Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Monday Night Raw 2/28/94

*** 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 #53

February 28, 1994 (Taped January 31, 1994)
Fernwood Resort
Bushkill, PA
Announcers: Vince McMahon & Harvey Wippleman

1) Randy Savage defeats Yokozuna by disqualification at 11:41; Yokozuna retains WWF Championship

Scott: This is really bizarre. Last week we were live in Poughkeepsie, pumping up this World Title match. Now we are back in Fernwood from the taping a month ago, HAVING THIS MATCH? What the hell? This is the oddest thing I’ve ever seen. And you know they’re in Fernwood with the HUGE sign that’s always there in the back of the crowd. In any event, going in I was thinking something pretty big could happen. Think about it. Sure Yoko was one of the greatest heels of all time and a great World Champion. But…think about a possible Bret Hart vs. Randy Savage main event for the World Title inside the Garden on the 10th anniversary of WrestleMania? I mean not just for workrate purposes but for just the historical feeling of it. Anyway, this match had that big time feel, even for a taped show. Yoko hasn’t wrestled on free TV in a while, but Savage has been back in the swing of things for the past few months. Mr. Fuji and Jim Cornette tried to cheat their way through the match, and at one point Fuji gave Yoko the salt bucket to crack on Savage’s head. Well Savage wrested it away and smacked the champion in the head. Both men were down and finally Savage draped himself over for a two count. Savage would then hit the elbow but during the count Crush came out to attack Savage and end the match on a disqualification. The heels attacked Savage until Bret Hart and Lex Luger came out to save the day. The match was a lot of fun and it builds up two of the biggest matches at WrestleMania. Grade: **

JT: Welcome back folks for another week of Monday Night Raw… but this episode, while featuring a huge WWF Heavyweight Title match, is quite, quite stale. It was filmed about a month ago, prior to last week’s live installment, which set this bout up. Hopefully they can get on a more consistent taping schedule soon because this all so choppy and makes some of the shows feel flat. We shall see if this big time bout gets the crowd rocking at least. Randy Savage has had an interesting six months, being lured back into full time action by Crush, he is now lined up for a big Championship bout with the stablemate of his arch nemesis. Yokozuna has survived onslaughts from Lex Luger and Undertaker during that stretch, but his biggest challenge lies ahead in just a few weeks. First, he has to survive the legendary Macho Man before he can look ahead to Madison Square Garden. Vince McMahon hyped up the bout and Savage big time right out of the gate, while his partner for the week, Harvey Wippleman, claimed it could be the end of Macho’s career. Yokozuna stoically marched to the ring alongside Mr. Fuji, sans Jim Cornette, of whose whereabouts DiBiase questions. Savage would attack the champ as soon as he got in the ring but after a flurry, Yoko cut him down with a back elbow. Savage came right back at him, dropping him with a running clothesline for a near fall. Yoko cracked Savage with a right hand and finally disrobed before going right to work with hard kicks. The crowd tried to rally Macho but Yoko kept leaning on him and smacking him away whenever the challenger attempted a comeback. Yoko slammed Savage down but came up empty on a splash, allowing Savage to drive him to the floor with a running knee to the back. Savage shoved the referee away and headed to the top rope and then flew into Yoko’s back with a sledge just as Cornette finally emerged. As Savage paced in the ring, we took a quick break and when we returned, Macho was out on the floor trying to hoist the massive champion back inside. Cornette would get involved, tying Savage up long enough for Yoko to catch his breath and then hammer him from behind. Yoko shoved Savage back inside where the two traded right hands before Macho scaled the top trope and cracked the champ with an axehandle. He followed that up with a high cross body for a really close near fall and then rolled him up for another close call. Yoko popped up and spiked Savage’s head to the mat and then viciously dropped a headbutt into his groin. The champ kept the pressure on, squashing Savage in the corner with a running avalanche splash but things fell apart right after when Savage dodged a big leg drop. Cornette leapt on the apron and tied up the referee so Yoko could try to use the salt bucket, but Macho blocked him and turned the table, popping the champ with the wooden container. Savage would eventually crawl over for a pin cover but Yoko survived. The challenger then climbed up top and hit the flying elbow but just as he covered, Crush hit the ring to draw the DQ and save Yoko’s strap. The crowd was not happy there. Crush and Yoko worked over Savage until Bret Hart charged out to make the save but he got worked over too until Lex Luger showed up and finally ended the assault. This was a pretty sold TV title match with some good intrigue and both guys cutting a strong pace. There were really no slow spots at all, no rest holds or stalling once it got underway. Yoko worked hard, bumping all around, and the finish was good with Savage looking strong before getting screwed. We also get some nice heat added to the big matches at Mania. Good opener and it looks like the WWF Heavyweight Title situation is now locked in stone for MSG. Grade: **

2) Bam Bam Bigelow defeats Mike Khoury with an enziguri at 2:35

Scott: Time for the show’s run of jobber squashes. Bigelow seems so wasted beating up stiffs and having to carry Doink and the midget around for months. Now they have to waste time at WrestleMania with a silly mixed tag match. This isn’t like Savage & Sherri vs. Rhodes & Sapphire in Toronto, because, first, we won’t have Jesse Ventura’s awesome commentary. Plus we have two future hall of famers in that match. Poor Bigelow has to carry an average wrestler and a stinking midget. Meanwhile he’s beating up a nobody here. Grade: DUD

JT: Up next, Bam Bam Bigelow marches to the ring as Vince reminds us that Hair Club for Men’s Sy Sperling will be in the house at Mania. Bigelow and his main squeeze Luna Vachon are on for a collision course with Doink and Dink at MSG, for better or for worse. Vince and Harvey discuss the rules of that one and Vince notes that there will be very strict officiating involved. Bigelow mauls Mike Khoury and puts him away with an enziguri. Grade: DUD

3) Earthquake defeats Black Phantom with the Earthquake Splash at 1:44

Scott: Our good friend John Tenta was slated to face Ludvig Borga March 20 at the Garden, but due to an injury he will now face Adam Bomb. We never see the Helsinki menace again. Bummer. Easy squash there. Grade: DUD

JT: The hoss parade continues as the recently returned Earthquake heads out to tussle with the Black Phantom. Vince breaks the tragic news that Ludvig Borga’s ankle injury will keep him out of WrestleMania, and thus Adam Bomb will take his spot against Quake at MSG. The reports on Borga would eventually fade away… sad! Harvey puts over his hard work in getting Bomb into the Mania slot and says a nuclear explosion will stop the natural disaster. Quake finishes the Phantom with the Earthquake Splash. Grade: DUD

*** Todd Pettengill is here with this week’s WrestleMania Report. He rambles about the Gong Show before running down details on the big Fan Festival and then discussing the following matches:

Lex Luger vs. Yokozuna – WWF Heavyweight Title
Bret Hart vs. Lex Luger OR Yokozuna – WWF Heavyweight Title
Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart
Randy Savage vs. Crush – Falls Count Anywhere
Razor Ramon vs. Shawn Michaels – WWF Intercontinental Title Ladder Match
Men on a Mission vs Quebecers – WWF Tag Team Titles
Alundra Blayza vs. TBD – WWF Women’s Title
Earthquake vs. Adam Bomb
Doink & Dink vs. Bam Bam Bigelow & Luna Vachon
Tatanka, Sparky Plugg, 1-2-3 Kid & Smoking Gunns vs. Jeff Jarrett, IRS, Rick Martel & Headshrinkers

Todd also discuss the following celebrities that will be in attendance at Madison Square Garden:

Jennie Garth
Bucky & Vinny
Sy Sperling
Donnie Wahlberg
Little Richard
Burt Reynolds

The card is loaded and the celebs will be the icing on the cake. The Garden is sold out, so call your local cable company right now! Just three weeks away! ***

4) Kwang defeats John Chrystal with a thrust kick at 1:32

Scott: The only highlight of this match is Sy Sperling on the phone talking about giving Howard Finkel a new hair style. Quick and painless. Grade: DUD

JT: The mysterious Kwang slowly walks to the ring for our next bout and as he climbs the ring stairs, he beckons Harvey Wippleman over to take his place at ringside as usual. As the match gets underway, Vince brings in Sy Sperling on the phone. They chat a bit and Sperling discusses his planned makeover for Howard Finkel, whom Vince hopes will look like a movie star afterwards. Kwang makes swift work of Chrystal, polishing him off with a big thrust kick. Kwang remains unimpressive. Grade: DUD

*** Stan Lane is backstage and tries to chat with Shawn Michaels in his locker room, but Diesel runs interference as Michaels is only wearing a towel. He puts his sunglasses and IC title on and then calls Lane over for a talk. Lane reminds Michaels about how Razor Ramon won the undisputed IC Title, but Michaels disagrees and claims the true belt is around his waist. Lane asks him to explain his actions at the Royal Rumble, but Shawn just reiterates that nobody has ever pinned or defeated him for the belt. At the Rumble, he just wanted Ramon to see what the IC Title looked like up close. Lane also grills him on costing Ramon and the 1-2-3 Kid the Tag Team Titles, and Michaels says he is the only and only IC Champ. Michaels says he is making the supreme sacrifice by putting his title on the line in a dangerous ladder match and that when everything is said and done, it will be Shawm Michaels climbing that ladder and taking what has rightfully always been his. He is tired of talking about Ramon and has Diesel chuck Lane out of the room. ***

5) Men on a Mission defeat Brooklyn Brawler & Steve Smyth when   pins   at 3:15

Scott: This was a well timed taping as all the workers on the show were recently announced to be added to WrestleMania. Harvey Wippleman actually wasn’t a bad color commentator with Vince, even if the matches are older than his commentary. This match is a good showcase since Men on a Mission have been granted a title match for March 20 in New York City. Grade: DUD

JT: And it is our final match of the evening as the number one contenders for the Tag Team Titles dance out to the ring, being led out by Oscar rapping as always. MOM hasn’t seem to have accomplished much since the debuted but regardless they are slated for a crack at the gold in MSG. Harvey wishes Robert Conrad a Happy Birthday as Mo beats on Smyth, who eventually tags in the Brooklyn Brawler. Things don’t improve from there, as Mo slugs him and tags in Mabel. The big man hammers away on both guys as the crowd cheered him on. After more offense from both Mabel and Mo, they finished things off with Mo riding Mabel onto Smyth with a double splash. Can the big man duo finally permanently end the Quebecers’ reign of terror? Time will tell. Grade: DUD

Final Analysis

Scott: I have to say, for a bizarre taping that took place about a month ago in another venue than what we had last week it was surprisingly fresh and timed well. Sure there were terrible squashes but the World Title match could have had some sort of historical significance to it and the potential to shake up the WrestleMania card. Regardless it was fun and not only jacked the crowd up but it also set up (retroactively at the time) multiple matches for WrestleMania. I’m probably grading this higher than it actually is, but for a month-old taped card it was more energetic and important. Final Grade: B-

JT: Another week is in the books and I must say, for a pretty stale episode, this was a smooth watch with lots going on. The big WWF Title match opened up and set the tone, with some non stop action and solid storyline progression for the top matches at WrestleMania. We then got a quick parade of squashes, which pretty much all featured competitors that would be at Mania, outside of Kwang of course. The Shawn Michaels interview was really well done too and tightly explained the whole story while showcasing Michaels as the arrogant douchebag that he is. Vince and Harvey were even keeled too and did a good job of putting over all of the angles heading into MSG. A good episode here, especially since on paper it looked like it could be a shaky one. Just two weeks left until WrestleMania! Final Grade: B-