Arnold Furious: At the top of the show we get a pre-taped fight between Mr. Perfect and Shawn Michaels out on the New York street before the show. This includes a rare Raw appearance for Lord Alfred Hayes as the interviewer. We’re in Manhattan, New York. Hosts are Vince McMahon, Randy Savage and Bobby Heenan. The crowd is so loud they drown out the announcers at the top of the show. They have to shout into the microphones.
King of the Ring Qualifier
Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Typhoon
Raw is perfect for the King of the Ring qualifiers. It makes them more important and it makes the show more important. Plus, they won’t be jobber matches. Having said that, this should be a no-brainer, but King of the Ring booking hasn’t always made sense. Typhoon slams Bigelow, which impresses everyone. Bigelow goes for a receipt, but Fat Fred doesn’t jump for him and he barely hits it. Typhoon has no idea how to run a quick TV match. He just hasn’t got a clue. Everything he does involves rest holds. Bigelow hits a back suplex and Typhoon just lies there for a few seconds not selling and then pops back up. Urgh. Why did no-one not just show him the basics? Typhoon eats ring post and the crowd attempt to count him out. Gotta love New Yorkers. The crowd are pro-Bigelow, probably because he’s from Asbury Park. He’s a local guy. Bigelow goes to a chinlock and they even have a commercial break in this match. When we come back Bigelow hits a Samoan Drop(!) and finishes with the diving headbutt. Given Bigelow’s amazing displays of strength, this is one of Typhoon’s better singles matches.
Final Rating: *½
Video Control has another tape of The Smoking Gunns. This time riding horses and wearing 10 gallon hats because they’re cowboys dontcha know. They’re making their debut on WWF Mania at the weekend. All the commentators get distracted because the Raw girl is super-hot and she’s wearing a bikini. Yowser.
Yokozuna vs. PJ Walker
The future Aldo Montoya is once again on job duty. Yoko doesn’t waste any time as the buffet is still open. Pre Hulkbuster legdrop, buttalanche and the Banzai Drop finishes. Anytime when PJ Walker is lying on his back counting lights WHERE HE BELONGS, is ok by me.
Final Rating: ½*
Video Control takes us to the King of the Ring report. Gene Okerlund runs down the list of King of the Ring qualifiers including Bam Bam Bigelow. There are only three spots left. Doink vs. Mr. Perfect II is on Superstars, as is Tatanka vs. Giant Gonzalez.
Mr. Perfect vs. Iron Mike Sharpe
Savage and Heenan have a great bit about lumberjacks in Arizona. It’s the first time I’ve heard them run a back-and-forth. Normally Savage isn’t just on a different page to Heenan but also reading from a different book. Iron Mike Sharpe, the worst’s loudest jobber, roars around the ring taking a beating. “AAAAAAAAAARRRRRGGH”. He sounds like a race car. Perfect seems pleased that Sharpe takes bumps and they lay into each other with STIFF chops. It’s awesome. Sharpe sets too early on a backdrop and the Perfectplex finishes. That was great. Short, but great.
Final Rating: **¼
Mr. Hughes vs. The Cannonball Kid
Another super-hot Raw girl ahead of this match. The Raw girls and the fiery hot crowd were highlights of the early Raws. They were raucous. Hughes has Harvey Wippleman as his manager. Cannonball Kid is Sean Waltman’s second outing. Vince McMahon points out he was The Kamikaze Kid last week. Mr. Hughes was like a low rent Big Bossman. Very similar style but not as fast or talented. Waltman bumps around but Hughes ignores his strikes. Mainly because he doesn’t use any kicks. Kid runs head first into a big boot and gets a huge snap on the bump. Massive chokeslam finishes. About three months after this the result would go the other way and a year on, Kid losing would be unthinkable. Today’s jobbers are tomorrow’s superstars.
Final Rating: ½*
WWF Intercontinental Championship
Shawn Michaels (c) vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan
They set this up the previous week, with Shawn getting counted out to keep his title. It makes sense, unlike some other similar matches (ahem, Lumberjill Snow Bunnies match, ahem) that are gimmicky for the sake of it. Shawn is crying off with a knee injury so he doesn’t have to job… why does that sound familiar? Mr. Perfect attacks him and baits Shawn into showing his knee is fine. Shawn brings comical overselling into this match and flops around like a fish out of water. He clearly doesn’t like Duggan and tended to do ridiculous selling when faced with someone he wanted to make fun of. The New York crowd ride him for it. New York never really took to Shawn Michaels. Shawn brings the Flair flop just to illustrate how silly he’s behaving in this contest. The fans are getting rabid during the match and get a massive “Shawn is gay” chant going. Homophobia in New York? I refuse to believe it! Shawn tries to bail despite the lumberjacks and Perfect organises throwing him back in. Shawn waffles Hacksaw with his boot, which is the first offensive move he’s managed. Duggan injures his own knee to give himself a storyline. Shawn ignores it, just to show how very little he cares about Duggan. Instead he hooks a chinlock and sits in it. Shawn again oversells the Three Point Stance to the floor and the lumberjacks just stand around leaving him alone, clearly not understanding the job they have. Bigelow jumps on the apron and they miscue something or other. Yokozuna, who Duggan attacked pre-match, jumps Hacksaw and beats the crap out of him. Shawn pins with one foot but Mr. Perfect jumps in for the DQ instead. Even when Shawn was dogging it and hated his opponent, he was still entertaining. Despite these being bad Shawn Michaels matches, they’re two of the best singles matches from Jim Duggan’s WWF career. A sad indictment of his in-ring ability.
Final Rating: **½
THE RAW RECAP
Most Entertaining: Mr. Perfect. From throwing Shawn into a car windscreen to running the show during the main event to having a fantastic chop-fest with Iron Mike Sharpe, he was all over this episode.
Least Entertaining: Mr. Hughes. Waltman turned up to have a good time, Hughes turned up to get his shit in and go home. A depressing bout.
Quote of the Night: “I feel so sorry for him getting jobbed at WrestleMania” – Bobby Heenan of Yokozuna. Not a Hogan fan.
Match of the Night: Shawn Michaels vs. Jim Duggan
Summary: This was a pretty good Raw. Everything seemed to work. Even the Typhoon match was watchable, which is extremely rare for him. The Duggan matches aren’t the best showcases for Shawn Michaels’ abilities but it was bouts like these two that made the WWF notice how he could not only hang with main event talent (and main event style) but also improve upon it. Just another step on the Heartbreak Express tour ahead of his main event run from ’95 onwards.