WWF Monday Night RAW – November 28th, 1994
By Brian Bayless on 10th March 2020
November 28, 1994
From the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, NY
Your hosts are Vince McMahon and Jerry “The King” Lawler
Vince narrates a package of still photos from the Bob Backlund vs. Bret Hart match at Survivor Series. And from that we see Diesel defeat Backlund two days ago at Madison Square Garden for the title.
Tonight in action we will see Adam Bomb vs. IRS. Also in action is Owen Hart plus an interview with Diesel.
Owen Hart vs. John Paul
Owen has the towel that his mother tossed into the ring at Survivor Series, costing his brother the title. Vince says that Bret is back home at Calgary recuperating and will be joining us soon on the phone. Owen works over Paul then catches him with a spinning heel kick. Bret is now on the phone and gets taunted by Lawler. Owen hits Paul with a backbreaker as the crowd chants for Bret. Vince asks Bret to tell us about his condition as Bret says his tendons and shoulders are sore and believes he will be back around the new year. Vince then asks if he had the chance to see the actions of Owen at Survivor Series as Bret says he has not but will watch it in its entirety during the encore PPV airing. Some product placement there. Owen stays in control as Vince welcomes Bret’s return. Paul fights back and hits a dropkick but Owen catches him with a belly-to-belly suplex then locks on the Sharpshooter for the win (4:01).
Thoughts: The main focus here was Bret on the phone. And he did not even seem mad about getting fucked out of the title. It was odd. Anyway, Bret will return and with the former stipulation of Owen not getting a title shot with Bret as champion the two can have a match since Bret no longer has the belt. And another thing about this match was the anemic crowd. I’ve seen more people at local indy shows in the early 90’s. It looks minor league.
An ad for the Survivor Series encore airing.
Adam Bomb vs. IRS w/ Ted DiBiase & Druid
No idea of the Druid’s identity. Vince wishes Randy Newman a happy birthday. IRS says Undertaker will not rest in peace until he pays his taxes. Bomb takes control early as the announcers talk about the IRS/Undertaker feud and how IRS tried and failed to cost Undertaker his match at Survivor Series. IRS rolls outside for a breather but Bomb heads out and hammers away. Bomb rolls IRS back inside and hits a slingshot clothesline for a two count. Bomb whips IRS into the corner then grabs him by the tie but gets distracted when DiBiase gets up on the apron. IRS attacks Bomb from behind and sends him to the floor. The action heads back inside where IRS gets a two count after an elbow drop. IRS works a chin lock as we go to break. We return and IRS now has Bomb in an abdominal stretch. Bomb rolls up IRS for two but gets stomped then IRS puts on another chin lock. Bomb escapes and fires away then starts running wild. Bomb heads up top but the Druid shoves him off as the ref was distracted by DiBiase and IRS then hits a leg drop on the back of Bomb and covers for the win (6:48) *1/4. The Druid and IRS beat on Bomb until Lex Luger makes the save. Vince says that Luger is scheduled to wrestle tonight.
Thoughts: Your typical IRS snoozefest with a clumsy ending to boot. It also made Bomb looked like a lower card goof. And since Bomb fought a member of The Corporation and zero mention of Bam Bam Bigelow was mention it appears that feud has been randomly dropped, once again leaving Bomb in limbo.
Bob “Spark Plugg” Holly vs. Tony DeVito
DeVito hits a shoulder block but after that runs into a dropkick. Holly then hits a powerslam as the announcers talk about the Snowball Derby race that Holly will take part of this Saturday in Florida. Holly beats on DeVito in the corner but DeVito reverses an Irish whip then beats on Holly in the corner. DeVito continues to hammer away and hits a jumping back elbow smash for two. DeVito scoops up Holly for a slam then hits an elbow drop as Lawler laughs. Holly fights back and knocks down DeVito then catches him with a kick to the face and after that uses a flying clothesline for the win (2:51). Vince once again plugs the Snowball Derby.
Thoughts: Just some hype for Holly’s race as they have been pushing his race car driver gimmick a lot more lately.
Lex Luger vs. Bert Centeno
Vince puts over Luger’s performance at the Survivor Series but again, he came off looking like a loser and barely gets a reaction. Vince says the tickets for the Royal Rumble will go on sale this Saturday as Luger tosses around Centeno. Luger whiffs on an elbow drop as Centeno now fires away. Centeno also has slimmed down a bit. Luger takes Centeno down then hits a clothesline and puts Centeno away with the Rebel Rack as Vince hints at Luger being part of the Rumble match (2:10).
Thoughts: Trying to play up Luger getting a fluke pin on Tatanka at the Survivor Series when it came down to 3 vs. 1 then promptly losing as some sort great performance and stand of courage is not registering because Luger has looked like a loser at every point during this feud. Adding a guest flag bearer to Luger’s act is not helping either and its clear his push is fading away.
Vince is now in the ring and welcomes out Diesel. We see the fireworks go off and some signs in the crowd. Vince calls it a standing ovation. Diesel thanks everyone as Vince recaps his performance at the Survivor Series and what happened with Shawn Michaels. Diesel has a message for Shawn and that he might have gotten away at Survivor Series but had he gotten his hands on Shawn, he wouldn;t have survived. On the Tag Team Titles being vacated and how it felt getting the title shot, Diesel said he took an early flight into the city and walked the streets of New York City were everyone wished him good luck and that made him feel better. He then quotes Jackie Gleason by saying “how sweet it is because big daddy has got that gold” while Vince laughs to let us know he probably came up with that line. Diesel then mocks Backlund’s bow tie then taunts him to try and lock on the crossface chicken wing. Vince tells Diesel that Bret was on the phone earlier and while he does not know Bret too well he does not like how the belt was taken away and that Survivor Series would still be going on now if Bret had to give up on his own. Diesel then says the one thing he can emulate from Bret is to become a fighting champion. Diesel then tells Bret as a man of his word he’ll give him a title shot anytime, any place. Vince then asks Diesel for any last words of wisdom and Diesel responds by raising his fist and saying “on lives the New Generation and the World Wrestling Federation.” Well, I’ve commented on the corny, dated pre-taped promos from the syndicated shows and this was no better live. Did Vince think kids would see this and wait by the TV for each show to hear Diesel quote Jackie Gleason and make references to shows that were cancelled decades before they were born? I also mentioned the similarities in material to that of what Roman Reigns had to do in 2014-15 but Diesel delivered it better and came off more believable. Even still, it was not good. And the sudden title change and turn to “hip” babyface was too much, too soon. Wade Keller had a great article in the 12/3/94 edition of the “Pro Wrestling Torch Newsletter” about the title change: Here is an excerpt and if you are interested in current wrestling analysis or a vast archive of newsletters then subscribe to the Torch:
“The plan as of a few weeks ago was not to have Diesel win the belt, but instead for Backlund to hold the belt for at least a few months. Sometime in recent weeks, if not recent days, those plans changed.
The plans did not change because of Bret Hart leaving the WWF, which many fans probably thought happened based on the last-second substitution. In fact, a return date for MSG was announced for Jan. 16 and Finkel assured fans that Hart would be back in action for the card.
This move surprised most of the wrestling world, including WWF wrestlers who didn’t expect a Diesel title victory until next year.
My initial reaction was favorable. So often with McMahon’s booking you can pretty much tell what he’s going to do, but you’re never sure how or when he’s going to do something. In the case of Diesel, it was pretty well known that he was in for a world title push next year. No one saw this title change coming, though, this weekend. Because I like to be surprised, the shock value alone made me favor the move.
But the critics had strong arguments. They agree that Diesel was heavily cheered as part of a team with Michaels and on his own, but would he be too soft as a babyface? Would that positive heel heat translate as well as it did when Ramon turned babyface a year and a half ago? Or would he be perceived as a different person, less cool, just as was the case when Luger turned babyface in WCW and flopped, despite being such a popular heel?
So far, Diesel has softened. He has done a patriotic interview, telling Backlund to love the country or leave it. He has thanked the fans for their support. He has shown strict morals, such as during his turn when he was opposed to further beating on Ramon. He’s smiling and acknowledging the crowd. The Diesel that caused Madison Square Garden and virtually every arena in the country to cheer him over the last year is not a Diesel who is humble and smiles a lot. Yet McMahon pointed out how humble Diesel seemed during his live Raw interview. Perhaps Diesel’s popularity will hold up anyway, but it’s a gamble.
Another view of the critics is that Diesel is not perceived as being at the top level by fans yet. I disagree. I think the fan who concentrates on workrate will think Diesel is not at the level of Bret Hart or Ric Flair, but that’s not relevant in the WWF. Diesel is constantly improving and more importantly has reached a level of skill that is at worst adequate, at best pretty good. And at 6–10, 310, no one is looking for dives through the ropes. And with recent Intercontinental and Tag Team Titles reigns, he has the storyline credibility of being championship material.
What about challengers? That is the biggest question, although it would have been an important question if Bret Hart or Bob Backlund were champion. Hints have already been thrown out that an eventual Diesel–Bret Hart match will take place. A series against Bob Backlund appears to be the immediate series followed by a logical Diesel–Michaels series.
There is no guarantee, however, that Diesel will hold this belt very long. He might lose it back to Backlund, who in turn loses to Bret Hart at Royal Rumble. Diesel might then win the Royal Rumble and earn a title shot against Bret and be a challenger at Wrestlemania.
Either way, though, there are three logical opponents for Diesel to carry him the next six months. That is plenty of time for McMahon to create more opponents for the summer months. If Diesel remains champion, there is always the 6–9 Undertaker vs. 6–10 Diesel match that has possibilities at the gate down the line.
In the end, the reason I favor this move more than anything is Diesel gives the WWF a tall, well–built, charismatic champion much like WCW’s—but the WWF’s is a hip champion, not yesterday’s news in the fans’ eyes. Fan perception is important to the WWF and Diesel, more than Hart, may make the WWF seem to be the fresher of the two big promotions.”
We get a hype video for next week’s Jeff Jarrett vs. British Bulldog match.
Heavenly Bodies w/ Jim Cornette vs. Gary Scott & Buck Quartermain
Backlund is now at commentary as Del Ray has Quartermain in a side headlock. Backlund asks if its alright that he is here. Quartermain uses a pair of arm drags as Backlund is disgusted over Vince not having a dictionary and adds that any intelligent person would have one at arms length at all times. Scott tags in and connects with a pair of dropkicks but Prichard slows him down. Quartermain & Scott use quick tags as Backlund talks about improving society while being especially upset with Vince. The Bodies work over Scott as Vince asks Backlund about acting like the match hadn’t started yet during an interview that took place last Saturday when he lost the title. Backlund tells us about being at the library reading Sigmund Freud and how blacking out can be the result of a tragic situatuion. The Bodies stay in control then use a guillotine/elbow drop combo for the win (3:42). Backlund tells us he knows everything about Diesel and will put him in the crossface chicken wing then make him extinct like the tyrannosaurus rex.
Thoughts: The match was just a backdrop for Backlund’s commentary as he demands a rematch while playing his crazed old-man character.
We see footage of Diesel beating Backlund as Backlund says before he retires from the WWF he will put Vince in the chicken wing then he storms off and yells at the fans. Its like they were almost teasing something with Vince and Backlund here. Even Keller reported that there were “unsubstantiated” rumors going around of a Backlund vs. Vince match at WrestleMania XI. However, Keller also added that “insiders” noted that Vince had no idea Backlund was going to say what he did about putting him the crossface on live TV.
Vince plugs the Survivor Series encore airing.
Final Thoughts: The Diesel interview was poor and it was like a preview of his title reign with this promo in front of a small, lifeless crowd. The featured match also stunk as this was a show you did not need to watch.