December 8, 2007
Adam King

WWF Monday Night Raw
January 11, 1993
Live from the Manhattan Center in New York, NY

That's right, folks, this is it, the very beginning of the long-running wrestling show that has become a legend it its own way, with fifteen years of history behind it, which began with this debut episode.

The first-ever episode of Monday Night Raw opens with a shot of the New York City skyline before we pan down to Sean Mooney, who's outside the Manhattan Center getting us ready for the show. As he's talking Bobby Heenan walks up, wanting to go into the arena. However Mooney informs him that he's not doing commentary on the show; he was replaced by Rob Bartlet from WFAN radio. Heenan is still insistent on hosting the show so he decides he can still get in by buying a ticket. Mooney tells him the show is sold out and the two continue to argue as the intro plays.

After the intro, we go into the building where Vince McMahon welcomes us to the show along with Randy Savage and Rob Bartlett. Vince and the others hype tonight's action, which includes the Steiner Brothers in tag team action, The Undertaker taking on Damien Demento, and a special interview with Razor Ramon.

Match #1: Yokozuna (w/Mr. Fuji) vs. Koko B. Ware
The first match in Raw history. The crowd chants "USA" as Yoko does is usual ritual. After a staredown both men lock up and Yokozuna easily shoves Koko into a corner. They lock up again and again Yokozuna throws Koko into a corner. Koko comes off the ropes for a shoulderblock but just bounces off Yokozuna to the mat. Koko comes off the ropes a second time and nails Yokozuna again but once again Yokozuna doesn't move. Koko lands several standing drop kicks but it just staggers Yokozuna a few steps. Koko comes off the ropes and Yokozuna flings him into the ropes. Yokozuna comes off the ropes and hits a huge leg drop. Yokozuna grabs Koko by the throat and shoves him into a corner, then hits an inverted splash. Koko drops to the mat, Yokozuna climbs the ropes and nails the Banzai Drop for the easy victory.

Winner: Yokozuna (3:45)

Back from commercial a ring girl walks around the ring holding up a Monday Night Raw placard as they show a pre-recorded clip of Bobby Heenan addressing Mr. Perfect about his mystery man, The Narcissist. Heenan says comparing The Narcissist to Perfect is like comparing ice cream to horse manure. Heenan says there is room in this world for only one person that's anatomically perfect, that's physically and mentally superior beyond imagination. Heenan adds that he and Ric Flair agree that Michaelango couldn't capture The Narcissist's stupendous qualities on canvas, or sculpt his metamorphic qualities from marble. Heenan wraps up by saying that he's going to unveil The Narcissist at the Royal Rumble, and once he sees him Perfect will think he's from another world.

Match #2: The Steiner Brothers vs. The Executioners
The Executioners are a pair of masked jobbers. Scott starts off with one of the Executioners (who I'll refer to as EX-A). Scott grabs EX-A by the leg and knocks him down with an elbow. At this point we get a quick glimpse of Doink the Clown acting goofy in the crowd. Scott whips EX-A into the ropes and hits a tilt-a-whirl slam. Scott drops an elbow, rolls EX-A with a snapmare and tags in Rick. Doink is still acting goofy in the crowd and Bartlett calls him Dork the Clown. Rick pounds on EX-A but he starts to fight back. EX-A attempts a whip but Rick counters and shoves him into hard the ropes. Rick whips EX-A into the ropes for a lariat. Rick lifts EX-A up and rams him upside-down into a turnbuckle. EX-A rolls to the floor, and when his partner comes over Scott knocks their heads together. Scott throws the other Executioner (EX-B) into the ring where Rick goes for a whip. EX-B reverses and attempts a leapfrog but Rick catches him and slams him to the mat. Rick tags in Scott who whips EX-B into the ropes and grabs him for an overhead belly-to-belly suplex. Scott throws EX-B into his own corner and EX-B tags in EX-A. Scott pounds EX-A and plants him with a tiger bomb. Scott lifts EX-A onto his shoulders and Rick comes off the top rope with the top-rope Steiner Dog, allowing Scott to get the three count.

Winners: The Steiner Brothers (3:00)

We cut back to outside the Manhattan Center where Sean Mooney is reporting that a security guard is denying a woman entrance to the arena. The "woman" claims her "nephew" Rob Bartlett is in there and "she's" supposed to see him. However Sean notices something and removes the wig to reveal Bobby Heenan in drag. Heenan still insists on going inside the building as we go to commercial.

Back from break Vince is in the ring to interview Razor Ramon, who will challenge Bret Hart for the WWF Championship at the Royal Rumble. Vince asks if he's ready for the match, and Razor says he's born ready. Vince mentions that he's a Johnny-come-lately while Bret took eight years to reach the top. Razor replies that Bret is the main man, but he (Razor) has caught him after just eight months. Vince then brings up how he jumped Owen last Saturday on WWF Mania, and Razor just says that he just likes having fun and that squashing Owen was fun. Razor adds there's nothing Bret can do about it, just like he can't do anything about him taking his title at the Royal Rumble. Razor then flicks his toothpick at Vince before leaving the ring.

Savage starts plugging the special "Headlock on Hunger" card at Madison Square Garden on January 23rd to benefit the Somalia Relief Fund. Tatanka adds some comments, urging fans to contribute to the fund.

Match #3: WWF Intercontinental Title Shawn Michaels (c) vs. Max Moon
By this point Paul Diamond had taken over the Max Moon gimmick from Konnan. Both men lock up to start and Michaels hits an armdrag. They lock up again and Shawn applies a tie up. Max reverses and Shawn elbows him away. Shawn comes off the ropes, Max leaps over him and Shawn fakes him out. Shawn goes for a kick, Max grabs a leg and spins him into a suplex but Michaels floats over into a grab from behind. Max counters and shoves Shawn into the ropes but Shawn holds on. Shawn charges at Max, comes off the ropes into an armdrag. Max hits a hip toss followed by a slam. Shawn backs into a corner and tries to regroup. They begin to lock up and Shawn knees Max in the chest. Shawn whips Max into the ropes but misses a clothesline. Shawn goes back and forth off the ropes into an armbar slam from Max, who then applies a hammerlock. Max tries to roll Shawn onto his shoulder for a near fall as we go to commercial.

Back from break Shawn forces Max into a corner. Shawn whips Max into the opposite corner and charges but misses and hits his shoulder on the turnbuckle. Max tries an armbar and Shawn pops him. Shawn whips Max into a corner, Max tries a leapfrog but Shawn catches him and drops him onto the ropes. Shawn lays the boots to Max and chokes him on the mat. Shawn whips Max into the ropes and connects with a dropkick. Shawn whips Max into the ropes again and does something (they cut away to Doink who's still hanging around ringside). Suddenly "Mike Tyson" cuts in from "solitary confinement" about how he's enjoying Raw. Shawn whips Max into the ropes and Max counters with a roll up for a two count. Shawn punches Max and he falls into the ropes. Shawn pops Max in the face then whips him into the corner hard. Shawn takes a moment to look into the cameras saying his face "has broken so many homes". Shawn unloads on Max then hits a headbutt. Shawn goes for a slam but Max counters into a small package for a two count. Shawn rakes Max's face then whips him into the ropes and hits an elbow for a two count. Shawn applies a chinlock and Max manages to fight out of it. Shawn attempts a dropkick but Max catches him by the legs and catapults over the top rope to the floor. Max slings himself over the top rope, lands on his feet on the apron and dives at Shawn on the floor. Max rolls Shawn into the ring and Shawn tries to beg him off. Max uppercuts Shawn in a corner then whips him into the opposite corner and connects with a leg lariat. Max carries Shawn into a victory roll but only gets two. Max slams Shawn to the mat and goes for a standing senton but misses. Shawn connects with a superkick then goes for a side suplex but Max escapes out of it. Max misses a clothesline and this time Shawn is able to hit the fall away slam for the three count.

Winner and still Intercontinental Champion: Shawn Michaels (10:30)

After the commercial break we go to the Royal Rumble Report with Mean Gene Okerlund, who runs down the card for the pay-per-view:

- Bret Hart vs. Razor Ramon for the WWF Championship. - Shawn Michaels vs. Marty Jannetty for the Intercontinental Championship. Sensational Sherri will be at ringside
- The 30-man Royal Rumble match, with the winner to receive a WWF Championship match at Wrestlemania IX. Confirmed Entrants so far include Ric Flair, Tatanka, Irwin R. Schyster, Bob Backlund, Jerry "The King" Lawler, Mr. Perfect, Ted DiBiase, Crush, Rick Martel, Yokozuna, Randy Savage, Papa Shango, Earthquake, The Berzerker, The Undertaker, Carlos Colon, plus The Great Tenryu, Tito Santana, Typhoon, The Headshrinkers (Samu & Fatu) and Hacksaw Jim Duggan, with eight more names to be added.

We also get comments from Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty about their match. Shawn says Jannetty doesn't deserve a title shot but he'll give him one anyway, then claims Sherri will be in his corner. Jannetty says that the Royal Rumble will be Marty Jannetty Day since he promises to both win the Intercontinental Title and end Shawn's career, then goes on to say that Shawn may not know Sherri as well as he thinks.

We go back outside to Sean Mooney, who says the fans lining up behind him are waiting to get tickets for next week's show. Suddenly someone dressed as a Jewish rabbi brushes by Sean, demanding to get inside to see his "nephew", Rob Bartlett, who he claims has his ticket for tonight's show. However he fumbles with his fake beard, revealing Bobby Heenan, who's still determined to get inside.

After the commercial break they show a clip from this past weekend's Superstars of Reverend Slick convincing Kamala to leave Harvey Wippleman and Kim Chee, which he does.

Match #4: The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer) vs. Damien Demento
Both men stand nose to nose to start. Damien lands several punches but Taker shrugs them off. Damien whips Taker into the ropes but lowers the head and Taker drives him into the mat. Taker rams Damien into the turnbuckle, then grabs his arm and walks the top rope before clubbing him in the back. Taker rams Damien into a corner before choking him. Taker whips Damien into the opposite corner and charges but Damien stops him with a boot. Damien hops to the middle rope and connects with an axe handle off the rope. Damien comes off the ropes and nails a shoulderblock. Damien whips Taker into the ropes but Taker ducks a clothesline and lands a flying clothesline. Undertaker then puts Damien away with a Tombstone Piledriver for the quick win.

Winner: The Undertaker (2:24)

Vince then runs down next week's episode, even promising a steel cage match between Woody Allen and Mia Farrow (which obviously isn't going to happen).

Back from break Vince tries to interview Doink (who's wearing a cast on his arm), mentioning that Crush has warned him about making children cry. Doink claims they don't have a sense of humor, and promises that if Crush were out here, he'd be crying too. At that point Crush walks out, warning him to look over both shoulders and stop playing his jokes or else he may be wearing a cast over both arms. Crush chases Doink around the ring before he stands tall in the ring.

Outside Bobby Heenan is still trying to get into the building. Sean Mooney walks over and tells Heenan he can finally go inside. Heenan happily runs inside the building, not aware that the show is already over.

CONCLUSION: You can definitely see that Raw has come a long way since those early days. With that said, this isn't too bad for a first episode, although there really isn't much to recommend other than the historical value.

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