What the World Was Watching: The Action Zone – January 15, 1995

Jim Ross and Todd Pettengill are doing commentary today and they recap the WWF Tag Team Championship Tournament semi-finals, which were held on WWF Superstars.

Opening Contest:  Bam Bam Bigelow (w/Ted DiBiase) defeats The 1-2-3 Kid with a powerslam at 8:09 shown:

This match looks like it was held at the Liberty, New York tapings and is booked so the company can “preview” the finals of the tag team title tournament at the Royal Rumble.  The Kid does what he does best in being a missile for Bigelow to launch around (and out of) the ring at will.  Bigelow also pulls out a great spot of blocking the Kid’s standing heel kick with his hands and blasting him with an enziguri.  In fact, this is largely a Bigelow squash, as the Kid works in a few hope spots before Bigelow’s girth prevails to put over the fact that the Kid and Bob Holly are significant underdogs at the Rumble.  Rating:  **¼

We are reminded that Kama is on his way to the World Wrestling Federation.

Jeff Jarrett (w/The Roadie) (2-0) beats Walter Slow via submission to the figure-four leglock at 1:45:

Walter Slow is such a weird name for a jobber and Ross and Pettengill spend the opening parts of the match joking about it.  Slow takes a nasty bump on his neck out of a clothesline and that is all there is to say about this squash as Jarrett uses his figure-four to stay undefeated on television for 1995.  Jarrett is booked to face Bret Hart on the next RAW in what will be Bret’s first appearance since the Survivor Series.

Ross and Pettengill hype the Royal Rumble, which will take place next week.

Bob Backlund defeats Nick Tarentino via submission to the crossface chicken wing in 39 seconds:

As Ross mentions, it would have been humorous if Backlund won the Royal Rumble and had to interact with Pamela Anderson at WrestleMania.  Instead, he later had to interact with Jonathan Taylor Thomas.  Backlund barely breaks a sweat against Tarentino here and refuses to break the chicken wing as referees flood the ring.  Eventually some jobbers such as Chris Kanyon make the save only to have one of the jobbers fall victim to another chicken wing when Backlund breaks the hold on Tarentino.  The chicken wing was like the Stone Cold Stunner of 1995:  applied from any angle and put over as a deadly finisher.

A vignette hypes the arrival of Man Mountain Rock.  Evidently guitar playing skills are supposed to intimidate the guys in the locker room.  Why they never tried a Rock-Jarrett feud I will never know.

Call 1-900-737-4WWF to play the WWF Royal Rumble trivia game and hear an exclusive interview of Diesel facing off with Bret Hart.  The call will cost $1.49 per minute.

Jim Neidhart beats Tim Dyer via submission to a camel clutch at 2:02:

Neidhart never really seemed to click as a singles wrestler and he tosses Dyer around in a squash that was taped before he decided to start no showing events and ended up getting tossed from the company until 1997.

Mabel (w/Oscar) (1-0) pins A Jobber in Red with a flying body press from the second rope at 2:32:

Between 1994 and 1995 the company kept flirting with a Mabel singles push but always got cold feet about it.  For example, he was in the 1994 King of the Ring Tournament, where he lost in the first round, and faced Jeff Jarrett at SummerSlam a few months after that, where he also lost.  The booking of this squash is odd as they have Mabel miss his big splash and let the jobber get in a few weak shots before Mabel finishes with a second rope body press – yes you read that correctly – for the victory.  Mabel’s string of victories are meant to build to a “big showdown” with King Kong Bundy in the Rumble match as they are both undefeated in 1995.

Mantaur (1-0) pins Buck Quartermaine after a splash at 2:10:

Since the company decided to switch Mantaur’s name from the “Minotaur” they mute Finkel’s ring announcing.  Mantaur also has his stupid animal head cover as Ross says many managers are interested in him. This would eventually lead to Jim Cornette getting the gig, which Dave Meltzer speculated was a rib because everyone in the company knew how awful Mantaur was in the ring.  Quartermaine gives it the old college try but a flying clothesline does not faze Mantaur and he squashes Quartermaine like a bug to stay undefeated.

Tune in next week to see Bob Holly square off against Tatanka!  Also, the official drawing for the Royal Rumble will be held live from Tampa!

The Last Word:  This was a serviceable edition of The Action Zone as it had a fun marquee matchup and the squashes put over the big men in anticipation of the Royal Rumble.

Here was the lone unique match that aired on Wrestling Challenge on January 15:

The British Bulldog (3-1) beats Mark Starr with the running powerslam at 2:39:

Starr was a staple of the Memphis-based Continental Wrestling Association (CWA) during the 1980s and picked up work as an enhancement talent in World Championship Wrestling in the mid-1990s.  In fact, he teamed with fellow WWF enhancement talent Chris Kanyon there as Men at Work, who wrestled frequently on WCW Saturday Night and WCW Pro.  Despite Starr’s years of experience before this match, though, Monsoon cannot resist the urge to call him a “youngster.”  This is a relatively boring squash, with the Bulldog using a few chinlocks before finishing Starr with the usual.

Here were the results of the some of the major house shows that WWF was promoting on its syndicated shows.  The attendance was lackluster but was reported by The Wrestling Observer that the crowds of 4,500 at the Meadowlands and 6,500 at the Nassau Coliseum were higher than previous visits (results courtesy of thehistoryofwwe.com):

Long Island, New York – Nassau Coliseum – January 13, 1995 (6,500):  Aldo Montoya defeated Steven Dunn…Henry Godwinn defeated Bob Holly…Wink & Pink beat Queezy & Cheezy in a midget match…Duke Droese beat Timothy Well…WWF Champion Diesel defeated Jeff Jarrett and Diesel gave the Roadie a Jackknife after the match…WWF Women’s Champion Bull Nakano defeated Alundra Blayze…The Allied Powers defeated King Kong Bundy & Bam Bam Bigelow by count out after Bundy and Bigelow argued after a heel miscommunication spot…The Undertaker pinned Tatanka…Bret Hart defeated Owen Hart via submission to the Sharpshooter and Bret refused to release the hold for several minutes after the bout.

East Rutherford, New Jersey – The Meadowlands (4,500):  Aldo Montoya defeated Steven Dunn…Henry Godwinn defeated Bob Holly…The Allied Powers wrestled King Kong Bundy & Bam Bam Bigelow to a double count out…Bret Hart beat Owen Hart…Wink & Pink beat Sleezy & Cheezy in a midget match…Duke Droese beat Timothy Well…WWF Women’s Champion Bull Nakano defeated Alundra Blayze…WWF Champion Diesel defeated Jeff Jarrett…The Undertaker beat Tatanka.

Backstage News*:  World Championship Wrestling (WCW) talent Jean Paul Levesque will be heading to the WWF after giving notice on January 10.  This will mess with some of WCW’s booking plans as they going to build a Harlem Heat-Steven Regal & Levesque feud.

*While the WWF drew decent gates on the East Coast with its “A” roster, the “B” shows are struggling as a series of California house shows had to be cancelled due to poor ticket sales.

*News gathered from Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer from January 23, 1995.

Up Next:  Monday Night RAW for January 16!