January 11th, 1993
Live from Manhattan, NY (Manhattan Center)
Announced attendance: 1 000 (capacity: ca 2 200)
TV rating: 2.5 (USA Network) (up 0.3 from the previous week’s final episode of WWF Prime Time Wrestling)
Hello everyone and welcome to my review of the very first episode of WWF Monday Night RAW ever. Coming to you live from the Manhattan Center, the first RAW is main evented by The Undertaker vs. Damien Demento. Additionally, Yokozuna is in action and Shawn Michaels defends the Intercontinental Title as the WWF builds towards Royal Rumble 1993.
Here is the list of WWF champions heading into the first ever episode of Monday Night RAW:
- WWF Champion: Bret Hart [91st day of his reign] – previous champion: Ric Flair
- WWF Intercontinental Champion: Shawn Michaels [76th day of his reign] – previous champion: The British Bulldog
- WWF World Tag Team Champions: Money Inc. (Ted DiBiase & Irwin R. Schyster) [90th day of their reign] – previous champions: The Natural Disasters (Earthquake & Typhoon)
Note: in title matches, the defending champions are underlined
Enjoy the review!
Your hosts are Vince McMahon, Randy Savage & Rob Bartlett
The show opens with Sean Mooney hyping the night’s events outside the arena. Bobby Heenan appears on his way to the arena, but Mooney reminds him he can’t get in. For those who don’t know, this is coming from the last episodes of Prime Time Wrestling throughout the last several weeks, where Heenan was told he’d be off the network once Prime Time was off the air. He refused to accept it, which leads into these skits throughout the show! Heenan says he’ll buy a ticket instead, but Mooney insists it’s full (yeah, I know!) and thus Heenan must leave. Heenan is furious.
Yokozuna (w/ Mr. Fuji) vs. Koko B. Ware
Watching Koko make his entrance by himself to Owen Hart’s theme song is quite the interesting visual. You can already sense Vince’s eye-rolling in his voice over on commentary, as Rob Bartlett starts off asking why doesn’t “Yokozuma” wear a bra. It doesn’t take too long until Vince and Macho pretty much ignore Rob and do the commentary by themselves. Yoko shoves Koko around for a while to kick off the action on Monday Night RAW. Koko charges for a shoulderblock a number of times but ends up knocking himself out instead. A couple of dropkicks stagger Yoko, but he ducks a blind charge and Koko takes himself out on the ropes. Yokozuna follows it up with a giant legdrop, destroys him in the corner with the reverse Avalanche and drops the Banzai on the Birdman at 3:45.
- Rating: An effective Yokozuna squash as they continue to build him up well as a huge star early into his WWF run. 3/4*
So here is the first match ever in the history of RAW, dear trivia lovers out there. Speaking of which, if you are indeed a trivia lover and would like to challenge yourself against other members and compete for championships, do so by joining SmarKDown’s Discord server! If you don’t like trivia but you’d like to hang out and chat about rasslin with our 150+ members, you can do that as well. Anyway, back to the review…
Meanwhile, the Federette shows off the “Monday Night Raw” sign to the audience.
Bobby Heenan (in a taped promo) hypes up the incoming reveal of “Narcissus” at Royal Rumble. He’s from another world and better than Perfect.
The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner) vs. The Executioners
Scott immediately takes one of the jobbers down with a back elbow to the jaw. Scott with a tilt-a-whirl slam as Doink appears in the crowd. Bartlett: “is that Dork the Clown?”… It’s Rick’s turn to beat up the Executioners as Rob continues making his hilarious jokes on commentary. Macho Man flat out begs for the Steiners to beat him up next! Sign me up for that. A double noggin knocker from Scott on the outside prevents the Executioners from running away, and Scott throws one to the inside for a powerslam from his brother. Rick brings in Scott for the butterfly powerbomb, and the doomsday bulldog with Rick’s assist puts one of the geeks away at 3:00.
- Rating: Another squash to introduce the Steiners to the WWF as they prepare to face the Beverlys at the Rumble. 1/2*
Sean Mooney spots a woman outside trying to get into the arena. It’s of course Bobby Heenan in makeup and a wig claiming to be Rob Bartlett’s aunt!
Vince McMahon interviews Razor Ramon
Vince asks him if he’s ready to face Bret Hart for the WWF title in 2 weeks at the Rumble. Razor Ramon was born ready, chico! Vince says Bret has been in the WWF for 8 1/2 years and Razor is a “Johnny-come-lately” to him, to which Razor replies he’ll get to the top after just 8 1/2 months! Vince wants to know why Razor attacked Owen Hart last week if he’s so good as he says. He did it just for fun and there’s nothing The Hitmang can do about it – not because he doesn’t want to, but because he can’t! He won’t be able to do anything to stop Razor from taking the gold at the Rumble either. Razor finishes by throwing the toothpick at McMang. Just for fun, chico! Cool promo to promote the World title match at the PPV.
WWF Intercontinental Championship – Shawn Michaels vs. Max Moon
These two killed it in the opener of Royal Rumble 1991 two years before when Max Moon (Paul Diamond) was Kato in the Orient Express. Shawn begins with an armdrag. They go back and forth with a nice criss-cross sequence that culminates with Max Moon taking over with a series of armdrags. Powerslam and Michaels takes a powder in the corner. Shawn gives it another go with a second criss-cross sequence, ending with Moon wrestling Michaels down into a wristlock. And we take a break.
We come back to see Max Moon rolling out of the corner to avoid a charge. He tries to use his speed to block another one, but this time Shawn catches him in mid-air and takes over with a stungun onto the top rope. Stupidity kicks in now with Rob Bartlett doing a terrible Mike Tyson impression as they pretend to do a live interview with Tyson via phone call. Oh, and Doink the Clown comes down to ringside as well. Welcome to 1993. Meanwhile, Max Moon gets a quick roll-up for two. Yes, there’s still a match going on in the middle of all this nonsense. Shawn takes back control with an irish whip into the corner as I proceed to watch it on mute. Moon scores with another quick victory roll for two more, which angers Michaels as he slugs away repeatedly on Max Moon. Chinlock and this stupid Mike Tyson garbage is STILL going on… Moon fights out of the chinlock and catapults Shawn all the way to the outside. Moon fakes a dive and then surprises Shawn with a seated senton off the apron. He takes him back in for a running spinkick in the corner, followed by a rolling fireman’s carry slam for two. A powerslam sets up a rolling senton, but Michaels ducks and superkicks him. Max Moon avoids the teardrop suplex at first, but Michaels eventually catches him and hits it on a second try to retain at 10:30.
- Rating: A decent title matchup, although the winner was never really in doubt at all. The action was decent as these two have good chemistry together, but it was filled with too much gaga in the middle. Rob Bartlett is beyond unbearable. Fine match with some good reversals. **1/2
WWF Mania ad. It’s 100% caffeine free!
Royal Rumble Report w/ Mean Gene
- Gene starts by hyping the HBK/Jannetty feud over the Intercontinental title. We listen to short promos from each man – Shawn Michaels says Marty doesn’t deserve a title shot, but he’s cool enough to give him one anyway. Plus, Sherri will be in his corner like any woman. Marty Jannetty is gonna capture the Intercontinental title and end Shawn’s career. Yikes, that’s a bit too much. Shawn only threw you into a mirror! Plus, Marty says Shawn doesn’t know Sherri that well if he thinks she’ll be in his corner.
- Next up, Gene addresses the Royal Rumble match and explains the rules. Here are the announced competitors so far: last year’s winner and 2x WWF champ Ric Flair, the undefeated Tatanka, current tag team champion IRS, the returning former WWF Champion Bob Backlund, ‘The King’ Jerry Lawler, Mr. Perfect (who we hear from), the other half of the tag champs Ted DiBiase, Crush, Rick Martel, Yokozuna (who is also standing by with Mr. Fuji), ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage, Papa Shango (he’s still around?), Earthquake, The Berzerker, The Undertaker, Carlos Colón, Genichiro Tenryu, ‘El Matador’ Tito Santana, Typhoon, The Headshrinkers and ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan (we hear from him as well). Remember that for the first time ever the 30 wrestlers are fighting for a World title shot in the main event of WrestleMania!
- Plus, Razor Ramon will challenge Bret Hart for the WWF Championship. Contact your local cable company RIGHT NOW!
Sean Mooney is outside where fans are in line to purchase tickets for the next episode of RAW. He runs into Ron Barlett’s uncle who wants to get in right now!
We take a look at a recap of Kamala finally snapping on Kim Chee and Harvey Wippleman and turning face last week on Superstars.
The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) vs. Damien Demento
Demento actually throws some shots to start, only for Undertaker to fight back quickly with a faceplant. UT gives him Old School already, and takes him into the corner for some choking. Demento fights back with a running shouderblock, but UT sits up immediately. He explodes with the running clothesline before finishing with the Tombstone at 2:24.
- Rating: Given it was one of the few promoted matches for this show, I was very surprised that it was the shortest match. Especially considering Demento was in the midst of a moderate push. The poor guy didn’t even get to do his shtick and talk to himself in the middle of the match. This was nothing. 1/4*
Vince gets a quick interview with Doink the Clown. He says it’s not his problem that the kids don’t have a sense of humor, and he’s not afraid of Crush’s recent warnings. Crush comes out and gets in his face, and Doink shoots water at him before running away.
We cut to Mooney outside one final time. Bobby Heenan is finally allowed in… and the show ends!!!! Loved this throughout the show, but I’d rather have Heenan on commentary instead of Bartlett.
END OF THE SHOW
Final thoughts: Well, here is the first ever episode of Monday Night RAW. It’s far from being a painful watch, as the show is just 45-minutes long. The squashes were effective, especially Yokozuna’s. Undertaker vs Damien Demento did nothing for me, as they were clearly just trying to use Undertaker while they found something for him to do. He was scheduled to feud with Nailz but he got released in December. Razor’s promo was good, and Michaels vs Moon was a fine Intercontinental title match. The commentary was beyond terrible though, and Rob Bartlett dragged this show way down. While the first RAW was far from being great, it was still a decent episode. The storyline involving Bobby Heenan and his skits were by far the best part about this show. 6/10
Find out more about our point system here.
That’s all for today’s article. Make sure you don’t miss the reviews of the upcoming episodes, as well all the pay-per-views. Coming up next will be WCW Clash of the Champions #22. Until next time!
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