WWE Raw Retro Coverage - March 1, 1993: Bret Hart defends the WWF Championship against Fatu, Money Inc. respond to the Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake, Lex Luger faces a former ECW Champion, The Steiner Brothers in action
By Haydn Gleed
WWE Raw on the USA Network
â€¨New York City, New York at the Manhattan Center
Raw opened with a shot of the Manhattan Center and The Hitman Bret Hartâ€™s music playing. Vince welcomed us to Monday Night Raw, and he was joined by The Macho Man Randy Savage and Rob Bartlett, who was apparently trying to be Elvis.
Bret Hart made his entrance and the crowd were going nuts for him. His challenger, who was already in the ring, was Fatu who would later go on and become Rikishi in the late 90s. He was joined by his manager Afa. Bret did his give his sunglasses to the kids shtick. Bret seemed to have a big cut on the side of his nose pre-match.
1. Bret "The Hitman" Hart vs. Fatu (w/Afa) for the WWF Championship. Afa was on the outside, showing a shrunken skull to the camera, as you do. Both men circled each other before locking up. Fatu used his power to push Bret back into the corner. Bret came off the ropes, tried to shoulder charge Fatu but got knocked down. Fatu came off the ropes tried to drop an elbow, but Bret moved, and put him in an armbar. Fatu made his way to his feet, whipped Bret into the corner, charged after him, went for an elbow in the head, but Bret moved, armdrag and back into the armbar.
Fatu again made his way to his feet, whipped Bret into the ropes and both men collided. Bret ran the ropes again, shoulder charged Fatu who this time got knocked off his feet. In a really cool spot, Bret ran the ropes again but fell to the ground as if his knee gave out. With Fatu distracted, Bret rolled him up for a really close two count.
Bret put Fatu in an armbar again, but Fatu went to powerslam him, but Bret held on to Fatuâ€™s arm and turned it into an armdrag while still applying the armbar. Fatu whipped Bret into the ropes, went for a big clothesline but missed, he ducked in front of Bret ready for a back body drop, Bret caught him and face-planted him to the mat, but Fatu popped right back up and superkicked him. At the time, Fatu and his tag team partner Samuâ€™s gimmick was that they no sold any blows to the head, so this played into that.
Fatu covered Bret for a two count. He picked Bret up, whipped him into the ropes, Bret tried to counter, but Fatu hit him with an awesome looking clothesline. With Bret on the mat, Fatu applied a nerve grip on Bretâ€™s shoulder. Macho Man reminded us that this was a title match.
Bret made his way to his feet, but Fatu cut off his comeback by grabbing the hair and he pulled Bret back to the mat and re-applied the nerve grip. Fatu elbowed Bret in the face and went for the cover for only a two count. Samu made his way down the aisle as Bret was whipped into the ropes, Fatu went for a clothesline, Bret ducked, and hit Fatu with a flying bodypress. Fatu kicked out forcefully, which sent Bret to the outside.
Afa climbed to the apron to distract the ref, while Samu on the outside powerslammed Bret to the floor. He hit a couple of headbutts, before throwing Bret, face first, into the steel steps as the show went to a commercial.
When the show returned after the break, we had a camera angle on the ground behind Bret on the floor, with Bret almost out cold. Vince stated that Fatu, Samu and Afa have done a fantastic job of distracting the official. As Bret got to his feet, Fatu was there to meet him, he attacked him some more before throwing him back into the ring.
Back in the ring, Fatu hit a headbutt. Bret stumbled to the corner where Fatu hit a couple of elbows in the face. He whipped him across the ring with force and Bret took a hell of a whack into the turnbuckle. Fatu picked Bret up, and hit a backbreaker. Close two count. The cut on Bret, which I noticed at the start of the match, was busted open.
Fatu hit a piledriver, Fatu stalled with the pin but when he covered him he only got a two count. Fatu bit the nose of Bret. Bret got whipped across the ring, again with force, but Bret took the bump to the chest. That looked like it hurt!
Again, Fatu stalled and only got a two count. Side suplex from Fatu, who then climbed onto the second rope and hit a headbutt. Fatu climbed to the top but was unstable on his feet, Bret got to his feet and hit him with a shot to the gut, which caused Fatu to lose his balance and he straddled the top rope. Bret hit a superplex from the top rope and got a very very close two count.
Bret picked him up and hit a bulldog, and another close two count. Bret hit a side backbreaker before hitting an elbow off the second rope. He then setup for the sharpshooter, but Afa was on the ring apron distracting the ref. Samu came in from behind and socked Bret. Fatu rolled out of the ring, so Samu was the man covering Bret. The commentators were going nuts, apart from Bartlett who was still doing his Elvis impression.
A recovered Fatu came into the ring, but Bret caught him. Bret tried to apply a sleeper as Samu tried to interfere. Bret pushed Fatu into Samu who went over the top rope, catching his neck in the top and middle rope. Bret hit a Russian leg sweep on Fatu, and then dropkicked Afa off the ring apron.
With Samu in the hangman position, and Afa on the floor, Bret hooked in the sharpshooter and Fatu tapped.
Bret Hart beat Fatu via submission to retain the WWF Championship in 15:06.
Retro Verdict: I really enjoyed this match. I knew obviously what the outcome was going to be, but at some points I managed to suspend my disbelief. Good use of the tag team partner and the manager to cause distraction, and Bret looked fantastic coming away victorious despite the odds that were stacked against him.
The commentators were shown, and Rob, sorry Elvis, is tucking into some popcorn and hotdogsâ€¦
We are then shown a video, with the WrestleMania IX them song. Mene Gene ran down the WrestleMania 9 card, including The Mega Maniacs against Money Inc., Tatanka and Shawn Michaels in the IC match and the main event Bret Hart against Yokozunaâ€¦
Retro Verdict: I actually still own the CD single of the WWF WrestleMania song, I know that is really sad. If you donâ€™t know what Iâ€™m talking about, do yourself a favour and watch/listen to it on Youtube.com.
Back from the commercial, Rob Bartlett was still stuffing his face with popcorn. Vince said we have a linkup to Crush, who we saw was standing on a beach shirtless. The commentators and Crush went back and for a bit joking about the weather. Vince asked about Crushâ€™s thoughts about his WrestleMania match against Doink, Crush said he will show us what his thoughts are about the match. He picked up a coconut and crushed it until it exploded.
Doink made his entrance while squirting the crowd with his water pistol flower. He was holding a gift, and he offered to give it to some of the crowd members. Every time they reached for it, he pulled it away. Koko B Ware, and his bright pants, made their entrance.
2. Doink vs. Koko B Ware. Before the bell could ring, Doink attacked Koko from behind. He targeted the knee immediately, and hit several elbows and kicks to soften it up. Koko, was trying to get to his feet, but he was selling his knee being injured.
Doink grabbed Kokoâ€™s leg and put pressure on the knee. Doink released the hold as Koko crawled across the ring. Doink went back to the leg, but not before he grabbed the bright green pants and looked towards the crowd with a shocked look on his face.
Doink applied more pressure to the knee, while Koko was trying to kick out at Doink. Doink applied the Stump Puller, and Koko gave up instantly.
Doink beat Koko B Ware in 1:47 via submission.
Retro Verdict: Doink looked bad ass in this match, going straight after the knee and continuing to attack it. This led logically to the submission hold being applied and Koko instantly giving up. Doink got a huge laugh out of this viewer with the look on his face as he was studying the bright green pants of Koko.
After the match, Rob Bartlett as Elvis grabbed a microphone and called Doink over. Doink was looking at Rob strangely. Rob asked Doink what was in the box, was it something to eat? Doink asked if he was hungry. He opened up the gift he brought to the ring earlier, and it was a custard cream pie. Behind Robâ€™s back, Doink had another one, as Rob turned around Doink shoved the pie right into his face. The crowd popped big time for that.
Retro Verdict: WWF just turned Doink babyface in my eyes. In all seriousness, though, so far Doink got the biggest pop of the night, even though heâ€™s a heel going up against a babyface Crush at WrestleMania. Bit weird.
Vince promoted a special interview with Money Inc for after the breakâ€¦
After the commercial, Vince was in the ring, and introduced Money Inc. The crowd were chanting Irwin in a mocking tone. Once in the ring, Vince asked DiBiase if he had heard the comments of the Mega Maniacs. Ted said before he got to them, he wanted to discuss an article in USA today that really disturbed him. He talked about an executive at American Express being let go and only getting a mere $730,000 a year in retirement money. Vince interjected and said you are upset about that? He said it is a slap in the face $1.1 million in severance pay. DiBiase said that heâ€™s getting pocket change.
Vince brought it back to the feud with the Mega Maniacs. DiBiase said itâ€™s very simply, itâ€™s all liability and assets. Ted said he thought he had heard the last of that music, that he had rode off into the sunset, but no he came out of retirement to the aid of his good friend Brutus. He said, Hoganâ€™s been away for a year in Hollywood, making movies, making commercials and that he thinks heâ€™s gone soft. He talked about losses, and that Hogan took the biggest loss from them. Jimmy Hart was an over paid gopher, as in go for this and go for that.
Vince asked IRS about what he did to Brutus with the briefcase. As he was about to answer, the crowd started the Irwin chant again, which caused IRS to scream shut up at the crowd. Irwin said all he did was give Beefcake a wake up call. He said they are caring people. He wanted to explain to Hogan, he saw what they did to Brutus, whatâ€™s to stop them from doing the same to him with the same weapon.
Vince asked if they were going to put their titles on the line against them. Ted asked the crowd if they should put the titles up, to which the crowd reacted positively. Ted asked if they should be afraid of Hogan? Not a chance, he thinks Hogan is soft, and he called Brutus the weak link. He said not only will they put their titles up, but they will put them up on the biggest stage of them all at WrestleMania 9 in Las Vegas. IRS said that like they say in Vegas, Beefcake, Hogan and Jimmy Hart, the odds are against you...
Retro Verdict: Did American Express upset the WWF at the time or something? No idea what that first part of the promo was about. Aside from that, good promo from Money Inc. I always thought that Ted DiBiase was excellent at what he did, but I was impressed with the heel work put in by Irwin. Firstly, on the way to the ring I noticed he was moving out of the way making sure that the fans didnâ€™t get to interact with him in anyway, and then owned the Irwin chant by telling them to shut up. Good stuff.
Back from the break, "The Narcissist" Lex Lugerâ€™s music was playing and he made his entrance. Lex looked at himself in the mirror on the outside as he took his cloak off. His opponent who was already in the ring, was P J Walker, who is now better known as Justin Credible.
Retro Verdict: You have to check out this episode to see Justin with a full head of hair, itâ€™s awesome! I literally did a double take when I saw him.
3. The Narcissist Lex Luger vs. P J Walker. They went to lock up, but Luger hit P J in the stomach with a knee. He shot him across the ring at full speed, and you could almost feel the impact of Walker bouncing off the turnbuckles. Luger repeated this and shot P J across to the other turnbuckle.
Vince introduced Bobby "The Brain Heenen" who was on the phone line. Vince asked if Heenen was aware that Elvis was at Raw. Heenen made some comment about him not being Elvis and he can prove it, so he put on some lady on the phone who pretended to be Pricilla Presley, I donâ€™t know whatâ€™s going on there.
Back in the ring, Lex was brutally taking apart P J, and Walker is selling it like heâ€™s getting a real beating. Lex picked P J up as if to bodyslam him but rested him upside down on the turnbuckle. He put in about five or six kicks to the upside down Walker. Brain brought the conversation back to normality, by saying that Lex is going to show Mr Perfect what real perfection is. As P J Walker was trying to get up, Luger was punt kicking him in the mid section. He picked him up, shot him into the ropes and hit the forearm to the face which knocked out P J. Lex covered P J with his pinky and the referee counted the 1-2-3.
The Narcissist Lex Luger beat P J Walker via pinfall in 3:16
Retro Verdict: Squash match, but P J sold everything well and made Luger look brutal. I donâ€™t really know what to make of the silliness of Bobbyâ€™s phone call. At least he got in the fact that Luger was facing Perfect at WrestleMania.
The Steiner Brothers were out next, and were slapping hands with the crowd down the aisle. In the ring was their opponents Barry Hardy and Duane Gill. Duane would later in 90s go on to play the part of Gillberg, a mock of Goldberg in WCW at the time. He would come out for his matches, and be scared of his own pyro. It was brilliant in a bad way.
4. The Steiner Brothers vs. Barry Hardy and Duane Gill. Scott and Barry started the match, with Scott aggressively going for an armbar and then a leg take down. Barry is put into a headlock until he manages to shoot Scott into the ropes, but he got shoulder charged down. Scott did a big belly to belly suplex on Hardy. Rick was tagged into the ring, and whipped Hardy into the ropes. Hardy held onto the top rope, and gestured to the crowd that he was using his head. He turned around and got clotheslined over the top by Rick. Rick had a massive smile on his face, as Scott threw Barry back into the ring.
Rick picked up Hardy and ran to the turnbuckle, forcing Barry into the turnbuckle belly first. Rick threw Barry into his corner, and Duane was tagged in. Gill charged at Rick but got a huge back body drop for his troubles. Duane got some serious air time then. Rick picked him up and hit a big backbreaker. Scott was tagged in, he put an armbar on Duane, and then hit him with a big kick to the face. Scott charged towards Hardy and knocked him off the ring apron. Duane got whipped to the ropes, and Scott hit a drop kick. Rick tagged back in and beat Gill down to the mat. Scott was tagged in and got a big power bomb and played to the crowd. He whipped Duane into the ropes and hit a Hurricanrana (which I believe they called the frankinsteiner) and got the pinfall.
The Steiner Brothers beat Barry Hardy & Duane Gill at 4:06
Retro Verdict: Any time Iâ€™ve reviewed a Steiner Brothers match from the first three months of Raw, Iâ€™ve had to use the word big and insert your move here. I remember them being impressive in the WWF at this time, but I forgot how brutal their matches were, and I am really enjoying them I have to be honest. This match was no exception.
Vince wanted to thank Elvis for joining them, and announced that next week, we would see Money Inc. against El Matador and Virgil. Macho Man said he was looking forward to Mr Perfect vs The Model.
Retro Verdict: All in all, I really enjoyed this Raw. There was nothing particularly newsworthy about it, but the Bret Hart vs Fatu match was really good, the other matches were squashes but they made the winners look strong, and we got a pretty decent promo from Money Inc.
I didnâ€™t hate Rob Bartlettâ€™s impression of Elvis throughout the show. It was silly, unnecessary and cheesy, but I did find myself smirking every so often with some thingâ€™s that he said. Iâ€™m hoping the next Raw heâ€™s not doing it, but for this one week, I actually quite enjoyed Rob Bartlettâ€™s work.
If you have any feedback, I would love to hear it. Send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me up on Twitter at Twitter.com/haydngleed. You can also search for me on Facebook.
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