James Dixon: Vince brings out Randy Savage as his co-host for the evening. I am glad to see Savage back behind the announce desk, because I find his unique brand of crazy highly entertaining on Raw. Savage doesn’t waste much time getting into the groove, declaring himself as the president of his own fan club.
WWF Tag Team Championship
The Quebecers (c) vs. Razor Ramon & 1-2-3 Kid
This is not of course the match advertised two weeks ago, as Jannetty has been replaced by Kid. No prizes for guessing why. Razor and Kid show some impressive cohesion for a non-regular team, and a Razor fallaway slam on Kid into The Quebecers is particularly fun. The champions stall for a while and share a hug, and then stall again. Come on guys, this is ridiculous. Kid outwrestles Pierre and then Razor comes in and does the same, as if to demonstrate that he can. Johnny Polo gets involved by tripping Razor, and after absorbing a brief kicking from The Quebecers, he targets Polo and gives him a vicious Razor’s Edge on the outside. “E-C-dub, E-C-dub”. Back from commercial and Polo has been carted to the back, and Razor and Kid are again dominating Pierre with holds and locks, which is neither guy’s strength. The lack of Polo combined with the “anything can happen” mantra of the WWF at the time, and the fact that The Quebecers were upset for the belts by Jannetty and Kid just a few weeks ago, means the crowd can sense a possible title change. The pacing of this becomes strange, as Razor and Kid work an extended heat on Pierre, targeting his leg and cutting off the ring. Is it a refusal to stick staunchly to boring formula or just an example of the Kliq being dicks and burying their opponents? It is hard to say for sure. Jacques finally gets the “hot tag” and then he gets picked apart with relative ease. My problem with this is the fact that an established team, the champions no less, are being completely outclassed in every way by a thrown together tandem of two singles guys. If this was The Steiners doing this it would be no problem, but here The Quebecers are being made to look like chumps. You can avoid formula and make both teams look good. The only way The Quebecers get a foothold is when Diesel turns up in the aisle, sufficiently distracting Razor long enough for him to actually take a few moves. Heel miscommunication brings Kid back in, and he cleans house before missing a dropkick and taking a double stungun on the ropes. I guess this is finally the heat section of the bout. Man, The Quebecers sure loved working these epic contests. Finally the champions look like they deserve to hold the belts, and dominate Kid with double teaming. Kid makes the inevitable hot tag and Razor runs through his various impact spots, then hits the Razor’s Edge. Razor has it won, until Shawn Michaels appears from no-where and makes the most impressive pinfall save I have ever seen. Seriously, he was still behind the ringside barrier when the ref counted “1”. Obviously the downside of that is we go 15-minutes for an unsatisfying DQ result. Michaels jaws with Razor after the match, as the tension builds towards their WrestleMania X classic. As for this match? It is a tough one to rate because it was not “bad” in any way, but the flow was all over the place and there were some fairly boring sections in places.
Final Rating: **¼
Next week, Randy Savage looks to become a three-time WWF champion against Yokozuna. He says he will win the title then beat Lex Luger and Bret Hart at WrestleMania X. That would have made a superb card probably the greatest of all time. Bret potentially could have had TWO 5* matches in one night.
Dr. Tom Prichard vs. Bret Hart
This has a lot of potential. I appreciate the lack of squash matches on the show so far as well. Both guys are very well technically versed and similar in size, which usually makes for good contests. There is also some logic to the match-up, with Prichard’s manager Jim Cornette also representing Yokozuna of course, one of Bret’s (potential) opponents at WrestleMania. I like continuity. They exchange holds and Bret shows his superiority with expertly executed switches and reversals, so Prichard has to resort to a cheap elbow to the face. Bret is merely slowed rather than stopped, and fires back with a dropkick which sends Dr. Tom to the outside. Bret keeps going to the arm, which is fine, but he doesn’t actually have any finishing moves that can take advantage of softening up that body part. It is rather technical wrestling for the sake of it, and used as a means to control Prichard rather than as any real attempt at putting him away. Just as we return from commercial, Prichard throws a low boot and finally gets some offence in, hitting a delayed suplex for two. Prichard goes to a chinlock as Vince becomes sidetracked by Donnie Wahlberg phoning in to discuss ‘Mania. Prichard’s heat is disappointingly slow, just all rest holds and little with any impact. Jim Cornette goes to get involved with his racket while Bret is prone in the ropes, but Savage gets up from commentary and belts him to stop him. So he is happy enough to get involved when Bret faces minimum peril, but not when his supposed best friend Crush was having his chest caved in by Yokozuna? You can see Crush’s point in their dispute in light of those actions. Bret mounts his usual comeback, though he looks far less energetic than usual. He had already worked on this taping mind you, falling to a DQ defeat to Crush, again with Savage getting involved. Owen Hart comes out to continue this show’s theme of copious outside interference, and throws Bret back in the ring so Prichard can beat him. It doesn’t work, as Bret hits a suplex and puts on the Sharpshooter to win it. This was very similar to the first match, with nothing technically wrong, but little in the way of rip-roaring entertainment. It was just a solid but unspectacular wrestling match. Bret was probably working at about 30% capacity, at best.
Final Rating: **
Todd Pettengill, in a moronic cap, runs through the celebrities who will be on hand at WrestleMania X. If you didn’t know when ‘Mania took place and could only guess based on the celebs, you could easily be forgiven for thinking it happened in the 80s. The WWF has never quite been on the pulse of what is “in” and what is considered modern. Todd discusses the things of secondary importance on the card: the matches. Interestingly, one of the matches listed is Ludvig Borga vs. Earthquake. Wow, imagine if that one had happened. I must have forgotten over the years that this was ever scheduled, because I cannot remember that at all. I wonder if Borga would have been demolished as handily as Earthquake’s eventual opponent Adam Bomb was? Surely not. You know, for all WrestleMania X is fondly remembered as one of the all-time great shows, and understandably so, the undercard was actually a heap of shit. It could have been much better, and is prime for a retroactive rebooking… One day.
Jim Cornette brings out Yokozuna to confront Savage, who jumps in the ring and wants to get next week’s match on right now. Yoko and Cornette want it too, and they start to go at it as we go off the air. Great way to end actually, it makes me want to tune in next week. Not that I have a choice mind.
THE RAW RECAP
Most Entertaining: Johnny Polo. Not a vintage display from Polo in his traditional sense, but his Razor’s Edge bump took some balls. Shawn Michaels’ impeccably timed run-in deserves a nod too.
Least Entertaining: No takers this week. Like the whole show, nothing and no-one was bad, it was just all really, painfully average.
Quote of the Night: “Unquestionably the man, who will one day be in the WWF Hall of Fame” said Vince McMahon as he introduced Randy Savage as his co-host for the evening. At the time of writing in 2013, he still hasn’t been inducted, which is an absolute travesty. Even more so when you consider that Koko B. Ware is enshrined.
Match of the Night: There were only two matches, and they were almost identical in their pacing, structure and content (as far as what the guys actually did). The tag match just shades it because there were a few more variables and less resting.
Summary: The very definition of an average show. As I have said, nothing was bad or even approaching it, but certainly nothing verged on breaking into the territory of “good”. The lack of squash matches was satisfying, but the two marquee matches were long for the sake of being long, and offered little to get the pulse racing. Both bouts felt more like house show fare than TV calibre matches. Take or leave this one.