Wrestling in the Clinton Years: May cause feelings of nausea.

"He's behind me, isn't he?"
“He’s behind me, isn’t he?”

WWF Raw October 10th 1994

In the spirit of this episode of Raw I’m dispensing with the usual preamble introduction & getting straight down to business as before even the title sequence is shown the first participant of the big featured match, Bam Bam Bigelow, enters to his own theme with his manager Ted DiBiase in tow along with several other members of Ted’s “Million Dollar Corporation” stable, these being Tatanka and Nikolai Volkoff. Bigelow is here to take on “Made in the USA” Lex Luger, proudly waving the Stars & Stripes and even getting a small amount of fireworks accompanying Luger’s entrance. We briefly see Vince McMahon & Randy Savage (the announcing duo for the show) who just kind of ramble, including Savage dropping a Paul Revere reference about lamps (which is incongruous as this is the “Columbus Day” edition of Raw) .

The match begins with all three Corporation members stalking Luger, teasing a beatdown. Only Bigelow gets physical with Luger through, with Tatanka & Volkoff serving as a distraction and they leave the ring as “The Beast from the East” rocks Luger with punches and a headbutt, finally sending Lex to the canvas with a shoulder block from who Vince calls the “Tank-like Bam Bam Bigelow”. A body slam by Bigelow gets a 2 count before Luger reverses an Irish whip, hitting a back elbow and punches that send Bigelow tumbling out of the ring.

Back in the ring Lex traps Bam Bam in an armbar, grounding the massive Superstar and even allowing Lex a chance to glower at the treacherous Tatanka, with whom Luger is still feuding with over SummerSlam at this point. “What kind of American is Tatanka for selling out to the Million Dollar Man?” shrieks Vince and given that he sold his soul to corporate America, one could argue that he’s Vince’s kind of American.

"Aaaaaannnndddd..... FREEZE!"
“Aaaaaannnndddd….. FREEZE!”

What pace the match had quickly dissipates as Luger rather meekly continues to trap Bigelow’s arm with a wristlock that lasts ages. Bigelow eventually escapes by using his free arm to trip Lex but misses an elbow drop that allows Lex to slap on another soul sapping armbar. The match becomes so static at this point it could be a tableaux until the two back up to the ropes, forcing the referee to call for the hold to be broken. The sneaky Bigelow takes the opportunity to rake Lex’s eyes that opens the one time focus of “The Lex Express” to a powerslam that gives Bigelow another near fall.

Bigelow climbs to the top rope aiming to smash Lex with his signature diving headbutt but as he sails through the air, Luger moves and Bigelow crashes to the mat. Lex pops up to his feet instantly and after knocking Nikolai Volkoff from the apron (Nikolai had climbed up there just seconds prior with the express purpose of being knocked down), blasts Bigelow with a clothesline for his first near fall and then back to that ubiquitous armbar.

Out comes new Corporation member & recent returnee King Kong Bundy to ringside, full of bluster & screaming at the referee drawing his and Luger’s attention away from Bigelow allowing Bam Bam to attack the gullible Lex from behind. This brings out babyfaces Mabel & Adam Bomb, ostensively to even out the numbers game and they take up position at ringside to cheer on Luger. All the while Bam Bam continues to work over Lex with very slow punches eventually drilling Lex with a DDT that begins a series of near falls for Bigelow each following the DDT, a clothesline & dropkick before a chinlock threatens to drain what little life this match had left. Lex powers up & fights out of the hold, teasing a comeback for the Star Spangled Superstar but a swift knee to the gut by Bigelow curtails Lex’s momentum and he is soon back laying on the mat.

Luger does manage a brief comeback with a series of punches but yet another heelish eye rake turns the tide back in Bam Bam’s favour until Lex raises his foot to counter a charging Bigelow and he follows up with a series of punches & clotheslines that rock Bigelow. Ted DiBiase makes his presence felt, as sensing danger for his charge, he climbs up onto the apron to distract the referee as a final Luger clothesline fells The Beastly Bam Bam. In the confusion Tatanka attempts to pull Luger out of the ring only to be kicked off by Lex as he continues to fight Bigelow. Tatanka climbs the apron just in time to be sent flying as a whipped Bigelow clatters into him and in the confusion, Lex seizes his opportunity to roll up Bam Bam for the three count and the victory. Post match as Mabel & Bomb tend to an exhausted Luger Tatanka & Bigelow argue at ringside as a panicked DiBiase attempts to mollify his two employees. Lex recovers enough to wave old glory to cap off an incredibly boring match.

This was almost painful to watch. Both Luger & the usually dependable Bigelow failed to muster up any entertaining action and the appearances of Bundy and especially Adam Bomb & Mabel served no purpose at all. After the last episode’s surprising British Bulldog and Jim Neidhart match this was such a disappointing match. I wasn’t expecting that but with Bigelow present I was hoping for something more than this snoozefest.

So after that disappointment and a brief excerpt from a WWF Superstars interview where Bob Backlund officially challenged Bret Hart to a WWF Championship match, we move on to the next match in which Mabel (sans Oscar & Mo and rapping his own theme) takes on Reno Riggins.

This. Was. Awful. The massive Mabel spends the first few moments of the match rooted to the centre of the ring leaving poor Riggins to have to work around him with Mabel only leaving his feet to miss an elbow drop and to deliver the match winning legdrop. Aside from some comedy where Reno has to climb onto the second rope in order to be tall enough to meet Mabel’s test of strength challenge this again was so dull it hurt.

Next up is Owen Hart with Jim Neidhart taking on John Crystal that is a fine enhancement match utterly torpedoed by the commentary as Vince & Savage engage in a near ceaseless precession of pop culture puns, going so far as to say that Bull Nakano would be a perfect Princess Leia in a new Star Wars movie. Sadly even Owen looks disinterested, only really coming to life during some early chain wrestling & a beautiful belly to belly suplex before winning with the Sharpshooter. Sadly, this is the best thing on the show so far.

Following another Undertaker promo about his live tour casket match with Yokozuna that we will never see, King Kong Bundy returns to both the ring & the Federation to take on Mike Khoury. Sadly time hasn’t been kind to “The Walking Condominium” and Bundy looks very worse for wear for the 7 years he’s been absent from the WWF. Bundy gets to work right away. Slowly dissecting Khoury before a silent crowd full of people sat arms folded, unimpressed at Bundy even as he wins with a corner avalanche & his signature “5 count” to end this plodding enhancement match.

 

"I shall call him Mini-Me"
“I shall call him Mini-Me”

With the Survivor Series on the horizon thoughts turn to the PPV & what feuds will culminate at the show. It turns out the first feud that is on the agenda is Doink with his sidekick Dink and Jerry The King Lawler as we are “treated” to a pretaped King’s Court segment in which Lawler makes a ton of height jokes directed at the diminutive Dink before introducing his own sidekick, Queasy. More height jokes ensue and the punchline of Queasy missing a high five (because he’s so short, see) signals the end of this segment that could have been entertaining if it hadn’t felt so hackneyed & old fashioned. This is prime time television & this sub sitcom material is what we’re left to watch. For shame.

 

"Haven't I seen you somewhere before?"
“Haven’t I seen you somewhere before?”

In the last match of the show, the “New” Headshrinkers of Fatu & new partner Sione (the former Barbarian) take on the awesomely named Cory Student & J.S.Storm. Vince describes Sione as “looking more barbaric” than Samu in a clear nod to Sione’s previous incarnation. Why he wasn’t billed as a returning Barbarian is beyond me but whatever he’s called he’s still the same wrestler. Who no-sells everything Student & Storm can throw at him, almost decapitating Storm with a big boot to end a very quick, but quite entertaining squash match.

Lastly, Vince & Randy interview Doink & Dink about. I say “interview” but all that really happens is Doink & Dink hand out paper Burger King crowns as Raw ends.

Sadly this Raw couldn’t hold a candle to the previous episode and even on its own merit was a really bad show. Lacklustre matches, poor commentary and a real feeling of boredom as a viewer leave a bad taste in the mouth. This wasn’t exactly the worst episode I’ve seen, but it’s awfully close.

Oh well, onwards & upwards I suppose as next episode, Jeff Jarrett faces Doink in a match a that could entertain given the proficiency of both men, fingers crossed.

Ladies & Gentlemen of the mainstream media: The 1990's
Ladies & Gentlemen of the mainstream media: The 1990’s

I’ve been Martin Dixon & this has been Wrestling in the Clinton Years. Please share this piece if you’ve enjoyed it, say hello on twitter at www.twitter.com/BunnySuicida and if I don’t hear from you I hope you’ll be back for the next WitCY. Until next time readers

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