Last time on “Raw Rewind”
I wished everyone a Happy New Year – weeks beforehand – using a graphic from a 1992 episode of WWF Superstars. Also, Marty Jannetty took on Johnny Polo and Yokozuna had a nightmare where he was a jolly Santa Claus.
This time on Raw Rewind:
Happy Holidays from the WWF! Again from a 1992 episode of Superstars, this time before Christmas. Hey, don’t blame me for the order, Classics on Demand chose to air a Raw shown after Christmas first. With that out of the way, let’s join the lovely Renee Young on WWE Studios to kick off this special presentation of MON-DAY NIGHT RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAW!
Renee notes that a lot has changed in a year, yet we’re still kicking off Raw with a Lex Luger match. As Raw begins properly, Luger is accompanied to the ring by some kid, a “guest flag bearer” who looks completely unenthused to be there waving the flag (something Raw colour commentator Shawn Michaels even calls him out on.) As Luger is in the ring, we cut to the Raw intro so I guess I jumped the gun using that spot early, then return to see Shawn Michaels and Vince McMahon wearing Santa hats. A fan holds up an “I Cheat on my Taxes” sign as IRS comes to the ring, causing Shawn and Vince to bring up topical conversation on Joe Montana and some issues going on; the point of this is for Vince to point out, “sometimes the Justice Department is wrong.” Oh, 1994 and your steroid trials. Did I mention IRS has a druid with him at ringside? Well, he does. I have nothing against Mike Rotunda and find the IRS gimmick humorous but good Lord, the man had some really boring singles matches when it was a “Superstar vs. Superstar” match. There’s a really boring match against The Big Bossman from a 1991 MSG show that has popped up on Classics on Demand a few times, and I think one against The British Bulldog too… but, I digress (and am mentioning dead wrestlers for no real reason – I’ll try to keep it a bit more merry). I think IRS may be wearing a Christmas tie but it’s hard to see – lack of tie detail is a real problem with the pre-HD era. We have to cut away from the exciting action of this match for a commercial, but not before revealing the mysterious druid is wearing FAMILIAR LOOKING RINGS. I guess we were supposed to notice they were Tatanka’s but 19 years later I’m really not sure. Shawn points out that Dumb and Dumber was the #1 movie at the box office, because this episode of Raw was totally live and not at all taped weeks in advance. After the Druid’s interference almost allowed IRS to roll Luger up for a pinfall win, Lex chases him around outside and reveals it’s Tatanka before losing by count out.
After the match we get a recap of the on-going Tag Team Title Tournament (which Shawn points out is happening because of him) with clips of Tatanka and Bam Bam Bigelow defeating Men on a Mission on Superstars. It is mentioned that this weekend on Superstars, The Bushwhackers will be taking on The Heavenly Bodies which segues into a clip of Luke, Butch, and Howard Finkel acting like fools backstage.
J-E-Double F J-A-Double R-E-Double T joins us from just outside Bally’s on the Las Vegas strip to speak to… Rip Taylor? Seriously, Rip Taylor is gallivanting around in a Vegas sketch with Double J. This leads to nothing.
The Smoking Gunns come out for a squash match against Ray Raymond and Chris Avery, which because early/mid 90s WWF tag squash matches were great displays of moves they usually didn’t hit as hard (if at all) on the “Superstars,” I expect this to be 100 times better than Luger vs. IRS. We get a quick tease for some vintage 90s commercials as Lord Alfred Hayes is heard to say his, “Promotional Consideration is Paid For By The Following,” catchphrase, but it’s right back to in-ring action. For the early part of the match it is actually fairly basic stuff and I can’t call it 100 times better than the opening match… just 5 times better. The Gunns do hit one of my favourite double team moves though as Bart spins Mr. Avery around in a side-suplex (Dino Bravo style) position before Billy leaps up to make it a double team move with a legdrop, followed up by their finisher where Billy leaps off the top rope with an elbow to essentially assist Bart in spiking down a powerbomb.
DRAMATIC “NEXT WEEK ON RAW” MAIN EVENT PROMO! Tatanka fights for greed and the all mighty dollar, but against this battling Brit (the British Bulldog) he plans to convert his dollars into pounds. Did I write this promo? The British Bulldog hopes to leave Tatanka in a London Fog! Ok, the one for Tatanka was way better, relatively speaking. PLUS: The Raw debut of Henry Godwin, which sadly gets no silly pun or play on words, not even a mention of his middle name being “O.”
Bob Backlund is a guest on The King’s Court. Bob hasn’t quite reached the “bathrobes only” stage of his attire as he’s in a suit and bowtie while ringside fans chant “8 seconds” and some guy with a sign, who I can only assume was planted, also makes fun of Bob’s 8 second match with Diesel. The weak chants of “8 seconds” don’t even last 8 seconds. Backlund goes on about the Chickenwing and how he’ll put Bret Hart in it again then calls Kevin Nash the neanderthal of the WWF. Shawn Michaels takes credit for teaching Backlund what Diesel’s real name is. This segment set-up a string of highly unsuccessful house shows with a Diesel vs. Backlund main event – by the time my market got the house show in February 95, it was Jarrett vs. Diesel at the In High Gear tour – and it sounds like it was also building to a TV match where Shawn was in Bob’s corner.
Returning to the 2013 studio, Renee uses several big words (“my lexicon is killing me,” she finishes the gag with) to describe Bob Backlund and mentions his 2013 WWE Hall of Fame speech in a positive manner.
Rewind back to 19 years ago and Bob “Spark Plug” Holly is set for one on one competition against Chris Canyon, otherwise known as Chris Kanyon, otherwise known as Mortis, otherwise known as Kanyon, otherwise known as another deceased wrestler I’m bringing up. You try watching near 20 year old wrestling and not mentioning dead wrestlers. C/Kanyon is wearing a very ugly combination of yellow trunks and a purple singlet, by the way. Vince mentions that the Backlund vs. Diesel matches with Shawn in Bob’s corner was actually advertising the house shows I mentioned being disasters (“The Holiday Wish Tour” in California), so no TV match. I thought maybe I just forgot about it. Holly wins with a top rope elbow drop, a move I have no memory of him ever using as a finisher, but I guess with Savage’s recent departure they felt they could give the move to someone else.
THE ROYAL RUMBLE REPORT! Todd Pettingill is back again, this time getting us all caught up on the 1995 Royal Rumble. Todd puts over Pamela Anderson as being the celebrity host of the event before mentioning the Diesel vs. Bret Hart title match that had just been announced that weekend. Diesel does a promo about colours – Bret has gotten away with wearing pink for too long, black and chrome are man’s colours (and looks even better with some championship gold) but black and blue is what Bret’s colours of choice will be after their match. I assume Diesel was referring to Bret’s WrestleMania 2 attire. Todd run downs the rules of the Royal Rumble match, noting this will be the “most action packed Rumble match in history” due to the terrible 1 minute rule, then lists the first 10 names announced for the Rumble, and what a list it is: Lex Luger, Bob Backlund, King Kong Bundy, then we’re right off the rails with Doink, KWANG, Duke The Dumpster Droese, ALDO F’ING MONTOYA, Adam Bomb… and Dick Murdoch. Wow, just… wow. THESE are your first 10 names to announce? No wonder this Rumble was so bad.
As we get ready for The Bushwhackers (with Howard Finkel) vs. Well Dunn (with Harvey Wippleman), I determine I in no way want to recap or pay attention to any part of this. Not even Vince and Shawn repeatedly saying “hongi,” make me want to pay attention. So, this Raw took place just before Christmas 1994. Do you all remember what you got for Christmas that year? I got Donkey Kong Country, Super Punch-Out, and WWF Raw for the SNES and I’d rather be playing those than watching this match. Hell, I’d rather be watching the VHS copy of The Flintstones I got for Christmas that year. Hey, how about those Kickoff shows before WWE PPVs? Everybody enjoying the WWE Social Lounge segments with Renee Young? They were really good before the TLC PPV. Here’s a screencap:
Somewhere in the match Harvey lost his pants, Shawn made a comment about being thankful Harvey wasn’t wearing his “Well Dunn teabags,” and the Bushwhackers were celebrating winning the match.
In something much, much, much better we get a clip of WWF Superstars (the people, not the show) visiting The Real Santa Claus. Comedy ensues as Mabel sits on Santa’s lap, and Santa can’t take it. It’s like watching Kevin Malone and Michael Scott from the Season 6 Christmas episode of The Office all over again. Santa decides it works better for him to sit on Mable’s lap.
Jim Neidhart takes on Nick Barberi to close the show as I am once again teased by the Ghost of Lord Alfred Hayes saying, “Promotional Consideration Paid For by The Following.” Anvil stomps, Anvil punches, and Anvil stalls to rest. We do get one big spot where Jim gives Jobber Nick a backdrop over the top rope, then an even better spot – Shawn Michaels reading a promotional copy (as Vince called it) for the USA Network airing of Scrooged, which I swear he called “Scrooge” with no “d”. Anvil wins with a Camel Clutch shortly after as I think to myself that I DVR’d Scrooged the other day and should be watching that.
Next time on Raw Rewind:
In 2013, Renee has a difficult time picking her favourite moment from the show – mine is copyright screen indicating it is over.
Ok, ok… as a wrestling show, this was quite sub-par, but I did have a fun time going back into the past 19 years for some Raw Christmas cheer, and I hope you enjoyed reading my take on it. So Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, whatever you want to say – enjoy the season and we’ll see you again in 2014.