Saturday, October 18, 2014

Raw #180 - October 14th, 1996

Tonight, the vicious Stone Cold Steve Austin warms up for his match with Savio Vega by taking on the WWF champion in a non-title match. Austin tells Shawn that it’s not the good book, it’s Austin 3:16, and tonight he’s going to whip his ass. That would be a lot more effective a taunt if Shawn Michaels were a bible-thumper, so I guess this promo is a decade before its time. By the way, since Shawn hasn’t defended his title since Mind Games on September 22nd, isn’t he coming up on 30 days without a title defense? Hopefully, Gorilla Monsoon won’t be as strict as Jack Tunney.
Vader is the first man out, taking on Phineas Godwinn, who is accompanied by Hillbilly Jim and a beagle. At ringside are fans dressed as either Phineas and Henry or Mario and Wario. Kevin Kelly announces that Vince McMahon will return to the RAW broadcast team along with Jerry Lawler next week, which Jim Ross is not happy about one bit, claiming that he will show up anyway. While the announcers argue about Vince McMahon, Sid comes to ringside, distracting his In Your House opponent and allowing Phineas some offense in the form of a belly-to-back suplex. Phineas even bodyslams the 400+ pounder, a huge move which can only be topped by the Slop Drop. Vader counters by hooking the rope, then delivers the Vader Bomb for the victory.

Jim Ross steps into the ring for an interview with Mr. Perfect, perhaps the greatest Intercontinental champion of all time, which is sort of like being the greatest junior varsity football player of all time. Kevin Kelly erroneously claims that Perfect has not wrestled in 13 months, rather than the actual figure of 36 months. That’s an error on par with claiming that Shawn Michaels won the title in a grueling 20-minute Iron Man match. Perfect interrupts Ross as he discusses Hunter Hearst Helmsley to remind the fans that he is the only Mr. Perfect in the WWF. Not that Helmsley has claimed to be “Mr. Perfect,” but he should still should find an original nickname. Perhaps, “Triple H,” which Perfect was the first to use for Helmsley. Perfect is in “perfect” shape and is ready for next week’s Raw. At least he was a month ago, when this episode was filmed. By the time next week’s live Raw airs, he will have pulled out of the match for insurance purposes.
Next, Jerry Lawler enters the ring to take on Jake The Snake, while Todd Pettengill tries to sell us on denim shirts — not even denim jackets, but denim shirts — of Bret Hart, Undertaker, and HBK for “just” $49 each plus shipping and handling. When Raw returns from the commercial, Lawler is in the middle of cutting a promo on Jake Roberts about alcoholism, which Ross talks over to complain about Jerry’s and Vince’s announcing abilities. Some women at ringside are amused at Lawler’s jokes, but a Hulk Hogan lookalike is not. A seemingly inebriated Roberts slowly stumbles to the ring with a bottle in a brown paper bag. Lawler mocks Jake on the mic while the announcers mourn Roberts’s falling off the wagon. Gorilla Monsoon comes to ringside to speak with Roberts, who appears to immediately sober up, and the announcers speculate that Jake is faking it. Monsoon lets the match start.

When the match begins, Lawler is still on the mic, then gets immediately DDT’ed and pinned. Roberts then empties a liquor bottle on Lawler and wraps his albino snake around Lawler, who flees the ring.
We hear more from Jesse James, the Real Double J, who claims he left the WWF because Jeff Jarrett was storming out himself. James says that Jarrett first met him in a night club in Nashville. He and Jim Johnston are going to release a new album (which will never happen), including a possible duet with a “major country music star” (which will happen even less, if that is even possible).

Freddie Joe Floyd, the night’s second hillbilly wrestler, takes on Hunter Hearst Helmsley (who will fill in for Savio Vega on PPV this Sunday). Helmsley handcuffs his escort for the first time (on TV at least), affixing her to the turnbuckle to keep Mr. Perfect from stealing her away. Freddie Joe outwrestles Hunter in the early going as JR advises Kevin Kelly not to settle in Connecticut permanently in case he gets fired. In reality, Kelly would stay in the WWF for years to come, even pitching the idea that Hunter and Stephanie McMahon get married, inadvertently leading to the current state of WWE management. As Hunter takes back control of the match, Mr. Perfect strolls to ringside and unlocks the escort’s handcuffs using a key he got from a security guard. Hunter plants Floyd with a Pedigree, but after a lackadaisical cover, Freddie Joe Floyd kicks out of the Pedigree, which the announcers don’t seem to think is that big a deal. Helmsely then chases after Mr. Perfect, who punches Hunter in the face. Rather than winning via DQ, Helmsley loses by countout. Backstage, Austin says, “Austin 3:16, and that’s the bottom line, ’cause Stone Cold said so,” squeezing in two catchphrases as if to say to the merchandising department, “Hey! Pay attention to me!”
Sunny walks down the aisle to the strains of “The Stripper,” twirling around the giant “Buried Alive” tombstone in the process. Vivisepulture never looked so good. Sunny has “big news” and introduces the “newest, hottest, sexiest thing going today in the World Wrestling Federation,” herself, with a giant poster of hers dropping from the ceiling. Ross complains that “this has nothing to do with athletics.” Ross would, however, keep his mouth shut during the Attitude Era. We then join Mankind in a graveyard.

Sunny does commentary for the next match, pitting Alex “the Pug” Porteau against her former charge, Faarooq, who this Sunday will be replaced by Goldust in his title shot against Marc Mero. That means that 40% of the Buried Alive card will not occur as advertised. Got to love taping a whole month’s worth of TV in two days. Sunny starts flirting with Kevin Kelly but loses interest as soon as she finds out he doesn’t make a lot of money. One needs money for Sunny to be one’s honey bunny, as one fan on camera wishes. Sunny comments on her “split” with Faarooq, clarifying that they are still “very good friends” and that she is still “helping him out from time to time,” as she does with most everybody in the WWF. Translation: this wrestler is not my protege, but I am sleeping with him. The Pug delivers a Bob Holly-quality dropkick, but Faarooq remains on his feet, clotheslining Porteau to the mat. Jim Ross rants on how stupid Vince is for putting Faarooq in that headgear. I would have assumed that Sunny put Faarooq in the headgear, or it was Faarooq’s own decision, considering his promos about being a modern-day gladiator. But now, we’re acknowledging that Vince comes up with the gimmicks. What’s next? The Godwinns aren’t real hog farmers? Freddie Joe Floyd is just Tracey Smothers and isn’t from Oklahoma? Hunter Hearst Helmsley isn’t really a Greenwich snob? Faarooq headbutts Porteau in the side with his headgear, which must be made of plastic or something, or else it would be illegal. Faarooq beats The Pug with the “Tiger's Bite,” which is the original name of the Dominator and not the name of a teen magazine.
On Livewire this Saturday, Faarooq called in to talk with Ahmed, who says he’s going to put his foot up his ass. Excuse me, “in your ass,” not up it. That sounds like a pay-per-view title. Maybe when Faarooq says he doesn’t care that Ahmed is black; he’s going to beat him up just like anyone else. Ahmed could be any color. “He could be clear for all I care!” That spells big trouble for Japanese star Misutero.

The Undertaker cuts another promo in a graveyard about murdering Mankind before Shawn Michaels takes on Steve Austin, who will host Livewire this Saturday. Ross calls this the biggest match in Raw history, as the announcers have repeated all night. They do have a point; this is the first future Wrestlemania main event to be given away on free TV. “What a way to celebrate Columbus Day!” says Ross, despite Austin, Shawn, and José Lothario not entering the ring on motorized carts dressed up to look like three ships. At least they’re not having Salvatore Sincere make Savio Vega his slave or anything. Backstage, we see Vader and Jim Cornette watching the match on a monitor. The WWF is lucky they don’t catch those two flipping back and forth between this and Nitro. As Austin and Michaels exchange headlocks, Sid cuts a maniacal promo on Vader, then apologizes to Shawn because when HBK faces Sid, he will have to face Sid. Fascinating insight. Austin and Michaels exchange pin attempts until Austin avoids a superkick and rolls out of the ring. During the action, Jim calls Austin’s Lou Thesz press for the first time. Kevin Kelly calls the Stun Gun by name, but it doesn’t end the match because it’s no longer Austin’s finisher.
Back on Raw, Kevin Kelly calls the match a “classic,” while Ross curiously calls it a “dandy.” Well, one of the two wrestlers did pose in a gay nudie magazine. Michaels has Austin against the turnbuckles, then leaps onto an interfering Vader, drawing a DQ. Savio Vega tries to break up the two-on-one assault but immediately gets Stunned. Sycho Sid runs in to even the score, causing Vader to exit while the Fake Razor and Fake Diesel look on. Austin whips HBK into Sid with with back turned, sparking an argument between the two. Kevin Kelly then says, “It was inadvertent, Shawn! That’s what Sid’s trying to explain to him,” despite Sid being the one who got hit inadvertently by Shawn. The schmoz starts back up briefly, and Michaels and Sid  quickly make up and bump fists as Raw goes off the air.

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