June 11, 1995
From the Cambria County War Memorial in Johnstown, PA
Your hosts are Jim Ross & Gorilla Monsoon
Before the show, we see Jerry Lawler underneath a horse inside of his royal stable. Lawler tells Bret Hart he is here walking around in his bare feet to prepare for their Kiss My Foot match at King of the Ring. The camera pans to Lawler’s dirty feet as Lawler gloats about how disgusting his feet will be for their match. I hope at least Vince himself found this amusing because I doubt anyone else was clamoring for this build.
This week in action are Jeff Jarrett, Bam Bam Bigelow, and highlights from the British Bulldog/Owen Hart match from RAW. Also, we will hear from Diesel and Shawn Michaels.
Jeff Jarrett vs. Kenny Kendall
Gorilla says there is some dissension between Jarrett and The Roadie over the former not qualifying for the King of the Ring tournament. The story here is that Roadie is preparing for the KoTR. Kendall gets some offense early but eats boot on a charge. Jarrett takes over and attacks the neck then struts around. Kendall comes back with a sunset flip for a two count but Jarrett hits him with an atomic drop. The announcers hype Jarrett/Savio at the Meadowlands as Kendall slams Jarrett. Kendall heads up top then Jarrett cuts him off and hits a superplex then after that works the leg and applies the figure four for the win (2:26). Ross says they are still waiting for Jarrett to sing.
Thoughts: Well, at least we knew why Savio was involved in Jarrett’s title defense last night against Adam Bomb as they are facing at the Meadowlands later today. The story on commentary was focused on Jarrett possibly being jealous about Roadie qualifying for the King of the Ring while he did not which if you saw Jarrett provide the distraction to allow Jarrett the win to qualify might seem a little ridiculous. And at the end notice how Ross mentioned we are still waiting for Jarrett to finally sing after the past couple of years. Something to keep an eye on going forward.
Barry Didinsky is backstage shilling the Mat Caps as we see Duke Droese playing with the Matcapper himself on his trash can. Don West he is not.
We get about five minutes of the Owen/Bulldog match from RAW. Longer than we saw on “Superstars” where it was just about a minute.
WWF Live Event News with Stephanie Wiand. We hear from Sid & Ted DiBiase then from Undertaker & Paul Bearer to hype their match today at the Meadowlands. The promos were fine but far from memorable or anything.
Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Reginald Walker
Walker is a big dude. He cheap shots Bigelow after a break as Gorilla puts over the friendship between Diesel and Bigelow. Bigelow hits a back suplex then a falling headbutt. Scoop slam gets two as the announcers now talk about Bigelow & Diesel not getting a chance to team together before the PPV. Walker avoids a charge then hammers away and gouges Bigelow’s eyes in the corner. Walker stays on the attack until he runs into a clothesline then Bigelow hits a falling heabutt before going up top for the flying headbutt and the win (2:31).
Thoughts: The Diesel & Bigelow friendship we are being sold is not clicking with the audience and any momentum Bigelow had from WrestleMania XI seems gone at this point. This might be the coldest PPV main event I’ve recapped to date.
We go split screen with Diesel as the announcers want to hear the shape of his elbow. Diesel says he is on a “day-to-day” basis and just awaiting approval from WWF doctors but promises he will be ready for King of the Ring. Diesel then says he has been listening to the “Payback” album by James Brown in preparation for the PPV match. After this, we hear from Sid, Tatanka, and DiBiase as they all talk trash and promise to send Diesel back to the hospital. More or less what we saw on “Superstars.”
Skip w/ Sunny vs. Doug Smith
Skip & Sunny carry mics and rag on the fans for being fat and gross. Skip works over Smith to start then does jumping jacks. Skip then tags Smith down with a top rope hurricarana and covers while doing pushups for the win (0:59).
Thoughts: The Bodydonnas routine isn’t particularly inspiring but Skip is good in the ring and Sunny’s presence is incredible so it isn’t as bad as it sounds. However, this gimmick has a limited shelf life.
The WWF Blimp flies over the town as Gorilla says they wouldn’t let Yokozuna or Man Mountain Rock on that blimp then Ross, in a funny moment, says neither one of them would be allowed in it either.
The announcement of The Grand Wizard being inducted into the WWF Hall of Fame airs.
Manny Garcia welcomes Shawn Michaels into the ring. I think this is his onscreen debut. Shawn is asked about his match against Kama at King of the Ring. Manny says this like he is reading it off a cue card placed too far away for him to read. And his delivery is like William Shatner on one too many benzos. Shawn then brings up the “neanderthal-looking nimrod” in Sid he will deal with him later. Shawn is then asked if he advances then he faces either Mabel or Undertaker in the second round but Shawn refers to him as a “giant killer” and how getting beaten up by big guys is nothing new for him and despite not being the smartest, is the sexiest and most talented. Shawn vows to become King of the Ring and after that we can all call him the “Heartbreak Kid.” Shawn closes with a dance after removing his vest. Shawn’s charisma was on full display but man was Garcia just the shits here as an interviewer. Apparently, Garcia played a dolphin trainer in the film “Ace Ventura, Pet Detective” but no idea what broadcasting he did prior to WWF. This interview seemed to hint that Shawn would be the giant slayer that wins the King of the Ring tournament. And for the first time there actually appears to be a favorite heading into the PPV.
The Creatures of the Night are shown in the front row with the black wreath on the other side of the railing.
Rad Radford vs. Jerry Flynn
Ross asks Gorilla if he has been listening to his “Hole” album as Gorilla has no clue what Ross is talking about. Flynn surprises Radford with a rollup for two but Radford goes on the attack. Radford sends Flynn outside and takes him down with a running clothesline off of the apron then after some dancing in the ring wipes him out with a tope. Gorilla says that Radford looks like he hasn’t bathed in a month and fails in comparison to the “meticulous” Shawn Michaels. Radford hits a double underhook suplex and slaps Flynn before taunting the crowd. The announcers hype Luger/Yokozuna for RAW as Radford stays in control and hits a spinebuster then hits a Northern Lights suplex for the win (3:10).
Thoughts: Radford looked impressive here and showed a lot of aggressiveness, especially with that tope. However, its another weak gimmick. Radford gets another win but also does not have any direction or even momentum. I dont think we have even heard him speak yet at this point. Both announcers did put over his in-ring ability, however.
The Bob Backlund presidential ads continue this time with Backlund telling people the government checks will stop and people will be out on the streets looking for work, even if its $1 an hour. He also advocates for a 60 hour work week and just one holiday, August 14th, which is his birthday.
Man Mountain Rock is shown playing guitar in the hallway and he will be in action after the break.
Man Mountain Rock vs. Brooklyn Brawler
Gorilla does approve of Rock’s music and puts over his amateur wrestling background. Rock toys with Brawler but turns his back and gets hit with a flying clothesline. Rock pops right up as Ross talks about Backlund hating Rock’s music and that he is watching from the entrance way. Rock sends Brawler shoulder first as we see Backlund watching through the curtain. Rock stays in control until he puts Brawler away with the Whammy Bar (2:41). Backlund then leaves through the curtain and appears disgusted as Ross puts over Backlund’s RAW appearance.
Thoughts: Lots of hype for the Rock/Backlund confrontation tomorrow on RAW which I don’t think anyone is waiting for in suspense.
WWF Live Event News with Stephanie Wiand. She says many great seats are still available with the main event of Shawn & Bigelow vs. Kama & Tatanka. We then hear from Shawn & Bigelow as Shawn dominated the interview and kept posing when Bigelow got to speak. Shawn clearly presented as the biggest star on this show. And with good reason to be honest but he took over all of Bigelow’s portion of the interview.
Next week, we will see highlights of Luger/Yokozuna. Also in action are Kama, Smoking Gunns, plus an interview with Diesel & Bigelow.
Final Thoughts: Another uninteresting episode of Challenge. There is no point for this show to even continue and the company basically shared the same sentiment as he will see soon enough. They did sort of positioned Shawn as the KoTR favorite and we got the electrifying debut of Manny Garcia to add to other broadcasting luminaries such as Barry Didinsky and Stephanie Wiand. The WWF talent pool was not just shallow among the actual wrestlers. But even with recaps, this promotion is in a bad way.
Here is my schedule for next week:
Later today: WWF Action Zone 6/11/95
Friday: WWF Monday Night RAW 6/12/95
Saturday: WWF Superstars: 6/17/95
Sunday: WWF Anaheim, CA 6/17/95
Monday: WWF Challenge 6/18/95, WWF Action Zone 6/18/95
Tuesday: WWF Monday Night RAW 6/19/95
Wednesday: WWF Superstars 6/24/95, WWF Wrestling Challenge 6/25/95
Thursday: WWF Action Zone 6/25/95