–Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler are doing commentary and they are still in Corpus Christi, Texas.
–Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels are doing commentary this evening and they are still taped from Palmetto, Florida. The green screen that they are broadcast against is jarring.
–A limousine pulls into the backstage area and Pamela Anderson walks out. She goes to her locker room as WWF wrestlers, led by Dink of all people, hoot and holler. What? You expected respectful manners out of a group of wrestlers?
As a side note, when you have been watching tons of television tapings from Liberty, New York in a high school gym for weeks on end it really makes you appreciate the bigger venue that this show is in and it makes everything seem more important.
–Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler are on the mic and they are live from Tampa, Florida. What is hilarious about the opening is that Vince tries to introduce the Spanish announce team and Hugo Savinovich just stays seated with his back to the camera.
–Todd Pettengill is live from Tampa, Florida from the location of the Royal Rumble. Jim Ross and Gorilla Monsoon are in the booth calling the taped matches which are still from Liberty, New York. As long as it gets Todd out of the booth it is fine with me.
–Vince McMahon and Jerry “The King” Lawler are doing commentary and they are still taping shows 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.
–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.
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.
Taped from Landover, MD
Airdate: January 2, 1988 (taped 12/7)
Hosted by Vince McMahon and Jesse “The Body” Ventura
To begin the show, Roberts welcomes us to 1988 and cuts a promo on Sika.
Afterward, Valentine and Hart tell Koko B. Ware jokes.
In case you didn’t know them, here’s a quick snippet by the tag champs.
Slick then speaks up for his Bolsheviks.
Next, Heenan, in a neck brace, informs us that André will be in Bundy’s corner for tonight’s title match.
In response, Hogan, sans fringe, shoots down Bundymania.
Taped from Seattle, WA
Airdate: November 28, 1987 (taped 11/11)
Hosted by Vince McMahon and Jesse “The Body” Ventura
So it’s Thanksgiving weekend of 1987. Both Survivor Series and Starrcade took place already, and THIS show aired two nights later? And we think today’s wrestling is oversaturated? Sheesh!
Live from Toronto, ON
Airdate: August 28, 1986
Hosted by Gorilla Monsoon, “Luscious” Johnny Valiant, and the “Big Cat” Ernie Ladd
This event is sponsored by Chex Mix. Thanks, WWE Network!
Before I get started…