Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Monday Night Raw 5/17/93

*** 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 #17

May 17, 1993
Manhattan Center
New York, NY
Announcers: Vince McMahon, Randy Savage & Bobby Heenan

*** After we footage from the big brawl between Shawn Michaels and Mr. Perfect last week, Lord Alfred Hayes joins us from the street and tells us that we are in for a big surprise later tonight, one that we won’t believe. ***

1) Smoking Gunns defeat Tony Vadja & Glenn Ruth when Bart pinned Ruth after a backdrop into a piledriver at 3:42

Fun Fact: The cowboy team of the Smoking Gunns are made up of the kayfabe brothers Billy Gunn (Monty Sopp) and Bart Gunn (Mike Polchlopek). The duo got their start in the International Wrestling Federation and won the IWF tag team championships twice. They signed on with the WWF in April 1993 and make their MNR debut tonight.

Scott: After weeks of vignettes we finally see the debut of the new babyface tag team on the block. Billy & Bart Gunn bring a breath of fresh air to the tag team division to go along with the Steiners to counter Money, Inc. and the Headshrinkers. The match is indeed a big squash and starts the show off on a good note as the new team on the block gets a win, adding another challenge to the plate of the Tag Team Champions. Grade: *

JT: For the second straight week we are back live in the Manhattan Center and open the show with the Raw debut of the Smoking Gunns, a team that we have seen vignettes for over the past few weeks. The Gunns certainly had a unique look and the tag division needed depth, so they have a big opportunity to catch a push right out of the gate. On top of the debut, our commentary team runs down tonight’s card and the show is pretty loaded up and hyped, perhaps the most since Hulk Hogan’s return. Bart and Vadja stared things off and ol’ Tony may be one of the worst looking jobbers I have ever seen, top to bottom. The Gunns took turns showing off their offense, both solo and double teams, before polishing off Ruth with a nice little backdrop/piledriver combo that nearly had a very ugly ending for Glenn.. Good start for the Gunns and they presented a fairly unique moveset to go with their well defined gimmick. Grade: DUD

*** Vince McMahon heads to the ring to interview Shawn Michaels. Michaels talks about he delivered on all of his promises, including surviving the lumberjack match last week. He then talks about how he is better than Mr. Perfect and how he took his best shot and still stands tall with the gold. Michaels follows that up by saying he fears no man anywhere, any place any time. And with that, a guy hopped in the ring with a hood over his head before revealing himself to be Marty Jannetty. Jannetty feeds Michaels’ lines right back to him and asks him to stand by his words and defend the belt here tonight against his former partner. McMahon joined in the goading and Jannetty reassures his old friend that he had his gear in the back. Michaels eventually was forced into the match and all of a sudden a big show got much bigger. ***

2) The Kid defeats Razor Ramon with a moonsault at 2:12

Scott: So after two weeks of changing his name and losing big to some top quality talent, the *INSERT NAME HERE* Kid takes on the brash and overly talented Razor Ramon. Ramon toys with the Kid and smacks him around and even hits his fallaway slam. Razor charges the corner but the Kid ducks out of the way and Razor hits the post. Razor is dazed and Kid goes to the top rope to hit a somersault splash and then goes for the pin. There’s the 1…2…3? Wait, did the referee actually count three? Was that a mistake? Well actually no, the Lightning Kid actually won the match! What was that all about? Razor is beside himself and the Kid’s career is made. Bobby is flipping out and saying the three count was fast. This begins the slow turn for Razor to the babyface side. Grade: **

JT: The Kid is back again this week and has decided to just go with his surname this time around. He also faces perhaps his toughest challenge in the red hot Razor Ramon, a guy that seemingly hasn’t lost since the Royal Rumble. Ramon was quite overconfident here and watching it unfold you can tell that something was building with Kid as the announcers have discussed him quite a bit throughout the show to this point. Ramon toyed with Kid, who tried to find an opening but seemed destined for another loss, for a couple of minutes until the youngest dodged a charge, leapt to the top rope and hit a moonsault for the massive upset win. The crowd and announcers went bonkers as Ramon flipped out and Kid fled. This was a fantastic and memorable moment, one of the greatest in the history of the show. The question now is whether or not Kid will be pushed or if this was just a one off fluke. Grade: ***

3) Tatanka defeats Scott Taylor with the Papoose to Go at 3:44

Scott: There’s nothing really to say here, as Tatanka’s undefeated streak continues. It’s also announced on the KOTR Report that Tatanka will face Lex Luger in the first round of the tournament on June 13. Would the streak be broken there? It still bothers me that he never got a IC Title shot after the DQ win at WrestleMania. Grade: *

JT: Well, that match was a real tough act to follow but using Tatanka here was a good choice as he is always fairly over. He starts by mowing Taylor down with a clothesline and then went to work from there before picking up the win with the Papoose. Tatanka has been a real Raw workhorse and is an underrated squash worker with some rough offense. With not much else going on, Tatanka is just prepping himself for the upcoming KOTR tournament. Grade: 1/2*

*** Gene Okerlund is back with this week’s King of the Ring report and here are the announced matches:

Hulk Hogan vs. Yokozuna – WWF Heavyweight Title
Bret Hart vs. Razor Ramon – KOTR First Round Match
Jim Duggan vs. Bam Bam Bigelow – KOTR First Round Match
Tatanka vs. Lex Luger – KOTR First Round Match

Qualifying Matches this weekend:
Shawn Michaels vs. Crush
Kamala vs. Mr. Hughes

It is not too early to call and order, so do it…now! ***

4) Yokozuna defeats Kamala with the Banzai Drop at 3:41

Scott: Wow there’s a lot of beef in that ring. Vince says that WWF Champion Hulk Hogan is watching at home keeping an eye on his opponent at the King of the Ring. What would be nice is if he actually SHOWED UP ON A RAW! We haven’t seen Hogan on a television screen since winning the belt at WrestleMania and on Raw since early March. This is utterly ridiculous that the WWF Champion doesn’t bother to come live on Raw to promote his rematch or to even entertain the fans. The beef flows and as expected Yokozuna wins the match. Perhaps this is a way to get fans accustomed to seeing Yokozuna because he COULD be WWF Champion again. Grade: DUD

JT: The hits just keep on coming as Yokozuna is back this week and he has a pretty stiff challenge in Kamala, who brings a decent amount of beef to the ring himself. Despite his big hiccup at the end of WrestleMania, Yoko has been pretty much unbeatable and Bobby Heenan even notes that he has never been body slammed either, setting up a storyline point for KOTR. Randy Savage then wonders about how much heat Jack Tunney is taking for naming Bret Hart the top seed at KOTR and not forcing him to qualify for the big tournament. After some early machinations, we get a really cool spot where the two beats charge and slam into each other in the middle of the ring. Kamala came firing out of that with some big chops to the head but Yoko cut him down and shoved him to the mat. Heenan would note that Mr. Fuji claimed Yoko would be even bigger by KOTR while McMahon mentioned that Hogan is going the other way and… ahem… slimming down for the big match. Kamala made a last gasp comeback attempt but Fuji tripped him up from the floor, allowing Yoko to kick him in the face and then squash him in the corner before hitting the Banzai Drop for the win. They booked this well, keeping it short, giving Kamala a couple of hope spots but giving Yoko the dominant victory over a name talent. Yoko certainly seems to be getting setup to regain that gold but time shall tell. Grade: 1/2*

5) Marty Jannetty defeats Shawn Michaels to win WWF Intercontinental Title with an inside cradle at 10:57

Fun Fact: Marty Jannetty makes his return to the WWF after being released following the 1993 Royal Rumble. Following the match, rumors began spreading that Janetty had been under the influence of alcohol during the match, a claim that Jannetty denies to this day. He claims that Shawn Michaels started the rumor.

Scott: For the third straight week, Shawn Michaels (unlike Hulk Hogan) is on Raw defending his Intercontinental Championship. After a two-match battle with Jim Duggan, he takes on his former Rockers partner, who we haven’t seen since Michaels beat him back at the Royal Rumble. I’m gaining a lot of respect for Shawn during this six week stretch after WrestleMania to pick up the load for the champions since the WORLD CHAMPION doesn’t bother to show up. The match has a breakneck pace from the very beginning, and as expected Shawn tries to grab his belt and bug out of the whole thing, when in walks Mr. Perfect who gets him back into the ring and the match continues. Even for a contained television time, this was a superb match, better than their affair at the Royal Rumble. The tension is building that perhaps Marty could grab that brass ring. Sure enough Marty rolls Shawn up and with Perfect getting involved from outside the ring we have a new Intercontinental Champion. I still wish this was Tatanka who earned another title shot and should have been given a run with the belt. A tremendous back and forth affair with two guys who knew each other well. Grade: *****

JT: With the ring cleared out of all the beef, it is now time for our huge main event. Heading into the evening, Shawn Michaels figured he would cut an interview, talk some trash and then head out on the town. Instead he now finds himself in the shine box against his arch rival and former best friend with his title on the line. I really think they did some great week to week booking here in May with Shawn’s mini feud with Jim Duggan and the Perfect skirmishes setting up his hubris here. They got the crowd completely red hot to see him finally get his ass kicked by running him out the last few weeks and having survive some tough predicaments. By this point, the crowd was rabid to see him go down. It was also cool seeing Marty back as he vanished right after the Rumble and having him lose there and then go away (for legit reasons) just felt like such a poor ending to a great story. The two traded blows to start, with Marty coming out on top but keeping his cool and not getting ahead of himself. He seemingly had a counter for every Michaels move, eventually knocking him to the floor to a big pop. Jannetty kept pouring it on, careening into the champ with a cross body to the floor and then regrouping in the ring as Michaels stumbled around ringside. After slowing things down with a rest hold, Jannetty picked things back up by slinging Michaels to the floor again. Shawn would grab his title and scamper towards the back, but once again Mr. Perfect made a timely appearance and forced Michaels back to the ring. After a break, Michaels finally gained a semblance of control and you could feel the crowd start to wonder if he was going to escape with his gold yet again. Shawn kept peppering strikes followed by a dropkick, but Jannetty would block a second attempt, catch Michaels in mid air and sling him into the ring post for a close near fall. He picked up another one with a powerslam but Michaels would reverse a roll up and almost sneak out the win by grabbing the tights. He would clock Jannetty with a super kick but paused to argue with Perfect. After hearing too much jawing, Perfect chucked his towel in Shawn’s face, causing him to stumble back and fall into a Jannetty inside cradle for the huge win. The crowd loved that one and Jannetty celebrated like crazy around ringside as Perfect fist pumped in the background. Another great, all time classic moment that solidifies this as the best Raw to date and one of the best of all time. The match was really good too with constant action, fluid pacing and great heat that built to a well done finish, paying off a long term storyline as well as stoking the fires of a current feud as well. Great main event. Grade: ****

Final Analysis

Scott:T his was one of the best Raw episodes in a while. We had some exciting moments like the out of nowhere win by the Kid over the unstoppable heel Razor Ramon. That begins a fun storyline that creates many twists and turns. Then there is truly the out of nowhere IC Title win for Marty Jannetty over Shawn Michaels, who I thought was definitely holding the belt until he lost to Mr. Perfect. Instead we get this clutch win for the “other Rocker”. Stuff like this easily cushions the blow of not having the WWF Champion show up for oh, about TWO MONTHS. I hope that something comes to a head June 13 in Dayton, since Hogan is hamstringing this company because Vince was “scared” about WrestleMania IX bombing. Guess what Vince? IT BOMBED ANYWAY. Now I feel better. Let’s not take away from one of the most memorable Raws in history. Final Grade: A+

JT: This was a great show top to bottom and it all had to do with pacing, logical storytelling and clear through lines flanked by well executed matches character development and storyline build. The whole fall of Shawn Michaels was set up so well since Mania that this payoff felt extremely satisfactory, especially when you factor in the deep history between him and Jannetty. On top of that, we had the shocking win by the Kid, which had also been built up nicely over a three week span. It was clear they were starting to see Raw as a viable vehicle for big moments and storylines and are booking weekly as such since May began. Tack on the debut of the Gunns, a nice win for Yoko and a stiff Tatanka squash and we have a pretty much picture perfect template for a live one hour prime time TV program. Final Grade: A+