February 13, 1994
From the Florence Civic Center in Florence, SC
Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon and Jim Ross
This week’s featured match is Tatanka vs. Jeff Jarrett. Also in action are Shawn Michaels and Thurman “Sparky” Plugg.
Jeff Jarrett vs. Tatanka
Gorilla said he was handed a note stating that Ross needs to return immediately to the “Face-to-Face” studio and that Stan Lane will take his place in the booth. Jarrett attacks Tatanka before the bell and continues to hammer away. Tatanka fights back and hits a swinging neckbreaker for a two count as Lane has arrived. Tatanka fires away in the corner but whiffs on a crossbody. Jarrett catches Tatanka with a clothesline then taunts the crowd and even Tatanka before stomping away. Jarrett gets a two count with a snap suplex then rams Tatanka in the corner. We now see Ludvig Borga come down the aisle as Jarrett kicks away. Jarrett now chokes out Tatanka in front of Borga as the fans start up a USA chant. Borga cheap shots Tatanka as the ref was distracted. Tatanka now fires up after getting hit with a few turnbuckle smashes then Tatanka slides out and starts beating on Borga. Tatanka returns but gets stomped then Borga enters and beats on Tatanka as the ref calls for a DQ (4:22) *1/2. Borga & Jarrett now work together and beat the crap out of Tatanka as a few referees come out to try and break things up then Borga & Jarrett eventually stop and raise each others arms while Lane says they will have more of Jarrett being on the “Countrybeat” magazine cover as Gorilla jokes that Jarrett’s father got him on the cover.
Thoughts: The match was fine for what it was and it seems they still had plans for the Tatanka/Borga feud past the Rumble. However, the big news here was Ross being replaced on Challenge. He had a Bells Palsy attack a couple of weeks prior to this show airing, which is why he only said “ok” here on the broadcast and that was likely from a past soundbyte. And on top of that Ross’s contract was not going to be renewed and it expired in March. According to both Dave Meltzer of the “Wrestling Observer Newsletter” and Wade Keller of the “Pro Wrestling Torch,” the company wanted Ross to wear a cowboy hat and play a heel announcer similar to the J.R. Ewing character and Ross basically refused to do this character as a commentator. So, this was how they wrote him off as the play-by-play guy and now had Gorilla in that role with Lane on commentary.
WWF Special Report with Lord Alfred Hayes. This week’s focus is on Lex Luger’s journey to become the World Heavyweight Champion. We see clips of him from slamming Yokozuna on the USS Intrepid and his “Call to Action” campaign. Lord Alfred then says since SummerSlam, Luger has been on a rampage as we see clips of him beating multiple people and an interview saying he hopes fans have not lost faith in him as someday he will be champion. Its put over how Luger will get the first title shot. We then hear from Jim Cornette with Yokozuna & Mr. Fuji as he makes fun of Tunney for using a coin toss to determine who gets the first title shot before saying how big and bad Yokozuna is and that Luger will fall to him then Yokozuna will run through Bret Hart. Oddly enough, Lord Alfred was not using his heel shtick here.
“The Model” Rick Martel vs. Tommy Angel
Gorilla says that Ross is still not back and tells Lane he will not miss Ross when he returns. Gorilla asks Lane about all of the parties involved in the WrestleMania title matches and how Tunney can get them to agree to the terms of guest referees. Angel gets a two count with a sunset flip then soon after that gets a two count with a crossbody. Martel avoids a dropkick and follows with a gutwrench suplex then a backbreaker before teasing the Boston Crab. Martel continues to target the back of Angel then finally puts him away with the Boston Crab (2:16).
Thoughts: An easy win for Martel but the real focus was on the guest referee stipulations for the WrestleMania title matches. Martel, while still a solid worker, really felt out of place at this time.
We go to the Face-to-Face studio where Ross ran off as he talks about WrestleMania X being sold out then plugs the Fan Festival. It is here that we learn The Quebecers will defend the Tag Team Titles against Men on a Mission. The Quebecers & Johnny Polo now laugh about their WrestleMania opponents and how they do not need to “preparate” for their match and make fun of MoM for being fat.
The Bushwhackers vs. Brooklyn Brawler & George South
The announcers hype up the Fan Fest as The Bushwhackers play up to the crowd. Brawler hammers away on Luke but gets distracted by Butch on the apron and is attacked. South and Butch tag in as Gorilla promises we will see the contract signing from “Mania” between Randy Savage and Crush. South hammers away but Butch stomps his foot then hits a slam. Brawler also runs in and gets slammed then the match breaks down until The Bushwhackers use the battering ram on South for the win (2:29).
Thoughts: The Bushwhackers are back doing their now tired antics while the announcers hyped up a few other things going on in the company.
We see a clip of the contract signing between Crush and Savage from “Mania” that ended in a brawl.
WrestleMania Report with Todd Pettengill airs.
Shawn Michaels w/ Diesel vs. John Paul
The announcers talk about the ladder match at WrestleMania as Paul grabs a side headlock. Paul then hits a dropkick and uses an arm drag after a fast-paced Irish whip sequence. Shawn comes back with a dropkick of his own and follows that with a delayed vertical suplex. Shawn lands some jabs in the corner as the announcers talk about never having seen a ladder match before. Shawn stays in control and lands a super kick before using a piledriver for the win (3:07). After the match, Shawn stands on top of Paul while high-fiving Diesel.
Thoughts: This was mostly the announcers hyping up the dangers of a ladder match. Shawn looked great here and his heel work since returning in the Fall has been improving each week.
The announcers plug the newest edition of “WWF Magazine” and an article on Shawn titled “Just Call Me Champ.”
We get a hype video for next week’s Earthquake vs. Bastion Booger match.
Thurman “Sparky” Plugg vs. Austin Steele
Lane jokes about a report of Ross being spotted in Illinois at a Taco Bell with Elvis as Plugg works over Steele. Plugg stays in control then hits a missile dropkick for the win (1:44). The announcers talk about Plugg’s future as both a race car driver and a wrestler.
Thoughts: Plugg is actually being pushed as a dual-sport competitor. They also took another minor shot at Ross here.
Next week in action are The Quebecers, IRS, Razor Ramon, Bret Hart, and the featured match of Earthquake vs. Bastion Booger. The show ends with comments from Booger, who promises to ruin Earthquake’s return. The announcers now talk about Ross not returning.
Final Thoughts: The big news here was this show being Ross’s final appearance for the time being. We got a featured match, learned of the WrestleMania X Tag Team Title match, and learned of next week’s featured match as the Road to WrestleMania continues.