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Monday, 28 February 2011

Raw Number 13

We start with an odd couple of shots of first Money Inc, then the Beverley Brothers, cutting promos on a black background. Nothing wrong with the shot, per se, it just looks like the final round in the Krypton Factor (remember that?). Largely generic stuff. If you've forgotten, the Bevs had a babyface turn of sorts the year before. I had basically no recollection of anything shown in the previous week's episode, so I'm actually intrigued as to where things may lead.

Vince's piercing voice welcomes us to the show, and the screech of Razor Ramon's theme echoes around the arena. It doesn't look like the Manhattan Center this week. It's probably the same place as last week, a double taping.

Razor is out to a generally positive sounding reaction (he's still a heel at this point) and Vince says it's Ramon v Virgil. Bartlett & Savage again on comms with Vince. Decent reaction for Virgil, actually.

Some hammerlock/armbar etc action early doors, with Razor casually grabbing the ropes to break a few times. Virgil gets a marginal advantage, and the crowd start an audible "Razor" chant. It morphs a little into "Virgil", but when DiBiase's former butler misses a dropkick a short time later, the place go nuts. This is a pro-Ramon crowd.

Ramon locks in a really nice looking abdominal stretches a few minutes in, but Virgil manages a hip toss. He can't follow up however, and we settle into a pattern of Ramon methodically hitting moves, and Virgil making occasional, short, comebacks. Meanwhile, consider it obvious that Bartlett says something redundant ever thirty seconds, and Savage offers pearls of wisdom like "You know how to beat a bully? Beat him" Yeah, thanks Randy, swell advice.

Ramon locks in a modified chinlock, and eventually Virgil gets the ropes. Vince and Savage, though, talk about getting to the ropes like it is a shameful act. Vince wonders how you get out of the move, and Bartlett says "pull a knife". Maybe he was booking in WCW when Tank Abbott was around.

Virgil has a flurry of offence, but Razor avoids a springboard cross body, and levels Virgil with a Razor's Edge for the win.

Vince plugs Bevs v Money Inc as well as an appearance by Giant Gonzales. Vince says Bartlett should interview Bret later on, but Bartlett doesn't want to, because he is traumatised from the previous week, you see.

Gonzales is out next, along with Harvey Wippleman, after a break. He does a stupid run to the ring for some reason. He now has hair over his, erm, personal area. A new suit, I think. Only marginally less stupid.

The Giant's opponent is L.A. Gore, which sounds like Rhyno on the rampage in Hollywood. He looks like a seedy Magnum PA/DDP figure. Bad perm & 'stache. Gonzales chokes his victim a couple of times, hits a bad looking clothesline (though Rob Terry was quite impressed), an even worse thrust kick, more choking, and then a goozle to slam for the win. The commentators chatted a little about the match with Taker at Mania, but didn't give it a big sell, or build the feud at all. Funny how we took this as the norm at this stage in wrestling.

Off to a pre-taped promo with Luna, who screeches into the camera in that ridiculous 80s/early 90s way people did. Actually she makes Hawk from LOD sound like Alec Guinness. At one point she says that she "will haunt your very breath". Err, ok. Do you what you like, sweetheart, you terrify me.

Back to the arena, and it's Tatanka. His opponent is Art Thomas. Meanwhile, Savage says that "Native Americans all over the world" will cheer Tatanka on. If you don't see anything wrong with that last statement tweet me (@robmcnichol) and I'll tell you.

Tatanka starts in control, then misses an elbow. He has to miss a move, because one of his signature spots is the big "I can't feel anything comeback" which I like to call "Tanking up". He does this, hits the End of the Trail, or whatever it is called at this point, and it's over.

After a break, it's Money Inc. Ah, I thought the Bevs might get a main event. Vince calls the two teams "both highly undesirable" and IRS talks tax. The Bevs emerge to stunning MIDI music, and the crowd goes mild. The Beverleys look like Chris Masters with a moustache and a lad who I went to school with fifteen years ago's Dad. Not that the comparison is worth much to you. I mean, it's so long since you probably saw Chris Masters you can't remember what he looks like.

I should point out that Vince and Savage are ripping Bartlett on commentary. They appear to know he is worthless. It's very odd. It's actually a little reminiscent of when Cole made fun of the Hart Dynasty. The Bevs work Ted's arm, and Vince says "this is what tag teams are all about" - so he does know what a tag team is. Mind you this is eighteen years ago. He has forgotten a lot since then.

Oddly, Money Inc do the "tag that the ref can't see spot", and the Bevs double team. Are Money Inc going to work face? They seem to be putting the heat that way so far. IRS then tags in but has his foot on the ropes. Savage calls this, and the ref disallows it. The Beverleys do a switch without tagging in the background. Two classic heel spots. This is getting odder.

IRS eventually tags in, but the Beverleys immediate get the better of him, too. It's all armwork. They choke IRS with the tag rope while the ref isn't looking too.

After a break, we return with IRS in control, and Money Inc then also do the switch technique. It's odd to see two heel teams in one match. Tag matches tend to build to the hot tag spot. How will they do that with the heat evenly dispersed?

The answer is that they do it with the Beverleys getting a hot (lukewarm) tag, and Vince sells it exciting......a bit. The comeback mainly consists of back body drops, until one Beverley misses a clothesline on DiBiase and clocks his partner. One schoolboy later, and Money Inc have won. The commentators don't dwell on the match for a single second, or it's consequences, they simply got to commercial and say Bret is up next.

We're about two thirds of the way through the show at this point. Vince interviews Bret (he calls him the people's champion in the intro, which Savage echoes) who is in his full ring gear. Bret does a reasonable interview, and one that I'd like to see more of these days. It touches on his history and is reasonably low key. Mainly, he focuses on wanting the title belt.

He does say that he has a 'hit list' and that the first name on it is 'The Narcissist' Lex Luger. The reason, as is shown in a clip which I don't think I've ever seen before, is that Luger took him out at the Wrestlemania Brunch. I remember them talking about that at Mania 9, I just don't recall seeing the footage before. That's logical, but I don't recall the two ever wrestling in WWF, apart from in the Rumble.

Vince says there is an investigation into Luger's forearm. Bret sells that it is lethal very well. He says to Luger that "this isn't bodybuilding, it's wrestling" and says he'll go after Yokozuna and even Hogan too.

After another break, it's Bam Bam Bigelow, or the walking photofit of what Wayne Rooney will look like two months after finishing football. He wrestlers jobber Phil Apollo - I say 'wrestles''s mainly shoulderblocks, at least early on.

Savage says that the competition keep getting better and better, and cites none other than Friar Ferguson as his example. He's on the ball, that Savage, isn't he? Bammer continues to dominate, and Vince says Doink is in the crowd. Seconds later he arrives in the aisle with an umbrella.

Doink disappears, and Bigelow continues to have control. He hits a brutal looking senton, then lands his diving headbutt for the W. Just for the hell of it, Bigelow does it again after the match. Oh, now here's the Friar. Maybe that was why Savage mentioned him. Fergie seems to be protecting the jobber, to Bam Bam's annoyance. Friar hits an odd looking drop kick to send Bigelow through the ropes. Is that a set up for a match next week?

Ah, well here comes some hype for the next show. Crush v Luger is announced. Oh, and that's it. Quite abrupt. No Rock twenty minute overrun here.

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