Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Monday Night Raw 4/5/93

*** 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 #11

April 5, 1993 (Taped March 22, 1993)
Manhattan Center
New York, NY
Announcers: Vince McMahon & Randy Savage

Fun Fact: The Monday Night Raw time slot on 3/29/93 was filled by a replay of the March to WrestleMania IX special.

1) Bam Bam Bigelow defeats Virgil with the diving headbutt at 6:59

Scott: Knowing that this show was taped two weeks before WrestleMania, what could the guys sitting behind the guardrail be thinking when Vince had to say that Hulk Hogan was the new WWF Champion after “last night” at WrestleMania? I suppose back then fans weren’t paying attention to that kind of stuff. Or it was post production of course. So this is going to be a very bland in-ring episode of Raw while the filler will be all about the show and what happened. Bigelow got hosed at WrestleMania as his match with Kamala was bumped off the PPV due to time constraints. So he’s taking it out on Virgil, even though…it…hadn’t….happened yet. Ah the magic of television. This match was more competitive than I thought it would be. I felt bad for Virgil, as the “Virgil Sucks” chants were pretty loud. There is no Rob Bartlett on this show, and it’s already the best episode in the short history of Raw. Bigelow drills the head butt and moves on. Grade: **

JT: Well, we are finally here, the night after WrestleMania… for a taped show? Logistically it made sense, as Mania was in las Vegas ad Raw was still filmed in NYC each week, but it certainly doesn’t make for the most exciting product and was a sign that while the company was moving forward, it was still old school in some ways. So, we open our canned show with what is effectively looks to be a competitive squash between Bam Bam Bigelow and Virgil. Vince McMahon and Randy Savage do reference Mania in their stand up open but keep it very vague and quickly move on from the discussion. Once the two are off camera, we get some detail, which of course was likely dubbed in afterwards. Bigelow has continued to develop his heel presence as he slowly works his way up the ladder, picking up victories without really entering any feuds. Virgil got a little offense in early but Bigelow shrugged most of it off as Vince noted that Mr. Fuji and Yokozuna have filed a protest to Jack Tunney about the way the big man lost his title to Hulk Hogan. Bigelow tried a falling headbutt but Virgil dodged it and kept bringing the fight. That ended when Bammer caught a charging Virgil and squashed him with a samoan drop. Bigelow cranked on a rear chinlock as Savage put over Bret Hart to help keep him strong in defeat. Vince also talked about how Lex Luger attacked Hart at the Mania brunch earlier in the day before his defense and how did the same to Mr. Perfect on the PPV, hinting that Tunney may take action there. Bigelow kept wearing on Virgil with submission holds as Vince notes that Rob Bartlett got left behind in Las Vegas after Mania thanks to a tough night in the casino and wonders if he will make it back. Virgil escaped a bear hug and made a swift comeback but couldn’t get Bammer off his feet. He eventually missed a cross body and Bigelow finished him with a urinage and the diving headbutt. There was some spirit here but those submissions dragged on and slowed things up for most of the bout. Virgil gave it a go but Bammer stays hot. Grade: 1/2*

*** Jerry Lawler comes out for his Raw debut but gets aggravated at not being shown respect from the fans as well as their “Burger King” chants and walks to the back instead. ***

2) Bob Backlund defeats Kim Chee with a roll up at 3:58

Scott: So they are pimping the whole Yokozuna/Hulk Hogan mess as in limbo. That somewhat makes sense since this is a taped episode and when they are live next week they can jump further into it. The Bob Backlund fan with the gold t-shirt is pumped as his guy makes his way to the ring. Backlund lost a solid but short match to Razor Ramon at WrestleMania, mostly to put over the younger talent. Backlund will get the win easily here because Steve Lom-… I mean Kim Chee is here to put guys over. Backlund’s roll up is impressive and the crowd is still pretty hot for the former WWF Champion. Grade: *1/2

JT: With Kamala gone rogue, Kim Chee is still hanging around now as a JTTS, a fine role for a man of his stature. As Bob Backlund heads out, Vince wonders what Tunney will do about the World Title situation, wondering if the match may be considered non-sanctioned and unofficial. Backlund has been on Raw quite a bit thus far but is coming off a tough loss to Razor Ramon in Vegas. Backlund avoided Kim Chee’s attacks and tripped him up, eventually sending him scurrying to the floor. The wily Chee grabbed Bob’s leg from the floor and worked him over back inside, slamming him to the mat and then catching him with a back elbow. Chee’s gear looks so uncomfortable to wrestle in. He worked a quick chinlock on Backlund, stomping away at him in between turns with the hold. Backlund wriggled free and blocked a monkey flip attempt by just sitting on Chee and bridging back for the win. That was a funny finish to a throwaway match that solely existed so we could hear more about Mania. Grade: DUD

3) Damien Demento defeats Jim Brunzell with a jumping kneedrop at 5:07

Scott: This match is simply to have that moron Rob Bartlett on the phone, apparently stuck in Vegas because he has no money. Even Vince is pretending that he can’t hear him as that dope is begging for more money. Leave him there, he can perform at the Stardust or the Sahara. I forgot Jim Brunzell was still in the WWF and I also didn’t believe that Demento had this many matches on Raw. I thought he lost to Undertaker on the debut episode and we never saw him again. The match actually wasn’t too bad, as Demento did the usual heel stomping but Brunzell making some great comebacks, until Demento wins with a simple, bland knee drop. Grade: *1/2

JT: We are really circling the drain now as Jim Brunzell is let out of his cry-chamber to battle the erstwhile Damien Demento, a man on the highway to nowhere. It is amazing that they are rolling this match out there the night after the biggest show of the year. As they fire things up, Rob Bartlett calls in from Vegas to let the boys know he is out of money and stranded in Vegas. I am surprised they didn’t utilize Brunzell more and give him a mini push before jobbing him to the bigger names but I guess he had too much baggage at this point. Demento pretty much mauled him as Vince and Savage ran through more Mania talk while also pimping the encore presentation. Demento poured it on while the crowd flattened out and the announcers kept questioning Tunney’s potential actions regarding Yoko and Hulk. Brunzell came back with some strikes and an atomic drop before cracking Damien with his vintage dropkick for two. Demento survived that flurry and picked up the win with… a knee drop. About as exciting as you would imagine and this only notches a grade because of Brunzell’s sweet, sweet dropkick. Grade: 1/2*

*** Jerry Lawler returns but again is annoyed by the fans and leaves instead of wrestling. ***

4) Steiner Brothers defeat Beverly Brothers when Scott pinned Blake with a Frankensteiner at 10:56

Fun Fact: The Steiner Brothers had officially challenged Money, Inc to a WWF Tag Team Title shot following their win at WrestleMania IX.

Scott: Rick and Scott pulled a Hart Foundation in 1990, and announced they want to face the winner of the WrestleMania IX title match for a shot at the tag straps. That of course is Money, Inc, which makes sense of course. At this point the Steiners need to take over as the to babyface tag team in the promotion. The Beverlys were a solid heel team during the transition from Federation Era to New Generation Era, and that would make this match solid right on paper. The crowd somewhat lost their sizzle during this match, probably because it was the second show of the day and later in the second show to boot. I thought after the Steinerline the match was over but the Beverlys broke up the pin, then Scott hit the Frankensteiner and there is the victory. Really not a bad match but the crowd is somewhat gassed and took out some of the juice. They are ready for the titles. Grade: **

JT: Alright, finally a match we can get into here. The show hasn’t been a total loss because the commentary has been focused and fired up breaking down the events of Mania. In the ring is a much different story. The Steiners knocked off the Headshrinkers in Vegas but enter here for a rematch of their Royal Rumble tilt. Vince notes that the Steiners have officially challenged Money, Inc for a tag title match. Scott and Beau opened things up with Scott winning a wristlock battle and taking Beverly hard to the mat. After Beau begged off, Scott regain control with a side headlock but Beau blocked a hip toss and yanked Scotty hard to the mat. Scott recovered and tagged in Rick as Beau bailed and swapped with his brother. Blake landed some kicks and hit a nice powerslam but Rick rebounded and hit a powerslam of his own. Scott would come in and send Blake flying with a belly-to-belly toss but Beau made a tag and the Beverlys double teamed their way into control. Beau picked up a near fall with a backbreaker and worked Scott’s back over through a break and the brothers kept cheating where they could to keep Scott in peril. Scott finally was able to block a suplex and hit one of his own before punching his way through Beau and planting him with a nearly disastrous tilt-a-whirl suplex. After a tag, Rick mauled both Beverlys until Scott tagged himself back in and things broke down. A moment later, Scott hit a vicious Frankensteiner on Blake for the win. That was executed well but was nasty Blake landed right on top of his head. This wasn’t as fun as their Rumble match but had some glimmers here and there before a hot little finish. Grade: *1/2

5) Jerry Lawler defeats Jim Powers with a piledriver at 6:16

Scott: So after coming out twice earlier in the show and then ducking back into the back as punishment for the “BURGER KING” chants, Jim Powers decides to force Jerry Lawler into the match and wrestle. Powers doesn’t have that beefy look that he had in the 1980s, but he obviously was told to cycle off the juice if he wanted to stay in the company. Boy when you see him a few years later in WCW that completely changes as he is gassed out of his gourd. The match is entertaining (for Lawler standards) and he hits the piledriver for the victory. After the match Lawler calls out Randy Savage from the broadcast table. Not much more comes from that. Grade: *1/2

JT: After a pair of teases, we finally get Jerry Lawler’s in ring Raw debut against long time mid carder Jim Powers. I guess this really is throwback night with him and Brunzell doing some work. Powers doesn’t give Lawler a chance to change his mind this time as he hops out of the ring and decks him in the face at ringside. Powers ran him into the ring post and pitched the King inside where he kept bringing the fight right at him, showing some nice fire as he did so. The crowd kept riding Lawler as he tried to slow Powers down and get his feet under him. Powers worked out of a headlock, hit a hip toss and a slam that sent the King scurrying. Lawler was all out of sorts as he went to the floor to bitch at Savage and Powers was oozing with confidence. The tide finally turned when Powers whiffed on a dropkick and crashed hard to the mat. Lawler slowly picked apart and peppered Powers while also running his mouth at Savage some more. Powers made a comeback and got a decent amount of offense in until he got caught with his head down and squished with a piledriver to take the loss. This was fine with the usual King stalling and preening and Powers showed some feistiness as well in there. Him and Brunzell should have teamed up and had a little run in the tag division, could have been fun. Lawler keeps calling out Savage as things wrap up. Grade: *

Final Analysis

Scott: This was an evergreen episode wrapped around late edits for post-WrestleMania discussion. No Hulk Hogan, Yokozuna, Bret Hart, Undertaker or any of the big players from Las Vegas. The matches weren’t terrible and without that tool Bartlett the commentary seemed fresh and exciting with just Vince and Savage. The showcase talent here is the Steiners, who are clearly being positioned as the top babyface team and are ready to take the straps from Money, Inc. There’s really not much more to say here, other than it’s time to go live next week and see the next stage of feuds and WrestleMania fallout. Grade: C-

JT: This was a very rough installment of Raw with zero angle development and a handful of blasé matches that accomplished very little and entertained even less. The crowd was tired and flat and the bouts were littered with jobbers. Odd choices. The commentary was the highlight as they really pushed the key results and storylines that came out of Mania but it wasn’t enough to carry this one. Hopefully we get back to being live and filter in some excitement next week because this episode was a slog. Final Grade D+