What the World Was Watching: Monday Night RAW – January 23, 1995

Vince McMahon apologizes to Lawrence Taylor for Bam Bam Bigelow’s conduct at the Royal Rumble and announces that Bigelow has been suspended without pay.

Vince and Shawn Michaels are doing commentary and they are live from Palmetto, Florida.  Vince puts over how Michaels won from the #1 position and Michaels says he is going to put some moves on Pamela Anderson.  It is so weird to see the winner of the Rumble not getting a twenty minute promo to start the show.

Opening Contest for the WWF Tag Team Championship:  The Smoking Gunns defeat Bob Holly & The 1-2-3 Kid (Champions) (5-0) when Billy Gunn pins Holly after a Sidewinder to win the titles at 15:16 shown:

The Gunns were given this match because a “rodeo accident” that Bart suffered in December knocked them out of the WWF Tag Team Championship Tournament on WWF Superstars.  Somehow this match is fair to the champions who just won the titles the previous night but since babyfaces are usually stupid it is not surprising that Holly and the Kid would agree in kayfabe to this bout.  The champions, notably the Kid, adopt a somewhat heelish posture during the bout, knocking Bart off the apron and cutting off Billy’s hot tag attempts.  Michaels takes a creative shot at the Gunns as well, noting that they are better rested because they did not last long in last night’s Royal Rumble, while Vince cracks me up by going into hyperbole mode for Holly:  “He’s a stunt man!  He’s a stock car driver!  He’s a WWF superstar!” before Holly misses a top rope drive that eventually costs his team the match.  This would be the first tag team title win for the Gunns, who would go on to win the belts three times before they broke up in 1996.  And what is interesting about those reigns?  Not a single one of those title wins happened at a pay-per-view.  The Gunns victory sort of nullifies the entire tag team tournament, but it appears that the company was using the Cinderella angle as a setup for Bigelow-LT.  Rating:  ***

McMahon interviews Holly and the Kid after their loss and the Kid and Holly stumble through a promo before invoking a request to get a title shot next week.  The audience does not seem to care for the Kid-Holly team, booing them as they leave for the backstage area.

Todd Pettengill recaps the action at the Royal Rumble, but does so verbally because the WWF was hoping that fans would buy the encore replay to get more cash for the company.

Michaels tells McMahon that he knows that he is a marked man in the company after winning the Royal Rumble and that he is currently searching for a bodyguard.

Irwin R. Schyster (w/Ted DiBiase) (0-1) defeats Buck Quartermaine after the Write Off at 2:18:

IRS brings the Undertaker’s gigantic urn, which appears to have taken some of the supplements floating around Major League Baseball during this era, to the ring with him since the Million Dollar Corporation stole it at the Royal Rumble.  “Rowdy” Roddy Piper calls into the broadcast during this match and discusses the New Generation and Bam Bam Bigelow.  The whole purpose of this was to hype an interview Piper was going to do with Michaels during the pay-per-view replay of the Rumble a week from now.  Piper’s call completely overshadowed this bout, but it was just a typical squash to help IRS recover some momentum after jobbing to the Undertaker, so no real harm was done.

Man Mountain Rock is coming!

The new Intercontinental champion, Jeff Jarrett, is a guest on the King’s Court.  He puts over injuring Ramon’s knee at the Royal Rumble and dares Ramon to petition him for a rematch.  He then challenges Diesel for the WWF title.

McMahon urges people to call 203-525-4500 to purchase WrestleMania XI tickets, which go on sale on Saturday.

The British Bulldog (3-1) pins The Black Phantom after a running powerslam at 3:12:

The Bulldog spends some time jawing with Michaels before the bout, acting like a sore loser because it was not Michaels fault that the Bulldog started celebrating without ensuring that Michaels was eliminated in the match.  The Black Phantom is a masked wrestler and underneath the mask is David Heath, who would make a name for himself on the independent circuit as Vampire Warrior and come back to the company as Gangrel in 1998.  The Bulldog lets the Phantom get in a few token moves, but the Phantom misses a dive off the second rope and the Bulldog finishes him with a powerslam.

Call 1-900-737-4WWF to play Royal Rumble trivia.  It will cost you $1.49 per minute!

McMahon hypes next week’s RAW where Mabel will face King Kong Bundy in an over the top rope match (hyped as a “two man Royal Rumble”) and the Smoking Gunns defend their newly won tag team titles against Bob Holly and the 1-2-3 Kid.  Kama will also make his debut.

Bam Bam Bigelow is supposed to deliver an apology to Lawrence Taylor but there are “audio difficulties” that prevent him from doing so.  As a result, we will have to wait until next week to hear what he has to say!

The Last Word:  The opening tag match was good television, although two commercial breaks during the match really ruined any investment one could have in the match.  After that, though, the show dragged with Pettengill recapping the entire Rumble and some boring segments and matches after that.  I cannot say that I am too excited for Diesel-Jarrett at some point but there is a lack of quality heels for Diesel to face, a problem that will become worse as we get further into 1995.

Up Next (on Tuesday):  WWF Superstars from January 28!