Welcome back to MONDAY NIGHT RAWWWWW. Erm sorry - turned into Vince for a second there.
Anyway, for episode 3 of Wellington’s WABAC, we travel to July-August of 1996 in the build up for Summerslam. And what a… unique way to get started. Sunny, and her boy-toy’s (aka what Shawn Michaels is not) the Smoking Gunns. Down to the ring they come with a birthday cake. Vince politely informs us that it is the birthdate of the Great Muta, Shawn Michaels and Bob Dole. I’m going to guess the cake is for Bob Dole.
Speaking of Mr. Dole, we come back a little later to Bob Backlund in the audience. Now, I didn’t mention this before because I didn’t understand it, but apparently Bob Backlund is running for President. I assume this angle is a parody of Pat Buchanan (religious conservative independent running for office) and while I remember a decent amount about the election of 1996, I don’t get it. The whole angle is really bizarre and I do not know if it worked then but it’s not working now. I hope it goes away.
Bob Dole: Presidential Jobber
Back to the ring, Sunny tries to cake-face Shawn Michaels, and Ahmed Johnson makes the hot tag, so we end up with Michaels licking the icing off a shocked Sunny who then runs away. Awh, babyfaces never change. And we get our first match, Wild Man Marc Mero vs hockey hall of famer "The Goon" with Stone Cold on commentary. The Goon makes a good punching back to let us all see Mero as better than he looked after falling to Stone Cold at King of the Ring, meanwhile Jerry keeps on making alcohol jokes about Jake Roberts. After the match we get a promo from Shawn Michaels and Ahmed Johnson about their upcoming (this episode) match with the Gunns for the tag team titles. After Michaels rips into Sunny and the Gunns and all Ahmed does is stick out his tongue and I just giggled like a toddler. Timing is everything, don’t judge.
We also get a backstage bit where some lawyer; I suppose a parody of Johnny Cochrane, arguing over the future of his client. It is apparently Clarence Mason, and I suppose he’s the manager and mouthpiece for whoever it is they are talking about. I assume this will come back up later. Back to the ring we get Mankind vs Freddy Joe Floyd, and it’s announced that Mankind will be taking on ‘Taker in a "Boiler Room Brawl", which I assume is a backstage brawl sort of thing just in a Boiler Room. Floyd does a lot of jump kicks, pretty athletic, but Mankind locks in the Mandible Claw while Floyd is on the top rope and down goes Mr. Floyd.
No, not that kind
Out next is Brian Pillman. For just a moment let me say that I did not watch pre-1996 RAW’s so I know nothing about Brian Pillman except for the obvious two things (The gun incident and his tragic and far too young death). But because I didn’t, this whole thing with Brian Pillman and the crutches is very confusing. Apparently he has a hot head, because he threatens to drop a George Carlin bit on us. He’s ringside for Goldust vs Barry Horowitz, ending with the Curtain Call for the Goldust win. We end the scene with Pillman referencing a three-way between Goldust, Marlena, and Sable. Gosh I bet that made some parental watchdog groups in the 90’s pissed. Good thing the WWE never did anything like that again.
PG Era be damned
Back to the ring, Vince is interviewing Jim Cornette, who drops a great line. Cornette asks Vince who won the 6 man tag team match at In Your House 9:II, and when Vince tries to describe the ending, Cornette responds with "When I ask you what time it is don’t tell me how to make the watch". Good stuff. We’re going to get Vader vs Michaels at Summer Slam. Then we get our tag team match, goes about what you expect. Heroes dominate to begin with, but some chicanery lets the Gunns get back into it. But Ahmed Johnson hits a Spinebuster (which I just love seeing done) and it looks to be all she wrote. But Ahmed is knocked outside the ring and suddenly and viciously attacked by someone. I have no idea who it is, but it ends the match in a DQ.
It’s like Mortal Kombat cosplay on a dime
We start off the next week with a replay of the assault; apparently Ahmed Johnson ruptured his kidney in the attack. That sounds really really painful. I have heard of spleens rupturing but not kidneys. Youch. Anyway, Justin Bradshaw w/ Zeb takes the ring to start with Psycho Sid. The match lasts about a minute before Bradshaw gets DQ’ed when Zeb and he clothesline Sid with a cowbell. Between the Bradshaw fellow and the random attack against Johnson- who we discover is Farooq Assad, things are getting ugly. My advice to the WWF? Get some sort of protection. Maybe a protection agency of some kind, anything to stop these brutes from assaulting people at will. Apparently Assad will be taking on Johnson at Summer Slam for the IC title. Because when your name is Assad, brute force and reckless violence apparently gets you what you want in this world.
TOPICAL HUMOR ALERT
Up next, Cornette’s on commentary for Marc Mero vs Vader. Vader about 2-3 minutes in does this crazy wheelbarrow (I think) slam which really looks impressive because he stands the whole time. More I watch Vader, the more I enjoy him. Mero gets some offense in at the end but Vader catches him off the top rope for a slam and the win. What follows is a managerial tête-à-tête between Cornette and Jose Lotharia, and then a bit between Jerry Lawler and someone in a mask who apparently has something to do with Jake Roberts. Lawler had been pinned by this guy named Aldo Montoya (You buried Jake Roberts… prepare to die) and Lawler wants a rematch.
During their conversation, British Bulldog defeats one of the Godwinns due to Owen Hart, also on commentary, messing with the Godwinn’s slop bucket. These guys are really easily distracted. Our last match of the night features Stone Cold getting a count out win over the Undertaker who is distracted when Mankind comes out and the two get in a brawl outside the ring. This leads us to week 3, which opens with Lawler taking on Montoya. Its quick, and Lawler goes over, before pouring Whiskey into the mouth of a prone (but masked) Montoya.
Lame Jericho… real men use hard liquor
Also… Mark Henry! So young, so fresh faced… on Oprah and soon to be a member of the WWF! Awesome. We get a tag team match with the Bolly Damas facing the New Rockers. We obviously aren’t meant to pay much attention to this match because during it we also get a Farooq w/Sunny promo, more of this thing with the lawyer and his client, and the Godwinn’s manager on commentary. The Gunns run in against the Bawdy Doctors and start the beat down until the Godwinns make the save. Someone call Teddy Long, I think we need a 4 on 4 tag team match… playa. Following all that jazz is a Michaels promo.
Now we get the real fun, 11 man over the top rope match for a #1 contendership for the WWF title after Summer Slam. Immediately and not surprisingly Taker takes out Mankind and himself in the process and they brawl. Bulldog is rather unceremoniously dumped by Ahmed Johnson (still with ruptured Kidney I guess) next. Owen Hart pulls the classic Shawn Michaels flip into clothesline elimination from Marc Mero next. Camp Cornette got knocked out nice and quick. Mero is eliminated next when Goldust flips him up over the rope. Savio Vega goes for flipping kick on Goldust, only to whiff and eliminate himself. Meanwhile Taker and Mankind reemerge, fight through the middle of the ring as everyone stands aside and then continue their fight into the crowd.
The match continues with Sid and Johnson facing off against Goldust and Stone Cold. This goes on for a while with Sid doing his powerbombing before Owen Hart and Bulldog come out to distract Sid, who is dumped by Steve Austin. Goldust and Austin team up against Johnson, before Goldust turns on Austin. For his betrayal, Goldust gets to help Johnson remove Austin from the ring. Guess this means we get Goldust against Michaels after Summerslam… or wait. Despite the nose injury and the busted kidney, Johnson gets the win after both men go over the top but Johnson locks himself into the ropes to survive (barely). The crowd goes ape for the finish. After the match, Assad assaults Johnson.
My guess? Michaels and Jonson both go down dirty, and we get ourselves a Hoss Fight for the WWF title after Summerslam.
Aces & Eights: the 90's
Our Summerslam go home show opens with Farooq making his in ring debut, putting an end to poor Skip, one of the Dalai Lamas. But before this, we get a bit about Ahmed Johnson getting a surgery due to internal bleeding from the kidney injury. Next we get a guy named Crush defeating Savio Vega. Now, I did some reading and this whole thing is rather ugly and unfortunate. Crush (aka Brian Adams) was in the real world arrested for purchasing steroids and possession of an illegal firearm. The WWF, despite its own problems with steroids, decided to use the arrest as part of Crush’s character. This is really uncomfortable given what happened to Brian Adams a decade later. Anyway, Crush wins with his manager on commentary. After the match we get some weird backlit bit with Sunny stripping because our target audience is teenage boys.
The Godwinn’s take on a pair of wrestlers named TL Hopper and Who?... no really Who. Who? Who… anyway, it’s a match and for some reason Bob Backlund is on commentary and he rambles about morals and stuff. It’s a thing. More importantly, Ahmed Johnson has had to vacate the IC title and there will now be a tournament to determine its new winner. I guess this means my prediction about the WWF title match was also a whiff. We end the night with a really enjoyable match between Owen Hart and Shawn Michaels. Michaels wins after fending off Vader, but Vader gets his in the end, hitting two Vader Bombs.
This all sets us up for their big show down at Summerslam.
I’m excited, are you?