WWE Raw Retro Coverage – December 13, 1993: Randy Savage vs. Fatu, Undertaker, Bret Hart, Rick Martel, IRS, and The Smoking Gunns, plenty of squash matches without much entertainment
By Haydn Gleed
WWF Raw on the USA Network
Live From The Mid-Hudson Civic Center, Poughkeepsie, New York
The show opened with the usual graphics and music, and Vince McMahon welcomed us live to the Mid-Hudson Civic Center. They showed Vince at ringside alone, and said that his usual partner was thrown out of the arena last week, as they showed footage of Bobby Heenan being thrown out of the WWF. Vince introduced his new co-commentator for tonight, James E Cornette.
Retro Verdict: I had completely forgot about Cornette being on commentary for the one show. This was as big, some might argue bigger, than when Paul Heyman showed up as the new commentator on Raw after ECW folded. Vince said that tonight we would see Bret Hart in action, and Cornette said he had family problems at the moment. Vince teased there would be some surprises tonight. He also hyped Macho Man Randy Savage against Fatu, and with that Macho’s music hit and he made his way down the aisle, with Cornette calling him a grandstander... Before Fatu made his way down the aisle, Randy Savage grabbed the microphone and said Ohhhh Yeah, and that was it. Fatu (Rikkishi) made his way down the aisle with Afa leading him...
1. Randy Savage vs. Fatu. Before the bell rang, Vince announced that Macho Man is now a full time wrestler again. Vince said that the next weekend would see the 30 men who will participate in the 1994 Royal Rumble announced. The bell rang and both men locked up, with Fatu gaining the early advantage with an elbow to the face. Fatu dominated the early going, hitting headbutts and big clotheslines.
Savage would make brief comebacks but they were being cut off quite quickly by Fatu. I’m personally being mesmerized by the iluminous colours on Randy’s ring gear. Cornette on commentary played up the feud between Crush and Savage. The finish of the match came when Macho caught Fatu coming off the top rope. He hit a double axe handle on the outside, before rolling him into the ring and hitting the elbow drop for the 1-2-3....
Randy Savage beat Fatu in 5:40.
Retro Verdict: Rather bland match, but Macho Man matches always felt special, especially on Raw. Surprisingly quick match though for what was essentially the showcase match of the broadcast.
After a break, Billy and Bart Gunn (The Smoking Gunns) made their entrance. Their opponents were the jobber team of Steve Smyth and Jim Massenger....
2. The Smoking Gunns vs. Steve Smyth and Jim Massenger. Vince talked about the Royal Rumble and Cornette pointed out that Lex Luger could not be in the Rumble as if he wins he will get a title match against Yokozuna, and he agreed if he didn’t win the belt at SummerSlam he would forfeit any future title shots. He is personally flying to Toronto to lodge a protest with Jack Tunney that Lex should not be in the Rumble. In the ring, the jobbers got some brief offence, but it was mostly The Gunns on offence with the crowd not reacting at all. Captain Lou made his way to ringside and it appears he is now the manager of the Smoking Gunns. The finish of the match came when Billy hit a flying bulldog from the top rope...
The Smoking Gunns beat Steve Smyth in 2:46 via pinfall.
Retro Verdict: Again nothing about the match was particularly memorable, was only setup to introduce Captain Lou as the new manager, and also for Vince and Cornette to speak about Lex Luger and the Royal Rumble.
They showed a detailed replay of what happened last week with Razor Ramon and Shawn Michaels after the latter’s match against the 1-2-3 Kid. A graphic promoted that IRS would be out next... After a break, IRS came down to the ring and started talking about taxes, and buying Christmas presents *yawn*. His opponent, already in the ring, was Todd Mata.
3. IRS vs. Todd Mata. In a strange moment, IRS opened his briefcase before the match, and the camera managed to get a sneak peak inside. We saw that he had Razor’s gold from around his neck, which Vince said that had been missing for a week. IRS used his deliberate offence to pick apart Todd Mata before throwing him to the outside. IRS re-adjusted his tie mid-ring. Cornette seemed to indicate that he was having an affair with Diane Princess Of Wales on commentary, okay... When Todd re-entered the ring IRS hit a back suplex which got the 1-2-3...
IRS beat Todd Mata in 1:43.
Retro Verdict: A back suplex, really? Don’t get me wrong I wouldn’t like to be hit with a shoot suplex, but still, it was mostly used even then as a transitional move so just felt odd.
Vince promoted the Undertaker would be in action next, as well as a surprise that is unbelievable. We saw a video of a smiling, happy Yokozuna dressed in a santa costume, with a number of kids kissing him on the cheek. The shot faded and we saw that he had been dreaming...
Retro Verdict:Oh my god, what a way to make your monster heel champion look like a muppet. I cannot believe they showed that. Yes they played it up as Yoko’s nightmare, but the visual was still there and people will remember that more than the dream aspect of it. Horrible.
They went back to ringside, where Cornette in all fairness tried to regain the heat for Yoko, by saying that is his worst nightmare. Jim, the damage had been done my friend. In the arena, the gong hit and all of the lights in the arena went out. The Undertaker’s distinctive music hit and out he walked slowly down the aisle, being led by Paul Bearer and the urn. His opponent, who was looking terrified, was J S Storm.
4. The Undertaker vs. J S Storm. The match started during the break, and we came back with The Undertaker in complete control. Vince promoted that at Royal Rumble it will be The Undertaker vs. Yokozuna. Cornette ranted that he was never told it was a casket match when he signed the contract, and Vince pointed out that it was in the fine print. The finish came after ‘Taker hit a big choke slam followed by a Tombstone for the simple win...
The Undertaker beat J S Storm in 1:55 via pinfall. After the match, they put J S Storm in a bodybag, with Cornette making cartoonish faces and yelling no...
Retro Verdict: Nothing to the match as it was a straight up jobber match, but it was more of a backdrop to allow the commentators to talk about the Royal Rumble. Don’t get me wrong, I really like most of the work Cornette did, but it was situations like this when he goes over the top that come across as too exaggerated and therefore loses their impact.
Vince threw to a video package on Double J while making a hilarious joke about only if he knew how to spell this guys name. The video was just a combination of all the terrible videos that they have shown already. Following the car crash that was that montage, they promoted Tatanka’s comeback against Ludvig Borga next week...
"The Model" Rick Martel’s music hit in the arena, and for a second I thought it was Val Venus’s music, not sure why. Guess my brain is entertaining itself. In the ring was his opponent Tim McNeany...
5. "The Model" Rick Martel vs. Tim McNeany. Tim McNeany hit a hiptoss followed by a crossbody, and that was all the offence he got. Vince promoted a bad sounding show that was on USA Network, followed by saying Bret Hart would be in action next. The finish came when McNeany tried to hit a drop kick which he missed before The Model applied the Boston Crab for the submission victory....
"The Model" Rick Martel beat Tim McNeany in 3:00 via submission.
Retro Verdict: God is this show dragging. First I had the awful Smackdown to review on Friday and now this show. Have I upset the wrestling gods or something?!
We saw a clip from Superstars, where Vince interviewed Owen Hart. Vince said that Bret Hart was the 1993 Superstar of the Year and had won multiple championships, which added fuel to the fire for the people who say Owen’s the shadow. Owen said he’s been living in the shadow of Bret for his whole life, and he’s challenging Bret to a one on one match if he’s got the guts.
Retro Verdict: Short but sweet, but still a good promo. You could see Owen was really feeling the anger that he was portraying. First thing about the show I quite enjoyed. In the arena, Bret "Hitman" Hart made his way down to the ring, with Howard announcing him as Superstar Of The Year 1993. In the ring already was his opponent Brooklyn Brawler.
6. Bret "Hitman" Hart vs. Brooklyn Brawler. Back from the commercial, the bell rang and Bret gained the early advantage. They traded holds and counter holds, before Bret gained the advantage with an elbow. Vince speculated that Owen’s attitude isn’t becoming of him, and he speculated whether Cornette had given him bad advice. Vince announced that Shawn Michaels will be the commentator next week. Brooklyn gained the advantage and whipped Bret into the corner with authority. He then proceeded to bite The Hitman until he broke at 4. Brawler went to the top rope but took too much time. Bret threw him across the ring from the top. He then proceeded with his finishing sequence before applying The Sharpshooter for the submission victory...
Bret "Hitman" Hart beat Brooklyn Brawler in 4:15 via submission.
Retro Verdict: Brawler got in more offence than I would have expected, but Bret never really looked in trouble.
After a commercial, Vince promoted that next week we would see A New Day.....I mean Men On A Mission in action, along with Owen Hart and the debut of Jeff Jarrett ha ha.....oh goodie. He finished with promoting Tatanka vs. Ludvig Borga.
Retro Verdict: Uch. This was possibly the most boring classic Raw that I’ve reviewed thus far. There was nothing that I particularly enjoyed, and nothing for me to rant about. It was literally five squash matches and one match between Randy Savage and Fatu, which went the same length as the jobber matches. I really don’t know what else to say and that sort of sums up the show. I guess Owen challenging his brother was noteworthy, but that had already been taped on Superstars and they were re-airing it.....uh.....they announced the debut of Jeff Jarrett? Do you see how much I’m reaching here?
The lack of Bobby Heenan hurt the show as well, as Bobby was always great in those quiet moments of coming up with off the wall entertaining comments. Cornette tried that with the Prince Diana joke, but it was a swing and a miss. Obviously, unless you have a case of insomnia, I would give this Raw a miss if you find it on WWE Network. I am looking forward to reviewing next weeks show which should be a good one. Check out that review next Monday.
Am I being too harsh? Or have you seen this show recently and completely agree with what I said? Let me know or give me feedback on anything that I write to @haydngleed on twitter or via email at email@example.com
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