Monday Night Raw (05/17/93)
Arnold Furious: We’re in Manhattan, New York. Hosts are Vince McMahon, Randy Savage and Bobby Heenan. Another smoking hot Raw girl at the top of the show. Who is that? We get a quick clip from the Special Olympics, which features a brightly attired Randy Savage high fiving one of the participants after a successful dead lift. The phrase “larger than life” springs to mind. We get Lord Alfred Hayes again who promises a surprise later. We never hear from him again.
The Smoking Gunns vs. Glenn Ruth & Tony Vadja
Vadja looks like a teenage girl only not hot. Yanno, like Shannon Moore. This is the Gunns’ Raw debut. Vadja is one of the skinniest jobbers I’ve ever seen in the WWF. I thought they had a minimum muscle-mass limit before you were allowed in the ring. The Gunns work some decent double teams on Ruth, and they look reasonable. Billy is on the green side but he’s passable. Ruth takes better spots than the awful Vadja. The Gunns do a frankly ridiculous finish, which is supposed to be a flip into a powerbomb but Bart fudges it and it ends up as a PILEDRIVER, which looks insanely dangerous but also awesomely cool.
Final Rating: *
Interview Time: Shawn Michaels
Yep, its Shawn Michaels’ May on Monday Night Raw. New York greet him with a deafening “Shawn is gay” chant. Shawn points out he’s a man of his word. He said he’d be IC champ. He said he’d defend the belt all over the world. He said he’d beat Jim Duggan last week. All done. He says he’s a fighting champ and he’ll face anyone because he fears no-one. Someone sneaks into the ring from the crowd and its MARTY JANNETTY dressed as the Unabomber. Jannetty asks Shawn for a title match here tonight. Vince points out that Shawn just said “anyone” and “anytime” as he tries to slip out of a fight. Marty says he’s got his gear so we are ON TONIGHT.
Razor Ramon vs. The Kid
Sean Waltman is back for a third tryout. This time he’s just ‘The Kid’. Razor doesn’t take him seriously. Kid gets overpowered and smacked about. It looks like being just another squash loss for The Kid. The Kid even takes a trademark fallaway slam. Razor misses in the corner though and Kid nails him with a moonsault press for one of the biggest upset victories in the entire history of wrestling. The crowd just loses its shit. The match itself is a squash with a fluke finish, but it made Waltman’s career. He lived off this for the next three years.
Final Rating: **
Tatanka vs. Scott Taylor
Scott Taylor, as mentioned before, would go on to success as Scotty 2 Hotty. Like Sean Waltman he’s just a jobber, BUT the crowd is in such shock that anything could happen here. It’s like the world has gone mad. Taylor gets even less than Waltman and isn’t as capable at bumping and taking spots. He’s still paying his dues. Tatanka is a bit sloppy with his spots too. Like James, I don’t really understand why Tatanka was given so many squash matches as he wasn’t interesting in any of them. Taylor takes a bunch of semi-decent chops before the Papoose-to-Go finishes.
Final Rating: ½*
Video Control takes us to Scheme Gene and the King of the Ring report and even he is taken aback by Sean Waltman’s huge upset victory. Okerlund has the card lined up and most of the bracket for King of the Ring.
Kamala vs. Yokozuna
Kamala is coming toward the end of his WWF career so it’s time for him to start counting lights, hence him being fed to Yokozuna this evening. Yoko is, of course, the top contender for the WWF title and soon to be title holder. Yoko’s sumo histrionics confuse the Ugandan tribesman. Kamala’s offence is very crude and low-impact. Soft looking overhand chops and such. Kamala seems to give up part way through the match and Yoko squishes him with the Banzai Drop, with Savage and Heenan agreeing on something for a change: Kamala is too dumb to play possum.
Final Rating: ½*
WWF Intercontinental Championship
Shawn Michaels (c) vs. Marty Jannetty
This continues the WWF’s “anything can happen” motif as Marty has not only made a shocking comeback but he’s right into a main event with his former partner and has a chance to win the IC title. They run the opening exchanges at pace, as they have a load of cool stuff worked out and need to get it in. Marty goes right into flash pins and the crowd get very excited. It’s a special atmosphere. The difference between Shawn here and against Duggan is amazing. It helps that Jannetty is hugely motivated, doing sunset flips, skinning the cat and hitting dives to the floor. Marty ducks the superkick right into more high flying excellence. The moves are so smooth and the speed is what really impresses. Jannetty is a ball of energy. Kinetic. Shawn is thrilled to have someone who moves the same speed as him but his character wants to keep the belt so he bails and Mr. Perfect turns up to block his exit. Jannetty looks to repeat an earlier headscissors takedown only for Shawn to feel it coming and counter into a hot shot. I love that the face gets the hold the first time and gets countered when he goes to the well. Logic is tremendous. Shawn, as the heel, is allowed a bit of leeway when it comes to the action, but I’m disappointed he goes to the chinlock. Shawn hits a dropkick but Jannetty blocks a second one, thus repeating the “hit it once, get it reversed a second time” psychology. Shawn is catapulted into the post and KO’d only to get a shoulder up and avoid the pin. The speed of the match continues and Shawn runs into a powerslam. The crowd freaks out at that near fall. Marty fakes Shawn out and hits a crossbody. The reversals continue and Shawn gets two handfuls of tights on a roll through. Marty still kicks out but stands up into the SUPERKICK. Shawn gets distracted by Mr. Perfect though, and Jannetty catches him with an inside cradle for the pin and the title. An amazing bout between two guys who knew each other’s moves and had comparable abilities. Plus a huge title change to cap off an exciting Raw. This was one of Raw’s early classics and is up there with Perfect-Flair among Raw’s best of 1993.
Final Rating: ****¼
THE RAW RECAP
Most Entertaining: Marty Jannetty. When Marty was on, he was ON. If only he’d been able to stay at that level his whole career. He was toe to toe with Michaels tonight and deserved his chance to shine. Also a nod to Sean Waltman for his celebration after beating Razor Ramon in a huge upset.
Least Entertaining: Kamala. He dogged the Yoko match.
Quote of the Night: “The only exercise you get is jumping to conclusions” – Randy Savage lays into the less than athletic Bobby Heenan.
Match of the Night: Shawn Michaels vs. Marty Jannetty
Summary: A sensational episode of Raw. The Shawn-Jannetty match was a fantastic setup and execution. It had the element of surprise and superb action to back that up. That combined with Waltman’s massive win over Razor made this Raw a “can’t miss” show. That’s what the WWF wanted from Raw. You couldn’t afford to miss it. This week the WWF switched IC champion in an unexpected classic, brought back a fan favourite and put a jobber over one its top stars. What might they do next week? Easily the best Raw so far.