Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Raw #130 - October 9th, 1995

It's a "very special holiday edition" of Raw, taking place on Columbus Day. Starting off the show is a six-man tag match, with three men on each team to represent the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa María. I guess. Otherwise, I don't see anything having to do with Columbus Day on this episode. Diesel, Shawn Michaels, and Undertaker take on Camp Cornette. Only one of the three faces will even make it to the pay-per-view in a few weeks.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Raw #129 - October 2nd, 1995

Razor Ramon enters the ring to a veritable golden shower (of pyro) to face the Kid. No, this isn't an R. Kelly home video; this is Monday Night Raw, despite the cold open and lack of its new opening video and theme. Also tonight, Bret Hart faces Jean Pierre LaFitte in a rematch from In Your House, which, coupled with the negation of the Triple Header match's outcome, serves to further rub it in the faces of the fans who paid money to see that event.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Raw #128 - September 25th, 1995

It's the first live Raw in over a month, and everyone is dying to know who the new champion or champions are after last night's Triple Header match. Remember, Gorilla Monsoon guaranteed a title would change hands. Skip and Sunny are in the ring, waiting for their opponent, the returning Marty Jannetty, who was not advertised. Jannetty will set a record with this comeback, as he will last over a year before getting fired, a post-Rockers personal best for the former Intercontinental Champion. After a vague reference to last night's Triple Header match, Vince excitedly says that the titles could change hands yet again tonight, notwithstanding the British Bulldog/Undertaker match. It's taken me over a year of watching Raws, but I have finally figured out that Vince doesn't know what "notwithstanding" means. He seems to think it means, "not to mention" instead of "regardless or in spite of." Lawler says that Bulldog will use Taker as a fire hydrant. "A what!?" says an indignant Vince. If anyone's going to the bathroom on the Undertaker, it's Sid, not Davey Boy.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Raw #127 - September 18th, 1995

The 123 Kid faces Razor Ramon in tonight's first match. We see clips of the Kid's first victory against Ramon two years ago. As Razor enters, the announcers promote his confrontation with Dean Douglas this Sunday at In Your House. The Kid takes it to Razor right off the bat, hitting him with a Maneuver (#1 - spinning back kick) and setting a record for earliest use of a maneuver in Raw history.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Raw #126 - September 11th, 1995

It's Raw's "season premiere," complete with a new intro and theme song. I can't believe my ears, as I was expecting an entirely different theme, one that didn't suck nearly as much. Raw "premieres" with a theme called, "I Like it Raw," which would be quickly scrapped the following week, with its vocals replaced by faux-police radio messages, then sirens before the theme would be abandoned altogether for a generic but passable tune with no vocals. The highlight of the introductory video is Shawn Michaels running towards the edge of the roof with a vest and leather hat, which disappear in the next shot as he supposedly leaps from the roof onto Kama. The shaky start to the "new fall season" continues with both announcers appearing in front of a green screen, a practice I thought had ended months before. Tonight, the newly-turned heel British Bulldog will face Razor Ramon, whom Lawler claims will have to be picked up with a pooper-scooper after Davey Boy is through with him. "Pooper-scooper!?" says McMahon.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Raw #125 - August 21st, 1995

Tonight's episode brings us 1/8 of the way to 1000 shows! Raw opens with the announcement that Kama vs. The Undertaker at Summerslam will now be a casket match, courtesy of Gorilla Monsoon and the finest computer graphics 1995 has to offer. This comes after Kama tore up the Creatures of the Night's black wreath on Superstars, then slammed one of them to the canvas after he tried gathering up the pieces. Tonight, Kama's fellow Corporation member faces Taker, hoping to soften him up enough so that the Supreme Fighting Machine can pick up the stable's first pay-per-view victory of the year.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Raw #124 - August 14th, 1995

This week's Raw opens with Vince McMahon hinting that Shawn Michaels is injured (after getting smashed into a ring post by Mabel) and vulnerable to losing his title at Summerslam. That also spells bad news for HBK tonight, as he faces Jerry Lawler. However, no mention is made of the title being on the line, which had been heavily implied ever since In Your House. Why would Lawler want to challenge new Intercontinental Champion Michaels specifically after he won the title and King called him a "marked man," only for it to be a non-title match? Non-title match or not, Lawler is replaced by Ted DiBiase on this night at the commentary table.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Raw #123 - August 7th, 1995

Last week, Razor and Savio Vega nearly defeated the tag team championship team of Owen Hart and Yokozuna, but time ran out on the episode (despite it being pre-taped). Tonight, they have a rematch. Also, Sir Mo promises part one of the Royal Plan tonight. I have a feeling that most of the parts to the Royal Plan involve losing to Diesel.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Raw #122 - July 31st, 1995

King Mabel opens Raw, entering through the new "RAW" entranceway, which last week replaced the old neon sign set that bathed the show in gaudy colors since the Monday night program's debut. Mabel rides in on a throne carried by a team of jobbers to take on one of their ham 'n' egger colleagues, Nick Barberry.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Raw #121 - July 24th, 1995

The post-In Your House Raw opens up with actual footage of the previous night's pay-per-view, instead of just stills. Shawn Michaels beat Jeff Jarrett after a miscommunication with the Roadie to bring the Intercontinental title back into the possession of The Clique for the next 6 months.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Raw #120 - July 17th, 1995

Shawn Michaels aims to slap the taxman across the face in this last televised match of IRS's. But first, the tag team championship combination of Yokozuna and Owen Hart make their way to the ring for a warm-up match before their title defense against the Allied Powers. If you'll recall that Lex Luger never won a title in the WWF, you can pretty well guess how that match turns out. Their opponents tonight are Jim Dimitri and Gus Kantarrakis. "Sounds like a law firm," says Jim Cornette at ringside. "Who are these two jokes?"

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Raw #119 - July 10th, 1995

Tonight's Raw opens up with a raucous crowd that, according to Vince McMahon, is "anxiously awaiting the presence of the Caribbean legend, Savio Vega." Either that, or they were told to make a lot of noise right before the cameras started rolling. Tonight, the Allied Powers take on the team of Tatanka and Henry Godwinn, with whom Ted DiBiase has replaced King Kong Bundy.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Raw #118 - July 3rd, 1995

Sid and Bam Bam Bigelow face off tonight in a battle of the dissapointing big men whose careers would be sabotaged by the Clique! Jerry Lawler is back on tonight's episode (which was taped right after the previous episode). Jerry is carrying around a bottle of Scope, still selling his foot-kissing injuries. He promises another visit to the offices of Dr. Isaac Yankem (pronounced, YAN-kəm) tonight. Lawler takes a big swig of Scope and swallows it after promising that his dentist would "extract" revenge on the Hitman.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Raw #117 - June 26th, 1995

The Raw after King of the Ring 1995 begins with a recap of the previous night's most important bout. The tag team main event between Diesel & Bam Bam and Sid & Tatanka? The tournament finals pitting Mabel against Savio Vega? Of course not. It's Bret Hart vs. Jerry Lawler. That match just happened to be a "Kiss My Foot" match, but regardless...

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Raw #116 - June 19th, 1995

To open Raw, Vince tells the audience not to adjust their TV sets, as their screens are dark because of the Undertaker. The stench, however, that the viewers can smell is coming from Jerry Lawler's feet. What incredible technology these viewers must have on their TVs! And I thought having a Spanish commentary option on the USA Network was advanced. Jerry says he was almost arrested for "sock abuse" (not to be confused with that thing Val Venis once did with Mr. Socko in 1999).

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Raw #115 - June 12th, 1995

Raw kicks off with a recap of Lex Luger and Yokozuna's ongoing feud, which comes to a head tonight in a King of the Ring qualifying match. We see the tournament bracket, with faces written first and heels written second for each match. Razor Ramon, a face, gets top billing in the final match, which spells misfortune for Lex Luger.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Raw #114 - June 5th, 1995

Footage from Bob Backlund's campaign rally earlier today airs to kick off Raw. Mr. Backlund calls the crowd "lazy" and "infamous individuals" who need an education. I'm used to people misusing the word, "infamous," but not like this. Tonight, Owen Hart faces the British Bulldog in the "last" qualifying match for the King of the Ring (in a match taped 22 days earlier at In Your House. Also, Savio Vega wrestles his first non-Kwang match tonight, while the Bodydonnas debut as well. And don't forget about Jean Pierre Lafitte, whom Jerry Lawler is rooting for based solely on his name: LaFeet. That's because Bret Hart accepted Lawler's challenge this weekend to a "Kiss My Foot" match.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Raw #113 - May 29th, 1995

Tonight's Raw comes to you taped from Binghamton, New York, where Double J is running his mouth about beating the Undertaker tonight in the King of the Ring qualifying match. the lights go out, causing Jarrett to panic in fear of Taker while his electronic hat continues to flash. Instead of the man from the Dark Side, we get the opening theme of Raw.
Tonight on History's Mysteries: Was Double J the inspiration behind the Mothman legend?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Raw #112 - May 22nd, 1995

Shawn Michaels returns to the ring after being sort of powerbombed by Sid and then powerbombed twice again. His opponent: Sid's fellow Corporation member, King Kong Bundy. And in case fans don't buy into this as a grudge match, it's a King of the Ring qualifier now. Michaels-Bundy: this time, it's impersonal.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Raw #111 - May 15th, 1995

In tonight's cold opening, IRS vows to put a lien on Bam Bam's tattoos. What if Bigelow won't pay his taxes? Will he have to repossess the Beast from the East's scalp? If so, who's going to do the dirty work, the Repo Man or Tatanka?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Raw #110 - May 8th, 1995

Last week, fans were treated to two top superstars, Razor Ramon and Sid, in a non-match. Will the bait-and-switch tactics continue tonight? The obvious sexual tension between announcers Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler boils over in the opening segment, with Vince telling the audience to look at the King's "kisser." Jerry is excited to be facing Bret Hart at the In Your House pay-per-view (at least that's why he says he's excited).

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Raw #109 - May 1st, 1995

Vince and Jerry are at ringside in the flesh to open this taped edition of Monday Night Raw, perhaps marking the end of the brief but unfortunate era of green screen technology on Raw. Our opening match is the Allied Powers versus George Anderson and Ron Hagan, two jobbers who probably still make a better team than Davey Boy and Luger. For one thing, I bet you that Hagan won't accidentally powerslam his opponent on top of his own partner like Luger did at Wrestlemania. McMahon and Lawler discuss the events of yesterday's Action Zone, in which Bob Holly (filling in for the newly-injured 123 Kid) appeared to defeat Jeff Jarrett (who had his foot on the rope) for the Intercontinental Title. As a result, the title was vacated instead of just immediately restarting the match or returning the belt back to Jarrett.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Raw #108 - April 24th, 1995

Bam Bam Bigelow gets a chance at redemption (and the WWF title) when he takes on Diesel tonight in what may be Bam Bam's only televised WWF title shot ever. If you have a vague recollection of the title's history, you can guess the outcome of tonight's match. Tonight's episode comes live from Omaha, marking the first time the uncensored, uncut, and uncooked action has emanated from Nebraska.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Raw #107 - April 17th, 1995

Raw starts off with a clip from yesterday's Action Zone, where Ted DiBiase announced his new, re-structured and re-organized Million Dollar Corporation, which looks exacly the same as his old Corporation, except without Nikolai Volkoff. Still, they at least have Sid as their newest member, and he will make a big difference in the form of the Corporation's first pay-per-view victory of 1995... but not till September.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Raw #106 - April 10th, 1995

After an eventful post-Wrestlemania episode last week, Raw is back to its old tricks, featuring Jerry Lawler and Vince McMahon in front of a green screen. The King takes Jim Cornette's place, as the manager will be in the corner of Owen Hart, Yokozuna, and Hakushi in their match against Bret Hart, Bob Holly, and the 123 Kid. Maybe we'll get some insight from Lawler into how Bret Hart is racist.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Raw #105 - April 3rd, 1995

It's time for the fallout from the greatest Wrestlemania ever to be held in a shopping mall, Wrestlemania XI! First, we get a recap of the event through video stills, Vince McMahon's narration, and the cheesy Wrestlemania theme that Linda McMahon would later use. It's a homecoming of sorts for Raw, as tonight's episode emanates from the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, New York, the home of Raw after it left the Manhattan Center.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Raw #104 - March 27th, 1995

It's that time of year again! Time for a throwaway episode of Raw. Back in the day, it was standard practice for the Raw before a big pay-per-view (especially Wrestlemania) to be a clip show to hype up the event. In 2013, WWE has the "go home" show; in 1995, the WWF had the "go away" show.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Raw #103 - March 20th, 1995

Jim Cornette promises the most historic night in Federation history, as his own Heavenly Bodies try to take the tag titles from the Smoking Gunns. Steve "Mongo" McMichael will also be on hand to deliver color commentary. Razor Ramon makes his way to the ring for the opening match, all the while oozing machismo. Cornette suggests that penicillin would help. The Bad Guy takes on the hog farmer from Bitters, Arkansas.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Raw #102 - March 13th, 1995

In tonight's cold opening, Vince promises a match between Bret Hart and Jerry Lawler, who has been accusing Hart of being a racist, as well as a tag team match between the Blu Twins and the "dream team" of The 123 Kid and Bob Holly. The opening must have been prepared well in advance, as the face team got caught in traffic due to California storms. Therefore, the Samoan savage team of the Headshrinkers are the ones to face the Appalachian savage team of the Blu Twins. Uncle Zebekiah is in the twins' corner, but neither of the Headshrinkers' managers are at ringside.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Raw #101 - March 6th, 1995

Shawn Michaels and the British Bulldog open tonight's show. HBK does his stripper routine while Sid looks on in jeans and no shirt. Ahem. Vince continues to insist that the British Bulldog is the rightful winner of the Royal Rumble, despite being thrown over the tope rope fair and square. Cornette makes a series of valid points about Shawn Michaels never having been eliminated and both Michaels and Smith being in the Rumble for the same amount of time, to which Vince responds that Bulldog is the rightful winner because he was "robbed." That's called begging the question, Vince. It's one thing for Gorilla Monsoon to always defend the faces even when they're wrong, because he's only working with the material he was given, but for the actual booker of the company to do such transparently weak shilling for the good guys is just embarrassing. Speaking of shilling, he also urges viewers to buy the Royal Rumble on Coliseum Home Video to see for themselves.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Raw #100 - February 27th, 1995

Raw's 100th episode starts off with the first ever announcement that the World Wrestling Federation has for over 50 years been the revolutionary force in sports entertainment. Plus, Raw gets a revamped intro. Vince McMahon promises a response from Lawrence Taylor himself tonight on Raw. Vince and Jim Cornette are live at ringside this week, sporting mics with the blue Raw logo. See, Raw hasn't always been the "red" brand, and the alternate logo color fits nicely considering how much the WWF's popularity has cooled off by 1995. Lex Luger will face Tatanka to end what Vince generously calls one of the hottest rivalries ever (a rivalry highlighted by extremely boring matches and Tatanka accusing Lex of selling out over and over again then swerving us all for some reason).

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Raw #99 - February 20th, 1995

For the first time in weeks, Raw comes to us live and without a green screen, this time from Nelson Muntz's ideal Spring Break destination, Macon, Georgia. The city also happens to be, according to Vince, the home of "Otis, my man!" He is referring to Otis Redding, whom he likely never met considering that he died in a plane crash 28 years earlier. Diesel faces Jeff Jarrett in a WWF title defense, while Shawn Michaels "unveils" his new bodyguard. The last person to be literally unveiled in the WWF was Narcissus. Bam Bam Bigelow also makes his return to action in a squash match after not wrestling an entire TV taping due to suspension.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Raw #98 - February 6th, 1995

Raw begins in much the same way as last week, with Shawn and Vince in front of a green screen and Mabel entering first. He is joined by Mo and later Lex Luger for the six-man match against the Million Dollar Corporation. With this being Black History Month, Vince wonders if Men on a Mission will make history tonight.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Raw #97 - January 30th, 1995

Raw opens with Mabel's music and Vince and Shawn in front of a green screen, well-lit despite the darkness of the arena and occasional flashing lights. Tonight's Raw features Kama in action, a rematch from last week for the tag team titles, and a two-man battle royal between Mabel and King Kong Bundy.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Raw #96 - January 23rd, 1995

The night after the Royal Rumble, serious Vince opens Raw in serious fashion, offering a serious apology for the actions of Scott "Bam Bam" Bigelow, who shoved NFL Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor at the pay-per-view. Bigelow, he says, has been suspended, no doubt by Federation President and announcer Vince McMahon's boss, Jack Tunney.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Raw #95 - January 16th, 1995

One week removed from the big 2nd anniversary show live in Houston, Raw comes to you taped with the announcers standing in front of a green screen. Also, instead of Hakushi making his Raw debut like last week, Mantaur will make his Raw debut. Also, William Shatner makes another appearance. Not only is the "boy toy" Shawn Michaels there to stripper it up, but the Heavenly Bodies are in the ring to open the show with more overt references to male prostitution thanks to "Gigolo" Jimmy Del Ray. All in all, it looks like a stellar show.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Raw #94 - January 9th, 1995

Tonight, Raw hails from Houston, Texas for the first time for its second anniversary. Monday Night Raw pays tribute to the very first episode of Raw by not being very good! At least tonight, there will be an Intercontinental title match that will not include Max Moon. There will also be male nudity and William Shatner, who will be on King's Court tonight. The Star Trek star tells Lawler in advance to leave him alone, because he's only there to promote the new USA series Tech War. If the King wants a piece of Shat on this Monday Night, he's come to the right place!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Raw #93 - January 2nd, 1995

The first faces we see on Raw in 1995 are those of the as-of-yet unnamed Roadie and Jeff Jarrett, who promises to sing in public for the first time tonight. Shawn Michaels is back on commentary along with Gorilla Monsoon, who is filling for Vince. McMahon may be "under the weather," but Gorilla and Shawn are in front of a green screen. Ted DiBiase's music plays over the two announcers as The Million Dollar Man accompanies Bam Bam Bigelow and Tatanka for their match against the soon-to-be Allied Powers. Monsoon wonders if there will be gold coming to the Million Dollar Corporation, and there most certainly will, as long as you count Paul Bearer's urn as gold.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Raw #92 - December 26th, 1994

It's the last Raw of 1994, and tonight's episode kicks off with the British Bulldog against Lex Luger's arch-rival, Tatanka. Hey, wouldn't it be great if Bulldog and Luger teamed up? Shawn and Vince are once again our commentators for the evening and are joined briefly by Ted DiBiase and Tatanka on their way to the ring as if to prove that the announcers are actually in the arena tonight and not standing in front of a green screen. Raw's opening rolls, this week without Tyco's logo plastered over top of it, seeing as Christmas shopping has just ended.

Friday, April 5, 2013

WWE's "Superfan Showdown" on Facebook

WWE recently advertised a new Facebook game on Monday Night Raw, promising trivia, games, videos, and puzzles. And to be sure, the new, free app has all of that, plus lots and lots of mindless repetition. I know this because, to hype myself up for Wrestlemania, I started using the app.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Wrestlemania 29 Preview

It's that time of year again: Art0Donnell's first annual Wrestlemania Preview! So, scratch out that word, "again," okay?

Pre-show - Wade Barrett vs. the Miz: The lesson of this match is, if at first you don't succeed, try, try again, then challenge for the Intercontinental title instead. After what felt like months of chasing Antonio Cesaro's US title, the Miz has moved on to the Intercontinental title, which is basically the same thing. Cesaro's reward for having held on to the title since Summerslam is having the night off on the biggest show of the year. Both men are in WWE Films at the moment, so that won't factor into the outcome of the match. I predict The Miz will go over, based on his Nature Boy veteran rub and the fact that Barrett recently got kicked in the crotch by Triple H for no reason, perhaps in commemoration of his burial of Booker "Nappy Hair" T ten years ago.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Raw #91 - December 19th, 1994

Lex Luger enters the ring to kick off tonight's Raw in the cold opening. Shawn Michaels, who is a semi-regular now at the announce table, sports a Santa cap, as does Vince McMahon. A brilliant fan in attendance holds up a sign reading, "I cheat on my taxes." "Hey, look," says Michaels, "it's Joe Montana!" I can only assume that the 49ers quarterback is in some sort of tax trouble at this time. Fortunately, Vince explains the context of the joke (Montana is being investigated for a sports memorabilia business, but Vince insists that just because the government is investigating someone doesn't mean that the person has done anything wrong. Gee, I wonder why he would say that?), but not before expressing how appalled he is that Shawn would say such a thing. Hopefully no actual IRS agents are watching this episode, or else this fan might be getting some phone calls.