[TV Review] ‘WWF Monday Night Raw’ 1.9.95 – 2nd Anniversary, Razor vs. Owen, Tuxedo Match

Venue: The Summit (Houston, TX)
Commentators: Vince McMahon & “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels

Monday Night RAW celebrates its two-year anniversary with…Howard Finkel taking on Harvey Wippleman in a Tuxedo Match? Eh better than a lot of the other RAW celebrations over the past few years to be honest. Also on the show Razor Ramon defends the Intercontinental Championship against Owen Hart, Hakushi makes his Monday debut, and Jerry Lawler invites TekWar’s very own William Shatner onto the King’s Court.

CHAMPIONS

  • WWF CHAMPION: “Big Daddy Cool” Diesel
  • WWF INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION: “The Bad Guy” Razor Ramon
  • WWF WOMEN’S CHAMPION: Alundra Blayze
  • WWF TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: Vacant

THE LINEUP

  • Razor Ramon [c] vs. Owen Hart for the WWF INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP (***1/2)
  • Hakushi vs. Matt Hardy
  • King Kong Bundy vs. Gary Sabaugh
  • TUXEDO MATCH: Howard Finkel vs. Harvey Wippleman (HEH?)

*****

-McMahon is back by the side of Shawn Michaels, who wondered if he would even show this week. It’s the big 2 year anniversary, of course the boss would be here! Hype for the show, plus pre-recorded comments from William Shatner who essentially tells Lawler that he will not sanction his buffoonery.


“The King of Harts” Owen Hart defeated “The Bad Guy” Razor Ramon [c] via DQ; Ramon retains the WWF INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP (11:10 shown)

Hart poses with the Intercontinental Title belt, earning a clothesline from Ramon for the disrespect. Razor follows up with a backdrop and another clothesline, this time sending his challenger to the floor. McMahon mentions for the first of eighty times that both Bret Hart and Jeff Jarrett are watching backstage. I wonder if that’ll lead anywhere. Hart misses a corner splash and goes shoulder-first into the post, giving Ramon an arm to work on. Hart flippy-dos to escape but eats another clothesline and ends up back in an armbar after kicking out of a lateral press. Hart escapes again, Ramon catches Hart mid-air and connects with a fallaway slam. He goes for the Razor’s Edge, Hart counters and sends the champ to the floor with a backdrop, following up with a crossbody through the ropes (I guess you could call it a tope suicida but to be honest this move actually looked like it would hurt somebody). Ramon rolls through a flying crossbody to get a two-count, Hart responds with a dropkick as we go to commercial.

Back live as Hart drops Ramon with an enzuigiri for a two-count. Ramon bounces back with rights but runs right into a spinning heel kick. Hart continues the offensive flurry but Ramon manages to kick out of each pinfall attempt, frustrating his challenger leading to a backpack sleeper. Ramon almost fades but gets the blood flowing via FAN ENERGY and escapes via belly-to-back suplex. Both men lay there a minute until Ramon drapes the arm over for the 1…2…nope! Ramon mounts his comeback, including a chokeslam which is for some reason weird to see. He tries to set up for the avalanche belly-to-back but Hart fights out and drops him crotch-first on the top rope. Hart connects with his patented Missile Dropkick but instead of covering goes for the Sharpshooter, which brings out Bret Hart to interfere and cost him the title.

Great match to open the show. Ramon and Owen were two of the best in the WWF at the time and showcased why here. I wish this would have main-evented, honestly. Owen’s hubris getting the better of him and helping to cost him the title was a nice touch, as was Bret interfering as he’s still pissed about Owen costing him the WWF Championship at Survivor Series. Lovely stuff. (***1/2)

Bret continues attacking Owen, while Jeff Jarrett and The Roadie come out to attack Ramon, hoping to soften him up for the Royal Rumble. Jarrett and Roadie then go after Bret, but Ramon makes the save and the babyfaces send the heels packing.


-THE ROYAL RUMBLE REPORT: Todd Pettengill lets us know we are less than two weeks from the big PPV. Hype for the Rumble match, rules laid out for said match (60 second intervals instead of two minutes), then hypes up Ramon/Jarrett, Undertaker/IRS (IRS has druids, and I can’t remember why for the life of me), and finally Diesel/Bret for the WWF Championship. Diesel then cuts a locker room promo saying he hopes Bret doesn’t have too much ring rust after being out of the ring since Survivor Series and tells him to be at 100% at the Rumble.

Jerry Lawler threatens to punch William Shatner in the beef if he doesn’t get the respect he deserves during The King’s Court.


Hakushi [w/ Shinja] defeated Matt Hardy (1:06)

OH MY GOD MATT HARDY IS A BABY. Hakushi wins in short order with a slingshot splash and even though the match is only a minute long, he proves that he’s one of the better performers on the roster. Michaels makes a Chinese food joke about Hakushi’s body tattoos because it’s 1995 and I hate it.


-THE KING’S COURT: Jerry Lawler welcomes his guest, William Shatner. Shatner’s new show TekWar debuts right after this episode. Lawler goes over Shatner’s big accomplishments then demands that Shatner say his appearance on The King’s Court is better than those. Shatner DOES NOT, saying chewing gum yesterday was a more important moment to him. Lawler huffs and puffs, poking Shatner in the chest until Shatner grabs his arm and shoves him. Lawler charges, Shatner (BARELY) sends him to the mat with a monkey flip. Bret Hart comes out to raise Shatner’s arm in celebration, while Jeff Jarrett and The Roadie hold Lawler back. Jarrett tells Lawler he’ll take care of both of them next week. I guess Shatner is going to be in Bret’s corner.

-VIDEO: Pamela Anderson acts all sexy in her apartment while listening to lewd messages the WWF superstars have left on her answering machine, to hype the Royal Rumble. She will be accompanying the winner to the ring at WrestleMania XI.


King Kong Bundy [w/ “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase] defeated Gary Sabaugh (0:20)

I think Sabaugh is The Italian Stallion, but all I got to go on is that he’s pudgy and has “ITALY” on the back of his trunks, so I might just be confused. Avalanche wins the match for Bundy in short order, quicker than he beat S.D. Jones at the first WrestleMania (which was WAY LONGER than 9 seconds).

After the match Bundy jaw jacks with Michaels saying he will win the Rumble, which Michaels asserts that NO HE WILL WIN THE RUMBLE. It’s very illuminating stuff.


-TAG TEAM TITLE TOURNAMENT UPDATE: The 1-2-3 Kid & Bob “Spark Plug” Holly have taken the place of the injured Smokin’ Gunns in the tournament, and are onto the semi-finals after defeating Well Dunn. They will face off against The Heavenly Bodies, and the winner of that will meet the winner of Bam Bam & Tatanka vs. The Headshrinkers at the Royal Rumble. The tag team scene in the WWF in 1995, man. Yikes.

The Bushwhackers are shown backstage hyping Howard Finkel up, while Well Dunn hype their manager Harvey Wippleman up in the heel locker room. The Tuxedo Match is our main event.

-VIGNETTE: Kama is a supreme fighting machine and has been kicked out of every other combat sport for being too violent. He has set his eyes on the WWF, and also apparently drives his motorcycle on the wrong side of the road because he’s so TOUGH.


TUXEDO MATCH
“The Fink” Howard Finkel [w/ The Bushwhackers] defeated Harvey Wippleman [w/ Well Dunn] (2:38)

The disdain in McMahon’s voice for this “match” happening is palpable, but also it’s his own damn company so he only has himself to blame. He and Michaels try to have fun with it on commentary though. Fink wins by ripping all the clothes off Wippleman but he’s also pretty much stripped down too so really nobody wins. Except whoever in the back decided this was a HILARIOUS rib. (HEH?)

Fink celebrates with The Bushwhackers while Well Dunn immediately bring Wippleman to the back to spare him the embarrassment. Fink is such a goddamn good sport.


-HYPE: Todd Pettengill narrates a video hyping next week’s match between Bret Hart and Jeff Jarrett.

-Vince and HBK try to close the show, but are interrupted by Jeff Jarrett and The Roadie. Jarrett threatens Bret and Shatner, and says the Roadie will take care of the latter if he tries anything funny. That’s the show.

*****

FINAL THOUGHTS: For a 2 year anniversary this episode of Monday Night RAW certainly did not feel all that special but to be fair this wasn’t exactly THE flagship show yet. Razor/Owen was damn good though and Shatner being game to get physical to sell his USA Network show was cool to see. The Tuxedo Match also happened. Anyway onto next week!