Arnold Furious: We’re in Bushkill, Pennsylvania. Hosts are Vince McMahon, Bobby Heenan and a returning Randy Savage. They open by shilling Ludvig Borga vs. Scott Steiner as Borga looks to eliminate another All American from Survivor Series. Randy Savage is more interested in Crush, stating that if he turns up “all hell will break loose”. Vince shills the Hotline to see who faces Quebecer Pierre next week. It must be a con because they taped next week’s show after this one and Lex Luger got the match. Although technically this Raw is live and they taped right afterwards so maybe it’s not.
Ludvig Borga vs. Scott Steiner
Borga jumps ahead of the bell and starts to plod through his offence, helpfully removing Scott’s ring jacket during it. Scott should get an Oscar for selling any of Borga’s pathetic offence. Borga actually manages a decent diving clothesline, although that may have been by mistake. Scotty takes over with an array of fun slams. Borga goes to his backup strategy; standing on the floor doing nothing. Borga plods back into to apply a hairlock, which is a bit like a headlock only way too high. Scott helpfully shoves his head properly into the hold and then grabs Borga for a belly-to-belly. Borga could take a half decent bump, I’ll give him that. His clotheslines and punches are fine too. Having the basics down doesn’t make you a main eventer though. Far from it. With Borga standing around doing nothing again, The Quebecers come out so he’s got someone to talk to. Scott continues to throw Borga around and Rick Steiner, confusingly, shows up for moral support. Shouldn’t he show up when Scott is in trouble? The more I think about Borga, the more I think he should have come in as a face. He was about as competent as Tatanka, who made a passable babyface based on power moves. Heels generally need to be the seasoned man in the ring as they control the pacing. Scott basically does this himself so the match doesn’t suck, but it’s like reverse heat and it’s all weird and wrong, with Borga occasionally getting confused and blowing the sell on something. Borga should be dominant as a heel but he looks lost. Even Borga’s moveset was better suited to a babyface. It’s all power. He’s like the Finnish Lex Luger. Scott seems desperate to show off his abilities, as if to say he can work a main event. Rick jumps on the apron, Borga drags him in but Rick counters into a back suplex. The Quebecers jump in there and it’s a double DQ. Scott did a decent little carry job here. This might be Borga’s best match during his WWF run. Like I said, twice, during the match; Borga should have come in face. He might have stood a chance like that.
Final Rating: **½
Video Control has Jeff Jarrett, who’s visiting another country music venue. Jeff Jarrett talks about country stars who are dead, but they couldn’t sing anyway. Jarrett claims everything will be re-named the Double J something or other. The WWF was never renamed DJWF but he sure built his own company.
Men on a Mission vs. Steve Smyth & Corey Student
Oh, Oscar, you are so atrocious. Smyth actually looks like a wrestler. NWA style. Mullet, moustache and black ring gear. Student looks like a white D-Lo Brown. MOM double team Student until Mo does the unforgiveable; chinlocking in a squash. Way to showcase your moveset! Mabel tags in for a DDT, drawing a “Fuhgeddabowtit” from Vince. Mabel finishes when Mo bulldogs him onto the Student. Sort of. I’m not really sure what Mo was going for.
Final Rating: ¼*
Video Control takes us to the Survivor Series Report. Todd Pettengill has the update. He has nothing to say but talks endlessly about it. He has the card:
All Americans vs. Foreign Fanatics. Tatanka is still listed despite being injured. He’d be replaced by The Undertaker. Todd does not have this information but promises replacement news on Superstars.
Hart Family vs. Jerry Lawler and his Knights. There are no knights named and Lawler himself would miss the event because of legal trouble. For those not in the know; he was accused of statutory rape. He was cleared of those charges but needed to take time off to clear his name. Bret Hart cuts an impassioned promo about how much he hates Lawler. Shawn Michaels would insert himself into that match thus negating all of Bret’s mic work over the build up period. Shawn had recently resolved his contract dispute, and I imagine the WWF must have been desperate for him to sign.
Next is Razor’s Team, which originally comprises Kid, Jannetty and Perfect, with the latter eventually dropping out with his back problems to be replaced by Randy Savage. They’ll face Adam Bomb, Diesel, IRS and Rick Martel. All of those men successfully make it to Survivor Series. We also dip into the “Four Doinks” match, which was the ultimate bait and switch as it ended up being “No Doinks”. I said four Doinks, that’s no Doinks, can’t you count? Finally the SMW tag titles; Rock N’ Roll Express vs. Heavenly Bodies, which was the best match on the card, imported from a real wrestling company.
Rick Martel vs. John Paul
JP is not the Pope of the same name. He has a decent look and is bigger than Martel but has an inferior suntan. John Paul wrestles a lot like Alex Wright when he was really green. Martel cartwheels out of the International, which is a neat touch to show his skill. They have a few nice spots planned. JP runs the buckles to control on a headlock, but when he goes for it again Martel counters into a back suplex. JP makes sure he connects with a dropkick, right in the mouth, before missing off the top. Martel slaps on the Boston crab to win. Hey, a good jobber match. I approve. John Paul would go on to form a tag team with George Ringo called Les Beat.
Final Rating: **
Interview Time: Bobby Heenan gets to chat with the Quebecers and tells them Lex Luger is well ahead in the voting. Jacques claims Pierre will eliminate Luger from Survivor Series.
Crush vs. Dan Dubiel
They run a great angle here where Vince McMahon tries to subdue Savage. Macho Man throws him to the floor, which is just awesome. I love seeing Vince get laid out. Savage goes charging after Crush and they brawl in the aisle. I’ll give it to Savage, he made Crush interesting for a while until the fans remembered it was only Crush. This was a solid attempt to get him over though as Savage is clearly angered by Crush’s antics and throws himself into the angle. Poor Dan Dubiel gets no match.
Bob Backlund vs. Barry Horowitz
This might be pretty good. Backlund has a habit of letting jobbers work a bit and Horowitz isn’t a bad wrestler. Vince is more interested in the Crush-Savage angle, sadly, and gives us updates throughout. This rather detracts from a pedestrian back-and-forth. The crowd killed by a wild brawl followed by this. Randy Savage coming back out here to sit on commentary is a massive distraction because he has no interest in the match either. Backlund tries his hardest to get the wrestling over but we cut to Crush’s dressing room and Savage charges back off into another big brawl. They go to an ad break and when we return the match is over? Not that the WWF was paying attention to it, but why even have it start? Vince talks about the voting for the Quebecer Pierre match for next week instead. Luger wins with 62% of the vote, naturally. Not enough match to rate, I don’t even know who won. Maybe nobody.
THE RAW RECAP
Most Entertaining: Scott Steiner. I thought he was great against Borga and has been one of the top line MVP’s on Raw, making everything he’s been involved in entertaining.
Least Entertaining: Oscar. God, I hate this guy.
Quote of the Night: “What’s that dead boy’s name in the WWF?” – Jeff Jarrett can’t recall The Undertaker’s name.
Match of the Night: Scott Steiner vs. Ludvig Borga. A solid opener although the majority of the show was good.
Summary: Not a blow away Raw but a good one. Men on a Mission aside all the wrestling was fine. They put a little too much into the Crush-Savage angle, cutting away during a match isn’t acceptable to me especially when the brawl was the same throughout. Cutting to it during the match didn’t add anything. If they wanted a brawl they should have come back out into the arena to do it and disrupt the match that way. Minor niggles aside, this was an entertaining show though. Any show where Vince McMahon gets shoved onto his ass is worth seeing.