Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Raw #96 - January 23rd, 1995

The night after the Royal Rumble, serious Vince opens Raw in serious fashion, offering a serious apology for the actions of Scott "Bam Bam" Bigelow, who shoved NFL Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor at the pay-per-view. Bigelow, he says, has been suspended, no doubt by Federation President and announcer Vince McMahon's boss, Jack Tunney.
Raw is live from Palmetto, Florida's Manatee Civic Center, and we kick off the proceedings with Vince's co-host and the Royal Rumble winner, Shawn Michaels, who lasted the entire duration of the shortest 30-man Rumble ever. The Smoking Gunns then enter to take on Bob Holly and the 123 Kid, the new tag team champions. This isn't just any title match, though; the announcer tells us that the match is for the "tag team champions," meaning that if the Gunns win, they get to own the Kid and the Plug. Or maybe he just misspoke. Actually, his full quote is, "This tag team contest is scheduled wha- one fall, and it is for the World Federation [sic] Tag Team Champions," so I suspect he's just drunk. Slavery or not, the Gunns get a chance to win the titles after missing the tag tournament due to a rodeo accident. The new champions then enter as Vince tells us to "look at the smilers on those two kissers." Huh. Apparently the Kid and Holly are partners outside of the ring, as well.

Holly locks up with Billy Gunn in a battle of the best dropkicks in the business as Shawn calls for a "cat fight." Both men tag out, sending the Kid and Bart Gunn into the ring. The Kid, by the way, is the only one of these four men to never cut their hair short. Holly tags back in as HBK gives teh advantage to the Gunns, seeing as they are brothers and not a makeshift tag team like the champions (or Bam Bam and Tatanka, for that matter). Vince notes that last night, the Gunns were in the Royal Rumble competing against each other (making them the least embarrassing team in the Rumble, ahead of the Heavenly Bodies, Men on a Mission, Well Dunn, and the Bushwhackers) and were eliminated at the same time. The champions take Billy down with a double superplex off the second rope, but Holly gets only a two-count.
After the break, the 123 Kid is in the ring with future DX teammate, Billy Gunn, as their respective partners, the future New Midnight Express, wait on the ring apron. A spinning heel kick "right in the mush" downs Gunn before Holly tags back in. The Kid quickly tags right back in, hitting Billy with his own future finisher, the FameAsser, for the first Maneuver of the night. Vince points out that High-Risk Maneuvers (#2) are a must for the Kid, given his smaller stature. Billy very slowly crawls to his corner to make the tag, but the Kid dropkicks Bart off the apron, drawing him into the ring in anger. While the referee is tied up getting Bart out of the ring, Billy hits a FameAsser of his own on the 123 Kid for Maneuver #3 of the match. A subsequent pin attempt is broken up by Holly, but the Gunns take down the Kid once again, this time with a double leg sweep as Raw goes to commercial.

The Kid has been isolated all throughout the commercial break, the Gunns wearing him down with down with double-teams like a combination suplex/dropkick, which the Kid kicks out of after Billy hesitates to cover him. Shawn worries that the Gunns are making a mistake by not putting the Kid away right now, speculating that they could be "shooting blanks" by the time the match is over. Vince makes no further comment on the Gunns' alleged impotence, but says that the challengers aren't taking the champions lightly. The Kid and Billy Gunn get into a brief slapping match before Vince praises the cowboys' Good Tag Team Maneuvering (#4) for keeping their opponent away from his partner. As Bart restrains the Kid, Billy runs the ropes and gets caught in the back by a Bob Holly kick (an Illegal Maneuver [#5]), allowing the 123 Kid to hit a roundhouse kick off the distraction, take down Bart, and tag in Holly. Sparky hits Billy with what Vince calls "perhaps the best dropkick in the WWF." A jump off the top rope, however, leads Billy to get the boot up on Holly. Bart tags in, then tags Billy right back in for a double team, a combination over-the-shoulder backbreaker and elbow drop for the three-count. According to Holly's autobiography, he was knocked out by that move. The Gunns celebrate with their new titles.
Vince gets a word with the former champions. The Kid points out that they only had 24 hours' notice before the match, so he asks the Gunns for a rematch next week. Shawn Michaels then announces his search for a new bodyguard. Fortunately for Shawn, softball season isn't for another few months.

IRS comes down the aisle holding the Undertaker's gigantic urn, which he stole from Paul Bearer at last night's pay-per-view. Neither IRS nor the Undertaker competed in the Rumble match itself, by the way, nor did anyone else in other competition at the event, resulting in a battle royal full of Well Dunns, Mantaurs, Man Mountain Rocks, and Bushwhackers. IRS "repossessed" the urn with help from King Kong Bundy. He also has repossessed Barry Darsow gimmick. Roddy Piper calls into Raw and says that he's proud of the New Generation and the Smoking Gunns, but not Bam Bam Bigelow. One week from tomorrow night, Roddy will commentate the "Encore Plus" presentation of the Royal Rumble pay-per-view. Along the way, IRS beats Buck Quartermaine, although the announcers ignore this fact completely.
Jerry Lawler, who is wearing a Sgt. Pepper jacket rather than a full robe, has new Intercontinental champion Jeff Jarrett on the King's Court. Jarrett has yet to change the strap from black to white with bleach or however those guys do it. Jeff then sets his sights on the WWF title, challenging Diesel to a title match and predicting victory by submission.

The smallest sign lettering
ever seen on TV.

The British Bulldog, whom Vince calls "the winner of the Royal Rumble" because McMahon is the only person in the arena the night before who didn't realize that Shawn hadn't been eliminated when Bulldog threw him over the top rope, is in action next. Vince acknowledges that the Smoking Gunns have accepted the Kid and Bob Holly's rematch challenge. The Bulldog takes on the Black Phantom, the future Gangrel. Davey Boy leans through the ropes to have a word with Michaels, who feigns tears. The Bulldog clearly was just not bizarre enough to win that night. In the meantime, the Black Phantom gets the first strike on Davey Boy, hitting a DDT before telegraphing a back body drop only to be hit with a delayed vertical suplex. Bulldog ends the match quickly with a running powerslam. Vince still insists that Bulldog was robbed the night before.

Bam Bam Bigelow is seen backstage for a public apology but apparently cannot hear Vince McMahon (foreshadowing this year's Wrestlemania, in which practically everyone interviewed backstage would be inaudible to the viewers). Vince announces a two-man "Royal Rumble" between King Kong Bundy and King Mabel (known at the time simply as Mabel) scheduled for next week, as well as the tag team title rematch and the Raw debut of Kama. Shawn takes the opportunity to sing some Culture Club lyrics ("Kama Chameleon"). Vince tells him not to give up his day job (presumably prostitution, as his night job is wrestling). Bigelow is again seen checking his watch, saying, "Can't we get this over with!?" but time runs out for this week's Raw. I don't think he's being sincere at all!

Final tally:

5 Maneuvers (year total: 22)

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