The thirty-sixth episode of Raw is one for the history books. Like such important meetings as Reagan and Gorbachev or Kennedy and Krushchev (Not Crusher, but Nikita. Not Koloff, but Krushchev), the Crush-Savage Summit will change the course of history. The confrontation will take place after "months of speculation and accusation" (actually less than one month). The opening montage of Americans and Soviets highlight the fact that wrestling feuds have really been running out of fuel ever since the Cold War ended.
Tonight's Raw is live from Poughkeepsie, New York, so expect some strange graphics and a lack of homophobic chants or Vladimir the Superfan. Actually, tonight's episode uses the standard Raw graphics, so I can only assume that someone in the production truck brought over the right floppy disks from the Manhattan Center. The Steiners take on the two scrubs in the ring. "The Native Americum" Tatanka will also have a match tonight. Vince speculates about the Savage-Crush Summit tonight, but Randy Savage doesn't like the sound of Vince McMahon's voice. That makes three million of us, Macho. PJ Walker capitalizes on his newfound success, having upset IRS four weeks ago, by teaming with Tony DeVito against the Steiners. PJ is so famous now that Vince McMahon calls him "Cory Student" throughout the entire match.
Vince mentions once again that the Steiner Brothers were All-Americans in college, but Bobby Heenan argues, for about the tenth time, that anybody could be an All-American at the University of Michigan. I can only assume that the Brain doesn't know that the All-American team each year consists of the best athletes of a particular sport in the entire NCAA. It's not done college-by-college. Then again, as demonstrated at Wrestlemania IX, Heenan doesn't know the difference between high school sports and college sports and thinks that it's all "amateur punk stuff." Then again, Vince clearly doesn't know what "All-American" means, either, since he has never corrected Heenan on this (and he also uses the same term to describe Larry Pfohl).
Scott Steiner hits "A [sic] Unbelievable Maneuver" (#1) on DeVito, a full-nelson suplex. Steiner then pulls a Headshrinker (uh, let me rephrase that: he emulates a member of the tag team of the Headshrinkers) by dragging his fallen opponent into his own corner to force him to tag in his partner. Vince says that the Steiners "lost" the titles to the Quebecers (with "lost" in "parens"). I had to look up the word "parens," and it turns out that it is a perfectly valid word for "parentheses." Of course, Vince is still wrong, since he means "quotation marks." Still, that's a minor transgression compared to his constant reference to PJ Walker, a man who beat WWF Superstar IRS just two tapings before, as "Cory Student." That's like if he kept calling the 1-2-3 Kid "Duane Gill" going into his rematch with Razor Ramon. Heenan even remarks that Walker isn't being a very good "student" (which is true, because he's not Student, he's Walker). Scott Steiner then hits the Steiner Screwdriver, which prompts Heenan to remark that he's never seen anything like that, despite Scott having done it on Rich Myers on the May 31st edition of Raw. Steiner drags Walker to his own corner to tag in DeVito. Vince warns that an upset could easily occur here, as it has many times on Raw (such as the time that PJ Effing Walker beat IRS just last month!). Scott pins DeVito after a flying bulldog double-team, even though Rick was the legal man after tagging in. Then again, with all of the botches occurring at the announcers' table, that little error can be overlooked.
Vince announces a hotline where you can vote on whether or not to reinstate Shawn Michaels. Diesel and Mr. Perfect argue on a split-screen. Diesel talks for the first time, still using his Vinnie Vegas voice from WCW.
Vince introduces "Double J" Jeff Jarrett, who has been wrestling in USWA and recently feuded with Owen Hart. Jarrett, whom Heenan calls "Double JJ," appears at the Country Music Hall of Fame. Jarrett acknowledges coming from a wrestling family, but vows to become a country music star, using the WWF as a stepping stone. Forget Sunny. Jeff Jarrett is the real "Original Diva." Jarrett stumbles over a line about Garth Brooks, which I didn't think was possible, considering that this vignette is pre-recorded. While Double J brags about how many gold records he will have, it is incredibly sad that, 19 years later, he still doesn't have his own "Double J Hall of Fame."
Tatanka enters next and takes on Mike Sharpe. The Native American had a confrontation last weekend with Ludvig Borga on Superstars; this will not end well. Fans at ringside wave foam tomahawks, making me wonder why Tatanka never jumped ship to Ted Turner's WCW, where a cross-promotion with Turner's Atlanta Braves would be inevitable. I'm serious, too. Tatanka disappeared off the face of the earth in 1996, the year that even Mike "Virgil" Jones showed up on Nitro and joined the nWo. Bobby Heenan asks Randy Savage why he's been so quiet tonight. Savage says that he's preparing to face Crush tonight and doesn't want his friendship to sour like it did with Hulk Hogan. He then launches into an incredible shoot live on the air against Hulk Hogan, claiming that he's a "prima donna" who "thinks he's the Messiah walking around the face of the earth." Damn. Heenan tries to lighten the mood, claiming that Crush is "not a happy volcano." Tatanka goes on the warpath, chopping Sharpe down and finishing him with Papoose to Go to continue his undefeated-except-for-countouts streak.
Joe Fowler, who has replaced Mean Gene (what a trade...) gives us the Survivor Series Report and discusses the main event of the All-Americans (whose members at this point all have something to do with America - the Michigan All-Americans the Steiners, the American Original Lex Luger, and the Native American Tatanka) vs. the Foreign Fanatics (whose members at this point are all either foreign or billed as foreign). Another so-called "main event" is the "Family Feud Match" between Bret Hart's family and Jerry Lawler & his mystery partners, the Knights. When I watched this feud unfold as a kid, I couldn't understand why Bret would bring in two of his no-name brothers like Bruce and Keith when the British Bulldog and Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart were far superior. It should be noted that at the age of five, most children are not aware of things like contracts. I was also under the impression that Jerry Lawler's "knights" would be actual Superstars from the roster, rather than masked jobbers like Barry Horowitz, Jeff Gaylord, and Greg Valentine. The WWF would really try to drive home the "Family Feud" nature of this match, even bringing in Feud host Ray Combs to do the introductions and commentary. This makes me wonder why they didn't expand the match to five-on-five, like in a real game of Family Feud. It also makes me wonder what other game shows they could have used as themes for matches. How about Ted DiBiase's "The Price is Right Match"? How about Jake Roberts in a "Card Sharks" or "21" match? Crush arrives at the arena during the Report as we go to commercial break.
Bam Bam Bigelow and Luna Vachon enter the ring. Bigelow's opponent for tonight is Dennis Diamond. Heenan lays into Savage and tells him that he is about to get his from Crush tonight. Bam Bam hits Diamond with an enziguiri as Vince announces that 65% of voters tonight do not want Shawn Michaels reinstated (I'm guessing that 20 people have called in, and exactly 13 of them have voted no). Bam Bam wins with that slingshot splash that Rick Martel always attempts as Diesel comes on our screens to tell us all to vote to reinstate Shawn Michaels. He gives us the number to dial to vote "yes," then tells the same number to vote "no." Pretty clever! Vince hypes up the upcoming Crush-Savage Summit, saying, "Forget about Gorbachev and... whomever!" For the record, it was Reagan. Jeez, Vince. It was only seven years ago, and you yourself recorded the voiceover tonight about it!
Bobby Heenan is in the ring to introduce Crush. The former member of Demolition is accompanied by the former manager of Demolition, Mr. Fuji. Crush is furious at Savage, but not furious enough to stop calling him "brudda." He accuses Savage of being jealous of Crush surpassing. Crush thanks Bobby Heenan and "not Mister Fuji, but Master Fuji," for smartening him up. Savage had told Crush to take on Yokozuna and that he'd have the Hawaiian's back, even though he knew Crush's back wasn't 100% "from the bodyslam thing I did at the Intrepid." Crush blames Savage for not helping him until Yokozuna had Banzai Dropped him four times. Mr. Fuji, who happens to own a hotel near Crush's home (seeing as how Fuji was born and raised in Hawaii, not Japan), called up Crush and made perfect sense to him (which is the first time anyone has said that about Mr. Fuji, even his protegé 'Yokozuma'). Savage steps into the ring and tells Crush that he's out of line and making a mistake. Crush hesitates to shake Macho Man's hand (or even to hug it out). Crush teases a face (re)turn, shoving Heenan out of the way as he tries to badmouth Savage, then raises Randy's hand. Savage even holds the ropes open for Crush, like he did for Miss Elizabeth at Wrestlemania VII. Could this be a sign of things to come? Savage is newly divorced, you know. He raises his hand again outside the ring before clotheslining him and press slamming him neck first onto the railing, like Savage did to Ricky Steamboat in 1986. If this means that Crush, Fuji, and Steamboat are forming a Hawaiian contingent to destroy Savage, then I am about to mark out. Sadly, Steamboat would not be forthcoming, but Yokozuna is. Crush throws the Macho Man, whose mouth is bloody, into the ring, where he is Banzai Dropped by Yokozuna, who has been joined by Jim Cornette. Referees pull Savage out of the ring a lot sooner than they did Crush last July.
This is a tough Raw to evaluate. On the one hand, every single match was a Superstar-versus-jobber squash, but on the other hand, the constant botches from the announcers and the fantastic shoot on Hulk Hogan, who was still technically with the company and whose movie Vince had been promoting on air, make this episode worth watching.