Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Sunday Night Slam 11/20/94

*** 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! ***

Sunday Night Slam

November 20, 1994 (Taped November 8, 1994)
Fernwood Resort & Country Club
Bushkill, PA
Announcers: Gorilla Monsoon & Stan Lane

1) Smoking Gunns defeat Heavenly Bodies when Billy Gunn defeats Tom Prichard with a crucifix at 14:00

Fun Fact: The Heavenly Bodies and The Smoking Gunns have been wrapped up in a feud since early September. On the September 3 episode of Superstars. the Bodies attacked the Gunns prior to the match and stole the Gunns’ cowboy hats. They put on the hats to mock the Gunns and then threw them on the ground and stomped on them. Later, the Gunns store the Bodies’ ring robes and tore the wings off of them.

Scott: With the PPV on a Wednesday, this is actually a bonus show. Raw will still be tomorrow night. We open our show with two of the top tag teams in the division. Eventually the Gunns will get an elusive World Tag Title shot, currently held by Shawn Michaels & Diesel. It’s so funny hearing Gorilla Monsoon doing shows in this era as he seems so antiseptic, like he’s really not in tune with the entire product. Stan Lane is rarely ever on Raw so this is kind of a treat to hear different voices doing matches. The Gunns are definitely still on the top few rungs but the Bodies have become jobber fodder, and are laying down for many babyface teams. The crowd at Fernwood is pretty hot for this opener. The Bodies do dictate the pace early on with some dirty strikes and double teaming, while Jim Cornette heckles from the sidelines. When did Jimmy Del Ray get in that bad of shape? I mean Jesus, he’s got a legit gut going on there. I know the whole gimmick is he jiggles his midsection but wow he’s living the gimmick. The Bodies really lay into Bart for a good chunk of this match, while Gorilla & Stan hard sell the PPV on Wednesday. They do a nice job explaining how the Survivor match rules work since maybe some newer, younger fans have never seen a Survivor Series PPV. The Bodies are working a solid enough match and really giving it to Bart with kicks and suplexes. Finally Bart gets the tag and the crowd goes crazy as Billy cleans house and we almost get a win but Dr. Tom cuts it off with a chop block. Mike Chioda has been firing quick counts all night, and the Gunns finally recover and get the victory. That was a fun match with a great heat segment and a fun comeback. Grade: **

JT: Welcome to Sunday Night Slam, our usual final stop on the road to a PPV. However, since Survivor Series is on a Wednesday night, we actually still have another Monday Night Raw between this show and the PPV. But, first things first. We are coming at you via videotape from our beloved Bushkill, PA and welcomed in by our announcers Stan Lane and Gorilla Monsoon. We also waste no time getting right to the ring for our opening tag team tilt between the Smoking Gunns and Heavenly Bodies. These two pairs will be in action again on Wednesday night as they are on opposite Survivor Series teams. Jim Cornette introduces the Bodies as usual and once the Gunns enter we get things rolling when the Bodies attack their rivals at the bell. That approach backfired as the Gunns shook them off and sent them scurrying to the floor. We reset things with Billy and Tom Prichard locking horns and trading some offense. Lane and Monsoon immediately start hyping Survivor Series, which will be the theme tonight. Billy wipes out Prichard and tags in Bart, who starts to work the arm. Dr. Tom goes to the eyes as Gorilla notes that Ted DiBiase has guaranteed a win for his Million Dollar Team and that he hopes Tatanka and Lex Luger end up alone. Jimmy Del Ray tags in but gets worked over by Bart, who uses his size advantage to keep control. The two trade some more holds until Bart ends up with a side headlock. Billy tags in and they hit a version of the Sidewinder but Billy wastes time playing to the crowd and can’t get the win. Gorilla chastises Billy for that as Bart tags in. The tide finally turned as Dr. Tom yanked the top rope down as Bart came charging, sending the cowboy hard to the floor. Del Ray and Prichard went to work, mixing in strikes and double team offense to beat on Bart, grabbing near falls along the way. The Gigolo dodged a Bart comeback and hit a nice float over DDT to take us to break. When we returned, Del Ray was still pummeling Bart and the heat segment rolled on with both men doing what they can to wear out Bart. Gorilla and Stan continue to break down the Survivor Series match, noting that Guts ‘N’ Glory will be in trouble if things carry over from here to Wednesday. Bart was able to get a sunset flip for two but wasn’t able to make the tag as the Bodies trapped him in their corner and kept taking turns hammering away. Bart finally caught a break when Prichard missed a dive off the top rope, allowing Gunn the opening to tag his cousin to a big pop. Billy cleaned house and a moment later Bart returned to assist in a big double team press slam. They would set up the Sidewinder but Del Ray snuck in and drilled Billy with a side kick for two. Prichard shot Billy into the corner and tried a clothesline but Billy ducked and got a crucifix into a sunset flip for the win. This was a perfectly fine tag team match that executed the basic formula nicely and led into a pretty hot finish. The Bodies are so smooth and adept at heel tag wrestling that it makes heat building easy. These guys had solid chemistry out there and this was a nice appetizer for their Survivor Series showdown. Grade: **1/2

*** We check out a video package detailing the full history between Bret Hart and Bob Backlund, including a verbal confrontation on the Heartbreak Hotel yesterday on Superstars. Gorilla Monsoon and Stan Lane then promote the Survivor Series Hotline, featuring a special WWF Opinion Poll. ***

2) Yokozuna defeats John Chrystal with a uranage at 1:06

Scott: I loved how during that package about Bret Hart & Bob Backlund that Gorilla could never get the Cross Face Chicken Wing right and kept saying it in reverse. Time now for a quick squash to put over the Yoko/Taker casket rematch on Wednesday. This feud is almost a year old since it goes back to Royal Rumble and the World Title match in Providence. Yoko mangles this poor bastard and gets the victory. Yoko seemed to have been floating aimlessly after losing the title at WrestleMania but now he seems refocused and is ready for the casket match. Grade: DUD

JT: We head back down to the ring for our next bout as Mr. Fuji and Jim Cornette lead Yokozuna to the ring to face off with John Chrystal. We get some talk about the big Casket Match and Chuck Norris as the grand champion settles into the ring. Lane notes that many WWF superstars are already saying they are going to challenge Norris on Wednesday. Yoko destroys Chrystal and puts him away with a uranage. Whether he is afraid off caskets or not, Yoko looks primed to finish off this feud with Undertaker once and for all. Grade: DUD

*** Todd Pettengill joins us with our special Survivor Series Report. We are just days away from the big event in San Antonio and you are running out of time to lock this in with your cable company, so get it done today. Here are the matches discussed.

Undertaker vs. Yokozuna – Casket Match w/ Special Guest Troubleshooter Chuck Norris
Guts ‘N’ Glory: Lex Luger, Adam Bomb, Mabel & The Smoking Gunns vs. Million Dollar Team: Tatanka, Bam Bam Bigelow, King Kong Bundy & The Heavenly Bodies
The Bad Guys: Razor Ramon, 1-2-3 Kid, British Bulldog & The New Headshrinkers vs. The Teamsters: Diesel, Shawn Michaels, Jim Neidhart, Owen Hart & Jeff Jarrett
Clowns ‘R’ Us: Doink, Dink, Wink & Pink vs. The King’s Court: Jerry Lawler, Cheesy, Queasy & Sleazy
Bret Hart w/ British Bulldog vs. Bob Backlund w/ Owen Hart – WWF Title Submission Match

There you have it, that is the fun card and order today and we will see you in San Antonio on Thanksgiving Eve! ***

3) British Bulldog defeats Owen Hart by disqualification at 11:00

Scott: Time for a match between the corner men of the WWF Title match at Survivor Series. Todd just did one of the final hard sells (you’ll get one more tomorrow night on Raw) and now the battle between brothers in law. Owen will be in Backlund’s corner and Bulldog is in Bret’s corner on Wednesday. Bulldog is trying to get back into the WWF swing of things after spending 1993 with WCW. Jim Neidhart is not in Owen’s corner for this match as Bulldog dominates early with big strikes and a clothesline out to the floor. Owen is really getting worked over as Stan keeps saying the white towel that Owen will have for Backlund is the same one Arnie Skaaland threw into the ring back in 1983. Yeah, I’m sure the towel is still in that good shape. It’s been a one sided match so far until the obligatory commercial break and when we return Owen is taking the match over and is attacking all of Bulldog’s limbs. Owen continues to really work Bulldog over as Gorilla & Stan chew the psychology of the submission match since really it was never done before in the WWF. Bulldog almost got a quick pin, then Owen gets a two with a reverse spin kick. Owen keeps control as it seems like the referees really have been counting quickly, as mentioned above in the first match tonight, We go to a second commercial break. Owen goes to take a turnbuckle pad off and tries to throw Bulldog into it but Bulldog reversed and drilled Owen in the corner. Then he slingshots Owen a second time but Owen kicks out. Bulldog with a monkey flip but Owen recovers with a bulldog in what’s been a pretty fun match. Owen looks like he may have twisted his knee but as Bulldog takes advantage Bob Backlund comes out of nowhere and gives Bulldog the CFCW and won’t let go until Bret Hart comes out to break it up and the two men brawl afterwards. That was a fun match with a lot of great back and forth, even with the DQ finish. Grade: ***

JT: It is time for our main event here tonight as family members will go to war. The British Bulldog and Owen close up shop in the ring here and in three days time they will play a pivotal role as cornermen in the WWF Championship match at Survivor Series. As Owen hit the ring he snuck over to the corner and untied a turnbuckle pad while the lights were still down. The two locked up off the bell as we get plenty of discussion about the Submission Match. Bulldog tries to use his power as Owen does what he can to fluster Bulldog, pissing him off with his antics. Gorilla says Owen has no reason to throw the towel in as he can no longer challenge Bret Hart for the WWF Title. Astute point there Gino. Bulldog works the arm followed by a fun chain reveal sequence as Gorilla ponders the whereabouts of The Anvil. Bulldog catches Owen coming off a charge and press slams him before clothesline the Rocket to the floor. Bulldog suplexed Owen back into the ring and went back to the arm before shooting Owen across the ring with a hip toss. Bulldog slipped up with a wild charge, which gave Owen the opening to bury a knee to the gut and turn the tide as we headed to break. After the commercial, Owen was in control, stomping away at the midsection. The Rocket stayed tight on offense, picking Bulldog apart and then twisting him into a rear chinlock. Gorilla asks Stan just how long Bulldog would be able to hold out tossing in the towel if Bret is really in trouble, despite what Davey Boy has said about the issue. Bulldog came back with a sunset flip but Owen popped up and cut him down with an enziguri for two. After another chinlock, Owen slammed Bulldog and landed a perfect elbow drop off the middle rope for a near fall. Owen would cut off another comeback wth a clothesline as we took another break. When we returned, both men collided in the ring but Owen recovered first and went to the corner to rip off that loosened turnbuckle pad. Bulldog blocked Owen from running him into the steel and unleashed a pair of clotheslines before slingshotting the Rocket into that exposed buckle for two. Owen regained his bearings and got a bulldog for two and then faked a knee injury to bait Bulldog into the corner, which allowed Bob Backlund to sneak in the ring and hook the CFCW on Bulldog for the DQ. Owen kicked away at the trapped Bulldog and Backlund kept wrenching the hold until Bret Hart made the save. Bret got some shots in but Owen saved Bob before the Hitman could lock him in the Sharpshooter. This was a really good match, as you would expect, with crisp offense by both men. The heat segment was really well done too and Bulldog’s comebacks were well timed and always cut off by a picture perfect Owen offensive blow. I liked how they wove in the turnbuckle pad ploy as well. This was just rock solid all around, even the finish, which protected Owen and also added a last minute dose of heat for the Submission Match. Grade: ***

Final Analysis

Scott: I like that they’ve cut this show in half and made it a nice one hour sprint. We got two really solid tv matches, a squash that put over a superstar in need of a boost and plenty of hard sells for Wednesday’s PPV. I like Gorilla & Stan on commentary as they have a different, less goofy approach to the programming that Vince has on Raw Mondays. It seems like the World Title match could be the main event of the show but you could also have the casket match since it involves Chuck Norris. The show definitely needed to be cut in half so there’s less fluff and more hard selling and perhaps a match or two as well. Besides, as said earlier we have a Raw tomorrow night so there’s more selling & shilling to do, so really this show didn’t need to be two hours. It ups the grade for me because of the well put together promo packages and great in ring action. Final Grade: B+

JT: This was a nifty little hour of WWF wrestling. The show just flew by and most of the episode was eaten up by two good TV matches. Buffer that with some good hard selling and PPV hype and you have a great pre-PPV special. I thought we really good some great build around the WWF Title match here, with a lengthy video package and the entire main event being centered around that tilt. I enjoyed Gorilla Monsoon and Stan Lane as well, as they have an easy chemistry and expertly drove home all the final hype with no bullshit getting in the way. We have one more stop to make before San Antonio but they did a really nice job with this special and cutting down to just an hour was a really smart move as well as it cut out the nonsense and led to a tightly focused program. Final Grade: B+