Earlier this year, I took on the task of recapping each episode of Monday Night Raw in the ’90s, starting with the very first episode in January 1993.  It’s been a lot of fun to take a trip back in time, and remember what Raw was like back in its early days.

The year saw a lot of changes in WWE (WWF at the time).  Hulk Hogan would wrestle his last match with the company until the 2000s, and many ’80s superstars were phased out.  Newcomers like Yokzouna and the 1-2-3 Kid made an impact, and young wrestlers like Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon started getting pushes.

It was a transitional year, as the WWF was looking for their future stars.  Not only with wrestlers, but announcers as well.  Long time commentators, Mean Gene and Bobby Heenan would leave the company before the end of the year.  Todd Pettengill and others would try their best to replace these legends.

Raw itself had an up and down year.  The majority of matches on each episode were short squash matches, and the general match quality isn’t what fans of today’s product would expect.  Still, each episode usually featured at least one big match, and every show was based around building up feuds.  Raw really made the most of the hour that they were given, and almost everything that was done served a purpose.

It’s strange seeing Raw take place in small ballroom venues instead of large arenas, but it definitely gives it more of an intimate and underground vibe.  Since it was a new show, Raw wasn’t yet the mainstream phenomenon it would eventually turn into, so they only traveled to a handful of different venues all year.

Let’s take a look back on some of the highlights from 1993:

January 1993

  • Monday Night Raw Debuts live from the Manhattan Center.
  • The evil Doink knocks out Crush with a fake cast.
  • Mr. Perfect defeats Ric Flair in a “Loser Leaves Town” match.
  • “The Narcissist” Lex Luger and Giant Gonzalez make their debuts at the Royal Rumble.
  • Yokozuna wins the Royal Rumble.

February 1993

  • Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake returning after his near fatal parasailing accident.
  • Yokozuna sends “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan to the hospital after giving him two Banzai Drops.
  • Razor Ramon wins a 16 Man Battle Royal on Raw.
  • Money, Inc. smash Brutus Beefcake in the face with a steel briefcase.
  • Hulk Hogan makes his only appearance on Raw in the ’90s, with a promo.
  • Hulk Hogan, Brutus Beefcake, and Jimmy Hart form the Mega Maniacs.

March 1993

  • Raw takes place at a venue other than the Manhattan Center for the first time.
  • Andre The Giant becomes the first ever WWF Hall of Fame Inductee.

April 1993

  • Lex Luger knocks out Bret Hart at the WrestleMania brunch.
  • Shawn Michaels begins feuding with Mr. Perfect after attacking him following Perfect’s match against Lex Luger at Wrestlemania.
  • Yokozuna defeats Bret Hart for the WWF Championship at WrestleMania, and is then quickly defeated by Hulk Hogan.
  • Luna Vachon debuts at WrestleMania, and begins feuding with Sensational Sherri.
  • Jerry Lawler makes his Raw debut.
  • Bobby Heenan permanently joins Vince McMahon and Randy Savage on Raw commentary, replacing Rob Bartlett.
  • Mr. Hughes makes his Raw debut.

May 1993

  • The 1-2-3 Kid gets an upset victory over Razor Ramon.
  • Marty Jannetty returns to defeat Shawn Michaels for the Intercontinental Title on Raw.
  • Adam Bomb and Johnny Polo make their Raw debuts.

June 1993

  • Shawn Michaels wins back the Intercontinental Title from Marty Jannetty at a house show.
  • Shawn Michaels debuts his new bodyguard, Diesel.
  • Jerry Lawler hosts the first episode of King’s Court.
  • Bret Hart wins the King of the Ring tournament.
  • Yokozuna defeats Hulk Hogan for the WWF Title at King of the Ring.
  • Giant Gonzalez and Mr. Hughes attack the Undertaker and Paul Bearer, and steal the Undertaker’s urn.
  • The Steiner Brothers win the Tag Team Titles from Money, Inc., lose them back to them, then win them back again.
  • Mr. Fuji issues an open challenge to any American athlete who could slam Yokozuna on July 4.
  • The 1-2-3 Kid accepts Razor Ramon’s $10,000 challenge, and runs off with his money after fighting him.
  • Money, Inc. appears to start a feud with Razor Ramon.

Lex Luger and Yokozuna

July 1993

  • Lex Luger turns face after slamming Yokozuna on the USS Intrepid at the Stars and Stripes Challenge.
  • The Lex Express tour officially kicks off.
  • The Undertaker returns.
  • Yokozuna puts Crush in the hospital after giving him four Banzai Drops.
  • Shawn Michaels defeats Marty Jannetty in a rematch for the Intercontinental Title.
  • Razor Ramon turns face after refusing to work for Money, Inc.
  • The Million Dollar Man challenges the 1-2-3 Kid.
  • Men on a Mission makes their Raw debut.
  • Jerry Lawler breaks Tiny Tim’s ukulele.
  • Ludvig Borga debuts as the newest foreign heel.
  • Lex Luger gets a title shot against Yokozuna at SummerSlam.
  • Doink challenges “Macho Man” Randy Savage.

August 1993

  • Raw goes to a new venue.
  • A five-part series called “Who Is Lex Luger?” begins.
  • The 1-2-3 Kid upsets the Million Dollar Man on Wrestling Challenge.
  • Jim Cornette makes his WWF debut.
  • The Heavenly Bodies challenge the Steiner Brothers for the WWF Tag Team Titles.
  • Yokozuna and Lex Luger have a contract signing for their match at SummerSlam.
  • SummerSlam Spectacular takes place a week before the SummerSlam PPV event.

September 1993

  • The Quebecers win the Tag Team Titles from the Steiner Brothers.
  • Ludvig Borga begins a feud with Lex Luger.
  • Doink begins a face turn by splashing Bobby Heenan with a bucket of water.
  • PJ Walker upsets IRS.
  • Raw goes to a venue outside of New York for the first time.
  • Shawn Michaels gets suspended, and stripped of the Intercontinental Title.
  • Mean Gene is no longer with the company, and replaced by Joe Fowler.
  • Jimmy Snuka makes his return.

October 1993

  • Razor Ramon and Rick Martel win the battle royal for the vacated Intercontinental Title, and earn the chance to fight each other for the belt.
  • Doink begins a feud with Bam Bam Bigelow.
  • Razor Ramon defeats Rick Martel to become the new Intercontinental Champion.
  • Harvey Wippleman becomes the new manager of Adam Bomb.
  • The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express make their Monday Night Raw debut.
  • Crush turns on “Macho Man” Randy Savage, and joins forces with Mr. Fuji and Yokozuna.
  • Fans vote to not lift the suspension on Shawn Michaels.
  • Ludvig Borga begins a feud with Tatanka.
  • Four matches are made for Survivor Series.

November 1993

  • Todd Pettengill takes over Survivor Series reports from awful Joe Fowler.
  • Ludvig Borga ends Tatanka’s undefeated streak, and knocks him out of the Survivor Series match.
  • Well Dunn makes their Raw debut.
  • Raw takes place in Pennsylvania for the first time.
  • Randy Savage returns to commentary, and attacks Crush before his match.
  • Randy Savage gets banned from broadcasting.
  • The Undertaker replaces Tatanka as a member of the All Americans at Survivor Series.
  • Lex Luger knocks out Pierre.
  • Vince McMahon announces a three-week women’s tournament to determine a new Women’s Champion.
  • Shawn Michaels returns to attack Razor Ramon.
  • Dink makes his debut.
  • Bret Hart wins “Superstar of the Year”.
  • Owen Hart starts to become noticeably jealous of his brother, and has a confrontation with his family at Survivor Series.
  • Shawn Michaels challenges the 1-2-3 Kid.

December 1993

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Jeff Jarrett finally makes his debut.
  • Johnny Polo wrestles his first ever match on Raw.
  • 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.

Top 10 Most Matches on Raw in 1993

  1. Tatanka – 15
  2. Razor Ramon – 14
  3. Scott Steiner, Mr. Perfect, Doink – 13
  4. Bam Bam Bigelow – 12
  5. Rick Steiner, The 1-2-3 Kid – 11
  6. Shawn Michaels, Marty Jannetty, Fatu, IRS – 10
  7. Crush, Adam Bomb – 9
  8. Samu – 8
  9. Owen Hart, Bob Backlund, PJ Walker, Phil Apollo, Mr. Hughes – 7
  10. Yokozuna, Damien Demento, Kamala, “Iron” Mike Sharpe, Million Dollar Man, Scott Taylor, Duane Gill, Rick Martel, Bastion Booger, Billy Gunn, Barry Horowitz, Mabel, Pierre – 6

Top 5 Best Raw Matches of 1993

  1. Shawn Michaels vs. Marty Jannetty (Episode 26 – July 19, 1993)
  2. Shawn Michaels vs. Marty Jannetty (Episode 17 – May 17, 1993)
  3. Razor Ramon vs. Rick Martel (Episode 35 – October 11, 1993)
  4. Marty Jannetty vs. Bam Bam Bigelow (Episode 19 – May 31, 1993)
  5. Shawn Michaels vs. The 1-2-3 Kid (Episode 42 – December 6, 1993)

Honorable Mentions: Marty Jannetty vs. Doink (Episode 22 – June 21, 1993) and Ric Flair vs. El Matador (Episode 2 – January 18, 1993)

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