Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Monday Night Raw 7/26/93

*** 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! ***

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Monday Night Raw #27

July 26, 1993 (Taped July 19, 1993)
Manhattan Center
New York City, NY
Announcers: Vince McMahon, Randy Savage & Bobby Heenan

*** We open with a word from Doink the Clown, who calls out Randy Savage for getting involved in his match with Marty Jannetty and promises that he has a little surprise for him. ***

1) Bam Bam Bigelow defeats Bret Hart by countout at 17:00

Fun Fact: In the King of the Ring finals in June, Bret Hart won the crown in a disputed finish. Originally, Bam Bam Bigelow won the match when Luna Vachon came to ringside and hit Hart with a chair and he subsequently hit Bret with a headbutt. Another referee ordered the match to be restarted with Hart getting the pin.

Scott: We open the show with a rematch from a great King of the Ring final between the Hitman and the best Asbury Park, New Jersey had to offer. Bret’s parents, Stu & Helen are in the building up in the balcony. Really Bret? Those were the best seats you could get them? We haven’t had many Bret Hart matches on Raw, so it’s a treat to see him tonight. His match with Jerry Lawler is one of only two matches scheduled for SummerSlam at the moment so I think we will see more of Bret in the coming weeks. Bigelow never truly got the respect and recognition he deserved as a worker, as he is really working the Hitman over and has great heel offense to work a match over. Bobby says Lawler is in Manhattan today and with Stu and Helen in the house you know the jabs will begin when he gets to the building. With this match it’s evident Vince is going to start adding some real showcase matches at the start of the show to get the crowd really fired up, particularly during these taped episodes. Bret takes control mid-match and starts laying the shots in but Bigelow keeps kicking out and both men continue to go at each other. Eventually after a bulldog Bret is about to ratchet the Sharpshooter up when Jerry Lawler comes through the balcony to badger Stu and Helen. Bret gets distracted and Bigelow starts working the Hitman over while Lawler just lays into Calgary’s royal family. Bret is beating down Bigelow, but he is fed up with Lawler’s barbs and leaves the ring to confront him, and gets counted out. Lawler bails before Bret can get to the balcony. The match was so good until the bad ending but Bigelow (sort of) gets his win back from KOTR. Grade: ***

JT: We come at you on tape this week, still inside the Manhattan Center and our opener is a big one as Bret Hart battles Bam Bam Bigelow in a KOTR Finals rematch. Hart was a stalwart on Raw early on but hasn’t been as active of late. He is embroiled in a feud with Jerry Lawler and their match is set for Auburn Hills at SummerSlam. Bigelow is joined by his now ever-present main squeeze Luna Vachon but as the Hitman marches out, we discover that Bret’s parents Stu and Helen are seated up in the balcony to check out their son’s match. Bigelow hammered away to start and then planted Hart hard with a shoulder block. Hart would duck a hard right hand and land a dropkick and clothesline to send Bammer flailing to the floor. Bret followed him out and was able to eschew a Luna distraction to maintain control. He followed with a seated cross body off the top but seemingly tweaked his knee as he landed. Bigelow regrouped and assessed the situation and then started to kick away at the knee as we took a break. After the commercial, Hart was still hobbled and now crumpled up on the floor. He would crawl back inside but Bigelow immediately folded him up with a back suplex, grabbing a near fall. Bigelow really started taking his time, methodically using his power to keep Hart grounded and in pain. Bobby Heenan kept promising that Lawler was going to show up at some point and McMahon and Savage wondered if he was telling the truth and what the King was going to do. Bammer’s confidence rose as he slammed Hart down viciously and dropped two headbutts on him, with Vince saying he is focused on KOTR revenge. Hart would dodge a third headbutt and hit a back suplex of his own before pelting Bigelow with an elbow to the skull for two. Bigelow fought his way back into things and hit a dropkick before grabbing a tight rear chinlock. Hart escaped and landed some right hands before sending Bigelow flying with a back body drop. Hart was still favoring the knee as he stayed aggressive in his attack, hitting a Russian leg sweep and a clothesline off the middle rope for two. Hart then leapt on Bigelow’s back and hooked a sleeper but Bigelow stayed on his feet and used the corner to break the hold. Hart came right back with a bulldog and loaded up the Sharpshooter but before he could finish applying it, Jerry Lawler’s voice boomed throughout the building. The camera panned up to show the King chatting with Stu & Helen, leading to Bret releasing the hold and climbing out of the ring and into the crowd. Bigelow yanked him back to ringside and posted him as Lawler started laying into the Harts. Stu tried to give it back to him but Lawler just ate him up and started taunting Bret as he crawled back in the ring. Bigelow pounded away, picking up a near fall, as Lawler kept up the lounge act in the balcony. Bammer really started to unload, hitting a heavy senton but Hart was able to dodge a second one to buy some time. The Hitman punched away and hit a DDT but instead of covering, Hart left the ring and went into the crowd. He would be counted out, giving Bigelow the win, but Lawler escaped before Bret could arrive. This was a good match, a notch below their KOTR tilt, but still well worked and lots of heavy offense by both. The Lawler stuff was necessary for the angle but it really derailed the flow of what could have been a great bout. Still, it was needed to build more heat for SummerSlam, so all told this was a very effective segment, with a strong match and good angle development. Grade: ***

*** Gene Okerlund is in the house with our SummerSlam Report as the biggest show of the summer inches ever closer. Here are the matches discussed:

Lex Luger vs. Yokozuna – WWF World Title
Bret Hart vs. Jerry Lawler
Undertaker vs. Giant Gonzalez – Rest in Peace Match

August 30th! Join us live! ***

2) Mr. Hughes defeats Russ Greenberg with a sidewalk slam at 3:06

Scott: We continue this “Scott’s favorite hosses” episode of RAW as Mr. Hughes comes out with Undertaker’s urn to beat on some poor stiff. Like Hughes’ last match, we have a black funeral wreath delivered to ringside. Hughes pummels poor Ross Greenberg to the ground, as expected. Then he destroys the wreath like he did last time. The mind games continue. Grade: DUD

JT: With the crowd still cooling down after our opener, it is time to parade out some showcase squashes, starting with the always grumpy Mr. Hughes. Harvey Wippleman is still toting around the urn and Vince wonders if Hughes will be in Giant Gonzalez’ corner at SummerSlam. As Hughes slugs Greenberg in the face, another black wreath is delivered to ringside, drawing a confused look out of Harvey. Hughes beat Greenberg around, dropping him with a hard powerbomb along the way. Vince ran down the upcoming stops on the Lex Express tour as Hughes hammered on Greenberg before finally finishing him off with a sidewalk slam. Typical Hughes squash but we get a bit more development in Harvey’s issue with Undertaker along the way. Grade: DUD

*** We get a look at the soon-to-be released WrestleMania: The Album and check out clips from the RCA album release party. Randy Savage even presented Tiny Tim with a new ukulele. The album is out tomorrow, so pick it up! ***

3) Smoking Gunns defeat Glenn Ruth & Duane Gill when Bart pinned Ruth after a backdrop piledriver at 4:23

Scott: Slowly moving up the ladder in the tag team division is Bart & Billy Gunn, probably #2 behind the Steiners on the babyface side. It’s announced that WrestleMania: The Album is out tomorrow at all K-Mart stores. That album will haunt me for years to come. Bobby Heenan’s jabs at Stu & Helen Hart are just as funny as Lawler’s earlier in the show, calling them Fred & Ethel Mertz. This is a slight sign that the humor in the WWF is getting a bit dated. The squash is expected and we move on. Grade: DUD

JT: The Smoking Gunns are back this week against two of our resident jobbers. The Gunns are working their way up the ladder but still haven’t gotten into much of an angle or feud. Vince notes that WrestleMania: The Album is a smash hit in the UK as Billy and Gill open things up. Billy wrangled up Gill before the double teams started. Gill was able to go to the eyes of Bart and tag out, but Bart came back with a cross body that took out both men. The Gunns quick tag and control Ruth as Bobby says Glenn’s mother is Dr. Ruth and that she dated one of the Gunns. Vince then notes that Helen Hart is very distraught backstage but Heenan just makes jokes about the situation. The Gunns keep working Ruth over until finishing him off with a backdrop piledriver. Another win in the books for the cowboys but eventually they need to get some sort of issue going here. Grade: DUD

*** We get a vignette showcasing WWF newcomer Ludvig Borga, who had been dominating his competition on the syndicated shows of late. The Pride of Finland is not a very big fan of the good ol’ USA. ***

*** Earlier in the day, Lex Luger sat down with Vince McMahon for an interview inside the empty Manhattan Center as he made a quick stop off the bus tour. Vince talks about Luger receiving his SummerSlam match from Jack Tunney and Luger thanks all the fans that were petitioning on his behalf. They discuss the stipulation that was put in place by Tunney, that Luger must wear a pad over his forearm but Lex says that doesn’t worry him. He wraps up by saying the Lex Express will still roll on, coast to coast, right up until SummerSlam and then vows to take the WWF Title back home where it belongs. ***

4) Doink the Clown defeats Phil Apollo with the Whoopie Cushion at 2:31

Scott: At the start of the show Doink challenged Randy Savage to not get involved in his matches after what happened some time ago with the Marty Jannetty two out of three falls match. He keeps winking and cackling at Macho Man after winning the match easily. After the match he challenges Savage, who can’t get involved because of his announcer’s contract. That little storyline hook makes a big difference later in the year. Grade: DUD

JT: Our final bout features Doink the Clown, who issued that warning to Savage before the show, squaring off with Phil Apollo. Doink was all over Apollo, smothering him against the ropes and smacking him in the face before grabbing hold of the arm. Doink continued to chuck Apollo around before swiftly ending the match with the Whoopie Cushion. Grade: DUD

*** After the match, Doink calls out Savage and dares him to come into the ring for a chat. Vince tells Savage to stay seated as his contract states he is not permitted to leave his seat or get involved in the ring. Since Savage stays at the table, Doink hops down and gets in his face and confronts him about getting involved in his matches. Doink tries to bait him in the ring for a match but Savage stays cool and doesn’t bite on the challenge. Doink then offers an official match next week and promises Savage will see triple vision. And with that we see two other Doinks, one in the ring and one in the balcony. After a commercial break, Savage says he does commentary because he wants to do it, not because he has to do it and says next week will be his reentrance into the ring. And he will have a little surprise for Doink as well. We then close the episode with a clip of the WrestleMania music video to promote the album release. ***

Final Analysis

Scott: After the actions at King of the Ring we hadn’t seen much interaction on Raw between Bret Hart and Jerry Lawler, but that changes here as the second big feud for SummerSlam begins with a great match in the ring and Lawler mercilessly chiding grizzled Stu and his wife in the audience. This begins what seems like a three year storyline of everything involving the Hart parents. It fits here, and in some cases later it doesn’t. I honestly thought the Lex Express dragged on longer in terms of begging for a title match but as of this episode and SummerSlam report Lex gets his shot at Yokozuna’s strap. The Doink/Savage interaction was interesting, probably to get Savage some work back in the ring. That happens in the fall. Another solid episode with great storyline advancement and great jobber destruction. Final Grade: B-

JT: Another pretty good episode here coming off the heels of a great outing last week. They seem to have settled into a nice little format here with a long, strong match to open and then a parade of quick squashes and interviews to close out the show. The episodes with this layout have moved along very briskly and have been quite effective. We get some nice storyline advancement across the board here, specifically for Lawler/Hart, but also with a good sit down interview with Lex Luger, who is slowly building up momentum for SummerSlam and coming across very well in the process. The Doink/Savage stuff is interesting too and adds to the list of multi-Raw angles that exist solely in this universe. Final Grade: B-

Author: Vintage Vault

Vintage Vault Reposts are a collection of reviews that Scott and JT have written over the years.