Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Monday Night Raw 2/27/95

 

Monday Night Raw #100

February 27, 1995 (Taped February 20, 1995)
Macon Coliseum
Macon, GA
Announcers: Vince McMahon & Jim Cornette

1) Lex Luger defeats Tatanka via count-out at 9:24

Scott: We debut a new opening montage and colors, as well as a new typewriter font for the show graphics. For episode 100 it’s way overdue. I like how Tatanka slowly bobbed his head with a heel swagger when he walked down the ramp. He finally looks like a heel with the darker colored tights. This match really should have been at the Royal Rumble in the undercard, as it was a legitimate feud that spanned months and Luger never really got the comeuppance that he should have gotten. Chief Jay Strongbow wobbles his way to the ring on Luger’s behalf after Tatanka attacked him on Action Zone a couple weeks ago. This match was somewhat a glorified squash as Tatanka’s offense has made no difference and Luger has dominated out of the gate until Tatanka grabbed the tights and slingshotted Luger into the barricade. As the match progresses, he starts using a bear hug. Why would you use a bear hug on a guy that’s bigger than you? Psychologically that makes no sense. Chief Jay is trying to give Luger some advice but he’s not listening because he’s a boob. The crowd does get into the match and is trying to give it some juice. Then Tatanka looks worse by taking chops from a 65-year old Jay Strongbow. I thought there would be a countout or a schmozz because I just felt that Luger wasn’t going to get a definitive win in this feud, as he looked foolish at SummerSlam and Survivor Series, and it wasn’t going to change. Luger really laid into him late and perhaps he was going to win the match. Instead Tatanka runs away and gets counted out. That was a lousy ending for a decent match. Why they wouldn’t just let Luger pin him and move on makes no sense to me. Grade: **

JT: We are coming at you via videotape this week, still in Macon, GA but also celebrating Raw’s 100th episode! It has been an interesting ride to date but here we sit in early 1995, just weeks away from WrestleMania XI and the card is starting to shape up. One match that seemed like it could leak out all the way to Hartford was the final showdown between Lex Luger and Tatanka. That feud has been raging since the summer of 1994 and Luger is still yet to get that definitive win. At this point it seemed possible that they could be holding off for Mania but lo and behold here we are, a big singles bout on this anniversary episode. And speaking of, to celebrate #100, we have all new graphics to help usher in the next era of Raw as well. Vince McMahon and Jim Cornette are still in the booth and they hype up the big appearance by Lawrence Taylor that is slated for later tonight. We then hear from Luger, who talks about the feud and the most recent transgression of Tatanka assaulting his father figure Chief Jay Strongbow, who will be in Lex’s corner tonight. Lex promises revenge for all of his transgressions.

Following that, Tatanka and Ted DiBiase saunter to the ring followed by Luger and Chief Jay, who get a warm welcome for this big showdown. Luger chased Tatanka around after the bell and hammered him with right hands before cutting him down with a clothesline and knocking him to the floor. Tatanka gathered himself and, after some cat and mouse, slid back in and went to work with some strikes. Luger ate some of the offense but basically no sold most of it, shrugging off his nemesis and then pummeling him in the corner with an angry assault. Luger dodged an inverted atomic drop and retaliated with a clothesline, again sending Tatanka begging off to the ropes. Tatanka leveraged Luger to the floor by his tights and then went to work on the lower back. Tatanka dominated the action throughout a break and then hooked in a lazy bear hug that he holds on to for a bit. It looks kind of silly too thanks to Luger’s height, leaving him to just rest his head on Tatanka’s awkwardly. Luger broke free and landed a few shots but Tatanka chopped his back into control. That was brief as Luger started to bow up and shrugged off the attack before grabbing a sleeper on Tatanka. Vince says that the sleeper was Strongbow’s move and he must have taught it to Lex. Tatanka breaks free and knocks Lex down and then slides out to the floor where he got in the Chief’s face. After Tatanka yanked off his headdress, Chief unloaded with some chops and sent him reeling. Lex shoved him back in the ring and went into a flurry of offense that continued through a second break. Luger eventually clotheslined Tatanka to the floor and the Native American decided that was enough as he walked off but Luger chased him down and carried him back. Tatanka kept  trying to escape but Lex just kept dragging him in and beating the piss out of him. Tatanka finally broke free and took the count out loss. What a debacle. Will Luger ever get a win over this damn guy? He looks foolish by this point as Tatanka has outwitted him each and every time since SummerSlam. Outside of the final moments, the match was bland too even though the crowd was pretty into it. Luger looks like a man without a soul as he just meanders around showing occasional blips of his old fire but he clearly is just cashing checks. And I can’t blame him, his window has closed hard. This was passable and technically fine but there is just a lack of… stakes? Everything feels hollow here. Tatanka looked better than usual too but at this point that isn’t saying much. Hopefully this issue is finally put to bed. Grade: **

*** We head back to this past weekend’s Superstars where Jerry Lawler tried to sneak his way to a battle royal win by hopping around on the floor on one foot but Bret Hart showed up and blew up his spot and cost him the match. ***

2) Owen Hart defeats Larry Santo via submission with the Sharpshooter at 3:00

Scott: I have a feeling as the year progresses we will see some newer jobbers on the horizon starting with this scrub. Vince says Owen Hart is looking for a tag team partner and a title shot against the Smoking Gunns. It’s not a bad next step for Owen as he’s suddenly treading water on the heel side, particularly without a manager. Speaking of titles and feuds, we really haven’t gotten any hard WrestleMania sell yet. We know Diesel will face Shawn Michaels for the World Title, but that’s pretty much been it. Let’s see if this episode starts it. Owen wins easily. Grade: DUD

JT: We head back to the ring as Owen Hart heads to the ring for a tilt with Larry Santo. Vince notes that Owen is searching for a tag team partner to challenge the Smoking Gunns. Of course, the King of Harts had been teaming with Jim Neidhart but he is now gone, leaving Owen to twist in the wind. Cornette wants title matches for the Heavenly Bodies but Vince laughs that off. Colette also says he may be able to work something out with Owen Hart as far as finding him a tag partner. Owen puts the boots to Santo as Cornette says he believes Larry is the son of the legendary El Santo. Funny stuff. Vince says a lot of big news publications have been speculating if Lawrence Taylor will indeed step in a ring against Bam Bam Bigelow at WrestleMania and hopefully we will sort that out here tonight. Owen works Santo over for a bit before hooking in the Sharpshooter for the win. Grade: DUD

*** Vince McMahon and Jim Cornette welcome in Lawrence Taylor via satellite for a chat about all of the WrestleMania rumors. First we head back to the Royal Rumble to revisit the clips of Taylor’s confrontation with Bam Bam Bigelow. LT says he doesn’t feel he disrespected Bigelow at all and jokes that he had “just lost to a 13 year old”. He was just there a guest of Diesel and looking for a good time and while he thought about going after Bigelow he didn’t because he thought it was childish. Taylor says he has been barraged by fans about the incident  but says he is weighing his options and will take his time about a potential match. Vince says Bigelow has claimed LT is hiding behind his agent but LT says he isn’t scared of anybody, especially Bigelow. Taylor says Bigelow is a tremendous athlete and then laughs off Cornette, asking “who is this clown?” Cornette then brings in Bigelow via satellite from a different location. Bigelow puts over 1-2-3 Kid and the WWF and defends himself, says he is more of a man than anyone else Taylor will meet. Bigelow chokes up a bit and then says all he keeps hearing is from all of Taylor’s agents. LT says Bigelow doesn’t want to hear from him. Bigelow says he isn’t afraid and that if he was a lineman he would have retired Taylor long ago. Taylor says he is sitting right there but Bigelow says he isn’t “I Dream of Jeannie” and can’t just appear there to confront him. Bigelow says he will be at the WrestleMania press conference at the Harley Davidson Cafe and he hopes LT will show up too so he can officially accept the challenge. Taylor tells him to wear a dress to the press conference and then walks off as Bigelow keeps ranting. ***

3) Doink defeats Bob Cook with the Whoopie Cushion at 2:45

Scott: Since I hate Doink, I’m not even acknowledging this match. Before this was the first back and forth between Bam Bam Bigelow and Lawrence Taylor. Tomorrow is the WrestleMania press conference from the Harley Davidson Cafe in New York City. They jaw jacked with each other and Bigelow challenged Taylor to come to the press conference. Now Vince & Cornette are in Macon, but this interview sounded like it was from a studio and they were in front of a green screen. Why? So weird what the WWF was doing TV-wise at that time. Oh, the match is over. Grade: DUD

JT: As we deal with the fallout from the big showdown between LT and Bigelow, Doink and Dink dance to the ring for more shenanigans. Vince plugs the big WrestleMania press conference at the Harley Davidson Cafe in NYC tomorrow at noon and then also plugs the Superstar line. Cornette is finally accepting the fact that Diesel will make it to WrestleMania as WWF Champion as all of his contracted matches are complete but he still believes Shawn Michaels has the psychological advantage thanks to Sid. They then talk about Cornette’s nutrition and being overweight as Doink rolls around on the mat with Bob Cook before finally winning with the Whoopie Cushion. Doink’s expiration is far past due, he needs to be put out to pasture or just work house shows to get the kids riled up. No need to have him on TV at this point, especially on Raw. Grade: DUD

4) Kama defeats Ken Raper via submission with the STF at 3:30

Scott: Next week on Raw, for the first time since November 1992, Shawn Michaels and the British Bulldog will face each other on TV in a singles match. During this match, they’re talking about next week and Vince officially uses the moniker “Psycho Sid” as the bodyguard’s nickname. Meanwhile, Kama mangles this bum. Grade: DUD

JT: We head right back to the ring for our final match of the night as Kama squares off with Ken Raper. Cornette puts over Kama’s skill and athleticism as we get under way and then says he should have a match with Mantaur. Not sure the world is ready for that one, Jimmy. Kama punches away as Cornette reads this week’s USA copy, plugging tonight’s episode of Tek War. Vince makes more fat jokes at Cornette as Kama just slowly works through his “MMA” offense. Kama yells about wanting more competition as Vince turns his attention to next week’s show, which features a big bout between Shawn Michaels and British Bulldog. Kama eventually hooks in the STF and grabs the win as Vince reminds us that Kama wants more competition and should be getting it soon. Grade: DUD

*** Vince McMahon and Jim Cornette wrap things up and then chat with British Bulldog about his match next week. Todd Pettengil then plugs the WrestleMania press conference, which he will be hosting tomorrow. Todd says it will be the highlight of his career and says they will be talking about the matches and celebrities that will be in Hartford. He also says there will be tons of media coverage both inside the Harley Davidson Cafe as well as around the world via satellite. Jim Ross will also be filing hourly updates to the Superstar Line throughout the day. ***

Final Analysis

Scott: First off, I really want to like this Kama character, but the matches have been hideous. More striking, less rest holds. I’m not even going to acknowledge Doink matches anymore because they’re just awful, and a clown in 1995 WWF is a bad thing and needs to go. His matches alone aren’t even that great anymore. Bigelow & LT have a back and forth for the first time since the Royal Rumble and that makes a WrestleMania match more realistic. Why can’t they just end the Luger/Tatanka rivalry and have Luger win clean? It truly makes no sense whatsoever. The top thing to discuss is the new graphics and opening to Raw. Well, the music hasn’t changed, but there’s less red and some more blue as well as new clips of current superstars. That and the between match graphics does freshen the show up a little bit but the main problem is making the matches a little bit better. I’m not saying ditch enhancement squashes, but perhaps adding one more solid match can do wonders for the quality of this show. This episode wasn’t awful, but not as good as last week. Final Grade: C+

JT: I can’t even say this was a bad episode of Raw but everything just feels so… bland and unimportant. There was definitely a tonal switch in the product late in 1994 and it has continued to suck Raw into the sinkhole as the weeks go on. I guess part of it is the lack of compelling characters to eat up the week to week slog and couple that with the fact that very few feuds or storylines are showcased. Besides Shawn Michaels singlehandedly dragging along his feud with Diesel and the LT/Bigelow stuff, what else is exactly going on? Well besides the never ending Luger vs. Tatanka feud anyway. We haven’t seen Undertaker in a bit. Bret Hart has been MIA and kind of maybe has something simmering with Jerry Lawler and Hakushi. Bob Backlund has vanished. Owen Hart has nothing to do, same for British Bulldog. Razor Ramon has vanished since the Rumble. Instead we just have parades of aimless, heatless squashes with guys that have no chance of ever being elevated up the card and it makes for useless shows. The lone highlight here was the face-to-face between Bigelow and LT as that was really well executed by both men and adds some gas to the fire for WrestleMania. And speaking of which, where is the card? We know one definite match and one… maybe… as of now. What else will go down in Hartford? I guess they were saving it for the press conference. Again, this wasn’t an awful show but the overall stakes within the company have never felt lower. Final Grade: C+