Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Raw #169 - July 22nd, 1996

Raw emanates from the hometown of Rad Radford, Seattle, Washington. Sunny opens Raw by bringing out a birthday cake. Whom could it be for? Bob Dole? Fabulous Moolah? Or one half of the challengers for her Smoking Gunns’ tag team titles, WWF champion Shawn Michaels? What a mystery!

Ahmed and Shawn enter, with Michaels approaching the cake, only to be ambushed by the Gunns. Shawn ends up superkicking Billy, knocking him out before the bell rings. Shawn then smear icing from the cake and smears it on Sunny’s nose like lifeguards do with sunscreen. Sunny, none to happy, picks up the cake and looks like she’s going to smash it in HBK’s face until Ahmed sneaks up from behind and upturns it into her face. Michaels then licks some of the icing off, completing the sexual harassment trifecta he started last week with kissing and butt-patting. Truly, this is the second-worst food-related prank Shawn’s friends have pulled on Sunny.
The Goon makes his Raw debut against Wildman Marc Mero. During Goon’s entrance music, Gorilla Monsoon promises that the tag team title match will happen later tonight. Next, “class personified” makes their entrance in the form of Mero and Sable. “You talk about the call of the wild!” says Vince. Does that mean Marc has to go to the bathroom. The Goon hits Mero from behind as Steve Austin joins the announce table and uses the phrase, “open up a can of whoop-ass” for the first time. Jake Roberts calls in about the injury that kept if off the pay-per-view last night. Jerry Lawler taunts Roberts with the same wisecracks about “O’Malley’s” and the Betty Ford Clinic. He then unveils The Snake’s “tag team partner,” Jim Beam, and trots out the line about “the handwriting on the floor.” Roberts thinks he’ll be able to return to action in two to three weeks, which would be great, but the next four Raws will be taped tonight, and the next four Superstars episodes are taped tomorrow, so shouldn’t that mean we won’t see him in action this month? Vince notes that Mero appears in good shape “notwithstanding” his loss to Stone Cold last night. Mero then hits a Maneuver (#1), the same roll-up that accidentally busted Stone Cold’s lip open at King of the Ring, but Goon escapes. Austin criticizes the idea of the “Wildman,” a guy who takes stupid risks; Vince agrees that he’ll attempt High-Risk Maneuvers (#2), while Lawler, perhaps not grasping the gist of the conversation, says Mero should be called the “Mild Man.” That would be a pretty good name for Clark Kent. Austin then brings up the Lex Express (though not by name), then suggests that the WWF have him tour around the country on a bus and whip everyone’s ass along the way. He also questions what Sable’s purpose is for being at ringside. Bob Backlund walks down the aisle and draws boos from the audience, which the announcers ignore completely. The Goon pulls Mero to the outside of the ring by his trunks with a Maneuver (#3), but then slips on the icing at ringside while charging at the Wildman, hitting the steps instead. Mero capitalizes with a Maneuver (#4 - somersault plancha), the Kind of Maneuver (#5) that almost put Austin away last night. After a slingshot legdrop, Mero pins the Goon and celebrates with a Batusi.

Backstage, Shawn cuts a suggestive promo thanking Sunny for “the cakes, if you know what I mean” and saying that Sunny “can’t get no action” and that what action she gets isn’t from him, referring to Chris “Skip” Candido, Sunny’s long-time boyfriend for whom she recently left HBK. Remember that Vince calls Sable, “classy,” but he never said anything about Michaels!
Bob Backlund is seen campaigning in the crowd, giving Lawler an excuse to bring up the fact that Bob Dole takes Metamucil for fiber, which he apparently read this morning. He wonders whether Backlund does the same thing. Fascinating questions from the always-insightful King. Freddie Joe Floyd, another member of the “Kiss of Death Five” along with The Goon, is set to wrestle Mankind. Freddie Joe hails from Bowlegs, Oklahoma, the only town in the country named after a symptom of rickets. But first, Clarence Mason is seen lobbying Gorilla Monsoon to sign someone to a WWF contract, arguing that he was never convicted of a crime, despite being arrested and arraigned. Floyd, whose name is a rib on the Briscos, sends Mankind out of the ring with a Nice Maneuver (#6 - monkey flip). He follows this up with a flying body press that would have missed even if Mankind hadn’t side-stepped it. Freddie Joe gets hung upside in the corner, but crunches up, a Maneuver (#7) that allows him to avoid an attack by Mankind. He then hits a kind of reverse enziguiri on the Deranged One, a Great Maneuver (#8). Floyd climbs the ropes, but gets crotched as Mankind bounces off the ropes. Mankind then tries to put the mandible claw on Floyd as he sits on the ropes, then crotches him on the top rope and puts the claw on him on the ground for the win.

Brian Pillman is at ringside in a Green Day shirt for commentary as Barry Horowitz keeps up tonight’s theme of “technically they’re not jobbers because they have theme music,” taking on Goldust. Pillman threatens to say the seven words you can’t say on TV, although when he actually does say one of those words on live TV, he’ll have to apologize the next week. Goldust faces Marc Mero (with Sable) at Summerslam in a battle of Bizarre vs. Classy. Mero cuts a goofy promo with lots of jungle references about his opponent for next week, Vader, then tells Goldust not to mess with Sable while quoting Jim Croce (and not, say, Little Richard). Pillman says he’d like to see Sable and Marlena “go after each other’s carpets, I mean, jugulars.” What do rugs have to do with wrestling? Pillman says he can’t say anything about Barry Horowitz, lest it be construed as anti-Semitism, but he is a fan of Goldust for building a harem with Marlena and Sable. Goldust hits the Curtain Call, a Devastating Maneuver (#9) for the victory. As a fan holds up a sign for “Gaydust and Margayna,” Pillman says he’s excited for the three-way between Marlena, Sable, and Goldust. As these are the days Triple Threat matches are commonplace, so there’s no question of what he means to say.
Sunny, still sporting icing in her hair, cuts a promo backstage with the Smoking Gunns about how Shawn and Ahmed will never be tag team champions. I’d make a joke about the stuff in Sunny’s hair, but Brian Pillman has already used up this column’s filth quota. Good thing, too, because what else is there to say when Sunny non-suggestively claims to have nursed Billy Gunn back to health. The Gunns then speak and remind us why they need a mouthpiece in the first place.
Vince is in the ring for an interview while Vader does something vaguely resembling the hand jive. Jim Cornette compares Vader favorably to a schoolyard bully, then speaks in some rather humorous metaphor about Vader taking the football called the WWF title, which is on the line at Summerslam.
In the tag team title match, take two, the Gunns storm the ring but get quickly dispatched and have to flee the ring. Jerry Lawler offers to get some icing out of Sunny’s cleavage, but Vince tells him to stay seated before quoting Elton John during the run-down of the upcoming house shows. “Saturday night’s alright for fighting in Anaheim,” says McMahon before pointing out Ahmed Johnson’s broken nose. “I thought that was sunscreen,” says Lawler, “but then, what would he need that for?” The joke is that he’s black! Vince ignores the joke for some reason.

Shawn, who is attempting to be part of a three-title tag team for the very first time in the past ten months, tags in Ahmed, whose momentum gets halted by the Gunns. Vince advertises Summerslam tickets, which, reading between the lines, means that they haven’t sold out, while Lawler says they’re going to be harder to get a hold of than Cleveland Indians tickets, slipping in references to his favorite team whenever possible. Shawn tags back in and takes Billy down with a Maneuver (#10 - flying head scissors), then tries to repeat that First Maneuver (#11), only to get hung up on the top rope by Bart. Jerry Lawler then refers to José Lothario as “Señor Taco” (because he’s Mexican) and says that his birthday cake would need so many candles, they’d need the fire department. Fortunately, the firefighters in the joke aren’t named José and Hose B. The Gunns, whose loss to the Bodydonnas last night goes unmentioned throughout the night, distract the referee to prevent Shawn’s tag from being seen. Raw goes to break, but fans can kill time during the commercials by calling the Superstar Line and finding out whether Summerslam will be The Undertaker’s last match in the WWF. And Vince made fun of Mean Gene’s hotline.
After the break, the Gunns pull off an earlier, sloppier version of the Hardy Boyz double-team, with Billy using Bart as a stepping stone. Shawn hits a double noggin-knocker on the Gunns, then makes the hot tag to Ahmed, who cleans house, busting Billy’s spine before Bart pulls the top rope down and causes him to fall to the outside. A black man in a gladiator helmet (who fought Johnson to a double-countout before this episode went live) rushes to ringside and kicks Ahmed’s kidney, rupturing it. Fortunately, cameras are on hand to capture the very beginning of the end of Ahmed’s career. Spartacus continues to pummel Ahmed as Sunny cheers on. After a close-up of the man’s face, Jerry Lawler says he looks like Ron Simmons, only bigger. “From this day forward,” says the centurion to Sunny, “this kingdom is yours!”

Final tally:

11 Maneuvers (Year total: 135)
1 Notwithstanding
1 Classy

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