Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Monday Night Raw 7/31/95

*** 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 #122

July 31, 1995 (Taped July 24, 1995)
Louisville Gardens
Louisville, KY
Announcers: Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler

1) King Mabel (w/ Sir Mo) defeats Nick Barberry with a belly to belly suplex at 3:12

Scott: So it’s official that it will be Diesel vs. Mabel for the WWF Title at SummerSlam. That is an absolutely dreadful main event. Diesel struggled to get a decent match twice out of Sid, but this will be even worse. At least Sid is a credible challenger in the fans’ eyes to be a champion. No one believes Mabel will ever win any singles belts. Another title match has been announced during this match, as Sid will take on Shawn Michaels for the Intercontinental Title. That match could be pretty good, although Sid isn’t Diesel in terms of adapting to Shawn’s style to make a great match. Mabel wins this mess, and SummerSlam already looks like a stinker. Grade: DUD

JT: Welcome to another week of Monday Night Raw and we are starting to close in a bit on SummerSlam now. Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler welcome us in as usual as we are coming to you via videotape from Louisville. There is some uncertainty in the waters of the WWF for sure, as we have a new President and a brand new number one contender in this year’s King of the Ring, Mabel. And the mammoth monarch, who is carried out on a sedan, opens up the show this week against the erstwhile Nick Barberry. Vince talks about how Mabel has become more ornery since winning the crown and Lawler breaks down what it means to be King. Mabel destroys Barberry as Vince talks about what will happen at SummerSlam when the King will battle Diesel for the WWF Title. He also reveals that Shawn Michaels will defend the IC title against Psycho Sid in Pittsburgh too. Mabel grabs the win and he preps for the biggest night of his career. Grade: DUD

*** We head over to San Francisco, where Fatu is visiting his old high school and talking about wanting to make a difference in the community. We then revisit a week ago where Jerry Lawler and Shawn Michaels traded barbs in an interview. Lawler then interviews Michaels again and says he wishes he was facing Michaels at SummerSlam instead of Sid. Michaels says he has a lot of free time and says he can fit the King in for a match. They go back and forth about it a bit about agreeing to wrestle, with Lawler balking at waiving his “journalistic oath” to compete. ***

*** We see a brief vignette for Goldust, who will be arriving in the WWF soon. ***

2) Bam Bam Bigelow defeats Bob Cook after a hitting a flying headbutt at 3:21

Scott: What happened with Bam Bam Bigelow? He got the big babyface turn after WrestleMania, then had that stinker of a tag team match at KOTR, and now he’s just… floating around. The problem is that now the top two singles titles in the company are being held by babyfaces. So he’s kind of stuck in neutral. Vince shills the AOL Hotline number. Internet? What’s that? Shawn and Lawler got into a face to face earlier, so a title match is possibly in the offing. We could use more Shawn title matches between now and SummerSlam. This match is a quick squash. Grade: DUD

JT: Back to the ring we go as Bam Bam Bigelow chugs to the ring to battle Bob Cook. Lawler is fuming over being disrespected by Michaels and talks again about his broadcasting oath. Bigelow batters Cook as Lawler pokes fun at the big man. The King also says with Jack Tunney retired he may have a way out of the oath and can just beat up whoever he wants whenever he wants. Vince promotes the AOL WWF area which will be live before SummerSlam, so sign up for that today. Bigelow grabs the win with the headbutt off the top rope but overall he has quickly been pushed out of the main event picture and is becoming more aimless by the day. Grade: DUD

*** We head over to the classroom where Dean Douglas is set to deliver another lesson. This week he breaks down Bam Bam Bigelow’s match from tonight, criticizing and failing the performance and mocking Bigelow’s looks as a true beast. ***

*** Owen Hart, Yokozuna, Jim Cornette and Mr. Fuji join in from backstage and are very confident about retaining their Tag Team Titles tonight. ***

3) Skip defeats Major Yates with a superplex at 2:20

Scott: I wonder if Skip got any extra scratch in his contract to lay down to Barry Horowitz on Action Zone. I mean right now it’s all about Sunny anyway. He’s just the extra dude wrestling. Raw lately has been a glass empty or full situation in terms of the matches. We get an awesome main event, but we have to deal with ugly squashes. I don’t mean dominant awesome heel squashes. I mean these four minute back and forth crapfests that put crowds to sleep. I like Candido, but this was terrible too. Grade: DUD

JT: Time for our next match as Skip and Sunny are in the ring ready to battle Major Yates. Skip is scuffling a bit, having embarrassingly lost to Barry Horowitz on Action Zone recently. Both are quite fired up and before the match, Skip says he was cheated and is still truly undefeated. Skip is aggressive in his offense, trying to avoid any potential for shenanigans but still does end up showboating and getting caught in a roll up for two. Vince announces that Skip will battle Shawn Michaels on Superstars this weekend and King mocks Horowitz, who hasn’t accepted Skip’s rematch challenge yet. Yates gets another near fall but Skip polishes him off with a superplex. We will see if Skip can get that rematch and win back any time soon. Grade: DUD

*** Todd Pettengill is in the house with this week’s SummerSlam Insider. SummerSlam is just around four weeks away, emanating from the Igloo in Pittsburgh. Here are the matches discussed:

Diesel vs. King Mabel – WWF Title
Bret Hart vs. Isaac Yankem, DDS

Shawn Michaels vs. Sid – WWF Intercontinental Title

That is it for now, but more to come and it will be the hottest night of the summer so get those orders in now! ***

4) Razor Ramon & Savio Vega wrestle WWF Tag Team Champions Owen Hart & Yokozuna to a draw at around 20:00; Hart & Yokozuna retain WWF Tag Team Titles

Scott: We haven’t seen the champs in a while, so it’s nice to see them defend the straps against the two best friends. Razor Ramon has been somewhat off Raw since his feud with Jeff Jarrett cooled off a couple months ago. Speaking of Jarrett, where’s he? He was all over the IYH #2 show, and now he’s nowhere to be seen. Razor has been out for 44 days with injured ribs. That’s why the Jarrett feud cooled in late May-early June. This match started very slow with all four men working some grapple holds, which isn’t good for this crowd. Yoko & Owen need to dictate pace with a combination of quickness & power, then have Razor get the hot tag. Vince & Lawler keep talking about Lawler facing Shawn for the IC title, but Lawler keeps talking about the “broadcasting oath”. Vince calls that hogwash. Well technically it isn’t because Randy Savage was handcuffed in 1994 in the feud with Crush because of being a “broadcaster”. Kayfabe wasn’t dead just yet. Finally we get Yoko leaning on Savio and giving him the business. The match picks up when Razor gets the hot tag and bulldogs Yoko off the top rope but Owen breaks the pinfall. The ref are letting these guys go as there’s lots of double teaming. Then out of nowhere Razor hits the Edge on Owen for the three count and there’s NEW tag team champions! Or is there? It appears that Owen wasn’t the legal man in the ring. DUMB REFEREE. So the match continues, and Cornette gets ejected to the back. Nothing like a Dusty Finish to piss the crowd off. The match continues and the crowd is really into it, but I can’t see another pin for the title switch. Vince usually doesn’t do things like that. Babyface Vince thinks the ref’s lousy decision should stand, because it’s the babyfaces. So annoying. We’ve had multiple commercial breaks and actually since the false finish the match has really been great with all four guys going full on. I’m slowly getting a feeling the match won’t finish before we go off the air. Vince even says if TV time expires, the match will RESTART next week! That’s an odd decision. But sure enough the match doesn’t end. I knew that was coming. This was a fun match, even without an ending. Grade: ***½

JT: Time for our last bout of the evening so we head to the ring where the WWF Tag Team Champions are ambling to ringside, flanked by Jim Cornette and Mr. Fuji as always. As Razor Ramon and Savio Vega head out, Barry Didinsky is in the aisle promoting a brand new Ramon shirt, available for order tonight. Both of these teams competed as partners in separate matches at In Your House #2 with the champs retaining while Ramon and Vega lost to Men on a Mission. Vega and Hart open things up an Savio is on fire out of the gate, unloading on the Rocket with a flurry of offense that pinballs him all over the ring. Ramon gets the tag and maintains control as Owen as Vince says the Bad Guy was out for 44 days with his rib injury earlier in the summer. Ramon works the arm and then smacks Owen across the face, sending him outside to regroup. After a break, Ramon was still working over Owen, sending him over with a fallaway slam for two but Owen finally escaped and tagged in Yoko. Vince puts over Yoko’s size as he overpowers the Bad Guy to start. Ramon punches back into it and then tags Savio, who knocks Yoko to the floor with a dropkick. The champs were frustrated as they recovered outside but Yoko returned and drove Savio to his corner. Owen tagged in but Savio again worked him over and battered the arm. Owen finally turned the tide with a leg lariat and then tagged Yoko, who flattened Savio with a leg drop. Yoko chucked Savio outside where Owen met him with a slam and then shove him back inside. Yoko kept the pressure on and grabbed a nerve hold as Lawler officially accepted the challenge of Shawn Michaels.

After a break, Savio broke free and tagged Ramon, who came in hot and pelted Yoko with strikes. He followed with a bulldog off the middle rope for a near fall and then things broke down into a brawl between all four men. With Yoko and Savio battling outside, Ramon dropped Owen with the Razor’s Edge to win the titles to a massive pop. However, Jerry Lawler immediately pointed out that Owen wasn’t the legal man and that Yoko was. Cornette argues the same point with the referee, who then informs the ring announcer that Owen was indeed the illegal man and that the match should continue. He also decreed that Cornette had to vacate ringside as well. Ramon and Vega picked up right where they left off and still seemed poised to win the gold until Owen dropped Savio with an enziguri. After another break, Owen and then Yoko was working over Savio but Vega was able to make the tag. Owen tagged back in as well as Vince tells us that if the show ends before the match does, it will restart next week. Both men would get a flurry of near falls but the show ended before Ramon could load up the Edge. Thus we have no winners declared. This was a really solid TV match but a very odd ending. Why would the match be forced to end and restarted next week? Couldn’t it just continue? They should have done a time limit draw or something instead. The false finish was good too even though that was a bit much as well with the referee suddenly caring about the illegal man. The work itself was solid and all four men showed well, especially Vega, who continues to be a real workhorse. Looks like we get of these four next week. Grade: **1/2

Final Analysis

Scott: So the second biggest show of the year is turning into a real pile of crap after the two title matches that are announced. I mean, Mabel? Are you kidding me? Good grief. Diesel’s two matches with Sid were awful, and now he has to work around an even bigger pile of junk. Then Sid faces Shawn for the IC title, which on paper may not be that awful but in execution could very well be. The main event here was a lot of fun but we’re also working with four great talents. These 50/50 squashes need to stop. A squash is when a top face or a top heel destroys some stiff in like two minutes. These are boring back and forth affairs that do no one any favors, including the audience. I’ll grade this high for the mein event but the rest of this show is junk. Final Grade: C

JT: I enjoyed this week’s episode as we continue to receive focused, logical programming show to show. Even if the product is a cool and some of the characters and feuds are spotty, the production and presentation has really gotten top notch throughout the year. The shows fly by and everything makes sense as we progress. Now, if only what was being produced was compelling, things may be really humming. The biggest through line of the episode centered around whether or not Jerry Lawler would accept the challenge of Shawn Michaels and he eventually did by the end of the episode, so we have that to look forward to. The main event was good if not a bit wonky, so we will get another tag title bout next week too. I guess we do have quite a few weeks to eat up before SummerSlam. And speaking of, that card is coming into shape now and what we have so far isn’t exactly inspiring. We will see if that changes. Until next week… Final Grade: B-

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