The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 03.11.96
Content warning this week? WTF? Also, I unlocked an achievement for watching a bunch of episodes of RAW on the Network. It’s an eventful show and I haven’t even started it yet! (Oh man, back when I was still watching the Network on TV screens instead of just on my computer all the time. Now I don’t even bother with the various app versions of it.)
Live from San Antonio, TX, in an actual ARENA. Holy crap. Dave’s summation from that week’s WON: “Raw on 3/11 in San Antonio before a sellout 9,364 paying $75,672 opened with Skip beating Craig or Duane Johnson. Not sure who the guy was but it was a try-out match and he looked green but okay.” Well that’s a pretty big undersell of one of the more historical debuts in wrestling history. (That’s actually one of the bits that led directly to the creation of the Wrestling Observer Flashbacks, for those keeping track.)
Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler
Savio Vega v. STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN
So just like that, Vince notes that Austin’s peers may have dubbed him the Ringmaster, but now he’s Stone Cold Steve Austin. Savio escapes a headlock and gets some armdrags to start, but Austin sucker punches him and pounds him down with elbows. Savio comes back with a clothesline, but Austin puts him down with an axe bomber and a suplex for two. Apparently some weightlifter named Mark Henry is at ringside watching this. Vega misses a splash as Vince McMahon says “Stone Cold Steve Austin” as many times as humanly possible to get the name over. You do what you gotta do. We take a break and return with Austin hitting a clothesline to the back and choking away. Vega comes back with the leg lariat in the corner and they fight to the floor for the double countout at 8:12. Austin was actually showing fire and charisma here and it was a huge improvement over what he had been doing as the Ringmaster. **1/2
Rowdy Roddy Piper confronts Goldust, calling him “creampuff” and pointing out that he’s never actually seen him anywhere in Hollywood. And he already beat Adrian Adonis half to death with a baseball bat and he’ll do the same to Goldust. Piper just goes off on this awesome rant against Goldust and there’s no real issue but he makes it sound like an IMPORTANT match. And then Goldust tries to see what’s under Piper’s kilt, which doesn’t go well for him.
The Godwinns v. Alex Porteau & Jerry Meed
Phineas does the “crazed hillbilly” act on the jobbers, freaking out in the corner and mule kicking them. Porteau comes in with a bodypress attempt and PIG slams him, then HOG finishes with a slop drop at 1:00. This was already the third repackage of Henry Godwinn and thankfully this one sort of worked enough that they stopped tinkering for a while. Speaking of tinkering, Alex Porteau would get a look as a JTTS guy later on, and that went nowhere.
Meanwhile, Shawn Michaels introduces us to Jose Lothario, who has apparently been training him all this time and we just never met him before now. This was the wrestling equivalent of Cousin Oliver on the Brady Bunch.
Meanwhile, Bret makes fans all over by declaring that he’s never met any really tough Mexican wrestlers. WHO IS HE TO DOUBT EL DANDY? Also, Shawn only bounces around the ring like a tennis ball and his big move is a kick. Bret rates him about a 4/10, in other words.
Hunter Hearst Helmsley v. Ben Greer
They’re slipping back into squash matches, I see. HHH with the Pedigree at 0:90 and we learn that he will be facing Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania.
Geriatric Control Center with Scheme Gene. They’re giving away the Huckster v. Nacho Man match for free because even he can’t figure out a way to make a buck off it. Special stip: No handcuffs or ladies’ shoes allowed at ringside. Call his hotline now for a scoop about the sun possibly setting tonight! 1-900-LYING BALDY. This was pretty funny.
Yokozuna & Undertaker v. British Bulldog & Owen Hart
This seems like a bit of a mismatch. The babyfaces destroy Camp Cornette to start and Yoko letdrops Bulldog, and everyone evacuates while Diesel heads down and beats on Paul Bearer. So Undertaker walks away from the match to chase Diesel, leaving Yokozuna alone while we take a break. Back with the heels working him over, and now Vader heads out for the DQ at 5:36. There was literally almost nothing to this match. DUD And then Ahmed and Jake hit the ring and we get a giant six-man pull-apart brawl to end the show.
It’s getting to be a real drain constantly having to switch between devices and find the one that will stream these damn shows without crashing all the time. This episode took me nearly three hours to get through with the stopping and starting. They really need to get their shit together. (Or sell the rights to NBCU for their streaming service. Either or.)