Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Monday Night Raw 2/20/95

*** 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 #99

February 20, 1995
Macon Coliseum
Macon, GA
Announcers: Vince McMahon & Jim Cornette

Fun Fact I: GRRRRRR… it is that time of year again when Monday Night Raw has been preempted (2/13/95) due to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. It has been a RUFF week without wrestling.

Fun Fact II: After a three year absence, Sid Eudy returns to the WWF under a new ring name, Sycho Sid. Sid spent from May through October 1993 in WCW before being fired due to an altercation with Arn Anderson in a hotel room during a tour of Europe. During the brawl, both men were stabbed with scissors, Sid four times and Arn 20 times. Sid was released from his WCW contract. Sid moved on to the USWA and feuded over the promotion’s Unified World Heavyweight title, winning it once over Jerry Lawler. 

*** We open with comments from Jeff Jarrett and Diesel about their WWF Title bout tonight. ***

1) Bam Bam Bigelow defeats Gary Sabough with the flying headbutt at 3:54

Scott: Fresh off the end of his 30-day suspension for shoving Lawrence Taylor, The Beast from the East takes on the former Italian Stallion. Jim Cornette joins Vince McMahon at the table after Shawn Michaels “retired” from commentary two weeks ago. Cornette knows Gary Sabaugh very well going back to their days in Jim Crockett Promotions. Lawrence Taylor’s attorneys are telling the WWF not to antagonize Bam Bam Bigelow into challenging him to a match. Poor Bigelow should have squashed this bum and instead Sabaugh got offense in which weakens Bigelow’s aura as a beast. Sure he won the match, but he’s not being treated like the heel monster as he should be. After the match, Bigelow challenged LT to a match again. Grade: 1/2*

JT: After a week off for the yearly dog show, we are finally back live on Raw, coming at you from Macon, GA with Vince McMahon and Jim Cornette in the booth. Of course, Shawn Michaels had been in that role since the end of 1994 but as we found out last episode, he decided he was too much of a target to be sitting ringside and also needed a new bodyguard to help protect him. We will find out whom that protection will be later tonight. First, we open up with Bam Bam Bigelow’s first Raw bout in over a month as he has just finished up his 30 day suspension, a punishment for shoving Lawrence Taylor at the Royal Rumble. Vince is all fired up here with a big show on tap and he informs us that Macon is the home to Otis Redding, Little Richard and the Allman Brothers Band, so there you go. Bigelow has DiBiase with him as always and Vince reminds us of what went down in Tampa and then leads us into quick clips from LT’s representation, who have been asking Bigelow to stop challenging Taylor to a match, as well as the Bammer himself. Sabaugh actually gets a decent amount of offense in here, which I guess works a bit as Bigelow is rusty from the suspension and distracted by everything going on with LT. Cornette says Sabbath is the World’s Spaghetti Eating Champion. I believe it. Bigelow makes a comeback and pummels Sabaugh as Cornette defends his actions and blames LT for what went down. Bigelow eventually finishes Sabaugh off with the headbutt and then again calls out Taylor for a match. Grade: DUD

2) Adam Bomb defeats Rip Rogers with a clothesline off the top at 3:25

Scott: The leader of the “Bomb Squad” makes an appearance against some crazy guy with a Freebird robe on. Bomb was the perfect guy to really push up the ladder with his power moves and charisma from the crowd. Vince and Corny talk about who Shawn Michaels’ new bodyguard will be, which will be announced later in the show. Great line by Corny, who (since today is Presidents Day) asks “Why would they name a holiday after Jack Tunney?” I actually chuckled out loud at that. His finisher isn’t stellar (clothesline off the top rope), it needs to be something more powerful looking. He does win the match. Grade: DUD

JT: After a break we head right back to the ring where Adam Bomb stalks to the ring to battle the legendary Rip Rogers. They are busting out all the southern wrestling mainstays this week. Cornette and Vince speculate who Shawn Michaels’ bodyguard may be as Bomb rips through Rogers with ease. Vince says “Bomb is really coming into his own as of late” but he feels just as aimless as ever. He seems to have so much potential, exhibited by a plancha here, but just never really does anything. The dude hasn’t had a feud in the 18 months he has been around, give him something to do! Cornette talks NASCAR and makes a joke about President’s Day as Bomb eventually nabs the win with a clothesline off the top. Rip’s face and scream as Bomb came off the top was pretty great. Another squash win for Bomb, a guy going nowhere in a hurry. Grade: DUD

*** We head back to Superstars where Bret Hart was granted the “Award of the People” by WWF Magazine, highlighting him as the top dog of the New Generation as voted on by the fans. ***

*** Jerry Lawler heads to the ring for this week’s King’s Court. After a break, he rips on Bret Hart’s award and says it was clear no Japanese wrestlers were included as candace  He says the Hitman is a racist and owes Japanese people an apology for the slanted voting process. Before he continue, “Sexy Boy” fires up and out struts Shawn Michaels for the big announcement of who will be the Heartbreak Kid’s new bodyguard. Michaels says he will blow the lid off the WWF yet again and ever since he won the Royal Rumble he has been a marked man. As he makes his way to WrestleMania, things are only going to get tougher for him. Shawn then cuts to the chase and brings out his new running buddy… the big, the bad, the vicious… Sid! Cornette immediately puts over Sid as a psychotic lunatic as he power walks to the ring and high fives Michaels. Michaels gloats and then Sid says Shawn can trust him as he won’t turn his back when times get tough like Diesel did. Sid says he has no remorse for any soul and will be by Shawn’s side at all times, whether good or bad. But he promises there will be no bad times and together they will rule the world. ***

3) Jacob & Eli Blu defeat Leroy Howard & Mark Starr when Eli pins Starr with a leg drop at 4:20

Fun Fact: Donald and Ronald Harris are twin brothers who trained to be pro wrestlers in the mid-80s by Rocky Montana. They debuted in the CWA in late 1987 as The Bruise Brothers. They became a formidable tag team, winning the CWA Tag Team Championships two times and the USWA Tag Team Championships five times during their career. They moved on to the Pacific Northwest NWA territory in 1991 and continued their tag excellence, winning the tag titles there six times. The team moved to Smoky Mountain Wrestling in 1993 where they were managed by Jim Cornette. They won the SMW Tag Team Championships that year over the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express. They moved on to ECW in 1994 where they participated in some of the first hardcore matches for the promotion. They were signed by the WWF in early 1995 and were renamed The Blu Brothers. They debuted at the Royal Rumble and tonight we get our first look at the tag team on Monday Night Raw.

Scott: So it’s already been a great Raw, because returning to the World Wrestling Federation is… THE MAN WHO RULES THE WORLD! Sid is back to be Shawn Michaels’ bodyguard. That my friend, is a superb choice. Now, another of my favorites, Dirty Dutch Mantell makes his Raw debut as the manager of the Blu Brothers, another new tag team in the mix. Jacob and Eli chuck around these bums while Todd Pettengill announces that Lawrence Taylor will be on Raw next week to answer Bigelow’s challenges. Corny and Vince talk about the Smoky Mountains and the Appalachians and which mountain range is more high brow. I like these big hillbillies, mostly because Dutch, who’s going by Uncle Zebekiah, is in the WWF. Grade: DUD

JT: As we deal with the fallout of Shawn Michaels bringing Sid back to the WWF, we head to the ring for the Raw debut of the Blu Twins. We saw these two mountain men in the Rumble and on the weekend shows since but they haven’t popped up on Monday night until now. As the Blus put the boots to Leroy, Vince talks about Lex Luger hobnobbing with star athletes over Super Bowl weekend. Cornette says the Smoking Gunns and Headshrinkers need to be keeping eyes on these bruisers. He and Vince then debate how to tell the identical twins apart. As the Blus dominate, Todd Pettengil pops in with some hot news, informing us that they are working on getting Lawrence Taylor on the phone and that LT himself will be here next week on Raw to respond to Bigelow’s challenge. Big thing popping. We get some discussion on the differences between living in the Smoky Mountains and the Appalachian Mountains as this ebbs along. The Blus eventually grab the win when Eli finishes Starr off with a leg drop. After the match they look bewildered at the camera and Vince references ZZ Top. Fun little squash there but will the Blus have any direction or be another aimless act in a sea of them? Grade: DUD

*** We check out footage of Diesel taking part in the NBA All Star Weekend festivities this past weekend. He was seen hanging out with Salt-N-Pepa, Jenna von Oy, Tatiana Ali, David Justice, Cal Ripkin, Danny Manning and David Robinson among others. 1995!***

4) Diesel defeats Jeff Jarrett to retain WWF Title with the Jackknife at 10:30

Fun Fact: On the 1/23 episode of RAW, Jarrett and the Roadie were guests on The King’s Court. During that segment, Jarrett challenged Diesel to a WWF Championship match.

Scott: This match is not Title vs. Title as Jarrett’s Intercontinental strap is not on the line here. With all babyfaces or heels holding both singles titles at the same time of late, we haven’t had a cool Raw title match with all this gold flashing in the ring. Diesel’s babyface entrance theme makes its Raw debut here with the cool Southern sounding music playing as he comes down the aisle to make his second TV title defense after the schmozz with Bret Hart at the Royal Rumble. I like how Cornette said that no one has used the figure four as well as Jarrett since Nature Boy Buddy Rogers. Ha, that’s funny. We can’t forget the Roadie skulking around ringside as Diesel takes control early with the big boots to the face and the power moves. Jarrett counters with shoulder blocks to the gut, but he can’t work past Diesel’s strength right now. After the commercial, Jarrett finally settles things down with some strikes, and a clothesline by the Roadie to the outside. Jarrett continues to take control with strikes and getting some close two counts. Jarrett really showed himself to be a pretty exceptional wrestler and is showing a solid heel repertoire, until Diesel makes a big comeback with a sidewalk slam, then finishes him off with a Jackknife. I’m ok with Jarrett losing clean, because Diesel looking strong is more important. The Roadie tries to attack him but Diesel knocks him cold, then Jackknifes him. As Diesel is celebrating, down the aisle comes Shawn Michaels with his bodyguard, as Vince calls him “Psycho Sid” to look the WWF Champion down. This was a fun TV match back and forth. Grade: **1/2

JT: After checking out Diesel rubbing elbows with the 1995 glitterati, we head back to the ring for our main event and it is a big one, a true clash of champions. Our Intercontinental Champion Jeff Jarrett struts out first, accompanied by the ever present Roadie, and looking primed to own some double gold. Cornette calls him the number one star in country music and implores him to win the gold for the local legends that we went over earlier. Diesel cooly sauntered out to his relatively new theme music next and got a pretty hearty welcoming from the Macon faithful as Vince gushed as always. Cornette sets up the strategy, talking about how Jarrett really needs to focus on the legs, break Diesel down and set up his finisher. Jarrett tries to attack off the bell but Diesel catches him coming in and then mows through him with some hard offense before dumping him to the floor. Jarrett came back in but Diesel was all over him with elbows and boots. Cornette is really bringing the heat here with strategy analysis for both men, specifically Double J. Jarrett briefly turned the tide and worked the midsection but the champ came back with a beal across the ring. Jarrett dodged a snake eyes and hammered away in the corner,r but Diesel dodged a clothesline, smacked the Roadie and then sent Double J flying over the top rope to a big pop. Diesel yanked Jarrett back in as Cornette says he has a $50 bet with his secretary on this match. Roadie tried to help Jarrett but he gets yanked into the ring until Earl Hebner kicks him away. Diesel works the arm as we take a break and when we return, Roadie was able to finally make a dent, tripping up Diesel and allowing Jarrett to knock the champ to the floor. As Double J tied up Hebner again, Roadie leveling Diesel with a clothesline off the apron. Jarrett slid outside and posted Diesel and then back inside he hit a clothesline off the middle rope for a new fall. He got another two count off a dropkick and then hit a swinging neckbreaker before choking away. Jarrett kept bringing the heat, eventually getting a close near fall with a high cross body. Diesel shook that off and hit a big sidewalk slam and then clubbed away as the crowd roared. The champ scooped up Jarrett and hit the snake eyes before burying him with a big boot. A moment later, Diesel dropped Jarrett with the Jackknife and grabbed the well earned victory. After the bout, Diesel also dropped Roadie with a Jackknife too. I really dug this match. The cut a nice pace and kept chugging along and the crowd was really into Diesel. Jarrett looked quite good too, bumping and selling well but also breaking out some good offense. I liked how Diesel won it clean too, no nonsense, just a hard fought victory. His title reign continues to motor along as he sets his eyes on WrestleMania. Grade: **1/2

*** Shawn Michaels and Psycho Sid march down to ringside and stare down Diesel from the aisle. After a break, Vince McMahon and Jim Cornette wrap things up before Michaels and Sid come over for a chat. Cornette says Sid is nuts and Michaels agrees and says that is why he is at the side of the Heartbreak Kid. He issues a warning to Diesel before walking off. It is then revealed that next week on episode #100 of Raw, Tatanka and Lex Luger will battle one last time as they look to finally end this issue. ***

Final Analysis

Scott: After back to back awful taped episodes in Florida, we get a pretty good live show from a different place and a different style of fan. Macon is firmly in WCW country and to have a World Title match on this show was a great idea. We also have the Raw debut for a new tag team with one of my favorite territory guys, Dutch Mantell. I never saw the Blu Brothers before but another power team doesn’t hurt to try and bolster that tag team division. With Bigelow back from suspension they amp up the Lawrence Taylor situation, with the heavy rumor that LT will actually wrestle at WrestleMania. With the dearth of talent on the roster, I’m not surprised Vince is trying to get some star power here. The Macon crowd is pretty hot and the World Title match is Jarrett’s second great Raw match of the year. It finally shows that Jarrett is more than promos and bad ring outfits. Seeing Sid return to the WWF is the crowning moment of the show, as he’s one of may favorite talentless power guys. he and Shawn seems like an odd combination but I suppose it works. This live Raw is much better than the last two weeks of taped crap. Final Grade: B+

JT: It is good to be back live for sure as the crowd was hot and the energy in the building made this show really pop well after weeks of stale blah. That has been a trend of late for sure. This show as a whole was pretty good and was jam packed with important developments, including the return of Sid, the announcement that Lawrence Taylor will be in the house next week and of course another successful title defense for Diesel. I thought Jim Cornette was strong on color commentary as well. doing a great job of telling the stories and discussing ring strategy as well. This may be the best Raw of the year so far and things are falling into place for WrestleMania but we will see if the momentum remains. Next week is amazingly episode #100 so some good stuff should be on tap there as well. Until then! Final Grade: B