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WWF at Hartford, CT
by Scrooge McSuck
May 3, 1993
Taped from the Hartford Civic Center. That same day, WWF Champion Hulk Hogan wrestled the Great Muta at Wrestling Dontaku '93 and cut his infamous promo about the WWF Championship being a toy compared to the IWGP Championship. He swore he was misquoted, but he cut the promo in English and from what I have heard those words got back to Vince McMahon who was not incredibly happy with the Hulkster's comments. We're missing Owen Hart vs. The Brooklyn Brawler from this card.
Kamala vs. Bam Bam Bigelow:
How much better would WrestleMania IX have been had this match taken place as advertised? I'm kidding, it likely would've made the show worse. Don't even bother asking where the Reverend Slick is. Bigelow attacks from behind, clobbering Kamala with right forearms. Whip across the ring, Bigelow misses an avalanche, flipping himself to the apron and knocked to the floor with a clothesline. Kamala follows, unloading with headbutts. Bigelow cuts him off quickly with a shot to the midsection and tosses him through the ropes. Back inside, more clubbering. He makes the mistake of trying to headbutt Kamala's cranium, but Kamala can't capitalize. Bigelow with a snap mare and series of headbutts to the shoulder. He makes the slow climb to the top rope, but Kamala shakes him down for an aggressive straddle on the top rope. Kamala with chops and a clothesline. He nails the splash, but we know what happens. Kamala can't figure out how to make the cover and Bigelow rolls him up for three at 4:40. It wasn't a complete dumpster fire, so it has that going for it. *
Crush vs. Doink (the Clown):
Time for the WrestleMania Revenge Tour! Crush was a victim of double vision at Caesar's Palace when he imagined a second Doink bonking him over the head with a plaster-cast arm. Doink tries a sneak attack, but Crush greets him with a boot to the chest. Crush sweeps Doink out of the corner, dropping him on the back of his head and sending him to concussion protocol. Crush follows with an atomic drop and clothesline before sending Doink out of the ring with a push-off dropkick. Doink HOPS the rail to address the hecklers. Crush gives chase and gets caught with a boot to the face. Whip is reversed and Crush catches him with a back breaker. Delayed vertical suplex and leg drop, but Crush isn't interested in going for the cover. Whip and Crush knocks Doink through the ropes with a boot to the face. Doink rakes the eyes to cut him off and hangs Crush up across the top rope. Doink with a double axe-handle from the top, followed by a piledriver. He sends Crush to the floor and keeps him there for a while. Back inside, Doink with a swinging neck breaker. Crush fights out of a chin-lock, only for Doink to drive a knee into the back. Crush fights to his feet again, sending Doink into the turnbuckle, but Doink hangs onto the ropes and dives off the middle with a clothesline. Doink meets a boot coming off the top rope (what he was attempting I'll never know). Crush unloads with rights and nails Doink with a clothesline. He tosses Doink with a press slam and signals for the head vice, but Doink bails. Crush follows, with Doink acting like a clown (get it). Crush catches him with a tilt-o-whirl back breaker and suddenly a SECOND DOINK appears. Doink abandons the ring to go after him, and the bell rings at 9:52. Crush tries fighting them both and comically falls on what looked like it was supposed to be a double clothesline. He regroups, hits a DOUBLE NOGGIN KNOCKER, and we get the official decision that the match was a Double Count-Out. Like a lot of their matches, it had decent energy to start, but slowed down too much and we got a cheap finish. *½
Bret "Hitman" Hart vs. Razor Ramon:
Poor Bret is left out in the cold with Hulk Hogan back, while Razor Ramon is also looking for a steady spot on the card after his time as a top heel ran out at the Royal Rumble. Don't worry, both will turn out fine, but for a brief period in 1993, both didn't have much direction. Lockup and Razor shoves Hart into the corner. Bret starts working the arm and brings Razor to the canvas with an arm bar. Razor escapes but is quickly taken down with a drop toe hold, allowing Bret to work the leg and apply a Figure-Four. Jesus Bret, we're only three minutes in! Save some of the bigger moves for later. Razor takes advantage of his long reach and grabs the ropes for the break. Bret keeps the pressure on, wrapping Razor's leg in the ropes and punting him repeatedly. Razor goes to the eyes to CREATE SEPARATION and puts the boots to the Hitman. Hard whip to the corner and Razor starts punishing the back. He hooks an abdominal stretch, but he's too far from the ropes to use them for leverage! Bret counters, but Razor easily counters that with a hip toss. Bret rolls away from a series of elbow drops and unloads with right hands. He connects with the inverted atomic drop and bounces off the ropes with a clothesline for two. Inside cradle for two. Whip, fist to the body and a Russian leg sweep for two. Razor rakes the eyes to avoid the back breaker. Whip and Bret counters a back body-drop with a swinging neck breaker. He dives off the middle rope and eats a boot on the way down. Razor signals for the Edge, but Bret counters with a back-slide for three at 8:16. Post-match, Razor tries to attack but gets sent over the top rope. That was much quicker than I expected. Nothing special, but it wasn't Bret just laying around with an arm bar for 10-minutes. **½
WWF Tag Team Championship Match:
Money Inc. (c) vs. The Steiner Brothers:
I can't imagine how many times these teams met in 1993, nor can I remember how many of them I've recapped. They met frequently on the April European Tour, several times on syndication, and I'm sure a couple of others on Coliseum Video (and of course the awesome Cage Match at the SummerSlam Spectacular that wrapped things up). The referee immediately bars I.R.S.' briefcase from ringside or they will relinquish the belts. The Steiner's open with a pair of Steiner-Lines before sending the Champions out of the ring. Back inside, Dibiase with a knee to the midsection and a series of rights. Rick fights out of a side headlock and catches Dibiase off the ropes with a belly-to-belly suplex for a near-fall. Scott takes Dibiase over with a snap mare and works the arm. Scott with another Steiner-Line, followed by an arm drag into the arm bar. Crisscross and Dibiase with a knee to the midsection. I.R.S. tags in, immediately misses an elbow drop, and now he has his arm worked over by the Steiner's. I.R.S. bails out, but Scott gives chase. Back inside, Scott grabs I.R.S. by the tie and hangs him up across the top rope. Whip and Dibiase trips Scott up, allowing I.R.S. to attack from behind. Scott ends up on the floor, where Dibiase greets him with a trip to the post. Back inside, I.R.S. drops an elbow for two. Dibiase with a flying double axe-handle and a stomp across the face for two. Whip and Dibiase with a back elbow for two. Scott escapes a chin-lock, sending Dibiase face-first into the turnbuckle, but I.R.S. keeps him from tagging out. He drops Scott across the top rope and grabs another chin-lock. Scott escapes that one quickly with a jaw breaker but Money Inc. cut him off again. Dibiase with a suplex and back to the chin-lock. Scott counters a second suplex attempt with his own and takes I.R.S. over with a sunset flip for a very-delayed two-count. I.R.S. makes the mistake of climbing the ropes and meets a boot coming down. Rick FINALLY gets the hot tag, running wild with right hands and STEINER-LINES. Scott runs in, hitting both men with dropkicks. Scott with a STEINER-LINE from the middle rope for a near-fall. Whip and Rick counters a DIBIASE LEAP-FROG with a powerslam! Scott lifts Dibiase up on his shoulders and they hit the double-team bulldog, but I.R.S. whacks Scott with one of the title belts and rolls Dibiase on top for three at 16:12. If only video footage was released of ANY of their title swaps. The chin-locks almost dragged things down, but enough worked to make up for it. ***
Tatanka vs. "The Narcissist" Lex Luger:
Luger's entrance eats up a couple of minutes, including posing in front of one of the dinkiest mirrors you could fine, and then eats up more time doing the "I don't want to wear the protective sleeve" gimmick that is supposed to prevent KO'ing people with the bionic forearm. It's the battle of the undefeated, so we know to expect a non-finish. Lockup goes nowhere. Luger with a side headlock takeover, countered with a head-scissors. They trade hammerlocks until Luger goes to the ropes to force a break. Lockup to the corner and Luger pops Tatanka over the shoulder of the referee. Whip is reversed and Luger with a shoulder tackle. Crisscross and Tatanka with a pair of dropkicks, followed by a deep arm drag into the arm bar. Luger escapes but is caught by surprise with a cross body press. Tatanka keeps working the arm as I'm already checking the clock. Luger with the escape, but he misses a charge to the corner and gets caught in another arm bar. Luger finally takes control, chucking Tatanka over the top rope. Good thing this isn't WCW, where that was surprisingly still a thing. Tatanka climbs on the apron and gets snapped across the top rope. Back inside, Luger with a back breaker and elbow drop for two. We get more methodical work of the back. Whip to the corner, Luger meets a boot charging in and Tatanka fires back with chops until a thumb to the eye stops him dead. Tatanka counters a slam with an inside cradle for two. Whip to the ropes and a sunset flip gets another two-count. Tatanka counters a suplex with one of his own but can't capitalize. Luger sends him to the turnbuckle, but it's time for the WAR DANCE. Tatanka no-sells the strikes and comes off the ropes with chops. This crowd is HOT for Tatanka. Whip and Tatanka with a BAAAACK body-drop for two. Whip and a chop for two. Crisscross and they smack heads for a double-down. Tatanka ducks a wild right and rolls Luger up for two. Luger with a back suplex and bridge for three at 13:02... BUT WAIT! Tatanka got the shoulder up and Luger didn't, so TATANKA WINS. Luger isn't happy with the decision and KO's Tatanka with the unprotected forearm. Color me surprised this was a pin-fall finish. Nothing special, but considering the participants, it was alright. **
WWF Intercontinental Championship Match:
Shawn Michaels (c) vs. Bob Backlund:
Color me disappointed, considering Shawn was working with Perfect a lot around this time. Backlund grabs the belt to admire it closer, annoying Michaels. He should know better than to not touch the belt unless he's the Champion. Shawn bails out before locking up. I'm not expecting an all-time classic here. I just hope it will be short. Backlund takes a quick jog through the crowd for whatever reason. Michaels with an unsuccessful pick of the ankle is the first contact at 4:00 after the bell. He grabs a side headlock and Backlund stumbles to the canvas on a bad shoulder tackle. Shawn keeps going for the leg sweep, but Backlund keeps backing him up. Backlund with a headlock, countered with a head-scissors. Backlund pops out but Shawn yanks the hair to regain control. These two are making Luger vs Tatanka look like a Match of the Year contender. Backlund with another escape, sending Shawn hiding behind the referee. Shawn keeps things in ultra-low gear with a hammerlock. Shawn pulls off a cartwheel to avoid a hip toss, but Backlund takes control on the ground with his own head-scissors. Shawn tries to do the same escape Backlund used, but it backfires. The previously hot crowd has lost patience and you can hear some "boring" chants. Backlund gives chase, leading to more stalling from Michaels. END. THE. F*CKING. MATCH. Backlund keeps using his 1970's style of work to escape anything Shawn does. Shawn misses a dropkick and gets sent into the post with a slingshot. More outdated offense leads to a swinging neck breaker for two. Shawn counters a piledriver and takes a walk at 15:37. THAT LONG FOR THAT FINISH?! Post-match, Backlund chases Shawn down and makes him sell for him some more with the move that won him the WWWF Championship... the atomic drop. This was a colossal waste of my time. ZERO STARS
"Hacksaw" Jim Duggan vs. Yokozuna (w/ Mr. Fuji):
Yes, when Yokozuna wasn't working with Hogan (which was almost the entire time between WrestleMania IX and King of the Ring), he was stuck with Duggan. To be fair, they did a good job reheating Duggan, but there's no one that buys Duggan having a chance in any of these matches. Duggan attacks Yoko as he's about to toss the ceremonial salt. He grabs the 2x4, but the referee grabs it, opening the door for Yokozuna to fight back. He unloads with shots to the throat and chokes Duggan across the middle rope. Fuji gets a shot in with the flagpole now that he no longer carries around the cane. Duggan rocks Yoko with a pair of right hands but gets cut off with a rake of the eyes and tossed out of the ring. Back inside, Yoko cuts Duggan off again and drops down with a forearm across the chest. Not a move you saw often from him. Whip and Yoko grabs Duggan in a bearhug. We get an edit in the action, with Yoko still in control. Duggan fights out of the bearhug by biting on the nose. Whip to the corner and Yoko misses the avalanche. Duggan with the big clotheslines to knock Yoko off his feet. He sets up in the corner, gets tripped up, and Yokozuna crushes him in the corner. Banzai Drop finishes at 4:40 (shown). Too edited to give a proper rating, but I'm sure it followed their usual formula of watchable.
Final Thoughts: Not one of the worst fan-cams of the time, but the show suffers with a sudden drop with a terrible Intercontinental Title Match and the last match being clipped down for whatever reason. I was genuinely surprised to see Luger take a loss by pin, even if it's a cheap one, and we had a handful of decent matches. If you're a fan of the roster in the Spring of '93, most of the big hitters are here, so it's easily to digest as a loaded card of decent quality.
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