January 14, 1995
From the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark, DE
Your hosts are Vince McMahon and Jerry “The King” Lawler
We start off with a hype video of the Tag Team Tournament as this week we get the semifinals of Bam Bam Bigelow vs. New Headshrinkers and 1-2-3 Kid & Bob Holly vs. Heavenly Bodies, with the winners facing off for the belts at the Royal Rumble.
Also, we will have an interview with Diesel on this show.
Tag Team Tournament Semifinals: Bam Bam Bigelow & Tatanka w/ Ted DiBiase vs. New Headshrinkers w/ Capt. Lou Albano & Afa
The announcers point out the Headshrinkers are still wearing boots, the same boots that have cost them many of matches. Really gives them an edge heading into the semifinals. Bigelow & Tatanka attack before the bell. The Headshrinkers then pop up after stereo mat slams and clear the ring. Things settle down and we get Tatanka and Fatu as Fatu no-sells a few chops before firing away. Bigelow and Sionne tag in and slug it out and that ends with Sionne hitting a flying clothesline. Sionne then misses a diving heabutt but is able to catch Bigelow’s crossbody and hit a front falling slam for two in an impressive spot. We go split-screen backstage as The Heavenly Bodies & Jim Cornette are watching the match. Cornette tells us they don’t care who they face because they’ll win the titles at the Rumbles. Fatu clotheslines Bigelow but gets kneed in the back by Tatanka and ends up walking into a clothesline from Bigelow. We go to break and return with Tatanka hitting Fatu with a flying clothesline that gets two. Now we see Kid & Holly watching backstage as they know both teams are tough and uses racing lingo to tell us they’ll see us at the Rumble. Sionne and Bigelow are in again and we get Sionne hitting a slam for two after accidentally knocking Fatu off of the apron. Sionne now hits a powerslam then fights off Tatanka before tossing him outside. Sionne signals he is going up top and this crowd does not seem to care. Sionne hits the flying headbutt but he decides to pull up at two and check on the brawl outside and that allows Bigelow to sneak up from behind and use a rollup for the win (7:57) **1/4. After the match, Sionne clotheslines Bigelow from the ring then Afa gets into the ring and beats on Tatanka before hitting a Samoan drop as that gets some cheers. Afa now signals for both men to head up top but Bigelow is able to pull his partner to safety.
Thoughts: There was certainly some good action in this match but the finish was the absolute shits where neither team got over. They were portraying Tatanka & Bigelow as favorites to win the tournament from the start and they give them the dumbest fluke win possible. The whole ham-fisted story of Albano attempting to civilize the Headshrinkers never got over and they looked like complete morons at nearly every turn. And besides that, Sionne was never over in this role and the crowd was completely dead for him and he even got a few boos as I guess this crowd still saw of him as a heel when he was the Barbarian.
We get some ads then we see a Diesel Slim Jim ad. I mean, he tried, but no one was ever going to replace Savage in that role.
WWF Live Event News with Stephanie Wiand. She reads us the news of Bob Backlund stepping down from his title matches against Diesel and being replaced by Jeff Jarrett. Both Shawn Michaels & Jeff Jarrett will be in Jarrett’s corner. We hear from those three as they run down Diesel as Shawn promises Jarrett will leave the Meadowlands as champion. Shawn also says Diesel will be just as unprepared as Backlund was in November at Madison Square Garden when he lost the title. I explained it in yesterday’s review of the 1/13 Nassau Coliseum show but the actual reason for the switch was the poor sales of this tour and awful Diesel vs. Backlund matches as the office thought Backlund was killing Diesel’s heat so they put in Jarrett in his place.
WWF Week in Music as we see a big dude play the guitar. We then hear him tell the Superstars of the WWF to prepare themselves because “its time for school” with Man Mountain Rock. And if Rock looks familiar, its because he was Maxx Payne in WCW. Rock also wrestled under his real name, Darryl Peterson, as enhancement talent a few times with WWF in the late 80’s.
Jason Abosch, sporting a Razor Ramon t-shirt, introduces the next match. Vince is a fan of his style while Lawler is less than impressed. He did a good job to be honest.
Jeff Jarrett w/ The Roadie vs. Mike Moraldo
Vince hypes William Shatner being on RAW this Monday night in Bret Hart’s corner for his match against Jarrett. Before the match, Jarrett promises to become the new Intercontinental Champion. The announcers talk about Jarrett possibly becoming World Champion this weekend at the Meadowlands then hype up the other key matches for the show. Jarrett bails after embarrassing Maraldo then returns and beats him down. Vince laughs at Lawler over getting embarrassed by Shatner this past Monday night on RAW as Jarrett stays in control. Roadie yells “ain’t he great” into the camera as Jarrett hits a superplex before the figure-four gets the win (2:17). Jarrett struts around after the match and proclaims himself the new Intercontinental Champion.
Thoughts: Another showcase for Jarrett as he is not only being hyped for his IC Title match at the Rumble but also World Title matches this weekend and his RAW match against Bret. I also find Roadie amusing in his role.
The Pam Anderson voice message ad airs hyping the Royal Rumble.
Vince now welcomes Diesel into the ring. He gets fireworks and we cut to a smiling woman in the crowd who very well looks like a plant. Vince asks Diesel if he has changed since defeating Bob Backlund for the title at MSG. Diesel says he might smile a little more than he used to but then again he has a lot to smile about since becoming champion. Diesel then said since getting rid of “motormouth” Shawn Michaels he talks more but then said he has not changed and the same fierce competitor as always. Diesel adds he goes one speed and that is pedal to the metal as he runs over people. Diesel then talks about Bret Hart as someone who has changed. He points out that Bret’s own brother manipulated his parents into costing him the title and that would change any man. Diesel hopes the demon seed Owen had has not manifested in Bret. Diesel now calls out Bret’s “Grizzly Adams” and said change can be good or bad and talks about watching Bret as a kid tagging with JIm Neidhart and how Bret broke rules all the time. He even heard rumors that Bret will come after his title at any costs but if Bret has in fact changed then so be it as Diesel vows to remain champion after the Rumble and declares 1995 the Year of the Diesel. There was some crap in this promo and dated references but the stuff about Bret being justified in his actions of late while bringing up his past at breaking the rules was a good way to present Bret as the heel for this match, even if it is a tough sell at the moment.
We get a preview of “WWF Magazine” with Diesel on the cover.
Duke “The Dumpster” Droese vs. Chris Kanyon
The announcers talk about the Meadowlands show once again. Droese is shown in an insert promo talks about the Rumble match being his specialty as he will toss trash in every direction. Droese takes control early but Kanyon fights back. Droese floats over in the corner and hits a back suplex and follows that with a press slam as Lawler tells us a joke about the difference between a smart garbageman and bigfoot is that bigfoot has been spotted. Droese stays in control and hits a trash compactor for the win (1:25).
Thoughts: A win for Droese as he reminded us about being in the Rumble match while the announcers hyped up this weekend’s house shows.
We get a hype video for Hakushi set to ominous tones. They showed all his cool moves and I guess the music was a way to make him appear as a heel due to the fact he was getting cheered by crowds at the time.
Royal Rumble Report with Todd Pettengill. We learn that the live drawing for the Rumble will take place during the “Action Zone” the same day of the Rumble. We get a promo from Backlund, who states it is his “moral duty” to destroy all Rumble match competitors and reign supreme in the WWF. Owen Hart also tells us there are no friends in the Rumble, including Backlund and Jim Neidhart. We also learn that Well Dunn have been added to the Rumble match as well as Jacob & Eli Blue, who Pettengill says he knows nothing about them other than being told they are both huge after calling Jack Tunney’s office. They did not get a graphic here. However, we will learn about them in eight days.
Tag Team Title Tournament Semifinals: Heavenly Bodies w/ Jim Cornette vs. 1-2-3 Kid & Bob “Spark Plugg” Holly
Holly works the arm of Prichard as Lawler jokes about Dick Murdoch winning the Royal Rumble. Holly & Kid stay in control as Vince tells us the Smoking Gunns are already back inaction. Kid kips up after Prichard slams him then is taken down by Del Ray. Kid dropkicks Del Ray through the ropes as Lawler believes the Gunns would be pissed if Holly & Kid became champions. Holly & Kid now work the arm of Del Ray until Kid sends Del Ray through the ropes with a spinning heel kick. Prichard tags in and makes a blind tag and gets hit by a super kick from behind then immediately DDT’d by Prichard as we head to break. We return with The Bodies double-teaming Kid. Kid escapes from the corner and tags out as Holly runs wild. Holly gets a few nearfalls as Del Ray keeps making the save. The match breaks down and Cornette runs in to reverse a rollup but as he ducks outside, Kid clotheslines Del Ray and Holly reverses the rollup to get the win (7:49) **1/2.
Thoughts: A good chunk of this match took place during the commercial break but what was shown worked but once again, another bad finish. I detest the have someone reverse the reverse rollup finish as the guy lays on the mat forever before the ref turns around and counts the pin but this crowd went nuts for the win so my complaint is moot. The underdog story of Kid & Holly continues.
Another Live Event News segment about Jarrett replacing Backlund at the remaining NYC shows. This time we hear from Diesel as he doesn’t care how Shawn switched opponents. He also says that Backlund was born confused while he was born cool before warning Shawn that he will go to any expense to keep the title. These Diesel promos on this show have not been good to say the least.
The announcers are now with Kid & Holly. Vince congratulates them as they talk about defying the odds. Lawler is pissed at his prediction being wrong and says they will lose again.
Final Thoughts: The Tag Team Title match for the Rumble is now set with the favorites facing the underdogs, which is a solid story. They also continue to paint Bret as a heel in the World Title match as we will wait to see if he does go back to the heel past. Besides that, we have another newcomer who is soon to debut as we get one more week of PPV build until the Rumble.