Monday Night Raw – January 31, 1994: The Tax And Coin Toss Show

Monday Night Raw
Date: January 31, 1994
Location: Fernwood Resort, Bushkill, Pennsylvania
Attendance: 1,600
Commentators: Vince McMahon, Irwin R. Schyster

We’re finally on a new taping cycle and that means we’re getting ready to start the build towards Wrestlemania X. In that case we need to have some clarification on the World Title situation, which is one heck of a mess at this point. As for tonight though, it’s the 1-2-3 Kid vs. Johnny Polo, which would be one heck of a drug conversation. Let’s get to it.

We take a quick look at the Bret Hart vs. Lex Luger situation. They tied in the Royal Rumble so we need to know who faces Yokozuna for the title first. The solution? A coin toss! I know face vs. face was rare back then but a coin toss? Really?

Opening sequence.

For reasons I don’t even want to comprehend, IRS is on commentary. He offers the loser of the coin toss a pair of Buffalo Bills t-shirts. Luger is originally from Buffalo so he might be happy with those.

Marty Jannetty vs. Johnny Polo

Jannetty is replacing an injured Kid who is relegated to commentary. Here’s what I don’t get: the Kid injured his leg on January 17 and the commentary that announced his match vs. Polo was recorded after the Rumble on January 22. So why in the world did they even bother announcing the match in the first place? The 1-2-3 Kid vs. Johnny Polo isn’t exactly a masterpiece so how does Marty being in there instead make any difference?

Anyway Polo insults the crowd and the Kid so Marty ties him up with the microphone cord and laughs at him a lot. Polo is sent outside and teases leaving but gets slammed in the aisle instead. Hey now, he might have had a reservation at Cracker Barrel. Back in and Marty takes a shot to the face and seems a bit, ahem……oh you know what I mean. Back from a break with Marty botching his half of a backdrop (dude it’s a simple front flip) and getting caught in a chinlock. Normally I’d say he can’t botch anything out of there but you never can tell. Marty fights up and a bad looking collision sends Polo outside.

Back in and we hit the pinfall reversal sequence before Johnny slows things back down with a headlock. Polo goes up to for the “I’m only going up top so I can dive onto your raised boot” spot and it’s time for the comeback. Marty crotches him on top but charges into the post. The Rocker Dropper finishes Polo a few seconds later.

Rating: D+. Thank goodness Polo was trying here because it was clear that Marty was in no condition to do anything. I still don’t get how anyone could ever make it back on TV when they look like that. It’s clear that Marty, who could wrestle circles around a lot of people when he’s clean, is in bad shape when he can’t take a backdrop. Why was he allowed to go back out there without getting in some real trouble?

IRS goes after the Kid post match and loses his briefcase somewhere in between. Cue Razor Ramon, who has recovered his gold chains which IRS stole. It seems that Kid took it, which makes me wonder how IRS couldn’t catch a guy on a broken leg.

After a break, IRS blames Marty for the chains being stolen.

Jack Tunney explains the World Title situation and the weird coin toss/mini tournament idea (there are brackets for this thing) for Wrestlemania. There will be guest referees for both matches. Of note: a Videocassette of the Year Award on the wall featuring Survivor Series 1987. Can we watch that instead? This whole thing is actually rather complicated, or at least moreso than it probably should have been. Today it would just be a triple threat so it’s better in a way…..I think?

Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Miguel Rosado

IRS officially challenges Marty for next week, which he’ll accept if he has any guts. Normally those would be fighting words but in Marty’s condition, he’ll probably build a swing set shaped like a goldfish. Bigelow beats on him, beats on him some more, shrugs off a lame comeback and finishes with a falling headbutt.

It’s coin toss time, which includes another explanation of the rules for the live crowd. I have no idea why Tony Garea, Blackjack Lanza and various other yes men are there too. Luger wins and gets to face Yokozuna first (he would have faced Crush otherwise) and can’t wait to wrestle twice at Wrestlemania. Bret is upset about having to face Owen but there’s no way around it.

Kwang vs. Rich Myers

Kwang is Savio Vega in a masked Japanese gimmick. Some chops and a spinwheel kick in the corner stagger Myers as we go to Owen Hart on the phone. Owen is the real winner of the coin toss because he gets to prove that he’s better than Bret. The fans are doing the Wave in the tiny arena as this boring squash continues, complete with martial arts posing. Kwang ducks a middle rope crossbody and finishes with a superkick.

Rating: D-. It says a lot when a phone call is the highlight of the match. Normally I get annoyed at fans for doing something like the Wave but……yeah it must get a bit boring with all of these squashes in a row. Kwang was a goofy gimmick and it’s pretty clear you’re done when your name might come on screen during an Adam West Batman fight.

Time for the Wrestlemania Report and we recap the World Title situation for a ridiculous third time. It REALLY shouldn’t be that hard.

Paul Bearer knows the Undertaker is coming back.

Earthquake vs. Corey Student

That’s a horrible name, even by jobber standards. Student goes after him to start and is thrown down even faster than you would expect him to be. An over the shoulder backbreaker makes things even worse, even with IRS saying it’s an illegal hold. A slam sets up the Earthquake to finish the squash, which Vince actually called it earlier on.

Rating: D. Of all the people they could pick to push as a face, it’s Earthquake? If nothing else it’s kind of amazing that it was only three and a half years ago that Earthquake was the top heel in the company. Nothing to see here, other than that really horrible jobber’s name. Seriously: Corey Student?

Marty and Razor accept IRS’ challenge with Marty going on an anti-government rant.

We run down next week’s card to wrap it up.

Overall Rating: D. It wasn’t a good show or anything but above all else it felt like something important was actually going on here. That’s a problem that plagues so many of the shows from this era (and a lot of them today as well) but when things feel important, even a series of jobber matches are a bit easier to sit through.


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1 comment

  1. Adamjv80 says:

    Something I noticed: Why did Vince have a different broadcast partner with him each week on these early Raw’s here in 94? It seems odd.