Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Raw # 148 - February 26th, 1996

Sunny warns us of the (porno)graphic nature of tonight’s Raw. These pre-show vignettes by Tammy Sytch really do make Raw look filthier than it is. I do like the resulting thumbnails it creates for my blog posts, though.
Isaac Yankem faces Jake Roberts in The Snake’s first-ever match on Raw, and Jerry Lawler is spooked by the reptile in Jake’s bag. The battle of the DDS vs. the DDT opens up with Roberts on offense as Vince mentions Jake’s interview on the Action Zone. Roberts has conquered his demons, he says, despite what the next 15 years would suggest. Isaac Yankem gains the upper hand and works over Jake methodically, then signals for the “DDS,” which Roberts counters by grabbing the rope. Roberts then hits the original DDT for the victory, but leaves without taking Revelation, his new snake, out of its bag.
A video package airs of fans urging Roddy Piper to bring the Ultimate Warrior back to the WWF. How strange that all of a sudden, fans miss the Warrior, coincidentally around the same time that WCW is threatening WWF’s ratings. Considering Jake Roberts’s and Roddy Piper’s recent returns, it’s a good thing the Billionaire Ted skits are no longer criticizing WCW for relying on stars from the 80s.
Diesel takes on an overmatched Bob Holly, who did manage to score a pinfall victory over Sycho Sid at a house show in January, just before Sid feigned a neck injury to avoid being jobbed out further. The announcers note Diesel’s recent shoulder injury which, incidentally, resulted in the first-ever Triple Threat match being cancelled and turned into a singles match between Bret Hart and the Undertaker. Vince brings up Diesel’s destruction of Taker’s casket last week, while noting that caskets don’t fight back (nor do basketballs hold grudges). Diesel gets paranoid during the match, suspecting that The Undertaker could be under the ring and feeling around with his foot for a trap door. Diesel does his standard corner routine of knees and punches to Sparky Plugg, who manages to get in a bit of offense, including the Best Dropkick in the Business, but is greeted with boos from the crowd.
After the break, Diesel hits the jackknife for the victory. Diesel taunts the Undertaker, but as he walks up the aisle, Taker’s music hits and the lights go out. Taker appears in the ring when the lights go up, and Diesel tries to charge into the ring, but the lights go out again, leaving Diesel alone in the ring. The lights go out yet again, with Taker appearing on the video wall.
Al Snow makes his return to Raw after his disastrous debut as Avatar. This time, he’s under the mask yet again as Shinobi. Actually, he’s wearing several masks; first, a ninja hood, then a Kabuki mask, and finally a more traditional wrestling mask with a fake pony tail sticking out. A very oily Ahmed Johnson, who was honored today in Cleveland for his work against gang violence, takes on the “martial arts expert” who follows in the tradition of such other great Asian wrestlers as Kwang and Kato. In fact, he even enters to the same generic “Oriental” music that Bull Nakano and Orient Express used to use. Goldust recites a poem about Roddy Piper over the phone, wondering when he will “get to play that bagpipe.” Razor Ramon has just been suspended for wanting to jump to WCW, I mean, drugs, so Goldust is being hastily slotted into a feud with Piper for Wrestlemania. After the ninja intentionally botches a springboard jump, Ahmed Johnson hits a Devastating Maneuver (spinebuster) before dropping Shinobi with the Pearl River Plunge. Mankind then delivers a promo about his mother making him play piano that is much better than it sounds.

Todd Pettengill promotes the Wrestlemania 12 t-shirt with the help of a comely model, while Dok Hendrix recaps the latest happenings in Shallow Talent Pool Awareness Month — I mean, the tag team tournament. This past weekend on Superstars, Bulldog and Owen beat Hakushi and Barry Horowitz, while next week, Marty Jannetty and Henry Godwinn face off, teaming with their respective clones in a match where a dog takes a dump in the ring.
Vince is in the ring to introduce Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart for an interview. Bret is dressed as Sgt. Pepper, while Shawn is in his stripper gear. HBK says that Bret is the best there was, and possibly the best there will be, but not the best there is, drawing boos from a large segment of the crowd (the segment with deep voices). Bret disagrees, drawing boos from the women and children. Shawn shows off what great condition he is in by pulling down the front of his tights to display his fab abs. Bret responds by comparing himself to the Energizer Bunny. Roddy Piper comes to the ring, telling the fans not to boo either man. Then he promises that there will be a winner, and it won’t be decided by a fluke, so the match will be decided by whoever can score the most falls in one hour. A very young Art0Donnell told his brother that the stipulation was who could make the other guy fall down the most in one hour, not understanding what a “fall” was. That match stipulation has still never been used.
Jim Ross invites us to call the WWF Superstar Line to find out whether Goldust and Roddy Piper are a couple. I say yes. What about you? I mean, ever since Roddy came into the picture, Goldust has been obsessing over him and not Razor Ramon, who has gone completely unmentioned this episode.
Next, Owen Hart and the British Bulldog take on Yokozuna, who is scheduled to face Vader at Wrestlemania, in a handicap match. Owen ducks Yokozuna’s attempt at a lock-up and celebrates that fact in grand fashion. Owen attempts to Irish-whip Yokozuna, who is way too heavy to be flung around by that move. Come to think of it, anyone heavier than fifty pounds is too heavy to be Irish-whipped. Both Camp Cornette stablemates abandon the rules to double-team the big man as Raw goes to commercial.
Owen Hart misses a diving headbutt on Yoko after the break. He then tags in Bulldog, but the crowd’s attention is drawn away as Vader comes to ringside. He clotheslines Yokozuna in the ring, drawing a disqualification as the three heels subdue the big man. Good guys Ahmed Johnson and Jake Roberts, both of whom happened to be booked on this episode, storm the ring to even the odds and drive out Camp Cornette.
Next up, it’s Larry Fling Live, with guests Nacho Man and Huckster, both of whom “sold out to Billionaire Ted.” I guess that means Vader, Steve Austin, and Mankind “sold out” to Vince McMahon? Larry says the two wrestling stars bring him fond memories of his childhood. He asks, “How’s Liz,” to which they both responds, “She’s not so great,” then stare each other down with suspicion. After calling them has-beens, Larry gets threatened and has to fend off Huckster with a lady’s shoe. Huckster says he’s going to win the Geriatric Match at Wrestlemania for the “Huckstermaniacs who buy my merchandise.” Savage says they only wear it becuase it’s given out for free and they’re promised to be on TV if they wear it (both of which were true). Huckster then drops Savage and many stagehands with comically weak chair-shots that a young Art0Donnell was amused to find soon after were very accurate. It’s a funny segment about how old and hokey WCW’s wrestlers are, which is great, because next week’s Billionaire Ted skit is neither funny nor has anything to do with wrestling.

Final tally:

1 Maneuver (Year total: 39)

1 comment:

  1. The Ted sketches were hit and (mostly) miss, but this one was probably the best and most entertaining, ignoring the childish nature and tactics WWE and WCW were pulling. Nacho Man's rant about the merchandise and Huckster's pathetic chair shots (complete with goofy, cartoon sound effects) were just awesome.