July 25, 2005
Charles Williams

WWF IC Championship
Razor Ramon vs. Jeff Jarrett
Royal Rumble 95
January 22, 1995
Tampa, FL

It's been a while since I've been so surprised at the quality of a match. I didn't remember Jeff Jarrett being much of a worker in the mid-90s, but all the footage I've watched recently, putting him against guys like Morton, Benoit and now Razor Ramon, has had him playing an excellent heel and wrestling a very smart style. He doesn't really expand past the most basic of moves, but what he does he does very well. Check out his dropkicks in this match, and even more, check out the great build to the figure four leglock. The one black mark he has is that he likes to stall a little too much, and if he tightened up his working style, just a little, eliminating about half the stalling but keeping some in for heat, it would make a world of difference, because in terms of playing the crowd, he's terrific. Seeing his working style as a heel makes me want to suggest that he watch some Randy Savage matches, because they basically approach their opponents in the same fashion (stall early to big heel heat, get small victories and celebrate them, dominate middle portion convincingly). The difference was that Savage wrestled a faster pace and did more going than showing.

The booking of this match did wonders to establish Jarrett as a world-beater, actually. Fresh heels getting clean pinfalls over top babyfaces is a rarity in any era of WWE, especially in this time period. Razor, to his credit, sells for Jeff brilliantly, getting outwrestled early, injuring his leg in the middle and falling victim to a perfectly clean pinfall at the end. I could have done without the restart in the middle, because the momentum was halted. They were in a nice groove early on, with Jarrett getting the best of Razor in nearly every sequence and bragging about it, setting up some good payback spots where he'd ground Jarrett and get in some fun revenge spots. Jarrett catches him with three beautiful dropkicks early on, and when Jeff starts in on the build to the figure four, we get the best work of the match.

After Razor is thrown out of the ring and returns, hobbling along on one leg, Jarrett taunts him, daring him to punch him and then just barely ducking out of the way. He lays Razor's foot on the bottom rope and drops all his weight on it twice, only to get kicked over the top rope the third time he tries it. There are many hope spots that are more interesting than a typical chinlock -- he uses a sleeper instead, which makes it much easier for Ramon to communicate through his body language that he's in trouble. After dropping elbows on Razor's leg, dropping him in a belly-to-back suplex position shin first and doing all the rest of Flair's typical leg work, Jarrett applies the figure four. The heat is great, and Razor's selling is pretty good too, but the weakest part of this is how the move is countered. Razor just slaps his way out of it. He makes his comeback with punches, and they both sneak in some really hot nearfalls down the final stretch. Finally, the Razor's Edge is attempted, but his leg gives out, giving Jeff Jarrett the opportunity to do an inside cradle and secure the win (and his first Intercontinental championship).

If this match was missing anything, it was aggression. Jarrett did a great job of showing it in the ring, as he was relentless on Razor's leg, but the mid-match promo didn't do him any favors. It's a shame that Jarrett's WWF legacy is considered that of the guy who couldn't get over, and the guy who stole the Honky Tonk Man's entire gimmick, because he deserved better in spite of all of that. This is the best match Scott Hall ever had with an opponent not named Shawn Michaels.

***1/4

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