Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Raw History: Episodes 17-18

Raw History
Episode #17
May 17th, 1993 – Manhattan Center in Manhattan, New York

Commentary hypes up tonight as a huge show, featuring Tatanka, an interview with Shawn Michaels, Razor Ramon and a match between Yokozuna and Kamala. Footage airs of the brawl between Shawn Michaels and Mr. Perfect outside of the Manhattan Center last week.

The Smoking Guns vs. Glenn Ruth and Tony Vajda
This is the Raw debut of the Smoking Guns, who would go on to become a rather successful tag team. They come out shooting cap guns which is pretty lame actually. Bart and Billy both get in some offense on the jobbers. They do the WWE video game generic double team move, which is a drop toe hold into an elbow drop. I literally chuckled at the sight of it in real life. The Guns win with an interesting finisher as Billy back body drops a jobber into Bart, who catches him with a piledriver. It’s a nice idea in theory, but it came off very awkward.

Winners: The Smoking Guns in 3:41
A bit longer than I expected, but a good showcase for a new team. With them and the Steiners, the tag division seems to be heating up. SQUASH

Vince McMahon is in the ring for a special interview with the WWF Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels. Our now weekly “Shawn is Gay” chants ring out. Shawn calls himself a man of his word because he said he would be champion and he is. He said he would walk out of the Lumberjack match as Champion and he did. He badmouths Mr. Perfect as well before talking about how he fears no man. Suddenly, a man in a hoodie comes over the guardrail and gets into the ring. Shawn tells the “fan” to sit back down, but it’s revealed that the “fan’ is Marty Jannetty! I don’t think he’s been around since losing to Shawn at the Royal Rumble. It’s crazy that Shawn put him through the Barber Shop window all the way back in 1991. Marty challenges Shawn to prove he’s a man of his word and defend the title against him tonight.

The Kid vs. Razor Ramon
Two weeks ago, he was the Kamikaze Kid and last week he was the Cannonball Kid. Sean Waltman goes with the Kid only this week even though his ass says L. Kid. Even though he’s a heel, there are “Razor” chants because he was so damn cool. Razor, being so much bigger, just manhandles the Kid. He hits a chop that is louder than the cap guns we heard earlier. Razor nails a fallaway slam, and his was probably the best ever though JBL gives him a run for his money. He misses a move in the corner, Kid climbs and nails a moonsault, scoring the three!

Winner: The Kid in 2:10
Here we have one of the most iconic and historic moments in Raw history. The crowd is stunned because, as we’ve seen in these reviews, the jobbers never win. This would be the launching pad for Waltman and showed everyone that anything could truly happen in the WWF. **¼

Scott Taylor vs. Tatanka
Scott Taylor mocks Tatanka at the start, which just leads to him getting back body dropped. The crowd starts doing the Tomahawk Chop again. Bobby Heenan starts giving us useless facts about toilet paper. Tatanka is just dominating this thing. Heenan is still complaining about the Kid winning, making up stories about him using a double backflip in the air. Vince calls him the 1-2-3 Kid and Heenan complains it will catch on. You think? Tatanka wins with the Samoan Drop.

Winner: Tatanka in 3:41
I’ve grown very tired of Tatanka. He’s been on nearly every Raw and has the same match most of the time. SQUASH

Mean Gene takes us to the King of the Ring Report. He informs us of the brackets so far as Bret Hart faces Razor Ramon, Tatanka meets Lex Luger and Bigelow takes on Jim Duggan. On Superstars this week, Shawn Michaels meets Crush in a non-title qualifying bout while Kamala faces Mr. Hughes. No word on what happened in the second Doink/Mr. Perfect qualifier. Way to be consistent Gene!

Kamala vs. Yokozuna w/ Mr. Fuji
Both men literally just stare across the ring at each other for the first minute or so. They charge at each other and neither budges, but the second time, Yokozuna stumbles. Kamala chops away but Yokozuna doesn’t go down. That’s basically the entire story here as Kamala just keeps trying to take him down. Mr. Fuji grabs Kamala’s foot, allowing Yokozuna to do this thing. A Banzai Drop later and this is over.

Winner: Yokozuna in 3:39
Well, it wasn’t a squash which was different. I appreciated the story of Kamala trying everything to get him down, but it was still rather boring. 

WWF Intercontinental Championship
Shawn Michaels (c) vs. Marty Jannetty

So, Shawn Michaels is now defending his Intercontinental Title for the third straight episode of Raw. Bobby Heenan calls Jannetty just another ham and egger. I love that term. After Shawn starts a bit hot, Marty rallies and knocks him outside, following with a baseball slide. He skins the cat back inside before diving out onto him. The crowd is red hot. Marty brings Shawn back in and ducks a superkick before snapping off an arm drag and head scissors for two. This is fast paced, which the crowd needs after the previous bout. Shawn gets out of the head scissors but misses his next shot and takes his signature bump in the corner, sending him outside. Shawn is done with this as he grabs the belt and leaves. Unfortunately for him, Mr. Perfect blocks his exit. After a commercial, Marty tries another head scissors but eats the EDDIE GILBERT hot shot. With that, Shawn starts to wear down Marty, which makes sense since he’s been a ball of fire throughout this. Marty catches a dropkick attempt and slingshots Shawn into the corner. He also hits a pretty powerslam for two and they have the crowd in the palm of their hands. Marty fakes out Shawn and hits a cross body for two. They both get near falls, with Shawn having a handful of tights. He hits the Superkick but smack talks Mr. Perfect instead of pinning. A small package earns Marty the shocking win!

Winner and New WWF Intercontinental Champion: Marty Jannetty in 8:55
Hot damn, this was a fun main event. It was fast paced and played off of the fact that they knew each other very well. The title change made for one of, if not the best ending to a Raw so far. ***½

Overall: 8/10; Great. While the actual wrestling, apart from the main event, wasn’t splendid, this was a very important Raw. First, we get a showcase for the hot new tag team before we see a total shocker in the Kid beating Razor Ramon. Marty Jannetty returning was a nice surprise and the main event more than delivered. This is what Raw is all about. The shock value of anything can happen on a live show.

Raw History: The $2500 Challenge
Episode 18
May 24th, 1993 – Manhattan Center in Manhattan, New York

I don’t know about everyone else, but Raw feels much more important when it’s in the Manhattan Center. Whenever I see an early episode from another venue, it ends up being a throwaway show. Before our opener, Lord Alfred Hayes is outside of the Manhattan Center with Doink, even though he just walked to the ring. TOO MANY DOINKS!

King of the Ring Qualifying Match
Doink the Clown vs. Mr. Perfect

So these two have tried to qualify twice and both ended in draws. Doink attacks at the bell, choking Mr. Perfect with his own towel. Perfect retaliates though and works over the leg, wrapping it around the ring post. Doink knocks Perfect outside with a stiff forearm while still selling the leg work. He takes Mr. Perfect down with a fireman’s carry, only to be put in a head scissors. The straps are down on Mr. Perfect and Doink’s paint is nearly halfway gone but they continues to mat wrestle. Mr. Perfect applies a modified figure four that looks like it hurts a ton. After he gets out, Doink rakes Mr. Perfect’s face across the top rope and we spill outside. Doink has been working the shoulder, which is a great contract to Mr. Perfect’s offense. Doink uses one of my personal favorites, which is a body slam onto the arm that you’ve spent the match working. After a commercial, both guys are just slapping each other until Mr. Perfect nails a clothesline and takes him out. A second Doink comes out and rolls under the ring before switching places with regular Doink. Doink #2 is obviously well rested, but it’s clear that his paint isn’t messed up at all. It doesn’t matter though as he falls victim to the Perfect Plex.

Winner: Mr. Perfect in 11:41
This was given a lot of time, had a clean finish and was a damn fine wrestling match. Both guys can work and they focused on an opposing body part, leading to a well thought out contest.***½ 

Bobby Heenan, who the entire match has been saying that it was only one Doink and the others were an illusion, now exclaims that Mr. Perfect beat the wrong Doink. The two Doinks attack until Crush makes the save brudda.

During this week’s King of the Ring Report, we get our first Hulk Hogan appearance since winning the WWF Title. With Mr. Perfect qualifying just now, he will face Mr. Hughes in the first round of the Tournament. Hogan’s promo is about how great it is to be on Raw. Technically, he’s not on Raw. His muscle definition is significantly down. He talks about the five commandments or amendments of Hulkamania. Seriously, it was hard to hear what he said.

Non-Title Match
WWF Tag Team Champions Money Inc. vs. Mike Bell and Tony DeVito

I have no clue why Money Inc. is still the Tag Team Champions. If there was any title that should have changed hands last week on Raw, it was the tag belts. Before the match, Ted Dibiase gets a fan to shine their shoes for $100. The kid does it but only gets $30 because the tax man comes for him. I’ll admit, I chuckled a bit. We are told that instead of Money Inc. defending their belts and losing them at King of the Ring, they will be in an eight man tag teaming with the Headshrinkers against the Smoking Guns and the Steiner Brothers. This was your basic extended squash.

Winners: Money Inc. in 3:59
Total squash that took way too long. SQUASH

Crush vs. Jobber
Seriously, I don’t know if I missed it or what but I didn’t get this ham and egger’s name. We are told that Crush and Shawn Michaels had a qualifying match over the weekend, but they fought to a double countout. They don’t get a million rematches like Doink and Mr. Perfect? Oh, it’s Bobby Hill or something like that. Crush dominates, but it’s boring as he even does a bearhug. YOU’RE NOT A HEEL DUDE! Crush uses the Kona Clutch to win.

Winner: Crush in 3:26
Another squash that was dull. SQUASH

Vince McMahon is in the ring to conduct an interview with Razor Ramon. Razor personally requested this time but looks pretty funny in sweatpants. His fake Spanish is hilarious. “McMang” and “Silencio” are delivered in a terrible way. Razor offers the “little cockroach” the 1-2-3 Kid $2500 to step into the ring with him again. When they bring up the King of the Ring, his first round opponent, Bret Hart comes out. He starts a “1-2-3” chant. Bret basically just says it’s going to be “1-2-3” when they wrestle at King of the Ring.

Adam Bomb w/ Johnny Polo vs. Phil Apollo
Even though he appeared on Superstars recently, this is the Raw debut of Adam Bomb. Yea, we saw Kronik in the last two matches. I’ve always been a big fan of Adam Bomb. He does a rather impressive dropkick and back suplex. A top rope clothesline is impressive here before he wins with a powerbomb.

Winner: Adam Bomb in 2:34
Another squash, but at least this one was to hype a new star. SQUASH

It’s so strange to see Raven dressed as Johnny Polo. A short interview is conducted with Bam Bam Bigelow as he faces Marty Jannetty for the Intercontinental Title next week. He’ll have Luna Vachon in his corner and Marty will have Sherri. Hey look! It’s continuity.

Overall: 5/10; Mediocre. This started off so well. Mr. Perfect and Doink had one of the better matches on Raw this year, right up there with Marty/Shawn, Bret/Fatu and Perfect/Flair. The rest of the show was just squashes and, while they make sense sometimes, can be a chore to watch.