December 31, 1994
From the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, NY
Your hosts are Vince McMahon and Jerry “The King” Lawler
This week, the Tag Team Title Tournament continues with Owen Hart & Jim Neidhart vs. The Headshrinkers. Plus, the Undertaker & Paul Bearer as guests on the “Heartbreak Hotel.”
We get a clip from last week of Vince giving Lawler a Burger King crown for Christmas, followed by a clip of Diesel putting on Lawler’s crown and smiling into the camera from RAW. Lawler comes back by saying he wishes for a new co-host that has real hair.
WWF Tag Team Title Tournament First Round Match: Owen Hart & Jim Neidhart vs. The New Headshrinkers w/ Afa & Capt. Lou Albano
Neidhart and Sionne try to run each other over and Sionne ends up winning that battle. Vince talks about the Headshrinkers having trouble adapting to Albano’s attempt at civilization, specifically noting Fatu’s troubles adapting to footwear. Fatu no-sells a turnbuckle smash then dances before headbutting Owen. I guess that dance was taught to him by Albano too? Neidhart low-bridges Fatu then clotheslines him on the floor as we go to break. The match returns with Owen & Neidhart working over Fatu in the corner. Vince makes note of Owen still bringing the towel that was tossed in at the Survivor Series to keep the Owen/Bret feud alive for the Holiday Wish Tour. Vince then blurts out how a disqualification will knock you out of the tournament (no shit) as Fatu is still getting beat on in the corner. Fatu catches Owen with a backbreaker as both men are down but Owen is able to tag out first as Neidhart prevents Fatu from tagging out. Owen then tags in and hits a missile dropkick for two then goes for a chin lock. The announcers hype Tatanka & Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Lex Luger & British Bulldog for RAW and Lawler mentions that Owen will appear on the “King’s Court.” Fatu pops up after getting hit with a DDT and drills Owen with a super kick. Sionne tags in and runs wild then the match breaks down. Fatu tries to climb up top for the splash but is once again too dumb to operate with footwear so he tosses off his boots as Neidhart lays on the mat for a long time during this ordeal. Owen cuts off Fatu and Sionne chases Owen around. The ref admonishes Sionne then Owen & Neidhart use the Hart Attack. Sionne breaks up the pin at two as Owen goes up top with the boot and hits Fatu but is caught and gets disqualified (6:58 shown) *1/2.
Thoughts: A slow-paced, uninspired basic TV match here in front of a dead crowd. Vince also gave away the finish by randomly saying a DQ would eliminate you from the tournament. Also, the New Headshrinkers were not over in the slightest. The half-baked story of Albano trying to civilize was mainly Fatu unable to operate footwear. A thrilling storyline for sure. With Owen facing Bret on the Holiday Wish tour and being a solo guest on the “King’s Court” it did not appear that Owen & Neidhart had a future together. However, in his autobiography, Bret claimed that Owen & Neidhart were actually planned to win the belts. Neidhart ended up no-showing several dates after Christmas and wound up getting fired. Bret said that Neidhart was bad into drugs at the time. He also said Neidhart’s wife Ellie (who is also Bret’s sister) called up Vince and J.J. Dillon pleading with them to keep her husband’s job but when that effort failed she then cussed them out.
Next week, the Smoking Gunns vs. Well Dunn will close out the first round of the tournament.
Live Event News with Stephanie Wiand. We learn that Roy Rogers is sponsoring the Holiday Wish tour.
We get a montage of Jeff Jarrett in Las Vegas vignettes to hype up his Intercontinental Title match at the Royal Rumble against Razor Ramon. And, to mention his “Ain’t I Great” album.
Razor Ramon vs. Brooklyn Brawler
The announcers hype the Razor/Jarrett match as Lawler makes fun of Razor for having greasy hair. Razor tosses Brawler down as the announcers continue to hype Razor/Jarrett. Razor and Brawler trade arm wringers as Vince mocks Lawler for failing to predict the winner of the tag match. Brawler rakes the eyes and hammers away but ducks his head and Razor puts him away with the Razor’s Edge (1:24). Razor even gives Brawler a pink belly after the match.
Thoughts: All hype for Razor vs. Jarrett at the Royal Rumble here.
Royal Rumble Report with Todd Pettengill. We learn that after being eliminated from the Tag Team Title Tournament last week, The Bushwhackers have entered the Royal Rumble match. Pettengill then wonders if the same will happen with Owen & Neidhart. We get a wacky promo from Bob Backlund as he talks about reigning superior over everyone during the Rumble match. The gimmick is starting to really become less effective now. Pettengill stresses that the Rumble match will face the World Champion at WrestleMania. We hear from Bret Hart, who is at home. Once again, Bret expresses how nice it was to heal up at home and spend time with the family during the holidays. He even thanks Diesel for being fair and giving him a title shot. Bret also takes shots at Owen and hopes he has a “rotten” new year. Diesel is now shown sitting behind a generic blue background with the title belt around his waist. He tells us that 1995 is the year of the Diesel and that the WWF has not run more efficiently than it is now due to the fact it runs on Diesel power. He closes this by saying Bret needs to run through him to fulfill his New Year’s Resolution. They just continue to make Diesel look like a cornball and the comparison to what they did to Roman Reigns in 2014-15 are easy to see. And, its tough due to the fact Bret is the most popular face they have so what fans liked about Diesel is going away and being replaced with this fluff no one cares about.
Kwang w/ Harvey Whippleman vs. Buck Quartermaine
Lawler says his goal is to spend Valentine’s Day with Pamela Anderson but Vince says he has a better shot with Phyllis Diller and even end up just as washed up. Kwang beats down Quartermaine as the announcers talk about the Whippleman/Howard Finkel feud. Quartermaine avoids charge in the corner and uses a rollup for two. Crossbody gets two then Quartermaine runs into a big boot as we hear from Finkel apologizing to Whippleman in an insert promo for pulling down his pants on RAW but once again was just preventing him from interfering. Kwang stays in control and uses a spinning heel kick for the win (1:54).
Thoughts: Just a backdrop for the Whippleman/Fink feud. Kwang is not over in the slightest and just a pawn in all of this.
Heartbreak Hotel with guests The Undertaker & Paul Bearer. Lawler upsets Vince by suggesting Darryl Strawberry is the one being investigated by IRS as a crack at his legal problems. Shawn wants the lights turned back on as even his “Heartbreak Hotel” sign has been turned off. We then hear Bearer & Undertaker run down IRS and say he will rest in peace in pretty much the same promo they’ve been cutting for the past couple of years. This feud is not working but Undertaker is one of the most over characters on the roster and its amazing he was still popular despite the parade of shitty feuds he endured in this era.
Rob Heisey is the guest ring announcer. Lawler makes fun of him for attending the “Howard Finkel School of Broadcasting.”
Henry Godwinn vs. John Paul
Vince puts over Godwinn for being a tough individual. Lawler makes fun of the crowd by saying the hogs in Godwinn’s video wall entrance look better than the crowd. The announcers note that Godwinn was scratching himself in the corner as the announcers debate as to whether or not its caused by fleas or chiggers. Godwinn beats down Paul in the corner then stops to scratch himself on the ropes. Paul comes back with a dropkick but runs into an elbow smash then Godwinn puts Paul away with the Slop Drop (2:05). Lawler then makes fun of what we later learn is one of the Rosetti sisters at ringside.
Thoughts: Man, the Godwinn gimmick is not clicking at all. An evil hog farmer is not an easy thing to get over but what they did, like having the announcers talk about him itching due to fleas or chiggers, was really dumb and gave it no chance.
We get an ad for the Royal Rumble that revolves around Pamela Anderson. It was clever enough.
A new vignette for Kama airs. It shows him riding a motorcycle in the desert as he talks about his toughness with training clips mixed in of his boxing and MMA. He’s coming to the WWF because they feature the toughest men in the world.
Aldo Montoya vs. Mike Bell
Vince talks about Montoya already making a name for himself in the WWF and puts over how he is in the Rumble match. Montoya runs over Bell then takes him over with a hip toss. Montoya dropkicks Bell out of the ring and flies out with a pescado. The action heads back inside as Vince wants Lawler to apologize for saying the Rosetti sister looked like a pig. Montoya works the arm but Bell fights back. Bell hits a leg drop for two but Montoya floats over in the corner and hits a slingshot kick. Montoya then pumps up the crowd after a missile dropkick, or at least in theory, then uses a flying bulldog for the win (2:08). Montoya then wishes us a happy new year while in the aisle admiring his finishing move on the video wall.
Thoughts: Montoya did some cool stuff here and tried hard but the crowd was not that impressed. This was probably as good as it was going to get for Montoya in this run.
Another Live Event News segment to hype the Holiday Wish Tour.
The hosts are in the aisle wishing us a happy new year. Lawler says his resolution is to make 1995 the year of the king.
Next week in action are British Bulldog, Bob Backlund, Mabel, and the debut of Mantaur. Plus, the Smoking Gunns vs. Well Dunn to wrap up the 1st round of the tag tournament as well as King Kong Bundy on the “Heartbreak Hotel.”
Final Thoughts: The tag match was disappointing and the rest of the show focused on the cold feuds and bad newer characters that have been plaguing the company as of late. The Rumble PPV is just a few more weeks away and will be the main focus of the shows but with the weakest Rumble match group of talent to date and the uneven build to the title match they’re resorting to using Pamela Anderson as a way to sell the show.
So, that is it of 1994, the 11th straight year of programming I have reviewed during this timeline, and I will continue with 1995. I’ve also made the decision to go against the reason for these reviews (which was to give a different timeline other than the sea of Monday Night War era recaps around) and plow through with WWF going forward. And, I’m seeking out all the available fan cam house shows, “B” shows, and if I get far enough will even incorporate stuff like Super Astros and the Developmental brands (Power Pro, OVW, HWA, etc.). And with archives of the Observer and Torch plus endless shoot interviews and podcasts I can include all sorts of tidbits with the recaps. Stay tuned for that. And if there is a strong enough objection from you all I can always start up another timeline.
Anyway, thank you for reading, commenting, criticizing, debating, and anything other form of productive feedback and conversation.