Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Raw #167 - July 8th, 1996

Tonight’s top story: The Ultimate Warrior has been suspended! After no-showing multiple live events, Gorilla Monsoon has suspended Warrior indefinitely until he posts a bond. However, Warrior will be wrestling tonight as advertised because Monsoon is such a fan-friendly President. And also because his match was filmed two weeks ago.

The fans love Warrior as much as ever, despite going AWOL at house shows. If the fans don’t care, I guess Warrior might as well stay! Vince speaks with Ahmed and Shawn Michaels about whom the they have chosen as a replacement partner for International Incident, “notwithstanding” their title defenses next week on Raw. Michaels says they’re not going to drag out the announcement, but he doesn’t give up the details. Ahmed doesn’t name the new partner, either… I think. It’s hard to tell sometimes when the Pearl River Powerhouse is talking. Vince speculates that it’s Mr. Perfect, while Jerry guesses OJ Simpson, Daryl Strawberry, and the streaker from Wimbledon. Meanwhile, in the ring, Warrior clotheslines Owen Hart a bunch of times, including one that sends him over the top rope and to the outside. Warrior, whom Vince praises for his ability to focus despite his impending suspension, keeps control of the Slammy Award-winning Owen Hart, whose tights have been modified to reflect that accolade. A spinning heel kick and clotheslines from Hart have no effect on the Ultimate Warrior, who is going out like a champion: by making the rest of the roster look weak and ineffectual.
Owen mocks Warrior’s “press slam” motion as he works over the man from Parts Unknown, choking him out with his boot and the ropes. When the referee gets distracted, Cornette hits the babyface with his tennis racket. After hitting an enziguiri, Owen celebrates with his Slammy, then knocks Warrior over with a flying dropkick, but Warrior kicks out “with authority” from a pin attempt and a Sharpshooter attempt. Warrior then hulks up, clotheslining Owen thrice as the Bulldog comes to ringside. After a shoulderblock, Warrior gets jumped by the Bulldog, but easily thwarts him. Vader then comes to the ring and is at first held off by Warrior, but then successfully triple-teams the departing Warrior along with his Camp Cornette teammates. Warrior gets sent packing by a Vader Bomb. Raw then goes to commercial, with Shawn and Ahmed (being in the WWF Studio) failing to show up and even the score. Perhaps a run-in was filmed, but never aired, for storyline purposes?

After Warrior gets helped backstage, Shawn Michaels gives another clue as to the identity of the new partner, saying he has had his differences with him in the past. Savio Vega makes his entrance and nearly gets hit with a crutch by Brian Pillman, who is escorted to the back by JJ Dillon. Savio dances in the ring, dressed in a vest decorated with the U.S. and Mexican flags, reflecting two countries in which he wasn’t born. We see a clip of Savio and Justin Hawk Bradshaw from May, hitting each other with a Caribbean strap and a bull rope, respectively. The announcers plug the new WWF Magazine (featuring Marc Mero and Sable on the cover), which leads Jerry to wonder about Sable’s “infatuation” with Marlena and whether she was the Wimbledon streaker. When King does see Sable topless in 1998, he won’t recognize her from Wimbeldon, so I doubt she was the streaker. Vince notes the similarities between Bradshaw and Vega, saying that they both have “short fuses.” No wonder JBL needs the overcompensate with the big hat and limo. Vega hits his patented Kwang-like spinning heel kick in the corner to the outside, the night’s first Maneuver (#1), on Bradshaw, who was recently upset by newcomer Freddie Joe Floyd (Tracey Smothers), a member of the “Kiss of Death Five” who will all start jobbing real soon. Bradshaw locks Vega in a sleeper hold for a moment, but Vega elbows out only to get hit with the big boot. “Who do you think Shawn Michaels and Ahmed Johnson are gonna team up with?” asks Vince. Jerry replies that Vince just said the answer. Vince doesn’t understand that he has been caught in the old Abbott & Costello routine, referring to the new wrestler “Who” (Jim Neidhart). That’s probably because the joke would only work if Vince asked simply, “Who is going to be Shawn and Ahmed’s partner?” and Lawler said, “yes.” Savio Vega splashes Bradshaw, who tries to roll out of the way, but instead Savio just lands on Hawk’s back. Later, Justin telegraphs a back body drop, allowing Savio to counter with a Maneuver (#2), throwing him on his back. Mr. Perfect calls in on a cell phone…
…but by the time Raw returns, his call has been lost. Those kooky cellular phones never work! After pumphandle-slamming Vega, Bradshaw shoulder blocks him from the top rope, then tries to piledrive him but gets back-dropped. Speculation continues to abound among the announcers, from Mr. Perfect to José Lothario to eighty-one-year-old Anthony Quinn. Guess which announcer suggested those last two. Zeb hooks Vegas’s ankle as he runs the ropes, tripping him but causing Bradshaw to miss his clothesline, leading to a Vega victory. And angry Bradshaw hits Vega with the cowbell after the match. Fortunately, this is before that Saturday Night Live skit, so there are no hackneyed quips about needing more cowbell. Vega suffers from a “branding” to his face after the match. Shawn Michaels then tells us that he and Ahmed just got off the phone with their partner, who was on his car phone, fueling speculation that it’s Mr. Perfect. “Notwithstanding” that, both men on camera will defend their titles against individual members of the Smoking Gunns.
Footage airs from the WWF’s recent live events, including Shawn Michaels with his infernal Kliq Cam. Ahmed Johnson, clearly not raking in as much cash as expected during his Intercontinental Title reign, can only afford half a shirt.
The British Bulldog and Vader are in the ring against the Godwinns, and guest commentator Jim Cornette is ecstatic that the Ultimate Warrior has been suspended and will never wrestle another match. Vince assures us that the Warrior will be back, but he never will wrestle another match in the Federation. Henry Godwinn surprises everyone with a Maneuver (#3), a vertical suplex on the massive Vader. Godwinn then shoulderblocks Vader off his feet, which Cornette spins as Vader slipping on goat urine on the mat. Oldest excuse in the book. Vader gets the better of Phineas after he tags in, then brings Bulldog in as the new legal man. The younger Godwinn, who was “smitten by Sunny, slopped her recently.” Good luck explaining that one to the non-wrestling fans in the room. Cornette runs down the dubious list of accomplishments of his clients, such as the fact that Bulldog was the first person to pin HBK since he won the title, and Vader was the first person to beat Ahmed Johnson. Later, Vader splashes Henry, but only gets a two-count to the consternation of Cornette, who criticizes the officiating of Jimmy Korderas. Vader then hits the Vader Bomb on Henry Godwinn’s back, but the hog farmer even kicks out from that.

After the break, Vader bats the sides of the former Shanghai Pierce’s head, then tries to corner-splash him, only for Henry to counter with a World’s Strongest Slam. Phineas gets the hot tag and nearly pins Bulldog, but Vader drops the elbow to break up the pin. All four men get in the ring, and amid the confusion, the Bulldog lands the running powerslam on Phineas for the victory.
This week on the Superstar Line, you can find out more about the “alleged love triangle” involving Goldust, Marlena, and Sable, and which somehow or another involves Mankind. Jim Cornette is supposedly back in the locker room (rather than sticking around at the announcers’ table, since no one knew Warrior would be suspended when the episode was filmed two weeks ago). But he’s got to be at Monday Night Raw, right? Just look at the big logo behind him! Cornette gloats, thinking Shawn and Ahmed haven’t found a replacement for Warrior, until Sid shows up after his long absence due to a fake neck injury.

Final tally:

3 Maneuvers (Year total: 118)
2 Notwithstandings

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