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Lex Luger and Yokozuna

Pro Wrestling

Recapping WWE Monday Night Raw in the ’90s: July 1993

It’s July 1993, and the WWF has officially entered the post Hogan era.  As we continue through the summer, they will start making some pretty big changes to the roster and we get a couple big developments just this month.

Summerslam is coming up in August, so this month on Raw is really all about building up feuds and storylines for this big ppv event.

Episode 24 – July 5, 1993

Venue – Manhattan Center (Manhattan, NY)

The much-anticipated Stars and Stripes Challenge happened on the USS Intrepid on July 4, and Raw starts with a couple of clips from the event.  It’s just wrestlers and other athletes unsuccessfully trying to slam Yokozuna. Once we get to the actual show, the crowd is loudly chanting “USA”, and Randy Savage is wearing an amazing America outfit. Vince McMahon is so fired up about America that it sounds like he might explode.

They show more clips from the Stars and Stripes Challenge, which is just athlete after athlete having no luck trying to slam Yokozuna.  After everyone fails, it looks like America has been embarrassed until one last competitor makes a big dramatic entrance from a helicopter.  Much to everyone’s surprise, it’s Lex Luger decked out in his American flag button down shirt. Yep, that’s right…the guy who has been a major heel since the beginning of the year is now America’s savior. The fans look confused at first, but they get into it pretty quickly, and start chanting “Lex”.

An angry Luger cuts a disparaging promo on Yokozuna and Mr. Fuji, and then throws Fuji out of the ring. He has a stare down with Yokozuna before finally being the one to slam him. It’s an odd move to suddenly propel Luger to the top face spot literally out of nowhere, but the fans go crazy after he slams Yokozuna, so I guess that it works, at least for now.

The 1-2-3 Kid def. Blake Beverly

A couple of months ago, the 1-2-3 Kid couldn’t even get in a move on his opponents, and now he has his own entrance music!  He gets a big reaction from the crowd, and they loudly chant “1-2-3” at the beginning of the match. The Kid starts off with some really fast and athletic moves, and his style is certainly different from anyone else in WWF at this time. After a fast start though, Beverly absolutely destroys him for the rest of the match until he stupidly tries to come off of the top rope to the outside. After a miss, the Kid gets some momentum back, and hits more high-flying moves. Beverly gets back in control until he stupidly tries to come off of the top rope again. The Kid gets another upset mostly thanks to Beverly’s stupidity.

Men on a Mission Promo

There’s a new tag team headed into the WWF, and they’re apparently a rap group.  Mabel and Mo, managed by Oscar, are known as Men on a Mission.  They perform a hilariously bad rap set to what looks like it’s supposed to be an early ’90s rap video.  It’s so terrible that it’s actually funny.

Men on a Mission

Most fans will at least remember Mabel, who would have a fairly long singles career in the mid to late ’90s.  He’s probably most famously remembered for being Viscera during the Attitude Era.

Bam Bam Bigelow (with Luna Vachon) def. Joey Maggs

Luna Vachon gives a quick backstage promo before the match to promote Bam Bam Bigelow, as she’s now his full-time manager.  He kisses her before the match starts, so these two are apparently officially a couple now as well.  Bigelow crushes this poor jobber, and he doesn’t even get to hit one move.

The Undertaker def. Samu (with Afa)

The Undertaker makes his return after getting taken out by Giant Gonzalez and Mr. Hughes last month.  He makes quite the return too, as the arena goes totally dark except for a spotlight shining on him…even his low-budget entrances back then were sweet. Samu isn’t intimidated, and takes it to the Undertaker early.  The Undertaker weirdly tries a lot of high-flying moves in this match…some work well, and some are kind of disastrous.

Without Paul Bearer and the urn, the Undertaker can’t withstand as much damage, and has trouble sitting up at times.  Samu actually has him beat, but the idiot decides to try a second flying headbutt (stupid top rope decisions must be a trend tonight).  After that failure, the weakened Undertaker is still able to win with the tombstone.

Undertaker's Entrance

Vince McMahon Interviews Yokozuna and Mr. Fuji

In a ringside interview, Yokozuna and Mr. Fuji share their anger about what happened at the Stars and Stripes Challenge.  Mr. Fuji says that Lex Luger didn’t really slam Yokozuna, and that it was just a hip toss.  The crowd loudly chants “USA”, and gives a big cheer when Luger’s name is mentioned.  Fuji says that Yokozuna will challenge any professional athlete right now, and Crush comes out.  Crush first thanks Lex Luger, and says that he’s made him proud to be an American. Fuji tries to back out of the challenge, but Yokozuna accepts for next week.

Mr. Perfect def. Brian Costello

In this match, we get a very strange callback to a previous Raw when Mr. Perfect spit his gum into the mouth of one of the heavyset “Raw girls”.  She’s here again, so he calls her over before the match starts.  She looks ready to accept his gum in her mouth again, but instead, he just covers her glasses with it.  Weird stuff.  Anyway, Perfect easily beats this guy in a couple of minutes.

Raw ends with another clip of Lex Luger, an American hero according to Vince McMahon, slamming Yokozuna.

Episode 25 – July 12, 1993

Venue – Manhattan Center (Manhattan, NY)

Yokozuna (with Mr. Fuji) def. Crush

We start right off with the big match that was made last week after Crush answered Mr. Fuji’s open challenge.  This match takes forever to start, and the crowd starts singing lines from the national anthem. This evil foreign heel gimmick seems to be working really well for Yokozuna, as the crowd is super excited for this match. They start chanting “USA”, and they get really into it.

Crush starts off strong, but Yokozuna controls most of this slow match. Towards the end, Crush gets back into it, and knocks Yokozuna down a couple of times, but things fall apart after Mr. Fuji hits him with his Japanese flag. Yokozuna is extra angry after what happened with Lex Luger, so he gives Crush four bonzai drops. Tatanka, and a bunch of useless jobbers come out to unsuccessfully help. Yokozuna goes up for number five, but Randy Savage leaves the announce table to pull him out of the ring. Crush gets carried out on a stretcher.

Yokozuna About to Destroy Crush

The Headshrinkers (with Afa) def. Aaron Ferguson and PJ Walker

If PJ Walker is involved in a match, chances are that he’ll get destroyed, and here he almost gets his neck broken after a massive throw by the Headshrinkers. The crowd loudly cheers for the Headshrinkers during this match for some reason, as they easily win.

Tatanka def. The Brooklyn Brawler

Randy Savage comes back during this match to report on Crush’s condition, and says that Crush is having trouble breathing. The match is mostly Brooklyn Brawler being comically great until Tatanka wins.

Tatanka vs. Brooklyn Brawler

Fan Interviews

Next, they talk to fans outside of the Manhattan Center, who all mostly just say that Lex Luger should get a title shot.

Mr. Hughes (with Harvey Wippleman) def. Tony DeVito

Mr. Hughes still has the urn, and still gets no reaction from the crowd. Some random guy brings a black wreath that says “Rest in Peace” to the outside of the ring.  Mr. Hughes easily disposes of this loser, and goes to look at the wreath. He finds a card that says “Mr. Hughes”, and on the back it says “Rest in Peace from the Undertaker”. Mr. Hughes destroys the card along with the wreath.

Mr. Hughes with Undertaker's Urn

Summerslam Report with Mean Gene

We get our first Summerslam report with Mean Gene.  It’s a very short one, as he only announces the match of Bret Hart vs. Jerry Lawler, and also says that Lex Luger has some sort of big announcement to make on WWF Superstars.

Men on a Mission Promo

There’s another hilariously bad rap video promo by Men on a Mission, and at this point I’m embarrassed that I actually liked these guys when I was a kid.

Adam Bomb (with Johnny Polo) def. Scott Amati

Randy Savage returns again to return again to report on Crush.  He says that he might have received some permanent damage, and he’s being taken to a medical facility.  Adam Bomb is only slightly more over with the crowd than Mr. Hughes at this point, and finally gets a little bit of a reaction when he hits some big moves on this jobber.  Easy win for Adam Bomb.

Episode 26 – July 19, 1993

Venue – Manhattan Center (Manhattan, NY)

Raw starts by showing clips from the kickoff of the “Lex Express National Tour” last Thursday. They show a short promo by Lex Luger, and a view of the Lex Express tour bus. For anyone who doesn’t know, the Lex Express was a bus that Lex Luger would take to various cities throughout the US.  He would sign autographs, pose for pictures, and this was all aimed at trying to push him as the next big face.

We’ve seen some crazy Manhattan Center crowds, but this crowd might be more out of control than ever tonight. They’re super loud at the beginning, and someone in the crowd is constantly blowing off an air horn. There’s also a lot of Lex Luger shirts and signs throughout the crowd, so he seems to be getting over.

Shawn Michaels (with Diesel) def. Marty Jannetty (Intercontinental Title Match)

We get a rematch of the best Monday Night Raw match so far when Marty Jannetty upset Shawn Michaels for the Intercontinental Title a couple of months ago. The crowd is hot for this match, and it starts really fast with a lot of back and forth action.  I probably sound like a broken record, but for as much as everyone makes fun of Marty Jannetty, he continues to be really great on these early Raw episodes.  He’s put on excellent performances since returning a couple of months ago, and I would say that he’s had four of the top matches on Raw so far.

Jannetty gets an early pinfall on Michaels when the idiot ref doesn’t see Michaels obviously put his foot on the rope. Bobby Heenan shows him the replay during the commercial break, and the match continues. I would say that this match officially passes their previous match as the best Monday Night Raw match to this point. The only problem is that it has lame ending…Jannetty dives after Michaels, but ends up flying over the ropes to the outside. Diesel throws him back in, and Michaels pins him.  So, it ends just like that.

Shawn Michaels vs. Marty Jannetty

Vince McMahon Interviews Money, Inc.

We get another in ring interview with the former Tag Team Champions that mostly follows up on what they said last month.  The beginning portion is all about the Steiner Brothers, but the main part of the interview is aimed at Razor Ramon.  The Million Dollar Man calls out Ramon, and says that he’s the biggest loser in the WWF.

Ramon comes down, and gets a huge cheer from the crowd.  The Million Dollar Man says that they could find him some domestic work to do like cleaning their toilets, or polishing their shoes. The crowd is crazy with “Razor” chants at this point.  The Million Dollar Man tries to buy Ramon, but he says that he doesn’t work for anyone. After some insults, Ramon throws them both out of the ring, and the crowd loves it. In an effort to embarrass Ramon, the Million Dollar Man challenges the 1-2-3 Kid to show how easily he could beat him.

Money, Inc. and Razor Ramon

Men on a Mission (with Oscar) def. Rich Myers and Hawk Harris

After a couple of weeks of bad promos, we get the Raw debut of Men on a Mission.  As lame as these guys are, the crowd absolutely loves them.  Oscar gets them into it with his rap at the beginning, and they give huge cheers to the squashing of these jobbers.

Summerslam Report with Mean Gene

They apparently still don’t have very many matches for Summerslam yet, as Mean Gene goes over the Bret Hart vs. Jerry Lawler match again, and also mentions the Undertaker vs. Giant Gonzalez in a Rest in Peace match. He says that only the Undertaker knows the rules for this type of match.

Lex Express Updates

They show clips from the Lex Express as it goes through the US. Luger is always wearing some sort of American flag attire while he signs autographs, poses in front of the Liberty Bell, and flexes with the Washington Monument in the background.

Bastion Booger def. Scott Despres

Short easy squash match for Bastion Booger.

King’s Court

Jerry Lawler hosts King’s Court with Tiny Tim, and the crowd starts getting at him with “Burger King” chants.  This segment has the potential to be really awful, but Lawler does some great heel work making fun of him.  Tiny Tim says that Jerry Lawler isn’t a Burger King, but he’s the Dairy Queen, so Lawler smashes his ukulele.

The 1-2-3 Kid def. Chris Duffy

Look at the 1-2-3 Kid getting a squash match now, as he easily beats this jobber. Vince McMahon mentions that the Kid has accepted the Million Dollar Man’s challenge from earlier, and Money, Inc. comes down during this match. Razor Ramon also comes out of the crowd, but nothing happens with either one.  The Kid runs out through the crowd after the match, and Money, Inc. has some tense moments with Razor Ramon.

1-2-3 Kid with Money, Inc. Watching

Episode 27 – July 26, 1993

Venue – Manhattan Center (Manhattan, NY)

This episode randomly starts off with Doink calling out Randy Savage about interfering in his 2 out of 3 falls match with Marty Jannetty last month.  He warns the “Macho Boy” that it will be “too bad”, if he ever interferes in his match again, but if he’s good, he might have a surprise for him.

Bam Bam Bigelow (with Luna Vachon) def. Bret Hart

Huge match to open the night with a couple of guys who are great in the ring. Bigelow is so fast, and moves extremely well for a big guy while Bret Hart works well with just about anyone, so this is a great match. Bret Hart’s parents, Stu and Helen Hart, watch this match from up in the balcony. This is a very long match with a lot of back and forth action at the beginning. It gets a little bit slow at points in the middle, but it’s definitely still one of the best Raw matches so far.

Jerry Lawler shows up in the balcony towards the end, and throws endless insults at Stu and Helen. With the distraction, Bigelow is able to take control of the match. Bret Hart eventually leaves through the crowd, but Lawler sneaks out before he could make it up there.  With Bret Hart gone, Bam Bam Bigelow wins by count out.

Summerslam Report with Mean Gene

We get another Summerslam report, and Mean Gene makes the big announcement that Lex Luger will be facing Yokozuna for the WWF Title at the ppv event.  He again talks about the Bret Hart vs. Jerry Lawler match, as well as Undertaker vs. Giant Gonzalez in the Rest in Peace match. He says that the Undertaker is still the only one who knows the rules to this type of match.

Mr. Hughes (with Harvey Wippleman) def. Ross Greenberg

Mr. Hughes still has the Undertaker’s urn, he still gets no reaction from the crowd, and Ross Greenberg still has Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake’s attire. A black wreath is once again delivered to the ring during this match, and the crowd starts “Undertaker” chants. Mr. Hughes easily wins this one, then destroys the wreath again.

Wrestlemania: The Album

During the Mr. Hughes match, Vince McMahon mentioned something called Wrestlemania: The Album, which would be available tomorrow.  I don’t remember this at all, but it sounds like the greatest thing ever.  I had to look it up, and yes it was a real thing.

The Smoking Guns def. Dwayne Gill and Glen Ruth

The Smoking Guns look impressive in this squash match, and the crowd seems to be getting a little bit more into them.

Ludvig Borga Video Package

They show a short video package for Ludvig Borga, who is the newest foreign heel. Based on the video package, it looks like he’s already debuted on WWF Superstars, but we haven’t seen him on Raw yet.

Ludvig Borga

Vince McMahon Interviews Lex Luger

We get a sit down interview with Lex Luger in the empty Manhattan Center before the show. They mostly talk about his upcoming match with Yokozuna at Summerslam, and afterwards they show more clips from the Lex Express tour.

Doink def. Phil Apollo

There’s some guy dressed like a clown in the audience leading super loud “Doink” chants. The crowd loves Doink here, and he easily wins this short squash match. Afterwards, he calls out Randy Savage again, and challenges him to a match. He says that Savage will be seeing triple vision, and two more Doinks appear.

Doink Challenging Randy Savage

Overall Thoughts

It’s really interesting to watch the WWE during this time period, because they’re really in a transitional phase trying to figure out what to do next.  The two big face turns of Razor Ramon and Lex Luger this month were pretty huge changes.  The Ramon one makes the most sense, because he was already super popular with the crowd.  It also gives him something else to do, and makes people forget how lame he looked losing to the 1-2-3 Kid.  The Luger turn kind of makes sense too, because his “Narcissist” character really wasn’t going anywhere.  It’s just strange to suddenly propel him to the top face in the company out of nowhere.  With the Lex Express, they’re really trying hard to push him, so at least they’re putting effort into making this work.

I liked how each episode of Raw this month started with a big match.  I feel like having a bigger match right away sets the tone for the night, and gets the crowd into things early.

July Raw Highlights

  • The Undertaker returns.
  • Yokozuna puts Crush in the hospital.
  • Shawn Michaels defeats Marty Jannetty in a rematch for the Intercontinental Title.
  • Razor Ramon turns face after refusing to work for Money, Inc.
  • The Million Dollar Man challenges the 1-2-3 Kid.
  • Men on a Mission makes their Raw debut.
  • Jerry Lawler breaks Tiny Tim’s ukulele.
  • Doink challenges “Macho Man” Randy Savage.

July WWF Highlights

  • Lex Luger turns face after slamming Yokozuna on the USS Intrepid at the Stars and Stripes Challenge.
  • The Lex Express tour officially kicks off.
  • Ludvig Borga debuts as the newest foreign heel.
  • Lex Luger gets a title shot against Yokozuna at Summerslam.

Best July Raw Match

  • Shawn Michaels vs. Marty Jannetty

Worst Non Squash July Raw Match

  • The Undertaker vs. Samu

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