WWF Mania – January 9, 1993

This is the debut of a Saturday morning weekly recap show on USA Network hosted by Todd Pettengill. If you remember Pettengill in his early WWF run, you’d remember him as a major goofball who was anything but funny. Anyway, the show was an attempt to attract a younger audience who might stay with USA after Saturday morning cartoons. WWF Mania had a cartoonish feel to it. Pettengill hosts the show from a studio. His sense of humor has no impact from the start.

Speaking of having a sense of humor, though, Pettengill shows the antics of one Doink The Clown in his first 8 weeks in the WWF. The audience sees clips of various babyface stars getting pranked by Doink including Tatanka, Marty Jannetty, Bob Backlund and The Big Boss Man. Pettengill then back tracks to last Saturday on WWF SuperStars and a match Crush had with jobber Dave Sigfrids and his post-match run-in with Doink of more significance. That was the beginning to the Crush/Doink feud with Crush defending the kids who were getting their balloons popped and water squirted on them by Doink. Must see television, I tell you. Evil Doink was great, though. Trust me.

WWF Mania EXCLUSIVE match (this would be a staple of the show):

Repo Man vs. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan

Result/Analysis: Duggan via pinfall (3:49) following his three point stance clothesline. Some exclusive. Duggan and his tiresome schtick was still somehow “over” wheras Repo Man, aka Demolition Smash, no one gave a damn about. Did Barry Darsow ever do much of substance with that ridiculous gimmick? Wretched. It’s amazing how much mileage Duggan got out of his “Hacksaw” gimmick. That would last for years yet after he departed for WCW. Both men had rutterless singles careers at this point and were predominantly house show regulars. USA! USA! USA! Hooooooooo!!! Back to Pettengill now.

Ugh do we have to? Pettengill transitions from the lame match we just sat through to everyone celebrating Elvis Presley’s birthday. He’s still alive ya know. After the break, though, Yokozuna will be in action.

Yokozuna’s match with jobber George Anderson from WWF SuperStars which aired on January 2 is shown. It’s a total squash. The kids sitting in the audience were in awe. Yokozuna was a force initially and the WWF booked him to perfection. Banzai!!!

Pettengill takes jabs at Yokozuna’s weight and wonders how anyone can take him seriously. WTF. If I were Vince, given this horrible debut, I’d have fired Pettengill.

The Undertaker and Paul Bearer speak out on the WWF’s Somalia Relief Fund. Their comments and the overall caring from many WWF SuperStars nearly has Pettengill in tears. This guy is too much!

Next, we see the non-title match from Wrestling Challenge with “Jumping” Jim Brunzell versus Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels. Solid TV bout. Michaels outlasts the former Killer Bee.

Pettengill announces that he’s heard through the grapevine that Michaels will be defending his Intercontinental Championship versus former Rockers tag-team partner Marty Jannetty in two weeks at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view. That match was an obvious one. Pettengill alludes to there being a twist to the match so stay tuned.

Raymond Rougeau has a sit-down interview with Owen Hart. Beforehand, Pettengill calls this segment another Mania exclusive. Owen discusses how 1992 was a banner year for him, and High Energy with KoKo B. Ware and 1993 promises to be another good year. Rougeau asks Owen, since his brother Bret is the current WWF Champion, that if Bret will wear himself out by going at the break neck pace that he is by defending the title against all comers. Owen says as Hart’s that pace is just how they’re each built. Owen is asked about being trained in the “dungeon,” by his father Stu and how that benefitted him. Rougeau aims to take Stu’s influence further but Razor Ramon appears on the set and clotheslines Owen! A beatdown follows and Razor chokes out Owen before tossing his toothpick at him. Ramon is sending a message to Bret here, whom he’ll challenge for the WWF Championship at the Royal Rumble. Back in the studio, Pettengill seems impressed.

Razor has pre-recorded comments where he tells Bret that he’s next at the Rumble after slapping little brother Owen around to make it a personal vendetta for “The Hit Man.”

Bret retorts in his own pre-recorded vignette that getting retribution against Razor Ramon won’t be the first time he’s had to pick up the fight after someone picked on one of his little brothers. Bret promises Razor he’ll show him at the Rumble that he’s not just a good fighter and says he’ll pound the daylights out of Ramon.

“Mean” Gene Okerlund gives a Royal Rumble report. The 1993 Rumble match would begin the annual tradition that remains today of the winner earning a title shot againgst tbe champion at WtestleMania. “Macho Man” Randy Savage and Mr. Perfect tell everyone how confident each is he’ll be the winner. Okerlund doesn’t run down the rest of the card on this report.

There’s an advertisement for the debuting Monday Night Raw which is two days away. Oh, and Raw will air NOT on TBS but on USA. And so it started? Back in studio, Pettengill announces a scheduled match for Raw is The Undertaker versus Damien Demento. Well shit! That’s must-see, no?

Pettengill segues next to a match from WWF SuperStars that aired the previous weekend. Mr. Perfect versus The Berzerker is re-broadcast. Yippee.

In Okerlund’s WWF update segment, we see once again Bobby Heenan promising the debut of “Narcissus” at the Royal Rumble.

Pettengill ends Mania telling us that next week’s show will feature Doink and Kamala. Seriously?

The Verdict: I remembered this syndicate as a major boner and the pilot episode only confirmed what I knew. Pettengill came off as the joke not any jokes that he told. The exclusives were blah and the Owen/Razor bit had been shown in the lead-up to the show. Having a recap show is fine but the wrong host was brought in to run it.

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