Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Raw History: Episodes #76-78

Raw History
Episode #76
August 22nd, 1994 | Memorial Auditorium in Lowell, Massachusetts

We are just one week away from SummerSlam! We start with Vince McMahon and Macho Man in a studio as this will be a special episode of Raw. Tonight will basically be a recap of the previous night’s Sunday Night Slam special. Jim Ross and Gorilla Monsoon are on commentary for the matches.

Crush vs. Lex Luger
These two surprised me with a not awful match last year when their face/heel alignments were reversed. I don’t have high hopes that they can repeat that here. It’s pretty clear early that the crowd noises are dubbed in. You can barely hear commentary and the fans sound raucous, but everyone looks to be sitting on their hands. Crush pounds away on Luger for a while, which is made funny by Luger’s terrible selling. He needed acting classes in a bad way. Crush goes to the staple of any shitty big man, the DREADED bearhug. Ted Dibiase strolls out while the hold is applied. Luger starts the babyface rally with some of his All-American offense. As Crush stops him in his tracks, Dibiase gets on the apron with money to bribe Crush. He wants Crush to leave Luger alone. Crush slaps the money away, BRUDDA. Luger nails him with the steel forearm and picks up the win.

Winner: Lex Luger in 12:08
About as dull as I expected it to be. These aren’t two guys that I look forward to seeing compete and matches like this are the reason why. This felt like a house show match. ¾*

Vince and Savage take us to a recap of the Bret/Owen feud, going back to the Royal Rumble when Owen kicked Bret’s leg out from under his leg. It’s honestly one of my favorite feuds of all time. This leads into a special in-ring interview with Bret Hart from earlier in the week. He basically just says that the feud is going to end in the Steel Cage at SummerSlam. The highlight of this promo is Bret calling Neidhart fat and stupid.

Leslie Nielsen gets pizza delivered and it’s by the Undertaker. He doesn’t notice this though. Well that was certainly an interesting segment.

Non-Title Match
Diesel w/ Shawn Michaels vs. Typhoon

Seriously, why is Typhoon still employed? Jim Ross gushes over Diesel as he and Typhoon plod through everything. Nothing they do is particularly impressive and most of it looks rather sloppy. Diesel hits a big boot and clothesline for the win.

Winner: Diesel in 4:07
This was there. Not a good match by any means.

Razor Ramon and Walter Payton cut a promo on Diesel and Shawn Michaels.

Vince and Savage take us to some of the Undertaker vs. Undertaker build.

Overall: 2/10. It was hard to truly give this a score since it wasn’t a traditional episode of the show. That being said, what I did see wasn’t very enjoyable. The Bret Hart interview was pretty cool but everything else was boring or flat out sucked.

Raw History
Episode #77
September 12th, 1994 | Memorial Auditorium in Lowell, Massachusetts

So the show has been away for two weeks. In that time, Shawn Michaels and Diesel won the WWF Tag Team Titles from the Headshrinkers on a house show before SummerSlam. At SummerSlam, Diesel dropped the Intercontinental Title back to Razor Ramon. The real Undertaker vanquished the Underfaker and Tatanka proved to be the sellout when he joined the Million Dollar Corporation. Bret Hart retained his WWF Title in a classic Steel Cage match against Owen Hart. Oh, and the British Bulldog returned.

Kwang w/ Harvey Wippleman vs. The Undertaker w/ Paul Bearer
This is surprisingly even for the first minute or so. Who would think that a little over a year later, these guys would be on the same team at Survivor Series? Undertaker misses an elbow but a raise of the urn from Paul Bearer helps him up. This goes through a commercial break where Kwang gets in some offense. He clotheslines the Dead Man over the top but Undertaker lands on his feet. He gets in but has the green mist spit at him only to spit it right back. That’s pretty gross. A Chokeslam finishes off the martial artist.

Winner: The Undertaker in 4:41
That was much more competitive than I expected it to be. Due to that, I kind of enjoyed it. It served the purpose it had to and Undertaker got a win in his return to Raw. Acceptable stuff. 

Footage is shown from the WWF Title Steel Cage match. Vince McMahon calls it the greatest Steel Cage match in WWF history which honestly still holds true to this day.

Jim Neidhart w/ Owen Hart vs. Tim McNeany
Jim Neidhart attacks at the bell. Owen Hart shouts into the camera that Neidhart will take care of Bret, which disappoints me because Owen vs. Bret III sounds far better. Vince plugs the upcoming “Hart Attack” tour. The match is completely one-sided and Neidhart wins with a camel clutch.

Winner: Jim Neidhart in 3:53
Typical squash that didn’t overstay its welcome.

JERRY THE KING LAWLER! DUKE THE DUMPSTER DROESE! Next week, they settle their score on Raw, next week.

Time for the King’s Court. Jerry Lawler was told to apologize to Doink and Dink for popping Dink’s balloons on Superstars this past weekend. His guests are indeed Doink and Dink, the latter wearing a Burger King crown. They want to prove there are no hard feelings though and bring Lawler a gift but he knows that Doink is a trickster. Doink opens it and it is revealed to be a garbage can. Lawler shrugs it off and goes to punt the can but there were weights inside and Lawler hurts his foot.

Non-Title Match
WWF Tag Team Champions Diesel and Shawn Michaels vs. Paul Van Dale and Tony DeVito

Diesel lost the IC Title after an accidental Superkick from Shawn Michaels. Due to that, Vince McMahon plants the seeds for their split, saying that Diesel may not even like Shawn but they’re champions. He makes up a story that Shawn said the belts are being cleaned which is why they don’t have them here, but I’m pretty sure it’s because this was pre-recorded. Shawn does most of the heavy lifting here while tagging in Diesel to hit the big spots that he has in his arsenal. Diesel hits the Jackknife and could win, but Shawn wants the tag. He climbs onto Diesel’s shoulders and wins with a splash.

Winners: Diesel and Shawn Michaels in 4:21
A relatively fun squash match. Shawn did the work, Diesel hit the spots and they have good chemistry.

We are taken to footage from Superstars this past weekend. Ted Dibiase basically issued an open challenge to face Bam Bam Bigelow. Adam Bomb, in new attire, answered the call. They didn’t wrestle but Adam clotheslined him outside and sent him packing.

Adam Bomb vs. Dwayne Gill
While the two competitors go at it, Vince and Savage talk about the charity softball game played before SummerSlam. Adam shows off some athleticism by leaping over Gill. He moved so well for a guy his size. Gill gets in some offense, more than he probably should actually, but Bomb hits the slingshot shoulder block. That sets up the pumphandle slam which ends things.

Winner: Adam Bomb in 3:19
As noted, Dwayne Gill got in too much offense for my liking, but other than that, this was an effective squash.

The Bushwhackers vs. Barry Hardy and Bert Centeno
Oh dammit, who let the Bushwhackers back in? Abe “Knuckleball” Schwartz is on strike in the crowd because baseball is on strike and Vince liked to take shots at things like that. After some unfunny comedy spots, the Bushwhackers pick up the victory with the Battering Ram.

Winners: The Bushwhackers in 4:14
Too long, too unfunny and too bad.

Overall: 3.5/10. This show was on its way to an inoffensive score. Then the King’s Court turned out to be pretty lame as usual and I had to sit through the Bushwhackers. The Adam Bomb squash was okay at best, the Kwang/Undertaker match was just there but Diesel and Shawn were the highlights for sure.

Raw History
Episode #78
September 19th, 1994 | Memorial Auditorium in Lowell, Massachusetts

A recap is shown of Tatanka’s heel turn and the fact that he no longer dresses like a stereotype and instead wears suits.

Lex Luger vs. The Executioner
Gee, they’re still running the Executioner jobber character? Commentary just keeps talking about the fact that we can never doubt Lex Luger again. I mean, he’s proven that he is easy to doubt in a big match. He goes through his offense, including the SCREAMING CLOTHESLINES and makes the Executioner submit to the Torture Rack.

Winner: Lex Luger in 2:34
As usual with Lex Luger, this wasn’t great but it was kept short.

Tatanka returns to the ring, Diesel and Shawn Michaels in action and a King’s Court with the British Bulldog will all happen next week.

Duke “The Dumpster” Droese vs. Jerry “The King” Lawler
Wow, this looks incredibly unappealing. Lawler gets in control first and talks smack so Droese just tosses him aside. Lawler starts pulling his usual stall tactics to kill some time. When he does come in to do actual offense, it’s all boring. He hits the second rope fist drop for a near fall. Lawler hits the piledriver and gloats. He goes outside to grab a garbage can but Dink runs out to spray him with a squirt gun. Lawler chases him away and gets counted out.

Winner via countout: Duke Droese in 8:47
This was putrid. Jerry Lawler’s offensive style doesn’t make for a good match and the finish was dumb. I get that it builds to the Lawler/Doink Survivor Series matches but it just made Duke look like a chump, which I’m pretty sure wasn’t the plan. ¼*

The Heavenly Bodies vs. Mike Bell and Steve King
No Jim Cornette with the Bodies. The match starts during the commercial break and sees the Heavenly Bodies completely dominate. They mock the Smoking Gunns and win with a moonsault.

Winners: The Heavenly Bodies in 2:12
I guess this is setting up the Heavenly Bodies vs. the Smoking Gunns. 

Vince McMahon is in the ring to conduct an interview with Bob Backlund. He has cut his hair and is better off for it. Vince tells Backlund that people wanted him to be a role model but what he did to Bret Hart was wrong. Backlund flips out, saying that isn’t the “former” WWF Champion but that he’s been the rightful champion for over 15 years. He runs down society today and says that the people changed, not him. The fans chant “has been” and Backlund makes a proclamation. He says that if anyone can escape the crossface chicken wing, he will retire. He challenges Vince but it isn’t 1997 yet so it doesn’t happen. Backlund finds a WWF magazine columnist from ringside and brings him in. Backlund is just supposed to give a demonstration but goes overboard and swings the guy like a rag doll until security comes in. He stares at his hands again. Despite Backlund tripping over his words a few times, this was an excellent segment.

Bob Holly vs. Richie Rich
Seriously? It’s like they aren’t even trying with these jobber names. Holly does some of his offense and wins in short fashion after a flying cross body.

Winner: Bob Holly in 1:58
Too short to really have any notes.

Yokozuna vs. Phil Apollo
I guess none of the managers in the company were in attendance for this show. As with most Yokozuna squash matches, he gets in all of the offense and hits the Banzai Drop.

Winner: Yokozuna in 2:43
Typical Yokozuna squash.

Yokozuna’s celebration is cut short by the sound of gongs. He freaks out and scurries from the ring.

Overall: 3/10. The only thing that was any good on this show was the Bob Backlund angle. That was done very well. Everything else is trash. The marquee match was dreadful and the squashes weren’t the best. Hopefully things pick up as we get closer to Survivor Series.