Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Monday Night Raw 4/24/95

*** 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 #108

April 24, 1995
Civic Auditorium
Omaha, NE
Announcers: Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler

1) Smoking Gunns defeat Barry Horowitz & Brooklyn Brawler when Billy pins Brawler with a reverse bulldog at 2:15

Scott: We are here with a nice fresh live show this week from the midwest. Right at the start Vince McMahon announces the the Gunns will get their Tag Team Championship rematch with Yokozuna & Owen Hart on May 14 in Syracuse. This was a quick squash to open as Vince & Jerry Lawler talk about Bret Hart & his match with Hakushi that’s set for the first In Your House. Grade: DUD

JT: Welcome to this week’s Monday Night Raw where we are finally back live, emanating from Omaha, NE and being welcomed to the action by Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler. WrestleMania is well in our rear view mirror by now but we are still feeling the ripple effects as we steamroll into the inaugural In Your House. Opening things up this week are the former Tag Team Champions, the Smoking Gunns and Vince McMahon immediately reveals that they will receive a title rematch at IYH against the champions, Owen Hart & Yokozuna. Tonight the Gunns battle a JTTS dream team in Barry Horowitz and Brooklyn Brawler, so in theory may be a bit of a test. Horowitz and Billy open things up and it’s all Gunn to start. The Brawler entered shortly after but he was met with more of the same from both Billy and Bart. Brawler would land a few shots on Bart but his shine was quickly dulled by the cowboy. Jerry Lawler talks some shit on Bret Hart as the match goes on, saying his challenges to the Hitman have gone unanswered. Hart will face Hakushi at IYH and that is why he hasn’t accepted King’s challenge. Brawler again got a smattering of offense but he was quickly overwhelmed by the Gunns, who hit the Sidewinder for the breezy win. The Gunns are locked in and look ready to regain their gold on Mother’s Day. Grade: DUD

*** We are joined by Bam Bam Bigelow and Ted DiBiase from backstage. Bigelow promises to make the Corporation proud when he takes the WWF Title from Diesel later tonight. Bigelow dodges a question about how he received a black eye. ***

*** We are then joined by Diesel from backstage and he talks about being a fighting champion just like Bret Hart and that is why he accepted this challenge despite being in rough shape and a rugged schedule. ***

2) Bertha Faye defeats La Pantera Serena with a splash at 3:55

Fun Fact: Tonight we get the in-ring debut of Bertha Faye. We actually saw her for the first time on Raw three weeks ago on 4/3. Faye was the mysterious woman who came into the ring after Blayze won the women’s title.  The beating broke Blayze’s nose and she was forced to the sideline to have reconstructive surgery. 

Scott: We have a women’s match that doesn’t involve the title for the first time in quite a while. I’m a little bummed that Bull Nakano seems to be getting phased out as a contender for Alundra’s title and this mammoth woman has replaced her. Harvey Wippleman is now her manager, as Lawler accidentally calls him “Bruno”, since, of course, he was Downtown Bruno in Lawler’s old Memphis promotion. He called him Harvey three times in about two minutes after that to affirm his name. I miss the USA Movie of the Week bumps and instead we get talk about that awful Duckman show. I guess the movie tags went with Randy Savage. Bertha moves well for a big woman, and she gets the victory. Grade: 1/2*

JT: We head back to the ring where Bertha Faye and harvey Wippleman are strutting out for action. We saw Bertha a few weeks back when she made a shocking debut by decimating and injuring Alundra Blayze. Since that time she has developed a new look, wearing garish colors and all dolled up instead of the drab tights and face paint she wore in her debut. Here she takes on a random female competitor, La Pantera Serena, of whom we don’t learn much about. Bertha easily shoves Serena around before planting her with a hard clothesline. Vince and Jerry talk about Bertha’s weight and make some benign fat jokes. Serena is able to take Bertha over with a sloppy arm drag and then followed with a whiffed shitty cross body block off the top. That was really messy. Bertha, who Vince says is the female Yokozuna, took over from there, using her weight to smother Serena. Lawler gives our weekly Duckman plug as Bertha just pummels Serena. I am not sure where they dragged Serena out from but she is a disaster, botching every move she tries and flopping around all over the place. Bertha eventually hits her with a powerbomb and follows with a press slam and big splash for the win. Bertha looked fine here, really showing off her big power offense, but Serena was terrible and really messed up nearly everything she tried. Some quality depth could really help this division but it doesn’t seem likely at this point. Grade: DUD

*** Todd Pettengill is with us for this week’s In Your House report and we are just a few weeks away now at this point. Here is the card so far:

Diesel vs. Psycho Sid – WWF Title
Razor Ramon & 1-2-3 Kid vs. Jeff Jarrett & Roadie
Bret Hart vs. Hakushi

Also, remember to submit your ballot for a chance to win the beautiful Orlando, FL vacation home! See you on Mother’s Day! ***

3) Diesel defeats Bam Bam Bigelow to retain WWF Title with the Jackknife at 16:00

Fun Fact: Tensions have been building the past few weeks between Bigelow and the head of the Million Dollar Corporation, Ted DiBiase. After his loss to Lawrence Taylor at WrestleMania, he looks for redemption tonight in a WWF Title match against Diesel.

Scott: Now with Diesel set to face Sid on May 14 in Syracuse, is this a foregone conclusion that Diesel wins this match? Well, with the evident friction in the Corporation could Bigelow win tonight and face Sid at In Your House? I mean it’s plausible but probably unlikely. What I’m looking forward to seeing is Diesel facing someone about his size. Remember since winning the WWF Title back in November the only high profile matches he’s had were with Bret Hart at the Rumble and Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania. Yet those two guys can give a broom a ***½ star match. However facing a big man here and then ANOTHER big man at In Your House, I’m curious how Diesel will work with these guys. He did work with Razor Ramon last year, but Razor is even slightly smaller than Diesel. Vince just said Bigelow asked Diesel for this title match on his own and was surprised Diesel said yes. Now that could be the beginnings of a babyface turn, we will see. This match hasn’t been that bad, as Diesel hit some of his big moves but Bigelow turned the tables and started to work the champion over. Bigelow is sporting a real shiner, but no explanation was given. Diesel took the match over with strikes until Bigelow hits a suplex out of nowhere for a two count. Bigelow really held his own here and has been his most enjoyable Raw match in a while. Out of nowhere out comes Tatanka to a chorus of boos. This brings an interesting dynamic because Bigelow and Tatanka haven’t gotten along since the Royal Rumble, but they are both Corporation members. Once Tatanka comes out, Bigelow takes control again and Tatanka gets some cheap shots in. This has been one of the longer matches in a while, going through two commercial breaks. Diesel whips Bigelow into the ropes but Bigelow reverses it. Then Tatanka (thinking it was Diesel) trips Bigelow on the bounce, and Diesel hits the big boot and the Jackknife for the victory. So we are not sure what the deal is here. Did Bigelow get tripped by accident, or was this a situation with Sid, and his title shot on May 14. Well it’s pretty evident what it is as Bigelow is publicly fired after the match. Tatanka attacks Bigelow, but Bam Bam chucks him out of the ring. He’s about to go after DiBiase but IRS attacks him from behind and then Sid comes out and continues the beatdown. The WWF Champion comes out to save Bigelow, and the Beast is a babyface. I like this dynamic, as we need another big man on the face side with Diesel and Undertaker, who we haven’t seen on Raw in ages. The match was fun. Grade: **1/2

JT: We are back in the ring and it is time for our main event and WWF Title match as Diesel takes on Bam Bam Bigelow. Bigelow has been on the corporate shitlist since WrestleMania and went into business for himself here looking to win the big gold and get back in Ted DiBiase’s good graces. Before the bout, we hear from Sid, who doesn’t seem too thrilled that his stablemate has this shot tonight with his challenge coming on May 14. Bigelow is fired up and focused as he looks for that chance at redemption. Diesel saunters out to a warm reception from the crowd as Lawler says Shawn Michaels is watching this match from a wheelchair. Bigelow stalls a bit to start but once he got in the ring, Diesel was all over him, whipping him around the ring and working him over with big shoulder blocks and elbows to the head. Vince says Lawrence Taylor is watching this one as Diesel beals Bigelow across the ring and then chokes away with his boot. The champ kept bringing the heat, really dominating the action as Vince puts over the fact that a match of this caliber is being presented here on Raw. Diesel works the arm a bit until Bigelow turns the tide and starts to zero in on the ribs of Big Daddy Cool with his power arsenal. Diesel cut the attack off with a flying shoulder block but the match spilled outside and the challenger flipped control before ramming Diesel into the ring post. Bigelow would clamp on a chinlock back in the ring and keep it wrenched in throughout a break.

After the commercial, Diesel broke free of the hold but both men collided in the middle of the ring, leaving both prone on the mat. Bigelow was first up but Diesel tripped him and then dropped a big splash for two. The match ebbed and flowed a bit until Bigelow landed some tight right hands against the ropes and a snap suplex for two. As Bigelow cranked away on a chinlock, his stablemate Tatanka slithered down to ringside to provide some additional support. Diesel busted out of the hold but Tatanka got involved, smacking the champ as Bigelow tied up the referee. Vince wondered if any other Corporation members would show up as we took a second break. When we returned, Diesel caught Bigelow with a big boot but a DiBiase distraction allowed Bammer to regain control. However, things fell apart a moment later when Tatanka accidentally tripped up his former tag partner, allowing Diesel to drop him with the Jackknife for the win. After the match, a pissed off DiBiase hit the ring with Tatanka and berated Bigelow for suffering yet again another humiliating loss before ultimately firing him from the Corporation. Tatanka would attack Bigelow, but Bammer fought him off and then turned to DiBiase. Before he could get his hands on his now former manager, IRS and Sid showed up and Bigelow caught a rough and stiff beating until Diesel made the unlikely save. Looks like we have a new main event level face in the mix, which was a good decision with Sid now on top of the heel pile. Bigelow has been a loyal Corporate soldier since last summer but it was time for a change. The match was rock solid and given a lot of time to tell a story. I liked all the back and fort between both guys and Diesel was really aggressive in there, carrying the action and coming off like a star. I thought it was a really good night for Big Daddy Cool, who seems to be riding some nice momentum of late. We will see if that carries over to Mother’s Day. This was a busy match for sure with lots going on during and after the bout. Grade: **1/2

4) Aldo Montoya defeats Black Phantom with a reverse bulldog off the middle turnbuckle at 2:44

Scott: Before the match it’s announced that Sid will face Razor Ramon next week. Also it’s announced that Shawn Michaels will be back in action in a month, which means he will miss the In Your House show. That’s a big blow to the company for obvious reasons, but for what seems like a short show it probably won’t be that bad. I’m kind of surprised that the title match wasn’t last but it works anyway. This is a throwaway match as Vince & Lawler barely pay attention. Grade: DUD

JT: It is time for our final bout of the evening as Aldo Montoya chugs to the ring to take on the Black Phantom. Vince and Jerry talk about the big Sid/Razor Ramon match signed for next week as the match gets under way. Looks like Aldo is sporting some dreadlocks nowadays. Aldo unloads his repertoire as Lawler makes some jokes about Helen Hart and Vince tells us Jim Ross is with Bam Bam Bigelow on the Superstar Line. We also find out Shawn Michaels will be back in action in approximately a month. Aldo eventually nabs the easy win and keeps on doing nothing of substance. Grade: DUD

*** We check out a simple vignette for a newcomer named Hunter Hearst-Helmsley. After that we check out footage from an earlier commercial break when Diesel and Bam Bam Bigelow shook hands. ***

Final Analysis

Scott: A Live Raw! Wow, what a change. The crowd was smoking and a World Title match was a nice change of pace that the show sorely needed. I’m liking the dynamic of Bigelow and the Corporation probably splitting, it has been good programming. Diesel has had a great run as champion thus far, but now he will be facing a guy who isn’t Bret Hart or Shawn Michaels. Can he and Sid have decent chemistry, since in essence they’re the same wrestler? We will see. The company still has severe roster issues and that’s not going to go away anytime soon but at least we have some sort of focus and a secondary show that the audience can look forward to. This was a solid show with a good title defense for Diesel and more babyface sympathy for the Beast from the East. Final Grade: B+

JT: This was a nice bounce back episode of Raw, mainly thanks to the big WWF Title anchor match. The bout itself was good and it had tons of development woven into it as well with Bam Bam Bigelow finally leaving the Corporation, ostensibly being replaced by Sid. Other than that we had a few milquetoast squashes while Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler pushed along all of the storylines and agendas. In Your House is coming into form now and we seem to have some decent feuds and angles shaping up as well but you can still feel that lack of overall depth thanks in part to some deadwood that is still lingering around. The live atmosphere and fresh taping certainly helped things but that lacking feeling is a tough one to shake. Also, Serena was fucking terrible. Until next week! Final Grade: B-

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