The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 09.16.96
OK, one week left of this shitty taping before we REALLY hit rock bottom of the promotion next week. Man, remember a while ago when I said if we can get through the post-WM doldrums period with Shawn as champion it would pick up in August? This is NOT picking up.
Taped…again…from Wheeling WV
Your hosts are Kevin Kelly, Jerry Lawler and the increasingly insane Jim Ross
Jake Roberts v. The Sultan
So yes, after weeks of buildup, Bob Backlund’s protégé is Fatu dressed up in a Hannibal Lecter mask and puffy pants. The backstory on the character is revealed here for the first time: The Sultan was held hostage in the Middle East and when he wouldn’t talk, his tongue was cut out. NEW WWF GENERATION, in all its glory. Sultan pounds away in the corner, whips Jake to each side of the ring, and finishes with a camel clutch at 3:25. I should note that Fatu is still wearing his same damn boots from his previous gimmicks, so way to commit to the character there. DUD Amazingly, this staggeringly insulting loser gimmick stuck around for MONTHS and even got a Wrestlemania payoff for him.
Meanwhile, Owen Hart and Brian Pillman claim that Bret Hart is back into the family fold again and everything is fine between them. JR accuses Owen of being a liar, but then he’s hardly one to talk at this point.
The Smoking Gunns v. Alex Porteau & Bob Holly
It’s the tag team of the 90s that no one asked for…
wait for it…
wait for it…
WAIT FOR IT…
I will retroactively await my royalty check from the WWF for the millions of dollars they could have made there.
So this would be the Gunns final appearance on RAW as tag champions and maybe even their last one as a team, as they dropped the tag belts on the PPV and then split up. Camp Cornette joins us at ringside as the Gunns double-team Porteau with their usual and Bart gets a powerslam for two in honor of the Bulldog. Porteau misses a dropkick and Billy tries a suplex, which is reversed into a small package for two. Billy misses a blind charge and knocks himself out on the post, and it’s lukewarm tag to Bob Holly. Even the fake crowd doesn’t give a shit at this point. Holly with a rana for two and he goes up, but Sunny crotches him and the Sidewinder looks to finish, but Billy goes after Owen instead, allowing Bob to get the DISTRACTION ROLLUP OF DEATH for the pin at 5:50. What’s the point of doing an upset win for a team that no one cares about and who never teamed again? Just ridiculously awful booking on all levels at this point. *
Meanwhile, Gorilla Monsoon clarifies on behalf of the WWF that Kevin Nash and Scott Hall are 100% under contract to WCW and will not be appearing next week, regardless of what Jim Ross has been saying. What a weird angle. It’s like they knew they were going off the cliff and still hit the gas pedal extra hard to see what would happen.
Jim Cornette joins us for a public workout with jobber Tony Williams, but the poor kid is dumb enough to reverse a few of Cornette’s holds and Vader does a quick beating on him before we suddenly cut away without explanation.
Intercontinental title semi-final: Owen Hart v. Marc Mero
They trade armdrags before Owen takes over with a leg lariat and a butterfly suplex for two. We hit the chinlock as the announcers ignore the match and we suddenly break into the Fake Razor insanity from Jim Ross, and Gorilla cuts into the match from the studios to argue with him. They were pushing this obvious bullshit carny angle SO HARD and it didn’t make a lick of difference in the ratings, but back in 1996 it did the equivalent of “trending on Twitter” online with lots of chatter on RSPW and messageboard services, so Vince somehow thought that any pub was good pub. So anyway, we take a break and return with Owen bailing and Mero hitting him with a dive, and back in with a slingshot splash for two. They collide and Owen recovers first, hitting Mero with the cast for two. Mero steals it from him, however, and hits him with the cast for the pin at 9:32. “Turnabout is fair play!” notes Kevin Kelly. But I thought that cheaters never prosper? THE CLICHES ARE CONTRADICTING EACH OTHER! According to the WON, the finish was originally messed up and they had to retape it, although how you can mess up hitting a guy with a cast is beyond me. Match was whatever. **
Meanwhile, Bret Hart calls Brian Pillman a LIAR, perhaps with pants on fire, you’ll have to call the hotline to find out. He hasn’t decided what he’s going to do, which was a shoot in fact. Maybe he should have taken that contract from WCW?
Intercontinental title, semi-final: Faarooq v. Sid
They do the collision of the BOHEMETHS spots to start, but Faarooq uses his “controversial” headgear to take over with a chinlock while JR busts out the “setting a methodical pace” code phrase. Faarooq goes up and gets caught in a powerslam for two and JR will not SHUT THE FUCK UP about Razor and Diesel, which is doubly annoying considering what we know about how it turned out. This show is not only bad, it’s becoming actively frustrating and irritating to watch. Like, a bad Nitro still has all these wacky things going on and crazy combinations of match styles like Juventud Guerrera v. Joe Gomez that turn into huge trainwrecks, but at least it’s not boring. So here we take a break and return with Faarooq missing a splash, which allows Sid to hit the chokeslam. Faarooq grabs a chair and beats on Sid, but only gets two. Sid then no-sells it completely and uses the chair for the DQ at 9:00. I don’t get how that finish is supposed to make either guy look impressive. This was another one where they had to reshoot the finish, for those keeping track. ½*
Next week: Faarooq v. Marc Mero to finally end this interminable tournament, and the debut of Razor and Diesel II. And then, finally at the end of the show, they suddenly list the entire card for the PPV on the go-home show! This was literally the first time they did that, and then they wondered why it was a colossal flop. I guess the Fake Razor angle was more important to keep hitting over and over and OVER on commentary.
And of course, as you might expect, Nitro completely destroyed RAW in the ratings this week, 3.6 to 2.1, which was the largest margin of victory ever to that point and one of the low points for RAW (of many) in its history.
And next week, IT GETS WORSE.