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WWF Wrestling Challenge – January 24, 1993
by Scrooge McSuck

- It’s the final hour before the big Royal Rumble PPV! With so much action scheduled for later in the afternoon, this is the WWF’s last ditch effort to create some interest for the on-the-fence viewers. The hosts of the show are, as usual for the time frame, Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan. Before they even introduce themselves, Monsoon is yelling at the Brain. Memories….

- The opening video for Challenge includes Hulk Hogan, Yokozuna, Randy Savage, Bret Hart, Tatanka, Ric Flair, Mr. Perfect, the Beverly Brothers, The Undertaker, the Big Boss Man, Jerry Saggs, Ted Dibiase, and Razor Ramon.

- Coming up this week on Challenge. A Special Interview with Bret Hart, courtesy of Superstars. Yokozuna is in action, as well as the Nasty Boys and the undefeated Tatanka. The IC Champion, Shawn Michaels, is in the building as well!

- Tatanka vs. Iron Mike Sharpe:
Heenan wastes no time getting on Tatanka’s case, specifically about his undefeated streak. Monsoon pulls out a “Will you stop?!” two minutes into the show. Tatanka is part of the big 30-Man Royal Rumble match, don’cha know. I’m sure some bozo will claim this is a “feature match”, but Sharpe was a scrub, period, when it came to free T.V. I’m sure E’ knows who I’m talking about. Tatanka uses Ico-PRO, you know. Lockup, and Tatanka with a headlock. Running dropkick by Tatanka, but a roll up fails. Sharpe misses an elbow drop. Inset promo from Tatanka about the Royal Rumble match. Tatanka heads to the top rope, and nails Sharpe with a chop across the top of the head. Irish whip is reversed… Tatanka blocks a boot from Sharpe, and nails him with a clothesline. Tatanka with a wristlock, and Sharpe escapes with an eye poke. Sharpe rams Tatanka into the buckle, but it’s War Dance Time™! Tatanka with a double back elbow, and the samoan drop finishes Sharpe off. Heenan makes fun of the war cry in Tatanka’s entrance music for my enjoyment.

- Special Report (brought to you by WWF Merchandise Catalog, featured in all WWF Magazines and Programs), hosted by Lord Alfred Hayes. Last week on Superstars, Doink (the Clown) used a prosthetic arm, loaded with “lead”, to beat the unholy hell out of Crush. The attack left Crush unconscious, and because of the incident, Crush will NOT be participating in the Royal Rumble match. That eliminates another top name. I’m sure he was replaced by some scrub like Max Moon, for those who care. Pretty cool beat-down, I might add. Evil Doink = Awesome. Good Doink = Sucked. Crush gets stretchered out, and they play it up as real. Even Lawler “breaks character”, acting concerned about Crush’s welfare.

- Papa Shango vs. Bob East:
Squash matches are always fun! Shango will also be participating in the Royal Rumble. Monsoon mentions Shango has a separated shoulder, but he’s looking healthy, speculating he used his Voodoo knowledge to heal up his arm. (Note: He actually did have a separated shoulder, but I’m assuming this was taped before the injury occurred, and at the Rumble, had a nice-sized bandage on his arm, and was only active in the ring for roughly 30 seconds). Lockup, and Shango takes the scrub to the corner. Shango misses a charge, but no-sells a few punches. The Berzerker cuts an inset promo on Papa Shango concerning the Rumble… weird. Monsoon questions the Berzerker’s sanity. Heenan answers Monsoon’s original question about a half-a-minute later, so Monsoon picks on him as if his brain was on delay. Oh, Shango wins with his over-the-shoulder shoulder-breaker. Heenan: I’m ignoring you verbally. Monsoon: I’ll ignore you for the rest of my life.

- Pre-taped comments from Bobby Heenan, concerning his newest find… Narcissus. He’s going to be singling out Mr. Perfect, you know. Oh, and “Narcissus” is going to be making his debut in the World Wrestling Federation “this Sunday afternoon.” As a young mark, I had no idea who Narcissus would be, but I’m assuming the “online” nerds had a good feeling about it.

- The Nasty Boys vs. Isi Bermudez & Chuck West:
More action featuring Rumble match participants! In this case, it’s Nasty Boys, Brian Knobbs and Jerry Saggs. I’m sure everyone knows that they would have no chance in hell of winning. Funny thing I noticed… in 1991, Knobbs was in the Rumble, but not Saggs (who wrestled a dark match that night), and in 1992, Saggs was in the Rumble and not Knobbs (in this case, because of an alleged injury). Knobbs works over Isi with his usual sucky offense. Monsoon pimps the Royal Rumble Hotline! Heenan: That’s good if you want to talk to a bunch losers like Virgil and El Matador… Back to the match… who cares. Monsoon brings up Carlos Colon and “Japanese Star Tenryu” as sleeper candidates to win the rumble. Inset promo from the Nasty Boys. Saggs sounds like he’s been deep-throating Hogan too much. Monsoon questions Heenan about Narcisuss’ involvement at the Rumble. Heenan: I’m verbally ignoring you again. Now i’m ignoring you physically. Just classic back-and-forth between the two. Oh, and Saggs covers West for the three count.

- “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan cuts a promo, hyping the WWF’s Headlock on Hunger. This Friday night at Madison Square Garden. For those who can’t attend, you can send a check or money order to the Headlock on Hunger. P.O. Box 9131, Church St. Station, New York, NY 10256. (Funny bit: At the Rumble PPV, Monsoon gave out the wrong information)

- Yokozuna (w/ Mr. Fuji) vs. Rudy Flores:
Another Rumble participant in the form of Yokozuna, who was still hailing from the Polonesian Islands (and weighed ONLY 505 pounds). Inset promo from Typhoon, claiming he’s got a chance to win the Rumble. Yeah, whatever. Yokozuna floors the charging jobber with a thrust, and then plants him with a belly-to-belly suplex. Whip to the corner, and Yokozuna follows in to squash him like a pancake. Banzai Drop! Heenan: Take a load off! Yokozuna wins, of course. Not a terribly exciting squash, and not much of comedic performances from Heenan and Monsoon. If someone in the match is being pushed, they tend to tone it down a bit. And with that, Gorilla throws it to…

- The Event Center, hosted by Sean Mooney! The World Wrestling Federation SuperStars™ will be in action on February 6th in the Boston Garden. Mr. Perfect takes on Razor Ramon. After the Royal Rumble, we’ll find out if Razor Ramon will be defending the Championship against the flawless one. Randy Savage will battle Yokozuna (promos from both Mr. Fuji and Savage). The Steiner Brothers face the Beverly Brothers (Steiners promo follows). All this and more in two weeks at the Boston Garden.

- Promotional consideration, paid for by the following: Ico-PRO featuring Bret Hart. Slim Jims featuring Randy Savage. George Foreman’s KO Boxing, Roger Clemens MVP Baseball, and NBA All-Star Challenge for all video game formats.

- Bob Backlund vs. Louie Spicolli:
Yet another Rumble match participant. Backlund and scrub boy shake hands before the match. Monsoon: Who is Narcissus? Heenan: None of your business. Verbally ignored again. Monsoon: You’re disgusting. Heenan: Thank you. Back to the match… still don’t care. Monsoon and Heenan go at it a bit more as not much happens. Bob Backlund cuts an inset promo about being in the Royal Rumble. No wonder he didn’t get over as a face in this generation. Heenan basically calls Backlund a wall flower at parties, forcing Monsoon to use his second “Will you stop?!” Backlund wins with an unusual cradle, as if anyone really cares. Oh, and now available on news stands, Spotlight Magazine, featured entirely on WWF Champion, Bret Hart.

- Courtesy of Superstars of Wrestling, Raymond Rougeau interviews Bret “Hitman” Hart, the World Wrestling Federation Champion. Razor Ramon wastes no time interrupting the Hitman from the video wall, and the two have a verbal exchange that makes me long for the days of a Triple H promo… (turns on an episode of Raw from last month) Okay, that’s better. As much as I love Hart, most of the time his promos sucked ass, and Ramon’s Scarface imitation never translated into good promos either, most of the time.

- The Royal Rumble Report, hosted by Mean Gene Okerlund! Brought to you by the official program of this years Royal Rumble, available on news stands now! The only things worth noting about the issue is the mis-spelling of Jerry “Lawlor’s” name, and hyping a match between Max Moon and Terry Taylor that was never mentioned anywhere else. Bret Hart defends the WWF Title against Razor Ramon! The Participants in the 30-Man Royal Rumble Match (excluding Crush): Knobbs, Saggs, Tatanka, Yokozuna, The Undertaker (promo), Damian Demento, Samu, Fatu, Mr. Perfect (promo), Typhoon, El Matador, Bob Backlund, Papa Shango, The Great Tenryu, Ted Dibiase, I.R.S., and Ric Flair (promo). No mention of Michaels/Jannetty, Bossman/Bigelow, or Steiners/Beverly’s, and they left out nearly 1/3 of the participants. Those not mentioned here: Owen, Koko, Skinner, Berzerker, Virgil, Savage, Duggan, Martel, Earthquake, Repo Man, and some others. I didn’t mention Moon or Taylor because they were never named on TV for the match.

- Shawn Michaels vs. Reno Riggins:
I think we’re at the end of the line for the squash matches now. Michaels is the reigning Intercontinental Champion, and will defend the title against Marty Jannetty “this Sunday afternoon at the Royal Rumble.” Michaels is still using the Sherri version of “Sexy Boy”, which is a hell of a lot more tolerable than his own vocals. Monsoon yells at Heenan for whistling along with Sexy Boy. More hyping of the Narcissus’ debut at the Rumble PPV. Michaels works over Riggins like he was Shawn Michaels in an Albany night club. Inset promo from Jannetty… talk about guys who couldn’t cut a great promo. That’s why he didn’t get a serious push in his life. Michaels wins with his modified back suplex. Monsoon yells at Heenan some more.

- Event Center Part II: Electric Boogaloo, with Sean Mooney. More about the card at the Boston Garden. Shawn Michaels defends the IC Title against Bob Backlund, in the event he retains the title against Marty Jannetty at the Royal Rumble. Kamala will go one-on-one with KimChee (promo with Wippleman). Mr. Perfect will battle Razor Ramon (promo from Perfect). The card is run down once again as the Event Center comes to a close.

- More promotional considerations, paid for by the following: Joe Piscopo definitely does Cybergenics! Bicycle playing cards! Your reputation is on the line! Super High Impact Football for Genesis and coming soon to Super NES.

- Shawn Michaels has left the building. That was fast. I guess his boyfriend came by to pick him up earlier than expected.

- Next week on Challenge! The WrestleMania IX Main Event will be announced! “For the Weasel, this is the Gorilla, we’ll see you this afternoon at the Royal Rumble.”

Final Thoughts: As usual, the stuff with Monsoon and Heenan can make anything enjoyable, even a bunch of stupid squash matches. No feature match to talk of, so that usually turns people away from these shows altogether, and the padding out stuff isn't the most thrilling in the world either... but you got to love Heenan and Gorilla yelling at each other about nonsense.

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