Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Monday Night Raw 4/18/94

*** 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! ***

raw_4-18-94_1

Monday Night Raw #59

April 18, 1994 (Taped April 11, 1994)
Memorial Auditorium
Utica, NY
Announcers: Vince McMahon & Randy Savage

Fun Fact: On 4/13/94, Jesse Ventura won a ruling against the WWF/Titan Sports in a St. Paul, MN court case regarding video tape and merchandising royalties. Back in 1987 when he was renegotiating his contract, he waived his right to royalties when he was falsely told that only featured performers received royalties. In 1991, he found out that other performers, such as Mr. T and Cyndi Lauper, had received royalties. As a result of the lawsuit, Ventura’s commentary and appearances in WWF home videos were removed. Following the ruling, McMahon indicated that Ventura would never appear on WWF programming ever again.

1) Bret Hart defeats Kwang in a non-title match via submission with the Sharpshooter at 6:52

Scott: We open the show with the WWF Champion, who will definitely be a fighting champion more than Yokozuna was booked as. He mostly wrestled Superstars squashes and the occasional Raw interview, but we can easily see that the Hitman will be on Raw much more and actually wrestle solid opponents. This isn’t a World Title match, even though Earl Hebner raised the belt up after Bret gave it to him, indicating this is a WWF Title match. The Bret/Owen feud has cooled a bit since Mania, but I’m sure once the KOTR build starts something will involve them. Kwang was working a pretty decent match until we get the nerve pinch finisher, which is only to be used by Yoko because that’s his rest hold. And as I mentioned Owen Hart earlier he calls into the announce table during the match and says he will beat Owen on the WrestlMmania Revenge Tour. Vince then just said that Owen is the “#1 contender”. Now back then Vince used to sometimes just throw random things out during matches that are probably forgettable, and sometimes they were legitimate. Bret recovers and ratchets the Sharpshooter for the win. Grade: **

JT: We come at you via tape this week, back in Utica and still with Vince McMahon and Randy Savage in the booth. We are also still feeling the ripple effects of a huge WrestleMania that went down about a month ago. And part of that fallout was the crowning of a new WWF Champion in Bret Hart. Hart was a tremendous fighting champion in his first run with the strap and he is proclaiming we will more of the same this time around. This is his first Raw bout since knocking off Yokozuna and he is slated to battle the mysterious Kwang, who made his debut back in January and hasn’t done much of note since. A win here would put him in prime position for a title shot of course. It is interesting how much Vince has been promoting Savage as an all time great and a legend more and more as the weeks have gone on, as it seems he clearly wanted him in that Bruno Sammartino type role here in 1994. Savage has other ideas as he states his wish for a WWF Title match with the Hitman. Hart comes out to a warm reception from the Utica faithful and everything just seems right in the WWF world with him back on top. Kwang jumped Hart to start the match and kicked and slugged away before leveling him with a roundhouse kick to the face. Kwang sprayed some green mist into the air and zeroed right back in on the Hitman but eventually missed a charge in the corner, allowing Hart to punch away. The champ went to the arm and worked it over as he regained his bearings. Kwang turned the tide when he dodged a rushing Hart and sent him flying to the floor, where the champ seemingly dinged up his wrist. Kwang followed him out with a clubbing blow off the ring apron and then rammed him into the ring post as we went to a break. After the commercial, Kwang was still in control, drilling Hart with a running spin heel kick in the corner for a near fall. As Kwang pressed in a nerve hold and kept the pressure on, Owen Hart dialed in on the phone to talk about his pursuit of the WWF Title on the WrestleMania Revenge Tour that is occurring across the country. Owen stresses that he is the best and is better than Bret and that he will beat him for that title on the tour when given the chance. Bret finally got out of the hold and started his comeback with a clothesline followed by a roll up, backbreaker and an elbow drop for a flurry of near falls. Kwang cut him off with a shot to the gut but Bret came right back and hit the Russian leg sweep before locking in the Sharpshooter for the win. Hey this wasn’t that bad at all. Kwang actually gave it a go and showed off some decent offense before selling all of Bret’s attack well enough too. I liked the aggression Kwang showed too. Hart retains but the Revenge Tour is looming large. Grade: **

2) Jeff Jarrett defeats PJ Walker with a DDT at 4:00

Scott: Even in post-Bobby Heenan 1994 Vince was using references like Dudley Moore getting married and Roseanne/Tom Arnold rumors. WRESTLING FANS DON”T CARE. Jeff Jarrett may have been on Raw more than anybody else since November when those vignettes started before he actually made his in-ring debut. Now during this match Vince and Savage are talking about President Clinton and his family eating peanut butter and banana sandwiches. What the fuck is going on here? I know this is an extended squash but can we pay attention to the match? Jarrett wins. Grade: *

JT: Up next we have Jeff Jarrett strutting out to the ring to battle our old pal PJ Walker. We get a series of Tonya Harding country music and Dudley Moore wedding anecdotes from Vince to show how live we are. As the match goes on, we start with talk about Roseanne and Tom Arnold before transitioning to Jarrett’s recent issues with Doink and Dink, who doused Double J with water this past weekend. Jarrett slowly picked Walker apart as Vince and Randy just keep running through various conversations, both topical and not. They do discuss a potential Savage/Hart Title match again too, which is interesting. Walker gets a slight hope spot in but Jarrett cut that off quickly and went back to work as we now get talk about Bill Clinton’s culinary and sexual preferences. Vince then notes that Lou Albano has been up in Jack Tunney’s office all week long lobbying for that title match for the Headshrinkers. Jarrett finally wins this with a DDT. Grade: DUD

*** Lou Albano joins us from a random location and demands an answer from Jack Tunney regarding a potential Tag Team Title match for the Headshrinkers right here next week. ***

3) Steiner Brothers defeat Barry Hardy & Mike Khoury when Scott pins Khoury with the Steiner Screwdriver at 5:13

Fun Fact: We say farewell to the Steiners tonight on Raw. This will be their final Raw appearance, although Scott will be seen again on the May 7 episode of Superstars of Wrestling in a King of the Ring qualifier loss to IRS. The team would take some time off before appearing again in July 1995 in ECW where they would stay for the remainder of the year. They would then return to WCW in 1996.

Scott: Is this April 1994, or April 1993? I honestly didn’t know the Steiners were still with the company. They lost the straps to the Quebecers back in September and then the feud fizzled. Rick & Scott were at the Royal Rumble but then not at WrestleMania X. That’s really odd, but they haven’t been on Raw in months. Vince still talks pop culture gossip, including Billy Joel & Christie Brinkley divorcing. Vince alludes to the possibility of the Steiners breaking up, including Scott threatening the official after a two count. The Steiners look particularly aggressive and angry tonight, pummeling these jobbers even more than usual. Grade: *

JT: Well, well, well, look who joins us this week. Our old favorites the Steiner Brothers! Of course, the brothers from Michigan used to dole out fantastic squashes in the early Raw days but really faded to the background after Survivor Series, spending more time in Japan than stateside. With the tag division severely lacking depth, their lack of presence was sorely glaring. Scott and Mike Khoury open things up as Vince reminds us how the Steiners lost the titles to the Quebecers back in the fall. Scott puts a quick hurting on Khoury, smacking him around and grinding him with a tight chinlock. Vince promotes Tunney’s decision some more and says we will hear from Johnny Polo later tonight. Scott looks pretty pissed off, as usual, and just chucks Khoury into the corner to tag Hardy in. He meets him with a nice throw as Vince and Randy talk about Magic Johnson. Rick tags in and and smacks Hardy with a clothesline as Vince muses about a potential breakup of the Steiners, relating it to Billy Joel’s impending split with Christy Brinkley. Rick hits an Oklahoma Stampede and tags in Scott as we get more Tonya talk. Vince and Randy seriously sound like they are auditioning for SNL Weekend Update at this point. Rick comes back in and just rides Hardy down and smacks him with forearms to the head. He follows with a belly-to-belly off the middle rope and then goes into a seated rear chinlock before tagging out. Savage promotes this week’s USA Movie: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, coming Wednesday night. Scott hits a throw off the top rope and threatens the official before forcing Hardy to tag Khoury. He meets Khoury with a double underhook suplex and then destroys Khoury with the Screwdriver for the win. Well, I have missed those beatings. And any time we get a Screwdriver, a half a snowflake is doled out. I am glad we got once last Steiner destruction in before they take off for good. It was a hell of a run that could have been so much more. Grade: 1/2*

*** We head to a random street where we meet Duke “The Dumpster” Droese, who rides in on a garbage truck and pitches some trash into it, along with high giving his partner. He levies a threat to the WWF that he is en route to the company and doesn’t take any trash unless he wants to. ***

*** Jerry Lawler is back this week for another edition of the King’s Court. This week his guest is WWF Women’s Champion Alundra Blayze. Lawler makes jokes at the expense of her looks and then brings her out for a chat. Blayze ones a Burger King crow with a “Lawler is a Loser” sticker on it and then made Humpty Dumpty joke before things settle down into a conversation. Blayze says she heard the King’s Court is a low rent knock off of Piper’s Pit and that the King should be paying Piper royalties. Lawler asks Blayze where her belt is and she thinks Lawler stole it because he likes to wear women’s belts. Lawler says he has a big surprise tonight and brings out Luna Vachon for a confrontation. Luna says she is not a thief and not the WWF Women’s Champion, but if she was, she would be sure to have her belt with her. Blayze calls her a closet champion and said she stole the belt and hid it at home because she wishes to be champion and then makes a joke about Luna’s gender. After a brief shoving match, Blayze takes off. ***

4) Earthquake defeats Mike Bell with an Earthquake Splash at 3:55

Scott: We just concluded the King’s Court where a possible feud between Alundra Blayze & Luna Vachon is starting, but it’s weird that Alundra didn’t have the Women’s title belt with her. Earthquake wins this one easily, and seems to be getting a decent push. Grade: DUD

JT: Next up we get to check out a showcase match for Earthquake, who is still riding high off his two match sweep over Adam Bomb. Vince wonders what a match between Quake and Yokozuna could be like and hints we could see it on the Revenge tour. He also brings up Quake’s background as a sumo wrestler as well. Bell tries to come up with a unique strategy, climbing the second rope for a test of strength but that backfires quite badly. Vince and Randy discuss the Mania Cohost Contest as Quake beat on Bell for a few minutes, including breaking out a pair of dropkicks, before polishing him off with an Earthquake Splash. Grade: DUD

*** We check out clips from Superstars, where IRS finally made good on his promise to Tatanka regarding the failure to pay a gift tax. IRS attacked Tatanka during his match with Kwang and then destroyed his beloved ceremonial headdress. Chief Jay Strongbow tried to make the save but IRS beat him up as well. ***

5) Irwin R. Schyster defeats Major Yates with the Penalty at 3:24

Scott: Before the match we see the clip of IRS attacking Tatanka and then destroying the headdress and attacking Chief Jay Strongbow on the previous Saturday’s Superstars. If you’re watching these Raws one after the other like we are, you would think IRS was the hottest heel in the company, hotter than Yokozuna, Owen Hart or any of them. IRS probably deserved a World Title shot at this point. IRS wins with a modified STF for the win, called “The Penalty”. Grade: DUD

JT: IRS has suddenly become a heat machine! I loved the payoff to the weeks of IRS calling out Tatanka’s headdress gift tax as it ignited what could be a pretty fun feud. The destruction of the headdress was nasty and him smacking around Jay Strongbow was great too. Between that and him trumpeting the April 15 tax deadline, the hatred of Irwin may have been at an all time high here. I like how they didn’t waste much time in having the headdress get destroyed. Tatanka got it as a gift, IRS immediately started shitting on it and then a few weeks late he wrecked it all. Vince and Randy discuss the fallout of the attack and Irwin’s recent visit to Radio WWF as the taxman made quick work of Major Yates, finishing him off with the Penalty. Grade: DUD

*** Johnny Polo joins us from backstage and says the Headshrinkers shouldn’t be granted the Tag Team Title match. They aren’t worried about fighting them but he thinks the way Lou Albano going about it is wrong. Polo says he is on his way to Toronto to get involved as well. We then cut to Jerry Lawler, also backstage, who says he is going to have Nikolai Volkoff on the King’s Court next week. ***

Final Analysis

Scott: I will always give a high grade to any Raw that can fit five matches into an hour, squashes or not. It’s also great when your World Champion is on the show, as Bret Hart was hardly seen in 1993 during the Jerry Lawler feud. Throwbacks like Earthquake do still bring a sense of stability, as it’s not old guy overkill but just a perfect combination of veterans who stabilize the roster with the current stars. I enjoyed seeing Alundra Blayze as she also seems to be forgotten from time to time. We bid farewell to the Steiners who pretty much fell off the map after losing to the Quebecers back in September. Another fun episode as we head towards our next PPV, King of the Ring. Final Grade: B

JT: This was a pretty up and down episode of Raw, with a decent opener featuring our WWF Champion and a fun Steiner squash but not much else. I like that they tried to give Alundra Blayze some shine but the King’s Court was rough to watch and the story they tried to tell really made little sense. I do like how much they have established their various shows now, setting up the Heartbreak Hotel as a Superstars staple and the Court as permanent on Raw, hyping each week’s guest ahead of time. The rest of the squash matches were fairly uninspiring as well. Vince and Savage spent way too much time on the pop culture and news bits in their commentary and it really became overkill after a while. It was a far cry from last week when they were so focused on furthering all the big storylines and were totally locked in. The company is in a fun spot right now, trying to find its true direction and mixing young, new talent in with its veteran stalwarts and positioning them all pretty well, but that uncertainty can also lead to shows like this, where not everything flows perfectly from segment to segment. The build to our next PPV should be kicking off soon but it is clear some storyline issues are already fermenting. Final Grade: C