Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Monday Night Raw 7/5/93

*** 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 #24

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

Fun Fact: July 4, 1993…America’s 217th birthday. In the WWF, Yokozuna ruled the wrestling landscape. As a way to show his dominance, a challenge was set up on the 4th of July and was open to anyone to try to bodyslam the Japanese monster on the USS Intrepid battleship. If a competitor could bodyslam him, they would win a red, white and blue truck and would defend the pride of America. Lots of athletes from inside and outside of wrestling made the attempt, all falling short of the America-defending slam. Just when it looked like all was lost, in comes a helicopter delivering the last hope for America, Lex Luger. In short order, Luger was able to bodyslam the 500+ pounder and bring victory to the USA. This was the beginning of the push for Luger as the replacement for Hogan as All-American babyface.

*** Vince McMahon, Randy Savage and Bobby Heenan narrate full highlights of yesterday’s Bodyslam Challenge from the USS Intrepid. Yokozuna survived challenges from Lee Rouson (New York Giants), Bob Backlund, Peter Taglianetti (Pittsburgh Penguins), Scott Burrell (Charlotte Hornets), Scott Steiner, Tatanka, Bill Fralic (Detroit Lions), Crush and Randy Savage. When all hope looked lost, a helicopter arrived on the deck of the ship and out walked Lex Luger, decked out in an American flag button-down shirt. As he marched the ring, he shoved away consultant Bobby Heenan, got in Yoko’s face and then dumped Mr. Fuji to the floor.. A moment later, Luger avoided a charge, cracked Yoko with his forearm and slammed the grand champion to win the challenge, solidifying a face turn and defending his country along the way. ***

1) 1-2-3 Kid defeats Blake Beverly with a top rope legdrop at 8:00

Scott: We opened the show with all the highlights from the Intrepid, including Lex Luger’s epic slam of Yokozuna and his obvious face turn. We then head back to Manhattan for the 1-2-3 Kid’s first match since running off with Razor Ramon’s $10,000. I guess the Beverly Brothers’ face turn against Money, Inc some time ago was temporary as Blake now has that smarmy look on his face as he comes to the ring. Blake works the Kid over during a majority of the match and gets chucked around the ring and outside the ring. Blake has seen better days, not really in great shape and let his hair grow to mullet-ish levels. The Kid had minimal offense as Blake really pitched him all over the place. The Kid made a quick spurt, including a dive to the outside but Blake caught Kid on a leap frog and suplexed him to the floor. The Kid recovers, hits the top rope leg drop and gets the big win. Psychology-wise that was a great match, with Blake beating the Kid senseless and then the late recovery and comeback for the win. Grade: **

JT: We are back live inside the Manhattan Center and history has been made this past weekend as Lex Luger eschewed his Narcissist character (one we haven’t seen on Raw in a long while) and ensconced himself in the red, white and blue to bodyslam Yokozuna and save America from embarrassment. The building is red hot and burning with Americana as we start the show proper with our opening tilt. The 1-2-3 Kid is on the scene here for the first time since taking off with Razor Ramon’s money and is being presented as more than a jobber for the first time. He has his own theme music and jazzed up tights with his name plastered all over them. Blake Beverly is still putting around here, basically doing job duty and doing it well, God bless him, despite having packed on some pounds… quite a few actually. He even gets an entrance but that classic Beverly swagger has clearly dissipated. As Kid smiles his way to the ring, he says hi to nearly every fan and even shakes hands with Vince and Randy. They really played up how he was just happy to be here. Blake landed a punch off the bell but Kid quickly came right back and knocked him to the floor. From there, he started to show off, hitting a sky high dropkick off a flapjack attempt followed by an enzuguri for a near fall. Blake cut him down with a powerslam and followed that with a neckbreaker and a suplex over the top rope, sending Kid crashing to the floor. Blake started to show off his size advantage, spiking Kid hard to the mat and then hitting a big leaping headbutt. He then hit a powerslam for a near fall before punishing Kid with a sharp clothesline and a shoulder block that knocked Kid outside a third time. Blake domination crashed to a cocky halt when he missed a dive off the second rope to the floor and Kid capitalized with a somersault senton off the top. He pitched Blake back inside but Blake countered a leap frog with a back suplex. Kid would dodge a splash off the middle rope and crunch Blake with a top rope leg drop to nab the win. This was a damn fine little match, honestly one of the better ones we have seen on Raw outside the top tier. Blake really brought it and based on this alone they should have given him more of a singles push as he looked good on offense and put Kid over strong. And speaking of the Kid, he gets a nice hard fought win while surviving an ass kicking while also unleashing some of his aerial arsenal. Grade: **1/2

*** We get a vignette for the soon-to-be debuting Men on Mission. ***

2) Bam Bam Bigelow defeats Joey Maggs with an avalanche splash at :40

Scott: Bam Bam Bigelow had a great performance at the King of the Ring, including a gutty, tough loss to Bret Hart in the finals. So he gets back up on the horse with a nice tidy squash alongside his main squeeze Luna Vachon. This was quick and painless. Grade: DUD

JT: Coming off the biggest night in his WWF career at King of the Ring, Bam Bam Bigelow is back at it here tonight and is accompanied by his new valet and main squeeze, Luna Vachon. Luna almost helped him with the tournament in Dayton but he came up just short against the Hitman. Bigelow wastes no time in destroying longtime jobber Joey Maggs, reminding us all what a beast he really is. Grade: DUD

3) Undertaker defeats Samu with a chokeslam at 9:00

Scott: The first live Raw appearance of the Deadman since the show debuted in January! That is unfathomable. The Deadman has no urn and no Paul Bearer after the heinous acts of Harvey Wippleman’s crew on Superstars a few weeks ago. Taker’s in-ring stuff was still pretty stiff and limited (more on the gimmick than his ability) but another point here is that Samu is able to really work Taker over as most Taker matches dictate. He hits slams, head butts and any other combination of power and aerial moves with Taker “half-selling” as opposed to no-selling, more to sell the lack of an urn or Paul Bearer right now. Samu hits the top rope head butt, but Taker hits the chokeslam/tombstone combo for the victory. That was a fun little sprint with great work by Samu and Taker did a good job of not being too dominant, as the stolen urn storyline continues. Grade: **

JT: We haven’t seen the Undertaker on Raw in quite a long time, since the early weeks of the show, but he arrives here in Manhattan, having recovered from the vicious assault at the hands of Mr. Hughes and Giant Gonzalez a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, his manager Paul bearer hasn’t quite convalesced ye so Taker is going at it alone. He also doesn’t have it easy here tonight as he will battle one half of the hard hitting Samoans, Samu. Taker unloaded some thrusts to open things up but Samu stood toe-to-toe with the Deadman, not backing down at all. Taker would take Samu down with a drop toehold (!) but the Samoan quickly bailed to the floor to regroup. The Deadman followed that with a dropkick (!!) and Samu bailed yet again, clearly thrown off by this new arsenal of Taker. Samu would finally find an opening when Afa ran some interference on the floor, as the Samoan cracked Taker from behind and then leveled him with a side kick. Afa laid some kicks in as well followed by Samu running Taker into the ring steps and then pitching him back inside. The Samoan hit a powerslam followed by a bodyslam but Taker wouldn’t stay down. Samu would clothesline him over the top but Taker landed on his feet, came right back in the ring and grabbed the Samoan by the throat, shoving him hard into the corner. Samu survived that and hit a sidewalk slam and then landed a flying headbutt off the top, but Taker again sat back up, and planted Samu with a chokeslam and Tombstone for the win. Not a bad little power match with Samu getting some good offense in (as Taker sold more with no urn present) and Taker opening up the vault a bit and mixing it up out there. It was a good showcase for both and was nice to see Taker in this setting yet again. Grade: *1/2

*** Vince McMahon brings Yokozuna and Mr. Fuji to ringside for a chat. Vince rubs in Luger’s slam, saying Fuji’s celebration was ruined. Fuji denied this, saying Luger hip tossed Yoko and that it wasn’t actually a slam. Vince says that Fuji denied Luger’s request for a WWF Title match and Fuji rambles on with reasons why before saying he would accept any challenge that came their way. Crush then showed up and put over Luger before accepting Fuji’s open challenge. Fuji tried to back out but Vince boxed him in and Yoko eventually gave in. Crush said he was proud to be an American and would levy more embarrassment at the champ next week on Raw. ***

4) Mr. Perfect defeats Brian Costello with a Perfectplex at 1:00

Scott: Fresh off the heels of the Yokozuna/Crush confrontation, this is a quick and painless squash of another iconic jobber. Grade: DUD

JT: With just minutes to spare, Mr. Perfect shows up, puts his gum on the glasses of a Rosatti sister and then quickly beats Brian Costello with the Perfectplex. Grade: DUD

Final Analysis

Scott: Having the Undertaker on this episode instantly ups the grade to what it would have been if someone else was in the match. The big theme was of course was Lex Luger slamming Yokozuna the day before on the Intrepid. Yokozuna and Mr. Fuji’s promo really got the ball rolling on that feud, because not only did they says Luger cheated but Yoko he also won’t get a WWF Title shot out of the deal. We will see if that stonewalling continues. The rest of the show was enhancement squashes, which to be frank are starting to slog the show down a bit. It does give the chance for fun back and forth between Vince, Savage and Bobby. The SummerSlam build should be starting soon and we are off and running. Final Grade: C+

JT: Our return to the Manhattan Center brought along with it a pretty solid episode of Raw and a nice bounce back after last week’s rough installment. Both Kid/Beverly and Undertaker/Samu were pretty solid bouts, and I would argue that the former is one of the best we have seen since the show debuted. The Luger/Yoko stuff was clearly the main focus, as it should be, and the wheels are in motion for Lex to be the top contender for Yoko’s title, even if Mr. Fuji is denying it thus far. The squash matches were really quick due to a time crunch, but that made the show feel more real and live, which I like. We also set up Crush/Yoko for next week. Was this an all time classic? No. But it was a pretty easy watch with a good crowd and it jammed a lot into just 45 minutes. Final Grade: B