Monday Night Raw (12/12/94)
James Dixon: Shawn Michaels once again joins Vince on commentary here. Just let him wrestle!
Bob Backlund vs. Doink the Clown
Well, talk about worlds colliding! I expect there might be some clowning around in this one. Ho hum. Backlund was WWF champion just a month prior, now he is reduced to this. The WWF in 1994 was a strange place to be. You have guys like Michaels and the Harts carrying the in-ring workload on the big shows, remnants from a generation gone by such as Backlund, Bundy and Volkoff clogging up the card, then a few remaining cartoon characters, from a year or two prior. The result is wacky mismatches like this one. You might see this on the bill and expect some frivolous but inoffensive comedy where Bob perhaps becomes exasperated, or a dull but solid technical affair where the clown outwrestles the wrestler for giggles, but this is neither, it is just dire. If this was babyface Bob against heel Doink played by Matt Borne, there would be potential for a real humdinger, but alas it is not. It is just armbars. Michaels wonders aloud how much better Dink might have fared had he competed instead of Doink. If he knows any counters for an armbar or a top wristlock, he would be just fine. Doink certainly doesn’t appear to, and just sits there in the hold, as the crowd sit on their hands. It is a monster set of Raw tapings too, and in fact a lot of it also turns up on the Mega Matches ’95 tape. The crowds are getting smaller, with the attendance here around 1400. Crowds this small really portray the WWF in a bad light, especially when some of the card is released on video tape and thus lives eternally. They were running bigger shows at the time, so why not do the Raw tapings from one of the larger venues and at least present the illusion that the company was doing well? Seeing is believing! Oh yeah, the match. Well, it is 14-minutes, and 13 of them are arm holds. I guess it is quite fitting then that Backlund won with his arm hold finisher the cross face chicken wing. For some reason, the WWE felt the match was too good to forget, and included it on the Best Of Raw Seasons 1 & 2 DVD release, just in case you wanted to see it again in HD quality. When I watched this for the aforementioned Mega Matches tape, I was probably overly harsh with the rating, because it was part of a long and shitty tape that you had to pay for. As far as a match on free TV goes, it is still deathly dull but not appalling.
Final Rating: *
Shawn and Vince discuss the Raw video game from Acclaim, and Vince shills the dire Raw Strategies & Secrets – The Video Guide tape, which I have actually reviewed in The Complete WWF Video Guide Volume #III and *spoiler alert* it received a score of 0. Nada. Nothing. Zero. Zilch! It was possibly the biggest rip-off tape ever released. Well, until the next tape in the series, which was a 19-minute guide to the WrestleMania game…
Jeff Jarrett is in Vegas, and does a lot of laughing. Haha.
Razor Ramon vs. Mark Starr
Starr makes the mistake of chopping Razor, who subsequently beats the piss out of him afterwards. Razor though, does show once again what a generous guy he was in the ring, and gives Starr an awful lot. The deal is that Razor has an injured knee, and Starr targets it, before getting his head taken off with a clothesline. Those chops really pissed him off. Starr sells the back suplex from the top by shagging the ring, and the Razor’s Edge turns him inside out to finish it. What happened to selling the knee? Razor couldn’t manage a fallaway slam because of it but he could do the Edge? Not bad for a squash because of how much offence Starr was allowed.
Final Rating: *
The King’s Court
It never ends! To make matters worse, the guest tonight is the worst possible option: IRS. Literally anyone would have been a better choice, even the midgets! I wonder if he will mention taxes? IRS comes out with some druids, because he is a corpse taxing grave dweller now. The IRS-Undertaker feud was the most awful possible for Taker, and the whole “death versus taxes” thing didn’t exactly scream money, did it? There is complete and utter silence as IRS talks about taxes and the kids in the crowd fall asleep. There is another few hours of this left yet kids. This segment goes down exactly as you might expect, and subsequently is one of the most tedious things I have ever seen on Raw. God, I hate IRS.
Man-O-War vs. Nick Barberri
Yeah, I know he was called Aldo Montoya, but the graphic and The Fink announce him as Man-O-War, which is a name as stupid as the yellow jock on his head. Aldo understands the plight of the jobber, having been one himself for so long, but this match is about him, not Barberri and his ever changing surname. Still, he gives Nick a few things, before catching him with a messy headscissors which turns into a driver. A springboard bulldog wins it for Aldo, who gets announced as such this time by Fink. Post match, Harvey Wippleman and The Fink get into it again, and Harvey shoves him into his chair. Why is this feud happening!?
Final Rating: *
King Kong Bundy vs. Bob Knight
Oh my God, I am positive that Vince has repressed feelings for Roseanne Barr, because he is talking about her again! Seriously, what is going on there!? Shawn Michaels sums this match up by spending his time reading the new WWF magazine. “Oh come on, I think you have pushed your Advice to the Lovelorn (column) quite enough!” says Vince. Oh I smell some serious hypocrisy! Vince is the ultimate shill master, hell, not twenty minutes ago he was extolling the virtues of that dreadful Raw tape! This is a mauling, but is far longer than it needs to be. If it was two minutes it would have been fine, but five is unacceptable.
Final Rating: ¼*
Even though we have another Raw before Christmas, Santa Claus comes out. Santa involved in wrestling rarely ends well. Santa gives Shawn Michaels a replica of the WWF Women’s title, and Vince thinks it is bloody marvellous, declaring him as the new WWF Women’s champion. Somewhere in the deep recesses of Vince’s mind, a Shawn Michaels vs. Alundra Blayze program sounded like money. If this had been 1999, he probably would have done it too.
THE RAW RECAP
Most Entertaining: Razor Ramon. For being vicious towards the jobber. We do like a good bit of jobber murderization here at History of Wrestling.
Least Entertaining: IRS. The most boring guy on the most boring talk show segment made for horrid TV.
Quote of the Night: “You know I used to have a mask just like that hanging in my high school locker. It wasn’t exactly a mask, but it looked just like that” – Shawn Michaels. It seems everyone could see that Aldo Montoya was wearing a jockstrap on his head, except Vince. Or maybe Vince did too and he just thought Peter Polacco was a dick and did it to him to rib him. If so, kudos sir!
Match of the Night: Nothing is getting an award for this parade of drab shite.
Summary: I have seen the opener get *** from some reviewers on the internet machine, and can only conclude that they are crazy, or think that “long arm bar = workrate”. It does not, it is the opposite of that. The match is a seriously dull encounter, made all the worse by that stupid midget clown at ringside. The rest of the card is full of the usual squash parade and two of them are alright, but the Bundy match is tiresome. Then there is IRS. The fact that he takes up airtime doing what is essentially an elongated version of his usual pre-match promo takes this one firmly into the territory of some of the worst Raws ever.