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Monday Night Raw (01/02/95)

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Arnold Furious: We’re in Liberty, New York. Hosts are Gorilla Monsoon and Shawn Michaels, which is a strange combination of Old School and New Generation. We start in the back with Double J, Jeff Jarrett, who promises a sensational singing debut this evening. “Ain’t he great?” adds the Roadie as the credits roll. Gorilla claims he’s here because Vince McMahon is actually too sick to work. He is? I thought Vince had to be legally dead before he missed a day’s work. Gorilla wishes us a Happy New Year even though this was filmed back on 12th December 1994.

 

Tatanka & Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Lex Luger & The British Bulldog
As mentioned in last year’s edition; Shawn wasn’t a good commentator and introduced weird pauses and inflections where they didn’t belong. He starts that shit right in the opening match. Luger and Bulldog would go on to be a regular team as the Allied Powers, but they’re not called that yet. Luger is still feuding with the Million Dollar Corporation, but has no idea how to reflect his anger at Tatanka in his style, so he works Bigelow’s arm half-heartedly before running a stupid spot where he changes ropes on clotheslines so Tatanka can knee him in the back. Lame. Shawn viciously assaults Luger’s moveset by claiming all he does is clotheslines; he wasn’t a Lex Luger fan. Next to get Shawn’s ire is the slightly fatter than usual Tatanka, who’s “bulked up”. Tatanka laces in a few decent chops in the corner but Luger’s lack of effort in this match is palpable -he can’t muster enough of a shit to not give a shit– so they stand around in a bearhug for a while. Monsoon starts laying into everyone for being lazy or stupid. Hot tag to Davey and he has Tatanka pinned with the powerslam after a few seconds, so Ted DiBiase pulls his charge to the floor and everyone gets counted out. Long way to go for such a lame finish.
Final Rating: *

 

Duke Droese vs. Mike Bell
Droese gets one backdrop and heads to the chinlock. LAZY! Monsoon breaks up the monotony by telling us William Shatner will be on Raw next week. Droese stops mucking about and finishes with the Trash Compactor.
Final Rating: ¼*

 

King’s Court
“1995 and we still gotta put up with this?” – Gorilla Monsoon voices his displeasure at the ongoing King’s Court. I agree, sir. At least Jerry Lawler’s guest is Owen Hart. Owen is on to talk about Survivor Series, even though that was TWO MONTHS AGO. Nice of the WWF to be topical. Owen relates all of his 1994 successes, including beating Bret at WrestleMania and costing him the WWF title at Survivor Series. Owen has brought the submission towel with him allowing Shawn to deliver a killer whispered line of “that’s the towel”. Perfect delivery. Owen promises to win all the WWF titles in the same order that Bret won them in, starting with the tag titles. He promises to eventually win the WWF title and retain it until he chooses to retire, which is a pointer as to where Owen’s career was heading. The fact he was going to start with the tag titles showed how he was heading down the card. 1995 was a horrible year for Owen’s career after the blow-away successes of 1994.

 

Jeff Jarrett vs. Buck Quartermaine
Buck Quartermaine is one of the great jobber names. He looks like a bigger version of Sean Waltman. Jarrett sleepwalks through his moves while Buck gets nothing at all. Strutting occurs. Monsoon rounds on Jarrett: “just finish the match, sing your song and get out”. Ah, my thoughts exactly, Gorilla. Jarrett obliges with the first part courtesy of a figure four.
Final Rating: ½*

 

Post Match: All night long Jarrett has been promising his singing debut, but he isn’t happy with the quality of microphone provided for him. It probably doesn’t help that his guitar isn’t plugged in. Between feedback and shoddy spotlight work from the lighting crew, Jarrett walks off. So no performance this evening. Gorilla blames it on Razor Ramon. I get they were trying to draw this out, but nobody cared if Jeff Jarrett could sing or not. Well, the WWF bookers probably did, but none of the fans did. It’s no good building up to something that nobody cares about. If they were building up to a sing-off against a babyface then maybe that’d count for something. Even better if it was settled with fisticuffs instead. Seeing as Jarrett really can’t sing, this is really going nowhere. Fast.

 

Instances in 1995 that the WWF used technical incompetence of their own people as a plot point:
One. And counting.

 

Backstage: Super Dave Osborne gets to plug his new show. In case you don’t remember who that is, or are too young to remember, he was a comedy stunt man.

 

Tatanka & Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Lex Luger & The British Bulldog
As if once wasn’t enough, we get the continuation of this match to close the show. “Luger has finally been exposed for his lack of talent” says Shawn as Tatanka pounds him. The earlier match was incredibly exciting compared to this one, with the heels plodding through heat on Luger while Shawn learns new names for body parts from Monsoon. Tatanka manages to duck under a double clothesline spot, which leaves him kneeling awkwardly on the mat while Luger makes the hot tag. The heels collide and Davey just pins Tatanka for the win. Jesus, that’s a lame finish. DiBiase seems to blame Bigelow for the loss. It really is hard to care after a humdrum contest with not one but two poor finishes.
Final Rating: ¼*

 

THE RAW RECAP:

 

Most Entertaining: I guess Shawn Michaels. I found his sly burial of the product to be quite amusing.

 

Least Entertaining: I could literally pick anyone else. Jarrett ate up a load of time with no end result, everyone in the tag match was boring, Owen Hart said next to nothing in his interview and Duke Droese stunk up the joint with a bad squash. I’ll go with Droese for putting a chinlock into a 2-minute match. Criminal.

 

Quote of the Night: “1995 and we still gotta put up with this?” – Gorilla Monsoon voices his displeasure at the ongoing King’s Court.

 

Match of the Night: Tatanka & Bigelow vs. Luger & Bulldog. The first one. Had some semblance of formula but was pretty awful. Everything else sucked.

 

Summary: 1994 was a chore to sit through. We deliberately stepped away from doing these Raw books for a couple of months just to prepare for another year of potential horror. This opening show does not help my feelings of dread. I guess technically it was shot in 1994, but hey, it can only get better right? Oh, by the way, next week’s main event is Howard Finkel vs. Harvey Wippleman…
Verdict: 16

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