Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Sunday Night Slam 3/26/95

*** 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! ***

Sunday Night Slam

March 26, 1995 (Taped March 13, 1995)
Memorial Civic Auditorium
Stockton, CA
Announcers: Vince McMahon & Jim Ross

1) Bob Backlund defeats Jeff Jarrett via disqualification at 5:00; Jarrett retains WWF Intercontinental Title

Fun Fact: On the 3/13 episode of Raw, Jeff Jarrett and Barry Horowitz wrestled a non-title match, which Jarrett won via submission. Later in the evening, Horowitz comes out and requests an IC-title match. Jarrett agrees to the match, but Bob Backlund comes out and attacks Horowitz before signing the title match contract against Jarrett, which we get here tonight.

Scott: This is a pretty unique situation here. Jeff Jarrett is the Intercontinental Champion and will face Razor Ramon April 2 in Hartford, but first he must face the former World Champion who doesn’t have all his screws tightened in the right place. Bob Backlund is set for the big battle with Bret Hart at WrestleMania in an “I Quit” match. I wonder why they did these weird Sunday shows and didn’t just do a special Raw on Monday? They will do a throwaway studio show tomorrow night on the go home Raw for the biggest show of the year. I like hearing Jim Ross with Vince McMahon as it changes the tone of the show and we won’t have too much pop culture nonsense that he and the color commentator du jour do on the normal weekly show. You’re not sure who to root for in this match as both men are heels. I think Backlund may be getting the slight edge from the fans. It makes sense that Razor Ramon will be tense during this match backstage because if Backlund wins, then Bret Hart gets the IC Title shot at WrestleMania and Razor’s match is worth squat. The match goes back and forth until Razor couldn’t take it anymore and runs in to force the disqualification. We get a 3 on 1 beatdown with Jarrett, Backlund and the Roadie beating him down until Bret Hart & 1-2-3 Kid come out to even the odds. The match wasn’t much as it was really a plug for multiple Mania battles next week. Grade: *

JT: Welcome to the Sunday Night Slam! We are just one week away from the biggest show of the year and while the card is locked into place and the hype is just about complete we do have a key match that could affect the Mania card here tonight. Vince McMahon is joined by Jim Ross and we are emanating via videotape from Stockton, CA. It was two weeks ago when Bob Backlund pulled the okie doke on Jeff Jarrett and stole himself an IC Title bout and that plan pays off tonight. As Jarrett and Roadie strut to the ring, Ross and McMahon talk about Backlund’s championship legacy and just how much of a threat he is tonight. Vince also reminds us that Razor Ramon is backstage and very antsy that his Mania title rematch could go up in smoke very quickly. Backlund controls early, slamming Jarrett to the matt and then flipping Double J over with a double underhook suplex. Bob followed with an atomic drop that sent Jarrett careening into Roadie and eventually to the floor. Backlund chased after the champ and pitched him back inside but Jarrett turned the tide and started to focus on the arm. As Vince discussed the CFCW vs. Sharpshooter showdown, Backlund powered out of the hold but an assist by the Roadie put the champ back on top heading to break. After the commercial, Jarrett had an abdominal stretch hooked in and then continued to punish the back as Vince plugs the Superstar Line. Jarrett gets a sunset flip for two but Backlund popped free and slugged Jarrett hard with a right hand. Backlund was all fired up and locked in as he snapped Jarrett down with a piledriver. Backlund was set to follow with the CFCW but Ramon sprinted to the ring and jumped the challenger from behind to draw the DQ. Backlund latched the CFCW on Ramon after the bell and wrenched it in as Roadie and Jarrett kicked away. Eventually Bret Hart and 1-2-3 Kid made the save and ran the assailants off. This was pretty fun while it lasted but was way too short to really get cooking in a meaningful way. Backlund looked great in there and was interesting in the face role in this character, it would be cool to see more of that. The finish made perfect sense too and was foreshadowed nicely on Raw last week. Grade: *1/2

2) Bam Bam Bigelow defeats Sionne with a moonsault at 3:00

Scott: The Beast from the East prepares himself for the battle with the NFL’s greatest linebacker at WrestleMania by taking on the powerhouse of the Headshrinkers. I’m curious what the actual main event of this show is. Is it the World Title match between Diesel & Shawn Michaels? Or will it be LT/Bigelow because of the mainstream implications the company could gain from because of the NFL connection? This is a quick power sprint that Bigelow wins to get ready for next Sunday in Hartford. Grade: 1/2*

JT: We head right back to the ring for our next bout as Sionne is going it alone against the lightning rod of the WWF, Bam Bam Bigelow. Bigelow is also out to the ring alone tonight and Vince reminds us that will be completely different in Hartford as both he and LT will have an army of backup with them. After a break, the match was already under way with the two hosses colliding with clothesline attempts. Sionne tried to slam Bigelow but collapsed under the weight, giving Bammer control. Bigelow clubbed away as Vince promoted the WrestleMania public workout this Tuesday in Times Square. Both Bigelow and LT will be present at that giant event. Bigelow continued to assault Sionne until the Samoan caught him with a nice powerslam for a close two count. Sionne headed up top but came up empty on a dive and then Bigelow followed up with an Avalanche splash and enziguri. Bigelow quickly scampered up top and got a great reverse cross body off the top rope for the win. After the bell, Ted DiBiase and the Corporation marched to the ring and Ted and Bigelow then called out LT one last time. That was a really hard hitting quality semi-squash for Bigelow. Watching him dismantle a big man like Sionne was a nice prep bout to build him for Mania. Sionne should have been set up for a singles run here, they could use the mid card talent upgrade. Grade: *

*** Vince McMahon heads into the ring for a special interview with the WWF Champion Diesel. The big man saunters out to a quality reaction and he talks about his first WrestleMania match against his former best buddy Shawn Michaels. Diesel puts over the Shawn’s talent and also talks about the impact of Sid being out at ringside. As they continue to talk, Shawn Michaels and Sid showed up and marched out to the ring to join the conversation. Michaels defiantly talked about how he has earned everything that he has and the new generation will start with him at WrestleMania. He says it doesn’t look good for Diesel to walk out of WrestleMania and Sid then shares his thoughts as well, promising to break Diesel’s back. Shawn says people like Diesel are a dime a dozen and people like him come around just once in a lifetime and the WWF fans will see a once in a lifetime performance at WrestleMania. Michaels says at Mania he will go over and as he and Sid leave, Diesel says it will only be over his dead body. ***

*** Todd Pettengill is in the house for our official WrestleMania XI Report, just seven days away from the big extravaganza. Here are the matches discussed:

Diesel vs. Shawn Michaels – WWF Title
Lawrence Taylor w/ NFL All Pro Team vs. Bam Bam Bigelow w/ Million Dollar Team
Bret Hart vs. Bob Backlund – I Quit Match
Razor Ramon w/ 1-2-3 Kid vs. Jeff Jarrett w/ Roadie – Intercontinental Title
Undertaker vs. King Kong Bundy
Smoking Gunns vs. Owen Hart & Mystery Partner – Tag Team Titles
Lex Luger & British Bulldog vs. Jacob & Eli Blu

The following celebrities will also be in the house: Pamela Anderson, Nicholas Turturro, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Jennifer McCarthy & Salt-N-Pepa! Call your cable company today, get those orders in for the biggest show of the year! ***

3) Lex Luger defeats Tatanka in a steel cage match with a forearm off the middle rope at 9:00

Scott: I feel like this feud has been going on for decades, but it’s really only been August at SummerSlam that Tatanka sold out and became a member of the Corporation. Luger continuously looks like a chump over and over. So you’d think that finally Tatanka gets his due and Luger ends this thing to move on. Luger is teaming with the British Bulldog next Sunday to face the Blu Brothers but first he’s going to get his against the traitor that sold out. Tatanka hops right on Luger as he’s getting through the ropes to take control early. Todd went over the entire WrestleMania card right before this and also showed the surprising heel turn of Men on a Mission, who attacked the Smoking Gunns on Action Zone earlier today on Action Zone. Tatanka dominates the action early and has multiple opportunities to win but Luger stops him by a bootlace. I really thought Tatanka could win this and  bury Luger as anything important in this company. Since the attack by Tatanka in August he’s really been floating aimlessly while Tatanka has gotten title shots and been the face of the Corporation. Luger gets a head of steam late and starts throwing bombs back at the Native American and drops a suplex. The crowd is crazy as he gets a close two count. Luger then finishes it off with the bionic forearm and instead of running out of the cage, he gets the pinfall. This was a fun match and Luger finally gets the big win he’s been missing during his time in the WWF. Grade: **

JT: It is time for our final match of the evening as the steel cage has been assembled and Tatanka is slowly strutting to the ring, flanked by Ted DiBiase as usual. Lex Luger makes his way out next and after seven months it looks like we may finally be ready to put a bow on this feud for good. As soon as Lex gets in the cage, things erupt and Tatanka is the aggressor, laying in heavy chops to the head and then some to the chest as well. Luger comes roaring back with a trio of clotheslines and then rattles Tatanka into the top turnbuckle over and over. Lex continued by kicking away and then slung Tatanka hard into the cage for a real close near fall. Tatanka dodged an elbow drop and laid in a few shots before nearly escaping the cage. Lex yanked his nemesis back inside and after a break, Tatanka was firmly in control, hitting a suplex and then whipping Lex into the steel. Tatanka takes the opening to scale the cage and gets to the top before Lex pulls him back inside. Luger started to mount a comeback and ran right through Tatanka, culminating with a bulldog. Lex followed with a suplex for two as Vince says he is looking to end this for good instead of just escaping. Luger hit a powerslam for two but Tatanka landed a punch to the gut and tried to escape again. Luger caught him and slammed him to the mat and then pelted him with a flying forearm off the middle rope for the win. Luger FINALLY gets a win over Tatanka and hopefully puts this feud to bed. It is insane that it lasted as long as it did given how little heat the whole thing was generating but at least it is over. I am also surprised they didn’t just do this at Mania at this point but whatever. Luger desperately needs to be freshened up so maybe this team with the British Bulldog will do the trick. Tatanka is officially dead in the water and feels far past expiration now. The match was alright but not much better than the rest of the dogshit matches this feud has produced. Grade: *1/2

*** Bret Hart joins in from backstage to give some final thoughts on his I Quit match with Bob Backlund as well as his No Holds Barred tilt with Owen Hart on Raw tomorrow night. ***

Final Analysis

Scott: This was a fun little sprint with plenty of Mania build and three solid matches to really get the crowd going, including Lex Luger’s long awaited win over Tatanka to end that feud. We got strong build for the WWF Title match, Bam Bam/LT, the IC Title match and Bret/Backlund. Those really are the highlight matches of WrestleMania. We are also awaiting who Owen Hart will select as his tag team partner for the Tag Title match next Sunday with the Smoking Gunns. I’m not sure if they will continue these “Sunday Night Slam” shows but this one was really good and quick as the hard sell was needed for this show. We have Raw tomorrow night and then off to Hartford! Final Grade: B

JT: As usual the WWF does a nice job with these shows as they get to spend the full hour just hard selling the PPV and all of the main feuds and stories were covered here. I thought the face-to-face confrontation between Shawn Michaels and Diesel was the best part of their feud since they split up as both showed strong aspects of their characters and the tension was palpable. Bam Bam Bigelow looked good too and I thought his squash of Sionne was a shrewd move. The cage match was a fittingly blasé blowoff to the limping Tatanka/Luger feud that just about everyone should be happy is finally dead and buried. Luger desperately needs something more before he completely craters. We have one more show to go before Mania but this was could have served as the final hard sell just fine on its own. Final Grade: B-