Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Monday Night Raw 3/8/93

*** 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 #8

March 8, 1993 (Taped March 1, 1993)
Manhattan Center
New York, NY
Announcers: Vince McMahon, Randy Savage & Rob Bartlett

*** Hulk Hogan, Brutus Beefcake and Jimmy Hart cut a pre-taped backstage promo on Money, Inc about their upcoming WrestleMania Tag Team Title match. ***

1) Money, Inc defeat Tito Santana & Virgil to retain WWF Tag Team Titles when IRS pinned Virgil with a back suplex at 8:00

Scott: This isn’t a title match, but the champions decide on a warm up against two game workers like Virgil and Tito Santana. I love Randy Savage, but talk about towing the company line saying that the WWF had a myriad of great tag teams. They had maybe, what, four teams? This isn’t 1989 for pete’s sake. This episode is taped as Vince doesn’t mention “WE ARE LIVE…” We really start noticing that little hint as how things operate. It’s a pretty straightforward TV match, with Tito (and not Virgil surprisingly) playing face-in-peril and Virgil is the one that gets the hot tag late in the match. Rob Bartlett is not impersonating anyone this week (unless you count a commentator that doesn’t know what he’s talking about). Virgil is caught jaw jacking with DiBiase, and IRS hits a reverse suplex for the victory. A pretty straightforward heel win, with no crazy cheating. Definitely a chance to see Money, Inc together and not cheat in order to show they are a force and a definite challenge to the MegaManiacs. Grade: **

JT: As we inch ever so closer to WrestleMania IX, we are on tape from the Manhattan Center and open up strong with a big tag team title matchup. This match was hyped at the very end of last week’s show and Money, Inc are currently in the forefront of this program over the last month as they factored in directly with the return of Hulk Hogan and are being treated as such. Here they face off with Virgil and Tito Santana and there is a little history here as these two battled DiBiase and Repo-Man back at This Tuesday in Texas in late 1991. Santana and DiBiase opened things up with a quick back and forth that ended in Santana controlling with a side headlock. I always dug Tito’s black matador trunks. DiBiase wriggled free and the match reset with Virgil and IRS both tagging in. Virgil had some early success and tagged in Santana, who cranked away at Irwin’s arm. They traded off with quick tags and focus on the arm until IRS turned the tide during a break and then buried a knee to the gut of Tito. DiBiase tagged in but Tito caught him in the midsection and made the tag to Virgil, who came in and met IRS with a series of fists. Virgil cut through both champs until he got distracted by DiBiase, which allowed IRS to hit a back suplex for the win. That was an odd little match as the champs basically got no offense in at all against a pair of low level mid carders and had to sneak out the win. I know that is their shtick but you would think they would look a bit stronger heading into Vegas. The match was standard fare but nothing that will stick out as memorable. Grade: *1/2

*** We get a recap of Tatanka’s two recent non-title victories over Shawn Michaels. Rick Martel then comes out and takes over for the Raw Girl in modeling the sign. ***

2) Tatanka defeats Phil Apollo with the Papoose to Go at 2:42

Scott: The challenger to the Intercontinental Championship works over another well known early 90s heel and he crushes him in quick fashion. Most of the match is spent with IC Champion Shawn Michaels on the phone, dressing Tatanka down and saying he “likes his view from the penthouse”. Honestly there’s not much more to say here, as Tatanka gets an easy win and this match April 4 could go either way. Grade: DUD

JT: Despite his very lengthy undefeated streak, Tatanka has been pretty much void of title matches, which is quite weird on the kayfabe surface. That is finally changing though, as he knocked off Shawn Michaels in a pair of non-title bouts and those wins netted him a shot at Intercontinental gold at WrestleMania. This was a pretty  straightforward squash with Tatanka running through his usual offense on the portly Apollo. The crowd was really into his big chops that were laid in on Apollo’s moobs. Michaels would call in on the phone during the match and made a couple of gambling jokes and basically says Tatanka won’t get lucky a third time. Apollo got a few licks in but Tatanka made a quick comeback, hopped around in his war dance and then got the win with the Papoose. Nothing doing here, just another win for Tatanka and a chance to hear from Michaels to hype Mania. Grade: DUD

*** Gene Okerlund delivers us our weekly WrestleMania IX Report, with the following matches discussed for April 4:

MegaManiacs vs. Money, Inc – WWF Tag Team Titles
Bret Hart vs. Yokozuna – WWF Heavyweight Title
Undertaker vs. Giant Gonzalez

Call and order today! ***

3) Papa Shango defeats Mike Edwards with a reverse shoulderbreaker at 2:31

Scott: I honestly didn’t know Papa Shango was still with the company to be honest. This seems like a filler match to give the crowd something extra. Bartlett makes fun of Mike Edwards’ hairy back. Please fire him soon or my computer will melt soon. Pretty nondescript match to fill the hour. Grade: 0

JT: Papa Shango is on the scene and this is a bit of an odd decision for a squash showcase as he isn’t lined up for anything major at WrestleMania. Regardless, here he is making very quick work of Mike Edwards, pulverizing him from bell to bell and finishing him off with the shoulderbreaker. I wonder how long it took Papa to put that face paint on. Certainly longer than two and a half minutes. Been a soft squash offering this week, sadly. Grade: DUD

4) Bob Backlund defeats Tony Demoro with a double underhook suplex at 3:51

Scott: Why is Bob Backlund back with the company? To be honest these are the kind of guys Vince needs to stay away from. He hadn’t really jumped on the “New Generation” thing yet considering one half of his main event is guys from the 80s but it is Hulk Hogan. Boring guys like Backlund really don’t fit this new crop of stars, but perhaps he’s offering a job to a guy who’s 43 years old and not really fitting anywhere else in the business. Backlund shows off after the butterfly suplex with some dopey underhook amateur pin to get the victory. The match is average as is Backlund’s character. Grade: *

JT: Our next squash match features Bob Backlund, still riding high from his big Royal Rumble performance and of course on his mission to reclaim his WWF Title. Tony Demoro is in pretty good shape, a nice change from our last two jobbers. Demoro refused to shake Backlund’s hand, leading to Bartlett calling him a “pants load’. Robby Boy has actually been pretty solid tonight as I think he is finally starting to feel the flow and tone of the booth. Savage notes that it is Backlund’s dream to compete at WrestleMania, so we will see how that shakes out. As Backlund dumps Demoro to the floor, McMahon asks Bartlett to head backstage to interview Rick Martel. When Demoro returned, we got some amateur mat work that Bob controlled. Demoro changed the tone with a stiff back elbow, leading to Backlund getting more aggressive and hitting a nice double underhook suplex for the win. Backlund has his eyes set on Vegas as he notches another win. Grade: DUD

*** Rob Bartlett interviews Rick Martel, who calls him classless and blah. He says the same of the Raw Girls, which is why he keeps cutting into model. He also claims to be the best and most classy wrestler in the world in reference to his upcoming main event bout. ***

5) Mr. Perfect defeats Rick Martel with the Perfectplex at 10:00

Scott: I have been actually looking forward to this match since it was announced the previous week. Martel may seem slightly out of place as much as Backlund does but at least he has a flashier gimmick and is a great wrestler. Perfect might as well get as many matches with good workers as he can now, because he will be carrying a piece of luggage at WrestleMania IX in Lex Luger. As expected these two are working very well together and doing expert reversals. Perfect gets the win in possibly next to Perfect/Flair back in January is the best match in the short history of the show. Grade: ***

JT: Main event time and it should be a pretty nifty one, at least on paper anyway. Rick Martel continues to be aimless after his fall feud with Tatanka but is always a good choice for a plug and play like this. Mr. Perfect is of course ensconced in a feud with the recently debuted Lex Luger and his old friend Bobby Heenan. Perfect gets a warm welcome from the NYC crowd that has shown him lots of love in these early episodes. Perfect would control early on but Martel got on track and started to go into his histrionics, such as avoiding a back drop with a cartwheel and some jumping jacks. Perfect would return the favor in a funny bit, frustrating Martel, who was a bit unsure how to approach the match now. Martel would sort it out and stick Perfect in the grill with a forearm. From there he worked the arm, turning to a hammerlock but made a big mistake with a wild charge that Perfect ducked. As the Model crashed to the floor, we took a break. When we returned, Martel was back in control and Perfect was favoring his rehabbed back. Martel would hit a perfect gutwrench suplex for two but Perfect cracked him with a big right hand to gain some breathing room. Martel stayed strong and hooked in a reverse chinlock, to which Bartlett said “he is riding him like a horsey”. Perfect broke free but Martel caught him with a knee to the gut. That momentum came to a thud when Perfect got his knees up as Martel tried a slingshot senton into the ring. Martel started to get desperate and tried to come off the middle rope but Perfect caught him with a right hand to the stomach. Perfect rattled Martel from there and was in full control as we took a final break. Surprisingly enough, when we returned we found out Perfect had already won the match during the break, catching Martel with the Perfectplex. I thought that was a shrewd little move to add a live feel to a taped show. The match didn’t have much stakes behind it so it was an easy one to sacrifice for that gimmick. Both guys meshed well and it was technically quite solid but there just wasn’t too much heat behind it thanks to Martel’s dulling star. Perfect looks good, though, and is ready for Lex Luger. Grade: **

Final Analysis

Scott: This was a solid episode with a great main event and matches that advanced WrestleMania participants, and Papa Shango. I’m still confused as to why he was on this show, perhaps to fill a slot from no-show. We do get a MegaManiacs appearance (taped of course) at the beginning of the show to build that co-main event. Tatanka got a crazy push and it will continue over the next few weeks until April 4 in Las Vegas. The main event does it and I contend that next to Bret Hart, Mr. Perfect is the best worker in the company. The build continues and this was a solid piece to it. Final Grade: B

JT: A pretty soft outing this week with two matches that looked pretty good on paper but didn’t quite deliver bookending a trio of blasé squashes. I don’t mind the squash matches on Raw at all but I like when they have some sizzle behind them. These three were just kind of there. We did get some pretty good hype for WrestleMania but there were no big stakes or angles this week and it almost felt like a bland time killer for the most part. Hopefully next week’s live show brings a bit more energy and drama. One positive was that Rob Bartlett was fairly tolerable as he has seemingly learned how to pick his spots and contribute instead of forcing in his material. Final Grade: C-