James Dixon: We are taped from Poughkeepsie, immediately following last week’s superb show. Hopefully we will get more of the same tonight, though the line-up is significantly less inspiring.
WWF Intercontinental Championship
Shawn Michaels (c) vs. Kamala
UK readers may be familiar with this match, as it gets airtime on the Shawn Michaels – Hits From the Heartbreak Kid Silver Vision exclusive. Kamala is about the worst possible opponent to showcase Michaels that you could hope to find. Michaels is as reluctant to lock up with Kamala as I am to watch it, and he tricks the cartoon bear by suckering him into a test of strength and cheap shotting him. Kamala’s Ewok-like mannerisms go beyond the ridiculous, and this is a prime example of why circus sideshow acts should be kept away from the talented guys who sell tickets. Kamala’s offence is barely wrestling, and this is a terrible start to Raw. Kamala’s selling is akin to sketch show physical comedy, and that is not a compliment. Michaels’ infamous attitude problems rear their ugly head as he spits on Kamala, showing a complete disregard and lack of respect for his peer. Michaels figures the only thing he can do in the match is work a body part and sit in a hold, so he targets the leg for the majority of the contest. Kamala’s comeback offers little in the way of excitement, other than the amusing visual of referee Earl Hebner rolling around on his back to show Kamala which way around to go for the pin. Kamala being a child, is easily distracted and Diesel (as Shawn’s bodyguard is now known) standing on the apron is enough the throw off whatever “game plan” he might have had, and Michaels superkicks him in the back of the head to win it. Kamala attacks Michaels after the decision so Diesel gives him a beating. Please don’t let this lead to a rematch, or even worse, a Diesel-Kamala bout. Jesus, can you imagine how bad that would be!? This was a horrible, horrible match.
Final Rating: ½*
Hulk Hogan couldn’t slam Yokozuna, can you!? The “pride of America” is at stake!
Promo Time: Yokozuna & Mr. Fuji
Vince has to do most of this himself, spoon-feeding Fuji lines so that all he has to do is respond in the affirmative or negative. Fuji was dire at promos, and Yokozuna didn’t really speak at all, so this is a slog. Vince goes off on a passionate tirade about the tenacity and resilience of America. If business is down, he will always go the patriotic route. All of this is just an advertisement for the July 4th slam challenge. Come on Fuji, sweeten the deal! Big John Studd put $15,000 on the line and he was way less fat than Yoko. The champ does get a few words in, in a very thinly disguised American accent. I am amazed the fans didn’t see through his Japanese act much sooner.
Sports stars and the TV time-hogging Tatanka talk about what an opportunity it is to get the chance to slam Yoko. They have done a good job hyping this, but it was all a bit silly really. I guess it did, nearly, make a star out of Lex Luger, but they would have been better channelling their energy into finding fresh talent and creating matches that people wanted to see, rather than trying to spoon feed the audience Americana on a plate.
The Smoking Gunns vs. Iron Mike Sharpe & Barry Horowitz
The Gunns have been given the two top jobbers on the totem pole. Sharpe is a favourite in the History of Wrestling offices due to his hilarious excessively loud selling, and Horowitz was a long-time enhancement guy and a consistent one at that, so much so that he was actually given a small push in late 1995. I am a fan of Billy Gunn and enjoyed Bart Gunn’s work in the Brawl For All and later in AJPW, but I am not a fan of The Smoking Gunns tandem; they were over-pushed and tiring to watch. They were just another example of an American archetypical stereotype coming to life, there was no substance to them, they were just happy cowboys. Sharpe gets a beating and the people in the cheap seats can hear his peril, but then Barry Horowitz comes in and takes over on Bart, hitting a nice belly-to-belly into a bridge. The offence doesn’t last long, and Bart makes a “hot tag” to Billy, who cleans house. Jesus, did the Gunns really need to stick to formula in a TV squash match!? The Gunns win it after an ugly looking double team off the top. I still can’t believe they tried to throw a hot tag into a squash!
Final Rating: *¼
This show has really sucked so far, and the chances of it getting better take a nosedive because coming up is a Money Inc. interview… How can they go from such a wonderful episode last week to this!?
Promo Time: Money Inc
Vince mocks them for losing the tag belts, but IRS says they will win them back. They don’t, and in fact Money Inc. were no more by the time SummerSlam rolled around two months later. DiBiase talks about Razor Ramon (who IRS initially calls “Razor Jabroni”) and says what an idiot he is for putting $10k up against Kid. The crowd chants “Razor” and DiBiase says that 1-2-3 Kid was smart for taking the cash. What a strange promo; why would you have DiBiase endorse the babyface underdog and trash the heel? Well I know why they were trashing the heel, because this was the start of Razor’s babyface turn, with DiBiase offering Razor a job as his housemaid to really disparage him. Turning Razor was actually a smart move, because the company needed more top babyfaces.
Adam Bomb vs. B.J. Walker
No, that is not a typo, the future Justin Credible was announced as and had the graphic “B.J. Walker”! I am almost giddy. What exactly is a B.J. Walker? I guess it is some form of exotic prostitution for homosexual executives, who acquire fellatio on the move so they don’t have to stop and take time out of their busy days. I bet it is popular in New York. Adam Bomb is not an executive, nor to the best of my knowledge a homosexual, so he pounds Walker and finishes him off quickly with the powerbomb. Back to the drawing board, BJ, I am sure WWF creative can come up with a gimmick that doesn’t make you look ridiculous… Oh.
Final Rating: *
Bastion Booger vs. Crush
Oh my God, this is the type of match you would book if you were making a fantasy WrestleCrap card! The commentators put over how much Booger smells. He stunk more as Friar Ferguson, just in a whole different way. Heenan claims that Booger is Hillary Clinton’s half brother. This is woeful, with Booger’s punches barely connecting and Crush unable to do anything with him at all. Because he is dumb, Crush tries to do a backbody drop on the rotund gnome, and it ends up being the worst I have ever seen. Like, first day at training school levels of bad. Even Vince doesn’t try and cover for it; that’s how bad it is. Booger takes over on the outside after shaking off a Crush dropkick, but his heel moves consist of chokes and more weak punches, and then the bad wrestler staple: the bearhug. Vince gets so bored that he starts reeling of names of footballers who might be able to slam Yokozuna. Imagine if it had been Bill Fralic! He is a WrestleMania veteran, he could have gone on to work Yoko at SummerSlam. He probably would have had just as good a match as Luger did with him. In this abortion of a contest, Crush fails to learn from earlier that Booger can’t post for moves, and does a horrid suplex. Three slams finish this cleanly for Crush, and you can see how serious they were about doing anything with Booger, seeing as though he had barely been there for five minutes and he was already doing clean TV jobs. An absolutely rotten match and the WWF at its very worst.
Final Rating: -*
THE RAW RECAP
Most Entertaining: B.J. Walker. For being called goddamn Blowjob Walker! Yeah, it was slim pickings this week.
Least Entertaining: Bastion Booger. Yet another award unwanted award for Mike Shaw, but in truth there were plenty of candidates. In fact if I could, I would give the whole show this award.
Quote of the Night: “Shawn Michaels would rather wrestle an elephant than Kamala” – Randy Savage. He would probably get a better match out of one as well.
Match of the Night: Nope. Sorry, but I am refusing this time. The choices are an overly long horrid mismatch, a squash where the stars make themselves look unnecessarily weak, a 2-minute squash featuring a guy who has a crude innuendo for a name or a real shitfest featuring botch after botch in the “main event”. So no, no winner this week!
Summary: What a pathetically bad follow up to last week’s incredibly entertaining slice of Raw pie. This was the opposite of that show in every conceivable way, with ill-advised and dreadfully executed marquee matches, poor squash bouts and nothing of real note happening. A slog to sit through, and June, after a good run, ends in ignominy.