The SmarK Rant for WWE Network Hidden Gems–March to Wrestlemania X! (03.13.94)

The SmarK Rant for WWE Network Hidden Gems – March to Wrestlemania X (03.13.94)

Well this is an unsurprising addition to the Hidden Gems this week. Not sure why they don’t just dump them all at once, but I guess you gotta make people want it.

Taped from whatever shithole was hosting Wrestling Challenge. It was apparently Locksheldreke, NY, before a giant crowd of 1600 people according to the History of WWE site, taped THREE WEEKS beforehand. Jesus.  I’m sure I probably spelled that name wrong and offended some New Yorkers, GOD FORBID, but that’s what the site said.

Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Johnny Polo. This should be interesting.  Also Gorilla and Stan Lane do other segments, which is not interesting.

Lex Luger v. Jimmy Del Ray

Like seriously, it looks like they’re taping in a fucking Costco or something. And there’s random Coliseum Video banners in the background! Luger overpowers the Gigolo and blocks a hiptoss attempt with a clothesline. Polo has a soundboard that allows him to add sound effects at random points, which is pretty funny in a juvenile way. Luger with a press slam and he slugs away, but he charges and hits the floor while Polo plays a hockey organ to cheer on the Bodies. OK, this might go all the way around from stupid and become funny again. Back in, Del Ray works on the back while the crowd reaffirms that we are indeed in the USA. OK, you know which country you’re in, good for you. Dr. Tom chokes Lex out behind the ref’s back and Del Ray goes to a surfboard as Luger gets really impressive sustained babyface heat, to the point where you’d almost think he was over. Almost. Del Ray works the back in the corner while Luger does his melodramatic selling and goes ‘AAAAAAARRRRRGH!’ after every shot to really reinforce the pain. Gut wrench bomb gets two. Luger makes a comeback and Del Ray cuts him off and chokes him out, but then goes up and misses a moonsault. Luger makes the ICOPRO COMEBACK, showing us how much he’s gotta want it, and it’s a BAAAAAAAAAAAAACK body drop. Powerslam sets up the torture rack to finish at 8:33. Cornette tries for the sneak attack and Luger spanks him with his own racket and the crowd is so insanely hot for this that you’d think Luger would be winning the title at Wrestlemania. The match was OK but with tremendous heat out of all proportion for some reason. **

And then YOKOZUNA, the World champion himself, comes out to defend the honor of his manager, but Lex Luger wants to do it RIGHT NOW and Yokozuna does not, so he leaves while the crowd continues reinforcing which country they are currently in. AMURICA!

Bam Bam Bigelow v. Ben Jordan

So now we switch to the RAW taping from Poughkeepsie, with Stan Lane and Gorilla on commentary. Stan clarifies that Bam Bam has promised to clean up the Dink mess at Wrestlemania.

Um. OK.

Moving on, Jordan tries to make a comeback and Bigelow just wallops him down and holds a side headlock while telling everyone to shut up. What a heel performance. Bigelow misses a blind charge and the jobber actually gets some offense for god knows what reason, but a stun gun finishes him at 3:35.

Meanwhile, Alundra Blayze prepares to defend against Leilani Kai by doing jet-skiing and what appears to be glamor photography on the beach. In all fairness, that’s about all the training you’d need for Kai at that point.

Meanwhile, Tatanka is backstage preparing to meet Yokozuna later tonight, but he’s all got all his little squaws with him to counteract Fuji and Cornette. I’m still picking Yokozuna.

So Vince and Polo have a weird discussion about some list of the “50 Greatest PPV Events of all time” and Vince brags that “more than half” of them were WWF shows. Given that it’s mostly boxing and concerts at that point, I’m not sure that only having half of the “greatest” shows is much to brag about.

Razor Ramon v. Tony DeVito

Back to the RAW taping for this one as Ramon works the arm, but DeVito pokes him in the eye and works him over in the corner. Razor fires back with his own shots and gets the abdominal stretch and holds it for a really long time for some reason. Razor with the backdrop suplex off the middle rope and the Razor’s Edge finishes at 4:10.

Owen Hart joins us for an interview with Johnny Polo, and he wants Crush to go easy on Bret Hart later tonight because he doesn’t want any excuses from Bret when he LOSES to Owen. Good luck there.

Meanwhile, some singer doing a ripoff of Johnny B. Badd’s gimmick is going to be singing the national anthem at Wrestlemania.

Earthquake v. The Executioner

This Executioner is just half of the usual team, and given he’s “Pain” I’m assuming that it’s Barry Hardy. I dunno, all jobbers look alike to me. I certainly wouldn’t let one marry my daughter. The Executioner tries to go up and gets hurled down by Quake, followed by a belly to belly and the butt splash at 1:54. Happy go lucky Quake was NO BUYS.

WRESTLEMANIA REPORT! WITH TODD PETTINGILL!

Todd is REALLY excited about all the celebrities and Hollywood elite, like…uh…Jennie Garth and the chick from that USA Network show.

Meanwhile, Bret bitches that he has to prepare for Owen, plus Yokozuna and Lex Luger, just in case.

Crush v. Bret Hart

Back to scenic Locksheldreke, with the amphetamine filled crowd. I’m assuming this was some kind of rich New York town where stimulants were easy to get. Bret gives his glasses to a kid as usual, and Polo quips “HA! Look at that mark! Maybe learn to brush your teeth, kid!” I wish Scotty Levy would have stuck around forever in this role. Polo calls Bret a crybaby and plays a crying baby clip to illustrate that. WITH TEARS IN HIS EYES! Crush wants a test of strength and Bret isn’t dumb enough to go for it, so we get the extended stall and even Vince is like “GET ON WITH IT!” Bret finally accepts the challenge and that goes badly for him even as the crowd is going nuts for Bret. Maybe they should shoot RAW in Locksheldreke sometime. Bret rolls out of the test of strength and hurts Crush’s wrists in the process, and we get another stall. Bret fires away in the corner and follows with the clothesline for two. Bret with a sleeper, but Crush slams him out of it, so Bret elbows Crush to the floor and we take a break. Back with Crush blocking a rollup and hitting a superkick to take over. Crush ties Bret up with a cross armbreaker and Bret taps repeatedly, but it’s only 1994 so it doesn’t count. Bret takes his turnbuckle bump and Crush goes to work with the bearhug and slugs him down. Bret gets tossed and Crush runs him into the stairs, which gets two. They slug it out with forearms, but Bret goes for a crossbody and Crush catches him with a backbreaker for two. Polo notes that “Bret is looking like Palooka Joe here” for your old timey reference of the show, as Bret gets a rollup for two. They slug it out in the corner and Crush runs into a boot, which sets up the bulldog for two. Rollup gets two. This has ascended to Vince McMahon’s version of a five star match, a SEE SAW BATTLE BACK AND FORTH! Bret with the legsweep for two. Middle rope elbow gets two and Bret goes to work on the back and slugs away in the corner, but Crush takes him down with an atomic drop and backbreaker. Crush goes up to finish, hopefully not hitting the ceiling on the way up, but he misses and Bret gets the Sharpshooter. Bret stops to take out Fuj the Stooge and gets a small package, but Owen Hart slides in, rolls them over, and Crush gets the pin at 13:45. This was a HELL of a match for a nothing show like this. ***1/2 Definitely worth checking out.

The Quebecers v. PJ Walker & Mike Bell

The jobbers actually clean house on the champs to start, but Walker gets clobbered from behind by Pierre and double-teamed. Pierre beats on PJ while Captain Lou joins us at ringside and Jacques slams Pierre onto Walker. Jacques backdrops his partner onto Walker while Lou clarifies that he “doesn’t like their tactics”. Legal double-teaming? He’s kind of a lousy manager then. Quebecers with the high-low and Pierre gets a corner clothesline before they finish with another double-team at 4:10.

Meanwhile, Vince chats with Macho Man, who is going to get his dignity back after he blew it against Yokozuna. He could have had it and gone to face Lex Luger and Bret, and at the risk of sounding egotistical, he would have beaten them both. TELL ‘EM, MACH! But Crush done fucked it up for him and robbed him of his third WWF title. But he’ll be back and get over the divorce and having his friends stab him in the back and all that. IT’S COOL, he says in a tone of voice that is decidedly not that of someone who is “cool”. So while Crush is basking in his glory, the sun is coming down on him because Savage might not be champion, but he’s going to BEAT HIM VERY DECISIVELY and maybe humiliate him as well. GUARANTEED. INTERVIEW OVER, VINCE! YEAH.

HOLY SHITBALLS WHAT A PROMO! Exhume the grave and put the title on him today, dig it!

WWF title: Yokozuna v. Tatanka

Johnny Polo on the headdress presentation to Tatanka last week: “Those geezers were so old that their Social Security numbers were roman numerals!” That’s OLD. Vince calls it a non-title match even though the ring announcer clearly called it for the WWF title.

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Yoko attacks to start and Polo plays war dance music on his machine, to the disgust of Vince McMahon. These heels must have had the time of their lives on commentary annoying Vince to no end and scoring off the “toupee” and such. Tatanka dodges an elbowdrop and goes up with a flying bodypress, but he walks into a knee and Yoko gets the heat with the VULCAN NERVE PINCH OF DEATH. That headdress sitting in the corner makes me think Rick Martel should have come out and stolen it for old times sake. The nerve hold continues for quite a spell, but Tatanka fights up, so Yoko tosses him and undoes a turnbuckle as we take a break. WILL TATANKA SURVIVE? FIND OUT IN THE NEXT PARAGRAPH!

Back with Yoko in control with another nerve hold as Polo declares that Tatanka is so stupid that he “failed Romper Room”, and then tops himself by playing his own laugh track to really sell the terrible joke. Heels laughing hysterically at their own jokes is one thing, but playing a laugh track for the terrible joke is another level. “I hope Yokozuna puts an end to this goofy Indian tonight. Sorry, we gotta be politically correct. I meant goofy Native American.” This man is the greatest hero in American comedy history. Tatanka makes a comeback and gets immediately cut off, but Yoko tries to take him into the exposed turnbuckle and Tatanka runs him into it for a cruel dose of irony that gets two. Tatanka makes the PISSED OFF RACIAL STEREOTYPE comeback with chops and goes up with the flying chop, and Yoko does a delayed sell off that, which gets two. Tatanka goes for the “Wig Wam Bomb” according to Polo, but Yoko is much too large and slams Tatanka down instead. This sets up the Banzai drop and that’s all for Tatanka at 9:16 and the crowd is like “WUT?!”. DAMN, HE GOT THE BEATS PUT ON HIM! That one shut up the crowd but good! Another good match, and I kind of wish they hadn’t wasted Tatanka’s first loss on Borga and saved it for this one instead. ***

And the announce teams wrap things up before throwing to a WRESTLEMANIA RAP from Men on a Mission to end the show.

I really enjoyed this show and it did a hell of a job of hyping the Wrestlemania card, too! Check it out under Hidden Gems.