Thursday, February 21, 2013

Raw #85 - November 7th, 1994

Tonight's Raw is a mixed bag. On the plus side, it's live. On the minus side, Macho Man is gone and will never return. In his place is Jerry "The King" Lawler, Vince's broadcast colleague on Superstars. Looking back, Jerry Lawler is not nearly as funny as I remember him, while Randy Savage is a comedic genius. Lawler hosts King's Court tonight, as well.

Jim Neidhart and Owen Hart enter to Owen's High Energy music instead of Jim's Hart Foundation music. Both of these men have kept the music of their old tag team, although this is more excusable for Owen than Jim, since Koko B. Ware is not the WWF champion. The arena lights shine down two K's with hearts to signify the King of Harts while stopping short of spelling out "KKK." The brothers-in-law step into the ring and are immediately attacked by the other team of brothers-in-law in a rare display of poor sportsmanship by the faces. They Irish whip the two heels into each other before double-clotheslining Jim, who rolls to the outside. Bulldog then press-slams Owen over the ropes onto Neidhart. Bret brings Jim into the ring the hard way over the ropes. Bret uses his quickness to unleash a flurry of offense on The Anvil, slowed down briefly when Jim catches him in mid-air only to be bitten. Bret tags in the Bulldog, who knocks The Anvil down after three shoulder blocks. Jim and Davey hate each other so much because, as Jerry explains, "Nobody likes their in-laws." Neidhart clubs the Bulldog in the back and tags into his confidante and brother-in-law, Owen. The heels fail to retain their brief bit of momentum, as Davey Boy starts tossing Owen around the ring and dropping him with a vertical suplex *down to the canvas*. Vince takes a moment to explain the stipulations for the title match at Survivor Series, the first ever submission match for the belt, featuring Owen and Davey Boy as the respective cornermen for Bob and Bret; the match can only end when one cornerman throws in the towel. Owen fells the Bulldog with a Maneuver (#1 - spinning heel kick) so impressive that Vince adds, "What a Maneuver!" (#2). Owen celebrates, then kicks the fallen Bulldog in the very low abdomen. Neidhart tags in and kicks Smith again in the very low abdomen. Davey Boy escapes a chinlock but gets put down again with a knee. The King explains that Owen taught Bret the Sharpshooter (actually, it was Konnan) and he has been teaching Bob Backlund how to counter it. Owen tags back in and puts his brother-in-law in another chinlock. The heel team keeps the British Bulldog in the their half of the ring, while Vince wonders if the 45-year-old Backlund can capture the title the same way that  45-year-old George Foreman recently captured the heavyweight title of boxing.
After the break, Bulldog is still in the ring, apparently failing to tag Bret in throughout the commercial. Owen hits a Devastating Maneuver (#3 - enziguiri), which Vince reiterates is devastating and which sends the Bulldog flipping to the mat. If Davey Boy had been beaten up by nine thugs in Syracuse the month before, his career might be threatened. Then again, he would probably win the Royal Rumble two months later. Jim Neidhart tags in and puts the Bulldog in a front facelock, but Smith moves toward Bret Hart's corner. Owen runs in and hits Bret off the apron to prevent the hot tag. Bret responds by chasing Owen around the ring until referee Mike Chioda stops the Hitman, allowing his Scum Brother to return to the ring and perform the Hart Attack with Neidhart on Smith. Owen then covers the Bulldog, despite not being the legal man, but Bret Hart elbows him in the head to make the save. Vince rattles off Bret's accomplishments, noting that he is a two-time tag team champion, two-time IC champion, and two-time WWF champion. That doesn't mean that Bret is a two-timer, of course, because that would imply that the Hitman has only one mistress in addition to his wife, and if you've read his autobiography, you'll know that that's the furthest thing from the truth. Owen launches off the top rope with a body press, but Davey Boy catches him with the old roll-through-the-body-press-for-the-pin move. Despite the Maneuver (#4), Owen kicks out, then pulls Smith away from his corner and humbles him with a camel clutch. Smith pounds the mat with one hand, but this is pre-Attitude Era, so that doesn't count as a submission, but is instead a way to get support from the fans. Bulldog powers out of the move, standing up with Owen on his back and slamming his brother-in-law into the turnbuckle. Owen fights back with a series of European uppercuts, the last of which gets countered with a backslide for a two-count by the British Bulldog, who then tries in vain to get the hot tag. Neidhart tags in and we go to break, with Davey Boy failing to make a tag throughout the entire segment.

Back from commercial, Davey and Owen collide after running the ropes, sending them both to the mat. Both men crawl to their respective corners, with Davey Boy finally reaching Hart for the tag. Unfortunately, Jim Neidhart has stormed the ring, distracting the ref, who fails to see the hot tag. The heels then try to double team the Bulldog, who ducks, leaving Owen to dropkick the Anvil. Owen grabs Smith's leg before he can reach Bret, but Bulldog kicks him away and finally gets the tag. Bret steps in, executing a double-noggin-knocker on the Anvil and the Rocket. He then takes down Neidhart with a bulldog (a regular one, not the British type), followed by a backbreaker and an elbow smash from the middle rope. He appears to be en route to performing the Five Moves of Doom, but Owen cheap shots him while he runs the ropes. Anvil scoops up Bret, who gets dropkicked by the Bulldog. Fear not, though, because this is intentional, so instead of hurting Bret, it causes the Anvil to fall over and be pinned by the Hitman. Unfortunately, this interference distracts the referee, allowing Owen to hit Bret with an elbow from the top rope and roll Neidhart onto the champion. Bret kicks out, fights off his two opponents with help from his partner, and locks Neidhart in the Sharpshooter for the submission victory. Vince asks The King if he has any royal predictions; this is useless, of course. If Jerry can't predict Princess Di's death, what good are any of his other royal predictions?
Todd Pettengill gives us "a very special Survivor Series report." This is the one where Survivor Series's best friend gets pregnant. We are treated to the finest CGI 1994 has to offer in keeping with the Texas theme of this year's event. Todd warns us not to wait until the last minute to order the PPV, lest we end up like Billy Jasper, who last year waited too long and was later imprisoned for stealing a copy of the event on home video. Why wouldn't he just buy the tape after planning on buying the show on pay-per-view in the first place? Regardless, that sounds like a better backstory for Nailz than the one Vince came up with. Todd then runs down the card to the tune of some Aaron Copland-soundalike theme. Chuck Norris explains his involvement in the casket match as guest referee via a video package. We see graphics of the Bad Guys and the Teamsters (who consist of two teams posing in rather swishy fashion, as well as Double J, whom Art Donovan describes as "a cutie). Guts & Glory is 1994's pathetic answer to the All-Americans of last year's Survivor Series, this time representing all things Americana: cowboys, flags, nuclear weapons, and rap. The Million Dollar Team consists of DiBiase's Tatanka, Bam Bam, King Kong Bundy, and Jim Cornette's Heavenly Bodies; noticeably absent are IRS and Nikolai Volkoff, who are not feuding with the Smoking Gunns and are thus left off the team. It must sting to be part of a five-man stable but get snubbed come Survivor Series time. The other elimination match of the PPV is Clowns Are Us (not spelled, "Clowns 'R' Us," perhaps to avoid trademark infringement) vs. The Royal Family. "Pink" the midget clown appears to have red hair; I hope someone gets fired for that. Actually, I hope somebody gets fired for this whole match concept, but it could be worse; they could have found two more dwarves and made it a five-on-five match. I suppose no self-respecting little person would want to portray Kink the Clown or King Wheezy. Or would "Kink" be more apt for Jerry Lawler's team? Speaking of which, Vince deserves some credit for not naming Doink's clowns Dink, Bonk, and Boink. Only one match can top the highly-anticipated midget match, and that's the WWF title match with the special submission stipulations. Back to ringside, Vince wishes two members of the production crew to get well, as they were involved in an accident earlier in the day.

When Raw returns, Vince tells the audience that Randy Savage did not renew his contract and that McMahon hopes that the Macho Man will return. It's rare to hear Vince being straight with the audience in any time period in wrestling. I'm surprised he didn't just say that Savage had been suspended by Jack Tunney for jumping into the ring on the previous episode. Vince seems hurt.
Vince plugs Sega before Bam Bam Bigelow enters the ring to a graphic spelling his name with a hyphen. If this is the kind of work the B-team of the production crew does, I hope those two guys get well soon. He faces Tyrone Knox, who also has his name misspelled. Vince calls Bigelow a "massive hulk" before the camera zooms in on sign reading, "Vince for Senate." A McMahon in the Senate? Ridiculous. At least the voters of Connecticut think so, but tonight, we're in Bushkill, PA. Vince tells the audience not to vote for him tomorrow, because he's not running for anything, while Lawler says that Chuck Norris will be running from Bam Bam. "Chuck Norris doesn't run from anyone," says Vince. He then reminds us that Bam Bam is part of a team of wrestlers, all of whom are managed by Ted DiBiase, forgetting the Heavenly Bodies. Vince predicts that with Chuck Norris as the referee, there won't be ten wrestlers interfering, but possibly one or two. I guess that means that Chuck can hold of 8 or 9 wrestlers off on his own. If only he could hang out with Shawn Michaels next year at a Syracuse night club. Jerry Lawler points out how happy DiBiase is because of his money, then speculates on what Vince could do if he had a lot of money. Unfortunately, lowly television announcers don't get high salaries, so they can't do things like bankroll two costly and unsuccessful Senate campaigns. We listen in on the Spanish announce team, and Vince asks Jerry to translate. Lawler says, "Lo siento," which he means, "I'm sorry they got a shot of those guys." Macho Man is sorely missed. Jerry is correct that "lo siento" means I'm sorry, though I'm not sure where he learned it; maybe that thirteen-year-old girl's family only spoke Spanish. Jerry then wonders what a Spanish announce team is doing on the USA Network. Vince is too engrossed in the action to rebut Lawler's nativism. Bam Bam beats the jobber, and you probably don't care how. Jerry leaves to prepare for the King's Court, while Vince thinks that a highlight of Survivor Series will be Clowns Are Us beating The Royal Family. Hey, don't you all call your cable companies and order the PPV all at once!

On the King's Court, Jerry Lawler makes some rather weak jokes about the 123 Kid's alleged Halloween costumes (ballpoint pen, Q-Tip), despite the Kid wrestling on Halloween night last week (unless the episode was taped?). The Kid, who faces Bob Backlund next week, arrives for his second appearance on the talk show. Lawler makes some more skinny jokes and a greasy hair joke, which the Kid takes in stride. The Kid addresses both his host and his opponent as "Mister" and vows to give 110% in their match next week. Mr. Backlund runs into the ring and gets kicked around by the Kid, falling out of the ring. Bret Hart arrives to raise the Kid's hand before Owen and The Anvil come to ringside. Vince thinks "we're gonna have ourselves an old-fashioned 'mee-lay.'"
Vince suspects that Bob Backlund was in cahoots with Lawler to ambush the 123 Kid, but Jerry denies it, recounting with relish all of Backlund's victims who have fallen prey to the chickenwing without the king's help. We then see a promo package for a match between Lawler and one of said crossface victims, ironically the master of the Crippler Crossface, Bob Holly. In it, Lawler promises "to take the spark out of [Holly's] plug." That sounds like something you might end up in jail again for, Jerry. For some reason, Lawler is shown with the Union Jack in the background, as if the UK were the only country with a king. The match takes place on the Action Zone, which I can only guess is the opposite of the "Friend Zone."

We see a replay of Dink's drive-by silly stringing of Jerry Lawler from Superstars as Clowns Are Us enter the ring. Doink is the only official clown competitor in this match against Pat Tanaka, but the other clowns are sure to interfere. Lawler explains how he's going to beat Clowns Are Us at Survivor Series, but Vince reminds him that he and Doink may only compete against each other and not against the dwarves. So what happens if one fully-grown wrestler eliminates the other, but his teammates all get eliminated? They'll end up with one big wrestler against one or more little people. Is it a draw? Someone didn't think these stipulations through. At Survivor Series, we could very well end up with a midget clown match that never ends (a chilling thought indeed). Lawler takes exception to those rules, of course, and says that rules were made to be broken. I have already reached my maximum number of Jerry Lawler/statutory rape jokes for this article, so I'll let that one slide. Tanaka starts taking it to Doink, targeting his legs. Dink speaks for perhaps the first time, revealing a French-Canadian accent, thus making him the only French-Canadian in WWF history to never be a heel. "Doink is numbuh one, baybay!" Doink makes a comeback and beats Tanaka with the whoopee cushion before dancing in the ring with his midget clown army. Vince swipes Jerry's crown, which is stolen to Lawler's horror by Doink, who puts it on his and his clowns' heads. Lawler says he'll have to get the thing fumigated, but this couldn't be any worse than what the boys in the locker room used to do to it. Behind the announcers' table, a fan holds up a sign for an unfortunately-named politician, Don Butts.

Vince reminds viewers to waste their money to tell the WWF
whether the sharpshooter or the chicken wing is more effective.
Jerry Lawler claims to be missing a jewel in his crown after the clowns took it away from him. Vince announces the debut of the Portuguese Man O' War, Aldo Montoya. Vince wisely does not show a picture of Aldo, but does announce some of the other goings-on for next week's Raw, including Bob Backlund vs. the 123 Kid and a King's Court with the British Bulldog and another guest that Vince alludes to but forgets to mention by name. Jerry's kings come to ringside, where Lawler berates them for not taking on the clowns earlier. The three small clowns then rush down to ringside and tease a fight. Lawler realizes that Doink isn't there, so he is able to shoo the little clowns away. Vince then speaks with Bret Hart, who says that he'll be at ringside to watch the Kid's back in his match against Backlund next week.

Final tally:

4 Maneuvers (Year total: 135)

No comments:

Post a Comment