Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Monday Night Raw 1/9/95

*** 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 #94

January 9, 1995
The Summit
Houston, TX
Announcers: Vince McMahon & Shawn Michaels

*** We hear prerecorded comments from William Shatner about tonight’s special King’s Court. ***

1) Owen Hart defeats Razor Ramon via disqualification at 13:00; Ramon retains WWF Intercontinental Title

Fun Fact: Back in June 1994, Razor Ramon lost the finals of the King of the Ring tournament to Owen Hart. This time, Ramon has the Intercontinental Title and looks to avenge that loss and hold onto the gold.

Scott: Ah, I see what they’re doing here. This is the second anniversary of Raw, and at last year’s anniversary show the Quebecers lost the Tag Team Titles to the 1-2-3 Kid and Marty Jannetty. So the WWF is trying to play mind games with us by thinking on such a special night, in the Summit in Houston, perhaps Owen Hart finally grabs the brass ring that he’s wanted so badly. Razor is set to face Jeff Jarrett January 22 in Tampa, so that could throw a wrench in the mix as to Razor not losing this match, but indeed you never know. Razor dominates the action early with his alternate black tights and yellow razors on them. Razor works Owen over with some wear down holds, but Owen gains momentum and starts using some high flying tactics to take control, including a plancha onto the floor. Raw seems very fresh as 1995 begins, with the bigger arena making this feel bigger than the smaller venues we are used to. The crowd is hot as Owen and Razor start going back and forth, and at one point both men are down. They do an overhead shot of the ring, and man that canvas is dirty. They must be hurting for cash or something because the canvas is really gross. Razor had things in control until Owen went for an atomic drop and lost his balance, dropping Razor crotch first on the top rope. After a missile dropkick, Owen cranks up the Sharpshooter and we actually could have the title change, until Bret Hart comes out and causes the disqualification. This is totally nuts, and it gets crazier as Jeff Jarrett comes out and starts attacking Bret and we have chaos all over the place. Owen actually wins the match by disqualification but leaves the ring empty handed. I liked the match and Razor worked well with the high flying King of Harts. Grade: ***

JT: Welcome to this week’s edition of Monday Night Raw where we are FINALLY live again after a long slew of taped episodes. The show comes to us from the Summit in Houston, which has to be the biggest arena Raw has run to date here. Vince McMahon is back after his week off and joined by Shawn Michaels yet again, who seems to be settling in as our regular color announcer for the time being. This is also our two year anniversary special so we will be celebrating throughout the evening. Vince is even decked out in a nice gray suit and reminds us that this is the home of the NBA World Champion Rockets. Of course, a year ago we celebrated with a shocking tag title change and we again open up with a title match, so could lightning strike twice? Razor Ramon saunters out first, IC title strapped around his waist, and he is followed by the challenger Owen Hart. Michaels reminds us that this is a shot at revenge for Ramon as Owen defeated him back in the finals of the King of the Ring. Vince notes that the winner of this one will go on to face Jeff Jarrett for the title at Royal Rumble. As Owen enters, he grabs the title and holds it up so Razor decks him and then goes right to work as the bell sounds, capped by the champ clotheslining the challenger over the top rope. Owen lands a shot in on Razor from the floor and scoots up top but Razor catches him and slams him hard to the mat. Razor continues to overpower Hart as Shawn says the challenger has to get Razor off his feet to have a chance. Owen would reverse a whip to the corner but Razor dodged a charge and the Rocket clanged into the post shoulder first. Razor jumped on that and worked the shoulder as Shawn talks about how well he knows about Ramon’s toughness. Vince says both Bret Hart and Jeff Jarrett are standing by watching intently and those two are actually going to wrestle next week and William Shatner will be in the Hitman’s corner. Razor continues to dominate the action, controlling the arm and wearing out that shoulder. Vince tells us that tonight will be the first time we see Bret Hart live since Survivor Series. Owen slaps Razor but the champ sends him flying with a fallaway slam and then loads up the Razor’s Edge but Owen is able to back drop him to the floor. Owen gets a head of steam and crashes into Razor with a suicide dive and then pitches the champ back inside. Owen climbed to the top and landed a cross body but Razor rolled through for two. After a break, Owen was still working Razor over, focusing on the lower back and then dropping him with an enziguri for two. Owen grabbed a chinlock and then landed a dropkick for another near fall. He continued to punish the back, wearing the champ out and forcing him to kick out of pin cover after pin cover before grabbing a sleeper hold. The crowd rallied Razor as he broke the hold and started to unload some right hands and then dropped Owen with a big chokeslam. Owen avoided a top top back drop and was able to crotch Razor across the top rope before coming off the top with a missile dropkick. Owen pounced up and twisted the champ into the Sharpshooter but just as he turned it over, Bret Hart charged out and punched him in the face to draw the DQ. Bret worked Owen over as Jeff Jarrett and the Roadie showed up and beat on Razor. Things devolved into a big brawl between all five men before things were finally broken up. This was a fun little match and Owen really looked locked in and crisp with Ramon hanging right there with him. There wasn’t too much intrigue due to Ramon’s Rumble match with Jarrett already being set but it was good enough that it didn’t matter much. I liked the finish too as it makes total sense that Bret would screw Owen out of a title at the first chance he had. A strong way to open up our big anniversary show. Grade: **1/2

*** Todd Pettengill is in the house with this week’s Royal Rumble report, which is less than three weeks away at this point and of course will be hosted by Pamela Anderson. The following matches are discussed:

Royal Rumble Match
Razor Ramon vs. Jeff Jarrett – Intercontinental Title
Undertaker vs. IRS
Diesel vs. Bret Hart – WWF Title

Todd reminds us that the Rumble match intervals are just 60 seconds this year so this will be the fastest paced Rumble of all time. And as usual, the winner will earn a WWF Title match at WrestleMania where they will be escorted to the ring by Pamela Anderson. Call your cable company and get that order in today! ***

*** Jerry Lawler shares some thoughts on William Shatner’s upcoming King’s Court appearance. ***

2) Hakushi defeats Matt Hardy with a slingshot splash at 1:06

Fun Fact: Kensuke Shinzaki trained under Gran Hamada in the Mexican style of lucha libre and debuted in 1992 in Universal Lucha Libre as Mongolian Yuga. In 1993, he became one of the founders of Michinoku Pro Wrestling along with The Great Sasuke. In June of that year, he unmasked and changed his character to a Buddhist pilgrim named Jinsei Shinzaki, the name he is most widely known as today. In mid-1994, he joined with the WWF as they toured Japan. This led to him signing with the WWF later in the year and taking on the character name Hakushi, which means “White Master”.

Scott: After some Superstars squashes, we finally get the Raw debut of this new superstar from the Orient. The match is a one sided destruction of this young whippersnapper. They are keeping him mysterious with the quick matches. Grade: DUD

JT: We head right back to the ring for the Raw debut of the mysterious Hakushi, who is led to the ring by Shinja. Hakushi has been working the weekend shows since his arrival but now he steps into prime time. As Hakushi disrobes, Michaels says he has heard he is the greatest wrestler in Japan. He also says the Japanese writing on his body is actually a menu for his restaurant, mixing Asian cultures with some very casual racism. Hakushi jumps Matt Hardy at the bell and makes very quick work of him, polishing him off with a slingshot splash. Impressive debut for Hakushi but he has a long way to go. Grade: DUD

*** Jerry Lawler heads to the ring for this week’s King’s Court where he rips on Bret Hart before bringing out his very special guest, Hollywood star, and a featured cast member of the new USA series TekWar, William Shatner. Lawler runs through Shatner’s resume and plugs TekWar before asking him to proclaim that this appearance tonight is the greatest moment of his career. Shatner gives him the thumbs down and says this is not impressive and that chewing gum was more thrilling than this. He asks Lawler why he has been taunting him all week and Lawler says he may be a Hollywood big shot but this is his show and he better show some respect. Shatner says this is the Home of the Whopper and warns Lawler not to touch or hit him or he will be in trouble. Lawler pokes his arm and Shatner swats his arm away and calls the fans idiots. Shatner says the fans aren’t idiots and that they are great fans, and that they are the people that watch TekWar. Shatner gets physical, grabbing Lawler’s arm and shoving him into the ropes. The King then charges Shatner, who drops down and sends Lawler to the floor with a monkey flip. Bret Hart then comes out and celebrates with Shatner as Jeff Jarrett and Roadie come out to convalesce with Lawler and talk smack to the Hitman. ***

3) King Kong Bundy defeats Gary Sabough with the Avalanche at 0:23

Scott: I find it coincidental that every time Gary Sabaugh wrestles on Raw, one of these Hardy kids wrestles too. Interesting. Well just like Hardy’s match, the former Italian Stallion fared no better, losing to Bundy in about twenty seconds. Grade: DUD

JT: As things settle down we head down to the ring where King Kong Bundy and Ted DiBiase have arrived for a tussle with Gary Sabough. Vince calls Bundy a Rumble favorite but Shawn disagrees and says he is the true favorite in the match. Bundy destroys Sabaugh and beats him with the Avalanche in just 23 seconds. He then rolls outside the ring and jaws with Michaels about the Rumble. Grade: DUD

*** Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels run us through an update on the Tag Team Title tournament. They reveal that the Smoking Gunns had to bow out after one of them suffered an injury in a rodeo tournament, so Bob Holly and 1-2-3 Kid replaced them. Kid and Holly would defeat Well Dunn and advanced to the second round, where they will battle the Heavenly Bodies. On the other half of the bracket, the Headshrinkers will battle Bam Bam Bigelow & Tatanka. Those matches will take place on Superstars and the finals will be at the Royal Rumble. ***

*** Backstage, the Bushwhackers are firing up Howard Finkel while Well Dunn are warming up with Harvey Wippleman. ***

*** We check out a vignette promoting the impending debut of the Supreme Fighting Machine Kama. ***

4) Howard Finkel defeats Harvey Wippleman in a Tuxedo Match at 2:39

Fun Fact: This is the culmination of two years worth of tension between Howard Finkel and Harvey Wippleman. These two actually competed in tuxedo matches on four occasions in 1994 in house shows leading up to this match tonight.

Scott: This has been building up on the syndies & Raw for weeks and now it’s happening. Two skinny pale guys rolling around and ripping clothes off. Shawn is destroying these two while they roll around the ring. Finkel has RAW underwear on, or are they really tights? I have no idea. Actually, they both have Raw tights on. This is hilarious and uncomfortable at the same time. Fink wins. Grade: DUD

JT: It is main event time as this red hot feud is about to finally explode in the ring. After months of bullying by Harvey Wippleman, Howard Finkel has finally snapped and is ready to take out his aggressor. Well Dunn and the Bushwhackers are at ringside as well, supporting their respective buddies. Vince warns anyone with a weak stomach to avert their eyes from what is to come. Harvey attacks Fink as he gets in the ring and the two rolled around on the mat whole stripping each other down. Fink is so awkward. Shawn makes fun of everything going on until Fink finally puts this to bed by completely stripping Harvey. We also get a peak at Fink’s special Monday Night Raw underwear. The highlight of all this was Michaels saying Fink’s cummerbund was working overtime. Hopefully, this is it for the Bushwhackers after they were resuscitated to be part of this nonsense. What a time to be alive. Grade: DUD

*** Jeff Jarrett and Roadie come to ringside and call out Bret Hart and William Shatner to hype the match for next week. ***

Final Analysis

Scott: This Raw started off great with a fun IC Title match, one at attempted to suck in the audience in like they did a year ago. However, since the Razor/Jarrett match was already set for the Royal Rumble the hand was shown. Now the episode slowly went downhill after that, including that putrid tuxedo match to end the insipid Harvey/Fink feud. I’m starting to warm up to King Kong Bundy back in the WWF as muscle for DiBiase and nothing more. That’s what the veteran guys are needed for, just like IRS and even Bob Backlund who probably still has a little main event cache left. It was also nice to be in a legit arena away from the comfortable haunts of the northeast. The Summit is a hot place right now with the defending NBA Champion Rockets going for back to back titles. The show was down the middle, however, and I was hoping to grade it higher. Final Grade: C

JT: Well, we started off pretty well but the lack of depth in the WWF is really starting to show. The top of the card is still pretty full but the mid-card is glaringly lacking at this point. I know the Fink and Wippleman stuff has been building for a while and may seem funny but for a big anniversary show like this, they would have been better served to really load up the show and maybe just done Bret Hart vs. Jeff Jarrett here too. The squashes barely registered as matches they were so short and otherwise we just had a pretty bland King’s Court. I expected a bit more from Shatner as he just ended up stumbling through a few lines and then poorly monkey flipping Lawler from the ring. Shawn Michaels continues to be the main highlight of these shows and I fear to think how boring they would be without him. The opener was good and ate up a chunk of time and it was nice to be in a large arena but besides that, this was a pretty soft anniversary episode. Final Grade: C