Sunday, August 19, 2012

Raw #2 - January 18th, 1993

We kick off the second episode of Raw with Rob Bartlett ripping up a picture of Bobby Heenan. Out of the blue, Randy Savage gets jumped from behind by the Repo Man, inspiring a small chant of "Repo! Repo!" Next time you see that clip of Steve Austin jumping Sandman from behind during his entrance in ECW, remember that they got the idea from Barry Darsow on the second episode of Raw. Probably.

After the opening video rolls, it's down to business: Repeating the show's slogan: "Uncut, uncensored, and uncooked." Unfortunately, Repo Man's attack has led the Macho Man to run off in search of him, leaving Vince McMahon and Rob Bartlett to man the announce table.

The opening match is Terry "No Longer the Red Rooster" Taylor vs. Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig. Legend has it that, as both men entered the WWF at around the same time in the 80's, the "Mr. Perfect" gimmick could have easily gone to Taylor. I can imagine that conversation:
McMahon: Okay, Curt. I need to discuss something with you and Terry. Where is Terry, anyway?
Hennig: Oh, he's taking a leak.
McMahon: Well, I'll tell him about this later. See, there are these two gimmicks we've been kicking around. One is a guy who is perfect in every way. He wins all his matches, has vignettes of himself doing everything perfectly, and, in fact, he's even called "Mr. Perfect." The other idea is a guy who's a rooster. Which one would you like?
Hennig: I'll take the first one, Vince.
McMahon: Well, we'll see if Terry wants that gimmick, too. Make sure you tell him about it, okay?

Poor Terry still gets "Rooster" chanted at him during this match. Meanwhile, Macho Man mercifully returns to the booth and discovers that Repo Man has stolen his hat. A "We want Flair" chant breaks out as Bobby Heenan phones in to the show. Vince continues to taunt Heenan (and, in effect, the fans) by rubbing it in that Rob Bartlett is announcing instead of him.

Patented Double-A Maneuver
Vince is so distracted by the shenanigans with Repo Man and Heenan that he doesn't even have time to call the many Maneuvers being used. Heenan hangs up in time for McMahon to call two Maneuvers by Taylor (#1- spinebuster, #2 - gutwrench powerbomb). Ric Flair makes his first Raw appearance, attacking Perfect with the referee distracted as Rob Bartlett calls the Nature Boy "Mary Jo Buttafuoco." That's two consecutive weeks of Buttafuoco references. The interference was "vintage Ric Flair," according to Vince McMahon, establishing a Raw tradition dutifully preserved to this day by Michael Cole. Nonetheless, Perfect picks up the win with the Perfectplex, which Vince misidentifies as a superplex, establishing another Raw tradition dutifully preserved to this day by Michael Cole.

This copy of Raw fortunately includes some classic commercials: Bret Hart for ICOPRO, Macho Man for Slim-Jim, and Lord Alfred Hayes for a Spider-Man video game.

As Vince McMahon stands in the ring to interview Bret Hart, he hypes the Royal Rumble "this Sunday afternoon." There's something about the phrase "Sunday afternoon" that doesn't scream excitement.
The Hungertaker
After the Hitman interview, one of those classic green-screen promos airs, this time with The Undertaker and Paul Bearer. Who is the Man from the Dark Side going to bury alive next? Let's have a listen as he and his manager put on their classic over-the-top macabre affectations:

Paul Bearer: Ooooh, when my Undertaker's victims enter the ring, they have a choice, but in Somalia, too many people are dying! The World Wrestling Federation is putting a Headlock on Hunger!
Undertaker: No one should starve to death.

Oh, okay... The WWF feels that there's no better superstar to promote their humanitarian relief effort than the Undertaker. Maybe the Dead Man really does care about Africa, but the last time we saw him on pay-per-view, he was nailing Kamala the Ugandan Giant into a coffin.

Marty Jannetty (the less successful half of The Rockers) makes his only Raw appearance for several months, locking up with Glenn Ruth, whom Bartlett calls "Babe Ruth's illegitimate son." Why his illegitimate son would share his last name is beyond me, but that's the best comment Rob could come up with over the commercial break. Glenn Ruth would later gain fame as Thrasher, the less successful half of The Headbangers. Jannetty hits a bulldog off the second rope for a Maneuver [not documented in the original version of this post]. Randy Savage is still wondering where his hat is as the crowd chants "We Want Shawn!" Tough crowd. WIth Michaels on the phone with Vince, Jannetty turns to the camera and says that next week, he'll be Intercontinental Champion (or else out of a job). Shawn brags that Sherri will do whatever ("and I mean whatever") he asks her to do, prompting Vince and the other announcers to solemnly comment on how uncensored, uncut, and uncooked (#2) the show is. Jannetty hits the Rocker Dropper on his Ruth for the victory but fails to break his neck.

Vince McMahon regretfully recaps the events of this past WWF Superstars, where "that goody clown Doink" beat Crush senseless with a fake arm. Bartlett pukes up the remains of what could have been a passable joke before remembering that he's supposed to be serious right now. In the replay from Superstars, even Jerry Lawler thinks Doink may have gone too far. Awesome.

A promo for the new WWF Mania show airs, conveniently omitting any mention of Todd Pettengill. Vince then chimes in with the grim news that the Toddster will indeed be hosting that show Saturday mornings.

Repo Man shows up outside the Manhattan Center, taunting Savage with the stolen Macho cowboy hat, laughing maniacally as Randy stews in the picture-in-picture inset. "He was late on the payments on his hat," says Repo, "and he deserved it!" I just lost all sympathy for Macho Man. If you're going to buy a hat so expensive that it has a payment plan, you should at least keep up with your payments.

During the Royal Rumble Report with Mean Gene, Razor Ramon tells "The Hitmang" to "óyame." Maybe I don't possess the same command of the Spanish language as a native-born Cuban like Scott Hall, but if you want to say "Listen to me" (or, literally, "hear me"), you would say either "óyeme" (informal) or "óigame" (formal).

Note that the Intercontinental belt strap is light blue at this point.

Randy Savage is outside the Manhattan Center now, looking for the Repo Man. There's something more than a little amusing about The Macho Man in his streamer jacket wandering the streets of New York City. We cut back to the ring just in time to catch a look at the fine tookus of one of the Raw girls.

Nice Maneuver by Flair.
Ric Flair takes on "El Matador" Tito Santana. Rob Bartlett's contribution to the match is to claim that Ric Flair played Eddie Haskel on Leave it to Beaver. To paraphrase Lisa Simpson, I know those words, but that Rob Bartlett makes no sense. A brief and rather high-pitched chant of "Tito! Tito!" is heard. Poor kids don't know any better. At least Santana gets in a Nice Maneuver (#3), known to lucha libre fans as a "dropkick." A significant "Let's go Flair" chant is followed by a Nice Maneuver (#4) by Flair, wherein a cornered Nature Boy does nothing as Tito Santana performs a monkey flip to thin air. Flair later hits a devastating knife edge chop, before El Matador fires back with a Maneuver (#5 - back body drop) which sends Slick Ric landing flat on his hip. When Flair later climbs to the top rope, Tito counters not with another Maneuver, but with a press slam. Santana comes charging at Flair, who counters by ducking instead of executing an Offensive Maneuver (#6). Nonethless, Chico Santana flies over the top rope. Mr. Perfect breaks up the match by punching out Flair on the outside. Perfect even lands a Maneuver (#7 - a punch) on Flair before referees separate the two.

Vlad the Superfan wants to put a Headlock on Hunger.

After the commercial break, the action spills back into the ringside area as Pat Patterson struggles to put himself between the two throbbing, sweaty, testosterone-fueled Adonises. (Pat Patterson is gay, is what I'm getting at). Flair gets on the mic to challenge Mr. Perfect in a loser-leaves-WWF match for the following week. In actuality, that match occurred on a taped Raw held right after this episode. In other words, the loser of the match would compete at live at the Royal Rumble that Sunday despite supposedly being fired from the company the previous Monday. Macho Man is also scheduled to take on the Repo Man next week, which again actually means later that night for a taped post-Rumble episode of Raw. At least Randy doesn't really have to wait a week to regain his prized hat.

The show closes with the Repo Man bouncing up and down with Macho Man's hat as he tows away Rob Bartlett's car. This has got to be one of the best endings to a Raw ever.

Final Tally:

2 Uncut, uncensored, and uncookeds.
(Cumulative total: 7)
7 Maneuvers (Cumulative total: 14)

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