Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Monday Night Raw 2/22/93

*** 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 #6

February 22, 1993
Manhattan Center
New York, NY
Announcers: Vince McMahon, Randy Savage & Rob Bartlett

1) Bam Bam Bigelow defeats Scott Taylor with the top rope headbutt at 3:01

Scott: We open the show with the Beast from the East’s debut on Raw after his recent WWF return. He was a pretty hot commodity when he arrived six years earlier to Titan Towers, but politics pushed him out the door. He has returned as the company needs some stars that don’t look like they’re on steroids. It honestly doesn’t take long for Rob Bartlett to make me want to punch him in his fat face. We all know who Scott Taylor would eventually become but for now he’s an up and comer ready to… well get the crap kicked out of him. Bigelow dominates with backbreakers and a couple of flying headbutts and he gets the easy win. I’ve always been a Bigelow fan and he will be very helpful in boosting the roster of stars without having anybody too ripped. That was a quickie and we move on. Grade: *

JT: So, we ended last week with a massive tease from Vince McMahon and we open this one up with a continuation of that tease as we see a gaggle of fans in Hulk Hogan regalia as Rob Bartlett does an SNL style open to the show. There was a real palpable buzz in the building as we are back live this week and everyone is just waiting for the return of the Hulkster. But first we have a few matches to get through, starting with the recently returned Bam Bam Bigelow battling jobber Scott Taylor. Bigelow made his way back to the company in late 1992 after having left Stamford in 1988. He spent time traveling around, including a stint in the NWA and more importantly, a strong run in Japan. Now he returns to bolster a roster that is in need of some fresh blood. Bigelow uses his power to dominate Taylor, not even coming off his feet when Taylor landed a rare blow. Bigelow would crush Taylor with a vicious clothesline and then later drop him with an electric chair and a nice modified backbreaker before finishing the job with a pair of diving headbutts. I will say one of the hallmarks of these early Raws has been the real fun squashes we have been treated too. For whatever reason they feel so much harder hitting and in your face in this setting. Bigelow continues to make statements. Grade: 1/2*

*** Vince McMahon interviews Hulk Hogan in a studio in a chat that was pretaped a few days prior to this show. They talk about his time off, the support of the Hulkamaniacs and his potential return to the company. He also talks about how he has made mistakes in his life, how those recently came to light  and also takes shots at the tabloid media problem of the 1990s. He basically says the Hulkamaniacs don’t dwell on that negativity and Hogan wants to be the leader and role model of the 90s for children. He also adds a fifth demandment: Believe in Hulk Hogan. ***

2) Tatanka & Nasty Boys defeat Shawn Michaels & Beverly Brothers when Tatanka pins Shawn Michaels with a sunset flip at 14:00

Fun Fact: Tatanka enters the match having pinned the IC champion Michaels on the 2/13 episode of Superstars in a non-title match. This six-man tag match further builds toward a match the two will have at WrestleMania IX for the IC title.

Scott: This match is really not meant to feature the two tag teams, but to solidify the feud brewing between the Intercontinental Champion and the #1 contender. Vince announces officially at the start of the match that Shawn Michaels and Tantaka will battle at Wrestlemania for the IC Title. Tatanka’s momentum has been brewing for over a year and he hasn’t sniffed any type of title chances, mostly because fellow babyfaces had held the titles. Based on Randy Savage’s commentating, you can tell he hates Bartlett about as much as I do. Michaels hasn’t been on much after the Max Moon title match, but he has now been on back-to-back weeks. This match was pretty solid early on as the heels really work over Knobbs and Saggs. Finally they get the hot tag to Tatanka who really works the Intercontinental Champion over and gets the three count. So the Native American has now pinned Shawn Michaels twice in a few weeks, to put doubt in the champ’s mind. That was a solid TV match with some storyline advancement. Grade: **

JT: Our anchor match this week is a big six man tag team match with some solid star power. The Beverly Brothers are running on fumes but they are joined by the red hot Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels. Michaels had experienced some tough sledding lately, having lost a non-title match to Tatanka on Superstars. And of course, Tatanka is across the ring from him here once again, teaming with the Nasty Boys, who are also flailing around in the tag division as well. They had turned face in the fall and seemed lined up for a big title feud with Money, Inc but that seems to have stalled out. The match starts fast off the bell with the faces chucking the heels out to the floor to reset things. The Nastys kept up the pace, battering around the Beverlys until Knobbs came up empty on a charge to the corner. Michaels would tag in and lay in some basic strikes on the Nasty Boy before pelting him with a back elbow. Knobbs made a quick comeback and tagged in Tatanka but the champ quickly tagged out to Beau, who got trapped in an arm bar. The faces tagged in and out and kept working that arm of Beau, keeping control even when things broke down at one point. After a commercial break, the Beverlys took advantage of a charging Knobbs and caused him to crash to the floor by yanking down the top rope. Michaels would slam Knobbs into the post and then work him over in the ring as Vince noted that Tatanka would indeed challenge Michaels for his title at WrestleMania. Knobbs survived a double team Beverly attack and a Blake bear hug as the crowd rallied him along. The heels kept up their quick tagging and swarming offense until Knobbs was able to kick down Michaels and finally tag Tatanka. The crowd was fired up as the Native American came in and tore into the champ, firing away with a heavy flurry of offense, capped by a powerslam for a pin cover that was broken up by Blake. Tatanka mowed down both Beverlys and then chopped Michaels over and over and picked up a couple of near falls but the Beverlys kept making the save. With the Nastys and the Beverlys fighting outside, Tatanka reversed the teardrop duplex into a sunset flip and snuck out his second consecutive non-title win over Michaels. That was fine but felt a little bit like it was in slow motion at times. The crowd stayed into it for the most part and I liked how they had Tatanka pin Michaels for a second time to really build momentum for Mania. The finish carried it but overall this was fine for a TV match. Grade: **

3) Crush defeats Terry Taylor with the Cranium Crunch at 3:46

Scott: The Kona, Hawaii native is back after the injury suffered at the hands of Doink. That match is set for WrestleMania, so this is a mere warmup. As for Terrific Terry, well he’s reaching the end of the line for his career and is merely enhancement talent. Not much more to say here. Grade: DUD

JT: Next up we get to check out Crush, making his return to action after that violent attack by Doink earlier in the year. He is set to tussle with Terry Taylor, a resident Raw JTTS. Sadly we don’t get the Red Rooster music this week. Crush started things off by cranking on a side headlock before landing a standing dropkick. Taylor actually got a hint of offense in as Bartlett did a bad Arnold Schwarzenegger impression in the booth. That went hand-in-hand with Vince saying Bill Clinton was going to name Hulk Hogan as the lead on his national physical fitness program. Crush survived a chinlock and some right hands as Vince notes that Crush will indeed battle Doink at Mania, looking for revenge from the attack. Crush landed a running clothesline and then parked Taylor with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker before finishing him off with the Cranium Crunch. Another squash here, albeit not as fun, but Crush needed to be rebuilt after his injury and prepped for Vegas so there we go. Grade: DUD

Fun Fact: In 1992, a doctor with the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission, Dr. George Zahorian, was being accused of selling steroids to wrestlers, including Hulk Hogan. Despite Hogan’s appearance on The Arsenio Hall Show denying the allegations, public pressure was mounting against the Hulkster, who ended up taking a one year leave of absence from the company. On this evening, Hogan makes his return to the WWF.

*** Vince McMahon hops in the ring and wastes no time in bringing Hulk Hogan out to the ring for his official WWF return after being out of action for nearly a year. The Manhattan Center erupts into cheers as Hogan does his usual routine before settling in for his chat. Hogan recaps what he went through last week watching Money, Inc beat up on his buddy Brutus Beefcake. He lets everyone know that the Barber is OK and thanks God and Jimmy Hart for saving Beefer from further injury. With that he officially confirms that he is back in action and looking to right the wrongs of Money, Inc. He then brings out Brutus Beefcake and announces that they will be tag team partners as he wants and trusts the Barber in his corner. Beefcake’s nose was all bandaged up and he talked about his rough evening last week and all thanks God and Jimmy Hart for their protection. Hogan says they are going to start taking all of Money, Inc’s assets and that starts by taking Hart away to manage them instead of the champs. Hart comes out, decked in red and yellow, becoming a face for the first time in his long WWF career. Hart says he has always idolized Hogan and dreamed of this moment and is ready to manage another great tag team. Hogan wraps up by coining their team name as The MegaManiacs and demanding a match with Money, Inc. ***

4) Undertaker defeats Skinner

Scott: We wrap the show up with a thrown together match that started during the commercial break, and ends after the show goes off the air. Grade: N/A

JT: With the Hulk Hogan interview running long, we just get to see the opening moments of this one but the show ends abruptly before the match does. That was a cool touch that really pushes that live feeling out to the audience after years of syndicated canned programming. Grade: N/A

Final Analysis

Scott: The return of the Hulkster make this the most anticipated and probably most watched Raw thus far. Hogan had been off camera since that shit show at WrestleMania VIII, when he apparently retired. Well as much as Vince liked his young, hungry roster of workers, he needed a little star power to hook more viewers into this show. So back came the face of the Federation Era to defend his boy Brutus and send a challenge to his old nemesis Ted DiBiase. More on that as the weeks progress. Tatanka gets the best of the Intercontinental Champion again and sets the stage for another title match at WrestleMania. Other than that trash bag Rob Bartlett, these first few Raws are fun and very informative in pushing the new roster and getting the somewhat thin WrestleMania card over. Final Grade: A

JT: While this certainly was a very historical installment of Raw, it definitely wasn’t one of the best episodes we have seen to date. The matches were kind of blah and we didn’t really need the studio interview with Hulk Hogan since we were going to get a lengthy in ring chat as well. The Hogan segment itself was fine and quickly resets the scoreboard, establishing his return, creating the MegaManiacs and setting up that Hogan will be out of the World Title picture… for now, anyway. Listening to Jimmy Hart say he always idolized Hogan after he spent years trying to kill him was a bit much, but whatever, it was red and yellow fever. The six man match had some potential but ended up being a bit sluggish until the finish, which set up the Mania IC Title match nicely. The whole card for Vegas is starting to come into focus and I am guessing we will have a bit more time next week to really flesh things out more. Again, there is a lot of history here but as a whole it missed the target this week. Final Grade: C-