Saturday, December 17, 2016

Raw History: Episodes 73-75

Raw History
Episode #73
August 1st, 1994 | Beeghly Center in Youngstown, Ohio

The show opens with a recap of the short history between Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon, including their ladder match at WrestleMania. Vince McMahon is back on commentary for the first time in weeks.

Razor Ramon vs. Shawn Michaels w/ Diesel
A hot start by Razor sends Shawn to the outside. Razor uses his strength, including a fallaway slam, to keep the pressure on HBK. The back and forth is impressive here as neither guy is really allowed to take firm control for any lengthy period. They trade offense and have the crowd completely into them. Razor catapults Shawn over and out onto Diesel. Shawn over does the jump, but it comes off looking fine. Shawn looks to come off the top but Razor slams him down like he’s Ric Flair. Razor continues to try and use his power with a bearhug and abdominal stretch. This has gone through two commercial breaks and is getting a good amount of time. Shawn has turned the tide, using underhanded tactics like a good heel. Shawn wears him down but Razor starts to rally. Both men are down after Razor hits a big kick when Shawn sets too early. They get up and trade blows before Shawn takes his signature corner bump. Shawn goes for the Razor’s Edge but Razor counters with a backdrop. He gets up and calls for a Razor’s Edge of his own but Diesel gets on the apron. He eats some right hands as Shawn grabs the Intercontinental Title. He fails at using it but Razor ends up running into a boot from Diesel behind the official’s back. Shawn rolls up Razor for the 1-2-3.

Winner: Shawn Michaels in 17:59
Shawn gets his win back from WrestleMania and these two have another really good outing. It obviously wasn’t on the level of their Ladder match, but still a good showing. I liked Razor playing the powerhouse, which doesn’t always work for a face, but did so here. Razor probably had better chemistry with HBK than anyone else. ***½

Diesel and Shawn Michaels look to continue the assault after the bell but officials break things up.

Todd Pettengill brings us the SummerSlam Report. He says that Shawn and Diesel should just come out together since they’re working together by the end of the match anyway. That would be good, but Diesel and Shawn already do come out together. We find out that Lex Luger accepted Tatanka’s challenge for SummerSlam.

Non-Title Match
WWF Women’s Champion Alundra Blayze vs. Bull Nakano w/ Luna Vachon

Bull Nakano is just given the old Orient Express theme. Vince does a good job in putting over Nakano as a dominant force in Japan. She proves him right quickly by tossing Alundra around like a rag doll. Macho Man calls her BULL NAKANAKANAKANO for some reason. Nakano hits a big piledriver but Blayze gets her foot on the bottom rope. Nakano follows with a sitout powerbomb for two again. Blayze gets a victory roll near fall before making a mistake and missing high risk. Nakano missing a flying leg drop and kicks out of Alundra’s bridging German. Alundra dropkicks Nakano outside and leaps off onto her. They brawl outside until a double countout is called.

Double countout in 5:25
A fantastic first TV showing for Bull Nakano. She got to show off her power offense, went to a draw with the champion and this sets up a rematch. They showed off moves that you wouldn’t see men bust out in this era, let alone women, while exciting the crowd with close near falls. ***

Next week, Bigelow and IRS take on Doink and Tatanka. I guess not every show can be like this.

It’s time for the King’s Court, but Jerry Lawler goes into the crowd to bash fans. He says that all of Macho Man’s girlfriends are inflatable. Macho Man’s response is “how did he know?” There is a marriage proposal in the crowd and Lawler pulls the woman away to give her time to think. She says yes. Lawler’s guest is the man who says that he never lost the WWF Championship, Bob Backlund. We see footage from a recent show where Bret Hart beat Bob Backlund. Bob slapped Bret and put him in the chicken wing. Bob seems to be on the verge of snapping.

The Smoking Gunns vs. George Anderson and Tom Bennett
Billy and Bart do their double team offense and we actually go to a commercial during this. They win as the show goes off the air.

Winners: The Smoking Gunns in 1:44
It was kept short and that’s how I like it.

Overall: 8.5/10. One of the better episodes of Raw so far. You got a really good match between Razor and HBK, while Bull Nakano and Alundra Blayze had a great five minute showcase. Throw in an important Backlund interview setting up a new top heel and keeping the lame stuff to a short under two minute match and you’ve got a winner.

Raw History
Episode #74
August 8th, 1994 | Beeghly Center in Youngstown, Ohio

Our usual hosts are here this week.

The Undertaker w/ Ted Dibiase vs. Butch Banks
I feel like Butch Banks drew the short straw when it comes to jobber names. Obviously, this is the Underfaker, since the real Undertaker won’t be back until SummerSlam. He wins with a tombstone.

Winner: The Underfaker in 3:07
Totally one-sided, which was fine and how it should have been.

A clip is shown of Leslie Nielsen searching for the real Undertaker. Those ads were really hit or miss.

A recap airs from Superstars when Shawn Michaels had Lex Luger on the Heartbreak Hotel and was trying to goad him into saying that he was now employed by Ted Dibiase. He barely denies it, which continues the speculation. That’s a fine idea, but if Luger was really a straight face, why not just deny it?

Lex Luger vs. Chad Miller
Ted Dibiase shows up to talk to Luger during his entrance. After a break, Dibiase appears on a split screen, saying that he just told Luger not to worry about a thing. Luger goes through his stuff and wins with the loaded forearm.

Winner: Lex Luger in 3:00
As usual, Lex Luger squashes aren’t the most entertaining.

Todd Pettengill and the SummerSlam Report brings us the ENTIRE SummerSlam card. We already know about the Battle of the Undertakers, Luger/Tatanka, the WWF Title Steel Cage match and Diesel defending the Intercontinental Title against Razor Ramon. Razor is gonna have former Chicago Bear Walter Payton in his corner to oppose HBK. Added to the card is a Women’s Title match between Alundra Blayze and Bull Nakano, Mabel vs. Jeff Jarrett because rap vs. country is a thing and lastly, the Headshrinkers will put the Tag Team Titles on the line against IRS and Bigelow.

Bam Bam Bigelow and IRS w/ Ted Dibiase vs. Doink and Tatanka w/ Dink
I do not have high hopes for this one. Doink and IRS start things and Doink keeps the pace quick, while IRS struggles and has to tag out. When the match moves to Bigelow and Tatanka, it ends up improving but still isn’t what I would call great. The heels start to work the heat on Tatanka which surprised me. He’s the guy going into a big PPV match, so I’d assume he’d get the hot tag. That hot tag comes to Doink but it ends up failing as he eats a kick from Bigelow while IRS is the legal man. He hits the Write-Off and they win.

Winners: Bam Bam Bigelow and IRS in 8:00
Outside of Bigelow, I don’t really like any of the other workers in this match. Due to this, I wasn’t a fan. It wasn’t outwardly bad as they followed tag formula fine, but it was pretty dull. *

The winners throw Doink out of the ring and attack Tatanka until Lex Luger runs them off. Ted Dibiase gets in the ring with money and makes an offer to Luger. He shoves the money in Lex’s hand and Tatanka bumps into him. He sees the money and flips out, shouting that Lex sold out.

Next week, Owen Hart takes on the 1-2-3 Kid in a rematch of their excellent King of the Ring bout. Sweet!

King’s Court time with guest Owen Hart, how is accompanied by Jim Neidhart. Owen runs down his family and mentions that Neidhart is the only member that has had his back from the start. He reminds everyone that he humiliated his brother at WrestleMania before winning the King of the Ring. Then Owen flips it and says that the whole family now backs him. Bruce Hart is brought out as the next guest. He was always my least favorite Hart Family member. He says that nobody in the family is behind Owen. He also says that Owen cheated at WrestleMania, which did not happen at all. They bicker and argue into a commercial that ends the segment. It helped build the upcoming WWF Title match but Bruce was pretty bad here.

Bob Backlund vs. Kevin Krueger
Backlund’s style was pretty different from what was going in around this era. He was stuck in the 80’s, but it kind of worked in his insane character during this time. He was just beginning it here and hadn’t cut his hair yet. Every single time he takes his opponent down, he starts leaping around. There are some “boring” chants before a “we want Bret” chant takes over. He wins with the Crossface Chicken Wing.

Winner: Bob Backlund in 3:48
Backlund was kind of entertaining here.

He holds onto the chicken wing for long after the bell and then stares at his own hands.

Overall: 3.5/10. A big downfall from last week but that was expected. Most of this show is an easy skip, especially since the main match wasn’t good, but I did enjoy Backlund and the Owen Hart portion of the King’s Court.

Raw History
Episode #75
August 15th, 1994 | Memorial Auditorium in Lowell, Massachusetts

For weeks, the Tatanka/Luger issue has broiled over and Luger keeps ending up in situations where he looks like he’s joining the Million Dollar Corporation. Macho Man and Vince McMahon are on commentary.

1-2-3 Kid vs. Owen Hart w/ Jim Neidhart
Similar to their King of the Ring match, Owen attacks before the bell, but the Kid is ready. He scores a quick near fall on a spinning heel kick. I don’t know what it is about this episode, maybe it’s the lighting, but it looks better than other recent episodes. Kid blocks some back suplexes and takes Owen to the mat. Owen finally hits one, followed by an enziguri for two. Both guys pick up the pace and kip up at the same time. Kid knocks him outside and follows with a springboard dive. He dropkicks Neidhart’s fat ass off the apron heading into the commercial. Returning, Owen hits a suplex from the apron to the outside and Kid takes the bump like they were actually in the ring, which is sick. Owen now picks the Kid apart, taking joy in playing the bigger guy. Owen makes a crucial mistake, missing a knee drop from the top and starts to limp. Kid goes right after the leg and applies a single leg crab until Neidhart runs in for the DQ.

Winner via disqualification: 1-2-3 Kid in 9:57
A fast paced match that was probably a notch below their King of the Ring encounter. Fun, quick and not the kind of thing we’d see often on Raw in this time period. The finish was pretty lame though. ***

After the match, Jim Neidhart keeps officials at bay while Owen Hart locks the 1-2-3 Kid in the Sharpshooter.

Todd Pettengill and that SummerSlam Report! No new information comes here.

In the crowd, Abe “Knuckleball” Schwartz is on strike. You see, Major League Baseball was on strike at the time and the WWF wanted to take advantage of that. He was played by Steve Lombardi, or the Brooklyn Brawler. In a promo from earlier in the evening, he blamed the fans.

Duke Droese vs. Nick Barberry
This is what you would expect it to be. Barberry gets in like two moves before Droese hits a clothesline and body slam. He shouts “ITS TIME TO TAKE OUT THE TRASH” before winning with an elbow.

Winner: Duke Droese in 1:27
Just how I like my Duke Droese matches; short.

Another Leslie Nielsen vignette is shown, saying he will solve the case at SummerSlam.

Kwang w/ Harvey Wippleman vs. Tony Roy
Kwang attacks, spits the red mist in the air and wins in incredibly quick fashion.

Winner: Kwang in 0:32
Whoa. That was short.

Jerry Lawler and Ted Dibiase are out for the King’s Court. Lawler talks about how Dibiase has been wrongfully questioned about the legitimacy of his Undertaker. Out comes Paul Bearer as Lawler has him as a guest too so Ted can clear the air. Bearer sends a message for Ted’s Undertaker saying that the real Undertaker is going to end him. Out comes the Underfaker. Bearer tells him to his face that at SummerSlam, his eyes will be closed forever. So, basically, the Undertaker is going to murder Brian Lee. As he chokes Bearer, the lights flicker and the crowd loses their minds. They go out and when they come back on after a gong, Bearer is out of the ring and screeching that his Undertaker is here.

Mabel w/ Oscar vs. Raymond Roy
I wonder if the jobber is related to the dude who Kwang killed. Mabel does some different offense like a neck snap but it still isn’t among the most impressive showings. He wins with a second rope elbow

Winner: Mabel in 2:33
Kudos to Mabel for bringing out some new moves.

Jeff Jarrett vs. Scott Taylor
In the Attitude Era, the crowd would have been pretty into this pairing. Jarrett dominates here and wins with a figure four, which I believe is the first time he’s won with that on Raw.

Winner: Jeff Jarrett in 1:58
Hey look, another short squash. That has certainly helped this show move along.

Jeff Jarrett’s celebration is cut short by the arrival of Mabel and Oscar. They rap to show that rap music is better than country.

Overall: 6.5/10. A solid episode here. Owen/Kid was a good showing and the rest of the squash matches were kept short, which is a very good thing. Add in the fact that I was actually entertained by the King’s Court this week for the most part and you’ve got a thumbs up.