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Attitude Era Raw Review: Undertaker vs. Isaac Yankem

The Royal Rumble is just one week away as the Undertaker takes on Issac Yankem D.D.S, Razor Ramon gets his hands on Goldust, the Ringmaster makes his in ring debut, and more.

We are now in the go home show for the 1996 Royal Rumble is almost upon us as Raw puts on a solid show up until the Main Event.
Owen Hart w/ Jim Cornette vs Marty Jennetty
  • This is how you kick off a show- two excellent workers working a well paced back and forth match.  Both men could have conceivably pulled off the victory here- but it would ultimately go to Hart.  The only thing that was really a let down about this match was that it didn't get more time.  Something I feel is going to be a running thread in the era of one hour Raw.
  • Segment Grade: B+
Royal Rumble Hype
  • Todd something or another (it's impossible to tell with Vince's shouting what he is actually saying) is backstage and he is here to shill us the Rumble and the special Free for All preview.
  • Kevin Nash says a quick piece about not giving a damn about Vader, because its Diesel Time.  This cues us up for....
  • A new Vader training Montage! Guaranteed A.
  • Segment Grade: A
The Ringmaster vs Matt Hardy

  • Yes- that Matt Hardy (rocking some teal tights).
  • During Ringmaster's entrance we get Sunny playing pool.  It's exactly what you expect it to be.
  • The Ringmaster basically toys with Hardy for the entirety of this extended squash.  Going so far as to even ease up off a pin attempt.  His cockiness almost gets the better of him as he poses for the camera, but he quickly snuffed out the attempt by Hardy to take advantage.  Entertaining thanks to the attitude Austin brought to the ring and Hardy bumping his ass off.
  • Segment Grade: B
HBK Lives Up To His Name

  • With the backdrop of soap opera music and footage of him surrendering the title we get a combination narration of his press conference from last week and a new promo about his return to the ring.
  • HBK has always been underrated on the stick and this is some good stuff really demonstrating that.
  • Segment Grade: A
Smoking Gunns vs The Spiders

  • We come into this match already in progress and get all of a minute of match time.  Not really much to judge on, but it is a surprisingly fun little end to the match.
  • The Spiders are the Headbangers in masked jobber form.
  • Segment Grade: D-
Billionaire Ted Time....

  • This time the Wrasslin' War Room was mercifully short and had one redeeming quality- making Billionaire Ted black and white when he talked about colorizing old movies.  I kind of appreciate that shot at TCM.
  • Segment Grade: D
All That Glitters Is Goldust

  • Vince McMahon interview in the ring with Goldust.  He asks Goldie if he is just preying on the homophobia within men- particularly that of Razor Ramon and his uber machismo, or if he really feels the way he does.  Goldie proceeds to talk about the microphone in Vince's pants and then cuts a promo about how much he wants Razor Ramon more than anyone could want anything.
  • Goldust plays the ever living hell out of this character and somehow just makes it work.
  • Segment Grade: B
Undertaker w/ Paul Bearer vs Issac Yankem D.D.S

  • Undertaker and Kane's careers are inextricably linked thanks to their long history together when good ole Issac becomes Kane down the line.  During that long history together they faced off many times without a good match between them.  They certainly weren't going to have one together in their 1996 forms.
  • This match was a boring and plodding affair that needed Lawler going after Bearer's chain made of the urn as a distraction.  Taker eventually mercifully ends this with a Tombstone after Yankem tries to do one himself.
  • Segment Grade: D-
Razor Speaks Up

  • Dok Hendrix (aka Michael P.S. Hayes) has been waiting all night for Razor Ramon to show up at the building and giving us updates.
  • Ramon is finally in the building and he shows up to beat the crap out of Goldust as Hendrix starts chatting up Goldie.  The refs try and stop Ramon, but Goldust is able to get in a low blow which leads us to a quick break.
  • This break is Sunny in a bathtub telling us that we did it raw for a whole hour- ugh.
  • Back from break and the officials try to calm down Razor.  Goldust appears again though, trying to bail from the building and Razor goes into attack mode again leading to an "oooh shit" from Hendrix when Razor puts Goldie into an electrical box.  They make it outside and star brawling in the snow which gives us Razor swinging a shovel at Goldust.  Well that takes this into A territory even before Razor chucks a trash can at Goldie's fleeing car.
  • Segment Grade: A
Overall this was a solid show throughout with only Taker-Yankem being the the only thing getting time that was really a drag.  Unfortunately that just happened to be the longest segment of the show and the main event of the evening.  Still not enough though to really drag this down.

Overall Grade: B

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