Monday Night Raw (01/10/94)
Arnold Furious: We’re in Richmond, Virginia. This is the one year anniversary of Monday Night Raw so we’re LIVE. Video Control takes us to Marty Jannetty jobbing to Johnny Polo then demanding a tag title shot from him last week. Polo and the Quebecers call them cockroaches and Jacques claims this is a “tune up”. On any other show that would be the case… but this is Raw. Hosts are Vince McMahon and Randy Savage, who is the “special guest” commentator. Not particularly special seeing as he used to do the gig full time.
WWF Tag Team Championship
The Quebecers (c) vs. Marty Jannetty & 1-2-3 Kid
This feud has stemmed from two Raw events. Polo cheating to pin Jannetty two weeks ago and Jannetty cornering Polo to demand a tag title shot last week when Polo was commentating. In case you’re wondering why I never mentioned that last week; it is mysteriously missing from my taped version of the show. Culled along with an ad break it seems. Given that the Quebecers were due to defend against the Hart Brothers at the forthcoming Royal Rumble PPV, the fans presume the challengers have no chance of winning; that’s the vibe from the crowd, mainly because of Kid’s lack of big match experience. He even lost to IRS in his only PPV outing. Jannetty tries to change fan perception with early flash pins, after all the challengers have a big speed advantage. Kid’s lack of experience is made apparent in the opening exchanges as he stops off to celebrate a spinning heel kick thus giving Pierre extra time to recover. The challengers get some double team moves going, like a Marty backdrop on the Kid leading to a dropkick. The Quebecers can’t deal with the pace of the challengers and Jannetty gets a three-count with the superkick, BUT Jacques gets his foot on the bottom rope and a second official has to break up the celebrations. The WWF rather cunningly miss the false finish with an ad break and have to replay it. I like the WWF throwing that tease in to make the fans think the challengers one shot has gone. The Quebecers try to cheat but get done for speed again. Kid wipes out both Quebecers with top rope moves, including an insane cannonball to the floor. Another ad break sees prolonged heat on the Kid, which is certainly better than missing the false finish. Poor Kid gets murdered with double teams and Jannetty can only watch from the apron as a succession of big spots connect. Jannetty bends the rules somewhat by running in and superkicking Jacques. That gives Kid the opening for a hot tag, which is hot. It’s a shame then that Jannetty makes a mess of a flying back elbow, barely leaving his feet. Jannetty hits a suplex and Kid comes off the top with a crossbody at the same time for the titles. The crowd goes nuts and Savage can’t contain himself. He jumps into the ring with the straps and hands them to the babyface duo, who go to celebrate in the crowd. It is a memorable outcome but only a decent match, not a great one. They couldn’t quite settle on a storyline; whether it would be fast and furious or a destruction of the Kid with Jannetty saving his ass. It ended up being somewhere in between and not quite as satisfying as other big Raw matches. Still, the show opens with a 20-minute tag match where the belts change, so I’m happy. Jannetty and the Kid’s reign as champions was remarkably short. A week to be exact.
Final Rating: ***¼
Tangent: Rather upsettingly this tag title switch is the best match on Raw during the month of January by some distance. The rest of the month is cobbled together with jobber matches and the kind of showcase bouts no-one wants to see.
Royal Rumble Report: Good Ol’ JR is slumming it this week with Todd “snowed in”. Does that mean he’s taken too much cocaine? I hate it when Jim Ross does that fake smile. It’s just not him. You could see the pain behind his eyes at WrestleMania IX. Ross runs through the cookie cutter crap that Pettengill, being a DJ, doesn’t care about spouting. I feel like the WWF just totally wasted Ross until 1996. Jim Ross reminds us that the Quebecers vs. Harts match still goes ahead, but with no titles on the line. Pity they didn’t just do Harts vs. Jannetty & Kid, because seriously there are no weak links there, and Owen could still turn heel when the Harts came up short.
Ludvig Borga vs. Brad Anderson
Borga kicks things off with a stiff clothesline and another one when Anderson attempts a comeback. Anderson looks a bit like a skinny Rhino. Borga’s inconsistencies drive me nuts in this one. He goes from great looking clotheslines to a shitty punch to the gut, which Anderson has to lie around selling for ages. I can see why James thinks Borga was decent, but someone with potential is always far more frustrating than someone who completely sucks. This is why I’d rather watch Typhoon, who I have zero expectations of, than Borga, who should do better. Borga stands around for a bit and then finishes with the Torture Rack. Another infuriating outing from the Fin.
Final Rating: ½*
The Undertaker vs. Ray Hudson
Earl Hebner is MVP of this one. First insisting Paul Bearer not have the urn on him, as it is potentially a weapon, then totally freaking out when Undertaker sneaks up on him, throwing the urn back to Bearer before bailing out of the ring. Awesome officiating, Earl. It’s a fine line between a love of the rules and a sense of self-preservation. Hudson is nondescript. Not that it matters. Taker plods through his stuff. Chokeslam. Tombstone. Not a good chokeslam as Taker tried to go one-handed and blew it. He totally compensated with a jumping Tombstone though. That’s worth a quarter snowflake by itself, despite being totally unnecessary against a jobber.
Final Rating: ½*
Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Bastion Booger
Booger enraged the Bammer last week by making eyes at Luna. Big mistake. Bigelow hammers on the fat tub of goo. It boggles the mind that the WWF actually pushed Booger, given his dreadful physique and lack of discernible talent. Booger gets a tiny bit of offence before Luna distracts by blowing kisses. Fat boy Booger blows his jump and they screw up a slam. Bigelow, clearly pissed off, pops back up and hits another slam, without Booger wrecking it, and finishes with the diving headbutt. Short feud, good job. A confused Booger gets slapped by Luna after the match to confirm she didn’t find him attractive in any way. With a little subtlety and a less offensive costume, this angle could have worked. It didn’t because no one wants to sympathise with a man who dresses like a giant baby.
Final Rating: ¼*
Backstage: Johnny Polo complains about getting beaten by a bunch of losers. Jacques points out they’ve got a rematch clause and they’ll get the belts back at MSG next week. We conclude with Vince and Savage wrapping up, but IRS comes out to bitch about wrestling Savage next week and the Macho Man throws the Raw anniversary cake in his face. Bastion Booger can be seen in the background eating the remains off the floor.
I kid. He’s too busy eating urinal cakes out of the gent’s toilet.
THE RAW RECAP
Most Entertaining: Marty Jannetty. He might have slipped down the pecking order in 1994, but at the start of the year Jannetty was still having fun.
Least Entertaining: Bastion Booger. Got given an actual, honest to God angle and blew it. The death knell for a comedy character.
Quote of the Night: “We are live, there’s no telling who’ll be wet… who’ll be all wet on Monday Night Raw!” – Vince McMahon. I’ll leave the connotations to your imagination.
Match of the Night: The Quebecers vs. Marty Jannetty & 1-2-3 Kid.
Summary: Good start followed by three matches that barely qualified as filler. The Bigelow-Booger thing at least had some run-on booking attached but nobody seemed motivated by it. Taker and Borga’s squashes were both pointless but with moments of amusement. Taker’s excessive jumping Tombstone got a rewind viewing in casa de Furious.