Monday Night Raw (05/30/94)
Arnold Furious: We’re in Youngstown, Ohio. This was taped after last week’s Raw. Hosts are Vince McMahon and Randy Savage. Vince runs down the King of the Ring tournament and the seven men who’ve already qualified. There’s only one slot left so it’s up for grabs tonight! They should have had a battle royal.
King of the Ring Qualifier
Tatanka vs. Crush
This was supposed to be Jimmy Del Ray but they ran an angle where Crush snuck back in through Fuji and Cornette striking a deal. Crush is NOT welcome. Tatanka-Del Ray would have been a decent match. Tatanka clearly fears outside interference, so brings out Chief Jay Strongbow to watch his back as Mr. Fuji has Crush’s. After Fuji’s dismal managing last time Crush was on Raw, I don’t think Tatanka needs support. They just about manage to get Crush to take a clothesline over the top. Awkward! They set for Crush to attempt a sunset flip back in, but he steps through the ropes instead, making Tatanka look like an asshole. Athletic! I know people bag on Kevin Nash for being lazy but you watch Diesel from 1994 and Crush from 1994 and there’s only guy out of those two that you’d call lazy. The manager angle pays off for Tatanka as he bails to PROTECT Strongbow from Fuji, which leads to Crush kicking him in the face. So the point of Strongbow being out here is what exactly? Crush immediately goes to the bearhug because he’s a shitty worker and that’s what shitty workers do. Fuji tries to get into the ring so Strongbow chops him. Fuji would have taken about four years to get in there. It wasn’t an issue. Crush goes out to deal with Strongbow, Tatanka follows and it’s a DCO. Way to go Strongbow, you cost Tatanka the match! Tatanka, who I feel incredibly bad for, had to carry Crush kicking and screaming (or whatever the lazier version of that is) to an adequate match.
Final Rating: *
King of the Ring Report: Todd Pettengill is concerned that they don’t have a final line-up for the tournament. Here’s the card; Bret-Diesel, Lawler-Piper, the KotR tournament (IRS-Mabel, Razor-Bigelow, Jarrett-Kid, Owen-?) Comments from Owen suggest he’d like a bye because Tatanka-Crush was a wash.
Video Control takes us to Ted DiBiase at the funeral parlour. Ted began an angle where he claimed to have bought the Undertaker off. This leads to an Undertaker vs. Undertaker match at SummerSlam. I loathe the angle and it only served to further Ted’s reputation as a lousy manager.
1-2-3 Kid vs. George South
South is the jobber who looks like an extra from Easy Rider. He’s small and fast enough to have a good match with the Kid, but he doesn’t seem confident. Kid has to take his spots at half speed, which he shouldn’t be. Vince pulls another commentary fail by calling George South “Tom” as Kid pins him with La Majistral. I have no idea where he got that name from.
Final Rating: ½*
The King’s Court
Yet another King’s Court. He’s got Bret Hart on the show, so Lawler busts out the old jokes for Stu and Helen. “I told Stu to act his age and he dropped dead”. Lawler wants to talk about King of the Ring and reminds Bret about last year’s KotR and their feud. Bret silently sets the WWF title down as Lawler trails off. He quickly switches gears and brings out Diesel and Shawn Michaels to discuss this year’s King of the Ring. Bret says he respects Diesel but he’s the best there is, was or ever will be. Dies promises VIP treatment: “Very Intense Pain”. Shawn butts in and the Dudes With Attitude sucker punch the champ. Jacknife! Vince kills the angle immediately by saying that Bret is ok. Did Vince make any money in 1994? If he did, it was a fluke.
The Smoking Gunns vs. Austin Steele & Reno Riggins
Steele is the Flair knock-off. Reno is a decent worker, but the WWF were prone to having him get crushed in double-fast time. When Billy levels him with a crucifix in the opening seconds, I thought it was going to happen again. Poor Reno. Billy seems particularly excited by this week’s Raw and flies around the ring, hitting spots he normally doesn’t consider, like a diving bulldog. Bart meanwhile is busy discovering his power moveset. Powerslam sets up the Sidewinder, BUT they do it off Bart’s shoulders. Normally he carries the victim by his side but here it’s an Argentine Backbreaker set up. Good stuff.
Final Rating: **
Video Control goes back to Todd who tells us Jack Tunney has made a decision about KotR so Tatanka and Crush go at it again… in a Lumberjack match. That’s next week on Raw.
Jeff Jarrett vs. Chris Hamerick
I’m well aware that Hamrick’s name isn’t spelt like that, but the WWF’s captioning people spell it that way. Jarrett works this straight outta Memphis, complaining of hair pulls, mirroring and stalling. Although both guys just nail their spots, apart from Jarrett’s fist drop, which never looked good. Hamrick doesn’t repeat his ridiculous bump from last time on Raw, but does take a meaty backdrop. I guess he was told not to take anything silly this time. He does try to take a silly bump over the top, but injures his knee in the process. Jarrett finishes him off with the figure four in a logical conclusion. Hamrick impressed with his effort again, but those sloppy rough edges showed; bad Irish whips, slightly off spots. Jarrett was crisp and given Hamrick’s effort, actually tried on Raw for once. Decent match.
Final Rating: *¾
Next Week: Jerry Lawler promises Roddy Piper on King’s Court. Well, that’s not strictly true. He promises a man born in Glasgow who wears a kilt and a t-shirt with Hot Rod on it. Which is exactly what he’ll deliver.
THE RAW RECAP
Most Entertaining: Billy Gunn. Bags of effort from the Smoking Gunn. I’m not sure what got into him, but I like it.
Least Entertaining: Crush. Nuff said.
Quote of the Night: “Helen Hart was born old. When she was a teen her acne had liver spots” – Jerry Lawler once again sticks it to one of Bret’s parents.
Match of the Night: The Smoking Gunns vs. Austin Steele & Reno Riggins. Bit of a surprise this one, but the Gunns abandoned their dedication to formula and just had fun instead. Who’d have thunk it?
Summary: Crush in the marquee match was probably a mistake because the rest of the show was good. It’s just hard to recommend a one match show if the one match is bad. Even if the stuff around it is fine.