Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Monday Night Raw 1/31/94

*** 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 #50

January 31, 1994
Fernwood Resort
Bushkill, PA
Announcers: Vince McMahon, Irwin R. Schyster & 1-2-3 Kid

1) Marty Jannetty defeats Johnny Polo with the Rocker Dropper at 11:00

Fun Fact: In January, the tag team titles changed hands from the Quebecers to Jannetty and the 1-2-3 Kid and back the Quebecers within a 1 week time period. The Quebecers won the titles back after Polo interfered in the match, causing the 1-2-3 Kid to crotch himself. This led to this match being made between Kid and Polo. However, Kid was suffering from an injury, so Jannetty is taking his place in the match.

Scott: This feud finally comes to an end here, after the one week switcheroo with the tag team titles, Marty and the Kid finally take care of the obnoxious and iconic Johnny Polo. I feel like they pull the cheap ring out when they come here, because the canvas sounds hollow and stiff. I like IRS sniping at the Kid at the announce table. I can’t believe at this point Vince hasn’t found a regular color commentator since Bobby Heenan left, and they’ve just rotated heels. Polo is an established wrestler so it’s not like watching some hump facing Marty. Polo is holding his own and it’s actually not a bad match. Vince is setting us up for the big coin toss between Lex Luger and Bret Hart. Now the script seems to be flipping as 57% of the callers on the Rumble hotline thought Bret won the Rumble. That pretty much says that Luger may be the flavor of the month but Bret will always be one of the all time fan favorites. IRS is great here, saying that it’s past Kid’s bedtime and he will get some milk and cookies. Marty wins the match, then as IRS is battling Marty, the Kid takes the halliburton and Razor Ramon comes out to a big pop and he gets his chains back, officially ending the storyline with him and now Razor can focus on Shawn Michaels. That was a fun opener and a lot of storyline closure. Grade: **

JT: With our final Raw of January, we are thankfully, finally back live in our home away from home away from home, the Fernwood Resort. In the booth alongside Vince McMahon is the very angry IRS, who opens things up with a shot at the poor Buffalo Bills. The two break down what will happen later tonight with the big WrestleMania coin toss. But before that, our opener is a big one, the culmination of a feud that has been raging on since the fall. Johnny Polo has spent his entire winter torturing Marty Jannetty and 1-2-3 Kid, and they have reciprocated, cresting with a shocking WWF Tag Team Title win a few weeks ago. The Quebecers quickly regained their titles thanks to Polo’s involvement, and along the way, the Kid injured his leg. That knocked him out of the Royal Rumble match and also out of his bout with Polo here tonight. Thus, Jannetty steps into his place for a big Raw rematch from last month with Kid hobbling to ringside along with him. Kid hops into the booth as IRS immediately rips into him. Johnny Polo’s excitement is so damn infectious, what an entrance, what a man. Polo rips Kid before the match but Jannetty jumps him with the microphone at the bell and then hogties his legs with it. Polo stooges around a bit until he finally worked his way free of the cord and fell to the floor. IRS is so bitter about everything, a true heel. Polo tried to escape but Jannetty tracked him down and shoved him in the ring where he kept battering him around. Polo would eventually buy some time by slinging Jannetty to the floor and after a break, Polo had a chinlock latched on tight in the middle of the ring. The crowd rallied Jannetty as IRS continued to talk shit to the Kid, who was trying his best to give some insight. Polo maintained control and took things to the floor where the two traded hard right hands. Back inside, Polo preened a bit before grabbing a near fall as Vince notes that the Quebecers will battle the long lost Steiners on Superstars this week. Jannetty and Polo would collide in the ring, knocking Johnny to the floor. Polo made his way back in and the two began to trade offense with Marty grabbing a pair of near falls until Polo grabbed a side headlock. As Polo kept grinding, Vince explains the WrestleMania coin toss situation and refers to the fan hotline, which favored Hart 57%-43% but IRS comments that they were both losers and neither can beat Yokozuna anyway. Jannetty eventually makes his comeback but Polo hangs around and gets a bit more offense in, leading to Kid putting over his skill. Jannetty quickly cut him off and hit him with the Rocker Dropper, which IRS claims should be illegal, for the win. After the bout, Kid finally snaps and yells back at IRS, calling him a cheater and thief for nabbing Razor Ramon’s gold. IRS smacks him but when Jannetty makes the save, Kid grabs the case and hobbles away. Eventually, Ramon came out and retrieved his gold, burying his issues with IRS once and for all. This was a solid match as Polo got to show off some more offense with Jannetty selling admirably for him. The finish build nicely too and I loved all the post match hullabaloo, especially the hard hitting fight at the announce table. Good closure to multiple angles here as we officially enter WrestleMania season. Grade: **

*** After a break, IRS yells at Vince McMahon and demands to know what happened to his briefcase. As he nears the dressing room, Razor Ramon and Marty Jannetty appear to show Irwin that they took back Razor’s gold chains, which were now back around the Bad Guy’s neck. ***

*** We head back to Superstars, where Jack Tunney broke down his decision regarding the fallout from the Royal Rumble and the future of the WrestleMania Main Event. His “fair and equitable” decision: Bret Hart and Lex Luger were officially named co-winners and both would receive title matches at Madison Square Garden. They would compete in a coin toss to see which would receive the first crack at Yokozuna. The loser of the coin toss would first face “suitable competition” and then at the end of the night, they would wrestle the winner of the first title match. The “suitable competition” was deemed as Owen Hart (if Bret Hart lost the toss) and Crush (if Lex Luger lost the toss). The coin toss will take place later tonight. He also announces that surprise guest referees, agreed upon by all participants, will officiate the title bouts. ***

2) Bam Bam Bigelow defeats Miguel Rosado with   at 2:18

Scott: Bam Bam Bigelow takes on this scrub right after the announcement from President Jack Tunney that there are two different scenarios involving Bret Hart and Lex Luger facing Yokozuna at WrestleMania. This was a fun storyline as we haven’t had something this involved and detailed since the WrestleMania IV tournament. IRS also says during this match that he’s challenging Marty Jannetty next week on Raw after what happened earlier. Grade: DUD

JT: Man, Yokozuna really got screwed by this Royal Rumble fiasco, being forced to potentially defend his WWF Championship title twice due to no fault of his own. IRS is still fuming about what happened in the last match and issues a challenge to Marty Jannetty as he wants revenge for what went down. Bam Bam Bigelow is still chugging along, doing his thing, still seemingly embroiled in a feud with the annoying clown, Doink. Vince reveals that Bigelow and Doink will battle on Challenge this weekend, so maybe this all ends there? Bigelow destroys Rosado as IRS continues to rant on Jannetty while also getting trolled by McMahon. Grade: DUD

*** Vince McMahon heads to the ring and is joined by Jack Tunney and a handful of WWF officials. They again review the “fair and equitable” decision, setting the stage for what is about to go down. Vince also reviews the coin, a US Silver Dollar, to ensure its legitimacy. Lex Luger and Bret Hart then make their way to the ring, both to very rousing ovations. Luger would call heads and win the toss, meaning he finally gets that SummerSlam rematch with Yokozuna and Bret Hart will be forced to wrestle his brother before getting his title shot. Luger was overjoyed at the result but Bret was a bit somber, knowing he was now pushed into doing something he didn’t ever want to do. Both men put the other over and hope to meet in WrestleMania Main Event. ***

3) Kwang defeats Rich Myers with a side kick at 3:13

Fun Fact: Juan Rivera was born in Vega Alta, Puerto Rico in August, 1964. After high school, Rivera went to Miami and tried out for the WWF. They liked what they saw in Rivera and sent him back to Puerto Rico to train and get experience in the World Wrestling Council. He wrested there under the name TNT from 1987 until 1993, winning numerous titles during his time on the island. The WWF brings him up here as the character Kwang the Ninja, managed by Harvey Wippleman.

Scott: Here we are, one of the most iconic gimmick mistakes in WWF history. We’ve had the vignettes but now we REALLY get the chance to see this mysterious superstar. During the match we get Owen Hart on the phone, who’s ecstatic that he gets into the ring with his brother Bret March 20 at the MSG. I love heel Owen, who tells Vince, when he asks about the family, to stop poking your nose where it doesn’t belong. So we have three matches set for WrestleMania: Luger vs. Yoko, Bret vs. Owen and Bret vs. the winner of the first match. Oh, did Kwang win? Didn’t notice. I love when IRS said “I bet Kwang is a handsome devil under that mask.” Grade: DUD

JT: With the coin toss situation finally sorted out, we move along with the show as our next match features the singles match debut of Kwang. The mysterious one debuted officially in the Royal Rumble, but this our first glimpse at him in a match here on Raw. He has picked up Harvey Wippleman as a manager and brought his secrets from the Orient to the WWF. IRS is still stewing and Vince is still trolling him as Kwang slowly stalks to the ring to battle Rich Myers. Kwang utilizes that deep martial art repertoire to work over Myers as Owen Hart calls in to gush about his big WrestleMania match against his brother. He says Luger wasn’t the big winner tonight, Owen is the true winner as he gets to finally face his brother so he can prove he is the best Hart. He also tells Vince to mind his business when it comes to family drama but promises Bret will be too injured to make it to the Mania Main Event later that night. IRS of course backs Owen and then makes a funny quip about Kwang being a “handsome devil”. Bret Hart will be on All American this weekend to discuss the situation further. Kwang quickly finishes Myers with a kick in a… less than impressive debut, despite what Vince and Irwin asserted. Grade: DUD

*** Todd Pettengil is here with this week’s WrestleMania X Report, our first official on Raw. Todd is rocking the official jacket and hat of the big show, which is less than two months away and is completely sold out. You can purchase seats to watch the show from the adjacent Paramount Theater though! Here are the announced matches:

Lex Luger vs. Yokozuna – WWF Heavyweight Title
Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart

Bret Hart vs. Lex Luger OR Yokozuna – WWF Heavyweight Title

More to come in the following weeks, so stay tuned to Raw and the weekly syndicated network for those announcements, which include more matches and the celebrities that will be in attendance! ***

*** We get a message from Paul Bearer in a cemetery, who claims the spirit of the Undertaker is all around him. Despite the rumors, he knows Undertaker is alive and not gone and reminds us that he will never rest in peace. ***

4) Earthquake defeats Cory Student with an Earthquake Splash at 3:20

Fun Fact: Tonight we see the return of Earthquake to the WWF. He was last seen in the Federation in January 1993 the night after the Royal Rumble. He spent time in Japan wrestling for WAR and then in CMLL in late ’93 before returning to the WWF here.

Scott: Wow, it’s been over a year since we’ve seen our good friend John Tenta, who last was teaming with Typhoon as the Natural Disasters. Another veteran brought in to put younger guys over and fill out the roster a bit. He beats Mr. Student handily. Really it was IRS and Vince’s sniping that made these matches more entertaining than they actually were. Grade: DUD

JT: And we close things out this week with the return of a beloved former WWF superstar, Earthquake. We last saw Quake a year ago but he is now back, this time as a singles competitor, and looking to regain his former stature in the ranks of the company. He squashes Student with a belly-to-belly to open things up as Vince notes that Jannetty has finally accepted IRS’ challenge to a match next week. IRS wants it in writing as he has no trust in the Rocker. IRS and Vince have been really fun throughout this episode. Vince implores us to check out Dangerous Heart, a USA World Premier Movie, this Wednesday night! Quake squashes Student to get his new run off to a good start. Grade: DUD

*** Razor Ramon and Marty Jannetty join us from backstage to talk about next week’s battle between Jannetty and IRS. Jannetty vows revenge on behalf of every man that has been abused by the IRS and the “stinking government” and tells him to “take it to the bank and steal it from yourself”. ***

Final Analysis

Scott: This show was totally surrounded by the coin flip between Luger and Bret. The matches were filler behind the biggest storyline hook of the WrestleMania season. We head back to Fernwood, which brings a tight crowd and lots of energy but I feel like they bring the cheap ring to these tapings because the canvas sounds so hollow. We are officially into WrestleMania season, and I hope Raw gets treated a little better than it did during WrestleMania IX season. With a year under its belt perhaps more important stuff happens for us each week. Final Grade: C

JT: This is more like it. After last week’s stinker, we bounce back with a pretty fun episode that was filled with closure and development and the official kickoff to WrestleMania season. The opener was solid and blew off two storylines in one shot and then the rest of the show as centered around setting the backbone for WrestleMania, which will be two big WWF Title bouts and the long awaited war of the Hart Brothers. We also got the debut of Kwang, for better or worse, and the return of Earthquake, so lots of stuff went down here tonight. I liked the importance of the coin toss and how they had Jack Tunney appear live alongside some senior officials, that whole segment was well executed. The guest commentator rotation has been a bit hit or miss but it also has allowed guys like Crush and IRS to showcase their speaking skills a bit more than normal. Grumpy, pissed off IRS getting trolled by Vince while taking shots at everyone was really a lot of fun. Never would have expected him to be so entertaining in the role. Next week we should find out more about WrestleMania, but for now we are off to a good start. Final Grade: B-