Friday, October 9, 2015

Raw History: Episodes 19-20

Raw History
Episode 19
May 31st, 1993 – Manhattan Center in Manhattan, New York

Jim Duggan opens the show with a patriotic speech outside of the arena because it’s Memorial Day. He looks ridiculous standing outside in his onesie.

WWF Intercontinental Championship
Marty Jannetty (c) w/ Sensational Sherri vs. Bam Bam Bigelow w/ Luna Vachon

Bigelow and Luna is probably about as perfect a pairing as you could get in wrestling, while Marty Jannetty didn’t fit alongside Sherri. Oh well, at least it continued the Sherri/Luna rivalry and Sherri attacks her before the match even begins. While they’re being broken up, Bigelow attacks Jannetty to kick things off officially. He is in firm control until Marty hits an odd looking forearm. He gets two with a top rope one but runs into the classic bearhug. Bigelow places Marty on the tope but he comes off with a weird head scissors attempt that came off wrong. He does another but his third is countered into an electric chair drop of sorts. Bigelow continues to impress and was always one of the more agile big men in history. Marty begins to make the face rally but Bigelow stops him with a backbreaker. Sherri cheats for him by pulling his leg and when he goes to hit her, is knocked outside. Baseball slide and dive outside follow from Marty. The champion gets inside, but a Sherri distraction leads to a countout.

Winner via countout: Marty Jannetty in 9:06
There was potential here but Marty was sloppy throughout. Bigelow did his best, but it was tough when the face is doing things that come off bad. Still better than most Raw matches though.**¾

Bigelow attacks Marty after the match and we go to commercial. Returning, Sherri screams into the microphone that she wants Luna Vachon one on one. Luna answers, they brawl and Bigelow comes out to help Luna. Of all people, Tatanka makes the save. Well Sherri did manage him at WrestleMania so I guess it makes sense.

The Steiner Brothers vs. The Executioner and Rich Myers
This Executioner is not to be confused with the one from the 80’s or Terry Gordy during the Undertaker/Mankind feud in 1996. Commentary continues to hype the eight man tag set for the King of the Ring. I still don’t understand why it’s not the Steiners getting a Tag Team Title shot. Bobby Heenan calls Rich Myers a ham and egger, but Vince McMahon reminds him that a “ham and egger” beat Razor Ramon last week. This is all Steiners, which is how it should be.

Winners: The Steiner Brothers in 4:14
Completely one sided, but I will admit, it sure is fun to see the Steiners kill these guys. SQUASH

Mr. Hughes vs. Bert Centeno
Okay, Bert Centeno is a totally new jobber. A “Mr. Hughes, tie my shoes” chant begins, which just makes me love a New York crowd a little bit more. Actually, a “Hogan sucks” chants breaks out, but Vince tries to cover it as “Heenan sucks”. Hughes dominates, but I never saw the appeal in him. Commentary is plugging the King of the Ring Hotline like it’s the WWE Network.

Winner: Mr. Hughes in 3:01
Mr. Hughes sucks. SQUASH

Mean Gene brings us the King of the Ring Report. None of the news brought to us is new.

“Hacksaw” Jim Duggan vs. Mark Thomas
Oh gee, look. It’s gonna be another squash. Before the match, we get our classic ICOPRO and WWF figures commercials. This is literally all Hacksaw as he does a powerslam and suplex before the big three point stance clothesline ends this.

Winner: Jim Duggan in 2:23
Blah. Another day, another lopsided match. I guess he needed a win heading into the King of the Ring. SQUASH

After the bell, Jim Duggan brings the American flag in and we do the Pledge of Allegiance. Even Bobby Heenan participates because I guess patriotism is not something to mess with.

The 1-2-3 Kid cuts an interview about the offer Razor Ramon made to him. The offer has been raised to $5000. 1-2-3 Kid doesn’t accept because he’s scared of the consequences. He struggled through this.

Razor Ramon vs. Tony Roy
Macho Man and the fans are doing the “1-2-3” chant to get under Razor’s skin. Tony Roy gets an INCREDIBLY close near fall with a roll up. I’m glad they went with the false finish route. Razor takes him down with a clothesline but suffers another near fall. A superplex and Razor’s Edge finishes this.

Winner: Razor Ramon in 3:28
Razor Ramon dominates, but I liked the two false finishes. He needed this following the 1-2-3 Kid stuff. SQUASH

Yokozuna appears and he supposedly just made it to the building. He’s scheduled for the King’s Court next week but Mr. Fuji is out waving the Japanese flag which infuriates Vince McMahon. Mr. Fuji just basically says that at King of the Ring, Hulkamania will die.

Overall: 5.5/10; Decent. I liked the Intercontinental Title match though it could have been better. Everything else was just squash matches but they all made sense this week. Mr. Hughes, Razor and Duggan are all going into the King of the Ring and the Steiners have to be the next Tag Team Champions. Right?

Episode 20
June 7th, 1993 – Manhattan Center in Manhattan, New York

Tonight’s broadcast opens with a random announcer introducing the new WWF Intercontinental Champion, Shawn Michaels! He must have won the title back on Superstars or a live event or something. He is flanked by a large man that we could come to know as Diesel.

Non-Title Match
WWF Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels w/ Diesel vs. Ross Greenberg

We get no introduction of the guy he’s facing. Vince McMahon informs us that Shawn Michaels won the belt last night in Albany back from Marty Jannetty. He then tells us this guy’s name, as he gets a one count when he does a small package. Throughout the match, commentary is trying to figure out Diesel’s name. Shawn busts out the top rope elbow and this might be the earliest I’ve ever seen it. He wins with a piledriver.

Winner: WWF Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels in 3:51
An expected one sided bout. Wait, this was a title match? The announcer makes it seem as such. SQUASH

King of the Ring Report time as we now add Shawn Michaels vs. Crush to the card. What happened to Mr. Perfect vs. Shawn Michaels? I feel like we were clearly headed towards that. Back to ringside and Shawn Michaels complains to the commentary booth about having to defend the belt against a 300 pound Hawaiian this Sunday.

Adam Bomb w/ Johnny Polo vs. El Matador
So, Adam Bomb’s intro now has the addition of trash looking footage of an explosion. They focus on Adam’s contacts, which look incredibly cool for the time period. I like this booking as I expect it to get Adam a win, but it won’t be a squash because people know who El Matador is. In classic Heenan fashion, he calls Matador Desi Arnez. Matador is attempting to wrestle his much bigger opponent. He gets a near fall with a rollup but runs into an uppercut. Both guys continue to trade stuff and Matador gathers some near falls. He tries another rollup but Adam holds on and he hits the mat hard. Adam goes to the apron and slingshots in with a flying clothesline to win.

Winner: Adam Bomb in 5:32
I was pleasantly surprised by this. It wasn’t ground breaking or anything, but it did a better job of establishing Adam Bomb than squashing a jobber would. Plus, the slingshot finish was innovative for the time considering his size. **½

Tatanka vs. Peter Weeks
Good lord, another Tatanka match? I swear, in 20 episodes, I’ve watched like 15 Tatanka matches. They are giving out fake Tomahawks in the crowd and the Tomahawk chop begins. I laugh at the Mets fans in this New York crowd doing the signature cheer of the Atlanta Braves. Weeks is a hefty fella, but Tatanka has no problem with him. Weeks get beaten down for the whole match, does one move, which somehow causes Tatanka to “Hulk Up”. Really? Tatanka wins.

Winner: Tatanka in 3:14
If you’ve seen one Tatanka squash, you know how this went. Blah. SQUASH

Near the side of the entrance, a small setup has been constructed for the King’s Court. Jerry Lawler shows up in pink, which is odd but he should have worn this during his rivalry with Bret Hart down the line. He badmouths New York City for a bit before introducing Yokozuna. I think your first guest should maybe be someone who speaks English. Just a thought. I guess Mr. Fuji does the talking but his English isn’t great either. Lawler’s material was even outdated back in 1993. Fuji brags that Yokozuna is up to 550 lbs. because he eats 15 meals a day. I don’t think this is a sound strategy.

Rick Steiner and Billy Gunn w/ Scott Steiner and Bart Gunn vs. IRS and Fatu w/ Ted Dibiase, Samu and Afa
As stated, these eight men will meet in a big tag match at King of the Ring. The Headshrinkers are eating WWF Ice Cream Bars, causing Heenan to claim they get through the ice cream to make it to the stick. This is billed as a mixed tag match which made me giggle. Fatu and Billy start, reminding me that in about six years both guys would reach their peaks. Rick gets the tag and shows off his impressive strength, while IRS wants to avoid him. IRS does get the tag and seems winded even though he’s done next to nothing. IRS is knocked outside and he takes out Fatu, causing dissension between the two heel teams as we go to commercial. During the break the Headshrinkers are paid off but they just eat the money. Rick gets worked over for a bit now, which is surprising as they are the more over team. Billy gets the hot tag and comes in hot, resulting in him being called a one man gang. See, that’s why he became Akeem. IRS gets in a cheap shot and pins Billy.

Winners: IRS and Fatu in 7:59
Decent main event as it put the focus on the Tag Team Titles. Money Inc. needs to drop the titles soon but this was fine. **¼

Next week’s show is hyped, which features Doink vs. Marty Jannetty, and Mr. Perfect and Jerry Lawler in action. Razor Ramon appears for an interview and he announces that the 1-2-3 Kid has agreed to face him for $7500. According to Vince, this hasn’t been confirmed and he also states that only 7% of the fans believe Razor will beat Bret Hart in the King of the Ring Tournament. The Hotline = precursor to WWE App.

Overall: 5.5/10; Decent. Not a bad episode by any means. While it only did an okay job of building King of the Ring, it wasn’t riddled with squash matches. Shawn Michaels got to be featured, and the Adam Bomb/El Matador match was better than expected. Our main event tag match was decent and the only real blemish was Tatanka.