Saturday, July 16, 2016

Raw History Episodes 43--45

Raw History
Episode #43
December 13th, 1993 | Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, New York

Considering that Bobby Heenan was thrown out of the company last week and Randy Savage is suspended from commentary, Vince McMahon needs a new broadcast partner. Enter Jim Cornette. This should be fun.

Fatu w/ Afa vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage
Here we see Randy Savage is out of “retirement”, which should be good since he can still go here. Fatu had a damn good match against Bret Hart earlier in the year, meaning this has potential. Savage sells great for him, falling outside on a savant kick. Savage hits Fatu but twice, he shrugs it off and kicks the former WWF Champion. Fatu mauls him with some of those SAMOAN HEADBUTTS. Savage makes the classic babyface comeback and wins with the elbow.

Winner: Randy Savage in 5:51
While this wasn’t a great match, it did its job. Randy Savage got to win in his return and Fatu was able to look like a Samoan monster. Decent stuff here. **

Todd Pettengil tries to get a petition started for Macho Man to be allowed to return to WWF Mania and host it with him. I honestly don’t remember watching Mania as a kid.

The Smoking Guns vs. Steve Smyth and Jim Massenger
Captain Lou Albano appears at ringside to scout talent. The match is pretty much all Smoking Guns and the jobbers look pretty bad throughout. Bart hits a DDT and Billy wins with a top rope bulldog.

Winners: The Smoking Guns in 2:46
Standard squash match here, made worse considering the jobbers weren’t of the best variety. ¾*

We get a recap of what went down between Razor Ramon, Shawn Michaels, Diesel and the 1-2-3 Kid last week.

IRS vs. Todd Mata
For what has to be the first time in history, we see the contents of IRS’ briefcase and he has Razor Ramon’s gold chain in there. IRS gets in all of the offense, dumping Todd Mata onto the outside. Once he struggles to get back in, IRS hits a backdrop, earning the victory.

Winner: IRS in 1:43
If I must watch IRS matches, these are the best ones. It was kept short so he couldn’t do his stupid endless chinlock. ¾*

A ridiculous video airs of Yokozuna as Santa Claus, being nice to children. He then wakes up from the nightmare. The best part about this is that we now know that he sleeps in his entrance robe.

The Undertaker w/ Paul Bearer vs. J.S. Storm
I feel like I haven’t seen the Undertaker on Raw in months. Commentary mentions that the Undertaker the upcoming Casket Match between Yokozuna and the Undertaker at the Royal Rumble. Jim Cornette says that it will be bad, which is absolutely what it was. Storm obviously gets nothing and Undertaker mows through him quickly.

Winner: The Undertaker in 1:55
I’m liking these quick squash matches tonight. It makes things much easier to enjoy. *

Our final Jeff Jarrett vignette airs, and it’s just a montage of his previous ones. He debuts next week.

A promo airs to hype next week’s marquee Raw match. Tatanka returns to avenge his first loss against Ludvig Borga.

Rick Martel vs. Tim McNeany
We have to nearing the end of Rick Martel’s run with the WWF right? He actually runs into trouble as the jobber gets two near falls with rollups. Martel gets tired of this quick and stars taking control, even doing some jumping jacks. This jobber gets more offense than I’d expect but Martel wins.

Winner: Rick Martel in 3:00
Another squash, but this one was pretty dull considering it lasted longer than the rest. ½*

On Superstars, Owen Hart was interviewed by Vince McMahon and challenged Bret Hart to a match. Things are about to get good.

Bret Hart vs. Brooklyn Brawler
This should be better than most squashes because it involves Bret. He targets the arm of the infamous jobber. He hits a cross body and goes back to the arm. Brawler rakes the eyes and thinks he’s in control but Bret is all like “nope” and goes into the FIVE MOVES OF DOOM to win.

Winner: Bret Hart in 4:14
Probably my favorite squash match of the night, but nothing about it was great. Basic stuff here again. 

Overall: 3.5/10. I really wasn’t feeling this episode. Granted, I appreciated that some of the matches moved by so quickly, but there were five of them and I’d only consider one to really be watchable. We are in a period where it’s a bit too far from the new PPV for anything of note to really happen though, so I kind of get that.

Raw History
Episode #44
December 20th, 1993 | Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, New York

We get clips of the attack on Tatanka last week before a promo from saying he’s getting his revenge tonight. Vince McMahon is joined by Shawn Michaels on commentary this week.

Jeff Jarrett vs. PJ Walker
Man, Jeff Jarrett’s outfit has to be a rib. He struts and poses around the ring in between his offense. He does a pretty good job of drawing heat from the fans with some trash talking. Jarrett wins with a rather ugly looking DDT.

Winner: Jeff Jarrett in 3:32
A decent debut here. Jeff Jarrett quickly showed that he was going to be a solid heel. *

Men on a Mission w/ Oscar vs. Duane Gill and Barry Hardy
I’m pretty sure the jobber team are the superior workers. Oscar’s “Santa Rap” features him saying Christmas five times and then spelling the word. #Bars. Mo does his awful offense before Mabel comes in and dominates. He slams Gill onto Hardy as commentary discusses how much of a problem Mabel will be in the Royal Rumble. Instead of just ending it here, Mo comes in and applies another wristlock. We are past that point of the match. Mabel comes in and ends it.

Winner: Men on a Mission in 4:33
My goodness, Men on a Mission completely suck and, for some reason, keep getting long squash matches. DUD

Todd Pettengil takes us to the Royal Rumble Report! They hype the WWF Championship Casket Match between Yokozuna and the Undertaker as well as IRS somehow getting an Intercontinental Title shot at Razor Ramon. He then runs through the rules of the Royal Rumble and announces nine entrants including Bret Hart, Owen Hart, Mabel, Shawn Michaels, Diesel, Crush, Kamala, Doink and Scott Steiner. Poor Rick Steiner and Mo couldn’t get in before Kamala?

Ludvig Borga vs. Tatanka
To try and prove that their issues are very serious, they brawl on the outside for a bit. Once they come in, Tatanka takes control, beating up Borga worse than anyone else so far. H gets two on a cross body before just getting mauled by a Borga body block. Borga surprises me with a cross body type move in the corner. Hey, he’s somewhat athletic. Tatanka no sells it because of his NATIVE AMERICAN FIGHTING SPIRIT! Yokozuna and Mr. Fuji walk to the ring as Tatanka goes up top. Fuji hits Tatanka with the flag in the back. The referee doesn’t see it, so they could have gotten away with it, but Yokozuna just walks in the ring for the DQ anyway.

Winner via disqualification: Tatanka in 4:40
It wasn’t the worst match ever before the finish. It was actually better than I expected from the two of them, though I had very low expectations. 

As Yokozuna and Ludvig Borga look to kill Tatanka, Lex Luger makes the save. He uses the illegal forearm and body slams Yokozuna to send them packing.

Adam Bomb w/ Harvey Wippleman vs. Mark Thomas
Mark Thomas still looks more jacked than most of the roster at this point. For some reason, Lou Albano is out at ringside. I thought he was scouting tag teams. Since Thomas has a purple and black singlet, Vince makes a Barney joke. Bomb hits a powerbomb to wrap this up quickly.

Winner: Adam Bomb in 1:42
Why couldn’t this be the length of the Men on a Mission match? I’d rather watch Adam Bomb than those two for four minutes. This was short and sweet. *

A vignette runs for Thurman “Sparky” Plugg. Who thought that was a good name?

We go back to two weeks ago on Superstars, where Owen Hart challenged Bret Hart to a match. This past weekend on Superstars, Bret Hart responded, saying he knows the match would be great and that he never backs down from a fight, but he won’t fight his brother.

Owen Hart vs. Mike Bell
Owen Hart and Mike Bell do some arm work that obviously Owen wins with a head scissors takedown. Shawn Michaels is doing a good job in playing up how Bret is the favorite of the Hart family. Owen does some nice offense like a gutwrench suplex and second rope elbow. Owen hits a sweet belly to belly suplex before finishing Bell off with the Sharpshooter.

Winner: Owen Hart in 3:11
As usual, Owen Hart produces an entertaining squash match. He always found a way to make the most of his time and he does so here again. 

Somehow, there’s a camera at the Undertaker’s workshop. It’s like a bizarre version of MTV Cribs. Paul Bearer shows us the Kamala casket and then we see Undertaker working hard at making a double wide casket for Yokozuna.

The Headshrinkers w/ Afa vs. Phil Apollo and Jerry Seavey
As expected, the Headshrinkers control this thing. Unfortunately, it isn’t the jobber killing from them that I’ve come to love. They hit Seavey with a double leg sweep and then win with the Fatu splash.

Winners: The Headshrinkers in 2:52
Not one of the better Headshrinker squash matches. They are usually hit or miss and this one kind of missed. ¾*

Next week, we see Razor Ramon in action, Lex Luger will also be wrestling, Marty Jannetty vs. Johnny Polo and highlights from the finals of the WWF Women’s Championship Tournament!

Overall: 4/10. Another ho-hum episode. Jeff Jarrett had a decent but forgettable debut, Owen Hart had a fun squash and Tatanka and Borga did better than expected. Still, Men on a Mission had an abysmal and I wasn’t impressed with the whole show.

Raw History
Episode #45
December 27th, 1993 | Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, New York

It’s the final episode of Raw in the year 1993! Vince McMahon’s commentary team this week consists of the Quebecers. Pierre apparently speaks bad English.

Lex Luger vs. Barry Horowitz
Lex Luger is such a natural heel that they even book him against the face jobbers. Commentary discusses the possibility of Luger being in the Royal Rumble. He did had the clause in his contract that states he couldn’t get another shot at Yokozuna if he didn’t win the belt at SummerSlam. Horowitz is surprisingly getting in a fair amount of offense. I don’t think he would get this much offense in again until his minor push in 1995. Barry makes the mistake of patting himself on the back. That leads to the Luger SCREAMING CLOTHESLINE! He hits a powerslam and superplex to finish things.

Winner: Lex Luger in 4:24
Better than I thought it would be due to the amount of offense Barry Horowitz got in. Granted, Lex Luger shouldn’t really be struggling with him, but it made for a more entertaining bout. *

We go back to the 1-2-3 Kid/Marty Jannetty match from a few weeks ago where Johnny Polo interfered, leading to his match tonight.

Johnny Polo vs. Marty Jannetty
They work a solid back and forth start, with Johnny Polo looking rather impressive. Jannetty gets two on an interesting rollup before taking him over with an arm drag. Polo busts out a suicide dive but Marty comes back with a slingshot body press. Marty comes off the top shortly after with a cross body for two. These guys are working pretty hard, but Vince is just talking about all kinds of off-topic stuff. Pierre gets up commentary as Jannetty dropkicks Polo outside. Pierre checks on Polo but eats a baseball slide. He then dives from the top and wipes out Pierre. Marty tries a sunset flip but Pierre holds Polo and allows him to win.

Winner: Johnny Polo in 8:22
I rather liked this match. Both guys worked hard to try and get Johnny Polo over as a capable wrestler. I think Vince could have done a better job on commentary in helping the cause, but still, a solid match. **¾

Doink the Clown vs. Spike Gray
Jacques makes a joke about Doink getting a “little Dink” for Christmas. It goes right over Vince’s head. I wonder who is playing Doink here. He and Dink run a gag on the jobber before Doink quickly wins with a German suplex.

Winner: Doink in 1:01
This is how I like my Doink squashes now that the OG Doink is gone. Short. ¾*

Adam Bomb, Bigelow, Macho Man, 1-2-3 Kid, Fatu, Samu, Rick Steiner, Greg Valentine and Bob Backlund are all added to the Royal Rumble on the Royal Rumble Report. They also announce that the Quebecers will be facing Bret and Owen at the Rumble. Bret and Owen cut a promo about how they’ve solved their differences.

Next week, the Smoking Guns face Bastion Booger and Bigelow. Yuck.

Crush w/ Mr. Fuji vs. Mike Moraldo
Crush’s attire is still rather absurd. He overpowers Moraldo and uses some of his “martial arts expertise.” Crush wins with a claw hold that looks weak.

Winner: Crush in 2:24
It was short. That’s the only positive I can find in this match. ¼*

We go back to Undertaker’s workshop, where he continues to build the double wide casket.

Video clips are shown from the finals of the WWE Women’s Championship Tournament. Alundra Blayze met Heidi Lee Morgan. The footage shows that the match probably wasn’t great, but Blayze won to bring the Women’s Title back.

A vignette is shown for Kwang. It’s just him doing nonsense “martial arts” moves. Crush is probably crying gimmick infringement. Who would know that they’d be partners in a few years in the Nation of Domination?

Non-Title Match
Razor Ramon vs. Derek Domino

This is your standard Razor Ramon squash. He goes through all of his usual stuff, including the modified abdominal stretch. According to Jacques, it’s the domino stretch. Get it? Because the jobber’s name is Domino. Razor finishes with the Razor’s Edge.

Winner: Razor Ramon in 3:48
Like I said, standard Razor Ramon squash match. Nothing to write home about it, but it accomplished the job. *

Overall: 4/10. Considering the fun Polo/Jannetty match and the fact that Luger’s match was better than expected, I wanted to like this episode more. Instead, it featured Crush and Doink boring me. The year does not end with a bang, but more like a whimper.

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