–Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels are doing commentary this evening and they are still taped from Palmetto, Florida. The green screen that they are broadcast against is jarring.
–Opening “Mini Royal Rumble” Contest: King Kong Bundy (w/Ted DiBiase) (5-0) beats Mabel (w/Oscar) (3-0) after interference from IRS and Tatanka at 3:12:
This match stems from the Royal Rumble, where Mabel unceremoniously dumped Bundy after Bundy was hyped all week as a Rumble threat. Bundy appears to have demanded a rematch, so this match is billed as a “mini Royal Rumble” where the way to win is to throw your opponent over the top rope. The only way this kind of contest works is if you have a good little singles match mixed in with attempted eliminations, but this match is just all kinds of elimination attempts between two big guys that are not as mobile. On top of that we do not get a clean finish as IRS and Tatanka do a run in and help Bundy dump Mabel, whose reinforcements of Mo and Lex Luger arrive only after Mabel has been dumped. Babyfaces seem to have the worst friends. Rating: DUD
–McMahon interviews Bam Bam Bigelow, who says that he refuses to apologize to Lawrence Taylor for what happened at The Royal Rumble and challenges him to a match “anytime any place” as McMahon cannot believe what he is hearing.
–After the commercial break, Michaels tries to justify Bigelow’s behavior at The Royal Rumble by wondering aloud what Lawrence Taylor would have done if he missed a game winning tackle and Bigelow was taunting him at the fifty yard line. I have to say that the man has a point…
–Hakushi (w/Shinja) (3-0) pins Ricky Santana after a cartwheel into a standing moonsault at 3:59:
Santana was a regular for Carlos Colon’s World Wrestling Council (WWC) promotion in Puerto Rico and also worked as an enhancement talent in the 1990s for World Championship Wrestling. Hakushi spends more of this match performing strikes, some of which are business exposing as Santana has to stand there dazed for long than usual while Hakushi performs some taunts before executive the move.
–McMahon and Michaels remind us to buy the encore airing of the Royal Rumble tomorrow night! This takes a while as they highlight what happened in all of the big matches.
–Aldo Montoya (2-1) defeats David Sierra after a springboard flying bulldog off the second rope at 1:56:
Sierra was the old Cuban Assassin, who had a run in the NWA in the 1980s. Sierra was also part of the WWC and teamed with Santana, who was in the Hakushi match earlier, in WCW. I have to wonder if these squashes were a mini-tryout for them. If so, it did not lead to a job, but the WWF was not in a prime financial position to hire lots of new talent in 1995. Sierra bumps well for the much smaller Montoya, who gets back on the winning side of things are losing to Mantaur a day earlier on The Action Zone.
–Ken Norton, Jr. of the Super Bowl-winning San Francisco 49ers tells people that he is going to WrestleMania!
–Bob Backlund is a guest on “The King’s Court” with Jerry Lawler. Backlund says that he is not going to release future chicken wing holds until whomever he applies it to screams “I quit, Mr. Bob Backlund!” and that no one is exempt from the hold, including Lawler. One funny bit here is that Backlund says “including yours truly,” meaning that he could put the hold on himself. As expected, Michaels has a good laugh about that one. Lawler insists that Backlund cannot apply a chicken wing to him, but Backlund puts Lawler in the hold until Lawler quits from a standing position. When Backlund leaves and Lawler says that he did not really quit, Backlund starts coming back to the ring and Lawler bails. This could have been the recipe for a Backlund face turn but this was laying the foundation for his match at WrestleMania.
–WWF Tag Team Championship Match: The Smoking Gunns (Champions) (1-0) defeat Bob Holly & The 1-2-3 Kid (5-1) by referee stoppage when the Kid injures himself on a cannonball off the top rope at 8:33:
Holly and the Kid immediately invoked their rematch clause after dropping the titles to the Gunns on last week’s show. For the Palmetto audience, though, this is the second time that they have seen this match in the same evening so the reaction is muted. After having some respectful exchanges to start, tempers eventually flare when Holly gets trapped in the Gunns corner. The Kid gets the hot tag but when he tries a cannonball dive at Bart off the top, Bart moves and the Kid crashes to the canvas. He proceeds to shake and roll his eyes in the back of his head and the referee calls an end to the bout. Rating: **
–McMahon informs us that during the break the Kid was able to get to his feet and walk to the locker room.
–Kama (1-0) defeats Jumbo Berretta via submission to an STF at 3:40:
Berretta is a really big guy who was known as Rusty Brooks on the American independent circuit. He looks like a bigger version of Mario and sure enough, he used that as a gimmick on the independents. This is Kama’s RAW debut and it is rather boring as he spends the match wearing on Berretta with awkward strikes and an eye rake. Kama refuses to release the STF for a while after the match so that clues the audience in that he is going to be a heel.
–Tune in next week to see a six man tag match between Men on a Mission & Lex Luger and King Kong Bundy, Tatanka, and IRS!
The Last Word: For its time, this was a pretty “star-studded” edition of RAW. Unfortunately, the tag team match was a disappointment when compared to the previous week’s outing, with a curious finish that the bookers probably thought would protect Holly and the Kid from consecutive losses. However, since the team did little of note after this show the company would have been better off giving the Gunns another win so they could have some immediate credibility as champions.
Up Next: WWF Superstars from February 4!