Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Monday Night Raw 1/30/95

*** 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 #97

January 30, 1995 (Taped January 23, 1995)
Manatee Civic Center
Palmetto, FL
Announcers: Vince McMahon & Shawn Michaels

1) King Kong Bundy defeats Mabel in an Over the Top Rope Challenge at 3:14

Fun Fact: While King Kong Bundy was considered to be a favorite to win the Royal Rumble, he was eliminated three minutes in by Mabel. This leads to our challenge match here.

Scott: Why are Vince McMahon & Shawn Michaels on a green screen this week when they were live in the arena as we saw a week ago? You can tell they’re not there because Mabel’s entrance has all those flashing lights, and none of them are hitting either Vince or Shawn. It makes no sense. This is all up Vince’s alley, with two huge hosses battling. Of course after a few minutes the entire Corporation (except Bigelow) comes in and helps throw Mabel out. Yet Mo and Lex Luger come out AFTER Mabel is thrown out. Great timing guys. You morons. Grade: DUD

JT: We are back in Palmetto, FL this week for another episode of Monday Night Raw. Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels have the call, as has become the standard, and we have a pretty well hyped up show on tap. We open things up with a big battle of the bulge playing off what went down in the Royal Rumble between the two. Mabel heads out first, rapped to the ring by Oscar and ready to tussle with King Kong Bundy in this special Over the Top Rope Challenge. Vince and Shawn talk more about the Rumble and Michaels’ big win as well as the Encore tomorrow night as we get underway. Michaels even compares himself to Andre Agassi due to their unconventional style. The two beasts lock up and fight against the ropes before trading blows. Michaels says the key is to wear a guy down before trying to eliminate him while Vince puts over his Rumble effort some more. Bundy controls with strikes and tries to leverage Mabel out but he can’t finish the job. The crowd tries to rally Mabel but Bundy crushes him in the corner with an Avalanche before again trying to shove his nemesis out. Mabel would punch his way back into it and take Bundy down with a spin kick to the back. Bundy dodged a leg drop as Michaels says neither one would have lasted against him. Bundy again shoves Mabel against the ropes and then suddenly IRS and Tatanka show up and help eliminate Mabel to give Bundy the win. How weird, why bother? Lex Luger and Mo eventually show up and clear the ring but too little, too late. Michaels talks about how anything goes in Rumble matches but this made no sense. This was a good concept on paper but sucked in execution as they just ambled around until the shit finish. Luger continues to be mired in garbage. Grade: DUD

*** Bam Bam Bigelow joins us via satellite to issue his official apology to Lawrence Taylor regarding his actions at the Royal Rumble. Vince McMahon prods Bigelow about his Tag Title loss in Tampa and then talks about Bigelow being woozy and left alone after the match, leaving him embarrassed and confused. Bigelow says LT was having a good time at his expense and disrespected him by not showing admiration and laughing in his face. Vince continues to grill Bigelow about his actions and Bigelow says an apology doesn’t feel right and he should have shoved him harder. Vince reminds him that he was suspended for 30 days but Bigelow says he doesn’t care and issues an official challenge to LT to a fight. ***

2) Hakushi defeats Ricky Santana with a moonsault at 4:02

Scott: Vince is being such a dick in this Bigelow situation. He’s calling Lawrence Taylor a compassionate man that wouldn’t make fun of anybody. During the Bigelow interview he really laid into Bigelow about being embarrassed and had no friends. In fact Vince came off as the heel and Bigelow was being compassionate and honest. Lawrence Taylor was a DRUG ADDICT at the time, so I had no sympathy for him at all. Meanwhile, Hakushi takes this scrub out easily but the commentary was all about LT and Bigelow. Grade: DUD

JT: We head back to the ring where Hakushi is squaring off with Ricky Santana but the focus of McMahon and Michaels is all about Bam Bam Bigelow and Lawrence Taylor. Michaels is of course taking Bigelow’s side but Vince says LT was just being compassionate and would never put anyone down. Michaels feels LT disrespected the sport and Bigelow. We get some Super Bowl talk too but most of the conversation is focused on both Vince and Shawn putting over Michaels. Hakushi works over Santana and eventually gets the win after a nice moonsault. Not much to see here at all, Hakushi does his thing but all we are being told to care about is Shawn Michaels right now. Grade: DUD

*** Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels plug the Royal Rumble Encore Plus, which airs tomorrow night at 8PM! It will be guest hosted by Roddy Piper and feature a special interview with Michaels. ***

3) Aldo Montoya defeats David Sierra with   at 1:59

Scott: We just had a full recap of the Rumble while promoting the Encore Plus tomorrow night. I like Shawn and sometimes he’s great on commentary but these canned shows he kind of half-asses it, and honestly Vince doesn’t really pay attention to the matches either and is too busy shilling stuff. This entire show has been pretty flat so far. Grade: DUD

JT: It is time for our next bout as Aldo Montoya jogs out to take on David Sierra. Sierra has quite the interesting tights on. He looks like a guy playing an evil wrestler in a movie. Shawn makes fun of Aldo’s headgear, making his usual athletic supporter jokes and says Kathie Lee is going to include it in her clothing line. Vince notes that Owen Hart will challenge Diesel this Sunday on Action Zone. Nice to actually mention the Champion, something that hasn’t been done much the past two weeks. More jokes and random nonsense abounds as Aldo finishes off Sierra and rolls on. Next… Grade: DUD

*** We head to the locker room of the Super Bowl Champion San Francisco 49ers where Ken Norton, Jr. says he is going to WrestleMania instead of Disney World. ***

*** We then head back to the ring where Jerry Lawler is headed out for this week’s King’s Court. Lawler welcomes out his guest, Mr. Bob Backlund, who marches out to boos. Lawler says that Backlund has decreed that he will no longer release the Cross Face Chicken Wing on his opponents until they scream “I Quit”. Backlund is very reserved and softly says he won’t release until the opponent says “I Quit, Mr. Backlund”. He says nobody is exempt from that policy and Lawler keeps hyping the decree, but says it doesn’t apply to him. Backlund disagrees and again says “anyone”, calls Lawler ignorant and then locks the King in the hold. Lawler quickly says he quits so Backlund releases and marches off as King regroups and tries to cover for his cowardice. ***

4) Smoking Gunns defeat Bob Holly & 1-2-3 Kid to retain WWF Tag Team Titles via a referee stoppage at 8:37

Fun Fact: This is a rematch from last week’s Raw championship match.

Scott: The rematch from last week’s title switch, where the Smoking Gunns got their long awaited tag team championship, dating back to their vignettes back in 1993. With it being two babyfaces, the heat segments can vary from pair to pair, which makes for a more interesting match. However as both teams were going back and forth, The Kid goes for a top rope move but misses and lands hard on his shoulder. He looks like a mess and the match just ends. I’m not sure whether to believe that it’s a real injury or not. It prematurely cuts short what could have been a great match. Grade: 1/2*

JT: Time for our marquee match of the evening as the Tag Team Titles are on the line for the second week in a row. A week ago, the Smoking Gunns defeated 1-2-3 Kid and Bob Holly to end their 24 hour reign and capture the titles for the first time. After the bout, Kid and Holly respectfully requested a rematch and it was granted. Shawn says that the only reason these teams have titles to fight over is because he threw them in the trash. Vince also reminds us that Shawn is shopping for a new bodyguard. Billy Gunn and Kid open things up with Kid taking control early, grabbing a near fall on a big jump kick to the face. Kid worked a side headlock but Billy escape and made the tag. Kid met Bart with a kick and tagged in Holly, who joined Kid in leveling Holly with a double dropkick. The challengers tagged in and out and worked over Bart until Bart caught Kid with his head down and spiked him back to the mat. Billy tagged in and hammered away before tagging to Bart, who grabbed a near fall. After a break, Kid was able to escape and tag in Holly, who worked over Bart and grabbed a couple of near falls. Kid came back in and kicked away and then tagged back out, keeping Bart in trouble and off balance. Holly would grab another near fall but Bart caught him with a shot to the gut. Bart ate a boot on a charge, followed by Holly hitting an atomic drop. It wasn’t enough though as Bart was able to tag out, leading to an aggressive Billy really working Holly over hard in the corner. Bart came back in and slammed Holly for two and then went to a chinlock to slow things down. Holly fought free but both men collided with a double cross body block. Holly was able to tag Kid, who came in and cleaned house on both Gunns, peppering them with kicks and dropkicks. He would head up top but came up empty on a somersault senton, landing hard in a nasty bump. Billy came in but instead of going for the cover, he stopped cold as Kid twitched and convulsed in the ring. The referee and Holly called for the bell, ending the match by stoppage. Officials and medics headed out and checked on Kid, eventually clearing him from the ring during a break. That was another weird finish here tonight but I guess it could be used to give Kid a break. The match was disappointing and not as good as last week. It was starting to pick up a bit at the end before the weird finish, but nothing really stood out. The Gunns retain and now can officially move on and get their reign started. Grade: *1/2

5) Kama defeats Jumbo Baretta via submission with an STF at 3:41

Fun Fact: Tonight, we get the Raw debut of Charles Wright’s third character in the WWF, Kama. His previous characters in the Federation were Sir Charles and Papa Shango. Kama is a shoot fighting character billed as the “supreme fighting machine”.

Scott: Jumbo Barretta looks like a poor man’s Earthquake, so fat he has to wear two singlets. We’ve seen Kama’s vignettes for the past few weeks and here is his Monday Night debut. Kama should have just kept punching and striking the fat guy until he was knocked out instead of these terrible reverse chin locks on a jobber of this level. He wins with some bizarre chinlock finisher. Strange, and not impressive. Grade: DUD

JT: And we head back to the ring for our final match of the night, featuring the debuting Kama, who is battling the massive Jumbo Baretta. Vince and Shawn talk and joke about whatever they can as Kama punches and kicks away at the fat man. Vince says 1-2-3 Kid is 100% okay now but is going to get additional testing done just in case. He also notes that they have been unable to get Lawrence Taylor’s agent on the line but should have a response from LT or his management next week. Kama grinds away, really taking his time, before grabbing a tight rear chinlock, forcing Jumbo to quit. What a weird squash to cap off a weird night. Although watching Jumbo flop around in that chinlock may have been the highlight of the night. Grade: DUD

Final Analysis

Scott: This was a pretty flat episode as the canned feeling was really evident. Vince and Shawn were awful on commentary, with Shawn really not making an effort to do anything and Vince is shilling stuff and not really paying attention to anything going on in the ring. We do get a debut as after weeks of vignettes Kama works his first Raw match and it’s pretty bad. Wherever they got Jumbo Barretta from they should just send him back. He’s awful, even for a jobber. Kama should have just used strike after strike to put this guy away instead of the long boring chin locks. Hakushi is a hidden stud on this roster but he is clearly being underutilized as a worker in this landscape of clowns, garbage men and guys wearing bull heads. The WrestleMania build continues, but as of now only one match is definite. Let’s go from here. Final Grade: D

JT: What a bland, plodding episode of Raw this was. They hyped it up well last week but really didn’t deliver on it. The opener had a shit ending and it rolled on from there. I have really enjoyed Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels on commentary since late 1994 but this wasn’t a great week for them as they weren’t as focused as usual and pretty much only discussed two topics: Shawn Michaels and Lawrence Taylor’s issue with Bam Bam Bigelow. The focus on Michaels is overwhelming as it is clear he is being positioned as top level guy now. And speaking of top level guys, where the hell is Diesel? He was missing last week and this week and they barely even mentioned his name. Odd way to hype the new face of your company. Bret Hart is also absent, rendering these episodes a bit lacking in star power. The big Tag Title rematch was a disappointment as well, leaving nothing to carry the episode. Besides Bigelow showing some good fire in his interview, the highlights were Bob Backlund attacking Jerry Lawler and fat Jumbo getting bent in half by Kama.. Hopefully next week gets on back on track as we start to focus on WrestleMania. Final Grade: D+

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