Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Monday Night Raw 2/1/93

*** 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 #4

February 1, 1993
Manhattan Center
New York, NY
Announcers: Vince McMahon, Randy Savage & Rob Bartlett

1) Tatanka defeats Damien Demento with the Papoose to Go at 4:10

Scott: I honestly thought that we never saw Damien Demento again after the memorable first Raw loss to Undertaker. Yet here he is facing the Native American superstar. He’s slowly moving up the ladder with his undefeated streak, possibly to an Intercontinental Title match. We are less than five minutes into this show and Rob Bartlett already ruined this match, saying that he used to play with “Tatanka trucks” as a kid, and how Damien Demento is “Ruth Buzzi’s love child”. I would say about 85% of the viewing audience didn’t even know who Ruth Buzzi was. He needs to go, and go fast. Demento could have been a decent little heel but he was honestly nothing more than a jazzed up jobber to the stars. Tatanka gets the win and the undefeated streak continues. Grade: *1/2

JT: Coming off the hottest Raw match to date last week, we are back live in the Manhattan Center and open up with the first Monday night appearance of Tatanka. The Native American is still undefeated but hasn’t been embroiled in much of a feud since reclaiming his eagle feathers from Rick Martel at Survivor Series. Damien Demento is still doing his thing, putting guys over and acting insane, including talking to himself in the corner while Tatanka dances in circles. Randy Savage is back in the booth this week, sending Bobby Heenan to the bench sadly. Demento would get some licks in here and there but Tatanka mainly dominated this one, using bodyslams and chops on offense. I am surprised they didn’t try to repackage Demento at some point as he had a pretty good look over all and wasn’t terrible in the ring. As Demento hooked on a rear chinlock, a “We Want Flair” chant fired up but quickly burned out. Tatanka eventually rallied, hit the Papoose and put this one on ice, keeping that streak alive. Grade: 1/2*

*** We see footage from Madison Square Garden, where Bret Hart donated a check to the Somalia Relief Fund on behalf of the WWF’s Headlock on Hunger program. ***

*** Vince McMahon hops in the ring to interview the returning Brutus Beefcake. The Barber gets a nice warm reception from the fans and he was excited to be back. Beefcake announces his official return to the ring and then they cover all of his recent tragedies, including his mother and father passing away and his wife leaving him. He then details his parasailing injury and recovery, including the support he received from Hulk Hogan. Throughout this, the once hot crowd faded due to all of these depressing tales, with one person actually yelling for Beefcake to “kill yourself”. Beefcake continues mentioning Hogan, saying the Hulkster pushed him to go for a comeback and the Barber said nothing will make him give up and quit if he hasn’t yet. 

2) High Energy defeats Skull Von Krus & Iron Mike Sharpe when Hart pinned Krus after a Ware missile dropkick at 1:31

Scott: Wow, in 1993 Iron Mike Sharpe was still around? VON KRUS WAS STILL AROUND? Vince and Randy Savage are still pumped up about the return of Brutus Beefcake while Rob Bartlett is making jokes about High Energy’s tights. That’s why the guy needs to go. He has no interest in learning the storylines or anything else. He thinks this entire job is the Imus in the Morning on TV. It’s unfortunate because this new show is meant to bring new audiences to the product and learn the characters, and instead we have awful jokes and disconnected comments. I’m bitching about Bartlett because this match is a two minute squash and there’s nothing more to say. Grade: DUD

JT: Better hope Koko B. Ware and Owen Hart can bring some of that high energy in this one because Beefcake completely cooled the crowd off. These two have been teaming since the fall and have brought some excitement to the lower levels of the tag division. You could tell Owen could really work and was hopefully just being prepped a bit for something bigger at this point. It was also nice to see Koko get a little bit of a run behind just JTTS at this point. They get a couple of bigger name jobbers instead of the usually randoms, having to tangle with the legendary Iron Mike Sharp and the infamous (?) Von Krus. Owen and Sharpe kicked things off as the Rocket cut him down with a dropkick and then worked the arm. Koko tagged in and in a weird twist he had the same color scheme as Von Krus. High Energy dipped into the double teams and made quick work of Krus after Koko hit a missile dropkick and Owen covered for the win. If these four actually were given some time to build a tag match it could have been pretty solid. As is, it is just a side of squash for the technicolor dream team. Grade: DUD

*** We see clips of Doink the Clown’s attack on Crush from last month. ***

3) Doink the Clown pinned Typhoon with a flying shoulder block at 3:13

Fun Fact: The concept for a miserable clown character in the WWF was originally conceived by Road Warrior Hawk, but came to fruition through Matt Osborne, who played the original character. Doink the Clown began appearing in WWF audiences in late 1992 playing tricks on fans before making his in-ring premier in early 1993. When Osborne left the WWF in the fall of 1993, Doink would become a less consistent character as he would be played by five different wrestlers between late 1993 and 1996. The character would also be used in other promotions.

Scott: After milling around the crowd and attacking guys like Crush and Big Boss Man, Doink actually wrestles someone with some merit, in the Natural Disaster Typhoon. I loved the Doink character as a heel, knowing that Matt Borne was the guy playing him. Borne is an expert worker and this character showed his personality even more now then when he was Big Josh. This match actually was a bigger squash than I thought it was. Doink really worked the big guy over with grappling moves that kept him grounded. He then hit a shoulder block and got the victory. The inevitable feud with Crush will start once the Hawaiian returns. They pumped the hell of out this match last week and earlier in the show, and it was a squash. Weird. Grade: *

JT: The Doinkster makes his official Raw in ring debut here against the big man Typhoon. The Natural Disasters were pretty much cooked by this point as Earthquake was on his way out the door, so Typhoon had been working as a solo act. He did have the size and some name value so it wasn’t the worst idea. Doink went right to work, taking Typhoon down and grinding him on the mat, showing off his strong mat skills. What a great character: an evil clown that is a master in ring technician. Typhoon used his size to combat Doink’s skill where he could but the Clown grounded him again and worked a chinlock. Bartlett unloaded all of his clown jokes until Typhoon made a comeback and locked in a bear hug. Doink would rake the eyes and then ride the big man down again, really showing off his amateur background. Typhoon would miss a splash in the corner and Doink took advantage with a shoulderblock off the top rope and then rolled Typhoon up and hooked the tights for the win. Nice heel work there with the tights. Typhoon lumbered around but Doink’s showcase offense was pretty cool, especially when you consider the gimmick. This early incarnation of the gimmick is really fun all around and is very inspired. Grade: 1/2*

*** Vince McMahon interviews WWF Mania host Todd Pettengil, who reveals that Giant Gonzalez will be showcased on this weekend’s show. Howard Finkel then announces that Andre the Giant passed away, leading to a ten bell salute and clips in his honor. ***

4) Yokozuna defeats Bobby DeVito with the Banzai Drop at 2:03

Scott: The Royal Rumble winner is lined up with a sacrificial lamb to begin the journey to April 4 in Las Vegas. During the quick squash Vince is on the phone with another fossil of the Federation Era, Hacksaw Jim Duggan who has an upcoming challenge against Yokozuna, or as he called him “the big Jap Yakazumo.” I’m stunned that made air. This isn’t a 1984 episode of TNT. Thus the reason why I’m calling Duggan “a fossil”. Yoko wins in quick fashion, and we move on. Grade: DUD

JT: As this episode chugs along, Yokozuna is out for a match with chubby jobber Bobby DeVito. In discussing their battles at the Royal Rumble, Savage butchers the big man’s name. Yoko of course won the Rumble match and is now set for WrestleMania and the WWF Title match. As Yoko goes through his prematch ritual, Jim Duggan joins the show via phone to talk about his upcoming match with Yoko on Superstars. Yoko dominated DeVito as you would imagine and squashed him with the Banzai Drop for the win. The overall match quality of Raw has already sagged after a strong first few weeks. At least they are using these squashes to hype upcoming matches and feuds and having Duggan call helped add some good heat to their battle. Yoko looks unbeatable still and has built up really well to this point. Grade: DUD

*** Vince Mcmahon climbs back out of the booth to interview the WWF Tag Team Champions, Money, Inc at ringside. The champs would mock Brutus Beefcake, calling him Humpty Dumpty due to his reconstructed face. They then flip a coin to determine who will accept Beefcake’s open challenge on the next episode of Raw with DiBiase winning. Their manager Jimmy Hart then comes out and says this all a waste of time because if one of them get hurt in the match it kills their run as tag team champs. They laugh that notion off and say Beefcake is the only guy likely to get hurt. Hart gets them to leave but not rescind their offer, meaning Brutus Beefcake vs. Ted DiBiase is slated to happen. ***

5) Lex Luger defeats Jason Knight after the running forearm at 2:38

Scott: Lex Luger comes in pissed off that instead of some hot chick carrying the Raw cards around, it’s one of the Rossati sisters. Luger worked this gimmick so well, because let’s be honest that’s probably how he acted in real life. Of course his opponent’s name is familiar to wrestling fans because of his career in another promotion shortly after this. Here he takes a pretty good beating and is knocked out with the big forearm, which will be a bigger part of Luger’s character very soon. Another squash, another heel win on this episode. Grade: DUD

JT: After debuting at the Royal Rumble, former long time NWA stalwart Lex Luger makes his official WWF in ring debut here. Of course, he had been affiliated with the promotion for over a year but was stashed in the WBF until his WCW contract ran out. In between he was in a motorcycle accident, leading to a steel plate being wedged into his forearm to help him heal up. This was a perfect gimmick for Luger as he could just pose, preen and be a douchebag while beating up jobbers. Before the acth starts we check out Mr. Perfect tossing perfect spirals to Steve Jordan of the Minnesota Vikings. He then of course throws a ball and catches it himself. This is all to push along Perfect’s burgeoning feud with Luger, who was brought in specifically by Bobby Heenan to get revenge on his former business parter. As Luger opened things up with Jason Knight, Savage announces that the Beefcake/DiBiase match is now official for the next episode of Raw on 2/15. Luger mowed through Knight with ease before putting him to sleep with his loaded forearm. Luger makes a statement in his debut and is now set on eliminating Perfect on behalf of the Brain. Grade: DUD

Final Analysis

Scott: This show seemed like the first prelude to Hulk Hogan making his return after being gone since after WrestleMania VIII. Beefcake’s return was shocking but that’s not a return that’s earth shaking. The Red and Yellow coming back is. A secondary PPV without Hogan is one thing, but the thought of a WrestleMania without him is something quite different. The roster is solid with good talent but instead of trying to roll with it Vince wanted some splash. Yokozuna is slowly building himself up as a credible heel since winning the Rumble and having Lex Luger around is a suitable replacement (for now) for Ric Flair leaving. The episode is ok and the ramping up of WrestleMania will make them better. Final Grade: C+

JT: Well we were due for a dud of an episode at some point and after a well built show and great main event last week, we get a show loaded with filler and squash matches. Add in that the one “feature” match was basically a squash too and this was a real rough in ring episode. Beefcake’s return was a cool moment but his interview died a quick death and just dragged on, killing the crowd in the process. We do get some good storyline movement and squash showcases can be very useful, but you kind of need at least one of them to deliver with some fun. These were all bland and shuffled in and out quickly. That said, our next episode has been built up well here but we have to wait two weeks to get there thanks to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. You could argue we got two dog shows in a row after watching this episode of Raw. Grade: D+