James Dixon: We are live in a typically red hot Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, and Vince McMahon hosts on his own to begin with. Vince reminds us why, as Video Control rolls footage of the Heenan departure. Thankfully, the wrestling Gods intervene and transplant Jim Cornette in Heenan’s place, which is about the best possible replacement outside of Johnny Polo or Jesse Ventura.
Macho Man Randy Savage vs. Fatu
Jim Cornette says what a loose cannon Savage is, and that he should be barred from competing, announcing and anything else. Curiously enough, WCW ran that exact same angle with Savage a few years later. This is a strange bout, and is not a match-up you would expect to exist. Fatu can be carried to watchable bouts and beyond, so there is potential here for a decent start to this, as we attempt to erase the bitter taste left by some of last week’s atrocities. Savage is all fired up to start with, but Fatu slows him down quickly with a clothesline. Savage makes the mistake of trying to hurt Fatu by assaulting his head, which as decades of wrestling tradition has dictated, will not work on a Samoan. Fatu kicks him in the face to send him outside and throws him into the ring steps for his insolence. Still outside and Savage AGAIN goes for the head, slamming Fatu’s noggin into the steps, which yields the exact same result, and Fatu this time throws him into the ring post. Come on Randy, you are usually such a smart worker. You are better than that. Savage tries to get a head of steam with a backbody drop, but Fatu responds by dumping him over the top rope, where Afa gets a few cheap shots in. Savage eventually makes his standard 90s comeback and hits the big elbow to win it. The usual Savage fare from the era by the Macho Man.
Final Rating: *¾
The Smoking Gunns vs. Jim Massenger & Steve Smyth
Today’s jobbers have silly names. Smyth has legs too skinny for his body, but Massenger is the opposite, he is too big everywhere. Fat, in other words. He is wearing Bushwhackers attire too, which instantly makes him garbage. Jim Cornette claims that Lex Luger cannot be in the Royal Rumble because he is never allowed another WWF title match with Yokozuna. I appreciate the effort to try and keep continuity Jim, but this is the WWF where things like that don’t matter. Ultimately, Luger did end up in the Rumble and co-won it, so he did get another title match. Captain Lou Albano shows his unwelcome face because he is scouting for talent, or something. At the risk of sounding like an emo-teenage, this match was very much “whatever”.
Final Rating: ½*
Vince says “Razor Ramon” at least two dozen times while Video Control shows footage from Shawn Michaels’ excellent assault on him last week.
IRS vs. Todd Mata
If this is as bad as the last IRS squash that I suffered on Raw, I am boycotting all of his future matches. Todd Mata looks like someone who doesn’t pay his taxes. The cameraman gets a close-up shot of the inside of IRS’s briefcase, and we catch a glimpse of Razor Ramon’s gold necklace. Tea-leaf! IRS goes about things quickly here, as if he went forward in time, read the review of his match from this book last time out, and then returned to the 90s to change his ways. He smashes Mata with the Write-off to win it. Well done Irwin, you didn’t entirely suck there.
Final Rating: *
A quirky Christmas spot from the WWF runs, with Yokozuna dressed as Santa and being nice to kids. He wakes up in a sweat (when was he not sweating?), but Mr. Fuji tells him it was only a dream. In English. You know, considering Yoko doesn’t speak English, they sure do talk to him a lot in that language. What we learned here is that Mr. Fuji watches Yokozuna sleep.
The Undertaker vs. J.S. Storm
Undertaker rarely appeared on early Raw, and in fact I am not sure I have covered one of his matches since he did a 2-minute bout with Skinner that was cut as the show went off, and the finish never aired. That was back in February. We cut to commercial before the match starts, which is ridiculous, because we return with Taker dominating. Jeez, let the guy have a full match on TV already! Taker doesn’t sell for real opponents, so Storm has no chance of getting anything in here. Tombstone finishes in short order. Taker sends a message to Yokozuna by putting Storm in a body bag after the match, and then giving him a kicking. Somewhat heelish, but it is Taker, he can do what he wants.
Final Rating: ¼*
A montage of J-e-f-f J-a-r-r-e-t-t promos follows, which doesn’t exactly thrill me because they pretty much sucked the first time. This goes on way too long for re-run material.
Rick Martel vs. Tim McNeany
All the upper tier jobbers must be on vacation tonight or something. Martel throws McNeany a bone and lets him get a few things in, before taking over. They go a mile a minute, with Martel looking fresher, more motivated and more interesting than he has in years. McNeany gets a decent amount of offence, which Vince comments on too, before the Boston crab finishes for Martel. Energetic little back-and-forth squash.
Final Rating: **
Video Control takes us to a sit-down interview conducted by Vince McMahon with Owen Hart. Owen says he is sick of being in Bret’s shadow and challenges him to a match.
Bret Hart vs. The Brooklyn Brawler
Ah, come on guys, don’t give us the carrot of a Bret Hart match and then put him in there with the goddamn Brawler! I have barely got to cover a Hitman match over the course of this book, most of his bouts having occurred on the months that Furious covered. This then, is a kick in the teeth. Brawler is undoubtedly a loyal servant for the WWF/E and he must do something well to have kept his job for so long, but wrestling entertaining matches is not it. Bret methodically works over the arm before going into his usual routine, and he finishes Brawler with the Sharpshooter. Technically fine, obviously, but Bret did the bare minimum here.
Final Rating: *
THE RAW RECAP
Most Entertaining: Jim Cornette. Softens the blow of the Heenan departure and is as entertaining as you might expect on commentary. IRS gets a polite nod as well for not sucking the life out of me with his display. If only he was this energetic all of the time and his matches were always only 2-minutes long.
Least Entertaining: Jeff Jarrett. Anyone else sick of those promos yet? To be fair to Jeff, he doesn’t really deserve this, but no-one really did this week. Thankfully the promos are over, because he debuts next week.
Quote of the Night: “I’ve never made a mistake. I thought I was wrong once, but I was mistaken!” – Jim Cornette is as modest as ever.
Match of the Night: Rick Martel vs. Tim McNeany. Rather slim pickings this week, but Martel looked more energised than he has in years, and deserves plaudits for that.
Summary: There is not much to this, there is nothing actually bad but definitely nothing particularly good. It is more a hollow shell of pointless filler. Unlike some episodes of Raw with similarly low scores, this one won’t make you rip your hair out. It is just such a vast chasm of nothingness that it is ultimately completely pointless.