–Jim Ross and Todd Pettengill are doing commentary today and they recap the WWF Tag Team Championship Tournament semi-finals, which were held on WWF Superstars. They still appear to be in Liberty, New York in a high school gymnasium. Although this was not a great financial period for the company I have to envy some of these people that got to attend these smaller shows. I would have loved for the WWF to come to my small community during this time period.
–Vince McMahon and Jerry “The King” Lawler are doing commentary and they are still in Newark, Delaware.
–Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels are doing commentary and they are live from Houston, Texas. This is the second anniversary episode of Monday Night Raw.
–William Shatner, who is here to hype his new show TekWar, says that he is not scared of appearing on Jerry Lawler’s King’s Court segment and that if Lawler messes with him “he will be out of here at warp speed.” He even admits that he is simply here to do the hard sell for his show and is not going to wrestle.
–Gorilla Monsoon and Ted DiBiase are in the booth and they are taped from Liberty, New York in late 1994.
–Jim Ross and Todd Pettengill are in the booth and they are from various locations since the Action Zone broadcast a collection of matches from different TV tapings. I always fondly remember this syndicated show because it was my go-to viewing after church on Sundays or what I would run to see if going to see my aunt for a family gathering on a Sunday afternoon.
–Vince McMahon announces that the Smoking Gunns are not going to be in the tag team tournament because Bart Gunn suffered a knee injury when his horse fell on him in a rodeo. Yes, that is the best excuse that the company could come up with but it fits the cartoonish product at the time. In reality there was no injury and Vince simply decided to push another team for the tournament and that team is the one that will take the Gunns place: the 1-2-3 Kid and Bob “Spark Plugg” Holly.
–McMahon and Jerry “the King” Lawler are doing commentary and they are taped from Newark, Delaware. The show was taped on December 14, 1994.
–“Double J” Jeff Jarrett lets us know how great he is going to be in his signing debut on tonight’s RAW.
–Gorilla Monsoon and Shawn Michaels are doing commentary and they are taped from Liberty, New York. This episode was taped on December 12, 1994.
Although I have reviewed some of the early Attitude Era action on the Blog, I am going to embark on a new project: reviewing all of the major televised action for the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in 1995. Readers are likely aware that 1995 was a terrible financial year for the company, with James Dixon writing in Titan Sinking that Vince McMahon and Titan Sports lost $6 million. The wrestling industry was in the doldrums in the mid-1990s, reeling from declining ratings; the end of the Hulkamania boom; and lingering suspicions from sponsors about steroid and drug use, which caused the federal government to put McMahon on trial in the summer of 1994.
On a personal note, 1995 was the year that I got into wrestling. Being exposed to the business during one of its worst times did not phase me since I had nothing else to compare it to. I knew nothing of workrate or star ratings and accepted Diesel as the WWF champion. However, it was painfully obvious to me that Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels were clearly the best and I enjoyed their televised matches throughout the year. Little did I know at the time that both men had a significant rivalry behind the scenes and when it exploded in Montreal two years later it would help the WWF regain its position as the supreme brand of professional wrestling in North America.
These reviews will chronicle major WWF programming in 1995. We will go through Wrestling Challenge, Monday Night Raw, Superstars, and The Action Zone. Pay-per-views will also be covered, as will the occasional Sunday Night Slam where warranted. Win-loss records will be provided for talent throughout the year and matches will be recapped, with reflections on the purpose of those matches and how they fit into existing storylines. I will also compile other statistics – house show attendance, drawing power for champions – that I will share periodically. Furthermore, for each week of action I will try to provide a brief calendar of notable events so readers can see the context that all of this booking is fitting into. The reviews will be posted to the Blog on Tuesdays and Fridays going forward.
Last week the blog cast its votes for the top (and worst) wrestlers and moments of 2016. The voting deadline has passed and all of the votes have been counted. Remember, a first place vote was worth five points, a second place vote was worth three points, and a third place vote was worth one point. In case of a tie, number of first place votes was used to break it.
I included the top three finishers for each category below, but if you wish to see the entire spreadsheet and how many first place, second place, and/or third place a choice received, go to this link:
Keep in mind that not all voters cast a ballot with three choices for each category and some voters did not vote for certain categories. In all, though, we had a higher rate of participation this year, with fifty-three people casting ballots (versus thirty-two last year). Winners can be found below.
The Doomies return after a successful inaugural year to determine the best and worst in the world of wrestling for 2016 (ballot information included after the jump).
Here is the history of the last couple of years of the Doomies:
–Boyz 2 Men sing “America the Beautiful” to kick off the show. They receive a Cena-like mixed reaction.
–Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
–Steve Austin arrives at the arena and comes across a driver of a Coor’s Light truck. Product placement 101.
–Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler are calling the action and they are live from Albany, New York. This is the last RAW we have to hear called by Cole for a while so I am happy about that. This is the go home show for WrestleMania XV.
–A video package recaps the tensions building between the Rock and Paul Wight, whose nickname has been changed to “The Big Show” instead of the “The Big Nasty.” We are also reminded that the Undertaker is going after Vince McMahon.
–Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from San Jose, California.
–WWF Champion The Rock opens the show and he tells Steve Austin that he will prove his status as “The Great One” at WrestleMania. He demands that Vince McMahon come out and prove to him that the Big Show is not working with Austin. McMahon complies and says that “Dwayne” needs a reality check for being ungrateful for all that McMahon has given him. He says that three generations of his family have looked after the Rock’s ancestors and that Paul Wight is not as quick to understand the existing agreement. Wight comes out and demands to know what McMahon is talking about, threatening he and the Rock. McMahon does not kindly to that, leading Wight to manhandle him into a corner to get his point across. McMahon collects himself and books the Rock and Wight to team up to face Mankind and Steve Austin, thereby making this a preview of WrestleMania. The Rock and Wight shake hands to end the segment at McMahon’s behest.
–A video package chronicles Steve Austin attacking the Rock on Sunday Night Heat and Paul Wight not trying to save the Rock from the assault.
–Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler are calling the action and they are live from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
–A video package recaps the Undertaker’s recent threats against Vince McMahon, culminating in the Undertaker burning a teddy bear at the end of last week’s RAW.
–Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler are doing commentary and they are live from Cleveland, Ohio.
–The Corporation comes out and Vince McMahon discusses how the audience does not understand his capacity to love. He fires Kane for losing the inferno match to the Undertaker last week and has orderlies come down to send Kane to the insane asylum. However, Chyna comes to Kane’s aid and they fight them off. Chyna tells McMahon that she can control Kane and asks for Kane to be booked against Steve Austin, with Kane’s job on the line. McMahon counters by also putting Chyna’s job on the line. Mankind then joins the festivities and volunteers to referee the Steve Austin-Kane match to prove himself worthy of refereeing the title match at WrestleMania XV. McMahon agrees on the condition that Mankind is able to defeat the Undertaker on tonight’s show (this is later clarified in the broadcast to mean that McMahon will consider Mankind for the role at WrestleMania based on how the match goes). The Undertaker’s voice then comes on via the loudspeakers and he says that he has already told McMahon what he is going to take from him.