Friday, September 22, 2017

Raw History: Episodes #112-114

Raw History
Episode #112
May 22nd, 1995 | Broome County Arena in Binghamton, New York

Things open with a recap of Sid destroying Shawn Michaels seven weeks ago with three powerbombs. HBK returns tonight, LIVE…AND IN YO FACE.

Razor Ramon w/ Savio Vega vs. Mike Bell
They actually announce Savio Vega as the “Caribbean Legend”. Commentary informs us that over the weekend, Razor and Jarrett traded the Intercontinental Title, making both men the first three time champions. Razor lights up Bell with chops. Bell looks like what Bull Dempsey would look like if Bull-Fit actually worked. Razor goes through his usual stuff. Razor hits the second rope back suplex and calls for the end. He picks up Bell but shows mercy and just shoves him down and covers him with his foot.

Winner: Razor Ramon in 4:17
Fine little squash here. It went a bit long but at least Razor is more fun to watch than when someone like IRS or Mabel does this.

As Razor Ramon and Savio Vega exit, Bret Hart walks out to confront Jerry Lawler. Bret is wearing his leather jacket, but no shirt for some reason. Bret gets on the microphone and runs down Lawler. It’s fantastic. He basically says that he’s ashamed of losing to someone like Lawler. He can’t live with that, saying he let everybody, including his family down. Bret challenges Lawler to a rematch, saying he’ll do it under any stipulation or any kind of match that Lawler wants. He does the “one more match” thing almost as good as Christian. Lawler declines so Bret roughs him up and even calls him lower than shit. Officials pull Bret away. I was never a fan of this feud but this was EASILY the best thing they ever did together.

Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. John Crystal
Hey look. It’s the future COO of the WWE. Who would have called that? The commentators don’t care for this match, focusing on the Bret angle and the upcoming week on USA Network. It’s okay because Hunter isn’t really interesting yet. Just as I type that, he does a spinning heel kick. What the fuck? It’s such an out of place when A) you know the rest of his career and B) most of the rest of his offense is slow paced. He wins with the Diamond Cutter, which he would drop soon after a friendly request from DDP.

Winner: Hunter Hearst Helmsley in 3:10
Not the most impressive debut for the future Triple H.

A “Bob Backlund for President” campaign ad is shown. It’s pretty funny but is still all he’s around for now? He does say that he wants to abolish spell check and calculators so the plebeians can learn the correct way. The best line, hands down, is “WE ARE ILLITERATE. THE JAPANESE HAVE 100% LITERACY!”

We get clips of ugly ass Stephanie Waind showing the house that was won at In Your House. She’s with the kid that won. For some reasons, the Bushwhackers were hiding in the closet. They literally just stand in there when it’s opened and don’t show up again.

The Allied Powers vs. Bill Payne and Tony DeVito
This goes exactly how you’d expect. The Allied Powers completely dominate and get all of their key stuff in. Commentary is more excited that on Action Zone, Bulldog gave Mabel a damn electric chair drop. Yea, that’s impressive. Bulldog hits the running powerslam for the 1-2-3.

Winners: The Allied Powers in 2:56
Completely inoffensive squash match.

Next week, Jeff Jarrett faces the Undertaker in a King of the Ring Qualifying match.

Kama w/ Ted Dibiase vs. Barry Horowitz
Is it strange that I think Barry is the better worker here? They talk about how Barry is still winless for his career, while Kama throws him around. In between this, he puts his fists up like he’s an actual fighter. A half crab makes Barry submit.

Winner: Kama in 2:25
Well these matches are flying by. I’m okay with that.

King of the Ring Qualifying Match
King Kong Bundy w/ Ted Dibiase vs. Shawn Michaels

Vince pretty much orgasms at the sight of Shawn Michaels. He oversells the crowd reaction. Granted, Michaels got a positive pop, but you’d think there were 50,000+ cheering in unison. Bundy tries to attack before the bell but Shawn avoids it and sends him outside while his music still plays. Shawn then leaps from the top onto Bundy. One thing I liked about babyface Shawn is that he was still very arrogant. He didn’t have to change much. Shawn is messing around, avoiding Bundy at every turn and even toying with Dibiase outside. Bundy sends him into the corner where we get the classic HBK bump. Bundy takes over, doing his dull offense. Bigelow and Diesel are watching on the tiniest monitor backstage. After a commercial, Michaels just hits the superkick and qualifies.

Winner: Shawn Michaels in 6:03
About as good as one could expect from a King Kong Bundy match. Shawn was energetic and did the best he could with his opponent. Still, that doesn’t make it very good. *

Bam Bam Bigelow and Diesel come out during Shawn’s celebration. There is obvious tension between Diesel and HBK. Diesel offers the handshake but Shawn backs away. He tells Diesel to put the hand up so he can run, jump and high five him. Bigelow looks VERY out of place here.

Overall: 3/10. While the matches obviously were mostly squashes and the one match that was competitive wasn’t very good, I thought this episode moved along pretty nicely. HHH made his debut in an unimpressive match, but the Diesel/HBK friendship was back on. Forward movement but not very exciting. The Bret segment ruled at least.

Raw History
Episode #113
May 29th, 1995 | Broome County Arena in Binghamton, New York

The show opens in progress with Jeff Jarrett cutting a promo. The gong goes off and the lights go out. Our intro plays and when it’s over, that match isn’t happening. Odd start for sure.

Sycho Sid w/ Ted Dibiase and Tatanka vs. Mike Khoury
Why does Tatanka have to be out here? We are told that Diesel is recovering from some elbow surgery. It allows Vince to give a shout out to unsung hero Dr. James Andrews. Sid is a monster, winning with the powerbomb.

Winner: Sycho Sid in 1:20
Hot damn that was how I like my Sid. He’s so great in things like this.

This leads into a lengthy look at Diesel and Dr. James Andrews.

Adam Bomb vs. Bob Cook
Vince McMahon uses this time to hype the one hour special airing of WrestleMania XI on NBC. That was a big deal since NBC was a massive network at the time and they hadn’t been on that channel for almost five years. Bomb clearly wins this with the flying clothesline.

Winner: Adam Bomb in 2:04
Yea, this just killed time.

King of the Ring Report time! Todd Pettengill shows us footage from Superstars where Bigelow and Diesel accepted Tatanka and Sid’s challenge for the Pay-Per-View. Bigelow’s promo is terrible. “I’m not going to quit being your friend.” Who thought he’d work as a face?

Hakushi w/ Shinja vs. John Snakowski
This is the infamous episode where Hakushi pulls out the mannequin Bret Hart head. It’s a pretty gruesome sight. Hakushi gets in all of the offense since this guy is a true ham and egger.

Winner: Hakushi in 2:36
This was fine. The pre-match stuff was better.

Vince McMahon interviews Alundra Blayze. Ugh, this should be riveting. He puts over her match with Bull Nakano. Alundra pokes fun at Bertha Faye for having a boyfriend like Harvey Wippleman. She then just says that she will be the champion for a long, long time. At least it was short.

Next Monday, the British Bulldog faces Owen Hart in a qualifying match.

Men on a Mission vs. Aaron Ferguson and Gary Scott
I don’t even want to go into this. Men on a Mission dominate and it’s not very good.

Winners: Men on a Mission in 3:39
This took far too long.

Todd Pettengill is back to tell us who has qualified for the King of the Ring so far. Razor Ramon, Bob Holly, Mabel, Shawn Michaels and Kama are in.

King of the Ring Qualifying Match
WWF Intercontinental Champion Jeff Jarrett w/ the Roadie vs. The Undertaker w/ Paul Bearer

Poor Jarrett got a pretty terrible draw here. Undertaker is quickly on offense, hitting Old School. It was just school at this point. Roadie trips up Undertaker but he mostly no sells it and slams Jarrett. Taker misses an elbow, giving Jarrett a slight opening. He clotheslines Undertaker over, but he lands on his feet and chokes the Roadie. Jarrett attacks from behind. Jarrett takes over, getting in some really basic offense. For some reason, this Raw on the Network has some technical issues. After a commercial, Jarrett applies the Figure Four, with an assist from Roadie until Bearer chases him away. Jarrett grabs the ropes, so the referee breaks the hold. Undertaker comes back but Jarrett stops it with a neckbreaker. He chooses to strut and Taker sits up. Now the real comeback is on, cemented by a Tombstone.

Winner: The Undertaker in 8:55
Pretty good actually. Jeff Jarrett’s offense was nothing really special but seeing the Undertaker compete on Raw is usually fun. The “Purple Gloves” era is certainly his worst era, making this, sadly, one of his better showings. **¼

Before the show ends, we get more stuff from Bob Backlund.

Overall: 4.5/10. A better marquee matchup this week as Jarrett and Undertaker had a pretty decent showing. Sid was fun in his short appearance and I really liked the Hakushi pre-match segment. It did have Men on a Mission, which is usually a drag.

Raw History
Episode #114
June 5th, 1995 | Struthers Auditorium in Struthers, Ohio

A shot of the WWF Blimp opens things before we see Bob Backlund campaigning outside. Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler hype things as we are LIVE in Ohio! There will be two debuts tonight. Lawler hypes Jean Pierre Lafitte as a debut but he’s clearly been on the show before.

“The Caribbean Legend” Savio Vega vs. Kenny Kendall
It’s the official debut of Razor Ramon’s buddy. I can’t help but put his nickname there. Kendall actually gets in some early offense. There is a ton of smoke around the ring from pyro. These live shows just have a different feel to them. Surprisingly, Savio wins with the octopus stretch.

Winner: Savio Vega in 2:01
Like Hunter Hearst Helmsley last week, this wasn’t the best start for Savio. It came off as awkward at times.

A Diesel video package airs, just set to his theme. Then the Million Dollar Corporation cut a promo about the pain they are going to make them feel.

We hear from Sunny and Skip because the Bodydonnas debut next. Man, Sunny has fallen far.

Skip w/ Sunny vs. Barry Horowitz
Hey, it’s the feud that revolutionized pro wrestling. Not really. Sunny cuts a promo for the fatties in the crowd. Skip’s attire is very unflattering. Horowitz gets some hope spots and near falls but Skip wins with a guillotine leg drop. Sunny is already looking like the bigger star.

Winner: Skip in 2:41
Decent enough debut.

Todd Pettengill runs down the King of the Ring card. Mabel faces the Undertaker in the first round. Yawn. Kama goes up against Shawn Michaels and Bob Holly faces the Roadie. Todd calls him the Road Dogg. Razor Ramon will face the winner of the Bulldog/Owen match tonight.

King of the Ring Qualifying Match
British Bulldog vs. Owen Hart w/ Jim Cornette and Mr. Fuji

So, for some odd reason, this was pre-taped before the In Your House Pay-Per-View so it’s taking place in Syracuse. Jim Ross and Gorilla Monsoon are in the booth. They avoid showing the IYH logos but have admitted that this isn’t taking place in Ohio. The feeling out process sees Bulldog focusing on the arm and then overpowering Owen. Focusing on the shoulder is different from the Bulldog, though that’s not a bad thing. He shows off the great stalling vertical. Mr. Fuji uses this time to wave the Japanese flag a bunch for some reason. Owen starts swinging the momentum and picks up the pace. After a commercial break, Owen nails a spinning heel kick. Gorilla talks about the time limit, making me think they’ll do a draw. Owen applies a sleeper but Bulldog survives. Owen kicks out of a rollup and nails the ENZIGURI OF DOOM! Gorilla says only three minutes remain. Bulldog comes back with a nice fisherman suplex for two. You see, if it was a Perfectplex that would have been it. With the clock winding down, they do about ten near falls on multiple pins. The clock expires as Owen does a backslide.

Time limit draw in 15:00
We only saw about 13 of the 15 minutes. This was a really solid match but the finish was dumb. Neither guy makes it in even though when the same thing happened two years earlier, Doink and Mr. Perfect were given multiple rematches. Also, with the roster in shambles, the tournament could have used one or both of these guys. This is the best thing to come from the tournament. ***½

A pre-taped video from Jerry Lawler airs. He shows off his dirty feet, saying he hasn’t washed them in two months. His match with Bret Hart at King of the Ring will be a “Kiss my Foot” match. Poor Bret Hart was stuck in midcard hell in 1995.

Bret Hart is out for an in-ring interview with Vince McMahon. Bret talks about how he never thought he would compete in a match like this. While talking, we get a split screen as Lawler takes off his shoe and shows off his gross feet. This is nowhere near as good as the one from two weeks ago. He talks about embarrassing his family again and dedicates the match to them. He ends it by saying that he doesn’t want Jerry’s lips on his feet, so when he wins he’ll make Jerry kiss his own feet.

Jean Pierre Lafitte vs. Jerry Flynn
Yes, this is the same Jerry Flynn that you can find on bad WCW shows in 2000. Lafitte wins quickly with the cannonball.

Winner: Jean Pierre Lafitte in 1:33
Too short to really be anything.

So, instead of giving Bulldog and Owen another chance, next week we get Yokozuna vs. Lex Luger in a qualifying match. But why? It sucked so hard at SummerSlam two years earlier. We get a damn recap of the entire Lex Express angle. Don’t remind us of how terrible it was please.

Overall: 6/10. Hey, we got a pretty episode here. The Bulldog/Owen match was one of the better ones all year long on Raw, but the finish and booking was pretty dumb. Skip and Savio had decent at best debuts and the Bret promo was alright. Still, a rather easy watch.