Monday Night Raw (07/04/94)
Arnold Furious: We’re in White Plains, New York. Hosts are Gorilla Monsoon and Randy Savage. Vince was so embroiled in the steroid trials that his onscreen presence dissipated until the trials came to a conclusion. That means more TV time for Gorilla though and I’m happy about that. Shame his pairing with Johnny Polo didn’t make it onto Raw. They were a fine team.
Tatanka vs. Jeff Jarrett
There are two contrasting wrestling philosophies here. Tatanka’s mentality is very much the smashmouth New York style, albeit complete with goofy gimmick. He’s WWF through and through. Jarrett is out of the Memphis school where stalling and minimal effort for maximum reaction is the key. Not to say Jarrett isn’t a good wrestler, because he is, but here there is a noticeable gap in terms of what the fans want and what Jarrett delivers. Something he’d rectify later in his career. This should be a match where one of the WWF’s newer superstars breaks out and thrills the crowd. However it isn’t. Tatanka doesn’t really know how to do that and Jarrett doesn’t want to, because of his upbringing. So instead, Tatanka hooks a headlock and they sit in it. During this WWF run Jarrett only set the world on fire against big talents and energetic performers. That could have happened here if Tatanka had lit a fire under Jeff’s ass, but he just doesn’t seem interested in doing so. Very upsetting. Jarrett runs Tatanka into the ring post and wins on count out. Now that would be terrible booking, but Jarrett, inexplicably, doesn’t want to win cheap and demands a re-start. The heel wants a re-start? He won! That makes no sense. Jeff Jarrett’s character wouldn’t give two shits if he won on count out. He’s deluded (he thinks he’s a singer) he would take the W, celebrate the bejesus out of it and leave.
Anyway, the match continues with more rest holds from both men. I know the boss isn’t paying attention but that doesn’t mean you can dog your TV matches, fellas. Considering this is the re-start, which is supposed to be short and hot, they just sit around in rest holds for the entire thing. Tatanka finally gets going with the war dance. RAW! Savage calls it “one of the all-time great matches on Raw”. I politely disagree. Jarrett bails for a “hieetusss” – Savage. So, Jarrett walks out wanting to take the count out loss after already getting a count out win and refusing it? That makes NO sense. Doink runs out to stop him and a fleeing Jarrett gets schoolboyed by Tatanka for the pin. Some of the execution was ok here but the storyline was so, so boring. They did next to nothing with their TV time. Like I said before; Vince McMahon clearly didn’t make any money during 1994 and it the reasons why show. They tried with Tatanka, but this kind of performance showed you what he was made of. He couldn’t work long matches. Jarrett’s psychology was all over the place too and the false finish made no sense. Shocking.
Final Rating: DUD
The King’s Court
Lawler’s guest is 1-2-3 Kid, who has a title shot on Raw next week. Lawler makes a few size jokes. “He was so skinny in school the teacher kept marking him absent”. I wonder if Lawler’s brain just categorised everyone he met into one box. Bret Hart = old parents. Roddy Piper = crossdresser. Sable = big tits. 1-2-3 Kid = small. Lawler points out he’s rooting for Kid to beat Bret “like the dog he is”. Kid cuts his usual respectful promo (calling everyone “mister” or “sir”). He promises to try his goshdarnest to get the win.
Jim Neidhart vs. Gary Scott
Another generic jobber with two first names. Owen is in Neidhart’s corner and he’s more entertaining on the floor than Anvil is in the ring. Anvil doesn’t have a lot of stuff to fill a squash with. So instead he goofs around with the crowd as they chant “traitor” at him. Gorilla goes off on one about Owen being the “weak link” in his tag team with Bret, which is fine… except Bret cost them the tag titles by not tagging in at Royal Rumble. Bret also caused Owen to be eliminated from Survivor Series by being out of position. Owen was fine. Anyway, Anvil finishes with a powerslam.
Final Rating: ¼*
Duke Droese vs. Iron Mike Sharpe
Mike runs the ropes; AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRGH. I love this guy. Mike misses with a punch; AAAAARGHOOOOOP. Mike gets an elbow to the knee; NOOOOOO, MY LEG, AAAAAAAAAARGGHH. Mike hits Droese on the ropes a few times; AAAAAARRGGHHH, ARRRRRRRRGH. Mike stumbles around the ring after taking the ten turnbuckles; aaaarrrrgghh… aaaarrrrrgh… aaarrrgghhh. Mike takes a back elbow; AAAAAARRRRRGHOOOO. Mike sets for the piledriver; AAAAAAAAARRRRRGH, OOOOPPPP, AAAAAAAARRRGGGHHHHHHHHHHH. That end part was him getting backdropped. Mike gets slammed and elbow dropped; AAARRRRGGHHH, AAAAARRRRGH. UH. UH. UH. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGGGGGH. Droese wins.
Final Rating: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRGH
The Undertaker vs. Mike Bell
I actually have this episode of Raw on tape and Taker-Bell is clipped off it. Mainly because it’s a shit angle but also because the Undertaker in question isn’t the Undertaker but rather “Ted DiBiase’s Undertaker” (Brian Lee). This part of the angle is largely forgotten; that Ted brought out the Undertaker on TV and had him squash jobbers before SummerSlam. Lee has some of Undertaker’s mannerisms down, to the point where Taker, watching this, probably thought “do I really suck that much?” and switched his repertoire up. The sole purpose of this match is to show that Lee can actually do all The Undertaker’s moves, which he can, but not with the same snap or mysticism. “Mike Smell is going to get tombstoned. I just thought of that when I saw it. Think about it!” – that would be Randy Savage with some trademark nonsense. Anyway, Tombstone, and as the music plays out comes Paul Bearer. Ted sells it! Oh Ted, you are such a professional. Just laugh at the fat man and kill the angle dead, nobody would blame you. Ted backs up a bit but wins the ‘Faker back with a wad of cash. Everybody’s got a price… *trademark cackle*. Bearer walks off. Cash 1 Mysticism 0.
Final Rating: ½*
Backstage: Jerry Lawler requests Ted DiBiase be a guest on the King’s Court but Ted refuses to do it “in front of all those peons”, so King agrees to a neutral venue.
THE RAW RECAP
Most Entertaining: 1-2-3 Kid. His “awww shucks” act still works and he politely geared up the crowd for his title match next week, sir.
Least Entertaining: Tatanka. He dogged the hell out of that opening match. Generally his Raw matches have been fairly entertaining, spirited and fast-paced (Crush aside) but this one sucked.
Quote of the Night: “I’m not from the state of Florida anymore, I’m from the state of confusion” – never a truer word said by Randy Savage.
Match of the Night: Errr… pass.
Summary: It comes to something when the only two things I enjoyed about Raw were 1-2-3 Kid being interviewed and Mike Sharpe’s loud selling. Luckily next week we have the Raw MOTY. Anything to erase the memory of Tatanka vs. Jeff Jarrett; what a stinker, folks.