Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Raw #182 - October 28th, 1996

Tonight’s Raw opens with the return of Double J (by which I mean The Roadie), who enters to “With My Baby Tonight,” perhaps the most inappropriate wrestling entrance theme until X-Factor’s theme by Uncle Kracker. His opponent is Salvatore Sincere. And, this episode was taped a week ago. Take that, Nitro!
We see stills of Jesse James in Desert Storm, reinforcing that he is a good guy and a patriot. How could they promote this guy so heavily, while tearing down fellow Gulf War veteran Hulk Hogan? Does nobody remember Wrestlemania VII? Vince accidentally calls Jesse James, “Jeff Jarrett” and is corrected by Jerry Lawler. McMahon then analyzes the vagaries of Salvatore Sincere’s gimmick. This is what happens when Vince is off commentary for two months; he has to play catch-up. Double J knocks Sincere off the apron as he showboats. Double J practices his dance moves before putting Sincere down with a pumphandle drop, the same he would use as the Road Dogg, minus the dry-humping from behind.

Dok Hendrix appears live in studio to deliver a Survivor Series report. How do I know he is “live in studio”? Because vince keeps using that phrase to hammer home that this particular segment of Raw in live, tacitly acknowledging that the rest of it is taped. Steve Austin interrupts Dok repeatedly as he awaits the satellite interview with Bret Hart. The PPV’s graphics make prominent use of the World Trade Center towers, which would go over about as well today as the “Elimination Chamber” pay-per-view does in Germany. Announced for the show, besides the Sid/Shawn main event, is a clash between two hodge-podge teams: Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Goldust, Crush, and Jerry Lawler vs. Marc Mero, The Stalker, Mark Henry, and newcomer Rocky Maivia. Also on the show are Undertaker vs. Mankind and Austin vs. Bret Hart. As we go to commercial, Bret Hart is seen playing with his cat, and Steve Austin chases the make-up lady away. A USA Network commercial announces the new start time for Raw, 7:57 pm, which is WWF’s attempt to counteract the two-hour Nitro, which has been beginning at 8 for months.
Coming to the ring next are Clarence Mason and Crush, whose one-day stay in a Hawaii jail has transformed him into a hardened criminal, complete with a fake facial tattoo, fake nose piercing, and a chain hanging off it that looks like he needs a Kleenex. Wildman Marc Mero is on the phone, as explained by an on-screen graphic that covers over Crush’s, and he is “perfectly pissed off” at Mr. Perfect’s double-cross. Speaking of pissed-off, Jim Ross is now on commentary and complains that the outcome is a foregone conclusion, since Crush is facing the Portuguese Man-o-War. Aldo Montoya arrives to face Crush, and suddenly his headgear doesn’t look quite so stupid. JR explains that he recommended Clarence Mason to Faarooq, as Faarooq is planning to sue Ahmed Johnson for his assault before the PPV eight days ago. Mason is now Faarooq’s manager, and JR promises “big changes” from the gladiator when he appears on Livewire this Saturday. JR then asks Vince whether Aldo’s jock strap mask was McMahon’s idea. Crush beats Aldo with the heart punch, then beats up a security guard (whom Vince calls an “individual” three times) after fans call him “Jailbird.”

A recap airs of last week’s “Perfect Hoax”, which Hennig and Helmsley put over on “Bozo and Bimbo.” As a result, Gorilla Monsoon has suspended Mr. Perfect from wrestling, but not announcing. This, despite the fact that Perfect has not wrestled in three years but has been announcing for the past year. Yes, his punishment is to keep doing exactly what he has been doing since he returned to the WWF. As some measure of consolation, Perfect then beats Phineas Godwinn at Karate Fighters by distracting him with a fake Dolly Parton sighting. Hopefully, Monsoon won’t suspend him from this sport, as well, so he can face the winner of Sid vs. Marlena. He might even face “Sabel” in the finals.
Advertised for next week is Brian Pillman appearing live from his home via satellite. That sounds like a delightful time! Austin complains that Bret Hart gets to be interviewed from his own home, and so does Brian Pillman, but Steve has to travel all the way to WWF studios. He then promises to show up at Pillman’s home next week as a replay airs from yesterday’s Superstars, where Austin Pillmanizes Brian Pillman’s leg. I really can’t feel sorry for Pillman here — with that name, he had to have known he would be Pillmanized sooner or later. Austin tells Brian, “DTA: Don’t Trust Anybody.” Vince says he hopes Gorilla Monsoon punishes Austin, but Stone Cold says that Vince McMahon is the real boss and that he won’t punish Austin because he’s going to make too much money off his match with Austin. Bret Hart comes onto the split-screen, but his voice is heavily distorted and unintelligible. Meanwhile, “The Stripper” plays in the background to announce the arrival of Sunny. Ah, the joys of (partially) live television.

With Sunny no longer doing anything of note in the WWF except host Livewire and is no longer strictly a heel, Vince is free to let his inner pervert run wild, standing up at his desk and saying, “Whoa!” At least he’s not fawning over how much of a lady she is, not that that would be an easy task, considering she appears to be wearing a red garbage bag to ringside. Billy Gunn, who yesterday got into a scuffle with Bart and abandoned him in a match with the New Rockers (although Bart still won the match solo), arrives for singles action against Freddie Joe Floyd, who kicked out of the Pedigree and beat the now-IC champion two weeks ago. Sunny says that she’s seen Freddie wrestle all over the world over the past seven years, which can’t possibly be true, as he is just a simple country boy from Bowlegs, Oklahoma. Billy Gunn makes sure Sunny catches every move he makes against Floyd, as he as obsessed with her now as he will be with his own butt three years from now. Bart Gunn then arrives in a Smoking Gunns t-shirt, as he doesn’t have his own merchandise. Frankly, I’m surprised even the Smoking Gunns tag team has its own merch. Bart argues with Billy but is escorted backstage by referees. Freddie Joe Floyd takes advantage of the distraction to gain control of the match briefly before getting beaten by a flying leg drop.
Back to Hart and Austin, Bret denies having been hesitant to re-sign with the WWF in order to avoid Steve Austin. Bret admonishes Austin for using the word, “ass,” then says “ass” himself twice in succession. Austin takes exception to be given directions in the studio and proceeds to throw a stagehand into a red Razor Ramon-style ladder.

Shawn Michaels, who has never lost to the British Bulldog, takes on Davey Boy in a non-title match. Michaels takes down Bulldog with a Beautiful Maneuver (#1 - huracanrana takeover), then clotheslines Smith over the top rope. Bulldog gets frustrated at the crowd’s support for Michaels and his showboating. Shawn then hits Bulldog with a Tremendous Maneuver (#2 - enziguiri) that guest commentator Owen Hart accuses Michaels of stealing from him. Bulldog turns the match around by press slamming Michaels onto the top rope, drawing audible boos from the crowd but applause from grown men seen on camera. Vince receives information that the police have been called on Austin at the WWF studio.
With Bulldog still in control after the break, Smith drops HBK with a long vertical suplex. He then counters a crucifix attempt with a Samoan Drop, a Devastating Maneuver (#3). Shawn surprises Bulldog with another crucifix-turned-sunset flip, a Beautiful Maneuver (#4) that earns him a two-count, only to get caught by a Bulldog clothesline.

As is standard practice as of late, Raw returns just a few minutes before the top of the hour. Bulldog attempts the running powerslam, but Michaels slips out, slams Smith, then climbs the ropes for a High-Risk Maneuver (#5 - elbow drop). Owen grabs Shawn’s leg to prevent Sweet Chin Music, drawing a disqualification, only for Sid to make the save with his famously weak punches. Sid’s elbow hits Michaels during the fracas, leading to a shoving match (so to speak, although a literal “shoving match” would still be more entertaining than a Karate Fighters match). Owen grabs the mic and challenges the two to a tag team title match next week, which the two Survivor Series opponents accept. Of course, as established last week, only Gorilla Monsoon can sanction a title match. Steve Austin gets confronted by some understanding cops as Raw goes off the air.

Final tally:

5 Maneuvers (Year total: 158)

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