What the World Was Watching: The Action Zone – August 20, 1995

Jim Ross and Todd Pettengill are in the booth and they are taped from Portland, Maine.  This was the same site as the recent Superstars tapings as the company was reducing television tapings due to budget cuts.

Opening Contest:  Savio Vega (10-1) defeats Mark Thomas after a spinning heel kick at 1:59:

Thomas makes his first televised appearance in 1995, having worked as a jobber for the WWF for six years up to this point.  This would be the last time that the company would use him until August 2017, when Thomas would do a job for Noam Dar on 205 Live.  Thomas bumps awkwardly off of a Savio headscissors and Savio flips Thomas around some more before blasting him with a spinning heel kick to stay relevant.  Savio does not have a match scheduled for SummerSlam.

Ross and Pettengill discuss Diesel’s WWF title defense against Mabel at SummerSlam, with King Mabel saying that he has another component to the “royal plan.”

Pettengill announces that The Action Zone will get a makeover soon when the WWF unveils its new “fall season” in a few weeks.  He asks Ross if he has auditioned for it, with Ross saying that he has no idea what Pettengill is talking about.  Ross adds “Well, he we go again,” making an allusion to the last time that he was fired by the WWF twice in 1994.

The Shawn Michaels-Jerry Lawler match from RAW is replayed.

Razor Ramon cuts a pre-taped promo saying that anything could happen in the ladder match at SummerSlam.  Michaels responds by saying that he is tired of hearing Ramon talk about winning at WrestleMania X and that he is going to get revenge at SummerSlam.

Waylon Mercy (10-0) beats Tony Roy via count out at 1:28:

Roy was a Killer Kowalski trainee who the WWF was thinking about hiring around this time, having him work a dark match against Bert Centeno on the recent RAW tapings.  Mercy opens the match by giving Roy a lariat after shaking his hand to start the match.  Then, in a funny ending, Mercy tosses Roy out of the ring and claims to be helping him to get to his feet but once he does this he gives Roy a DDT.  Mercy pleads to the crowd and the referee that Roy slipped, but when he heads to the locker room he makes sure to step on Roy’s body.  Mercy’s matches needed to do more of what he did here since the workrate was not going to be top notch due to Spivey’s age.

A repeat of the Dean Douglas evaluation of Shawn Michaels is aired.

Footage of Henry Godwinn slopping Ted DiBiase on RAW is shown.

Call 1-900-747-4WWF to find out why some people think Diesel might cost Shawn Michaels the Intercontinental title at SummerSlam and find out about Razor Ramon’s training methods!  $1.49 per minute is what this information will cost you!

Henry Godwinn (18-5-2) pins Mike Bell after a Slop Drop at 2:23:

Since Godwinn is a face now he is susceptible to sneak attacks, which Bell launches to start the match.  Godwinn counters by tossing him out of the ring and pounds away as Ross and Pettengill say that Ted DiBiase had no intention of making Godwinn a Corporate member and that is why Godwinn and DiBiase had a falling out.  Godwinn wins after a Slop Drop and he rolls Bell out of the ring so he can throw slop in his face.  The crowd likes this new element of Godwinn’s gimmick, but some fans in the front row may think otherwise because some of the slop got on them.

A replay of Isaac Yankem drilling a patient’s teeth is shown.

The Action Zone is so low on the totem pole that we are replaying squash matches now, in this case Kama’s squash on Superstars so fans can see Kama attacking one of the Creatures of the Night.  All of this caused the SummerSlam match between the Undertaker and Kama to change from a singles match to a casket match.

Ross and Pettengill hype the “War on the Water” as some Pittsburgh firefighters and WWF wrestlers will be engaged in a tug of war contest right before SummerSlam.  This will be a fundraising opportunity for the Pittsburgh community.

Ross and Pettengill do the SummerSlam “Insider” segment.  Bret Hart lets Isaac Yankem know that Yankem will be the one in pain when they collide at SummerSlam.  The Undertaker also cuts a promo against Kama, saying that he is angry that Kama melted down his urn and that Kama’s attack on a Creature of the Night sealed have his fate.

Goldust’s debut promo, which aired on RAW, is replayed.

Call 1-800-916-9966 to get America Online!  Vince McMahon will be on there following RAW tomorrow night!

The Smoking Gunns (17-3-1) defeat Jeff Hardy & Brian Walsh when Billy pins Jeff after a Sidewinder at 2:43:

Although Jeff is not teaming with his brother, which is weird, he is teaming with a very capable light heavyweight in Walsh, who helps complement some of the high-flying offense that Hardy likes to use, even as an enhancement talent.  Jeff and Walsh briefly get the upper hand on Billy, but Jeff puts his head down too early on a whip, eats a Rocker Dropper, and the jobbers momentum goes away, with the Gunns hitting a double Russian leg sweep and Sidewinder to maintain their momentum in the tag division.

Ross and Pettengill reminds fans that they will see the Undertaker face Tatanka on RAW.  Also, Men on a Mission will be in action and WWF Champion Diesel will be there for an interview.

The Last Word:  Aside from a few new promos for SummerSlam, this show did not do very much, but the Waylon Mercy-Tony Roy squash was entertaining, if nothing else.  The new format of The Action Zone as discussed on this show by Pettengill would lead to The Action Zone becoming a studio show hosted by he and Dok Hendrix, largely recapping the events on RAW and Superstars and rarely featuring exclusive matches.

Not surprisingly, there were not any additional matches on Wrestling Challenge since that show was ending its broadcasting of original bouts as well, but here were the results of a few house shows as the WWF wrapped up its tour of the Northeast and moved into the Midwest (courtesy of thehistoryofwwe.com):

Bangor, Maine – The Auditorium – August 16, 1995:  Fatu pinned Hakushi after a Samoan bulldog…Hunter-Hearst Helmsley beat the 1-2-3 Kid after a Pedigree…Savio Vega defeated Rad Radford with a spinning heel kick…Diesel & Shawn Michaels beat Men on a Mission when Diesel pinned Mo after a big boot.  After the match, Men on a Mission attacked Diesel and Michaels, with Razor Ramon failing to make the save…Razor Ramon beat Sid by disqualification when Tatanka interfered…WWF Tag Team Champions Owen Hart & Yokozuna defeated the Allied Powers when Yokozuna hit Luger with a leg drop behind the referee’s back.  The Bulldog walked out on Luger during the match…Bam Bam Bigelow beat Tatanka in an Indian strap match.

Valleyfield, Quebec, Canada – August 16, 1995:  Waylon Mercy beat Bob Holly via submission to a sleeper hold…WWF Women’s Champion Alundra Blayze pinned Bertha Faye after a hurricanrana at 6:28…Billy Gunn & Henry Godwinn (substituting for Bart Gunn) beat the Blu Brothers when Godwinn pinned one of the Blus after a Slop Drop at 8:43…Bob Backlund defeated Aldo Montoya via submission with the crossface chicken wing at 28:11…Jean-Pierre LaFitte pinned Skip after Le Cannonball after shoving him off the top rope at 11:40.  LaFitte played babyface due to his popularity in the Quebec area…The Undertaker beat Kama in a casket match at 13:25 after a chokeslam and Tombstone.

Auburn Hills, Michigan – The Palace – August 19, 1995 (2,000):  Fatu beat Hakushi…Savio Vega defeated Rad Radford…Hunter-Hearst Helmsley defeated the 1-2-3 Kid…WWF Tag Team Champions Owen Hart & Yokozuna beat the Allied Powers.  The British Bulldog walked out on Lex Luger during the match…Savio Vega beat Sid via disqualification…Bam Bam Bigelow defeated Tatanka in an Indian strap match…Diesel & Shawn Michaels beat Men on a Mission.

Here were some news and notes concerning the company and the wrestling world for this week in 1995 (courtesy of thehistoryofwwe.com and the August 28 edition of The Wrestling Observer):

*The Eliminators of ECW (Perry Saturn and John Kronus) were given a look by the company at a house show in Manchester, New Hampshire on August 17.  The Eliminators defeated Tim McNeany and Smooth Operator to open the show.  Reviews of their performance were mixed.

*The Action Zone is getting a format change because the ratings stayed below a 2.0 even with a feature match.  Wrestling Challenge is being cancelled by the company because of a loss of some syndication markets since it is no longer willing to pay for time slots due to budget cuts.

*WCW is set to launch the first episode of Monday Nitro on September 4, with the WWF being pre-empted by the U.S. Open and unable to go head-to-head on that night.  The first battle between both sides will happen on September 11.  WCW will have an advantage in that their show will air live on a regular basis while the WWF will only be airing one live show per month.  However, WCW will only be getting $38,000 per week from TNT for these shows, which will be running at a loss because that money cannot cover talent travel, arena bookings, and production costs.  Dave Meltzer believes that the WWF’s best bet is to put on a good effort on the September 11 show and sink WCW’s chances out of the gate.

*There continue to be rumors about Lex Luger.  WCW has presented a deal to him but is only willing to pay him $1,000 per match, with no guarantee on how many matches he will wrestle.  Luger is not making anywhere near what he made when he came to the WWF in 1992 under a WBF contract that paid him $350,000 a year, but he would be unwise to take a deal with so much uncertainty from WCW.  Meltzer reports that Luger has a contact through mid-October and Meltzer bets he will renew.  (Note:  This ended up being incorrect because Luger only had a handshake deal with McMahon at this time and no written contract, something that the WWF would regret in the coming weeks).

*Adam Bomb has decided to quit the WWF after meeting with Vince McMahon on Thursday, August 17.  McMahon wanted to keep him but Bomb does not feel like his push is adequate.  He still has six months left on his contract so negotiations are ongoing to grant him a release.

*House show business remains disappointing on both the “A” and “B” circuits.  “A” circuits were being headlined by Diesel & Shawn Michaels against Men on a Mission and “B” circuits, which ran through Canada this past week, were headlined by the Undertaker wrestling Kama in casket matches.

*The WWF recently settled a lawsuit with former jobber Chuck Austin, who won a $26.7 million judgment against the company in April 1994 after he suffered a broken neck working against the Rockers and taking a Rocker Dropper from Marty Jannetty.  It is believed that the company settled with Austin for $10 million before a judge heard its appeal.  The case was revolutionary in the wrestling business because companies became more selective of who they chose for enhancement talent and wanted wrestlers with more experience that could take moves and bumps properly.

Up Next:  Monday Night RAW for August 21, 1995!