The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 06.17.96
Taped from Fayetteville, NC. Yay for fourth week taping shows.
Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler
King of the Ring Quarterfinal: Steve Austin v. Savio Vega
Vega chops away in the corner and gets a leg lariat for two, and Austin flails to the outside to escape. Back in, Austin works on the leg after a cheapshot, which draws Vince’s highest compliment as a worker: He’s mixing it up in rough-house fashion! Savio returns fire on the leg while Vince tells us to “expect the unexpected” tonight and then gives away all the big developments via on-screen graphic. Wouldn’t you maybe want to keep Brian Pillman’s debut a surprise? This episode did a horrid rating anyway, and in fact saved Kevin Sullivan’s job as booker because Nitro won by such a big margin. Savio continues working on the leg and gets a kneecrusher for two. Big splash misses, however, and Austin comes back, but they collide and we take a break. Back with FISTICUFFS erupting and Savio hits the leg lariat for two. Vince is confident in Savio’s chances here, but Austin suddenly debuts the STONE COLD STUNNER out of nowhere and gets the pin at 10:00. Vince, obviously not knowing that the business had just changed forever on this shitty TV show, doesn’t even give the move a name and immediately moves onto a recap of Undertaker v. Mankind. **
King of the Ring Quarterfinal: Marc Mero v. Owen Hart
Steve Austin joins us on commentary, finally showing some personality on his own now. They trade hammerlocks on the mat and Owen complains about damage to his broken wrist. So that cheating Mero goes right after the cast and takes him down for an armbar. He goes up and misses a bodypress, and Owen goes to a chinlock. This poor crowd is SO burned out and tired. We take a break and return with Owen in control with a Boston crab while Mero makes WILDMAN faces to the camera. Oh god, someone shoot this taping and put it out of its misery. Owen with a Perfectplex for two, but a flying splash misses and Mero makes the comeback and finishes with a rollup at 11:35. So dull. *1/2
Meanwhile, Vince cuts to Bulldog doing an interview at a live event, which is supposedly going on at the same time as this show. Bulldog talks some smack and Shawn runs out for a brawl.
Meanwhile, on the Superstar line, who are the 5 new superstars coming to the WWF? The answer is TL Hopper, Freddie Joe Floyd, Alex Porteau, The Goon and Sal Sincere.
Jerry Lawler attacks Aldo Montoya, thus robbing us of a match against HHH. And then after he already piledrives and beats him up, Jake Roberts comes out to save.
Brian Pillman makes his WWF debut, signing his contract at WWF HQ just days after nearly dying in a car accident that basically ended his career as we knew it. He actually had to be pulled out of the hospital with a high fever in order to film it. Pillman gives a tearful thank you for the opportunity.
Jake Roberts v. Goldust
Harvey Wippleman is now suddenly a referee in the payoff of that storyline where he was taking notes at ringside. That one got forgotten almost as fast. Goldust runs away literally for the first 2:30 of the match while Jake does an inset promo promising to help the new generation not to make the same mistakes he did. Well, THAT sure didn’t turn out the way he intended. In fact he ended up doing even more drugs over the next 20 years. Goldust tries to fondle him and then continues his regimen of running away and stalling. Finally he suckers Jake into the post while we get a bizarre bit on commentary with Jerry Lawler spoiling the plot of Mission Impossible. What was THAT about? Jake comes back and slugs away and finally we cut away to Mr. Perfect, who has the SCOOP on the guest referee for Shawn v. Bulldog. But first he wants to watch the end of this match. Not me. And then we take a break. Back with Goldust slowly working Jake’s knee over, giving us some exciting laying around on the mat. Jake comes back with the short clothesline, but Marlena gives Goldust a handful of glitter and he blinds poor Jake with it and pins him at 13:35. Ah, the old Rip Taylor finish. However, justice prevails, as Harvey sees the sparkles on Jake’s face and reverses the decision. Even better! -**
Meanwhile, Jim Cornette announces that the special referee is…Mr. Perfect.
Probably one of the worst episodes of the show I’ve ever seen, although I feel like I say that a lot.