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Click on through for the Best and Worst of WWF Monday Night Raw for March 1, 1993.
Worst: Elvis Is Dead And Was Fat. Enjoy This Joke For 60 Minutes!
If you’ve been enjoying Rob Bartlett’s disinterested 90s comedian take on pro wrestling, hold on to your butts, because now he’s cosplaying Elvis. For absolutely no reason, Bartlett spends this ENTIRE EPISODE OF RAW dressed as Elvis, doing commentary as Elvis and eating a bunch of food, because Elvis was fat. Get it? DO YOU GET THE JOKE?
It’s the most dated thing in the world. He refuses to talk about the wrestling, and just reads off a series of Elvis stereotypes so obvious a Jay Leno monologue would side-eye him. Still alive and living in El Paso? Check. Abducted by aliens? Check. The Colonel? Peanut-butter and banana sandwiches? VIVA LAS VEGAS? THE FEATURE FILM ‘CLAMBAKE?’ Poor Vince can’t even do his ONE TWO THREE HE GOT HIM NO HE DIDN’T thing because Bartlett’s too busy saying “I died on the toilet, man” and throwing up hangs-loose.
To put it into perspective, imagine if five years from now JBL put on a Cosby sweater and spent an entire Raw asking Cole if he wants the Jell-O Pudding Pops. That’s this episode of Raw.
Best: Bret Hart Prime vs. Pre-Crisis Rikishi
The first match (and for all intents and purposes the main-event) of the show is WWF Champion Bret Hart vs. Fatu, whom you may know as Rikishi, that guy with the big ass who did it for The Rock. This is when he was still a Headshrinker, which is the company’s tactful way of saying Pacific Islanders are mindless, murderous savages with concrete skulls and no shoes. His manager is Hall of Famer Afa, who yells at a shoot shrunken head and keeps looking at the camera to make sure we heard it.
Bret is one of the only WWF Champions to routinely wrestle the promotion’s actual roster, and I love it. You don’t see John Cena wrestling competitive one-on-one matches against Adam Rose and making him look good before he wins, but Bret would show up on Raw and tear it up with Fatu or the 1-2-3 Kid and everybody’d be better off for it. He was one of the only humanitarian champions, I guess. There’s a value in making the guys way below you look like they belong, because in kayfabulous theory everyone on the show should be “good enough” to compete on this level.
The finish is fun, too. The Samoans try to pull off TWIN MAGIC, which works because WWF referees are racist and can’t tell minorities apart. They have SAMU and FATU written on their pants in big letters, but all they see is brown, man. Afa keeps interfering too, so Bret just shoves Fatu into Samu to get him hung up in the ropes, dropkicks Afa off the apron and wins with the Sharpshooter in the middle of the ring. He wins because he’s smart, not because he’s unstoppable. He didn’t just punch out all three guys and Russian legsweep them into a pile. He used timing and his knowledge of how wrestling rings work to trap everybody and box them out.
Worst: Earl Hebner Is The Worst Referee
It’s sad that Earl Hebner is the referee everybody can name, because he’s terrible. He’s got the worst three count I’ve ever seen. When he knows a kickout’s coming, he goes one, two, then dives forward and makes this crazy shaking gesture for three. When it’s time to actually count the pin, his cadence is all different. He gives away the match. The only person as bad as him at this is WCW’s Randy Anderson, who’d just thrust his arm under your body and break up the pin if it wasn’t the finish, whether you were planning to kick out or not.
Also, dude counts to two when Bret turns Fatu over in the Sharpshooter. Jump to 14:15 in the video and watch him. Remember when we gave Cameron shit for trying to pin somebody who was face down? Earl’s the guy in charge of how wrestling matches work.
Best: Crush Brings It Via Satellite
From the beach!
Vince and his broadcast team of Fat, Dying Elvis and Neon Cowboy Wolfman Jack throw it out to Hawaii, where WWF has set up a satellite link on the beaches of Wherever so Crush can comment on Doink the Clown without mussing his busy surfing schedule. Crush is like a Pokémon named “Brother” that can only say its name. So the promo’s like:
Vince: CRUSH HOW IS THE WEATHER
Crush: britta britta britta!
Vince: HAW HAW
Vince: WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT DOINK THE CLOWN
Crush: [angrily] aw britta
And then he picks up a coconut that is lying in the sand despite there being no trees and CRUSHES it, because that’s his mission statement. I kinda wish he’d crushed it by stomping it with his bare feet, and they’d had Rob Bartlett get turned on by it. In my fantasy booking Rob Bartlett turns into Rob Black in a few episodes and keeps trying to get Crush to step on his chihuahua.
Best: Doink Wins With The Dreaded Dick To The Back Of The Head
The second match of the week is Doink the Clown vs. Koko B. Ware, and Koko has one of the saddest performances you’ll ever see. Doink just knocks him down and puts him in a spinning toe-hold, then kinda aimlessly half-attempts a figure-four while Koko lies there swatting at him like a baby on a changing table. Doink eventually drags him to the middle of the ring and locks him in the STUMP PULLER, a move where you rest your balls on the back of your opponent’s head and try to put their knee to their nose. It’s an “inverted single leg Boston crab” if you don’t like carny names for moves. Koko loses to a clown’s taint and is inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Worst: More Funny Jokes!
There are two big jokes in this episode.
1. During the WrestleMania IX report, Mean Gene takes a moment to ask Macho Man if he bought his suit at Joey Buttafuoco’s auto body shop. If you’re old enough to get this reference you’ll know it was tired about a year before this conversation. Macho says that if Joey Buttafuoco and Amy Fisher had met him first, “none of this would’ve happened.” Vince lets out this huge GUFFAW-HAW laugh, revealing who ordered who to make Joey Buttafuoco jokes on Raw.
2. After Doink’s match, “Elvis” gets up and tries to interview him, even though Rob Bartlett’s never once tried to stop a wrestler for comments after a match before. It turns out Doink has a gift for him: a tiny pie. This is just a distraction for an actual, full-sized pie that Doink uses to literally pie-face Elvis. Bartlett no-sells it, saying it’s “great, man.” Because Elvis was fat and would want food all over his face. Every person involved in this should be shot out of a cannon, into a cannonball shot at them from a second cannon.
Note: Between Doink and Crush’s exploding coconut, this episode features a lot of guys getting creamed in the face by stuff. Just saying.
Best/Worst: The “Beefcase”
Money Inc. answer the challenge of the Mega Maniacs and yes, they will put up the tag team championships at WrestleMania. The highlight of the promo is the “Beefcase,” as Irwin R. has crudely taped a cut-out photo of Hulk Hogan to the front with Scotch tape to illustrate a threat. And he seriously calls it the “Beefcase.” WCW should’ve brought that back as the name for Alex Wright’s trunks.
Anyway, their promo highlights a weird problem. I always assumed Money Inc. was a team because DiBiase was a rich evil guy and IRS was there to do his taxes. Or get him out of paying taxes, however that works. Here, though, they cut a long promo about how they’re both multi-millionaires who think white collar criminals are getting the shaft, and what, is IRS supposed to be rich too? When was that established? He’s working two jobs and wears the same clothes every day, and he’s obsessed with making sure people LOSE money. “Tax collector” is a good job, but it’s not gonna make you wealthy. Is he operating on the Million Dollar Man’s dime? Is he a White Virgil? Did I never pick up on that?
Worst: The Rest Of The Show Is Just Boring Squashes, Or
Best: This Week’s Famous Jobbers
The final two matches of the show (because the episode is built in reverse, with the main-event coming first) are jobbers squashes. Lex Luger wins via Suspicious Forearm Strike to build to his match against Mr. Perfect, and the Steiner Brothers godlessly torture a couple of rubes.
You should recognize the first jobber right away: he’s PJ Walker, aka The Portuguese Man O’ War Aldo Montoya, aka former ECW Heavyweight Champion and 8-time WWE Hardcore Champion Justin Credible. He gets in no offense, and after the match Luger holds him up to the mirror and calls him the “atypical American male.” He’s trying to say “typical,” but in Lugerese it’s close enough. He’s also right, as Justin Credible is nothing like Scotty Riggs or Marcus Alexander Bagwell.
The Steiners face one of the most legendary jobber tag teams of all time …
They’ve gone by many names — sometimes they’re “The Lords of Darkness,” sometimes they’re “The Executioners” — but here they’re Duane Gill and Barry Hardy. You may know Gill as “Gillberg,” a Goldberg parody that was popular enough to get him a spot in the 1999 Royal Rumble and a run as the longest-reigning Light Heavyweight Champion ever under the WWF banner. Never underestimate how far a little ruthless passive-aggression can get you, folks.
Barry Hardy never got a run with the strap, but he did get this melodramatic Bruce Springsteen tribute video, so that’s something. The Steiners literally murder them, and Raw ends with five minutes of hushed silence while EMTs try to scrape Barry Hardy’s face off the mat with a spatula. Oh, and Vince calls the Steiners “Rob and Scott,” because whooops.
Join us again next week for more Raw action, and again in two years when stuff actually starts happening.