Friday, January 1, 2016

Raw #203 - March 31st, 1997

Raw (is War) opens without its Marilyn Manson intro while “Thorn in Your Eye” plays throughout the arena. I guess Manson and his record company didn’t appreciate all the free publicity Vince was giving him! Tonight, The British Bulldog defends the European title for the first time, facing the man he beat to win the title, Owen Hart. Hart dropkicks his tag team partner as he tries to enter the ring. A flying body press fails to put Bulldog away in the opening seconds, so Hart delivers a blatant kick to the groin in full view of the referee. The match continues anyway between the two “brother-in-laws”, as Vince repeatedly calls them. After some back-and-forth, Owen hits a piledriver right before the break.
A replay of action during the commercial break shows a false finish where Owen pinned Davey, but the match continued because Smith had his foot on the rope. Owen tries to hit a front dropkick from the top rope for a High-Risk Maneuver (#1), but Davey Boy catches him and puts the Sharpshooter on him for a Submission Maneuver (#2). Owen escapes and counters with an enziguiri. Bulldog ends up on the outside, where he catches Owen in a plancha attempt and drops his neck across the guard rail. Owen kicks out of a slingshot to the turnbuckle. Bulldog then sends a running Owen Hart into the stratosphere with a flapjack. Owen tries to walk away from the match, but gets stopped by Davey and suplexed on the ramp. Back in the ring, Bulldog charges at Owen, who leapfrogs him, sending him into the referee. Owen tries to use a chair but fails. Bret Hart runs in and grabs the chair from Bulldog and chokes him with it, then gets between the two opponents and “brother-in-laws” to calm them down. Hitman grabs the mic and tells Davey and Owen to stop fighting to please the American fans who have no family values. He tells Owen he loves him and the two (and later three) share an embrace that the fans boo, but that makes Jerry Lawler cry. Vince isn’t buying it.

Sunny comes to the ring, knowing that the fans want her (as suggested by her theme music). She joins the commentary team and snubs JR’s attempt at a handshake. Sunny says she was touched by Bret, Owen, and Davey Boy. Well, I already knew she had been touched by Davey Boy and maybe Bret. Mexican unknown El Mosco (“The Fly”) comes to the ring to take on Super Nova, not to be confused with the future Simon Dean, who is wrestling in ECW at this time. JR does some promotional announcements for upcoming events until Sunny interrupts to deliver the copy herself. I think she just really wanted to say “Ball State” (as in “testicles”). The announcers largely ignore the in-ring action, as do the fans in attendance, who start a small “Sunny” chant. Sunny speaks a bit of Spanish, asking Lawler whether JR is “gordo en el chocho”, meaning, uh, “fat in the pussy.” King asks her to repeat that, and she asks in Spanish whether JR is fat and chubby (“gordo y rechoncho”). After Mosco hits a Maneuver (#3 - spinning heel kick), Vince tries to get in on the fun and gives a count of “un, deux, trois.” That’s French, McMahon. While Sunny tries to teach Vince some elementary-level español, Super Nova hits a sunset flip powerbomb on Mosco. He then does a diving headscissors that Vince declares he misses, but that Mosco sells anyway. Sunny decides to go “south of the border” (Hey-o!) and flirts with the Spanish announce table. Super Nova attempts and misses a Maneuver (#4 - moonsault), which vince notes he “really messed up on.” Mosco springs off the top rope for a moonsault to win the match, which Vince barely notices. Sunny then holds the very sensitive Jerry Lawler in light of the emotional Hart family reunion.
Kevin Kelly tells fans to order a life-sized Undertaker poster from a phone number that has most certainly been taken over by some other company, but which I urge you to dial right now.

JR interviews the LOD in the ring and asks them about their upcoming tag team title match against Owen Hart and Davey Boy Smith. Hawk vows to knock the “doggy dumplings” out of the British Bulldog to stinky-kick the phlegm out of every corpuscle of that stinky Owen Hart’s stinky body.
Honky Tonk Man is here yet again to scout for the next Elvis impersonator he can manage to the Intercontinental title. “Double J” walks to the ring holding the hand of “guest manager” Nathan Arnold, age 6, while crooning about having sex with his girlfriend later in the evening. Honky Tonk is impressed by Jesse Jammes’s vocals. “Jammes”, who is near the top of Honky’s short-list, easily defeats Jerry Fox with a pumphandle drop. Honky steps into the ring and offers to mold Jesse in his image and take him to the top. He then presents him with a family “hairloom” of a guitar on the condition of “consummating” the deal. Double J sounds like he’s going to accept the deal, but instead he smashes the guitar.

Savio Vega and Crush take on Rod Bell and Adam O’Brien. Shawn Michaels is on the phone and mocks Vince’s questions about how Bret Hart’s figure four last week affected his knee injury. He’ll be there next Raw to meet Bret face-to-face. Savio and Crush win with Demolition’s old elbow drop/backbreaker finisher.
A promo package for Ken Shamrock airs featuring footage from the upstart UFC. He participates in a “no-holds-barred exhibition” next week.

Backstage, an apprehensive Paul Bearer sits down in front of a casket like it’s his desk.
Pyro goes off to mark the second hour of “Raw is War.” “Explosion! Contusion! Concussion!” screams Vince McMahon. It's strange to hear the word "concussion" tossed around so loosely. This was, of course, back in the innocent days when everyone thought that concussions were good for you (or so we’re led to believe).

Paul Bearer comes to the ring to try to reconcile with The Undertaker (again) after last week’s closing segment got cut off by La Femme Nikita. Bearer admits he has made a mistake (a mistake that included burying him alive) but begs Taker to take him back. Taker walks over and locks Bearer’s desk (by which I mean a casket) as a safety precaution. Undertaker admits that he owes Paul Bearer for his many years of guidance, then hands over the title to Bearer before clocking him with a right hand. “That’s for making me feud with Kamala and Giant Gonzalez and Mr. Hughes and Fake Undertaker and IRS and King Kong Bundy and Kama and Mabel!” says Taker (probably). Mankind emerges from under the ring and throws a fireball in Taker’s face after obviously lighting up a piece of flash paper. Sid chases off Mankind, while Taker stumbles around in the audience to sell being blinded.
Sid cuts a promo on Mankind on Undertaker’s behalf before Triple H makes his entrance, sans Chyna. Jerry Lawler sympathizes more with Mankind, claiming his mandible claw is actually bionic and caught fire. Goldust arrives without Marlena and attacks HHH before the bell, whipping him into the turnbuckles, which flips the Blue Blood upside every time. Vince gives us a very informative update on the Undertaker, who has suffered burns to the “facial area.” Thank you, Vince. Jerry Lawler is more concerned with the Harts than with The Undertaker and suggests that JR join the Heaven’s Gate cult and, by implication, commit suicide. Helmsley takes control early in the match and dominates throughout most of the segment. Despite the pre-match stipulation, Chyna shows up on the stage before the commercial.

After the break, Goldust hits the Curtain Call on Hunter, but Chyna kicks Goldust in the ribs before he can pin him. She and Hunter put the boots to Goldust before a team of referees can separate them. Helmsley strikes two officials, including Pat Patterson, who gets into a fist-fight with him. Chyna intervenes to rescue Helmsley, then stomps Patterson in the “groin area.” Goldust knocks Helmsley out of the ring and has a confrontation with Chyna that is broken up by referees. You know, Goldust and Pat Patterson have a lot in common: they both don’t like Hunter Hearst Helmsley.
Steve Austin comes to the ring for an interview with Vince McMahon. He says he never said “I Quit” in his Wrestlemania match (which is true). Austin thus joins an exclusive club that includes only Bob Backlund. He doesn’t care whether he’s in the ring with a “good guy” or a “bad guy,” he’s going to “whip somebody’s ass” no matter what the fans think. He then urges Bret Hart to “put on a clean pair of panties” and fight him right now. Bret argues that he indeed kicked Austin’s ass at Wrestlemania before making on a long and complex metaphor about Austin being a hyena coming back with his tail between his legs but he doesn’t have a tail and he isn’t laughing because Bret Hart is the real king of the jungle. Austin says that Bret will have to kill him before he can be finished with him, then gloats that he will one day kill Bret Hart from whipping his ass too hard. Bret Hart wrestles next against Rocky Maivia, whom JR refers to as “The Rock.”

Bret keeps everyone waiting as he comes through the curtain long after he is introduced. Vince calls Bret “Mr. Family Values” sarcastically, as if reconciling with his brother and brother-in-law didn’t negate the countless affairs Hitman has while on the road. Vince also assures us that Rocky Johnson will not interfere in Rocky Maivia’s match tonight, as he has promised. Jerry Lawler points out how little family values mean in America, as Johnson had previously broken his promise to his son. Perhaps The King is unaware that Rocky Johnson is Canadian. Bret stalls at the beginning of the match, giving McMahon an opportunity to plug USA’s Tuesday Night Fights in classic Vince McMahon fashion. “And by the way, ladies and gentlemen, Tuesday Night Fights knock me out indeed, and they’ll knock you out as well.” Bret, according to Vince, still is the Excellence of Execution as far as Wrestling Maneuvers (#5) go. Not realizing the historical significance of this match, Bret Hart and The Rock have a very basic match, with Hart methodically beating down Rocky. Jerry Lawler points out that Tony Atlas is sitting at ringside, perhaps to interfere on Rocky Johnson’s behalf. So basically, Tony Atlas is a foot soldier.
After the break, Bret continues to dominate Maivia until Rocky surprises him with a small package (not to be confused with his strudel). Rocky later avoids an elbow smash from the second rope to make a fiery comeback that rallies the crowd behind him until he does his stupid dance and the fans scratch their heads. Maivia hits a rare fisherman’s suplex on Hart for a two-count, followed by a belly-to-belly and a floatover DDT. The fans boo anyway. Bret rolls through Maivia’s flying body press for a two-count before putting him in the figure four on the ring post. Bret gets DQ’ed for refusing to release the hold. Hart thus does not begin his third IC title reign, I think the real tragedy here is that Hitman never showed The Rock how to apply the Sharpshooter. Steve Austin attacks Bret Hart but immediately gets jumped by Davey Boy and Owen. The LOD storm the ringside area to chase off the Harts.

Final tally:

5 Maneuvers (Year total: 55)

1 comment:

  1. What happened to this??? Has he stopped writing this site?