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James Dixon: We start backstage with The Beverly Brothers talking tactics with Money Inc. about wrestling The Steiner Brothers. The Beverlys lost every time they faced them, so Money Inc. won’t get much use out of them. We are back at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, NY, making this only the second ever Raw not to come from the Manhattan Center. The crowd is a respectable 3500, though most of the tickets were freebies owing to the weakened card last time the WWF ran Raw here, caused by the massive east coast blizzard. The WWF gets a bad rap at times, but it does take care of its fans when things like that happen. Vince McMahon and Randy Savage are once again joined by the unbearable Rob Bartlett, who must have been spotted a few bucks from someone to escape Vegas. Shame. Savage hypes the debut of Friar Ferguson. Wow, he is sure to shift some tickets! More on him later.
IRS vs. Scott Steiner
What happened to last week’s advertised Money Inc. vs. Bushwhackers match? Oh, wait a minute… WHO CARES!? With advice on what not to do fresh in his mind, co-holder of the tag titles IRS comes up against Scott Steiner. These two had a few singles matches around the shoe, and I can only assume Scotty was given singles bouts as an assessment of sorts with view to pushing him solo at some point. Furious and I have mentioned before that Scott Steiner would have been a superb addition to the singles ranks in 1993, and prospective matches against Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels and Mr. Perfect are positively mouth-watering. Obviously, Scott did go onto have significant success as a singles act in the late 90s and beyond, though he worked a very different style and had an entirely different look by then. Savage helpfully offers that “there are no tag ropes”. Talk about stating the bleeding obvious. IRS gets a brief foothold in the match with an enzuigiri, which is possibly the biggest high spot I have ever seen him hit. Steiner has no interest in selling for long, and fires back with a powerslam. I am curious to see if IRS will take some of Scott’s bigger and more dangerous moves. Steiner continues to force IRS into working an entertaining match, by bumping him around with tackles and clotheslines, taking him right out of his usual rest hold comfort zone. Steiner has pretty much dominated this match from the get go, with IRS having no answer for his style. IRS goes to the cheap heat, using a thumb to the eyes and dumping him outside where Ted DiBiase gives him a clothesline. Back from commercial break and IRS hits a piledriver for a two count, and then goes to his most favourite move in the world; the chinlock. It is a shame, because prior to that this had been very watchable and entertaining. Steiner refuses to be dragged to IRS’s level and continues to fire out of the holds, then scouts a rare IRS foray to the top with a boot in the mush. That signals the start of Scott’s comeback, and he goes to town on IRS with a back elbow, ten punch and a tie-assisted clothesline on the ropes. The double underhook suplex has it won, but DiBiase runs in and causes the DQ. The Steiners get on top in the subsequent post-match brawl, until the Beverly Brothers come out to save Money Inc. This backfires, with the Beverlys inadvertently nailing DiBiase with a double clothesline, and dissension ensues. They have a big stare-down and then the Beverlys jump IRS, and argue some more with DiBiase. Heel vs. heel in 1993 WWF! Fun to see actually. This was a very good opener with a strong angle following it, and the crowd was molten throughout. They sure loved the WWF in Poughkeepsie.
Final Rating: **¾
Vince shills the WrestleMania replay again, saying some have called it the greatest in history. When the claims become so outlandish, it makes you look ridiculous, Vince.
Tatanka vs. Von Krus
And now with the competitive match out of the way, it is back to the squashes. Rob Bartlett says he is watching the ‘Mania replay with a friend who doesn’t know it’s not live, and he is going to predict all of the match results. Savage tells him he will still get them wrong. Boy, Savage sure didn’t like Bartlett, and who can blame him? This is all Tatanka of course, and even the random appearance of Doink in the aisle doesn’t throw him off his game plan. Von Krus manages a move! Tatanka only allows it so he can make his dancing comeback, this time made more entertaining by Von Krus camply dancing along with him in “fear” at the prospect of what is to come. Kudos sir, that made me chuckle. The usual finishes for Tatanka, who remains undefeated. Fun enough little TV squash.
Final Rating: *½
And now for a special WrestleMania Report with Sean Mooney, who SHILLS THE REPLAY. Remember, don’t forget to BUY THE REPLAY. Mooney follows the McMahon directive of referring to the show as the greatest in history and then runs down what happened on the card. Why do I need to see the replay if you have just given away the results!? Little details like that don’t matter, the only important thing is that you CONTACT YOUR CABLE SYSTEM IMMEDIATELY and ORDER THE REPLAY.
Promo Time: Luna Vachon
The gum chewing Rob Bartlett interviews WWF newcomer Luna Vachon. If you have never seen Luna before, picture any current WWE Diva and then imagine if everything about them was completely opposite. Luna is frightening, genuinely frightening. Her head is half shaven, she has crazy vein face paint on one side of her head and she talks like a possessed Linda Blair in The Exorcist. It is hard to decipher exactly what Luna is saying, because her promo style is akin to The Ultimate Warrior. The gist is, Luna has a problem with Sherri, who just happens to be here. She comes out and they go at it, with Sherri kicking Luna in the face and giving her a suplex on the outside of the ring! Luna responds by nailing her in the throat with a microphone, as the inept Rob Bartlett tries to split them up. He fails, and Sherri and Luna start to rip each other’s clothes off, with Sherri’s ample waps fully on display, and Luna’s thong covered ass exposed as well. Vince’s reaction is priceless: “Uh oh! Oh no! Oh NO!”. Savage’s response to that is even better: “This is kind of exciting!” After Luna gets carried away by an official, Randy Savage attempts to interview Sherri, but Luna runs back down and attacks her again. They hold absolutely nothing back as they brawl around ringside, laying into each other with vicious shots, before Pat Patterson comes out with some other suits and breaks things up. Sherri throws out a challenge to Luna when things calm down, and shouts “Oh yeah!” in homage to Savage. Just because Sherri is babyface now, I don’t think Savage should be so accepting of her after what she did to him back at WrestleMania VII, but it was two years prior and things like that get forgotten about or ignored in the WWF. That is a minor personal niggle though, and doesn’t detract from what was a very entertaining, vicious and raunchy brawl between two of the finest North American female competitors the WWF has ever had. It is almost a shame the feud didn’t end up going anywhere, because it was intense and the crowd was into it. It goes without saying that this was better than anything the WWE Divas have ever done.
Papa Shango vs. Scott Taylor
The future Scotty 2 Hotty does job boy duty again, with his dropkicks not even flinching Shango. I have watched countless Shango matches over the course of chronicling the history of the WWF, and I couldn’t tell you more than two moves that he has, and one of them is a punch. Mid-match, Bartlett returns to the ring with a ripped shirt and busted up face, supposedly from the catfight that just occurred. He passes out at ringside and Savage slaps him to revive him. In the ring, Shango goes over with the shoulderbreaker. Once again he managed to make a showcase of his own moves completely dull.
Final Rating: ½*
Friar Ferguson vs. Chris Duffy
This is the match you have all been waiting for, right? Ferguson is making his debut here, and his gimmick is a goofy priest. Remember, it is 1993 and everyone has to have an alternative occupation in the WWF. The man behind the hood is Stampede Wrestling mainstay Mike Shaw, who had a series of decent matches with Owen Hart up in Calgary. He would go onto become the big bulbous slob known as Bastion Booger soon after this, when the religious gimmick invariably failed after a couple of appearances. In fact, I am pretty sure this was the only TV match for Shaw with this moniker. Ferguson was initially supposed to be a more vicious character, but here he is babyface. Sort of. The crowd don’t respond at all, because wrestling and religion just don’t mix. Vince doesn’t seem to agree, and makes reference to him being managed by God. Ok then. Ferguson is a total mess, weighing in at around 400lbs and working in a robe and barefoot. His offence is piss weak and almost comically bad. He tries to throw in character nuances but is clearly uncomfortable in the cartoonish role, and instead opts to quite bizarrely expose his legs and do a wobbly knees dance. Is it any wonder this didn’t get over? Ferguson has the match won but opts not to finish it, instead dragging it out pointlessly for another few minutes. It is so, so bad. Duffy goes for a sunset flip, but Ferguson does another dance and sits on him for the win. I just checked the time and this only went 4-minutes! Jesus, it felt like at least double that. Horrendous.
Final Rating: DUD
Remember folks, WrestleMania IX has been hailed as the greatest show of all time. DON’T MISS THE REPLAY TONIGHT AFTER RAW!
Money Inc. accept the Beverly Brothers’ challenge to a title match next week on Raw. That should be pretty good actually, certainly unique anyway. The Beverlys jump Money Inc. as we go off the air. Remember folks, BUY THE WRESTLEMANIA REPLAY.
THE RAW RECAP
Most Entertaining: Scott Steiner. Again. Anyone who can get nearly *** out of IRS deserves significant plaudits. Sherri and Luna deserve recognition too, for their excellent, intense brawl.
Least Entertaining: Friar Ferguson. What were the WWF thinking!? A fat dancing monk who wrestles, really?
Quote of the Night: “Maybe something is wrong with his microphone, I think it works” – Randy Savage about Rob Bartlett. The Macho Man did not like that guy!
Match of the Night: Scott Steiner vs. IRS. It is a good show, yet IRS is in the MOTN. What was going on!? Oh yeah, right, Scott Steiner was seven shades of awesome.
Summary: Raw bounces back from last week’s catastrophe with a fun little show that flies along at pace. Things fell apart a bit towards the end with the over-shilling of the ‘Mania replay and the dire Friar Ferguson debut, but the stuff early on was really good. The WWF should have done Raw at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center every week, because the crowd there was receptive and loud for everything. Well, except Ferguson.