Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Raw #132 - October 23rd, 1995

It's the night after In Your House, and Raw has a new theme, dubbed over the intro the show has been using for the past two months. As wrestlers enter the ring for a battle royal (with an Intercontinental title shot at stake), Vince announces the upcoming events for tonight's episode, including the unfortunate debut of Avatar and a rematch of Women's Champion Bertha Faye vs. the only other woman in the division, Alundra Blayze, neither of whom have been seen or mentioned on Raw since Bertha won the title at Summerslam.
King Kong Bundy, who amazingly is still on the roster (his Corporation teammate IRS having left the company to little fanfare a few months earlier), is eliminated first. That means that he won't be getting a title shot against Razor Ramon. Wait a minute, how did Razor get the Intercontinental Title? He wasn't scheduled for a title match last night! Blame the nine thugs in Syracuse, as well as the Clique. Next eliminated is Aldo Montoya, whose presence in the battle royal belies the fact that the colection of grapplers in this match is degrees of magnitude better than that of 1995's Royal Rumble. Case in point: 123 Kid, Hakushi, Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Marty Jannetty, and Sid are in the match, while Well Dunn, the Bushwhackers, and Mantaur are not. Then again, Barry Horowitz eliminates Skip just before the break.

During the break, Godwinn, the Kid, Rad Radford, Kama, and Horowitz are eliminated, but Jean-Pierre Lafitte (in one of his final appearances with the company) is still in it. Sid throws out Isaac Yankem, who would not win the IC title until 2001 under a mask. Marty Jannetty rolls up Owen Hart, forgetting that there are no pins in a battle royal. Sid gets knocked backwards over the ropes by Bam Bam (who was also excluded from this year's Royal Rumble), while Savio (who entered the Rumble as Kwang) hits a Nice Maneuver (spinning heel kick) on Lafitte. Razor, the first-ever four-time IC champion, looks on backstage.
Bam Bam gets eliminated by Jean-Pierre (another man not in the '95 Rumble) eliminates Bam Bam during the break, leaving him, Jannetty, Vega, and Owen Hart (who lasted less than ten seconds in the Rumble. Marty and Savio try to eliminate Owen and Pierre, respectively, but both heels survive. Owen misses a spinning heel kick on Vega, who counters with his own spinning heel kick while Vince recaps the confusing turn of events of the previous night's pay-per-view, wherein Dean Douglas won Shawn Michaels's IC title by forfeit, only to drop it to Razor, who had already been booked in a tag team title match that night. Jannetty goes over the top rope but hangs on, then skins the cat and pulls Vega to the floor with a head-scissors. What a Maneuver (#2)! He then back body drops Lafitte over the ropes, leaving only Marty and Owen. Hart gets clotheslined over theropes but grabs the top rope and lands on the apron. Owen hits a Clever Maneuver (#3) by hanging Jannetty's neck up on the top rope. He then gets thrown through the ropes, thus avoiding elimination before grabbing Cornette's tennis racket and brandishing it at Hart's manager. the British Bulldog rushes to ringside and pounds Jannetty before throwing him back in the ring. This battle royal is Jannetty's toughest test not involving a paper cup. Unfortunately, he is quickly thrown over the top by Owen Hart, who thus faces Razor Ramon next week for his Intercontinental title.

Jerry Lawler gets a word with Hart after the match. Speaking of Harts, Bret Hart faces Diesel for the title next month at Survivor Series. Clips are shown of last night's main event, where Diesel shoved the Hitman's face as an Instinctive Maneuver (#4) as Bret did commentary. After Bulldog shoved Hitman himself, Bret interfered, drawing a DQ.
Dok Hendrix delivers the Survivor Series Slam Jam, where he announces the Wild Card Match, where heels and faces alike are teamed up. Newcomer Ahmed Johnson will even compete. Bob Backlund interrupts the Slam Jam briefly, campaigning in the Manitoba crowd (despite it being in Canada). Ahmed Johnson cuts a promo promising to show the true meaning of "medieval" ("relating or belonging to the Middle Ages").

Next comes the masked Avatar, whom you will recognize as Al Snow because he doesn't wear his mask to the ring. And doesn't he look excited to be here! Snow puts on his mask before the match, drawing comparisons to a Karate Fighter (sponsors of the 1995 Survivor Series!). Brian Walsh gets taken down, then nips up, since apparently no one told him he's a jobber. He even ducks a dive by Avatar (or is it Avatar diving to avoid a Walsh hiptoss?) for a Nice Maneuver (#5) before no-selling a kick to the back, calmly walking through the ropes. Our new favorite Sabu lookalike attempts a move off the tope rope, then loses his balance and does a plancha (a Most Unusual Maneuver) (#6) instead. Vince calls Avatar, "a risk-taking individual." So is McMahon for airing this match live with no chance to edit out all the botches. I guess Mcmahon was hoping that Avatar would be a smash hit like the movie, "Avatar," but instead he's ending up more like "The Last Airbender." The crowd wakes up a little when Avatar misses a moonsault, which Walsh follows up with a Nice Maneuver (#7 - clothesline). Avatar turns the momentum with a backbreaker for a Nice Maneuver (#8) of his own. He follows this up with yet another Nice Maneuver (#9), the standing moonsault, a move renowned for both its beauty and the impression that it doesn't hurt at all. A standing splash (a great-looking move if you weigh 400 pounds) finishes off Walsh, as Avatar gets the pin (not the kind of pin that you could hear drop throughout the entire match). Avatar takes off his mask, showing his face for the last time on Raw until his re-packaging as "Leif Cassidy." For more on this most dismal of Raw debuts, see my induction of Avatar on Wrestlecrap.
Todd Pettengill promotes the match that Vince dubs a "Battle of the Legends": Hollywood legend Goldust and "Puerto Rican Legend" Savio Vega, which takes place next week. No word on whether Dr. Isaac Yankem will wrestle Dr. tom Prichard in a "Doctors Match."

Harvey Wippleman accompanies the only protegé of his to ever win a title under his watch, Bertha Faye, who enters the ring to a country ballad. We see a replay of Bertha's title victory against Alundra at Summerslam, where she pinned the then-champ with a Devastating Maneuver (#10 - sit-down powerbomb). Alundra Blayze is billed as weighing 140 pounds, back in the days that women's weights used to be made public. Imagine the Bella "Twins'" individual weights being announced, post-surgery.
Jerry Lawler comments on Alundra Blayze driving a motorcycle to the arena and claims to be a biker himself. "I've got the old Schwinn parked right outside." Well, if you're going to cruise around your local middle school, you've got to look the part. Bertha Faye knocks down Alundra early on and looks to make short work of Blayze. Get it? "Short"? 'Cause Alundra is short. Maybe not for a woman, but compared to a man, yes. Still not laughing? Damn sexual dimorphism.... Alundra leaps over Bertha, taking her down with a sunset flip for a two-count and the eleventh Maneuver of the evening. Bertha counters another sunset flip by sitting on Blayze for a two-count.

Alundra has Bertha in a Boston crab when Raw returns from break, having bounced back after a Maneuver (#12 - sit-down powerbomb) by Faye, the Same Maneuver (#13) that won her the title. Bertha quickly powers out of the crab, though. Maybe Alundra should instead have tried a camel toe. I mean, camel clutch. Sorry, I got distracted by that picture on the left. Alundra gets whipped to the turnbuckle, but Flair-flips out and rams Faye into another turnbuckle. She then knocks over her larger opponent with a roundhouse kick as Lawler makes fun of how ugly Alundra Blayze is. There's another difference between now and then: Jerry calling female babyfaces ugly. Nowadays, everybody except Vickie Guerrero is supposed to be the hottest thing since sliced bread (presumably having just come out of the baker's oven). Fortunately, Lawler had left the Federation for much of 2001, never having to pretend to be gaga over Sara Callaway. Blayze slams the back of Faye's head to the mat, Another Maneuver (#14). Blayze resorts to a Moolah-style snapmare by the hair, then tries to powerbomb Faye to no avail, getting back-dropped for her trouble. Bertha mounts the second rope, only to be taken over by Blayze with the head-scissors later known as the Stratusphere, a Nice Maneuver (#15). She then takes a swing at Harvey, who grabs her but is accidentally bumped off the apron by Bertha Faye. Alundra hits a German suplex for the pinfall. Bertha chases after Harvey Wippleman, blaming him for her loss. Time to get to the back of the line, honey! Fortunately, as the only other woman in the division, you're also in the front of the line.
A battered Shawn Michaels is interviewed by Jim Ross. Michaels narrows the number of thugs who beat him up down to nine (as if he had time to count them all while pilled out of his mind and being battered against a car door). He also resents having to forfeit the belt to Dean Douglas, whom he feels is overrated, but he is glad that at least Razor Ramon beat him for it right away. Shoot comments? Lawler feigns tears after Michaels's speech.

Final tally:

15 Maneuvers (Year total: 203)

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