Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Monday Night Raw 6/6/94

*** 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 #66

June 6, 1994 (Taped May 23, 1994)
Struthers Fieldhouse
Youngtown, OH
Announcers: Vince McMahon & Randy Savage

1) Tatanka defeats Crush in a King of the Ring Qualifying Lumberjack Match after a Lex Luger forearm at 19:04

Lumberjacks: Adam Bomb, Bam Bam Bigelow, Doink the Clown, the Bushwhackers, the Smoking Gunns, Duke Drose, Sparky Plugg, 1-2-3 Kid, IRS, Ted Dibiase, Razor Ramon, Jeff Jarrett, Jim Cornette, Yokozuna, Owen Hart, Kwang, & Nikolai Volkoff

Fun Fact: Last week on Raw, Tatanka and Crush battled to a double count-out, so one spot still remained in the King of the Ring tournament. The two were put into another qualifying match this week by President Jack Tunney with the lumberjack stipulation to guarantee a winner.

Scott: So after the double countout mess last week, lumberjacks surround the ring and we get a rare qualifying rematch between Crush and the Native American. They’re making a point to say that Crush would be the Iron Man of the PPV on June 19, because not only would he have to win three matches to win the tournament but he’s in the tag title match with Yokozuna against the Headshrinkers. That still makes me think that Tatanka wins here, on top of the fact that Crush and Owen Hart won’t wrestle each other on the PPV. That kind of stuff didn’t happen in 1994 WWF. When choosing the lumberjacks, President Jack Tunney didn’t allow Lex Luger to be there due to the feud with Crush. Little storyline nuances like that are lost on storylines today. This is the third of three shows this night at Struthers Fieldhouse and I have to say the crowd is still pretty jacked up. Usually these three-show tapings wear crowds out by the last show. Not here. Crush is dominating the action early on, as Vince keeps mentioning the Knicks making the NBA Finals after beating the Pacers in Game 6 the night before. Finally after 15 minutes of action, the lumberjacks start brawling after Yokozuna attacked Tatanka. Tatanka kicked out of a sure three count at two, but Crush retakes control in what has actually been a pretty solid match, Tatanka’s best in quite a while. Of course because he couldn’t be out of the picture completely, Lex Luger does come down and cracks Crush with the bionic forearm and dumps his lifeless body into the ring and eventually Tatanka pins him. That was a fun match and puts the Native American into the tournament. Grade: **1/2

JT: We are back here in the Struthers Fieldhouse yet again for another edition of Monday Night Raw. We are now just two weeks away from King of the Ring and we have one last slot in the tournament available but that will be sorted out tonight. Vince McMahon and Randy Savage are in the booth as always and we waste no time in getting right to our big match on the evening: a rematch between Crush and Tatanka to decide that final tourney slot. After the double countout a week ago, Jack Tunney decreed they would face off again but this time in a Lumberjack Match. As the show opened up, those lumberjacks were all filed around the ring and the fireworks erupted right away thanks to a shoving match between IRS and Razor Ramon. That flare up was followed by the entrances of the combatants and then we finally got under way. But even that go smoothly as all of the lumberjacks hit the ring for a star down just as the bell sounded. They would get moved back to the floor and Crush landed the first flurry of strikes in and eventually pitched Tatanka to the floor, where he was met by the heels, which allowed IRS to land a cheap shot that led to a Crush near fall. Crush started to work the lower back before grabbing a rear chinlock. The face lumberjacks rallied Tatanka, who fought to his feet and broke the hold. Crush maintained control and slammed Tatanka hard to the mat but whiffed on a knee drop. Tatanka heated up and started to unload some chops before eventually dropkicking Crush to the floor. The Hawaiian was quickly shoved back inside and Tatanka got a near fall as we headed to break. After returning, Tatanka was working the arm but Crush quick turned momentum and locked in a cross arm breaker submission. As Vince tells us that Lex Luger was not permitted to be a lumberjack due to his intense issue with Crush, Tatanka forced the break on the hold but the damage was done. Crush landed a backbreaker for two and then turned to a hammerlock to torque that damaged arm. Tatanka slipped free and got a near fall on a clothesline but Crush cut his momentum with an inverted atomic drop for two before going into another cross arm breaker. Tatanka broke the hold but got tied up arguing with IRS, giving Crush a window to nail him from behind, that led to him going right back to the cross arm breaker that he eventually turned into a body scissors. Tatanka escaped yet again and went into attack mode, slamming Crush and dropping an elbow for two as we took a second break.

When we returned, Tatanka was still unloading, eventually driving Crush into the ropes where he got tangled up. The referee freed Crush and Tatanka walked right into a second inverted atomic drop. Crush followed that with a forearm blow off the second rope and then laid on Tatanka and in a funny spot, Bam Bam Bigelow counted two from ringside and Tatanka kicked out. Crush turned Tatanka into a front face lock as the match edged along, both men clearly worn out. Crush would release the hold and pitch Tatanka to the floor where was met by a flurry of kicks and punches from his tag partner Yokozuna. As that went on, Doink hopped on the apron and got into it with Crush. That led to a big brawl with all the lumberjacks which finally freed up Tatanka from Yokozuna. Crush would cover but only get a two count and then went right back to the from face lock which he quickly released. As Crush landed a couple of headbutts, Savage started to question what would happen if this hit a time limit. Vince called it a “romp ’em stomp ’em type of match” just as Crush hit a suplex and leg drop for two. Tatanka was able to sling Crush to the floor where he got mobbed by the face lumberjacks. He did his best to fight them all off but Luger ended up running out and cracked him in the face with the loaded forearm. They pitched Crush inside and Tatanka covered for the hard fought win. And the KOTR brackets are now finalized! And of course, as soon as the bell rang, a lumberjack war ensued in the ring but that quickly dissipated and all the faces celebrated the win. You could tell these two guys were pretty gassed late in the match here after going at it for a second time on the taping. That said, they still did a nice job piecing this together with some focused limb work and effective heat segments. It was better than last week and that was also aided by the energy that the lumberjacks brought to ringside. They were all really engaged in the match and hamming it up. It was a big too long but I thought they did OK in breaking up the monotony by using their surroundings and focusing on the limbs. In general I thought it was a good structure and showcase of the roster. I liked the ending too as Luger gets his payback on Crush for screwing him out of the KOTR as well. Grade: **1/2

*** Todd Pettengil is on the scene with this week’s King of the Ring Report. We are less than two weeks away from this Father’s Day extravaganza and with the tournament now solidified, here is the card:

IRS vs. Mabel – KOTR Opening Round Match
Razor Ramon vs. Bam Bam Bigelow – KOTR Opening Round Match
1-2-3 Kid vs. Jeff Jarrett – KOTR Opening Round Match
Tatanka vs. Owen Hart – KOTR Opening Round Match
Bret Hart vs. Diesel – WWF Heavyweight Title; Hart will have a family member in his corner
Roddy Piper vs. Jerry Lawler
Headshrinkers vs. Yokozuna & Crush – WWF Tag Team Titles

The card is set so you have no reason to wait on calling your cable company and ordering the show! Do it… right now! ***

*** Randy Savage tells everyone not to bother with seeing the Flintstone Movie and then he and Vince McMahon plug the King of the Ring hotline, which is now opened up. Kids get your parents’ permission and then get to calling! ***

2) Bam Bam Bigelow defeats John Paul with a big splash at 2:42

Scott: Bigelow was already starting things earlier in the night as a lumberjack, taking on Razor Ramon outside the ring since they are in the first round of the tournament June 19. I love when Vince and Savage talk pop culture and news during these squashes, like that Hillary Clinton could be co-President according to Bob Woodward. John Paul gets some shots in actually, but the Beast from the East wins. Grade: *

JT: We roll on with our old friend Bam Bam Bigelow heading out for a tilt with John Paul. Bammer is headed to Baltimore and looking to get back to the finals for the second year in a row but his road starts with the very tough Razor Ramon. Paul got a token headlock to open things up and then dodged a splash and grabbed the arm but it was all downhill from there. We get more Flintstones talk and then a potpourri of other pop culture and political chatter as Bigelow beats on Paul. And with that it is time for Randy Savage’s weekly USA promo read and this week the movie is Target of Suspicion, airing this Thursday at 9PM, check it out! Paul gets a quick sunset flip for a one count but Bigelow pounced up and finished off Paul with a splash. Onto Baltimore for Bammer. Grade: DUD

*** We head back to earlier today to check out footage of the D-Day Challenge in New York City when a handful of WWF superstars defeated a team of Marine, Navy and Coast Guard members in a game of Tug of War. ***

*** Jerry Lawler heads to the ring for this week’s King’s Court. He discusses his expectations for King of the Ring when he wrestles a man from Scotland, that talks with his hands in his hair and wears a dress. And he has the guts to have that man on the King’s Court here tonight. And his guest tonight is from Scotland, wears a t-shirt with Hot Rod on it and also wears a dress: “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. However, it is not the real Piper, but rather a scrawny young Roddy Piper impersonator. Lawler mocks the kid’s physique but “Hot Rod” says he is in the best condition of his life. The jokes continue from both men, mocking Piper, his filmography and his kilt. “Hot Rod” tries to back out of the match, blaming the fans for forcing him into it, so Lawler makes him kiss his feet and crawl out of the ring. ***

3) Razor Ramon defeats Keith Davis with the Razor’s Edge at 4:01

Scott: I don’t think Keith Davis is that jobber’s real name. Hmmmmm. During this squash Vince and Savage are promoting the 1994 Hall of Fame ceremony and all the inductees this year. Otherwise, not much. Grade: DUD

JT: Razor Ramon heads to the ring for our final match here this evening as Vince talks about how angry Roddy Piper is going to be after that last segment. As the match with Keith Davis opens up, we get some KOTR and Hall of Fame talk as well. Ramon takes his time pounding on Davis as we get some chatter around the upcoming NBA Finals between Houston and New York. Vince then references the controversy around the Undertaker, with the various sightings and both Ted DiBiase and Paul Bearer on the search for the Deadman as well. Ramon hits the Edge and grabs the win. Grade: DUD

*** Paul Bearer is in a cemetery and says it is true the Undertaker’s trail has grown cold but he doesn’t believe Ted DiBiase’s claim that he will produce the Deadman next week. ***

*** Ted DiBaise joins us at the broadcast booth and claims he has located the Undertaker and will produce him this weekend on Superstars. He will be the property of the Million Dollar Man and everyone else can rest in peace. ***

Final Analysis

Scott: I like the Undertaker is missing storyline. It is somewhat strange, but it is a solid way to get the Deadman back from his vacation. Working non-stop since 1990 probably took a toll and he needed the break, but putting DiBiase in the mix makes it cool in its storyline symmetry. Raw’s hook of having a great match to open the show and not having endless squashes has definitely freshened up the show. I like the Lawler/Piper build, as two of the greatest talkers of all time continue to mix it up with some fun back and forth barbs. The skinny guy in this episode was really funny, and keeps that suspense going, even if the result of the feud is predictable. Next week we have the pre-PPV special so this is the go-home Raw, and it’s a good one. Final Grade: B-

JT: Another fine episode of Raw but I thought this was a slight step back from the last few weeks. While I enjoyed that opening bout, I thought having a match that long and slower paced threw off the nice format and flow we have come to know since WrestleMania. It made the back end feel more rushed and just off balance from what we have seen. That said, it was still well executed with plenty of KOTR build and more strong commentary as well as another quality King’s Court. The fake “Hot Rod” stuff was pretty funny and that kid’s impersonation was dead on. That feud has been pretty well built. Of course, this was our final official Raw before the PPV and the card is officially locked up and should be an interesting one. A card that outside of one match really showcases the newly reshuffled card. See you at the Countdown to the Crowning! Final Grade: C+