James Dixon: Presented by Bobby Heenan and Vince McMahon, with Randy Savage selling his injuries at the hands of Crush and Yokozuna following last week’s assault. Well, actually it was like 20-minutes ago, because this is was taped directly after the previous show.
Crush vs. Phil Apollo
Crush is of course now managed by Mr. Fuji, and this is his debut as a heel “Japanese sympathiser”, and thus he has new purple and white gear, a beard and face paint. Unfortunately the quality of his work has not changed, and he still runs through his uninteresting offence at a very gentle pace. Slowly, in other words. Crush is all clubbing, with a few attempts at martial arts, which would politely be described as “shite”. The melon crusher finishes things and Crush gives him a few stomps afterwards, to show what a nasty and mean dude he now is.
Final Rating: ¼*
Backstage, Johnny Polo implies that Marty Jannetty and 1-2-3 Kid are gay, and says he could beat them both. I have no idea what the purpose of this was.
1-2-3 Kid vs. Marty Jannetty
Well, hello! This is a nice little treat for workrate fans, as both guys were pretty damn good in 1993. The WWF was strange, because it always hired and pushed lugs who could barely move, never mind wrestle, yet now and again it would throw out a match-up like this as a little nod to the hardcore fans who wanted to see good wrestling. Both guys are babyfaces, and will be on the same team at the upcoming Survivor Series show. As you might expect, they start tentatively with an extended feeling out process, playing a game of human chess as they jockey for position. After they exchange holds, they run a switch and move spot at incredible speed, ending with both guys nipping up for an Indy standoff! The crowd responds, appreciating what they are seeing here. So do I, it has been brilliant so far. The pace remains quick, lighting quick you might say, with Kid catching a few moves for near falls, before Jannetty gets wise to him and reverses one into a powerbomb. Johnny Polo wanders to ringside, and for the first and probably only time, I am not happy to see him. Please don’t ruin this match, Mr. Polo! When we return from commercial, Polo trips Jannetty, and Vince speculates that he is going to manage the 1-2-3 Kid. Kid suddenly becomes aggressive and beats on Jannetty in the corner before hitting a legdrop, but he misses a flip senton from the top, but it only gets 2 for Jannetty. Jannetty gets a few near falls himself, and then Polo trips Kid. This is Warrior-Savage at SummerSlam ’92 all over again. Vince is becoming annoyed with Polo, and wants him removing from ringside. He has a point, because while in kayfabe world he has a “managers license”, he doesn’t actually manage either of the guys in the ring and thus he has no business out there. Jack Tunney needs to get his shit together. Jannetty slows the pace and methodically works over Kid, which is a role he is really not used to. I don’t actually recall Jannetty playing heel at any point in his career. Actually he did, in the ill-fated New Rockers, but I had repressed the memories of that tag team because they were so (surprisingly) bad. Kid comes back with a German suplex for a near fall, and then dropkicks Jannetty out of the ring and goes for a plancha, but Polo shoves Jannetty out of the way and into the ring post, and Kid crashes and burns. It was a nasty bump to take if this were WrestleMania, never mind Raw. Both guys get counted out thanks to Polo, who cackles and leaves. Kid and Jannetty don’t allow that, and work together to give him a beating. Hey, these guys would make a pretty good tag team… This started beautifully, with fast action and neat little nuances that made it feel different in a good way. Sadly it rather trailed off in the middle, and the appearance of Polo hurt the match rather than helped it. The match was still very good, but not quite great.
Final Rating: ***½
J-e-f-f J-a-r-r-e-t-t whines and moans about not catching a break in the music business, and rolls off some other Southern related nonsense that flies over my British head. Promos like this make me dislike the South as much as Vince does! Jarrett remembers he is a wrestler for a few moments and then spells his name. Last week’s promo was pretty good, this one was rotten. Just thinking about Jarrett is his country music phase makes me tired, actually watching him sends me into a full-on snooze.
Ludvig Borga vs. Mike Bucci
Job duty again for Simon Dean, who is wearing some deeply unflattering gear. He way oversells Borga’s stuff, acting like he has been in a 20-minute war after a couple of moves. Honestly, you wouldn’t see this guy and think he would go on to be a reasonable level star. Borga dismantles him with ease, as Bucci slithers around on the mat like a fish out of water. After thoroughly dominating, Borga wins it with the torture rack. I actually think there was potential with Borga and that he could have been a decent star in the upper midcard, but he didn’t show it here.
Final Rating: ¼*
Bobby Heenan catches a word with Borga, who says he will always be undefeated. He hypes his upcoming match against Tatanka at the weekend, and says he will end his undefeated streak. He wasn’t lying.
Are there any more chilling words than “we will be back with Men on a Mission”?
Men on a Mission vs. Todd Mata & Steve Greenman
Was Oscar the worst performer in the history of the industry? I would say there is a good chance. No wonder the Kliq used to ride him so hard, he was a terrible performer. Greenman dances around to mock MOM, but he only serves to make himself look like a complete imbecile. When you think about bad wrestlers, it is easy to forget about Mo and overlook him, but this is wrong. He was a midget tub of lardy toss, and he was so very bad. Mind you, Mabel isn’t much better. But when Mabel is the best worker/performer in a three man unit, you know there is something amiss. A double dropkick from MOM is somewhat ill-advised. Mabel humbles Mata by out-wrestling him. Yes, out-WRESTLING him! I can’t remember the last time I saw a squash match as slow and boring as this one. Well, since the IRS shambles last week. Big fat fatty fat moves finish off Matt, and thank God it is over. This was given far too much time.
Final Rating: DUD
Joe Fowler runs through the Survivor Series card, which for various reasons ended up being very different to what was advertised here. In fact, every match mentioned gets changed. The main event saw The Undertaker replace Tatanka, and Crush take the place of Pierre Ouellet. Famously, Jerry Lawler was taken out of his match against the Hart family due to legal issues, and Shawn Michaels was hurriedly subbed into the bout in his place. The four Doinks advertised appeared to be the one played by Matt Borne and his usual doppelgangers, but instead we got the travesty of MOM and The Bushwhackers in Doink garb, which has to be the stupidest example of false advertising on record. Finally, “Team Workrate” (Kid, Jannetty and Razor) lost Mr. Perfect, who retired, and Randy Savage was brought in to replace him. The only match that didn’t get changed was the SMW tag match. You can always rely on Jim Cornette!
Diesel vs. Dan Dubiel
I hated Diesel’s “music” when it was just horns and nothing else. I don’t much care for his mullet either. Diesel hits an early version of the Jacknife, which wasn’t his finisher then and was more like a gutwrench powerbomb. He didn’t even have his full repertoire of four moves, so he runs out of things to do fairly quickly and resorts to a neck vice and forearms to the back. After four minutes that felt like forever, Diesel goes over with a punch. Yes, a PUNCH! Not a thrilling watch.
Final Rating: ¼*
Next week, Bastion Booger vs. Razor Ramon! Christ, look forward to that one, Arn!
THE RAW RECAP
Most Entertaining: 1-2-3 Kid. Was the better half of a very good opening match.
Least Entertaining: Men on a Mission. The tag division had good to superb teams such as The Steiners, The Rock & Roll Express, The Headshrinkers and The Heavenly Bodies, yet the two fat guys with no talent get pushed and get title shots. On tonight’s display, it is unthinkable as to why.
Quote of the Night: “Oopsie, here they are” – Bobby Heenan about Men on a Mission. I couldn’t agree more.
Match of the Night: 1-2-3 Kid vs. Marty Jannetty. It was going so well until Johnny Polo, of all people, turned up and ruined it.
Summary: You would think it would be hard to argue with a show that featured a marquee match that went a decent length and was a bit of a belter, but you would be wrong! Never underestimate the WWF’s ability to compliment a fantastic main course with side dishes of pureed faeces. All of the squash matches on this show were horrific. The Jannetty-Kid match is worth seeing, definitely, but do not under any circumstances watch the rest. You will go blind.