Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Raw #193 - January 13th, 1997

This week’s Raw may be taped, but Shawn Michaels is live from San Antonio, where he signs autographs for fans such as Double J Jesse Jammes, his future DX colleague (and by “future,” I mean 2012’s “Raw 1000” episode, the first time the two were in the stable at the same time). Bret Hart’s chances of winning this Sunday’s Royal Rumble just dropped drastically after Steve Austin Pillmanized his ankle on Superstars. Speaking of agony, the Honky Tonk Man is on commentary with Vince, filling in for his cousin Jerry Lawler, who teams with HHH against Goldust and Marc Mero.
During the entrances, a sign suggests that “nWo” stands for “not worth observing.” Observing? Even for today’s WWE announcers, that’s an awkward vocabulary choice. I wonder what Cole, Lawler, and JBL would think if they had witnessed what just transpired! Goldust and Hunter Hearst Helmsley have no contact during the opening minutes, but when Goldust finally tags in to face the Blue Blood, Hunter flees under the bottom rope, trying to tag in Jerry Lawler. He misses, but the referee claims he saw a tag anyway. Honky Tonk Man picks up the slack left by Jerry Lawler on commentary, squeezing in a topical reference by saying that Hunter will keep his cool against Goldust at the Rumble like OJ Simpson on the witness stand in his recent civil trial. Vince announces that the Royal Rumble winner will face the title match’s loser next week on Raw. Hearing how bad it sounds to describe a wrestler as a “loser” when hyping a future match, Vince would insist in 2014 that announcers avoid that word when talking about how the loser of the Cena-Ambrose pole match would face Randy Orton at Hell in a Cell. Hunter continues to dodge Goldust, stepping off the apron when Lawler tries to tag. However, once Jerry has Goldust tied up, Hunter steps in for an attempt at a cheap shot, but ends up punching the King by accident. Later, Lawler uses a concealed foreign object to punch Mero before the commercial break.

Wildman Marc Mero turns the match around for his team by hitting a Tremendous Maneuver (#1 - flying headscissors) on Helmsley. Honky Tonk disagrees with McMahon, stating it was merely a “very good maneuver,” but admitting that if Helmsley had landed on his head, it would have been “devastating.” Goldust finally gets the tag and goes ape on Hunter, even uppercutting him in his “prominent proboscis.” Hunter ends up tied in the ropes, allowing Goldust to choke him. The referee disqualifies Goldust’s team, leading to the Bizarre One and the Wild Man exchanging blows after the match.
In a promo taped earlier today in an empty Alamodome, Sid quotes Nietzche about becoming a monster when fighting monsters. He doesn’t identify the German philosopher by name, probably because he can’t pronounce it. He says that when he faces Shawn Michaels, José Lothario will “summon all the Mexicans from Mexico” and they will see Sid destroy Michaels. Shawn, who speaks live from San Antonio, says that he is “all man and at least a yard wide, if you know what I’m talking about!” We do know what he’s talking about: his penis. However, the man standing on the right of the screen may not know what he’s talking about, as he excitedly cheers “woo!” after the innuendo. HBK then casually refers to Sid as “Stalin” for claiming to be the master and ruler of the world. Nobody can “work his ass into the ground” like himself, says Michaels, creating quite the mental image. What exactly is he doing that requires him to work his ass into the ground? Some kind of cruel prison labor where he has to dig holes not with a shovel but with his own butt?

Bret Hart, who was Pillmanized on the Superstars episode that aired yesterday, limps to the ring for commentary, no doubt puzzling the fans in attendance, who saw him earlier in the taping walking quite normally. Apparently, it was such a Devastating Maneuver (#2) that Hart got injured retroactively. British Bulldog, who cost Austin a match to two jobbers two weeks ago on Superstars, faces Rocky Maivia, who shows more promise, says Bret, than any wrestler he’s ever seen. This weekend on Shotgun Saturday Night, Rocky made the save for Sable when she found herself in the ring with the Honky Tonk Man, leading to a brawl between Rocky and Marc Mero. Rocky takes control with what Vince calls a “patented arm drag takedown.” Who would have thought that within three years, these two would be on opposite sides of a Dog Poop match? Not Rocky and Vince; Rocky and Bulldog. No, Rocky and Vince would within four years be on opposite sides of a “Kiss My Ass” match. Bulldog steps outside for a breather after having a tough time with Maivia. Owen Hart then walks to ringside with his Slammy Award (obviously) and sets himself in front of the announce table to keep Bret from interfering in the match.
Rocky scores a two-count with a sunset flip as Raw returns from break. Bulldog takes control after the kickout until he gets into a slugfest with Rocky, whose stupid arm movements really add power to his punches. Maivia body-presses Bulldog and himself over the top rope, where Austin sneak-attacks Davey Boy with a chop-block. Austin is then chased by a hobbling Bret, who is followed by Owen. Meanwhile, Rocky rolls into the ring to pick up a countout win.

Backstage, Faarooq assures Vince that the Nation of Domination will be unified in the Royal Rumble match, while Crush promises to dominate the Undertaker “by any means necessary.” This will be Crush’s first confrontation with the Undertaker since 1996’s Bollywood film, Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi, and even then, it was just Brian Lee dressed as Taker. The real Undertaker cold-cocks Crush before the bell. Vince describes how fearsome Crush is, using the word “individual” twice but noting that he hates to be called, “jailbird.” Undertaker attempts School (soon to be known as “Old School”), but Faarooq shakes the ropes, knocking the Dead Man onto his cold cock. However, Taker recovers and dumps Crush over the top rope with a fireman’s carry, a Nice Maneuver (#3). Crush fights right back by snapping Undertaker’s neck over the rope with a Clever Maneuver (#4). Crush’s manager, Clarence Mason, according to Honky Tonk Man, has just been to Oakland, where he showed his support for Ebonics. Crush hits one of his patented crappy piledrivers to ground Taker. Vader peeks through the “Raw sign as the show goes to break.
After the break, Crush is in control until he misses a fist drop. Undertaker scores with a flying clothesline but fails to hit the Tombstone, which Crush wriggles out of. The Jailbird then attempts the dreaded heart punch, but the Undertaker ducks. Crush then takes the worst chokeslam until Hulk Hogan in 2002. The Nation then runs in, drawing a DQ. Vader, Taker’s Rumble opponent, also joins in and Vader-Bombs him twice before Ahmed rushes in with a 2x4. Johnson, the first former champion in WWF history to ever use a 2x4 as a weapon, soon gets beaten down by the Nation as Raw goes off the air.

Final tally:

4 Maneuvers (Year total: 9)
3 Oh My Goodnesses
8 Individuals

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