Back before the WWE Network, 18 “Monthly Specials” and 900 hours of broadcast television a week there was scant little wrestling to watch. Sure there was stuff like Jim Crockett Promotions/NWA/WCW on the Superstation and the AWA on ESPN but that sort of stuff didn’t really appeal much to children. The WWF, however, had just the thing to meet the wrestling needs of small children across the United States: Coliseum Videos.
These tapes would have a few matches, often “Coliseum Video exclusives” filmed either at house shows or as dark matches during Wrestling Challenge tapings alongside goofy backstage stuff and profiles on various wrestlers. For those of us who became wrestling fans in the 80s or early 90s the Coliseum Videos became an integral part of our fandom, frequently being rented from the local video rental store and watched repeatedly. So when the WWE recently dumped a bunch of them up on the WWE Network, I for one was very excited.
While a lot of the matches on these tapes weren’t exactly five-star mat classics there are some hidden classics as well as matches that I, for whatever reason, thought were great when I was ten years old. Today we’re going to check on what is probably the pinnacle of the Coliseum Videos, 1993’s Smack ‘Em Whack ‘Em.
It’s All Hallow’s Eve…uh Eve 1995 and the WWF are kicking off Raw right with a Monday Night Raw jack o’lantern! This quickly goes from pretty cool to decidedly uncool when Todd Pettengill shows up dressed as a Dracula. He gives us a brief rundown of the recent events transpiring in the WWE in a voice that’s more The Count from Sesame Street than Bela Lugosi. From there we get the opening before heading to a civic center somewhere in Manitoba, Canada to get the show underway, and oh what a show it is!
Welcome everyone to Monday Night Raw! This is a review of the very first episode of Monday Night Raw. Why? Because WWE had it up on YouTube in its entirety and I, for some unknown reason, decided to watch it. Let’s get to reviewing!
Pre-Show Saturday Night Slam
Todd Pettengill is at home I guess. He has cardboard cutouts of Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels in his living room that he greets when he sees them. His life seems the saddest. He has a giant pizza and sacks of snacks and a million cans of Coke to watch a mid-90s In Your House PPV alone.
A pair of women with lesbian haircuts who clearly hate Pettengill join him later as he highlights the most important matches of the upcoming show. This is actually pretty helpful if like me you are randomly watching an In Your House PPV from 1995 in 2017 completely devoid of context aside from some vague recollection of stuff you’d might have seen on TV 22 years ago. If it was 1995 and you’d been watching it as it happened and had been following WWF from week to week the only thing of any importance that happens here is Gorilla Monsoon talking about how Shawn Michaels had been attacked by a gang in Syracuse several weeks early and might not be able to compete but assured us an Intercontinental Championship match would take place. Oh shit this is that PPV?
Todd Pettengill wraps things up by shoving pizza in the face of a little girl who randomly appeared and the show gets underway.
We’re in Sheffield, England tonight for this exciting card of seven bouts of grappling. Our hosts for the evening are genuine British person, Lord Alfred Hayes, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan and recent WWF hire, Jim Ross. Let’s get down to the ring for action!
Vince McMahon is in the ring in a tuxedo. He’s growly as fuck as he welcomes us to WrestleMania X and then introduces the original wild man of rock n’ roll, Marc Mero Little Richard to sing “America the Beautiful,”
Little Richard appears and does the song all slow jammy before redoing it with a gospel choir. The crowd looks bored as fuck but someone in the crowd begins waving an American flag nonetheless. It’s WrestleMania X y’all!
Jerry Lawler is out with McMahon. He’s shirtless sporting a cape and a crown botching his lame dad boner jokes while heaping praise on Yokozuna.