Episode 8 - March 7, 1993: Guess Who’s Back, Backlund-gain?

The Mega-Maniacs are back for the cold open and cut a pretty fun promo on Money Inc. The combination of Hulk Hogan’s gravelly shouting and Brutus Beefcake’s wild-eyed facial expressions is great. Together they wrap up their promo and intro the show by exclaiming “From New York, It’s Monday Night Raw!” in yet another nod to SNL. Their energy definitely sets the tone for the rest of the show because we get a very fun episode that feels like we’re finally back on track.

 Mega-Maniacs indeed.

Mega-Maniacs indeed.

And speaking of Money Inc., here they come down the ramp to face off against Virgil and Tito Santana. This is an interesting match because I would expect Virgil and El Matador to be babyfaces, but they cheat more in this match than Money Inc. does by a mile. They get what’s coming to them though when Virgil gets distracted by Ted DiBiase and gets suplexed and pinned by IRS for the win. It makes total sense to have Money Inc. win so that they look strong going into Wrestlemania, but it’s still weird that the heel/face roles seems to be reversed with this match.

Here we take a quick break to promote “WWF Mania”, a Saturday morning children’s show. I’m not sure how this program differs from Raw, but I’d guess they probably have kookier announcers and silly in-between segments. Doink is probably banned, too. Maybe I should start watching that show instead.

 This was the pinnacle of logo technology in 1993.

This was the pinnacle of logo technology in 1993.

Coming back we get Tatanka VS Phil Apollo who I would like to nominate for worst name ever. When your last name is Apollo, maybe ditch your first name unless it’s Laser, Turbo, or Nitro. Basically any name from “American Gladiators”. Nobody named Phil has ever won anything. Phil is the worst. Anyway the announcers agree and spend their time on the phone with Shawn Michaels again while Tatanka puts Phil through his paces and wins handily after a Samoan drop.

Next we get the coolest looking dude ever named Papa Shango VS some dummy named Mike Edwards that gets taken out with no problem. I want to talk about Papa Shango some more though because he is awesome. He’s dressed up like a creepy Voodoo shaman and hangs a smoking skull around the corner post when he enters the ring. I want to grow up to be Papa Shango. I really hope the Undertaker and Papa Shango team up. Give me more weird scary dudes!

 Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

After that we get the return of Bob Backlund who is maybe the only guy with a normal name in the company that is actually awesome. Bob Backlund feels like your friend’s dad who built an awesome treehouse. He’s the cool substitute teacher. Bob Backlund owns the property with the swimming hole and he lets all the neighborhood kids use it. I love Bob Backlund! He starts the match off by extending his arm for a handshake from his opponent Tony Demoro who refuses it with a scoff. Now you done messed up, my man because you do not disrespect Bob Backlund, who proceeds to have a great match and takes Demoro to school. At one point the audience is on their feet cheering for Bob, so hopefully we see a lot more from him.

 This is the greatest day of this kid's life.

This is the greatest day of this kid's life.

The main event of the night features Mr. Perfect VS “The Model” Rick Martel in another fantastic match. In between wrestling, both men manage to turn a few cartwheels for no apparent reason, but somehow it seems to make sense anyway. At this point I’m just loving everything. Unfortunately they have to cut to commercial and we miss the end of the match which is crazy because I assumed the show was pre-taped. In any case, they show us the replay and we find out that Mr. Perfect wins, which is appropriate because this episode has been just about perfect.

Other Observations

  • “The Model” Rick Martel has a fun runner where he takes the place of the ring girls to show them how a real model gets the job done. It’s nice to see an interaction with them that doesn’t involve objectification.
  • It’s interesting how they keep having people call in to the commentary team to keep feuds going rather than having them just show up. I wonder if that’s because the program at this point is only an hour long and they just don’t have the time.
  • Tatanka does a salute to the crowd every time he wins a match and it looks a lot like a Nazi salute.
 Native stereotypes and Nazi salutes. Let's just call it a day, Tatanka.

Native stereotypes and Nazi salutes. Let's just call it a day, Tatanka.