–“Double J” Jeff Jarrett lets us know how great he is going to be in his singing debut on tonight’s RAW.
–Gorilla Monsoon and Shawn Michaels are doing commentary and they are taped from Liberty, New York. This episode was taped on December 12, 1994 and drew a sellout crowd of 1,200 (courtesy of thehistoryofwwe.com).
–Opening Contest: The Allied Powers wrestle Bam Bam Bigelow & Tatanka (w/Ted DiBiase) to a double count out at 8:43 shown:
With little to do at the top of the card, which was already overloaded with babyface acts, Lex Luger and the British Bulldog began teaming as the Allied Powers, bolstering a tag team division that was in its weakest state in company history. They were not billed as the Allied Powers yet, though, with each man doing a separate entrance (and the heels take full advantage by attacking Luger before the Bulldog comes out). Another undercurrent of this match is that Luger and Tatanka are still feuding after Tatanka turned heel during their encounter at SummerSlam the previous year. As you can imagine, a clothesline is the move of choice for many of the competitors in the match who run through the usual steps to get to the finish. Since Bigelow and Tatanka are still in the tag team tournament they cannot appear weak here, but the company is loath to put them over two mainstay singles acts so a double count out is what we get after DiBiase prevents Tatanka from getting pinned after a running powerslam from the British Bulldog. Rating: **
–Todd Pettengill gives the Royal Rumble report but hilariously comments that no one wanted to see a double count out in the previous match. Pettengill reminds us that two druids are assisting IRS against the Undertaker and announces that eliminated tag teams from the WWF tag team title tournament are likely to be added to the Rumble later.
–The Roadie plays with audio equipment near the ring to get it ready for Jarrett later in the show.
–Duke “the Dumpster” Droese (1-0) pins Mike Bell after the Trash Compactor at 1:32:
Bell was a long-term WWF job talent and we will cover many of his matches in these reviews. He is most noted for botching a move against Perry Saturn in 2001 during a dark match, leading to Saturn briefly “shooting” on him. Bell gets in a surprising amount of offense in this squash before Droese showcases two moves in victory.
–A vignette hypes the arrival of Kama, the Supreme Fighting Machine. It is unclear whether he is going to be a heel or face based on the footage shown.
–Monsoon recaps action in the WWF Tag Team Championship Tournament. Teams that have advanced so far include Bigelow and Tatanka, the Headshrinkers, and the Heavenly Bodies. The Smoking Gunns are scheduled to face Well Dunn in the final first round match this week on Superstars.
–Jerry “The King” Lawler hosts Owen Hart in his “King’s Court” segment. Owen is carrying Bret Hart’s towel from Survivor Series, which Owen convinced his mother Helen to throw into the ring on Bret’s behalf, thereby costing him the WWF title against Bob Backlund. Owen declares that he is on a mission to replicate all of Bret’s championship accomplishments and will begin his championship path by winning the Royal Rumble. This officially makes Owen a Rumble participant.
–“Double J” Jeff Jarrett (w/The Roadie) beats Buck Quartermaine via submission to a figure-four leglock at 2:48:
Even though Jarrett has a music performance this evening he has to wrestle first because that is just how the wrestling business works. Quartermaine was another staple of WWF programming in 1995, losing all his televised matches but pinning the Brooklyn Brawler in the dark match of the Royal Rumble. Jarrett uses this bout to illustrate his technical acumen, although he has some frustrating moments when Quartermaine does not easily transition into a side suplex and a suplex later in the bout. Jarrett triumphs with the figure-four even though he never sets up the leg prior to winning with the maneuver.
–After commercial, Jarrett and the Roadie play with the microphone that has been setup in the ring and then there are problems with the lights so the musical performance never happens. Monsoon screams for Kevin Dunn’s assistance, which is not forthcoming.
–Super Dave Osborne, a stunt comedian, hypes his show Super Dave’s Vegas Spectacular in an interview with Monsoon.
–The Allied Powers defeat Bam Bam Bigelow & Tatanka (w/Ted DiBiase) after the British Bulldog pins Tatanka after whipping him into Bigelow at 4:55 shown:
According to the announcers, neither team was happy with the finish in the opener so they have resumed their match in the main event. We join it in progress, with Michaels burying Luger’s talents and abilities on commentary. Some decent tag action takes place, with Tatanka and Bigelow experiencing heel miscommunication near the end of the bout and losing. After the bout, DiBiase berates Bigelow, setting up some tensions between Bigelow and the Corporation that would gradually build in the coming months. Rating: **
–Tune in next week for a live, second anniversary edition of RAW when Intercontinental Champion Razor Ramon will defend his title against Owen Hart and Howard Finkel and Harvey Wippleman clash in a tuxedo match!
The Last Word: The nice thing about 1995 RAWs is that they only lasted an hour so the show moved along at a fast pace. The tag team match between the Allied Powers and Bigelow and Tatanka was solid, but relatively unspectacular due to the number of commercial breaks and the way that both halves of the match were split up for television. The match was a way to build to future issues between Bigelow and the Corporation but it was hardly a stamp of confidence for Bigelow and Tatanka in the tag team title tournament.
Up Next: WWF Superstars from January 7!