Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Monday Night Raw 5/2/94

*** 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 #61

May 2, 1994 (April 26, 1994)
Green Mountain State
Burlington, VT
Announcers: Vince McMahon & Randy Savage

1) Headshrinkers defeat Quebecers to win WWF Tag Team Titles when Fatu pinned Jacques after a top rope splash at 15:00

Fun Fact: Captain Lou Albano made his return to the WWF in March of 1994. His first 2 appearances back were just shots of him in the audience during the Road to WrestleMania X and at WrestleMania X. He returned to TV on the 3/21 episode of Raw where he interrupted the Quebecers and challenged them to face a team of his choosing. On 3/28, he revealed his team to be the Headshrinkers, who had recently turned face. Last week on Raw, President Jack Tunney called into the show to announce that the Headshrinkers would get a tag team title shot against the Quebecers this week. 

Scott: Well right out of the gate we have the anticipated tag title match that’s been talked about for many weeks, and now Jack Tunney has dropped the hammer and forced Pierre and Jacques to put the straps on the line. Of course it’s ruined by Lou Albano padding his tag title stats, which honestly he admits that’s why he’s here. What a toad. I have to say I’ve gained a whole new respect for the Quebecers while watching these Raws, as they were working champs who would put over a quick face team but then cheat their way back to the titles. I would have no problem with a team trying to get the straps from the Quebecers but adding Albano out of mothballs just ruins all of it. Only here to pad his stats. It’s nauseating. After the Headshrinkers dominate early, the Quebecers bolt out of the arena until the referee says they’ll lose the straps as well as the match. Once they got back in the ring we begin the extended heat segment where the champs really start laying in the business to the Headshrinkers, and perhaps we would get another escape act by Johnny Polo & his charges. Samu ended up hanging himself on the top two ropes and I thought this match was over, but Pierre misses the finisher and we get some confusion in the ring, until Jacques accidentally hits Pierre with a forearm. Then Pierre gets pissed and slugs his partner which I don’t understand at all. Samu hits the splash and we have new tag team champions. Dammit Lou Albano! You glory hog, go back to the Italian Club and eat a hoagie. A devastating loss and probably the end of the line for one of the greatest teams of the decade. Grade: **

JT: We are still on tape this week but are actually in a new building as we make our maiden Monday night voyage into the state of Vermont! And we are also wasting absolutely no time in getting to our very well hyped and built WWF Tag Team Title bout. Over the past few weeks, Lou Albano has been lobbying Jack Tunney for the Headshrinkers to earn a crack at the Quebecers, after they were backed in to accepting the challenge. Tunny eventually capitulated and here we are. The Quebecers have been tremendous champions and workhorses, carrying many a Raw since nabbing the titles back in September. There have been brief blips in the reign but they have dominated the division since the fall. Flipping the Headshrinkers face made some sense as there was definitely a dearth of face challengers and they had pretty much run their course as heels. Tossing Albano in the mix was a fine enough catalyst to get them there, even if he was just back in town to notch another title reign in his managerial belt. The champs were as confident as ever but Vince reminds us that they were forced into this one but does state we are just 100 miles from Montreal so there should be some Quebecer fans here tonight. Vince also runs through Albano’s history and his ties to Samoans of years gone by. Pierre and Fatu open things up with a bit of a stalemate until Fatu rocked Pierre with a headbutt for two. The fans were definitely behind the challengers and Albano did what he could to rev them up as things reset with Jacques and Samu tagging in. They would also tussle to a stalemate but Jacques went to the eyes. That quickly backfired when Samu cracked him with a falling headbutt. From there, we got some miscommunication between the champs and then after a quick brawl, the challengers cleared them from the ring. The Quebecers regrouped with Johnny Polo and then walked to the back, content to lose the match by count out, but they quickly returned when the referee had the Fink announce that the champs would lose their titles if they did not return. The crowd loved that one. The Quebecers did not.

After a break, Pierre and Fatu were starting things up yet again and this time Fatu went right to work, slamming Pierre down hard for a near fall. The challengers started to tag in and out and work a quick strike based offense, sneaking in pin covers where they could. The Quebecers eventually turned the tide on Fatu, working together to soften him up, including slinging him into the ring steps. The crowd worked hard to rally Fatu but the champs built momentum and confidence as they settled into their usual attack. After another break, Fatu was able to duck a charge and dump Pierre to the floor and then make the tag. Samu cleaned house but Jacques ducked his charge and the Samoan hung himself in between the top ropes. The Quebecers freed him and Jacques followed that up with a nice delayed piledriver. Instead of covering, Jacques tagged Pierre, who went up to for the Tower of Quebec, but Samu dodged it and bought himself a second chance. Polo hopped on the apron but Albano yanked him down and Afa slugged him just as Samu tagged in Fatu. The referee missed the tag and disallowed it but the Quebecers had more miscommunication when Jacques accidentally clocked Pierre. Pierre got pissed and slugged his partner down to the mat. That allowed Samu to kick Pierre to the floor. and then make the official tag to Fatu. They would hit a double team face breaker followed by a Fatu top rope splash for the win and title change. Sad panda. With the build, turmoil in the Quebecer camp and the huge celebration, it really felt like this would be the end of the road for them as top dogs. It has been a hell of a run. The match itself was kind of disappointing though as they never really found a nice speed to settle at. Everything just felt kind of patched together and off by a step, like it was just a series of segments of a match mashed into one bout. The Quebecers really seemed off and the Shrinkers were still adjusting to playing the face role. I also think the dubbed in commentary and audio affected things too as it didn’t feel authentic. This match probably should have just been done at WrestleMania. We will now see if the Headshrinkers can build a quality title reign as faces. A sad end to a tremendous run. Grade: *1/2

*** Todd Pettengil is in the house with our first official King of the Ring report. The show goes down on Father’s Day in Baltimore and tickets are moving quickly after being released earlier today. Here are the announced qualifying matches going down over the next week:

Scott Steiner vs. IRS
Razor Ramon vs. Kwang

Much more to be announced in the coming weeks, but Todd does reveal that Baltimore Colts legend Art Donovan will be a special guest analyst. Order the show for your dad today! ***

*** Chief Jay Strongbow joins Vince McMahon and Randy Savage to discuss the state of mind of Tatanka after IRS destroyed his headdress. Strongbow says IRS insulted their entire people and Tatanka is on a war path. ***

2) Tatanka defeats Derek Domino with  at 5:18

Scott: Tatanka is pissed after IRS destroyed his sacred headdress and before the match Chief Jay Strongbow told Vince & Savage that he’s “on the warpath”. Domino stupidly jumps Tatanka from behind but that of course didn’t work, and Tatanka took an extended time working Domino over and every which way. We had our first KOTR report before this match, taking place June 19 in Baltimore, concluding the four city East Coast PPV swing as the WWF hit all their strongholds (Boston, Providence, NYC, Baltimore) dating back to Survivor Series. Tatanka wins and heads back to his issues with IRS. Grade: DUD

JT: After twirling in the wind since 1994 started, Tatanka is finally back into a heated feud as he is pissed off at IRS for destroying his prized headdress. He comes out here all fired up, dodging a Domino attack from behind and unleashing chops and punches on him in the corner. Tatanka is definitely working aggressively, as was predicted, taking the fight at Domino, who actually has a little spunk and gets a few shots in here and there. Vince talks more about the WrestleMania Revenge Tour as IRS dials in for a quick chat. IRS reiterates that Tatanka did not pay the gift tax that was required and as a result he paid it the hard way. He said Strongbow learned the hard way too and that he can’t wait to wrestle Tatanka. We get a bit of pop culture talk as well as some hype for tonight’s King’s Court, which will feature the new Intercontinental Champion. Tatanka finally finishes off Domino, shakes hands with Strongbow and he clearly looks as focused as ever. Grade: DUD

*** Jerry Lawler heads to the ring for this week’s King’s Court. Before bringing out his guest, Lawler takes more shots at Roddy Piper and Piper’s Pit. He then turns his attention to Razor Ramon, calling him a has been since he is now the ex-Intercontintal Champion, before bringing out the man that took that gold from him: Diesel. The big man sauntered out to the ring, the gold strapped around his waist, as boos filled the arena. Diesel grants Lawler permission to call him Big Daddy Cool and then they reveal that Shawn Michaels is home rehabbing after sacrificing himself during the title match. Diesel puts over Michaels and their friendship, saying they are the best Dynamic Duo since Batman and Robin. He then gives some credit to Ramon but then says while the IC Title is nice, he thinks the WWF Title would be better and he thinks he will go after that. Lawler takes shots at Bret Hart and says he will avoid Diesel at all costs. Diesel says Hart can run, but he can’t hide and he makes it clear again that he wants the Hitman and the WWF Title. ***

*** We then head to a montage of random townies that claim they have seen the Undertaker. ***

3) Yokozuna defeats Mike Davis and Scott Taylor with a Banzai Drop at 4:20

Scott: In his first Raw match since losing the WWF Title at WrestleMania, Yokozuna comes out to crush two stiffs in a handicap match. This is good character rebuilding for him because obviously he’s still a top heel and will get rematches with Bret Hart soon. He kills these bums and then double bonzais them for the win. Then he bonzais one of them after the match and just sits on him while slapping his face, which is great heel work. He continues dropping bonzais until Earthquake comes in to stop the madness. Two big masses of humanity. Grade: DUD

JT: Closing things out this week is our former WWF Champion, Yokozuna, who is making his first in ring Raw appearance since dropping that gold in MSG. Vince name drops Earthquake as another big man that could maybe hang with Yoko. As Yoko cuts down both Davis and Taylor, Savage plugs Survive the Night, USA’s premier movie encore, airing this Friday night. Set your VCRs now! Yoko murders both guys, slowly picking them apart before crushing them with a Banzai Drop for the easy win. Yoko is pissed off despite the win and keeps crunching Davis and Taylor with Banzai Drops until Earthquake comes out to make the save. Grade: DUD

*** Earthquake joins Vince McMahon and Randy Savage and issues a challenge to Yokozuna for a match to prove who is the biggest and the best man in the WWF. ***

Final Analysis

Scott: Even though we are taped, this was a fun episode. We have the end of the line for one of the greatest heel teams of all time. The Quebecers kept the tag division stable while the babyface teams were working themselves out. I still wonder why they didn’t jump on the Smokin’ Gunns, but that’s ok. They’ll get their chance. It looks like Yoko is being slipped out of the Title picture as he begins a feud with Earthquake. Nice to be loyal to John Tenta and have him work with one of the big dogs. I enjoyed this show even though it was taped because it still freshened things up and we have new Tag Team Champions. Final Grade: B+

JT: This kind of feels like a lost episode. Nothing about it seemed to click for me. The arena seemed a little off, the commentary seemed more canned than normal and nothing in the ring ever got going either. The build and hype for the Tag Title match was really well done but the match fell flat, which sucked because it officially ends the run of the great Quebecers. The moment itself was good but I couldn’t get into the match at all. The rest of the show was nothing to write home about either as we get a couple of jobber matches and a pretty bland King’s Court. Of course, it was a big week overall as two championships changed hands and we do get Diesel challenging Bret Hart here, so there is historical value on this episode for sure. Those two things help carry the grade a bit but overall this felt like more of a miss than a hit to me. Final Grade: C+