|Tonight's episode is the "Countdown to the Crowning," a "very special edition of Monday Night Raw," which makes it a) a commercial for the pay-per-view, and b) technically an episode of Raw, which means that I am obligated to recap it. The great thing about the King of the Ring is that it's the only WWF pay-per-view that lends itself to magnetic chalkboard displays, in this case the tournament bracket.|
|The producers of this episode have spared no expense to give the illusion of live action, with both teams making their entrance on the WWF Superstars set with the WWF Superstars logo on the big screen. Announcing the match are Ted DiBiase and Stan Lane, which means there will be no Maneuvers this week. Ted says that the Headshrinkers are talented but unorthodox. Speaking of unorthodox, Scott Levy is in a suit tonight to accompany his Quebecers for one last match. Stan Lane praises the tag team maneuvers of the champions, but it does not go toward the running tally of Maneuvers. Samu is sporting a new, more modern haircut, by which I mean a mullet. Samu hits a "big, Samoan-type headbutt" according to Stan Lane, who does not enlighten us as to what makes that particular headbutt especially Samoan. Fatu, who still has that silly haircut that's long in the front, sides, and back, tags in. The future Sultan hits a facebuster on the former Mountie as we go to break.|
|Vince tells us that, per a bet, Johnny Polo will have to shave his goatee on All-American Wrestling this Sunday. Macho Man calls the Headshrinkers his favorite team of all time. Crush and Jim Cornette, along with Fuji and Yokozuna cut a promo on the Headshrinkers about the Headshrinkers abandoning their island roots. Crush, who unlike Yokozuna or Fatu was actually born on an island, still says "Brudda" despite being a heel. Vince plugs the King of the Ring hotline, where you can hear behind-the-scenes updates on the event (presumably including a list of wrestlers' weights).|
|Playing a clarinet and saxophone at the same time? |
I don't know when this technique was ever popular,
but it needs to be brought back immediately!
|After a promo package for the New WWF Generation, Vince says that the WWF is clearly not living in the past. We then see highlights from the recent Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Go figure. As far as the old and new generations, Randy believes he connects the old and new generations and is "the bridge that makes it work!" As far as the Hall of Fame inductees, they are James Dudley, Buddy Rogers, Bobo Brazil, Arnold Skaaland, Freddie Blassie, Jay Strongbow, and Gorilla Monsoon, announced in that order. Yes, "manager extraordinaire" (and McMahon limo driver) James Dudley gets top billing in this video package. Regis Philbin was on hand, as was his surprising lookalike, Tony Garea. Alundra Blayze is in attendance, as well, looking her Streisand-est. Macho Man Randy Savage speaks at the podium, separated from a seventeen-year-old Stephanie McMahon only by her mother Linda. You can draw your own conclusions (they would be wrong, but you may still draw them). Regis Philbin tells an anecdote about Freddie Blassie breaking his finger.|
|Not Regis Philbin.|
|Macho Man predicts that Diesel will beat Bret Hart and win the WWF title. We then see a replay of Bret and Diesel on the King's Court, where the IC champion, HBK, and Jerry Lawler ganged up on the WWF champion. Bret then cuts a green-screen promo on the three men, who attacked him "like a pack of wild jackals" (not Don Callis). He promises a family member in his corner at the King of the Ring. Let's hope it's Smith Hart or his eldest daughter, Satanic Ecstasy Hart.|
|Randy reads the latest WWF magazine (with Diesel on the cover), while Vince reminds us that Big Daddy Cool faces Bret Hart "in a match in which you will be seeing" at the PPV. Grammatical errors aside, Vince makes another questionable statement when he says that the WWF title match would be "topping things off at the King of the Ring." Actually, it would take place in the middle of the card, between the first and second rounds of the tournament. "Kind of the frosting on the cake type of a thing!" says Savage. We then see clips of four of the King of the Ring qualifying matches, wherein IRS beat Scott Steiner, Mabel beat Pierre, Razor beat Kwang, and Bam Bam Bigelow beat Sparky Plugg. The losers of those last two matches would end up in next year's tournament, while Mabel would end up winning the whole thing.|
|In the other four qualifying matches, Jeff Jarrett beat Lex Luger by countout thanks to Crush, the 123 Kid beat Adam Bomb after Kwang's green mist backfired, Owen Hart beat Doink thanks to a distraction by Jeff Jarrett, and Tatanka beat Crush in a lumberjack. Vince reminds us that the lumberjack match was the second time that those two men "had faced." "To face," by the way, is a transitive verb that cannot be used as a reciprocal verb. You can say that two men "wrestled," implying that they wrestled each other, but you can't say that they "faced," which always needs a direct object specifically stated.|
|Randy Savage then makes his predictions for the entire tournament. Last week, his predictions for the first round were 100% correct. Tonight, however, he incorrectly predicts Bam Bam, Double J, and Tatanka advancing to the second round, then predicts the Beast from the East and Jeff Jarrett facing off in the finals, with Bigelow winning the match and the crown. His only correct prediction this time around is IRS beating Mabel in the first round. Savage's bracket also features two heel vs. heel matches, with Bam Bam beating IRS, then Jeff Jarrett in the second and third rounds. For the record, there would not be a heel vs. heel KOTR match until 1998, when Jeff Jarrett faced Faarooq and then Marc Mero.|| |
|Next, we see a promo package for Roddy Piper vs. Jerry Lawler, a feud which makes little sense and has been built up entirely on The King's Court and in video-taped messages from Piper. Cut it some slack, though. It's not like it's the main event, right?|
|Ray Rougeau, whom no one acknowledges as Jacques's brother, is with Jack Tunney at ringside in a different arena from the one we saw earlier in the show. The camera shows what appears to be Jerry Lawler in the center of the ring with a throne, but as it zooms in, you realize that it's not actually a person, but merely the robe and crown of the King of the Ring, hung on a rack. I believe Batman used that trick once on The Animated Series. Mr. Excitment, President Tunney, introduces the eight men who will compete in the tournament. IRS comes out first to rant against tax cheats. If IRS becomes King, will he instead demand tributes of gold, grain, and cattle from the audience. Mabel is out next. If Mabel wins, will he face the champion in a boring match at Summerslam? Not this year. Bam Bam Bigelow is Savage's pick, as well as Vince's, provided that "he trades in Luna Vachon for Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes. That's a TLC reference, by the way, which may not make any sense at all in context but does provide Vince with an opportunity to make a pop culture allusion on Raw. Razor Ramon, Art Donovan's pick to win it all, comes out next, teasing a handshake with President Tunney, who is not amused. Jeff Jarrett, who is "a cutie," and the 123 Kid, who "looks like a boxer," are out next, sans Art Donovan commentary. Owen Hart is out next, providing Vince with an opportunity to make some "rocket" puns about Owen either soaring or running out of fuel. The following year, Owen would be denied entry into the tournament after a time limit draw against the British Bulldog in a qualifier. Tatanka, however, was afforded a second chance to defeat Crush after the two were counted out. There's no justice in this world. If Tatanka fails to win this tournament, he'll be the thrice-defeated Native American.|
This Sunday is the King of the Ring! At least it would be if you could travel back in time every time you read one of my Raw reviews. The anticipation is so heavy that the other fellow only weighs half the amount!