James Dixon: We start with footage from last week of the angle between IRS and 1-2-3 Kid, with Kid getting popped in the Jaw and Kid again showing what a tea leaf he is, by stealing IRS’s briefcase. This all led to Razor getting back his precious gold chains from the briefcase, and sets up a match between IRS and Kid’s partner Marty Jannetty tonight. What a goofy storyline.
“The tax-man cometh” says Vince, this week hosting the show with Bastion Booger, who is eating. He is indecipherable; something not helped by him stuffing his fat face with food.
The Smoking Gunns vs. Barry Horowitz & Reno Riggins
The jobbers are both wearing swank ring jackets covered in sequins. They are both better workers than the Gunns too at this point. In previous Raw matches I have covered with the cowboys on Raw, they allowed the enhancement guys to get a lot on them, though because of an insistence at working formula rather than because they were especially generous. The Gunns utilise quick tags while Booger and Vince bury Roseanne Barr. Hey, I am on board with that! No heat section this time, and the generic yanks polish off Riggins with their sloppy double team finisher. Fast paced and never boring, but nothing to it.
Final Rating: *
Video Control gives us footage from the Royal Rumble of Owen kicking Bret’s leg from under his leg, and Vince in a sit-down interview wants answers. Owen says it felt great and he should have done it years ago. Bret’s response is that he didn’t want to ever physically confront Owen and he is torn about having to wrestle him, but realises he has no choice. It is a strong angle, and Bret plays it perfectly.
Owen Hart vs. John Paul
Jobbers just love having two forenames. Owen shows what a heel he is now, by going to give his glasses to a fan, then ripping them up instead. Burn! Owen easily dismantles Paul, as the crowd chants “we want Bret”. Paul manages the tiniest of flurries and hits some pathetic punches, and the crowd goes crazy. They hated Owen for what he did to Bret, and they have also been trained in the last year to expect anything to happen on Raw. They are backing the wrong horse here though, because John Paul is generic and bland. Owen finishes him off with the Sharpshooter, having exerted minimal effort along the way.
Final Rating: *¼
IRS vs. Marty Jannetty
IRS cuts a promo on his way to the ring about the crowd being tax cheats. That’s original. Jannetty merely jogs to the ring, presumably less than thrilled about being in the ring with wrestling’s answer to Ambien. These guys have actually wrestled on Raw before, on the “lost episode” from November. It was a thoroughly uninspiring contest, which IRS cleanly won after dominating. At least Jannetty gets something in this one, and has the better of the early exchanges. Jannetty takes things to the outside, and IRS desperately tries to roll back in because of the risk he might do something interesting. Jannetty keeps him outside so IRS responds by throwing Jannetty into the post. IRS takes over and The Quebecers come out as we cut to commercial. When we return, IRS is using a chinlock. Naturally. We see footage of The Quebecers getting sent back to the locker room, having attacked Jannetty on the outside. IRS misses from the top, so turns to his other staple tedium hold: the abdominal stretch, and uses the rope for leverage, as Vince criticises his application of the move. That is rich coming from a guy who doesn’t know the name of anything other than a backbody drop. Jannetty hip tosses out of the stretch so IRS goes to the chinlock. He is just a thrilling entertainer. As Jannetty starts making some headway, Johnny Polo makes his way down to save the match. He stands and watches for a while, which brings out Razor Ramon, and then The Quebecers again. Suffice to say, all of this extra-curricular stuff is fairly distracting. Welcome in this instance, but distracting nevertheless. Polo gets involved in the finish, grabbing Jannetty to shift his momentum, and IRS covers him for the win. Post match, Jannetty and Razor wipe out all of the heels and stand side-by-side in the ring celebrating Jannetty’s, erm, loss. This whole thing was drab and only served to set up a tag match two weeks later on Raw.
Final Rating: ½*
No Raw next week, because some people are wandering around with their overly-groomed dogs. I tell you what, it is pretty surreal seeing the Raw logo and a picture of two dogs in the same way they do the match graphics. Are they gonna fight!?
Sparky Plugg vs. Duane Gill
It’s Hardcore Holly vs. Gillberg! The match is ruined by Booger choking, with Vince almost gleefully proclaiming: “I think we are about to see our first fatality, on Monday Night Raw, because there is no way I am giving him mouth-to-mouth”. What a charming, wonderful, caring boss to work for. The multi-coloured Sparky has all of this, as Vince moves on from Booger’s near-death experience to discuss anything but the match, showing his true redneck roots by putting over the Indy 500 as the NASCAR equivalent of WrestleMania. Plugg comes off top with a knee drop to win the match. This was one of those bouts that didn’t go long, but felt like far longer than it was.
Final Rating: ½*
To Todd Pettengill with a WrestleMania preview/hype show, and Video Control shows us footage from the coin toss between Lex Luger and Bret Hart to see who got the pleasure of working Yokozuna first at the big show. Thankfully it was Lex, and that meant we got Bret-Owen at ‘Mania, instead of, Crush vs. Lex Luger. Jeez. Would that have meant Owen-Savage? I could have maybe lived with that…
Crush vs. Tony Mata
In case anyone reading here didn’t already check out The Raw Files: 1993, then let me make my feelings on heel Crush perfectly clear: I HATE that guy. Everything about him bugs me. His idiotic put-on Alberto Del Rio accent, his unbearably slow ring style, his comically cringe-worthy attempts at martial arts, his pointless face paint, his tossy little beard, his dull attire, Mr. Fuji. Everything. Equally annoying is his constant appearance in copy and paste squash matches on Raw. This one is the same as all the others, thus it sucks.
Final Rating: DUD
Vince announces that Jack Tunney has made the Quebecers vs. Razor & Jannetty match in two weeks a tag title bout. Pierre is not happy and puts his fist through a wall. A wooden wall.
Vince reminds viewers that the next Raw is not for two weeks because of the pesky dog show, and gives Booger a box of doggy treats to eat. We finish with MOM, The Bushwhackers, Doink and Dink backstage somewhere, all barking like dogs. Obviously.
THE RAW RECAP
Most Entertaining: Bret Hart. He spoke with conviction in his interview, and made you believe in the internal struggle he was having in bringing himself to fight his brother. Ok, the segment was recorded for All-American Wrestling, but it was slim pickings this week.
Least Entertaining: Crush. Ninja’s move with grace, speed and without wasted motion. Crush, who seems to think he is a ninja, lumbers slowly and does nothing.
Quote of the Night: “You might say that next week, the WWF is going to the dogs” – Vince McMahon. I would say that already happened last year pal.
Match of the Night: Owen Hart vs. John Paul. Terrible show, very average squash match.
Summary: Oh, it’s bad. Actually, it is a strange one, because the only thing on the show that flat out sucked was Crush, as is expected of him, and the rest was just incredibly dull. It was one of those shows where nothing happened of any interest, and the marquee match was poor. For early Raw shows, the overall thing generally lives and dies on the strength of its feature attraction, and this one died a slow, painful death indeed.