WWF @ Madison Square Garden - January 17th, 1994
by Scrooge McSuck
- I'm sure everyone knows this already, but I love New York. I grew up in New York for a good 13 years of my early years and love (almost) everything about it. When it came to sports, I loved the Yankees, Knicks, Rangers, and Giants. When it came to sporting venues, it was Yankee Stadium and Madison Square Garden. In the early years of my life, before the explosion of PPV, the MSG Network would frequently air WWF shows on friday and saturday nights, and they always seemed like PPV quality shows to me (sometimes). When I stumbled across this show and noticed it's highly unusual card, I had to watch it. I'd like to mention that this show is courtesy of HandHeld footage, meaning someone illegally taped it from the crowd.
NOTE: The opening match between Scott Putski and Iron Mike Sharpe (Editor's Note: "Yarrrrrrgh!!") is not included here. Sorry about that, but if anyone really cares, Putski won with the Polish Sausage. I'm sorry to upset anyone that was looking forward to reading about that match.
- Rick Steiner vs. Ludvig Borga:
Pretty famous match, only for the explanation of what the hell happend to Borga. Crowd quickly starts in with taunting Borga, and Steiner roots them on. Borga responds with the "kiss my ass" gesture. I don't know if the bell rang or not, but they're prepared to wrestle, anyway. Steiner ducks a grapple attempt from Borga, and we waste a little more time. Repeat. Lockup finally, and Steiner grabs a side headlock. Borga powers out with a back suplex, and Steiner rolls out of the ring in pain. Back in the ring, and we get the same exchange, except roles reversed. Steiner heads to the top and quickly takes Borga down with a bulldog for a two count. Big pop for that, by the way. Lockup into the corner, and Borga goes to work with a series of knees. Whip to the corner, but Borga lunges into the Steinerline! That only gets a two count. Borga is quickly on his feet and puts Rick down with a right body hook. Borga continues dominating with his punching. Whip across the ring, and Borga drills Steiner with a clothesline. Borga to the top rope with a flying clothesline, but that's only enough for a two count. Irish whip is reversed, and Steiner puts Borga down with a powerslam for a two count, then goes to the armbar. Haven't seen one of those in a while... Irish whip, and Rick connects with a back elbow and elbow drop for a two count. Steinerline for another two count, then back to the armbar. Irish whip is reversed, and Borga comes off the ropes with a diving clothesline. That gets a two count. The action spills out of the ring, where Borga continues to control the action. Rick fights back and nails Borga with a chair, but it's not a DQ? Both men end up being counted out, though, at around the 7:30 mark. Borga continues to beat on Steiner, slamming him on the concrete floor, then drops a leg across his chest. Steiner with a low blow, and now he works over Borga... and then I think it happens, as Borga tries to power-lift Steiner, slipping in the process, and fucking up his ankle pretty damn good in the process, to the point he was not only removed from both the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania X PPV's, but eventually released, never to be seen again. Personally, I don't believe the rumors of him getting the WWF Title around this time frame, just to throw that out there. Not a "good" match by any means, but watchable. That's really all you can hope for, here.
- WWF Intercontinental Championship Match:
Razor Ramon © vs. Jeff Jarrett:
Nothing was really going on between these two for a good 7-8 months after this. Ramon was feuding with I.R.S. over his stolen jewelry (what an angle), and Jarrett had recently debuted, doing nothing of note, as of yet. Shouldn't come as a surprise who walks away with the belt here. Jarrett steals the belt from the referee and struts around with it. Both men are wearing purple, maybe hinting at a secret alliance with Men on a Mission in the Purple Pants Posse. Lockup, and Ramon wins that one, easily. Jarrett complains about a hair pull. Another lockup has the same results. Jarrett heads out of the ring for some good old fashion stalling. Jarrett pulls Ramon out of the ring, rams him into the ring post, and then over the security railing. Back in the ring, and Jarrett is in clear control of the match. Jarrett heads to the top rope and comes off with his signature fist drop. That's only gonna get him a two count. Snapmare takeover and chinlock applied by Double J. Ramon fights back to his feet before a yank of the air thwarts that comeback. Ramon finally escapes, but has his face slammed into the canvas for his troubles. That's gonna leave a grease mark, my friend. Jarrett with choking across the middle rope. Irish whip, and Double J connects with a beautiful dropkick, for a two count. Ramon with a surprise roll up gets a two count as well, but Jarrett regains control. Jarrett comes off the top rope with several fists t the chin. Third times a charm? Of course not! Irish whip, and Jarrett applies a sleeper hold. Grr... is Ramon going to do anything in this match besides lay down (in the non-jobbing way)? Ramon escapes with elbows and plants Jarrett with a chokeslam. Both men are down and out! Ramon drapes an arm across Jarrett for a two count. Ramon hammers away on Jarrett and puts him down with a spinning roundhouse. Irish whip, and Jarrett nails the referee with a cross body press... oh no, not the Michaels finish. Razor's Edge attempt, but here's Shawn, right on cue, to save Jarrett. Ramon fights them both off, and this time connects with the Razor's Edge! Michaels pulls Ramon off at the count of two and super-kicks him for his troubles. The referee obviously awards the match to Ramon by Disqualification (around the 13:00 mark). Ramon chases off both heels with the IC belt. Boring match. Ramon did very little, and Jarrett controled with the memphis heel crap.
- WWF Championship Match:
Yokozuna © (w/ Mr. Fuji) vs. Tatanka:
I feel a little "bleh" about this as a championship match. I liked Yokozuna to a degree, but I never really got on the bandwagon for Tatanka. Yokozuna was gearing up for the Casket Match with the Undertaker, and Tatanka was kind of in the transition of feuds with Ludvig Borga and I.R.S. Yokozuna tries to jump Tatanka entering the ring, but Tatanka clears him quickly. The action spills outside, where Tatanka rams Yokozuna into the ring post. Back in the ring, and Tatanka hammers away. Yokozuna drops Tatanka with a back elbow, but misses his fat-assed leg drop, then misses the ridiculously fake elbow drop he always misses. Tatanka with a cross body from the top rope for a two count. Tatanka with a side headlock. Tatanka tries a shoulder block, but that only staggers the big man. Tatanka tries again, but gets a chop to the throat for his troubles. Yokozuna with a BIG headbutt to put Tatanka back on his ass, and now it's the vulcan neck pinch of doom! Tatanka fights back up, but is quickly sent back on his ass thanks to a flabby-arm clothesline. More resting from Yokozuna. Come on, man, you didn't do THAT much to warrant this much resting. Whole lotta' drama here. Yokozuna continues to control as I continue to slip into madness with each passing second. Yokozuna is resting enough to fill the entire nights quota, just in the last 4-5 minutes. Note to promoters everywhere: If your champion can't wrestle five minutes without being winded, DON'T book him in 20-minute matches! It's just common sense. I understand the card is a little light in terms of number of matches, but jesus. Tatanka fights back (again), and comes off the top rope, right into a Yokozuna fist. Yokozuna connects with an elbow drop for the first time in seven years, and the first intentionally ever! Whip to the corner, and Yokozuna misses his ass-avalanche. Both men are down and out! Tatanka drapes the arm over Yokozuna for a two count. Yokozuna goes back to work on the neck of Tatanka, and, you guessed it, goes back to the resting. This resting has brought on my first yawn of the night. Hopefully it will be my last. Tatanka starts doing his War Dance Comeback, and hammers away with a series of chops. To the top rope, and Tatanka comes off with a clothesline for a two count. Whip to the corner is reversed, and we get another referee bump, as Tatanka wipes out Earl Hebner. Yokozuna grabs the salt bucket, and disposes of the most dangerous aspect of it... the salt. Tatanka blocks and bashes Yokozuna over the head with the bucket. That only gets a slow two count. Tatanka heads to the top rope, but Fuji knocks him off with the Japanese flag. Yokozuna with a fat ass leg drop, and thats enough for the three count at around the 14:00 mark. My God, I thought that match would never end. After the match, Yokozuna drops ass on the unconcious Tatanka. Yokozuna makes sure to make Tatanka a part of the canvas. Well, that sucked. Now let's never speak of this one again.
- WWF - Tag Team Championship Match:
Marty Jannetty & The 1-2-3 Kid © vs. The Quebecers (w/ Johnny Polo):
Interesting decision here. It was exactly a week earlier on the 1st Year Anniversary of Raw that Jannetty and the Kid pulled off the upset to win the tag titles from the Quebecers. During the Raw broadcasted the same night this show took place, Stan Lane was giving by the minute updates of what was going on. If you watched Raw that night, you had to know something was up. For the three of you who forgot, Johnny Polo would go on to much better fame as Raven. We got the honorary heels pose for boos, faces pose for cheers segment of a tag match stalling for time. The Quebecers attack from behind, naturally. Irish whips are countered, and the faces hammer away in the corner. Simultanious mounted punching and the Quebecers doe-see-doe into a pair of dropkicks. Clotheslines from both champs send the Quebecers over the top and to the floor. Crowd chants 1-2-3 as the heels strategize outside the ring. Things get under control, and we're left with Jannetty and Jacques in the ring. Jacques wants a test-of-strength, but the crowd isn't aproving of the that one. Jacques with a boot to the chest. Irish whip, and Jannetty takes over. The Kid tags in and we get a double hip toss and nip up before Pierre clotheslines both back to the stoner party. Both men nearly blew the nip up, by the way. The Quebecers dump the Champs out like yesterdays garbage and embrace in the center of the ring. Kid and Marty slide back in and superkick both Quebecers out of the ring. Jannetty with a plancha, but the Quebecers catch him, so the Kid follows up with a suicide dive to take everyone out. Jacques gets thrown back into the waiting arms of the Kid, and a criss cross of the ropes leads to Pierre tugging down the top rope, and the Kid spilling to the floor. Pierre throws him into the security railing and steel steps, to add insult to injury. Back in the ring, and Jacques covers for a two count. rish whip, and Jacques connects with a back elbow, then stomps away. Pierre then uses the tag rope to choke the life out of the 1-2-3 Kid. Scoop slam by Jacques, and Pierre tags in to drop a knee across the chest. Pierre with a snap suplex, then heads to the middle rope, missing a leg drop. Both men tag out, and Jannetty is a house of fire. Diving elbow to Jacques, cheap shots to Pierre and Johnny Polo. Irish whip, and ths time Pierre catches Jannetty, only for heel miscommunication to occur. Jannetty with a roll up, but Pierre comes in and kills him with a clothesline.
Pierre works him over a bit, snapmares Jannetty over and applies a reverse chinlock. Jannetty escapes but is quickly put back down with a knee to the midsection. Irish whip and some double teaming by the Quebecers, culminating with Jacques slamming Pierre on top of Jannetty for a two count. Rear chinlock applied by Jacques. Jannetty brings up the knees on a sit-down splash attempt, and now both men are out of it again. Pierre knocks the Kid off the apron to prevent the hot tag, though, and plants Jannetty with a swinging neck breaker. That's only good enough for a two count. Pierre chokes Jannetty across the middle rope and splashes him across the back. Somehow, Jannetty boots Pierre in the crotch, but Jacques tags in and continues working over Jannetty. Irish whip and diving elbow by Jacques for a two count, broken up by the Kid. Pierre comes back in to stomp away on Marty. Irish whip, and a BIG back drop sends Jannetty way up and down. Irish whp, and Jannetty tries a sunset flip on Jacques. Jacques blocks and Jacques punches the canvas, but still is okay enough to turn Jannetty inside-out with a clothesline. Pierre tags in and quickly applies a bearhug. Jannetty smacks the ears of Pierre and takes him over with a hip toss, but misses the follow up elbow drop. Jacques hammers away on Jannetty in the corner, and the Quebecers nail the double team leg sweep/clothesline to a mild face reaction. Jannetty was always pretty good at taking an ass kicking, as I sit through another Jacques rest-hold. Jannetty fights off both Quebecers in the corner with boots and elbows, but Pierre trips him up from the apron. Slugfest between Jacques and Marty until Jacques back drops him over the top and to the floor. Johnny Polo, in full view of the referee, throws Marty back into the ring, but that's not a Disqualification. Jacques sets up and connects with a vicious piledriver, but opts not to cover. Pierre in, and Jacques back drops him onto nothing. Jannetty with a surprise roll up, but that only gets two. Pierre in and quickly plants Jannetty with a side suplex. Pierre to the middle rope, and he jumps into a Jannetty boot. I've always hated that spot, just to state for the record. The Kid FINALLY gets the hot tag, sling shot clitheslining Jacques in the process. Spinning heel kicks for everyone! The Kid heads to the top, but Polo crotches him. Pierre climbs up now, and it's a Super-Plex! Jacques casually hovers over the Kid to talk trash... and nothing happens? Pierre to the top rope, and the Tower of Quebec connects! Pierre with the cover, Jacques prevents the save from Jannetty and we have NEW Tag Team Champions at around the 20:30 mark. Have to say that wasn't much of a surprise, other than questioning putting the titles on the Kid and Jannetty in the first place. Still, pretty good, old school style tag match. If I had to rate it, I would probably say ***, give or take.
- 30-Man Royal Rumble Match:
I'm sure everyone is familiar with the rules of the Royal Rumble match. This time, we've got two minute intervals (give or take), so we're guaranteed at least an hour of exciting WWF action! No idea why they went with this on a house show. It wasn't exactly a common match to run with other than on PPV. I reviewed this match about 5-years ago in super-detailed form, but that would probably seem long to include here, so I'll just make quick comments in case of anything interesting happening. Diesel gets #1 and Men on a Mission's Mo gets #2. Diesel gives us a preview of what he would do at the PPV making quick work of Mo. #3 is Bushwhacker Butch, and he suffers the same fate. #4 is the 1-2-3 Kid, still selling for the match about twenty-minutes earlier, so Diesel takes care of him too. The Kid seemed to have injured himself during his elimination, taking him out of the Rumble match at the PPV. Scott Steiner is #5, and he ends Diesel's destruction and puts on a good little thing. #6 is Iron Mike Sharpe, and Steiner quickly throws him out. #7 is Samu of the Head Shrinkers, and he just fights with both guys in the ring. Bob Backlund is #8, Jeff Jarrett is #9, Virgil is #10.
#11 is Bam Bam Bigelow, and there's just way too many people in the ring right now. #12 is Randy Savage, and now we get some awesome-ness. Savage quickly goes to work on Diesel, and eventually eliminates him after about 21:00 in the ring. Jarrett tries his luck with Savage, and he's tossed as well (just like he did during the PPV match). #13 is Adam Bomb, and he doesn't add much to the action. #14 is Sgt. Slaughter, a definite surprise entrant, I would say. He helps Backlund and Steiner to toss out Bomb. Crush is #15, and obviously, goes at it with Randy Savage for most of the two minutes. Somewhere in between, Crush disposes of Scott Steiner. #16 is Mabel. Crush finally sends Savage back to the dressing room, and it's bang-bang time! Bigelow is gone after a failed elimination attempt on Crush, then Slaughter does his corner bump. Jim Powers is #17 and Mabel tosses him out in about twenty seconds. #18 is Bastion Booger. Mabel gets ganged up on, but as he goes out, he takes Virgil and Backlund with him! Crush clotheslines Booger out, and now we're down to Samu and Crush. Bushwhacker Luke is #19 and he eliminates Samu. Crush makes short work of Luke, dumping him before the next entrant. #20 is Owen Hart, still a babyface, and they have a decent mini-match.
#21 is the Model, Rick Martel, and he goes after Owen. #22 is Bret Hart, and now we've got the Hart Brothers to watch each others back. #23 is Irwin R. Schyster, otherwise known as I.R.S. There goes Crush, courtesy of Bret Hart. He was in there for nearly 20-minutes, himself. #24 is Johnny Polo, another weird choice for a participant. There's just a lot of random nothing-ness going on right now. #25 is Scott Putski, and he's going to turn the tide, I bet. #26 is Fatu of the Head Shrinkers, and we've still got nothing to go with. #27 is Marty Jannetty, #28 is Bart Gunn, and #29 is Shawn Michaels. Just GUESS what happens when Michaels comes in the ring, with Jannetty still in there. You guessed it... the obligatory Rockers Round-Up! #30 is Doink the Clown to round up the participants, and we've still got everyone since Owen entered in the ring at the 20th spot. Michaels ends up back dropping Jannetty out while Doink is playing around outside the ring. Owen knocks Polo off the top rope to eliminate him, and Fatu disposes of Scott Putski. I.R.S. and Martel have a heel battle, with I.R.S. coming out on top of that exchange, sending Martel packing back to Cocoa Beach, FL. Doink gets rid of Bart Gunn, then himself gets thrown out by Michaels. I.R.S. pounds away on Bret while Fatu and Michaels work over Owen. As I say that, Bret sends I.R.S. over and out with an atomic drop.
Final Four: #20 Owen Hart, #22 Bret Hart, #26 Headshrinker Fatu, #29 Shawn Michaels:
Fatu connects with a reverse crescent kick to Bret while Michaels traps Owen in the tree of woe, then proceeds to kick him in the face about 50 times. I just noticed how loose the middle rope has gotten. Bret almost has Fatu out, but Michaels sneaks up on Hart and dumps him out instead, taking it down to three men. The heels double team Owen in the corner with punches. Irish whip, and Owen comes back with a double clothesline. Owen unloads rights on both men, but the numbers game catches up and they have him trapped in the corner again. Michaels with a double axehandle to Owen. Irish whip and Owen with a double noggin knocker, but Fatu no sells and headbutts Owen down. Razor comes out, causing Michaels to turn his attention away from the match. Owen with a spinning heel kick to Fatu sends him into Michaels, knocking Michaels over and out, leaving it down to Owen and Fatu. Owen hammers away at Fatu in the corner while Ramon & Michaels brawl back into the locker room area. Meanwhile, the middle rope snaps on the right side of the ring, so Owen chokes him out with it. Samu comes out now as Fatu hammers Owen to the ground and connects with a back breaker, followed by a headbutt. Owen holds on from elimination, and traps Fatu in the corner with shoulder thrusts. Samu helps Fatu stay in the ring and Owen mounts Fatu with rights. Bret Hart comes back to counter Samu's appearence. Fatu with a charging clothesline followed by another headbutt. Irish whip to the corner but Fatu posts himself on a charge. Owen with a scoop slam followed by a splash off the top rope! Fatu no-sells again and nails Owen with a back breaker. Fatu goes up, but Owen crotches him on the top turnbuckle. Owen with a clothesline, which Fatu over-sells, and Owen tosses Fatu out at 1:10:06, meaning the winner of the Royal Rumble Match is Owen Hart, lasting just about half-an-hour. Owen gets nothing for his win, of course. The Shrinkers try a post-match attack, but both Bret and Owen keep them at bay. An enjoyable match for the most part, but like a lot of Royal Rumbles, it's hard to make it a master-piece and keep the boredom down for every single portion of the match. My main gripe is letting everyone pile up for the last 15-20 minutes, much like they did during the rumble match at the 1997 PPV. Just too much going on that didn't need to be there.
Not a bad show, overall. The Tag Title Match won MOTYN honors, the Rumble was fun for the most part, and even Steiner/Borga was watchable. The IC Title and WWF Title matches left a lot to be desired though, but that's what you get with 1994 WWF. A lot of hits and misses. Shows worth a look for the rarity factor, but I wouldn't say go crazy to watch it. Mild Recommendation to give it a quick look, if you've got the time to spare.