Monday Night Raw (12/19/94)
Lex Luger vs. IRS
Yeah, really! In December 1994, IRS still has a job… can someone please explain how? Vince spends half of the match purring over Luger’s body. There is a druid at ringside, who lays the boots in to Luger when he is outside the ring. Ted DiBiase is there too. Between the four of them, none can generate any interest in this match. It is your standard IRS fare, which means the pace is incredibly laboured and if you have seen him work before, you know every spot in this. Luger mounts a clothesline filled comeback, having managed to stay awake during the plethora of IRS rest holds, but gets slapped by the druid. This obviously distracts Luger, because he is a dumb babyface, and he goes after the mystery man. It turns out to be Tatanka. Well, I sure didn’t see that coming! Vince is apoplectic and cannot believe it, and claims Luger can’t either. Which is strange really, when you consider that Tatanka turned on Luger, famously, just a few months prior, and they have pretty much feuded around the circuit since. Luger loses via count out, and Shawn Michaels calls him a sap. It’s Shawn’s first good call of the match. Why the hell was Tatanka a druid?
Final Rating: ½*
Backstage, The Bushwhackers dress The Fink up like one of them and feed him sardines. Are they on a quest to turn every non-wrestling on-screen personality into a gurning moron?
Jeff Jarrett is still in Vegas, and he bumps into the ridiculous beast that is Rip Taylor. Christ, he looks exactly the same as he did years later in the Jackass movies. The man doesn’t age.
The Smoking Gunns vs. Roy Raymond & Chris Avery
There is nothing quite like following an IRS match and a Bushwhackers segment with a Smoking Gunns squash. Yee haw! Michaels buries the Gunns for being fake-ass cowboys, as Vince desperately tries to legitimise them. Just give it up pal, nobody buys them. Vince discussing their outside interests as rodeo riders just serves to make them seem unfocussed and goofy. Chris Avery is dressed like Vader, but that is as far as the comparison stretches, believe me. Shawn rips the hell out of Vince and the Gunns some more when Vince says “you ought to see Bart ride a bull”. Shawn is merciless, and his biting viciousness is winning me over behind the desk. He is no Macho Man, but he is a right bastard and entertaining with it. The Gunns beat Vader-lite with their sloppy double team finisher, in a bout where the announcing was better than the action.
Final Rating: ½*
You know what the WWF is missing? Hillbillies. There must always be a scufflin’ hillbilly to keep the “slow” Southern folk entertained. That is why they are not drawing in certain markets, there is no character that lives with his grandma and f*cks his sister. No problem, Henry Godwinn makes his debut next week to right the wrongs! I have already used “yee haw” once so let’s go with “soooooeeeey!”
The King’s Court
I was hoping that when Savage left, Jerry Lawler would take over from him on commentary and thus that would be the end of this bullshit. It seems I must have got my dates wrong, because here it is. Again! Bob Backlund is the guest, so there is some hope this week, because for all I don’t love his ring work, I think he was actually a pretty good promo. Yes Arnold, he is winning me over. No, I will not watch that damn match you keep harping on about! Backlund is wearing a red dickey bow, which hopefully is to mock Vince. Bob regurgitates a thesaurus to wind up the dumb locals, then rips into Bret Hart for being “one of you people”. He says he is better than him, which he isn’t. I love Bret Hart, he is my favourite wrestler of all time, but, I thought the Backlund matches were really boring. “Kevin Nash, you’re like a Neanderthal!” says Backlund. Wait a minute, Kevin Nash!? Have I gone to WCW in 1996? What is happening here!? The crowd, not having the benefit of being 20 years in the future and knowing who “Kevin Nash” is, don’t respond.
Tangent: The more I watch Backlund, the more I think that Vince should have just gone with him as champion for a few months, if he was determined to get the belt on him. I wouldn’t have put it on him in the first place, but that was the direction they wanted to go, so why not just let him have a run with it for a while? His character was all about being self-righteous and superior to everyone, and that was killed when he got squashed in 8-seconds by Diesel. I guess Vince couldn’t bare not seeing a monster with the belt, and looked around the locker-room to see who was tallest and chose Nash. He was good at the time, especially for a 7-foot guy, but he was no-where near over enough to be WWF champion yet. He grew into the role and eventually had enough success and decent bouts to be remembered as a fairly good champion, but Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart and Owen Hart were all better choices in my opinion. Hell, I would have gone with Scott Hall ahead of Nash and feuded him with Michaels. A ladder match for the WWF title at WrestleMania XI, with Michaels going over? That would have been superb.
Sparky Plugg vs. Chris Kanyon
Plugg is announced as Bob Holly now, but that is no-where near as amusing to me. Kanyon, as Furious mentioned, is the same Kanyon who had success in WCW as the superb Positively Kanyon and then came out to the world before committing suicide. I always thought his talent was wasted everywhere he went. Here he is still a jobber, and one dressed as babyface Kona Crush no less. What is with the jobbers doing fancy dress tonight? Kanyon looks way better than the average squash guy, because he actually has height and muscle definition. He is far bigger than Holly. Why did Vince not use this guy? The crowd, which suffered that shitfest of a show “last week” and IRS “this week”, have really suffered at this taping and are completely bored senseless. I’m sure these block tapings made sense financially but they really do hurt the show. The incredibly passionate and raucous crowds from early 1993 are long gone, and Raw is firmly entrenched into being just another show. The match is fairly watchable for a squash, but Kanyon is too big to be getting spanked by Sparky. They should have used him against someone bigger like Bam Bam or The Undertaker really.
Final Rating: *
Well Dunn vs. The Bushwhackers
Because seeing it once this month was clearly not enough! The first match was the pits and this one starts awfully too, as they make a mess of a clothesline over the top. The Fink is at ringside with The Bushwhackers, and comes in the ring to do the idiotic march and some gurning. Fink is dressed in an oversized t-shirt and a backwards cap, and he looks either like a fully grown man who has shrunk, or a small child with a man’s face. I can’t decide which. You know what I love? When clueless wrestlers use the DDT -perhaps the greatest finisher of all time- as a transitional move. The version here performed by Well, or Dunn, I wasn’t paying much attention, is just pathetic. For some reason the WWF workers were burying the finishers of every former star, with Mr. Perfect’s Perfectplex having been adopted by Davey Boy Smith as a mid-match move as well. I bet there are more examples. I am going to keep my eyes in an eagle like state to find them. Well, or Dunn goes for a sunset flip and Harvey Wippleman tries to interfere again, but Fink rips his kegs off and exposes his pasty white legs to the world, and The Bushwhackers are able to use the distraction to get the pin. That -***** tuxedo match is imminent folks. Delightfully, it takes place in January next year, so Furious has to cover it. Bwahahaha! Perhaps my luck will change next year and I will get the plum bouts.
Final Rating: DUD
Mabel sits on Santa’s lap, and he nearly breaks his leg because he is such a fat bastard. They switch roles, and Santa sits on Mabel instead. Right then.
Jim Neidhart vs. Nick Barberri
Neidhart jaws with the Spanish announce team, for no discernible reason, as random things continue to happen on Raw. This is Barberri’s second match on this taping, having lost to Aldo Montoya on last week’s show. Neidhart is all clubbing, apart from when he stops to do some clubbing. It turns out though, that he was a trailblazer for the emo craze of wearing and displaying stars on your person, as he has pink ones emblazoned on his tights. I hate that shit. I think everyone who wears them looks like a Disney princess. This match is useless, but Shawn Michaels does read promo copy for Scrooged, which is one of my favourite Christmas movies of all time, and features a superb performance from Bill Murray. This match does not feature a superb performance from either men, and Neidhart wins fairly sharply with the camel clutch (Iron Sheik – There’s another one! At least he won with it).
Final Rating: ¼*
THE RAW RECAP
Most Entertaining: Bob Backlund. For cutting a “shoot” promo and calling Diesel “Kevin Nash”. What an edgy show Raw was in 1994!
Least Entertaining: IRS. Ah ha, I can reuse most of last week’s award copy: the most boring guy in a boring match made for horrid TV.
Quote of the Night: “What a couple of drugstore cowboys… Oh come on, I’m from Texas my friend, and they are not the real deal, they are a couple of rexall rangers” – Shawn Michaels buries The Smoking Gunns as Vince claws for ways to put them over, and fails miserably.
Match of the Night: Sparky Plugg vs. Chris Kanyon. There you go Chris, I appreciate you.
Summary: So I was wondering; how can Raw ever again be as bad as the abject toss that they fed to us last week, and the answer is: with this show. The King’s Court was probably the best thing on it, and that was only because I was tickled and surprised by the use of Diesel’s real name. Yes readers (if any of you have managed to survive through 1994 and made it this far) the highlight of this episode of Monday Night Raw was somebody saying “Kevin Nash”. Kill me now.