By Haydn Gleed
WWF Raw on the USA Network
Live from Houston, Texas at The Summit
This show was dubbed as the two year anniversary of Monday Night Raw, but if they had had the foresight, they would have known that it would be the two year anniversary of me writing for Prowrestling.net when I covered this in Retro form, so it’s going to be a happy birthday for Raw and a happy dot net birthday for me! Back to this Retro Raw, how did WWF celebrate the two year anniversary of their soon to be flagship show? Let’s find out together…
Raw opened with the usual opening video and music, don’t worry folks, if memory serves that’s changing soon! At this time, Raw was going for a blue makeover, which looks weird looking back. At ringside, Vince McMahon welcomed us to Monday Night Raw as the fireworks went off overhead. Vince was joined at ringside by Shawn Michaels who talked about Razor Ramon taking on Owen Hart in an Intercontinental Championship match. Vince talked about William Shatner being Jerry Lawler’s guest on the King’s Court, to which Shawn told us that Jerry would take Shatner boldly where he has never gone before *sigh*…
Retro Verdict: I love Shawn Michaels from around this time, but that was a bad bad bad joke.
Vince told us that Jerry’s reputation must have gone before him, because Captain Kirk had a few words to say before the show started. Shatner was in the locker room and said he knows all about the King’s Court, or the home of the whopper, whatever, he is not here to fight he is here to promote Techwar so he told Lawler to leave him alone.
Retro Verdict: That was ok, and it promoted the King’s Court later, but Shatner was not good in delivering his promo. Please mummy don’t let the bullies get me is how it screamed.
In the arena, Razor Ramon made his entrance to a small ovation, before Owen Hart came out to an equally quiet reaction….
1. Razor Ramon vs. Owen Hart for the Intercontinental Championship. Owen climbed in the ring and stole the belt, but Razor attacked him. This was followed with a big body drop and a clothesline to the outside. Razor fired up in the ring. As Owen was climbing in the ring he brought Razor’s throat down across the top rope. He climbed to the top rope, but Razor caught him and had a sustained amount of offence, including a vicious looking whip into the corner which Owen took front first. Owen reversed another whip into the corner, but missed with a charge in the corner and went shoulder first into the ringpost. This allowed Razor to keep Owen on the mat working on the shoulder.
Razor had some further offence and continued to focus on the shoulder of the youngest Hart brother. With Owen in an armbar, Razor slapped the back of the head of Owen. Vince said that backstage Bret and Double J were watching this match and next week would face each other. In the ring, Razor continued to keep Owen on the mat still working on the shoulder. Eventually Owen did a number of flips to break the hold but was taken down with a big right hand or a clothesline as Vince put it.
After some further back and forth, Razor signalled for the Razor’s Edge, but when he went for the move, Owen back body dropped him over the top rope. This was followed by a stunning dive through the middle ropes by Owen Hart. Owen climbed to the top rope and came down with a crossbody which Razor flipped over for a two count as we went into a commercial…
Back from the commercials, Owen was in complete control and whipped the bad guy from one corner of the ring to the other. Hart hit an enziguiri to the back of the head for a close two count. Razor eventually came back with a brief comeback, but was caught by a flying kick coming off the ropes. This led to a slow moment in the match when Owen applied a chinlock in the middle of the ring. Ramon eventually got to his feet and again got knocked to the mat for a two count. Owen whipped Ramon into the ropes and applied a sleeper hold which brought Razor down to his knees. The crowd burst into life with loud Razor chants, which brought Razor back to his feet and broke the hold with a side suplex.
Late in the match, both men were trading punches which Razor got the better of, and hit a sideslam/rock bottom. This led to Ramon placing Owen on the top rope to setup a superplex, but Owen flipped over the top of the champion and knocked Razor down. Owen came off the top rope with a dropkick and then applied the Sharpshooter. For no reason at all Bret Hart ran down to the ring and attacked his brother causing the disqualification. He was closely followed by Double J who attacked Razor Ramon on the outside. The crowd were going ape for the returning Bret Hart. Double J knocked Razor into the ring post and climbed in the ring and attacked The Hitman. Razor recovered and hit Double J with a number of right hands. This led to both the babyfaces hitting punches on the future TNA owner.
Owen Hart beat Razor Ramon via DQ in 15:43.
Retro Verdict: Wow how much of a dick is Bret? His brother hadn’t cheated, he was having a great match and was on the verge of winning and for no reason his brother came out and attacked him, what a bad ass heel…..oh wait Bret was a babyface? That makes no sense. In all seriousness, this was probably my favourite match that I’ve watched on Raw for a very long time doing these Retro Raws, and I would go out of your way to see it if you can. It was such a shame that it was a bad cheap ending. I understand the reason for it to a point, but at the same time, doesn’t mean it was a good idea.
After the break Jerry was shown backstage and said that William Shatner, you are supposed to be a tough guy, and we might just find out on the King’s Court, but if he doesn’t show The King the respect that he deserves, he might beam him up so far he might never come back…
Retro Verdict: Wait, all these Star Trek references……was William Shatner in Star Trek by chance?!?! (I know he was before I get emails, sarcasm doesn’t come across well in written form).
Back in the arena, some rumbling music was playing and out came Hakushi for his Raw debut. His opponent in his first match on the flagship show? Matt Hardy….
2. Hakushi vs. Matt Hardy. Shawn Michaels said that he heard that Hakushi is the best Japanese wrestler in the history of Japanese wrestling, and he also said to Vince I know that doesn’t mean a lot to you. That made me laugh considering the news over the last seven days…
Hakushi attacked Hardy before the bell with a big kick. Hardy jumped on the top ropes and flipped over the Japaenese wrestler, and that was about all the offence he got. Hardy charged out of the corner and walked straight into a superkick. Shawn said that he knows Japense and can read what is all over the body of the debutant…..it’s a Japense menu.
Hakushi finished off Hardy in quick order with a flip over the top rope into a splash…
Hakushi beat Matt Hardy in 1:25.
Retro Verdict: Not a particularly memorable match, but it was passable for a debut I guess. Up next is the King’s Court with Shatner, and although I don’t remember it, why do I get the feeling that it’s not going to be anything other than a car wreck?
After a commercial, Jerry “The King” Lawler is walked to the ring with his music playing, we then went to another commercial break, where upon returning Jerry, Shatner and the King’s court was setup in the ring. Jerry said before we start he was impressed that he is standing next to Captain Kirk. He ran down his accomplishments and finished by promoting Techwar that starts after Raw. He said that after everything he has accomplished in his career, he wants William to tell everybody that his crowning achievement is being on the King’s Court.
Shatner did the down thumb sign and grabbed the microphone. He said he’s been impressed a lot of times in his life, but this is not one of those moments. The King asked him to name one time in his life that was more impressive, to which the future narrator of Breaking Ground said I was chewing gum yesterday. Yeah I admit I laughed at that, not as much as Vince did though with his fake…..uh….real laugh. William asked why Lawler had been going after him all week. Lawler took the mic back and told him not to touch the microphone and while poking Shatner in the chest with his finger told him on the King’s Court you do what I say.
William didn’t take kindly to this so grabbed the microphone back, and said this may be the home of the whooper, but don’t touch him cause when you touch him you will be in trouble. King started poking him again which led to Shatner pushing him away. Jerry said he will touch him as much as he wants and if he tries to get the microphone again he will shove this fist where no one has bodly gone before. Yes the same joke from earlier *sigh*. With that Shatner grabbed King by the arm and threw him into the ropes. Shatner milked the ovation from the crowd. Lawler said, big mistake and went to attack Shatner, but got tossed over Shatner’s head. With that, for no reason at all for the second time tonight, Bret Hart came down and raised Shatner’s hand. Double J ran down to ringside to comfort Lawler and ended up holding him back as he was trying to get to Shatner. With that, thankfully it was over.
Retro Verdict: Yep that was a car wreck. Not quite a 20 car wreck on the highway, but at least a car wrapped round a tree type of car wreck. I guess Shatner got his plug in, but apart from that just felt random. Add that to the random appearance again by Bret Hart, it leads me to ask if I can have the last five minutes of my life back?
Back from the adverts, The Million Dollar Man’s music was playing, and we saw King Kong Bundy standing in the ring, along with his opponent Gary Sabaugh…
3. King Kong Bundy vs. Gary Sabaugh. This one was over within twenty seconds. He finished Saubaugh with the avalanche…
King Kong Bundy beat Gary Sabaugh in 0:19.
After the match, King Kong Bundy confronted Shawn Michaels and told him that he will be winning the Royal Rumble.
Retro Verdict: Looks like they were running long and they had to fit in the next match, as everybody would be gutted if they missed out on the Tuxedo match……notice how they haven’t plugged it once during the show? Perhaps they realised too late that this was a big mistake….
They showed a recap video of Howard Finkel being trained by The Bushwhackers backstage which ended with them licking Howards bald head (get your head out of the gutter!). I’m getting ready to put soap in my eye which will be more fun then the next five minutes….
Following a commercial, Harvey Whippleman, minus glasses was in the ring with his Tuxedo and his team Well Dunn. He was introduced by the ring announcer and played to the crowd. Suddenly, the Bushwhackers music played and out Howard Finkel came with the New Zealand pair. Of course Howard was in his Tuxedo. As Howard climbed into the ring, the fierce animal that is Harvey Whippleman attacked…
4. Howard Finkel vs. Harvey Whippleman in a Tuxedo Match. I am started to question my choices in life that I would not only be watching this “match” again 21 years after it happened, but also having to review it. After Harvey attacked Howard, they grabbed each other and pulled each other down to the mat where they had a kiss and a cuddle…….not really, in reality they continued to just….uh….roll around and grab each other. Eventually in a feat of strength, Howard pulled Harvey up in the air and dropped him.
Harvey came back at Howard and they continued to roll around. I’ve just realised that I’m actually watching two men trying to undress each other in the middle of a wrestling ring and writing about it. It looked like Howard was trying to give Harvey a wedgie. The camera zoomed in on Howard’s red underwear while he was pulling the shirt and pants off Harvey. Eventually, we saw that Harvey was wearing pink underwear that had Raw written all over them. Harvey got to his feet and pulled all off Howards clothes except his underwear, meaning Finkel was standing half naked in the middle of the ring. To add to the image I’m creating in your mind, Harvey, himself wearing nothing but shoes and his underwear climbs to the second rope so we can see his skinny ass body.
From behind Howard put his head between Harvey’s legs, seriously, and threw him to the mat. Somehow this led to Finkel winning the match….
Howard Finkel beat Harvey Whippleman in a Tuxedo match in the worst moments of my life.
After the match, Howard and the Bushwhackers danced and celebrated in the ring. Howard even grabbed his pants and flung them around his head, and then danced around the ring like the special brother of The Bushwhackers. While he was dancing, Vince promoted that next week Bret Hart would be facing Double J. Jeff Jarrett came out and called William Shatner a Techwar geek, and said that Bret Hart wouldn’t be in any condition to go to the Royal Rumble to challenge for the title after he’s done with him next week….
Retro Verdict: After watching the last 10 minutes of what I can only describe as the worst thing I have ever seen, and I’ve watched the movie Undercover Brother, I walked away from my computer for twenty minutes. I mean, how can you even begin to analyse what I had just witnessed? Even after twenty minutes, I still have no words to even begin to describe the pure shit I had just watched. This without doubt was the lowest point of the WWF, and that is the only positive I can see because after this, anything I ever see on WWE TV will never come close to how bad it was watching an out of shape ring announcer and a skinny second rate manager try and undress each other in the middle of a ring. I never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever want to watch or think about that “match” ever again.
Anyways, apart from that, the opening match was the complete opposite, that being one of the best matches on Raw in a long time which I’ve already gushed over above. The two squash matches were nothing special, and the King’s Court with William Shatner was bad but it could have been a lot worse.
I just want to say a quick thank you to everyone who has written or tweeted me over the last two years while I’ve been writing for Prowrestling.net, your kind comments and even your constructive criticism or debating my opinion of what I write makes the time and effort I put into giving you my thoughts on the best and most interesting business in the world worth it. I’m not done yet on dot net, not by a long shot, but with the two year anniversary upon us, I just wanted to say a few words.
As always, if you want to get in touch and talk about anything you want (except for Tuxedo matches!!!!) feel free to get in touch via twitter @haydngleed or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.