Monday Night Raw (10/17/94)
Jeff Jarrett vs. Doink The Clown
We start with two characters at their respective lamest here, with stripy pants wearing babyface Doink and country singer Jeff Jarrett wearing… fuck, I don’t even know how to begin describing how awful his attire is. It screams midcard, and you can see why he didn’t get any higher than that in his first WWF run. Just to make Doink even more unbearable, he has not one but two midgets with him at ringside. Oh yes, this time Dink is joined by the yellow-haired Wink. I am sighing hard right now. Doink is in the midst of an awful feud with Jerry Lawler, so I assume this match is due to Jarrett showing Memphis solidarity. Or something. Oh fantastic, now more midgets! Two of Lawler’s Survivor Series team no less, who put the boots to Doink. What am I watching here? It is like a sick panto version of pro wrestling. This has been pretty much all Jarrett, which isn’t a good thing because his offence is IRS-esque. Doink comes back following a long heat segment after Jarrett misses a fist drop, and the subsequent finishing sequence is actually rather tidy. The highlight is Jarrett MURDERING one of the King midgets by inadvertently knocking him off the apron. That little guy flew! Doink hits the Whoopie Cushion while the midgets are pissing around on the outside, and Lawler runs in to belt Doink from behind, allowing Jarrett to cover him for the win. It resembled a one ring circus of horrors at times, such was the silliness on display, but it was harmless “fun” and ended fairly well.
Final Rating: **
The British Bulldog vs. Roy Raymond
Raymond, another in the long line of double forename jobbers, slaps Davey, which would have had him head-dropped in the 80s, but this is a different Bulldog. He does make him think long and hard about a suplex, but follows it up with a chinlock. I still cannot comprehend the use of a chinlock in a squash matches. In my secret past life as a pro wrestler, I always used any squash matches I had to showcase my moveset and myself. A chinlock was and is strictly for resting in my eyes. Sure, you can use it to call spots, but Davey’s are simple and can be called on the move, a chinlock is not needed. Raymond gets some brief offense, but Bulldog comes back with a superplex and a really ugly knee/boot to the gut, which he falls over from. A cheeky Perfectplex gets a two count for Davey before he finishes with the running powerslam. Messy in places, but not bad for a squash match.
Final Rating: *
Burt Reynolds signs his book and hams it up for the camera. Fantastic.
Bob Backlund comes out with purpose and starts jawing with Vince and Savage. Savage makes Vince deal with him because “he doesn’t interest me at all”. I concur, sir. Vince wants explanations from Backlund for his attack on former manager Arnold Skaaland on Superstars, which Video Control helpfully shows us. It was actually a really excellent angle and had logic and purpose to it, which is a rare thing in 1994’s WWF. Backlund says he should apologise for his actions, but he doesn’t. Instead he says he is sorry for choosing Skaaland as his manager in the first place because his career has been all downhill since then. He proceeds to go on a rant until Lex Luger turns up to rain on his parade. Who invited you to this party Lex? Luger tells him to pick on someone his own size, and Backlund dismisses him. That is absolutely the right course of action to take with Luger, because as history has proven, he never gets the job done in anything he attempts anyway. Not a bad little segment at all considering my disdain for Backlund.
Sparky Plugg vs. Reno Riggins
Bob Holly has an underrated armdrag. Savage says something about Backlund eating marijuana, which catches Vince completely off-guard, and he hurriedly changes the subject. Don’t mention drugs, Randy! This is actually really excellent for the first minute, with Holly throwing in all kinds of fast paced shit, including a great switch sequence that ends in a back suplex. Riggins gets some offense in, and this is almost a competitive match for a few minutes, which makes it much better than your routine squash nonsense. Riggins even goes for a superplex, but Holly puts the brakes on (ho ho) and hits a froggy crossbody from the top for the win. That is the most impressed I have been with Sparky since he debuted, though I did miss his KotR qualifier with Bam Bam, which was also apparently rather good.
Final Rating: **
IRS vs. Tim McNeany
Aww hell, here comes IRS to ruin what has been a decent show. They always manage to do it somehow don’t they? They can never just have one week where everything is good. IRS breaks character and cuts a vicious shoot promo, saying how he is sick of working as a cartoon gimmick and repeating the same tedious scripted shit week after week, ad nauseum. He then rips into Vince McMahon and the creative team for giving everyone an alternative vocation and for killing off strong characters in wrestling in favour of gimmicks… No wait, that is what he should have done. Instead he said some bollocks about taxes. Fresh! Until he gets new material (which he doesn’t ever) I am boycotting all IRS matches, with the assumption that they are all the same. Actually, it is not just an assumption, it is a reasoned hypothesis based on countless precedents.
Final Rating: Not rated (due to IRS induced apathy)
Elsewhere on WWF TV, The Undertaker comes out… of a casket. Boom, we are back baby.
The Heavenly Bodies vs. Barry Horowitz & Nick Barberry
Horowitz would go onto feud extensively with Tom Prichard’s future tag partner Skip in a year’s time. That is about the only interesting fact I can offer you. Last time I covered the Bodies, Del Ray got injured when he botched a moonsault. I am curious to see if he tries it here. Vince pops Horowitz and Prichard doing a series of hiptoss attempts and blocks into the ropes, which he claims never to have seen before. He should pay more attention. Barberry and Horowitz get some babyface tag shine, and almost look like a real team. Barberry is pretty much horrendous though, and as well as obviously feeding for everything, he also makes a mess of moves, bumping way too early for a DDT. “I have never seen anything like that in my life” says Savage mockingly. Have you ever noticed that Del Ray walks in a similar way to Backlund? Sticking out his chest and half bending over like Donald Duck, almost presenting his ass for entry. It is very curious and disturbing. Jimmy does do his cartwheel moonsault effort, and while it is straighter than usual, it still barely connects. That move wins it, and this was another fairly entertaining squash match effort.
Final Rating: *¼
Lex Luger challenges Bob Backlund to a match, which sounds like the wrestling equivalent of a sleeping pill. Vince shills a much more appealing match; Owen vs. Bret, on the debuting Action Zone! Man, that show got some cracking bouts, why don’t they bring them over to Raw instead!?
THE RAW RECAP
Most Entertaining: Sparky Plugg. I have never particularly been a fan of Bob Holly in any of his guises, but he impressed me with his effort tonight, and made a routine squash good fun.
Least Entertaining: IRS. I would hope that by now, no explanation is needed.
Quote of the Night: “If it was your life, I would like to read it. I would like to write that book!” – Randy Savage to Vince McMahon. I am sure every wrestler, fan and critic in the world would like to read that book. It is a shame that Vince has said he will never release one. Christ, each year would be like War and Peace with the stories he must have.
Match of the Night: Sparky Plugg vs. Reno Riggins. The opener was okay too, but it had midgets and this did not. I hate midgets in wrestling.
Summary: Certainly an improvement on the last two weeks, and other than IRS, everything was pretty much solid and in places rather entertaining. Plus, no King’s Court, finally! There was no blow away match or angle to take this from a solid show to a memorable one, but at this stage and having suffered what we have suffered this year, I will take “reasonable” as a win. Talk about clutching at straws.