Monday Night Raw (10/11/93)
James Dixon: This is the third and final taping from the taping in September at the Coliseum in New Haven. It actually made sense to tape as much as possible here, what with the large crowd (by standards at the time). Vince does a voiceover on last week’s battle royal highlights, and hosts the show with Randy Savage and Bobby Heenan. Vince discusses the Razor-Martel match tonight for the vacant IC title, and Vince refers to Martel as “former WWF champion”. Sorry, no. Former multiple time tag champions yes, but WWF champion? Are you out of your mind Vince!?
WWF Intercontinental Championship
Razor Ramon vs. Rick Martel
We open with the marquee title match, and the crowd is red hot for this. They are guaranteed a title change, which in 1993 was absolutely a big deal. Martel was a curious choice really, having been off TV (though still on the road) for nearly a year in order to freshen him up. I guess it worked though, because he did come back reinvigorated, for a few weeks at least. He was also an established name who had been with the company for years, so working with him and beating him would give Razor the rub. Eagle eyed fans may well have suspected this might be the outcome of the battle royal in advance however, as Razor and Martel worked around the horn in a few matches prior to this taping, including one at MSG two nights prior to this. This is a strange match, because it is technically fine, smooth and the chemistry is pretty good, but there is really not a great deal to say about it. As Lee said when we covered this in Volume #3, it wasn’t amazing but it wasn’t bad either, it was just a decent solid TV match. There are plenty of near falls towards the end from both guys, and plenty of effort to get things over. You can understand why both might be motivated, with Martel back on TV and presumably wanting to stay there, and Razor about to get a title and thus a big push. Razor wins with the Razor’s Edge of course, which Martel takes like a champ, and starts a long on and off relationship with the title that lasts for the remainder of his stint with the company. The match was important for Razor, because it elevated him to the next level and gave him a degree of credibility, especially as the IC title still meant something. It leads to a pretty memorable feud and match down the line as well, but that is for another book…
Final Rating: ***
The Headshrinkers vs. Tommy Morrison & Sid Curtis
It takes over a minute after the bell for the match to actually get started. The crowd are burned out now, having witnessed three shows, and they are not interested in a squash. The Headshrinkers rip these guys apart, even throwing in a slam on the outside on Curtis. For some reason Vince insists on calling him “Curtison”. That’s not even a name Vince! The fat splash from the top from Fatu looks especially vicious tonight, and that wins it for the ‘Shrinkers. I am getting sick of writing “standard fare” and “usual TV squash”. Maybe I need a code word or something. I didn’t appreciate a minute of stalling in a 4-minute match at the start, and it loses marks for that. Curtis, from what I can tell, didn’t appear in the WWF again. Vince probably tried to book him again but couldn’t remember his name.
Final Rating: ½*
Owen Hart vs. Scott King
Owen Hart squash matches are usually pretty good, because he often tries to make them semi-competitive without hurting his own character, and thus they are more entertaining. His opponent today, Scott King, looks like a baby rabbit with a mullet. He feeds all wrong for Owen, and has to be led through holds with baby steps. Owen is wearing really horrid attire today, dressed in all blue, including long tights with lightning bolts on them. He looks like a job guy himself. It is basically his Blue Blazer gear without a mask, only slightly worse. Owen gives King little other than a few punches, and frankly that is all he deserves. A beautiful overhead belly-to-belly is followed by a missile dropkick and a bridged belly-to-belly wins it. Owen had plenty of moves, and watching him do them on the hapless Scott King crash dummy was entertaining.
Final Rating: *½
Promo Time: Ludvig Borga
This is my first time covering Borga in this book, and unlike Arnold, I absolutely ADORED him. His character’s motivation was pretty stupid and his promos sucked: “Let me tell you what the initials USA stand for in my country: You stink a lot!” Despite that, and the fact he was a fairly poor wrestler, I remain a mark for him. Borga rips on Americans being unemployed, and asks anyone currently employed to stand up, then moves on instantly. That was good actually. Savage calls this “hard to listen to” and I wouldn’t be surprised if there was more to that comment than it appears. Lex Luger, subtle as ever in his American flag Vanilla Ice pants, has heard enough and comes out to confront Borga. Lots of transparent patriotism occurs and Luger promises to teach Borga respect. Luger throws out the old “America, love it or leave it” line, and shouts and spits a lot, but Borga remains calm and tells Luger things will happen on his terms. I take back the bad at promos thing, that was really good from Borga. The thing I liked about him was his subtlety, his direct delivery and his unwavering belief in what he was saying. It was easy to believe that HE believed it. Good little segment actually. I fully support the ultimately aborted Borga push that was in the works.
Adam Bomb vs. Russ Greenberg
Adam Bomb is now managed by Harvey Wippleman, which is both a better choice and a far worse one. Better because he suits the Bomb character far more than Johnny Polo. But worse, because, well he is not Johnny Polo, and we love Johnny Polo in the HOW offices. Vince claims Harvey Wippleman is going to start his own talk show… No-one would have watched that. Bomb spends a lot of time doing chokes before hitting an impressive standing dropkick, as Vince again disparages the jobber by calling him “Ross” when his name is Russ. Bomb nearly breaks his neck on the slingshot clothesline and the crowd is completely silent for this. Powerbomb wins it for Bomb. Not a good match.
Final Rating: ¼*
Next week, a verbal confrontation between Crush and Randy Savage, who are still friends, but Bobby Heenan is stirring the pot. Savage says everything is fine between them.
The Rock & Roll Express vs. Duane Gill & Barry Hardy
This is the debut of the SMW tag team champions, and Vince says this is an unsanctioned match. Whatever that means? We often rip on the tag division the WWF had in the early 90s, but actually looking at the roster it was pretty good. Or had the potential to be at least. Of course, Men on a Mission existed alongside the excellent teams that the WWF had too, which dragged things right down. The Express run through a few of their spots in short order, and win the match after a double dropkick. Not much to this actually, and they would have probably been better debuting opposite The Heavenly Bodies to show what both teams could do.
Final Rating: ½*
Next week, IRS! Plus, Tatanka is in action. Well, of course he is!
THE RAW RECAP
Most Entertaining: Rick Martel – One of his better matches under the ‘Model’ gimmick and a successful return to the WWF screens. He did a great job putting Razor over and put in plenty of effort along the way.
Least Entertaining: Vince McMahon – His failure to remember the names of his enhancement guys correctly is a real disrespect to the people who make his “superstars” look good.
Quote of the Night: “You got one shot, you gotta be a human torpedo and go at them. Yeah!” – Randy Savage offers advice to Tony Morrison and Sid Curtis
Match of the Night: Razor Ramon vs. Rick Martel
Summary: Things started well, but not a great deal happened after Razor’s title win. Though, the Borga-Luger confrontation was pretty good and had plenty of passion, and the crowd responded. It relied on cheap patriotism, as all Luger feuds around this time did, but it achieved its goal. The squash matches were largely pointless, and the debut of the Rock & Roll Express was pretty underwhelming. Ricky Morton didn’t even play Ricky Morton! Not bad, but certainly not particularly good either.