Monday Night Raw (05/03/93)
Arnold Furious: We’re in Manhattan, New York. Hosts are Vince McMahon, Randy Savage and Bobby Heenan.
WWF Intercontinental Championship
Shawn Michaels (c) vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan
There are certain times when the WWF threw talented people in with popular people to see what happened. Shawn is the talented one, Hacksaw the popular one. But you knew that. The fans chant the name of the network (“U-S-A”) while Shawn kills time. He gets his jollies bumping around for Duggan’s rather limited moveset. You could understand Shawn’s frustration at getting stuck in with dinosaurs, like “Fat Chuck Norris” here. Duggan can’t or won’t bump anything Shawn has with any believability, instead opting to gently keel over sideways. Shawn eventually gets bored of trying and hooks a chinlock. Shawn’s offence has looked low-impact all match. It might be because he’s so lightweight compared to a butterball buffet-buster like Duggan or it might be that Duggan doesn’t get Shawn and can’t work anywhere near his style. When Duggan is hitting stuff the match is fine because Shawn looks good bumping regardless. Shawn takes a silly bump through the ropes to sell the Three Point Stance and takes a powder. Duggan follows and clotheslines Shawn into the front row, which gets the champ counted out. Shawn would have had a better match by himself and clearly wasn’t happy working with a relic like Hacksaw.
Final Rating: **¼
Post Match: Duggan stages a sit in protest until Shawn Michaels comes back out here. Video Control gets bored and shows Crush working out with ICOPRO, brah. Then it’s off to Gene Okerlund for an update on the King of the Ring qualifying matches. This being the inaugural PPV version of King of the Ring, they’ve already booked Hulk Hogan vs. Yokozuna for that show. Not that Hogan has been anywhere near TV since winning the WWF title. Gene promises more qualifying matches for King of the Ring soon. I’m looking forward to the Mr. Perfect vs. Doink rematch after their first bout went Broadway.
Doink the Clown vs. The Kamikaze Kid
More fun here as Kamikaze Kid is Sean Waltman making his WWF debut as a tackling dummy for the stars. It actually says “L. Kid” on his trunks as his existing Indy gimmick is The Lightning Kid. Doink just kills the poor guy with an STF and then taps him with the Stump Puller. An inauspicious debut for Sean Waltman. It does set him up as one of the in-house jobbers instead of a signed star though, which would help to set up his famous shock win over Razor Ramon.
Final Rating: *
Bob Backlund vs. Dwayne Gill
Gill is a better opponent for Backlund as he can wrestle a bit and takes a mean bump. Vince uses this match as an excuse to talk about Duggan’s rematch with Shawn next week – a lumberjack match. Backlund gives Gill some spots to show his skill and so Backlund can wrestle out. Gill even slaps on a short-arm scissors. Backlund powers out, which is an impressive spot for a small guy. It’s more a British Bulldog spot. Backlund puts Gill away with the O’Connor roll.
Final Rating: *½
Promo Time: Jim Duggan.
Vince brings him back out here to discuss next week’s lumberjack match. Duggan calls Shawn “pretty” and a good wrestler but he “can’t fight a lick”. Last I checked this wasn’t the World Fighting Federation, Hacksaw. Duggan calls Shawn “tough guy” like three times and starts a “USA” chant. I’m not saying he’s predictable, no wait, that’s exactly what I’m saying.
Video Control takes us to footage of The Smoking Gunns shooting cans in the desert.
Jay Sledge & Jim Bell vs. The Headshrinkers
Captain Lou Albano comes out to join the already bloated commentary team. Albano discusses the “Headhunters” (eh, close enough) and claims they’ve gone astray as he enjoyed managing the Wild Samoans. But they were heels. You used to be a heel, you senile old bastard. I’ll give them credit; The Headshrinkers were a decent team and they enjoy destroying jobbers. But Albano’s verbal diarrhoea rather kills the match, as does Vince’s insistence that the lumberjack match is more important than this. There’s nothing worse than commentators ignoring the match they’re watching. Randy Savage talks nonsense. Albano talks nonsense. Heenan tries desperately to hold it together with jokes. Vince gets lost in the process. Albano’s biggest error as an entertainer was he believed people wanted to hear what he had to say. He talks and talks and talks but he never says anything. The Headshrinkers double team and Fatu wins with a Superfly Splash.
Final Rating: *½
Kamala vs. Rich Myers
The show felt like it was over, but then out comes Kamala for a main event squash. Myers is more mullet than man. He employs the “bouncing off” psychology on his way to defeat. The overselling is painful. His attempted backflip sell on a superkick is hilarious as he pretty much lands in a heap head first. Kamala splashes him and once again struggles to figure out the mechanics of a pin. After an eternity of rolling the poor overselling jobber around, he scores the victory.
Final Rating: DUD
Backstage: Bobby Heenan gets a word with IC champ Shawn Michaels. He thinks the whole thing is an outrage.
THE RAW RECAP
Most Entertaining: Shawn Michaels. He had problems with Duggan’s attitude, but performed at his usual level in spite of Hacksaw.
Least Entertaining: Lou Albano. I have no idea why he was brought back in 1993. He most certainly wasn’t welcome. Watch Herb Abrams UWF if you want to see him really tank the product he’s involved in. This wasn’t far behind.
Quote of the Night: “I love it when you can see a woman’s scalp” – Bobby Heenan appreciates Luna Vachon’s look.
Match of the Night: Shawn Michaels vs. Jim Duggan. And that was just to set up another match next week.
Summary: Until Lou Albano came out, it was a decent show. He is an albatross of failure. The arrival of Albano is like the coming of The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse; the end of days. He signals with his arrival the horror of things to come. If Lou Albano is in your segment, it is guaranteed to be horrendous. Like a train wreck or a sex crime. The show felt, on the whole, like jobber matches with one bout designed to set up next week. I know Raw is only a short show, with about 45-minutes of on-air time, but 45-minutes is enough time for three decent matches. Instead we get one decent match and four jobber matches. The only one of those that achieves anything is the Waltman one. Are all the jobber matches really worth the wait for Waltman’s big upset win? The one that made it true that “anything can happen in the World Wrestling Federation”. It made Waltman’s career, I guess, but it sure isn’t fun to sit through.