The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 09.09.96
OK, now we’re back on track after the Friday RAW and unopposed Nitro episode. Back to the Intercontinental title tournament that will seemingly never fucking end. How long CAN they stretch an 8 man tournament out for? Until SEPTEMBER 23! This tournament is decidedly not awesome.
Taped from Wheeling, WV
Your hosts are Jim Ross, Kevin Kelly & Jerry Lawler
Intercontinental tournament round one: Faarooq v. Savio Vega
Yes, it’s still ROUND ONE. Speaking of round ones, Sunny’s top has to be seen to be believed. Gravity is no match for her. So at this point, it came out that they shot a bunch of promotional stuff with Faarooq holding the IC title, which was the blatantly obvious booking choice and thus we needed a SWERVE. Faarooq throws Savio around, but he fires back with chops and blocks a blind charge out of the corner. A nice high kick gets two, but a second one misses and Faarooq hits a spinebuster for two. Faarooq with a suplex and we take a break from this boring match. Back with a chinlock, and a chinlock, and another chinlock. Perhaps if he had done some cardio around this point he would able to do more AND wouldn’t be such a fatass. Like seriously, how did he get a job looking like that? I’m not a supporter of Vince’s bizarre body fascinations, but Ron Simmons was GROSSLY out of shape at this point and looked like he barely even gave a shit. And it’s yet another chinlock after a missed diving headbutt, but he finishes with the Dominator regardless at 11:11. Holy balls was this bad. DUD
So your semi-finals, which they managed to stretch out over another two weeks of shows, are Marc Mero v. Owen Hart and Sid v. Faarooq.
Ahmed Johnson receives some get well wishes from various other midcarders.
Shawn Michaels is out for an interview to build up Mindgames, with Carlos Cabrera doing the interview for some reason. Nothing much here.
WWF Livewire debuts on September 21, and it’ll CHANGE SPORTS ENTERTAINMENT. Well, maybe Bruce from Connecticut will, but not much else about it did.
The Stalker v. TL Hopper
This might be the most 1996 match ever. So yeah, Barry Windham returns to wrestling, and now he’s painting his face with camouflage and fighting plumbers. He slugs away on Hopper and gets a gutwrench for two, then hits a lariat while barely bothering to leave his feet. Meanwhile, JR is standing steadfast in his story about Razor and Diesel returning to the WWF, which resulted in Eric Bischoff renegotiating the contracts of Hall and Nash to ensure that they were publicly locked in for the long-term. Those guys got more renegotiations than Bram in TNA. Stalker finishes with the superplex at 3:30. DUD Barry got repackaged about 16 times before jumping back to WCW again to end his career.
Meanwhile, they continue stretching this bullshit show out as long as possible by replaying the Lawler-Henry interview from the Friday RAW.
Crush v. Freddie Joe Floyd
Crush pounds away in the corner and adds a press slam, and a legdrop gets two. Floyd with a crossbody for two, but Crush finishes with the heart punch at 2:45.
WWF Superstars comes to the USA Network on September 21, which pretty much killed it off once and for all. Funny how they were using the RAW hyperbole they use now (“It’s been on the air longer than Seinfeld and has more episodes than Monday Night Football…”) as if people cared.
The Undertaker v. Sal Sincere
Taker chokes away in the corner, but misses a charge and Sincere goes to the arm. UT misses an elbow and Sincere works him over in the corner. Jawbreaker gets two, and a Russian legsweep gets two. We hit the chinlock as Goldust does a drop-in promo. We take a break and return with Taker getting a backdrop suplex as JR continues his descent into madness while relaying the “story” of the negotiations with Razor and Diesel. You’ll note of course that the names “Hall and Nash” are never spoken. Meltzer absolutely went off on this whole thing in the Observer at the time and it was pretty epic. Taker comes back with a chokeslam and finishes with the tombstone at 11:34. Pretty decent match, as Taker gave him a ton of offense. **1/2
This taping cycle feels like it’s been going for months and there’s still another week left. Another in an endless line of 1996 RAW shows that you can safely take a pass on.