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Please click through for the Best and Worst of WWF Monday Night RAW for April 26, 1993.
Best: See You Never, Rob Bartlett
After three months as the worst regular color commentator in WWF history, Rob Bartlett has been compromised to a permanent end and replaced by Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan. That’s such an upgrade. That’s a Chyna to Stephanie McMahon upgrade.
If you’re new to the column and are starting with this random April 26 nothing episode for some reason, Bartlett was just the wrong guy in the wrong place at the wrong time. He belonged in front of a brick wall at a bad 90s comedy club opening for Elayne Boosler, not sitting in Vince McMahon’s armpit and trying to analyze Doink the Clown matches. I’m sad Bartlett never got an official goodbye, though, and that they kept him around for a week instead of saying Luna Vachon carried him to her chains-and-curtains house and slaughtered him. Luna should’ve returned to Raw wearing Bartlett’s head for a hat like it’s King Cuerno’s deer.
Anyway, before the end of the match, Heenan “pulls Vince aside” on live commentary and asks him to get rid of Savage, because they don’t really need him. Bobby Heenan is the greatest. Rob Bartlett died in Las Vegas and we’d been listening to his ghost for three weeks.
Worst: Mr. Perfect Can’t Get A Good Match Out Of Damien Demento
Damien Demento is so pointless and boring that “he looks like a venus flytrap eating a human penis” is the only joke I’ve ever written about him. I tried to pinpoint what makes him so terrible, and I think I’ve got it: his walk. Fire Pro would call it his Fighting Stance. When he moves around the ring he’s in a permanent squat (permasquat), so even when he’s being whipped into the ropes he looks like he’s in stealth mode in GTA 5. He’s trying to look “sinister” and “demented,” but he looks like one of those dudes in a haunted house who’s into it, but not good enough to be a featured monster. This guy’d be dressed like a clown and told to put his hands up and yell “boo” when you turn a corner. That’s his entire skillset.
Mr. Perfect is Mr. Perfect, but he can only do so much. Demento can’t do anything but creeping into a double ax-handle, so Perfect has to make his own fun. At one point he gets whipped into the turnbuckle but it’s not hard enough to send him rebounding, so he does a weird high-speed Flair Flop. It’s right behind Shawn Michaels jumping to the bottom rope and doing a Phoenix Splash to nothing on the All-Time Top 10 Worst Ways To Sell Bumping Into Furniture Padding.
Perfect gets the win with a Perfect Plex. Watching at home, Rob Bartlett writes “NANCY KERRIGAN” on a notepad just in case.
Best: The Greatest Moment In Raw History
The announce team starts talking about going to local middle schools and telling children to stop bullying and doing drugs or whatever and nothing seems out of the ordinary. They talk about children writing essays and Macho Man’s like DIG IT FREAK OUT FREAK OUT. Big obnoxious thumbs up. They cut to a little girl reading hers, and it’s the most amazing, dark thing you’ve ever heard.
The essay, I shit you not, is about her being at her own funeral and having to see her family cry because she SMOKED POT and it KILLED IT. She thought there was hope in dope but there was NONE, and that hopelessness manifested itself in INSTANT CHILD DEATH.
The entire, magical transcript:
It sure is dark in here.
There’s not a lot of room in here, but it’s soft and comfortable.
Wow! It’s light! I hear music.
It’s the choir singing my favorite song. They are singing ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.’
Now the pastor is giving a sermon.
I don’t know exactly what he’s saying, but it must be really important.
I hear music again. And I also hear people crying, they are very sad.
Oh! There’s my Aunt Donna! I haven’t seen her in a long time.
The last time I saw her was when we were at the family picnic.
Wow! There’s my Grandmother and my sister.
Now I see my mother and my father. T
hey are looking at me very sad but I know they must be angry,
because all of this did not have to happen if I did not do drugs
If it wasn’t for drugs I wouldn’t be lying in a casket, making everybody unhappy.
It all started with peer pressure.
My friends kept asking me to try drugs so I tried it and got addicted.
I wish I had a chance to tell all my friends, “there’s no hope … with dope.”
AND THEN THE UNDERTAKER APPEARS OVER HER SHOULDER.
He repeats, “there’s no hope with dope,” and this little girl’s essay was so powerful it SUMMONED THE UNDERTAKER. Bray Wyatt should’ve skipped the months of promos and coffin burnings and magical urns and just written a 5th-grade book report about weed.
Best: Lex Luger
The secret mission of these 1990s retro show columns is to make the world aware of how great Lex Luger could be. He’s been the secret ace of early-1996 WCW, but my memories of him in WWF were just “Heenan always sounded like he wanted to f*ck him, then suddenly he loved America and then he was gone?” Lots of question marks.
Luger wrestles Kona Crush, advertised as “the original Hawaiian” by Vince McMahon, and it’s … not bad. Luger’s wrestling himself, basically, and it’s kind of impressive. Crush slams him, so Luger rolls out of the ring and makes a crazy face and yells WHAT WAS THAT??? By the time Crush has him in the DREADED HEAD VICE Crush is completely gassed, and Luger’s clutching Crush’s hands to his head and LEAPING INTO THE AIR to sell it. Crush is clearly not moving his arms, and Luger’s working him like the world’s toughest marionette. It’s great. It gets so ridiculous Heenan has to come up with explanations for it (“he’s trying to fight out of it!”).
Aside from that, it’s just two big guys throwing massive powerslams and throwing each other around, and yep, the Secret World of Super Worker Lex Luger continues. Every time I go back to the mid-90s I feel like I’m watching the end of The Usual Suspects. I’m gonna find LUGER’S GOT GREAT FACIALS on the bottom of my coffee cup.
Best: WWE’s Randomly Occurring Fascination With Mr. Hughes
The next match of the night pits Mr. Hughes against Jason Knight, aka JASON, the ECW branded SEXIEST MAN IN THE WORLD. In my headcanon he’s the Cable-esque future lovechild of Marcus Alexander Bagwell and Scotty Riggs who returned to this time period to make sure the American Males never break up, but he arrived a little early, got lost in the wrestling business and eventually failed. That’s what you don’t see him at shows anymore. His beauty was too much and he simply vanished from the timeline.
Anyway, Mr. Hughes. If you aren’t familiar with his work, he’s Black Big Bubba. That’s it. A big, fat, surprisingly mobile guy in a fedora and business clothes. He had runs in every major promotion in the United States (and some abroad) despite never having good matches and never connecting with the crowd. You might remember him as Chris Jericho’s bodyguard “Gotch Gracy” from the original WWF Y2J run, and you might remember him disappearing without warning. That’s the legacy of Mr. Hughes. Important enough to be everywhere, but not important enough to stick around.
Hughes also benefitted from WWE’s love of middling Giant Black Guy pushes, which happen every year or two with a new body. Big E, Ezekiel Jackson, Mark Henry and all the way back. They get it in their heads they need a “big scary black guy” and put him on the show, and then go “oh, wait, we didn’t give this guy a character other than some snarling and a skin color, sorry, creative doesn’t have any additional ideas.” So then the guy gets progressively less and less scary until he’s a joke or he’s gone.
Mr. Hughes squashes Jason Knight and they both think it’s going somewhere.
Worst: SHAWN IS GAY
Let’s ask the WWE Universe what they think of this Shawn Michaels promo.
He stands in the ring with the Intercontinental Championship and tells Vince McMahon that New York sucks and he hates being here. He says he’ll beat his opponents because he’s better than them. The crowd’s response? A massive, promo-long SHAWN IS GAY chant. Some of them even do fey hand gestures like they’re shooting a phantom basketball. A full, limp-wristed SHAWN IS GAY chant.
Shawn sorta no-sells it, but Vince can’t stop making these exaggerated OH BROTHER faces like the one in the picture. I kept waiting for him to say, “LISTEN TO THESE PEOPLE, THEY’RE SAYING THE WORST POSSIBLE THING YOU COULD SAY ABOUT SOMEONE. I MEAN BESIDES BAD BREATH. OH GOD YOU DON’T HAVE BAD BREATH TOO, DO YOU?? ONE TWO HE GOT HIM NO HE DIDN’T”
In the middle of the promo, Heenan drops a deadpan line that saves it all. “They’re saying ‘Shawn is great. Shawn is great.'”
Worst: Not Everything Heenan Does Is Great, Though
For some bizarre reason they encourage Heenan to do a Rob Bartlett’s Greatest Hits tribute and watch TV during a match. He flips through the channels making jokes about whatever else is on while Vince goes WAIT JUST A MINUTE. If they have him dress up like Elvis next week and eat a peanut butter and banana sandwich for an hour I’m skipping ahead to 1996.
Worst: Typhoon Wins Again
The pop culture phenomenon that is TYPHOONMANIA continues with a win over Von Krus. You think it’s going to be the main event, but LOL, nope.
WORST EVER: The Marriage Of Green Lantern Fan
This actually happened.
If you’ve been to a Ring of Honor show … uh, ever, you’ve seen “Green Lantern Fan.” He’s a terrible beardo who usually sits in the front row and times the matches, despite not being an employee of the company and nobody ever needing to know match times. During most of ROH’s great moments you’ll see arenas full of people standing and jumping and pumping their fists and losing their minds while Lantern sits quietly, staring down at his watch. He’s “Green Lantern Fan” because he wears Green Lantern shirts to wrestling shows. He’s a “themed fan” like Sign Guy or Brock Lesnar Guy, on a much smaller level.
The legend of Green Lantern Fan has been passed down from generation to generation and is the story of the very worst possible wrestling fan. This is all going to sound like rumor and hearsay, but feel free to source it around the Internet … the guy has groped female wrestlers, thrown water bottles at wrestlers, lifted up women’s skirts, stormed out of buildings because he was unhappy about ref bumps, and, in his greatest moment, crashed Chris Candido’s wake so he could meet slash creep on a bunch of wrestlers. Dude went to a wake to meet wrestlers.
He still goes to shows, too. I ran into him at King of Trios last year. He wanted a picture with Teddy Hart, so he just walked up to me, stuck out his camera and started at me. When I just stared back and didn’t respond, he said, “take a picture?” That’s Green Lantern Fan. A fan who is not going to enjoy the wrestling show unless he’s the most precious, entitled one there. Speaking on a purely “guy going to shows” level, he’s everything you’ve ever said or thought badly about people who support pro wrestling.
Anyway, Lantern makes his WORLD TV DEBUT on this episode of Raw, having contacted the WWF about wanting to propose to his girlfriend. They cut to him in the front row throughout the show and give him exaggerated heart graphics like he’s in a Saved by the Bell dream sequence, building to this huge romantic moment. When it actually happens, he has to be coached through it, probably because he never actually wanted to marry this lady, he just wanted to be on TV and have wrestling people talk about him. It all ends with him getting rejected, and the announce team trying desperately to salvage it. YOU GONNA GET MARRIED ON RAW RIGHT? YEAH? OKAY WELL YOU SAID NO BUT WHATEVER WE’LL FIGURE IT OUT.
It’s such a wonderful time capsule of wrestling fan culture. I just wish it’d gone like this:
“Dear, you are the love of my life. I couldn’t imagine living another day without you. Will you be my wife, and stand by my side for eternity?”
“are you wearing a green lantern shirt to the wedding”
“Well obviously yeah”
*jumps off bridge*