Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Raw #102 - March 13th, 1995

In tonight's cold opening, Vince promises a match between Bret Hart and Jerry Lawler, who has been accusing Hart of being a racist, as well as a tag team match between the Blu Twins and the "dream team" of The 123 Kid and Bob Holly. The opening must have been prepared well in advance, as the face team got caught in traffic due to California storms. Therefore, the Samoan savage team of the Headshrinkers are the ones to face the Appalachian savage team of the Blu Twins. Uncle Zebekiah is in the twins' corner, but neither of the Headshrinkers' managers are at ringside.
Fatu is starting to get into his "funky" persona, shaking his butt in preparation for his "Make a Difference" gimmick. He even wears boots now! Hopefully he's gotten used to them since Survivor Series, where the cumbersome footwear got him eliminated. Nondescript hoss action occurs in the ring and continues throughout the commercial, where the former Barbarian is worn down by one of the Berzerker look-alikes known as the Blu Twins. The action eventually spills to the outside, where both teams are counted out. Vince is so excited by this terrible match that he is reminded of another terrible tag match involving the Bulldog and Lex Luger and decides to book the Blu Twins against the Allied Powers for Wrestlemania.

Speaking of which, Vince runs down the list of Lawrence Taylor's "all-pro team," which will be in his corner at Wrestlemania: Carl Banks, Ken Norton, Reggie White... never mind that shit! Here comes Mongo! Steve McMichael gives a pre-recorded comment on Kama, who is not only part of the Million Dollar Team now, but also has been making disparaging remarks about Mongo. This is what happens when you miss Superstars!
A "WCW Sucks" sign looms in the background as we cut away to a pre-show interview with NFL player and WWF wrestler Ernie Ladd. The Big Cat does not like Lawrence Taylor's chances against Bam Bam Bigelow in a wrestling ring, noting the difficulty of transitioning from the gridiron to the squared circle.

Jeff Jarrett, who will defend his Intercontinental title against Razor Ramon at Wrestlemania XI, squares off against Barry Horowitz, who gets interviewed backstage in a split-screen segment. He enters during the commercial break, while Jarrett's music is still playing. Cornette makes light of the win-loss record of Horowitz, who claims to have consulted with Razor Ramon before the match. Barry gets a number of near-falls in against Jarrett in the early going before getting beaten back down by Double J. Jim Cornette compares Horowitz to the replacement players in Major League Baseball (replacement players who, incidentally, never played an official game, as the baseball strike that the announcers are so fond of reminding us of would end just before opening day 1995). Horowitz regains his momentum, working over Jarrett with armbars and hammerlocks. He injures himself, however, kneeing Jarrett, who chop blocks him and works over his leg. Jeff locks his jobber opponent in a figure-four leglock for the submission win and is announced as the winner and still Intercontinental Champion, implying that the title was on the line during this squash.
We see a replay of the battle royal from Superstars two weeks ago, where Bret Hart foiled Jerry Lawler's plot to hop on one foot to remain in the match. That match is coming up, but first, the Toddster presents a Wrestlemania Report. Todd shows a replay of the handshake between LT and Bam Bam from the press conference, but omits LT's kiss for some reason before filling us in about Kama joining Ted DiBiase and Bam Bam's Million Dollar Team. Pettengill also announces that Salt 'n' Pepa will be playing LT to ringside. Surprisingly, this and the ensuing segment featuring the group in a recording studio are left intact on the WWE's rerelease of this episode, given that in subsequent video releases of Wrestlemania, Salt 'n' Pepa's performances are edited out to avoid paying royalties. The girls gush about how sexy Razor Ramon, Diesel, and Bret Hart are. Shawn Michaels and Pam Anderson are also featured, with HBK admiring the "chiseled stomach," "great legs," and "enormous chest" of... himself, the Heartbreak Kid. Who else would he be talking about? Pam looks as though this is the last place she wants to be; while I would chalk that up to kayfabe and Shawn Michaels being an egotistical jerk, anyone who's seen Baywatch will know that Pam's not that good an actress. Razor Ramon will be in action at Mania, challenging Jeff Jarrett in a rematch for the IC title in a no disqualification match! It is a No-DQ match, right? No? Oh well, what's the worst that could happen? There are no BS finishes at Wrestlemania! Also in action will be the Smoking Gunns, defending their tag titles against Owen Hart and a mystery partner. Back in the day, whenever there was a shadow in the match graphic to signify a mystery opponent, I would always try to study the shape of the shadow to figure out who it would be. All I can say is, that's definitely not Yokozuna's real shadow. Speaking of the Smoking Gunns, the previous day's tag title match on the Action Zone saw Men on a Mission turn heel, attacking the cowboys after the match. But who cares about Men on a Mission or the Gunns? Todd announces the formation of a new tag team, Lex Luger and the British Bulldog, soon to be known as the Allied Powers. The two will face the Blu Twins in an utterly meaningless match.

Jerry Lawler makes his entrance with long-forgotten current Women's Champion Bull Nakano. See, the King doesn't hate Japanese people like Bret does. Bret and Jerry start the fight before the bell, a skirmish that Bret dominates. Mr. Bob Backlund is seen in the audience, no doubt scouting his opponent for Wrestlemania, which will be Bret Hart's worst-ever pre-2010 match. Hakushi and Shinja appear at ringside to observe the racist Bret Hart, who hates them so much because they are Japanese.
Lawler is in control when Raw returns from break. Jim Cornette notes that Lawler has outmaneuvered the Hitman, but Vince still refrains from using the word, "maneuver," as he did last week. Bret takes the advantage back after punching King in the gut off a failed top-rope attack. When the action spills to the outside Bull Nakano grabs Hart by the hair and, with Lawler, tries to double-team the Canadian racist, only for Hart to move out of the way, leaving Lawler to take Bull's dropkick. However, Bret gets his leg pulled by Nakano, keeping him from making it back to the ring, and Lawler wins the match by countout. Bret chases the "mere 250-pound woman," but gets stopped by Lawler, who gets tossed back in the ring for his trouble and roughed up by Hart.

Next week, Razor Ramon faces Henry O. Godwinn, Steve McMichael will be on commentary, and the Heavenly Bodies will challenge the Smoking Gunns for the tag team titles. Oh, and Barry Horowitz will face Jeff Jarrett in a rematch next week, but this time for the IC title! This will be Horowitz's second title shot on Raw (after he and the 123 Kid challenged the Quebecers). At least it would be. Instead, Bob Backlund ambushes Horowitz as he signs his contract in an apparent set-up by Double J. Unfortunately for Jeff, Mr. Backlund signs Horowitz's contract, putting the former WWWF champion in a title match against Double J next week. The only way this could be worse for Jarrett is if his Wrestlemania opponent Razor Ramon shows up. Don't worry, though, as the fan in the Drug Enforcement Agency hat must have scared off Scott Hall.

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