Arnold Furious: We’re in Burlington, Vermont. This was bizarrely taped the day after last week’s Raw aired along with the following two weeks. In all the WWF would run five consecutive taped shows of their trademark “live” show in a row. As I mentioned during my drunk review, I think, Monday Night Raw still has the same intro as it did when it debuted. Those cutting edge titles are now 17-months old. Hosts are Vince McMahon and Randy Savage.
WWF Tag Team Championship
The Quebecers (c) vs. The Headshrinkers
The WWF’s tag team scene, for the early part of 1994, had been based around Johnny Polo’s Quebecers team. Jacques and Pierre had three title runs between September 1993 and this show. The division was short on talent at the time so the Headshrinkers were turned face. The Quebecers were unfortunately on the outs as Jacques had decided to retire, with this being their final match as a tag team until a reunion in WCW two years later as the Amazing French-Canadians. This match has taken a while to get going as it was virtually booked back in March on my last run of Raws. Of course the Headshrinkers have gained Lou Albano as a second manager alongside Afa, so they’re practically guaranteed a tag title run, as virtually every team Albano managed won the straps. Vince starts namedropping them and only gets as far as three, memory sketchy, but does namedrop the Yukon Lumberjacks. Fatu starts out as a superstar, no selling everything and posing for the fans. The Quebecers, increasingly a joke team by this juncture, miscue a lot. The Quebecers get sick of the double teaming and the hard-headed psychology and take a powder for the count out. Earl Hebner uses the old “champs must return or lose the belts” stipulation that he seemed to pull out of his ass every now and again. Jacques has to sprint back down to break the count. Samu employs the unique strategy of headbutting Pierre’s fist. The idea being his head is super-Samoan hard and will probably bust Pierre’s knuckles. That’s not a defence that’ll hold up in court by the way. “He headbutted my fist, officer, honest”. The Quebecers regain control with nefarious cheating while the crowd chant “USA” supporting… I don’t know. Savage claims it’s for “American Samoa”. Sure it is. Not that the fans are conditioned to chant USA because of the whole Luger vs. frrnrrrs angle that’s been playing out all year, or the Hogan vs. frrrnrrrrs that played out the decade prior to that. The Quebecers had some decent double teams and they’re eager to showcase them in their denouement. Samu traps his hard head in the ropes, which is followed by a piledriver but Pierre misses off the top. Polo tries to get into the action but he’s outnumbered by the two babyface managers. Hot tag is missed but the Quebecers continue to blunder and Pierre knocks Jacques down on purpose out of frustration. That’s the Quebecers done. Jacques is picked off and Fatu finishes with the Superfly Splash. An energised finale for the Quebecers run as the top team in the federation. The Headshrinkers would top the tag division until Shawn Michaels decided he wanted more shiny stuff and claimed the belts for himself and Diesel.
Final Rating: ***½
Tatanka vs. Derek Domino
Domino, presumably named after the band, looks like Anthony Kiedis from the Chilli Peppers. Tatanka just leathers him with chops and a slick belly-to-belly. Jay Strongbow joins commentary while IRS joins us via telephone. It’s such a pity that they had a ready-made feud against anyone who messed with the feathers and made it IRS. Tatanka could have really taken off against a decent wrestler. Am I suddenly feeling bad about Tatanka’s failed WWF career? I guess I am! How about that? Tatanka mangles Domino throughout and only slows up when he needs a breather. Tatanka gives Domino a very brief heat segment (a punch and a clothesline) before going to the war dance and the Papoose-to-Go finishes.
Final Rating: ½*
The King’s Court
The WWF was eager to run King’s Court into the ground in order to build to a feud with Roddy Piper. King starts into Roddy during this one, calling Piper a relic, a has-been and a cross-dresser. King stops off to bash Razor as well before bringing out the NEW IC champion Diesel. “Can I call you Cool Daddy?” asks Lawler. No, Jerry, you cannot. King points out that Shawn isn’t here and we get footage of HBK taking a massive bump to protect Dies on the title switch. Diesel promises Shawn will be back. Diesel drops a bomb by saying he’s not content with the IC title and will be going after the WWF title. This interview was going nowhere until Diesel made his intentions clear. 1994 was the year he took off as a big superstar.
Yokozuna vs. Scott Taylor & Mike Davis
Yoko is back to freak sideshow antics and a handicap match. Savage reading promo’s for USA network is wonderful. I normally don’t like guys who shill stuff but Savage’s voice is so unique he could do anything and I’d be quite happy. I’m sad he could never fit in with a heel colour guy. He was always fine in a two-man team where the madness had space to bounce around. Both jobbers get nothing off Yoko. After hitting him with everything they can Yoko is still standing and unmoved. “It isn’t even dented” – Spike Witwicky. Vince gets so bored he starts talking about Whoopi Goldberg getting engaged just to show how topical and on the ball Raw is. Not taped a week ago, honest. Yoko stacks the jobbers for the Banzai Drop. “Worse than I thought it’d be and I thought it’d be horrific” – Savage. That about sums it up. “Things will get better for those guys later on” – Savage. For Scott Taylor, sure.
Final Rating: ¼*
Post Match: Yoko hits individual Banzai Drops too, which brings out Earthquake for the save. Quake challenges Yoko to a match, which actually took place two weeks later but also the same night. If that makes sense. Damn tapings.
THE RAW RECAP
Most Entertaining: The Quebecers. They went out the right way by making the new champs look great. The Quebecers were always on the unserious side of wrestling, but managed to walk a fine line where the fans hated them more than they laughed at them.
Least Entertaining: IRS. All he did was a phone call and he managed to make that spectacularly boring.
Quote of the Night: “Right I wuuuuuuuuuzzzzz” – Randy Savage’s routinely bizarre response to Vince mentioning his promotional tour of Baltimore. Also this when asked what the King of the Ring was like: “It’s like a 24 hour Le Mans or like swimming the English Channel UNDERWATER”.
Match of the Night: The Quebecers vs. The Headshrinkers. The first good match of the year! In May!
Summary: We’ve said the early Raws, running under an hour, lived or died on whether the marquee match delivered. The tag title switch is great so the show is a winner.