It’s time to close out 1993, and after Survivor Series, I’m really looking forward to how that’s done. See, the first wrestling PPV I ever watched was Royal Rumble 1994. Obviously it holds a special place for me, but I’ve never seen the road there or anything that happened on television after. The only way to see it is to watch it, so I’m getting right to that.
– Taped to air November 29th, 1993, on Monday Night Raw, from the Civic Center in White Plains, New York
Looks like a full crowd for once. Bobby Heenan had a big problem with Gorilla Monsoon putting hands on him at Survivor Series. Bet that’ll turn into something. We have Diesel facing Razor Ramon and a WWF Superstar of the Year presentation on this episode.
First, the Steiners had a squash match and I’m always down to see that. They treated the jobbers nicely for once. The jabrone nearly killed himself with the Frankensteiner.
Jeff Jarrett had a vignette where he went to a record studio, and they decided to kick him out. That’s funny.
Diesel vs. Razor Ramon (WWF Intercontinental Champion)
Pre-Match Thoughts: This is a non-title bout. It’s a little strange to see these two going at it prior to Diesel receiving any push at all. That being the case, Razor is pretty much a sure thing to win. You’d think. I’ve never seen any of the matches between the Outsiders. Not joking.
Match Review: Diesel shoves Razor backwards to start this thing, then Razor grabs onto a wristlock and gets thrown down again. Diesel grabs the headlock, then runs Razor over. Razor comes back with a drop toe-hold, then Diesel hits him with an elbow. Basic rasslin’ stuff here. Diesel jumps and lands on Razor’s back, then drops some elbows on his back for 2. Diesel gives him a backbreaker for 2, then a side slam gets 2. Diesel goes to a bear hug, then hits Razor with a big boot. Diesel follows with SNAKE EYES, and that gets a 2 count. Back to the bear hug, which Razor has to fight out of. Diesel then runs into a big boot, and Razor bulldogs him from the second rope for 2. Razor picks Diesel up and slams him, then signals for the finish. He goes for the RAZOR’S EDGE, but Shawn Michaels runs in to get Diesel disqualified after about 5:30.
Michaels then pops Razor with SWEET CHIN MUSIC, but Razor blocks HBK’s attempt to piledrive him on the title belt. Then the 1-2-3 Kid runs out there, and kicks Michaels out of the ring! I dig it.
My Thoughts: That was a basic match, but it’s easy to see that Vince had some fascination with Diesel. It’s also easy to see how. He had improved his ring presence a lot since he’d first gotten to the WWF, he had a move set, and his psychology was better than it was previously. They did a really good job pushing things towards a new feud as well. *1/2 for the match, the post-match was better.
Next up, Bam Bam Bigelow was there for a squash match. After that was done, they aired a terrible bit where Doink brought Santa Claus to the ring during Wrestling Challenge. Then Dink came out of a bag. Oh boy.
Time for Vince to present a WWF Superstar of the Year award. Lex Luger was named as the runner up, and he went out there to make a speech or something. For some reason Bobby Heenan thought he won it. Instead, it’s BRET HART. Clear to see Bret Hart was still Vince’s guy even though he tried to push Luger to the top instead. Bret dedicated the award to the fans, friends, and family. This has to be leading somewhere because this is wrestling. Except it didn’t.
Owen Hart made an appearance here, and Heenan is really pushing the idea that Owen is upset. Owen is sporting Bret’s sunglasses, that’s interesting. People are booing him too, that’s mean. This was too competitive for a squash, but I guess Owen didn’t want to work on top that way just yet. He used the SHARPSHOOTER as a finish. When Heenan interviewed him about Bret winning that award, Owen couldn’t speak about that. He couldn’t speak about Survivor Series either.
As the last match of the evening, we had Ludvig Borga facing Scott Taylor. Yes, that Scott Taylor. Borga did something very closely resembling a Nazi salute during this. If you watch the whole match, you’d notice it. Borga did a torture rack as his finisher.
Closing out the show, it was announced that 1-2-3 Kid was accepting a challenge from Shawn Michaels to face him next week. Awesome!
– Taped to air December 6th, 1993, on Monday Night Raw, from the Civic Center in White Plains, New York
Shawn Michaels vs. The 1-2-3 Kid
Pre-Match Thoughts: How could this possibly suck? I’m trying to think of ways and am running out of them. Maybe Michaels doesn’t care? I doubt that strongly. This is a hell of a match they made for Raw, even though the difference in star stature of the two was apparent even before Michaels ever won a world title. His promo was good, and the fake belt he used looked good. We’re nearing full HBK era.
Match Review: Kid’s singlet looked kinda dirty. Anyway, HBK slaps him and they lock up. They trade punches, and Kid shoulders him down. Kid then dodges a bodyslam, and we get some great reversals that end with Kid kicking HBK in the face and spinning heel kicking him out of the ring. That sequence alone was worth watching this. Kid teases a dive, then goes over and flies out with a springboard cross body instead. Kid goes to suplex HBK in, but instead they reverse and Kid gives him a GERMAN SUPLEX for 2. Kid goes to a headlock and takes HBK down with it repeatedly, then HBK gets out with a back suplex. Kid dodges a charge to the corner two times, then Michaels takes him to the outside with a nice flying head-scissors. The bump was really good too. Kid posts HBK, then goes up to the apron and gets POWERSLAMMED off of it.
After a commercial, we come back with HBK working Kid over and giving him a series of backbreakers for 2. Kid takes a huge bump in the corner, then HBK sets him up for a superplex. Instead, Kid knocks HBK down and flies off with a cross body only for HBK to dropkick him for 2. HBK drops Kid with another backbreaker and holds for the submission, but Kid knees him in the head to break it. Kid hits HBK with another huge spinning kick for 2, then they collide with each other. When they get up, Kid hits HBK with a kick in the corner and goes up top. Is it time for the moonsault? IT IS, and that gets 2. Kid picks HBK up and slams him, then goes up top for something. He misses a senton bomb, and we go to commercial.
Back again, and HBK hits a superkick on Kid. Now HBK says he’s going to give Kid a Razor’s Edge. He does drop Kid with the RAZOR’S EDGE, then picks him up during the cover. HBK goes for another, and that one makes Razor Ramon really angry. He grabs Kid and pulls Kid out to the floor, then HBK follows. HBK slaps Razor, and now shit’s going down. Razor chases him around the ring and to the back, and once he finally catches up, Diesel appears from behind the curtain and clobbers Razor. Now Michaels starts choking Razor with his own shirt, apparently choking him out. Michaels then picks Razor up and gives him the RAZOR’S EDGE ON THE CONCRETE. THEN ANOTHER. That was about 15 minutes and good the whole time.
My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this, and if anyone here checks this match out they surely will too. The pace was fast, the down-time was minimal, and both guys put on a great show. HBK looked absolutely dominant come the end of the match, better than he’d ever looked to that point. I also liked that Kid had his share of the offense. All in all, that was a good show with a very nice angle at the end. ***1/2. Michaels did get even better from this point too, and Kid sure should have.
Next up, it was time for the Quebecers to make an appearance. Interesting that Pierre was good to go here and not at Survivor Series. Both guys they faced looked like major jobbers. Heenan’s ability to tell jokes had nearly disappeared by this point, I’d say. Instead he would react to moves with grunts more often than not. The Quebecers sat the jobber in Johnny Polo’s lawn chair and destroyed him with a clothesline at the end.
Doink and Dink. Kill me now. Times like these make me forget about how much I value life these days. I detest babyface Doink.
After another Double J vignette, we have a Crush squash match. Apparently Randy Savage was returning to the ring to face Fatu next week. I’m down. Crush and Borga getting the most prominent heel pushes while Shawn Michaels was gone was a big problem with these shows. Even with his return, it feels the same.
Closing out the show is one of the saddest moments to look back on these days. Gorilla Monsoon makes his way out to the ring, and he must’ve heard what Bobby Heenan was saying about him. Monsoon is tired of it, and he’s going to kick Heenan out. Heenan begs and pleads, but Monsoon throws him and his bag out of the building. Heenan gathers up all his stuff, gives a salute, and he was off to retire. Unfortunately he wound up in WCW.
– Taped to air December 13th, 1993, on Monday Night Raw, from the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, New York
Now I’m confused. Why did they tape the December 20th episode at the previous taping, then this one and air it first. Whatever, I don’t know. Anyway, Jim Cornette joins Vince McMahon on commentary this week. That should be good.
Fatu (w/Afa) vs. Randy Savage
Pre-Match Thoughts: I like seeing Savage get a chance to work in the WWF, especially given he didn’t have too many more chances to do so. It’s weird to think that he would wind up in WCW not even a year after this. It’s stupid too. When you think of this match as Rikishi vs. Savage, it sounds even stranger. Or the Sultan vs. Savage.
Match Review: Savage arm drags Fatu, but runs straight into an elbow. Fatu knocks him down with a headbutt, then a clothesline. Savage then prevents a backdrop, and goes for a facebuster only for Fatu to get straight up and kick him out of the ring. Fatu rams Savage into the steps, but Savage returns the favor…only for it to not hurt Fatu again. So he superkicks Savage. Fatu takes Savage hard into the post, then covers him for 2 when they get back in the ring. Cornette’s commentary is quite good. Savage backdrops Fatu, then takes a big backdrop bump out to the floor. I love when he does that. Afa clocks Savage with a stick, then throws him back into the ring where Fatu covers for 2. Fatu hits Savage with the stick as well, and gets 2 on the cover. Fatu drops Savage with a backbreaker, then heads up top and Savage runs over to the ropes to crotch him. Savage follows to the outside with BOMBS AWAY, then throws Fatu in the ring for a big clothesline. After knocking Afa off the apron, Savage flies off the top with the FLYING ELBOW and covers Fatu for the win after 5:50.
My Thoughts: That was a good way to spend six minutes. It wasn’t anything special, but I liked the way they worked most of their big spots into the match. That’s about all you’d hope for from a match like this. **. The crowd, small as it was, popped loud for Savage’s triumph.
The WWF then ran a poll asking if Savage should be allowed to return as a broadcaster. No shit, right?
Can’t dodge a Smoking Gunns squash, seems to be happening a lot less often than I expected. They were in the WWF for a really long time before getting pushed. Why did Captain Lou Albano wind up at ringside? It sounded like he was there to scout potential tag teams to manage. I see the DDT being turned into a transitional move the longer these programs go on, too.
After that, it was time for IRS to go on one of his tirades and then squash a tax cheat. Razor’s gold necklaces were in IRS briefcase.
Next up, they brought out the Undertaker for a squash match. That was rare to see. This show is packed with matches and that’s not for the best in my opinion. The match started during the break, too. How dumb is that? During this match, it was made clear that Yokozuna would be facing the Undertaker in a casket match at the Royal Rumble. Taker and Bearer put the jabrone in a body bag.
This compilation of Jeff Jarrett spelling his name out in all these vignettes is funny. Why didn’t they do it like this before? All of the vignettes he did are pointless by comparison.
The next match featured Rick Martel, who was still kicking around. For much longer than I thought, at that.
Owen wants to fight Bret Hart so he can prove to himself and everyone else that he’s really that good. Oh boy. That was aired leading into Bret taking on the Brooklyn Brawler. This wasn’t a squash match, but it wasn’t good either. *1/4.
– Taped to air December 20th, 1993, on Monday Night Raw, from the Civic Center in White Plains, New York
Opening the show, they aired the Tatanka/Borga finish from a few months before where Borga ended Tatanka’s undefeated streak and Yokozuna subsequently knocked Tatanka out of Survivor Series. Tatanka’s promo was funny. Shawn Michaels will be the guest commentator next to Vince McMahon this week.
Time for the wrestling debut of Jeff Jarrett, who looks stupider then than he did at any point in the future. There’s fucking feathers on a white cape. His first bout was against PJ Walker. Double J was such a bad character. HBK’s stories during this match are so funny. Double J used a DDT as his finisher. That’s J-E-DOUBLE F J-A-DOUBLE R-E-DOUBLE T for you.
Men on a Mission were there for their own squash. A certain future GILLBERG was in there. I was shocked to see Mabel do a splash from the second rope as the finish, never seen that before.
Ludvig Borga vs. Tatanka
Pre-Match Thoughts: I couldn’t care less about this match, but it seems important to see the way that this issue was resolved. Tatanka owes Borga one, but I can’t see Borga’s own streak taking a dent at this point.
Match Review: Tatanka goes straight to work with chops, then beats Borga up in the corner. Tatanka knocks Borga out of the ring, then follows him and posts him. Back on the inside, Tatanka slams Borga, then drops an elbow on him. Tatanka goes up top, then flies down with a cross body that gets 2. Borga finally gets some offense in when crushing Tatanka with a clothesline, then they fight in the corner until Borga throws Tatanka to the other side and splashes him. Tatanka starts no-selling immediately, but Borga powerslams him for 2. Borga slams Tatanka himself, then misses his elbow drop. Tatanka hits Borga with some clotheslines, and someone is on their way to the ring. It’s Yokozuna! Tatanka powerslams Borga, then heads up top. Fuji whacks him with his flagstick, then Yokozuna heads into the ring and the match gets thrown out at 4:44. The way the camera shot got all blurry was curious. Anyway, TATANKA FIGHTS BACK. Borga then attacks him from behind, but HERE COMES THE LEX EXPRESS. Luger goes to town on Borga, then goes after Yokozuna and hits him with the LOADED FOREARMS. After Luger slams the champion, he and Borga both tuck tail and leave.
My Thoughts: That was a fast paced bout that ultimately amounted to nothing, but the post-match was great and quite a bit better than we’d usually get out of Raw. This shows where the focus was heading, away from Superstars and more towards the Monday show. I’m not complaining because after all, Raw is on WWE Network and Superstars is not. *1/2.
Captain Lou Albano was introduced to the crowd before Adam Bomb’s match. Haven’t yet figured out why. With the way Vince was pushing every big guy he could at this point, you’d think Adam Bomb would be pushed harder. It’s a sign of the times to hear people talking about BARNEY during this match.
Hilarious vignette with THURMAN PLUGG. How in the hell did Bob Holly stick it out in the WWF for so long. This gimmick is unbelievable. Don’t know what to say.
Bret Hart had broken his silence on Superstars saying that he would not have a match with his brother at any point. After that, his brother Owen walked out there for a match and got booed a little bit. So weird seeing Owen get shine after being a total non-entity. Was one of the smartest things they did to give him a chance.
The skits where they go through the Undertaker’s workshop looking at his construction of the casket are great viewing. This one is DOUBLE WIDE AND DOUBLE DEEP.
Lastly, the Headshrinkers got to deal with some jabronis and I always enjoy that.
– Taped to air December 27th, 1993, on Monday Night Raw, from the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, New York
This is the last Raw of the bunch and it was running directly against Starrcade. The Quebecers were going to join Vince on commentary this week, and I don’t see that going particularly well. Johnny Polo takes on Marty Jannetty a little later.
Our first match featured Lex Luger taking on Barry Horowitz. Luger didn’t work enough on these shows, I think. They were running with a gimmick that Pierre didn’t speak English, so his contributions are understandably limited. This match stunk. They kept holding polls asking if Lex Luger should be allowed to participate in the Rumble. That’s such a lame way to make extra money.
Johnny Polo vs. Marty Jannetty
Pre-Match Thoughts: This bout has some potential, but with the Quebecers at ringside I totally expect them to interfere. They must, right? Before the match, they showed video of Polo interfering when Kid and Jannetty faced off. Polo also did a promo and called him Marty Confetti. I’ve heard worse insults.
Match Review: They trade hammerlocks to start things, and Polo takes Marty down with a hip toss. That’s followed with an arm drag, then Marty uses momentum to send Polo into the buckle. Polo then leaps onto the apron, and Marty brings him in the hard way. Marty atomic drops him, then follows with a back suplex for 2. Marty goes for a crucifix, but turns it into a roll up for 2. Marty arm drags Polo, then charges at him and flies over the top on the miss. Polo follows with a tope suicida, something I wasn’t expecting to see at all. Marty climbs up to the apron, then Polo charges at him and gets taken down with a cross body instead for 2. Polo gets up quick and goes to the chinlock, then they collide with each other in the middle of the ring. When they get up, Polo takes a hard bump in the corner and tries to beg off. Marty hits him with a flying back elbow instead, then a facebuster. Marty goes up top, and Polo attacks him. Polo goes for a superplex, but Marty blocks it and drops him to the mat. Marty then jumps off the top with a cross body that gets 2, and eats a boot on a charge to the corner. Polo then charges to the other side and misses, so Marty rolls him up again for 2. Marty dropkicks Polo over the top, and Pierre has left the announce table. He helps Polo up, but Marty hits them both with a baseball slide. Pierre is no upset, so with the referee’s back turned he trips Jannetty as he runs the ropes. Marty hits Polo with a superkick to prevent an attack from behind, then heads up top. Pierre pulls Polo out of the ring, so Marty dives on him and beats him up! Marty goes for a sunset flip, but Pierre helps Polo block it, leading to Polo getting the victory after 8:23. Marty grabbed a chair after the bout, and Pierre was completely ejected from ringside so he couldn’t participate in any of the future matches.
My Thoughts: This was pretty good, especially considering Polo was perceived as a manager. With that being the case, the finish had to be screwy and it certainly fit that standard. I liked seeing that. **1/2. These two had good chemistry and may have been able to have a better match than that.
There’s a new Doink, easily seen by how tall he is now. Please clap. Good thing it’s very easy to skip these squashes. I feel brain cells dying when I watch them.
During the Royal Rumble report, they showed that Bret and Owen no longer had family problems and were a united front. Funny promo by them both. Kamala was removed from the reports, he was on them at first and supposed to be at the Rumble. This promotion was in such bad shape.
Crush didn’t look so happy to be there. So much talk about him facing the Macho Man, that’s all this match was. Vince and Jacques had abdicated their announce position and must have been recording this commentary later.
After that, they showed highlights of Alundra Blayze winning the WWF Women’s Championship. Obviously, I did not review this. I don’t really care to because this title wasn’t important. Blayze, as everyone knows, is Madusa. I find absolutely no logic in not airing the entire match.
Next was a KWANG vignette. This gimmick, man. It’s easy to tell “Kwang” is definitely not Japanese.
Razor Ramon finished this show out with a squash of some guy named Derek Domino. The way this whole show has finished has been spectacularly awful.
That’s going to be it for this series of reviews. I couldn’t believe the vignettes for newer wrestlers, it felt like we were fully entering goofy territory. Couple that with Doink turning babyface, and yeah. That’s where they were at. You could slowly feel things headed in that direction, but bringing in Double J, Sparky Plugg, and Kwang with those gimmicks means we’re fully there. It isn’t coming to mind right this moment, but I’m wondering when a male wrestler is going to debut without a gimmick like these. It may be a long time! Next up, it’s time to close 1993 out with Starrcade.
Best: HBK vs. 1-2-3 Kid plus the post-match. That was great viewing.
Worst: Babyface Doink. Possibly the worst character in history.