James Dixon: This is different to the superior US only release with the same name. This was UK exclusive, and features a bunch of matches from the early months of Monday Night Raw.
Macho Man Randy Savage vs. Repo Man
The original commentary is changed and we get the double play-by-play goodness of JR and Gorilla replacing the intolerable Rob Bartlett. Despite being WWF champion just a few months prior, this is the kind of undercard nonsense that Savage was reduced to when competing in matches during 1993, with this particular bout taking place because Repo stole Savage’s hat. You can see why Savage wanted out in 1994, because he was being wasted in the WWF. Vince’s determined drive to get rid of anyone from the previous era and go with his ill-fated “new generation” resulted in long time solid hands like Savage, Santana, Bossman and others all disappearing. This goes on way too long for a Repo Man match, clocking in at nearly quarter of an hour, but thankfully someone at Silver Vision saw sense and clipped it. We don’t miss much, because this is just the standard Savage vs. plank match, with Savage taking a kicking before hitting a slam and the big elbow to win it. He did near enough nothing here, and I think it is pretty clear that he was not even slightly motivated due to his position in the company. To me that is cutting off your nose to spite your face. If Savage had gone at these kind of bouts with the vigour and intensity that he displayed in the 80s, he might have been kept in an elevated position on the card. It remains a real shame that he never got to do long programs with Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels and Mr. Perfect during this time, because all could have been very rewarding.
Final Rating: *
The Steiner Brothers vs. The Beverly Brothers
This is a rematch from Royal Rumble ’93. I love watching The Steiners; you can always rely on them to bust out some exciting stuff. The same cannot be said for The Beverly Brothers. This match is ok, with The Steiners throwing The Beverlys around with ease early on before a heat on Scott Steiner, with the focus being on his back. The Beverlys choose holds over throws, which is somewhat less entertaining to watch. This is clipped again, with the full match going around 12-minutes, but they only cut some of the heat, which again is a good choice. Scott throws in a high elevation tilt-a-whirl slam, which JR actually calls correctly. On the Raw broadcast, Vince called it “whatamanoeuvre” as only he can. Things break down after the hot tag, and the Frankensteiner from Scott wins it. Fairly exciting in places, but the heat was typically dull from the Beverlys.
Final Rating: **
Brutus Beefcake vs. Ted DiBiase
This is a rematch from WrestleMania V and Bruti’s first match in nearly three years, following a major parasailing accident that nearly killed him. Every attempted punch or shot in the direction of Brutus’ face has an extra level of importance and pertinence. Beefcake looks exactly the same from an in-ring standpoint as he did three years ago, but take that comment to mean what you will. DiBiase keeps trying to go for the face, which is logical, but Brutus thwarts all attempts and keeps working a headlock. There has been barely any actual action in the match to be honest, and it only serves to set up the post match shenanigans. IRS comes down and nails Brutus in the back with his briefcase for the DQ, and Money Inc. stomp the hell out of him. Then in a famous angle, IRS nails Beefcake with the steel briefcase in his reconstructed face, after first having pushed a protesting Jimmy Hart out of the way. It is the only memorable and “good” thing that IRS was ever involved in. Brutus sells it really well, though the original commentary is more effective, with Gorilla suggesting they need “a medical team, or a screwdriver at least” for Beefcake. Comments like that rather cheapen the impact of what happened. They cut to a shot of the ring covered in what is supposed to be Brutus’ blood, though there was no bladejob here, this time the blood is fake for once. It is just a shame the excellent angle resulted in a pretty worthless match at WrestleMania.
Final Rating: ¾*
Typhoon vs. Bam Bam Bigelow
The original Raw commentary team is intact here, so I can only assume it was changed on the other matches because of Rob Bartlett, who was gone by the time this took place. This was actually a King of the Ring qualifier and also appears on Best of WWF Fan Favorites. Typhoon is the last person I want to see work. Seriously, every time I see him do his idiotic head shaking, first I cringe and then I fill with rage. They make a mess of things early on because Typhoon is a step behind Bigelow and gets lost going into a lock-up. Yeah. Typhoon sticks to something he can do, and just holds Bam Bam’s arm. Bigelow gives him a back suplex in return, but Typhoon just gets up and no-sells it like he is freakin’ Kenta Kobashi. And that is the ONLY time anyone has ever likened Typhoon to him! Bigelow realises he can’t do anything with Typhoon so just sits in a chinlock for a while. Typhoon misses a fat ass splash in the corner and Bam Bam impressively Samoan drops him before finishing things with the diving headbutt. Bigelow tried God bless him, but this was still not good.
Final Rating: ½*
Money Inc. vs. The Beverly Brothers
Money Inc. were the champions, but this is a non-title match. I am rather looking forward to this, what with the curiosity factor of it being a heel-heel match. It is strange because I really don’t like The Beverly Brothers in the WWF (I enjoyed their work in the AWA) and I cannot stand IRS, so the fact that I am looking forward to it is quite surprising. Back to JR and Gorilla on commentary, and Bartlett was on this show because it was his last ever (thankfully) so I am now certain it is changed because of him. I don’t know if it is to avoid paying him royalties or if they just wanted to erase him from history. Probably both. JR and Gorilla talk absolute nonsense about “both of these teams having open contracts” and Jack Tunney putting the match together, but it is all bullshit. The match came about because The Beverlys accidentally clocked DiBiase when making a run-in against The Steiners, and it resulted in some shoving, a brawl and later a backstage assault, and then this match. It was actually a fairly well booked little TV feud. Open contracts… what a load of hooey. JR does amuse me by suggesting that Tunney skims some off and that he was a bit of a crook, as he and Gorilla talk about everything but the match. The Beverlys are clearly the face team here, yet they work a long heat on DiBiase, which is a strange thing to do in one sense, but actually refreshingly different in another. In a competitive match-up, either side could realistically dominate or control proceedings. The standard formula is only there to give lesser workers a blueprint to stick to. The negative of course is that the crowd stays pretty quiet, because they are never going to cheer for IRS or DiBiase, though they probably would be inclined to cheer The Beverlys if they were taking heat. Maybe that is why they did it this way; so neither gets cheered, I don’t know. It is definitely not a shine though, because The Beverlys are using slow, methodical heel stuff. I am almost surprised at just how dominant they have been here, especially considering they are working the tag champs. We clip for commercial, and return with IRS applying a front facelock. Well, how thrillingly predictable. Money Inc. run the fake tag partner switch routine and do generate a bit of heat for it, but not much. Beau is fully playing face in peril now, and I appreciate them abandoning formula in favour of doing something different. It makes it feel unstructured, but I can’t fault the theory behind it. I have seen this match get panned for the two heat sections, but I can’t fathom why. Why would a heel team suddenly take on a babyface role and start busting out fast face shit? It doesn’t make sense. They don’t have a hot finish, because the crowd are not into it enough, or indeed at all really, and DiBiase grabs the pin with a roll-up. My optimism was somewhat unfounded, but this was acceptable for an all-heel bout.
Final Rating: *¾
Lex Luger vs. Crush
I am dreading this; it is the battle of wood against wood. Back to the original TV commentary team again, who discuss Lex Luger’s steel forearm prior to the match, which telegraphs that it will play a part in the finish. A test of strength starts things monotonously, and is a sure-fire sign that this is going to be a) long and b) boring. Vince says something about Crush pouring on Hawaiian punch, which goes right over my head. Some stalling occurs, naturally, before Luger throws a few shots in a foolish attempt at making Crush sell. It doesn’t work. Back from commercial and Crush is holding an armbar, but Luger soon fights out and takes over on the outside, giving Crush a kicking. Luger runs out of moves so chooses to pose instead, before going to the staple of every inferior worker: the bearhug. This is like the blind leading the blind, there is nothing to it at all. Crush manages a few moves including a high back suplex, and then he locks on the head vice of doom. Luger jumps preposterously a few times in an attempt to convey that Crush was lifting and slamming him by the head, but the timing is all off and Crush barely motions to move at all. It looks so very phony. Crush, who it has previously been established is a dumb babyface, gets distracted by two Doinks in the crowd. Why didn’t he just win the match first before jawing with them? They were miles away from the ring. After all the hype about Luger’s steel arm throughout the match, the cameras manage to miss it completely when Luger finally uses it, sending Crush out of the ring for a count out win. That was a bit of a disaster, but not quite at the depths I was expecting.
Final Rating: *
WWF Intercontinental Championship
Shawn Michaels (c) vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan
From Monday Night Raw and oh goodie, Duggan! This is singlet-era Duggan, long after he stopped being relevant or taken seriously. What did Michaels do to deserve this? This was the true litmus test for HBK; seeing if he could get a decent match out of Duggan. It doesn’t look promising at first, because Duggan just stalls for an age, running through his usual tired routine. Eventually they lock up and Duggan bumps Michaels a few times, sending him out of the ring. Michaels was often better on the defensive, and he bumps all over for Hacksaw before trying to leave, but Duggan prevents it. Duggan’s selling is not exactly on the same level as his opponent’s. Michaels makes Duggan’s sloppy offence look semi-decent, conversely Duggan makes Michaels’ look weak. Michaels gives up and goes to a chinlock. I don’t blame him. Right on cue, Duggan does another supremely awful sell job, as a drop toehold bizarrely sends him to the outside. Michaels is content to take the count out win, but Duggan is buoyed by the crowd’s support and beats the count. Vince on commentary asks how to keep Duggan down, and Heenan responds: “stun gun”. As in the weapon, not the wrestling move. Vince, brilliantly, says: “maybe”. Oh, if only… Duggan makes a comeback and hits his Three Point Stance, but it knocks Michaels to the outside. He tries to leave but Duggan stops him and clotheslines him over the barrier and into the crowd. This being a Coliseum tape, this of course ends on a double count out. Duggan, like a petulant child, stages a sit-down protest at the result. Michaels did a good job there, because that was actually pretty watchable. He had to resort to chinlocks now and again, but hey, it was Duggan!
Final Rating: **
WWF Intercontinental Championship
Shawn Michaels (c) vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan
This is the first airing of this bout in the UK, with it having previously being cut from Grudges, Gripes & Grunts for being “too violent”. Why it is allowed all of a sudden is beyond me. Maybe because this tape had a PG rating, because Raw was so raw, who knows? Having just seen these two wrestle, I really don’t need to see another match between them right afterwards, lumberjack match or not. Michaels pulls the Jerry Lawler trick and claims to be injured, but Mr. Perfect isn’t taking any nonsense and clocks him and rolls him into the ring. The attire on display here is interesting, with Michaels clad in jeans and a shirt because of his attempted ruse, and the lumberjacks all wearing Mick Foley-esque flannel shirts. I like that actually, mainly because Bam Bam Bigelow looks hella weird wearing it. This is clipped to hell, with big chunks missing. I would rather they had butchered the previous match which shows up loads of times on Coliseum tapes, instead of this rarely seen one. Michaels wins on a DQ after Mr. Perfect interferes, but we got like 3-minutes of an 18-minute match so I cannot rate this.
The Nasty Boys vs. The Headshrinkers
This is from the first Raw away from the Manhattan Center, with the show moved to Poughkeepsie because of an incredible blizzard. Strangely enough, Rob Bartlett is on commentary, but ever more curiously he is pretending to be Vince McMahon. He is bad at it, and at one point just rants gibberish. I can only assume that it did fool someone at Silver Vision though, or else why would they keep him on when they have taken the rest off? What curious goings on. This is a standard formula tag match, with a bit of violence thrown in via brawling at either end, including a concession stand fight. This obviously leads to a double count out, because you had to protect the Nasties, I guess? They were on their way out, so they should have just jobbed here really.
Final Rating: **
IRS vs. Scott Steiner
And here it is; the now customary second IRS match on a home video release, and back to Gorilla and JR. These two had a few singles matches around the shoe, and I can only assume Scotty was given singles bouts as an assessment of sorts with view to pushing him solo at some point. We have mentioned before that Scott Steiner would have been a superb addition to the singles ranks in 1993, and prospective matches against Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels and Mr. Perfect are positively mouth-watering. Obviously, Scott did go on to have significant success as a singles act in the late 90s and beyond, though he worked a very different style and had an entirely different look by then. Savage helpfully offers that “there are no tag ropes”. Talk about stating the bleeding obvious. IRS gets a brief foothold in the match with an enzuigiri, which is possibly the biggest high spot I have ever seen him hit. Steiner has no interest in selling for long, and fires back with a powerslam. I am curious to see if IRS will take some of Scott’s bigger and more dangerous moves. Steiner continues to force IRS into working an entertaining match, by bumping him around with tackles and clotheslines, taking him right out of his usual rest hold comfort zone. Steiner has pretty much dominated this match from the get go, with IRS having no answer for his style. IRS goes to the cheap heat, using a thumb to the eyes and dumping him outside where Ted DiBiase gives him a clothesline. Back from commercial break and IRS hits a piledriver for a two count, and then goes to his most favourite move in the world; the chinlock. It is a shame, because prior to that this had been very watchable and entertaining. Steiner refuses to be dragged to IRS’s level and continues to fire out of the holds, then scouts a rare IRS foray to the top with a boot in the mush. That signals the start of Scott’s comeback, and he goes to town on IRS with a back elbow, ten punch and a tie-assisted clothesline on the ropes. The double underhook suplex has it won, but DiBiase runs in and causes the DQ. The Steiners get on top in the subsequent post-match brawl, until The Beverly Brothers come out to save Money Inc. This backfires, with the Beverlys inadvertently nailing DiBiase with a double clothesline, and dissension ensues. Would it not have made more sense to put this BEFORE the Beverly-Money Inc. match!? This was surprisingly good, and the crowd was molten throughout. They sure loved the WWF in Poughkeepsie.
Final Rating: **¾
Loser Leaves the WWF
Mr. Perfect vs. Ric Flair
What a great way to end what has otherwise been a very unremarkable tape. This came from one of Raw’s first few broadcasts and was a fantastic way to showcase the show. This was the first match from Raw that I saw as a kid in the United Kingdom, and I loved it then and I love it now. Much like he did with Flair’s title with back at Royal Rumble ’92, the match is made significantly more enjoyable by Bobby Heenan on commentary. He gets over the importance and drama of the match with his blind loyalty to Flair, and his disdain for Perfect, and it is entertaining viewing. It is unfortunate that Bartlett is not erased from history here, and he ruins the Flair Flop by disparagingly asking “what was that?” Clipping hurts this and reduces the drama, but what we get is still gold of course. The chops that both guys bring in this are vicious and loud, and they generally project their hatred for each other wonderfully throughout. The near falls at the end are excellent, and Vince goes absolutely wild when Perfect wins it with the Perfectplex. Heenan on the other hand has to be bleeped out, as he curses and slams his headset down. It was a real shame that Flair left the WWF in 1993, because the company desperately needed someone like him to help carry the ball, as they were so incredibly devoid of stars. This match should have happened at WrestleMania IX where it would have meant even more and would have been remembered as one of the all-time greats. Flair would have been the perfect guy to help get Lex Luger over as well, just as he did in WCW. At least he went out in style though, and this was about as classy a send-off as you can get in the WWF. Curiously enough, his WWE retirement match decades later did come at WrestleMania, in a famous match with Shawn Michaels. Great match, but check out the full version rather than this chopped up teaser. The full match I would go as high as ****½ for if I was feeling especially generous, but again I can’t rate this fairly here because of the clipping, even if there was still a decent length match shown.
Summary: This is fairly ok, but a lot of the matches are short and uninspiring, with little to get excited about. The highlights of the tape are the Beefcake angle, which the commentary team manages to cheapen, and the Perfect-Flair match, which the Video Control butchers manage to worsen. In truth Raw was very average, on a good day, in 1993 and this tape is thus a pretty accurate reflection of that. Worth a brief glance if you own it already and have a hankering for some classic wrestling, but don’t go out of your way to see it.