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Please click through for the Best and Worst of WWF Monday Night RAW for May 3, 1993.
Worst: Hacksaw Jim Duggan As Brain-Damaged John Cena
This week’s opening contest (and main event, since they basically booked every early Raw card in reverse) is Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels against Hacksaw Jim Duggan at his most immobile and American.
There are certain things you expect from a Jim Duggan match and this is all of them, assuming it’s Fourth of July weekend and you’ve left them all sitting out in the sun for a week and a half. Imagine all the worst parts of pro-America John Cena in the body of a screaming illiterate guy who looks like the godless lovechild of Kurt Angle and Bob Seger. That’s 1993 Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Gen-1 Angle singlet and all, and he is so American his offense is STANDING STILL AND PUNCHING. That’s it. He is STANDING HIS GROUND. Even his drool is symbolic. Shawn Michaels is trying to wrestle a match against a cigar store wooden Indian draped in a flag.
I’ll never understand patriotic WWE guys. I mean, I get it, but I don’t know why it ever comes up in conversation. If you’re Hulk Hogan and Sgt. Slaughter’s challenging you for the WWF Championship and he is a military guy who jumps ship to the enemy in the middle of the Gulf War then yeah, wrap your ass in Old Glory and hold bald eagles over your head and tell people how much you love America. But like, why does it even come up in a 1993 singles match against Shawn Michaels? Everybody’s American and nobody’s anti-American. How does “I LOVE THE COUNTRY MOST OF US LIVE IN” become the defining characteristic? Guys like IRS are all, “I only care about taxes. I’m wrestling but this is ABOUT TAXES, MOSTLY.” Can those guys not love America? Can you not be a wrestling garbage man and also love America enough for it to count? Do you only get one attribute at a time? Is it impossible to love our country and hold a job? If you buy a jacket with a flag on it are you committed to 3-to-5 years of announcing your opinions on America?
Worst: The Entire Show Is Built Around It
Anyway, the finish of the match is Duggan clotheslining Michaels out of the ring and Michaels bailing, causing a count-out. Duggan is John Cena in this situation so instead of just realizing he lost the match to the Champion’s Advantage and moving on with his life, he stages a SIT-IN where he tosses a bunch of chairs into the ring and refuses to leave until the match is restarted. When that doesn’t happen, Duggan gets on the phone with WWF President Jack Tunney and demands satisfaction. This is so important Mean Gene has to interrupt his King of the Ring report to put his finger in his ear and announce it as “breaking news.”
Tunney is a bad president so he’s like, “sure JD, whatever you want baby” and makes a lumberjack match for next week. Now Shawn Michaels won’t be able to run away! To explain this, they do another Jim Duggan interview where his eyes cross so hard it crushes his nose. Michaels gives a show-ending interview in the locker room acting terrified of Duggan, and the announce team yells excitedly about how he’s going to lose the Intercontinental Championship. The crowd chants gay slurs.
The entire show is built around this one seemingly impromptu mid-card angle. Imagine if Xavier Woods turned on Big E or something at the beginning of Raw, and then every character on the show spent 2 1/2 hours dealing with the fallout. Wouldn’t that be weird?
Best: You Better Get Ready To Bow To The Masters (Of Clowning)
Doink gets a squash match next and it’s against the most legendary jobber of the era in his Raw debut: The Kamikaze Kid, aka the 1-2-3 Kid, aka Sean Waltman, aka X-Pac and Syxx and Syxx-Pac and whatever else. Any combination of numbers and a child or a pack. This guy.
It’s great, too, because Doink just MURDERS him, and the Kid gets zero offense. Doink stretches him and punches him the face and does these weird, guttural screams while the announce team chuckles to themselves about there being more than one Doink. It’s a huge disconnect between what’s happening in the match and what’s happening in their heads. Savage tries to bring it back around to DOINK’S A GREAT WRESTLE-ER, JUPITER SAT-TURN YEAH DIG IT but Vince is barely interested. He’ll just end a sentence with one of those grammatically stupid bundles of words that sound like wrestling analysis. Like, “I’m hungry. I’m going to go get a hot dog. Great in-ring ability possessed by one Doink the Clown.”
Best: The Social Studies Teacher Steps In To Stop A High School Bully
Bob Backlund vs. Duane Gill. And it takes like TEN MINUTES.
That’s the best part of 1993 Raw: the fact that they’d put together a match like Bob Backlund vs. Duane Gill and give it like, 12 minutes. That’s just what they were doing with their show. Backlund was gonna get catch-as-catch-can with somebody way, way below him and they were gonna do it forever.
If you pretend wrestling’s a legitimate sport and not an entertainment program you can write to be entertaining when it isn’t naturally, it’s a good decision. A guy like Backlund wins via old timey wrestling holds and counters, so even if he’s a former WWF Championship who held the belt for 3 years and he’s facing one of WWF’s statistically worst wrestlers of all time he’s not gonna truck him, he’s gonna gently armbar him and roll him around until he gets the pin. It’s a style choice. That kind of thing could add incredible depth to a wrestling program if it was carefully monitored and controlled, but in practice it’s just two of the worst looking dudes you’ve ever seen taking 3 minutes to counter a headscissors. Do you get what I’m saying? It’s a really good idea, and not the best wrestling show in the world.
The difference between Backlund and Gill is hilarious, though. It’s the difference between Hank Hill and Dale Gribble.
Best: 20 Years Of Billy Gunn Are About To Begin
Here’s some good news: the Smoking Gunns have never made sense.
They’re cowboy brothers who are also wrestlers. They announce that they’re going to start wrestling by doing cowboy stuff, which makes me wonder if they announced their intentions to be cowboys by stripping down to their underwear and doing hammerlocks. But yeah, no, they’re about to debut in the World Wrestling Federation so they finish each others’ sentences and shoot some bottles. YEE HAW!
The best part is that they act like identical twins. They say the same dialogue, they dress the same, they stand shoulder-to-shoulder even though they’re in a f*cking field, etc. It’s got a real The Shining vibe to it, except about wrestling cowboys.
Best/Worst: IT’S THAT SAMOAN BLOOD MAGGLE
If you watched the WrestleMania 31 main-event, you heard JBL explain every aspect of Roman Reigns’ personality and actions as him having Samoan blood. Roman could pick his nose and JBL’d go THERE’S THAT SAMOAN BLOOD WE WERE TALKIN’ ABOUT MAGGLE, HE’S PIGGIN’ A WINNER! Keep in mind that Samoans are not mutants, no matter how happy it’d make Vince McMahon to see Roman sprout wings and fly off into the heavens.
The new plot point for this episode of Raw is that the Headshrinkers have returned, and they’re EXTRA SAMOAN. They bring out the sad, post-Super Mario Bros. Super Show Captain Lou Albano to talk about how he used to manage them and be able to wrangle their savageness or whatever but how now “something’s wrong,” and they’re out of control. It’s that scene at the beginning of sci-fi action movies in the 90s where a scientist is pointing out how all the chinchillas in this one region of the world are suddenly BLOODTHIRSTY and how this is because EVOLUTION and ADAPTATION because LIFE WILL FIND A WAY. 80 minutes later Treat Williams is battling a giant chinchilla with a xenomorph mouth.
So yeah, the Headshrinkers spend about 15 minutes superkicking and throwing around these barely-trained jobbers while Albano goes, “oh man, these Samoans, what a bunch of subhuman monsters.” It’s good in the way that wrestling savages are inherently kinda stupid and good, and then bad in the way that wrestling savages are super not good.
Worst: These Guys
These are the jobbers. TV.com identifies them as “Jim Bell and Tony Roy.” WWE Network’s nav bar describes them as “Jay Sledge and Unknown Wrestler.” The on-screen graphic might as well say “mannequin and mannequin’s shadow.”
Worst: This Week’s Blockbuster Main Event
Kamala vs. Rich Myers. WATCH YOUR BARNS, GRAMMAW, CAUSE THEY’RE BURNING!
The best part of the show is that they did two Mindless Savages gimmicks in a row. Three if you count Bob Backlund.