Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Monday Night Raw 6/5/95

*** 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 #114

June 5, 1995
Struthers High School
Struthers, OH
Announcers: Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler

1) Savio Vega defeats Kenny Kendall with via submission with a modified royal octopus hold at 1:30

Fun Fact: Tonight, we get the MNR debut of Savio Vega, who is Juan Rivera from Puerto Rico. After graduating from high school, Rivera took a trip to Miami, FL in 1986 to try out for the WWF. The WWF liked what they saw, but sent Rivera back to Puerto Rico to get some experience in the World Wrestling Council. While there, Rivera wrestled under the name TNT and won numerous titles in the organization. In early 1994, Rivera was brought back to the WWF where he started his Federation career under the name Kwang, a role he would hold until mid-1995. At this time the Kwang character had lost steam and had become stale. Rivera was repacked under the new name, Savio Vega.

Scott: Razor Ramon’s new running buddy makes his Raw debut against a pretty stacked jobber in Kenny Kendall. Savio has his name shaved into the back of his head. So 1995. We are in a high school gym. Yes, because I’m sure Struthers, Ohio doesn’t have it’s own “auditorium”. Is Vince strapped for cash that badly? It looks like Bret Hart has accepted Jerry Lawler’s stipulation for their match at King of the Ring. More on that later. Vega wins this slopfest easily. Grade: DUD

JT: Hey! We are live! Welcome to Monday Night Raw, coming at you from Struthers, OH where the WWF Blimp was circling around the arena earlier today while Bob Backlund was out there campaigning for President. Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler are in the booth and welcome us to this week’s show. The sirens are blaring, Vince is screaming about ratings and the Struthers crowd is pretty fired up here. The live shows really are the best. We open things up with the Raw debut of Savio Vega, the man who made a surprise debut back at In Your House, saving Razor Ramon from a beat down. Savio’s theme music is… generically interesting. Kenny Kendall attacks at the bell but Vega quickly fends him off and goes to work with quick strikes. Lawler mocks the fact that Savio has his name shaved into the back of his head as Savio dominates the jacked up Kendall. They botch a few moves with poor timing, mainly because Kenny is a bit of a stiff. Vince talks about Hurricane Allison hitting Florida and King says the next Hurricane is slated to be named Jerry. Savio grabs the easy win with an interesting submission hold, some sort of modified royal octopus hold. Next. Grade: DUD

*** We check out a special video package on WWF Champion Diesel, who is currently off at a USA Network event with Alundra Blayze. We then hear from Ted DiBiase, Sid & Tatanka as they talk smack on Diesel and Bam Bam Bigelow, promise victory at King of the Ring. ***

*** Barry Didinski is in the aisle hawking the special King of the Ring event sure. Call and order it today and you can wear it during the show! He also says if you buy the shirt you get a free Bob Backlund for President pin. ***

2) Skip defeats Barry Horowitz with a top rope leg drop at 2:00

Fun Fact: Skip & Sunny make their MNR debuts against Horowitz. Chris Candido (Skip) and his girlfriend, Tammy Sytch (Sunny), started in IWCCW with a faction called “Heart Throb 4” with Tom Brandi, Flex Lavender, and Darren Wyse. From there he’d head to WWA and then to Smoky Mountain Wrestling in 1993. He’d do well there, winning the US and Television titles there before both headed to the WWF in 1995. Sytch started her career with Candido in Smoky Mountain where she became a very effective heel manager. They enter the WWF as stuck up fitness gurus who would spend most of their time making fun everyone else for being out of shape.

Scott: The Bodydonna makes his Raw debut against jobber legend Barry Horowitz. I knew Tammy Sytch from the early 90s in other promotions and now she and Chris Candido are here in the WWF, under a dopey gimmick. That’s the WWF for you. I do find it odd that Barry Horowitz is wrestling a babyface. He actually got some work in and gave Skip a run for his money in this match but obviously, it’s Barry Horowitz. Skip settles in and gets the victory. Some young talent is being brought into the company, but these gimmicks are hideous. Grade: 1/2*

JT: We head back to the ring as we get our second Raw debut of the night when Skip and Sunny jog out to the ring for a match with Barry Horowitz. Sunny immediately just blows away everyone associated with the promotion in the looks department, my lord. She cuts a promo about how physically fit they are and trashes the fat sweat hogs watching them and then we get started as the bell sounds. The old veteran Horowitz gives Skip some trouble early on but the Bodydonna sends him over with a gut wrench suplex to take control of the bout. Vince reveals that Jerry Lawler has accepted Bret Hart’s challenge and in Baltimore they will face off in a Kiss My Foot match. The King said he is already starting to ensure his feet will be in nasty condition come match time. As he gloats about that, Skip drops a leg off the top rope for the easy win. Grade: DUD

*** Todd Pettengill, sans mullet, is in the house with our King of the Ring Report. It all goes down on June 25th in Philadelphia and here are the matches discussed:

Diesel & Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Sid & Tatanka
Undertaker vs. Mabel – King of the Ring Opening Round Match
Shawn Michaels vs. Kama – King of the Ring Opening Round Match
Bob Holly vs. Roadie – King of the Ring Opening Round Match
Razor Ramon vs. Owen Hart OR British Bulldog – King of the Ring Opening Round Match
Bret Hart vs. Jerry lawyer – Kiss My Foot Match

That will do it! Be sure to order now so you aren’t left behind. See you in Philly! ***

3) British Bulldog wrestles Owen Hart in a King of the Ring Qualifying Match to a time limit draw at 15:00

Scott: We know this one is going to be juicy, with the winner facing Razor Ramon in the first round on June 25. Jim Ross and Gorilla Monsoon doing commentary, as this is from the night of In Your House back on May 14. I believe this match was on the IYH tape that would eventually come out. Smart move using a PPV dark match to fill this RAW, even though this show is live. That’s weird. Owen starts out fast, but Bulldog takes control and does his famous suplex where he keeps Owen up for about 30 seconds before dropping him. Owen boots Bulldog in the gut to take control and works a headlock. Ross and Gorilla keep harping about the time limit of the match, which immediately tells you where this ending is headed. Bulldog powered out of the headlock with a suplex. This Syracuse crowd is somewhat tempered, which means this match was at the END of the show, not the beginning of the show. They did that a lot in 1995 and also in 1996. Bulldog starts hitting some strikes and turnbuckle shots and then goes for a Fisherman’s Suplex for two. Ross dances around the fact that Mr. Perfect used the move by saying “many superstars” used this move. Bulldog really had more control in this match than I thought he would have. Bulldog does hit the running PUWER SLUM, but Owen puts his foot on the ropes. We have multiple back and forth pin attempts, but as we knew all along, the time limit expires. So, instead of the common logic which is NO TIME LIMIT, they both are eliminated. Idiotic. This was a great match nonetheless. Grade: **1/2

JT: We head over to completely separate location (Syracuse, filmed the night of In Your House) where Jim Ross and Gorilla Monsoon will be on commentary for our final KOTR Qualifying bout. Owen Hart heads to the ring, flanked by Mr. Fuji and Jim Cornette, looking to gain entry to the tournament to defend his crown. After a break, Davey Boy Smith marched out confidently, looking to dispatch his brother-in-law to snatch the last remaining KOTR slot. Gorilla says Owen thinks he should have gotten a bye to the finals as he is reining King. Bulldog works the arm to start as Gorilla reminds us that the winner of this has to face Razor Ramon in Philadelphia. The two trade some arm work on the mat as Gorilla and Ross talk about the prestige of the KOTR, noting that even Undertaker wants a shot at the crown. Bulldog drops Owen with a military slam for two, sending the Rocket to the floor to regroup with Cornette. Owen slips back in but Bulldog goes right back to the arm and then keeps his brother-in-law off balance, fending off a comeback with a monkey flip. Bulldog continues to tear at the arm and then dodges an Owen charge, leading to the Rocket slamming hard shoulder first into the post. Bulldog follows with a long delayed vertical suplex for a close near fall before hooking in a tight rear chinlock. Owen fought to his feet and caught Davey with a stiff knee to the gut to finally turn momentum around. Owen went right to work, kicking and choking away and then laying in strong elbow shots.

Owen controlled right through the break, catching a near fall with a spin heel kick as we returned. He followed with a sleeperhold as Gorilla notes that we are now under 5:00 remaining in the time limit, calling out that time was not a factor in any of the previous Qualifying matches. Bulldog survives the sleeper and breaks it with a suplex and then follows with a sunset flip for two. Owen pops up and hits an enziguri for two as we tick under 3:00. Bulldog blocks a dropkick with a slingshot and then gets a fisherman’s suplex for two. As the clock continues to drain, Davey hooks in a nice rocking chair submission but had to release since his shoulders were down. We get a flurry of reversals that ends with a Bulldog running powerslam for two as Owen got his foot on the ropes at the last second. Bulldog and Owen would both grab a few more near falls with various cradle holds but time ticked down and the bell sounded before either could win. The crowd wasn’t thrilled with that one. Ross  and Gorilla inform us that both men are eliminated from the tournament. This was a very good Raw match with both guys looking great but it also felt like an exhibition in ways too. Even with the tournament slot at stake and their family history it didn’t feel heated or urgent in any way. For two veterans like this, you could still tell that they were just filling to the draw, which was a tad disappointing. It is interesting that they would keep two top guys out of the tournament and PPV all together, but as of now that is where we stand. Grade: **1/2

*** Vince McMahon tells us that Jack Tunney is scrambling to sort out this final KOTR slot situation. We then check out Jerry Lawler and with his royal maids showing off his filthy feet that he isn’t going to wash until King of the Ring. He will finish off Bret Hart for good and then force him to kiss his disgusting royal feet. ***

*** Vince McMahon hops in the ring to chat with Bret Hart about his King of the Ring match with Jerry Lawler. Hart says he has seen lots of things and taken part in lots of things but nothing like this. He knew the King would come up with some sort of diabolical idea since King has a sick mind. McMahon asks Hart about the risk of humiliation as Lawler takes off his boot and shows off his foot at the announce table. Hart says he accepted the terms and will do what he agreed to do if he loses. For the past couple weeks, Hart keeps thinking about his loss at In Your House and that nobody will remember how or why he lost, just that he lost. He has to think about how he let his family and fans down that night and that he could let out his frustration tonight but he will hold back for KOTR. He is rededicating the match to his family, friends and fans that he let down at IYH and even though he doesn’t really want King kissing his feet, he will not only have him do that, he will also cram Lawler’s nasty foot down his own throat as well. ***

4) Jean-Pierre Lafitte defeats Jerry Flynn with a flying cannonball at 1:15

Scott: If this show is live, then why is everything being joined in progress out of commercial breaks? Bret was already in the ring for his interview instead of Vince doing his bombastic intro, and this match was already going on. Vince announces that since Owen & Bulldog are out of the KOTR, Lex Luger will face Yokozuna next week for the last spot. Lafitte wins in a throwaway. Grade: DUD

JT: We return from break in the middle of our final match of the night as the undefeated Jean-Pierre Lafitte taking on Jerry Flynn. Lafitte controls the action as Vince questions what Lawler was doing during that interview. Lafitte busts out a great diving cannonball to the floor as Vince reveals that Jack Tunney has decreed that Lex Luger and Yokozuna will square off next week with the winner filling the final KOTR slot. Laffite nabs the easy win with the flying cannonball. Grade: DUD

*** We head outside where Bob Backlund is still standing in the dark, ranting about his presidential platform as the WWF Blimp circles in the air above him. Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler then wrap up the show and Lawler promises to show off his training video next week. Bob Backlund also vows to be here next week so he can confront Man Mountain Rock. We finish off with Todd Pettengill narrating us through the history between Lex Luger and Yokozuna. ***

Final Analysis

Scott: I almost failed this episode because of once again the lousy in-ring quality. However Bulldog/Owen pulled this out of the toilet with a real good match, albeit one with a HORRENDOUS ending. I’m not liking where this tournament is going at all, unless we’re looking at a face/face final with Shawn and Undertaker. Somehow I don’t see that happening, especially since the current bracket setup doesn’t allow it. This is a live show yet we have all these awful out of commercial moments where everything is in progress. Don’t they format these things right? I was so close to giving my first F, but the Bulldog and the defending King of the Ring saved it. FINAL GRADE: D-

JT: So this show was definitely a bit of a dichotomy as the actual product itself is clearly suffering and flailing but the actual production of the show may be the best its ever been. The show overall is well produced, quick moving and focused. I liked how we joined stuff in progress and flew around, it made everything seem even more live and raucous. Every segment had a meaning and flowed smoothly. That all said, the quality of the product is less than satisfying. We have said it before, but even though there is plenty of talent and pieces, nothing seems to be slotting in well. The KOTR tournament brackets are looking a bit ugly once you take a moment to map out the potential progression. And the rest of the card leaves a lot to be desired as well, with a tepid tag team main event and a Bret Hart/Jerry Lawler match that feels stale and has a disgusting stipulation attached. Bulldog and Owen Hart had a really fun match but that had its issues as well, as I noted above. If they could just figure out how to really utilize their roster to its potential, things could be in really good shape but they just haven’t been able to sort that out at this point. Final Grade: D+

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