Monday Night Raw (03/28/94)
Arnold Furious: We’re in Poughkeepsie, New York. Hosts are Vince McMahon and Jim Cornette. The latter promises the “ungarnished truth” during this broadcast.
Lex Luger vs. Rick Martel
When the WWF released Raw: The Beginning, this match was the sole entry for March ‘94. Slow month. Cornette starts into Luger immediately, pointing out that he lost at SummerSlam and lost again at WrestleMania. He’s right. Luger is a loser and a choke artist. Martel takes one look at him and begins sleepwalking. There were times during Martel’s career where he had an indifference to his opponents that resulted in poor matches. His level of effort is higher than his worst but far from his better levels of motivation. Meanwhile, in the front row, Ted DiBiase has bought a few seats. Luger grinds away at a headlock, as if he’s the heel, and indeed works a “reverse heat type of situation” on the Model. Martel’s early enthusiasm rapidly evaporates and his bumps slack off. No longer do they have any snap to them. They trade and Martel grinds at a chinlock. Jesus, this one is a dog. These two are not working hard. The match proceeds like this: rest hold, battle out, heel spot, rest hold, battle out, heel spot, rest holds. Rinse, repeat. Martel doesn’t even get the chinlock on that well and it’s around 0.6 Sags. “How long is this match going to go?” wonders Vince. FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE! Luger blows his comeback spot by falling over so they repeat it. That pushes two of my buttons; making a mess and then doing it again when the spot doesn’t even matter. A powerslam sets up the Torture Rack. Long, lazily constructed and frankly boring. Martel is a talent but he really dogs it when his opponent isn’t to his liking.
Final Rating: *
Backstage: Owen Hart prepares for his match by lifting some weights. He claims that after beating Bret he can beat anyone. I don’t think Mike Freeman will trouble him. Todd Pettengill shills the match dumped off WrestleMania; the ten man tag. It’ll take place next week on Raw. Lucky you, James, getting WrestleMania cast-offs.
Owen Hart vs. Mike Freeman
Freeman has turquoise pants and an Eastern European mullet. Not that the WWF cares, as they focus on the commentators chatting to Ted DiBiase. The Million Dollar Man promises surprises in the coming weeks, because everyone has a price for the Million Dollar Man *trademark cackle*. Owen drags Freeman through his match while the crowd leather Owen with heat. Freeman just lets Owen do what he wants. Eventually Freeman takes a killer bump, Owen’s boot under his chin in the corner running in, and Owen finishes with the Sharpshooter.
Final Rating: ¾*
Doink the Clown vs. Eric Cody
Unlike James, who hates Dink, I have a soft spot for him because I love midgets. Admittedly it killed the Doink character to have a midget with him but, let’s face it, firing Matt Borne killed the Doink character anyway. New Doink squirts Ted DiBiase with water. No doubt this will lead to a thrilling clash with IRS down the line. Eric Cody has a jobber mullet too. He goes after a headlock and Doink blows the escape. “Technical skills” claimeth Vince. Indeed. Doink gets an armbar and Dink runs in for a bit of comedy sauce. Poor Eric Cody, comedy hair, comedy match. “I can whip any midget or anyone under the age of 12” – Jim Cornette. He goes on to claim 2 out of 3 falls. Cornette just owning this show, as he does every show he’s on. Doink runs through some passable technical stuff including a slightly raw German suplex. Whoopie Cushion finishes.
Final Rating: ½*
Interview Time: Jim Cornette gets in the ring to interview Johnny Polo and the Quebecers. Cornette interviewing Polo! Heaven! Quebecers have an open challenge to anyone, so out comes Captain Lou Albano to ruin the segment. Jacques calls him “Captain Crunch”, which is no sold by Albano. Polo makes a few age gags but freaks out when Albano brings out the Headshrinkers. Polo’s reaction to the Headshrinkers is akin to Triple H’s reaction to Mick Foley coming out as Cactus Jack. Only with more crying.
Next Week: As well as that 10-man tag, we have Earthquake vs. Adam Bomb in a rematch from WrestleMania. Big ‘Mania theme next week!
1-2-3 Kid vs. The Black Phantom
Phantom is masked, like an Executioner, and is played by future Gangrel; David Heath. Phantom rocks the power moves, which allows Kid to counter with speed and dexterity. The pacing is superb and the match is head and shoulders above everything else on the show. Kid is so intense that he even neck bumps a missed dropkick. Poor Phantom gets clocked with an array of spin kicks; mostly in the face. Kid gets a moonsault press for the pin. I wish this was longer because what we had was gravy. Best match of the month, and it was barely 3-minutes long. Vince does a fantastic double take at the end of the match, reacting sublimely late to Cornette’s earlier gag about Amy Carter (daughter of former president Jimmy Carter). The commentary on this show has been immense.
Final Rating: **¼
Crush vs. Ray Hudson
A severe change of pace after the last bout. Ray Hudson, with his porn star moustache, reminds me of Rod Farva from Super Troopers. You burger punk! As one of my favourite jobbers, he deserves better than the plodding “karate” horseshit that Crush throws at him. Crush even lifts the Savage Hangover, as he was feuding with Randy Savage, and it is shit. This kind of match from the Ploddersaurus Rex, Crush, makes the word “systematic” exciting. Crush drops the world’s shittiest knee drop for the win. Hoorah. Match was awful.
Final Rating: DUD
THE RAW RECAP
Most Entertaining: Jim Cornette. I was going for the Kid, as he was the most entertaining guy in the ring (by some distance) but Cornette was awesome throughout the whole show.
Least Entertaining: Crush. BOOOOOOOOORING.
Quote of the Night: “You know what happens to a house on fire? It eventually burns to the ground” – Jim Cornette slaughters Vince’s metaphor during Luger-Martel.
Match of the Night: 1-2-3 Kid vs. The Black Phantom. Tidy little jobber match between the future X-Pac and Gangrel.
Summary: March was a dog of a month. For every Kid or Owen match you had a pile of pants like Crush waiting in the wings. Kid vs. Phantom was the best match of the month and clocked in at **¼. I think that says a lot about the quality of wrestling on the cards.