This was a “special edition” of Monday Night RAW as Jim Ross and Gorilla Monsoon broadcast the no holds barred match between Bret Hart and Owen Hart, which was taped on March 13 in Stockton, California, while Vince McMahon and Todd Pettengill hype WrestleMania XI from the company’s studios in Stamford, Connecticut.
–A video package recaps the Bret Hart-Owen Hart feud, beginning with the 1994 Survivor Series where Owen got his mother and father to throw in a towel in Bret’s submission match with Bob Backlund, an act that cost Bret the WWF title.
–A video package tells the story of the Diesel-Shawn Michaels feud. Michaels is portrayed as the heel since he kept “accidentally” superkicking Diesel throughout 1994 and being jealous of Diesel’s recent endorsement deals and successes. McMahon and Pettengill speculate on the outcome of the match, with Pettengill urging people to go on Prodigy, an online service, on the day before the event to chat with other fans and see a virtual simulation of the bout.
–We get a recap of the Bam Bam Bigelow-Lawrence Taylor feud, which began at the Royal Rumble. McMahon bills the bout as a matter of pride that could be decided by Taylor’s All-Pro team and the Million Dollar Corporation.
–Attend the WWF Fan Festival before WrestleMania! Get your tickets now! Looking back, this would have been fun to attend since you could meet people like Classie Freddie Blassie and Gorilla Monsoon, who are sadly no longer with us.
–Ross interviews Bob Backlund, who says he is going to “trigger a cascade of chemical reactions in the Hitman’s vibe” and hurt his ability to perform in the ring tonight.
–A video package recaps the Jeff Jarrett-Razor Ramon feud over the Intercontinental title.
–McMahon hypes the Undertaker-King Kong Bundy match at WrestleMania, a bout that has received very little billing since the Royal Rumble. Part of this was due to the Undertaker suffering an injury on house shows. The Undertaker cuts a promo where he tells Bundy that the end is at hand and it is time “for Bundy to meet his maker.”
–Ross interviews Bret Hart, who says that he has been waiting for a long time to make Owen Hart pay for what he has done to him. He adds that Bob Backlund should watch the match to see what is going to happen to him at WrestleMania.
–No Holds Barred Match: Bret Hart (2-1-1) beats Owen Hart (6-1) via submission to the Sharpshooter at 10:25 shown:
Bret and Owen had been running this match on the house show circuit for over a month and this serves as the culmination of their feud, which has been going on since the 1994 Royal Rumble. Considering the booking for WrestleMania, it may have made more sense to make this a bout between Bret and Backlund and then have the blowoff between Bret and Owen at WrestleMania. This would have allowed the company to run the Smoking Gunns versus Men on a Mission for the tag titles, better fitting the story surrounding that division in recent weeks. It also would have allowed the Bret-Owen story to go full circle by enabling Bret to get his win back on the stage where he was upset a year earlier in Madison Square Garden. Although this is a no holds barred match, both men do not really take advantage of the stipulation. And, since this is 1995, a no holds barred match is not going to utilize any weapons, so Bret and Owen prefer to do a small brawling spot on the floor and use an exposed turnbuckle to build drama. Both men end up going into it at various points, but Owen getting slingshotted into it paves the way for the finish, with Bret refusing to release the hold until WWF officials force him to do so. Rating: ***
–Jonathan Taylor Thomas, child star of the 1990s, says that he is excited to be a part of WrestleMania XI. He says his role will be there to interview the wrestlers.
–Lawrence Taylor says that Bill Parcells once told him that his motor was the best part about his skill set and he plans to use it at WrestleMania.
–The Million Dollar Corporation says that they look forward to demolishing the All-Pro Team of Lawrence Taylor. Bigelow reminds Taylor that he is stepping into his world.
In case you wanted to know how the WWF event in Times Square went on March 28, 1995, here were the results and happenings of that event (courtesy of historyofwwe.com):
New York, New York – Times Square’s Canyon of Heroes – March 28, 1995: A public workout was done that featured a confrontation between the Allied Powers and the Blu Brothers; a faceoff between King Kong Bundy and the Undertaker after Bundy said that the Undertaker feared him; a stare down between WWF Champion Diesel and Shawn Michaels, both of whom said they would win at WrestleMania; and a brawl between Bam Bam Bigelow and Lawrence Taylor after members of the Million Dollar Corporation (which also included Henry Godwinn) took a few moments to stand face-to-face with Taylor and Diesel…The Allied Powers defeated Tony DeVito & Mike Bell when Lex Luger pinned DeVito after a running forearm smash as the British Bulldog held DeVito in a bearhug at 3:40. Major League Baseball umpire Larry Young was the referee. After the bout, Bob Backlund entered the ring and put DeVito in the crossface chicken wing, later claiming that the hold would help him defeat Bret Hart at WrestleMania…Owen Hart beat Nick Barberri via submission to the Sharpshooter at 2:19. After the match, Owen told Todd Pettengill that he would win the WWF tag team titles at WrestleMania and match all of his brother Bret’s accomplishments. Eventually the Allied Powers came out and chased him from the ring…Intercontinental Champion Jeff Jarrett wrestled Tony Roy to a no-contest at 3:19 when Diesel, who Jarrett taunted throughout the bout, entered the ring, caused Jarrett to flee, and Jackknifed the Roadie.
The Last Word: Although the format of this show allowed for only one match it did go a long way to making the culmination of the Bret-Owen feud feel important, especially because in this era feature matches like this rarely aired on WWF television. And you cannot fault McMahon for trying to use this show as a way to recap all of the big matches in a last-ditch attempt to get people to buy the show. Since Superstars and The Action Zone were both enlisted as preview shows for WrestleMania, our next review will go straight to WrestleMania XI so we can see how some of these feuds paid off.
Up Next: WrestleMania XI!