Monday Night Raw (04/04/94)
James Dixon: With the crew all over in Europe for the traditional post-WrestleMania world tour, this was actually taped the night after WrestleMania back in March. I have covered the majority of the card before, as a lot of it turns up on WWF Mania – The Video Tape and Paul Bearer’s Hits From The Crypt which both appear in Volume #3 of our Complete WWF Video Guide.
We start off with Earthquake and Adam Bomb having an argument. Presumably Bomb is furious that he had to job so quickly to ‘Quake at WrestleMania X. Vince McMahon hosts the show with the rarely seen on Raw Gorilla Monsoon. The theme of tonight is WrestleMania redux, with Quake vs. Bomb II and the scuppered 10-man tag bout that didn’t make the show both featuring.
Earthquake vs. Adam Bomb
Bomb was a strange case in a lot of ways, because he was everything Vince looks for in a wrestler, and as well as being big he could also move reasonably well. He didn’t really get over, but that was due to a naff gimmick and too many TV jobs. In an era where Vince was starved of his muscle guys due to the steroid trial, Adam Bomb was right there and did nothing. I am not saying he should have been pushed as a top line guy or anything, I am just surprised that he wasn’t. Earthquake was the wrong choice to push ahead of him in 1994 though, and he was gone within a couple of months of this match. The match itself is just an extension of the ‘Mania match, with Quake winning after 4-minutes or so with the Vertical Splash. Nothing to see here.
Final Rating: *
Video Control takes us to footage of Lex Luger’s latest World Championship choke, this being his failure to beat Yokozuna at WrestleMania. This was due to special guest referee Mr. Perfect, who disqualified Luger for putting his hands on him and the managers. Luger cuts a video promo on Perfect, threatening him with violence. Perfect is introduced to the ring by Gorilla, coming out in his “Executive Consultant” era suit to give some answers, and he is roundly booed. He was always way better as a heel anyway, and it was a smart decision to bring him back that way. Gorilla is not impressed with what Perfect did and said he could have counted Yoko down and awarded Luger the title, but Perfect disagrees. He makes good points regarding Luger’s actions and how much he let slide. It is hard to disagree with Perfect’s reasoning, because he WAS being fair and unbiased. If he had favoured Luger over Yokozuna, would that have been ok? In the minds of the fans, probably. Like all great heels, he fully stands by his actions, regardless of what others think. All heels should be justified in what they do. This is a pretty good segment, but is ruined in hindsight by the fact that ultimately none of it leads anywhere in the long term, as Perfect was injured and left the company soon after.
Razor Ramon vs. Austin Steele
Steele is the pudgy Ric Flair lookalike that Furious has mentioned before, and he even moves and sells like him. The guy looks and works like he could turn up on low rent Indy shows as “Rich Flare”. Razor chops him hard, and the irony of that is not lost on me! It seems that Razor’s new nickname is “the ladder man”, at least according to Gorilla Monsoon anyway. Razor is casual, something he should know better than to be given his past record against job guys. Gorilla and Vince cause my head to spin by discussing MOM’s accidental tag title win over in England, which occurred a few weeks after this taping. Razor finishes Flare with the Razor’s Edge after his usual squash match routine.
Final Rating: ¾*
Video Control is kept busy tonight, and rolls footage of Captain Lou Albano gate crashing a Jim Cornette, Johnny Polo and Quebecers promo last week. Two great managers who can talk right there, and then Captain Lou, one of the most overrated and unwatchable characters in Federation history, even IN his heyday.
Backstage, Johnny Polo and The Quebecers brush off any potential challengers to their titles, saying they are confident of defeating whoever they are put against. This is all in regards to their title match next week on Raw against either MOM, The Smoking Gunns or The Bushwhackers, with the fans choosing via voteline. It is like the Cyber Sunday of the 90s.
Video Control are on hand once again, this time to show the “argument” between the heels that ultimately scuppered the 10-man tag match at WrestleMania in kayfabe world.
10-Man Tag Team Match
Rick Martel, Jeff Jarrett, IRS & The Headshrinkers vs. Tatanka, 1-2-3 Kid, Thurman Plugg & The Smoking Gunns
Three of these guys had already worked on this taping, so don’t expect them to do a lot. I wish Bob Holly had brought back his Sparky Plugg gimmick after he had established his mean bastard act. It would have been richly comic seeing him in the gear with his inflated physique and bleached white hair. The action in the early going between Samu and Billy Gunn is stunningly entertaining and energetic, with Gunn getting turned inside out from a Samu clothesline to end their sequence. Billy shocks me again by nailing Jeff Jarrett with a lucha-esque headscissors, which I don’t recall seeing him do before. He certainly didn’t once he became a star in the Attitude era, that’s for sure. The majority of the match is controlled by the faces, who take turns using armbars and headlocks. Kid and IRS do a sequence which ends with everyone in the ring for a brawl. Referee Hebner is far too lenient and lets them get away with it, and IRS ends up pining Kid. I am glad this wasn’t on WrestleMania, though it wasn’t bad, just pointless.
Final Rating: *¾
The Heartbreak Hotel
This continues the tradition of the WWF giving its wrestlers their own unique talk show set, and is the debut for Shawn Michaels’ version. As far as these things go, it is among the tackiest and most colourful ever, and that is including Adrian Adonis’ ‘Flower Shop’. Michaels has a rather fetching heart shaped leather couch, which he invites his bodyguard and guest for the evening, Diesel, to sit on. And people wonder why everyone thought Shawn was gay? Michaels challenges Razor for an IC title shot on behalf of Diesel, and then asks for the lights to be turned off, presumably so he and Diesel can get to sexy time. I reiterate my belief that Shawn was the greatest in-ring worker of all time, but was decidedly average on the mic. At least until DX came along anyway. This segment did little to change that opinion.
Yokozuna vs. Scott Powers
Scott Powers is no-one. Yoko demolishes him in short order with the Banzai Drop (after checking if the ropes are slippery first). He sits on Powers after the match to make him suffer He is angry about losing the title, see.
Final Rating: ¼*
THE RAW RECAP
Most Entertaining: Billy Gunn. He showed a fire and energy previously unseen in his first year in the WWF.
Least Entertaining: Yokozuna. They should have put this guy out to pasture as soon as he lost the WWF title, though I guess he still had a number of jobs to return for the babyface stars.
Quote of the Night: “I was trying to be bias” flubs Mr. Perfect, rather undermining his own point.
Match of the Night: 10-man tag. It didn’t have much competition.
Summary: The marquee matches are what could have occurred at WrestleMania had there been the time. Neither was particularly thrilling nor missed from that card. There was again not a lot to this, and although nothing flat out sucked, Raw is desperately clamouring for the workrate guys to get in the ring and do their thing. Another in a long list of forgettable 1994 shows.