What The World Was Watching: WWF Monday Night Raw – December 18, 1995

Monday Night Raw

-Recap of last night’s In Your House pay-per-view extravaganza. The Undertaker and Diesel’s stare down at the end of the show gets most of the attention.

-We’re coming to America live from Newark, Delaware. Vince McMahon and Jerry “the King” Lawler are in the booth.

-Opening Contest: Jeff Jarrett vs. “Making a Difference” Fatu:

This was Jarrett’s return to the WWF after his abrupt departure in July. He attacked Ahmed Johnson at In Your House 5 and clips of that assault are played during his entrance. After Jarrett struts, Fatu beats him up and forces him to bail. Back in, Jarrett hits a DDT coming off the ropes, which was his initial finisher in the WWF, but you can’t hit a former Headshrinker in the head and Fatu doesn’t sell it. A blind charge leads to Fatu slamming his shoulder into the ring post and Jarrett hits a swinging neckbreaker. Jarrett maintains the advantage and that sends us to a commercial break.

When we come back, Jarrett hits two second rope axe handle smashes but when he tries another he gets a fist to the gut. Fatu makes the comeback and a backbreaker gets two. Fatu hits a Diamond Cutter, but his shoulder is hurt from Jarrett’s offense earlier and Jarrett capitalizes by throwing Fatu shoulder-first into the ring post. Jarrett goes for a figure-four but Ahmed Johnson charges the ring and that leads to a disqualification at 5:42 shown. That finisher wouldn’t have made any sense considering that Fatu’s legs weren’t worked over during the match. Barring the stalling that began the match, this contest worked up a good rhythm before the run-in finish. Grade: C-

-“Handsome” Doc Hendrix is with WWF President Gorilla Monsoon. Monsoon reveals that WWF Champion Bret “Hitman” Hart will defend his title against the Undertaker at the Royal Rumble. Monsoon says that although Jeff Jarrett has entered the Rumble match, he is taking him out and making him face off against Ahmed Johnson. He says people will have to tune into WWF Superstars this weekend to see who’s been placed in the Rumble match. There’s not a chance that the WWE wouldn’t have major announcements on Raw today. Monsoon was much better suited for the president’s role than Jack Tunney ever was.

-Goldust claims that he has a special bond with Intercontinental Champion Razor Ramon. Standard Goldust promo for 1995, but I wish he’d quote movies again.

-The audience is shown the faceoff between the Undertaker and Diesel at the end of In Your House 5.

-Call 1-800-TITAN-91 to order WrestleMania: The Arcade Game. The SNES version is $69.99 and you can get a Sega and Playstation version as well. Looking back, it’s ridiculous to see how much SNES games used to be priced. I’m still mad that the SNES version of the game didn’t have Bam Bam Bigelow or Yokozuna.

-“Nature Boy” Buddy Landell vs. Bob “Spark Plugg” Holly:

Landell was the other “Nature Boy” in wrestling at the time, functioning at one of the major heels in Jim Cornette’s Smokey Mountain Wrestling. Fittingly he gets Ric Flair’s old WWF theme. A fast pace gets us started, with both men exchanging blows in the corner and exchanging wristlocks. Landell pounds away before applying an armbar to take away any momentum the match had going for it. Holly fires back but it stopped in his tracks with a kick to the face. Despite being reduced to jobber status, Holly gets a chant from the crowd but it doesn’t help him as Landell takes him down and applies a modified Indian death lock. Landell gets two off of a backdrop and its chinlock time. Landell tires of that move, but ducks his head too early and Holly delivers a DDT for a brief double KO. Holly makes the comeback and hits two clotheslines for two. However, Landell grabs the ropes to avoid a dropkick and he delivers an elbow drop for the pin at 6:49. Color me shocked that Landell didn’t get over with that finishing move. The stalling hurt the match, but Holly busted his ass to make it an entertaining squash. The crowd appreciated his efforts as well. Grade: C

-Brother Love interviews Ted DiBiase about Xanta Claus, who attacked Savio Vega at In Your House 5. You see, he’s not Santa Claus because he’s from the South Pole and instead of giving gifts he takes them. I guess Ted DiBiase’s recruiting pipeline for the Million Dollar Corporation was drying up at this point. This was just a generic segment that added little to the show and hyped a talent that was hardly ever seen on WWF television.

-Intercontinental Championship Match: “The Bad Guy” Razor Ramon vs. Yokozuna (w/Jim Cornette & Mr. Fuji):

Goldust and his usher, who he had before Marlena came along at the Royal Rumble, come out with Yokozuna and position themselves by the entrance. Ramon comes out and no sells their presence. As Ramon makes his entrance, we’re shown clips of In Your House 5 where Goldust sent Ramon a special note and Ramon tore it up. In a nice touch and as a sign of mind games to come, gold dust falls from the top of the arena at the end of Ramon’s entrance. As Ramon is distracted by this development, Yokozuna Pearl Harbors him. Poor choice of words there? Ramon knocks Yoko to the floor after a series of right hands. Yoko stalls for a while and slowly lumbers his way back into the ring. Yoko slams Ramon but a big fat elbow drop misses. Ramon works the arm and hits a clothesline. When he tries it again, though, Yoko hurls him to the floor. However, Ramon lands on his feet and delivers some more clotheslines back in the ring. Yoko tries to squash Ramon when he tries a sunset flip, but Ramon moves out of the way of that and goes back to the arm. Yoko just uses his girth to force Ramon into the corner and headbutts away. The all important nerve hold follows but Ramon fights out. Yoko works in the one spot he hasn’t worked in yet, the one of him being dazed but not yet dazed enough to fall down, and Ramon finally knocks him down with a right hand off the ropes. Ramon covers but only gets two after Yoko puts his hand on the ropes. Ramon goes back to the arm and we head to a commercial break.

When we return, Ramon is trapped in another nerve hold and is in the process of fighting out. When Ramon finally clears the hold, he fires away but Yoko just hits him in the throat and beats him down in the corner. Watching Yoko take a ton of offense and turn the tide in one blow was one of the best parts of his character. Ramon eventually fights out of the corner and nails Yoko with a flying clothesline off the ropes. Yoko’s blind charge eats boot and Ramon hits a second rope bulldog. The lights suddenly start flickering and the Undertaker comes to ringside with a massive casket like its 1994 all over again. Despite already seeing the dark side, Yoko doesn’t want to face it again and flees giving Ramon a count out victory at 8:42 shown. The finish to me didn’t make any sense either because the Undertaker already defeated Yokozuna in a casket match at the 1994 Survivor Series. There was a slight connection due to Yokozuna’s assault with Mabel on the Undertaker a few months prior, but Yokozuna’s role in that hadn’t been recognized in months. Aside from the ridiculous finish, Ramon got more out of Yokozuna here than I thought was possible. Grade: C

Hendrix quickly interviews Ramon and he says that he doesn’t like men and that Goldust had better stay away from him. He says he’s not going to get into the contents of Goldust’s letter because it’s not meant for children. Along with Diesel’s anti-corporate character this was one of the angles that foreshadowed the Attitude Era.

-Shawn Michaels “Tell Me a Lie” music video is shown for the first time. I love this music video and consider it one of the best that the WWE has ever put together.

The Final Report: This was an excellent show from top to bottom and it finished 1995 on a high note (imagine that). All three matches were competitive and fun to watch, barring the non-finishes in two of them. There is no show next week because it’s Christmas (in 1995) so this concludes our Raw reports for 1995.

Grade: C

So…with the 1995 Raw season over, what would you all want me to recap? I have a couple of options:

*1995 Superstars (picking up after In Your House 2…which is where I ended when I did recap that show)
*1994 Superstars
*1995 Monday Nitro
*1994 Action Zone
*1995 Action Zone

Just comment below and let me know what you would prefer!

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