What the World Was Watching: Wrestling Challenge – January 22, 1995

With a few work-related obligations out of the way for the immediate future that absorbed the last month of my time, we return to the WWF in 1995.  We are less than twenty-four hours away from the Royal Rumble in Tampa, Florida, but before we get there we have “go home” broadcast of Wrestling Challenge.

Gorilla Monsoon and Ted DiBiase are in the booth and are still in Liberty, New York.

Monsoon recaps the WWF Tag Team Championship tournament and how the finals will feature Bam Bam Bigelow and Tatanka against Bob Holly and the 1-2-3 Kid at the Royal Rumble.

Opening Contest:  Bob Holly & The 1-2-3 Kid (3-0) defeat The Brooklyn Brawler & Barry Hardy after the Kid pins Hardy after a missile dropkick-Northern lights suplex combination at 3:27:

This is one of those curiosities of the taping as Holly and the Kid are wrestling for the tag team titles this evening at the Rumble and yet are shown wrestling a match several hours before the show on this broadcast.  And the WWF wants us to believe that they pulled out of the Royal Rumble match so that they could focus exclusively on the tag team finals!  Holly and the Kid wear down Hardy with their offense and finish him with an awkward sequence where Holly delivers a missile dropkick to the back of Hardy’s head and the Kid hits a Northern lights suplex.  In theory it is one of those finishers that sounds good but its execution left something to be desired.

Tamara Murphy (the future Sunny) presents the WWF Live Event Report.  The report focuses on the Royal Rumble.

We get replays of some squashes aired on the Action Zone involving King Kong Bundy, Duke Droese, Owen Hart, the Heavenly Bodies, and Lex Luger.

Todd Pettengill provides the Royal Rumble Report.  Bret Hart cuts a promo and hypes how no one knows if he would have been pinned to the Jackknife at the 1994 King of the Ring since Jim Neidhart interfered in that match.  WWF Champion Diesel cuts his best promo yet about how there is a time for everything and it is time for them to do battle at the Royal Rumble.

Man Mountain Rock is coming!

As we head into the Royal Rumble, here were some of the rumors and notes floating around about the company:

*It was rumored that Dick Murdoch, who was participating in the Royal Rumble, was going to be given a short-term contract and be an attraction for the company.  Some believed that his participation in the Royal Rumble was a tryout for a larger role in the company as a babyface.

*Dave Meltzer explained in his Wrestling Observer newsletter that the company was having to cancel a “B” show tour of California because of poor ticket sales.

*WWF Superstars lost its syndication deal from WUHF in Rochester, New York, doing some damage to the WWF’s exposure to Northeast fans.

*WWF wrestlers were not happy with William Shatner at the recent RAW tapings, viewing him as someone that did not care for wrestling and having an elevated sense of self-worth.

*The WWF had still not escaped the cloud of Vince McMahon’s steroid trial as WWF Champion Diesel alleged on a radio broadcast that wrestlers in WCW were on the gas to get pushes.

*WCW is enforcing its no-compete clause on Paul Levesque, who will not be able to officially join the WWF until May 21st at the earliest.

The Last Word:  Despite the repetitive nature of matches on Wrestling Challenge, the company appears to be in decent shape heading into the Royal Rumble.  The tag team finals has been a focal point of the card and Diesel’s hard sell of the title match with Bret in a much more serious manner has made that match more intriguing over the past week.  Still, one has to question why the company would book Diesel to face a strong face challenger in his first pay-per-view title defense.

Up Next (on Tuesday):  Royal Rumble 1995!