Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Monday Night Raw 4/26/93

*** 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 #14

April 26, 1993
Manhattan Center
New York, NY
Announcers: Vince McMahon, Randy Savage & Bobby Heenan

Fun Fact: In this episode we say farewell and good riddance to the failed commentary experiment of Rob Bartlett. In a 2013 interview with Inside the Ropes, Bartlett states that he left because he felt the chemistry wasn’t there and because he wasn’t as familiar with the wrestling world as he should have been. Bartlett was replaced in the booth by Bobby Heenan.

1) Mr. Perfect defeats Damien Demento with the Perfectplex at 4:56

Fun Fact: We say goodbye on Raw to Damien Demento. After this, Demento primarily works house shows for the company before leaving altogether in October 1993. He would work on the independent circuit into 1994 before retiring from wrestling and becoming an artist.

Scott: Ah, I can feel the breath of fresh air without Rob Bartlett in the booth, and Randy Savage even had to do a parting shot at the start of the show. Bobby Heenan is in at the table with Vince McMahon and Macho Man and it’s truly glorious. Mr. Perfect is being hinted at being the next Intercontinental Champion, which is good and bad. Good because we could see a great in-ring feud between Perfect and Shawn Michaels, who strives to be Mr. Perfect. However it’s bad because it looks like we won’t see a rematch between Michaels and Tatanka who was screwed at WrestleMania and is still very much over with the fans. I honestly didn’t think Damian Demento lasted this long in the company. Yet with every episode he’s there again putting some babyface over. Man it’s great to hear Bobby give (although with a heel slant) analysis instead of that other dope and his stupid jokes. Go back to writing Creamette pasta live reads for Don Imus. Perfect wins and we move on. Grade: *1/2

JT: For the second straight week, we are live on Monday Night but there is one significant change… Rob Bartlett is no more. The writing had been on the wall lately as he was clearly being phased out but it is official now as Bobby Heenan slides in to his seat. Rob had his moments and helped get the show off and running and he was improving as he learned more about the business, but he will never be Bobby Heenan. And they had Bobby Heenan available to them, so take the easy upgrade and move on. Vince just says Rob quit when he heard Heenan was joining the Raw team and he is swept under the rug for good. We also say farewell to our buddy Damien Demento, a surprising stalwart of the early Raws. This is final appearance and he left the company as a whole right afterwards. His last tussle is against another Manhattan Center favorite, Mr. Perfect. Perfect ate a tough loss back at WrestleMania and while he is still pissed at Lex Luger, his full focus is now on Shawn Michaels, who had attacked him back stage at Caesar’s Palace and also happens to hold his once beloved Intercontinental Title. Perfect started hot, working Demento over and sending him scurrying to the floor. Bobby wasted no time hopping into the fray and ripping on his former charge. Demento came in and got a few licks on Perfect, but it was short lived as Perfect fired right back. Damien was able to dodge a charge and send Perfect flying outside, giving him a brief run of control until Perfect chopped his way out of the corner and cracked Demento with a knee lift. Perfect would block a Demento splash and then end Damien’s WWF career with a Perfectplex. Basically a squash that could have probably been decent with some time, but it just wasn’t meant to be on this night. I hope Damien’s trip back to the outer reaches of your mind went smoothly. Perfect remains on the hunt for his gold. Grade: 1/2*

*** We hear a dramatic reading from Jasmine McNeill, a young child that won an essay contest about rejecting drugs. Undertaker also pops in to let us know that there is No Hope With Dope. Bobby Heenan then tells us that a fan in the building is planning to propose to his girlfriend later tonight. He has the cameraman pan over and then makes fun of the couple. ***

2) Lex Luger defeats Crush by countout at 13:00

Scott: I’m looking forward to this one because we have two legit big men and it’s the kind of match we don’t have every week as the show is still treated like a live Superstars at times. The big focus here is on Lex Luger’s bionic forearm and how Jack Tunney needs to make a decision whether it is deemed a weapon and Luger has to put padding over it. Crush is a great force, but Vince needs to stop calling him “The Original Hawaiian Punch”. That is a terrible nickname, as who would want to be reminded of a fat pitcher of juice? The match is a back and forth power affair, but Crush gets the upper hand late and starts squeezing on Luger’s head when he sees Doink in the rafters of the Manhattan Center and challenges him to come into the ring. But then there’s the second Doink and it allows Luger to smack Crush with the forearm and win by countout. The match was solid enough and it doesn’t make Crush totally look bad, but does portray him as a bit of a dope for falling for the double Doinks gag AGAIN. Grade: **

JT: Our big match of the week is up next as the undefeated Narcissist battles the pissed off Crush. The big Hawaiian was humiliated back in Las Vegas after Doink pulled the okie doke on him and stole a big upset win. Suddenly, a very promising face run seems to have stalled a bit. This match is a key one for him to get back on track. Luger knocked off Mr. Perfect at Mania and had drawn the ire of Bret Hart after he clocked the then-WWF Champion with his loaded forearm at the Mania brunch. As Luger posed, Vince lets us know that Jack Tunney’s investigation was fruitless and he has no recourse to do anything about the steel forearm. We also get some helpful exaggerated animations of what the plate looks like. The two strongmen opened with an elongated lock up that was eventually won by Crush. A test of strength followed but that ended with a Crush press slam that sent Luger flailing out of the ring and down the aisle to regroup. Luger laid in some clubbing blows when he slid back in but Crush turned things around in a blink and controlled Lex’s arm through a break. Luger turned the tide and shoved Crush to the floor where he worked over the lower back, jamming him into the edge of the ring and then running him into the ring post. Lex kept the pressure on, stomping away before locking in a bear hug and eventually hitting a powerslam for a near fall. Crush turned the tide with a back suplex, bodyslam and leg drop for two and was starting to feel some momentum. The crowd rallied the Hawaiian as he grabbed Lex’s head and cinched in the cranium crunch, hoisting him in the air and slamming him down twice. Before Luger submitted or passed out, Crush released the hold and looked to the balcony where his archenemy Doink was sitting and staring him down. And across from him was a second Doink mimicking the first. As Crush pieced everything together, Luger clocked him from behind and knocked him to the floor, leading to a countout loss. Crush has not had it easy. Luger grabs a victory from the precipice of defeat but the real story here is that Crush is still embroiled in a frustrating feud with the manic clowns as his career continues to stall out. The match itself was surprisingly feisty and had a lot more energy and was less plodding than I was expected. Luger brought his working boots for this one and seeing them trade off some solid power offense was entertaining enough. Grade: **

*** Vince McMahon announces two King of the Ring Qualifying Matches for the upcoming weekend: Mr. Perfect vs. Doink (Superstars) and Bob Backlund vs. Lex Luger (Challenge). ***

3) Mr. Hughes defeats Jason Knight with a sidewalk slam at 2:07

Fun Fact: Curtis Hughes trained under Sonny Myers and Bob Geigel before making his professional debut in 1987 in Central States Wrestling and then to the AWA as Curtis “Big Cat” Hughes. Late in 1990 he moved to WCW and over time his character changed to one of a heel enforcer. This is the role we see him in here as he enters the WWF.

Scott: He was formerly known as the Big Cat in early WCW but eventually settled into the role of hired muscle/bodyguard before heading North and signing with the WWF. He debuts here against Mr. Knight, who has become another Raw mainstay. The highlight of the match is Bobby switching the channels and putting both the Braves and TNT on. Hmmmm, foreshadowing? The match is nothing. Grade: DUD

JT: Up next we check out the Raw debut of the robust Mr. Hughes. The former WCW bodyguard arrived on the scene earlier in the month and was being prepped for some pretty big things. During the match, Heenan rips off the Bartlett gimmick of flipping through random channels to prove the show is live. He also mocks the Atlanta Braves in a fun veiled shot at Ted Turner. Hughes mauls Knight with some plodding offense, eventually finishing him off with a sidewalk slam. Grade: DUD

*** A vignette airs hyping the upcoming debut of a new tag team, the Smoking Gunns, containing footage of Billy and Bart riding horses and teasing their arrival. ***

*** After a break, Shawn Michaels joins Vince McMahon in the ring for a special interview. Vince announces that Michaels will be defending his Intercontinental Title against Jim Duggan next week and asks how he feels about that while Mr. Perfect is breathing down his neck. Michaels makes fun of New York City and then takes a few shots at both the fans and Jim Duggan. The heated crowd chanted “Shawn is gay” as Michaels shrugged them off while also egging them on before turning to his attack on Perfect at WrestleMania. Perfect would eventually come out to ringside but was held back by a handful of officials. As he battled them, Michaels came over and kicked him in the face and then took off before Perfect could get revenge. ***

*** We head back to Superstars to check out footage of Bam Bam Bigelow tormenting Sensational Sherri until Tatanka made the save. Later in the show, Bigelow jumped Tatanka backstage and cut off some of his sacred red hair. ***

4) Typhoon defeats Von Krus with a splash at 2:37

Scott: I can’t even fathom the point of this match at all. Typhoon is the face equivalent of Papa Shango. He was brought in to fill out matches on shows and then move on. The main focus was Jim Duggan calling in about his Intercontinental Title match with Shawn Michaels next week. Grade: DUD

JT: This is quite the matchup. Before the bout we check out Howard Cross and Joey Smith of the New York Giants in the crowd. It is amazing to me that we have had multiple Typhoon showcase matches over the past handful of episodes. He seems so dated and out of place as he still lingers around here. I get using him to put over some heels but keeping him strong on your live showcase show feels off. Typhoon would make quick work of Krus, during which Jim Duggan called in to further push his match with Shawn Michaels next week. The highlight of that was Heenan going right at Duggan with a vicious slew of insults with Duggan giving it right back to the Brain. Typhoon grabs another win and keeps on keeping on. Grade: DUD

*** Bobby Heenan walks over to ringside and helps Rob Sosnowski propose to his girlfriend of five years, Louise. Rob pops the question and she accepts after Heenan gets them both to admit that neither has been involved with anyone else sexually before meeting each other. Heenan mocks them one last time as they make out and we head off the air. There also seemed to be a green lantern singing in the background. ***

Final Analysis

Scott: This episode wasn’t bad as it balanced some squashes with a big interview and first appearance of Shawn Michaels since WrestleMania. Mr Hughes makes his debut and I was surprised the Crush/Doink feud was continuing because it was making Crush look like an idiot for continuing to fall for the double Doinks trick. I have enjoyed seeing all these hodge podge jobbers like Von Krus who are there simply to put over the current roster. Jim Duggan gets his last push before pretty much being put out to pasture, and surprisingly he seems set up to deliver. This was a standard episode with not much flash. Grade: C

JT: Well, this was a pretty basic episode. It was entertaining and breezy enough and we got some good storyline advancement as well as set up our big match for next week, which always is a good idea. Beyond that, there wasn’t much happening in the ring and the back end of the episode was definitely pretty soft with a pair of bland squashes. The Typhoon match made zero sense but there was some fun in there as Heenan and Duggan dueled over the phone. The marriage proposal stuff was pretty funny too and the injection of wit and humor that Heenan added immediately was refreshing. Him calling Louise “Chuck” makes me laugh out loud every time. The Luger/Crush match was pretty decent as well and now that we have a summer PPV to focus on, there is some direction to the company post Mania, a nice change of pace from years past. We will see how that plays out over the coming weeks. Final Grade: C+