January 9, 1995
From the Summit in Houston, TX
Your hosts are Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels
This is billed as the RAW 2nd Anniversary show with Owen Hart vs. Razor Ramon for the Intercontinental Title and Howard Finkel vs. Harvey Whippleman in a Tuxedo match.
VInce puts over the Summit as a “magnificent” facility as he is ecstatic as possible to not be in the tiny Northeast venues. And can’t say that I blame him one bit. We also find out that William Shatner will be the guest on the “King’s Court.”
We now hear prerecorded comments from William Shatner, who is in the locker room and clearly had a few scotches. I’m going with that since in his “1995 WWE Timeline” with Kayfabe Commentaries, Kevin Nash said when asked that Shatner caught on how wrestlnig works after a few scotches. A pissed off Shatner says that the King’s Court is “Home of the Whopper” and that he is here to promote the show “TekWar” then tells Lawler to leave him alone.
WWF Intercontinental Title Match: Razor Ramon (c) vs. Owen Hart
Shawn says this is Razor’s chance to avenge his loss at King of the Ring. Owen yanks the belt from Razor as he gets into the ring and ends up getting clotheslined as a result. Razor then tries to hit Owen with the belt but the ref takes it away. Razor clotheslines Owen over the top rope as Shawn mentions the Bret vs. Owen matches as part of the Holiday Wish Tour. Owen heads up top after a neck snap but Razor slams him off. Razor covers after two straight Irish whips into the corner and that gets a nearfall. Owen’s shoulder rams into the post as Razor now works the arm. The announcers talk about the ladder match from WrestleMania X as Shawn gives Razor a lot of credit. Razor slaps Owen around while applying an arm bar as the match has slowed down after a fast start. Vince then tells us that next week we will see Bret Hart vs. Jeff Jarrett with Shatner in Bret’s corner. Razor continues to work the arm then catches Owen with a fallaway slam. Razor signals for the Razor’s Edge but Owen back drops him over the top rope. Owen then wipes out Razor with a tope then hammers away on the outside. Owen rolls Razor back in and heads up top but Razor rolls through a crossbody and gets two. Owen dropkicks Razor before the break and we return with Owen dropping Razor with an enziguiri for a two count. Owen chokes out Razor as Vince reminds us Bret is back for the first time since Survivor Series and how Jarrett is also here tonight. Razor fights back but runs into a spinning heel kick as Owen covers for two. Owen now applies a chin lock then takes Razor down with a flying tackle that gets two. Backbreaker gets another two count. Owen now jumps onto Razor’s back and locks on a sleeper. Razor tries to reach the ropes but collapses to his knees. Owen laughs maniacally as the crowd gets behind Razor. We now see Razor hulk up and break the hold with a back suplex as both men are down. We get an overhead view of the ref counting then Owen drapes his hand across Razor’s chest for a two count. Razor then wins a slug fest then hits a chokeslam after a reversal sequence. Razor sets up for a super back suplex but Owen fights him off and flips over then crotches Razor with a back suplex. Owen signals that its over after hitting a missile dropkick and applies the Sharpshooter but Bret runs out and hammers on Owen for the DQ (11:13 shown) ***1/2. Bret beats on Owen but we then see Jarrett run out with The Roadie as Jarrett drags Razor outside before beating on Bret. Razor comes back in and takes turns beating on Jarrett with Bret as we get the official announcement of Owen winning via DQ.
Thoughts: Really good match, really a PPV quality match, and I didn’t mind the finish since Owen fucked over Bret by costing him the title at Survivor Series. Bret got his revenge here and it builds heat for Bret vs. Jarrett for next week. It also gives Bret an edge for uncharacteristically costing Owen the match even when Owen was playing the match straight. The actions of Bret would be the theme of the show. The match was fast-paced at times and the breaks in the action were deserved and part of the story as Owen’s mission to capture all the titles in 1995 is off to a rough start.
Royal Rumble Report with Todd Pettengill. This starts off with Pettengill acting surprised over Bret costing Owen the match and wonders if it is part of a developing trend. We get a promo from Diesel who says that we will see if Bret has changed and how Bret will also need everything he can to have a chance. These Diesel promos leading up to this title match have all been terrible. And speaking of Diesel, the Holiday Wish Tour with him in the main event flopped (both in terms of paid attendance and crowd reaction per those in attendance) and there were rumblings of a title switch back to Bret as a result.
Now, we hear from Jerry Lawler. He teases Shatner and promises to “beam him up so high he will never come down” if he does not show proper respect.
Hakushi w/ Shinja vs. Matt Hardy
Hakushi attacks Hardy before the bell then hammers away in the corner. Hakushi drops Hardy with an uppercut as the announcers now hype the Tuxedo Match later on in the show. Hakushi hits a thrust kick then a flying forearm as Shawn cracks a joke about Hakushi’s tattoos being the menu for his restaurant then Hakushi uses a slingshot splash for the win (1:06).
Thoughts: Hakushi was doing amazing stuff for the time and his offense was crisp but he was not treated like a star on commentary, where he was usually the brunt of ethnic jokes. According to a correspondence report in the “Wrestling Observer Newsletter,” Shinja insulted the crowd for being stupid before the match to make sure they did not cheer Hakushi, who was getting over with his offense.
King’s Court is up next. Lawler says he was going to have Bret Hart as a guest but instead we get his Hollywood friend, William Shatner. Lawler talks about Shatner’s various roles and new show, “Tekwar,” before bringing him out. Vince refers to Shatner as a “megastar” as Lawler asks Shatner about Tekwar, adding that it will follow RAW starting tonight. Lawler puts over Shatner but then wants him to say this is the best moment of his career. Shatner gives the double thumbs down and says he has been impressed many times and this is not it as he yanks the mic from Lawler and jokes that chewing gum was more thriiling than this experience. Shatner wants to know why Lawler has been after him as Lawler bullies Shatner to shut up but Shatner steals the microphone once again and puts over Tekwar then the two go back-and-forth on the mic until Shatner pushes Lawler after a hammerlock. Lawler charges but Shatner takes him down with a monkey flip. Bret comes out to raise Shatner’s hand and we now see Jarrett on the outside yelling and screaming. Despite Vince’s overselling of this segment it was just to bizarre to work. They randomly decided to tell us that Shatner was a friend of Bret’s and then made him into a tough guy who embarrassed Lawler. I mean he did fine with his spots all things considered but this was too hokey and did the wrestlers no favors.
The Pam Anderson answering machine Rumble ad airs.
King Kong Bundy w/ Ted DiBiase vs. Gary Sabaugh
Bundy beats on Sabaugh as Vince mentions Bundy being a favorite to win the Rumble, angering Shawn in the process. Bundy stays in control then hits an avalanche for the win (0:32). Vince wants to know who will eliminate Bundy from the Rumble. Bundy comes out and yells at Shawn but Shawn yells back and vows to win the Rumble, telling Bundy that Pam Anderson would never want to walk him down the aisle at WrestleMania.
Thoughts: Another segment to hype Bundy as a Rumble match favorite and they teased problems with Shawn for that same match.
We get an update on the Tag Team Title Tournament. The semifinals will take place this weekend as the winners face off for the titles at the Royal Rumble.
We see The Bushwhackers hyping up Howard Finkel for his Tuxedo Match while Well Dunn are helping prepare their manager, Harvey Whippleman.
A Kama vignette airs.
Tuxedo Match: Harvey Whippleman w/ Well Dunn vs. Howard Finkel w/ The Bushwhackers
Both men go at each other before the bell. They are rolling around on the mat then Finkel yanks off Whippleman’s jacket. We get more rolling around as Shawn makes fun of them for not being tanned and now see the underwear of both men. Their underwear is meant to be embarrassing and reads “RAW” on the back. Whippleman celebrates after thinking he has won but Finkel still has on his cummerbund according to Vince so Finkel takes Whippleman off of the top rope and removes the pants around Whipplemans’ ankles and wins the match (2:39) -***. After the match we see Finkel dance around with The Bushwhackers as Vince cackles like a moron.
Thoughts: Quite possibly the longest two minutes and thirty-nine seconds in WWF history. It felt like at least 15 minutes long and this was totally played to an audience of one, and that was Vince. This did not get over at all and a segment which makes you feel embarrassed to be a fan. Dave Meltzer in the “Wrestling Observer Newsletter” noted that they rushed the live show to make sure this match had enough time and even still the match went short so they had Finkel and The Bushwhackers march around to kill time. Meltzer also referred to this as a “living testament to what you can get people who have no self respect to do on television” and its tough to disagree with what he said.
More dancing from The Bushwhackers & Finkel as Vince wants to know if Bret has changed. Shawn then asks Vince why does it matter and how he didn’t care that Diesel changed.
A video package hyping next week’s Bret vs. Jarrett match.
The hosts recap the show as we see Shawn yell at the fans. We get a replay of Shatner taking down Lawler then Vince wants to know if Bret will show ring rust. Jarrett now storms down with The Roadie. Jarrett calls out “TekWar geek” Shatner and how he will not lay a hand on him then tells Bret he will send him back to Calgary to hibernate for the Winter.
Final Thoughts: We had a really good opening match and the theme was whether or not Bret’s character has changed for the worse since he showed off an “edge” this week. Other than that, however, was some of the worst crap in RAW history with the Tuxedo Match nonsense. And other stuff like Bundy as a heavy rumble favorite is not working due to his awful performances since returning to the company. Your mileage might vary when it comes to the Shatner stuff.
With all the reports of Ross being hired to work behind the scenes, per Wade Keller it was said that Pat Patterson had been responsible for pushing acts like Doink and The Bushwhackers and behind blamed for the other occupation gimmicks the company was pushing in the midcard. Dave Meltzer also had a write up about it in the Observer that dropped this same day of this show:
“The new structure at the top is Vince McMahon is remaining as booker, however Pat Patterson has been moved laterally and he and Bruce Prichard are in charge of writing the television and Jim Ross will be McMahon’s assistant. There have been tons of rumors regarding why Ross is being brought in with most of the belief that they want a more serious and less slapstick product with a lot of people saying more Japan-like booking with winners and losers and more parity at the top among ten guys rather than building around four superman faces as they did last year. The only problem is to do Japan style and make it work, you need an audience educated to it as sport rather than ice capades which they don’t have, and you need wrestlers who can perform the style which only a few can. You also need a schedule that would allow the wrestlers to perform it at the house shows which with the current schedule, maybe a Ric Flair in his prime could have handled it and done great matches every night, but few normal human beings could, particularly if they have to pass drug tests regularly. It’s a real catch-22 right now. Ross will also do some television show producing and set up a full-time 900 line but the only announcing he’ll do is to continue doing the SMW television at least for the time being.
So yes, this was quite the time for the company with all sorts of structural changes behind the scenes and bringing in new talent as we will see throughout the year.