WWE Raw Retro Coverage â€“ March 8, 1993: Hulk Hogan sings...badly, Mr. Perfect vs. "The Model" Rick Martel, Money Inc., Papa Shango, Bob Backlund, and Mr Perfect in action as WrestleMania 9 hype kicks into overdrive
By Haydn Gleed
WWE Raw on the USA Networkâ€¨
New York City, New York at the Manhattan Centre
Raw opened the show with the Mega Maniacs cutting a promo backstage. Hulk Hogan stated that at WrestleMania, they would face Money Inc for the tag team titles. He said that Jimmy Hart had proven that he is one of the biggest Hulkamaniacs. Jimmy Hart said he was asked to go out and get a contract signed and thatâ€™s what he did. He teased that he knew of all Money Inc.â€™s strong points, but also their weaknesses.
Hulk brought up what Money Inc. said about Brutus being the weak link last week, and Hogan said that he had been pounding on the face of Brutus for the last week and heâ€™s fine. Hulk handed over to Brutus. Brutus said that all week heâ€™d been trying to work out how they are going to put those belts on their Harley Davidsons.
Hulk said they are going to look good as they are driving down the road between Venice and Malibu Beach with the belts on their bikes. In possibly the weirdest thing Iâ€™ve ever seen, Hulk said that theyâ€™ve been training to some new music, it goes, "getting to know you, getting to know all about you." He said that not only are they going to break them in two, they have a little surprise for Money inc.
They introduced Raw from New York City, and finished with, what you gonna do? With that the Raw opening credits startâ€¦
Retro Verdict: Umâ€¦.ok, where do I start. On the positive side of things, it was a high energy promo to kick off the show, but apart from that I thought they came off really lame. Talking about riding their Harley Davidsonâ€™s and singing songs? Come on. It did amuse me, but more in a car crash, I canâ€™t look away type of way. Probably not what they were going for.
We were shown the arena, with the Raw sirens going off. Vince McMahon welcomed us to Monday night Raw, and he was with "Macho Man" Randy Savage, and the "returning" Rob Bartlett. Macho Man said that Money Inc. were wanted dead or alive by the Mega Maniacs, but tonight, Money Inc. would be facing Virgil and El Matador. Bartlett promoted that tonight The Model Rick Martel would be facing Mr Perfectâ€¦
Money Inc. made their entrances to the my all time favourite wrestler theme song. Once in the ring, Irwin grabbed the microphone and said that you tax cheats will have to pay your fair share. This got a nice amount of heat from the crowd.
Their opponents were already in the ring, El Matador and Virgil. Virgil was actually The Million Dollar Manâ€™s personal bodyguard for a long time during the late 80s and early 90s. Their breakup, as a kid, was the first program that I ever got emotionally caught up in, and is probably one of the reasons Iâ€™m such a big wrestling fan now. The Million Dollar Man started treating Virgil less like a bodyguard and would make him do things like clean his shoes and basically degrade him at every opportunity.
After a match at the Royal Rumble 1991, The Million Dollar Man demanded that Virgil picked up his million dollar belt, and wrap it around his waste. The crowd were begging Virgil not to do it, and when he stood up with belt in hand, he smashed Ted DiBiase in the face with it. It was an amazing moment for me as a kid. Anyhoo, back to Rawâ€¦
2. Money Inc. vs. El Matador and Virgil. The crowd heat for Money Inc. was fantastic. Ted played into what I talked about with their previous program, and was mocking Virgil by gesturing that he should clean his shoes and laughing. Virgil was hot and trying to get to him. With Virgil on the apron, the match started with the Million Dollar Man and El Matador. They locked up, and El Matador backed Ted into the ropes so the referee demanded a break. They locked up again, and Million Dollar Man backed El Matador into the corner. Instead of a clean break, Ted hit a knee to the gut. He tried to whip Matador across the ring, but was reversed, he hit the turnbuckle, came back out and got an elbow to the face.
El Matador took him down with a headlock. Virgil was tagged into the match, but Ted pretty much ran to his corner, and tagged in IRS. The crowd were chanting "Irwin" slowly over and over again. Virgil got Irwin in a headlock, but shot him into the ropes. Shoulder charge and Irwin was down. Virgil ran the ropes, and caught a stumbling Irwin with a hip toss, and then a clothesline. Irwin bailed to the ringside.
On the floor, El Matador caught IRS with a few punches, threw him in the ring where he and Virgil double teamed IRS. In a moment that really irritated me, although El Matador was not tagged into the ring, he made a pin attempt and the referee counted. Only a small thing, but it irritates me. IRS was put in an armbar, and Rob Bartlett made me laugh by saying , "I donâ€™t think you can write IRS off". Again, the refereeâ€™s back was turned and Virgil came into the ring and was deemed the legal man even though no tag had been made.
Virgil reapplied the armbar, and this time the tag was made properly. Tito reapplied the armbar after a few blows to the face. He charged at Million Dollar Man and knocked him off the apron, he tried to come in the ring, but with the refereeâ€™s back turned, they again changed the legal man without a tag. Irwin was livid and was pointing this out to the ref. We came back from a commercial, and El Matador was powering out of a headlock. He ran the ropes but IRS caught him with a knee to the midsection. Million Dollar Man tagged in and put El Matador in a front facelock. El Matdor tried to push him back into his corner to make the tag, but couldnâ€™t quite make it.
El Matador knocked DiBiase into the ropes and they collided and both men were down. IRS was tagged in, but couldnâ€™t quite reach Matador before he could make the hot tag to Virgil. Virgil came in and unleashed on IRS. He whipped him hard into the turnbuckle. He whipped him into the other turnbuckle, and then connected with a big clothesline. Ted DiBiase tried to enter the ring, but he was also knocked down with a clothesline. IRS was scooped up and powerslammed to the mat. Virgil went to bounce off the ropes, but DiBiase grabbed his leg. Virgil tried to get to The Million Dollar Man, but IRS sneaked up behind and hit a suplex for the 1-2-3â€¦
Money Inc. beat Virgil and El Matador at 8:00.
Retro Verdict: Fun match. I personally didnâ€™t understand the logic of the coming in and out of the ring with tagging, as to me thatâ€™s a heel move, but the crowd seemed to enjoy it. Also, who would have funked it, Rob Bartlett actually made me laugh! I was really pleased, despite the fact that the program happened two years previous, that DiBiase played into his program with Virgil, as it was such a heated feud. Would have been nice for the commentators to acknowledge it thoughâ€¦..
They showed a video package, detailing how it looked like Tatanka had the number of his WrestleMania opponent Shawn Michaelsâ€¦
We came back to the arena, and there is a lady in the ring, holding a sign saying R.A.W â€“ Really Awesome Wrestling. The Model Rick Martel came down the aisle, in I guess a sailor model suit. He gestured towards the lady with the sign, and took it off her. The Model, seemed to be impressed with what he was looking at as was the "Raw girl."
The Model held the rope open for the lady, and Rick Martel showed how holding the sign should be done. He said to the camera, "no one can model like the model." Vince promoted that Tatanka would be in action nextâ€¦
After the break, Tatankaâ€™s theme music hit, and he made his way to the ring. His opponent was Phil Apollo, who I donâ€™t believe did anything of note on the national scene, but he was trained by the legendary Killer Kowalski.
2. Tatanka vs. Phil Apollo. Both men circled each other at first, before Apollo put on a headlock. Tatanka ran the ropes, after a few back and forths, Tatanka hip tossed Apollo to the outside.
On the outside, Tatanka put in some brutal chops to Philâ€™s chest before throwing him back in the ring. He put Apollo in the corner, and hit him with another chop before whipping him across the ring twice. Vince announced that Shawn Michaels was on the line.
Vince asked Shawn if heâ€™s watching whatâ€™s in the ring, which Shawn confirmed that he is. Vince asked what are his thoughts with WrestleMania around the corner. Michaels said that Tatanka rolled the dice twice and got lucky, but the big time is coming. Heâ€™s going to walk up to the table again, and when he rolls the dice the third time, itâ€™s going to come up as snake eyes. Shawn said that he has news for everyone, heâ€™s going to walk into Caesarâ€™s Palace as Intercontinental champion and he is walking out of Caesarâ€™s Palace as the champion.
Macho Man said to Michaels that he sounded a little worried, to which Shawn replied, Iâ€™m not worried at all. Iâ€™ve been sitting on top of the mountain for a while looking down on all of you. He said he likes the view so heâ€™s not planning on giving that up anytime soon. In the ring, Apollo had some offence, but Tatanka "Hulked up" and was no selling the shots from Apollo and was back in control. Eventually he had Apollo up for the End Of The Trail, and he got the pinfall victoryâ€¦
Tatanka beat Phil Apollo in 2:42 via pinfall.
Retro Verdict: Nothing really to the match, the main talking point was Michaels on the phone, and I thought it built to their match at Wrestlemania really well.
Vince said that Mean Gene who was doing a Wrestlemania 9 report. He announced that it was now a double main event with Money Inc. vs The Mega Maniacs and Bret Hart vs Yokozuna. They showed a promo from both the champion and challenger. Bret Hart said that heâ€™s been studying Yokozuna, and heâ€™s seen that heâ€™s squashed everyone put in front of him. He said that Yoko doesnâ€™t respect him and the fact heâ€™s champion. He said he likes going into the match as an underdog, and he can promise that at the end of the match, you will respect me and that he will walk out as champion.
Mr Fuji said that Bret says heâ€™s the underdog, but Fuji said he is a beaten man already. Yoko shouted bonsai several times. Fuji finished by saying that his Yokozuna will defeat the excellence of execution. Mean Gene then hyped the match between The Undertaker and The Giant Gonzalez. Paul Bearer said no one had ever done what the Giant has done to the Undertaker, but at Wrestlemania they will pay the price. Undertaker said a few men have tried to take him, but have laid waste behind him. Thatâ€™s what fate has in store for Gonzalez.
Retro Verdict: I really miss these reports running down an events card, simple and effective. The promoâ€™s in front of a blue screen are long missed, but in all fairness, Iâ€™m not sure they would work in modern day wrestling.
Back in the arena, we saw that there was another Raw girl holding a sign in the ring. The Model made his way down to the ring again. The Model wagged his finger in front of the Raw girl, and led her out of the ring. He took the sign and modelled around the ring, while the crowd booedâ€¦
Straight after the commercial, Papa Shangoâ€™s music was playing and he made his entrance. Papa Shango was played by Charles Wright who also the characters of Kama and most famously, The Godfather. Papa Shango was a heel character who would use voodoo to psych out his opponents. One of his most famous moments as Shango was when he was feuding with the Ultimate Warrior. During a Warrior promo he apparently put a curse on him, and black ooze trickled down from the Ultimate Warriors head. As a child I was terrified of this man.
His opponent already in the ring, was Mike Edwards, who I know nothing about, apart from the fact he had the hairiest back Iâ€™ve ever seen in my lifeâ€¦
3. Papa Shango vs. Mike Edwards Mike Edwards tried to take down Papa, but got a kick in the midsection. Shango hit a forearm across Edwardâ€™s back to knock him down. A few stomps to the head, then he picked him up with a big powerslam then an elbow drop. He backed Edwards into the corner and hit forearm blows to the chest. He whipped Edwards across the ring, and followed up with a splash.
Papa hit a suplex, and went for a pin, but at two he picked Edwards up off the mat. He picked him up for another suplex, but again at two Shango stopped the pin. He raised his hands to the sky then started stomping on Edwards. He hit an impressive looking shoulder breaker, and this time hooked the leg for 1-2-3â€¦
Papa Shango beat Mike Edwards via pinfall at 2:31
Retro Verdict: Meh match, only thing that really caught my eye was the shoulder breaker finisher which was really cool.
As we came back from the break, Bob Backlund made his musicless entrance. His opponent was Tony Demoro, who was another local jobber on the independent circuit, who looked more like a wrestler than the other jobbers we have seen tonight.
4. Bob Backlund vs. Tony Demoro. Crowd seemed to be into Bob Backlund big time. They circled each other, with Backlund getting the crowd pumped up. Backlund wanted to shake the hand of Tony before the match, but Tony wouldnâ€™t take it.
Backlund hit a hiptoss on Demoro. Backlund wrapped up Tony again and hiptossed him. Demoro bailed to the outside.
Once back in the ring, there was some proper amateur wrestling being shown by both men, and it was very much back and forth, until Demoro elbowed Backlund in the head. He backed Bob into the corner, and tried to shot him across the ring, but Backlund reversed. Backlund got a double underhook on Demoro and hit a suplex. With Tony on the mat, Backlund wrapped him up into a small package style manoeuvre and got the pinfallâ€¦
Bob Backlund beat Tony Demoro in 3:51
Retro Verdict: Iâ€™m not a big fan of amateur wrestling, but this was fun to watch. Everyone knows Backlund these days as someone who moves to his own beat, and even back then he was a little different in terms of the matches he put on.
Backstage, we saw that Rob Bartlett was next to the Model Rick Martel. Bartlett asked The Model what the deal is with him and the Raw girls. The Model told Bartlett to look at himself, he so blah, so bland just like the Raw girls. He wanted to show them what real modelling is about. Bartlett asked whatâ€™s going to happen in the ring later. The Model said heâ€™s going to show Perfect what excitement is all about, and that not only is he the best model in the world, but also the best wrestler... Back at Raw, and the Model made his entrance, closely followed by Mr Perfect who got a great reaction.
5. "The Model" Rick Martel vs. Mr Perfect. The bell rang, and both men locked up. No give either way. They locked up again, but this time Rick got a headlock on perfect who shot him into the ropes and hit a hiptoss, Martel got back up, powerslam a few back and forâ€™s until the Model backed away.
Both men locked up, the Model went for a cheap punch, but Perfect blocked two attempts, went to clock him with a punch of his own to the modelâ€™s face, but Rick backed away at speed. Another lockup, but this time The Model hit a cheap shot to Perfectâ€™s stomach. He shot him into the ropes, but Perfect reversed, went to follow up with a punch, but Rick cartwheeled out of the way. Perfect looked amused.
Both men hit move and reversels, before Rick shot perfect into the ropes, and went to follow up but Perfect moved out of the way with a cartwheel of his own much to the amusement of the crowd. Vince reminded us that Mr Perfect would be facing Lex Lugar at WrestleMania. Another lock up, this time Perfect was backed into the corner, and when the ref tried to break it up, Rick hit a cheap shot over the top of the ref. A few shots into the midsection, and he tried to whip Perfect into the other corner but was reversed. Perfect followed up but got a solid knee to the face.
The Model hit a suplex, into an armbar on the mat. Perfect was trying to get out of the hold, and managed to get back to his feet and then reversed the hold, The Model tried to springboard over the top of Perfect but Curt ran to the ropes and dumped him over the top.
Back from the break, and The Model is back in the ring, and Perfect is on the outside selling his back. The Model reached over the top and grabbed Perfect by the hair and brought him back in the ring. Vince called Bartlett, "rambling Rob Bartlett", which amused me greatly.
Back in the ring, The Model was focusing on Perfects back with blow after blow until he hit a gut wrench suplex. The Model continued to attack the back, and got him in a camel clutch type manoeuvre which Bartlett said he looked like "heâ€™s riding a horsey." Perfect powered his way out of the hold, and hit blow after blow into Rickâ€™s guts. He broke the hold, but got knocked down with a knee to the midsection. Back breaker and Perfect is down on the mat. The model went to the outside, and tried to slingshot over the top into a splash, but Perfect got his knees up.
The Model recovered first and caught his with a shot when Perfect came off the ropes. The Model climbed to the second rope, and went for an ax handle, but Perfect was there with a blow to knock the wind out of Rick Martel. Two atomic drops and The Model is reeling into the corner. Perfect hammers on The Model before whipping him to the other side of the ring. Vince threw to the final commercialâ€¦
When we came back, Mr Perfect was leaving the ring to his music and Vince announced that Perfect was the winner and said that the action took place during the commercial break. A replay was shown of Perfect winning with the Perfect Plex. Back to the live action, and we saw Mr Perfect making his way back down the aisle with the two Raw girls that The Model had dismissed earlier on.
He led them into the ring, and was playing to the crowd with them both. Vince plugged that next week we would see, Kamala, Razor Ramon and a match up between the big guys, Typhoon vs. Bam Bam Bigelow.
Retro Verdict: Decent enough match, not great but good. Was really odd going to a commercial and then coming back after the match had finished, especially since this Raw was actually taped. Iâ€™m guessing, they firstly wanted to give the impression that Raw was live, and also the fact that anything could happen at any moment.
As you would expect, this Raw was WrestleMania 9 hype heavy. I really enjoyed Shawn Michaelsâ€™s phone interview and The Money Inc. match, but apart from that nothing was bad, but everything else was decent. Go out of your way to see how bad the Mega Maniacs interview was, for sheer car crash comedy this was awesome, and yes I am a terrible terrible man for laughing at anything Rob Bartlett said.
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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