Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Raw #173 - August 19th, 1996

Raw is live the night after Summerslam, with Kevin Kelly making his Raw announcing debut. Another guest at the announcers’ table is Jim Ross, as it takes two announcers to replace Vince McMahon. It looks like no maneuvers tonight. The British Bulldog faces his own Camp Cornette partner Owen Hart in the first round of the Intercontinental Title tournament.

The two brothers-in-law (or brother-in-laws, as Ross calls them) start out the match with a handshake and take turns holding the ropes open for each other when they get knocked out of the ring. Jim Ross talks about interviewing Mankind and his new manager Paul Bearer and that a number of “eerie occurrences” have plagued the arena that day, including the lights flickering and the announcers’ headsets picking up static. Ross attributes this to the “essence” of The Undertaker. Owen Hart gets his foot on the bottom rope to break up a pinfall as Sunny comes to ringside.
On the WWF Superstar Line, Jim Ross wants everyone to know whether Bret and Owen Hart have reconciled. At ringside, Sunny explains that the “two studmuffins” in the ring need a better manager than Jim Cornette, who refuses to be in anyone’s corner as his two clients square off. At least, says Cornette, Yokozuna is back in the fold and will flatten Shawn Michaels tonight. Owen clamps on the Sharpshooter, which Ross also calls a Scorpion deathlock. Davey and Owen tumble to the outside and bring the fight to the announcers’ table. Hart knocks down Smith with a spinning heel kick, so Bulldog crawls to safety, which Sunny interprets as Davey Boy trying to look up her dress. Bulldog gets counted out, and Sunny throws her drink in his face. Funny, Smith’s wife accused Shawn Michaels of sexual harassment, and now HBK’s ex-squeeze is doing the same to Davey Boy. The Slammy Award-winning Owen Hart wins the match and advances, but he joins Davey Boy as Sunny berates him for being a pervert. Jim Cornette comes to ringside and calls Sunny, “a little slut.”

Ahmed Johnson speaks with Kevin Kelly in a pre-taped segment from his home, where he recovers from surgery in a bath robe with his Slammy. Johnson says he understands Gorilla Monsoon’s decision to strip him of the title, since he can’t defend it every night. Mark Henry is at ringside signing autographs when Vader comes to the ring to face Freddie Joe Floyd. He confronts Henry, flexing his muscles as if to say, “Look at me, I’m so big!” Mark Henry just stands there, grinning moron-ily.
Jim Cornette complains about the injustice of Vader beating Shawn Michaels twice last night, but not getting a rematch. James E. has a point here, as Vader would never get another one-on-one pay-per-view main event. Vader beats Floyd with two Vader Bombs as the lights flicker.

In an interview conducted by Jim Ross, Paul Bearer explains that he was sick of carrying The Undertaker. Mankind, who will face Shawn Michaels for the title at In Your House, vows to make HBK “the least sexy boy toy in the world.” Jim Ross tries to get Paul Bearer to admit The Undertaker is responsible for the lights flickering, but Bearer claims that Taker is “gone for eterni— uhhhhhhhh.” He gets cut off by the Undertaker’s bell, and the lights go out. The druids from Summerslam carry Taker in to the ring, martyr-style. Mankind and Paul Bearer dismiss the figure being carried to the ring as a mere corpse. The druids leave Taker in the aisle, and Bearer brags that “The Undertaker is gone!” Just then Taker sits up, and Kevin Kelly says, “Oh, no he’s not!” If only Vince McMahon were here. I can just imagine the commentary: “The Undertaker died! He died! Oh, no he didn’t!” Taker makes flames shoot out of the ring posts and poses in the ring after Bearer and Mankind flee.
A vignette for “The Stalker” airs, with the mysterious new wrestler shrouded in darkness and saying he’s going to hunt the superstars of the WWF as his prey. Kevin Kelly then destroys his mystique by referring to him as “The Stalker,” Barry Windham. You know, the blond guy who teamed with Mike “IRS” Rotunda at Wrestlemania I.
As the entrants in the Final Four battle royal come to the ring, Kevin Kelly plugs Raw sponsor Burger King, to which Jerry Lawler takes exception. This battle royal is billed as “sudden death,” which would mean that the first person to eliminate someone wins, but it is in fact a standard battle royal, just smaller. Sycho Sid, who is officially billed as such, is the first eliminated after he is triple-teamed. Despite being “sudden death,” the match continues.
No one is eliminated during the break, but Austin blindsides Goldust when the show returns to air. Lawler says that this is the second time that Stone Cold has Pearl Harbored Goldust, which the Bizarre One hates. Now, being pearl necklaced, that’s a different story. Savio tosses Austin, who grabs on to the ropes on his way down and tries to re-enter, but referee Tim White declares that both of his feet hit the floor. You can’t allow someone to re-enter a battle royal after he’s been eliminated, especially not Austin. Stone Cold gets back in anyway, only to be slingshot to the outside by Vega. Savio tries to clothesline Goldust over the top, but Dust counters with a back body drop to win the match and the title opportunity on Raw’s Championship Friday special.
As Yokozuna enters, Jim Cornette brags backstage once again that the big man is back in Cornette’s fold. That’s a lot better than being in any one of Yokozuna’s folds. Yoko, who last night lost to Stone Cold in the Free For All match because he was so fat that the top rope broke, is rumored to weigh over 700, according to Jim Ross. Do you think the WWF is trying to send Yokozuna a message of some sort?
Fans are treated to a lengthy video package about Shawn Michaels with words like “intense” and “sexy” flashing on screen before being told how they can “share the dream.” How can they do that, exactly? By buying the official Shawn Michaels jean jacket! This pitch is made without a single spoken word, not even from Dok Hendrix.

A group of female fans, apparently over the age of 18 for a change, say they want to “get Raw” with Shawn Michaels. Using the name of the TV show as a pun for sex means that the WWF has come full-circle since 1993, when slogans like, “I get RAW on Monday nights” used sex to make a pun about the TV show. Jim Cornette, who is supposedly backing Yokozuna tonight, is nowhere to be found at ringside, so fans are unaware that Yoko has turned heel again. It’s as if the Cornette promos backstage have been added in post-production, except that this episode is airing live. JR speculates some more about Yoko’s possibly 700+ pound weight, noting that there were no scales in Wheeling, West Virginia to weigh him. Jerry Lawler says he hasn’t seen legs like Yokozuna’s since the brontosaurus died out, which 1) implies that Lawler is hundreds of millions of years old, and 2) ignores the fact that the “brontosaurus” was actually a species of apatosaurus, as has been known since 1903. Shawn moves quickly around the largely immobile sumo, knocking him on his butt in the opening moments. The camera focuses on teh only known adult male fans of Shawn Michaels, who are sitting in the front row. Yoko then lands some offense as Jim Cornette finally comes to ringside.
After the commercial break, Shawn is in Yoko’s dreaded nervehold. Jim Cornette takes advantage of Shawn’s indisposition by hitting JosĂ© Lothario with his racket and knocking him to the floor. Yokozuna drops Michaels with a belly-to-belly suplex, but rather than sitting on him with his 700 pounds of weight for the guaranteed pinfall, he tries a splash, which misses. Shawn knocks the big man down with a flying burrito, then hits a top-rope splash for a two-count. Yoko blocks Sweet Chin Music and hits a Samoan Drop, but misses a leg drop, allowing HBK to hit him with his second superkick attempt. Shawn gets the three count to give Yokozuna a loss in his last-ever Raw match.

1 comment:

  1. Vince was off RAW for about two months after SummerSlam, though he was still announcing at In Your House: Mind Games and Buried Alive. Any idea why he was off the show during those two months?