Welcome to the latest edition of ‘Raw Rewind‘. Today we take in the episode of Raw from 11 July 1994 with Bret Hart defending the WWF title against the 1-2-3 Kid with Crush, I.R.S. and Razor Ramon 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 latest Raw recap here.
A Jim Ross voiced-over promo for the 1-2-3 Kid airs, hyping his career to date, including surprise wins en route to his title shot against Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart on this episode of WWF Raw.
Jim Ross is on commentary tonight with Gorilla Monsoon and the pair hype the Kid’s WWF title shot on Raw tonight.
Match 1: WWF Champion Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart vs. The 1-2-3 Kid
Both men get a great reaction from the fans in attendance. Jim Ross runs down all of Hart’s honours as he makes his way to the ring. Before this can get underway, Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart and ‘The Rocket’ Owen Hart make their way down to ringside. The pair get escorted to the back and this one is ready to get going.
The Kid and Hart shake hands and we start off with a tie-up. The Kid hits an armdrag on a surprised looking WWF Champion. Hart attempts to work on the arm but the Kid takes him down and applies pressure on the arm. Hart breaks free and slams the Kid but we get a nip-up from the Kid and they lock up again.
Crowd seems to be behind the Kid in the early stages with “1,2,3. 1,2,3” chants. Hart whips the Kid into the ropes and connects with a back elbow before applying a reverse chinlock. The Kid breaks free and after a series of leapfrogs, connects with a monkey flip then a couple of kicks, the latter sending Hart up and over the top rope.
When we return from a break, the Kid has an armbar on Hart in the middle of the ring. Hart fights free and whips the Kid into the ropes and drives a knee into the mid-section. “Let’s go Bret” chants ring out as Hart pounds away on the Kid in the corner with a series of European uppercuts. Hart drives the Kid face-first into his knee then connects with a diving elbow. The champion continues to pound away on the challenger, driving him face-first into the turnbuckle.
The Kid is hurled into the opposite turnbuckle, causing Earl Hebner to check in on him. Hart misses an elbow and the Kid gets a nearfall with a crossbody. Hart, however, is up first and fells his opponent. Again he’s whipped into the corner but catches Hart with a roll-up for another nearfall. The Kid attempts a crucifix but it’s countered with a Samoan drop and Hart gets the pinfall.
However, The Kid gets his foot on the rope and he explains that to the referee as his theme music plays. Hart refuses to have his hand raised. As per his request, the match is restarted. Hart continues to pound away on the Kid. The Kid gets another nearfall with a roll-up but, again, Hart is back in control quickly and gets a two of his own.
Hart connects with a DDT and that gets him yet another two. Hart then slams the Kid near the corner and gets up to the second turnbuckle but dives straight into the Kid’s boot. Hart misses a clothesline and the Kid connects with a spinning heel kick. The Kid drives a series of boots into the champion, including a running dropkick into the corner. The Kid signals for his finisher and hits a twisting crossbody off the top rope for a nearfall. He then hits a powerbomb on the champion before landing a top rope legdrop but Hart gets his shoulder up, just.
A clothesline then sends the WWF Champion up and over to the outside. The Kid comes off with a cannonball off the top rope, although barely makes contact. Hart is first in the ring but the Kid comes back in off the top rope but misses a senton. Hart is on his feet and applies a Sharpshooter but makes the ropes.
Hart goes back to the European uppercuts before dropping the Kid groin-first on the top turnbuckle. He heads to the second turnbuckle and tries a superplex but it’s countered and the Kid lands on him for a two. Kid whips Hart into the corner but this time misses a dropkick. Hart connects with a bulldog and goes up top. However, The Kid is back up and slams Hart off the top.
It’s The Kid’s turn to go up top and jumps at Hart, Hart catches his legs and applies the Sharpshooter in the middle of the ring.
Winner: Bret Hart via submission
Overall: Wow, what a match. Maybe the best Raw match to date?
Post-match, Hart hugs the Kid, to the delight of the crowd.
We get a ‘SummerSlam Report’ with Todd Pettengill, who praises the previous match. Todd tells us that the tickets for SummerSlam are selling fast before plugging the hotline. Pettengill announces that the main event will see The Undertaker take on, errr, The Undertaker. We then hear from Paul Bearer who claims that the Undertaker under the tutelage of Ted Dibiase isn’t the real Undertaker and promises the return of the real one.
Match 2: Crush (w/ Mr. Fuji) vs. Matt Hardy
Crush offers Hardy a test of strength then kicks him to the gut before pounding away in the corner. Hardy uses his pace to move out of the way of Crush but eventually eats a superkick. Crush then press slams Hardy before dropping him in the middle of the ring. He picks up Hardy and hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and that’s it.
Winner: Crush via pinfall.
Overall: A quick, nothing squash
A video airs hyping Lex Luger. If he defeats Diesel, he will earn a WWF title shot. That match will take place next week on Monday Night Raw. We then see Razor Ramon backstage.
Match 3: Razor Ramon vs. Barry Horowitz
Savage and Ross discuss the WWF hiring a detective to investigate this two Undertakers situation, that announcement will be made at WWF Mania this coming weekend. In the ring, Ramon works on Horowitz’s arm. A series of punches fells Horowitz before Ramon applies an STF.
Both men are back up but Ramon takes him down with a drop toe hold. An eye rake then stops Ramon in his tracks but it’s only for a fleeting time as Ramon hits a fallaway slam then signals for the Razor’s Edge but instead rolls up Horowitz with an inside cradle and we’re done.
Winners: Razor Ramon via pinfall.
Overall: Very short, difficult to rate.
We then cut to a pre-recorded ‘King’s Court’ with Jerry Lawler interviewing Ted Dibiase, in one of the Million Dollar Man’s offices. Lawler then highlights the career to date of Dibiase. Dibiase announces that Lex Luger is bought and paid for and is now the property of the Million Dollar Man. Jim Ross and Randy Savage wonder if Dibiase will be in Luger’s corner next week on Raw, when he challenges Diesel.
Match 4: I.R.S. vs. Ray Hudson
Irwin makes his way, typically cutting a promo on the tax cheats in the crowd. We learn we’ll hear from Bret Hart before Raw goes off the air tonight. Hudson has a mullet and moustache: classic jobber look.
The crowd chants “Irwin, Irwin” as he tosses the jobber around the ring. Hudson ducks a clothesline and hits a crossbody for a one. I.R.S. then applies an abdominal stretch, using the top rope for a) leverage and b) heel heat. I.R.S. applies a spinning toe hold on Hudson and continues to use the ropes for more leverage.
I.R.S. connects with a running clothesline then a running elbow but picks Hudson up during the count. He hits a double underhook suplex then an STF for the win.
Winner: I.R.S. via submission.
Overall: He made quick work of Hudson but an entirely missable match.
Next week, we’ll see Mabel, Owen Hart both in action while Lex Luger will face Diesel. We hear from Bret Hart who says how much respect he has for the 1-2-3 Kid before Savage turns the conversation onto Owen Hart. Bret promises to have a brother in his corner to cancel out the threat posed by Neidhart.
The WWF title match is excellent, really worth catching.
Overall score – 3/5
Highlights of the recent television tapings. The Raw taping on 7/1 in Bushkill, PA opened with a Bob Backlund squash win where Backlund used the chicken wing and wouldn’t let the hold go for a long time after the match and they rang the bell four or five times before he broke it, and he then ignored fans after the match. I’m told this wasn’t taped, but was strictly a try-out, but after ten years, they finally got Backlund to do what they wanted him to do. Bret Hart vs. 1-2-3 Kid followed and they had a 25:00 super match. Owen Hart and Jim Neidhart caused a ruckus early but left. At 10:00, Hart scored a pin but Kid’s foot was on the ropes and they built it from there ending when Kid missed a dropkick and submitted to the sharpshooter. Another Raw match was Lex Luger vs. Diesel ending in a DDQ when Razor Ramon and Shawn Michaels interfered. Alundra Blayze did an interview saying how she had finished off Luna, which will lead to Luna returning as the manager of Bull Nakano, who debuts at the 8/1 Raw taping in Youngstown, OH. They did promos on the third show building to Bull Nakano being on TV “next week.” Jim Ross did the announcing for all three shows. Harvey Whippleman did a dark interview talking about Adam Bomb turning, so fans would know Bomb was a babyface but the fans really didn’t get behind Bomb. Yokozuna beat Bomb via count out when Kwang tripped up Bomb. Ted DiBiase then promised he’d give Tatanka $10,000 if he could pin Nikolai Volkoff, and Tatanka scored the pin. Before DiBiase gave Tatanka the money he said that Tatanka could never beat Lex Luger, and Tatanka said he could beat Luger any day of the week, which brought out Luger. DiBiase was claiming he’d bought Luger’s contract before Luger came out and Tatanka was agreeing, but Luger was noncommittal and when he was out, DiBiase changed his tune, but this all set up the Tatanka vs. Luger match at SummerSlam.
Speaking of SS, two other matches are Undertaker vs. Undertaker, which they did nothing to build-up at any of the three nights surprisingly, and Brian Lee only worked the third night since he worked SMW the other two nights, however the WWF Mag which hit the subscribers last week already had that match listed, and Bret vs. Owen in a cage. Remember when cages used to mean a clean finish in the ring with nobody running away and no outside interference? Today a cage guarantees running away and outside interference, which may explain why the cage doesn’t draw anything like it used to.
From the 7/2 Challenge tapings in Bethlehem, PA, after a Diesel win, Shawn Michaels came into the ring and pinned the fallen jobber. Volkoff beat Virgil when DiBiase distracted Virgil in a poor match. Yokozuna won a squash and tried to continue beating on the guy when Mabel, Oscar and Typhoon came out and Oscar rapped and Mabel and Typhoon danced. This is to set up Mabel & Typhoon as a regular tag team (thank god, we are really short this year on legitimate tag team of the year contenders) to feud with Crush & Yokozuna. Ray Rougeau & Jim Powers won a squash as a tag team. During this match several fans were heckling Powers on his physique and he flipped them off. Bam Bam Bigelow was managed by Ted DiBiase but no Luna. Yokozuna & Crush beat Mabel & Typhoon. Jim Neidhart, with Owen in the corner, came out for a squash win to the same Hart Foundation music that Bret uses. Owen then did an interview and said at SummerSlam he’d get back at his older brother for picking on him when they were kids and Bret came out and told Owen that he was being brainwashed by Neidhart and that his win at Wrestlemania was a fluke and said his sister was stupid for ever marrying Neidhart. Lots of complaints about the dark main event where Bret beat Owen with the sharpshooter in just a few minutes of a dud match.
At the Superstars taping on 7/3 in Ocean City, MD, they started a Jeff Jarrett-Kid feud. First they had a double count out and Jarrett destroyed Kid similar to King of the Ring afterwards. Later in the taping they had a rematch which Jarrett won with his feet on the ropes. They continued the Lex turn tease with Luger saying he had no deal with DiBiase and Lex and Tatanka having another confrontation because Tatanka claimed he sold out to DiBiase. Since Luger is working face for September dates in Europe, this looks like a fake turn. They also did a Bob Backlund turn, although again we’re told this may not air. Backlund got a small package but Hart kicked out, but Backlund thought he’d won. Hart then got a small package for the pin. After the match when they went to shake hands, Backlund slapped Hart and put him in the chicken wing and wouldn’t break the hold.
Although many TV Guides are listing a WWF special for 7/30 on Showtime, it won’t be happening. There were negotiations several weeks back and somebody apparently jumped the gun, because no deal was completed nor is one expected to be.
Upcoming tapings are 8/1 in Youngstown, OH, 8/2 in Wheeling, WV and 8/3 in Cincinnati, and then 8/15 and 8/16 in Lowell, MA and 8/17 in Portland, ME.
It is pretty well confirmed that the state athletic commission that Howard Finkel took the HIV test for Hogan was for his license in Oregon.
Bruce Hart is coming in to be in Bret’s corner for house show matches starting the end of the month against Owen, who will have Neidhart in the corner.
They are actually doing a Jerry Lawler vs. Duke Droese feud at the arenas.
For the weekend of 6/20, Raw did a 3.0, All-American a 2.0 (for the live show day of KOTR) and Mania a 1.4. 6/27 saw Raw do a 3.3 for Mabel vs. Bigelow, All-American 1.9 and Mania 1.3. Both Raw shows actually were viewed by more people than the Clash on 6/23.
DiBiase has replaced Johnny Polo on All-American.
Davey Boy Smith is booked for England shows in September teaming with Bret against Owen & Neidhart on top, plus Undertaker vs. Yokozuna casket matches and Blayze vs. Nakano and Ramon vs. Diesel or Ramon & Luger vs. Michaels & Diesel. However on the Germany dates, it’ll be Hart teaming with Randy Savage. There is serious talk of Smith returning full-time in the fall.
John Fillipelli, who is now working in baseball production but was head of production with Titan for several years, in his baseball bio, the years he worked for Titan are left blank as if he just disappeared off the face of the Earth for several years. Apparently in Shawn Mooney’s bio, it’s the same situation.
Early week house show business was largely very weak, in the $11,000 to $25,000 range except a decent house in Fresno and a strong house in Rancho Cucamonga ($54,000) promoted hard off the Los Angeles television.
The 7/30 Oakland date for “Summer Sizzler” will be at the Kaiser Convention Center rather than the regular Coliseum Arena.
Monster Madman, who didn’t appear at any of the three shows, is apparently a relative of former wrestler Johnny Rodz.
All ‘Raw Rewind 1994’ pieces can be found here.