WWE Raw Retro Coverage - May 16, 1994: Yokozuna vs. Earthquake in a Sumo match, Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Sparky Plugg, Owen Hart and Diesel in action
By Haydn Gleed
WWF Raw on the USA Network
Taped from Burlington, Vermont
I've been putting this off all week, pushing back and pushing back so not having to cover the main event of this show. Don't get me wrong, I love doing these Raw Retro for you guys, and I hope you are enjoying following along with the history of the WWF/WWE from the start of the Raw era, but when it comes to episodes like this, I dread them. With that being said, lets take a look at the May, 16 1994 edition of Raw, which will be main evented by a Sumo match between Earthquake and Yokozuna....
Raw opened with the usual music and video, before we were in the arena with Vince McMahon, who welcomed us to Raw. He plugged the main event tonight, before he turned to his co-host Randy Savage and asked what we could expect. The Macho one tried his best to hype the event, but he didn't succeed. Macho said he was worried about one of them falling on him...
With that, Bam Bam Bigelow made his entrance in a Kane-esque red lighting. He was led to the ring by Luna Vachon. Vince announced that this was a King Of The Ring qualifying match. Bam Bam's opponent, would later be the man that all jobbers shook in their boots when they faced him, Sparky Plugg (aka Bob Holly)...
Retro Verdict: Still freaks me out to see Bob Holly smiling so much.
1. Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Sparky Plugg in a King Of The Ring qualifying match. Sparky was wearing a bright green outfit which forced me to turn the contrast on my TV #truestory. Bam Bam went for Sparky, but he used his speed to avoid him. He tried to do it again, but Bam Bam caught him and threw him into the outside. Sparky tried to re-enter the ring, but Bam Bam caught him. Sparky managed to hit a dropkick which sent Bam Bam to the outside.
Bam Bam climbed back in the ring, and managed to gain the offense. He tried a standing headbutt but missed. Spark tried a crossbody but Bam Bam caught him and slammed him to the mat. Sparky came fighting out of the corner with a number of punches, but Bam Bam finally slowed him down and gained the advantage.
Sparky had several comeback attempts, but Bam Bam would cut them off quite quickly. Bigelow applied a chinlock to the mat, as Luna shouted at Sparky from ringside. Again, Sparky had a brief comeback which was cut off with a knee to the mid-section. Bam Bam tried several times to pin Sparky, but the future Bob Holly kicked out just before the three count.
Bam Bam hit his standing falling headbutt and used the ropes as a weapon against Sparky. Vince said, Bam Bam is trying everything he can to keep Sparky out of victory lane. King of cliché's ladies and gentleman. Bam Bam again missed with a squash in the corner when Plugg moved last second. Sparky hit a bulldog and a DDT. He went to the top rope, and hit a crossbody for a close two count.
The finish of the match came when Sparky attempted to get Bam Bam down with clotheslines, but Luna grabbed his leg. Bam Bam knocked him down with a clothesline instead, and slingshotted himself over the top rope for a variation on the diving headbutt for the three count...
Bam Bam Bigelow beat Sparky Plugg in 6:23 to advance to the King Of The Ring Tournament.
Retro Verdict: Nothing really bad about the match, but nothing that will blow your mind. Sparky got in a lot of offense, and was put over by the announcers for his heart, but ultimately the right person won.
Back from a commercial, we saw a shot of the IC title. As the camera panned back, we saw that Diesel was standing in the entrance way. As Diesel was making his way down the aisle, Vince McMahon made it official that Diesel would be facing Bret Hart at the King Of The Ring. Diesel's sacrificial lamb was Mike Moraldo...
2. Diesel vs. Mike Moraldo. The size difference between the two was evident. Mike started with a number of punches to Diesel's face, but Diesel grabbed him by the throat and literally threw him over the top rope.
Vince halfway through the match, stated the Shawn was absent from Diesel's corner as he had been partying with some 90's Hollywood stars including Sly Stallone and Whoopi Goldberg. He made it sound like they were partying with him rather than the other way around. He also said that coming soon was the much anticipated main event between Yokozuna and Earthquake.
As you would imagine the rest of the match was Diesel dominating quite dramatically. The ending of the match came with Diesel hitting a Jackknife for the three count...
Diesel beat Mike Moraldo in 3:00
Retro Verdict: This is what squash matches should be about. Diesel picking up Mike and throwing him over the top rope was damn impressive, and was the perfect way to build up Diesel as a scary opponent for Bret Hart at the upcoming PPV. Bless Vince for trying to make it sound like the main event was special. I'm anticipating it, but only in a, it's a car crash so I can't keep my eyes off it sort of way. Afterwards though you feel dirty and sad about what you had just witnessed.
We had another video of someone claiming that he saw The Undertaker on top of a funereal car. He was a gas attendant who didn't sound like he could speak English.
Retro Verdict: I know what the payoff was, and it was bad, but please can we get there, no more of these videos please?
Back in the arena, the weekly snoozefest....sorry I mean The King's Court was setup in the ring. Jerry Lawler was of course in the ring speaking, so of course the announcers were talking over him. Jerry said that the fans were repulsive.
Retro Verdict: This was the third taping in one night I believe, so this is the third time that the fans had seen this type of segment.
Jerry turned his attention to Roddy Piper, and he claimed it would be the greatest day of his life when he gets his hands on it. He said he did research on Piper because he wanted to find out why he started wearing a dress *sigh*. He said Roddy was drafted to the army, so he went to check in wearing a skirt and high heels so they didn't accept him.
Following a commercial, The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase and Nikolai Volkoff. The jist of the conversation was that Nikolai was broke, so had been bought by The Million Dollar Man. After both Jerry and Ted mocked Volkoff, who told Ted that he hated him, but Ted told him he is paying his bills. As a consequence, he forced Nikolai to put on a pair of trunks that say Property Of The Million Dollar Man. Vince and Macho Man condemned Ted's actions. Ted and Jerry continued to mock him, and with Volkoff looking like he wanted to punch Dibiase, he said think about the family he supports in Russia. Vince mentioned that Nikolai once represented Russia at the Olympics just like some guy called Mark Henry for the USA. Never heard of him...
Ted forced Nikolai to put on a t-shirt which again said Property Of The Million Dollar Man. Unlike the $ logo on Ted's suit, the symbol on Nikolai's shirt was a cense symbol. Ted finished this god awful nonsense with saying "at least he looks like he has some sense now." Oh boy.
Retro Verdict: That was painful to watch, not because I felt sorry for Nikolai, but because it served no purpose, it never had a payoff, and was just five minutes of Jerry Lawler and Ted DiBiase taking random potshots that never led anywhere. Only interesting note was Vince mentioning Mark Henry, who of course would come into the company two years later. This was truly the worst promo on Raw History at this point, even worse than Jerry Lawler and that Tim fella who played the ukulele.
After a commercial, Owen Hart made his way down the aisle, while jawing at the fans. He screamed at the camera that he is the best Hart in wrestling. His opponent was already in the ring, and was Tony Roy...
3. Owen Hart vs. Tony Roy. Vince and Macho Man talked about the Hall Of Fame, and Vince said Macho Man will be in there one day. For once, I can't make a sarcastic comment about that conversation. Tony Roy applied an armbar, but Owen used flips and reversals to get out of the hold. Owen took control of the match from there on, using some of Bret's routines. Randy read out a promo for a USA Network match, while the camera showed there was no one at the announce desk at ringside. It's like magic!
Owen Hart applied a sharpshooter who tapped out immediately....
Owen Hart beat Tony Roy in 2:10.
Retro Verdict: Quick painless win for Owen, and it made him look dominant. Loved how he was incorporating Bret's moveset into his own, as it was showing despite the confidence, he couldn't really beat anyone without copying his brother. This feud was the bright spot in a river of shit that WWF were pumping out to the viewers at this time. This was the only feud at the time with any layers, and something you could get your teeth into. From reading Bret's book, it seems like that was down to wrestlers as opposed to the booking.
Duke "The Dumpster" Droese was sleeping in garbage in a vignette. No seriously, they showed him sleeping in a dumpster. He thanked the WWF fans for the wake up call.
Retro Verdict:Ironically, garbage is how I would describe this entire show.
Back in the arena, they showed the ring hands taking down all the ropes. Vince was beside himself with joy about the Sumo match. He said this was something that had never been seen before in the WWF....
Retro Verdict: There's a reason for that Vince, because it's a shit idea.
In the ring, Howard Finkel, bless him, was standing mid-ring and had the eh honor of introducing the competitors for the Sumo match. He first talked about the rules, and said if any part of their bodies touch the ring they lose, so I'm guessing they have to use their special sumo levitation skills so their feet are not touching the mat. Also, the other way for competitor to win is by fully pushing out their opponent out of the ring to the ringside area.
First out, was Yokozuna who was led to the ring by James E Cornette and Mr Fuji. Yokozuna looked more grumpy than usual, and I don't blame him. They also showed a very very unflattering camera angle of Yokozuna. They also showed Macho Man and Vince at ringside, so I guess their magic invisible powers ran out. Earthquake came out wearing slippers and a green kimono I believe it's called. He took off the Kimono, and actually looked in decent shape, well compared to Yokozuna anyways...
4. Yokozuna vs. Earthquake in a sumo match. There's about eight minutes to go and I pray it doesn't last that long. Yoko and Quake stood opposite ends of the ring to each other and went through the pre-match ritual. They both threw salt into the air.
Both men crouched down in front of each other and just stared at each other. Both men looked blown up, seriously. More salt was thrown to the ringside area. They then went back into the center of the ring and crouched down, before standing back up again. They then threw more salt to ringside.
Retro Verdict: I'm seriously starting to question the decisions I've made in my life to get to the point where I'm reviewing this.
With the ringside area sufficiently salted, both men head to the center of the ring where a shot of Mr Fuji was shown looking on. It wouldn't have been out of place if he started yawning at this point. Five minutes of the show left to go.....Vince stated that their feet are allowed to be touching the mat. Phew, I was worried they had forgotten to cast the Wingardium Leviosa spell on themselves.
Retro Verdict: Somewhere in the world, Dot Net's Will Pruett is popping at that reference.
Both men stood up and pounded their chests. They then crouched and got into the stance, and finally collided. Yokozuna got Earthquake on the edge of the ring before Earthquake reversed. They then ended up mid-ring and just held onto each other, uh, sumo trunks. Earthquake was being pushed towards the edge of the ring before he managed to get back to the center of the ring. Again, Earthquake was pushed to the edge of the ring but he reversed. Three minutes to go in the show.
Both men had the other in trouble at some points, before Earthquake knocked Yokozuna to the mat who then fell to ringside. As seems to be the customer, Macho Man got up from the announcers desk and raised Earthquakes hand mid-ring.
Earthquake beat Yokozuna in a sumo match in a who gives a shit amount of time
Retro Verdict: That was not only as bad as I remembered but somehow it was actually worse. I've mocked the sumo part of it enough, and if you watch this and think it was a shoot sumo fight, then you are mistaken. There were too many unrealistic reversals and there was no effort when they were locked up to make the other move, otherwise I'm sure Yoko would have squashed him like a bug.
Taking that aside, I had two major issues with the finish. The first is Macho Man constantly putting himself over when the babyfaces won. It was a trick that was pulled on him at WrestleMania 4 when Hulk got in the ring and put the attention on himself as opposed to the Macho Man, so why he did this at the time I do not know. I'm sure there was good intentions on his part to put the guy over, but he ends up stealing the spotlight. Secondly, I don't know exactly how long after this but Earthquake jumped to WCW, so there must have been some contract stalling going on. So why would you put Earthquake over the recent former dominant monster heel? Not only that, the following week on Raw, Earthquake loses to Owen Hart, so it just made Yoko look weak, especially because the perception was that he was twice the size of Earthquake but still couldn't knock him to the mat or out of a ring. Strange all round.
This was probably in the top five worst Raw's up to this point if not fighting for the number one spot. When you can say the best things on the show was Diesel throwing someone over the top rope and Owen Hart stealing moves from his rival, then you know the show was in trouble. Dull opening match, decent squash match, awful Undertaker sighting video, atrocious King's Court, dull squash match, wrestler sleeping in garbage, mind blowingly bad main event. That was Raw for you ladies and gentleman.
Agree? Disagree? You want a sumo match? Contact me on twitter @haydngleed or via email firstname.lastname@example.org
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