What the World Was Watching: The Action Zone – April 30, 1995

Jim Ross and Todd Pettengill are doing commentary for today’s show and they are taped from Moline, Illinois.  The tapings took place on April 26 and had a papered attendance of 5,500.

Ross and Pettengill announce that the 1-2-3 Kid was supposed to face Jeff Jarrett for the Intercontinental title on today’s show but he is injured.  As a result, Bob Holly will face Jarrett instead.  Jarrett says that he will show Holly how great he is, while Holly promises to cross the finish line.

Opening Contest:  Hunter-Hearst Helmsley pins Buck Zumhofe after a Diamond Cutter at 2:14:

If you ever have to answer a trivia question about Triple H’s WWF career, note that his debut occurred on The Action Zone against former AWA light heavyweight star “Rock N’ Roll” Buck Zumhofe.  Of course, Zumhofe, who the WWF bills as “Zumhoff”, is currently serving a lengthy prison sentence for sexually abusing his daughter between 1999 and 2011.  Helmsley’s gimmick is a carbon copy of his WCW persona Jean Paul Levesque with the twist that he is a snob from Greenwich, Connecticut instead of an aristocrat from France because Vince McMahon was allegedly looked down upon by his Greenwich neighbors and the gimmick was meant to make fun of them.  This squash features some interesting moves, with Helmsley using a spinning knee lift and then finishes Zumhofe with a Diamond Cutter.  According to Diamond Dallas Page, he requested that Helmsley not use the move since he was starting to get it over in WCW and shortly after this bout Helmsley began using the Pedigree, which seemed to better fit the character.

Ross and Pettengill hype In Your House.  Sid says that he is not afraid of Diesel, while Diesel says that he is a big man and will expose Sid as a façade.  They reveal that Owen Hart and Yokozuna will defend the WWF tag team titles against the Smoking Gunns at the show and note that Adam Bomb will square off against Mabel in a King of the Ring qualifying match.

The Smoking Gunns (9-1-1) defeat Tom Stone & Dave Siegfried after Billy Gunn pins Stone after a Sidewinder at 3:55:

Stone was a longtime enhancement worker for the WWF and AWA during the 1980s and 1990s while Sigfried also made several appearances as a “job guy” for the WWF during the 1990s.  The Gunns smother their opponents with lots of double team offense and Billy goes to the top rope to finish Stone off with the Sidewinder for the Gunns tenth win of 1995.

Bob Backlund is lecturing college students on spring break who are having a “deleterious effect” on themselves.  He approaches some college girls in bikinis, introduces himself, and then tries to cover them up with his coat because their bodies cannot be seen on television.  It is too bad that they were phasing Backlund out at this time because these vignettes were great.

Bob Holly is shown warming up backstage.

Intercontinental Championship Match:  Bob Holly (3-4) pins Jeff Jarrett (Champion w/The Roadie) (9-5) after a flying clothesline to win the title at 9:52 shown:

This marks the second time in 1995 that Holly has received a title shot because of an injury to another competitor, making one wonder whether he has some friends in low places to call upon to move him up the card.  In fact, running an angle at this time between Holly and the Kid would have been entertaining instead of just having the Kid injure himself repeatedly against Hakushi on the house show circuit.  In one of the more ridiculous spots of this match, referee Earl Hebner sees the Roadie trip Holly and does nothing about it.  Meanwhile, Ross has to get in his “All-American” line, saying that Jarrett was an “Academic All-American” to fill time since Jarrett uses lots of restholds.  And once again, despite heralding Jarrett as an “expert of the figure-four” Jarrett opts to work the back instead of the legs.  After a couple of commercial breaks, we get controversy as Jarrett pins Holly after a Flair pin at 9:23 but referee Tim White runs out and gets the match restarted.  That allows Holly to hit a flying clothesline off the top rope after a Jarrett blind charge and Hebner counts three even though Jarrett gets his foot on the bottom rope.  The match was too plodding aside from Holly’s comebacks and could have been rated higher if the psychology continued after the first commercial break.  Rating:  *¾

After the bell, Tim White runs back into the ring to tell Hebner about Jarrett’s foot being on the bottom rope and Jarrett and the Roadie get in Hebner’s face over his call in the match.  Howard Finkel announces that other WWF officials are in the building and will render a decision later on, angering Jarrett who believes that he should still be the champion.

Ross and Pettengill after a commercial break say that WWF President Jack Tunney is in the building and can render a decision, hopefully before the end of the show, on what just took place in the Intercontinental title match.

Call 1-900-737-4WWF to hear an exclusive report about Shawn Michaels, who has left the country, and hear more about the 1-2-3 Kid’s broken neck.

Doink (w/Dink) (6-1) pins Barry Horowitz after the Whoopie Cushion at 3:02:

Horowitz fares better than some of Doink’s recent opponents, managing to roll him up and working in a series of strikes after avoiding a clothesline.  However, Horowitz’s attempt at a backslide is blocked and Doink goes on to hit the Whoopie Cushion for the win.

Tatanka (w/Ted DiBiase) (5-2-3) beats Sonny Rogers after the End of the Trail at 3:19:

Rogers dances around after a wristlock sequence as if he is Tatanka and tries to get the crowd clapping, but the crowd knows he is just a jobber so they barely acknowledge his efforts.  Ross and Pettengill put over a possible Bigelow-Tatanka feud, which happened a little over a year ago with the face/heel roles reversed, and Tatanka stares menacingly at the camera as he deliberately beats on Rogers and wins his first match in more than a month.

Ray Rougeau says that WWF President Jack Tunney has decided that neither Bob Holly or Jeff Jarrett are the Intercontinental Champion and that there will be a rematch on next week’s show, with the winner becoming the champion.  In other words, the title has been held up and the previous bout has been rendered a no contest.

Tune in next week to see Bret Hart face Mantaur and find out whether Bob Holly or Jeff Jarrett will win the held up Intercontinental championship!

The Last Word:  The curious booking of Jarrett’s Intercontinental title run continues with this show as he struggles to defeat Bob Holly, another struggling midcarder, in a feature match.  The company must have thought that this was a great way to attract viewers but since Jarrett just pulled a relatively similar angle with Aldo Montoya several weeks ago, although in that angle Montoya won a non-title match before getting an actual title shot, it further reinforced the idea that he was merely a paper champion.  That said, at least next week’s Action Zone should be a fun episode as Holly and Jarrett fight for the title and Bret Hart faces Mantaur and hey, the audience finally gets a consistent storyline for The Action Zone after the company teased a 1-2-3 Kid-King Kong Bundy match at the last set of tapings and never delivered.

Wrestling Challenge featured two exclusive bouts for its program that did not air on The Action Zone.  One of the matches included a future star in Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW):

*The Heavenly Bodies (4-4) beat Jerry Lynn & Lenny Carlson

*Razor Ramon (9-2-1) defeated J.S. Tiask

Backstage News*:  The recent Monday Night RAW telecast that featured Diesel against Bam Bam Bigelow drew a 3.9 rating, a record high for the show.  An estimated 2.3 million people watched the broadcast which would be the highest audience for a wrestling audience since WCW Champion Hulk Hogan wrestled Ric Flair at WCW’s Clash of the Champions in August.

*The WWF was also happy with the Omaha tapings as they drew a healthy crowd despite the fact that they have no television syndication in the area.

*In the most recent talent exchange with the USWA, Bob Backlund went to Memphis to team with Tommy Rich in a losing effort against Bill Dundee and Brian Christopher.  It is expected that Jerry Lawler will win the Unified title from Razor Ramon at the Memphis show on May 1.

*The 1-2-3 Kid has a very serious neck injury, cracking his seventh cervical vertebrae and causing doctors to question his future in the ring.  Dave Meltzer says that this is a similar neck injury to the one that Bruno Sammartino suffered against Stan Hansen in 1976.

*Well Dunn are officially done with the company.

*The source for the backstage news items is the May 8 edition of Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer.

Up Next:  Monday Night RAW for May 1!