Monday, August 27, 2012

Raw #11 - April 5th, 1993

Virgil puts his name on his tights
so no one else grabs the
zebra-striped long johns by accident.
Welcome to the eleventh episode of Monday Night Raw! We are taped from the Manhattan Center. Bad news: last night's Wrestlemania IX event sucked. Good news: Rob Bartlett has been written out of tonight's show. This show being taped before Wrestlemania, the announcers don't give away any specific results on camera. Vince McMahon says that last night's Wrestlemania was one of the greatest of all time, yet another sign that this show was taped before the event actually happened.

Virgil comes to the ring in his referee-style black-and-white striped pants, rather than his alternate "barber pole" gear. His opponent: Bam Bam Bigelow, the man who didn't wrestle Kamala last night. The announcers' dubbed-over commentary focuses on Hulk Hogan's surprise title win over Yokozuna in a match with no backstory and no opening bell. Believe it or not, Vince Russo would not book the WWF for another three years. Yoko and Mr. Fuji protest this decision, of course. Hopefully Hulk Hogan won't lose the championship in one of his many grueling title defenses before Yokozuna gets a rematch.

Virgil gets caught by Bam Bam after a failed baseball slide between the big man's legs, reminiscent of Willie Mays Hayes. He proceeds to hit a Devastating Manuever, reversing Virgil's crucifix pin attempt before Vince McMahon states that Wrestlemania IX "unquestionably... will go down in the annals of history as the greatest Wrestlemania of all time." This is the same man who claims to have balls the size of grapefruits. Macho Man affirms that Bret Hart has the respect of the WWF fans, despite being knocked out by a handful of salt. Lex Luger had knocked the Hitman out earlier in the day with his suspiciously powerful forearm, leading to a feud that was never mentioned again after, say, July 4th, 1993.

Remarkably, Virgil chants break out during the action, leading the wrestling superstar to embark on a lucrative career of autograph-signing. Rob Bartlett is supposedly stuck in Vegas after losing all his money. One positive aspect of last night's pay-per-view was zero Rob Bartlett, and the WWF does its best here to maintain that 'Mania momentum by arbitrarily excluding him from the announce table. Virgil lands High-Risk Maneuvers such as a flying clothesline and a missile dropkick, but gets only a two on Bam Bam. Virgil's punches fail to fell the Beast from the East; a Bodyguard Bash might have done the trick. After a very awkward corner spot, Bigelow gets Virgil to the ground and hits him with a flying headbutt for the victory.

Jerry Lawler is set to make his WWF in-ring debut, making his way to the ring to Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, Movement No. 10, The Great Gate of Kiev. An hilarious "Burger King" chant prompts Lawler to return to the back and refuse to wrestle. A pre-taped Mean Gene interview with Fuji and Yoko airs, with Fuji filing a complaint to Jack Tunney over the title change.

Bill Alfonso, looking skeptical.
Kim Chee, who for some reason is still wrestling despite losing to Kamala in a blowoff match prior to Wrestlemania, is in the ring and announced as hailing from "deepest, darkest Africa," rather than Brooklyn. Hey, a fella can dream (like Akeem). Bob Backlund's music hits and the former champ gears up to take on the khaki-clad mummy (that was his gimmick, wasn't it?). Vince notes a Maneuver (#2 - a single-leg trip) by Backlund. Bob Backlund is undefeated in the WWF at this point (his Wrestlemania loss to Razor Ramon not having happened yet). Vince and Macho hype tonight's Steiners/Beverlys match, which will be uncooked, uncut, and un-un-un-something else, yeah! Un-Bartlett! Macho Man speculates that Bartlett can't even afford a Motel 6, so he's staying at a Motel 2 1/2, which sounds like Vince McMahon's idea for a motor lodge chain ("Affordable family travel accommodations? We got 'em! We got 'em! No we don't."). Randy has never seen Kim Chee without his mask, but those who have say his face is "too raw for Raw" (I think that's what Pat Patterson used to tell the masked Lombardi). Backlund pins Chee with just the crown of his head and the tips of his toes on the mat.

"The Joy of Wrestling, page 89!" - Macho Man

Rob Bartlett is on the phone, broke and in Vegas, while Damien Demento takes on "Jumping" Jim Brunzell, for whom the Iron Sheik has a lot of respect. Rob, perhaps confusing McMahon with Paul Heyman, says the paycheck he gave him bounced, before taking it back and saying he spent it all. Why would Vince McMahon sign paychecks, anyway? Isn't that the job of Federation President Jack Tunney, and not some lowly announcer like Vince McMahon? This would be the perfect way to phase Bartlett out, yet for some reason Bartlett gets back from Vegas to announce next week. The great high jumper from Minnesota nearly beats Demento with an inside cradle. Demento, prefiguring Randy Orton, hears voices in his head (not the same voices who are shouting "boring" at him; those voices are coming from the crowd tonight). Both announcers compliment Jim Brunzell's dropkicks as the best in the business (this was before the debut of Bob "Spark Plug" Holly, of course). Demento is controversial, says Vince, but "no athlete is any more controversial than The Narcissist Lex Luger." I can think of one off the top of my head. Damien picks up the pin with a kneedrop.

Jerry Lawler is in action next... or is he? No, he isn't. The crowd comes up with an hysterical chant of "Burger King" which drives The King back through the curtain. Instead, we get a commercial for an encore of Wrestlemania IX, in which Vince McMahon says, "it's been heralded as the greatest Wrestlemania of all time [by me]." This is apparently the first time that a Wrestlemania has been replayed, which forces Vince to sell the travesty hard to new and repeat viewers alike. This sort of thing would never fly in the internet age.

The Beverly Brothers come out to a demo song from your Casio keyboard. "Take nothing away from the Beverly Brothers," says Vince, "except their contracts," he adds to himself in his head. Scott takes down Beau with a Nice Maneuver (#3 - wristlock takedown). Beau shifts the momentum by slamming his head backward to the canvas with a Maneuver (#4). Never cheer for a man named Beau, especially not this douchebag from Jeopardy. Vince takes the opportunity to praise the Steiners' match with the Headshrinkers (which was actually pretty good) the night before at "Rustlemania." Scott hits a double-underhook suplex, which Macho Man awesomely pronounces, "soo-PLAY," a la Gordon Solie. The Beverly Brothers hit that leapfrog double-team move that The World's Greatest Tag Team does. They then choke Steiner with the tag rope in a move that Vince could use as an excuse for contractual release, had this match occurred in 2010. Macho Man calls Raw, "uncensored, uncooked, and... what did I leave out? Unreliable, I am (#2)." Beau attempts a big leg drop on Scott but misses, dropping him straight on his Beau-ttocks. Scott really needs to get the hot tag to Rick here, and it looks like he finally has the opportunity after hitting a Maneuver (#5), a Devastating Maneuver (#6) on Beau (which, for the record, was a tilt-a-whirl slam). Scott tags out, but quickly tags back in, winning the match with a Frankensteiner. Coming up next, Jerry Lawler debuts (for real this time).

Vlad the Superfan watches as King gets jumped.
Lawler's entrance is marred by a strange slowing of his entrance music, causing the tape to occasionally drop in pitch. Modest Mussorgsky must be spinning in his grave. Former Young Stallion and Paul Roma tag team partner Jimmy Powers gets the jump on Lawler. Powers's real last name is Manley, proving that some people are just never satisfied with what they are given (See also, Ricky Blood). The crowd starts to chant for The King, but not just any king. No, they're chanting for the *BURGER* King

Jimmy Powers, who mounts an impressive amount of offense on Lawler, bears more than a passing resemblance to musician Tiny Tim, which you readers might want to remember for later this summer when The King brings the singer onto the King's Court. Jimmy hits a baaaaaack body drop on Jerry but comes up short on a dropkick. Lawler demands that Powers kiss his feet. This being 1993 and not 1995, that doesn't happen. Powers gains the upper hand again long enough to hit the classic ten turnbuckle smashes on Lawler and another baaaaack body drop! Lawler prevents another baaaack body drop by countering with a piledriver for the victory. Lawler's warbly music plays as he taunts Randy Savage. When we come back from commercial, Lawler insults Macho for sitting at at the announcers' table instead of wrestling. Macho Man, it should be added, wrestled Yokozuna the previous week at the March to Wrestlemania. Dig it?

Only the important teams get caps lock.

Final Tally:

2 Uncut, uncensored, uncookeds (Cumulative total: 22)
6 Maneuvers (Cumulative total: 44)

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