|Lex Luger enters the ring to kick off tonight's Raw in the cold opening. Shawn Michaels, who is a semi-regular now at the announce table, sports a Santa cap, as does Vince McMahon. A brilliant fan in attendance holds up a sign reading, "I cheat on my taxes." "Hey, look," says Michaels, "it's Joe Montana!" I can only assume that the 49ers quarterback is in some sort of tax trouble at this time. Fortunately, Vince explains the context of the joke (Montana is being investigated for a sports memorabilia business, but Vince insists that just because the government is investigating someone doesn't mean that the person has done anything wrong. Gee, I wonder why he would say that?), but not before expressing how appalled he is that Shawn would say such a thing. Hopefully no actual IRS agents are watching this episode, or else this fan might be getting some phone calls.|
|Lex starts off the match with a headlock and a shoulder block, which are apparently worthy of a flexing pose by "the big mesomorph." That sounds like a Transformers rip-off, doesn't it? Shawn admits that Lex is indeed the total package (though he does not call Mike Rotundo a captain). Vince speculates that the druids seen with IRS are actually other members of the Million Dollar Corporation. Speaking of druids, the one at ringside tonight takes advantage of the referee's distraction by stomping Luger on the outside of the ring. IRS rolls Luger back into the ring and kicks him while he's down.|
|IRS dominates Luger throughout the break, as is typical of heels on Monday Night Raw. IRS puts Luger in a side headlock and uses the ropes for leverage. For the first time, I notice that IRS does not wear patent leather shoes, but rather the standard black wrestling boots in the ring. Vince defends Luger against Shawn's accusations that the man made in the USA is stupid for having rejected Ted DiBiase's money. Vince says that there's only one way to make money, and that's to earn it (ignoring the fact that the Million Dollar Man inherited his fortune). Shawn still says that "Luger punches like a girl." Girl-punches or not, Lex makes his fiery comeback against the tax man until the druid hooks his ankle. This prompts Luger to beat up the druid on the outside of the ring. Luger unmasks the Black Scorpion lookalike, revealing him to be Tatanka, but gets counted out in the process.|
|Backstage, the Bushwhackers party down |
with honorary 'whacker, Howard Finkel.
Luke and Butch have the BWIT (Bushwhacker in Training) eat sardines.
|Double J is back in Vegas, where he runs into Rip Taylor, |
who is apparently a huge fan.
|The Smoking Gunns make their entrance with the house lights on, which allows us a rare glimpse at their jobber opponents, who are not shrouded in darkness for once. For the record, they are Roy Raymond and Chris Avery. Shawn questions the Gunns' cowboy credentials, but Vince insists that Billy went to college on a rodeo scholarship (Hey, I thought both Gunns did that?). The Gunns face Well Dunn on Superstars in the first round of the tag team tournament. Billy does a very convincing knee drop that would make Triple H jealous and then probably fire him. The Gunns hit a combination side slam/leg drop for the first Maneuver of the night. After another double-team (an over-the-shoulder backbreaker/elbow drop), the Gunns pick up the win.|
|The Toddster hypes up next week's Raw, featuring the main event of Tatanka vs. The British Bulldog. The Native American hopes to "convert his dollars into pounds" against the Englishman. Also, Henry Godwinn makes his Raw debut. This time next year, he'll be battling Triple H in a hog pen match.|
|Get your VCRs ready, because the King's guest this week on the King's Court is Bob Backlund. King apologizes to Backlund for the "imbecilic idiots" in the audience, despite vowing earlier this year to never apologize again. Backlund claims not to need "encomiums" from the "plebeians." These plebieans, including Vladimir the Superfan, chant, "8 seconds" at the former champion. Bob claims not to use malapropisms and knows the axioms that flow from between his orbicularis oris muscle. He also claims to be better than the plebeians' representative, Bret Hart, having beaten him with the chicken wing. As for Diesel, Bob addresses him by his real name, calling Kevin Nash a Neanderthal or a Tyrannosaurus Rex, which are now extinct. Backlund vows to exterminate Diesel with the chicken wing, leaving even the King dumbfounded.|
|Bob Holly takes on Chris "Canyon" next. Bob hits a Maneuver (#2 - head scissors takedown) to send Canyon to the ground. Speaking of Maneuvers (#3), Bob Backlund is obsessed with putting the chicken wing on Diesel on the Holiday Wish Tour. As Canyon gets in offense against Holly, he takes a moment to pantomime as if driving a car. Vince asks Shawn if he is going to enter the Royal Rumble; in the interest of those who don't know that Shawn wins the Rumble in 1995, I won't give away the answer. The momentum of the match shifts back and forth until Holly catches Canyon with a suplex, followed by a flying elbow that the announcers ignore until he's already pinned his opponent and won the match.|
|Well Dunn is in the ring, and the first thing he viewers see when Raw returns to air is Timothy Well's thong. This was before Raw was obsessed with ratings. Howard Finkel then Bushwhacker-dances his way down the aisle with, you guessed it, the Bushwhackers. Shawn takes a wild guess that the Fink "does not get a lot of chicks." "Not everyone is into that sort of thing," says Vince, defending Finkel by implying that he's gay. Luke and Butch, however, certainly are into "that sort of thing." How do you think they got their team name? The kiwis get the jump on Well Dunn as Shawn speculates that, now that Pamela Anderson has dumped Poison's Bret Michaels, she may be looking for another Michaels (one who also has an embarrassing image and style that will look extremely effeminate with twenty years of hindsight). Shawn also praises the Whackers' double-team abilities, warning wrestlers not to go "four on four" with the two men. Not only can they double-team, they can also multiply! Luke gets whipped to the ropes, where Well kicks him between the ropes for a Maneuver (#4). Dunn then goes off the second rope for a Telegraphed Maneuver (#5) that Luke counters with a boot to the face from a mile away. Luke then reaches Butch for the lukewarm tag. Dunn tries to sunset flip Butch, and Wippleman tries to help topple him, only to be pantsed by Finkel on the outside of the ring. Butch gets the pinfall on Dunn for the victory, while Shawn is grateful that Harvey "wasn't wearing his Well Dunn T-backs tonight." "Look at the quads on Wippleman," says Michaels. Speaking of which, when will HBK finally challenge Diesel?|
|Back on Raw, Mabel squashes Santa Claus by sitting on his lap.|
|After that wackiness, we have one more match. Who's competing? Yes, and his opponent is Nick Barberri. Neidhart steps into the ring, but only after arguing with the Spanish announcers. The Anvil will team up with Owen Hart to face the Headshrinkers in the first round of the tag team tournament, from which Bam Bam Bigelow & Tatanka have already advanced. Barberri gets back-body-dropped over the top rope as in Acclaim's Raw for Super Nintendo and Genesis. Jim gets the victory over Nick with a camel clutch after Shawn reads some promotional copy for Scrooged on USA.|
Tune in next week for the first Raw appearance of Henry Godwinn!
5 Maneuvers (Year Total: 163)