By Haydn Gleed
WWF Raw on the USA Network
Palmetto, Florida at the Manatee Civic Center
Opening video and music was played, and don’t worry folks, I have it on good authority (i.e. I skipped ahead a couple of weeks) that it will be changing soon, so you will have me bitching and moaning about a completely different music and video combo….
Following the truly horrendous music, we are in the arena for another Monday Night Raw. Vince McMahon welcomed us as he was standing next to Shawn Michaels, and they were clearly in front of a green screen and it looked awful. Vince promoted 1-2-3 Kid & Bob Holly vs. The Smoking Gunns and the over the top rope match between Mabel and King Kong Bundy. As Michaels was talking, you could hear Oscar rapping Mabel down to ringside. After being told as usual, to put your hands in the air, like you don’t have an opinion, Mabel climbed in the ring and nearly blinded me with a pimped out outfit that was sparkling. Money Money Money played in the arena, and out came the man with no neck King Kong Bundy and The Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase….
1. Mabel vs. King Kong Bundy in an over the top match. Vince reminded us before the match started that both feet have to touch the floor, which led to Shawn gloating how only his one foot touched the floor at the Royal Rumble. Both men in the ring circled each other with eyeballs firmly locked on each other.
After a small amount of stalling, The Million Dollar Man grabbed a microphone and was talking which Vince said let’s have a listen to him, but proceeded to talk over him including plugging an encore of The Royal Rumble, and you literally could not hear a word of it. Mabel started quickly and tried to get Bundy over the top rope. The Big Show inspiration then came firing back and tried to get Mabel out in similar fashion.
Both men tried to get each other out of the ring over the top rope over and over again, until eventually Bundy moved when Mabel attempted to hit an elbow and then went back to trying to get him over the top rope. This led to the other corporation members (IRS & Tatanka) coming out, and with all three men in the ring, they eventually got Mabel over the top rope…
King Kong Bundy put Mabel over the top rope in 3:43.
After Mabel hit the floor, Mo and Lex Luger ran in, and the heels bolted to ringside. Vince quickly transitioned into talking about Bam Bam Bigelow and the apology that never came last week…
Retro Verdict:I said on my last Retro Raw that I thought this match should be, um, interesting, I apologise I was completely wrong. You know when you are watching the Rumble and there’s those never ending moments where one man has his hand between the other mans legs and they just stand there for 30 seconds trying to gain “leverage”? Well imagine three minute of that. That was several moments of my life I will never get back.
Bam Bam Bigelow was shown backstage in a suit. Vince said before we talk about Lawrence Taylor, let’s go back to the actual match where he lost to the 1-2-3 Kid, that has to be the most embarrassing moment of your career he said to Bam Bam (way to get Kid over Vince, sorry I forgot he’s a little guy). Bigelow had a go at Vince, and said that was the best day of this Kid’s life and every dog has his day. Vince then went into shrink mode and said after the match, you were embarrassed, your tag team partner had left you, your manager had left you, you was all alone and embarrassed and then the fans made fun of you. Bam Bam said that the fans were having the time of their lives. Vince cut him off again and said the fans pay their money they can do what they want (except dress up as past superstars apparently).
Vince asked, why did you take exception to Lawrence Taylor? Bam Bam said that it’s his opinion that Taylor was having more fun than anyone else. Vince said no it’s because he’s an athlete and you felt disrespected. Bigelow confirmed maybe there’s something to that. Bam Bam said anyone that is the calibre of both him and Taylor, they compete to be on at least the same level, but Taylor was acting in a way that tried to put him at a level below him. He said that he’s laughing and smiling and because of that he had no right to hold his hand out. Vince said that gives you the right to shove him on a concrete floor? Bigelow said he was all ready to apologise last week, but it didn’t feel right then and it don’t feel right now. He said he’s not making any apologies and if anything he should have pushed him harder. He said he doesn’t care about the suspension. Bigelow got fired up and said he’s willing to put his reputation on the line are you LT? No pads, no helmets, no teammates just me and you, man on man, I’m challenging Lawrence Taylor anytime any place.
Retro Verdict: Loved this. Completely and totally loved this despite my sarky remarks above. It was completely consistent with the Bam Bam Bigelow persona, and although he tried to stay calm, with Vince riding him and riding him he snapped and his voice got more and more aggressive. If he had done the whole interview like that it would have been overkill, but because the intensity was slowing building the anger and the passion was real even if he was a heel and was talking with heel logic. Really enjoyed this.
Hakushi made his entrance, with his opponent Ricky Santana already in the ring…
2. Hakushi vs. Ricky Santana. During the match Vince and Shawn talked about LT and Bam Bam, with Shawn actually making the better and more logical points. In the ring, Santana hit an early crossbody for a close count, but the remainder of the match was Hakushi on offence.
Hakushi put away the NWA legend Ricky Santana with handspring splash…
Hakushi beat Ricky Santana in 4:03.
Retro Verdict: Was what it was, Hakushi wasn’t particularly impressive truth be told.
The squash matches came thick and fast in this show, with Aldo Montoya (Justin Creadible) , terrible mask and gimmick and all, making his entrance to face David Sierra who was already in the ring…
3. Aldo Montoya vs. David Sierra. Again, Sierra gained the early advantage and hammered on the back of Aldo, but Montoya regained the advantage with a back body drop. Aldo performed some great spots which were novel at this point of time.
Montoya eventually finished off Sierra with a bulldog, which if I’m being honest wasn’t the crispest move the future ECW champion would hit…
Aldo Montoya beat David Sierra in 2:31.
Retro Verdict: I keep saying it, but it’s a shame about the gimmick and the mask, as PJ Polaco was displaying some unique spots which could have really gotten him over with the crowd if he had been given the opportunity at the time.
After a commercial for WrestleMania, The King Jerry Lawler was in the ring for The King’s Court, and out walked “Mr” Bob Backlund for yet another King’s Court interview. How long until Vince starts talking over him? The King apologised to Bob Backlund for the reaction of the crowd, but that’s what these people are like. Jerry Lawler said that Backlunds new rule is when he puts on the crossface chickenwing on someone, they have to scream I give up before he will release the hold.
Backlund stalled, which allowed Vince to claim that Backlund was getting slow. Lawler touched Backlund which he didn’t seem to appreciate. Bob stared into the camera and said that he is not going to release the hold until they say I quit Mr Bob Backlund. Jerry repeated the stipulation. To demonstrate his new rule, he tried to apply the hold to Jerry “The King” Lawler after Lawler claimed that he would not be caught in the hold. Lawler quickly screamed I quit Mr Bob Backlund…
Retro Verdict: That was quick but not painless. Although I enjoyed Backlunds heel turn in late 94, it really lost steam by this point, and was just dull.
After a commercial, The 1-2-3 Kid and Bob Holly made their entrances, who Vince called “The Cinderella” team. I wonder which one of the two wore the glass slippers or whatever Cinderella wore. The tag team champions, The Smoking Gunns made their entrance……
4. The Smoking Gunns vs. 1-2-3 Kid & Bob Holly for the tag team championships. Billy Gunn and the 1-2-3 Kid started this match. How weird is it to think that just three years after this, as part of DX they would invade the outside of a WCW event together?! Kid gained the early advantage with some quick footwork and spots. Billy took a breather, but again Kid gained the advantage when they locked up. Billy tagged in Bart to try his luck against the Kid, but Waltman hit a swift kick to the mid-section and tagged in Holly.
Bob Holly continued on the offence against Bart Gunn and hit an elbow off the ropes. He tagged the Kid back in as Michaels praised the team work of Kid and Holly. Kid got caught attempting a back body drop, which allowed Bart to kick him in the face and tag in Billy who continued the offence. Good back and for so far.
A commercial break interrupted the match, and they came back just in time for Kid to be seen coming off the ropes with a double clothesline, and tagged in Bob Holly. Holly took Bart to the corner and kicked him over and over in the corner. He whipped him across the ring and followed up with a clothesline. He attempted a pin but Billy pulled him off. Kid tagged back in and hit a vicious shot into the ribs. The Cinderella team continued on the offence focusing on the ribs of the future brawl for all winner. Bart came back and now it was time for the Gunns to have some offence. Vince said that the WWF is about sportsmanship which Michaels came back with, oh forgive me I thought it was about winning and losing, silly me. Made me chuckle far too hard.
Late in the match, The Gunns are on offence, but with Holly and Billy slugging it out with some vicious looking shots. Bart applied a chinlock for a minute, until Holly got to his feet and they both attempted crossbody’s off the ropes and collided mid-air. Both men crawled slowly to the corners, but Holly got to his but Bart didn’t get to his. Kid went crazy and started hitting anything that moved. He came off the top rope with a swanton but missed Bart and landed on the mat. The Kid started twitching and rolling his eyes to the back of his head. Billy Gunn came in and went to stomp on him, but noticed there was “something wrong” and stopped himself. The referee called for the bell and the match was ruled a no-contest…
The match was ruled a no-contest.
After the bell, an EMT and some referee’s ran into the ring. Bob Holly crouched beside Kid looking concerned. Vince put the serious voice on and Shawn said he landed awkwardly on his shoulder. You could tell the crowd bought this completely, and they rushed the ringside seats. The EMT was talking into a walkie talkie and it was setup well as something serious had happened. HOWEVER, after a commercial, Vince smiled into the camera and said good news, during the commercial break The Kid just simply got up and went to the back, I am not making this up. Vince and Shawn tried to put over how resilient The Kid was, but that was a complete waste of time…
Retro Verdict: Right first of all, the match was ok, it was flowing nicely, but it wasn’t as good as the match they had on the previous show, mostly cause it was going half the time of the previous match. NOW, I’m not usually a big fan of fake “severe” injury angles especially when it comes to things like fits or passing out, basically any head trauma injury, but putting myself in the mind-set of the 13 year old me as I would have been at this point, I would have bought into this and would be hoping that the Kid was ok. If they had left it at that the next time Kid came out to Raw I would have popped out of my seat. I would have gained a level of respect and bonded with Kid after coming back from a serious in ring injury. Instead Vince with his cheesy grin and weak follow up would have put me in the mind-set of not caring the next time something like this happened be it real or not, and I would have thought that’s ok he will be back on his feet in a couple of minutes. Because this was a tapped show, and it was broadcasted a couple of weeks later, it could be possible they pulled the plug on the angle because of something that happened backstage, but if memory serves they didn’t even follow up on this. If you are not going to follow up on what appears to be a serious injury that you have manufactured, then don’t do it, because it trivializes how risky wrestling is and the risks that wrestlers put themselves through in the ring without any payoff. It’s as true now in 2016 as it was back in 1995. This was just dumb. Man that got me angry.
Oh great, with me in a pissy mood after the previous match, now I get to watch a Kama squash match, whoopdie frickin doo. His opponent was Jumbo Barretta who was just a big fat bald guy with manboobs…
5. Kama vs. Jumbo Barretta. This was the future Godfather’s debut as Kama after his previous gimmicks failed, and this one wasn’t much better. Apparently, The Kid according to Vince, in the 5 minutes since he acted like he was having a fit, has had medical tests and they have come back that he is 100% ok. Screw you Vince.
Kama won the match with an STF type submission hold…
Kama beat Jumbo Barretta in 3:20.
The show went off the air quickly with Vince plugging MOM & Lex Luger vs. The Corporation for the following week…
Retro Verdict: I’m sure if I wasn’t so hot after the dumb injury angle, I would have been slightly more impressed by Kama’s debut, but as it was I just wanted this show to finish. I’ve calmed down somewhat after leaving my laptop for five minutes following the end of the show and yes I’m still annoyed by the fake injury angle and then pretending like nothing had happened, but I’m not going to let it screw up my perception of what was otherwise an ok show.
The Bam Bam Bigelow interview was the highlight as it’s how a heel should cut a heel promo. The over the top challenge was boring but inoffensive, the Kings Court segment was just there but I did enjoy the action for the tag titles up until the injury angle, but I’ve said my peace on that already. All in all, a watchable hour of Raw.
As always, feel free to get in touch if you have any comments or questions about Raw in 1995 or wrestling in general on twitter @haydngleed or via email email@example.com.
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