–The intro video package has the old Star Trek theme playing since William Shatner will be in Bret Hart’s corner when he faces Jeff Jarrett in tonight’s main event.
–Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels are doing commentary and they are still in Houston, Texas. This is the “go home” show for the Royal Rumble.
–Opening Contest: Bob Holly & The 1-2-3 Kid (2-0) defeat The Heavenly Bodies (w/Jim Cornette) (0-1) when the Kid pins Jimmy Del Ray after a fisherman’s suplex at 4:36:
This is a rematch of the tag team tournament semi-finals on Superstars which saw Holly and the Kid score an “upset” and advance to the finals at the Royal Rumble. The bout departs from the usual tag team formula as the Bodies attack before the bell and hold the advantage until the Kid gets the hot tag. Holly tackles Dr. Tom Prichard when the Bodies try to double suplex the Kid and that produces another “upset” finish. Bam Bam Bigelow, Tatanka, and Ted DiBiase, who watched much of the bout from the aisle, walk away unimpressed. Rating: **
–Bret Hart, with William Shatner, saws he has no “rust in his blood” even though he has not wrestled on television since the Survivor Series. Shatner causes Bret to stumble over himself by interrupting parts of his promo and then he cuts an awful promo against the Roadie, who he says he will turn into “roadkill.”
–Mantaur (2-0) (w/Jim Cornette) pins Jason Arhndt after a splash at 1:41:
Mantaur has a completely different look now, with makeup in the design of horns from his eyes to the back of his bald head. He also has a manager in Cornette, and is not wearing that stupid animal head to the ring. Mantaur runs through a few power moves and finishes off Arhndt, who would reappear in the Attitude Era as Joey Abs of the Mean Street Posse.
–Todd Pettengill runs through the Royal Rumble card.
–Bret Hart (w/William Shatner) defeats Jeff Jarrett (3-0) (w/The Roadie) with a rollup at 9:01 shown:
Bret gives his shades to a kid with a leather jacket in the front row and the high five he receives will be used in video packages to this day. The story of the match is that Bret has become a more ruthless competitor and that he is less willing to give clean breaks and even use tights for leverage if it can help him secure a cover on an opponent. Shatner even feeds some of these heel-like tactics by helping extend the bottom rope to Bret to help him escape the figure-four and Bret coasts to victory shortly thereafter. It seems weird that Jarrett was fed to Bret here since he was getting a push in the Intercontinental division, but they were not going to let him beat any of the Million Dollar Corporation members, since DiBiase was not going to get beaten up by Shatner, and putting Bret against one of the Heavenly Bodies, who Jim Cornette was managing, was not going to draw any eyeballs. Rating: **½
–After the bout, Shatner beats the tar out of the Roadie, which is always a problem with these celebrity appearances since they can make the roster look second rate. However, the Roadie was nothing at this point so it was just something fun on the show in 1995.
–McMahon recaps the action in the WWF Tag Team Championship Tournament.
–Jerry Lawler interviews the Million Dollar Corporation, represented tonight by Irwin R. Schyster, Bam Bam Bigelow, King Kong Bundy, and Tatanka. DiBiase says that when Bigelow and Tatanka win at the Royal Rumble and take the tag team titles that they will defend them next week against the Smoking Gunns.
–Call 1-900-737-4WWF to play the WWF Royal Rumble trivia game and hear an exclusive face-to-face interview with WWF Champion Diesel and Bret Hart. It only costs $1.49 per minute!
–Mabel (w/Oscar) (2-0) beats Lee Tobin after a leg drop at 2:33:
Every time I see one of these Men on a Mission rapping entrances I cannot help but think that this is where Kevin Dunn started working on all of the nauseating camera switching, zooming, and shaking that we are treated to in a normal night of WWE programming these days. This squash, which drags out a little too long, allows McMahon to hype Mabel’s size for the Rumble and crack OJ Simpson defense team jokes.
–Mabel tells McMahon that he will win the Royal Rumble because he is the biggest and baddest man in the match. Michaels takes exception to that and asks Mabel why he thinks he can beat him and Mabel hilariously screams the same line he just spouted about being big and bad. King Kong Bundy is not going to let Mabel keep screaming about size so he gets in his face and that leads to Mabel challenging him in the ring, but Bundy is held back from doing so by Ted DiBiase.
-A video package hypes WWF Champion Diesel.
The Last Word: Anytime that you could get two feature matches on RAW during this era was a good night and Bret Hart usually could bring an above average match to the table, which he did here with Jarrett. Based on the booking here we seemed headed for some sort of clash between Mabel and King King Bundy in the Royal Rumble match, and the company was setting up the Smoking Gunns as significant challengers for whomever won the tag team titles at the Royal Rumble. It is amazing how much of an afterthought Shawn Michaels appears to be this month, though, as the only thing keeping him in the public eye are these commentary appearances and the occasional “Heartbreak Hotel” interview segment.
Up Next: WWF Superstars from January 21!