Gleed's Retro Raw Blog - July 1993 Raw: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
By Haydn Gleed
What you should watch from Raw's in July 1993
Stars & Stripes Challenge: This was a nice change to the usual product that WWF was presenting at the time. They presented it well with the professional athletes participating in the work, and they built it up well for Lex Luger to move to the next level with a hot babyface turn. It didn't play out that way but they set the platform well for him.
Yokozuna vs Crush: This match was better than it had any right to be, and the post match injury angle was very well done. It put sympathy on Crush and put tremendous heat on the champion.
Jerry Lawler verbally attacking Stu and Helen Hart: This was fantastic. I can listen to the argument that it was cheap heat, but I don't agree. The arguments I've heard is that a wrestler shouldn't confront a member of the audience, and I completely agree with that. However, in this circumstance, this was a wrestlers parents, and Jerry Lawler was pitch perfect. At times, some people could be offended with how far he pushed it, but for my tastes it was brilliant. For me, the best thing that happened in July 1993 on Raw, and if you are going to watch anything on the network, watch the first 20 minutes of the July 26, 1993 show.
What you should avoid from Raw's in July 1993
Lex Express: The Lex Express has been mocked enough over the years, so I won't spend too long on this. Having re-watched in real time how it was all setup and how it is playing out, I'm left with the one question. What exactly was the point of the Lex Express? What was it's exact purpose from a storyline standpoint? As far as I could see, it got Lex Luger on a bus meeting people in select City's for 2 months without any real rhyme or reason. He got his title shot which was "led by people power" in July, so why does he feel the need to continue meeting more people and kissing more babies? This was the era when WWF were desperate to create the new Hulk Hogan, and they believed that this would be the vehicle (no pun intended) to propel Luger to that level, but it just didn't click with the audience. Oh, by the way Randy Orton, if you want to get a number 1 title shot, you don't have to get rid of Roman Reigns, you just need to take your tour bus all around the USA. Apparently that's how WWF/E give away their title shots.
Show Layout: I know I keep harping on about this, but the formula they used in 1993 really irks me. The most newsworthy event happens within the first 20 minutes, and the rest of the show is just pure filler with jobber match after jobber match. Someone emailed me suggesting it has to do with getting people hooked in the first 20 minutes that they want to watch more, and you use the rest of the show to build up for the following week. I can listen to that argument, but for my own personal tastes, it would be far better to leave fans going wow I can't wait for next week. For example, with the Yoko/Crush injury angle. We had the angle and the stretcher job, and by the end of the show we knew that Crush was ok, but winded and was going to a hospital for tests. If Raw had gone off the air with Crush being stretched out, you would have had people talking about is ok, what happened to him on Monday night after the show finished etc. I know it's pointless complaining about this now, but it does irk me.
Tiny Tim interview: Since writing my review of the show where he had an interview segment with Jerry Lawler, I looked at his history and I feel bad for ripping into the guy, especially with the way his life ended tragically a few years later. Saying that, this whole segment did not belong on a wrestling show. From the embarrassingly shy/timid performance from Tiny Tim when a microphone was put in front of him, to the over acting sell when the ukulele was smashed. This segment did not achieve a thing except make me want to send my resignation letter to the dot net board of directors.
Who was that wrestler?
Men On A Mission: During July 1993, we saw the debut of Men On A Mission as a trio. Men On A Mission (or M.O.M as I'll refer to them during this review) originated in PWF and USWA in the early 90s. Their original gimmick, with only Mabel and Mo as part of the team, were as a heel force due to their size and viciousness in the ring. When they were called to the WWF in 1993, they were repackaged as a babyface team, had a rapper by the name of Oscar added to their team, and were presented as men from the ghetto who were there to have fun. Indeed, their early reactions were great from the crowd, and the energy that Oscar brought to the group was plain to see.
The major criticism that I've always had with M.O.M, is they felt too fun loving, and too happy go lucky to be taken seriously as an in-ring threat. Look at Survivor Series 1993 (which I'll be reviewing around about the 21st anniversary time), they dressed up, along with another comedy team in the Bushwhackers, as four Doinks. The image of Mabel dressed up as a 400+ pound clown to this day gives me nightmares. But on a serious note, it destroyed any threat or credibility that the team had right there. As a team they won the WWF tag team titles and that was really the highlight of the trio. In March 1995, we will see that M.O.M turned The Smoking Guns, which was supposed to revive the failing gimmick and make Mo and Mabel more of a threat, but it was too little too late. During the turn, the duo beat up their rap manager Oscar, who was never seen again in WWF. He has since stated in the last five years that he was totally against the heel turn, so much so he refused to be part of it.
After M.O.M were released in early 1996, Mo (real name Robert Horne) never returned to the WWF/E. He wrestled in the independent scene and had stints in USWA and Memphis. He even feuded with his former M.O.M partner Mabel in 2003. He now occasionally stays in the business as a booker and is also a truck driver.
Mabel (real name Nelson Frazier, Jr.) was by far the most successful after M.O.M. During his stint as part of the group, he was seen as the wrestler with the most upside due to his size and mobility. He even won the 1995 King Of The Ring, a move seen by fans as one of the worst booking decisions of all time. After the groups release in early 1996, he went onto the independent scene, wrestling in North and South America. He also made a one night only appearance for ECW in November 1998. He also made a one off appearance in WWF in 1998 to challenge the then King Of The Ring Ken Shamrock.
He made his full time return to the promotion in 1999, after a memorable appearance in the Royal Rumble, where he was kidnapped by the Undertaker led faction Ministry Of Darkness. He was repacked as the enforcer of the group and given the name Viscera. He would only stay in the company for 19 months before again being released in August 2000.
After a few appearances on TNA and wrestling around the independent scene, he was again re-hired by WWE in 2004. He returned as Viscera, but during his 4 year stint with the company, went through a number of gimmick changes, including "The Worlds Largest Love Machine" and Big Daddy V. The later, was the repackaged gimmick he was given when he was part of the WWE re-launched ECW brand. His final match in WWE was against CM Punk in March 2008.Frazier sadly died of a heart attack in February of this year, a few days after his 43rd birthday.
M.O.M and it's members are not fondly remembered by the wrestling community, and they have every reason to feel this way. For me personally, I always enjoyed the gimmick, but it was also an opportunity lost with these guys. They could definitely wrestle, and if they hadn't been saddled with such a comedy gimmick from the get go, or showed more viciousness as part of their characters after the bell rings (ala Public Enemy), they wouldn't be seen with as much negativity as the majority of the fans do looking back.
-There were four Raw's in total in July 1993, with a total of 1 hour 30 minutes and 8 seconds.
-With the ad's taken out, the four Raw's totalled 2 hours and 41 minutes and 53 seconds of TV time. This meant that roughly 56% of the shows had in-ring content. In comparison to May this is one percent less.
-In total, there were 17 matches on the four Raw's, meaning over four matches per show.
-The longest match was the 17 minute match between Bret Hart and Bam Bam Bigelow, where Jerry Lawler was making his heel comments towards Bret's parents. The second longest match was Shawn Michaels vs. Marty Jannetty at 13 minutes and 50 seconds and the third longest match was Yokozuna vs Crush at 11 minutes 12 seconds. These three matches out of the 17 made up 47% of the in ring time during July 1993.
-Bam Bam Bigelow had the most in ring time during July, with 17 minutes and 42 seconds.....although those two matches were 17 minutes against Bret Hart and 42 seconds against jobber Joey Maggs
-Bam Bam Bigelow, Mr Hughes, and 1-2-3 Kid shared the honours of most times wrestled on Raw in July 1993, with all three men wrestling twice.
-Only one match had a screwy finish and that was Bam Bam Bigelow vs Bret Hart. Also, this was the only match not to have a pinfall at the finish, with this match ending in a countout.
-Dolph Ziggler would have become a teenager on July 27, 1993.
-One Welsh retro reviewer has decided that he hates the Bastion Booger character more than any other wrestler in the known universe. He certainly does not hold the cosmic key.
Have you watched the Raw's from July 1993? Disagree/Agree? Or just want to chat or get my opinion. Send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or hit my up on twitter @haydngleed
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