Raw’s first year in existence wraps up as we look to the Royal Rumble.

November 1993 was mostly a boring month of Monday Night Raw for the WWF.  The seeds were planted for some new feuds, and Shawn Michaels returned from suspension.  Other than that, it was mostly uneventful.

We’ve now reached the end of the year, and we’re heading straight towards the Royal Rumble.  Things are bound to start heating up.

Episode 42 – December 6, 1993

Venue – Westchester County Center (White Plains, NY)

This episode starts with highlights from Razor Ramon’s match against Diesel last week.  If you’ll remember, Shawn Michaels returned to attack Ramon, but the 1-2-3 Kid came out to make the save.  Michaels then challenged the Kid to a match this week.

The highlight package is followed up by a quick promo from Shawn Michaels. He now has his own Intercontinental Title belt, and calls Razor Ramon an imposter.

Shawn Michaels vs. The 1-2-3 Kid

Not surprisingly, this match starts off super fast paced, as Shawn Michaels is one of the only wrestlers in the WWF at this time that could keep up with the 1-2-3 Kid’s high-flying style. The Kid takes it to him early, and the crowd is really into him.

Michaels eventually gets control, and this turns into an exciting back and forth match. It’s certainly one of the best Raw matches of the year. At the end, Michaels gives the Kid two Razor’s Edges. He goes for a third, but Razor Ramon comes down, and pulls the Kid out of the ring.

Shawn Michaels Giving The Razor's Edge

Michaels and Ramon brawl toward the entrance, where Diesel takes a cheap shot on Ramon from behind the curtain. Michaels continues to attack Ramon, and gives him two Razor’s Edges on the outside.  They don’t announce the finish of this match, but I’m guessing that it ended with a double count out.

The Quebecers (with Johnny Polo) def. Bert Centeno and Brian Walsh

Johnny Polo is relaxing in a chair reading a magazine during this match. He knows how this will go as well as anyone else.

Owen Hart Interview

Vince McMahon and Bobby Heenan interview Owen Hart, who is still wearing Bret Hart’s trademark sunglasses. They ask him his opinion on his brother winning Superstar of the Year. He says that he has a surprise that will make everyone talk about him instead of his brother.

Owen Hart

Doink (with Dink) def. Tony DeVito

Stupid goofy Doink defeats this jobber in a match that goes on for way too long.

Jeff Jarrett Promo

Why won’t these promos end?

Crush (with Mr. Fuji) vs. Tony Roy

Randy Savage calls in during this match, and they continue to build up his feud with Crush.

Crush easily wins here.

Gorilla Monsoon Throws Out Bobby Heenan

Bobby Heenan had been endlessly making fun of Gorilla Monsoon since Survivor Series, so Monsoon finally decides to come out to confront him. He tells Heenan that he’s won a free trip, drags him outside, and literally throws him out of the WWF.

It’s a funny moment, but this is sadly the last that we would see of Bobby Heenan in the WWF, as he would follow Mean Gene over to WCW.  He wouldn’t appear on WWF TV again until WrestleMania X-Seven in 2001 when he returned as a guest commentator for the gimmick battle royal.  Unfortunately, he would never return to the company in a full-time capacity again.

Everyone knows that Bobby Heenan is one of the greatest managers and announcers of all time, but after watching this year of Raw, I have an even greater appreciation for him.  He instantly made the show better when he took over for Rob Bartlett back in April.  He could develop a perfect chemistry with anyone, and his witty lines were a thing of beauty.  Raw will definitely not be nearly as entertaining without him there.

Episode 43 – December 13, 1993

Venue – Mid-Hudson Civic Center (Poughkeepsie, NY)

The show starts with Vince McMahon playing a clip of Gorilla Monsoon throwing out Bobby Heenan last week. Vince is now joined by Jim Cornette on commentary.  Cornette is no Bobby Heenan, but he’s great on commentary too. I’m just glad that they didn’t bring back Rob Bartlett.

Vince McMahon and Jim Cornette

“Macho Man” Randy Savage def. Fatu (with Afa)

Randy Savage is back to competing in the ring now that he’s been banned from broadcasting. The crowd is really excited to see him, and they’re pretty hot for this match. Fatu takes it to Savage for much of the match, but he eventually makes a big comeback to win.  Not a bad match, and it’s always good to see Savage wrestle.

Randy Savage Entrance

Randy Savage Poll

There’s a number where fans could vote to decide whether Randy Savage should be allowed to return to host WWF Mania with Todd Pettengill.

The Smoking Gunns def. Steve Smyth and Jim Massenger

Quick squash match for the Smoking Gunns.

Shawn Michaels Highlights

They show clips from the Shawn Michaels match against the 1-2-3 Kid last week, and his attack on Razor Ramon.

IRS def. Todd Mata

Before the match, the camera gets a sneak peek inside IRS’s briefcase.  We get a clear view of Razor Ramon’s gold necklace in there before he shoves the camera back. Nothing else of note in this squash match.

The Undertaker (with Paul Bearer) def. JS Storm

Vince McMahon announces that the Undertaker will be fighting Yokozuna at the Royal Rumble for the WWF Title in a casket match.

Undertaker Entrance

The Undertaker easily disposes of this loser.

Jeff Jarrett Promo

How are these still happening?

Rick Martel def. Tim McNeany

This jobber actually gets in a lot of moves on Rick Martel, but Martel obviously wins.

Vince McMahon Interviews Owen Hart

They show a clip from WWF Superstars where Vince McMahon had a backstage interview with Owen Hart. Owen says that he’s been living in the shadow of his brother for his whole life, and makes his surprise announcement by challenging Bret to a match.

Bret Hart def. Brooklyn Brawler

Bret Hart unsurprisingly wins against the good old Brooklyn Brawler.

Episode 44 – December 20, 1993

Venue – Westchester County Center (White Plains, NY)

Tatanka will be taking on Ludvig Borga tonight, and Raw opens by showing clips from when Borga ended his undefeated streak.

Without Bobby Heenan, I guess that they’re just changing up announcers every week, because this week Shawn Michaels joins Vince McMahon on commentary.

They’re randomly back in the Westchester County Center this week, so I’m pretty sure that this episode was taped before the last one.  It sounds like there’s a lot of awkward crowd and announcer overdubbing throughout the night as well.

Jeff Jarrett def. PJ Walker

Jeff Jarrett makes his Raw debut, and I’ve never been happier to see someone start wrestling, just because it means that we don’t have to sit through his terrible promos anymore. He of course decides to cut one before the match though. He then takes out poor PJ Walker.

Jeff Jarrett Debut

Lex Luger Poll

There’s a number where fans could vote to decide whether Lex Luger should be allowed to take part in the Royal Rumble.

Men on a Mission (with Oscar) def. Duane Gill and Barry Hardy

Oscar has maybe the worst rap ever before the match, but the crowd continues to love these guys. They easily win here.

Royal Rumble Report

We get our first Royal Rumble report with Todd Pettengill. He announces the casket match between Yokozuna and the Undertaker for the WWF Title, and an Intercontinental Title match between Razor Ramon and IRS. He announces a couple of participants in the Royal Rumble match itself as well.

Ludvig Borga Promo

We get a quick backstage promo from Ludvig Borga for his upcoming match against Tatanka.

Tatanka def. Ludvig Borga

This is the first that we’ve seen of Tatanka on Raw since getting defeated by Ludvig Borga on WWF Superstars a couple of months ago. He comes out on fire, and immediately takes it to Borga. It’s definitely the most aggressive that Tatanka has ever been. It’s also the most we’ve ever seen Borga get dominated.

Ludvig Borga vs. Tatanka

Borga eventually gets control, and the match goes back and forth until Yokozuna and Mr. Fuji come out. Fuji hits Tatanka with his flag, and Yokozuna attacks him causing a DQ. Fortunately, Lex Luger comes out to make the save to avoid a repeat of what happened last time.

Adam Bomb (with Harvey Wippleman) def. Mark Thomas

Before the match, Howard Finkel announces Captain Lou Albano in the ring. For what reason, I’m not really sure.  Literally nothing happens with him.

Adam Bomb destroys this jobber.

Sparky Plugg Promo

We get a promo for Thurman “Sparky” Plugg, who most fans will remember as Hardcore Holly. At this point, he was a race car driver turned wrestler.

Thurman Sparky Plugg

Owen Hart Interview

They once again show Owen Hart’s interview with Vince McMahon from WWF Superstars where Owen challenges Bret. They also show Bret Hart’s response from this past week on WWF Superstars, and he says that he will never fight his brother.

Owen Hart def. Mike Bell

Easy win for Owen Hart, who looks impressive, and uses the sharpshooter again to win this match.

Undertaker Promo

We get an amazing promo from the Undertaker and Paul Bearer for the Undertaker’s upcoming championship match against Yokozuna.  The Undertaker is in his workshop building a special custom casket to fit Yokozuna.

The Headshrinkers (with Afa) def. Phil Apollo and Jerry Seavey

The usual destruction of jobbers by the Headshrinkers.

Episode 45 – December 27, 1993

Venue – Mid-Hudson Civic Center (Poughkeepsie, NY)

This episode starts with highlights from Tatanka’s match against Ludvig Borga from last week.  We’re back at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center, and the Quebecers join Vince McMahon on commentary this time.

Lex Luger def. Barry Horowitz

Fairly long match for a squash match, but it’s actually not terrible. The poll is still open for whether Lex Luger should be allowed in the Royal Rumble.

Lex Luger Entrance

Johnny Polo def. Marty Jannetty

The build for this match started back in October when Johnny Polo interfered in Marty Jannetty’s match against the 1-2-3 Kid.  This is Polo’s first Raw match in his pre Raven days. Polo has ridiculous attire, but he’s not bad. This match gets a little sloppy at times, but it’s pretty solid especially considering that Polo wasn’t an active wrestler at the time. Pierre interferes, which causes Johnny Polo to pick up the upset win.

Doink (with Dink) def. Spike Gray

Very quick win for Doink.

Royal Rumble Report

We get another Royal Rumble report with Todd Pettengill. He explains the Royal Rumble rules, and announces more competitors for the Royal Rumble match. He announces the championship match again, and also says that Bret and Owen have mended fences, and will take on the Quebecers for the Tag Team Titles. We also get a promo from them.

Crush (with Mr. Fuji) def. Mike Moraldo

Short squash match.

Undertaker Promo

Another incredible promo from the Undertaker and Paul Bearer.

Undertaker Promo

Women’s Championship Tournament Finals

We get to see some highlights from the finals of the Women’s Championship tournament that Vince McMahon had mentioned last month. The finalists were Alundra Blayze and Heidilee Morgan, and we get some bad promos from both before the highlights. These highlights are the first glimpse of women’s wrestling on Monday Night Raw. We’ve come quite a long way.  Blayze wins with an impressive looking German suplex to capture the title.

Alundra Blayze

Kwang Promo

Short promo from Kwang, where he just does a bunch of ninja moves.

Razor Ramon def. Derek Domino

Razor Ramon has no problems taking out this jobber.

Overall Thoughts

Other than Shawn Michaels vs. The 1-2-3 Kid, the matches this month were mostly bad.  There were a lot of squash matches, and a couple short non-squash matches.

On the positive side, I’m loving the feuds that they’re building.  We have Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon, where Michaels is still trying to claim that he’s the real Intercontinental Champion.  Ramon is also involved in a secondary feud with IRS, who is now in possession of his gold necklace.

There’s still the Randy Savage and Crush feud, which has been building for months.

Owen Hart finally got an interesting storyline, as he’s trying to break out of his brother’s shadow.  They’ve made up at this point, but we all know that won’t last.

The Undertaker getting a title shot against Yokozuna seems to have come out of nowhere, but he deserves it after having to be involved in lame feuds with Giant Gonzalez and Mr. Hughes all year.  His promos have already made this match feel huge.

The Tatanka and Ludvig Borga feud is even interesting, ever since Borga ended Tatanka’s undefeated streak.  Lex Luger is semi-involved in this feud, but he’s kind of been in limbo since Summerslam.  The biggest storyline he has going now is whether he’ll be allowed to take part in the Royal Rumble.

December Raw Highlights

  • Shawn Michaels begins carrying around his own Intercontinental Title, believing that Razor Ramon doesn’t deserve the belt.
  • Bobby Heenan gets thrown out of the WWF by Gorilla Monsoon.
  • IRS steals Razor Ramon’s gold necklace.
  • Jeff Jarrett finally makes his debut.
  • Johnny Polo wrestles his first ever match on Raw.

December WWF Highlights

  • The Undertaker gets to have a WWF Title shot in a casket match against Yokozuna at the Royal Rumble.
  • Owen Hart challenges Bret Hart to a match.
  • Owen Hart and Bret Hart make up, and get a Tag Team Title match against the Quebecers at the Royal Rumble.
  • Alundra Blayze wins the Women’s Championship.

Best December Raw Match

  • Shawn Michaels vs. The 1-2-3 Kid

Worst Non-Squash December Raw Match

  • Johnny Polo vs. Marty Jannetty

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