October 31, 1994
From the Burlington Memorial Auditorium in Burlington, VT
Your hosts are Vince McMahon and “Macho Man” Randy Savage, in his final appearance.
Tonight’s featured match is Bob Backlund vs. Lex Luger.
Lex Luger vs. Bob Backlund
Luger takes Backlund down with an arm drag then starts mocking Backlund, who did not appreciate the gesture. Luger takes Backlund down again as Vince mentions how Backlund snuck behind Bret Hart during the Hart Attack tour and put him in the crossface chicken wing. Backlund tries to ground Luger but fails as Luger escapes. Backlund is now able to work the arm of Luger and stays on that for a while. Luger escapes from a chicken wing attempt so Backlund whips him into the corner a few times before hitting a belly-to-belly suplex for a two count. Backlund stomps away then goes back to the arm. He hits a hammerlock slam as the camera briefly shows Tatanka peeking through the curtain. We then go to break and return with Backlund working a hammerlock bearhug. Luger reaches the ropes but Backlund reapplies the hold as Vince hypes Backlund vs. Bret at the Survivor Series. Luger fights out then rams Backlund into the corner a few times. Luger fires up and takes Backlund down with a knee lift before flexing. Luger then catches Backlund with a powerslam but sees Tatanka on the apron. Luger goes after Tatanka but that allows Backlund to sneak up from behind and apply the crossface chicken wing. Backlund takes Luger down but Luger keeps trying to fight then Tatanka comes in and attacks Luger as the ref rings the bell for the DQ (8:18 shown) **. After the match, Tatanka continues to stomp Luger until several referees come out to get Backlund away. Backlund then puts the hold back on but we see Savage run in and beat on Backlund until he releases the hold. Backlund escapes as the officails hold Savage back. Vince stresses how Luger never gave up and how Savage could get fined and even suspended for leaving the booth and attacking Backlund.
Thoughts: The match itself wasn’t bad at all but why on earth would Tatanka cost Backlund the match when Luger was in the most put over hold in the company? Wouldn’t you want to see the guy you’re feuding with pass out and lose? How the Luger/Tatanka feud has unfolded on television made them less over than when it started and its being featured at the Survivor Series. We also see Savage go after Backlund again.
Savage tells us its hard to sit in this chair and see what took place before calling out Backlund for his actions. Vince then segues into a plug for the Action Zone, which features Mabel vs. Yokozuna. They sure seemed to be hinting at a Backlund/Savage feud at some point but we would never get to that as we will learn about very soon.
1-2-3 Kid vs. Tony DeVito
Kid is sporting a perm for some reason. Vince puts over the Tag Team Title match from the Action Zone and how hurt Kid is from the match. DeVito works a hammerlock as Savage blames WWF President Jack Tunney for not being able to stop Backlund then talks about taking care of the problem himself. Vince puts over the Teamsters vs. Bad Guys Survivor Series match as Kid catches DeVito with a dropkick. DeVito now hammers away and even catches Kid with a powerslam for a two count. Kid avoids a pair of elbow drops then lands several kicks in the corner. Kid then catches DeVito with a spinning heel kick before using a flying leg drop for the win (3:17). Vince puts over Kid for being able to function just as good in a team than a singles wrestler.
Thoughts: They put over the amazing tag match from Action Zone and put Kid over for toughing it out here to get a win. Vince also threw in how Kid could wrestle just as well in a team than as a singles wrestler. That is something to remember going forward.
Survivor Series Report with Todd Pettengill. We learn that Bret will answer Backlund’s challenge for a submission match soon enough. Plus, Clowns Are Us (Doink & Dink & Wink & Pink) vs. Royal Family (Lawler & Queazy & Sleazy & Cheesy).
Clips from a charity softball game in New Jersey are shown.
King Kong Bundy w/ Ted DiBiase vs. Bert Centeno
Bundy backs Centeno into the corner and hammers away. He then catches Centeno with a clothesline as the announcers talk about the Survivor Series. Vince tells us that Luger currently has an ice pack on his shoulder but heard it is not severe and that we will have a report later on in the show. The announcers now talk about the Action Zone segment where they showed “Mike Zitka and Greg Gumball” watching Action Zone instead of the NFL. Bundy yells at the crowd then chops Centeno in the corner before hitting the avalanche then a knee drop for the win after a five count (2:45). Bundy tosses Centeno over the top rope after the match.
Thoughts: Bundy continues to lumber through squash matches in unimpressive fashion while the announcers continue to take shots at the NFL.
The IRS cemetery promo first seen on “Superstars” airs.
King’s Court with guests The Undertaker & Paul Bearer. Vince once again mentions Yokozuna’s fear of caskets. Lawler then asks Bearer if he knows the meaning of the word “deja vu.” Bearer then holds up the magazine of the “Undertaker’s Gravest Matches” and wants him to look at all the people Undertaker has rid from the WWF (they are not named or even shown on camera) then Bearer shows us Yokozuna inside of a casket. Lawler then asks about Chuck Norris announced as the special guest referee and why they need him if they’re so confident they can beat Yokozuna. Bearer said they did not request Norris, the WWF did as to not have a repeat incident like we saw at the Royal Rumble. Undertaker then tells us there’s a time in everyone’s life where they have to held accountable for their actions and now its Yokozuna’s time. Undertaker then said what Yokozuna did not him was a crime against himself and his “creatures of the night” then vows to make Yokozuna rest in peace at the Survivor Series.
We now get a hype video for next week’s Bret Hart & British Bulldog vs. Owen Hart & Jim Neidhart match.
Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart w/ Owen Hart vs. Tony Roy
Neidhart immediately attacks Roy then stomps a mudhole in the corner. Neidhart tosses Roy around as Owen yells into the camera about how this will happen to Bret and Bulldog next week. Owen chokes out Roy while Neidhart distracts the ref then talks more trash about Bret & Bulldog. Neidhart grounds Roy with a chin lock then hits a clothesline as the announcers hype up next week’s tag match. Neidhart hammers away as Vince says he will go down to Luger’s dressing room after this match. Neidhart taunts the crowd as he continues to beat down Roy as the announcers now talk about the Survivor Series then Neidhart uses the Camel’s Clutch for the win (4:14).
Thoughts: A long squash match as we hyped the tag match next week on RAW. Neidhart is still facing Bret around the house show circuit for the World Title. And Owen remains amazing as a heel while talking trash at ringside.
After the break we see Neidhart put Roy back in the Camel’s Clutch with Owen snapping his glasses off of Roy’s face. I love that spot.
Savage is alone at the desk to hype next week’s show. Then we go to Vince in Luger’s dressing room but there are audio issues. Luger has an ice pack on his shoulder then cuts a promo but the audio is still messed up. We then learn the audio is back on and go back to the dressing room but now Tatanka has run in for an attack with several officials breaking up the melee.
Final Thoughts: The featured match was fine but with a questionable ending and most of the show was getting heat on the cold Luger/Tatanka feud and putting over Backlund’s crossface chicken wing. Next week has a big tag match and we saw another Survivor Series match added to the card with that show less than one month away.
However, this show is most notable for being the final WWF appearance by Randy Savage. The day of next week’s RAW, according to Bruce Prichard and Bret confirmed in his book he was told by Jack Lanza how Savage called up Vince drunk a 4am then Vince made Savage call back when sober and that was when Savage told Vince he had signed with WCW. Also, according to Lanny Poffo, Savage did not want to remain on the sidelines and was told by the WWF at one point that they were going with a youth movement. Here’s what Wade Keller wrote on the Situation in the “Pro Wrestling Torch” Newsletter:
“Savage, who had ripped Hulk Hogan publicly on Radio WWF just one year ago, had recently been wooed by Hogan, Hogan’s manager Jimmy Hart, and WCW vice president Eric Bischoff to join WCW. Big money is believed to be Savage’s primary motivation (his negotiations have been for one year in the $400,00 range), although Savage was said to have settled his differences with Hogan months earlier so his previous disputes with Hogan were not a deterring factor.
Savage had been one of McMahon’s closer allies in the WWF, which is why so many people expressed shock and disbelief that Savage would jump to WCW now at the peak of the WWF’s battle over image with WCW, especially without being up front with McMahon about his negotiations. McMahon found out by accident on Sunday that Savage was privately negotiating with WCW. As a result, they apparently agreed to end their relationship at that point. Less than 24 hours later McMahon made a legitimately heartfelt announcement on Raw perhaps taking some of the thunder out of Savage’s eventual WCW debut.
Savage will not be rushed into WCW storylines. He will make a guest appearance at Starrcade according to current plans and debut in the ring at the Clash on Jan. 25 in Hampton, Ga. Savage will be brought in as a friend of Hogan’s, but WCW’s primary motivation for signing Savage was to rekindle one of the top drawing feuds of the ’80s – Hogan vs. Savage. Savage’s ex-wife, Elizabeth Heulette, whose no-compete clause with the WWF expires early in 1995, is negotiating to also enter the picture as part of a “love triangle,” history-oriented angle.
When Savage, now 42, joined the WWF in 1985 he was one of the top regional wrestlers in the country having just concluded a hot feud with Jerry Lawler in Memphis. He was an immediate star in the WWF and moved on to big things.
After a classic Wrestlemania III match against Rick Steamboat one year earlier, Savage captured the WWF Title for the first of two times at Wrestlemania IV when he defeated Ted DiBiase in the tournament finals. (The WWF belt was held up when Andre the Giant pinned Hogan and sold the belt to DiBiase, who was then stripped of title status, months earlier.) Savage eventually went on to headline a successful series of house shows and fought Hulk Hogan in the main event of Wrestlemania V. He also defeated Ric Flair in a co-main event match at Wrestlemania VIII to capture the WWF Title in his final big pay-per-view match to date. After losing the title back to Flair later that year, he moved into semi-retirement, concentrating on announcing.
Savage’s loss is not considered a heavy blow to the WWF in and of itself because Savage wasn’t necessarily drawing much revenue on his own for Titan Sports. Symbolically, though, it’s a severe blow since he was the last “superstar” representative of the WWF’s glory days on NBC in the ’80s. His eventual appearance in WCW will further move WCW toward being perceived as the top wrestling promotion in the country, despite revenue numbers not consistently backing that image.
The biggest element of Savage’s jump worthy of analysis is what his impact will be on WCW. Since Savage, for whatever reason, did not wrestle recently in the WWF but is choosing to wrestle in WCW, his impact will be larger in WCW than his recent impact in the WWF. His previous inactivity but prominent position on wrestling’s top cable show makes him a fresh in-ring element for WCW.
As an illustration of how unexpected Savage’s jump was from the WWF’s perspective, Savage is on the cover of the upcoming edition of the WWF Magazine. Inside the issue, Savage was interviewed and gave no hints of his WWF tenure being limited. In fact, his comments are ironic in light of his latest career move.
When asked why he has remained so dedicated to the WWF, Savage said: “That’s simple. I’m career motivated. I don’t care if Joe’s Bar and Grill and a guy named Huber have got 40 million dollars in cash to give me. The big league is the World Wrestling Federation. Just like in the NBA, you don’t go to the CBA just because they pay you more money. I’m in a position where money isn’t a factor. I’m not in this for the money. I’ve made a ton of money and I’ve saved it, so I’m cool. If there was another wrestling organization that was the major leagues, I would go there in a split second, in the blink of an eye. But there’s not… When you’re with any other group – and I don’t know what it is – you’re triple A at best. It just isn’t the same thing.”
The magazine article also showed Savage jogging on a beach, which revealed that Savage has bulked up considerably from his smaller size just a year or so earlier, which maybe indicates he has been preparing to return to in-ring action.”
Here is my schedule for the next several days:
Friday: WWF Seattle Center Coliseum 11/5/94
Saturday: WWF Superstars 11/5/94, WWF Wrestling Challenge 11/6/94
Sunday: WWF Monday Night RAW 11/7/94
Monday: RF Video Shoot Interview with the Young Bucks
Tuesday: WWF Superstars 11/12/94, WWF Wrestling Challenge 11/13/94
Wednesday: WWF Action Zone 11/13/94
Thursday: WWF Monday Night RAW 11/14/94