WWF Monday Night RAW – January 11, 1993

WWF Monday Night RAW – January 11, 1993
Manhattan Center
New York, New York

Sean Mooney is LIVE outside of the Manhattan Center welcoming the television audience to the debuting Monday Night RAW. Bobby “The Brain” Heenan shows up wanting to get inside to be on the broadcast. Mooney informs Heenan he’s been replaced and that RAW is sold-out and no one can get inside. Bobby is irate. And with that, it’s the intro music for the first-ever Monday Night RAW, a show that would change professional wrestling FOREVER!!!

Announcers: Vince McMahon, “Macho Man” Randy Savage and Rob Bartlett

Vince welcomes everyone to RAW. Tonight, we’ll see The Steiner Brothers in tag-team action and there is scheduled a special interview with Razor Ramon. Bartlett chimes in to add that Koko B. Ware will square off with Yokozuna. Savage, meanwhile, is hyped for Damien Demento versus The Undertaker.

Howard Finkel is in the ring to bring out the competitors for the opening contest.

“The Birdman” Koko B. Ware vs. Yokozuna (w/ Mr. Fuji)

Result/Analysis: Yokozuna via pinfall (3:46) following the banzai drop. Koko’s offense has no effect on Yokozuna who had yet to be taken off his feet in any match to date. Each Yokozuna match, be it a jobber he opposed on SuperStars or a more-established WWF mid-card talent went the same. They were each a squash. Koko had zero usefulness left to the WWF and the High Energy tag-team he was in with Owen Hart was only notable for the goofy over-sized pajama-like pants the duo wore. Yokozuna was being pushed as the odds-on favorite to win the Royal Rumble. He was a dominant force at 505 pounds and had become the top heel in the company in just three months.

Rating: 1/2*

A Royal Rumble promotional advertisement is shown next.

Vince points out a woman in the ring walking around with a Monday Night RAW sign. I think he just wanted the audience to see her in the negligee she had on. RAW indeed.

Bobby “The Brain” Heenan and his promo on the impending arrival of “Narcissus” is shown. This was Heenan’s promo from SuperStars which aired over the preceding weekend. I think Bobby enjoyed delivering these a little too much! Anyway, the promos were directed at Mr. Perfect with Heenan gleefully bringing a guy into the WWF (Lex Luger) who was “beyond perfect.” Bobby had such disdain for Perfect after Perfect had turned face prior to Survivor Series ‘92 and distanced himself from “Nature Boy” Ric Flair and the shared allegiance he and Bobby had to him.

The Steiner Brothers [Rick & Scott] vs. The Executioners [Barry Hardy & Duane Gill]

Result/Analysis: The Steiner Brothers via pinfall (3:01) after a top rope bulldog double-team maneuver. It was impossible to tell The Executioners apart and they were cannon fodder here as The Steiner’s put on an exhibition. WCW’s loss was the WWF’s gain as The Steiner’s were easily the best tag-team in the world in January 1993. They were flawless in these matches. On a side note, Doink The Clown was seen in the crowd enjoying himself.

Rating: *

Meanwhile, outside the arena, Rob Bartlett’s “aunt” is trying to enter the arena. It’s of course Heenan dressed as a woman. Mooney unveils Heenan’s disguise. This was pretty stupid.

RAW heads to a commercial break but up next is Razor Ramon in a special interview.

Vince is the ring with Razor Ramon after the commercial break so I presume a lengthy interview this will not be, Chico. Ramon says he’s ready for the golden opportunity that lays ahead of him at the Royal Rumble when he faces Bret “Hitman” Hart for the WWF Championship. Vince outlines Bret needing 8 1/2 years to ascend the ladder to become WWF Champion while referring to Razor as a Johnny Come Lately. Ramon scoffs and says while it took Bret 8 1/2 years, it only took him 8 1/2 months to be numero uno as the number one contender. Razor also glees about ambushing Owen Hart on the debut of WWF Mania and tells Bret there’s nothing he can do about that or dealing with him at the Royal Rumble. Vince gets Razor’s toothpick projected at him to end the interview.

Savage promotes the WWF’s Headlock on Hunger initiative aimed at Somalia relief. That’s a special live event at Madison Square Garden at the end of January. At least the WWF did charity well. “Native American” Tatanka asks the great people for their support to accentuate the event.

WWF Intercontinental Championship:
Max Moon vs. “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels (c)

Result/Analysis: Michaels via pinfall (7:58 shown) following a back suplex. It’s funny, my recollection of this match was far different than the reality of it. The match is pretty blah with Michaels over selling Moon’s offense. Paul Diamond, fka Kato of The Orient Express, portrayed the Max Moon gimmick, a gimmick that flopped entirely. Konnan was originally ticketed for the role but he backed out which was a smart career move. Michaels was going through the motions in a lot of his matches at this point. Bartlett’s commentary in this match was him pretending to talk with Mike Tyson. So bad. Doink was in the aisle up to his tricks. Even a Shawn Michaels IC Title match needed a side-show. That’s weak. If you also remembered this match as good, it’s not.

Rating: * 3/4

WWF Mania promo. The Saturday morning 10 AM show is 100% caffeine free. Stay in bed kids.

Still to come … Damien Demento vs. The Undertaker

“Mean” Gene Okerlund gives us the latest Royal Rumble report. This was the exact same report which aired on SuperStars two days earlier. Okerlund could sell fans on buying a show on exclusive pay-per-view with these reports.

Elsewhere, outside the arena, Mooney banters with now rabbi Heenan about Bobby gaining entry to RAW. Heenan decides that entering through the roof is his ticket in.

Vince recaps Kamala’s face turn from SuperStars. Didn’t that one have wrestling fans buzzing?

Main Event:
Damian Demento vs. The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer)

Result/Analysis: The Undertaker via pinfall (2:26) following the tombstone piledriver. Some Main Event. Of course, a longer match for the same foregone result would have been moot. Vince spent the time promoting next week’s RAW here. That says it all.

Rating: DUD

Back from the final commercial break and Vince is with Doink. Vince reminds Doink about Crush’s ultimatum to him not to make children cry. Doink’s response is that if the children don’t have a sense of humor it’s their problem and if he laughs, that’s all that matters. Doink goes on to say that if Crush came out here right now it would be Crush that would be crying, too, and himself, he would be laughing. Crush does of course walk out with Vince introducing them to each other once more. Crush again warns Doink and tells him that if he has to come out again then Doink will have both of his arms in a sling. Doink pulls out a water gun and squirts Crush and a chase ensues around the ring. Crush gets tired of chasing and enters the ring as his music plays. Doink falls down on the mats below in a fit of laughter.

Outside the arena, Mooney tells Heenan he just got the word that entry is now permitted. Bobby enters the arena but RAW is over.

The Verdict:

In 1993, you’d have watched this first-ever Monday Night RAW and were left thinking it was cool to see LIVE wrestling. Had you not seen it, were too young at the time or a wrestling fan not yet born, you missed nothing on this show. RAW was promoted at its inception as “uncut, uncooked and uncensored” but there’s nothing on the debut that fits that billing. January 11, 1993 is when RAW began. That’s it. Yokozuna and Koko B. Ware wrestled in the first match. The Undertaker won the main event. Trivia buffs know that. The WWF product was down in early 1993 from a year prior. There was no competition to speak of, though. Thus, RAW could grow it its infancy unopposed.

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