Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Monday Night Raw 3/15/93

*** 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 #9

March 15, 1993
Mid-Hudson Civic Center
Poughkeepsie, NY
Announcers: Gorilla Monsoon, Bobby Heenan & Rob Bartlett

Fun Fact: The Storm of the Century…that is the name given to the blizzard of 1993 that hit the east coast of the US during mid March. The storm wreaked havoc up and down the Atlantic coast states as it moved from the Gulf of Mexico up to New England, bringing inches, and in some cases feet, of snow with it. Even areas as far south as Cuba felt the impact of the storm where winds topped 100 mph.

This the backdrop for this episode of Raw. Due to the blizzard in New York City, the show was moved for the first time away from the Manhattan Center to Poughkeepsie. The original show was supposed to include Bret Hart vs. Lex Luger, Randy Savage vs. Giant Gonzalez, and Bob Backlund vs. Razor Ramon. Many wrestlers could not make it to the show due to the storm. Those who could make it were thrust into action in this very make-shift card.

1) Razor Ramon defeats Ross Greenberg with the Razor’s Edge at 3:08

Scott: We are in a new venue for the first time in RAW history as a big blizzard really mucked the plans up for everything. Vince McMahon and Randy Savage are in Manhattan for a charity benefit where Vince is getting an award. So it’s old Prime Time partners Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan back together with Rob Bartlett impersonating Vince McMahon. Gorilla is already annoyed by it. So am I, Gorilla, since the show debuted. Razor hasn’t actually been on much since losing to Bret Hart at the Royal Rumble. He won the battle royal a couple weeks ago on a technicality. Now he’s punishing this poor stiff. It’s been announced that Razor will face Bob Backlund at WrestleMania. I wonder why that combo was booked. It always seemed very strange. The Poughkeepsie crowd is hot, and it’s nice to be somewhere else besides the Manhattan Center. Big squash. Grade: *

JT: Well we are live this week but the show is coming to viewers under some very unique circumstances. There was a major blizzard in the Northeast and it prevented from many being able to travel, leaving the company with a skeleton crew to run the show. We see it almost immediately with the commentary team as Vince McMahon misses his first Raw with Gorilla Monsoon stepping in. Bobby Heenan is in for Macho Man but Rob Bartlett, doing a Vince McMahon parody, was able to make the commute up to Poughkeepsie. And speaking of… it is also our first Raw outside the Manhattan Center, which also makes this one stand out. Our opening bout is a showcase for Razor Ramon as he preps to square off with Bob Backlund at WrestleMania. Razor went right at Greenberg, slapping him around and chucking him across the ring. Bartlett has the Vince deal down OK but it got old pretty quickly here. Ramon would hit the fallaway slam and hook in an abdominal stretch before dropping Greenberg with a chokeslam, a back superplex and then picking up the win with the Razor’s Edge. Ramon has some fun squash offense that the crowd loved and he just wrecked Greenberg here. Besides Bartlett’s shtick, Gorilla and Bobby did a nice job setting up Ramon’s Mania tilt. Grade: 1/2*

2) Typhoon defeats LA Gore with a splash at 2:57

Scott: LA Gore looks like a bloated Van Hammer. It’s evident Gorilla is out of his element here, as all the campy humor is not his cup of tea and he just wants to broadcast wrestling. Gorilla seems like one of those guys who thinks someone like Bartlett is mocking his business that he’s worked for years protecting. Typhoon laid down for Doink a few weeks ago, but here he’s making quick work of this goof with the Hogan handlebar mustache. Easy squash. Grade: ½ *

JT: Typhoon is quickly becoming a Raw regular over the last few weeks but seeing him in a squash is a bit odd and I would assume it was storm related. Gorilla kept talking about a Michael Landon Awards Banquet that was going down in NYC and promises we will get clips after. Bobby also makes a funny Leslie Gore joke in relation to LA here. Typhoon overpowered Gore and easily swatted off any minimal offense LA got in. After a cool little suplex and powerslam, Typhoon eventually got the win with a splash. Typhoon actually varied his offense a bit here, believe or not. You do you, Typhoon. Grade: DUD

*** Bobby Heenan interviews Harvey Wippleman and Giant Gonzalez in the ring. They run down Undertaker and hype Gonzalez as a true threat to him at WrestleMania. Heenan notes that Undertaker has vowed to put Gonzalez in the largest coffin ever. Wippleman laughs that off and warns Undertaker that he will be the one stuffed in the coffin next to Paul Bearer. Gonzalez actually talks and says he has a giant surprise for Undertaker. *** 

3) Bob Backlund defeats Papa Shango with an inside cradle at 6:58

Scott: Gorilla is ready to punch Bartlett in the face at this point in the show. At least with Backlund Gorilla is in his wheelhouse from the 1980s. Bobby has been pretty solid in the color commentary role but his and Gorilla’s chemistry is being ruined by Bartlett’s nonsense. Shango (or Charles Wright) was working in the USWA in Memphis at the same time, feuding for that promotion’s championship. We saw Backlund’s opponent for WrestleMania earlier in the show, which means it feels like they are promoting other parts of the WrestleMania card that have been largely ignored. A fun match that ended with a Backlund roll-up out of nowhere for the victory. Gorilla is ready to snap at Bartlett. Grade: **

JT: One of our two feature matches is up next as we get treated to Papa Shango for a second straight week. His opponent is Bob Backlund, who is also looking to notch a key win like his Mania opponent did earlier. The crowd is digging on Bob as he comes in but Heenan goes right to the Opie jokes. Gorilla was at wits end with Bartlett by this point as he was going further off the rails. Backlund frustrated Shango early on and started to work the arm but Papa turned the tide when he turned a charge into a backbreaker. Shango mauled Backlund in the corner and then shoved him outside where he rammed him hard into the edge of the ring apron. Back inside, Shango went to a chinlock while also continuing to work the lower back. Bartlett hit the funniest part of his bit here when he plugged Matrix on USA, coming up next. Even Gorilla liked that one after telling him to shut up a few minutes earlier. Shango trudged along and was in full control but things changed in a blink when Backlund caught him coming in and hooked an inside cradle for the surprise pinfall. I liked that finish a lot as it showed that Backlund is always dangerous regardless of the size of his opponent, a nice setup for Mania. The match itself was better than expected but was worked at a pretty slow pace. Papa focused nicely on the lower back and Backlund’s selling was solid as well. Grade: *1/2

*** Gene Okerlund brings us the WrestleMania IX Report with the following matches discussed:

Bret Hart vs. Yokozuna – WWF Heavyweight Title
MegaManiacs vs. Money, Inc – WWF Tag Team Titles
Undertaker vs. Giant Gonzalez
Mr. Perfect vs. Lex Luger

Gene also announces that the show will officially be the world’s largest toga party as everyone working the show will be decked out accordingly. Call your local cable company… right now! ***

4) Nasty Boys and Headshrinkers wrestled to a double countout at 8:26

Fun Fact: This will be the last that we see of the Nasty Boys on MNR. In April, shortly after a tour of Europe, the team was suspended and subsequently released from the company. During the summer they would reappear in WCW and would be pushed as a top tag team.

Scott: This should be a fun mess with four guys who aren’t exactly technical whizbangs. Gorilla definitely can’t wait for this show to be over. He can’t get a word in edge-wise on anything, even simple commentating and play by play. What sucks is this is going to be a very entertaining match and the commentating will be unbelievably brutal. Both teams do go all out for the quick time they’re in, and eventually they brawl out onto the floor until everyone is counted out. They start hitting each other with concessions and popcorn and other amenities. It was a fun last match of the show, and the raucous Poughkeepsie crowd helped it. Grade: **

JT: Main event time now and it looks like we will be set up for a hard hitting brawl between two wild tag teams. Knobbs and Sags set the tone early by planting big kisses on a Rosati sister as they entered the ring. The crowd fired up a loud “Nasty” chant as Knobbs and Samu opened things up. Samu got the first lick in but Knobbs came firing out with some clotheslines and tagged out to Sags. Gorilla notes that the Nasties actually stepped aside from a Mania tag title bout so the MegaManiacs could step in for revenge. How kind. Sags grabbed a near fall on Fatu as he and Knobbs tagged in and out and double teamed a bit. Sags would work the arm of Fatu as the crowd kept cheering them on. Fatu landed a couple of right hands but Sags had no part of it and kept plugging away. Gorilla is so great at the little details as he mentions that Afa is missing tonight and that the Shrinkers seem a bit lost without him. The tide turned when Samu clubbed Sags from behind and a double team attack further put the Nasty One into a deep hole. The Samoans stayed tightly on Sags, hammering him both in and out of the ring. Samu would go for the kill with a top rope headbutt but Sags rolled away and Samu came up empty. Knobbs came in hot and wrecked both Samons with a series of clotheslines and a double DDT. The match would spill outside where all four brawled manically down the aisle and over to a very random concession area that was set up next to the entrance. The wild food fight was pretty fun and a good way to end a very odd night and send the crowd home buzzing. Sags bashing Samu with a chair while he was doused with mustard is a pretty cool little spot. That concession area was so staged but whatever it worked. The match had some fun little energy to it and the crowd loved it. The finish made sense too given the teams and circumstances. I enjoyed it overall quite a bit and it is a fitting farewell for the Nasties, bringing an end to a pretty successful WWF run. Grade: **

*** The show ends with a video package highlighting all of the charity work the WWF does. ***

Final Analysis

Scott: As the build to WrestleMania continues, we finally get some shine on the Undertaker/Giant Gonzalez match with a live interview from Harvey and his charge. Still no Undertaker on camera for a bit but that’s fine; his character lends to that type of mysteriousness. Unlike the MegaManiacs, who should be on every week. If Hulk Hogan is here he needs to promote this match constantly. Overall this show is kind of a disjointed mess with the change in venue (which helped the show as the Poughkeepsie crowd is pretty jacked) to the mish-mosh of announcing. We clearly aren’t in Gorilla’s wheelhouse any longer as the humor and Bartlett in particular isn’t his cup of tea. I liked the episode, even with all the production snafus. Final Grade: B-

JT: Well, they tried. It was some harrowing circumstances here with a giant blizzard messing up the planned show but they got it done and entertained a pretty fired up crowd. I enjoyed the variance in the booth as well. Gorilla and Bobby were locked in as always and Bartlett was fine at times as his Vince impression is funnier than most of his attempts at comedy. We got some good Mania hype blended in as well as the matches just acted as a pure backdrop this week due to the reshuffling, so from that perspective it was successful. The charity puff piece to close things out and Gorilla constantly mentioning the Landon ceremony was overkill though. We get it, you donated money to cover for the steroid issues. Overall, not a very good episode but everyone busted it to deliver best they could and they at least got lots of Mania prep in where they could. Final Grade: C-