The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 10.14.96
Taped from Hershey, PA
Your hosts are Kevin Kelly & Jim Ross
The light at the end of the tunnel is almost here, as it’s the last week of these awful tapings and next week is the Buried Alive PPV and then the show that officially wakes the sleeping giant that was Vince McMahon and turns things around. But first…
Vader v. Phineas Godwinn
This match is the historic first mention of “Executive producer Kevin Dunn” on TV, as Jim Ross bitterly notes that Vince McMahon returns next week to replace him as per Dunn’s orders. This guy has been pissing off the smart fans for DECADES now. This is either really early or really late in the tapings because there are hundreds of empty seats on the hard camera side, like embarrassing amounts for TV. Vader quickly demolishes PIG, but Sid wanders out to provide distraction and Godwinn makes the comeback. Backdrop suplex and a slam sets up the Slop Drop, but Vader grabs the ropes to block and finishes with a Vaderbomb. You can tell that Vader was hurt here, as he was moving slow and having trouble getting up and around after bumps. *1/2
Mr. Perfect joins us to let us know that he’s still perfect, and all these young punks with their cocky hairdos can get lost.
Jerry Lawler v. Jake Roberts
This is kind of a cute payoff to the feud, as Jake wanders out holding a bottle and playing drunk. Considering his problems at the time, chances are probably good he wasn’t acting. Gorilla Monsoon even comes out to try and prevent the match from happening, but the announcers give away the gag before the payoff by pointing it out, and Jake DDTs Lawler immediately for the pin at 0:30. Jake dumps the “whiskey” all over Lawler, which is ironic because Lawler is a teetotaler in real life and really does live the straight edge type of lifestyle that Roberts was trying to portray at that point.
Meanwhile, we get another interview with Jesse Jammes as they keep trying to make him into a huge babyface star and it all just fell flat on their face.
Hunter Hearst Helmsley v. Freddie Joe Floyd
So Hunter handcuffs his model of the week to the ringpost to keep her from getting stolen by Mr. Perfect. Long as she gets paid, I guess. Freddie controls with a headlock, but walks into the high knee and Hunter throws chops in the corner to take over. He’s definitely starting to work a more aggressive style than the prissy heel he started out as just a year before. Neckbreaker and suplex as Perfect heads down, and of course he has a handcuff key, because he’s perfect. Meanwhile, Hunter gets distracted and Floyd makes the comeback, only to take a Pedigree. Hunter goes after Perfect again, however, and gets knocked out by Perfect and counted out at 4:07. That was a lot of nothing. *1/2
Speaking of nothing, Sunny comes out and unveils a giant poster of herself. This is apparently a setup for her to do commentary.
Faarooq v. The Pug
Sunny announces that their managerial relationship is done, which was also the last person that Sunny would manage until LOD at WM14. Faarooq beats on the Pug while JR complains about his stupid headgear, and Faarooq gets a spinebuster off a leapfrog attempt. Dominator finishes at 2:00.
Shawn Michaels v. Steve Austin
The announcers calling this “the biggest match in the history of RAW” is a bit much. They trade headlocks to start and then do a nice series of near-falls before Austin ducks away from the superkick and bails to the floor. We take a break and return with Vader and Savio Vega both running in for the DQ at 7:30 in a disappointing schmoz finish. Talk about a letdown. **
A disappointing ending to another bad show in a string of them. This was a complete throwaway, but next week features two massive bombshells and, as JR says, business is about to pick up.
Tags: Buried Alive, Jake Roberts v. Jerry Lawler, monday night raw, SmarK WWE Network Raw Rant, Steve Austin v. Shawn Michaels