James Dixon: Vince is joined on commentary by Shawn Michaels. This is not as cool as it might sound, because he is pretty much awful at it. Shawn Michaels is great at a lot of things, but commentating is NOT one of them. He talks. In very. Short. Sentences. He does. Not sound at. All comfortable. In. This. Role. He inserts too many full stops into his announcing and sounds entirely unconvincing and uninterested in what is going on in the ring. To be fair, it is hard to blame him for that.
Jeff Jarrett vs. The British Bulldog
This has potential, but then, so did the dump I took this morning and that turned out to be a pile of shit too. Jarrett’s outfit is an assault on the senses. He is wearing black with gold stars, as well as bizarre gold tinsel covering his crotch and hips. It is inexplicable. Jarrett spends some time strutting after any and every successful move, so Davey mocks him by doing the same. Davey is no dancer, let me tell you. Davey brings quickness to proceedings with some snappy leg scissors, and then power with his trademark stalling suplex. Jarrett keeps consulting his new manager The Roadie when things go wrong, with the future Road Dogg making his TV debut here. Michaels makes a number of references to Smith being “asleep again, like he was at Survivor Series”, which to me screams an insider reference from HBK that Davey worked the PPV while loaded or wasted or both. Jarrett hits a big superplex before going to an interest-sapping chinlock. Vince goes on a bizarre tangent about Tim Allen and The Santa Clause, and combined with Jarrett’s tinsel we sure are Christmassy on Raw tonight. Bulldog hits a Perfectplex and Jarrett kicks out easily, as Michaels quips: “that move never beats anyone, McMahon”. I guess Mr. Perfect was still on bad terms with the WWF at this point. Jarrett goes to leave but Davey brings him back and presses him into the ring, but somehow fails to beat the count himself. Not bad, not good, it just happened. The finish was a cop-out though.
Final Rating: *½
It turns out, shenanigans stopped Davey getting in the ring, with his feet being held from under the apron by The Roadie. Cheeky little scamp.
1-2-3 Kid vs. Barry Horowitz
This has potential also. It all depends on how much offense Horowitz is allowed to have. If this had happened a year later it would have been highly competitive indeed, because Horowitz was still in the middle of a mini-push. Michaels mentions how Kid and Aldo Montoya make a good tag team, but then he would, because they are both Kliq members. “What? Jobber Blowjob Walker a/k/a Aldo Montoya was in the Kliq?!” Sort of. He was a peripheral member, like Jeff Jarrett and others; friends with the group but not over enough to be in it. Hell, he asked Scott Hall to be the best man at his wedding. Not that he showed up mind. The match goes back-and-forth for all of three minutes, and then Kid just beats him with the spinning kick. Shame.
Final Rating: *
Kwang vs. Scott Taylor
We have an all-star jobber cast on hand this evening. The most interest part of the match is Kwang’s manager Harvey Wippleman jawing with The Fink and RIPPING UP A PIECE OF PAPER. What a heel! This would eventually, incredibly, lead to a match. One of the worst matches of all time no less. I’m sure we will get to that. Michaels thinks Kwang is in the holiday spirit because his mist is red tonight. Clearly the road agents weren’t talking to each other this evening, because Kwang goes over with the exact same move that Kid won with in the previous bout.
Final Rating: ½*
The King’s Court
Oh come on now; it’s Christmas, give me a respite please! Lawler goes right into the cheap heat, calling the audience ugly. It is fitting that there is a Christmas theme tonight, because his jokes are right out of a cracker: “you look like you fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down”. Oh, snap! Lawler has a mystery guest on The King’s Court tonight, and it just happens to be Shawn Michaels. Great, we get to hear him talk some more! Let me reiterate my stance on Shawn Michaels in 1994: incredible worker, decidedly average orator. He got better, and he was great in 1997 behind the mic, and actually even better post-2002 after his big return. Lawler gives Michaels the credit for making new WWF champion Diesel a star, which is pretty accurate actually. After all, it was Shawn who hand-picked him to be his bodyguard after seeing him toiling on WCW TV. Michaels obviously agrees with Lawler’s assessment, and details how he was responsible for all of Diesel’s success. Michaels says he will break him as quickly as he made him, as the fans chant “Diesel”. You know, after the camera pans around the crowd, I kinda see Lawler’s earlier point.
We get footage of Sparky Plugg doing some racing. It seems he crashed.
Well Dunn vs. The Bushwhackers
This is upsetting. The show hasn’t been great or anything, but it has been watchable. It is guaranteed to be a miss now we have to suffer through these idiots. Well Dunn are non-descript rather than bad, but their WWF run was not helped by a feud with their opponents tonight. I’m not sure I can even remember a “marquee” match that Well Dunn had with any other team. Their gear is a little disturbing though, because it looks like they are wearing thongs over their tights. Is it a statement or a poor fashion choice? With no Randy Savage to read the USA Network movie promo, the job falls to Shawn Michaels, or “the H-B Kid” as Vince calls him. It’s not wrong, it just doesn’t sound right. Michaels does a stellar job of reading the copy, though certainly with less childish glee than Savage had. I have missed him tonight. As it turns out, the copy is more entertaining than this match, which appears to end when Harvey Wippleman gets involved with a trip and Well Dunn get the pin. The Fink confronts him after the match, and that “feud” has had more time than any other on the show.
Final Rating: ¼*
Bob Backlund is interviewed by Michaels, and he says he hates clowns and is going to exterminate Doink and Dink. Oh how I wish he would! Backlund is as maniacal as ever, and entertains with his promo. I feel the same way Mr. Backlund, I hate that goddamn clown too.
THE RAW RECAP
Most Entertaining: Bob Backlund. He was the only guy on the show who did anything “good”, as his promo at the end echoed my sentiments exactly.
Least Entertaining: The Bushwhackers. Naturally.
Quote of the Night: “Are you saying Double-J is the Tim Allen of the World Wrestling Federation? The Santa Clause, if you would!? I don’t think so” – Vince McMahon briefly loses it and talks utter bollocks.
Match of the Night: Jeff Jarrett vs. The British Bulldog. Not a great match, not even a good one, but it was the best on the show.
Summary: It trundled along without incident or offence for the most part, then The Bushwhackers showed up to ruin the fun. I would much rather see Shawn Michaels wrestling than behind the announce desk, something I thought week after week about Savage too. Vince wasn’t making the best use of his talent. No, instead of Michaels, the Harts and dare I say it, Diesel, we get The Bushwhackers and Kwang. Swell.