The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 04.22.96
Taped from San Bernadino, CA
Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler
Intercontinental title: Goldust v. Savio Vega
So this is the rematch from last week’s ref bump/beltshot screwjob, with the title held up. Fourth week of a taping cycle so we’re really scraping the barrel now. This would also be a week where Bischoff gave away the results at the start of Nitro to be a dick, so Goldust’s triumph here wasn’t exactly a secret. Savio attacks and gets a powerslam for two and they fight to the floor, but Goldust brings him back in for a corner splash. Savio pounds on him in the corner, so Goldust goes low to take over. I bet the people in attendance were THRILLED to get a pair of Goldust v. Savio Vega matches in the span of an hour. We take a break and return with Goldust working the leg while Lawler provides inane chatter about Marlena’s boobs. Goldust goes to a chinlock while Lawler continues playing “What’s in the news?” Goldust works a lengthy chinlock while Warrior does an inset interview about how he’s going to bust into Goldust’s house and wreck it. My wife points out how rude that is. Goldust continues slowly working the leg and slugs away in the corner, but Savio suddenly makes the comeback and we take ANOTHER break. Fuck me. We return with Savio getting a small package for two as clearly there was no actual edit there and they just stuck a commercial in the match. Goldust tries the Curtain Call and Savio reverses out for two. Marlena distracts the ref and Steve Austin appears to waffle Savio with the Million Dollar belt, which gives Goldust his own gold belt back at 15:08. So one ref distraction/belt shot screwjob is resolved by doing another belt shot screwjob? *
Vader v. Fatu
Joined in progress after the entrances with Vader beating on Fatu, but Fatu shoulderblocks him and takes him down with a sloppy Diamond Cutter. Fatu to the top with a flying splash, but Vader no-sells it and kills him with a clothesline, then debuts the VADERSAULT to finish at 1:55. Total squash. This was an incredibly weird feud, too, because the entire thing was built up without Razor Ramon ever appearing on TV. Imagine if they tried to do that for a Wrestlemania! That would just be…oh, wait, never mind. (Referencing John Cena v. Undertaker there before everyone asks.)
Meanwhile, in Germany, the British Bulldog attacks Jake Roberts. And then Jake DDTs him and puts the snake on him. Vince is like “He’s just giving him a taste of what Bulldog might expect at the PPV this Sunday!” Uh, Jake already hit his finisher and put the snake on him, what exactly is left for fans to see?
The Godwinns v. YOSHIHIRO TAJIRI& Tim Patterson
Uh, yeah, this is a thing that is happening. Tajiri actually gets a standing moonsault on PIG, but he tags out to the other geek and HOG bearhugs him while Hillbilly Jim chases Sunny away with his dog. How does that make him the babyface? “Yay, make the hot woman leave ringside so we can enjoy the inbred hicks unabated! Yay!” HOG finishes Patterson with the Slop Drop at 4:00, but the Bodydonnas attack and slop Phineas. This was one of the many low points of the tag titles.
Mankind v. Aldo Montoya
They show clips of Mankind attacking Undertaker, which seems like forever ago, but it was at the same taping! These four week cycles are just brutal. Aldo gets a dropkick, but Mankind proceeds to beating him down in the corner and follows with the running knee. Mankind pounds away while we take a break. Really? For this match? Back with Aldo making the comeback with a corner dropkick, but he comes off the top and gets punched in the face on the way down. Piledriver and the Mandible Claw finish at 5:30. I always loved the touch of the creepy entrance music, and then the calming piano music when he won. That was also a reference to his dropped backstory as a piano prodigy. *
We finish with a video package recapping the Shawn v. Diesel feud, and then a promo from Diesel in Germany that sounds like he’s a few beer steins into his evening.
Super weak go-home show for the PPV, although I bought it anyway in 1996 on the strength of the Shawn-Diesel match. But really, a 10 minute chinlock from Goldust is supposed to make me want to see that show so badly? Thanks but no.