Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Raw #94 - January 9th, 1995

Tonight, Raw hails from Houston, Texas for the first time for its second anniversary. Monday Night Raw pays tribute to the very first episode of Raw by not being very good! At least tonight, there will be an Intercontinental title match that will not include Max Moon. There will also be male nudity and William Shatner, who will be on King's Court tonight. The Star Trek star tells Lawler in advance to leave him alone, because he's only there to promote the new USA series Tech War. If the King wants a piece of Shat on this Monday Night, he's come to the right place!

Razor comes to the ring while an announcer who is not Howard Finkel introduces him. Michaels says that this is Razor's chance to avenge his King of the Ring loss to Owen Hart, making reference to something that happened an entire seven months earlier, which is apparently forbidden in the current WWE. Owen grabs the belt from Earl Hebner and poses with it but gets hit before the bell by Razor. Owen, we are told, has a no-holds-barred match with brother Bret in the near future. The King of Harts ascends the ropes for a High-Risk Maneuver (#1), but gets caught by Razor and slammed to the mat. Ramon holds him on the mat with a wrist lock and arm bar. Owen eventually escapes by doing a whole bunch of flips, but gets clotheslined right back down. A slap by Owen makes Ramon angry before the Bad Guy tosses him with a fallaway slam. Razor then sets Owen up for the Razor's Edge, but positions himself right in front of the ropes (just as he did at King of the Ring, and also against Michaels at Wrestlemania). Unsurprisingly, Ramon gets back body-dropped to the outside in a Clever Maneuver (#2) by Owen Hart, who then dives through the ropes to take down the IC champion. Owen launches onto Razor again, this time in the ring, with a flying body press, which the Bad Guy rolls through to nearly pin the challenger.
Owen takes the advantage after the break with a Maneuver (#3 - Enziguiri) to the side of Razor's head, but the champion kicks out at two. A guillotine splash yields another two-count, which is broken up when Razor gets his foot on the ropes. Owen flattens Razor with yet another Maneuver (#4 - spinning heel kick) and gets another near-fall. McMahon says, slightly redundantly, that "there's no telling to what level Owen Hart will stoop to" to get the title, with a bit of redundancy. Vince reminds us that if Owen wins tonight, he will defend the Intercontinental title against Double J at the Royal Rumble (and heel-versus-heel matches are so very common and popular that there's no telling what the outcome of this match will be!). Razor breaks out of a sleeper and then trades blows with Owen in what is Not a Good Maneuver at All (#5) for the challenger. Razor tries to hiptoss Hart, who blocks it, then backflips with his leg off the back of Razor's head for a Maneuver (#6), only to be chokeslammed. You might recognize this same series of moves from Razor's second match with the 1-2-3 Kid. Vince wonders aloud whether Razor can "put away this pesky individual" as the champion sets up Hart for a belly-to-back superplex, but the King of Harts rolls backward over Razor, then picks him up and crotches him on the top rope. Razor tumbles to the outside but quickly rolls back in to take a flying dropkick from the challenger. Hebner apparently thinks that that was an Inadvertent Maneuver (#7 - atomic drop onto the ropes), allowing Owen to put Ramon in the Sharpshooter. Before the Bad Guy can submit (which is what wrestlers in submission holds used to do before "tapping out" was all the rage), Bret Hart rushes into the ring and clocks Owen, ending the match in a disqualification. Jeff Jarrett then runs down to get a cheap shot in on his Rumble opponent Ramon, then beats up on his opponent for next week, Bret Hart. Ramon comes to and he and the Hitman take turns punching the country singer, while Shawn comments that "you only get action like this on Monday Night Raw!" Why would I ever want to buy a pay-per-view, then? Former Hart Foundation member and crooked referee Danny Davis restrains Bret as the Roadie and Jarrett flee. Owen is livid about being cost the title. Could this lead to a Wrestlemania match between the Hart brothers? If you know your history, you'll know that this year's Mania is Wrestlemania XI, which will suck, so the answer is no.

Lawler threatens to beam William Shatner up tonight with his fist if he doesn't show the King the proper respect. Tough words and Star Trek references from the King, whose future wife Stacy Carter would Klingon to him until he left the WWF. He was also accused of Vulcan a teenage girl in 1993.
Next out to the ring is Hakushi, who is making his Raw debut tonight. Maybe this episode isn't so bad, after all! We got an exciting opener with no Lex Luger in sight, and Hakushi has a match against Matt Hardy. All we need now is for, say, Howard Finkel and Harvey Wippleman to resist stripping each other to their underwear and we'll have a classic episode. Hakushi lands a flying kick on Hardy before the bell, but Hardy bounces back and attempts a High-Risk Maneuver (#8 - moonsault), only to land on his feet and get punched in the throat by the Japanese wrestler. Shawn claims to know what the Japanese writing on Hakushi's body means. Any bets on what he's going to say? A Japanese restaurant menu? A script for the next Godzilla movie? Those are about the only possible punchlines for this set-up, and Shawn chooses the former. On Hakushi's left arm, for instance, is "an order of moo goo gai pan to-go." That's Chinese food, by the way. In the two years since Randy Savage's "world's biggest egg roll" joke about Yokozuna on the first episode of Raw, the announcers still cannot tell the difference between Chinese and Japanese (or Samoan, for that matter). Hakushi quickly finishes off Hardy with a Clever Maneuver (#9 - plancha splash into the ring).

In the ring with William Shatner, Jerry Lawler fawns over the former Star Trek star for all his accomplishments, including writing producing, and starring in Tech War. He is a heel, however, so he urges Shatner to say that his greatest career accomplishment is being on the King's Court. Shatner gives a double thumbs-down as Vince chuckles. Lawler wants to know one moment from Shatner's life that was more impressive than this, to which Shatner recalls chewing gum the previous day. He wants to know why the King has been taunting him all week, so Jerry tries to put the movie star in his place. Shatner threatens the King not to touch him again. When Lawler calls the audience "idiots," Shatner defends the fans, reminding him that these are the people who watch Tech War! Actually, since another episode will be taped right after this one, none of the fans will be able to watch Tech War (which airs, coincidentally, right after Raw!). The King threatens to "boldy send" Shatner where no man has ever gone before with his fist (presumably by punching him), but Shatner puts Lawler in a hammerlock and pushes him to the corner. King then charges at the actor, who monkey flips him out of the ring. Shatner's fellow Canadian Bret Hart comes to the ring to celebrate with his "good friend." Double J and The Roadie come to ringside and contemplate taking on the combined forces of Bret Hart and William Shatner, but obviously back off.
King Kong Bundy faces the Italian Stallion, Gary Sabaugh. Vince puts over this year's Royal Rumble , which will be the "fastest ever." Bundy quickly splashes Sabaugh for the pin, but urges the referee to count to five instead of three, but is refused. At 22 seconds, this match is actually shorter than Bundy's famous "9-second" squash against SD Jones at Wrestlemania 1 (which lasted 24 seconds). Does that make this a seven-second match, officially? Bundy then argues with Vince and Shawn over how great he is.

The Bushwhackers and Well Dunn are seen backstage, hyping up their respective cornermen (Finkel and Wippleman) for the tuxedo match coming up next. Harvey is "not exactly the supreme fighting machine," says McMahon, segueing into a vignette for Kama that has been edited out of this WWE re-release
Vince advises that viewers with weak stomachs look away from this tuxedo match and instead look at "pictures of Shawn Michaels or something." Because only women would find half-naked Wippleman and Finkel unappealing. Hey, remember how when Raw premiered, it had "Raw girls" walking around the ring between matches? Vince has apparently switched marketing tactics and begun focusing on soccer moms, what with Stephanie Wiand coming on board as a backstage announcer and Shawn Michaels appearing in a heavily-hyped issue of Playgirl the following year. Shawn says that we're going to find out whether "there's more receding on Howard Finkel than just his hairline." Ewwww!!!

Finkel gets an early advantage by taking off Harvey's jacket and shirt. We get a close-up of Finkel's red undie-clad derriere (a look later revived by Scott Steiner in 2003 after a Batista Bomb). Both men, in fact, are wearing "Raw" underwear. With a single pant leg around his ankle, Harvey appears to win the match, but Howard is still wearing a cummerbund, so the match is not over yet. Finkel takes off the remaining pant leg on Wippleman to win the match and embarrass the Well Dunn manager (because it's only embarrassing to be in your underwear if you *don't* have on a pant leg around your ankle or a cummerbund around your waist. The men in tights, thongs, and bowties rushes to Harvey's aid to cover his shame. Finkel celebrates in the ring nearly-nude with the 'Whackers, closing a feud in development since before last year's Wrestlemania. We watch the in-ring celebration for literally minutes (unless you're looking at pictures of Shawn Michaels, instead) until Raw cuts to commercial.

Raw 1993
Raw 1995
We get a recap of the night's wacky happenings with Shawn and Vince. They are interrupted by Double J, who calls Shatner a "Tech War geek" and vows to beat Bret Hart next week.

Final Tally:

9 Maneuvers

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