Monday Night Raw (01/18/93)
Arnold Furious: Hosts are Vince McMahon, Randy Savage and Rob Bartlett. Macho hardly even has time to say hi before Repo Man jumps him and the crowd is going nuts the whole time. Half of them over that and half of them wolf-whistling the ring girl with the “GET RAW” sign.
Terry Taylor vs. Mr. Perfect
A better choice for an opener this week. Mr. P is not only over but also talented and Taylor isn’t just enhancement, he’s also good in the ring. Originally Perfect was slated to face Papa Shango. This is an improvement. Perfect does the “take him to school” deal of riding on the mat, followed by a slap. Shame Savage is so distracted by his run-in with Repo Man, who’s repossessed the former champ’s hat, as the match is gold and popping the Manhattan crowd. The crowd loudly starts a “WE WANT FLAIR” chant, with Flair due to face Perfect next week in a loser leaves town match (to be booked later). Perfect and Taylor’s back-and-forth is really strong; there are a lot of counters at speed. Bobby Heenan calls in to abuse everyone on commentary, and rightly so, only to reveal he called collect, which draws an amazingly unintentionally hilarious response from the broke Vince McMahon; “hang up on him, quick”. This match just has it all. Taylor clocks Perfect with a spinebuster for a near fall and gets his confidence up. Powerbomb gets 2. Both moves work Perfect’s famously injured spine. The difference between this action and everything last week is incredible, like night and day. Ric Flair strolls out to get a look at his nemesis, Taylor blindsides Perfect and Flair attacks. Taylor tries for a suplex back inside but Perfect blocks it right into the Perfectplex. This was a superb hot opener that had everything. The action was good, the stuff with Heenan was good, Flair’s run-in was good and the finish was good. Raw has arrived… albeit a week late. They follow this up with the ring girl and Vince’s reaction cracks me up. “Hello… ooohhh”. Commentary-gasm.
Final Rating: ***
Interview Time: Bret Hart. It’s a rebuttal after Razor trashed Bret and his brother Owen last week on Raw. Bret takes off the kid gloves and calls Razor “scum”. Fighting words, folks. “I’m gonna kick you down unconscious street” says Bret of his opponent. You can tell Bret spent time working on his promos when he went singles…
Marty Jannetty vs. Glen Ruth
Glen is a future Headbanger but he’s unrecognisable to fans of that team. Here he’s just a guy in brightly coloured tights amid a world of them. Between him and Marty’s Technicolor vomit trunks, I feel like I’m having an acid flashback. They get Shawn on the phone to deliver some abuse to Marty. Any time someone uses the term “simpleton” I’m happy. He claims that Sherri is totally in love with him, although girls like her are a dime-a-dozen, so she’ll be in his corner. Marty works a loose arm lock for the majority of the match, like he didn’t get the memo about putting effort into Raw matches. Ruth is just a warm body to take a few bumps and job to the Rocker Dropper. Something of a contrast to the sensational opener.
Final Rating: ½*
Video Control has footage of Doink taking out Crush with his fake arm. Crush totally deserves it for turning his back on a heel. You can turn your back on a man, but you can never turn your back on a heel. Doink’s attack was actually quite vicious, as he whales on the back of Crush’s head for about 30 seconds. He’s already dead, he’s already dead! It’s like that fire extinguisher scene in Irreversible.
Outside: Sean Mooney has Repo Man for an interview. Repo has the hat and claims he’s gotten Savage’s attention now. Now you see him, now you see him, NOW YOU SEE HIM. Repo threatens further beatings for Savage, which reminds me of Peter McNeeley’s verbal sparring with Mike Tyson: “When I wrap Mike Tyson in a cocoon of pain”. He got knocked out in 90 seconds. After a brief Gene Okerlund interlude, Savage runs outside to confront Repo Man, but he’s already left.
Tito Santana vs. Ric Flair
Flair wrestled Tito Santana at the Battle Royal at the Albert Hall in 1991, which was probably the best match on the card. This is after Tito gained a bullfighter gimmick and is only 6-minutes long. The crowd loves Flair, even though he is one of the company’s leading heels. It’s because he’s here. And he’s always been here. He’s the workrate guy. He’ll always turn up regardless of which town he’s in and what match he’s in, so he throws the same level of effort into this TV match as he does a WrestleMania main event, because he’s Ric Flair and that’s what Ric Flair does. 100%, 100% of the time. Rob Bartlett makes his most astute observation thus far by pointing out that a name like “Flair” gives you limited career possibilities. He promptly follows up with the “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” gag at the expense of Flair’s age, which is uncalled for. Naitch starts throwing himself around onto the floor, while Bartlett misquotes the Treasure of Sierra Madre with a terrible Mexican accent. Mr. Perfect runs out here to attack Flair and that’s a DQ. The scrap heads into the back as the main event comes to a conclusion. After the final ad break they brawl back into the arena, where Ric Flair lays down a challenge. Next week. Mr. Perfect. Loser Leaves Town. All done in one syllable words shouted as individual sentences.
Final Rating: **½
Outside: Repo Man repossesses Rob Bartlett’s car, thus ending the running gag of Rob being concerned about his car, which had been running all night. It wasn’t worth the wait.
THE RAW RECAP
Most Entertaining: Ric Flair. Diamonds are forever, and so is Ric Flair.
Least Entertaining: Glen Ruth. No wonder he didn’t get invited back until 1996.
Quote of the Night: “Marty Jannetty is a simpleton” – Shawn Michaels
Match of the Night: Mr. Perfect vs. Terry Taylor
Summary: A massive improvement over the first show. There was run-on booking, which Vince was famous for in the 80s, and planning strong matches in the future. The setup for Perfect-Flair was really good here but they even got mileage out of Repo Man jumping Randy Savage. It was a bad idea, on the whole, but at least they were building up to stuff. Compare that to the first show where they achieved nothing.