WWE Raw Retro Coverage – September 27, 1993: Shawn Michaels stripped of the Intercontinental Title, 20-man battle royal announcement, Ludvig Borga debuts, Jimmy Snuka returns, and more

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WWE Raw Retro Coverage – September 27, 1993: Shawn Michaels stripped of the Intercontinental Title, 20-man battle royal announcement, Ludvig Borga debuts, Jimmy Snuka returns, and more
2014-09-29 13:00:11

By Haydn Gleed

WWF Raw on the USA Network
New Haven, Connecticut at the New Haven Coliseum

We opened with a shot of Jack Tunney in his office, with a USA and Canadian flag behind him. He said that due to Shawn Michaels failure to appear for a number of his title defenses, and his refusal to fulfill his contractual obligations, the WWF are suspending Michaels and vacating the Intercontinental Championship. Next week there will be a 20 man over the top battle royal, where the final two competitors will face each other the following week to determine the new IC champion...

Retro Verdict: Back in 1993, when an authority figure such as Jack Tunney appeared on television, it was always to break some big news. Hard to imagine that isn't it? The behind the scenes story, as reported by the Pro Wrestling Torch in 1993, was originally it was believed that Michaels had quit, and the speculation was he would jump to WCW. However over the course of several weeks it came out that Michaels simply felt burnt out and was given 3 months off. Guess he lost his smile or something.....As for the news from a storyline standpoint, it sets up 2 weeks of blockbuster television, but it kind of makes this show seem less important. Lets watch it and see how it played out...

We are "treated" to the generic sax and graphic opening sequence that I've become far to used to over the last 9 months, and we are live in New Haven, Connecticut. Vince McMahon welcomed us and introduced his co-annoucers at ringside, Bobby "The Brain" Heenan and Macho Man Randy Savage. They promoted that the Quebecers would be defending their tag team titles, but we didn't know against who.

They also promoted the return of "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka and the Raw in ring debut of Ludvig Borga.

Retro Verdict: Not a loaded show, but could be worse.

Tatanka's music played and he charged to the ring. Vince reminded us that he is undefeated. His opponent was Rick "The Model" Martel who made his way to the ring wearing a sparkly jacket. Vince announced that these two would be in the 20 man battle royal next week...

1. Tatanka vs. Rick "The Model" Martel. Both men locked up and got into a pushing match. Both men exchanged holds and counter holds before standing facing each other. The Model got the early advantage before Tatanka caught The Model going for a kick, spun him around and hit an atomic drop. He then clotheslined The Model to the outside. The Model teased getting in the ring, but took his time. This caused Tatanka to chase after him. The Model rolled back into the ring and caught Tatanka getting back in the ring.

Model whipped Tatanka into the ropes, Tatanka went to jump on the second ropes and flip backwards, but he lost his footing. The Model following up just stood there, until Tatanka went for it again and then ducked. Clunky botched spot. Rick confirmed his advantage with a back suplex as we went into commercials.

We returned with the crowd trying to get behind Tatanka, Martel whipped him into the ropes, Tatanka hit a sunset flip for a 2 count, but the Model was first to his feet and applied an abdominal stretch. Tatanka powered out, but Rick went straight back onto the offence.

Tatanka managed to apply an abdominal stretch of his own, but The Model racked his eyes. Martel continued on the offence until he attempted a splash over the top rope, but Tatanka got his knees up. The Model reached his feet first and again continued the offence. He applied a camel clutch to wear down Tatanka further.

Tatanka powered out of the hold and hit a crossbody for a close 2 count. The Model managed to get to his feet first again. He hit Tatanka's head into the top turnbuckle which caused him to hulk up and no sell the shots The Model was hitting. He went to the top and hit a chop from the top rope. Somehow, The Model managed to get to his feet first again, and threw Tatanka over the top rope. Tatanka dragged Rick Martel to the outside with the ref counting in the ring. He reached ten and called for the bell...

Tatanka and The Model Rick Martel fought to a double countout in 10:49.

Retro Verdict: Decent match, but WWF had painted themselves into a corner. At this time, the only thing really going for Tatanka, although I did enjoy his character, was the undefeated streak, and they needed to build The Model strong for something that was going to happen in a couple of weeks' time, so I guess this was the only logical way of finishing the match.

Vince, Randy Savage and Bobby discussed the IC battle royal for a weeks time and who the competitors were going to be. Joe Fowler was in WWF studios and announced that the competitors for the battle royal would be IRS, Macho Man, Adam Bomb, Giant Gonzalez, Mr Perfect, Owen Hart, Rick Martel, Jimmy Snuka, Bob Backlund, Pierre, Jacques, Razor Ramon, Mabel, Diesel, MVP, 1-2-3 Kid, Bam Bam Bigelow, Marty Jannetty, Tatanka & final Bastion Booger...

Retro Verdict: I was just about to say that it was a who's who of early 90s wrestling when they announced Bastion bloody Booger. But in all seriousness, it's strange how we pretty much got the same scenario recently with the IC belt in 2014 when Wade Barrett went down with an injury, but despite this being 21 years ago, the belt feels more significant. The reason? Because they are treating it like a big deal. The announcers have talked about it all the way through the show so far & Joe Fowler was gushing about how much of a great opportunity this was for 20 men. Come on WWE, watch some of your old stuff and see how you build up a secondary title properly!!!!

Vince shifted to promoting what was left on this show, and talked about Ludvig Borga being next.... After the break, Ludvig Borga made his way down the aisle. His opponent already in the ring was Phil Apollo...

2. Ludvig Borga vs. Phil Apollo. As Howard was still in the middle of announcing Phil Apollo's name, Ludvig pushed him out of the way. He went straight at Phil Apollo and aggressively beat him in the corner. He whipped him to the other side and hit an aggressive clothesline. Ludvig stared at the crowd in disgust. Ludvig bit by bit beat on Apollo with side slams before throwing him outside. He hit another clothesline outside the ring before pointing at a Finnish flag. Ludvig blew his nose towards an American flag.

Apollo was back in the ring crawling along the mat. Ludvig picked him up and placed him in a vertical suplex which he held for about 20 seconds. Apollo was slammed to the mat followed by an elbow drop. Ludvig hit a number of kidney shots before picking him up in a backbreaker rack for the submission win...

Ludvig Borga beat Phil Apollo in 3:16 via submission.

Retro Verdict: Ludvig Borga looked like a machine, which is exactly what you would want from a new superstar. I was a huge fan of Ludvig as a kid, and I'm writing up my September 1993 Good, Bad and Ugly with him as the who was that wrestler feature. There are a number of things I didn't know about him so look for that later this week. He was an interesting character outside the ring that was for sure.

Jimmy Snuka's music hit to no reaction, and we see Snuka in the corner taking off his ring attire. His opponent is Paul Van Dale. Paul is the father of current WWE NXT ladies wrestler Carmella, the lady who owned the salon and got in trouble for giving Enzo and Kass the hair removal cream, and is now being "trained" by them...

3. Jimmy Snuka vs. Paul Van Dale. As Jimmy was getting in the ring, Paul attacked him, but Snuka gained the advantage quickly. Both men criss crossed before Snuka hit a chop. Snuka went through his moveset, including the headbutt, before Paul caught Jimmy attempting a back breaker. As Paul was on the offence, Bobby called Crush. Bobby asked Crush if he was going to be in the battle royal, to which Crush said to his surprise he wasn't invited. He said that he's been saying for 2 weeks that he is in the best shape of his life.

He went on to say he wants to know himself what is going on. Bobby stirred the pot somewhat by telling Crush that Macho Man was in the battle royal. Crush acted with surprise and said that it's just typical. Macho Man said if he's got something to say to say it. Crush said he's 6 foot 7 and has beaten a lot of top guys on the roster. Why is Macho Man in the battle royal and he's not? They placed the camera on Macho Man who was looking bemused.

Vince said lets get to the bottom of this. Macho Man said he's been trying to get in touch with Crush but he hasn't been able to get through. He told Crush that he doesn't play politics and he should know him better than that. Crush hung up. Back in the ring, Jimmy Snuka was back on offence. He hit a chop to knock Paul down as the announcers continued to talk about Crush. Man the crowd are dead for Jimmy Snuka. He picked Paul up and hit a back breaker. He went to the top rope and the crowd sort of responded. He hit the Superfly Splash and the crowd finally came alive...

Jimmy Snuka defeated Paul Van Dale in 4:34 via pinfall.

Retro Verdict: Far too much going on. Firstly, I was surprised at the lukewarm reception from the crowd to a legend that was Jimmy Snuka. He looked incredibly rusty during the match, and there were a number of transitions that looked clunky for lack of a better word. The problem was, they had built this up into such a big return, but yet they focused more on the Crush against Macho Man argument during the match, that the return seemed less important.

They showed a reply of PJ Walker's (Justin Credible) win against IRS thanks to distraction by Razor Ramon from last week... They threw to IRS's office which was semi lit. IRS had an assistant either side who just stood there looking at pieces of paper through the interview. Vince asked IRS if he was annoyed with what happened last week. IRS said Razor made a big mistake last week. He said what you have coming Razor is a nice thorough audit. Vince said that next week both men are in the battle royal, to which IRS said he's doubly happy about. He said once he finishes with you Razor, he said he will be one of the last two in the battle royal...

Retro Verdict: I keep saying it, it's quite obvious Bray Wyatt and Bo Dallas didn't get their promo skills from their father. Horrible horrible interview with a host of cliché's. One wrestler threatening another wrestler with an audit is just stupid. I wonder if one of those female assistant's was Sister Abigail? Stop groaning!

Back in the arena, The Quebecers music was playing as the tag team title holders and Johnny Polo (Raven) made their way down the aisle. Vince speculated who their opponents were going to be as they went to the break...

Straight from commercial, Bobby Heenan was in the ring with Barry Horowitz. Barry explained that his original partner, Reno Riggins, was sick but he had a replacement. Barry is actually doing better than IRS with his promo. Bobby asked Johnny Polo is it ok if Barry has a replacement? Johnny and The Quebecers went into a huddle then announced, it depends on who it is. Bobby went back to Barry who announced it was the 1-2-3 Kid. Johnny and The Quebecers laughed, and said bring him on. 1-2-3 Kid (Sean Waltman) made his way down the aisle...

4. The Quebecers (w/Johnny Polo) vs. 1-2-3 Kid & Barry Horowitz for the Tag Team Championship. It was 1-2-3 Kid and Jacques starting this match. Jacques was taking 1-2-3 Kid lightly and laughing while pointing at him. The crowd chanted 1-2-3 Kid early on. The Kid used his speed to get a few shots in.

Both 1-2-3 Kid and Horowitz hit dropkicks to clear the ring of both Quebecers which caused them to go into a huddle with Johnny Polo. The crowd are dead tonight. Jacques got back in the ring and offered a handshake, with Kid's back turned; Pierre snuck in and hit him from behind. The Quebecers were in complete control tagging in and out and double teaming the Kid at every opportunity. Johnny Polo also distracted the ref which allowed further double teaming.

After a couple of minutes of taking The Kid apart, Jacques went for a crossbody off the second rope, which The Kid dodged, and hit a spinning kick. It sent Jacques to the outside which knocked him out. Johnny Polo was desperately trying to get Jacques to wake up. He called for help from the back which caused ref's to bring a stretcher down to ringside. They put Jacques on the stretcher as Howard announced that despite there only being one healthy Quebecer, the referee had told him the tag team title match must continue. We went to a commercial break with Johnny Polo and Pierre looking distraught...

Back from commercial, Pierre was in control of Horowitz in the centre of the ring. He scooped him up and came off the second rope with a legdrop. They showed a square video in the corner of the trainer trying to wake up Jacques in the back. Pierre went up to the second rope and hit a diving headbutt. Pierre over confidently threw Barry towards his corner who tagged in the 1-2-3 Kid.

The Kid came in fresh, but Pierre knocked him down. He threw him through the air after a whip to the ropes. He followed this with a rough looking clothesline. The Kid came back with punches, chops and kicks. He went for a spinning kick, Pierre caught it but Kid caught him with his other foot to the back of the head. Kid went for a splash against the ropes, but Pierre moved. Kid fell to the outside. Johnny Polo threw the Kid back in the ring, which allowed Pierre to crawl across and get the 1-2-3...

The Quebecers beat Barry Horowitz and 1-2-3 Kid in 9:56 to retain the WWF Tag Team Championship.

After the bell Johnny Polo jumped in the ring and celebrated with Pierre. Vince promoted that next there would be a special interview with Razor Ramon...

Retro Verdict: An ok match, but they really seemed to demote the 1-2-3 Kid back to jobber status. I don't think he got in more than 4 or 5 shots during the match. I liked the novelty of one of the tag champions being knocked out and although slightly campy was fun to watch Johnny Polo trying to revive Jacques. There's literally under a minute left of the show as Razor came out for his interview...

Vince said to Razor that IRS had some uncomplimentary things to say about Razor earlier on. Razor said, you know what McMahon? You want the bad guy Chico? I'm not hard to find. Vince reminded us that as well as IRS, Macho Man would be in the battle royal. Macho Man said the strongest will survive. Razor stood there just looking as the show closed...

Retro Verdict: That was a complete waste of Razor, he said one line and then the show closed. I'm sure the show was running long and that's why it happened, but I would have called an audible and just have the announcers continue to plug the battle royal for next week.

As for the show itself, it opened with a hugely newsworthy announcement from Jack Tunney, both from a storyline and real world perspective, with him stripping Shawn Michaels of the title. They built up next week's Battle Royal so well, I am actually looking forward to re-watching and covering it. I remember it from when I was a kid, and I'm hoping the fond memories of it stack up 21 years later.

As for what was actually on this show, there wasn't anything particularly bad, a few nitpicks here and there, but it was a transitional show and it felt like it. Put it this way, if you watched it on the Network you won't be blown away by it, but you won't hate yourself for spending 40 minutes of your life watching it. I'll be back later in the week with my Good, Bad & Ugly from WWF Raw's in September 1993 so be on the look out for that.

Remember the night Shawn Michaels was stripped of the title? Or were you even in the building and want to explain why the crowd was so quiet through most of the show? Please hit me with any feedback, either good or bad, I'm a big boy I can take it. Your feedback is very much welcome and I enjoy corresponding with the people who do contact me. Hit me up on twitter @haydngleed or via email haydn.gleed@gmail.com




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