August 28, 2010
The Powerdriver Review
Raw: The Beginning (Best of Seasons 1-2)
Released: August 10, 2010
Season One (1993) – Disc Two
Sorry for the delay on disc two. Everybody knows it’s that time again to get back to school, so it’s been a busy week among many other regular everyday life situations that are common to pretty much everyone that keeps me away from reviewing what I love. Anyways, you don’t want to hear about my life. Let’s get to the review!
RAW FACTS (June 7) – Shawn Michaels introduced Diesel as his “insurance policy”. Ironically, Diesel won the WWE Championship before Shawn.
WWF Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels (w/Diesel) vs. Russ Greenberg – (Monday Night Raw, 6/7/93)
That’s right. This is Diesel’s debut. Shawn regained the IC belt from Marty Jannetty in Albany the day before because of Shawn’s “insurance policy”. An arrogant squash wins via piledriver. (3:53) Vince hypes the HBK-Crush IC title match coming up at the King of the Ring like it’s a grudge match. The way things were looking, it should have been HBK-Perfect, but in hindsight I’m glad Perfect was put into the KOTR tournament instead.
RAW FACTS (June 21) – Doink’s signature move was the Whoopie Cushion.
Marty Jannetty vs. Doink the Clown – 2/3 Falls (Monday Night Raw, 6/21/93)
After a double-countout at the previous week’s Raw, these two go at it again and up the MADNESS. Doink plays mind games with Marty to start. Of course, Jannetty is fairly reluctant to lock up. Doink gets him up against the ropes and unloads, but Jannetty shoves off a headlock to do a criss-cross, which ends with Doink taking a monkey flip. Jannetty grabs an armbar, but Doink yanks Marty down by his hair to immediately get out of that. MAN, he’s good. Jannetty tries the armbar again and when Doink makes the same escape, Jannetty KIPS right back up. Now Doink is trying to provoke a closed fist punch. Marty is too nice of a guy to let that happen. Another criss-cross and Doink is left running the ropes for no reason as Jannetty stands off to the side. Doink shoves off an armbar and tries a monkey flip, but Jannetty sees it coming and drops a fist on Doink for two. Doink counters an armbar for one of his own, but NOBODY ARMBARS JANNETTY as he floats over Doink with the armdrag to escape. Jannetty delivers another monkey flip and backslides Doink for 1-2-NO! He tries a corner charge, but Doink moves and Jannetty takes the Bobby Eaton corner bump. As Jannetty bounces back out of the corner, Doink hits the WHOOPIE CUSHION for the 1-2-3 to win the first fall at 7:15.
Doink meets Jannetty in the corner with a barrage of punches as we start the second fall. He whips Marty for a cross-corner whip so hard, it makes Doink fake cry all over him while he’s slapping him across the face. As Jannetty rolls to the floor, Doink delivers a double-sledge from the top. Doink throws Jannetty back inside for a two-count, but Jannetty slides back out to the floor to hopefully get a break. On the apron, Jannetty shoulder butts Doink back, but no sunset flip in sight. Doink sets Jannetty up by making him think he’s telegraphing a backdrop as he just moves out of the way during Jannetty’s field goal kick. AWESOME. Cover, 1-2-NO! Jannetty fights out of a chinlock and counters a suplex for one of his own. He waits on the top rope for Doink to get up, but he’s only got until the count of five and Doink is STILL not totally on his feet. He comes down and drills Doink with a Superkick instead, but no cover since Doink’s in the ropes. FLYING FIST DROP scores the second fall for Jannetty at 12:10.
AND NOW THE CLIMACTIC THIRD FALL! Doink is begging off with most of his clown makeup sweated off. Jannetty delivers an atomic drop and a clothesline for two. Doink rolls out and trips up Jannetty in order to post his leg. Back in, Doink applies the FIGURE-FOUR! WOOOOO! Has everyone in New York already forgotten about Flair? Ultimately, Jannetty reverses the hold for the break. Jannetty fires back and delivers a back drop, but that’s hard on your hurting knee. Doink busts out an STF. Probably the first one ever in the WWF? When that doesn’t get the submission, Doink heads up top…and gets slammed down. Here comes Marty’s desperation comeback as he’s still selling the knee. As he’s pounding Doink in the corner, another Doink (believed to be Steve Keirn) runs down and hides underneath the ring. The entire front row tells Marty to look under the ring, but he doesn’t see nothing and gets kicked in the head by Doink from inside the ring! CRAP! Doink sends Jannetty into the ring post and brings him back inside, but Jannetty dropkicks him out to the floor where the Doinks tease a switcheroo. Either that, or they screwed it up. To the other side of the ring and a freshly painted Doink crawls out from under the apron. After they trade quick nearfalls, Doink catches Jannetty and delivers a piledriver for the 1-2-3. (21:13) Randy Savage has enough of Doink’s shenanigans as he attacks the second Doink and pulls out the REAL Doink from underneath the ring to give ref Dave Hebner all the evidence he needs to reverse the decision in the favor of Marty Jannetty. Bobby Heenan goes over to console the Doinks until Savage comes over and yells at him. Another classic Raw match with loads of neat storytelling and general ’80s-style awesomeness. ***½
RAW FACTS (July 5) – The USS Intrepid was built in August 1943 for the United States Navy during World War II.
We go to the USS Intrepid battleship where it’s YOKOZUNA vs. The US! Various wrestlers and pro athletes of the day try and body slam Yoko to win some much-needed pride, self-confidence, and a new Chevy truck. Nobody really gets all that close until the man formerly known as “The Narcissist” Lex Luger flies in on a helicopter Ron Burgundy style, channels the spirit of George Washington and Teddy Roosevelt, and slams the 568-pound WWF champ. From here on out, it’s the Lex Express and American flag tights for the rest of Luger’s WWF run. This was a long ten minutes.
RAW FACTS (July 26) – Bam Bam Bigelow hailed from Asbury Park, NJ – the inspiration for Bruce Springsteen’s 1973 album Greetings from Asbury Park.
Bret Hart vs. Bam Bam Bigelow (w/Luna Vachon) – (Monday Night Raw, 7/26/93)
Stu and Helen are sitting in the front row of the balcony to give Bret some sympathy heat to us watching on TV. Luna wears her best Cher outfit to the ring. Before Bret’s entrance, Bobby Heenan just gets off the phone with Jerry Lawler who is most certainly in town and on his way to the Manhattan Center. Bammer puts the boots to Bret to start. That doesn’t last long as once he’s up, Bret dropkicks Bigelow up against the ropes and clotheslines him out. Back in, Bret launches himself onto Bigelow and makes a bad landing to screw up his knee. Oh man, it looks legit. BRB COMMERCIALS! When we return, Bam Bam is smooching with Luna while Bret rolls around clutching at his knee. Back in again, Bigelow delivers a BIG back suplex for two. Bret flies into a slam, but rolls away from falling headbutts. Quick back suplex out of nowhere by Bret. Bigelow pounds away and dropkicks Bret away before grabbing a chinlock. Another commercial break. When we come back, Bret’s still in the chinlock. Of course, it’s pre-taped so it’s probably not THAT long of a chinlock. Back up, Bret avoids a dropkick and delivers a baaaaack body drop. Bret starts delivering headbutts to the lower back and follows up with a Russian legsweep for two. Flying clothesline gets 1-2-NO! He jumps on Bam Bam’s back for a sleeper, but Bigelow runs Bret head-first into the corner. Bigelow misses a clothesline and takes a bulldog by Bret to set up the SHARPSHOOTER! Oh wait a minute, here’s Jerry Lawler up in the balcony and he’s got a microphone! He goes over to Stu and Helen to pester them and hopefully make Bret lose this match. As he leaves to go save his parents, Bigelow pulls him back from over the guardrail and drives Bret into the ringpost. As Bigelow continues the beat down, Lawler tells him to “finish him off” right in front of his parents. Senton splash connects, but a useless cannonball splash does not. Way to go, Bam Bam. Bret hammers Bigelow with clotheslines and finally knocks him out with a DDT so he can go after Lawler, which just serves to get Bret counted out. (15:59 shown) Lawler makes sure to leave before Bret can reach him. When he realizes that Lawler’s gone, Bret goes over and hugs his folks. Decent enough, but obviously not as strong as the KOTR finals. **¾
RAW FACTS (August 2) – Jim Cornette’s mother, Thelma, used to take him to see wrestling events at the Louisville Gardens.
It’s Jim Cornette from Smoky Mountain Wrestling’s WWF debut! Bobby Heenan is so happy to see him here in the WWF as they exchange pleasantries calling each other the greatest manager ever in wrestling. Cornette threatens the Steiner brothers and their WWF tag team belts with his Heavenly Bodies.
RAW FACTS (August 2) – Randy Savage only won the Intercontinental Title once when he beat Tito Santana in 1986. Is this supposed to be considered a put down?
Randy Savage vs. Doink the Clown – (Monday Night Raw, 8/2/93)
Savage has had enough of Doink’s shenanigans while he’s sitting at the announce table and he’s here to make Doink PAY. Like usual, Doink is CALCULATING with the way he starts the match. When Savage armdrags him away, he makes Savage make a mistake by raking the eyes. This infuriates Savage so much, that he brings a chair into the ring. While the ref is getting the chair away from him, Doink blasts him from behind and starts beating the crap out of Savage. He grabs a Boston crab (complete with counterproductive rope leverage!). Once Savage is up, Doink misses a charge and gets nailed with a running knee from behind to send Doink to the floor. Just as we go to commercial, Savage gets yanked into the ringpost. AND WE’RE BACK! Doink has Savage in the ring stuck in a hangman’s neckbreaker. After going corner to corner, Doink delivers a belly to belly suplex for two. Abdominal stretch is applied, but Savage hiptosses out and takes a swing at ref Dave Hebner. Savage escapes a chinlock, but runs into a slam to set up the WHOOPIE CUSHION! Oh, but Savage moves. Doink cuts off the comeback by throwing Savage out to the floor. Just when things are going Doink’s way, Savage crawls underneath the ring and on the other side pops out a MACHO MIDGET! Once Doink spots the little person and has a good laugh, he chases the midget back around the ring over to where Savage pops out from under the apron to grab Doink for a slam. Back inside, Doink gets caught in a small package for the 1-2-3. (9:31 shown) Leave it to Randy Savage to use a page out of an evil clown’s playbook for his own sick revenge. Silly finish aside, this was pretty solid. **½
RAW FACTS (August 16) – RAW girl Themis Klarides was an attorney (a regular Ally McBeal, eh?) and was later elected to the Connecticut State House of Representatives in 1999. What a success story.
Ted DiBiase vs. The 1-2-3 Kid – (Monday Night Raw, 8/16/93)
This is a rematch from a few weeks back on Wrestling Challenge where Kid upset DiBiase. IRS is “conspicuous by his absence”, says McMahon. DiBiase doesn’t want to be embarrassed again and gets the upper hand early on. Razor Ramon talks to Vince McMahon and says that he told the Kid to leave him a piece of Ted DiBiase for SummerSlam. Is that OJ Simpson standing by the Monday Night Raw sign? Sure looks like him. DiBiase rips Kid a new one until he gets on the move and they flub a crossbody. He stops the Kid with a back elbow, but then misses a corner charge. Kid delivers a flying bodypress and heads up top for something else. Just when it looks to be curtains for DiBiase, IRS runs down and shoves him off the top in plain sight of the ref for the DQ. (4:45) It’s a 2-on-1 post match beatdown until the Steiner brothers come out and clean house on Money Inc. *
RAW FACTS (September 13) – The Quebecers were three-time Tag Team Champions. The Montreal Canadiens have won the Stanley Cup a record 24 times.
Instead of showing the “Quebec Province Rules” match where the Quebecers and Johnny Polo defeat the Steiners for the belts that I wish was on this set, they give us an interview that aired later in the show. Will the Steiners receive a legitimate rematch without “Quebec Province Rules”? Polo says only if one of the Steiner brothers can beat Pierre next week on RAW! They come out to yell, but more was said than done.
RAW FACTS (October 4) – The Radio Flyer red wagon that Doink brought ringside was made popular at the 1933 World’s Fair in Chicago.
Doink the Clown vs. Cory Student – (Monday Night Raw, 10/4/93)
Doink’s music is all cheery now and he’s riding a Radio Flyer red wagon with balloons to the ring. He’s even got a trash bag full of cotton candy with him. From under the ring, he finds a pale of something and throws it at Bobby Heenan. Lucky for him, it’s just popcorn. IT’S NOT FUNNY! Once everything settles down and Doink gets to beating up Cory Student, Vince and Bobby discuss how Doink has been making Bam Bam Bigelow pretty mad lately. WHOOPIE CUSHION gets the win. (1:57) Afterwards, Bam Bam Bigelow and Luna Vachon head down to get at Doink, but the WWF agents stand in his way. Instead, he gets a tad of revenge on Doink by destroying his little red wagon USING HIS FIST. Yeah. The original Doink played by Matt Borne would be gone long before this feud had any real blow off and the replacement Ray Apollo had to deal with the ‘Beast from the East’ instead.
RAW FACTS (October 11) – Rick Martel made his debut at age 16, when he filled in for an injured competitor.
Razor Ramon vs. Rick Martel – for the vacant WWF IC title (Monday Night Raw, 10/11/93)
Once Shawn Michaels was suspended for an alleged use of steroids, the Intercontinental title was held up for grabs. After a 20-man battle royal last week, these were the final two men who would meet on this week’s program to find a new champion. Vince somehow ties the Columbus Day holiday by calling Christopher Columbus an Hispanic as some sort of motivation for Hispanic Razor Ramon’s quest to win the IC title. What’s funny about that besides Vince’s total lack of basic historical knowledge, is that NEITHER MAN WAS OR IS ACTUALLY HISPANIC. Martel shows off his personality with some excellent facial expressions as he goes from being confident that he’ll win the IC belt to totally offended that Razor would throw a toothpick at his model-like looks in a matter of seconds. He really wants to show that he’s still got it because I mean, when was the last time he had a match that anybody cared about? He slaps Razor away and now they lock up. They exchange wristlocks, but then Martel trips up Razor and smacks him around on the back of the head. Martel fires away, but ultimately flies into a Fallaway Slam to send him rolling to the floor. Back in, Martel slows the momentum down with a front headlock. Ramon lifts Martel out to the apron to stop this headlock situation. He flips Martel back into the ring and starts working the shoulder. Martel pushes out of an armbar, but misses a corner charge as we go to break. When we return, Martel is working over Ramon’s back with a slam on the floor. Back inside, Martel starts whipping Razor into the corner and follows up with a back suplex. Ric Flair corner pin gets two, but Martel is all over the ropes and the ref REFUSES to count three. Martel stays on the back and locks in the BOSTON CRAB! Lucky for Ramon, he makes the ropes. Martel hits a side slam and reverts back to the BOSTON CRAB. Will Razor tap? Nope. He manages to power out into a rollup for two. Ramon wants the Back Superplex, but Martel does not and elbows him away. Flying bodypress, but Razor rolls through for 1-2-NO! Martel telegraphs a backdrop and its over for him as Ramon hits the RAZOR’S EDGE and secures his first IC championship. (10:48 shown) It was pretty obvious even at the time who was walking out with the belt. Still a good match though as Martel did his job and made Razor Ramon look like a deserving champ. ***¼
RAW FACTS (October 18) – Randy Savage’s tongue was lacerated as a result of this vicious attack by Crush.
This is supposed to be Crush’s big return to meet with his pal Randy Savage who NEVER called while he was put up in the hospital courtesy Yokozuna and his fat. Well as a big surprise, Crush comes out with Mr. Fuji. He was the only man who made sense to him while he was away. Savage meets Crush in the ring and tries to alleviate their problems. When all seems right again, that’s when Crush strikes and attacks Savage. He drops him throat-first on the guardrail as possibly some nod to the Ricky Steamboat incident. The WWF champ Yokozuna and Jim Cornette joins Fuji and Crush as Yoko takes off his robe and delivers the BANZAI DROP to Savage! He goes up to the middle rope for another one, but the refs manage to pull Savage out to safety.
RAW FACTS (November 8 ) – Crush later formed the Disciples of Apocalypse faction with Chainz, Skull, and 8-Ball.
As a ringside commentator, Randy Savage can’t attack Crush when he comes through the curtain for his next match. Vince McMahon does all he can to calm Savage down, but in a rare moment for the time, even HE gets thrown aside. Savage meets Crush in the aisleway and it’s a big pull apart brawl from the get-go.
RAW FACTS (November 29) – Bret Hart was the most popular WWE ice cream bar in 1993. It was a layer of chocolate on the back with ice cream in the middle and a shortbread cookie on the front. Wow, I didn’t realize Bret Hart *was* an ice cream bar.
Vince McMahon is in the ring to present the WWF Superstar of the Year award. Lex Luger is the runner-up who gets brought out for really no reason at all, and Bret Hart is the WINNER. Bobby Heenan is pretty mad that he didn’t win the award. Bret thanks the fans for their support and promises to do all he can to win back the WWF championship for all the fans who voted for him. He even dedicates the trophy to all his fans, friends, and family.
RAW FACTS (November 29) – Kevin Nash (Diesel) was the starting center at the University of Tennessee in 1980 averaging 5.4 points and 4 rebounds.
WWF Intercontinental Champion Razor Ramon vs. Diesel – (Monday Night Raw, 11/29/93)
Shawn sends his bodyguard out to soften up the champ. Diesel overpowers to start. He buries the knees in the corner and lands the Bossman straddle. Elbow drop to the back and the Side Slam gets two. Razor punches out of a bearhug, but runs into a boot. Snake Eyes scores another nearfall. Back to the bearhug because what other offensive move does Diesel have to show. Once again, Ramon escapes and hits a flying bulldog for two. He slams the big guy and calls for the RAZOR’S EDGE. As he sets him up, Shawn runs in for the DQ. (5:18) Well, Diesel would certainly improve. What more can you say here? Shawn delivers a Superkick and threatens to give Razor a piledriver on the IC belt, but the 1-2-3 Kid FLIES onto HBK to put a stop to it. He kicks Shawn out of the ring as Ramon and the Kid stand tall. ¾*
RAW FACTS (December 6) – Shawn Michaels holds the record for eliminating the most competitors in the Royal Rumble match at 39.
Shawn Michaels vs. The 1-2-3 Kid – (Monday Night Raw, 12/6/93)
Shawn wears a fake IC belt out to the ring. As far as Bobby Heenan and Shawn are concerned, HBK’s still the IC champ anyways. Loads of reversals and counters to start until Kid finally just kicks Shawn out to the floor. Springboard dive wipes out Shawn some more. Back in, Shawn flips out of a suplex, but still takes a German suplex for two. Kid stays adamant with a headlock for a while. He walks up the ropes with it one time too many as Shawn breaks the hold with a back suplex. Shawn headscissors Kid out of the corner down to the floor, but winds up being whipped into the ringpost. Kid wants to CANNONBALLLL off the apron, but Shawn catches him for a powerslam! That’s not good for your back. After a commercial break, HBK starts delivering backbreakers in the ring. Kid fights off a superplex, but takes a dropkick in the gut on the way down. Cover, 1-2-NO! Extended backbreaker over HBK’s knee, but Kid kicks out of that. Shawn misses a clothesline and eats a spinning heel kick as both men are down. They fight right back up into a double-KO! Back up again, Kid unleashes his kick combo in the corner and delivers a Moonsault Press for 1-2-NO! CANNONBALL SPLASH FROM THE TOP, but Shawn rolls out of the way. Fool him once, shame on me. Fool him twice, shame on you. After a second commercial break, we see Shawn hitting the Kid with a Superkick! From there, Shawn proceeds to mimic Razor Ramon and gives the Kid the RAZOR’S EDGE for 1-2-NO! He pulls Kid up off the mat. He gives Kid a second RAZOR’S EDGE and when he goes for a third one, Razor Ramon appears and pulls Kid by his ankles out of the ring. Shawn comes out and gets a good slap on Razor. Not cool, chico. He gives chase as they head over by the entry way. I’m pretty sure HBK has been counted out or something. (10:30 shown) Shawn fake trips and as Ramon backs him toward the curtain, Diesel sneaks a punch in from behind the curtain and decks Ramon! That stops Razor long enough for Shawn to tear his shirt off and choke him out so he can give Ramon the RAZOR’S EDGE not once, but TWICE on the concrete floor. This was good action as you might expect, but I liked it better in 1996 when the roles were reversed. ***
RAW FACTS (December 6) – Gorilla Monsoon took second place at the 1959 NCAA wrestling championships. In 1988, John Madden named Bobby Heenan to his All-Madden team as Team Manager.
After making Gorilla Monsoon jokes all night, he throws Bobby Heenan out of the building. This was pretty hilarious, sad, and fitting all at the same time.
RAW FACTS (December 20) – Sparky Plugg wore a black arm band with #51 in honor of Neil Bonnett. Neil died in a car crash in Daytona, FL.
The name’s Thurman, but my friends call me Sparky. You can call me Sparky. I’m sure Bob Holly loved this when he found out this would be brought up again on DVD.
RAW FACTS (December 20) – Jeff Jarrett made his in-ring debut at the age of 18 in April 1986. The match went to a 10-minute draw.
Jeff Jarrett vs. PJ Walker – (Monday Night Raw, 12/20/93)
As a few different wrestlers would share Bobby Heenan’s color commentary spot on Raw before Jerry Lawler would take over for good, Shawn Michaels fills in Bobby’s seat hole tonight. Since he has upset IRS before, PJ Walker attempts to do the same to Jarrett on his WWF TV debut, but Jarrett stops him with a running DDT and a handful of tights for the pin. (4:07) Don’t forget the name – that’s JE-double-F-J-A-double-R-E-double-T. ½*
That’s Double J, Jeff Jarrett: We get a montage of Jeff Jarrett talking about how he will use his time spent in the WWF to get into the country music business even though everyone in the biz has told him NO.
King Kong Bundy: Hilarious commercial from September 1994 (no room on the next two discs?) to build up the return of King Kong Bundy as he shows up looking like he’s 30 stories tall and grips a newsroom up off the ground using just ONE hand.
IRS Taxes the Dead: Irwin tells us that even if you’re six feet under, you still have to pay your taxes. Obviously he’s looking at you, Undertaker. Another 1994 feature.
Jeff Jarrett Does Vegas: There’s a sign over your shoulder that says “Topless Girls of Glitter Gulch”, Jeff. Remember, this is a family show. Yes, another 1994 feature.
Christmas at the Heartbreak Hotel: Do you have stockings hanging at your fireplace, Shawn? Technically, he has fish net hose. It makes it hard to keep candy in there, but he guarantees he will be able to keep them full this Christmas. Alright then. Also from 1994.
Bret “Hitman” Hart Wishes Everyone A Happy New Year: Anyone else reminded of Duncan McLeod from Highlander whenever you see Bret just hanging around the house in his half buttoned up shirt? Maybe it’s just me. Anyways, he wishes everybody a Happy New Year just as the title suggests – everybody except for Owen who he wishes has a rotten new year. Well that’s real mature of you. More from 1994.
Final Thoughts: The only thing I would trade here is a few of these squash matches in favor of the Steiners-Quebecers title change. That would have been cool. You can tell the tone was different with the second half of the year compared to the first half as there were less serious matches and more angle-driven matches, which is not really as fun to watch. Still a great disc though that encompasses the feel of the show. I’m still leaning towards a ‘thumbs up’. We’ll see how I feel overall once I get through 1994.