Welcome back to the RAW Rewind. My apologies for not posting a column last week. I was away for a few days and just didn’t have the time to get one done when I got back. I’m back now and this week we have the RAW in-ring debut of the WWF Champion so let’s get started.
WWF RAW 3/1/1993
WWF Championship Match- Bret Hart defeated Fatu to retain the Championship (**1/4)
This was a nice showcase win for Bret heading into his title defense against Yokozuna at WrestleMania. Even though you knew Fatu wasn’t going to win, he had a couple nice near falls to add a little drama to the match. Hart controlled the match early by working on Fatu’s arm but then he made a near fatal mistake. He slammed Fatu’s face into the mat. We all know you can’t do that to a Samoan. That revived Fatu and he took control of the match. Fatu was able to keep control of the bout with the aid of his partner, Samu and manager, Afa.
You can’t hold a good Champion down for long and Hart got himself back in the match with a suplex from the second rope. Hart locked in the Sharpshooter and looked like he was about to retain his title. Afa got on the apron to distract the referee. This allowed Samu to come in and replace Fatu in the match. Samu nearly won the WWF Championship after decking Hart from behind but The Hitman kicked out at two. Afa got up on the apron again to allow Fatu to switch with Samu. Hart took control of the situation by dumping Samu out of the ring and the locking the Sharpshooter in on Fatu to get the submission win after 12 minutes. During the end sequence of the match, Samu’s neck was trapped in between the ropes. Earl Hebner didn’t know if he should help Samu or go finish the match. He finished the match.
This type of match is what made WWF/E different than the product they put out today. RAW has been on the air two months up to this point and this is just the second time the WWF Champion has been on the show. Back then, appearances by the Champion on free TV weren’t a regular happening. It was special when you got to see the Champion on TV. Now, the Champion is on TV every week, sometimes two or three times and they lose that special feeling that you’re getting a treat to see the biggest star in the company.
Also, they used to hold title matches where the Champion would face one half of an established tag team on a semi-regular basis. Of course you knew the challenger wouldn’t win but it was still cool to see a title match on RAW. I always say that WWE should do more WWE Title matches on RAW. It makes the Champion seem dominant by defending and retaining his belt more. They don’t all have to be against PPV worthy contenders but matches like this. If John Cena defended the World Heavyweight Championship against Jack Swagger that would be a good thing in my opinion. You know Jack isn’t winning but it makes the show seem more important that a major title was defended on it.
Ok, enough of that. Back to 1993.
Mean Gene hosts the WrestleMania Report where we learn that Money Inc. has challenged Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake to a match at WrestleMania. Gene says we will get the Mega-Maniacs answer this weekend. Also they announce two new matches for WrestleMania. Shawn Michaels defending the Intercontinental Title against Tatanka and Lex Luger vs. Mr. Perfect.
Rob Bartlett is dressed up like Elvis this week doing an Elvis impersonation on commentary. This is the stuff you dealt with in the WWF in the mid 90s.
The announce team catches up with Crush in Hawaii. Crush just happens to be coming out of the ocean at the time and can seemingly hear and converse with Vince McMahon. Vince asks Crush for a prediction in his match with Doink at WrestleMania. Crush picks up a conveniently placed coconut and well, crushes it.
Doink beat Koko B Ware via Submission (SQUASH)
The match didn’t even last two minutes. Doink totally annihilated the future Hall of Famer. That’s a bigger joke than a wrestling clown. Anyway, Doink put the Bird Man away with the Stump Puller.
“Elvis” interviews Doink after the match. Doink has a gift box for Elvis. He pulls a pie out of the box and smashes it in Elvis’ face. Oh the comedy.
After the commercial, Vince McMahon is in the ring for an interview with the Tag Team Champions, Money Inc. Instead of talking about something relevant, Ted DiBiase talks about the CEO of American Express getting $700,000 a year in retirement pay. Anyway, Vince steers them back to wrestling and DiBiase says that the secret is out, Money Inc. has challenged the Mega-Maniacs to a match. He says that he’s not mad they took Jimmy Hart from them because all he was to them was an overpaid gopher. I.R.S. shows off his newly christened “Beefcase” and then DiBiase reveals that the challenge includes the Tag Team Titles being on the line because Hogan is soft and Beefcake is the weak link after the two have been out of action for a combined three years. Decent promo to further the Money Inc./Mega-Maniacs feud. I forgot how much heat I.R.S. got with those “Irrrwiiin” chants.
Lex Luger pinned P.J. Walker (SQUASH)
The match was just what you’d thought it would be. Luckily it didn’t take up too much time. Luger knocked out Walker with a forearm shot and pinned him with a pinky.
After the match, Luger makes fun of Walker using some big words that he clearly just memorized before coming out to the ring.
The Steiner Brothers beat Duane Gill and Barry Hardy (SQUASH)
Before the match, Vince referred to the Steiners as “Rob and Scott”. Good job, Vince. The Steiners tossed around and clotheslined the soon to be known as Gillberg and Hardy before Scott got the win with the FrankenSteiner.
There’s ways a squash match can be fun, see this Steiners match and there’s ways a squash can be boring, see Luger’s match.
As Vince and crew sign off, he tells us that the Tag Team Champions will be in action and Mr. Perfect will face Rick Martel.
The show started off hot with a WWF Championship match and then followed that up with three squash matches. The only kind of storyline progression we got was the Money Inc. interview that let us know they wanted to defend their titles against Hogan and Beefcake at WrestleMania. The lack of storyline progression was a real problem in RAW’s early days. Some will tell you that hasn’t changed much. The 3/1/93 RAW gets a 4/10.
Oh and remember that Undertaker/Skinner match from last week that was still going on when the show was going off the air? The one that they said you would have to wait until this episode of RAW to find out the winner of? Yeah, there was no mention of it.
(That’s what she said.)
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Thank you for reading.