Through the Years: WWF Matches & Angles from Survivor Series 1992 to Royal Rumble 1993

I’m finally hitting 1993, and I’m a bit stunned as I was never really expecting to make it this far. WWF wise, nearly this entire year is a blur for me. Unlike a lot of people, I didn’t start watching Raw every week until late 1998. Now, I’m going to watch them all. That’s right, all of them. I won’t be reviewing everything on those episodes, but I’ll pick and choose whatever I believe to be worth it. It’s hard to go over everything going on in the WWF, but I’ll do my best. The first and easiest thing to mention, is the incident with Nailz. Nailz got into an argument with Vince McMahon over his SummerSlam pay. He attacked Vince, then accused him of sexual assault, but there was no way that happened as there were witnesses to the contrary. Nailz had also said something about the drug tests being unconstitutional, so it seems like an incident was bound to happen.

 

– Taped to air November 28th, 1992, on Superstars, from Hullman Center in Terre Haute, Indiana

Marty Jannetty Interview

The WWF wanted to remind people why Marty Jannetty would have a problem with Shawn Michaels. After showing the Barber Shop clip, they showed Marty accidentally hitting Sherri with the mirror. Then, it was time for a podium interview. This was way better than I thought it would be. Anyway, I wanted to get him on here, as he’d be challenging Michaels for the Intercontinental Championship at the Royal Rumble.

BAM BAM BIGELOW RETURNS

This was quite a big deal. I don’t mean that Bam Bam was fat, either. He was there as a heel, and it was time to establish himself in a big company. No more short stints. This jobber made him look pretty good.

– Taped to air December 12th, 1992, on Superstars, from the Nutter Center in Dayton, Ohio

JERRY LAWLER DEBUTS

This was a major shock to a lot of people. Did anyone think Lawler would be around for 23 years? Not me, that’s for sure. They ran an angle in Memphis between Lawler and Koko B. Ware to explain to people in Memphis why Lawler would be showing up nationally. Lawler is one of the few people to work for the WWF and never work a full-time schedule. From my perspective. Lawler is an integral part of WWF programming even still.

– Taped to air December 27th, 1992, on Wrestling Challenge

THE PERFECT SWING

Not much to say about this, but you need to see it. Their approach to getting Perfect cheered was much better than his heel vignettes. Having him appear with notable athletes worked.

– Taped to air January 3rd, 1993, on Wrestling Challenge, from Dane County Coliseum in Madison, Wisconsin

THE STEINER BROTHERS DEBUT

At least I didn’t have to go long not watching the Steiners. It looks like Scott was going off the juice in order for them to be there. Less muscle definition for sure. The Steiners didn’t have to change their gimmick at all, except it feels like they were told to wear Michigan jackets. That elevated DDT from Rick’s shoulders looked like death.

– January 4th, 1993, from the Convention Center in Beamont, Texas

Razor Ramon vs. The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer)

Pre-Match Thoughts: This sounds like it could be fun. It’s right before Razor’s title challenge at the Rumble, so in all likelihood it won’t have much of a finish. Just being realistic. Still, I want to see how they worked together and this is one of the only chances I’ve had.

Match Review: Razor decides to go to the outside to avoid a staredown, then continues to back up. He gets in the ring first, and hits Taker on his way in. Razor rams Taker into the buckle, but that does nothing. Taker goes up for OLD SCHOOL, and Razor takes a comical bump. Razor blocks a backdrop, then clotheslines Taker over the top. He celebrates, but Taker grabs him and clotheslines him with the top rope. Taker chokes Razor with the rope, but Razor pokes him in the eye. Razor crotches Taker on the top rope, which knocks him to the outside. Razor posts Taker, then has him taste the steps. Back inside, Razor drops Taker with a sidewalk slam. Razor follows with elbow drops, and quite a lot of them. Now Bearer gets on the apron, and Razor has the urn. Taker sits up, but Razor cracks him in the head with it. Razor covers, but only gets 2. Taker then grabs Razor and CHOKESLAMS him, so Razor decides it’s time to leave. To the back he goes, getting counted out after about five minutes.

My Thoughts: This wasn’t bad at all, I actually found it quite amusing. Razor was starting to get in his groove, perhaps realizing that he wasn’t working in WCW anymore and that the WWF was really going to give him a chance. Of course, the non-finish was bound to happen, but it was what it was. I don’t think it was that big of a deal. *1/2, not really long enough. I think they could have had a good ten minute match.

Yokozuna (w/Mr. Fuji) vs. Bret Hart for the WWF Championship

Pre-Match Thoughts: This appears to be a test run for their WrestleMania plans. I’m excited to see it, I think a lot higher of Yokozuna than many¬†people do. I think that he was a good to great worker who really understood what he was supposed to do in there, and had the psychology of how to work this gimmick down pat. There aren’t many matches between the two where Bret was in the position of holding the belt.

Match Review: After a very long stall, the two finally lock up, with Yoko shoving Bret all the way out of the ring. Yoko shoulders Bret down when he gets back in there, then headbutts him quite hard. Yoko slams Bret, then drops a big leg on him. Yoko throws Bret into the corner, and misses a charge into it, knocking himself down. Bret starts to go to work, hitting Yoko with clotheslines. He goes up to the second rope, and BULLDOGS him down to the canvas. Now Bret goes up to the second rope for an elbow smash, which gets 1. Bret goes up there again, and Fuji hits him in the back with a flag pole, getting Yokozuna disqualified at 5:01. So, Yokozuna destroys Bret with a BELLY TO BELLY, then drags him to the corner for the BANZAI DROP. Bret moves out of the way, so Yoko lands on his butt. Bret hits Yoko with a dropkick, and knocks him out to the floor to end the whole thing.

My Thoughts: Strictly on gauging crowd reactions alone, this was an obvious match to make for the future. The crowd went nuts when Bret went on offense against Yokozuna, and their reactions to Yoko’s big moves were similarly intriguing. Anyway, like I said, this was probably a test run. **. These two were a great match for each other.

– January 5th, 1993, from Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio, Texas

Bob Backlund vs. Shawn Michaels for the WWF Intercontinental Championship

Pre-Match Thoughts: Talk about a massive clash of styles. Backlund had just returned to the WWF, even though it would seem like he didn’t fit in at all. Really, he didn’t at this particular moment. So much for a new wave. I didn’t look at the result since I put together the list a month ago, but I bet Marty runs in to keep Michaels from winning. I don’t remember. I can’t think of two wrestlers more diametrically opposed now that I think of it. Backlund was also out of his home territory, and Michaels in his hometown. People still booed Michaels.

Match Review: Backlund looks so much younger than he was. Michaels refuses to shake his hand, so here we go. Michaels takes Backlund down with an arm drag, then hip tosses him. Michaels follows up with a bodyslam, then goes to sit on the top rope like he’s able to take a rest. Backlund comes back with his own offense, doing all the things that Michaels did. Backlund takes Michaels down with a backslide for 2, and Michaels runs out of the ring. When Michaels gets back in there, he wants Backlund to calm down. A little late for that. Michaels puts a full nelson on Backlund, who reverses it after some time. Michaels tries to roll out of it, but Backlund puts it back on. Michaels makes the ropes and elbows Backlund in the face, then applies a front face-lock. Backlund backdrops Michaels to get out of it, but Michaels keeps it on him anyway. Backlund puts Michaels on the top rope to stop it, and slugs him. Backlund backdrops Michaels, then dropkicks him. After a terrible swinging neckbreaker, Backlund covers for 2. Backlund takes Michaels down with a butterfly suplex, which gets another 2 count. Backlund goes for a PILEDRIVER, but Michaels backdrops him this time. Michaels then for absolutely no reason at all decides to leave, getting counted out at 9:33. Backlund brings Michaels back to the ring, and atomic drops him with Michaels taking a hilarious bump. Backlund then hits Michaels with the belt, and Michaels really leaves.

My Thoughts: For the good start this had, it took quite a turn for the worst. The finish was terrible too, and didn’t make any sense. Backlund looked like a major goof during this match, and was way behind the times. Alfred Hayes buried him on commentary the whole time, which I thought was funny. Anyway, what are you gonna do? 1/2*.

Yokozuna (w/Mr. Fuji) vs. The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer)

Pre-Match Thoughts: This was nearly a full year before they had their series of matches, so this is appealing to me. I believe this may have been another test of Yokozuna’s capabilities in the ring. It’s so weird to see these matches with Jim Ross on commentary when he wasn’t in the WWF yet, although they were taped for later release when he could give commentary on them. I’ve actually never seen these two have a normal match.

Match Review: It took forever for this thing to get started, but when it did, they decided to stare each other down. Yoko tries punching the tall guy, but he can’t really knock him down. Taker comes back with a DDT, so down the big guy goes! Taker misses an elbow drop, so Yoko clotheslines him over the top. Fuji hits Taker with the flag, then Taker tries to chase Fuji around the ring, only for Yoko to ram Taker into the steps. Yoko puts Taker back in the ring, and splashes him in the corner. Yoko slams Taker, then drops the big leg on him. Taker sits up, and Yoko drops him with a belly to belly suplex. Monsoon has been bitching during this whole match, it’s intolerable. Yoko grabs a salt bucket and hits Taker in the head with it a bunch of times getting disqualified at 4:07. Yokozuna then decides thatit’s time for the BANZAI DROP. Much like Bret did, Taker moves out of the way and hits Yoko with some clotheslines. Taker hits Yoko with a flying clothesline, then he chokeslams him to send him to the back.

My Thoughts: Just like the Bret match, this was a test run. However, unlike that match, Gorilla Monsoon killed my enjoyment of it because he wouldn’t stop talking about how dumb the wrestlers were for not going for pins and stuff like that. Regardless, it’s obvious that Yokozuna did fit the champion’s role of being capable of having decent to good matches with just about everyone in the WWF. It’s really no surprised that they pushed him as hard as they did. *1/4, because they didn’t do a whole lot. What they did do looked good, but the match was too short.

– January 11th, 1993, from the Manhattan Center in New York City, New York…IT’S MONDAY NIGHT RAW!

Really can’t believe I made it to this point. Not reviewing the whole thing, but the commentary team at this particular time was Vince McMahon, Randy Savage, and Rob Bartlett. I have no idea why Bartlett was picked for this show. The intimate setting at Manhattan Center was great, in my opinion. What I’m going to do on these Raw episodes, is put down the results of the things I don’t review. Sometimes I won’t be reviewing good matches, that’s just the way it turns out. Bobby Heenan wants to get in the building, BUT HE CAN’T. THERE ARE NO TICKETS AND HE IS NOT ALLOWED!

Yokozuna (w/Mr. Fuji) vs. Koko B. Ware

Pre-Match Thoughts: Koko was still being pushed as a duo with High Energy, but he gets the distinction of jobbing to Yokozuna in the first Raw match ever. Usually I’ll try to keep things more competitive when reviewing Raw matches, but I need to fill some space here. Just being honest.

Match Review: Bartlett’s jokes are immediately intolerable, which makes me unhappy. He called Yoko a fucking Oriental. That’s ridiculously offensive. Yoko shoves Koko across the ring like he’s nothing two times, then Koko tries a shoulderblock, flying to the canvas as a result. That happens again, then Koko tries some dropkicks. Yoko then dodges Koko and Koko flies throat-first into the ropes, then Yoko leg drops him. Yoko then splashes Koko in the corner, BANZAI DROP, see you later after 3:45.

My Thoughts: They certainly made Yokozuna look strong. That was the entire point of this, and that’s why he got the opening spot on the show. Objective #1 in the WWF at this point was to get him over. From my perspective, they did a great job. *, no complaints.

The Royal Rumble commercial they aired was pretty good, I should say. After that, Bobby Heenan talked about somebody named NARCISSUS. WHO IS THAT? Heenan talked some shit about Mr. Perfect too. This Narcissus is supposed to be more perfect than Perfect. Heenan did a great job selling this guy.

The following match featured the Steiners destroying two masked jobbers called the Executioners. Glad I don’t have to review a match with two masked jobbers in it. One of them fell down while running the ropes. Doink was in the crowd for that match!

Bobby Heenan dressed up as a woman to try get in the building now. ARE YOU SERIOUS???

Razor Ramon was interviewed in the ring, and the shirt he was wearing was terrible. I suppose this was pertaining to his title challenge at the Rumble. One of the people in the crowd looked a lot like Jameson. Vince talked about him jumping Owen Hart, which I didn’t cover. They even showed a video!

TATANKA IS HEADLOCKING HUNGER, BROTHER.

Max Moon vs. Shawn Michaels for the WWF Intercontinental Championship

Pre-Match Thoughts: I’m somewhat looking forward to this, in part because I have a good story to tell. Apparently the wrestlers thought Max Moon was fired because he had an incident with another wrestler. However, he wasn’t, and he turned up to Raw like nothing happened. Then they fired him a little while later.

Match Review: Michaels takes Moon down with an arm drag, it’s difficult for me to accept Max Moon’s suit right now. Michaels has his foot caught, then dodges an atomic drop, blocking a cradle afterward. Moon arm drags him, hip tosses him, and slams him too. Moon dodges a back elbow from Michaels then takes him down with a hammerlock. Bartlett’s “comedy” during this match is awful.

After the commercial, we come back with the match still going. Michaels misses a charge to the corner, but picks Moon up and drops him throat-first on the top rope. Michaels dropkicks Moon, and Doink is now at ringside! Moon rolls Michaels up for 2, but Michaels shoots him hard into the corner to stop any sustained attack. Moon cradles Michaels up for 2, but Michaels picks Moon’s nose, I guess I’d call that. Michaels hits Moon with a back elbow for 2, then goes to the chinlock. I feel like muting the commentary. The Mike Tyson impression is TERRIBLE. Michaels goes for a dropkick, but Moon catches him and catapults him over the top rope. Moon teases a dive, but makes to the apron and follows that up by doing a Rey Mysterio style seated senton. Back in the ring, Moon hits Michaels with a spinning wheel kick in the corner, and uses a fireman’s carry roll to get a 2 count. Moon slams Michaels, but misses a rolling senton. Michaels capitalizes with a SUPERKICK, then drops Moon with the TEARDROP SUPLEX for the win at 9:56.

My Thoughts: This was acceptable wrestling, with Moon doing some weird stuff at the end of the match to get things going. Somewhat shocked by the offense he was busting out. In any case, they merely filled time until that point. I’ve seen better matches. Michaels would have to pick it up for the Royal Rumble. **.

The Royal Rumble Report featured Michaels cutting a promo on Marty Jannetty, and Jannetty doing the same. There was drama about which corner Sensational Sherri would be in. Mean Gene then announced who was going to be in the Royal Rumble. Notable non-surprises: Jerry Lawler, Carlos Colon, Genichiro Tenryu. The rest is what you’d expect. The winner was going to meet the WWF Champion at WrestleMania IX. First time for that stipulation!

After they were done with that, Bobby Heenan tried to sneak in as a rabbi. Haha. They also did a bit showing how Kamala turned babyface. REVEREND SLICK ran out there to SAVE HIM, got hit, and Kamala cleared Kimchee and Harvey Wippleman from the ring.

To close out the show wrestling wise, they had the Undertaker pin Damien Demento. They didn’t really mesh well together. They also had Crush walk out to confront Doink at the very end of the show, with Crush doing a TERRIBLE promo. Only about 18 minutes of wrestling on this one, shockingly. Overall, an interesting show, but nothing compared to those that they would run in the future. What in the hell was the ad at the end where they said Woody Allen would face Mia Farrow in a steel cage match? I didn’t get that.

– Taped to air January 16th, 1993, on Superstars, from the Expo Center in Green Bay, Wisconsin

DOINK ATTACKS CRUSH

This actually plays off of Doink squirting Crush in the face on Raw. I know this video recaps part of Raw, but I don’t really care one way or the other. Anyway, Doink had been selling an arm injury for a little while. Doink wanted to apologize for what had happened on the first Raw episode. He had a flower for Crush. Turned out that once Crush turned his back, Doink took his fake arm out of a sling, and beat Crush’s head in with it. WRESTLEMANIA, HERE WE COME!

– January 18th, 1993, it’s Monday Night Raw from the Manhattan Center, in New York City, New York

Oh shit, right at the start of the show…REPO MAN ATTACKS THE MACHO MAN! HE JUST STOLE THE MACHO MAN’S HAT! YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT CAN HAPPEN ON MONDAY NIGHT RAW.

Terry Taylor vs. Mr. Perfect

Pre-Match Thoughts: Taylor was back in the WWF, and this time they didn’t saddle him with a stupid gimmick, nor did anyone seem to care either way. Taylor was solid, but unspectacular. I wonder why it is that he seemed to have strife with a lot of bookers. Perfect was in a lot better looking shape than he was a month or so before this.

Match Review: Taylor and Perfect lock up, and Perfect takes him down. They get up, and Savage is now back on commentary after that earlier attack. Perfect slaps Taylor, then hip tosses him. A dropkick follows that, then Perfect chases Taylor around the ring and back into it. Taylor finally gets his break, and when he gets back in there, Perfect takes him down with a headlock. Heenan is on the phone with the commentary team, as Taylor pokes Perfect in the eye. Perfect arm drags him, but Taylor gets up with a hip toss. Perfect goes back to the arm drag, and we go to a commercial.

We come back with Perfect chopping Taylor, and Taylor dumping him out to the floor. Taylor rams Perfect into the rail, then gives him a jawbreaker when he gets back in the ring. Taylor follows with a backbreaker, and covers for 2. Taylor applies a chinlock, and when Perfect gets out that, Taylor takes him down with a SPINEBUSTER for 2. Taylor dishes out a GUTWRENCH POWERBOMB, which also gets 2. Perfect comes back with a neck wringer, then an inverted atomic drop. Perfect follows with a neck snap, and here comes RIC FLAIR! Taylor knees Perfect from behind to knock him out of the ring, then Flair jumps Perfect and rams him into the steps. After that, Flair leaves the scene. Taylor goes for a suplex, but Perfect counters with the PERFECT-PLEX for the victory at 9:28!

My Thoughts: When you put two good workers in there with the intention of putting on a good match, that’s usually what you get. The Flair bit was great seasoning for what they were going to do later and in the following week, so it fit into the match. Can’t complain about any of that, **1/2. So far, the best match in the history of Monday Night Raw! I’m glad the finish was clean.

I’m glad that WWE kept in the parts where Savage would sell Slim Jims, or Bret Hart selling ICOPRO.

Bret Hart then walked out for an interview, pretty much responding to Razor Ramon’s interview last week. He said he was going to beat Razor down at the Rumble.

Marty Jannetty won in a squash match after that. To say he needed to update his gear would be an understatement. The jobber Marty faced had gear on that was just as bad, maybe worse.

Repo Man is now with Sean Mooney, and he says that Savage’s hat has been REPOSSESSED. Savage told Repo Man to get over there and face him right now. That’s not going to happen.

Razor had a promo during the Royal Rumble Report, which was nothing special.

Randy Savage went to find Repo Man in the parking lot, WHERE IS HE?

Ric Flair vs. El Matador

Pre-Match Thoughts: It seems like Santana should have dropped this gimmick a long time ago, because it feels way out of place. His won’t be the only one, I’m sure. I’m interested in seeing how the small crowd reacts to Flair. Haven’t seen Santana in what would be nearly a year’s time at this point.

Match Review: These two lock up, and Santana knocks Flair down with a quick shoulderblock. A second one follows that, then Santana slams him. Santana takes Flair down with a headlock, then clotheslines him when they get up. Back to the headlock, and it’s time for a commercial.

Flair blocks a monkey flip when we come back, and gets 2 on the cover. Poke in the eye follows that, and Flair continues by working Santana over in the corner. Flair drops a knee on Santana, and it’s announced that Savage faces Repo Man next week! Flair chops Santana as hard as imaginable, but Santana comes back with a backdrop. Santana beats Flair up in the corner, but Flair goes to the eyes. Flair goes up top, but Santana slams him down. Flair goes upside down in the corner next, and falls down to the floor. Santana clotheslines Flair, then throws him back in. Santana backdrops Flair again, then knees him in the face. He signals for the FLYING FOREARM, and hits Flair with it. Now Santana goes for another, only for Flair to duck and Santana fly all the way over the top. Amazing bump, really. Now Mr. Perfect runs down to ringside, and pulls Flair out there for a BRAWL! The match is thrown out at 8:14, and here comes officials from the back to separate these guys. FLAIR AND PERFECT ARE WILDMEN!

After a commercial, Flair and Perfect are brawling again! Flair gets near a microphone, and he says that the WWF isn’t big enough for him and Perfect. So, NEXT WEEK, HE WANTS PERFECT. ONE OF THEM HAS TO STAY, ONE HAS TO LEAVE THE WWF. He said Perfect wasn’t man enough to face him, either. Perfect makes his way over to Vince, and he said that he accepts this challenge. LOSER LEAVES TOWN, BROTHER.

My Thoughts: This was a pretty good match, just about equal to the one earlier. I liked the idea to have the match thrown out, and for Flair and Perfect to brawl like that. It gave the feeling that anything could happen on Raw, which was the entire point of having the show. **1/2, just the same. Great angle to finish out the show.

At the very end of the show, Repo Man steals Bartlett’s car!

The WWF was definitely turning the corner, although to what they were turning the corner to, people didn’t really know or understand for a while. These reviews will obviously be predominantly Raw oriented, but there will be other matches and angles that they ran on Superstars. Still, it changed the company. I don’t have a lot of news to share other than that Razor Ramon had a knee injury that nearly caused him to miss the Royal Rumble, although given his status in the business, there’s no way he wouldn’t have worked in that match. He did go out for a while before WrestleMania to heal up, I presume. Anyway, next up is WCW leading into Clash 22. They had some good stuff too!

Best: The whole Monday Night Raw concept. I can’t pick out one thing in particular.

Worst: Rob Bartlett’s commentary. Absolutely terrible.

Written by Sage Cortez

Sage is a boisterous Los Angeles sports fan. Unsurprisingly, like many other loudmouth LA fans, he also likes the Raiders and a range of combat sports.