Sunday, December 3, 2017

Raw History: Episode #129 and Reliving Nitro: Episode #5

Raw History
Episode #129
October 2nd, 1995 | Grand Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan

The show starts with a replay of the Smoking Gunns winning the WWF Tag Team Titles last week.

1-2-3 Kid vs. Razor Ramon
Before things get started, they recap the history between Kid and Razor, focusing on Kid’s two wins, including the one in 1993. Kid lights Razor up with some kicks, getting off to a hot star. Razor nails a fallaway slam but his momentum gets stalled when Dean Douglas comes out to take notes. He walks out shortly after. Kid misses a spinning heel kick and eats a clothesline that ends things at 2:55. Kid apparently isn’t happy with that and attacks. Tim White decides this is somehow legal and formal, allowing the match to continue. They go to commercial and when they return, we find out that Razor beat him again, only for the match to continue once more. What is even happening? Razor could hit the Razor’s Edge but chooses not to, using a small package for the win instead.

Winner: Razor Ramon in 6:13
That was certainly odd. Razor got back his Raw wins against the Kid and then some. Strange match that wasn’t too good. 

Not done yet, Kid tries to rollup Razor after the bell again. Kid feels remorse and turns his back to Razor so Razor could attack. Razor decides against it, instead shaking Kid’s hand.

Vince and King plug the upcoming In Your House Pay-Per-View. They then hype a special hotline that you could call to tell them whether or not you believe OJ Simpson was guilty.

Barry Horowitz vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley
Less than two months ago, Horowitz got his push and even picked up a win over Skip at SummerSlam. The crowd actually chants for him and pop for his multiple flash pin attempts. Vince is unintentionally hilarious on commentary discussing the OJ trial. His bewildered response of “WHO?” when King mentions Clarence Mason is splendid. Horowitz seriously picks up about six near falls in various ways. He sets too early on a back body drop, leading to the Pedigree.

Winner: Hunter Hearst Helmsley in 5:34
That was way more fun than it had any right to be. Barry had the hot crowd firmly behind him and the near falls made it enjoyable. **

PG-13 vs. Al Brown and Sonny Rogers
This is the debut for PG-13, who are the current USWA Tag Team Champions. Vince even mentions it. They get an insert promo dissing the WWF Tag Team Champions, the Smoking Gunns. Also of note, they come out to the old Men on a Mission theme. They look alright in the ring, hitting a Russian leg sweep/dropkick double team move. They get in a majority of the offense and win after Wolfie D tilt-a-whirl slams JC Ice onto a jobber.

Winners: PG-13 in 3:42
This worked well enough as a debut.

Next week, we get a preview of Camp Cornette when Owen Hart, British Bulldog and Yokozuna take on Diesel, Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker!

Bret Hart vs. Jean-Pierre Lafitte
Lafitte reminds me of Hakushi in the way that he got a PPV match with Bret Hart and a rematch on Raw before their significant pushes ended. Seriously, where did Hakushi go? They start hot and end up fighting on the outside. It is Bret, the babyface that sends Lafitte into the steel steps. Once they are back inside, it’s time for Lafitte to take over. He has his hip toss countered but instead of going up for Bret’s hip toss, he just lays him out with a clothesline. Lafitte holds serve for a while and I like a good chunk of his offense. Bret sneaks in a small package for two but his real opening is when Lafitte misses a top rope leg drop. Back outside they go and Bret takes a MAJOR steel steps bump. He always made everything look so damn good. However, back inside and he goes into the FIVE MOVES OF DOOM. Lafitte interrupts them a bit but gets hit with a superplex. Bret finishes off the pirate with the Sharpshooter.

Winner: Bret Hart in 14:01
As always, Bret Hart puts on a solid performance. Lafitte was a good opponent for him and both of their matches were pretty good. This show could use Bret a bit more often. ***½

Jerry Lawler talked trash throughout the entire match, leading Bret to confront him afterwards. Bret kicks his ass until Isaac Yankem shows up to hit the DDS on the mat. Ugh. Thank goodness Bret is set up for a World Title match in November. This Lawler feud was never good. Bret is helped to the back and Vince announces that Bret will face Isaac Yankem in a Steel Cage in several weeks.

Before the show ends, we hear from the units in the six man tag main event. Jim Cornette and Owen Hart handle most of the talking for their team, which is good. Undertaker doesn’t fully click with the personalities of Diesel and Shawn Michaels. As Undertaker says some weird stuff, HBK reacts in pretty funny fashion.

Lastly, the OJ fan vote is in! 51% say he’s not guilty. Come on WWF fans, you’re better than that.

Overall: 6/10. A pretty good episode of Raw here. The main event was one of the better matches they we’ve seen this year. Bret was good like that. PG-13’s debut was decent and the Horowitz/Helmsley match was pretty fun for what it was. I wasn’t a fan of the opening match though, which is extra disappointing considering the men involved.

Reliving Nitro
Episode #5
October 2nd, 1995 | Denver Coliseum in Denver, Colorado

Big pyrotechnics opening and the hosts are Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan and Steve “Mongo” McMichael as always. Ric Flair storms into the commentary section to shout about how he’s coming for Arn Anderson. They recap some of the insanity from last week before our opening contest.

Lex Luger vs. Randy Savage
If Lex Luger loses, he will leave WCW. Commentary spends their time during the entrances shitting on the WWF. Their collar and elbow tie up takes them to the outside and they still refuse to pull apart. After a commercial break, they trade shots and the crowd is totally into everything. Savage gets two on a small package before going up for a press slam. They do a great of playing these two as equals several times. Both men are down after colliding on shoulder blocks. After some more fun, we get a ref bump leading to Savage hitting the big elbow. He covers, but of course there is no referee. The Giant shows up and enters the ring, chokeslamming Savage. Luger hoists Savage up and wins via Torture Rack.

Winner: Lex Luger in 8:32
A really solid match that turned out to be better than expected. They did a great job showing them as equals while also furthering the Dungeon of Doom angle. ***

Disco Inferno’s theme hits and he just shows up on the stage to dance. He’s not even booked. Eddie Guerrero shows up for his match, making his Nitro debut, and scolds Disco.

Dean Malenko vs. Eddie Guerrero
A few months earlier, these two had one of the best matches in ECW history as they bid farewell to that company. While these two do some good old fashioned WRESTLING, commentary talks about Hulk Hogan’s limo being nearby. Just as they start to graduate from mat work, they decide to cut to Hulk Hogan’s arrival. SERIOUSLY? YOU COULDN’T DO THIS AFTER THE MATCH? Hogan screams about the Giant for a bit. Back to the match, and they both go over the top rope. Props to Mongo, who clearly doesn’t know some of the stuff these guys are doing, but hypes it enthusiastically. Guerrero leaps off the top rope, taking out Malenko on the outside. Once back in, Eddie nails a damn Brainbuster but Malenko gets the knees up on the Frog Splash. Both guys jockey for position until Eddie blocks a rollup and scores the three.

Winner: Eddie Guerrero in 5:30
A damn fine wrestling match here. I would have ranted it higher if they didn’t have the stupid Hogan interruption. Outside of that, this was two guys doing their best to steal the show despite only having five minutes. ***¼

Mean Gene is in the ring and out comes Hulk Hogan in a neck brace. Hogan tells a story about a tiny Hulkamaniac named Jason Pittman that is getting ready for surgery who told Hogan to stand up to the Giant so he’s going to do that. Hogan leaves to high five the fans until a woman throws powder in his eyes. The “woman” comes over the rail and beats up Hogan with a cane. It’s revealed to be the Taskmaster. Giant and stupid ass Zodiac show up as well. Giant does the NECK SNAP OF DOOM on Hogan again, before the Taskmaster shaves Hogan’s mustache off. The American Males and Nasty Boys run in to try and stop it but Giant ends all of them. Apparently, there was a scheduled tag match between those teams so I’m thankful for the Giant preventing it.

Arn Anderson vs. Ric Flair
Flair wants vengeance after losing to Arn at Fall Brawl, so he starts quickly. Anderson goes after the arm but Flair lays into him with tons of chops. Arn pulls a page out of Flair’s book, raking the eyes. They end up brawling on the outside where Flair takes a back body drop. Inside, Arn is back to work on the arm. That doesn’t last long as they are back outside where Arn takes the back bump now. Inside, Flair locks in the Figure Four. Brian Pillman runs in and climbs the ropes, getting Arn disqualified before he actually does anything.

Winner via disqualification: Ric Flair in 8:17
Unlike their Fall Brawl match, this felt like two guys that didn’t put in all of the effort for the TV match. It’s as if they were killing time leading into the finish. **¼

Brian Pillman and Arn Anderson start beating up Ric Flair, who is all alone. After the final break, Bischoff announces that next week, Flair gets Arn in a Steel Cage. We also get Sabu vs. Mr. JL, Hawk vs. Big Bubba and Sting vs. Shark.

Overall: 6.5/10. This week, I’d give Nitro the slight edge over Raw. From an in-ring standpoint, this was better than Raw but it suffered from the issue of trying to do too much at times. The show is like a non-stop train wreck at times. They had a strong opener and really good second match, only to mess it up with a complete cutaway to a backstage segment. Overall though, I liked both shows this week.