Saturday, April 8, 2017

Raw History: Episodes #88-90

Raw History
Episode #88
November 28th, 1994 | Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, New York

The Survivor Series has come and gone. To open the show, we see Bob Backlund dethrone Bret Hart for the WWF Championship when Helen Hart threw the towel in. Shawn Michaels also tried to hog the spotlight after Diesel dominated their Survivor Series match. HBK hit Diesel with a superkick by mistake and Diesel chased Shawn out of the arena. Then, this past Saturday, Diesel faced Backlund for the WWF Title and beat him for the belt in eight seconds. Talk about an eventful week.

Your hosts tonight are Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler.

Owen Hart vs. John Paul
Vince reminds us that Owen is despicable for his actions at Survivor Series. I still say that Owen should have gotten Backlund’s title reign. Yes, even if it lasted only a few days. Bret Hart calls in while Owen works over the jobber. Bret talks about how he’s licking his wounds and that he’s going to watch the Survivor Series encore tomorrow to see what went wrong. Owen wins via Sharpshooter.

Winner: Owen Hart in 4:01
Not bad. Owen Hart was fine here and the Bret talk was alright.

Adam Bomb vs. IRS w/ Druid and Ted Dibiase
I guess this is our marquee match for the week. IRS is still cutting the same tired promo on the Undertaker. Adam Bomb is clearly the more impressive performer here and gets a near fall on the slingshot shoulder block. IRS comes back by snapping Adam’s neck on the top rope. IRS starts to work his dull offense to wear down Adam Bomb. As Adam Bomb hits a cross body, we go to commercial in the midst of a near fall. Terrible timing. The one thing IRS does well is the little underhanded tactics like putting his feet on the ropes. Adam nearly rallies but the druid knocks him off the top rope. IRS hits a weak leg drop and wins.

Winner: IRS in 6:49
While I enjoy Adam Bomb for the most part, I strongly dislike everything that IRS does. This was kind of just there and, while I know he is about to be fed to the Undertaker, I still think the wrong guy won.*

We are taken to a recap of the Undertaker/Yokozuna Casket match.

Bob Holly vs. Tony DeVito
During this match, commentary just focuses on the WWF racing team. Why was that even a thing? Was it purely for the Holly character? DeVito gets in some offense and even scores a near fall. Holly still wins with a top rope diving clothesline.

Winner: Bob Holly in 2:51
DeVito got in a surprising amount of offense here. Still, this was pretty standard.

A vignette airs to hype Henry Godwin. Vince McMahon had a weird love for Hillbillies.

Lex Luger vs. Bert Centino
Vince McMahon spends this match hyping the Royal Rumble. That’s much better than the racing team. Bert does next to nothing and Luger wins with the rack.

Winner: Lex Luger in 2:11
Typical Luger squash. Nothing to write home about.

Vince McMahon is now in the ring to bring out the new WWF Champion, Diesel! Vince puts over the fact that the issues with Diesel and Shawn Michaels led to Michaels throwing the Tag Team Titles in the garbage. The titles are now vacant. With Bret Hart hurt, Diesel was named the number one contender. He then cuts a cheesy and generic promo about getting good luck from the fans and winning the gold. Vince brings up Bret and Diesel puts him over as a tough competitor, saying that if we waited for Bret to give up on his own, Survivor Series would still be going on now. He wants to be a fighting champion like Bret and says that whenever Bret wants a shot, he’ll give it to him.

Next week, Jeff Jarrett goes one on one with the British Bulldog!

The Heavenly Bodies w/ Jim Cornette vs. Buck Quartermaine and Gary Scott
At the start, Bob Backlund comes down and joins commentary. He promises to overcome the adversity like no one else ever has. The Heavenly Bodies work some solid double team offense. The Death Sentence gets them the W.

Winners: The Heavenly Bodies in 3:43
The Heavenly Bodies were, as always, crisp throughout this one.

With Bob Backlund still on commentary, Vince sends us to see the entire Diesel/Bob Backlund WWF Title match. Backlund promises to put the Chicken Wing on Diesel soon and wants to lock it in on Vince before he leaves the WWF. That would certainly be a sight to see.

Overall: 3/10. Obviously this wasn’t one of the best episodes but it did flow pretty well. Time flew by and the live atmosphere is always a plus. The Diesel promo wasn’t as good as it could have been but it got the point across and most of the squashes were decent.

Raw History
Episode #89
December 5th, 1994 | Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, New York

The broadcast opens with the entrance of Shawn Michaels, who will join Vince McMahon at the broadcast booth tonight.

British Bulldog vs. Jeff Jarrett w/ Roadie
Hey, it’s the debut of the Roadie. Vince mistakes him for a ringside worker which is about right considering the shape Road Dogg was always in. Jarrett has tinsel hanging from his outfit. He gets the upper hand early but taunts too much to take full advantage. Bulldog turns it around and does his own awkward looking strut. Vince finally realizes that the Roadie is with Jarrett. Bulldog does the stalling vertical suplex, causing Jarrett to regroup outside. A second rope suplex from Jarrett gets him a near fall. Vince has found a way to shoehorn Diesel into commentary every minute or so. After a commercial, both guys collide. Jarrett wears down Bulldog with a chinlock. Bulldog comes back with a damn Perfectplex for two. I guess if it’s a near fall it’s just a fisherman suplex though. Jarrett goes back to a chinlock that Bulldog has to rally out of. He starts getting hot, hammering Jarrett all over the ring. Jarrett tries to leave but Bulldog gets him and holds him up for a press slam. He carries him to the ring and throws him in. Bulldog can’t get in because the Roadie holds his foot, resulting in a countout.

Winner via countout: Jeff Jarrett in 12:04
Decent match here. Both guys got their chances to shine, though some of Jarrett’s offense was pretty dull at times. Usually, that finish isn’t great, but it was a good way to have the Roadie already pay off.**¾

Highlights are shown of the American Sportscasters Association dinner which featured some WWF Superstars, including Diesel.

1-2-3 Kid vs. Barry Horowitz
Over the weekend, 1-2-3 Kid and Aldo Montoya teamed up and beat the Heavenly Bodies. There’s potential for irony if Kid is upset by a jobber. As usual, Kid does a good job in making his opponent look like he can win as Horowitz gets in some decent offense. Still, Kid wins with a spinning heel kick.

Winner: 1-2-3 Kid in 2:54
Solid little squash match here.

Next week’s marquee match pits Bob Backlund against Doink.

Kwang w/ Harvey Wippleman vs. Scott Taylor
Kwang is billed from the Orient. I wonder where in Cuba that is. During the match, Harvey Wippleman badmouths Howard Finkel at ringside. Kwang gets in all of the offense and wins with a spinning heel kick. Really Kwang? You couldn’t do a different finish than the last match?

Winner: Kwang in 2:57
Not as fun as the 1-2-3 Kid squash and kind of just there.

This week on the Action Zone, Lex Luger takes on Owen Hart. The promo for this is beyond cheesy.

It’s time for the King’s Court with a special guest. This is supposed to be the greatest guest in King’s Court history. He introduces the “guiding light” and the man who is the reason that Diesel is WWF Champion, Shawn Michaels. Michaels gets up and dances from the announce table. Lawler tells some bad jokes about Diesel before Shawn saves things. He says that he guided Diesel to become the most successful man in the WWF by winning all three major belts. He says that he made Diesel and he can disassemble him.

This weekend, the 100th episode of WWF Mania airs.

A vignette airs to promote the upcoming debut of Hakushi. Shawn Michaels thinks Vince sneezes when he says the name.

The Bushwhackers vs. Well Dunn w/ Harvey Wippleman
Harvey again bashes the Fink. I never understood why Well Dunn insisted on wearing attire that made it look like they were wearing thongs. Vince McMahon announces a Tag Team Championship Tournament for the vacant belts. Well Dunn beat up Luke with some assistance from Harvey. According to Vince, the brackets for the tournament will be revealed on Superstars and the finals happen at the Royal Rumble. They work to the Butch hot tag but he doesn’t really do anything interesting. Harvey gets involved, distracting Butch and allowing Dunn to beat him.

Winners: Well Dunn in 5:06
Not as bad as I expected considering it involved the Bushwhackers. Standard stuff at best. ¾*

Howard Finkel tries to get the decision overturned but can’t.

Overall: 5/10. I’d give this a middle of the pack score. Bulldog and Jarrett had a solid match and we even had a second non-squash match. The two squashes weren’t bad and even the King’s Court was solid with Shawn Michaels doing fine work.

Raw History
Episode #90
December 12th, 1994 | Liberty Central in Liberty, New York

For the first time in a long time, we start with Doink and Bob Backlund both cutting short promos on each other in a dark room. Again our hosts tonight are Shawn Michaels and Vince McMahon.

Bob Backlund vs. Doink w/ Dink
Doink comes from behind to start as Dink came out first and seemed to be filling in. Backlund doesn’t like that the fans are firmly behind Doink. Backlund gets in control but then it turns into a good old fashioned rasslin’ match. Both men do some solid work on the mat. It’s all fine stuff but it’s kind of dull if you aren’t into that style. There are a fair amount of near falls from both guys throughout this. Bob Backlund eventually locks in the Crossface Chicken Wing and Doink submits.

Winner: Bob Backlund in 12:35
Really fine mat wrestling here but because of that, some of this was boring. Still, it was solid work and that deserves some credit. **½

The brackets for the WWF Tag Team Title Tournament are shown. In the first round, Bigelow and Tatanka take on Men on a Mission. Then, Anvil and Owen face the Headshrinkers. Third, the Bushwhackers go up against the Heavenly Bodies. Lastly, the Smoking Guns face Well Dunn.

We get a look at Jeff Jarrett. It’s similar to his pre-debut vignettes.

Non-Title Match
WWF Intercontinental Champion Razor Ramon vs. Mark Starr

From the start, Razor sells a problem with his knee. This allows Starr to actually get in some leg work after Razor falls on a fallaway slam. Razor shakes it off and hits the Razor’s Edge. I wonder if the knee stuff ended up going anywhere.

Winner: Razor Ramon in 3:18
I appreciated seeing something different here. The jobber got offense and it made sense because of the bad knee. Solid.

Time for the King’s Court. Oh lord, his guest is IRS. This might be the worst edition in history. IRS comes out with two druids. The Undertaker didn’t pay his taxes. Stop me if you’re heard this before. Whatever. Next week we get a Luger/IRS match. Oh joy.

Another Hakushi vignette is shown.

Aldo Montoya vs. Nick Barberry
Shawn Michaels is outraged that Aldo gets pyro but he doesn’t. Montoya does some basic high flying offense while Vince tells us that next week, we get the highly anticipated rematch between the Bushwhackers and Well Dunn, expect this time, the Fink will be in the corner of the Bushwhackers. That sounds awful. Montoya wins with a bulldog.

Winner: Aldo Montoya in 2:39
Pretty generic, like Aldo Montya’s offense.

Harvey Wippleman shows up to yell at Howard Finkel. He then shoves him down.

This past weekend on WWF Mania, the 100th episode was celebrated by Todd Pettengill getting a co-host. Stephanie Waind.

King Kong Bundy w/ Ted Dibiase vs. Bob Knight
Have you ever seen a King Kong Bundy squash match? If yes, then you’ve seen this. The only exception is that Bundy teases a top rope move but Knight rolls out of the ring. He stretches this out a bit but wins. He demands a five count but the referee declines.

Winner: King Kong Bundy in 4:10
As always, King Kong Bundy doesn’t entertain.

Santa Clause comes out and Shawn Michaels is excite for his gift. Santa gives him a toy Women’s Championship.

Overall: 4/10. Again, not the greatest episode but again, a rather easy watch. Nothing on the show was offensive outside of the dreadful King’s Court segment. I just can’t get interested in either Lawler or IRS.