Thursday, 28 October 2010
It's been ages since I did one of these - Time to get back to it. In my series of reviews (potentially never ending series) of old Raws, this is number 9. You can find all the other reviews in the archive. This Raw took place on March 8th, 1993.
Wahey, what do you know, it's Gorilla Monsoon, along with the Brain, as Raw has a very different look to it. In fact, it's taking place in the Mid Hudson Civic Center, in Poughkeepsie, in New York State. Gorilla and Heenan have someone with them, though. The graphic states "Not Vince McMahon" which is rather humourous. Heenan says it is Vince. Gorilla says he smells like him. That's a little creepy. I've a horrible feeling it's Bartlett, but he hasn't spoken yet.
Gorilla tells us that a blizzard has caused chaos to Monday Night Raw, but all the superstars that can be there, will be there. Please don't tell me that the advertised Typhoon v Bam Bam match is off? Whatever shall we do if that happens.
Brain says he'll be doing an interview with Giant Gonzalez. That ought to be interesting. We've got Shango v Backlund and Headshrinkers v Nasty Boys, too. "Vince" does a vaguely ok Vince impression (mind you, I shouldn't high and mighty about impressions. Anyone who has heard my podcast recently knows I am firmly in a glass house as far as that goes) to introduce the show.
Razor Ramon is here to open proceedings, against a jobber with a spectacular rat-tail (ah, 1993!) called Russ Greenberg. Big reaction for Razor from the crowd, despite him being a heel. Razor tells a ring attendant taking his gold that if something happens to the gold, something will happen to the attendant. Nice.
"Vince" is already annoying me. This is another one-note joke which is going to last an hour, isn't it?
Razor runs through his repertoire, in classic squash match formula. Razor will face Backlund at Mania. Monsoon says "this youngster, Russ Greenberg, is no Bob Backlund." Heenan: "No, he's much younger." Gorilla: "That's not what I meant." Heenan: "It's what I meant." Classic. I could listen to those two all day. So sad what happened to both. Hang on in there, Brain.
Ramon wins with his Razor's Edge. Brilliant, consistent mannerisms throughout. You can see why people are cheering him. There is a certain coolness to him. His babyface character wasn't much different to his heel one, really. He's still a heel at this point, but I know this changes at some point during 1993. I'm just looking forward to seeing exactly when. We go to a break with Gorilla promising us Typhoon next. I was hoping one natural disaster (Blizzard) might have stopped another one. Oh well.....
An insert for Headlock on Hunger with Randy Savage with Rev. Jesse Jackson, who would be a Guest host some 16 years later.
Typhoon emerges through the mid-90s psychedelic entrance, just after we see the ref tell the ring girl to get out of the way. Big Typh's opponent is L.A. Gore, whose name appears to be something to do with La Parka and Rhyno, and his look is a little bit Magnum PA. If Mag had slept rough for a couple of weeks, then fell in a puddle of baby oil.
The first 30 seconds of the match consists of Typhoon bumping into Gore, and knocking him over. Gore, after a lock up, scores some punches and shoulders, but Typhoon sound reverses it and squashes him. He continues some standard big man offence while Gorilla says that the blizzard has "literally crippled the east coast." No, it figuratively crippled it. I know I am a grammar pedant, but I hate misuse of "literally".
Typh hits a nice looking powerslam, as "Vince" talks about yellow snow. I'm trying to tune him out, but it isn't working. Avalanche, splash, game over. "Vince" hasn't one said "1....2....HE GOT HIM, no he didn't!" yet. Mind you, there hasn't be a pin attempt that hasn't ended a match, so that's a bit harsh of me.
It's hard to believe that a quarter of the way into this show - which is less than a month from Wrestlemania - that there has been precious little hype for the biggest show of the year. How times change.
We cut in to the ring, from a break, to see Bobby Heenan complaining about not being given a cue. I genuinely have no idea if he was working there, or whether there really was a timing issue with the floor manager. It soon cuts into the usual cavalcade of IcoPro, action figures etc. (Interestingly, the British Bulldog is included in that advert. I'm pretty sure he had been released by then. He certainly isn't on the wrestling show itself)
Bobby finally gets the call that he is on the air, and with his shiny, red, AAW (All American Wrestling) jacket, he introduces to us "the biggest athlete today" Giant Gonzalez. I think athlete is a stretch.
Wrestling managers were a strange breed. Although people often talk about there being nowhere near enough managers (they are right) in today's wrestling, there were way too many years ago. Guys like Jimmy Hart and Bobby Heenan were great, but Gonzalez's manager Harvey Wippleman was a nightmare. He drones on about Gonzalez being terrifying, and Heenan attempts to save him here and there. The big fella ends with telling Taker he has a giant surprise for him. Heenan goes back to asking if he is on the air after the interview. We'll go with the whole thing being a work, I think.
Video package for Hogan next, and a voiceover says he "filled more arenas that Ali, Foreman and Sugar Ray Leonard combined." Wow, that's quite a statement. I wonder if they'd concur right now? The gist is that Hogan returns at Wrestlemania.
Voodoo time next, as Papa Shango arrives. Bartlett does Vince saying "Monday Night Rawwwwww" and it's actually pretty good. Then he does another sentence and it sounds like Elvis again. Shango's opponent, Bob Backlund, is out next. No music. Did Backlund ever have music?
Backlund gets the best of it early on, basically avoiding Shango and tripping him up. Shango initiates, and wins, a test of strength, until Backlund wrestles out of it. Shango manages to hit a backbreaker, and from there this match slows to a crawl, mostly filled with Shango choking Backlund. Eventually, out of nowhere, Backlund hits a small package and gets a surprise three count. Shango storms around looking upset afterwards.
Now I think about it, Backlund had music when he had the presidential gimmick, and had Hail to the Chief.
There is a brilliant TV show here in England called "Outnumbered". One episode sees a small child talking to a vicar about Jesus, and he asks the clergyman, referring to Jesus dying on the cross, "Why didn't Jesus just zap him?" I think similar every time I watch Papa Shango. If he can do all that voodoo shit, why didn't he do it more often?
Gene Mean offers us another Wrestlemania report. Gene says that the announcing team of Gorilla, Brain and Savage will wear togas. They didn't know about JR at this point, or they are keeping it quiet? Gene says that people are talking about Undertaker v Gonzalez "everywhere I go, coast to coast". Yep, they are all saying "Taker v the Giant. That's going to be shit, isn't it?"
Gene hands back to Gorilla, saying he still can't shake off The Brain. Then I'm sure he says "what about that other clown, Bob Barker" (Obviously he means Bartlett) It's Raw guest hosts galore tonight, after earlier seeing Rev Jackson.
We see a three shot of our announcers, as Heenan says he won't wear a toga. Bartlett as Vince actually looks like the guy playing Nixon in Frost/Nixon. Nastys v Shrinkers next. Shrinkers w/o Afa.
It's a fairly standard brawl, as you would expect with these two teams. Notable is that the Nastys have a really nice reaction from the crowd throughout the match. Gorilla draws attention to Afa being missing, and Heenan says he saw him. They come back to this again shortly after. I'd suggest Afa could appear to influence the result at the end.
Knobbs get a hot tag after a period of Shrinker dominance, but does the old "double noggin knocker" to no avail. You see these Samoans have hard heads, or so the age old (racist) gimmick suggests. Strangely, the very next double move is Knobbs DDTing both of them. And yet this works. Hmmm.
Knobbs drags Fatu down the aisle, to a bizarrely positioned table covered in food. Gorilla calls it a concession area, but it is on the wrong side of the guardrail, surely. Carnage ensues, with the old Greco-Roman hot dog to the much and the catch-as-catch-can stylings of squirting a mustard bottle at someone. Sags and Samu join them, and basically, it's a foodfight.
The last few seconds are hilarious. Gorilla has to throw to the setup package on WWF's charity work, but it sounds so funny with the backdrop of an over-the-top hokey foodfight. Meanwhile, Pat Patterson emerges. I don't know if that is to break things up, because he is hungry, or he likes watching four men roll around on the floor.
There is then a video highlighting WWF's work for charity. Fair enough, no jokes here. Move on.
There is a plug for next week - matches announced include Kamala v Doink, a Money Inc appearance, Tatanka v Repo Man, and what i think will be the first raw appearance of The Bushwhackers. They actually end on a slow motion clip of a chairshot to the head, from the foodfight, which is a shame, but this was another era, I guess.
Just time for me to tell you the little known story that after this match one of the Nasty boys was going to form a tag team with one of the team they faced on this show.
The team name? Knobbshrinkers. G'night!