Written by: Scrooge McSuck from DaWrestlingSite
– For those of you who aren’t familiar with this era of the WWF, let me just say that the big happening that took place on this card kind of reminds me of any lines of dilaogue in the original Star Wars Trilogy explaining how much better things were before the dark times of the Empire. Okay, so that might be a little too cryptic, but once the time comes, you’ll see what I’m talking about.
– Note: The only match excluded from this show featured the Bushwhackers taking on Well Dunn… do I have to give an explanation why this doesn’t upset me? Video quality is pretty good, too. Most of the time, the Madison Square Garden shows have retained the best possible quality through the years of tape trading.
– Opening Promo with MR. Bob Backlund… what is this, 1999? He wastes a good five minutes, which the crowd actually is into, booing him the entire time. That was the longest five-minutes ever… once he starts yapping, it’s pretty hard to hear, but from what I can piece together, he’s just gloating about how he won the WWF Championship from Bret Hart at Survivor Series, and how the fans should be thankful to have him as their Champion.
Opening Match: Aldo Montoya vs. Kwang (w/ Harvey Wippleman):
This might be decent, depending on how motivated Savio Vega is. Aldo Montoya is a freshly repackaged P.J. Walker, who spent the majority of 1993 and 1994 serving under the role of “compelte jobber.” I guess tapping into his Portuguese roots and wearing a yellow jock-strap on his head as a mask is a step in the right direction. I still like him better as Aldo than as Justin Credible. Kwang attacks before the bell with a spinning heel kick, then lays into him with a series of thrust blows to the throat. Whip is reversed, Aldo takes him over with an arm drag, followed by a dropkick and clothesline, sending him to the floor. Aldo follows with a plancha. Back inside, Aldo works a wristlock, but a Knucklelock goes in Kwang’s favor do to using an effective boot to the chest to keep the momentum. Montoya escapes with a rope walk arm drag, but runs into a clothesline, complete with the Fatu/Jannetty over-sell. Kwang celebrates with the wimpiest mist spit ever. Great Kabuki must be spinning in his grave! Kwang with a snapmare and it’s nerve hold time! Aldo fights free, but Kwang goes right back to it. Aldo escapes with elbows and comes off the ropes with a nifty lookin’ sunset flip for two. Kwang comes off the ropes with a charging boot for another two count. Scoop slam, but a running senton misses. Whip to the ropes, Aldo with an elbow, followed by a diving forearm for two. Whip to the corner, and Aldo comes off the ropes with a body press for two. Whip to the ropes, Aldo ducks under a heel kick, and finishes Kwang off with a hurricanrana for three at 7:02. Felt like your standard Superstars “feature match” at the time. Decent with a hot finish, but not much more to say than that.
– Change to the card due to Bret Hart’s “injury”: Howard Finkel informs us that tonight, Mr. Bob Backlund defends the WWF Championship against DIESEL. Instead of announcing it, they should’ve done a SummerSlam ’88 and just have Diesel come out without promotion and squash the fuck out of him, Warrior style.
WWF Intercontinental Title Match: Razor Ramon � vs. “Double J” Jeff Jarrett:
This was right before the angle between Razor and Double J kicked off, so no Roadie for Jarrett. This could be good, depending on the motivation of the two involved, but it’s nowhere near a guarante, so I won’t get my hopes up. Jarrett with cheap heel tactic #60: posing with the other guy’s belt. They exchange words, leading to cheap heel tactic #91: pointing to your head to show off how smart you are. Lockup, Jarrett with an arm drag, followed by strutting. Repeat. They fight over a wristlock until Jarrett takes him down with a toe hold and repeatedly bitch slaps him. Oh no he di’n’t! Another sequence ends with slapping, and then it’s cheap heel tactic #38: getting on the house mic’ to demand a forfeit. Ramon responds with a roundhouse right, sending Double J to the floor, and talks trash of his own. Back inside, Ramon catches a body press and turns it into a fallaway slam for two. Ramon with an armbar and retaliation bitch slaps. Jarrett comes back with a trio of dropkicks for two. Whip to the ropes, Ramon blocks a sunset flip for two, and Jarrett counters with a follow through for another two count. Ramon meets an elbow in the corner, allowing Jarrett to take control.
Whip from corner to corner, and Jarrett connects with an enziguri for two. Ramon fights free of a chinlock and back slides Jarrett for two. Jarrett with a clothesline for two, then back to the chinlock. The referee catches him using the ropes, forcing to break. Whip to the ropes, and Jarrett slaps on a sleeper. Razor fights out of that, but a swinging neck breaker puts him right back down for two. Jarrett to the middle rope, connecting with a fist drop. He goes up one too many times, and takes a fist to the midsection. Ramon with an atomic drop, but he sets up for the Razor’s Edge near the ropes, and you know what happens. You would think he would learn NOT to do it near the ropes like that. Jarrett with a body press from the top rope, but Ramon rolls through for two. Jarrett with another clothesline and back to the chinlock. Ramon with a back suplex to break it, and slowly crawls over to cover, getting a two count. Ramon with rights and Jarrett uses the tights to throw him to the floor. They brawl until Jarrett rams him to the post, and beats the count back in for the victory at 16:22.
BUT WAIT! Double J doesn’t want it to end that way, because he wants to win the title. Cheap heel tactic #1: demand the match be restarted because the champion is a yellow chicken. Jarrett lays into him with rights. Lots of them. Whip to the ropes, Ramon catches Jarrett with his head down, and the Razor’s Edge finishes him off just like that at around the two-minute mark. Well, I hardly count that last minute or so as part of the real match, but it actually delivered, mostly thanks to Jarrett carrying the load of the match. I’m surprised the New York crowd ate up Jarrett’s southern style heel work as much as they did. Also color me surprised that when Jarrett won the title, it was with the “I demand the match to restart” tactic, as that typically sets up failure for the heel.
Mabel (w/ Oscar) vs. Pierre:
Now THIS is what I call filler. Pierre has been absent from television since the early days of Summer once Jacques Rougeau “retired” and broke up the Quebecers, and Mabel has been working solo for most of 1994 thanks to an injury to Mo shortly after WrestleMania. Oscar’s “rap” is completely incoherent, and that’s taking into account the adjustment it takes to properly hear these fan-cam videos. Lockup, and Mabel easily throws Pierre to the floor. Pierre grabs a headlock, but Mabel easily counters with a back suplex. Test of Strength time, with Pierre gaining the advantage with a series of boots. Mabel counters with a Northern Lights Suplex, followed by a slam. Whip to the ropes, back drop, and a clothesline sends Pierre to the floor. He teases taking a walk, but he’s a dirty liar. Mabel attempts a suplex from the apron, but Pierre counters by hanging him across the top rope, then splashes him across the middle rope, Boss Man style. Pierre charges again, taking a back drop to the floor, but he recovers quickly and comes off the top with a missile dropkick for two. This match is so captivating I’m listening to a discussion about a Super Famicom wrestling game… Fire Pro series, perhaps? Back to the match, Mabel misses a charge to the corner. Pierre with a leg drop from the top, but doesn’t cover. Mabel rolls to the floor, and Pierre follows with a somsersault plancha. Back inside, Mabel mounts his comeback, coming off the ropes with a spinning heel kick for two. Whip to the corner, avalanche, and a second rope body press crushes Pierre for the three count at 10:01. Decent spots here and there, loosely connected to fill time.
WWF Championship Match: Mr. Bob Backlund (c) vs. Diesel:
As mentioned earlier, Diesel is a very-last minute substitution for Bret Hart, who is out with an injury sustained at the Survivor Series, courtesy of Backlund (kayfabe, of course). Introductions take forever, and then it’s kick wham Powerbomb for the three count at the 8-second mark, making Diesel the NEW WWF Champion and the new leader of the WWF’s New Generation marketing plan. Do we really need to discuss how AWFUL of an idea this turned out to be? Not only from the quality of feuds we had to endure all of 1995 (with main events against Sid, Tatanka, King Mabel, and a past-his-prime Davey Boy Smith), but a strady drop in live event sales and PPV buyrates going down the toilet. There’s holding on to an idea in hopes of something working, but the second Shawn Michaels completely upstaged Diesel at WrestleMania XI, the plug should’ve been pulled. Diesel wasn’t working, and couldn’t even be considered the top face when a heel was getting better face pops than him during the title match on the biggest show of the year (held in the worst possible location… really, Hartford CT?!). You have to wonder how this hot-shot change came to be, when original plans sugested a decent length reign, at least up until WrestleMania, for Backlund.
The Headshrinkers (w/ Lou Albano & Afa) vs. The Executioners:
(Fatu & Sionne vs. Pain & Agony)
The Executioners are subbing for Michaels and Diesel, who split at the Survivor Series. Wait… are you telling me that the WWF was so hard up to fill a show at Madison Square Garden that we got Barry Hardy and Duane Gill under their Executioner masks to fill out the card?! This is obviously the “New” Headshrinkers, with Samu being let go shortly after SummerSlam and replaced by Sionne, formerly known as the Barbarian. What was the WWF’s obsession with bringing older talent back in ’94? Barbarian, Volkoff, Bundy, Davey Boy, Koko B. Ware, Neidhart… for a “New Generation”, all of these guys were around in the mid 80’s, when alleged dinosaurs Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair were on top. Fatu sells the discomfort of having to wear boots… yes, that was an angle they ran at the time.
Sionne and Agony start. We get about three-minutes of nothing before the first lockup, thanks to the bell ringing before the Headshrinkers removed their entrance attire. The camera loses focus as Sionne works him over with a wristlock. Pain tags in, but a double clothesline has no effect. Sionne with a noggin’ knocker, then press slams Pain onto his partner. Both go spilling to the floor, and we get stalling. Fatu takes his turn working both of them over, followed by even more stalling. Back inside, Fatu sends Agony to the buckle, then sells for his own boot, again, begging Captain Lou to let him take them off. No dice, home slice. Agony continues to suffer… uh… agony, at the hands (and heads) of the Headshrinkers. Pain tags in, repeat the same formula. The massacre continues until Fatu finishes off Pain with the splash off the top rope for three at 12:42. Yes, THIRTEEN MINUTES. FOR THIS. More than half of it was stalling.
– Diesel comes out for Championship Celebration #2.
The British Bulldog vs. King Kong Bundy:
Oh man, please let this be quick. Davey Boy made his return at SummerSlam, coming to the aid of brother-in-law Bret, and Bundy… welcome to the NEW Generation! Lockup, and Bundy”s fat over-powers Bulldog’s… uh… power. Bulldog rocks him with shoulders, until finally a third one puts him down on the canvas. Bulldog with a slam attempt, but Bundy blocks. Whip to the ropes, Bundy with an elbow, but misses a follow up elbow drop. Bulldog goes to work on the arm until a well placed fist to the chin knocks him to the floor. He comes back in through the legs and goes for another slam, but this time Bundy lands on top for a two count. Bulldog fights free of a chinlock, only to run into an elbow. Bundy comes down on him with a knee drop for two. Whip to the corner, and the Avalanche misses. Bulldog with a dropkick, sending Bundy to the floor. They brawl until Bulldog slams Bundy on the floor, and we’ve got ourselves a Double Count-Out at 6:54. This was pretty bad, but at least it was short.
The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) vs. Irwin R. Schyster:
Three days earlier, I.R.S. did his best to try and cost the Undertaker the Casket Match against Yokozuna, and then started doing vignettes about having to pay your taxes, even after death, and reposessing headstones as a way to get under the Undertaker’s (cold) skin. Eh… could’ve been a worse way to explain why two people are feuding. No Dibiase with I.R.S., despite using the Dibiase theme music. I guess Tatanka and Bigelow were working another town that night. I never quite understood… was this a sort of demotion for Undertaker, or promotion for I.R.S.? I know I.R.S. worked programs with Ramon and Tatanka in 1994, but stills eems out of place. If you think about it, I.R.S. is the most “normal” person to be programmed with Undertaker since JAKE ROBERTS in 1992. I almost said Mr. Hughes, but almost all of their matches were 30-second squashes. Other than them, you’ve got the Berzerker, Kamala, Nailz, Giant Gonzales, Yokozuna, and the Fake Undertaker.
Anyway, onto the match… surprise, surprise, I.R.S. with stalling as soon as the match begins. He avoids a few lockup attempts and rolls back to the floor. Undertaker follows, allowing I.R.S. to get the early upperhand. Whip to the ropes is reversed and ‘Taker connects with a big boot. He grabs the arm and it’s time to go (Not Really) Old School. Undertaker with a clothesline to the back of the head, sending Irwin to the floor. He pulls ‘Taker put as well and sends him into the ring steps. Back inside, he slaps on the abdominal stretch, and sure as sugar, he does use the ropes for added leverage. Undertaker fights free, but Irwin puts him back down with a diving clothesline. ‘Taker tries sitting up, but a series of boots and elbow drops put him back down. I.R.S. to the top rope, but he takes too long and gets slammed off for it. Whip to the ropes, and it’s Undertaker’s turn to hit the diving clothesline. I.R.S. mounts a mild comeback, but a cross body press is caught, and Undertaker turns it into the Tombstone, and it’s good enough for three at 8:04. Other than the waste of time to open the match, surprisingly watchable and kept reasonably short.
Final Thoughts: A historically significant show, just for the WWF Championship change ushering in the beginning of what many thought was the end of the WWF, before their triumphant return to glory in 1998. Quality wise, the only match worth a damn is Ramon vs. Jarrett for the Intercontinental Title. ‘Taker vs. I.R.S. and Montoya vs. Kwang were good matches, but hardly anything to really clamor about, and then you’ve got a 13-minute squash match, Bulldog and Bundy dialing in Collect, Mabel vs. Pierre, and an 8-second Championship Match. As a fan-cam fan, I would recommend it, but for watching quality performances, it leaves a lot to be desired.