Shawn Michaels vs. 1-2-3 Kid
This is the first HBK match I have done since he came back from suspension. Do I list him as IC champion or what? He wasn’t the champion of course, but he was carrying around the belt like he was for an angle with Razor, where Shawn claimed to be the real champion. Anyway, this is a delightful way to open isn’t it? Two Kliq guys of course, but I am pretty sure this is from before they became real tight. It doesn’t show in the work though, because the way they are moving at breakneck pace and throwing each other about, you would think they knew each other inside out. Some of the sequences and exchanges are breathtaking. That shouldn’t be a surprise mind you, because Shawn was well on his way to becoming the king of wrestling, and Kid was a superb worker. The action is too full of stuff to describe in great detail, because I am not a huge fan of excessive play-by-play and they are going so fast that I would end up missing stuff anyway. Suffice to say they rarely let up, and throw more bumps, flips and switches into the match than you would get from some guys in a year. Kid was really starting to establish himself as one of the WWF’s star performers in 1993, and continued that into 1994, having good and great matches with a number of varied opponents. It is rare for Michaels to be the bigger man in a contest, and he is having a whale of a time with the new role, drilling Kid with moves he doesn’t usually get chance to use, like a powerbomb. Similarly though, Kid is rarely in there with guys that don’t utterly dwarf him, and Kid is able to throw in a few more impact moves other than just his kicks and flips, and both of these things combined help this match a great deal; it is excellent. They bust out a bunch of near falls at the end, and then the match is ruined with an advert break just as things are getting really good. That is some terrible scheduling right there. Michaels sticks it to Razor Ramon by using the Razor’s Edge, then pulls Kid up before the three. Michaels does it again, and that pisses of Razor who makes his way to ringside. A third attempt from Shawn is close enough to the ropes for Razor to pull him out, so Shawn slaps the piss out of him. Razor chases him and Michaels bails, but trips on the way. Razor has him cornered, but Diesel nails him from behind the curtain, and Michaels hits him with two Razor’s Edges on the outside. Sick sonofabitch! I guess the match is over then, huh? What was the decision? Little things like the RESULT do matter, WWF! That was a really excellent match, though probably would have been even better without the two advert breaks. In decent length bouts like that, the advert breaks really do hurt the flow. Imagine watching Titanic without the bit where they hit the iceberg. You wouldn’t have the foggiest what was going on. The angle afterwards with Shawn and Razor was every bit as good as the match too. Two Razor’s Edges on the outside! I am thrilled Michaels stayed with the WWF.
Time: 10:30 (Approx. No second bell sounded)
Final Rating: ***¾
The Quebecers vs. Mike Walsh & Bert Centeno
Walsh is the pastiest little weed that has ever worked on Raw. Probably. Centeno is fairly bulky. The only notable thing about this is a strange spot where Centeno gets whipped into the ropes “so hard” that he runs right into them face-first. It looks ridiculous. A Jacques piledriver is followed by their nasty looking assisted flip senton finisher for the win. Johnny Polo sure looked a lot like Johnny Depp tonight.
Final Rating: ½*
Owen Hart promises a surprise that will make everyone talk about him instead of Bret.
Doink the Clown vs. Tony DeVito
Sadly, Dink is now with Doink, making his Raw debut, which makes the character instantly detestable. It is not Matt Borne anymore either, which means he no longer has the workrate ability to carry him though. The stupid little midget clown pisses around on the ropes, having a jolly old time making a dick out of himself. Vince thinks it is brilliant. Doink works like IRS, locking on hold after boring hold, then hitting a really dodgy looking German suplex. Dink continues to prat around on the apron, but Danny Davis is refereeing so he just lets it all slide. Bobby Heenan talks about running Dink over and pushing him down an escalator, and I am absolutely in favour. Vince gets bored too, and starts hyping the USA Network showing Star Wars. The way he talks about it, you can believe he thinks it is a brand new movie. Oh man, this match is AWFUL! Doink just has no rhythm or idea about pacing whatsoever. For example, he uses a hammerlock late into the match for no discernible reason other than as something to do, and then he just flat out refuses to sell for DeVito. The crowd is completely silent, and there have been a smattering of “boring” chants dotted throughout. Doink wins with the Whoopie Cushion to mercifully end things. This dragged on WAY too long for a squash match, and was completely unbearable to watch because of Dink’s antics and Doink’s terrible wrestling. The character has gone from the genuine 1993 Raw VIP to the worst thing in the company, almost overnight.
Final Rating: -**
Crush vs. Tony Roy
Well, this show has really gone down the shitter. Crush’s attempts at “martial arts” are not just embarrassing, they are borderline insulting, so woeful are they. Then again, so are his attempts at selling, hitting moves and indeed just wrestling in general. Perhaps that is a little harsh, I am still really wound up after that last match. Crush was awful though, and like Doink he went from a character with great potential to a complete waste of airtime. As a babyface, I have said before, he could have been a star because he was definitely over, somehow. As a heel he looks ridiculous and wrestles like an arthritic turtle. I have never seen a man move as slowly as Crush does here. An attempt at a martial arts punch is even more pathetic than his earlier efforts, and tips this one over to negative stars as well. As I have unfortunately written far too many times already; the WWF always managed to compliment a great match with the worst bouts possible alongside it. Randy Savage calls in from Bournemouth of all places (apparently, though this was actually a taped show of course) at the “unusual hour” (Vince) of 3am. He has little to say of note, just the usual about how he will get revenge on Crush, yadda, yadda. Sorry, I am at the end of my tether with this show now after these last two matches. Crush wins, no-one watching does. Again!
Final Rating: -*
And then to cap it all off, the WWF then gets significantly worse with the departure of the glorious Bobby Heenan. The angle to dispose of him from the company is brilliant of course, because Heenan is involved, but what a shame to see him go. The way it goes down sees Gorilla Monsoon come to ringside and confront Heenan for the various comments he has been making about Gorilla and others during the show. Gorilla says he wants him gone, then drags him out of the building. Heenan’s belongings end up strewn all over an empty parking lot, and he leaves with a salute to the company and walks off into the night. It is actually really touching and sad, and while well executed and the perfect way for Bobby to go, I really wish he hadn’t of. He wouldn’t be seen in the WWF until 2001, where he returned to call the gimmick battle royal at WrestleMania XVII.
THE RAW RECAP
Most Entertaining: Shawn Michaels. Worked a great match and then a memorable angle. He saved the show, as he so very often does and will again.
Least Entertaining: Doink the Clown. From hero to zero. The new incarnation of Doink was dire in the ring, cringe-worthy as a character and made all the more intolerable by the addition of the abysmal Dink to his character’s package. His match tonight was an absolutely disgrace, and kids debuting fresh out of wrestling school, would be ashamed by as disjointed a performance as this.
Quote of the Night: “When we return; Doink, Dink, and maybe there will be a gorilla thrown in! Who knows?” – Vince McMahon. Zuh?
Match of the Night: 1-2-3 Kid vs. Shawn Michaels.
Summary: The WWF were insufferable at times in 1993, and this was one of those shows that demonstrates why. They presented some excellent stuff with the Kliq guys, but then metaphorically pissed themselves with those two extended squash matches, which are right up there with the worst things ever seen on Raw. Thankfully, Bobby Heenan managed to save the day right at the end, one last time, but it was bittersweet. He ended the show on a memorable note, but it was a melancholy one as well. Raw will be harder to suffer through without him.