Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Raw #73 - July 25th, 1994

We open Raw with a recap of Lex Luger's rumored sellout to the Million Dollar Man. this past weekend, Lex showed up on the Heartbreak Hotel when introduced by DiBiase. Tatanka then came out to shame the American Original, but Lex Luger denied signing with DiBiase. "He's either telling the truth, or he's lying!" says Macho with deep insight. Frankly, this whole mystery is rather silly. If Lex did sell out to DiBiase, then eventually he'll start coming out to the Million Dollar Man's music, teaming up with Ted's clients, and being escorted to the ring by DiBiase. Then we'll know. And if he did sell out, what's he denying it for? Eventually it's going to become really obvious.

Our first match is the $10,000 challenge match, the second such match on Raw (the first being the 123 Kid vs. Razor), but this time both sides are putting up ten grand, with the winner taking the money. Ted DiBiase's Nikolai Volkoff faces the Thrice-Defeated Native American Tatanka. Ross identifies him as a Lumbee Indian (who for some reason chose as a name a word from the language of the Lakota, who live in the Dakotas). "Tatanka's gonna feel real stupid if Lex Luger's tellin' the truth, I'll guarantee you that!" says Randy. Savage does note that Tatanka's suntan is much better than the pale Volkoff, perhaps somehow forgetting that Tatanka is a Native American. The babyface puts Nikolai in an armbar, then gets rammed in the gut, only to shoulderblock the Soviet to the mat. DiBiase's property starts choking the American Indian on the top rope, then with his own hands in the corner. Ross generously describes the veteran's wrestling style as "deliberate," in the same way that molasses is deliberate. He did, however, beat Virgil, who I yet again can't believe still has a contract, on Superstars recently. Tatanka delivers a dropkick that sends his future Survivor Series teammate over the top rope and to the outside. Oops! That was a spoiler. DiBiase berates Nikolai and tells him not to lose The Million Dollar Man's ten grand (it is, after all, a hundredth of his total wealth). "Everybody hates their boss to some degree," says Macho. Perhaps that comment is why he's still not in the Hall of Fame. Volkoff gets more aggressive, but when he starts to ram the Indian's head into the turnbuckles, Tatanka does his Hulk Hogan impression by no-selling. He goes on the warpath with a series of chops, including one from the top rope that scores him a two-count. Volkoff then fights back with a scoop slam, but a second attempt ends with Tatanka rolling up Nikolai with a small package for the victory. Randy Savage appears in the ring quite suddenly to announce Tatanka as the winner of the ten thousand dollars and to make DiBiase pay up. Ted says that he was impressed with Tatanka, but that the Thrice-Defeated Native American could never handle Lex Luger like he did Volkoff. Tatanka says that Lex couldn't beat him on the Indian's worst day, so Luger comes to the ring and asks Tatanka if he really thinks he could beat him. They agree to a match at an unnamed time and place. DiBiase tells Tatanka to talk to him when he decides on the match.
The tag team champion Headshrinkers come to the ring with Lou Albano, who is wearing a Samoan skirt. The Headshrinkers jump their jobber opponents before the bell as Raw goes to break. We then see a Bret Hart commercial for ICO-PRO where he stresses the importance of an "integrated approach to training" to becoming the WWF champion. I think this spot was filmed back in '93 when Hart was champion for the first time. For whatever reason, they never had Yokozuna film one of these during his title reign.

Back from break, the champions are clobbering a jobber in a two-tone singlet. Samu hits a DDT from the second rope on Joey Stallings, goes for the pin, but lifts him off the mat before three. It's notable that the Shrinkers have not changed their style even though they are faces. Samu knocks Barry Hardy off the apron, setting him up for a slap from Fatu. As the champions put Stallings in a double-front leg sweep, Ross wonders whether they will defend their titles at Summerslam. Yes and no, JR. Fatu flattens Joey with a splash from the top rope for the pin without Barry Hardy even getting TV time in the ring.
Todd Pettengill announces a match next week between Razor Ramon and Shawn Michaels, who is wrestling for the first time since their Wrestlemania match. "If next week is just half as good as their ladder match at Wrestlemania," says Ross, "I can't wait!" That's exactly what he said when comparing Lex vs. Diesel last week to the Kid vs. Bret Hart. Call it the Ross Doctrine, or the Fifty-Percent Doctrine.

Howard Finkel, Jim Powers, rump.

As Jim Neidhart comes to the ring for his match, Savage compares him and his brother-in-law Owen to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. What do Al Snow and Sean Waltman have to do with anything? Or maybe I'm mixing up some names... He faces off against the much more physically fit and tan Jim Powers; if you knew nothing about Neidhart, you would assume that Powers is the superstar and Neidhart the jobber in this match. Randy calls The Anvil a "loose cannon," much like his future stablemate and former Stampede Wrestling colleague Brian Pillman. Jim Neidhart kicks off the match by back body-dropping the other Jim over the top rope, causing him to crash back first on the edge of the ring apron. Personally, I think that Jim is going to win this match. Who? Yes, that's correct. Savage declares Neidhart and Owen guilty of dividing their family, "unlike a friend of mine who just was, uh, proven innocent." Ross ignores the obvious reference to their off-screen boss, Vince McMahon. Interesting side note: WWF Magazine identified Vince McMahon as the CEO of the WWF in a story about the recent Hall of Fame induction. This was just before Linda McMahon took over as CEO as a result of Vince being on trial. The trial probably has more than a little bit to do with why Vince has been off commentary for the past month. The verdict, by the way, was reached on July 22nd, three days before this episode.
Neidhart hits a belly-to-back suplex on Powers and goes for a pin but lifts him up before three, much like the Headshrinkers in the match before. The Anvil then puts him in a camel clutch that he tries to turn into a dragon sleeper. Powers submits. Owen enters the ring to celebrate, and Ross notes that he will be trying to beat his brother during the Summer Sizzler Tour leading up to Summerslam, acknowledging that the two Harts will wrestle many times before their cage match. Owen puts his glasses on Neidhart as Todd plugs the upcoming dates of the Summer Sizzler Tour, including an event at Los Angeles's Great Western Forum, the future home of WOW: Women of Wrestling.
All the letters are there,
just not in the right order.

Women's champion Alundra Blayze will be making only her second-ever live appearance on Raw, again in an interview, but not on the King's Court, which has not taken place the last few weeks. Todd Pettengill explains in a voice-over that Alundra Blayze has beaten all of her competition (which, on TV, has consisted of precisely three people: Heidi Lee Morgan, Leilani Kai, and Luna Vachon for a total of five matches), but that she must now face Japan's Bull Nakano next week. Nakano actually beat Blayze in one of their matches in Japan earlier in the year. Alundra comes to the ring to be interviewed by Jim Ross; although Blayze is champion, she is still not afforded such luxuries as a theme song with actual musical notes. Instead, she has a drum track play her to the ring. Ross mentions that Blayze has taken the unusual action of issuing a challenge to any contender for a title match (probably because she was sick of wrestling Heidi Lee Morgan exclusively and Leilani Kai for six months). Luna first accepted the challenge, losing repeatedly on house shows and finally on an episode of Superstars. Blayze says she is finished with Luna and says that she's the Ladies' champion because she has, among other things, class. This is about a year and a half before she would drop that same title in a trash can on Nitro. Her next opponent, Bull Nakano, weighs over 250 pounds, allegedly, and can, by Blayze's own admission, beat most of the men. Macho takes offense to that. The idea that a relatively imposing female wrestler could therefore be just as intimidating and dominant against men is a fallacy I like to call (as of thirty seconds ago) Chyna Syndrome (not that Nakano isn't a much better wrestler than Chyna was). Blayze starts talking about "three more other girls" in Japan (probably including her other Japanese opponents earlier this year, Saki Hasegawa and Kyoko Inoue, the latter of whom would join the Federation briefly around Survivor Series next year). However, Luna comes to the ring and interrupts Blayze before she names names. Luna gets on the mic and claims responsibility for bringing to the US Bull Nakano (which she pronounces, "KNOCK-a-no," which very well may be the correct pronunciation). She also manages to pronounces her own last name in French style while growling. "What a sexy voice," says Savage. She then immediately leaves ringside. Alundra says that she will always have the title (which, aside from the stop-gap reigns of Nakano and Bertha Faye, is pretty accurate, for this version of the Women's Title at least). Randy wonders if Luna will be in the corner of "Bull Naka-naka-naka-naka-no" next week. I hear the President of Uzbekibekibekistanstan will be watching.
A commercial airs featuring mafia members at an Italian restaurant. The boss asks the waiter to turn on Monday Night Raw, but they don't have cable. He then takes the waiter into his limo to watch it in the car. You can actually hear Vince McMahon saying, I kid you not, "What a maneuver!" Unfortunately, since it's pre-recorded commentary taken from a previous episode of Raw, it doesn't count towards the running tally of maneuvers, which still stands at 80 ever since Vince left the announce table weeks ago. "It's what the family loves to watch!" says the announcer.

Yokozuna faces Adam Bomb next. One of these men is a former world champion. One of these men is a future tag team champion. Unfortunately for Bryan Clark, I'm talking about Yoko in both sentences. Adam Bomb, the newly-turned face, "will be one of the great fan favorites here in the Federation," predicts Ross. If by that, he means jobbing to Mabel in two minutes on pay-per-view, then he is correct. There's nothing particularly wrong with Bryan Clark, and he certainly does look like he could be a main-eventer (based off appearance alone), but the whole nuclear gimmick would just ever get him anywhere. I was about to suggest that the WWF team him up with Crush as "Nuke" as part of a new Demolition team, but I quickly realized that 1) The "New" Anythings is never a good tag team (The Rockers, Blackjacks, Legion of Doom, Hart Foundation, etc.), and 2) WCW would indeed pair the two men up as KroniK, and we know how that turns out.
Bomb unleashes a series of clotheslines and bounces off the ropes repeatedly for more momentum. Each time he hits the ropes, they make a snapping sound, as if they're about to break. Let's hope they not, because this is "live" television (wink wink) and there's no way to edit it. Bomb eventually knocks Yoko through the ropes to the outside, where he lands on his feet. Macho comments on how rare it is these days to see Yoko knocked to the outside, even though Earthquake did it and the Headshrinkers did, too, at King of the Ring, multiple times. Somehow, as Yoko has gotten heavier, he has become easier to knock down.

Kwang and Harvey share a
tender moment.

Raw comes back from commercial, with Adam Bomb challenging the "BEE-uh-mith" (in Ross's words) to a test of strength. Yoko knocks him down with a chop and backs him into the corner. He then slaps on a nerve hold on the Bombster (which is what Gorilla Monsoon will probably end up calling him), signaling a bathroom break for the crowd. Randy continues his fascination with Dink getting beaten up by imagining what the big man could do to Dink. Hey, I don't blame Randy for this one. What adult in 1994 wouldn't secretly (or not) want to see Dink get splattered? Well, a lot of them wouldn't, but that's only because most adults don't watch the WWF and thus don't know who Dink is. Ross reminds viewers that Bomb has ditched his former manager Harvey Wippleman as the radiation victim feeds off the crowd to break out of the nerve hold. Bomb runs at the former champion but is quickly knocked down with a clothesline. Yoko misses a butt splash in the corner, allowing Bomb to fell him with a DDT. Bomb mounts the top rope and knocks Yoko over with a clothesline. Naturally, instead of pinning him after that big move, he decides to drop some elbows on him, allowing Harvey Wippleman and Kwang to come to ringside, where the masked Boricua ninja snags his leg and trips him. Bomb goes to the outside to take it to Kwang, leading to a countout loss. Yokozuna therefore wins the battle of the guys who jobbed to Earthquake. Can you blame Adam, though? If you had to choose between beating a former WWF champion and punching Kwang, what would you do? Bomb picks up Harvey and throws him onto Kwang, then argues with the referee.
The Summerslam theme plays to introduce the Summerslam Report with the Toddster. "This year, Domino's delivers Summerslam." There will be a crowd of 23,000 fans, but it's not going to be like a Yanni concert, Todd assures us. He also assures us that if anyone can solve the mystery of the Undertaker, it's Leslie Nielsen. Razor Ramon will challenge for Diesel's IC title at Summerslam, as well.

Up next is "America's favorite garbage man," but first we see a vignette of Leslie Nielsen in an Undertaker hat. "You know, I think Leslie Nielsen's on to something, and so am I," says Savage as a Raw girl walks by. Duke "The Dumpster" Droese enters, accompanied by a graphic with rather poor lettering that features, "DUKE 'THE" on the first line. Duane Gill, whose name is spelled, "Dwayne" tonight, squares off against the Dumpster as Jerry Lawler gets on the phone. He berates the operator to put him through to the "idiots" on Raw, not realizing he's on the air. JR admonishes Lawler for using Droese's trash can in an "unappropriate" way as a weapon. Lawler says that the only reason he hit Droese with a trash can was because he couldn't find a baseball bat. Hey, save that for a feud with Abe "Knuckleball" Schwartz. Next week, Lawler will have "Howdy Doody" as his guest on the King's Court, by which he means Bob Backlund. The former WWWF champion faces Bret Hart this weekend on Superstars in a WWF title match. Lawler makes age jokes about Bob Backlund, saying that he went to a Chinese restaurant and ordered "Egg Foo Old." Backlund, by the way, is only three months Lawler's senior. Droese wins with an over-the-shoulder powerslam on Gill. The announcers cut off Lawler as Raw goes off the air.

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