Thursday, October 4, 2012

Raw #35 - October 11th, 1993

Tonight's Raw, number 35, will mark the second Intercontinental title change and third title change overall in Raw history. It also is the concluding episode of the first of many Shawn Michaels title forfeitures on Raw. Vince McMahon narrates a montage of last week's battle royal, which he explains is the culmination of years of sacrifice by the wrestlers. That doesn't explain why Abe Knuckleball Schwartz is in it, though. It is very difficult to make a story out of a match with 20 men punching and kicking each other.

The opening match is Razor Ramon vs. Rick Martel, who is wrestling his third match in one night, as the past three Raws have all been filmed in New Haven on September 27th. heenan bets that if Razor wins the belt, he'll melt it down into "some cheap necklace." Who does he think Ramon is, the Supreme Fighting Machine Kama? This episode is airing on Columbus Day, the significance of which Vince explains like so:

"Well, gentlemen, let's not forget that we are celebrating Columbus Day in the United States. Columbus, by the way, not only was he representing the Queen of England when he discovered America, don't forget Columbus was Hispanic! This could be a great day for those of Hispanic extraction, a great day for Razor Ramon!"

A few points need to be made here. Firstly, the monarch of England in 1492 was not a queen, but King Henry VII. Secondly, as you all remember from first grade, Columbus was not representing England, but Spain, under King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. That's why much of the Caribbean and most of Central and South America speak Spanish, not English. Thirdly, Columbus was not "Hispanic" or even Spanish. He was from Genoa, part of modern-day Italy. Fourthly, Scott Hall is as Caucasian as American Starship Coyote or the Diamond Studd. Other than that, Vince's historical commentary is spot-on.

The match starts off with slaps, then top wristlocks, just like in a real fight. Martel scores a Nice Maneuver (#1- drop toe hold) to take the Bad Guy down. Razor then escapes a wristlock and does what you and I would call a push to the turnbuckle, but which Vince calls a Maneuver (#2) that we should look at. A series of Irish whips occur, again just like in a real fight, until Razor's fallaway slam send the Model to the outside. Razor slaps on a wristlock and puts Martel on the ground.

The two men are fighting on the outside of the ring when the show returns from break. What would happen in the event of a double-countout? Maybe WWF could have drawn this angle out, having the match end in non-finish after non-finish for weeks on end until Shawn Michaels returned and reclaimed his title. Heenan points out that if Martel wins the IC title, then there will be no American champions in the WWF. Isn't Razor supposed to be from Cuba? After Razor escapes a Boston Crab via a rope break, the Model hits a Devastating Maneuver (#3 - side slam) on Razor, then showboats for the crowd. Martel puts on the Boston Crab again, but Razor powers out with his legs for an unsuccessful pin attempt. Ramon puts Martel on the top turnbuckle for a belly-to-back suplex, but Rick elbows out and tries a body press. Razor rolls through the body press and almost pins The Model. Razor then finishes Martel with the Razor's Edge. Razor quotes Scarface, saying into the camera, "Say hello to the new Intercontinental Champion!" (That's from the scene where Tony Montana beats Don Muraco).

Next out are the Headshrinkers, which tonight is spelled as one word. Has it always been like that? Shouldn't that at least be hyphenated? They take on Tommy Morrison and Sid Curtis, tonight's body donors. Vince wonders what would happen if the Steiner Brothers took on the 'Shrinkers. That already happened, Vince. You know, the one you called "the greatest Wrestlemania of all time," Wrestlemania IX? Vince announces a non-sanctioned match tonight featuring the Rock & Roll Express. Gee, for a non-sanctioned match, you sure are allowing them a lot of TV time on your #1 show. this match is your typical Headshrinkers squash, where the Samoans beat one scrub unconscious, then drags him over to his own corner to tag in his partner. In this case, the partner is Tommy Morrison, which Vince clarifies is not the boxer of the same name (For example, the wrestler Tommy Morrison did not star in Rocky V or get banned from boxing for testing positive for HIV). Morrison gets splashed by Fatu and pinned. Strangely, he would not return to the WWF packaged as "Tommy Gunn," long lost cousin of the Smoking Gunns. 

Vince reminds the Raw audience of their new slogan, "Don't fall for cheap imitations" and plugs Survivor Series as the only Thanksgiving wrestling pay-per-view tradition, alluding to WCW's Battlebowl PPV airing November 20th, featuring eight matches between randomly-formed tag teams. Heenan calls Owen Hart "the biggest turkey you'll ever see," forgetting about the Gobbledy Gooker, who debuted just three years earlier. He does have quite a beak, though. His opponent tonight is the photogenic Scott King, widow of Martin Luther King, Jr. Owen kips up out of a wristlock by King, prompting Vince to tell us to look at that Maneuver (#4). I don't know what Vince thinks the audience is doing, but I think we all looked at that maneuver already. The announcers discuss jim Ross's interviews on Radio WWF, which have included one with Terry Funk. Does anybody out there have tapes of any of these broadcasts? Hart hits another Nice Maneuver (#5 - reverse monkey flip) which sends King flying. Vince mentions Jerry Lawler, the undisputed King of the WWF; shouldn't this jobber have to change his name, then? Heenan accuses Scott King of having changed his name just to steal some of Lawler's thunder. Owen scores a Clever Maneuver (#6) with a snap belly-to-belly suplex, then hits another Maneuver (#7), a top-rope dropkick. He finishes off King with a bridging Northern Lights suplex.

"Nice rack."
Ludvig Borga is introduced next for an interview with Vince McMahon. USA chants start up immediately. Borga tells the fans that USA stands for U Stink Alot. "A lot" is actually two words, but Borga is ahead of his time in terms of internet spelling. He then says that America is full of people who can't read or write. He then asks everyone working right now to stand up, then a split-second later says, "Thank you." Ouch. What would Mr. Halme say if he were around during today's economy? Lex Luger, who supposedly can't stand hatred of the USA, walks to the ring wearing the stars and stripes as pants. Hey, Luger needs to feud with someone now that he can't get any more title shots against Yokozuna. Luger claims to be a "big boy" who "can take it" when Borga insults him, but that he and everyone else is sick of Ludvig's insults of America. Does that mean that Luger is more mature than the entire country? Luger tells the Hellraiser from Helsinki of an old saying, "America: love it or leave it." I believe it was Thomas Jefferson who said that in 1776, shortly before settling in Mexico rather than trying to change the monarchal colonies into a representative democracy. Luger tries to start a fight, but Borga leaves the ring.

After that patriotic (or jingoistic) speech by Luger, we go to break and return with footage of a mushroom cloud. After you've just hyped up the crowd into a pro-USA fervor, is it really the best idea to showcase a nuclear bomb exploding? Especially when the anti-American villain calls the country a polluted hellhole? Vince announces the Savage-Crush summit next week as Adam Bomb, Crush's future Kronik tag team partner enters. Accompanying Mr. Clark is Harvey Wippleman, replacing Johnny Polo as his manager. Say what you will about the Johnny Polo character; at least he has the good sense to leave a sinking ship now that he's managing champions. Guess how many champions Harvey Wippleman ever managed in the WWF? Bertha Faye (so, technically, one). Wippleman's answer to Polo's Quebecers is the team of Well Dunn, a team that wore thongs over their tights. If Wippleman could just hold onto his existing contracts a little longer, he could amass the greatest stable of wrestlers ever seen, consisting of Giant Gonzalez, Mr. Hughes, Timothy Well, Steven Dunn, and Adam Bomb. Tonight, his opponent (Bomb's, not Wippleman's) is Raw standby Ross Greenberg. Bomb beats the WWF's #2 Jewish jobber in a squash match that features one Nice Maneuver (#8 - dropkick), one Look-at-this Maneuver (#9 - slingshot clothesline), and one Atom Smasher. Savage then insists that he and Crush will settle their differences verbally next week at the Savage-Crush Summit (or the Crush-Savage Summit, as Heenan calls it).

Sweet bippy.
Pictured (left to right): Rock, Roll.
A new Raw girl parades around the ring wearing the same ring gear as Well Dunn. The Rock & Roll Express, the Smoky Mountain tag team champions, come out to rock & roll music. This team is making their debut in the WWF just in time to be two years too late for a feud or Survivor Series team with Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty. They take on the Charm City Jobbers, Duane Gill and Barry Hardy. Robert Gibson starts off the match and immediately slaps hands with Ricky Morton. Shouldn't that count as a tag? Heenan announces that Razor Ramon has retired, saying that he has accomplished all that he can accomplish in the WWF, referring to Michael Jordan's recent unexpected retirement. The Express execute a Maneuver (#10 - Hart Attack) that is so good that Vince McMahon tells us to look at it. For those of you unfamiliar with Gibson and Morton, the team basically wrote the rules on how tag team matches have been wrestled to this day (except for during the Attitude Era, where no one ever cared who the legal man was). This match, however, does not feature a hot tag and instead ends with a double dropkick for the victory by the Express.

We return from break so that Vince can replay tonight's opening match, while also re-writing Ramon's past to better reflect Scott Hall's actual biography; now, instead of having been born in Cuba, Ramon grew up in Miami (which is much closer to Hall's native Chuluota, Florida than Cuba is). Tatanka, the Native American with the undefeated streak (double-countouts don't count) is in action next week, as well as IRS and the Steiner Brothers. All those squash matches, plus the Savage-Crush Summit, will be on next week's Raw.

Final Tally:

10 Maneuvers (Cumulative total: 223)

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