WWF In High Gear Tour
Madison Square Garden- March 19, 1995
by Scrooge McSuck
- So we've gone from fwho-the-hell-knows-where, Canada to the mecca of professional sports in less than 24-hours. Rare for a card to take place on a Sunday afternoon at MSG. According to sources, the WWF participated in the March Magic fundraiser that same day to raise awareness for AIDS research. Non-WWF talent to appear included Knicks Coach Pat Riley, Patrick Ewing, and Magic Johnson. I guess that explains the early afternoon show. Barry Horowitz vs. Henry Godwinn is not featured.
Erik Watts & Chad Fortune vs. The Heavenly Bodies:
Interesting. Watts is infamously known as the son of Bill Watts and being over-pushed as a rookie in WCW in the early 90's. Fortune was mostly an unknown, though he had experience in the NFL, primarily on practice squads for the 1990-92 seasons. The two had a tryout on the February 21st tapings, and must've impressed enough to get booked at MSG. They have a generic look, with white shorts and black stripes down the sides. Prichard and Watts start. Prichard with a hair pull but Watts nips up. Whip and a double leapfrog (from Watts and Fortune), followed by a hip toss and jumping splash for two. Fortune Watts with double-team efforts to clear the ring before Fortune settles in with an arm bar on Del Ray. Del Ray escapes with knees to the midsection. Whip across the ring and Watts with a body drop and deep arm drag into the arm bar. Fortune with a double axe-handle from the top rope. Whip and Prichard with a knee from the apron, allowing Del Ray to hit the double thrust. Del Ray with a slam, followed by the assisted leg drop for two. Prichard takes a shot at Watts on the apron for the sake of doing it. Whip and Fortune surprises Del Ray with a sunset flip. Del Ray regains control with a clothesline as I've noticed they're using the same formula as the match with the Gunns the day before in Kingston. Prichard with a snap mare into a chin-lock. Fortune counters a neck breaker with a back-slide for two. He blocks a suplex and counters with his own. Del Ray cuts off the tag and hits Fortune with a jaw breaker for two. Messed up spot where Del Ray hits a moonsault but doesn't quite hit it (Fortune rolled a little too close to the corner when Del Ray was climbing the ropes). Crisscross and a double clothesline puts both down. Watts with the tag, running wild with rights. He hits Del Ray with a dropkick, and they take over Prichard with a double body drop. Watts to the top rope and the flying body press finishes at 7:36. Watts and Fortune WON? Wow. They exit to "Frankenstein" by the Edgar Winter Group. OK, that's a rib, right, because that was the Heavenly Bodies theme song in Smoky Mountain Wrestling. Decent, though you can tell Fortune lacked experience. **1/2
WWF Tag Team Championship Match:
As expected, the unnamed member of the Corporation ended up being Kama, subbing for Irwin R. Schyster for reasons unknown. Ted Dibiase is conspicuous by his absence. Kama and Billy start. Kama traps the arm and takes Billy over as he tries to work like he's an MMA fighter. Billy meets the saddest looking spinning kick and Kama follows with an overhead kick across the back. Tatanka unloads with chops, since it's all he can do as a heel. He plants Billy with a slam and puts the boots to him. Billy escapes the End of the Trail and takes Tatanka over with a sunset flip. Billy with an arm drag and dropkick before hooking an arm bar. Bart comes off the top with an axe-handle and picks up where Billy left off. Whip to the ropes and Bart with a hip toss, followed by a scoop slam and dropkick for two. Gunns with a double suplex and Billy drops a knee across the forehead for two. Whip and the Gunns hit the Sidewinder for two. Kama with a cheap shot from the apron to put Bart down. Kama with a belly-to-belly suplex. Is it sad that 10-year old me didn't realize Kama and Papa Shango were the same guy (for a little while)? Tatanka adds almost nothing to a match when on offense. Whip and a clothesline turned Bart inside out. Bart rallies but Tatanka cuts the comeback short. Kama starts ripping off Ludvig Borga's move-set, relying heavily on body blows. Kama with a side slam but a splash meets the knees. Billy gets the hot tag and runs wild with right hands. Whip to the ropes and he takes Tatanka over with a powerslam. Double Russian leg sweep to Kama. Bart sends Kama out of the ring with a clothesline and Billy cradles Tatanka for three at 10:59. I honestly expected a Corporation member to run in for the DQ. Match was watchable at times. *1/2
The Smoking Gunns (c) vs. Tatanka & Kama:
Submission Match: Adam Bomb vs. Mr. Bob Backlund:
Yay, I get to sit through this stinker for a second time. Adam Bomb's newest nickname is "The Creation of Devastation." I don't think that went anywhere, especially since he never got a real push. I'm honestly looking forward to not covering more Backlund matches. Backlund offers the handshake, and we know what happens. Backlund avoids a collar-elbow tie-up and does his goofy shuffle. Bomb with a takedown and mocks the shuffle, sending Backlund into a frenzy. They're literally doing the same match, only they cut out about 90-seconds of stalling. Except for Bret, I don't think ANYONE has had a good match with heel Backlund. Bomb works the leg, just like he did in Kingston. Bomb pulls Backlund away from the ropes and applies AN EVEN WORSE SINGLE-LEG CRAB THAN THE DAY EARLIER. Backlund hangs the arm across the top rope and rams the shoulder into the turnbuckle. Bomb avoids the Chicken Wing and goes back to working the leg. Backlund escapes a slam and hooks the Chicken Wing for the victory at 7:38. Pretty much the same match, minus more stalling. -*
- Special in-ring interview with Bam Bam Bigelow, conducted by Todd McDonald from Sports Extra on FOX Channel 5 (the New York affiliate). It's all about hyping his match at WrestleMania XI with Lawrence Taylor.
Diesel & Razor Ramon vs. Shawn Michaels & Jeff Jarrett (w/ The Roadie):
Look, THE MAIN EVENT is in the middle of the show. I can't believe after all these years, there's people too stupid to understand what the definition of "Main Event" is. Call this a preview for WrestleMania XI when Diesel meets Shawn and Razor faces Double J in singles action for the WWF Championship and Intercontinental Championship respectively. Diesel wants to start with Shawn, but he'll have to settle for Double J. Diesel with a knee lift and a flurry of forearms in the corner. Whip and he lays Jarrett out with a clothesline. Shawn runs in and is immediately hammered on by Ramon. Double whip and both Shawn and Jarrett take a body drop bump over the turnbuckles and to the floor. Roadie with a distraction, but it's for naught, as Ramon hits a double noggin knocker and double clothesline. Whip to the ropes and Diesel with an elbow, followed by Razor tossing Jarrett with a fallaway slam onto Shawn. Diesel finally gets hold of Michaels, but Jarrett quickly saves. Diesel reverses a whip to the corner and rolls Snake Eyes.
Ramon teases the Razor's Edge, but Shawn saves. Whip to the ropes and Shawn connects with the diving elbow. Snap mare out of the corner and Shawn with a jumping stomp across the face. Whip, double boot, and face-buster to Ramon. Jarrett sends him from corner to corner and hits an enzuigiri. Drop toe hold and Shawn with an elbow across the back. Razor gets tossed to the floor and worked over by Jarrett and the Roadie. They tease a count-out, but Razor beats the count at 9. Ramon rolls through a flying body press from Jarrett for two, but Jarrett quickly pops up to regain control. Jarrett with a swinging neck breaker to cut off a comeback attempt. Sawn comes in, but the referee prevents him from hitting the Super-Kick. Meanwhile, the Roadie hops on the apron and lays Razor out with a clothesline. Shawn tags in officially and hits a flying elbow for two. Michaels with a front face-lock to slow things down. Razor throws Shawn off to break the hold and a mid-ring collision leaves both men on the canvas. Diesel and Jarrett get the tags, and its clearly Diesel in control. He catches Jarrett with a side slam and knocks Roadie off the apron. Shawn comes in and is quickly sent to the floor with a clothesline. Whip and a big boot to Double J. He signals for the Jackknife, but Roadie pulls Jarrett to safety, unseen by the referee. They decide to take a walk, but Ramon won't let them off that easy, peppering both with right hands before sending Jarrett back in the ring. Roadie clips the knee to save Jarrett from the Razor's Edge.
Ramon falls out of the ring, selling the knee, and he gets counted-out at 14:26. BUT WAIT! Diesel wants the match to continue, so it restarts with him going 1-on-2 against the Intercontinental Champion and #1 contender to his own Championship. Somehow Diesel convinces Earl Hebner to let this happen, even though it breaks all the rules in the book. Shawn unloads with rights thanks to a quick distraction from Jarrett. Whip and they take Diesel down with a double clothesline. Jarrett with a flying clothesline for two. Flying bulldog for two. Flying body press for two. For a southern style worker, that's a lot of high risk in a row. Shawn with mounted rights, but Diesel pie-faces him down. Diesel tosses Jarrett off the top rope onto Shawn and hits the Jackknife, AND AGAIN THE ROADIE PULLS HIM TO SAFETY, and now Jarrett and Shawn take the count-out at 18:12. BUT WAIT! Diesel wants the match to continue, 1-on-1, with Shawn Michaels. AND THE REFEREE ALLOWS THAT, TOO! Might as well have made this Elimination Rules. They trade blows in the center of the ring, with Diesel getting the better of the exchange. Whip to the ropes and Diesel with a body drop, followed by a running boot. Suddenly, Sid runs in and attacks Diesel for the Disqualification at 20:07, and this time the bell is the final bell. Sid and Shawn continue the attack until THE F'N UNDERTAKER COMES OUT TO SCARE THEM OFF. Heck of a live event Main Event, minus the three non-finishes in one match. ***3/4
The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) vs. Bam Bam Bigelow:
Considering WrestleMania XI is around the corner, I don't expect a clean finish here, either. Bigelow stalls on the floor after the bell rings. Bigelow goes for a shoulder tackle but Taker knocks hm down with it and sends him out of the ring for more stalling. Taker follows, unloading on him with right thrusts. Bigelow tries putting the boots to him re-entering the ring, but Taker hits him with an uppercut. Whip to the corner and Taker with a snap mare. He grabs a wristlock and walks the ropes for a clothesline across the back. Bigelow counters a whip and connects with a Samoan drop. Undertaker sits up and is quickly knocked back down with an enzuigiri. Bigelow with a series of right hands, backing Taker into the corner. Whip to the opposite corner and Bigelow meets the boot charging in. Taker with a whip and clothesline, staggering Bigelow. Bigelow fights out of the corner and hits a clothesline for two. Bam Bam with a slam before settling in with a chin-lock. Back to their feet and Bigelow knocks Taker through the ropes with a shoulder tackle. He grabs a chair from ringside and hits Taker in the throat, IN CLEAR VIEW OF THE REFEREE. I guess it's legal since they're on the floor. Back inside, Taker starts no-selling and unloads with thrusts to the throat. He sends Bigelow to the corner and grabs a choke. Bigelow escapes, hits a clothesline, and drops a series of headbutts. He goes to the top for a moonsault and misses. I mean, Taker was MORE THAN HALF-WAY ACROSS THE RING, OBVIOUSLY THAT WAS MISSING. Taker with the Chokeslam, followed by a clothesline. Bigelow decides to simply walk off and take the count-out at 10:34. It really doesn't matter who it is, getting a good match out of this version of the Undertaker is too tall of a task for most. That bad finish was extra weak. *1/4
The 1-2-3 Kid vs. Hakushi (w/ Shinja):
This is a pleasant surprise. Knowing my luck, the match cuts off mid-way through. Lockup and the Kid grabs a side headlock. Whip to the ropes and the Kid takes Hakushi over with a hip toss. Hakushi with a headlock now, followed by a shoulder tackle. Crisscross and Hakushi cartwheels into a Super-Kick. The Kid flips out of a hip toss and hits a standing heel kick, followed by a front enzuigiri, knocking Hakushi to the floor. The Kid quickly follows with a somersault plancha. Shinja hops on the apron for the distraction, but the Kid catches Hakushi coming in with a series of kicks. Hakushi with another Super-Kick, knocking the Kid backwards into the turnbuckles and hits the seated splash that is basically BETA Bronco Buster. Hakushi with a snap mare into the arm bar. The Kid escapes with elbows but runs into a tilt-o-whirl back breaker. Whip to the ropes and Hakushi with a dropkick. He climbs the ropes and connects with a diving shoulder tackle for two. The Kid ducks a clothesline and counters with a leapfrog with a Liger-Bomb for two. The Kid unloads with rights and takes Hakushi over with a body drop. Whip and spinning heel kick for two. The Kid with a slam and flying leg drop for two. He goes to the top rope again, but this time he meets nothing but canvas attempting a senton. Hakushi comes off the top with a flying headbutt for three at 7:23. Ripping off Bigelow's finisher?! How dare you. Good, though it lacked substance. **1/2
Bret "Hitman" Hart & The British Bulldog vs. Owen Hart & Jerry "The King" Lawler:
Final match on the card, and this has potential, depending on how much Bret and Owen do to carry their teams. Owen and Bulldog start. Lockup into the ropes, with tons of hair-pulling from Owen. The referee forces them apart and they get into a shoving match. Owen with a side headlock. Crisscross and Bulldog with a monkey flip, followed by a deep arm drag into the arm bar. Owen with a yank of the hair to counter. They take turns countering holds with their usual showcase, ending with Owen slapping Bulldog across the face. Bulldog catches a dropkick attempt and slingshot throws Owen into the corner. Bret in, unloading with right hands. He sends Owen chest-first into the corner, slams him by the hair, and clotheslines him over the top rope. Am I going crazy, or does Lawler never wear double-strap singlets? Lawler reluctantly tags in and gets punished in the corner. Bret's aggression since returning has been awesome. Whip and the Bulldog Foundation with a double body drop.
Owen hits Bulldog from behind with a double axe-handle, allowing Lawler to take control. Owen feeds the boot and connects with the enzuigiri for two. Snap suplex and jumping leg drop for two. Lawler with a snap mare and fist drop from the second rope. Owen with a back breaker for two. Bret tries to save Bulldog from a double-team, but that backfires. Snap mare out of the corner and Owen grabs a chin-lock. Bulldog escapes with elbows but he's quickly knocked down with a spinning heel kick. Bulldog with another escape and a crucifix cradle for two. Owen cuts off a tag attempt and throws Bulldog into a double boot from Lawler. They do the front face-lock spot where the referee misses the tag. Lawler accidentally hits Owen with a dropkick, allowing Bret to get the real hot tag. He lays into Lawler with rights and gives the dastardly duo a double noggin knocker. Russian leg sweep and flying elbow drop to Lawler. Bret turns over the Sharpshooter, but Owen breaks it with a bulldog. Bulldog with a clothesline, sending Lawler to the floor. He tries walking away, but Bret brings him back to the ring. Bulldog with a press slam and again Lawler bails, unsuccessfully. Lawler tags in Owen, but the referee misses the tag, forcing Lawler back in, where he's finished with the Running Powerslam at 11:28. It's not often you see the heels denied for doing the legal things. Good match with a surprisingly clean (though not ethical) finish. ***
Final Thoughts: Surprisingly decent lineup with only one obvious stinker in the mix. The Main Event over-delivered based on my own expectations, with Bret/Bulldog vs. Owen/Lawler, The Kid vs. Hakushi, and even Watts/Fortune vs. Heavenly Bodies standing out as well. Bomb vs. Backlund stunk, and there wasn't much hope for the Gunns vs. Kama/Tatanka and Taker vs. Bigelow, but neither of the latter two matches was as embarrassingly bad as the submission match. Worth checking out if fan-cams are your thing and you want to watch a good quality show.
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