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The Ambiguously Gay HHH?
January 14, 2002

by Denny Burkholder
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


One of the most talented superstars to ever grace the WWF made his Monday Night Raw debut on May 15, 1995 (aired May 22, 1995). From the moment he latched on with a member of the famed "Kliq," the man became one of the most valuable and influential competitors in Vince McMahon's employ. Some claim that this man has enjoyed too much "pull" in the business. Either way, his legacy grew large and fast.

On that edition of Raw, six and a half years ago, a legend was born.

Yes, on that fateful spring night, the immortal Savio Vega escorted Razor Ramon down the aisle to make his first appearance on Raw.

Vega would go on to become figurehead of the MASSIVELY popular Los Boricuas heel stable, which dominated the low-midcard house show scene for AT LEAST two months in 1997. Meanwhile, some nobody calling himself "Hunter Hearst Helmsley" (HAH!) was prancing around the ring like a ninny in HIS first WWF Raw match since jumping over from WCW, where his gimmick was equally unremarkable. Sucker.

Let me preface my review of this show by saying that I am not, nor will I ever be, a recapper by trade. That being said. here is my recap.

But first, a few notes to help you understand where this show fell on the pro wrestling timeline:

- The WWF's first In Your House pay-per-view (conveniently known as "In Your House I" today) aired the previous night from Rochester, New York. Vega made his on-camera debut at the show by saving Razor Ramon from a 2-on-1 attack at the hands of Jeff Jarrett and The Roadie (Road Dogg). Vega was previously the infamous "TNT" in Puerto Rico. The Roadie was previously Brian Armstrong. Jarrett was previously taken seriously in Memphis.

- Shawn Michaels had been out of action with either a knee injury or a temper tantrum, depending on whose reports you believe. He had jobbed to pal Kevin "Diesel" Nash at that year's Wrestlemania in a WWF Title match. Diesel had successfully defended the title against Sycho Sid (Vicious) at IYH. Before Michaels went on the DL, they began an angle between him and Sid that was intended to turn Michaels babyface for the first time in his singles career. This episode of Raw was Michaels' return to the ring, which also made his babyface turn official.

- Making their WWF debuts within three months of Triple H and Savio Vega: Chris Candido and Tammy Sytch (as Bodydonnas Skip and Sunny) and Glen "Kane" Jacobs as evil dentist Isaac Yankem DDS. 

- Previous WWF employees repackaged with new gimmicks that spring/summer: P.J. Walker (Aldo Montoya, who is Justin Credible today), Louie Spicolli (grunge-loving slacker Rad Radford), Dan Spivey (peace-loving mental case Waylon Mercy), Charles Wright (Kama, The Supreme Fighting Machine - previously Papa Shango, currently the soon-to-return Godfather), Shane Douglas (as irritating teacher Dean Douglas) Jim Neidhart (Who?) and Carl Ouelette (Jean-Pierre Lafitte, previously Quebecer Pierre).

- WCW was three and a half months away from debuting WCW Monday Nitro live on TNT, directly opposite WWF Raw. Critics theorized that Eric Bischoff was delusional to think he could ever compete with the WWF's successful program. Lex Luger (at this time, half of The Allied Powers with Davey Boy Smith) would jump ship for the debut episode of Nitro. WWF Women's Champion Alundra Blayze (Madusa) would follow soon after, taking the belt with her. And we all know who jumped ship in 1996.

- Bret Hart was feuding with both Jerry Lawler and Jinsei "Hakushi" Shinzaki. After some eye-popping matches between Hart and Hakushi, the WWF scrapped that feud to focus on a Hart-Lawler-Yankem program. Shinzaki returned to Japan several months later.

- ECW was still an indy trying to convince people it was more than such, with stars like Cactus Jack, Raven, and the soon-departing Shane Douglas. Taz was short, but gifted. 911 was tall, but overrated.

And now, get ready for MONN-DAYY NIGHT RRRRRAW, only on USA: The Remote Stops Here!

COMMENTATORS: Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler.

Opening sequence reminds us that seven weeks ago, Michaels was blindsided by bodyguard Sid, and that tonight, Michaels returns to action in a King of the Ring qualifier match. But will Diesel forgive him for past sins? And just how does BAM BAM BIGELOW fit into the situation? HIT THE MUSIC!

OPENING CREDITS: featured are Diesel, Shawn Michaels, Jeff Jarrett, The Undertaker, Bob Backlund, Yokozuna, Bret Hart, Razor Ramon, and a turnbuckle.

TONIGHT: SHAWN MICHAELS returns to action versus the massive KING KONG BUNDY in a King of the Ring qualifying match, and THE ALLIED POWERS will be in action! Also, BRET "HIT MAN" HART is in the building, and there is no telling WHAT he'll do after jobbing to Lawler last night! Let's go to the ring.


Vega follows Ramon down the aisle, looking like a badass. Vince McMahon talks us through a replay of IYH, when Vega helped Ramon fend off Double J and The Roadie, and NOBODY knew WHO the hell he was. But tonight we KNOW! McMahon mentions not only did Razor Ramon qualify for the King of the Ring tournament on the latest edition of Superstars, but this past FRIDAY in Montreal, he became the FIRST three-time Intercontinental Champion by defeating Jeff Jarrett. However, Jarrett became the SECOND three-time Intercontinental Champion in Three Rivers (Trois-Rivieres), Canada SUNDAY night by beating Razor! IT'S CRAZY!

Razor flicks his toothpick at Bell as they circle. Lock up, and Bell shoves Razor into the corner and backs off. Razor is unimpressed. Lock up, and Razor gets a double arm-wringer before Bell throws him on his back and poses for the crowd. McMahon is telling Lawler that "King Ramon" has a nice ring to it. Or King MABEL! (Yeah right. dream on). Or King HOLLY! Or King BUNDY! Hmm. King King Kong Bundy. Then they could have King King Kong vs. Bam Bam Bigelow. But I digress.

Razor goes back to the arm wringer and a chicken wing. Bell reverses. Razor re-reverses, and Bell elbows him in the face. Razor slaps Bell for being difficult. Bell mounts an offense by kicking, shoulder-blocking and punching Razor into the corner. Since Bell is a jobber - and Razor is a Kliq. er - Razor no-sells everything and throws Bell into the corner for three chops and a hip toss. Irish whip, and Razor follows up with a clothesline. Two humiliating slaps to the face by Razor. Fall-away slam by Razor, who pauses to trade witty barbs with Savio Vega at ringside. The patented Razor Ramon kneeling figure four/chinlock combo follows, complete with slaps to the head. Razor rolls Bell out of the ring for no apparent reason, then pulls him back in for a choke slam. Stomp to the face, and just put the poor shmuck OUT already. Belly-to-back suplex from the second turnbuckle (called "the top" by McMahon), and it's just about over. Razor gives the "That's it!" signal, and people with mullets rejoice. Razor picks up Bell, decides not to do the Razor's Edge, shoves Bell down by his face, and pins him with one boot. Savio comes in to celebrate with Razor, as Lawler tells jokes about Bret Hart ("He was so ugly as a baby that for the first six months, Helen diapered the wrong end!"). And as Razor and Savio leave the ring, they pass someone in the aisle.

- BRET HART walks down the aisle and grabs a mic, ready to confront Jerry Lawler.

"Jerry Lawler (See?), you know, I been walking around all day, and I STILL can't get over. you know, I hate, I just despise people that have excuses all the time. I hate to have excuses. Because I gotta ask myself, how in the HELL did I lose to YOU? You worthless little scum! How did I lose to you? I have to ask myself today whether or not I am a failure on account of you. It was bad enough that I lost my championship belt. I've gone through enough. stuff. that I don't need a little parasite maggot LIKE YOU, Jerry Lawler, coming out here and saying that you're better than me! You will never, EVER be better than me. And the fact that you cheat so well. you know, Jerry Lawler, I hate excuses. And I have to ask myself, how it is that I can look at my mother, who I asked with my WHOLE DAMN FAMILY to watch me kick your lousy stinkin' butt, and you know what? I let everybody down, didn't I? (Lawler, grinning and nodding: 'You got beat! Big deal!') So you got me, Jerry Lawler, you got me right where you want me. You've trashed me. You've embarrassed me like I've never, ever in my whole life been embarrassed. And I just wanna ask you one thing - one simple thing. What is it gonna take for me to get your lousy stinkin' butt back in that ring one more time so I can destroy you once and for all? (Vince: 'Well what about it?' Lawler: 'What about what?') What's it gonna take? Any kind of match. Any kind of terms! I want one more match, Jerry Lawler! You've got it - anything in the world that you can POSSIBLY DREAM OF. I want one more match. (Lawler tells McMahon Bret has already made a fool of himself in front of his family, and Bret starts shoving Lawler.) Come on, what's it gonna take? You know what you are? You are LOWER THAT SH(BLEEP)T!" Bret gets a little too close to Lawler, and the stooge patrol comes out to break up the melee as we go to commercial. Upon returning.


Hunter is using Masterpiece Theater-esque music and gliding around the ring with one arm behind his back and the other displaying a suspiciously limp wrist. A chick with a mullet wearing a Hit Man T-shirt says THUMBS DOWN to THIS guy. Funny notes from the live show, which I attended: Due to some kind of production hold-up, Triple H was left prancing around the ring for nearly five whole minutes while that stupid song played. He entered the ring BEFORE his jobber opponent. Few people recognized him as WCW's Jean-Paul Leveque, and everyone else took turns misinforming each other. Actual comments overheard in my section of the arena:

"That guy used to be Beautiful Bobby!" "Nut-uh - he was Lord Steven Regal!" "Ohhh yeah, right. I remember now."

Triple H with a go-behind, which Crystal reverses into the dreaded arm-wringer as Lawler bitches to McMahon about Bret Hart. Triple H rolls through it, and forgoes the nip-up (can he do one?) in favor of a snap mare. McMahon's first on-air comment about Triple H: "John Crystal in the striped tights, against this MOST UNUSUAL ATHLETE." Like he's friggin' George "The Animal" Steele or something. Maybe someday Vince will have a "most unusual" grandchild. "Hunter Hearst Helmsley making his debut here tonight, on Monday Night Raw!" Lawler: "Here's a guy with some class, McMahon, unlike Bret The Hit Man Hart!" Hunter kicks Crystal in the face and prissily waltzes around the ring with one arm behind his back. Where I grew up, we didn't call that "class." But we definitely had a name for it.

Triple H with a chicken wing, and Crystal reverses it. Triple H tries a hip toss, but Crystal won't cooperate. Heel trip - nothing. Triple H grabs the ropes to break the damn chicken wing already. Triple H grins at Crystal as if to say, "Who's the jobber here?" People with mullets boo Triple H. AND A MONSTER HEEL IS BORN! McMahon calls Hunter "An American blue blood."

Hunter backs Crystal into the corner. Backhand slap. Forehand slap. Uppercut. Uppercut. Uppercut. Trips whips Crystal into the ropes and catches him with a SPINNING LEG LARIAT! Where the hell did THAT come from? Triple H follows up by mashing Crystal's face with his forearms. Referee Mike Chioda gets all confused and starts the ol' five-count to break it up. Hunter takes a VERY effeminate bow for the audience, and at this point I'm convinced he's never even HEARD of Motorhead.

Vertical snap suplex by Hunter. Rear chinlock by Hunter, who gets bored and starts punching Crystal in the head for fun. Whip into the ropes, and it's a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for Crystal. Hunter prances a little more. Crystal swings and misses, and Triple H nails a DIAMOND CUTTER for the pin. Hunter takes an ambiguously gay bow for the audience, and people with mullets boo once more. And then we go to.

- A SPECIAL MESSAGE FROM MR. BOB BACKLUND (for President). "Yankee Doodle" plays in the background.

"Although the plebeians have a tremendous amount of abomination for Mr. Bob Backlund, I always knew that you agreed with my viewpoints. (Graphic: 'Mr. Backlund on Education') The ecosystem in education in the United States is running AMOK! And one of the first things I would do as President is make sure that every individual out there GETS A JOB. And has the ability to save enough money so he can PURCHASE a DICTIONARY and augment his ability to read. (Graphic: 'Mr. Backlund on Reading') I'm gonna DEMAND that everyone get motivated to read at least one classic American novel each week. (Graphic: 'Mr. Backlund on Writing') I advocate the abolishment of the spell check. (Graphic: 'Mr. Backlund on Arithmetic') Under my administration, there'd be no more calculators in the school system! The plebeians need to learn to work with their MINDS! And remember - A COMPUTER SOCIETY IS A DEFUNCT SOCIETY MENTALLY! (Graphic: 'Mr. Backlund on Summer Vacations', and Backlund is now an extreme close-up) The educational system is regressing, ladies and gentlemen! Our youth aren't receiving the education that they should be getting! THEY ARE ILLITERATE! THE JAPANESE PEOPLE HAVE ONE HUNDRED PERCENT LITERACY! Therefore, I'm DEMANDING that our youth go to school twelve months out of the year! And there will be NO summer vacations!" (Graphic: 'The views expressed by Mr. Backlund do not necessarily reflect those of the World Wrestling Federation.')

- Backstage, "MILLION DOLLAR MAN" TED DiBIASE is psyching up KING KONG BUNDY for his King of the Ring qualifier against Shawn Michaels, whom he refers to as "Diesel's little buddy." Awwwww..

- Commercials.

- STEPHANIE WYAND takes some kid named Matt on a tour of the house he won in the WWF's In Your House sweepstakes. The kid pulls up in a limo, as if the friggin' HOUSE wasn't prize enough. Matt and Stephanie open the sliding doors of the walk-in closet, and THE BUSHWHACKERS scare the shit out of them. Over the parting shot of Matt and his family standing in the driveway, Vince says his name is Matt Pompaselli (I sounded it out). And there's the answer to a serious WWF trivia question.


Yes, ECW fans. it's THAT Tony DeVito. Da Baldie. with a little extra flab around the midsection and long brown hair. Davey and Tony start things off. DeVito with a knee to the midsection and a headlock. Davey whips DeVito into the ropes, and a shoulderblock is a stalemate. DeVito bounds from the ropes again and gets hiptossed. Arm drag into an arm bar, and Davey is in control. McMahon calls Luger & Davey "The most powerful tag team EVER ASSEMBLED in the WWF TODAY."  I guess it was either them, or Jacob & Eli Blu.

Davey hits the delayed vertical suplex and tags in Luger. Double back body drop. DeVito tags in Payne, whom Luger greets with two arm drags and an arm bar. That's enough out of Luger, who tags Davey back in for the double elbow. Two headbutts and a forearm smash send Payne to the mat. Irish whip is reversed, but Davey meets Mayne with an elbow on the follow-through. Running powerslam, and Davey pins Payne in short order. DAMN, that was an easy payday for Luger.

- Recap of last week's Raw, where Bam Bam Bigelow faced Irwin R. Schyster. Big Daddy Cool ran in and helped Bigelow fend off Schyster, Sid, and Tatanka, as McMahon promises we'll see Bigelow & Diesel versus Tatanka & Sid in the very near future. SIGN ME UP!

- Commercials.

- Promo for next week: The Greatest meets The Gravest in a King of the Ring qualifying match. it's Jeff Jarrett versus The Undertaker! (Jarrett got squashed).

- KAMA (w/ TED DiBIASE &  gold chain made from The Undertaker's melted-down urn) vs. BARRY HOROWITZ.

Kama does some fancy shoot-fight posturing. Horowitz says screw that, and knees him in the midsection. Elbow lock, which Kama counters with an arm drag. Horowitz with the much-maligned arm wringer, and Kama follows through with a fireman's carry takedown. Kama jaws with DiBiase, then turns into a thumb to the eye. Uppercut by Horowitz. Reverse kick by Kama. Horowitz backdrops Kama over the top rope to counter a clothesline. So far, the judges say "Jobber 1, Superstar 0."  Horowitz pats himself on the back to show everyone where he'll be later on.

Kama pulls Horowitz outside and punches him once, then throws him back in. Wasted motion, thy name is Shango. Irish whip by Kama, followed by some punches and a forearm smash. Devastating arm wringer and two kicks to the midsection into a back heel kick by Kama. Half crab, and Horowitz submits.

- WWF HALL of FAME INDUCTION UPDATE with TODD PETTENGILL. This year: there'll be a banquet the night before King of the Ring. Antonino Rocca is the first announced inductee for 1995.

- BARRY DIDINSKY shills the new Shawn Michaels T-shirt, and this monologue is too stupid not to repeat: "You know, Shawn Michaels is gonna be coming into the ring in just a moment. And to CELEBRATE THAT, take a look at the brand new Shawn Michaels T-shirt! They call this one the "ALL-OVER T-SHIRT," because the PRINT is ALL OVER the T-SHIRT! We're gonna take a REAL good look at the front of the T-shirt, and we're gonna flip it around (flips it around) and show you the BACK of the T-shirt! BECAUSE THERE'S PRINTING ALL OVER IT!"

- Commercials.

- SHAWN MICHAELS vs. KING KONG BUNDY (w/ TED DiBIASE) - King of the Ring Qualifying Match.

Bundy charges at Michaels during the pre-match striptease. Michaels ducks under, peppers Bundy with punches, and kneelifts him out of the ring. Bundy is looking rather slim here. You know. for Bundy. Michaels finishes his striptease, then goes outside to pick on DiBiase. Michaels climbs to the top rope and gives Bundy a flying body press to the floor. Back in the ring, Bundy gets Michaels with two knees to the gut. Michaels ducks under a clothesline and baseball slides to counter another, then punches Bundy into a corner. He mounts the second rope and gets three punches into the count-off before Bundy shoves him to the mat. Michaels gets up immediately, baseball slides out of the ring and puts his arm around DiBiase as he talks to a ringside fan. Some good comedy here, and it's the HBK Show all the way.

Bundy has staggered to center ring by now, so Michaels gives him an axehandle from the top rope.  Bundy reverses an Irish whip and Michaels does the Flair Flip to the floor. Bundy slams Michaels on the outside. Bundy throws Michaels back in and hits a high back body drop. Elbow drop by Bundy, followed by a mashing of Michaels' face into the mat with his boot. Bundy plants the boot on Michaels' throat in the corner, while DiBiase taunts HBK from the outside. AND IT'S THE BUNDY BEARHUG! Michaels escapes by slipping up and over the top of Bundy for a sunset flip. Bundy sits on Michaels and gets two. Reverse chinlock by Bundy. Bundy hits a clothesline, but Michaels rolls out of the way of the big splash. Suddenly, we see Diesel and Bam Bam Bigelow watching the match on a monitor backstage, which causes Vince McMahon to go into convulsions. After a commercial break, we see Michaels hitting a cross body block and the sweet chin music for the pinfall. Diesel and Bigelow head to the ring as Michaels' music plays. The music stops. and Diesel would like a handshake with HBK. Michaels asks the crowd, and people with mullets rejoice. Instead of shaking, Michaels gives a thumbs up to Diesel. Diesel rolls his eyes and smiles. Diesel puts his hand up in the air, as HBK bounces off the ropes and leaps to high-five him. Diesel and HBK exchange a completely manly hug. THE BAND IS BACK TOGETHER!

And Bam Bam Bigelow, too!

See you next time.


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RAW RECAP: Yes! Yes! Yes!
PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28




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