Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Raw #101 - March 6th, 1995

Shawn Michaels and the British Bulldog open tonight's show. HBK does his stripper routine while Sid looks on in jeans and no shirt. Ahem. Vince continues to insist that the British Bulldog is the rightful winner of the Royal Rumble, despite being thrown over the tope rope fair and square. Cornette makes a series of valid points about Shawn Michaels never having been eliminated and both Michaels and Smith being in the Rumble for the same amount of time, to which Vince responds that Bulldog is the rightful winner because he was "robbed." That's called begging the question, Vince. It's one thing for Gorilla Monsoon to always defend the faces even when they're wrong, because he's only working with the material he was given, but for the actual booker of the company to do such transparently weak shilling for the good guys is just embarrassing. Speaking of shilling, he also urges viewers to buy the Royal Rumble on Coliseum Home Video to see for themselves.

The match gets off to a fast-paced start as the two men run the ropes, ending the sequence with a Smith inverted atomic drop on Michaels, dropping the boy toy on his groin. "He had plans tonight!" complains Cornette, referring to Michaels. Sexual plans, that is. As in Michaels's plans to have sex with a person or people. Just to clarify. We get a shot of the announcers talking live as tonight's proof that Vince and Jim are actually in the arena and not in front of a green screen in Stamford. Smith then whips Michaels to the buckle, which sends him flipping to the outside. Shawn's attempts to re-enter the ring are thwarted by Smith's punches, but Michaels ends up tripping Bulldog to get back in, only to be clotheslined back over the top rope just seconds later. Bulldog then puts Michaels in a headlock in the ring, which he keeps locked in as Michaels tries to run the ropes to escape. Eventually, Michaels does escape, hip tosses Smith, then puts him in a short-arm scissors. Bulldog repeatedly tries to reverse the move into a pin, but Shawn manages to hold on...
...until, coincidentally, Raw comes back from the commercial break, at which point Bulldog lifts Michaels onto his shoulder, Backlund-style. Shawn gets sent DOWN TO THE CANVAS! Then TO THE BUCKLE and back DOWN TO THE CANVAS! Smith then puts Michaels in the highly impractical surfboard hold but is forced to release it after the referee starts counting his shoulders down. Smith tosses Shawn over the tope rope, but Sid catches his boss in mid-air, helping back to the ring apron. Michaels knocks down Smith and launches himself onto the Bulldog over the ropes with a splash. Still, Smith takes down Michaels with a delayed vertical suplex, but Michaels soon after pulls Davey Boy through the ropes, injuring his knee. We see a replay of Sid's catch, prompting Cornette to compare the big man's hands to softball mitts, an inside joke about Sid's love of that sport over wrestling. Shawn applies a headlock on Davey to wear him down, which Vince thinks will be the same strategy he will use against Diesel at Wrestlemania. No, Vince, Shawn's strategy against Diesel is to upstage him, get the fans on his side, and force Vince to turn him into the top babyface in the company. Michaels drops an elbow on Smith, then goes back to the side headlock and later a sleeper. Sid pulls the rope away from Smith to keep Davey Boy from reaching it to escape. Smith counters the hold with a belly-to-black suplex.

As Raw returns, the two opponents run into each other, knocking each other down. Bulldog then puts a sleeper of his own on HBK, but gets rammed backwards into the turnbuckle. Michaels whips Bulldog to the opposite corner, but Smith sidesteps Shawn's shoulder charge, sending Michaels shoulder-first into the ring post. Bulldog then charges at Michaels, who evades the attack, sending Bulldog to the outside, where Sid knees him in the back. The British Bulldog still beats teh count back into the ring and kicks out of a small package (despite Vince McMahon prematurely declaring it a three-count). He then pops right back up but gets hit with the super kick, which, now that it's Shawn's finisher, is enough to knock him out. Shawn gets the 1-2-3.
The Toddster recaps last Tuesday's press conference for Wrestlemania. The video package opens with Diesel recounting his rise to the top of the WWF, crediting his hard work for his ability to fulfill the American dream. If there's one thing that springs to mind when you think of Kevin Nash, it's hard work. Lawrence Taylor called Bam Bam Bigelow an "Easter Egg" and accepted his challenge for Wrestlemania. He then kissed Bam Bam on the cheek, which I guess was supposed to be the kiss of death, but which Todd chalked it up to LT being "free-spirited" (i.e. gay) while chuckling. Todd runs down the list of celebrities for this year's Wrestlemania, including "alternative  rock group Fishbone," who would no-show and be replaced by a Special Olympian to sing "America the Beautiful." Todd then tells us not to go away, because Duke "the Dumpster" Droese is facing Steven Dunn. Oh boy! Bob Backlund then cuts an awesome five-second promo, saying, and I quote, "Because of my perspicacity, I'm gonna prognosticate that I will lambaste another plebeian right now!"

Backlund grapples with plebeian Buck Quartermaine as Vince explains that the Million Dollar Corporation will be in Bam Bam's corner at Wrestlemania, while LT will have an All-Pro Team of football players. Cornette says he's not impressed with Lawrence Taylor, who he suggests should do something daring like win a case with OJ Simpson's defense team (who would end up getting Simpson acquitted, by the way) or to ride a motorscooter through Ethiopia with a bucket of fried chicken on his back. I'm not sure if that's a black joke or a hunger joke. Vince then gets a message in his earpiece (no doubt from WWF President Jack Tunney) that Backlund will face Bret Hart in an "I Quit" match at Wrestlemania. We also learned on the Action Zone that the Undertaker would face King Kong Bundy at Wrestlemania. Vince encourages fans to call the WWF Superstar Line to find out the only thing that the Undertaker fears, while the audience chants, "Opie" at Backlund. Quartermaine nearly pins the former champion with a small package, but Backlund kicks out, decks Buck with a forearm, and locks him in the chickenwing for the victory. Officials have to pry Bob off the plebeian. Cornette then brings up that Bret Hart is a racist, according to Jerry Lawler. Backlund's Wrestlemania opponent will face the King next week on Raw.
Duke Droese comes to the ring for a five-star classic against Steven Dunn of Well Dunn. Cornette plugs a week's worth of Duck Man on the USA Network before Jerry Lawler gets on the phone and vows to prove that Bret Hart is a racist. Vince hangs up on Lawler to Cornette's dismay. Jim defends the King's opinion of Bret Hart's parents, such as how Stu is so old that when he was in school, they didn't have history. Cornette looks forward to Lawler exposing Bret Hart as a racist, because as you could tell from that fried chicken joke, Jim cannot stand racism. Droese hits Dunn with a powerslam so hard it nearly knocks him out of his banana sling. The world's first and only "Duke" chant breaks out, although I'm not entirely sure those chants weren't for the college in Chapel Hill. Dunn then tries to hit Droese with his trash can but catches a boot to the gut instead. Duke then finds a $100 bill in the garbage that spills, which he celebrates in the ring. Could he be the newest member of the Million Dollar Corporation? Actually, I shouldn't joke about that, because for all I know that could be a story line for next week's episode. Come to think of it, I'm almost positive that will be an actual angle.
Next, we see a commercial for Wrestlemania featuring Nicholas Turturro and a cross-dressing Paul Bearer. Raw closes with a highlight reel of tonight's episode, which did not feature a single maneuver! Frankly, I think my highlight reels on Youtube are much more effective recaps of Raw.

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