Sunday, December 9, 2012

Raw #65 - May 30th, 1994

It's the last Raw of May, and next month's King of the Ring bracket is almost set in stone. We see a video package of all of the qualifiers as the bracket takes shape. IRS, Razor Ramon, Mabel, Bam Bam Bigelow, Jeff Jarrett, Owen Hart, and The 123 Kid have all been entered into the first round, leaving just one slot left to go. That position will be filled by the winner of tonight's main event, which was advertised last week: Tatanka vs. Jimmy Del Ray, who has recently undergone a makeover where he wears face paint, has added muscle mass, and gained several inches in height to look exactly like Crush. In fact, he's even calling himself "Crush" now and taken Mr. Fuji as a manager. This is going to be confusing for many viewers.
The resemblance is uncanny.

Tonight, we are back in the Struthers Field House in Youngstown, Ohio (or Struthers, Ohio, says Vince). Vince then explains that Jimmy Del Ray is not going to compete tonight, but is instead replaced by Crush. That should end a lot of the confusion. Crush, who "eliminated the mighty Earthquake from the WWF" with Yokozuna on a house show, faces the Native American in the last qualifying match. Mr. Fuji, we are told, struck a deal with Jim Cornette to put Crush in this match instead of the Heavenly Body, which is fortunate, because nobody thought that the Gigolo was going to beat Tatanka and go to the King of the Ring. The Native American Tatanka is accompanied by the Italian-American Joe Scarpa, who will be inducted before the KOTR into the WWF Hall of Fame as "Chief Jay Strongbow." Crush is desperate, says Macho Man, after being embarrassed by Luger last week. "Desperate men do desperate things," he says, which has always struck me as a tautology. Has a non-desperate person ever done a desperate thing? If so, that would make them a desperate person. The Macho Man says that Crush wants a "squash victory" and he's not getting it. McMahon mentions that Crush will, regardless of the outcome of this qualifying match, challenge for the Headshrinkers' tag team titles with Yokozuna. That should be a hint to viewers as to who will qualify for the tournament. Tatanka clotheslines Crush, with some difficulty, over the top rope. Tatanka's mentor, an Italian-American posing as an Indian, comes back to ringside to even the odds against Crush and his Japanese manager, who was born and raised in Hawaii. We go to break as Crush hits a savate kick on Tatanka on the outside.
Tatanka is caught in a bear hug by Crush, but gets the strength to break out as soon as he learns he's back on the air. Crush starts smashing Tatanka against the turnbuckles, but the Native American decides to stop selling a la Hulk Hogan and to go on the warpath. A shot to the back by Crush slows down his comeback, but soon enough he mounts the turnbuckle for a High-Risk Maneuver (#1 - tomahawk chop). He gets a cover for three! No! Two. A neckbreaker puts Crush down again for another two-count. Mr. Fuji looks to come into the ring, but Jay Strongbow chops him down. Crush catches Tatanka with a "reverse piledriver" that is actually an inverted atomic drop. In addition to camel clutches and Boston crabs, Vince does not know the difference between an atomic drop and a piledriver, as he has made this mistake before. Crush leaves the ring to very slowly walk toward Strongbow, drawing Tatanka into a slugfest outside. Both men get counted out, meaning that Jimmy Del Ray, who was denied a qualifying match, advances to the tournament (at least he would in a just world).
What an incredible reverse piledriver!
Who says Brian Adams can't execute a piledriver?

The Toddster delivers the King of the Ring report in a hideous t-shirt featuring the pay-per-view logo twice, the date, and the arena name. Raw producers are trying to contact Federation President Jack Tunney for his ruling on the qualifying match between Tatanka and Crush. Todd talks about the Bret Hart title defense against Diesel, who is still rather unimpressive in the ring and the last person you would expect to have a passable world title match. He also speaks on ROddy Piper's return to the ring for one last match (until his run, sans hip, in WCW, and his forgettable runs in WWE which saw him hold the tag team titles briefly with Ric Flair). Roddy speaks from outside his home, where he is petting his dog (at least I assume it's his dog). He's only wrestling for the sick kids in the hospital at Sick Kids Hospital. Also, the Headshrinkers defend their titles against Crush and Yokozuna in an all-Pacific Island tag team match. Owen Hart comes on screen to tell Jack Tunney to give him a bye, given the double-countout between Crush and Tatanka. Owen, the heel, will otherwise face the winner of that match. Care to guess which one will go to the tournament? Todd makes a sex joke about your dad not having had three hours of excitement in a long time, then sends it back to the announcers, who are left to wonder whether it's  their mothers who are frigid or their fathers who are impotent.
Speaking of stiffs, we see a clip from Superstars of Ted DiBiase at a funeral parlor, where he implies that he has had contact with the Undertaker. Macho Man says he'd like to have contact with one of the Raw girls (but, unlike DiBiase, it will be sexual contact! At least I hope that's unlike DiBiase).
If Rob Bartlett were still announcing,
he would make reference to Oliver North.
Yes, I know that the Iran-Contra scandal
was in the 80s, but Bartlett also made numerous references to Gary Coleman, so he was not exactly on top of pop culture.

The 123 Kid comes to the ring to face George South.  Randy congratulates Rush Limbaugh on getting married, which he compares to the Kid, since Rush has now been married 1-2-3 times. Rush, who married a fitness instructor, could end up improving his physique considerably, suggests Vince, meaning that he could enter next year's King of the Ring. That would be a better idea than the Roadie and Sparky Plugg. Hell, he doesn't even have to work out to qualify for the 1995 King of the Ring; Mabel ended up winning the whole thing. The Kid, who defeated Adam Bomb this weekend on Superstars to qualify for the KOTR, works over South with kicks. Adam Bomb was cost the match by his fellow Harvey Wippleman client and Wrestlecrap inductee, Kwang, who accidentally spit green mist in his face instead of the Kid's. At least it wasn't the burning red mist or the blinding black mist. The Kid pins South with a Maneuver (#2 - la magistral cradle) for the win.
Jerry Lawler is in the ring when Raw returns from break. He calls the Ohio crowd a "repulsive bunch of peons" that doesn't deserve to see this edition of the King's Court. He makes a number of age jokes about Bret's parents, re-igniting his feud from 1993, which ended with Lawler being falsely accused of raping a thirteen-year-old girl. The question of whether Bret Hart was behind the set-up or not should have been incorporated into the storyline. Bret Hart steps into the ring, and Lawler reminds him of last year's King of the Ring, in which Bret won but was then attacked by Lawler with his new scepter and thrown. Bret threatens the King with his belt, but Jerry brings out his other guest for the evening, Bret's challenger Diesel. The Intercontinental champion, along with Shawn Michaels, steps into the ring. Bret has "a tremendous amount of respect" for Diesel for some reason (he is rather tall), but he will beat Big Daddy Cool at KOTR. Diesel promises the VIP treatment for Hart: Very Intense Pain. Michaels sucker-punches the WWF champion, letting Diesel jackknife Hart. Shawn jumps on the fallen Hitman with a series of punches and is then joined by the King in a stomping session that would make Ronnie Garvin proud. Federation officials flood into the ring to break up the beatdown. Diesel poses with both belts before leaving the ring.

We then see a replay of Diesel's Devastating Maneuver (#3 - jackknife) on Hart. "What a devastating thing to do to the WWF champion!" says Vince. The Smoking Gunns come to the ring to face the flamboyantly-dressed Reno Riggins and his tag team partner for the evening, the Buddy Landell lookalike, Austin Steele. He even does the figure-four leglock, although I doubt we will see that finisher in tonight's match. Billy Gunn takes down Riggins early in the match with a Maneuver (#4 - crucifix pin) for a two-count. Vince talks about the great tag team action in the WWF, then announces the Headshrinkers', Men on a Mission's, and Bam Bam Bigelow's participation in the D-Day Challenge, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the invasion of Normandy. I read about this event, which consisted of a tug of war between the WWF superstars and a bunch of members of the military, in my first issue of WWF Magazine. Macho Man reads a promo for Firestarter on USA. The Gunns finish Austin Steele off with the Sidewinder, which at this time is an elbow drop from the top rope by Billy onto the opponent, who is held by Bart in an over-the-shoulder backbreaker. In later years, the Sidewinder would be a combination side slam/leg drop. Todd Pettengill then gives us the skinny on Jack Tunney's decision on Tatanka/Crush. Next week, the two men will face off in a rematch contested under lumberjack rules.
Because I'm watching a VHS rip and not a WWE re-release, a commercial for the Wrestlemania Revenge Tour airs, featuring the upcoming house show dates.

Double J enters the ring to take on Chris Hamrick (spelled, "Hamerick" this week). Vince summarizes Jarrett's recent escapades, including his upset victory over Lex Luger and his teased kidnapping of Dink. Vince congratulates Arsenio Hall (or Ar-seen-io, as McMahon calls him) on his final episode. He also name-drops Gennifer Flowers, who in less than four years would interview The Rock at Wrestlemania XIV, then urges viewers to donate to Roddy Piper's cause, a hospital for sick children, called the Hospital for Sick Children Fund. "Hamerick" makes a wild dive at Double J in the corner, but misses and falls prey to the Figure Four as the fans chant, "We want Doink!" because they don't know any better. Jarrett wins via submission. No Hamrick bump this week and, for the first time in six weeks, there is no spot in which a wrestler grabs the ropes off an Irish whip and lets his opponent fall after an attempted dropkick.
Jerry Lawler implies that next week he will have Roddy Piper himself as a guest on the King's Court. He doesn't identify him by name, but does say that his guest is from Scotland, wears a dress, and wears a t-shirt that says, "Hot Rod" on it. Who else is it gonna be?

Final Tally:

4 Maneuvers (Year total: 77)

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