Monday Night Raw (11/07/94)
Arnold Furious: We’re in Bushkill, Pennsylvania. Hosts are Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler. No more Randy Savage makes me sad.
Owen Hart & Jim Neidhart vs. Bret Hart & Davey Boy Smith
Bret takes such exception to Anvil that he doesn’t even wait for the bell to give him a kicking. Davey promptly presses Owen to the floor and Anvil fails to catch him, in a follow up spot. Bret slugging it out with Anvil is surprisingly fun thanks to Bret’s enthusiasm. Davey and Owen is an exceptional match. They had an amazing singles match on Raw a few years later that’s so awesome I hope it falls on my month. If it doesn’t I’ll watch it again anyway. Davey doesn’t see a spin kick coming, at all, and gets a leg across his jaw. Vince and Lawler debate the towel stipulation at Survivor Series that will secure Bob Backlund a surprise title run to transition the strap to Diesel. Anvil slows the match up a bit with heat on Davey, and again Bulldog takes a move he doesn’t seem to expect. Maybe he was trying a new style of bumping, or maybe his timing just sucks because he’s been out of action. The heat continues through an ad break, and Owen smacks Davey with an enzuigiri when we resume. “Whatamanoeuvre” sayeth the Vince. Indeed. Anvil sticks it to Davey with a powerslam. Given their names I’m surprised Vince never teamed Anvil up with Greg ‘The Hammer’ Valentine. It makes sense when you think about it. Bret gets pissed off and chases Owen around the ring, which actually gives Anvil time to set up the Hart Attack, which Owen runs right into hitting. I’d rather they hadn’t run heat on the slightly rusty Bulldog and instead let him stand on the apron, but Bret was the WWF champion at the time so I see where they’re coming from. Davey isn’t bad at taking the heat but Bret would be better. Davey is passable. I like his flash pins on Owen, which would be a staple of their singles matches and eventual tag team. The ref misses a hot tag as they run the formula and Owen accidentally kicks Anvil in the face to set up the actual hot tag moments later. Bret confuses Anvil by setting for a Russian legsweep and then walking around a bit before doing a bulldog. Owen knees Bret in the back and generally acts like a total dick, at speed, to make sure Bret can’t get anywhere. They totally blow a double clothesline thing where Bret just runs into Anvil and Owen gets tripped by Davey after the spot. Total mess. Bret straps on the Sharpshooter for the win. Well, that was disappointing. Owen tried like hell to save the match but everyone else was a shambles. Bret spent most of the match on the apron and the other two have their own issues. Still, Owen’s effort was appreciated.
Final Rating: **¼
Post Match: Vince McMahon points out Randy Savage isn’t here because he hasn’t signed a new contract. The burial never happens as Vince puts Savage over at length. No video or anything, but a heartfelt thanks from Vince, on the air! That’s better than the Hall of Fame, almost.
Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Tyron Knox
Tyron? What kind of a name is Tyron? He’s a stocky black man who likes to throw punches. Bigelow swiftly takes over. “Knox is receiving a few knocks” – Vince finally discovers the pleasure of the pun. Bigelow hits a few clotheslines and then gets bored and chinlocks this match into the ground. I have no idea where Bigelow’s attitude problems come from during this one but his workrate is lacking. He mixes up chinlocks and stomps. It is not thrilling. Bigelow hits a dropkick before the gamengiri finishes. Knox doesn’t quite understand the mechanics of the move and back bumps it. Sigh. I am not pleased when “wrestling physics” kick in.
Final Rating: ¼*
The King’s Court
Because having Lawler commentate on the entire show isn’t quite enough coverage for the King, he also gets a chat show in the middle of it too. King makes a load of thin jokes before bringing out the 1-2-3 Kid. Waltman fluffs his opening line about Bob Backlund. Gee, chucks, he’ll give it 110% Mr. Lawler against Mr. Backlund. Bob runs out to try and slap the chicken wing on the Kid, but Waltman sees him coming and nails Backlund with a spin kick. Backlund takes an enormous pisser out of the ring before Bret Hart runs out here, followed by Jim Neidhart, Owen Hart and Davey Boy Smith. No actual fighting takes place as they stand around arguing. The brief clash between Backlund and Kid was awesome though.
Doink the Clown vs. Pat Tanaka
Poor Pat has been busted down to jobber. Doink has three midgets in his corner. I suspect James would hate this. Although, if Tanaka starts judo chopping them I’ll mark out. Doink mocks Tanaka’s martial arts with the crane pose. Lawler compares Dink to an annoying shortarse neighbour he used to have. Bill Dundee? Tanaka destroys Doink’s knee with a dragon screw and starts kicking the crap out of him. I do like a bit of Pat Tanaka. Shame Doink can’t sell, well, this Doink can’t sell, so Tanaka gives up on the match. Doink hits a back suplex, which Tanaka is forced to sell for AGES and the Whoopie Cushion finishes. If Tanaka had broken Doink’s leg here, that would have put the kibosh on that awful Survivor Series match. Hey, they could have pushed someone who didn’t suck instead.
Final Rating: *¼
Next Week: Aldo Montoya’s WWF debut, Jeff Jarrett, King’s Court with British Bulldog, Backlund vs. 1-2-3 Kid. Vince thinks Kid will upset Backlund. He also calls Montoya “Mantoya”. Vince wraps things up by getting a quick word with Bret Hart. The Hitman calls this whole situation the New Generation vs. the Old Generation, so he’s backing the Kid.
THE RAW RECAP
Most Entertaining: Owen Hart. While all those around him were dogging the opening tag match, he stood out as a bright shining star.
Least Entertaining: Bam Bam Bigelow. I’m not sure what his issue was with Tyron Knox, but he sure decided to put their match in the cooler early doors.
Quote of the Night: “Thank you for all of your positive contributions to the World Wrestling Federation. Thank you Randy Savage for all the wonderful memories for many years here in the World Wrestling Federation. Godspeed. And good luck” – Vince McMahon gives Savage an amazingly nice send-off.
Match of the Night: Bret Hart & British Bulldog vs. Owen Hart & Jim Neidhart. I think it’s very overrated but what else am I doing to give it to?
Sumamry: The marquee match, supposedly a good one, didn’t really work for me. I think it’s a combination of two things. 1. That formula is dead to me. I’ve seen so many formula tags that I really can’t get enthused about them unless they’re done exceptionally well. 2. Bulldog’s ring rust was noticeable. They probably shouldn’t have worked heat on him. The second half of the show was passable, with Pat Tanaka and Bob Backlund giving it to the youth of today, *shakes fist*, and teaching them the business. Otherwise you’d have to look at this Raw as underwhelming. The fans seemed to dig the tag match more than I did and formula wasn’t dead to the WWF audience until maybe two years after this. Give it time chaps, and you’ll be sick of it too.