What the World Was Watching: The Action Zone – June 25, 1995

Jim Ross and Todd Pettengill narrate a video package for why Bret Hart and Henry Godwinn are facing each other in a rematch of their Superstars encounter, which occurred two weeks ago, on today’s show.  Godwinn says that he will give Bret the beating of his life.

Ross and Pettengill are in charge of commentary and they are taped from Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

Opening Contest:  Hakushi (w/Shinja) (18-1) pins Bob Cook after a springboard splash at 3:42:

Pettengill hypes Hakushi as a feature Hall of Famer based on his current win/loss record but to get into the Hall of Fame one needs opportunities and Hakushi is absent from tonight’s King of the Ring pay-per-view.  Hakushi could pin Cook after a flying headbutt but Shinja tells him not to – after all, that is Bam Bam Bigelow’s finisher – so Hakushi uses the springboard splash to win instead.

The old video of a young fan screaming “Breeeettt!” backstage as Bret Hart gets ready to go to the ring for a match is shown to illustrate how the WWF’s New Generation cares.

Aldo Montoya (9-5) beats Bill Payne after a springboard flying bulldog at 1:48:

It was already tough to take Montoya seriously with his attire but it has become even more difficult after Montoya had to kiss Jerry Lawler’s feet several weeks ago on Superstars.  Montoya jumps around, Payne cannot keep up, and Montoya wins in less than two minutes.

Barry Didinski, whose hair Todd Pettengill makes fun of, tries to sell King of the Ring t-shirts.  Get yours by calling 1-800-TITAN-91 and sending the company $18 (plus $3.95 shipping & handling)!  A Bob Backlund for president button is also included.

Mabel (w/Mo) (4-1) pins David Haskins after a belly-to-belly suplex at 1:11:

On the eve of the tournament the company finally decides to give Mabel a singles match, doing a hard sell for his first round bout with the Undertaker.  Haskins does a nice 360 sell for a Mabel clothesline and Mabel finishes Haskins with the belly-to-belly suplex as Ross puts over how Mabel had to be weighed by cargo scales in Singapore.

The WWF Blimp is flying over Philadelphia today and will be making an appearance at the Special Olympics over Connecticut in the near future.

The Undertaker and Paul Bearer cut an in-ring promo where they say that Mabel should not be a problem because the Undertaker has beaten lots of giants before.  The Undertaker says that it is time for his body count to continue.  The Undertaker also tells Kama that if they meet in the King of the Ring semi-finals that he will get revenge for what Kama did to the urn and even if Kama does not advance then he will still suffer at a later date.

Sid & Tatanka (w/Ted DiBiase) (2-0) defeat Buck Quartermaine & Gus Kantarrakis when Sid pins both men after a set of powerbombs at 3:14:

Tatanka hits the End of the Trail on Kantarrakis less than forty seconds into the contest but refuses to pin him, tossing him into the corner and forcing Quartermaine to give things a go.  However, Quartermaine fares no better, taking some nice bumps from Sid’s power offense.  Sid eventually powerbombs both jobbers and pins them both.  This was the best match that Sid and Tatanka have had yet and did a lot to put them over before The King of the Ring.

After the match, Sid says that he and Tatanka will destroy Diesel and Bam Bam Bigelow at The King of the Ring.

Ross and Pettengill recap the events that produced the tag team main event at The King of the Ring.

Call 1-900-737-4WWF to get expert commentary from Stan Lane and Owen Hart about the events that take place tonight at The King of the Ring.

Bret Hart (6-2-2) pins Henry Godwinn (13-3-1) after a small package at 9:37 shown:

In a nice touch, these two pick up where they last left off, tearing into each other after the opening bell and then each selecting a specific body part, with Bret going for the right leg and Godwinn going for Bret’s shoulder after a blind charge.  Godwinn dominates much of the encounter, which becomes a small submissionfest, before an ill-advised charge sends him flying over the top rope and triggers Bret’s famous “moves of doom.”  Godwinn tries to go back to the shoulder and use his size but Bret flips over Godwinn out of a backslide with the help of the turnbuckles and cradles him for the win.  These two matches did a lot to put over Godwinn’s abilities in the ring, something he had not been able to showcase in a lot of squash matches prior to this, and were an entertaining series of bouts for television viewers.  Rating:  ***¼

The Last Word:  The show did a good job to build to The King of the Ring, with lots of clues that Mabel-Undertaker was not going to be a throw away contest.  Based on television coverage the favorites for the tournament seemed to be either Shawn Michaels or the Undertaker, but Ross and Pettengill were putting over Mabel hard as well so you could probably rank him third of the eight competitors.  And of course, the feature match was entertaining, continuing a streak of fun bouts in that slot on The Action Zone.

Wrestling Challenge had two additional squash matches:

*Adam Bomb (14-3-2) defeated Reginald Walker

*John-Pierre LaFitte (9-0-1) beat John Senowski

The WWF continued its tour of Europe, visiting the British Isles a few days before The King of the Ring.  Here are some of the results for the rest of that tour (courtesy of historyofwwe.com):

Dublin, Ireland – The Point – June 20, 1995:  WWF Women’s Champion Alundra Blayze defeated Bertha Faye…Men on a Mission beat the New Headshrinkers…Shawn Michaels defeated IRS…Adam Bomb beat King Kong Bundy…The Smoking Gunns defeated the Blu Brothers…Jean-Pierre LaFitte beat Duke Droese…The Undertaker defeated Kama…Bret Hart beat Hakushi.

London, England – Royal Albert Hall – June 22, 1995 (5,500; sell out):  Jean-Pierre LaFitte defeated Duke Droese…The Smoking Gunns beat the Blu Brothers via disqualification…WWF Women’s Champion Alundra Blayze pinned Bertha Faye…Adam Bomb beat King Kong Bundy…Men on a Mission beat the New Headshrinkers (This would be the last bout for the New Headshrinkers)…The Undertaker pinned Kama with the Tombstone…Shawn Michaels pinned IRS…Bret Hart defeated Hakushi with the Sharpshooter.

Backstage News*:          Although ratings for Monday Night RAW have been high, the ratings for other syndicated programming such as Superstars is struggling and the WWF may lose some of its syndicated outlets by September.  The WWF is negotiating with USA Network on a new television deal because their existing agreement expires in December.  One sticking point of the negotiations is that the WWF wants to get five minutes of advertising time to sell on its own rather than two minutes for each of its three shows on the network (RAW, Mania, and Action Zone).  Under the existing WWF-USA Network deal, the WWF makes $12,000 a week for their shows but it wants a higher deal and is trying to use the E Network as leverage in negotiations.  However, E Network is found in half the homes of USA Network so this could backfire on the company.

*With regards to talent relations, Dustin Rhodes has reportedly signed an agreement and will be coming in as a heel.

*A recent licensing fair at the Hilton in New York City on June 20 and 21 featured WWF and WCW stars.  WCW attracted bigger lines because they brought Hulk Hogan, although WWF talents Diesel, Razor Ramon, Doink, and the Bushwhackers had more involved interactions with attendees.

*Backstage news is sourced from Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer from July 3.

Up Next:  King of the Ring 1995!