Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Monday Night Raw 11/28/94

*** 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 #88

November 28, 1994
Mid-Hudson Civic Center
Poughkeepsie, NY
Announcers: Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler

Fun Fact: At Survivor Series, WWF champion Bret Hart battled challenger Bob Backlund in a submission match with the stipulation that the only way to win the match would be for the corner man (either Owen Hart or Davey Boy Smith) to throw in the towel. After Smith got knocked unconscious, Backlund locked Bret in the crossface chicken wing for nearly ten minutes. Owen went to his parents at ringside and pleaded for them to throw in the towel, which Helen Hart eventually did, making Backlund the new WWF champion.

However, only three days later at Madison Square Garden, Backlund defended the title against Diesel. After a jackknife powerbomb, Diesel became the new WWF champion in only eight seconds.

*** The show opens with footage of Bob Backlund defeating Bret Hart for the WWF Title at Survivor Series. That is followed by clips of Diesel shocking the WWF by pinning Backlund for the gold at Madison Square Garden just days later. ***

1) Owen Hart defeats John Paul via submission with the Sharpshooter at 4:00

Scott: Well, things have changed drastically haven’t they? One week ago, Bret Hart was the WWF Champion and the best buds were the Tag Team Champions. One week later, and the World Title changed, not once, but twice. Bret got hosed at Survivor Series by his brother Owen, and Bob Backlund became a two-time WWF Champion. Then two days later at Madison Square Garden, Backlund lost the World Title in :08, to DIESEL? Yes, Big Daddy Cool is the new World Champion. Owen Hart helped Backlund win, and speaking of Bret Hart, Vince McMahon conducts a phone interview with the Hitman from Calgary and he says that he’ll be back in the new year after healing from being in the Cross Face Chicken Wing for over five minutes in San Antonio. Jerry Lawler throws his jabs but Vince scolds him. Owen wins but no one was paying attention. Grade: 1/2*

JT: We are live in Poughkeepsie, New York for Monday Night Raw, Survivor Series is officially behind us and woo boy, do we have some news for you! Right off the bat we find out that Bob Backlund defeated Bret Hart for the WWF Title in San Antonio but just three days later, Diesel shocked the world by beating Backlund for the gold in the hallowed grounds of Madison Square Garden. Diesel finally snapped and turned on Shawn Michaels after eating a third errant superkick at the end of  dominate performance at Survivor Series and then rode that momentum into the Garden. What an amazing one year turnaround for Big Daddy Cool. Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler have the call for us here tonight and they hype up a big special interview with Diesel in addition to running down the rest of the card. Owen Hart then heads out, pink and black towel in hand, for our opening bout as he is set to tussle with the Pope, John Paul. Vince talks about the role Owen played in costing his brother Bret his WWF Title at Survivor Series as the bell sounds and we get under way. As Owen easily works over Paul, the Hitman calls in for a chat and says he has ligament and tendon damage in his shoulder but it doesn’t look like anything is torn. He says he should be back in action right around the New Year. Vince asks him if he viewed the footage of the actions of his brother but Bret says he has taken a break since that night and will watch the encore airing tomorrow night. Bret is still in shock but will get back on the horse and ride again. Paul gets a brief flurry but Owen polishes him off with the Sharpshooter as chants of “We Want Bret” ring through the building. Grade: DUD

2) Irwin R. Schyster defeats Adam Bomb with a leg drop at 8:00

Scott: As a member of the “Bomb Squad”, I am always happy to see the big man from Three Mile Island. Perhaps 1995 will be the year for him to ascend to the next level. IRS comes in and starts jaw jacking with Undertaker before the match, as he has been from the cemeteries in past weeks. So Yokozuna has been vanquished at Survivor Series and now IRS is the Deadman’s next feud. While IRS is working Bomb over there’s a druid standing at ringside. Vince just said “highly competitive matchup”, and I chuckled inside. JT knows why. Adam Bomb was ready to finish his comeback and win the match but the druid interfered and IRS wins. The druid (who you can see is wearing black tights with lightning on them) helps IRS beat Bomb down until Lex Luger made the save. IRS has been such a great presence these first two years of RAW, being a galvanizing force with this younger roster. Grade: **

JT: We head right back to the ring for our feature bout between Adam Bomb and IRS. Vince plugs the Survivor Series Encore for tomorrow night and takes jabs at the King too as Bomb marches to the ring. Ted DiBiase, in a tuxedo, would lead IRS out to the ring… and they were flanked by a druid. Of course, IRS attacked Undertaker during his match with Yokozuna last night, continuing the long running feud between DiBiase and the Deadman. Irwin jumped Bomb at the bell and went to work but the big man turned the tide using his power and was able to wrench in a side headlock. IRS worked out of it but missed an elbow drop and rolled to gather his bearings. Bomb followed him out and slugged him before shoving him back in the ring and then drilling him with a slingshot clothesline for two. We get more Survivor Series talk as Bomb shoots Irwin hard into the corner and then clubs him down. DiBiase hops on the apron and runs interference, giving IRS the chance to nail Bomb from behind and knock him to the floor. Irwin hopped out and kicked away as the druid looked on and then back inside he cut Bomb down with an elbow before going to a chinlock. Irwin broke the hold but Bomb dodged a clothesline and got a cross body block for two. After a break, Irwin was back in control with an abdominal stretch ratcheted in on Bomb. IRS released the hold and Bomb grabbed a small package near fall but Irwin recovered and went back to the chinlock again. Bomb survived the hold and mounted a comeback, winning a slugfest and then taking Irwin over with a hip toss. Bomb punished him with clotheslines and headed to the top rope but a druid hopped on the apron and shoved the big man hard to the mat. Irwin pounced and dropped a leg for the win. IRS and the druid kicked away at Bomb until Lex Luger showed up and made the save. The crowd really didn’t give a shit about any of that. Not one bit. And I can’t blame them, it was a boring match with just a couple of decent spots mixed in and not much to get excited about at all. Irwin continues to incite the Undertaker while Bomb continues to do absolutely nothing. Grade: *

*** Vince McMahon talks about Jerry Lawler being humiliated at Survivor Series, calling it one of the funniest things ever in WWF history. We then see still photos from the Yokozuna vs. Undertaker Casket Match, including Chuck Norris getting physical to stave off some interference. You can see these matches and more on the Encore tomorrow night! ***

3) Bob Holly defeats Tony DeVito with a clothesline off the top rope at 2:50

Scott: So Sparky Plugg takes on Basil’s cousin (as Savage said on an episode last year). We just had a recap of Undertaker’s win over Yokozuna with Chuck Norris superkicking Jeff Jarrett in the aisle. The match wasn’t much. Grade: DUD

JT: Time to start your engines! Bob Holly jogs out to the ring to battle Tony DeVito in our next bout. Holly opens up with a dropkick and we get under way. Vince and King talk about Holly’s big car race coming up this Saturday evening in Florida as Holly staved off an impressive little DeVito flurry to grab the win with a clothesline off the top rope. Holly is picking up meaningless wins and needs to push his career into the next gear sooner than later. Grade: DUD

*** We visit an Arkansas hog farm where Henry Godwinn shows off his hog pen and says he is the nastiest, meanest hog of them all. When he arrives in the WWF he will be in hog heaven. ***

4) Lex Luger defeats Bert Centeno via submission with the Torture Rack at 2:09

Scott: Bert’s name was misspelled “Centino” on the screen, so the WWF was never totally innocent of graphics mistakes. It’s not the same as spelling Ric Flair’s name “Rick”… in 1988, but I’m just saying. Vince announces that the Royal Rumble will be in January in Tampa and that tickets go on sale Saturday at the Sun Dome. This was the week of the infamous “fake spike” by Dan Marino against the Jets as Lawler refers to it. Luger wins this one easily, and I wonder if this is the start of a Luger push to FINALLY winning the Rumble and going to Hartford in April. Grade: DUD

JT: We waste no time in heading right back to the ring as Lex Luger is led to the ring by a young flag bearer for his match with the always handsome Bert Centeno. Luger is coming off a loss at Survivor Series but he personally had a great showing before the numbers game overwhelmed him. Vince notes that Royal Rumble tickets go on sale in Tampa this weekend, so get ready for that. Vince says Luger will likely be in that match and the winner will go on to challenge for the WWF Title at WrestleMania. Luger mows through Centeno and racks him for the win. Grade: DUD

*** Vince McMahon heads to the ring for a chat with our brand new WWF Champion Diesel. Diesel saunters out to a rather confused crowd reaction, unsure of how they should welcome Big Daddy Cool. Diesel thanks the fans that cheered for him and then he and Vince talk about his stellar Survivor Series performance that ended with a Shawn Michaels superkick at the worst possible time. Diesel says Michaels made him stay in the ring in their survivor match before demanding to tag in right when he had Razor Ramon beat. That ended up costing the team the match and led to Michaels speeding out of town afterward. Diesel says Michaels wouldn’t have survived if he got his hands on him before he escaped. Michaels also dumped his Tag Team Title in the trash, dissolving their team. Then, with Bret Hart on the shelf, Jack Tunney named Diesel the challenger to Bob Backlund in Madison Square Garden. Diesel walks us through his experience that day that ended with the sweet moment where he took the gold from Bob Backlund. Vince thinks Diesel hasn’t heard the last of Backlund and Diesel says he respects Backlund as he is a real wrestler and a real man. Vince then brings up Bret Hart, who Diesel says Hart is a true competitor and champion and didn’t like how he lost at Survivor Series because he would have never given up on his own. Diesel says being WWF Champion is new to him but he wants to emulate Bret and be a fighting champion that never turns down a challenge. He tells Bret to enjoy his time off and promises the Hitman a title match at any time and place. Diesel wraps by saying “On lives the New Generation of the World Wrestling Federation” and then stands tall in the ring. ***

5) Heavenly Bodies defeat Buck Quartermaine & Gary Scott when Jimmy Del Ray pins Scott after a top rope splash at 3:41

Scott: As our final match of the show begins, former WWF Champion Bob Backlund comes to the commentary booth and talks about not being humble anymore, going on rants about society and parents killing their children. Huh? He’s railing on the youth of America, as all three guys totally ignored the Bodies’ squash victory. Honestly the squashes were background noise to the announcers putting over the Survivor Series fallout. Grade: DUD

JT: It is time for our final bout of the evening as Jim Cornette leads out the Heavenly Bodies to take on Buck Quartermaine and Gary Scott. Vince and King break down Diesel’s comments in the previous segment as Bob Backlund marches to the commentary table. Backlund talks about how he recovers from adversity like nobody in WWF history. The Bodes work together to wreck their opponents as Backlund weighs in on Diesel offering Bret Hart a title match, saying at least Hart won’t have to wait ten years. He is proud to be who he is and says he is working on bringing morality back to the world and then calls Diesel a neanderthal. He rips on society as Vince tells him he has gone over the edge mentally. Backlund talks about reading books by Sigmund Freud to explain his bizarre MSG post match interview. Vince does credit Backlund for returning to MSG as WWF Champion as he vowed and Backlund rambles a bit more as Jimmy Del Ray crushes Scott with a top rope splash for the win. Good work by Backlund here, keeping himself in the WWF Title conversation. Grade: DUD

*** We watch the clip of Diesel defeating Bob Backlund once again and then Backlund tells Vince McMahon that before he retires he vows he will lock McMahon in the Cross Face Chicken Wing. Backlund then storms off as McMahon and Jerry Lawler wrap up the show. ***

Final Analysis

Scott: Things have changed so drastically in this company over the past week. Bret Hart lost his World Title, but before he could instill his rematch clause, the guy who beat him lost the title himself! On top of it the airtight friendship between Diesel and Shawn Michaels is gone. All the matches this week were crap but really that didn’t matter. The live Diesel interview was really the thing everybody wanted to see. I mean he was getting some face pops from the crowd but I didn’t think it had gotten to the point where they were going to make him the World Champion. This truly is the New Generation. The crowd was up for him but otherwise they knew it was all trash. I think we need to get out of 1994 because I have a feeling December is going to be rough and once we get into 1995 and some Rumble build that Monday Nights will get entertaining again. Final Grade: C

JT: A new era is upon us here in the WWF. The New Generation is in full swing and Diesel has become the unlikely face of the initiative, reigning atop the company as WWF Champion. This week’s show was no great shakes as all the ring action was pretty blah across the board. The main highlight was the Diesel interview and they did a nice job of letting him shift his personality as he takes on this new responsibility. Bob Backlund was really good at the end as well, ensuring he won’t just be a forgotten transitional champion and keeping his name alive as a main eventer. The crowd was pretty quiet this week too, barely popping for anything besides Diesel and Lex Luger and facing into a deep coma for our feature match. Hopefully things pick up as we close in on 1995 but for now our first Raw running on Diesel Power comes up short. Final Grade: C-