Watching RAW from the beginning, this is my observation thread.

Discussion in 'Wrestling Spam Zone' started by Rayne, Dec 9, 2017.

  1. Rayne

    Rayne Sally Section

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    -Rob Bartlett makes it about five episodes before Vince starts being pissy at him. I'm on episode 9 and I'm betting he doesn't make it to twenty.
    -It's because Rob Bartlett is fucking horrible, but the whole Monday prime time thing was new to professional wrestling. They were appealing to an audience who maybe might like Amy Fisher jokes. (Use your google, kids.)

    -Shawn Michaels vs. Marty Jannety from Royal Rumble 1993 creates the term "being the Jannety". My biggest takeaway from this was Marty's sui-shit dive to the outside, while Shawn just Shawned his way around the ring.

    -Bobby Heenan doing the "Narcissist" promos reminded me of nothing other than Mel Brooks. Not "Bobby's doing a good Mel Brooks impression", but "I bet Mel Brooks would do it this way if he was in professional wrestling." Holy shit, was Bobby Heenan not the fucking best?

    -The RAW girls. That '80s hair. Gawddamn.
    -But any of us who were alive in the early '90s know we were wearing some fucked up shit.
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    -Speaking of which, Owen Hart at this point looks like he stumbled right off the front of a Trapper Keeper.

    -So, uh, who punched Hulk Hogan in the face before Wrestlemania 9?
     
    #1
  2. Rayne

    Rayne Sally Section

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    -I was right about Rob Bartlett, he makes it to episode 13. Vince hands him questions in the form of "Rob, you're a fucking idiot, what's you're opinion?"

    -The intro promo for The Smoking Gunns (episode 14) comes off as eerily homoerotic today.

    -I can't tell if it's harder to watch a one hour show of midcarders vs. jobbers, or today's three-hour RAW.

    -This may sound obvious, but I'm going somewhere with this. When he was Fatu, he looked a lot like Jimmy and Jey Uso do today, physique-wise. A little bit bigger, but as Fatu, he wasn't nearly as big as he was as Rikishi. What the hell did he do to himself food-wise between 1993 and 1999?
     
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  3. George Steele's Barber

    George Steele's Barber Advertise Here $9.95/month

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    It's been rumored that the Smoking Gunns and Brokeback Mountain had some type of tie in. Someone should ask Meltzer.
     
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  4. Vageena Hertz

    Vageena Hertz New Member

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    He ate a lot of it?
     
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  5. Rayne

    Rayne Sally Section

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    -The WWF was really behind Doink at this period in time. Most performers are appearing every four weeks due to the WWF's taping schedule at the time- him, Mr. Perfect, and Shawn are on about every other week. Professional wrestling was evolving at this point, and part of evolution is the evolutionary dead end.

    -Speaking of Shawn, you know how people complain about champions being booked weak? He turns over the Intercontinental Title to Marty on episode 17, and again manages to make him look like a total schnook in the process. Of course at this point it was becoming obvious there was Big Money in Shawn Michaels (Shawn-Is-Gay chants are popular at this point), while Marty would perhaps be able to anchor midcard feuds in the future. (Spoiler alert: He couldn't.)

    -I've said it twice now in three posts. I started watching professional wrestling in 1995, so I only saw Bobby Heenan in WCW. HOLY SHIT is Bobby Heenan gold at this point in time. I knew he was phoning it in in WCW, but gawddamn.

    -The Undertaker does a "only dopes use dope" promo with an 11-year old girl reading a poem about drug abuse. Much like when people say "Batman never used guns", point this out when people say "Undertaker has always kept a rock solid commitment to character".

    -I'd shine someone's shoes for $100 in today's money, and they could talk shit to me while I did it. I'm not proud.
     
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  6. Jeff Deliverer of Mail

    Jeff Deliverer of Mail Join WZCW because writing is hip
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    You are a brave, brave soul going through all the Raw programs. A hero is born.
     
    #6
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  7. Rayne

    Rayne Sally Section

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    -Kids today are going to look at WWE Network ($9.99 a month!) advertisements like old folks like me look at advertisements with Todd Pettengill (if I misspelled that I don't care) for WWF Mania. Yikes.

    -King of the Ring 1993 is an amazing, old school pay-per-view. None of the tournament matches are cheap gimmicks- even an on-paper shitshow like Lex Luger vs. Tatanka had the crowd into it. Is the quality of professional wrestling amazing and technical? No. But they worked for a month to build into the tournament and it paid off on the pay-per-view. There's an interview with Bret Hart where he describes the type of fight he'd be in between Mr. Perfect and Mr. Hughes in the next round, which is the kind of thing you *never* see today. I miss that. If they do a tournament these days, the winner is obvious and the other matches are treated as preliminaries to the real show.

    -Speaking of "describing the match", you're already witnessing the changeover here between describing the wrestling and selling the product. Stuff like advertisements for "The Matrix" (featuring hitman John Matrix on the USA Network) is to be expected, but stuff like selling people who aren't in the match or even on the show is starting to creep into the product. This is the seed that sprouted into Michael Cole.

    -Wrestling is a reflection of society, and I'm not touching the "is WWE racist" bit with a stolen dick, but it's surprising how much race relations have changed in just twenty-five years. Hulk Hogan refers to Yokozuna as "the Jap"; Bobby Heenan makes all kinds of teepee jokes whenever Tatanka's on screen, including the 'boh-boh-boh-boh-boh' with his hand. (In and of itself, a new Native American character dancing around in a headdress would never fly in and of itself today.) I'm surprised the WWE never went back and snipped that shit out.

    -Yes, I'm watching the WWE Network version, so that is what it is.
     
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  8. Dagger Dias

    Dagger Dias Natural 20
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    Once you get up to September of 1995 you should do Nitro too alongside Raw.
     
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  9. Rayne

    Rayne Sally Section

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    -The Men On A Mission introductory promos would fit right in on an episode of Southpaw Regional Wrestling.

    -The really fun thing about this era is it seems that someone's being introduced every other week who would go onto a twenty-year long career. I mean, even Nelson Frazier stuck around for quite some time. (Mo..... could you even find him with a google search? Fun fact, you can, and as of 2015 he was still performing on the indy circuit.)

    -I take back what I say about whether it's harder to watch early '90s RAW or today's RAW. Today's RAW is way worse to suffer through. One hour shows gave them a choice in what they wanted to put out there (a process they were still figuring out at this point); with a three-hour show, they have to find so much crap to fill all of that time. There's more filler in one episode of today's RAW than there is in a month's worth of early '90s RAW, and this is when three out of four matches involved a straight-up jobber. (Not today's 'we'll give him a win streak and then Dolph will be fine for another two years' jobber.)

    -Marty continues to look like a schnook: Shawn wins the Intercontinental title back from him on a house show which rates about a ten-second mention.

    -Things They Don't Do Anymore: permanent feuds between performers. Jerry Lawler and Bret Hart are starting up around now. Today, Michael Cole would be talking about how Daniel Bryan has won him over. In this era, Lawler doesn't let up on Bret Hart, even when they have no active program going.

    -Bobby Heenan Says: "I hear President Clinton likes Flowers on his desk every morning." Oh, Bobby, you rascal you.

    -Every time I hear the RAW intro music from this era, it ends, and in my head I hear Terry Funk yelling "Forever, and ever, and ever", so thanks for that Maffew.
    I shudder at the thought, but I probably will. This isn't intended to be a weekly recap of old RAW episodes, but I am trying to highlight the way professional wrestling has developed since the advent of prime-time professional wrestling, and I don't see how that's possible to do without adding Nitro into the mix. Send booze. Which means this project, where we're almost through half a year already, will slam to a screeching halt in about 1996 or so once we start doing two and three hour shows.

    I've been looking for some sort of "professional wrestling history" type project for a while, since professional wrestling is some weird warped reflection of society. Originally I was thinking of covering "episodes" of history, such as CM Punk's one-year reign, or "suddenly Daniel Bryan" from Wrestlemania 30, but I think this kind of 'review from the beginning' might be the best way to illustrate the way professional wrestling (and society) has changed since the early '90s.
     
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  10. Rayne

    Rayne Sally Section

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    -Things You Don't See Anymore: Jerry Lawler goes into the stands to interview Stu and Helen Hart, a good ten to fifteen minutes into a match between Bret and Bam Bam Bigelow. I don't even think you could do this bit anymore. The Bret/Lawler thing worked because Bret almost never got his hands on Jerry, and the WWE doesn't really have an arena setup now where a 'dignified guest' could be placed anywhere besides ringside. Plus, the crowd wouldn't be listening to the interview, they'd be trying to get themselves over.

    -Episode 29: The Macho Midget (which means Bobby Heenan making short jokes), Jim Cornette is introduced as the American representative for Yokozuna. This is a good one.

    -Lex Luger is getting the ultimate metaphorical blowjob right now in something that screams nothing less than "oh fuck, we need a new Hogan". I'm sure this will end up working out for them.

    -With Rob Bartlett gone, Pissy Vince is also gone. The RAW product is starting to come together at this point in time into the shape it would hold until the Attitude Era.

    -So weird to see the WWF run down an entire pay-per-view card four weeks before the event. Nowadays, there are years we don't even know the Wrestlemania main event four weeks beforehand.

    -Things That Don't Happen Anymore: Four weeks of pre-emption for the Westminster Dog Show and the US Open.
     
    #10
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  11. Rayne

    Rayne Sally Section

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    -Where Are We Now: It's summer 1993. WCW is at the very beginnings of its talent raid on the WWF; Ric Flair is gone, Hulk Hogan is about to sit out the remainder of his contract. Yokozuna is about to win the world championship at SummerSlam, rendering the end of Wrestlemania 9 puzzlingly pointless. The Quebecers (with Johnny Polo!) have just won the tag team championships from the Stieners, and Shawn Michaels is busy establishing the golden age of the Intercontinental Title, at least until he tests positive for steroids at probably the worst possible time to test postitive for steroids in the WWF.

    -It's worth keeping in mind at this point in time the whole "Monday Night Professional Wrestling" thing was still an experiment. The show's format has been being shaped and reshaped, and with the NFL season starting, RAW's getting stiff competition that it hasn't had yet.

    -There really aren't any people right now who can work a crowd the way Jerry Lawler could. If anyone does today, it would be Kevin Owens. Watching old episodes really drives home how performers have been trained to work the camera and not the crowd.

    -Marty Janetty Is A Schnook: At this point he's getting absolutely ran over by Ludwig Borga, who would go on to a long, illustrious, and well remembered professional wrestling career.

    -Bobby Heenan makes it through an entire Tatanka match without making a racist Indian joke, although not without having to stop himself several times. So there were words from one person to another on that.

    -"Doink is a great technical wrestler" is the "Finn Balor is the first Universal Champion" of this era.

    -Ted DiBiase has the best "evil villain" laugh I think I've ever heard. It's completely over the top and yet still doesn't seem overly cartoonish.

    -Bobby Heenan Moment: While Bobby holds the microphone, an Asian man proposes to his girlfriend. Bobby Heenan: "Congratulations, but you're just going to be hungry in an hour." Holy shit.
     
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  12. Rayne

    Rayne Sally Section

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    -Where We Are Now: It's Survivor Series, 1993. Currently, RAW's competition is Monday Night Football, and they've been counter-programming against that by offering their strongest match of the night at the 9pm start time. A 20-man battle royal is held, with the two men remaining going on to a match for the vacant Intercontinental title (won by Razor Ramon).

    -Bobby Heenan Moment(s): Vince: "What heart this kid has!" Bobby: "Kick him in the heart then!" Also, Bobby Heenan talking with an exaggerated lisp after Randy Savage is given a 'lacerated tongue' by Yokozuna.

    -Survivor Series, 1993: A packed Boston Garden chants, "we want Doink". Look, I watched this show while I was all done up on chicken soup and Sudafed, but I rewound it three times, it was there each time and I'm confident it wasn't a hallucination.

    -Things That Never Happen Today: With a few notable exceptions, people never get their hands on each other before The Big Pay-Per-View. By the time we hit the network event today, The Bar has fought The Shield in six different combinations- and they'll do it six more times before the next network event.

    -Things That Totally Still Happen Today: No titles are defended at Survivor Series, the card changes rapidly in the weeks leading up to the event, none of the storylines are leading to payoffs at Survivor Series, and unless you really see one team beat the other, there is absolutely no reason to buy or even watch this pay-per-view.

    -It's worth noting that RAW is not the primary storyline driver that we've become accustomed to at this point. Almost nothing is heard about the World championship beyond stating that Yokozuna holds it. If there's a "big match" for RAW in this period, it's for the Intercontinental title.

    -1993 isn't exactly a memorable year for professional wrestling, but with the Monday Night Wars starting in two short years, just about everyone who debuts in the WWF goes on to fairly long television careers. This year, we have Diesel, the 1-2-3 Kid, Lex Luger, The Smoking Gunns, Mabel, Johnny Polo, PJ Walker (who would become famous as, uh, Aldo Montoya) and Jeff Jarrett- who came a lot closer to using professional wrestling to break into the country music business than we all expected, it just took a while.

    -On the other hand, Ludwig Borga, Mo, Oscar, Friar Fergeuson, Mr. Hughes. You can't win 'em all.

    -On an episode by episode basis, there's not really much that's important to note right now. Shawn Michaels has a decent lumberjack match with Jim Duggan, but at this point if you can't have a good match with Shawn, then your name is Marty Jannetty. (And there's dispute as to whether Shawn made Marty look bad during their Royal Rumble match intentionally, because Shawn is definitely good enough to make someone else look bad without making it look like he's making someone look bad.) Almost all matches between evenly matched competitors end in double countouts or disqualifications, three out of four matches on the show feature squash matches against jobbers.

    -Speaking of jobbers, at this point in time Duane Gill is putting in work. He's appearing twice per show, both as himself and as The Executioner.

    -I'd imagine this format for posts will probably keep up until Nitro launches, with a summary at each pay-per-view. At that point I'll probably do more episode-by-episode notes- especially when they get into counter-programming time slots against each other and shit like that.
     
    #12
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  13. Rayne

    Rayne Sally Section

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    -Where Are We Now: Royal Rumble, 1994. John Bobbitt has recently lost his penis, and on a related note the Buffalo Bills are about to lose their fourth consecutive Super Bowl. The professional wrestling landscape has changed little since our last check in.

    -Episode 41: Razor Ramon vs. Diesel, which ends with interference by Shawn Michaels and the 1-2-3 Kid. HHH won't debut for a bit yet, but this is the first time the whole Kliq has shared the ring on RAW.

    -Saint Bobby: "Yokozuna's eyes were huge! I've never seen his eyes that round!" As RAW's worn on, he's definitely been told to tone it down, but he's still getting them in there.

    -Speaking of Bobby Heenan, he's thrown out of the building and straight out of the WWF at the end of episode 42. We'll see you in a couple years, Bobby. It's still a bit until we get the dream team of Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler, and various people take over color commentary duties. Vince may not have exactly been Gordon Solie in the announcer's booth, but he played an excellent straight man for Bobby Heenan. For the next few weeks, we get guest commentators, including Jim Cornette (great of course), the Quebeccers (a lot better than you'd expect), Shawn Michaels (still coming into his own on the microphone), and Ted DiBiase at the Rumble.

    -And on the subject of Vince, here's one thing you have to respect about him, regardless of your opinions of him. Over the course of his time operating the WWF/E, he's had to learn and adopt all kinds of different and often unexpected skills. He's been a broadcaster, an actor, a television producer- and those are just the really big bullet points. If you want to be successful, you have to be able to adapt and learn- and if Vince took on a task, at the very minimum he would be 'decent' at it.

    -More memorable debuts in 1993: Scott Taylor (who'd start dancing in a few years time), "Sparky Plugg" Thurmann Holly, and Kwang, who would later start wearing a chest protector to the ring.

    -On that note, they've never dressed Roman Reigns up in an American flag and forced you to choose between cheering him and booing America. Be thankful for small things.

    -RAW is definitely becoming more 'dramatic' during this peroid. Randy Savage and Crush are trying to make people believe that they were once friends and now hate each other; HBK and Razor Ramon are having a very personal feud over who the real Intercontinental champion is. We're starting to depart from the "interviews and matches" formula to feature more 'outside the ropes' content.

    -Marty Jannetty Is A Schnook: After getting beaten around by Johnny Polo and the Quebeccers, he and the 1-2-3 Kid win the Tag Team Championships on RAW- only to lose them on a house show later that week, rating a thirty second mention.
     
    #13
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  14. nightmare

    nightmare ...7, 8, Better stay up late...

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    I may have to watch some of these again JUST for the Heenan moments. The man was pure gold & his timing was glorious.
     
    #14
  15. Rayne

    Rayne Sally Section

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    -Where We Are Now: It's Wrestlemania X. Tonya Harding has won the hearts of America with her gritty determination in the face of accusations of having her rival in figure skating mercilessly beaten; Vince is clearly going through tax season because he fires a shot at the Democrats every few shows. A former meat salesman and future beer salesman has risen through the ranks to become Executive Vice President of WCW, and somewhere in Pennsylvania a couple of men are thinking quietly to themselves that professional wrestling has gotten somewhat stale.

    -Snarky Vince: Jim Ross, "and there goes Oscar!" Vince, "Yeah, he's not going to be around long."

    -RAW still lacks a permanent replacement for Bobby Heenan, so we continue the succession of one-week guest announcers- and holy shit, has the quality of talent taken a nose dive. Before the Royal Rumble, the worst guest announcer was Shawn Michaels. That's not to imply he was bad, but they brought out some gems in that short time. These past few weeks, we've had Crush (ugh), I.R.S. (his schtick works a lot better two minutes at a time), Bastion Booger (this one almost fucking broke me), and Doink (see note for I.R.S.). On the more positive side, we also got Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, and Ted DiBiase for some of those weeks, so it's not all terrible.

    -So you remember that bit from Southpaw Regional Wrestling, where they get a female wrestler but don't have an opponent for her? That's Alundra Blayze right now. The only other woman who wrestles in the company right now is Luna Vachon, who can't wrestle Alundra at WrestleMania. She's booked into a mixed tag with Doink (Vince: who is a great technical wrestler) and Dink. Alundra Blayze's WrestleMania opponent is given the "already in the ring" treatment.

    -Marty Jannetty Is A Schnook: RAW is pre-empted for the Westminster Dog Show, with Vince telling us as we go off the air that next week, we'll get Marty Jannetty and Razor Ramon vs. The Quebeccers for the Tag Team Championships. When we come back, the 1-2-3 Kid and Razor are walking to the ring, with no other explanation besides "and the 1-2-3 Kid has stepped up to replace Marty Jannetty". Google says there was something about a court case at this point, and Marty Jannetty will leave the WWF for a couple of years.

    -Things That Never Happen Today: Tatanka is presented a special headdress by Chief Jay Strongbow and representatives of one tribe or another, or perhaps someone from central casting. No one interrupts or interferes, and the segment ends.

    -More Things That Never Happen Today: Almost all of the matches at WrestleMania have been built to for months or even years. Bret's about to face Owen and Yokozuna, Lex Luger is getting his "no rematch ever" rematch, Randy Savage and Crush are in a Last Man Standing match (long before those things were used for the 9pm turnover), Shawn and Razor in something involving a ladder, even Bam Bam Bigelow and Doink has been built since SummerSlam. Right now, the WWE is busy desperately trying to convince us that of COURSE they aren't going to go with Roman Reigns and Brock, when that's been the obvious plan now for a year.

    -Things That Definitely Still Happen Today: Everyone without a program is crammed into a ten-man tag announced a couple weeks before the event. The ten-man tag is dropped from the show at the last minute.

    -Correction: Last post I mentioned something about Kwang and a chest protector. So far as I know D-Lo Brown was never Kwang, and all I can say is I spent most of the week watching those shows all fucked up on cold medicine. Kwang would do a lot better for himself as the well received mystery replacement for Shawn Michaels in a match later down the line.
     
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  16. Rayne

    Rayne Sally Section

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    Holy fuck, getting to KotR 1994 is a chore and a half and I am beginning to question my sanity. We're over a year away from WCW changing the way the game gets played, and this era of RAW underlines how they were able to do that, because the WWE is putting out about twenty minutes of decent content per month right now, and the rest is just awful.

    I'll do a summary post once I force my way through this.
     
    #16
  17. Rayne

    Rayne Sally Section

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    -Where We Are Now: It's King of the Ring, 1994. OJ Simpson has recently captured the imagination of America with a white Bronco, and Owen Hart has passed on the mantle of "looking like a Trapper Keeper" to the future Bob Holly.

    -900 numbers. I haven't really mentioned this, but in this era you can spend 99 cents to vote for, oh, what the fuck ever. Almost all of the polls have no effect on the programming. Between this and the hotlines, I wonder just how much money they managed to pull in this way.

    -Randy Randy: "That's Dana Dobson, and I like sushi, and there's definitely no correlation there."

    -RAW is getting big into the 'talk show' segment right now, which they haven't really done yet. The Heartbreak Hotel debuts, but The King's Court is being featured every other RAW right now.

    -Debuting: Duke "The Dumpster" Droese. 1994 has not gotten off to a great start.

    -Things You Don't See Anymore: Bret vs. Owen was built up for over a year, and was the rare feud where a rematch was not only warranted but the central payoff to the feud. Today, we get three PPV matches and several combinations featuring the principals on the weeklys.

    -They're running a bit right now where they're doing interviews with members of the public who claim to have seen the Undertaker. (He's been missing since being stuffed in a casket.) Episode 60 features a deli clerk who talks while holding a chef's knife. By the blade. If you've ever worked in food service, this is mesmerizingly terrifying. If you haven't, move on down to the next item.

    -King of the Ring: Mabel is so big that he small packages IRS, IRS tries to kick out while Mabel rolls off, and it's just not possible. This would not be the last time this happens.
     
    #17

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