Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Raw #97 - January 30th, 1995

Raw opens with Mabel's music and Vince and Shawn in front of a green screen, well-lit despite the darkness of the arena and occasional flashing lights. Tonight's Raw features Kama in action, a rematch from last week for the tag team titles, and a two-man battle royal between Mabel and King Kong Bundy.

Mabel enters the ring to Oscar's rapping wearing a pointy hood. If he weren't African-American, he might be mistaken for the world's most flamboyant Klansman. Shawn chides Bundy's Rumble performance for being "so big but coming up so short." At least I hope he's chiding for his Rumble performance.... Ted DiBiase gets the mike and explains the rules of the match. Given the two participants, and the rules of the match requiring an over-the-top elimination, don't expect a lot of Maneuvers in this match. Nonetheless, Mabel hits a Maneuver, the world's worst enziguiri, to down Bundy. He then tries to follow up with a big elbow, which anyone who has seen a Yokozuna match will know is impossible to connect with if you weigh over 400 pounds. The other members of the Corporation (besides Bam Bam, who is suspended, and Nikolai Volkoff, who is Nikolai Volkoff) run in to help Bundy eliminate Mabel. Didn't Mabel used to have a tag team partner? Yes, but he's too slow to make a difference in the match. Mo, who recently returned from an injury at the Rumble, arrives with all-around good guy Lex Luger to come to Mabel's rescue right after he's been dumped over the top.
Next is Bam Bam Bigelow's apology, which hopefully will be so thorough so as to eliminate the need for a match with Lawrence Taylor. Bam Bam has been in the sun recently, as evidenced by the sunglasses-shaped tan lines around his eyes. Vince does his best to rub it in that Bam Bam lost to the 123 Kid at the PPV and was ridiculed by the fans in attendance. Bigelow says that LT disrespected him when he should have respected him as a fellow athlete. Bigelow refuses to apologize and challenges LT to a fight "anytime, any place," which should not be code for "the main event of Wrestlemania."

The green screen fun continues, as Vince and Shawn sit at a desk that seems just a bit too far away from the guard rail and the front row of fans to be real. The fan with Razor Ramon t-shirt leaning over the guard rail helps ruin the illusion. Hakushi, billed from "the island of Japan" (a country made up of four main islands), comes to the ring to face Ricky Santana, a first-time Raw jobber with no apparent relation to El Matador. Big credit goes to Vince McMahon and Jim Johnston for not sticking Hakushi with the generic "oriental" music they gave to the Orient Express and Bull Nakano (who, by the way, is still Women's champion, despite the title not having been mentioned for two months). Speaking of the Orient Express, I'm not entirely sure Santana isn't Pat Tanaka. Hakushi hits the second enziguiri of the night, which is coincidentally the second Maneuver (#2) of the night. Vince compares Hakushi to Shawn Michaels, to which HBK asks if Hakushi won the Royal Rumble and to which Vince responds that the newcomer was not in the Rumble match. Yes, Hakushi got a Rumble snub, while Mantaur and Dick Murdoch were granted entry. At least this sets up the Shawn-Hakushi match at King of the Ring quite nicely. No, just kidding, as Hakushi wouldn't be entered into the June tournament, either. While the announcers discuss the pronunciation of Hakushi's manager, Shinja, the two opponents get into a chop fight, Vince praises how devastating Hakushi's chops and dropkick are, comparable to the dropkick of Bob Holly. Santana takes advantage of a Telegraphed Maneuver (#3 - back body drop) by Hakushi, kicking the Japanese wrestler before taking a belly-to-back suplex and falling prey to a shoulder tackle off the top rope. Hakushi finishes off Santana with a cartwheel moonsault.
Portuguese Man-o-War Aldo Montoya faces David Sierra in our next squash. Shawn criticizes the "athletic supporter" that Montoya wears as "not cool." Vince defends the jock strap mask as "the new look," to which Michaels replies that Kathy Lee Gifford will include it in her newest fashion line. Aldo launches over the top rope with a Maneuver (#4 - plancha). Vince announces a WWF title match between Diesel and Owen Hart on this Sunday's Action Zone, although a Diesel victory should be foregone, considering that a) Owen never won the title, b) Diesel and Shawn are a lock for Wrestlemania XI, and c) it's the Action Zone. Aldo pins Sierra to put another victory under his jock.

We get a clip of Ken Norton of the Super Bowl champion San Francisco 49ers saying that he's going to Wrestlemania. Sadly, he would do so as part of LT's entourage in the main event (along with Steve McMichael). Vince speculates that this will be the greatest Wrestlemania of all time. He has also claimed to never have encourage his wrestlers to use steroids.
Jerry Lawler has Mr. Bob Backlund as his guest on the King's Court. Jerry Lawler apologizes for the reception Backlund receives, despite having sworn never to apologize again after having to apologize to Duke "The Dumpster" Droese last year. Lawler asks if it's true that Backlund is now refusing to release his chicken wing until his opponent yells, "I quit, Mr. Bob Backlund." "Once I procure the chicken wing," he says, the opponent must say those words. Jerry casually corrects him by saying, "secure" instead of "procure," but makes an exception for himself. Backlund reiterates that no one is exempt from the chicken wingy, "including yours truly." He is referring to Lawler, by the way, not himself, although it would be pretty entertaining for Backlund to put himself in the crossface and have to beg himself for mercy. Backlund then puts the chicken wing on Lawler, who promptly says, "I quit, Mr. Backlund." Backlund releases the hold, but as he walks away, Jerry clarifies that he only wished to quit the interview, not the hold. Backlund then comes back to the ring, leading Lawler to pretend that Bret Hart was coming to the ring, then escape the ring during the momentary distraction.

The 123 Kid and Bob Holly (who is still feeling the effects of a concussion suffered about an hour earlier at the TV taping) square off in a rematch with new tag team champions, the Smoking Gunns. They have had "one week" (meaning one hour, given that this Raw was taped right after last week's) to prepare for the Gunns. Bill Alfonso is refereeing this match, despite also reffing the Hakushi match earlier in this same episode. The Kid gets off to a fiery start against the future Mr. Ass, leading the future Bodacious Bart to tag in, which is met with a tag-in to the future Bombastic Bob. Eventually, the Kid tags back in and is met with a double leg-sweep by the Gunns right before the commercial break, a repeat of last week's match.
The Kid gets a tag right after clotheslining both Gunns following the commercial. Vince again compares Holly's dropkick with Hakushi's. Billy pulls Plug off his brother Bart to prevent a pinfall, but the challengers continue to isolate Bart. The Kid is "unquestionably softening up those ribs of Bart" with kicks, which is quite extraordinary considering that ribs are bones, which typically require acid to soften up. Holly tags in and gets several near-falls while Shawn criticizes both teams for giving each other title shots so willingly and quickly. Holly and Billy Gunn get into a shoot-style slugfest in the corner, which Billy wins before tagging Bart back in immediately  [after reading Bob Holly's autobiography, where he describes being dazed throughout the match do to a concussion suffered earlier, this shoot sequence makes a lot more sense]. A double-crossbody block puts Bart and Bob to the ground, allowing the Kid to get the tag, even taking out Billy as the cowboy stands on the apron. The Kid knocks over Bart with kicks before climbing the ropes for a High-Risk Maneuver (#5). 123 attempts a somersault, which Bart dodges. The Kid appears to be injured, which he is. And by "is," I mean "kayfabe 'is'", because he is not. Billy gets the tag and is about to stomp the Kid, but sees that he is injured and backs off. The Kid does his best Undertaker impression by rolling his eyes into the back of his head. Careful, Sean, the last two guys to impersonate the Undertaker got fired. The referee calls the match for the Gunns by TKO.

When Raw returns, medics and referees surround the Kid, who is still selling his injury from that High-Risk Maneuver (#6 - somersault). Vince drops his voice an octave or two to convey the seriousness of this totally real and unexpected injury that is airing a week after it was filmed.
Good news, though, as the Kid, we are told, simply got up on his feet and walked out of the ring. The Supreme FIghting Machine Kama makes his "debut" in the Federation tonight, despite having previously wrestled as Papa Shango, including on Monday Night Raw. His opponent is Jumbo Berretta in what Vince claims "should be an outstanding match-up." Yes, it should be, Vince, but instead it pits Kama against Jumbo Berretta. Shawn suggests that Kama could be his new bodyguard, but instead he would be Shawn's first-round opponent in the King of the Ring tournament, which Michaels would win en route to winning the crown. Ha! Just kidding, as they would go to a boring 15-miute draw, eliminating HBK from competition. Speaking of King of the Ring, Mabel will team up with Mo and Lex Luger next week against IRS, King Kong Bundy, and Tatanka. Kama knocks Berretta down with a Maneuver (#7 - axe kick to the back of the head) that misses by several inches. Kama then scoop-slams Berretta while an astounded Vince informs us that the 123 Kid is "100% okay." Kama decides that the match isn't moving slowly enough, so he puts the giant jobber into a front face lock and a chin lock. Kama, who is wearing a t-shirt to cover up the tattoos that coincidentally look just like those of Papa Shango (he must be a big fan), beats Berretta by submission with an STF.

Final tally:

7 Maneuvers (year total: 29)


  1. Santana and Sierra were The Barrio Brothers in WCW for a while, and Sierra was probably best known as The Cuban Assassin. Makes sense, I suppose, since they're in Florida for this show.

  2. 123 Kid was injured for real.

    1. Given The Kid's seemingly protected landing, his over-the-top flailing, Billy Gunn's instant realization that Kid was hurt just as he was about to stomp him, the quick decision to stop the match rather than try to work around the injury, and the fact that The Kid did not miss a single date due to his injury (working the next day's taping and continuing to work house shows), I can reasonably assume that this was a worked injury.

      It was probably done to 1) prove that the Gunns were worthy champions willing to give the former champs a fair rematch (having beaten Holly and Kid the night after that team won the title), 2) show the Gunns to be upstanding guys who won't take advantage of a situation, and 3) move The Kid and Holly out of tag team contention without having them lose two weeks in a row.