WWF Monday Night Raw -March 8, 1993
-The show opens with the Mega Maniacs (Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake) and Jimmy Hart cutting a promo against Money Inc. They will collide with their hated rivals at Wrestlemania IX. Hogan addresses the accusation that Beefcake is the weak link in the team by promises that he’s been toughening him up for the big show. Hogan horrifically sings a bit of “Getting to Know You” which is a strange intimidation tactic.
-This was a pre-taped episode that was taped at the Manhattan Center. Vince McMahon and Randy Savage welcome back Rob Bartlett, who’s finished pretending to be Elvis.
Money Inc vs. Virgil and El Matador
This is a non-title match. Ted Dibiase kicks things off against Tito Santana, though Virgil looks anxious to mix things up from the apron. A shoving contest erupts and the match restarts. Dibiase corners Santana but his hard Irish whip is reversed. Cover by Santana gets 2 but leads to a side headlock. Virgil tags and wants a piece of Dibiase. Unfortunately, IRS gets a tag. Virgil works a headlock. Virgil gets a hip toss and a clothesline, sending IRS to ringside to regroup. Santana attacks IRS at ringside and leads him to the ring for a double team with Virgil. Santana tags and attempts to pin IRS unsuccessfully. Santana works the wrist and makes a phantom tag with Virgil while the referee is distracted trying to keep Dibiase out. Virgil works the arm. Santana tags and immediately continues to dismantle IRS’s arm. Dibiase tries to infer, giving Virgil a chance to switch out with Santana and we head to commercial.
After the break, it looks as though Money Inc has finally turned the tide. Santana needs a tag, but Dibiase is blocking him with a front headlock. Dibiase bounces off the ropes and both he and Santana go down after a collision. IRS gets the tag but fails to prevent Santana from getting to Virgil. Virgil cleans house on IRS. Dibiase trips Virgil from the apron, allowing IRS to hit a suplex for the win at 7:31 (shown). The psychology of the match seemed to make Money Inc the baby faces, so this was a bit strange. All four men brought their working boots though, so the match was solid stuff, **¼.
Winners: Money Inc
-We see highlights of the Tatanka/Shawn Michaels rivalry.
- "The Model" Rick Martel comes to the ring and switches place with the half naked ring card girl. The crowd doesn’t like that one bit.
Tatanka vs. Phil Apollo
Apollo brings a fight to Tatanka, but gets dumped over the ropes to the floor. Tatanka chops the life out of him at ringside and directs him into the ring for more chopping. McMahon talks to Shawn Michaels on the phone and they discuss Wrestlemania. Apollo eats a power slam but dodges an elbow drop. Apollo takes advantage of this mistake to pound on Tatanka for a little while. Tatanka finds second wind and dances around the ring before cleaning house on Apollo. Tatanka finishes Apollo at 2:42 with the Samoan drop. Typical jobber match, ½*.
-Gene Okerlund hypes the Wrestlemania IX card, good luck to him. The "Greatest Wrestlemania ever" just got better with the addition of a second main event with the Mega Maniacs vs. Money Inc. Okerlund shows us a Bret Hart promo, where he talks about the challenge he’ll have with Yokozuna in Las Vegas. Hart says he respects Yokozuna even though he and Mr. Fuji don’t respect the Hitman. Hart promises that Yokozuna will walk out of Wrestlemania respecting Hart, and Hart will still be the WWF Champion. Next, we’re treated to Mr. Fuji putting over Yokozuna as the big man yells angrily. Next we see Paul Bearer and The Undertaker cutting down Giant Gonzales verbally.
-Rick Martel comes back to the ring and tries to show the ring card girl how to do her job. This girl has some spunk and didn’t want to give up her sign, but did so anyhow.
Papa Shango vs. Mike Edwards
The children in the audience are scared of Shango. Years later they’d be more afraid of him as the Goodfather. Shango pounds on Edwards right away, knocking him into the ring post. Scoop slam by Shango and an elbow drop. Shango hammers away on Edwards and hit’s a hard Irish whip and a corner splash. Shango plants Edwards but pulls himself out of the cover to continue dishing out the punishment. Shango repeats this and summons some dark voodoo spirits. Shango drops a head-butt to the lower region of Mike Edwards. Shango delivers a shoulder breaker and finally makes the pin at 2:33. This was boring and was teasing me with all the false finishes, DUD.
Winner: Papa Shango
Bob Backlund vs. Tony Demoro
This was back when Backlund was only 43 and making his comeback. That would be considered downright young in late 90’s WCW. Maybe even mid-90’s WCW. Ah, whatever. Anyhow, on to the match, Backlund offers a handshake but the faceless jobber refuses. Backlund nails a hip toss, but Demoro shakes it off as no big deal. They lock up with Backlund applying a brief abdominal stretch and then another hip toss. Backlund chases Demoro from the ring, to some great crowd approval. Demoro returns to the ring and trades holds with Backlund, as they lobby for position. They exchange waist locks but Backlund hit’s a hard Irish whip and a double underhook suplex. Backlund traps Demoro in a pinning combination for the win at 3:52. Spirited jobber match, *.
Winner: Bob Backlund
-Rob Bartlett interviews Rick Martel. Bartlett wants to know why he’s stealing the cards from the ring card girls, and Martel sums it up that no one in the Manhattan Center has any class. I’m not sure I could argue that point. Anyhow, Martel puts himself over as the best wrestler in the world, and certainly the most classy.
"The Model" Rick Martel vs. Mr. Perfect
Martel is wearing a hilarious rich sailor outfit to the ring, just for the record. Rob Bartlett sings the “Gilligan’s Island” song in honor of Martel, which seems to genuinely annoy McMahon. No wonder Bartlett only lasted something like ten episodes. Perfect is calm and collected heading into this bout. Martel works a headlock, but Perfect gains ground with a hip toss. They exchange holds and shots to some crowd approval. The match restarts with a lock up. Martel blocks some smashes and retreats to the ropes. Martel cartwheels out of Perfect’s path and entertains with some jump n’ jacks. Perfect takes down Martel and mocks his cartwheel. That, right there, is wonderful. Martel is cornered and rakes the eyes to gain the upper hand. Martel connects with a knee to the face and stomps away on Mr. Perfect. Martel takes down Perfect and locks the arm. Perfect frees himself by sending Martel hurtling towards the floor. We head to a break.
After the break, the match seems to be continuing on exactly where we left off with Martel in control of Perfect. Martel gets a suplex for a two count, but Perfect shows signs of life. Martel clubs the back and applies a camel clutch variation. Perfect fights out, but Martel drives his knee into the midsection. Martel catapults over the ropes, but Perfect blocks with his knees. Martel regains control briefly, but Perfect blocks his ax handle attempt. Perfect cleans house on Martel. We head to another commercial.
After the break, we find out that Perfect already won. Sheesh, that was poorly coordinated, especially since this episode was pre-taped. Perfect won with the Perfect-plex at about the eight minute mark. Good match, but the way they handled the finish is really annoying. **¾.
Winner: Mr. Perfect
-After yet another commercial, Mr. Perfect brings back to the two ring card girls that Martel chased out earlier.
Final Thoughts: There were two good television matches this week, so that made this an easy to watch show. There were some technical glitches, mainly the main event ending during a break and Rob Bartlett making it pretty obvious that he didn’t want to be there anymore.
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