*** Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh reviews are a chronological look back at WWE PPV and TV history that began with a review of WrestleMania I. The PICs have revisited these events and refreshed all of their fun facts that provide insight into the match, competitors and state of the company as well as their overviews of the match action and opinions and thoughts on the outcomes. In addition, Jeff Jarvis assists in compiling historical information and the Fun Facts in each of the reviews. Also, be sure to leave feedback on the reviews at our Facebook page. Enjoy! ***
Monday Night Raw #34
October 4, 1993 (Taped September 27, 1993)
New Haven Coliseum
New Haven, CT
Announcers: Vince McMahon & Bobby Heenan
1) Razor Ramon and Rick Martel win a 20 Man Intercontinental Title #1 Contender Battle Royal at 19:21
Participants: Razor Ramon, Rick Martel, Adam Bomb, Bam Bam Bigelow, Bastion Booger, Bob Backlund, Giant Gonzalez, Irwin R. Schyster, Jacques, Jimmy Snuka, Mabel, Marty Jannetty, Mr. Perfect, Owen Hart, Pierre, Randy Savage, Tatanka, The 1-2-3 Kid, MVP
Fun Fact I: The first MVP in the WWF (no, not Montel Vontavious Porter, but Most Valuable Player) was an alternate persona of Steve Lombardi, better known as the Brooklyn Brawler. This would be a short run character used by Lombardi. This will be the only televised match the MVP character appears on. The character would later be rechristened Abe “Knuckleball” Schwartz and mainly existed to take shots at MLB’s strike.
Fun Fact II: We bid farewell to the Giant Gonzalez (and his suit with fur and drawn on muscles). His contract with the WWF would expire on 10/7 and he would move on to wrestling in Japan for NJPW and WAR before retiring from the ring in 1995.
Fun Fact III: This match was ordered due to President Jack Tunney stripping Shawn Michaels of the IC title due to not defending it in a 30 day period (kayfabe).
Scott: So the rules are the last two guys in the match will face each other next week for the vacant Intercontinental Title. Shawn Michaels was stripped at the time due to failing a drug test but he has since proclaimed his innocence so I’m not totally sure, but in any event we have a huge mass of humanity. There is a big template of guys, from jobbers to legends to legit contenders. I remember thinking no doubt that Bam Bam Bigelow was going to be one of the last two. He was my favorite mid-card heel at that time and I thought the company wanted to keep the IC Title on a heel since Michaels was the champion. Then again with the WWF Champion and the Tag Team Champions heels perhaps they wanted to flip the script. The dark horse was Randy Savage, who is of course one of the greatest IC Champions of all time. Perhaps this was finally the time for Tatanka to get the title he deserved, but when Bigelow eliminated him, that finally showed to me that he wasn’t title material. Then Bigelow was eliminated by Razor and I was disappointed. I assumed if they were going face/heel with the final two guys that Bigelow would be the final heel. As the ring thinned, Razor’s chances were getting higher and higher. The last six competitors were Razor, Savage, Adam Bomb (another of my favorite heels), Martel and the Quebecers. Eventually it was three heels vs. Razor. At that point I knew the Quebecers would probably be eliminated and sure enough miscommunication led to them being taken out. So it will be Razor Ramon vs. Rick Martel next week for the vacant Intercontinental Championship. That will be a fun match. Perhaps one of the best battle royals I’ve ever seen. Grade: ****
JT: The hype began a week ago when Jack Tunney shockingly announced that Shawn Michaels would be stripped of his IC Title due to failing to fulfill his contractual obligations. Thus, we have a battle royal here were the final two men would square off a week later to determine the new champion. The match is pretty loaded as we learned a week ago but there are still some potential favorites in there, such as Bam Bam Bigelow, Mr. Perfect, Marty Jannetty, Randy Savage, IRS and Razor Ramon. Most of the competitors were in the ring when we came on the air but did see entrances for Tatanka, Giant Gonzalez, Razor Ramon, Randy Savage, Adam Bomb and the Quebecers. Man, those guys were getting a hell of a push, entering the showcase slot here. Savage struck quickly as he entered the ring, cracking Gonzalez with a double ax off the top rope. He took full advantage of rocking the giant and got some help from a bunch of other entrants to shockingly eliminate him right off the bat. Great strategy there by the cagy veteran. With Gonzalez gone, the match began in earnest and everyone started pairing off and angling for eliminations. They really did a nice job of loading this thing up. MVP got some highlighting early on and I wonder if he was actually set for any kind of push or if it was simply to mock MLB for their strike. We got a long stretch of brawling and teases with a little storyline advancement between Ramon and IRS until the eliminations sparked with Diesel shoving the mammoth Mabel out. I really like how it took a while to start the eliminations in this one, hoping show the real importance of the match. In a nice spot, Mr. Perfect and Randy Savage really went at it, showing there were no friends here either. Ramon would pitch IRS to continue their feud and a moment later Bastion Booger chucked 1-2-3 Kid to the floor. Another feud continued when Perfect ducked a charge and dumped Diesel out of the ring.
As we returned from break, Rick Martel eliminated Bob Backlund and then Jimmy Snuka a moment later. Snuka had a fun little two week run but he is back off to the indies for now. On commentary, Bobby Heenan started to push the Savage/Crush feud again, talking about how he believes Savage kept Crush out of the match on purpose. In a big elimination, Bigelow knocked Perfect to the floor, taking out one of the biggest favorites in the match. Another potential favorite was gone right after when he wildly charged at Adam Bomb, who ducked and sent him flying. Tatanka made the same mistake right after that, running at Bigelow, who dodged him and watched him crash to the floor. Three surprising eliminations in a row there. The bodies kept flying as Savage shoved out Booger and Ramon tossed Bigelow. After a break, Owen Hart dropkicked MVP out of the ring but Hart was tossed immediately after. Pretty funny that he lasted as long as he did and conversely this was a nice little showing for Hart who was settling back into action and primed for a solid push finally. With six left, Ramon and Savage settled into one corner while the Quebecers, Bomb and Martel hung out across the ring and plotted their attack. The tag champs would double team Razor as Bomb and Martel choked away at Savage while trying to shove him out on the opposite side. Heenan called out how Johnny Polo managed both the Quebecers and Bomb and could be set up for a big night. Savage struck first, shoving out Bomb but he got tangled up near the ropes and Martel and the Quebecers hustled over and knocked him out. That left Ramon and the French Canadians. They tussled for a moment until some miscommunication led to the Quebecers being dumped, leaving Ramon and Martel as the winners. Officials poured out and stood between the two men who would return next week to decide the championship. This was a really fun battle royal with a fairly loaded slate and pretty good pacing. The Quebecers are getting a hell of a push here and it was interesting to use Martel in this slot against Ramon as it didn’t leave much question as to who would win. I think IRS or Bigelow would have been better choices to add a little uncertainty. That said, this has been a nice mini arc and a well booked and executed match to open the show. Grade: **1/2
2) Heavenly Bodies defeat Scott Taylor & Mark Thomas when Jimmy Del Ray pinned Taylor with a moonsault at 4:00
Scott: I was wondering who was going to fill this episode out after practically everybody was in the battle royal, and I forgot about the team that challenged the Steiners at SummerSlam. You know we haven’t seen a boatload of guys on Raw since SummerSlam: No Bret Hart, no Lex Luger, no Yokozuna. That’s very strange, and this was a pretty vicious beatdown. Grade: DUD
JT: The Smoky Mountain Wrestling relationship continues as the Heavenly Bodies are here to stay and weren’t just imported for a one time title match at SummerSlam. Tom Prichard and Mark Thomas kicked things off and Prichard suckered Thomas in by faking a test of strength and then drilling him from behind. In an interesting discussion on commentary, Heenan mentions that the Rock ‘N’ Roll Express will compete on All American this weekend and puts over their legacy and resume. What a time to be alive. The Bodies would double team and toy with their opponents before finishing them off with . Fun squash with some good hard hitting double teams and it looks like the Bodies will now have to deal with a team that followed them to the North. Grade: 1/2*
*** We see clips from Superstars when Doink the Clown and Bam Bam Bigelow had an altercation in the aisle, one that started with the Clown dumping confetti on Bigelow and ended with him dousing Luna Vachon with a bucket of water. Bigelow tried to get revenge but Doink tripped Bammer up and escaped unscathed. Doink would grab a broom to mock Luna and then set up a trip wire in the aisle, leading to Bigelow falling on his ass. ***
3) Doink the Clown defeats Corey Student with the Cannonball at 1:58
Scott: Doink is officially a full-fledged babyface with new lighter entrance music and after clips of what he did to Bam Bam Bigelow on Superstars this past weekend it’s pretty clear. This looks to still be Matt Borne and he chucks popcorn on Bobby Heenan before the bell. This match will be a squash, but as expected Bam Bam Bigelow comes up to the ring and wants a piece of the Clown after what happened the previous weekend. Looking at the face post-match I am pretty sure it is Matt Borne, but that doesn’t last long. Grade: DUD
JT: As Vince McMahon gawks at the Raw Girl, he proceeds to promote this week’s USA World Premier Movie: Linda. Welp. And with this entrance, the old evil Doink that we knew and loved was officially dead. He had started his face turn a couple of weeks ago when he soaked Bobby Heenan with a bucket of water, continued it over the weekend with his tussle with Bam Bam and Luna and now… well, now he has happier music. It’s over. Doink plays to the fans and then dumps popcorn on Heenan as he continues to torment the Brain. Heenan was great here, begging and then closing his eyes and saying he is freezing before Vince calls him an idiot. In the ring, Doink made quick work of Corey Student and at the very least still worked a pretty stiff and grinding style in the ring. Bigelow and Luna showed up after the match but nothing physical went down. Farewell evil Doink, your candle blew out far too soon. Grade: DUD
*** We wrap up with highlights of the final moments of the battle royal and hype for next week’s Intercontinental Title match. ***
Scott: This episode was totally carried by the battle royal. It ate up most of the time but is also one of the best televised battle royals of all time in my opinion. My only change would have been to have Bigelow as the final heel instead of Martel, as I think it would have added more intrigue to the final match next week. Nothing against Rick Martel, but this isn’t 1990 when he was higher up the card. I don’t think there was any doubt that Razor was going to win the belt. The rest of the show was ok with our first the first appearance of full blown babyface Doink. The entrance music is putrid, as I miss the creepier heel theme. Perhaps the babyface turn marked the first example of Vince needing to change some of the creative directions of character. A heel clown is awesome. A babyface clown is stupid in 1993. This was a great episode with an huge anchor match. Final Grade: B-
JT: This is a very historical episode of Raw with a big time battle royal eating up over half of the show. We are all queued up for next week now as Razor Ramon and Rick Martel will square off to determine the new Intercontinental Champion. The battle royal was a lot of fun and it was neat seeing all of the heavy hitters on the roster jammed into the ring at once. The squashes weren’t bad either and we got lots of progression for the burgeoning Bigelow/Doink feud. The commentary was on point too, especially during the battle royal, pushing along all of the agendas as well as being on point in calling the action. While losing Shawn Michaels is a bad thing on paper, having the vacated IC Title has helped spark Raw during what is usually a down time. Final Grade: B-