Sunday, March 20, 2016

Raw History: Episodes #31-33

Raw History
Episode #31
September 13th, 1993 | Manhattan Center in New York, New York

Raw was off the air for a while in between the 30th and 31st episodes. We’re talking nearly a month since the last episode. During that time SummerSlam aired, where Lex Luger beat Yokozuna by countout, but had a celebration like he actually won the gold. Coming up short would be a theme for Luger’s WWF run.

Vince McMahon, Bobby Heenan and Macho Man introduce things from the red hot Manhattan Center.

WWF Tag Team Championship Quebec Province Rules
The Steiner Brothers (c) vs. The Quebecers w/ Johnny Polo

Quebec Province Rules mean that the titles can change hands on a countout or DQ. Also, throwing an opponent over the top is a DQ, as is performing a piledriver and any move off the top. Wow. Rick starts with Jacques and instantly powerslams the hell out of him. Scott and Pierre come in and Scott just hits a tiger suplex because why not? The Steiners play no games. Pierre hits a second rope flying clothesline for two. Some high impact offense early on. They work through a commercial as Vince mentions scores to football games. It sounds so weird knowing that they avoid things like that now. The Steiners actually have to stop one another from doing a piledriver to save the belts. Pierre looks for a second rope suplex that Rick counters into a front one for two. For our second commercial, the Quebecers do the talk strategy outside with Johnny Polo. Returning, they are in control. Vince badmouths Monday Night Football, which is kind of the opposite of him talking football earlier. The Quebecers are going all in on the classic heel tactics. Great stuff. They are milking Scott as the face in peril for a while. Polo goes for a hockey stick shot outside but surprisingly decides against it. Rick gets the hot tag but somehow Scott is legal and hits a Frankensteiner. It gets broken up. Rick knocks Polo off the apron and the hockey stick comes into play. Scott takes it from Jacques and uses it on him, only to get caught by the referee.

Winners and New WWF Tag Team Champions: The Quebecers in 17:43
That was a really solid tag team match up until the ending. I get that they wanted the disqualification finish to play into the rules but Scott Steiner just came off looking incredibly dumb. Still, before that, it was damn good with some classic heel tag work and fun back and forth. ***¼

Mr. Perfect vs. Tony DeVito
At SummerSlam, Mr. Perfect lost to Shawn Michaels in an IC Title match. I’ve mentioned it before but Tony DeVito would lose weird and go bald before becoming a member of the ECW roster during their final years. He hits Perfect and goes outside to taunt before running away. He actually makes it backstage but is brought back by Mr. Perfect. Shockingly, DeVito gets in a bit more offense before falling outside on a dropkick. Mr. Perfect gets tired of toying around and wins with the Perfectplex.

Winner: Mr. Perfect in 2:43
A rather extended squash where Tony DeVito got more offense than expected. It was entertaining and better than some squashes. *

ICOPRO! You’ve gotta want it!

Vince McMahon talks to Macho Man about Lex Luger’s bittersweet celebration at SummerSlam. During this pointless celebration, Ludvig Borga walked in to confront Luger. As if having Yokozuna on the roster wasn’t enough, we now have two evil foreigner gimmicks.

Razor Ramon vs. The Executioner
Razor Ramon is now officially a full-fledged face. He defeated Ted Dibiase at SummerSlam in what proved to be Ted’s final match. Executioner actually knocks Razor loopy when he hits him outside. Bobby Heenan asks “Is Conan O’Brien still on the air?” Funny considering he still is some 20+ years later. Razor hits a sweet Chokeslam and the fallaway slam. Razor wins with a top rope back suplex in short order.

Winner: Razor Ramon in 2:36
Another pretty basic squash. Standard fare. *

Razor Ramon gives the fans what they want next with a Razor’s Edge. He was a face but still did some heel stuff, making him rather cool.

Vince McMahon is in the ring to conduct an interview with the new WWF Tag Team Champions, the Quebecers. They talk about the Canadian success as of late in sports. Vince asks about the Steiners getting their rematch. Johnny Polo claims that if one of the Steiners can beat one of the Quebecers they can get their shot. The Steiners come out but get held back by officials. This ultimately leads nowhere.

Doink the Clown vs. Rich Myers
So far in 1993, Doink has arguably been the MVP of Raw. At SummerSlam, he lost to Bret Hart and there’s no shame there. Rich Myers attacks from behind before the bell. He has a blonde mullet and baby blue pants, so he absolutely has the jobber look down. “Let’s go Doink” chants start because he’s awesome. He starts tossing Myers around and nearly kills him with a German suplex. During the match, Crush calls in with his stupid Hawaiian accent. After talking a bit about coming back, he hears Macho Man and hangs up. Doink wins with the whoopee cushion.

Winner: Doink in 2:09
My favorite squash of the night because Doink is pretty gangster. He just tossed Myers around in pretty great fashion. If you’re gonna beat a jobber, you might as well nearly kill him. 

Bobby Heenan tries to convince Doink to throw his bucket of water on Vince and Savage, but Doink changes his mind and does it to Heenan. After a commercial, Doink comes back out and looks under the ring for another bucket. He goes to throw it on the fans but it turns out to be confetti. Before the show goes off the air, Vince tells us that we get Pierre vs. Scott Steiner next week.

Overall: 7/10; Good. I have to say, that was an enjoyable return for Raw. The opening match took up a good chunk of time and was really fun despite the finish. The other three squashes featured three guys that I like and they made sure the squashes weren’t worthless. The interview segment and post-match Doink stuff wasn’t great, but all in all, this was fun.

Raw History
Episode #32
September 20th, 1993 | Manhattan Center in New York, New York

We open with a recap of the WWF Tag Team Title change from last week. It’s a rather extended look at it. Commentary is the usual McMahon/Savage/Heenan combination.

Pierre w/ Johnny Polo vs. Scott Steiner
Scott Steiner is rocking his Michigan colors tonight. It starts with a slugfest and Scott throws Pierre over the top, which he couldn’t do last week due to the rules. To continue that trend, he does a piledriver, which is a fun play off the Quebec Province Rules. During this era, Scott’s move set was pretty long as he applies an Indian deathlock. Scott is just dominating as we go to commercial when Pierre leaves ringside. Returning, Pierre is back with Jacques and out comes Rick Steiner to help even the odds. Despite this, a distraction allows Pierre to take control. Pierre does well here with a nice headbutt and even the VADER BOMB! He was always underrated in my book. He gets two on a second rope leg drop. Scott begins to rally with the STEINERLINE, butterfly bomb and Frankensteiner to earn a title shot.

Winner: Scott Steiner in 12:41
Much like last week’s tag team opener, this was pretty fun. Both guys busted out some impressive offense and it was just a really solid match. ***

Bam Bam Bigelow w/ Luna Vachon vs. Laverne McGill
Bigelow starts with a nice dropkick and when McGill tries his own, he whiffs badly. Bobby Heenan asks where Laverne’s partner Shelly is. I love Heenan. Bigelow does the Flair bump in the corner impressively. McGill goes to the dropkick well too often and misses. Just like last week, Crush calls in for a bit but ignores Macho Man. They push how they are friends but Crush straight up claims he will never speak to Savage again. Look at the WWF setting up a WrestleMania program in September. Luna gets in a cheap shot on McGill. Is that needed in a squash? Oh well, at least it gets more heat. Bigelow wins following a senton.

Winner: Bam Bam Bigelow in 5:18
This went on for far too long. They knew they had to sell the Crush stuff and killed time during it. Bigelow should be crushing jobbers, not selling for them. ¼*

Time for another in ring interview, this time with Bret Hart. They run down what happened at SummerSlam, where Bret Hart would not release the Sharpshooter on Jerry Lawler and got disqualified. Lawler was taken out on a stretcher but celebrated because he is the “true king”. Bret calls out referees and Jack Tunney for allowing Lawler to call himself the king when he’s done nothing to earn it. Bret’s only regret is that he didn’t keep the move held in longer.

Mr. Perfect vs. Mike Bell
Mike Bell gets in a hip toss and not much more. Mr. Perfect is extra aggressive here, seemingly stiffing Bell with some shots. Bell sets early for a backdrop, which is a mistake against Perfect. The Perfectplex connects and that’s a wrap.

Winner: Mr. Perfect in 3:54
Another standard Mr. Perfect squash. His are better than most. *

A Ludvig Borga vignette is shown to talk about how much he hates filthy Americans. Then, we see two people get engaged in the first row, while Bobby Heenan acts like a total dick. Hilariously, he gives her his wet Kleenex to hold during this.

IRS vs. PJ Walker
Justin Credible is here to job again. IRS goes into his incredibly dull offense but Razor Ramon comes out to give us something interesting. The distraction allows Walker to rollup IRS for the win. I was wrong about the jobbing!

Winner: PJ Walker in 1:20
Probably the best IRS enhancement match ever since he didn’t get enough time to bore us to death. The upset obviously didn’t carry the same weight as 1-2-3 Kid’s, but the fans do chant “1-2-3”. I’ll give it a full star for helping me avoid IRS’ dullness. *

Bobby Heenan interviews the Quebecers backstage. They say they won’t be giving the Steiner Brothers a title shot next week, but they will give one of the deserving teams a shot. It could be the Headshrinkers or Well Dunn. I forget the other team they mention.

Overall: 5/10; Mediocre. Not on the level of last week’s episode even though it started just as strong. The Bigelow squash was awful and the other two matches were at least watchable. The Bret Hart interview was a major step up from what we were subjected to from the Quebecers last week as well. I don’t get why people are so down on Bret’s promos.

Raw History
Episode #33
September 27th, 1993 | New Haven Coliseum in New Haven, Connecticut

WWF President Jack Tunney starts things in his office announcing that Shawn Michaels failed to appear at shows and, since he hasn’t defended his belt in over 30 days, will be stripped of the Intercontinental Championship. A battle royal will take place next week and the final two guys meet the week after to determine the new champion. In reality, there were reports that Shawn was suspended for testing positive for steroids and even had an offer from WCW on the table. 

Our usual commentary team joins us to hype the show. We’ll have a Tag Team Title match and the return of Jimmy Snuka.

Tatanka vs. Rick Martel
Oh good lord, Tatanka is back. I was enjoying things without him. As Rick Martel takes the advantage a small “let’s go Rick” chant starts. When Tatanka turns things around slightly, Martel stalls outside like a good old fashioned heel. Tatanka gives chase, falling for classic heel tactic #5. After a commercial, Tatanka gets two on a sunset flip. They continue to go back and forth. The stuff is technical decent but there’s no heat and both guys seem to just be going through the motions. Tatanka starts his dancing rally but ends up knocked outside. Martel gets pulled out and the referee starts his count. The brawling doesn’t stop, leading to a double countout.

Double Countout in 10:49
I’ve seen much worse but I’ve also seen much better. There wasn’t much effort from either guy, but I guess it did the job of building towards the upcoming battle royal next week. 

Some weird dude gives us the news about the battle royal next week, announcing the twenty participants. IRS, Macho Man, Adam Bomb, Giant Gonzalez, Mr. Perfect, Owen Hart, Rick Martel, Jimmy Snuka, Bob Backlund, Pierre, Jacques, Razor Ramon, Mabel, Diesel, MVP, 1-2-3 Kid, Bigelow, Marty Jannetty, Tatanka and Batsion Booger.

Ludvig Borga vs. Phil Apollo
Ludvig Borga attacks at the bell and clotheslines the jobber down. He pounds on his opponent and finds the one dude in history with a Ludvig Borga sign and points him out. For every move he does, he spends time jawing with the fans. Borga wins with a torture rack.

Winner: Ludvig Borga in 3:15
Blah. Ludvig Borga was never very good and this was one of the more boring squash matches I can recall. ¼*

Jimmy Snuka vs. Jobber
Before the jobber can get introduced, Jimmy Snuka attacks like a heel or something. Vince says his name but I can’t really catch it. Snuka does his basic stuff but looks pretty bad doing so. The best thing about this is Bobby Heenan calling Crush to ask if he’s in the Intercontinental Title battle royal since Macho Man got in. Crush blames politics on it but it’s hilarious to hear him try and be a badass with his ridiculous accent. Snuka hits a weak backbreaker and the splash, which was the best looking thing he did.

Winner: Jimmy Snuka in 4:33
Who thought they should bring him back? Outside of the splash, he looked pretty bad throughout. I won’t give it the full DUD score for the unintentionally funny Crush stuff and the splash.¼*

After a video clip of IRS losing to PJ Walker last week, we go to IRS doing his taxes or something. Vince calls him Mr. Rotundo, killing kayfabe for me. 

WWF Tag Team Championship
The Quebecers (c) w/ Johnny Polo vs. Barry Horowitz and the 1-2-3 Kid

The original plan was to face Horowitz and Reno Riggins, but Reno wasn’t there so Kid is the replacement. The joke is that the Quebecers are obviously not facing a legit top ten tag team in the company. The champs take this lightly but Kid overwhelms them and causes them to actually regroup outside. They go to double team tactics to take control, beating on the Kid. He’s really good at building sympathy. Jacques seems to get hurt outside and they do a stretcher job but it is announced that even with only one Quebecer, the match will continue. Kid rallies but misses a spinning heel kick that sends him to the outside hard. Polo rolls him inside, where he lays with Pierre for a while, until Pierre just covers him in disappointing fashion.

Winners and Still WWF Tag Team Champions: The Quebecers in 9:56
I don’t get what they tried to accomplish here. The 1-2-3 Kid was already the resilient team and the Quebecers were weasels. Unless Jacques was legit injured, I don’t see why they went that way. The ending was super anti-climactic as well. 

Razor Ramon gets interviewed about the battle royal next week. He and Macho Man get into it in competitive spirit but it doesn’t really lead anywhere.

Overall: 2/10; Terrible. In recent episodes, the Quebecers have been a surprising breath of fresh air, putting on some good matches. Here, the match was not very good and there was nothing else to save the show. They continually talked about the battle royal next week, making this show kind of a wash.