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Thursday, 25 November 2010

Raw Number Ten

So it's getting near that time. Are you excited? Are you nervous? Are you thinking about purchasing Wrestlemania IX? If the answers to any of the previous three questions is 'yes', then you are a Gonzalez-size berk, but I applaud your honesty.

We are back in Manhattan Center for the tenth edition Monday Night Raw, taking place approximately two weeks before Wrestlemania. It will be the last proper Raw before Mania, since the next week's edition was essentially a countdown show.

We are welcome by Vince McMahon (the real one this time), who along with Savage and Bartlett (as himself) greet us with the usual "Uncut, uncensored and uncooked" greeting that I've actually been sparing you from. Anyway, the butcher it, and off we go to a World Title match. No we don't, it's a special tag team match. No, sorry, it's a Wrestlemania showcase. No, wrong again.

It's the Michael Landon awards. Yup, the Michael Landon awards, which narrator Sean Mooney (hey they got off the street and into an edit suite) tells us took place last Monday in New York (this'll be why Vince wasn't there last week, then). We see Debbie Gibson, Cindy Crawford and others from the event and WOW, it's the Hulkster, with his wife, who is smiling. Collectors item.

Then we see Randy Savage shaking hands with Ric Flair. That's odd, didn't Flair leave and those two are mortal enemies? Wait, no, it's Leslie Neilson from Naked Gun, I got confused. Sure looks like Flair.

Right, I'm having a laugh, but it is a serious thing. It's a do for the National Children's Leukemia Foundation, and they are honouring WWF for charitable efforts. Fair enough. Good on them.

However, we get a speech/promo from the Hulkster, complete with tux and red badanna, where he actually says "my biggest body has got to be my heart." Oh my.....

a) that's not something you should about yourself, it's for other to judge and b) that's obviously why Linda left him. Searching for a bigger "body part"

In fairness, I think he was trying to say Vince taught him to be kind. Not that this is much less nauseating. I'm not knocking WWF for working hard for charity, I'm not knocking the cause at all, but WWF's "aren't we awesome" presentation is a little too much.

Hilariously (when you consider the context today) Hogan calls McMahon his hero. He also calls him the "True Champion of Children" which make me wonder who scripted this. Finally, he botches the name of the award McMahon is getting. The band Rocky's theme (not particularly well) as Vince walks to the stage. WWF didn't often acknowledge Vince as the boss at this time, so that's pretty interesting.

Vince starts to give a speech (by the way, we are eight minutes into Raw at this point) and puts over the superstars as worthy of the award. Fair enough, too. It's quite a nice speech, and pretty heartfelt too, I think.

The Raw theme hits and ten and a half minutes into the programme. I don't they would have run this head-to-head with Nitro back in the day. Finally, it's the dreaded three shot of Bartlett, McMahon and Savage. The Macho Man looks like a zebra on acid.

Bushwhackers v Damien Demento and Repo Man, says Randy, is to come tonight. Kamala v Doink, too, plus Money Inc and Tatanka.

Bushwhackers music hits, and here come the wacky Kiwi duo, to face the rather odd duo of Repo and Demento. Let's give them a name. Erm, let me think.........oh, I know, we'll mix up their names, and somehow get Redemption. Sort of works. Think about it.

Hang on, where are the Bushwhackers? The music plays for ages, with even Howard Finkel doing the 'where are they?' look. Turns out Luke and Butch are in the balcony. They come down during the break. Now, I'd like make a lot of fun of this nonsense, but I loved it when I was a kid.

I haven't seen a Bushwhackers match in years. I can't believe what I'm watching. Some of the least convincing offense of all time, including the old Greco-roman bite to the arse. But somehow, it's funny.

Demento and Repo turn the tide, and get on top, and now it's some of the ludicrous bumping of all time from Bushwhacker Luke. It's like he is on a time delay. Bushwhacker win in, workrate-wise, may honestly be a contender for worst Raw match ever. And I mean that.

Reno Riggins, who is mulleted up good, in next in the ring, asking as proverbial lamb to a proverbial slaughter, facing the undefeated Tatanka. The Native American wasn't the most agile of guys, and this is a bit of a bumpy affair. Not too much clicking between the pair. That's probably why they didn't have a lengthy, nine-month feud, right?

Riggins actually gets a lot of offense in, but that's most probably so that Tatanka can do his warpath thing (Tanking up). He hits what I have in my head is called the End of the Trail, but Vince calls it the Papoose To Go. Damn, that's what my mate Paul called it. I've always told him he was full of it. No-one tell him, ok?

Nice little package in memory of Andre, and then it's Money Inc time. Scott Rich and Jeff Armstrong, are their jobbers in question. Nice rattail on of them, not sure which is which. Shock horror, Irwin says something dry about taxes.

The match starts, and Ted immediately takes control. For some reason, the camera goes behind Bartlett, to show he has a TV. He is flicking through the channels. Vince asks what he is doing - he says checking the competition. Vince says "There is no competition." Hmm, give it just a couple of years, Vinny, then we'll see. Interestingly, just to the left, you can see Bruce Pritchard with a headset. If you're interested. Randy then curiously says that he reckons he can "put that TV inside Bartlett with him knowing what it is." That's a scary visual. Please don't elaborate, uh, 'Randy'.

Money Inc dominate, and win with an IRS clothesline. Nothing to see here.

Gene Mean is here for another Mania rundown. He only mentioned three matches. Hogan/Beefcake v Money Inc, Bret v Yoko, Taker v Giant. He spends more time talking about the toga party. He does, though, mention that Bret v Yoko contract signing is going to be on Superstars and Challenge. Remember when important stuff DIDN'T happen on Raw, but elsewhere?

Kamala v eeeeeevil Doink, next, according to Vinny. Should be fun. If anyone ever tries to deny to you that WWF in the early/mid 90s was cartoony, show them a video of this show. Man alive.

Doink offer Kamala a present, but pulls it away when the big guy goes to grab it, and takes him down. Good stuff. Doink works the arm for a week or so, before Kamala makes a small comeback. As soon as he does we go to a break, and when we come back, Doink is back on top. Kamala gets the momentum back, throwing Doink to the outside. Kamala gives chase, and Doink runs to get the present. He gives it to Kamala, who stares at it, and promptly gets counted out.

Kamala chases Doink again, who runs under the ring. Vince says Kamala will be running after Bam Bam Bigelow at Wrestlemania. I don't remember that match - did that get pulled from the line up? Kamala chases under the ring, but Doink emerges the other side and grabs a (non-folding) chair. He slams in against the side of the ring a couple of times, as Kamala appears to coming out, but the big guy emerges on another side of the ring, and sneaks up on Doink. (as much as a 400-lbs guy with a painted face and stomach can sneak) He chops him, then chase Doink with the chair. Kamala is virtually Eugene at this point.

As Doink runs up the aisle, full of fans swinging arms, someone knocks his wig off, but the camera cuts away quickly. As this is pre-war, we don't get to follow backstage to see what is happening. Instead, it's a plug for WWF Mania, and then Vince informs us that the Bret Hart respect video will have a World Premiere on that show. If I recall that was just an Aretha Franklin song with Bret Hart clips played over it. Or the other way around if you like.

Final break, and Vince promises us "The Rob Bartlett fan club" after the break. And when we have it.....oh joy, it's more fat jokes, as the oversized ladies who are cruelly made to carry the Raw signs are grinning behind our beloved third commentator. McMahon congrats Bartlett on being the "1993 Spam Eating Contest winner". (Is that a euphemism?) I'll spare you too many details, but basically Bartlett makes out with one of them. You happy?

Vince plugs The March to Wrestlemania with Bam Bam v Taker and Macho v Yoko. Savage guarantees victory. (Spoiler: he loses) and Vince promises midgets. Seriously. Unfortunately, I don't have this show, so we'll sadly to have to miss Savage not making good on his promise and midget wrestling. Oh well.

Next time: Wrestlemania IX. Maybe the worst Mania of all time. I can't wait........

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Raw Thoughts - November 22

  • Wow. That's a hot crowd. Great heat for Barrett. Serious, old school, genuine heat.
  • Proper heel reasoning too. He has a point - Cena cost him the match.
  • More genuine heat......this time for Cole. The trouble is there is no money in Cole.
  • General point..........but good lord Barrett is good. His mannerisms, his timing, his character. Just spot on. He is actually way more British than any of the British stereotypes wrestling has had over the years - and it works.
  • Great decision to have Punk on comms. He is great.
  • Is KotR a three hour show?
  • Get Crunk got binned. Good. Cole says he likes "What's Up?". He said he hated it before, didn't he?
  • Cole and Punk actually have similar voices.
  • Pleased Sheamus got a good win to get back on track.
  • I'm happy with the Santino and Laycool skits. That exactly the way to light-hearted, fun stuff to break up the two hours. Background stuff that puts a smile on your face, but doesn't take away from the serious business of matches and championships.
  • By the way, the Orlando crowd is really hot, but it's important to note that not only did Barrett get huge heat at the start, but there was a frisson of noise to recognise Sheamus' high cross, Natalya got a pop for appearing on screen, and so did Santino. There are gradually more and more people who are over.
  • Is Ezekiel Jackson the new Rob Terry?
  • Topofthesecondhour Cena time
  • Erm.........why is Cena smiling?
  • Good list by Rock, though.
  • "Lets go Cena" "Cena Sucks". I really, really liked that. You know what, there were guys in the audience saying "Cena sucks" with a huge smile on their face. That's the whole of point of wrestling. Smile.
  • I understand that they'll be worried about ratings, but they could do with Cena being gone for a while to let it sink in, not bring him back in two weeks
  • Great, great promo from Cena. Perfectly pitched, in my eyes. There will be some that didn't like it, because it was worked, and they'll think it waters down real retirement speeches like HBKs, but I thought it was spot on.
  • Barrett's "You can't see me" was priceless as Cena left.
  • Cena didn't pound Barrett's face to mush, though, did he?
  • Did Punk call Maryse "Maurice", like Steve Miller in the The Joker?
  • Punk is actually getting annoying already, because he is another heel presence.
  • I'm disappointed that two of the three KotR matches I've seen so far have been ultra-short. Perhaps Cena really did go long on his promo.
  • Decent outing for Nattie. It made sense to give her a bit of a showpiece win. If they have enough Divas, they ought to do that for another couple of weeks.
  • Did Tyson Kidd just do the Moss Covered Three Handled Family Credenza?
  • Add Morrison to the list of really nice pops.
  • I'm assuming there will be four Smackdown guys in KotR but they haven't done a great job of explaining that.
  • This show is full of little nuances that I love this week. I love Barrett talking to the ref about the match. He is obviously saying if Orton can't wrestle it's a forfeit, and Chioda was saying no to that.
  • This is proper, old school, clever, subtle sensible booking. THIS is how you book a wrestling show, people.
  • Cena run-in. Brilliant.
  • MIZ! Awesome! Sorry, I've just realised this has ceased to become a thoughtful set of points about the show, and simply me reacting to stuff, but that's a good thing. I like it when shows make become a fan again. I absolutely loved that show. Best Raw in ages. Possibly the best of the year. Do you think they decided that they thought they'd get a big rating coming off Survivor Series and tried to hook them? Great strategy. It remains to be seen if it holds people, but it's great thinking.