Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Raw #145 - January 29th, 1996

Raw does not get off to an auspicious start, as Vince announces a match between Yokozuna and the “incredulous” Shawn Michaels. HBK is incredulous, I tell you! He won’t believe anything. In addition, Diesel takes on the British Bulldog, who is at least not labeled “bizarre.” The WWF will also bravely air another of its increasingly hypocritical “Billionaire Ted” skits, “despite the threat of legal action.”

Bulldog enters, prompting Vince to ask Jerry “The King” Lawler whether he likes royalty. If you’ve ever heard Davey Boy speak, you could be pretty sure he’s not royalty. He is from Great Britain, however. Do you think that when Americans wrestle in England, they associate him with the presidency? Diesel hammers away at Smith in the corner with knees to the midsection to kick off this rematch of one of the WWF’s worst pay-per-view main events. Diesel clothelines Bulldog over the top rope and to the arena floor, which, Vince says, is what he would like to do to Bret Hart at the next In Your House, but “within the confines of a steel cage.” I don’t think you can do that in a steel cage, and if you could, your opponent would land outside of the ring and automatically beat you. Yokozuna comes to ringside as the show goes to break.
Shawn Michaels is en route to the arena, says Vince, who should be furious at HBK showing up so late for his match in the main event. Vince also mentions the upcoming tour of India, which Jerry Lawler confuses with American Indians. I don’t know why, because he said “the country of India,” not “the country of Native America.” Diesel is in trouble, says McMahon, “notwithstanding” the Bulldog’s own troubles outside the ring. In a display of his own lack of self-awareness, Vince encourages viewers to call the WWF Superstar Line to hear about Bulldog’s “legal troubles” in Canada just one week after lampooning Gene Okerlund’s WCW hotline. Diesel covers Bulldog, but Jim Cornette distracts the referee to allow Yokozuna to drop the leg on Big Daddy Cool. Instead, Diesel moves out of the way, letting Davey Boy get squashed before covering him again for the three-count.

Bret Hart, still sporting a shiner, cuts a pre-taped promo on his challenger Diesel, claiming that the WWF never ran on Diesel Power, but Hitman Power (which isn’t a real thing). He also claims to have “never, ever, ever lost a steel cage match,” clearly ignoring his 1993 loss to Yokozuna, which was immortalized on Coliseum Video. Dok Hendrix excitedly announces the first-ever Crybaby Match between Razor Ramon and the 123 Kid, fantasizing about The Bad Guy dressed up in a diaper. The fetishes of some people. He says that the loser will be fed a baby bottle and a diaper. Maybe he should rephrase that, because that sounds completely unsanitary. Duke “The Dumpster” Droese takes on Hunter Hearst Helmsley at In Your House in a rematch from the Royal Rumble Free-For-All. Recently on Superstars, Hunter did his best Brutus Beefcake impression. No, he didn’t cut out large sections of his tights or smash his face to pieces; he cut Droese’s hair. Finally, Dok tells us of a TBS executive threatening the WWF with legal action over the Billionaire Ted skits, but, Hendrix says, the WWF is ready to fight for their rights, their company, and their fans. After all, Billionaire Ted skits are what the fans want, especially the exceedingly petty segment that is about to air.
This week’s sketch is a press conference attacking Ted Turner personally rather than WCW or anything wrestling-related. Ted refuses to answer questions about trying to put WWF out of business (as the WWF had done repeatedly in the eighties to regional promotions). Nor will he address his purposeful undercutting of WWF’s advertising rates. Yep, this is what the WWF fans want to see, folks! Another question is about why Ted would have put WCW Nitro head-to-head with Monday Night Raw, rather than at another time or night, as fans would have preferred. That’s like putting the 1988 Royal Rumble on at the same time as NWA’s Bunkhouse Stampede PPV, or forcing cable companies to choose between carrying Survivor Series 1987 or Starrcade, or replacing beloved wrestling programs with WWF reruns in the early 80s! And, as we all know, the Monday Night War was a dark period in wrestling history that saw ratings plummet and the business shrink, as one astute reporter in this sketch alludes to when he accuses Ted of not caring about the fans, but only his petty rivalry with another wrestling organization. What an excellent point to bring up during a hit-piece aired on a supposed wrestling show! Lastly, Huckster insists that he is going to beat Nacho Man at Wrestlemania (in a match fans are just dying to pay money to see) because it’s in his Turner contract that he will never lose. Unlike in the WWF, where he jobbed clean exactly once in ten years. Finally, Ted admits that the only thing he won’t do to put the WWF out of business is use his own money before asking his off-camera wife for lithium. Don’t feel bad for Turner, though. He has a vendetta against the WWF!

The Bodydonnas (Skip and his brother Tom Prichard, I mean, Zip) are accompanied by Sunny, whose “assets” are now a center of attention in the Federation. Their opponents? The new team of Henry O. Godwinn and his cousin Phineas I. That is, HOG and PIG. There must be a tag team tournament coming up, because suddenly the WWF is filling up with tag teams made up of one wrestler with a gimmick and a clone of that wrestler with the same gimmick. What’s next, Avatar dressing up Marty Jannetty as another Rocker? Henry holds up Skip for a gorilla press, but the Doctor of Desire Zip drop toe-holds Godwinn for a Clever Maneuver (#1). Vince argues that Sunny is the Bodydonnas’ most valuable “asset,” “notwithstanding” their coordination and frequent tags. I think he means, “besides.” Another advantage? They are so very difficult to tell apart, as long as you have 20-400 vision or worse. Sunny starts flirting with Hillbilly Jim, so he threatens her with his slop bucket. Phineas hits the slop drop on Skip, picking up a victory over an “established tag team” like the Bodydonnas, who have been around for nearly a month. Sunny gets trapped in the ring after the victory and is forced to square-dance before fleeing.
Vince and Jerry recap The Man They Call Vader’s two-day reign of terror, where we watched “in horruh,” says Vince, as he attacked Gorilla Monsoon. Clarence Mason demands Vader’s reinstatement, arguing that not only should Monsoon have been aware of Vader’s reputation before signing him, but that Vader was merely defending himself after Monsoon’s chops. A “Get Well, Gorilla” graphic is shown, along with an address where fans can write to the beloved interim President. Vader is shown standing over Monsoon, as if coming to his aid.
A commercial for the WWF Superstar Line, which is completely different from Scheme Gene’s hotline, airs, begging fans to plunk down $1.49 a minute to hear of British Bulldog’s legal woes. Smith is on trial in Canada for assaulting a bar patron in 1993, when he put the man in a front facelock (Hulk Hogan-style) and let him drop to the floor, cracking his head (Richard Belzer-style).
Next, Vince McMahon introduces the man personally chosen by Gorilla Monsoon (possibly while high on morphine) to take his place for the foreseeable future, Roddy Piper! Shortly thereafter, an excited Piper fan holds up his sign spoofing old guys like Hogan and Savage and lauding the New Generation, most of whom were born before 1968, when Hot Rod started his career. Piper asks Vince whether this new position makes him McMahon’s boss. He wonders how crazy it must be in the WWF for him to be called in to restore order. After the interview ends, he puts Vince on his shoulders and spins him around like an airplane. Or a helicopter.
Mankind’s first vignette on Raw airs. Only his mutilated ear is shown, while a voice not unlike Cactus Jack’s speaks. Vince “can’t stop wondering who that man is.” Jerry says his name is, “Mankind.” Well, it’s no “Mason the Mutilator” or “Eric Eargone,” but it will do.
Yokozuna is Vince’s favorite to win the next match, “notwithstanding” the extraordinary ability of Shawn Michaels. Can anybody on this show withstand anything? Shawn Michaels enters to a big reaction from the fans, proving that his appeal isn’t limited just to pre-teen girls, but to moms as well. In fact, a friend of a friend’s mom got hit on by Shawn Michaels backstage at a house show. Shawn points to himself and Yokozuna to gauge the crowd’s support. He’s going to need that if he is to defeat the 600-pounder in the Best Buns category at this year’s Slammy Awards. Shawn wants to get into the ring with Owen Hart so badly that he would put up his precious title shot, rather than letting Roddy Piper just make the match on his own. Owen Hart arrives at ringside to consult with Yokozuna.

After the break, Shawn hits a High-Risk Maneuver (#2 - moonsault) on Yokozuna, a Double Feature Maneuver (#3) that merits a replay for being such an Clever Maneuver (#4). Owen Hart, however, softens up Michaels after he is whipped to the buckle and spills to the outside. After a very long time outside the ring which somehow doesn’t draw a countout, Michaels returns to the ring and falls prey to Yokozuna’s famed nerve hold, then gets dropped with a back elbow.
Michaels avoids a leg drop just as Raw returns to air. he then leaps off the ropes for a High-Risk Maneuver (#5 - splash), a High-Risk Maneuver (#6) that backfires when Yoko moves out of the way. Yokozuna can now “polish off Shawn Michaels,” which is what HBK wants some of the MILFs at ringside to do later tonight. The Boy Toy fights back with flying forearms that fell Yoko, only to be caught mid-air and smashed into the corner. With Cornette distracting the ref, Yoko holds Michaels for an Owen Hart spinning heel kick, but Michaels escapes and lets Yokozuna get struck before delivering Sweet Chin Music for the victory. Camp Cornette has an argument before threatening Michaels, but Diesel comes in to help even the odds. Camp Cornette backs off and James E. challenges the Two Dudes With Attitudes to a match next week with Yokozuna and the Bulldog. It’s just like In Your House from September, except nobody has a title anymore and there won’t be a screwy finish!

Final tally:

6 Maneuvers (Year total: 26)
3 Notwithstandings


  1. Do you enjoy the WWF? I love laughing at your observations of it...but really?

  2. I loved the HHH "doing his best Beefcake impression... no, not smashing his face." The ripping apart of the Billionaire Ted sketch is pretty awesome, too. Always love giving these Raw recaps a read.