What the World Was Watching: The Action Zone – March 5, 1995

Jim Ross and Todd Pettengill are doing commentary and they are wrapping up the tapings in Fort Myers, Florida.

Opening Contest:  Hakushi (w/Shinja) (7-0) defeats Bob Holly (1-1) after a senton splash at 8:59:

This is Hakushi’s first feature bout of the year and he struggles with the taller, bigger Holly.  Hakushi works a very methodical pace, which is unfortunate because Holly is more than capable of working quicker.  Holly hits his flying body press finisher, but Shinja distracts the referee and Hakushi catches Holly with a powerbomb and finishes with a senton off the ropes.  It would have made more sense to put Hakushi over strong here, especially because he appeared headed for a clash with Bret Hart.  Rating:  *½

Aretha Franklin signing “America the Beautiful” at WrestleMania III is highlighted as a “WrestleMania Moment.”

Ross and Pettengill hype the WrestleMania XI card.  They announce a new match to the card:  the Undertaker against King Kong Bundy as the Undertaker seeks to get the urn back from the Million Dollar Corporation.

Aldo Montoya (4-1) beats Charlie Hunter after a springboard flying bulldog at 2:48:

Montoya has not wrestled a singles match in nearly a month, last appearing against Ray Hudson on Wrestling Challenge in mid-February.  He freaks out some older fans in the front row when he pescados onto Hunter on the arena floor, which is the real highlight of this squash.  Hunter lays in some weak blows and Montoya shrugs them off on his way to a victory in less than three minutes.

Shawn Michaels gloats about his looks, while a disinterested Pamela Anderson appears by his side and looks like she wishes she was anywhere else.

The Blu Brothers (w/Uncle Zebekiah) (4-0) defeat Jumbo Barretta & Ben Jordan after Eli pins Jordan after a spinebuster/leg drop combination at 3:43:

Jumbo is the MVP here, selling the early Blu Brothers beating like a stunned big guy in the SNES Double Dragon games and even eating a double back body drop.  Unfortunately, Vince McMahon is not on commentary to really help capture this moment for posterity.  The Blus then completely destroy the smaller Jordan, utilizing some impressive power moves and doing a good job getting themselves over.

Pettengill interviews Fishbone, an American rock band, is that is pegged to sing “America the Beautiful” at WrestleMania XI.  Now, long-time fans may say “Wait a second.  Fishbone did not sing at WrestleMania!  And you would be correct.  The story goes that Vince McMahon listened to the rendition of the song that the group intended to play and did not like it.  As a result, he nixed their performance – a performance that he paid for – and had a Special Olympian sing the song instead.

Call 1-900-737-4WWF to hear Jerry Lawler’s audio evidence that Bret Hart has used racist language against Japanese people.  Also, you can hear the Ross Report to hear about the new superstars that are on their way to the company!

Man Mountain Rock (4-0) beats The Brooklyn Brawler via submission to the Whammy Bar at 1:25:

The Brawler tries attacking Rock before the bell but it does him little good as Rock goes back to his WCW roots and finishes the Brawler with a Fujiwara armbar.  Research shows that this move was billed as the “Whammy Bar.”

Pettengill hypes the Fan Festival that takes place before WrestleMania.

Tatanka (w/Ted DiBiase) (3-1-1) pins Ricky Santana after the End of the Trail at 2:24:

Santana manages to get several near-falls on Tatanka but a blind charge turns the tide and Tatanka cruises to a win shortly thereafter.  This is basically a way for Tatanka to be built up before his next clash with Lex Luger at a date that is yet to be determined.

A new Nicholas Turturro vignette sees him interrogate Ted DiBiase over scalping WrestleMania tickets.  When Turturro offers to buy the last four ringside seats with a credit card, DiBiase just lets out his classic laugh.

Highlights of the WrestleMania XI press conference are shown.  Bam Bam Bigelow announced there that no NFL player like Lawrence Taylor would be able to step into the ring and beat him.  Taylor had a rebuttal that he beat better athletes like Bigelow in the NFL and that he would not be disrespected by an “Easter egg.”  Taylor also kissed Bigelow on the cheek after a handshake and staredown for the journalists and photographers present.

Non-Title Match:  The Smoking Gunns (Champions) (2-0-1) beat Danny Ackerman & Billy Wade after Billy Gunn pins Ackerman after the Sidewinder at 2:19:

The female fans in the audience scream loudly as the Gunns run through a good chunk of their offense.  Since Ross gets his wish and Men on a Mission get a title match next week, this is non-title but it really does not matter as Ackerman eats a Sidewinder and loses the bout for his team.

Tune in next week to see the Smoking Gunns defend the WWF tag team titles against Men on a Mission!

The Last Word:  A pretty weak effort this week after last week’s great tag team match between Bret Hart and the British Bulldog against Bob Backlund and Owen Hart.  Even if one could forgive the feature match, the Fishbone interview was terrible, with Pettengill trying to sound “hip” and really making himself look like a fool.  I have to agree with some of the sentiment that talking heads were expressing at the time about how the WrestleMania card was very undefined with roughly three weeks before the big show.  More matches will probably be added on RAW but it goes to show how the company is all-in on Bigelow-LT to draw the eyeballs for this year’s big event.

There were no new bouts featured on Wrestling Challenge, but here was a house show result in the midst of promoting WrestleMania (courtesy of historyofwwe.com):

Phoenix, Arizona – America West Arena – March 2, 1995:  Aldo Montoya defeated Kwang…Duke Droese defeated Mantuar…Henry Godwinn beat Doink…The Bushwhackers defeated the Heavenly Bodies…King Kong Bundy defeated Adam Bomb…Bam Bam Bigelow defeated the Undertaker via disqualification…Diesel & Razor Ramon defeated Shawn Michaels & Jeff Jarrett…Bret Hart defeated Owen Hart with the Sharpshooter.

Backstage News*:  With Lawrence Taylor agreeing to face Bam Bam Bigelow at WrestleMania, wrestling journalists attempted to uncover what he would make for the match.  Estimates ranged from $150,000 to $500,000, with Dave Meltzer arguing that the $150,000 figure was most accurate.

*Beyond the Lawrence Taylor-Bam Bam Bigelow match, other bouts for WrestleMania might include Razor Ramon facing Jeff Jarrett for the Intercontinental title, the Smoking Gunns defending the tag team titles against Men on a Mission, Lex Luger wrestling Tatanka, Bull Nakano defending the women’s championship against Alundra Blayze, and the British Bulldog squaring off against Owen Hart.

*If the Taylor match draws a good crowd it might empower Jim Ross behind the scenes, who has been pressing Vince McMahon to add more “legitimate athletes” to the company, and that might explain the tag team tryout recently given to Erik Watts and Chad Fortune.

*Fans were reportedly unhappy when they showed up to the WrestleMania XI press conference and were not allowed inside.  This was because the RAW telecast implied that fans needed to show up to the Harley Davidson Café to show their support for the show the day before.

*Beyond WrestleMania, the WWF has decided to increase the number of pay-per-views that it will sell in 1995 with at least four additional shows added to the calendar.  These will be shorter events that will cost a mere $14.95, $13 less than what the company charges for Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, King of the Ring, SummerSlam, and Survivor Series.

*Additionally, the company is still upset that house show draws are poor outside of Canada as the tag team main events featuring Diesel and Razor Ramon against Shawn Michaels and Jeff Jarrett are not attracting customers.

*One of the reasons for the British Bulldog not being plugged into a long-term feud are because of legal troubles stemming from a 1993 barroom brawl in Calgary, Alberta, Canada where he allegedly attacked a man named Kody Light for dancing with his wife.

*News items are sourced from the March 13 edition of Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer.

Up Next:  Monday Night RAW from March 6!