The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 01.02.95
Finally, we hit 1995 and get away from the dire ugliness of 1994. I have no idea how I slogged through these shows live at the time. At least there’s a slight visual change as the year starts, with the graphics and motif switching from red to blue to at least change things up a bit. Speaking of change, the Roku WWE app has now randomly switched to reverse chronological order for the archives, which now matches the other platforms. Just to keep me on my toes. (2019 Scott Sez: I don’t even watch on Roku anymore. Now I’m strictly a laptop user and watch on PS4 on the rare occasions when I actually need to have it on the big screen. Of course, who would want to, since it looks like crap on my massive 42” 4K TV anyway?)
Taped from Liberty, NY.
Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Shawn Michaels. Apparently Vince is “under the weather” which is ridiculous because this is week 3 of a taping cycle and you can literally see him sitting at ringside in the wide shots. Did he get sick in hour two or something? Shawn is very subdued this week, maybe because he was showing respect to Gorilla or something?
Lex Luger & The British Bulldog v. Tatanka & Bam Bam Bigelow
Once again, why not put the vacated tag titles on Luger & Bulldog to reheat them? Instead they did the bizarre Kid & Holly -> Gunns switch and then squashed the Gunns at Wrestlemania. I never got that whole sequence. (Dave also was thinking it would go to Luger & Bulldog or they’d lose to the Million Dollar team in the finals based on this taping.) Bam Bam gets double-teamed by the Allied Powers, but Tatanka gets a cheapshot from the apron. Shawn wonders what Luger would do without the clothesline as an offensive weapon. And to think they’re training all the NXT kids to do basically nothing but that in their babyface comebacks. (Double irony: Now SHAWN is the one teaching people in NXT!) Tatanka pounds away as Gorilla notes that Dibiase has offered a lot of money for whichever member brings gold to the stable first. So the team was around from 1994 until 1996, and had a grand total of zero titles won. So at least Dibiase can save some money. We take a break with Tatanka in control of Luger and return with him chopping away in the corner, as there is literally no break in the action without the commercial. I know most people probably wouldn’t notice that sort of thing while watching live at the time, but I find it really annoying and sloppy. Tatanka keeps throwing chops and gets a bearhug, but Luger fights out with a suplex and Bam Bam comes in with a headbutt on him to cut him off again. Bigelow with more power moves, but Luger catches him with a powerslam and makes the hot tag to Bulldog as the 1400 people in attendance go nuts. Powerslam gets two, but Dibiase pulls him out to save and it’s BONZO GONZO for the double countout at 8:30. Another lazy finish. *1/2
Royal Rumble Report with Todd, and even HE points out that the finish sucked! When Todd Pettingill is scoring off you, your product is awful. Anyway, they’re already heavily pushing the 60 second intervals this year because the field was so thin on star power and otherwise it would have been brutal. Brutaler.
Duke Droese v. Mike Bell
Droese goes to a chinlock, but Bell escapes and pounds away with elbows until Droese powerslams him. Trash Compactor finishes at 1:30. (I can never remember, was Mike Bell the subject of that steroid movie, or was it his brother?)
Kama: The Supreme Voodoo Pimpin’ Machine is coming soon. On a motorcycle. That was actually a pretty effective promo, too bad he was terrible.
The King’s Court with Owen Hart. Owen has a BOMBSHELL announcement: He’s going to win the WWF title, and then never lose it, unlike his brother. That’s quite the scoop.
Jeff Jarrett v. Buck Quartermaine
Jarrett takes him down and chokes away while Shawn mocks the jobber (“Sounds like a soap opera character.”) while Gorilla bitches about how Jarrett is taking too long to finish the guy off. Sadly, no rant about how they didn’t get paid by the hour in his day. Figure-four finishes at 3:00. And when we return, JEFF JARRETT SINGS!
Back from the break and Roadie has the guitar tuned, but that damn microphone level is ALL WRONG and the production monkeys can’t figure out a spotlight, and we are again robbed of the debut of his new single. Gorilla: “Where’s Kevin Dunn when you need him?” Probably backstage with Vince, giving him a blowjob. By which I mean introducing him to a babyface tag team as a function of his talent scouting.
Meanwhile, Super Dave shills his new USA special in a bit that’s actually funny! (Aw, Super Dave. RIP.)
Bam Bam Bigelow & Tatanka v. Lex Luger & The British Bulldog, take 2.
So we join this in progress as apparently Jack Tunney has ordered the match to restart. What the FUCK is with this show? Did they just need to retape the finish here or what? (I checked the Observers and Dave had nothing of note about it.) Anyway, we pick it up with Luger as the face in peril again as the ringside camera view reveals that Gorilla Monsoon looks a hell of a lot like Vince McMahon. We take a break and return with Bigelow hitting an enzuigiri on Luger, but Lex fights him off and makes the hot tag to Bulldog. Slams abound and gets two on Tatanka, and again the heels collide and Bulldog gets the pin at 5:00 shown. I’m starting to feel bad for the Million Dollar Team because they were just so incredibly useless.
Next week: Razor Ramon defends the IC title against Owen Hart, Harvey Wippleman faces The Fink in a tuxedo match, and we change bookers as Pat Patterson is demoted behind the scenes and replaced with Jim Ross. Spoiler: It doesn’t help.