Monday Night Raw (01/09/95)
Arnold Furious: We’re LIVE in Houston, Texas at the Summit for the second year anniversary of Monday Night Raw. Hosts are Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels. They run down the card including Bill Shatner on King’s Court, Owen Hart getting an IC title shot and Bret Hart in the house. William Shatner has pre-recorded comments where he basically cuts a promo on Jerry Lawler and claims he’s here solely to promote Tech War and “not wrestle”. They’ve set the Summit up with the entranceway at the back, which makes it look a bit like MSG.
WWF Intercontinental Championship
Razor Ramon (c) vs. Owen Hart
This is part of Owen’s campaign to win all the WWF titles. HBK brings the history by pointing out that Owen beat Ramon to win King of the Ring. Vince gets in on it by talking about WrestleMania X and the Shawn-Razor ladder match. Razor combats Owen’s speed with his usual smashmouth brawling style, but his opening shine is overly long and he spends too much time working Owen’s arm, although Owen does incorporate some superb counters. I like how Owen’s stuff blends into Razor’s stuff, like an attempt at a crossbody being a genuine Owen move and Razor countering into the fallaway slam. However, I resent that every time Razor sets for the Edge anywhere near the ropes, it telegraphs a backdrop over them. Owen adds in a tope at speed before Razor rolls through a second crossbody into a pin for 2. I like them mixing it up. Owen on offence is nowhere near as boring as the staple heel offence commonplace during the era. Just compare his stuff to say Tatanka or IRS. Owen mixed up high risk and technical offence, with just enough cheating in there to stop him wrestling face. Also, a chinlock. Owen’s creativity won’t allow him to sit in it long, but it does set up a Princess Bride sleeper moments later. Razor fights out and starts throwing those famous right hands. They slightly botch the set up for a chokeslam, with Razor having to grab it a second time. Minor issue. Owen dumps Razor groin first on the ropes to set up a missile dropkick and ‘the Rocket’ straps on the Sharpshooter with Vince calling for a DQ on account of the nut shot. Bret Hart promptly runs in for the DQ. Really good match, which Owen usually had with anyone who was game. Razor was, and the BS finish was needed to protect Owen to keep him strong. They basically gave up on that as the year continued.
Final Rating: ***¼
Backstage, Jerry Lawler has words for William Shatner, promising to “beam him so far up he’ll never come down”. I think he meant to punch him.
Hakushi vs. Matt Hardy
Hakushi is making his debut and has Shinja in his corner. Matt flubs an early trip to the ropes so Hakushi flips around to show him how it’s done. Hakushi nails Matt with a diving elbow smash and finishes with a tame slingshot splash. Not what you’d call a stunning debut and certainly not the match you’d expect from the names involved.
Final Rating: ½*
The King’s Court
Jerry’s guest is William Shatner, in case you missed him. Shatner acts without saying anything. Wonderful stuff. King shills Tech War, which follows Raw on USA every Monday night and was written by Shatner. Shawn makes Star Trek jokes while Shatner claims chewing gum is more interesting than the King’s Court. Lawler gets into Shatner’s personal space and a ruck is impending, as Shatner claims everyone in this crowd watches Tech War. Um, guess again Bill. King tries to charge The Shat but gets taken over with a monkey flip. Bret Hart strolls out to “save”, despite the fact that Lawler is so toothless that he was taken out by an actor. Still, the segment was a lot of fun and Shatner was game for the wrestling monkey business.
King Kong Bundy vs. Gary Sabaugh
Sabaugh is the guy who looks like Garry Shandling. Bundy corner splashes him and pins in 9 seconds. Wait, that seems very familiar. The only real highlight is Shawn calling Bundy “love chunks” post match when the big man claims he’ll win the Royal Rumble.
Final Rating: SQUASH
Howard Finkel vs. Harvey Wippleman
Both guys are cornered by tag teams. Fink has the Bushwhackers while Harvey has Well Dunn. This feud has been rumbling on for a while, with Fink taking exception to the loudmouthed and irritating Wippleman. Tuxedo matches are so gay. Who on earth wants to watch two ugly men tearing each other’s clothes off? Especially when Tuxedo matches traditionally involve the less manly men in wrestling. Let’s face it, no one wants to see a couple of middle aged skinny guys stumbling around the ring with their trousers around their ankles. “I’ve seen two chicks fight better than this” – Shawn Michaels criticises women’s wrestling. Howard manages to retain his cummerbund to win. On the upside, at least no one was wearing a thong. On the downside, every Tuxedo match is horrid.
Final Rating: DUD
THE RAW RECAP:
Most Entertaining: Owen Hart. Tempted to go for Shatner for that slick monkey flip, but Owen was on form.
Least Entertaining: Whoever decided to book a Tuxedo match as Raw’s main event.
Quote of the Night: “I’ve been impressed a lot but this isn’t one of the most impressive times I’ve had” – William Shatner is not impressed to be on Raw.
Match of the Night: Razor Ramon vs. Owen Hart. I’m glad we have a decent match after just two weeks of the new year. It bodes well.
Summary: Tuxedo nonsense aside, the second year anniversary Raw show was ok. Good IC title match, good celebrity involvement and nothing outstayed its welcome.