Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Raw #149 - March 4th, 1996

Tonight, the build-up to Wrestlemania XII gets weird. The fate of the Ultimate Warrior is revealed (sort of), Goldust hits on Roddy Piper, and the upcoming Geriatric Match gets a boost from a mock-trivia show about Ted Turner’s “obnoxious, sexist, racist remarks” that have nothing to do with wrestling or WCW. In more conventional booking, both men in the Mania main event wrestle singles matches.

Shawn Michaels slaps hands on the way to the ring in his stripper gear, getting aggressively tugged… by his hands in every direction by the overzealous fans. 123 Kid tries to attack Michaels before the bell, but gets dispatched over the top rope, allowing Michaels to continue disrobing. The 123 Kid slaps on a headlock in the early moments, then takes Shawn down with a roundhouse kick. A near-fall on HBK’s part shifts the momentum in Michaels’s favor. Shawn clotheslines Kid over the top rope, then skins the cat back into the ring. Later, Kid dropkicks Michaels over the top, then hits a flying bodypress on Shawn to the arena floor, leading McMahon to demand a disqualification, even before DiBiase delivers a cheap shot. Bret Hart watches on and claims to have no personal animosity toward Michaels. Mark this date: March 4th, 1996, the last time Bret Hart will have nothing personal against Shawn Michaels.
The Kid maintains the advantage after the break, pinning Shawn for the 1-2-he got ‘im! No, he didn’t. Shawn kips up behind Kid’s back to get the jump on him, even scoring a “devastating” moonsault and a High-Risk Maneuver (#1 - flying elbow drop) before signaling for the super kick. The Kid hooks the ropes to stop short of Sweet Chin Music, then leads Shawn on a chase around the ring. Michaels avoids a top-rope leg drop and hits Sweet Chin Music for real this time for the victory. Vince plays up the “boyhood dream” angle. How ironic that the dream of a 12-year-old girl wants to fulfill the dream of a 12-year-old boy. Shawn then invites a little girl to prance with him.

Goldust then presents a very special version of Piper’s Pit (“edited for television” says the disclaimer). Goldy proceeds to lay down some of the most blatant innuendo ever uttered on WWF television about Piper being “literally huge.” As Dust rubs himself, he recalls Piper exploding a coconut over Jimmy Snuka’s head while he himself “erupted with pleasure like a rock hard mountain of lust.” Goldust says Piper could be one of the all-time Hollywood greats, but not the greatest — that’s Goldust’s title. He then blows the bagpipes suggestively.
Vince then narrates a video package gushing over The Ultimate Warrior while finding a way to bury Hulk Hogan, whom he calls, “the self-professed Immortal Hulk Hogan.” Warrior returns at Wrestlemania, says, Vince, without giving any details.

JBL makes his very first Raw appearance as Justiin “Hawk” Bradshaw, taking on Hakushi, whose home country of Japan he would honor in 2005 with an inflatable Godzilla. Accompanying Bradshaw, whom Vince compares to Stan Hansen, is Uncle Zebekiah, the current Zeb Colter. Roddy Piper is on the phone and assures us that he has picked an opponent for the Ultimate Warrior — but he won’t tell us who it is until next week. He also compares Goldust to Adrian Adonis and says he’s just playing mind games. Hopefully, his ghost won’t ever try to burn down his house. Bradshaw gives Hakushi a big boot, leaving him “disoriented.” Yes, we know he’s Oriental, Vince. No need to make a spectacle of it. Zeb is seen holding a branding iron with the initials, “JB,” which is a whole lot better than the “BJ” that Bradshaw would wear on his tights as part of the New Blackjacks. Bradshaw wins with a clothesline, then hogties him so Zeb can brand him… with ink. Very hot ink, I bet.
Mankind appears in another vignette, alluding to attacking his psychiatrist as a child.

Hunter Hearst Helmsley gets his name abbreviated as “H.H. Helmsley,” sort of like HH Gregg, but snobbier and Greenwich Connecticuttier. His valet is named, “Emerald Hart,” whom Lawler claims is the lone good-looking sibling in the Hart family.
This week, Dok Hendrix shills a Wrestlemania XII chair. If you order this week, then come PPV time, you can sit on it. Ayyy!

Jerry Lawler continues to claim that HHH’s valet is Bret Hart’s sister, to which Vince replies that the Hart sisters are much prettier than her. “You’re a liar, McMahon,” says Lawler, and Vince relents and admits that his “nose is growing a little bit.” We then see a clip from this weekend’s live event at the Meadowlands, where Bret gives his sunglasses to a little girl, who freaks out. “Thank you, Breeeeet!” Back in the ring, Helmsley starts off on offense until Hart hits a clothesline off the second rope. Jerry Lawler contradicts his previous claim that Hunter’s valet is Bret’s sister by saying that he asked her if she’d date Bret Hart, and she said she didn’t date outside her species (unlike Federation newcomer Phineas Godwinn). Shawn Michaels comes to ringside and sits down in a folding chair to get a better view of the match.
Bret has a hammerlock on Helmsley as we return from break, eventually scoring a near-fall with a body press. Helmsley rakes Hart’s face and tosses him through the ropes in front of fellow Clique-member Shawn. With Hart distracted at ringside, Helmsley tries to cheap-shot him but gets a punch to the gut instead. Vince wonders briefly whether HBK and HHH could be in cahoots. But Hunter’s a bad guy! They could never be friends. Helmsley hits a knee-lift for a Nice Maneuver (#2) to regain the advantage, then follows it up with lots of punches and Irish whips to the buckle.

Hunter attempts some kind of aerial move on Bret as Raw returns, but Bret sticks his foot up to stun the blue-blood. Bret then hits an inverted atomic drop, clothesline, bulldog, backbreaker, elbow smash, and a two-count pin to complete a sequence of moves somewhat resembling the mythical Five Moves of Doom, which I have still yet to see Hart complete in order. Hart gets mad at the referee, allowing HHH to roll up the Hitman for a two-count. Hunter jumps off the second-rope for yet another unknown aerial move, only to get caught by the Hitman and put into the Sharpshooter for a submission victory. Okay match, but not great, obviously, as Hunter has never had a great match according to Hart. Well, no great matches with Taker in a cell; I'll grant him that. HBK applauds and leaves ringside.
Up next is another skit with Billionaire Ted, who Vince claims “tries to buy everything on the planet” (except for all the old wrestling territories of the 1980s). Before the segment is a disclaimer that the following satire contains Ted Turner’s actual quotes. All of the damning quotes are from Ted Turner, which Billionaire Ted fails to recognize, but his airhead opponent always gets right by accident. Ted loses big and pulls the plug on the show, saying, “If you think I’m powerful now, wait till I get my hands on Time Warner.” Riveting stuff. On a related note, tonight’s Raw ran unoppposed, but next week's Nitro would beat Raw in the ratings, 3.2 to 2.9.

Final tally:

2 Maneuvers (Year total: 41)

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