The SmarK 24/7 Rant for Monday Night RAW – January 11 1993
– Well, you knew I had to get around to this one sooner or later. At the point when this show debuted, WWF Superstars was still the primary outlet for the angles and major happenings, whereas this crazy “RAW” show was just an experiment to replace Prime Time Wrestling, kind of like Shotgun Saturday Night was intended to be later on. But then syndication died and cable became the future, and here we are.
– Live from New York. Uncut and uncensored! Unless you try to say “WWF”, in which case it’s quite censored.
– Your hosts are Vince McMahon, Randy Savage & Rob Bartlett. Rob Bartlett? Regardless, I’d love to hear Vince and Randy on commentary together today. If they’d only reveal the secret reason behind their real-life feud, they could probably air it on national TV and draw a few bucks off it.
Koko B. Ware v. Yokozuna.
So there you go, trivia buffs, this is the first match in RAW history — Yoko v. Koko. Yoko powers Koko into the corners to start, and then no-sells Koko’s attempts to shoulderblock him. Koko switches to dropkicks instead, but misses and gets splatted with the Hulkbuster as a result. Corner splash and buttdrop finish the burial at 3:43. Total squash. 1/2*
– Meanwhile, Bobby Heenan cuts a promo about someone named “Narcissus”, who is set to debut at the Royal Rumble. They tweaked that gimmick a wee bit in the interim.
The Steiner Brothers v. The Executioners.
Crowd goes crazy for the Steiners in their RAW debut. The “Executioners” are wearing Lords of Pain tights, which would make them Duane Gill and Barry Hardy. Scott gets a tilt-a-whirl slam on one of the jobbers, and Rick flattens the other one with a clothesline and runs him into the corner. Powerslam and Scott comes in with an overhead belly to belly, then brings in the other guy and hits him with the butterfly bomb. The double-team bulldog finishes at 2:51. 1/2*
– Meanwhile, Bobby Heenan dresses as a woman and tries to sneak into the building.
– Razor Ramon joins us to threaten Bret Hart leading up to their crappy match at Royal Rumble.
Intercontinental title: Shawn Michaels v. Max Moon
Just remember if you’re ever laying in a gutter somewhere in New Jersey after a night of binge drinking and drug-fuelled male prostitution and contemplating suicide: Your life could be worse and you could always be poor Paul Diamond stuck in this gimmick. They trade leapfrogs to start and Max slams Shawn, who retreats into the corner. Max takes him down with an armdrag and we take a break. Back with Shawn dropping Mr. Moon on the top rope, and then dropkicking him. Question: Were Bartlett’s dated and New York-specific “jokes” funny back in 1993 when they at least might have made sense to people watching at the time? Because all I hear is “blah blah blah David Denkins” and then someone doing an “impression” of Mike Tyson. Shawn rams Max into the corner and slugs away on the mat, but Moon gets a small package for two. Back elbow gets two and we hit the chinlock. Moon escapes and catapults Shawn to the floor while Bartlett continues to do commentary in “character” as Mike Tyson, thus totally destroying any drama that the match is supposed to have. Back in, fireman’s carry roll gets two. Senton misses and Shawn hits the superkick and finishes with the teardrop suplex at 8:08. Funny to see the superkick as the mere setup move back in the day. Did the kick get stronger or did peoples’ chins get weaker? Match was pretty blah stuff. **
– Royal Rumble Report! Brought to you by ICOPRO!
– Meanwhile, Bobby Heenan tries dressing as a rabbi. That doesn’t work, either.
– Let us take you back to Kamala’s incredibly lame face turn.
Undertaker v. Damian Demento
Don’t call him a jobber or he’ll cut a promo on YouTube against you. Rob gets his one funny line in here, asking Vince who “the guy with the martini shaker” is. When that’s his BEST joke, stop and ask yourself how bad the other ones were. Taker rams Damian’s head into the mat to start and we go old school with the ropewalk. Taker chokes him out in the corner and misses a blind charge, but he no-sells Damian’s comeback attempt and finishes with the tombstone at 2:22. Quite the main event there. 1/4*
– And we wrap things up with Vince introducing Doink the Clown to Crush, kicking off their epic feud. Doink squirts him in the face with a water pistol and sells it as the comedic coup of the century, and we’re done.
Man, they’re just lucky they had no competition in 1993, I’ll just say that about this show. Things would of course get better over the next few months, but this show really wasn’t the revolutionary, edgy rebirth of wrestling that the blowjob video clips between segments would have you believe. It was different, yeah, but honestly it wasn’t until Nitro redefined the notion of putting PPV quality matches on free TV on a regular basis and forced Vince to step his production values into the 21st century that things REALLY changed. Still, it’s interesting from a trivia point of view, I suppose.