Venue: Mid-Hudson Civic Center, Poughkeepsie, NY
Show Length: 45:46
Total Wrestling: 22:51 / 49.9%
TV Rating: 3.4
- Backstage, the Beverly Brothers talk tactics with Money, Inc. on how to wrestle the Steiner Brothers. Given the Beverlys lost every time they faced the Steiners, I doubt Money, Inc. will get much use out of them.
- We’re back at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, NY, making this only the second ever RAW taping not to come from the Manhattan Center. The crowd is a respectable 3,500, though most of the tickets were freebies owing to the weakened card the last time RAW was here, caused by a massive blizzard on the east cost. The WWF gets a bad rap at times but they did take care of the fans on this occasion.
- Vince McMahon and Randy Savage are once again joined at the announce booth by the unbearable Rob Bartlett, who must have been spotted a few bucks from someone to escape Vegas last week. Shame. Savage hypes the debut tonight of Friar Ferguson. Good grief.
Scott Steiner vs. IRS
What happened to the Money, Inc. vs. Bushwhackers match advertised last week? On the other hand, who cares?! These two had a few singles matches around the horn, and I can only assume Scott was given those matches as an assessment of sorts with a view to pushing him as a solo star at some point. I personally think Scott Steiner would have been a superb addition to the WWF’s singles ranks in 1993, and prospective matches against Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels and Mr. Perfect are positively mouthwatering. Obviously he did go on to have significant success as a singles act in the late 90s and beyond, though he worked a very different style and had an entirely different look by then.
Savage helpfully offers that “there are no tag ropes.” Talk about stating the bleeding obvious. IRS gets a brief foothold in the match with an enzuigiri, which is possibly the biggest high spot I have ever seen him hit. Steiner has no interest in selling it for long and fires back with a power slam. I’m curious to see if IRS will take some of Scott’s bigger and more dangerous moves actually. Scott continues to force IRS into working an entertaining match by bumping him around with tackles and clotheslines, taking him right out of his usual rest hold comfort zone. Scott has pretty much dominated this match from the get go, with IRS having no answer for his style so he just goes to the cheap heat, using a thumb to the eyes and dumping him outside where DiBiase gives Scotty a clothesline.
Back from commercial break and IRS hits a piledriver for a two count, then goes to his most favourite move in the world, the chinlock. It’s a shame because prior to that, this had been very watchable and entertaining. Scott still refuses to be dragged to IRS’s level though and continues to fire out of the holds, then scouts a rare IRS foray to the top with a boot in the mush. That signals the start of Scott’s comeback, and he goes to town on IRS with a back elbow, ten punch, and a tie-assisted clothesline on the ropes. The double underhook suplex has it won, but DiBiase runs in causing the disqualification.
The Steiners get on top in the subsequent post-match brawl until the Beverly Brothers come out to save Money, Inc., but it backfires with the Beverlys’ inadvertently nailing DiBiase with a double clothesline. Dissension ensues as they all have a big stare-down, then the Beverlys jump IRS and argue some more with DiBiase. Heels vs. heels in 1993 WWF! Fun to see actually. This was a very good opener with a strong angle following it, and the crowd was molten throughout. They sure loved the WWF in Poughkeepsie.
Time: 12:05 / Final Rating: **3/4
Vince shills the WrestleMania replay again, claiming that some have called it the greatest in history. When the claims become so outlandish, they just make you sound ridiculous.
Tatanka vs. Von Krus
And now with the competitive match out of the way, its back to the squashes! Bartlett says he’s watching the WrestleMania replay with a friend who doesn’t know it isn’t live, and he’s going to predict all of the match results. Savage tells him he’ll still get them wrong. Boy, Savage sure didn’t like Bartlett, but who could blame him?
This is all Tatanka of course, and even the random appearance of Doink in the aisle doesn’t throw him off his game plan. Von Krus manages a move! Tatanka only allows it so he can make his dancing comeback, this time made more entertaining by Von Krus camply dancing along with him in “fear” at the prospect of what is to come. Kudos sir, that made me chuckle. The usual finishes for Tatanka, who remains undefeated. Fun enough little TV squash.
Time: 4:00 / Final Rating: *1/2
- And now for a special WrestleMania Report with Sean Mooney, who SHILLS THE REPLAY. Remember, don’t forget to BUY THE REPLAY. Mooney follows the McMahon directive of referring to the show as the greatest in history, then runs down what happened on the card. Why do I need to see the replay if you’ve just given away the results? Little details like that don’t matter, the only important thing is that you CONTACT YOUR CABLE SYSTEM IMMEDIATELY and ORDER THE REPLAY.
- Interview Time: The gum chewing Rob Bartlett interviews WWF the genuinely frightening newcomer Luna Vachon. Her head is half-shaven, she has crazy vein face paint on one side of her head and she talks like a possessed Linda Blair in The Exorcist. It’s hard to decipher what exactly what she’s saying because her promo style is akin to the Ultimate Warrior but the gist is that she’s got a problem with Sensational Sherri.
Sherri comes out and they go at it, with Sherri kicking Luna in the face and giving her a suplex outside the ring. Luna responds by nailing Sherri in the throat with a microphone as the inept Bartlett tries to split them up as they start ripping each other’s clothes off, with Sherri’s ample waps on display and Luna’s thong-covered arse exposed as well. Vince’s reaction is priceless: “Uh oh! Oh no! Oh NO!” Savage’s response is even better: “This is kind of exciting!” After Luna gets carried away by an official, Savage attempts to interview Sherri but Luna escapes and attacks her again. They hold absolutely nothing back as the brawl around ringside, laying into each other with vicious shots before Pat Patterson and other suited officials finally break things up for real.
With things having calmed down, Sherri throws out a challenge to Luna and shouts “Oh, yeah!” in homage to Savage. I don’t think Savage should be so accepting of Sherri after what she did to him at WrestleMania VII just because she’s a babyface now, but that was two years prior and things like that tend to get forgotten about (or ignored) by the WWF. That’s a minor niggle though, and doesn’t detract from a very entertaining, vicious and even raunchy brawl between two of the finest North American female workers the promotion ever had. It’s a shame the feud didn’t have a chance to end up going anywhere because it was totally intense and the crowd were really into it. It goes without saying that this was better that pretty much anything WWE Divas have done since.
Papa Shango vs. Scott Taylor
The future Scott 2 Hotty does job duty again, with his dropkicks not even flinching Shango. I’ve watched countless Shango matches over the course of chronicling the history of the WWF, and I couldn’t tell you more than two moves he has, and one of them is a punch. Mid-match, Bartlett returns to the ring with a ripped shirt and a bruised face, supposedly from the catfight that just occurred, and he passes out at ringside. Meanwhile, Shango takes the duke with a shoulderbreaker, once again managing to make a showcase of his skillset completely dull.
Time: 2:24 / Final Rating: 1/2*
Friar Ferguson vs. Chris Duffy
The match you’ve all been waiting for. Ferguson’s making his debut here, with the gimmick of a goofy priest because it’s 1993 and everyone in the WWF has to have an alternative occupation. The man behind the hood is Stampede Wrestling mainstay Mike Shaw, who had a series of decent matches with Owen Hart up in Calgary in the late 80s. He would later portray Norman the Lunatic in the NWA before going on to portray the big bulbous slob Bastion Booger shortly after this. Ferguson was initially supposed to be a more vicious character, but here he’s a babyface. Well, sort of. The crowd don’t respond at all because wrestling and religion just don’t mix. Vince doesn’t seem to agree, making reference to Ferguson being managed by God. Okay then.
Ferguson is a total mess, weighing in at around 400lbs and working barefoot in a robe. His offence is piss-weak, and almost comically bad. He tries to throw in little character nuances, but clearly looks uncomfortable in the role, instead opting to quite bizarrely expose his legs and do a wobbly knees dance. Is it any wonder this didn’t get over? Ferguson has the match won but opts not to finish it, instead dragging it out pointlessly for another few minutes. It’s so, so bad. Duffy goes for a sunset flip but Ferguson does another dance and sits on him for the win. Amazingly, this only went four minutes but it felt at least double that. Horrendous.
Time: 4:22 / Final Rating: DUD
- Remember folks, WrestleMania IX has been hailed as the greatest show of all time. DON’T MISS THE REPLAY TONIGHT AFTER RAW!
- Meanwhile, Money, Inc. accept the Beverly Brothers’ challenge to a title match next week. That should be pretty good actually, certainly unique anyway. The Beverlys jump Money, Inc. as the show goes off the air. But please remember, BUY THE WRESTLEMANIA REPLAY!
THE RAW RECAP
Most Entertaining: Scott Steiner. Again. Anyone who can get nearly *** out of IRS deserves significant plaudits. Sherri and Luna deserve recognition too, for their excellent, intense brawl.
Least Entertaining: Friar Ferguson. What were the WWF thinking!? A fat dancing monk who wrestles? Really?
Quote of the Night: “Maybe something is wrong with his microphone, I think it works.” - Randy Savage about Rob Bartlett. The ‘Macho Man’ did not like that guy.
Match of the Night: Scott Steiner vs. IRS. It’s a good show, yet IRS is in the MOTN. What’s going on!? Oh yeah, right, Scott Steiner was seven shades of awesome.
Verdict: RAW bounces back from last week’s catastrophe with a fun little show that flies along at pace. Things fell apart a bit towards the end with the over-shilling of the WrestleMania replay and the dire Friar Ferguson debut, but the stuff early on was really good. The WWF should have done RAW at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center every week, because the crowd there was receptive and loud for everything bar Ferguson.
Also Available - The RAW Files: 1996
The team at HistoryOfWrestling.info who brought you The Complete WWF Video Guide series are back with this companion piece documenting every episode of the the WWF/WWE’s flagship show Monday Night RAW year by year!
We cover every angle, segment and match in detail and offer plenty of insight and interesting facts along the way.
Written and presented in the usual History of Wrestling style, with various awards, match and show listings, and a host of star ratings for fans to debate at will.
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- This review has been reprinted here with permission from the History of Wrestling book The Complete WWF Video Guide, Volume 5 - Attitude: The Invasion Years.
[WWF Capital Carnage, 06.12.1998 - London Arena, London, England]
In a bit lifted from Over the Edge earlier in the year, the Corporation are out to stack the deck against Austin with “Academy Award winner” Shane McMahon as the special guest ring announcer, Mr. McMahon as the special guest commentator, Pat Patterson as the special guest timekeeper, Gerald Brisco as special guest referee (replacing the Big Boss Man for no given reason), and the Boss Man as “special guest enforcer”, a role that was supposed to go to Vinnie Jones. Jones comes out to take umbrage with that and shoves Boss Man through the ropes, earning him a red card from Brisco! Brisco follows that with such classic crooked referee spots as faking a knee injury, declaring a clearly downed shoulder to be up, and getting dust in his eyes, all reasons for him not to count any of Austin’s pinfall attempts.
As you might expect, the bulk of the match is a gigantic brawl, but Mankind peppers that steak with a hearty side-helping of comedy, trying to form an alliance with former partner Austin that earns him a Stone Cold Stunner for his troubles. Annoyed by this, he then attempts to form a union with the currently-feuding Undertaker and Kane, two guys he also has much history with, which earns him a double chokeslam.
Austin drops Kane with a Stunner but Brisco is busy checking Patterson’s watch for the time limit, so Austin finally just decks him and hits another Stunner on Kane, counted this time by replacement referee Earl Hebner. Brisco doesn’t take kindly to that and goes after Hebner, so Austin drops him with another Stunner before Vinnie Jones returns to block Boss Man’s path to Austin. Hebner then goes absolutely bonkers and kicks the stuffing out of Boss Man, flipping the bird and yelling like a maniac the whole time.
The show goes off the air with a beer bash, although despite his heroics in the match, Hebner comes across like a total hanger-on as Austin enjoys his celebrity rub from Jones. A good match, but not quite the anarchic fun some of the Austin-Dude Love matches earlier in the year were. ***1/4
The Complete WWF Video Guide, Volume 5: Invasion! The Death of WWF
An invaluable resource for any wrestling fan of the era, this is fifth and final entry in the series of WWF/WWE Video Guide books from the team at HistoryOfWrestling.info.
A complete guide to every WWF VHS release from October 1999 to May 2002 with full reviews of every tape, alternative wrestler bios, exclusive artwork by Bob Dahlstrom, awards, match ratings, and much, much more.
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- This review has been reprinted with permission from the History of Wrestling book The Complete WWF Video Guide: Volume 2, and all of these matches are also included in our complete career guide Superstar Series: The Ultimate Warrior.
The Ultimate Warrior vs. Earthquake
[19/02/1991 – Wrestling Challenge taping, Lee Civic Center, Fort Myers, FL]
This would be the third time this exact match has been recycled for a WWF home video, having previously made the cut for both WrestleFest ‘91 and WWF Wrestling’s Fan Favourite Matches!, which makes play-by-play announcer Sean Mooney's assertion that this match is “exclusive” to WrestleFest ‘91 all the more amusing. What a metaphorical kick to the balls that must have been to anyone who bought that tape on the strength of the supposed exclusivity of the Warrior-Earthquake match! Then again, if you did buy that tape just to see that match, you should probably seek professional help.
In all fairness, both guys were still positioned pretty highly up the card at this point, despite Warrior having dropped the WWF title to Sgt. Slaughter at the Royal Rumble the month previous, and Earthquake having all but concluded his main event run with Hulk Hogan. The match itself isn’t all that bad, although the fact they found time to work in a significantly long bear hug for an outing that still went less than six minutes should tell you all you need to know about the technical prowess of both.
That bear hug did at least play into the story of the match somewhat, with Earthquake trying to wear Warrior down after a fast start, only for Warrior to somehow find his second wind (I know, I’m just as surprised about these startling developments as you, dear reader) and fight back, even kicking out of Earthquake's big sit-down splash finisher (I know, I'm just as surprised about these startling developments as you, dear reader) and completely no-selling it (I know, I'm just as surprised about these startling developments as you, dear reader) to finally polish off his obese nemesis with three clotheslines, a body slam and a big splash. A simple, basic match that was perfectly okay given someone out there at least had the common sense not to book them to go 12-15 minutes. *1/2
The Ultimate Warrior vs. ‘The Million Dollar Man’ Ted DiBiase
[30/10/1990 – The Main Event taping (aired 23/11/1990), Allen County Coliseum, Ft. Wayne, IN]
This has a decidedly different fan reaction to that of their match at the Tokyo Dome earlier in the year on the big combined WWF/All Japan/New Japan Wrestling Summit card, where the majority of the Japanese fans in attendance apparently presumed Warrior's over-the-top act to be that of a comedy character rather than of a World champion, duly laughing their way through a bout that DiBiase, a former All Japan star, later admitted to having been embarrassed to have been a part of.
DiBiase was never a big Warrior fan, at the time having told Vince McMahon he’d “created in monster” in making the undeserving, unappreciative Warrior WWF champion at WrestleMania VI, with McMahon responding that he’d consider himself personally responsible for any problems that arose. Of course, a smug DiBiase later felt he’d been proven right when Warrior supposedly held McMahon up for money prior to SummerSlam ‘91 (something which Warrior denies, but an event for which evidence to the contrary later found its way to the internet, in the form of correspondence between Warrior and McMahon.)
Still, despite any problems DiBiase might have had with Warrior's general attitude towards the business, he was actually one of the few guys capable of dragging a good match out of him, and to that end, Warrior manages to put forth some actual effort here, even landing a standing sunset flip, which might be about the most athletic thing you’ll ever see him do. And then Virgil jumps in for the lousy disqualification finish, just as the match was getting really enjoyable.
That disqualification is actually really indicative of Warrior's title reign as a whole, as you'll notice that even when he's not the champion, Hulk Hogan still gets clean pins on guys who don't need to be losing major TV matches like Mr. Perfect, whereas Warrior only goes over on DiBiase, a guy who could afford the loss, via a DQ. Not only that, but this is already one year on from when that man Hogan pinned DiBiase clean on Saturday Night’s MainEventdespite blatant outside interference. That’s not necessarily a complaint by the way, just a statement of fact, but it’s tough to have sympathy for the WWF giving up on Warrior's run as champion when it didn't even seem to be 100% behind him in the first place.
After the match, 'Macho King' Randy Savage jumps into the ring and beats the living daylights out of Warrior with his sceptre, but the fact that colour commentator Roddy Piper had already drawn attention to Savage being next in line for the a crack at the title pretty much gave it away that a title change wasn’t coming here. Oddly enough, it would up being Sgt. Slaughter, not Savage, who got the next major shot at Warrior’s belt, and he wound up becoming champion, thanks in large part due to the interference of… Randy Savage. ***
The Ultimate Warrior vs. Sgt. Slaughter
[15/04/1991 – Saturday Night’s Main Event taping (aired 27/04/1991), Civic Auditorium, Omaha, NE]
As an aside, the German Tele5 broadcast of this match included a self-inserted per-match Warrior bio listing his real name as James Hellwig, his birthplace as Queens, NY (so much for Parts Unknown), his previous non-WWF gimmicks as Bladerunner Rock, Justice and Dingo Warrior, and his favourite bands as AC/DC, Bon Jovi and ZZ Top. Free of the WWF’s micromanagement, German commentary of American wrestling was largely free of the politics (and a certain level of kayfabe) that plagued English language broadcasts.
Warrior was coming off a rather gigantic run of life-changing incidents at this point, having recently been locked inside a coffin by the Undertaker before the WWF’s crack team of agents including Jack Lanza, Rene Goulet and Tony Garea tried to free him using a chisel. It was several minutes before he emerged from his supposedly air-tight tomb. No wonder he went bonkers.
Prior to that, he’d gone through an epic struggle with Randy Savage, resulting in Savage’s retirement following a legendary encounter at WrestleMania VII, and back in January, he’d lost the WWF title to Iraqi sympathiser Sgt. Slaughter during the heigh of the Gulf War, thanks to outside interference from Savage. Obviously revenge on Savage had taken precedence, and that goal achieved, this was to be Warrior’s obligatory title rematch. Unfortunately for him, Slaughter had already lost the title to Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania VII, which makes you wonder why, in a kayfabed sense, Warrior never got another shot at Hogan, especially considering how many rematches Slaughter got with him, and how Hogan’s next challenger was Undertaker, a guy Warrior was beating on house shows all that summer. Who knows, maybe Warrior was just too dumb to put a decent rematch clause in his contract?
The match itself started off pretty decently, with Slaughter bumping around like a pinball for Warrior, and the quicker pace of Saturday Night’s Main Event made for a match marginally more exciting than their Royal Rumble encounter. Unfortunately, they still work in a bear hug after about three minutes, largely because of how limited both guys are in what they can do with one another. They were both capable enough of having good matches, make no mistake, but Slaughter was in his mid-40s by this point, and Warrior needed someone like a Rick Rude or a Randy Savage to carry the bulk of the match for him. Needless to say, these two do not make for good match.
Eventually, Paul Bearer wheels a casket down to ringside containing the Undertaker, and and Slaughter’s Triangle of Terror begin a four-on-one assault on the Warrior until Hulk Hogan makes the save. Slaughter’s crew bail as Undertaker no-sells Hogan clonking him upside the head with his title belt, as well as a few shoulderblocks from Warrior for good measure.
Bad match that only really served to further the Hogan-Slaughter and Warrior-Undertaker house show main events for the summer and tease the eventual Hogan-Undertaker match than deliver any meaningful kind of blowoff to the Warrior-Slaughter program, but hey, that’s pro wrasslin’. *
WWF Title: Hulk Hogan (c) vs. The Ultimate Warrior
[01/04/1990 – WrestleMania VI, SkyDome, Toronto, Ontario, Canada]
What can be written about this match that hasn’t already been said thousands of times over? A battle for the ages between the two most beloved superpowers of the day, two iconic figures who in the hearts of the children of 1990 may just in fact be the two most heroic superpowers ever.
This wasn’t like WrestleMania III. There was no Goliath for David to slay. This wasn’t Superman vs. Doomsday. No, this was Superman vs. Batman for ultimate supremacy, one time for all time. Of course, they did their absolutely utmost to ruin things with that match at Halloween Havoc ‘98 over in WCW, but as Metallica once croaked, the memory remains.
The memory of that first confrontation at the Royal Rumble, the sudden realisation that the two most powerful forces in the universe were about to collide like an accelerated hadron particle. The memory of two gladiators at the peak of their powers staring each other down like bulls about to butt heads. The memory of a defeated, dejected Hogan handing the belt over to the Warrior, then riding off into the Hollywood sunset as Warrior basked in the spotlight of those fireworks. It was the Ultimate Challenge, to which Hogan and the Warrior did indeed rise. ****
A bit of a mixed bag of a “Best of” this one, with two pretty terrible matches, one good one, and one legendary one. Still, at least it ended on a high note!
The Complete WWF Video Guide, Vol. 2: The Death of Hulkamania (1990-1993)
An invaluable resource for any wrestling fan of the era, this is the second book in our complete guide to every WWF Coliseum Video release!
With full reviews of every tape from 1990 through to Hulk Hogan’s departure after the 1993 King of the Ring, plus Superstar biographies, exclusive artwork by Bob Dahlstrom, best and worst awards, articles, match ratings, and much, much more!
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Superstar Series: The Ultimate Warrior!
The History of Wrestling team are back with an in-depth full-career retrospective of one of the most charismatic, controversial and polarising performers in wrestling history!
Click to order from Lulu.com!
Kindle edition also available:
• Over 150 bouts reviewed and rated!
• Over 100 promos transcribed!
• His entire career covered in-depth!
• From the Blade Runners to the Dingo Warrior!
• CWA, UWF, WCCW, WWF, WCW and NWE all featured!
• WWE’s Self Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior DVD grilled!
• Warrior’s Ringside Collectibles shoot interview covered!
• Extensive listing of all his matches!