Monday Night Raw (07/25/94)
Arnold Furious: We’re in Bushkill, Pennsylvania. JR opens the show by talking about the Million Dollar Corporation and how Ted DiBiase has his finger in numerous pies. This could have taken off, a’la New World Order if they’d just turned someone worthwhile to be a figurehead for it. Not Tatanka. On Superstars, Lex Luger teased joining up, which is typical of Flexi Lexi. All tease, no end product. He even choked at the heel turn. Hosts are Jim Ross and Randy Savage. They hype Adam Bomb vs. Yokozuna and Nikolai Volkoff vs. Tatanka plus Luger’s situation. Hey, TWO marquee matches AND an actual angle? They’re cramming plenty into this week’s show!
$10,000 Challenge Match
Nikolai Volkoff vs. Tatanka
Ted DiBiase has put $10k on the line if Tatanka can beat Volkoff. Seeing as Tatanka is already in DiBiase’s pocket, that’s like betting on both boxers in a title fight. It’s not often Tatanka finds himself out-powered so he tries to outwrestle Volkoff instead. Normally I’d say Volkoff would get schooled, by pretty much anyone, but his 1994 run has featured several unexpected technical displays. That isn’t the case here. Volkoff goes back to the clubberin’ and lousy stomps follow. The stomp is an exceptionally hard move to execute effectively, you see more bad stomps than any other move. I honestly don’t know why people insist on using them. Volkoff’s deliberate misses are sloppy too. Way off target. If you “miss” a clothesline it shouldn’t be clear over the other guy’s head, he should have to duck, at least a little. Volkoff takes a sloppy bump to the floor and when he comes back in, wouldn’t you know it; more awful stomps. Tatanka comes firing back with the war dance and his chops absolutely suck. So does Volkoff’s slowly falling over selling. Volkoff comes back with more stomps. They suck, again. Tatanka catches Volkoff with an inside cradle for the pin and the $10,000. To be fair the execution on the finish was the best of the match. This was worse than Tatanka’s abysmal match with Jeff Jarrett at the start of the month, which is an achievement because that matched sucked the nutsack.
Final Rating: DUD
Post Match: Ted DiBiase pays up and tells Tatanka he deserved it but couldn’t beat Lex Luger on his best day. This brings out Lex Luger, and Ted walks off to leave them to it. Luger takes Tatanka’s abuse personally and accepts Tatanka’s challenge to a match. The booking was fairly clever although Luger is a terrible actor and Tatanka didn’t help. I have no idea, from a character perspective, why Luger behaves the way he does before the Tatanka turn. Maybe he’s just a jerk.
The Headshrinkers vs. Joey Stallings & Barry Hardy
The ‘Shrinkers don’t wait for the bell and just beat the shit out of the jobbers. I guess with the Steiners being gone, the Headshrinkers are taking their jobber-killer mantle. Samu murders Stallings with a DDT off the ropes, which doesn’t finish. He compacted Stallings’ neck on that one, he’s about 2-inches shorter. The Headshrinkers have it won multiple times but feel the need to carry on with the beating. Fatu isn’t satisfied with killing Stallings and walks around on the floor to kill Hardy as well. Holy crap, who pissed these guys off? Double Stroke on Stallings, who’s clinically dead already, and Fatu finishes with the Superfly Splash. Hardy didn’t even get a tag and he still got his ass kicked. The Headshrinkers must have wanted that “Alpha Tag Team” spot big time to adopt this Steiner level of violence.
Final Rating: *
Jim Neidhart vs. Jim Powers
The Jim’s Collide! Given that Jimmy Powers is just a jobber nowadays I’m surprised they didn’t just swap his name over. Terry Powers. Zack Powers. Horatio Powers. Muhammad Powers. Billy-Bob Powers. Takashi Powers. Sheik El Powers. Chief Wahoo Powers. Algernon Powers. Anvil backdrops Algernon over the top viciously. Clearly this is a jobber killing show. Anvil is unfocused, because he’s batshit crazy, and tries to tie Powers’ arm into the ropes, which doesn’t work so Neidhart starts popping off suplexes instead. Powers attempts a comeback but gets powerslammed. Anvil tries for a dragon clutch but Powers doesn’t bend that way so he just quits instead. Pussy! Neidhart would have been up on the jobber killer leaderboard if he’d used the dragon clutch. This match would have been better if Neidhart hadn’t winged most of his offensive moves and had actually planned them out beforehand, or tested the moves he was planning on using to see if they were a logistical possibility.
Final Rating: ½*
Video Control takes us to Alundra Blayze and her forthcoming feud with Bull Nakano. Awww, that’s next week so James gets the pleasure. I LOVE all their matches. They’re a little sloppy at times but the moves they do are years ahead of anything in the men’s division.
Interview Time: Jim Ross has Alundra for an interview. She has no personality but Deb Micelli was a really fun worker. I’m not sure they should let her do interviews. Alundra says she’s done with Luna and she moves on to Bull Nakano by hyping how tough Bull is, which brings out Luna, anxious not to become a footnote in this division. Luna claims responsibility for Bull getting a shot, which is about the last thing Luna did before leaving for ECW where she’d valet for Tommy Dreamer. In 1994 going to ECW wasn’t a particularly good career move, although many of their stars were signed up by other companies over the coming years. Blayze’s interview is around the standard for her. She sounded fairly confident of what she was saying but it just wasn’t interesting at all. Shame, because Alundra was solid in the ring and I consider myself a fan.
Yokozuna vs. Adam Bomb
I was quite happy to learn Raw had two marquee matches but the first one didn’t deliver and I seriously doubt this one will. Oh, 1994, you make me sad. Adam Bomb has recently ditched Harvey Wippleman and turned face. The Federation did nothing with him as a heel, unless jobbing to Earthquake in 30-seconds counts as “something”. As a face he’d peak by throwing rubber nukes into the crowd on his way to the ring. The feud he’s about to enter into is against Kwang. If anything says “wrestling sucked in 1994” it’s a feud between Adam Bomb and Kwang. Yoko was on his way down as a worker in 1994, having completed his minimal spell as a top star. Bomb is not the man to carry a match against him. Bomb is not creative enough, nor versatile. He just lets Yoko club away and use nerve holds. Bomb is a big guy but he doesn’t have any big man spots. He takes Yoko down with a DDT before connecting with a diving lariat. The fans buy into him and he stands there doing nothing. Kwang runs out to trip him, in a really obvious spot, and Bomb slowly steps outside to engage. The pathetic brawl results in a count out. If Adam Bomb had any passion for the business he’d have been a star, surely, but he seemed a bit disinterested on the whole and the WWF responded with equal indifference. The link between Bomb and Kwang is Harvey Wippleman. Having been ditched by Bomb, Wippleman set another of his charges on his former employee.
Final Rating: ½*
Video Control takes us to Leslie Nielson, who’s investigating the disappearance of The Undertaker, although he’s doing it as Frank Drebin. The WWF confusing the character with the actor.
Duke Droese vs. Duane Gill
Well, this is fun. The wrestling garbage man, who only ever turns up in retrospective in a negative light, against a jobber who has far greater relevance thanks to a run as light heavyweight champion. Gill takes a few tasty bumps until Droese goes to a CHINLOCK. This match is about 3-minutes long and Droese still gets a chinlock AND a bearhug into it. Here’s another gimmick that’d be better suited to ya: Duke “The Shitty Worker” Droese. He has a cool powerslam but that’s about it. His finisher is another version of the powerslam, but at least he’s ditched the elbow drop, which was the lamest finisher ever. The new move, a tilt-a-whirl powerslam, is called the Trash Compactor. Hey, stick to your strengths, I guess. For all my criticisms of Droese, he’s not a bad worker he just doesn’t know what he’s doing and uses way too many rest holds for a babyface. Droese would actually hang around the WWF midcard for TWO YEARS despite having a weak gimmick and a lack of ability, even feuding with Triple H. Which shows you what a desperate state the WWF was in at the time.
Final Rating: ½*
THE RAW RECAP
Most Entertaining: The Headshrinkers. Bringing back the jobber killing love.
Least Entertaining: Nikolai Volkoff. Flushing away the good will earned in energetic jobber matches with a quite dreadful display against Tatanka.
Quote of the Night: “Where’s the cheese? Where’s the meat?” – Randy Savage goes a bit strange… again.
Match of the Night: The Headshrinkers vs. Joey Stallings & Barry Hardy. The latter didn’t even tag in. It was a brutal destruction of a jobber team. The rest of the show was balls.
Summary: Egad, what happened here? The WWF put a show on paper that sounded reasonable, with two marquee matchups and a continuation of the big Luger storyline. The trouble the WWF had in 1994 is how bad most of their stars were on the mic. No wonder Diesel, who had a modicum of speaking ability, was able to rise to the top so quickly. Every time someone gets an interview it’s awful. It’s weird because they keep getting the workers to talk and the bad wrestlers to work. The worst possible use of everyone. July is one of the better months in 1994 for the WWF but it is a terrible year. Oddly enough the PPVs were ok but that’s largely because they used the PPVs to showcase their talented wrestlers. They used Raw to showcase Mabel. And Crush. And Tatanka. And so on. This episode of Raw is woeful.