By Haydn Gleed
WWF Raw on the USA Network
Stockton, California at the Stockton Memorial Auditorium
The show opened with a graphic of Bret Hart and Jerry Lawler, with Vince telling us that the match would be tonight on Monday Night Raw. They showed clips of the feud dating back to 1993 all the way up to the point that Lawler claimed that Bret was a racist. They also promoted The Blu Twins against The 1-2-3 Kid and Bob Holly. The introduction video also promoted that Jeff Jarrett would be in action as well as speaking to someone called Ernie Ladd…
Retro Verdict: Please excuse my ignorance on Ernie Ladd, I simply don’t watch American Football. I’m sure he’s a big legend . I wonder if he was related or associated with Ernie Ladd the wrestler. I really quite liked this approach of promoting everything on the show with an opening video, makes people want to stick around and see what happens.
Vince McMahon welcomed us to Monday Night Raw and introduced James E. Cornette as his guest color commentator for the evening. The Headshrinkers made their entrance for their match against The Blu Twins who made their entrance along with the future Zeb Colter…
Retro Verdict: No I haven’t lost my mind. I know the opening video said it was The Blu Twins against The 1-2-3 Kid and Bob Holly, but the kayfabe explanation on air by Vince was the pair were stuck in Californian traffic. Doing a bit of digging online, the reports from the time say that both The Kid and Bob Holly were backstage but not used, so the real reason the match got switched is a mystery. You know I just praised the opening video? Yeah I take that back as I really don’t see the point in putting that on the video then minutes later it being completely wrong.
1. The Headshrinkers vs. The Blu Twins (w/Uncle Zebekiah) I didn’t address this when the Blu Twins made their debut, but they would later become The Harris Twins who I believe are now working behind the scenes in TNA. To refresh you as well, this is not the original Headshrinkers either, it is Fatu (the future Uso daddy and dancing Rikishi) and the former Barbarian Sionne.
The Headshrinkers had the early advantage , with the announcers arguing about which Blu twin was in the ring. The advantage was stopped when Sionne was attacked from behind by one of the twins on the apron. The match was The Blu Twins tagging in and out and wearing down Sionne. At one point the twins pulled Twin Magic, quite amusing at least in my head.
Late in the match Fatu got the hot tag and hit right hands followed by superkicks then he danced a little afterwards. All four men went to the outside and fought to the back and were double counted out…
Headshrinkers and The Blu Twins fought to a double count-out.
Retro Verdict: Call me crazy, but I quite liked this finish, as it gave both teams something to do. I don’t know why Afa or Captain Lou Albano weren’t at ringside, but I do remember the WWF were cutting back on talent quite heavily around this time, so perhaps it had something to do with that.
At ringside, they shifted to Lawrence Taylor and some comments he made. They showed a video that had Lawrence talking about certain subjects including Odds, game plan etc In between they showed clips of American Football plays I guess is the correct term. He talked about crazed dogs or something. Vince said that LT wasn’t going to be on his own, he had backup from some of his NFL buddies. They announced Carl Banks, Chris Spielman, Ricky Jackson, Reggie White, Steve McMichael, and Ken Norton Jr. They went backstage to Steve McMichael, hey I know him!!!! He said he was tickled pink to be part of Lawrence Taylors team for WrestleMania. He said he was showing up next week’s Raw to confront Karma. Cornette questioned if this was WWF or the NFL.
Retro Verdict: The audio on the LT video was terrible. There was loud rock music played over the top which is fine by me, but LT was so quiet you couldn’t hear what he was saying. Incase you didn’t know Steve McMichael would go on and have a career in WCW a little over 6 months after this show, nice surprise to see him as I honestly didn’t know that he was part of this storyline.
They went backstage to where the Corporation were standing around behind The Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase and Bam Bam Bigelow. Hey Karma is part of the Corporation now is he? Bam Bam went into a spiel about the NFL players. He said LT pick who you want in your team, but at WrestleMania it will just be you and him. The corporation had a line each and wielded off some cliché double meaning football sentences like you better be on the defense because I’m going to be on the offense *sigh*.
Retro Verdict: That was really clunky and cliché in a bad way.
Vince McMahon said he had a chance to speak to Ernie Ladd and they went to a pre-recorded interview from earlier in the day. Vince said that if anybody’s opinion was respected in the NFL it was Ernie’s. Vince asked him what chance does LT have at WrestleMania? Ernie said it’s going to be very difficult for him because Bam Bam Bigelow is in his arena, and LT is out of his comfort zone. Ernie said that he will give LT as much as advice as he can give him on what to do training wise etc.
Retro Verdict: Ok confession time here. I didn’t realize that Ernie Ladd the wrestler used to play in the NFL which is why I thought they were two completely different people. I could go back and change my comments above, but that would be cheating you fine people out of seeing how stupid your favorite Welshman can be. Ernie Ladd had such a wonderful voice when he spoke. I’ve just watched Shawshank Redemption in the last week, so as Ernie was talking all I could hear was Andy Dufresne.
They went back to the arena where the Intercontinental Champion was making his entrance along with the Roadie. Vince said with a sense of shock in his voice that we would be listening to comments from Barry Horowitz who would be facing Jeff Jarrett in the next match. They showed him backstage where Vince asked what his chances were. Barry said that he’s confident and he’s been speaking to Razor Ramon…
2. Jeff Jarrett (w/ Roadie) vs. Barry Horowitz. Jeff Jarrett took the initial offense but Barry came back with a backslide and a small package for a close two count each time. Jarrett then bailed out of the ring to take a time out. Horowitz patted himself on the back.
On the outside Jarrett grabbed Barry’s leg and tripped him before climbing in the ring and dominating Horowitz. This lasted a good minute or two before Barry managed to trip Jarrett. He held Jeff down with an armlock and followed through every time Jarrett tried to escape.
Late in the match, Barry attempted a spinkick but sold hurting his knee. Jarrett used this to apply a figure four leglock on Horowitz for the submission win…
Jeff Jarrett beat Barry Horowitz in 4:21.
Retro Verdict: I really really liked this. This was a storyline with Barry that would end up with a payoff at SummerSlam, so it was great to see the genesis of it here. It made this “squash” match far more interesting and fair play to Jarrett for selling like a trooper for Horowitz.
Back from a commercial, they showed highlights of Jerry Lawler hoping around the ring instead of being eliminated from the 20 man battle royal and Hitman forcing Lawler to put both feet on the ground. This transitioned into Bret standing in a corridor backstage who said this has come to the boil over two years. He said Lawler is nothing but a big giant pain in the butt. He said the only thing he hates is you Lawler. He used to think Jerry was a disease with no cure, but he now has the cure and held up his fists…
Retro Verdict: Cheesy and I hate to say, really not good.
Following another commercial, The Kings music was playing in the arena and he made his slow walk to the ring. Jerry had Bull Nakano with him, which Cornette said proved that he had the Japanese people on his side. The guitar wailed and out came Brett Hart to a great reaction. He climbed into the ring and Jerry attacked him immediately as the fireworks were still going off…
3. Bret Hart vs. Jerry “The King” Lawler. The offense from Lawler didn’t last long as Bret came back at The King who bailed to the outside. Several right hands and Jerry climbed back in the ring. Powerslam into the corner by Bret and Lawler was stuck upside down. While Lawler was stuck there, Bret laid in the boots. At this point they showed Bob Backlund in the audience, and we also eventually saw Hakushi watching the match from the aisle. That allowed Cornette to say that this is even more proof of the Japanese being behind Lawler.
Retro Verdict: Love how they showed that Bret had a lot of feuds ongoing at the same time.
Bret continued to pummel on Lawler until Bret got distracted by noticing Hakushi in the aisle. Jerry attacked him from behind and ran him into the steel stairs. The crowd started a loud Burger King as he hit a bulldog on Bret. He held up Bret by the hair and pushed his face into the camera before hitting a vertical suplex.
Late in the match, Bret came back and laid in the boots to Lawler before hitting a bulldog of his own. He went into his usual sequence of moves before hitting a right hand which sent Lawler to the outside. Despite the referee standing right there, Bull Nakano grabbed Bret by the hair. Bret threatened to hit the women, but Lawler grabbed him from behind and held him for Bull to take a shot. Of course she missed and clocked Jerry instead. Bret continued to stalk the women, but then tried to climb back in the ring. Bull climbed under the apron and grabbed Bret’s foot to stop him from entering the ring.
Jerry Lawler beat Bret Hart in 7:43.
After the match, like a real man *sigh* Bret chased after Bull Nakano, who hid behind Hakushi. He went back into the ring and continued to attack Jerry “The King” Lawler who eventually escaped and celebrated in the ring. Despite losing the match, Bret’s music played and the crowd cheered.
Retro Verdict: Meh, just a standard dull Lawler against Bret match. As you could probably tell, I wasn’t too pleased with the stalking a women. Just to clarify why I hate this, it’s because they portray the women as helpless and lesser than the male in this case Bret. Bull was cowering away from him and I personally feel that this sort of imagery is just wrong. If they had Bull stand her ground and was put on an equal footing to the male, then that’s different, but again I guess it’s different attitudes towards the sexes back in the 90’s. That’s me off my soapbox.
Vince said that Jeff Jarrett had some comments to Barry Horowitz. Cornette said that next week it would be Razor Ramon vs. Henry Godwinn and The Smoking Gunns vs. The Heavenly Bodies. Vince at ringside was with Jarrett and Horowitz. Jarrett said that Barry had been crying about wanting a rematch, Jeff said he will do better than that he will give him a title shot. He signed a contract and gave it to Barry. Before he could sign it, Backlund attacked Barry from behind and signed the contract himself. Jarett was pissed as we went off the air….
Retro Verdict: Interesting way to go off the air. I think I would have been happier to see Jarrett against Horowitz on the next show, but still very interesting.
Overall, this was another decent show from WWF. The action in the ring was pretty entertaining and nothing was particularly bad aside from some things that irritate me personally. It makes my life harder because I have to start looking for things to pick on instead of just having a Doink and a Dink to give me material, but I’ll take that over some of the shows I had to endure from Raw’s in 1994.
Until next week, if you want to get in touch, feel free to reach out to me on twitter @haydngleed or via email email@example.com