Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Raw #195 - January 27th, 1997

Ahmed Johnson, who this past Saturday was betrayed by Savio Vega, opens up Raw. Thanks to an editing error, an off-camera Vince McMahon introduces footage of the Madison Square Garden event but gets talked over by none other than Vince McMahon, who now appears on camera to introduce tonight’s show and the Spanish announce team. Only then does the MSG footage air. With Crush and Savio Vega representing Hawaii and Puerto Rico, respectively, all Faarooq needs is Nation members from the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Guam.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Raw #194 - January 20th, 1997

It’s the night after the Royal Rumble, and Bret Hart interrupts the proceedings, storming to the ring to cut a promo instead of wrestle to open the show. It’s a harbinger of how Raw will operate for the next two decades, except for the fact that Bret repeatedly refers to the “championship belt.” He addresses Vince McMahon as if he, rather than Federation President Gorilla Monsoon, runs the show, airing his grievances about being repeatedly screwed, first by Shawn Michaels in December, and again by Stone Cold at the Royal Rumble, which he would have won had the referees seen Austin get eliminated. Instead, Austin won last night, and Bret Hart unceremoniously quits tonight, hopping the guard rail to a mixture of boos and “We Want Bret” chants.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Raw #193 - January 13th, 1997

This week’s Raw may be taped, but Shawn Michaels is live from San Antonio, where he signs autographs for fans such as Double J Jesse Jammes, his future DX colleague (and by “future,” I mean 2012’s “Raw 1000” episode, the first time the two were in the stable at the same time). Bret Hart’s chances of winning this Sunday’s Royal Rumble just dropped drastically after Steve Austin Pillmanized his ankle on Superstars. Speaking of agony, the Honky Tonk Man is on commentary with Vince, filling in for his cousin Jerry Lawler, who teams with HHH against Goldust and Marc Mero.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Raw #192 - January 6th, 1997

Tonight’s Raw is rated TV PG. Therefore, it must suck. Tonight’s topics include whether Bret Hart is the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be (which will be debated by Hart and Vader) and Marlena’s breasts, which she flashed at the Sultan on the premiere of Shotgun Saturday Night. Shocking, I know. I had forgotten The Sultan was even in the WWF.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Raw #191 - December 30th, 1996

It’s the last Raw of 1996, and Bret Hart will go “face-to-face” with Shawn Michaels, who calls himself “the World Wrestling Federation’s favorite degenerate.” The opening match sees Faarooq team up with an “unlikely” partner, according to Vince, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. What’s so unlikely about the black nationalist teaming up with a white Texan with a shaved head? They are set to take on Savio Vega and Jesse Jammes in an effort to sneak in one last Savio/Austin match in 1996. Also notable is that this episode is live, breaking an eight-month streak of one live Raw per month.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Raw #190 - December 23rd, 1996

The last Raw before Christmas kicks off with an Intercontinental Title match between Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Wildman Marc Mero. This is possibly Mero’s last title shot against the Blue Blood, but the stipulations state that if Hunter is DQ’ed or counted out, he will lose the title. Lex Luger should have gotten Mero’s lawyer back at Summerslam ’93. Also arriving on the scene are Goldust and Marlena, who sit down among the fans after, as Vince put it, walking through the “thongs.” I think he means, “throngs.” Goldust faces the winner at the Royal Rumble.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Raw #189 - December 16th, 1996

It’s the night after In Your House and, for what I believe is the first time in history, Raw opens with an in-ring interview rather than an actual match. Vince acts as if this wasn’t written in the program, but JR acts like he’s known about it all along and steps into the ring with a microphone. Hart complains that things have changed in the WWF, that he can’t tell his enemies from his friends, and that there are no rules in the WWF anymore. He says he’s not going to follow the rules anymore, either and puts Sid, Steve Austin, and Shawn Michaels on notice, calling HBK, “you little prissy.” It’s not the Attitude Era just yet, so he’ll have to settle with “prissy” for now. Bret announces that he will enter the Royal Rumble, then comes to the announcers’ desk for commentary.