Monday Night Raw (04/19/93)
James Dixon: Money Inc. and The Beverly Brothers cut strange promos, facing side on to the camera and really up close, with just a pure black background behind them. Like in Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ music video. It is actually really effective, and something they should have utilised more. Why am I really looking forward to that Beverlys-Money Inc. match? The usual trio host, but this is the last ever appearance on Raw from the interminable Rob Bartlett. Thank you, Gods of wrestling.
Razor Ramon vs. Virgil
The crowd is just as hot for this as they were for the first taping, and they pop the hell out of both guys. Virgil shows off his technical prowess with a few hammerlocks, but Razor just casually walks to the ropes to escape. The same thing happens with a waistlock and Bartlett helpfully offers: “that’s a new dance!” No, it is wrestling you unbearable blowhole. Vince and Savage have been commentating with him for over an hour at this point, having suffered through the live show with him previously. Bartlett innocently asks: “you know what amazes me?” and Savage (and Vince) don’t even hide their disdain for him anymore, with Savage replying “probably everything!” as Vince agrees. Razor takes over with his favoured abdominal stretch, and he is rather dogging this one. He is against Virgil though, so we won’t hold it against him too much. Virgil falls over doing a hiptoss, because he is pretty bad, and Razor continues to just outclass him in every way. “Razor! Razor! Razor!” chants the crowd. “This capacity crowd right behind Virgil” says Vince McMahon. And who would ever accuse that man of not listening to his audience? Razor barely breaks a sweat as he nails Virgil with the Razor’s Edge to complete a pretty routine win. Standard TV fare.
Final Rating: *½
Giant Gonzalez vs. L.A. Gore
L.A. Gore, otherwise known as Fake DDP, has no chance here. God, let this be quick. Choking occurs, and then Gonzalez fails to get his foot high enough for a big boot. He is 8-foot tall, how can he fail at that!? Vince confirms my theory that he didn’t actually see WrestleMania IX, by saying what an unbelievable match Gonzalez was involved in on the show. Unbelievably bad maybe. The wrestling Gods are especially generous tonight, because this goes little over a minute. Thank you!
Final Rating: SQUASH (Too short to rate)
Tatanka vs. Art Thomas
Wow, they really love giving Tatanka TV time against jobbers don’t they? Bless Art Thomas, he jumps Tatanka before the bell and even gets to control offence for a bit. Well, for most of the match actually, he has dominated this. Tatanka looks completely jiggered for some reason, though he was fine in his match last week (from the same taping). Maybe he ate some bad catering in between. Never choose seafood on a buffet man, that’s the golden rule! They make a right arsehole of an Irish whip and Thomas loses his mojo completely and bottles it, and they just stand there. Tatanka takes over on “Mark” Thomas (way to show respect for the guys who get your stars over, Vince) and finishes him off with the End of Trail. As he does week after week. I would be undefeated if I only had to work guys like Art Thomas every week. How about some legitimate opponents for Tatanka? His streak hardly has the same level of quality victims that Goldberg’s did, does it? This was not pretty.
Final Rating: ½*
Money Inc. vs. The Beverly Brothers
I stand corrected from last week; this is actually a non-title match. I really don’t like The Beverly Brothers in the WWF (I enjoyed their work in the AWA) and I cannot stand IRS, so the fact that I am looking forward to this is quite surprising. I guess it is the novelty of seeing two heel teams go at it, in a fresh match that hasn’t cropped up before. “No-one really cares who wins this match-up, I don’t think” says Vince, ever the killjoy. Why even book it at all then if you think that way!? What a stupid counter-productive thing to say about your own product. I know he meant from a fan’s perspective with both being heels, but it still sounded bad. Bartlett reels off lame line after lame line, desperately trying to get noticed, because Vince and Savage have spent the entire broadcast talking over him and flat-out ignoring him. Bartlett calls Vince “Dave” and gets a short, curt response of “it’s Vince!” and then he cracks that “everywhere he looks he is seeing stars” in reference to the Beverly’s tights. Just give it up man, you are completely useless and have no clue what you are talking about. The Beverlys are clearly the face team here, yet they work a long heat on DiBiase, which is a strange thing to do in one sense, but actually refreshingly different in another. In a competitive match-up, either side could realistically dominate or control proceedings, the standard formula is only there to give lesser workers a blueprint to stick to. The negative of course is that the crowd stays pretty quiet, because they are never going to cheer for IRS or DiBiase, though they probably would be inclined to cheer the Beverlys if they were taking heat. Maybe that is why they did it this way; so neither gets cheered, I don’t know. It is definitely not a shine though, because the Beverlys are using slow, methodical heel stuff. I am almost surprised at just how dominant they have been here, especially considering they are working the tag champs. We cut to commercial, and return with IRS applying a front facelock. Well, how thrillingly predictable. Money Inc. run the fake tag partner switch routine and do generate a bit of heat for it, but not much. Beau is fully playing face in peril now, and I appreciate them abandoning formula in favour of doing something different. It makes it feel unstructured, but I can’t fault the theory behind it. I have seen this match get panned by some for the two heat sections, but I can’t quite fathom why. Why would a heel team suddenly take on a babyface role and start busting out fast face shit? It doesn’t make sense. They don’t have a hot finish, because the crowd are not into it enough, or indeed at all really, and DiBiase grabs the pin with a roll-up. My optimism was somewhat unfounded, but this was acceptable for an all-heel bout.
Final Rating: *¾
Promo Time: Bret Hart.
He says he is not finished after losing the WWF title at WrestleMania and he will prove the sceptics wrong and bounce back. Hart says he has a hit list and Lex Luger is top of it. This was to set up a house show run between the two rather than anything of note on TV or PPV. Using TV to set up house show events? What a different era we were in. Can you imagine that happening now?
Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Phil Apollo
I generally enjoy Bigelow squashes. Apollo is a decent bumper for a short and fairly chunky guy, and Bam Bam has a whale of a time throwing him around and tackling him to the floor. Apollo catches an opening and throws in a quick dropkick, but Bigelow effortlessly swats it away. Doink shows up in the aisle, but he is half a year, a babyface turn and a change of portrayer early for a feud with Bam Bam, so he quickly leaves. Bigelow is just toying with Apollo, but he is too casual and gets caught with a punch to the gut. That only serves to piss off Bam Bam, and he squashes Apollo with a senton and finishes him off with the diving headbutt. Bigelow gives Apollo another headbutt for his insolence, but he is stopped from doing a third by Friar Ferguson! Ferguson “blesses” Apollo and then hits a dreadful dropkick on Bigelow to send him to the outside. Man, he looks so uncomfortable doing anything, he comes across like a non-wrestling person being forced to dress up and act like he thinks a wrestler would. This usually involves shuffling around too much on their feet and saying “come on” repeatedly. Ferguson does both of these things. Canning this gimmick was one of the smartest moves that Vince made in 1993. Creating it in the first place was one of the dumbest.
Final Rating: *½
And for the second week running, we round out the in-ring portion of the show with a Friar Ferguson segment. It can only get better next week though, because we have Crush vs. Lex Luger! I might need a stiff drink before watching that one.
THE RAW RECAP
Most Entertaining: No-one deserves a mention here, because nothing stood out. Hell, give it to Giant Gonzalez for not subjecting us to watching him wrestle for more than a minute or so.
Least Entertaining: Copy and paste from last week: “Friar Ferguson. What were the WWF thinking!? A fat dancing monk who wrestles, really?”
Quote of the Night: “We’re back with more Monday Night R… HEEELLLUUUUU?” – Vince McMahon at the sight of a Raw girl. Whatever happened to those? Bring them back!
Match of the Night: Money Inc. vs. The Beverly Brothers. For the second week running, IRS is involved in something I have picked as match of the night. Hmm…
Summary: The streak of decent shows ends at one, with this underwhelming effort. None of the matches broke ** and that was an issue, because the show was pretty much all matches. Friar Ferguson managed to tank the show completely at the end with his horrible run-in and Mike Shaw was clearly massively uncomfortable portraying the character. Nothing here other than that would be described as flat out bad, but it was all just so pedestrian and missable.