Saturday, August 9, 2014

Raw #168 - July 15th, 1996

Shawn and Ahmed nearly had a scuffle earlier tonight with Camp Cornette, but fortunately, Tony Garea and Rene Goulet were there to break up the proceedings before the fists and fanny packs could fly. Tonight, both babyfaces defend their respective titles against Billy and Bart Gunn.
Bart is in the ring to take on Ahmed Johnson, the People’s Intercontinental Champion. On the outside, Sunny makes up a song a la Linda Belcher about having two titles. She then offers her hand to Lawler for a kiss, then offers a handshake to Vince before pulling her hand away and laughing. Jerry asks Vince if he can imagine Sunny wearing all four belts of the WWF, then accuses McMahon of picturing her with just the belts and nothing else (sort of like Shawn Michaels in Playgirl). Bart Gunn cheap-shots Ahmed after a handshake and proceeds to work over his shoulder, but then puts him in the figure-four for some reason, using Sunny for leverage. King can’t believe that Ahmed and Shawn can trust Sycho Sid as their partner at International Incident, and Vince agrees that choosing Sid could be seen as a Desperate Maneuver (#1). Vince then updates us on the “dialogue” between the WWF and Ultimate Warrior’s lawyers, which will not come to anything.

Bart continues to be in control of Ahmed, bulldogging him after the return from break, then jumping off the ropes for another bulldog. Things turn around for Ahmed when he crotches Bart on the top rope, a Maneuver (#2) that allows him to tackle the cowboy to the outside. Johnson then busts Bart’s spine and hits the Pearl River Plunge for the victory.
As Marc Mero and Sable walk down the aisle for Mero’s match with TL Hopper, they are stopped by Goldust’s usher, who brings Sable a gold-wrapped gift that Sable throws to the ground. TL Hopper gets his own entrance, complete with toiler-flushing sound effects. Hopper is a skilled plumber, “notwithstanding” his wrestling ability. Mero wrestles circles around the toilet expert (counter-clockwise, of course). Sable is “gorgeous” and “just as nice as she is beautiful,” says McMahon, in case you forgot, which is also why Vince further repeats himself about TL Hopper being a great wrestler “notwithstanding his ability to clean your drains.” Wildman attempts a back body drop, but telegraphs the Maneuver (#3).

After the break, Hopper continues to have his way with Mero, who Jerry Lawler claims is having a panic attack, like 34% of Americans. Thanks, Jerry. Lawler also claims to have hired Hopper to clean hair out of his drain, a problem he claims Vince doesn’t have due to his baldness. Vince implies that he often has trouble when his toupee goes down the drain before quickly changing the subject. Mero makes a comeback and knocks Hopper out with his famous mean left hook, picking up the pinfall win. He and Sable celebrate as Jerry compares the valet to “Harriet the Spy.” A confused Vince asks him what he’s talking about, and Lawler replies, “the movie.” Thanks again, Jerry. Camp Cornette, which boasts only fanny pack among the bunch, runs down their list of achievements against Shawn Michaels and Ahmed Johnson. Vader doesn’t actually speak, but his choice of attire says an awful lot. Specifically, that he put his shirt on backwards.
A video package airs on the Undertaker, complete with narration by the Dead Man about “the spirit of the Undertaker” never being extinguished. Sound familiar? That’s because it was his promo from the casket at Royal Rumble 1994, right before he died for the first time. His career highlights are interspersed with clips of Mankind and his International Incident opponent Goldust getting the better of him.

In the main event, Shawn Michaels has the easiest title defense of his career thus far against Billy Gunn. Vince McMahon extends his sympathies to the Hart family over the recent death of Bret’s nephew, about which Jerry Lawler fails to make a witty punch line. Ahmed Johnson cuts a promo backstage about having Shawn Michaels’s back (I think) before the role model from San Antonio kisses Sunny, ducks her slap, then kisses her again. “Sunny probably enjoyed it,” laughs Vince. Lawler butts in with more statistics, this time about how kissing (or sex) causes 17% of heart attacks. Shawn baseball slides into Billy on the outside, then takes the opportunity for more comic sexual harassment, chasing Sunny and trying to grab her butt. A High-Risk Maneuver (#4) by Shawn off the top rope then gets countered with a shot to the midsection. HBK soon recovers and splits the future Mr. Ass down the middle on the ring post. Shawn attempts another High-Risk Maneuver (#5) off the top rope, but gets slammed off the top by Billy. Vince fears that all of Shawn’s sacrifices could come to nought with a loss here tonight, to which Jerry points out the sacrifices of the Canadian swim team, who have pledged to abstain from sex throughout the Olympics. “Sex!?” says Vince. “What does sex have to do with the WWF championship?”
After the break, Billy tries to ram Michaels’s head into the turnbuckle, but he blocks the Maneuver (#6) and instead smashes Gunn’s head into the corner. Still, Billy hangs Michaels up in the tree of woe as Sunny sings some more and invites Jerry to her victory party. Backstage, Jim Cornette bids farewell to his charges, including Vader in his backwards shirt, as they leave the arena and go home.
Shawn hits the flying burrito on Billy, then kips up, knocks Gunn down repeatedly with punches and a dropkick, followed by a body slam, elbow drop, and super kick. Does that add up to Five Moves of Doom? Shawn pins Billy, then tosses him out of his f***ing ring to celebrate.
Backstage, Shawn walks through the curtain, leaving behind a surprisingly dark arena on the other side of it, as if this segment were filmed long after the original taping. Jim Cornette then throws a cup of water in Michaels’s face, leading Ahmed and HBK to chase after the manager. This is a set-up, of course, as Camp Cornette ambush the two babyfaces in the parking lot. Sycho Sid speeds into the arena in his car (before Goldberg crushed it into a cube), causing the heels to high-tail it.

Final tally:

6 Maneuvers (Year total: 124)
2 Notwithstandings

1 comment:

  1. Watching this on WWE Network, I was worried Vince had replaced "notwithstanding" with "none the less", which he said 5 times before the first commercial break.