November 20, 1995
From the Richmond Coliseum in Richmond, VA
Your hosts are Vince McMahon and Jerry “The King” Lawler
Show starts with a still photo package of the Bret Hart vs. Diesel World Title match at the Survivor Series. Vince was narrating and put over the no DQ aspect of the match and saw that Bret won the title with a small package. And Diesel flipped out after the match. A graphic that read “Encore Presentation Tomorrow Night” was on the screen the entire time and would be for every still photo package of the show.
Tonight, we get Shawn Michaels vs. Owen Hart.
The hosts talk about last night and how Mr. Perfect made his return. Lawler also said his head still hurt from the tombstone piledriver he received courtesy of the Undertaker.
We get a clip from last week where 1-2-3 Kid turned on Razor Ramon and aligned with Ted DiBiase.
We have more still photos this time of the 1-2-3 Kid at the Survivor Series as he was the sole survivor of his team, with help from Sid, then also caused Razor to get pinned in the Wild Card match.
Hakushi vs. 1-2-3 Kid w/ Ted DiBiase
Vince plugs the encore airing of the Survivor Series. The crowd chants “Razor” as we now learn that Razor himself is on the phone. Kid works a headlock as Razor cannot believe how Kid ripped him off but that he is not a crybaby. Razor tells “stick man” he is gonna pay for what he did as Hakushi fights back. Razor hangs up as Hakushi hits a dropkick after an Irish whip sequence. Hakushi works the arm as Marty Jannetty runs out, in a leather jacket and jeans, but is held back by two referees. We go to break then return as Kid drops Hakushi with a kick in the corner. Kid stretches the back and neck of Hakushi as Vince informs us that Diesel is on his way to the arena. Kid cuts off Hakushi with an enziguiri then works a chin lock as Vince talks about Kid turning his back on the fans. Hakushi uses a few throat thrusts after avoiding a kick but whiffs on a dropkick and Kid goes back in control of the match. Kid slams Hakushi then heads up top and hits a frog splash for two. Not exactly the best frog splash I’ve ever seen. Hakushi then catches Kid in a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker as both men are down. Hakushi fights off Kid and hits a back handspring elbow smash then heads up top with a flying shoulder tackle that gets two. Hakushi sends Kid outside with a kick then climbs up top but DiBiase sneaks up and shoves him off while the ref was counting then Kid returns and hits a spinning heel kick for the win (6:48 shown) **1/2. After the match, DiBiase gets into the ring and hands Kid some cash.
Thoughts: Solid match although nowhere near as good as the match they had a few months prior. However, this match was more about establishing Kid as a heel with DiBiase as his manager than it was to put on a great match. Kid is clearly being given a push as a heel while Hakushi is doing segments with Barry Horowitz where he is being “Americanized.” And the Kid/Razor feud is certainly heating up now too.
Back from break as Lawler is interviewing Kid & DiBiase in the aisle. Lawler is proud of Kid then apologizes for what he said about him in the past. DiBiase says Kid won the match then calls out that “no good punk” Marty Jannetty. We see Marty head out but Psycho Sid soon heads out. Sid gets into Marty’s face and beats him down then Kid lands a few kicks before Sid powerbombs Marty on the floor as Kid & DiBiase held off the officials attempting to stop the assault. Sid then says this is what happens when you try to mess with the master and ruler of the world. They seem to really want to make the Corporation credible with Sid being focused on again and the addition of Kid. Marty was just a pawn in this and really at this stage it was a fine role for him.
Slam Jam with Dok Hendrix. After putting over the Survivor Series we then hear from British Bulldog with Jim Cornette as they run down Bret to hype up the title match at the December “In Your House” PPV. Bulldog’s promo was awful as he just tripped over his words. Why even have Cornette there if he isn’t going to speak? After telling us an “Arkansas Hog Pen” match between Henry Godwinn vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley will also take place at the PPV, the camera cuts backstage as Diesel has arrived and is pissed off. Back to Hendrix and he explains the rules of this match as you lose when you are dropped into the hog pen.
Sunny & Skip are in the ring for Skip’s match against Savio Vega.
Diesel is now backstage speaking to Shawn Michaels.
Back from break as Savio Vega heads to the ring and slaps hands with Barry Didinsky, who is with three women that are modeling the denim jackets. You can get jackets of Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Diesel, and Bret Hart. They cost just $59.75.
Skip w/ Sunny vs. Savio Vega
Skip tries to attack Savio in the corner but fails and gets attacked. Savio clotheslines Skip before finally taking off his vest and soon gets dropped with an enziguiri. Lawler wants Skip to finish off Savio but we see Savio slingshot Skip into the corner. Skip fights back as the strap to his singlet is hanging off while Lawler tells us that Bob Backlund is campaigning in the crowd. Savio now fights back and back drops Skip before landing some chops in the corner. They slug it out then we see Diesel come down the aisle. Savio sends Skip to the floor with a back drop and Diesel heads over and tosses Skip to the ground for I guess the DQ (2:50).
Thoughts: Nothing happened here of note and what we saw did not resemble a match and rather just two guys doing stuff in the ring but for this situation I can’t fault them.
Diesel then motions to the ref to relax. Diesel now grabs the mic and said a lot of people probably wonder where his head is at and thought maybe he might come out and apologize. However, he is not going to apologize then talks about last night was the first time in a year where he “slept like a baby” and saw a smile on his face for the first time in a year as well. Diesel said he saw himself and not the “corporate puppet” that Vince tried to create. Diesel twice tells Vince that he “missed the ball” and talks about the day after winning the title how he had to go to “Titan Towers” with all of the “suits” telling him to smile and be more corporate. This is getting some cheers then Diesel said what we saw last night was the tip of the iceberg and that Big Daddy Cool is back. Diesel said the same guy we saw at the Royal Rumble a few years ago in Providence is back then he puts on his shades and said all that matters are his family and friends (including Shawn Michaels). Diesel says he will still slap hands as long as it has a black glove before ending by saying he’s back. By the end, he was getting more cheers. The camera follows Diesel backstage and we him walk by Shawn and slap hands. Man, this was one hell of an interview and stuff like this was not happening on WWF TV. Diesel showed the edge that went away with this “corporate puppet” title reign and I got a kick out of him basically saying Vince was the one who f----- it up. And, after the poor creative and uninteresting feuds Diesel had as champion, can you blame him? In his 1995 WWE Timeline with “Kayfabe Commentaries,” Diesel said he watched the movie “Heat” and that Robert DeNiro is the clear-cut heel and Al Pacino the face and despite being the heel, everyone in the theater wanted DeNiro to go over and from a psychology major point of view, saw that and knew how that was the f----- up part of our society. He then says that Vince will always see the American-flag waving guy as the face, however. Really good stuff here especially considering the time period and a precursor to the Stone Cold Steve Austin authority character, something Diesel also said in that timeline about how Austin did the anti-authority stuff better.
Another ad for the Survivor Series encore PPV airing airs.
We get an ad for next week’s Kama vs. Undertaker match. Kama’s chain, made from the Undertaker’s melted down urn, is on the line. Plus, Brother Love returns to interview Bret Hart.
Owen Hart w/ Jim Cornette & Mr. Fuji vs. Shawn Michaels
Vince is out of his mind for Shawn during his entrance. Owen runs over Shawn a few times and gets a few quick two counts. They then go back-and-forth on the mat until Shawn hits a pair of arm drags then a backdrop. Shawn sends Owen outside with a dropkick as Vince brings up how last night, Shawn took a Razor’s Edge and a powerbomb from Sid. Shawn takes Owen down with a hurricarana then hammers away but soon after that is clotheslined over the top rope. Owen wipes out Shawn with a baseball slide as Shawn has trouble getting up. Back inside, Owen nearly puts Shawn away with a bridging German suplex then punches him down as Shawn looks woozy. Owen then stomps Shawn’s back after hitting a backbreaker as the announcers talk about how much pain Shawn must be in at the moment. Owen applies a chin lock as Vince puts over Shawn’s resilience. Vince wants to get a word with Shawn after the match on his thoughts about Diesel as Owen hits a spinning heel kick. We go to break as Shawn gets hit with a corkscrew neckbreaker as Owen covers for two. Shawn takes Owen over with a backslide for two but Owen immediately hits a clothesline. Lawler gloats over Tony Randall marrying someone who is 50 years younger then Owen sets up for a superplex but Shawn falls on top for a two count. Shawn fights back and hits a jumping clothesline as both men are down. The crowd shows their support for Shawn by chanting “USA” them Shawn kips up and fires away on Owen. Shawn hits a flying forearm then a scoop slam before using a flying elbow drop for a two count. Shawn whips Owen into the corner then sets up for the super kick. Owen knows this and holds onto the ropes so Shawn tries to yank him out by grabbing the leg but that allows Owen to hit an enziguiri. Both men are down now and Owen gets up first and turns Shawn over and tries for a Sharpshooter but Shawn breaks it up with a thumb to the eye. Shawn ducks an attack and we get a reversal sequence ending with Shawn taking Owen over the top rope with a clothesline then skinning-the-cat back into the ring. Shawn pumps up the crowd and celebrates but grabs his head and acts woozy again until he collapses. The ref checks on Shawn and kicks his foot a few times but Shawn is not moving. Owen heads back inside but the ref tells him to stay away. The ref then heads out and comes back to scream at Shawn to get up. Vince now heads into the ring as we head to break. Back from commercial and the paramedics are in the ring given Shawn oxygen as there is no one on commentary. We get a replay of Shawn collapsing as we also see JJ Dillon in the ring as one of the officials. Lawler asks Vince from the floor what he should do as we go to another break. Shawn is responding to the medics as the camera shows a few female fans in disbelief and nearly in tears then the show goes off the air (10:44 shown) ***1/2.
Thoughts: The match itself was awesome. Great back-and-f0rth stuff from both men. They worked hard. The story played up on Shawn’s real life issues as it was reported in the newsletters that he was still suffering from the concussion after the incident in Syracuse. Dave Meltzer of the “Wrestling Observer Newsletter” noted that one source noted this angle was at one point going to happen after an attack by Jeff Jarrett (who was not on this show) but the feeling was it would not be portrayed as realistic enough. They also added to that with the punishment he took last night at the Survivor Series. And everyone sold the angle well as Owen did not go in and attack Shawn or even really try for the win. Vince leaving commentary and heading into the ring was a nice touch too. As far as this being tasteless I guess you could make that point but to me it wasn’t egregious. I thought this was pulled off quite well.
Here is an excerpt about this from Shawn’s book “Heartbreak & Triumph” regarding how the angle played out:
“As Kevin, Scott, Kid, Hunter, and I left Winnipeg and headed off for Brandon, Manitoba, where the following night’s Raw was going to be held, we were faced with the challenge of figuring out what I was going to do next. Whenever something bad happened, Vince would always say, “Let’s turn a negative into a positive,” and that’s exactly what we did. By the time we arrived at our hotel two and a half hours later, we had come up with a revolutionary angle that I would soon play out with Owen Hart.
That Monday night, I did an interview with Jim “J.R.” Ross. I spoke about the incident in Syracuse, about having to give up the belt, and about the precariousness of my health. This was one of the first times we ever used a real-life incident and integrated it into an angle.
We had planted the seed that I had suffered a serious injury. A couple of weeks later in Richmond, I wrestled Owen. He gave me an enziguri—a kick to the back of the head—and I collapsed. No one besides Owen, myself, Vince, and Jim Ross and Jerry “the King” Lawler—who were announcing— knew that I was going to do this.
We really wanted it to look real and had convinced Vince that we should go to dead air when this happened. If J.R. and King kept talking, people would know it was a work. Vince didn’t like the idea of going to dead air, but he finally agreed. As I lay prone on the mat, J.R. and King dropped their headsets and made it look like this was not part of a story line. The last five
minutes of the show was all dead air with pictures of me laying in the ring
and the EMTs trying to revive me.
I was taken to the hospital, where I worked the doctors. I acted like I was all groggy. Hunter came with me and played his part of concerned friend perfectly. I even had to sign a release to leave the hospital. Officials there told me that they had been flooded with inquiries about my condition. We pretty much fooled everybody.”
Final Thoughts: Overall, an excellent hour of TV. The product was a lot of mature and in touch with reality than it had been the past few months. The goofiness was dialed back. And the wrestling good. The cliffhanger to end the show and Diesel’s new attitude are great developments moving forward and next week we get to focus on the new champion, Bret Hart. Definitely feel the optimism after this ended. Let’s see how this last but a real breath of fresh air needed to the weak onscreen product. Which, is something the Kliq mentioned they talked about with Vince a couple of weeks prior on the road as they saw the product being the reason their money was going down. Anyway, the most memorable episode of 1995 WWF TV.