Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Monday Night Raw 5/22/95

*** 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 #112

May 22, 1995 (Taped May 15, 1995)
Broome County Arena
Binghamton, NY
Announcers: Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler

1) Razor Ramon defeats Mike Bell after a back suplex off the top rope at 4:17

Scott: We open the show with the Bad Guy, who qualified for the King of the Ring over the weekend. Razor is joined by his new friend Savio Vega, who made his first appearance at In Your House saving Razor from an attack by Jeff Jarrett & the Roadie. Speaking of Jeff Jarrett, he and Razor Ramon swapped the Intercontinental Title over the span of three days up in Canada. Razor won the title for the third time on 5/19, and then Jarrett won it right back for his third title on 5/22. This is Razor’s first Raw match since the beating he took at the hands of Sid a few weeks ago and in his alternate Green tights and boots he beats down Mike Bell but instead of dropping the Edge, just throws him to the canvas and puts his boot on him for the three count. A pretty standard opener but it shows Razor is back. Grade: 1/2*

JT: Welcome to another edition of Monday Night Raw, this week coming at you via videotape from Binghamton, NY, now two weeks removed from the premier installment of In Your House. Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler are in the booth as usual and they are heavily hyping the big return of Shawn Michaels here tonight, his first appearance and match on Raw in seven weeks. Lawler warns that Ted DiBiase is looking to have Michaels finished off for good this time. We then head to the ring for our opening tilt as Razor Ramon saunters to the ring, flanked by the Caribbean Legend Savio Vega. Vega debuted eight days ago at IYH and we have discovered that him and Ramon are close friends. Lawler notes that Ramon has qualified for the KOTR tournament and Vince adds on that Mabel and Bob Holly have as well. We will find out the fourth qualifier later tonight. Ramon mows right through Bell as Lawler talks some shit on Bret Hart, reminding us that he defeated the Hitman two weeks ago. Ramon eventually finishes Bell with a back suplex off the top rope and the Bad Guy is primed to finally take home that crown after coming so close a year ago. Grade: DUD

*** Bret Hart powerwalks to ringside, grabs a microphone and addresses Jerry Lawler. He is still trying to figure out how he possibly lost to the King and calls him worthless scum while wondering if he is a failure. He says Lawler will never be better than him but he does cheat well and says he let everybody down by losing that match. Hart says Lawler has humiliated and embarrassed him but asks what it would take to get one last rematch and says King can ask for anything he could possibly dream up. King says Hart has suffered enough humiliation but Bret comes over and smacks him and demands him to make an offer. Hart says that Lawler is lower than shit and then starts choking him out as Vince McMahon and officials try to pry him off. Hart keeps demanding Lawler pick a type of match until he is finally pulled away. ***

2) Hunter Hearst-Helmsley defeats John Chrystal with a cutter drop at 3:10

Fun Fact: Paul Levesque is from New Hampshire, and began training in Massachusetts in Killer Kowalski’s training school. He made his debut in the IWF in 1992, winning that heavyweight title. He moved on to WCW as lower mid-carder Terra Ryzin, and then changed his name to Jean-Paul Levesque and took on a more snobby blueblood attitude. He toiled with Lord Steven Regal for a while, losing to Alex Wright at Starrcade 1994. He left WCW and was picked up by the WWF in early-1995. He kept his snobby blueblood attitude but his name was changed to something that flowed off the tongue a little better: Hunter Hearst-Helmsley. A vignette aired on the May 1 Raw announcing his debut. His first TV match was on the April 30 Wrestling Challenge when he defeated Buck Zumhoff with a jaw breaker-type move. His RAW debut is tonight where he will also debut what becomes his signature move: the Pedigree. His first PPV appearance was at last month’s In Your House as one of the lumberjacks in the Diesel/Sid title match.

Scott: The Greenwich Blueblood makes his Raw debut after some vignettes and Superstars matches over the past few weeks. It’s practically ignored as Jerry Lawler is sniping with Vince about Bret Hart’s coming out and getting into Lawler’s face about a rematch. Helmsley’s debut is a forgettable squash. Grade: DUD

JT: As Jerry Lawler sorts himself out, we head to the ring for the Raw debut of the newly arrived Hunter Hearst-Helmsley. The Greenwich, CT aristocrat has a very prim and proper look and Vince calls him “most unusual”. As Vince and King break down Bret Hart snapping moments ago, Helmsley picks apart Chrystal with precision, angering the crowd along the way. Lawler plugs Mortal Sins, a USA Pictures Original, this Wednesday night. Get those VCRs set! We get some discussion around Bob Backlund’s presidential aspirations as Helmsley makes easy work of Chrystal and then pins him after a nice cutter drop type move. A strong start for the American Blueblood here on Raw. Grade: DUD

*** We visit Bob Backlund in his campaign offices and he talks about his various viewpoints for his presidential platform. We then head to Orlando where Stephanie Wiand welcomes the Pomposelli family to their new house. The Bushwhackers were also on hand for this momentous occasion. ***

3) Allied Powers defeat Tony DeVito & Bill Payne when Smith pinned Payne with the powerslam at 2:56

Scott: Jerry & Vince are still chirping about what happened with Bret Hart while Lex Luger & British Bulldog come out for a squash match. The Powers fought Men on a Mission on yesterday’s Action Zone and Bulldog got Mabel up on his shoulders. That’s actually very impressive. This was an effective squash and continues the rise of this tag team up the ladder and a possible title shot with Yokozuna & Owen Hart down the line. Grade: DUD

JT: Back to the ring as the Allied Powers are headed out for tag team action, accompanied to the ring by a pair of young flag bearers. Vince says Backlund hasn’t officially decided to run for President yet, but is still considering a campaign. As Davey Boy and Tony DeVito open things up, we head back to yesterday’s Action Zone where the Bulldog showed off his great power by dead lifting Mabel on his shoulders. Vince presses King on giving the Hitman that rematch as the Powers use their power to dominate the action. Bulldog eventually polishes off Payne with a powerslam as the Powers continue to build some momentum. This was a pretty good idea to pair these guys up as they clearly were a bit aimless (especially Luger) on their own and the tag division needed another top team in the mix to help bolster the roster. Grade: DUD

4) Kama defeats Barry Horowitz via submission with a half Boston crab at 2:21

Scott: This Lawler/Hart situation is pretty much dominating the show, as they go back to the ring for some of these squashes but Jerry keeps alluding to the fact that Bret told him he can pick any stipulation of the match. They do focus on Kama and the fact that the Undertaker’s urn is now around his neck. Grade: DUD

JT: We go right back to ringside as Kama and Ted DiBiase are in the ring, melted urn chain in hand, to battle the ageless Barry Horowitz. Vince continues to needle the King over the Bret Hart fiasco as Kama toys with Barry, swatting off a flurry before pounding the longtime hard luck wrestler. Vince reminds us that Horowitz is yet to win a match on Raw. King is now entertaining the rematch idea and says he needs to come up with a stipulation that would really humiliate the Hitman. Kama grabs the easy win. Grade: DUD

*** Todd Pettengill tells us that the Hall of Fame dinner and induction ceremony will go down the night before King of the Ring in Philadelphia and tickets are available now. He reveals the first inductee for this year’s class: Antonino Rocca. Back ringside, Barry Didinsky is with us to promote the newest Shawn Michaels t-shirt in advance of his big return. One size fits all and it’s only $20! He also lets us know the Monday Night Raw t-shirt is available today as well. ***

5) Shawn Michaels defeats King Kong Bundy in a King of the Ring Qualifying Match with the superkick at 8:00

Fun Fact: The last time we saw Shawn Michaels was on the 4/3/95 Raw where he was attacked by Sid. Michaels sustained a legit back injury from the attack and was out of action for the past six weeks, preventing him from getting his rematch with Diesel at the next In Your House. Michaels returns tonight as a babyface after the attack and time off.

Scott: The Heartbreak Kid makes his triumphant return after the trifecta of powerbombs that Sid gave him the night after WrestleMania and looks to get into the June 25 tournament in Philadelphia. Bundy tries to pearl harbor Shawn before the match but Michaels ducks the attack and jumps out fast. Bundy takes control and roughs Shawn up outside before really working him with a bear hug, then into a simple headlock. Before the match Todd Pettingill announces the 1995 WWF Hall of Fame banquet will be the night before KOTR in Philadelphia and tickets are on sale. The first inductee is Antonino Rocca, the barefoot superstar of the 50-70s. Meanwhile Shawn recovers and, with Bigelow and Diesel looking on backstage, Shawn hits the superkick and gets into the tournament. After the match Bigelow and Diesel come out and, with a minute of hesitation, the DUDES WITH ATTITUDES reunite. It was a decent match for Shawn and not much ring rust. Grade: **

JT: It is officially main event time and we are set to find out who the fourth KOTR qualifier is going to be by the end of this bout. King Kong Bundy ambles out to the ring, accompanied by Ted DiBiase and he settles into the corner to await his opponent, Shawn Michaels. And once the Heartbreak Kid does emerge, the crowd is fired up to see him back in action. Long gone is the hated Shawn Michaels as it looks like the Heartbreak Kid is going to be embraced by the WWF fans going forward thanks to the brutal attack he suffered at the hands of Psycho Sid. Bundy tries to jump Michaels as he disrobes but Shawn dodges him and pitches him hard to the floor and finishes his stripping as we take a break. When we return, Michaels slides outside and messes with DiBiase and then heads up top and flies into Bundy with a high cross body to the floor. Vince and King debate if Shawn’s back is healed as he plays some mind games with the big man. He continues to keep Bundy off balance, rattling him with right hands and dodging him with his speed. Bundy finally turned the tide and was able to shoot Michaels hard to the corner, sending him flying up and over the top rope and to the floor. Bundy followed out and slammed Michaels hard on the floor and then continued to use his size and power to punish the rehabbed back inside the ring as well. Vince wonders where Sid and the rest of the Corporation is tonight but King thinks DiBiase is that confident in Bundy. As Bundy continued to punish Michaels, we popped backstage to see Diesel and Bam Bam Bigelow watching the match and chatting strategy. After a break, Michaels had retaken control and hit a moonsault off the top rope before pelting the big man with a superkick to win and advance to the KOTR tournament. After the match, Diesel and Bigelow came out and after some initial hesitation, they Michaels gave Diesel the old leaping high five to officially seal their reunion. It looks like we have a new trio of faces driving the WWF car for the summer here. It was great to see Michaels back on Raw and he brings some unique energy and a dash of comedy to his matches as a face here. He was flying around the ring and looked smooth and fantastic in there. Bundy did his part well enough and it led to a brisk bout. Onto to Philly for Shawn Michaels! Grade: *1/2

Final Analysis

Scott: These jobber squashes are brutal, and taking up way too much time on these shows. The announcing is focussing completely on the continuation of the Lawler/Hart feud while Shawn Michaels finally returns and ups the workrate ante thankfully. We do get a debut as the Greenwich Blueblood wins his first Raw match and we see the Allied Powers try to recover from that WrestleMania trash match. Shawn Michaels is in the KOTR tournament, which to me means he’s the favorite and a win there would get his babyface turn on a real track. The Hart/Lawler stuff dominated the commentary because the in-ring stuff is the usual squash junk. Final Grade: C+

JT: For a taped show we actually had some good energy and a lot of stuff gong on throughout this one. From the debut of Hunter Hearst-Helmsley to the fantastic Bret Hart attack on Jerry Lawler to the red hot return of Shawn Michaels, this was a pretty packed episode. King of the Ring is taking shape as it looks like the Hitman and King will likely tussle in some sort of gimmick match while Diesel and Bigelow will battle the Corporation. And of course, half of the tournament entrants have been locked in now as well. After a bit of a lull after WrestleMania, the last few weeks have picked back up a bit. We will see if they can carry that momentum into Philadelphia. Final Grade: B-

Author: Vintage Vault

Vintage Vault Reposts are a collection of reviews that Scott and JT have written over the years.