*** 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 #5
February 15, 1993 (Taped February 1, 1993)
New York, NY
Announcers: Vince McMahon, Randy Savage & Rob Bartlett
Fun Fact: WOOF WOOF! On February 8, 1993, WWF fans would encounter one of the two yearly interruptions to the RAW schedule. Every February, RAW would be preempted on USA by the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, a two-day show USA had been covering since 1984. Fans will also see a preemption every late August/early September for the US Open tennis tournament, something that would play an important role at the start of the Monday Night War in 1995, so stay tuned.
1) Steiner Brothers defeat Bobby Who & Glenn Ruth when Scott pins Who after a top rope bulldog at 3:32
Scott: One thing we will notice on these Raws throughout 1993 is that the Steiners take great pleasure in pummeling the pathetic jobbers they are fed. The clotheslines, punches and power moves are ten times as stiff as when they face equal competition. It’s not really fair when Bobby Who gets drilled with the butterfly suplex then the team bulldog finisher to close it out. Sadly something was wrong with Randy Savage’s microphone so we had to hear Vince McMahon and that clown Rob Bartlett alone. Ear-bleeding I tell you. The Steiners win easily as the jobbers get smashed. Grade: *
JT: After a two week layoff thanks to the Dog Show, we are back inside the Manhattan Center and feeling a bit stale as this show was recorded back on February 1. However, we do have a highly hyped main event ahead of us and the early inklings of a card for WrestleMania to come. We open things up with the Steiner Brothers returning to the show to beat up on a new pair of jobbers. Ruth and Who are rocking some hella neon tights here. They better hope those colors aren’t triggers for Steiner violence. Scott and Ruth started things off and the first big blow of the match was a nasty full nelson German suplex. As Rick and Who came in, Randy Savage started having microphone issues and it sounded like he was talking through a paper towel roll. Rick shoved Who down and hit a belly-to-belly suplex before tagging back out. Scotty mowed down Who with a dropkick and the Rick tagged in and walloped him with an elbow to the heart as Scott held him over his shoulder. Rick crushed Who with a clothesline and then Scott planted him with a pretty butterfly suplex before the double team top rope bulldog finished things off. Best squashes in the business, baby. Could watch them all day long. Grade: *
*** Gene Okerlund has our first WrestleMania IX report and announces the following matches for Las Vegas:
Bret Hart vs. Yokozuna – WWF Championship
Undertaker vs Giant Gonzalez
Crush vs. Doink the Clown
Tickets are moving fast but aren’t sold out, so get on it! ***
2) Yokozuna defeats Ross Greenberg with the Banzai Drop at 2:01
Scott: They are big time pushing Yokozuna as the the biggest force on the heel side as with every match he comes in, destroys who’s in the ring and walks out. Over the past weekend on Superstars he took out Hacksaw Jim Duggan (thank god) to actually beat someone with stature. I don’t know if as a fan anybody thought Yoko would actually beat Bret Hart for the WWF Title but they sure were building him up like no other heel has been built up for a while. The one saving grace is that Savage stole Rob Bartlett’s headset so we can hear him and not that other stooge. I think Vince was finally realizing that this guy is a waste of space and isn’t really anything special for the show. Grade: DUD
JT: The squash fiesta rolls along as Yokozuna ambles out to face the ever game Ross Greenberg. Savage’s mic was still having issues as Yoko settled himself in the ring before destroying Greenberg, piling up wins on his resume heading into WrestleMania. Yoko was merciless here, hitting all his impact offense before putting Greenberg into traction with the Banzi Drop. Bartlett was actually serviceable in this one, really putting over how dominating Yoko was. Another fun squash with a real “wow factor” from the crowd as Yoko pummeled him. Savage finally had enough as well, stealing Bartlett’s mic and taking over on commentary. Grade: 1/2*
*** Lord Alfred Hayes brings us WWF Update, covering Yokozuna’s assault on Jim Duggan on Superstars. Duggan did become the first man to knock Yoko off his feet but the good times ended when after the bout, Yoko crushed Duggan with a series of Banzai Drops, sending him out on a stretcher. ***
*** We get clips of Giant Gonzalez defeating three jobbers in a match and as a result the participants in tonight’s battle royal petitioned for Gonzalez not to be allowed to enter the contest. ***
3) Razor Ramon wins a 16 Man Battle Royal at 15:00
Participants: Owen Hart, Razor Ramon, Koko B. Ware, Kamala, Kimchee, Shawn Michaels, Iron Mike Sharpe, Bob Backlund, Typhoon, Damien Demento, Berzerker, Terry Taylor, and Skinner
Fun Fact: We say bon voyage on this show to the viking known as The Berzerker. Played by John Nord in the WWF from 1991, The highlight period for the character is when he won a 40-person battle royal on Prime Time Wrestling in July 1992 and then challenged Bret Hart for the WWF title in November. After leaving the WWF, Nord would spend time in All Japan Pro Wrestling and WCW before retiring from wrestling.
Scott: A battle royal is a perfect type of match for this show. It gives the audience a chance to see the majority of the roster and perhaps start up some new feuds to build so we can fill out this WrestleMania card. We still have an Intercontinental Champion and Tag Team Champions that need title defenses. Well the tag champions have something brewing later in the show but Shawn Michaels will need an opponent for April 4. It could be Tatanka as he beat Shawn in a non-title match over the weekend and as half of the final four of this battle royal he and Tatanka are going back and forth, Razor Ramon and Tito Santana the other two. During the battle, in comes Giant Gonzalez, who was not invited to the match because no one else would get into the match otherwise. Gonzalez cleans out the ring except for Razor Ramon, who wasn’t thrown out of the ring. Incidentally Savage keeps throwing jabs at Bartlett so obviously he wasn’t well liked by Macho Man. Razor wins, but he doesn’t have an opponent yet for Las Vegas just yet. Grade: N/A
JT: Up next we have the first battle royal in Raw history and it features a strong mix of talent with a few legit contenders going at it. They went old school to start too, having all sixteen guys stand outside the ring until the bell sounded and opened the bout. Shawn Michaels took his time entering, milling around ringside before finally joining the fray. Everyone quickly paired off and traded fists with the main showcase coming from Kim Chee, who kept bailing to the floor to avoid Kamala. Iron Mike Sharpe was the first to go but it was cool that he was even included in this. Michaels almost bit the dust but Razor Ramon saved him and a moment later Shawn dumped Koko B. Ware. Kamala chopped away at Ramon as Tito Santana actually hit a move off the top rope, which is always dangerous in this environment. In one corner, Berzerker tried to push out Bob Backlund but couldn’t get the full leverage to finish the job. Of course, Backlund is coming off an amazing Royal Rumble performance. Michaels had another close call, courtesy Owen Hart, but this time Berzerker saved him. In a brutally telegraphed bit, Skinner did some weird dance and then just dropped his head before Typhoon clotheslined him from behind and knocked him to the floor. Damien Demento followed him out in quick succession as the ring thinned a bit. Berzerker would dump Hart but hung on when Santana tried to push him out as well. Kamala kicked out Berzerker a moment later as the Ugandan Giant was quietly positioning himself as a favorite here. That died quickly as Kim Chee snuck up and shoved his former charge out of the ring. Kamala returned to the ring and knocked Kim Chee out and then chased him all through the crowd, even all the way through the balcony. That was a fun bit and a nice use of the space around them, taking full advantage of the unique building.
After a break, the match continued with our field down to seven. Typhoon poured it on Michaels in the corner but he charged wildly and got back dropped out to the floor. Good showing for the big man, certainly better than his match last week. Terry Taylor and Backlund also went out during the fray, leaving us with Ramon, Santana, Michaels and Tatanka. The four reset with the heels and faces pairing off and battling into opposite corners with Tatanka trying to shove out Michaels while Tito smacked around Ramon. The tag battle edged along until Tito and Tatanka teamed up to kicked Michaels to the floor. Ramon did his best to fight off both guys until Giant Gonzalez showed up and wiped out all three guys. Ramon bailed to the floor as Gonzalez eliminated Tatanka and Santana, claiming victory before ambling to the back. As he left, Ramon slid into the ring and was announced as the official victor of the match, a nice slick heel move. As far as battle royals go, this one was pretty fun, with everyone working hard, the Kamala stuff and then the finish as the high points. Ramon winning how he did was great and they still got to established Gonzalez’s dominance. Grade: N/A
4) Brutus Beefcake defeats Ted DiBiase by disqualification 4:26
Fun Fact: Last time on Raw (2/1/93), Vince conducted an in-ring interview with Brutus Beefcake, making his first appearance since early 1992. During the interview he indicated that he was back to take on all comers. Later in the night, Ted DiBiase and IRS commented about Beefcake’s statement and decided to flip a coin to see which of the two should take him up on his open challenge. DiBiase won the coin flip which leads to our match here tonight.
Scott: This is in response to Beefcake’s return and open challenge last episode and the Million Dollar Man’s response. Obviously Beefcake isn’t 100% so they have to be careful here with how to work the match. He dances his way through the early moments, but then really takes advantage with some headlocks and right hands. DiBiase bails and if you hear Jimmy Hart he’s almost sounding sympathetic towards Beefcake and being more cautious than he ever was before as a manager. Brutus had the upper hand for practically the whole match until IRS came down the aisle. He whacks Beefer with the Halliburton to cause the DQ. However, it’s what happens next that moves things in motion. DiBiase holds Beefcake, and IRS is about to crush his face with the Halliburton. Jimmy Hart tries to stop him but gets tossed out of the ring and then BANG! Brutus gets crushed in the face with the Halliburton and squirms in the ring in pain. The tag team champions leave the ring in joy while BABYFACE Jimmy Hart is helping Beefcake onto a stretcher. I think we all know what this leads to, but let’s let it happen. The match is crap but the moment is a big deal. Grade: DUD
JT: So, here we are. After two and a half years of inaction, surgeries and rehab, Brutus Beefcake returns to a WWF ring to compete in a match. We saw this all go down in our last review, with Money, Inc laying down the challenge against the wishes of their manager Jimmy Hart. Ted DiBiase would win the coin toss and a WrestleMania V rematch was upon us. Hart’s main contention was that there was nothing to gain here as DiBiase could maybe get hurt in a meaningless match or do serious damage to Beefcake’s face and really become a target for future harm. Beefcake gets a nice little reception from a crowd that tuned him out and wished him death earlier in the taping. Beefcake went into some histrionics, strutting around and teasing DiBiase before finally locking up. DiBiase finally buried a knee to the gut and then poured on a series of clubbing blows until Beefcake countered with punches of his own, driving Ted to the floor. Beefer cranked on a side headlock and continued to rattle DiBiase, who was completely caught out of sorts by how aggressive and on point the Barber was. As Beefcake went back to the headlock, IRS showed up and eventually bashed the Barber with his briefcase, drawing a DQ. The tag champs made Beefcake pay the price for his success, double teaming him in the ring and then crushing his face with the briefcase. During the fray, Hart tried to stop them but they shoved him down to the mat, ignoring his advice and warnings. The match was really nothing and just a chance to show that Beefcake could get in there and wrestle, but the aftermath attack was tremendous heat building and really made the champs look like conniving pieces of shit for smashing his face for no reason but to be assholes. Hart consoled Beefcake as the champs threatened more before deciding to just give up and walk off. The Barber’s comeback may already be over. Grade: *1/2
*** Vince McMahon previews next week’s show and flat out says that he wouldn’t be surprised if Hulk Hogan shows up after what happened tonight. ***
Scott: This episode was the prelude to the return of Hulk Hogan, pure and simple. Money, Inc attacking Beefcake was a feud that didn’t seem in tune with the rest of the company. With top young guys like Bret Hart, Razor Ramon and Shawn Michaels, this feud is right out of 1989. Another point is the Steiner Brothers. My original assessment of them in the WWF was they weren’t as tough and as polished in the ring as they were in early NWA/WCW. Watching these Raws may change my mind, as these squashes are really fun to watch. The battle royal was good, as we watch Giant Gonzalez attempt to be an intimidating force against Undertaker and not some goof in a furry man suit. Overall this was a fun episode with more to come on the road to WrestleMania. Final Grade: A-
JT: We bounce back from last week with a pretty good episode of Raw, featuring two really stiff squashes, a well worked battle royal and a heated angle to close things out. The whole episode was very focused and got a lot accomplished inside the hour. Plus, having Bartlett only call half of the show helped things as well. And he wasn’t even that bad when he was involved this time. There was no fluff and a lot of action. We also got the first steps towards WrestleMania with matches announced and others teased. Beefcake’s return was well done and there is now a ton of heat on Money, Inc and a clear path for the long awaited return of Hulk Hogan. Final Grade: B+