–Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels are doing commentary and they are live from Houston, Texas. According to thehistoryofwwe.com, the taping drew a papered crowd of 3,500. This is the second anniversary episode of Monday Night Raw.
–William Shatner, who is here to hype his new show TekWar, says that he is not scared of appearing on Jerry Lawler’s King’s Court segment and that if Lawler messes with him “he will be out of here at warp speed.” He even admits that he is simply here to do the hard sell for his show and is not going to wrestle.
–Opening Contest for the Intercontinental Championship: Owen Hart defeats Razor Ramon (Champion) (1-0) via disqualification when Bret Hart interferes at 11:10 shown:
Michaels aptly notes that this is a chance for Ramon to get revenge for the 1994 King of the Ring Finals. And one of the best parts of watching 1995 is to hear Owen’s disco-like theme music. The mics on the ring are really sensitive tonight, with a clanging sound very audible when wrestlers hit the turnbuckles or are slammed onto the canvas. At this point in his career Owen was beginning to wrap up his year-long rivalry with his brother Bret and was moving into work in the tag ranks with brother-in-law Jim Neidhart. Both were pegged to win the tag team titles in late 1994 before Neidhart decided it was a great idea to no show events and was fired, so Owen went back to singles for a while before he could find a new partner for WrestleMania (but more on that later). Ramon and Owen have great chemistry, with Owen serving as a bumping machine for Ramon’s power moves. After the commercial break Owen controls much of the action and seems to be on the verge of winning the Intercontinental championship as he places Ramon in the Sharpshooter but Bret hits the ring and prevents a clean decision. This brings out Jeff Jarrett, who attacks Bret since they are supposed to face off on next week’s show, but Ramon teams up with Bret to clean Jarrett’s clock. To nitpick, Ramon should be angry that Bret cost him a match but maybe he figures he was about to drop the strap without him. Rating: ***½
–Todd Pettengill provides the new Royal Rumble Report. WWF Champion Diesel cuts a new promo where he does not speak like a human being. It is like he is just reading sentences that are completely divorced from each other. He makes us aware that Bret’s “assets” better not be frozen from his stay in Canada after the 1994 Survivor Series.
–Jerry “The King” Lawler says that he will punch William Shatner in the face if he does not give him the respect he is owed on the King’s Court.
–Hakushi (w/Shinja) (1-0) beats Matt Hardy with a slingshot splash at 1:07:
Ah, the days of the jobbing Hardy Boys. Even during this time you sensed that there was something special about them that would one day make them superstars. It helped that they were able to get a few pieces of interesting offense into their squashes because the guys on the active roster liked them. This is not one of those matches, though, as Hakushi hits a few martial arts moves and unceremoniously finishes Matt off so we can watch some clips of TekWar.
–Clips of TekWar, premiering after RAW, are shown. The premise of the show is that it is the year 2045 and a former police officer, who has just been released from prison after being framed for dealing a narcotic called “tek”, tries to go after those who have wronged him. Do note that the show was based on some novels that Shatner wrote in the 1980s and early 1990s. The acting in the show is very B-moviesque and the graphics that they are using were good for the 1990s but would be laughed out of living rooms today. Still, the show was a minor success.
–Jerry Lawler hosts Shatner on the King’s Court. Shatner says that he is not impressed by being on the King’s Court and he was more impressed by chewing gum, which McMahon laughs way too hard at. Shatner’s defense of the audience after Lawler attacks them is golden, though: “These are the people that watch TekWar!” All of this culminates in Shatner putting Lawler in a hammerlock and then giving him a monkey flip. Bret Hart comes out to celebrate this, with Jeff Jarrett and the Roadie also coming out to pacify Lawler.
–King Kong Bundy (w/Ted DiBiase) (2-0) pins Gary Sabaugh after an avalanche in 21 seconds:
Sabaugh is better known as the Italian Stallion, who co-owned the Professional Wrestling Federation (PWF) in Charlotte and continually feuded there with fellow NWA enhancement talent George South during this era. Sabaugh was only notable in this period for bringing the Hardys to the WWF but from what the Hardys say he took a good chunk of their payoffs as part of a “booking fee.” Complaints about that eventually led to Sabaugh losing his deal with the company to bring them enhancement talent for television tapings. This match goes by quick, with Bundy reinforcing the fact that he is big, fat, and dominant in anticipation for the Royal Rumble.
–McMahon and Michaels hype the upcoming semi-final bouts in the WWF Tag Team Championship Tournament this week on WWF Superstars.
–The Bushwhackers give Howard Finkel a confusing pep talk backstage before his tuxedo match. Well Dunn is shown getting Harvey Wippleman ready.
–Kama is still riding his motorcycle through the desert but he is coming soon to the WWF! Clearly, he needs to find a better route to Stamford, Connecticut.
–Tuxedo Match: Howard Finkel (w/The Bushwhackers) defeats Harvey Wippleman (w/Well Dunn) at 2:35:
There is arguably no gimmick in wrestling that carries more homoerotic tendencies than the tuxedo match, where the goal is to tear another man’s clothes off. However, it is a fitting gimmick for the blowoff of this feud, which has been going on for the better part of the year as Wippleman constantly berated Finkel at live events and tore parts of his suit each night. Unfortunately, Finkel has no idea how to wrestle so he just rolls around with Wippleman on the mat as each man tears at the other’s clothes until eventually Finkel tears off Wippleman’s tie after a botched electric chair drop. After the bout, the Bushwhackers give Finkel one of their hats and march around the ring with him.
–Jeff Jarrett comes by the announce table to say that he will send Bret Hart back to Calgary, thereby preventing him from going to the Royal Rumble, and he warns William Shatner to stay out of his business.
–Tune in next week to see Bret Hart clash with Jeff Jarrett! Bret will have William Shatner in his corner to counter the Roadie.
The Last Word: The opener makes this a fun edition of RAW as it is an example of the best televised match you were going to get during this time period. The show also did a good job building to the Bret Hart-Jeff Jarrett match next week, with the Shatner stuff being good for USA Network in building up the TekWar series and the WWF in that they hoped it would draw more eyes to the product.
Next Up: WWF Superstars from January 14!