WWF Wrestling Challenge – January 24, 1993
Beaumont Civic Center – Beaumont, TX
Announcers: Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan
Moonsoon comes on the air voicing his disgust over Crush being ruled out of the Royal Rumble following the attack by Doink, who used his prosthetic arm. Heenan responds that clowns can make you laugh or they can make you cry. LOL. Gorilla asks “The Brain” to pick a winner for the Rumble match. He doesn’t pick one despite my thought of Ric Flair being his obvious choice but Heenan does predict that Razor Ramon will defeat Bret Hart and leave Sacramento as the WWF Champion.
Following the Wrestling Challenge intro package, Moonsoon gives the television audience a rundown of the show. The special interview from WWF SuperStars with Bret Hart will be re-broadcast. Yokozuna, The Nasty Boys, “Native American” Tatanka and Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels will all be in action. Let’s go down to ringside, says Gorilla.
“Native American” Tatanka vs. “Iron” Mike Sharpe
Result/Analysis: Tatanka via pinfall (2:24) following the End of the Trail (Samoan drop). The long-tenured jobber “Iron” Mike Sharpe was still collecting appearance checks on occassion yet Tatanka was too much on the warpath for any roughhouse tactics to work against him. While remaining undefeated as a singles competitor heading into the Rumble, Tatanka was a random outside pick to win the match if not a believable one. For someone that hadn’t worked a feud yet really in his near one year in the WWF, that needed to happen still. Tatanka had the crowd support, though, so his star was pointing northward. I expect a solid Royal Rumble from Tatanka.
Lord Alfred Hayes gives the Special Report wherein Doink’s attack on Crush from WWF SuperStars one week earlier is revisited. Crush suffered a severe concussion and he is out of the Royal Rumble. Hayes says that Doink has a warped and santanic sense of humor.
Bob East vs. Papa Shango
Result/Analysis: Papa Shango via pinfall (1:30) following a reverse shoulderbreaker. Heenan and Monsoon discuss Doink during the match. The Berserker has an insert promo. The kids in the audience, meanwhile, remain frightened of Papa Shango. In the eyes of the “powers that be” within the WWF, however, it’s now clear there aren’t any further plans for Papa Shango. I know it’s a random thought but why not pair Papa Shango with Harvey Wippleman and feud with Kamala who’s now with Reverend Slick? I always dug the random mid-card feuds.
Bobby “The Brain” Heenan discusses his impending Royal Rumble unveiling of “Narcissus.” This was the same as which aired on WWF SuperStars on January 23. Here’s the summary I had written for that show of this: Heenan tells us humanoids once again about “Narcissus.” He says shockwaves will be felt all across the world at the Royal Rumble during the unveiling of the quintessential male speciman, especially by Mr. Perfect. Just who is “Narcissus”? Is he really the metaphoric adonis? Does he really posses the herculean strength and power? Does he really have the agility, the finesse, the speed or all of the technical skills of all of the wrestlers combined? Even Heenan, he says, can’t so eloquently describe “The Narcissist.”
Isi Bermudez & Chuck West vs. The Nasty Boys [Brian Knobbs & Jerry Sags]
Result/Analysis: The Nasty Boys via pinfall (2:31) when Sags pins West following a flying elbow drop which comes after a running powerslam by Knobbs. The #1 contenders for the WWF Tag-Team Titles first show Bermudez around “Nastyville,” including the pit stop, then roughhouse West. In an insert promo, Knobbs sounds confident the Rumble will come down to he and Sags. Surely we’re likely to see The Nasties mix it up with Money Inc. should I.R.S. and Ted DiBiase, the reigning Tag-Team Champions, be in the ring at the same time. The booking as of this point had the eventual title match between Money Inc. and The Nasty Boys penciled in for WrestleMania IX. Stay tuned.
Meanwhile, “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan urges WWF fans to help out with the Somolian Relief Fund and put a “Headlock on Hunger” by donating their cash to the American Red Cross. The WWF had a live event scheduled for Madison Square Garden in New York City at the end of January in which the proceeds were entirely going to the Somolian Relief Fund. It was a nice touch.
Yokozuna (w/ Mr. Fuji) vs. Rudy Flores
Result/Analysis: Yokozuna via pinfall (1:37) following the bonzai drop. Should Yokozuna not win the Royal Rumble in Sacramento on this weekend, then that would be a major upset. Even still, one half of The Natural Disasters, that being Typhoon, says in an insert promo here that WWF fans will be talking about him on Monday morning. Heenan poses the thought to Monsoon if the Rumble comes down to Typhoon, Earthquake and Yokozuna, and what would happen? Rudy Flores is completely pancaked in this match. Bobby says Yokozuna would take out Mt. Fuji. Indeed, there was no stopping him as the 29 other Superstars also competing in the Rumble were about to learn.
Sean Mooney promotes a benefit for New York Jets defensive lineman Dennis Byrd, who at the time had recently suffered paralysis on the football field. Mooney then discusses the live event at Madison Square Garden just days away to benefit the WWF’s Headlock on Hunger initiative for the Somolian Relief Fund. We hear from “Nature Boy” Ric Flair, who’s joined by Heenan, to discuss a scheduled match versus Mr. Perfect. The Big Boss Man, meanwhile, gives comments on a match he has with Razor Ramon. Boss Man promises to serve law and order to “The Bad Guy.”
Bob Backlund vs. Louie Spicolli
Result/Analysis: Backlund via pinfall (1:58) with a rolling cradle. The fans have little to no reaction. The Backlund comeback story has just fallen on deaf ears. Backlund narrates his road back to the WWF Heavyweight Title in his insert promo. That’s as much a yawn and this match is. Louie Spicoi was an enhancement talent at this point but would be repackaged two years later as Rad Radford in a gimmick failure with the WWF roster then severely thinned out.
Gorilla mentions that WWF Champion Bret “Hitman” Hart is on the cover of the newest Spotlight magazine. That segues into a replay of Bret’s interview segment from WWF SuperStars with Raymound Rougeau. Here’s a recap of that:
Raymond Rougeau welcomes WWF Champion Bret “Hitman” Hart to the interview stage to discuss facing Ramon in a defense of the heavyweight title at the Royal Rumble, now only one day away. Bret starts off telling us that fans all over the world come up to him and they have a common theme: “People’s Champion.” But, before Bret can elaborate, Ramon interrupts him by appearing on the video wall. Razor runs down Bret’s entire 8 1/2 year WWF career – – – with it, listing off Bret’s noted accomplishments – – – while mocking Bret as the people’s choice or as the working man’s champion. Ramon asks Bret to say hello to “The Bad Guy.” Bret smirks. Razor tells Bret it was fun squashing Owen like a cockroach and he might slap his dad (Stu Hart) if he happens upon him while walking in the streets. Vince calls Ramon a low life on commentary. Razor says he takes whatever it is he wants and what he wants, is “The Hitman.” Bret doesn’t back down in his reply challenging Razor to come and fight him in the ring now on SuperStars. Ramon responds that no one tells him what to do or when to do it. He says there’s nothing the fans can do, there’s nothing Bret’s familia can do and there’s nothing Bret can do to stop him from taking the gold at the Rumble. Razor disappears from the video wall which gives Bret the last word. Bret says he takes pride in being the WWF Champion and at the Rumble both he and the fans will take pride as he kicks Razor’s butt! In a feud not sparked by much more than hot air exchanged, plus Owen getting the crap beat out of him, this segment helped to sell the match but Bret is clearly going over.
“Mean” Gene Okerlund gives a final Royal Rumble report with the PPV just one day away. We hear from The Undertaker, Mr. Perfect and “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair on their participation in the Royal Rumble Match. Gene again plugs Bobby Heenan’s unveiling of “Narcissus,” too.
Reno Riggins vs. “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels [WWF Intercontinental Champion]
Result/Analysis: Michaels via pinfall (2:20) following an inverted suplex. Bobby and Gorilla discuss the IC Title match at the Rumble and whose corner Sensational Sherri will be. Monsoon also plugs the Royal Rumble hotline. Marty Jannetty appears for an insert promo to tell Michaels he’s coming for in the biggest match of his career. This match was total fluff. Shawn hits the superkick on Riggins but he wasn’t really using the move as his finisher just yet.
Sean Mooney promotes Monday Night Raw from the Manhattan Center which will come off the heels of the Royal Rumble one day earlier. The Main Event is a Loser Leaves the WWF match between Mr. Perfect and “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair.
Back at the arena, Heenan informs the television audience that Shawn Michaels has left the building. Monsoon reminds us that next week on Wrestling Challenge the Main Event and WWF Championship match for WrestleMania IX will be known. Bobby predicts that Razor Ramon will be the new WWF Champion by then.
The Verdict: I was able to watch Wrestling Challenge on YouTube but as I finished this episode it appears the content was removed. Lame. Even worse, the WWE Network on Peacock – – – I subscribe – – – only has 1986 and 1987 of the show. Very lame. I digress. The 1993 Royal Rumble is upon us. Gorillla Monsoon says the WWF is guaranteeing its fans three hours of non-stop action. Ha! The build up on television, though, has been pretty good. Everyone on the roster in the old days got promo time, even down to the lowest level of talent. Bret Hart had already been given the ball to run with so it’s up to him to elevate Razor Ramon. Yokozuna is wrecking enhancement talent but can he survive 29 other superstars to win the Rumble match? At long last, Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty square off for the IC Title and there’s the intrigue of Sensational Sherri. The Steiner Brothers debut on PPV. Bobby Heenan unveils “Narcissus” to the world. There was a lot to promote.