Monday Night Raw (10/03/94)
James Dixon: Hosted by Vince McMahon and Macho Man Randy Savage, who is in his final month with the company before he disappears (as it turned out, for good) and resurfaces in WCW. He is going to be missed; he is a weekly highlight for both Arnold and myself. Hopefully he will bust out a few more belters before he goes.
Jim Neidhart vs. Davey Boy Smith
This appears on the Off The Top Rope VHS release. It marks the second time I have seen a singles bout between these two, with them having competed in a match on Coliseum release The British Bulldogs. That was an energetic affair with a sudden and surprise finish, as Neidhart went over with his feet on the ropes. Almost a decade later, I expect this might not be quite as good. Davey is certainly fired up at first, this being his return match and Raw debut after two years away. Bret and Owen have already tore things up all year long, and now their family members are going at it too. Neidhart was of course credited as the man who had been in Owen’s ear, souring him against his brother Bret due to residual jealously left over from Neidhart’s Hart Foundation days with Bret. Davey stuck his oar in when he saved Bret from a two-on-one beatdown from the heeled up “New Foundation”. It is a good storyline, with lots of interesting reality pockets interspersed with kayfabe, as the best storylines are. All of that is completely irrelevant here though, because this is an overly-long rest-hold filled bore. I don’t know how Neidhart gets away with having such a solid reputation actually, because he has had some stinkers in his time. I recall some particularly abysmal performances against The Warlord in the UK and in a six-man at King of the Ring 1997. I guess he associated himself so much with genuine top drawer workers, that he managed to get some residual fan love off the backs of them. It’s a “they are good so he must be good too” situation. Bret and Owen are stood at ringside; they could have at least made this a tag match. The finish is atrocious, with Bob Backlund coming to ringside to argue with Bret, and then Owen jumps in and nails Davey Boy, right in front of the referee, for a lame DQ. What was the point of that exactly? Backlund leaves and the Hart family have a donnybrook to follow. The match was drek.
Final Rating: ½*
Doink the Clown vs. Barry Horowitz
I really dislike these stripy tights that Doink is wearing, because they look like slutty fishnets. Things start out alright here but they make a mess of a bridge and both just stand there locked in a non-hold, confused about what to do next. Horowitz actually gets a bit of a heat, and throws in a few European uppercuts before missing a charge and getting caught with a powerslam. Doink finishes it with the Whoopie Cushion and Vince inserts FARTING NOISES as he lands it. Are you kidding me? “Oh! Excuse me!” says Vince. Oh, what has the WWF become!? I know you are now care-free following the trial verdict Vince, but have some decorum!
Final Rating: ½*
The Undertaker says something about vests and peas…
The King’s Court
Jesus, it is October and this has been going on pretty much weekly for half-a-year now! As an occasional segment it is fine, but this is now just way past overkill and deep into ridiculous and mind-numbing. Vince more than once wants Lawler to just get on with it: “Come on King, hurry it along” and “Will you please hurry it along! Come on, let’s get to it”. Meanwhile, Savage responds like a petulant child to every single thing Lawler says:
“If you peons will give me silence and show a little respect”
– Not a chance
“This is gonna be a very special edition of the King’s Court”
– Are you lee-viNNNN?
“On this King’s Court, we’re gonna clear the air about some things”
– I thought Doink just did that.
“There are two things that I really can’t stand”
– He can count!?
“One, being someone like Doink or Dink, who has to dress up in a ridiculous looking costume just to get attention. I can’t stand people like that”
– Like a cape and a crowANNNN?
“The other thing I can’t stand is a liar, I hate liars”
– Look in the MEEror brother
Yokozuna is the guest on the show alongside Mr. Fuji and Jim Cornette, but the prospect of this bores the announcers, who instead discuss Roseanne Barr. Thankfully Jim Cornette does the talking here, so automatically this is worth seeing. They plug the upcoming Yoko-Taker casket matches on the “Hart Attack Tour” that they are running around the circuit. Using Raw to build to the house shows! What world is this!? Yoko is scared of the word casket, so Lawler uses it repeatedly and “accidentally”. Cornette tries to turn it around that Undertaker is scared of Yokozuna because he has beaten him before. This didn’t really go anywhere at all and only served to set up a weekend mini-tour of three states.
Bull Nakano & Luna Vachon vs. Alundra Blayze & Heidi Lee Morgan
This is the second marquee match of the show and should be much better than the first. Last time I covered Blayze-Nakano for August, it was a belting encounter. Morgan looks like she just came from the beach, and has on incredibly skimpy attire on which rides right up her ass. Savage makes a few thinly disguised references to it and he and Vince lose focus by discussing Roseanne again! Heidi takes a pounding as they skip any form of shine and just go right to the heat, with Blayze not even getting in until the hot tag. Random thought: Morgan reminds me of John McClain’s wife in Die Hard. Blayze gets the tag and quickly shows her superiority over Luna, but she gets picked apart by Nakano. Heel miscommunication leads to a Blayze German suplex on Luna, which get’s the win. Structurally poor and the action was nothing on Nakano and Blayze at their high-octane best. It is still worlds better than anything that the men have done so far tonight though.
Final Rating: *½
Footage now from Bob Backlund losing the WWF title in 1983 thanks to referee stoppage, when his manager Arnold Skaaland threw in the towel. Backlund claims he was never beaten and thus has a rightful claim to the belt. It is a clever but rather transparent way of trying to discredit everything that occurred after that, which of course is the run of one Hulk Hogan. As a storyline and a form of character motivation for Backlund, it is fine. The fact that it led to a Backlund title run, however brief, is not.
Bob Backlund vs. Gary Scott
Scott is dressed like ECW era Lance Storm, only without any of the poise, fluidity to his movements or ability. Bob demonstrates his wrestling skills for a bit before catching Scott in the CFTW to win it. As non-descript as they come.
Final Rating: ½*
Backstage, Bret Hart says he already proved himself against Bob Backlund and beat him, and that there are a number of different guys in line for title shots. Obviously the WWF loved making Bret eventually renege on his word, because Backlund faces him and indeed gets the belt at Survivor Series, in a booking decision that still stuns and baffles me to this day.
THE RAW RECAP
Most Entertaining: Heidi Lee Morgan. For that sexy-time attire alone.
Least Entertaining: Jim Neidhart. You know, Marty Jannetty is often cited as the prime example of someone who failed when a successful team broke up, but as 1993 proved, he was actually one of the best wrestlers on the entire planet for a while there. Jim Neidhart was not, and when The Hart Foundation split, he meandered along becoming more and more meaningless and sucking something fierce in the ring. The spark had gone, and even against a good opponent and friend like Davey, he still couldn’t produce.
Quote of the Night: “Roseanne Barr, eat your heart out, we know you like to eat! These ladies are gonna be grappling” – Would you believe it, it’s Randy Savage. We might have to scrap this section when he leaves the company at the end of the month!
Match of the Night: The women’s tag match, though all are capable of so much more.
Summary: The line-up suggested something pretty special if everyone was working to their peak and was energised. Naturally, the exact opposite of that happened instead. Bulldog and Anvil were lazy and sluggish, the women didn’t come close to their lofty benchmark and the jobber matches were blighted by a) fart noises and b) the tedium of Bob Backlund. The result is this drastic effort, which is yet another episode that sinks into the murky waters of scoring under 20 watchability points. Sadly, this kind of output has been the norm from the WWF all year. They will start to really suffer business wise in 1995 because of it.