Monday, November 6, 2017

Raw History: Episodes #121-123

Raw History
Episode #121
July 24th, 1995 | Louisville Gardens in Louisville, Kentucky

Things start with footage of Shawn Michaels winning the Intercontinental Title last night. I’m surprised at this since they usually did still images back then. We are live and Shawn Michaels opens the show.

Non-Title Match
WWF Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels vs. Jimmy Del Rey w/ Tom Pritchard and Jim Cornette

Michaels is in control from the get go. Jimmy Del Rey kind of looks like what would happen if Michaels aged twenty years, grew a mustache and got out of shape. Shawn sends him outside and skins the cat back in. Del Rey turns it around a bit but the outcome is never in doubt. Shawn hits the flying forearm and elbow but only gets two. That’s how you know Del Rey is above local jobbers. Pritchard gets on the apron and eats Sweet Chin Music. Del Rey tries for some more offense, but Shawn slips free and wins with the kick.

Winner: Shawn Michaels in 5:21
Decent enough little start to the show. Not a squash and the heels did their small bit of work, while Shawn got to look like a star. **

Shawn Michaels’ celebration sees him nearly reveal his penis as he pulls his pants down to his pubes.

A recap airs from FOUR MONTHS AGO when Hakushi attacked Bret Hart on Superstars while he was receiving an award. Hakushi also brought out the mannequin head of Bret, but Bret got the last laugh by beating him at In Your House. Tonight, they meet again.

The Smoking Gunns vs. John Faulkner and Rick Stockhauser
Hey, these jabronis actually get matching gear. Despite their attire, they get next to no offense in. Billy and Bart give them a good old fashioned whipping. They win with a double team move.

Winner: The Smoking Gunns in 2:01
Standard squash match from these guys.

We get our first notice that Goldust is coming to the WWE. 21 years later he’d still be a part of the roster.

“Make a Difference” Fatu shows off his neighborhood again while wearing one of the most 90’s jackets you could possible own.

Waylon Mercy vs. Gary Scott
Waylon shakes the hands of his opponent and the referee again before just beating the hell out of him. Mercy shows no mercy, which Vince is sure to note, before ending the scrub with a sleeper.

Winner: Waylon Mercy in 2:02
Waylon Mercy is pretty great to watch.

Todd Pettengill hosts the final In Your House 2 Report but is sure to plug SummerSlam, which is coming up from Pittsburgh. There’s something odd about holding a summer event in a place called the Igloo. After recapping the show, a King Mabel promo airs. Yup, Diesel vs. Mabel is headlining. Mabel even actually says “I pity the fool” in his promo.

Next week, despite losing at In Your House, Razor Ramon and Savio Vega get a Tag Team Title shot next week.

Bret Hart vs. Hakushi w/ Shinja
Shinja grabs Bret’s leg on his way into the ring, giving Hakushi the early upper hand. Bret turns it around rather quickly and his offense is just so enthralling. Everything Bret always does not only looks great, but has a meaning. Even when he bumps it’s great. Hakushi whips him into the corner and he slides into the lower ring post, making it look so great. Bret continues to take great bumps into the corner as Hakushi is in firm control. After a second commercial break, Hakushi hits a great moonsault to the outside. Shinja tries to get involved but Bret gives them the old DOUBLE NOGGIN KNOCKER! Bret answers the moonsault with a much uglier Vader bomb like move to the outside onto both men. Now Bret goes into his signature offense with a superplex and polishes off Hakushi with the Sharpshooter.

Winner: Bret Hart in 9:22
This was a great television match. They worked through the commercial breaks well and didn’t give it much down time. Hakushi looked great in defeat, while Bret once again showed that he is the best.***½

During Bret Hart’s celebration, Jean-Pierre Lafitte steals the bag that Hakushi had the fake Bret head in.

We get an overly long Dean Douglas promo. Man that gimmick sucked.

The show ends the same way it began. Shawn Michaels is interviewed. Vince McMahon puts over how good looking Shawn is, while Lawler claims Shawn is a marked man.

Overall: 7/10. You know what? I thought that was a good episode. The Hart/Hakushi was really solid and the live atmosphere made this show fun. The squash matches were kept short and we even had a decent little sprint to showcase the new Intercontinental Champion. Solid show with no pointless filler.

Raw History
Episode #122
July 31st, 1995 | Louisville Gardens in Louisville, Kentucky

The opening video package hypes the WWF Tag Team Title match tonight. I feel like I should have noticed it last week since it was part of the same taping block, but the big RAW entrance setup has debuted.

King Mabel w/ Sir Mo vs. Nick Barberry
I don’t remember when he did it but Mabel’s mohawk is black now. With a WWF Title shot on the horizon, Mabel completely dominates this poor jobber. He even takes him outside to beat on him. Barberry does avoid an elbow and get in some dropkicks at one point but it’s to no avail. Mabel gets the 1-2-3 on a belly to belly.

Winner: King Mabel in 3:12
As a rule, all Mabel matches should end before two minutes.

Mabel gets a microphone afterwards to say that he will be King and WWF Champion after SummerSlam.

More from “Make a Difference” Fatu, also known as “Still five years from making an actual difference in my career” Fatu.

Jerry Lawler interviews Shawn Michaels backstage about his upcoming Intercontinental Title defense at SummerSlam against Sycho Sid. There is tension and Shawn tries to goad Lawler into a match but Lawler says that he took a journalistic oath not to get in the ring.

Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Bob Cook
Hey, Cook is able to get in some offense. Jerry Lawler makes terrible jokes about Bigelow and his weight, while also dissing the movie Waterworld. Vince plugs the WWF going online and promotes TEN FREE HOURS of AOL. My how the times have changed. Bigelow hits the diving headbutt for the win.

Winner: Bam Bam Bigelow in 3:21
A fine squash match that only annoyed me because of Lawler on commentary. Bigelow did a post-match cartwheel, stealing the show.

Another “Report Card” by Dean Douglas airs. It’s just as dull as last week.

Jim Cornette cuts a promo for the Tag Team Champions and just delivers. I miss managers like him.

Skip w/ Sunny vs. Major Yates
Oh boy, Yates seems to have dawn the short straw when it comes to jobber names. Sunny and Skip are still pissed that he lost to Barry Horowitz. Just like when Razor Ramon lost to the 1-2-3 Kid in 1993, they tease this jobber beating Skip too. Surprisingly, Skip uses a superplex as his finisher. That doesn’t equal a successful career.

Winner: Skip in 2:23
I wish this got the time that Mabel did. At least Skip is somewhat interesting.

It’s the SummerSlam Report! Diesel cuts a promo on Mabel, saying the WWF Title is the measuring stick, not Mabel’s stupid crown. Todd Pettengill also announces that Bret Hart will continue to be stuck in the midcard as he faces Isaac Yankem. Shawn Michaels will defend the Intercontinental Title against Sycho Sid in the only other announced match.

Next week, Diesel takes on Sir Mo. Oh my, that sounds terrible.

WWF Tag Team Championship
Owen Hart and Yokozuna (c) w/ Jim Cornette and Mr. Fuji vs. Razor Ramon and Savio Vega

As usual, Owen does the early work for his team, which is for the best. He and Savio have a fun exchange before Razor lays him out with a right hand. Vince says that Razor was out for 44 days with bad ribs but showed no effects at In Your House. Umm, he got pinned by Mabel. If that’s not an ill effect, then I don’t know what is. The champs have to take a breather before Owen takes control on Savio. He tags Yokozuna for a drop toe hold/leg drop double team. Savio’s beating actually doesn’t last too long and Razor comes in hot. He takes out Yokozuna with a second rope bulldog before they reel off some double clotheslines. Razor plants Owen with the Razor’s Edge and gets the three count, giving us new champions. BUT WAIT! Earl Hebner speaks with Jim Cornette and realizes that Owen wasn’t the legal man so the pin shouldn’t count. Hebner not only restarts the match, but also ejects Cornette. Razor picks up where he left off, firing away on Yokozuna and Owen. Savio gets some near falls but Owen turns things back around as the matches lasts through a second commercial break. Vince starts talking about the possibility of the match not ending by the end of the show. Razor tries a second rope back suplex but Owen rolls through into a pin, only for Razor to roll through himself for two. After a collision, Razor signals for the Razor’s Edge and the show fades to black.

Time expires after 14:39
Okay, so sue me. I really liked that finish. Having a match not finish in time is just so very realistic. Not everything is going to end perfectly in time for TV. The match itself was actually energetic and very enjoyable. I don’t know if the rematch will be able to top that. ***¼

Overall: 6.5/10. Hey would you look at that? Two straight solid episodes. We got another strong marquee match. Not only that, but they did a good job of mixing in short squashes (only Mabel’s was bad), kept the annoying stuff to a minimum and did a decent job of building towards the PPV.

Raw History
Episode #123
August 7th, 1995 | Louisville Gardens in Louisville, Kentucky

Due to the ending of last week’s episode, the Tag Title match will be restarted here.

WWF Tag Team Championship
Owen Hart and Yokozuna (c) vs. Razor Ramon and Savio Vega

So wait. On this taping block, the fans saw the first title match and now this one right after. Was there any explanation given to them? What happened when Razor called for the Razor’s Edge? The world may never know. Anyway, Vince informs us that Gorilla Monsoon is the new President of the WWF. His first act was to change the Intercontinental Title match at SummerSlam. Now, HBK will defend against Razor in a Ladder match. Yokozuna surprises me by starting the match, but he doesn’t stay in long. Things move at a much less excited pace this time around. Part of it is the competitors and the other part is the crowd. Owen hits the enziguri that will eventually take out Shawn on Razor but he gets his foot on the bottom rope. Vince hypes a chinlock like it’s actually going to make Razor submit. He clearly survives and makes the hot tag. Despite this, Savio falls to the Samoan drop and leg drop from Yokozuna.

Winners and Still WWF Tag Team Champions: Owen Hart and Yokozuna in 12:13
While I liked the cool idea of the show going off the air last week, having the match again, in front of the same crowd, lessened it. It’s like all of the energy from the first time out was gone when they had to do it again. Nowhere near the first outing. **

Dean Douglas brings us the Report Card and gives Savio and Razor a bad grade.

Fatu vs. Tony DeVito
In like five years, this would be one half of ECW’s Da Baldies vs. Rikishi. Fatu wrestles in funky colors and keeps his skully on. Like his sons will do in the future, Fatu wins with a flying splash.

Winner: Fatu in 2:43
Decent enough for Fatu’s first match under this new character.

We have a special SummerSlam Report as Gorilla Monsoon gets involved. All he does is add the HBK/Razor Ladder match that was mentioned earlier. While there was no real angle leading into it, it really stood out on an otherwise drab card. Kama vs. Undertaker is also announced.

Kama w/ Ted Dibiase vs. Troy Haste
Who named this jobber? Kama takes issues with the “creatures of the night” at ringside again. It’s still a dumb angle. Sid calls in to complain about losing his IC Title match at SummerSlam. Surprisingly, Kama wins with a cross armbreaker.

Winner: Kama in 1:25
A short Kama match. That’s how I like it.

Next week, Shawn Michaels faces Jerry Lawler.

Non-Title Match
WWF Champion Diesel vs. Sir Mo

There is actually some back and forth to start which shocks me. Mo should get in no offense whatsoever. Once Diesel starts to really take control, King Mable waddles to the ring. He looks for a cheap shot but Shawn Michaels comes out to even the odds. Mo actually gets a near fall inside. Diesel makes the big babyface comeback and lays out Mo with the Jackknife.

Winner: Diesel in 6:54
This lasted too long and wasn’t one-sided enough. Usually I prefer competitive matches but it’s Mo. He deserves nothing. ¼*

The brawl goes on after the match. Diesel eats a clothesline from Mabel and Shawn Michaels attacks. He tries to dive out onto him but Mabel catches him and rams him into the ring post. Men on a Mission look to continue the assault but Diesel makes the save.

Overall: 4/10. The streak of good shows ends at two. The spirited tag team match from last time out gets redone in a much lesser fashion. The squash matches were kind of just there and the main event was very lame. Next time I do one of these, I’ll be including the premiere of Monday Nitro!