Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Raw #146 - February 5th, 1996

Vince speculates that this Raw could be “one for the books,” perhaps because it’s already been taped and he’s seen the whole thing. Or maybe it’s because he booked the whole thing. Either way, Two Dudes with Attitudes take on Yokozuna and the British Bulldog in a rematch of the Triple Header match, except no one has a title anymore. Vince plays up the dissension-in-the-ranks angle for Camp Cornette by showing footage from last week, while a fan holds up a steamy poster of Shawn Michaels to show how much he loves dudes. With attitudes.
Shawn and Diesel play rock-paper-scissors to determine who starts off the match, then give each other the Wolfpac/Clique hand sign. Smith and Michaels have a pose-off of sorts that HBK wins by popular vote. Both men end up tumbling over the ropes, but Michaels skins the cat only to be jumped by Yokozuna, marking the last time “Yokozuna” and “jumped” would be used in the same sentence. Diesel lifts up his own partner and tosses him at the big man to knock Yoko down. The announcers promote the upcoming Billionaire Ted sketch “despite the threat of legal action,” agreeing that, yes, Turner did make distasteful comments about his own deceased father, who was of course never remotely affiliated with WWF, WCW, or any wrestling promotion. This is what is known in the TV biz as “jumping the shark.” Yoko and Diesel tag in officially, where Yokozuna hits a Maneuver (#1 - Samoan drop) that was devastating. Devastating, Vince repeats. A replay shows that the Maneuver (#2) was indeed devastating. Diesel tags Michaels back in, but he is quickly sent to the floor thanks to Bulldog pulling down the top rope. Davey Boy gets in some cheap shots outside before tagging in and hitting a delayed vertical suplex on Michaels. Camp Cornette doubles-teams HBK in the corner as Raw cuts to break.
Back on the air, Yokozuna slaps on a nerve hold, putting the viewers to sleep, but not Michaels. A “Davey Boy sucks” chant draws the Bulldog’s ire after Smith tags in. Yoko tags in and attempts a splash, but just like every other big move he ever attempts, it fails to connect as Shawn moves out of the way. Michaels steps on and over Yoko to tag Diesel, who cleans house with big boots. Shawn then tags back in and jumps off Big Daddy Cool’s shoulders for a splash. Bulldog’s attempt to break up the pin backfires, and Shawn superkicks Yoko to the arena floor. Owen Hart rushes to ringside, but he and Bulldog are unable to lift the Samoan back into the ring. Jim Cornette berates the big man after the match, and I quote, “verbally raping Yokozuna.” Yoko responds not by blowing a whistle, but by pummeling Jim Cornette, then shaking off Davey and Owen before waddling to the back to very slowly chase his former colleagues.
Another Mankind vignette airs, with Foley wondering whether he’s found a “hardcore home.” Jerry Lawler calls it, “ear-ie.” Also eerie is the upcoming episode of Silk Stalkings, which, according to Vince, is about the plot to murder a call girl-turned-model. Lawler says he will be watching, and I believe him. Hakushi takes on the 123 Kid in another PPV rematch, this time from Summerslam. The Kid, whose tag team partner Sid has disappeared without explanation (softball season not even starting for another three months)), brings a baby bottle to the ring in reference to his Crybaby Match with Razor Ramon. Hakushi gets caught in a headscissors, but flips out of it impressively. It’s almost enough to earn him another push. Almost. The White Angel blocks a hip toss attempt, but the Kid Rocker-drops out of it to land on his feet for a Nice Maneuver (#3). Vince congratulates the WWF Superstars for a successful ongoing tour in India, which drew over 30,000 spectators to a single stadium show. Part of that may have had to do with there being no security, allowing people off the streets to wander in for free and have no idea what they were even watching. The Kid hits a somersault plancha for a Devastating Maneuver (#4), then rolls him back into the ring to deliver a number of kicks before Raw goes to break.

The Kid continues his dominance after the break, and the announcers continue expressing disbelief at how terrible a person Ted Turner is. The Kid launches off the top rope but gets dropkicked in mid-air by Hakushi, which Vince calls a High-Risk Maneuver (#5). Hakushi keeps up his momentum with a patented Tito Santana flying burrito before diving off the top rope to the floor onto the Kid. The Kid surprises Hakushi in the ring with a spinning heel kick, a Devastating Maneuver (#6) that is one of his favorite moves. And Owen Hart’s. And Savio Vega’s. Hakushi still nearly ends the match with a roll-up, then attempts a High-Risk Maneuver (#7) off the top rope. The Kid instead dropkicks him, crotching him on the top turnbuckle to fall prey to a double-underhook superplex. The Kid picks up the pinfall.
Jim Cornette and a perturbed Clarence Mason demand Vader’s suspension be lifted, with the ersatz Johnny Cochrane demanding immediate, and he means immediate reinstatment, or else he will sue, and he means he will sue! Gorilla Monsoon then speaks to Vince about his injuries, which he describes in typical scientific Monsoon-style jargon. He also apologizes to the fans for responding as a wrestler to Vader’s aggression.
The Undertaker enters before Dok Hendrix announces the nominees for the “New Sensation” and “Minds Behind the Mayhem” Slammy Awards. A boy bearing a striking resemblance to that annoying kid who told Bret Hart, “Go get ‘im, champ!” shows off his Hitman t-shirt as the champion enters. Jerry Lawler explains that Monday Night Raw sponsor The U.S. Army has a “hyperlink” on the WWF AOL site in the “TV Zone” section. Yeah, that’s way easier than just advertising, “goarmy.com.” With the match underway, the Hitman must rely on his Maneuverability (#8). Or is that, “Maneuver ability”? The Undertaker, who has finally lost the ghoulish mask, will end up facing Diesel in a cage should he win the title tonight. Roddy Piper, who made that decision, has also created something called a “Triple Threat Match” for an upcoming live event (a match that will end up as a singles match due to Diesel’s injury). Diesel wanders down to ringside to perform commentary. Could this be the Genesis of his TNA “Chet Lemon” persona?
After the break, The Undertaker tosses Bret Hart to the outside and works him over on the railing, then delivers “Current-School.” He then bounces off the ropes and hits his flying clothesline for a Maneuver (#9). Undertaker sets up Hart for a tombstone, but Hitman’s foot knocks over referee Tim White unconvincingly. The two men continue wrestling, and Hart works over the leg as if setting up for the Sharpshooter, despite the fact that Undertaker has never submitted. Diesel attacks Bret Hart on the outside, drawing Undertaker to the outside to drive away Big Daddy Cool. Diesel returns with a chair, knocking Taker down and jackknifing him in the ring twice. During the commercial break, a “mee-lay” ensues between Bret and Diesel, ending the match in a no-contest.

Finally, it’s the moment everyone’s been waiting for: the next Billionaire Ted skit! Last week, Ted dodged questions about screwing over wrestling fans by putting his show head-to-head with Raw. In this week’s skit, which follows a Raw featuring zero squash matches, a title match, and two major angles in an effort to compete with new rival WCW Nitro, Ted continues to field questions at a press conference, some of which may have something to do with wrestling. Ted admits that his “plaything” of a company has lost millions of dollars over the years (although things are about to pick up real soon). The next question deals with Ted’s upcoming merger with Time-Warner. Ted deserves to be grilled on this. After all, he doesn’t care about wrestling, just about destroying his competitor by any means! On a related note, Vince McMahon mournfully notes that an anti-Turner ad warning Time-Warner stockholders of Ted Turner’s ego and blind hatred of the WWF was rejected by the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

Final tally:

9 Maneuvers (year total: 35)

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