Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Raw History: Episodes #97-99

Raw History
Episode #97
January 30th, 1995 | Manatee Civic Center in Palmetto, Florida

Our hosts are once again Shawn Michaels and Vince McMahon, in front of another terrible green screen.

Over the Top Rope Match
King Kong Bundy w/ Ted Dibiase vs. Mabel w/ Oscar

Yes, these are Royal Rumble rules. Despite these rules being so easy, Ted Dibiase gets on the microphone to explain them. Vince McMahon just completely talks over him on commentary. This match goes exactly as you’d expect. It’s just two big guys trying to eliminate each other. They throw in a boy avalanche here and there at least. Since anything goes, IRS and Tatanka run in to help Bundy get Mabel over and out.

Winner: Mabel in 3:12
This was like the worst parts of a battle royal, but non-stop between two behemoths. At least it was short. ¼*

Lex Luger, because he’s awful at everything when it comes to being a babyface, shows up late to make the save, along with Mo.

We go to the interview with the suspended Bam Bam Bigelow. Vince totally puts him down for losing to the 1-2-3 Ki, continually saying it was embarrassing. Bigelow refuses to apologize for shoving Lawrence Taylor because it doesn’t feel right. Bigelow then gets fed up and issues a challenge to Taylor, any time and any place.

Hakushi w/ Shinja vs. Ricky Santana
Hakushi just kicks ass here, while commentary discusses the Super Bowl and Steve Young. Santana actually gets in one kick but it just ends up with him getting back suplexed. Hakushi wins with a cartwheel moonsault.

Winner: Hakushi in 4:01
Completely dominant performance by Hakushi.

Aldo Montoya vs. David Sierra
Shawn Michaels instantly disses Aldo Montoya, saying that wearing an “athletic supporter” on your head isn’t cool. Vince tries to get it over as a new look, but it doesn’t work. Montoya hits a plancha to the outside early on. He hits a flying bulldog to win.

Winner: Aldo Montoya in 1:58
Short and filled with some fun commentary. I don’t hate it.

We go to the locker room of the Super Bowl winning San Francisco 49ers. Ken Norton Jr. says that he’s going to WrestleMania.

Time for the King’s Court. Mr. Backlund is the guest tonight. They discuss the fact that anyone who is put into the Crossface Chicken Wing will say “I quit” instantly. Jerry Lawler agrees, but mentions that anyone would quit except for him. Backlund takes offense to those little remarks and puts the hold on Lawler, who quits immediately. Backlund lets go and Lawler says that all he meant was that he was quitting the interview before running off.

WWF Tag Team Championship
The Smoking Gunns (c) vs. 1-2-3 Kid and Bob Holly

This is our rematch from last week’s really good Tag Team Title match. It starts just about as quickly as that one, with Kid and Holly working fast. They light up the Gunns with multiple kicks. Both teams show off some pretty good double team moves, just not on the level of last week. The Gunns get in control and slow things down, isolating Holly. Kid gets the tag and, to quote Vince, is a “HOUSE OF FIRE”! Kid delivers a bunch of kicks and tries a somersault from the top, but seems injured. He’s pretty knocked out and his eyes are rolling back like he’s the Undertaker. Referee Bill Alfonso stops the match.

Winners and Still WWF Tag Team Champions: The Smoking Gunns in 8:36
This was going pretty well up until the finish. It seemed like a test run for an excellent angle they would run later in the year. **¾

Vince McMahon then tells us that the 1-2-3 Kid just simply got up and walked away. Wow. Good thing the match was stopped.

Kama vs. Jumbo Barreta
Kama has the Too Much theme and I can’t help but laugh. I will never be able to take him seriously. While Kama kicks the ass of his jumbo opponent, Vince tells us that next week, Lex Luger teams with Men on a Mission to face King Kong Bundy, IRS and Tatanka. Wow, that sounds terrible. He makes Jumbo submit to the STF.

Winner: Kama in 3:40
About as good as one could expect considering Kama’s skill set.

Overall: 4.5/10. Not a terrible episode. The Tag Team Title match was solid, while the Hakushi and Kama squashes accomplished what they needed to. The Mabel/Bundy stuff was lame and the King’s Court was kind of just there though. I’ve seen better and worse.

Raw History
Episode #98
February 6th, 1995 | Manatee Civic Center in Palmetto, Florida

The final show in a three taping block from Palmetto, Florida. Things start with a recap of the Over the Top match between King Kong Bundy and Mabel. Once was enough thank you. Shawn Michaels and Vince McMahon are your hosts.

Lex Luger and Men on a Mission w/ Oscar vs. IRS, King Kong Bundy and Tatanka w/ Ted Dibiase
King Kong Bundy begins with Mabel, which just doesn’t make me happy at all. Mabel scores a few near falls before tagging in Mo. Why did he tag in Mo? There is no strategical purpose, he just did so because Mo has to take the heat. Mo shuts me up by beating up IRS a bit actually. After a break, Mabel is whopping on Tatanka a bit. Tatanka is competing with Mabel for biggest gut in the match. Tag comes to Luger but Tatanka runs away. Oh lord, is their awful feud still going? He tags out to Mo as now it’s time for him to officially take the heat. Shawn Michaels: “They need a little Mo than Mo in the ring.” Mo takes a beating for a bit until they do the hot tag to Luger. He comes in and does some stuff. The crowd sounds a lot louder than they look to be honest. Things break down into a brawl and during the chaos, Tatanka hits a DDT on Luger, allowing Bundy to score the pin.

Winners: The Million Dollar Corporation in 11:29
They id about as good as can be expected from them. They worked the tag formula how you’d expect, but the problem was that the guy taking the heat, Mo, isn’t the most sympathetic face and the heels working the heat are all boring. *

A vignette runs for Man Mountain Rock as he plays some word association with the names of WWE Superstars. He debuts tonight!

Lawrence Taylor’s lawyer, Bobby Cupo, speaks from his office. LT accepts the WWF’s apology for the Royal Rumble, but obviously, not Bigelow’s. He doesn’t accept the challenge either, instead threatening legal action.

Man Mountain Rock vs. Charlie Hunter
Man Mountain Rock performs a little guitar solo before his match. He was formerly known as Maxx Payne in WCW. His attire here isn’t that of a grunge performer at all, but instead, he just wears a weird tie dye outfit. The ECW Dudleys and Dude Love would be envious. Commentary discusses his outside and his legit wrestling background while he beats up Hunter. He wins via front suplex.

Winner: Man Mountain Rock in 2:47
Oh, Man Mountain Rock’s theme is the same that Droz would end up using. Match was a fine squash.

Footage is shown from the Action Zone, where Diesel faced Owen Hart. Shawn Michaels nearly got into the ring but decided against it. This leads into a sit down interview between Diesel and Vince McMahon. They talk about Diesel’s history of knee operations, the differences between the Hart brothers, Shawn Michaels and the grind of being WWF Champion. None of this is groundbreaking, but it’s not the worst way to get your champion some TV time. In two weeks, Raw returns and Diesel defends the WWF Title against Jeff Jarrett.

Mantaur w/ Jim Cornette vs. Leroy Howard
Leroy Howard actually gets in some offense, hitting a few elbows. He leaps off the top right into the arms of Mantaur though, getting slammed. Mantaur is in control the rest of the way, but this goes on for far too long. He finally ends it with a belly to belly suplex.

Winner: Mantaur in 3:49
Too long for a Mantaur match.

Razor Ramon vs. Frankie Lancaster
This goes exactly how it should. Razor gets in almost all of the offense and I like that, even though he’s a face, he still does things like slapping his opponents around. Razor hits the fallaway slam, back superplex and Razor’s Edge, getting in his stuff, before winning.

Winner: Razor Ramon in 3:48
Standard stuff. Razor was always a solid guy to watch in squashes.

Henry O. Godwin vs. Bill Weaver
Well, we are just moving from match to match aren’t we? We get a look inside the slop bucket, which Shawn Michaels claims works like Undertaker’s urn. He ends it with the Slop Drop.

Winner: Henry O. Godwin in 2:24
Short and sweet.

Shawn Michaels informs us that he is done on commentary because he’s too hot of a commodity.

Overall: 2/10. This episode was rough. The marquee match was dull and dragged on, while the squash matches didn’t make things any better. Even the Diesel interview wasn’t a home run. Not one of the better showings of a 1995 that was off to a pretty good start.

Raw History
Episode #99
February 20th, 1995 | Macon Coliseum in Macon, Georgia

Vince McMahon runs down the important stuff on the show tonight. One sees Jeff Jarrett, the Intercontinental Champion, challenging Diesel for the WWF Title. The other is Shawn Michaels unveiling his new bodyguard. Jim Cornette joins Vince in the booth.

Bam Bam Bigelow w/ Ted Dibiase vs. Gary Sabaugh
It looks like Bigelow’s suspension is over. While he kicks ass, we see recaps of the comments from both Bigelow and Lawrence Taylor’s lawyers. Bigelow busts out an enziguri to highlight this. “LT” chants annoy Bigelow, who wins with a diving headbutt.

Winner: Bam Bam Bigelow in 3:54
Went a bit long but not terrible.

Bigelow gets on the microphone afterwards to call out Lawrence Taylor again, even though the lawyers called for a cease and desist.

Adam Bomb vs. Rip Rogers
The “Creation of Devastation” Adam Bomb is the leader of the “Bomb Squad”. Again, I still don’t get why he wasn’t used better. Jim Cornette does a good job of trying to trying to get Rip Rogers over, even though he’s clearly going to lose. Adam Bomb gets in most of the offense, winning with the flying clothesline.

Winner: Adam Bomb in 3:25
Similar to the Bigelow squash to be honest.

We go back to Superstars, where Bret Hart won the “Award of the People” from WWF magazine. No clue what that actually means.

Jerry Lawler comes out for the King’s Court. Lawler runs down Bret Hart, saying that the WWF magazine must have left off the Japanese vote, because Bret apparently made some negative comments about them. Lawler calls him a racist before Shawn Michaels comes out for the interview. Before introducing his new bodyguard, Shawn puts himself over for a while. He finally introduces him and it is revealed to be Sid, who gets a decent pop. Sid cuts a very Sid like promo, shouting and talking at a low voice at random. His promo even continues past his theme music playing.

Jacob and Eli Blu w/ Uncle Zebekiah vs. Leroy Howard and Mark Starr
Commentary goes through the whole “which one is which” stuff with the twins. Then, while nothing interesting happens in the match, Todd Pettengil cuts in to say that Lawrence Taylor will be at Raw next Monday night. The future Harris Brothers do some generic powerful offense. A spinebuster and leg drop finish this one.

Winners: Jacob and Eli Blu in 4:20
Too long for this unimpressive duo.

WWF Championship
Diesel (c) vs. WWF Intercontinental Champion Jeff Jarrett w/ The Roadie

Crazy to think that this is the first time Diesel has wrestled on free TV since winning the WWF Title back in November. Oh, times have certainly changed. Diesel starts hot, overwhelming Jarrett with shots and even a Bossman slam. He dominates until trying Snake Eyes, only for Jarrett to avoid it. Jarrett tries the corner ten punch but Earl Hebner pulls him off by the hair. I believe that’s a bit unfair. Roadie tries to help Jarrett by pulling him away from Diesel’s grasp, but Diesel is too strong and pulls both of them. After a break, Jarrett goes after the leg, making the interview from last week where Diesel discussed the surgeries come into play. Diesel takes a short heat before rallying and getting in his offense, finishing it off with the Jackknife.

Winner and Still WWF Champion: Diesel in 8:07
A bit too one-sided to be really good, though they at least had a decent plan. Diesel pretty much made the Intercontinental Champion look like a chump. **¼

Shawn Michaels and Sid watch from the aisle as Diesel plants the Roadie with a Jackknife. Shawn walks to the commentary booth and gives a short interview with Jim Cornette, where he says that Sid is much better than Diesel.

Overall: 4/10. A disappointing episode. Knowing there would be a WWF Title match and that the show was live gave me some good expectations. Unfortunately, the title match wasn’t very good and the rest of the squash matches were ho-hum at best. It did advance the Lawrence Taylor angle and bring back Sid, so it was somewhat important.