The Best And Worst Of WWF Monday Night Raw 2/22/93: Hulk Hogan Saves Face

Pre-show notes:

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Click on through for the Best and Worst of WWF Monday Night Raw for February 22, 1993.

Best: You Look Fly Today

This week’s opening squash is about as good as WWF squashes get. Bam Bam Bigelow, not yet tainted by The Devil’s Main-Event Payday at WrestleMania XI, takes on Scott Taylor. You may know Taylor better as Scotty 2 Hotty, the guy who did The Worm in Too Cool. He’s about four years into the business here and apparently working a Trey Parker gimmick. According to his Wikipedia page (seriously), jobber Scott Taylor supplemented his jobber income as the “assistant manager of a Spencer’s Gifts.” At least now we know where he got those bucket hats. I’m surprised he didn’t come to the ring in a Bob Marley shirt, swinging a fiber-optic dildo.

If you watch this match, you’ll realize what a copy-job NXT’s currently attempting to do with Bull Dempsey. Bam Bam Bigelow is a fat, tough, “no-nonsense” guy whose entrance theme features people shouting his name, and who finishes his opponents off with lazy flying headbutts. The difference is that Bam Bam was an athletic and agile monster who was covered in fire and looked terrifying, while Bull’s a nice guy who’s into LAN parties and wrestles in the Borat swimsuit.

And while I’m looking at that picture, I don’t think Scotty 2 Hotty ever spiked up his hair. I think he just flipped his mullet upside down.

Best/Worst: New New New New New World Order

Welcome to 1993. Hulk Hogan’s been on a leave of absence from the company because of a scandal involving a doctor for the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission illegally selling steroids to wrestlers. It’s what Hulk meant by “vitamins.” He tried a little damage control on The Arsenio Hall Show, but it wasn’t enough. Vince McMahon’s ceding control of his company to his wife Linda and preparing to fight the United States Government, who have enlisted escaped Cobb County convict NAILZ to help them shut down the WWF for steroid trafficking. Hogan is lodged right in the middle, preparing to pull the greatest swerve of his lifetime. Even better than the one where he bumped off a poke to the chest.

Anyway, what you need to know here is that Hogan has been away and is taking a big stinky step back in, but he’s gotta spend the entire step going, “it’s cool, everything’s okay, Hulk Hogan’s still great, I swear.” That means being “Hulk Hogan” (in quotes), often in the third person, in a sit-down interview with Vince. Vince is wearing his dad’s suit, apparently. Hogan’s decked out in black and white, and everybody knows Hogan’s clothes are like a mood ring. When he’s red and yellow he’s happy and positive and loves praying. When he’s in black and white, he’s an up-his-own-ass pragmatist. When it’s all black he’s a teleporting murderer.

The interview is terrible and full of Hogan making vague comments like, “Hulk Hogan is human and has made some mistakes.” You can see the Krang brain in Vince’s robot stomach sorta guiding him through it as he talks. The best part (and the reason I’m giving it a Half Best) is Hogan saying that Hulkamania’s just begun, and the future is bright. Spoiler alert: he sticks around long enough to nuke a WrestleMania and is gone in four months. Two years later he’s having a monster truck sumo battle, committing manslaughter by accidentally throwing a guy off an arena roof and getting buttf*cked by a mummy. 20 years later he’s literally a living suitcase and can’t remember the name of the building he’s in. THE FUTURE OF HULKAMANIA IS BRIGHT, BROTHER.

Worst: Hulk Hogan’s Done Talking, So Enjoy This 80 Minute Nasty Boys Tag

90% of this episode is a six-man tag pitting the Nasty Boys (get it) and Tatanka against Shawn Michaels and the Beverly Brothers. The pairings are fun for two reasons:

1. being able to call one of the teams “The Nasty Indians”
2. Vince McMahon saying the Beverly Brothers are from Shaker Heights, Ohio, and thinking that’s notable

The match goes on forever and is just another excuse to get Tatanka’s no-selling over. Not sure it was necessary as people got “you can’t hurt this guy when he starts skipping” from Tatanka match #1. The Nasties are typically horrible and oversell everything. That picture is Brian Knobbs selling a bearhug by putting his arms straight in the air and waving them like a wacky waving inflatable arm-flailing tubeman. Later he’s supposed to get shoved into the ring post by Michaels, but Michaels doesn’t do it. Knobbs sprints into the post anyway. He goes from a slow walk to a sudden face-first dash into an upright steel rod.

The Beverly Brothers aren’t the worst wrestlers in the world, but asking them to do something interesting or skillful might be asking a little much, especially for a match that feels like five entire episodes of Raw. It’s like somebody’s trying to escape a planet in Dragon Ball Z in wrestling match form.

Worst: Rob Bartlett Tries To Get On Vince’s Good Side

Bartlett opens the show with a joke about how shocked he is that wrestling fans can spell. That sets a dangerous precedent for the night, and Urban Mongo plays it safe by simply ignoring the matches and sucking up to Vince McMahon all night. When the heavy-set ring girl’s in the ring, Bartlett says “paging Richard Simmons!” Vince lets out a big HA HAH HAH HAH! That legitimate Vince McMahon laugh that lets you know he’s connected to the joke. Later Bartlett insults Democrats for no reason and does an Arnold Schwarzenegger impression. Vince is OVER THE MOON. This is how he kept this job for so long if you’re wondering.

Supplemental Best for Macho Man saying Hulk Hogan is neither a Republican nor a Democrat, but a MAN OF HUMANITY. JUPITER SAT-TURN YEAH DIG IT.

Worst: Crush’s Finish

Match number three on the night (unless I blacked out and missed Paga Shango slitting Bobby Who’s throat) is Crush vs. Terrific Terry Taylor. Crush wins easily while the announce team insists that he’s the greatest thing they’ve ever seen. LOOK AT THIS LIVING POPSICLE MAN FROM HA-VATTI ROB BARTLETT HE IS UN BEE LEAVE-ABLE!

If you aren’t familiar with the works of Crush, his finish is a head squeeze. He grips your head with both hands, one on each side, and assumedly squeezes your head so hard it impacts your brain and literally kills you. Taylor gives up quickly, and all I can think about is what would happen if he hadn’t. Wrestlers refuse to submit and pass out sometimes, you know? What happens if they don’t submit to the head vice? Does he pop it like he’s The Mountain? Is there footage of Crush just mangling some poor dude’s skull at the Boston Garden or wherever and Vince having to cover it up with “HE’S A MINDLESS SAVAGE FROM THE ISLE OF HAVATTAY?”

Best: This Actual Conversation That Happened Between Vince McMahon And The Macho Man

99% sure Rob Bartlett had a “Chaka Khan” joke ready to go.

Worst: The Mega Maniacs, Or “Hulk Hogan Has Done Little To No Research”

The accidental main-event of the show is Hulk Hogan making his first appearance on Raw, being visibly disappointed by the tiny crowd, trying to salvage it by saying he sees a bunch of Hulkamaniacs and then just talking amongst himself for 20 minutes. He’s upset that Money Inc. shattered Brutus Beefcake’s surgically repaired face “into a million pieces” last week, but the good news is Brutus is fine. I guess when they put your face together the first time they’ve build the roads, and the second time they’ve just gotta drive down them.

Brutus shows up looking like a flamboyant raccoon and says that he survived the attack thanks to his new TITANIUM FACE. Holy shit, what? Brother Bruti’s face is Lex Luger’s forearm? Why didn’t Beefcake just run at dudes and headbutt them? THAT’S who should’ve done a flying headbutt, Jesus Christ. MY HEAD IS MADE OF METAL AND SO ARE MY GIANT SCISSORS. He should’ve feuded with Crush and countered by breaking Crush’s hands with his face. You can’t crush BRUTIMANTIUM, BRAH.

The big moment here is the announcement of Hogan and Beefcake’s team name (“The Mega Maniacs,” because my suggestion of “Orange Cake” didn’t sound like it was booked by the Crazy Frog) and new manager: Hoganized man of compassion Jimmy Hart. Hogan somewhat smartly has enlisted Jimmy’s help in getting them matches AGAINST Money Inc. Sadly Hulk ruins the segment by having no f*cking clue who Money Inc. is, and repeatedly threatening the “Multi-Million Dollar Man.” “Mull-tie.” THE MULL TIE MILLION DOLLAR MAN. He also says “let me tell you something” at least five times, and I wish just once Vince would go “YOU ARE ALLOWED TO TELL ME ANYTHING THAT’S WHY I’M POINTING A MICROPHONE AT YOUR FACE.”

Best/Worst: Raw Before The Overrun

The main-event is about 40 seconds of an Undertaker/Skinner match. They “run out of time” (because they had to GO TO COMMERCIAL during it) and promise to show us the conclusion of the match next week.

The bad: I don’t know if it’s bad planning or Hogan going long or what, but having your main-event end via “bye Felicia” isn’t a good look. There was no overrun yet, so WWF had to just bite the bullet and be all, “welp, hope you think about this Undertaker/Skinner match for a week.”

The good: We didn’t have to watch the rest of the match. What we saw was Skinner trying to choke Taker and climb on his back, which accidentally tumbles them over headfirst into the security railing. Also, hey, Raw just ends when the clock decides instead of the 2015 version, where they start the main four minutes after hour three and drag ass into the first 20 minutes of Chrisley Knows Best.