Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Monday Night Raw 10/3/94

*** 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 #80

October 3, 1994 (Taped September 26, 1994)
Utica Memorial Auditorium
Utica, NY
Announcers: Vince McMahon & Randy Savage

1) British Bulldog defeats Jim Neidhart by disqualification at 10:16

Fun Fact I: After leaving the WWF in 1992, the British Bulldog, Davey Boy Smith, spent the first part of 1993 in World Championship Wrestling. He was released from his contract in July ’93 after a reported altercation with a man at a bar that was making a pass at his wife. After a few months off, Smith began wrestling for All Star Wrestling in the UK in January 1994. He left in August 1994 to come back to the WWF, getting involved in Bret and Owen Hart family feud at SummerSlam. Tonight, Smith makes his debut on Monday Night Raw.

Fun Fact II: Last week on Monday Night Raw, Davey Boy Smith was a guest on the King’s Court. After several rounds of bad dog jokes from Jerry Lawler toward Smith, Jim Neidhart came out to the ring. He indicated that Smith shouldn’t be sticking his nose in family business. He then issued a challenge to the Bulldog to a match this week on Raw.

Scott: We open the show with the return match of the British Bulldog, who hasn’t wrestled in the WWF since late 1992, after losing the Intercontinental Title to Shawn Michaels. I’m noticing that Raw is using some different graphics over the past few episodes, more blue and white and this diagonal text on the wrestlers’ names. We have the two brother-in-law powerhouses going head to head. Speaking of Harts, we haven’t seen the WWF Champion on Raw in recent weeks. I guess after beating Owen Hart at SummerSlam, we don’t have a #1 contender as of yet. Yet as I’m typing this, Bret Hart comes right down the aisle to keep an eye on Owen at ringside. It’s like he’s reading this as I’m typing it! Like Wes Craven’s New Nightmare. As expected, it’s a choppy power slopfest as Anvil does his usual boring offense and Bulldog likes to go at full speed when he can but he’s always good for a few missed moves and selling an injury. Once Bret comes out we get a five minute bear hug, which Vince and Macho Man selling it like a gunshot. Bulldog makes his comeback but while that’s happening, out comes Bob Backlund to get in Bret’s face that he wants the World Title. Bulldog was going for a sunset flip but Owen comes in to stop it and force the disqualification. All four Harts brawl in the ring to end it, but are we looking at our next #1 contender? Grade: *1/2

JT: We are back in Utica this week, on tape, but fired up and ready to roll. Vince McMahon and Randy Savage have the call as usual and gearing us up for a big opening match, a bout that was set up on the King’s Court a week ago. It has been quite a while since we have seen British Bulldog in action in a WWE ring but he makes his official televised return here against fellow Hart Family in law, Jim Neidhart. The family war has surprisingly escalated even further after Bret Hart defeated his brother Owen in the cage at SummerSlam and this match is all a part of it as lines continue to be drawn. We are really amping things up on Raw now, with new graphics having been woven in recently and now some off fireball fireworks for the Bulldog’s entrance. Anything to add some excitement here. Vince and Randy run down tonight’s card as Bulldog and eventually Anvil enter the ring to get us going. Anvil has Owen with him of course and the Rocket takes his place at ringside as things get under way. Anvil used his power to clobber Bulldog early but Bulldog fought through it and leveled Neidhart with a shoulder block to drive him to the floor. Neidhart returned to the ring and we got some feeling out until Bulldog landed a hip toss. Anvil came right back with an uppercut but Bulldog took him down with a drop toehold and started to work the arm. As the two bulls reset the match, Vince reminds that it has been Anvil in the ear of Owen, poisoning him from the start. Anvil kicks Bulldog in the gut during a test of strength but Bulldog powered up and pelted Neidhart with a standing dropkick. Anvil would go to the eyes to finally gain control and then meandered through some basic power offense, mixing in a cobra clutch as well. Bulldog would fight to his feet and break the hold but Anvil cracked him with a knee to the side to cut his comeback off. Bulldog again tried to battle back but Owen was able to reach up and open the ropes as Anvil shot Bulldog in, causing him to tumble hard to the floor. Just as we headed to a break, Bret Hart made his way down the aisle to help watch the Bulldog’s back.

After commercial, Neidhart was punishing Bulldog, working both the knee and the lower back at the same time. The Hitman cheered on his brother-in-law as the Anvil locked him into a bear hug before continuing to pummel him with right hands. Bulldog was able to create some space in the corner and drill Anvil with a leaping clothesline but couldn’t take advantage, allowing Anvil to grab a knee bar before transitioning to his Camel Clutch finisher. For some reason, Anvil released the hold and headed to the middle rope but Bulldog dodged the leap and started to unload some offense. After a pair of clotheslines, Bulldog got a near fall off a vertical suplex but as he continued to work Neidhart over, Bob Backlund marched down to ringside and got in the Hitman’s face. Owen took advantage of the distraction and hopped in the ring to nail Bulldog and draw the DQ. Bret noticed what went down and slid into the ring, where he and Bulldog cleaned house. Well there was a lot going on here overall but the match itself was as bland as it gets. They tried but Anvil is just so limited and Bulldog isn’t the guy to drag anything out of him at this point. The post match brawl was good and Backlund’s appearance was interesting as well. Grade: *

2) Doink defeats Barry Horowitz with the Whoopee Cushion at 2:34

Scott: The WWF runs a promo throwing a dig at Major League Baseball, as the World Series was cancelled that year due to the ridiculous strike. Incidentally, if the two best teams in terms of record would have met in the Fall Classic it would have been Yankees vs. Expos. How cool would that series have been? Oh is Doink wrestling again? Sorry I’d rather talk about the baseball strike, and the poignant promo where Randy Savage is pitching to the sad kid. So the Whoopie cushion finisher needs a fart sound? Good grief. Grade: DUD

JT: Sigh, time for the clowns. Here come the fucking clowns. Before the match we get a vignette featuring Randy Savage and a young child poking fun at the MLB strike and touting how they never have an offseason. I wish we had an offseason right now. Doink and Dink sashay down the aisle as we see a kid in the crowd wearing a Doink shirt that is about six sizes too big. Vince reminds us that Doink and Jerry Lawler have been embroiled in an issue as of late, which prevents me to forget that it is going on. Barry Horowitz is sporting a goatee instead of his trademark beard tonight and it is off putting. Horowitz gets some mat control in but Doink eventually battles back and finishes him with the Whoopee Cushion, terrible sound effect and all. Grade: DUD

*** Undertaker and Paul Bearer cut a promo on Yokozuna, setting up their casket match series on the Hart Attack Tour. ***

*** Jerry Lawler heads to the ring for this week’s King’s Court. Before he welcomes out his guest, he takes shots at Doink and Dink, saying he can’t stand people who dress up for attention and hates liars. He then brings out Yokozuna, Jim Cornette and Mr. Fuji for a chat as Vince McMahon wishes happy birthday to both Gore Vidal and Chubby Checker. Lawler opens things up by saying people are out there lying, saying Yokozuna is afraid of Undertaker. Cornette said it is all lies and a smear campaign by Paul Bearer and Undertaker to cloud the issue that Undertaker is actually afraid of Yoko. Cornette says the Hart Attack Tour features the two battling in matches that feature a large wooden box. Lawler says “casket match” which spooks Yoko and leads to Cornette pleading with the King not to say the word. Cornette says Undertaker and Bearer realize that Yoko is the only man to beat the Deadman and laid him to rest in his very own match. He says Undertaker has to get back in the ring with Yoko to prove he isn’t scared of him. Lawler again says casket as Yoko starts to sweat and rock a bit. Cornette says lightning will strike twice when Yoko puts Undertaker to rest on the Tour. ***

3) Alundra Blayze & Heidi Lee Morgan defeat Luna Vachon & Bull Nakano when Blayze pins Vachon with a bridging German suplex at 5:02

Scott: We get some women’s tag team action with the top two workers in the federation facing each other with tag team partners along for the ride. This is a good idea to build up this division and perhaps bring some more Japanese women into the company and give the Women’s Champion some legitimate competition. The match is really good with lots of back and forth action, that really focuses on Bull vs. Alundra, the hot feud we wish we could see more of. The champion pins Luna to keep herself on top without having Bull eat the pin. Overall a solid match that puts over the top two women. Grade: **

JT: Next up we head to the women’s division where our champion Alundra Blayze is set to team with Heidi Lee Morgan against the top contender, Bull Nakano, and her manager Luna Vachon. Alundra survived Nakano at SummerSlam but the Bull is still hot on her trail. Before the match, we get a promo for Action Zone, a brand new Sunday morning WWF program on USA, premiering on October 23. Alundra gets the fireworks treatment as well, which is a nice touch. Heidi Lee was impressive on the Sunday Night Slam a few weeks back so it is good to see her back in the ring. Morgan and Vachon open things up and Heidi looks good yet again, grabbing a near fall and controlling briefly until Luna cut her down on a charge. Luna laid in some strikes and then tagged in Bull, who tried to overpower Heidi, but Morgan used her speed to snag a near fall and dodge trouble. Bull was able to smack her down and tag in Luna, who hit a leaping clothesline. Heidi recovers and slams Luna and the collapses before crawling over and tagging Blayze. The champ comes in hot, wiping out Luna until she is able to tag in the Bull. Vince says Nakano is the best the country of Japan can offer as Bull and Luna double team Blayze. Alundra cuts that off with a cross body block and then she and Morgan tried to suplex Bull, but Nakano blocked it and took both ladies over with one of her own. Bull and Alundra went back and forth with Bull eventually coming out on top by mowing both Blayze and Morgan down with clotheslines. Bull tagged in Luna, who accidentally cracked Bull with a missile dropkick. Alundra took advantage and snapped Luna over for the win. This was all over the place but in a fun, energetic way. There was no real flow or order to any of it, just four women flying all around the ring at random times and going from move to move. The finish was well done too as Luna screws up and Alundra takes advantage for the win. But it looks like Bull is still on the war path for the gold. Grade: *1/2

*** We get a vignette for King Kong Bundy, who will officially be returning to the WWF next week. ***

4) Bob Backlund defeats Gary Scott via submission with the crossface chicken wing at 2:24

Scott: A show-ending squash to put Bob Backlund over, as it seems he’s slowly moving up the ladder on TV and Vince keeps mentioning the 1983 title match where Arnie Skaaland threw in the towel and the Iron Sheik became World Champion. Backlund wins this one with ease, and then after the match Vince talks to Bret Hart about Backlund and says that he had his shot and lost. So there’s no doubt that Backlund is being groomed as a possible #1 contender. Well we don’t have a title match for Survivor Series, if they plan on having one. Grade: DUD

JT: We close up shop this week with Bob Backlund battling Gary Scott. Before the match, we go back to footage from 1983 when Iron Sheik defeated Backlund for the WWF Title. Vince reminds us that we saw Backlund earlier tonight when he came out and got in Bret Hart’s face during our opener. Vince runs through the story of Backlund and his never ending quest for the gold, weaving us from 1983 through today. Backlund is carrying a towel and Vince wonders if it is the same one Arnold Skaaland threw in during that loss to the Sheik. Savage and Vince talk about the dictionary Bob gave the Macho Man a week ago as Backlund makes very quick work of Scott, finishing him off with his suddenly lethal crossface chicken wing. Grade: DUD

*** Bret Hart joins us from backstage and Vince McMahon asks him about a potential World Title match with Bob Backlund but Hart says he has already given Backlund that chance and defeated him. ***

Final Analysis

Scott: After plenty of wheel spinning over the past few weeks we finally get some storylines getting started. We need to start the road to Survivor Series and in particular what to do about Bob Backlund. Does he deserve another World Title match? Bret Hart blows him off, but we know that’s not going to be the end of the story, Yokozuna is back in the mix and it seems like Undertaker wants his piece after what happened way back at the Royal Rumble. The Lawler/Doink feud does absolutely nothing for me, and as we progress, you’ll all understand why. The matches were mostly crap even though we did get a nice women’s tag match to see Alundra Blayze and Bull NAKANAKANO go at it. Major points for seeing the in-ring return of the British Bulldog to the mix which really freshen things up. Otherwise the in-ring stuff was usual squash crap. I’ll grade this one down the middle. Final Grade: C

JT: Well, we got some nice storyline advancement throughout this show but there really wasn’t much else going on at all. The matches were all weak, especially the anchor match, which was a blasé power affair that never really got into a groove. As part of that, though, we got some solid progression in the Hart Family feud, which may or may not now include Bob Backlund. We also got advancement for Undertaker/Yokozuna and Jerry Lawler/Doink but those were mainly moved forward through commentary and the King’s Court as opposed to any sort of confrontation. The company is in a weird state of flux right now, oscillating between pushing the “New Generation” and leveraging old stars from the past. There are a few feuds going on but nothing too compelling. It really seems like they put so much into hyping SummerSlam that everything else now seems flat. Having Jim Neidhart wrestling major matches in your top storyline won’t help matters either. Hopefully business picks up as we get closer to Survivor Series. Final Grade: C