Saturday, December 29, 2012

Raw #72 - July 18th, 1994

The big question on tonight's Raw is whether Lex Luger has sold out to the Million Dollar Man. Personally, I can't see Luger turning his back on his fans to wrestle for some rich guy named Ted on Monday nights. Luger challenges for Diesel's Intercontinental title in tonight's featured match.
Shawn Michaels walks out first, doing his best David Lee Roth impression (minus the thong over spandex; that's Well Dunn's gimmick). "If this match is half as good as last week's Bret Hart-123 Kid WWF championship match, it is going to be something to see!" says Ross. I guess that makes Diesel the Bret Hart of this match, while Lex Luger is the 123 Kid. What a chilling thought. All four of those men, by the way, plus Shawn Michaels, would be playable in Acclaim's WWF Raw video game for SNES and Genesis.

Speaking of that video game, the two wrestlers do their best to emulate the gameplay by getting into an interminable grapple/tug of war to open the match. Diesel eventually pushes Luger through the ropes to the outside. "Lex Luger hopes he has better luck in this title match than he has had in his others," says Jim Ross, rubbing it in that Lex has beaten Yokozuna once by countout and lost once by DQ. Luger does a sunset flip (yes, you read that right) over the top rope and into the ring for a two-count on the champion. I guess that means Diesel is due for a dive through the ropes. Instead, he does some elbows to Lex. "You can expect a lot of high-impact maneuvers from the champion," says JR, meaning a bunch of elbows in the corner. A "USA" chant starts up before the fans realize that the heel is from Detroit and his back-up is from Texas. Luger scores a near-fall with a powerslam and then knocks the champion to the outside. Diesel pulls Lex out of the ring, where they brawl until Lex puts Big Daddy Cool back in the ring. "Smart move by Lex Luger, getting the champion back in the ring," says JR, perhaps alluding to Lex's famous countout victory over Yokozuna that won him a big pile of nothing at Summerslam last year. Luger then telegraphs a back body drop, leading Diesel to set up for a jackkife. Unfortunately for Big Daddy Cool, he too telegraphs his move, signaling for his finisher and letting Luger follow through on his back body drop attempt. Lex then dives at Diesel, who moves out of the way to let him fall to the outside. A body slam on the floor and a clothesline by Shawn Michaels put Luger down. An extremely hazy shot of Ted DiBiase looking on from above brings us to a commercial break.
Another USA chant echoes through the arena as Diesel continues pummeling the American Original with Snake Eyes. Big Daddy Cool lands a guillotine splash on Luger on the ropes, then covers him weakly for a two count. He then puts Lex in a reverse chinlock, which raises the age-old question: what does a regular chinlock look like? A close-up of the champion shows Diesel's mop-like head of hair. In the meantime, Shawn complains to the camera that he is starting to sweat. Luger eventually breaks out with elbows, only to be knocked down again with a big boot. He then puts Luger in a sleeper, showing that Big Daddy Cool does indeed know a lot of holds, like the sleeper and the chinlock, all of which are rest holds allowing him to kill time. Shawn tells the timekeeper to ring the bell prematurely, but the timekeeper obviously doesn't cooperate, because that would be a disgrace to wrestling. Lex escapes, however, hitting Diesel with a DDT and a flying clothesline, each time scoring a near fall. A big boot to Lex's face briefly halts the challenger's momentum, but he fights back with an Irish whip that accidentally sends the champion into the referee. Lex lifts Diesel into a torture rack, but Shawn Michaels hits him from behind with a superkick (rather than waiting for him to turn around, which is something he and many other wrestlers inexplicably do). Shawn revives referee Joey Marella, enabling him to count Lex's shoulders down very slowly. The challenger kicks out and Razor comes down to the ring to even the odds. The Bad Guy chases HBK into the ring, where he gets clocked by Luger. Razor enters the ring and gets booted by Diesel. The referee calls for the bell. Razor and Shawn have a faceoff until Diesel clubs Ramon from behind and gets superkick. Luger saves Ramon as Howard Finkel announces the double-disqualification. Ted DiBiase walks through the entrance way, looking disappointed.

Mabel comes to the ring with the guy in the white suit, who raps about the standard themes of waving one's hands in the air and pointing out where exactly "it" is, while also slipping in some references to Godzilla. Mabel's opponent is jobber Austin Steele, and the two men start off the match with a grapple, despite the fact that neither wrestler will be included in Acclaim's WWF RAW. Mabel quickly gets control of the match, tossing the Nature Boy wannabe around the ring. He whips Steele to the corner, but the jobber counters with a Flair flip to the ring apron. Steele then ascends the ropes but, in classic Flair fashion, gets hit on the way down. Mabel then "moonwalks," which is what Ross generously calls the big man's backwards steps. The Man on a Mission delivers a vertical suplex, which I keep telling him is not a good move for a big man to do on a much smaller opponent. Look at the picture of the two men on the ground right after landing and tell me who looks like they took the brunt of the impact. For whatever reason, my advice cannot travel through my screen and backward in time 18 years to reach Mabel. He then engages Steele in a test of stretch, leading the jobber to beg his opponent off, again like Ric Flair. Mabel takes over the enhancement talent and locks him in a a keyed wristlock. "That's a variation of a wrestling hold that I never heard of," says Savage. Mabel splashes Steele in the corner, leaving the prelim wrestler to do a Flair flop to the canvas. Mabel then whips Steele to the ropes and hits the world's worst sidewalk slam for the victory. The only thing about Flair that Steele didn't imitate in this match was the hip-first bumps. That and the profuse bleeding and pantsing spots.

Jim Ross takes us to "The Toddster" for the Summerslam report, which thankfully hasn't been edited out of this WWE re-release of Raw. Did I just thank WWE for more Todd Pettengill? They even leave the promotions for Domino's intact. Todd hypes up the expected crowd of 23,000 at this year's Summerslam, which he calls the biggest WWF crowd of the year. That might not sound like a lot of people by today's standards (or even 1992's standards), but that would dwarf the attendance of every pay-per-view event for the next two and a half years (23 PPVs total) until the heavily-papered Royal Rumble 1997 in the Alamodome. Todd mentions the wacky Undertaker vs. Undertaker match that is half of the "double main event" (and the wrong half, I might add, going on after the title match) and that the WWF has hired Leslie Nielsen to investigate the mystery of the Taker. The other main event is Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart for the WWF title, held inside the baby blue cage of death to keep the Hart family from getting involved. The last thing Vince wants is Bruce Hart trying to steal the spotlight in the main event. Randy Savage says that the steel cage won't be enough because of the "1,684,362 Harts at ringside." Owen Hart is then shown lifting dumbbells backstage as Jim Neidhart shouts slogans at him.

When Raw returns, Jim Ross compares the Raw girl in the ring to Anna Nicole Smith. "Maybe fifty pounds and one 89-year-old millionaire husband ago," says Savage. Randy predicts a short marriage for the two ending in the husband's death, which is very prophetic, because he did die soon after. How did Randy know!? A female Owen Hart fan cheers for the King of Harts as his High Energy music plays. Owen, however, being the black sheep of the Hart family, would not take up brother Bret's tradition of having extramarital affairs. If Owen fails to beat Bret at Summerslam, says Ross, he could be known from then on as the "Lyin' King." Hart's opponent is Reno Riggins. Fans chant, "We want Bret" at the youngest Hart child. Those chants would be a lot funnier and more insulting if they were hurled at inferior wrestlers who aren't even feuding with the Hitman, such as Lex Luger or Diesel. Riggins dominates the number-one contender in the early minutes with hammerlocks and armbars until Owen slaps him in the face. Classic heel tactics. Savage comments on Owen always listening to what people are saying about him, mentioning his "rabbit ears." No word on his beak, though. Owen vows on camera to become champion at Summerslam, which he pronounces with a non-nasalized "a," the kind you would hear in words like "apple" and "match." We'll hear a lot more of that in 1996 when Owen wins his first Slammy. Owen puts Riggins in a camel clutch, which Vince McMahon is not around to call a Boston crab. Randy calls both Owen and Jim "bona fide cashew nuts" while reminding us that Bruce Hart is siding with the champion, which I'm sure Bret appreciates as much as Bill Clinton would appreciate an endorsement from his ne'er-do-well half-brother Roger. By the way, the cashew is not a nut at all, but the seed of the cashew "apple," a reputedly sweet fruit that is too delicate to be exported from its native regions. Riggins makes a comeback with a series of open-handed punches until Owen hits him with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex. Hart then wins with the Sharpshooter but is hesitant to release it.
Todd Pettengill narrates a promo video for next week's Raw, which features the newly-turned Adam Bomb vs. Yokozuna. "Now that he no longer allows Harvey Wippleman to light his fuse," says Todd, "this nuclear force is ready to self-detonate onto the competition." Who writes this stuff? This belongs with that Magnum TA promo where he promised to come on you like no one's ever come on you before. Also, Tatanka faces Nikolai Volkoff. The graphic makes sure to identify Tatanka as, "Native American," lest viewers confuse him with the Asian-American Tatanka or the African-American Tatanka (Saba Simba).

Thurman "Sparky" Plugg does battle with George South. South tries to leapfrog Plugg, but the race car driver stop short and boots him in the gut. "Sparky beats South to the punch, there," says Ross in an inappropriate metaphor. Ross wonders for the second week in a row about Michael Jackson's marriage while Sparky takes down South with a headscissors. Randy reads the drop-in copy on Coming to America starring Eddie Murphy, Wednesday on USA. Plugg wins with a flying body press.
Todd narrates a series of clips seeking to explain the possibility of two Undertakers. He shows the death and ascension (via body double Marty Jannetty) of the Undertaker at the Royal Rumble, followed by Undertaker sightings. Death gives a man quite an appetite, apparently, as one alleged witness claims the Undertaker ordered "six dozen coffin-shaped donuts" (while another witness, not shown, claims the Dead Man ordered a six-foot wedge at his sub shop). Last month, Ted DiBiase delivered The Undertaker, but is DiBiase as reliable as the king of delivery, Domino's Pizza? (That was my own idea for a cheap plug, by the way. You're welcome, Pettengill) The first glimpse we see of this "Undertaker" is his face being illuminated as soon as he steps out of Gorilla position. Within literally two seconds, astute viewers could tell that this isn't the real Undertaker, although the announcers are none the wiser. Paul Bearer cuts a promo on the fake Undertaker and Ted DiBiase, vowing that they will both rest in peace? He speaks the last word with a lilt, making it sound like a question.

Bam Bam Bigelow, Ted DiBiase's latest charge, squares off against Gary Sabaugh, AKA The Italian Stallion. Savage relays a "nasty rumor" about Lex Luger talking with Ted backstage tonight. Sabaugh, whom Ross claims is the world spaghetti-eating champion, fights in vain against Bam Bam, whose manager is "cold" and "callused" according to Randy. Not callous, mind you, but callused, meaning that his skin has been toughened by repeated irritation. DiBiase has promised an "unveiling" on All-American Wrestling, possibly of Lex Luger a la Bobby Heenan's homo-erotic introduction of The Narcissist, but probably of a new set. As the Beast from the East works over the Stallion, Randy predicts that "Bam Bam is gonna do good good because of money money." Is this where that "Say everything twice, say everything twice" line comes from? Bam Bam puts his opponent in a Million Dollar Dream (cobra clutch), but rather than applying it as a submission hold, he takes down Sabaugh like a bulldog for the pin.
Our announcers ask DiBiase point blank whether he has a deal with Lex Luger. DiBiase gives a definitive "yes," he has been talking to Lex Luger. So, that's a "maybe." He promises a big surprise that will shock the world this weekend, drawing Tatanka to ringside to hassle DiBiase about buying out Lex Luger. DiBiase says that the Native American is just jealous because it wasn't he to whom DiBiase offered a job. Foreshadowing! DiBiase then bets Tatanka $10,000 that he can't beat Nikolai Volkoff next week, a wager that the Thrice-Defeated Native American accepts.

Ross reminds viewers that not only will there be the aforementioned $10,000 match next week, but also the match between former champion Yokozuna and the apparently over-excited Adam Bomb.


  1. I enjoy these recaps, but the pictures cover up huge chunks of the review. At least they do for me, may just be a problem at my end.

  2. At the end of the show Tatanka repeatedly calls the Million Dollar Man "Ted DiViase".