Friday, May 5, 2017

Raw History: Episodes #94-96

Raw History
Episode #94
January 9th, 1995 | The Summit in Houston, Texas

It’s Raw’s second birthday celebration! We are live and the hosts are Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels. Cut to William Shatner, Jerry Lawler’s King’s Court guest, who says that he’s not here to fight, he’s here to promote his new show.

WWF Intercontinental Championship
Razor Ramon (c) vs. Owen Hart

Owen takes the belt from the referee and poses with it, causing Razor to attack. He goes to hit Owen with the belt but the official stops him. The champion beats Owen from pillar to post, using his power advantage. Owen takes the trademark Hart sternum corner bump. Razor goes after the arm a bit, continuing to hold serve until he attempts the Razor’s Edge by the ropes. You know what that means. Owen backdrops him over the top before following with a suicide dive. A commercial break comes and now Owen is in charge, wearing down the champion. The roar of the crowd rallies Razor. Razor starts to slug it out, knowing he has the upper hand in that situation. He busts out a Chokeslam, but can’t cover. He looks for a super back suplex but falls first. Owen nails a missile dropkick and tries the Sharpshooter, but Bret Hart runs in and whacks Owen.

Winner via disqualification: Owen Hart in 11:12
Up until that finish, this was going very well. Two of the better guys in the WWF at the time, going back and forth and working a smart match. That’s about all I can ask for in terms of the marquee match on Raw. ***¼

Well, Bret Hart looks like a total dick here. Jeff Jarrett and the Roadie come out to attack Razor Ramon, but Bret and Razor team up to send them packing. The crowd is red hot for all of this. Next week, it’s Bret vs. Double J.

Royal Rumble Report time! I don’t think we get any new information, but it has been a few weeks since I’ve watched Raw and I may have forgotten.

Jerry Lawler cuts a short promo on William Shatner, making Star Trek references with his threats.

Hakushi w/ Shinja vs. Matt Hardy
This is the Raw debut of Hakushi, taking on a rather tubby Matt Hardy. Looking at him, with his crew cut, and you would never think he’d be part of a heartthrob team. Hakushi kicks his ass and quickly wins with a slingshot splash.

Winner: Hakushi in 1:07
Damn that was fast. I would have liked to see it go a bit longer but it worked as a debut.

Jerry Lawler is in the ring for the King’s Court. Lawler brings out William Shatner and puts over his new show. He then tries to say that this is the greatest moment in Shatner’s career, which William declines. Lawler jaws with him and threatens him, causing Shatner to put him in a hammerlock. Lawler goes after him again but Shatner just takes him over with a goddamn monkey flip. Bret Hart makes his second appearance and raises William’s hand. Shatner stares into the camera with a pretty great look on his face. Jeff Jarrett and the Roadie are out again to hold Jerry back. Not the greatest of segments but it did the job of getting a TV star to appear on Raw and promote a USA Network show.

The Royal Rumble commercial with Pamela Anderson is pretty funny, with everyone in the Rumble leaving her messages on her answering machine.

King Kong Bundy w/ Ted Dibiase vs. Gary Sabaugh
If you thought the Hakushi match was quick, you haven’t seen anything yet. Bundy hits an avalanche and wins.

Winner: King Kong Bundy in 0:13
The shorter the Bundy match, the better.

On Superstars, Bob Holly and the 1-2-3 Kid advance in the Tag Team Title Tournament over Well Dunn. They replaced the Smoking Gunns and will face the Heavenly Bodies in the Semi-Finals. The other Semi-Final match is Bigelow and Tatanka against the Headshrinkers.

A Kama vignette airs. It’s pretty absurd in trying to make him look like a badass.

Tuxedo Match
Harvey Wippleman w/ Well Dunn vs. Howard Finkel w/ the Bushwhackers
What did I do to deserve this? Fink attacks quickly and they roll around, removing pieces of each tux. This has next to no crowd reaction and for good reason. They get down to their underwear and Howard wins.

Winner: Howard Finkel in 2:37
Absolute hot garbage. A terrible non-wrestler match with no heat from the crowd and too much man ass. DUD

The celebration with the Bushwhackers and Howard Finkel goes on for too long.

Overall: 6/10. Not a bad episode here. The opening contest was a really solid outing. The King’s Court, while not the most entertaining episode, was made to be a pretty big deal on the anniversary episode. The two squashes were kept short and I liked seeing Hakushi. The only real bad part about this episode was the god awful Tuxedo match.

Raw History
Episode #95
January 16th, 1995 | The Summit in Houston, Texas

The intro this week continues to play off the Star Trek and William Shatner stuff, hyping the Bret Hart/Jeff Jarrett main event. Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels are your hosts in front of a horrible green screen.

1-2-3 Kid and Bob Holly vs. The Heavenly Bodies w/ Jim Cornette
This is a rematch from the Tag Team Title Tournament, where Kid and Holly eliminated the Heavenly Bodies. The Bodies attack before the bell, sending the Kid outside, leaving Holly alone to take a beating. They work him over for a while until he finally makes the hot tag. Bigelow, Dibiase and Tatanka walk out to the aisle to watch since they’re facing Kid and Holly at the Rumble. Kid scores on a fisherman suplex for the win.

Winners: 1-2-3 Kid and Bob Holly in 4:36
Too short to really get going, but it was fine tag formula. I’ll take this over a lot of what we got in 1994. **

Bret Hart and William Shatner are interviewed about Bret’s potential ring rust. They say there won’t be any ring rust and, if Roadie gets involved, Shatner will make him roadkill.

Mantaur w/ Jim Cornette vs. Jason Ahrndt
Oh goodness. It’s Mantaur. Poor Jim Cornette. Mantaur isn’t wearing his signature big ass headdress, so he’s just a guy with paint on his face. He slams the jobber around before winning with a body attack.

Winner: Mantaur in 1:44
Basic squash for a lame wrestler and terrible character.

The final Royal Rumble Report comes to us as the show is this Sunday. We learn nothing new as he runs down the card. I’ll post the results during the next episode of Raw. After the report, Jeff Jarrett cuts a promo backstage about how he’s going to beat Bret Hart and that it won’t affect his Royal Rumble performance.

Bret Hart w/ William Shatner vs. Jeff Jarrett w/ the Roadie
Vince McMahon makes a point to discuss Bret working more aggressively, which he does by getting in an eye rake. Bret goes to work on the arm after a Russian leg sweep. Roadie argues that Bret is pulling the tights. After a commercial, Bret gives the fans a bit of a full moon by trying to rollup Jarrett and pulling his pants down in the process. Jarrett sends Bret in for a big corner bump, but can’t take full advantage because he misses a top rope move. Bret starts to go into the five moves of doom, scoring two on the second rope elbow. Jarrett rakes the eyes to block the Sharpshooter. Bret then misses a cross body with help from the Roadie. Shatner did nothing about this. Figure Four applied by Jarrett but Bret reaches the ropes. Bret counters a Jarrett rollup into one of his own for the victory.

Winner: Bret Hart in 9:01
Fine standard match here from the two top title contenders. It was nothing special but worked as a TV main event. I do wish this would have ended by DQ, so Jarrett didn’t eat a pin before his title shot.**½

Roadie tries to hit Bret, so William Shatner comes in and levels him, sending him outside.

We go to Superstars for a recap of Bigelow and Tatanka beating the Headshrinkers and Holly and Kid beating the Heavenly Bodies to make the Tag Team Title Tournament Finals.

The Million Dollar Corporation are the guests on the King’s Court. Ted Dibiase, IRS, Bigelow, Tatanka, Bundy and two druids are there. Dibiase talks about how they will run the Rumble. IRS will beat Undertaker, Bigelow and Tatanka will win the Tag Titles and Bundy will win the Royal Rumble itself. He also says that Bigelow and Tatanka will defend their new belts against the Smoking Gunns next Monday. If memory serves me right, his crew went 0-3 on the night.

Mabel w/ Oscar vs. Lee Toblin
Similar to the recent Bundy squashes or the Mantaur one earlier, it’s your typical big man showcase. Mabel gets a bit more time though. His opponent looks like someone fused Jerry Lawler with Danny McBride. Mabel wins with a piss poor leg drop.

Winner: Mabel in 2:35 
Standard stuff.

King Kong Bundy lumbers out to interrupt a Mabel interview, arguing about who will win the Royal Rumble. Mabel issues a challenge right now but Ted Dibiase advises him not to.

A hype video for Diesel closes the show.

Overall: 5/10. Middle of the pack episode here. It did a decent job in building towards the PPV with the Rumble stuff at the end, Bret Hart and Jeff Jarrett being involved, the Million Dollar Corporation segment and even the Tag Title situation being touched upon.

Royal Rumble 1995 ResultsJeff Jarrett defeated Razor Ramon to win the Intercontinental Title
The Undertaker beat IRS
Bret Hart and Diesel wrestled to a no contest after a bunch of interference
1-2-3 Kid and Bob Holly beat Bigelow and Tatanka to win the Tag Titles
Bigelow got into it with Lawrence Taylor at ringside
Shawn Michaels entered at #1 and won the shortest Royal Rumble in history

Raw History
Episode #96
January 23rd, 1995 | Manatee Civic Center in Palmetto, Florida

The show opens with Vince McMahon at ringside, apologizing for the actions of “Scott Bam Bam Bigelow” for his actions against Lawrence Taylor. After the intro, he brings out his co-host and winner of the Royal Rumble, Shawn Michaels.

WWF Tag Team Championship
1-2-3 Kid and Bob Holly (c) vs. The Smoking Gunns

Vince is already selling up the fact that the Kid and Holly took a beating despite winning 24 hours earlier. In about three to four years, all of these guys would go on to have very different characters. Bob and Billy start, with Bob getting the upper hand thanks to a quickness advantage. Bart gets the tag and backs away from the Kid, knowing he can’t handle that speed. The Smoking Gunns were supposed to be in the tournament, but an unfortunate “rodeo” accident kept them out. HBK straight up asks which Gunn took a “steer in the rear”. The Gunns start to take control over Holly, working some quick tags and double team moves, including a team up press slam. The Champions hit the rarely seen double second rope suplex for two. After a commercial, they also nail a double dropkick. There have been a lot of double team moves in this. Kid takes a page out of his old partner, Marty Jannetty’s book with the Rocker Dropper on Billy. Kid dropkicks Bart off the apron, showing the champions are willing to do whatever it takes. Billy scores on the Fameasser and makes the mild tag. Billy shows off his hops again with the Sidewinder, but they surprisingly don’t go for the cover. We go to the second commercial break of the contest. Future DX members Billy and Kid just start laying into each other with some loud shots. Kid is out on his feet as the Gunns try a double team. Holly gets a knee in the back of Billy though, again doing something slightly underhanded. Holly gets the tag, coming in rather hot. He leaps from the top, but goes right into the boot of Billy. The Gunns then hit a double team where Bart basically does a Dominator as Billy comes off the top with an elbow, winning them the gold.

Winners and New WWF Tag Team Champions: The Smoking Gunns in 15:20Easily the best Smoking Gunns match up to this point and possibly ever. It was fast paced and filled with some fun double team moves. The 1-2-3 Kid and Bob Holly realized they weren’t as polished as the Gunns as a unit and had to dig deep, busting out some dirty tricks. Really fun match. ***½
The former champions are interviewed and basically imply they want their rematch next week.

Todd Pettengil brings us the Royal Rumble Report supposedly done in Tampa, right after it ended. He just recaps what went down.

Shawn Michaels is pissed that Todd didn’t even mention him in the Royal Rumble Report. He also gets upset at the fans chanting for Diesel before announcing that he’s looking for a new bodyguard.

IRS w/ Ted Dibiase vs. Buck QuartermaineIRS stole Undertaker’s urn and has it with him. Does that mean that terrible feud continues? Roddy Piper calls in during the match, instantly becoming the best part of this. He hypes an upcoming interview that he’ll conduct with Shawn Michaels. The crowd is dead silent for this IRS match. He wins with the Write-Off.

Winner: IRS in 2:19Blah. As boring and sweaty as every IRS match.

A vignette airs to hype the upcoming debut of Man Mountain Rock!

King’s Court time with the brand new Intercontinental Champion, Jeff Jarrett. Jarrett brags about the win for a bit. Jerry Lawler wants to know what to expect on the 1995 “Ain’t I great?” tour. Jarret says that he’s been champion quite a while, and wants to add to his collection. He challenges Diesel to a future WWF Title match.

British Bulldog vs. The Black PhantomBulldog was the runner-up in the Royal Rumble, coming very close to winning. Vince announces that a two man Rumble will occur next week when Mabel faces King Kong Bundy and we also get word that the Smoking Gunns accepted the Tag Team Title challenge for next week. Bulldog is pissed about how he lost the Rumble and Vince thinks he was robbed. Clearly that wasn’t the case. Bulldog dominates, before going all IRS and applying a chinlock. He hits the powerslam for the 1-2-3.

Winner: British Bulldog in 3:12This could have been more interesting. Outside of the interaction with Shawn Michaels, I was bored.

They try to get a word with Bam Bam Bigelow, who is supposed to apologize for the LT incident, but audio issues stop it from happening.

Overall: 5.5/10. The two squash matches weren’t anything worth watching but the opening match was damn good. It was honestly one of the better matches in Raw history up to this point. The King’s Court was fine as well, which should set up an interesting champion vs. champion match. 1995 is off to a much better start than 1994.

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