What the World Was Watching: WWF Superstars – January 22, 1994

WWF Superstars

-Vince McMahon and Stan Lane are in the announce booth and are pumped for the Royal Rumble tonight.

-Opening Contest: Ludvig Borga vs. Tim McNeany:

McNeany tries hitting Borga from behind with an axe handle off the top rope to start the match, but it doesn’t faze Borga and he kills McNeany with a clothesline. Oh well, can’t fault him for trying. Borga hits a vertical suplex with a ridiculous amount of hang time as Tatanka appears in the split screen and hypes the match that they won’t have at the Royal Rumble tonight because Borga was injured prior to the airing of this show. Borga gives McNeany a flapjack and after toying with him for a while he puts him in the backbreaker rack for the submission win at 2:18. So long Ludvig, we’ll miss you.

-It’s WWF update time with Gorilla Monsoon. He talks about the Quebecers regaining the tag team titles from Marty Jannetty & the 1-2-3 Kid at Madison Square Garden this past Monday. This means that the titles will be on the line at the Rumble tonight when the Quebecers face Bret & Owen Hart. So why were the tag titles taken off of the Quebecers in the first place?

-Doink (w/Dink) vs. Cory Student:

Doink brings Dink to the ring in a stroller and Dink blinds Student with the flash from his camera. Bam Bam Bigelow appears in the split screen and says that he will win the Rumble tonight. Meanwhile, Doink outwrestles Student and cradles him for the pin in 33 seconds. I’ve never seen an opening wrestling sequence actually lead to a finish. I guess Student needs to go back to wrestling school.

-Jim Ross hypes the Royal Rumble and the Royal Rumble hotline. Ross doesn’t function very well in this role and I don’t know why they have him doing this when they are going to have Todd Pettengill do the same thing later in the show.

-Paul Bearer is on a buggy with Yokozuna’s casket loaded into the back of it. As he pulls away, the Undertaker says that Yokozuna will rest in peace.

-“The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels (w/Diesel) vs. John Crystal:

We get a guest ring announcer for this one and he does a decent job. Michaels talks about his Rumble chances in the split screen as he runs the ropes with Crystal. Michaels catches Crystal with a side suplex, which would have ended this thing if it were 1992, and drills him with a flying forearm. Crystal’s blind charge eats buckle and Michaels catches him with a superkick, which would end this thing if it were 1995. A beautiful pogo piledriver finishes at 2:35. I liked Michaels using the piledriver as a finisher in 1993/1994, but the superkick was a better finisher for his main event push.

-Todd Pettengill delivers the Royal Rumble report.

-Adam Bomb & “The Model” Rick Martel (w/Harvey Wippleman) vs. The Smoking Gunns:

McMahon reminds us that Bomb and Martel didn’t get along before the 1993 Survivor Series so that’s something to keep an eye on for this match. Bomb attacks Billy from behind to start and Stan Lane reminds Billy that you can’t turn your back on someone who has radiation sickness. Remember that kids. Billy hiptosses Martel after Bomb tags him in and applies an armbar as the Smoking Gunns talk about the Royal Rumble match in the split screen. Bart goes after the arm, but Martel whips him into the ropes and Bomb pulls down the top rope causing Bart to fall to the floor. Bomb clotheslines Bart on the floor as Martel distracts the referee. Back in, the heels dominate Bart until a Martel blind charge eats knee. Billy gets the momentum swinging tag and all hell breaks loose. The Gunns give Bomb a double dropkick and double clothesline him out of the ring. Martel gets treated to a double side Russian leg sweep, but before the referee can count the pinfall Wippleman runs in and creates a disqualification at 4:19. After the match, Martel gets into a shoving match with Wippleman, which causes Bomb to stick up for his manager. I don’t think the problems between these two were ever settled in the ring. As far as this match was concerned, I wish these guys had been given more time. Grade: D+

-Ross hypes the Rumble hotline some more and interviews Shawn Michaels, who claims he’s the undisputed Intercontinental Champion and that he hopes IRS defeats Razor Ramon tonight at the Rumble.

-Crush (w/Mr. Fuji) vs. Dan Dubiel:

Crush pounds away, but a blind charge eats buckle. Dubiel tries to take Crush off his feet with a couple of clotheslines, but that doesn’t work. Dubiel goes for a flying body press off the second rope, but Crush catches him with a powerslam. Crush hammers away some more as he talks about the Rumble in the split screen. A claw off the ropes becomes a Kona Crash and that gets the submission at 2:33.

-Ray Rougeau interviews Bret and Owen Hart about their tag team championship match at the Royal Rumble tonight. Owen says things are fine at home and tonight is going to be his big break. Bret concurs and makes the Quebecers aware that they are going to lose their tag team titles tonight. Owen did a fantastic job playing the ambitious younger brother here and I always thought he was better on the mic than Bret.

-Men on a Mission play us out with a Royal Rumble rap. The Rumble is coming!

The Final Report Card: Another great series of squash matches fill up today’s show, but I wish one of them was taken out and that time was given to the feature tag team match. Judging from these shows you would assume that the Undertaker would win the casket match and/or Luger would win the Royal Rumble, but neither of those things happened at the pay-per-view. Bret was nowhere near the WWF title at this point, but he won the Rumble with Luger and suddenly became a main event presence again. That booking is strange based on how they set up all of these January shows and I can’t fault Luger for getting angry with Vince over never getting a run at the top. If there was ever a time to give Luger the belt it was at SummerSlam 1993 or at WrestleMania X and neither took place.

Show Grade: C

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,