The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 11.06.96
There are many stupid and unimportant episodes of RAW that I’ve reviewed covering 95-96, but this is not one of them. By the end of 1996, the USA Network was tired of getting their ass kicked by Nitro as much as Vince was, and they moved RAW up an hour in order to compete. They also encouraged the WWF to be more edgy with their programming, and so, this is what we got. Here’s a link to the Kevin Kelly interview on PTBN covering the show in detail:
Taped from Ft. Wayne, IN.
Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler
So let’s set the stage: Last week it was announced that Brian Pillman was going to do an interview from his home about his ankle injury, and in response Steve Austin threatened to show up live at his house and finish the job. Kevin Kelly is live from Walton, Kentucky while the rest of the show is taped.
Goldust v. The Stalker
Barry Windham has now dropped the facepaint and is just sporting a Blackjacks moustache and WWF shirt in preparation for being repackaged. You wouldn’t think he could look like more of a jobber, but here we are. So Dok Hendrix just busts into the match with Steve Austin on the phone, who is making threats from the car. Anyway, this boring stupid match is the usual bullshit with the two Survivor Series teams that no one cares about all hanging around at ringside, and the announcers completely ignore it until they fight on the top rope and Goldust misses a fistdrop from the top. We take a break and get one of the ALL TIME GREATEST promos from Steve Austin, the one that became the basis for the “Attitude” promos later on. Holy shit watching those and then going back and watching him as the goofy Ringmaster even at the beginning of the year is like seeing two different people. So yeah, we return from the break with a double DQ at 7:30, and no one cares. * Oh yeah, this goofy Rocky Maivia kid makes his debut on RAW here during the melee, for you trivia buffs who follow totally inconsequential stuff like that.
Meanwhile, at a house show, Mankind and poor stupid-looking Terry Gordy cut a promo on Undertaker, and Undertaker mysteriously lowers a cage from the ceiling with a Paul Bearer mannequin strung up in it. Can you imagine even a few years before this trying to tell me that they’d sign Terry Gordy and then put him under a mask as a generic bad guy 18 spots from the top?
Meanwhile, back at Pillman’s house, Brian promises that Austin 3:16 will meet Pillman 9mm Glock tonight if he wants to show up. Oh dear.
Meanwhile, in the Karate Fighters tournament, Sid squashes Marlena.
Meanwhile, back at the house, Austin gets into a brawl with a couple of Pillman’s “friends” (actually indy geeks) and lays them out without too much trouble. Neither is anyone of note, sadly. This is pretty goofy stuff, as Austin dunks them in a kiddie pool and slams a car door on their head lightly, as Vince decries this whole thing as a PUBLICITY STUNT. Perish the thought. Austin tries to get into the house, but goes around the back instead as we return to the taped crap show instead.
The Sultan v. Alex Porteau
Case in point. The Sultan squashes this goof, as nothing on this show was MAKIN’ A DIFFERENCE to the ratings this week. See what I did there? Ahem. Camel clutch finishes at 2:04.
Meanwhile, back at the house, Austin smashes in the windows while Melanie screams like a horror movie victim, and the satellite feed goes out with Pillman aiming the gun like a maniac.
Sid and Shawn Michaels are out for a face-to-face interview with Jim Ross, while Vince keeps talking about “going live in Cincinnati” even though it said RIGHT ON THE SCREEN that Pillman’s house was in Kentucky. Sid and Shawn talk about nothing while Vince keeps promising to cut back to “Cincinnati”. Interesting to note that around this point, RAW was actually keeping pace with Nitro in the ratings, but they teased the payoff of the gun angle for so long during the show that they actually ended up going down and losing all their audience to Nitro. Shawn and Sid continue bickering, but Bulldog and Owen storm the ring with Vader and attack Sid, before Shawn chases them off with a chair. And then Sid, who is clearly a complete moron, accuses Shawn of hitting HIM with the chair. HOW CAN THESE PEOPLE ARE FIGHTING EACH OTHER HOPE TO CO-EXIST? Can you imagine if the UFC tried to book their main events like this?
Marc Mero v. “Razor Ramon”
On the bright side, Glen Jacobs’ hair extensions are looking much better this week. So again they totally ignore this dog and instead we get a phone update from the man, the myth, the legend, KERWIN SILFIES, who is live on the scene via cell phone. We take a break (although the edit here reveals that there’s no actual break in the action) and return with “Razor” taking over with a crappy press slam onto the top rope, and he still can’t get Hall’s mannerisms down properly. Vince wants to know why the satellite went down, and Kerwin is like “I dunno, we’re out in the sticks somewhere.” Goddamn Kentucky! Anyway, Razor works the chinlock, but Mero comes back as this a total trainwreck, and meanwhile JR is working HIS angle with Vince on commentary the whole time, and then we take ANOTHER break as HHH and Perfect join us at ringside. Back with Mero going up and getting shoved off by Hunter, allowing a Razor’s Edge to finish at 12:34. Calling it a Razor’s Edge is kind of misleading, it’s more like when you buy those disposable razors from the dollar store that are “Jillette” brand or something. This was TERRIBLE. DUD
Meanwhile, back at the house, NOBODY HAS BEEN SHOT. Thank god. Pillman’s friends restrain him, but Austin is back, so Brian is gonna kill him. He says a very naughty word live on USA, uncensored on the Network, and we’re out with no resolution.
Welcome to the Attitude Era!
The angle looks stupid and hokey today, but the USA Network was losing their SHIT afterwards, even though they asked for exactly this sort of thing and signed off on the angle! Basically when all the heat started coming down on them, they deflected everything to Vince (who, to his credit, took it all upon himself) and very nearly cancelled the show before coming to their senses and instead throwing ALL THE MONEY at the WWF to build them up. But make no mistake, this was a trial run for a very different type of reality-based angle, and they were about to push things even further.