So it turns out that most of these articles aren’t actually on 4crwrestling.com and for that I’m sorry. When I started the WiTCY project I never thought that I would actually keep doing them but as I finally creep towards the end of 1994 and after nearly 50,000 words I wanted to finally get some of the earlier editions away from Tumblr & onto the “main roster” so to speak. So without further ado, please enjoy this collection of WiTCY numbers 4,5 & 6 covering 3 weeks of February 1994.
Monday Night Raw 7th February 1994
Welcome once again everybody to my personal journey through the WWF in 1994. The Royal Rumble is ancient history, we’re firmly on the road to Wrestlemania now that the matter of the WWF title matches are settled, so lets see what this episode has in store for us.
This episode gets off to a terrifying start as Vince McMahon appears on screen next to Bastion Booger who is busy stuffing his face with nachos and will be on commentary throughout. With a mouth full of food Booger garbles some almost unintelligible puns about the wrestlers due to appear, but is drowned out by the Raw siren that starts every episode.
First up the Smokin’ Gunns make their way to the ring to face the deadly alliance of Barry Horrowitz & Reno Riggins in a fun little squash match, complete with many armdrags & arm whips, although to be fair they were all well executed. What isn’t well executed is the awful announcing as Vince & Bastion are happy to discuss barbecue throughout along with Vince wishing a happy birthday to Freddie Blassie, everything except referencing what’s happening in the match really. The Gunns take the win with a cool Powerbomb/top rope splash combo move.
Footage from All American Wrestling is shown containing a sit down interview with Owen saying how good he felt kicking Bret’s leg at the Royal Rumble, and how he had spent his life in Bret’s shadow to continue the build up to Wrestlemania. Bret also appears talking about how he now realises he needs to confront Owen & maybe beat some sense into him. These were nice & understated, giving a slight “real” feeling to the feud.
The show comes back from an ad break with Vince saying “No, this is not another boring promo (yes, he uses the word promo), this is Monday Night Raw” this is the second jibe the WWF has thrown at WCW and Nitro is still over a year away, the Monday night war was personal way before there even was a Monday night war it seems.
Owen Hart is up next to take on John Paul. Owen shows off his awesome heel schtick of going to hand his glasses to a kid in the crowd, only to rip them up in front of the child’s eyes. What a villain.
“We want Bret” chants continually ring out as Owen dismantles John Paul, running through his excellent repertoire and showing that he is a true heel now by cockily stopping pin counts before locking Paul in the Sharpshooter for a submission win in a fun squash match. Vince again takes shots at WCW by suggesting that Ted Turner & Booger are both using the Jane Fonda fitness program. I would have given anything to hear Booger say that he’s on ICOPRO at this point but alas it wasn’t to be.
The hyped match between IRS & Marty Jannetty is next on the agenda. I was looking forward to seeing this as Marty has looked great in what I’ve seen of him so far, as has Irwin, but this was a disappointment all round sadly. Marty in particular seems to be moving in slow motion, barely leaving his feet to deliver a jumping elbow, as well as IRS spending ages on the outside to kill time. The two exchange sloppy moves before Jannetty gets hurled into the ring post on the outside and taking a nice spinning bump in the process. The match is further hindered by all kinds of interference, first the Quebecers arrive to attack Marty during the ad break, only to be ejected from ringside, then Johnny Polo wanders out, closely followed by Razor Ramon, Marty’s new best friend. In addition to them the Quebecers return to ringside, all without doing much of anything except taking focus away from IRS & Marty, who seem happy to sit in rest holds without much else in between. The finish comes as Jannetty attempts a slingshot move from the apron, only for Polo to push him over the ropes into the ring, which somehow allows IRS to pin Marty & win the match. Quick as a flash Razor hits the ring and gives Irwin an atomic drop, sending him careening out of the ring. The Quebecers pounce on Razor who fights them both off before Marty limply helps to clear the ring, before Ramon hits Jacques with the Razor’s Edge. So the winner of this IRS/Marty Janetty Match was in fact Razor Ramon who looked like a million dollars by beating down all three heels. I wasn’t expecting anything spectacular given that this was a Raw match, but the lethargy of both Marty & Irwin was disappointing even before all the run-ins.
Next week there won’t be a Raw as the show is preempted for the Westminster Dog Show, which is even given the Raw matchup graphic treatment for laughs, and is the cue for many dog based comments throughout the rest of the show.
The Job Squad EXPLODES! As Thurman “Sparky” Plugg takes on his future stablemate Duane Gill in Plugg’s debut match (If you don’t count his appearance in the Royal Rumble filling in for the injured 123 Kid). Booger chokes on food as the match starts as Vince says we may see a fatality on Raw, meaning he’s unwilling to help a man in need, nice Vince. Bastion is soon okay though so Vince has time to call Plugg “an electric type superstar” which is not only a lame pun on the Sparky Plugg name but also a clairvoyant Pokemon joke as well 4 years before the series hit the west, along with a ton of racing & motoring puns as Plugg decimates Gill finally finishing him off with a top rope kneedrop not too dissimilar to NJPW star Togi Makabe’s King Kong Kneedrop. (And yes, I am aware I mentioned Bob Holly & Togi Makabe in the same breath)
The main event (and by that i mean the final match of the show) is Crush with Mr. Fuji takes on Dave Thornberg, in which almost no action happens except a press slam to give Crush the victory in an entirely forgettable match. On commentary Vince again starts talking about the fees other networks pay celebrities again, and tells us the rules of the upcoming Falls Count Anywhere match between Crush & Randy Savage at Mania, along with some more Tonya Harding “comedy” which I can imagine failing to raise a chuckle even in 1994.
Lastly, the Quebecers are interviewed about them being booked in a title match against Marty Jannetty & Razor Ramon where Johnny Polo just screams “CONSPIRACY” over & over as Pierre punches a wooden wall. This was awful as everyone just screams incoherently and I know the Quebecers are evil foreigners, but that kind of character trait was usually reserved for the “idiot savage” gimmicks.
As a final parting shot to the dog show, Vince “hilariously” offers Booger some dog biscuits which being a fat slob, Booger eats & enjoys to close the show.
I hate being overly negative, especially about wrestling but this wasn’t a good episode and that’s being kind. Owen looking so comfortable in his brand new super heel role was enjoyable, but Jannetty vs IRS was sloppy & marred by outside interference. The squash matches were adequate but forgettable, and again marred by bad announcing. This was an inconsequential episode that had promise on paper but failed to deliver and that’s my number one hate in wrestling, I couldn’t care less about anything on this show and that’s a shame. Hopefully with workers the calibre of Razor, Jannetty & the Quebecers next time I may be able to write about how much I enjoyed it instead of how disappointed I was.
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 jacker 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.
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.
Thank you to everyone who has supported WiTCY throughout 2014, it really means a great deal and here’s to a great 2015.