James Dixon: We’re in Bushkill, Pennsylvania. This was taped after last week’s Raw and is the middle show of three in a TV block. Hosts are Vince McMahon and Ted DiBiase. They share their opinions on the Kid-Backlund match and predict according to their face-heel alignments.
1-2-3 Kid vs. Bob Backlund
Bobby can’t get going as Kid jumps him and keeps him off kilter with kicks and flash pins. The prospect of the Kid scoring a huge upset gets the crowd going and wakes me up in a few seconds. Kid makes the mistake of slowing it down with a short arm scissors though and making it about wrestling, which plays into Backlund’s strengths. Bob ends up powering out of it and smashing Kid with a fantastic forearm. That all serves to set up Backlund to work over Kid’s arm at a more methodical pace. Kid pays for his failure to stay on top of the situation and work his own match. Kid then goes one step dumber and tries his own CFCW, which Backlund immediately counters out of. Perhaps that gives him sufficient motivation to return to his high risk offence, which Backlund can’t cope with, but it’s a touch late because his arm is damaged. He’s slowed up and can’t mount the buckles quick enough for a splash. Backlund moves and stalks the fallen Kid like some sort of LOON. Crossface chicken-wing finishes with Kid screaming his submission to really cement how dangerous the hold is. Rip, tear, etc. Bret Hart runs in after Backlund keeps the CFCW on and officials have to break them up. This was a supremely well constructed little match; everything made sense and they achieved several goals. Kid was made to look plucky yet inexperienced, talented yet naïve. Backlund by comparison came across as the shrewd yet slow veteran, the technical marvel with a ruthless streak. Everyone gets over. You don’t get booking this good on TV matches usually.
Final Rating: **¾
Post Match: Backlund sneaks behind Bret and slaps the chicken wing on before letting it go almost immediately. Bob claims he was “very truculent” in letting Bret go. Not sure he knows what that one means. Hart then sneaks up behind Backlund in the entranceway and slaps on the Sharpshooter only to release it straight away. Both guys are making a point.
Mabel vs. The Blue Phantom
Oscar’s pre-match rap about the team for Survivor Series might be the worst rap in the history of rap in wrestling. As Mabel throws the Phantom around, Vince makes ridiculous claims like Mabel could backdrop King Kong Bundy as high as the Phantom and he invented the exclamation mark. I can only assume the Blue Phantom is David Heath as he played the similarly entitled Black Phantom. This Phantom gets nothing and Mabel finishes with the belly-to-belly in short order.
Final Rating: SQUASH (literally).
Jeff Jarrett vs. Gary Sabaugh
Jarrett’s nervous tick laugh is so stupid that even Vince makes fun of it. “Ha ha”. As per usual Jarrett of 1994 sleepwalks through his jobber matches. At least Mabel looked like he was enjoying winning a match. Strut, strut, strut. Jeff gives Sabaugh hope spots like a sunset flip, before dismantling the leg. “Don’t you ever do that again, boy” – Jarrett. Sabaugh promptly tries for an enzuigiri, which misses, and Jarrett does that “tapping his cranium” thing he so loved. Tock, tock, tock. Figure four finishes.
Final Rating: ½*
Video Control takes us to IRS, who points out dead people need to pay burial tax. Boring and stupid. Marvellous.
The King’s Court
Jerry Lawler is here, yet again, for another chat show. His guest is Owen Hart, so King doesn’t get to make any jokes… yet. I’ve heard them all before anyway. Owen assures Bob Backlund he will not throw the towel in on Bob’s behalf, not like Arnold Skaaland did in 1983. The segment seems to only exist to remind us that Bret and Backlund have corner men at Survivor Series and the only way the match can end is by throwing the towel in. With one corner man out here they invite the other: Davey Boy Smith. Both guys have their associated towels. Owen gets into a spot of verbals with Davey about who’s going to win. The war of words enforces two things: 1. Owen can get a point over with great clarity. 2. Bulldog can only cut an 80s promo, which is all shouting. Score one for Team Backlund.
Aldo Montoya vs. The Brooklyn Brawler
Oh, look who graduated from Jobber Academy! The “Portuguese Man-O-War” is former PJ (or BJ, depending on who was working Video Control) Walker and future ECW world champion Justin Credible. His change of gimmick is pretending to be Portuguese (I suppose that is his ethnicity) and wearing a jockstrap on his head. As per usual, Brawler is out there to count lights for the noob. Montoya tries to work cruiserweight and inserts a lot of speedy flying stuff. Bizarrely enough, Brawler is more entertaining on offense. He hits stuff within his range of abilities, meanwhile Aldo is busy blowing ranas while trying to mimic the 1-2-3 Kid. Seeing as he was actually trying to impress, this might be the best Aldo Montoya match I’ve ever seen. Not that it means anything but there it is.
Final Rating: *
Post Match: Ted DiBiase hops in the ring and offers Aldo a spot in the Million Dollar stable. Aldo responds in Portuguese. Aldo tells Ted to “shove the money in his ear”, which is a contrast to later in his career when he’d have took the money and then not turned up to help Ted, claiming he’d not got enough money to get to the airport, or some shit. (See HoW release: All Or Nothing: The Story of Europe’s Most Controversial Wrestling Promotion).
Interview Time: Alundra Blayze. She’s off to Japan to defend the WWF Women’s title in Tokyo, where incidentally she’ll lose the title. As per usual she’s a horrible interview and doesn’t say anything of note.
THE RAW RECAP
Most Entertaining: 1-2-3 Kid. Waltman lit up 1994 with his performances. Here he engineered a tremendous array of offense, sympathy and character in a five minute squash that he lost.
Least Entertaining: I’m actually shocked it’s not Aldo Montoya, as his debut match was surprisingly ok. So I’ll go with Oscar.
Quote of the Night: “I could buy Sonny Bono in a minute. Hey, Sonny, I got you babe. *Trademark cackle*” – Ted DiBiase
Match of the Night: 1-2-3 Kid vs. Bob Backlund. A terrific five minuter that had a lot to say. Both guys benefitted hugely from the outing.
Summary: This was a bright and breezy edition of Raw. Nothing outstayed its welcome. The Mabel and Jarrett squashes were really brisk. Aldo Montoya shocked me with his borderline competence in entertaining and the opener worked. I quite enjoyed this show.