Arnold Furious: We’re in Manhattan, New York. Hosts are Vince McMahon, Randy Savage and Bobby Heenan.
Yokozuna (c) vs. Crush
I appreciate them having a genuine WWF title bout on Raw, but Crush is bloody awful. The only guy I can think of who was less deserving of their main event push from this era is Yokozuna. You have to remember coming into this match that the WWF was hyping Raw as a show where anything could happen but more than that; heels were often transitional champions in the WWF. The fans sense this might be something special and kick off the incredible atmosphere with an impromptu singing of the US National Anthem. Crush gets the better of the early going to further illustrate the possibility of a title change, albeit via a traditional opening shine. Crush’s big issue is an inability to get Yoko off his feet. It’s hard to pin a guy if you can’t even get him on the mat. Yoko’s first move is a chop to the throat that knocks Crush down. That’s what he’s up against. Almost every Yoko strike knocks Crush down. To look at them both, with no other knowledge, it’d be impossible to tell who was the unbeatable champ. It’s just how the match is booked. But then Crush, as a character, never looked capable of a big win. He was too slow and lacking in the aggression department. Yoko goes to the nerve hold to officially kill the match dead. The patriotic crowd goes from rabid to bored in around 2-minutes. Way to go, Yoko, I can see why you’re the champ! It doesn’t help that Crush is far too stupid to understand the lack of crowd reaction and how he should respond. He just takes his heat like a little blonde Hawaiian bitch. Crush’s comeback surrounds taking Yoko off his feet, which he eventually does with a clothesline. Talk about building up to nothing. Fuji whacks Crush with the Japanese flag to turn the tide. Hulkbuster should finish it but Yoko spends ages standing around posing and gesturing for the Banzai Drop. “What’s he gonna do now?” – Vince. Well, shit Vince, I guess he’s going to hit his finisher. So yeah, Banzai Drop. No title for Crush. The match was dull, thanks to both guys being dull, and without heat. Considering how fanatical the crowd was to begin with, that’s on the wrestlers.
Final Rating: ¾*
Post Match: Yoko continues the abuse with a few more Banzai Drops. Tatanka runs out to try and save but gets knocked out with one punch. The locker room clears out and Yoko levels all the jobbers. Randy Savage can’t take it anymore and drags Crush away to save him from a fifth Banzai Drop. Crush has been crushed. Heenan blames Lex Luger for all of this as he’s upset the champion. Crush does a stretcher job to sell the beatdown. “It could be worse, it could be me” – Bobby Heenan. I like that they sold Crush out, a guy who wasn’t over and wasn’t talented but had been pushed hard, to get over Yoko’s domination. A smart booking decision. Crush would disappear for 3-months to sell the post match.
The Headshrinkers vs. Aaron Ferguson & PJ Walker
Nice to see PJ has regained his P. I couldn’t have handled a BJ during the show. Ferguson looks inexperienced and runs badly into the ropes. The Headshrinkers take it out on PJ, throwing him into the air and he LANDS ON HIS HEAD. Samu has sympathy for the poor jobber and KILLS him with a lariat. That’s how they fix broken necks in Samoa. It’s a cultural misunderstanding. The Headshrinkers roll his carcass into the corner so they can kill Ferguson too. Heenan’s assertion that Walker could now star in Weekend at Bernies III makes me laugh. He might actually be dead. Aldo Montoya is just a clone. Ferguson’s awful 90s haircut (all shaved up the sides) gets driven into the mat a few times before Fatu finishes with the Superfly Splash. The Headshrinkers were up there with The Steiners when it came to killing jobbers. They nearly murdered PJ Walker. Anyone who considers killing that piece of shit is ok by me.
Final Rating: **
Tatanka vs. The Brooklyn Brawler
Steve Lombardi, ladies and gentlemen; career jobber. However he’s had a job with the WWF since 1983 and might be the longest serving guy in the company whose surname isn’t McMahon. Sure, he’s counted more ceiling tiles than most but staying in the WWF for that long is almost impossible (some 12 years longer than HHH). Tatanka steamrollers the Brawler, takes his arm and controls the match. Brawler actually gets a heat segment and has Tatanka in trouble with a neckbreaker. He doesn’t bother pinning and instead chokes Tatanka with his shirt. Tatanka should be embarrassed for giving over a huge chunk of the match to a scrub like Lombardi. It doesn’t help that they sit in a chinlock. Eventually Tatanka starts no selling, does the stupid Injun dance and finishes with the Papoose-to-Go. Incredibly boring match up. A void in the middle of the show.
Final Rating: ¼*
Mr. Hughes vs. Tony DeVito
Hughes had stolen the urn from the Undertaker and he parades that here. DeVito is the future ECW star minus all his future mannerisms and haircut. Tony tries his best to get over Hughes’ plodding offence. He takes a huge back bump off a punch. When you’re putting WAY more effort into the sell than the other guy is putting into the punch, you’re the star. Mr. Hughes was almost unbearably lazy during his 1993 run. The WWF had him back twice, because he’s big and muscular, but he didn’t put any effort in then either. Some guys bury themselves. DeVito runs into the Bossman slam and that’s all she wrote. If it had been a lesser jobber this would have been DUD or worse.
Final Rating: ¼*
Video Control takes us to the SummerSlam Report with Mean Gene. Bret-Lawler is the biggest match signed so far. Okerlund references the forthcoming Lex Express. Not much of a report as the card is in its infancy. Vince throws us to another Men on a Mission promo after that. They really try to push the “street” aspect of Men on a Mission by having Oscar rap, badly I might add, in front of a green screen where the WWF shot footage in “the hood”. How did this embarrassment ever make it past quality control? Did no one think “hey, this Oscar guy looks like an idiot and can’t rap for shit?”
Adam Bomb vs. Scott Amanti
I’m really not sure what Adam Bomb and Johnny Polo have in common. Couldn’t Polo have managed some preppy guy instead? Amanti is one of the skinnier jobbers, which serves to demonstrate just how large Adam Bomb is. Amanti can take a decent bump too. Bomb throws him across the ring with an enormous biel before switching to a stomach claw. Bomb realises that sucks and throws Amanti out of the ring instead. Another big throw on the floor amuses Johnny Polo. Diving clothesline and the powerbomb finishes. Like James, I’m confused as to why Adam Bomb never got a big push. He had the look, the size and the moves to get over. He was a better guy than Crush who was pushed ahead of him.
Final Rating: *
THE RAW RECAP
Most Entertaining: The Headshrinkers. In a poor weak they were outstanding at dishing out abuse.
Least Entertaining: Mr. Hughes. Another unspeakably boring performance from him.
Quote of the Night: “Oh, say can you see…” – New York starts an impromptu singing of the National Anthem, which even as a Brit gave me chills.
Match of the Night: The Headshrinkers vs. PJ Walker & Aaron Ferguson. A squash but a hugely entertaining one.
Summary: Not one of the best Raw episodes from 1993. You had four jobber matches to back up a hugely underwhelming WWF title match. Crush was probably the wrong guy to get anything over let alone an injury angle or a title opportunity. He looked ill at ease in a big match and Yoko was in no position to carry him. The match ended up killing one of the hottest wrestling crowds I’ve ever seen. They went from baying for blood to hoping for anything in the space of about five minutes. Once gone they never came back. The rest of the show didn’t do anything for them, or me, as it was just squashes. This one is a definite pass unless you really hate PJ Walker, like I do, then watch it because he gets his ass kicked.