Monday Night Raw (01/30/95)
Arnold Furious: We’re in Palmetto, Florida, with this filmed after last week’s live Raw. Hosts are Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels.
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Mabel vs. King Kong Bundy
They booked this after the two big men collided during the Royal Rumble match. To win you have to throw your opponent over the top rope and both feet must hit the floor. Given that the Rumble rules are in effect, both fat bastards just hug the ropes for the whole match. This does not meet my basic standards for “wrestling”. If it was called the World Fat Guys Hugging Federation then this would be a title match. But it’s not. IRS and Tatanka get bored watching something so horribly tedious and just jump in there to throw Mabel out, although it takes ages. To call this a match would be an insult to actual wrestling matches.
Final Rating: -**
Backstage, Vince McMahon gets words with Bam Bam Bigelow. The Bammer calls his defeat to 1-2-3 Kid a fluke because every dog has his day. Vince asks Bigelow about Lawrence Taylor laughing at him. Bam Bam calls Taylor’s laughter disrespectful. Athletes should show respect for each other. Bigelow refuses to apologise to LT and instead challenges him to a fight. Vince’s reactions combined with Bigelow’s aggression made this good fun.
Hakushi vs. Ricky Santana
Santana looks like a chunkier Ricky Steamboat. He’s decently mobile and is able to take Hakushi’s strikes, including a killer back kick to the jaw. Shawn has fun again cutting Vince down by correcting his pronunciation of “Shinja”. Santana continues to keep up but Hakushi’s spots are on another level, like a flying shoulderblock off the top. A cartwheel standing moonsault finishes. Hakushi’s flipping always looks nice, but isn’t high impact enough for my liking. He is a great wrestler, but on the softer side of the spectrum.
Final Rating: *¾
Aldo Montoya vs. David Sierra
Sierra is a bearded Latin veteran. Aldo throws some awful punches. Nobody punches a guy in the top of the head Aldo, nobody. That’s the hardest part of the head. Stop aiming for it! Aldo is just abysmal here; so sloppy. The only remotely worthwhile spot is a pescado that Sierra has to move in order to catch Aldo on. The finish is a botched diving bulldog. I’ve only ever seen one decent Aldo Montoya match. I’d have switched him back to job duty ASAP.
Final Rating: DUD
The King’s Court
Lawler’s guest is Mr. Bob Backlund. Lawler runs through Backlund’s interview material for him but Backlund shows disdain for Lawler. Backlund says from now on he won’t let people out of the Crossface Chickenwing unless the victim screams “I quit, Mr. Backlund”. Lawler pushes his luck by saying he could get out of it. Backlund should have put him down, Lawler should know his place: “No one is exempt from that policy”. Backlund points out the King is NOT exempt and he should shut up. Lawler still doesn’t get it so Backlund slaps him in the CFCW. “I quit Mr. Backlund”. As Backlund leaves, Lawler backs up and claims he just quit doing the interview. Backlund comes back down and Lawler takes a powder. This was awesome. It blurred the lines and tried to do away with all that Heel Club bullshit the WWF had been running forever.
WWF Tag Team Championship
The Smoking Gunns (c) vs. 1-2-3 Kid & Bob Holly
Keep in mind this was signed “last week” but it’s actually the same night, so this is the second time this crowd has seen this match. Kid and Billy work some tidy chaining before the challengers bring some double teaming, then Kid comes back in to eat the Gunns’ double teaming. Then the tide changes again and it’s like they’re taking it in turns to demonstrate double teams. Curmudgeon Bob Holly gets a little salty with Billy and fisticuffs ensue. Like last week, or earlier tonight depending on your perspective, the crowd is divided so deeply that they like both teams but can’t bring themselves to cheer for either. Kid’s kicks raise the tempo. A few of his front leg back kicks are terrific. Eric Bischoff would be having kittens. Kid misses a senton but lands on his shoulder and stops moving. The ref rings the bell and a hush comes over the crowd as they suspect a serious injury. It’s just an injury angle and a very poor way to end the match. At least they had a clean switch last time but this match was going better until the finish. Matters are made a thousand times worse by Vince “I hate making money” McMahon who announces the Kid just got up and walked to the back during an ad break. Way to go Vince. Bad finish that leads nowhere. Perfect.
Final Rating: **¼
Kama vs. Jumbo Beretta
Kama is a big dude, the former Papa Shango, making his Raw debut. Jumbo is appropriately named as he’s a blubbery lardass. “A kick to the blubber” calls Shawn after Kama boots his tubbier opponent in the abdominal area where Jumbo’s abs would be if he had any. Abdominal folds, maybe. Vince runs the last match into the ground further by pointing out that the 1-2-3 Kid is 100% fine. So he’s just a pussy then? If I was Bob Holly I would kick his ass for that. Back in the Kama match nothing much is happening. Kama has ok kicks but doesn’t know when to use them, so most of his offence is rest holds and dull stuff. He calls for a finish and hits the belly-to-belly. Nobody cares Kama, nobody cares. He finishes with an STF with a chinlock instead of a facelock. Possibly because that was the only way to get fat boy Beretta’s neck to bend right.
Final Rating: DUD
THE RAW RECAP:
Most Entertaining: Bob Backlund. His craziness exploded before an assault on Jerry Lawler. Great segment.
Least Entertaining: Kama. Boring debut from a guy with no visible personality. This would continue until he switched gimmicks to the Godfather.
Quote of the Night: “No one is exempt from the Crossface Chicken-wing, including yours truly” – Bob Backlund says something crazy about submitting himself.
Match of the Night: The Smoking Gunns vs. 1-2-3 Kid & Bob Holly. Ok little title contest but with a terrible finish, straight from the School of Lame Finishes. Vince’s burial of whatever angle they had going just increasing the uselessness of it all.
Summary: Two interviews highlight this poor wrestling show. Bigelow’s verbal attack on LT and Backlund’s physical attack on the King. The wrestling was worryingly subpar around those two incidents. Bundy-Mabel was beyond awful and two squash matches both featured inadequate talents: Aldo and Kama. The tag title match was fine but the finish stunk. So all in all a poor show for in-ring but a good show for talking.