Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Raw #151 - March 18th, 1996

Vince’s opening narration announces Diesel’s heel turn, which occurred at last night’s house show at Madison Square Garden. We are also promised another Billionaire Ted segment, this time involving the FTC. Oh boy!

British Bulldog and Jake Roberts face off in the opening bout, which Vince assures us will have more action than last night’s Mike Tyson-Frank Bruno fight. McMahon never misses an opportunity to take a cheap shot at boxing. The Snake hits a Nice Maneuver (#1 - hip toss) on the Bulldog, but gets backed into the corner upon attempting the DDT. This weekend on Superstars, we are told, Jake Roberts issued a challenge to Camp Cornette for a six-man tag match at Wrestlemania (a way for him and Ahmed Johnson to save the dreadfully out-of-shape Yokozuna from the embarrassment in a singles match). At the Heroes of Wrestling PPV three years later, Yoko would return the favor when he and King Kong Bundy came to the ring for an impromptu tag match, sparing Jake further embarrassment after he showed up completely wasted. This weekend on Superstars, Jerry Lawler promises to compete in a never-before-attempted match, which turns out to be one where he announces while wrestling. Roberts hits Bulldog with the DDT, but gets pulled out of the ring by Jim Cornette before he can get the three count. In retaliation, Jake chases Cornette around the ring with his snake, getting counted out in the process.
We see more training footage for the Iron Match. Shawn is training with the “legendary” José Lothario, who keeps pushing a giant bag in front of him to block Shawn’s punches. What a coward! On the other hand, Bret Hart is training in Calgary with his father, Stu. More importantly, though, he has several Hasbro figures on display, including the Repo Man and The Dragon. Hart takes exception to Michaels’s dancing, claiming that the Iron Man Match is not going to be a dance marathon. Aw, nuts! I think he just torpedoed Wrestlemania’s buy rate.
Fatu, who is billed at a slim, trim 299 pounds, takes on Goldust, who has a lady fan at ringside imitating his suggestive body-rubbing. “That’s no lady,” says Lawler. presciently “That’s Chastity Bono!” Given Chastity’s 2010 gender re-assignment, it’s safe to say that Chaz Bono is certainly no lady. Goldust competes in a kilt, much like a certain other legendary wrestler. One of the Headbangers, I think, or possibly Raven. Not Roddy, though; he always wrestled in tights. Fatu repeatedly slaps Goldust’s butt before Raw goes to commercial.
Roddy Piper is on the phone and is not happy with Goldust’s choice of attire (in fact, he’s “plenty PO’ed) as the Bizarre One stands over Fatu and gives him an up-skirt view. Goldust wins with the Curtain Call. Next, Vince narrates highlights The Ultimate Warrior’s defeat of Randy Savage at Wrestlemania VII.

Camp Cornette is in the ring next to address Ahmed, Jake The Snake, and Yokozuna’s challenge. No, not their competition to put on the most weight by the year 2000. I mean their challenge to Camp Cornette to a six-man tag match. British Bulldog claims to be the strongest athlete in the “World Wrestling Foundation,” not Ahmed Johnson, while Owen Hart claims to have carried Yokozuna in their tag team title reign (which, while obviously not literally true, is true in the sense that Owen did most of the in-ring work). The trio and Jim Cornette accept the challenge, but Yokozuna and friends appear in a pre-recorded video from earlier tonight. They say that the fine print in the contract states that Yokozuna gets five minutes in the ring with Cornette if his team loses. Yoko then Banzai-drops an effigy of his former manager, whose head is a balloon with a Cornette Face.
Barry Horowitz gets his first Raw match in a while against Diesel, who, as noted earlier, turned against his friend Shawn Michaels. Michaels then vowed to “kick his seven-foot ass,” which is a bit of an exaggeration. Now, if he were talking about Yokozuna, yes, that estimate might be true, but only if you measured the whole way around like he was being fitted for a pair of pants. Diesel checks under the ring during his entrance, making sure Hornswoggle isn’t hiding under there. Or The Undertaker. Yeah, probably The Undertaker.

Diesel gets straight to “work” on Horowitz, if you can call it that, immediately backing Barry into a corner and attacking him with knee lifts. Paul Bearer rolls a casket to ringside, distracting Diesel and allowing Horowitz to inflict some offense on the seven-footer. Diesel regains the advantage and pins Horowitz with his hands, but only scores a two-count. He then punches Barry in the face and pins him again, this time for three. Diesel then takes a wrench and approaches the casket, but when he opens it, it’s not The Undertaker inside, but something wrapped in plastic. Laura Palmer? No, it’s a wax figure of Diesel. “Diesel just saw Diesel!” says McMahon.
The Slam of the Week is narrated by Todd Pettengill, who does a voice-over reminiscent of Bob Saget on America’s Funniest Home Videos. Fortunately, this feature would soon be dropped from the highlight segment. This week’s “slam” was an actual slam, delivered last week by Mark Henry on Jerry Lawler.

A commercial for USA’s Tuesday Night Fights advertises “the man they call ‘Butterbean,’” who four years later would end Bart Gunn’s WWF career in a “Brawl for All” match at Wrestlemania XV.
Tatanka wrestles his Raw match against The Hitman, which is also his last WWF match to be filmed until his loss to Eugene on Raw in 2005. Minutes into the match, the 123 Kid comes to ringside, “flaring his lats as if he’s 285 pounds or something,” complains McMahon. Jerry Lawler complains about having to listen to Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels talk about how much they respect each other; the next decade should be very entertaining for Lawler, then.

Tatanka has Hart in a chinlock when Raw returns to break. “Bret Hart is not thinking about Wrestlemania right now,” assures Vince. Of course; when you look at Tatanka in 1996, the last thing you think of is “Wrestlemania.” Bret hits Tatanka in the gut as he attempts a tomahawk chop, then proceeds to execute something resembling the fabled “Five Moves of Doom”: a Russian leg sweep, inverted atomic drop, clothesline, backbreaker, and elbow smash, followed up by a Sharpshooter attempt. Dibiase distracts the referee, allowing 123 Kid to restrain the Hitman, who escapes just in time to let Tatanka collide with his Corporation teammate. Hart wins with a school-boy roll-up.
Raw closes with a skit involving Billionaire Ted and the “Federal Turner Commission,” which promises to be a barrel of laughs. The "FTC" suits accuse Ted of trying to create a monopoly, even trying to put Vince McMahon out of business! The humorless and hypocritical segment parodies the “You can’t handle the truth” scene from “A Few Good Men.” Raw closes with a voice-over urging viewers to write to Robert Pitofsky of the Federal Trade Commission.

Final tally:

1 Maneuver (Year total: 44)

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