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When the impending Netflix-ization of Raw, we're due for a good panic over the Network and Peacock. Even if the deal is through 2026. Yeah it's very possible that the Peacock network might turn out to be a second banana to their Netflix presence, or it could be like how we thought that Peacock was gonna go through old shows and actively clip out offensive segments as opposed to whatever little bit they did. We love to panic about non-wrestling people ruining our stuff, and we'll do it again.

Anyways... let's go back 35 years to...

World Championship Wrestling (1/21/1989)

Tony Schiavone and Jim Ross welcome us to Techwood (hey we're still at Techwood, I guess they're at Center Stage within a few months)

Eddie Gilbert is brought to the table to open things up as this is at the apex of "Eddie Gilbert is getting a push by a national promotion"

Match 1: Michael Hayes vs Russian Assassin #2. I'm working under the assumption that both Russian Assassins are Jack Victory despite that being impossible. Between Eddie and Michael Hayes and JR, I guess it took a year (and some departures) for the UWF guys to break on through here? Would you say we're missing "masked heel jobber tag teams" or not? gotta love that Paul Jones is both, still around in early 1989, and also wearing a CCCP tracksuit like he's gonna go jogging in that. It feels like this match is going on a little too long. The Russian Assassin wins but he doesn't, as he rolled up Hayes with a cradle, but then Hayes rolled up Assassin as he  celebrated an apparent victory. Well, okay.

The Valentines Day Clash has a 35th anniversary in a few weeks.

Match 2: Butch Reed vs George South. JJ Dillon is in Butch's corner in an arrangement that led to JJ working in the WWF for 7 years. We got a camera angle that is behind the 3 rows of fans. This feels like a brief era of JJ slumming it again after his period of being Horsemen-only. George South with a nice bump for Butch Reed's top rope clothesline (which is the move Reed hits for the win)

The Vahsity Club joins JR at the table. Mike Rotunda/o has words for Rick Steiner. Kevin Sullivan has words for the Road Warriors and he mentions the Tree of Woe yet again. 

Match 3: Sullivan and Rotunda vs Randy Hogan and Gene Miller. Kevin Sullivan taking on Hogan in 1989. Randy Hogan looks exactly like you'd expect. Gene Miller looks like a guy aspiring to be JK Simmons. Sullivan with some stomps on Miller's hand/wrist. Gene Miller's tights look like something Ric Flair is wearing in 2024. Rotunda pins Miller with a double arm suplex.

Eddie Gilbert joins Tony at the table so we can recap the situation with Eddie and Flair/Windham. Eddie living the (short-lived) dream of getting a national push.

Match 4: Ric Flair and Barry Windham vs Mr. X and Eddie Gilbert. Mr. X, they're bring in all the WWF guys. Eddie has a smile on his face as he's in the ring with Flair, Windham, and JJ Dillon. JJ is looking like Jim Traficant this week. (You may have needed to watch CSPAN in the 1990s to get that reference)

Of course Mr. X is....

Match 4: Ric Flair and Barry Windham vs Ricky Steamboat and Eddie Gilbert. Time for this promotion to start producing really great matches on the regular. Ricky Steamboat just walking into Techwood is a little more casual than him walking out in a Dragon outfit and Arn Anderson freaking out over it. Those random older women in Techwood are loving them some Ricky Steamboat. Guessing Ricky got more of a "romance novel reading" female fan, at least until they leaned into "he's a family man". Ricky really unleashing the press slams for this one. I'm guessing Ricky just working Sting/Luger spots on Flair would have been a fun visual too. Eventually Eddie gets into this one. The Flair Flop prevents a Flair tag for a moment, which is fun. Yeah, Gilbert looks a bit short next to giant man Barry Windham. Gilbert/Flair has all the fun of people wrestling who have legitimate reasons to try hitting each other hard. Eddie gets Ric Flair into the figure four, Flair escapes, and Gilbert counters a figure four into a cradle. Eddie sure is spending lots of time in peril. I think Teddy Long is refereeing every match on this card and he did a shove spot with Flair sorta like Tommy Young (but a little more subtle). Barry Windham coming out of nowhere with that clothesline is a cool visual or a possible camera error. Hot tags galore as it's Flair and Steamboat again. Ricky is a house of fire, I think Ricky had a few occasions of returning after a stretch off of national TV and he comes back great pretty much time. "Hey, remember me, I'm still awesome at this". I think even the Jericho match worked that way in the 2000s. Ricky pins Flair with a crossbody off the top. We got a main event program now, folks.

Eddie Gilbert and Ricky Steamboat join Tony and JR at the table postmatch to talk about what we just saw. Eventually Flair and Windham show up so Flair can yell at Steamboat. Nice overhead camera shot.

and... that's all for this week! Did not notice this was only 44 minutes when I picked it.

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More hour long wrestling? More hour long wrestling!

WWF Monday Night Raw (1/10/1994)

I'll save the "They really taped an episode of Raw to air after the Royal Rumble 2 weeks pre-Rumble" talk for... maybe tomorrow.

Two weeks ago, the Quebecers helped Johnny Polo beat Marty Jannetty. Last Monday Night, Marty and the Kid got a tag team title match for tonight.

1994 Johnny Polo looks like "what if 1995 Raven was pudgier" in that lighting and with his hair down.

We're live from the Richmond Coliseum in Richmond, Virginia as Macho Man Randy Savage comes out to get a big pop from the audience. So did Randy keep that Monday Night Raw jacket when he left later in the year.

And our first match is The Quebecers vs the 1-2-3 Kid and Marty Jannetty. It's not just the lighting, Johnny Polo looks like he got into grunge music (or drugs) walking down to the ring for this one. Kinda interesting that Richmond, Virginia was one of the few parts of the south that the WWF would visit from 1993 to 1996. Yeah, this look of Raven/Johnny Polo looks like a guy who'd get Shane McMahon interested in party drugs. Feels like "faces make the heel team collide with each other" spots are fresh enough that we should see them more often in tag team matches. Yeah this match rocks and it's exactly how you should kick off 3 show long taping to give them something good while they're hot. I really didn't remember that Johnny Polo veered so hard from "trying to dress like Jim Cornette" in 1993 to what he's doing tonight, it's like he lost his outfit in transit and decided "fuck it, i'm grunge now".

MOMENTS AGO, we had a tag team title switch during the commercial break. But no we didn't, the decision was reversed because of a foot under the ropes. So the match will continue. I guess you gotta do a pinfall during a commercial every once and awhile to keep people on their toes, even if it didn't stand.

Back to the match, we got high drama, as under the norms of things, having the faces win but get screwed mid-match would say "this won't end in title switch". Waltman cannonballing to the outside like a maniac. But this is currently 2 on 1 with the Quebecers vs the Kid. We have to take a commercial break just as the Quebecers hit a cannonball on the Kid. That's certainly a chaotic time to take a commercial break. We're back, and the match didn't end on that pinfall. That back body drop doubleteam by the Quebecers is cool looking. Cool clothesline/trip double team by the Quebecers. Is it possible that the Quebecers were sorta wasted on this era of WWF? But this was also their best run as a team. So realizing that Jacques looks like "dark hair Shane Douglas" tonight. Marty Jannetty saves Kid from taking a second Quebecer cannonball doubleteam. We got a hot tag to Marty and he unleashes some dropkicks. Double knobbin knocker, A suplex splash double team wins it and we got new Tag Team Champions, which is even more surprising since... well, there was a Quebecers/Harts tag match in under 2 weeks (but... well... more on that later). The fans are into this and it's a way to kick off an anniversary show for Raw.

Let's take a look back to Kid pinning Razor last year.

The Royal Rumble Report with Todd Pettingill. It's not Todd, it's Jim Ross because Todd is snowed in. Just imagine how irrationally mad Vince is that Todd Pettingill is too much of a pussy to get through the snow to do his job. Even if Vince hasn't shoveled snow in decades. Hey, Greg Valentine is showing up for this one. Also, Tenryu and Kabuki are showing up for this one (because the Casket Match needs shenanigans). The graphic for Harts/Quebecers is not updated to account for what happened but JR acknowledges "hey you just saw a tag team title switch". This is about 2 1/2 weeks before Jim Ross' bells palsy attack (and a month before they fired him) so it is sorta trippy to see JR knowing what's about to happen.

Macho Man Slim Jim commercial. Love that's still in the broadcast.

Now it's time for Ludvig Borga to be in action, speaking of people about to experience a dramatic change before the end of the month.

Let's take a look back at Jerry Lawler smashing Tiny Tim's tiny ukulele.

Ludvig Borga is taking on Brad Anderson tonight. Anderson's hair looks delightfully sloppy compared to Borga. Lex Luger is on the phone to congratulate Marty and the Kid. Borga beats Anderson with the Torture Rack.

Lets take a look back to Superstars as Yokozuna banzai drops two jobbers at the same time. Postmatch, Paul Bearer and the Undertaker taught Yokozuna with the concept of being put in a casket. I think this was the hottest period for the Undertaker between Jake and Mankind? at least compared to the endless series of feuds with monsters that he did from 1992 to 1996. Naturally Taker is in a hot feud before he has to leave for 7 months.

Let's take a look back at Doink turning face and becoming lame. Nice prison orange RAW jacket on Bobby Heenan.

Next up, it's the Undertaker in action against Ray Hudson. Ray Hudson has a stellar mullet. Earl Hebner panics after Taker bumps into him and tosses the urn to Paul Bearer in a funny visual. Ray Hudson looks like he would have made a solid living jobbing in the Carolinas if he was 10 years older. Hudson looks like a guy who would be a fake Manny Fernandez on a card that Manny no-showed. Hudson gets no hang time whatsoever on the chokeslam and Taker beats him with a Tombstone. Checking Cagematch, and Ray Hudson worked a bunch of matches with George South in the PWF. Yeah, that makes sense.


We got a RAW anniversary cake. Will the cake rule be upheld.

Now it's time for Bam Bam Bigelow to take on Bastion Booger. Last week on Raw, which I reviewed like 2 weeks ago, Booger molested Luna at ringside and Bam Bam did not like that. This feels like a matchup that would be a lot more fun outside of the 1994 WWF. Don't get a lot of matches where Bam Bam is the thinner guy. Bam Bam is gonna bump like a madman for this match with Bastion Booger. After last week, Luna should probably pack pepper spray to keep Booger away. Bam Bam prevents Booger from bothering Luna by beating up on the outside. Booger almost gets slammed but doesn't in a bad looking spot. Bam Bam hits a slam and a headbutt and that's that. For the record, Booger lasted about the same time as Brad Anderson and Ray Hudson, which should tell Mike Shaw "this isn't gonna last much longer". Booger gets beat up further postmatch.


The Quebecers and Johnny Polo have some words for us backstage. Johnny Polo in this outfit does not look like he should be managing to guys in Mountie outfits. But maybe he should be. This is WWF in 1994.

Somehow that cake survived a Bastion Booger match.

Let's take a look back at... Kamala chasing after Kim Chee?

We got some hype for next week as IRS shows up to confront Macho and Macho Man cakes IRS. The first time IRS has ever been involved in something interesting! And that's all. I was concerned that IRS was about to seize that cake for not paying the cake tax.

But don't worry, we're doing another episode.

WWF Monday Night RAW (1/17/1994)

Last week on Raw, Kid and Jannetty beat the Quebecers.

Stan Lane will give us a report of what's going on at Madison Square Garden because they're running the Garden live at the same time that they're airing a taped RAW (more on that later)

Our commentators this week are Vince McMahon and evil foreign Hawaiian Crush. Much like Johnny Polo, Crush is also in flannel.

Let's open up with Owen Hart in action against Terry Austin. Owen is accompanied by Bret. Owen also does the Bret sunglasses thing as things are totally normal and he's not about to turn heel. Stan Lane is at Madison Square Garden since there is a tag team title match going on there. Terry Austin takes a monkey flip directly on his face. Let me guess, this guy also has a bunch of matches with George South? Owen counters a telegraphed monkey flip with a kneedrop. Stan Lane is calling in to talk about the match at Madison Square Garden like he's covering a high school football game in another county and reporting score updates. And for the record, Terry Austin has a lot of matches with Ray Hudson and Italian Stallion and he teams with Austin Steele and George South. Crush is just here on color commentary because he's probably attacking Savage later, he's not really gonna add a lot before then. Owen beats Austin with the Sharpshooter.

Vince gets some words with Bret and Owen at ringside. Owen kinda hopes that Marty and Kid lose tonight so that he can wrestle the Quebecers for the belts. Bret is not cheering for the Quebecers.

Hey, it's a doof dressing as WWF superstars to try impressing a woman on a bench. That's certainly a commercial they ran at least once.

Now it's time for Tatanka to take on George South. This match could sell out any armory in rural North Carolina. This is such an amazing matchup of mullets. George South is making mean faces as he hits some offense. Stan Lane calls in to tell us that the tag team title match is going on. Tatanka unleashes some stereotypical offense to fire up a comeback. Tatanka wins with a chop off the top rope as a vaguely gothic southern woman is happy at Tatanka's victory.

Let's take a look at Alundra Blayze working out and riding a motorcycle and standing on the beach. All in a full day of being Madusa.


BIG SURPRISE THIS MORNING OUT IN LOS ANGELES WITH THE EARTHQUAKE... yes Vince phrased the hype for a Yokozuna promo by namedropping an Earthquake. You see, the commentary is live, so clearly the show is less taped.

For the record, Jim Cornette is conspicuous by his absence for this Yokozuna/Fuji promo. Anyways, Paul Bearer shows up to roll out a casket. In fact it's a very large casket too. It's a double-wide double-deep casket, in fact. Once Jake left and Undertaker emerged, all the heels went from randomly being very scared of snakes to being scared of coffins. Yokozuna goes to open the casket and of course the Undertaker is in it and Yokozuna flees with his robe open looking like Captain Lou Albano taking the countout, only without blood.

The Harts and the Headshrinkers, next week on RAW (about that)

Now it's time for Diesel to take on Scott Powers. Crush says it would be an honor to face his good friend Yokozuna at Wrestlemania. Let's go to Stan Lane telling us that the Quebecers have defeated Kid and Jannetty for the Tag Team titles. Nice gutwrench bomb-ish move by Diesel. Vince runs through birthday wishes and promos during this match. Diesel wins with a big boot and an elbowdrop. We were about 5 days away from Diesel getting some real momentum.

ROYAL RUMBLE REPORT with Todd Pettingill, who has emerged from the cold. Much like how last week's Harts/Quebecers match graphic had the Quebecers with the belts after they lost them, this week's Harts/Quebecers graphic had the Quebecers without the belts after they just won them. Also they will be airing the selection of numbers for the Rumble on WWF Mania this Sunday. Kinda liking how the wrestlers cover up parts of their names for some of these Rumble announcements. Todd tells us to call 911 if you're not excited about the 1994 Royal Rumble.


Our main event is Macho Man Randy Savage vs IRS. Vince calls Macho "The Joe Montana of the World Wrestling Federation" (no wonder Vince didn't think Mach could go past 1994, also the Chiefs/Oilers playoff game with a Montana comeback happened the day before this Raw aired). Putting that briefcase on the steps so that slamming Macho into the steps could also slam him into the briefcase is kinda neat. This is a real matchup of guys working with their chests covered. Savage escapes a sleeper but IRS hits a knee to keep up his stretch of vanilla heel offense. Vince drops a current events tidbit that "Speaking of the Government, by the way, Bill Clinton has returned, as you know, President of the United States, returning back here to America, just in time for Monday Night Raw". I'm guessing Vince just reads a newspaper while eating steak before recording commentary for Raw. I gotta imagine that while Vince didn't actually vote for Clinton, he probably either sees similarities between his childhood and Bill Clinton's or he's miffed at Bill out of jealousy. We almost get Savage going after Crush but IRS takes advantage. We go to a break and return to IRS working an abdominal stretch on Macho Man, which is on brand for Rotundo/a. IRS tries for a jumping nothing off the top but Macho Man counters it. Macho Man goes on top for the Elbow but Crush runs from the table to break it up for a DQ. Man, that was a match that went on for awhile without really threatening to be interesting. Tatanka runs in to attempt a save. Yokozuna walks down to the ring to join the heel beatdown. Lex Luger runs out to help the good guys. Luger is in flag shorts. Diesel and Michaels run out! Bret Hart runs out! We're doing the Survivor Series ending as the go-home for the Rumble. That's neat.

One interesting thing about the early RAWs is that the last segment of "let's talk about what's happening next week" really holds up since it's different from how 25+ years of wrestling TV doesn't end shows like that.

Well, that was 2 episodes of January 1994 WWF TV. While I've seen the 1994 Rumble match before and I know some of what happens on the rest of the card. The 1994 Rumble was not available for rental and I might watch it tomorrow before watching the 1/24/94 RAW.

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10 minutes ago, Curt McGirt said:

Did anyone who had a run-in with the real Internal Revenue Service ever wrestle Mike Rotunda?

Not quite the same, but his fatherin law and brother in law did go to jail for counterfeiting. 

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27 minutes ago, Curt McGirt said:

Did anyone who had a run-in with the real Internal Revenue Service ever wrestle Mike Rotunda?

Countless wrestlers have had a problem with their taxes, so I have to imagine this is a slam dunk question. (Not to be confused with basketball player Mark Jindrak.)

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As promised/threatened yesterday

Things I Remember From the 1994 WWF Royal Rumble

It's probably an indicator for the status of mid-1990s WWF that my video rental stores didn't have a bunch of 1994/1995 WWF PPVs available.

Ted DiBiase is back as the newest of the rotating heel commentators. He occasionally provides value to this telecast.

We start with Tatanka vs Bam Bam. Which was originally Tatanka vs Ludvig Borga until Borga fucked up his knee (IIRC) and ended his WWF tenure. This match is way better than Tatanka/Borga would have been. It was a fun match. Luna looked good in red. You can tell these two had no shortage of matches to use to build this match. Bam Bam had a fun spot by stopping the stereotypical Indian hulk-up by hitting Tatanka with an enzuiguri. Fun finish with Bam Bam missing the moonsault and Tatanka winning with the splash. This would have been the best match on a Coliseum video release.

We get a build video for Harts/Quebecers. Owen wants to fight Bret (shades of Larry/Bruno? okay, I've never actually watched that angle). Bret doesn't want to fight Owen. Quebecers lose the belts. Quebecers win the belts back (hey we got footage of that house show victory!)

Harts/Quebecers was also a fun match, You'd think that Bret working with Jacques Rougeau over and over through the years would lend itself to chemistry and it does. Bret would go on to work Pierre in 1995 in a match that I think was considered good but I don't recall seeing it. Lots of fun quick action to really move this all along. As soon as I was wondering "hey when are we doing the leg injury", the leg injury happens. Some of that injury angle played out way differently than I was expecting. Like Bret injuring his knee by basically diving through the ropes when Johnny Polo (who is dressed like Johnny Depp trying to be Hunter S. Thompson instead of wearing flannel) holds the ropes open. Man the WWF ropes were bouncy for this one. That knee injury reminded me of the faked knee injury Bret did on the In Your House where he beat Hakushi and faced Lawler. But the knee injury pretty much ground this match to a halt as they had to dick around for awhile before Owen just threw Bret back into the ring. Bret got beat on for awhile longer. The stoppage for the injury still seemed really sudden despite the fact that they milked it for minutes. Bret having a WWF referee end a match too quickly? could it be? anyways, Tim White ends the match, Howard Finkel has the most jargony announcement possible, the Quebecers retain. Owen is mad, Owen kicks Bret's leg out of his leg. Owen gives a pretty good promo to the cameraman walking to the back. His promo in the back was pretty solid. We all remember the line he fucked up though. At least having a video screen at the entrance is an omen for later. Anyways, fun match, and DiBiase was right on the ball for how this was gonna propel Owen. DiBiase sorta played this show like a Mid-South guest commentator while also trying to remember his gimmick. Also, Ray Rougeau looking like a nosey idiot trying to get words post-match. 

Also lots of fun of DiBiase talking about being ruthless to get by next to Vince, Vince having to pretend to disagree with this approach.

Razor/IRS was commentated by Jim Ross and Gorilla. Which likely made this a better match than it would have been with Vince and Ted DiBiase. Gorilla also mentioning the Providence Civic Center over and over like they got a rent deal to deduct from the costs if they mention they're in Providence. The match is what it was. I won't beat the horse too badly on Mike Rotunda again although this match really wasn't as boring as Mike Rotundo TV matches. The end of the match kinda managed to make everybody look stupid in one way or another. There's a ref bump. Razor is yelling at the out referee trying to get him to wake up and count a pin. Razor decides to hit a Razor's Edge, but Shawn Michaels runs out and hits Razor with Shawn's belt. Shawn leaves that belt in the ring as he runs off. IRS eventually wakes up. The referee eventually wakes up. IRS pins Razor for the championship. But wait, Earl Hebner, who was too busy selling merch from his car trunk to run out during the actual ref bump, comes out to tell the referee that bad things happen, so the title change is waved off in a casual way as Razor hits IRS with the Razor's Edge and gets the pin. So Razor is holding both IC title belts at the end of this. Somehow this is not the most perplexing IRS match to be included on a Royal Rumble card if you remember what the 1995 Rumble had.

The prematch video package for Undertaker/Yokozuna had contract law talk. We see clips of Yokozuna's amazing facial reactions. Undertaker's workshop is apparently located in medieval England or New Hampshire judging by the outdoors scene.

Both Yokozuna and the Quebecers entering first. Tough night for heel champions. Undertaker and Yoko play the hits early for spots with Yoko wobbling. You can tell Yoko isn't playing a Samoan since he sells blows to the head. Yoko trying to stop Taker with oriental salt and chairshots. Undertaker casket matches are almost worked like escape the cage cage matches. Yokozuna and Undertaker actually had interesting matches without this stip. Yokozuna gets rolled into the casket and here comes the bullshit. Crush runs out. It's Kabuki in 1994! Tenryu is also here as part of the Alliance to End Undertakermania. Bam Bam runs out too. Tenryu just chopping Taker in the corner as he is known to do. Wonder if they ever did one of these matches where the group of heels accidentally closed the casket on their ally. Paul Bearer finally does something. Here comes Adam Bomb, where the fuck was he earlier. Is there a B Team of goons that they're holding back. Jeff Jarrett! Jeff Jarrett? Why is Jeff Jarrett here? The recruitment effort for this must have been amazing. The Headshrinkers are still heels right now, it appears. This is just amazing for the wrong reasons. Somehow the guy who is about to be gone for 7 months has the better cardio because Yoko has just done jackshit since this started. The heels can't close the casket the first time. Diesel is also here. Is there a C Team of heel goons now. The Urn is smoking green fog. Did they kill Killer Khan and put him in the urn. This is hilarious bullshit. I guess the key to making this heel beatdowns more realistic in the WWF is to have so many heels that the faces actually can't make a save without getting beat down too. Just imagine Tenryu of all people getting to be on the scene for this. Finally they kick Undertaker into the casket and end the match. This was fun until the bullshit. Then it just became the Plan 9 from Outer Space of wrestling matches.

Don't worry, it gets stupider.

The casket is smoking. Somehow there is a video "inside the casket". Undertaker delivers his exit interview before Marty Jannetty ascends to the roof of the Providence Civic Center. I kinda want to hear the Jim Ross/Gorilla Monsoon Radio WWF commentary track for this one. This is just audacious bullshit. Like this made it to the point of being played out live without being stopped. Somebody just kept adding absurd details to see if they could kill it and it kept going forward despite adding more goons. There have been dumber things done in the years since 1994, so I can kinda judge this more with bemusement that they really did this than any sort of outrage or whathaveyou. They made up for killing the Undertaker in the semi main event in the 1994 Rumble by killing him in the main event in the 1998 Rumble.

Why yes, I was typing during the casket match, as I will be doing during the Rumble. I think we've technically had 3 bullshit endings (in one form or another) for 4 matches, which is an impressive batting average (don't worry, we're not done with that yet)

We got some prerecorded comments from people in the Rumble!

Yeah Vince, I'd say anything could happen in the World Wrestling Federation after that casket match.

Our #1 in the Rumble is Scott Steiner. Our #2 in the Rumble is Headshrinker Samu. Nice of Afa to provide guidance by holding Samu by the hair. The countdown graphic has a Casio ad. Rick Steiner is #3! Nice that they gave Rick a number he could count to. Steiners doubleteam Samu. Samu does a brutal looking hangman spot on his way out. Kwang is #4 so that the Steiners don't have to fight each other. We already got one brother angle on this show, Steiners. Was Kwang on the D team for the Casket Match heel squad. Owen Hart is #5 and the fans have a long enough memory to boo him. What year did they start playing music for Rumble entrances, 97 or 98? 96? Rick Steiner is out via Owen Hart so no Demolition Ax vs Demolition Smash this year. Bart Gunn is #6. Not sure if they had Kwang work with the Steiners but that feels like a matchup that could be fun. Just imagine the Steiners on their stuff trying to stiff Puerto Ricans at Estadio Roberto Clemente. We got stuff breaking out in the backstage area according to Vince. Diesel is #7. Diesel bumps Bart, Diesel dumps Scott Steiner, Diesel dumps Owen Hart, Diesel dumps Kwang and Diesel is now over with the fans. Bob Backlund is #8. Bob Backlund does Bob Backlund things to try and avoid Diesel. Diesel dumps Backlund but Backlund lasted longer than the November 1994 title match. Billy Gunn is #9. Diesel dumps Billy Gunn. Meanwhile in the backstage, Tenryu and Kabuki are attacking Lex Luger. Virgil is #10. Virgil apparently replaced Kamala. Diesel dumps Virgil as DiBiase is happy about that. The Macho Man is #11. The fans are into this matchup which is something they probably didn't expect to be into 15 minutes earlier. Jeff Jarrett is #12. Vince emphasizing how Jarrett wants to win the Rumble as if there are guys in the Rumble who *don't* want to win it. Savage dumps Jarrett. Crush is #13. Time for more Savage/Crush brawling. Doink is #14. Crush eliminates Savage as Doink enters. Doink laughs at Diesel and Crush brawling and they notice that. Bam Bam Bigelow is #15. Bam Bam just launches Doink to the floor to dump him and then Diesel and Crush almost toss Bam Bam. Mabel is #16 as the 4 men in the Rumble are all gigantic. This crowd is more ready for Mabel vs Diesel than they would be in the summer of 1995. Sparky Plugg is #17 and he's replacing the 1-2-3 Kid. Shawn Michaels is #18 and they immediately tease a Diesel/Michaels showdown. Everybody gangs up and dumps Diesel to wrap up his night. Mo is #19. Greg Valentine is #20. We get the dream match of Mabel and Sparky Plugg doubleteaming Greg Valentine. Tatanka is #21. Mabel tries to help Shawn Michaels attack Tatanka. Greg Valentine fighting Shawn Michaels. The Great Kabuki is #22. Everybody gets together and goes after Mabel. Mabel is eliminated. Lex Luger is #23 to wrap up the suspense about if he could survive a lockerroom attack. Lex dumps Kabuki. Tenryu is #24. Tenryu begins his magical voyage of chopping dudes by chopping Luger. Nobody comes out at #25 and Vince thinks it was Bret Hart's number. Greg Valentine and Tenryu are fighting it out in a match that would be very stiff. Rick Martel is #26. Bret Hart is #27 (yes, I know that they later explained Bastion Booger was #25). There are a lot of guys in the ring. Fatu is #28. Crush is eliminated. Marty Jannetty is #29 and immediately goes for Michaels. And #30 is Adam Bomb. So time to thin out the herd a little? There's only like 10 or 12 guys in there. Sparky Plugg is out. Greg Valentine is eliminated after being in there for awhile. Rick Martel is eliminated. Adam Bomb is out. Mo is out. Finally they're thinning things out. Bam Bam is out. Jannetty is out. We got 5 guys now (I missed one of the names, didn't I). Michaels with a nice sell for Tenryu. Tenryu is out and final 4 is Luger, Michaels, Bret, and Fatu. Fatu does his trademark flip sell of a Luger clothesline. Lugar and Bret eliminate Fatu and Michaels to set up the final 2. And then they eliminate each other at the same time.

And Luger is announced as the winner. But Earl Hebner insists otherwise.

So Bret Hart is announced as the winner. But the music stops again. Both referees have their own guy. You can tell all night that Vince doesn't want to name referees long before recent times.

Anyways, Jack Tunney walks out to sort this out. While this goes on, we see replays.

So the winner of the 1994 WWF Royal Rumble.. tremendous facials by Finkel for this... the winner of the 1994 WWF Royal Rumble.. the winners are Lex Luger and Bret Hitman Hart. Let's split that baby in two.

Just imagine the Bobby Heenan color commentary for this ending as he waffles between who he thinks won.

This PPV manages to combine some actual good interesting matchups with a hilarious array of just total bullshit. Like you can't even really get mad about it by this point. It's a clash of civilizations between a good in-ring product and a creative effort that appears to be snorting bath salts.

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Onwards to...

WWF Monday Night Raw (1/24/1994)

Why yes, they did tape the Raw airing after the Royal Rumble almost 2 weeks before the Rumble.

Vince McMahon is joined by Jim Ross this week.

We open with Lex Luger taking on Austin Steele, as the George South enhancement squad gets another match. Austin Steele looks like the guy you'd book to replace Buddy Landel when he no-showed a card in Gastonia. Jim Ross reminding us that Lex Luger was on the Dean's list. Kinda amazing that the WWF never kicked the tires on turning Lex heel in 1995 before he bailed out on the company and turned heel. Okay maybe there's a reason why they didn't put their chips on Lex in 1995. We got Wrestlemania tickets on sale, only 2 months before the show. What a world. Lex Luger wins with a Superplex, which is a move I don't recall him using often.

In case you were wondering about that Harts vs Headshrinkers match announced for this card, it's now Headshrinkers vs Men on a Mission. Also we got Jeff Jarrett, Doink and Adam Bomb. Don't threaten us with a bad time.

THE ROYAL RUMBLE REPORT STILL EXISTS EVEN IF THE RUMBLE HAPPENED. Encore presentation tomorrow night. Jack Tunney will announce his decision this weekend on the "WWF Television Network". Kinda wild that they're still putting a lot of content on non-RAW shows at this time. Todd Pettingill is appalled at what Owen Hart did to Bret too. Interesting idea to call this "the most exhausting Royal Rumble ever" as a sales pitch to watch the show.

Vince McMahon tries to sell the concept of watching the 1994 Royal Rumble replay over watching the State of the Union. I mean, Bill Clinton probably didn't kill the Undertaker with the help of 10 goons during that year's SOTU.

Jeff Jarrett is in action against somebody. On checking History of WWE. He's facing John Paul. John Paul looks the most generic of all enhancement dudes. Like he would have done promos on Mid-Atlantic TV that would be cut out for local promos and only seen decades later on the Network. Yeah Jim Ross, i'd say that Jeff Jarrett's outfit and his gimmick might be a little conflicting. Hey, a slingshot suplex by Jeff Jarrett. Jarrett wins with a rollup while pulling the tights. Then Jarrett hits a DDT postmatch.

Next week on Raw, The 1-2-3 Kid vs Johnny Polo! Be there!

PROMOTIONAL CONSIDERATION PAID FOR BY THE FOLLOWING: It's still ICO-PRO, keep drinking or however you consume ICO-PRO.

Now it's time for Men on a Mission vs the Headshrinkers. Mo with that dyed beard looks like the oldest man in a barber shop. The Fatu/Mabel interactions are fun. Fatu does his flip bump for Mo. Mo was apparently in peril during the commercial break. Hey, Bill Alfonso made it to 1994 as a WWF referee. Vince saying the quiet part out loud with "you can't hurt Samu or Fatu by hitting them in the head".. I mean if we're going full stereotypes, wouldn't the Men on a Mission be immune to head moves too? Between Lugar and Samu/Fatu, Jim Ross calling quite a few competitors on this card that he called 5 years before in the NWA.  Fatu feverishly selling being crotched on the top rope. Hot tag makes it Mabel vs Samu. Mabel knocks some Samoan heads as apparently they will sell if they hit another Samoan. Mo tags in for some reason. Headshrinkers win with a splash as Mabel was on the floor. Well, that was interesting enough.

Shawn Michaels is also in action later tonight with Adam Bomb and Doink.

Adam Bomb takes on Tommy Angel as this jobber group continues to be guys from North Carolina coming to Richmond to make money. Jim Ross talks up how long he's known Tommy Angel as Vince thinks about when he could fire Jim. Adam Bomb wins a powerbomb. Then Jim Ross compares Harvey Whippleman to Andrew Giuliani. Topical references!

Let's take a look at Sparky Plugg racing a car

Doink is in action with Joey Stallings. Joey Stallings looks like a bit of a fat boy compared to most of the jobber crew. Dink has an invisible dog and Stallings sells for an invisible dog lunge. Doink wins in a few minutes with the Whoopie Cushion.

They're really going hard on the Royal Rumble replay.

Now it's time for Shawn Michaels in action against...

Promotional consideration is still paid for by the Sega CD game. I did not have a Sega CD or that game.

Shawn Michaels is in action against Tyrone Knox. They were already laying foundations for a Diesel/Michaels split in January. Why yes, Tyrone Knox was also a North Carolina indy guy, as George South just provided pretty much the entire enhancement crew for 3 weeks of Raw. Vince denies the rumors that the World Wrestling Federation is going to CBS, which is rumor nobody was likely to be spreading. Vince feeds Jim Ross a chance to compare Shawn Michaels to Eddie Haskell. Shawn Michaels win with a piledriver.

We go back to the table to remind people of the impending 1-2-3 Kid vs Johnny Polo match. Kwang will be in action too. Kid missed the Rumble with an injury, so check back on what happens to his match with Johnny Polo. Owen Hart interview. Lex Luger and Bret Hart interview. IRS will guest commentate as the WWF has no idea of who to use as a heel commentator while Jerry Lawler is dealing with the rape charges.

But they did a good enough job of having a Raw in the can after a PPV without any real continuity problems or any real spoilers to the live crowd which was probably not told that the Harts were wrestling a match during the taping.

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WrestleMania IX notes:

  • I should probably get on my horse and finish this WCW watch by March of 2026 just in case, but look at me stopping to review bad WrestleManias instead!


  • I started writing this two days ago and was maybe a third of the way through the show before the new allegations against Vinnie Mac came out, so that killed my desire to go back to watching Superstars after I finish this show, at least for awhile. I guess I’ll go back to watching shows from the company that, uh, was mostly a racist hellpit. But at least it wasn’t a racist hellpit where the leadership also systematically abused the women who worked there. I think. Maybe. Probably? Hopefully?


  • They made Jim Ross dress in a toga on his debut, and he points out his gold sandals and intimates that they’re too, uh, “fabulous” for the apparently closed-minded people of the metro Tulsa area. I think Jim Ross becoming the voice of the WWF is one of the unlikeliest things to happen in the company’s history. This dude is so out of place in 1993 WWF.


  • Ross talking about Hannibal using elephants like utility vehicles is certainly something. I think I’m going to be obsessed with Ross’s commentary on this showing.


  • Cleopatra is looking fantastic, let me tell you. I’m settling down.


  • Macho Man comes to the booth looking like a cowboy hat-wearing Hedonism Bot from Futurama. This is one of the dumbest things at any WrestleMania ever. No, not the Roman theming, the fact that they booked Macho to get rolled by Yokozuna on the RAW before WrestleMania instead of using Macho as a wrestler at this show. I feel like you can see Macho slowly wilting inside with every show he commentates.


  • They put Heenan on a camel and seated him backward. Honestly, I felt bad for the elephant and the camel they brought out here. Imagine being trained by a bunch of likely negligent trainers just so you can show up and do tricks for the crowd at one of the worst WrestleManias ever produced.


  • The Ross-Savage-Heenan booth, short-lived as it was, is one of my favorite three-man booths in wrestling. Mostly, I like it because it’s a mishmash of styles so that even when they’re off, they’re entertainingly off because they don’t work well with one another.


  • Hey, Luna Vachon! Oh, and Shawn Michaels. I forgot that Luna was tagging around with Michaels for a minute there in ’93. Sherri shows up to back Tatanka. Savage crudely insinuates that no one would fuck Luna because she’s ugly. That was a totally unnecessary comment! Tatanka is a league-average wrestler, so he needs Michaels to be on to elevate this match, and he also needs it to have an interesting finish. Michaels is bumping around like a maniac, but the finish stinks (the ref signals for the bell when Tatanka’s got Michaels beaten because HBK attacked him earlier – though they call it a count out victory for Tatanka). That finish is so bad that this match is a match that I always forget happened before at this show. The crowd seems to enjoy it well enough, though, especially the near falls at the end. It’s solid work, mostly thanks to Michaels killing himself to produce something good.


  • I just don’t get the need to protect Tatanka’s winning streak for as long as they did. They ended up breaking it for Ludvig fucking Borga instead of, say, Michaels here. Had this ended with the spot where Michaels hits the SCM on a diving Tatanka, I think this match is much better remembered.


  • On another note, did they set the Luna/Sherri stuff up solely on RAW? This is around the time that, as Cobra Commander noted earlier, they would split angle stuff up between RAW, Superstars, and Wrestling Challenge with little consistency. Some angles seeped through from RAW to the B- and C-shows, but not all of them.


  • They go so far as to set up a Luna/Sherri feud that after Luna attacks Sherri in the post-match of the opener, Ross announces that Luna attacked Sherri again off-camera during the Headshrinkers/Steiners match. I was genuinely excited for this match, by the way, and my excitement was rewarded. There’s a wild spot early on where Samu grabs Scotty and backs up to hotshot him, but Fatu pulls the ropes down and Scotty just goes flying face-first to the floor. Afa follows up with a cane shot to Scotty. Holy fuck, that ruled.


  • So, Scotty’s the FIP, and I think the Headshrinkers are pretty enjoyable in control. I do prefer Scotty as the hot tag and not the FIP, though. The FIP segment is long and only ends when Samu finally whiffs on a top-rope headbutt attempt. Rick doesn’t know that in pro wrestling, Samoans have very hard heads that cannot be harmed with a headbutt, though, so when he smashes his opponents’ heads together, they just headbutt him back. We get another nice spot where Rick reverses a Fatu top-rope crossbody attempt into a powerslam while he's seated atop Samu’s shoulder; after that, the match breaks down and Scotty lands on his own neck hitting a Frankensteiner for three. That was easily the match of the night.


  • Matt Bourne is pretty great in this Doink persona. He’s endlessly entertaining. He cuts a promo before coming to the ring and making Crush look like a complete doofus. Doink basically outsmarts Crush at every turn during this feud to the point that turning Crush heel was the only move left. It’s weird because, as not-good as Crush is, he’s got a finisher and a theme that people genuinely like, and I don’t understand why they booked him like this.


  • We get some wandering brawling at ringside to start and it looks like Crush should cruise to victory. Crush rolls Doink while I wonder what psychological trauma, in kayfabe, that Big Josh went through that made him become Doink? Do you think it was wearing that unflattering flannel, jorts, and work boots look every night? Do you think it was that he was driven to change his own name as a failed Rat Pack member and wrestle for relative pocket change in front of five hundred people in Alpharetta, Georgia while Ted DiBiase and Jim Duggan got to keep their names and make big money in the WWF? I wonder.


  • Anyway, Doink does get some control eventually before Crush makes his comeback. Crush even gets a Cranium Crunch on for a second. However there’s a ref bump off that Cranium Crunch attempt and soon enough, there appears a second Doink. The most fabulous one of the Doinks runs out and clocks Crush with another fake cast twice and the Doinks do a mirror image deal. I enjoy it immensely. Doink gets three and it gets a small pop. Oops! That’s what happens when you book the heel to be smarter at every turn than the dopey face with the shitty Hawai’ian accent! Bill Alfonso has to come out here and tell on Doink – Alfonso and his incessant rulebook bullshit, dammit - but the refs can’t find the second Doink, so the result stands, fuck you Alfonso.


  • Ross calls Todd Pettengill “Todd Pettengale,” which is still too much respect shown to Todd Pettengill. I’m bummed that we’re in the Todd Pettengale era, by the way.


  • Razor Ramon wins a semi-competitive squash over Bob Backlund. Not much to say about this, but the booking of Razor sucks. He’s another heel who is getting over as a face because of his music, his toothpick throwing, his finisher, and his promos. As shitty as Crush’s Hawai’ian accent is, uh, well actually, Hall’s Cuban accent is also shitty, but the Latin wrestling fans I've known adopted Razor as one of their own anyway. At least the Cuban, Puerto Rican, and Central American ones I’ve known have. The crowd cheers when Razor toothpicks Backlund and then chants RA-ZOR RA-ZOR RA-ZOR. Turn him face already! Razor doesn’t even hit a Razor’s Edge in this thing; he small packages Backlund for three. We should have gotten a Razor’s Edge on Perfect for three instead, but whatever.


  • I forgot that Luger jumped Bret and hit him with the metallic forearm at the press conference before this show. I would have been interested in that feud, but it didn’t happen from memory.


  • At least we get this Money Inc./Hogan and Beefcake match over in the middle of the card. Ah, once this is over, no more Hogan on this show. I look forward to a Hogan-free main event. This match has a post-Mid South DiBiase, a Hogan who is past his physical prime, Beefcake, and Rotundo/a. As you might guess, it’s not very good.


  • Hogan shows up with that black eye that he got for sordid reasons, right? Hold on, let’s Google it: Oh yes, allegedlyRandy Savage was being incredibly creepy to Liz, even for him, and Liz left and hid out with Linda Hogan, and then Savage found out and put it to the Hulkster. I believe it, and maybe that’s because I know it’s been at least partially verified based on multiple accounts of Randy and Liz breaking up. Maybe it’s also because on commentary, Savage is like OH YEAH LOOK AT IT LOOK AT IT LOOK AT THE HULKSTER while the camera is close up on Hogan’s fucked-up eye.


  • So yeah, Money Inc. gets beaten up, walks away to save their titles, and then – and I guess the head ref can do this? – the ref (via the Fink) is like, You can lose your titles on a count out now LOL and so we’re subjected to more of this match. Hogan plays FIP. Money Inc. stinks in control. There should be a double-countout, but Hogan steals the Undertaker’s whole sit-up deal at nine and, though Hogan’s not on his feet, Hebner stops the count anyway. Hogan is an adequate FIP I guess, and finally…oh no, now Beefcake is FIP. Beefcake’s selling is peak cartoon ‘80s, and it’s bad. Finally, there’s another hot tag and then Jimmy Hart flips his jacket so that it's lining side out, and the lining happens to be striped like a ref’s shirt, and Hart counts the three. The whole sad affair ends with a second ref DQ’ing the nominal babyfaces and said nominal babyfaces trying to beat the hell out of the ref. Hart stops them to do it himself. I judge everyone in this Vegas crowd who enjoyed even a second of that.


  • Nat King Cole’s supremely talented daughter Natalie, R.I.P. to both, is shocked that Hogan and Beefcake opened up the Halliburton that Money Inc. left behind and tossed the money inside to the crowd – “It was real money!” – and I think she’s actually sort of enjoying this show. Wait, I want to revise my previous statement. I judge Natalie Cole for nothing except for her excellent singing.


  • So, let’s bounce back after that nadir with…oh man, Perfect/Luger. It should be good on paper, but actually as an older fan, I realize that Luger and Hennig are both best with the right opponent, and they are not the right opponents for one another.


  • This match isn’t bad, but it’s a little plodding. It’s at least relatively short, so the plodding nature of the thing doesn’t set in too much. Perfect finally unloads a ton of okay offense on Luger and cuts Luger's comebacks off at every turn. Perfect swings his forearm at Luger’s dome, but it only gets two. Luger swings his forearm at Perfect’s dome and knocks him clean out. Between those two events, Perfect lands one of the uglier missile dropkicks that you’ll ever see and then goes for a backslide, but Luger reverses and gets three after using the ropes for leverage.


  • Post-match, Hennig runs Luger down backstage. Luger is casually talking to Shawn Michaels, and Perfect gets transitioned into a feud with Michaels after HBK grabs a mop and wallops Perfect with it. Two guys whose best qualities are wildly bumping for good offense and whose worst qualities are trying to hit good offense. How did I not see that this would be a series of disappointing matches as a kid?


  • Undertaker wins the only match in his streak that he scored victory in by DQ against Giant Gonzalez. It stinks. Formaldehyde gets involved. The crowd chants for Hogan to come out here and right this wrong, which I blame for giving Hogan certain ideas about writing wrongs in tonight’s main event. Anyway, I think they should have just run the SummerSlam match between the two here instead and given ‘Taker an opponent of a higher quality. I still like Bam Bam as an Undertaker opponent who has decent enough matches with him instead of all this Kamala and Gonzalez stuff.


  • Hogan cuts an ominous promo before the main event in which he talks a whole lot about Bret Hart and makes sure to verbally place the Hitman beneath himself (“I know [Hart is] a Hulkamaniac!”). Then, he challenges the winner to a title match and racially slurs Yokozuna *sigh*. As infuriating as the slur is, it’s extra infuriating because in kayfabe, Yokozuna is a Samoan guy who went to Japan to become a star sumo wrestler, not a Japanese person. Should it matter? No. But it does to me.


  • What’s lost in all this is that Bret and Yoko had excellent chemistry and could probably have a good match together in their sleep. It’s also wild that they had two straight WM main events against one another that no one ever talks about because, even though the matches themselves are good, the finishes are so bad that we’ve just mindwiped these matches from our memories. WM IX itself is full of terrible finishes, actually, which is a big part of what I think makes this card so derided. Sure, Hogan on top again at the end of the night is a big part, too, but boy was this card unsatisfying from the perspective of match finishes. Only the Steiners tag and Razor/Backlund had anything resembling a clean finish (and the second of those matches had a totally unsatisfying clean finish where we didn’t even see a Razor’s Edge, the wildly over finishing move of the winner). When it comes to fuck finishes, the Doink/Crush match is the only one that made sense and was effective in any fashion.


  • Yoko just annihilates Bret early on. The crowd chants U-S-A. Shall I be charitable and assume that they’re doing it to annoy the America-hating Yokozuna? No. I won’t. This crowd is sort of dopey and doesn’t realize that Bret is Canadian, that’s what it is. Bret working from underneath against a bigger opponent is one of the most enjoyable types of match in pro wrestling, in my humblest of opinions. Bret dodging the Yoko corner splash and then firing off the 5MoD and scoring successive two-counts gets some nice pops. So does Bret knocking Yokozuna down with a flying clothesline. I think my second-biggest complaint about this match is actually how short it is. I get it – Yoko’s conditioning is probably not great even at this early point in his run – but this is a good match that has glimmers of something really good if only it got more time. And yet, we move to the finish pretty quickly; I think Yoko should have at least had to drop a leg to get three. I don’t think mere salt is putting the Hitman down for the count.


  • So yeah, the post-match crap has been talked about to death. It sucks, yeah. I guess at least it leads to the excellent KotR ’93 where both Bret and Yoko have excellent performances and are booked like they should be booked?


  • This show is as awful as advertised.


  • OK, I guess I’ll finish the Big Five of 1998 stuff even though Vinnie’s all over those shows, but after that, I’m pretty much good on WWF stuff for awhile. Shoot, I got Peacock well before Peacock acquired WWE’s catalog, but I probably shouldn’t even be using it to watch Nitro. Then again, everything sucks and is bad and watching ‘90s WCW probably isn’t going to make Comcast throw a ton of money at a company that will get tons of money thrown at it anyway. I am but a mere cog in the machine…which I bet is how Bret felt after that egregious finish to the show.
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It's a Tuesday Afternoon, time to watch more wrestling.

This time, I'm going to something I thought about watching but haven't gotten around to yet.

The Mae Young Classic (Season 1/Episode 1)

We start with a video package as Stephanie McMahon started the Divas revolution and now we have a 32 woman tournament for the Mae Young Classic.

We are at Full Sail University for this one. They dug up Jim Ross for this one. Lita is also on commentary for this tournament.

Kay Lee Ray and Princesa Sugehit have some words before their match.

Round 1: Kay Lee Ray vs Princesa Sugehit. Oh for fucks sake, Jim Ross is doing his 2012 NXT stuff about reminding us that only the winners advance in this tournament. Jim. That's every tournament. Even the ones for the Mid-South TV title medallion in 1984. I'm gonna have to ignore JR, aren't I. Nice trip and foot on the back by Kay Lee to Sugehit. Nice counter of that Gory Special (?) by Kay Lee into a sunset flip. Got some real fun offense followed by JR being surprised that he was seeing an Oklahoma Roll in this match. Sugehit wins with an armbar after Kay Lee misses a move off the top. I think "missed big move and submission end" happened a few times in the Cruiserweight Classic so I was prepared.

We get some words from Vanessa Borne and Serena Deeb. You see Vanessa is more than just a cheerleader. Meanwhile, Serena Deeb was here before but was released for not living the gimmick.

Naomi is in the crowd for this one.

Round 1: Serena Deeb vs Vanessa Borne. Borne with a bit of an implied garter belt look connecting her boots and rest of the outfit. Vanessa is also of Samoan heritage. Borne starts off in control of this matchup. Serena gets some momentum but misses her furious charge directly into the turnbuckles. Nice samoan drop and a pin with both legs hooked by Vanessa. Serena wins with a spear.

Hey, it's Charly Caruso in the Control Center before she left the WWE and went all-in on the grift

We got words from Zeda and Shayna Baszler.

Round 1: Shayna Baszler vs Zeda. Really appreciate that the titantrons for these people are just "HERE IS HOW THEY SPELL THEIR NAMES". Hey it's Ronda Rousey and Marina Shafir cheering on Shayna. Not sure about this Zeda strategy of trying to wrestle with Baszler. Zeda gets a move in, but Baszler beats her with the choke as we find that there's a 3rd person in the Ronda friend section who didn't get an on-screen graphic.

We got some words from Jazzy Gabert and Abbey Laith. Jazzy Gabert is a tremendous ring name. Jazzy Gabert is from Germany and looks like she fronts an 80s punk band. Abbey Laith is inspired by Mae Young.

Round 1: Abbey Laith vs Jazzy Gabert. Not entirely sure about JR's hypothesis about Jazzy Gabert looking even more intimidating than Shayne Baszler. Jazzy kicks this one off by just kicking some ass and throwing Abbey around. Abbey gets some hope in and that Tarantula looks nice. Jazzy Gabert really is the name os somebody who is an old time entertainer. Nice senton by Abbey. Jazzy hits her with a lariat, does some pounding. Then her big move is countered into a sunset flip and Abbey Laith gets the win. Well, file Jazzy Gabert away in the category of people that made a good impression and only worked one match. Like Da Mack did in the Cruiserweight Classic.

We get a preview of the matchups something up. Additional footage courtesy of Shimmer.

Now it's time for.

The Mae Young Classic (Season 1/Episode 2)

We get some words from Xia Li and Mercedes Martinez. Xia has studied Chinese Martial Arts and wants to bring Chinese Culture to the fans. 

Round 1: Mercedes Martinez vs Xia Li. Xia bringing the rhythmic clapping on her intro. I like the lack of lighting in the Full Sail arena and really this should be more of a standard if feds weren't concerned about being accused of hiding empty seats with lighting. Xia had some nice kicks. Martinez wins in a few minutes with a gnarly looking modified dragon sleeper.

So Sugehit and Marcedes Martinez go at it in round 2.

We get some words from the second generation Rachael Evers. Hey, we're doing fake last names for people getting billed as second generation. As is tradition, they're leaning directly into "her dad is Paul Ellering". Also we get some words from Marti Belle who if you didn't notice from her outfit, is Dominican.

Round 1: Marti Belle vs Rachael Evers. Rachael Evers does show energyyyy with her intro. Jim Ross is happy that Rachel's parents let her make up her own mind about wrestling after college. Some fercious kicks and strikes from Rachael. That was an interesting cradle into a powerbomb by Rachael. Rachael wins with an inside cradle out of nowhere. Well. Alright.

So Abbey Laith vs Rachael Evers. How will that compare to Jazzy Gabert vs Marti Belle in the alternate universe.

Shadia Bseiso and Kacy Catanzaro are also in the crowd.

"Earlier this week": Triple H said stuff in the performance center.

I'm amused at Jim Ross doing reads for Rocket League for some reason.

Miranda Salinas and Rhea Ripley have words. Boy does "blonde Rhea Ripley" seem really weird looking back on it.

Round 1: Rhea Ripley vs Miranda Salinas. WWE officials are really excited about Rhea Ripley, which turned out to be an accurate enough call. There was some hope for Salinas at times before Ripley really started kicking some ass. Rhea wins with a full nelson slam. Blonde Rhea had a "Charlotte Flair" look to her and it's pretty obvious that they made the right decision on changing her look up.

We got some words from Mia Yim and Sarah Logan. Mia Yim has an inspirational story. Sarah Logan is from Kentucky and she went to Japan 4 days after graduating high school to train as a wrestler.

Beth Phoenix and Natalya are also watching this.

Round 1: Sarah Logan vs Mia Yim. It really helps the speed of my typing that they keep having the second prematch promo wrestler enter the ring first. In light of recent news, there's a few ways to interpret "domestic violence survivor womens wrestler who the WWE didn't have anything for until Vince lost power", isn't there? (but there's a few strikes in play here). Sarah Logan in some peril before escaping a submission hold. Sarah withstands some offense and gets some in but Mia wins it with an armwring/kick.

Mia Yim will take on Shayna Baszler in round 2.

One more?

The Mae Young Classic (Season 1/Episode 3)

We get some words from Toni Storm and Ayesha Raymond. That tiny hat and "gang member in a Death Wish movie" stripe makeup did not turn out to be the most unusual look that Toni Storm would unleash. 

Round 1: Ayesha Raymond vs Toni Storm. Well, Toni was going ass-based offense back then too. Kinda wild how many mainstays of womens wrestling in multiple promotions are in this tournament. Raymond takes a chance, misses, and Toni Storm wins with a rollup.

We got more famous people watching (Sara Amato and Charlotte Flair)

Lita gets to do the Rocket League read this week.

Words from Kavita Devi and Dakota Kai. Apparently all of India is praying to God that Kavita Devi wins this tournament. Well that was a promo. Dakota Kai kicks hard.

Round 1: Dakota Kai vs Kavita Devi. Lots of orange on Kavita, she's also a product of the Great Khali school of wrestling. Lots of "grabbing the arm/wrist" offense from Kavita. Cool looking military press by Kavita. Kavita makes one error, Dakota hits a stomp off the top, and Dakota wins it. Tough blow for India.

Dakota Kai will face Rhea Ripley in round 2.

The Rock's family is at ringside. Also Nia Jax is with them. Lots of excellent hair in that section.

Got some words from Bianca Belair and Sage Beckett. Bianca looks almost the same except younger. Sage Beckett has been around the world.

Round 1: Sage Beckett vs Bianca Belair. JR doing his best to note that Bianca Belair went to three SEC schools. Nice splits splash by Bianca. Interesting seated full nelson slam by Beckett into a side cradle as Beckett is a bit larger than Bianca. JR with a Mr. Wrestling 2 namedrop after a kneelift (I'd say Beckett's kneelift is more of a thousand dollar kneelift than a million dollar one). Beckett takes too much time on a splash and Bianca takes advantage, uses her hair as a whip, and wins with a spear. So we're just gonna keep doing "move missed directly goes to the finish" finishes for this one.

Words from Santana Garrett and Piper Niven.

Round 1: Piper Niven vs Santana Garrett. Underrated matchup of excellent hair here. This one seems to have a little bit more fire to it than other matchups but maybe i'm just imagining things. Nice swinging headscissors by Santana. Nice jumping swinging DDT by Garrett as this is a pretty good matchup. Nearfall on a Niven splash after avoiding a bulldog out of the corner. Missed splash by Garrett, splash by Niven, and Niven wins with a Michinoku Driver.

Piper Niven takes on Serena Deeb in Round 2.

And now, let's wrap up the first round.

The Mae Young Classic (Season 1/Episode 4)

Words from Renee Michelle and Candice LaRae.

Round 1: Candice LaRae vs Renee Michelle. JR talking about the sense of urgency from Candice as this JR/Lita commentary team has a little bit too much 2010s JR for my tastes. I'd describe Candice LaRae's hair at this time as "similar to a member of ABBA". Nice swinging neckbreaker off the top rope by Candice LaRae for the win. That feels like it would be a bit of a crazy move if it was done by guys too.

We hear from Lacey Evans back when her gimmick was a little more direct and a little less mismanaged. We hear from Taynara Conti in a mix of English and Portuguese. The WWE Network is an underrated resource for finding future AEW people (partly because a chunk of the AEW Roster was cut by the WWE a few years ago).

Alexa Bliss is in the crowd too.

Round 1: Taynara Conti vs Lacey Evans. A battle as old as time, American Hero with a 1940s homage look vs a Brazilian judoka in hot pants. You don't have to change this look of Lacey Evans much if you wanted to get weird and do a Sailor Moon look instead of leaning into the marketable parts of Lacey Evans (yeah there are actually some). Tay unleashing the judo offense in this one. That was a cool looking swinging sidewalk slam. Lacey Evans wins with what i'd describe as "dropping herself onto Tay to avoid a sunset flip".

Lacey Evans will take on Toni Storm in the second round.

Words from Reina Gonzalez. He's the daughter of Rick Gonzalez who wrestled. Also she has a hat. Also words from Nicole Savoy, who does suplexes

Round 1: Nicole Savoy vs Reina Gonzalez. JR does his "go to college before wrestling talk" again. Chaps and an eyepatch is a look. Savoy gets out of firemans carry and wins with a cross armbreaker. This was sorta there.

Candice LaRae will take on Nicole Savoy in the second round.

Words from Tessa Blanchard and Kairi Sane.

Shinsuke Nakamura is in the crowd.

Round 1: Kairi Sane vs Tessa Blanchard. Guessing Kairi Sane is the only wrestler walking out with whatever a boat steering wheel is called. Tessa Blanchard has to be up there for people who've cost themselves a lot of money without being on a main roster. Tessa would have been all over TV if not for being unpopular and having a variety of other mostly self-inflicted problems. Not sure how side the opening was in-between being unemployable because you're a serious women's wrestler and being unemployable because you're maybe/possibly/probably racist but Tessa didn't make it through that opening. Dueling chants from fans. Tessa with some fierce offense early in this one. JR is a little bit more energetic for this match. It's entirely possible that Kairi put her work in to make both her and Tessa look awesome but this is probably a good final match to do for this tournament. Nice senton by Tessa. Sunset flips, counters, more counters. Kairi doing solid body language crowd work. That elbow looked really cool and that's how Kairi Sane wins the match.

Kairi Sane will face Bianca Belair in the second round.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW, the first Mae Young Classic

Kay Lee Ray: currently on the WWE roster as Alba Fyre
Princesa Sugehit: last spotted in CMLL
Serena Deeb: just returned to AEW afrer an injury
Vanessa Borne: working indies as Danielle Kamela
Shayna Baszler: currently on the WWE roster
Zeda: working indies as Zeda Zhang
Abbey Laith: known as Kimber Lee, retired from wrestling in 2023
Jazzy Gobert: working in Germany

Mercedes Martinez: currently on the ROH roster
Xia Li: currently on the WWE roster
Marti Belle: working indies
Rachael Evers: currently under her real name Rachael Ellering on ROH
Rhea Ripley: currently the WWE Womens Champion
Miranda Salinas: working as Miranda Alize
Sarah Logan: currently on the WWE roster as Valhalla
Mia Yim: currently in the WWE as Michin

Ayesha Raymond: working in England
Toni Storm: currently the AEW Womens Champion
Dakota Kai: Damage CTRL member on WWE programming
Kavita Devi: hasn't worked since 2019
Sage Beckett: hasn't worked since 2018 (oh she was trained by Bubba Ray, that explains her doing the same full nelson slam that Bubba did)
Bianca Belair: currently on the WWE roster
Piper Niven: currently on the WWE roster
Santana Garrett: on the WOW roster, available on the CW

Candice LaRae: currently on the WWE roster
Renee Michelle: working in various indies
Taynara Conti: just returned to appearing on AEW programming post-pregnancy
Lacey Evans: currently on OnlyFans as Macey Estrella
Nicole Savoy: working indies
Reina Gonzalez: currently on the WWE roster as Raquel Rodriguez
Tessa Blanchard: working in CMLL
Kairi Sane: Damage CTRL member on WWE programming

If my information is right, that's 12 of 32 still on the WWE roster.

I'll watch the other 5 episodes of this sometime later.

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I don't know how many of the 32 I had never heard of before watching those 4 episodes (and some are in the "you know them under different names" realm) but I had never heard of Jazzy before today, I was impressed, and I was surprised that she was one and done

the fun thing about watching this, or the CWC, is the element of surprise in who wins, either because of even matchups, or not knowing who ranked where on the totem pole at the time

it's a more uptempo version of Bobby Eaton vs Greg Valentine on WCW Worldwide in 1997 where you don't know who goes over because neither has been pushed in awhile.

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On 1/25/2024 at 4:08 PM, SirSmUgly said:

I guess I’ll finish the Big Five of 1998 stuff even though Vinnie’s all over those shows, but after that, I’m pretty much good on WWF stuff for awhile

Maybe Vince's 98 stuff will be a little easier to bare than the 1999 stuff where he's working as a babyface for like 1/3rd of the year. Some of that might overlap with the other reasons why 1998 WWF was better than 1999 WWF.

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25 minutes ago, Cobra Commander said:

I don't know how many of the 32 I had never heard of before watching those 4 episodes (and some are in the "you know them under different names" realm) but I had never heard of Jazzy before today, I was impressed, and I was surprised that she was one and done

Especially considering she's Masahiro Chono's stepdaughter. (I don't think she's literally his stepdaughter but they're very close and consider each other family, and even New Japan called her as such during an interview they did with her, so... maybe!)

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decided to watch some more wrestling that's on the 0s or 5s

and this one is almost to a 30 year anniversary

Things I remember from watching "The Night The Line Was Crossed":

Todd Gordon is very official looking in his videotape introduction as you can tell from the map behind him.

Sal Bellomo has a weird outfit. Mr. Hughes beats him in a few minutes.

Sandman/Cairo vs Pitbull/Rebel double dog collar was a messy brawl as one would expect. Joey dropped an Imelda Marcos reference in regards to how many outfits Jason has. In 1994! Only one murderer in this match, IIRC.

Public Enemy vs Bruise Brothers was even messier and was all over the crowd. Joey Styles kept wondering about the Harris Brothers home life. I think this was the second reference to Frankie Randall, which just happened a week before. Joey Styles in 1994 was still a bit unpolished and leaning on things that either he stopped doing, or we got used to later. Joey Styles commentary as they were brawling around his table felt a bit dubbed even with his reactions as it happened.

Jimmy Snuka played a heel like he was zombified. He kept Superfly Splashing Tommy Dreamer until he started bleeding from the mouth. Then Snuka axhandled Todd Gordon. Weird how long Snuka lasted here.

Kevin Sullivan introduced at over 300 pounds, bullshit. Pat Tanaka called Patrick Tanaka like he's in the York Foundation. Sheik throws fire. The match ends quick. The Sheik does more brawling with Sullivan. Taz might have been shorter than Kevin Sullivan.

JT Smith vs Mike Awesome might be the second most memorable part of this show for a few reasons. Awesome goes balls out on Smith. Smith wins with a rollup. Awesome attacks the ref. The top rope snaps off and Awesome faceplants. Awesome doesn't show up again for like 3-4 years (on checking Cagematch, Awesome was in the ECW Arena a month later but not again until 1997). Kinda feels like a few lost years to not have Awesome around when the promotion was actually good.

It feels like people have considered the three way dance overrated for long enough that it's superfluous to say it's overrated. The format of the match was basically Sabu and Shane for 15 minutes with enough hints that they were gonna go 15 minutes, then Sabu hurts himself (holy hell were the ropes loose that night), so it's Funk and Shane until Sabu comes out. Then the entire thing descends into anarchy for like pretty much the rest of the match. The Rottens show up. Sherri does a lot. Then we do the obligatory "yeah, this is going to a draw" sequence at the end. I can't really say it was overrated because I wasn't watching before it happened, so compared to what came before, it was fresh. Compared to what came after it, well.. quite a few "hey, this is the best quality we have" notices for this match so I guess the official copy was pretty rough or they couldn't iron out every problem. I can see how this wasn't put on TV in it's entirety like how a lot of ECW Arena shows ended up on Hardcore TV.

Independence Ballroom Salon C? didn't know ECW was so fancy for press conferences. It doesn't seem like any press were actually there. But that's only marginally worse than if they were. Shane Douglas showing up in a Steelers hat. We got enough wrestlers around to break up the brawl at the end of the press conference.

I haven't watched a lot of 1994 ECW, but yeah, you can see that the video production standards improved a bit by 1995.

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time for more old Wrestling

World Championship Wrestling (1/28/1989)

Last week, Ricky Steamboat returned and pinned Ric Flair in a tag team match

Tony and Jim Ross run down tonight's show before Ricky Steamboat joins Jim and Tony. Then he brings out his wife and son.

Match 1: Michael PS Hayes and the Junkyard Dog vs Max McGiver and Bob Emery. The classic tag team of a man in a sparkly Confederate robe and a black man who was once blinded by the man wearing that Confederate robe. Hayes was described as being 27 (nope) with 10 years experience (also nope) [29 and he debuted in 1977]. Hayes and JYD getting their cardio in by having this one go for a few minutes. JYD also pulling the job guys up to keep the match going because yeah sure. This one finally ends with Hayes hitting a DDT for the win.

JJ Dillon and Butch Reed join Jim Ross as it's nobody's business why Butch Reed is here.

Match 2: Butch Reed vs Alan Kensey. This match started during the JJ part of the promo. Butch Reed gets the win with a side headlock. Which, might not have been the plan. So Butch Reed gets a postmatch beatdown in on this guy.

Match 3: Kendall Windham vs George South. Bold to claim that Kendall was growing each week in January 1989. Barry Windham shows up to watch this one as we're teasing something that didn't actually end up happening for a few reasons. Kendall spends a long time putting George South in an armbar. "A very aggressive style we're seeing here" as Kendall enters the 15th hour of putting George South in an armbar. World Championship Wrestling has a new address if you wanna send them stuff. Which should tell you about the tempo of this match that they're doing housecleaning matters during it. After all that arm work, Kendall wins with a bulldog out of the corner.

Match 4: Eddie Gilbert vs Agent Steel. Eddie Gilbert in a Chi-Town Rumble t-shirt (if AEW is gonna keep an ad for their next PPV on the big screen, maybe the wrestlers can wear t-shirts for their next big show). The fun part of masked job guys is the "going for the mask" spot as if we would know what to do with the information about what Agent Steel looks like. Gilbert gets the win by dropping Agent Steel's stomach over the top rope with the Hot Shot. At least he kept his throat healthy on that counter of a charge.

Match 5: Dr. Death and Mike Rotunda vs Mike Jackson and Trent Knight. There's a natural rivalry between the Varsity Club and the JCP/WCW job guys because i'm sure nobody with a college education is doing jobs for WCW at this time in history. Would the Junior Varsity Club be made up of aspiring Varsity Club members. "It's like two mob families" "I'm sure Ross knows all about mob families" "Schiavone's the Italian, he told me about it". Thanks Jim. Lex Luger is also watching this match. Rotunda doing mid-match amateur wrestling challenges with Trent Knight. Anyways, JR is comparing Varsity Club vs Road Warriors to a gangland situation as if the Road Warriors are being booed as heels. JR and Tony bemoaning that Doc and Rotunda are cheating against job guys. Doc gets the pin with the Oklahoma Stampede.

Match 6: Ricky Steamboat vs Russian Assassin #2. Got a mention of Ricky Steamboat teaming with Paul Jones many years ago. Ricky playing some of the hits as Ric Flair walks out to rant about last week. Ric seems unhappy with Ricky Steamboat bring his wife and kid out. "THIS IS WRESTLING, THIS IS NOT FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT". Ricky Steamboat gets the win with the bodypress and then he takes out the other Russian Assassin and Paul Jones. Then Ric Flair stomps around the ring challenging Steamboat. So Steamboat hits him with a plancha that almost connects, which is a batshit crazy plan at Techwood. Then Steamboat takes a two on one from Flair/Windham for a few moments until Gilbert comes out. Then the heels unleash a beatdown. Flair's kneedrop to the back of Gilbert's head as he's on the floor is some quality violence. Then we go off to a break.

Tony and Jim stand closer to the camera than usual as they talk about Eddie Gilbert being stretchered out.

Match 7: Dick Murdoch vs Mike Justice. Jim Ross apologizes for talking about the main event angle when we have Dick Murdoch putting Mike Justice in a side headlock on the mat. Ric Flair is apparently handling this stress negatively. This match provides a perfect opportunity for them to mention the future house shows. Dick Murdoch wins with an elbow drop.

Match 8: Lex Luger vs Jerry Price. Lex Luger, former offensive lineman. Certainly a bit of a change even with how offensive linemen weren't all 300+ plus once. Also the wrestlers try to work out every day even with the travel. Lex wins this one with the Torture Rack.

Chi-Town Rumble! February 20th! (yeah, they're running a Clash on February 15th and a PPV on February 20th). Ric Flair defends the title against Ricky Steamboat! Road Warriors vs Dr. Death and Kevin Sullivan. Lex Luger vs Barry Windham. Rick Steiner vs Mike Rotunda. Midnight Express vs Midnight Express. Sting in a special challenge match.

And there's a graphic reminding us of the Clash too. (On checking Wikipedia, man, that Clash looks like a chore to get through)

Jim Cornette promo with a "Chevy Chase wanted to go to Wallyworld" reference.

Match 9: Midnight Express vs Rick Allen and Keith Steinborn. Lots of fun with the babyface Midnight Express established on a firm foundation of "the guys we're facing are bigger bastards than we are". We have yet another shot of somebody watching a match with Paul E. Dangerously. This time with a threat of impending violence between the two Midnight Express teams. Midnights win with the Vegomatic.

Match 10: Rick Steiner vs Eddie Sweat. This is for the TV title. Congrats on your big match, Eddie. Jim Ross talking about how the Browns fans would love Steiner with the Clash being in Cleveland. Rick Steiner just yeets Eddie Sweat onto his head with a German Suplex. Steiner wins with a Belly to Belly suplex after taking instructions from Alex.

Rick Steiner and his dog are interviewed by Tony Schiavone after thsi one. Rick Steiner refers to Mike Rotunda as both "Mike Stupid" and "Mike Retardo". The dog is just silent looking like he's unsure of what's going on. BTW, the Rick Steiner/Commando Ray Candy match for the Clash didn't end up happening.

Match 11: Road Warriors vs Randy Hogan and Bill Holiday. Roadies slide into the ring and unleash the squash. Hawk hits his dropkick. Road Warriors win with the Doomsday Device as Bill Holiday might have landed on his head.

Paul Ellering looks like a man hiding from a private investigator during this Road Warriors postmatch interview. We'll see Tenryu for the first time on February 15th (dun dun dun)

Match 12: Ivan Koloff vs Gene Miller. Between these two and Teddy Long, everybody in the ring is bald, as Jim Ross notes. It's nice to know the same basic format of "try to have 12 matches in 2 hours" is still a thing at this point of the show. Also the thing where first hour squashes go way too long and second hour squashes have to end within 4 minutes or else. Ivan gets a win with the famous Soviet Hold, a Boston Crab.

We go back to a closeup shot of Jim and Tony to introduce a replay of what happened earlier with Ric Flair, Ricky Steamboat, Barry Windham, and Eddie Gilbert. Ric Flair has already been fined for what happened an hour ago, which is efficient. "Eddie Gilbert took my bullet" says Ricky.

And that's all for this week as our Dusty-free program keeps charging forward.

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4 minutes ago, zendragon said:

Did George South ever get a bit of a run somewhere? He seems really highly regarded for just being a job guy

Outside of his own promotion? Dont think so. 

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I have been watching, very slowly, post Irish McNeil's Mid-South/UWF, and I'm just about at 1987. I think I'm good with going further. The Jake Roberts NA Championship switches pretty much had me ready to tap out. 

Now, I'm going to watch World Class on the Network, which starts in '82. I can sum up my Mid-South watch by saying 1983 Mid-South is now on my top five favorite years for a wrestling promotion. I'm unsure whether it beats out 1992 WCW or not. Weirdly, my deep and abiding love for 2015 NXT means that I'm also not sure if I like '83 MSW more. What the heck, who needs to rank 'em? It's in my top five, that's enough. 

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the legend I always heard was that the 24/7 era World Class episodes with intros by Kevin and Michael Hayes included Hayes basically saying "hang in there, it's gonna get good soon" for the earlier episodes. I haven't watched that run of World Class, but I got the impression that the Freebirds showing up livened the place up big time

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'82 is great, too, especially JYD, Roop, and Orndorff. '83 is when DiBiase hits his stride as a heel and Butch Reed and TA show up though, and I like it a little better.

But you could order '82 - '84 MSW in any order of greatness and I would get it. Both '82 and '84 are also up there for me.

I'd go '83 > '82 > '84 myself

Edited by SirSmUgly
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