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WWF at Oakland, CA
February 13, 1993

by Scrooge McSuck

Lex Luger

Feels like we've had a long break between fan-cam reviews, and of course we're going back to one of my favorite years to cover. Looking at the results, the company ran a tour of Europe (mostly Germany), with lineups that usually included Bret Hart vs. Ric Flair for the WWF Title, Money Inc. vs. The Nasty Boys for the Tag Team Titles, The Undertaker vs. Papa Shango, Big Boss Man vs. Bam Bam Bigelow, and The Bushwhackers vs. The Headshrinkers. The card held on February 7th in Dortmund is floating around via fan-cam footage, in case you're interested.

Tatanka vs. The Predator:

We're Joined in Progress with Tatanka working Predator over in the corner. We've seen him on other shows from this period, but if you're unfamiliar, Predator is Horace Hogan working under a mask. With the sudden termination of Marty Jannetty following the Royal Rumble, Tatanka was put in his place as Shawn Michaels' challenger for the Intercontinental Title. One wonders what Tatanka does at WrestleMania if Jannetty isn't let go. Tatanka ducks a wild swing, hits an atomic drop, and sends Predator out of the ring with a clothesline. Back inside, Predator with some heel shtick, complaining about a phantom yank of the tights. Predator with a boot to the midsection, but the advantage is short-lived. Tatanka plants him with a slam, but misses a jumping elbow drop. Predator busts out a side slam and gets a two-count. OK, who pulled a no-show to put TATANKA in here with a faceless geek? This feels like a spot for Tito Santana or someone along those lines on the depth chart. Jim Powers not available? Tatanka's first attempt at escaping a chin-lock is cut off with some heel shortcuts. Tatanka escapes with elbows, but is caught coming off the ropes with a boot to the midsection. To the corner and Tatanka starts shaking off the damage, going into the war dance. He unloads on Predator with chops and puts the goon away with a Samoan drop at 5:46 (shown). Not much to say here, it was perfectly acceptable prelim work. **

Kamala (w/ Reverend Slick) vs. Kim-Chee:

Oh my goodness, this is like a dream match after watching them cut Event Center promos on each other! Now I need that weird Six-Man where Kamala, Razor Ramon, and Nailz take on Warrior, Boss Man, and Undertaker! I'm honestly surprised to see Slick with Kamala, I don't recall many appearances for him on these house show fan-cams. Kim-Chee (Steve Lombardi, a.k.a Brooklyn Brawler) barks at Kamala and does a lot of pantomiming. Kamala doesn't know what to do, so Kim-Chee starts laying into him with right hands. Kamala catches him off the ropes in a bearhug, but Kim-Chee rakes the eyes and clobbers Kamala with his helmet while the referee is busy yelling at Slick. Slick keeps hopping on the apron, drawing Kim-Chee's attention. Slick gets decked, but now Kim-Chee has the ire of Kamala to deal with. Kamala with a series of chops, followed by a kick to the midsection. He plants Kim-Chee with a slam and hits the big splash, eventually scoring the three-count (with some help from Slick and the fans teaching him how to properly make a cover) at 3:51 (and the crowd with a decent pop as well). Post-match, Slick celebrates with Kim-Chee's helmet and offers it to Kamala as a trophy. Short and inoffensive fun. *

Typhoon vs. "Terrific" Terry Taylor:

Not like anyone but me cares, but this isn't a match you saw on other fan-cam lineups! Typhoon is just floating around the prelims with the departure of Earthquake, and Taylor… Well, he's lucky to get work hosting WWF TV on TSN at the time, because he's barely a step above Barry Horowitz on the depth chart. Taylor struts around like he's cock of the walk. Lots of shtick and walking around. Typhoon counters speed with strength and Taylor powders out. Back inside, Typhoon keeps things in second gear with a side headlock. Taylor takes a great bump off a shoulder block. The referee forces a break out of the corner, allowing Taylor to get a cheap-shot to the throat to take control. Taylor with some choking across the rope, followed by a series of elbow drops for a two-count. One thing I'ver never liked for big men is selling too much, and watching Typhoon sell this much completely negates significant size advantages. Taylor busts out a back suplex like it was nothing. Typhoon blocks a suplex, countering with his own. Whip and a BAAAAACK body-drop, followed by an avalanche in the corner. Taylor goes to the eyes and dives off the top, but Typhoon catches and plants him with a powerslam for the three-count at 9:25. TYPHOON PINNED SOMEONE ON A HOUSE SHOW?! Taylor looked decent after we got through the opening minutes of shtick, but I just can't get into matches where big men sell so much. *½

Bob Backlund vs. Doink (the Clown):

One of the earliest instances of covering a Doink match in the WWF timeline. He made his (broadcast date) TV debut about two weeks earlier, but wasn't being featured on the house show loops pre-Royal Rumble. Backlund was given the big iron man run at the Rumble, probably as a rib, and did nothing much of note until turning heel in the Summer of ‘94. Doink mirrors Backlund's warm-ups, automatically adding half-a-star to the rating. Backlund avoids several lock-up attempts and does the Opie shuffle. Lockup to the ropes and Doink gives a clean break before mocking Backlund's shuffle. Backlund offers a handshake and Doink responds by falling to his butt in laughter. Doink with a deep arm drag, followed by a scoop slam. Backlund pulls off the same sequence, sending Doink to the outside for a breather. Back inside, Doink tries his luck at some Greco-Roman grappling, but finds out an elbow to the side of the face is more effective. Doink works the arms as we've fallen into Backlund's late 70's style of building heat, and I'm rapidly losing interest. Backlund finally counters and traps the legs for a near-fall. He wastes time playing to the crowd about throwing an elbow and instead grabs an arm bar. Backlund's relic meat-and-potatoes style is killing me. Backlund keeps stretching the arm like they're stretching to fill time. Doink regains control, working the leg and applying a single-leg Crab. The action spills to the floor, with Doink dumping Backlund over the guardrail. Back inside, Doink comes off the top with the bombs-away drop and grabs a front face-lock. Backlund slams Doink off the top rope and they smack heads for a double-down. Backlund with his signature atomic drop, sending Doink out of the ring. Doink goes into his coat and sprays Backlund in the face with something. Doink goes for the cover, but referee Joey Marella stops the count and awards the match by DQ to Backlund at 18:22. THAT LONG FOR THAT FINISH?! ½*

"Macho Man" Randy Savage vs. Yokozuna (w/ Mr. Fuji):

Yokozuna is on the road to WrestleMania IX, having won the first Royal Rumble to guarantee a title match at the biggest show of the year, and Randy Savage… Well, at this point he's not exactly a high priority as far as being an in-ring performer goes. I'm expecting nothing more than a quasi-squash for Yokozuna. Savage with a big "OOH YEAH!" before the bell. I don't know why the bell rings before Yokozuna removes his gear and does the salt gimmick. Savage with another pause to get the crowd going with a "USA" chant. Lockup and Yoko shoves Savage clear across the ring. Savage grabs a side headlock and makes the foolish mistake of attempting a shoulder block. Yoko sends Savage to the outside where he's introduced to the guardrail. Back inside, Savage rallies with a flurry of jabs, but Yoko cuts him off. Yoko plants Savage with a slam and follows with the leg drop. Whip to the corner and Yoko misses the big avalanche. Savage with a flying axe-handle to drop Yoko to one knee. He tries it again, but Fuji pokes him off the ropes with the flag pole and Yoko finishes with the belly-to-belly suplex at 6:04 (half of that was the pre-lockup shtick). Post-match, Fuji instructs Yoko to do the Banzai Drop, but Savage rolls away from harm and knocks Yoko out of the ring with a high knee. Roughly the same formula they worked for the match taped for the Prime Time special leading up to WrestleMania IX. *½

"El Matador" Tito Santana vs. Damian Demento:

Yep, another geek battle. Both men are deep in the JTTS territory, and Santana hasn't done much under his Matador gimmick since having a short-lived program with Ted Dibiase in place of the suddenly departed Ricky Steamboat over a year earlier. Have I mentioned how much I'm loving the "bell rings, then we stand around for 2-3 minutes" routine I've seen so much on this card? Santana goes for a top wrist-lock but Demento escapes to the arena floor. Back inside, Santana with a side headlock and shoulder block combo with a large Diet Dr. Pepper. Demento tries to outsmart Santana on the next exchange but is sent to the floor following a dropkick. Demento finally takes control, countering a hip toss with a short clothesline. Snap mare and Demento drops a leg across the midsection. Whip and Demento with a diving shoulder tackle for a two-count. Demento switches between chin-locks and choking until Santana teases his comeback, hitting a series of elbows and cradling Demento for two. Santana with a diving forearm but Demento gets a boot on the bottom rope. Santana tries to bring Demento in from the apron with a slam, but Demento hooks the rope and lands on top of Tito, scoring the three-count at 9:11, much to my surprise. Dull match with minimal effort. ½*

The Steiner Brothers vs. The Beverly Brothers:

I know the WWF ran a European tour shortly after the Royal Rumble, but the level of prelim filler on this card is astonishing. Like most people on this card, Beau and Blake Beverly haven't done much in a while, not since their aborted storyline with the LOD the previous Spring. Thankfully we got the Steiner Brothers to hopefully bring the goods. Scott and Beau start. Lockup and Scott with an arm drag. Beau, of course, complains that his hair was pulled. Scott with some chain wrestling and Beau with more complaints, with Blake even trying to plead with the referee. Beau grabs the hair to escape a side headlock, then blatantly pulls the hair to send Scott crashing to the canvas. Whip to the ropes and Scott counters a back body-drop with a double-underhook slam. Rick and Blake have a go now. Rick casually shoves Beau off the apron for being Beau. Blake gets the upper-hand because of it and takes Rick over with a powerslam. Whip and Rick catches a leap-frog attempt, hitting Blake with a powerslam of his own. Scott with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex. Beau with a handful of hair from the apron, turning the tide in the Beverly's favor. Beau pounds away and connects with a back breaker for two. Scott gets choked out in the corner while the referee has a conversation with Rick on the latest political nonsense. Scott teases a comeback, taking Blake over with a suplex, but Beau blocks the tag attempt. Snap mare and leg drop for two. Scott gets a boot up in the corner and plants Beau with a tilt-o-whirl slam. Rick with the hot tag, running wild with right hands and a Steiner-line for a two-count. Rick gets dumped and we get an attempted 2-on-1 on Scott, but the plan backfires, and Scott finishes Blake with the Franken-Steiner at 10:21. Blake seemed to be a go-to for taking that bump. Perfectly fine match, nothing outstanding, but hit the right notes. **½

WWF Intercontinental Championship Match:
Shawn Michaels (c) vs. Crush (w/ Sensational Sherri):

Final match of the card, and something tells me this wasn't the originally advertised match. Sure enough, Crush is subbing for Mr. Perfect. The bell rings and Shawn immediately powders to the apron. If you're tasked with getting 15-minutes out of Crush, I understand the heel shtick this quickly. Lockup and Crush shoves Shawn to the canvas. Now it's Shawn yelling at the referee about the hair. I know, Shawn's got a much better early 90's mullet than Crush. Shawn grabs a side headlock, so Crush carries him to the corner and rests him across the turnbuckle. Crush continues to display physical dominance. He catches Shawn coming off the ropes with a back breaker, sending Shawn to the floor for another powder. Back inside, Crush grabs a side headlock and we get a game of Shawn teasing a hair pull, only for the crowd to rat him out each time, tipping the referee off to take a look. Crush no-sells a clothesline and teases dumping Shawn over the top rope before settling on a standard press slam… but then he clotheslines Shawn over the top rope anyway. Sherri meets Shawn on the outside, laying into him with kicks and eye gouges. Back inside, Crush misses a charge to the corner and gets sent to the floor following a running high knee. Shawn immediately gives chase, crashing Crush's coconut into the steps, then sending him into the post. Back inside, Shawn with a series of flying axe-handles, but Crush won't stay down, so Shawn adds a Super-Kick to the back of the head. Shawn busts out a DDT, but he's more concerned with trash talking Sherri than going for the cover. Sherri takes a bump tripping over the ring steps, but Crush comes to the rescue and sends Shawn into the ring with a gorilla press over the top rope. Crush starts checking on Sherri, allowing Shawn to grab his title belt and whack Crush with it for the cheap Disqualification at 13:07. Crush doesn't sell it for more than 5-seconds and goes back to beating on Shawn, hitting him with a tilt-o-whirl back-breaker and locking in the Cranium Crush to send the crowd home happy. Good match with Shawn doing a fine balancing act of heel shtick and bumping all over the place to hide Crush's weaknesses. ***

Final Thoughts: As a window into the early weeks of 1993, this is a fine card, showcasing plenty of talent the company had intentions on giving significant pushes, but there's no hidden gems to go out of your way to check out. Shawn getting a good match out of Crush is the closest you'll get to something extraordinary, otherwise everything else almost move-for-move can be seen via other means (Yokozuna/Savage, Kamala/Kim-Chee, and Steiner Brothers/Beverly Brothers were mostly move-for-move similar to their TV matches).

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