James Dixon: Hosted by Vince McMahon, Randy Savage and Rob Bartlett.
Tatanka vs. Damien Demento
Demento sure got a lot of airtime on Raw considering how un-over and ridiculous he was. Tatanka dominates him and bounces him around the ring to begin with, as Demento channels the spirit of The Ultimate Warrior by talking to his hands and looking up to the heavens. Vince promises “Typhoon against an evil clown as our feature attraction” which just fills me with glee, as you can imagine. How can you go from Ric Flair and Mr. Perfect rocking the show one week to Typhoon the next!? Demento uses a chinlock extensively when he is in control, which is really rather inexcusable in a sub 5-minute match. Now it is Tatanka’s turn to play Warrior, and he stops selling to dance around the ring, before hitting the End of Trail to win it cleanly. Demento was a waste of everyone’s time, just like that match.
Final Rating: ¾*
Headlock On Hunger
We see footage from MSG the previous Friday evening from the “Headlock on Hunger”. WWF Champion Bret Hart hands over a $100,000 check to the American Red Cross for the Somalia Relief Fund. Nothing more than self-congratulatory glad-handing, but I’m sure the cause was worthy.
Promo Time: Brutus Beefcake
Beefcake is making his first television appearance in over a year. He had been out of action since July 1990 after his horrific parasailing accident and was making a comeback. I didn’t actually realise just how long he was away from the ring. I mean, I knew when the accident was and when he came back, but it never really registered that it was three years. An awful lot has changed since Beefcake was last on the scene. His last pay-per-view event was WrestleMania VI, and from that card only eleven guys remain of the thirty-six who wrestled at the event, with a number of the promotion’s major players from the boom years having departed. The saddest was Andre the Giant, who actually passed away less than a week prior to this event. Andre had finally lost his battle with lifelong health problems, after having survived far beyond what was predicted by doctors. Beefcake announces that he is returning to the WWF, and Vince is a total buzz kill as he points out how dangerous it is because of the extent of his injuries. Beefcake pulls on the heartstrings and goes into a speech that wouldn’t be out of place in a women’s weekly magazine, about how his parents both died, his wife divorced him and his face was smashed into a million pieces. He says the accident might have destroyed his face but his ears were still working and he could still hear everything that was going on, and he heard the doctors saying he didn’t have much of a chance. He says when no-one else was there for him he reached out his hand looking for God and instead found Hulk Hogan. What a colossal letdown that must have been! That started pretty badly but once Beefcake started to open up, it became a really captivating promo and made me actually feel sympathy for the Brutus Beefcake character. This is the kind of shoot style interview that the WWF wanted in order to make Raw edgy and different from what it had been doing over the years, and this ticked all of the right boxes for me.
WrestleMania IX is coming to Las Vegas! Shame nothing resembling workrate is going to be there.
High Energy vs. Iron Mike Sharpe & Skull Von Krus
For those unaware, High Energy were Koko B. Ware and the ultra-vanilla Owen Hart. Vince dismisses Rob Bartlett’s shitty jokes, not for the first time this broadcast, as he makes some nonsensical comment about Sharpe. All of a sudden this one is over, with High Energy getting a quick squash win. Blink and you miss it.
Final Rating: ½*
Doink the Clown vs. Typhoon
Doink had amazing theme music. Typhoon did not, his just sounds like an unsettled belly. I have made my feelings on Typhoon very clear in the Complete Video Guide books and I don’t want to go into it again here. Doink outwrestles Typhoon with ease, taking him down with clever and logical holds, as the crowd chants for him. Good on you, New York. Rob Bartlett nonsensically declares: “I don’t think Doink wants to be a clown” and Savage cattily responds: “Bartlett’s doing a heck of a job!” Bartlett is as bad on commentary as Typhoon is in the ring, and he really sucks the life out of Vince and Savage, who both just sound so sick of him. It is like every time he talks they just want to scream: “SHUT UP YOU CLUELESS UNFUNNY TOSSER” but obviously can’t. I bet Vince felt like the king of the world the day he fired him. Typhoon at one point decides that he doesn’t want to sell anymore, but as anyone familiar with him will be aware the difference between him selling and not is minimal, just an extra shake of the head. Doink schools him some more and wins with a handful of tights. We are certainly flying through the matches tonight aren’t we? Doink was great here, Typhoon was Typhoon.
Final Rating: ¾*
A commercial airs showing some kids waking up their parents to watch WWF Mania. This results in the joy of Todd Pettengill talking, hyping an appearance from Giant Gonzalez no less!
This was back when the WWF actually acknowledged the passing of its former superstars, and we get a ten bell salute and classy photo montage for Andre the Giant. Creed didn’t form until 1995, so we are saved from listening to them warble movingly over video highlights of his career.
“Give yourself the trots, buy ICOPRO!” Is what the commercial might have said.
Yokozuna vs. Bobby DeVito
Jim Duggan joins us via telephone, and says he is getting all fired up watching “that Yoka-zuma” in the ring. Vince corrects him and my favourite xenophobe delivers his usual racism in response: “whatever, some Japanese name”. Duggan talks over the whole match, which is a 2-minute squash.
Final Rating: ¼*
Promo Time: Money Inc.
At least IRS is not wrestling. They mock Beefcake’s promo from earlier in the show and Ted DiBiase challenges Beefcake to a match next week. Jimmy Hart tries to talk him out of it, worried about him getting hurt and ruining their tag title reign. Money Inc. shit on that and allude to what they might do to Beefcake’s face.
Lex Luger vs. Jason Knight
This is Luger’s in-ring TV debut for the WWF, though his first appearance for them was back at WrestleMania VIII via video feed, when he was a member of the WBF. He gets a massive pop from the New York crowd when he comes out. Michael Cole would say we were in “bizarro world”. Luger gets pissed off before the match because the Raw ring girl is fat and ugly. Oh, Vince.
We get an interlude to watch Mr. Perfect playing football. He throws a pass to himself and catches it. Because he is perfect.
Luger never had a chance of getting over properly with the silly frilly attire he had, it was just not fitting at all. He was definitely better as a heel because of his smarmy face and arrogant attitude, and also the fact that he was among the worst sellers in history. He just used to lay there and take it. Luger dominates proceedings as expected and quickly finishes Knight off with the loaded forearm of doom. Because Luger is a dick, he gives Knight a giant swing afterwards, just for shits and giggles.
Final Rating: ½*
“Next week you will not see us on Monday Night Raw, you’re gonna see the DOG SHOW” says Vince as he rolls his eyes. Bartlett says they just saw the dog show, and for once he is right, because that is exactly what this week’s edition was; a dog.
THE RAW RECAP
Most Entertaining: Brutus Beefcake. I know, I am stunned as well, but his promo was the highlight of the show.
Least Entertaining: Typhoon. No explanation needed.
Quote of the Night: “Yes Vince it is, you could say it could be a risk involvement here” – Brutus Beefcake after Vince points out it may be risky coming back. What does that even mean!?
Match of the Night: Tatanka vs. Damien Demento. This gets the nod ahead of the Doink match because I can’t bring myself to ever give this award to something featuring Typhoon. The fact it gets mentioned at all when it didn’t even reach * is really rather disgraceful.
Summary: What the hell was this? Furious rounds off January’s Raws with 40-minutes of wrestling, half of which was the incredible Flair-Perfect retirement match, and yet I get five squash matches totalling less than 15-minutes, none of which even break *. When the highlight of the show is a Beefcake promo, you know you have just suffered through a nightmare.