Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Raw #71 - July 11th, 1994

Raw comes to us taped from Bushkill, Pennsylvania. On commentary are Jim Ross and Randy Savage. Tonight's featured match is the 123 Kid-Bret Hart match for the WWF title, which the Kid earned by beating Nikolai Volkoff. No, really. The Kid comes to the ring with new lighting spelling out "1-2-3." "If this match lives up to one one-hundredth of its expectations," says Macho, "...we're gonna go on a magic carpet ride!" Jim Ross reminds us that his opponent, Bret Hart, was voted Superstar of the Year in 1993, much like John Cena in 2012, except Hart won the King of the Ring and actually held a title during those 12 months.

Owen Hart and Jim Neidhart come to ringside before the match to taunt Bret before being ejected by Federation officials. While leaving, Owen calls Bret a "scaredy cat." That sounds like an insult your little brother would make about you... so I guess that makes sense. The Kid gets the first offense with an armdrag (hold #1), then an armbar (hold #2). Sadly, he does not get to execute the moss-covered three-handled family gradenza. Savage says that both competitors "belong to the Mutual Admiration Society of Respect for Each Other." If the WWE ever founds a Department of Redundancy Department, Macho Man will be inexplicably barred from induction anyway. Bret hits a body slam onthe Kid, who kips up and puts Bret in a hammerlock, maintaining it even after a somersault by the champion. Savage says he is taking notes so he can add some of these moves to add to his repertoire; hopefully, we'll see a Saskatchewan Spinning Nerve Hold. The Kid's kick to Hart gets caught, but he counters with a spinning mule kick, followed by a roundhouse kick that comes nowhere near Bret's head but sends the champion over the top rope.
The Kid has Hart in another armbar (hold #4), which Hart tries to roll out of, then escapes with an Irish whip followed by a knee to the gut. He then goes on the offensive with a scoop slam and a leg drop. He puts the Kid in the corner and hits a series of hard European uppercuts. After taking those upward shots to the chin, Macho says that the kid is about 7'4". Hey, if Brian Lee is seven feet tall, then why not exaggerate a little? Jim Ross, meanwhile, has used the word, "maneuver" about five times and counting. Alas, with no McMahon on commentary, these Maneuvers are for nought. As Hart pounds on the challenger, Savage calls the Kid, "the gambler," to which WCW jobber Jeff Gann probably takes exception. Hart then whips the 123 Kid hard to the corner, but the challenger quickly scores a near fall with a lateral press, prompting Ross to praise the underdog's "resiliency." Savage then tells anyone who doubts the Kid, "just don't think again!" That's intended as a compliment to the challenger, for the record. A sunset flip out of the corner nearly turns Hart over, but the champion sits down and scores a near-fall. The Kid then attempts a crucifix takeover, but Hart slams himself down onto the challenger before pinning him for the 1-2-3. However, the Kid put his foot on the rope during the pin, unbeknownst to the referee, so Bret Hart requests that the match restart.

Immediately after the bell rings again, the Kid nearly pins Hart with a roll-up from behind. If Gorilla were here tonight, he would be telling Hart to take the win and the winner's share of the purse money. Hart locks his opponent in a sleeper as fans chant for both men. A leg drop by the champion fails to put the Kid away. Hart then hits a DDT for another near-fall. An elbow smash backfires for the champion when the Kid sticks his boot up in the air to connect with Hart's face. The Kid takes advantage of the momentum with a series of kicks, including a hard dropkick in the corner to Bret's face. The Kid powerbombs Hart, then lands a leg drop from the top rope, but only gets a two-count on the champion. The Kid then clotheslines Hart to the outside, then mounts the top rope for a "moonsault" (which is what Ross calls a somersault), scoring a glancing blow on the Hitman on the arena floor. Speaking of scoring blow, Scott Hall is probably cheering the Kid on backstage. Hart recovers first, rolling into the ring, but the Kid follows and attempts another "moonsault" (somersault) that Bret evades. The champion tries a Sharpshooter, but the challenger grabs the ropes to break the hold. Instead, hart tries a superplex, but the Kid reverses it into a lateral press for a two-count. He then rushes at Hart with what looks like a very high Bronco Buster in the corner, but Bret ducks. A bulldog by Hart allows him to mount the top rope, but the Kid slams him to the mat. The Kid then tries yet another high-risk move, a front dropkick, but Hart catches him and locks him in the Sharpshooter for the submission victory.
"One of the greatest matches ever," says Macho as he gives both men a standing ovation. Naturally, this match would not be nominated for "Match of the Decade" on the Raw 10th anniversary special, although another, much crappier title match with an underdog story would, in the form of Jeff Hardy vs. The Undertaker ladder match, which proves that dramatic video packaging can turn one of the most boring and disappointing Raw main events into a "classic" (Yes, I know that many people think that ladder match is great, but please, re-watch it if you feel that way. I nearly turned off the TV while watching it live). The fact that Sean Waltman was gone from the WWE at the time of the awards show while Bret Hart was still persona non grata probably explains the omission.

Todd Pettengill gives us the Summerslam Report, which is "delivered" by Domino's Pizza. The Monday night pay-per-view will be the first event held in Chicago's United Center, which Pettengill calls, "the Camden Yards of the Midwest." Thanks for the Baltimore reference, Todd, but I still wish you'd pull your lip over your head and jump off a bridge. Jack Tunney has announced that the main event of this year's Summerslam will be Ted DiBiase's Undertaker vs. Paul Bearer's Undertaker. This is especially perplexing because Tunney doesn't even know for sure that DiBiase's Taker is a fake, but is going by Paul Bearer's word. If I were Federation President, I wouldn't risk a PPV main event on what could very well be a one-man match. "It can't be one guy in the ring," says Todd, confused (unless the one guy is Al Snow). By the way, if DiBiase's Undertaker is a fake, does that mean that Tunney is giving him checks made out to Mark Calloway? Maybe the real Undertaker should just let Brian Lee wrestle in his place and earn his paychecks for him. Paul Bearer cuts a very foggy promo vowing the real Undertaker's return and that the Million Dollar Man and his impostor would be gone for eternity. Well, the fake Undertaker certainly would be, although Brian Lee would return in 1997 as a biker.
Crush is out next as Savage declares himself the Forrest Gump of the WWF. The Hawaiian's opponent is none other than Matt Hardy, making his second appearance on Raw. It's a battle of pineapples versus grapes. Meanwhile, a mother pleads with her young son to watch the Crush match. That's a tough sell. A small USA chant breaks out against the native of Hawaii. Hardy starts off the match with a series of jumps and flips off the ropes, each time landing on his feet. Crush responds with a savate kick. "Goooooooooooooooaaaalllll!" says Macho. Ross talks about Crush's upcoming matches with Lex Luger on the "Summer Sizzler" Tour (not to be confused with Summerslam itself, from which both Crush and partner Yokozuna would be excluded) as Macho continues interrupting him with "Goal" calls. A backbreaker finishes off Hardy.
"C'mon, Crush probably won't even
attempt a piledriver."
Razor Ramon comes down the aisle with new "razor" lighting effects. His opponent is Barry Horowitz. Both of these men have teamed with the 123 Kid and nearly defeated the Quebecers for the tag team titles. Randy Savage offers suggestions for the WWF's investigation of the Undertaker situation, naming Max Smart, Dick Tracy, McGruff the Crime Dog, boxer Leon Spinks (who is celebrating his birthday today), and Sherlock Holmes as possible detectives. Razor hopes to face Diesel for the Intercontinental title, but Big Daddy Cool must first retain his title against Lex Luger  next week on Raw. Razor signals for the Razor's Edge, in effect saying that it's over, much like O.J. Simpson prosecutor Marcia Clark, says Randy. Instead of his finisher, however, he rolls up Horowitz with a small package to win the match. Swerve!
Jerry Lawler appears in a special edition of the King's Court, taped earlier today in one of the Million Dollar Man's offices. Ted yells at some peon on the phone to buy ten thousand shares of some unnamed company. Lawler recaps for the "imbecilic idiots" in the audience the recent accomplishments of DiBiase, such as the purchases of Nikolai Volkoff, The Undertaker, Bam Bam Bigelow, and now, possibly, Lex Luger. Ted says that he has "bought and paid for" Lex Luger, offering him "a deal he couldn't possibly refuse." However, DiBiase says, the American Original has yet to actually sign a contract. You really want to get on that immediately, Ted, lest Luger show up in WCW.

IRS warns the tax cheats about cheating on their taxes like the tax cheats they are. His opponent is Ray Hudson. Irwin tosses Hudson to the outside in front of the announcers table. Macho wonders if this counts as a gift and if they would have to pay the gift tax on it. Ross says that IRS is Rush Limbaugh's favorite wrestler for some reason. Maybe Limbaugh appreciates clotheslines. Hudson scores a lateral press for a one-count while Macho Man promotes Close Encounters of the Third Kind (which he calls, "Close-up Counters") on USA, Saturday night at 7/8 Central Time (by which he means, 8/7 Central Time). Ross mentions the MLB All-Star Game the following night and assures fans that the WWF never goes on strike (except for that horrible walk-out storyline in 2011). The announcers then wonder if we need a detective to find out if Michael Jackson really got married; Savage suggests Angela Lansberry. Irwin hits the Write-Off and makes Hudson submit to the Penalty STF.
Ross runs down next week's card, including Mabel and Owen Hart in action, respectively, and Lex Luger vs. Diesel for the IC title. Bret Hart speaks backstage about how the 123 Kid is a great competitor. Bret says that Owen might be a fluke, and that when they meet, he'll have one of his brothers to back him up and even the odds against Owen and Jim Neidhart. Hopefully he means his brother-in-law Davey Boy Smith and not, say, Bruce or Keith.

1 comment:

  1. Art, do you have the baseball strike promo that Randy Savage was in? It had a little downtrodden kid on a baseball field all by himself. Then the Macho Man shows up and the two walk off together. The voiceover says something about how WWF never goes on strike or never has an off season. I've been looking for that for years to put on my fantasy baseball message board but I can't find it on YT or DM.