WWF Raw 17th October 1994
Hello dear reader & welcome to the retro wrestling blog that has never eaten marijuana either: Wrestling in the Clinton Years.
The Survivor Series is on the horizon and some big feuds are starting to take shape. Well one feud and to be honest it’s not that big in more ways than one but nevertheless the build to the pay-per-view is underway so without further ado, on with the show.
Baffling-ly the show begins with picturesque views of Vermont in the autumn accompanied by Vince McMahon & Randy Savage making odd references to Mr. Rogers’ Neighbourhood & the Learning Channel which undercuts the beauty of the host state of the episode somewhat before the camera cuts to the live arena where Doink the Clown’s music is already playing signalling his arrival for the first & featured match on the show, emanating from the Burlington Memorial Auditorium.
In answer to last week’s reveal by Jerry The King Lawler of his diminutive sidekick “Queasy” in an effort to one up Doink & Dink, the Clowns are joined by Wink who we briefly glimpse as the title sequence begins & for the first time Raw is being sponsored by Stridex, the start of a long association between the Federation & the pimple people as the logo is stamped large & proud all over the familiar Raw titles along with chief shill Todd Pettengill giving us the tag line of “simple pimple control” which was very nearly the title of this edition if not for something later.
Doink’s opponent for the evening is Double J himself Jeff Jarrett, resplendent in purple & gold and looking very like the WCW colour scheme. Jarrett grabs a mic and introduces himself to crowd, spelling his name like he always does & reeling off his “world’s greatest (blank)” promo. I’m amazed that Jarrett’s gimmick hasn’t progressed beyond what he was doing back in January and his lack of any development beyond spelling his name out loud.
The match begins with Jarrett immediately leaving the ring and wandering around ringside before tripping Doink and ramming the clown’s leg into the ring apron as he lies helpless on the mat. Following this Jeff tries draping Doink’s injured leg across the bottom rope, aiming to crash down on it with all his weight but Doink manages to move his leg just in time to cause Double J to crash posterior-first to the canvas. Doink then rocks the wannabe country star with a hiptoss & bodyslam before whipping Jarrett into a corner where Dink takes the opportunity to bite Jeff on the ass in a harrowing callback to a Bushwhackers match from very early on in the year. Poor Jeff is sent crashing to the canvas by Doink with a drop toehold immediately afterwards. Doink locks a humiliated Jarrett in a side headlock on the mat to firmly take control.
Jeff fights his way back to his feet while in the hold and backs Doink into a corner, whipping him into an opposite buckle. Jarrett charges Doink with a back elbow but is sidestepped & once again Doink catches Jarrett with a standing side headlock. Soon after a drop toehold by Jeff takes Doink down but a missed follow-up elbow allows Doink to apply a side headlock for a third time, with Double J pawing at Doink’s luminous green wig in an effort to escape.
Jarrett does manage to escape and grabs Doink in an abdominal stretch complete with some heelish grabbing of the ropes for added leverage & nefariousness. Jarrett repeatedly uses the ropes but on the third time Dink climbs the ropes to bite him on the wrist, forcing Jarrett to release the hold. Doink comes back with a flying back elbow & flying clothesline to restore some life back into the match as outside the ring Queasy along with a new mysterious royally dressed partner of equal reduced stature distracting Doink long enough for Jarrett to attack Doink from behind, sending him crashing to ringside where the two little kings stomp and attack Doink. Dink & Wink attempt to save their full size companion but Jarrett gets in front of them, making them reconsider as all three heels continue the attack (right in front of the referee I might add). Jarrett hauls Doink back into the ring and begins a protracted beat down that goes through the ads, the highlights of which are a very impressive dropkick by Jeff from which he gets the first near fall of the match and an enzugiri that Vince can’t help but shriek “what a maneuver” at. Doink manages to fight back, hitting a double arm suplex as Vince rambles on about foliage and Vernont in autumn. Queasy’s partner climbs up onto the apron and takes an amazing spill as Doink whips Jarrett into the ropes, sending the diminutive royal flying. Doink’s comeback continues with a suplex as Dink & Wink begin to chase the two kings around the ring, teasing a beatdown as try catch up with their opposites. During this Doink hits his Whoopie Cushion finisher, but the ref is distracted by the commotion at ringside. This leads to Jerry Lawler sneaking down to the ring and hitting Doink in the back of the head with a fist drop from the second rope, before throwing a lifeless Jarrett on top of Doink just as the ref turns around to count the pinfall, giving Jeff Jarrett the tainted victory. After the match a crowing Lawler & his entourage head over to the commentary desk, grabbing a mic & announcing the new king clone as “Sleazy”, the midget war continues apace it seems. This had its moments but was a little dull overall, with lots of repeated headlocks by Doink & too much focus on the sidekicks. Poor Jarrett looked incredibly weak in victory & his lack of any momentum really makes it hard to care about him at this point, stuck as he is as a setup for Lawler & his minions.
Backstage, British Bulldog is shown jogging on the spot in preparation for his match with Roy Raymond as Vince denigrates NFL pre game shows. What a difference a couple of decades makes, eh?
Bulldog easily demolishes his jobber foe in the next match with hard lariats and a dangerous and sloppy looking superplex before Davey Boy takes the win with his running powerslam finisher. This was a brief match and sadly was very sloppy due to Davey falling over on one move & looking ungainly at other times. Bulldog’s celebrations go on for so long that they go through the ad break where we see bizarre footage of Burt Reynolds at a book signing for his recently published autobiography. Vince & Savage reappear on-screen to yuck it up some more about biographies where Randy says he’d love to read Vince’s autobiography which I think we all would. Footage also is shown of Bob Backlund locking former manager Arnold Skaaland in the Crossface chickenwing on Superstars in a fit of insane rage.
Backlund is soon wandering to ringside, beckoning Vince to come interview him. Bob goes off on an epic crazy rant, refusing to apologise for his actions before railing against the state of parenting in modern America, proclaiming that everyone is “doomed!” before screaming the best line of the entire year of 1994 “I HAVE NEVER EATEN MARIJUANA!”
Talk soon turns to the Chickenwing where Backlund challenges any fan in the crowd to try & escape the hold. This brings out Lex Luger who gets in Backlund’s face over his crazy attacks on WWF personnel. Flexing his lexicon, Bob responds by saying that Luger has a lot of “panache”in the way he wears the American flag before officials usher Luger away as Bob hops into the ring to gloat and dance around. This was pure goody awesomeness & Backlund is an undeniable highlight of these late 1994 episodes.
Fans of armdrags rejoice as Bob “Sparkplug” Holly (I must’ve missed when he changed his name from Thurman Plugg) takes on Reno Riggins in a match where Holly hits many (admittedly impressive) armdrags. Reno unknowingly channels Chris Jericho at one point, screaming into the camera “IT OUGHTA BE MONDAY NIGHT RIGGINS!”. Bob finishes off Reno with a flying crossbody off the top to end this brief match where Holly did look very good, although with his new black with check pattern gear does make him look like he could double as a member of a ska band.
Forgive the briefness & facetiousness of this next paragraph but IRS matches are universally terrible, from the standard “blah, blah, pay your taxes” promo to the non action. Irwin wins with The Penalty (STF) for the submission win. The only real wrinkle was that before the match IRS threatened to expose the WWF’s biggest tax cheat: The Undertaker. Really? I would’ve thought that being technically dead, Taker would be exempt from paying taxes.
We’re again shown Yokozuna being freaked out by the Undertaker’s casket on Superstars, with Yoko literally running away from it, further diminishing his aura.
In the last match, Jim Cornette introduces The Heavenly Bodies (Tom Pritchard & Jimmy Del Ray) for their match against Barry Horowitz and Nick Barbarry. This is a really fun enhancement match, with Horowitz & Pritchard proving too evenly matched for each other, reversing each others’ holds multiple times early on. Poor Barbarry is not so lucky, taking all the Bodies’ offence being finished off with a powerbomb & moonsault combo to give The Heavenly Bodies the quick & relatively easy win.
Lastly, Vince interviews Lex Luger who challenges Bob Backlund to “wreshel” as he stumbles through his promo before the show goes off the air. No time is given for the match though so time will tell if it happens.
Thanks to Backlund and the Bodies, this was a fun episode to watch, the good in ring action of the Bodies & Holly matches were complimented by the lunacy of Bob Backlund’s interview. Without those though this would’ve been awful. Doink vs Jarrett was slow and not in a good way with far too much time given to a sidekick based bad comedy feud that has already outstayed its welcome with me and the Bulldog looked awfully shaky in his match away from Jim Neidhart. That said I was entertained by the episode overall and I can’t wait to see more of Mr Backlund.
Once again thanks for reading if you’ve made it this far and hopefully you’ll be back for more Wrestling in the Clinton Years soon.