The SmarK Rant for WWF Action Zone – 10.23.94
Although KrisPLettuce doesn’t have MUCH WWF stuff in the archive, here’s an interesting one that people have asked me for in the past. I’d rather cover this than Superstars in 1994, that’s for sure.
So this was another attempt for Vince to create a new franchise show on USA, replacing All American, which predictably lasted a few months before he got bored of it and it turned into another recap show. In retrospect it’s a miracle that Monday Night RAW survived Vince’s new toy syndrome and went on to have the run it did. But this was quite the show to start out.
Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Todd Pettengill
WWF World title: Bret Hart v. Owen Hart
This is billed as Owen’s last ever shot at the WWF title, and Vince already thinks it’ll be a ROMP ‘EM STOMP ‘EM AFFAIR. Hey now, let’s not say things we can’t back up. They fight for the lockup to start as Todd makes TOPICAL REFERENCES so we know how live and not taped this show is. Owen hides in the ropes to escape getting taken down and Todd is really, really trying hard to banter and he just comes across so lame. Bret quickly catapults Owen into the corner and rolls him up for two, and then gets a pair of armdrags to send Owen to the floor for some advice from Jim Neidhart. British Bulldog also joins us to even up the sides as Owen works a headlock on Bret and we take a break. Back with Bret trying to escape the hair-pulling and headlocks, but Owen counters and takes him down again to keep control. Bret fights out and walks into a knee to the gut, and Owen chinlocks him. Bret fights up again, but Owen cuts him off with a belly to belly for two. Bret with a sunset flip for two. Oh man, Todd really needs someone like Gorilla Monsoon to rein him in and keep him on topic.
Owen whips Bret into the corner for the Bret Bump and follows with a missile dropkick, and then he distracts the ref while Anvil takes out Bret’s knee and works him over in the corner. Owen with a leglock on the mat and he continues working the leg and stomps the knee in the corner. “Mom’s not here to help you!” he notes for some quality shit-talking. Owen teases the Sharpshooter and then goes with the figure-four instead, putting Bret down for a pair of near-falls, but Bret rolls him over as we take another break. Back with Owen going up and Bret hitting him on the way down to make the comeback. Atomic drop gets two. Legsweep gets two. I should note that by this time Vince has decided to just do the damn commentary himself and ignore Todd. Backbreaker and Bret goes up with the middle rope elbow for two. Bret gets distracted by Anvil and Owen rolls him up for two, and Bret reverses for two. It’s a SEE SAW MATCHUP BACK AND FORTH, Vince’s equivalent of seven stars in the Tokyo Dome. They fight over a suplex and Bret takes him to the top for a superplex, but Anvil grabs Owen’s leg and Bret bumps to the mat. So Bulldog has had enough, crotches Owen, and Bret covers him for the pin to retain at 21:49. Hell of a match to kick off the new show, as both guys were motivated and working hard. ****.
Afterwards, Bret throws out the challenge to Bob Backlund and offers to defend the WWF title against him now that Owen has been dispatched for good. That’s MISTER Bob Backlund to you.
Back to the dressing room, Mr. Backlund doesn’t believe any challenges until the contract is signed, sealed and delivered, because Bret is a plebian quagmired in a sea of hypocrisy. I know, right! I was just saying that the other day.
The Heavenly Bodies v. Gary Scott & Rich Myers
The jobber graphic is very misleading, because the way it’s laid out could easily be read as “Gary Rich & Scott Myers” and then your day is all fucked up. Scott tries a rollup on Pritchard and gets laid out with a clothesline as a result. Jimmy Del Ray comes in with a superkick on the guy and chokes him out while Todd makes references to David Brinkley for some reason and Vince has to pretend he’s hilarious. Bodies double-team Myers and Tom drops Del Ray on Myers with the legdrop. Back to Scott, who tries to go up for a bodypress, but the Bodies just swat him down and Del Ray hits him with a gourdbuster to set up a flying knee from Dr. Tom to finish at 3:15.
Meanwhile, on Superstars, Doink introduces a fourth midget to go with his other two. Hopefully he has licenses for them and got them microchipped.
Tatanka v. Mike Moraldo
Man, the teaser graphic for this match showed Tatanka in a cool suit and everything, but he’s just got the same gear as usual for the match. Tatanka chops him in the corner and puts him down with a clothesline. Vince wants to stress that Lex Luger would never sell out, and no one will ever doubt his word again. Hold on, I’m just gonna make a note on that, in case the topic comes up again any time soon. Siri? Can you make a note of that for me and remind me of it sometime around September of 1995? OK, done. Tatanka whips him into the corner and tosses him to the floor, and then back in for a flying chop to End of the Trail to finish at 3:44.
Meanwhile, the Hart Attack Tour goes all across the USA! Starting in Toronto! Yeah that checks out.
Meanwhile, other sports might go on strike so that athletes can be fairly compensated for their talents, but not the WWF!
Adam Bomb v. Bob Starr
I’ve heard that Nova called himself “Hollywood Bob Starr” as a rib on another worker, so I’m wondering if this is the Bob Starr in question? Starr tries a headlock and gets dropped with a backbreaker while the announcers bitch about the NFL pregame shows being boring, in the kind of hot take discourse that all the kids were into back in 1994. Bomb drops an elbow and goes to a chinlock, then whips Starr into the corner and finishes with the Meltdown at 2:22.
Meanwhile, IRS stops by a funeral home to accuse a dead guy of ducking an audit by getting himself declared dead. Was his name Hotblack Desiato? You nerds know what I’m talking about.
Undertaker v. Mike Bell
Taker with the usual and he sends Bell to the floor while Todd notes that Paul Bearer is “kissing Undertaker’s mom” when he’s caressing the urn. In a few years that metaphor would take on another layer. Back in the ring, tombstone finishes at 2:40.
Next week: A tag team title match you may have heard about before, and if you’re me, seen a few dozen times.
I’d call this enough of an improvement over Superstars to keep going with it.