Welcome to the latest edition of ‘Raw Rewind‘. Today we take in the episode of Raw from 20 June 1994, two days after the 1994 instalment of King of the Ring with Yokozuna, the 1-2-3 Kid, Typhoon and the Heavenly Bodies all in action.
Champion Roll Call:
WWF Champion: Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart
WWF Intercontinental Champion: Diesel
WWF Tag Team Champions: The Headshrinkers
You can read the Raw recap here and our King of the Ring review here.
Gorilla Monsoon is at ringside along with Macho Man Randy Savage and, mercifully not, Art Donovan. We are, however, introduced to the Spanish announce team. On Raw tonight, Yokozuna is in action and the 1-2-3 Kid will take on Nikolai Volkoff.
Match 1: WWF Intercontinental Champion Diesel (w/ Shawn Michaels) vs. Mark Thomas
Diesel, fresh off not being able to win the WWF title at King of the Ring, lashes out at Thomas to kick this one off. Savage wonders if Diesel will get another chance at the title. Diesel misses a corner charge and Thomas gets a couple of blows in but his comeback doesn’t last long and he’s tossed out of the ring in front of Shawn Michaels, who put the boot into him.
No rest for Thomas, with Diesel going outside to drag him back in. Michaels gets in Savage’s face at ringside as Thomas goes for a ride in a side suplex. Big Daddy Cool follows up with a running elbow drop, he’s firmly in control here. Like a dart, Thomas is sent face-first into the top turnbuckle before Diesel tries to rip his head off.
Thomas fights out but only succeeds in running into Diesel’s boot. The end is nigh as Diesel signals for the Jackknife, hits it and that’s it. Diesel makes the nonchalant cover with the boot on Thomas’ chest.
Winner: Diesel via pinfall
Overall: A quick squash, which Diesel dominated.
A special ‘King of the Ring’ report with Todd Pettengill. We see a series of stills from the night, starting with Owen Hart being crowned King of the Ring. Pettengill talks us through what led to Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart finding himself aligned to Owen, after starting in the corner of Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart. He then runs through the rest of the card.
Match 2: the 1-2-3 Kid vs. Nikolai Volkoff (w/ The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase)
Volkoff refuses a handshake as the commentators announce that Dibiase, once again, has control over the Undertaker after initially bringing him to the WWF. Volkoff pushes the Kid around to start this one as the announcers discuss his courage the previous night at King of the Ring. We learn that the winner of this match will get a WWF title shot against Bret Hart in a few weeks.
The Kid applies a side headlock but Volkoff powers out and takes the Kid down with a shoulder block. He connects with a big boot before lifting him with a chokehold and throwing him to the mat. Volkoff puts the boot into the prone Kid before applying a bearhug. The Kid wriggles out and rolls up Volkoff for a two.
Savage trots out the cliche ‘the Kid doesn’t have the word ‘quit’ in his vocabulary. The Kid mounts some offence but is stopped in his tracks before Volkoff hits a double underhook suplex. From nowhere, the Kid rolls up Volkoff but he easily powers out. Savage states he’s praying for an upset win here for the Kid.
Right on cue, he begins a comeback and gets a two following a roundhouse kick to the side of the head. The Kid is whipped into the ropes and runs into a high knee. Volkoff follows up by dropping the Kid throat-first onto the top rope. The crowd chant “1, 2, 3. 1, 2, 3” as Volkoff continues to throw him about the ring. A backbreaker could have got him the win but he pulled the Kid up. He hits another and once again pulls up the Kid.
Volkoff takes the fight into the corner. The Kid appears to have injured his own knee but he is playing possum and rolls up Volkoff and gets the win.
Winner: the 1-2-3 Kid via pinfall.
Overall: Slow and plodding, owing to Volkoff being largely in control.
Post-match, Volkoff beats down the Kid at the orders of Dibiase until Virgil makes the save. Virgil goes to attack Dibiase but is clobbered from behind by Volkoff. Lex Luger eventually makes the save and clears the ring. Now making saves for Virgil, how the mighty have fallen…
We head to a break and get a video hyping Bam Bam Bigelow facing Mabel next week on Raw.
Match 3: Yokozuna (w/ Mr. Fuji and James E. Cornette) vs. Nick Barbarry
A big slap sends Barbarry to the mat where Yokozuna proceeds to put in a series of boots. Back to his feet, Barbarry is slammed back down to the mat. We learn that the returning Typhoon is after Yokozuna after what he did to his former tag team partner.
A series of chops leaves Barbarry in a whole world of trouble, here. Yokozuna is either angry or hungry and is destroying Barbarry. He hits a huge, huge belly-to-belly suplex, which he follows up with a running leg drop for the win.
Winner: Yokozuna via pinfall.
Overall: Very quick and very easy win for Yokozuna.
A video airs, voiced over by Lord Alfred Hayes, hypes the King of the Ring 1994 encore presentation.
Match 4: Typhoon vs. The Black Phantom
As Typhoon makes his way to the ring, he gets in the face of Yokozuna who is walking to the back. When we return from a break, Typhoon is now in the ring. We are shown a clip of Typhoon nearly dropping Yokozuna with a right hook.
The Phantom applies a side headlock but then runs into Typhoon and bounces off him. Monsoon says that Typhoon is bigger and more aggressive since we last seen him. Typhoon crashes into the Black Phantom in the corner as Monsoon advises us that Vince McMahon is recuperating from neck surgery.
In the ring, Typhoon connects with a suplex. Typhoon hits a corner charge then a running splash for the win. A “tremendous impressive win” according to Monsoon.
Winner: Typhoon via pinfall.
Overall: Quick squash.
Another edition of the ‘King’s Court’, this time with Duke ‘The Dumpster’ Droese. He, naturally, starts with a few pops at Rowdy Roddy Piper. Lawler says Droese stinks and won’t let him into the ring, which he calls his “palace”. The King may think his patter is very good, but, once again, it’s dying in front of this live audience at Raw. Droese turns to walk away and is ambushed from behind by Lawler, he attacks him with a trash can.
Match 5: The Heavenly Bodies (w/ James E. Cornette) vs. Jim Powers and Russ Greenberg
Jim Powers still looks ripped, years after his pomp with the Young Stallions with Paul Roma. Jimmy Del Ray and Powers kick this off as Cornette joins in on commentary. Powers sends Del Ray down with a shoulder block and mocks his pose. Cornette announces that the Heavenly Bodies have secured a tag title shot against the Headshrinkers, just as Powers fells Del Ray again then follows up with an arm drag and a powerslam. A clothesline keeps Powers in control.
Dr. Tom Prichard is in and Powers works on the arm. A shoulder block then sends Prichard down before he slams him back down to the mat. The Heavenly Bodies double team with a slingshot that puts them in control for a bit but Powers still gets a two from a roll-up.
Greenberg is tagged in but he misses the heels tagging and runs into Del Ray’s boot. Quick tags and the double team the jobber. More double team action and then set up for their finisher, Prichard holding Greenberg and Del Ray connects with a moonsault and that’s it.
Winners: The Heavenly Bodies via pinfall.
Monsoon apologises on behalf of the powers that be at the WWF for Lawler using the trash can on Droese. A video then airs hyping the upcoming SummerSlam PPV.
We head to the back to hear from the Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase. Dibiase says he’s had his eyes on Luger for a while and has potential to go to the very top. He then suggests that Luger can only reach that under the tutelage of Dibiase.
Overall: Some interesting offence from the Heavenly Bodies slightly lifted this above the traditional squash format, but not by much.
This Raw kind of just existed. A series of squash matches. Nothing to see here.
Overall score – 2/5
As expected, they are going to keep the major arenas ringside prices up to $25 at the end of the Wrestlemania revenge tour since people are more than willing to pay that price. Ringside in major cities had ranged from $15 to $19 previously, although in comparison to tickets to NBA, NHL and NFL, or wrestling in Japan, the good seats are still dirt cheap. As it did with the Revenge tour, while attendance is averaging roughly the same as it did one year ago, the grosses are up significantly.
King Kong Bundy is telling everyone that he’s headed in, perhaps as soon as the PPV show. A lot of talk of Davey Boy Smith returning as well, although we don’t know that for a fact. The Barbarian worked on top at the “B” team house shows against Razor Ramon, because Diesel has been pulled from all shows the past two weekends because of injuries to save him for King of the Ring.
Cable trade publications are predicting the lowest buy rate in WWF PPV history for King of the Ring. After all the hype is over, the biggest disappointment has to be the Piper-Lawler build-up, which couldn’t even touch the level the two reached in the early 80s in Atlanta (where the match never took place since Piper was fired days before). It really hurt the build-up that Piper never made a live appearance at a taping, and it seems the pub for Hogan’s return has overshadowed Piper’s return.
Add Brian Blair & Jim Brunzell to the list of those filing suits against Titan, filing a breach of contract suit this past month.
The new WWF Magazine reached subscribers listing all eight contestants for King of the Ring, listing Tatanka a week before the match he won to earn the spot aired.
That match on the 6/6 Raw did a 3.1 rating, while All-American that weekend did a 1.6 and Mania an 0.9.
The clips on 6/13 showing the Hall-of-Fame banquet from Baltimore was some of the classiest television material on U.S. wrestling in years. Regis Philbin, a long-time friend of Fred Blassie’s, was the m.c. They showed clips of Blassie and the rest accepting their awards and clips of current stars Ted DiBiase, Bret Hart, Randy Savage and Shawn Michaels in attendance.
Only 40-50 fans turned out on 6/6 for the tug-of-war on the USS Entrepid with WWF wrestlers vs. military, which the wrestlers won. Funny to see Bam Bam Bigelow hug and high-five Mabel after the win airing on television.
Wrestlemania revenge shows over the weekend drew fair (5,500) in Pittsburgh on 6/10 and very good (5,000, which is nearly full) on 6/11 in Niagara Falls. “B” shows did poorly except for a strong showing in Delaware.
Upcoming International tours are 7/8 to 7/15 in Czechoslovakia, Austria and Germany and 7/14 to 7/21 in Philippines, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore.
Survivor Series is tentative for 11/22 at the Meadowlands and Royal Rumble for 1/21 at the Tampa Sun Dome.
July cards will be headlined by Bret vs. Owen in a most-falls-in-an-hour match, Lawler vs. Randy Savage, Head Shrinkers vs. Heavenly Bodies for tag belts and Yokozuna vs. Typhoon.
WWF wrestling figures are the fifth best selling toy in Great Britain.
All-American on 7/19 airs live from Baltimore with Johnny Polo shaving his beard on the show.
All ‘Raw Rewind 1994’ pieces can be found here.