Venue: Manhattan Center (Manhattan, NY)
Commentators: Vince McMahon, ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage, & Rob Bartlett (sigh)
The week on RAW WWF Champion Bret Hart has something to say to his Royal Rumble challenger Razor Ramon, Repo Man decides to make a most Macho repossession, and Ric Flair takes on Tito Santana in the main event. #everyRAWever continues…NOW.
- WWF Champion: Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart
- WWF Intercontinental Champion: Shawn Michaels
- WWF Tag Team Champions: Money Inc. (‘The Million Dollar Man’ Ted DiBiase & Irwin R. Schyster)
- Mr. Perfect vs. Terry Taylor (**1/4)
- Marty Jannetty vs. Glen Ruth (SQUASH)
- Tito Santana vs. Ric Flair (**1/2)
Vince McMahon welcomes the home audience alongside ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage and Rob FRIGGIN’ Bartlett. Bartlett rips up a picture of Bobby Heenan in a Sinead O’ Connor SNL parody. Lame. Before McMahon can bounce back from that nonsense Savage is attacked from behind by Repo Man, who steals his hat much to the joy of the crowd! Cue the opening video!
Mr. Perfect vs. ‘Terrific’ Terry Taylor
Savage is gone from commentary, looking for Repo Man to get his hat back. OH NO WE’RE LEFT WITH JUST MCMAHON AND BARTLETT, SEND HELP TO 1993 TIME TRAVELERS. Terry Taylor is back with the WWF, three years after bolting following his career-killing run as The Red Rooster. I know his WCW run wasn’t anything special after but he did have the best nickname in pro wrestling history and a U.S. Tag Team Title run so that was something. I’m pretty sure Taylor even has the same Red Rooster theme, just without the rooster sounds. Poor guy.
Taylor jaws at Perfect so Perfect easily wrestles him down to the mat to try and teach him some humility. If he didn’t learn it as the Red Rooster he’ll never learn it. THANKFULLY Randy Savage returns to commentary so we have been spared that awful two-man show. Taylor slaps Perfect and bails to the corner to avoid repercussions. Savage cuts an angry promo on Repo Man as Perfect outwrestles Taylor, scaring him from the ring. Perfect takes Taylor to the mat with a side headlock as Bobby Heenan chimes in via phone. Perfect chops Taylor in the corner, Heenan cuts an angry promo on Bartlett for ripping up a picture of him at the start of the show and tells Savage Repo Man is gonna repo his career, pal. No talk about The Narcissist though, which is strange since he’s debuting this Sunday. Perfect with a slam, Taylor kicks him away but falls victim to an armdrag takeover as we go to commercial.
Back live Taylor grabs the singlet and sends Perfect out to the floor, ramming his head into the guardrail for good measure. Taylor connects with a jawbreaker as Heenan gets hung up on. Taylor works Perfect over in the corner then locks in a dreaded rear-chinlock. Perfect escapes and runs right into a spinebuster, Taylor covering for a two-count. Taylor connects with a gutwrench power bomb, a really cool move but one that doesn’t give him a pinfall victory. That could be a finisher in current day WWE, honestly. Apparently the Royal Rumble is taking place on the upcoming Sunday, so there’s that. Perfect mounts a comeback, hitting a high inverted atomic drop followed by a right hand and patented neck snap. Ric Flair shows up at ringside, distracting Perfect and allowing Taylor to attack him from behind, sending him out to the floor. Flair beats on Perfect while Taylor distracts the ref then bolts to let Taylor finish the job. Taylor doesn’t though and Perfect reverses a suplex with a Perfect Plex for the 1…2…3!
Mr. Perfect defeated Terry Taylor via pinfall with the Perfect Plex (8:00 shown)
- A solid wrestling match here that was overshadowed by both Heenan on the phone and Flair’s attack at the end, making Taylor a bit of an afterthought despite giving it his full effort. I enjoyed it for what it was, but Taylor not being able to get a win after Flair’s attack made him look pretty limp. But hey the WWF loves making Terry Taylor look limp so that’s on brand. (**1/4)
Perfect doesn’t take time to celebrate and runs to the back looking for Flair.
After a brief glimpse of a RAW Girl we get some ads for ICOPro and Slim Jims. Slim Jims are DELICIOUS.
Vince McMahon introduces his guest, WWF Champion Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart, who has something to say before his defense against Razor Ramon this Sunday. Hart is after blood after Ramon’s attack on his younger brother Owen Hart and his threat to slap his father Stu Hart. Hart is not about slapping the elderly, good to know. Hart calls Razor the lowest form of scum in the WWF. McMahon asks Hart if it’ll be his usual technical showcase; Hart responds by saying he’s going to throw his technical rulebook out the window and redeem the Hart family name. An alright promo but Hart was never known for being particularly memorable in that regard.
After a Headlock for Hunger promo from The Undertaker and Paul Bearer, Savage hypes an upcoming MSG show to benefit Somalia and their humanitarian campaign. A noble cause but Undertaker and Bearer cutting a promo about it felt real strange.
Marty Jannetty vs. Glen Ruth
Jannetty challenges former Rockers brother Shawn Michaels for the Intercontinental Champion this Sunday at the Royal Rumble but before then he has to meet the challenge of, uh, GLEN RUTH who we all remember a lot better as Thrasher of The Headbangers. I assume y’all were as obsessed with The Headbangers as I was a kid/pre-teen.
Ruth offers a handshake, then attacks Jannetty from behind like the jerk he is. Ruth runs into a back elbow and hits a bulldog from the middle turnbuckle. Both men are wearing VERY NEON tights; Ruth looks like he made his tights out of the wallpaper from The Max from Saved by the Bell. Shawn Michaels chimes in via phone to throw shade at Jannetty. Jannetty ducks a clothesline and hits one of his own, then takes Ruth to the mat for an armbar. Ruth attempts a backdrop, Jannetty counters with a suplex. Michaels vows to shake, rattle, and roll the heck out of Michaels and is confident Sherri will be in his corner because she’s like every woman and in love with him. Ruth manages to escape and apply a wristlock, bringing Jannetty to one knee. Jannetty rolls through and reverses, transitioning into a hammerlock, driving him to the mat. I assume they’re mat wrestling so Michaels can do his thing for the home audience. Michaels hangs up and Ruth gets in a couple rights before Jannetty goes back to work, whipping him hard into the corner. Jannetty with another hammerlock, Savage is still sad about his missing hat. Ruth escapes, Jannetty slides under his legs and hits the Rocker Dropper for the 1…2…3.
Marty Jannetty defeated Glen Ruth via pinfall with the Rocker Dropper (5:11)
- A somewhat competitive squash but a squash nonetheless, a highlight match for Jannetty heading into the Royal Rumble and an excuse for Shawn Michaels to cut a phone interview promo. Simple as that. (SQUASH)
After a Royal Rumble promo McMahon announces that Crush is now out of the Rumble match thanks to an attack by Doink The Clown over the weekend on WWF Superstars. Doink suckered him in with a flower of friendship then beat him down with a cast. As I stated on last week’s show heel Doink is the best. Savage mentions that the cast may have been filled with lead, making the attack even worse.
Cut to Sean Mooney outside of the Manhattan Center who’s with Repo Man. Repo has Savage’s hat with him. Savage wants to fight, Repo says what he does next will be worse. As bad as Monday Night Raw might become I’ll never forget we got a goddamn MACHO MAN/REPO MAN FEUD. Savage takes off from commentary to fight Repo as we go to the next segment.
The Royal Rumble Report
‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund is here for more Royal Rumble hype. First up is the WWF Championship match with a pre-taped promo from Razor Ramon who vows to add to his gold. Okerlund changes gears to the Rumble match, listing some of the participants including The Berzerker who really should have won one of these given that his whole schtick was throwing people over the top rope. Next up is some hype for Michaels/Jannetty, with the big question of which corner Sherri will be in during the match.
McMahon cuts to Sean Mooney outside of the Manhattan Center. Randy Savage is out there searching for Repo Man, almost getting run over by a taxi. I hope that taxi driver apologized before Savage found him and beat him half to death.
‘El Matador’ Tito Santana vs. ‘The Nature Boy’ Ric Flair
Santana getting stuck with that ‘El Matador’ gimmick still makes me real sad; I guess in theory it extended his shelf life with the company but he wasn’t a guy who needed something stupid like that to get over. The longtime fans loved Tito. Probably. I did, anyway. Also what sort of competent bullfighter uses NEON PINK instead of red? C’mooooooon. Bartlett compares Flair’s robe with something you’d buy from Victoria’s Secret. HERESEY. Savage returns to the booth just in time as the bell rings.
Flair jaws at Savage, who no sells it, then gets taken down with a shoulderblock by Santana. Loud ‘TITO’ chant as Santana takes Flair to the mat with a scoop slam and headlock takeover. Now we’re getting a ‘LET’S GO FLAIR’ chant from the older crowd. Flair escapes but eats a clothesline and dropkick, and Santana brings him back to the mat with a side headlock as we go to commercial.
Back live Santana reverses a corner Irish whip but Flair blocks the monkey flip attempt and rolls him up for a two-count. Flair with a Greco-Roman poke to the eye and some hidden closed fists right to the forehead. Flair connects with a kneedrop then jaws at Savage once more, still not letting go of his longstanding feud. Savage/Repo Man is made official for next week’s show as well. Santana reverses another corner Irish whip and connects with a backdrop. Flair begs off to the corner and Santana makes with the count-a-long rights in the corner. Flair with another thumb to the eye and he heads to the top, Santana slamming him off because OF COURSE HE DOES. Flair won ONE match with a flying crossbody back in 1983 and thinks he can do it again, gotta appreciate the stubbornness. Santana sends Flair to the floor and belts him with a clothesline. Santana rolls Flair back in and once again Flair begs for mercy. Santana responds with the mercy of a kick and a backdrop. They have different definitions of that word. Santana hits his Flying Forearm but decides to go for another and Flair ducks. Santana goes flying to the floor, and out comes Mr. Perfect. Perfect and Flair brawl, there’s no bell or result or anything but I stopped the clock when I stopped it.
Ric Flair defeated Tito Santana via DQ when Mr. Perfect interfered I guess? (6:20 shown)
- An enjoyable match with all of the Flair spots you could want and Santana bringing his brand of babyface fire. It’s a shame these two never headlined a show back in the 80s, I would have paid money to see it (or would have watched it years later on VHS when I was old enough to get into wrestling, whatever). Perfect’s interference made sense here, revenge for earlier in the night, and continuing their feud that began back in November of 1992. (**1/2)
After a commercial break the Perfect/Flair brawl returns to ringside as officials scramble to separate the two. Perfect gets forced to the back as McMahon gets some words from The Nature Boy. Flair challenges Perfect next week in a ‘Loser Leaves WWF’ match. Flair stops to hug and kiss a random lady in the audience, then continues his spiel and says Perfect will never see a day in which he beats Flair. Mr. Perfect makes his way out and accepts Flair’s challenge for next week without a second thought.
McMahon signs off but before the show ends proper Repo Man leaves the arena on a repo truck, Savage’s hat in hand and Bartlett’s car being towed away.
Final Thoughts: The wrestling was better this week, with both Perfect and Flair having good matches en route to setting up a helluva main event for next week’s show. Not a ton of Royal Rumble build here but this wasn’t a flagship quite yet so the whole ‘go-home’ show thing wasn’t really something the WWF was doing yet. Repo Man getting a quick feud with Randy Savage is TREMENDOUS, especially since it’s 1993 and I thought Repo Man was pretty much done at this point in terms of doing anything serious. What a nice surprise. Also Rob Bartlett was still pretty bad here but felt more toned down, so that was a plus as well. He may end up growing on me before he’s ousted out of the position. Okay he probably won’t but you never know.
- Best Match: Tito Santana vs. Ric Flair
- Worst Match: Marty Jannetty vs. Glen Ruth
- Best Moment: Repo Man attacks Randy Savage, steals his hat
- Worst Moment: Rob Bartlett tries to undercut Savage’s sell of Repo Man’s theft by yammering about his car. He wanted in on the action and I get that but he wasn’t the focus and needed to stop trying to make himself the focus.