*** 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 #89
December 5, 1994 (Taped November 28, 1994)
Mid-Hudson Civic Center
Announcers: Vince McMahon & Shawn Michaels
1) Jeff Jarrett defeats British Bulldog via count-out at 14:00
Fun Fact: Tonight, we have the debut of The Roadie. Brian James made his debut in pro wrestling under the name Brian Armstrong in December 1986 after being trained by his father, “Bullet” Bob Armstrong, his brother, Brad Armstrong and Paul Orndorff. He took a break from wrestling between 1987 and 1991 while he enlisted and served in the US Marine Corp. His early career was spent in WCW and SMW before joining the WWF in late 1994.
Scott: Shawn Michaels sits at the table with Vince this week, and Raw is sponsored by Tyco. Very rare that Raw as a sponsor to start the show. Jeff Jarrett has a ring attendant helping him with his ring gear. That’s unusual to take something like a ring guy with that much attention. Jarrett has (in my opinion) flown under the radar for the majority of 1994 and perhaps in 1995 things will be different. There’s no doubt that Bulldog will be a big part of the new year, perhaps in the IC or World Title hunt, even though both belts are occupied by babyfaces. Jarrett is getting no offense in so far, and Bulldog is pushing him around like crazy. Jarrett catches Bulldog on the top rope and hits a half superplex for a two count. Michaels isn’t a bad commentator actually, paying attention to what’s in the ring and making a point to show the mysterious guy at ringside. Jarrett then spends the next few minutes working Bulldog over with strikes and second rope maneuvers. Jarrett has tinsel on his tights and Michaels says he’s in the spirit of the holidays. Vince can’t do his cheesy pop culture gimmicks on Shawn, who couldn’t care less that Tim Allen is in a Santa movie. Jarrett leans on Bulldog with a long headlock, but Davey Boy lifts him up and drives him to the turnbuckle. Jarrett recovers with a bulldog to…well Bulldog for a two count. Jarrett goes back to the headlock and the crowd is trying to get back into it. This has been a pretty long first match for the show. Bulldog recovers for a reverse atomic drop and a back body drop. Bulldog starts pummeling JJ with clotheslines and Jarrett escapes to the aisle. Bulldog chases him, presses Jarrett over his head and chucks him to the ring. As Bulldog tries to get into the ring, someone grabs him by the leg and won’t let him get inside the ring. Jarrett wins by countout but we’re not sure who was under the ring. It turns out that extra roadie-type guy came out from under the other side of the ring for the victory. It was a fun TV match and establishes Jarrett’s new second guy. Grade: **
JT: We are back here for another week of WWF action on Monday Night Raw, coming at you via videotape from Poughkeepsie once again. Shawn Michaels is alongside Vince McMahon in the booth this week and he gets a grand entrance all to himself as we fire up. We then transition into our opening bout, which is also our featured match this week, as Jeff Jarrett squares off with the British Bulldog. Of course, the Bulldog had a rough night in San Antonio over ten days ago when he was knocked unconscious and allowed Owen Hart to help Bob Backlund defeat Bret Hart for the WWF Title. Jarrett heads out first and has someone looking like a tour roadie accompanying him to the ring. Vince and Shawn don’t even really mention this random gentleman at ringside at first and then Vince just calls him a ring attendant. The Bulldog heads out next, flanked by some pyro, and we are ready to go. Jarrett lands an arm drag and then smirks and struts to boos and then celebrates again after tripping Bulldog up and riding him to the mat. Michaels is enjoying the arrogance as Jarrett buries a knee in the gut in the corner. The tide turns quickly though as Bulldog blocks a hip toss and sends Jarrett flying to the floor with one of his own. Vince grills Michaels about his issues with Diesel as Jarrett fails on a shoulder block attempt, unable to budge Davey Boy an inch. The Bulldog levels Jarrett with a clothesline and continues to show off his power, chucking Double J all around the ring. Jarrett confers with his buddy and Vince finally realizes they are a pair and he isn’t just a cable puller. He wonders if it is a bodyguard situation, annoying Michaels, as Bulldog drops Jarrett after a nice vertical suplex. Jarrett bails to the floor as Vince talks about how Chuck Norris dropped Double J with a kick back at Survivor Series. Jarrett recovers and takes control but Bulldog cracks him with a back elbow and continues to punish him. Bulldog heads up top but Jarrett pops up and trips him up and then takes him down with a superplex for a two count. Jarrett goes right to work, alternating between strikes and wearing Davey down with a chinlock.
After a break, Bulldog dodged Jarrett as he came off the top rope but both men would crack heads and collapse a moment later. Jarrett’s cornerman rooted him on but Bulldog was able to get an inside cradle for a near fall. Jarrett gathered himself and cinched in a sleeperhold, grinding Davey to the mat. The Bulldog escaped that hold but Jarrett maintained control, getting a near fall on a bulldog. The tide turned again as Davey got a crucifix and fisherman’s suplex for near falls. In a funny dig at Mr. Perfect, Michaels comments that the fisherman’s suplex never beats anybody. Jarrett recovers and goes back to the chinlock as Vince reminds us that Bret Hart is home recovering and will be back in action in early January. Bulldog broke free of the hold and made another comeback, hitting an inverted atomic drop and then sending Jarrett over with a back drop. He followed that with a trio of clotheslines, sending Jarrett scurrying to the floor. Bulldog followed him out and then press slams him back into the ring. However, as Bulldog tried to get back in, Jarrett’s buddy hooked his leg from under the ring, causing him to get counted out, giving Double J the big win. That was really well done and establishes Jarrett’s new running buddy in a strong way. This was a surprisingly good little match and they showed some nice chemistry out there. The transitions were smooth and the offense was fairly varied. Bulldog has looked good since his return and Jarrett seems to be finally heading somewhere. Grade: **1/2
*** We check out highlights of the American Sportscasters Association Dinner, where the Bushwhackers, Doink, Dink and Diesel were all in attendance. ***
2) 1-2-3 Kid defeats Barry Horowitz with a leg lariat at 2:54
Scott: We see a clip of the American Sportscasters Association Dinner, which Diesel was invited to. So already we see his mean disposition smoothing over. Also, the Bushwhackers & Doink were invited. WHY? Come on Vince, end that nonsense. Vince does announce that proceeds from WWF Holiday Wish Tour goes to the Make a Wish Foundation. Perhaps if they did that now, house show cards would be more full. The Kid wins easily. Grade: DUD
JT: Well, they are already putting Diesel out there as the face of the company, having him hobnob with sports legends at the big ASA dinner. Back in the arena, the 1-2-3 Kid jogs out to the ring for a tilt with veteran Barry Horowitz. Kid has thankfully ditched those weird red and blue pajama tights and is back in his red, gold and black outfit. Vince tells us that Kid and Aldo Montoya knocked off the Heavenly Bodies on Action Zone yesterday and Shawn says they make a pretty good team. Kid works over Horowitz as we get more talk about Diesel, which Michaels doesn’t quite appreciate, putting himself over instead. Vince plugs the Holiday Wish Tour as Kid eventually puts Barry away with a leg lariat. Grade: DUD
*** Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels demonstrate the new WWF Raw video game. ***
3) Kwang defeats Scott Taylor with a leg lariat at 2:56
Scott: Shawn says that Harvey Whippleman is in Heidi Fleiss’ black book. So Michaels is up on pop culture. Just not the dopey stuff Vince says. Shawn says Fleiss shouldn’t be in prison, she should have to do “community service”. Wow, very un-WWF of that joke. Maybe later in the decade perhaps. Harvey is berating Howard Finkel for some reason. The match? Well…it’s Kwang. After the match, Howard and Harvey keep sniping at each other. Grade: DUD
JT: We head back to the ring as the mysterious Kwang is led out by Harvey Wippleman for a match with Scott Taylor. Michaels relays a rumor that Harvey is in Heidi Fleiss’ infamous little black book but Vince doesn’t buy it. Kwang starts working over Taylor as we cut to ringside where Harvey is getting in the face of Howard Finkel and then rips up a piece of paper and chucks it in Fink’s face. We get some talk about Michael Jordan’s baseball contract as Kwang is making easy work of Taylor. Harvey keeps going at Fink, challenging him to a fight but Fink is no selling it so Shawn calls him a wimp. Vince reminds us that Harvey ripped up Fink’s suit back at WrestleMania so the bad blood is still flowing. He also notes that Jack Tunney will be sending a memo later tonight with information about the Tag Team Title situation now that the belts have been vacated. Harvey torments Fink some more as Kwang polishes off Taylor with a leg lariat. Fink is pissed as he announces the victor and it seems like he and Harvey have a rocky road ahead. Grade: DUD
*** Jerry Lawler heads to the ring for this week’s King’s Court, which is featuring a special mystery guest. Lawler rips the audience as usual and then introduces his big guest, the man responsible for Diesel being WWF Champion: Shawn Michaels. Michaels feigns being shocked and hops in the ring as Vince McMahon just glares at him. Lawler talks about how stupid Diesel is and how Michaels had to keep him from screwing everything up and eventually made him a champion. Michaels asks Lawler if he ever heard of Diesel before he plucked him from obscurity and says it is correct that nobody knew him before Michaels found him. He says nobody disrespects the Heartbreak Kid and he put the Cool in Big Daddy and the WWF Intercontinental, Tag Team and WWF Titles around his waist. He says as quickly as he made Diesel he will disassemble him. ***
*** We check out highlights from the Snowball Derby in Pensacola, FL where Bob Holly hit the wall and was knocked out of the race. He will be back in action leading the WWF racing team next year. We then get a promo for the 100th episode of WWF Mania, coming this Saturday morning. ***
*** We check out a graphic previewing the soon-to-be arriving Japanese superstar Hakushi. ***
4) Well Dunn defeats Bushwhackers when Steven Dunn pins Butch with a clothesline at 5:05
Fun Fact I: We have our second Raw debut of the night, Well Dunn. Before signing with the WWF, Rex King and Steve Doll were the Southern Rockers. Scott Peterson was originally in the group when it debuted in Pacific Northwest Wrestling before being replaced by King in 1989. The team won the PNW tag team championship on seven occasions. They also spent time in the USWA, winning their tag titles four times and in Puerto Rico winning the WWC World Tag Team Championship once. The team signed with the WWF in 1993, changing their name to Well Dunn (Doll competing under the name Steven Dunn; King under the name Timothy Well).
Fun Fact II: The feud with The Bushwackers and Well Dunn started back in October 1993. Late in ’93, Dunn sustained an injury that knocked the team out of action for several months. The series with the Bushwackers picked back up in September 1994 and lasted through the end of the year.
Scott: Harvey bullies Howard Finkel out of the ring and announces his tag team. This seems more of a house show match than a Raw match. Before the match, we see a quick animated teaser for a new wrestler, Hakushi. Another Japanese import. During this match, Vince announces a tournament will commence to crown the new WWF Tag Team Champions after Shawn & Diesel dissolved their partnership at Survivor Series. The brackets will be announced on Superstars this weekend, and the finals of the tournament will be on January 22 at the Royal Rumble in Tampa. Well Dunn have the worst tights ever, Shawn called them “teabags”. I like Shawn on commentary. The Double Entendres are hilarious, as he says he will strut the beaches of Tampa Rumble weekend in his “teabag”. Luke & Butch seem to have everything in control until Harvey Whippleman trips Butch and Well Dunn get a cheap win. Not that anybody cares really. Grade: DUD
JT: It is time for our final match of the night and we are right back in the middle of our issue between Harvey Wippleman and Howard Finkel. Harvey interrupts Fink’s announcement, mocks him and then introduces his charges Well Dunn on his own. And with that, the Bushwhackers then march out for their biannual Raw appearance. It is so random that they are still around with this company. Michaels takes a shot at a fat fan as the Whackers stomp around ringside. The Whackers started hot off the bell, mowing down Well and Dunn to kick things off. Vince notes that Butch snuck a kiss from one of the legendary Rosatti Sisters at ringside before the bout. Dunn works over Luke as Vince reveals that Jack Tunney has ordered a tournament for the vacated Tag Team Titles, The tournament will be held exclusively on Superstars and we will see the bracketing this weekend. The finals of the tourney will occur at the Royal Rumble in Tampa. Well Dunn continues to pummel Luke, quick tagging and double teaming as they wish. Michaels talks about the beach and the Rumble as Well drills Luke with some nice seated dropkicks. Shawn then promotes this week’s USA Movie of the Week: Big, this Wednesday night at 8PM. That will be hosted by director Penny Marshall. Luke is taking a shit kicking here but finally finds an opening and clotheslines Well to buy a breather. Butch tags in and works over both men, unloading punches and clotheslines. A moment later they pelted Dunn with the battering ram but with the referee tied up with Luke, Harvey was able to trip up Butch, allowing Dunn to clothesline him for the win. After the bell, the Fink tries to tell the ref what happened, leading to Harvey shoving him outside the ring. Fink gets right in his face as we go to commercial. This actually wasn’t a bad match as Well Dunn worked some solid offense when in control. The Harvey/Fink stuff is as random as the Bushwhackers being relevant on the doorstep of 1995 but whatever, the fans seemed to like it. The big news here is the tag team tournament that is kicking off soon. Grade: *1/2
*** We wrap up the show with Vince McMahon, Shawn Michaels and Bob Backlund previewing next week’s show. ***
Scott: This was a better episode than last week with a new character to go with Jeff Jarrett. Shawn Michaels adds a different dynamic at the broadcast table with Vince as he tries to find a solid replacement for his beloved Macho Man. The feeling in the WWF is changing, and honestly, it’s a little unsettling. We really are in an era where the big stars are totally gone and for the first time, we really have an unproven guy as the World Champion. It’s time for Vince to perhaps ditch some of the real unreasonable characters like Doink and Mantaur and focus on some moderately realistic guys who can really go in the ring. Guys like Jeff Jarrett and Razor Ramon. Other than Backlund they’re not really relying on a bunch of veterans at the top, and we will see that in 1995 that’s an asset and a liability. This episode was a little better than last week. Final Grade: C
JT: We bounce back well enough from a shaky episode last week with a pretty fun outing tonight. The feature match was pretty good and we saw the debut of a new character, a running buddy for Jeff Jarrett. I also really enjoyed Shawn Michaels throughout the show, both in the booth and in the King’s Court. He was funny and helped get over all the stories and characters while also advancing his own agenda. He and Vince had some nice chemistry. Things are really changing here in the WWF and whether that is good or bad we will soon see, but at least stuff is happening. 1994 is nearly in the books with just a few weeks to go and soon enough the Road to WrestleMania will kick off. Final Grade: B-