Welcome to the latest edition of ‘Raw Rewind‘. Today we take in the episode of Raw from 27 June 1994 with Kwang, Mabel, Bam Bam Bigelow and Lex Luger 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.
We start with a video highlighting Duke ‘The Dumpster’ Droese’s appearance on last week’s ‘King’s Court’, which culminated in ‘The King’ Jerry Lawler drilling Droese with a trash can. Tonight, we’ll learn the consequences of that action. Next, we hear from Lawler who has been asked to provide an apology but barely manages to do it.
Gorilla Monsoon and Macho Man Randy Savage are once again on commentary. Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart will be Lawler’s guest on the ‘King’s Court’ later on.
Match 1: Mabel (w/ Oscar) vs. Bam Bam Bigelow (w/ Luna Vachon)
“How big are these guys?” is what Art Donovan would ask here… Lock up to start and Bigelow is pushed into the corner. Cheap shot from Bigelow is followed up by an enziguri before a series of clubbing blows send Mabel down.
Mabel is whipped into the corner but catches Bigelow charging in with a big boot. It’s followed up by a running leg drop. However, Luna distracts him and when Mabel eventually tries a running elbow drop, Bigelow rolls out of the way.
Vachon is again on the apron but Bigelow doesn’t see that and whips Mabel into her, knocking her flying. Mabel slams Bigelow but there’s a clash of heads and both men are down. On the outside, Oscar is urging someone to come out to Luna’s aid. Bigelow heads out and shoves Oscar aside. Mabel heads out and attacks Bigelow and the two big men brawl and Mabel makes it in just before the 10 count.
Winner: Mabel via countout
Overall: Strange match. Seems to serve little purpose and had a silly ending.
Post-match, the Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase heads out to speak to Bam Bam. We then cut to footage from two weeks ago on WWF Superstars when Dibiase brought back The Undertaker. We then see Dibiase leading Undertaker to the ring this past weekend on Superstars and beating a jobber.
Another ad airs for the King of the Ring reply.
Match 2: I.R.S. vs. Rich Myers
A tug of the hair breaks a side headlock before Myers attempts again and it’s a German suplex that breaks it. I.R.S. applies an abdominal stretch and uses the ropes for advantage. Nice snap suplex from I.R.S. before he applies a reverse chinlock. Both men are back on their feet but that ends sharply when I.R.S. slams Myers to the mat. He applies an STF and that’s this one done.
Winner: I.R.S. via submission.
Overall: A short match but would have benefited from being even shorter.
When we return, Lawler is in the ring and talking about the Hart Foundation tag team, ahead of Neidhart’s appearance. Lawler introduces Neidhart by describing him as the backbone and leader of the team. Lawler apologises to Neidhart for the reaction then asks what it was like carrying Hart on his back. Neidhart claims that Hart continues to ask him for advice to this day.
Neidhart then introduces us to the ‘King of Harts’ Owen Hart, who comes down to the ring in full Royal regalia, which I’m a huge fan of. Hart says Neidhart is the only member of his family who he can trust. Hart says he knows he can beat Bret Hart and promises to do it for the WWF title.
Match 3: WWF tag team champions The Headshrinkers (w/ Captain Lou Albano) vs. The Executioners
Fatu starts and in quick succession both Executioners take a powerslam. He then slams their heads together before Samu is tagged in. A double headbutt fells the Executioner before a low blow, thanks to Fatu distracting the referee.
A reverse thrust kick and Fatu is back in. They split the legs of the Executioner before gauging at his face. A short-arm clothesline gets a two, largely because Fatu pulls him up. Samu is back in and they fell him with a double chop. Executioner number two is knocked off the apron.
We learn there’s activity taking place backstage involving the Million Dollar Man. Samu hits a second rope DDT from the corner and a headbutt for a two, but again only cause he pulls his shoulders up. Samu thrust kicks the second executioner off the apron. More double-team action as they hit a double back elbow but again stop their own pinfall.
Double front Russian legsweep before Fatu hits the top rope splash for the win.
Winners: The Headshrinkers pinfall.
Overall: Very, very one-sided affair – the second Executioner didn’t even tag in.
The cameras find Dibiase and Volkoff backstage with Bam Bam Bigelow and Luna Vachon but the cameraman is chased away before we can hear much.
Next week on Raw Tatanka will face Jeff Jarrett and the Undertaker will be in action.
Match 4: Kwang (w/ Harvey Wippleman) vs. Mike Moraldo
The announcers speculate whether Dibiase is trying to recruit more talent to his stable. Moraldo gets an early two after a crossbody but runs into a spinning kick. Kwang connects with a clothesline then a chest shop. Backing Moraldo into the corner, Kwang chops away.
Kwang hits a big backbody drop then stomps on Moraldo. Kwang catches Moraldo with a spinning heel kick into the corner then a thrust cut in the middle of the ring, but breaks the pin. Moraldo attempts a comeback but is caught when attempting a monkey flip and Kwang connects with a spinning heel kick for the win.
Winner: Kwang via pinfall.
Overall: Quick squash but Kwang is rubbish.
A video airs highlighting the WWF’s New Generation push, mere weeks after King of the Ring was headlined by Jerry Lawler vs. Roddy Piper. ‘Made in the USA’ Lex Luger is up next, the embodiment of the ‘New Generation’ according to Gorilla Monsoon.
Match 5: Lex Luger vs. Mike Bell
Lock up to start but Luger easily overpowers Bell. Another lock up and Lex takes it into a side headlock then a shoulder tackle sends Bell down. We see Dibiase peering through the curtains at Luger, smiling then heading back. Bell finds himself getting in some offence but poses for the crowd, allowing Luger to drill him with a running forearm. Luger hits a backbreaker then applies his Torture Rack for the win.
Winners: Lex Luger via submission.
Overall: A meh squash.
Luger poses in the ring as the announcers speculate over the link between Dibiase and Luger. We then get another advert for the King of the Ring replay showing.
Monsoon hypes next week’s Raw before we hear from Dibiase. Dibiase has Volkoff and Bigelow with him. He says he’s hired the services of Bam Bam Bigelow and says that Lex Luger is next as “everybody’s got a price for the Million Dollar Man.”
Overall score – 1/5
Vince McMahon underwent surgery on 6/13 for a herniated disc, which is believed to be the result of years of heavy lifting as it’s getting to be a more and more common injury among wrestlers and lifters, particularly those past the age of 40. It caused him to miss the King of the Ring and the Raw taping. He’s said to be recovering fine, but according to the report we received, the surgery required them taking bone from his hip to his neck, so it was far more serious than believed to be going in.
Basil DeVito resigned as company Vice President. No details have been given.
Highlights of the Monday Night Raw taping on 6/20 in White Plains, NY. On the live show, they opened with 1-2-3 Kid vs. Nikolai Volkoff with the winner to get a title shot at Bret Hart on the 7/11 show (to be taped 7/5 in Bushkill, PA). Volkoff dominated, but Kid won with a small package. After the match Volkoff was destroying Kid when Virgil made the save (to set up a Virgil vs. Volkoff feud), however after Virgil went after Ted DiBiase, Volkoff attacked him from behind and left him laying until Lex Luger came out. Later in the show DiBiase announced he wanted to buy Luger and lead him to the title. New generation. Same angle.
Jerry Lawler did a King’s Court where he attacked Duke Dumpster Droese with a garbage can.
The only other noteworthy item on the live show was Jim Powers’ physique, which was the neon sign of all neon signs. Powers is scheduled to return as an underneath regular on “B” shows.
Speaking of that, Davey Boy Smith was called to return for the European tour in September. While it’s not definite, it’ll probably happen, but there was never any talk of him returning prior to September. Kevin Nash (Diesel) called Sid Vicious up and told him the office was interested in bringing him in, but that she should call first.
Back to White Plains, Lawler interviewed Kid and told him that he could help him win the title but Kid told Lawler he didn’t want his help and that Bret Hart was the best wrestler in the world and the only way he had a chance was if Hart made a mistake. Lawler also did a King’s Court with Jim Neidhart who mainly put over Owen Hart.
They did an angle after Evil Undertaker squash win, Paul Bearer came out and tried to hug Evil, who at this point they are still trying to get over as being the original. Evil was about to hug Bearer when DiBiase waved money at him and he stopped.
Jeff Jarrett beat Tatanka via count out, but after the match said he wanted Tatanka back in so he could pin him. Doink came out with a bucket and distracted Jarrett enabling Tatanka to score a quick win. Earlier Jarrett beat Doink with his feet on the ropes. In the main event on the 6/27 show, Mabel beat Bam Bam Bigelow via count out in a match where DiBiase scouts both men.
People who were there were raving about the Hall of Fame banquet on 6/9. Among the former wrestlers in attendance were Ernie Ladd, Baron Scicluna, Ivan Putski, Jimmy & Johnny Valiant, all the ex-wrestling office personnel, Al Costello, Pedro Morales, Ivan Koloff, Greg Valentine, Sgt. Slaughter, Don Muraco and Fabulous Moolah. Bret Hart gave a speech and really put over himself, his brother and 1-2-3 Kid as examples of today’s wrestlers who have the work ethic of the old-timers. The only down side was the obvious lack of mention of Bruno Sammartino’s name to the extent that when they were giving the bio on Arnold Skaaland, they said he had managed two WWF champions, “one of whom was Bob Backlund.” Some WWF officials said they’d be glad to induct Sammartino but that he wouldn’t accept. If they want to show they have class, they’d induct him and let him make that decision himself, rather than give the illusion of honoring history but at the same time trying to erase an important part of it.
Among those returning to work “B” shows in July are such new generation performers as Virgil, Slaughter (who will work on top in a feud with Pierre), Valentine, Koko Ware, Lanny Poffo, Damien Demento, Mike Sharpe and Powers. King Kong Bundy is also expected back. At least in some spots they are raising “B” show tickets to $20 a pop, which will greatly increase the grosses although not the number of tickets sold. I think time after time we’ve seen evidence that lowering ticket prices sells no more tickets, and shows with high prices isn’t a turn-off to buyers unless the price gets ridiculous like the EMLL shows in Los Angeles are for the talent provided.
Monday Night Raw on 6/13 did a 3.3 rating, while All-American did a 1.3 and Mania a 1.1.
Wrestlemania revenge shows over the weekend drew about 4,000 on 6/17 in Hershey, PA and 5,000 on 6/18 at the Spectrum in Philadelphia. The 6/11 Niagara Falls show reported here last week as drawing 5,000 actually drew closer to 10,000, since it was a 12,000 seat arena that was close to full, although the paid was closer to 7,000.
In a company memo to all wrestlers regarding the Jesse Ventura case, written by Linda McMahon: “Approximately two years ago Jesse Ventura brought a $2,000,000 lawsuit against us relative to royalties on video cassettes for his performances as a color commentator. Over the course of the litigation process, Jesse has changed his position from not knowing his image and likeness were being used on video cassettes to he never would have performed as a color commentator if he had known that wrestlers were paid royalties when he was not. Jesse’s agent, Barry Bloom, was repeatedly told by Dick Glover that play-by-play and color commentators, hosts, MC’s, etc. were not paid video royalties because their fees were negotiated up front. Jesse’s agent insisted that Glover misrepresented the policy to him by stating that no “performers” were paid royalties unless they were featured on their own cassette like “The Best of Andre.” Vince had also explained to Jesse during one of his negotiations that commentators are paid up front, and most, like those at the time (Heenan, Okerlund, Sean Mooney), had employment contracts. Having said all that, the bottom line is that the 3 1/3 week trial was held in Minneapolis and the jury found in Jesse’s favor and awarded him $810,000. We are very disappointed by the verdict. Although the jury significantly reduced Jesse’s claim for over two million dollars, we nevertheless feel that the verdict is not only contrary to the evidence presented, but more importantly contrary to the course of dealings in which Jesse engaged and the relationship he had with the World Wrestling Federation during his five years as a color commentator. We have preserved our right of appeal and will move swiftly to make that determination.” Titan also claimed in regard to the Chuck Austin case that they had demanded the case be settled out of court rather than go to trial but that Transamerica insurance decided against it. Because it was the company’s decision to go to court, Transamerica wrote they would extend Titan’s policy to fully cover the verdict and appeal and will renew the policy when it expires on 8/31 with a 15% increase in premiums. As of this point, there has been no lowering of the award due Austin from Titan of $24,777,311, which assuredly will be appealed.
All ‘Raw Rewind 1994’ pieces can be found here.