Sunday, September 2, 2012

Raw #17 - May 17th, 1993

It's that episode! Well, it's not literally the episode in the picture, but it summarizes tonight's Raw nicely.

Like Mark Henry, except in serious contention for a medal.
Tonight's Raw, the seventeenth episode, is considered one of the best ever. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that it's because of the Tatanka/Scott Taylor match. Earlier in the day, Randy Savage and the debuting Smoking Gunns were on hand for a demonstration with Special Olympians. The Special Olympics, Vince says, begin on June 13th, which is also the date of the King of the Ring pay-per-view. Never try to compete with a WWF pay-per-view; just look at Starrcade '87. Razor Ramon is going to be in action tonight, and "whoever Razor's opponent is," Bobby Heenan predicts, "he's gonna cut him to ribbons." The Native American Tatanka will be in action as well, and Vince McMahon will interview Shawn Michaels. Tonight's scheduled main event is Yokozuna vs. Kamala in  match no one remembers, despite this Raw being one of the most famous of all time.

No one has been struck by any of the... explosions.
Alfred Hayes is outside the Manhattan Center and says that he couldn't believe his eyes earlier tonight when he saw someone in disguise. Hopefully it's not Rob Bartlett in another dumb costume. Gunshots fire, but they're coming from inside the arena, not outside. It's the debuting (on Raw, at least) Smoking Gunns, who last week became brothers after having had an ambiguous relationship the previous week. Bart and Billy Gunn are sporting long hair and mustaches. They fire guns in the arena, but Bart's doesn't seem to go off. What would Freud say about that? The last time someone would ever fire a gun on Raw, Brian Pillman had to apologize to the USA Network. The cowboys take on Glenn "Thrasher" Ruth and Tony Vajda, who probably got teased for his name as a kid. The Gunns use frequent tags to isolate Ruth. I'm just waiting for Glenn to get that hot tag and have Vajda mount a fiery comeback. Instead, the Gunns use a very dangerous-looking double-team where Billy back body drops Ruth into the arms of Bart, who then piledrives the opponent. It looked like Bart might have been trying for a powerbomb but lost his balance; if so, the best way to cover up for an embarrassing mistake is to drop the guy straight down on his head. Bart picks up the pin on Ruth.

There is no way this is going to end well.
1: to provoke impatience, anger, or displeasure in

A commercial runs for WWF Mania, which airs Saturday mornings at 10 on USA. I hear the matches on that show include shots to the head and neck. On a Saturday morning? Those monsters.... Terry Taylor takes on Tatanka on the next Mania in a battle for the right to have stupid red streaks down one's mullet.


Intercontinental champion Shawn Michaels comes to the ring in a cut-away vest and leather chaps in bold defiance of those "Shawn is gay" chants directed at him in the past weeks (a chant which begins again immediately after his music stops playing). Shawn says that he is a man of his word and cites his promises to win the IC title, defend it all over the world, and beat Hacksaw Jim Duggan. Vince claims that Shawn is a bit of a reluctant champion (given his numerous deliberate countout losses to Tatanka and Jim Duggan). Shawn responds by promising to defend his title anywhere, any time, against anybody. 

A man in a hoodie and sunglasses appears at ringside, and given that this is before the Unabomber had been identified, Vince and Shawn don't know who he is. On second thought, I doubt Ted Kaczynski ever wore jean shorts and white sneakers. The stranger takes off his disguise to reveal himself as Marty Jannetty, who has not been seen or even mentioned since losing to Michaels at the Royal Rumble and being fired for allegedly showing up to the match drunk (To be fair, Marty didn't look drunk, and the match was solid, though unspectacular). The ex-Rocker challenges his former partner to a match for the Intercontinental Title right here tonight. Shawn ought to have expected that something like this would happen; even if Marty hadn't shown up, there would be someone wanting a title match every week at least, and probably on Shawn's days off or at 3 in the morning. Sadly, such a ridiculously grueling title defense schedule would have to wait until Crash Holly defended the Hardcore Title 24/7 in the year 2000. Vince McMahon asks Shawn if he is a man of his world, to which Michaels replies yes. Vince then declares that the title match would occur right here tonight on Raw. How does Vince McMahon get the power to make matches? Who does he think he is, Jack Tunney? This occasion marks the first of hundreds of times that an impromptu Raw main event has come about through a promo in the ring.

"Mang, the chicas, they're for fun."
Razor Ramon comes to the ring and teases the large raw girl with a kiss on his cheek before pulling his face in the way.  Razor, who has gone undefeated on Raw (including a 16-man battle royal victory), has faced Bret Hart on pay-per-view for the WWF title, and who will face the former champion at the King of the Ring, takes on The Kid, who in the past two weeks has been utterly demolished by Doink and Mr. Hughes. No creative nicknames tonight; he's wrestling simply as The Kid. Razor flicks his toothpick at The Kid's face. "He's already doing better than he ever has," says Macho Man, only slightly exaggerating. Razor toys with The Kid, slapping his chest so loud that The Brain thinks the Smoking Gunns are firing their guns again. Macho Man provides consolation for The Kid for having broken the pole vault record by being tossed across the ring. Bobby starts talking about Lord Alfred Hayes's fourth wife, who is not, it turns out, the mystery person Alfred saw earlier this evening. Heenan is uncut and uncooked. A flying body press by The Kid backfires when Razor catches him with a fallaway slam. "The Kid made a great move right there," says Randy. "Unfortunately, the other half didn't go his way." Razor whips Kid to the corner and charges him. The Kid ducks out of the way, leaving Razor to smack against the top of the ring post. The Kid mounts the top rope and moonsaults onto the dazed Bad Guy, knocking him down for a surprise three-count. The crowd goes nuts as The Kid jumps around goofily and runs backstage. Fans chant "Loser" at the fuming Razor, who goes to the announce table for answers. "Hey, you got beat, brother. What happened?" says Randy Savage, who does not have a future in psychological counseling.

The 6-9 Kid.

Gluteus maximus.
Bobby Heenan goes gaga over Raw girl and attorney Themis Klarides as Vince and Macho Man are still in disbelief about the outcome of the previous match. Bobby Heenan is irate. If anything, this Raw teaches the viewers not to change the channel during squash matches. Speaking of which, could this be Scott Taylor's night? He gets his chance to snap the Native American's undefeated streak tonight. Scott Taylor, whose gimmicks would not be known for their political correctness, taunts Tatanka with a war dance and Indian call. Tatanka responds with a flurry of offense, capped by a back body drop to the outside and a flying tomahawk chop off the apron. Actually, no. Just because Tatanka is a Native American, it does not mean that every chop he executes is a "tomahawk chop." I'm taking a stand. After that Kid victory, Tatanka has got to be paranoid during this match. He hits a Maneuver (#1), commonly known as a hip toss, on Taylor as the announcers continue to analyze the previous match. Tatanka goes on the warpath, dancing around the ring and tomahawk-chopping Taylor before putting him away with Papoose to Go. Well, so much for being politically correct.

To kick off the King of the Ring report, Mean Gene shows his bewilderment at the events of tonight's Raw. He says that Shawn and Marty make Carl Lewis look slow. I'd say they're all about equal in terms of speed and singing ability. Six of the competitors have already qualified: Bret Hart vs. Razor Ramon. Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs. Bam Bam Bigelow, and Lex Luger vs. Tatanka. If Bret Hart is the #1 seed out of eight men, does that make Razor Ramon the #8 seed? That doesn't seem right, except for his loss to a jobber just a few minutes ago. Shawn Michaels takes on Crush, and Kamala takes on Mr. Hughes over the weekend, to (hopefully) fill the remaining spots. Mr. Perfect vs. Doink had resulted in yet another time limit draw.

Okerlund: Bobby, I've got an old flame of yours joining us this weekend on All-American. Yeah, Sensational Sherri. Hey Macho Man, do you think he should be watching out for a head scissors?

Macho Man: Or a sunset flip! Sexy! I like it!

Kamala takes on Yokozuna in the fourth of five matches tonight. They're not messing around tonight, are they? Slick is not in Kamala's corner tonight, though Yokozuna has geishas and Mr. Fuji. Heenan has no doubt that Kamala will not be able to slam Yoko tonight (despite his having slammed the late Andre the Giant). The announcers comment on how this show is uncooked, uncut, and unbelievable (#2). Vince speculates that Hulk Hogan is watching this match. Remember him? He's the WWF champion for some reason. By now, Yokozuna is visibly heavier than he's ever been (but much lighter than he ever will be again). Randy recaps the controversy around Yoko getting the title shot instead of Bret. If this angle were run today, the obvious solution would be a triple threat match for the title, and everyone would groan at yet another triple threat match. Such innovations, however, would not come about until Gorilla Monsoon became Federation president. The match starts out with a lot of bending over and ramming, like a night with Pat Patterson (I've run out of Pat Patterson gay jokes, is what I'm getting at). Yokozuna hits what might best be described as karate chops (if you're a racist) to knock Kamala off his feet. Kamala gets to his feet even after a legdrop, fighting back with what I might call a tomahawk chop (See? He's not Native American. Not racist.) to Yokozuna. Kamala seems to be gaining momentum, but gets tripped by Mr. Fuji, allowing the #1 contender to nail him with a Maneuver (#2 - savate kick) into the corner. After splash and a running butt bump, a Devastating Maneuver (#3) in and of itself, Yoko hits the Banzai Drop for the victory. 

Your cultural moment of the evening.
Pictured (left to right): Gluteus maximus, Bill Alfonso.

Shawn vs. Marty is our main event tonight. Marty Jannetty finally returns to the ring, and he's wearing the same gear that his action figure wears. The action gets off to a quick start, with lots of Irish whips, leapfrogs, and sunset flips. Shawn tries to hiptoss Jannetty, but he lands on his feet with a Maneuver (#4) and clotheslines the champion. The challenger then clotheslines Michaels once again, this time over the top rope to the outside, then lands a Beautiful Maneuver (#5 - baseball slide), skins the cat back into the ring, and jumps right back onto Michaels with a plancha. A "Marty" chant, which wrestling lore would have you believe never existed, breaks out in the Manhattan Center. A Japanese arm drag and a flying head scissors (not the sexy Sensational Sherri kind) nearly earns Jannetty a pinfall. "Who knows Shawn Michaels better than Marty Jannetty?" asks Savage. "Nobody," responds McMahon, before adding hastily, "except maybe... I don't know, Mr. Perfect... knows him any better, I don't know." Way to kill the moment, Vince. Jannetty continues to toss Michaels around, hitting him with a baaack body drop and whipping him to the corner and to the outside. "Marty Jannetty  on ICO-PRO, no doubt." ICO-PRO: the WWF's answer to Powersauce bars. HBK takes the belt and leaves ringside before Mr. Perfect stands in his way in the aisle and forces him back to the ring.

This match sets the all-time Raw record for most Maneuvers, with 7.

Marty retains the advantage throughout the commercial break but attempts another head scissors, which Michaels reverses by hanging up Marty on the ropes. "What a Maneuver" (#6), Vince exclaims. "What a Maneuver [#7] on the part of Shawn Michaels!" Vince reiterates that "Anything can happen on Monday Night Raw! Anything can happen in the WWF!" For once, given the events of tonight, he doesn't sound like a complete shill. "You never know what's gonna happen here," agrees Heenan. "I hate it here!" Michaels wears down Jannetty until he comes up short on a dropkick and gets caught, getting catapulted into the top turnbuckle and nearly pinned. Mt. Perfect, still at ringside, looks on. Michaels whips Jannetty into the corner, but he counters with a Maneuver (#8), jumping to the second rope, faking a body press, leading Michaels to duck to the ground prematurely and prompting Vince to again exclaim, "What a Maneuver that was!" (#9). Jannetty hits a body press for real this time for a two-count. The two exchange go-behinds, with Michaels backflipping right over Jannetty with a Maneuver (#10) and sparking a series of roll-ups and reversals. Michaels winds up with his tights pulled partially down. "It's almost 10 o'clock," says The Brain, "We should have seen the moon anyway by now." HBK hits the superkick, but it's not his finisher yet, so all is not lost for Jannetty. Michaels takes the opportunity to climb the ropes to yell at Mr. Perfect, and surprise, surprise, the distraction blows up in HBK's face. Perfect hurls his towel at him, throwing Shawn off balance and making him easy prey for a Jannetty inside cradle for the pin and the title.

With ten Maneuvers in just one hour, this is the best Raw yet and would be the best for years to come, and for obvious reason. That was one hell of a Tatanka/Scott Taylor match.


Final tally:

2 Uncut, uncensored, uncookeds (Cumulative total: 30)
10 Maneuvers (Cumulative total: 82)

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