WWF Wrestling Challenge – January 17, 1993

WWF Wrestling Challenge – January 17, 1993
Dane County Coliseum – Madison, WI

Announcers: Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan

“The Nature Boy” Ric Flair vs. Jim Powers

Result/Analysis: Flair via submission (3:04) with the figure-four leg lock. Naitch barely breaks a sweat in his Royal Rumble tune-up match. The former Young Stallion Jim Powers was but a name only by 1993 and he had done the job to Flair several times before this match. In his insert promo, Flair says he’ll repeat his Royal Rumble victory from 1992. While not a known thing to the masses, Flair had already decided on returning to WCW and given that the winner of the Royal Rumble was receiving a WWF Championship match at WrestleMania IX, the fact Flair had given notice of his WWF departure, him winning the upcoming Rumble wasn’t happening. Otherwise, it would have been a high probability perhaps. Gorilla Monsoon hints on commentary here than Flair winning the Rumble match was “highly improbable” but that could have been him talking up the sub par field?

Rating: 3/4*

Monsoon plugs the release of the official Royal Rumble program that was coming out on newsstands everywhere. I’m sure that magazine purchase wasn’t cheap even in 1993.

Raymond Rougeau is at the interview podium and this week’s special guest is Mr. Perfect. I’m thinking that Flair will be wanting to hear and see this. Heenan badmouths Perfect as he comes out as expected. As much as I loved Curt Henig throughout his career, I never enjoyed him as a babyface. Perfect immediately digs on Flair to begin saying that he noticed when Flair left the ring from his match that it was kind of dark so Flair must have been walking in his shadow. Oh boy. On cue, Flair runs back out and he charges at Perfect on the stage. Referees keep Flair at bay which allows Perfect to keep egging Naitch on telling him the feathers on his robe remind him of chicken feathers because that’s exactly what Flair is: A Chicken. Flair charges at Perfect several more times but he can’t get close except to get a hard boot in his lower back before he’s forced backstage. Perfect pledges to win the Royal Rumble next week and says he’ll then become the WWF Champion at WrestleMania. Perfect’s music hits to end the interview but Flair reappears as Perfect knocks him off the stage with a hard right hook. Flair is reeling and is completely unhinged as Wrestling Challenge heads to its first commercial break.

Dale Wolfe vs. The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer)

Result/Analysis: The Undertaker via pinfall (2:06) following the tombstone piledriver. I couldn’t locate this match anywhere or the FULL Wrestling Challenge episode from 1/17/93 for that matter so from reading other reviews of the show, this was your standard fare. Wolfe is put into a body bag afterwards. Taker had no active feud in January 1993 though he was wrestling Papa Shango on the house show circuit leading up to the Rumble. I guess that counted?

Rating: 1/2*

George Anderson vs. Bam Bam Bigelow

Result/Analysis: Bigelow via pinfall (1:51) following a diving headbutt. Yet another match I couldn’t locate but Bam Bam continues to decimate his jobber opponents. The Big Boss Man asserts to Bigelow in an insert promo he’ll be serving out “hard time” in their Royal Rumble encounter. Bam Bam was receiving a sustained push on television, however, while Boss Man was only wrestling on the house show circuit. Anyone with a brain could gather the result of their upcoming match.

Rating: 1/2*

“Lord” Alfred Hayes gives a WWF Special Report. It’s the same Kamala face turn recap which aired on SuperStars one day earlier. Kamala had “seen the light” which Reverend Slick was preaching about and he finally stood up to the abusive Kimchee (his handler) and Doctor Harvey Wippleman.

Dave Sigfrids vs. Lance Cassidy

Result/Analysis: Cassidy via pinfall (1:51) following a running bulldog. With this Wrestling Challenge having been pre-taped in December 1992, Cassidy’s brief WWF tenure had came and went. When I saw Cassidy wrestle prior to this on SuperStars, I had no recollection of him (Steve Armstrong) of that he had been in the company. Sigfrids, the jobber he was, even competes on a 40/60 level in this match. Consider Steve Armstrong’s WWF career, the two months it lasted, a trivia question that would stump even the most knowledgeable wrestling fan.

Rating: 1/4*

Heenan promotes “Narcissus” again with his comments on him a comparison to Mr. Perfect and how beyond Perfect that “Narcissus” is, someone that’s totally unblemished and not a person that is a backstabber like Perfect is. With Flair soon to depart (insert tears), insert “Narcissus” as Perfect’s transitional feud as Heenan’s vengeance amps up.

“Mean” Gene Okerlund gives us the latest Royal Rumble report. See my SuperStars Verdict for the latest developments on the PPV.

Jerry Fox vs. Razor Ramon

Result/Analysis: Ramon via pinfall (2:07) following the Razor’s Edge. While Bret Hart did interviews, Ramon ran roughshod over enhancement talent on the way to their Royal Rumble WWF Championship match. Razor attacking Owen Hart on WWF Mania was the main juice that set-up the title bout. I can’t recall any WWF World Title match on a PPV that had such little story or momentum going in. I guess Vince McMahon felt Bret could work a good match with anyone so Razor stepping into a main event match early in his career would only prove beneficial.

Rating: 3/4*

Gorilla tells the television audience that next week on Wrestling Challenge Shawn Michaels, Tatanka, Yokozuna and The Nasty Boys are all scheduled. Ramon has the interview segment.

The Verdict: I had to search high and low just for the Flair match and the Perfect interview segment that was Flair involved. How they got bumped to Wrestling Challenge, a show less watched than the new WWF Mania defies logic. Anyway, the internet came through for me. One of the anticipated Royal Rumble encounters to anticipate is when Flair and Perfect clash and how that transpires. We also had “Narcissus” to look forward to didn’t we?

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