Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Monday Night Raw 1/17/94

*** 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 #48

January 17, 1994 (Taped January 10, 1994)
Richmond Coliseum 
Richmond, VA
Announcers: Vince McMahon & Crush

1) Owen Hart defeats Terry Austin with the Sharpshooter at 4:43

Scott: We will be getting live updates from MSG as the Quebecers are getting their rematch with 1-2-3 Kid & Marty Jannetty from last week. Of course here on Raw, it’s the same night that they lost them. So it’s funny that those guys are in the building, but it was the week before and they’re at the Garden live now. Bret seconds his little brother to the ring for his match as they made amends over the holidays and are ready to face the Quebecers at the Royal Rumble. It was pretty clear the underdogs won the straps won last week to spike the ratings for the anniversary episode, and now the Quebecers will win them back so the match Saturday in Providence will actually mean something. Owen is looking so crisp in the ring right now. A solid match and a win for Owen, with Vince interviewing them about who would win the title match, and Owen wants the Quebecers so they can have a title shot, whereas Bret is non-plussed. Owen looks annoyed. Grade: *1/2

JT: And here we are, less than one week away from the Royal Rumble and pretty much everything is bed and ready to go for Providence. We are on tape this week and the red hot and quite hated Crush is our guest color commentator, which should be interesting given tonight’s main event. We also have a major story that we will track throughout the evening as the 1-2-3 Kid and Marty Jannetty are defending their newly won WWF Tag Team Titles against the Quebecers live at Madison Square Garden as this show was going on. Opening things up is someone that was very interested in that MSG tilt, and that is Owen Hart. If the Quebecers were to regain their titles, Owen and his brother Bret would be in line for a title match at the Rumble. If the champs retained, the Harts would be out of luck and set for a non title match. And that is a big deal for Owen, who has never held WWF gold and was hungry for a taste. Bret accompanies Owen to the ring here to show that they are on the same page heading into Saturday night. Vince McMahon discusses how the Harts will pull double duty in Providence, as they will also be competing in the Rumble match alongside Crush. And speaking of Crush, Vince wonders aloud if Crush will get involved later tonight but the big man denies it and says he is focused on his job in the booth for this one night. As the match goes on, Stan Lane calls in from MSG with a live update on the tag title match, which will be getting under way shortly. Owen works through some pretty basic offense and picks up the submission win with the Sharpshooter. Grade: DUD

*** Vince McMahon interviews the Hart Brothers and asks Owen who he wants to see win the Tag Team Title match tonight and he is very honest, nicely saying he wants the Quebecers to win so they can have their title shot while also creating the champions.. Bret puts over 1-2-3 Kid and Marty Jannetty and says he could never find himself rooting for the Quebecers and is sure that Kid and Jannetty will give them a title match in the near future. Owen looks displeased as they walk off. ***

2) Tatanka defeats George South with a tomahawk chop off the top rope at 2:52

Scott: Pretty funny to consider the card at MSG that night, because I bet most of the roster in this building was at this Raw taping and all had to either leave or hide in the back. Imagine if Pierre “accidently” was found on camera? Boy would that be pretty stupid. Crush is totally awful at commentary, but he’s only there because Randy Savage is in a match later on. We keep getting Stan Lane updates from MSG on the Tag Team Title rematch. Tatanka is looking in better shape than he ever has been, but sadly has been lost in the shuffle since the fall when his undefeated streak ended at the hands of Ludvig Borga. An easy win for the Native American. Grade: DUD

JT: Tatanka dances his way to the ring next to battle the enduring George South. This is a good warmup for Tatanka, who also will be doing double duty on Saturday night as he gets his rematch with Ludvig Borga and a slot in the Rumble match. Crush again vows he will stay professional tonight and not get involved. South lands a couple of shots to open things up as Lane pops in to update us that the Tag Title match is officially under way and the champs are in control. South survives a flurry and gets in some more offense, but Tatanka comes right back and mows through the veteran, polishing him off with a chop off the top rope. Vince lets us know that this week on WWF Mania we will see some Rumble entrants drawing their numbers live, so be sure to check that out. Grade: DUD

*** We get a special video package highlighting the WWF Women’s Champion Alundra Blayze. ***

*** Vince McMahon heads to the ring for a special interview with Yokozuna and Mr. Fuji. Jim Cornette is missing in action tonight, as he is apparently heading up a celebratory press conference in Tokyo. As has been the case, Yokozuna looks spooked whenever the term casket is mentioned and right on cue, the lights dimmed and Paul Bearer wheeled out the double deep, double wide casket to ringside. Fuji would crack jokes about the arrival of the casket and implore Yoko to conquer his fear and get close to the box. Yoko slowly made his way over and at Fuji’s behest, he slowly opened the lid, but as he did, Undertaker popped up, sending the champion fleeing from the ring and to the back. Undertaker and Paul Bearer stood stoically in the ring as Crush levied threats to them on commentary. ***

3) Diesel defeats Scott Powers with an elbow drop at 3:29

Scott: We just finished with the Yokozuna interview where Paul Bearer wheeled out the double wide casket that the Undertaker popped out of. This was a solid build but I’m not sure (considering who they were pimping to win the Rumble) that Taker was going to win the WWF Title. Stan Lane called in to announce that the Quebecers have regained the Tag Team Titles at MSG, so the titles will be on the line against Owen & Bret Hart Saturday night in Providence. Diesel easily takes care of business here. He really hasn’t been given much of a push other than being Shawn Michaels’ bodyguard. Grade: DUD

JT: As we head back to the ring, Diesel and Shawn Michaels make their way out to the ring as the big man is set to battle Scott Powers. Vince grills Crush on the strategy of Fuji’s stable in the Rumble match, including the hired assassins, Tenryu and Great Kabuki. Vince also tries to drive a wedge, asking Crush what would happen if Yokozuna retains and Crush wins the Rumble, but Crush does a nice job of deflecting. Diesel batters Powers with ease as Crush randomly brings up the Tonya Harding case. Diesel drops Powers with a backbreaker and then hammers away as Stan Lane dials back in and officially announces that the Quebecers have regained the Tag Team Titles and claims that Kid and Jannetty were robbed. So, this Saturday night, the Harts Brothers will officially get that title match. Vince wishes a 88 year old priest and die hard Raw fan a happy birthday. Also be sure to check out Gross Anatomy, this Thursday on USA. Diesel would hit a powerbomb and smack Powers around before polishing him off with an elbow drop. Grade: DUD

*** Todd Pettengil is back this week with our final Royal Rumble report. The Providence Civic Center is sold out, so if you want to see this mega event, you need to call your cable company and order it. Here is the full card:

Undertaker vs. Yokozuna – WWF Heavyweight Title Casket Match
Bret & Owen Hart vs. Quebecers – WWF Tag Team Title Match
Razor Ramon vs. IRS – WWF Intercontinental Title Match

Tatanka vs. Ludvig Borda
Royal Rumble Match: Crush, Kamala, Owen Hart, Mabel, Scott Steiner, Shawn Michaels, Diesel, Adam Bomb, Bam Bam Bigelow, Randy Savage, 1-2-3 Kid, Fatu, Samu, Bret Hart, Rick Steiner, Bob Backlund, Greg Valentine, Billy Gunn, Bart Gunn, Rick Martel, Bastion Booger, Marty Jannetty, Doink, Jeff Jarrett, Tatanka, Ludvig Borga, Tenryu, Great Kabuki & Lex Luger

Also, be sure to check out WWF Mania, live from the Providence Civic Center for the selection of the entrance numbers. Order now! See you Saturday night! ***

4) Randy Savage defeats IRS via disqualification at 12:00

Fun Fact: Last week at the end of the RAW anniversary show, Vince McMahon was speaking with Randy Savage about his upcoming match with IRS, which Savage indicated would be a warmup match for the Royal Rumble. During the segment, IRS came up behind the two and started jawing with Savage, at which point Savage took the RAW anniversary cake and shoved it into IRS’s face to close the show.

Scott: Savage was really getting big time pops again, and immediately he gets in the ring and starts going after Crush, who’s sniping back at him. You knew now definitely we were getting a WrestleMania match between these two. Crush is trying so hard to put himself and the feud over, but the forced Hawaiian accent is getting grating to my ears. Savage still had the goods to be a great worker even in the mid-1990s. IRS is no slouch himself and this match has been pretty entertaining. I don’t believe IRS will win the IC Title at the Rumble, since the Razor/Michaels feud seems to have more legs. By the end of this match Crush was actually entertaining, until he gets up from the table and causes the DQ by throwing Savage off the top rope and beats him down, including throwing the referee out of the ring. Perhaps Savage is becoming a Rumble favorite from this segment ending the show heading into Providence. Even the World Champion Yokozuna is attacking Savage, so maybe? Then Lex Luger comes in and he and Yoko are going at it, then in comes Shawn and Diesel. So like the modern day, the go home Raw of the Rumble has everybody getting into the ring to get the crowd whipped into a frenzy before the big show. See you in Providence! Grade: *** 

JT: It is time for our main event and things obviously could be combustible with Crush perched at ringside. Also, IRS is still fuming from getting that cake shoved in his grill a week ago, so Randy Savage is in the proverbial soup right out of the gate. Savage gets a very hot ovation as he marches out and he is focused on both Crush and IRS in addition to his big Rumble match chance this weekend. After a break, IRS arrived and he tried to rush into the ring but Savage met him with a knee. IRS turned the tide and rammed Savage into the corner and dropped a hard elbow. IRS started to work the leg and lower abdomen as the crowd started to get on his case with an “Irwin” chant. Shyster pitched Savage to the floor and gave Crush a thumbs up and a big smile before going out to keep up the attack. Savage would break free and grab a chair but the referee yanked it away as IRS clobbered him from behind. Back in the ring, IRS kept stomping away but Savage blocked a kick and hit an atomic drop and clothesline that sent IRS to the floor. After a commercial, IRS was back in control and dropped Savage across the barricade with a hot shot, much to the delight of Crush. IRS has been super aggressive here and it has made for a fun little match thanks to the pace. Schyster locked in a tight rear chinlock but Savage tough to his feet and elbowed free IRS cut him right down on a charge and went back to the leg but Savage was able to sneak in an inside cradle for a near fall. Savage whipped IRS into the corner but whiffed on a charge, leading to an IRS roll up for two. Irwin went back to the chinlock but Savage leveraged him to the outside and met him with an ax handle. Savage then popped up and went right at Crush but IRS caught him from behind as we went to yet another commercial. When we returned, IRS had an abdominal stretch hooked in but broke the hold to head to the top. Savage cut him off and then headed up himself but IRS caught him with a big right hand to the gut for two. IRS again went to the chinlock but Savage got his foot on the rope to force the break. IRS stayed aggressive, slamming Savage and heading back to the top but it backfired again as Savage booted him in the face on the way down. Savage went on the offensive, slamming IRS and heading up top but Crush finally snapped, leapt out of the booth and shoved Savage to the mat for the DQ. Crush and IRS hammered away at Savage until Tatanka showed up to make the save. Crush and IRS maintained control and then Yokzona showed up to help tip the tide even more. That drew out Lex Luger, Shawn Michaels, Diesel and Bret Hart and they all battled as the crowd cheered until the show went off the air. The match itself was quite good as it has a very aggressive pace thanks to the onslaught by IRS and the frantic selling of Savage. I liked the finish too with Crush getting involved as it made total sense. The Rumble brawl is always cool too. Grade: **1/2

Final Analysis

Scott: The go home Raw for the Royal Rumble didn’t have the bland feel of a taped show, and the Richmond crowd was still pretty hot. The ending with everybody in the ring was fun, and the cool moment when Stan Lane called from the Garden to announce that the Quebecers regained the Tag Titles was different. For the first time in Raw history, the go-home show was treated like a final push for fans to purchase the PPV and not some stale boring show while Vince shilled it at the table. Let’s go to Providence (which my PIC indeed did back in 1994) and let’s Rumble! Final Grade: C+

JT: This was a tight little edition of Raw and definitely outperformed how it lined up on paper. The ongoing saga of the Quebecers regaining their titles was a nice through line and gets us back to where we needed to be for the Rumble. The squashes were all quick and also featured storyline development and Rumble hype through the commentary. The Yokozuna segment was well done and we got a look at the two men in the ring together for the first time in a while. And Savage/IRS was much better than I was expecting, especially with IRS being so aggressive and keeping the match chugging along I was also surprised at how good Crush was on commentary. He actually helped further storylines and coherently helped call the matches. I thought he was pretty good when he went solo during the Yokozuna segment too. We have finally reached the Royal Rumble and I will say the show has been well built and very well hyped week in and week out on Raw. See you in Providence! Final Grade: B-