Venue: Mahattan Center (Manhattan, NY)
Commentators: Vince McMahon, Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan, & Rob Bartlett
RAW gets its first big show this week as Mr. Perfect takes on ‘The Nature Boy’ Ric Flair in a ‘Loser Leaves WWF’ match in the main event. Also on the show Randy Savage takes a break from commentary to get revenge on Repo Man, Kamala faces a WWF jobber institution, and we find out what happened at last night’s Royal Rumble. Or you can read my recap by clicking the link you’re reading with your face.
- WWF Champion: Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart
- WWF Intercontinental Champion: Shawn Michaels
- WWF World Tag Team Champions: Money Inc. (‘The Million Dollar Man’ Ted DiBiase & Irwin R. Schyster)
- Randy Savage vs. Repo Man (*1/2)
- Kamala vs. The Brooklyn Brawler (SQUASH)
- Loser Leaves WWF: Perfect vs. Ric Flair (***3/4)
Sean Mooney is outside the Manhattan Center. The same tow truck from last week screeches into the shot and out pops Repo Man, who promises to repossess Randy Savage’s career like he did with his hat. Ha!
After the opening video we cut to inside the Manhattan Center where stalwarts Vince McMahon and Rob Bartlett are joined by Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan at ringside, Heenan replacing Savage this week since he’s wrestling. They go into full hype mode for the two big matches on the show, Heenan giddy at the prospect of sworn enemy Mr. Perfect potentially being forced out of the WWF at the end of the night.
‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage vs. Repo Man
Savage doesn’t get an introduction, opting to instead attack Repo from behind during the latter’s entrance. Action quickly moves outside where Savage connects with a kneedrop. Back inside Savage blatantly rips at Repo’s face as the commentators talk about Savage coming within an inch of winning the Royal Rumble the night before. Not sure if they did that at the show (this is taped) or it’s post-production. Savage sends Repo back to the floor and wants to hit a flying double axhandle but he’s stopped by the ref. Captain No Fun is our official apparently. Repo tries to bail, Savage pulls him back to ringside and rolls him back in. Repo begs off in the corner, Savage stomps and chokes him with his boot. Repo rolls to the floor and blocks a stair shot, ramming Savage into the wood as well as the ring post. Repo with a corner Irish whip and a blatant choke, then goes into a bodyscissors with a chinlock. Savage escapes and catches a boot as we go to commercial.
Back live and Repo is back in control, yelling at a kid in the crowd. Repo with a snapmare followed by a standing legdrop for a two-count. Repo slaps on another bodyscissors, Savage escapes via rope break but gets dropped with a clothesline before he can do anything. Repo with a belly-to-back suplex but weirdly enough gets stunned himself and takes too long to cover for a two-count. The commentators talk about the Presidential inauguration last week, getting horny over Hillary Clinton (pretty funny nowadays considering McMahon’s Trump connections) then Bartlett does a quick impression of Rush Limbaugh which is actually on point so color me surprised. Savage mounts a quick comeback and connects with a scoop slam, following up with a Flying Elbowdrop for the 1…2…3.
Randy Savage defeated Repo Man via pinfall with the Flying Elbowdrop (9:00 shown)
- I’m hyped that this match and mini-feud exists but unfortunately the actual contest itself was pretty bland once Repo took over on offense. Also Savage winning out of nowhere after mounting a lightning quick comeback threw me off a little. Again I love that there was a Savage/Repo feud over a hat but the match left a lot to be desired. (*1/2)
Savage throws Repo out of the ring and he wants to hit his flying double axhandle but once again officials stop him, so he settles for getting his hat back instead.
A promo airs for WrestleMania IX, which will be held outdoors at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, NV. McMahon puts over how family-friendly Vegas is now to entice his audience (and their kids) to buy tickets. NO ONE WANTS TO GO TO A FAMILY-FRIENDLY LAS VEGAS, VINCE. They flash a telephone number on the screen, which isn’t blocked by that WWE Network ‘Phone Number No Longer Active’ graphic so maybe it still works? I’m not going to find out, I got in enough trouble when I was 6 and tried to order tickets with my parents’ credit card.
Kamala [w/ ‘Reverend’ Slick] vs. The Brooklyn Brawler
Kamala recently turned babyface for the first time in the gimmick’s history thanks to Slick, former hustler turned preacher, who is trying to reform him and make him realize he’s a man, not a monster. Kamala is taking on The Brooklyn Brawler, one of the WWF’s greatest enhancement talents and one of the few who had a gimmick. He had a brush with mid-card glory back in 1989 under the tutelage of Heenan but that didn’t last long.
Brawler attacks Kamala early but dodges a corner splash. He tries to slam Kamala but he’s too big and Kamala reverses it into a slam of his own. Kamala belts Brawler with a kick and a seated splash in the corner. Crowd chants ‘YOU ARE A MAN’ at Kamala, this goofy gimmick may have been more over than I remember. Kamala tries to cover Brawler but Brawler is face-down on the mat and it doesn’t count. Poor guy. Kamala charges at Brawler but slips so he pretends like he was going for another inverted lateral press. Nice! Kamala connects with a splash and repeatedly rolls Brawler around trying to figure out how a pinfall works until he gets it right for the 1…2…3.
Kamala defeated The Brooklyn Brawler via pinfall with a splash (3:34)
- A fun squash with Slick and the crowd trying to help Kamala successfully execute a pinfall throughout. It was weirdly endearing and ignoring the whole ‘TAME THE SAVAGE’ trope which hasn’t aged well and is pretty gross when you think about it, I can see why people got on board. Just wait until Slick tries to teach Kamala how to boll, that’s where the real fun starts. (SQUASH)
McMahon leaves the commentary table for a post-match interview with Kamala and Slick. Slick credits the WWF UNIVERSE (not a thing, yet) for helping to convert Kamala. He warns Kim Chee and Harvey Wippleman to stay away because he will not responsible for what Kamala does to them if he sees them.
Post-Royal Rumble Report
‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund is here to tell what happened on last night’s show, which will be available on VHS come February 11th. Okerlund announces Yokozuna as the winner of the Royal Rumble and he will be facing Bret Hart (if he manages to hold onto the belt) for the WWF Championship at WrestleMania IX. Okerlund also talks about the debuts of The Narcissist (Lex Luger) and Giant Gonzalez. We don’t get any stills or anything because I think this was taped before that PPV even aired.
Heenan tries to hit on the RAW Girls on commentary as we go to some Promotional Consideration Paid for by the Following: ICOPro and Slim Jim once again. Ric Flair heads to the ring for the main event and Heenan leaves commentary to see him, Bartlett accusing them of being gay in so many words. YOU CAN HAVE MALE FRIENDS, DORK. He was doing so well too.
Loser Leaves WWF
Mr. Perfect vs. ‘The Nature Boy’ Ric Flair
After initially taking a break due to back issues in 1991 Mr. Perfect was moved into a role as an advisor for Ric Flair, overseeing The Nature Boy through his two runs as WWF Champion. Things changed in November of 1992 when Perfect made an about face and returned to the ring, teaming with Randy Savage to defeat Flair and Razor Ramon at the Survivor Series. Perfect and Flair have been at odds ever since and this is the big blow-off match. Winner says, loser goes.
Flair shoves Perfect, Perfect shoves Flair, McMahon throws in a plug for the Sci-Fi Channel because why the hell not. Flair takes Perfect to the mat with a shoulderblock, Perfect responds with a drop toehold and then slaps The Nature Boy in the face. Flair bails to the floor and Heenan tries to hand him the timekeeper’s hammer. Not sure if it was successful or not. Back in the ring Flair escapes a hammerlock by backing Perfect to the corner and connecting with a back elbow. They trade chops, Perfect winning the war and causing a Flair Flop. Flair connects with a side headlock takeover but Perfect quickly escapes and we’re back to square one, both men trying to still feel each other out. Flair hits a couple of closed fists, Perfect responds with a couple of chops and a left jab. Flair bails to the corner to stop the momentum. Flair pokes Perfect in the eye and sends him flying out to the floor. Flair’s attempt to use a chair is thwarted as we go to commercial.
Back live Flair throws Perfect so hard into the corner that he flips over the buckles and hits the floor, cracking his head against the post. Flair pulls a busted open Perfect back in for clenched fists and a corner Irish whip that Perfect oversells by flipping. Flair applies a chinlock and tries to keep the shoulders down, his feet on the rope. The ref sees the ropes shaking and Flair pleads innocence. Perfect reverses a corner Irish whip and wallops Flair, rolling him up for the 1…2…Flair barely kicks out. Perfect counters a hip toss and after a struggle brings Flair over with a backslide for the 1…the 2…the FLAIR KICKS OUT and Heenan almost has a stroke. Perfect connects with a backdrop out of the corner, Flair begs for mercy but doesn’t get any. Perfect with corner mount rights, Flair escapes with an atomic drop and rolls Perfect up for the 1…2…kickout. Flair bails to the floor to collect himself, Perfect suplexes him back in for the 1…2…Flair gets his shoulder up. Flair applies a sleeperhold near the center of the ring and Perfect almost passes out but finds his second wind. Perfect escapes by sending Flair head-first into the buckle and almost goes for a leap frog but instead drives him to the mat with a sleeperhold. Messy-looking but a nice correction mid-move. Flair repeatedly almost passes out but gets his shoulder up when it counts to avoid being pinned. Flair escapes with a belly-to-back suplex and both men down. Flair slaps on the Figure Four, grabbing the ropes for leverage behind the ref’s back. The ref finally catches him and forces the break. Flair brings Perfect to the mat with a snapmare and heads to the top, Perfect slams him off as Heenan screams in terror and we go to another commercial.
Back live once again, Heenan pleading with Flair to get up. A limping Perfect gets held back by the ref, Flair grabs a foreign object out of his kneepad and wallops him with it. Flair drops an elbow and covers for the 1…2…Perfect has his foot on the rope (he did before the count even happen). Flair grabs the leg and covers again for the 1…2…NOPE. Flair tries to re-open Perfect’s head wound with a series of right hands. Bartlett speaks up for the first time, seemingly impressed by the match he’s watching. Perfect no-sells some offense and launches into a comeback. Flair sends Perfect into the corner, Flair flips over and comes off the top with an axhandle but Perfect pie-faces him on the way down and covers for the 1…2…NOPE! Flair sweeps the legs and rolls Perfect up, feet on the ropes, for the 1…2…NOPE. Flair keeps trying until the ref kicks his legs off and Perfect reverses the roll-up for the 1…2…NOPE. Flair and Perfect collide, Perfect connects with the Perfect Plex for the 1…2…3! Ric Flair is out of here and Heenan absolutely LOSES IT on commentary.
Mr. Perfect defeated Ric Flair via pinfall with the Perfect Plex (17:53 shown)
- A really good match with both men trying their hardest to win given the stakes. I could feel the drama with every nearfall, and Flair’s continual attempts to cheat his way to victory were deliciously desperate. There was some sloppiness to some spots due what appeared like miscommunication but in some ways it made the match feel more real. Flair actually would leave the WWF after this, heading back home to WCW where he would remain until the company folded in 2001 (oh, uh, spoilers for #everyNITROever I guess), but he’s a professional dammit and made sure to help make a guy on his way out. People seem to REALLY love this match and while my enthusiasm isn’t necessarily on that level I did enjoy this one a lot. (***3/4)
Heenan freaks out on commentary, bleeps and everything, and leaves the table in a huff to check on The Nature Boy. Heenan raises Flair’s hand in mock victory then leaves with him to the back, Perfect soaking in the win with the fans.
After a promo for WWF Mania and a commercial we’re back and McMahon says that while Flair is technically gone President Jack Tunney is making him honor his commitments this weekend before leaving for good. Smart cover for the shows with Flair they already have in the can. McMahon then hypes a match between Typhoon and Doink The Clown for next week’s show, which almost sounds like a threat to be honest. And that ends this episode.
Final Thoughts: This is an important episode in the history of RAW as it featured the first truly great match in the show’s history between Perfect and Flair, showcasing just what kind of action this new show had the potential to deliver. Granted they followed it up with announcement of a match between Typhoon and Doink but hey you can’t win them all? Perfect and Flair dominated most of the show, and deservedly so, and is the only thing worth remembering from this one sadly. I wish that Savage/Repo Man match was better, I really do.
- Best Match: Perfect vs. Ric Flair
- Worst Match: Randy Savage vs. Repo Man
- Best Moment(s): Bobby Heenan loses his sh*t after Perfect wins, Rob Bartlett keeps things to a minimum to let McMahon and Heenan do their thing on commentary. HOWEVER…
- Worst Moment: Rob Bartlett accuses Flair and Heenan of being gay because they’re friends. YOU WERE SO CLOSE, MAN.