Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Raw #183 - November 4th, 1996

Kevin Kelly is at Brian Pillman’s home live. We know it’s live because it says, “LIVE!” on screen. Another way to tell it’s live? Well, you’ll just have to listen to Pillman. Tonight’s episode is the first RAW at the new 7:57 starting time, and what better way to thank USA for rearranging its broadcast schedule than with gun violence and the F-word?

Back in the arena, where the word “LIVE!” is curiously missing, Goldust comes to the ring along with the rest of his Survivor Series Team, including Jailbird Crush, but not Jerry Lawler, who is seated at ringside already. Goldust’s opponent, The Stalker, arrives with his teammates, as well. He has forgone the black makeup (possibly out of sensitivity for teammates Mark Henry and Rocky Maivia), but still has his mustache, which makes him look like Cesar Romero’s Joker. Windham enters the ring and looks like an overgrown Spike Dudley. Dok Hendrix interrupts the broadcast, standing in WWF Studios in Stamford (possibly in the room next to Jerry and Vince’s commentary booth) to tell us that he’s on the phone with Steve Austin, who is en route to Brian Pillman’s Cincinnati home. Austin is still upset with Pillman for talking too much about Bret Hart while interviewing him on Superstars last weekend, and he even quotes a now-forgotten verse from the Book of Austin: Austin 25:17 says, “I will strike down upon your ass with great vengeance and furious anger.” Somehow, that quote never made it onto a t-shirt. While Clarence Mason talks with Marlena (possibly about a tobacco lawsuit), Jerry warns Austin that Pillman said he’d have a gun. Further driving home the point that the only thing not pre-taped on this episode is the Austin-Pillman situation, Goldust grabs The Stalker in the upper-right-hand corner of the ring (where Perfect and Helmsley stand), then in the next shot, he smashes him into the turnbuckle of the lower-right-hand corner (where Crush stands). The match transforms into a lumberjack match of sorts when Goldust tumbles from the ring and gets tossed back in by Stalker’s African-American teammates (and Marc Mero, who is actually white). Jerry Lawler joins Goldust’s teammates in response. The Stalker puts Goldy on the top rope, but the Bizarre One plants a long smooch on Windham’s lips, which Vince does not acknowledge. Vince is about to call a “high-risk maneuver” when The Stalker counters Goldust’s aerial move with a boot to the face.
A camera mounted in the turnbuckles shows a replay of the boot after Raw returns from commercial. Is the WWF stealing ideas from the AWF? Well, I haven’t seen any rest periods. Jailbird Crush starts mixing it up with the rival team, then steps into the ring. The referee calls a double-disqualification. Rocky Maivia leaps off the top rope onto Crush and Goldust with a flying body press, which is followed by the babyface team cleaning house.

Dok Hendrix delivers a Survivor Series report, explaining the fourth Mankind-Undertaker pay-per-view match of the year, which will feature Paul Bearer suspended in a cage above the ring. Footage airs of an interview Dok conducted on the “Big Bang Boom” tour with Mankind, Paul Bearer, and Dok’s former Freebird partner The Executioner, which appears to have occurred in the exact same arena they are in tonight, and that they were in the last two weeks of Raw. Undertaker’s disembodied voice gets piped in and a shark cage lowered, which The Executioner reveals to contain an effigy of Paul Bearer hanging upside down. We then go to Kevin Kelly, who is speaking with Brian Pillman. Vince interjects and asks if Pillman feels like a hostage in his own home, “notwithstanding” his bravado. Pillman pulls out a gun as we go to commercial.
And now, a word from Karate Fighters! The Toddster and the King host the Sycho Sid/Marlena match-up. Marlena promises to make her Karate Fighter figure, Tiger Ninja “the biggest star in this town” if he can help her win. Instead, Sid picks up the victory, prompting Marlena to threaten Cyberfist with a blacklisting. Todd explains that next week will feature Dok Hendrix vs. Sable.
Cut to Steve Austin beating up Brian Pillman’s friends outside his home, where Pillman lies in wait to shoot Stone Cold. Austin tries to drown one of the men in a kiddie pool. He then attacks both men with a garbage can, despite Gorilla Monsoon’s promise two years earlier that a garbage can is to be used only for garbage and that you’d never this sort of thing in the WWF again. Austin then proceeds to choke one man with a car door then throw a red wagon at the other one. Vince writes this off as “some sorm [sic] of a publicity stunt.”
Now let’s go to an Alex “The Pug” Porteau match! His opponent is the Sultan. Both wrestlers use previously existing theme music, Porteau with the Steiners’ theme and Sultan with Iron Sheik’s. Speaking of Sheiky Baby, he does the second bit of teleporting tonight, being seen walking behind The Sultan in one shot, then immediately standing next to him as his pyro goes off in the next shot. I guess they couldn’t set off the pyro while Sheik was in the way, so it got delayed and they’ve edited it together in post-production the best they could. Sheik then bows down and prays toward Mecca, forgetting that one should never bend over in front of a master of the camel clutch. The Sultan works over Pug with arm drags and belly-to-bellies. Vince says that he’s sure Brian Pillman is watching this Sultan-Pug match, and he hopes Pillman will listen to Vince and Jerry’s advice to call the police and not use the gun. Well, of course Brian Pillman is watching Fatu in a mask squash a jobber! What else is he going to watch, Nitro? Sultan wins with a camel clutch. Vince acknowledges that Pillman and Austin are former tag team champions, although he doesn’t mention which ‘rasslin company they were in. Vince is sure that “the authorities” have been called, but no police are present when Austin breaks open the back door window and enters the house, where Brian Pillman points a gun at him. Cut to static.

Back in the arena, The announcers comment on how Jim Ross and the audience in attendance must have no idea what’s going on in the Pillman house (which is a safe bet, since the rest of the show was taped two weeks prior). Vince says that “it’s a fine line between reality and what is portrayed many times in the World Wrestling Federation,” putting this worked-shoot over as real while tacitly admitting that the rest of the show is fake. Ross is set to speak with Sid and Shawn Michaels for a fake interview that is not reality. Shawn Michaels, when asked, says that he has forgiven Sid for powerbombing him last year, and that he was the one who got Sid out of the “loony bin” a few months ago. Sid calls that accusation, “bull****,” which is bleeped for the television audience because, after all, this segment is pre-taped. Shawn insists that Sid had been institutionalized. What there is no denying, however, is how great Shawn looks in his HBK denim jacket. Vince then interrupts to tell us that they have re-established their satellite feed in Cincinnati, then he backs off and says, “Sorry, we don’t have it.” This is the news broadcasting equivalent of “1-2- He got ‘im! No, he didn’t.” Shawn tells Sid that in terms of wrestling ability, he’s not in Shawn’s league. Sid replies that, yeah, he’s not in the “little league,” although there is currently no major league of softball. Shawn tells Sid that to be the man, you’ve gotta beat the man. The two continue to argue when Shawn topples the WWF podium. Jim Cornette interrupts the shoving match by bringing out Vader, Bulldog, and Owen, despite the fact that the latter two are now managed by Clarence Mason. Hart smacks Sid in the back with a chair, but is soon driven from the ring by Michaels, who takes possession of the chair, leading Sid to think HBK hit him. They clean house together, then have to be separated from each other by officials.
Vince reiterates that Austin’s break-in is a “publicity stunt gone awry,” which it certainly is. Jerry plugs the new Raw magazine with Sunny on the cover, but is too distracted with the Pillman situation to comment on how ugly Sable is. Vince says that perhaps Austin has gotten carried away and started “believing in himself,” which Jerry Lawler doesn’t understand is code for “this is a shoot but not really.” Case in point: nobody believes Rick Bognar is really Razor Ramon, and I hope he doesn’t either. The Fake Razor takes on Marc Mero as heel Jim Ross comes to the table to announce. A tech guy named Kerwin (Silfies, not White) calls Vince on the phone to tell us that the power went off at the Pillman house, although all the other houses in the neighborhood still have power. Nobody bothers to figure out who or what shut off the power to the Pillman house. Lawler asks if he heard any gunshots, and Kerwin responds that he heard “explosions” that could have been… and he just trailed off, not wanting to say “gunshots” on the air.

Kerwin Silfies is still on the phone as The Bad Guy controls the match. His phone call is interrupted by come commotion on his end. A very angry Jim Ross argues with a very somber Vince McMahon over whether Vince is responsible for the Pillman fiasco. Vince says he admits that responsibility must be shared by the “appropriate individuals.” He then apologizes to the audience for not being as enthusiastic as usual, which I’m sure is due to the Pillman-Austin situation and not the fact that tonight’s card includes The Stalker, the fake Razor Ramon, and The Pug.
Hunter Hearst Helmsley pushes Mero off the top rope, allowing Mero to fall prey to the Fake Razor’s Edge. Fake Razor wins the match. Replays air of the break-in, which Lawler berates as “stupid.” The feed returns as Pillman is restrained. Kevin Kelly assures us that “no one has been shot. Nobody’s been struck by any of those… any of the explosions.” Austin then arrives back on the scene, where he is restrained by Pillman’s friends. Brian yells that he’s going to “kill that son of a bitch” before telling his friends to “get the hell out of my fucking way.” Raw goes off the air with a shot (a camera shot, not a gunsh- uh, explosion) of a crying Melanie Pillman.

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