by Martin Dixon (@BunnySuicida)
Monday Night Raw February 21st 1994.
Welcome back dear reader to the new generation, Wrestlemania 10 is just 4 weeks away and after the last disappointing episode I’m hoping for something a little less “undercooked” from my Raw viewing. Thankfully, I think I may be in luck here.
We’re first treated to the slightly revamped Raw titles, with no Damien Demento to spoil an otherwise flawless video, and soon are in the arena with Vince McMahon about to introduce his commentary partner for the show. Listening closely reveals a funny mistake as the opening bars of the Quebecers theme play briefly, before making way for Pomp & Circumstance heralding the arrival of someone Vince describes as “Unquestionably a man who will be in the WWF Hall of Fame” Randy “Macho Man” Savage, decked out once again in his black, white & red Raw jacket. To celebrate President’s day, Macho reveals that the president of the Randy Savage fan club is in attendance: himself! Don’t worry, this is actually the worst thing on the show. Savage also has a very noticeable sore throat, which must’ve been deeply annoying, as someone who talks for a living in my real life job I can attest that a sore throat is no joke.
Our first of two matches is a WWF tag team championship match pitting the Quebecers defending against Razor Ramon & the 123 Kid replacing Marty Jannetty. Jannetty’s absence isn’t explained by Vince so an injury is out of the question, but whatever the reason, 123 Kid is a more than suitable replacement, as this match attests.
The champs begin by jumping Razor & Kid, dumping Ramon to the outside & double teaming Kid, who is coming back from a leg injury which is brilliantly worked into the match. Kid fights off both Quebecers as Razor climbs back into the ring to even the odds, leading to a great move where Ramon performs a fall away slam on Kid, sending his partner careening into Pierre.
Following some heelish stalling on the outside, Polo manages to distract Razor, leading to him getting double teamed by the villainous Canucks. Razor manages to reverse a double clothesline with one of his own, and makes a beeline for Johnny Polo on the outside. Without his charges to protect him Johnny gets caught by Razor and is subject to a Razor’s edge on the outside of the ring!
As Polo lies motionless at ringside, a gaggle of officials take him backstage as the ads begin. After some more great back and forth action, including Razor countering a leap frog in a most unique fashion (he extends a fist that Pierre lands crotch first on), 123 Kid using the Indian Deathlock that fellow Kliq member HHH would adopt and a kick that looks like it almost took Jacques head off, Shawn Michaels’ bodyguard Diesel wanders into the aisle and stares menacingly at the faces, distracting Razor long enough for the Quebecers to take control. We also get an amazing camera shot of the ring being reflected in Diesel’s shades as he glares at Razor.
After rallying and a hot tag, Razor Ramon hits a Razor’s Edge on Pierre & looks all set to win the tag belts, but as he makes the cover Shawn Michaels himself runs out of the crowd, slides into the ring and begins attacking Ramon, leading to a DQ for the champs & the retention of their titles. Razor & Shawn’s impending Wrestlemania match is talked up by Vince as the Four glare at each other, teasing a brawl. This doesn’t come to pass though as HBK & Diesel wander backstage, cocky that they’ve screwed over Razor. This was a really fun match with some great action from all sides, the Quebecers used some fun double team moves and the star power of the faces leant an air of uncertainty to proceedings. Plus the building of Diesel being a factor in the ladder match was well done, even on commentary. Good stuff all round.
Next up is an announcement that on the next show Randy Savage will challenge Yokozuna for the WWF championship, leading to Jim Cornette taking to the ring and grabbing a mic to inform Randy that he has no chance against Yokozuna, saying Yoko will “Snap him like a Slim Jim”. Cornette really is something else here, and his baiting of Savage gives way to his introduction of Dr. Tom Pritchard of the Heavenly Bodies, to take on Bret Hart in the other match of the show.
Bret & Tom impress early on with some very crisp chain wrestling, always ending with Bret having the upper hand. This continues as Vince has a phone conversation with NKOTB’s Donnie Wahlberg about his participation at Wrestlemania after pointing out Nikolai Volkoff sitting in the crowd. “Still as ugly as ever” quips Savage leading to Vince hilariously saying “it’s not a physique contest, it’s the WWF”, which was almost the case in the post steroid trial WWF of the mid 90s. Pritchard grounds Bret with a Chinlock until Bret hits him with a jaw jacket to escape. With Bret in the ropes Cornette winds up to hit Bret with his famous tennis racquet, but is stopped by Savage who leaves the announce desk steals the racquet & clocks Cornette, leaving him laying at ringside. Bret begins his famous sequence, hitting a side Russian legsweep that Vince calls a neckbreaker, until a recovered Cornette shoves Bret, distracting him long enough for Dr Tom to drill him with a knee to the back, sending him tumbling out of the ring & laying on the arena floor. Cornette motions for aid, which prompts Owen Hart to run out & stand over the fallen Bret, taunting him before grabbing him & rolling his brother back into the ring, turning to the camera & proclaiming “he always needs my help” sarcastically.
The finishing sequence begins as Bret dodges a running knee from Pritchard and hits a suplex, before locking Dr Tom in the Sharpshooter for the popular submission win. Post match, Owen & Bret stare each other down as refs try & move Owen along. Bret meanwhile invites Owen to fight him there & then, showing he now is no longer hesitant to fight his brother and wants to get his hands on him. Some great subtle character development following a great technical mat based match, so Raw is two for two on great matches.
Todd Pettengill is back for the Wrestlemania Report where he runs down the celebrity guests booked for the show, and runs down the whole card. Yes, every match for the whole of Wrestlemania 10 is in place & announced 4 weeks before the event itself, unlike the build we get to modern PPVs from both mainstream companies.
Lastly we’re back in the arena as Yokozuna’s music plays as him & Cornette enter ringside. Vince grabs a few words with Jim, who calls Savage a thief & murderer in reference to his altercation with Savage earlier, before Yoko & Randy have a brief scuffle to hype their match as the show goes off the air.
This was a big lungful of fresh air after the dull shows I’ve recently seen. With the Wrestlemania build in full swing we were treated to two excellent matches that also built logically to two of the big marquee matches on the show. I just hope this isn’t a one off & I get to write about how I enjoyed watching Raw more often.
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