What the World Was Watching: Monday Night RAW – March 6, 1995

Vince McMahon recaps how Bam Bam Bigelow and Lawrence Taylor traded verbal blows at the WrestleMania XI press conference.  McMahon promises us footage of the press conference.

McMahon and Jim Cornette are doing commentary and they are concluding the tapings in Macon, Georgia.

Opening Contest:  Shawn Michaels (w/Sid) (2-0) defeats The British Bulldog (7-2) after Sweet Chin Music at 17:47 shown:

After a few weeks of build we get a bout between this year’s Royal Rumble winner and the runner-up and Michaels makes it his mission to put on a show as he and Bret Hart were the two competitors that could guarantee a good match when they appeared.  Sid makes his presence felt in a fun spot where the Bulldog backdrops Michaels out of the ring and Sid proceeds to catch him and help him back into the ring.  Later, Sid uses his height to keep the top rope away from the Bulldog when he tries to escape a sleeper and, of course, he plays a role in the finish as he pushes the Bulldog into the ring post and that allows Michaels to hit the superkick to win.  Just like the Stone Cold Stunner in mid-1996, it is so weird to see Michaels use the superkick at this time because it had no setup.  As a result, his finisher appeared to be more of a transition move.  Matches this long were very rare for RAW in this period but the goal was to boost Michaels credibility as a world title contender going into WrestleMania since he defeated a bigger, stronger opponent.  Despite the loss, the Bulldog is still over with the crowd, largely because he has been highly protected in his feature losses against other talent this year such as King Kong Bundy and Bob Backlund.  Rating:  ***¼

Todd Pettengill recaps the WrestleMania XI press conference, notably the comments of WWF Champion Diesel and Shawn Michaels.  Diesel recaps his history with Michaels and how he is living “the American dream.”  Michaels promises fans that he will give the fans a show that they have never seen before.  No new bouts are added to the show.

Bob Backlund promises that he is going to “lambaste another plebian” in our next bout.

Pettengill hypes the Fan Festival before WrestleMania XI.

Bob Backlund (5-0) beats Buck Quartermaine via submission to the crossface chicken wing at 5:13:

After arguing about the Bigelow-LT feud for a while, McMahon and Cornette announce that Backlund will face Bret Hart in an “I Quit” match at WrestleMania.  This squash is straight out of Memphis as Backlund wrestles slow and teases going after the crowd for showering him with “Opie” chants.  After doing some basic wrestling school sequences, Backlund clamps on the chicken wing to win, pleasing some older fans in the front row who mimic Backlund’s mannerisms.

A video package recaps the growing tensions between Bret Hart and Jerry Lawler, who will square off next week.

Duke Droese (7-0) pins Steven Dunn (w/Harvey Wippleman) after the Trash Compactor at 3:54:

Well Dunn’s days in the company are winding down so McMahon was using both of them in singles matches to put over other talent.  Lawler calls in during the bout to hype his bout with Bret on next week’s show, but McMahon angrily cancels the call when Lawler makes a hilarious Stu Hart joke about how he thinks Stu has become Santa Claus because he is “carrying around a hag like Helen around” these days.  As you can imagine, this is not a good match since Droese’s skills were limited and Dunn was not that motivated to carry the offense.  Rating:  ½*

After the bout, Dunn tries to mess with Droese’s trash can and Droese just beats him up some more.  The altercation spills Droese’s trash all over the aisle but in the midst of it is a $100 bill.  Droese acts like he has struck gold and comes back into the ring to show people, getting some cheers as people think he is going to give it to one of them.  However, Droese just pockets the money and walks away in what has to be one of the most cringe-inducing, pointless segments of the year so far.

Highlights from the show are played to the WrestleMania theme song.

Tune in next week to see Bret Hart square off against Jerry Lawler!

The Last Word:  Very rarely could you complain about getting a Bret Hart or Shawn Michaels match and this show was no exception as Michaels and the Bulldog usually had great chemistry and were good for matches in the ***+ range.  Their match also made Backlund look like a dinosaur in his squash, but despite that Backlund’s mannerisms were so good that he could still draw heat and even win over fans due to how he setup the application of the crossface chicken wing.  And that Droese segment was silly but it might kindle a small feud with the Million Dollar Corporation so there might be a point to it later.

Up Next (on Friday):  WWF Superstars from March 11, 1995!