WWE Vintage Collection Report: 28th December 2008
By Shaun Best-Rajah.com Reporter
Hosted by: Mean Gene Okerlund
Welcome aboard. I hope everyone had a great Christmas. This week, four random matches from Spring 1995 have been picked, highlighting some newcomers and hot stars at that time. Most of the matches have been cherry picked from the Coliseum Video release of WrestleFest ’95. The Smoking Gunns, Alundra Blayze and Razor Ramon have all been promised. However it’s with Shawn Michaels we start, who as Okerlund states, was a star on the rise. Vince McMahon and Dok Hendrix (Michael Hayes) call the first bout, while Gorilla Monsoon and Stan Lane cover the rest of the show. Let’s go.
Shawn Michaels vs Tom Prichard w/Jimmy Del Ray & Jim Cornette
The date is May 1995. The place, Superstars of Wrestling (coming back next April by the way). Prichard (in his Heavenly Body phase) is already in the ring. Fireworks and dancing take centre stage for the just-turned-face Michaels, back from being turned on and powerbombed by Sid, right after WrestleMania XI. The crowd are in a frenzy. Michaels has fine tuned his cockiness to appeal to the crowd at this point. McMahon puts him over big time throughout. Using his quickness, Michaels trips Prichard, then walks across his back. Following a slap to Prichard, Michaels slaps his own wrist, meekly offers his hand in apology, but Prichard answers with kicks and punches. Michaels slides out of the ring to whack Cornette on the backside with his own Tennis racket. McMahon calls Michaels better than Andre Agassi. Del Ray isn’t game for Tennis and backs away. Michaels stays on top, hitting Prichard with a double axehandle from the top rope, backbodydrop and dropkick. Prichard goes outside to recover. Michaels occupies himself by bashing Del Ray and Cornette’s heads in. Michaels thwarts Prichard’s sneak attack, floats over following an Irish whip and delivers a hiptoss. Prichard begs off, swings a leg, but Michaels catches and hits a shoulder tackle. Cornette distracts the referee as Michaels runs the ropes, allowing Del Ray to pull the top rope down. Michaels crashes and burns. Behind the referee’s back, Del Ray drives Michaels backfirst into the ringpost then hits a rolling senton from the ring apron. Inside, Prichard focuses on the back with a slam and boston crab. The referee spots an assist by Del Ray, forcing Prichard to break the hold. McMahon speculates on Michaels’ back being re-injured, as he fails with a suplex attempt. Prichard goes to a sleeper. Michaels stays alive, escaping via a back suplex. Prichard recovers to suplex Michaels. Michaels fails with another suplex attempt so he resorts to a swinging neckbreaker. Michaels continues his fightback with a flying forearm, slam and picture perfect elbow from the top rope. Michaels breaks from a cover to run Cornette off the apron, crotch Del Ray up top and hit the recently named Sweet Chin Music on Prichard. 1-2-3. Great start to the show. Michaels had the crowd in the palm of his hand and played that up well. Solid matchup that also continued the storyline (at the time) of Michaels having a back injury. Prichard was certainly no slouch either. Very underrated worker. Here is Your Winner: SHAWN MICHAELS. Post match sees Michaels pose for the crowd.
Okerlund references the Tag Team dominance of the Smoking Gunns during the mid 1990s. He didn’t mention the Tag Division was in a bit of a funk back then. In early 1995, Men on a Mission were the Gunns main rivals. During a face vs face Tag Title match, MOM thought they won the belts, but Bart had his foot under the rope. During the confusion, the Gunns took advantage to retain. After the match, MOM heelishly beat down the Gunns. The next week, MOM publicly apologised, and the Gunns accepted. However, it was a trap as MOM cemented their heel turn with a second vicious beatdown. Okerlund misses out MOM attacking and dumping their manager Oscar as we head to our match, in April of 1995, not May as Okerlund says. (By the way, the Gunns lost the titles to Owen Hart and Yokozuna at WrestleMania XI).
The Smoking Gunns vs Men on a Mission
The Gunns clear the ring following a double dropkick to Mabel. Mo pounds on Billy, who retaliates with a slam, standing dropkick and armdrag. Bart works over Mo’s arm. Mabel tags and gets the advantage with a shoulder tackle and slam. Bart ducks underneath Mabel, staggering the big man with two dropkicks. Mabel reverses an Irish whip then squashes Bart in the corner, to regain the advantage. Bart gets floored by a big boot. MOM isolate Bart, as Mabel delivers a suplex. Back from a break, MOM resort to swapping without tagging to draw heat and rile Billy on the apron. After pulling a switcheroo on a chinlock, Mabel catches Bart in a bearhug. Bart elbows free but eats a clothesline. Mo re-applies the bearhug. Billy gets a tag, which the referee doesn’t see, so MOM switch again. Mabel chokes Bart in the ropes before spiking him across the back. Whoomp there it is. After Mabel stands on Bart’s chest, Monsoon gets hot at Mo taunting Bart at wanting to be a wrestler. Lane calms him down. Mo slams Bart, before Mabel misses an elbow from the second rope. Whoomp there it isn’t. Both men tag out, with Billy going after both members of MOM with fists. The Gunns try a double Irish whip, but Mabel ends up tackling Billy to the mat. Mabel clotheslines Bart and kicks him under the bottom rope. Mabel charges at Billy, who moves, after pulling Mo in to be squashed. Whoopsie there it is. Bart dropkicks Mabel down from behind, while Billy small packages Mo for the 1-2-3. An OK matchup. Nothing fancy. Mo was good at getting heat. Not long after, MOM stopped teaming, with Mo becoming Mabel’s manager following his win at King of the Ring. That’s not a memory I wish to recall so I’ll stop there. Here Are Your Winners: THE SMOKING GUNNS.
Alundra Blayze & Bob “Spark Plugg” Holly vs Bull Nakano & Hakushi w/Shinja
March 1995. Beforehand, Okerlund put over Hakushi and Nakano as two of the captivating new faces to the WWF from the Orient. Mixed tag rules apply. Shinja used to be Sato (not Kato) of Orient Express fame. Hakushi sported Japanese symbols all across his face and body. Holly had a long brown mullet at this point. All four face each other. Nakano shoves Blayze, who responds with a spinning back kick. Chops don’t faze Nakano, so Blayze leaps off the second rope with a flying shoulder tackle to floor Nakano. A standing moonsault gets Blayze a one count. Nakano counters a headscissors out of the corner with a powerbomb. Nakano delivers two whirly bird hair throws. Ouch! Nakano throws Blayze to the mat before tagging in Hakushi. Nakano slaps Holly, enabling Hakushi to steal a nearfall from a rollup. Holly comes back with a side headlock, shoulder tackle, hiptoss reversal and armbar. An Irish whip gets botched and Holly has to awkwardly backtrack to the corner to take Hakushi’s handspring backelbow spot. Hakushi whips Holly a second time and dropkicks him in the corner. Hakushi lands a slam and springboard Vader Bomb for a nearfall. Holly throws Hakushi off of a chinlock, delivers a clothesline, then tags in Blayze. Nakano charges in to clothesline Blayze. Nakano whips Blayze to the corner, but Blayze handstands out onto the apron, before quickly hanging Nakano up on the top rope. Inside, Nakano counters a sunset flip by sitting on top of Blayze. Blayze comes back with a hurracanrana. Nakano clotheslines Blayze over the top rope onto the apron. Blayze quickly trips Nakano then hits a dropkick from the second rope. Nakano scrambles into a tag. That was a great fast paced exchange there by the women. Monsoon says this match would Main Event any arena in the world. Whoa! steady on Monsoon. Holly delivers a suplex. Nakano trips Holly coming off the ropes. Blayze and Nakano go at it on the outside. Inside, Hakushi connects with a dropkick. Hakushi and Nakano try simultaneous running bulldogs, but get sent into one another. Holly and Blayze clear the ring then hit successful top rope attacks to their foes on the floor. Shinja distracts Holly and Blayze to enable a sneak attack. Hakushi sends Holly outside then takes him out with a plancha. Meanwhile, Blayze ducks a clothesline, then pins Nakano following a bridging german suplex. 1-2-3. Pretty good fast paced intergender match. The women outshined the men. Hakushi looked a little nervous and hesitant out there. His best matches came against Bret Hart a few months later. Here Are Your Winners: ALUNDRA BLAYZE & BOB “SPARK PLUGG” HOLLY. Post match sees Hakushi flash Nakano a dirty stare. Monsoon teases problems between the two.
Intercontinental Title (Roadie in a Cage Match)
Double J Jeff Jarrett vs Razor Ramon
Main Event. Shades of TNA with the wacky gimmick and a Jarrett appearance on WWE TV. April 1995. Jarrett was playing the country singer gimmick here. Jarrett upset Razor for the title at the 1995 Royal Rumble, thanks to assistance by the Roadie. To ensure a fair match, the Roadie would be suspended above the ring in a cage. On the mic, Razor says tonight Roadie goes in the cage and Jarrett gets the Razor’s Edge. Jarrett starts on the outside. Roadie tries a sneak attack and holds Razor. Razor ducks a Jarrett attack with Jarrett’s punch sending Roadie into the cage. The referee shuts the door and the cage is hoisted away into the air. Jarrett stalls on the outside then protests to referee Danny Davis. Monsoon refers to him as ‘Dangerous’ at one point in the match, in a nice throwback reference. The commentators also call the Roadie, ‘Road Dogg’ a lot, during the course of the match. Razor attempts pinfalls right off the bat. Razor ducks Jarrett’s enziguiri and clotheslines him for a third nearfall. Jarrett counters a backbodydrop with a swinging neckbreaker. Jarrett hits two dropkicks and a running spike in the ropes. Jarrett performs the Jackie Fargo strut. Razor initially blocks a sunset flip, but Jarett gets him over for two. Jarrett clotheslines then slows the pace down with a chinlock. Razor elbows free, then counters a hiptoss into a backslide for two. Monsoon thinks Razor could have driven the move better with his legs. Jarrett drills Razor with a backelbow then cinches in another chinlock. Back from a break, Jarrett sends Razor into Davis, who goes down. Roadie drops Jarrett some rope from the cage. Razor wrestles the rope from Jarrett, but Davis, now recovered, prevents Razor from using it. Davis is dangerous no more it would seem, and is on the right side of the tracks. I doubt Dynamite Kid sees it like that, but I digress. Jarrett tries to go on the attack but gets caught in the Razor’s Edge. The impact sends Jarrett tumbling to the outside. Razor breaks up a count to go out after Jarrett. The two brawl up the ramp and both get counted out. Jarrett goes to the back as the crowd boo the finish. The Roadie gets lowered down as Razor gets on the mic once more. After telling Jarrett to keep the gold for now, Razor says he wants a piece of the Roadie. The Roadie wants no such part, but he’s out of luck as Razor sends him into the cage then gives him the Razor’s Edge. Jarrett runs back in, only to get dumped into the cage with the Roadie. Razor padlocks them in and waves them goodbye as the cage gets lifted. The crowd pop for this as compensation for the screwy finish, which ruined a passable match. Here is Your Winner: DOUBLE COUNTOUT.
Okerlund attributes Razor’s lack of focus, in his failure to reclaim the gold. However, Razor ended up winning the belt a short time later from Dean (Shane) Douglas, on a night when the Franchise was well and truly Cliqued.
Okerlund wraps things up to end the show.
On the subject of the Franchise, it would be nice to see some classic ECW footage on this show once in a while. Maybe some pre-NWO WCW action too. Now that would be nice.
Best match: Shawn Michaels vs Tom Prichard.
Worst match: The Smoking Gunns vs Men on a Mission.
I enjoyed the show this week. Some good wrestling and memories in part. I look forward to this show each week as you never quite know what you’re going to get. To welcome in 2009, next Sunday will see the launch of the first ever Vintage Collection awards exclusive to Rajah.com. Voters from previous Heat and Velocity awards will know the drill. For those that don’t, I’ll be working on the categories this week, but if anyone has any suggestions, do get in touch. Happy New Year everyone. See you next week. Shaun.
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