Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Raw #189 - December 16th, 1996

It’s the night after In Your House and, for what I believe is the first time in history, Raw opens with an in-ring interview rather than an actual match. Vince acts as if this wasn’t written in the program, but JR acts like he’s known about it all along and steps into the ring with a microphone. Hart complains that things have changed in the WWF, that he can’t tell his enemies from his friends, and that there are no rules in the WWF anymore. He says he’s not going to follow the rules anymore, either and puts Sid, Steve Austin, and Shawn Michaels on notice, calling HBK, “you little prissy.” It’s not the Attitude Era just yet, so he’ll have to settle with “prissy” for now. Bret announces that he will enter the Royal Rumble, then comes to the announcers’ desk for commentary.
Vader comes to the ring for another “tough man contest,” which again involves Steve Austin. Austin takes exception to Bret being at ringside, as does Jerry Lawler, even though the Hitman promises to mind his own business. Vince calls the two opponents in the ring, “consummate professionals.” That’s Vader, who assaulted 58-year-old President Gorilla Monsoon on his first night and later broke Yokozuna’s leg on purpose, versus Steve Austin, who constantly swears and who a month and a half ago broke into another wrestler’s house to interrupt a live interview. I guess Bret does have a point about there being no rules anymore. Austin topples Vader with a Lou Thesz press, then stomps him to the outside.
Vader hits his side-arm punches on Steve Austin, whom Vince erroneously calls, “Still Cold” Steve Austin. Stone Cold hits Vader with a low blow as he sets up for the Vader Bomb, but no disqualification is called because this is a tough man contest. Bret Hart then chop-blocks Austin on the outside and puts him in the sharpshooter, drawing a disqualification. Vader then brawls with Hart over costing him the match. After being separated from Vader by officials, Hart goes back to Austin to put on the sharpshooter again. Vince repeatedly calls Austin, “bitter.” Hart gets cheered.
Footage airs of last night’s interview with Ahmed, wherein the leader of the Nation of Domination called Johnson an “Uncle Tom.” No mention is made tonight, nor was any mention made last night, of the fact that Crush is now a member of the Nation.
Fake Razor and Fake Diesel take on the Godwinns. “Razor” hands his chains over to Tony Chimel and threatens him if he doesn’t take care of them. Fake Razor gets clotheslined over the top rope by Fake Henry Godwinn (better known as Phineas), who then falls victim to a Godwinn double-team where HOG body-slams PIG onto the Bad Guy. The announcers note the absence of Hillbilly Jim. A loud “Henry” chant is heard while Diesel dominates the hog farmer, encouraging his comeback. Jim Ross praises the high-impact action, noting that the WWF doesn’t need clowns, plumbers, garbagemen, or pig farmers. That last one may have been a Freudian slip. Herny hits the Slop Drop on Razor, but with the referee distracted, Diesel hits the jackknife (after much effort) on Phineas, whom Razor covers for the win.
Vince has a word with Sid, who is confident he will beat Shawn Michaels at the Alamo Dome at the Royal Rumble. Shawn Michaels is on hand to rebut Sid’s promo. Shawn again says that he’s not going to whine about losing the match to Sid like Bret Hart, but he does begrudge the big man for messing with José Lothario. He also brags about living his life “openly.”

In the ring, a tag team match has already started between Furnas & LaFon and the aforementioned wrestling plumber, TL Hopper. Hopper’s partner is the masked, “Dr. X,” who is actually Tom Prichard, who was left partnerless after “brother” Skip was released from the company. Furnas & LaFon use their technical skills to dissect the jobber tag team, but Hopper does manage to get in a Very Clever Maneuver by picking up LaFon like a spinebuster and depositing him face first on the mat. Lawler defends the plumber, then says that his motto is, “Look out for number one, but don’t step in number two,” which astute readers might recognize from Rodney Dangerfield’s “Back to School.” Furnas gets the hot tag and steamrolls both opponents, hitting a powerslam that Hopper kicks out of. LaFon tags back in and finishes off Hopper with a Maneuver (#2 - cobra clutch suplex). Oh, Philip!
It’s now time for the finals of the Karate Fighters tournament, which actually is live, being held in the ring. Marc Mero arrives with Sable, so Lawler brings out Hunter Hearst Helmsley to even the odds. I don’t see how Mero could possibly interfere in this battle of plastic toys. But enough about Sable’s chest. But first, another George and Adam video airs. Back in the ring, Sable vows to “make a pauper” out of the King. Actually, she says that Tiger Ninja is going to make a pauper out of the King. At least she’s doing a good job putting over the power of the toy. Sable scores the victory, despite Jerry’s efforts to “Cyberfist” her. Vince says that the King has been “publicly humiliated” by losing at a game that is basically just down to luck. King demands a rematch, drawing Marc Mero into an argument. Hunter and Jerry double-team Marc Mero until Goldust rushes down to make the save, tripping Sable in the process. Goldust chases Helmsley, who last night made a pass at Marlena, into the audience. Jerry Lawler yells at Goldust, “What’s the big idea, freak!?” He doesn’t understand why Goldust is upset about HHH making a pass at Marlena, since Goldy is, you know…. “What?” asks Goldust. “Queer,” says Lawler after much hesitation. “No,” says the Bizarre One, who then punches Lawler to the mat. Marlena comes out to pose with Goldust who, now outed as heterosexual, can officially become a babyface.

The WWF Carolers, led by Freddie Blassie, sing a tune about Sycho Sid set to the tune of “O Christmas Tree.”
Billy Gunn and Bart Gunn each enter separately, with the same theme song playing twice, to face each other in their blow-off match. A woman Vince claims is Bart’s wife is seen in the audience, while Billy’s wife and children are elsewhere in the crowd. I wonder what they think about this feud, which was sparked in part by Billy Gunn’s affair with Sunny. A “We Want Sunny” chant breaks out as Bart drops Billy across the ropes for a stun gun. Billy acts like he’s been hit by an actual stun gun. Billy’s “wife,” who stayed out of the picture while her husband carried out an affair on national television, rushes to the ring to Billy’s aid while yelling at Bart. The match stops much like the Shawn Michaels-Owen Hart match last year that also featured a worked-shoot injury angle. The fans are a little less sympathetic this time around, with one audience member yelling, “Where’s the Undertaker?” Raw goes off the air on a note of uncertainty, with the question on everybody’s mind being, “Does anybody really care what happens to Billy Gunn?”

Final tally:

2 Maneuvers
9 Oh My Goodnesses

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