Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Monday Night Raw 12/19/94

*** 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 #91

December 19, 1994 (Taped December 12, 1994)
Liberty Central High School
Liberty, NY
Announcers: Vince McMahon & Shawn Michaels

1) Irwin R. Schyster defeats Lex Luger via count-out at 8:25

Fun Fact: A couple of weeks back on the 11/28 Raw, IRS continued to attack Adam Bomb after pinning him. Lex Luger came out to make the save and clear the ring. Luger continues to be plagued by the Million Dollar Corporation and his interference that night leads to his battle with IRS tonight.

Scott: This show is taped once again, which means the WWF gave the guys the Christmas week off. That’s nice. They knew what they were doing though, as Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels have Santa hats on, and this match was alluded to last week. Luger is somewhat sliding along with no real storyline going right now. IRS meanwhile, is going after the Undertaker and his taxes. That storyline seems really odd, like imagine if the Deadman comes out and hands Irwin his W-2s and 1099s? Bizarre, but then again storylines and feuds have to start somewhere. Regardless of the storyline logic, I’ve said for months that IRS was a great foundation on this very young roster, filling spots on both RAW and the weekend syndie shows. IRS has the druid at ringside and Luger gets suckered in, and goes outside to chase him. Luger gets counted out because he chased the druid, which ended up being exposed as Tatanka outside the ring. It’s losses like this that start to torpedo your push. Just saying. Grade: *1/2

JT: With just weeks left in 1994, we come at you via videotape again this week, still in that tiny shoe box of a high school gym in Liberty, NY. Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels are in the booth with Santa hats atop their heads and they set us up for a big night of WWF action. We are in a bit of a lull of late with Survivor Series fully behind us and still a bit too early to dive into the official Royal Rumble build, but that should change sooner than later. Our opening match was one that was born out of a confrontation a couple weeks ago as Lex Luger is set to battle the Raw workhorse IRS. Irwin is embattled in an increasingly heated issue with Undertaker at this point, having attacked him San Antonio and now being flanked by druids to really hammer home his intentions. Luger is still trying to work his way back up in the card but is still being plagued by Ted DiBiase and his band of rich, merry men. Luger is accompanied by a young flag bearer as he glad-hands his way down the aisle. Irwin then saunters out with DiBiase and a druid as we see a jamoke in the crowd with a “I Cheat on My Taxes” sign. The druid immediately hooks Luger’s leg at the bell just to make his presence officially known. The match then starts proper with a lock up as the “Irwin” chants reign down. Luger asserts his power to get things really moving, frustrating Irwin and sending him outside to regroup. Vince wonders who the druid could be as Irwin takes control of the action and kicks away. Luger comes back with an arm drag and scoop slam before leveling Irwin with a clothesline for two. Luger would get distracted by the druid, allowing Irwin to nail him from behind with a knee, knocking him out to the floor. I just noticed Vladimir is at ringside, perhaps Liberty Central High School is his alma mater. Vince notes that Luger has officially entered the Rumble as we then zoom in on a ring on the hand of the druid, which Vince claims “looks familiar”. After a break, Irwin was still in control, picking up a near fall off a backbreaker. He followed that with a chinlock as Vince runs through the backstory of Luger and DiBiase, including Tatanka’s knife in the back. Michaels says Luger should have starred in the nation’s top movie “Dumb & Dumber”. He also talks about why cash is more important than integrity. Luger breaks free of the hold with elbows but Irwin catches him with a knee to the gut to cut off his comeback. Luger withstood a few more strikes until hitting a back suplex and then kicking Irwin in the face on a charge. Lex heated up with some power offense but just as he got going, the druid tripped him again. Lex reached down and almost exposed his identity but Irwin snuck up from behind and rolled him up for a close near fall. Luger smacked Irwin and went outside to brawl with the druid, ripping off the hood and exposing Tatanka as having been under the cloak. Irwin came out and leveled Luger but by this point Lex had already been counted out and takes the loss. Michaels calls Luger a sap and I can’t disagree as he is yet again left embarrassed by the Corporation. So it looks like that issue will roll on to see another day. The match was pretty bland with both guys kind of going through the motions until the finish. Grade: *1/2

*** We check out the WWF Tag Team Title tournament brackets and then head back to Superstars where  we see highlights of Bam Bam Bigelow and Tatanka defeating Men on a Mission to advance to the second round. This weekend we will see the Heavenly Bodies throwing down with the Bushwhackers in more round one action. ***

*** Backstage, the Bushwhackers and Howard Finkel are preparing for their big match by eating sardines. ***

*** After a break, we head to Las Vegas where Jeff Jarrett is at Bally’s Hotel & Casino. He runs into Rip Taylor and talks about his new album “Ain’t I Great”. They both gush over Jarrett’s potential and walk off into the night. ***

2) Smoking Gunns defeat Chris Avery & Roy Raymond when Billy Gunn pins Avery after the Sidewinder at 4:07

Scott: I thought it was Raymond Roy? Eh, doesn’t matter. He’s a bum either way. We find out Tatanka & Bam Bam Bigelow advanced in the Tag Team Title tournament, beating Men on a Mission. A reminder that the finals of this tournament will be at the Royal Rumble, January 22 in Tampa. This is a squash. Grade: DUD

JT: We head back to the ring where the Smoking Gunns jog to the ring to take on Roy Raymond and Chris Avery. The Gunns are part of the big Tag Team Title tournament and after a year and a half, this may finally be their time to take over the division. Billy and Raymond open things up as Vince talks about the Gunns are set to enter rodeo competition along with the title tournament. Michaels chastises that decision to double dip. The Gunns will be battling Well Dunn in the first round and Michaels wonders if Well Dunn is focused on that match or their bout tonight. He also talks about his dislike for cowboys which leads to some John Wayne movie talk. Avery gets a glimmer of offense but this is pretty much all Gunns with Billy pinning Avery after the Sidewinder. The Gunns are primed and ready to head into the title tourney. Grade: DUD

*** When we return, Jerry Lawler heads out to the ring for this week’s King’s Court. He talks about role models and then brings out his guest and role model Bob Backlund. Lawler apologizes for the response of the fans and then talks about Backlund completing his eleven year long quest at Survivor Series. Lawler also claims that Jack Tunney ran a ringer in at Madison Square Garden and it cost Backlund his title. The crowd chants “eight seconds as Backlund talks down to them and Backlund says he walks tall. He then says the fans deserve Bret Hart because he is better than the Hitman and proved it. The fans need to come up to his level and when he had the chicken wing on Hart, it was like he had it on all these people that cheat, lie and use bad language in front of their children. He tells Hart that anytime he wants more of the chicken wing, he is more than happy to step in the ring. Backlund then talks about Diesel, saying he didn’t have the guts to shake hands like a man and procured what meant more to Backlund than anything else in the world, a chance to lead the WWF the right way. Backlund says “Kevin Nash, you are like a neanderthal” and Michaels prods McMahon about that, asking Vince if he knows who Backlund is referencing, hinting that he gave Backlund all the inside information. Backlund calls Diesel a tyrannosaurus rex and said they went extinct and the chicken wing will exterminate Big Daddy Cool. ***

3) Bob Holly defeats Chris Kanyon with a top rope elbow at 3:36

Scott: So, before this match we had a King’s Court with Bob Backlund and he called Diesel by his real name, Kevin Nash. That was bizarre, and I wonder what Vince thought about that. Michaels says watch out for Bob Backlund in Bell Towers and Post Offices. Vince announces that Action Zone will be preempted the next couple of weeks. Back then, the WWF wasn’t calling the shots at USA. Holly wins. Grade: DUD

JT: After that interesting King’s Court we head to the ring as Bob Holly jogs out for his showdown with Chris Kanyon. Vince talks about Holly’s problems at Pensacola when he hit the wall in his big race. For now, he can focus on the WWF before racing season gets back up and running in the new year. Michaels talks about Backlund and tells everyone to be weary of him potentially snapping. Vince then reminds us that Backlund will be gunning for Diesel with Michaels in Bob’s corner across the Holiday Wish Tour all around the country. Kenyon gets a near fall after a little offense but Holly quickly comes back on offense. Michaels says Holly is trying to qualify for the Royal Rumble and then dodges Vince about whether or not he will be entering the bout as well. Vince thought Michaels may stay in the announce booth like Jimmy Johnson but Michaels says he can do it all. We also get some chatter about the big Vinny Pazienza vs. Roberto Duran fight that was coming up soon. Michaels talks shit on Vinny Paz as Vince notes that Action Zone will be preempted for a few weeks into the new year. Holly gets the win with an elbow off the top rope as he keeps chugging along. Grade: DUD

*** Todd Pettengill is in the house for our very first Royal Rumble Report here on Raw. He reveals that the host for the show will be Baywatch star Pamela Anderson and then runs down the card:

Diesel vs. Bret Hart – WWF Title Match
Royal Rumble Match: Lex Luger, Bob Backlund, King Kong Bundy, Doink the Clown, Kwang, Duke Droese, Aldo Montoya, Adam Bomb & Dick Murdoch

Todd announces that the Rumble match will have just sixty second intervals between entrants this year, making it the fast paced Rumble match in history. And of course the winner gets an automatic WWF Title shot at WrestleMania XI. Call your cable company tonight so you won’t be left out! ***

4) Bushwhackers defeat Well Dunn when Butch pins Timothy Well with a roll up at 4:21

Fun Fact: Animosity continued to stir between ring announcer Howard Finkel and manager Harvey Wippleman. This tension has been building since 1992 when Finkel was attacked by Kamala, who was managed by Wippleman at the time. Finkel comes to the ring tonight dressed like the Bushwackers.

Scott: We just had our first Royal Rumble Report, and it’s announced that Bret Hart will challenge Diesel for the WWF Championship in Tampa January 22. Incidentally in the useless trivia department, it was exactly 12 years earlier (1/22/84) that the Raiders beat the Redskins in Super Bowl XVIII, in Tampa. Pamela Anderson is the Rumble host, and Michaels alludes that she dumped Bret Michaels and is going after another…Michaels. Interesting. Back to the Rumble, and the first ten superstars have been announced, including…DICK MURDOCH? RIP Adrian Adonis. Lex Luger is in as well. Howard Finkel comes out dressed like Luke & Butch. Michaels says Howard must not get a lot of chicks, and Vince inexplicably says “Well some aren’t into that kind of thing.” The Bushwhackers win when Harvey tried to cheat and Howard pulled his pants down. Michaels had to slip another Well Dunn “teabag” comment. That was trash. Grade: DUD

JT: Well, here we are. Howard Finkel has been bullied by Harvey Wippleman for most of 1994 but it has really accelerated of late. So for this match here, the Fink dons the Bushwhacker attire and accompanies Luke and Butch to the ring for their showdown with Well Dunn. I still can’t believe Luke and Butch are still hanging around. Fink’s Bushwhacker march is absurd. Michaels says Fink can’t get a lot of chicks followed by Vince saying not everybody is into that kind of thing. Alright. The Bushwhackers mow through Well Dunn and run them to the floor, bringing Fink in the ring to celebrate. Harvey is dumbfounded at ringside as Fink is yukking it up with his buddies. Michaels talks up Pam Anderson and hints that Pam has her eyes on the old Heartbreak Kid. We get some parlor tricks and nonsense as the Whackers dick around with their offense as usual. Luke and Butch continue to dominate the action until Well distracts Luke, allowing Dunn to git a DDT. Well followed with a shoulder block off the top rope for a near fall and then continues to work over Luke. We get a quick glimpse of the Rosatti Sister at ringside as Butch gets the tag and wipes out both Well and Dunn. Harvey hops on the apron and tries to get involved but Fink comes over and yanks him down, tearing off his pants in the process. Michaels mocks Harvey’s glutes and says he is glad he wasn’t wearing his Well Dunn teabags tonight. While that goes on, Butch rolls up Dunn for the win. This was a mess but at least Fink looked like he had some fun. Grade: DUD

*** Mabel is sitting on Santa Claus’s lap but Santa can’t talk as he gets crushed under the weight. Santa then sits on Mabel’s lap and wishes everyone a Merry Christmas. ***

5) Jim Neidhart defeats Nick Barberry via submission with the Camel Clutch at 2:16

Scott: This is the first time since he came back to the WWF that the Anvil came to the ring without brother-in-law Owen Hart. Again, this was a throwaway taping so to heck with it. Match is quick and painless. Grade: DUD

JT: Wrapping things up for us this week is Jim Neidhart who is slated to battle Nick Barberry. The Anvil has transitioned back to tag action as he and Owen Hart will be competing in the Tag Team Title tournament, facing the Headshrinkers in the opening round. Anvil pummels Barberry as Michaels puts over his strength and arsenal. Vince mentions that Raw is now airing across Mexico, Central America and Argentina, so check it out. He also talks about how Neidhart and Owen won’t be joining the rest of the family for Christmas dinner. Michaels then reads this week’s USA’s movie plug: Scrooged, airing tomorrow night at 9PM ET. He is really good at these, way better than Ted DiBiase anyway. Neidhart finishes Barberry with the camel clutch. Grade: DUD

Final Analysis

Scott: I usually will give any show that has the Bushwhackers an F, but who’s that childish? The matches were crap this week but at least we got some dribs and drabs of Royal Rumble information, but we pay for that information with the Harvey vs. Howard nonsense. Lex Luger continuously looks like an utter boob by losing matches in the most idiotic ways. I like that Bob Backlund gave Diesel’s real name. That was pretty funny. Vince probably squirmed at it, although I think he eventually calls him Kevin Nash too. We are getting some names for the Rumble match and these names are evident that the roster isn’t as meaty as it could be. We have to bring Dick Murdoch out of moth balls? Once again the episode is down the middle, with some bad matches but useful information pertaining to our next PPV extravaganza. Final Grade: C

JT: This was a pretty rough outing overall. The feature match was not very good and while the ending made sense, it also made Lex Luger look like a loser yet again. The rest of the matches were nothing but despite how absurd the Fink vs. Harvey stuff is, at least that bout was kept really short and like I said above, Fink was having a blast. We do start up some Royal Rumble hype and while the World Title match is a good one, the Rumble field is looking quite soft out of the gate. The King’s Court was good and I am glad Bob Backlund isn’t being left behind as he deserves to still hang with the big boys. Also, Shawn Michaels has been great on commentary, easily meshing with Vince McMahon and mixing in jabs, insight, jokes and storyline progression seamlessly. He has made a natural transition there. One more week before we finally put a bow on 1994, a year that has seen some great highs and scary lows. Final Grade: C-