Monday Night Raw (03/07/94)
Arnold Furious: We’re in Poughkeepsie, New York. This was taped weeks ago. Hosts are Vince McMahon and Ted DiBiase. The Million Dollar Man returned at the Royal Rumble as a commentator although he’d use it as a stepping stone into management, which is the reverse of what usually happens. I love Ted’s assertion that Tatanka isn’t worth buying, which is funny in retrospect as he bought out Tatanka eventually. Everyone has a price… *trademark cackle*.
The Smoking Gunns vs. Owen Hart & Crush
The Gunns have a jinx when it comes to Owen. They lost the belts to Yoko & Owen and also to Bulldog & Owen. Although both defeats are off in the future, the jinx begins here. The foreigners wave the USA flag around. Not the evilest of foreigners; they’re from Canada and Hawaii. Speaking of foreigners; Nikolai Volkoff is ringside chanting “USA”. He’s wearing the kind of suit that wouldn’t look out of place on a young Vito Corleone. I think he actually lives in the Mid-Hudson Civic Center. The Gunns decide to run reverse heat on Owen, which is fine and then attempt the same on Crush, which isn’t. This being a Gunns match, one of them gets isolated, sadly by Crush. Yeah, run that formula… run it into the ground. Billy comes out with his big comeback spot; an armbar. Way to go, Billy, you’re nailing this one. Luckily Owen tags back in to save the match. His mixture of flying and suplexes made him a template for the “New Generation” superstars. Top wrestlers generally followed Owen’s approach. When you think about all the best wrestlers in the years that have followed (Eddy, Jericho, Shamrock, Angle, Malenko, CM Punk, Bryan etc) they all utilised that mixture of skills. Bart goes for a big power move on Owen but Crush chop blocks the cowboy and Owen finishes with the Sharpshooter. As I said at the top, the Gunns couldn’t get past Owen. He had a terrific record against them.
Final Rating: **
Interview Time: Vince hops up to interview the winners. Crush is facing Bret Hart this weekend at the March to WrestleMania X. Owen asks Crush to not hurt Bret too bad so the Hitman doesn’t have any excuses when he loses at ‘Mania.
WrestleMania Report: Todd talks about the March to WrestleMania X before moving on to the granddaddy of them all. Todd finds the celebrities exciting. I do not. Look at this cavalcade of crap: Jennie Garth, Showtime’s Bucky & Vinny (drawing a blank on them), Sy Sperling (hair club for men expert), Donnie Wahlberg, Little Richard and Burt Reynolds. “One of Hollywood’s biggest and brightest stars”. What year does Todd think this is? Burt hadn’t been a star for at least six years and won the Razzie in 1993 for the atrocious Cop and a Half. Todd runs through the card and frankly it’s all completely forgettable apart from Bret-Owen and the ladder match. Two five star matches, granted, but the rest of the card is a waste of time.
Jeff Jarrett vs. Virgil
You know how there are “hookers” and “escorts”? Well, Virgil is the jobber equivalent of an escort. He’ll take better care of you and you’re less likely to get hepatitis if he bleeds on your face. Plus he can actually execute reversals so Jarrett can’t stand around doing nothing like he usually does. On commentary Vince gets all excited about another WrestleMania celebrity, Rhonda Shear. Drawing another blank, Vince. He goes on to try and make a topical reference, which he gets wrong because he can’t pronounce the name of one of Clinton’s administration guys. Ted cutting a promo for a Rutger Hauer movie on USA right afterwards is gold. Virgil works at an armbar extensively and Jarrett demonstrates just how much he doesn’t care about jobber matches by letting Virgil have the entire match. Jarrett gets almost nothing until the flying DDT. And whatta ya know… it actually worked.
Final Rating: **
Video Control takes us to Sy Sperling who demonstrates what Mr. Fuji would look like with a Hair Club for Men rug. Vince gets very excited that Howard Finkel is getting a makeover at ‘Mania. A makeover? Apparently Vince is a 14-year old girl.
Iron Mike Sharpe vs. Doink the Clown
Sharpe chases Dink around for a bit. AAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH, I HATE MIDGETS. AAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRGH. Doink armdrags him. AAAAAAAAARGGGMMMDRAG. He even shouts AAARRGH when he dodges a dropkick. Another AAAAAAAAARGHMDRAG. AAAAAAAAARGHMDRAG! Sharpe mounts a comeback with chopping, which is by far his best offensive move. It allows him to shout and do something. Everyone wins. Sharpe misses in the corner and Doink finishes with the Whoopie Cushion. I just enjoyed a babyface Doink squash, which is indicative of how well the show is going. Or perhaps it shows how much I mark for Iron Mike Sharpe.
Final Rating: *
Interview Time: Vince has Chief Ray Littleturtle from the Lumbee Nation along with Wahoo McDaniel and Jay Strongbow. I don’t know why but I just hated the Injun gimmicks. I never liked anyone with an Injun gimmick. This is a presentation for Tatanka. Ray Littleturtle reminds Tatanka where he came from and presents him with sacred feathers to keep that in his head. Littleturtle knows his way around a presentation and a promo. They could have stuck him with Tatanka as a manager because, let’s face it, Tatanka can’t talk for shit. Tatanka promptly cuts an emotional promo where he thanks his fellow Injun competitors for blazing the trail. Tatanka weeps openly during the promo and the whole thing means something to him, which in itself makes it important. Even if several fans laugh at him. If Tatanka put this much emotion into the rest of his career he’d have made it, big time. I was sold on this, they should have played up on it more.
IRS vs. Mark Thomas
IRS predictably calls the fans tax cheats, as well as Tatanka for not paying taxes on his sacred feathers. I think I see Mikey Whipwreck in the crowd. Mark Thomas is one of the generic double forename jobbers. Thomas puts up little resistance to IRS’ bland rest holds and the crowd just dies. It does give Ted DiBiase an opportunity to cackle on commentary. Nobody could laugh like Ted DiBiase. IRS thankfully doesn’t waste any time and finishes with the Write Off.
Final Rating: ¼*
Interview Time: Jim Cornette with the Heavenly Bodies. This is to shill Del Ray’s match with Lex Luger at the March to WrestleMania X show. Cornette points out that nothing made in the USA works and his shitty Ford broke down before he got it off the car lot but he bought a Toyota and it works fine. Cornette claims Luger’s career will be ended by Yokozuna at ‘Mania but Del Ray will rough him up first. That’s the show.
THE RAW RECAP
Most Entertaining: Tatanka. Believe it! His best promo, by some considerable distance.
Least Entertaining: IRS. Another horrifically boring promo and match from the tax man.
Quote of the Night: “Everyone has a price, McMahon. I’m not cheap” – Ted DiBiase explains his shilling of a Rutger Hauer movie. Also: “Nothing about Tatanka excites me”. Ted owned the announce desk this week.
Match of the Night: The Smoking Gunns vs. Owen Hart & Crush. I reluctantly go for a match that Crush was in seeing as Owen bossed it all.
Summary: Aside from the boredom of an IRS squash, this show was good. I liked DiBiase on commentary. He made a lot of insightful remarks but also carried the shill duties like a pro. He’s a good fit for the role. Tatanka surprised me with a highly emotional promo that made something pointless, sacred feathers, mean something. It attached emotional value to an object, which gives the WWF an easy win down the line.