WWF at Reno, NV - January 23, 1993
by Scrooge McSuck
- Right away, you have to question the location of this show and somehow being in circulation among the Fan-Cam collector's. It's not exactly Madison Square Garden or the Nassau Coliseum, among the few more popular sites of illegally recorded action. We're coming to you from the First Interstate Athletic Complex in Reno, NV, and just 24 hours away from the 1993 Royal Rumble PPV, where two championships will be on the line, and for the first time, the winner is awarded a guaranteed shot at the WWF Championship at WrestleMania IX.
Brief note before I continue: With all house show fan-cam's, I do a watch-through the first time to determine the most major aspect of these kinds of videos: Is the quality good enough to justify my time? If I'm willing the recap it, that means yes, although there's always exceptions to the rules. The second most important rule for me is that it has to be either the complete, or damn near complete card. Sometimes a show of 9-10 matches might be missing a match or two, that's fine. I will not devote a review to stand-alones, unless I feel like I have enough to warrant a compilation. With that out of the way, let's get to ringside for the opening match...
Opening Match: Jim Powers vs. The Predator:
Here's a tidbit for you: While not consistently pushed as more than enhancement talent, Jim Powers remained steadily employed by WWF from 1984 through 1994. That's just insane to think about, for someone who never really did anything with the company (see also: Steve Lombardi). I'm not 100% sure, but I believe the Predator is Hulk Hogan's nephew, Horace (Mike Bollea, for real name lovers), and not the creature that went head-to-head with arnold Schwarzenegger. Powers starts off with a wristlock. They fight over that until Powers turns it into a hammerlock. Predator casually grabs the ropes to force the break, then complains about a phantom pull of the mask. Lockup, and Powers with a school boy, but they end up in the ropes. Predator complains about tight pulling, this time. You can tell it's the opener, the crowd actually responds to an unknown's heel antics. Predator with clubbing blows and chops. Whip to the ropes, and a criss-cross ends with a Powers hip toss, followed by a clothesline, sending his masked opponent over the top, to the floor. If only this were "Royal Rumble Rules." Back inside, Powers works the arm. Whip to the ropes, and a sunset flip backfires, but he still has enough to roll Predator up for two. Predator with shoulders to the midsection. Whip to the corner, and Powers comes back with a clothesline for two. Predator with a grab of the tights to throw Powers into the buckle, followed by choking. Whip to the corner, and he follows Powers in with a clothesline of his own for a two count. Special alert: We have a chinlock. There's a mild clip job, and I sure as hell am not complaining. Powers escapes, but runs into a knee lift. Predator with a slam, followed by an elbow drop for two. Back to the chinlock, and we clip again to later in the resthold. Powers meets Predator with an elbow in the corner, followed by boots to the midsection. Whip from corner to corner, followed by a roundhouse right. Powers with a running knee lift, followed by a pretty crummy powerslam for the three count at a clipped 8:26. Yes, he does have "Crank It Up" as his theme music. It was watchable, if not an unspectacular preliminary match. The clipping of two lengthy chinlock spots didn't bother me, although you have to figure it was a bit more boring with them, no doubt.
"The Rocket" Owen Hart vs. Headshrinker Samu (w/ Fatu):
Odd choice for a singles match. Did Koko B. Ware miss the bus or something? The Headshrinkers vs. High Energy match had been featured on cards all month, including the day before in Denver, and all the remaining members of that pairing are present. Just to let you know, all three men (and Koko) will participate in the Rumble Match. Owen with some unflattering "monkey" jestures to piss off the Samoans. Lockup, and Samu sends Owen to the canvas. We suddenly clip to Samu in control of a chinlock. BOO! Don't fret, the clip jobs appear to end with this one. Owen escapes with elbows to the midsection, and comes off the ropes with a sunset flip for a two count. Samu quickly lays him out with a crescent kick, then drops a leg across the midsection. Whip to the corner, and Samu misses a charge (as does the camera operator). Whip to the ropes, and Owen connects with a dropkick, followed by a spinning heel kick. Fatu gets knocked off the apron, and Owen takes Samu over with a back drop. Owen to the top, but Fatu crotches him across the buckle, and Samu finishes him off with a super-plex at a heavily clipped 3:30. Hot finish to... nothing. I didn't get to see the rest. I doubt I would've really wanted to sit through a 15-minute match featuring Samu, anyway. I'm not exactly high on the Samoans.
Earthquake vs. Yokozuna (w/ Mr. Fuji):
Don't expect this to be anything more than a glorified squash, considering 'Quaker was on the way out by the end of the week. Yokozuna had only squashed scrubs (and Virgil) leading up through this upcoming Rumble PPV, so Earthquake is a good big-man to feed to him... didn't I say the same thing in my recap for the Invasion of the Bodyslammers match, which happened to be taped the day AFTER the Rumble? Don't expect this to follow a much different script. Yoko goes through his usual pre-match shenanigans, and Earthquake responds with making the ring shake. 'Quake dodges Yokozuna's attempts at a lockup, and quickly puts the boots to him. Shoulder tackle, and no one moves. Quake staggers Yoko with a second, then hits a pair of clotheslines, dropping him to one knee. He eats an elbow charging to the corner, and gets bowled over with a shoulder tackle. Yoko measures up and drops a big leg. Whip to the corner, Fuji grabs the ankle, distracting Earthquake long enough to be crushed from behind. Yokozuna with the Banzai Drop, and it's over at 4:02 (no clipping). Yep, pretty much move for move as their TV taping match two days later. At least Fuji actually hooked Quaker's ankle this time.
Handicap Match: The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) vs. The Beverly Brothers:
Substitution announcement! The name on the marquee said Undertaker's opponent would be Papa Shango, but I'm pretty sure there was a legit injury (shoulder or elbow, I forget) to warrant removing him from the card (and to explain his 20-second appearance in the Rumble match). The Beverly Brothers are just JTTS at this point, but handicap matches can sometimes be fun. The Beverly's attack before the bell, but quickly fall victim to a Double Chokeslam (with Beau's bump being laughably bad, think Hogan at Judgment Day 2002). 'Taker grabs hold of Blake, and goes "old school" when it was still an unnamed attack. 'Taker no-sells a boot to the chest, then plants Blake with a slam. Seems like we're playing "tag rules". Blake avoids an elbow drop, and clotheslines 'Taker to the floor. Beau greets him with a chair shot, but it's barely sold. Blake hangs him up across the top rope, and Beau rams him into the steps. 'Taker sells that by stumbling into Mike McGuirk. Back inside, Blake with a side back breaker, and they take him over with a double suplex. Despite that and a series of elbow drops, Undertaker sits up. Whip to the ropes, and he bulldozes through Beau, and finishes him off with the Tombstone Piledriver at 3:26 (no clipping). Blake comes in, only to roll back out. He must be the smart brother. Short and energetic. I can't imagine anything from Undertaker/Shango being any good in comparison.
Bob Backlund vs. The Berzerker:
Who the hell came up with this pair?! Sorry, but if I'm booking a card, I would not stick someone like Backlund in there with as much of a non-wrestler as the Berzerker. It's crowd suicide (or is that genocide?). Backlund is just "the old guy making a comeback", and Berzerker is on JTTS duty. Hopefully this will be short. Berzerker tries a lockup, but Backlund avoids it, dancing around the whole time. Backlund sweeps the leg from under Berzerker, forcing him to the floor for a breather. Already. Berzerker wants a test-of-strength, and they drag this out FOR-FUCKIN-EVER. Berzerker takes another breather to a chorus of boos. We're 5-minutes in, by the way. Random Rumble Tidbit: Berzerker beat the crap out of Backlund to unintentionally save him from Undertaker's rampage of clearing the ring, including the nefarious use of a STEEL chair. Sorry, I'm bored off my ass. Berzerker rolls back in, takes a bump, then rolls back out. What. The. Fuck? They finally, FINALLY, lock-up for the test-of-strength, and no surprise, Berzerker is winning it, with a little help from well placed boots to the chest. Backlund counters with an overhead wristlock, but Berzerker punches free and plants Backlund with a slam. He does it again, then plays to the crowd some more. Backund grabs a headlock, and they do the shoulder-block bit where neither guy moves. Berzerker with a hip toss, Backlund mule kicks him away, takes him over with his own hip toss, then follows with a delayed slam. Backlund with a dropkick, sending 'Zerk over the top, to the floor. Berzerker hangs him up across the top rope, then chokes away. Whip to the ropes, and it's bearhug time! Backlund manages to escape and slap on his own, but a headbutt breaks it. Berzerker with a back breaker for TWO!? Wait, he ALWAYS wins by count-out! Back to the bearhug, and Backlund manages to escape again, then pins him coming off the ropes with a Lou Thesz Press at 12:46. Either the camera operator or someone nearby exclaims "and that ends the worst match I've ever seen." Can't quite agree, but this sucked, and is quite possibly one of the worst matches I've watched in a while.
Mr. Perfect vs. "Nature Boy" Ric Flair:
Time for the first of our Double Main Event. Flair was already on his way out, having lost the "Loser Leaves WWF" match at the Manahattan Center taping on January 25th, but since it hasn't aired yet, this match is just two guys who really don't care for each other anymore. It's a shame they couldn't convince Flair to stick around for WrestleMania IX for a true payoff, instead of killing the angle on free television. Feeling out process to start. Lockup, and Perfect grabs a headlock. Flair forces a break in the corner, gives a shove, and takes a slap for it. Perfect with a wristlock, and we get a repeat of the previous exchange. Flair with a headlock takeover, and Perfect quickly counters into a head scissors. Flair rolls through to grab a front facelock, and Perfect turns over, into a hammerlock. Back to a standing position, Flair escapes, sending Perfect to the ropes, but a shoulder tackle sends Flair out of the ring for a breather. Back inside, Perfect struts around, mocking Flair. Whip to the ropes, Perfect plows through Flair with another shoulder tackle, and gives him a bitch slap. Flair kicks at the knee, then unloads with chops in the corner. Perfect turns it around, offering chops of his own. Flair begs him off, lands a boot to the midsection, and thumbs the eyes. Whip to the corner, and Perfect sells it by stumbling through the ropes, to the floor. Flair follows, ramming him into the security rail, but a chair shot is blocked by the referee (Hebner), and gets into the "Tommy Young" character of shoving Flair around. Back inside, Perfect sends Flair to the buckle, and takes him over with a back drop. Perfect winds up and lands a big forearm, but it only gets a two count. Whip to the corner, and this time Perfect misses a charge, ramming his own shoulder into the post.
Flair takes over, putting the boots to Perfect, and bringing him to the canvas with a hammerlock on the freshly injured arm (and yes, he DOES use the ropes for leverage). Flair releases to get into a shouting match with the crowd, but quickly goes back to work on the arm, wrapping it around the top rope and jerking it across. Flair with another wristlock to take Perfect to the ground, and using the ropes for extra leverage. Flair with handfuls of hair to keep Perfect from regaining a vertical presence, holding onto the wristlock the entire time. Perfect with roundhouse rights to free himself, but Flair sends him to the corner, and slaps on a sleeper. Perfect uses the momentum to throw into the corner, ramming Flair into the buckle. Flair recovers first, brings Perfect over with a snapmare, then unwisely heads to the top rope, where Perfect greets him by slamming him off. Perfect goes for the leg, and manages to slap on a Figure-Four in the center of the ring, gaining near falls by slapping Flair down to the canvas. Flair's nowhere near done though and grabs the ropes to escape... but the referee kicks his hands off?! What?! Someone messed up, so Flair grabs the ropes again, and this time Hebner forces Hennig to break. Perfect with mounted punches in the corner (10 of them, according to the crowd), followed by a back drop. Perfect comes out of the corner with his signature neck snap, but allows Flair to recover enough to toss him through the ropes. Perfect sneaks back in with a sunset flip, and a handful of tights brings Flair over for a two count. Whip to the ropes, and Perfect counters a back drop with the Perfect-Plex for the three count at 14:57. Well, that finish came out of nowhere. Pretty good for the most part, but it was missing a more extensive heat segment for Flair to punish Perfect, and the finish really coming out of nowhere kind of feels cheap. Better than their match on the Invasion of the Bodyslammers, but not up to snuff with their Monday Night Raw match.
- Mike McGuirk reminds everyone that the souvenir stands will be open until after the final match of the card. Also, tomorrow afternoon, from Sacramento, CA, the 1993 Royal Rumble is available on Pay-Per-View. Call your local cable providers for more details on how to order.
WWF Intercontinental Championship Match:
This is the final match of the evening, and it's got potential. Stories were that these two were putting on some impressive matches at the time, leading many to believe they would have an all-time classic at the Rumble (which obviously didn't happen, thanks to Jannetty being wasted off his ass, blowing stuff left and right, and fired for it the next day). There's no Sensational Sherri at ringside to hamper the action, so let's see how things go. We play cat-and-mouse until Jannetty catches up to Michaels and unloads with rights. He snaps him back, mounts him with rights, and comes off the ropes with a running knee lift. Michaels whiffs on a right, and goes flying over the top rope following an atomic drop (Ted Dibiase style). Jannetty follows him out, coming off the apron with a fist drop. Jannetty goes back out, but this time gets thrown into the ring post for his efforts. Michaels grabs a chair, then tries to hide it, but Hebner sees and calls him out, leaving ringside to remove it. Michaels then grabs another chair, and does a suplex drop of Jannetty's midsection across it, in a pretty cute spot. Back inside, Michaels pounds away with elbows and boots to the midsection. Whip to the ropes, and Michaels slaps on an abdominal stretch. I don't know if I should like or hate Shawn's casual attitude, love tapping Jannetty's ribs. Jannetty tries for a hip toss, but Michaels hooks the ropes, hurting Jannetty more, then stomps away at his midsection, again. Back to the abdominal stretch, surprisingly in the center of the ring. Jannetty finally musters enough energy to force a break, but he can't execute a suplex, and it's back to eating the canvas for him. Michaels goes for a slam, but Jannetty counters with a small package for two. Whip to the ropes, and this time Jannetty turns away from the stretch, and lays Michaels out with a clothesline. Whip to the corner, Michaels meets an elbow on a charge attempt, then posts himself going back for a second attempt. Jannetty wins out on a slugfest, then sends Michaels to the corner for the Harley Race bump to the floor. Jannetty follows, ramming Michaels into the steel steps. Back inside, Jannetty catches Michaels off the ropes with a powerslam. He heads to the top rope, does the teased-fist drop, and instead lays out Shawn with a DDT for a two count. Jannetty with mounted punches in the corner until Michaels counters with an inverted atomic drop. The suerpkick misses, and Jannetty hits one of his own for another two count. Jannetty with the slingshot to the corner, with Michaels tasting steel. Jannetty goes for a body press into the corner for whatever reason, but Michaels ducks, causing Jannetty to ram his ribs into the turnbuckle, allowing Michaels to cover for the three count at around the 12:45 mark. Well, that was another sudden ending. Much like the previous match between Flair/Perfect, this seemed to be about 75% of an outstanding match that went home too soon. Jannetty needed more time in control to start the match, considering how quick they went into the heel heat segment. Other than that, a perfectly fine match to end the card with.
Shawn Michaels © vs. Marty Jannetty:
Final Thoughts: Despite the obscure location, a decent look into what the WWF had to offer at the time. The double main-event of Michaels/Jannetty and Perfect/Flair make for a good half-hour plus of wrestling, and despite the undercard featuring one hell of an awful match between the Berzerker and Bob Backlund, everything else was fine, and kept reasonably short. I'm not going to say go out of your way to get a copy of this one, but it's definitely a nice addition to the collection, especially for people who having a deep, deep love for the WWF in 1993.
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