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Please click through for the Best and Worst of WWF Monday Night Raw for March 15, 1993.
Best: I Swear To God I’m Not Making This Up
If you caught last week’s episode of Raw in 2015, WWE had to cancel their live show in Hartford due to a severe winter storm and ran a bunch of Royal Rumble matches and in-studio interviews in its place. It was one of those moments when fans went, “wow, this is unprecedented.”
In March of 1993, WWF had to cancel their live show in New York City due to a severe winter storm and ran a bunch of interviews and house shows matches from Poughkeepsie in its place. I’m not shitting you. If I hadn’t covered the Rumble last Monday, my 1993 Raw report would’ve been snowed-out the same day as its 2015 counterpart. Maybe I’ve become too self-aware and created an alternate timeline where everything’s jumbled. In a few weeks an 8-year old Roman Reigns is going to show up in adorable swat gear and Superman Punch Papa Shango.
Best: Gorilla And Bobby
Worst: … Have To Deal With A 60-Minute Vince McMahon Impression From Rob Bartlett
The opening to this episode is such an emotional roller coaster. All of a sudden there’s GORILLA MONSOON AND BOBBY HEENAN, one of the greatest WWF announce teams of all time, and you’re like, “oh man, this is going to be so much better than Vince and Macho Man.” Then you look slightly to the left and there’s Rob Bartlett, who has apparently made the snowy trek from New York City, and he’s dressed as Vince McMahon and oh my God what’s happening
Bartlett says he made the decision to leave WWF about a month after this because “the chemistry wasn’t there,” but after watching this episode I think he meant “Gorilla was gonna find me in the back and shoot murder me with a machete.” Almost unbelievably, Bartlett makes COMMENTARY WITH GORILLA AND BOBBY unbearable. He’s doing this weird Vince McMahon impression that’s basically Ed Sullivan plus screaming, and he won’t give it up. Gorilla and Bobby stop trying to talk about the wrestling about a match in and just yell at him to stop, but he thinks they’re Yes Anding him or something and keeps going. Eventually Gorilla is openly wishing death on him, saying they should take him to see Dr. Kevorkian (the suicide doctor) and that they’d only need “one visit.” They are straight-up telling him to die.
What’s worse is that they break the snow kayfabe almost immediately by saying “everyone who could possibly be here” is, then say Vince, Hulk Hogan, Macho Man and the other big stars aren’t here because they’re accepting an award at “Michael Landon’s First Annual Leukemia Awards Dinner.” So what, I gotta listen to Rob Bartlett yell BLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBLAH over a Typhoon match so McMahon can get a plaque from Nellie Oleson?
Best: Razor Ramon
This week’s first match is Razor Ramon vs. Russ Greenberg, a guy who looks like he should be the protagonist in a Sega Genesis game. Like, give him a motorcycle and a robot arm and some sunglasses and he’s a franchise. Greenberg had an epic run of helplessness in the 90s, from a loss to Big Bully Busick in 1991 to a loss to the Hardy Boyz in 1999. He’s currently a PED Narc in Florida. Razor WRECKS him.
Scott Hall pretending to be Scarface (and Carlito, both the Al Pacino and Caribbean Cool versions) never sits well with me, but his pre-match ritual where he hands off his gold chains to someone at ringside and tells them he’ll find them and hurt them if anything happens to his jewelry is pretty choice. Razor was always great in the ring, too, and he’s got the right level of viciousness against jobbers. Killing jobbers needs to be more of a focal point of modern WWE. It’s hard to beat ANYONE in 2015 WWE. Everybody has to cheat and distract and use rollups and pull tights. We need more instances of a good wrestler meeting a new guy he’ll never see again and just obliterating him to the point it’s concerning for everyone watching. The Ascension should be sending people to the morgue, not hitting them with soft back elbows to the shoulders to make them bump.
Best (Worst): L.A. GORE
Speaking of things that sound like Sega Genesis games, match #2 is Typhoon vs. the most 90s of all WWF jobbers, L.A. GORE. He’s dressed like a Trapper Keeper, looks like he should be playing drums in Grim Reaper and he’s named like a Troma film. I could seriously pitch a movie called L.A. Gore starring Ray Liotta and get it made. I want to know everything about him. Where did he come from? How did he get this far? What does the L.A. stand for? Larry Allen? IS HE A PARODY OF AL GORE? Like, a Bizarro world Al Gore? DOES HIS NAME MEAN “LAKE OF THE GOATS???”
Worst: So I Guess We’re Committing To This Typhoon Singles Push
For March and part of April, WWF decides they’re gonna make a singles star out of Typhoon. I don’t know. It didn’t work as Tugboat, but John Tenta was a miracle worker and gave him a little bit of a rub, so when Earthquake left WWF they had this wacky, dumpy Rhodes family adjacent left over and just went with it. What’s great is that in over the summer Typhoon jumps ship to WCW and puts on a sparkly Storm Trooper helmet, so this month and a half of Typhoon squash wins is retroactively a sort of Farewell Tour for Fred Ottman’s dignity.
Worst: Guess What Giant Gonzalez’s Promo Against The Undertaker Is About
There’s a weird moment in this episode where Bobby Heenan’s supposed to bring out Giant Gonzalez for an interview, but gets really heated with someone at ringside for not giving him the proper cues. They cut away from it to an Ico Pro commercial, but then when they come back he’s still complaining. It’s weird. It’s one of those moments where it could just be Bobby heeling about nothing to give a boring segment some color, but I like to imagine Rob Bartlett standing there holding up blank cue cards with a confused look on his face.
Anyway, Giant Gonzalez and Harvey Wippleman have to cut a promo on the Undertaker for WrestleMania IX, so guess what they say? They’re going to bury him and he’s going to Rest In Peace. I feel like when you feud with Taker he hands you an index card with “SAY I WILL REST IN PEACE” on it. SAY FUNERAL THINGS. And then all he says in response is the goth equivalent of “YOU are the ones who are the ball lickers.”
If I could creatively change anything about the last 30 years of wrestling and ignored all the drugs and deaths and socially concerning shit, I’d rewrite all the Undertaker’s feuds to make them more fantastic. You’ve got a wrestling zombie mortician battling an 8-foot tall nude Argentenian with a pocket-sized hype man. Why is this feud about sneak attacks and threats? Why isn’t The Undertaker teleporting to the Himalayas and battling him on the slopes of a snowy mountain? Hulk Hogan tried it with his Dungeon of Doom feud and as stupid as it was, I’ve never forgotten it. If you’re gonna be stupid, be as stupid as possible. Scream about how the water’s not hot and never explain why lukewarm water is shocking. Think about the best Undertaker feuds ever. They involved limo kidnappings and flaming stuffed animals and walking through walls of fire, right? Shooting lightning at people. Trying to embalm Steve Austin. I don’t want a WrestleMania feud built around “I wonder how Jake the Snake will do against the big man,” I want Jake the Snake riding a monstrous sea creature into Poughkeepsie and having to battle an army of skeletons. F*ck it. Get Ray Harryhausen to animate your pay-per-views.
Best: An Old Nerd Beating A Voodoo Priest With A Small Package Is Basically Perfect
Speaking of the fantastic, Bob Backlund wrestles Papa Shango and beats him with a small package. Like, that description should be enough. This tall, terrifying voodoo priest who can make people bleed from the head and vomit dijon mustard with magic can be toppled by a 45-year old Richie Cunningham’s knowledge of inside cradles. It’s pro wrestling, man.
Worst: No Really, This Is Just A House Show
So yeah, the reality of this episode is that it’s for-real a Poughkeepsie house show aired on national television. The main event is the most house show thing you could imagine: the Nasty Boys and the Headshrinkers wrestling for wrestling’s sake, then just randomly deciding to fight to the back for a double count-out.
It’s hard to even remember the Nasty Boys winning or losing matches when you think about it. They just sorta ended. The Nasties don’t have a big Doomsday Device or Demolition Decapitation tandem finish you remember, do they? One of them would just slam a guy and the other would waddle up and elbow drop him. In my brain I can’t see them getting pinned, either. Every match is just like WELP, THAT’S ENOUGH, MOVE ALONG, and then a Nasty Boy grabs his opponent by the hair and they wander up the ramp. If you’re lucky, one of them’s hitting the other with a trash can lid. They won the Tag Team Championships by osmosis. In WCW once they lost the tag titles at a TV taping 18 days before they won them. The Nasty Boys are the Zero Theorem of professional wrestling.
Worst: The Main Event Is A 5-Minute Video Package About Charity
Bartlett is hopping in to go MAHN DAH NAH RAHHHHH and awkwardly hop away while Gorilla swats at him with a fly swatter, so we end the episode with a video package highlighting how much the World Wrestling Federation cares about the world. It’s super funny and features unwritable, Errol Morris-quality moments like Tatanka telling school children to be themselves, crazy-ass Macho Man telling kids not to use drugs and the Nasty Boys saying you’re UNCOOL AND A JERK if you smoke. All it needed was Giant Gonzalez wedging himself into an elementary school cafeteria to tell 200 3rd graders to not be tall.
Oh, and Savage gives Jesse Jackson a HEADLOCK ON HUNGER t-shirt. I wonder if he still has it?