Previously on the vintage Best and Worst of WWF Monday Night Raw: Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Billy Gunn teamed up to beat up Marc Mero, but Jake ‘The Snake’ returned to make the save. That’s the only thing you need to know from the previous episode. The Rock isn’t here, Stone Cold Steve Austin isn’t here, Bret Hart isn’t here, Shawn Michaels is only here via satellite and anything you’d want to see popular guys doing it relayed through house show footage. So … buckle up, it’s gonna be a crazy thrill ride.
We’re back on a regular posting schedule for vintage reports now, so expect old Raws on Mondays and the corresponding Nitros on Wednesdays. You can watch this week’s episode here, and check all the episodes you may’ve missed at the Best and Worst of WWF Monday Night Raw tag page. Follow along with the competition here.
And now, the Best and Worst of WWF Monday Night Raw for December 2, 1996.
Worst: Vince McMahon Whenever Fun Black People Are Around
As longtime WWE fans may know, Vince McMahon has a Navin in The Jerk thing going on where he believes he was born a “poor black child.” Either that or he thinks an old white guy acting like a young black guy is super funny. That sets him up for these weird moments where he drops the n-bomb on Raw or suddenly starts wearing a do-rag because he’s ECW Champion.
This episode begins with the Raw debut of Flash Funk, and nothing brings out Vince’s love of appropriated urban slang quite like a black guy having fun. Flash debuts dressed like Carmen Sandiego alongside the Gen-1 Funkadactyls, Nadine and Tracy, and Vince drops like 40 attempts at hipness in the first 30 seconds. Here are a few of them, and I swear I’m not making them up:
“I KNOW that’s right!”
“Let’s sit back, listen, and looook!”
“C’mon King, shake that thang!”
“C’mon King, shake the booty!”
“C’mon King! C’mon, get funky!”
“Uh huhhhhh, I know that’s right, yes sir!”
“HO! Knock my socks off, my goodness!”
“Yeah, that would be funky!”
Lawler makes fun of Vince for buying a “dreadlock toupee,” and Vince “yes ands” it so hard I start wondering if he actually has one. I also start wondering why this isn’t Jimmy Graffiti wrestling The Goon, and why Scorp isn’t on Nitro going balls-out with Psicosis or whatever.
Best: 2 Stereotypical Scorpio
So yeah, Flash Funk wrestles The Goon, and I spend the entire match trying to figure out what Funk looks like. The answer: a rubber chicken. He’s dressed like a rubber chicken.
The good news is that the match answers the age-old question, “Who would win in a fight between a hockey player and a pimp?” Funk’s finish is one of those moves you make up in an e-fed that sounds really great on paper, the “moonsault leg drop.” You do a moonsault, but continue rotating slightly so your leg lands across your opponent’s chest. It looks like this. In your e-fed where Kinnikuman physics are possible, it’s bad-ass. In real life where you are unable to stop rotating backwards to fall straight down like f*cking Kirby, you end up flipping backwards out of control, landing with all your weight on your hip and MAYBE touching your opponent with your leg. There’s absolutely no force behind the leg, though, because again, you are spiraling out of control in the opposite direction. Literally standing next to someone, lifting your leg and sitting straight down does 1000x the damage of this.
That all said, Scorpio is great, and I’m not gonna worst him in his first Raw appearance. Not even with the chicken bodysuit. Or the Funkettes. Or the happy dancing. Or Vince McMahon masturbating under the announce table and thinking this is all great.
Worst: Shawn Michaels Is Still Complaining
At Survivor Series, Sid defeated Shawn Michaels for the WWF Championship by cheating and crushing Shawn’s tio’s chest with a camera. The crowd cheered him, because 1996 Shawn Michaels is great in the ring but almost impossible to like. After winning, Sid started having house show matches with Bret Hart and getting tied into Bret’s beef with Stone Cold Steve Austin. That ties into all the perpendicular beefs between Hart, Austin, Owen Hart and Davey Boy Smith.
Meanwhile, nearly a month later, Shawn Michaels is still cutting these long-winded, via satellite promos about how he SUPER DOESN’T CARE that people booed him in that match a month ago, he’s The Heartbreak Kid and so what if he’s got long hair, so what if he likes to dance, so what if his belly-button is pierced! When you see Shawn Michaels on the card you know that’s gonna be the best match, and the fans might have booed him but they secretly boo-spect him because he’s so good. Uh, remember that thing I said about him being impossible to like? Here’s a month of him angrily working through how he feels about one crowd’s response to one match.
Worst: Oh No Be Careful
Fake Diesel wrestles Phineas Godwinn, and only gets the win over a mentally incompetent pig farmer who routinely gets trounced by not two but ONE Bodydonna when his pal Fake Razor Ramon interferes. Jim Ross is on commentary to further an angle they’re forgetting as it happens, and to say stuff like “Diesel and Razor Ramon will win the tag team championships” in a tone even Jim Ross doesn’t believe.
The highlight is the finish, pictured above, wherein Diesel almost goes “Lennie Small petting rabbits” on Phineas. You know a wrestling show’s hitting the right tone when it gets you thinking about John Steinbeck.
Worst: The Karate Fighters Tournament Bait-And-Switch
So this is pretty bullsh*t.
This week’s Karate Fighters tournament semi-finals match is supposed to be Sycho Sid vs. Mr. Perfect. Mr. Perfect just left the company, however, so they can’t use footage of him beating Sid at toys and have to re-tape the semi-finals and finals. I guess they don’t have access to the Dungeon of Doom cave where the rest of the tournament took place, so they have Todd Pettengill sub-in for Perfect, and Lawler sub-in for Sid. They bait-and-switched a Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots toy tournament.
Lawler wins, of course, and moves on to face Sable in the finals. Sid assumedly sulks around backstage because the Monday Night Wars cost him his shot at being the best at clacking toys.
Worst: Bradshaw Enhances His Personal #Brand
Up next is the first of two (2) Bradshaw vs. The Real Double J matches in a 2-week span. They’re exactly as good as you’d imagine matches between Pre-Crisis JBL and The Road Dogg doing a country-themed Milli Vanilli gimmick would be.
This one ends with Uncle Zeb distracted Double J, allowing Bradshaw to hit the Clothesline From West Of Hell and win. After the match, they use a room temperature branding iron to burn “JB” into Double J’s arm. Stamp it. Stamp it into his arm. This sets up the rematch for next week, and I am sad as hell that The Road Dogg didn’t actually get a JB brand tattoo and wrestle with it for the rest of his life. I haven’t seen Lord Tensai’s ass in a while, but if his trunks ever come down, he’d better have “V V” tattooed on his ass.
Worst: Hope You’re Enjoying This House Show
1. Yes, if you weren’t aware, one of ‘Wildman’ Marc Mero’s signature taunts was the Batusi. It’s the closest I ever come to liking ‘Wildman’ Marc Mero.
2. The main event of the show is a followup to last week, with Mero and Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts facing Billy Gunn and Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Mero pins Helmsley with The Wild Thing, his shooting star press where he gets up and around fine but looks like he’s terrified of landing. He always lands on guys with his body bent in a 45-degree angle.
That’s … uh, my entire analysis of the match. Nothing really happens more exciting than an armbar, it’s 15-minutes long and it doesn’t go anywhere. The announce team spends most of the match running down the card for In Your House: It’s Time, a show named when everyone thought Vader was going to be WWF Champion. Whoops! Leif Cassidy, Salvatore Sincere and The Executioner all get matches on it, by the way, but Stone Cold Steve Austin wrestles a dark match. Also whoops!
Next week: probably more whoops.