Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Raw #159 - May 13th, 1996

The WWF has just finished its tour of the Middle East, and Ahmed Johnson made history just yesterday as the winner of the first-ever Kuwait Cup, or, as Sgt. Slaughter would call it, the 19th Province of Iraq Cup. How will Ahmed deal with the jet-lag of crossing 9 time zones on a 21+ hour flight from Kuwait City to Sioux City? Just kidding! This episode was taped two weeks earlier, before the Kuwait Cup tournament even took place. As an amusing side note, i just discovered that the initials for Sioux City’s airport are SUX. After a brief and barely intelligible promo where he appears to say “Jeff Jarrett’s retarded” (actually, he says, “Jeff Jarrett’s guitar didn’t stop me”), Ahmed is interrupted by an obviously dubbed-in Jerry Lawler. Sunny then helps him prep for the match by rubbing oil on his chest, but Ahmed rebuffs her advances, saying that he was taught to take the trash out, not in. “He dissed her, McMahon!” says an outraged King. Ahmed takes on Zip of Sunny’s Bodydonnas.
Ahmed hops onto the ring apron with one leap. He knocks over Zip with multiple clotheslines before being distracted by an angry Sunny, who is “in one of those Kathy Lee Gifford moods,” says Lawler. I think that means her clothes were made in sweat shops. “You can bet Sunny’s not going to be turning the other cheek, McMahon,” says Lawler, referring to her buttocks. Ahmed just stands there, unfazed, with his hands on his hips like a black Roman guard. Vince no doubt likes what he sees and sketches out the costume for Faarooq Assad as he commentates. During the distraction, Skip and Zip execute Twin Magic (or “Clearly Not Identical Kayfabe Brother Magic”) to get an unfair advantage over Ahmed, but the Pearl River Powerhouse soon executes an electric chair drop to fell the illegal Bodydonna. We see this on a Double Feature, but Jerry thought he was already “seeing double” (referring to Sunny’s breasts). Ahmed then misses an elbow drop, but still has the presence of mind to counter Skip’s charge with a Nice Maneuver (#1 - back body drop). Zip then pulls another switcheroo, but the referee catches him (despite being Ahmed’s actual opponent). Ahmed hits the Pearl River Plunge and pins Skip.
The Ultimate Warrior, shown wearing a ball cap and sunglasses, explains rather coherently that you can fulfill your dreams at Warrior University, without actually explaining what Warrior University even is. I’m guessing it’s a wrestling school. It is based in Scottsdale, Arizona, and not Parts Unknown, no doubt to the disappointment of all the little warriors out there. Still, the $9.95 application fee includes a seminar by Warrior himself. I would have loved to see Warrior put out his own version of TED Talks, due to the famous lecture series’ avoidance of such important topics as Destrucity and What Do and Don’t Make the World Work.

“Well here comes a load!” says Vince as Vader comes to the ring. “Many would say, a real big load!” Vader will eventually agree with that sentiment in a promo following his loss to Kane at Over the Edge 1998. Vince asks Jim Cornette, who is at the commentary table, what he thinks of Vader’s match with “The Man They Call Yokozuna.” Geez, if Vince called every wrestler, “The Man They Call So-and-So,” Raw would have to expand to two hours. Duke the Dumpster Droese is dominated early on, but then hits a cross-body on Vader, sending them both over the top rope. Vince wonders if Droese will be able to “dump Vader into the trash bin;” he should have said, “toilet,” judging by what he called Vader at the top of this segment. You think McMahon comes with the TL Hopper gimmick during this match?
During the break, Vader threw Droese into the ring steps twice, allowing him to hit a Devastating Maneuver (#2 - splash) once Raw returns. Cornette says that if Yoko were thrown into the steps, it would “squash him,” so when Vader hits his splash, both he and the King say, “speaking of ‘squash’” at the exact same time, then laugh about it.Vince could have yelled, “jinx” right there. Vader pounds Duke with fists to the face, then uncharacteristically slaps on a chinlock. Dumpster eventually breaks out with a jawbreaker, then hits two clotheslines and a dropkick to put Vader down, allowing him to hit a very low headbutt between Vader’s legs. Dumpster then misses a splash from the top rope, Vader flattens Duke with a Devastating Maneuver (#3 - Vader Bomb) for the victory.
Vince McMahon interviews The Undertaker in what Jerry Lawler suspects will turn from horror show to Rocky Horror Picture Show when his opponent Goldust shows up. You know, I’ve never thought of the Dead Man wearing a teddy, but to each his own, Jerry. Vince asks The Undertaker how he will contend with Goldust, whom he calls “unquestionably… the single most bizarre individual in the history of the WWF.” Taker rightly points out the absurdity in asking a zombie and a pale, obese mortician with a ghostly voice about “bizarre” (though he doesn’t use those words). Goldust interrupts the proceeding by quoting 1993’s “Tombstone,” then hitting on the Undertaker, who is “so clammy and so stiff” and wears “Embalming Fluid No. 5” as cologne. He then offers for Taker to “lay” him in his coffin. Sorry, Goldy, but that’s his brother Kane’s territory. Just ask Katie Vick. He grasps Taker’s hands, but gets his arms twisted after telling him about rigor mortis, a stiffening of the muscles. Mankind then attacks Taker and puts him in the mandible claw, which Vince finally identifies by name, forcing his way down Taker’s throat, which you’d think would be Goldust’s job. He then uses his “bizarreness” on Taker, disrobing over top of him. “Bizarre” is Vince’s code word for “gay,” apparently. After enduring a few minutes of homo-erotic taunting, Taker sits up and scares the dickens out of Goldust. And yes, I said, “dickens.”
Aldo Montoya is on Raw once again for some reason, complete with dual spinning pyro wheels. His opponent is Justin Hawk Bradshaw, the future JBL. Both men would go on to have lengthy, undeserved world title reigns. Before the two lock up, Vince announces a live event in Baltimore, “notwithstanding” a show in Philadelphia. The tour ends in Madison Square Garden, where Hunter Hearst Helmsley will nearly throw his career away to bid public farewell to his Clique-mates, the future Outsiders. Uncle Zebekiah gets on commentary and says that Shawn Michaels is afraid of Bradshaw. Even before Jack Swagger, Zeb Colter was trying to put the belt on his mid-card clients. Bradshaw hits a gutwrench powerbomb for his first Maneuver (#4) of the night. His second Maneuver (#5)? A senton splash. Aldo gets a slight measure of offense in the form of dropkicks, including one such High-Risk Maneuver (#6) off the top rope. He soon meets Bradshaw’s big boot and gets flattened by the move later known as the Clothesline From Hell. After getting pinned, Aldo gets branded — a very painful process, I’m sure. That ink he and Zeb use can get pretty hot. The future Justin Credible never stood a chance against John Layfield. Now, the guy who will call his matches in ECW — he’ll knock him Bradshaw out with one punch. But Aldo? No way.

Vince narrates a series of clips from the recent WWF tour of Kuwait, somberly noting the toll taken by Iraq’s invasion of the country earlier in the decade. Most importantly to Vince, though, it was a serious blow to his Wrestlemania gate, thanks to his ill-advised exploitation of the Gulf War in 1991. Shawn Michaels speaks on how much of an honor it is for the WWF to be invited by the newly-free nation. Fortunately, no one at the WWF knows the Arabic for “Kliq Cam,” so we aren’t subjected to any of that asinine camcorder footage. Vince then compares Iraq’s aggression to the British Bulldog’s, who tries to drown Shawn Michaels in the Persian Gulf as part of a wrestling angle. When Steph compares 9/11 to Vince’s steroid trial, where do you think she picked up her knack for insensitive analogies? Bulldog’s swim suit is much less revealing than his ring gear. Bulldog rushes out of the water before he can finish the job; perhaps he saw a shark (or a Golga, or some other John Tenta gimmick).
Supposedly one day after the tour, Shawn is back in the U.S. to take on Hunter Hearst Helmsley , whose valet this week, Amy Peterson, is clearly not as classy a lady as the classy lady Sable. The next time these two Clique-mates would meet on Raw, it would be a joke match for the currently non-existent European Title. The camera catches a particularly homely Shawn Michaels fan, and Jerry wonders aloud if Shawn would even hit on her. “I’m not going to dignify those remarks!” exclaims Vince, who notes what an opportunity this non-title match against the champion is. Enjoy it now, Hunter, as after Sunday night’s MSG curtain call, it’s a race to the bottom for the American Blue Blood. While in an HHH waistlock, Shawn executes a Nice Maneuver (#7), a standing switch, but Triple H takes Shawn down multiple times, with Vince commenting on how distracted Shawn is and how frustrated he is becoming. He also mentions that Shawn must defend the title in a cage match this weekend (against Diesel, who goes unnamed), “notwithstanding In Your House against the Bulldog.”

After the break, Shawn drops Helmsley on his face, then walks the length of his back to antagonize Hunter. Shawn takes a break to gaze at Hunter’s valet, suckering the snob in by making him jealous. He then pulls Hunter over the ropes in a headlock, then drops him on his “prominent proboscis.” Guess which announcer says that? Shawn, Vince mentions again, must face the Bulldog at In Your House, “notwithstanding” HHH vs. Marc Mero. Is there anything that *can* withstand these matches, Vince? Hunter tries to break out of a Michaels headlock, but HBK grabs his nose and pulls him back in. Michaels leaps at Helmsley in the corner, but misses, draping himself over the top ropes, where he is easy prey for HHH’s kick, which sends him flying to the outside. Mr. Perfect comes down the aisle, fueling rumors that he is gunning for Michaels.
When Raw returns from commercial, Helmsley knocks a running HBK down with the Booty Man’s trademark move, the High Knee. He later tries to pull Shawn into the ring from off the apron, but Michaels counters with a Beautiful Maneuver (#8 - body press) for a two-count. Helmsley gets back up and hits some European uppercuts, which he either learned from former tag partner Steven Regal, or else in France during his childhood as Jean-Paul Levesque. Hunter is so impressive tonight, Lawler swears that Sable will come back to him on her hands and knees (although probably not on her hands, Lawler’s probably thinking).
Hunter has Shawn locked in a chinlock, which he uses for a series of pin attempts, until shortly after the return from commercial, when Shawn gets all his energy back and escapes. Hunter tries a Pedigree, but instead gets slingshot (slingshotted? slungshot?) into the turnbuckles. Shawn climbs the ropes for a High-Risk Maneuver (#9 - elbow drop), but it’s not enough for a three-count. Triple H tries either a powerbomb or a piledriver, but Shawn reverses it with a huracanrana takeover, which Hunter rolls through for a sunset flip, yielding a two-count. After another Pedigree attempt fails and is turned into a back body drop, Hunter gets hit with the superkick. Shawn gets the win, and Mr. Perfect walks off.
JR interviews the British Bulldog, and he even uses the word, “notwithstanding,” albeit appropriately. British Bulldog claims he’s not afraid of snakes, which is good, since he’s facing Jake Roberts next week “notwithstanding” his match against Michaels at In Your House. Bulldog cuts an unintelligible promo, perhaps hoping to best Ahmed Johnson at something after his arm-wrestling loss a few weeks ago.

Final tally:

8 Maneuvers (Year total: 76)
4 Notwithstandings


  1. I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoy reading these posts, notwithstanding your work on Wrestlecrap

  2. I can not for the life of me remember who won the Kuwaiti Cup before or after Ahmed Johnson.