Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Raw #175 - September 9th, 1996

The Intercontinental tournament’s first round wraps up this week as Faarooq takes on Savio Vega. We open the broadcast with Jerry Lawler freaking out over Sunny’s entrance. “What a pair!” says Lawler, supposedly referring to the “pair” of Faarooq and Sunny. JR calls Sunny a “Jezebel” who needs a “trip to the woodshed.” It’s only the second Raw to feature both JR and Jerry Lawler on commentary, and they are in complete agreement, both wanting to see Sunny get spanked.

Fans at ringside display notable merchandise, such as the Shawn Michaels action figure that’s part of the first series of WWF figures since 1994, barring the crappy “Bend-Ems” series. This is why we never got a Bodydonna Skip action figure. Also notable is the Savio Vega t-shirt, since somebody is actually wearing it. Faarooq Assad counters a body press by Vega by catching him in mid-air and tossing him aside — Faarooq Aside! He then catches Vega with a spinebuster, which Vega manages to kick out of because, as King sees it, he has no spine.
After the break, Faarooq has Vega in a chinlock, using the bottom rope and Sunny (whom Ross calls a Jezebel again) for leverage. The referee forces a break after catching Faarooq’s cheating, allowing Savio to attempt a sunset flip and evade a fist by the gladiator. Faarooq soon goes back to a chinlock. Vega avoids a corner charge by Faarooq, then executes an arm-drag takedown (not nicely done, as Vince McMahon is not on commentary). Faarooq then drop-toe-holds Vega into the bottom turnbuckle, leading Jim Ross to fear that he’ll look like Tupac Shakur after this match. This is in reference to Shakur’s shooting that occurred two days earlier. He would die of his wounds that Friday. Shame on you, Jim Ross. Jerry Lawler then says that Tupac has more shots in him than Jake Roberts, which is a fairly tasteless thing to say by Lawler’s standards. Jim Ross reminds us that this tournament is single-elimination, which astute viewers will recognize as the same format used in every tournament in WWF history. He also reminds us of the BS Diesel/Razor angle the WWF is running. Faarooq hits the Dominator on Savio for the victory. “Oh, what a maneuver!” says Kevin Kelly, who is filling in for Vince tonight. Faarooq, who is looking like Ninja Turtle Leonardo in his blue headgear, poses in the ring as Sycho Sid comes to the ring to argue with the gladiator like a softball manager argues with the umpire.

Yesterday on the Action Zone, various Superstars sent their get-well wishes to Ahmed Johnson. Highlights include Bob Backlund, who told Ahmed that Johnson’s “campaign” was over, Clarence Mason, who contemplated a lawsuit on Ahmed’s behalf (before joining forces with Faarooq to form the Nation of Domination), Phineas Godwinn, who thought it was Ahmed’s birthday, and Goldust and Marlena, who took the opportunity to relate Ahmed’s kidney injury to that quote from Silence of the Lambs about fava beans and a nice chianti.
Carlos Cabrera introduces (in English) Shawn Michaels. Vince McMahon is not here tonight, and Carlos is the only announcer suitably coiffed to conduct an in-ring interview. A group of young men hold up a long sign reading, “If you ain’t in the Kliq, you make me sick.” Almost as sick as if you’d found human feces in your chicken salad. Shawn Michaels brags about having dismantled Camp Cornette (including Vader, who isn’t even booked for the next pay-per-view), then challenges Cornette himself to a match. However, since he “don’t beat on women,” he’ll let José Lothario face Jim Cornette instead. So José Lothario does beat up women? Super Sock tells Cornette, “I’m gonna kick you butt like nobody done it before.” He then goes off on a Spanish-language rant vowing to kill James E. for what he’s done to HBK and him before Carlos takes back the mic and says he understands that he is upset, “super enojado.” Shawn Michaels admits he has more guts than brains, then promises to stop “the roughshod” Mankind has been running over the WWF. “Roughshod” is an adverb, not a noun, but at least HBK is right about the “brains” part. He tells Mankind not to hunt what he can’t kill, foreshadowing Michaels’s future as a hunter as well as the debut of The Stalker later tonight. Kevin Kelly then hypes the Shawn Michaels edition of Playgirl, which hit newsstands today. JR says that Lawler got his copy of the nude male magazine in the mail, and Jerry actually agrees. These were different times, my friend.

The Stalker makes his auspicious debut against TL Hopper, the wrestling plumber. Windham comes out in camouflage, leading Jerry to complain that he can’t see him. Jim Ross, in a precursor to his legendary Skittles plugs, reads the ad copy for the 100 Grand bar, taking special delight in the “little crispy crunchies.” The WWF lets us know exactly how important The Stalker is by pushing his debut match into a split-screen so Brian Pillman can talk. He and Owen say that the Hart brothers have reconciled, and that Bret will be at the pay-per-view. JR doubts this, just as the other announcers doubt the Diesel and Razor story. Wrestling these days really needs more sensational announcements that come with disclaimers. JR then reads an apology for breaking the Razor/Diesel story “prematurely” and thus compromising their negotiations with the WWF. Further dumping on Stalker’s debut, Kevin Kelly notes the “back-and-forth battle between The Stalker and TL Hopper.” The Stalker beats the plumber with a superplex.
After we see last week’s Lawler-Henry interview in its entirety for reasons unexplained, Crush makes his way to the ring to take on Freddie Joe Floyd, the second of three Kiss of Death Five wrestlers to work this episode (after Hopper and before Salvatore Sincere). Crush is still sporting that stupid nose-ring chain, as well as a very sooty forehead that makes it look like he hasn’t bathed since Ash Wednesday. Or perhaps there was a volcanic eruption in Kona recently. Either way, I’m re-using those jokes when I induct Criminal Crush into Wrestlecrap. You heard it hear first! On closer inspection, it’s supposed to be a tattoo on his forehead, a tattoo that will disappear shortly. According to Kevin Kelly, it symbolizes that “his tribe is at war.” Crush could have beaten Floyd with a leg drop, but instead lifts his shoulders off the mat to inflict more punishment on the viewing audience. JR prods Clarence Mason about whether he is in fact a wrestling manager, which Mason denies. Jerry Lawler makes one of his worst jokes ever, telling Clarence that he wanted to have a sidebar with the attorney, but that JR and Kevin Kelly “started rushing over here” when they thought he said, “salad bar.” If he’s saying they’re fat, wouldn’t they be rushing away from the salad bar? Crush then punches Floyd in the chest, which, I remind you, is his finishing move, then picks up the victory.

More recycled footage from last Friday’s show airs, the Backlund promo where he claims to have a lot of abomination for the Iron Sheik and how their new wrestler is going to win the WWWF Champion. Salvatore Sincere makes his first Raw appearance, entering for a match against The Undertaker that JR promises to talk about Razor Ramon and Diesel during. Sincere is greeted with Lawler’s fake Italian accent, then extends his hand to Kevin kelly only to retract it. “He’s not very sincere, is he?” says JR, insightfully. Kevin Kelly calls him, a “walking contradiction,” no doubt trying to score points with the teen demographic for referencing the popular Green Day song of the day. The announcers repeatedly mention that Sincere is undefeated (just as TL Hopper, Freddie Joe Floyd, Alex “The Pug” Porteau, and The Goon had once been) so that we’ll be on the edge of our seats for the outcome of the match and not switch over to Nitro. Well, Taker is without the power of the urn. His In Your House opponent, Goldust, appears on the split-screen along with Marlena, who now talks, quoting The Untouchables. Goldust may be bizarre, but Salvatore Sincere is no slouch himself, sticking his finger into the Undertaker’s nose, then into his own mouth. I really have no idea what he is trying to do.
Dok Hendrix tries to squeeze more money out of the fans by promising updates on Diesel and Razor Ramon on The Ross Report before Raw returns. JR then tells us that while negotiations with Razor Ramon have hit a “snag,” negotiations with Diesel are “progressing.” Now who’s not being sincere? Salvatore powerslams The Undertaker, then drops a number of elbow and slaps a prone Undertaker in the face before the Dead Man sits up. Taker hits the flying clothesline, the chokeslam, and the tombstone to win the match. JR makes a pasta joke about Sincere, and Kevin Kelly, always eager to please, follows suit.Taker poses in the ring, while a dazed Salvatore Sincere won’t wake up until spaghetti day. That was Kevin Kelly’s joke.


  1. When you do induct Criminal Crush, it might be worth mentioning that the Heart Punch was used by Ox Baker long before it was used by Crush, and that the untimely deaths of two of Baker's opponents were used to get the move over. I.e., the kayfabe reason given for them dying was "The Heart Punch killed them."

    That being said, it raises questions. For instance, is Crush actually trying to commit homicide in the ring here if the history of the move is that it actually damages people's hearts? And as with Big Show's right hand, throwing a punch is the most basic offense in a wrestling match with matches often starting with punches thrown, so why doesn't the guy with a punch as a finisher hit it and win right out of the gate every single time?

    Longtime read and lurker, first time commenter, love the blog and your contributions to WrestleCrap. :)

  2. Art, I miss the condensed versions of RAW you would post under the reviews. The ones that would have all the silly things Vince said, botches and other noteworthy moments.

    1. Don't worry, I still make those for every episode, I've just been lazy posting them to Youtube. The Raw recap videos for most of 1995 and 1996 are sitting on my computer.