Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Monday Night Raw 3/1/93

*** 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 #7

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

1) Bret Hart defeats Fatu to retain WWF Heavyweight Title via submission with the Sharpshooter at 15:06

Scott: Rob Bartlett is doing an Elvis impersonation. There’s nothing more that needs to be said. We have our first WWF Title match in Raw history and an Elvis impersonator is doing the commentating. You can definitely tell that Raw was taped some weeks because of the rotating of guys from week to week. We haven’t seen Bret since before the Royal Rumble and his eventual win over Razor Ramon. Fatu is the prototypical holdover title match opponent to give Bret some work before his date with Yokozuna on April 4. Fatu worked the champ over with power moves and nerve pinches, and then Samu came down to ringside and starts working Bret over on the outside. Bret was actually busted open by Samu’s attack, a rather vicious beating for an early Raw match. Scanning through the crowd we see the Bob Backlund superfan right on camera side very consistently. Either he’s a real superfan who comes to every single show, or some of the shows are taped. It’s also fun scanning through the crowd for whom the hot teams were at the time. There is plenty of Bills, Cowboys, Bulls, Knicks, and Braves stuff around the crowd. The match really does turn into a pretty fun one as Fatu holds his own and kicks out of many Hitman pin attempts. The Hitman battled through the Samoans and got Fatu in the Sharpshooter for the victory. That was a fun match that saw the battling Champion survive to move on. Grade: **1/2

JT: One week after Hulk Hogan officially returned to the WWF, we are really locked and loaded on the Road to WrestleMania IX. We are also back live inside the Manhattan Center and joined by Vince McMahon, Randy Savage and… Elvis? Or Rob Bartlett dressed as Elvis, anyway. We kick off the show with the first in ring Raw appearance by our WWF Champion Bret Hart as he defends the title against Headshrinker Fatu. This type of defense is the quintessential Bret Hart title match during this stretch: wrestling regularly and taking on all types of challengers. It was also a nice little nod to smart fans who knew the relationship between Fatu and Hart’s Mania challenger Yokozuna. We would get some simple back and forth early with Fatu establishing his power advantage and Hart doing what he could to stick and move and grind on the mat. Hart would work the arm while trying to nab a pinball here and there, but the tide turned with a great spot when the Hitman tried to spike Fatu into the mat but Fatu popped back up and crushed the champ with a side kick. That was really nice. Fatu cut Hart down with a clothesline and hooked on a nerve hold as Bartlett kept running through his Elvis bit, with Vince and Savage playing right along. Hart tried for a cross body on a near fall but failed and got dumped to the floor right as Samu made his way out. With Fatu tying up the referee, Samu really laid into Hart on the floor. After a break, Fatu kept on the offensive, working hard to go after pin cover after pin cover with an aggressive attempt to take the title. He got a close one after spiking Hart with a piledriver but couldn’t keep the champ down. Fatu is a really ideal opponent for Bret as he is a bit bigger and has effective and crisp looking offense that Hart could sell and also could bump around well during Hart’s comeback. Fatu would get caught up top as Hart hammered him with a right hand and took him over with a superplex. From there, Hart went into his usual attack before hooking in the Sharpshooter but with Afa tying up the referee, Samu slugged Hart from behind, and then covered for a near fall. Fatu would switch back but Hart caught him, rammed him into Samu, dropkicked Afa and then locked the Sharpshooter back on for the win. In a funny slip up, Earl Hebner slid in and started to count and then realized what he was doing. That was a really well worked match with everyone playing their role perfectly. Fatu actually looked legitimate throughout which is a credit to Hart and to the plan the Headshrinkers executed. I would say this is the second best match we have seen so far. Hart moves on to Mania. Grade: ***

*** Gene Okerlund brings us the WrestleMania IX report, with the following matches announced:

MegaManiacs vs. Money, Inc – WWF Tag Team Titles
Undertaker vs. Giant Gonzalez
Tatanka vs. Shawn Michaels – WWF Intercontinental Title
Mr. Perfect vs. Lex Luger

Bret Hart vs. Yokozuna – WWF Heavyweight Title

Call your cable company or satellite provider today! ***

*** Crush joins us by satellite from a beach in Hawaii and discusses his upcoming battle with Doink at WrestleMania. ***

2) Doink the Clown defeats Koko B. Ware via submission with the Stump Puller at 1:47

Fun Fact: This will be the final televised WWF match for Koko B. Ware until 1994. On 3/10/93, Ware’s tag partner, Owen Hart, injured his knee and was going to be out of action for a while. At the time, the WWF had a talent exchange going on with the USWA. Koko began wrestling singles matches again in the USWA and would remain in that promotion for one year.

Scott: This was a quick squash to keep Doink hot for his date with Crush at WrestleMania. After the match delivers my favorite Raw moment to this point: He throws a cream pie on Rob Bartlett’s fat face. Grade: DUD

JT: And speaking Doink, he is back for another tilt here on Raw, this time against the always feisty Koko B. Ware. Doink carried a present out and teased some fans but nothing came of it. Koko has shaved his head so no more high Kid ‘N’ Play flat top. Doink jumped Koko and busted up his leg as Elvis made Gary Coleman jokes. Koko tried to punch Doink away but the crafty Clown kept him grounded and hooked in an STF(!) as Vince put over his skills. Koko kept writhing on the mat as Doink just punished the leg with a spinning toehold until he hit a spinning neck breaker and locked on the stump puller for the submission win. Poor Koko, he goes out with a whimper in this squash loss. I will miss the Birdman popping up time to time in our reviews, but he had a hell of a run. After the match, Bartlett grabbed Doink for an interview but the Clown popped open his present and pasted Bartlett with a pie to the face. That was kind of funny. Grade: 1/2*

*** Vince McMahon heads to the ring to interview Money, Inc. They play up their relationship with the CEO of American Express and impending his $730K/year retirement payment and multi-million dollar severance and no compete. DiBiase then mocks Hulk Hogan’s return to help his friend and says he has been busy making movies and commercials and has gone soft. IRS says he gave Beefcake a wake call and that they care greatly… about themselves and that they also held back from putting the Barber out for good. They rename IRS’ briefcase “The Beefcase” and have Hogan’s picture pasted on it. They also officially agree to put the tag team titles on the line at Mania as they aren’t afraid at all. DiBiase calls Beefcake the weak link and vow victory on Vegas. ***

3) Lex Luger defeats PJ Walker after a running forearm at 3:16

Scott: The match consisted of Luger squashing the jobber and the announcers talking to Bobby Heenan about going to Philadelphia and saying that Elvis is George Steinbrenner. Luger uses the forearm, which Vince starts to allude to as being possibly illegal. After the match Luger says his opponent is a typical American male: Frail and pale. Luger is hitting Vegas to face Mr. Perfect. Grade: DUD

JT: Next up we continue our squash parade as Lex Luger slowly marches to the ring for a WrestleMania tuneup and his second Raw match to date. The Elvis stuff was getting pretty distracting by this point but at least he has shut up when needed. He also looked like he came from a bukkake party as he sat at ringside with pie cream all over his face. As Luger worked over PJ Walker, Bobby Heenan called in to promote All American Wrestling and make fun of the Elvis stuff, pretending he is partying with Priscilla Presley at his Beverly Hills estate and saying it is actually George Steinbrenner at ringside. He also puts over Luger saying he will take care of Perfect at Mania. Luger would win with the running forearm blow, knocking Walker out cold as the speculation around the legality of his forearm continues to swirl. A pretty slow squash compared to most we have seen but Heenan’s call in at least made it go by quickly. Grade: DUD

4) Steiner Brothers defeat Duane Gill & Barry Hardy when Scott pins Gill after a Frankensteiner at 4:06

Scott: As the match starts Vince says Scott & Rick will face the Headshrinkers at WrestleMania. Unlike the usual quick hit squash, the Steiners go about really torturing and punishing these two stiffs with power moves galore and a couple of grapples like rear chin locks. The crowd is really into these guys, and at the moment probably the #1 babyface tag team in the company. Scott uses the Frankensteiner on Duane Gill and didn’t kill him. It does get uglier as time progresses but this one is ok. Grade: *

JT: Yes! Steiner squash time! A true highlight of these episodes. Scott and Barry Hardy kicked things off and Scotty wasted no time showcasing his amateur skills as he rides Barry right to the mat. As things reset, Vince announces that the Steiners will take on the Headshrinkers at Mania. Scott clubbed the shit out of Barry’s back and then sent him flying with a double underhook suplex before tagging in Rick. Rick mauled Hardy, knocking him hard to the floor with a clothesline. Duane Gill trepidatiously entered and things went just as poorly for him as Rick dropped him with a tilt-a-whirl suplex and Scott pulverized him with a pumphandle slam. A Scotty standing dropkick was followed by another underhook suplex and finally the Frankensteiner for the win. Steiner squashes the best squashes. Grade: *

Final Analysis

Scott: The saga with Hulk Hogan & Brutus Beefcake vs. the Tag Team Champions continues as Money, Inc officially accepts the challenge and we are off and running for Las Vegas. We get some new matches announced for the show, including Lex Luger vs. Mr. Perfect, and then we get a Luger squash. Must have been so easy to just act like yourself as part of your character. It was nice to see Bret Hart defend his title before his first WrestleMania main event. I don’t remember how long Rob Bartlett stays on the show, but he’s ruining them because he’s such a jackass. Vince and Savage were the perfect team at this point and Bartlett is a waste. I don’t understand what Vince thought he would gain with him on the team. He doesn’t add any mainstream coverage, he’s a putz. This run to April 4 has been fun and I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of the journey. Grade: B

JT: OK, we are back on track after a pretty rough outing last week. The feature match here is one of the best we have seen and really showcased Bret Hart as a champion of the people as he wins a very hard fought match against a random contender. After that we got a series of squashes of which two were pretty entertaining. The Money, Inc promo was solid as well. Bartlett is Bartlett but him getting mashed with the pie was good enough for a laugh. WrestleMania is pretty much set to go for the most part so these next few weeks will be all about building heat in all the right places. Final Grade: B-