Sunday, April 17, 2011

THE NEW GENERATION ERA PROJECT: RAW REVIEW WEEK 11

04.05.1993
This is the fist ever post-Wrestlemania Raw. The RAW after Wrestlemania has become a big deal over the years, as it is a big indicator of the direction the company is moving in for the next year. I don't think this will feel like that kind of Raw, but it's interesting to think about that going in. So think about it. I'm thinking about it.

Rob Bartlett is not on the show. YAY. We haven't seen the last of him yet, but I imagine they're testing the sound without him there. Just having Macho and Vince is a big improvement. I don't know where they go next but I wish it was a variation of the team that called Wrestlemania: Ross, Savage and Heenan. Loved that lineup.

VIRGIL vs. BAM BAM BIGELOW 
Virgil has a terrible match. AWFUL. First it starts with him throwing a horrendous dropkick that almost doesn't reach the belt level of Bammer. A "Virgil Sucks" chant breaks out. Then he goes for a baseball slide under Bigelow's legs but doesn't slide. He just falls to the ground. Then he tries to scoot himself under Bigelow and Bam Bam just says, "Fuck it." And hoists him up for a body slam to take over. Bammer does a good job controlling him and eventually the crowd starts to get behind Virgil again. You can tell the difference in the voices. Once he starts coming back you can hear the "low bass Boos" and the "high pitched cheers". He was John Cena before there was John Cena. His top rope clothesline and drop kick are horrible looking. Just an awful night for Virgil and eventually Bam Bam has enough and ends it with the Top Rope Headbutt. Rough night for for the V-Man. Haven't seen him really lay a clunker like that before.

JERRY LAWLER vs. .....THE CROWD
This is Jerry Lawler's fist appearance on Monday Night RAW in any capacity. Jerry gets on the mic and has the crowd in the palm of his hand. They start in on the "Burger King" chant and he tells them that if they don't stop he's going to leave. They don't stop....so he leaves. AWESOME.

Yokozuna's nipples are down right dainty....R.I.P.
Promo in the back with Yokozuna and Fuji saying they're filing a protest with President Jack Tunney. They contend that the match with Hogan was not sanctioned and thus the title should have never changed hands. I wish this were true.

KIMCHEE vs. BOB BACKLUND 
I don't think this is the same Kimchee that's been leading around Kamala. He looks a little bigger. So who knows who's under the mask. Really fun match that felt very...old school in structure. I really enjoyed this and the crowd ate it up. It's amazing what you can do with a few body slams and some pacing. Bob Backlund just does simple stuff and yet makes people care about it. I wish more people figured out how to do that, instead of doing complicated stuff to make people care about them.

DAMIEN DEMENTO vs. JUMPIN' JIM BRUNZELL
During the match, Rob Bartlett joins us over the phone, and they play up the idea he lost all his money in Vegas and is now stuck there. That segment bombs and they direct their attention at the match and realize it's a bomb too and try to talk about anything else. Brunzell fits in some good stuff on his comeback but he looks listless and apathetic. Demento wins and everyone in the crowd loses. Clunker.

JERRY LAWLER vs. ...THE CROWD AGAIN
Jerry goes 0-2 against the crowd, as they boo him to the back again. We then do Wrestlemania Replay promo that brings us back too.....

THE BEVERLY BROS. vs. THE STEINER BROTHERS 
A really strong rematch to their Royal Rumble bout. Beverly's look a lot stronger in this than they did last time.. Lots of awesome underhanded tactics and classic heel tag team spots. Worth checking out. Between this and their Mania match, The Steiners are looking like gods in the WWF. Really fun finish as Scott tags Rick when he's thrown out of the ring. Scotty was so slick about it everyone missed it. Everyone but Scotty, and that's all that matters. He gives Blake nasty Frankensteiner. If Mike Enos has done anything it's take a great Frankensteiner bump. He makes that move look like death. Him and Masato Yoshino.

JERRY LAWLER vs. JIM POWERS
Someone just told Jim Powers how Wrestlemania 9 ended.
Powers starts it off hot by attacking Jerry from behind on the outside. "Enough of this stalling garbage," says Jim Powers.

Jim Powers owns Jerry Lawler for most of the match. Every time Jerry tries to come back, Jim finds away to stop it. I was actually surprised at how much he got in. The best part was that every time Jim Powers succeed he'd slap his hands together and go "YEAH!" And he got to do this a whole lot.

Eventually he goes to the well one time too many with the backdrops and Jerry catches him with a pile driver for the win.

After the match Jerry cuts a little promo on Macho Man, who he'd been jawing with for most of the match. Lawler tells him he doesn't have the guts to step in the ring with a real King. Oh man, I'm ready for that match NOW.

OVERALL SHOW:
One of the best RAWs in a while. They were really treading water for a few weeks, but this one had some fun matches and a nice story for Jerry Lawler. Even Bam Bam/Virgil wasn't an awful match, Virgil was just awful in it. For a post-Mania RAW, I think people would have rioted if this what they got nowadays. But back then it was a different beast. they are mentioning several different storylines outside of the show, which is a little different. They mentioned Yoko/Hogan and the protest, they mentioned Luger being a Knock Out Artists and how that needs to be investigated, and they have Macho Man and Lawler starting a little something. The last few weeks have been pretty light on interesting stories.

NEXT WEEK: They promise us Money Inc. vs. The Bushwhackers..... yay.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

THE NEW GENERATION PROJECT: WRESTLEMANIA IX REVIEW

WRESTELMANIA IX
CESAR'S PALACE
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA
ATTENDANCE: 16,891

Snap into it!
INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE MATCH
SHAWN MICHAELS vs. TATANKA
Shawn comes out with Luna Vachon(making her debut) and Sherri follows out Tatanka. She totally reminds me that at the last PPV it seemed like the Marty/Shawn feud was just warming up, and it's totally disappeared. I wonder if the original plan for Mania was their rematch and Marty messed it up. Either way I'm down for Tatanka getting a shot. Their interactions leading up to the match have been great.

For the most part these two don't disappoint. They work some really fun technical spots and they keep things interesting for most of the 18 whopping minutes they got. There's some down points like when Tatanka is in control. He didn't seem to have to many great ideas on how to work an arm. And Shawn stops selling the arm which wasn't awful if you had watched the match with the commentary off. But Heenan is selling the idea that HBK's arm had been dislocated in the 6-Man on RAW, and the whole time Tatanka is wringing it they bring up how much pain he's going through. Then when he goes on offense he's pretty much using that arm the whole time.

The finishing stretch was awesome, but the ending was crap. Tatanka was hot and it just felt really disappointing for it to end in a count out, especially after such a good exchange. Besides that, it was a good match for both guys.

After the match Shawn walks off and Luna sticks around to beat up Sherri. It's weird - there wasn't any interaction between Shawn and Luna. It's like she wasn't even with him. It's as if she just followed him down there and everyone assumed she was his valet.

THE HEADSHRINKERS vs. THE STEINERS
You can tell the Steiners like the Headshrinkers because Scott doesn't immediately come in and start tossing them around like bitches. As a matter of fact, they really get dominated for most of the match.

Early on Scott takes a sick bump. Samu went for a hotshot and kept backing up and Scott just missed the ropes all together. Looked like a lawn dart dropping to the floor. From then on it's him getting the shit kicked out of him. When he finally gets the hot tag, Rick comes in on a roll but the Samoans take control on him eventually. This leads to what will have to be the spot of the night. They set up Rick for a Doomsday Device and when Samu flies off the top Rick catches him with a Power Slam off Fatu's shoulders! Insane. Scott gets tagged in and nails his Frankensteiner for the win.

So far two really good matches. And up next is DOINK!!!!!

CRUSH vs. DOINK THE MOTHER F'N CLOWN OF WRESTLING MANLINESS
I'm mildly disappointed and it's mostly because Crush just isn't so hot as a face. Doink takes the beat down just fine, and his control section is cool - he just starts doing top rope fists to the head to try and keep the big man down. Doink's piledriver was gross because Crush's head gets SPIKED. I like that Doink completely changes his style so that he doesn't totally outclass opponents who are supposed to get over. When he's wrestling whimpies, he's schooling them with all kinds of stuff, but with Crush he keeps things simple with top rope punches.

This man hates you so much.
I just realized watching this that they could have had Matt Bourne wrestle as himself and as Doink. He could have had this crazy Andy Kaufman gimmick where you think he's Doink but then he wrestles Doink as himself. I dunno.Have you seen Man In the Moon? Do you know what I'm talking about?  Anyway, it could have been epic. So much missed opportunity.

RAZOR RAMON vs. BOB BACKLUND
This was cute. Razor does a HBK special and bumps around like crazy for Bob Backlund. Then he shocks him with an inside cradle for the win. That was pretty much the only offensive maneuver he pulled off the whole match. I'm a little disappointed, but I think it's cool that they went in there and did something different. Four matches in and they've all been very very different, but mostly entertaining.

TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH
MEGA MANIACS vs. MONEY INC.(c)
Hogan's eye is messed up in this. It's blood red and stitched up over the brow. The rumor is that Macho Man decked him the night before, but must have done it with a lead pipe or something. Or maybe he has hands of stone.

This is actually a neat match. for the most part. I don't care for the Beefcase mask that allows him to not feel any pain, but whatever. The best part is Hogan getting knocked out by the Million Dollar Dream and then Beefcake running in while the ref is distracted and putting DiBiase to sleep with the sleeper. When the ref turns around both guys are out and essentially on even footing. It's kind of brilliant when you watch it.

The problem is the finish is dumb as hell. Hogan uses the mask as a weapon after the ref is laid out(how was this mask even legal to wear if it can deal such damage?) and then pins DiBiase. The ref is knocked out so what do we do? Well we just have Jimmy Hart turn his jacket inside out(because the inside is striped like a referee shirt, which in his mind automatically makes him an official) and have him count the fall. Eventually another ref comes down and says "What the F is going on down here? Disqualify these red and yellow assholes." And they do.

So they threaten to beat the ref's ass. Jimmy tells them not to and they listen. Then Jimmy takes the ref and tosses him out of the ring. What a bunch of douche bags.

But don't worry, fans. They open up Money Inc.'s Briefcase, which is loaded with cash, and start giving it away to members of the audience. So we love them again. MONEY!!!!

LEX LUGER vs. MR. PERFECT
Luger's entrance is IMMENSE. Hot chicks holding mirrors that shoot fire works. So great. The commentary guys are playing up his forearm and how he's knocking people out with it, but this the first time I've heard of it since his debut. And I've watched a lot of this stuff so far.

This match is really solid. They work a fast pace with little to no rest. Mr. Perfect is just a demon in this one. It's also really worth watching for the commentary too. Heenan is outstanding in this and the combination of him, Ross and Savage might be my favorite one ever. Luger looked like hot stuff the whole match and neither guy came out bad.

The finish was a little wonky, especially when you've got a ref coming in and reversing a decision in the match before, and a ref coming down trying to clarify that there were two Doinks in the Doink match. But no one comes down to say Perfect's feet were in the ropes.

Perfect gets pissed and runs to the back to get Luger but is beat down by Shawn Michaels. I guess Shawn and Perfect move into a feud now.

GIANT GONZALEZ vs. THE UNDERTAKER
Who thought this was okay? There's kids in the front row.
This should have ended a minute in when Giant Gonzalez punched the Undertaker straight in the dick while Bill Alfonso watched. I don't think anyone would have minded. Gonzalez is pretty bad. His selling is horrible and his spray painted ass crack is distracting in a big way. Undertaker tries to make this watchable and he's pretty great at working his act. Just the way he moves keeps the audience interested.

They muck around with trying to choke each other until Gonzalez smothers him with a chloroform rag for the DQ. And that's it. He just put him to sleep like Michael Cane in Cider House Rules. He didn't beat him up any extra, he just put him out of his misery where he can dream about one day marrying Michele McCool. Who was 13 during this match. 13 years old. Gross.

The crowd starts chanting for Hogan to help out, but then Undertaker, who had been stretchered out, comes back to the ring and whips his ass. Undertaker's face as he walked back up the aisle was some scary shit. Like scarier than The Ring scary.

MACHO MAN LINE OF THE NIGHT: "Gonna have to change Giant Gonzalez' name to 'What Happened?' because that's all we can say."

Preach it, Macho.

WWF WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
YOKOZUNA vs. BRET "HITMAN" HART
They recap Yoko's path of destruction and then introduce Hulk Hogan to cut a promo about his pep talk he gave to Bret Hart. Yeah, I bet that went really well.

These guys work amazingly well together. Bret wrestles with a game plan to try and get this bastard on the ground and Yoko is just so good at what he does. Every move he hits looks like a match ender, and Bret is one of the best underdog wrestlers ever. Not a fan of salt knocking out Bret for the pin, as I'd rather he take a Banzai Drop too, but it's whatever. Neat match for what 8 minutes and I really want to see them get together again.

WWF WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
YOKOZUNA vs. HULK HOGAN
Then things get shitty. Hogan comes out to help Bret and Fuji challenges yellow belly Hogan to an impromptu match. The bell rings, Fuji throws salt in Yoko's eyes, and Hogan hits the big f'n boot and drops the big f'n leg to win the title. SUCKY. I mean that Earl Hebner sat and watched all these shenanigans with the salt and just let it go. I'm thinking he set up Bret for Hogan. That damn Hebner. It's always him.

Everyone in the crowd loved it, but this was dumb as hell. It felt so forced to challenge Hogan so Hogan could just get the title back. Even when I was a kid, all I could think was "Bullshit."
CROSSIN' THE LINE, BROTHER.

OVERALL SHOW:
The wrestling on this show is great. Several different styles of matches that all(well except for Gonzalez) have people busting their ass. The problem was that nearly every match had weird, messed up finishes. It was like each match existed in a bubble, and when you put them altogether, you wonder where the hell they get all these awful referees. Rules enforced in one match aren't enforced in another. One ref will overturn a decision while another will just say "Hey, there was two of them damn Doinks' out here, you messed up buddy. Crush is still a loser, though"

And for me great matches get brought down a lot in my eyes if the finish sucks. And this show was a lot of sucky finishes. A really disappointed thumb in the middle.