Episode 4 – February 1, 1993

Venue – Manhattan Center (Manhattan, NY)

We’ve officially made it through the first month of Monday Night Raw, and things are moving along. The Royal Rumble is in the past, and we’re headed right for Wrestlemania. Things from now on will be fresh, new, and exciting! So, this week, they’re at the Manhattan Center for the fourth straight episode, Rob Bartlett is still on the announce team, and Raw continues to be “uncut, uncooked, and uncensored”. Well, so much for fresh and new.

The first three episodes of Raw were exciting and mostly very good overall, but things start to get very formulaic moving forward. The shows become more predictable, it’s very rare when something big happens, and the squash matches start outweighing the competitive matches. Still, it’s enjoyable for the most part. Raw existed back then to get characters over, progress storylines, and build feuds until the next PPV event. So, while mostly predictable, it’s an hour of wrestling that has a purpose.

This episode features the hottest crowd that we’ve seen to this point. They almost remind me of a much less extreme version of a “night after Wrestlemania” crowd today. They cheer for most of the heels, they attract a lot of attention, and they ride the border between being a fun live crowd and annoying wrestling fans all night.

Matches

Tatanka def. Damien Demento

This match starts with the crowd chanting “we want Flair”, and people could be seen giving the Four Horsemen symbol. It’s fun to see the crowd being vocal back then, even in these nothing matches. The match itself is kind of boring, but Randy Savage notes that Tatanka is undefeated in the WWF. Damien Demento’s gimmick is really strange, and I’m not even really sure what he’s supposed to be. During the match, he keeps looking up to the sky mumbling mostly incoherent words. The one thing that I did hear him say was that he will “beat the Indian.” That probably wouldn’t fly today. Demento controls most of the match until Tatanka Hulks up with a rain dance, and gets the victory to keep his undefeated streak alive.

Tatanka vs. Damien Demento

High Energy def. Von Krus and “Iron” Mike Sharpe

Not much to say about this squash match, as it was an easy win for High Energy. They hit a really nice double team move for the victory, and get a good reaction from the crowd.

Doink def. Typhoon

It’s interesting to see that Doink is actually very smart in the ring, and he easily takes down Typhoon multiple times at the beginning of the match. The announcers discuss how skilled of a wrestler he is despite his ridiculous attire. Even though he’s a heel, the crowd chants “Doink” during the match, and seem to be more behind him than they are with Typhoon. Doink wins cheaply with a handful of tights, but he was clearly the better wrestler in this match anyway. He gets a pretty big cheer from the crowd when he wins.

Yokozuna def. Bobby DeVito

Another squash match for Yokozuna, and the announcers mention that he still hasn’t been knocked off of his feet. They say that “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan has challenged him though, and Duggan calls in to talk about how he’s determined to be the first one to knock him down. Rob Bartlett, who has been a little bit more tolerable again this week, questions why they haven’t made a Rob Bartlett action figure yet.  It’s probably the only funny thing that he’s ever said.

Lex Luger def. Jason Knight

Lex Luger enters his first match since being revealed as “The Narcissist” (they’ve apparently decided to not call him “Narcissus” anymore). Watch when he’s coming to the ring, because some guy from the crowd is giving him the finger literally right in his face when he first walks out. It’s pretty funny. There’s a mirror in the ring, and Luger looks at himself and poses while a heavy-set “Raw girl” parades around the ring. Luger starts freaking out, and gets very upset that he had to be in the ring with her. The match is mostly Luger showing off, and he pins this poor jobber with one finger. Continuing with their tendency to favor the heels tonight, the fans are really into Luger.  Also, in one of the most random moments that I’ve seen, he does the Cesaro Swing after the match!

Lex Luger

Promos and Interviews

One of the biggest moments in these early episodes is Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake returning after his near fatal parasailing accident.  Vince McMahon interviews him in the ring, and he gets a huge reaction when he first walks out. He announces that he’s officially back in the WWF, and that he’ll take on anyone. The rest of his promo gets very real and sad. He talks about how he had to lay both of his parents to rest before his accident, and then his wife divorced him right after that. He goes through the horrible details of the accident, and the crazy amount of surgery and recovery that he had to go through. It instantly deflates the crowd, and the only time that they really react is when he says that Hulk Hogan was right there for him during this entire thing. He says that Hogan was the one who inspired him to come back.

Brutus The Barber Beefcake

Later in the night Vince McMahon interviews Money, Inc., and they mostly make fun of Beefcake in response to his earlier promo. The Million Dollar Man and IRS both want a shot at him, so they flip a coin, and the Million Dollar Man wins. Jimmy Hart, who was their manager at this time, comes out to tell them that this is ridiculous. He says that he’s afraid that they’ll get hurt, but he seems visibly upset when they talk about re-injuring Beefcake.

Before the Doink vs. Typhoon match, they show another clip of Doink destroying Crush with a cast from WWF Superstars.

Vince McMahon has a short interview with Todd Pettengill, who will be hosting the new WWF Mania show. They mostly just play up the excitement for this show.

In the best part of the night, there’s an absolutely awesome video package with Mr. Perfect and Steve Jordan from the Minnesota Vikings. Mr. Perfect is the “perfect passer,” and he throws a bunch of great passes to the Viking’s TE.  Hilariously, Perfect throws a long TD pass to himself while Steve Jordan looks on in amazement. It’s one of the greatest things ever. Steve Jordan says “that was unbelievable,” and Mr. Perfect responds with “no, that was perfect.”

We also got some clips from the Headlock on Hunger event from Madison Square Garden, which the WWF had really been playing up.

In sad news, Howard Finkel announces that Andre The Giant has recently passed away. He asks the crowd to rise, and they have a slideshow of pictures as a tribute.

Episode 5 – February 15, 1993

Venue – Manhattan Center (Manhattan, NY)

Vince McMahon had announced at the end of the last episode that the dog show would be on the next week, so there’s an extra week break before we get to episode five.

The very beginning of Raw starts with a quick promo from Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake followed by a Million Dollar Man and Jimmy Hart promo. They’re fighting in the main event this week, so these promos help to play up their match. Beefcake says that he’s 100% healed, and Million Dollar Man says that his shattered face will be the least of his concerns. A worried Jimmy Hart tells him that there’s no need for that.

Rob Bartlett is back yet again, so at this point I’ve just accepted that he’s a full-time part of the announce team. I couldn’t stop noticing Randy Savage’s Monday Night Raw shirt, which has “Uncut, Uncooked, and Uncensored” on the sleeve. They’re really trying hard with that.

Monday Night Raw Shirt

Matches

Steiner Bros def. Glen Ruth and Bobby Who

The Steiner Brothers get a huge reaction when they come out, and the crowd is really into them the entire match. They win easily, and once again look very impressive in their second Raw squash victory. I’m noticing already that Vince McMahon is extra fired up tonight.

Yokozuna def. Ross Greenberg

Yet another squash match for Yokozuna, but before the match, we get a “Special Report” from Lord Alfred Hayes. He shows clips from WWF Superstars when “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan challenged Yokozuna. Duggan unsuccessfully tries multiple times to knock the massive Yokozuna off of his feet. He finally staggers him with some clotheslines and shoulder blocks, and eventually knocks him down with a big shoulder block. The crowd goes absolutely crazy, and Duggan starts celebrating with his American flag. When he turns around, Yokozuna throws a bucket of salt into his eyes. He then gives Duggan two bonsai drops, including one while the American flag is draped over him. Duggan gets carried out on a stretcher while the crowd is in shock. This was a great way to continue to build Yokozuna as the next monster heel, and I remember being horrified by this when I was a kid.

16 Man Battle Royal

It’s time for the 16 man battle royal that Vince had been playing up since the beginning of the show. It actually only ended up being 15 men though, because apparently the other wrestlers refused to participate as long as the Giant Gonzalez was allowed in the match.  So, I guess that he was banned from being in the match.  They weren’t exactly very clear about what happened.  Earlier, they had showed a clip of him destroying a jobber, and then intimidating other jobbers until they ran away to enforce the idea of how tough he is I guess.

The battle royal happens, and it’s pretty uneventful. It’s really long, and moves pretty slow with not many eliminations for a while. I’m not entirely sure what the point of this battle royal was either…it doesn’t appear to be for anything. Here is a full list of the participants: Berzerker, Bob Backland, Kamala, Tatanka, El Matador, Shawn Michaels, Razor Ramon, Owen Hart, Skinner, Typhoon, Damien Demento, Kim Chee, Koko B Ware, “Terrific” Terry Taylor, and “Iron” Mike Sharp.

Battle Royal

Giant Gonzalez comes in when it’s down to Razor Ramon, Tatanka, and El Matador. He easily throws out Tatanka and El Matador, but Ramon sneaks out under the bottom rope.  When the Giant Gonzalez heads to the back, Ramon sneaks back in, and is officially declared the winner of the battle royal.

Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake def. Million Dollar Man (with Jimmy Hart)

This is the big in ring return of Beefcake, and the announcers play up how much he had to go through to get here. Million Dollar Man is constantly trying to hit Beefacke in the face, but he always manages to avoid it.  Beefcake controls most of the match, and the announcers are impressed with how great he looks in his return match.  IRS eventually comes out to ringside, and hits Beefacke with his steel briefcase to cause a DQ.

They don’t really care about the disqualification, because they just want to injure Beefcake. Jimmy Hart tries to stop them, but IRS throws him out of the ring. He smashes Beefcake in the face with the briefcase, and Vince goes absolutely crazy. Million Dollar Man tries to hit him again, but Jimmy Hart manages to stop him.  Hart stays in the ring to help Beefcake until he gets carried out on a stretcher.

Money, Inc Hits Beefcake With Briefcase

Promos and Interviews

Other than the Beefcake and Million Dollar Man promos at the beginning of the episode, it’s a very light promo episode. In addition to Yokozuna crushing “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan on the “Special Report,” Lord Alfred Hayes also talks about WWF Posters 5, which looks like it has some awesome posters. There was a quick promo from Yokozuna and Mr. Fuji where they talk about squashing “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan as well.

We also get our very first Wrestlemania report with Mean Gene.  It’s basically the same idea as what he would do with the Royal Rumble report, which is build the matches for the upcoming PPV event.  He plays up the excitement of having Wrestlemania in Las Vegas, and he goes over Bret Hart vs. Yokozuna, Undertaker vs. Giant Gonzalez, and Crush vs. Doink.

Episode 6 – February 22, 1993

Venue – Manhattan Center (Manhattan, NY)

We’ve reached the last episode of February, and a clean-shaven Rob Bartlett opens the show. It’s a hot crowd once again, and they’re pretty vocal all night. It was announced that Hulk Hogan will be there tonight, so the anticipation is extra high.

Matches

Bam Bam Bigelow def. Scott Taylor

If you want to see a young Scotty 2 Hotty get absolutely destroyed by Bam Bam Bigelow, this is the match for you. It’s another heel biased crowd tonight, and they eat up everything that Bigelow does. He makes short work of Taylor, hitting him with some pretty devastating looking moves. He gets the easy victory to huge cheers.

Bam Bam Bigelow

The Nasty Boys and Tatanka def. The Beverly Brothers and Shawn Michaels

Much like when Kamala turned face, I must have blocked this out, because I don’t remember the Nasty Boys ever being faces in the WWF. They get a pretty big reaction from the crowd though, and even get some chants.  It’s a long match that’s not overly exciting, but the entire thing is built around Shawn Michaels putting his Intercontinental Title on the line against Tatanka at Wrestlemania. The announcers constantly mention that Tatanka already has a non-title victory over Shawn Michaels.  He gets the pinfall over Michaels here as well, so it appears that he has his number heading into their title match.

Crush def. “Terrific” Terry Taylor

Squash match for Crush, continuing to build up to his match against Doink at Wrestlemania. Nothing too special. The crowd really isn’t into Crush here, and there’s even some scattered “we want Doink” chants at one point. The only time that he even gets a reaction is when he does his finisher.

Undertaker def. Skinner

The Undertaker gets his second Raw main event in a very short match against Skinner. I don’t have much to say about this one, because Raw goes off the air after we’re only a couple of minutes into the match. Skinner was actually handling the Undertaker pretty well when they went off, but I think it’s a safe bet that the Undertaker ended up winning.

Undertaker

Promos and Interviews

The big interview of the night is from the returning Hulk Hogan, which pretty much this entire show is based around. The announcers are constantly reminding us that Hogan will be there tonight. Leading up to his in ring interview with Vince McMahon, we get a prerecorded sit-down interview that Hogan did with Vince. It’s a very serious and laid back interview, and they mostly discuss the future of Hulkamania.

We also get Sean Mooney outside interviewing fans about how excited they are to see Hulk Hogan make his return. Finally, after all of the buildup, we get the first appearance of Hulk Hogan on Monday Night Raw.  At this point, Hogan was making movies, and he was just a part time wrestler, so it was exciting to see him back.  A lot of people will argue that Hogan was finished by this point, and that the WWF would pump in crowd noise to make it sound like people were cheering for him.  Honestly though, if you look at the crowd, he was still more over than anyone on the roster.

Hulk Hogan

For the interview, Hogan mostly talks about what happened with his good friend, Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake last week. He says how upset he was, and he thanks Jimmy Hart for stopping the Million Dollar Man from injuring him even worse. He announces that he’s officially back in the WWF, and he brings out Beefcake. He then introduces Jimmy Hart as their new manager, and calls their team the Mega Maniacs.

Commercials

  • Preview for Wrestlemania (episodes 4 and 6).
  • Preview for the new WWF Mania show (episode 4).
  • ICOPRO commercial with Bret Hart (episodes 4 – 6).
  • Commercial for the newest WWF action figures (episodes 4 – 6).
  • Classic Slim Jim commercial with “Macho Man” Randy Savage (episodes 4 – 6).

Overall Thoughts

Kind of a disappointing series of episodes after an impressive opening month of Monday Night Raw.  It was cool to see Hulk Hogan return, and they’re continuing to have a good build to Wrestlemania. Most of the storylines have been really good, and they’re doing a nice job of enhancing their younger talent.

The biggest problem with these episodes is that the quality of matches wasn’t as good.  A lot of the matches in the first month were pretty competitive, but most matches this month were short squashes.  The matches that did end up going longer were kind of boring with not much happening.

It was still an enjoyable trio of episodes, and I’m looking forward to seeing where they’re headed in March.