Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Monday Night Raw 12/20/93

*** 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 #44

December 20, 1993 (Taped November 29, 1993)
Westechester County Civic Center
White Plains, NY
Announcers: Vince McMahon & Shawn Michaels

1) Jeff Jarrett defeats PJ Walker with a DDT at 4:09

Fun Fact: “Ain’t I great!” Tonight is the debut of J-E-Double-F J-A-Double R-E-Double T, Jeff Jarrett. Son of the Memphis wrestling promoter, Jerry Jarrett, Jeff started working for his father in the CWA in March 1986 as a referee. He was trained by his father and Tojo Yamamoto and made his in-ring debut in April 1986. His father purchased WCCW in 1989 and merged it with his promotion forming the USWA. In 1992, Jeff was part of the initial angle launching the talent exchange with the WWF. He made his full time WWF debut in October ’93 and makes his Raw debut here tonight.

Scott: After weeks of vignettes, Jeff Jarrett finally makes his in-ring debut. This episode aired on 12/20, but it was taped on 11/29, so it actually happened before the Raw that aired last week. So Jarrett actually made his televised in-ring debut during his pre-debut vignettes airing. That was so bizarre. Also bizarre was the outfit that Jarrett had on as this outfit was… well fuzzy. Even his boots have fuzz on them. That’s a bit much. The match isn’t bad but it’s a quick squash. He’s a pretty good heel that will piss people off, which will serve his purpose. Grade: DUD

JT: We are back at it this week, coming at you once again from White Plains, but this time via some pretty aged tape. As we near the end of 1993, there are a lot of feuds brewing and angles cooking and we are steamrolling toward the Royal Rumble. The guest commentator rotation rolls along as Shawn Michaels steps into the booth this week, picking up where Jim Cornette left off a week ago, although with a touch more arrogance. And the show opens with the long awaited debut of a brand new heel: Jeff Jarrett. We are already quite familiar with Jarrett thanks to weeks and weeks of hype vignettes but it was time for him to finally let his wrestling talk for him. Double J strutted his way to the ring and cut a quick promo in the ring as Vince McMahon wondered why Jarrett has failed in Nashville to date if he is as good a singer as he claims to be. Jarrett would finally lock up with PJ Walker as Vince and Michaels remind us that Walker already has one upset win in his pocket this year. Vince then notes that nine men have officially been announced for the Rumble already and Jarrett and Michaels are two of them. Walker got a smattering of offense but it was short-lived as Jarrett really clobbered him from behind and then hammered a way for a bit. Vince continued to discuss the Rumble and confirmed that Lex Luger is still being denied entry due to Jim Cornette’s politicking and the SummerSlam stipulation. Jarrett would eventually nab the win with a DDT, notching the first of what he hopes to be many, many victories. Grade: DUD

*** Vince McMahon plugs the WWF Opinion Poll hotline and asks fans to call up and weigh in on whether or not Lex Luger should be permitted to enter the Royal Rumble match. Ask your parents’ permission first! ***

2) Men on a Mission defeat Barry Hardy & Duane Gill when Mabel pinned Hardy after a splash from the middle rope at 2:47

Scott: This rapping is abysmal. The gimmick is cool and, well, Mabel is the “Candy Girl”. You can tell this show is totally canned and stale as they’re adding extra graphics about Shawn on commentary that they normally don’t do. You can also tell by the sound that Vince and Shawn are in an audio booth and not actually there. They obviously needed to freshen up the match by talking about current events and storylines, as throughout most of this match they’re discussing the upcoming Royal Rumble and the Owen/Bret drama that’s brewing. The match is crap, as is the rapping, but the fans seem to like it. Grade: DUD

JT: Ho ho ho! Men on a Mission are here, sporting Santa Claus hats and bringing Christmas cheer to White Plains… and pain to Barry Hardy and Duane Gill. The crowd was pretty into Oscar’s rap as usual and man I always forget how damn infectious that beat was. This clearly is our holiday episode as we get some decorative graphics flowing in and out during the show. Vince notes that Mabel is a confirmed Rumble entrant and Michaels wonders how he can possibly be eliminated. Michaels also promises he and Diesel won’t go at it if they cross paths in the Rumble as they are much too tight. He and Vince also touch on the Hart Family issues as the match edges along. Mabel and Mo make really quick works of the stalwart jobbers and pick up an easy win after Mabel squashes Hardy off the middle rope. Grade: DUD

*** Todd Pettengil is here with our very first official Royal Rumble Report on Monday Night Raw. We are a shade over four weeks away and the Providence Civic Center is already sold out, so give your cable company a call now to lock yourself in for the show. Todd discusses the following matches:

Undertaker vs. Yokozuna – WWF Championship Casket Match
Razor Ramon vs. IRS – WWF Intercontinental Championship
Royal Rumble: Bret Hart, Owen Hart, Mabel, Shawn Michaels, Diesel, Crush, Kamala, Doink & Scott Steiner

More names to come in the following weeks so keep an eye on these reports and remember the winner of the Rumble match will battle the WWF Champion at WrestleMania X! ***

3) Tatanka defeats Ludvig Borga by disqualification at 4:44

Fun Fact: As you will recall, at the end of October, Borga defeated Tatanka for his first loss in the WWF on TV. He dominated Tatanka and put him out of action for six weeks, causing him to miss Survivor Series. This is their rematch.

Scott: I have to say, watching these Raws, the Hellraiser from Helsinki was a damn good heel. He really got the crowd going with his mannerisms and his clubbing workrate. This is the long awaited rematch from October when Borga ended Tatanka’s undefeated streak. We just had our first Royal Rumble report, which included the first nine guys announced for the Rumble match, as well as the announcement that Razor Ramon will defend the IC Title against IRS. Of course the Yokozuna/Undertaker WWF Title match was already booked. The match was going along until the World Champion Yokozuna comes out and the match ends in a DQ. Except this time Lex Luger comes out to even the odds. He clubs Yokozuna with his forearm and then bodyslams him. There was no doubt at this point that Luger was the guy in line to win the Rumble and beat Yokozuna at WrestleMania for the World Title. Luger was Vince’s guy, but obviously he’s no Hulk Hogan circa 1985. We will see if this is the course that’s stayed. Grade: *1/2

JT: It is the rematch we have been waiting over six weeks for as Tatanka is healed up and looking for revenge one the Finnish bastard Ludvig Borga. Shawn references Shannen Doherty getting booted from Beverly Hills, 90210 so he gets extra points on my scorecard. Tatanka was all fired up and the crowd was excited to see him back in action for this big time rematch. Tatanka started hot, chopping and kicking away on his rival, both in and out of the ring. Outside, Tatanka also shot Borga hard into the post and then shoved him back inside and kept pouring it on, eventually grabbing a near fall on a high cross body. Borga was all out of sorts and completely stunned until he gained his bearing and clobbered Tatanka with a big running body block. Borga started to work on those rehabbed ribs but Tatanka did what he could to fend him off. Borga came back with a nice running splash in the corner but Tatanka shook it right off and kept bringing the fight. Borga sat back and caught his aggressive foe with a good powerslam for two. As Tatanka made another comeback, Yokozuna and Mr. Fuji ambled down the aisle to boos and they immediately got involved as Fuji shoved Tatanka off the top rope and Yoko hopped in the ring to draw the DQ. Tatanka fought Yoko off briefly but the numbers eventually caught up to him and it looked like we had a repeat of Superstars on our hands. However, a moment later Lex Luger charged out to cheers and helped Tatanka run the foreign fanatics from the ring. Well, that was short but man did it have some fun energy behind it. Both guys cut a good pace and the crowd was into it right through the post match brawl. The finish here is fine as Borga can’t take the loss so soon after Survivor Series and Tatanka wasn’t going to lose his comeback bout. Plus it keeps all the irons in the fire for all four men. Grade: *1/2

*** Captain Lou Albano is brought out to the ring and gets a warm reception from the crowd. ***

4) Adam Bomb defeats Mark Thomas with the Atom Smasher at 1:42

Scott: Mark Thomas was actually a pretty jacked up dude, and I’m surprised Vince didn’t take this guy under the company’s wing and turn him into a star. Vince never totally cared about ability, as long as they had incredible physiques. Even in this era where the steroid scandal was going on Vince didn’t totally shy away from the big guys. Vince just said that Thomas is a big Barney fan. Well that pretty much killed that. I was still a big Adam Bomb guy but sadly was not involved in any big time feuds yet. This was a quickie. Grade: DUD

JT: The action continues as Adam Bomb makes his way out for a showcase match against the juiced up Mark Thomas. As he does, Michaels puts over Bomb’s decision to hire the erstwhile Harvey Wippleman as a manager. Lou Albano was still meandering around inside the ring as the match was about to get underway. Get the fuck out of here, Captain. Bomb wastes no time in leveling Thomas, who Vince compares to Barney due to his purple tights. Bomb drops him with a back suplex and polishes him off with the Atom Smasher for the win. Grade: DUD

*** We check out a vignette of a future WWF newcomer, Thurman “Sparky” Plugg. Plugg is also a race car driver and we visit him live on the track, as he promises to rise right to the top when he arrives in the company. ***

*** We then head back two weeks to relive Vince McMahon’s sit down interview with Owen Hart where Owen challenged his brother Bret to a match. A week later, Bret claimed that under no circumstances would he ever wrestle his brother in the ring. ***

5) Owen Hart defeats Mike Bell with the Sharpshooter at 3:01

Scott: It’s good that there are more Owen Hart appearances since Survivor Series, while Vince and Shawn push the storyline with Bret, after the Hitman said on Superstars over the weekend that there will not be a fight between the two of them. Shawn was funny on commentary, saying that Owen got all the coal and no presents while Bret got everything he wanted. Owen got his licks in, and ended with the Sharpshooter. This show is definitely canned because they dump right out of the match the second it ends, instead of lingering with replays and commentary. Grade: *

JT: Hot off of Bret Hart vowing to not wrestle his brother Owen, the Rocket heads to the ring for a bout with Mike Bell. Bell looks like a candy striper with his ridiculous tights on. Vince wonders if the Hart Brothers could cross paths in the Rumble match as Shawn puts over how good Owen has looked as of late. They continue to discuss the storyline as Owen works through his offense and finishes Bell with the Sharpshooter. Owen continues to put the pressure on his brother… will he eventually cave? Grade: DUD

*** We head to the Undertaker’s workshop where he and Paul Bearer are assembling Yokozuna’s double deep, double wide casket in preparation for the Royal Rumble. ***

6) Headshrinkers defeat Jerry Seavey & Phil Apollo when Fatu pinned Seavey with a splash off the top rope at 3:06

Scott: The tag team division is really starting to fill up now as teams are lining up to take on the Quebecers, who have been the champions since September. As I’ve said in the past, Samu & Fatu have turned into the heel version of the Steiners, only sloppier and rougher. These two guys (including Raw icon Phil Apollo) get smacked around for a few minutes before finishing for the pin. Grade: DUD

JT: Our final match of the night takes us to the tag division as the Headshrinkers are set to wreck another pair of poor stiffs. Jerry Seavey looks like he should be hanging around the local dive with Benny Mardones. As the Samoans wrecked shit, Vince prodded Yokozuna and his camp by saying his advisers let him down with the Royal Rumble stipulation. He also discusses the wedding of Donald Trump and Marla Maples, which was actually ongoing as this show was airing. The Headshrinkers picked up the easy win to close things out. At some point these tag teams need to do more than win squash matches as we seemingly have zero feuds ongoing at this time. Grade: DUD

Final Analysis

Scott: This show was quite old, so it’s tough to really give a grade to it. Vince and Shawn had some decent chemistry, even if it was to lay down post-production audio tracks to keep a stale, month-old show relevant. Other than finally seeing the debut of Jeff Jarrett and the long awaited Borga/Tatanka rematch, this show isn’t much. Final Grade: D

JT: Coming at us on Christmas week, this certainly felt like nothing more than a time filler episode of Raw. It had been filmed over three weeks ago and felt very over produced in many aspects of the presentation. I did enjoy Shawn Michaels on commentary as he was pretty subdued but did a nice job pushing along the storylines and putting over all of the heels, including himself of course. The big match was Tatanka vs. Borga and that was pretty fun but was quite short and just existed to further the storylines between Lex Luger and his foreign foes. Outside of that we got some good Rumble hype and a big parade of squashes, and for the second straight week we actually get six matches. Nothing special here and it was definitely an episode that could have been skipped with much being missed. Final Grade: D+