Saturday, September 15, 2012

Raw #25 - July 10th, 1993

The twenty-fifth episode of Raw kicks off with Yokozuna taking on Crush, who challenged him for the title last week. Bobby Heenan complains that Lex Luger cheated by using his steel-plated elbow before executing "The Hiplock Heard 'Round the World." Macho Man is still wearing his American flag suit at ringside. Tonight's opening match is the first second WWF Title match in the history of Raw. The IC title has been defended several times, including on the first episode. Meanwhile, the tag team titles have yet to be put on the line on Raw.
Crush, who almost slammed Yoko on July 4th, enters the ring to a version of Sid Justice's old music. While Yoko does his sumo poses while a rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner breaks out in the audience. Heenan expresses surprise that Hawaii is the 50th state ("I thought it was a suburb of Guam."). The two lock up like "two big bulls," says Vince, perhaps giving him the inspiration for Mantaur. Crush runs at the champion, who counters with a Maneuver (#1 - scoop slam). However, a follow-up elbow on the challenger misses, giving Crush a chance to boot Yoko through the ropes and to the arena floor. A nonsensical chant of "Na Na Hey Hey Goodbye," the first of many, starts in the crowd. Crush whips Yoko to the buckle and hits a Maneuver (#2- corner splash). A second splash misses, however, letting the champion chop Crush down. The Brain suggests that Yoko simply drop all his weight on Crush's neck and get the match over with. Good idea. I never understood why a 500+ pounder would waste time doing wrestling moves when he could just sit on his opponent for an easy victory. Yoko hotshots Crush on the top rope, right under "the chin area," followed by a "shot to the throat area." Both Heenan and McMahon comment on Yoko's newfound anger after having been slammed (or hiplocked) by Lex Luger. Yokozuna puts Crush in the same nervehold that he would use on Lex Luger for several hours at Wrestlemania X. Fifty dollars says he's still pinching Crush's neck when we come back from commercial. Speaking of commercials, during the break, USA runs an ad for the first ever Star Wars marathon, hosted by Carrie Fisher, featuring "Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi." None of that "Episode IV: A New Hope" crap; the original movie is just called "Star Wars."

Back from break, Yokozuna no longer has the nerve hold on Crush. I'll mail you a check. Yoko misses a clothesline on the Hawaiian, who "counters" with a Maneuver (#3). Apparently getting savate kicked by Yokozuna counts as a "Maneuver." Maybe Vince was calling Crush's ducking of the clothesline a "Maneuver," or else he accidentally referred to Yokozuna's kick as "What a maneuver by Crush!" (Perhaps foreshadowing Yokozuna's unceremonious elimination in the Royal Rumble 1996 by Yokozuna). Regardless, Vince said that it was Crush doing the Maneuver, so the Maneuver is credited officially to Crush. Vince mentions Crush's recent match with Doink on Superstars, which featured 16 Doinks on the big screen. The announcers note Yokozuna's methodical handling of Crush. Heenan wants Yoko to instead put Crush away quickly. This is years before Mike Adamle would put on a WWE headset, so for now it's not possible for Yokozuna to use both strategies. Crush hits Yokozuna with a top-rop shoulderblock, but only gets a two count. Crush mounts the top rope again, since "it takes a High-Risk Maneuver (#4) to defeat Yokozuna." However, Mr. Fuji sticks the challenger with a flag pole to the... ribs. Where else would he stick the flag pole? Crush tumbles to the floor. Heenan insists that Crush slipped. Yoko scoop slams Crush to the arena floor and rolls the challenger back into the ring, where he is easy prey for a belly-to-belly "with authority," an "unbelievable" leg drop, and finally a Banzai Drop for a victory for the champion. Yokozuna Banzai Drops Crush again and again until Tatanka tries to aid the Hawaiian. The Native American is easily swatted away, letting Yoko hit a fourth Banzai Drop. Some enhancement talent also tries to rescue Crush, but they too are batted away. Finally, Randy Savage breaks the fourth wall, rushing to the ring and pulling Crush out of the ring.

I say "break the fourth wall" despite Savage not breaking kayfabe because in wrestling, which is presented as a real-life sporting event with cameras, announcers, and a live audience, the "fourth wall" is very easy to break. The performers, unlike the actors on regular TV shows (except mockumentaries like The Office), are supposed to be fully aware of the fact that their actions are being viewed and recorded. Thus, when an announcer, a fan, or a cameraman gets involved in the show, he is, in a way, breaking the easily-breakable fourth wall by interfering in the performance. Then, there is what I call the "fifth wall" in wrestling, which is kayfabe. When, for instance, Michael Cole tells the viewers that Jerry Lawler has passed out at ringside and that it was not part of the night's entertainment, he is acknowledging that the pseudo-sporting event is, in fact, scripted. End tangent.

Bobby Heenan blames Lex Luger for what happened to Crush because the All-American awakened the anger in the sumo champion. The Headshrinkers take on the team of PJ Walker and Aaron Ferguson. Heenan compares Yokozuna's performance to those of the baseball all-stars at the home run derby that night at Baltimore's Camden Yards. That All-Star Game is infamous in Baltimore for American League All-Star team (and Toronto Blue Jays) manager Cito Gaston's refusal to put Orioles pitcher Mike Mussina into the game. Heenan continues to defend Yokozuna's actions, claiming that the champion had lost his footing and accidentally landed on Crush (three additional times). In typical Headshrinkers fashion, the Samoans destroy the jobbers, beating Walker unconscious, then rolling him to his own corner to make a tag to his partner (a la Weekend at Bernie's, say the announcers). Samu enters the ring again without tagging, which bobby calls "a Greco-Roman tag." Fatu finishes off Ferguson with a Devastating Maneuver (#5), a top rope splash. Tonight's theme is "Samaons Behaving Badly." Is that a Rob Schneider reference on my blog? Yes, it is. 

Next week will feature a rematch for the Intercontinental title between Marty Jannetty and champion Shawn Michaels. I had no idea this match took place. Tatanka takes on the Brooklyn Brawler, who, like the other jobbers on this episode, does not get his name written in all caps. Macho Man, who has been backstage with the injured Crush, returns to the announce table and defends his involvement in the ring. Tatanka and Lombardi have a stop-and-go match with lots of stalling. Vince apologizes for ignoring the importance of this match (a match that features the Brooklyn Brawler). The Brawler, however, hits the Undefeated Native American™ with a neckbreaker. He later takes off his shirt to choke out Tatanka and then rakes his "facial area." Brawler even beats Tatanka in a top wristlock test of strength. Heenan asks how one says hello to Tatanka (Answer: Hi-how-are-ya-hi-how-are-ya!). Tatanka goes on the warpath to shift the momentum of the match before hitting Papoose to Go for the victory.

Vince promises an appearance by Men on a Mission, or "MOM," as Vince calls them for some reason. We get a montage of little brainwashed kids explaining why Lex Luger should get a title shot for having slammed Yokozuna. Lots of people had slammed Bret Hart, but that doesn't mean they should have gotten title shots (although, Hart being a fighting champion, most of them did). Mr. Hughes takes on Tony Devito in a battle of forgettable future ECW wrestlers. A balding man comes to the ring with a black wreath reading "Rest in Peace," prompting Heenan to point out that he has a hole in his haircut. Hughes, you may recall, has recently stolen the Undertaker's urn, a crime so unforgivable that the Undertaker would only allow it to happen two more times in the following years. This, I can only assume, is part of the build-up to an obvious Undertaker-Mr. Hughes match at Summerslam, which sounds rather bland, but at least the WWF wouldn't be stupid enough to put Giant Gonzalez on pay-per-view again (oh wait). Hughes hits a Maneuver (#6), whipping Devito hard to the turnbuckles. Hughes ends the match with a chokeslam, a Maneuver (#7) reminiscent of the Undertaker, says Vince (who else would say "maneuver"?). Hughes then destroys the Undertaker's wreath.


Mean Gene brings us the Summerslam Report, whose theme music sounds like Mickie James's TNA theme (and knowing Dale Oliver's level of creativity, this might not be a coincidence, although if Mickie James's theme rips off anything, it's Joan Jett's "I Love Rock & Roll"). So far, the only match on the card is Bret Hart vs. Jerry Lawler. Perhaps they should hold out until more than one match is announced before doing a report. Vince then introduces a video package of "MOM," Men on a Mission. Bobby Heenan then corrects him: "It's 'Men who Eat and Live at a Mission." Mabel, Oscar, and Mabel, who debuted that weekend on Superstars, rap at 5 mph over an 8-bit drum loop and a nauseating green screen.


Adam Bomb arrives at ringside as footage of atom bombs plays. Vince, perhaps seeking a Nobel Peace Prize nomination, explains that "hopefully we never see this kind of action ever again in the world." Too bad he isn't referring to the wrestler Adam Bomb; he could have won the prize that year. Bomb takes on Scott Amati, who gets his name spelled out in all caps. Bomb, who, judging by his extra-red tongue has been eating red hots backstage, hammers away at Amati, even applying an abdominal claw, a move rarely seen in modern wrestling because it is so stupid. Bomb slams Amati to the floor of the Manhattan Center as his manager Johnny Polo (who is sporting a badminton racket) taunts the ham-and-egger. Bomb finishes off Scott with the Atom Smasher.

Vince announces that Jerry Lawler's guest on King's Court next week will be Tiny Tim ("Tiny Tim!?"). Also in action will be Men on a Mission, the 123 Kid, and Marty Jannetty, who is taking on HBK in a rematch for the IC title.

Plugging the show gets you on TV, regardless of spelling.

Final Tally:

7 Maneuvers (Cumulative total: 166)


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I think the first WWF title match was actually Bret Hart defending against Fatu, Yokozuna vs. Crush being the second.

    1. I don't see how I missed that. Maybe it was the assumption that Fatu would never have gotten a title shot 1993.