Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Raw #49 - January 24th, 1994

It's the first Raw after the Royal Rumble, so expect to hear the shocking results of Saturday's pay-per-view... that is, as long as the announcers aren't on camera. This episode was taped two weeks earlier, you see, so any would-be spoilers have been dubbed into the show in post-production. Lex Luger, who co-won Saturday's Rumble with Bret Hart, is in action first. Joining Vince on commentary this week is Jim Ross, who I predict will say the word "brudda" 35 fewer times than Crush did last week. This 49th episode of Raw is Jim Ross's first.

Luger's opponent tonight is Austin Steel. Vince announces that last week's Raw was the number-one rated cable program. Lex works the bleach-blonde jobber over with headlocks and hammerlocks. He even lands some hip tosses (not body slams). Vince and Jim put over Lex's academic achievements but wonder whether Luger will get to face Yokozuna at Wrestlemania. Steel gets in approximately zero offense, as Luger puts him away with a superplex from the second ropes. Perhaps Luger read my criticisms of his move set from my recent Figure Friday post.
Men on a Mission are set to take on the Headshrinkers tonight, a match which Jim Ross calls a "slobberknocker." What a strange term. It'll never catch on. Todd Pettengill gives us the post-Royal  Rumble report, in which he claims that everything he thought would happen (Undertaker winning the title, Undertaker surviving) didn't, and everything he thought wouldn't happen (Undertaker losing to Yokozuna, Undertaker dying) did. The big issue, says Todd, is who exactly will go on to face Yokozuna at Wrestlemania (rather than the fact that a man died and then rose in the form of a ghost to the arena ceiling. Pettengill shills the encore presentation and tells us that we, the viewers, will get the privilege of paying $1.49 for the first minute and $0.99 for each additional minute to give us our opinions on who should get the title shot at Wrestlemania.
Pay no attention to Lex Luger's

Vince, six years before encouraging the WWF fans to become politically active, tells us that tomorrow night we have a choice between the State of the Union address and the encore presentation of the Royal Rumble. Double J takes on a jobber who doesn't get an introduction, but who is named John Paul (no relation to Ron Paul or the then-current Pope). Paul gets a number of near-falls on Jarrett, the original Diva of the WWF, who plans to use the Federation as a stepping stone to country music stardom (as we are so informed during every Double J match). With his opponent on the offensive, Jarrett pulls off a roll-up and nearly pantses Paul for a cheap pinfall victory.
A video package airs for next week's 123 Kid-Johnny Polo match, which ends up not happening. The Kid, who was injured at the NYC house show last Monday and missed the Royal Rumble, will be replaced by Marty Jannetty, who gets a rematch against the Quebecers' manager just weeks before his third annual February firing from the WWF (and fourth WWF firing overall). Vince says that the Kid missed the Rumble, but he won't miss next week's Raw. That is false. All Vince would need to do to see he's wrong is look up the 1994 Raw results from Obsessed with Wrestling's website.

Men on a Mission enter the ring to take on the Headshrinkers in a battle of the ethnic stereotype tag teams (black rappers versus Samoan savages). MOM are serving as a "replacement" for the Hart brothers, who broke up at the Royal Rumble, 12 days after this match was taped, when Owen kicked Bret's leg out of his leg. Anachronisms aside, who better to replace a tag team of technically proficient siblings than Men on a Mission? Ross believes that Owen literally broke a piece of Bret's heart at the Rumble. Wow, that must have been some kick by Owen! Mo is able to knock down Fatu numerous times but is outmatched and thus tags in his larger partner Mabel. With his back turned, Fatu tries to tag in Samu, who refuses as Mabel sneaks up behind him, undetected (that must be hard to do). The future Rikishi tries to slam the future Big Daddy V, then suplex him, but each time the larger man responds in kind. The battle of the wrestlers who will one day wear disturbingly revealing and unflattering ring gear ends, however, when Mabel tags Mo back into the ring.
The 'Shrinkers work over Mo throughout the commercial break. Fatu tosses Mo to the outside, where he is beaten up by Samu while Mabel is somehow restrained by 70-pound referee Bill Alfonso. Even if the Headshrinkers do manage to pummel Mo into unconsciousness, they won't be able to drag him to his own corner and force him to tag in his partner, a schtick which Samu and Fatu have been doing for a year now against jobber teams and which Men on a Mission stole when they debuted in the WWF. Samu hits a very athletic maneuver, a dropkick on Mo, but it's called by Jim Ross, so it doesn't get added to the running tally. Fatu tags in, splits Mo with a wishbone with help from his partner Samu, then ascends the ropes for a splash. Before he can launch off the top turnbuckle, though, Mo, shakes the top rope, an Offensive Maneuver (#1) that causes Fatu to crotch himself on the top rope. On a side note, I just used the words "Fatu" and "crotch" in the same sentence, a journalistic feat that will surely drive this blog's traffic from perverts through the roof. The future Viscera receives the hot tag and tosses the Samoans around, even giving double-noggin-knockers to Afa and Samu (and giving me the chance to use "Viscera" and "knockers" in the same sentence).

Mabel nails Samu with the world's worst spinning heel kick. Fatu breaks up the ensuing pinfall with a chop to the big man, leading Vince to wonder, quite legitimately, why the referee stopped the count. After all, nine times of ten, when someone "breaks up" a pin attempt with a stomp or other strike, the wrestler doing the pinning is still on top of the opponent, covering him. It's just something that, after two decades of watching wrestling, you just sort of accept and don't think about anymore. Mabel then tags in Mo for some reason, letting the team hit twin elbow drops but causing Bill Alfonso to ignore a Mo pin attempt while he ejects Mabel from the ring. Mabel then breaks up a Headshrinkers pin attempt, only to be pushed over the top rope while he exits, a Clever Maneuver (#2) on the part of Samu. Fatu then splashes onto Mo for the four-count (yes, you read that right) as Mabel tries in vain to break up the pin. Mabel then clotheslines his two opponents after the bell in a poor show of sportsmanship that Jesse Ventura never would have overlooked.
Adam Bomb, who drew #30 in the Rumble, takes on Washington, DC's Tommy Angel. JR blames Adam Bomb's Rumble loss on his manager, Harvey Wippleman, for not preparing the rookie and for letting him get worn out in the WWF title match by killing the Undertaker. Bomb wears Angel down with power moves as Vince promotes this week's oxymoronical "USA World Premiere Movie Encore," Invasion of Privacy. Speaking of privacy, Vince and JR discuss Sally Perdue, the former Miss Arkansas who alleged an affair with Bill Clinton, but who, unlike Gennifer Flowers, would not make a guest appearance at a Wrestlemania. The commentary then takes an even more disturbing turn when Vince suggests that Tommy Angel "take a page from Michael Jackson and try and settle this thing." From what I gather, Vince is accusing Angel of having molested Adam Bomb at a sleepover. Bomb hits a belly-to-back suplex on his abuser, then mounts the top rope for a High-Risk Maneuver (#3 - clothesline), which Ross says is a bad idea and blames on Wippleman. The move connects, but Bomb is still not finished, giving the Atom Smasher to Angel for the three count. Harvey jumps into the ring for some camera time a la Andrew Giuliani, according to JR. Before the announcers can cram any more topical references in, we see another vignette for Thurman "Sparky" Plugg, who debuted at the Rumble.
Sparky Plugg can ignite any woman's engine!

Doink the Clown, accompanied by his parasitic twin Dink, takes on Joey Stallings, an enhancement talent whose name does not scream "excitement." He would be a perfect fit for the AWF, with its rounds system (a wrestling promotion coincidentally inducted into Wrestlecrap recently by yours truly). Doink pets the invisible dog on a leash that Dink has brought to the ring; Stallings then bends down to pet him and gets flicked in the face with the leash because he's an idiot. Idiot or not, Stallings does manage to get in a Nice Maneuver (#4 - side slam) on Doink for a two-count. Doink responds with a bunch of holds and suplexes, then finishes off his opponent with the as-of-yet unnamed Whoopee Cushion. Vince then tells us to call the Royal Rumble hotline to hear from Bret Hart why he feels he won the Royal Rumble (my guess: "Luger's feet hit the ground first"), as well as to hear why Lex Luger thinks he won (my guess: "Hart's feet hit the ground first"). Riveting.
Shawn Michaels takes on a jobber named Tyrone Knox. Jim Ross speculates that Diesel might turn against Shawn Michaels should he watch the encore presentation of the Rumble and see HBK help eliminate him. Ross is committing the cardinal sin of wrestling announcing, suggesting that the wrestlers actually watch the programming they participate in. How many behind-the-scenes betrayals and misunderstandings could be avoided by the victims actually watching replays of the wrestling shows? Shawn tosses Tyrone to the outside, where Diesel would simply throw him back inside. Vince mentions Fox's recent acquisition of the TV rights to the NFL, formerly held by CBS, back when only one or two networks aired football, instead of all of them. Tyrone launches a brief comeback before getting hit with Sweet Chin Music. However, since it's not Shawn Michaels's finisher yet, HBK picks him up for a piledriver as Vince compares Shawn to Leave it to Beaver's Eddie Haskel (unlike Rob Bartlett, who compared Ric Flair to Eddie Haskel, as well as to Mary Jo Buttafuoco). We see an unusually close angle of Tyrone's head hitting the mat before Shawn covers him for the three count.
Knox is going to be methodical, and he's going to put him away early.

From the far east...
of Puerto Rico.
Vince and Ross discuss next week's 123 Kid-Johnny Polo match, recalling Polo's defeat of Marty Jannetty and hoping that history won't repeat itself. It would repeat itself, though, in the sense that Jannetty will face Polo once again, this time due to the Kid's injury. In more false advertising, Vince calls Kwang a "martial arts expert." Lex Luger and Bret Hart will also have a special interview and IRS will be the guest commentator.

Final Tally: 

4 Maneuvers (1994 total: 14)
2 Slobberknockers

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