Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Monday Night Raw 7/4/94

*** 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 #69

July 4, 1994 (Taped June 20, 1994)
Westchester County Center
White Plains, NY
Announcers: Gorilla Monsoon & Randy Savage

Fun Fact: While our episode of Raw is on tape tonight, we have a tragic passing following a house show the morning this show airs. The WWF had a house show on 7/3/94 in Ocean City, MD, which referee Joey Marella worked. Following the show, Marella and Harvey Whippleman (Bruno Lauer) were on the New Jersey Turnpike on their way home. Marella was driving and fell asleep at the wheel, crashing the car. Lauer was wearing his seatbelt and was critically injured. Marella was not wearing his and was killed in the crash. Marella, the adopted son of Gorilla Monsoon, was only 31 years old.

1) Tatanka defeats Jeff Jarrett with a roll up at 13:40

Scott: I’ve really enjoyed these three weeks with Gorilla at commentary, as he and Savage have a different chemistry than Vince and Savage do. Gorilla still has that old school feel with his PBP and analysis, while Vince reads all the pop culture headlines to get cheap pops out of Savage. Great idea to start the third show of the evening with a nice long mid-card match with two solid guys in the ring. This is definitely more for Jarrett than for Tatanka, because other than the KOTR PPV, we really haven’t seen Jarrett work a match with a good opponent instead of a jobber. After some solid work, Jarrett looks to have won on a countout as Tatanka was thrown into the post and JJ got back in the ring under the count. Jarrett then grabs the mic and says he didn’t come up to New York City to wrestle for a countout, so he demands to restart the match and claims he will pin Tatanka clean in the ring. I like how in 1994 Gorilla still talks about the “winner’s share of the purse money.” Old school kayfabe never dies. Jarrett retains control and hooks Tatanka in a sleeper as Gorilla complains about the forearm under the chin for a choke. That’s an old Gorilla-ism. Tatanka comes back and fights out of it and makes the hot comeback but can’t get the three count against Double J. Tatanka had the win with a chop to the head but Jarrett puts his foot on the ropes to break the count. But then, to ruin this match Jarrett heads outside and out comes Doink & Dink to distract him and Tatanka gets the win. The match (both parts) were really good but the ending had to be ruined by the stupid clowns. Grade: **

JT: We are here this week for our special Independence Day episode of Monday Night Raw, but still coming to you on tape from White Plains, meaning we are still joined by Gorilla Monsoon and Randy Savage, decked out in his Americana garb, in the booth. Gorilla has been hit or miss in his interim run here but as I have stated over the past two episodes, I really miss the energy Vince McMahon brings to the Raw booth. Plus he and Savage had really built up some fantastic chemistry since WrestleMania. Hopefully he will be back soon! Opening things up this week we have the Native American Tatanka battling a heel on the rise in Jeff Jarrett. Jarrett had been pretty red hot but ran into some trouble at KOTR when he was stunned by 1-2-3 Kid. Tatanka also had a rough night in Baltimore, falling to Owen Hart in the opening round. So, these guys tussle here, both looking to get back on track. Gorilla and Randy pile on Jarrett as he enters, asking why we still haven’t heard this guy sing despite all his bravado and then Gorilla also says Double J wastes a lot of time in the ring. Tatanka attacks Jarrett at the bell, driving him to the mat with a running powerslam for two. He followed that with a nice delayed vertical suplex for a near fall. Jarrett was able to trip Tatanka up with a drop toehold and grab a rear chinlock as Gorilla tells us Tatanka may be a bit distracted as he is scheduled to battle the Undertaker on Superstars this weekend. Gorilla also notes that Ted DiBiase has taken over All American Wrestling to make it a showcase for his talent. Tatanka comes back with an arm drag and unloads a chop before grabbing a side headlock. We get more Undertaker talk as Tatanka maintains control, frustrating Jarrett, cutting off any window he found with a chop. Jarrett finally found his chance, dodging a charge and sending Tatanka flying over the top rope and to the floor. Jarrett met him out there with an ax blow off the apron and then rammed Tatanka’s lower back into the edge of the ring. Tatanka was able to recover and yank Jarrett back to the floor but that backfired as Double J shoved Tatanka into the ring post and then slid back inside, allowing him to win the bout by count out. After celebrating for a moment, Jarrett grabbed a mic and said he wants to win fair and square and doesn’t like cheap wins, like Randy Savage would. So, he demands that the match be restarted.

His wish would be granted and after a break, we were back under way. Jarrett mowed Tatanka down with a back elbow and grabbed a near fall. Savage is wondering why Jarrett called him out but does give him credit for doing what he did. Gorilla basically calls him dumb for passing up the winner’s purse. Tatanka tries to mount a comeback but Jarrett is all over him, ramming him hard into the corner and then nailing him with a clothesline for two. Jarrett started arguing with the ref, leading to Gorilla jumping all over him for wasting time, but Double J refocused and hooked in a tight sleeper, to which Gorilla asks if “his daddy taught him that”. Gorilla is feisty here tonight. Tatanka fought his way out of the sleeper and hit the war dance, smashing Jarrett with chops and then burying a knee to his face followed by a DDT for a near fall. Jarrett tried to bail outside but Tatanka followed him out and pitched him right back inside and then nailed him with a chop off the top rope for two. Jarrett again rolled outside and threatened to walk away but before he got too far, Dink snuck up behind him and sprayed him with water. Doink then emerged and chased Jarrett back inside, where Tatanka rolled him up for the win. The epic Jarrett/Clowns feud rolls on. That was a pretty rock solid match to open up this week and I thought it built up nicely, which Jarrett pissing away a win and then getting screwed by his nemesis. Tatanka was a bit sluggish at times but woke up for the home stretch. I really enjoyed acerbic Gorilla here and thought this was the best he has been during this brief Raw run. He was all over Jarrett in ways that made sense. Nice little opener to get this week’s holiday show up and running. Grade: **1/2

*** Jerry Lawler heads out to the ring for this week’s King’s Court. He takes a few shots at the crowd as Gorilla reminds us that he should have been suspended for his recent actions. Lawler mocks and then brings out his guest, the man who has an unlikely WWF Title match next week, the 1-2-3 Kid. The Kid has a chance to become the youngest WWF Champion if he were to defeat Bret Hart a week from tonight. Lawler tells the Kid to stop worrying about the fans because they mean nothing and instead he should focus on this chance of a lifetime he has in front of him. Lawler promises Kid that he will be rooting for him to beat Hart next week because he hates the Hitman’s guts and that is the attitude the Kid must have. Kid said he doesn’t hate Mr. Bret Hart and he is one of his biggest fans because he is the greatest wrestler in the world. Lawler tells him that attitude means he won’t win the title because Hart is too good to be upset, so he has to punch him in the face. Kid said he has too much respect for Hart to act like that and if he has to stoop to dirty tactics, then he doesn’t belong in the company. Lawler again reiterates Hart won’t fall for Kid’s stunts and that he trying to help him win. Kid again states he will not fight dirty, he will go out and give it 110% and if luck is on his side, Hart may make a mistake and give him a chance to be Champion. Lawler finally gives in and tells Kid he has the shot of a lifetime and tells him to go out there and win the title for him. Kid says if he wins, it will be for himself, not for the King. Lawler says a lot of people are pulling for him and again asks Kid to win it for him. Kid again says he will win it for himself and the fans and then walks out. ***

2) Jim Neidhart defeats Gary Scott with a powerslam at 3:17

Fun Fact: This is Jim Neidhart’s first ever Raw match (since Raw was not on the air when he last wrestled for the company), his first WWF match since 3/7/92 (house show in Dalton, GA) and his first televised WWF match since 2/29/92 (WWF Superstars).

Scott: This is the first televised match for the Anvil in a couple of years, since the New Foundation days in mid-1992. Owen Hart accompanies him to ringside as Gorilla and Savage say that Owen wants Bret Hart to keep the WWF Title next week against the 1-2-3 Kid because he wants to beat his brother for the title. That title shot will be coming down the line. It’s sad how they have to trash the legacy of one of the greatest tag teams of all time by saying that one was better than the other. Kinda sucks. Neidhart wins with his ol’ powerslam. Grade: *

JT: Next up, we have the official in ring return of Jim Neidhart, who enters to the old Hart Foundation theme, and is accompanied by his brother-in-law Owen Hart. Gorilla calls Neidhart a “maniac” and reminds us that Owen wants to be known as the King of Harts. It has been over two years since the Anvil graced a WWF ring so we will see if there is any rust against Gary Scott. Anvil attacks off the bell, clubbing away at Scott and then sending him flying with a back drop. Savage calls Owen the “Lying King” and Gorilla mentions how Anvil and Owen talked about how Neidhart carried the Hitman for years. Savage also notes that Owen wants Bret to retain next week so he can be the one to beat his brother. Anvil keeps using his power, hoisting Scott up and running him into the corner, locking him in the Tree of Woe. Owen screams at Scott as Neidhart clobbers him. The fans fire up a “traitor” chant as Owen yells randomly at ringside, claiming that he and Anvil have both carried his loser brother. Anvil keeps bringing the heavy blows before winning with a running powerslam. I am enjoying the slow descent into madness of Owen Hart, while the maniac Anvil plays the violin behind him. Grade: DUD

3) Duke Droese defeats Mike Sharpe with with an elbow drop at 3:58

Scott: Wow, Iron Mike Sharpe was still with the company in 1994. I honestly thought he was gone by the end of 1993. Savage congratulates Gorilla on his induction into the WWF Hall of Fame, and I will as well. The greatest PBP guy in wrestling history. Savage does the USA Movie read, and it’s funny how Gorilla and Savage ham it up and even break the fourth wall to give Savage the card to read it. These guys make fun of Conchita Martinez, who beat Martina Navratilova to win Wimbledon. That was mean. Droese uses Buddy Landell’s old spinning elbow drop for the finish and the win. Grade: *

JT: We are back from break with our next bout featuring our new buddy Duke Droese, who is set to battle long time stalwart Iron Mike Sharpe. Droese is still hot over his recent issues with Jerry Lawler and will look to funnel that anger here. Savage congratulates Gorilla on his Hall of Fame induction and tells him he should buy him dinner as a result. We get some talk about Lawler’s forced apology as Droese goes to work on Sharpe. Randy then reads the plug for this week’s USA Movie, Sea of Love, featuring Al Pacino, airing this Thursday night at 9PM. Droese keeps meandering through his offense as we now get some talk about tennis and Wimbledon and that turns quite racist as Gorilla botches Conchita Martinez’s name. Droese reverses a piledriver attempt and eventually hits a corkscrew elbow drop for the victory. Grade: DUD

4) Undertaker defeats Mike Bell with a Tombstone at 3:59

Fun Fact: Ted DiBiase originally introduced the Undertaker back in 1991. Tonight, we have the introduction of another Undertaker. This Taker is Brian Lee, the real life cousin of Mark Calloway. Lee started wrestling in CWA in 1988 before moving to Smoky Mountain Wrestling in 1991. He was a two time SMW Heavyweight Champion and SWM Tag Team Champion with Chris Candido. He was the first ever SMW Heavyweight Champion and was the first wrestler managed by Tammy Sytch. Here he debuts in the WWF as a second Undertaker under Ted DiBiase. DiBiase claimed that he had found ‘aker after his casket match loss at the 1994 Royal Rumble and had convinced him to come back after paying him a large sum of money.

Scott: There’s something…off about Undertaker. Where are the tattoos on his arm? They seem different. He’s wrestling like Undertaker, and the crowd is still cheering him but obviously he’s turned heel with DiBiase in his corner. Taker’s hair is particularly long, and I can’t see his face. I also notice that after the Tombstone, he didn’t flip his hair back to show us his face. That’s odd. After the match Paul Bearer comes down to the ring and suddenly DiBiase is scared. He flashes money in Taker’s face but the Deadman isn’t biting. He takes more money out and the Deadman suddenly turns around. Grade: DUD

JT: We wrap this week up with an appearance from… the Undertaker? He has returned! Ted DiBiase indeed lured his old protege out of the depths of darkness with cold, hard cash. Gorilla talks about DiBiase’s growing stable, as he now employs Nikolai Volkoff, Undertaker and Bam Bam Bigelow with Lex Luger possibly on the way too. He also spent some of that cash to buy out Johnny Polo so he could take over All American. Undertaker works over Mike Bell as Gorilla reminds us that DiBiase originally brought Taker to the WWF before selling him to Mr. Fuji, who sold him to Brother Love who then transitioned him to Paul Bearer. I had no clue Fuji was somehow involved in that transition chain. DiBiase is glowing at ringside as Taker dominates the action while Gorilla and Randy ponder where Bearer is tonight. As the crowd continued to boo the Deadman on and off through the match, Taker finally finishes Bell off with the Tombstone. After the bout, Bearer does indeed show up and it leads to Undertaker being torn between which manager to leave with before eventually choosing the money once DiBiase ups the pot. Bearer walks off shaking his head, not seeing to believe Undertaker would be swayed by cash. This issue is far from over. Grade: DUD

*** Backstage, Jerry Lawler catches up with Ted DiBiase and invites him on the King’s Court next week. DiBiase doesn’t want to go out there in front of the peons, so Lawler offers to hold the Court anywhere DiBiase chooses. ***

Final Analysis

Scott: As Gorilla has been pinch hitting for Vince, I’ve actually come to enjoy him. The chemistry with Savage isn’t the same as Macho has with Vince but it’s gotten a lot better over the past couple of weeks. Jeff Jarrett seems to be spinning his wheels in the mid card. The King’s Court was solid, as the Kid is trying not to feel like he is out of Bret Hart’s league but it’s still a cool mini-story to tell leading into the big match next week. I also like the Undertaker storyline and how it’s campy but fun at the same time. Seeing Jim Neidhart wrestle means nothing to me, but trashing the Hart Foundation for the sake of the storyline is kind of weak. Solid episode overall as we head into summer and the real start to the SummerSlam build. Final Grade: B

JT: We bounce back nicely here with a solid episode of Raw. I thought this was the best outing by Gorilla Monsoon as he was focused and dropped barbs without going too far off the reservation. Also, Randy Savage has developed into a damn fine announcer, weaving together storylines, calling action and working in funny one liners that don’t seem forced. The opener was a solid match between two aimless mid carders and we did get some storyline development there, even if it did include Doink and Dink. I really liked the King’s Court and thought Kid did a fantastic job setting the stage for his huge match next week. That has been a fun arc over the past month. The rest of the matches were blasé squashes but I thought the commentary was on point and utilized all of the down time well, pushing along all of the major storylines that are currently ongoing in the WWF. The increasing madness of Owen Hart is fantastic and Ted DiBiase’s burgeoning mega stable is a big deal and has been treated as such, taking up a lot of TV time week after week. Next week we will be live for our huge WWF Title match. See you then! Final Grade: B