Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Monday Night Raw 1/18/93

*** 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 #2

January 18, 1993
Manhattan Center
New York, NY
Announcers: Vince McMahon, Randy Savage & Rob Bartlett

*** During the open of the show, Repo Man attacks Randy Savage and steals his hat. Rob Bartlett also tears up a picture of Bobby Heenan, spoofing Sinead O’Connor ripping the picture of the Pope on Saturday Night Live. ***

1) Mr. Perfect defeats Terry Taylor with the Perfectplex at 9:28

Fun Fact: After leaving the WWF in 1990, Terry Taylor returned south and signed with WCW, wrestling initially under his own name. He joined the York Foundation and began going under the more formal name of Terrence Taylor, where he was a heel. He remained heel after the York Foundation disbanded, teaming with Greg Valentine to win the WCW US Tag Team Championships. Taylor resigned with the WWF in September 1992 under the new gimmick of “Terrific” Terry Taylor (no more Red Rooster).

Scott: Six years after these two were in the running for the Mr. Perfect gimmick, the winner faces the loser. Taylor had left in early 1990 and went to WCW where he toiled in the York Foundation and other endeavors. Meanwhile Mr. Perfect had an strong run with the company, including two runs with the Intercontinental Title. He took 1992 off for his back issues but returned and turned babyface to freshen things up. I wonder if turning face was to be a red herring for winning the Royal Rumble and getting a World Title shot at WrestleMania. Bobby Heenan calls in during the match to give Rob Bartlett grief about his picture getting ripped up during the match. Bartlett was annoying immediately for me. This match was actually really good at the beginning until former running buddy Ric Flair comes down the aisle and works Perfect over. Perfect recovers and beats Taylor, but clearly that feud isn’t over. The match overall was really good, even with the run-in that broke the flow. Terry Taylor’s career is winding down, but after a year off, Mr. Perfect is back and ready to entertain again. Grade: **

JT: It feels like these two were just meant to be together. Our second ever episode of Monday Night Raw opens with a battle between two men that kicked off their WWF careers together back in 1988 and have seemingly been tied together since. The story that is always floating around is that they were both up for the same gimmicks and as a result of the decisions made, Taylor ended up clucking his way to mediocrity while Perfect became a star. Taylor left the WWF in 1990 but had recently returned in mid 1992 under his own name and like some of the guys we discussed last week, quickly slid down the ladder into an enhancement role. Perfect turned face back in November when he came out of retirement to turn on Bobby Heenan and team with Randy Savage at Survivor Series. We open the show with Rob Bartlett doing is Sinead O’Connor impression and Savage getting drilled by Repo Man for some random reason. We then head to the ring where Taylor enters to his old Red Rooster theme (maybe a network edit, not sure?) which is pretty funny. Perfect was super over with the NYC crowd as his face turn completely reinvigorated him as he stepped back into the ring. We got some mat work early along with lots of juking from both men as they attempted to trade strikes. Perfect got the first flurry in, capped by a great standing dropkick and a chase around ringside. He would crank on a tight side headlock and then an armbar as Bobby Heenan called in to bitch out Bartlett and plug All American Wrestling. Taylor finally slowed him down by yanking him hard to the floor and cracking him with right hands. Taylor stomped away and started to focus on that rehabbed back, liberally going to the eyes and throat when he needed to. Taylor would get near falls on a spinebuster and a gut wrench powerbomb, really emptying out his arsenal. Perfect took advantage of Taylor failing to put him away and started to pick apart at the Terrific one, hammering him with right hands and rattling his head with neck snaps. As Perfect started to look to put this away, Ric Flair showed up at ringside an distracted and eventually attacked him. However even that wasn’t enough for Taylor as Perfect just popped up and hit the Perfectplex for the win. That was a very enjoyable match and I like how Taylor varied up his offense in the middle stretch. Perfect’s comeback was good too and the advancement of his issue with Flair worked well. Grade: **1/2

*** Vince McMahon interviews Bret Hart in the ring to discuss his Royal Rumble WWF Title match with Razor Ramon. Hart denounces Ramon for attacking his brother Owen from behind and the threats he made to Bret’s father Stu. 

2) Marty Jannetty defeats Glen Ruth with the Rocker Dropper at 5:12

Fun Fact: Following the breakup of the Rockers in late 1991, Marty Jannetty was supposed to be involved in a feud with Shawn Michaels that would culminate at WrestleMania VIII. Things outside the ring prevented this from happening due to personal issues with Jannetty. He was arrested in early 1992 for drug possession and physically confronting a police officer at a nightclub, leading to his firing from the WWF and a sentence of house arrest for six months. The WWF would bring him back in late 1992 where they picked up the angle with Shawn and his new manager, Sensational Sherri.

Scott: This is a showcase match for the former Rocker to get ready for his Intercontinental Title match on Sunday in Sacramento. We know what Glenn Ruth would eventually be but for now he’s simple enhancement. During the match IC Champion Shawn Michaels calls in and says he carried the Rockers and at the Royal Rumble he will prove that. They also talked about what Sensational Sherri’s role would be. Shawn says she will do whatever, “and he means whatever” the Heartbreak Kid wants. Raw is uncensored and “uncooked”, but the WWF will only go so far with the innuendo. Jannetty wins the match to set himself up for Sunday. The match was average, but the dynamic of the match with Michaels on the phone was great television, except for that boob Rob Bartlett, who I’m getting very tired of very quickly. Grade: *

JT: Nearly a year after getting chucked through the Barber Shop window, Marty Jannetty made his surprise return to attack Shawn Michaels back in November. He also accidentally wiped out Sensational Sherri with a mirror. So, he was now set to challenge Michaels for his IC gold at the Rumble and the big question heading in surrounded which corner Sherri would be in. Jannetty gets a showcase here against true jobber Glenn Ruth, one last tuneup before Sacramento. Ruth slipped some offense in but Jannetty dominated out of the match, including landing a top rope bulldog and some basic arm work. As Marty ran through his offense, Shawn Michaels called in to trash Jannetty and talk about how he knows what goes down in Marty’s head and promises a victory on Sunday. He also discussed Sherri’s role and basically said she is worthless but madly in love with him. Jannetty worked Ruth over with an armbar, eating up some time as Michaels rambled on. Ruth got a tiny smudge of offense in but it was brief and Jannetty kept riding him down and going back to the arm. Marty would finally polish things off with the Rocker Dropper but this may be the most bland squash we have seen so far. Next up: Shawn Michaels in Sacramento. Grade: DUD

*** We see footage of Doink assaulting Crush on Superstars, brutally beating him with a cast loaded with batteries. McMahon notes that Crush will no longer be in the Royal Rumble match as a result of the  attack and potentially having suffered a concussion. Outside the building, Repo Man brags to Sean Mooney about his attack on Randy Savage and shows off the hat he stole. They then tease a future match between the two. ***

*** Gene Okerland brings us the final Royal Rumble Report, with the following matches announced:

Bret Hart vs. Razor Ramon – WWF Heavyweight Title
Shawn Michaels vs. Marty Jannetty – WWF Intercontinental Title

Royal Rumble Match: Ric Flair, Tatanka, IRS, Bob Backlund, Jerry Lawler, Mr. Perfect, Ted DiBiase, Crush, Rick Martel, Yokozuna, Randy Savage, Papa Shango, Earthquake, Berzerker, Undertaker, Carlos Colon, Tenryu, Tito Santana, Typhoon, Fatu, Samu, Jim Duggan, Repo Man

This weekend on PPV! ***

*** Randy Savage runs around in the street looking for Repo Man and yelling at Sean Mooney. ***

3) Ric Flair wrestled El Matador to a no contest at 8:14

Scott: The fact Rob Bartlett is making fun of Ric Flair’s robe is the prime reason they never should have brought this clown onto the show. I still scratch my head why Vince brought this guy in. Clearly he has no idea who Flair is or what kind of career he had, and why he shouldn’t be throwing cheesy jokes out about him. The match is really good, which is par for two expert workers in the ring. As expected Mr. Perfect comes out and starts brawling with Flair, which in essence ends the match. Poor Tito is getting stumbled over by everybody, like a poor forgotten jobber. Grade: *1/2

JT: We have a pretty neat main event hear tonight as Tito Santana arrives on the scene to go to battle with the legendary Ric Flair. Flair was in the midst of his heated issue with Mr. Perfect as we saw earlier tonight while Tito has been milling around the card as always. Bartlett hasn’t been too bad here tonight but he really amped up the lame jokes for this one. Flair and Santana did a little feeling out and battled to an early stalemate until the Matador got a quick flurry of offense leading into a side headlock. He kept grinding the hold right through a break but Flair would turn the tide by blocking a monkey flip, sending Tito back hard to the mat. Flair started to chop away, taking his time in landing his offense while also jawing with the referee. Tito made a comeback with a back drop and a series of hammering blows in the corner but Flair cut him off with a shrewd thumb to the eye. The Nature Boy made a big mistake as he climbed to the top rope, where he was caught and slammed to the mat. Tito didn’t show any mercy, shrugging off some Flair begging, tossing him to the floor and then hitting him with a stiff clothesline on the floor. Back inside, he kept pouring it on, but eventually made a mistake as well with a wild charge that missed and sent him hard to the floor. Before Flair could take advantage, Perfect showed up and triggered a wild brawl all around ringside. The match was disappointing given the talent but with the limited duration and the eventual screwy finish it never really got into the next gear. Grade: *1/2

*** The brawl continues after a commercial but Ric Flair breaks free to talk to Vince McMahon and issues a challenge for a Loser Leaves WWF match. Mr. Perfect accepts and the match is set for next week. ***

Final Analysis

Scott: This episode wasn’t as flashy as the previous one, but we did get an appearance from the WWF Champion Bret Hart one week from his big title defense at the Royal Rumble. The matches weren’t as juicy as the previous week but we did get a fun brawl between Perfect and Flair that will lead to the big “Loser Leaves WWF” match next week. It’s cool to see guys like Glenn Ruth as a jobber here, knowing what he will become in a few years. I’m already tired of Rob Bartlett and Vince should have been tired of him as well. He’s ruining the show with his awful jokes and half-assed commentary. The show is established now. Time to bring some wrestling guys into the booth like Bobby Heenan to make it legit instead of trying to push too much mainstream. This show has to be graded on its merit, as the curve that the first episode got for being historic is gone. Final Grade: C

JT: This was a quick watch that hummed along once again and on a whole featured a stronger lineup of matches. However, the Jannetty squash and the main event both under delivered so as far as in ring action, we don’t get too much after the opener. We did get some real strong focus and development in the Flair/Perfect feud as the majority of the episode was centered around it. They also did a good job hyping Sunday’s Rumble along the way, focusing heavily on the Michaels/Jannetty tilt in the middle of the show. We also got the Raw debut of the WWF Champion Bret Hart to give a final hard sell for his Rumble match. They are still working on fleshing out the format and how heavy the show will be on major angles, but the first two shows have been very refreshing and enjoyable watches, even despite the dip in quality in ring. Final Grade: C