WWE Raw Retro Coverage - January 18, 1993 edition: Ric Flair and Mr. Perfect set up their loser leaves WWF match, Randy Savage's hat stolen, Mr. Perfect vs. Terry Taylor, Ric Flair vs. Tito Santana, lackluster final hype for the Royal Rumble
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 18, 1993 from New York City, New York at the Manhattan Center
We opened with a pan of the Manhattan Center as the Raw sirens are going off. Vince McMahon was on commentary along with Randy Savage and Rob Bartlett. Bartlett was holding a photo and said "Fight The Real Enemy" and ripped up the photo. Unfortunately, his fingers covered the face on the photo.
As Vince was concluding the introduction, The Repo Man attacked Macho Man from behind. As Randy was on the floor, Repo Man took his hat and fled into the crowd. Vince and Rob checked on the Macho Man while he sold his shoulder, as we headed into the opening credits.
Retro Verdict: Really hot opening to the show. Ok, Macho Man and Repo Man would never have sold out the building with a feud, but even more than last week on the first episode, it feels like anything can happen on Raw.
We were treated to a slow shot of a beautiful lady in the ring holding up a sign that read, "Let’s Get Raw!" Terrific Terry Taylor made his ring entrance. Vince reminded us that the show was live. Mr Perfect made his entrance to a great response. Vince told us that Macho Man was backstage trying to find the Repo Man...
1. Terry Taylor vs. Mr Perfect. Before the bell, Taylor talked some trash talk at Mr Perfect, so I guess he’s the heel in this match. Perfect and Terry stalled at the beginning while Macho Man made his return to the broadcast booth and let us know he’d been hit a lot of times in the past, but this was amongst the ten most painful hits he’d ever taken.
Back in the ring, Perfect hit a combination of moves, which as usual looked crisp. As Perfect had Taylor in a mat hold, McMahon let us know that Bobby "The Brain" was on the phone. The Brain cleared up that it was actually a photo of him that Rob Bartlett ripped up, and Bobby ripped into Bartlett. Go Brain! Brain informed Macho Man that he did not put the Repo Man up to take his hat, and if he’s not careful he will repo his career.
While all this is going on, Perfect and Taylor were going back and forth at a quick pace with move and counter move. Perfect took Taylor down with an arm drag and settled down into an arm bar as we went into the first break. [C]
Taylor threw Perfect out of the ring. Taylor was on the offence as The Brain reminded us that Ric Flair and Perfect were in the midst of a bitter feud and Flair would be watching everything that Perfect was doing. Taylor cut Perfect's comeback off and attempts to put him away with a gut wrench suplex. Perfect kicked out and both men exchanging punches, which Perfect gets the better of. With Perfect in full control, Ric Flair appeared in the aisle, which distracted Mr Perfect long enough to allow Terry to knock him out of the ring.
With the referee distracted, Ric attacked Perfect at ringside, throwing him into the steel steps, before throwing him back inside the ring. With Perfect dazed, Taylor went for a supplex, but this was reversed into the Perfect Plex for the 1-2-3...
Mr Perfect pinned Terry Taylor in 10.30.
Straight after the bell, Perfect took off in search of Flair as we saw a graphic promoting Bret Hart in a special interview next… [C]
Retro Verdict: Decent enough match. I was slightly disappointed, as I thought these two could have a much better match, but it seemed they were booked to start the match slow to allow the commentators to speak to Bobby Heenan. When the action picked up, all the voices and information being thrown out there was very distracting. It was awesome seeing Ric Flair, and it was a good forwarding to the feud between the two.
Vince stood in the ring and introduced Bret "The Hitman" Hart, who came out to a great response, and had a big smile on his face. Vince mentioned that the WWF Championship would be on the line that Sunday at the Royal Rumble. He brought up the interview from last week with Razor Ramon. He mentions that Razor not only had a pop at Bret, but also at his family.
Bret said he doesn’t respect Razor for what he has done to his family, kicking his brother Owen like a dog, and talking about slapping his father. Bret said that no real wrestler would think about slapping a 78 year old man (Retro Comment: Big Show?!), and Bret thinks Razor is the scum of the WWF.
Vince asked Bret what his strategy would be at the Royal Rumble. Bret responded by saying that the belt proves he’s the best wrestler in the world, but come Sunday he would "Beat Razor down unconscious street, and beat you from one end of the ring to the other." He went on to say he would win for his family, and that he will show him "why I am the World Wrestling Federation Champion, I am the toughest, the meanest and the best" … [C]
Retro Verdict: Bret was never the best promo guy, when you’ve seen one of them you’ve seen them all, but there seemed a decent amount of fire behind his comments.
Marty Jannetty made his entrance to what sounded like a bunch of teenage girls screaming at a one direction gig. His opponent in this match is Glen Ruth, who Rob Bartlett says "Is Babe Ruth’s illegitimate son," which Vince, of course, denied...
Retro Verdict: Glenn Ruth would go on to become Thrasher in the Headbangers tag team.
2. Marty Jannetty vs. Glenn Ruth. Ruth offered a handshake to start the match. After Jannetty obliged, Ruth turned his back to take his shirt off and got clobbered from behind. Vince pointed out that Shawn Michaels would never have turned his back on an opponent. After a short burst of offence, Jannetty took control with a leap off the top rope.
Shawn Michaels was brought onto commentary via the telephone. He stated "The Rockers were a successful tag team because 1. Shawn Michaels was a part of it and 2. Because Shawn Michaels always knew what was going on in Marty's head, and that hasn’t changed, and why? Because Jannetty is a simpleton." Shawn confidently stated he would walk out of the Royal Rumble still the Intercontinental Champion...
In the ring, Jannetty was still on top as Vince addressed the wildcard in the Royal Rumble, Sensational Sherri, who will be in the corner of either Marty or Shawn. Shawn replied that women like Sherri are a dime to a dozen but she is in love with the Heartbreak Kid, and he has no doubt she would do the right thing on Sunday.
Vince wished Shawn all the very best of luck for Sunday and Michaels replied that he doesn’t need any luck, as Vince should know by now. Ruth had Jannetty in the corner, and was unloading a few punches. Jannetty turned the tide and got Ruth into an armbar before whipping him into the ropes. Jannetty slide underneath Ruth, punched him in the gut, and hit the Rocker Dropper for the 1-2-3... [C]
Marty Jannetty pinned Glenn Ruth in 05:10
Retro Verdict: Glenn Ruth would go on to become Thrasher in the Headbangers tag team. Ho hum match, lots of armbars and rest holds, was really only on as background to the Shawn Michaels promo on the phone. I didn't recognise Ruth by name or by look with the full head of hair. I never would have guessed in a million years he would become Thrasher.
Back from the break, the camera shows the three announcers, and Vince stated that Crush won’t be in the Royal Rumble because of the actions of Doink on Superstars the previous weekend. They showed the clip from Superstars, where Doink was trying to hand Crush a flower. Crush turned his back on Doink, who took a cast out of his sling and started beating the holy hell out of Crush with it. Vince tried to play off the fact that Doink took "his arm right out of the socket" until Randy Savage pointed out that it was just a cast.
In the arena, Vince threw to Sean Mooney, who had found the Repo Man outside. Repo jumped into shot and danced around while wearing Randy’s hat. Randy was going ape in the split screen. Repo Man stated that he’s been watching the Macho Man for a long time, but Randy has never paid any attention to him, but now he’s got him in a match.
Mooney stated that Randy was very unhappy judging by the comments in his ear, so Repo took the earpiece from him. Macho was hot and said lets get it on tonight, where do you wanna land? They smack talked back and forth, and Repo mocked Savage by wearing the hat... [C]
After the break, Macho was trying to locate Repo Man, who had hightailed it. Randy was running through the traffic...
Retro Verdict: Call me crazy, but I really got a kick out of this story. Repo Man was over the top, but surprisingly looked really comfortable on his promo. Dare I say it, it seemed real. Randy even said, I don’t want to wrestle I want to beat you down. Ahhh, this was a simpler (better?) time. The whole Doink/Crush thing just annoys me, although he did show a tremendous aggressive side beating down Crush with cast.
El Matador (Tito Santana) made his entrance to no reaction, followed closely by Ric Flair making his entrance to a babyface pop, which I’m sure he wasn’t supposed to get. Randy Savage made his way back after the search for his hat...
3. El Matador vs. Ric Flair. They locked up, and Tito was quickly on top after several shoulder charges. Tito tried to wear Flair down with a front headlock on the mat. Randy was covering for the reaction to Flair, by saying that every Ric Flair fan in the world must be in the building tonight. [C]
We came back with Santana whipping Flair into the turnbuckle, and tried to flip him out of corner, but Flair held onto the ropes. With Flair on top, he jawed at the ref, which caused Vince to say "Flair obviously has problems with authority." Ouch!
Flair got a minute or two of offence, before Tito caught him on the top rope and threw him off the turnbuckle. Flair begged off in the corner, in the way that only he can. After some action outside of the ring, Ric was thrown back into the ring where he begged off again.
Tito set him up for his flying forearm finishing move, and hit it. For some reason, he didn’t cover him and tried to do it again, but this time Flair moved and Tito went flying over the top rope. With Flair still down in the ring, Mr. Perfect came down to attack him.
They brawled back and for on the floor, and a bunch of agents, including the Stooges and Sgt. Slaughter are trying to break them up to no avail. Despite Perfect attacking Flair, the match apparently ended in a no contest. They managed to get both men behind the curtain and Vince threw to a break... [C]
El Matador fought Ric Flair to an apparent no-contest.
Retro Verdict: I was really enjoying the match before the ending. The fact that Perfect came down to interfere didn’t bother me, as it made perfect sense (pun intended) considering their feud, I’ve just always had a problem with matches that should end with the ref declaring a disqualification instead ending without any announcement, so we have to assume it’s a no contest. I don’t know if it’s just me, but Rob Bartlett, as much as he annoys me, has been really quiet this week and seemed annoyed when he did speak.
Back from the break, Flair and Perfect came back through the curtain with Perfect trying to get his hands on Flair. Perfect was held back, and Flair made his way towards Vince, who was holding a microphone. Before Vince could talk, Flair told him to not even bother asking him a question. He said the WWF is not big enough for both him and Mr Perfect. He said next week live on Raw, he wanted him in the ring. Flair said he wants one of them to go, not out of the building, but out of the WWF.
Flair walked off in the middle of his promo to go and kiss a good looking lady in the front row. He came back and screamed into the camera, "Perfect you haven’t got the guts, and you will never ever in your life see the day you’ve beat Ric Flair." Wow. Rob Bartlett chimes in with "Take a Prozac"...
Mr Perfect came out and made his way to Vince, who asked if he heard the challenge sent by Flair. Perfect said he would take that challenge in a heartbeat. He said if he wants him next week, he’ll have him next week.
Vince asked why he would risk of all this. Perfect simply answered, only one man will stay in WWF, and he wants that, so he will take that challenge. Vince wrapped up the promo by reiterating what was just said, and promoted next week's Raw by saying we will also have the Macho Man Randy Savage against The Repo Man. The show ended with the Repo Man towing away Rob Bartlett's car...
Retro Verdict: I had to make sure that the Royal Rumble was in between this Raw and the next Raw, as they spent more time on this show promoting next week's Raw than the Royal Rumble pay-per-view. Strange. Secondly, for anyone who doesn’t understand why Ric Flair was seen as the best promo guy in the business, watch the promo he gives on this show. Simple but effective. Good work from both men to be fair.
All in all, I enjoyed this show. The in-ring action was a little boring, but it was more because the emphasis was more on getting whoever was doing a phone interview during the match, than the actual wrestling. That’s fair enough. It all kicked off hot with the surprise attack by the Repo Man, and as I said earlier, I’m actually really looking forward to seeing how that played out.
Rob Bartlett was just bad, but because he was quiet most of the time, didn’t bother me. However, when he came out with the Prozac line after a great Flair promo, I wanted to throw something at my screen. That one line alone stands out as the reason he didn’t have a long run as a commentator.
Another show to watch once it is available on WWE Network. There were no truly dull moments, and it was a better representation of what Raw would become then their first effort the week before. It's just a shame that the Royal Rumble wasn’t promoted more, but I’m guessing back then, Raw wasn’t seen as the flagship show that would have to carry the main weight of the promotion of pay-per-views.
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