The road to Wrestlemania has officially begun, and this will be the last month before Wrestlemania IX.
Monday Night Raw continues to move along as we head into March. The road to Wrestlemania has officially begun, and this will be the last month before the big event.
Episode 7 – March 1, 1993
Venue – Manhattan Center (Manhattan, NY)
We start March just like we have in January and February…with annoying Rob Bartlett. Just when I thought that he was getting more tolerable, he’s dressed up like Elvis here for some reason. He talks in an Elvis voice the entire episode, and Vince McMahon loves every second of it. Vince is constantly saying stuff like “the real Elvis is alive right here on Monday Night Raw“, and acts like Bartlett is actually Elvis. It’s real bad. I don’t know why anyone would have possibly thought that this was a good idea.
Bret Hart def. Fatu (with Afa)
We quickly get into the first match, and it’s a big one, as Bret Hart puts the WWF Championship up against a young Rikishi. We got a young Scotty 2 Hotty last week, so we’re two-thirds of the way to completing Too Cool. This is the first time that we’ve seen Bret Hart fight on Raw, and it’s kind of cool to see a big match with high stakes open the show.
Anyone who has ever watched wrestling knows that Fatu had no chance of winning, but he actually looked very impressive. It’s a long match, and Fatu gets a lot of really close falls. At one point, Fatu’s tag team partner, Samu, comes out to attack Bret Hart while Afa distracts the ref. They even do a switch when the ref isn’t paying attention, which nearly gets a surprise victory. Eventually though, Bret Hart overcomes the odds to win this very enjoyable opening match with the sharpshooter. He better enjoy his victory, because he’s about a month away from facing his toughest challenge in Yokozuna at Wrestlemania.
Doink def. Koko B Ware
Doink gets a huge cheer from the crowd when he comes out, continuing the Manhattan Center’s love for heels. He attacks Koko B Ware before the match, and Vince McMahon again plays up how he’s a very accomplished wrestler despite his ridiculous attire. Doink works on Koko B Ware’s leg for most of this short match, and wins with a submission. Elvis Bartlett interviews Doink after the match, and Doink pies him in the face. The crowd loves it. Bartlett is constantly eating in this episode, so he appears to enjoy getting hit with the pie.
Lex Luger def. PJ Walker
When Lex Luger comes out, the same guy who gave him the finger before his last match gives him the finger right in his face again. He must really have it out for Luger. After he gets to the ring, they keep panning to some girl in the crowd who looks really impressed with Luger. I thought that she would work into a storyline with him, but I guess that it was just a random girl. He poses in front of a mirror outside of the ring, and then absolutely destroys a young Justin Credible (this was even before the Aldo Montoya days). The announcers mostly discuss Luger’s match against Mr. Perfect at Wrestlemania, and Bobby Heenan calls in during this squash. The crowd is really into Luger again, and he pins poor PJ Walker with one finger, which makes the crowd go crazy.
The Steiner Bros def. Duane Gill and Barry Hardy
We continue with our young Attitude Era wrestlers, as we have Gillberg being part of this team that gets crushed by the Steiner Brothers in the main event. The Steiners have looked really impressive every time that they’ve been on Raw, and they’re clearly headed to the top of the tag team division. The announcers mention that they’ll be facing the Headshrinkers at Wrestlemania.
Promos and Interviews
We get a Wrestlemania report from Mean Gene to update us on some of the matches. The big news is that Money, Inc. has challenged the new Mega Maniacs team. He also goes over Undertaker vs. Giant Gonzalez, Shawn Michaels vs. Tatanka, Mr. Perfect vs. Lex Luger, and Bret Hart vs. Yokozuna.
There’s a short interview with Crush from Hawaii about his match against Doink at Wrestlemania. He crushes a coconut, and says that’s what he’ll do to Doink’s head.
Later, Vince McMahon interviews Money, Inc. in the ring. The interview is mostly about Money, Inc. challenging the Mega Maniacs at Wrestlemania. The Million Dollar Man says that he was hoping Hulk Hogan would stay retired, and says that Hogan has become soft after being in Hollywood. IRS continues by making fun of Hogan and Beefcake. Vince McMahon asks them about putting their titles on the line against the Mega Maniacs. Million Dollar Man says that they’ll do it, because Hulk Hogan is soft, and Beefcake is the weak link.
Episode 8 – March 8, 1993
Venue – Manhattan Center (Manhattan, NY)
This episode starts with a promo from the Mega Maniacs. Hulk Hogan says that Jimmy Hart did a great job for them as their new manager already by getting them a contract for the tag team titles. This seems kind of weird, since it was Money, Inc. who challenged them. Anyway, Vince McMahon announces that Rob Bartlett is back, because he’s still acting like that was actually Elvis last week for some reason.
Money, Inc. def. El Matador and Virgil
This is a non-title tag team match to open the show, and the crowd is hot for it. They’re all over Money, Inc. for the entire match, and they’re really into El Matador and Virgil. El Matador and Virgil work surprisingly well together, and they handle the tag team champions for most of the match. Money, Inc. still manages to get the victory though, after another good opening match.
Tatanka def. Phil Apollo
Tatanka easily wins against Phil Apollo, and this match really just exists to build up his Intercontinental Title match against Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania. Michaels calls in during the match, and says that Tatanka got lucky the last two times that he pinned him.
Papa Shango def. Mike Edwards
Not much to say about this one, as the wacky Papa Shango easily destroys this poor jobber.
Bob Backlund def. Tony DeMoro
A super popular wrestler in the late ’70s and early ’80s, Bob Backlund has made his return to the WWF. Vince McMahon mentions that Backlund is a former WWF title holder, and that he’s making a comeback at 43 years old. He looks like he’s in great shape here, and the crowd is loudly behind him the entire match. He gets chants throughout the match, and a big cheer when he wins.
Mr. Perfect def. Rick Martel
This match had been building throughout the night, as Rick Martel kept kicking the “Raw girls” out of the ring. He would walk around the ring with their signs, saying that no one could model better than him. As for the match, both of these guys are really good, so this is not surprisingly a solid main event. The only negative is that Rob Bartlett randomly starts talking like Elvis again, saying that his spirit has possessed him. Vince McMahon is building up Mr. Perfect’s match against Lex Luger at Wrestlemania, and says that it will be one of the greatest matches of all time. I don’t know about that one, Vince. Stupidly, this match ends during a commercial break! We come back to Mr. Perfect celebrating his victory, and they show the replay of his pinfall. After the match, he brings back the “Raw girls” that Rick Martel had previously kicked out of the ring.
Promos and Interviews
We get a Wrestlemania report with Mean Gene to further build the upcoming ppv event. He says that Wrestlemania now has a double main event with Money, Inc. vs. The Mega Maniacs for the Tag Team Titles and Bret Hart vs. Yokozuna for the WWF Championship. There are promos from Bret Hart, Yokozuna and Mr. Fuji, and The Undertaker and Paul Bearer.
Before the Mr. Perfect vs. Rick Martel match, Rob Bartlett went backstage to interview Martel. He makes fun of the way that Bartlett looks, which is great, and he talks about how nobody has any class. Since he’s facing Mr. Perfect later, he says that perfection is boring.
There was also a quick promo from the Mega Maniacs to open the show, as previously mentioned.
Episode 9 – March 15, 1993
Hudson Civic Center (Poughkeepsie, NY)
For the first time, Monday Night Raw takes place away from the Manhattan Center. The Manhattan Center is a really cool venue, and it works really well for these early Raw episodes, but it’s nice to see them change things up. The new venue gives this week’s episode a fresh look, and they even have the fancy early ’90s brightly colored entrance. It also gives a new crowd a fresh look at Raw, and they absolutely love it. The Manhattan Center crowds have been pretty vocal lately, but this is easily the hottest crowd that they’ve had so far.
There’s also a change in the announce crew, as we get Gorilla Monsoon, Bobby Heenan, and Rob Bartlett. Vince McMahon and Randy Savage are ok, but Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan work so well together, that they’re commentary is instantly better. Bartlett is pretending to be Vince McMahon this week, and honestly, it’s probably the most entertaining that he’s ever been.
Razor Ramon def. Russ Greenberg
The crowd is crazy to start this match, and they absolutely love Razor Ramon. It’s a pretty short squash match, and the announcers mention that Ramon will be facing Bob Backlund at Wrestlemania. Ramon wins with the Razor’s edge, and the crowd gives him a huge cheer.
Typhoon def. LA Gore
The crowd is so hyped up tonight, that they’re even really into this match. Not much else to say, as Typhoon easily wins after destroying this guy.
Bob Backlund def. Papa Shango
Bob Backlund continues his comeback streak, as he gets a big victory over the evil Papa Shango. Papa Shango actually controls most of the match, but Backlund wins with a small package. The crowd goes crazy when he wins, so fans have really seemed to be into him since his return.
Nasty Boys vs. Headshrinkers (double count out)
The main event features a tag team match between two of the top teams in the company at that time. The match itself is just ok, but the crowd cheers and chants loudly for the Nasty Boys throughout it. They eventually brawl to the outside, which leads to a double count out. They continue to fight over to some sort of food stand where they start spraying condiments on each other.
Promos and Interviews
Bobby Heenan interviews Giant Gonzalez and Harvey Wippleman in the ring. The crowd really doesn’t have much of a reaction to this, and it’s definitely the quietest that they’ve been all night. Harvey Wippleman mostly just plays up how impressive Giant Gonzalez is, and how he’ll beat the Undertaker at Wrestlemania.
We get another Wrestlemania report with Mean Gene. He plays up the double main event, and mentions that everyone will be wearing togas. They’re really pushing the Roman Colosseum theme with this Wrestlemania for some reason. He shows a clip of Yokozuna destroying some jobber on WWF Superstars to keep building him up as a monster heel. There’s a promo from Money, Inc., and the Undertaker and Paul Bearer.
Episode 10 – March 22, 1993
Venue – Manhattan Center (Manhattan, NY)
Monday Night Raw is back at the Manhattan Center this week, and the normal announce crew of Vince McMahon, Randy Savage, and Rob Bartlett are back as well. This is the last episode that will air before Wrestlemania, so you would think that they’ll have a strong final show, but this is probably the worst episode of Raw so far.
The Bushwhackers def. Repo Man and Damien Demento
This is a pretty terrible match that’s unnecessarily long. The Bushwhackers win, and the only thing that I have to note is that Vince McMahon talks about a March to Wrestlemania that’s coming up on Sunday.
Tatanka def. Reno Riggins
This is pretty long for a squash match, and Riggins actually controls most of it. Tatanka Hulks up with his rain dance at the end though, and keeps his undefeated streak alive heading into his Intercontinental Title match with Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania.
Money, Inc. def. Scott Rich and Jeff Armstrong
This jobber team gets easily defeated by Money, Inc., so they have a lot of momentum heading into the double main event.
Doink def. Kamala
Much like his match against Typhoon on an earlier episode of Raw, Doink easily takes down Kamala at the beginning. Vince McMahon continues to mention that Doink is a great wrestler despite his ridiculous attire. The crowd is usually pretty hot for Doink (that sounded weird), but this is a pretty boring match that they’re really not into. The match ends when Doink gives a present to a confused Kamala outside of the ring, and he gets counted out. They have some shenanigans chasing each other around the ring afterwards, but it’s mostly forgettable.
Promos and Interviews
We get what I would imagine to be one of our last Wrestlemania reports with Mean Gene. He says that WWF Superstars and Wrestling Challenge will have the official contract signing for Bret Hart vs. Yokozuna, and he talks about the double main event. He goes over some of the matches, and once again mentions that everyone will be wearing togas, which I guess that they were hoping would be a selling point for some reason.
There’s a weird segment with the announcers where Vince McMahon announces that Rob Bartlett is the 1993 Spam Eating award winner, and three heavyset “Raw girls” are part of his fan club. Man, it’s awkward. I think Bartlett ends up making out with one of the girls, but I’m not even really sure, because I was too busy cringing over how bad this segment was.
In really the only highlight of the night, there’s a nice video package for Andre The Giant, as he’s announced as the first ever WWF Hall of Fame inductee.
- ICOPRO commercial with Bret Hart (episodes 7 – 10).
- Commercial for the newest WWF action figures (episodes 7 – 10).
- Classic Slim Jim commercial with “Macho Man” Randy Savage (episodes 7, 8, and 10).
- Preview for Wrestlemania (episode 7).
- Preview for the new WWF Mania show (episode 7).
- New preview for WWF Mania (episodes 8 and 10).
- Quick preview of some great WWF video games: WWF Superstars for Gameboy, Wrestlemania Steel Cage Challenge for Sega Genesis, and Super Wrestlemania for Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis (episode 8).
- Preview for Hulk Hogan returning at Wrestlemania and Bret Hart vs. Yokozuna (episode 9).
- Commercial that talks about WWF’s charitable work (episode 9).
Other than the terrible last episode, March was a huge improvement over the disappointment of February. There were some really good and enjoyable matches, and there was a nice buildup to Wrestlemania. For the most part, even when Raw isn’t great, it continues to serve a purpose. Each episode progresses storylines, enhances characters, and builds anticipation for the next ppv event.
It was great to see Raw in a fresh new venue, and I look forward to see them branching out more as the show continues to grow. It will be interesting to see what new storylines and feuds open up after Wrestlemania, as we head into the spring.