We’re at an exciting time in the world of professional wrestling right now. The time where we have thousands of hours of content at our finger tips. I know that I’ve spent much of the last month watching a lot of wrestling on the WWE Network. I’ve been a wrestling fan since I was ten years old and there was a lot that I missed out on, so I decided to go back and watch the stuff I missed. This includes starting from the very first episode of Monday Night RAW and watching through it in order (with PPVs) and seeing how it started out. Let’s be honest, the beginning of RAW was kind of hit or miss as there are a lot of good things - but also a lot of just horrible matches, gimmicks, etc. So, I wanted to look back on these episodes and write about the pros and cons from that era in the WWE.
I wanted to start out with one of the biggest cons from the early days of RAW, and that are the amount of squash matches. Most of these matches aren’t honestly worth your time as you know the actual Superstar is actually going to win the match. There is a silver lining in seeing these matches, however, as you get to see a lot of enhancement talent that would go on to become successful in both the WWE and other places later on in their careers. Some of the names include guys like Scotty Taylor, who is also known as Scotty Too Hotty, and PJ Walker the future Justin Credible. I also noticed Glenn Ruth (Thrasher of the Headbangers) and Big Vito there as well. It’s one of those small things that makes you pop a little bit knowing where those guys would end up.
One of the best things about Monday Night RAW can be the matches that you don’t remember happening. There are a lot of great matches from Superstars you may have forgotten about. There is a great 2 out of 3 falls match between Doink the Clown and Marty Jannetty, for instance. You also get to see a lot of fun Intercontinental title matches from Shawn Michaels and his defenses against guys like Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Marty Jannetty, and others. It was still in the beginning stages of the singles career for Shawn Michaels and great to see his heel antics coincide with his solid matches. The downside to seeing those matches you forget about can be the matches you wanted to forget about. Friar Ferguson is in the main event of an episode of Raw…..THE MAIN EVENT! And yes, it’s terrible. It doesn’t get any better when he becomes Bastion Booger and any match with Mr. Hughes or Giant Gonzalez is worth skipping as well. These guys are forgotten by many and for good reason!
There are a ton of bad gimmicks in the early days of Monday Night RAW, and that’s just a sign of the times. You have guys like Friar Ferguson/Bastion Booger, The Narcissist Lex Luger, Damien Demento, and a lot more of those. What shines, however, are those gimmicks that should be bad but end up being very enjoyable to watch. Doink the Clown should be a terrible gimmick, but the evil clown is done extremely well and both Matt Bourne along with Steve Kiern did great in the role as the two Doinks. With the pedigree of both men playing the character, you also get to see some really good Doink matches that I didn’t even realize existed.
There are also some really good storylines with some great buildups. The one that I got into was when Razor Ramon got pinned by the newcomer the 1-2-3 Kid (later known as X-Pac) as it had a slow build and was great. You didn’t see them face off again for another couple of months after the initial encounter as Razor tried to goad the Kid into facing him by offering him money. Finally, the Kid accepted and then they had a fun match until the Kid just took the money and ran off! It was good stuff, and I had forgotten that X-Pac was actually enjoyable to watch at times. Granted, storylines such as this are kind of few and far between but they did try to make these stories important which I wish they did with the current product a bit more.
Finally, I’m just going to throw out one more pro and a couple quick cons. The pro is seeing the old WWE commercials, mostly featuring the Macho Man, for their figures or Slim Jims among others. It’s a nice blast from the past. A not so nice one is having Rob Bartlett on the first few months of Raw as he didn’t really add much and was just downright terrible. It was a much better show to listen to once they replaced him with Bobby Heenan. There was also just a lot of sloppy wrestling on the shows whether it be guys who just weren’t good or guys just being lazy. Every time I see a Frankensteiner from Scott Steiner I cringe and I can’t believe he didn’t break a bunch of necks with that move.
Future Stars in Squash Matches
Good Matches from Forgotten Talents
Shawn Michaels and the Intercontinental Title
Bad Gimmicks Used Well (Evil Doink)
Certain Well Done Storylines
Squash Matches That Mean Nothing
Bad Matches from Stars That SHOULD BE Forgotten
Matches Worth Watching:
Razor Ramon vs. 1-2-3 Kid from Episode 17
Razor Ramon vs. 1-2-3 Kid from Episode 22 (The Rematch)
Doink the Clown vs. Marty Jannetty from Episode 22 (2 out of 3 Falls)
Shawn Michaels vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan from Episode 16 (Intercontinental Title Lumberjack Match)
Mr. Perfect vs. Ric Flair from Episode 3
Either way, watching old episodes of Monday Night RAW is very entertaining whether it’s enjoyable or just plain terrible. With a vast amount of footage to watch, I’d like to look at the pros and cons of different subjects on the WWE Network. If you guys have any ideas, please feel free to email me at TrevorOsz@spiderduck.net.