delay of game” flag. But Owen gets knocked down and brings Savio in instead. Yoko slams him and stomps him down, and it’s over to Kid, who misses a leg lariat and gets clotheslined for two. Savio hits his own leg lariat for two, but Sid makes the save. Owen comes in with his own leg lariat on Savio and that gets two, but it’s over to Razor, who works a headlock on Bart and gets two. Sid finally comes in and chokes Bart on the ropes, but Bart gets a clothesline for two and a suplex for two. Sid beats on Savio and Owen hits Savio with the enzuigiri for two and we take a break. Back with Owen and Yoko working Savio over exactly where we left off. Kid comes in with a leg lariat on Savio and then tags Yoko back in as we keep cutting back to Brother Love in the dressing room preaching to no one. Sid and Kid work Savio over in the corner as this drags on and goes nowhere while Vince and Jerry make football reference after football reference, and Razor gets a hot tag and runs wild on Kid. So Kid calls a timeout and the ref makes Razor stop the beating, but he does the Razor’s Edge anyway while Hebner yells at Dibiase. And then Sid hits Razor with a clothesline and puts Kid on top for the pin at 10:00 to eliminate Razor & Savio as we take another break. So what the fuck was the point of the “timeout”?
We return with Bart getting worked over by various heels and Owen hits him with shoulder blocks in the corner and a suplex for two. Bart rolls him up for two, but Owen goes up and misses a flying splash. The ref gets distracted again and Yoko sets up the butt splash on Billy, but somehow Owen ends up taking the move and Billy gets the pin at 16:00 to eliminate them. They’re really topping themselves with idiotic finishes in this match. So we’re down to Sid & Kid v. The Gunns, as Billy takes a beating from Sid and Sid clotheslines him for two. Sid with a chinlock and Billy fights out of that, but walks into a big boot and an elbow for two. Billy gets a cradle for two, but Sid uses his staggering array of terrible punches to retain control, and follows with a chokeslam. But instead of making a cover, he sends the Kid to the top, but Razor comes out and shoves Kid off, allowing Billy to roll up Sid for the pin at 20:39 to win the prestigious RAW Bowl! This was more accurately described by Bischoff on the other show that night as the “Toilet Bowl” because it was definitely a turd. Heatless and meandering with stupid “rules” and bad finishes. * Especially for something that took up half of the show. Not to mention Vince and Lawler being absolutely unbearable on commentary, making lame football “jokes” that were all a bunch of non sequiturs. Oh and also Lawler spent the entire match hitting on a centerfold who occasionally said “This is wild!” as her contribution to the commentary.
But are we done with the lame football theme? NOT BY A LONGSHOT. Because now it’s time for the halftime show with Dok Hendrix as he tries to throw it to “Jumbo” Jim Ross and gets shot down, as Jim sounds like he wants ZERO part of this.
Speaking of stuff people wanted zero part of, let’s take you back to In Your House V and specifically the Hogpen match. So I guess we’re just gonna watch that whole match again. OK then, bet the PPV companies loved that.
Hogpen Match: Hunter Hearst Helmsley v. Henry Godwinn
Your special referee is Hillbilly Jim, because Vince loves hillbillies. Yes, the object of the match is to throw your opponent into the pig pen that’s way across the arena, but they start in the ring for some reason. Henry quickly slugs Hunter into the ropes and ties him up before rubbing some slop in his face. Hunter escapes that and beats Henry down in the corner and follows with a neckbreaker. And we take a break and return with them fighting at the pen, so they cut a bunch of the match out via the ad break. Hunter tries a Pedigree into the pen and I don’t even know how they would work, but Henry backdrops him into the pen and Hunter manages to land on top of the fence to escape. So they head back to the ring for no reason I can determine and Lawler makes Jeff Foxworthy ripoff jokes about Arkansas. Hunter tries a monkey flip and Henry reverses to a wheelbarrow facebuster and whips Hunter into the corner for a Flair flip that puts him on the floor. And we take another break and return with them back at the hogpen again. Also we get bonus footage of Huckster and Nacho Man setting up the breaks, although still no introduction of who they are quite yet. Henry hits the Slop Drop, but charges and gets dumped into the hogpen to give Hunter the win at 11:46. This was quite the deal since the original match only ran 9:00. Somehow adding all the breaks made the match even worse. It was OK on the PPV but breaking it up like that completely ruined it. *
Next week: We give away another PPV main event with Bret Hart v. British Bulldog! Plus Jeff Jarrett v. Hakushi and Shawn Michaels does a press conference!
Diesel v. King Mabel
Poor Jeff Hardy gets to be a thronebearer for Mabel here, visibly wincing trying to carry it. No wonder he got addicted to painkillers. Diesel attacks and hits the big boot and pins him at 0:10. Thank god for that. And then Mo gets destroyed and powerbombed as well. Also Diesel’s new thing to show how non-conformist he is: Everyone in the audience has to buy WWF branded Diesel black gloves to show their support for him. OR ELSE.
Meanwhile, we get the Lombardi Trophy presentation, which turns out to be presented by Steve Lombardi and is a bowling trophy with a cardboard cutout of Lombardi’s face. So the babyfaces smash the trophy and dump Lipton Brisk Iced Tea on him. What a payoff this was.
Meanwhile, all the kids are talking about the Royal Rumble, and we get a rundown of the people entered thus far, and we get the introduction of VADER.
Meanwhile, we take you to Billionaire Ted’s Rasslin’ Warroom, as Ted and his execs show Ted footage of WWF guys doing powerbombs, which of course Huckster and Nacho Man want no part of. But they can still pose. As pointed out at the time, there’s irony as well in that they make fun of the WCW guys for doing the same stuff over and over, but the supposed “dynamic” moves that WWF offers are all variations of the same basic powerbomb. See, this kind of stuff was cheap heat but harmless overall, and it wasn’t until they started getting REALLY personal and nasty that things went off the cliff.
Anyway, this was perhaps one of the worst episodes of RAW, ever. No wonder I blocked the RAW Bowl out of my mind.