Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Monday Night Raw 8/8/94

*** 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 #74

August 8, 1994 (Taped August 1, 1994)
Beeghly Center
Youngstown, OH
Announcers: Vince McMahon & Randy Savage

1) Undertaker defeats Butch Banks with a Tombstone at 3:07

Scott: There’s obviously something not right about Ted DiBiase’s Undertaker. He’s just not the right size and he’s shaped differently. When DiBiase takes his coat off they’re about the same height. That’s obviously wrong as the REAL Taker is clearly several inches higher. In fact Butch Banks is about the same height as this Taker. And since it’s Taker vs. Taker at SummerSlam, and this is the heel Taker…well I guess I’m already tipping many hands so I’ll just focus on this match. Vince McMahon and Randy Savage are back to talking dopey pop culture junk, which reminds me that I miss Gorilla sometimes. Taker wins and drops the bum in the bag. Grade: DUD

JT: We are coming to you via videotape this week, back inside the Beeghly Center where Vince McMahon and Randy Savage welcome us to another edition of Raw. We are just a few weeks away from SummerSlam and the card is continuing to be fleshed out and established. And kicking things off this week is the man that will be part of the bizarre main event in Chicago, the Undertaker, who is set to face… the Undertaker? It is Ted DiBiase’s Undertaker that is in action against Butch Banks this evening and he still carried with him that chilling presence during his entrance to the ring. Vince goes through a quick version of the history of what brought us to this odd SummerSlam clash and he and Randy talk about Leslie Nielson as the match gets under way. Undertaker methodically mauled Banks, who put up zero resistance at all. Vince called DiBiase the most powerful man in the WWF as he controls the Deadman, the tag team of Bam Bam Bigelow and IRS, Nikolai Volkoff and perhaps Lex Luger as well. Could more sell out in the future as well? Undertaker finishes Banks with the Tombstone and turns his eyes toward Chicago. Grade: DUD

*** Leslie Nielsen continues to span the globe tracking down his leads and we check in on his progress.  He continues to pole around and feels perhaps he is on to something as he passes a graveyard with a “Dead End” sign. ***

*** We head back to this past weekend’s Superstars where Lex Luger stopped by the Heartbreak Hotel. Shawn Michaels asks if Luger if he has met with Ted DiBiase and if an offer was made and Lex answers “yes” to both questions but before he can clarify, Michaels cuts him off. Luger then refuses to talk about the amount offered. ***

2) Lex Luger defeats Chad Miller with with the running forearm at 2:59

Scott: Before the match Ted DiBiase meets Luger in the aisle, giving him the OK and waving some cash around. Man, DiBiase is all over the WWF right now, as other than the Bret/Owen feud he’s involved with pretty much every heel in the company, and that’s ok. Guys like Bam Bam Bigelow needs some creative direction. Yokozuna is still with Cornette and Fuji but he’s been put on the backburner since losing at WrestleMania. In fact after this squash Todd does the SummerSlam Report and Yoko isn’t on the card. How strange. In fact neither is Crush. Grade: DUD

JT: Lex Luger has had a frustrating 1994 thus far as he was first stymied from winning the WWF Title at WrestleMania and now he is in the middle of wild nonstop rumors that he has sold out to Ted DiBiase. On top of all of this, his best buddy Tatanka is doubting his word as well and now they are going to wrestle at SummerSlam. As Luger made his way out, DiBiase showed up in the aisle and gave him a friendly nod and thumbs up before shuffling off backstage. As the match gets going, we talk to DiBiase backstage but he is noncommittal to the conversation that went down in the aisle beyond just telling us he told Luger not to worry about a thing. Vince is very hopeful Luger has not sold out and thinks the fans will never forgive him if he did. Lex dominates Chad Miller as Savage rips DiBiase and his laugh while Vince reminds us that Tatanka is convinced this is all a done deal. Miller landed a few terrible kicks to the gut but Luger quickly cuts that nonsense off and its Chad away with the running forearm. Grade: DUD

*** Todd Pettengil is in the house with this week’s SummerSlam Report and he has the entire, complete card to discuss tonight. The show comes to us three weeks from tonight live from the brand new United Center in Chicago. And of course, Domino’s is delivering this year’s show.

Undertaker vs. Undertaker
Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart – WWF Title Steel Cage Match
Razor Ramon w/ Walter Payton vs. Diesel w/ Shawn Michaels – WWF Intercontinental Title
Lex Luger vs. Tatanka
Alundra Blayze vs. Bull Nakano – WWF Women’s Title
Mabel vs. Jeff Jarrett
Headshrinkers vs. Bam Bam Bigelow & IRS – WWF Tag Team Titles

That is the complete card so you may as well lock your order in today by calling your cable company. See you in Chi-Town! ***

3) Bam Bam Bigelow & IRS defeat Doink & Tatanka when IRS pins Doink with the Write Off at 7:59

Fun Fact: Tonight we see IRS for the first time after joining up with the Million Dollar Corporation.

Scott: We continue the Ted DiBiase saga with the third straight match involving him, as his other Corporation members take on the suspicious Tatanka and… fucking Doink. Why is he even still here? Sure Vince is still in the “lite” version of the Federation Era but at the same time we are growing up a little and clown gimmicks are pretty stupid. On top of the fact it’s not Matt Borne anymore so the wrestling quality went down considerably. Then there’s Dink. I’ll leave that there. The match is standard TV fare as Tatanka is actually wearing war paint for this bout. It was announced by Todd that Bigelow & IRS actually have a Tag Title shot at SummerSlam against the Headshrinkers. Before the break Bigelow distracts the referee and IRS drops an elbow off the apron to Tatanka on the floor. We get NASCAR references during the match, which I finally realized is Vince’s way of filling commentary when he can’t call the moves. IRS hits the Write Off on Doink for the win, and then they start beating Tatanka down in a double team. Luger runs down to chase them out, but then DiBiase comes in to shove money in Luger’s hand, and in typical “Three’s Company” form, Tatanka awakens and just “happens” to see Luger with the money in his hand. Grade: *1/2

JT: Up next we are set to check out the new number one contenders to the Tag Team Titles, a team that was just brought together via the cash of Ted DiBiase. Of course, Bigelow was inked a few weeks ago but now Ted’s old pal, teammate and trusted ally IRS was brought into the fold as well. Looks like poor Jim Cornette and the Heavenly Bodies have been pushed aside yet again after they were teased to be getting involved in the title mix after KOTR. Tonight the Best Team Money Can Buy is set up to battle the interesting combination of Tatanka and Doink. It is odd to see Tatanka jammed in this spot with everything he has going on with Lex Luger right now. Vince gets a Michael Jackson & Lisa Marie joke in as the Clowns danced their way to the ring. Tatanka was out next and we were set up to get things under way. Vince and Randy also chat about the looming baseball strike as old foes IRS and Tatanka kick things off. IRS lands some early strikes and gets a quick near fall but Tatanka dodged a charge and started unload a flurry on Irwin. Doink tagged in and kept the pressure on, fighting through a brief IRS comeback but eventually whiffing on an elbow drop. IRS tagged in Bigelow as another of 1994’s lingering feuds was reignited. Doink went right to his bag of tricks, dodging Bigelow and then tripping him to the mat and pelting him with elbows. Doink worked the arm and then tagged in Tatanka, who came in off the top with a chop to Bammer’s arm. Tatanka maintained control of the arm and picked up a near fall along the way but Bigelow finally overpowered his nemesis and chucked him hard to the floor. After a break, IRS was in control, punishing Tatanka and then baiting Doink in to distract the ref, allowing DiBiase’s boys to land a double clothesline. IRS leaned into a rear chinlock, grinding on Tatanka before tagging Bigelow back in. Bammer came in with some heavy offense but the tide turned when both men went for a cross body at the same time and collided in the center of the ring. They were both able to slowly crawl to their corners and tag out but it was Doink that landed the first blow on IRS before diving on him for a near fall. As Tatanka was tied up with the referee, Bigelow snuck in and leveled Doink with an enziguri. IRS followed that up with the Write Off for the win. Looks like DiBiase’s newest team is primed for that title match. After the bell, Tatanka attacked IRS but the numbers game caught up to him and as he got worked over, Luger showed up and made the save. DIBiase then hopped in the ring and chatted with Lex and stuck a wad of cash in his hand. That was followed by Bigelow sneaking back in and going at Tatanka, who backed into Luger and then saw the cash in his hand and took it as further proof that Lex had sold out. The two friends would have a long staredown and trade some words before everything was cleared out by officials. Well, the match was fine enough, if not a bit sloppy, but it was smart to have Doink take the pin. Early on I questioned why they would use Tatanka here but by the end it all made sense. The post match stuff was well done as DiBiase continues to play mind games with Luger and Tatanka. Grade: *1/2

*** Jerry Lawler heads to the ring for this week’s KIng’s Court, with his special guests Owen Hart and Jim Neidhart. Vince McMahon hypes up Owen’s big SummerSlam World Title Cage Match as Lawler respectfully welcomes the brothers-in-law to the show. Hart says this match is a dream come true and he is reminded of wrestling in the dungeon as kids. He says Bret picked on and bullied him until Owen got old enough to win and send his brother crying to their father Stu. His motivation at SummerSlam is the WWF Title and he is proud to have the Anvil with him, as he is the only family member he can really trust. Owen talks about how this run of success started at WrestleMania and continued to King of the Ring and it will all come together at SummerSlam, where the entire Hart Family will be seated in the crowd. He claims the whole family has turned around and jumped on the Owen Hart bandwagon since they know Bret is a loser. Lawler then brings out Bruce Hart to join the party, taking a couple shots at him along the way. Bruce says this is all crap and nobody in the family is behind Owen because he is a disgrace that let the family down at Survivor Series, cheated at WrestleMania and had the moronic geek Neidhart to save him at King of the Ring. Bruce says they are all disgusted and nobody is proud of Owen. Owen threatens Bruce and tells him to watch his mouth as he has nobody there to protect him. Bruce says there will be nobody protecting him at SummerSlam inside the cage as Neidhart will be stuck outside and unable to help. Neidhart says Bruce is a jealous brother but Bruce says Neidhart is the jealous one and a crybaby because Bret carried him in the Hart Foundation and now he had to show up and brainwash Owen. Lawler tries to settle things down but the bickering continues right into a break. ***

4) Bob Backlund defeats Kevin Krueger by submission with the cross face chicken wing at 3:53

Scott: That King’s Court with Owen, Anvil & Bruce Hart was hilarious because Bruce’s promo was a fumbling mess. Then they play a “New WWF Generation” bump, which makes fun of four Federation Era guys: Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, Iron Sheik and Ivan Putski. I can see Hogan, who’s at the top of WCW right now, but why throw a dig at Andre? He’s one of the greatest ever, and he’s dead. That’s mean. Backlund wins with the Chicken Wing and I’m digging this crazy heel Backlund. Grade: DUD

JT: Time for our final match of the evening as Bob Backlund jogs to the ring to take on Kevin Krueger. Vince talks about the recent incident where Backlund assaulted Bret Hart after the Hitman defeated him in a World Title match. Vince also says Backlund is a member of his own generation and not the New Generation. Backlund works Krueger over on the mat as Vince and Randy continued to break down Backlund’s recent actions and potential motivations. They also discuss what could happen if Backlund and Hart went at it again and Vince things Bob is not above cheating as this dark spirit has finally emerged from him. Backlund gets quite frustrated by the crowd chanting “We Want Bret” but quickly hooked Krueger in the CFCW and gets the submission win. Backlund kept the hold on long after the bell and then stared at his hands in confusion again after finally breaking his grip. Grade: DUD

*** We cut backstage where Lex Luger is in the Million Dollar Man’s locker room yelling at Nikolai Volkoff, who had greeted him warmly. Tatanka then storms in and catches them talking, leading to an argument between the two friends. ***

Final Analysis

Scott: It’s not often we get a full show of squashes, but there’s a decent amount of storyline advancement as we get the continuing saga of Lex Luger and the Corporation. The Bob Backlund change literally came out of nowhere but if some of these older veterans are going to be around they need to change. As bubble gum as 1994 WWF still is, the 1982 Bob Backlund is not going to work, so turn him into a dangerous crazy old man. That will work, and against the top babyface, World Champion Bret Hart. The King’s Court was great as Bruce Hart had to dust off some of his Stampede promo skills to tear into his family members, stuff that probably was said in past feuds. It worked perfectly with Lawler stoking the fire. SummerSlam is right around the corner, and although the in-ring stuff was crap, the storyline advancement was solid. Final Grade: C+

JT: Overall this was a pretty soft episode of Raw with not much in the way of in ring action. However, it was fueled quite a bit by strong storyline advancement, most of which centered around Ted DiBiase yet again. The man is everywhere right now. The featured match was no great shakes but the aftermath did a nice job of progressing the Luger/Tatanka issue along. I enjoyed the Bob Backlund squash as well as he is really taking to this new character, a change that has completely refreshed what had become a very stale act. The best part of the show, however, was the King’s Court. Bruce Hart was awesome here, bringing the fire and nailing all of his lines as he screamed at Owen and Neidhart. It really added some nice heat to the SummerSlam match without having to involve Bret. Even though we still have a couple weeks to go, everything is lined up, loaded and looking good for Chicago. Again, this was a fine outing but felt like more of a time filler with some extra advancement than anything else. Final Grade: C