Arnold Furious: We’re in Manhattan, New York. Hosts are Vince McMahon, Randy Savage and Bobby Heenan. Savage is warned by Doink to stay out of his match tonight. Vince points out Stu and Helen Hart in attendance.
Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Bret Hart
This is a re-match of the King of the Ring final. They also wrestled around the horn so should be able to have a good match in their sleep. No opening shine for Bret as Bigelow just hammers him out of the gate. Bret comes firing back with punches. Bret’s punches were hugely underrated. He always threw a great one, but because he was so technically skilled people forget about it. Throwing a solid worked punch is one of the keys to being a good worker. Or if you can’t punch then sub it for something, like Kid and his kicks. Bigelow takes over again and the pacing slows down. He’s not giving Bret as much here as at King of the Ring or even against Jannetty on Raw. Bigelow definitely had degrees of caring. Not that Bret didn’t. There are very few wrestlers who gave it 100% all the time. Bigelow is at his best in this one when he’s taking bumps. He seems eager to prove he’s capable of hanging with Bret in that respect. Even when Bigelow goofs and lands his dropkick low, around the gut, Bret still has the perfect sell for it. It’s a sell-off. Bigelow, unlike Shawn last week, works a chinlock during the ad break. Bret comes back with punches, which he’s heavily favoured in this bout. Was he out to prove he could work “Main Event Style”? Bigelow goes along with it until Bret suckers him into the Princess Bride Sleeper, with Bigelow escaping by running Bret’s face into the top buckle. Bret comes back again with a bulldog, which, sleeper aside, might be his first wrestling hold tonight. He goes for the Sharpshooter but out comes Jerry Lawler to get words with Stu and Helen Hart. Stu’s mumbling is terrific. It’s almost a rib. “Where were you-ah, when he-ah won the King O’ the Ring”. “Why don’t you put your false teeth in backwards and eat yourself to death” – Lawler. Helen’s retort is telling him to shut up and wrestle. While all of this is going on, Bigelow puts a beating on a distracted Bret. Bigelow looks pissed off to be considered secondary to Lawler. Jerry continues the abuse while the guys in the ring suffer two major miscues. It must be very distracting. Bret gets sick of it and bails after a DDT, getting counted out in the process. The match was ok but took a back seat to Lawler’s antics in the crowd, which begs the question; if they knew Lawler would interfere why run the match for 20-minutes beforehand?
Final Rating: **¾
Video Control takes us to the SummerSlam Report. Okerlund’s big news is that Lex Luger is getting his title shot at Yokozuna under the condition that Luger must wear padding on his steel forearm. Taker-Gonzalez is now a “Rest in Peace” match, which only Taker knows the rules of. That rather skews it in his favour don’t you think?
Mr. Hughes vs. Russ Greenberg
Greenberg has one of the better looks in the jobber brigade, even if he’s a bit camp. He’s a better talent than Mr. Hughes anyway. Quite why the WWF keeps insisting on sticking him on Raw is anybody’s guess. Punishment for something I did in a previous life, would be my guess. The only fun I have during this one is watching drunk New Yorkers dancing to chants of “Und-er-tay-ker”. Hughes plods through his moves at quarter speed and should finish with a powerbomb because it’s a bloody finisher, but he doesn’t even pin, which makes me angry. Greenberg runs into the Bossman slam moments later for the finish.
Final Rating: ½*
The Smoking Gunns vs. Dwayne Gill & Glen Ruth
The Gunns get fed another jobber team after having fun demolishing the last pair of scrubs (I’m thinking 17th May – Ruth & Vadja). Gill and Ruth is an all-star jobber team. Often the best jobbers in their given tag teams. The Gunns double team Ruth while Savage cryptically describes them as “real pistols”. Bart works a little stiff and delivers a cracking knee drop. It’s in slow motion but the accuracy is a thing of beauty. Glen Ruth’s forehead does not like it. Heenan refers to him “Dr. Ruth’s punk kid”. Ruth gets backdropped into the piledriver, which confirms they intended to do that last time, or perhaps they just switched it because it killed the last time out. Bart takes it a lot slower as to not murder his opponent this week.
Final Rating: *
Interview Time: this is pre-recorded as Vince interviews Lex Luger earlier today. He talks about how “all this began” here in New York although his grass roots campaign has lasted barely a month. Luger claims the arm pad is fine, he has no beef with that stipulation. Vince says he’d like to ask some tough questions in the coming weeks. Hmm, like why did you suddenly stop being a narcissist jerk and come out waving the US flag overnight? He promises the Lex Express will continue to roll. Softball stuff from Vince and Luger isn’t convincing as a babyface.
Doink the Clown vs. Phil Apollo
The portly Apollo shouldn’t put up much resistance. He looks like a short Don Muraco. Superfan Vladimir gets camera time to point out Doink is “number one”. I’ve seen Vladimir a lot at these Manhattan tapings. Doink takes Apollo down and wrestles the hell out of him. “There’s nothing funny about Doink. He’s an evil, evil, evil man. Evil clown” – Vince McMahon. He then, without hesitating, points out he’ll be quizzing Lex Luger about steroids in the coming weeks. Holy shit! Really? I’d love to see him on a lie detector for that interview. Hell, put both of them on lie detectors. That’d make for some sweaty TV. Doink finishes with the Whoopie Cushion before turning to the “Macho Boy”. Doink’s “Oh Yeah” is superb. He challenges Savage to get in the ring one-on-one next week. Another Doink appears in the ring and a third one in the stands. All three laugh us off the air.
Final Rating: *
THE RAW RECAP
Most Entertaining: Doink. Had fun with his squash but really owned on the mic afterwards.
Least Entertaining: Mr. Hughes. I’m really struggling to find anything to say about his matches now, even negative things.
Quote of the Night: “That gives a whole new meaning to the word headbutt” – Bobby Heenan after Bret Hart butts Bigelow in the lower back area.
Match of the Night: Bret Hart vs. Bam Bam Bigelow
Summary: This was a nothing show. It helped to set up Doink-Savage next week but if Repo-Savage is anything to go by that’s not a positive. Doink was on a roll in 1993 and got rewarded for it by wrestling Bret Hart at SummerSlam. The match wasn’t up to much and the WWF seemed to go cool on the character afterwards. Half of this entire show was Bret-Bigelow, which merely served to set up Bret-Lawler, and took 25-minutes to do so.