Sunday, September 23, 2012

Not Raw #31 - August 23rd, 1993

This week's episode opens in a studio with Vince McMahon and Bobby Heenan. Vince tells us that this is not Monday Night Raw. Well, looks like my work is done here.

Of course, the show doesn't end there. Tonight's program will be a one-hour version of the previous night's Summerslam Spectacular special (or Triple S, as in would be known after joining D-Generation X). Stay tuned for some highly edited action on this hour-long infomercial for the pay-per-view.

Truth be told, the card for the Spectacular looks promising, with the Steiners taking on Money, Inc. in a tag title cage match, as well as champion Yokozuna facing Jim Duggan in a rematch, Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels defending against Bob Backlund (which should have been the IC title match at Wrestlemania IX), and Razor Ramon vs. Blake "You're Still Here?!" Beverly (who two days after this taping would wrestle his last WWF match). Also, Marty Jannetty and the team of the Gunns & Tatanka have some squash matches (but those aren't shown on this Monday night edition). The event is commentated by Jim Ross and Gorilla Monsoon, meaning there won't be many Maneuvers performed, but there will be plenty of Pearl Harbor jobs, shots to the breadbasket, and Suplex Cities in these slobberknockers.

The tag team cage match is probably the first match of its kind in the WWF. As a kid, I remember hearing about WCW putting on a tag team cage match and wondering how that would even work. I imagined two men being inside the ring, while their partners were outside the cage walls. This would making tagging in and out a bit of a challenge. This match, however, will be contested without tags under Texas Tornado rules (though, with Kerry Von Erich's recent suicide, they don't call it that). The first team to have both partners escape the cage will win the match and the titles. These rules make it so that once one partner escapes, his partner will be left in the cage with two opponents (and thus vulnerable to double-teaming). This creates a paradox, where the escape of one partner from the cage actually makes his team less likely to win the match. Fortunately, the implications of such rules are fully acknowledged and used to create drama in the contest, unlike some gimmick matches.

Both Money, Inc. and the Steiners at various times have one partner escape, only for the escaped partner to re-enter the cage to save their other team member. Highlights of the match include a Scott Steiner axe-handle smash from the top of the cage, an IRS superplex off the cage wall, and the use of IRS's tie to choke out wrestlers (which would have resulted in immediate termination of all four men under 2010 WWE rules). In the end, Rick Steiner and Ted Dibiase escape, followed by IRS, who gets caught by Rick right before reaching the floor. The dog-faced gremlin tries to lift IRS back up the cage wall on his shoulders. Ted DiBiase realizes this, but is too late in freeing IRS, as Scott Steiner reaches the floor before Irwin, retaining the titles for the champions. It's a shame that this match didn't take place on the actual Summerslam pay-per-view, or even Monday Night Raw, because occurring on a barely-remembered pre-PPV special means that it doesn't get the recognition it deserves. It's not on any best of Raw set, best of Summerslam, or even best of steel cage matches DVDs.

Back in the studio, Vince suggests that this could be the last we see of Money, Inc. He's right; DiBiase and IRS would never again team up. Heenan and Vince speculate that Jim Cornette was in cahoots with Money Inc. to soften up the Steiners before their Summerslam with the Heavenly Bodies. Either that, or Money Inc. was beating up the Steiners in an effort to win the tag team titles for themselves. Far-fetched, I know. McMahon asks Heenan if he had heard what Jim Cornette said about Lex Luger. Bobby, who was out volunteering at an orphanage, has not, so Vince tells him to dial 1-900-420-SLAM for the Summerslam Hotline. So what did Cornette say about Luger? The world may never know, as the number has been disconnected (and believe me, I tried calling it over and over).

Bobby Heenan claims that he is smarter than he looks for calling the King of the Ring hotline during June's pay-per-view. "Well, I'm not smarter than I look, I'm smarter than I are." Vince again brings up the stat of 7% of all Americans believe that Elvis is still alive, segueing into a clip of Jerry Lawler with an Elvis impersonator (one who's not his cousin). Jerry complains that Bret Hart has been impersonating him, claiming to be the King of the World Wrestling Federation. Bret Hart cuts a promo on Lawler backstage in front of a curtain, claiming that his family members will be scattered all over "the Summerslam" next Monday. I guess the only pay-per-view at this time that couldn't be preceded with "the" is Wrestlemania.

Undertaker gives Gonzalez a sneak peek.
Next, we see clips of an interview between Mean Gene and the Undertaker. The Undertaker, for the record, is the one being interviewed by Gene Okerlund, although if the roles were reversed, it could be infinitely entertaining. The Undertaker explains the RIP match, telling Giant Gonzalez that it's when the Undertaker extracts every organ in the Giant's body. I don't think those are the official rules, however. Giant Gonzalez, dressed in his partial-butt suit, comes to the ring and vows that the Undertaker will be the one to rest in peace. Taker removes his jacket, which is enough to intimidate Gonzalez to leave the ring.

We see the last installment of the "Who is Lex Luger?" interview series. He claims to have "nothing at all against the Japanese race," even if they are a bunch of sushi-eating, rice chomping parasites. He also says that Yokozuna and Mr. Fuji are not representative of the "Japanese race," which is mostly true. Fuji, while of Japanese descent, is from Hawaii, while Yokozuna is Samoan by heritage, American by birth. He does resent those two as "foreign opportunists" without respect for the USA or the WWF wrestlers (whom, two months prior, Luger had consistently disparaged as being short of his perfection as the Narcissist). Luger then talks about his motorcycle accident, which he claims to have occurred while going the speed limit (probably while he was busy absolutely not taking steroids). He's not bothered by having to wear an elbow pad for his Summerslam match (even though he has used his steel-plated forearm to win almost every one of his WWF matches). These Luger interviews seem ripe for the picking for a parody mash-up video, a la "The Ultimate Warrior's Confession." The question is, do I feel like extracting all these interview clips and have Luger admit to all sorts of embarrassing secrets? Probably not. Back in the studio, Vince explains to Bobby Heenan why Lex Luger is such a patriotic American who wants the privilege of winning the WWF title for all of America. Hint: I am an American, and I have never been recognized as WWF champion. That should clue you in on whether or not Lex succeeds in winning the title for the U.S.

Vladimir the Superfan has got his American flag (but no 2x4).

The next match seen is Yokozuna vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan. This is Duggan's last WWF match until his return to WWE on the nostalgia circuit. Jim Ross mentions that Duggan is the father of a new daughter named Celia. Celia? I hardly know ya! (It's okay to make that joke because she is now 19 years old). Monsoon says that hundreds of thousands of people have joined Lex Luger's call-to-action campaign on his Lex Express tour. If you ask me, WWF really missed out on a Yokozuna call-to-action campaign tour in Japan after he was robbed at Wrestlemania IX. The Yoko Motive could have been huge! Speaking of huge, Yokozuna is noticeably bigger than he was at the beginning of the year. His hair is also much longer, or at least appears to be, since he's wearing it in a ponytail and not a bun. Yoko wins with a Banzai Drop, sending Duggan out of the Federation, where he was forced to beat up losers with no future like "Stunning" Steve Austin. Referees pull Duggan out of the ring before he can suffer another Banzai. Afterwards, Jim Cornette proves why he was needed as Yoko's spokesman, successfully hyping up his client as an unstoppable, merciless monster.

Vince calls Lex Luger "certifiably a bona fide American hero" and debuts the new Luger music
video, "I'll Be You're Hero," which features the children he had with his Japanese wife. I would have loved to see that marriage proposal: "People want to know, what's wrong with Larry Pfohl? There's nothing wrong with Larry Pfohl! What's wrong with Larry Pfohl is that blood-suckin' leeches like you aren't married to me!" Jokes aside, the video is very good at putting over Luger's quest for the gold, especially considering that said quest had only been going on for less than two months and included five self-serving interviews, a contrived patriotic angle, and zero matches. The video is so good, in fact, that it almost makes me wish Luger had won the title. Almost. Vince McMahon, however, seemed committed to using the video to highlight what a disappointment Lex was, as he never pinned Yokozuna, ever; the video even played on Monday Night Raw two years later, promoting Lex Luger's shot at redemption against Yokozuna in a King of the Ring qualifier (which ended with Luger being counted out, being left off the KotR card, and leaving WWF forever only a few months later).

Vince reminds us that there will be no Raw for the next two Mondays, as it will be preempted on USA Network for the U.S. Open of tennis. There will not, I repeat, will not be an episode of Raw on September 6th, so suck it, Obsessed With Wrestling.

1 comment:

  1. I still remember that Steiners/Money Inc. cage match all these years later. I remember thinking it should have been at least on the short list for match of the year (1993 being a rather lean year as I recall), but of course, as you say, thanks to its television placement it really didn't stand a chance.

    "I guess the only pay-per-view at this time that couldn't be preceded with 'the' is Wrestlemania."

    Absolutely true. But that didn't stop Bad News Brown from doing it at least once in an interview I remember. Bonus points: He actually said "The Wrestlingmania."