Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Monday Night Raw 9/26/94

*** 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 #79

September 26, 1994
Utica Memorial Auditorium
Utica, NY
Announcers: Vince McMahon & Randy Savage

1) Razor Ramon defeats Tatanka by countout to retain WWF Intercontinental Title at 13:35

Fun Fact I: After weeks of accusing Lex Luger of selling out to Ted DiBiase, Tatanka and Luger were set to wrestle at SummerSlam. After Tatanka picked up the win with a roll up, DiBiase came into the ring with a red, white and blue bag full of money. Luger kicked the bag out of DiBiase’s hands. Tatanka subsequently attacked Luger, turning heel and joining the Million Dollar Corporation. He hit Luger with two Samoan drops and was instructed by DiBiase to give Luger more. Tatanka then applied the Million Dollar Dream and then stuffed the cash in his mouth.

Fun Fact II: At SummerSlam, Razor Ramon pinned Diesel to win the Intercontinental Championship. During the match, Shawn Michaels interfered and accidentally super kicked Diesel. Walter Payton, who was at ringside with Ramon, prevented Michaels from breaking up the pin.

Scott: First off, they should have changed Tatanka’s theme to something more ominous, and (although they would eventually) darkened his tights to something more heel-looking. I really think they should have turned Tatanka into a sleazy casino builder. Now, this is also Tatanka’s first title match in quite a while. I had said for months that Tatanka wasn’t really used effectively as a mid-card babyface and his shine dulled very quickly as 1993 ended and 1994 began. As expected Tatanka jumped Razor from behind before the bell rang and took the control early on. Utica is usually a hot crowd and they are from the get-go for this match as well. Razor took control for a short stretch but really Tatanka dominated the match for the first five minutes or so. It’s nice to have a live show after doing episodes that were over a month old. It’s also the first time we’ve seen Razor since winning the IC Title back at SummerSlam. We have some good old fashioned cheating when Tatanka uses Ted DiBiase’s leverage on an abdominal stretch. Razor starts making a comeback and even hits a back suplex from the second rope. While both men are brawling on the outside, Lex Luger comes stalking up the aisle, but he’s attacked by Bam Bam Bigelow. Then, in one of the most idiotic things I’ve ever seen, Tatanka walks up the aisle and starts brawling with Luger. He gets counted out and Razor wins the match. What the hell? Absolutely stupid. Grade: **

JT: We are finally back live here on Monday Night Raw, coming to you from downtown Utica, NY where Vince McMahon and Randy Savage have the call for tonight’s show. SummerSlam is finally fading into the distance as we now start to prepare for Survivor Series and the Hart Attack Tour to lead us there. Opening things up is an interesting match with some gold on the line. Razor Ramon regained his title back in Chicago and is now challenged by the corporate sellout Tatanka. The Native American was a man that saw frustratingly few title matches since is debut but just weeks after joining Ted DiBiase, here we are. In an interesting note, Tatanka is still using his same theme music and hasn’t changed his look at all yet, but perhaps that is to come. Razor was wearing a sharp red ensemble and got a great ovation from the fans as he sauntered down the aisle. With DiBiase distracting Ramon, Tatanka clobbered him from behind to get the match under way. The Native American chopped away until the Bad Guy fired right back, shooting Tatanka from corner to corner and taking him down with a hip toss before sending him to the floor with a clothesline. Tatanka made his way back in and buried some knees to the gut of Ramon before targeting the lower back. Vince and Randy both reference the positives of Tatanka’s decision in that he is more aggressive and immediately received a title match. Ramon made a brief comeback that Tatanka cut off with a clothesline, followed by some kicks. Ramon was able to spike Tatanka to the mat and then go to work on the arm as Vince reminded us about Tatanka turning his back on his people and mentions that Luger is still waiting for another shot at Tatanka. Tatanka would break up a hammerlock with a back elbow and then chopped away again before slamming the champ and landing an elbow drop for two. Tatanka kept going back to the chops by Ramon side stepped a charge and pitched him to the floor. Ramon kept cutting off Tatanka as he tried to climb back inside but the champ eventually got caught and Tatanka snapped his neck across the top rope to a chorus of boos. Outside, Tatanka laid in some chops as we headed to a commercial break.

After returning, Tatanka was in the ring while Ramon convalesced on the floor. The challenger headed out, laid in some more shots and pitched Ramon back inside, where he kept working over the back with a simple, focused assault, picking up a near fall along the way. Tatanka twisted Ramon into an abdominal stretch as Vince noted how badly DiBiase wants some gold in his Corporation, the one thing he can’t buy. The hold got broken when the referee caught DiBiase adding some leverage but Tatanka kept working the champ over with strikes. Ramon broke free and grabbed an abdominal stretch of his own but Tatanka broke free with a hip toss. The champ dodged an elbow drop and went right to work but before he could load up the Edge, DiBiase hopped on the apron and baited Ramon to the floor. Tatanka snuck outside and drilled the champ from behind, kicking away with vigor before rolling inside. As that went on, Lex Luger appeared in the aisle but before he got too far, Bam Bam Bigelow chased him down and took him out. Tatanka joined the fray as Ramon rolled in the ring and grabbed the count out win to retain his title. Ramon sprinted into the aisle as well and all four men fought until the show went to break. The match itself was fine enough but Tatanka’s offense is super limited, something that was hidden when he was a face. He is going to have to add some variance in there to improve the quality of these matches if he is going to remain in the upper mid card. Ramon squeaks out a victory and keeps his gold as he now awaits his next challenge. Tatanka and Luger’s war is far from over. Grade: **

*** We head back to Superstars where Undertaker and Paul Bearer issued warnings to Yokozuna, who will be meeting the Deadman on the Hart Attack Tour. Bearer says Yoko is responsible for the demise of the Undertaker but he is now back. Undertaker says he vowed to never rest in peace and he has now risen from the depths of darkness to search for Yoko’s soul and on the Hart Attack Tour, his carcass goes in the casket and his soul goes with the Deadman. ***

2) Kwang defeats Rich Myers with a spin heel kick at 2:06

Scott: We begin our weekly jobber parade with Harvey Wippleman’s guy against the company’s best mullet. Vince talks about some stupid three-way deal thing with Phil Simms, Randy Savage and the Phoenix Cardinals? What the hell is he talking about? Boy they really disrespect these jobber squashes. Kwang wins easily. Grade: DUD

JT: Next up, our good buddy Kwang is back this week, led to the ring by Harvey Wippleman to tussle with Rich Myers. Kwang unloads off the bell but Myers reverses a body slam into a head scissors take over. Kwang quickly comes back with some strikes as Vince McMahon breaks some NFL news on a three way trade. He says Randy Savage has been traded to the Phoenix Cardinals to take over as QB, Phil Simms will take his spot on Raw and the Bushwhackers head to ESPN Gameday. Savage says it will no longer be “Buddy Ball” in the desert, but “Macho Ball” instead. Vince then mentions Reggie White signing in Green Bay and wonders if he would like to punch out Jerry Lawler after the King mocked Reggie’s son this past weekend. Apparently White’s son was a guest ring announcer at a live event. What a forced joke that all was. Kwang finishes Myers off with a spin kick. Let’s just move along. Grade: DUD

*** Jerry Lawler heads to the ring for this week’s King’s Court. Lawler wants to discuss pets to open things up and then transitions that into bringing out the new dog in the WWF, Davey Boy Smith. The British Bulldog resurfaced at SummerSlam but officially makes his return appearance here tonight. Lawler makes some lame dog jokes before transitioning into talking about Smith met his wife Diana, daughter of Stu Hart. Smith threatens Lawler with violence as Jim Neidhart arrives to join the fun. Neidhart says Bulldog isn’t really a family member and shouldn’t have been at SummerSlam to begin with but if he wants to stick his nose in the family business, they should have a match on Raw next week. Bulldog says Bret Hart invited him to Chicago to watch his back and now he has returned to be part of the New Generation. He then accepts Neidhart’s challenge for next week. Anvil says it is the worst decision of Bulldog’s career before walking off. Bulldog says it is the best decision of his career as he starts the road to the top next week. ***

*** We head back to last week to revisit Bob Backlund snapping and locking Lou Gianfriddo in the cross face chicken wing. ***

3) 1-2-3 Kid defeats Kenny Davis with a top rope leg drop at 3:25

Scott: During this match we talk about what happened last week when Bob Backlund snapped on Lou Gianfriddo, and then Bob Backlund comes down the aisle to ringside and gives Randy Savage a dictionary as a gift for the plebeians. The match wasn’t much, in fact Kenny Davis looks like he came from the audience. Grade: DUD

JT: Back to the ring as the 1-2-3 Kid jogs out to the ring to lock up with Kenny Davis. Vince and Randy talk a bit more about Backlund’s vicious attack last week and let us know Lou Gianfriddo suffered a slight shoulder separation as a result. Vince wishes a happy 88th birthday to Jack LaLane as the match gets under way. Kenny Davis has quite the look, like a husky Kenny Loggins. We get some more Backlund discussion as Vince also mocks Davis’s physique. As Kid works a side headlock, Bob Backlund power walks to ringside and gives Savage a present. Davis gets a glimpse of offense in but it is short lived as Kid dodges an elbow drop and then goes to work. Vince reads Backlund’s letter, which basically calls out Savage’s lack of vocabulary. Savage then opens the present, which is a dictionary. Kid misses a dropkick in the corner but Davis does nothing of note with the advantage. Kid finally finished things off with a top rope leg drop. This was all a backdrop for more character development for Backlund. Grade: DUD

*** We get a news update style vignette setting us up for the WWF return of King Kong Bundy. ***

4) Shawn Michaels & Diesel defeat Bob Starr & Chris Kanyon when Michaels pins Star after a Diesel jackknife at 3:44

Scott: The Tag Team Champions come out, and suddenly Diesel is acting…differently. He doesn’t have that angry look anymore, like he did when he was a full blown heel earlier in the year. He walks with this cool swagger and smirks a lot. Shawn is still Shawn, but even he looks different, sporting some stubble. Bob Starr’s hair is absolutely absurd here, biggest mullet ever I think. After the match, the Headshrinkers come out to attack the Dudes with Attitudes. There is a new member that is apparently a Headshrinker cousin, but that’s the former Barbarian. Lou Albano calls him Sionne. Well, he says Simone, but he’s an idiot. Grade: DUD

JT: We close things out this week with a visit from our Tag Team Champions, Shawn Michaels and Diesel. Vince notes that Michaels is sporting some facial hair as he opens things up with Chris Kanyon. Wonder if anybody is better than him? Shawn pelts him with a back elbow and slams him down as he controls the action. Diesel tagged in and pummeled Bob Starr as Vince informs us that Survivor Series tickets are going on sale in San Antonio this weekend, so get on that. Michaels picks up where Diesel left off as we are just killing time now, with Vince promoting next week’s Raw. We finally bring an end to this one when Diesel jackknifes Starr and tags in Michaels, who covers for the win. Michaels and Diesel look pretty damn impressive as a team, this was a shrewd idea to help keep building up both guys. Grade: DUD

Fun Fact: At a non-televised event on August 28, the Headshrinkers lost their tag team championships to Shawn Michaels and Diesel. Shortly after the title change, Samu left the WWF to recover from injuries. He was replaced in the Headshrinkers by Sione. This was the first time ever that one half of the team was neither a member of the Anoa’i family nor a Samoan.

*** As Shawn Michaels and Diesel celebrate, the Headshrinkers attacked them from behind. They pummeled the champions as Vince McMahon notes that one of the Headshrinkers is new and Savage mentions that it is a cousin. ***

*** After a break, Lou Albano introduces us to Fatu’s new tag team partner, Sione. He says Samu had a problem after eating some raw fish and came down with a condition that requires him to visit a doctor in Samoa. If he recovers he may return but in the meantime Fatu and Sione will be the new tag team champions. ***

Final Analysis

Scott: Well I can honestly say the problem isn’t the age of the show. We are live in the WWF hotbed of upstate NY but still we are in a wheel-spinning phase in terms of storylines. Owen Hart loses the Title match at SummerSlam but we haven’t consistently seen him or Bret Hart, or Undertaker or anybody that came from the hot feuds into SummerSlam. We did get a title match for freshly minted heel Tatanka and the start of Razor Ramon’s second reign as IC Champion. Bob Backlund losing his mind has become a fun distraction until we reset what the hell is going on elsewhere. We do get the return of the British Bulldog to freshen things up with a battle of Hart brothers-in-law next week. Otherwise, another Raw where you’re wondering what’s next. Final Grade: C+

JT: While it was nice to have a live, energetic crowd back in the mix we have really hit the fall doldrums of the WWF. They are certainly trying to mix in some new (old) talent but there really aren’t any hot feuds at all right now. The Hart Family is still at odds but that has cooled a bit. Razor Ramon has no challenger. Tatanka and Lex Luger is still rolling along but the fans don’t seem that enthused for it. Most of the mid card is just working week to week with nothing going on. Bob Backlund is about the hottest thing going and even he isn’t in a dedicated feud yet. Undertaker and Yokozuna are headed into another casket based feud, something we saw ten months ago. They are certainly trying, but we are lacking a clear direction up and down the card for the first time in 1994. The build to SummerSlam was so focused and locked in, it feels jarring to be back to a meandering roster just weeks later. Until next week… Final Grade: C-