Saturday, February 16, 2013

Raw #84 - October 31st, 1994

Tonight's Raw is the last one ever to feature Macho Man Randy Savage. Don't expect a tribute or farewell, though, as Vince doesn't know that Savage is jumping to WCW. Lex Luger enters the ring, led by flag-bearer Nicole Matilda (no relation to Davey Boy Smith's bulldog).
Bob Backlund enters to no music and does his deep lunges to warm up. His graphic actually lists him as "Mr. Bob Backlund." Lex Luger shoves Bob away at the outset of the match, then does his own deep lunges to taunt the former WWWF champion. He looks like David Byrne in the "Once in a Lifetime" music video. Vince talks about Backlund putting the chickenwing on Bret Hart at Madison Square Garden after a Hitman match and wonders if Lex will suffer the same fate. The two opponents circle each other for a while until Backlund puts Lex in an arm wrench for a while... a long while. Vince talks about Bob Backlund pretending to be someone he isn't, including his misuse of vocabulary. I disagree; Mr. Backlund has been trying to boon our lives since before he ever ascertained Arnold Skaaland as a manager. The former champion nearly puts the crossface on the never-will-be-champion, then whips Luger to the buckle and belly-to-belly suplexes him. Savage wonders whether Backlund has a plan, or even whether Backlund even exists and Luger is wrestling by himself. I'm going to miss Randy.

Backlund continues to hold the advantage over Luger, holding in a bear hug throughout the break. Chants of "USA" pump Luger up in his struggle against Backlund, despite Backlund himself being an NCAA All-American in football and wrestling. Luger breaks out and whips Backlund to the turnbuckles and ropes, putting him down with a powerslam. Tatanka then appears at ringside, jumping on the apron, and landing a punch on Luger, who gets caught in Backlund's chickenwing. With Luger in the hold on the ground, Tatanka enters the ring. The referee rings the bell for the DQ, giving Tatanka license to stomp Luger while the American Original is caught in the chickenwing.  A team of officials try in vain to pry Backlund off Luger until Randy Savage leaves the announce table and drives the #1 contender out of the ring. Vince wonders if Randy will be fined or suspended for his actions. Randy stays in the ring to help the man who would years later enable Savage's ex-wife's accidental death.
As the 123 Kid starts his match with Tony Devito, Vince tells us that the Kid likely won't be himself tonight after his match on the Action Zone the day before (despite this match being taped two weeks prior to its air date). Savage dares Tunney to fine or suspend him while letting the WWF President know that his officials aren't able to lay down the law. The Kid will join Razor Ramon, the British Bulldog, and the Headshrinkers on the "Bad Guys" team when they take on the Teamsters at Survivor Series. Shouldn't a team named after a labor union go up against the Million Dollar Corporation, instead? Devito executes most of the offense in the match, as the Kid is selling his match from the Action Zone. Of course, the live audience hasn't seen the match, so they must think the Kid just sucks tonight. Vince tells us that the Kid brings to the WWF his speed, his explosiveness, and his High-Risk Maneuver [sic] (#1). He then hits a Maneuver (#2 -roundhouse kick) in the corner on Devito. He then runs the ropes and hits a quick leg drop before executing another Nice Maneuver (#3 - suplex). After bodyslamming the much-heavier Devito, the Kid ascends the ropes for High-Risk Maneuver (#4). After a flying leg drop, the Kid gets the pin.

King Kong Bundy, part of the Million Dollar Corporation, faces Bert Centeno. Randy plugs Wrigley's Doublemint Gum: "Fresh taste for you, fresh breath for you-know-who." Vince wonders just who "you-know-who" is, to which Randy responds, "It's a person who admires you from afar... very afar." Hmmm... how far away was Stephanie living? Savage thinks Bundy might be losing his hair. Bundy will be part of the Million Dollar Team in their Survivor Series match against Guts & Glory (Luger, the Gunns, and Adam Bomb being the glory, Mabel being the guts). Vince discusses the antics of Greg Gumball and Mike Zitka, two parody sportscasters the WWF has been using in skits promoting the Action Zone and bashing NFL pre-game shows. Bundy wins the match with five-count pin.
IRS is seen at the gravesite of "John Dough," who recently died at the age of forty, lambasting him for cheating on his taxes (for deducting his daughter's birthday dinner expenses). Give the corpse a break, Irwin. He was clearly strapped for cash in life, seeing as his family could only afford a cheap headstone with his name written in Sharpie. IRS takes the flowers from his grave to settle up his tax debt.

Jerry Lawler welcomes the peons to a "very spooky edition" of the King's Court. He then insults the audience again for being ugly; it's the exact same crowd as last week. For this Halloween edition of his show, he brings the Undertaker and Paul Bearer out as guests. "Count Dracula, eat your heart out!" says Vince, who mentions that the Undertaker will face Yokozuna in a casket match at Survivor Series with Chuck Norris as the special ringside enforcer. Yokozuna must be frightened; instead of having to wrestle Taker in 42 casket matches (on the house show circuit), he now must wrestle him in 43 casket matches, the last of which features an aged action star to prevent people from interfering (not that anyone is bothering to interfere on Yoko's behalf in all the non-televised casket matches). The lights do not go back on for the King's Court until the Undertaker raises his arms, revealing that Paul Bearer is holding the gargantuan urn from Summerslam (the one with the floodlight in it). Lawler asks Paul Bearer whether he knows the meaning of the word "deja vu." Bearer then asks Lawler if he knows the meaning of the word, "statutory." Well, he does in my ideal version of this episode. The King is talking about Yokozuna's defeat of the Undertaker earlier this year at the Royal Rumble in a casket match that featured the interference of about a dozen heels, the opening of the urn, the death of the Undertaker, and the ascension of Marty Jannetty in an Undertaker costume via cables. Bearer sets his gigantic can down on Lawler's throne, and while the urn sits comfortably, he tells Lawler of a new "history book" put out, conveniently, by the editors of WWF Magazine. What a bargain! That's "Tombstoned: The Undertaker's Gravest Matches." Bearer points out to one former superstar (presumably Hulk Hogan) in the magazine, noting that "he faced the Undertaker. He's gone!" Lawler asks Paul Bearer why, if he's so confident, he has enlisted Chuck Norris as a special referee. Bearer corrects King; it was the WWF that recruited Norris to prevent another incident like the one at Survivor Series. He means "Royal Rumble." The Undertaker delivers a rambling speech that, in short, states that Yokozuna will rest in peace at Survivor Series.
Todd Pettengill announces a tag match for next week's Raw between Bret Hart & The British Bulldog and Owen Hart & Jim Neidhart. Jim Neidhart then comes to the ring (to Bret Hart's music) while the Spanish announce team welcomes us back, probably confusing a lot of viewers at home. Vince then reminds us of the Spanish-language simulcast of Raw. "¡Ay caramba, cuidado!" says Macho. Neidhart rushes Roy in the corner before the bell. At least, that's what I guess is going on. I can't be sure, given the giant heart sign in front of the camera blocking half the screen. Now I know how Seymour Skinner felt when his mother covered up her half of the TV with cardboard. A hiptoss by the Anvil is judged by McMahon to be a Nice Maneuver (#5). Another hiptoss is "nicely done." "That's exactly what's gonna happen to you, Bulldog, and to YouBret, when we get our hands on you!" The team of Owen and the Anvil will team up on the Teamsters team with the team that holds the tag team titles (Diesel & Shawn) and their other team member, a man usually not part of a team, Jeff Jarrett. I have now exhausted my supply of that particular word and will have to look for synonyms to use throughout the rest of the article, if necessary. We now get to the part of the show where Randy Savage reads promo copy for the USA Network, an historic moment that will never happen again. Macho plugs Scam, the USA Wednesday Movie, then reads his lines again at the request of Vince. After the second reading, Macho says that he won't read it again because he's on strike. I thought the WWF never goes on strike? Vince chuckles, not knowing that Savage is serious and won't be coming back for next week's Raw. "The Anvil, certainly not on strike at the moment," says Vince, although given the name of his Survivor Series group, he could very easily strike.

In a very telling exchange in hindsight, when Vince promises to go backstage at the end of the show to check on Lex Luger, Randy says that if Vince won't, he will. "I think maybe we're all better off if you just sit right here," insists Vince. "I think everybody wants me to sit in this chair.," says Randy. "I'm getting tired of sitting in it." Savage would then leave the Federation for WCW, citing his desire to return to the ring rather than being confined strictly to the announce table. Macho then goes quiet for the next minute before the Anvil wins by submission with a camel clutch. After the match, Owen puts his glasses on Tony Roy and snaps them against his face.

Vince McMahon has gone backstage when Raw returns, leaving Macho alone at the announce table. He plugs next week's two-on-two main event, which is advertised with a rather comical graphic featuring the Anvil literally whispering in Owen Hart's ear. Why can't today's WWE be this subtle? We get a split-screen, followed by a full screen, of Lex and Vince's conversation. Unfortunately, the microphones aren't on, leaving Macho Man to narrate the events of earlier tonight between Lex Luger and Backlund & Tatanka. And there is no way that WWF couldn't have re-shot this segment in post-production before this taped episode aired? What a way for the Macho Man to go out! A brawl breaks out between Luger and Tatanka as Raw goes off the air.

Final tally:

5 Maneuvers (Year tally: 131)


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