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The March 1993 WWF Extravaganza!
by Scrooge McSuck
- Last time around, we re-visited February of 1993. The Road to WrestleMania is here, and the big push is in full effect: Yokozuna absolutely destroyed Jim Duggan to the shock of the live audience, Tatanka scored not one, but two pinfall victories over Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels, Crush and Doink are on a Collision Course stemming from Doink injuring Crush with a loaded prosthetic arm, Brutus Beefcake came back and was immediately "injured" at the hands of the heinous Tag Team Champions Money Inc, and don't look now, but the Hulkster's back, BROTHER! We're five weeks and counting from WrestleMania IX... will more of the picture be painted? Let's find out.
WWF Championship Match:
Bret "Hitman" Hart © vs. Headshrinker Fatu (w/ Afa):
From the March 1st, 1993 episode of Monday Night Raw. Quite an odd choice for a title defense... one half of the second-string heel Tag Team? No, it's not non-title, it's really advertised as a Title defense. I guess it just continues the "Bret is the most fighting Champion in WWE History." We've got Savage, Vince, and Rob Bartlett dressed as Elvis on commentary. Ugh. Bret grabs a headlock, but a body press is caught and countered with a slam. Bret avoids an elbow, takes Fatu over, and goes to work on the arm. Criss-cross, Bret fakes tripping, and surprises Fatu with a roll up for two. I always loved when Bret did that spot. Fatu goes for a slam, but Bret hangs onto the armbar. Bret unwisely tries to hurt the head of Fatu, and eats a super-kick for his lack of vision. Fatu with a short-clothesline for two. If Bret loses, do we get Fatu vs. Yokozuna for the WWF Title at WrestleMania IX? Fatu controls with a dull nerve hold. Samu makes his way to ringside, getting in some cheap shots as we take a commercial break.
We return with Bret still looking like death on the arena floor. Fatu with a back breaker for two. Fatu with a piledriver for another two count. Bret was sporting a nasty looking bruise on his nose, and it appears to have ripped open during the last couple of minutes. Hard whip to the corner gets a two count. Fatu with a side suplex and second rope headbutt for two. Fatu heads to the top rope, but Bret pops up and crotches Fatu across the buckle. He follows him up and takes Fatu down with a Super-Plex for a two count. Bulldog out of the corner gets two. Back breaker and second rope elbow connects. He sets up for the Sharpshooter, but Samu interrupts thanks to a distraction from afa. They pull the switch-a-roo, but Bret still kicks out at two. They switch back (why?!), Bret rams the Headshrinkers together. Samu gets hung up in the ropes, Bret knocks Afa off the apron with a dropkick and the Sharpshooter gets three at 12:55. Sorry, Hebner screwed up. He counted three like it were a pinfall, then realized he's an idiot and called for the submission. *** Had some down time with those awful nerve holds, but Bret brought the goods, and Fatu showcased quite a decent amount of offense. I never expected Bret to lose, but it was still a strong showing.
Koko B. Ware vs. Doink (the Clown):
Still from the March 1st episode of Raw. Good to see Koko's recovered from the knee injury he was selling during a match against Money Inc. For reasons unexplained, he comes out to his "Bird, Bird, Bird" music, but still dressed in High Energy gear. Doink attacks him from behind and quickly goes to work on the left knee... wait, Doink using continuity from a match he wasn't involved in?! He turns Koko over with a Single-Leg Crab, then turns it into the Crossface! He changes it up with a spinning toe hold. Koko flails away, as if it's his only defense. Doink with a swinging neck breaker, and the Stump Puller forces Koko to give up at 1:49! 1/2* Just a quick squash match, but damn does Doink have some good moves. The list of old names he's embarrassed in the ring: Typhoon, Big Boss Man, and now Koko B. Ware. Post-match, Doink pies Elvis Bartlett in the face... wait, he's supposed to be a heel!
Typhoon vs. Papa Shango:
From the March 6th, 1993 episode of WWF Mania. You know what this means... it's a Mania EXCLUSIVE! We've got Sean Mooney and Lord Alfred Hayes calling this. We have to be getting close to the last time we hear both these men in the broadcast booth. Lockup, Shango grabs a headlock. Whip to the ropes, and a shoulder tackle has no effect on Typhoon. Typhoon catches a body press and plants Shango with a slam. Shango calls for a test-of-strength, but chooses to plant a pair of boots to the midsection. He misses a charge to the corner, and falls victim to another slam. He manages to recover and throw Typhoon into the buckle, using a handful of tights for leverage. Shango sends Typhoon to the corner and continues to pound away. Whip and Shango with a dropkick for two. Whip is reversed and Shango grabs a sleeper hold. Typhoon mounts a comeback, sending Shango to the floor with a clothesline. Shango's all "whatever", shoots pyro out of his voodoo stick, and beats Typhoon down with it to draw a Disqualification at 4:58. 1/2* Dull match, but thankfully short. I think every Shango match from the Summer of '92 and onward ended with that same finish. Typhoon gets his "heat" back by powerslamming Shango. I doubt either man will be doing something meaningful at WrestleMania IX.
Non-Title Match: "El Matador" Tito Santana & Virgil vs. Money Inc.:
From the March 8th, 1993 episode of Monday Night Raw, with the usual combination of Savage, Vince, and Bartlett calling the action. I guess the Miracle Jobber Connection's oh-so-impressive victory over the Beverly Brothers on the February 20th episode of Mania wasn't enough to warrant a title shot. Santana and Dibiase start. Lockup into the ropes leads to a shoving contest. Dibiase with rights in the corner. Whip to the corner, Santana greets Dibiase with an elbow, then quickly grabs a side headlock. Virgil and I.R.S. tag in as the crowd taunts with "Irwin" chants. Virgil with a headlock and shoulder tackle, followed by a hip toss and a pair of clotheslines. Double elbow from the MJC gets two. Santana back in, going to work on the arm of I.R.S. Vince McMahon notes the Nasty Boys gave up their shot at Money Inc. so the Mega-Maniacs can get a one-time-only crack at the titles at WrestleMania IX. I heard they were easily paid off with a box of Twinkies and 6-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon. Tito and Virgil illegally switch, complete with fake tag sound effects. We come back from commercial, with Irwin putting Santana down with a knee to the midsection. Dibiase grabs a front facelock, usually a recipe for false hot tag. Santana fights free, shoves Dibiase to the ropes, and the two bop heads. Virgil gets the hot tag and unloads with rights. Dibiase trips Virgil up near the ropes, allowing I.R.S. to take him down with a back suplex for the three count at 7:34. Ripping off Shawn Michaels finisher, eh? ** Another match that wasn't really bad, but not very good, either. I always hate trying to narrow it down to a rating in cases like that.
Mr. Perfect vs. "The Model" Rick Martel:
Also from the March 8th episode of Raw. Rather odd timing for a Martel appearance, who hasn't been featured too much on any WWF programming at the time. He spent the duration of the show harassing the Raw card girls for not being as beautiful as him, so Mr. Perfect is out for revenge? Kinda neat that Perfect faces someone in love with his appearance at WrestleMania IX (The Narcissist), and as a quasi-warm-up, faces someone who also is too into his physical appearance. Model grabs a headlock and comes off the ropes with a shoulder. They trade slams and mule kicks until we get back to a neutral position. Martel avoids contact with a cartwheel, then does some jumping-jacks, no doubt inspiring Mike Bucci for his Simon Dean gimmick. Whip to the corner, Perfect charges in and meets the knees. Model with an overhead takedown, then slaps on a hammerlock. They trade holds until Perfect uses his momentum to toss Martel to the floor. We return from break, with Martel in control. Gutwrench suplex gets two. Martel puts the boots to him and slaps on a seated chinlock. Perfect escapes, only to take a knee to the midsection. Martel with the back breaker, but an unwise slingshot splash attempt meets knees. Perfect with a pair of atomic drops as we go to break. We come back, and Mr. Perfect is celebrating his victory at 7:33? I guess he won with the Perfect-Plex during the break. Did I mention this episode was taped the week before? ** Perfectly fine wrestling, but that finish is just stupid. At least do it during a LIVE episode, not the taped one. That's just common sense.
Crush vs. Damian Demento:
From the March 13th, 1993 episode of WWF Mania... and the joke is already beaten into the ground. Doesn't stop Sean Mooney and Lord Alfred Hayes (still!?) from reminding us this is an EXCLUSIVE for WWF Mania. Hah, fooled you on that one! In preperation for facing Doink at WrestleMania IX, Crush gets to face another lunatic who talks to the voices in his head, Mr. Demento. Demento with trash talking (possibly to Crush), including spitting on his own hand mocking Crush's signature hand gesture. Criss-cross ends with Crush connecting with a dropkick. Much like Battle Kat in the past, when SEAN MOONEY makes fun of you, it's time to hang it up. Demento goes for the arm, but Crush casually counters. Crush no-sells some boots, blocks a hip toss, and takes Demento down with a belly-to-belly suplex. Demento counters a back drop attempt with a DDT, then drops a leg across the back of the head. Demento slaps on a chinlock as we hype WrestleMania IX. The chinlock is long enough to run down practically the entire card, WITH PREDICTIONS. Crush finally fights free and catches Demento off the ropes with a back breaker. Crush with a jumping heel kick, press slam, and the Cranium Crunch finishes Demento at 7:39. 1/4* This could've used about 2-3 minutes shaved off. Crush has some decent moves, but Demento was just awful. If Crush can't put away Demento, how does he expect to have any success against Doink?
Jim Powers vs. The Giant Gonzalez (w/ Harvey Wippleman):
From the March 14th, 1993 episode of All-American Wrestling. That's right, our first All-American Exclusive from 1993! This match had been in the can for nearly two months, taped days after the Royal Rumble. We're treated to more Mooney and Lord Alfred. The Giant Gonzalez is getting ready to face The Undertaker at WrestleMania IX. Will he end the Streak at 2? Order WrestleMania IX to find out! Gonzalez is all fee-fi-fo-fum, no-selling Powers' meager attempts at pounding the midsection. Gonzalez grabs him by the head and slams him down. Whip to the ropes and he manages to a get foot up for a big boot. Gonzalez pulls Powers off the canvas, plants him with a Chokeslam, and it's good for the three count at 1:44. DUD Squash! Jim Powers was always good at taking a beating.
Bob Backlund vs. Papa Shango:
From the March 15th, 1993 episode of Monday Night Raw. First time Raw is coming from a location other than the Manhattan Center (the Mid-Hudson Center in Pughkeepsie), and a horrible storm has us with the makeshift broadcast team of Gorilla Monsoon, Bobby Heenan, and "Vince McMahon", a.k.a Rob Bartlett making fun of how bad Vince is on commentary. It's funny for 30-seconds, but the episode ran 45-minutes. Even Gorilla and Heenan sound annoyed. Could you have found two more different personalities than Bob Backlund and Papa Shango? Backlund side-steps Shango's charge and takes him down with a pair of single leg picks. They do a test-of-strength, easily won by Shango. Backlund rolls through with a counter and goes to work the arm. Whip to the ropes, Shango catches Backlund with a back breaker. The "action" continues as Gorilla and Heenan mock "Vince's" lack of commentary skills. Someone please cut the guys microphone. Shango with another back breaker and a series of elbow drops before going back to the chinlock. Backlund fights free, but takes a knee to the midsection. Shango goes for a slam, but Backlund cradles him for the three count at 6:59. That was out of nowhere. * Dull match made even worse by the excruciating commentary from "Vince McMahon." did you know Bob Backlund is heading to WrestleMania IX? He faces da' bad guy, Razor Ramon.
The Nasty Boys vs. The Headshrinkers:
(Brian Knobbs & Jerry Saggs vs. Samu & Fatu
Also from the March 15th episode of Raw. We've got us a beefy card girl this week on Raw. The Headshrinkers will be at WrestleMania IX, taking on the Steiner Brothers, Rick and Scott. This could be a really good brawl or a really crappy straight formula tag match. We get the "you boo us, you cheer them" playing to the crowd... so crappy formula match it is? No Afa for the Headshrinkers tonight. Samu attacks Knobbs from behind and clobbers him in the corner. Whip, and this time Knobbs comes back with a pair of clotheslines. Saggs ducks under a double clothesline and hits the 'Shrinkers with a pair of his own. Knobbs with a single-arm DDT on Fatu. The Nasties take turns working the left arm. Samu with a cheap shot from the apron, allowing Fatu to put Saggs down with a crescent kick (not to be confused with being on a croissant kick). We return from break with Fatu choking away on Saggs. Monsoon describes this match as having "very little rhyme or reason." I wouldn't say it's THAT bad, but it is hard to concentrate with that idiot blathering nonsense every 20-seconds. Samu misses a headbutt from the top, allowing Knobbs to get the hot tag. He cleans house until trying a double noggin-knocker. Somehow a double DDT works... damn Samoan physics. The action spills to the floor, and it's a Double Count-Out at 6:23. They brawl near a concessions table... MUSTARD HAS BEEN USED! ** Short and energetic, which is the best you could hope for from the Nasty Boys.
"El Matador" Tito Santana vs. "The Narcissist" Lex Luger:
From the March 20th, 1993 episode of WWF Mania. Poor Tito doesn't get a match at WrestleMania, after making an appearance at all the other WrestleMania's leading up to this one. Yes, I'm aware he worked the Dark Match, but it doesn't exist on film (or so we're expected to believe), so it doesn't count. Lockup, easily won by the Narcissist. They fight over a wristlock until Santana mule kicks him to the corner. Luger grabs an overhead wristlock, but Santana counters with a hammerlock. Luger with an elbow to the side of the head to escape. Whip to the ropes, Santana ducks a clothesline, and comes back with a body press for two. He takes Luger over with an arm drag, then slaps on the armbar. Luger tries to counter with a slam, but Tito hangs on. Luger uses the tights to throw Santana face-first to the turnbuckle. Monsoon tells us the pendulum has swung a complete 360 degrees... which means Santana would still be in control, since the pendulum would've returned to it's starting point. Santana with a sunset flip from out of nowhere for two. Luger is up first, and destroys him with a clothesline. Santana surprises Luger with a small package for two. School boy for two, and Luger again levels Santana with a big forearm (not THE forearm). Santana continues offering a comeback, laying into Luger's midsection with rights. Santana with dropkicks, fist to the midsection, and running knee lift. He hits the Flying Forearm, but Luger kicks out at two! Whip to the corner, Santana meets a boot, and Luger KO's him with the loaded forearm. It's more than enough for three at 8:54. ** Surprisingly competitive match. Santana could still bring the goods, despite being securely placed in the role of a JTTS for the better part of 3 years.
Tatanka vs. Blake Beverly:
From the March 21st, 1993 episode of All-American Wrestling. Like there's a chance in hell that a Beverly is going to win a solo match, especially against the undefeated Tatanka? Gorilla Monsoon and Lord Alfred are back in the booth... dammit Alfred, stop showing up! I keep having to delete comments because of you. Blake attakcs before the bell, but Tatanka quickly turns the tide and sends him to the floor with a clothesline. Back inside, Tatanka with a hip toss and chops, sending Blake back to the floor. Tatanka misses a blind body press as we go to a commercial. We return, with Blake working on a chinlock. We're bored, so we find out Kamala vs. Bam Bam Bigelow has been added to WrestleMania IX! Doesn't that make you want to part with the $24.95 the PPV would cost you in 1993? Lord Alfred is playing it totally heel, which means he's not only terrible, but annoying, too. Tatanka fights free, but gets taken down with a powerslam. Blake sends Tatanka to the buckle and brings him down with a back suplex. Blake with a suplex for two. Tatanka with a cross body, but Blake rolls through for another two count. Tatanka starts his War Dance, so it's chop, chop, big chop, and Fallaway Slam for the three count at 6:26. *1/2 I'm surprised Blake got as much offense as he did, but this wasn't awful, just not very good. Story of Tatanka's career.
The Bushwhackers vs. Repo Man & Damian Demento:
From the March 22nd, 1993 episode of Monday Night Raw, with Savage, McMahon, and Bartlett back at the broadcast table. This could take the cake for Worst Match of 1993, just going by the participants involved (once you ignore anything with the Giant Gonzalez, of course). Have I ever mentioned how much I LOATH the Bushwhackers? We're only a couple of weeks away from WrestleMania, so why give a fuck? The Bushwhackers will be involved on a Primetime Special called "March to WrestleMania." Joy. Demento starts with Butch. It doesn't take long for butts to be bitten. Demento and Repo get whipped into each other and knocked to the floor. Speaking of March to WrestleMania, Randy Savage will be taking on the #1 Contender to the WWF Championship, Yokozuna. Yes, I'd rather talk about hyping another show than watch this turd. Luke gets worked over with nothing but punchy-kicky. Either the crowd is chanting "Luke", or following my cue and up-chucking their dinner. Butch gets the "hot" tag, and actually works in a pair of clotheslines. The crowd appreciates breaking away from the punch-kick fest this has been. Repo tries his best to help Demento out, but the power of Whacker-Mania is too much, and the Bushwhackers finish Repo off with the Battering Ram at 5:29. DUD I'll be generous and not dip into negatives, since it wasn't too long. It was just bad. I'm pretty sure this was held under "Loser of the Fall Must Leave the WWF" rules. Sadly, Demento remains. So long Repo Man, you will be missed.
Kamala (w/ Reverend Slick) vs. Doink (the Clown):
Also from the March 22nd episode of Monday Night Raw. Doink has done an oddball haircut to his green wig. He looks like he should be playing the title character in "Annie." I guess he just likes being different for the sake of being different. He also comes to the ring with a present. Both men are scheduled for action at WrestleMania IX, and unfortunately, Kamala won't be facing Kim-Chee. That epic blowoff will be taking place at the March to WrestleMania, instead. Doink offers him the present, then pulls it away. JERK! Doink goes for the legs to take Kamala to the canvas and grabs an armbar. He slaps on a weak Dragon sleeper, but Kamala doesn't know how to sell that. Back to the armbar, which lasts half a century (or so it feels). Kamala with chops and an avalanche. We come back from commercial break with Doink back in control. Kamala with another comeback, knocking Doink to the floor. They play cat-and-mouse, Doink gives him the present, then rolls back in to beat the Count-Out at 3:41. Oh, and the present was an empty box. BOO! 1/4* Ugh. I've seen that finish enough thanks to Coliseum Video and Foreign Market events. Doink couldn't carry Kamala to a good match, but maybe Daniel Bryan could have. Kamala chases Doink from ringside, but not before a fan almost pulls his hair off.
Mr. Perfect vs. Papa Shango:
From the March 27th, 1993 episode of WWF Mania, we're only a week away from the World's Largest Toga Party™, WrestleMania IX! Papa Shango won't be in action (technicalities!), but Mr. Perfect is going to face the undefeated Narcissist. I'm sure I mentioned that already, but whatever. Shango attacks from behind with clubberin' blows. He dumps Perfect to the floor and continues pounding the back. Back inside, Perfect mounts his first offense, and sends Shango to the outside with a dropkick. Perfect follows, ramming Shango into the ring steps. Back in the ring, Shango regains control, punishing the back. Perfect throws some kicks, but Shango isn't selling. He plants Perfect with a slam and drops a pair of elbows for a two count. In case this match wasn't putting me to sleep already, here's a chinlock. You could hard-boil an egg in between moves. I'm so bored, I typed Bret Hart makes the comeback. Nope, it's still Perfect. He works in his float-over neck snap and plants Shango with a slam. Shango misses a headbutt to the midsection, and the Perfect-Plex ends it at 7:56. DUD This might've been the worst Mr. Perfect match I've ever seen (before he stopped giving shit once he made his return to the ring in 1997). Congratulations Papa Shango, you worked an anti-miracle.
- From the March 28th, 1993 episode of Wrestling Challenge... it's the OFFICIAL contract signing between Bret "Hitman" Hart and Yokozuna for the WWF Championship at WrestleMania IX! You think they would've taken care of that a little earlier than 7 days before the big show, but I guess someone feared Bret would lose the Title, so they held it off for as long as possible. To the surprise of maybe two people who have never seen a contract signing in wrestling, Yokozuna attacks Bret Hart and leaves him a beaten pile of Canadian rubbage following the Banzai Drop. Bret won't be denied, and finds the courage to pull himself back to his feet... about an hour later. Considering that finish, you would think Bret was leaving WrestleMania IX still the WWF Champion.
- The first inductee into the newly created WWF Hall of Fame... the late-Eighth Wonder of The World, Andre The Giant, who sadly passed away earlier in the year on January 27th. We get a brief montage of Andre the Giant moments, set to some simple Piano music. The WWF making reference to a performer's passing wasn't exactly the in-thing to do, so you probably could assume all this being done in the memory of Andre probably shows how important he was to everyone, especially to the WWF and Vince McMahon.
- Closing things out with comments about the March to WrestleMania Special...
I've already done a detailed recap of the March to WrestleMania IX, but if you're not feeling clicking the link, here's a brief summary of what took place: Yokozuna (with more than a little help from Mr. Fuji) defeated the Macho Man, Randy Savage in a decent contest. The Undertaker and Bam Bam Bigelow worked a decent power match until the presence of the Giant Gonzalez ruined everything. Mr. Perfect made short work of Skinner, Kamala FINALLY got his revenge on Kim-Chee, even going as far as presenting the Reverend Slick with Kim-Chee's hat, and finally, in the biggest shocker of all-time, the Bushwhackers and Tiger Jackson faced the Beverly Brothers and Little Louie in the Match of the Night... only because of Bobby Heenan killing it on commentary with a never ending stream of stupid, ugly, and midget jokes (usually combined all three into one).
Final Thoughts: There was a whole lot of random here. While a lot of angles were built and developed through the feature matches during the month of February, we appeared to be in cruise control in the final weeks before WrestleMania IX. Most of the matches featured included someone going to WrestleMania against someone with nothing to do (or simply a JTTS). There's a handful of good matches, but everything is mostly forgettable, or in some cases flat out awful (I'm looking at you, Bushwhackers and Papa Shango). Of everything mentioned in this compilation, I'd go and track down a copy of the March to WrestleMania special, featuring a handful of top caliber matches, and an entertaining 90-minutes of WWF action.
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