Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Monday Night Raw 3/7/94

*** 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 #54

March 7, 1994 (Taped February 21, 1994)
Mid-Hudson Civic Center
Poughkeepsie, NY
Announcers: Vince McMahon & Ted DiBiase

1) Crush & Owen Hart defeat The Smoking Gunns when Hart forces Bart Gunn to submit with the Sharpshooter at 9:08

Scott: Vince should have just had Ted DiBiase do commentary every episode since Bobby left. He knows how to get things over and has that great sinister heel personality. This is a pretty sweet heel team as we are only two weeks away from WrestleMania X and both Owen and Crush have huge main event level matches, let’s team them together against a solid face unit. You can tell just turning heel has opened up so much for Owen Hart as a worker in the ring. Not only did he keep his aerial work going but he got down and dirty with some nice heel tactics, and even got Bart Gunn to tap to the Sharpshooter. I would have never thought the Gunns would tap out. I was ready for Savage to run in and attack Crush to force the DQ. This is a big TV win for Crush and Owen, that for me came out of nowhere. Grade: **

JT: We are back in Poughkeepsie this week, although we are still on some well aged tape, and we are just two weeks away from WrestleMania X, so we should have lots of ground to cover this evening. And of course inside MSG, two of the biggest matches on the card feature relatively newly minted and purely hated heels Owen Hart and Crush. A year ago that would have sounded really odd. But, before they get to Mania, they team up here against the old stalwarts Smoking Gunns, a team that is still without direction or a feud it seems. They just sort of exist. Ted DiBiase is in the booth alongside Vince as he continues to carve out a role as a color commentator while waiting for something else to do. DiBiase puts over Owen’s confidence since stepping out of his brother’s shadow and predicts a win for the Rocket at Mania. Vince then discusses how Crush cost Randy Savage the WWF Title last week. The crowd, including Nikolai Volkoff, was all over Owen and Crush as things got under way. Owen controlled off the bell but Bart made a quick comeback and grabbed hold of the arm to take over. Owen would quickly turn the tide and tag in Crush, who used his power to work over Bart. Bart would dodge a charge and get a high cross body for two before tagging out to Billy. Despite getting a flurry in by using his speed, Billy got cut down by a tight Crush right hand, leading to more offense by the big man. Billy was able to dodge another charge by Crush and hit a clothesline off the middle rope. He grabbed hold of the arm but Crush powered out and tagged in Owen, who landed a leg lariat after a criss cross. Owen kept the pressure on and he and Crush started to work together to dominate the action. Owen would hit a nice missile dropkick but after a break, Billy was able to escape and make the hot tag. Bart cut through both Owen and Crush as the crowd got revved up and he was able to get a near fall on a powerslam. However after a quick brawl between all four, Billy and Crush ended up tangled on the floor as Owen hooked Bart in the Sharpshooter for the victory. That was a tidy little tag team opener, no complaints on this end. All four worked hard and the Gunns are starting to gel more too, they just need to avoid the basic tropes during the middle portion of the matches and mix things up a bit. Crush and Owen were effective as a team and came off as top level stars. Grade: **

*** Vince McMahon interviews Owen Hart and Crush outside the ring and Vince reveals that Crush and Bret Hart will battle on this Sunday’s March to WrestleMania special. Owen asks him to lay a beating on him but not too bad because he wants to ensure he makes it to MSG. Crush levies a threat toward the Hitman and promises to leave a little bit for Owen, owner of the best Sharpshooter in the WWF. ***

*** Todd Pettengil is here for our final WrestleMania X report on Monday Night Raw. Madison Square Garden is sold out and ready to rock! Todd runs down the list of celebrities: Jennie Garth, Bucky & Vinny, Sy Sperling, Donnie Wahlberg, Little Richard and Burt Reynolds.

And here is the full card:

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 Title
Alundra Blayze vs. Leilani Kai – 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. Rick Martel, IRS, Jeff Jarrett & Headshrinkers

And that will do it. Call your cable company right now and get that order in for a show that has been ten years in the making! See you at MSG! ***

2) Jeff Jarrett defeats Virgil with a DDT at 4:45

Scott: I love Virgil’s cheesy synth pop music. Jarrett is wearing red and white, which was Virgil’s old colors in 1991-92. He’s wearing black and white now, and like Marty Jannetty is a JTTS, but he hasn’t been on nearly as much on Raw as the former Rocker had. Perhaps he’s been on the weekend syndies but not on Raw. I thought the crap political references ended when Bobby Heenan left, but they spend two minutes making fun of George Stephanopoulos’ name. Vince is pumping the Road to WrestleMania X show the following Sunday night. Jarrett wins with a DDT and we move on. Grade: *

JT: Back in the arena, Jeff Jarrett struts his way to the ring for our next bout. DiBiase claims Jarrett will conquer the music world as well as the WWF. And then he says Virgil is “going absolutely nowhere”. I love that the hatred is still there between those two. Virgil even got a full entrance here! Big night. He controls early, shoving Jarrett around and then chasing him as he stalls. As Virgil worked over the arm, Vince informs us that Rhonda Shear from USA Up All Night! will now also be at Mania. Virgil would dodge a charge and get a sunset flip for two and then went right back to working the arm. DiBiase promoted Past Midnight, a USA Movie Premier Encore, this Wednesday night, so check that out. Jarrett kept trying to find some daylight to turn things around but Virgil was all over him, laying in strikes until he made one key mistake by dropping his head, allowing Jarrett to hit a DDT for the win. What a weird match. Jarrett got zero offense in until the finish, getting completely owned by Virgil every step of the way. His whole run has been like that so far. Weird way to build a heel, but I guess he is meant to be a sneaky win that can strike at any time. Grade: 1/2*

*** Sy Sperling pops in to let us know he is the special hair consultant for WrestleMania X. He shows photos of what Mr. Fuji could look like if he joined the Hair Club for Men and tells us to check out WrestleMania so we too can receive some special treatment. ***

3) Doink the Clown defeats Mike Sharpe with a Whoopee Cushion at 2:33

Scott: I don’t think through all the years of working for the WWF did Canada’s Greatest Athlete ever think he would wrestle a clown with midgets at ringside. I can’t grade Doink matches anymore, because they’re terrible. Grade: DUD

JT: Sigh. What did we do to deserve this? Doink squirts water in Mike Sharpe’s eyes before the bell and then Iron Mike stooged around with Dink before the bell sounded. Vince and Ted discuss the rules of the big mixed tag bout at MSG as Sharpe stalls and lays strikes in while Doink plays games. Things meander from there until Doink hits the Whoopee Cushion for the win. I can’t wait for the Doink/Bigelow feud to be over, which hopefully will happen at Mania. Grade: DUD

*** Vince McMahon hops in the ring for a special presentation ceremony. With him are also Chief Ray Little Turtle, Chief Jay Strongbow and Chief Wahoo McDaniel. They then bring out Tatanka, who is the one being honored in the ceremony. Little Turtle says he has come many miles and on half of the young people and tribesman of Tatanka’s nation, he presents him special feathers that had been hanging in the lodge. He puts over Tatanka as a role model for the youth of his people and asks for his respect and to always remember who he is and who he represents. Tatanka is emotional as he thanks the Chief for the headdress and recalls back to his time on the reservation and what the lodge and these feathers meant to him. He then thanks Strongbow and McDaniel for their support and guidance as he makes his way through the WWF. He vows to keep the Native American tradition in high honor, wear the feathers with pride and reach the heights of Strongbow and McDaniel. The Chiefs then vocalize their pride in being part of Tatanka’s career. Tatanka then dons the headdress and breaks into a war dance to end the segment. ***

4) IRS defeats Mark Thomas with the Write Off at 3:40

Scott: Ted DiBiase is talking about his former tag team partner like he doesn’t know him. Weird. Every time Mark Thomas wrestles I say the same thing: How Vince didn’t scoop this guy up and make something out of him is beyond me. He was jacked beyond belief. Ok now DiBiase is talking about IRS as best friends. It didn’t seem that way at first. At least Thomas isn’t jobbing fast like Duane Gill or Phil Apollo. IRS is working him like an old school house show. IRS does win eventually. Grade: *

JT: IRS makes his way out for our final bout of the evening and trashes Tatanka and the ceremony on his way out. He tells Tatanka that he owes a gift tax on the headdress and he will ensure he pays every cent he owes. As the match gets underway, Vince discusses the return to baseball by Marge Schott, fresh off her suspension. IRS opened up by working the arm as Vince starts discussing the search for an MLB Commissioner. Thomas would get a roll up near fall after dodging a charge but IRS came right back and chucked him hard to the floor. DiBiase notes that he and IRS are still very close friends and business partners. IRS worked through the rest of his offense and picks up the win with the Write Off. Grade: DUD

*** Jim Cornette and the Heavenly Bodies head out to ringside for a chat with Vince McMahon. They discuss the upcoming March to WrestleMania bout between Lex Luger and Jimmy Del Ray. Cornette trashes Luger and his Ford truck before putting over his fantastic Toyota. He promises the Gigolo will put a hurting on Luger as his mission is just to search and destroy him in time for Mania. He tells people to stop taking things for granted and tells Luger he won’t advance past Yokozuna and it will actually be the last match of his career. ***

Final Analysis

Scott: Any match with Doink and Dink on it loses points for me because it is utterly ridiculous now. Most of this taped show is about the vignettes in between matches setting up WrestleMania X, which is only two weeks away. I really liked DiBiase on commentary, and I’m still perplexed why Vince didn’t just use him every week during this stretch. I mean he was great at the Royal Rumble, why not just have him keep going until Savage had finished the Crush feud? Anyway he was great here trying to entertain us with a glut of squashes at the back end of the show. I can’t grade this as high as the past few weeks because there’s just not that much to go on. Final Grade: C-

JT: Our final episode of Raw before WrestleMania was a mixed bag. On screen there wasn’t much to write home about, but on commentary and in interviews, they did do a very good job of hard selling the big show at MSG. Vince and DiBiase had strong chemistry and Ted was quite good at pushing ahead storylines and characters as well. The Tatanka segment was well done but I felt it was one that could have been held off until after Mania. It felt a bit squeezed in. I liked all the focus on Crush and Owen Hart but it would have been neat to have Randy Savage, Bret Hart and/or Lex Luger on the show too. That said, they still had the March to WrestleMania ahead and all of the featured players will be there. Fine enough episode but a completely missable one at the same time. Final Grade: C-