WWE Raw Retro Coverage - February 1, 1993: Lex Luger's Raw in-ring debut, Mr. Perfect vignette with an NFL player, Brutus Beefcake returns following a major injury, High Energy, ECW wrestler appears
Editor's Note: Welcome Haydn Gleed as the newest Prowrestling.net writer. Haydn will be writing the weekly WWE Raw Retro reviews. He is reviewing these shows from a VHS tape collection, so it is possible there will be some gaps if a show(s) or segments are missing. We will run two reviews on Mondays until we catch up so that each episode airs the same week it originally aired.
By Haydn Gleed
WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from New York City, New York at the Manhattan Centre
The show opened with the opening credits, with the bad '90s music. We were shown the packed out Manhattan Centre as the Raw sirens blaring…
Vince McMahon welcomed us to Monday Night Raw as Tatanka’s music played. His opponent who resides from, as Howard Finkel announces, the outer reaches of your mind, is Damien Demento. Vince exclaimed, "What a match to kick things off with here," as he then introduced Rob Bartlett and "Macho Man" Randy Savage as his co-commentators...
1. Tatanka vs. Damien Demento. Tatanka went to lock up, but Damien catched him and fired a few shots and headbutts. He threw him into the ropes, but Tatanka rolled him up for a two count.
Damien was on offence, and hit a number of his unique shots. Damien ran the ropes, but Tatanka hip tossed him. Damien got to his feet but was then clotheslined over the top. On the outside, Damien was talking to the heavens, and said "I’m doing what you told me to do". In the background, we could see Tatanka coming up from behind. He turned him around and nailed him with a massive chop to the chest.
Damien was thrown inside the ring, and Tatanka whipped him into the corner, but Demento came out with a massive clothesline and Tatanka was down. Into the ropes and Demento caught his opponent with an elbow.
Demento hit a leg drop between the legs onto, as Vince put it, the top of the thigh or the lower part of the abdomen. Demento jawed with the crowd. Demento threw a few kicks into the back of Tatanka. Rob Bartlett exclaimed that when he was a kid he had a lot of his trucks, "You know, Tatanka trucks."
Damien bashed Tatanka’s head into the top turnbuckle, but Tatanka no sold and started doing a war dance as Damien hit him in the back, but he continued to no sell. Tatanka whipped Demento into the ropes and caught him with a huge chop which Damien sold like he’d been shot. Damien stumbled back to his feet, where Tatanka was still stalking him with the war dance, and lifted Damien onto his shoulder and dropped him down for the three count... [C]
Tatanka beat Damien Demento via pinfall in 4:10.
Retro Verdict: Nice little match between the two. It doesn’t seem like the Tatanka war dance version of the "Hulk up" was over big time, but it doesn’t matter. I quite enjoyed this exchange. Rob Bartlett is back to his cheesy joke best.
Back from the break and Vince was in the ring, where he introduced Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake. There was a very good reaction to this. Brutus came down the aisle with his sheers and made his way into the ring.
Vince commented on what a great ovation he received, and it must be nice to be back in the World Wrestling Federation after the dreadful Parasailing accident. Brutus said, you know Vince there’s only one reason I came back here tonight and that was to make a special announcement. He said that he intends to make his return to the WWF and a return into the ring and to wrestle and to take on anyone. Vince exclaimed that The Barber is back! He then brought up the point that a lot of people will be concerned considering the injuries he suffered, and that they would see this as a risky thing to do.
Beefcake said that yes he understands it’s risky, but he came out there to explain the how and why. Just before the accident, his mother died of cancer, and shortly after that his father passed away. To add insult to injury, his wife walked away and filed for divorce. Just as he was coming to terms with all of this, a parasailing lady smashed her knees into his face and fractured his skull. He said that the doctors didn’t have much hope for him. In his desperation he reached out his hand for someone to help, and the hand that he found was none other than Hulk Hogan. He said that Hogan was there the whole time, when he came out of surgery, he was there when the bandages come off, and the first thing he saw was the red and yellow staring at him and not to give up, and that all of the Hulkamanics were behind him.
Vince said that with all of that said, it still seemed to him that he is taking a massive risk getting back in the ring. Brutus said at this point he has nothing left, he reached out to the Hulkster again for his opinion and Hulk said go for it. Brutus said that after all he’s been through, a little bit of pain in the ring won't make him want to give up. He said that he has signed an open contract, and he will take on anyone no matter how tall or no matter how small... [C]
Retro Verdict: I’m really not sure how I feel about this promo. In one sense it was historical, because I think it may have been one of the first time pre-attitude era, where the WWF broke kayfabe to some extent or at least played off a legitimate off-camera issue. At the same time, I was somewhat uncomfortable with him bringing up the death of his parents and the detail he gave. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t offended personally, but there was a lot of kids in the audience who one minute were cheering his entrance, and the next minute they were being shown looking very confused by what they were hearing. Apart from that it was a ho-hum promo, basically setting up his return and the return of Hulk Hogan.
A barely dressed young lady was walking around holding a card saying on the one side "Raw & Order" and on the other "Steak Tartare Is Raw" which Vince liked very much. In the ring, we already had Iron Mike Sharpe and Glenn Ruth. High Energy, who was Owen Hart and Hall of Famer Koko B Ware, made their entrance.
Retro Verdict: Iron Mike Sharpe was a respected veteran in the WWF, who had been working there since the early '80s, firstly working his way up the card, but towards the end of the run being a handy jobber to the youngsters.
2. High Energy vs. Iron Mike Sharpe and Glenn Ruth. Owen and Koko were wearing bright bright pants. Owen and Sharpe started the match. They locked up, and Sharpe threw Owen down with authority. He ran the ropes, shoulder charge to knock Owen down who flips back up, and hit Sharpe with a dropkick.
Owen took Sharpe down with a drop toe hold. Koko was tagged in, and High Energy performed a double team manoeuvre on him. Koko took Sharpe into his own corner for some reason, and Mike tagged in the soon to be Headbanger, Glenn Ruth.
Ruth charged into the ring but is taken into the babyface’s corner. Owen tagged in, they double back body dropped him, Owen whipped Ruth into the ropes, where he caught and held him in the air. Koko came off the top with a dropkick and Owen flipped over to get the 1-2-3... [C]
High Energy Beat Iron Mike Sharpe and Glen Ruth via pinfall in 1:31.
Retro Verdict: Nothing much to it really. Kind of clunky, but a total squash.
Back from the commercial, and the announcers recapped the attack by Doink with a plaster cast from a few weeks ago. Doink made his entrance, and I had forgotten how awesome his music was. His opponent is the 400-plus pound Typhoon, who got a decent pop...
3. Doink vs. Typhoon. As the bell rang, Doink went straight for the legs of Typhoon, who lost his balance and fell to the mat. Doink showed a number of good amateur wrestling moves which Vince commented on, but Typhoon powered back up and flipped Doink over with authority.
Undeterred, Doink went straight back for the legs and knocked the big down and followed it up with a big elbow. Doink applied a front-face lock to wear the big man down. Typhoon powered out of it and threw Doink literally across the ring.
They locked back up, but again Doink used his speed to put the big man on his front, and grabbed Typhoons nose but broke the hold before the ref could count to five. With Typhoon down, Doink applied several wear down manoeuvres. Vince commented on the fact that Doink is just putting hold after hold on Typhoon.
Typhoon once again powered back to his feet, and with Doink on his back slammed him into the top turnbuckle. He turned this into a bear hug, which Doink broke with a rake to the eye. With Typhoon down, Doink tried to punch and slap Typhoon, but the big man did not sell and instead got up to his feet. Doink tried a body check but typhoon caught him and slammed him to the mat. He whipped him into the corner, tried to follow up with a splash in the corner, Doink moved, and Typhoon went crashing into the turnbuckles. Doink knocked him down with a bulldog, grabbed a handful of tights and got the win... [C]
Doink pinned Typhoon in 3:10.
Retro Verdict:: Really surprised how well Doink wrestled. Another throwaway match, nothing of any real interest really. Found it interesting, that back in 1993, a man being hit across the back with a arm plaster means he’s out for 2 months, but these days they get hit by so many different kind of "toys" and they are out for 2 minutes. Sorry random rant there.
Back from the break, and Howard Finkel was in the ring and announced that a week ago the great Andre The Giant had passed away. After a short eulogy, Howard asked everyone to stand during the ten bell salute...
Retro Verdict: Really classy.
4. Yokozuna vs. Bobby DeVito. DeVito was already in the ring, while Yokozuna made his entrance. Macho Man commented on being the last one in the ring with Yoko at the Royal Rumble and how proud he was to have knocked him off his feet. Vince stated that another man who will be looking to knock him off his feet is Hacksaw Jim Duggan. He went on to announce that over the weekend Jim had issued a challenge to Yoko, and then introduced Jim on the phone, but all we could heard is a dial tone.
Rob Bartlett choose that moment to complain to Vince that he’s been with the company for a month and there is no Rob Bartlett action figure. Vince didn’t sound enthused by that.
DeVito charged at Yoko, who caught him with a big kick to the head. Vince introduced Hacksaw again, and this time he was on the line. Vince asked him what he thought his chances are of taking Yoko down. Hacksaw said he thought he had what it took, mostly because he loves America and he wanted to show Japan who’s boss. I’ve slightly paraphrased that.
In the ring, Yoko was killing DeVito with a big leg drop, and then literally squashed him in the corner, before hitting the bonsai drop. Yoko got the 1-2-3 just as Hacksaw chanted Hooooooooo... [C]
Yokozuna beat Bobby DeVito via pinfall in 2:02.
Retro Verdict: A squash in the wrestling and the literal sense. Basically, another match to show the world how dominating Yokozuna was.. Hacksaw was fun, but he said a lot of things without really saying much. When I paraphrased above what he said, he actually spent close to two minutes saying that.
Vince was back with mic in hand as we come back from commercial. He introduced Money Inc. (Ted DiBiase and IRS) who come down the aisle to the best intro music in the history of wrestling (at least for my money), Money, Money, Money (no not the Abba song for my European readers).
Vince said it must bother them that they are the tag team champions of the world and what do you come out to? On cue the crowd booed. Million Dollar Man said the only thing that bothers him is an empty bank account and that ain’t ever gonna happen.
"Well gentlemen you asked for this time, what do you have to say?" Vince asked. Million Dollar Man said, "Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall." Vince asked them what that was supposed to mean. Ted said that him and IRS were in the back and they heard Brutus tell his sad little sob story. He repeated that Brutus lost his mother, his father, and then had his face smashed in. He admitted that was sad, but "when you had your face smashed, it must have knocked a screw loose." Ted said that after three years of not being in the ring, Beefcake came out and issued an open challenge was like a slap to them. "You want a match?" he asked. "We will give you a match, why don’t you start with the champions."
Ted and IRS flipped a coin, which Ted called as heads. Without showing IRS the coin, he put it back into his pocket, and declared he won and would face Beefcake. At this point, the manager of Money Inc. Jimmy Hart came out and Vince asked him where he had been. Jimmy, told Money Inc that this was a waste of time because they are the tag team champions didn't need to do this.
IRS said that if Beefcake was trying to break their hearts with his story, he shouldn't bother because while you he lying in the hospital, he wasn't paying any taxes, and that’s the real sad story. Ted said as well as being a tax a cheat, he had nothing other than a million dollar face. He mockingly said they would never want to hurt that. Jimmy stopped them from talking, and said come on guys, stop clowning around, we have matches to sign and contracts to look over...
Retro Verdict: I really enjoyed that promo. I had to cut away from my viewing of Raw for five minutes to go to YouTube and listen to the Million Dollar Man’s theme music. They really built up the idea that Money Inc. are out to show Beefcake he’s made a big mistake, and also we saw the softer babyface side of Jimmy Hart coming out with his concern at the moment for his guys.
Lex Luger made his entrance and Vince reminded us that he made his debut at the Royal Rumble. "This guy obviously loves himself" Vince said. Lex had a mirror setup in the ring, where he could de-cape himself. As Lex was looking and admiring himself in the mirror, a lady with a board advertising Raw walked around the ring. Unlike the lady from earlier, this lady was overweight, with big thick spectacles and Lex Luger did not look happy at all... [C]
Retro Verdict: You just gotta know that is Vince’s idea of the most hilarious thing in the world.
After the break, Lex was still not happy and was clearly upset by what he had just witnessed. During the commercial, Jason Knight had made his way to the ring. Jason Knight would later go on to become Jason in ECW, serving as the sidekick of Justin Credible amongst other things.
Before the match, Vince threw to a video package that was introduced by Steve Jordan, tight end of the Minnesota Vikings. Jordan wanted to introduce us to the perfect passer, Mr Perfect. Perfect sent Jordan long and he found Steve every time. Jordan came back and said, "Wow, Perfect, you really do throw the perfect pass every time."
Mr Perfect said, thanks Steve but you ain’t seen nothing yet and threw the ball far and high in the air, and started running. In slow motion, we saw Steve Jordon reacting with amazement as Perfect got to the other side of the field and caught the ball. Steve Jordon looked into the camera and said, "Wow, did you see that? That was unbelievable!" Mr Perfect ran up and said, "No, no, no that was Perfect"...
Retro Verdict: Wow, that was seriously fantastic! I enjoyed the hell out of that. Good way to put over Perfect's gimmick, get a little NFL rub, and be funny without being too cheesy.
5. Lex Luger vs Jason Knight. Lex Luger backed Jason straight into the corner using his power. Lex then threw Jason down when they locked up next. Macho Man said he’s just been told that Beefcake has accepted the challenge of Money Inc. Lex backed Jason into the corner and hit him with a couple of shots. He whipped him to the other turnbuckle, but Jason reversed. Luger came out with a big clothesline. He picked Jason up and dropped him down onto the top rope.
Hi whipped him into the ropes, and hit him with an elbow. The elbow missed by about two feet, but the camera shot made up for it. Lex didn’t look happy, and motioned "no no no" to the crowd. he picked Jason back up and this time clearly hit him in the face with his elbow. Not sure if that was a missed spot or not. Luger put his pinky on Jason and the referee counted 1-2-3. After the match, Lex arrogantly picked Jason up and slapped him a few times, then swung him around and threw him to the other side of the ring...
Lex Luger pinned Jason Knight in 2.38.
Vince announced that in weeks time, there would be a big battle royal, and Brutus will face the Million Dollar Man. Macho Man just wanted Brutus to survive the match...
Retro Verdict: A nothing match, just another quick squash match. Lex didn’t look happy when he missed with the elbow, but at least he thought quickly on his feet and picked up Jason Knight and hit him again so everyone could see the impact. Nice first Raw match for Lex to show how powerful he is. I was still smiling after the Perfect vignette though.
All in all, this was a squash fest edition of Raw, with only Tatanka vs. Damien Demento, and Doink vs. Typhoon really having competitive matches, but they only lasted a couple of minutes. Saying that, the two big promos were big for news. Firstly, the return of Brutus Beefcake and then the challenge and hint of a Jimmy Hart babyface turn from Money Inc. I did enjoy this edition of Raw despite the sub standard matches. Of course, the vignette with Mr Perfect was just out of this world amazing. I don’t know if it’s my age and it was a nice piece of nostalgia or my humour, but I just loved it.
If you have any feedback, I would love to hear it. Send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me up on Twitter at Twitter.com/haydngleed. You can also search for me on Facebook.
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