Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Monday Night Raw 12/13/93

*** 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 #43

December 13, 1993
Mid-Hudson Civic Center
Poughkeepsie, NY
Announcers: Vince McMahon & Jim Cornette

1) Randy Savage defeats Fatu with the flying elbow at 5:52

Scott: So officially, the Macho Man is out of the commentary booth and back into active competition, probably to get back in ring shape for the eventual battle with Crush down the line. With Bobby Heenan gone, Jim Cornette slides into the broadcast booth with Vince McMahon. I’m curious as to how this will go. Cornette is a solid heel, and actually brings more factual stuff and less dopey jokes than the Brain did. Bobby is Bobby, we all know that. But perhaps a difference of approach at the table is what the show needs. Fatu is a good guy for Savage to face because he’s stiff and undisciplined, which is the kind of guy Savage likes to work with. Savage is also the best in the business with sympathy heat, as the referee is distracted constantly and Fatu with Afa is cheating like crazy. Savage recovers from the beating, hits the ol’ elbow off the top rope and got the victory. The crowd is crazy and Savage is back in the game. Grade: **

JT: We are back live and back in Poughkeepsie and things look a little different than they have since the spring as Bobby Heenan is officially gone from the WWF. He has been a staple at the Raw desk since Rob Bartlett was jettisoned after WrestleMania but he was sick of the grind and that was that. With the Brain gone and Randy Savage in active competition we start the trek to find some stability alongside Vince McMahon and that starts this week with Jim Cornette. In the ring, Savage has his first Raw match in quite some time as he is officially reactivated as a wrestler and removed from announcing by Jack Tunney. He is on a mission to eradicate Crush and that all starts with this tilt against the ornery Fatu tonight. Cornette was heated up right from the start, ripping Savage for being unstable and a menace. I do enjoy how the Headshrinkers are keeping up the old Samoan legacy of competing in big singles matches from time to time. It makes for good little random TV bouts. Vince doesn’t waste much time in invoking the upcoming Royal Rumble, noting that Savage hopes to be chosen for the bout, and revealing that names will be announced this weekend. Savage and Fatu tie up to start and Fatu uses his power advantage right away. Savage tries to pepper away where he can but Fatu uses his head to stay in control, eventually knocking Macho to the floor. Outside, Fatu ran Savage into the ring steps and then into the post as well. Back inside, Fatu dropped a headbutt for a near fall but Macho recovered and took the Samoan over with a back drop. He got a bit ahead of himself, though, and tried a wild charge, allowing Fatu to back drop him over the top rope. He was met there by Afa, who landed a kick and then slung him back into the ring. Fatu kept Savage grounded and headed to the top rope but Savage popped up and knocked him to the floor. He then scaled the top rope and hit a top rope axehandle. After shoving Fatu in the ring, Savage cut him down with a clothesline, whacked Afa and dropped the big elbow for the win. This was a perfectly fine TV match with nice pacing that helps get Savage reestablished in the ring. Despite the win here, he still has his eyes locked in only on Crush… and the Royal Rumble as well. Grade: *

*** Todd Pettengil comes to us live from the WWF Mania studio having paid for time on Raw to urge fans to vote Yes on the referendum on whether or not Randy Savage should be allowed to still cohost Mania. Vince McMahon then shares the hotline for fans to call to cast votes. ***

2) Smoking Gunns defeat Jim Messenger & Steve Smyth when Billy pinned Messenger with a top rope bulldog at 2:50

Scott: The Tag Team division needs to get its ship righted at some point because it does seem to be disjointed without some credible face teams to battle the Quebecers. The Gunns are definitely one of those teams that could eventually be champions, but where are the Steiners? Ugh Lou Albano is checking the Gunns out, which means they will probably be champs so he can pad his stupid stats. They’re technically the #1 contenders still. The big thing here is that Cornette says Lex Luger shouldn’t be allowed in the Royal Rumble because he got his one title shot with Yokozuna at SummerSlam and (as he assumes that Yoko will win his title match with the Undertaker) he won’t be allowed to win the Rumble at use it at WrestleMania. Good logic there actually. Gunns win easily. Grade: 0

JT: Next up we have some tag team action as the Smoking Gunns are back on the scene for a showcase bout. The Gunns have been quite aimless since SummerSlam other than that one tussle with Well Dunn. The Gunns easily take care of Messenger and Smyth but this was here solely so Cornette could rant about not allowing Lex Luger to compete in the Royal Rumble due to the prematch stipulation back at SummerSlam. His claim was that Luger agreed that would be his only WWF Title match against Yokozuna and a Rumble win would possibly force a rematch at Mania. Great logic. Lou Albano also waddles out to study the Gunns as he looks for a new team to glom onto… er, new team to mold. The Gunns grab the easy win. Grade: DUD

*** We revisit last week to check out the final moments of the match between Shawn Michaels and 1-2-3 Kid and the ensuing mayhem that left Razor Ramon laid out on the floor. ***

3) IRS defeats Todd Mata with the Write Off at 1:48

Scott: The stud from Staten Island, Todd Mata takes on IRS. Now IRS technically is feuding with Intercontinental Champion Razor Ramon, while Razor is also feuding with Shawn Michaels. Razor’s gold chains were swiped by IRS and are now nestled in the Halliburton. What a workhorse Razor is, fending off two heels at the same time. The match is a squash. Grade: DUD

JT: With Razor Ramon embroiled in a big feud with Shawn Michaels, he is also stuck trying to hold off IRS from coming at his gold as well. In fact, some of that gold was already gone as IRS stole Razor’s chains on Superstars and has stored them inside his Halliburton briefcase. Tough sledding for the Bad Guy here late in the year. IRS has held strong since Ted DiBiase left the company, picking up some good wins and now being squarely in the IC Title picture as well. We do get a brief glimpse of the gold in his case before the match and that leads to commentary around it as IRS makes friend work of Mata. Cornette is pretty good here too, as he has been all show, stepping in for Heenan as far as comedy and pop culture references but also really getting over the storylines and characters too. Grade: DUD

4) Undertaker defeats JS Storm with the Tombstone at 2:14

Scott: We will be seeing much more of the Deadman in the coming weeks as the match is booked for January 22 in Providence. He will face Yokozuna for the WWF Title, and according to Cornette and the alleged “contract meddling” by the WWF that it will be a casket match. As expected, the match is a squash as Vince keeps getting into Cornette’s head that he sold Yokozuna up the river and put him in Taker’s signature match. As the year is ending some very intriguing feuds are developing. Grade: DUD

JT: And with Jim Cornette at ringside, it was quite fitting that we have the Undertaker in the ring this week, a pretty rare occurrence over this first year of Raw. He has his eyes dead set on Yokozuna and his WWF Title and it comes out here that their Royal Rumble title tilt will be a casket match. Vince spends the whole match trolling Cornette for missing the fine print that allowed the stipulation. He also notes that like SummerSlam, the contract does dictate that this will Undertaker’s only title shot. Vince reminds him that Taker has never lost a casket match but Cornette claims that is only because he has never faced Yoko. Taker plants Storm with a chokeslam and Tombstone for the victory and then wraps him up in a body bag afterwards as Cornette rants about it all. The Deadman continues to march on toward Providence and his long await shot at the gold. Grade: DUD

*** We check out a montage of all the Jeff Jarrett vignettes we have seen over the past couple of months as Jarrett will make his WWF in ring debut next week here on Raw. ***

5) Rick Martel defeats Tim McNeany with the Boston Crab at 3:00

Scott: I didn’t remember Rick Martel being on Raw this often after the IC Title match loss to Razor Ramon, but like Mr. Perfect he was a serviceable veteran who filled the gaps on the show. Cornette continues to harp that Lex Luger shouldn’t be allowed in the Royal Rumble because of the binding contract that Luger would only get one shot at Yokozuna, and that was at SummerSlam. Another squash but Cornette’s commentary is creating a lot of great storyline stuff. Grade: DUD

JT: The parade of squashes continues as Rick Martel saunters out for the next match. Martel has had a nice little resurgence here since the fall but he also feels archaic in some ways. I think a gimmick change and face turn may have been interesting to inject some life back into his career. Vince plugs this week’s USA World Premiere MovieL Jericho Fever. So check that out. As Martel works over McNeany, Vince and Cornette banter further about Lex Luger as well as the ongoing issues in the Hart family. Vince also plugs next week’s huge main event between Tatanka and Ludvig Borga. Martel eventually gets the win with the Boston Crab but he is on the escalator to nowhere at this point. Grade: DUD

*** We head back to Superstars where Vince McMahon had a sit down interview with a still angry Owen Hart. Hart vents about living in the shadow of his brother Bret and challenges him to a match so he can prove he is better than his older brother. ***

6) Bret Hart defeats Brooklyn Brawler with the Sharpshooter at 4:20

Scott: I’ve been harping in past reviews about the lack of appearances by Undertaker and Bret Hart on Raw. Now we get them both on the same show. Perhaps Vince is realizing that Raw is indeed his flagship show, as USA Network is pretty much on basic cable and almost everybody has it. It’s time to really put this show on the forefront. The best part of having a Bret match here is it gives Vince and Cornette the chance to discuss the Bret/Owen issue that’s brewing and really give the audience some sort of background so it can grow over the next few weeks. Before the match they showed the interview from Superstars where Owen challenged Bret to a match. We will let that hang in the air for a bit. Bret wins his first Raw match in months. Grade: *

JT: We have seen a lot of in ring action this week and it all caps off with a rare in ring appearance by Bret Hart. It has been a while since he was on Raw with any sort of consistency but here he is, set to battle the Brooklyn Brawler. Vince and Cornette do a great job of weaving through the nuances of the sibling rivalry, setting the stage for the weeks to come. Cornette of course defends Owen’s point of view and discusses why the match should happen. Will Bret accept his brother’s challenge or will cooler heads prevail? Time will tell. Hart grabs the win with the Sharpshooter but he has much bigger issues at hand. Grade: 1/2*

Final Analysis

Scott: For me, this is a pretty important Raw. We have a new color commentator who’s directly involved in the major storylines and that’s a huge bonus. I love the Brain, but at this moment in history he’s not fitting with the WWF style anymore. We also have Bret Hart and Undertaker on the show, who we normally don’t see on Raw. The Royal Rumble is mentioned often, and as we get to the turn of the year the build will grow exponentially. This was a fun Raw with a lot of great commentary and loaded with superstars. It felt live and it was live. Final Grade: A-

JT: We rarely get six matches on an episode of Raw but having this squash parade actually helped the show buzz right along. Jim Cornette was a strong addition on commentary and all of the inconsequential match time allowed him and Vince McMahon to really dig into the hottest storylines of the day: Savage/Crush, Ramon/Michaels/IRS, Yokozuna/Undertaker and Hart/Hart. We also got some strong Royal Rumble hype as we are just about a month out of the first PPV of 1994. Raw seems to be finding itself here late in 1993, settling into more of a formula and featuring more ongoing storylines and developments instead of singular show long storylines that existed only in this universe. Those can be fun, but the way Raw has trended makes the show feel more important and part of the rest of the WWF World. I could have used at least one solid feature match here, but outside of that this was a good episodic installment of Raw. Until next week! Final Grade: B