Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Monday Night Raw 5/15/95

*** 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 #111

May 15, 1995
Broome County Arena
Binghamton, NY
Announcers: Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler

1) Owen Hart & Yokozuna defeat Nick Barberry & Bill Weaver when Yokozuna pins Weaver with a uranage at 3:00

Scott: As we are one night after they successfully defended their Tag Titles against the Smoking Gunns, our champions take on a couple of scrubs. There were a couple of upsets at last night’s PPV, including Jerry Lawler beating Bret Hart (mind you it was Bret’s second match of the night and Hakushi helped Lawler win) but it does keep the feud going. Perhaps at the next PPV there will be a blow off match. The Binghamton crowd is pretty hot but this one doesn’t last too long as the Champs win easily. Grade: DUD

JT: Hey, we are actually live this week as tonight’s Monday Night Raw emanates from our old stomping grounds in Binghamton and we are less than 24 hours removed from the first ever In Your House. Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler are on the call as usual and we are wading through the fallout from Syracuse as we get set up for our opening tilt. The King is bragging all about his big win over Bret Hart last night, saying he did it by himself (he did not) and for his mother (she was not) who was at ringside. Owen Hart and Yokozuna amble out to the ring, fresh off defeating the Smoking Gunns, and are looking as confident as ever. Poor Nick Barberry and Bill Weaver try to psych themselves up but they had no chance at victory here. Vince says both the Allied Powers and Smoking Gunns are lining back up for title shots in the near future. He also says Yoko is over 600 pounds and is continuing to grow. The champs mow through these jamokes with ease and nab another victory as they continue to roll along. Grade: DUD

2) Man Mountain Rock defeats Iron Mike Sharpe via submission with the Whammy Bar at 1:30

Scott: Seriously, Iron Mike Sharpe was still cutting a paycheck in 1995? It took about as long for Vince to plug “Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom” as it was for Man Mountain Rock to win this match. I mean I get the recaps of last night’s show through Vince & Jerry at the table, but we get two really abysmal jobber squashes to start. We do have some still shots of last night with recap clips and such, but these two matches are trash. Grade: DUD

JT: And now we head back to the reality of the menagerie of misfits that currently make up the WWF mid card. I think Man Mountain Rock has a solid look and definitely is talented in the ring but this name and overall presentation just give him no shot. He is just meandering around like so many others out there these days. That said, him playing the guitar before his match was a pretty cool touch and they did a cool job with the lighting and camera angles. I can’t believe Mike Sharpe is still hanging around here, in the very deep twilight of his career. He has also bulked up quite a bit. Vince tells us we will hear more about the 11 year old IYH contest winner in a bit and then plugs the USA Movie, Indiana Jones & The Temple of Doom, airing this Friday night. MMR gets the easy win with the Whammy Bar… and maybe he will actually do something of substance soon. Grade: DUD

*** We revisit last night when 11 year old Matt Pomposelli won the In Your House Florida vacation house giveaway contest. Vince McMahon also announces that Shawn Michaels will return to Monday Night Raw next week. After that, we check out more still photos from last night’s action, including the debut of Savio Vega, who saved Razor Ramon. We then have a quick chat with Vega, who is backstage and fired up. Vega talks about his friendship with Ramon and why he got involved last night. ***

3) Bob Holly defeats Mantaur in a King of the Ring Qualifying Match with a high cross body at 5:29

Fun Fact: Tonight we say farewell to Mantaur on MNR. He will stay around in the WWF for a little while longer, with his last televised match on WWF Superstars against Bam Bam Bigelow and as a lumberjack in a match at In Your House 2. After leaving the WWF, Mike Hallick, who played Mantaur, would go to ECW and would take on the role of Bruiser Mastino.

Scott: Oh yeah, that time of the year. Last night at IYH, Mabel was the first to qualify by defeating my guy Adam Bomb (cheating of course) and now our second qualifier pits Sparky Plugg against the Bull. This is Mantaur’s first RAW match against legitimate competition and it’s highly unlikely he’s going to win. Vince announces that the King of the Ring will be in Philadelphia on June 25. It’s the first PPV at the Spectrum since SummerSlam 1990. Mantaur controls the action with big chops and strikes and a side suplex as Vince congratulates Matt Pomposelli, who won the house last night. Mantaur continues to mangle Sparky with strikes as Vince announces Shawn Michaels will return next week to face King Kong Bundy in a KOTR Qualifier. Holly makes a quick comeback with a two count and then a missile drop kick for two. Holly goes to the top rope with a flying body press and gets the victory to move on to the tournament in Philly. Grade: 1/2*

JT: We head back to the ring for our first Raw KOTR Qualifying Match of the year as Bob Holly jogs out to battle the massive Mantaur, who is with Jim Cornette as usual. As Mantaur snorts in the ring, we hear from merchandise shill Barry Didinsky, who is here to plug the official IYH t-shirt as well as a Bret Hart t-shirt, available tonight only! Vince also informs us that Mabel defeated Adam Bomb last night to snap up the first official KOTR bracket slot. We get some discussion around the KOTR rules and find out the show is about five weeks away, emanating from Philadelphia. Mantaur uses his power early on, chucking Holly hard to the floor and keeping him off balance. Holly comes back with some dropkicks but Mantaur cuts him off with a violent bodyslam. They really did this guy no favors with this stupid gimmick as he could have been a fun bruiser heel if  he had a normal look. This may be the best he has looked in a match, using some varied, hard hitting power offense. Mantaur lands a nice powerslam and then keeps bearing down on Holly, clubbing his chest with heavy blows and then dropping him with a sidewalk slam. Vince talks about the return of Shawn Michaels next week as the moose maintains control. He mentions that Michaels challenged Sid to a match but Ted DiBiase decreed it would be King Kong Bundy in the slot instead. Holly gets a near fall on a roll up and then makes a comeback with a dropkick and series of clotheslines before finally putting the big man down with a missile dropkick for two. Holly went right back to the top rope and this time hit a high cross body for the win. The career renaissance of Bob Holly in 1995 continues as he officially heads to the KOTR tournament. This was a solid little match and I wish we got more of this Mantaur in the ring and less of the gimmicky nonsense as he showed some good bully power offense. Too little, too late. Grade: *

*** Vince McMahon heads to the ring to chat with Mr. Bob Backlund, who is here to finally unveil his major announcement, one that has been teased for weeks. During his match with Bret Hart at WrestleMania, Backlund had a vision but before he reveals what it was he rattles off a whole bunch of important historical dates in American history. He then finally announces that he is officially contemplating running for the Presidency of the United States. Upon the announcement, a marching band hit the ring playing “Hail to the Chief” as Backlund stomped around the ring. ***

*** We check out still clips from the Diesel vs. Sid match from last night. Jim Ross then chats with Ted DiBiase and IRS backstage as they promise victory tonight. DiBiase then issues a tag team challenge to Bigelow and Diesel to take on Sid and Tatanka. ***

4) Bam Bam Bigelow defeats IRS with a falling headbutt at 7:04

Fun Fact: After being attacked by the Corporation several weeks back, Bam Bam Bigelow has gone through a face turn and is now on the warpath against his former stablemates.

Scott: For the first time in a while, Raw is formatted where the main event match is at the end. Bigelow has a snazzy theme song now being a babyface and a new jacket with fire all over the place. Lawler is really beating the “Vince’s toupee” joke into the ground tonight. IRS still is going strong as he represents the Corporation against former employee Bigelow. The WWF Champion Diesel came out to chase DiBiase off so the match can be one on one. The match is going back and forth until IRS takes the turnbuckle pad off and whips Bigelow into it. IRS goes for the count and Diesel puts Bigelow’s foot on the rope, which allows the Beast to recover and get the victory. I was expecting a little more out of this one as Bigelow & Diesel celebrate. After the match Sid & Tatanka start stalking the aisle, since DiBiase challenged the babyfaces to a future tag team match. Grade: *

JT: We head down to the ring for our final match of the night as the freshly minted face Bam Bam Bigelow starts his quest to eradicate his former stable, the Million Dollar Corporation. And that journey starts with his former tag team partner, IRS, who is still the old steady and reliable force in the Corporation. Bigelow has refined his look here, wearing a garish fire shooting jacket and being played to the ring by some new funky theme music. Of course, Bigelow has become aligned with Diesel over the past month and last night saved him from a beatdown by Sid, DiBiase and Tatanka and looks like a tag team battle could now be on the horizon. Bigelow brings Diesel out to the ring here, saying he would be proud to be his partner and reveals that he will be in his corner tonight. DiBiase sprints to the back to get away from Big Daddy Cool as the match officially gets under way. IRS attacks at the bell but Bigelow fends him off and sends him flying to the floor, where he regains his bearings. Bigelow would maintain control for a bit, wearing Irwin down throughout a break, working the arm and then leveling him with a clothesline. As Diesel looked on from the floor, Bigelow headed up top but IRS dodged a headbutt and took over on offense. Irwin ground through his usual offense, kicking and clubbing away before hooking in a chinlock and then twisting into an abdominal stretch. Irwin got a close near fall but Bigelow survived with an assist from Diesel, who pushed the Taxman’s foot off the ropes. A moment later, Bammer dropped a headbutt and took home the win. This was fine and pretty paint-by-numbers but at least had some energy to it. After the match, Sid and Tatanka came down the aisle but we cut to break before anything developed. Grade: *

*** We check out a special music video about Shawn Michaels. King Kong Bundy then cackles that Michaels’ return will be short lived. ***

Final Analysis

Scott: We start the build to King of the Ring after that dumpster fire that’s IYH #1. Shawn Michaels makes his return after Sid took him out over a month ago. Having said that, things right now are kind of bleak. I said after last week’s show that I was concerned that Diesel and Sid may not be able to dance during this PPV. Sure enough they laid a big bag of poo last night in Syracuse. Do we want more matches from them? I vote, no. Bret Hart is lost in the mid-card, Shawn is hurt, Undertaker keeps chasing his urn and the talent pool is very thin. They can’t seem to get on the same page with everybody, in particular the mid-card which is really hurting as there’s no legit IC Title contenders for Jeff Jarrett. I’m curious how they fill out this KOTR tournament and who shows up in Philly next month. This episode is live so the energy level is high, but I have a feeling we’re about to down a dark rabbit hole that may take a while to get out of. Final Grade: C+

JT: This was a fairly energetic edition of Raw that focused heavily on the fallout of In Your House while also getting us on the road to King of the Ring. However, even with the announcement of the return of Shawn Michaels, the horizon doesn’t look very bright. After seeing what kind of in ring stinker Diesel and Sid put on in Syracuse, the proposition of more matches between them isn’t exactly tantalizing. Toss in a very stale Tatanka and things look even worse. There was no Bret Hart on this show and we haven’t seen Undertaker in a while either. As I have said before, the talent exists but they just haven’t figured out quite how to piece it all together and instead waste time on dead end gimmicks that will never advance past the lower mid card. The energy of the live show helps a lot and I thought the matches were all solid enough, but there really isn’t too much to get excited about on the card at this point. Maybe Michaels will change that a bit next week. Until then… Final Grade: C

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