James Dixon: No Raw last week due to the USA Network’s interminable dog show, though this was taped the same night as the previous episode. Vince is joined by Randy Savage and “The Imbecile” otherwise known as Rob Bartlett.
The Steiner Brothers vs. Glen Ruth & Bobby Who
Bobby who? No, Bobby Who! So THAT is where Vince got the idea for the ‘Who?’ character played by Jim Neidhart. The Steiners murdering jobbers to start is alright with me. Scott kills he future Headbanger Thrasher with a dragon suplex (!), which pops the hell out of the smart crowd. Bobby Who doesn’t fare much better against Rick Steiner, and gets nailed with a belly-to-belly suplex, as Randy Savage struggles to get his microphone working. The Steiners are having a whale of a time out there. Who tries some punches but gets potatoed to holy hell by Rick in return, and a tiger bomb follows from Scott. The top rope double bulldog finishes things to a great reaction from the crowd. The Steiners were the kings of squash matches. They killed Ruth and Who, but did it in a really entertaining way and I loved it.
Final Rating: **
Mene Gene hypes WrestleMania and, naturally, shills a premium rate hotline number. Scheming swine.
Yokozuna vs. Ross Greenberg
Savage’s microphone still doesn’t work, and he is getting very pissed off about it: “this microphone is a major problem!” Vince responds by saying “I would not want to be the producer of this show”. Good one, Vince. The stupid thing is, we can still hear Savage! He just sounds like he is through a strange filter. Why doesn’t he just commentate anyway? Hearing Savage losing it is very entertaining though, but a very strange angle to run, because it is surely a work. Savage robs Bartlett of his mic, to the delight of everyone watching, and he sounds… exactly the same. Oh yeah the match? Squash. Obviously.
Final Rating: ¼*
Lord Alfred Hayes presents a special report about Jim Duggan knocking Yokozuna off his feet on Superstars in a special “Knockdown Challenge”. Yoko blinds Duggan with salt and then squashes him with a bunch of Banzai Drops. This is shown in clipped form, so if you want to watch the full segment, you will have to buy the dreadful Coliseum release WWF Superstars The Music Video. That tape got a rating of 4 out of 100 in Volume #2 of the Complete WWF Video Guide. I wouldn’t bother.
Vince tells us how the majority of his roster are pussies and scared of Giant Gonzalez, and have said that if he enters the battle royal later on in the show, they will bail. Well, what a bunch of tough guys! We cut to footage of Gonzalez destroying jobbers, including Louie Spicoli, as apparent justification for the roster being scared of him.
I have never seen a battle royal so lacking in star power. Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon are in there, but so are the likes of Skinner, Kim Chee, Damien Demento and Mike Sharpe. Just horrid! We end up with Razor, Shawn, Tatanka and Tito Santana as the final four, though it couldn’t realistically have been anyone else. Things pick up significantly, as these four are all pretty good to great, well, except Tatanka. Michaels is the star of the show, throwing himself around as if he is ribbing everyone by overselling to the max. Seriously, Mr. Perfect would be damn proud! Sadly he gets eliminated. Pretty soon after that, Giant Gonzalez turns up and beats the shit out of Tatanka and Santana, who make him look great. He eliminates both guys and Razor is the only one left, so he wins by default. Awful until the very end, then it picked up slightly.
Final Rating: *
Brutus Beefcake vs. Ted DiBiase
This is Bruti’s first match is nearly three years, and this is actually a rematch from WrestleMania V. Savage says he is worried about the “facial type situation” of Brutus. Hey, after his promo last week, so am I! Every attempted punch or shot in the direction of Brutus’ face has an extra level of importance and pertinence. Beefcake looks exactly the same from an in-ring standpoint as he did three years ago, but take that comment to mean what you will. DiBiase keeps trying to go for the face, which is logical, but Brutus thwarts all attempts and keeps working a headlock. There has been barely any actual action in the match to be honest, and it only serves to set up the post match angle. IRS comes down and nails Brutus in the back with his briefcase for the DQ, and Money Inc. stomp the hell out of him. Then in a famous angle, IRS nails Beefcake with the steel briefcase in his reconstructed face, after first having pushed a protesting Jimmy Hart out of the way. It is the only memorable and “good” thing that IRS was ever involved in. Brutus sells it really well, and the commentary is pretty good on this too. They cut to a shot of the ring covered in what is supposed to be Brutus’ blood, though there was no bladejob here, this time the blood is fake for once. It is just a shame the excellent angle resulted in a pretty worthless match at WrestleMania.
Final Rating: ¾*
After the commercial break, Vince gives us an update on Beefcake and lets us know that he is ok. To me, that is a bit of a silly thing to do, because it didn’t give the viewer much incentive to tune in the following week. They should have done it the way they did the Shawn Michaels “collapse” angle two-and-a-half years later, and just ended the show with everything up in the air. It would have been far more effective to end the show on a shot of the blood soaked ring than to say “Beefcake is standing up and he is fine”. Fans would more likely have been talking about the angle if they hadn’t blown their recovery load right away on it. At the end of the show, Vince says that “Hulk Hogan might show up next week”. You would think they would hype it a little better than that, considering their biggest star of all time (at that point) was making his first television appearance in a year. Can you imagine them ever doing that in WWE now if a megastar returned? “Oh by the way, next week Steve Austin is coming out of retirement to wrestle on Raw. Goodnight!” As Gorilla Monsoon would say: highly unlikely.
THE RAW RECAP
Most Entertaining: The Steiners. I nearly gave it to Brutus for the second week running, but The Steiners were just SO fun to watch when they murderized jobbers, that they take the prize.
Least Entertaining: Yokozuna. His squash matches are all identical and boring.
Quote of the Night: “Somebody give me a mic or I will tip the ring over!” – Randy Savage
Match of the Night: The Steiners vs. Glen Ruth & Bobby Who
Summary: Certainly an improvement on the nightmare that we suffered last week, but there was still very little in the way of decent in-ring work to get excited about. The Steiners brought some entertainment at the start and the Beefcake angle was really rather excellent too, but the stuff in between was entirely missable. Better, but far from what you would call good.