Sunday, November 25, 2012

Raw #57 - April 4th, 1994

Tonight's Raw is a night of firsts. It is the first time a cancelled Wrestlemania match will take place on the program, the first time a Wrestlemania rematch will take place, and the first time the announcers will appear at "ringside" via an obvious green screen. Vince asks guest commentator Gorilla Monsoon whether Earthquake will give Adam Bomb "The Big One" (referring to the Earthquake Splash, I hope). In an effort to completely throw any illusion of being "live" out the window, Vince asks for and catches a baseball thrown from off screen, supposedly signed by Cincinnati Reds owner and racist Marge Schott, and gives it to Gorilla. This is when Raw jumps the shark (for the first time).

We get some shaky camera effects as Earthquake makes his entrance as Vince and Gorilla recap the events of Wrestlemania between the two men, as well as between Bomb manager Harvey Wippleman and Howard Finkel. Bomb rushes Quake, scoring his first offense ever against the former Natural Disaster (not to be confused with the unnatural disaster, Joanie Laurer). Bomb then tries to shoulderblock Quake to the ground, which he no-sells and follows up with a clothesline on the Wippleman protege. Vince references North Korea's nuclear program as Bomb makes a comeback with a jumping clothesline from the apron to the inside of the ring. Bomb ties Earthquake up in the ropes as Wippleman argues with Finkel outside the ring. Vince says that Harvey is "taking a page from Madonna's book on the Late Show" by "putting the bad mouth on Howard Finkel." Vince is apparently under the impression that his Raw telecasts need to double as pop culture and political time capsules for future generations. Don't expect this feud between non-wrestlers to end any time soon; it won't be settled until next January. Seriously. Adam Bomb mounts the top rope for a High-Risk Maneuver (#1 - clothesline). Earthquake kicks out at two, then hits a belly-to-belly suplex on Bomb, then lands the Big One for the three count. Harvey will go home with the loser's share of the purse money that Gorilla Monsoon is so fond of mentioning. Monsoon should also get credit for only using the word, "kisser" twice in this match.
We see a clip from Wrestlemania X's first title match, where the Perfect Zebra disqualified Lex Luger. I've always wondered: if Lex had won by DQ and thus won the match but not the title, would he have gone on to face Bret Hart in the main event without the WWF title on the line? Lex talks to Mr. Perfect via a camera in a dark room, vowing revenge on his Wrestlemania IX opponent and Wrestlemania X referee.

Gorilla Monsoon brings out Mr. Perfect for an interview in the ring. Vince hopes that Perfect has a better explanation for his actions that Darryl Strawberry has for his whereabouts of late. There's that  1994 time capsule again. Monsoon acknowledges that Perfect was agreed upon as referee by both Yokozuna and Lex Luger. Mr. Perfect admonishes Lex for pulling both managers into the ring, but explains that he let his actions slide. "I was trying to be biased," explains Hennig, less-than-perfectly. He then says that he even let it slide the first time that Luger put his hands on him, but when he was pushed by the challenger, he was forced to enforce the rules and disqualify the offending wrestler. Monsoon accuses Perfect of having a vendetta against Lex Luger, then speculates that when Lex Luger gets through with him, he'll have "Made in the U.S.A." stamped on him. Razor Ramon then appears onscreen to tell the audience, "óyame" (which is close to the correct Spanish phrase, "óyeme" or "óigame," meaning "listen to me") and not to change the channel.
The Bad Guy comes to the ring as Vince brings up Mr. Perfect's "Freudian slip," in which he claimed to be "biased" rather than "unbiased." Razor, who according to Gorilla wants to be called "The Ladderman," faces Austin Steele tonight. Vince speculates that Jimmy Johnson could cohost WWF Mania with Todd Pettengill, much like Jack Tunney supposedly almost signed John Madden to be a Federation commentator. Vince then talks about the (unscheduled) tag team title changes that occurred at house shows between Men on a Mission and the Quebecers. The first title change occurred when Mabel could not get off one of the Quebecers, drawing an accidental pinfall, after which the Royal Albert Hall in London "literally exploded," according to Monsoon. In the rematch, the Quebecers won back the titles they were never supposed to have lost. Mabel would not win another title until his next Wrestlemania match in 2000, when he would win the Hardcore Championship for 6 minutes, 15 seconds (intentionally that time). Throughout this match, the announcers discuss the upcoming series of matches between Razor and Diesel on the Wrestlemania Revenge Tour. Razor hits the following moves on Steele: knife edge chops, body slam, stomp, STF with slaps, light kicks to the head, Irish whip, elbow, abdominal stretch (and a beauty!), fallaway slam, more light kicks to the head, hiptoss into the ring, slaps to the head, punch to the face, chokeslam, Razor's Edge, pinfall.

A replay of last week's confrontation between Johnny Polo's Quebecers and Lou Albano's Headshrinkers airs, further proving that the brief tag title swap with Men on a Mission was not planned. Next week, the champions will take on one of three possible face teams (but not the Headshrinkers): The Smoking Gunns, The Bushwhackers, or Men on a Mission. The Quebecers don't even acknowledge having lost and then won back the titles from MOM.
Vince shows  a clip from Wrestlemania in which the heel team from the ten-man tag match argued backstage about who was the captain, which is the excuse given for why the match never took place. IRS has the microphone as the team enters to Double J's music (implying that Jarrett is the captain), claiming that everyone on the team pays their taxes. Vince talks about Bill Clinton throwing out the first pitch at a baseball game, while Doink and the Bushwhackers tossed Easter eggs on the White House lawn. How did Doink get to be such great friends with the Clinton family, and does Bill know that it's not the same guy under the face paint as when the clown started out in the WWF?
With mouth wide open,
Double J demonstrates what he's
going to do to get ahead in the seedy music industry and win the favor
of the sleazy Nashville executives.
He's going to wrestle, I mean.
The 123 Kid comes to the ring with the race car driver, the Indian, and the cowboys as Rob Bartlett makes a predictable Village People reference in an alternate universe where he still commentates on Raw. Tatanka hangs his headdress (which he has until April 15th, 1995 to pay taxes on) on the ring post. This time next year, both IRS and Tatanka would be members of the Million Dollar Corporation, meaning that if IRS had had a better understanding of tax law, he could have looked the other way on the gift tax come next year's tax season. Vince and Gorilla, however, sound as if they don't know a whole lot about taxes, noting the deadline of April 15th of this year, which is when taxes for 1993 are due. 
Three ethnic gimmicks,
six occupation gimmicks, and
one kid.
Samu starts off the match with a high Biel toss on Billy Gunn (and a beauty!). Gunn then tries to sunset flip over Samu, who crashes to the mat on top of Billy for a Clever Maneuver (#2). Vince interrupts himself in the middle of calling the maneuver to note Gunn's bridging escape from the pinfall attempt. Samu then clotheslines Gunn, sending him flipping like Fatu usually does. The Headshrinkers double-team Gunn before Jarrett is tagged in and spiked with a flying headscissors takedown by the blonde cowboy. This prompts Vince to say "What a Maneuver!" not once, but twice (#3, 4). "Double J came right down on his cranium!" says Monsoon. He's lucky he didn't land on his external occipital protuberance. With Tatanka tagged in, the twice-defeated Native American (having lost to Yokozuna on the March to Wrestlemania special) takes down the country singer with a Maneuver (#5 - Japanese arm drag). Bart Gunn steps into the ring to continue wearing down Jarrett with a dropkick (and a beauty! Right in the kisser!). Jarrett bounces back , suplexing Gunn and tagging in the tax man.

This match has per capita GMP
(gross maneuver product) of .5.
IRS has been isolated during the break, but shifts the momentum when the face team tags in Thurman Plugg ("his friends call him Sparky"). IRS brings the race car driver into the heels' corner and tags in The Model, who is one of six men in the match with an occupational gimmick. Sparky catches Martel in an arm wrench while The Model tries to reach one of his four partners (which is not atypical for a male model, from what I understand). Sparky pulls Rick away, then gets whipped to the ropes and kneed in the back by IRS. Irwin tags in, but misses an elbow, allowing Plugg to tag in his future championship tag team partner (and the only participant without a cartoony gimmick), the 123 Kid. His spinning heel kick gets caught, but the Kid counters with a follow-up to Schyster. He then goes to the top rope for a High-Risk Maneuver (#6 - flying body press), which gets him a two-count. The heel team breaks up the pinfall, drawing the face team into the ring for a ring-clearing brawl. Only the Kid and IRS are left in the ring as the Kid hits a spinning kick to Irwin in the corner, prompting Vince to once again exclaim, "What a Maneuver" (#7,8) twice in a row. Attempting to follow up, the Kid runs at Irwin for what looks like a very high Bronco Buster, but the tax man moves out of the way, doing a schoolboy from behind and covering the Kid to score in a manner straight out of Rob Feinstein's dreams. The heel team wins, but since IRS got the pinfall and he no longer has his typewriting sound effects "theme music," the sound system is silent as the rulebreakers celebrate. Vince points out the smile on Irwin's kisser, which is the fourth time the word has been used, but only the first time by McMahon, which doesn't go toward tonight's official tally.
Shawn Michaels and Diesel are on the set of the new "Heartbreak Hotel" segment, complete with the leg lamp from "A Christmas Story." HBK gives a quick tour of his luxury hotel room set, while Diesel gives a few Vinnie Vegas-style quips on the mic. Shawn announces that Diesel is challenging Razor Ramon to an Intercontinental title match. The lights then go down on the set, which appears to be in an entirely different arena from the Mid-Hudson Civic Center where tonight's Raw is filmed. 

A montage of highlights of Wrestlemania X airs, complete with sound bites from celebrities such as Bill Clinton impersonator Tim Watters, who would appear again at Survivor Series 1995 and on WWE Raw in 2008. Yokozuna comes down the aisle, sans title belt, to take on Scott Powers, whom Vince called "Scott Towers" on his last appearance on Raw.
Vince points out that Yokozuna's two managers, Mr. Fuji and Jim Cornette, saved him from losing the title against Lex Luger, but couldn't keep him from losing the title against Bret Hart, who allegedly had Lady Luck riding on his shoulders. Bret Hart would acknowledge this illicit affair along with many others in his autobiography. The two announcers discuss whether Yoko looks thinner or heavier tonight before Vince plugs USA's airing of House Party on Saturday Night. Monsoon, in turn, plugs the new segment on All-American Wrestling featuring Roddy Piper entitled, "The Bottom Line," which at this time is not yet the catchphrase of Steve Austin, nor a syndicated recap show. Yoko gives a big Banzai drop on Powers for the pinfall, then refuses to stand up.

Vince announces next week's match of the "Quebecers vs. ?" (which is sadly not the lead singer of the 60's garage rock band The Mysterians, but rather a mystery team that could be the Bushwhackers). McMahon then hands Monsoon another baseball, this one from Darryl Strawberry, who would probably not get along with Marge Schott.

Final Tally:

8 Maneuvers (1994 total: 48)
3 Kissers

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