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WWF @ Madison Square Garden
March 21, 1993

by Scrooge McSuck

- With only a few weeks left until “the greatest WrestleMania of all time” (again, probably the most despised of the smark audience, although I stand by my opinion that 11 and 15 were way worse), it’s time for another stop at everyone’s favorite wrestling arena and the mecca of professional rasslin’, Madison Square Garden. Should be interesting to see what we’re offered, as the ‘Mania lineup is locked in, and there would be zero point in presenting Championship matches under such obvious circumstances.

- Matches taking place but not available because the camera operator was either too lazy or lost the footage: “Terrific” Terry Taylor pinned “Jumping” Jim Brunzell (I want to assume Brunzell scored a near fall off of his signature dropkick), Virgil pinned the Repo Man, and Tatanka pinned Reno Riggins. Yes, RENO RIGGINS got an MSG date.

- The “opening” match of the recap was set to be “Macho Man” Randy Savage taking on Doink (the Clown), but Doink did a pre-match ambush, pushing the match back until later in the night. Standard house show trick to build heat on a match (according to the WON at the time, Doink was getting babyface reactions, and this was done to get the crowd to boo). Yes, Randy Savage was pushed into the background and worked house show dates with Doink and Giant Gonzales rather than anything meaningful. Would you blame him for jumping to WCW when the opportunity came for him to be featured in the spotlight one more time?

“El Matador” Tito Santana vs. Jerry “The King” Lawler:

I’m pretty sure this is Lawler’s first appearance at MSG. Nothing to this one in regards of a backstory, just a random pairing they had to put over Lawler with the WWF audience. Lawler with some pre-match comments to get heat, including a racially insensitive remark that in no way would be allowed today (hint: combine the words “wet” and “back”). Lawler demands Tito kiss his feet, but he spits on them in response. Lockup into the corner and Santana with a hip toss. Lawler grabs a side headlock, but Santana counters by throwing him across the ring. Lawler, naturally, complains about use of the tights and threatens random fans in the crowd with physical harm. Somewhere in the FOUR MINUTES of stalling, Santana surprises him with a roll-up for two. More stalling follows, including a teased walk out and chants of “Burger King.” Lockup, whip to the ropes, and Santana with a back drop. More stalling follows. Lawler lands a sucker punch and celebrates like he won the Super Bowl. He connects with a piledriver (a pretty sick bump from Santana, too) and tries to lead a chant of “wetback.” … Uh… Not cool. Lawler tries posting the legs, but ends up tasting the steel, instead. Santana hits the Flying Forearm, but the impact sends Lawler to the floor. Sunset flip back into the ring is blocked and countered for a cheap three count at 13:56. Bill Alfonso really played the role of blind referee on that obvious spot. DUD Nothing match. I would say the crowd was really into hating Lawler, but using racial slurs isn’t my thing.

- For reasons that escape me, ROB BARTLETT makes an MSG appearance (Reno Riggins did, so why not?) to conduct an interview with (no longer Dr.) Harvey Wippleman and the (nearly) 8-Foot tall Giant Gonzales. They’re looking to destroy the Undertaker once and for all at WrestleMania IX, and putting an end to the streak!

Rick Steiner (w/ Scott Steiner) vs. Irwin R. Schyster:

This was originally scheduled as a Tag Team Title Match between Money Inc. and the Steiner Brothers, but Dibiase was missing dates due to a herniated disc and mostly kept out of the ring so he’d be able to compete at WrestleMania IX. Typically it was Scott working these matches, but this is OK for a change (especially since they had decent chemistry back in the Varsity Club days). I guess Scott worked the Boston show the same day. Lockup and Steiner with an arm drag. I.R.S. retaliates with a scoop slam and a hip toss. Steiner comes back with the usual and sends Irwin to the floor following a Steiner-line. Back in the ring, Steiner blocks a suplex and counters with his own. They play cat-and-mouse until Irwin gets caught by the tie and hung up across the top rope. I.R.S. fights out of a headlock and manages to avoid a dropkick attempt. He takes over, tossing Steiner to the floor and into the steps. Back in the ring, he slaps on an abdominal stretch, and yes, he uses the ropes for leverage. Whip to the ropes, elbow to the chin, followed by an elbow drop for two. We slow things down a bit with our long-awaited chinlock spot. For some bizarre reason, he goes for a splash, only to meet knees. Steiner with an atomic drop and an elbow. Whip to the corner. I.R.S. tries to escape, but again his tie does him in. Steiner with mounted punches in the corner. Whip across the ring, I.R.S. misses a charge. Steiner with an inverted atomic drop, but a clothesline misses, causing him to fly over the top rope, to the floor. Irwin brings a chair into the ring, but Scott prevents him from using it and Rick rolls him up for three at 10:17. Cheap victory, but the change to the advertised match means “babyface goes over.” ** Fine work, but nothing really stood out other than being your standard I.R.S. match. I’m sure this was a disappointment for fans who paid to see the Tag Titles defended.

“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. Doink (The Clown):

Savage vs. a Clown, Take Two. Savage bum rushes the ring and pulls Doink to the floor, where he’s instantly introduced to the ring steps and post. Savage puts the boots to him in the ring and chokes away in the corner until Doink rolls to the floor. Savage follows, connecting with a running high knee to the back. Back in the ring, Doink tries going for the arm, but Savage unloads with rights. Doink slows things down, tossing Savage to the floor. Doink punishes the arm a bit, wrapping it around the post. Doink with an axehandle from the top rope to the injured arm. Savage tries throwing kicks, but Doink keeps the pressure on. Doink with a shoulder breaker, but he chooses not to go for a cover. He plants Savage in the corner with a slam, but a dive off the top rope is interrupted with a boot to the face. Savage avoids a charge and sends Doink into the turnbuckle. He goes to the top rope and connects with a double axehandle of his own. Doink reaches into his coat pocket and sprays Savage in the eyes with some mysterious object, triggering a Disqualification at 7:15. Post-match, Savage lays into Doink with rights and sends him to the floor with a clothesline. *¼ Typical formula babyface Savage match. The crowd was into it, but the finish sucked. I’m pretty sure these two had a solid match on Monday Night Raw a couple of months later, assuming both were Matt Borne under the paint.

Bret “Hitman” Hart & Mr. Perfect vs. “The Narcissist” Lex Luger & Razor Ramon:

That’s a decent little Tag Team Main Event, and one I’m sure I’ve done before on my SNES copy of Royal Rumble years ago. With only 12 playable wrestlers, it wasn’t too hard to run out of fresh matches. I’m pretty sure this is Luger’s MSG debut, too. Perfect and Luger are set for a WrestleMania date, but Razor/Perfect was still being toured. Ramon attacks Perfect from behind to kick things off. Whip to the ropes is reversed, and Perfect sends Razor running following a hip toss. Back inside, Perfect with a headlock, but a shoulder tackle goes in Razor’s favor. Hennig surprises him coming off the ropes with a dop toe hold and slams the left knee into the canvas, and again, Razor rolls to the floor. Razor with a knee to the midsection, followed by rights. Whip to the ropes, and he connects with an elbow. Luger in for the first time, sending Perfect from corner to corner. Whip is reversed, Perfect with a fist to the midsection, followed by a knee lift and a dropkick. Bret tags in and goes to work on the left arm of Luger. Whip is reversed and Luger grabs a bearhug, but Bret quickly escapes with some biting and slaps on an armbar. Razor tags in, and immediately gets caught in the wrong corner. Perfect kicks the leg out and goes for a spinning toe hold. Bret with a jerk of the knee, and its Figure-Four time! Luger in with an elbow drop to break the hold. Bret with a surprise roll up on Luger for two. Perfect with an atomic and inverted atomic drop, followed by a clothesline. Whip to the corner and Perfect sends him to the turnbuckle with a slingshot. Perfect with a HUGE forearm and mounted punches in the corner. Luger tries to counter, but gets laid out with another clothesline. Perfect with a swinging neckbreaker for two. Perfect hits the ropes again, but this time Razor pulls them down, causing him to spill to the floor.

Razor sends Perfect to the steps before tossing him back inside, making him the Perfect Face-in-Peril… get it? Luger with a whip to the corner, complete with somersault over-sell. Perfect ducks under a clothesline, but jumps into Razor’s signature fallaway slam. Side slam gets two. Luger with a back breaker for another two count. Double-team pounding from the heels sends Perfect to the floor. Whip to the ropes and Razor with a clothesline for two. Perfect tries to tag out, but Luger catches him in a bearhug. Perfect from out of nowhere with a sunset flip for a near fall. Luger whiffs on a clothesline and gets trapped in a sleeper, but manages to ram Perfect into the corner to escape. Tag to Bret, but referee Bill Alfonso misses it. Favoring the heels as usual. Luger with a clothesline, accidentally hitting Ramon, and this time the hot tag is for real. Bret unloads with rights on both men. He sends Luger to the corner and pounds away, then dives onto Ramon and continues to dominate. Inverted atomic drop and clothesline to Luger, followed by a double noggin-knocker. Another heel miscommunication, Bret with a Russian leg sweep on Luger, followed by the second rope elbow drop. He goes for the Sharpshooter, but Razor attacks from behind. Bret takes him down with a back suplex, and it’s time for a ref’ bump. Bret with a small package, but Luger turns it over. Perfect turns it back, and it gets three at 19:10. ***1/4 Dumb finish to a really good tag team match. Started off with some fun teamwork from Perect and Bret, a solid heat segment with Luger and Ramon working over Perfect, and a hot finish. In one of the oddest moments you’ll ever see, Giant Gonzales stumbles out to give Hennig and Bret a double chokeslam, but Randy Savage makes the save coming off the top with a double axehandle, only to get tossed over the top rope, leaving the heels to celebrate their non-victory while Luger’s Narcissist music plays.

Final Thoughts: Oddly put together card, considering it's Madison Square Garden, but with only two weeks until WrestleMania IX, it makes sense not to give away anything major. Bret and Perfect (a team that would’ve rocked in the era of Super-Teams) vs. Luger and Razor was more fun than I expected, and Rick Steiner vs. I.R.S. was good, even though I would’ve preferred the advertised Tag Team match. Randy Savage vs. Doink was a head-scratcher (got to protect that clown), and Lawler’s antics weren’t meant for the WWF audience. The rest of the card is lost to time, but I don’t think anyone is crying about missing out on a Reno Riggins appearance.

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