Friday, September 21, 2012

Raw #29 - August 9th, 1993

Lex Luger and Winston: A winning tag team for America!
Raw's twenty-ninth episode again takes place in Alexandria Bay, New York. We kick off the episode with a series of clips from Lex Luger's Lex Express tour, including footage of his visit to the Chicago White Sox's Comiskey Park. Luger throws out the ceremonial first pitch, not only wearing one of those ridiculous fanny packs that wrestlers would wear in the 90s to carry their pills, but in full view of a giant cigarette billboard.

 Macho Man is back on commentary tonight in the low-ceilinged arena in upstate New York. The entire population of the town in 1993 could, no joke, fit inside the Manhattan Center and not even sell it out. We are promised a six-man tag match in which the Macho Midget teams with Bushwhackers. Don't touch that dial, despite the line-up we've just announced! Tatanka rushes to the ring to take on Wippleman enforcer and narcoleptic, Mr. Hughes. Hughes scores a Nice Maneuver (#1), which looks like he accidentally forgets to duck when Tatanka tries to leapfrog over him. Tatanka lives up to his namesake, charging Hughes like a buffalo, but the big man holds his ground. Vince wonders if this will be Tatanka's first loss (as if they would waste such a great opportunity on a guy who's just going to disappearing a few months later, instead of Ludvig Borga). According to the 2000 Census, Alexandria Bay's black population is 0.09%, amounting to one African-American in the whole town, as well as one Native American, meaning that this Mr. Hughes vs. Tatanka match alone doubles the town's black and Indian populations.

Curtis Hughes.
Hughes charges Tatanka in the corner, but misses, cracking his glasses. With Hughes now sans sunglasses, Heenan says he recognizes him as Barry White. Vince starts to call Hughes "Barry" before correcting himself. Hughes tosses Tatanka over the top rope, then follows him out, only to get caught with a back body drop Maneuver (#2), allowing the Native American to get back into the ring for a countout victory. Macho Man declares that Hughes "messed himself over," hopefully not in the same way that Sycho Sid allegedly did at Wrestlemania XIII. Wippleman enters the ring and Hughes wakes up from his nap to hit Tatanka from behind with the urn. He then breaks the Undertaker's black wreath and throws it on his opponent.

Another Lex Luger interview follows, in which Mr. Pfohl talks about his college football career. He "made a lot of mistakes" after hanging out with the "wrong crowd," being kicked off the team. Unfortunately, Luger is unable to muster any more vague euphemisms for wrecking an Atlanta hotel room, so he talks about his pro career, where he made the CFL at age nineteen. Wait, Canadian Football League? Lex had better apologize for playing in a foreign organization, or else I'm not buying this whole "All-American" schtick. He did, however, go on to play for the now-defunct United States Football League. He finished up school due to guilt, then moved on to wrestling instead of becoming an attorney. Where exactly he wrestled before 1993 is left a mystery.

The Bushwhackers, hailing from New Zealand, and the Macho Midget, hailing from the Uncanny Valley, enter the ring to take on the Brooklyn Brawler, Blake Beverly, and another midget named Little Louie (later known as King Queasy). If you had any doubts about Blake's place in the WWF after his tag team partner left, there's your answer. The Bushwhackers and Macho Midget, all of whom would dress up as Doink before the end of the year, start off with some dancing, which Vince finds exceedingly comical. Luke starts off with Blake Beverly, but the action breaks out of control, with Luke biting Blake's butt, Butch pulling a Pat Patterson by biting Steve Lombardi's butt, Little Louie biting Butch's butt, and the Macho Midget biting Louie's butt. Before Human Centipede, there were the Bushwhackers. How this match did not end up on the "Best of Raw" DVD is beyond me.

Savage describes Luke and Butch as "kissing cousins." Let that image sink in. The face team clears the ring, then puts the Macho Midget in the ring to face off against Little Louie. A politically incorrect name like "Macho Midget" would never fly in today's PG, Linda 2012-centered WWE. They would call him "The Exemplar of Outdated Masculine Gender Roles Midget." Butch tags in to take on Beverly, who gets a double-noggin-knocker along with the Brawler. The Bushwhackers put the Brawler down, but let the Macho Midget get the splash and the pinfall. Technically, the pin is illegal, as the midgets and full-sized adults are not allowed to get physical under mixed-tag rules.

Vince, the announcers, the WWF suits, and Yokozuna's entourage are all in the ring as we prepare for the Summerslam contract signing. Yoko enters with Mr. Fuji, trailed by Jim Cornette, who has just been hired as the champion's American spokesman. Cornette praises the industry and work force of Japan, but accuses the Federation interpreters have been dishonest to Yoko and Fuji (both of whom have spoken perfect English in the past). Does this mean that Cornette speaks fluent Japanese? Lex Luger, making his first live appearance since his face turn, comes out to Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever," but remarkably wears a business suit instead of a full-body American flag. Jack Tunney, a Canadian alien, presides over the proceedings. Luger should have knocked him out with a forearm for setting his Canuck paws on American soil. The two wrestlers sign the contract without any tables being overturned.

Cornette then announces that he slipped a clause into the contract specifying that Lex Luger will never get a rematch if he fails to win the title. Right about now, Lex is regretting not going to law school like his parents wanted. Luger says that all he ever asked for is one shot at the title, and that America is the land of opportunity (even if the person getting that opportunity has not wrestled in a month and his last big match was a time limit draw against mid-carder Tatanka). If only we could apply this logic to our political system; all of these third-party candidates would be able to get on the ballot simply by body-slamming Barack Obama. Lex vows to bring back the title to the United States, where it belongs. That's the World Wrestling Federation title, by the way. Then again, the WWF's name has always been a bit of a misnomer; Monday Night Raw has not even ventured out of New York state. Yoko, not impressed with Luger's saliva-filled rant in his face, wipes the spit off his forehead and flicks it at Lex. The challenger tells Yokozuna that the Japanese champion will have something ringing in his ears on his flight home, and it starts with U, ends in A, and has a middle initial of F (which I believe is supposed to be "S"). With this amount of build-up for the All-American, it's a shock that in just over two years, he'd be back in W70W. The fans chant "UFA" at the champion as some more Sousa music plays us to commercial.

Razor Ramon takes on future Yokozuna victim Dan Dubiel. The new face Razor Ramon now wears a red, white, and blue armband, although even in his vignettes as a heel, he called America the land of opportunity (presumably for its lucrative cocaine trafficking industry, since Scott Hall lifted his Razor Ramon character from Scarface). Vince mentions an American football game that took place the night before in Wembley Stadium, where last year Summerslam drew 80,355 fans (or 95,000 fans, if we are calculating attendance using the Wrestlemania III method). This year's Summerslam would draw slightly fewer than that.

Razor "Biels" Dan Dubiel across the ring (Vince McMahon's word, not mine). The Bad Guy, mentions Heenan, will take on Ted DiBiase at Summerslam. Bobby also points out that it's ironic that the battle over who is the real king of the WWF (Bret Hart vs. Jerry Lawler) will take place at an arena called "The Palace." That's not ironic, Bobby. That's coincidental. It would be ironic if it took place at an arena called The Capitol Building of Auburn Hills or The Commoners' Dwelling of Auburn Hills. It is ironic that at a pay-per-view drenched in American patriotism, an undisputed king will be crowned (a king who will possibly be Canadian). Although Razor is supposed to be a face here, he wrestles in the exact same way he did as a heel, including the STF where he slaps his opponent in the back of the head. Razor wins with a Razor's Edge, Biel-ing his opponent to the mat.

Mean Gene brings us the Summerslam Report, sponsored by American automobile company Chevrolet, whose American trucks are as American as apple pie, Lex Luger, and Chevy trucks. Remember, if you even think about buying a Japanese car, just leave the country right now and burn your Social Security card. Gene says that the Shawn Michaels-Mr. Perfect match could be  the greatest IC title match ever, and for once, he's not exaggerating. Not to say that it was the greatest Intercontinental title match, or even close to the greatest, but at least it's not a blatant lie like predicting Wrestlemania IX would be the greatest Mania ever (Mania IX was, in fact, not much better than an episode of WWF Mania on Saturday mornings with Todd Pettengill).

Jim Cornette brings out the Heavenly Bodies for their first WWF appearance. I'm not sure what heavenly bodies they're supposed to be, but my guess would be two of our outermost planets, which are made up mostly of gas. Jim Cornette, I suppose, is the Sun, since he's the only one of these three who can actually generate heat. Their opponents are Bobby Who and newcomer Mike Bucci. Vince references the Bodies' feud with the Armstrong family, which includes the future Road Dogg. McMahon also claims that if the Bodies win the tag titles from the Steiners at Summerslam, it would be the first time that a WWF title has gone to another organization (not including the time Antonio Inoki beat Bob Backlund for the title, but the WWF never talks about that).

Looks like Del Ray has one hell of a workrate.
The Heavenly Bodies get off to an unbelievable start, setting a blistering pace for the match. Oops, my mistake. The VHS rip I'm watching is sped up significantly during this last segment. Del Ray hits a Maneuver (#3) on his opponent, the sort of short-arm crescent kick that the Godfather would do in the Attitude Era. Del Ray then hits the float-over DDT dubbed "Layin' the Smack Down" by either the Rock or whoever named the moves in WWF Attitude by Acclaim. I seriously hope that no more Maneuvers are executed during this match, as it will be a pain to sync up the audio with the sped-up footage to identify said Maneuvers. The Bodies finish off Bucci with a double team, a Del Ray moonsault while Prichard holds the standing opponent in place. Del Ray, who puts the "jiggle" in "gigolo," pins Bucci and proceeds to toss him out of the ring so that Cornette can step in and berate the Steiners.

The Heavenly Bodies are a tough team to read. On the one hand, well-muscled heels like Rick Rude (or the Narcissist - remember him?) typically get heat by playing on the jealousy of the males in the audience, claiming to be the object of every woman's desire. On the other hand, extremely fat or ugly heels (like Big Vis) can get some laughs and even fan support for claiming the same thing. But what to make of the athletic but slightly out of shape Heavenly Bodies? If anything, fans will boo them until they put their clothes back on.

Final tally:

3 Maneuvers (Cumulative total: 187)

1 comment:

  1. Mike Bucci, for those who don't know, will go on to compete as Nova in ECW and Simon Dean in WWE.