Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Monday Night Raw 8/7/95

*** 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 #123

August 7, 1995 (Taped July 24, 1995)
Louisville Gardens
Louisville, KY
Announcers: Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler

Fun Fact: Behind the scenes, the financial situation in the WWF is starting to result in job losses. According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter dated 8/7/95, 25 people were laid off due to decreased revenues. Two of the higher profile names let go were road agent Tony Garea and announcer Lord Alfred Hayes. 

1) WWF Tag Team Champions Owen Hart & Yokozuna (w/ Mr. Fuji & Jim Cornette) defeated Razor Ramon & Savio Vega at 14:25 with a legdrop

Fun Fact I: After last week’s match that ran out of time at the end of the show, Razor Ramon and Savio Vega get another shot at the Tag Team Champions.

Fun Fact II: During the match, new WWF President Gorilla Monsoon made an announcement about a change to the SummerSlam card. The original match between Shawn Michaels and Psycho Sid has been changed to a ladder match between Michael and Razor Ramon.

Scott: So, after last week’s bizarre shenanigans with Dusty finishes and time limits running out, we get a rematch for the Tag Team Titles. That was a real fun match regardless, and now we get another one. I can’t remember the last time Razor Ramon was on back to back Raws. Vince McMahon says that Gorilla Monsoon is now the Interim President of the WWF, replacing the retiring Jack Tunney, and for some weird reason the first act he does is change the Intercontinental Title match for SummerSlam. It was slated to be Shawn Michaels vs. Sid, but out of nowhere Sid is yanked and Razor takes his place! That’s so weird. This match was just as fun as last week’s bout, with all four guys working their butts off on the third show of the taping. Razor works a majority of the match as the champions do some slick double teaming. The crowd isn’t as geeked about this match as the previous one, probably thinking that there won’t be a title change this time around. Owen Hart puts Razor in a sleeper to try and finish him off but he can’t. Save Vega hasn’t gotten in the ring at all, as the two best workers of the teams (Razor & Owen) are working the majority of the match. Both men are down, until Owen tags Yokozuna, and Razor finally tags to Savio and the Puerto Rican goes crazy on the heels until Yoko pops him and drops the big leg for the victory. That was a fun match, with Razor doing all the work, and Savio getting the hot tag but eating the pin. It was a good match, even if the crowd was a bit baked. Grade: **1/2

JT: Welcome to another installment of Monday Night Raw and this week we are coming at you via videotape once again from the Louisville Gardens. We are of course just under three weeks away from SummerSlam now and Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler have the call for the event. The show kicks off where last week’s ended and that is with a Tag Team Title bout with Razor Ramon and Savio Vega challenging Yokozuna and Owen Hart for the straps. Last week’s match saw some bizarre happenings and ended up concluding in a draw, leading to the rematch here. Ramon and Vega head out first and look confident and focused on taking advantage of this second chance. The champions are stoic as Vince says the challengers were more composed and looked like the champions a week ago. Vince also announces that Gorilla Monsoon is now the official Interim President of the WWF and has shuffled up the SummerSlam IC Title match, yanking out Sid and inserting Razor Ramon to battle Shawn Michaels. And also as part of that announcement, Gorilla revealed that the bout will be a WrestleMania X redux as it will be a ladder match! Razor and Yoko start off with Ramon working the arm and then tagging Savio, who does the same. Yoko breaks the hold and tags Owen, who trades some basic holds with Vega. The challengers switch off and take turns picking apart the arm of Owen until Hart is able to turn the tide on Razor with a DDT. Hart stayed focused on the neck, dropping the Bad Guy with a neckbreaker and then clamping on a chinlock. Razor broke free but Owen dropped him with an enziguri as Vince noted that Jim Cornette has been a lot less active this week. Yoko tagged in and grabbed a nerve hold and then after a break, Owen was back in and still punishing the neck. The champs continued to tag in and out and batter the exhausted Ramon, doing their best to mess his neck up bad en route to defending the belts. The crowd has definitely flattened out a bit but there is a smattering of “USA” chants to rally the Bad Guy. Owen would get a close near fall on a powerslam but that was followed by a Ramon backslide for a two count of his own. Hart maintained control and headed to the top rope and connected with an elbow drop for two and then hopped on Ramon’s back with a sleeperhold. Razor would break it with a back suplex and then ended up colliding and smacking heads with Hart. Both men slowly recovered and tagged their respective partners with Savio winning the initial exchange, mowing right through both Owen and Yoko. Eventually Owen clobbered Savio from behind and Yoko took advantage by dropping Savio with a Samoan drop and leg drop for the win. Well, Razor and Savio clearly had their chances but just couldn’t cash in on them. The champs get a hard fought win and will continue to hang around awaiting more challengers as their dominant reign continues. The match was fine but a tick below last week’s, partly due to a flatter crowd but it also was more formulaic and not as energetic as a whole. Grade: **

*** We go backstage where Dean Douglas joins us to critique the performance and teamwork of Razor Ramon and Savio Vega. We then head to Isaac Yankem’s dentist office where Jerry Lawler issues warnings to Bret Hart for his SummerSlam tilt with the demented dentist. ***

2) Fatu pinned Tony DeVito at 2:44 with a splash off the top

Scott: After weeks of vignettes walking his old neighborhood and talking about changing his life, Fatu makes his redebut in his new gimmick. It’s announced that the match between Jerry Lawler & Shawn Michaels will happen next week on Raw, although it’s not being said if it’s for the IC Title or not. Fatu’s tights look like the Partridge Family bus, but he does bring the energy to the ring and takes out this veteran stiff. Grade: DUD

JT: We head back to the ring as Fatu struts out for his first match back in the ring since abandoning his, as Vince says, “barbaric ways” and rededicating himself to making a difference and becoming a role model for his community. Lawler reveals that, after a lot of teasing on our last episode, he will battle Shawn Michaels on Raw next week. Fatu wrestles with his toque on and works Tony DeVito over with a bunch of strikes. Vince informs us that An Officer and a Gentleman is this week’s USA Movie, airing Thursday evening. Fatu dominates from bell to bell and finishes DeVito with a splash off the top. Fatu definitely brings the energy and is charismatic in there but we will see if this refocused push leads anywhere. Those tights though. Grade: DUD

*** Todd Pettengill is here with this week’s SummerSlam Insider. The show is just under three weeks away and will emanate from Pittsburgh, PA. Here are the matches discussed:

Diesel vs. King Mabel – WWF Title Match
Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon – WWF Intercontinental Title Ladder Match
Bret Hart vs. Isaac Yankem, D.D.S.
Undertaker vs. Kama

Todd also chats with Gorilla Monsoon, our Interim President. Gorilla says he didn’t want to play politics and is happy to not be in place for a lengthy stay due to the interim label. He will be the most fan friendly President we have seen. Gorilla announces that Alundra Blayze will defend the WWF Women’s Title against Bertha Faye at SummerSlam as well. Get those orders in today! ***

*** We get a quick vignette for the impending arrival of Goldust. ***

3) Kama (w/ Ted Dibiase) defeated Troy Haste via submission with an armbar at 1:24

Scott: The Creatures of the Night are sitting at ringside with the black wreath, adding fuel to Kama’s match at Summerslam with Undertaker. On the phone is Sid, who’s pissed his IC Title match was taken away from him. Sid can’t cut promos over the phone either. The match is a squash, finished even before the phone call is over. Before this match Gorilla announced that Alundra Blayze will defend the Women’s Title against Bertha Faye at SummerSlam as well. Grade: DUD

JT: Up next, Kama jogs out to the ring alongside Ted DiBiase, ready to battle Troy Haste as he preps for the Deadman at SummerSlam. We see some Creatures of the Night at ringside and then are joined by Sid on the phone. The big man is not happy with Gorilla Monsoon’s decree and says he shouldn’t be President of the WWF. Vince says Shawn Michaels wanted his revenge on Sid as well but Sid thinks Michaels played a role in this match change to avoid having to face him. Kama gets the win with an arm bar as Sid continues to rant about the Heartbreak Kid. Kama chugs along, ready to finally face off with Undertaker in Pittsburgh. Grade: DUD

*** Barry Didinsky joins Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler at ringside to promote a brand new Shawn Michaels t-shirt. ***

4) WWF World Champion Diesel pinned Sir Mo with the Jackknife in a non-title match at 8:48

Scott: As a prelude to the World Title match at SummerSlam, the champ takes on the #1 contender’s tag team partner. This match will probably be crap. I just read on Graham Cawthon’s website that a few house shows in California were cancelled due to “lack of ticket sales”. That’s not good. When did the WWF EVER have to cancel shows due to low sales? The match fumbles along at a bland pace when King Mabel comes to ringside and attacks Diesel on the floor, which brings out IC Champion Shawn Michaels. Diesel eventually wins the match, but King Mabel comes in and attacks the champion, then attacks Shawn Michaels who tried to stop the attack. Jerry Lawler is taunting Shawn, as they face each other next week. Grade: 1/2*

JT: And we head back to the ring for our final match of the evening as we get a rare in ring appearance from our WWF Champion Diesel as he is set to battle Sir Mo. Mo stated earlier that he is here to execute the first part of the Royal Plan and he also is coming to the ring alone as of now. Diesel saunters down to the ring to a nice welcome to the fans as Vince wonders where Mabel is and when he will arrive. Mo attacked at the bell and worked the champ over with strikes but Diesel quickly turned the tide and buried the challenger with a hard clothesline in the corner. Mo goes to the eyes and then lands a clothesline and a spin wheel kick to take the champ down for a near fall. Vince wonders about Diesel’s back after Mabel’s attack at IYH2 but he seems to be OK as of now. Diesel slams Mo and works over his back a bit before landing a sloppy big boot that sends Mo careening to the floor. As Mo gained his bearings, Mabel stalked down to the ring and climbed right on to the apron to talk shit to the champ. With Diesel distracted, Mo was able to yank the champ by his tights and sling him to the floor. As Mabel waked over to Diesel, Shawn Michaels came out and blocked him from getting involved. Mo slid out and shoved Diesel into the post and then shoved him back inside as we went to break. When we returned, Mo was still in control but that ended quickly when Diesel regained the advantage and dropped Mo with the Jackknife for the win. After the bout, Mabel and Mo beat down both Diesel and Michaels, all while the King cackled to set up his bout next week. This was… well, what you would expect. I mean, they are trying like hell to make this work but everyone is so limited it is real tough. Grade: 1/2*

Final Analysis:

Scott: This episode was a little bit better than last week’s as we open with the main event rematch and as expected no title changed hands. We get the repackaged Fatu as some man of the streets or something. That seems really lame but hey this is 1995. We do get a match with the World Champion but it was another piece of crap. The workrate problem in this company is glaring with every show. Other than Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels and perhaps one or two mid-card guys this company is badly needing some talent. The roster is hurting badly, and that includes tag teams. This episode is a notch better than last week, but still hurting bad. Final Grade: C+

JT: As we trudge toward SummerSlam, it seems the WWF brass was aware that the card needed a little sprucing up. Enter new President Gorilla Monsoon and an easy cover to switch up the IC Title match and add some juice to the show. That was a welcome change for sure. The rest of this show was just sort of there and felt bland thanks to the burned out crowd. I’ll give them credit for trying something different with the Tag Team Title match over the past two weeks, but you could tell they were going through the motions a bit the second time around tonight. The main event was a sloppy mess as expecting Diesel to lug Mo to a watchable match is quite the ask. Mabel is being established well and they are trying their hardest to set him up as a legit threat but he just looks so absurd in that getup that it is hard to take it seriously. For quite a while now, the production has aided the program and that was true of tonight as well but I thought the actual product itself was lacking moreso than recent weeks, which is a bit of a surprise given that we had some names pop up here. We will see how things continue to build into SummerSlam and if the company can discover a much needed hot streak. Final Grade: C-

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