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Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Raw #6

Hoo-flipping-rah, Rob Bartlett opens Raw Number six with a shot at wrestling fans (in)ability to spell. Way to alienate your target audience within the open ten seconds.

And so I must patronisingly congratulate you, gentle reader, for having the dumb luck to punch some keys on your computer in the right order so that you can see this 'ere review. What we'm be doin', innit, is running through all the Raws in order. That's right, from Raw number one, all the way up to........when I get bored of it. We'll see.

After Bartlett's insult (as if him turning up was not insulting enough) he does a SNL rip-off opening and it's time for the only lame theme music in Raw history. Seriously, I can't think of another bad Raw theme off the top of my head. Thorn in Your Eye, that one which told us to groove to the music, Wanna be Loved, the current one - all fine by me.

After this musical interlude, we go to Vince warbling over the top of that damned siren. I tell you what, I don't know how far into Raw history we'll get with this series of reviews, but I want to at least keep going until that bloody siren is gone. Man alive, who thought that was a good idea?

This week, says Vinny, we've got Shawn Michaels teaming with the Beverly Brothers against Tatanka and the Nasty Boys. Savage excitedly tells us that Hulk Hogan is in the house, too. Both Mega Powers being babyfaces means they have to be on the same page, here, I guess. "We love it, dig it, yeah" is his exact words.

Hey, is that Wayne Rooney? Oh wait, no, it's Bam Bam Bigelow, The Beast from the East, here to wrestle the jobber.........Scottie too Hotty? Well, it's Scott Taylor, pre makeover. He was a jobber for quite a while in WWE, before he got the spikes and the big lid. I always liked Bigelow. Genuinely terrifying to look at, his character was a mean bully, and he really could move for a guy his size.

You can actually sense the New York crowd, a few years before Attiude-era, wanting to cheer the bad guy here. Actually, there is no want about it - they are cheering him. Bartlett asks if Bam Bam is wrestling someone off the street. Helpful.

When you look closely, there is a touch of Bam Bam in Samoa Joe. Joe is more athletic and a better wrestler, don't get me wrong, but they both have/had a sort of swaggering, bad-ass nature to them.

As I type this the show is just under four minutes old, and the match about half that. Savage has mentioned Hogan four times. Now Vince mentions him too. They are obviously trying to ensure anyone tuning in late gets to know the yellow and red is in the house. Notice how they don't advertise Beefcake at all.

Bigelow hits a lovely tigerbomb into a backbreaker before his patented flying headbutt. Twice, for some reason. Honestly, these squahes should absolutely come back. Just do two a show. It will take up less than ten minutes of your show, and would get two guys over enormously. Especially new guys or those returning from injury.

Vince McMahon sends to a pre-recorded interview with......Vince McMahon and Hulk Hogan (He actually namechecked himself in the third person) Hogan is in back and white t-shirt and bandanna (shirt advertsing IcoPro), jeans and cowboy boots. Not the yellow and red. I assume the live appearance is coming later.

Hogan calls Vince Mr McMahon. Haha, why does that sound so funny? He calls his fans his 'heroes'. The future for Hulkamania is really bright, he says. You know what is hilarious? Vince says to Hulk that they sat in that studio a year earlier discussing whether it was Hogan's last match. 1992, folks. 18 years ago, and we are still having that discussion.

The interview is largely nonsense, by the way, saying that you should be positive in your life and the children are the future and other platitudes. It does end with a good line, though because he says 'wait until the Hulkamaniacs hear what I have to say on Monday Night Raw.' Good booking, because it has you waiting for he has to say later on.

Next it's the Beverly Brothers in the ring, soon joined by Shawn Michaels. And then, on the subject of Hulkamaniacs, it's the Nasty Boys, out to a really nice reaction, actually. They are joined for Tatanka, who rushses the ring and gets straight into it for this six man tag. It's pretty hilarious watching Howard Finkel bail to the outside as the sextet start brawling.

(By the way, during this match, pencil Savage in for a Hogan reference every thirty seconds. Even he sounds bored of saying it at one point. And for every Hogan reference, assume Bartlett makes a sarcastic aside about something. At one point Shawn gets backdropped out of the ring. Bartlett says 'that's the coolest thing I've ever seen', but he is obviously being sarcastic. Why in the blue hell is he announcing a wrestling show?)

Vince asserts that Tatanka (his name is really hard to type for some reason) will be wrestling for Shawn's IC title at Mania. Michaels deliberately escapes wrestling Tatanka. The babyfaces control the match until an ad break. When we come back, the Beverlys low bridge Knobbs to take control. For while.

Finally Tatanka tags in, and gets one on one with Shawn. Now I recognise that Michaels turned into arguably the best in the business, and he's still pretty good here, but some of selling and bumping is ludicrous. It's all over the place. Especially since occasionally it looks like Tatanka's chops are nowhere near him. Tatanka hits "The End of the Trail" but one of the Beverlys ('Beverlys' or 'Beverlies'? I cant decide which) breaks it up. I say 'breaks it up'. He jumps in the air largely hit's Michaels, but it brings everyone else into the ring. The Nasty Boys throw Beau and Blake out of the ring and follow them, but Shawn is back on top.

Michaels set up for his finisher - which is a side suplex, by the way, at this point. Not a Superkick, but our favourite Native American slides out and pins Shawn with a modified sunset flip. The Nastys (Nasties? Oh I don't know.....) celebrate with him after the bell, and seeing them altogether shows that even the guy with the mullet and the died red hair doesn't even have the worst haircut on his team.

They go to a plug for Wrestlemania. They are trying to sell tickets here. About five weeks before the show. I don't think they had a big crowd for that Mania, either, so it shows how far we've come that 70,000 plus sells out quickly these days.

Over to Mooney (he is STILL outside!) who talks to some fans who have paid to say that they.......dah, I mean BIG Hogan fans, who say he will clean house. Hang on, why are they outside? Couldn't they get in? Talk to the people inside, Mooney.

Focus on a larger lady in a bikini being ring girl (still not funny, guys) when we hear Crush's music. And what generic rubbish it is too. His opponent is Triple T - Terrific Terry Taylor. You know, the guy who used to be Double R - Red Rooster.

Crush looks Mullet-tastic in there, and dominates, while the announcers tell us it's Crush v Doink at Mania. They then, for some reason, do an Arnold Schwarzenegger bit with Bartlett doing actually not a bad impression, but it isn't funny. Triple T gets a few shots in, but this a Crush showcase, and he wins easily. No sign of Doink.

Off we got to a retrospective of last week, and way past halfway in the show they finally mention Brutus Beefcake getting attacked, which, after all, is the reason why Hogan is back. The clip of the briefcase to the face is shown, and Vince says Hogan is here after the break.

After ads, Vince is in the ring, and he brings out a much leaner looking Hogan than the last time he was seen on TV. (I wonder why) Hogan bigs up Hulkamania, then says he was watching Brutus last week against "The Multi-Million Dollar Man" (That's what he said) and felt sick watching Brutus getting, well, brutalised.

He thanks "The Big Man Upstairs" (Kevin Dunn?) for helping Brutus. And he thanks Jimmy Hart. Then he says that he back in the WWF, which draws a pop (from the crowd), then he calls Vince "Little Dude" which draws a pop (from me). He brings out, in his words, Brutus "The bionic barber" Beefcake, who has a feathery red and yellow outfit on, and sunglasses, which he takes off to reveal a taped nose.

Brutus also thanks "The Big Man". Hang on, why can't they say God? Has someone trademarked "God". Whose intellectual property is that? He too thanks Jimmy Hart, but then starts rambling about Hogan and Money Inc. Hogan basically cuts him off, and says that they will start to "seize the assets" of Money Inc. He invites Jimmy Hart to the ring, and calls him their brand new manager. I'd love to have had Gorilla Monsoon on comms for this. He'd have still call him a little runt.

Jimmy says that he idolises Hogan, and so do many of the superstars in the WWF (fetch the bucket). Hart says Brutus and Hogan will be the greatest tag team of all time. He says he will take his vitamins, and Money Inc ought to say their prayers. He squeals a little bit, not being used to being a babyface. Hogan calls this trio "The Mega Maniacs". Every team involving Hogan, Savage or Warrior called themselves something like this. There was the Mega Powers, I'm sure the (shortlived) team of Savage and Warrior was "The Ultimate Maniacs", then there was this, and I think when Savage joined Hogan in WCW they were called "The Monster Maniacs." God knows why. I mean, The Big Man knows why.

Interview ends, then another quick plug for Mania, and when we come back Hogan and co are still posing. Not much time left in this show, but Vince says Taker is next. He's against Skinner. Ad break first, and when we come back Skinner clotheslines Taker outside, but the Deadman lands on his feet. Bizarrely, there are more ads straightaway, as Vince says they are running out of time.

Back to the match and it's all Skinner. Weird. We actually go off the air with Taker basically not having hit an offensive move, I think! Vince says we'll get the conclusion of the match next week, plus a WWF Title match. How could we not follow this up? Looks like we'll at least get to Ep7........

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