Episode 14 - April 25, 1993: “Howard Stern Rules”

Once again we start an episode off with Rob Bartlett nowhere to be seen. Instead he’s been replaced by Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. After getting a dozen or so episodes under my belt, I’m starting to wonder why he wasn’t the heel commentator right from the start. At this point in time, he’s been a big presence in professional wrestling for at least a decade if not longer. He knows exactly how to play his character up and work off of both his fellow announcers and the crowd.

 This is a physical manifestation of a Venn Diagram of Brains and Brawn.

This is a physical manifestation of a Venn Diagram of Brains and Brawn.

In any case, our first match of the night features Damien Demento and Mr. Perfect. I love that they’ve got Mr. Perfect back in the ring, but I have to wonder why they’ve paired him up with this guy. I’ve never seen him do anything exciting and his gimmick is nebulous. He’s billed as being “from the outer reaches of your mind” and during matches he’ll get distracted by talking to some unseen force that guides him or something. I really have no idea. Thankfully they give Mr. Perfect a little more to work with later on in this episode.

Afterwards, for some reason, we’re shown a pre-taped recording of a young girl reading an essay she wrote for school or something entitled “There’s No Hope with Dope.” What is Raw’s target demographic? If it’s young kids, then stop having women wrestle half-naked. If it’s grown-ups, then why are we being shown anti-drug PSAs? Before I can figure out the answer, the Undertaker emerges from the shadows to really hammer the point home that “there’s no hope with dope.”

 RIP Jasmine McNeill 1983-1993: Spooked to death.

RIP Jasmine McNeill 1983-1993: Spooked to death.

We then get an interesting match between Crush and The Narcissist Lex Luger. Before it gets underway, we’re shown an x-ray of Lex Luger’s right forearm that reveals he’s had a metal plate surgically attached to it, which explains why he’s knocked out every opponent he’s faced. Crush manages to avoid this fate though and seems to have the win wrapped up when he puts Lex in the head-smashing Kona Clutch, only to be distracted by seeing Doink the Clown taunting him from the upper seats. Once Doink has his attention, he points across the arena and as the camera pans over to where he’s gesturing we see a second Doink the Clown! This is a callback to Wrestlemania 9 where Crush was defeated by 2 Doinks working together, which answers the question “What’s worse than one Doink?”. While Crush is preoccupied with this, Luger hits him with his bionic elbow and gets knocked out of the ring where he is quickly counted out.

 The original screwjob

The original screwjob

After this fairly interesting match, we get one that ought to be but isn’t. A new wrestler to the company named Mr. Hughes makes his way to the ring and he looks super cool. His challenger is Jason Knight who also looks cool in a jobber sort of way. Even though Mr. Hughes is a new character that the announcers should be putting over, they instead spend nearly the entire match watching Bobby Heenan watch TV. Now, I might have just chalked that up to Raw still being in the early stages before they figured out exactly how to write well and make guys look good, but this match is immediately followed by a very well-shot vignette of Billy Gunn and Bart Gunn, a new tag team going by the name of The Smoking Gunns. I don’t understand what they were thinking here. They basically bury Mr. Hughes and then turn around and build up the anticipation for these guys. All I know is they better be good or Mr. Hughes is gonna have something to say about it.

 Why would you ever get on this guy's bad side?

Why would you ever get on this guy's bad side?

After this, Vince brings out Shawn Michaels who lets everyone know that he’s putting the Intercontinental Championship on the line against Hacksaw Jim Duggan next week. Shawn Michaels also manages to trash-talk Mr. Perfect who comes out to confront him. Seems like maybe they’re building up to something. That would be a great match, unlike the one we get next between Typhoon and Von Krus. The announcers know it too and decide to call up Hacksaw to get his thoughts on his upcoming match with Shawn Michaels. This is probably the first time I’ve approved of this sort of thing.

 

Other Observations

  • They let an audience member propose to his girlfriend on air. I hope it was worth it because the announcers made fun of them pretty mercilessly.
  • I wonder how long they’re going to refer to Lex Luger as “The Narcissist”
  • This guy is the epitome of New York in 1993.
 Baba Booey Baba Booey!

Baba Booey Baba Booey!