Thursday, November 16, 2017

Raw History: Episode #127 and Reliving Nitro: Episode #3

Raw History
Episode #127
September 18th, 1995 | Canton Civic Center in Canton, Ohio

Still going pre-taped from Canton. Just like the weird “NEXT WEEK ON RAW” clips we got last time, this starts with a guy saying “LAST WEEK ON RAW” leading to clips from the Bulldog/Razor match. The emphasis is on the Kid/Razor angle.

The 1-2-3 Kid vs. Razor Ramon
Of course, during Kid’s entrance they take us back to Kid’s career making win over Razor Ramon two years ago. Fast start as Kid shows heel tendencies by attacking before Razor removes his jacket. It backfires because Razor ends up hitting him with a second rope fallaway slam for two. Razor just tosses Kid around and Kid is all about bumping big for him. He gets two on a Chokeslam as well. Kid comes back with a tope to the outside that earns him a near fall. He works a sleeper heading into the commercial and Razor breaks out of it as they return. That’s how you utilize a commercial break. As Razor makes the babyface comeback, they collide and it leads to a ref bump. These poor fans see Déjà vu when Dean Douglas runs out, splashes Razor off the top and sprints to the back. Kid enters the ring, drapes an arm over Razor and gets the three.

Winner: The 1-2-3 Kid in 7:11
Fine little match here that advanced two angles. One, Douglas/Razor and two, the tension between Kid and Razor. They worked at a good pace and it was an enjoyable match. **¾

An out of breath Dean Douglas takes us to his classroom for the Report Card. He gives Kid, himself and Razor grades that end up spelling out DEAN. He’s so clever.

Bob Holly and Savio Vega vs. Kama and Tatanka w/ Ted Dibiase
We see that Ted Dibiase got slopped by Henry O. Godwin on Superstars. Why is Tatanka still around? He and Kama struggle with the faces early on, unable to withstand their quick offense. Commentary really pushes the idea that Bob Holly is a hothead. Vega ends up as the face in peril. Holly does get agitated several times on the apron. It allows the heel to double team while the referee has to send Holly back. Hothead Holly gets the tag and scores on a missile dropkick. He tries a diving cross body but Kama catches him in an awkward powerslam spot. Unfortunately, Holly lands on his neck. It looks bad but it does the trick.

Winners: Kama and Tatanka in 5:50
Boring match, as expected from the Million Dollar Corporation. At least they made sure to build the “hothead” Holly stuff, so it worked in that sense. 

Razor Ramon responds to Dean Douglas and says that he’s going to “carve him up”.

Jean-Pierre Lafitte vs. Brian Walsh
Footage is shown of Lafitte stealing Bret Hart’s glasses and jacket over the past few weeks. Speaking of Bret, he’s on the set of Lonesome Dove and calls in to say that he didn’t know pirates really existed. He sounds so unenthused about the program. Pierre gets in almost all of the offense, winning with Le Cannonball.

Winner: Jean-Pierre Lafitte in 3:19
Decent enough squash match to promote the upcoming Hart/Lafitte match.

Non-Title Match
WWF Tag Team Champions Owen Hart and Yokozuna w/ Jim Cornette and Mr. Fuji vs. Men on a Mission

Vince McMahon nearly creams himself at the sight of Yokozuna going face to face with Mabel. They even had the ring “reinforced” beforehand. As usual, Owen does most of the work for his guys. He has the advantage against Mo, since Mo is the worst. Mabel uses his size to pound away. Even though both teams are heels, Owen ends up playing the face in peril. Lawler tries to hype Men on a Mission as former Tag Champions even though they held them for a very short time. He makes the tag and we almost get the Mabel/Yokozuna battle. Yokozuna kicks Mo’s round ass for a while. Oddly enough, Vince calls this a Thursday edition of Raw, but the airdate is listed at 9/18, which was a Monday. Anyway, now Yokozuna and Mabel slug it out. Mabel wins out with a hideous leaping clothesline. I’m being very generous by saying he leaped. Following a distraction from Jim Cornette, Yokozuna hits the leg drop on Mo and Owen gets the cover.

Winners: Owen Hart and Yokozuna in 9:06
For the time it was given and the competitors involved (sans Owen Hart), I expected this to be terrible. It was much better than I thought it would be though. Still, that’s not saying a ton. **

Backstage, Diesel and Shawn Michaels guarantee that they’ll be Tag Team Champions again. When that’s done, the heels get promo time in the ring. Wisely, Jim Cornette handles the mic work. As you would expect from Jim, he is pretty great here at hyping the main event for this Sunday.

Overall: 5/10. A middle of the pack show. The main event was a spirited effort that over delivered and the opener was a fun sprint that advanced multiple angles. I wasn’t a fan of the Million Dollar Corporation tag, but at least the Lafitte squash built towards the PPV. Not a bad way to spend 45 minutes.

WCW Fall Brawl 1995 Results
I reviewed this show a while back so I’ll give results and my star ratings.

Johnny B. Badd def. Brian Pillman in 29:59 (****)
Sgt. Craig Pittman def. Cobra in 1:33 (DUD)
WCW Television Championship: Diamond Dallas Page def. Renegade (c) in 8:07 (*¼)
WCW World Tag Team Championship: Harlem Heat def. Bunkhouse Buck & Dick Slater (c) in 16:51 (DUD)
Arn Anderson def. Ric Flair in 23:05 (****)
War Games: Hulk Hogan, Lex Luger, Randy Savage and Sting def. the Dungeon of Doom in 18:48 (¼*)

Reliving Nitro
Episode #3
September 18th, 1995 | Freedom Hall in Johnson City, Tennessee

We are just 24 hours removed from Fall Brawl, which was a mixed bag. Some horrible stuff but also two great matches. There are new Television and Tag Team Champions. Side note, at this point, in September of 1995, Hulk Hogan has been WCW Champion since July of 1994. Commentary is the usual Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan and Mongo combination.

To close out Fall Brawl, the Giant debuted and sent Hulk Hogan away in an ambulance. They go backstage where the Giant and the Taskmaster show up in an ambulance. Were they driving it all night? Giant cuts a promo but it’s so over the top and campy because he was still so very new to the business. They were billing him as Andre the Giant’s son at this point.

It’s supposed to be the Blue Bloods vs. the American Males in a number one contender’s match. During the Blue Bloods’ entrance, Harlem Heat attack them and decide they want to just put the titles on the line against the American Males because they are the best tag team around.

WCW World Tag Team Championship
Harlem Heat (c) w/ Sister Sherri vs. The American Males

They never fully specify if the titles are on the line because the commissioner isn’t in the building. It seems like they are, so I’ll just go with that. This starts like a brawl but quickly calms down. Nothing really happens until Booker nearly decapitates Riggs with a spin kick. During the match, Col. Robert Parker comes down. He made out with Sister Sherri last night. Sherri does a terrible job in falling off the apron right into his arms. Bagwell counters a slam and lands on top of Booker, upsetting them and stealing the win.

Winners and New WCW World Tag Team Champions: The American Males in 4:43
If you want proof that anything could and would happen on Nitro, this is an early place to look. Harlem Heat was an established team but they drop the titles less than a night after winning them back. Not the best team to take the belts and not the best match. This was more about shock value. *

Mean BAH GAWD Gene is in the ring to introduce Ric Flair. He interviews him about facing Brian Pillman later tonight. Pillman cost Flair the match against Arn Anderson last night. Flair is unhappy that Arn brought an outsider into their feud. He promises to chop Pillman so hard that other former NFL players feel it.

Johnny B. Badd vs. Paul Orndorff
Orndorff has a new gimmick where he carries around a mirror and has awful theme music. Johnny B. Badd is apparently the number one contender for the US Title after a grueling half hour contest with Brian Pillman at Fall Brawl. The fans chant “Paula” at Mr. Wonderful. They don’t do much of interest outside of a Badd pescado. Orndorff counters a backdrop into a pin and somehow wins.

Winner: Paul Orndorff in 3:45
Why? Johnny B. Badd just became the top contender for the number two belt in the company. I get that Orndorff had a new gimmick but if they really wanted to get it over, there were others he could have gone over. 

On the set of Baywatch, Randy Savage was working out when the Taskmaster attacked him and choked him with the barbell. Ric Flair randomly appears to save him. Everything about this was absurd. The fact that it was on Baywatch, the Taskmaster being on the beach and the Flair run in. It all leads to Randy Savage being interviewed by Mean Gene. Gene is earning those checks tonight. Savage says that he didn’t ask for Flair’s help, so thanks but no thanks. He focuses on Hogan, saying he’s a bad judge of character because he got hit with a cheap shot from Luger during Wargames. He predicts that Luger, Sting and Jimmy Hart will join the Dungeon of Doom. Luger comes out to confront him. Luger claims that Savage has a personal agenda of his own, leading them to almost coming to blows.

Footage airs from right before Fall Brawl last night. Hulk Hogan was being interviewed on his motorcycle when the Giant showed up in a monster truck and ran it over. Hogan beats on the car door while Giant laughs maniacally. They then show the end of the show, where the Giant snapped Hogan’s neck. How is he alive? Also, Mongo claims that he’s seen that neck snapping spot on the football field. Sure you did Mongo.

Brian Pillman vs. Ric Flair
Both men exchange chops at the start before spilling outside. Flair is showing an aggression that fits the angle. Pillman, who was only starting to show heel tendencies in that match last night, is full on heel here. He uses the ropes for leverage and viciously attacks Flair’s arm. He even slams it on the guardrail a few times. Back inside, they trade stuff and Flair tries for the Figure Four. Pillman pulls him into an inside cradle for two. Flair finally manages to lock in the Figure Four and Pillman gives up.

Winner: Ric Flair in 5:24
I wish this got an unclean finish for a Pillman win. It would have helped Brian while also furthering the existing angle. Still, the match was solid for the time given. **½

Ric Flair gets on the microphone and says that next week, Arn Anderson will get his ass kicked.
As the show is about to go off of the air, Heenan says that something is going on in the back. Bischoff agrees, but instead of cutting to it, they promote Disco Inferno’s Nitro debut next week. Why?

Overall: 6/10. Even on weeks when the matches are disappointing, the show still manages to be entertaining. Outside of the terrible decision to have Orndorff beat Johnny B. Badd, everything moved quickly and had a purpose. They did the Tag Title switch was a cool surprise and I’m enjoying the Flair/Anderson/Pillman angle.