Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Monday Night Raw 4/4/94

*** 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 #57

April 4, 1994 (March 21, 1994)
Mid-Hudson Civic Center
Poughkeepsie, NY
Announcers: Vince McMahon & Gorilla Monsoon

1) Earthquake defeats Adam Bomb with an Earthquake Splash at 4:18

Fun Fact: This duo met at WrestleMania X in a squash match won by Earthquake. We have the rematch here tonight on Raw.

Scott: We open the show with the rematch from the squash at WrestleMania X. This is big for Adam Bomb because he was really moving up the roster ladder leading up to Mania and then lost to Earthquake in about 40 seconds. So my assumption is that Bomb wins the rematch here. I understand Quake is a veteran and squashed Hogan four years ago but he really should have put Bomb over here because at this point in time he is obviously the long term guy and should have really won this match easily. Instead we have a back and forth battle and in the end Earthquake won AGAIN. Adam Bomb is cooked as a heel officially after losing twice to Quake. Bad move. Grade: *1/2

JT: Welcome to this week’s edition of Monday Night Raw, where we are still coming at you via tape from Poughkeepsie. The rotating color commentator game rolls on as the legendary Gorilla Monsoon takes a seat next to Vince McMahon for the evening in what is generally a very rare pairing. They are also glaringly green screened in here, so much so that I don’t know why they even bothered. Kicking things off we have a rematch from WrestleMania as Adam Bomb looks to have a bit of a better showing than he did in MSG, where he was essentially squashed by Earthquake. We opened the show with footage from backstage where these two monsters had an argument based on Bomb claiming Quake cheap shotted him to win at Mania, so that is what led to his rematch. Bomb was pissed off and focused as he stormed to the ring and then jumped Quake off the bell. It is neat seeing Bomb in a feud with some fire as opposed to the meandering squash parade he has been marching in since he debuted. Quake fended off the onslaught and knocked Bomb to the floor as Vince notes how important this win would be for Bomb’s career. The two would have a stalemate in the ring that ended with a Quake clothesline that again sent Bomb scrambling outside. Bomb punched Quake away and hit a slingshot clothesline followed by an elbow for a near fall. Bomb landed another clothesline that knocked Quake back into the ropes, causing him to be tangled up. As Bomb choked away, Harvey Wippleman got in Howard Finkel’s face at ringside but Fink bowed up and Harvey backed off. Bomb would whiff on an elbow drop but then dodged one by Quake before heading up and landing a big clothesline for two. Bomb kept the pressure on as Vince promoted the WrestleMania Revenge Tour that was trekking around the nation. Quake made a quick comeback, hitting a belly-to-belly, elbow drop leg drop and an Earthquake Splash for the win. Man, I thought this was the best Bomb had looked in the ring to date as he was focused and aggressive in his attack and seemed to be putting it together. I understand that Quake had just come back and perhaps they had a key feud lined up for him but Bomb needed a big win and this could have been it. Instead of breaking through, Bomb continues to just be a disappointment. Grade: 1/2*

*** We revisit some footage from WrestleMania, chronicling the final moments of the match between Lex Luger and Yokozuna, which including Mr. Perfect blatantly screwing Luger out of the title. We then hear from Luger, who says he had a big problem with Perfect taking out his personal grudge on him in the ring instead of meeting face-to-face beforehand. He can’t wait for Perfect to step in the ring. ***

*** After a break, Gorilla Monsoon hops in the ring to chat with Mr. Perfect. Gorilla starts off by reminding everybody that Yokozuna, Lex Luger and Jack Tunney all agreed on Perfect as a referee but apparently all the characteristics they recognized in him ended up being lacking on that evening. Perfect says he has nothing against Luger or Yokozuna and called the match perfectly, right down the middle. Luger has the man beat but decided to drag managers into the ring, which Perfect allowed, but then he put his hands on the referee, which he also let slide, but then Lex pushed him and that was more than enough to lead to a DQ, per the official rules. Gorilla still pushes that Perfect has a vendetta against Luger, but Perfect shrugs that off and says when you push Mr. Perfect, you pay for it. Gorilla says Perfect’s jacket will say “Made in the USA” when Liger is done with him. ***

2) Razor Ramon defeats Austin Steele with   at 3:49

Scott: This is Razor’s first TV match since the epic win over Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania, as he beats up some poor stiff. It’s also evident that Diesel came from almost being fired to being pushed big time. He’s now being mentioned as the next challenger for Razor’s Intercontinental Title. So Shawn Michaels gets one title shot and he is dumped down. It’s possible he’s being rewarded by taking the “summer off” to, I guess, manage Diesel. Razor is on top of the world right now and he wins this match easily. Grade: DUD

JT: Up next our official, undisputed Intercontinental Champion is in the house for a tilt with Austin Steele. Before we get to that, I wanted to comment on that interview as I thought the intensity was fantastic and both Perfect and Gorilla did a tremendous job. I loved how Gorilla pushed and got right in his face, forcing Perfect to defend his actions. Gorilla and Vince then put over the big Ladder Match from Mania, including a discussion on Diesel getting ejected, as this bout gets under way. Vince believes Diesel will be gunning for Ramon in the very near future. Ramon works over Steele with ease as Vince talks about the pairing of Gorilla and Johnny Polo as cohosts of All American Wrestling. Vince also notes that over the past week on a European tour, Men on a Mission defeated the Quebecers to win the Tag Team Titles, however just days later, the Quebecers regained their gold. Steele gets no hint of offense at all as Ramon grabs the victory. What lies ahead for the Bad Guy? Time will tell. Grade: DUD

*** We head back to a week ago to revisit Lou Albano revealing the Headshrinkers as his new tag team, finalizing their Tag Team Title shot with the Quebecers along the way. Vince McMahon then tells us that the Quebecers will defend their gold next week against one of three possible teams as decided by a fan vote: Smoking Gunns, Bushwhackers or Men on a Mission. We then hear from the Quebecers, who claim they can easily defeat any of those teams with ease. They are the greatest and will take on anybody. ***

3) Irwin R. Schyster, Jeff Jarrett, Rick Martel & Headshrinkers defeat 1-2-3 Kid, Sparky Plugg, Tatanka & Smoking Gunns when IRS pinned Kid after Kid missed a charge to the corner at 8:43

Fun Fact I: This match was originally scheduled to be on the WrestleMania X broadcast, but was cut from the card during the event due to the show running long.

Fun Fact II: We say a fond farewell to “The Model” Rick Martel tonight. Martel would continue with the WWF into the summer of 1994, but would not make another television or PPV appearance as a regular member of the roster after tonight. He would return for the ’95 Royal Rumble as a substitute for Jim Neidhart. He would take time away from wrestling for a couple of years before signing on with WCW in 1997, where he would feud with Booker T and win the WCW World Television Title. He would retire from wrestling in 1998 after suffering a knee and leg injury at SuperBrawl VIII.

Scott: This is the big match from WrestleMania that was pulled off the card because “the guys couldn’t get along backstage”. My assumption is that the card was running long and they couldn’t fit it. This match shows that this was a pretty big, flourishing roster of talent that just needed to be streamlined, and maybe some of these bad gimmicks and outrageous outfits (like Double J looks like Doink exploded on him) and really focus on the in-ring product. IRS is definitely one of the biggest heels in the company, and I think a title feud with Bret Hart may not have been out of the realm of possibility if the bookers had thought outside the box a little bit. The match was fun with a big brawl in the climax, which led to the Kid eating a pin from IRS. I’m telling you, Irwin seemed like he was being pushed big time. Grade: **

JT: It is now time for that big ten man tag team battle that got bumped off the WrestleMania card after the heel team couldn’t agree on a team captain. It is a pretty good lineup on both sides, mixing veterans with newcomers across the board. IRS and Jeff Jarrett are clearly positioned as the alpha dogs on the heel team here while the face side feels a bit more balanced from a presentation standpoint. Jarrett was still barking orders in there as everything was starting to get underway, so it seems like the heel team may still have some lingering issues. Vince reminds us of the issues between Tatanka and IRS, who is claiming the Native American didn’t pay a gift tax on his headdress. Billy Gunn and Samu opened things up and the Samoan controlled early with some rugged offense but Billy came right back and hooked an arm drag. A moment later, however, Samu leveled Billy with a stiff clothesline that turned him inside out. Fatu came in and kept brining the heavy offense before tagging in Jarrett. Double J focused in on the back as Gorilla discusses a recent issue between Jarrett and Sparky Plugg that went down on Superstars. Billy escaped and tagged in Tatanka but Jarrett caught him and worked him over in the corner. Tatanka made a quick comeback and poured it on until tagging Bart, who went to work on the arm. Jarrett worked free and tagged in IRS but Bart caught him with a flurry as we headed into a break. After returning, Sparky tagged in and kept bringing the fight to Irwin, however he got too close to the heel corner, allowing the tag to Martel to be made. Martel and Plugg traded offense at a good clip until Sparky went to that arm to slow things down. Both IRS and Kid would tag in next and Kid brought the fight right to him, working quickly and not giving Irwin a chance to catch his breath. Kid hit a clothesline off the top for two and then followed with a high cross body for another near fall. After that all hell broke loose as everyone brawled in and out of the ring. As things cleared out, Kid hit a leg lariat but then missed a big charge in the corner, allowing IRS to roll him up tightly for the win. This thing really hummed along and with the talent in there could have lasted another ten minutes easily. We never even had a heat segment as it was just a showcase for everyone to work some offense and get some screen time until the finish. IRS continues to be well protected and him and Jarrett definitely shone the most on their team. I thought Kid looked great during his spurt of offense but IRS nabs the win in the end. We also bid farewell to Rick Martel here on Raw. The Model had a nice little resurgence in 1993 and became a stalwart on Monday nights since his return. He was a good mid card heel hand to have around to fill up slots and put guys over. Farewell Model! Grade: **

*** We head to the back of the arena where Shawn Michaels welcomes us to the Heartbreak Hotel. The set is designed as a low rent motel, garnished by a leg lamp and heart shaped bed. Diesel is also on the scene and he stands menacingly as Michaels discusses the concept of the show. Michaels then lets Razor Ramon that they are not done with him just yet. They are just beginning with the Bad Guy. Michaels then issues a challenge to Ramon on behalf of Diesel, who wants to bring the Intercontinental Title home to the Heartbreak Hotel. There is no guest this week, this installment just existed to establish the concept and let Michaels issue the official challenge on behalf of his bodyguard. ***

4) Yokozuna defeats Scott Powers with a Banzai Drop at 2:25

Scott: For the first time since his ten month reign as WWF Champion ended at MSG, Yokozuna makes a Raw appearance here to squash some stiff. Gorilla is actually defending Yoko’s loss at Mania to Bret, saying the ropes may have been too loose. Yoko goes extra heel by sitting on Powers’ chest after the three count. A Bret Hart rematch is in the offing for the former champion, it’s just a question of when. Grade: DUD

JT: Wrapping things up this week is our former WWF Champion, making his first Raw appearance since dropping his gold to Bret Hart at WrestleMania. Vince notes that the Heartbreak Hotel returns on Superstars this weekend, with Bret Hart as a guest, and that program will be its permanent home going forward. Vince promotes this week’s USA Movie: House Party, a definite can’t miss! Gorilla then notes that Roddy Piper will now have his own segment on All American as well, entitled The Bottom Line. As you would expect, Yoko mauls Scott Powers and notches a very easy win. Grade: DUD

Final Analysis

Scott: This show didn’t have the same kind of sizzle that a post-Mania show should. I understand about the taping schedule and such, but sometimes it really feels like they’re so off kilter with the tapings around PPV’s. In any event the show is a little flat even though we have our first Razor Ramon appearance since the big ladder match win. IRS continues to be pushed like someone who’s got a big future and not just a veteran filling slots like say a Rick Martel is. Yokozuna’s future is a bit cloudy after losing to Bret Hart, we will see how long he stays at the top of the heel food chain. An average show that felt a little flat. Final Grade: C

JT: I really enjoyed this week’s episode of Raw. Despite being more stale, it felt much more lively than last week’s installment and also seemed to feature more angle progression and overall focus. I thought we started off well with Adam Bomb delivering a solid showing in defeat while Earthquake is clearly being positioned for something important. The ten man tag was quite fun too, albeit short, and it helped clarify who the big mid card heels on the rise will be in the coming weeks. The Heartbreak Hotel has been established and is off to a good start and we also have clarity that Diesel will clearly be the next challenger for Razor Ramon. I loved the Gorilla Monsoon interview with Mr. Perfect as it was filled with intensity and great trolling by Monsoon. Perfect as a heel fills a huge hole in the current roster as its constructed. Vince and Gorilla were a fun listen as well, as we got no real bullshit and just lots of focus on the angles and competitors. I also like how they continue to really highlight WrestleMania, with tons of footage and clips and also keeping angles simmering out of that show instead of totally wiping the slate clean. It makes it really stand out as something special when they leverage it like they have. You can tell they have really refocused the promotion coming out of MSG, with lots of shake ups in their programming, which they discuss in detail, and a change in the general look and presentation of the product. Overall, this was a surprisingly fun Raw, one that I was not expecting at all. Final Grade: B