The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 06.03.96
(Oddly enough, I didn’t have the original document of this one saved properly in the archives and had to reconstruct it from the original posting in 2015.)
Taped from Fayetteville, NC
Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler
King of the Ring Qualifier: Bob Holly v. Stone Cold Steve Austin
Austin is now running solo after deliberately losing to Savio Vega at Beware of Dog 2, which Meltzer at the time complained made no sense but in fact ended up changing the course of wrestling. They trade headlocks and Vince talks about how they’re going to “break with tradition” and show footage from the PPV. They just showed the entire main event of IYH5 a few months before this! Holly rams into the turnbuckles, but Austin fires back with chops, so Holly takes him down with a chinlock. Austin powers out with a backbreaker and drops the knee, and the middle rope elbow gets two. He tosses Holly and necksnaps him on the way back in, then drops another knee for two as we take a break. Back with Holly making the comeback with an elbow for two and he slugs away in the corner, but Austin drops him and finishes with the Million Dollar Dream at 11:00 to advance to the second round. The crowd was really getting into Austin here. ***
Mankind v. Barry Horowitz Mankind beats Barry down and hangs him in the Tree of Woe for a dropkick, and they head to the floor for more abuse of Horowitz. And we take a break. Really? For THIS match? Back with Mankind finishing with the Mandible Claw at 5:45. Total squash.
Meanwhile, we get RARE footage from the PPV, as they do an incredibly lame double-pin finish to build to a rematch at King of the Ring. And then, to continue the comedy of errors that was this year, British Bulldog gave 90 day notice after this episode and actually could have left for WCW at the end of the summer had he wanted to. That’s probably where the nWo third man rumors about him came from. He of course re-signed and got the tag titles in September instead.
Meanwhile, a naked Goldust lounges in his den and assures us that he saved Ahmed Johnson’s life last week. Also, he loves chocolate in his mouth.
The Godwinns v. Tekno Team 2000
This show is sliding downhill rapidly. Speaking of downhill, the Bodydonnas are on a search for a new manager, and we all know where THAT ended up. Tekno Team works on PIG with some pedestrian stuff and Erik Watts gets a standing moonsault for two. Troy drops elbows and we TAKE A BREAK?! Back with Phineas making the “hot” tag to Henry, who dodges a charge from Fortune and finishes with the Slop Drop at 8:11. The crowd was literally silent for the entire match before mysteriously cheering loudly for the finish. ½*
Meanwhile, Clarence Mason clarifies that he’s now suing Gorilla Monsoon, as they suddenly drop the Diana angle due to her objections and Davey’s possible departure, and shift the heat to that storyline instead. So by the time we got to King of the Ring, the main event angle was beyond dead.
King of the Ring Qualifier: Jake Roberts v. Hunter Hearst Helmsley
It was stated explicitly in the Observer at the time, for those wondering, that this is the beginning of Hunter’s punishment for the Curtain Call and it’ll probably last for a while. So it wasn’t just something that we found out retroactively. Hunter escapes an early DDT attempt while they let his valet talk to Lawler for some reason. Vince just BURIES her on commentary in a really funny bit, deadpanning that she’s part of the “Rocket scientist of the week program”. Speaking of burials, Vince then goes off (for legal reasons) on a long explanation about how Razor Ramon and Diesel are in fact not under contract to the WWF and are “perpetrating a ruse” while under contract to a rival promotion. Well, that pretty much puts an end to that invader angle over on Nitro, I’d say. Of course, the more he made those claims, the more it made people think that he was being a lying carney and they were actually working for the WWF. You’d think the smart thing would be to just shut up and let the lawyers do their thing. The stalling just goes on FOREVER here, as Hunter keeps evading an armbar and we take a break after 5:00 of literally nothing happening. Back with Hunter working him over in the corner as Vince talks more ridiculous bullshit about Warrior’s comic, which has now exploded into one of the highest-selling comics of all time. Meanwhile, Hunter goes to a chinlock, but Jake fights out and gets the short clothesline, but Hunter elbows him down for two as we take another break. Back with Jake hitting the DDT out of nowhere for the pin at 13:40. Hunter on his back looking at the lights would quickly become a familiar sight. -*
Terrible show this week aside from one good Austin-Holly match.