Friday, September 7, 2012

Raw #23 - June 28th, 1993

The twenty-third edition of Monday Night Raw features Kamala challenging for the Intercontinental Title of Shawn Michaels, who has Diesel (formerly known as his "insurance policy") in his corner. There is just something strange about the Two Dudes with Attitudes sharing a ring with Kamala. Then again, Raw has been filled with weird generational overlaps since its inception (Damien Demento vs. Jim Brunzell, Koko B. Ware vs. anyone). Bastion Booger, the re-packaged Friar Ferguson (who lasted one TV taping) takes on Crush.

Pictured (left to right): The Raw girl, Themis Klarides;
fashion plate Diesel.
Diesel is obviously still easing into the leather-clad "Big Daddy Cool" persona, coming to the ring in a white rhinestone jacket and acid wash jeans. Kamala comes to the ring without Slick, forever depriving the wrestling world of a Slick/Diesel confrontation (I wonder which one's taller?). Kamala's gimmick is supposedly being made more sensitive suring this time, with him becoming less savage, more human, and a fan favorite, yet the announcers still have no problem pointing out how stupid he is and how he has no strategy. Michaels and Kamala have a staredown and tease a handshake until Michaels clocks Kamala. The Ugandan giant reverses an Irish whip to the buckle, catching Michaels with a Nice Maneuver (#1 - clothesline). Kamala then bites Shawn's hand, reflecting his "cannibalistic tendencies," says Heenan. Vince brings up Yokozuna's Stars & Stripes Challenge, held this coming Sunday in which he challenges any American athlete to slam him. Kamala, who has bodyslammed Andre the Giant in the past, is ineligible since he's from Uganda (and not, say Mississippi). Shawn jumps right into a Kamala bearhug as we cut to commercial.

Fortunately for the home audience, and unfortunately for the fans in attendance, Kamala has kept the bear hug on HBK throughout the entire break. Shawn finally escapes after Kamala fails to pin him, rolling out of the ring and letting the Ugandan chase him. Shawn whips Kamala to the ropes and attempts a dropkick, but Kamala grabs the ropes, letting the Heartbreak Kid fall flat on his back. "I can't believe Kamala was smart enough to hold the ropes on that dropkick!" says one of the announcers. Bobby Heenan, right? Because he's the heel? No, it was Randy Savage. Michaels shifts the momentum by working the Ugandan's legs like only an intelligent Westerner could do. 

Michaels twice attempts a spinning toe hold, but Kamala performs two phantom reversals in which Shawn appears to somersault on his own, supposedly due to a hair-pull. Kamala, savage or not, is not the most technically sound grappler. Then again, he hits another Maneuver (#2), booting Shawn in the "derriere" and into the turnbuckles. Kamala mounts a comeback. "I love when he pats his belly!" says Macho. "He's got sooooouuuul inside!" He hits a splash on the champion's back, but the big man is too stupid, after 19 years of wrestling, to turn Michaels onto his back and pin his shoulders down. Diesel climbs the ring apron, showing off his cowboy boots, and distracts Kamala enough for Shawn to land a superkick to the back of Kamala's head, sending the Ugandan giant backwards for some reason and easy prey for a Michaels pin. After the match, Heenan suggests that they play Kamala's theme music, "If I Only Had a Brain" from The Wizard of Oz. Speaking of Oz, Diesel attacks Kamala, knocking him down from behind, allowing a double-team. This is "unsportsmanship [sic] conduct," says Vince.

After a package for the Stars & Stripes Challenge, Vince welcomes Yokozuna and Mr. Fuji to the ring for an interview. "Nobody can slam that man," says Bobby to Randy. "You couldn't lift him with a forklift." I beg to differ. Fans chant "USA" at the champion, perhaps showing their appreciation for the network that broadcasts Raw. Do you think that's why Vince decided to run a patriotic angle in post-Cold War peacetime? Fuji wants to humiliate American athletes by having them try and fail to slam the mammoth Yokozuna. I can just imagine how humiliated those jockeys and figure skaters would feel after failing to lift the 550-pounder. Vince gets fired up, reminding Fuji that every time America is in trouble, someone steps up to the plate, takes a swing, and hits a home run. I'm calling it now: Abe Knuckleball Schwartz will win the Stars & Stripes Challenge! Fuji disagrees; Yokozuna will be champion forever until he retires and presents the belt to the Emperor of Japan, Akihito. How dare Mr. Fuji! It's a championship, not a "belt." Vince offers Yoko the mic, and after some prodding by Fuji in Japanese, Yoko gives a declaration in English that is both highly intelligible and narmy. "American athletes are just like American products. They are no good! Banzai!" A number of American athletes speak in vignettes and vow to slam Yokozuna, thus restoring honor to America's electronics and automobiles. Speaking of which, Chevrolet will give away a blue truck (remember that detail for next week: a blue Chevrolet truck) to "the Superstar who can slam the WWF champion." Right away, we know that it's going to be a Superstar and not some other pro athlete. That much was obvious; can you imagine Lawrence Taylor getting a headline match in the WWF?

Legendary Beatles producer George Martin wants to slam Yokozuna.

Remember how I mentioned the clash of generations earlier in this post? In the next match, the Smoking Gunns take on a team made up of Old and New Generation jobbers, I mean, enhancement talent, Iron Mike Sharpe and Barry Horowitz. Sharpe, whom Vince describes as a veteran, backs Billy into a corner but accidentally clotheslines his own partner. Bobby Heenan says he's excited for next year, since the Gunns wash their jeans on the even-numbered years. Hey, nothing wrong with that. Bart Gunn almost wins with a small package, which Randy Savage corrects: "That was a big package because Iron Mike Sharpe is a big guy." They don't call him the Macho Man for nothing! Horowitz breaks up the pin and tags in.

Vince McMahon promotes the Stars & Stripes Challenge again, which he advertises as a great way to start your Fourth of July: watching man after man trying and failing to lift an obese Samoan by the crotch. Bart misses a body press, allowing Horowitz to pat himself on the back and take advantage with a Maneuver (#3 - slingshot guillotine under the first rope), perhaps the first Maneuver ever performed on Raw by a prelim wrestler. Horowitz hits another Great Maneuver (#4 - northern lights suplex pin) for a two-count on Bart. Macho Man says that this is "shades of the 123 Kid," anticipating Horowitz's long-overdue victory over Bodydonna Skip two years before it happened. Vince takes some time to promote the film Born on the Fourth of July, a feel-good patriotic movie shown on the USA Network this Friday. Horowitz and Sharpe attempt a double-team, but Bart counters with a Manuever (#5), a flying forearm on Barry. Billy gets the hot tag and unleashes a flurry of offense, including a Maneuver (#6 - dropkick) on Horowitz. Billy tags Bart back, who lifts Horowitz over his shoulder like a dominator and tags Billy back in for a double-team finisher. Billy lands a splash as Bart drops Horowitz, allowing the future Mr. Ass ("Future Ass"? Now that would have been a nickname) to score the pinfall.

Vince reminds of of last week's main event. The 123 Kid is now $10,000 richer and his whereabouts are unknown (just like today, except for the $10,000 part). The Brain says that the Kid is locked up in some cheap hotel room with the dresser barricading the door, counting his money (again, likely true today, except for the money part). We see a replay of last week's match, only with the regular, non-Poughkeepsie graphics.

Vince brings out Money Inc. for the second in-ring interview of the hour (foreshadowing the Attitude Era). McMahon rubs it in that Ted and Irwin don't have the tag titles anymore. The Steiners, who two weeks ago had never had the titles, and who last week became two-time tag champions, owe Money Inc. a shot, as per the rematch clause. Ted DiBiase, out of the blue, starts talking about how stupid Razor Ramon (or "Razor Jabrone," as IRS calls him, predating The Rock by 5 years) is for losing to The Kid and then offering him $10,000 for a rematch. Ted suggests that Razor go back to school (University of Michigan, specifically) so that he can team up the Steiners as Larry, Mo, and Curly. The fans chant Razor's name, leading Vince to suggest that the next time Ramon steps in the ring, he'll be "oozing with something more than machismo." What exactly will he be oozing with? Ted offers Razor to be a maid (possibly for a sequel to Mr. Nanny). Macho Man says that, speaking of tag teams, he and his new tag team partner Todd Pettengill (How did they never get a title shot?) will host WWF Mania this Saturday.

Pictured (left to right): Future ECW World Champions
Raven, Justin Credible
Adam Bomb takes on the unfortunately-misnamed "B.J. Walker" in the next match. Bomb lives on Three Mile Island, which is especially impressive because the island has no houses, only the nuclear plant. "You know, something just passed through my mind," says Heenan. "Congratulations! What is it?" interrupts Macho. Zing! Adam Bomb manhandles Walker with suplexes, clotheslines, and finally, the Atom Smasher for the pin. Bomb stands over his fallen opponent, basking in his own mastery of BJ.

"Polo Fever: Catch It!"

Crush, future KISS Demon and tag partner of Adam Bomb, steps into the ring with Bastion Booger, who is making his first appearance on Raw (besides his two-episode stint as Friar Ferguson). In light of the media's discovery of Bill Clinton's half-brother, Roger, Heenan claims that Bastion Booger is Hillary Clinton's long-lost brother. Vince McMahon apologizes to the First Lady, who had surely tuned in that night simply to enjoy a Bastion Booger match and not to be insulted. Vince was careful from then on not to offend Mrs. Clinton. Crush flattens Booger with what Vince generously describes as "kind of a back body drop." In a crucial development for Bastion Booger's character, the announcers point out that he is a very ugly man and discover that he smells very bad. Crush struggles throughout the match to lift the obese Booger, which ought to humiliate him much worse than the possibility of failing to lift the even heavier Yokozuna. Finally, Crush slams Booger three times in a row to beat Booger and build momentum going into the Stars & Stripes Challenge (by picking up a very fat, ugly, smelly man).

Next week's Raw will feature the 123 Kid, Bam Bam Bigelow, and Mr. Perfect, as well as footage from the Stars & Stripes Challenge. Bobby Heenan says that after the American athletes fail to slam Yokozuna, the USS Intrepid will be re-named Yokozuna. Spoiler alert: Yokozuna bests all challengers, which is why the aircraft carrier in New York Harbor is to this day known as the USS Yokozuna.

Final Tally:

0 Uncut, uncensored, uncookeds (Cumulative Total: 33)
6 Maneuvers (Cumulative Total: 142 + 2 lost Maneuvers from episode #4 = 144)

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