James Dixon: Hosted by Randy Savage and Vince McMahon. Hmm, the date is ominous. So is the sight of IRS making his way to the ring. It seems he is not wrestling though, he is a lumberjack for the following match.
King of the Ring Qualifier
Tatanka vs. Crush
Oh hell. There are like 20 guys out there for this one, and IRS gets into a shoving match with Razor before we even begin. I feel sorry for the entire roster, having to sit through a match between these two. We have a bit of a donnybrook with the lumberjacks in the ring before we get going, then we fall right into every Crush match, as he starts clubbing and using rest holds. Man, it’s gonna be a long show. Crush surprises me by not making a mess of a Japanese armdrag. Vince McMahon does not surprise me by calling it a “Mexican armdrag”. When we return from commercial, Tatanka is holding an armbar. After a little powernap from me, I awake a couple of minutes later, to see Crush applying a body scissors. I feel another nap coming on. PLEASE DO SOMETHING YOU LAZY BASTARDS! This is excruciatingly slow. Crush livens things up by laying on Tatanka as if he is going to pin him, and putting on a back hammerlock. It looks like fried shit. No question about it, Crush was considerably less entertaining as a heel. Not that he was entertaining as a babyface mind you. Oh for Christ sake, Crush has gone back to a scissors, this time on the arm. I am dumbfounded about the plethora of holds being used in lieu of actual working, because they already have all the short cuts they need in the form of practically the entire roster on the outside of the ring. Just throw the other guy outside, rinse and repeat. Crush tries a new hold, and it isn’t even anything, it is just a mass of limbs with nothing going on. Even Savage questions what it is supposed to be. I cannot believe how long they have given this. Tatanka fires up and I have high hopes that this is nearly over, and when we come back from commercial it appears as if they just stood still for the two minutes of the break, because they are in the same position. Instead of getting the finish, we get more Crush heat. Tatanka shows what a buffoon he is by kicking out of a pinfall attempt that never happened. Bam Bam on the outside, perhaps as a rib, counted the “fall” by banging on the mat. Dear lord. Crush expands his repertoire into exotic counters, switches and reversals. Oh no, wait, it’s a front facelock. They FINALLY take things to the outside and everyone has a brawl. Speaking of the lumberjacks: why aren’t they wearing flannel shirts? The lumberjacks in Duggan-Michaels did the previous year, and it made things more fun. Imagine Doink in one of those shirts! Or Jarrett! Back in the ring and Crush pounds some more. Then Tatanka does the same. Vince is bored to hell and comments on the lack of scientific exchanges. Lex Luger, who we know advocates cheating and bending the rules as long as they are in favour of the American, runs down and leathers Crush on the outside with his illegal steel forearm. Unacceptable behaviour, Lex, and after the way you whined on about Perfect too! Thankfully, this is the end and Tatanka covers Crush for the win. What were they thinking when they decided to give a match between those two guys TWENTY FUCKING MINUTES. I have seen Owen Hart do more moves in one minute than they did here, and that is the truth. This was just horrid on every single level. If they had done this match in 5-minutes (which they could have had they reduced the length of time in the rest holds) then this would have been boring but inoffensive. As it went so long and forced me to sleep and pray for death, it goes into the negatives. Half a show? For these guys? For THAT match? Fuck.
Final Rating: -*
Todd Pettengill full supports Lex Luger and his cheating ways. He runs down the King of the Ring card, which is deeply uninspiring on paper. In practice it turned out to be okay, thanks to stellar work from the Hart brothers. They were a familiar show saving duo in 1994. The Todd shows the footage of Diesel giving Hart the Jacknife on The King’s Court last week and Bret cuts a promo comparing himself to a Porsche. We go to Roddy Piper, who cuts a bunch of sound bite promos: “Is that Jerry Lawler there? Oh no, wait a second, that’s a jellyfish. Of course they are pretty close; neither one of them has a spine” and sells himself as the proverbial “rags” to Jerry Lawler’s riches. Far from his best work, which remains at the absolute peak of the business, but certainly better than nearly anyone else on the roster.
Bam Bam Bigelow vs. John Paul
Long night for Bigelow, who was a lumberjack earlier on of course. I hope he comes out here determined to give the fans something good to watch, having himself suffered through the Crush-Tatanka aberration earlier. He certainly goes at things with a pace and vigour early on. Vince McMahon calls Luna Vachon the WWF’s Wilma Flintstone and Savage says he preferred Betty Rubble and had a crush on here “as a keeeYYYIIDDDD”. Oh, how we do love those wacky intonations. Vince goes down about ten trains of thought in 30-seconds as Savage says he wants to “beat” Alundra Blayze and challenge Dink to a match. Memo to Savage: stop drinking or taking whatever you are taking during the show. I love you, but you are making my head spin like a top. And I tell you what too; hearing Savage do promo copy is akin to taking mind-altering drugs. I really want to see whatever the hell the movie or TV show was that he was talking about though. I guess that is the idea. Oh right, some wrestling. Nothing more than a generic squash I’m afraid.
Final Rating: ½*
The King’s Court
Does this interminable segment ever take a break? The last four Raw shows I have covered have featured Lawler rambling through lame “comedy” promos with uninspired choices as guests. Tonight it is supposed to be Roddy Piper, but Lawler instead brings out a skinny Piper imitator. Another “classic” swerve from the King. Bitterness aside, I will give credit to the Piper impersonator (who I am pretty sure was also the Owen Hart impersonator years later in a DX skit), he is excellent. He has the mannerisms, promo style and voice down perfectly, everything from the little laugh to absent-mindedly playing with his ear. He is actually absolutely phenomenal. He is quick and witty too, with Lawler asking him about the kilt and Fake Piper responding instantly “Ah ha, it’s a skirt man!”. Fake Piper says he wants to back out of the match and crawls around like a dog. Lawler did nothing for me, as usual, but the Piper impersonator carried this to something very entertaining.
Razor Ramon vs. Keith Davis
Who the hell is Keith Davis? He is a former multi-time WWE champion no less. You may know him better as Jeff Hardy. Incredibly, he was only 16-years old at the time, and he looks somewhat different to the face-painted, rainbow haired grungy guy that he became. Here is dressed in bright yellow tights with reasonably acceptable hair. Razor demolishes Jeff, picking him apart with ease. Credit to Hardy though, despite his young age he still looked more competent than a great deal of the active roster, and moved and bumped around really well for a guy barely out of wrestling school. Not that he ever really went to wrestling school.
Final Rating: *
Paul Bearer refused to believe that The Undertaker has sold out to Ted DiBiase. DiBiase joins Vince and Savage on commentary and promises to produce ‘the Dead Man’ on Superstars. Everyone has a price, hahaha.
THE RAW RECAP
Most Entertaining: Fake Roddy Piper. Clearly he is very brilliant at impressions, and his Piper one is just scarily good. Look away and you think it is Piper. A fun promo too.
Least Entertaining: Crush. Congratulations on expanding your moveset so it now includes 20 rest holds rather than 10. What an unspeakably boring worker.
Quote of the Night: “I saw it; I thought the best part was the creDIIIIYYTS! Ya yabba dabba don’t wanna see it” – Randy Savage’s damning appraisal of the new Flintstones movie.
Match of the Night: Razor Ramon vs. Keith Davis. Just a standard squash, but the debut of one Jeff Hardy, so it is a pretty notable one, and watchable with it.
Summary: What was this supposed to be!? The first half of the show is entirely taken up by one of the most boring matches in the history of Raw, and certainly the most overly long. There have been longer sure, but at least those deserved it. Only a maniac would book Crush-Tatanka to go more than 5-minutes. The second half picks up somewhat, with the Fake Piper segment really bringing things back around and the Jeff Hardy debut worth seeing for posterity. Half a drastically dire show, but it improves and levels out at just below average.