Raw Retro Review: Episode 1



Vince McMahon, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, and Rob Bartlett are on commentary for the first-ever episode of Monday Night Raw, live from the Manhattan Center in New York City. The WWF is two weeks away from the Royal Rumble.

Sean Mooney and Bobby Heenan outside the building

Sean Mooney is talking about the atmosphere around the arena. Bobby Heenan shows up and wants in the building, but he is kept out because he has been replaced on commentary by Rob Bartlett.

Koko B. Ware vs. Yokozuna

Yokozuna wins with the Banzai Drop. The announcers were selling that Yokozuna’s opponents were unable to take him off his feet. As hard as Koko tried, he failed to do that here. Squash match for Yokozuna as he is preparing for the upcoming Royal Rumble.

Bobby Heenan pre-taped promo

Heenan is directing this promo at Mr. Perfect, telling him about the soon-to-debut Narcissus. He builds Narcissus up to be “better than perfect.” He promises that he will unveil Narcissus at the Royal Rumble.

The Steiner Brothers vs. The Executioners

The Steiners pick up the victory when Scott puts one of The Executioners on his shoulders, and Rick jumps off the top rope to hit him with a bulldog, allowing Scott to get the pinfall. The Steiners were so big and they had an impressive presence in the ring. Even when they came out in the singlets, looking like amateur wrestlers, their size was something to see. Doink the Clown appeared in the crowd in this match, terrorizing some fans.

Sean Mooney and Bobby Heenan outside with security

Heenan is dressed up like an old woman, claiming he is Rob Bartlett’s aunt. Mooney comes up to him as he is trying to get past security. Mooney sees right through it and rips the wig off Heenan.

Razor Ramon interviewed in-ring by Vince McMahon

Razor Ramon is the #1 contender for Bret Hart’s WWF Championship. Vince asks Ramon if he is ready for his title shot at the Royal Rumble. Ramon says he was born ready, and that a golden opportunity like this was made for him. Vince asks Ramon what makes him think he can beat Bret, after it took Bret eight and a half years to earn his spot at the top. Ramon says it only took him eight and a half months to get a title shot, and he’s not stopping now. Vince really plays up his disgust with Ramon’s attitude, Vince’s over-the-top emotions made him so entertaining here.

Shawn Michaels vs. Max Moon for the Intercontinental Championship

Michaels defends his title against Moon, getting the win following the Teardrop Suplex. Match of the night. This was a really good match for TV, especially in an era when TV was usually just squash matches. Doink the Clown appeared in the crowd again. During this match, Vince McMahon and “Macho Man” pretended to talk on the phone to Mike Tyson, whose voice was being impersonated by Rob Bartlett. People think today’s commentary gets off track. They made prison jokes the whole match, but it was very entertaining.

Royal Rumble Report

Mean Gene announces that Shawn Michaels will defend his title at the Royal Rumble against his former tag team partner, Marty Janetty. Mean Gene plays up that Sensational Sherri will be there, but it is unclear whose corner she will be in. They then air a pre-taped promo from each competitor.

Michaels, as a heel, cuts a promo that he will defend his title, and that he will finally take Janetty out of the picture. He says he knows that Sherri will be in his corner, because she’s in love with him like all the other girls. Michaels was such a great heel, I can’t wait to get more into some of his heel persona as we delve more into the Network content.

Janetty then talks about the Intercontinental Championship, along with finally getting revenge on Michaels for turning on him. He wraps it up by reminding Michaels that he might not know Sherri as well as he thinks he does. This got me excited to see the Royal Rumble, the combination of both pre-taped promos makes me want to see Sherri show up in Janetty’s corner, and for him to beat Michaels for the belt. Really good promo.

Mean Gene then begins to announce names for the Royal Rumble match. He announces Ric Flair, Tatanka, IRS, Bob Backlund, Jerry “The King” Lawler, and Mr. Perfect. A Mr. Perfect pre-taped promo airs, where he talks about the Royal Rumble. He says that no matter how athletic or smart the other Royal Rumble competitors are, there’s one they’re not, and that’s Perfect.

Mean Gene then continues the names, with Ted DiBiase, Crush, Rick Martell and Yokozuna. A pre-taped promo with Mr. Fuji and Yokozuna airs. Mr. Fuji says that when the Royal Rumble comes, nobody will be able to move Yokozuna. This goes back to the match earlier, and the announce team selling that guys were having trouble knocking Yokozuna off his feet. If a guy’s so big you can’t get him off his feet, how do you get him over the top rope?

Mean Gene delivers the final batch of names, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Papa Shango, Earthquake, The Berserker, The Undertaker, Carlos Colon, The Great Tenryu, Tito Santana, Typhoon, Samu, Fatu, and “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan. “Hacksaw” cuts a very entertaining promo where he guarantees he will give 110%. The All-American man gimmick can be a little cheesy, but man did Jim Duggan play it perfectly.

Mean Gene then brings up the WrestleMania title shot that the Royal Rumble winner receives. Then he says that the champion will be the winner of the Bret Hart-Razor Ramon WWF Championship match at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view.

Sean Mooney and Bobby Heenan outside

This time Heenan is dressed up and claiming to be Rob Bartlett’s uncle. This time, Mooney pulls off Heenan’s fake beard.

Damien Demento vs. The Undertaker

The Undertaker wins a squash match with the Tombstone Piledriver.

Doink the Clown interviewed by Vince McMahon

Vince talks about Crush’s threat to Doink. Crush wants Doink to stop scaring the children, but Doink isn’t scared, then he runs away when Crush comes out to ringside. Crush ends up chasing Doink around ringside for a while.

Sean Mooney and Bobby Heenan outside with security

Heenan is trying to get past security, when Mooney tells Heenan he can go inside. Heenan excitedly runs in as Raw comes to an end.

Overall Impression

The evolution of where WWF TV was in January of 1993, to where they are now in March of 2014, is quite spectacular. The announce team was great. At times, they were very far away from the action in the ring, but it was entertaining throughout, which is exactly what you would expect from the “Macho Man”. The star of this episode was Bobby Heenan. Heenan, between his pre-taped promo shown at the beginning of the show, and the segments with Sean Mooney, got the most air-time of anybody on this show, and he delivered in every segment. This show could be difficult to watch for anybody who is used to today’s product that almost-exclusively features competitive matches, but it was a really entertaining show that all wrestling fans should watch.