WWF Wrestling Challenge - February 13, 1994
by Scrooge McSuck
- No real reason behind sitting through this, other than to get some work in, one of my favorite sports expressions, particularly baseball, that I like to use in every day situations. I'm in the middle of a burn-out mode from sitting through the dozen or so WCW PPV's, so I felt it's best to give it a rest for a little while, to recharge my energy for those shows instead of just phoning it in just to get through them all.
- Without looking it up, February 1994 was the start to the build-up for Wrestlemania X, 10 Years in the Making™! Bret and Owen were fresh off their feud officially kicking off, Randy Savage and Crush had issues with each other, and... uh... oh yeah, Doink was still pissing Bam Bam Bigelow off. Wow, it's weird to think, that a babyface Doink was one of the few angles still being developed. Oh, and let's not forget Shawn Michaels pretending he was still Intercontinental Champion, despite being stripped off it shortly after SummerSlam.
- Jim Ross and Gorilla Monsoon are calling all the action this afternoon. We're teased by appearances from Shawn Michaels and Thruman "Sparky" Plugg, as well as the feature match opening the show. Oh wait, before we even get to the first match, Jim Ross is called away from the broadcast booth to head to the Face-to-Face Studio, and is replaced by Stan Lane, fresh off retiring after a short run in SMW as one of the Heavenly Bodies (eventually replaced by Jimmy DelRay).
- Tatanka vs. "Double J" Jeff Jarrett:
This might be one of Jarrett's first "non-squash" matches, and wow, is his ring gear ugly as sin. It's like a spin-art done with bright orange, yellow, and purple. WWF and purple... what is the deal? Jarrett attacks before the bell and puts Tatanka down with an elbow. Irish whip, and Tatanka puts him down with a shoulder block, then surprises Jarrett with a swinging neck breaker for a two count. Irish whip to the corner is reversed, and Tatanka misses a blind cross body. Irish whip, and Jarrett with a crappy looking clothesline, followed by a snap suplex for a two count. Tatanka tastes the turnbuckle and gets a face rake for his troubles. Suddenly Ludvig Borga comes to ringside... weird. I'm assuming this was the end of a monthly taping cycle, because in "real time", Borga was last seen a few days before the Royal Rumble PPV before breaking his ankle. Borga takes a cheap shot at Tatanka, but that only pisses him off. Tatanka no-sells being rammed to the buckles and starts his war dance. Tatanka slides out of the ring and surprises Borga with chops, then rams him into the post. Back in the ring, and Borga double teams Tatanka to draw a Disqualification at 4:25. Irish whip, and a double elbow from the unliely duo, followed by a series of elbows and leg drops. All the referees, including Bill Alfonso, rush to try and break things up, but it's not working very well. I'm surprised we didn't get a run-in for the save.
- Special Report, with Lord Alfred Hayes. We're taking a look back at Lex Luger's pursuit for the World Championship. Flashback to July 4th, 1993, when Yokozuna offered a challenge to anyone who dare try and slam him. Lex Luger was successful, even though it looked blatantly obvious Yokozuna jumped into his arms for it. Luger embarked on the Lex Express to build support for his title challenge, and at SummerSlam, he defeated the Champion. By Count-Out. Whoops. 7 months later, and they STILL wouldn't use real-time footage to recap the PPV. Luger's contract stipulated it was his only chance at the title, but by some freak occurance, he got to perform in the Royal Rumble to earn another shot at the title, and in an even more freak occurance, Luger won... kind of. Bret Hart and himself both went over at the "same time" to end the match, and both are going to challenge for the title at Wrestlemania. Who challenges first would be decided by a coin flip, conducted recently on Monday Night Raw, and Luger gets the nod. Following all of this, Jim Cornette cuts a promo with Yokozuna standing around trying to look menacing. Surprisingly, not a bad recap of storyline. Also surprising is Alfred Hayes, who was playing it up hard as a heel at this point, recapped everything from a neutral position.
- Face-to-Face time, hosted by Jim Ross. Again, this had to have been taped LONG before February 13th, because Jim Ross suffered a stroke shortly after the new year (Bells Palsy, in short, a stroke that effects and paralyzes part of your face). He's talking about Wrestlemania X, and specifically, the Tag Title Match between the Quebecers and Men on a Mission. I guess that was written in stone way in advance, although to be fair, the WWF's Tag Division was pretty crappy at this point. We get a promo from the Quebecers, who take MOM very lightly.
"The Model" Rick Martel vs. Tommy Angel:
I always forget Martel was still hanging around at this point of his career, and was even scheduled to appear at Wrestlemania X, but that match was pulled at the last minute because of time limitations. Martel slaps on a headlock, then bowls over Angel with a shoulder block. Martel with a hip toss and some jumping jacks. Lockup and Angel grabs a headlock. Irish whip, and he surprises Martel with a sunset flip for a two count. Martel avoids a dropkick then takes Angel over with a gut-wrench suplex. Martel with a back breaker, and the Boston Crab... is only teased. Irish whip, and Martel with a back drop. Martel drops an elbow across the back, hits another back breaker, and finally applies the Boston Crab for the victory at 2:14. This was a squash match.
The Bushwhackers vs. The Brooklyn Brawler & George South:
Remember my comment earlier about how bad the Tag Division was getting? The Bushwhackers were the #3 babyface team behind M.O.M. and the Smoking Gunns, 5 years past the point that they were useful. It's always nice to see the random Brawler appearance in the mid 90's, just because he wasn't trotted out every week. The Bushwhackers do their usual nonsense, eating up a lot of time in the process. Luke and the Brawler start, with the Brawler raking the eyes. Irish whip is reversed, and Luke surprises Brawler with a tumb to the eyes, and Butch takes a bite out of his butt for his troubles. I bet he liked that one, though. Butch tags in to battle it out with George South. South hammers away with rights to the midsection. Irish whip, and Butch stomps the feet and plants South with a slam. Brawler runs in and gets slammed too, and it's double noggin-knocker time! Double clotheslines to both men from the Bushwhackers. The Battering Ram hits South, and Butch covers for the three count at 2:29. Oh well. Not every squash match canb be fun. The Bushwhackers lick away on Joey Marella for his troubles.
- We flashback to Mania, where we got a contract signing between Randy Savage and Crush for their Wrestlemania X, Falls Count Anywhere Match. Crush is speaking at the podium with Raymond Rougeau, and even when it's supposed to be a serious situation, he's in his ring gear, complete with face paint. Suddenly, Randy Savage bum rushes him and they brawl as we go to a commercial break.
- Wrestlemania X Report, brought to us by Todd Pettengill, and the History of Wrestlemania, available now, on Coliseum Video! Wrestlemania X is coming sunday afternoon, March 20th! Also, take part in FanFest, starting Friday afternoon, and running through the entire weekend! You can also watch the action on Closed Circuit Television at the Paramount Theater at Madison Square Garden. call TicketMaster 212-307-7171. The card, so far...
Special celebrity appearances include Little Richard, who will be singing America the Beautiful, and Sy Sperling, the Hairclub for Men guy, who will probably give Howard Finkel a makeover.
- 1st Championship Match - Lex Luger vs. Yokozuna
- Bret Hart vs. Suitable Competition, his brother, Owen (Hart)
- Bret Hart faces the winner of the 1st Championship Match
(Special referees will be assigned to each Championship match, but we have no idea who it will be)
- Randy Savage vs. Crush in a Falls Count Anywhere Match. The loser then has 60-seconds to return to the ring if the fall takes place outside of the ring.
- Razor Ramon defends the Intercontinental Title against Shawn Michaels in the "first ever" Ladder Match! Both the real and bogus Intercontinental straps will be suspended over the ring area.
- The Quebecers defend the Tag Titles against Men on a Mission in their first attempt at challenging for the titles
- Alundra Blayze defends the Women's Title "for the first time" against Debbie Combs, the "#1 Contender"
Shawn Michaels (w/ Diesel) vs. John Paul:
Yes, Shawn Michaels is carrying HIS Intercontinental Title around with him. Before the match, Gorilla Monsoon hypes a show in Liberty, NY on February 23rd, featuring Razor Ramon vs. I.R.S. and the Quebecers vs. Men On a Mission. That was a 10 mile drive from where I lived! Wow, a HIGH SCHOOL? Really? John Paul slaps on a headlock and a criss-cross leads to him connecting with a dropkick, followed by an arm drag. Surprising. Lockup, and Michaels with a headlock takeover. Paul counters with a head scissors. Michaels is back up and nails him with an elbow. Irish whip, and Michaels connects with a dropkick. Michaels with a delayed vertical suplex. Michaels takes it to the corner and hammers away. Michaels with a snapmare, and he slaps on a chinlock. John Paul tries fighting free, but Michaels maintains control. Whip to the corner is reversed, and Paul hits a back elbow. Irish whip, and Michaels takes him down with a swinging neck breaker. Michaels connects with an early version of sweet chin music, and he finishes John Paul off with a piledriver for the three count at 3:05. Energetic and fun squash match.
- We hype the feature match for the following week, between Bastion Booger, and the returning Natural Disaster, Earthquake! It's a battle of the bulk! Next week on Wrestling Challenge! Remember to set your VCR's for that one!
Thurman "Sparky" Plugg vs. Austin Steele:
Thurman, or Sparky as he's called by his friends, had only debuted a few weeks earlier, making his first appearance in the Royal Rumble Match. Plugg with an arm drag takeover and slaps on an armbar. Whip to the corner, and Plugg with a sloppy roll up for a two count. Plugg applies a wristlock. Irish whip, and Plugg connects with a pretty good looking dropkick. Plugg with a suplex, then he heads to the top rope and connects with a missile dropkick for the three count at 1:45. Sloppy squash match. I don't think a 90-second match needed wristlocks.
- Promotional consideration paid for by the following... MORTAL KOMBAT! G.I. Joe Battle Corps Figures! WWF Rage In The Cage for the Sega CD, featuring 20 WWF Superstars and Steel Cage Action!
- Face-to-Face Part Deux with Jim Ross, hyping Wrestlemania X once again. It's only FIVE weeks away, you know, available on Pay-Per-View, and limited tickets are available in the Paramount Theater next to Madison Square Garden. Don't forget about FanFest, either! We get a promo from Crush (and Mr. Fuji), hyping his match against Randy Savage. Crush, you're a heel, stop PRAISING THE BABYFACE! Randy Savage retaliates, but I'm too concerned with my vision problems after being blinded by his horrendous outfit. The word of the match: Intense!
- Next week on Wrestling Challenge, you're going to see, in action, the WWF Tag Team Champions, the Quebecers, Irwin R. Schyster, the Intercontinental Champion, Razor Ramon, plus a Special Interview with Bret Hart. Also, in the feature match, you'll see the return of Earthquake, taking on Bastion Booger, who cuts a pretty crummy promo to hype the match as the broadcast ends.
Final Thoughts: Not much in terms of must-see television. A short feature match that was pushing a feud that was dead due to injuries, a few squash matches featuring talent with no direction, and of course, Wrestling Challenge rarely featured fresh storylines, so anything of importance was just recycled from Superstars or Monday Night Raw. Hell, even MANIA got the Crush/Savage Contract thing. The only interesting comment I can think of is that, in 1994, the year the WWF was doing their "New Generation" stuff, they were still showcasing talents like The Bushwhackers, Rick Martel, Bob Backlund, and brought back King Kong Bundy and Nikolai Volkoff. I'm nott saying these guys stank (Bob Backlund, you're excused for bringing SOMETHING to the table at this point in your career), but don't badmouth another promotion for using older stars when you're doing the same thing. Not a complete waste of time if you enjoy a quick trip down memory lane, but more memorable episodes of Challenge can easly be found I'm sure. Question, comments, and hate mail can be sent to my new address. To answer once and never again, no, this stuff is not available from me and am not interested in footage exchanges. Sorry. Until next time...
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