Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Raw #113 - May 29th, 1995

Tonight's Raw comes to you taped from Binghamton, New York, where Double J is running his mouth about beating the Undertaker tonight in the King of the Ring qualifying match. the lights go out, causing Jarrett to panic in fear of Taker while his electronic hat continues to flash. Instead of the man from the Dark Side, we get the opening theme of Raw.
Tonight on History's Mysteries: Was Double J the inspiration behind the Mothman legend?
When we come back to ringside, neither Jarrett nor The Undertaker are anywhere in sight. What is in sight, however, is Diesel's severely injured elbow that appeared just fine on the previous two episodes, both filmed at the same taping is this one, just one night after he allegedly suffered it by taking a powerbomb by Sid. Diesel has had reconstructive surgery, says Vince in order to build up an injury angle going into King of the Ring. Shawn Michaels would later use an invisible injury as a novel way to avoid dropping the WWF title entirely.
The man who "injured" Diesel, Sid, comes to the ring along with his friend in low places, Tatanka, and his manager, Ted DiBiase. Vince shows some unconvincing footage of Diesel landing on his elbow. Sid starts off the match by punching away at Mike Khoury. This is even more psychotic than Psycho Sid's normal fare, because Khoury isn't even his opponent; it's Barry Horowitz! Just kidding, but I stand by my spelling of "psycho," as Sid has still yet to be officially given the name "Sycho Sid," so his full nickname has still yet to be (mis)spelled on screen. Sid powerbombs Khoury for the quick victory. Do you think Khoury tried to come back to Vince two weeks later with a mysterious elbow injury and claim workman's compensation?

Diesel appears with his arm in a cast over his elbow as he rationalizes his mysterious injury, claiming that the damage started when he was chokeslammed and landed on his elbow, then aggravated when he took Sid's powerbomb (a devastating maneuver, said Vince at the time, but as this comment was made at In Your House, it won't be added to the total). Good thing Nash doesn't bump right, or else there wouldn't be any footage to back up this out-of-the-blue injury. If Ric Flair ever did a "broken hip" angle, there would be so much usable footage that the production team wouldn't know where to start. Dr. James Andrews appears on screen to explain Diesel's injury and ruin his professional reputation. We do see footage of surgery... someone's surgery at least. We never get a look at who's actually being operated upon. While Wikipedia's King of the Ring 1995 page says that the injury was legit, the actual source cited (a blog where some guy goes back and reviews all the old Raw episodes. How pathetic) says no such thing and notes how fake it all seems. At best, Nash already had a lingering elbow injury and got surgery, so Vince made up the story about Sid causing it. Still, I like this segment because in the WWE re-release, they play that same metal music they always play to cover up music they no longer have rights to, giving modern viewers the impression that Andrews is one head-banging orthopaedic surgeon. Also, say what you will about Diesel being a poor draw, but he was a company man through and through; who else but Big Daddy Cool would wear an Ico-Pro wife-beater into surgery? Maybe this whole thing is just a way to plug James Andrews's American Sports Medicine Institute, although the surgeon and his staff seem very indecisive, at various times treating the recovering Diesel with an ice pack, a sling, and a hard cast.
Adam Bomb takes on Bob Cook, who, despite his name, is not a wrestling chef but a gimmick-less jobber. Vince announces the upcoming one hour "Wrestlemania: The Special," airing on network TV. He doesn't say what network it's airing on, but he does say that the WWF is "proud as a peacock." I was going to make a joke about how it wouldn't even air on NBC, but rather on Fox, but further research shows that while the special would indeed air on Fox on September 30th (four months later), Vince wouldn't plug it as the "broadcast premiere" as he did on this night, suggesting that the special did in fact air on June 4th as (sort of) advertised. Mysterious broadcast history aside, I will give credit to the one-hour Reader's Digest version of Wrestlemania for one thing: by airing the LT-Bam Bam match before Diesel-Shawn, it would create the impression that the title match, and not the match with the retired football player, was the main event. Score one for revisionist history. Jerry Lawler attempts to read promo copy for the Twilight Zone movie on USA but flubs his lines, leading him and Vince to argue right up to the end of the match, which, in case you don't remember, is Adam Bomb vs. Bob Cook. Bomb wins with a flying clothesline, by the way, then tosses out foam nukes. Why isn't Jerry Lawler accusing Bomb of being racist against the Japanese?
WWE drops the ball on this re-release of Raw, omitting both an interview with Bam Bam and Diesel conducted "before the operation" (was this the start of a quickly-aborted sex change angle? That would have been a much better angle for the King of the Ring main event than an elbow injury. Imagine DiBiase paying off Dr. James Andrews to repossess Diesel's big rig) and a King of the Ring report by the Toddster. At least WWE left intact the interview with Alundra Blayze, who is coming off a pair of real surgeries for a fake injury, that takes place tonight.
Jerry Lawler's "sushi-eating friend" (Jerry's own words) Hakushi takes on Shark Boy. Well, not really, but rather John Snakowski, who is sporting aqua ring gear. The King still refuses to accept Bret Hart's challenge, instead shifting the focus onto Helen Hart, who still has not answered the challenge issued by Jerry Lawler's "mother." Hakushi reaches into a bag and pulls out a head of Bret Hart, sunglasses and all! Lawler gets excited, then disappointed when he realizes it isn't real. Vince teases a future match between Bret Hart and Hakushi, which wouldn't happen at the King of the Ring because of Hakushi's participation in the tournament. Just kidding -- Vince felt that The Roadie, Mabel, and Kama deserved spots more than someone who can have a decent match. Hakushi easily beats the jobber as Vince assures Jerry that unlike Lawler, Bret Hart will one day be in the WWF Hall of Fame. Lawler would in fact be inducted the very next year after Hart.

Alundra Blayze arrives with a smaller nose and larger bust than when we last saw her. King still makes jokes about her having a big nose because this is 1995, when Jerry Lawler pretends that every woman who's a face is hideously ugly. Watch out for the butt-ugly Sable next year. Of course, with Vince in the ring to conduct the interview, Lawler's heel commentary continues uninterrupted by chides of "How dare you!" In an uneventful interview, Blayze says that she looks forward to beating Bertha Faye and keeping her title for a long time. Then it's ta-ta for Blayze, which is appropriate given her recent changes in appearance.
Men on a Mission face Aaron Ferguson and Gary Scott, who scores a dropkick on Mo before getting pummeled by Mabel. Scott gets launched into the stratosphere by a baaaack body drop from Mabel, but manages an arm drag on Mo when the smaller Man on a Mission enters the ring. Ferguson tags in and is quickly knocked down by Mo, who tags Mabel back in, leading Ferguson to tag back in. Still following? You probably wouldn't be if you had to watch this crap. Mabel pins Scott after a corner splash.
Jeff Jarrett is back to take on The Undertaker... for real this time. These qualifying matches are highly unbalanced. Tonight, you have the Intercontinental Champion vs. a former WWF Champion, and next week you have two of the top "New Generation" stars in the form of Owen Hart vs. The British Bulldog, but these matches are presented alongside such underwhelming match-ups as The Roadie vs. Doink, Kama vs. Duke "The Dumpster Droese," and Bob Holly vs. Mantaur. For Jarrett to get into the tournament, he has to beat the embodiment of death, but all his roadie has to do is beat a clown.
When the bell tolls and the lights go out, there's nothing Double J can do but wait while his hat and glasses comically flash during the Undertaker's entrance. Vince again plugs Sunday's "Wrestlemania: The Special," urging fans to check their local listings to see the Mania main event match and the title match (the one that didn't have Mongo at ringside). The Undertaker takes an eternity to get to the ring, his entrance being one of the few wrestlers who benefit from the practice of turning every light out during the introductions. Double J quickly flees the ring after the bell rings, which Vince doubts can be classified as an Offensive Maneuver. Jarrett gets the jump on Taker when he re-enters the ring, but the Deam Man counters a back body drop attempt by slamming Jarrett's head against the mat in a Nice Maneuver (#2). Undertaker is at his scariest here in the black and purple as he chokes Jarrett in the corner. The only thing that could possibly make Taker more frightening would be some sort of protective face mask reminiscent of a skull, but that would require some kind of orbital injury by a reckless 500-pounder's leg drop, so don't hold your breath. The Roadie helps Jarrett even the odds on the outside against the Undertaker. Vince points out that Jarrett has abandoned his scientific approach in this match in order to take down the Phenom. A flying clothesline nearly puts the Undertaker away, and Jarrett starts working over his leg before the commercial break...

...and continues all throughout the break before finally locking the figure four on his opponent. The Roadie grabs Jeff's hands for extra leverage, leading Paul Bearer to take off his jacket and chase the Roadie. Something is not quite right about Paul Bearer in a white short-sleeved shirt. It's almost like he's naked. Sorry for mentioning it. Referee Earl Hebner finally makes Jarrett break the hold when he catches him grabbing on to the ropes. The Undertaker makes a short comeback before being taken down by a Maneuver (#3 - neckbreaker). Rather than going for the pin, Jarrett punches Undertaker's corpse, then drops a fist. As Double J struts, Taker sits up. Jarrett jumps off the second rope but gets caught with a chokeslam. Taker lifts him up once more for another chokeslam. Careful, Jeff, or you might break your elbow like Diesel. Finally, Taker hits the Tombstone to put Jarrett away. The Undertaker thus earns a prestigious spot in a match against Mabel.
Back at the announce desk, fans chant "Burger King" at Jerry Lawler, who is actually sitting in the arena tonight. It looks like green screens are a thing of the past for Raw announcers. Next week, we will see the Raw debut of Savio Vega, who just last night in Singapore retired the Kwang gimmick once and for all with a victory over Doink. If you're Doink the Clown, you've got to be discouraged when you get beaten by a heel character who has absolutely no future and stands to gain nothing from the win. Next week's Raw, by the way, is the first one I ever saw, thanks to a free cable offer by Comcast. Also on tap for next week's Raw is the King of the Ring Qualifying match between Owen Hart and the British Bulldog. In truth, this match was filmed after In Your House in a dark match, which actually makes it only one day older than tonight's matches, which were filmed on May 15th. Still, I bet the live audience next week won't appreciate 15 minutes of dead time at the arena.
Before we go off the air, Bob Backlund delivers a message against rock and roll music. As president, he would require youth to listen to classical music in order to boon their intelligence. I hope I've booned your life with this Raw recap!

Final tally:

3 Maneuvers (Year total: 93)

1 comment:

  1. Enjoy reading these as I re-watch Raw on the WWE Network. A few things on this recap:

    - The June 5 1995 WON factually breaks down Diesel's legitimate injury and surgery and how it effected the weekend tours.
    - NBC ended up not airing the Mania special, and I was really mad at the time!