Saturday, August 16, 2014

Raw #170 - July 29th, 1996

Vince announces in the intro to tonight’s show that the “intruder” last week has “temporarily sidelined” Ahmed Johnson with a ruptured kidney. How temporary is “temporarily”? Two weeks in kayfabe time, but about four months in real time, as Ahmed had already wrestled a match scheduled for next week before finding out his kidney had been ruptured.
Sid arrives to big cheers to take on a man whose sole WWE title reign would last four to five times longer than Sid’s two 1997 reigns combined. Sid opens the match against Justin Hawk Bradshaw with light kicks to the the midsection. He then hits Bradshaw with a chokeslam, but stalls for a long time instead of pinning him. Zebekiah distracts him, allowing Bradshaw to sneak attack him with the cowbell, drawing a disqualification. Zeb and Justin double-team Sid, but end up getting clotheslined. Sid then powerbombs Bradshaw and Zeb (one at a time, of course). Lawler supposedly quotes Jake The Snake, calling Sid, “three beers short of a six-pack.”
Next, we get a word from Sunny, manager of Faarooq Assad, “the modern-day gladiator.” For once, Sunny isn’t dressed according to her client’s gimmick (fitness fanatic, hillbilly, cowgirl). Shouldn’t she be dressed up like Cleopatra or something? Faarooq says he’s not Ahmed’s “brother” and that on the street, there are no rules for fighting. He vows to go back in time and show Ahmed at Summerslam “the way we used to fight.” I’m not sure if he’s talking about street fighting or the gladiatorial variety, but a week into the gimmick it’s clear that Faarooq isn’t all too committed to this “gladiator” gimmick. Regardless, the WWF is advertising an Ahmed vs. Faarooq match despite knowing that Ahmed won’t be able to wrestle.
Marc Mero and Sable, “the WWF’s one-two punch” (referring to the couple, not just to Sable), arrive to take on Vader. Vince calls the valet, “the classy, sweet Sable,” while Jim Cornette gets on commentary and calls her a “no-good dog.” And a female dog, at that! He can’t understand why Marc (or “Timmy”) is so polite to Sable (or “Lassie”), even opening up her Alpo for her. Mero knocks Vader over with a somersault in the ring, but can’t get the pin. Vader then executes a wheelbarrow slam, smashing Mero face-down onto the mat. Vader may end up wrestling the winner of next week’s battle royal, who gets a title shot the night after Summerslam. Marc Mero will be in that battle royal, “notwithstanding” his match against Goldust at Summerslam. Also in that battle royal will be Ahmed Johnson, despite having ruptured his kidney. Ah, well. He still has another one to spare. Vader and Mero party like it’s 1992 WCW, exchanging fists before the former Johnny B Badd clotheslines Vader over the ropes, executes a somersault plancha, and hits a High-Flying Maneuver (#1 - axe-handle) off the top rope. With Vader off balance, Mero leaps off the top rope for his patented flying sunset flip, overshooting Vader by about five feet. Both men pretend like that didn’t happen, and Mero evades Vader’s sit-down splash. Mero jumps off the top rope again but gets caught and powerslammed by Vader for the victory.
Footage from last week’s meeting between Clarence Mason and Gorilla Monsoon is seen, with the WWF President reviewing the arrest record of the mystery newcomer. He cites the potential Federation Superstar being caught with illegal firearms and controlled substances, and even spending time “behind bars,” which Mason says was just for one day.
Vince stands in the ring between Jim Cornette and José Lothario, noting that the last time the two men stood together, Cornette was knocked on his “well, sizable whatever-it-was.” This, coming from a man who five years later will start a “Kiss My Ass” Club and show off the tricks he can do with his own butt. Cornette recounts Lothario’s career as a wrestler and trainer, perhaps to finally explain to the audience who he is. He then says that Lothario was a nobody for years until Shawn brought him into the spotlight this year, then calls him and Shawn Michaels trash. Lothario grabs Cornette by the collar and promises to kick his butt like no one before. Jimmy tries to hit José with his tennis racket, but Lothario knocks Cornette down once again on his sizable whatever-it-was, socking him with his patented supersock. Backstage, Mankind has Shawn Michaels in the mandible claw and is being restrained (poorly) by officials.
On the Superstar Line, Jim Cornette offers news on the arrival of “one of the ring’s greatest superstars and champions.” It’s not Warrior, who has come and gone already, nor is it Ron Simmons, who is already in the Federation. There’s no mention of this person ever wrestling in the WWF, which seems to suggest that it’s not the Iron Sheik he’s referring to. Could it be former Freedbird Terry “The Executioner” Gordy (who wrestled in the Federation for a cup of coffee — or some other substance — in the 80s)?
The British Bulldog enters as footage airs from Superstars of Aldo Montoya upsetting Jerry Lawler with a DDT. How low on the totem pole must one be for it to be considered an “upset” to beat Lawler in the WWF? Aldo then accepts the King’s challenge for a rematch next week (which has already been taped, and a day before their Superstars match, at that). Lawler calls Montoya Jake Roberts’s designated driver; how desperate do you have to be to get Sean Waltman’s buddy to drive you home safely? King blames his loss to leftover “fumes” on Aldo and promises to show the Portuguese Man-O-War (noticeably lacking in any Portuguese accent) “the handwriting on the floor,” the same joke he used last week and at In Your House. In other joke-recycling news, King says, as he did last week, that DDT is the only thing Jake the Snake won’t drink. Owen Hart and his Slammy join the announce table as Bulldog takes on Henry Godwinn. Bulldog leapfrogs Henry for a Nice Maneuver (#2) but gets caught trying a reverse monkey flip and falls victim to a wheelbarrow slam, the same move Vader hit Marc Mero with in the previous match. Bulldog kicks out of the ensuing pin, then gets put in a hammerlock, reversing it with another Nice Maneuver (#3). When asked about his brother, Owen calls Bret a coward and a quitter, then claims his wrist will be healed in a few more months to an incredulous McMahon. Lawler re-uses a joke about Henry Godwinn missing so many teeth, it looks like his tongue is in jail as the big hillbilly escapes a chinlock by Bulldog and suplexes Smith.
After the break, Henry sets up Davey Boy for the slop drop, so Owen leaves the announcers’ desk to tip over his precious bucket of slop. Bulldog uses the distraction to bodyslam Godwinn and pick up the victory. Later, a camera shot shows the disgusting salad — I mean, slop — that the bucket once contained.
Olympic powerlifter Mark Henry is seen lifting over 900 pounds; Henry, who is sponsored by the WWF, will compete tomorrow night at the Olympics. Mizark has already made the rounds on Jay Leno and Oprah, and without the embarrassment of having to explain the Mae Young/hand storyline to any of the hosts.

Mankind, who faces The Undertaker at Summerslam in a boiler room brawl, is seen backstage in a promo filmed after International Incident, comforted by his “mommy,” Goldust. Taker arrives to face Stone Cold again in a match that hopefully will not end with the illegal use of glitter. Vince frames the match as a battle between one man with formaldehyde in his veins versus the man with ice water in his veins. If Warrior were still around, he could make it a Triple Threat match by bringing in another guy with foreign substances pumping through his blood vessels. Undertaker, whom Vince notes is more aggressive than ever as of late, gets crotched on the top rope as he goes for “old school.” Austin further punishes Taker’s tombstones with a mule kick to the groin behind the ref’s back, then puts the boots to him in the corner, “stomping a mudhole” in the Undertaker and “walking it dry,” in Jerry Lawler’s words. Austin jumps from the second rope with a Hitma-style elbow smash for a Maneuver (#4) and a two-count. Undertaker regains control of the match and ties Austin up in the ropes for some free shots, while Jerry Lawler misses a perfectly good opportunity to make a Jake The Snake joke about “free shots.” Instead, he saves the hilarity for a joke about Taker stumbling around like Jake as Austin rallies back. Backstage, Mankind is seen wandering around the boiler room.
Austin has Taker locked in a chin lock after the break. Taker escapes with a handful of Stone Cold’s face as Vince announces upcoming shows at Montreal’s brand-new Molson Centre, which Lawler fails to make the obvious Jake Roberts joke about. Austin hits a piledriver on The Undertaker, then mounts the top rope, only to get crotched by Taker, which Vince claims was an accident. Taker sets up Austin for the Tombstone until Mankind shows up at ringside, drawing the Dead Man to the outside. The idiot referee counts Undertaker out even though he and Mankind are punching each other right in front of him, an obvious cause for disqualification. Taker drives Mankind backstage, and the referee awards the match to Stone Cold, whom The Undertaker immediately tombstones. Austin is not having a very kingly summer.
Vince steps into the ring with an agitated Undertaker and Paul Bearer for an interview. When you’re dealing with the Dead Man, you’ve got to choose your words carefully, and Vince certainly does, opening the dialogue with the word, “notwithstanding.” Taker vows that Mankind will finally rest in peace at Summerslam.

Final tally:

4 Maneuvers (Year total: 139)
1 Classy
2 Notwithstandings

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