What the World Was Watching: WWF Superstars – January 14, 1995

Vince McMahon and Jerry “The King” Lawler are doing commentary and they are still in Newark, Delaware.

Opening WWF Tag Team Championship Tournament Semi-Final Contest:  Bam Bam Bigelow & Tatanka (w/Ted DiBiase) (1-1) beat The New Headshrinkers (w/Captain Lou Albano & Afa) after Bigelow pins Sione after a schoolboy at 5:23 shown:

The Headshrinkers were never the same after Samu exited the scene due to injuries.  Sione, who used to be known as the Barbarian, filled in but lacked the “wild man” look of Samu and it hurt the aesthetic of the team.  It also did not help that the team kept losing for silly reasons such as one of the Headshrinkers not being able to put on a wrestling boot.  The Headshrinkers dominate much of the action, no selling much of what Bigelow and Tatanka have to offer, but some face miscommunication sends Fatu crashing to ringside and that distraction enables the heels to advance.  After the bout, Tatanka gets beaten up by Afa, who actually gives Tatanka his own finishing move.  So yes, in 1995 the WWF was still putting a few old timers over elements of the New Generation.  Bigelow and Tatanka advance to the finals at the Royal Rumble, but they do so without great fanfare.  Rating:  **

Stephanie Wiand announces that Bob Backlund will not face WWF Champion Diesel at the upcoming house show at the Meadowlands and Backlund will be replaced by Jeff Jarrett.  One of the reasons for the switch was because the Kliq did not care for Backlund’s style, with Kevin Nash relating in shoot interviews that Backlund had him doing sunset flips in matches.

A vignette hypes the guitar playing skills of Man Mountain Rock.  He says that he is going to take WWF stars to school.

Jeff Jarrett (w/The Roadie) (1-0) defeats Mike Moraldo via submission to the figure-four leglock at 2:16:

Jason Abosch is our fan ring announcer and has a good announcer voice, surprising McMahon.  This squash is meant to put over Jarrett as a threat to Bret Hart on the next edition of Monday Night Raw, while also hyping him as a threat to Diesel at some of the big WWF house shows in New York.  Of course, if you really bought Jarrett as a threat to Diesel at this time you needed to have your head examined.  Jarrett cruises to an easy win here with his trusted figure-four.

McMahon hosts an in-ring interview with WWF Champion Diesel, who gets a very generous amount of piped in crowd noise to accompany his entrance.  He cuts a white bread babyface promo that does not fit his personality, talking about how he smiles more due to having the title but that he is still a fierce competitor.  And dated McMahon references make their way into the promo as he criticizes Bret Hart’s “Grizzly Adams beard.”  Diesel closes the promo by saying that the promotion will run on his power and fireworks add emphasis to his words.  Today’s fans would have booed this promo mercilessly but post-production worked wonders in 1995.

Duke “the Dumpster” Droese (2-0) pins Chris Kanyon after the Trash Compactor at 1:24:

It is really golden to hear McMahon complain about Kanyon’s punches in this match by exclaiming “This is not boxing, it’s wrestling!”  Droese runs through his limited moveset before defeating a young Kanyon, who was destined for greater things in the wrestling business.

A video package highlights the awesome aerial maneuvers of Hakushi.

Todd Pettengill presents the 1995 Royal Rumble Report.  The Rumble is only a week away and Well Dunn and the Blu Brothers are announced for the Rumble match.  Jim Neidhart is still announced despite getting dismissed from the company so we will not be seeing him in Tampa.

WWF Tag Team Championship Tournament Semi-Finals:  Bob “Spark Plugg” Holly & The 1-2-3 Kid (1-0) beat The Heavenly Bodies (w/Jim Cornette) after Holly pins Dr. Tom Prichard with a rollup at 6:06:

The Heavenly Bodies never got their just due in the WWF, which is a shame because they were one of the teams that could have been made to appear more credible and improved the quality of the division during the mid-1990s.  McMahon announces that the Smoking Gunns are ready to resume competition but that they missed the tournament, thereby providing a justification for the Gunns to eventually challenge the winners of the tag team title tournament.  The Bodies run through some creative double team maneuvers on the Kid – a superkick-DDT combination is one example – but it is not enough as the Kid turns a rollup after blasting Prichard with a clothesline to send the “Cinderellas” of the tournament to the finals.  These two teams could have put on a better match so giving them six minutes should be a felony in all fifty states.  Rating:  **

Wiand runs down the Meadowlands card again and WWF Champion Diesel says that he is not fazed by having to face Jeff Jarrett instead of Bob Backlund.

McMahon interviews Holly and the Kid, who are excited that they won, but Lawler says that they stand no change against Bam Bam Bigelow and Tatanka at the Royal Rumble.

The Last Word:  It was not often that you got two star vs. star matches on a syndicated show so this was something special.  The finals of the tag team tournament have been set with very few surprises, although the top and bottom of the brackets was hardly equal.  For example, Bigelow and Tatanka had to beat two teams that were previously tag team champions – Men on a Mission and the Headshrinkers – whereas Holly and the Kid went through some lower midcarders such as Well Dunn and the Heavenly Bodies.  Nevertheless, this show added another match to the Royal Rumble which is drawing near.

Next Up on Tuesday:  The Action Zone from January 15, 1995!