By Haydn Gleed
WWE Raw on the USA Network
Mid-Hudson Civic Center, Poughkeepsie, New York
We opened immediately with the Raw generic '90s intro music and opening credits. In the arena the Raw sirens are blaring and Vince welcomed us to Monday Night Raw. He reminded us that the stars and stripes challenge is just around the corner. He introduced Bobby "The Brain" Heenan and "Macho Man" Randy Savage.
They plugged that the Intercontinental championship would be on the line between Shawn Michaels and Kamala and the 400 pound Bastion Booger would be facing Crush. They played up the fact that Crush was one of the people in line to try and slam Yokozuna, and if he can slam the 400 pounder Booger, he would be on his way to achieving that.
Retro Verdict: Never thought I would say this, but I'm glad to see Bastion Booger. It means that Mike Shaw's other incarnation, Friar Ferguson is no more. Should be interesting to see what kind of match Shawn Michaels can get out of Kamala.
Shawn Michaels made his way to the ring with Diesel in tow. There were a lot of female sounding squeals. Kamala's music hit and he made his entrance.
1. Shawn Michaels vs. Kamala for the Intercontinental Championship. Bobby Heenan played up that Kamala could actually be a big threat to the champion. Kamala was distracted by the gold before he played to the crowd. Michaels was apprehensive before they locked up and stalled by going to the ropes. He offered a handshake to Kamala which the crowd implored him not too to take. Kamala indicated that he was listening to the crowd. Eventually he did take the handshake but Michaels instantly kneed him in the bread basket. Michaels tried to whip Kamala to the corner, but it was reversed, and as Michaels bounced off the turnbuckle he got caught with a clothesline. With Michaels on the floor, Kamala patted his belly.
Michaels offered another handshake as Diesel looked on. Kamala went to shake the hand but then bit Michaels fingers. After Kamala hit a number of moves, Michaels bailed to the outside. Kamala dragged him back in the ring and was pounding on Michaels. With Michaels in the corner, Kamala went for a splash but Shawn got the knees up. He tried to come off the rope but Kamala caught him and put him in a bear hug as we went for a commercial break.
We came back to see Kamala had Michaels in a pin attempt. He got a very close 2 count as the camera showed the Michaels was still in the bear hug. Michaels raked the eyes to release the hold. Michaels went to the outside ran around the ring with Kamala in chase, got back in the ring and caught Kamala as he attempted to enter. Michaels on offence didn't last long as he missed with a drop kick attempt.
Kamala beat on Michaels until he missed a running knee in the corner, which gave Michaels the opportunity to go after his leg. He continued the beating on the leg for a couple of minutes with Kamala letting out screams, which Bobby described as sounding like a "wounded Rhino". I laughed out loud at that.
As Michaels attempted to put on a figure four leglock the commentators talked about the Yokozuna challenge. Michaels tried again to put the figure four leglock, but Kamala kicked him with his good leg, which sent Shawn shoulder first into the corner. He threw Michaels to the outside while Kamala tried to walk off the leg injury. He pulled Michaels over the top rope from the apron and hit a chop to the throat. Kamala went to cover Michaels, but Shawn was the wrong way around. The crowd were telling Kamala to roll him over but he rolled him too far. Diesel got on the apron as Shawn showed moments of life. Kamala noticed Diesel which allowed Michaels to hit Sweet Chin Music to the back of the head, which gave him the 1-2-3.
Shawn Michaels beat Kamala in 9:47 (TV time) via pinfall.
After the match, Kamala recovered and started beating on Michaels, which brought Diesel into the ring. He beat on Kamala with kicks and punches. With Kamala down, Shawn started to pound on Kamala until Diesel pulled him off and led him out of the ring.
Retro Verdict: Actually a very enjoyable match. The psychology was good, the action was decent, and Shawn managed to get a good match out of Kamala. In 1993, Shawn managed to get decent matches out of Kamala and Hacksaw Jim Duggan which is one of the many reasons Michaels is one of the greatest of all times.
Vince was in the ring when we came back from the break and he introduced the reigning WWF Champion Yokozuna. Yoko made his way down to the ring with Mr Fuji. Macho Man went on a patriotic rant about how he wants America to shut Fuji's mouth. As Fuji waved the Japanese flag, the crowd started a loud USA chant.
Vince addressed Fuji and said that this Sunday would be July 4, America's birthday, and he has chosen an American landmark for the stars and stripes challenge. Vince also reminded us that Fuji has extended the challenge outside of the WWF, and the challenge is for any American professional athlete.
Fuji said very very true, he wants people from WWF, Basketball, American football etc but he knows no one can pick up his 500-plus pound Yokozuna. Vince said, this is a very obvious attempt to humiliate American athletes isn't it? Fuji again said, very true, it's simple, they want the athletes to make fools of themselves.
Vince said that he wants to remind Fuji, that he is not the first time someone has tried to demean this great country. But everytime it appears America is backed into a corner, somehow, someway, someone steps up to the plate. Vince got passionate and said someone takes a swing, and someone hits a home run. Fuji said let me tell you something, at the King Of The Ring, the great Hulk Hogan tried to pick up Yokozuna and couldn't, and now Hulkamania is dead. He said that he feels sorry for all the little Hulkamaniacs with their tears coming out of their eyes. He said that while laughing.
Vince said that he thinks that the plan will backfire, which Fuji scoffed at and said that Yokozuna would be the WWF Champion for ever. Vince asked for a few words from Yokozuna. He grunted, American athletes are like American products, they are no good bonsai!! As Yoko's music started to play, Vince interjected and said he wants to leave them with one final thought. Come Sunday, all they will hear is this. He gestured to the crowd and they started to chant USA as did Macho Man on commentary.
Retro Verdict: Well, Yokozuna is the most Samoan American sounding Japanese fella I've ever heard. That aside, I did enjoy this segment. Despite being British I did get a kick out of the whole USA v Japan dynamic going on. We also got to see Vince give a sneak peak of what was to come from him 4/5 years later as Mr McMahon.
Back from the break, the intro music for The Smoking Guns echoed in the arena, and out walked Bart and Billy Gunn. Their opponents was the team of Iron Mike Sharpe and Barry Horowitz. Horowitz would become a long time jobber or enhancement talent for the WWF and then WCW in 1998. He would get a push in 1995, but I'm sure we will get to that down the road.
2. The Smoking Gunnns vs. Iron Mike Sharpe and Barry Horowitz. Before the match the Gunns set off their cap guns to clear the ring. The commentators spent most of the match talking about the Stars and Stripes challenge from Sunday.
Bill Gunn started this one off and actually showed quite smooth and quick offence. So much so at some points Iron Mike Sharpe couldn't keep up.
The enhancement team actually got quite a lot of offence. At one point Horowitz had Bart Gunn under the ropes and hit a slingshot so Bart's throat hit the bottom rope. Eventually Bill got the hot tag, and he unleashed on Sharpe and Barry. The finish came when the Gunns hit their finishing manoeuvre which was Horowitz on the shoulders of Bart, and Billy came down with a crossbody. It looked really really clunky...
The Smoking Gunns beat Iron Mike Sharpe and Barry Horowitz in 4:21 via pinfall.
Retro Verdict:Uch! When I say that Billy Gunn was the best thing in the ring during this match, that says it all. What annoyed me more than anything was Barry and Mike making loud screaming noises during the match. I don't know why it bothered me so much, but it just seemed they let out screams of pain at points that you wouldn't really expect. I also got annoyed at one point where Mike tagged in Horowitz, who was halfway across the apron from the corner so was nowhere near the right position for the tag. Little things like that irritate me.
A graphic hyped that next we would have an interview with Money Inc, and sure enough Vince was in the ring who introduced Money Inc. They came down to the ring with very serious looks on their faces.
Vince said that conspicuous by their absence is the lack of the tag team belts. Vince further rubbed it in by saying it must really get to them that the belts are now wrapped around the waists of The Steiner Brothers. Irwin spoke first, and said although they may be the former champions it won't last very long. He stopped mid-sentence as the crowd were chanting the Irwin chant. He then got in Vince's face after Vince called him Irwin. IRS said that in the contract they signed, they put in a clause that allowed them a re-match against The Steiners.
DiBiase started talking about Razor Ramon and how he lost $10,000 last week because he couldn't keep his cool. Vince asked what's Razor got to do with this? DiBiase said that Razor is completely stupid, and that he lost his cool against someone who shouldn't beat him. The crowd started chanting Razor. DiBiase recapped the fee increase that Razor was offering the 1-2-3 Kid. DiBiase said he should go back to University.
Vince said that these comments won't fall on deaf ears, and Razor won't be very happy. Ted said do they look like they are shaking in their boots? The crowd again started chanting Razor over and over again. DiBiase asked IRS if perhaps they could find Ramon a job. DiBiase said that he would be a very good maid..
Retro Verdict: Ok, I think we just saw a face turn for Razor Ramon. Made sense that Money Inc. would mock Razor for losing his money, so yeah I'm feeling that. Would have been better if Razor was there to react to the heels and cement the turn, but it worked.
Straight back from commercial and we have Adam Bomb and P J Walker (Justin Credible) in the ring for the third match...
3. Adam Bomb (w/Johnny Polo) vs. P J Walker. Adam Bomb completely dominated this match, and hit a number of power moves and I have to admit looked quite impressive. Johnny Polo talked trash all the way through from ringside. Close to the end of the match, Bomb slingshotted himself over the top rope and hit a clothesline on PJ.
The finish came when Bomb hit the Adam Smasher for the easy 1-2-3...
Adam Bomb beat P J Walker in 2:10 via pinfall.
Retro Verdict: The reason the review of the match is so short? There was almost nothing to it. Adam Bomb hit a number of power moves which PJ sold well, and it was over before it had even started. I don't know how they expected to get a guy over by coming back from a commercial and the bell rings for his match, and the moment the 3 count hits cutting away to another commercial. This is not the first time they did this and it irritated me then, and it still irritates me. For 90s fans, it was fun seeing the future Justin Credible and Raven on the same screen way before their times in ECW.
Back from the commercial, and they showed a young lady eating a WWF superstars icecream bar...
Retro Verdict: I couldn't help but think she'd better finish that quickly before Bastion Booger came out, she would quickly lose her appetite after seeing him.
Bastion was in the ring as Crush made his entrance, and the crowd were really into the ex- Demolition man...
4. Crush vs. Bastion Booger. Bastion stood in the middle of the ring eyeing Crush up and down. Bastion had the early advantage in this one, hitting Crush with basic offence such as punches and kicks. Crush made a comeback, and tried to pick up the 400 pounder onto his shoulders, but couldn't do it. Both men collided but neither man budged. At one point, both men just stared at each other, and planned or not, it just seemed to me that neither men knew what to do. Following this, Crush whipped Bastion into the ropes, dropped the shoulder to pick him up and Booger just rolled pathetically onto the canvas. Vince tried to say with a straight face that Cush hit a back body drop.
Bastion got hit with a drop kick and rolled to the outside. He crushed uh Crush against the ringpost and left him on the outside. Vince said that he would say that Wimbledon wasn't as big as the stars and stripes challenge this Sunday, and that Crush could be the man to powerslam Yokozuna. Crush finally got back in the ring and Bastion carried on the offence, with the devastating bear hug. Crush finally powered out of the bear hug and hit one of the most unconvincing suplex's I think I have ever seen. He picked up Bastion three times in a row and powerslammed him, and got the 3 count..
Crush beat Bastion Booger in 5:44 via pinfall.
Retro Verdict: One of the worst matches I have seen since looking at these old Raw's. You know what I said about preferring Booger over Friar? They should have just got rid of Mike Shaw. Booger was just awful and Crush blew more spots in one match than you should see in a month. Granted, those spots involved some form of assistance from Bastion, which it didn't appear he was getting, but still. The moment they just stood looking at each other was just painful.
Macho Man was shown in a pre-recorded video at the New York Giants stadium standing in the middle of the field. He cut a promo about the Stars and stripes challenge, and introduced number 20 Joe Morris. He said he will slam Yoko for the Macho Man, for the Giant fans and for the USA. He ended his promo by imitating Macho Man saying "Dig it! Yeah!".
Retro Verdict: Morris actually called Yokozuna by the name of "Yokozuno" which I found quite funny.
They finished the show by hyping next week's show...
Retro Verdict: Forget next week's show, apologise for this weeks. My god that was a bad show. It all started off so brightly with a surprisingly good match between Michaels and Kamala, and the in ring Yokozuna promo was alright, made more interesting retrospectively with a teaser for Mr McMahon.
The Smoking Guns were terrible, the jobber team they faced annoyed me, Adam Bomb not being presented at all well, the atrocious match between Crush and Bastion Booger and a really campy video from the NFL guy. It's safe to say I really didn't enjoy the majority of this show.
If I was asked whether or not you should check this out on the network, I would say avoid like the plague, but you might want to check out the Crush match just to see that I'm not overstating how bad it actually was.
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