Monday Night Raw (01/31/94)
Arnold Furious: We’re in Bushkill, Pennsylvania. LIVE for a change. Hosts are Vince McMahon and IRS. Vince’s opening spiel is for the coin-toss. What coin toss? Lex Luger and Bret Hart will flip a coin to determine who gets the first shot at Yokozuna at ‘Mania. IRS goes off on a tangent about people not paying their taxes. It’s going to be a long night.
Marty Jannetty vs. Johnny Polo
This was supposed to be 1-2-3 Kid’s revenge match against Polo for the Quebecers screwing him and Marty out of the tag straps. Kid limps down to join the commentary as he’s injured. Polo berates Kid for being a coward with a fake knee injury. He actually calls him “pussy boy”, which causes Vince to wrinkle his nose. Marty is into his New Rockers gear, which means his career is finished. That gear was the kiss of death. Polo stalls a lot and the crowd actually gets a “Marty sucks” chant going. Dear WWF, your product is broken – sincerely, the fans. Polo, as mentioned before, is a capable worker. He demonstrates this when landing right next to the rope on the superkick so he can put his boot on the bottom rope to save the match. Jannetty completely screws up a backdrop bump where Polo tries to throw him to the floor. Ugly, ugly, botch. These guys are hung-over right? If there’s two guys in the WWF who are pretty much guaranteed to be hung-over, it’s gotta be these two. As the match progresses I’m reminded of Evil Ste’s ring attire ideology. In that bad ring attire = bad matches. Jannetty’s ring gear is ruining the match. They absolutely blow a sunset flip roll up counter spot with Polo having to get up and sit back down on Jannetty. Sometimes two guys just have a shitty match. It happens, regardless of talent. Jannetty finally starts to get his shit together with a flying back elbow, works the groin for a bit and finishes out of nowhere with the Rocker Dropper, called by Vince as “whatamanoeuvre”. The match was tanked by mistakes, which wouldn’t have happened if Marty was clean. Just sayin’. Kid accuses IRS of stealing Razor Ramon’s stuff, which is cute because he still calls him “sir”. Kid makes off with IRS’ briefcase to give Razor his gold chains back. IRS gives chase but runs right into Razor Ramon in the entranceway. How did they know IRS’ combination on his briefcase to get the gold chains out? Was it 1-2-3-4? That’s the kind of combination an idiot would have on his luggage.
Final Rating: *
Video Control takes us to comments from Jack Tunney about the Rumble match. During it he states that Luger and Bret will get title shots at WrestleMania and a coin flip would determine who goes first. He goes into greater details regarding special referees and such without actually saying anything.
Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Miguel Rosado
Rosado is a short Hispanic gentleman with a beer gut. Bigelow no-sells his stuff while IRS tells us Bam Bam will “tear this guy up”, which is what happens. Poor Rosado gets thrown way into the air, twice. Bigelow kicks him in the head and doesn’t even bother to mount the buckles for the headbutt. Bigelow was fairly brutal here but not on the Steiner level.
Final Rating: ¾*
Coin Toss: SEVEN officials are required for a coin to be flipped correctly. Vince hosts and informs us that if Luger wins, Bret wrestles Owen Hart at ‘Mania while Luger faces Crush first if he loses. The crowd chants “we want Bret”, and that’s (partly) why Luger didn’t win at ‘Mania. After getting that straight, Vince brings out both Luger and Bret. Luger wins the coin toss to finally get his title re-match from SummerSlam. Both guys cut mildly disinterested promos, which shows what a state the WWF was in at the time. There’s no tension either. Both faces wish each other luck. Blah, blah, blah.
Kwang vs. Rich Myers
Kwang is Savio Vega with an Oriental gimmick. He’s masked so we can’t tell he’s from Puerto Rico. Curiously, he’s managed by Harvey Wippleman. You’d think an Asian manager would make more sense. I guess he was considered beneath Mr Fuji. Kwang does all the same spots he did as Savio, but with martial arts poses in between and spitting of mist. Owen calls in to say how overjoyed he is at getting to wrestle Bret and beat him at WrestleMania. Savio’s Oriental impression isn’t bad; he’s very deliberate and uses a lot of chops. I think they were aiming for Muta, but obviously Savio is a bit heavier. Savio finishes Myers off with a superkick. KWANG~!
Final Rating: *
WrestleMania Report: Todd Pettengill no longer has Raw replays to shill so it’s on to ‘Mania. The show is sold out, so Todd has to shill tickets for MSG’s Paramount Theatre. Todd runs down the ‘Mania card; Bret-Owen, Yokozuna-Luger and the clash of the Rumble co-winners going on last. Either way it seemed like a bad idea as you’ve got either Yoko OR Luger working twice. Of course Bret and Owen had a superb opener and the ladder match was five stars, so no one remembers Yoko’s double duty.
Video Control takes us to Paul Bearer who, in his shrillest of shrill voices, talks about The Undertaker in a graveyard. Bearer promises the Undertaker will return.
Earthquake vs. Corey Student
John Tenta has been out of the WWF for a year and this is his big return match, which is funny because Corey Student gets a bigger pop (because he’s from Pennsylvania). Quake starts out with some lazy backbreakers. Why on earth did Adam Bomb get jobbed out to him at ‘Mania X? It has never made sense to me. Quake is in horrible condition, the worst of his WWF career, but thankfully not on a par with his terrible work in WCW. I guess he figured he could just walk back into to the main event scene seeing as the WWF had no stars in 1994, only to discover he wasn’t over. The truth can be extremely painful. He runs through a few power moves before winning with the vertical splash. Despite only hitting three athletic moves, Quake is totally gassed.
Final Rating: ¼*
Razor Ramon and Marty Jannetty are hanging out backstage ready to talk to IRS. Marty accepts IRS’ challenge for next week. Jannetty mixes his metaphors while Razor just stands around saying nothing.
Next week: Sparky Plugg debuts, Owen Hart in action, Smoking Gunns in action and Marty Jannetty vs. IRS.
THE RAW RECAP
Most Entertaining: Bam Bam Bigelow. The best jobber killing all month, outside of Yokozuna’s actual attempts to murder Dan Dubiel.
Least Entertaining: IRS. A total bore on commentary.
Quote of the Night: “Hey Kid, is it past your bedtime yet?” – IRS. “Not quite” – 1-2-3 Kid. It was his high-pitched naive voice that made it. I genuinely laughed out loud.
Match of the Night: Marty Jannetty vs. Johnny Polo. And that was hugely underwhelming because of all the mistakes.
Summary: Egad, another stinker from the Raw archives. Three bad jobber matches plus a marquee match loaded with botches. There is literally no reason to watch this. If you’re intent on going through the history of Raw, like we are, then there are shows you can skip over. The most important thing on this show was a coin toss to determine who gets first bite at ‘Mania in the title shot department. Seriously though, why didn’t they have a match to determine who got first shot? Would that not have been a more satisfying way of doing business? Flipping a coin just brings the competition down to luck. Where’s the skill in that? Where’s the heart in that?