I have recently picked up a lot of old episodes of Monday Night Raw, Superstars, and the Action Zone and figured that I should go ahead and review them for Inside Pulse. 1995 was the first year that I watched wrestling on a regular basis so there is a lot of nostalgia in these old episodes for me, although it can easily be argued that 1995 was one of the worst creative years in WWF history.
Since this is the beginning of June 1995, we are a few weeks away from the worst King of the Ring tournament in history. The previous weekâ€™s episode saw â€œThe Supreme Fighting Machineâ€ Kama qualify over Duke â€œthe Dumpsterâ€ Droese and a newly returned Shawn Michaels, who had qualified for the King of the Ring on the previous Raw, defeated Dr. Tom Pritchard of the Heavenly Bodies.
Iâ€™ll rate the matches between â€œsuperstarsâ€ but not the squash matches since well, they are just squash matches.
Your hosts for this edition are Vince McMahon and â€œHandsomeâ€ Doc Hendrix
–Opening Contest: The Allied Powers vs. Mike Bell & Some Guy in Blue:
You know itâ€™s bad if youâ€™re a jobber team and they donâ€™t even put your names on the television screen for the audience. I recognize one guy as Mike Bell but having no name for Bellâ€™s partner in blue Iâ€™ll just name him Charles for this match. Luger was about three months away from leaving the WWF and getting a fresh start in WCW thereby becoming the first major defection of the Monday Night Wars. Luger and Bell start and Luger uses his raw power to get the advantage with a shoulder block off the ropes and a hiptoss. Bulldog comes in and works in his vertical suplex to a nice pop. Bell tags Charles after a headbutt and the Allied Powers nail him with a double elbow off the ropes. Luger works his arm until Charles escapes and tags in Bell who takes Luger to the buckle and chokes Luger on the top rope. However, all good things must come to an end and Luger hits a powerslam off the ropes and applies the Torture Rack for the win.
-We go to Jerry â€œthe Kingâ€ Lawler who is surrounded by members of his royal court. His feet are unclean and exposed for the world to see. He has decided to accept Bretâ€™s challenge for a match at the King of the Ring and the stipulation is that the loser will have to kiss his opponentâ€™s feet. Thatâ€™s why heâ€™s not cleaning his feet.
-Bret â€œHitmanâ€ Hart responds about how he was embarrassed in losing to Lawler at the first In Your House pay-per-view. He pledges to wipe Lawler out once and for all.
–Skip vs. Scott Taylor:
No, itâ€™s not that Scott Taylor. This is the Superstars debut of Skip and Sunny after several weeks of vignettes. Lockup starts the contest and Taylor gets in some weak shots before Skip hits him with an elbow off the ropes and DDTâ€™s him. Taylor goes to the outside and Skip goes to hit a pescado but hits a lot of air because Taylor moved out of the way. Back in, Skip with a snap suplex and a legdrop off the second rope. Skip hits a fistdrop off the second rope after having the sweat wiped from his brow by Sunny and then hits a clothesline against the buckles. Skip puts Taylor on the top rope and hurricanrana from the top rope gets the win. Nice, well paced squash match.
-Stephanie Wiand breaks down some local house shows in the New York area for the WWF Tour de Force tour. Todd Pettengill marks out for Sid being added to the Nassau Coliseum card to face Bam Bam Bigelow and Shawn Michaels will be replacing Diesel in a 20 man battle royal at the Nassau Coliseum, a cage match in Madison Square Garden, and a tag match at the Meadowlands.
–King of the Ring Qualifying Match: The Roadie (w/Intercontinental Champion Jeff Jarrett) vs. Doink (w/Dink):
As a young fan I never quite figured out why the Roadie was placed into this match instead of Jarrett, but its decisions like that one that made the 1995 King of the Ring tournament ridiculous. This match shows one of the benefits of having shows littered with squash matches in that even the lowest star studded matches like this one seemed like big deals and grabbed your attention. This was also only the second big time match for the Roadie since he had only wrestled prior with Jarrett against Razor Ramon at the first In Your House pay-per-view. Doink spends the opening minutes of the match outwrestling the Roadie to demonstrate that the Roadie is inexperienced, a point that is emphasized further by Roadie constantly conferring with Jarrett at ringside. Doink feels heâ€™s proven his point of using mat wrestling and slams the Roadie a few times and rakes his face with his boots. Doink hits a rolling snapmare and the Roadie bails.
Back in, Roadie locks in a headlock but Doink just hiptosses him before locking a headlock of his own while I wish Gorilla Monsoon or Jesse Ventura was on commentary because they would have informed me that if Doink lost this match his career would be finished because heâ€™d lost so many matches prior to this. Doink gets two from a fluke sunset flip and the Roadie retaliates with some weak shots. Doink hits a side suplex and a kneelift. Doink hits another slam and delivers an elbowdrop off the ropes. Doink heads to the top rope for the Whoopie Cushion, but heâ€™s distracted by Jarrett chasing after Dink and that enables the Roadie to hit him from behind with a knee and schoolboy him for the pin at 5:08. Not surprisingly, Dink didnâ€™t appear much on WWF television after this with Doink. *Â½
-Waylon Mercy vignette. I loved this character as a kid because he was so unconventional. He also had quite a few easily
–Bob â€œSpark Pluggâ€ Holly vs. Raymond Something:
Is there a reason why the jobbers names are not on the television during this show? Raymond attacks Holly from behind and beats him down, which isnâ€™t a bad strategy for a jobber. Raymond lays into Holly in the corner but Holly hits an elbow off the second turnbuckle when heâ€™s whipped into the corner and hits a hiptoss. Holly hits a slam and a kneedrop before applying a chinlock. Raymond gets in a few more shots and we get a double KO spot (in a squash match?). Holly rebounds, hits a good looking clothesline, and a dropkick. Holly then goes to the top rope and finishes with a flying bodypress off the top rope at 2:10.
-Antonio Rocca, Ivan Putski, the Fabulous Moolah, and Ernie Ladd are announced for the 1995 WWF Hall of Fame.
-Doc Hendrix welcomes Bertha Faye and her love interest/manager Harvey Wippleman to the ring for a promo. Faye had broken Alundra Blayzeâ€™s nose on Raw a few weeks prior to this so Wippleman uses this time to say that she will soon be the WWF Womenâ€™s Champion. Faye says a few things and I immediately want Harvey back on the mic. Interestingly enough, this would be the only champion Wippleman would manage during his WWF career. In todayâ€™s WWE, a match between Faye and Blayze would happen in a week or two. In 1995, it took THREE MONTHS for these two to face off in a title match at SummerSlam and it came off as more of an afterthought.
-Highlights of Sid powerbombing Diesel at In Your House are shown and then of him chokeslamming Diesel. This is because Diesel had suffered an elbow injury at a house show and the WWF spinned it as being Sidâ€™s fault. Dr. James Andrews makes a cameo and hypes his American Sports Medicine Institute.
–Rad Radford vs. Bert Centino:
Michael Vitelli is our guest ring announcer. This is when the WWF would have fans guest ring announce a matches. It was a nice touch and they should bring it back for one of their shows. Radford is Louie Spicolli for those unfamiliar with this time period. Radford has a more detailed ring attire than the last time he wrestled on Superstars. It makes him look less generic. Radford hits a suplex and a quick legdrop before mounting Centino and laying in some shots. Centino fires back but just gets backdropped out of the ring for his troubles. Radford hits a baseball slide, a maneuver I hardly see anymore. Back in, Radford hits a spinebuster off the ropes and a Northern Lights suplex finishes at 1:52.
-Mr. Bob Backlund delivers a campaign address on crime. Absolutely hilarious as he swears that offenders will be put in purgatory and how offenders will have microchips put in them to warn everyone else that they are a criminal (Iâ€™m sure the ACLU would have something to say about that). Iâ€™m surprised they never had Backlund step back into the ring again as a competitor because a wrestling politician gimmick is one that has never been tried. I think it would gather lots of heat if done by the right person.
–The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer) vs. Tony DeVito:
This is the methodical, purple glove Undertaker era so he wonâ€™t be trying to choke people out with UFC style holds in this one. The Undertaker hits DeVito with a thrust to the neck, tosses him into the corner, nails him with a headbutt, and then chokes him against the ropes. DeVito tries to put up a fight but before he can do anything the Undertaker hits a chokeslam and a Tombstone finishes at 2:06. Well that was decisive. The Undertaker and Paul Bearer put DeVito in a body bag as McMahon hypes a house show match against Sid at the Meadowlands next week.
-House show report again with Stephanie Wiand. This Friday is a big show at the Nassau Coliseum and next week they do Madison Square Garden and the Meadowlands. Jim Ross is in the WWF Mania set and sells Shawn Michaels as a great warrior because he is taking Dieselâ€™s place and that he might just die when he faces Sid in a steel cage at Madison Square Garden next week. What I do like about this is he runs through the storylines and sets everything up like some kind of epic sports struggle rather than the entertainment garbage we are sold today.
-Next week: highlights of the last King of the Ring qualifying match between the British Bulldog and Owen Hart and Jerry Lawler is in action!
FINAL REPORT: Typical Superstars show but the Doink-Roadie King of the Ring qualifier was probably the worst one of the bunch in 1995. Canâ€™t say Iâ€™m too excited for next weekâ€™s show given the lack of build but sometimes these things surprise me.
Tags: Bob holly, Bret Hart, Davey Boy Smith, Dink, Doink, jeff jarrett, Jerry Lawler, Lex Luger, Mike Bell, Rad Radford, Skip, Sunny, the British Bulldog, the undertaker, Tony DeVito, Waylon Mercy, World Wrestling Entertainment