By Haydn Gleed
WWF Raw on the USA Network
Live from Liberty, New York at Liberty Central
Vince McMahon wished us a Happy Holidays as the American Flag lights were showing in the aisle. That could of course mean only one thing, Lex Luger made his entrance. Shawn Michaels, who was again the co-announcer for this show, made jokes about the flag bearer. Lex climbed in the ring and the fireworks went off. With that we were “treated” to the early Raw music video and music.
Back from the video, we were given a shot of Vince and Shawn at ringsides, who were wearing Santa Hats. Shawn in fact looked like he was wearing some kind of S&M dog collar. The Million Dollar Man’s music played, and out came IRS as we saw someone holding a sign saying I Cheat On My Taxes. It didn’t look like a plant at all, especially because it wasn’t like this led to a pre-scripted conversation between the announcers about some American Football player….oh that’s right it did. IRS was accompanied by The Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase and one druid…
1. Lex Luger vs. IRS. Vince claimed at the beginning of the match that this would be a classic. Lex applied a headlock and knocked IRS down and struck a pose. This happened for a second time, so IRS rolled to the outside. After regrouping, IRS climbed in the ring. Vince said that the speculation was that the Druids were actually members of The Million Dollar Man’s corporation and even said, and I quote, “It could be Tatanka out here tonight, wouldn’t that be something?”…
Retro Verdict: I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the druid at ringside is Tatanka. Really Vince, really? You spoil your own “surprise” because you couldn’t help yourself from telegraphing it?
IRS hit Lex Luger in the mid-section with a knee as they went to lock up, and gained a nice amount of offence before Lex came back with a hip topes, powerslam and a clothesline for a close two count. The druid distracted Lex which allowed IRS to get the knee in the back of Lex who fell to the outside. The druid used the opportunity to put the boots into Lex Luger before IRS through the man who wears red, white and blue into the ring.
Back from a commercial, IRS was still in control and hit a suplex for a two count. With Ted DiBiase looking on, IRS hit two elbows for another two count. IRS applied a chinlock, which you could clearly see wasn’t in anyway tightly applied. With the crowd chanting USA, sorry the three kids in the crowd USA, Lex got to his feet but was knocked back down with another knee to the mid-section.
The end of the match came when the druid again distracted Lex by grabbing his foot. Lex went to the outside to confront the Druid and took off his hood, and surprise surprise it was Tatanka. Who would have funked it? Lex Luger was counted out, which allowed IRS to celebrate with the other members of the corporation…
IRS beat Lex Luger in 8:01.
Retro Verdict: My lord that was bad. The action in the ring wasn’t bad, but the forshadowing by Vince was just comical in a way, and I can’t for the life of me understand why IRS was never allowed to lose around this time, seriously. Look at this timeframe and he was coming out on most feuds he was involved in, even though he had no charisma and ring work which could put statute’s to sleep.
In a moment that I don’t ever want to see again, they showed Howard Finkel backstage with the Bushwhackers, in a sleevless top and a baseball cap at a 90 degree angle. He was being given a pep talk by the whackers and eating sardines.
Retro Verdict: Words fail me.
Jeff Jarrett was still in Las Vegas at some hotel when he bumped into Rip Taylor. They had a random conversation that I couldn’t understand a word that Rip was saying, and Jeff Jarrett was annoying me with the random ha ha’s. It ended with Rip Taylor taking Jeff Jarrett inside the hotel.
Retro Verdict:I’ve wondered ever since Wayne’s World 2 who the hell Rip Taylor is, and I still have no idea who he is, anyone want to explain? Neverthless, I guess they were giving Jarrett a push at this time with the whole “album” thing. Can’t say that it grabbed me back then or now.
In the “arena”, The Smoking Gunns made their entrance to face Roy Raymond & Chris Avery who were already in the ring. …
2. The Smoking Gunns vs. Roy Raymond & Chris Avery. Complete and total squash. The only entertaining moment of this four minute enhancement match was Vince talking about Bullriding, to which Shawn replied, “I think we all know the Heartbreak Kid is into riding, and it ain’t bulls”. Vince also claimed that the kids were mesmerized by Howard Finkel…..yeah.
The Gunns hit a sidewinder and their finisher in….
The Smoking Gunns beat Roy Raymond & Chris Avery.
Retro Verdict: Really nothing of any interest here, nothing to see folks.
An advert advertised Tatanka vs. The British Bulldog and the debut of Henry Godwinn for next week’s show….oh goodie…
Back in the high school gym (I refuse to even pretend it’s an arena), The King’s Court was setup mid-ring. Jerry “The King” Lawler was holding court as you would expect. Again, for reasons that make no sense to me, Vince and Shawn talked all over Jerry Lawler.
Retro Verdict: Seriously, if you don’t want to air what he said, then don’t talk over it, just cut it out of the show. More than one person talking at the same time is not fun, it’s annoying!
After finally shutting up, we heard Jerry Lawler introduce his guest Bob Backlund who came to the ring dressed in a suit and a rather funky dickie bow. Lawler called the crowd idiots for the reaction they gave Backlund before bigging up Backlund as someone who achieved an 11 year dream of recapturing the title. He claimed that Diesel stole the belt because of Jack Tunney.
Backlund was given the microphone and he said he knows what he is before he turned to Lawler and said that he had a message for Mr McMahon. With that the crowd chanted 8 seconds at Backlund, and they showed a shot of a guy who was far too excited to be chanting along with it. Vince and Shawn started talking about nothing which meant we couldn’t hear Backlund. Bob then spouted some posh words which again didn’t make much sense, before saying do you understand? No Bob because you are either talking nonsense or the announcers are talking over you.
He then said that Bret Hart has to come up to his level and when he held the Chickenwing on the Hitman it was like he was holding the hold on everybody who cheated to get ahead in life. He said that the last thing he came out to discuss with the people is Diesel. He claimed that Diesel didn’t have the guts to come out and shake his hand like a man. For no reason at all, he called Diesel Kevin Nash. Shawn Asked Vince if he knows who that is? Vince replied with an unhappy yep. Bob continued to rant before jumping out of the ring.
Retro Verdict: I was never a big fan of Bob Backlunds work, but going back over these old Raws, I’ve appreciated his heel turn a lot more and found a lot of what he did very entertaining. However this was possible one of the worst promo’s I’ve ever heard. Even if we take away the stupidity of having announcers talk over people, this was just painful to watch. Added to all this was the mention of Diesel’s real name, which Shawn covered well for by pretending that he had taught Bob that secret. I’m not sure if that was an accident or if this was supposed to make the show edgier, but the majority of people at this time would have no idea who the hell Kevin Nash was, so it made little to no sense. Just awful, awful, awful.
Back from a commercial, Chris Canyon is in the ring and his opponent, Bob Holly made his way down to the ring…
3. Bob Holly v Chris Canyon. Standard enhancement match for the time, with Bob getting the early advantage before the jobber gets a few offensive moves in followed by the main roster guy getting his finisher in.
In this instance, Bob Holly finished Chris Canyon with the Overhead Cam…
Bob Holly beat Chris Canyon in 3:20.
Now is the moment I’ve been dreading for a week, as The Bushwhackers made their entrance with Howard Finkel accompanying them. Their opponents were Well Dunn who were accompanied by Harvey Whippleman….
4. The Bushwhackers vs. Well Dunn. Howard by the way was still wearing the sleeveless top and the baseball cap at a “fun” angle. His attempting the Bushwhacker walk was beyond cringe. The Bushwhackers started off hot and cleared the ring of the heels. This allowed Finkel to climb in the ring and make things even more cringe worthy by acting like a dweeb. The look on Harvey Whippleman’s face was priceless, and probably the best thing I’ve ever seen Harvey do, mostly because it was a reflection of my face while watching this.
Retro Verdict:I’m not even going to describe what happened. Consider this my Christmas gift to you dear reader and point you towards this match on the WWE Network, no need to thank me for the nightmares this will cause you…
The end of this match, which was most definitely welcome, came when Whippleman tried to interfere in the match, but Howard Finkel pulled down Harvey’s trousers. This distraction allowed The Bushwhackers to hold down the shoulders of one of the Well Dunn members…
The Bushwhackers defeated Well Dunn in too long.
Retro Verdict: Um…..uh,……no I have no words to analyse this. Put it this way, if it wasn’t for the fact I went to NXT Takeover:London last week as I write this, this show and this match in particular may have possible turned me off wrestling for ever…..
Mabel was visiting Santa and sat on his lap. They played on the fact that Mabel was very heavy and Mabel sitting on his lap was hurting him. That was it……
Retro Verdict: Please make this show end. Can you imagine if they did three hour Raw’s back in these days?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
Randomly, with only three minutes to go in the show, Jim Neidhart made his entrance to face Nick Barberri….
5. Jim Neidhart vs. Nick Barberri. I’m guessing they wanted the show to end in a more serious tone than the previous disaster of a match, but I may be giving WWF too much credit.
Neidhart won easily, with no offence from Barberri, with the Camel Clutch….
Jim Neidhart beat Nick Barberri in 2:00.
Retro Verdict: Was very strange that Owen Hart didn’t come out with him, but looking into it this was pretty much the end of Jim Neidhart in WWF as he left the company quite soon after this show broadcasted.
They ended the show with another push for British Bulldog vs. Tatanka, The Undertaker in action and Diesel in The Kings Court on the next show…
Retro Verdict:OH….MY…..GOD….that was the shits. Even Shawn’s sarcastic/witty comments couldn’t save this show for me. If you’ve made it this far through my review, you don’t need me to recap what went on, but the action was terrible, the promo’s were the worst I’ve ever seen and The Mabel/Santa skit? Somebody actually got paid to come up with that idea and write it!
The only reason I would recommend you watch this show on the network is if you are drunk, or you want to watch Raw at a time when it was worse than the Raws from November 2015.
This will probably be the last time I write for the site this side of Christmas, so I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays depending on your preference. I’m hoping that the day after Christmas Raw from 1994 was a lot better than this show, so join me next week for another Retro Raw.
As always feel free to get in touch via twitter @haydngleed or via email email@example.com.