WWF Superstars – August 19th, 1995

August 19, 1995

From the Portland Civic Center in Portland, ME

Your hosts are Vince McMahon and Dok Hendrix

This week’s featured match is Bam Bam Bigelow vs. King Mabel

 

Show starts off with the clip from RAW with Shawn Michaels defeating Sid then Razor and Shawn having a confrontation until Diesel ran out to play peacemaker.

 

Razor Ramon vs. Roy Raymond

Both men trade arm wringers and that ends with Razor slapping Roy around. Razor beats down Raymond in the corner then hits a fallaway slam as the announcers talk about Razor vs. Shawn at SummerSlam. Razor then hits a super back suplex and after that puts Raymond away with the Razor’s Edge (2:07). Razor then mimics climbing a ladder after the match.

Thoughts: Razor destroyed Raymond here and more aggressive than usual as they are subtly hinting towards him possibly turning heel.

 

WWF Live Event News with Stan Lane. British Bulldog apologizes for his actions at the 8/12 MSG show where he walked out on Lex Luger and got upset by the USA chants, promising to make up for it next time he is there. We then learn that Undertaker vs. Mabel will take place on the 10/6 MSG show.

 

We then get an ad for the new “WWF Fall Season” as Vince tells us its a new look and attitude for the New Generation.

 

Jacob & Eli Blu w/ Uncle Zebekiah vs. Tim McNeany & Paul Van Dale

Barry Didinsky is shilling the new WWF backpack that comes with a free t-shirt, cooler (Titled the “Big Daddy Cooler”), and a free three month subscription of WWF Magazine for just $29.95. Surprised they didnt tell us the backpacks were filled with Mad Caps. (12:47) Jacob beats on McNeany to start. The announcers now talk about the Jacob & Eli/Smoking Gunns match at SummerSlam as Van Dale gets dragged into the ring. Van Dale is tossed outside and attacked from behind after threatening Uncle Zebekiah then tossed back in and put away with a Hart Attack variation (1:54).

Thoughts: Quick win for Jacob & Eli as they will face the Smoking Gunns at SummerSlam. The team doesn’t have any heat and Zebekiah barely does anything for the act which is a giant waste since he is a great talker.

 

Clip from RAW where Henry Godwinn was pissed that Ted DiBiase would not allow him in the Million Dollar Corporation as that ends with Godwinn slopping DiBiase.

 

The Creatures of the Night are shown in the crowd and Kama will be in action next.

 

Kama w/ Ted DiBiase vs. Bert Centeno

The announcers talk about Kama vs. Undertaker at SummerSlam then the camera shows the black wreath in front of the Creatures of the Night as Kama beats on Centeno. Kama whiffs on an elbow drop as Centeno lands a few punches only to get caught with a back drop. Kama then pancakes Centeno and hits a slam as the announcers talk about Undertaker vs. Tatanka for RAW as Kama hits a Vader Bomb for the win (1:35). Kama immediately heads out to the Creatures of the Night after the match and tosses the wreath into the ring. Kama starts ripping it up as the Creatures stand up. The male creature then hops the barricade and runs into the ring to pick up the remains of the wreath so Kama runs back. The Creature tosses the remains at Kama and immediately gets decked then chokeslammed. Kama now shoves some of the wreath in the guy’s mouth as the female creature is screaming. The lights flicker now then stop as the female creature heads into the ring where the other creature is being checked out by the referees.

Thoughts: More hype for Kama/Undertaker and at least there was a payoff of sorts with these creatures. However, this feud is ice cold as not having Undertaker appear much and using these Creatures to get heat has been far from a success. The crowd only cared when the lights flickered, not for this goofy guy dressed like he belongs in a Sprockets sketch getting annihilated.

 

The Goldust promo from RAW airs.

 

Fatu vs. Phil Apollo

We get a new song for Fatu as he tries to get the fans to get up. They played it for a while. The announcers now talk about the British Bulldog as Vince does not believe he was being sincere in his apology and maybe he no longer likes Luger. Apollo shoves Fatu twice as the announcers talk more about the MSG shows. Apollo cheap shots Fatu but gets run over afterwards. Apollo shoves Fatu again and talks trash then uses a few slaps but that does nothing as Fatu backs him in the corner and fires away. Fatu jabs Apollo then hits a running cutter and drags him into the middle of the ring and says its “time to make a difference” and goes up top for the flying splash and the win (2:17). Fatu dances some more after the match.

Thoughts: They gave us the new song for Fatu and talked up a lot of the MSG shows. Fatu really pandered hard to the kids in the crowd and it worked somewhat well but the ring work of this character is dated.

 

The Report Card with Dean Douglas. This time the report card is shown in the control room. He goes back to Shawn/Lawler from RAW and defines the word “altruistic” and how Shawn is more concerned with the fans than Lawler and we see it get him hurt during the match, thus Shawn earned the grade “I U” for “Inanely Unprepared.” Douglas here was more like his Franchise gimmick in ECW than the rigid, emotionless teacher he was in the first several vignettes.

 

Up next, Bigelow vs. Mabel and WWF Interim President Gorilla Monsoon will join us too.

 

Back from break as Vince is with Gorilla. Vince refers to him as the most fan-friendly president as Gorilla talks about the creature of the night making three cardinal mistakes but that does not condone Kama’a actions. Gorilla thought of punishments and how fines wouldn’t hurt DiBiase and suspended Kama would punish Undertaker, who wants revenge, so he has decided to make Kama vs. Undertaker at SummerSlam a casket match. They are really pushing Gorilla as the fan-favorite president and starting to make the SummerSlam card as exciting as possible since the last two PPV’s did not set the world on fire with their buyrates.

 

King Mabel w/ Sir Mo vs. Bam Bam Bigelow

Mabel has to walk out this week instead of being carried on his royal throne. Mabel cheap shots Bigelow before the bell. Bigelow fights back and knocks Mabel down after three clotheslines. Bigelow lands a few shots then a dropkick in the corner. Bigelow fires away but walks into a sidewalk slam as Mabel nearly won the match. Mabel chokes out Bigelow in the corner then stomps away. Mabel uses more choking and barely gets Bigelow over for a back drop. More choking from Mabel as Vince says that Mabel will do anything to win the WWF Title. Dok says there is no way Diesel can jackknife Mabel as Bigelow tries to fight out of a nerve hold. Mabel ducks an enziguiri and hits one of his own for a two count. We then see both men clothesline each other and get up but its Bigelow that wins a slugfest. Mabel then reverses an Irish whip and follows with an avalanche. Mabel charges again but Bigelow moves away as Mabel falls. Bigelow then drops Mabel with an enziguiri and knocks Mo off of the apron. Bigelow then goes up top for a flying headbutt and just falls like a bird shot out from the sky as it seemed that Mo was supposed to push him off as Vince tries to cover by saying he shook the ropes and then Mabel hits a belly-to-belly suplex for the win (5:14) DUD.

Thoughts: The match sucked and man was Bigelow treated like a glorified enhancement talent here. I get building up the challenger for the face at the PPV but Bigelow was the WrestleMania main eventer and here was gobbled up by Mabel. Plus, they seemed to badly f--- up the finish. This was not good at all.

 

Next week we will get Bret Hart vs. Rad Radford. Instead of the hype video narrated by Todd Pettengill we get a split screen of both competitors in action.

 

Up next is Bob Holly.

 

The clip of Lawler at Dr. Isaac Yankem’s office from RAW airs.

 

Scott Davis is the special guest ring announcer.

 

Bob Holly vs. Jason Ahrndt

Dok says that Sir Mo is not too thrilled, apparently about Bigelow knocking him off of the apron, as Holly works over Ahrndt. Vince now shills the Superstar Line as Holly applies a chin lock. Holly clotheslines Ahrndt and stays in control as Dok has left the booth. Holly goes back to the chin lock as Vince hypes up the “scientific” Holly/Helmsley match at SummerSlam. Ahrndt lands a few shots in the corner as Vince now talks about Bret/Yankem at SummerSlam. Holly fights back then heads up top for a flying body press and the win (3:09).

Thoughts: Boring squash match with the announcers talking about some of the SummerSlam matches. Holly is just a guy clearly being slotted on the PPV to put over Helmsley.

 

WWF Live Event News with Stan Lane. We hear from Undertaker & Paul Bearer to hype the match against Mabel at MSG.

 

Final Thoughts: The featured match was s--- this week. We also saw a match have a stipulation added (and as we saw at the Valleyfield, Quebec house show the stipulation didn’t really add much to that match). We also see that a Bulldog turn seems imminent as they are playing off what happened at MSG when he walked out on Luger and got upset at the fans chanting “USA.” However, the biggest news for the company was the new Fall season they were pushing. Here is what was said about that in the “Wrestling Observer Newsletter” as interesting times are certainly ahead:

“Never has the new fall television season been such a turning point in American pro wrestling. World Championship Wrestling and the World Wrestling Federation, both with the Monday Night Wars and changes in syndication, and the continuation of monthly PPV shows, are going through another metamorphosis. The short term will be faster-moving storylines, much better wrestling on television, the strongest competition between the two groups to date and frequent major title changes and inevitably more wrestler movement from groups than in the past few years. For the fan, because of the competition, there will be tons of changes, most for the better, at least for the short term. Predicting how this winds up in the long term is futile, because this is a business where long term thinking nowadays is three weeks down the road.

When it comes to television, the basic situation with WWF and WCW is more cable, less syndication. While both groups can attempt to manipulate numbers to give the impression that the television situation is strong, with the exception of one show, Monday Night Raw (which has averaged a strong 3.2 rating thus far in 1995), an unqualified weekly hit, there is no show doing anywhere close to the kind of ratings wrestling was doing as recently as three years ago and overall the numbers are even lower than they were during the latter part of 1992 when the bottom almost fell out. WWF, which is less willing to spend as much money to buy syndicated time slots as WCW, will be taking another hit when it comes to syndication next month, the result of which has been the cancellation of Wrestling Challenge as a separate entity. This also will result in a change in the Sunday Action Zone cable show, which was basically the Challenge show with different voiceovers and an added Main Event match. The belief is that with all the marquee matches they’ve put on Sunday, the result hasn’t been enough of a change in the ratings (Action Zone is doing consistently better than All-American did in the same slot in its dying days but still rarely hits the 2.0 mark) to justify it. Challenge disappears. Action Zone takes on a new format. Superstars hangs in there, but is clearly the “B” show behind Raw.

WCW will also be taking a syndication hit, and despite Eric Bischoff’s clever usage of numbers on a Chet Coppock show, when it comes to syndication, WCW’s numbers are abysmal. The difference is, the company is willing to spend big bucks to buy time in the major markets, but even then most of its syndicated time slots are after midnight in the major markets. In one of the most illogical moves of the year, WCW’s major syndicated show, World Wide Wrestling, is going to be changed into a show aimed at kids 12-and-under. Think about this. WCW is spending roughly $600,000 per year just to be on television in the New York market, where it’s on Saturday past midnight. It is also spending a six-figure amount for the Los Angeles market, also on well past midnight. It’s on one of the weakest stations in the San Francisco market at 2:30 a.m. Just how many kids 12-and-under does one expect to swell the ratings during those time slots?

But as syndication decreases, cable becomes more important. Syndication’s importance has dropped in recent years because PPV shows are far more lucrative than the old house show business. For WCW, house shows are sporadic, usually sold shows. For WWF, they continue to tour, but the shows are considered a loss leader to keep syndication as strong as possible (by promising in markets three or four events per year and purchasing advertising for those events and in many cases, giving the station a percentage of those houses, it enables them to maintain good weekend time slots in many major markets). It’s very difficult, although not impossible (as the WWF has shown of late), to draw well at the house shows through cable alone because of the theory that in many markets, a sizeable percentage of viewers don’t even have cable. However, virtually everyone that has PPV accessibility (except dish owners, who by their very nature can pick up the cable shows anyway) inherently has cable.

WCW is adding Monday Nitro on TNT starting on 9/4, with two airings, at 9 p.m. Eastern (6 p.m. Pacific) and midnight Eastern, which means it’ll be going head-to-head with WWF’s Raw in all four time zones. Raw remains at 9 p.m. Eastern, 8 p.m. Central and 7 p.m. Mountain time and USA does its West Coast feed making Raw at 9 p.m. there. WWF has added a second Raw feed on Thursday nights at 10 p.m. Eastern starting on 9/21. The second Raw show will have some modifications from the Monday show as Raw, beginning 9/18, will leave some storyline aspect from conclusion giving viewers a reason to tune in on Thursday. The most likely result of this is that the audience for Mania and Action Zone, with no new material and highlights mainly repeated from Raw, which is already being repeated, will start slowly whittling away.

Raw will only be live once per month, while Nitro will be live virtually every Monday night. For ratings purposes, that’s insignificant. Raw’s ratings are no higher the weeks it is live than the weeks it is on tape because the percentage of people, through whatever source, that actually find out ahead of air date what is going to happen is so insignificant from a percentage of total audience standpoint that it has no affect on the rating. However, this gives WCW an advantage to a point. It will know when WWF has a blockbuster match often times a week or two in advance, and can adjust its booking if it wishes to do so. WWF will not have that luxury except on the live week.

The next question is, with both companies not in good shape financially (which is less of an issue with WCW because they have so much money behind them in Turner that they really never actually have to turn a real profit, as opposed to a worked profit that they may turn this year by laying certain major expenses off on others’ books), how does this affect the bottom line. With WCW, as said above, bottom line is important but not as important as with WWF. Everyone in the company will be thrilled if they can come close or beat the WWF in the ratings game. And even if the company’s financial fortune improves, it’ll be a major downer internally if WWF blitzes them on Mondays which is still the most predicted scenario. Of course, in this game, numbers can be worked as well. If WCW adds up the total rating of both feeds and claims it as its number, it probably can come out in the same league or maybe even ahead. There is a certain minimum number of viewers that is going to watch TNT during any given hour, and adding those numbers up twice may become a competitive number to one hour on USA. My feeling is the number won’t come close to being competitive with WWF if it chooses to manipulate the same way by adding Monday up with Thursday.

But back to the bottom line. It is believed WCW will be getting $38,000 per week from the TNT network for the Monday show, far less than the $100,000 per week to cover costs WCW thought it was getting when the show was first announced. There is no way that’ll even cover expenses of a taping, advertising, renting and often papering a major arena, flying in all the talent for one night, etc. if they are to be competitive technically with Raw. In other words, these shows are a money loser. WWF will gain additional ad revenue by adding the Thursday show, but how will all the main events and television put on for free affect the big money return–the PPV buy rates, especially for monthly shows? Because everyone is going to look at the Monday numbers as the ultimate comparison number, expect more of what should be four-star matches, surprise angles and even world title changes in the last quarter of the year than in the first three quarters combined from both groups. It will be a far more exciting product to watch for free. But can that excitement for free translate into making money–ie. more dollars coming in on PPV. We’ve already seen with the success of Raw coming during the same period as major revenue declines across the board (house show, PPV, merchandising, television advertising) and millions of dollars in losses that one successful television show doesn’t make a successful operation. In the case of Titan, bottom line success is still the ultimate because they are a privately owned company with no billion dollar corporation behind them. In the long-run, they have to make money, or at least not consistently lose large amounts, over the long haul, or downsize (as they have done this year) or worse.”

 

Later on today will be my recap of the 8/20 edition of “Wrestling Challenge.”