Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Raw History: Episode #128 and Reliving Nitro: Episode #4

Raw History
Episode #128
September 25th, 1995 | Grand Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan

They recap the ending of In Your House. Owen Hart didn’t compete in the main event, but got involved. Somehow, Diesel pinned him to win the match and the belts. Earlier today, Jim Cornette brought in Clarence Mason to dispute the result. They won and now, Owen and Yokozuna are back as champions. Diesel and Shawn Michaels get a rematch and the champs have to defend the belts against another team tonight.

Marty Jannetty vs. Skip w/ Sunny
Yup, Marty Jannetty is back. Vince sells his return like it’s the greatest surprise in WWF history. Marty slips on the steps during his entrance. Tons of fast paced stuff at the start, which the crowd eats up. Marty actually looks to be on his game for this. Skip gets a hug from Sunny as he takes a breather. They go for it again but Marty ends up getting the hug. He ducks a slap from Sunny, who hits Skip. The crowd is eating all of this right up. Dean Douglas shows up to take notes in the aisle. They work through a commercial break while Skip is in charge. Jannetty starts to rally and hits the Rocker Dropper. He doesn’t go for the pin though, instead using a second rope fist drop to mark a successful return.

Winner: Marty Jannetty in 7:42
Really fun match here. The crowd was red hot and Marty Jannetty seemed rather motivated. Non-stop action leading to an enjoyable outing. ***¼

We get another recap of the Triple Header finish, as well as more footage from Cornette and Mason talking with Gorilla Monsoon to have things overturned.

WWF Tag Team Championship
Owen Hart and Yokozuna (c) w/ Jim Cornett and Mr. Fuji vs. The Smoking Gunns

This is a rematch from WrestleMania XI. For reference, Dave Meltzer gave that match **. This is joined in progress as Owen and Bart are running around. They work at a relatively quick pace but that changes once Yokozuna enters the ring. Billy tries to knock him off his feet with dropkicks. He finally does with a facebuster and the crowd comes alive. Owen tags in but takes a sunset flip for two. He hits the enziguri of death leading into the commercial break. Returning, Yokozuna slows things a bit, working his dreaded nerve hold. It’s still my least favorite wrestling move. Yokozuna misses an elbow drop, giving Billy some hope. Owen gets the tag and pulls Billy away but he makes the dramatic leap to tag Bart. I wouldn’t have done a hot tag to Bart, a man with little to no charisma. He does his big spots but Yokozuna breaks up a pin. Billy flies at him, allowing the Gunns to hit the Sidewinder. Yokozuna tries to break it up again but Bart moves and he splashes Owen. Billy sends him out and Bart gets the three.

Winners and New WWF Tag Team Champions: The Smoking Gunns in 10:16
A better outing than their WrestleMania match. Kudos to the crowd, who was hot for the second straight match. They built to a frantic finish with some drama. The title change was also a rarity to see on TV. Far better than I expected. ***

Diesel and Shawn Michaels come out to celebrate with the Smoking Gunns.

Next week, Razor Ramon vs. 1-2-3 Kid and Jean-Pierre Lafitte gets another crack at Bret Hart!

As the Smoking Gunns exit, Dok Hendrix catches up with Gorilla Monsoon in the aisle. He says that he has big news for the upcoming In Your House event. The Undertaker will take on King Mabel, Goldust makes his in-ring debut and Gorilla announces that the British Bulldog will get a WWF Title shot against Diesel! Bret Hart has also signed a deal to face the winner at Survivor Series. Lastly, Shawn Michaels will put the Intercontinental Title on the line against Dean Douglas.

British Bulldog w/ Jim Cornette vs. The Undertaker w/ Paul Bearer
I honestly don’t ever recall seeing these two wrestle at any other time. Bulldog is overwhelmed by a lot of Undertaker’s early offense. Thanks to Cornette shaking the ropes, Bulldog is able to counter Old School. I don’t know if it had a name back before it was considered Old School. Despite this Undertaker still gets in a fair amount of offense. When Bulldog finally takes over, King Mabel shows up in the aisle to watch. After a break, Waylon Mercy seems to also be watching from afar. A Mercy/Undertaker program could have been interesting. Bulldog holds serve for a bit until Undertaker stars a comeback. Bulldog hits a damn piledriver for two. Undertaker starts kicking out of everything, frustrating the Bulldog. Undertaker nails a Chokeslam so Mabel walks down and enters the ring, hitting him with a belly to belly suplex.

Winner via disqualification: The Undertaker in 7:35
Decent enough match between two of the bigger names in the company. The DQ finish was obvious given the standing of both men and their upcoming PPV matches. **¾

British Bulldog hits Undertaker with a running powerslam and Mabel leg drops him. Diesel and Shawn Michaels run out to the make save and clean house. Owen Hart and Yokozuna show up at ringside but the Smoking Gunns run in to even the score. After a commercial, Undertaker shakes hands with the guys who helped him, which seems so odd given his gimmick. Another break comes and Shawn Michaels’ theme is playing for some reason. He’s dancing in the ring, which causes Vince to gyrate behind the announce table.

Overall: 8/10. One of the better episodes of Raw that I can remember. The live atmosphere was crucial because the Grand Rapids crowd was really hot all night long. Jannetty and Skip had a really fast paced, fun opener, the Tag Team Title match was good and featured a cool title change and the main event involved two stars having a solid match. You can’t ask for much more on this show.

Reliving Nitro
Episode #4
September 25th, 1995 | Civic Center in Florence, South Carolina

Alex Wright vs. Disco Inferno
We jump right into the action with our opening contest. Wright has to be the lowest card guy to get featured more than once on Nitro so far. Disco is making his Nitro debut and even gets pyro. Disco jumps him at the bell but is sure to take time to fix his hair and dance. Wright comes back and even hits a dive to the outside. Disco seems to try a belly to belly but they mess it up and it turns into an ugly hot shot. They continue working at a relatively quick pace and as Disco went for a neckbreaker, Wright counters into a backslide for the win.

Winner: Alex Wright in 4:02
Not the best way to start to the show. While the match itself was decent, these aren’t really the guys I’d use to hook an audience in. **

Going backstage, Hulk Hogan is trying to work out in his neck brace. His regimen? To have Jimmy Hart hold the World Title on his head, while he lifts it up. Seriously. Hogan cuts a classic Hogan promo about the Giant snapping his neck. He not only challenges Giant to a WCW Title match but also to a Monster Truck contest for some reason.

Mean Gene is in the ring, showing us a clip of the Luger/Savage confrontation from last week. Randy Savage is in the ring and Lex Luger is quick to show up and confront him again. Luger is sick and tired of Savage not respecting him. A match is made for next week. Savage vs. Luger. If Luger loses, he leaves WCW.

Kurasawa w/ Col. Robert Parker vs. Sgt. Craig Pittman
Not much from the crowd here as neither guy is really what you’d consider a star. According to commentary, Kurasawa broke Road Warrior Hawk’s arm at a recent Clash of the Champions. Pittman reels off some headbutts at the start. Kurasawa exposes the concrete outside and plants Pittman on it. They end up brawling outside as Pittman slams his opponent’s head into the ring apron. Bischoff is more interested in hyping the upcoming Monster Truck Challenge. Pittman applies the Code Red armbar in the ring, causing Parker to lose his mind at ringside. Kurasawa reaches the ropes to break it and gets the win with a German suplex. It looks like Pittman got his shoulder up but I guess he didn’t.

Winner: Kurasawa in 4:27
Another pretty good match that could have been better. The outside stuff and the German were pretty cool. I wish there was more focus on arm work considering the men involved. **¼

Mean Gene interviews Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman in the ring. Pillman puts down Ric Flair a bunch, saying that he’s been pathetic since Anderson beat him at Fall Brawl. Anderson admits that Flair is one of the best ever but now it’s a tag team situation, which is Anderson’s specialty. He says that Flair can’t find a partner because he’s betrayed everyone in the past.

Kevin Sullivan w/ Zodiac vs. Randy Savage
This stems from Kevin Sullivan attacking Randy Savage on the set of Baywatch. Things start on the outside where Sullivan throws Savage into the ring post and then onto the guardrail. Savage sells this but for me, I could never buy Sullivan as a serious threat to anyone. He tosses Savage outside and continues to lay into him. Savage backdrops him and hits a double axe handle back inside. Zodiac gets on the apron and Savage kicks his ass. He gets so upset that he even lays into the referee, getting DQed.

Winner via disqualification: Kevin Sullivan in 2:59
More of an angle than a match. The match that we got wasn’t very good. ½*

Randy Savage drops the big elbow on Zodiac as the Giant walks out. Giant Chokeslams Savage and some jobbers run in to try and help out. Giant obviously handles them with ease. Alex Wright is the highest profile guy to try but also fails. Finally, Lex Luger strolls out. Sullivan smiles as Giant nails another Chokeslam. Luger stands over Savage instead of helping him. Giant attacks from behind and Chokeslams him as well.

Lex Luger vs. Meng
Meng wastes no time in attacking a vulnerable Lex Luger. While Meng pounds away, Eric Bischoff says that Hulk Hogan will be in Denver for Nitro next week. Meng spends the first few minutes just wearing down Luger. Lots of chinlocks and stuff here. Meng misses a second rope headbutt, opening the door for Luger’s rally. It’s an odd one as he gets taken down but gets right back up and stomps on Meng. Meng pulls out a spike from his boot and strikes Luger with it, stealing the win.

Winner: Meng in 6:47
A very boring affair. Meng did a ton of rest holds, while Luger’s comeback was short lived and unappealing. ¾*

Overall: 3/10. For the first time, WWF Raw completely destroys WCW Nitro in terms of quality. This was easily the worst episode of Nitro so far. When the best match of the night is a barely interesting Craig Pittman/Kurasawa match, there’s a problem. All of the Dungeon of Doom stuff in the final two matches was pretty awful too.