Monday Night Raw (01/25/93)
Arnold Furious: Repo Man has sworn to repossess Savage’s career “like I did his hat”. I miss the Raw girls. Hosts are Vince McMahon, Bobby Heenan and Rob Bartlett. Glad we finally get the Brain, thanks to Savage wrestling tonight. This is the night after the Royal Rumble where Yokozuna earned a shot at the WWF title. Worrying that Savage was the last man out, as he’d virtually retired. That’s how shallow the WWF’s talent pool was.
Repo Man vs. Macho Man Randy Savage
The match is actually over, thanks to an altercation during the previous week’s show. Booking sometimes IS that easy. If they’d just booked Savage-Repo out of the blue, nobody would care and it’d last about 3-minutes. Bartlett, despite rooting for Savage, makes a load of hair loss jokes at his expense because he’s a terrible, terrible commentator. He’s at least confident but he has NO RIGHT to be. I hate people like that. “Hey Vince, where did they get this guy” – Heenan jabs at Bartlett. “Actually he was just coming out of the Subway and…” Ha, buried his own talent! The jousting continues as Bartlett makes not-so-topical jokes and Heenan tries to expose him as a fraud. After a brief run of brawling at the start this settles into the standard Savage squash, where he gets very little offence before coming back to win. Repo taunts him during the abuse by shouting “that’s my hat now”. Possession is 9/10ths of the law. Rob Bartlett attempts a Rush Limbaugh impression that nobody wants to hear. More “topical” humour follows. Anyway, Savage’s comeback is a slam and the elbow drop to finish. I’ve seen so many of these Savage matches where he does next to nothing. Nitro would be littered with them in the years to come.
Final Rating: *
Kamala vs. Brooklyn Brawler
Oh my. Steve Lombardi should only be on Raw if they’re making fun of him for being a jobber. The weird thing, he also played Kim Chee; the guy who actually has an issue with Kamala. So why on earth isn’t it Kamala vs. Kim Chee? Seriously!? Kamala still hasn’t figured out how to pin someone as he pins Brawler face down. That’s not a pin, Kamala, that’s rape. Slick, who knows about both, gives him some advice on the matter. “TURN HIM OVER”. Yes, I do have the moon and stars on my belly *slapslapslap*. He splashes Brawler and after four attempts finally figures out the mechanics of a pinfall. Chubby Slick thanks us for our support. As we head into commercial, the mic picks up Rob Bartlett calling Bobby Heenan a douche. Why does he have a job again?
Final Rating: ¼*
Loser Leaves the WWF
Mr. Perfect vs. Ric Flair
This was one of the early classics from Monday Night Raw and Flair’s last WWF match in nine years. Flair considers this WWF run from the early 90s as his best in wrestling after the original Four Horsemen angle. At times he was on fire during his WWF tenure, especially against Randy Savage, and it’s appropriate that he’d go out against his former running mate and closest associate; Curt Hennig. It’s a real pity one of these guys had to leave the WWF, but that’s the great thing about this match, and other key matches, is that putting everything on the line makes it more intense. And both guys do a great job of selling that intensity. They kick off with slaps and CHOPS~! Oh, the chops! It’s not quite at the Flair-Steamboat level but it isn’t far off, with Flair flopping around the ring like a fish out of water in order to sell it all. There is audible support for Flair, again, and large sections of the crowd bow before him. Perfect, not to be outdone, almost lands head first on the apron while attempting a Flair corner bump. Perfect even blades off the ring post to add a thick layer of crimson on top of the existing intensity, thus giving us the first juice in Raw history. They don’t have a great understanding, like you’d think they would, but they’re both amazing at improvisation. At one point Flair, blatantly expects a backdrop, but gets punched in the jaw and adjusts his bump accordingly. There’s another, even worse, misunderstanding where Perfect is already in the air for a leapfrog only to see Flair not see it coming and swiftly adjusting into a headlock takedown. It’s incredible that they can have a massive misunderstanding and just wing through it without a mistake. Improvisation like that is the hardest thing in wrestling to do. The ref allows a lot of leeway on the punches and cheating, due to the stipulation, which also gives it the feel of an important match. Bobby Heenan’s commentary certainly adds to proceedings because he’s so involved in Flair’s career. He’s not quite as entertaining as during Royal Rumble ’92, but he’s close. After a back and forth encounter, Flair focuses in on the leg and you’d think Perfect would be done, but Flair can’t stay focused. He has to go up top or sneak in a brass knuckles shot. If he just stays on the leg, he wins. Perfect kicks out of the brass knucks but I love that he drapes a foot over the rope first to delay the kick out. A bloodied Perfect starts no-selling the chops, even though he’s hobbled, and he uses moves that don’t require him to move about too much. This gives Flair a chance to come off the top but Perfect punches him coming down. The storyline they have is great. Perfect can read Flair’s spots because of the sheer number of times he’s watched Flair wrestle and Flair famously doesn’t change. They run through near falls until Flair sets too early for a backdrop; PERFECTPLEX! Flair counts the lights and he’s done in the WWF. The way they covered for mistakes was astounding. That alone makes this a must-see for any up and coming wrestlers. I’ve never seen a match with that many mistakes that’s this good. Obviously those flaws mean it’s never a MOTY or anything like that, although given the low standards of 1993 it’s still a contender. This match made Raw something special. From this point on they could say “you can’t miss Raw, because you might miss something this important”.
Final Rating: ****¼
Next week: Typhoon vs. Doink! Unlucky James, enjoy the action during February. Actually next week is all bad matches. Mostly jobber ones. We’ve got Skull von Krush, Bobby DeVito, Jason Knight (of ECW fame) and Iron Mike Sharpe. RAW!
THE RAW RECAP
Most Entertaining: Ric Flair. Ended his WWF career with a bang. The WWF’s loss became WCW’s gain.
Least Entertaining: Kamala. Idiotic babyface performance. He doesn’t “get” wrestling. Even Eugene knew how to pin someone.
Quote of the Night: “BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP” – Bobby Heenan gets censored during Perfect’s celebrations.
Match of the Night: Ric Flair vs. Mr. Perfect
Summary: Flair-Perfect was one of Raw’s early hits. During 1993 they produced some quality matches, but you could argue Flair-Perfect was the best. It certainly dominates this show. Nothing else on the card is worth seeing, but let’s face it; when the show is 40-minutes and half of that is the main event; the main event is the show. The show is good.