Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Raw #187 - December 2nd, 1996

Raw opens with no intro for the second week in a row, perhaps in an effort to keep viewers from flipping to Nitro during the theme music. But who needs the Raw theme when Flash Funk’s funky entrance music, funky back-up dancers, and funky Vince McMahon are here to provide us with infinitely more entertainment? “Come on King, shake that thang!” urges Vince. “Come on king, shake the booty!” McMahon is in such a groove that he won’t even let Jerry Lawler’s insults faze him, remarking that were he to knock his toupee off, it indeed “would be funky.”
The Goon jumps Flash Funk before the bell but incurs no time in the penalty box for roughing. Funk responds with a Maneuver (#1 - twisting sunset flip) out of the corner for a two-count. A very tan Shawn Michaels appears on the split-screen to deliver what we are told is an apology “of sorts” that will come in a few moments. Flash Funk hits a moonsault off the top rope to the floor before the break, knocking The Goon in the head with his knee.
Back on the air, Jerry Lawler suspects that Shawn Michaels’s apology is for his haircut before laughing about Tiny Tim dying at age 64. Flash Funk interrupts the levity with an enziguiri to The Goon’s head, a Maneuver (#2) followed up by a moonsault that The Goon avoids. Flash soon recovers to deliver a moonsault leg drop, a Maneuver (#3) that Vince immediately tells the audience to “forget about,” so what was I talking about? Tiny Tim? Flash Funk scores a pinfall after hitting a move I suddenly don’t remember.
Fake Diesel is set to wrestle tonight, which means JR is at the announce table again to disparage Vince’s commentary performance. JR has already heard “four ‘What-a-Maneuvers’ and two ‘I-know-that’s-rights’” tonight. Don’t exaggerate Jim; it’s only been two “What-a-Maneuvers” and one “Look-at-that-Maneuver.” Fake Diesel and Fake Razor are the next tag team champions, according to Ross, but they need leadership. A vignette airs of two superfans who have shown up seven weeks early for the Royal Rumble.

A tribute to Tiny Tim airs, showing clips of Tim’s Raw appearance on King’s Court where Jerry smashed his ukulele, an act Lawler brags about contributing to the musician’s ultimate demise. Diesel is “taking it to” Phineas in singles action, and Jim Ross thinks he and Razor will beat Owen and Davey Boy for the tag team titles at the upcoming In Your House. Phineas whips Diesel into the turnbuckle chest-first, dislodging the “King Cam” mounted in the corner for low-quality close-up shots of the action. Meanwhile, Razor Ramon comes to ringside for “a bird’s eye view” of the match, suggesting that Vince doesn’t know what a bird’s eye view is. Or maybe he’s talking about the view of a flightless bird like a kiwi. Whatever the case, Phineas releases Diesel from an impending Slop Drop to take a shot at the Bad Guy, prompting JR to call the hog farmer an “idiot” and a “buffoon.” Diesel takes advantage by jackknifing PIG, struggling to hoist up Phineas as if he were Paul Wight or someone before dropping him like a sack of potatoes and/or bricks. Diesel picks up the win.
Shawn Michaels comes on the air for “not being defensive enough” in his interview. He also apologizes for being so emotional last week, which at first seems like sarcasm, but in fact the promo he cuts is pure “New Shawn Michaels,” meaning smiley and kid-friendly.

The Real Double J enters the ring singing his own theme song, “With My Baby Tonight.” His name is spelled “Jesse Jammes.” Yes, that’s “Jammes,” as in “J-A-Double M-E S. His opponent is Justin Hawk Bradshaw, whose planned push was recently scrapped when he was accidentally eliminated in the Survivor Series Free-For-All. Bradshaw executes a La Magistral cradle, a Maneuver (#4) that is a “beautiful pinning combination.” Vince announces that next week, it will be “No Holds Barred.” No, not the 1989 Hulk Hogan vehicle, but the fifth televised match between Undertaker and Mankind. Vince makes out like this match will top the violence of their October match that could only be won by murdering the other man. “Jammes” hits a Nice Maneuver (#5 - belly-to-back suplex), followed by another Nice Maneuver (#6 - back body drop) to counter a piledriver or powerbomb attempt. Double J gets his foot pulled by Zebekiah, a distraction that allows Bradshaw to hit a clothesline for the victory, which Vince calls, “an upset.” He and Zeb then “brand” Double J’s arm.
In Karate Fighters news, the scheduled Sid vs. Mr. Perfect semifinal match has been scrapped (since you can’t very well have the world champion play with a children’s toy with a man who has been AWOL for the past month). Replacing the Master and Ruler of the World from West Memphis will be the King of Memphis, Tennessee. Replacing Mr. Perfect will be Todd Pettengill. Wow, can you imagine how much worse Survivor Series 1993 would have been if Perfect’s substitute were the Toddster instead of the Macho Man? In keeping with the level of maturity shown in the “Billionaire Ted” skits from earlier in the year, the sound of a baby crying plays while Mr. Perfect’s cowardly disappearance is mentioned. Jerry Lawler beats Pettengill to advance to the finals against Sable.

Some much-hyped footage from the recent UK tour airs, but not before we see a replay of last week’s events, where Stone Cold tried to, in Lawler’s words, “Pillmanize” Bret Hart, only to be thwarted by Bulldog once and then a second time when he attempted the Same Maneuver (#7) again. This past Wednesday, Austin hit Sid with the title belt during their match, which the referee didn’t see, but Bulldog then interfered, drawing a DQ against Sid. Hitman rescued Bulldog from a Sid powerbomb but was then chokeslammed “down to the canvas.” Backstage in London, Owen tries to calm down Bulldog, re-focusing his attention away from Stone Cold and toward Razor and Diesel, whom the tag champions will face in their third heels-versus-heels match in four pay-per-views.
Marc Mero, the classy Sable, and Jake Roberts arrive to take on the degenerate team of Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Billy Gunn, both of whom have not only DX in their future, but also long careers retaining their gimmicky names well past their original gimmicks’ life cycles. Before the match, the Slam of the Week features Al “Leif Cassidy” Snow beat up on the future Scotty 2 Hotty on Superstars. Jerry Lawler recounts some of the shocking revelations made by Billy Gunn on Livewire this Saturday, such as the fact that he and Bart Gunn aren’t even really brothers. This raises more questions than answers, as what are the odds that two guys who happened to be named “Gunn” would end up tagging together? Lawler jokes that it won’t be a Merry Christmas at the Gunn household, apparently forgetting that Billy just said he’s not related to Bart. On the McMahon end of things, Vince calls Hunter Hearst Helmsley, “Mr. Pompisity,” which my spell-check has rightly underlined, before taking a look at “beautiful, gorgeous, lovely Sable.” AS Jake Roberts handles Billy in the early going, Jesse “Jammes” gets on the split-screen, taking attention away from the match involving his future tag team partner and his future stablemate. He challenges both Bradshaw and Uncle Zeb to a handicap match “next week,” meaning during the next hour of this four-show taping, so we’ll have to see whether the ink from Bradshaw’s “branding iron” is still visible on his left arm. The face team continues to overwhelm the heel team and underwhelm the fans in attendance. Gunn manages to counter the DDT (that’s “the” DDT by Jake Roberts, rather than “a” DDT by anyone else) with a back body drop, then tags in Helmsley as Jerry Lawler jokes about Jake dying just like Tiny Tim.

After commercial, Jake surprises Billy Gunn with the DDT, then crawls to Marc Mero for the hot tag. Helmsley also tags in and gets pummeled by the Wildman. An attempted double-team by the heels backfires, and Gunn is then knocked down off the ring apron, leading to an argument and Gunn’s angry departure from the match. Wildman hits the Samoan Drop on his rival and In Your House opponent before finishing off Hunter with the Wild Thing. Post-match, Jake tosses the snake on Hunter, who bails out of the ring.

Final tally:

7 Maneuvers (Year total: 188)
2 Mee-lays
5 Unbelievables
4 Notwithstandings
3 Unquestionablies
3 Individuals
3 Oh My Goodnesses

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