Saturday, December 8, 2012

Raw #64 - May 23rd, 1994

After his face-stealing victory over Yokozuna last week in sumo competition, Earthquake looks to win a berth in the King of the Ring tournament... or does he? Our announcers wonder where exactly Earthquake has gone, since he is not at the arena tonight. He was Banzai-dropped by Yokozuna at a house show in Anaheim, which is used to explain his absence. What a strange run for Earthquake; he returns to the WWF ring, squashes Adam Bomb at Wrestlemania, goes undefeated, beats the former champion, then is gone from the Federation for the next four years. Owen Hart comes to the ring to face a mystery opponent on this first-ever Raw in Youngstown, Ohio. Vince, however, calls it "Struthers, OH," which is about five miles away from Youngstown. Somebody is wrong here.
Doink's music hits, signaling the arrival of the loathsome clown (along with his infernally annoying sidekick) as Hart's opponent. The Rocket attacks the clown before the bell as a very loud fan cheers Doink on, who puts a headlock on Hart, only for it to be reversed in an "unbelievably executed" bell-to-back suplex. Owen gets thrown from the ring, then taunted by the two clowns in the ring. Vince comments on the lack of scientific wrestling in this match, and Savage says, with apologies to Roddy Piper, that the "bottom line" is that the winner advances to the KOTR tournament. Seriously, does anybody remember when "the bottom line" was Piper's catchphrase? Owen chases Dink around ringside, then gets clotheslined by Doink. Owen struggles to return to the ring, but then trips Doink and pulls him to the corner, where he smashes his leg against the ringpost.

Vince welcomes us back to "Struthers, Ohio," which is a combination of the name of the arena and the state, sort of like how Michael Cole welcomed us to the "Anahom Pine" during the pre-show for Wrestlemania 2000 at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, California. Owen hits a Maneuver (#1) on Doink, an overhead belly-to-belly for a close two-count. Owen then puts Doink in a camel clutch, which Vince calls a "Boston crab," proving that Vince doesn't know the name of either submission hold. Don't think I'm blowing this out of proportion, either. This is actually the second time on Raw that Vince has called the camel clutch a Boston crab, the first being when Pierre put the hold on Lex Luger late last year. Doink's brown hair is starting to show as his mask and wig are pulled away. Doink escapes and the two competitors knock each other down with the double-clothesline spot that would be so popular during the Attitude Era. Doink then hits a belly-to-belly suplex of his own, though it is not designated as a maneuver. Doink appears to have the match under control when Double J shows up at ringside and appear to kidnap Dink. Doink gets distracted, falling prey to a rollup from behind by Owen, who wins the match and advances to the tournament. This might be the first time in history that a man dressed as a clown has fallen prey to a schoolboy, all while trying to prevent an abduction. Ironic. Jarrett lets Dink go after Doink loses.
Speaking of child predators, we next see a video of a dirty-looking man in a Penn State hat. He says that the WWF superstars, like Razor Ramon, Shawn Michaels, and Yokozuna aren't tough, and that he could beat any of them up. He then gets beaten up by each man in the ring, with each injury suffered worse than the last. By the end of the commercial, he looks like the Yeti from Halloween Havoc '95. An advertising award has recently been given to the producer of those "Unbelievable" commercials.
That's not unbelievable. What is unbelievable is the sign that someone brought to the arena reading, "Silk Stalkings Next on USA." Nevermind that that person will end up missing Silk Stalkings tonight because of his presence at tonight's Raw tapings; that's a pretty smart move if you want to get on camera and don't care how.
Speaking of which, here comes the wrestling trash man making his WWF debut. Duke the Dumpster Droese squares off against Barry Horowitz. One of these men will have a one-on-one Pay-Per-View match next year. Duke shows off his wrestling prowess with a series of hip tosses (because this is the New Generation era). Vince mentions a story about people in England eating bacteria to become more healthy, which is quite strange. Vince has never heard of yogurt. Horowitz starts to wear down the Dumpster with an armbar, but Droese regains control when Barry attempts a dropkick but Duke grabs the ropes to stop short. Astute readers will note that this is the sixth consecutive week on Raw to feature this spot. Droese hits a spinebuster for a Nice Maneuver (#2), then hits an elbow drop from the mat for the anticlimactic finisher. His theme music, which sounds like Jacqueline's, plays as he exits the ring.

IRS walks to the ring to berate all the tax cheats in the audience. If they don't like to pay their taxes, he says, then they should move to a different country. That might sound as heelish as you can get, but it's not all that different from the "America - love it or leave it" mantra of babyfaces from Hulk Hogan to Lex Luger to even Shawn Michaels. He says that that ultimatum also applies to Tatanka, the Native American. IRS faces Gary Sabaugh, whom Apter mag readers will likely recognize as The Italian Stallion. I sure do, even though this is the first time I have ever seen him wrestle. The "Italy" printed on the back of his tights does give it away, though. Macho quizzes Vince on who the first person was to get the fans to chant "Irwin" at IRS. Vince incorrectly guesses Randy Savage himself, but the answer is actually Roddy Piper. This is reminiscent of the time at Wrestlemania XI, with Roddy Piper refereeing Bret Hart's match, that Vince would incorrectly guess that the Bret Hart beat the British Bulldog at Wrestlemania VIII, rather than, once again, Roddy Piper. The Rowdy One returns to the ring for no good reason to take on Jerry Lawler in the main event of this year's King of the Ring pay-per-view. Vince then talks basketball, acknowledging the Bulls' loss to the New York Knicks while Michael Jordan remains in baseball's minor leagues. IRS lets Sabaugh up after a double-underhook suplex, a tactic that appears to backfire when the Italian Stallion mounts a short comeback, but it is short-lived, as the tax man throws him into the ropes with a Clever Maneuver (#3). He then hits a clothesline, getting no crowd reaction whatsoever. They must not have played WWF Royal Rumble for Genesis and thus don't know that it's his finisher, The Write-Off. IRS pins the Stallion.
We next see clips from this weekend's Superstars, where Crush cost Lex Luger a spot in the King of the Ring tournament. The Original Hawaiin Punch from Kona, Hawaii, Chaka Bra Kona Crush, hits Luger's head against the steps with the referee distracted, allowing Jeff Jarrett to pick up a countout win, much like Lex Luger did at Summerslam 1993. The only difference, though, is that this coutout victory actually does benefit the winner, Double J, who will go on to the tournament on pay-per-view. It could be worse for Luger; he could have been counted out due to interference by Mr. Fuji, like he would be against Yokozuna in a KOTR qualifier next year.
Vladimir is in Ohio tonight.

Jerry Lawler hosts the King's Court again this week, and he has already run out of guests, inviting Lex Luger back on "this week's King of the Ring." First he forgets Diesel's nickname, now he forgets what his own show is called. Lawler rubs it in to Luger about his bad luck. He reminds him about "his first Wrestlemania," referring to Wrestlemania X, where he was disqualified. King, like most of the audience, has evidently blocked out Wrestlemania IX from his memory. Lex Luger advises Lawler to choose his words carefully. No kidding. King of the Ring ≠ King's Court, Wrestlemania X≠ Wrestlemania IX, and 13≠18. Luger, obviously, blames Crush for costing him his qualifying match. Crush comes out with his arm in a sling, evidently the result of the Wrestlemania Revenge Tour that the announcers have been plugging for over two months. Crush is so angry, that he only says "brudda" about half a dozen times. Luger clotheslines Crush out of the ring. In his anger, Crush rips off his sling, but his held back by referees. This is enough for Vince to declare that there's nothing wrong with his shoulder, sort of like the Nazis on Family Guy who figure out that Mort Goldman isn't a real priest when "his collar comes right off." Luger brandishes some of Lawler's golden furniture to keep Crush at bay.
Ted DiBiase is at the announce table to see his new charge, Nikolai Volkoff, wrestle. DiBiase was recently seen in a cemetery, where he was trying to contact The Undertaker. DiBiase was the man who first brought Taker to the WWF, Vince reminds us, until he, and I quote, "sort of fell out of disfavor." Nikolai whips his opponent, a young Matt Hardy (making his Raw debut) to the turnbuckle, but Hardy jumps off the ropes for a flying body press (that misses). Hardy, I should note, is wearing tights with the letters "HV" on the rear, referring to his "High Voltage" persona. Vince mentions a recent Undertaker sighting in New Orleans; could Papa Shango be involved? Or even the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans, Roxxi Laveaux? Nikolai locks Matt Hardy in the Boston crab, which Vince sadly does not call a camel clutch (or anything else; he likely doesn't know what it's called).

Next week, Tatanka takes on Jimmy Del Ray in the final King of the Ring qualifying match. Vince speaks of the "mee-lay" from earlier tonight between Crush and Lex Luger. Jerry Lawler is backstage to tell us that the King's Court next week will feature Bret Hart. Vince gives us an "Ohhhh yeaaaahh!" (yes, Vince McMahon) to close the show.
This match is totally taking place.

 Final Tally:

3 Maneuvers (Year total: 73)

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