Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Monday Night Raw 1/23/95

*** Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh reviews are a chronological look back at WWE PPV and TV history that began with a review of WrestleMania I. The PICs have revisited these events and refreshed all of their fun facts that provide insight into the match, competitors and state of the company as well as their overviews of the match action and opinions and thoughts on the outcomes. In addition, Jeff Jarvis assists in compiling historical information and the Fun Facts in each of the reviews. Also, be sure to leave feedback on the reviews at our Facebook page. Enjoy! ***

Monday Night Raw #96

January 23, 1995
Manatee Civic Center
Palmetto, FL
Announcers: Vince McMahon & Shawn Michaels

*** The show opens with Vince McMahon offering a public apology to Lawrence Taylor on behalf of the WWF due to the actions of Scott “Bam Bam” Bigelow at last night’s Royal Rumble. ***

1) Smoking Gunns defeat 1-2-3 Kid & Bob Holly to win WWF Tag Team Titles when Billy Gunn pinned Holly after the Sidewinder at 15:20

Fun Fact: Just 24 hours earlier, Bob Holly and the 1-2-3 Kid beat Bam Bam Bigelow & Tatanka at the Royal Rumble for the Tag Team Titles. 

Scott: So after not being in the tag team tournament (due to a “rodeo injury”, that makes me laugh), Billy & Bart finally get their long awaited Tag Team Title shot that has seemed to elude them since arriving in the WWF almost a year and a half ago. There were so many vignettes for them in 1993 and they beat up on jobbers all over the syndies and even a few shows on Raw, while all the other babyface teams from the Steiners to the Headshrinkers got title shots on the Quebecers. Hell, this is the Kid’s SECOND reign as Tag Team Champion. But now their time has come. Shawn is at ringside, fresh off his improbable win at the Royal Rumble the night before and his date is set with Diesel on April 2 in my state capital of Hartford. Even for 1995 standards, Hartford for a WrestleMania seems, well, low rent. The match is a fun back and forth affair, with the bigger Gunns really taking it to the smaller Kid as Bob Holly is stuck on the apron. By the way, the MANATEE CIVIC CENTER? Jesse and Bobby would have been all over that. At the beginning of the show, Vince apologized to the family of New York Giants legend Lawrence Taylor for Bam Bam Bigelow shoving him after the Tag Team Title loss last night. Bigelow was suspended without pay. Vince even called him “Scott”, which is Bigelow’s real name. That’s interesting, Vince was almost believable. Holly finally gets the hot tag, until he gets caught missing a dropkick and Shawn calls him an idiot. Shawn has been hilarious on commentary as winning the Rumble made him even more entertaining. Holly’s miss gives the Gunns the opportunity to hit their finisher and after a year and a half of building and building, the Gunns are finally champions. Shawn calls them the “drugstore cowboys”. The Kid has another short-lived reign but he does have two title reigns on his resume now. The match was fun, but for the length, could have been better. Grade: **1/2

JT: We are back live this week, coming at you from Palmetto, FL just one night after a very interesting Royal Rumble PPV event. Vince McMahon and Rumble winner Shawn Michaels, who gets a full entrance here, are in the booth as usual and we are opening things up with a huge Tag Team Title match. When the Smoking Gunns were forced to bow out of the tournament due to injury, 1-2-3 Kid and Bob Holly stepped in and shockingly enough ended up winning the gold by knocking off Tatanka and Bam Bam Bigelow just 24 hours earlier. However, due to a prior decree, the Gunns would get to face whomever the champs were here tonight. And speaking of Bigelow, before the show even got under way, Vince also issued a public apology to Lawrence Taylor regarding Bammer shoving him to the floor last night. More on that to come, I am sure. The Gunns charge out first followed by the champs, who Michaels says like to call themselves the “San Diego Chargers of the WWF”. Hopefully, things end better for Kid and Holly than they did for old Stan Humphries and crew. All four men shake hands and then we get under way with Holly and Billy kicking things off. Vince talks about the beating the champs took last night but Holly starts off hot, fending off Billy and getting a quick flurry in before tensions flare a bit between the two friends. We get a fresh reset as Kid and Bart tag in and they trade off some offense until Bart catches Kid with a powerslam for two. Kid dodged a dropkick and landed one of his own for a near fall before grabbing the arm and tagging out. Shawn asks which Gunn took the “steer in the rear” at the rodeo to knock them out of the tourney as Holly dominates Bart. Bart is able to blind tag Billy, and it pays off as Billy comes in with a bulldog for two. The Gunns start to hone in on Holly, quick tagging and working together to control Spark Plug. However, Holly is able to wriggle free at one point and shove Bart into Billy, who was on the top rope. Kid came in and the champs took Billy over with a double superplex for two.

After a break, Holly was still in control of Billy as Shawn is impressed by the chemistry the champs have built in a short time. Kid and Holly would now use quick tags and double teams to control, grabbing near falls on Billy along the way. Billy had a couple of close comebacks but the champs were able to cut him off each time. Kid and Holly are pretty good working in the heel team role here, which is cool to see. Billy eventually was able to catch Kid with a Rocker Dropper and tag his brother, who came in hot, mowing through both Kid and Holly. Bart worked over Kid with aggression, grabbing near falls where he could. The Gunns hit a nice double team legdrop/side slam combo but didn’t cover as Billy jawed wth Holly on the apron instead. The Gunns double teaming continued as we headed to break and when we returned, Bart had Kid clamped in a chinlock. The challengers really had Kid in some deep trouble, putting a rough beating on him with some good double teams. Although, again, Billy didn’t cover right away after a double team suplex/dropkick, really raising the ire of Michaels. Kid eventually escaped and tagged in Holly, who went right to work on Billy, nabbing a near fall before head up top. That did not quite work out, though, as he ate a Billy boot on the way down. Bart came in and took advantage, hoisting Holly up so Billy could connect with the Sidewinder for the win and their first Tag Team Titles. Poor Kid and Holly, it was quite the run. I really enjoyed this match as both teams took turns in control, giving us what amounted to three separate heat segments. It was hard fought and aggressive across the board and I thought the Gunns’ double team offense was really on point. The finish was good too, with the Gunns kicking off their reign with a nice clean win. Strong match here, the second in two nights. Grade: ***

*** Vince McMahon chats with 1-2-3 Kid and Bob Holly at ringside and says he thinks the toll from last night was just too much. Kid agrees and says they are very disappointed and also says they gave the Gunns a title shot just 24 hours after winning the match. Vince says that was known before the Rumble and says it may have been too much for Bam Bam Bigelow & Tatanka as well. Holly agrees that last night took its toll and Kid asks the Gunns for a rematch last week as a courtesy. ***

*** We check out the video report Todd Pettengill filed after the Royal Rumble last night, recapping the evening’s events. ***

*** At ringside, Shawn Michaels says everyone in the WWF is jealous and he is a marked man. He vows to find someone he can truly trust to watch his back. ***

2) IRS defeats Buck Quartermaine at 2:19

Scott: So now we begin some of the new storylines that came from the Royal Rumble, and one of them is here. Even though Undertaker beat IRS last night, with help from King Kong Bundy the urn was “repossessed” by Irwin and he is taunting everyone by holding it. During this squash, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper called in and put over the “New Generation” and the Royal Rumble show in general. He jabs with Shawn, then he promotes the “Encore Plus” of the Royal Rumble next Tuesday, which Piper will actually host. Piper will interview Shawn Michaels during it. Oh, the match is over? Grade: DUD

JT: We head back to the ring as IRS struts out to the ring for about with Buck Quartermaine. Ted DiBiase is here as well and Irwin is toting Undertaker’s urn, which he was able to procure last night despite losing the bout. As the match gets under way, the legendary Roddy Piper joins us via phone. Piper rambles a bit while putting over the Royal Rumble and the New Generation. Piper and Shawn jab back and forth a bit before Roddy plus the Royal Rumble Encore Plus, hosted by Hot Rod next Tuesday on PPV. IRS wins the match with ease and it looks like Undertaker’s issues with the Corporation are far from over. Grade: DUD

*** We check out a vignette for the soon to be debuting Man Mountain Rock. ***

*** Jerry Lawler heads to the ring for this week’s King’s Court. We take a quick break and when we return, the guests are in the ring: New Intercontinental Champion Jeff Jarrett and the Roadie. Lawler gushes over Jarrett’s new title as Double J struts around and shows off the gold. Jarrett says he told everyone he was coming to Tampa to take Razor Ramon’s title and humiliate the Bad Guy and he did it. Jarrett offers Ramon a rematch while gloating and then officially challenges WWF Champion Diesel. The WWF Title is the one ingredient missing from his World Tour. ***

*** It is announced that WrestleMania XI tickets go on sale in Hartford this coming Saturday and WWF Mania will be there to cover it live. ***

3) British Bulldog defeats Black Phantom with the powerslam at 3:12

Scott: We just had an extended King’s Court with the new Intercontinental Champion Jeff Jarrett, who also challenged Diesel for his title. When the Bulldog came to the ring he started jaw jacking with Shawn about the Rumble the night before. Honestly, Shawn won fair and square, but because he’s a heel we have to find some way to “tarnish” it. Really the only way to tarnish it is that it was loaded with losers who had no chance of winning. The match is a squash but the main focus was that Shawn was accused of “tricking” Bulldog at the Rumble. I mean, come on guys. Shawn won, get over it. Grade: DUD

JT: We go back down to the ring for our final match of the evening as British Bulldog heads out to battle the Black Phantom. As he gets into the ring, the Bulldog gets in the face of Shawn Michaels, arguing over the outcome of the Royal Rumble match last night. Michaels rightfully mocks him for crying about the loss. Vince reveals that the Smoking Gunns have indeed accepted the challenge of 1-2-3 Kid and Bob Holly, so that title rematch will go down next week. Phantom takes advantage of Bulldog being distracted with Michaels and control the action for a bit until Davey Boy quick makes a comeback and grabs control. Vince and Shawn break down the Rumble match with Vince prodding and saying Michaels fooled the Bulldog while Shawn defends himself. Vince warns Michaels that he better get that bodyguard because he is certainly going to be targeted by many superstars now. Michaels says he is currently searching for one. Bulldog eventually wins with the powerslam before staring Michaels down again. Grade: DUD

*** Bam Bam Bigelow joins us where is he supposed to apologize for his actions last night but technical difficulties prevent that from happening before we go off the air. ***

Final Analysis

Scott: This Raw was kind of a mess, but there were some high points. Shawn Michaels was great on commentary one day after winning the Royal Rumble, as he withstood the silly trashing Vince did to him. Vince tried to tarnish Shawn’s Rumble win by constantly saying that he “tricked” the Bulldog. What the fuck does that mean? Bulldog didn’t make sure that Shawn fell all the way to the floor and he paid the price for it. Simple as that. Vince was trying to keep this a kayfabe 50/50 thing, but in the end, he made an ass out of himself. Digging Roddy Piper back up after that debacle at KOTR was a surprise, and I wonder if he’s going to stick around. The Bigelow/LT stuff was interesting, something I didn’t expect from 1995 WWF. I’m curious to see where this goes. The Tag Title win was long overdue for the Smoking Gunns, but it’s a shame that poor Kid/Holly were literally a 24-hour transition for the Gunns to win. I’ll up the grade for just that, since title wins on Raw are very rare. Final Grade: A-

JT: As usual for a live Raw, this episode had some really good energy and lots of stuff going on, specifically around the fallout from the Royal Rumble. The Tag Team Title bout was a really good one although it kind of stunk to see the belts come off 1-2-3 Kid and Bob Holly so quickly after their hot run. That said, it was about time to finally pull the trigger on the Smoking Gunns. The King’s Court was pretty solid too as Jeff Jarrett showed off his newly won IC Title and also issued the challenge to Diesel. I loved Shawn Michaels on commentary here too. He has been really good during this entire run, but he was really on point tonight as he bragged over his win at the Rumble and also let the world know he was shopping for a trustworthy bodyguard. It will be interesting to see where the Bam Bam Bigelow and Lawrence Taylor stuff goes from here too, as we were left with a bit of a cliffhanger there. There was some filler in here but overall this was a pretty fun episode of Raw, as is usually the case with the live shows. Final Grade: B+