by Martin Dixon (@BunnySuicida)
Monday Night Raw February 28th 1994
Welcome everyone to MONDAY NIGHT RAW! I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to start with that line, but no matter it’s done now and apologies but you’ll have to make your own siren noises for the full effect. I’m travelling back in time to 1994 for some more retro WWF action so join me a while as I break down Raw.
First of all, I would be remiss not to mention that this YouTube video of the show I watched hilariously had had all mention of WWF censored in line with current dogma. Which raised chuckles from me throughout.
Vince McMahon is joined by Harvey Wippleman at the commentary desk and the show is wasting no time as we’re launched straight into Macho Man Randy Savage challenges Yokozuna for the WWF championship. Vince again calls Savage “hall of fame bound” as he enters the ring. The match starts super quickly as Savage jumps Yoko as he attempts to take off his robe, but is quickly taken down with a clothesline and elbow drop from Yoko. Savage quickly retaliates though with a series of clotheslines taking the massive Yoko (billed here at 560 pounds) down and getting a very close two count as the crowd goes nuts. Unsurprisingly the match slows to an almost glacial pace when Yoko begins to work over Macho as USA chants rain down. Savage does get a comeback after Zuna misses a big splash, eventually hitting a high knee that sends Yoko spilling out to ringside.
Jim Cornette had been conspicuous in his absence at the start of the match but he soon runs down to ringside as Savage punches Mr Fuji, who had climbed on the ring apron for no real reason other to get hit, before Macho climbs the ropes to leap onto Yoko with a double axe handle to the floor. Savage desperately tries to lift Yoko back into the ring before he gets counted out in a fun section as Macho keeps rolling in and out of the ring to break the ref’s 10 count and gets increasingly frustrated as Yoko’s girth proves too much. Cornette makes his presence felt by getting in Macho’s face, distracting him just long enough for Yoko to club Macho from behind and ram his face into the steps.
Back in the ring the two begin a slugfest, hammering each other until Savage gets the better of Zuna, hitting a top rope axe handle to the back of Yoko’s head which was brave of them both as that could’ve gone very wrong, followed by a crossbody from the opposite turnbuckle for an exceptionally close near fall. Yoko manages to squash Savage with a running avalanche and positrons a limp Randy in the centre of the ring in order to deliver a legdrop which he misses.
Cornette again interjects, distracting the referee long enough for Fuji to pass Yoko the salt bucket they carry for Zuna to blast Savage. Macho reverses it though and hits Zuna with the bucket instead but this only gets a two count. Savage gets his chance to punch Cornette off of the apron as he climbs the ropes & hits the always beautiful Top Rope Elbow but as he covers Yoko, Crush runs in and attacks Randy, meaning although Randy wins by disqualification, Yokozuna still keeps hold of the belt & WrestleMania’s card is safe.
As Crush beats down Savage, Bret Hart runs down to help Macho, but a recovered Yoko soon beats him down, leading to Lex Luger entering the fray, punching Yoko out of the ring and joining Bret to deliver a double clothesline to Crush, sending him packing too.
This was far better than it had any right to be, fast paced except for a few slower periods when Yoko was in charge, and although the outcome was in little doubt the match was very entertaining. Savage was a dynamo, and more build up to Wrestlemania was welcome as Crush, Bret & Luger’s run ins made sense. Not a classic by any means, but a great TV match.
Next up is Bam Bam Bigelow against Mike Khoury in a quick squash match with no real big spots, but Bigelow does a good job of murdering his opponent with headbutts and an Enzugiri to finish, screaming that this is what he’ll do to Doink at Wrestlemania. Vince can’t resist some bullying at the start, saying that Luna “Actually looks good stood next to Howard Finkel” insulting two people in one line. Be a Star, Vince. This was inoffensively short, however so I couldn’t complain too much.
Earthquake faces the Black Phantom in the next match which was even more of a squash than the last one, in that one Khoury managed a dropkick to Bigelow. Phantom gets absolutely nothing as Quake hits an impressive dropkick, a powerslam, elbow drop & finally the Earthquake splash to end this. Quake showed off some great agility, but beyond that this wasn’t much of anything.
An awesome segment occurs next as Stan Lane barges in to Shawn Michaels dressing room in an attempt to interview HBK. Clad only in a towel, HBK tells Diesel to get Lane out of the Room while he “puts something on” before the interview. Off camera, HBK says he’s ready and the camera pans around to show that the “Something” he was referring to was his Intercontinental championship belt. Wearing only the towel, the belt and his shades, Michaels proclaims that he never lost the title due to his suspension, and the only thing he’s been stripped of is his clothing. A series of clips of the HBK/Razor feud play under Michaels’ words to highlight the story thus far, interspersed with hilarious shots of Shawn lounging on a couch in the towel & belt. An awesome and hilarious segment set up the Wrestlemania ladder match and made for some very enjoyable television.
The last match sees Men on a Mission face The Brooklyn Brawler & Steve Smith in a nothing match where the faces steamroll the heel jobbers, but at least the crowd were happy to cheer along with Oscar’s rapping. This still was a flat ending after the great WWF title match.
Not as good as the last episode, but this was enjoyable thanks to Savage & Yokozuna and the hilarious HBK skit, but the show peaked too soon and became a chore at the end thanks to the limited MoM team. Harvey Wippleman was okay but rather anonymous on commentary, but he’s light years ahead of Bastion Booger from a few episodes prior.
What I’m loving about these shows is how nearly everything is geared towards promoting Wrestlemania, every segment on this episode featured performers who will be appearing at the show and featured something either in ring or on commentary that put across the storylines heading into the big show. Compare that to today’s WWE where more often than not the free TV shows are more satisfying than the PPV events and it starts to appear that modern WWE doesn’t know if it wants PPV buys or TV ratings more.
As always, thanks for reading this far, if you’ve enjoyed this episode please share it anyway you can, and if you’ve any comments, feedback, questions or anything, the best way to reach me is at http://www.twitter.com/BunnySuicida Join me next time readers as Virgil takes on Jeff Jarrett, There’s been sightings of the Undertaker and Crush & Owen Hart take on the Smoking Gunns.
Once again thank you for reading and please, have fun with wrestling because that’s what it’s there for.