Saturday, July 15, 2017

Raw History: Episodes #100-102

Raw History
Episode #100
February 27th, 1995 | Macon Coliseum in Macon, Georgia

It’s the historic 100th episode of Raw! Vince McMahon hypes that we will hear from Lawrence Taylor. His co-host tonight is Jim Cornette. 

We go to pre-taped words from Lex Luger about his match tonight and entire feud with Tatanka. It’s been such a drag.

Lex Luger w/ Chief Jay Strongbow vs. Tatanka w/ Ted Dibiase
Chief Jay Strongbow is with Luger because Tatanka attacked him recently. “He’s three days older than dirt” – Cornette on Strongbow. Luger is aggressive, attacking quickly. SCREAMING CLOTHESLINE! Tatanka retreats and gets on the offensive inside. Luger no sells some stuff and starts the rally. Tatanka pulls him by the tights, sending him to the outside. Tatanka starts to put the boots to Luger, dominating him through a commercial break. Cornette says he was doing a war dance on Luger. He’s on fire tonight so far. Tatanka works a bearhug, which I thought was only reserved for the bigger heels. Luger breaks out and they exchange some shots. Luger sells chops, but walks away from them like they don’t hurt. Luger applies the sleeper hold, which is a Chief Jay Strongbow special. Tatanka gets out though, showing Luger didn’t learn the move properly. Tatanka goes after Strongbow outside, taking off his headdress. Strongbow chops him, but the referee doesn’t see. Back inside, Luger starts to take it to Tatanka. Tatanka gets pissed and chooses to walk out. Luger, like all babyfaces, meets him in the aisle and pummels him. Luger brings him back in and nails a powerslam. He continues to beat Tatanka from pillar to post. Dibiase distracts Luger, allowing Tatanka to leave for real this time.

Winner via countout: Lex Luger in 12:54
Better than I expected, but still nothing to write home about. It was strange to see them do the fake countout spot only to end with a countout anyway. Certainly odd. **

Footage from Superstars is shown. There was a twenty man battle royal. Jerry Lawler went over, but landed on one foot. He hopped around the ring until Bret Hart messed with him and stepped on his foot. We did not see who the winner was.

Owen Hart vs. Larry Santo
Commentary talks about Owen looking for a partner to get a Tag Team Title shot against the Smoking Gunns. Jim Cornette continues to ace the show tonight, saying Larry Santo is related to El Santo. He does get in some offense, but it’s mostly Owen. A missile dropkick and Sharpshooter put away Santo.

Winner: Owen Hart in 3:47
Fine squash match from Owen Hart here.

Vince McMahon tells us that there have been rumors that Lawrence Taylor will face Bam Bam Bigelow at WrestleMania. They interview LT and remind us what happened at the Royal Rumble. LT admits that he wasn’t there to badmouth Bigelow. He says that if he was ready for it, he would have reacted differently. He never got pushed around like that in the NFL and seeing the video over and over bothers him. Cornette insinuates that Taylor is scared. They cut to Bigelow, who is also on the hookup. He puts over the New Generation, which is odd being a heel. He also makes a weird I Dream of Genie reference before challenging Taylor. Taylor promises to be at the Harley Davidson CafĂ© for the Mania press conference tomorrow.

Doink the Clown w/ Dink vs. Bob Cook
Doink works the arm a bit before Dink comes in and steps on Cook. For some reason this isn’t a disqualification. He continues to focus on the arm and wins with the Whoopee Cushion.

Winner: Doink in 3:31
Nothing of real note here. Typical Doink stuff at this point.

A recap of the Royal Rumble is shown where Shawn Michaels and British Bulldog entered at numbers one and two. They lasted until the end, where Shawn surprised the world and eliminated Bulldog to win. That battle royal on Superstars that I mentioned earlier was won by the Bulldog. Next Monday, Michaels meets Bulldog one on one.

Kama vs. Ken Raper
Oh my god, his name is Raper. Kama kicks ass while I continue laughing at his Too Much theme. Cornette suggests that competition for Kama would be Mantaur. Kama shouts to the camera that he wants more competition. He hits a belly-to-belly before winning with the STF.

Winner: Kama in 3:38
Like his debut squash, this wasn’t anything special. I’ve seen nothing impressive from Kama.

Vince gets a word with British Bulldog who says that it will take more than both Shawn Michaels and Sid to overcome him next week.

Overall: 3/10. With them making a somewhat big deal about the 2nd anniversary episode, they decided not to do anything for episode 100. The Luger/Tatanka match is decent at best, while the rest of the show is kind of filler. At least there was some forward movement with the LT angle.

Raw History
Episode #101
March 6th, 1995 | Macon Coliseum in Macon, Georgia

Damn these big tapings blocks. We’ll be hearing some stuff from the WrestleMania press conference at some point tonight. There’s a new opening video but it’s the same tired theme song.

British Bulldog vs. Shawn Michaels w/ Sid
Vince McMahon continues to try and convince us that Bulldog is somehow the rightful Royal Rumble winner. Bulldog gets the quick upper hand, causing Michaels to take a powder. Once back in, he starts to get in offense until he misses a corner splash. Bulldog unleashes arm drags and clotheslines him over the top. Inside again, Bulldog works over Michaels. Shawn targets the arm of Bulldog, working a submission on it. They go to commercial while the hold is applied and when they return, Bulldog powers out by lifting Shawn high in the air. Shawn starts takin big corner bumps now. Bulldog just kicks Shawn’s ass with a bunch of moves, including a big suplex. Shawn desperately sends Bulldog to the mat outside, catching a breather and helping to turn the tide. Shawn is in the driver’s seat. He ends up applying a sleeper hold and Sid pulls the ropes away from Bulldog’s reach. He breaks free with a back suplex leading into the second commercial break. Returning, Bulldog gets close to winning with some clotheslines and a big gorilla press slam that crotches Shawn on the top rope. Shawn ducks a move, causing Bulldog to fall outside where Sid gets in a cheap shot. Bulldog rolls back in, survives a small package but falls victim to Sweet Chin Music.

Winner: Shawn Michaels in 15:44
They were given time and made sure to use it correctly. It was slow at times, but I came out mostly entertained. Even though he cheated, I was glad to see a definitive finish to the match. Shawn was absolutely a fast rising star while Bulldog was a reliable act but not going anywhere at the moment. ***¼

WrestleMania Report time! We get some recaps from the press conference and words from both HBK and Diesel. They also hype the now official Bigelow/LT match.

Bob Backlund vs. Buck Quartermaine
We get informed that Bret Hart and Bob Backlund will meet in a Survivor Series rematch at WrestleMania. It’ll be an I Quit match. This feud was reborn out of nowhere and really showed that Bret was going to waste most of 1995 in the mid-card. Backlund toys with Buck, making this last way too long. Backlund wins with the chicken wing.

Winner: Bob Backlund in 5:16
Far too long for this kind of match. Shave off two or three minutes and it would have been an easier watch.

In the previous match, Vince also announces the epic King Kong Bundy/Undertaker match at WrestleMania. Yuck. Next week though, we get the renewal of the Bret Hart/Jerry Lawler rivalry as they meet one on one.

Duke Droese vs. Steven Dunn w/ Harvey Wippleman
Duke’s nameplate just says “the Dumpster”. Jerry Lawler calls in during the match, calling Bret Hart a racist. This is seriously a dumb angle. Duke wins a boring affair with the Trash Compactor.

Winner: Duke Droese in 3:55
Nothing Duke Droese does ever interests me. Maybe with a better gimmick I would have liked him more. Probably not though.

Steven Dunn tries to attack Duke with the trash can after the match, but continues to get his ass kicked. In the trash that fell out of the garbage, Duke finds a $100 bill.

A weird NYPD Blue parody with Paul Bearer and Mr. Fuji is shown to promote Nick Turturro’s appearance at WrestleMania.

Overall: 5/10. I can’t give the show a bad score when almost the entire first half is spent on a pretty good match. It was a pretty big win for Shawn Michaels heading into his Mania match. They hyped Mania pretty well even though the squash matches were boring. Not a terrible way to spend 45 minutes.

Raw History
Episode #102
March 13th, 1995 | Memorial Auditorium in Stockton, California

Hey, a live show! The Bret Hart/Jerry Lawler feud is recapped, going back to King of the Ring 1993.

The Headshrinkers vs. Jacob and Eli Blu w/ Uncle Zebekiah
How did the Headshrinkers go from two managers and the Tag Team Titles to no belts or managers? As a reminder, this is Fatu and Sionne. The Headshrinkers should be done soon, leading to “Make a Difference” Fatu. They start hot though, but Sionne gets tagged and gets beat up. The Blu brothers get in some cheap shots on the outside. Sionne takes the heat for a while, though nothing the heels do is any good. They go to commercial in the middle of a pin attempt too. They were terrible at timing these things back then. Jacob and Eli Blu do some Twin Magic to stay in control. Sionne snaps off a powerslam and its hot tag to Fatu time. He comes in hitting everything and even dances after no selling some stuff. It’s a precursor to Rikishi. All four men end up fighting outside, leading to a double countout.

Double countout in 7:08
Absolutely basic. It was a paint by numbers tag team match with nothing really interesting outside of Fatu’s work happening. *

Lawrence Taylor is going to bring multiple NFL players with him to WrestleMania. Steve “Mongo” McMichael cuts a promo about Kama, who is now apparently in the Million Dollar Corporation. Mongo will be there next week. Then the Million Dollar Corporation cut a promo on the NFL players, making terrible football related puns. Ernie Ladd is also interviewed about the match.

Non-Title Match
WWF Intercontinental Champion Jeff Jarrett w/ The Roadie vs. Barry Horowitz

Oh yea, it’s 1995, the year of the Horowitz push. He even gets a pre-match interview about his winless record. He uses some flash pins to try and get a win, causing Jarrett to take a breather. Even when Jarrett gets back in, Horowitz shows some life, hitting a hip toss and leg drop. Jarrett goes after the knee and works it until he makes Barry submit to the Figure Four.

Winner: Jeff Jarrett in 4:38
More competitive than I thought it would be. You could see them planting the seeds for the small Barry push.

Todd Pettengill brings us the WrestleMania Report. The only real noteworthy news is that Salt n’ Pepa will be at WrestleMania and the two new matches announced. The Smoking Gunns will face Owen Hart and a mystery partner for the Tag Team Titles, while Razor Ramon gets his rematch at Jeff Jarrett for the Intercontinental Title. Also, yesterday on Action Zone, Men on a Mission lost to the Gunns and turned heel.

Bret Hart vs. Jerry Lawler w/ WWF Women’s Champion Bull Nakano
Bull Nakano is with Jerry Lawler because Bret is racist against Asians apparently. Lawler attacks before Bret can get his jacket off, but Bret quickly turns it around on him. Bob Backlund is in the crowd watching things. Then Hakushi shows up in the aisle. It’s like, a rogue of midcard baddies. Lawler gets in some offense but then Bret stars the FIVE MOVES OF DOOM. Lawler ends up outside and Nakano grabs Bret. Somehow, that isn’t a DQ. She accidentally hits Lawler too, with no bell called. Lawler slides in the ring while Nakano holds Bret’s leg, causing the countout.

Winner via countout: Jerry Lawler in 6:36
This whole thing feels very unfocused. Bret is involved in like, five feuds and this match seemed like two veterans going through the motions. 

Bret Hart beats up Jerry Lawler and sent him packing after the match.

Barry Horowitz wants a rematch. Jeff Jarrett agrees and offers an Intercontinental Title shot because he’s so confident. Jeff signs but before Barry can do so, Bob Backlund runs out and puts him in the Crossface Chicken Wing. He then signs it, meaning we get Jarrett/Backlund for some reason.

Overall: 2.5/10. Another pretty dull episode of Raw. I’m trying to focus on the match quality and the overall build towards something else. Match quality wise, this wasn’t very good, with the two big matches both being pretty bad. In the scheme of building things, it set up Bret’s eventual feud with Hakushi and Lawler, but did nothing for Backlund/Hart. Most of this was filler.