Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Raw #5 - February 15th, 1993

Tonight's Raw is the first in two weeks, and to mark this auspicious occasion, it has been pre-recorded. We open with short promos by both Brutus Beefcake and Ted DiBiase, flanked by a nervous Jimmy Hart who bobs up and down and tells Ted, and I quote, "There's no need for that, baby. No need for that now." Even when he's hinting at a face turn, the Mouth of the South has no "off" button, baby.

Macho Man is at ringside, sporting a fantastic custom-made Raw t-shirt with his name and the show's slogan (although it does kind of look like it says, "Macho Mom). Savage hypes up the unstoppable team of The Big Man Upstairs and Hulk Hogan, who will be in Brutus Beefcake's corner tonight (not literally, of course. We all know Hulk doesn't do Mondays).

The Steiners are in action tonight against a pair of jobbers who have been waiting patiently in the ring: the future Thrasher (Glenn Ruth) & Bobby Who. Rob Bartlett lets everyone know that he has, in fact, heard that Abbott & Costello routine. Scott Steiner just about kills Ruth with a dragon suplex. Macho Man's microphone isn't working, which unfortunately leaves Vince and Rob to ignore the match and continue joking about Bobby Who's name. Apparently, Vince was so entertained by this that he would even re-packaged Jim Neidhart as "Who" for that very purpose. Rick hits a flying bulldog on Who off Scott's shoulders to end this one. Macho Man sounds like he's in the cockpit of a plane hurtling to the ground (perhaps Hulk Hogan is co-piloting) as he demands a new mic. Savage even threatens to take Rob Bartlett's microphone. Too bad the fans in attendance don't get to hear the commentary, or else they would have erupted into applause right then and there.
Vlad the Superfan loves ICOPRO.

Yokozuna comes to the ring, and the viewers face the grim prospect of five minutes of Rob Bartlett's fat/Japanese jokes. Yoko's victim for tonight is Ross Greenberg. Yoko is finally sporting the red tights he'd wear for the rest of his WWF career. Not the same pair of tights, of course, since he'd weigh about 700 pounds by the end. Greenberg seems to be wearing gear from the Brutus Beefcake Collection. We get a variation of the Raw slogan from this announce team: uncut, uncalled-for, unbelievable. I'll count that. Yokozuna lands the Banzai drop and follows it up with some Samoan words that don't sound at all Japanese.

For whatever reason, this one fan gets his own spotlight.
Randy Savage takes Rob Bartlett's mic, saying, "Now it really is Monday Night Raw. Uncut, uncensored, and now, Bartlett, you're un-miked, got it?" (#2). Maybe God did show up to Raw tonight, as Bartlett shuts up for the rest of the night.

Lord Alfred Hayes recaps the Yokozuna/Jim Duggan match from Superstars. The match seems to have consisted of a bunch of bending over and high-impact ramming, not unlike a WWF tryout with Pat Patterson (Pat Patterson is gay, is what I'm getting at). Yokozuna hilariously topples over after a Hacksaw tackle, marking the first time the sumo has been knocked off his feet, except for two weeks earlier at the Royal Rumble against the Macho Man. Like Macho, Hacksaw forgets how to actually win the match, this time celebrating with the American flag after merely knocking Yoko over. Yokozuna retaliates by throwing salt into the air, some of which might have somehow gotten into Duggan's eyes. Yokozuna banzais Duggan multiple times, including once with the American flag draped over him. This is the most heinous desecration of Old Glory we would see in the WWF until that summer, when Lex Luger would wear the stars and stripes on his crotch. Mr. Fuji cackles about how "Yokozuma" squashed , squashed, squashed Jim Duggan, to which Yoko adds, "Yosh! Yosh! Yosh!"

Vince McMahon tells us that Giant Gonzalez is barred from the upcoming battle royal due to protests from the other competitors. In a recap of last Saturday's Superstars, Gonzalez manhandles Louie Spicolli, the future Rad Radford, as his two enhancement talent partners run away.

An unidentified man
eliminates Hall of Famer
Koko B. Ware.
Non-Hall of Famers
Owen Hart and
Bob Backlund look on.
The battle royal opens with all sixteen men outside of the ring (Who booked this, Vince Russo?). Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon wisely take their sweet time stepping in. The competitors include Kim Chee (Steve Lombardi), Iron Mike Sharpe, The Berzerker, Terry Taylor, Damien Demento, Skinner, El Matador, Typhoon, and Hall of Famer Koko B. Ware.

Vince: Uncooked!
Macho Man: Uncensored!
Vince: And if Bartlett could talk, he'd say... what?
Macho: He'd say, "un-called for." [#3] Yeah, Bartlett. That's right, take a leap. Quantum Leap.

Macho Man hypes Raw, taunts Rob Bartlett, and plugs another USA Network show in one breath. If you're not yet convinced of Randy's announcing prowess, you never will be.

On the other hand, Macho Man also says that the only guarantee in a battle royal is that there are no guarantees. I can think of at least two guarantees: lots of punching and kicking, and a bunch of people faking like they're trying to eliminate someone but are really pulling on them so that they won't fall out the ring.
Tito Santana likely learned this move from Pat Patterson (Pat Patterson having invented the Royal Rumble and therefore something of an expert on battle royals).

Kamala eliminates his Nordic counterpart, the Berzerker, but Kim Chee helps eliminate the Ugandan Giant, who then retaliates by eliminating his former handler and chasing him up to the balcony of the Manhattan Center (another reason why this venue is great). Kim Chee, as I have mentioned before, is actually Steve Lombardi in a mask. Perhaps Kamala resents him for allegedly sleeping his way into a job like so many others in the wrestling business. Shawn Michaels eliminates Typhoon with a Maneuever, otherwise known as a back drop, leaving Razor Ramon and Shawn in the ring with Tatanka and El Matador. Razor and Shawn plot to team up, foreshadowing the formation of the Kliq. Santana whips Michaels into the corner, which HBK unsuccessfully tries to counter with a Maneuever (#2 - leapfrog). The faces bounce Shawn around in classic HBK fashion before knocking him over the top rope. Razor slips under the ropes while Giant Gonzalez invades the ring and starts "literally cleaning house" (that sounds like a great fish-out-of-water comedy that sadly will never be made. RIP Jorge Gonzalez). The big man (Gonzalez, not Hulk Hogan's tag team partner) celebrates after eliminating the buffalo and the bullfighter. Razor, having never been thrown over the top rope, climbs back into the ring. Ramon therefore wins the Ethnic Stereotype Battle Royal, despite stiff competition from Tatanka, El Matador, The Berzerker, and Kamala (with Reverend Slick).

Up next is the return of Brutus Beefcake as he takes on The Million Dollar Man, Ted DiBiase. Like Titanic, this is not going to end well (I refer not to the ship Titanic, but to the director's cut of the movie Titanic).

Seriously, why does this fan get his own spotlight?

Ted Dibiase strips off his suit after entering the ring, revealing his dickey.
His dickey.

Brutus Beefcake then struts to the ring to an awful drum loop. We narrowly avert tragedy as Beefcake frantically flaps his shears while fans reach out their hands to slap five. Kaientai could have really used Brutus in their feud against Val Venis.

Brutus starts the match by strutting his way out of several attempted grapples by DiBiase. With the moral support the tag team of God & Hulk Hogan (also known as the Almighty Maniacs), Beefcake escapes a lock-up with a Nice Maneuver (#3 - throw to the turnbuckle). DiBiase underestimates Beefcake and the power of his many headlocks. IRS comes down to ringside and clocks Brutus in the back with his briefcase as the Barber is whipped to the ropes, drawing a disqualification. Money Inc. proceeds to stomp Beefcake despite Jimmy Hart's protests. DiBiase holds Beefcake in place as IRS prepares to nail him in his bionic face with the metal briefcase. Hart stands in IRS's way but is shoved to the outside. In an unbelievable turn of events, Brutus fails to duck out of the briefcase's way and Money Inc.'s double-team tactic actually works. Beefcake falls to the mat, clutching his face and blading. Jimmy Hart immediately comes to the Barber's aid with a cuddle. Hart begs off an attack by DiBiase.

"Hey, Brutus. Kill yourself!"
Vince and Randy put on their serious voices (while Rob Bartlett is silent like he has been for the past 45 minutes) to sell Brutus's injury. Vince describes the thud of the briefcase as sounding like an "explosion," inadvertently launching the Beefcake Truth Movement, which claims that Brutus rigged explosives up in his own face. Jimmy Hart and officials roll Brutus onto one of those hand-carried stretchers, carrying him backstage as we see a shot of the blood-stained mat. Vince finds the attack so sickening that we see two replays of it.

Back from commercials, Vince does a complete 360 180, excitedly informing us that Brutus's face has sustained no major damage and teasing that Hulk Hogan might even show up next week.

Tonight's episode was helped by a colorful battle royal showcasing many of the goofy gimmicks of the day, by the Beefcake angle, and by the lack of Rob Bartlett on commentary. You've got to believe that, if they wanted to, they could have re-done the commentary in post-production to include Bartlett, which leads me to believe that either the whole malfunctioning mic situation was planned to see how well Raw would go without the "'funny' man" (there wasn't any mic trouble on the February 1st Raw, which took place the same night as this taping) or else Vince discovered he liked it better with no Rob and decided to forgo re-dubbing. A shot of Bartlett sipping coffee while Savage was supposedly grabbing his headset away suggests the former.


 Final Tally:

3 Uncut, uncensored, uncookeds (Cumulative total: 12)
3 Maneuvers (Cumulative total: 24)

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