This July for a special Into the Vault series, we’re looking at the first episodes of some of wrestling’s most remembered weekly TV shows. It’s First Month Fire! We’re kicking things off with the longest-running program in the U.S WWE Monday Night RAW—or just WWE RAW as most of us call it.
Taking place in January 1993, this was a time of slow business for the WWE but let’s see if the first episode of RAW is one to remember.
There’s a bunch of non-match to-do which is some of the more remembered stuff from the first WWE RAW. As you know, on Into the Vault we’re all about that action and WWE’s TV action was usually about those squash matches.
Undertaker running through Damien DeMento was…fine. DeMento was so-so at best, the Undertaker had moments where he just wasn’t interesting on TV in the early 90s but we all still popped for the Tombstone and his entrance.
This was one of those matches. It would’ve been a mid-tier match just because I expect a decent amount of squashes on WWE early 90s TV. It’s just that I’d had enough of watching Damien DeMento be whatever he was supposed to be and WWE not do anything with it.
Yokozuna and Koko B. Ware opened the first WWE RAW in typical Yoko fashion. Koko’s run was just about over, WWE couldn’t do anything with him despite the guy being colorful and energetic. It’s 1993 and fashion-wise, both Yokozuna and Koko agree that checkered patterns are in season.
Koko had a little offense against Yoko with those dropkicks but after the sumo wrestler from Polynesia chucked him into the ropes with authority and disconnected his lungs with that leg drop, the whole thing was pretty much a done deal for Koko.
I will say that this is the gentlest Banzai Drop I’ve seen from Yokozuna in a squash match. I also figured the ropes were going to break as they did on Men on a Mission in USWA. This was when WWE RAW was still raw and had unexpected things happen.
The Steiners squashing The Executioners—featuring pre-Gillberg Duane Gill—was fun. If a squash is good or just fun to watch, it’s getting bumped into the mid-tier and the Steiners running through this team was fun.
I actually prefer the Steiner Brothers squashing people to the Road Warriors although both will give you funny moments.
This one wasn’t a spirited squash where the scrubs try to fight back. This was just Steiners tossing and powering through these guys before ending it with that Super Steiner Drop. Hang this match up in the Smithsonian alongside that one match that the Road Warriors won while their music was still playing.
“What? The IC Title defense against Max Moon was exotic-tier?” Listen, if this was on PPV, it would’ve been mid-tier. By comparison with the rest of the show, this was a good match.
This Max Moon is Paul Diamond who regularly tagged Pat Tanaka in the underrated Badd Company tag team—who came out to “Bad Company” from the album Bad Company by the band Bad Company.
Shawn Michaels was still on the rise as a singles performer even after winning the IC Title. The guy just kept rising. Meanwhile, Paul Diamond—who debuted roughly a year after HBK and was a former partner—was in midcard-at-best mode for most of the 90s.
These two worked together very well in this bout with some even offense and moments where Max Moon looked like he could’ve snuck the title from HBK. Also, HBK ended the match with his Tear Drop Suplex after popping Moon with a proto-Sweet Chin Music.
Now I’m going to be bothered about why he stopped doing the Tear Drop Suplex. Great.
WWE RAW #1 Verdict: 5.5/10
Not a bad first episode for WWE RAW. No Bobby Heenan on commentary hurt but we had Savage. Then again, we could’ve had Savage and Heenan. Undertaker was at the top so his squash ended the show but HBK vs. Max Moon should’ve gotten those honors.
That said, it had two main event superstars, a rising superstar who defended his belt, a great atmosphere, it was an hour-long, and two-and-a-half enjoyable squash matches. Honestly, had Heenan been at the booth and Undertaker either opened the show I could see this being a hard six or a soft six-and-a-half show.
SUBSCRIBE NOW: Get The Overtimer’s Hottest Stories, Breaking News and Special Features in your email, CLICK HERE!