Welcome to the latest edition of ‘Raw Rewind‘. Today we take in the episode of Raw from 18 July 1994 with Owen Hart, Diesel, Lex Luger and Bam Bam Bigelow 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.
We see Tatanka on Superstars, on the ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ segment criticising Lex Luger and accusing him of selling out to the Million Dollar Man. We then cut to the Raw intro sequence.
Jim Ross welcomes us to Monday Night Raw and he’s once again joined by the Macho Man Randy Savage. The speculate regarding the relationship between Luger and Dibiase. Here comes Diesel.
Match 1: WWF Intercontinental Champion Diesel (w/ Shawn Michaels) vs. ‘Made in the USA’ Lex Luger
Ross reminds us how good the Bret Hart vs. 1-2-3 Kid match last week was. Luger gets a great reception from the Raw crowd as Ross and Savage still speculate regarding whether or not Luger has sold out to the Million Dollar Man.
They lock up to start as Jim Ross says this will be a test between two powerful men, noting Diesel’s height advantage. Diesel shows his strength by pushing Luger through the ropes and to the outside. Luger launches himself in with a sunset flip and gets a nearfall, causing Michaels to bound onto the apron and give his man some advice.
The crowd chants “USA, USA” as Diesel drives his knee into the challenger’s gut. He follows up with a series of clubbing blows in the corner. Diesel charges off the ropes but Luger catches him and slams him for another nearfall. Luger pounds away and sends the champion tumbling through the ropes and to the outside.
Luger tries to drive Diesel and Michaels head-first into each other on the outside but it’s blocked. They take it back inside and Luger puts his head down, Diesel goes for the Jackknife but it’s reversed. Luger then charges at Diesel but is sent over the top rope and to the outside, appearing to catch his back on the apron. Diesel heads out after him and slams him to the mat.
As we head to the break, we see Dibiase watching on from the rafters. When we return, the action is still underway but Dibiase has left his vantage point. Diesel hits snake eyes on Luger for a nearfall. Diesel applies a reverse chinlock, driving the knee into the back of the prone Luger. At ringside, Michhaels taunts Savage as Ross accuses him of having a bad attitude before asking Savage where Dibiase is.
Luger breaks free, hits the ropes and ducks a clothesline but then runs into a big boot. Diesel follows up with a standing elbow drop for a two-count. Luge is back on his feet but charges into a sleeperhold. Savage and Ross praise the scientific nature of Diesel’s wrestling, just as Luger mounts a comeback. Michaels is calling for the bell to be rung, claiming the match is all but over. However, Luger mounts another comeback and breaks the hold with a belly-to-back suplex.
Both men are on their feet and Luger hits a series of punches before following up with a pair of clotheslines before taking him down with a DDT, for another nearfall. Luger comes off the second rope with a clothesline for yet a nother two count. Luger’s momentum is halted when his corner charge is countered with a big boot. Diesel is whipped into the referee, knocking him down, and then Luger gets him up in the torture rack. Michaels enters the ring, hits a superkick then helps the referee back up but Luger kicks out at two.
Razor Ramon makes his way out and chases after Shawn Michaels. Michaels enters the ring and gets clubbed by Luger before Diesel fells Ramon. Ramon starts to pound away on Diesel before Michaels tries to jump him but is caught. This allows Diesel to attack from behind and Michaels to hit a superkick on his old nemesis.
Luger makes the save and clears the ring before checking on Ramon.
Winner: N/A due to double DQ
Overall: Good enough bout but a screwy finish.
We then see a disgusted looking Dibiase walk to the back shaking his head.
Match 2: Mabel (w/ Oscar) vs. Austin Steele
Mabel tosses Steele around as Jim Ross promises us an Undertaker update later on in the show. Mabel pounds on the jobber who bears more than a passing resemblance to Buddy Rose. Mabel catches Steele coming off the top rope and knocks him to the mat. He follows up with a suplex as a delighted Oscar looks on at ringside. A test of strength is up next, and this is only going one way…
A nice takedown from Mabel as he works on Steele’s arm. He drops his huge leg on the left arm and applies an armbar. Mabel whips Steele into the ropes and hits his trademark side slam for the win.
Winner: Mabel via pinfall.
Overall: A quick win for the big man. Not much to see here, though.
‘SummerSlam Report’ with Todd Pettengill as we carry on the road to SummerSlam 1994. Todd begins by advertising the ticketline for the event on 29 August 1994. He then talks through the card, including Leslie Nielson being hired by the WWF to investigate the two Undertakers. Todd announces that WWF Champion Bret Hart will defend his title against Owen Hart in a steel cage match.
Match 3: Owen Hart (w/ Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart) vs. Reno Riggins
“We want Bret” chants puncture the air as Owen and Reno trade hammerlocks and takedowns in the ring. Riggins works on the left arm but a slap to the face stops him in his tracks. Hart then drags Riggins forehead-first across the top rope. It’s all Hart now as he whips Riggins into the corner.
Hart applies a camel clutch. Savage begins to speculate which member of the Hart family will be in Bret’s corner at SummerSlam. Hart hits an overhead belly-to-belly suplex on Riggins before applying the Sharpshooter in the middle of the ring.
Winners: Owen Hart via submission.
Overall: A quick win for Hart. I reckon this could have been a good match, if afforded more time. But a quick win for Hart.
Next week on Raw, we’ll see Adam Bomb, no longer under the tutelage of Harvey Wippleman, face Yokozuna. We’ll also see Tatanka lock up with Nikola Volkoff.
Match 4: Thurman ‘Sparky’ Plugg vs. George South
Plugg is already in the ring when he’s announced to the crowd. South applies a side headlock but Is thrown into the corner. He still manages to mount the first offence in this match but Plugg telegraphs a dropkick and is now in control.
South fights out of a hammerlock thanks to an elbow to the nose but Plugg quickly regains control and applies a side headlock. He’s forced into the corner and we don’t get a clean break, with South slapping Plugg. However, a flying headscissors sends South down and Plugg applies a headlock.
An eye rake breaks the hold and South pounds in the corner. However, he runs straight into an elbow and Plugg comes off the top with a crossbody for the win.
Winner: Plugg via pinfall.
Overall: Pretty rubbish match, Plugg still looking very green and South got a lot of offence in.
We get a segment with Todd Pettengill speculating as to what has led to two Undertakers. We go back to the 1994 Royal Rumble and his disappearance from our screens for months. This then led to sightings from fans across America, many of which were shown on Raw. This then leads to The Million Dollar Man re-introducing the Undertaker to WWF fans during a ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ segment on WWF Superstars and ‘The Undertaker’s’ subsequent appearances on Raw. Todd asks how Dibiase and Paul Bearer can possibly both manage The Undertaker at SummerSlam.
Match 5: Bam Bam Bigelow (w/ Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase) vs. Gary Sabaugh
Sabaugh applies a headlock to start but is whipped into the ropes and runs straight into a shoulder block, which knocks him to the ground. Savage claims he’s been told that Luger was spotted talking to Dibiase backstage. Sabaugh pounds away on Bigelow but his Irish whip attempt into the corner is reversed and Bigelow nearly squashes him with an avalanche.
Bigelow clubs away on his Italian opponent before hitting an enziguri. He whips Sabaugh into the ropes and connects with a back elbow for a two. Ross suggests that Dibiase will be a “difference maker” for Bigelow. Bam Bam goes for another corner charge but Sabaugh steps to the side. He hits a couple of clothesline but when going for a third runs into a powerslam. Bigelow applies a Million Dollar Dream but turns it into a bulldog for the win.
Winner: Bigelow via pinfall.
Overall: Contrary to the commentators excitement, this wasn’t up to much at all.
Dibiase has joined Jim Ross and Randy Savage at ringside, who ask him if he has secured a deal with Luger. Dibiase confirms the rumour of speaking backstage with Luger and says he has a big announcement to make this weekend on Superstars.
Tatanka makes his way down to ringside, who gets in Dibiase’s face and demands he announce the news now. Dibiase bets Tatanka $10k that he won’t beat Volkoff next week on Raw.
This is an entirely missable show unless you’re a big fan of the Million Dollar Corporation and are keen to see the foundations of the group’s formation.
Overall score – 2/5
No real updates regarding the Joey Marella death. Apparently Harvey Whippleman has told the other wrestlers that reports Marella wasn’t wearing his seat belt were incorrect. Marella’s death wasn’t acknowledged on any of the television shows or the radio show. Whippleman had also fallen asleep in the car, and awoke when the car hit a tree after Marella had fallen asleep at the wheel.
Business was poor as largely was match quality on the weekend house shows. Meadowlands drew about 4,000, Nassau Coliseum about 3,100 and Landover, MD about 1,800. Both New York shows were headlined by marathon matches with Bret vs. Owen. In both cases, Bret won 3-2, with Owen taking a 2-1 lead and Bret coming back. At the Meadowlands, Bret got the sharpshooter on with five seconds left to win the fifth fall. In Nassau, they were tied at the end of 60:00 with Bret winning in a sudden death period (around 1975, WWF booker Pat Patterson, when he was U.S. champion, had a classic Cow Palace main event against Don Muraco in a marathon match with the same sudden death finish). Nobody was raving about the matches even though the 60:00 was legit. Bret submitted twice both nights. Really, as far as reports from house shows go, Bret vs. Owen has to be considered the major disappointment of the year as far as match quality goes.
Also over the weekend, The Head Shrinkers title defenses against Heavenly Bodies matches were switched to Shrinkers defending against Double Trouble, since Jimmy Del Rey is still injured.
There’s been serious discussion of bringing Chris Benoit in full-time as part of a pushed babyface tag team.
Apparently there has already been mentions on television, not to mention in the magazine and on pizza boxes of Undertaker vs. Undertaker even though as the storyline had advanced on television, fans aren’t supposed to know there are two of them. Usually this kind of television not being caught up with every other form of publicity doesn’t happen here.
There may be some question as to whether Bruce Hart will be appearing at shows in Bret’s corner for matches with Owen who will have Jim Neidhart in the corner. On last week’s promos for the California shows, they mentioned Bruce being in the corner. This week it was just said that Bret may have a family member in the corner with a graphic shown of Bruce.
Television the weekend of 7/4 saw Raw do a 2.4, which is understandable for a show at 9 p.m. that evening, All-American a 1.8 and Mania a 1.1.
For those who listen to the WWF radio show, the regular caller who goes by the name Disco Inferno is Glen Gilburnetti, the Georgia indie wrestler who used the Disco Inferno name in Memphis. He’s friends with Johnny Polo.
“Summer Sizzler tour” will be in Madison Square Garden, Nassau Coliseum and Meadowlands from 8/25 to 8/27 with the same three headliners–Bret & Razor vs. Owen & Neidhart, Tatanka vs. IRS strap match and Head Shrinkers vs. Michaels & Diesel. For all the positives of adding the special effects and creating a more major league entertainment atmosphere at the shows, I think it’s more than offset by running three nights in succession in the same market with the same line-up as the crowds this weekend indicated.
All ‘Raw Rewind 1994’ pieces can be found here.