Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Raw #165 - June 24th, 1996

It’s the night after King of the Ring, and the new king Hunter Hearst Helmsley is in action in the opening contest! Just kidding. Steve Austin won the crown, but Hunter is facing Ahmed Johnson, who last night overcame multiple acts of sexual molestation by Goldust to win the Intercontinental Title, becoming the first black singles champion in WWF history.

Ahmed holds Hunter in a tight headlock that would make Randy Orton jealous and probably ruin Johnson’s bags. Hunter turns the match around by pulling the ropes down and letting a charging Ahmed tumble to the outside. He follows this up with a Maneuver (#1 - baseball slide), yielding much celebration from Hunter’s valet for the night (who is obviously not as classy as the classy Sable). Helmsley continues the assault with a High-Risk Maneuver (#2), an axe-handle smash to Ahmed’s back. He then gets a rather slow two-count from official Harvey Wippleman. Goldust speaks on a split-screen, quoting Terminator and vowing, “I’ll be back.” He regrets saving Ahmed’s life last night (via mouth-to-mouth resuscitation) and doesn’t fear The Undertaker, his opponent at the next In Your House.
Hunter still has control of the match, having not wrestled on last night’s pay-per-view and therefore being fresh. Of the champagne-tinged celebration for Ahmed last night, Lawler claims to have seen Jake Roberts drinking, while Vince denies such a tasteless accusation and praises The Snake’s efforts last night, nearly winning the King of the Ring with bad ribs, “notwithstanding” Stone Cold Steve Austin and his stitches. Ahmed catches Hunter and puts him in a bearhug, followed by an inverted atomic drop and a pinfall that garners a very slow two-count that King says is way faster than how Harvey counts for Hunter. Ahmed sets up HHH for the Pearl River Plunge, but it gets countered; as Lawler says, “He who hesitates gets back-dropped.” Hunter’s valet applauds, so Jerry Lawler suggests a change in direction for the show: “Let’s see more of Julie and less of Ahmed.” He has a point; why is Ahmed the one who always gets a wedgie? Ahmed surprises Helmsley with a Pearl River Plunge for the victory. Dok Hendrix then comes to the ring for an interview with the new IC champion, refraining from telling him that he’s “more of a n***er” than Johnson and instead congratulating him on becoming the first ever African-American Intercontinental champion, a feat made possible by hard work, perseverance, and Vince keeping the strap off the Junkyard Dog the decade before. Ahmed tells “Mike… Dok” that he’s proud of his accomplishment, but he’s not going to defend the title just for African-Americans, but for everybody: black, white, red, or green. “Look at all those green people!” remarks Lawler. He also says that “Sweet Lips” can get his return match any time he wants. Both Vince and Dok say “Alright!” at the exact same time to close the interview.

Sunny makes her entrance to the Smoking Gunns’ music and footage from her own music video. She flirts with Vince and Jerry at the commentary table, proving Jim Ross’s comparison of her last night with Will Rodgers: she never met a man she didn’t have sex with. Or something. Vince wonders why Sunny won’t give the Bodydonnas a title shot, but only a non-title match at the next In Your House. Probably because they haven’t beaten anybody except the Tekno Team 2000. Sunny has nothing nice to say about the Donnas’ new manager, the drag queen Kloudi, but we see other entries from the Bodydonnas’ manager search, including one woman in a hand-bra whom Lawler really appreciates. Lawler riffs on the various video-taped entrants, comparing them to Kato Kaelin and the Zodiac killer. Kloudi, whose pointy “breasts” resemble the polygonal knockers of Tomb Raider’s Lara Croft, leaves the ring as the Bodydonnas start their match against the team of Jerry Fox and the Brooklyn Brawler. Forget what I said about Raw no longer using jobbers, then. Sunny hints that she’s going to bring in a singles wrestler to take one or both belts from Ahmed Johnson and/or Shawn Michaels, a promise she would make good on at the next Raw taping in a month. Vince is surprised that she is expanding beyond the tag team division, to which Sunny replies, “Do you think two men can keep Sunny occupied?” We said it was raw, folks! Sunny continues to speak ill of Kloudi, whom Vince describes as “vivacious.” Not classy, though. Skip hits a huracanrana on Fox, which Zip follows up with a flying butt splash for the victory. Sunny complains that everybody is cheering for the Bodydonnas now that she’s no longer with them. That’s not exactly true, as the arena is rather reserved in their applause. Kloudi chases Sunny off. Vince plays a video package about Shawn Michaels’s match next week with Marty Jannetty, telling the now-standard narrative about Shawn Michaels having all the post-Rockers success. Welcome to Insulting Archetype Land, Marty. Population: you. And Virgil. Kloudi then approaches the King, who climbs over the railing to avoid the transvestite fitness fanatic.
Camp Cornette comes to the ring for six-man tag action against the technically-not-jobber team of Barry Horowitz, Bob Holly, and Aldo Montoya. With all the lower-tier talent tied up in this team, it’s no wonder Vince had to put in two ham-and-eggers against the Bodydonnas tonight. When Vader, Bulldog, and Owen arrive in the ring, however, it is not Bob Holly as advertised earlier in the night, but Savio Vega. The multi-ethnic babyface team gets in a surprising amount of offense in during the early moments against the international team of heels, thanks to Savio Vega, but Vader tags in to take care of business. Still, Savio levels the “mastodon” with kicks, causing Owen Hart to tag in, while Savio tags in Aldo for some reason. Jerry Lawler can’t believe that three huge egos like Shawn Michaels, Ahmed Johnson, and Ultimate Warrior will be able to co-exist at International Incident against Camp Cornette, and he’s right; Warrior won’t even make it to the pay-per-view. Owen makes Aldo submit to the Sharpshooter.

Brian Pillman starts making his way to the ring just before the break, a new technique that Raw has been employing to try to hook viewers in. Before Raw returns, a commercial for Warrior University airs, featuring a man bench-pressing, then getting into a wheelchair and rolling off. the commercial sounds like it’s going to be a promo for the Special Olympics, which are going on around the same time. Not that I’m going to make generalizations about the intelligence of the average Warrior U applicant. Brian Pillman, who last night used such bad words as “ass” “hell,” and “son of a bitch,” wants to know when he’s going to get paid, to which Vince replies that he hasn’t wrestled yet. In reality, Pillman has signed the first-ever guaranteed contract in WWF history. Vince apologizes for Pillman’s remarks last night, “notwithstanding” those from tonight, while Steve Austin, Pillman’s former Hollywood Blondes partner, is in the ring. Austin is seen with stitches in his mouth, which he needed after his match with Marc Mero last night. all that trouble, and he doesn’t even get to wear the robe and crown! Undertaker then makes his entrance in darkness with “Paul Berra,” who is either Yogi’s brother or Taker’s long-time manager as pronounced by McMahon. After the lights go up and Undertaker takes off his hat, Austin attacks from behind as Lawler speculates that he’ll be the most prolific King of the Ring yet (even more so than Mabel). Jerry then harasses Paul Bearer at ringside, taunting him for accidentally hitting Taker last night with the urn, which King speculates is filled with Folger’s Crystals.
After the break, Austin works over Undertaker’s “ankle area.” Boos break out when Goldust ambles to ringside and comes to the announcer’s table, where Vince points out that “notwithstanding” a return match with Ahmed, he will be facing Taker at the next In Your House. Goldust calls their rematch a “sequel.”

Taker overshoots a jumping clothesline on Austin after the break, but recovers to deliver a chokeslam to Stone Cold. He signals for a Tombstone, but Goldust throws glitter in his face, drawing a disqualification. Austin beats up Taker after the bell, but the Dead Man fight back and drives the King of the Ring out of the ring. Way to put over the new King! “Paul Berra” holds up the urn for The Undertaker, who looks fabulous thanks to the glitter in his face. King tries to stir the… trouble between Bearer and Undertaker, accusing the manager of intentionally costing the Phenom the match last night, but Taker chases Lawler away.

Final tally:

2 Maneuvers (Year total: 110)
3 Notwithstandings
2 Paul Berras

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