Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Monday Night Raw 7/12/93

*** 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 #25

July 12, 1993 (Taped July 5, 1993)
Manhattan Center
New York City, NY
Announcers: Vince McMahon, Randy Savage & Bobby Heenan

1) Yokozuna defeats Crush to retain WWF Heavyweight Title with the Banzai Drop at 10:00

Fun Fact: During the Bodyslam Challenge, Crush had attempted to slam Yokozuna, getting him slightly off of his feet before failing. The following night after Yokozuna was slammed by Lex Luger, Mr. Fuji came out and offered an open challenge for the WWF title. Crush came out to answer the challenge. Mr. Fuji was hesitant, but Yokozuna accepted the challenge to take place this week on Raw.

Scott: So after WrestleMania IX, the WWF Champion doesn’t show up live ONCE. Yokozuna defeats the now former  WWF Champion at King of the Ring, and he shows up on TV and now actually defends the World Title here against the Kona Crush. Of course we are slowly beginning the build to Lex Luger ascending after what happened on the Intrepid. The Manhattan Center crowd is pretty hot (for the second show that night, taped from last week). This is the kind of nuclear heat that Yoko was bringing made him maybe the best heel in the company and possibly in wrestling (next to Vader). Crush was trying to keep pace, but it was almost a glorified squash, as Yoko dominated the last five or six minutes of the match and finishes Crush with the banzai drop. Then, Yoko ups the ante with four squashes on Crush after the bell and then takes out some bums as well. Randy Savage finally comes up from the table (after Vince warned him he couldn’t get involved) and gets Crush out of the ring. Was he too late? Crush was taken out on a stretcher and Bobby Heenan kept blaming Lex Luger for what happened after last week on the Intrepid. This was a decent match but an overall great segment that really puts Yokozuna over the edge. Grade: ** (**** for the entire segment)

JT: Well, we waste no time getting right to it. Last week, Crush accepted Mr. Fuji’s foolish open challenge (you think he would have learned) and gets his WWF Title match to open up the show here tonight. Yokozuna has been a man possessed since ending Hulkamania in Dayton and is being pushed further and further by Lex Luger, who slammed him on July 4th. Bobby Heenan agreed as he promises a meaner, nastier Yokozuna in the house tonight. Crush was fired up as he entered and the crowd was fully in his corner. The announcers discuss how Crush indeed got Yoko’s leg off the mat in the slam challenge, coming the closest to do the deed before Luger got it done. The crowd actually sang the National Anthem and waved little American flags as Crush and Yoko gathered themselves. That was pretty damn cool. We got a big lockup to start with neither man really budging. Crush got things started though, landing two big punches to the dome. Yoko would slam Crush down but missed an elbow drop and Crush made him pay with a big boot that sent him out to the floor. Crush did whatever he could to rock the champ when he returned to the ring, slinging him into the corner and hitting a running splash. Yoko dodged a second one and sent Crush to the mat with a double thrust. Yoko dropped Crush with a stun gun and then started to work him over with more thrusts and kicks as well as a nerve hold. Crush fought to his feet and was able to dodge an avalanche before unleashing a dropkick and clothesline to knock Yoko off his feet. The challenger hurried to the top rope and hit a flying shoulderblock for a close near fall and then went right back up a second time, but Fuji cracked him with the flag pole and sent him crashing outside. Yoko followed him out and slammed him hard before pitching him back in. The champ then hit a leg drop and finished Crush off with the banzai drop. Yoko continued to show his new aggressive streak after the match, wrecking Crush with three more splashes as Heenan ranted about how this all Lex Luger’s fault. Tatanka and a jobber came out to help but Yoko swatted them away and kept bringing the heat. Before Yoko could land another one, Randy Savage slipped in the ring and yanked Crush to safety. Macho acted despite warnings from Vince that his contracted clearly prevented him from getting involved in the ring. Heenan continued to rant as Yoko taunted Savage and celebrated with Fuji. This was all incredibly well done. The commentary was next level, selling Yoko’s newfound aggression all throughout the match and explaining exactly why he was so pissed off and fired up. The match was solid, with Crush getting a couple of hope spots but ultimately putting the champ over fairly clean, solidifying him as a monster. Then, the post match was tremendous, with Yoko snapping and just taking all his frustration out on Crush until Savage made the save. And even that part had some storyline woven into it. Easily one of the best Raw angles to date here tonight to open the show. Grade: ***

*** After a break, Crush is carried to the back on a stretcher. ***

2) Headshrinkers defeat Aaron Ferguson & PJ Walker when Fatu pins Ferguson with the top rope splash at 3:23

Scott: The Headshrinkers are apparently taking the same path as the Steiner Brothers as they have become increasingly stiff in the ring and these poor bastards are the recipients of it. In fact PJ Walker may have been completely knocked out while Ferguson was beaten senseless. They have (to me) forged ahead of Money, Inc as the top heels on the tag team ladder and a match with the Steiners would be awesome. Grade: DUD

JT: As the Headshrinkers headed out for their match. Heenan really kept pouring it on to Lex Luger, blaming him for everything that just unfolded. This crowd is great, loudly chanting “Afa” before the match. They brought the heat tonight. The Samoans mashed both Ferguson and Walker, beating the piss out of them and dropping them on their heads before hitting the top rope splash for the win. The Headshrinkers continue to give the Steiners a run for their money when it comes to wrecking jobbers. Speaking of the Steiners, Vince notes that their titles will be on the line this weekend on Superstars against Money, Inc. Grade: 1/2*

3) Tatanka defeats Brooklyn Brawler with the Papoose to Go at 7:13

Scott: Still undefeated, still without any title shots since WrestleMania. Kayfabe, what a pisser. The announcers are really not paying attention because they are still talking about what happened to Crush earlier in the show. Brawler is actually bringing the heat back to the Native American and it’s a more 50/50 match as Brawler is stalling and bringing some offense, including choking with his stinky Yankees shirt. I couldn’t fathom if Rob Bartlett was still here while all this actual storyline stuff was going on. Tatanka makes the comeback and gets the victory. Still undefeated, still no title shots. Grade: **

JT: Tatanka is back in the house this week and matched up with the Brooklyn Brawler. They have really been rolling out the jobber red carpet lately. As Tatanka lit up Brawler with a chop, Randy Savage returned to the booth to give an update on his buddy Crush. He tells Heenan to shut up and stop gloating and makes his pitch to Jack Tunney as to why he got involved and shouldn’t be punished for it. Heenan gives it right back to him but Savage tells him to no “switch the heat” which should all be on Yoko. The match featured a lot of stalling by the Brawler in between offense from Tatanka, but the announcers were completely engrossed in discussing what happened earlier. Brawler was able to take Tatanka down and lay some offense in, including a nice neck breaker that actually got Vince’s attention. Brawler cranked in a side headlock after actually eschewing his shirt and showing off his… well, whatever. They are clearly just eating up time so the announcers can push the storyline in the booth. Tatanka finally made a comeback and hit the Papoose to win. I am all set never seeing this match again. Grade: DUD

4) Mr. Hughes defeats Tony DeVito with a sidewalk slam at 2:13

Scott: My favorite bodyguard is back to beat on Basil DeVito’s cousin, per Vince. That’s an inside rib on an employee in the company. Savage says the guy owes him money. While Hughes is pummeling the poor stiff, some guy comes up to ringside with a black wreath that says Rest in Peace. Clearly the storyline with the Undertaker continues and after the match a clearly unnerved Hughes rips the wreath apart. That feud continues, which I like because Hughes is one of my favorite guys at this point. Grade: DUD

JT: Mr. Hughes makes his Raw return here tonight, looking to get back on track after his KOTR opening round loss. Of course, he has bigger issues at hand, as the Undertaker is back, pissed off and ready for revenge. As Hughes mauls DeVito, a random dude brings out a black wreath, symbolizing that trouble isn’t far off for Hughesy. DeVito stood no chance here as Hughes grabs the win with a sidewalk slam. After the win, Hughes reads the tag on the wreath, which reads “From: The Undertaker” and the destroys the gift. The highlight here was Vince and Randy mocking Hughes for taking so long to read the note with Heenan defending him because he is wearing sunglasses. Grade: DUD

*** It is time for our first SummerSlam report with Gene Okerlund! The following matches are discussed:

Bret Hart vs. Jerry Lawler

Gene also notes that Lex Luger has hinted that he will be launching a campaign to lock in that WWF Title shot. Things are really heating up and we are just over a month away from the biggest show of the summer! ***

*** We get another vignette for Men on Mission, including a rap from Oscar that serves as a general introduction of the group. ***

5) Adam Bomb defeats Scott Atami at 2:39

Scott: Is Scott Amati an intern? He looks like he’s a sophomore at New Utrecht High School in Brooklyn. Johnny Polo looks crazy swank in his matching plaid outfit. Adam Bomb was a beast early on, another of my favorite gimmicks. After our high profile WWF Title match to start the show we have had a steady feed of jobber squashes (except perhaps the Tatanka match), along with another Men on a Mission vignette and our first SummerSlam report with Bret Hart vs. Jerry Lawler as our first match announced. Bomb wins easily. Grade: DUD

JT: Johnny Polo is a fucking pimp. What a great outfit. The original Yacht Rocker. Adam Bomb is back again, slowly building up his resume here with each passing win. His opponent is Josh Richer… er, Scott Atami. Savage returned again and he and Heenan continued to argue over the Crush stuff as Bomb wasted Atami, notching the win with a powerbomb. Grade: DUD

Final Analysis

Scott: This was a great, jam packed episode that included a rare World Title match on RAW. Crush not only loses but is beaten down post match. They made a big deal out of Randy Savage not being allowed to interfere or help, but he eventually does. Hmmmm, that’s interesting. The last recap I mentioned that they are going a bit overboard on jobber squashes but this week some interesting fodder, including a guy who may not have even reached puberty yet. My bromance with the iconic Mr. Hughes continues with black wreaths delivered by the Undertaker. Overall a solid episode with a lot of in-ring action and to me an enhancing of Yokozuna as a heel badass that had been lacking a bit. Final Grade: B

JT: Well this episode started off read hot and then kind of went off a cliff. The crowd was hot throughout and the commentary was on fire, but the action after the opener was really nothing to write home about. The squashes were fine, but that Tatanka/Brawler was really boring. The Yoko/Crush/Savage angle was fantastic and easily one of my favorites to date here and because they layered in so much and carried it on throughout the commentary, I definitely give the rest of the show a bit of a pass. It was a strong episodic offering and that is the goal. Bobby Heenan, Randy Savage and Vince McMahon have been spectacular the last two weeks and it all crested here, especially late in the show when Savage was just snapping at Heenan to shut up as the Brain kept trolling, blaming Savage, Luger and Crush for everything that went down. With that type of storytelling and commentary, even a sluggish back end of an episode can hum along. Final Grade: B+