It’s a new year, so time for a new column. So, we restart ‘Raw Rewind‘ but, this time, we head back a bit further – 25 years in fact – and take in the first year of Monday Night Raw from 1993. So, without further ado…
Champion Roll Call:
WWF Champion: Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart
WWF Intercontinental Champion: Shawn Michaels
WWF Tag Team Champions: Money Inc. (Million Dollar Man & I.R.S)
Sean Mooney introduces us from outside the Manhattan Centre in NYC. He tries to stop Bobby Heenan entering the building.
After the titles roll, we cut to Vince McMahon ringside with Rob Bartlett and Macho Man Randy Savage. He runs down the card, we expect an interview with Razor Ramon and a match with the Steiners. Bartlett announces Koko B. Ware against “Yokozuma” and Savage says Damian Demento will face The Undertaker.
Match 1: Koko B. Ware vs Yokozuna (w/ Mr. Fuji): Koko still wearing the garish High Energy get-up. The Samoan Yokozuna is still undefeated in the WWE. He’s in the midst of a monster push. Bartlett says he should spend less time at the sushi bar and more at the salad bar. Glad we’re going for inaccurate racial stereotypes…
We get “USA” chants for Koko B. Ware, obviously as Savage says Koko is tough. Mr. Fuji looks on approvingly as Koko is thrown across the ring. McMahon announces Yoko is in the Rumble. They build up to the Rumble by saying that Owen Hart, Koko’s partner, is out injured at the hands of Razor Ramon, who faces Bret Hart for the WWF title at the Rumble.
Koko attempts a series of dropkicks which only gently rocks Yokozuna. He misses a charge, gets tossed throat first on the top rope and eats a huge leg drop. Yoko tosses him throat first into corner and hits a running charge, a thrust to the throat and a Banzai drop and that’s all she wrote.
Rating: Dud. A short squash to continue Yoko’s momentum in the lead up to the Rumble.
We promo video airs for the Royal Rumble – focussing on the WWF title match and the Rumble itself.
A swimsuit clad lady wonders around the ring with a banner saying, ‘Monday Night Raw’. We cut to Bobby Heenan who talks about “The Narcissist”, citing that Mr. Perfect has been asking questions about who it is. Apparently ‘The Narcissist’ is “beyond perfect.” I reckon Heenan likes him. The purpose of all of this is due to the big unveil of who he is taking place at the Rumble.
Match 2: The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott) vs. The Executioners: Squish squosh. Scott and a chap in a mask start (both the Executioners are masked). Steiner takes him to suplex city as we see Doink clowning around in the background. Rick is in and unloads on one half of the Executioners, who momentarily fights back before getting thrown across the ring. He then eats a stiff looking clothesline to virtually no reaction. Rick picks him up and drives him chest first into the corner. The Executioners try to regroup on the outside, but Scott drives their heads together. Scott is back in and hits an overhead belly-to-belly suplex before throwing him into his partner for the tag. Double under hook suplex on the newbie as we set up for a top rope bulldog and Scott covers for three.
Rating: OK match-up. Steiner offence looks stiff as hell at times. A good team that I couldn’t quite fathom why they never made it.
We cut outside as a ‘woman’ claiming to be Rob Bartlett demands to be let in. Mooney quickly reveals that it’s The Brain in drag.
Razor Ramon is in the ring along with Vince McMahon when we cut back to proceedings inside the arena. The fans jeer him, probably the terrible shirt.
It’s like watching Scarface. Ramon was born ready and is made for a “golden opportunity”. He doesn’t like being called a “Johnny Cum-lately” but does call Hart the “main guy” before telling the champion to say hello to him. He gets better on the mic…
Ramon says Bret can’t do anything about him attacking Owen. Not because he doesn’t want to, but he can’t. Oh, and Bret can’t do anything about Razor winning the title.
A promo clip for ‘headlock for hunger’ featuring Tatanka airs.
Match 3: WWF Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels vs Max Moon: Max Moon is “quite a competitor” – cheers, Vince. He has jazzy attire. Michaels still has Sensational Sherri ‘singing’ his entrance theme. Some nice wrestling to start this, various switches and reversals. Comfortably the best thing we’ve seen so far. Couple of hip tosses and a slam as Michaels needs a break. Michaels quickly fights back though as Vince claims Moon is quicker. Bartlett wonders if Michaels will be in the Rumble match, he’s clearly prepared well for tonight… He makes a gag about local politics I don’t get, he adds a lot to this.
We return from a break as Savage describes this as “remarkable”. We clearly had a long break. Bartlett ‘jokes’ that Michaels pulled a knife on Moon during the break. We hear Marty Jannetty will challenge Michaels for the IC title at the Rumble – there’s yer answer, Bartlett.
Doink’s still annoying folk as is Bartlett, who is apparently doing a Mike Tyson impression – I only know that because it’s announced by McMahon and Savage that it’s Tyson. It’s laugh a minute here…
It’s all Michaels here but Moon gets a two with a roll-up. It angers the champ who gauges the challenger’s face. This Tyson ‘impression’ has gone on too long. Only McMahon is laughing, he loved that patter. Michaels tries a dropkick but is caught and slingshotted over the top rope, where Moon catches him with a “high risk manoeuvre.” Spinning heel kick into corner and running senton but Moon only gets a two. Michaels hits a savant kick – it’ll get renamed eventually, and the butterfly suplex and that’s it.
Rating: Good. Maybe went a bit long and Moon got a bit more offence than you’d have expected. Good win for Michaels ahead of his Rumble match against his former Rockers tag partner.
A video airs for WWF Mania, featuring the Big Boss Man – Christ, he was still there?! It’s kid friendly not like this uncensored, apparently, Raw.
Mean Gene with a Royal Rumble report, brought to you by ICOPRO. Gene wonders whose corner Sensational Sherri will be in. We get to see some of the guys who’ll be in the Rumble, including Ric Flair, Tatanka, Jerry Lawler and Mr. Perfect – who gets a standalone clip. We get a few more names, including Yokozuna who gets a clip too. Fuji calls him “Yokozuma” – good continuity, Fuj. Hacksaw Jim Duggan gets a clip too. Hooooooooooooooooooooooooo. He guarantees 110% but can’t guarantee a win. Fair enough. The Rumble winner will face the WWF champ at WrestleMania IX which segues to the feud between the champion, Hart, and Ramon.
Bobby Heenan tries again to get in…
Great, we get clips of Reverend Slick trying to get Kamala to see the light. Memorably, this would lead to him trying to teach Kamala how to bowl, obviously. Basically, Kim Chee and Harvey Whippleman wanted Kamala to destroy a jobber after a match but Kamala refused. They got nasty with him, Slick made the save, Kim Chee attacked Slick and Kamala slapped his belly. A complete storyline arc.
Match 4 The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) vs Damian Demento: Demento is already in the ring, jobber entrance for the main event. Strange gimmick, made for a feud, albeit a short one, with the Taker I guess. Bearer doesn’t look that happy. Same can be said about the Taker, mind.
Savage says Bearer has “urned” the right to be the Taker’s manager. Noone laughs. Hardlines, Savage. Taker in control early on and comes off the top rope to drive his arm into the back of Demento.
We hear next week we’ll see, also from Manhattan Centre, Mr. Perfect will take on Papa Shango, El Matador will face Ric Flair and we’ll from Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart.
Chokeslam and a Tombstone and we’re done. Already?! I’m not convinced Demento even hit the Undertaker.
Rating: Poor. Early Taker matches were boring and this was a squash.
Vince McMahon is with Doink. Crush is apparently angry Doink makes kids cry. This prompts Crush to come out and go face to face with the clown. That shuts up Doink. “This is just a warning, bru” claims Crush. It gets a good reaction before we see a slapstick chase around the ring. Crush poses in the ring as Doink rolls about laughing.
Final scene of the night, Heenan is still trying to get in as we cut to the credits.
Overall Thoughts: Not much really worthing watching here. To say that Monday Night Raw debuts with a whimper wouldn’t be a lie. Three squashes and a IC title match that went on too long.
Overall score – 2/5
Still making the news in the WWF was the firing of Nailz. At the same time as being fired, he claimed that Vince McMahon sexually assaulted him. Brian covers this is more detail here.
The new Saturday morning television show on USA Network, which originally was going to be called Slam & Jam, will instead be called “WWF Mania”. The reason? WCW beat them to the punch calling their record album Slam & Jam. Don’t see this being a rivalry that will go anywhere…
The last episode of Prime Time Wrestling aired on the 28th of December.
WWF lost its television in Germany, Austria, Netherlands and Switzerland.
Tom Boric, better known to wrestling fans as Paul Diamond, was fired from the WWF. Latterly, he had portrayed Max Moon but before then was the masked Kato in The Orient Express with Tanaka but is best known, along with Tanaka, as half of Badd Company. The Wrestling Observer reports that although he was fired, he is also prohibited from wrestling elsewhere. Which does seem somewhat harsh…
The Wrestling Observer also mentions that Doink is scheduled to headline the house show circuit in February time against Bret Hart for the WWF title while Kamala’s first face programme will be against Kim Chee (Steve Lombardi – the Brooklyn Brawler).
All ‘Raw Rewind 1993’ pieces can be found here.