Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Raw #152 - March 25th, 1996

Shawn Michaels kicks off Raw by augmenting his male stripper gimmick with a Japanese tourist gimmick, coming to the ring with a camcorder to film everything in sight. After Shawn puts away the “Kliq Cam,” he introduces his hometown San Antonio crowd to Supersock José Lothario. Considering Michaels is the “Sexy Boy,” shouldn’t Lothario be “Supersoxy?” Or is the name “Lothario” sexual enough?
Shawn’s opponent is the “dorky” Leif Cassidy, the Marty Jannetty clone brought in to complete the “New Rockers” tag team. Actually, he was brought in last October as Avatar, then as Shinobi the ninja, and would later wrestle in the Federation as Al Snow. Leif repeatedly shakes Shawn’s hand while Bret Hart moseys to ringside. Jerry Lawler makes himself scarce, claiming he left his car lights on so he doesn’t have to sit with Hart. The action in the match takes a backseat to the commentary, as Bret and Vince discuss the Iron Man match. Marty Jannetty comes to ringside shortly before the commercial break.

Bret talks about “nine cheerleaders” having beaten up Shawn Michaels in Syracuse, which is about as believable a story as the official “nine thugs” story. Leif attempts an “alley-oop,” setting him up like a powerbomb but dropping him face-first. That was the idea, I think, but Michaels ends up hitting the top rope with his legs and gets whipped down to the mat. Cassidy hits one superplex on HBK, but on the second attempt, Shawn counters with a Gordbuster off the second rope. Marty Jannetty trips Michaels as he runs the ropes, then grabs Shawn’s tights and pulls him to the corner; if Shawn tries to run, he’ll end up getting his pants pulled down. Clearly, Marty has not been keeping up with Shawn’s antics for the past two years, as this will not be a deterrent. Bret Hart takes exception to the interference and pushes Jannetty. Shawn hits the superkick for the win. Shawn storms out of the ring to get to Jannetty, shoving Hart aside. The two Mania opponents then get into each other’s face, and viewers the world over are wondering whether this will be the time when they finally kiss. Instead, the two are pulled apart, and Bret gives Vince a brief interview, reiterating that he will punish Shawn Michaels for 60 minutes on Sunday.
Aldo Montoya gets an unusual amount of pyro for a glorified jobber. I guess the Federation has to get behind all of its athletes, so the fireworks is a kind of athletic supporter. His opponent is Hunter Hearst Helmsley, who at Wrestlemania faces the Uuuuuultimate Warrior, whom Vince compares to a comet, the very one that Jerry Lawler claims distracted him outside the arena and kept him from returning to commentary last match. That comet is the Hyakutake, and not the Hale-Bopp comet, which inspired the Heaven’s Gate cult and would therefore have been a much more apt comparison to the Warrior. Aldo opens the ropes so that Hunter’s escort can leave. Last time I used the word, “escort” in a post, I got a bunch of spam comments. As Hunter dominates Montoya, Jerry Lawler speculates that the Warrior will show up to Mania 200 pounds overweight and with a crew cut, but Vince thinks Warrior will deliver an award-winning performance. A Wrestlecrap induction counts as an award, right? Aldo delivers a series punches, prompting Lawler to compare hi to Pat Buchanan for never quitting. Montoya then delivers a Nice Maneuver (#1 - flying body press) out of the corner, followed up by a flying head scissors. He then climbs the ropes for another High-Risk Maneuver (#2 - flying body press). Nonetheless, Hunter hits the pedigree for the victory.

In a segment “edited for television,” Goldust appears on a Hollywood backlot with a mannequin dressed up as Roddy Piper, whispering seductively it before smashing it against a wall (less seductively).
The Undertaker and Paul Bearer deliver an in-ring promo, but not before Dok Hendrix pitches a “100% wool blend” Wrestlemania jacket with leather sleeves and your name embroidered on it. And you can have it for only 3 monthly payments of $59.95! The Toddster also announces the debut of Mankind next week, which is ominous considering that he will immediately feud with the Dead Man, who is in the ring. Paul Bearer recaps the entire feud between Diesel and Undertaker, conveniently allowing the production truck to play the appropriate clips along with his narration. The Undertaker says he will leave in the ring “the carcass of one Big Daddy Coooool.” And if you think he sounds ridiculous saying that in his “Dead Man” voice, just wait till the Slammy Awards this Saturday, when he will say, “Nice ass” and “I wouldn’t be cuaght dead in that!”

The Toddster announces the last Slammy Awards categories. One can also vote on the WWF’s AOL site. I bet there will be a lot of ballot-stuffing given the online voting option; at least there would be, were it not probably faster to just mail in a physical ballot then make your picks on dial-up internet. Dok Hendrix sings with the Raw Band, along with Ken Ryan and Crossover, before JR narrates the last set of training videos for the Iron Man Match. We see a black-and-white video package with dramatic music playing and the phrase “boyhood dream” being used another ten or so times. Bret Hart swims in his pool, then says that Shawn Michaels would one day take his spot, the same way he did with Randy Savage. I think he means, “The Nacho Man.”
A very oily Ahmed Johnson stares down Owen hart before their match. Owen’s attempt to show off his muscles draws a sarcastic reaction from Johnson as Vince brags about how great Wrestlemania will be and that there is “no over-the-hill gang here.” Excluding Warrior, Roddy Piper, and, of course, Jake Roberts. The British Bulldog ventures to ringside to join James E. and Owen Hart, his allies in Camp Cornette (not to be confused with the summer music program my brother attended for trumpet lessons). Ahmed mocks Owen’s size disadvantage by attempting a musclelock from one knee. Bulddog distracts Ahmed, allowing Owen to heel-kick him over the top rope. Davey attacks the wedgied Ahmed before the commercial

After the break, Ahmed is back in control, hitting the spinebuster and setting up for the Pearl River Plunge before Davey Boy interferes and draws the DQ. Vader comes to ringside and helps Camp Cornette triple-team Ahmed, but Yokozuna and Jake Roberts even up the odds yet again. Vince and Jerry Lawler run down the whole Wrestlemania card as Vader tosses the ring steps. One Bret Hart music video later, and it’s time for Wrestlemania 12!

Final tally:

2 Maneuvers (Year total: 46)
1 Ahmed Johnson wedgie

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