Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Raw #171 - August 5th, 1996

Raw opens with the announcement that Olympic powerlifter Mark Henry has signed a ten-year multi-million “dolla” deal with the World Wrestling Federation, guaranteeing a career in the WWF until the far-off year of 2006. Imagine how many titles he’ll win in that time! The intro starts off with a series of headlines about Henry, but the first when says, “Ow, Henry!” Apparently, the best way to present Mark to the world is with a joke about him getting injured.

Jim Ross is on commentary instead of Jerry Lawler, who is in action tonight against Aldo Montoya. King carries a bottle in a paper bag with him and cuts a promo on Jake Roberts being a drunk. He tells Roberts to write about his past drug problems in a tell-all autobiography called, “Who the Hell’s Gonna Buy This?” A book by a wrestler? Who would ever buy that? Although, in all seriousness, Roberts does have a book in the works as of this writing, though that title has probably not been finalized. Lawler uses the “handwriting on the floor” joke again during his long tirade, which is interrupted by Aldo Montoya. Lawler tells the Man-O-War that he knows he doesn’t drink, but that he can take Roberts’s “tag team partner” with him, revealing a bottle of Jim Bean (again). He then drops the mic, then kicks Aldo as he stoops to pick it up. The bald Montoya is just incredible (so to speak) at the outset, nearly hitting the DDT on Lawler until the King cowers and clutches the referee. Lawler catches Montoya, though, when he telegraphs a back body drop, hitting two piledrivers for the victory. After the match, Lawler opens up the whiskey bottle and pours its contents down Aldo’s throat.
The New Rockers arrive in the ring and correct Howard Finkel, who then introduces them as the “New and Improved Rockers.” Vince McMahon apologizes to all those families watching who have dealt with drug and alcohol abuse as Hillbilly Jim makes hisentrance. Jim must be upset with Lawler, too, as Uncle Elmer used to hit the moonshine pretty hard, from what I understand. Leif Cassidy and Marty Jannetty sneak back up to the entranceway to get the jump on the Bodydonnas. Both teams will be involved in a Raw Bowl-style four-way tag match at Summerslam, minus the constant football puns. Also involved will be The Godwinns and the champion Smoking Gunns. Backstage, Sunny is dressed like a normal person for once, while Faarooq cuts a promo about how he’s like a tiger in which he goes on a lengthy diatribe about how the tiger is so much better than the lion. The creators of Napoleon Dynamite are taking notes as he speaks. Faarooq Assad takes on Skip of the Bodydonnas next week. “Mercy!” says Hillbilly Jim, who is looking forward to the four-way match because the Godwins are used to scufflin’, the more the merrier. Skip hits a High-Risk Maneuver (#1 - diving headbutt) off the top rope, but Leif Cassidy breaks up the pin. Hillbilly Jim (the guy in overalls, that is, not Jim Ross) praises “These Bodies The Donnas” for their toughness. Marty picks up Skip for a powerbomb, allowing the Bodydonna to get hung up on the rope by Leif Erikson (or, as Vince reminds Hillbilly Jim, “Leif Cassidy”). Marty then tosses Skip over the top rope and falls victim to a neckbreaker by Leif, a Devastating Maneuver (#2). Skip gets his foot on the rope to break up a pin by Marty, then kicks out out of a pin by Leif after the future Al Snow tags in. Hillbilly Jim assures the fans and Vince that Phineas will not be distracted by Sunny, having “seen the light” after being “blinded” by the Gunns’ manager. Is he implying that Sunny flashed Phineas? Also “seeing the light — allegedly” is the “individual” represented by Clarence Mason, who has been reinstated by Gorilla Monsoon. A man accused of drug charges but never convicted? Vince ought to make him the company’s number one babyface! I guess enough time has passed since his steroid trial…. Next week, this man will be in action, although none of the announcers know who he is.
The New and Improved Rockers whip both Donnas into each other, but a miscommunication sees Leif Cassidy crotched on the top rope as Marty runs the ropes. Skip takes Leif down with a huracanrana, but before Zip can follow this up, the Smoking Gunns intervene and knock him off the ropes. Both the Gunns and the New Rockers put the boots to the Body Donnas, but the Godwinns come to the ring to rescue their new babyface buddies. The Body Donnas win by disqualification.
New broadcast colleague Kevin Kelly interviews Shawn Michaels. HBK has had a rough couple of weeks with Vader and Mankind, but he has never claimed to be invincible. Instead, he’s just like any other guy walking the street. Does he mean a male prostitute? Whatever the case, this street-walker will hold onto the title with the support of his fans. As for Bret Hart, Shawn says he hopes the Hitman returns soon because the WWF without him “is like peanut butter without jelly.” However, only HBK can be WWF champion, because only he can defend the title two nights in a row (against Vader, then the winner of tonight’s battle royal). Shawn Michaels is then seen taking footage of the audience at the Molson Centre with the Kliq Cam. It’s the most fun Shawn will have in Montreal for fifteen months.

At ringside, the battle royal participants surround the ring as IC champion Ahmed Johnson makes his entrance. Competing against doctors’ orders, Johnson will wrestle, ruptured kidney and all, because either he’s a complete idiot, or this show was taped before he knew he was injured. Goldust, Sid, and The Undertaker also enter. Other participants include Owen Hart, The Bulldog, Justin Hawk Bradshaw, Marc Mero, and Savio Vega. Not included? Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Undertaker and Mankind eliminate each other within seconds narrowing the field down to nine. Ahmed eliminates the Bulldog, while Marc Mero tries to toss Bradshaw. Hawk is “almost over,” which is a major overestimation of his popularity by Vince. The battle royal gets pushed off to the side of the screen as Vince announces the “Bikini Beach Blast-Off” that takes place on the Free For All before Summerslam. “Sable, Sunny, and Marlena have all been invited,” declares Vince. “Wow!” says JR, not aware that said “beach” will be a mound of sand backstage at the Gund Arena that will feature Goldust in a G-string over top of his body suit. Sid finally gets Bradshaw over, a feat that wouldn’t be accomplished again until half-way through his WWE title reign in 2004. Mero clotheslines the Slammy Award-winning Owen Hart out of the ring as Raw goes to break.
Fortunately for the viewers, no one gets eliminated during the break, but Marc Mero gets tossed like a salad by Goldust just after the return. Savio then does his vintage Kwang-style spinning heel kick on Goldust, and absent-mindedly so, propelling himself over the turnbuckles and to the floor. Undertaker and Mankind, who are fighting in the audience, spill over the railing, back into the ring, and then once more into the crowd. Goldust happens to hit Ahmed in the kidney region, which Vince is quick to point out, although he doesn’t find it odd that nobody else has targeted Johnson’s kidney, as if no one (even Ahmed) knows that he’s injured. Vince notes that all of the remaining four participants will be at Summerslam, including King of the Ring Steve Austin, who will be part of the Beach Bikini Blast-Off on the Prevue Channel before the other three wrestlers have matches on pay-per-view. In fact, Austin will end up facing Yokozuna rather than showing off his new Speedo at the bikini party, but the fact that the King of the Ring is one of only two men in the battle royal (the other being Bradshaw) not yet even booked for the second-biggest event of the year just goes to show you how inconvenient Austin’s crowning was for Vince’s booking plans. Ahmed Johnson follows standard battle royal procedure for false elimination spots, clearly pulling Goldust back into the ring even as he’s supposedly trying to toss him over.

Again, no one gets eliminated during the commercial break, but Sid powerbombs Goldust in the middle of the ring as the show comes back on the air. Austin tries to piledrive Sid, who counters with a back body drop, then powerbombs Stone Cold. He then applies the camel clutch (in a battle royal, mind you) as we see footage of Undertaker and Mankind fighting backstage. Austin is out of the submission hold without explanation when the cameras return to ringside. Goldust tries to eliminate Ahmed, who collapses on top of him, though Vince is quick to point out that there are no pins in a battle royal. That information would have been useful to Randy Savage back at 93’s Royal Rumble. The Bulldog and Own Hart return to ringside to distract SId, allowing Stone Cold to eliminate him. Goldust and Stone Cold double-team Ahmed, though they don’t target the kidney. Goldust quickly double-crosses Austin, punching him when he turns around. Dust tries to eliminate Austin, who hangs on and gives him a blow to the groin. Uh, a punch, that is. Goldust then helps the wedgied Ahmed Johnson eliminate Austin. Johnson, whose broken nose is bloody, gets piledriven by Goldust just before the break.
Dok Hendrix wants you to call the Superstar Line to find out what Roddy Piper has in mind for Mark Henry. Whatever it is, the Hot Rod better do it quick,, as he’ll be in WCW in a few months. Ahmed Johnson charges into Goldust at the ropes, sending both men over the top rope. However, Johnson hooks the top rope with his legs, hanging upside down like a bat to avoid elimination and win the match. This means that Ahmed, barring some unforeseen injury, will face the WWF champion for the title in two weeks, the night after Summerslam. This outcome always puzzled me, as, since Michaels would retain the title at Summerslam, it looked as though Ahmed would face HBK in a babyface vs. babyface match the night afterward. Recently, though, I learned that the original plan was for Vader to win the title, which would have led to a more logical face vs. heel match. Vince then steps into the ring and praises Ahmed for winning the match, “broken nose and all,” curiously omitting the fact that he is also suffering serious damage to a vital organ. Jim Ross pipes in about the kidney troubles via post-production. Ahmed says he’d be sad to face Shawn Michaels the night after Summerslam, but he’d be happy to face Vader. Faarooq Assad interrupts the interview and a brawl erupts to close the show. Fortunately, Faarooq is polite enough not to target the kidney that he supposedly knows is injured.

Final tally:

2 Maneuvers (Year total: 141)

No comments:

Post a Comment