Episode 48 - January 17, 1994: Royal Rumblings

Crush is our guest host today since Randy Savage will be too busy wrestling to lend Vince a hand. I’ve never super cared for Crush’s mic skills, but I could say the same for Vince too. It’s fun to have rotating guest hosts, but we really need to pin down someone who can call matches. I know that Gorilla Monsoon and Jim Ross are both involved with the WWF at this point so I’m not really sure what’s stopping either of them from being on Raw.

 Both men seem to be equally enthused to be there.

Both men seem to be equally enthused to be there.

Early on in the episode we get a nice vignette featuring Alundra Blayze, the new WWF Women’s Champion. I’m glad that we’re getting a little more coverage of her, even if she doesn’t say one word during the entire montage they show. A little progress is still progress. I’d like to see her make an appearance on Raw. Do they even have other legitimate female wrestlers? Can Luna Vachon actually wrestle? Maybe they’ve just got a whole bunch of women waiting in the wings and they’re about to step up their game big time. Yeah, probably not.

Moving on, Vince interviews Yokozuna and Mr. Fuji in the ring about his upcoming Royal Rumble casket match with the Undertaker. Mr. Fuji talks a big game and Yokozuna seems confident until suddenly the lights cut out and the Undertaker’s music interrupts the proceedings. A single spotlight shines down on Paul Bearer as he emerges from the backstage area wheeling a massive casket towards the ring. Yokozuna has now lost all composure and desperately just wants to leave. Vince drops all pretense of being impartial and begins bullying Yokozuna, telling him to come get a closer look if you’re not scared. Weird that Vince would drop character like that. Just one more reason they need multiple commentators. Anyway Yokozuna finally works up the courage to approach the casket and signals that he’s going to squash it. But before he can make his move, the lid of the casket bursts open to reveal the Undertaker had been inside all along. Yokozuna freaks out and trips over himself in his haste to run back to the locker room. All in all it’s a silly promo, but it’s still fun and gets everyone excited to see their match.

 The only thing that Yokozuna has to fear is fear itself.

The only thing that Yokozuna has to fear is fear itself.

Now at this point in the show, we’ve also had two other matches featuring Tatanka and Diesel fighting their assigned jobbers. During these matches, we’ve had somebody calling in from Madison Square Garden where Marty Jannetty and the 1-2-3 Kid are having their rematch with the Quebecers. I have no idea why this wasn’t shown on Raw. It’s actually pretty frustrating. Why are we stuck watching filler matches when we could be watching something with actual drama and stakes to it? Instead we get a phone call with bad reception telling us little snippets every so often. Eventually we find out, like I had predicted, that the Quebecers do end up winning back their Tag Team Championship belts. It’s a let down for sure, but at least now the 1-2-3 Kid is up in the mix for sure.

The last match of the night is between Macho Man Randy Savage and IRS. I don’t know why they decided to put Savage in the ring with IRS in particular since I’m sure they just wanted him to end up fighting with Crush which is exactly what happens. The match ends in a disqualification when Crush jumps in the ring after Macho Man’s continued goading.

 I call this one "Generation X rebels against Baby Boomers"

I call this one "Generation X rebels against Baby Boomers"

Crush doesn’t care though and he throws the ref out of the ring. Tatanka runs out to lend Savage a hand but he’s taken out as well by Crush. Then Yokozuna comes out, followed by Lex Luger, Shawn Michaels and Diesel, and finally Bret Hart. We basically wind up having a mini Royal Rumble to whet our appetite for the real thing. We never find out who ends up the winner as we fade out before that can be determined. Uh-oh. Foreshadowing...