Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Monday Night Raw 1/25/93

*** 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 #3

January 25, 1993 (Taped January 18, 1993)
Manhattan Center
New York, NY
Announcers: Vince McMahon, Bobby Heenan & Rob Bartlett

1) Randy Savage defeats Repo Man with the flying elbow at 12:00

Fun Fact: Last week on Raw (1/18/93), the Repo Man jumped Randy Savage at the very beginning of the show, stealing Macho Man’s hat. This act of thievery leads to this match.

Scott: This goes back to last week when Repo Man stole Randy Savage’s cowboy hat after attacking him. It’s evident the third episode of the show is taped, for there is only one random reference to the Royal Rumble the night before in the early going. Vince starts mentioning yesterday’s PPV, but he says “the WWF Champion”, instead of actually saying Bret Hart, who of course defeated Razor Ramon. Well now as I’m listening Vince is actually mentioning that Yokozuna won the Rumble. The show still feels a bit dated, but at the same time we know that there won’t be any interviews from anybody live pertaining to the Rumble results because the crowd can’t be tipped on anything since it’s recorded from the week before. Another match ruined by Rob Bartlett’s nonsense, and I think Vince is finally realizing that this was a bad idea. Sadly Bartlett doesn’t totally vanish. Savage jumped Repo early and there was a lot of posturing and moving around but Repo settled in with things like body scissors. You can tell the crowd is watching a second show because they’re not as pumped up as they were last week. Savage makes the big comeback to win the match. It was a fun sprint but the announcing is still lacking. Grade: **

JT: Last week our episode opened with Repo Man randomly attacking Randy Savage and stealing his cowboy hat. After a cat and mouse chase through the streets of New York City, it was revealed that Savage would get his chance at revenge in the ring here tonight. With Savage in action, Bobby Heenan is in the Raw booth for the first time, calling the action alongside Vince McMahon and Rob Bartlett. We are also one night after the Royal Rumble and get updates throughout the show. I love how Repo pulled up to the building in a tow truck and he even gets promo time, which makes me wonder what spurred this sudden push after a year of pure job duty. Savage was really fired up, jumping Repo during his entrance and working him over at a frantic pace in and out of the ring. Repo tried to buy some time by tossing Savage outside, but Macho sprinted back into the ring and drove a knee into his back. Savage was relentless as Bartlett kept making fun of his hair despite cheering him on. Repo was able to run Savage into the steps to turn the tide as Vince mentioned Yokozuna winning the Royal Rumble and Bobby pushed tonight’s huge main event. Back inside, Repo hooked in a body scissors, slowing the match way down until Macho wriggled free and came back with some uppercuts. Repo fended him off and went back to the body scissors as Bobby and Bartlett took some jabs at each other. Repo landed a big clothesline and stalked Savage as his beer gut sloped down through his increasingly snug tights. He was clearly quite winded too as he slowly moved around the ring while alternating submission holds. Savage finally came back with a clothesline and slam before putting Repo to bed with the flying elbow. The match started hot and finished strong but that middle stretch was rough as Repo lumbered around and sucked wind. Savage pitched Repo out and celebrated his big win, his first on Raw. Grade: *1/2

2) Kamala defeats Brooklyn Brawler with a splash at 3:32

Scott: The WWF is trying this babyface push for Kamala, perhaps to get a big spot or maybe some sort of goofy gimmick reboot. More awful Rob Bartlett jokes ruin the enjoyment of the match as this is a glorified squash. Bobby Heenan is funny as he talks about Brawler as if he never really knew him, even though he managed him four years earlier. Kamala gets the win in quick order. Grade: DUD

JT: The recently turned face Kamala is up next for a quick squash with the Brooklyn Brawler, who of course usually portrayed his former handler Kim Chee. Bartlett made me chuckle when he said “Hey look, it’s Nell Carter” to which Vince dryly responded “No, it’s not”. Brawler attacked off the bell but Kamala swatted him off and slammed him hard to the mat. Heenan notes how Kamala has recovered after being stuffed in the coffin back at Survivor Series. After working Brawler over some more and playing to the crowd a bit, he finally finished him off with a side kick and a big splash for the win. After the bell, Slick talks to McMahon to put over Kamala’s love for his fans. Nothing to see here, just a chance to remind us that Kamala is a friendly monster now, one with a Reverend in his corner. Grade: DUD

*** Gene Okerlund is on the scene to recap the Royal Rumble, informing us that Bret Hart retained the WWF Championship and Yokozuna won the Rumble match, tentatively setting up our WrestleMania main event in Las Vegas. He also notes that Bobby Heenan revealed his Narcissist Lex Luger and mentions the debut of Giant Gonzalez, who debuted and brutally assaulted the Undertaker. ***

3) Mr. Perfect defeats Ric Flair in a Loser Leaves Town match with the Perfectplex at 23:00

Fun Fact: We bid farewell to the Nature Boy following this match to end his first run in the WWF. Flair would return to WCW in February, but would not be able to wrestle immediately due to the non-compete clause in his WWF contract. He would host a talk show, A Flair for the Gold, until he was able to wrestle again. We will see Flair again, but not until the Monday Night War concludes, WCW is purchased and the Invasion is complete in November 2001.

Scott: We know this will finish the show off, because we won’t see one of these guys in the company after tonight. We anticipate that it will be Flair leaving, but you never know. We also know that they never wrestled one-on-one so the quality will indeed be off the charts. The story telling was off the charts as Perfect was ready for war, whereas Flair continues to be skittish and consults with Heenan constantly. It was also obvious that Flair was leaving because Bobby didn’t have that same kind of drama and energy involving Flair that he did one year earlier when Flair won the Royal Rumble to become WWF Champion. Flair was cheating like crazy and we even got some blood from Perfect. Perfect deals with Flair’s constant cheating and Flair fights like a desperate man clinging to whatever he has left in his WWF career. Finally after close to twenty minutes of fantastic wrestling, Perfect gets the victory, and yes Ric Flair’s WWF career is over. It seemed like just yesterday that he was mentioned by Bobby Heenan at SummerSlam 1991, and when he walked on the red carpet on that historic episode of Prime Time Wrestling. That Royal Rumble 1992 victory is still an iconic moment in WWF history. Some feel he never totally fit in with the Federation Era way of doing things, but he fit like a glove the minute he walked into Titan Towers. By early-1993 he was going to be pushed down the ladder. Thus, per the handshake deal with Vince when he arrived, he walked out to go back to WCW where he would immediately be pushed again as a main eventer. After clearing out all the meatheads in late-1992 Vince needed to push the smaller, younger workers. As for Perfect this proves that his 1992 hiatus was smart because he’s back in the mix and wrestling better than he was since he was in the AWA six years earlier. This would be Raw’s landmark match for the first 18 months of the show’s history. Grade: ****

JT: And with that, it is time for the biggest match in Raw history to date. Mr. Perfect vs. Ric Flair, loser leaves the WWF. For those even remotely in the know, this one was a pretty foregone conclusion. But, even with that knowledge, there was still angst in place for fans of Perfect, who had missed a whole year due to a back injury, so it wasn’t totally out of the question that he had to head into retirement. This feud has been burning hot since Survivor Series and the most recent skirmish came the day prior when Perfect eliminated Flair from the Rumble. Perfect was really over as has been evidenced over the past two weeks and he looked primed and ready to go here. Things were a bit slow early as both men took their time due to the enormous stakes in place. As Flair bailed to the floor to regroup, Heenan came over and met him to confer for a moment. Back inside, Perfect went to a hammerlock followed by both men trading rattling chops to the chest. The match reset but Perfect was all over Flair again, peppering in chops and right hands, basically playing around with the Nature Boy. Flair would finally go to the eyes and actually teased using a chair but the referee broke that up as we went to break. When the show returned, Flair was working over Perfect with kicks before slinging him hard into the corner, leading to Perfect flipping right out to the floor, smacking the post on the way over. The now bloodied Perfect would slide back in but Flair started to work over the rehabbed lower back, taking his time as he picked his former consultant apart. Perfect made a comeback and was able to work his way into a backslide for a near fall. Perfect heated back up, stalking Flair and pummeling him with right hands. He followed up with a big suplex for a close near fall as Heenan started to really fret on commentary. Flair hooked on a desperation sleeper but Perfect stayed alive, breaking the hold by running Flair into the buckle hard. Both men were wiped out as the match wore along, neither wanting to make the big mistake of the match. Flair struck next, locking in the figure four. Perfect forced the break but Flair kept bringing the fight to him. He then made the same mistake he always makes: he went to the top rope. Of course, Perfect caught him and slammed him off but Flair still had one trick left as he pulled his trusty brass knuckles out of his kneepad and pasted Perfect with it. Perfect kicked out of the cover but Flair stayed cool, jabbing away at Perfect’s open cut but Perfect eventually stiffened and the adrenaline kicked in. Unwilling to give in, Perfect went right at Flair, mowing him down with a right hand and a clothesline. Flair tried to cheat one last time, rolling Perfect up and putting his feet on the ropes, but a moment later he got caught with his head down and had his WWF career ended with a Perfectplex. Heenan melted down at ringside as Perfect celebrated his monumental win. It has been a hell of a run for Flair but it was time for him to head home. This was a marquee win for Perfect as a face, solidifying his position as a key player in 1993. The match was really good and clocked in at over twenty minutes with good back and forth and only a few sluggish spots. The closing sequence was really good as both men emptied their tanks heading into the finish. This is easily the best Raw match to date and we will see how long that holds up. Grade: ***1/2

*** Vince McMahon lets us know that Ric Flair must honor his commitments through the weekend and that Typhoon will wrestle Doink the Clown next week. ***

Final Analysis

Scott: I remembered wondering if this Raw felt canned since it was taped the week before the Royal Rumble but aired after the Royal Rumble. At first it did feel canned, but then as the show progressed Vince did mention the Rumble (albeit in generalities) but then the pre-recorded Rumble report by Mean Gene (without highlights or still shots) helped fill the gaps. The Flair/Perfect match is one of the best in Raw history and will forever be remembered as Flair’s WWF swan song. He leaves for almost a decade, while Perfect helps galvanize a fresh and young roster as the company enters unfamiliar waters. Final Grade: B-

JT: Our third episode is a real solid one, mainly thanks to the really good main event eating up a good 25 minutes of the show. Having that match on Raw instead of PPV immediately showed that they had big plans for their new showcase program and ensured there would be a legacy of important moments and matches woven into it. The opener was fine and a nice chance to see Macho Man in action and the only other match was a quick squash with neither being enough to carry the show down in any way. Bobby Heenan was sharp in the booth and it was shrewd to have him in there for Flair’s final match. Even Bartlett wasn’t as bad this time around, plus he barely spoke during the entire Loser Leaves WWF match, which helped as well. Raw continues to roll along as we officially hop on the Road to WrestleMania. Final Grade: B