Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Monday Night Raw 4/17/95

*** 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 #107

April 17, 1995 (Taped April 3, 1995)
Mid-Hudson Civic Center
Poughkeepsie, NY
Announcers: Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler

*** We head back to yesterday’s Action Zone where it was revealed that Psycho Sid has joined the Million Dollar Corporation. ***

1) Jean-Pierre Lafitte defeats Duke Droese with a cannonball at 10:41

Fun Fact: Tonight we get the debut of Jean-Pierre Lafitte, whose real name is Carl Ouellet. Ouellet began his wrestling career on the independent circuit in 1987 and continued there until he met up with Jacques Rougeau in Puerto Rico in 1993. Rougeau convinced him to be his tag partner and joined the WWF as the Quebecers. Ouellet took on the name Pierre and the duo dressed as Canadian Mounties. The run of the tag team saw them gain the WWF World Tag Team Titles three times. The team remained together until 1994 when Rougeau retired from wrestling. Ouellet was repackaged here as pirate Jean-Pierre Lafitte, the descendant of real life pirate Jean Lafitte.

Scott: After the Action Zone clip of Sid joining the Corporation, we get a straight up mid-card vs. mid-card match with the former Quebecer…from Louisiana? Because, you know we can’t recognize him from exactly one year earlier when he was half of the Tag Team Champions. Lafitte was the lesser talented of the Quebecers and this match shows that with him using methodical, slow offense against the Dumpster. Now Droese (at least on camera) hasn’t had to sell much since he’s been winning squashes since his debut. Sadly, this is where the dearth of actual talent shows in the WWF, because not only are these gimmicks a little corny, but the in-ring work is pretty substandard. Vince and Lawler are talking about Easter and Tax Day, which tells you pretty much what they think of this match. They also announce that next week Bam Bam Bigelow will get a World Title shot with Diesel in Omaha. This is the third show in Poughkeepsie so the crowd may be a bit gassed. Duke makes a comeback but we get a double clothesline and both men are down. Duke tries keep the comeback going with punches and a power slam but misses a top rope splash. Lafitte hits his own big somersault splash off the top rope and gets the victory. The last couple minutes were good, but the rest was crap. Grade: 1/2*

JT: Welcome to this week’s edition of Monday Night Raw, still coming at you via videotape from Poughkeepsie. Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler have the call this week and we kick things off with some big time news as yesterday it was revealed that Psycho Sid was joining Ted DiBiase’ Corporation. This move really gives DiBiase a crown jewel heel to build his stable around. Our opening match features the return of an old friend debuting of a new character in Jean-Pierre Lafitte. The former Quebecer Pierre has returned as a pirate, eyepatch and all, and he starts his Raw career with a pretty tough challenge in Duke Droese. Vince and Lawler keep the commentary topical with jokes about Tax Day and Easter before focusing on establishing Lafitte’s character and sack of gold doubloons. Lafitte no sells a handshake offer and instead lands some strikes to immediately take control of the Dumpster. Droese gets in some offense early on but Lafitte would take over after a missed charge and then really dominate the action with some plodding power offense, keeping Duke off balance and grounded. Vince and King discuss the Lafitte’s eyepatch and how it effects his vision in the ring. Lafitte really uses his weight to lean on Droese, making it a part of his onslaught. King talks about the Boston and New York Marathons as the match ebbs along. The crowd is clearly a bit burnt out here too and Duke Droese isn’t the guy to get them revved back up. Droese would get a couple of hope spots as we get more topical news commentary but Lafitte would fight through a final comeback and drop a cannonball for the win. The match just sort of existed as Droese is quite limited and has no real heat so Lafitte could only do so much in there. That said, it’s a solid enough gimmick and Lafitte is a strong enough worker to maybe make it work, but time will tell what kind of push he gets going forward. Grade: *

*** We get clips of Mr. Bob Backlund annoying partiers on a Florida beach at Spring Break. That is followed by revisiting Psycho Sid joining the Million Dollar Corporation on Action Zone. ***

2) Doink defeats Roy Raymond with the Whoopie Cushion at 3:20

Scott: Doink is still with the company? This is getting out of hand now. Doink is a useless character at this point and there really isn’t much room for him anymore. The dopey Jerry Lawler feud leading into Survivor Series was really the last stand. Doink hits the Whoopie Cushion and we actually need fart noises added to it? Come on. Grade: DUD

JT: We head back to the ring as Doink and Dink prance down to the ring for a tilt with Rhode Island’s own Roy Raymond. I miss evil heel Doink. This version of the Clown is lame and played out and feels so dated even in this gimmick heavy time period. Vince and King talk more about random poll results, Duckman, and other minutia and Vince also notes that Bam Bam Bigelow challenged Diesel to a WWF Title match for next week’s Raw, doing it independently of Ted DiBiase. Doink messes around with Raymond before nabbing the win with the Whoopie Cushion. Dink hits one too and both were enhanced with fart nice sound effects. Sigh. It’s officially time to put the Clown out to pasture, or at the very least keep him corralled to house shows to help fire up the crowd. He has no real need to be on TV or in any feud of substance any more. Grade: DUD

*** Todd Pettengill is here with our very first In Your House report, available for just $14.95 on Mother’s Day. Here is the card thus far:

Diesel vs. Psycho Sid – WWF Title

Todd also talks about the big Orlando, Florida house giveaway contest as well. Get those ballots in now! ***

3) Owen Hart & Yokozuna defeat Bob Holly & 1-2-3 Kid to retain WWF Tag Team Titles when Yokozuna pins Kid with a belly-to-belly suplex at 15:50

Fun Fact: This is a continuation of the conflict that has been going on between these four over the past two weeks. Back on 4/3, Owen and Yokozuna came to the ring during the Bob Holly/Hakushi match and began attacking the 1-2-3 Kid, leading to a brawl and the signing of a six-man match last week. This week, Holly and Kid get a shot at the tag team titles.

Scott: Could “lightning” strike a third time? Over a year ago the Kid with Marty Jannetty stunned the Quebecers on Raw, and then back in January at the Royal Rumble the Kid & Holly won the vacant tag titles after replacing the Smoking Gunns. Can they do it again against Owen Hart & the massive Yokozuna? Vince actually makes wrestling sense by saying the challengers’ philosophy is to keep Owen in the ring and not allow him to tag into the big guy. We know with Owen doing the yeoman’s work that this has potential to be a great match. Owen’s working Holly over with submssions & stretches and out of the break Yoko is tagged in and he pummels Holly with elbows and the dreaded nerve pinch. Holly tries to come back but he flies over the top rope to the floor. The ref is distracted and Owen works Holly over on the outside. Vince is trashing the official for not having control of the match but it does settle down yet Holly is still getting beat down. Owen is particularly working Holly over because he wants revenge for Sparky Plugg pinning him in the six-man tag last week. You think maybe there is a smell of upset in the air but the Kid (after the hot tag) is caught in mid-air and Yoko drops him for the victory. That was a fun match which was the opposite of the crap mid-card before that. Grade: **1/2

JT: We head back down to the ring for our big main event of the evening as Bob Holly and 1-2-3 Kid are set to challenge the WWF Tag Team Champions, Yokozuna & Owen Hart. Kid & Holly held the straps for a day back in January and are looking to make magic happen yet again. Jim Cornette and Mr. Fuji lead out the champs, who are not only looking to defend the gold but also looking for revenge after Holly pinned Hart in a six man tag match a week ago. Owen and Kid open things up and Kid uses his speed to control early, focusing on the arm and keeping Owen on the mat. Kid keeps hold of the arm and tags in Holly, who also works the limb. Owen eventually turns the tide and quickly tags in Yoko, who methodically stalks Holly. However, the Spark Plug was able to spike the big man to the mat by the hair. A moment later, Holly hit the ropes but Owen yanked the top rope down causing Holly to tumble hard to the floor. Owen hopped down and rammed Holly into the post and then tagged into the match. Owen focused on the lower back as the crowd tried to rally Holly with a “USA” chant. It helped briefly as Holly got a backslide but Owen kept control, slinging Holly into Yoko’s head as we took a break.

After the commercial, Yoko was in the ring, laying the wood to Holly as Vince tells us it will be some time before Shawn Michaels can return to action thanks to a back injury suffered at the hands of Sid. Yoko worked a nerve hold and then pitched Holly to the floor, where Owen met him and spiked him to the apron and then slammed him on the floor. Owen tagged in and kept going for pin covers but Holly stayed alive. Vince and King both noted that Owen wanted to be the one to pin Holly as revenge for a week ago. Owen hit an enziguri for two and at this point you have to wonder if a miracle may indeed be in the cards here tonight. Or maybe not as Yoko tagged back in and dropped a big leg before choking and chopping away. Things finally turned around after Holly and Owen collided in the ring and both tagged out. Kid came in hot and really unloaded a flurry on Yoko, even knocking him off his feet. Kid met Owen on the floor with a big dive but the fun ended a moment later when Yoko caught Kid coming off the top rope and slammed him hard to the mat with a belly-to-belly suplex for the win. This was a solid tag match but nothing more. In fact it was really just an extended squash, which is fine because it is more important to build up the new champs than making Kid & Holly seem like legitimate contenders. That said, we do need a credible set of challengers to emerge sooner than later to help stabilize what has quickly become a floundering division. Grade: **1/2

*** Vince McMahon plugs the Superstar Line, which features an exclusive interview with Alundra Blayze. ***

4) Henry Godwinn defeats Rich Myers with the Slop Drop at 1:59

Scott: This crap match is nothing more that fodder to have “Cornfed” from Duckman on the phone. Good grief. Cornfed is more entertaining than the match, and Vince. Grade: DUD

JT: It is time for our final match of the night as Henry Godwinn saunters out to battle Rich Myers. Godwinn makes quick work of Myers but this is all a backdrop to plug Duckman as the character Cornfed calls in to chat with Vince and King. Yep. Grade: DUD

Final Analysis

Scott: First off, no one gives a shit about Duckman. Really, the show is terrible. These long tapings really drain the audience and the energy levels of these last shows of tapings are crap. This roster is a skeleton. It’s top heavy with great characters and solid workers but after that, those under, say, Jeff Jarrett are utter trash. Razor Ramon is legitimately the only contender for the IC Title and then nothing, The tag division is garbage, with no contenders past the Gunns. The rest are singles wrestlers put together. This was nothing much to watch, but next week we start a new venue with a fresh show and a WWF Title match to boot. I hope that these new In Your House secondary shows will help Raw because there’s more frequent big shows to pimp. Otherwise these Raws would really be brutal. Final Grade: D+

JT: This was… just an episode of Raw. There was no real energy or angle development in here and the crowd was clearly burned out after a long night of action. The main event was fine enough, especially for a TV match, but you never really bought Kid & Holly as legit contenders here and the bout never got into that next gear to make it stand out. Outside of that, the action was pretty lacking this week thanks to the real soft depth of the mid card. Beyond the big names on top of the card, there really isn’t much the way of believable contenders or wrestlers making up the roster, and that gets exposed weekly on this show. Tonight’s show just felt like it was eating up time, with nothing advanced or of substance presented. In fact, the one thing plugged the most during the hour was Duckman. Next week brings us live to a new arena and features a big time WWF Title match so hopefully business picks up a bit as we inch closer to the first In Your House. Until then… Final Grade: C-

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