Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Monday Night Raw 6/27/94

*** 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 #68

June 27, 1994 (Taped June 20, 1994)
Westchester County Center
White Plains, NY
Announcers: Gorilla Monsoon & Randy Savage

*** The show opens with a recap of the events from a week ago when Jerry Lawler attacked Duke Droese during the King’s Court. Gorilla Monsoon tells us that tonight we find out what Lawler’s official punishment will be. Droese tells he has planned his revenge and doesn’t know what the WWF officials will levy for punishment. Lawler then says Droese started all of this and is the one that should be punished. Droese dumped trash on him and that is why Lawler did what he did. Lawler says he is forced to be here and has been told to apologize in public. He tries but can’t and tells the officials to fine or suspend him instead of having to apologize. He finally revs himself up and after some nudging from an official offscreen, he mumbles an apology. The official tells him to do it better, and he grudgingly mumbles it again. ***

1) Mabel defeats Bam Bam Bigelow via count out at 3:35

Fun Fact: This will be Luna Vachon’s final appearance with Bam Bam Bigelow as his valet. After the match, Luna will sell Bigelow’s contract to Ted DiBiase and will set her sights on the WWF Women’s Champion, Alundra Blaze.

Scott: Gorilla Monsoon is back with Randy Savage as we have quite a bit of beef in the ring to open the show this week. Mabel is definitely a favorite of the office, as he’s been shown off prominently as a singles worker lately, including a spot in the KOTR tournament. I’m still convinced they can do more with Bigelow than just being a meandering heel with Luna at his side. Bigelow is very impressive in the ring, even executing a pretty smooth snap mare to a 500 pound guy. As the match progresses, Luna gets knocked down not once but twice as the two hosses start brawling outside and the referee calls the win for Mabel as Bigelow went back outside to check on Luna, who’s out cold. After the match, Luna gets back in the ring but suddenly Ted DiBiase comes out and starts negotiating with them. Interesting. Grade: DUD

JT: We are back in White Plains this week where we come at you via videotape for this week’s edition of Raw. In the booth once again are Gorilla Monsoon and Randy Savage as Vince McMahon continues to recover from neck surgery (and continues to battle the US Government, of course). Opening things up is our prime match of the week… and I do mean prime as two massive slabs of beef are about to tussle in Mabel and Bam Bam Bigelow. Oscar raps Mabel out to the ring as his solo run rolls on with Mo on the shelf. Of course, he came up short in his KOTR opening round bout but this is another big bout for him as a chance to make a statement. Bam Bam Bigelow also lost in the first round at KOTR and ever since putting Doink to bed at WrestleMania he has been a bit aimless. Bammer and Luna marched out to the ring and we officially got things under way. Mabel would win the opening lock up but Bigelow jabbed him in the face and went to work with right hands and an enziguri that drove Mabel to the mat. Bigelow kept the pressure on, laying in kicks and punches but Mabel fought to his feet and slugged right back. Bigelow ate a boot on a charge and then Mabel squashed him with a leg drop to the back of the head. Luna hopped on the apron and that slight distraction allowed Bammer to dodge an elbow drop. Luna again got on the apron but she got leveled when Bigelow shot Mabel into the ropes.  Mabel kept bringing the heat as Oscar went over and checked on Luna, who was out cold. Bigelow came back with a big body block but then saw Oscar with his woman, which drew him to the floor. Bigelow shoved Oscar and checked on Luna, which allowed Mabel to drill him with an ax handle off the apron. Luna got cracked during that move too. Mabel was able to shove Bigelow away but instead of heading back inside, Bammer went back to Luna, giving Mabel the win by count out. I was actually enjoying this hoss power battle until the wonkiness came into play and slowed things down. I wish they went a couple minutes longer and played it straight. Mabel gets his win but it is a bittersweet one for sure. Grade: 1/2*

*** As Bam Bam Bigelow and Luna Vachon argue with the referee and vent in the ring, Ted DiBiase heads to the ring to calm them down. ***

*** We head back two weeks to Superstars, where Ted DiBiase popped into the Heartbreak Hotel to announce that he had indeed found the Undertaker. His Undertaker appeared and spoke briefly alongside DiBiase. A week later, Undertaker made his in ring return alongside his “owner” DiBiase, who led him to the ring by a wad of cash. Randy Savage and Gorilla Monsoon express disbelief that Undertaker can be motivated by money but it looks like it very well may have happened. ***

2) Irwin R. Schyster defeats Rich Myers via submission with the Penalty at 2:45

Scott: Right before this match, we are reminded if you missed the KOTR, the encore is tomorrow night on PPV. During this match Savage is talking about Ross Perot’s party in Dallas, which Gorilla called a “baloney blowout”. I’m going to leave that there. Nothing against Vince, but Gorilla’s even keeled voice and steady analysis is a nice change from Vince’s epileptic commentary. IRS wins the squash, and is still one of the hardest working guys in the company. Grade: DUD

JT: IRS is out next to take on Rich Meyers and his never-ending mullet. Gorilla and Randy run through the open questions that are still lingering from KOTR as IRS yanks on that mullet to break out of a wrist lock. IRS got aggressive from there and pounded on Meyers, mixing in an abdominal stretch for fun. Gorilla notes that IRS will be battling Doink this week on Superstars, which should be a bit tougher of a match. We get some topical political chapter as IRS grinds a chinlock and then Gorilla says he has people trying to track down Bigelow for answers to what went down earlier. IRS finally hooks the Penalty for the win. Grade: DUD

Fun Fact: Tonight we have the Raw return of Jim Neidhart return. Neidhart had returned to the WWF at the King of the Ring event, where he helped Bret Hart retain his IC title by interfering and getting Bret DQ’d. Later in the night he would help Owen Hart win the KotR crown. During his time away from the WWF in 1992 and 1993, Neidhart spent time in New Japan, WCW and ECW.

*** Jerry Lawler heads to the ring for this week’s King’s Court. Gorilla and Randy waste no time saying Lawler should have been suspended for his actions last week. Lawler talks about the history of the Hart Foundation, calling Jim Neidhart the leader and creator of the team while Bret Hart was the loser. He then brings Neidhart out to the ring and Gorilla hopes the questions will be answered. The crowd chants for Bret as Lawler asks Neidhart if it was hard to carry the Hitman for all those years. Neidhart says he pulled Hart out of a lot of awful situations and the Hitman has shown very little gratitude for the years of being carried. He says Hart has called him for advice for years and never has said thank you. Lawler celebrates how Neidhart tricked Hart at KOTR and Neidhart explains how Hart came begging him to show up to be in his corner, which Gorilla refutes. Neidhart says he did it only so Owen Hart can be the rightful owner of the WWF Title. He then brings out the newly christened King of Harts, Owen Hart. Owen heads out in full kingly regalia and gloats about how he is finally getting the respect he has deserved for years. He says that Neidhart was the only member of the Hart Family that he can trust. He beat and humiliated Bret at WrestleMania, then he went out and qualified and won the KOTR. Gorilla chastises him for getting lucky and then cheating to win those matches. Owen demands to be called the King of Harts from now on as his first proclamation. He says Bret is scared and that all the bullying drove him to this point and he will be beat Bret again, this time for the WWF Title. He only needs one more chance to make it happen. Gorilla says Owen has been brainwashed as the segment wraps up. ***

3) Headshrinkers defeat The Executioners to retain WWF Tag Team Titles when Fatu pins Agony with a top rope splash at 4:55

Scott: Of course if you notice the date of the show, we are starting the OJ talk at the commentary table. Savage says Lou Albano was asked by Robert Shapiro to join OJ’s “Dream Team”. Even Lou Albano could have outdone Marcia Clark. Gorilla and Savage joke around about the World Cup tournament and how Cameroon isn’t a Macaroon. Sadly the Headshrinkers aren’t as vicious and stiff as babyfaces as when they were heels. We get some Executioners jokes to fill what is the longest squash of the night. Grade: DUD

JT: The Headshrinkers head to the ring for our next bout, which will be for the Tag Team gold as they defend against the mysterious Executioners. Savage reminds us that the Headshrinkers are his favorite team of all time and then make an OJ Trial joke. He also talks about how Jim Cornette positioned the Heavenly Bodies as the next Tag Team Champions a week ago. Fatu and Pain open things up but before you know it he is wiping out both masked men before tagging in Samu. Samu unloads with a slam and some chops as Gorilla says these guys will certainly be defending their titles at SummerSlam in Chicago. The champs tag in and out and pulverize Agony. Fatu has the win at one point but picks up Agony instead. Gorilla tells us something is going on backstage involving Ted DiBiase and we will send a camera back there to check it out. Samu hits a DDT off the middle rope and then drops a headbutt for an aborted pin cover. The champs continue to torture the poor guy until Captain Lou gives them the high sign and they wrap the match up after a double face breaker and splash off the top by Fatu. Another dominant beatdown by the champs as the await their next legit challenge. Grade: 1/2*

*** We cut backstage where Ted DiBiase and Nikolai Volkoff are chatting with Bam Bam Bigelow and Luna Vachon. They see the cameraman and shove him away as we go to break. ***

4) Kwang defeats Mike Maraldo with a spin kick at 3:21

Scott: The highlight of this match is when Gorilla called Kwang a pig for spewing the red mist during this squash. Grade: DUD

JT: Kwang is out for our next match as he is set to battle Mike Maraldo. Gorilla and Randy delve into their thoughts on DiBiase building up a conglomerate. Kwang goes right to work on Maraldo but Maraldo catches him with a high cross body for a one count. Kwang pops up and levels him with a side kick and then starts to dive in on offense. Randy hits this week’s USA Movie of the Week plug, Pump Up the Volume, which comes at us this Friday night at 9PM ET! Gorilla thinks he said “Pump Up Your Body” and Randy corrects him like a good pitchman should. Kwang finally polishes off Maraldo with a spin kick for the win. The mysterious one continues to look pretty impressive in these matches, dating back to his tilt with Bret Hart. Grade: DUD

5) Lex Luger defeats Dave Thornberg via submission with the torture rack at 2:59

Scott:The scuttlebutt is that Ted DiBiase is buying guys to start a new group I suppose? He has Nikolai, he’s been talking to Bam Bam Bigelow and has been alluding to negotiating with Lex. He even pokes his head out through the curtain and observing his squash win. Luger’s been stuck in the mid-card since losing to Yokozuna at WrestleMania. This is probably the #3 storyline in the company after 1) Bret/Owen and 2) Razor/Diesel. That second feud hasn’t totally manifested itself yet, but it will. Luger wins easily but at the end of the show DiBiase has Nikolai AND Bigelow in his charge and says he will buy Lex Luger. Incidentally even though this has been a show of throwaway jobber squashes, I’ve enjoyed the banter between Gorilla and Savage, really fleshing out the storylines and avoiding the pop culture crap that Savage and Vince clog the commentary up with. Grade: DUD

JT: Our final match of the evening brings out Lex Luger to battle trusty jobber Dave Thornberg. Randy is still talking about DiBiase, saying you never know who he will buy next. Luger is focused and pacing around until the bell sounds and we get going with a lock up. Gorilla brings up Luger’s issues with Crush as Lex grabs a side headlock before planting a hard shoulder block. Gorilla reminds us that DiBiase is here to talk to Luger and we haven’t seen him do so yet tonight. And right on cue, DiBiase peers through the entrance curtains to watch the match. Thornberg gets a few shots in but Lex turns the ride quickly and puts him away with the rack. Will Luger now get propositioned by Ted? We shall find out. Grade: DUD

*** We cut backstage where Ted DiBiase announces that he has officially purchased Bam Bam Bigelow to join Nikolai Volkoff and Undertaker. And Lex Luger will be next, it is only a matter of time. ***

Final Analysis

Scott:Two major storylines lead this episode: Ted DiBiase’s stable growth, and the ascension of Owen Hart. Other than that, it’s bad wrestling. Gorilla and Savage were a little better this week, skipping some of the pop culture crap and focus on just the storylines. Gorilla is old school wrestling. He doesn’t care about Hillary Clinton or OJ Simpson. Lex Luger seems to be at a crossroads too. He didn’t win the World Title at WrestleMania and he didn’t win the King of the Ring tournament. So what’s his future? We will see. Overall a flat episode. Final Grade: D

JT: Another soft episode here coming off King of the Ring as we had zero quality in ring action to go with a smattering of storyline progression. The King’s Court was really good as Owen Hart and Jim Neidhart explained their end of the story in a focused, strong way to set themselves up as the top heels. The rest of the show was pretty much centered around Ted DiBiase’s construction of his stable as Bam Bam Bigelow has now joined the crew. DiBiase is vowing to buy Lex Luger next so we will see how that plays out. Otherwise, we just meandered along and, while he was better than last week, I am still not digging Gorilla Monsoon in place of Vince McMahon on Raw. For whatever reason, it just feels more forced and not as exciting, especially with the great chemistry Savage and McMahon were building as of late. SummerSlam should be taping shape soon so hopefully things will pick right back up in the coming weeks. Final Grade: C-