Arnold Furious: We’re LIVE in Poughkeepsie, New York at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center. This is my final Raw of 1994 and I’m quite relieved to see the back of a frankly awful 12-months of wrestling. Raw has not been much fun this year. Hosts are Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler. The WWF has been a busy place over the past week. Vince promises an interview with his new WWF champion: Diesel.
Owen Hart vs. John Paul
Owen gives Paul a few counters to see what he’s made of. Paul is passable but can’t deal with Owen’s bigger spots. A spin kick catches him cold and the bump is all over the shop. Bret Hart joins us via telephone from Canada, eh. Bret informs he has stretched ligaments and tendons so he’ll need to take a month off to rehab. Bret takes a moment to shill the Survivor Series encore presentation (available only on PPV, folks!) as a way to check out what happened to him. All of this detracts from Owen’s squash win. The crowd get enthused by Paul hitting hope spots like a dropkick. Owen nails him with a belly-to-belly and finishes with the Sharpshooter.
Final Rating: *½
Adam Bomb vs. IRS
This match made its way onto one of the UK Fan Favourites tapes (the same one as Canadian Fan Favorites), although I can’t imagine how anyone could want to see it twice. These guys have acceptable levels of talent, for a rookie match, and do a lot of junior back-and-forth stuff. It feels like a trainee match. Bomb switches difficulties with a slingshot clothesline and IRS starts overselling a wee bit. To add another layer to the story we have a druid out here. Who is that mysterious masked man? Seeing as this is an extended squash, rather than a jobber match, it’s possibly acceptable that IRS uses the chinlock and the abdominal stretch. Bomb tries to keep things interesting with flash pins. IRS is in a feud with The Undertaker so there’s no way he’s going to job here, unless The Undertaker turns up and causes his defeat. In 1994? Unlikely. They kept Undertaker appearances special, even back then. I don’t get them using Bomb as enhancement, seeing as his fans even have a name: “The Bomb Squad”. Anyway, the druid shoves Bomb off the top rope and IRS, lazier than ever before, finishes with a legdrop. A goddamn legdrop? This isn’t Survivor Series still! That’s ridiculous.
Final Rating: *
Post Match: “Made in the USA” Lex Luger runs out to make the save as Bomb gets a 2-on-1 shoeing.
Bob Holly vs. Tony DeVito
Bob Holly is a strange wrestler. Sometimes he seemed incredibly energised and exciting. Even as a bad-ass heel he had matches where he was far more energised than usual. Then he had matches where it looked like he didn’t care. Vince spends a chunk of the match shilling the Snowball Derby down in Pensacola, Florida. Nobody cares, Vince. Nobody cares. Like with Yokozuna’s nonexistent sumo career, the lack of actual race car driving on Holly’s behalf makes the gimmick stupid. Vince makes claims like “Holly was won many a race”. Name one. Holly finishes with a diving clothesline.
Final Rating: *¼
Lex Luger vs. Bert Centeno
Luger has a young flag bearer named Steven Cole. Vince knows his name and yet they spell Centeno’s name wrong. Poor jobbers, can’t get no respect. Centeno is the bloke who looks a bit Samoan, or possibly Hawaiian. I can totally see Dog the Bounty Hunter bringing this guy in on drug charges. No ice in paradise, brah. Luger is another guy who looks to have greater motivation in some matches than others. This is one he sleepwalks through and finishes with the Rebel Rack. I feel bad for Centeno as Luger behaved as if he was a sack of spuds. Also this televised appearance will help Dog get back on his trail…
Final Rating: ¼*
Interview Time: Diesel. Vince McMahon has the stick. Diesel is the new WWF champion after defeating Bob Backlund in record time. Vince takes us back to Survivor Series and is critical of Shawn Michaels. Dies claims his failure at the Series was down to Shawn Michaels’ strategic changes during the match. Diesel makes a few vague threats toward Shawn before we move onto the title win. Vince claims Diesel hasn’t seen the last of Bob Backlund. Dies says he respects Backlund but Bob can’t get the chicken wing on him. Diesel goes on to make several babyface statements like: “Bret Hart would never quit in a submission hold”. Vince: “we’ll see about that”. I’m lying, that never happened. Diesel offers Bret a shot anytime he wants it. Diesel did not seem confident at all on the mic. His natural charisma didn’t really come across until he’d gained confidence as the champ, so this interview was a little weak. Although, it was nice to hear from the new champion of the world.
The Heavenly Bodies vs. Gary Scott & Buck Quartermaine
Buck Quartermaine, what a name! Mr. Backlund joins commentary for the main event to distract from another squash match. Backlund is so serious about his character that he completely no sells Lawler, which is perfect. As a serious man he sees Lawler as clown shoes. The Bodies are naturally entertaining even if they’re ignored by both the fans and the commentators. The jobbers actually work heat on Dr. Tom for a while, singling out his arm. Vince tells Backlund that he’s “gone over the edge… mentally” as the Bodies rock the double teams. DOCTORBOMB and Del Ray finishes with the Veg-O-Matic in a surprising, and awesome, tribute to the Midnight Express. It would be lost on McMahon, but he’s not paid attention to a single thing in the match anyway.
Final Rating: **
Post Match: Bob Backlund continues to rant. He promises to exterminate Diesel like the Tyrannosaurus Rex was exterminated. By hitting him with a meteor from space? That’s strangely specific. If would also involve blotting out the sun and causing another Ice Age. What a heel Bob Backlund was, folks. Vince baits him further by showing the entire match against Diesel from MSG. Backlund says he’ll get the title back and before he retires he’ll slap the chicken wing on Vince McMahon too. If he’d flipped him off and hit him with a bed pan first, he could have been an Attitude wrestler.
THE RAW RECAP
Most Entertaining: Bob Backlund. This is pretty much it for his run of comeback awesomeness, but threatening to slap Vince in the CFCW made my day. If only.
Least Entertaining: Lex Luger. On a show featuring an IRS match too.
Quote of the Night: “When he goes window shopping he buys seven or eight windows” – Jerry Lawler of Adam Bomb.
Match of the Night: Heavenly Bodies vs. Gary Scott & Buck Quartermaine. A decent match up featuring one of the best teams in wrestling at the time.
Summary: This wasn’t a bad show at all. Everything moved along quickly and made reasonable sense. They ignored the two best matches on the show, which is a pity and the marquee match didn’t really deliver. Maybe I’m just relieved that I don’t have to watch anymore Raw episodes from 1994 now, so happy that I blocked out a Henry Godwinn promo entirely.