Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Raw History: Episodes #91-93

Raw History
Episode #91
December 19th, 1994 | Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, New York

Once again, Shawn Michaels is co-hosting with Vince McMahon. They’re wearing Santa hats.

IRS w/ Ted Dibiase vs. Lex Luger
A druid shows up to stand at ringside with Ted Dibiase. Luger is on offense to start, causing IRS to catch a breather outside. Luger gets two on a clothesline, though he surprisingly doesn’t scream with it. Consider me disappointed. As they head to commercial, the camera zooms in on the druid’s ring, which looks familiar according to Vince. IRS hits a backbreaker for two. IRS takes control and Luger starts to rally with a knee lift. He goes after the druid because he is easily distracted. The druid is revealed to be Tatanka. SHOCKER! Luger again comes off looking like a buffoon as he gets counted out.

Winner via countout: IRS in 7:01
As expected with these two, this wasn’t the most exciting of matches. They went through the motions until the finish with nothing of note happening. 

A recap is shown of the start of the Tag Team Championship Tournament from Superstars. Tatanka and Bigelow defeated Men on a Mission. Mo got pinned by one finger.

Another Jeff Jarrett in Las Vegas promo is shown. He runs into Rip Taylor, who happens to be a Jarrett fan.

The Smoking Gunns vs. Chris Avery and Roy Raymond
Shawn Michaels decides that the Smoking Gunns are going to be his verbal whipping boys tonight. He disses them throughout the entire match. As expected, the Smoking Gunns get in pretty much all of the offense. They work a few double team moves highlighted by a jumping leg drop/side slam combo. They win with one I haven’t really seen yet. It looked very sloppy and it seems like they have a new finisher each time out. They haven’t quite figured it out yet.

Winners: The Smoking Gunns in 4:07
Fine little squash here. It flew by because they busted out some okay double teams.

Next week, the British Bulldog faces Tatanka and Henry Godwin makes his Raw debut.

King’s Court time, with Jerry Lawler’s guest, Bob Backlund. Lawler talks about Backlund realizing his dream only for Diesel to ruin it. Backlund badmouths the fans, Vince McMahon and Bret Hart. He rambles on for far longer than he should. He even calls Diesel by his real name. Michaels takes credit for telling Backlund that Diesel’s name is Kevin Nash. He then just walks away.

Bob Holly vs. Chris Kanyon
Remember a few weeks ago when Kanyon was much better than the guy squashing him? Well that’s actually not really the case here. Kanyon’s attire is pretty ridiculous, but he actually bumps rather well again. He also gets in some offense this time. Holly wins with a flying elbow though.

Winner: Bob Holly in 3:36
Another solid little squash here. Bob Holly and Chris Kanyon were both pretty game tonight and it made for an alright bout.

Time for our first Royal Rumble Report, which is a little over a month away from Tampa, Florida. Since it is a beach theme, the host of the Rumble will be Baywatch’s Pamela Anderson. This was huge at the time because she was a massive star. Also, the main event is announce as Diesel defends the WWF Title against Bret Hart! Diesel cuts a promo on the match, putting over Bret, but himself even more. It’s not bad but isn’t really good either. Also, ten names have been announced for the Royal Rumble match itself. Lex Luger, Bob Backlund, King Kong Bundy, Doink, Kwang, Henry Godwin, Duke Droese, Aldo Montoya, Adam Bomb and Dick Murdoch.

The Bushwhackers w/ Howard Finkel vs. Well Dunn w/ Harvey Wippleman
Howard Finkel is in Bushwhackers gear and does their trademark walk with them. They start hot and send Well Dunn outside before celebrating with the Fink. Well Dunn ends up in the driver’s seat for a bit, beating on Luke. None of this is really well done, pun intended. Steven Dunn comes off the top with the awful spot where he goes for no move but leaps right into Luke’s boot. I’ve always hated that spot. Butch comes in hot after a tag. Harvey tries to cheat but Fink pulls him off the apron, removing his pants in the process. Butch sits on Dunn, I think, and gets the win.

Winners: The Bushwhackers in 5:20
This wasn’t as bad as a lot of Bushwhackers matches that I see from this era. That being said, it still wasn’t something I’d classify as good. At least it wasn’t offensively bad. ¾*

Jim Neidhart vs. Nick Barberry
Surprisingly, there is no Owen Hart with Jim Neidhart tonight. Before the match, Neidhart shouts at the Spanish announce team for some reason. Poor guys never catch a break. Neidhart bullies and dominates the ham and egger here, finishing him with the camel clutch.

Winner: Jim Neidhart in 2:16
The usual squash from Jim Neidhart.

Overall: 2.5/10. It’s not a good thing when the best part of the show are the squash matches. The two actual competitive matches are pretty bad and the King’s Court is just Bob Backlund rambling for far too long. Not a good episode, but at least we got Royal Rumble news.

Raw History
Episode #92
December 26th, 1994 | Liberty Central in Liberty, New York

Here we go with the final Monday Night Raw of 1994. I can’t believe I’ve covered two full years already. Things start with Vince McMahon doing a voiceover hyping the Raw return of the Undertaker and Diesel being on the King’s Court. Shawn Michaels is Vince’s co-host.

British Bulldog vs. Tatanka w/ Ted Dibiase
Like a lot of WWF matches in this era, the babyface starts very hot and causes the heel to regroup. I feel like Tatanka’s heel turn made him give up. He’s packed on a fair amount of pounds in recent months. Tatanka gets a near fall just as we go to commercial. There goes that poor timing again. Bulldog gets two on a cross body and Tatanka kicks out so hard he sends him outside. You don’t see that happen to a powerhouse very often. Tatanka comes off the top with a chop but Bulldog hits him in the stomach and rallies. Dibiase pulls the top rope down, causing Bulldog to fall outside. Lex Luger runs out to check on Bulldog. A pissed Luger gets in and brawls with Tatanka, causing a DQ.

Double disqualification in 6:41
Not a bad match but it didn’t really ever get going. It was kind of just there and neither guy seemed to really bring their “A” or even “B” games. 

Todd Pettengill brings us the Royal Rumble Report. Six more participants have been added to the Royal Rumble match itself and they include Mabel, Mo, Bob Holly, the 1-2-3 Kid, the British Bulldog and Shawn Michaels. Two more matches are also added. Jeff Jarrett gets a shot at Razor Ramon’s Intercontinental Title and Undertaker gets to face IRS in what was most likely a dull affair.

Henry Godwin vs. Mike Khoury
Raw debut alert! It’s just Henry Godwin, but still. It seems like they were trying to really make Henry seem gross. He has stains all over his ripped shirt and he scratches his back on the entrance. I’m glad they went away from that a bit over time. Godwin dominates, just pounding on his opponent. HOG takes the win with the Slop Drop.

Winner: Henry Godwin in 3:46
Perfectly acceptable debut here. Henry Godwin got to have a dominating win and looked alright in doing so.

HAKUSHI IS COMING TO THE WWF! I loved his look. It is kind of funny how his hype video shows him wrestling in a WWF ring.

Jerry Lawler introduces his guest for the King’s Court, the WWF Champion Diesel. Lawler congratulates Diesel on his success and offers a handshake. Diesel squeezes his hand until Lawler begs for mercy. Lawler now runs down Diesel and puts over Shawn Michaels as the guy that knows Diesel well enough to beat him. He then says that Diesel bit off more than he can chew by offering an open challenge to Bret Hart. Diesel gets tired of this, steals Lawler’s crown and tosses him outside.

Footage is shown from Superstars, where the Heavenly Bodies beat the Bushwhackers to advance in the tournament.

Kwang w/ Harvey Wippleman vs. Rich Myers
While Kwang squashes Rich Myers, Howard Finkel appears on a split screen to apologize for pulling Harvey’s pants down last week. Kwang is just tossing Myers around. Tonight has not been the night for jobbers to get in offense. Kwang uses a spinning heel kick for the 1-2-3.

Winner: Kwang in 2:43
Typical Kwang squash. Nothing special.

We now devote some time to hype an upcoming boxing match. Vinny Pazienza talks while working out about an upcoming fight that I give no fucks about.


Backstage, Stephanie Waind and her weird face interviews Ted Dibiase. Lex Luger and British Bulldog challenged Bigelow and Tatanka. Dibiase is pissed, but accepts.

The Undertaker w/ Paul Bearer vs. The Brooklyn Brawler
It’s one of the most legendary Superstars in history and one of the most legendary jobbers in history. THE IRRESISTIBLE FORCE MEETS THE IMMOVABLE OBJECT! The Brawler charges but runs right into a big boot. Shawn Michaels does the weekly USA movie plug while Undertaker throws the Brawler around. We also get told that Jeff Jarrett will finally make his singing debut next Monday. Undertaker is tired of kicking ass and hits the Tombstone.

Winner: The Undertaker in 3:12
Completely one-sided, but it gets some cool points because Undertaker was a rare treat on Raw even then.

IRS shows up after the match with some druids. Nothing happens.

Overall: 4.5/10. Not the ideal way to end the year, but actually not a bad episode. While the Bulldog/Tatanka match wasn’t anything special, the squash matches did their job. Henry Godwin looked alright and the Undertaker is always cool to see. The King’s Court was kind of just there, but this episode actually kind of flew by.

As a special treat, here are my top ten matches in Raw history so far!

WWF Championship: Bret Hart (c) vs. 1-2-3 Kid – 7/11/94 - ****½
2 Out of 3 Falls: Doink vs. Marty Jannetty – 6/21/93 - ****
Loser Leaves WWF: Mr. Perfect vs. Ric Flair – 1/25/93 - ****
WWF Intercontinental Championship: Shawn Michaels (c) vs. Marty Jannetty – 5/17/93 - ***¾ 
Bret Hart and British Bulldog vs. Owen Hart and Jim Neidhart – 11/7/94 - ***½
Razor Ramon vs. Shawn Michaels – 8/1/94 - ***½
WWF Intercontinental Championship: Shawn Michaels (c) vs. Marty Jannetty – 7/19/93 - ***½
Doink vs. Mr. Perfect – 5/24/93 - ***½
WWF Championship: Bret Hart (c) vs. Fatu – 3/1/93 - ***½
WWF Championship: Yokozuna (c) vs. Macho Man – 2/28/94 - ***¼

Raw History
Episode #93
January 2nd, 1995 | Liberty Central in Liberty, New York

The first Raw of 1995 seems to have been recorded at the end of 1994. Jeff Jarrett cuts a promo about his singing debut. Gorilla Monsoon and Shawn Michaels are the hosts, standing in front of a horrid green screen.

Bam Bam Bigelow and Tatanka w/ Ted Dibiase vs. British Bulldog and Lex Luger
The tandem of Lex Luger and British Bulldog don’t quite have the “Allied Powers” name yet. The heels attack Luger as he enters the ring before Bulldog arrives. HBK correctly points out that Luger again looks like a moron. He has to be setting a record for that since his face turn. Bulldog makes the save and this breaks down into a standard tag match. Shawn Michaels actually says “you gotta wonder what Lex Luger would do if he couldn’t use the clothesline”, basically calling out the SCREAMING CLOTHESLINES like I have. Luger ends up taking the heat, while Tatanka applies the lazy bearhug. The heels cut the ring in half on him. Dueling tags to Bulldog and Tatanka, who have a better encounter here than their match last week. Because he’s on fire, Dibiase pulls Bulldog outside. This leads to a big brawl that results in a double countout.

Double countout in 8:44
About as basic and average as you can get. The things they did were solid in theory, but the execution was lacking, making for a match that I didn’t really enjoy. 

Todd Pettengill brings us the Royal Rumble Report. It doesn’t seem like he has anything new to tell us.

Duke Droese vs. Mike Bell
Gorilla Monsoon tells us that Duke Droese has entered himself into the Royal Rumble. Umm, does he have the power to do that? Also, he was announced weeks ago. Duke gets in almost all of the offense and wins with the Trash Compactor. We also find out that William Shatner will be on the second anniversary of Raw special next week.

Winner: Duke Droese in 1:35
They kept it short. That’s what I’m talking about.

Another Kama vignette airs. I’m sure he’s going to light the WWF on fire.

King’s Court time with Owen Hart. Jerry Lawler loves what Owen did to Bret at the Survivor Series to get the belt off of him. He even says that Stu and Helen may put him up for adoption. Owen laughs about it but then says that he’s going to do what Bret did, only better. He’s going to win the Tag Team, Intercontinental and WWF Titles, but he promises he won’t give them up and that he’ll retire as champ.

We find out that Owen Hart has been added to the Royal Rumble.

Next week, on Raw’s 2nd Anniversary, Owen Hart meets Razor Ramon in an Intercontinental Title match. Also, Harvey Wippleman takes on the Fink in a Tuxedo Match.

Jeff Jarrett w/ the Roadie vs. Buck Quartermaine
Jarrett hits all of the offense while HBK talks about partying with him. Before Jarrett applies the Figure Four, he sends Roadie to get the guitar. Quartermaine submits.

Winner: Jeff Jarrett in 2:43
This was just there. Nothing to write home about.

It’s time for Jeff Jarrett’s musical performance but he stalls through it. He has sound issues and spotlight issues, so he declines singing. Monsoon highlights this by asking “WHERE’S KEVIN DUNN?”

Gorilla Monsoon interviews SUPER DAVE, who is just gonna have an upcoming TV show. It’s just a plug.

Bam Bam Bigelow and Tatanka w/ Ted Dibiase vs. British Bulldog and Lex Luger
Since this match had the non-finish earlier, they’re finishing it now and we join it in progress. I wasn’t exactly clamoring for more. Shawn Michaels again destroys Luger on commentary, saying he’s been exposed for his lack of talent. He also throws in, “Luger’s bad, not good.” Wow. Luger is again taking the heat. Shawn says this match feels like it has been going all night. I mean, he’s not wrong. Hot tag to the Bulldog. DOUBLE NOGGIN KNOCKER! After some slams, Bulldog whips Tatanka into Bigelow, knocking him off the apron. Then Bulldog just covers him.

Winners: British Bulldog and Lex Luger in 4:59
Why didn’t they just do this earlier? Having it extend later into the show accomplished nothing. I’ll just include the earlier portion with this for an overall score that gets lowered by the dumb decision to split it. 

Overall: 2/10. The first Raw of 1995 doesn’t do much to improve on a very lackluster 1994. I’ll slightly excuse it since it was recorded in 1994. We’ll start officially getting into ’95 with next week’s second anniversary show. Anyway, this show featured a pretty bad marquee match and they basically did it twice, while the rest of the show was blah.