Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Monday Night Raw 7/17/95

*** 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 #120

July 17, 1995 (June 26, 1995)
Danville High School
Danville, PA
Announcers: Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler

1) Owen Hart & Yokozuna defeats Gus Kantarakis & Jim Dimitri when Hart submits Dimitri with the Sharpshooter at 2:54

Scott: So the Tag Team Champions are facing the babyface Greek warriors? It’s been a while since we’ve seen the Tag Team Champions in action. We are a week away from IYH so all the big players will likely be on this week. Before the open we had promos from Shawn Michaels & IRS, who will face each other later in the show. This one is a pretty quick squash because we have a lot to do this week. Grade: DUD

JT: Welcome to this week’s edition of Raw where things may be feeling a tad stale as we are still holed up in Danville, PA. Of course, the crowd has held up well to date so we will see. IYH is less than a week away and the hype machine is in high gear. Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler welcome us to the show and we head right down to the ring where Owen Hart and Yokozuna head to the ring to battle a pair of Greek underdogs. Vince reminds us that the champs are battling the Allied Powers in Nashville as Jim Cornette says that the names of these jobbers sound like a law firm. We get more Isaac Yankem talk, of course, as the match gets under way. Vince also tells us that Yoko is checking in at 641 pounds these days and King says he weighs more than the Blu Brothers combined. Owen and Yoko dominate the action and pick up the win as they head into looking to continue their dominance on Sunday. Grade: DUD

*** Todd Pettengill is here with our final In Your House report. The show is this Sunday and here is the card:

Diesel vs. Sid – WWF Title Lumberjack Match
Shawn Michaels vs. Jeff Jarrett – WWF Intercontinental Title Match

1-2-3 Kid vs. Roadie
Allied Powers vs. Owen Hart & Yokozuna – WWF Tag Team Title Match
Razor Ramon & Savio Vega vs. Men on a Mission
Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Henry Godwinn

Also, Shawn Michaels will be performing “With My Baby, Tonight”. Call your cable company right now… don’t be left behind! See you Sunday! ***

2) Jean-Pierre Lafitte defeats Dave Thornberg with the cannonball at 2:32

Scott: We just had our final IYH report with Todd, and now the French-Canadian Pirate is in action. Vince is talking about the retirement (kayfabe, he was fired in real life) of Jack Tunney as WWF President, and the rumors are rampant as to who the new on-air boss will be. Other than that this match isn’t much. We need more of the big players on this episode to do the final hard sell for Sunday and not the random guys that won’t be on Sunday. Grade: DUD

JT: Back down to the ring, Jean-Pierre Lafitte is heading to the ring to battle Dave Thornberg. Vince says Jean-Pierre is a descendent of the legendary pirate Jean Lafitte and Thornberg is related to former Attorney General Dick Thornberg. We also get some talking about Queen Elizabeth and then Vince talks about the retirement of Jack Tunney as WWF President. The search is on for his official replacement. Vince tells us things have gone missing from the locker room lately, hinting that the pirate is the reason why. Lafitte easily finishes off Thornberg with the cannonball. He has looked really good in these squashes, airing it all out without caution. We will see him Sunday at ringside as he is one of Sid’s lumberjacks. Grade: DUD

*** We visit Sunnyvale, CA where former Headshrinker Fatu is visiting his hometown and talking about where and how he grew up. Now that he is a big star, he wants to make a difference just like his mom told him to do when he was younger. ***

*** We get one last look at Jeff Jarrett’s “With My Baby, Tonight” video before he performs live in Nashville this Sunday. ***

3) Shawn Michaels defeats IRS with the Superkick at 8:33

Fun Fact: Tonight we say goodbye to IRS (Mike Rotunda) on Raw. He will participate at In Your House #2 as one of the lumberjacks in the main event before leaving the WWF. Rotunda would return to WCW in September as V.K. Wallstreet.

Scott: Now this is what I mean. Shawn Michaels is in one of the most high profile matches on Sunday’s PPV, so he needs to be on this show having a great warm up match. Indeed he faces one of the most solid, dependable workers in the company right now. Before this match we saw a Fatu vignette, as the Headshrinkers are apparently gone and he’s now “making a difference”. Whatever that means. We also watched, AGAIN, the “With my Baby Tonight” video. With Sunday’s show in Nashville it is apparent that Jeff Jarrett is the one with the big push going into this show. He’s the Intercontinental Champion and he’s “performing” live at the show. This has been a fun match so far as IRS knows how to sell Shawn’s high octane offense while wearing his alternate blue button down shirt. IRS takes control with power strikes and a shot with the steel steps. Vince said that both Sid and Diesel are visible at the entrance in the back of the aisle but we don’t see them. The match is really hard hitting and is Shawn’s best match since WrestleMania, not that he’s wrestled many of them. IRS ducked the Superkick a couple times before he finally walked into one. Shawn gets the victory and is ready for Sunday in Nashville. The more Shawn Michaels matches on Raw, the better the grades are. Grade: **1/2

JT: It time for our marquee match of the evening as Shawn Michaels has one last tune up before his big title match with Jeff Jarrett on Sunday. Here he faces IRS, the old stalwart of the Million Dollar Corporation. Irwin is decked out in his blue dress shirt this week, mixing things up after four years in the white. Sadly it is also the last time we will see IRS on Raw before he leaves the company. Michaels toys with Irwin a bit to start, messing with him in the ring and then smacking him around on the floor. Shawn heats up a bit an unloads a flurry of offense on Irwin, drilling him with a dropkick and then grabbing a side headlock. IRS dodged a charge and Shawn careening to the floor where IRS followed and slung him into the steps. The crowd fires up an “Irwin” chant as Vince and King note that Sid and Diesel are both looking on from the backstage area. Back in the ring, we get one last Raw IRS abdominal stretch as Ted DiBiase cheers his charge on. Shawn breaks the hold but Irwin maintains control, gets a near fall and then hooks a chinlock. Irwin maintains the hold through a break but Shawn would eventually power out of the hold and start to batter Irwin with a barrage of offense. Irwin was able to dodge the Superkick and land in a clothesline but eventually his time ran out and Michaels leveled him with the kick for the win. This was a solid TV match and a perfect way for Irwin to go out. He was the big workhorse on Raw for well over a year and always gave us a solid outing each time. He wasn’t the most engrossing wrestler or character but he was definitely a fabric of the show as it got going. Farewell, Irwin. We will see Shawn Michaels on Sunday as he tries to take away the IC title from the clutches of Double J. Grade: **

*** We head to the aisle for a visit with Barry Didinsky, who is offering up Shawn Michaels shirts and glasses as an exclusive deal tonight. Shawn pops in and plants a kiss on a young lady modeling a Razor Ramon shirt as Didinsky finishes his pitch. ***

*** Back to the dentist office we go where Jerry Lawler is watching Isaac Yankem torture some poor child. Lawler talks shit to Bret Hart and says he will see the pain Yankem can bring in the ring soon. And afterwards, Bret and Stu Hart can gum their food together since neither will have teeth. ***

4) Kama defeats Billy Mack with an uppercut at 2:02

Scott: Billy Mack is from Connecticut! Another on the list of…2. Him and Hunter Hearst-Helmsley. Kama is carrying around the chain made from Undertaker’s urn. Speaking of the Deadman, where is he? We haven’t seen him since the go-home Raw before KOTR, and he hasn’t been seen since. Once again, Vince isn’t spreading the wealth on the superstars for both Raw and the syndies. Since Raw launched two and a half years ago we’ve seen Undertaker, maybe ten times? Sure he was out from January-August 1994, but even since then he’s been on Raw, maybe five times? Kama wins this easily but if there’s a feud with Taker going on, we need to see some of that. Grade: DUD

JT: It is back to the ring for our final match of the evening as Kama jobs out with Ted DiBiase to battle Billy Mack. DiBiase is all over the place on these Raws, it feels like he shows up at least two or three times a show at this point. Kama is still wearing the chain that was melded from Undertaker’s urn as their rivalry continues on. Of course, at KOTR, Kama cost Undertaker his first round match with Mabel, furthering the issue. Vince tells that this Sunday will be the first time the WWF Title is defended in a Lumberjack Match on PPV. He also ponders if Isaac Yankem will show up on Raw next week. Vince pushes IYH hard again as Kama wrecks Mack and finishes him with an uppercut for the win. Now he awaits the Deadman. Grade: DUD

*** Vince McMahon heads to the ring to chat with WWF Champion Diesel. Vince asks Diesel if his title reign will come to an end on Sunday and Diesel calls Psycho Sid a big chicken. He says Ted DiBiase bought a bunch of friends to stand around the ring at In Your House but Diesel says you can’t buy friends. He says Sid will eat a Jackknife and see his career end on Sunday and then invites his lumberjack friends to the ring: Bam Bam Bigelow, Smoking Gunns, Bob Holly, 1-2-3 Kid, Tekkno Team 2000, Adam Bomb, Savio Vega, Duke Droese, Fatu, Man Mountain Rock & Shawn Michaels. Diesel role-plays as Sid and shows what will happen Sunday if he tries to run away. Sid then shows up and walks down the aisle and jaws with Diesel. After a break, Sid’s lumberjacks also showed up and surrounded the ring. McMahon told Sid to get in the ring and go eye-to-eye and after teasing he would do so, he backed down and let ringside. ***

Final Analysis

Scott: This episode is roughly like last week’s episode, with some throwaway matches and one good match. Shawn Michaels is getting into a groove since returning from injury. This is the stretch where he establishes himself as the #2 worker in the company behind Bret Hart. Two different workers but Bret obviously was the alpha dog right now. The other highlight for me was finding the second jobber ever from my home state of Connecticut. Billy Mack wrestles about as well as Jerry Allen. Oh and the sad follow up on the announcement of Jack Tunney’s retirement. There will never be another Jack Tunney. Final Grade: C

JT: We wrap up the build to In Your House with a solid edition of Raw. Again, things were very focused and formatted and they made every moment count and did a nice job hyping up the PPV, which they are clearly putting stock in to help the company bounce back from the disastrous King of the Ring. And the card they have put together does have some nice potential. We are still spending a lot of time on characters that are probably headed nowhere instead of really showcasing the top stars but there is no urgency to do so with a lack of serious television competition. I liked the final interview too and the parallels to last week’s version with Sid. The final image of all the lumberjacks was a good one. I am not too crazy about how they have portrayed Sid as a pussy but the stipulation certainly fits the character design. The shrewd move would be for him to show up as a bad ass in Nashville and wreck house. We will see I guess. Until next week… Final Grade: C

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