Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: March to WrestleMania X – 3/13/94

*** 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! ***

March to WrestleMania X

March 13, 1994 (February 21, 1994 & February 23, 1994)
Mid-Hudson Civic Center
Poughkeepsie, NY
Unknown Arena
Locksheldreke, NY
Announcers: Vince McMahon, Johnny Polo, Gorilla Monsoon & Stan Lane 

1) Lex Luger defeats Jimmy Del Ray via submission with the Torture Rack at 8:36

Scott: Johnny Polo was a tremendous guy to put with Vince in the opening. Both pairs of announcers have the worst green screens ever, particularly Gorilla’s and Stan’s WWF entrance screen. We have so many great feuds leading into March 20 at the Garden, and we begin with 1/3 of the trio involved in the WWF Title scenario. Luger is set to face Yokozuna first that March afternoon, but he gets a warm up here against 1/2 of the Heavenly Bodies. We knew Luger was going to win this one, it was just a question of whether Cornette and Dr. Tom would get involved here. Polo is hilarious with his sound effects board playing random things like hockey horns and chainsaws. The Poughkeepsie crowd is on fire on this night, cheering loudly for the All-American as he prepares for the night of his life in New York City. Del Ray takes control and starts working Luger over with shots to the ribs. Polo makes a great point that Del Ray isn’t there to win the match, he’s there to injure Luger so he won’t be 100% before facing Cornette’s biggest client, Yokozuna at WrestleMania. When Polo gets into whining mode it’s utterly hilarious, he was such a great heel during this time. Del Ray tries to hit a moonsault and missed it, giving Luger the opening he needs. He starts coming back with rights and lefts, then clotheslines everybody, including Dr. Tom. He powerslams Del Ray and then Luger ratchets up the Torture Rack for the victory. Afterwards he starts smacking Cornette in the ass with his tennis racket. The World Champion Yokozuna comes up the ramp and glares at the co-#1 contender. Fantastic storytelling there. A decent enough match and a great start to our show. Grade: **

JT: Here we are, just one week away from WrestleMania X and we have a pretty stacked card ahead of us to close out the Road to MSG. The show starts with a conversation across our two commentary teams (in different locations) setting up the show, including noting that Jack Tunney has banned Randy Savage from the building where Crush is located here tonight. Opening things up in the ring is one of the WWF Championship number one contenders, Lex Luger squaring off with a stablemate of his Mania opponent, Jimmy Del Ray. Of course, as we saw last week on Raw, Jim Cornette and Del Ray made it clear that the Heavenly Body had just one goal tonight: beat Luger up so bad that he is easy pickings for Yokozuna next weekend. The Gigolo’s grinding never gets old. Luger got a nice little reaction from the crowd and as the match got underway, Vince reminded us how this run all began back on the USS Intrepid. After some opening posturing, Luger rattled Del Ray with a hard shoulderblock and then continued to to control with his strength as Johnny Polo criticized Del Ray for trying to match power with Mr. Made in the USA. Polo also broke out his sound effect machine right out of the gate too. Luger was all over Del Ray, powering him up into a press slam and then slugging him back into the corner but things turned when the Gigolo dodged a charge, leading to Lex careening to the floor. Out there, Dr. Tom laid the boots in before pitching Luger back inside the ring. Del Ray focused in on the back, laying in some strikes and then hooking a modified surfboard submission. The crowd cheered Lex on as he tried to make a comeback, but Del Ray went to the eyes and kept up the attack, choking away and still targeting the back with some pretty basic and well executed offense. Lex finally made his comeback after dodging a Del Ray moonsault, mowing down the Gigolo with a clothesline and then landing a powerslam. A second later, Lex hoisted Del Ray up and finished him with the torture rack. After the bout, Luger smacked Cornette in the ass with his tennis racket and then had a staredown with Yoko, who made his way into the aisle. Del Ray and Cornette fail in injuring Lex and the Mania match is still in tact. This was perfect acceptable and about as basic as it gets, but that basic structure was done in an effective way. The story was simple and Del Ray was good in control as was Lex in his comeback. Grade: **

We promote the Wrestlemania Hotline.

*** Sy Sperling pops in to promote his appearance at WrestleMania. He shows a picture of the help he could provide Luna Vachon and wonders if Bam Bam Bigelow would be interested in that. ***

2) Bam Bam Bigelow defeats Ben Jordan with a stun gun at 3:35

Scott: Poor Bigelow is stuck in this Doink/Dink nonsense so he can take his creative frustrations out on this scrub. I wonder what Gorilla is thinking as he’s trying to talk about a feud with clowns. Jordan tries a face comeback, but that’s not going to happen. Bigelow crushes this stiff and moves on to NY to take care of the clowning around. Grade: DUD

JT: We head over to Poughkeepsie for this match, where Gorilla Monsoon and Stan Lane are on the call. The aforementioned Luna Vachon leads out her main squeeze for his final tuneup before the big mixed tag match at Mania. Gorilla and Stan discuss the rules of the mixed tag as Bigelow batters Jordan around. They also talk about how badly Bammer wants revenge for everything Doink and Dink have done to him over the past few months. Bigelow makes quick work of Jordan and now officially eyes finishing off the clowns. Grade: DUD

*** We get a special video package highlighting Alundra Blayze to help promote her big title defense against Leilani Kai at WrestleMania. ***

*** Vince McMahon and Johnny Polo chat with Tatanka, who is preparing for his battle with Yokozuna later tonight. Tatanka is prepared and has a score to settle with the WWF Champion from when he tried to end his career back in November. He is aware he has to deal with Mr. Fuji and Jim Cornette but he has the pride of all his ancestors and tribe on his side. ***

3) Razor Ramon defeats Tony DeVito with the Razor’s Edge at 4:25

Scott: Just one week before his historic ladder match with Shawn Michaels, Razor Ramon has a warm up match with Basil’s brother. Or cousin, or whatever relative they always have the inside joke about. This feud has been pretty solid from the beginning and with the combination of Razor, Diesel, Shawn and throw in the 1-2-3 Kid there’s great chemistry and the storytelling has been great. The best moment was the episode of Raw where Michaels dropped the Razor’s Edge on the Bad Guy outside the ring on the concrete. I have to say, Gorilla and Stan Lane have pretty good chemistry together. Stan even alludes to Razor giving Michaels the Edge off the ladder. I wonder if they could actually pull that off. Razor hits the Edge and puts him away. History beckons both men on March 20. Grade: DUD

JT: We stay put in Poughkeepsie for our next bout as Razor Ramon saunters down to the ring to tussle with Tony DeVito. Gorilla and Stan run down the details on the big WrestleMania Ladder Match as things get under way, and Gorilla confirms that we will have an undisputed Intercontinental Champion after next Sunday. Lane is concerned with what Diesel may do in that bout as well and then they detail the history between Ramon and Michaels to give one last hard sell for the bout. Ramon beats on DeVito for a bit before polishing him off with the Razor’s Edge. On to the Garden for the Bad Guy! Grade: DUD

*** Johnny Polo heads to the ring to interview Owen Hart. Polo says this is the biggest match of Owen’s career and it his chance to prove he is the best Hart. Owen claims Bret held him down his entire life because he is more talented than the Hitman. He says Bret didn’t want this match because he was scared, not because he is some kind of humanitarian. He will beat Bret and just because Bret is older, it doesn’t mean he is better. Owen says he knows Crush can beat Bret tonight but asks him not to hurt him too bad because he wants to do it himself and he doesn’t want the Hitman to have any excuses come Sunday. He is the best Hart and he will win. ***

*** Little Richard teases his appearance Sunday, where he will be singing God Bless America. ***

4) Earthquake defeats the Executioner with an Earthquake Splash at:56

Scott: Quake has to adjust for WrestleMania, because he’s going from facing Ludvig Borga to Adam Bomb, as Borga’s ankle injury just kept lingering and wouldn’t heal. Even though we are in the era of the “new Generation”, it’s ok to have a few serviceable veterans floating around the roster (except the Bushwhackers). Quake rolls here and heads on to MSG and a date on Three Mile Island. Grade: DUD

JT: Back to Poughkeepsie for our next bout as the smiling giant Earthquake trudged to the ring to take on the masked Executioner. As we know, Quake was set to tussle with Ludvig Borga at Mania but with Borga’s lingering ankle injury, he was pulled from the card and replaced by Adam Bomb. It is a pretty big match for Bomb, who is lacking any sort of impressive win since his debut in the summer. Quake set the tone early here, mowing Executioner down with a sit out clothesline. Executioner recovered and sprinted to the top rope but Quake caught him and sent him flying to the mat like a javelin in a neat spot. A moment later, he hit a belly-to-belly, leg drop and Earthquake Splash for the easy win. The crowd really took to Quake in his return here as he was quite over. Grade: DUD

*** Todd Pettengil is in the house for our final official WrestleMania X Report. We are but just one week away from the big show in the sold out Madison Square Garden. WrestleMania is the event that put PPV on the map and this will be a glamorous tenth installment, filled with great action and beloved celebrities. Todd first runs down those celebs that will be attendance:

Burt Reynolds
Jennie Garth

Little Richard
Rhonda Shear
Donnie Wahlberg
Sy Sperling

And then he runs down some matches from the card:

Lex Luger vs Yokozuna – WWF Heavyweight Title
Bret Hart vs. Lex Luger OR Yokozuna – WWF Heavyweight Title
Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart
Randy Savage vs. Crush – Falls Count Anywhere
Razor Ramon vs. Shawn Michaels – Intercontinental Title Ladder Match
Men on a Mission vs. Quebecers – Tag Team Title Match

This is one mega, extraordinary event so be sure to be on your couch and watching next Sunday afternoon. Call and order right now! ***

*** Backstage, Johnny Polo has a chat with Bret Hart and puts over his sterling resume before passing along Owen’s wishes for how tonight will go. Bret says he is a ring general, the Excellence of Execution and claims Owen is just another opponent at this point. Crush is a lot of talk, like everyone else, and while they all talk about beating the Hitman, they seldom ever get the job done. He has to prepare for three separate matches at WrestleMania and he will get the job done. ***

5) Crush defeats Bret Hart with an inside cradle at 14:21

Fun Fact: Hart and Crush wrestled one time prior to this during the build to WrestleMania X. On the February 21 episode of Raw, the two were in a match that Crush won via DQ when Randy Savage interfered and attacked Crush.

Scott: One of the big matches on our prelude to MSG pits one of the co-#1 contenders for the WWF Title against the man who stabbed the Macho Man in the back. Incidentally, I liked those suede-brimmed WrestleMania X hats. I also like how the all the main players are almost interwoven into each other’s feuds. It tells you how tight the top of the card is in the WWF and at WrestleMania X. For me this is a more fascinating match for Crush, who is a big time power guy with a limited move set taking on the Excellence of Execution. I like how Johnny Polo called Crush “A master of the martial arts”, which no one really thought about until he turned heel back in November. Now he’s with Mr. Fuji, and suddenly he’s a master. Funny. Bret spends a good portion early on trying to cut Crush’s height down to size, working with sleepers and wear down submission maneuvers. Crush eventually takes control with power moves and strikes to the small of the back. Vince and Polo have an interesting discussion on whether Bret has the killer instinct to take his brother Owen out at WrestleMania if the opportunity came forward. Vince says Owen definitely has it and that’s the scary part. Doubt is even settling in on Vince if Bret can win twice at WrestleMania after the tough battle he’s having tonight with the big Hawaiian. The battle moves to the outside and Mr. Fuji almost speared Bret with the flag but the referee stopped it. Bret gets back in the ring and Crush continues the beating and wearing down. After a close two count and Crush thought he had the win, Bret recovered and went on the offensive with strikes and head butts. Bret does the patented bulldog off the top rope, but only gets a two count out of it, Crush retakes control and hits some big moves like a reverse atomic drop, and then he goes to the top rope but Bret ducks out of the way of the elbow and and tries the Sharpshooter. Mr. Fuji goes to the apron and tries to distract Bret but he knocks him down. The referee is distracted while Bret had Crush in a small package, until Owen comes out and reverses the package and Crush gets the upset three count. I thought for sure that this would end in some sort of schmozz with Randy Savage and Owen coming out. A big loss for Bret as he awaits destiny at WrestleMania. Grade: **

JT: Time for one of our big marquee matches of the evening as we return to Locksheldrake with McMahon and Polo on the call. Crush is led to the ring by Mr. Fuji and Vince reminds us that Randy Savage is banned from the building tonight. Of course, Crush cost Savage the WWF Title a couple weeks back and Vince wonders if he could do the same to Bret tonight. The Hitman gets a hot reaction as he marches down to the ring, focused in like a laser on the big Hawaiian. After some posturing, the two men locked up and we got under way as Crush used his power to shove the Hitman back to the ropes. We got a bit more stalling and a drawn out test of strength as Polo went back to the sound effect machine to put over Crush as a martial arts expert. Crush controlled the test until Bret rolled through out of it and forced a rope break. Both men did a nice job selling their hands from the lengthy hold before resetting the match, which led into a nice running clothesline from Hart. The Hitman would jump on Crush’s back to hook in a sleeper and then knocked the big man to the floor with a back elbow. After a break, Hart remained in control until he blocked a roll up and smashed Bret in the face with a side kick. That was a neat little spot. Crush went right to work with his strike based offense until picking up a near fall with a backbreaker, followed by a body scissors/armbar combo. Bret tried to punch his way back into things but Crush knocked him to the floor and then, with an assist from Fuji, followed him out and slung him hard into the steps. Back inside, Crush grabbed a near fall and then caught Bret off a whip with another stiff backbreaker for a near fall. A tilt-a-whirl backbreaker followed for two as Polo said Bret was looking like “Palooka Joe” tonight. The Hitman fought his way back into a slugfest, picking up a pair of near falls along the way, before moving into his usual closing moveset. Crush tried to buy some breathing room but Bret stalked him to the corner and hammered away. With one last gasp, Crush stepped forward and rattled Hart with an inverted atomic drop before going to another backbreaker. Crush then headed up top and came flying off but Hart dodged him at the last second. Hart popped up and tried to turn Crush into the Sharpshooter, but Fuji hopped on the apron and drew the Hitman over. Crush would pelt Fuji by accident and Bret rolled him into an inside cradle. However, as the referee was tied up with Fuji, Owen Hart snuck in and rolled them over, placing Crush on top for the huge win. That was a really neat finish that was well timed and executed by everyone involved. The whole match was better than I anticipated as Crush kept to the basics and worked on the lower back and let Bret do the rest. The finish made a ton of sense too and I like how they have tied all these top Mania players together in the lead up to the big show. Owen gets another one over on his brother, who seems more aggravated and focused for Mania than ever. Grade: **1/2

*** Rhonda Shear joins us to promote her appearance as a guest timekeeper at WrestleMania and also gushes over that stud Lex Luger. ***

6) Quebecers defeat Mike Bell & PJ Walker after a top rope legdrop by Pierre on Walker at 3:50

Scott: No Johnny Polo as he’s in the other building, so the Tag Team Champions head in on their own against a couple of ham and eggers. Once again I like Gorilla and Stan Lane on commentary. Quebecers are heading to Wrestlemania to defend the straps against Men on a Mission. I thought with MOM from Harlem that no doubt they were winning the titles then. During this squash out comes Captain Lou Albano. God I was hoping he wasn’t replacing Polo as the Quebecers’ manager. Instead he’s apparently scouting the champions here, or he’s padding his tag team title stats because he’s a glory hog. I like the move where Jacques has the Boston Crab on and Pierre drops a leg on the back of the scrub’s head. The champs move on. Grade: DUD

JT: Back over to our final bout in Poughkeepsie as the WWF Tag Team Champions proudly strut to the ring, sans Johnny Polo of course. They are however wearing hockey gloves and carrying hockey sticks, which is random and funny. The Quebecers are lined up for a big Mania title defense against MOM, who really haven’t done much to become top contenders, so this is their final tuneup. The champs attack off the bell but Walker and Bell actually turn the tide and hit a double back drop to send them scurrying to the floor. Gorilla is really funny here ripping on the Quebecers and Polo, calling them goofs and saying they could be kissing their gold goodbye in MSG. As the match reset, Jacques worked over Walker before tagging in Pierre for a double team hotshot. As the match went on, Lou Albano showed in the aisle to scout the action. The Quebecers continued to quick tag and double team as Lane tells us Polo and Albano had a recent spat on Radio WWF. The champs worked this one really stiffly, smacking Walker in the face in between dropping the heavy Pierre from elevated positions across his body multiple times. Lane adds some good insight here, talking about how while the Quebecers are dominating tonight, this type of offense and strategy won’t beat MOM due to their size disadvantage. The champs finally finish Walker off with a top rope leg drop by Pierre. The Quebecers did look awesome tonight as we haven’t gotten to see too many clear squashes by them on Raw, so this stood out as really rough stuff. They certainly look confident and primed from MSG. Grade: DUD

*** Gorilla Monsoon and Stan Lane promote the WrestleMania hotline and then Todd Pettengil returns to review the details for next weekend’s WWF Fan Festival, which is up and running all weekend long leading up until WrestleMania. ***

*** Vince McMahon has a sit down interview with Randy Savage, who grants him five minutes to chat. Savage says Jack Tunney made the right call in throwing him out of the building tonight and then says he will be in the building at MSG as he aims to get his dignity back. He discusses Crush screwing him out of the WWF Title and a chance to wrestle Lex Luger and Bret Hart at WrestleMania, and he knows he could have beaten both men. Crush cost him his dream and he said this is the second time a friend has gotten him like this. He had a passion to become WWF Champion for a third time and he had busted his butt to get to that point and he was on the verge of winning before everything went down. He has had ups and downs but he will be back and he will get Crush at Mania. He then discusses trouble in his personal life with his divorce and friends stabbing him in the back, but he is a coiled spring and he will spring on anyone, including Vince and Crush. He doesn’t know if he will ever get to compete for the WWF Title again and Crush took it away from him. He can’t go down the aisle as Champion now but he will have the opportunity to enter MSG and be who he is. Crush may be basking in his glory and feeling good about what he did, but his time is up. Savage guarantees he will beat, embarrass and humiliate Crush decisively. He again states that he will leave MSG with his dignity before walking off. ***

7) Yokozuna defeats Tatanka in a non-title match with a Banzai Drop at 9:20

Fun Fact: Flashback to the 10/30/93 episode of WWF Superstars…Tatanka suffered his first televised WWF loss after Mr. Fuji distracted the referee, allowing Ludvig Borga to hit Tatanka in the back and win the match. Following the match, Yokozuna came out and gave Tatanka a Banzai Drop, putting him out of action for 3 months.

Scott: They should have ended the show with that awesome Randy Savage promo. Damn we haven’t seen that Randy Savage since early 1992 with Ric Flair. I miss that Randy Savage. The one that’s just a little unhinged. We have the fun Raw co-host Macho Man, but THIS Macho Man is one we haven’t seen in a while, and adds even more anticipation to WrestleMania when he faces Crush. Anyway here we have the WWF Champion taking on Tatanka, who Yoko took out for three months back in the fall. Tatanka had big momentum early, including a high cross body for a two count. Then the big guy takes control and really work things out. Polo has been hilarious on commentary, talking like a spoiled brat and using the stupid sound effects machine, Tatanka tries to put on an offensive game plan, while Polo tells him to go back to the Wigwam. At one point both men were down, but for some reason after hitting some chops and kicks, he foolishly tries to hit the Wigwam Bomb, as Polo calls it, and gets reversed. Why would Tatanka think that he could actually get Yoko up for the Papoose to Go? Yoko hits the splash and wins the match. The champion has all the momentum heading to WrestleMania. Grade: **

JT: And we return to Locksheldrake for our big non title main event, closing out what has been a really effective show thus far. As Tatanka dances out, Polo bags on “the old geezers” that gave him his cherished headdress. After a break, Jim Cornette and Mr. Fuji led Yokozuna out to the ring for one final tilt before his huge challenge that lies ahead at WrestleMania. Of course, Yoko has survived big time challenges since winning the title back in June, but this may be the most difficult one to date. Yoko took control right off the bell, hammering away at Tatanka before planting him with a thrust to the chest. Polo kept working out the sound machine as Tatanka came back with chops, but that ended swiftly thanks to a back elbow. Tatanka dodged an elbow drop but came up empty on a dropkick. Yoko then missed a splash, allowing Tatanka to head up top and hit a high cross body for two. Yoko cut Tatanka down with a knee to the gut as Cornette and Fuji smiled with confidence. The crowd did what they could to rally Tatanka as Yoko went to work, locking in a nerve hold and then dumping Tatanka hard to the floor. After a break, Tatanka was back in the ring but Yoko slammed him hard to the mat before stomping away. Polo calls Tatanka stupid for taking a match with the man who once injured him and broke out a classic “he once put a ruler by the bed to see how long he slept” before mocking political correctness. Yoko went back to the nerve hold but Tatanka survived before battling to his feet and breaking the hold. However, Yoko rebounded and cut him down with a hard clothesline. Throughout all this, Vince kept hyping up Mania, specifically Yoko’s opening match with Luger. Polo tells Tatanka to go back to “the wigwam” right before he dodged Yoko and ran him hard into the corner to knock the champ off his feet. Tatanka started to light up Yoko with chops, with a final one from the top rope knocking the mammoth to his back for a near fall. Tatanka then got stupid and tried the Papoose to Go (or as Polo called it, the “wigwam bomb”) but he couldn’t budge Yoko. The champ then hit a belly-to-belly and Banzai Drop for the hard fought win. That was another solid match here tonight with good comebacks and lots of fire by Tatanka before he got ahead of himself and blew the match late. It was also a good strong clean win for Yoko heading into Mania, something he needed. He now heads to MSG where he will attempt to take out the WWF’s top two guns to retain his gold. Grade: **

*** Vince McMahon, Johnny Polo, Gorilla Monsoon and Stan Lane wrap things up by giving their final thoughts on WrestleMania while also promoting Monday Night Raw. We then get a WrestleMania Rap Video from Men on a Mission to close things out. ***

Final Analysis

Scott: Of all the pre-PPV specials that the WWF had done to this point, this one is easily the best. It was a tightly produced broadcast of matches and vignettes to properly promote the biggest show of the year. All the big players were involved, including the top three babyfaces (Bret, Razor, Lex) and the top two heels (Yokozuna, Owen Hart). No live Shawn Michaels but that’s OK. Owen Hart is ready for his big stage, a gimmick match never seen on a big stage is ready to be unleashed at Madison Square Garden. For the first time since 1988 we are going to have a multi-layered WWF Championship situation. Will it work, or will it flop? Can Bret Hart get all the momentum back as a main eventer that was jerked away from him one year ago in that mess in Las Vegas? Randy Savage’s renaissance promo brings me back to the Ric Flair feud of two years earlier. A tremendous broadcast that sets up the 10th anniversary of the Showcase of Champions. Final Grade: A-

JT: This was a damn good final stop on the Road to WrestleMania. All of the top matches got tons of focus, and the rest of the card got a small touch of it too. The commentary was really good on both ends and I enjoyed how we bounced back and forth between venues and perspectives. The three big matches were all solid TV outings and did their job in teeing up the big players for MSG. Crush’s win over Bret Hart was a huge one for him and the build for his match with Macho Man has never been hotter. And speaking of, Randy Savage’s promo alone made this one an easy win and is one that has been forgotten to time but should be revisited because it was tremendous. Hell, even the MOM WrestleMania rap was well done as they went through all the celebrities and match logistics for the full card. You would be hard pressed to find a better hard sell go home show by the WWF during this era of TV, an easy win to complete a well built card. The one goal the company had on this night was executed excellently. Final Grade: A-