What the World Was Watching: Monday Night RAW – September 11, 1995

Vince McMahon recaps the events of the Shawn Michaels-Razor Ramon ladder match at SummerSlam and how Sid looks to “tear down the Heartbreak Hotel” tonight while Ramon faces the newly turned British Bulldog.

To kick off the “new fall season” of Monday Night RAW the company abandons the intro that RAW used for the better part of two and half years and replaces it with an introduction of wrestlers battling on the top of Titan Towers in Connecticut.  The highlight is Shawn Michaels dancing atop a platform and then diving on top of Kama.  Later footage from this opening would be used for D-Generation X’s Titantron video in 1997.

McMahon and Jerry Lawler are doing commentary and they are taped from Canton, Ohio.  This is the first week of the Monday Night Wars with RAW facing off with WCW’s Monday Nitro.  It is also the first RAW to be shown on Sky Sports in the United Kingdom.

Footage of Ramon’s confrontation with Dean Douglas at SummerSlam is shown.

Opening Contest:  The British Bulldog (w/Jim Cornette) (8-4-1) defeats Razor Ramon (16-3-1) via disqualification when the 1-2-3 Kid interferes at 7:09 shown:

With two premier matches on tonight’s card it is clear that the WWF is trying to draw some viewers from WCW.  The Bulldog spams the bodyslam a great deal in this match, attempting to wear down Ramon’s back for the running powerslam.  Ramon is able to hit the Razor’s Edge after a ref bump but this allows Dean Douglas to launch an attack while simultaneously dealing with the 1-2-3 Kid’s attempt at a rescue.  As Douglas heads to the locker room, the Bulldog hits a running powerslam but before the referee can count the fall, the Kid tries a top rope splash, with the Bulldog moving and Ramon eating the move.  This was a perfectly acceptable television match to advance some major storylines and they really made Douglas look like a badass.  Rating:  **

After the bell, the Bulldog and Cornette beat up the 1-2-3 Kid, who is looking more and more ineffective by the week.

Following a commercial break, McMahon interviews Ramon and the Kid.  The Kid challenges McMahon’s assertion that he cost Ramon tonight’s match and he says Ramon cost him his match against Dean Douglas on Superstars.  The Kid accuses Ramon of not giving him respect and he challenges Ramon to a match next week.  After thinking about it, Ramon accepts.

The Smoking Gunns (19-3-1) beat Rad Radford & The Brooklyn Brawler when Billy pins the Brawler after a Sidewinder at 2:47:

This Radford and Brawler pairing is very, very unusual and cements Radford’s lower midcard status in the eyes of the fans.  Both men work well together in the opening minutes against Bart, but the Smoking Gunns have not won more matches than any other team in the WWF in 1995 for nothing and Billy quickly takes out both men by himself.  Since the Brawler is an expendable talent he eats the pin, giving the Gunns their sixth straight victory.

Goldust’s new promo, which overlooks Hollywood at night, sees him quote Night of the Living Dead and he attacks the Undertaker, saying that gold sheds light instead of being subdued by darkness.  He implies that he will wipe out the Undertaker when he arrives in the WWF.

Isaac Yankem (0-1) pins Scott Taylor after the DDS at 2:12:

If you do not enjoy the dentist, avoid listening to Yankem’s theme music since it is the sound of a dentist’s drill.  Yankem does what any big man should do in these squashes by swallowing up Taylor, hot shotting him across the top rope and choking him in a hangman’s hold.  Yankem is using a DDT for a finisher, which the WWF has creatively called the “DDS” to mirror his gimmick.

Todd Pettengill provides the In Your House 3 Report.  Pettengill notes that interim WWF President Gorilla Monsoon has said that if any of the participants in the “triple header” main event get intentionally disqualified that they will forfeit their title.  New bouts added to the card include Razor Ramon versus Dean Douglas and Savio Vega versus Waylon Mercy.

Barry Didinski urges fans to call 1-800-TITAN-91 to get a leather Shawn Michaels hat for $25 (plus $3.95 shipping & handling)!  You can also get some Michaels heart shaped glasses and a poster of Lawrence Taylor!

Intercontinental Championship Match:  Shawn Michaels (Champion) (18-1-1) pins Sid (w/Ted DiBiase) (5-2) after three Sweet Chin Musics at 7:22 shown:

This is the big blowoff for the Michaels-Sid feud that has been building since the night after WrestleMania XI where Sid turned on Michaels and put him on the shelf for over a month with a series of powerbombs.  McMahon does his best to put Sid over as a monster, but it is tough to buy into that when Sid is coming off of a feud with Diesel where he was portrayed as a big coward.  Michaels bumps well, which is the best that can be said of this one, a bout that is significantly hindered by a long, drawn out sequence of Michaels laying on the arena floor while referee Earl Hebner slowly counts to nine.  Michaels backdrops out of a powerbomb and gives Sid three Sweet Chin Musics after going under a clothesline to retain.  This match did not live up to the hype and thank goodness the WWF replaced this match at SummerSlam with the ladder match between Michaels and Ramon.  Rating:  *¾

Dok Hendrix interviews Diesel and Shawn Michaels backstage, with Diesel saying that he and Michaels, calling themselves “Two Dudes with Attitudes,” will become “the chaps with all the straps” at In Your House.

Tune in next week to see Yokozuna & Owen Hart face off against Men on a Mission at the behest of interim WWF President Gorilla Monsoon!  Also, Razor Ramon squares off against the 1-2-3 Kid!  The WWF got a little too cute for its own good in hyping next week’s show as they show clips of the action from these matches, thereby giving away to the fans that they are taped.  The Kid is even shown crying, with Hendrix asking the audience if the Kid will get respect or if he will lose a friend.  It is as if the company thought trying to be like Melrose Place was a way to higher ratings.

The Last Word:  As this review shows, the company was trying some new production techniques to freshen up RAW.  While the intro would soon change, partly as a result of an exodus or depushing of talent by the end of the year, and the “sneak previews” would go away, this RAW established a new pattern of having more feature matches.  It is still puzzling why McMahon opted to do a taped RAW for the first head-to-head matchup with Monday Nitro as this allowed fans with Internet access to get the results of the show ahead of time and tune into Nitro’s live broadcast.  It also enabled Eric Bischoff to spoil the main event when Nitro went on the air, as he told fans to avoid watching RAW since Michaels was going to win with the superkick.  Despite this, RAW did win the first head-to-head battle of the Monday Night Wars with this telecast, albeit narrowly, setting the stage for a tug-of-war between both companies that would endure for the rest of 1995.

Monday Night War Rating:  2.5 (vs. 2.4 for Nitro – Hulk Hogan vs. Lex Luger for WCW World Championship)

Up Next:  WWF Superstars from September 16, 1995!