RAW Before The War (7-17-95)

WWF Monday Night RAW
July 17th, 1995 (taped June 26th, 1995)
From Danville, Pennsylvania
Announcers: Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler 

The show starts with interviews with the two participants in tonight’s featured match, IRS and Shawn Michaels. This is really notable because the music in the background is the same music they’ve used in the background in the radio ads for a local car dealership around here. This intro really makes me want to take out a lease on a brand new Ford Fiesta!

Jerry Lawler can’t wait to see Shawn Michaels get taken down a peg by the Taxman. The fans chant “Kiss my foot” at The King. Lawler channels Waylon Smithers and says they aren’t chanting “Kiss My Foot” but “Get The Hook”, referring to their disdain for McMahon’s commentary.

Owen Hart & Yokozuna (With Jim Cornette and Mr. Fuji) Vs Jim Dimitre & Gus Kantarrakis
The jobbers actually managed to wear matching tights for this. Got to look good when you’re going against the champs, I guess. Lawler points out that Yokozuna now weighs more than Jacob & Eli Blu combined. I always thought Owen & Yoko’s team was underrated. I love annoying little runt/big guy who sits on everybody tag teams though. Owen wins with the Sharpshooter on one of the ham & eggers after Yokozuna smashes them with a legdrop.

It’s time for our last In Your House 2 report! Todd says Diesel is going to introduce his team of lumberjacks later tonight on RAW. Todd Pettingell says we’re going to see the music video for Jeff Jarrett’s “With My Baby Tonight” again later tonight. Third week in a row on RAW we’ve seen it. No complaints from me! Jarrett will be performing it live before his WWF Intercontinental Title defense against Shawn Michaels on Sunday. Jeff Jarrett’s sidekick The Roadie will be in action against the 123 Kid. How will The Roadie prepare for this match when he has to set up the stage for Jeff Jarrett’s performance and make sure the merch table is in order!? We’ll also see Razor Ramon & Savio Vega Vs Men on a Mission and Bam Bam Bigelow Vs Ted DiBiase’s new mercenary Henry O. Godwinn.

Jean Pierre Lafitte Vs David Thornburgh
Jerry Lawler likes everything about Jean Pierre Laffitte except his last name. They really did make a big deal out of that Kiss My Feet match at King of the Ring that year. Vince says David Thornberg is related to former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh. The more you know…

It’s too bad Laffitte was saddled with such a dumb gimmick. He really was an underrated worker. WWF could have done something better with him. Heck, he still got to feud with Bret Hart even with the crappy gimmick and probably would have had a solid mid-card run if he hadn’t run afoul of The Clique. Vince calls out Lafitte for glorifying pirates. Now we know why Vince didn’t like Paul Burchill’s Jack Sparrow gimmick fifteen year later! McMahon & Lawler talk about who could replace Jack Tunney as President of the WWF. Lawler suggests a King of the WWF which Vince scoffs at. Lafitte gets the win with the Swanton Bomb.

Now we get a look at former Tag Team Champion Fatu as he visits his old neighborhood in San Francisco. Fatu used to be a savage but now he wants to make the streets of San Francisco less savage. He’s gonna make a difference by thinking positive! I wonder if any of the little kids hanging out with him in the video are Jimmy or Jey…

We get another look at the music video of “With My Baby Tonight”. Lawler waxes poetic about Jarrett’s live debut on Sunday while Vince thinks he’s gonna choke and have stage fright.

Shawn Michaels Vs IRS (With Ted DiBiase) 
As pointed out last week, IRS is wearing a blue dress shirt instead of his usual white. Some kind of veiled commentary on his impending departure from WWF? No, it’s probably not. It’s still a better look than Shawn Michaels leather vest and hat with dog tags glues on them (and assless chaps over his tights). Vince thinks Double J is no Vince Gill! HBK hams it up and trolls IRS to start the match.  HBK eggs on the “Irwin” chants from the crowd as IR S stalls. Lawler says “HERE COMES SID!” then Sid doesn’t come out and Lawler awkwardly says he’s not coming out now but he will come out. This is one of those moments that I wonder why they kept it in a show tapes weeks before. We get a patented overly long IRS resthold. I’m not going to miss those. Lawler says “Here Comes SID!” again when SID doesn’t come out. IRS ducks the Sweet Chin Music and hits him with the Write Off. Michaels shakes it off and hits the Sweet Chin Music on the second attempt for the win. After the match, Barry Didinsky shills The Shawn Michaels heart shaped sunglasses. HBK kisses a few teenaged girls. No wonder why Lawler seems so mad at him. He’s jealous.

Up next! Diesel picks his lumberjacks! Next week! Bret Hart Vs Hakushi! Can Bret Hart exercise the ghost of the white angel or will Hakushi wear the holo of victory? Did Ultimate Warrior write the copy for that promo!?

Issac Yankem terrorizes some poor little kid while Lawler gleefully talks about how Yankem will rip out Bret Hart’s molars with his bare hands. Vince McMahon wonders how it’s even possible for a dentist to have decayed teeth.

Kama (With Ted DiBiase) Vs Billy Mack
The number of lumberjacks has been bumped up from 20 to 30 for some reason. One of the 30 will be Kama Mustafa. Vince McMahon says Ted DiBiase is going to try to find his way into the Miss America Pagaent. Assume Vince is not talking about Million Dollar Man entering as a competitor. Although maybe Ted DiBiase looks good in an evening gown. Can’t say for sure. Kama wins with a big uppercut. After the match, he berates some of the Undertaker’s Creatures of the Night. Vince is APPALLED! Kama wouldn’t do this if Undertaker were here!

Vince McMahon introduces Diesel. Lawler talks over the start of this interview for some reason. Maybe there was a botch. Diesel calls SID a CHICKEN. Them’s fighting words. Diesel said Ted DiBiase’s bought SID some friends but money can’t buy friends like the ones Diesel has. Diesel says he’s going to do a Don Pardo (RIP) impersonation and tell his friends to come on down! That was Rod Roddy’s catchphrase not Don Pardo’s, Diesel! Diesel’s lumberjacks include; Bam Bam Bigelow! The Smoking Gunns! Bob Holly! 123 Kid! Techno Team 2000! Adam Bomb! Savio Vega! Duke Droese! Man Mountain Rock! Fatu! and Shawn Michaels. A few guys aside, this is a who’s who of who cares. Shawn Michaels joins Diesel in the ring and channels Robin with a “Holy lumberjack matches, Batman!” I forgot how carto0nish early babyface HBK was.

Vince McMahon intros SID! Lawler panics! SID’s alone! Lawler runs off to grab the heel lumberjacks from backstage. All of the lumberjacks surround the ring as SID and Diesel face off.  Sid and the heels eventually back off and Diesel whoops it up in the ring with the babyface lumberjacks.

These fourth RAW of a four hour taping shows are always a dicey proposition. This isn’t the worst RAW of the year but it’s certainly nothing to write home about and really nothing you’d remember forty five minutes after watching this show. In short, not the best go home show before In Your House 2!

Next Week on RAW: It’s the night after In Your House 2 and RAW is LIVE with a new look from Louisville, Kentucky! Bret Hart takes on Hakushi in a rematch from In Your House 1 in our main event plus Shawn Michaels takes on “Gigolo” Jimmy Del Ray and our first look at a mysterious newcomer named Goldust. Pfft. Yeah, that guy’s not gonna be around for long! 

Written by Connor McGrath

Connor McGrath is a public access television show host and part-time amateur comedian, who resides in Portland, Maine. He contributes reviews of Northeast independent wrestling promotion, NWA On Fire along with occasional guest articles.

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