Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Monday Night Raw 3/13/95

*** 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 #102

March 13, 1995
Memorial Civic Auditorium
Stockton, CA
Announcers: Vince McMahon & Jim Cornette

Fun Fact: On the day of this Raw taping, Brian “Crush” Adams was arrested when narcotics officers found anabolic steroids, marijuana, and unregistered semi-automatic weapons in his home. Adams was subsequently fired from the WWF as a result of this arrest.

1) The Headshrinkers and Jacob & Eli Blu wrestle to a double count out at 8:00

Fun Fact: The Headshrinkers are replacing Bob Holly and the 1-2-3 Kid in this match due to the Kid sustaining a concussion the night before in a match in Anaheim, CA against Hakushi.

Scott: The New Headshrinkers are replacing the 1-2-3 Kid and Bob Holly here, apparently because they were “stuck in traffic”. I don’t know if that’s an inside joke or what the deal is, but honestly I think this could be a better match. They keep talking about something like a “big storm outside” and they are stuck in it. I like how Vince has loosened up the whole tuxedo thing and is wearing more business casual clothing. Jim Cornette has become the “almost” permanent co-host with Vince and for the most part they’ve had good chemistry. I guess there’s major flooding in northern California at that time and it’s causing havoc. This match has been the usual big man team clunky match, including Uncle Zebekiah getting involved. Man, I love Dirty Dutch. His Memphis stuff was fantastic, including a great 1982 Barbed Wire match with Jerry Lawler. This auditorium in Stockton has a different feel to it, as the crowd seems further away and the background area is darker than in other places. A bizarre ending here and both teams started brawling outside and we get a double countout. I kind of didn’t get that, but whatever. The match was what it was for power tv wrestling. Grade: *

JT: Hey we are finally back live for this week’s edition of Monday Night Raw! Vince McMahon and Jim Cornette have the call for us as we emanate from the west coast for the first time in Raw history! We are also just weeks away from WrestleMania XI and hopefully more of the card will be in place by the time we wrap up tonight. Our opening bout here in Stockton is a battle of bruising tag teams that are looking to assert themselves as potential contenders for the Smoking Gunns. As the Headshrinkers head to the ring, Vince notes that they are replacing Bob Holly and 1-2-3 Kid who were delayed in traffic and couldn’t make it in time. He also mentions that Holly is gearing up for a big race soon, representing the WWF racing team. The Blus and Uncle Zeb head out as well as Cornette says this is the first time the Blus are meeting a team as crazy as they are. We get some discussion about Action Zone where Men on a Mission snapped and beat down the Smoking Gunns after a Tag Title match loss. Cornette makes note that neither Afa nor Lou Albano are in the house tonight but Zeb is and that could be a key factor in the match. Vince says they are stuck in traffic due to the storm as well. We open with Jacob and Fatu laying in some heavy blows on each other but Fatu eventually overpowers with a headbutt and some boots. Sionne tags in and we get some double team offense but Jacob eventually fights back and tags in Eli, who clubs away. The crowd is pretty into the Samoans here as Sionne comes back with a clothesline. Jacob buries a knee in Sionne’s back from the apron, allowing Eli to clothesline him over the top and and to the floor. Jacob laid in some boots on the floor and pitched Sionne back inside. The Blus whacked him with a stiff double boot and Eli continued to press with some heavy strikes and then a powerslam for two. Sionne started to make a comeback but during a break, he got leveled on the floor and knocked back into the clutches of  Jacob chinlock. Sionne fends off Jacob but the twins pull the old switcharoo when the referee was distracted. Fatu tried to get involved but that backfired as Cornette says the Headshrinkers are directionless without their leadership. Sionne eventually landed a powerslam and tagged in Fatu, who came in hot. He mowed through both twins and danced a bit along the way. Eventually things broke down further with all four men brawling on the floor, leading to an eventual double count out. Well, that a surprisingly feisty little hard hitting brawl. They really worked a crisp little pace and laid in some hard offense on each other throughout that one. I thought Fatu’s house of fire segment was well done too. If there was more of a focus on the tag division here, these teams continuing a feud into Mania may have actually worked. But alas, we are currently slogging through a stretch where nobody does much of anything at this level of the card. Grade: *1/2

*** Vince McMahon and Jim Cornette run through the members of Lawrence Taylor’s All Pro Team: Carl Banks, Chris Spielman, Ricky Jackson, Ken Norton, Jr., Reggie White and Steve McMichael. We then hear comments from McMichael, who announces he will be at Raw next week to confront Kama. Next we visit with Bam Bam Bigelow and the Million Dollar Team to rant about Taylor and the members of the All Pro Team. And finally we hear from former football and wrestling star Ernie Ladd, who gives his opinion on the big WWF vs. NFL war and doesn’t think Taylor’s chances are very good but he will do what he can to help him out. ***

2) Jeff Jarrett defeats Barry Horowitz via submission with the figure four at 4:40

Scott: So, has Barry Horowitz somehow turned babyface? He gets a pre-match interview and is facing a heel? This is strange, and Cornette is actually saying that Horowitz is conferring with Razor Ramon? I guess Vince is deciding that this guy has spent many years getting the crap kicked out of him by every superstar that’s passed through in the last 11 years, and now with the roster fairly thin perhaps another plucky underdog needed to be pushed. To Jarrett’s credit, the Intercontinental Champion is taking a decent beating but eventually hooks the Figure Four for the victory. Grade 1/2*

JT: We head back to the ring as Jeff Jarrett is slated to take on Barry Horowitz. As Double J hits the ring we actually get an inset promo from Horowitz, who talks about how confident he is tonight because he has been chatting with Razor Ramon. Horowitz shrugs off his record and seems prepped for a potential upset here tonight. After a break, Horowitz hits the ring but Jarrett attacks him at the bell and starts beating him around as Vince notes that Barry has never notched a win in the WWF. Barry does get a few flashes of offense in, even grabbing some near falls until Jarrett hits the deck to gather his bearings. Vince tells us that Double J will be defending his IC title against Ramon at WrestleMania, so another match is on the docket. Jarrett takes over the match and hammers away at Horowitz as Cornette talks about Pam Anderson, Tommy Lee and Shawn Michaels. Horowitz makes a nice little comeback and works the arm before catching the champ with a knee lift. Unfortunately, Horowitz tweaked his knee as he landed and Jarrett pounced, landing a few blows before hooking the figure four for the win. This was a neat little match and I dug the story of focusing on Barry trying to get that elusive win. Jarrett did well in there playing to the story as well. Double J gets the win and heads to Mania to defend the gold. Grade: 1/2*

*** We revisit Superstars from a few weeks ago when Bret Hart cost Jerry Lawler a battle royal win and then hear from the Hitman, who is tired of the King’s antics and is ready to finally finish him off for good. ***

*** Todd Pettengill is on the scene with this week’s WrestleMania XI Report as the show is just three weeks away and will emanate from Hartford, CT. Here are the matches discussed:

Lawrence Taylor w/ All Pro Team vs. Bam Bam Bigelow w/ Million Dollar Team
Diesel vs. Shawn Michaels – WWF Title

Undertaker vs. King Kong Bundy
Bret Hart vs. Bob Backlund – I Quit Match
Razor Ramon vs. Jeff Jarrett – WWF Intercontinental Title
Smoking Gunns vs. Owen Hart & Mystery Partner – WWF Tag Team Titles
Lex Luger & British Bulldog vs. Jacob & Eli Blu

Here are the celebrities announced for the show as well: Salt-N-Pepa (rapping LT to the ring), Pamela Anderson (escorting Shawn Michaels), Nicholas Turturro (ring announcer), Jonathan Taylor Thomas & Jennifer McCarthy (timekeeper).

That’s the full deal as of now so call your cable company today! ***

3) Jerry Lawler defeats Bret Hart via count out at 5:36

Fun Fact: The Lawler/Hart feud has been brewing for over a year and a half at this point and on the last Raw, this match was billed as the conclusion to the feud, which it won’t be. Lawler called in on that episode and called Hart a racist, which will play into tonight’s match.

Scott: A feud that started back in June 1993 is still raging, and this one jumps right out of the gate as Lawler jumps Bret as he’s getting into the ring. Due to the whole Japanese racism aspect of the storyline, Women’s Champion Bull Nakano comes out with Lawler and as the match progresses, Hakushi and his manager Shinja come out to the runway to observe the battle. While this match is going on, Vince says that Barry Horowitz is looking for a rematch with IC Champion Jeff Jarrett. So they really are pushing this career jobber. There’s chicanery outside as Nakano accidentally boots Lawler in the face, but she redeems herself by grabbing Bret’s leg outside and not letting him get back into the ring. So Lawler wins the match by countout, but afterwards Bret lays the wood to the King before Lawler departs. A decent little affair that clearly has no end in sight. Grade: *

JT: We are heading back down to the ring for our final match of the evening and it is a big one, a big time grudge match for a feud that has been raging for 18 months. Jerry Lawler saunters out first and he is accompanied by Bull Nakano to prove that he is a friend to the Japanese. After a break, Bret Hart storms to the ring and the two start trading blows before the bell even sounds. Hart hammers away both in and out of the ring as he unloads two years of anger and hate on the King. Bret continues to pummel Lawler as Cornette backs up the King’s claims of racism against the Hitman, using Bull’s presence as evidence. As the match edges along we catch a glimpse of Bob Backlund looking on from the crowd, studying his WrestleMania opponent. Lawler has had zero openings for any sort of offense as Bret is just laying the wood with an aggressive pace. The tide finally tuned when Hakushi and Shinja showed up in the aisle, distracting Hart and allowing the King to clobber him to the floor. After a break, the King was in control, fending off “Burger King” chants as he worked over the Hitman. Bret turned things around and started right into his finishing sequence until he punched the King right over the top rope. Nakano got involved here but ended up kicking Lawler by accident. As Hart stalked Nakano, Lawler rolled in the ring to safety. However, Nakano dove to the floor and hooked Hart’s foot, pinning him on the ground and causing him to lose via count out. As Lawler sat stunned, Bret chased Bull to the aisle, where she parked behind Hakushi and Shinja. Instead, Hart turned around and beat on the King to unleash his frustration. The King eventually escaped and scampered to his crew, where he stopped to celebrate his win. This was pretty solid and I liked all the chaos surrounding Bret, who is fighting off all sorts of opposition now. I dug Nakano being in the mix here too and she was pretty good in her role, especially at the end when she hid behind Hakushi and mocked Hart with a playful wave. It looks like the Hitman is going to have a tough time focusing on Backlund as he also has to deal with Lawler and his contingent from Japan. Grade: **

*** Vince McMahon is with Jeff Jarrett, Roadie and Barry Horowitz at ringside. Horowitz has demanded a rematch for next week and Jarrett accepts and offers to put the IC Title on the line as well. Horowitz is about to sign the contract but Bob Backlund shows up, yanks Horowitz away and signs his name instead. Jarrett freaks out as we fade off the air. ***

Final Analysis

Scott: After dawdling for weeks with only two matches on the card Vince finally fills things out and we are ready for April 2 in Hartford. Jeff Jarrett has been on a strong push since arriving and even though he may not have been wrestling every week he was on with various promos & vignettes. Now as the IC Champion he’s really being pushed even harder. The Jerry Lawler vs. Bret Hart feud just moves on and on, without there ever really being a conclusion. This Barry Horowitz face turn is a bit unsettling since I’ve known him as a heel jobber for over six years. With the show being live it always adds a nice touch even if it is only once every few weeks. The Road to Wrestlemania is fully stocked and let’s head there! Final Grade: B-

JT: Well it seems like business is finally picking up as we careen toward WrestleMania. The puzzle pieces are all in place and we are actually focusing on things besides the top two matches. The opening tag was an aimless brawl but a fun one. The Jarrett/Horowitz match told a neat story and I love how they used that story to pivot into a surprising Jarrett vs. Bob Backlund title match next week. That sort of show long storytelling has been missing for a while here on Raw. Finally, the Hart vs. Lawler feud has been reignited in a big way and has expanded to include a host of others. It is a good way to keep the Hitman busy while he is away from the WWF Title… for now, anyway. Based on the commentary and WrestleMania Report, it also seems like the company is really using the weekend shows to push stuff along too again, which is a good tough. The way they talked about it makes you want to follow up with the next Action Zone as well. We did lack a marquee matchup but I thought the storylines and commentary carried the load this week. Plus the live atmosphere helped as well, as always. See you next week! Final Grade: B-