Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Raw #111 - May 15th, 1995

In tonight's cold opening, IRS vows to put a lien on Bam Bam's tattoos. What if Bigelow won't pay his taxes? Will he have to repossess the Beast from the East's scalp? If so, who's going to do the dirty work, the Repo Man or Tatanka?

Raw is live tonight in Binghamton, New York, the night after In Your House, and Jerry Lawler is pleased as punch (not spiked punch, as Lawler doesn't drink). Vince again directs the audience's attention to Jerry's "kisser" as the King gloats over his tainted victory against Bret Hart the previous night, which he achieved "all by himself" (actually, with the help of Hakushi and the referee's foot getting caught in the ropes outside the ring, a spot which is way more realistic than the normal ref-bump-followed-by-impossibly-long-loss-of-consciousness).
Reigning tag team champions Owen Hart and Yokozuna come to the ring to take on Bill Weaver and Nick Barberry. Before the prevalence of Titantron videos, the best a wrestler got was special lighting for their entrance, which in the case of Owen and Yoko is a playing card-like image of the King of Harts sandwiched between Japanese characters. Owen offers Jerry congratulations for beating brother Bret. Jerry says hi to his mom on the air. Jim Cornette trash-talks fans at ringside, telling them, "See what happens when a fetus don't get enough oxygen!?" Shortly into the match, both scrubs try to take down Yokozuna simultaneously, only to take simultaneous clotheslines. Owen tags in to deliver a spinning heel kick, a Maneuver (#1) which was a favorite of Kwang and will be used often by newcomer Savio Vega. The Allied Powers, says Vince, are looking forward to a title shot, which they have earned by beating the Blu Twins and a team of jobbers a few weeks back. Yokozuna tags back in to deliver a uranage to Bill Weaver, and FOOOOOR-get about it! The champions pick up the victory, while Jerry Lawler picks up where he left off weeks ago and accuses Bret Hart of being racist against the Japanese. Yokozuna continues to cover Weaver for a very long time after the bell while Owen puts on both belts.

Jerry Lawler then provides an in-depth analysis of his victory last night, starting with a shot of his "mother," suggesting a rather unsettling mother-son relationship, which would be explored further with the Beaver Cleavage gimmick in four years. I'm being unfair, of course, as I'm sure Jerry considers any woman over the age of 20 to be too old for his tastes. We then see a picture of Bret about to piledrive the King, which Jerry claims is upside down, meaning that in reality, the ring was on the ceiling and Jerry is in the process of back body-dropping Bret, whose boots are made of very strong Vel-Cro. Lawler continues to rationalize the blatant cheating in the match, then shows a still of Bret Hart nursing a knee injury backstage (out of context, as this was the same picture used just seconds earlier to show how Bret faked his injury to lull Lawler into a false sense of security), which he draws over using his telestrator (or Royal Magistrator).
Next, we see a commercial featuring two Conehead-like aliens discussing whether or not to destroy the Earth. They mention the use of nuclear weapons and environmental pollution, suggesting the return of Ludvig Borga to take out Adam Bomb. Instead, the aliens discover the World Wrestling federation and decide to spare our humble planet. And the Justice Department wanted to put Vince in jail? For shame. He saved the Earth!

As Raw returns to air, Vince says, "We're back, ladies and gentlemen," with those last three words coinciding perfectly with the ring announcer proclaiming, "Ladies and gentlemen, Man Mountain Rock!" If only the ring announcer could hear Vince and shout "Jinx!", forcing Vince to remain silent the rest of the episode until someone said his name. MMR (meaning Man Mountain Rock, not the vaccine for Mumps, Measles, and Rubella, although it's fortunate that Rock didn't appear at Wrestlemania XI and have a confrontation with Jenny McCarthy) plays his own entrance theme on his custom WWF guitar. You know what would be even cooler than a custom-made WWF logo guitar? If you could just go to a music store and buy one off the shelves. I wonder if it's a Les Paul (which, when my brother and I first read about in a WWF Magazine "Guess the Superstar based on a baby picture and clues," we mistook for French, meaning "The Paul." We assumed the mystery wrestler was The Undertaker).
"Is all that noise over, McMahon?" asks Lawler, no doubt longing for the smooth synth sounds of his own hit song, "Wrestling with Girls." We are welcomed back to the Broome County Arena, built with prize money won from the "Stupidest County Name" contest, where Man Mountain Rock locks up with legendary enhancement talent "Iron" Mike Sharpe. Rock has ditched his corn rows for the straight long hair we know and love. Rock, to whom I will continue to refer by the same nickname as Dwayne Johnson, refuses to be moved by Sharpe's attempts at shoulder blocks and makes extremely quick work of Iron Mike with his Whammy Bar submission finisher.
(And I don't much care for how the In Your House logo makes it look like this photo of Stephanie has been censored, either)

There's no encore presentation of In Your House being pitched to us, which means that although we only get to see the usual still-frame photos from the matches, we do get the privilege of seeing the real meat of the pay-per-view, which is Todd Pettengill and Stephanie Wiand giving away a house. While I take a shower to rid myself of the dirty feeling I have all of a sudden for using "meat" in the same sentence and Todd Pettengill and Stephanie Wiand, you, dear readers, may continue reading this blog post.
In stark contrast to early post-PPV Raws, the announcers spend an awful lot of time going over the results of the previous night's matches. That's partially due to the fact that they're not selling an encore presentation, and partially due to the fact that the episode is live and actually taking place after the pay-per-view, as opposed to say, the Raw after Wrestlemania IX, which was taped before the event even happened and featured zero fallout from the previous night's confusing events. That's why we see a recap of the handicap match from In Your House, wherein Razor Ramon pinned the Intercontinental champion in a match in which he also had to wrestle the Roadie, yet did not win the title. This isn't bitterness on my part, by the way, as the Bad Guy would soon enough regain his title (by accident) at a house show before promptly losing it back. Afterwards, both opponents beat on Razor, leading Aldo Montoya to offer his own ineffectual aid before quickly getting disposed of by the heels, a turn of events which goes completely ignored by Vince in this recap because no one cares about the Portuguese Man-o-War. Really though, if anyone should be lending his support to a athlete in need, it's the man with the jock strap on his head. What we do hear about is the appearance of a man from the audience named Savio Vega, who cleaned house to help out his fellow hispanic Caribbean wrestler, Scott Hall. Savio, who had been competing in the Federation as the masked Kwang for over a year, had just ended a brief heel vs. heel feud with Hakushi on Superstars, and who wouldn't permanently retire the ninja gimmick until the end of the month in the Philippines, was then apprehended by security until Razor explained that he was a friend, thus absolving him of any criminal wrongdoing like disorderly conduct or assault.

Savio is backstage to speak with McMahon remotely, saying in Spanish that he is here in the FederaciĆ³n Mundial de Lucha, or World Wrestling Federation, and he is coming to give the best of Savio Vega. Now the people know who he is, Savio Vega, so he's going to have the best here in the WWF (which goes uncensored on this version of Raw because the editors don't speak Spanish). Vince interrupts him because he has no idea what in God's name Savio is talking about. He explains that he was helping to save his friend Razor from the Roadie and Double J, which we of course already knew. Savio then explodes into more Spanish before being cut off again.
Up next is a good news/bad news-type situation, and no, it doesn't involve Reverend Slick and Bad News Brown. The good news is that Todd Pettengill will not be seen or heard again on this episode. The bad news is that we are introduced to the WWF's newest professional shill, Barry Didinksi, who is here tonight to hock already-outdated Diesel vs. Sid T-shirts from the aisle. The shirt is only for sale tonight (presumably because no one bought them at the actual event) and is available by calling 1-800-880-8RAW, a number that is blurred out on screen but is still spoken by Barry, and paying $16. It should be noted that Barry is standing in the aisle as Mantaur stands in the ring, providing a double-dose of Wrestlecrap.

Mantaur wipes his hooves on the mat as we are taken to a graphic of the King of the Ring bracket, where in a frightening bit of foreshadowing Mabel's name is the only one filled in. Mantaur's match tonight against Bob Holly will be another qualifying match, and as unbelievable as it may sound, the race car driver must win to keep this tournament from being a complete farce. As is the case for all qualifying matches, this one has a 15-minute time limit, surely disappointing fans itching for a 60-minute Mantaur classic. Jim Cornette's least impressive protege dominates Holly in the early going while Jerry admonishes Vince McMahon's past choice of toupees, specifically citing the one he wore with the chin strap. "It was windy," explains Vince. Mantaur suplexes Holly, but despite the moos, Holly kicks out of the lackadaisical cover. Holly surprises the real Mancow with a schoolboy for a near-fall, tries to knock the big 'Taur off his feet with clotheslines, then takes to the air for a High-Risk Maneuver (#2 - flying dropkick) and a two-count. A follow-up flying body press gets the job done and prevents the possibility of a a King Mantaur.
Shawn Michaels is set to take on King Kong Bundy, Ted DiBiase's "largest asset," next week. This will be Bundy's last singles match ever on Raw before being relegated to Superstars for the rest of the year. Shawn Michaels is looking forward to some make-out time with the big man, while Bundy looks on in disgust. At least, that's the impression I get from the graphics used in this Todd Pettengill-narrated promo.

Vince is in the ring with Mr. Bob Backlund for the former champion's big announcement, which will have a "deleterious effect" on some of the members of the audience. He mentions great events in history, like in 1776 DC when the Olympics started, or Alexandria The Great's death in 323 DC, or when JFK was shot on December 22nd, 1983 (actually the date of Backlund's title loss to the Iron Sheik). He lists off some other events, such as his first and second title victories (but not his loss) before getting choked up. Finally, he announces that he is contemplating a run at the U.S. Presidency. A marching band then comes to ringside playing "Hail to the Chief" and holding Backlund campaign signs. King is so excited, he calls Bam Bam, "Bob Backlund" when hyping his match against IRS.
Lawler shows off his new Bob Backlund lapel pin before we see even more stills from last night's PPV. In the main event, Tatanka interfered, breaking up a certain pinfall by Diesel and nabbing Sid his second consecutive DQ in a WWF main event (his last WWF main event being Wrestlemania VIII against Hogan, when Harvey Wippleman interfered after Papa Shango missed his own cue to interfere. Wouldn't it have been more fitting if Kama and not Tatanka had broken up the pin? Alas, Charles Wright would gain no redemption on that night). Bam Bam Bigelow came to Diesel's aid before Sid and Tatanka could do any more damage. Curiously, there is not a single mention of the damage done to Diesel's elbow when taking Sid's powerbomb. Vince won't play up the injury angle for a few more weeks. Earlier today, Ted DiBiase played the role of Teddy Long to suggest a tag team match between the two pairs for the main event of King of the Ring. IRS threatens to audit the camera man before we go to commercial.

Bam Bam enters the ring to new entrance music wearing a new, ridiculous get-up. His music has far too much hand-clapping, and the flames shooting from his wrists are too reminiscent of Max Moon, but there's something even more blatantly tacky about his entrance, and it has taken me eighteen years to figure out what it is. I always knew there was something stupid about his flame-filled entrance gear, but I just realized that all the flames now surrounding his head make him look like the Heat Miser. Bam Bam brings Diesel out to ringside to be in his corner. Diesel seems to be suffering no ill effects on his elbow after taking a powerbomb from Sid last night, nor would anyone expect such a thing to happen when being powerbombed. Big Daddy Cool chases DiBiase away, sending him backstage. Kevin Nash, never being one to waste energy, only runs a few feet before deciding that he has chased him far enough.
IRS attacks before the bell, but gets hit with an atomic drop and rolls to the arena floor. IRS returns to the ring, where a miscommunication sees Bam Bam prepare to hit a running headbutt to the prone taxman, then stop, take a step back while IRS re-positions himself, and attempt the move, only for Irwin to move out of the way. IRS then rolls to the outside, but gets stopped by Diesel and rolled right back in before the commercial.

Bam Bam hits a falling headbutt for real this time, but misses when trying one off the top rope (which, now armed with the knowledge that wrestlers raise and drop their foot on the mat to signal that they're going to move out of the way, I should have seen coming). IRS needs three clotheslines to fell Bigelow, but only gets a two-count, despite Vince calling it a three-count before quickly taking it back. Fans shout a two-beat chant of "Bam Bam," which by its very nature gets repetitive immediately ("Bam Bam Bam Bam Bam Bam Bam Bam"). IRS takes off the top turnbuckle and quickly dodges a Bam Bam corner splash, leading the Beast from the East to hit the exposed buckle. IRS pins him with his foot on the rope, but Diesel shoves it off at the last second, allowing Bigelow to kick out. IRS then gets his face (or hand) smashed into the steel turnbuckle, allowing Bam Bam to pick up the pinfall after yet another headbutt. Diesel celebrates his elbow health and Bam Bam's win when Sid and Tatanka start walking down the aisle (in a non-matrimonial way), but Raw cuts to commercial before we see anything, and we never find out what happens.
We see a package of Shawn Michaels (not the package of Shawn Michaels) consisting of his career highlights as a (heel) singles wrestler in order to re-introduce Michaels as a babyface. King Kong Bundy appears on screen to warn Michaels that HBK won't be back for long. Tune in next week to see Michaels vs. Bundy and to find out from Bret Hart what substance Jerry Lawler is lower than!

Final tally:

2 Maneuvers (Year total: 86)

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