Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Monday Night Raw 12/26/94

*** 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 #92

December 26, 1994 (Taped December 12, 1994)
Liberty Central High School
Liberty, NY
Announcers: Vince McMahon & Shawn Michaels

1) British Bulldog and Tatanka wrestle to a double count out at 8:51

Scott: Our final show of 1994 pits the British Bulldog against Ted DiBiase’s traitorous Native American. I wish I knew what the heck this place is in Liberty, NY because it literally looks like an airplane hangar with seats. Almost like the Fernwood Resort. Tatanka is finally starting to wear darker colors to suit his heel persona, rather than the brighter neon blue. Tatanka and fellow Corporate member Bam Bam Bigelow have moved on to the semifinals of the Tag Team Tournament. More on that later. As the match is going, DiBiase pulls the top rope down and Bulldog falls out of the ring. That leads to Lex Luger coming out to protect Bulldog, which then leads Bam Bam Bigelow coming out and everything ends in a double disqualification. The match was actually not bad, as both guys work well together. 1995 would be big years for both guys, but in different ways. Grade: **

JT: Welcome to the final Monday Night Raw of 1994! It has been a long, interesting year with many ups and down and a pretty brand new feel overall for the company. Of course we are still on tape and still emanating from tiny old Liberty Central High School. Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels are in the booth once again as well as we continue to roll toward the Royal Rumble and the new year as well. Opening things up is our feature match between the British Bulldog and Tatanka. Of course we saw the Native American a week ago when he was dressed up as a druid and helped IRS defeat his archenemy Lex Luger. DiBiase led Tatanka out to open the show but first Teddy stopped to chat with Shawn Michaels about his Christmas. Bulldog then made his way out with his pyro rockets and he was fired up and ready to go. Tatanka is rocking much darker tights now to help further solidify his new character. Bulldog worked the arm to open things up as Vince notes that Davey Boy is an official entrant for the Royal Rumble match. Bulldog continued to control with his power as well as some speed, leading to Michaels saying Tatanka was moving as slowly as molasses tonight. Bulldog would grab a near fall on a crucifix but Tatanka popped up and clubbed and chopped away at Davey. Tatanka would drop his head on a whip and Bulldog took advantage with a delayed vertical suplex and then nearly got the powerslam but Tatanka shifted his weight and blocked the move. After a break, Tatanka was back in control and stomped away at his opponent as Michaels said he should do a rain dance on his head. Tatanka grabbed a near fall on an elbow and then went to a reverse chinlock as we get some chatter about Lex Luger. Bulldog powered up and got a near fall on a cross body but as he hit the ropes, he tumbled hard to the floor. Tatanka continued to work over the Bulldog but Davey made a quick comeback with a suplex and pair of clotheslines. However, as he went for a third clothesline, DiBiase yanked down the top rope and Bulldog tumbled to the floor. Luger charged to ringside and backed DiBiase off but Tatanka came down and triggered a brawl between the two. Bam Bam Bigelow then arrived and all four men brawled until the referee called for a double DQ. Luger would eventually run both men off and was all fired up as the crowd rocked the “USA” chant. This was a feisty little opener that was a bit better than I expected. There was some solid chemistry on display and they cut a quick enough pace to keep things interesting, never really slowing down. The finish was fine too as Luger is still looking to take out the Corporation and it also served to remind us that Tatanka and Bigelow are teammates chasing the vacated tag team gold. Grade: **

*** Todd Pettengill joins us for our Royal Rumble Report. He reminds us that the Rumble match will feature entrants hitting the ring in one minute intervals this year. Here are the matches discussed:

Royal Rumble Match: Lex Luger, Bob Backlund, King Kong Bundy, Doink, Kwang, Adam Bomb, Duke Droese, Dick Murdoch, Henry Godwinn, Aldo Montoya, Mo, Mabel, British Bulldog, 1-2-3 Kid, Bob Holly, Shawn Michaels
Diesel vs. Bret Hart – WWF Title
Razor Ramon vs. Jeff Jarrett – Intercontinental Title
Undertaker vs. IRS

The show is just under a month away in Tampa and Pamela Anderson will be hosting the giant beach party in the Sun Dome, so get that cable order in right now! ***

2) Henry Godwinn defeats Mike Khoury with the Slop Drop at 3:45

Fun Fact: Mark Canterbury makes his Raw debut tonight as Henry O. Godwinn. Canterbury trained under George South and The Italian Stallion and made his pro wrestling debut in 1989 under the name “Mean” Mark Canterbury. He formed a tag team with Tex Slazenger (Dennis Knight) and the duo made their way to WCW in 1992. Canterbury changed his name in WCW to Shanghai Pierce and began wrestling under a mask at the request of Dusty Rhodes, who indicated that Canterbury’s good looks would make it difficult for the heel team since crowds would cheer for him. Canterbury wore the mask until January 1994 when he lost a match to Johnny B. Badd and was forced to unmask. He joined the WWF in mid-1994 in his new Godwinn role.

Scott: So after our Royal Rumble report, which announced some more competitors (including Shawn Michaels) as well as the expected match between IRS and Undertaker we get a debuting wrestler. After a couple of vignettes, the Arkansas Hog Farmer wrestles his first match and pummels on this poor jobber, including breaking out the debut of the Slop Drop finisher. Grade: DUD

JT: We head back to the ring for the official debut of a brand new superstar, Henry O. Godwinn. We saw a coupe vignettes for ol’ HOG the past few weeks and he has now arrived. Godwinn saunters to the ring toting a slop bucket and we get a Bill Clinton joke from Michaels, natch. Mike Khoury is jacked and also has a robust mullet and mustache combo going on. Vince discusses some of the big men in the Rumble as Godwinn punishes Khoury. Michaels talks up his Rumble chances and Vince says he has no friends anyway, so being a loner won’t be a big difference. We continue to talk about the Rumble as well as the Holiday Wish Tour as Godwinn clobbers Khoury for a few minutes and then finishes him off with the Slop Drop. Grade: DUD

*** We see a vignette for the impending Raw debut of Japanese superstar Hakushi, featuring highlights of matches he has already had in the WWF. ***

*** Jerry Lawler heads to the ring for this week’s King’s Court. He takes a couple of shots at the fans as usual and then brings out his guest, the WWF Champion Diesel. Lawler offers Diesel congratulations with a “kingly handshake” and Diesel obliges but then squeezes Lawler’s hand, making him buckle to his knees. Lawler says his wish is to see Bob Backlund slap the Cross Face Chicken Wing on Diesel on the Holiday Wish Tour. He reminds Diesel that Shawn Michaels has taught Backlund everything about Diesel and talks about everything Michaels did for Big Daddy Cool, including being able to hold all the WWF titles. Lawler promises Michaels will get Diesel and have him screaming and pleading and also thinks Diesel wishes he didn’t grant Bret Hart a title match. Lawler says if the chicken wing doesn’t get Diesel, the Sharpshooter will and Diesel will be history. His final wish is that Diesel and Hart eliminate each other from the WWF for good. Diesel says he wishes Lawler would shut his mouth and then takes the crown off his head and chucks him to the floor. Diesel puts the crown on and sits on the thrown with a smirk on his face as Michaels calls him the Cowardly Lion and promises to send him back to Oz. ***

*** Vince McMahon runs down the Tag Team Title tournament brackets, including highlights of the Heavenly Bodies knocking off the Bushwhackers and advancing to the second round. Bam Bam Bigelow & Tatanka already advanced as well by defeating Men on a Mission. This weekend, Jim Neidhart and Owen Hart will battle the Headshrinkers as the opening round continues. The finals will go down at the Royal Rumble. ***

3) Kwang defeats Rich Myers with a spin kick at 2:44

Scott: So Diesel as WWF Champion is becoming a big deal, since he’s been on two King’s Courts in the past month. We had another vignette for Hakushi, who’s been wrestling on the syndie shows, but not on Raw yet. Perhaps as a true Asian wrestler he will be a better worker than this imaginary Asian wrestler in Kwang. What hits the fan? Grade: DUD

JT: We head to the ring where Kwang and Harvey Wippleman are making their way to the ring for a tussle with Rich Myers. We get some more Rumble talk as Myers and his absurd mullet lands a dropkick. Kwang quickly cuts Myers off and goes to work as Vince talks about last week’s confrontation between Harvey and Howard Finkel. We then get some prerecorded comments from Fink, who apologizes to Harvey and talks about how happy he was to help the Bushwhackers win. Vince then tells us Vinny Pazienza stopped by the Action Zone to discuss his upcoming fight with Roberto Duran and that Paz is standing by with comments tonight as well. Kwang eventually polishes Myers off with a spin kick. Grade: DUD

*** Vinny Pazienza joins us from his gym, where is working out. He talks about his January 14th fight with Roberto Duran and then says he wants a piece of Shawn Michaels as well. Paz says he works out into the night as he gets caught up with Monday Night Raw and then tells Vince he does his best work late at night. ***

*** We see a vignette for another soon-to-be debuting superstar, the Supreme Fighting Machine Kama. We then head backstage to Stephanie Wiand who is with Ted DiBiase. She tells us that Lex Luger and British Bulldog have issued a tag team match challenge to Tatanka and Bam Bam Bigelow. DiBiase mumbles to himself and then accepts the challenge, which will take place next week on Raw. ***

4) Undertaker defeats Brooklyn Brawler with the Tombstone at 3:12

Scott: We end the final show of the year with a rare Undertaker match, although I guess he was off for most of 1994. I have a feeling we will see more of the Deadman in 1995. Is it me, or is Paul Bearer’s urn really huge compared to what it used to be. Taker’s ticket is punched for the Royal Rumble as he will face IRS to counter his… tax evasion charges? Eh, who cares, at least we see two good workers on a PPV. Speaking of PPV, 1994 was a tremendous year for them. We had excellent to just solid, but none that were really stinkers. Taker actually faces a legit jobber and not a true stiff, but beats him nonetheless. After the match IRS came up the aisle with a myriad of druids. Interesting. Taker wins, and it’s farewell 1994. Grade: ½ *

JT: We are back as the Undertaker marches to the ring for our final match of the night. We rarely see the Deadman on Monday nights these days, but he is here to close out the year against the never aging Brooklyn Brawler. Vince talks about Undertaker’s issues with IRS and mentions some other athletes and stars that are having issues with their taxes as well. Of course, Taker will be squaring off with IRS at the Rumble in four weeks time. Michaels says Paul Bearer has Christmas cookies in his urn as things get under way. As Undertaker works over the Brawler, Michaels has this week’s USA Movie plug, The Outlaw Josey Wales, tomorrow night at 9PM. Vince and Michaels banter a bit and we find out that Jeff Jarrett is planning to sing on Raw next week. We also learn that Taker will be on the Heartbreak Hotel this weekend. Undertaker plants the Brawler with the Tombstone and officially puts 1994 to rest for Monday Night Raw. Grade: DUD

*** IRS and the druids come into the aisle and stare down Undertaker as the show comes to an end. ***

Final Analysis

Scott: I should give the show an A just because we get a rare Undertaker match. It’s funny how rare it was to see the Deadman on shows, even the syndies. 1994 was a different year for Raw than in 1993. Remember that first year we had some Hulk Hogan, lots of Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Mr. Perfect and a great heel Yokozuna. For the first time in a long while, there’s an unproven commodity as World Champion. Sure Undertaker was unproven but he was nothing more than transition. Diesel is certainly not transition. 1995 is a huge year for the WWF in terms of the roster, television, everything. Randy Savage leaving creates a huge goodwill gap with the fans that may be difficult to close. Bret Hart is an important superstar because he’s a comfort to fans getting used to the new guard. Shawn Michaels will perhaps soon be that guy also. Anyway let’s let 1995 begin! Final Grade: C

JT: Well, we close the year with another underwhelming episode of Raw. I mean, they are trying, there is some energy and direction here but the product overall is just leaving a lot to be desired. And a big part of that is the really soft undercard. Up top we have a pretty interesting title feud brewing between Diesel and Bret Hart in addition to Shawn Michaels and Bob Backlund lurking around the periphery. Razor Ramon finally has a challenger as well in Jeff Jarrett. Undertaker may have a feud with IRS, but he really isn’t much of a legit challenge to the Deadman and really this is more of a continuation of Taker’s issues with Ted DiBiase. Outside of that, we just have a bunch of random competitors that pop in and out of TV and don’t have much of a direction or seemingly potential either. One look at the lineup for the Royal Rumble match will illustrate that quite clearly. It doesn’t help that Lex Luger has been driven into no man’s land, eliminating a potential top star for all intents and purposes. 1994 started off with a couple of red hot feuds at the top of the card but it ends with perhaps the coldest period in quite a long time. Bring on 1995! Final Grade: C-