What the World Was Watching: The Action Zone – August 27, 1995

Jim Ross and Todd Pettengill are in the booth and they are taped from Worcester, Massachusetts, the site of the final Wrestling Challenge tapings, as well as from Portland, Maine.  It is SummerSlam Sunday!

Opening Contest:  The Blu Brothers (w/Uncle Zebekiah) (13-1-2) defeat Matt Hardy & Jason Arhndt after Eli pins Matt following a Hart Attack at 2:41:

The Blu Brothers have to wrestle the Smoking Gunns later tonight, at least in kayfabe terms, so they aim to make quick work of their opponents today.  The Blus just shrug off Hardy’s attempts at aerial offense as Ross implies that the Blus-Smoking Gunns match has become a number one contender’s match for the tag team titles and then finish him with their version of the Hart Attack.

Ross and Pettengill do one final big sell for the SummerSlam card.  Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels is interviewed by the announcers, with Michaels saying he agreed to a ladder match because his loss to Razor Ramon at WrestleMania X is still a sour point for him more than a year later.

Footage of the Undertaker defeating Tatanka on RAW is shown.

Hunter-Hearst Helmsley (14-0) pins Nick Barberri after a Pedigree at 2:54:

This is a “tune up” match for Helmsley, who faces Bob Holly tonight at SummerSlam.  Helmsley spends a good chunk of the match complaining about how Barberri smells, which causes him to get schoolboyed for two.  Pettengill asks Ross whether he has installed Windows 95 as Helmsley outmaneuvers Barberri off the ropes, kicks him in the gut, and Pedigrees him to remain undefeated.  This victory also ties Helmsley with Man Mountain Rock for the best win-loss record in the company to this point of the year.

Barry Didinski shills a Bret Hart t-shirt for $20 (plus $3.95 shipping & handling)!  If you call 1-800-TITAN-91 to get it then you can also get a free three month subscription to WWF Magazine and a box of Stridex!  Helmsley comes over as Didinski does the hard sell and says that the Bret shirt is awful.  Pettengill urges fans to get some Stridex because it really cleaned up Didinski’s face.

Goldust’s promo from RAW is replayed.

Call 1-900-737-4WWF to hear an updated about Lex Luger and the British Bulldog.  Also, hear a recent conversation between Jim Ross and the British Bulldog!

Razor Ramon (15-2-1) defeats Tony DeVito after a Razor’s Edge at 3:17:

Ramon methodically goes through his usual squash pattern, spending much of the bout kicking DeVito in the face when he is on the canvas.  Add in Ramon’s super side suplex and Razor’s Edge and that’s all she wrote for this match, with Ramon showing some heel-like mannerisms in the run up to SummerSlam.

Pettengill continues to chide Ross about not being contacted about the new format of The Action Zone.  Both men then discuss the British Bulldog’s heel turn on RAW and show footage of it.

Pettengill and Ross run down more of the SummerSlam card for the fans, focusing their attention on many of the undercard bouts.

Barry Horowitz (2-18) pins Hakushi (22-2) after heel miscommunication at 4:08:

This was taped in Worcester and is a parallel matchup relative to the Skip-1-2-3 Kid bout on Superstars.  In that match, Horowitz distracted Skip and cost him the match and Skip tries to return the favor here, attacking Horowitz on the floor while Sunny distracts the referee.  However, when Skip gets on the apron, Horowitz kicks out of a roll up and heel miscommunication results, allowing Horowitz to score another upset.  This match was more angle development and both men ran through the basics to get to the big finish, but Horowitz was really over with the crowd, getting a huge reaction for winning.  Rating:  *½

After Hakushi recovers he attacks Skip for interfering in his match, signaling that he is turning babyface because hardly anyone wishes to be a heel in 1995 WWF.

Dok Hendrix interviews Bret Hart.  In his family friendly interview style, Bret says Yankem needs to bring lots of Novocain with him to “the SummerSlam.”  Bret’s sounded serious but his facial expressions screamed “please get me out of this feud or put me out of my misery.”

A video package hypes all of the big matches for SummerSlam.

The Last Word:  On the road to SummerSlam Barry Horowitz is arguably the second most over act in the company and his pop in the feature match on today’s show proved it.  Sacrificing Hakushi was a puzzling move at the time, but considering that Hakushi was doing jobs on the house show circuit to the likes of Adam Bomb it should come as no surprise that those losses eventually translated onto the big screen against talent that was not named Bret Hart.  Still, the loss here was not as damaging for him as turning face since there were already tons of babyfaces on the roster and without mic skills, or a manager to speak for him, Hakushi just drifted further and further down the card.

The last edition of Wrestling Challenge to feature unique matches did not feature anything different than what was seen on The Action Zone and it ended unceremoniously with Dok Hendrix telling Jim Ross that the show was ending and he was fired.

There were not any big house shows before SummerSlam but here were some news and notes concerning the company before the big event (courtesy of The Wrestling Observer for September 4):

*The Eliminators got a hostile reaction when they came into the company for a tryout last week in Manchester, New Hampshire.  The WWF talent refused to let them dress in the locker room and wrestlers allegedly made fun of their moves and work from the Gorilla position.  Only Owen Hart and Rad Radford encouraged Perry Saturn and John Kronus to channel out the distractions and do the best they could.

*Fans that participated in the America Online chat with Vince McMahon were upset that he did not answer questions truthfully.  McMahon blew off inquiries about whether the WWF should promote a joint show with WCW, knocked the ECW product for being too violent, and told fans that Bruno Sammartino would be inducted into the WWF Hall of Fame.

*Razor Ramon missed some house shows last week when Sid dropped him awkwardly in a match.  Ramon was replaced on a few cards by Savio Vega, who beat Sid by disqualification.

*Jim Ross has been removed from all announcing duties on television for the time being with the cancellation of Wrestling Challenge and the refitted Action Zone, which will utilize Todd Pettengill and Dok Hendrix.  Also, Jerry Lawler will be doing Superstars while Hendrix does hype segment for big cards and local shows.

Up Next:  SummerSlam ’95!