Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Monday Night Raw 6/20/94

*** 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 #67

June 20, 1994
Westchester County Center
White Plains, NY
Announcers: Gorilla Monsoon & Randy Savage

Fun Fact: There is a change to the announce team tonight as Gorilla Monsoon takes over for Vince McMahon. Vince is taking time off from TV for two reasons. 1) He had just undergone neck surgery to repair a herniated disc. 2) McMahon’s trial on steroid distribution was set to begin the first week of July.

1) Diesel defeats Mark Thomas with a Jackknife at 3:58

Scott: A big shakeup at the top of the program as Gorilla Monsoon replaces Vince on PBP this week, along with spanish announcers at ringside. We are live one night after KOTR and Diesel isn’t the WWF Champion, although Gorilla of all people says that he may have had the Hitman’s number last night in Baltimore. I never heard Mark Thomas’ hometown until this show, and he’s a CT native. Right on! Gorilla and Savage talked a lot about Jim Neidhart and what he did the previous night in both the KOTR tournament final and the WWF Title match. When was Neidhart ever this hot? 1990? Diesel wins easily and we get some faint face pops from the White Plains crowd. Grade: DUD

JT: We are coming at you live this week from White Plains just one night removed from the second annual King of the Ring and there is a lot to go over. For the first time in a long time, Vince McMahon is absent from the Raw commentary booth and in his stead is the legendary Gorilla Monsoon. Gorilla is joined by the always present Randy Savage and they set up our big night ahead. Opening things up this week is the Intercontinental Champion Diesel, flanked by Shawn Michaels as usual. As he opens things up with Mark Thomas, Gorilla and Randy discuss how angry this duo is about being hosed during Diesel’s WWF Title match last night. He looked to have Bret Hart beat with the Jackknife but an interfering Jim Neidhart drew a DQ on behalf of the champ. Savage talks about how much it could hurt to miss on such a golden opportunity because it may never come around again. They also talk about the big twist of Neidhart then turning on the Hitman and helping Owen Hart win the KOTR crown. Savage shares his theory that the Anvil protected the title for Bret so Owen would be the one to win from him and Gorilla believes the Anvil is the one that poisoned Owen’s mind and started this whole thing. Diesel works over Thomas and Michaels even gets a few licks in before the IC champ wins it with the Jackknife. Grade: DUD

*** Todd Pettengil recaps last night’s King of the Ring PPV, sharing results and still photos and then plugs the encore presentation. ***

2) 1-2-3 Kid defeats Nikolai Volkoff in a WWF Title #1 Contenders Match with a small package at 5:59

Scott: So Gorilla says the winner of this match will face Bret Hart for the WWF Title on the July 11 episode of Raw. Savage is acting very heelish towards Gorilla, more than he ever does to Vince. Both guys are lauding the Kid for his performance yesterday at the KOTR, losing in the semifinals in a tough match to Owen Hart. It’s weird seeing Nikolai with long hair, so different than his evil Cold War days in the 1980s. The Kid gets some early shots but Nikolai takes control and lays the kicks in. The Kid looks injured but he was possibly playing opossum as while Volkoff was going for a body slam the Kid wraps him in a small package and gets the three count! The Kid is getting a World Title shot, but Volkoff and Ted DiBiase is working him over until Virgil comes down and takes care of Nikolai and then we harken back to 1991 as V-I-R…G-I-L is in DiBiase’s face. Nikolai blindsides Virgil and they work him over until Lex Luger comes in and the heels bail. What’s more important about all this is that on July 11, the Kid gets a shot at Bret hart’s World Title! Grade: *

JT: Up next we have a very interesting match as 1-2-3 Kid and Nikolai Volkoff are about to clash with some heavy stakes on the line: a future WWF Championship match. Gorilla and Randy talk about Kid’s gutty effort last night, fighting through a vicious attack by Jeff Jarrett before falling to Owen Hart in the second round. Volkoff is still dealing with being an indentured servant but DiBiase seems to be doing well by him, getting this big time match for his charge. Nikolai overpowered the Kid out of the gate, clubbing away with forearms until Kid caught him with a cross body for two. Volkoff regained his composure and cut Kid down with a kick to the chest. Gorilla notes that DiBiase purchased this opportunity for Nikolai as the Russian starts to work the midsection of the Kid. Kid would escape the bear hug and kick away but Nikolai cut him down on a charge and hit a butterfly suplex for two. Kid came back with a roll up for two as DiBiase started to show some concern at ringside. Nikolai quickly regained control but Kid cut that off with a dropkick for another near fall. Nikolai kicked him down again and dropped him hard across the top rope. The fans started to rally the Kid as Nikolai hit a pair of backbreakers but he pulled Kid up during the cover, wanting to please his boss. Kid would try a float over leap frog but Nikolai stayed put and Kid landed hard on his knee, dropping right to the mat in pain. Volkoff showed some concern, stopping his attack and going over to check on the Kid. However, it was all a rouse as Kid locked him with a small package for the win. Kid jumped up and celebrated, showing that the injury was a fake one but Nikolai made him pay with a rough beatdown after the bell. Virgil would eventually make the save  but he too got beaten down until Lex Luger showed up and finally ran Ted and Nikolai off. Kid continues to look good week in and week out but Nikolai is in super slow motion out there. I know part of it is the gimmick, in that he is supposed to be miserable and disinterested, but he was clearly a couple of steps behind the whole time. Kid now gets to rest and prepare for the biggest match of his young career. Grade: *

3) Yokozuna defeats Nick Barberi with a leg drop at 2:23

Scott: So JT and I are both covered in terms of hometown guys as Nick Barberri is the pride of… Newport, Rhode Island! Yoko failed to get the Tag Team Titles with Crush last night at KOTR, and so he took it out on the pride of Newport. This was a quick squash. Grade: DUD

JT: We head right back to the ring as Yokozuna, Mr Fuji and Jim Cornette head to the ring for a bout with Nick Barberi. Gorilla and Randy discuss the tough loss by Yoko and Crush as they lost out a chance at the tag team titles thanks to Lex Luger getting involved. Savage thinks Yoko may be eyeing another crack at the WWF Title and Gorilla reminds us that he ran Earthquake out of the WWF. They then really bury Quake before putting over his recently returned former tag team partner, Typhoon. Yoko is in a nasty mood tonight and he just smacks the crap out of Barberi before finishing him with a leg drop. It will be interesting where Yoko goes from here but it seems like a feud with Typhoon lies ahead in the immediate future. Grade: DUD

4) Typhoon defeats Black Phantom with a big splash at 2:45

Fun Fact: After a poor stint in WCW where he took part in one of the most infamously bad segments in wrestling history (the Shockmaster incident), Fred Ottman returns to the WWF tonight as Typhoon, taking the place of his former tag team partner, Earthquake, who just recently left the company. 

Scott: As Typhoon walks to the ring, he and Yokozuna went nose to nose in the aisle. During the commercial break the other half of the Natural Disasters decked the former World Champion before heading to the ring to face… Steve Lombardi! Well we don’t know if the Black Phantom is the ol’ Brooklyn Brawler or not. Gorilla acknowledges that Vince had neck surgery and isn’t here, nor was he at the King of the Ring PPV. This was quick and painless also. Grade: DUD

JT: We continue to chug along here as Typhoon is making his way to the ring. However, as he gets halfway down the aisle, he runs into the departing Yokozuna, leading to a big staredown and eventual trading of blows. After a break, Yoko was gone and Typhoon was in the ring, ready to battle the Black Phantom. With Earthquake now long gone, it will be interesting if Typhoon just slots right into his spot. At the very least, he is picking up his feud with Yoko. That said, I am not sure he can pick up the heat that Quake had really built up, as he had gotten quite over in his final six weeks or so. Gorilla lets us know that Vince McMahon is recuperating from neck surgery and will be back soon. Savage then gets in our weekly USA Movie plug: check out Wolfen this Friday night at 9PM! Typhoon makes quick and easy work of the Phantom and picks up the win in his return to Raw. Grade: DUD

*** Jerry Lawler heads to the ring for this week’s King’s Court. Lawler, wearing sunglasses, takes a few minutes to trash Roddy Piper for cheating his way to a win last night. He calls the “Hot Rod” kid Piper’s daughter and then says he is finished with Piper. He then brings out his guest, Duke Droese. Lawler makes some garbage man jokes and doesn’t allow him in the ring because he stinks. Droese says the King stinks to much for even him. Lawler then references their altercation on Superstars and doesn’t allow Droese to speak, talking down to him in a demeaning way and making garbage joke after garbage joke. Droese calls Lawler a stinking piece of garbage and then walks out. Lawler comes following after him and jumps him in the aisle, bashing him over the head repeatedly with the trash can. ***

5) Heavenly Bodies defeat Jim Powers & Russ Greenberg when Del Ray pins Greenberg with a moonsault at 3:57

Fun Fact: During the match, Jimmy Del Ray cracked his pelvis when he did a moonsault and Russ Greenburg was out of position.

Scott: Jim Cornette’s charges are in for a squash against a Raw mainstay in Greenberg and an 80s jobber icon in Jim Powers! Cornette goes on the mic and says the Heavenly Bodies got a tag title shot with the Headshrinkers. Cornette was going crazy about this, and not about whether Yokozuna will get another title shot or not. Jimmy Del Ray is such a goof but he fits this role perfectly. They win the match and move on. Grade: DUD

JT: Time for our final match of the evening as the Heavenly Bodies and Jim Cornette head to the ring to battle the old veteran Jim Powers and his partner Russ Greenberg. The Bodies’ sweet winged robes are pretty amazing. Gorilla and Randy talk about the Headshrinkers and their big win last night as Cornette hops in on commentary. Cornette says the Bodies will be the next tag team champions and tells us a match against the Headshrinkers has officially been set and will be going down soon. Cornette says the champions had to be forced into it because they are afraid. Powers and Greenberg get a little offense in until the Bodies are able to double team and wrestle away control. Powers is jacked, by the way, and is moving around quite well here tonight. Cornette spends the whole match trashing the Headshrinkers and the Bodies execute their offense tremendously as always before putting Greenberg away after a Del Ray moonsault. Sounds like big things are ahead for the Bodies. Grade: DUD

*** Monsoon and Savage promote SummerSlam, emanating from Chicago on August 29. Ted DiBiase then joins us from backstage and informs us that he has his eye on Lex Luger due to his potential as a champion. He claims the only thing Luger is missing is proper guidance. ***

Final Analysis

Scott: Out of King of the Ring we get kind of bland episode of Raw. I love Gorilla and always will but this isn’t Superstars or an MSG House Show. Gorilla doesn’t understand the whole live TV feeling (and isn’t faking it very well either). Savage is acting more heelish than he does with Vince, probably because Gorilla needs that kind of analyst to bounce off of. We now begin the long road to SummerSlam as the Undertaker storyline continues as well as Owen’s ascent after the KOTR tournament victory toward a clear title shot against his brother. Final Grade: D+

JT: This was a pretty interesting episode of Raw as a lot of the King of the Ring fallout was discussed on commentary but didn’t really play out on air. We did set up some new issues and storyline direction though, igniting a feud between Jerry Lawler and Duke Droese, setting up 1-2-3 Kid for a WWF Title shot, kicking off an angle between Typhoon and Yokozuna, establishing the Heavenly Bodies as top contenders to the Headshrinkers and planting some seeds that Ted DiBiase may make a play for Lex Luger. That is a lot of advancement for one episode. In ring, this was a very soft outing as our one big match pretty much stunk thanks to the quite deteriorated Nikolai Volkoff. And as much as I love Gorilla Monsoon, I much prefer Vince McMahon with Randy Savage on this show. The energy is just completely different without Vince there and the show doesn’t seem as over the top or in your face. It still hummed along fine enough but it just felt more like a B show for whatever reason. The long road to SummerSlam officially kicks off here and we will see what twists and turns will lead us to Chicago. Final Grade: C