Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Monday Night Raw 1/16/95

*** 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 #95

January 16, 1995 (Taped January 9, 1995)
The Summit
Houston, TX
Announcers: Vince McMahon & Shawn Michaels

1) Bob Holly & 1-2-3 Kid defeat Heavenly Bodies when Kid pinned Jimmy Del Ray with with a fisherman’s suplex at 4:35

Fun Fact: This match is a rematch from the 1/14 episode of Superstars where the two teams faced each other in the WWF Tag Team Championship Tournament Semi-Finals. Bob Holly and the 1-2-3 Kid won that match to advance to the Tournament Finals at the Royal Rumble.

Scott: Two teams in the Tag Title tournament meet here, as the underdogs of the 1-2-3 Kid and Bob Holly replaced the Smoking Gunns and now will face the Corporate Team Sunday in Tampa for the vacant gold. The Bodies were a solid enough team of southern tag workers who came in occasionally to fill slots on Raw but weren’t taken seriously as contenders after losing to the Steiners at SummerSlam 1993, except for winning the SMW Titles. I still wonder why the Gunns were taken out of the tournament. One of the two guys must have been hurt. With Tatanka & Bam Bam Bigelow looking on up the aisle, the Kid and Holly come from behind to win this quick sprint. The finals of the tournament are set as the underdogs face the Corporation Sunday. Grade: DUD

JT: We are back in Houston and coming to you via videotape for his week’s edition of Raw! Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels are in the booth once again and we have a big show lined up for tonight and it opens up with a big tag team matchup. Both the 1-2-3 Kid & Bob Holly and the Heavenly Bodies took part in the Tag Team Title tournament but only one of the teams is still alive. Kid and Holly will indeed battle Tatanka and Bam Bam Bigelow this Sunday at the Royal Rumble will the vacant gold on the line. The Bodies jumped Kid and Holly before the bell, dominating the underdogs with a hot start and some double team offense. Tom Prichard works over Holly as Del Ray knocks Kid back off the apron to the floor. Vince reminds us that Kid & Holly eliminated the Bodies from the tournament and thinks they are trying to soften up their new rivals for Sunday. Del Ray grabs a near fall on a kick the face and then Prichard gets one after more double teaming. Holly tries to make a comeback but Prichard went to the eyes to keep him grounded. Michaels says Kid & Holly cheated to beat the Bodies over the weekend and are paying for it now. Del Ray tags in and cracks Holly with an axe handle off the top rope before taking him over with a snap suplex. Vince tells us Kid took a tough beating at the hands of Bigelow on Action Zone yesterday as the crowd chants “1-2-3”. Del Ray goes up top again and gets a high cross body but Holly rolls through for two. As Del Ray levels Holly with a knee, Tatanka and Bigelow emerge in the aisle to keep tabs on their opponents. Prichard tags in and drops a knee off the middle rope but Holly is able to avoid a double clothesline and cause the Bodies to collide. Kid gets the tag and cleans house, mowing through both Bodies until flipping Del Ray over into a fisherman’s suplex for the win. This was a pretty fun little spring with the Bodies putting on a heel double team clinic while Holly sold his ass off. Kid’s house of fire was fun too and I dug the finish. I wish this go more time to be honest. Kid & Holly grab another big win and seem primed for the match of a lifetime in Tampa. Grade: *1/2

*** Bret Hart and William Shatner join us from the locker room and Vince McMahon asks Hart whether or not he will have any ring rust tonight or Sunday at the Royal Rumble. Hart says he has no rust, only fire and he has Shatner to watch his back. Shawn Michaels asks Shatner who will watch his back and William says he watches his own back. He says he took care of Jerry Lawler last week and will watch the back of Hart tonight. He then calls Roadie “Roadkill”. ***

2) Mantaur defeats Jason Ahrndt with a running body block at 1:44

Fun Fact: Tonight, we see get the Raw debut of the infamous WWF character, Mantaur, portrayed by Mike Halac. Making his wrestling debut in 1991, Halac started in Germany in the Catch Wrestling Association under the name of Bruiser Mastino. He remained in the promotion until late 1994, when he returned to the United States. He signed on with the WWF and took on the Minotaur-like character

Scott: This gimmick has Matt Rotella written all over it. This weirdo is in the Royal Rumble Sunday, and let’s just say he’s not the favorite. Vince says that Action Zone Sunday will be live in Tampa for the drawing of some of the numbers for the Rumble match. Vince says to Shawn Michaels that he’s nowhere near the favorite in that match. Interesting. Mantaur wins, with that brutal entrance music. Grade: DUD

JT: We head back to the ring for the Raw debut of Mantaur, who is escorted out by Jim Cornette. Vince says Mantaur has a new look with his facepaint and wonders what his apparently new manager Cornette has done to him. Mantaur will be in the Royal Rumble match on Sunday and could be a sneaky favorite due to his size. Mantaur opens up with a pair of hard charges into the corner and then takes Jason Ahrndt down with a belly-to-belly suplex. Mantaur clubs away as Vince tells us this weekend’s Action Zone will emanate live from Tampa and feature the Rumble match drawing. Mantaur dominates Ahrndt and picks up the win with a hard running body block. He looks a bit odd but his power offense was decently impressive here tonight. Grade: DUD

*** Todd Pettengill is in the house tonight with our final Royal Rumble Report here on Raw. We are just six days away from a live night of hot action inside the Tampa Sun Dome. And of course, Baywatch star Pamela Anderson will be the special host of the evening. Pam will also escort the Royal Rumble match winner down the aisle for their WrestleMania WWF Title match. Here are the matches 

Royal Rumble Match
Undertaker vs. IRS
Bob Holly & 1-2-3 Kid vs. Tatanka & Bam Bam Bigelow – WWF Tag Team Titles
Diesel vs. Bret Hart – WWF Title
Razor Ramon vs. Jeff Jarrett – WWF Intercontinental Title

That will do it… and you are running out of time so call your cable company and lock things in right now! See you in Tampa! ***

3) Bret Hart defeats Jeff Jarrett with a roll up at 12:00

Fun Fact: This is Bret Hart’s first TV match since Survivor Series ’94.

Scott: Two men with huge matches Sunday in Tampa meet here in Houston. This is Bret Hart’s first match on TV since getting screwed out of the WWF Title back at Survivor Series, and Sunday against Diesel he will get his rematch, although technically he’s owed two? Since he actually lost the title to Bob Backlund? I don’t remember how that worked. William Shatner seconded Bret to the ring, as USA and the WWF continued to cross-promote that dreadful TekWar series. Even USA struggled with solid programming in 1995. Now Vince & Shawn are at the Summit as they were definitely live last week but this week it looks like a green screen at the beginning. The Hitman was really laying into Jarrett early on with uppercuts and stretching out for the Sharpshooter. Jarrett started to make a comeback with his usual basic kicks and strikes but Bret then made his own comebacks. This match was booked right for the hot Houston crowd as for two #1 contenders going for gold Sunday they are both on their game and going back and forth. The Roadie got involved by pushing Jarrett out of the way as Bret was charging and the Hitman crotched himself on the ropes. Jarrett locks the figure four on and Bret tries to fight out of it, but eventually Bret sneaks a clean roll up and gets the victory. The Roadie tries to attack Bret but Shatner hits him with a forearm, then beats the Roadie up in the corner. The match was a lot of fun back and forth and the Shatner stuff was great. Grade: ***

JT: As we head back down to the ring, Jeff Jarrett is strutting his way into the ring, flanked by the always present Roadie. Michaels says this will be a battle of high powered offenses and sparks should fly tonight. Vince wonders why either of these guys would accept this match with big title matches on tap for Sunday. The Hitman and William Shatner get a very warm reception as they hit the ring and we are set for our marquee match of the evening. Jarrett trash talks Shatner as we get under way and Vince tells us Jerry Lawler is watching this match and wonders if he will get involved. After some posturing, the two lock up, which Hart breaks with a big right hand. The Hitman is getting aggressive out there, going to the eyes and mowing through Jarrett with a quick flurry of hard hitting moves. Michaels takes shots at Shatner as he cheers on his buddy, who is laying the boots to Double J. Vince wonders if Jarrett was looking past this match to Sunday and so far it looks like it could be true as he has had zero offensive momentum. Hart works the mid section and then grabs an arm bar as he turns his focus to that limb. The Hitman grabs a near fall on a backslide and then goes right back to the arm as Shatner and Roadie jaw at each other. Jarrett finally finds a window as Jarrett catches Hart with a back suplex and then cracks him with a dropkick. After a break, Double J was still in control, cutting off a Hart comeback with a hard right hand and then shooting him hard into the corner. Jarrett catches Hart with a back elbow as the crowd tries to rally the Hitman. Vince and Shawn plug TekWar as Hart hammers Jarrett with a right hand as he came off the middle rope. The Hitman went into his usual finishing offense, grabbing near falls where he could, but things fell apart for him when Jarrett gouged his eyes while he attempted the Sharpshooter. Hart battled back again but thanks to an assist from the Roadie, Double J dodged a charge and the Hitman careened hard into the ropes. Jarrett pounced and locked in the figure four but Hart got some help from Shatner and was able to force the rope break. A pissed off Jarrett released the hold and stared down Shatner but a moment later Hart reversed a roll up and nabbed the hard fought win. After the bell Roadie came in the ring but Shatner charged in and leveled him with a hard forearm. Roadie then tried to jump off the top rope but Shatner dodged him and then ran him into the turnbuckle before pitching him over the top to the floor. That was kind of fun. The match was pretty good too as both guys really laid into each other and worked a basic, hard hitting match. The loss for Jarrett doesn’t hurt him at all but the win for Hart helps get him back on track after his layoff. The Shatner stuff was pretty well done these past two weeks as he bought in fine and played along while also getting to promote his new show. Grade: **1/2

*** Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels recap the WWF Tag Team Title tournament results and set up for the final match on Sunday night: 1-2-3 Kid & Bob Holly vs. Tatanka & Bam Bam Bigelow. ***

*** Jerry Lawler is in the ring for this week’s King’s Court and his guests, the Million Dollar Corporation, are already in the ring. Lawler asks Ted DiBiase about his big night at the Royal Rumble and Ted says Sunday will be a great night for the Corporation. It starts with IRS taking out Undertaker, who has been a thorn in his side for a long time. The only dead thing he likes are dead presidents and he has invested plenty in ridding the WWF of the Undertaker. Next up, Tatanka and Bam Bam Bigelow are a shoe-in to knock off Bob Holly & 1-2-3 Kid for the WWF Tag Team Titles. And then next week here on Raw, his new Tag Team Champions will defend the gold against the Smoking Gunns. Finally, King Kong Bundy is the odds on favorite to win the Royal Rumble match and he will move on to WrestleMania when he challenges for the WWF Title. He says the Corporation is alive in 95 as we wrap things up. ***

4) Mabel defeats Lee Tobin with a leg drop at 2:34

Scott: After a King’s Court with the entire Million Dollar Corporation, who has a busy Sunday in Tampa, we have big Mabel ending the show with bad rapping and a quick squash. It seems like Men on a Mission are done and Mabel is the solo guy, which is fine with Vince as he loves these hosses. Vince continues the pop culture references as he’s talking about the OJ trial and all his lawyers. No USA movie plug, so we can watch TEKWAR! Oh, Mabel won comfortably. Hey, Oscar just yelled out “THE PLACE TO BE”. He has to pay for that! Grade: DUD

JT: We head back to the ring for our final match of the night as Oscar raps Mabel to the ring to battle Lee Tobin. Vince promotes the MTV Rock ‘N’ Jock softball game, which featured Diesel among many other celebrities and athletes. He says the WWF Champion was also at Madison Square Garden to check out the Knicks vs. Nets as well as a whirlwind media tour throughout the rest of the week. Mabel cuts down Tobin with a big clothesline to open things up as Michaels bitches about Diesel’s schedule and says once he is WWF Champion those gigs will be his instead. Vince compares the Rumble match to OJ Simpson’s dream team and Michaels says he is the wolverine of the WWF and will be all over everyone. Tobin tries to mount some offense but doesn’t get very far as the big man eventually finishes him off with a massive leg drop. Mabel is primed for the Rumble and due to his size, he could be another off-the-radar favorite. Grade: DUD

*** Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels chat with Mabel about Sunday’s Royal Rumble. Mabel says he is the biggest and baddest and will win the Rumble match. Michaels disagrees with that hot take but King Kong Bundy interrupts the proceedings and says he will win. Mabel challenges him to a fight right now but Ted DiBiase won’t let Bundy get in the ring. ***

*** The show wraps up with a video package highlighting Diesel. ***

Final Analysis

Scott: This was a decent episode of Raw, carried by the Corporation interview and the Hart/Jarrett match. That match was really necessary for Jarrett, who really hasn’t had a chance to show his real wrestling chops against a myriad of stiffs here and on the syndies. Ted DiBiase’s Corporation is definitely on the forefront of the WWF, although they really don’t have that standout heel to showcase at the top of the group. It’s more like a gaggle of mid-card guys who cause some havoc, but not enough to move the meter. This Royal Rumble is a 50/50 proposition, first because it’s going to be shortened, and second because a good portion of the 30 men clearly have zero chance of winning. There’s probably two or three legitimate guys that can win, which may take some of the starch out of the show. The Rumble is upon us? Cross your fingers. Final Grade: C+

JT: I really dug this week’s episode of Raw. It still had that buzz going in Houston, lending a nice fresh feel to the show. I thought Hart/Jarrett and the opening tag team match were both solid and ate up a good chunk of the show. The King’s Court was quick and to the point too with Ted DiBiase cutting an effective promo about his whole stable and their Rumble bouts. I thought they did a nice job plugging the important stuff for Sunday while hiding and downplaying the soft Rumble field. They really have propped up Michaels and then all the big giants as the main contenders for the match. They are also covering the deficiencies with Pam Anderson as well. Although poor Adam Bomb even jobs and looks like a goof in the Rumble beach commercial. I do like how they are really pushing Diesel out into the media as a centerpiece celebrity, something they desperately need right now. So far so good for Big Daddy Cool. The Rumble has been fairly well hyped but we will see if the show delivers on Sunday. See you next week with all of the fallout! Final Grade: B-