March 29th, 1993
Taped show/replay (taped on March 7th, 1993 and originally aired on March 28th, 1993)
Location: Fayetteville, North Carolina, USA
Show’s original TV rating: 3.3 (USA Network)
Replay’s TV rating: 2.5 (USA Network) [down 0.3 from the previous RAW’s 2.8]
Note: I’m reviewing the WWE Network/Peacock version of March to WrestleMania, and not the actual replay version that aired on that Monday night, which might’ve cut some of the matches and/or segments.
Welcome everyone to my review of a rather different episode of WWF RAW. Actually, it doesn’t really count as an episode of RAW, but I’ll add it to my series of RAW reviews since its replay technically aired during RAW’s timeslot. This is WWF March to WrestleMania IX, featuring big matches such as Yokozuna vs. Randy Savage and The Undertaker vs. Bam Bam Bigelow. Also, the likes of Money Inc. and Tatanka are in action. There will also be a six-man “mixed” tag team match featuring The Bushwhackers and midgets. Yeah… let’s get into it.
Here is the list of WWF champions heading into this show (reign duration considering the replay/RAW date):
- WWF Champion: Bret Hart [168th day of his reign] – previous champion: Ric Flair
- WWF Intercontinental Champion: Shawn Michaels [153rd day of his reign] – previous champion: The British Bulldog
- WWF World Tag Team Champions – Money Inc. (Ted DiBiase & Irwin R. Schyster) [167th day of their reign] – previous champions: The Natural Disasters (Earthquake & Typhoon)
Note: in title matches, the defending champions are underlined
Enjoy the review!
Yours hosts are Vince McMahon & Bobby Heenan
The show kicks off with Vince taking us to a recap from the contract signing between Bret Hart and Yokozuna, aired on the previous weekend’s Wrestling Challenge. Before the two could sign, Yoko shoved the table onto Bret’s ribs and squashed him with the Banzai Drop. As various officials came in to take Yoko off the ring, Bret somehow crawled back up to his feet and raised the belt on his own while selling the beatdown.
Bobby Heenan thinks Yoko could’ve easily broken Bret’s ribs right there, but he chose to only leave a message. Vince and Heenan go through tonight’s proceedings. WE’RE ALL MARCHING TO WRESTLEMANIA, PAL!
Randy Savage vs. Yokozuna (w/ Mr. Fuji)
This is unquestionably the biggest match of Yokozuna’s short WWF career up until here. It would be surpassed by his first ever WM main event a week later, of course. They taunt each other in an attempt to play mind games. A battle over a shove is won by Yokozuna to kick off the action. Savage with a running shoulderblock… but he’s the one who goes down after bouncing off Yoko. Yoko dumps Macho Man and sends him into the post out on the floor. Back in they go with Yoko still in control, but Macho makes the comeback and slugs away, only for Yoko to knock him down with a single shot. Powerslam by Yokozuna into a legdrop. Long gone were the days where that move won the main event of WrestleMania, brother! Yoko rams Savage into the corner, who’s quite beat up. However, Macho avoids a running buttsplash in the corner and Yoko eats the turnbuckle. Savage goes up top, but Fuji knocks him off with the Japanese flag, right into a belly-to-belly that finishes Savage at 6:36.
Yoko sets him up for the Banzai afterwards, but Savage moves out of the way at the last second and dumps Yoko with a running high knee to the back. Yoko’s all worked up wanting to get back in while the crowd’s going crazy, but Fuji smartly convinces him to walk away with the WM match just a week away.
- Rating: It was a basic match to put over Yokozuna in a massive way just a week before his WrestleMania main event. It also got over the fact that Mr. Fuji could be a deciding factor if things started going south for the big man. On another note, I also liked the small detail that Yoko wasn’t able to squash someone post-match for the first time. It might’ve been just a small touch, but it was important to show that it won’t always be a walk in the park for Yokozuna. This accomplished what it had to. **
We take a brief look at the first couple of months of The Narcissist Lex Luger’s WWF run. Vince thinks his forearm shots are suspicious. He was probably just on Icopro, Vince.
Mr. Perfect vs. Skinner
Skinner attacks during the entrance and dumps Perfect right away. Perfect gets thrown into the steps but manages to fight back while on the outside. However, Skinner uses his belt to turn things around back inside the ring. The ref totally ignores it and doesn’t call for the bell because reasons. Vince thinks Heenan and Luger paid them off. Skinner continues in control through biting and choking on the ropes. Skinner misses a blind charge in the corner though, opening the door for Perfect’s comeback. Perfect slugs away in the corner and the kneelift connects. Perfect necksnap and Skinner begs off, but Perfect slugs away in response. Funny line by Heenan asking Skinner if he wants his money… he means the winner’s share! Skinner uses the ALLIGATOR CLAW OF DEATH for a cheapshot, but the Perfectplex does it for Hennig at 5:27.
- Rating: Simple match to build up Perfect on his way to WrestleMania. Heenan’s shtick on commentary elevated it and made it entertaining. This was Skinner’s last match in the WWF, and he would leave after being apart of the whole Doink stuff at WM. *1/2
Meanwhile, Hulk Hogan returns to the ring next week at WM 9.
Kamala (w/ Reverend Slick) vs. Kim Chee
We’re actually getting a blowoff to Kamala vs. Kim Chee? LOL! Kamala appears to be afraid of Kim Chee early on, so Kim Chee slugs away to start. Kamala finally snaps and catches Kim Chee with a bearhug. That goes nowhere rather quickly, so Kamala kicks him and follows it up with the splash instead. Kamala doesn’t know how to pin him, but Slick and the fans help him get there to finish at 2:10. Kamala beats up Kim Chee afterwards to hopefully end this “feud”. On a side note, Kamala was supposed to face Bam Bam Bigelow at WM 9, but that match was cut due to time issues.
- Rating: Short and to the point exactly like it needed to be. 1/4*
Meanwhile, the OOOOOOHH OOOOOOHH WRESTLEMANIAAAA video plays!
Money Inc. (Ted DiBiase & Irwin R. Schyster) vs. Reno Riggins & Jerry Sabin
Sabin surprises IRS with a hiptoss as we get underway. IRS responds by sending him to the floor, with DiBiase sending him into the steps. Back in, Money Inc. force the tag to Reno and take turns beating him up in their corner. DiBiase chops away before taking Reno out of the corner with a backdrop. DiBiase with a suplex, IRS with a suplex of his own and DiBiase puts Reno to sleep with the Million Dollar Dream at 2:55.
- Rating: Solid squash as Money Inc. continue their MARCH TO WRESTLEMANIA! 1/2*
Mean Gene interviews the Mega Maniacs
Hogan talks about Money Inc’s attack on Brutus the previous month on RAW, before going on a crazy rant about how he took Beefcake’s motorcycle across Venice Beach and as he got to the Pacific Ocean, heard millions of Hulkamaniacs praying for Brutus to get better. Beefcake goes on an equally crazy rant on how Hogan’s pythons will take him and Hogan straight to the moon. Actually, that’s a pretty accurate resume of Beefcake’s wrestling career right there. Money Inc will go bankrupt, yada yada yada. Jimmy Hart notes that the Mega Maniacs’ future is so bright because soon they will
steal a crazy paycheck from Turner for years and main event Starrca…. hmm, I mean sell a lot of new merch and win the tag titles at WrestleMania. That. Yes, that’s what I meant. Beefcake adds the ULTIMATE INSULT by claiming he’ll leave the scissors at home at WM and will instead yank their hair out with his own hands. Whatever floats your boat, Brutus. Now Hogan starts talking about sharks and suntan as this just keeps on going and going. He finally ends it with the WHATCHA GONNA DO and the shirt-ripping routine. If you’ve seen one Mega Maniacs promo, you’ve seen them all. This was one of those.
We see a recap of Tatanka beating Shawn Michaels twice in one week – first in a singles match on WWF Superstars, and then in a six-man tag match on RAW.
Quick promo from Shawn Michaels, who promises to walk out of WrestleMania as the Intercontinental Title despite his recent losses to Tatanka.
Tatanka vs. George South
Tatanka overpowers South at first, but gets caught in the corner for a while. Tatanka whips South into the turnbuckle, chops away and powerslams him to turn things around. South gets a couple more shots, but Tatanka again sends him into the corner to escape before chopping him. South with a cheapshot and he rams Tatanka’s head into the buckle, but Tatanka no-sells it, marches (TO WRESTLEMANIA!!!) around the ring and the Not Samoan Drop ends it at 3:16.
- Rating: A normal squash. 1/4*
Shawn comes out to confront Tatanka immediately afterwards. Tatanka says let’s do it right now, and Shawn bails.
WrestleMania IX Report w/ Mean Gene
- Okerlund promotes the double main event – Money Inc v. Mega Maniacs and Bret Hart v. Yokozuna.
- We hear from WWF Champion Bret Hart, who’s tired of hearing Fuji and Yokozuna claim how they’ve already guaranteed victory in the title match.
- Crush joins us from a boat in Hawaii and gives Doink a demonstration of what will happen at WM… by catching two octopuses. Just when I thought I’d seen it all in wrestling, I keep getting surprised.
- The Steiners are ready for the Headshrinkers at WrestleMania.
Six Man “Mixed” Tag Team Match – The Beverly Brothers (Beau & Blake Beverly) & Little Louie vs. The Bushwhackers (Butch & Luke) & Tiger Jackson
Now this promises to be something. The Bushwhackers and Jackson walk around the ring for about a minute doing the usual Bushwhackers routine after the bell rings. Next up, the Bushwhackers leads the crowd in “sissy” chants. The Beverly Brothers finally gets things going with a cheapshot on Luke and they take over. Ass biting follows, including from the midgets, while the announcers wonder how Gorilla Monsoon will look like in a toga at WM. What is going on here!? Jackson dumps Louie with a dropkick and the Bushwhackers stop to celebrate, with Tiger joining them. Jackson chops Louie and splashes him for two, but Louie kicks out WITH AUTHORITY and Jackson lands in the referee’s hands. The ref tosses him onto Louie again and that gets two more. The midget lands on top of the ref again off the kickout, who tosses him aside this time around. Blake cheapshots Butch, who fights back with a kneelift and a bulldog. The Beverly Brothers hit a double-team double axehandle for two, though. Beau whips Luke into the buckle and nails a backbreaker. Another flying double axe by Beau gets two as this just keeps going. Hot tag Butch, he runs wild with clotheslines, Tiger joins in with a clothesline of his own on Louie, and a double-clothesline by the Bushwhackers to both Beau and Blake. It’s a clotheslinefest. Finally, the Bushwhackers clean the ring and set Jackson up so he can finish Louie with a high crossbody at 9:57.
- Rating: This comedy match went on for nearly ten minutes and barely succeeded in being, you know, comedic. There was a spot or two with the midgets that worked, but outside of that there was nothing to see here. Heenan and McMahon spent most of this doing predictions for WrestleMania, and wondering how Gorilla Monsoon would look like in a toga at WM, and if he would be riding to the event in an animal. This would be cool at a house show, but on a show that’s supposed to sell WM 9 coming up a week later, I’m struggling to see the point. DUD
Recap of Undertaker’s recent interactions with Giant Gonzalez.
The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) vs. Bam Bam Bigelow
Bam Bam throws the first shots, but UT takes him down with a nice drop toehold. Bam Bam bails, leading UT into a pursuit, before catching him back in the ring to retake control. Taker comes back by bouncing off the ropes with a DDT, though. UT with the usual choking in the corner, and takes Bam Bam to Old School. A number of shots and a clotheslines are no-sold by Bigelow, and UT goes flying to the outside after Bam Bam ducks the flying clothesline. We take a break.
We’re back with Bam Bam slamming UT on the floor. Zombie situp by Undertaker, so Bam Bam sends him into the stairs a couple of times. Paul Bearer helps Undertaker get back to the ring using the POWER OF THE URN. He walks into a backdrop suplex by Bigelow, but UT sits back up. Powerslam and again Undertaker sits up. Slam by Bigelow and he drops a couple of headbutts, but somehow Undertaker STILL gets back up. What is in that damn urn, Icopro?! Bigelow sets him up for the diving headbutt, but UT sits up yet again to avoid the move. Pretty slick reversal, actually. Now Undertaker manages to deliver the running clothesline. Chokeslam follows… and Bam Bam takes a walk at 7:39. Giant Gonzalez comes out after the match for a confrontation with Undertaker.
- Rating: Actually, this was turning into quite the badass hoss fight until the abrupt ending. It’s understandable, though. Bigelow looked great as he kept unloading on Undertaker, who always kept getting back for more as well. I would’ve loved to see this at WrestleMania instead of the crap they came up with. **3/4
END OF THE SHOW
Final thoughts: I don’t think this show was necessarily bad, but there was some definitely some unnecessary stuff in here. Particularly the whole Bushwhackers/midgets nonsense, as well as a bunch of squashes. Yokozuna v. Savage was a solid short match designed to elevate Yoko, Perfect got a fine win over Skinner in a watchable match, Undertaker and Bam Bam were on their way to having a pretty awesome match in the main event, and Kamala got his revenge on Kim Chee after months of abuse. However, if you ask me if this show boosted my interest in watching WM 9 the following week… not really. But it’s not like it was a terrible show in and of itself, either. 4/10
Check out all my RAW reviews here.
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That’s all from me for the MARCH TO WRESTLEMANIA! Make sure you don’t miss my upcoming review of the actual WrestleMania event. I’ll be introducing a new custom match card design for each match on that review, and it will be used for all PPVs going forward. Don’t forget to download our app for an easier access to the site. See you all next time!
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