What the World Was Watching: Monday Night RAW – June 5, 1995

The WWF blimp is shown hovering over Struthers High School, where tonight’s show is taking place, and Bob Backlund is seen giving a campaign speech, telling students that if they do not get an education the government is going to put them back in slavery.  Vince McMahon does not reveal that the show is actually coming from a high school, though, as he says it is from an arena.

McMahon and Jerry Lawler are on commentary and they are live from Struthers, Ohio.  According to historyofwwe.com the show drew a sellout crowd of 1,450 fans.  McMahon, like a good promoter, makes sure to mention that the last episode did a record rating.  Lawler gloats that he has tricked Bret Hart into signing up for a “kiss my foot” match.

Opening Contest:  Savio Vega (2-0) beats Kenny Kendall via submission to an Octopus hold at 2:01:

Kendall had a brief career as a jobber on WWF and WCW television between 1991 and 1995, getting a few wins in the USWA in between.  Using Kendall is this role is puzzling because he has the look of a potential star.  Savio uses a sloppy side slam where he picks up Kendall and just drops him before finishing with a submission hold.

A video package hypes WWF Champion Diesel.  This is the same video that we have seen several times in 1995 except this time it has some recent footage of Diesel’s reunion with Shawn Michaels factored in.

Sid, Tatanka, and Ted DiBiase cut a promo against Diesel and Bam Bam Bigelow.  DiBiase promises to send Diesel and Bigelow to the hospital after King of the Ring.  Tatanka says that both men “will pay the ultimate price” and Sid promises that pain is coming.

Skip is shown running up and down some steps backstage as Sunny introduces the Bodydonnas concept.

Barry Didinski urges fans to buy a King of the Ring t-shirt.  Call 1-800-TITAN-91 (since the company realized that putting letters on a number made it easier to remember).  The shirt is $18 (plus $3.95 shipping and handling) and if you order you can get a free Bob Backlund campaign button.  Sunny tells Didinski that he should lose weight as the Bodydonnas make their entrance.

Skip (w/Sunny) (1-0) defeats Barry Horowitz after a flying leg drop at 2:38:

Skip and Horowitz had been working on the house show circuit as Skip refined the Bodydonnas gimmick.  Sunny is also a natural on the mic, running down the crowd before the match but already illustrating in this segment and the previous one that she has more star power than Skip.  Skip struggles against the long-time WWF enhancement talent, getting Thesz pressed and falling victim to a flurry of offense when he exercises too much, but turns things around to win with a flying leg drop, which would be branded the New Jersey Jam in later stages of Chris Candido’s career.

Todd Pettengill provides the King of the Ring Report, emphasizing some possible semi-final matches in the tournament such as Undertaker-Kama or Mabel-Shawn Michaels.

King of the Ring Qualifying Match:  The British Bulldog (8-4) wrestles Owen Hart (w/Jim Cornette) (6-3) to a time limit draw at 12:57 shown:

Jim Ross and Gorilla Monsoon are on commentary for this match because it was actually taped in Syracuse, New York as a dark match at In Your House, but Ross and Monsoon present it as live from another location.  In the week leading up to this match commentators were putting over how Owen was demanding a bye to the King of the Ring finals because he was the defending champion but the WWF does not run its tournament like The Karate Kid III.  One of the highlights of the match is Monsoon getting upset that they had to go to a commercial break, briefly exasperated as to why they need to cut away mid-match and warning that the match could end and viewers would never get to see the end of it.  Owen and the Bulldog had great chemistry and this does not disappoint, even when the finish makes the opening segments quite slow, with the Bulldog working in long rest holds, noticeably delaying the setup and execution of his trademark vertical suplex.  As the pattern dictates, the near falls pick up quickly after the commercial break, with Owen scoring off an enziguri and the Bulldog nearly winning with his running powerslam, but Owen puts his foot on the bottom rope to break the count.  A nice flurry of pinning combinations occurs in the last two minutes but neither man gets a pin and the time limit expires, which according to Ross means both men are eliminated from the tournament.  That actually goes against precedent because the year prior Crush and Tatanka fought to a draw in their qualifier and had a rematch for the spot the very next week.  However, it looks like 1995 is playing by different rules because the company is running on Diesel power, or something to that effect.  Rating:  ***½

Lawler’s vignette of challenging Bret Hart to a “kiss my foot” match at The King of the Ring is replayed from Superstars.

McMahon conducts an in-ring interview with Bret Hart.  Bret says that Lawler’s stipulation is sick and Lawler tries to get fans at ringside to smell his feet as Bret recaps the embarrassment of losing to Lawler at In Your House.  Bret says he will rededicate the King of the Ring match to his fans and he promises Lawler that he will take one of the King’s nasty feet and shove it into Lawler’s own mouth after he wins their rematch.

Jean-Pierre LaFitte (7-0) defeats Jerry Flynn after Le Cannonball at 1:29:

Flynn, who had wrestled in Japan’s Pro Wrestling Fujiwara Gumi promotion from 1991-1993, makes his WWF debut as an enhancement talent, a role that he would fill in the summer of 1995.  McMahon announces that WWF President Jack Tunney has booked a replacement qualifying match for The King of the Ring on next week’s show between Lex Luger and Yokozuna.  LaFitte blasts through Flynn, doing a somersault plancha and then flying high to win again.  LaFitte’s work is really, really underrated from this time period because of the gimmick he was sporting.

Bob Backlund is shown giving a campaign speech outside in the dark even though no one is around.

Lawler promises to show everyone his training video for his bout with Bret Hart on next week’s show.

Bob Backlund, outside in the dark, says that he will be on next week’s show to confront Man Mountain Rock and his horrible music.

The WWF dusts off old Lex Luger-Yokozuna footage to hype next week’s feature match.  They make sure to include Yokozuna pinning Hulk Hogan with a leg drop at King of the Ring in 1993 for the WWF title because, according to Dave Meltzer at The Wrestling Observer, Hogan and Jimmy Hart received free publicity for being at an Indiana Pacers-Orlando Magic playoff game because of their affiliation with Shaquille O’Neal.

Tune in next week to see Lex Luger face Yokozuna in a King of the Ring qualifying match!  Also, Bam Bam Bigelow and Man Mountain Rock will be in action!

The Last Word:  Eliminating Owen Hart from the tournament was a really, really stupid move and adds to the puzzling booking decisions that the company is making in recent weeks.  He was not slotted into a match at The King of the Ring as he and Yokozuna were not defending the tag team titles, and he could have carried a great storyline into the tournament of trying to defend his crown.  Not to mention that Owen’s entry would have significantly improved the workrate quality of the tournament.  However, at the time another Luger-Yokozuna encounter was a big match so to many fans it would seem like more than an adequate replacement bout.

Up Next:  WWF Superstars from June 10, 1995!