– Hey look, it’s a thing you asked for!
The Best and Worst of WWE Raw is our signature column and the retro Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro reports are the most fun thing we do, so we thought hey, why not combine the two? Every Monday morning I’ll be revisiting an old episode of Raw and making as many jokes about it as possible before succumbing to the horribleness of Rob Bartlett. You can find a writeup of episode 1 in the UPROXX Sports archives, but trust me, you barely have to watch these early shows in order.
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So, here we go! Please click through for the Best and Worst of WWF Monday Night Raw for January 18, 1993.
Worst: Let’s Kick Things Off With A Timely Sinead O’Connor Reference
Urban Mongo Rob Bartlett makes sure this week’s episode is as dated as possible by tearing up a photo of Bobby Heenan and saying “fight the real enemy.” If you’re 20 years old and none of that’s ringing a bell, he’s referencing Irish singer-songwriter Sinead O’Connor’s controversial performance on Saturday Night Live wherein she tore up a picture of the Pope and torpedoed her career. To put it into perspective, imagine your children watching Raw 20 years from now and wondering what the f*ck a “grumpy cat” is.
My biggest complaint is that Joe Pesci didn’t guest host the next week’s Raw, tape the picture back together and threaten to slap Rob Bartlett in the face.
Best: Babyface Mr. Perfect, Who Existed (Somehow)
The first match of the week is between two characters you might not’ve known existed.
The important one is babyface Mr. Perfect. He was 1988’s perfect heel — a man so good and confident in his abilities that called himself perfect, bedazzled it on a jacket and wouldn’t stop rubbing it in peoples’ faces. You may remember him hanging out with famous sports guys just to show them up and have them kiss his ass. While he’s mostly remembered for that amazing heel work, he turned face to fill in for the Ultimate Warrior at the 1992 Survivor Series and (despite back injuries keep him out for years at a time) more or less stuck that way until 1994. Here he’s a SUPER babyface, and it’s weird. He might as well be Sami Zayn. It’s kinda fun to think how ironically over a “guy who’s literally perfect and makes viral sports videos with famous people” character would be in 2014.
The unimportant one is “Terrific” Terry Taylor. Terry Taylor is so whitebread he’s got bologna and mustard down the front of his trunks. For the first decade of his career, he was the scrappy, fired-up fan favorite who was never any fan’s actual favorite, or a perennial “almost heel.” He’d turn on people, sure, but you could never shake the feeling he was just cosplaying Larry Zbyszko. In 1989, the WWF took this guy and said LET’S MAKE HIM A CHICKEN. So, for like a year and a half, Terry Taylor was a goddamn chicken. WCW tried to salvage him by saying he was good at computers, but all anyone could think of was this. Here, Terry’s back in the WWF and calling himself “Terrific,” which even he knows is a f*cking lie.
Taylor’s so dead in the water that Ric Flair shows up to do the modern “GUY I’M FEUDING WITH HAS DISTRACTED ME” moment to Perfect and he STILL loses. He knees Perfect in the back, hooks him for a suplexed, gets Perfect-Plexed somehow and that’s it. Perfect doesn’t even sell it, he just runs to the back to chase Flair.
Two gimmicks to pitch to NXT:
1. ironic viral video guy who says he’s perfect and knows Pablo Sandoval
Best: The Undertaker Wants You To Die, But Not From Hunger
“… they should die in a concrete crypt with some dignity.”
WWF called their food drive ‘Headlock On Hunger,’ and I’ve always had a problem with it. The name, I mean. It’s so non-confrontational. You’ve got a headlock on hunger? What, you’re in the feeling out process? You’re controlling the situation until you can figure out how to win? It’s like promoting HIV awareness and calling it GRAB A WRISTLOCK ON AIDS.
Join the World Wrestling Federation as we EXECUTE A STANDING SWITCH ON CANCER.
Worst: Bret Hart Always Sounded Like Confused Old Bret Hart
Bret Hart promos are always an adventure. Here, he threatens Razor Ramon with, “I’m gonna kick you down on conscious street!”
He’s saying “unconscious street,” but he’s extremely Canadian so it comes out wrong. Also, threatening to kick someone “down unconscious street” is hilariously lame no matter how well you say it. “I’m gonna kick you down unconscious street, Razor, then stuff you into a mailbox with SHARPSHOOTER written on the front. Then the mailman, played by me in a cameo role, will take you to the post office of LOSSES. And then we’ll COLLAR-AND-ELBOW TIEUP HUNGER.”
Best: There Is No Bret Hart, Only Zuul
Best: Familiar Jobbers
To prep for his Intercontinental Championship match at the Royal Rumble, Marty Jannetty takes on “Glenn Ruth,” a guy who looks like Dean Malenko’s slovenly younger brother. Attitude Era fans know Ruth better as Headbanger Trasher, one-half of a tag team called “The Headbangers” despite them being bald, being into punk music and wearing cone bras. Maybe they were Headbanging Hunger?
Anyway, this is one of the best parts of reviewing these early Raws, from that dark period before Nitro debuted and they didn’t have to try. I’m excited for more people I know to show up. I was the world’s biggest Hardy Boyz fan when they were awkward, wide-eyed teenagers in headbands and daisy tights.
Worst: Vince Never Seems To Know What’s Happening
Okay, before I talk about Vince, a huge Best to Doink the Clown beating Crush to death with a prosthetic arm. Episode 1 ends with Crush taking offense to Doink making children cry, so it’s good to see they worked through their problems over the weekend. Every Crush appearance should’ve been him being tricked into accepting a flower, then brutally attacked with whatever was lying around.
Anyway, announcer Vince. He’s got a lot of problems, but the major one is that he never seems to know what’s going on. Every move is “unbelievable.” Every pinfall is a three count, and he falls for ALL of them and announces that the match is over before realizing it was a two count. Here, Doink has very clearly shoved a fake arm into a sling, removed the arm when Crush’s back was turned and is now using his two actual arms to swing it like a bat. As Doink is doing this, Vince yells HE POPPED HIS ARM RIGHT OUT OF THE SOCKET!!! Yes Vince, Doink the Clown removed his actual arm and is using his backup arm to swing it. He’s a lizard, Vince, it grew back. Doink is a lizard.
I wonder if Vince started calling it “sports-entertainment” because he legitimately didn’t know he was at a wrestling show, and nobody had the guts to correct him. Like, in 2014 Vince thinks he works for a steel mill where everyone’s super weird.
Best: Repo Man Is My Favorite Wrestling Character
The show opens with Repo Man attacking Macho Man Randy Savage from behind, stealing his hat and fleeing the building. Sean Mooney runs into him outside, where Repo explains that he has Macho’s “prized possession” because he was “late on the payments.”
SO MANY QUESTIONS.
1. Does Macho Man make so little money that he has to buy his hats on an installment plan?
2. Doesn’t Macho have thousands of hats? One to match each of his jackets?
3. Would the hat part be the most important part of the ensemble? It’s a hat.
4. If so, why is this specific hat his prized possession?
5. If that’s true, why is he still paying off his prized possession?
6. WHY IS A BURGLAR WRESTLER WHO HAS BEEN RUN OVER BY A CAR IN CHARGE OF REPOSSESSIONS?
Repo Man is legitimately one of my favorite wrestling characters, almost exclusively because of how little sense he makes. Rich guy? Sure, we aren’t rich, boo the rich guy. Tax collector? Everybody hates paying taxes, boo the tax collector. Repo man? Are we looking down on our audience so far we think everyone can relate to a repo man showing up and taking back stuff they couldn’t afford? What’s next, an evil welfare agent? A social worker who thinks you SHOULD have your kids taken away? How specific can we get? ALSO WHY DOES HE LOOK LIKE HE WAS RUN OVER BY A CAR?
BRB, listening to Repo Man’s entrance theme for the rest of the day.
Worst: This Is Seriously The Worst Announce Team Ever Assembled
Ric Flair wrestles ‘El Matador’ Tito Santana in the main event, and the announce team’s so bad you can barely believe they exist.
It’s McMahon, Bartlett and Savage. Savage is mentally AWOL for his entire WWF announcer run, but especially so here, as the Repo Man’s stolen his hat and it’s all he can think about. Vince is just going BAH BAH BAH BAHHH BAHBAH BAH. Seriously, read those BAHs in Vince McMahon announcer voice. When he’s not aimlessly shouting, he’s announcing every nearfall as the end of the match. “ONE TWO THREE HE GOT HIM no he didn’t.” At one point he seems legitimately upset that Tito has not pinned Ric f*cking Flair with a headlock takeover. HE GOT HIM THAT WAS THREE, I SAW THE HAND COME DOWN AND TITO HAD HIS HAND RAISED AND EVERYONE LEFT AND NOW IT’S WEDNESDAY wait no the match continues. On top of all that is Bartlett, who wrote 10 bad jokes on a sheet of paper 15 minutes before the show started and reads one every 90 seconds. At one point he remembers Tito’s Mexican-American so he misquotes The Treasure of the Sierra Madre in a Hispanic accent. “MARCY?? I don got to cho you no steenking marcy!”
I am DYING for Eric Bischoff to call something a back spinning front leg kick right now.
Best: Iggy Pop Makes A Dangerous Challenge
Tito has Flair beat clean, but goes for a second Flying Forearm and flies out of the ring into irrelevance. That clears us up for the post-match stuff, where Mr. Perfect shows up, brawls a little with Flair and causes a challenge: next week on Raw it’ll be Flair vs. Perfect, career vs. career. The loser will have to leave Raw and never return, especially not to be its owner. Especially not to join any evil factions.
Flair screaming promos are great when they actually require Flair to scream. Dude looks like he’s about to explode and send a thousand snakes flying around the arena. At one point he stops, walks to the barricade, kisses a woman in the front row and walks back to continue screaming. God bless you, Nature Boy.
Best: Next Week