Last week was one of the wildest, most unpredictable episodes of RAW seen since the Pillman gun angle a couple of months ago. Bret Hart, sick and tired of being jerked around quit the promotion out of frustration. Lead announcer Vince McMahon inexplicably rushed backstage to help appease whatever problems he was having; but why? This isn’t the first time it’s been insinuated on camera he’s got an awful lot more stroke than just calling the matches, and he’s slowly but surely getting outed as the puppet master behind it all.
Meanwhile, Steve Austin continued to trash talk everyone and anyone, and wound up getting into a brawl with just about every main event player on the roster as a result. Gorilla Monsoon also stripped Austin of his Wrestlemania title shot (but not his Rumble win), and booked a 4-way elimination match for the next pay-per-view amongst every wrestler directly impacted by Steve’s shenanigans, with the winner going to Mania.
This week, we’re taped, still hanging out in Beaumont, Texas. JERRY LAWLER and VINCE MCMAHON are off their cues during the opening segment, but eventually stop tripping over each other long enough to take us back to Savio Vega joining the Nation at MSG on Saturday.
AHMED JOHNSON vs. KONA CRUSH (with PG-13, D’Lo Brown, Clarence Mason, and a Well Dressed Gentleman)
Faarooq is nowhere to be seen, but it doesn’t stop Crush from using chickenshit tactics; bumrushing Ahmed before the start of the match. That fares about as well as you’d expect against a freak of nature, and Crush takes a powerslam. The axekick connects, and the Superman punches has Crush seeing stars. Following a mule kick, Crush rolls out of the way of an elbowdrop and takes over the offense with an atomic drop. As is the norm with Ahmed, Crush focuses on the kidneys, hammering in a few punches before applying a bodyscissors. With his nemesis down, FAAROOQ decides to rear his ugly head as we take a quick break.
We’re back just in time to see Ahmed hitting Crush with the electric chair, but he’s in so much pain that it’s Crush who gets to his feet first. He hits a sidewalk slam and heads up, but Ahmed cuts him off with a dropkick. Crush desperately grabs the referee in a facelock, giving Faarooq a chance to run down and throw Ahmed into the ring steps. Back in, the Heart Punch finishes at 5:43. BULL … SHIT. I know we’re months past the point of Johnson being a white-hot commodity, but Crush is positively worthless at this point. I’d feel much better watching Ahmed steamroll over the Nation on his way to Faarooq, before moving on to challenge for the WWF title sometime in the early summer. In the context of THEN, the sky is still the limit for Ahmed, and the cheap mid-card dickery needs to go. *
SHAWN MICHAELS answers the call of the locals, strutting down to the ring looking every bit the part of a Midnight Cowboy. VINCE MCMAHON pulls double-duty, and hops in the ring to talk about their upcoming Thursday RAW Thursday event on February 13. I’m going to assume the February 10th episode was pre-empted for the Westminster Dog Show, causing the need to shuffle things around. And no, if you’re new, that’s not sarcasm, there was a time when RAW was regularly bumped every single February in favor of the Dog Show, I shit you not. On the other hand, it’s hard to argue with quality entertainment such as watching the 1997 edition, where for the first and only time in the history of the show, the top prize was captured by a Standard Schnauzer (named Parsifal Di Casa Netzer, but I’m sure you already knew that), which was considered a fairly major upset in the face of the favored Wire Fox Terriers. Anyway, Shawn is scheduled to defend his belt against Sid one more time, and if he’s successful he moves to Wrestlemania against the winner of the Final Four. Michaels doesn’t particularly care, because every one of those guys has personal issues with Shawn already, and ultimately he’s going to remain the champion. Vince decides to stir up a hornets nest, and hauls out BRET HART.
Bret tells Shawn to do whatever he’s got to do to retain his belt, because he’s the one he wants at Wrestlemania. He wants no excuses from the Boytoy. Vince chastises Bret for underestimating Sid, which Bret denies, except to say he’ll be watching Shawn’s back in that matchup to ensure he stays healthy. This is your Wrestlemania main event, bet the farm kids.
Next out is THE UNDERTAKER, an interesting potential foe for Shawn, but we’ve got too much unsettled business with Bret to consider this a serious possibility. Taker admits that Bret has his respect, but he’s tired of Hart crying about being “screwed” all the time. He’s had the title snatched away countless times, and vows to bring the gold back to the dark side.
STEVE AUSTIN hauls JIM ROSS down as his personal announcer, and accuses the trio in the ring of orchestrating an ambush. He’s already tossed them out once, and he’s happy to do it again … but he’ll wait for the pay-per-view. At this point, he turns to head up the ramp, but spies VADER and PAUL BEARER. Austin takes a second to ponder which direction is safest, turns to the ring and tells them “on second thought, I’ll whoop your asses right now.” Of course, that turns out to be nonsense, as he tucks tail and heads up the ramp, stopping to yell a bunch at Vader before disappearing behind the curtain.
THE BRITISH BULLDOG (with Clarence Mason, Owen Hart, and Slammy) vs. DOUG FURNAS (with Phil LaFon)
Furnas actually pinned the Bulldog on Superstars yesterday morning as part of their elimination Superstars Bowl, so there’s a bit of an issue starting to develop here. I’m COMPLETELY on board with a push for the Cam-Am Connection. Furnas plants Bulldog with a dropkick square to the face, and Bulldog rolls to the floor where he channels his inner Steve Regal and lectures a fan. Back in, Furnas catches him with a standing vertical suplex for 2. Unfortunately, he misses a Stinger Splash, and falls to the floor right in front of Owen Hart. Owen plays nice, and doesn’t lay a hand on Doug. He doesn’t have to; Bulldog picks up the ring steps and slams it over Furnas’ prone body right in front of the referee. APPARENTLY this doesn’t warrant a disqualification, but a warning. Well, ok then! We need to take a break.
While we were away, AHMED JOHNSON, armed with a 2x4, kicked down to the locker room of the Nation of Domination. Unfortunately, they weren’t around. So the hunt continues.
Back to action, with Furnas caught in a rear chinlock. LaFon pounds the mat to try and rally his partner, but Bulldog looks right at LaFon and kicks Furnas in the face. Furnas throws some desperation chops, but Bulldog stops that with a Luger-style forearm smash; probably picked up during their days working as Allied Powers. A piledriver goes to finish, but Furnas is too thick and he backdrops out of it. Bulldog’s up quickly, and hits a snap suplex, leading back to a chinlock to grind him down further. Owen, meanwhile, is screaming about LaFon being an awful Canadian “just like my lousy brother Bret!” Bulldog goes for a running clothesline, but Furnas catches him and launches Bulldog with a belly to belly overhead. The Frankensteiner is set up, but Bulldog changes it mid-move into a powerbomb! Owen jumps onto the apron, so LaFon does the same to stop him, and in the mess he completely misses the reversed Irish whip sending Bulldog face first into the Slammy, allowing Furnas to roll through and … get 2. Damn it all, I smelled upset. Furnas decks Owen, and turns back to Bulldog with a sunset flip, but Bulldog sits forward stealing the SummerSlam 92 finish, and that’s all she wrote at 7:35. Bulldog feeds it to Owen for hitting him in the face, but Clarence Mason manages to keep the peace between the hot-headed Brit and Owen. **1/2
Earlier today, a press conference announced the signing of Tiger Jeet Singh’s son, TIGER ALI SINGH. This can’t end poorly!
VADER and MANKIND (with Paul Bearer) vs. THE GODWINNS (with Hillbilly Jim)
Phineas starts with Mankind, and they trade shots back and forth, causing little damage because they’ve both got rocks for brains. Henry heads in and slams Mankind, so Vader wants the tag but Mankind doesn’t want to give up, rocking back and forth and determined to do something. Phineas is thrown to the floor, and Vader waddles over to attack, so Mankind quickly rolls Phineas back in rather than let him do anything. It’s looking like there’s jealousy about where Paul’s attention’s been lately, and Mick ain’t having none of it. So, once they’re back in, Vader punches Mankind in the back to signify he’s tagging him, and he tees off on Phineas’ face. He punches Mankind in the shoulder to bring him back in, and Mankind locks on the Mandible Claw. Henry rushes in for the save, sending them both flying to the outside, Cactus clothesline style. Back to the apron, Phineas tries to bring Mankind back into the ring with a suplex, but Vader holds Mick’s legs for safety, and together they propel Phineas back to the floor. Henry rushes over the ringsteps with some pop to attack Vader, but he winds up stepping on Phineas’ face on his way by! Now THAT is focus on your opponent.
After a brief word from our sponsors, we’re back just in time for the hot tag from Henry, who starts clotheslining both guys to a decent pop (though god knows from WHO, the fans appear to be sitting on their thumbs). An elbow misses Vader, but Vader’s doesn’t and Henry is sent back to the floor. Mankind grabs a chair while HOG is held hostage; but Henry escapes. Mankind swings anyway, LONG after he’s rolled away, and smiles at Vader as he collapses. The referee spies it and calls for a DQ at 7:13. Vince doesn’t think Mankind has any remorse, but Lawler points out you can’t grieve forever. *1/2
Out in the parking lot, AHMED JOHNSON found the Nation packing up to leave, so he rushes in with his 2x4, slams it over Wolfie D’s head and throws him in the trunk of the car! The car takes off FAST before Ahmed can do anything, and despite him sprinting after it like an Olympic runner from Kenya, he fails to catch up.