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WWF @ Providence, Rhode Island
January 30, 1993

by Scrooge McSuck

- Taped from the Civic Center in Providence, RI, a little more than a week removed from the 1993 Royal Rumble, featuring Yokozuna being the first man to formally win a title shot at WrestleMania. The night before at Madison Square Garden, the WWF held the “Headlock on Hunger” special, with proceeds going to the Somalian relief fund. Since we’re only a decent drive from the Garden, I’m almost expecting nothing but the same card, just trimmed down a bit since the MSG show was super-bloated with something like 12 matches featured. This same group worked later in the night in New Haven, CT, so we might get a lot of short matches or under-whelming efforts. The only match not featured on this recording is “El Matador” Tito Santana going over Skinner. Seems like everyone who recorded these shows just said “screw this” when it came time for Skinner’s matches.

Jim Powers vs. The Predator:

Life is never complete without seeing as many Jim Powers matches as possible. These two didn’t work together on the Headlock on Hunger, but did open the show taped from Reno, NV a week earlier. If you’re too lazy to check out that recap, I’ll say it again: Predator is a masked Michael Bollea, better known as Horace Hogan, the legitimate nephew of Hulk Hogan. He’s introduced from Parts Unknown and weight unknown, so you can see how much effort went into that. They trade wrist-locks early on. Powers escapes a waist-lock and school boys him for a two count. Predator takes control with an elbow to the side of the head, followed by some choking. Whip to the ropes, Powers comes back with a hip toss and clothesline, sending Predator to the floor. Back inside, Predator throws some awful punches before missing a charge to the corner. Powers with a failed sunset flip, but another school boy gets a near fall. Predator with a handful of tights to throw Powers face-first to the buckle. Leg drop gets a two count. Predator drops an elbow for two in-between a couple of lengthy chin-locks. Powers escapes with elbows to the midsection. He gets a boot up on a charge attempt, sends Predator from corner-to-corner, and takes him over with a back drop. Whip to the ropes, fist to the mid-section, and a running knee lift, followed by a Power-Slam, and it’s good for the three count at 8:25. *1/2 Same old opening match we’ve seen from Jim Powers countless times. Predator brought very little, but Powers’ energy made it watchable.

Typhoon vs. The Berzerker:

Oh man. These two worked together the night before at MSG, and I’m sure you can believe me when I say it sucked. Let’s just hope it will be short. Hard to predict a winner when both are firmly secured in the roles of a JTTS (jobber to the stars). Lockup into the corner and Berzerker with a cheap shot. Another lockup, and this time goody-two-shoes Typhoon gives a clean break. Whip to the ropes, and Typhoon sends Berzerker flying over the top rope following a series of shoulder tackles. Back inside, Berzerker demands a test-of-strength. Typhoon dominates until a series of well-placed boots to the midsection turns the tide. Typhoon battles back to his feet, and once again sends Berzerker over the top rope. Berzerker takes control with choking. Lots and lots of choking. He chokes him and chokes him, then chokes him some more. That is definitely not PG. Typhoon misses a charge to the corner, but the referee won’t count the pin with Berzerker’s feet on the ropes. Typhoon with a school boy for three at 6:04. DUD I honestly am convinced Typhoon didn’t break a sweat the entire match.

The Steiner Brothers vs. Double Trouble:

(Rick & Scott Steiner vs. Double Trouble #1 & #2)
I don’t like the odds for Double Trouble. I’m sure I mentioned this in another recap, but they’re the obese twin brothers Val and Tony Puccio. Depending on who you believe, they only got work with the WWF in the North-East region because they originally had the name “The Undertakers” trademarked and WWF claimed it for themselves and it was done as some kind of settlement. Scott starts with the “smaller” twin (I believe it’s Tony), so I’ll label him as DT #2. Scott quickly picks the leg and cranks a standing toe-hold. Back to a standing position, and now Scott works an over-head wrist-lock. Scott blocks a hip toss attempt and actually throws him over with a T-Bone Suplex! DT #1 tags in, looking to be a legit 400+ pounds of fat goo. Rick goes for a slam, but he’s too fat. A waist-lock attempt is unsuccessful because he can’t get his arms around. A leg pick works, and Rick somehow pulls off a miracle by connecting with a belly-to-belly suplex. Scott picks the legs and grabs a front face-lock. Scott sells for about 10-seconds before sending DT #2 over-head with a bell-to-belly suplex. DT #1 breaks a cover and hits a big splash. Whip to the corner and they hit a double-team avalanche. Scott gets a boot up the second time, with DT #1 moving at .000002 MPH. Rick lays out DT #1 with a Steiner-line, and they finish DT #2 off with the top rope DDT (off the shoulders of Rick) at 5:54. Big pop for that finish. ½* Squash match to showcase the Steiner’s wrestling skills and over-coming the massive size differential.

Mr. Perfect vs. Ric Flair:

Flair has already lost the “Loser Leaves the WWF” Match on Monday Night Raw, so now he’s just filling his contractually obligated dates, doing jobs around the horn to Perfect and Bret Hart the whole time. Surprisingly mixed response from the crowd. Lockup and Perfect with a quick takedown. They do a chain wrestling sequence, with Hennig getting the better of each hold. Flair shoves, and Perfect bitch slaps. Flair with a side head-lock and shoulder tackle. Perfect takes him down with a drop toe hold and gives him another slap. Flair with cheap shots in the corner. I couldn’t make out the chant, but it almost sounded like “Don’t Go Flair.” Flair with a snapmare, but a trip to the top rope is countered with a slam, and Perfect quickly takes advantage by applying a Figure-Four in the center of the ring. Flair makes it to the ropes and thumbs Perfect in the eyes for good measure. They trade chops in the corner. Whip to the corner and Perfect with a back drop. Flair with a low blow in the corner, out of view of the referee, of course. He dumps Hennig to the floor and casually puts the boots to him. Back inside, Flair works the arm and uses handfuls of hair to keep Perfect on the canvas. Perfect teases a comeback, but meets the buckle with the already worked over shoulder. Flair keeps working the arm, using the ropes a lot for extra leverage. Perfect with his real comeback, pounding away in the corner. Flair tries dumping him out, but Perfect comes back in with a sunset flip (and a handful of tights). Whip to the corner and a back drop, followed by the float-over neck snap. Flair with an elbow to the back of the head to counter another back drop attempt. Whip to the ropes, and Perfect surprises Flair with the Perfect-Plex at 14:57 in what looked like a bit of a botched finish. Post-match, Razor Ramon runs down to work over Hennig. **1/2 Not nearly as good as most of the other matches of theirs available on tape. The work was alright, but hardly anything to get excited about. I’d consider this a bigger let-down than sitting through a terrible Typhoon/Berzerker match.

- To my delight, the match between Tatanka and Damien Demento is joined in progress, and it’s just Tatanka fighting out of a chin-lock, making his big comeback, and finishing with the Samoan Drop. No rating for the obvious reasons, but it was a match I was dreading having to sit through (again).

- 3-bell salute for Andre The Giant, who passed away on January 27th at the age of 46.

WWF Intercontinental Championship Match:
Shawn Michaels © vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage:

This is an interesting choice. I guess Marty Jannetty being canned the day after the Royal Rumble meant shuffling around the scheduled Intercontinental Title matches. Michaels worked the MSG show with Bob Backlund, so I consider this a bit of an upgrade. In between stalling, they taunt each other on the house mic. Michaels puts the boots to Savage, sending him to the floor. Michaels to the top rope, connecting with a double axe-handle. Savage throws a few rights, but ends up being rammed into the turnbuckle. Michaels with a snap-mare and settles into a rear chin-lock. The only highlight of the match is Savage’s blinding neon pink/purple tights. He escapes, but runs into an elbow. Whip to the corner, Shawn misses a charge and rams his own shoulder into the ring post. Whip to the ropes and we get a collision spot, putting both men down. Amazing, considering Michaels has taken maybe the littlest bit of offense. It somehow is good enough for a near fall. Savage to the top, but the axe-handle is countered with a fist to the midsection. Savage with a handful of tights, sending Shawn to the floor. Back inside, Savage goes for the Elbow Drop, but Shawn rolls out and takes a walk. Savage chases him down, and it’s a dirt cheap Double Count-Out at 8:07. Post-match, Savage rolls him back in the ring and hits a weak flying elbow drop, and covers for the sake of trying to pop the crowd. ¾* There’s nothing more frustrating than watching the standard formula Randy Savage match of the 90’s, where he takes a boring beat-down the entire match before making a so-so comeback.

Big Boss Man vs. Razor Ramon:

Boss Man is winding up his WWF run, mostly doing jobs for Bam Bam Bigelow until the end of February. Ramon’s role is considerably reduced, going from a top heel alongside Ric Flair, to being an after-thought on TV and being programmed with Mr. Perfect around the horn until a knee injury took him off the road through most of the Winter. Ramon tosses his toothpick, so Boss Man picks it up, snaps it, and throws it back. HIGHLIGHT OF THE MATCH! Lockup, Ramon grabs a headlock. They do the shoulder-block spot, with Boss Man getting the best of it. School boy gets two. Small package gets two. Boss Man with a hip toss, sending Ramon to the floor. Back inside, Razor asks for a test-of-strength, but it’s a trap, and he thumbs Boss Man in the eyes. Ramon with a weird almost-but-not-quite-double-chicken-wing hold. Boss Man counters, so Razor goes low on him, out of the view of the referee. Whip to the ropes, Boss Man surprises Razor with an uppercut. He connects with an atomic drop, clothesline, and scoop slam. Whip to the corner and Boss Man with mounted punches. Whip across the ring, Razor avoids the charge, and a school boy finishes it at 5:34. *1/2 Energetic enough, but that one rest-spot really derailed any momentum the match had.

WWF Championship Match:
Bret “Hitman” Hart © vs. Bam Bam Bigelow:

Main Event of the night. I’m going to say I’ve probably seen more than enough matches between Bret and Bam Bam from the calendar year of 1993. Between the fan-cam shows, the post-Mania European Tour, a match on PPV and a match on Monday Night Raw, the total has to be nearing double digits. Bret evades Bigelow’s first few attempts at locking-up. They finally lockup, and Bigelow shoves him out of the ring with ease. Bret grabs a side headlock, but a shoulder tackle clearly goes in Bam Bam’s favor. Bigelow with a rake of the eyes and clubberin’ forearms. Whip to the ropes, Bret rocks Bigelow with a dropkick, rolls away from an elbow drop, and pounds away on the left arm. Whip to the ropes, Bigelow goes for a press slam, but Bret lands on top for a near fall. Bret continues to pound away and sends Bigelow to the floor with a running elbow. Bret tries diving off the apron, but Bigelow catches and rams him into the post. Back inside, Bigelow works the back and takes Hart down with a back suplex. Whip to the ropes and he lifts Bret into a bear-hug. Bigelow with another back suplex and a scoop slam. He heads to the top rope, but the diving headbutt misses! Bret pounds away with rights and connects with a Russian leg sweep for two. Second rope clothesline gets two. Bret with a second rope bulldog, but an attempt at the Sharpshooter goes unsuccessful. Bam Bam catches him in another bear-hug, but Bret escapes with biting. He goes for a back suplex, but Bigelow shifts his weight and lands on top for a near fall. Whip to the corner, Bret gets the boot up, and a Victory Roll finishes at 8:41. *** Standard formula match between the two, but trimmed down a bit. Regardless of the reliance on the same finish, it’s still a good match with Bam Bam using his bulk to his advantage and Bret trying to figure out a way to finish him off.

Final Thoughts: Quite an under-whelming card that featured three high profile matches, that on paper, should’ve delivered, and only one reaching anything close to its potential. The undercard isn’t important enough to dissect, but it can be considered poor when two matches feature the likes of the Predator and Double Trouble, guys who aren’t featured on TV, and give the illusion of a weak roster. Bret and Bam Bam did their usual David vs. Goliath formula, which is fine but available on so many different shows. Perfect vs. Flair seemed dull and effortless, and wow, Savage vs. Michaels was so far from what I was hoping for, it’s mind boggling. As a whole, it’s not the worst fan-cam show out there, but it doesn’t deliver on promise, and pales in comparison to the show held at MSG the night before. Solid Recommendation to Avoid.

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