WWE Raw Retro Coverage - The first Raw from January 11, 1993: Shawn Michaels defends the Intercontinental Title, Undertaker in the main event, The Steiner Brothers, Yokozuna vs. Koko B. Ware, Doink the Clown
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
Aired January 11, 1993 from New York City, New York at the Manhattan Center
We open with a shot of New York with Sean Mooney being the first person to welcome us to Monday Night Raw. He is interrupted by Bobby "The Brain" Heenan who demands to be let in to host the show. Moody reminds him that he has been replaced, and he’s not able to buy a ticket as they are sold out…
We then get our first look at the opening credits, which is a generic saxophone/guitar riff motif, definitely dating this show back to the early 90s…
Vince McMahon checked in and reminded viewers that the show was live from the Manhattan Center in New York City. He was joined on commentary by Randy Macho Man Savage and Rob Bartlett (a radio personality). Vince hyped a tag match with the Steiner brothers and a special interview with Razor Ramon. The first thing Bartlett said was that he was looking forward to the matchup between Koko B Ware and Yokozuna.
Randy hyped Damien Demento against the Undertaker for later in the show. Howard Finkel was the ring announcer. He introduced Koko B Ware. My lord, Ware wore some bright colours. Thank god this wasn’t broadcast in HD! Yoko made his entrance and Bartlett made a comment about how he should spend "less time at the sushi bar and more time at the salad bar"...
1. Koko B Ware vs. Yokozuna. Barlett made another joke, which wasn’t really that funny, and we heard Vince fake laughing so much I now know where Michael Cole gets it from. Yoko threw salt in the corner as part of his pre-match routine and the bell rang. Both men circle each other before locking up, Yoko threw Koko into the corner like rag doll.
Bartlett made a comment about Yoko needing to wear a bra. Koko worked hard to knock Yoko off his feet with shoulder charges and drop kicks, but he wasn't moving. Yoko squashes Koko in the corner before delivering the Bonzi Splash and got the 1-2-3… [C]
Yokozuna beat Koko B. Ware via Pinfall in 3:44.
Retro Verdict: Total squash, showing Yoko to be dominant, and with the Royal Rumble just around the corner, promoting how much of a threat he is. Bartlett’s jokes are already getting on my nerves.
A random blonde was shown walking in the ring holding up a board. We went to the back where Bobby Heenen was cutting a promo about "The Narcissist" Lex Luger and telling Mr Perfect "comparing you both is like comparing ice cream to horse manure." Brilliant line! The Brain stated that the Narcissist is beyond perfect and not even Michelangelo could put on canvas the perfection of the Narcissist. He used the word Narcissist at least eight times in a two minute promo…
Retro Verdict: Good promo from The Brain, reminding me why I loved him so much. Simple but effective two minute promo, putting over Lex Luger, the unveiling at the Royal Rumble and the first feud with Mr Perfect. I could have done without hearing the word Narcissist over and over though.
2. The Steiner Brothers vs. The Executioners. Back to the arena The Steiner Brothers made their entrance and were facing that famous masked team the Executioners. Scott started the match against one of the masked men, and the announcers pointed out that Doink The Clown was hanging in the crowd with the fans. "Is that Dork the clown?" Bartlett asked.
Rick tagged in and in what looked like a botched spot, Rick whipped one of the executioners into the ropes but the masked fella stumbled over his own feet. Vince covered this well by saying it was due to the power of Rick Steiner. The Executioner bailed to the ringside, where he was attacked by Scott and threw him back in with force. Both Steiners were showing some really impressive power moves.
The announcers reminded us that the Steiners would be facing the Beverley Brothers at the Royal Rumble. The Steiners finished The Executioners off with a move that looked like the Doomsday device in reverse, with Scott holding the opponent on his shoulders, turning his back to the corner where Rick leapt off and bulldog the guy into the mat. Cool move...
The Steiner Brothers win beat The Executioners via pinfall in 3:00.
Retro Verdict: A good squash match where the Steiners got to show off their big power moves, and the announcers got to promote the PPV match. Really weird seeing Scott Steiner with his natural body size. I'm not sure what purpose Doink being in the crowd was at this point, but maybe we will see later. The Executioners were played by Duane Gill and Barry Hardy, according to Wikipedia.
Vince threw to Sean Mooney, who said there was some commotion outside, which turned out to be Booby Heenen dressed up as a women trying to get into the building. Random silliness… We headed to the break with a graphic promoting a special interview with Razor Ramon... [C]
Razor entered the ring with Vince already there with mic in hand. Although Razor was the heel, there seemed to be some teenage fans cheering him. Vince asked if he felt ready to be facing Bret Hart for the WWF Championship in two weeks at the Royal Rumble. Razor came back with charisma dripping off him while saying, "Don’t ask me if I'm ready Chico, I was born ready."
Vince fired back with the point that it took Bret eight years to become champion, and Razor is a relative newcomer. With disdain, Razor looked straight at the camera and said, "Hitman, it has taken you eight years to climb the ladder, it has taken Razor eight months to catch you." Vince cut him off from saying Number One contender, but Razor pulled the microphone back and finished the line. Whether Vince screwed up or not, it made Razor look like a badass.
Vince was quite confrontational as he said that if Razor is such a great number one contender, why did he jump Owen Hart. Highlights were shown of said attack. Razor said he enjoyed squashing Owen like a cockroach, and that Bret can't do anything about it. He said it's not that Bret didn’t want to do anything about it, but he can't do anything about it. Razor ended the promo by saying, you know what else you can’t do anything about, Bret? Me taking your precious gold. He then threw his toothpick in Vince's face… [C]
Retro Verdict: Excellent, just excellent. Simple but effective. I'm looking forward to watching this match after that promo. It has been years since I’ve seen Scott Hall work in his prime and now I remember why he was so good.
Howard Finkel announced the next contest is for the Intercontinental championship...
3. Shawn Michaels vs. Max Moon (a/k/a Paul Diamond) for the Intercontinental Championship. The match started with a lockup and Michaels took Moon down with an arm drag. He stood in the corner with a self-satisfied look on his face. Bartlett took this opportunity to make a joke about a TV show I’ve never heard of and was met with a few seconds of awkward silence before Vince fake laughed.
Back in the ring, we had some quick back and forth between the pair with Moon getting the better of the exchange. Vince speculated that Shawn was struggling. Moon took Shawn down into a hammerlock. [C]
Shawn had got the upper hand and whipped him into the turnbuckle and missed with a shoulder charge. Bartlett told us that during the break, we missed Shawn pull a knife out on Moon, which Vince quickly interjected that never happened. Weird.
After some more back and forth, Shawn caught Moon and dropped him on the top rope. With Shawn on top, Doink made his way to the entranceway and Bartlett starts doing a Mike Tyson impression. Commentators ignoring what is happening in the ring while making topical references? Who would have thought it?! After all the silliness, they started to promote the Royal Rumble with Michaels against Marty Jannetty.
Moon slingshot Michaels over the top rope and jumped off the apron onto Shawn. Moon rolled up Michaels for a very quick two count. Moon missed with a somersault and Shawn hit him with what would become Sweet Chin music. Believe it or not, this was not the finish, as Max stood up and was hit with a suplex for the 1-2-3...
Shawn Michaels beat Max Moon by pinfall at 8:11.
Michaels was given the belt and stared lovingly into the gold while adjusting his hair. A graphic on the screen reminded viewers of the Damien Demento vs. Undertaker match… [C]
Retro Verdict: Good match, with both men working hard. When I decided to start doing this I never thought Id be complaining about the announcers silliness overshadowing the match, but Bartlett talking like he was Mike Tyson, making really bad jokes, for the whole match was too much for me. The most cringe worthy part of all of this, was the fact he didn’t know when to stop doing the impression, and he just carried on an on. Doink made another random appearance, not sure what is happening there.
Sean Mooney was outside letting us know that although tonight was sold out, people were getting in line to buy tickets for next week show. Heenen, dressed as a Rabbi, tried to get in one more time, only for Mooney to rumble him again. Despite how silly these are, Bobby really hammed it up and I have to be honest, I got a kick out of them…
With Demento is already in the ring talking and laughing to himself, Undertaker made his old entrance led by the late Paul Bearer...
4. The Undertaker vs. Damien Demento. The bell rang and the big men went face to face. Demento hit four or five shots to Takers face, but Taker no-sold them. Undertaker took control and hit what would become "Old School." He backed Demento into the corner and tried to choke him out. Demento took charge with a boot to the face. He hit an ax-handle followed by a shoulder charge to knock Taker down. Undertaker sat straight up.
Vince used this opportunity to plug next week's show featuring Mr Perfect vs. Papa Shango, El Matador vs. Ric Flair, and a special interview with Bret Hart. Demento missed with a clothesline and ate a leaping clothesline from Taker. Undertaker picked him up and tombstoned him down for the three count. Slightly sloppy looking Tombstone compared to what we have since come to expect from Taker…
The Undertaker pinned Damien Demento in 2:20.
Vince delivered a wrap-up promoting next week's show... [C]
Retro Verdict: Nice quick win for the Undertaker and Demento got in some offence.
I was about to write my summing up, because I genuinely thought that was the end of the show, when suddenly Doink popped up on my screen. Vince welcomed us back and asked Doink what he thought about Crush warning Doink about making children cry. Doink simply said that if the children don’t have a sense of humour, it's not his problem. He said that if he laughs, thats all that matters.
Doink started to say that if Crush came out there he would be crying too, just as we conveniently saw Crush walking down the aisle. Vince introduced Crush (Brian Adams) to Doink who said, "Hey Bra, before you put your oversized shoes in your mouth, look over both shoulders." Yes, it was as wooden as it sounds. He warned Doink that if he caught him touching anyone else, he would put a cast on both arms....
Retro Verdict: I guess Crush is the jealous type.
Doink splashed Crush with his water pistol. Crush chased Doink around the ring and then suddenly jumped in the ring where a magic forcefield was stopping him from continuing the chase. Random…
We go back to Sean Mooney, who told Bobby Heenan that he is now welcome to go on in to the building finally, at which point we see the copyright WWF and the show fades to black…
Retro Verdict: I'm really confused by the placement of the Doink/Crush angle, as it should have been before the Undertaker match really. The way Vince finished his commentary after the Taker match, it really seemed to suggest that was the end of the show. Weird. Generic promo by Doink and a plank of wood promo from Crush. It really wasn't a hot way to end the show. All in all, though, I enjoyed the first episode of Raw. The hour flowed quickly, there were two decent matches, and two matches which showcased the stars against jobbers. Granted, compared to what was to come it pales in comparison, but I enjoyed it.
The highlight of the night for me was the Razor Ramon (a/k/a Scott Hall) promo. It oozed charisma and with a simple five-minute interview promo, and sold me on a match I knew nothing about going into the show. The low point of the night for me has to be Rob Bartlett. His jokes were lame. He distracted from the action in the ring. He came across like he didn’t know anything about the product and was just generally bad. If you watch this episode of Raw, try to tune him out. You’re not missing much if you do.
As this is the first ever Raw, I would recommend re-watching it. It’s not as good as Raw later became, and I would certainly say it’s not as newsworthy as the Raw shows today, but for sheer historical value, to see how far WWF(E) has come, as a wrestling fan you have to check it out.
If you have any feedback, I would love to hear from you. Send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org , hit me up at Twitter.com/haydngleed, or search for me on Facebook.
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