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James Dixon: The gimmick for this show is “The Night of Kings”, whatever that is supposed to mean. If it was just a night featuring former Kings of the WWF, I would be happy. We would have to suffer Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Don Muraco (in 1994… wow, imagine how lazy that would be) but that would be offset by Bret Hart, Owen Hart, Randy Savage, Haku, Tito Santana and Ted DiBiase. It would be preferable to watching Lex Luger, Mabel and King Kong fucking Bundy, that’s for damn sure.
Lex Luger vs. Bam Bam Bigelow
The struggle of the “American hero” against the evil corporation continues. This match has actually received Coliseum Video treatment, hidden away on the Raw: Strategies and Secrets video game VHS guide release. They do this at quite a pace considering one of the participants is Luger, with the story of the match being his fight against the numbers game, as the Million Dollar Corporation are at ringside. Adam Bomb and Mabel come down to even things up for Luger, highlighting what a dreadful roster they had in 1994. I am sure the intention was for Luger to be catapulted back into a main event role after his refusal to sell out to DiBiase, but it never happened. As usual with Luger, he was met with a pro-American pop but nothing sustained. There was no investment in his character from the fans because Luger was never able to fully connect with an audience. Luger rolls Bigelow up for the win after Bam Bam accidentally hits Tatanka who is at ringside. Fairly short but highly energetic, with plenty of distractions to keep it flowing.
Final Rating: **
Video Control takes us to The Heartbreak Hotel from Superstars, with Bob Backlund guesting. Michaels calls him a madman who Michaels and Diesel would want to party with, but Boring Bob rejects the offer, saying he is from a different generation. He spits out a dictionary and claims to be the WWF champion, just without the belt. Each week I hope Vince will come to his senses and realise what he is planning is a horrific idea, but obviously he does not. Why was Bret Hart never fully given the ball to run with? I mean, he was a 5-time WWF champion and one of the most over and successful wrestlers in history, as well as one of the best, but you always feel that he never fully had Vince and the WWF machine’s support. Having him drop the belt to scrubs like Yokozuna, Bob Backlund and Sid is evidence of that.
Mabel vs. Reno Riggins
The Mabel singles push continues! Delightfully, Oscar is not at ringside to make us suffer a horrid rap. Unfortunately, Mabel grabs the stick himself and does some barely audible rapping of his own. You can’t win. Neither can Riggins, who is easily disposed of by Mabel. How exactly is this match fitting on a show called “the night of kings”? Ok, Mabel wins the crown (as the wrestling world lets out a collective groan) in 1995, but I am pretty sure that they didn’t have that in mind here. The WWF soon got bored of pushing Mabel as a freak-show singles act and reunited him with Mo pretty soon after this, before turning the duo heel and erroneously committing to the Mabel surge to the top. Give them credit at least, they weren’t put off by the reaction he got for winning KOTR95 and still gave him that title match at SummerSlam. It was almost as if it were a big FU to the Kliq. Anyway, I digress. All of that is for a different time and a different book.
Final Rating: ¼*
Owen Hart vs. John Chrystal
At least Owen is a King. Mr. Chrystal is not, though he does look like Scott Steiner. Ah, Scott Steiner, how Raw misses that man in 1994. All of my favourite guys from 1993 have disappeared, with Bobby Heenan, (heel) Doink, Mr. Perfect and Marty Jannetty all having departed for various reasons as well, and Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart rarely wrestle on the show. In their place I get copious amounts of Mabel, Bob Backlund and Jerry Lawler. At least the love shown for Crush seems to have died down a lot. Vince and Savage continue where they left off last week, and talk about everything except the match, much like me most of the time actually… This week Vince breaks the news that George Lucas is writing three new Star Wars movies. If only someone had told him not to bother! The WWF vs. Roseanne Barr feud continues, as Vince says her new movie is on Fox tomorrow night: “The true story of Yoko-Roseanne”. Why does Vince hate her so much? I mean, she is an unsightly, opinionated, loud-mouthed imbecile, but so are plenty of people in American pop-culture. Why does Roseanne get the mass hatred? Answers on a post card! Oh, this was a demolition job.
Final Rating: ¾*
I can’t think of any innuendos this week for The Undertaker’s promo from Superstars.
King Kong Bundy vs. Mike Khoury
And here is Bundy, making his Raw debut having returned to the company after over half a decade away. Bundy probably had more negative star rated matches than anyone in The Complete WWF Video Guide Volume #1 and we very rarely dish out negatives, so you can imagine just how bad he was. Sorry for the spoiler, but Bundy’s second WWF run is even more worthless than his first. They are playing silly buggers with the theme of the show here by including Bundy, who is not a “king” in the traditional panto sense, but rather “King Kong”. I don’t think they get it. Hell, they should do this again and go the whole hog, bringing in Jimmy King from Ready To Rumble. “I will crown you!!!” Bundy has Khoury beaten a few times, but keeps picking him up to administer more punishment. Oh just END it already, Bundy! No-one wants to see you for more than 20-seconds, and that is only to get a good look and see if you are Shamu from Free Willy anyway.
Final Rating: ¼*
The New Headshrinkers vs. Corey Student & J.S. Storm
Student looks like the result of an illicit Typhoon and Steve Williams union, whereas Storm is like Michael Hayes dressed as a wrestling bank robber. This one is fairly brief, with Sione (“who is more barbaric than his family members” – Vince) showing off what he can do before killing Storm with his always entertaining big boot of doom.
Final Rating: ½*
The King’s Court
It goes on. Lawler says this will be one of the shortest King’s Courts ever, and I echo Savage and Vince’s sentiments: good! Lawler means short in terms of height, which means we get the pleasure of Lawler’s midget doppelganger Queazy. The little cretin looks absolutely delighted with himself as he does a Mr. McMahon power walk to the ring. I hate midget wrestlers, I hate the King’s Court and I hate Jerry Lawler in the WWF. You can imagine how I feel about this. At least it IS actually brief for once.
THE RAW RECAP
Most Entertaining: Bam Bam Bigelow. He dragged something watchable out of Lex Luger. With Lex clearly unmotivated and just picking up a paycheque by late 1994, that is an impressive feat.
Least Entertaining: King Kong Bundy. He is back, and no-one is pleased to see him. Except Vince of course, who is giddy at the collective girth of his roster.
Quote of the Night: “Mabel doing his thang” – Vince McMahon, from the streets! Last week he was making farting noises, this week he is being “street”. All he needs is a sideways cap and a “dad dance” to be the most cringe-inducing person in the entire world.
Match of the Night: Bigelow vs. Luger. Not a classic or anything, but a solid enough contest which told a story.
Summary: It is only marginally better than last week, with far too many fat bastards eating up the airtime to put on their lazy ass squash bouts. I am amazed that Raw has managed to survive as long as it has after putting on garbage like this week after week in the early days. It is lucky it wasn’t pulled off the air.