You might have missed it, but WWE just celebrated its 1,000 epsiode of Raw. I mean, yeah, you may have missed it (it wasn’t like the company beat you over the head with its impending arrival for months on end), but I sure didn’t. With such a monumental event upon me, I decided to go back and take a look at the very first Raw, a show that I remembered being pretty bad.
But over the years I often wondered…could that have something to do with the fact that Raw replaced my favorite wrestling show ever, Prime Time Wrestling?
Or maybe this show just sucked.
SPOILER ALERT: It was the latter.
I mean, sweet Christmas.
That’s the VERY first image we saw on what would become the longest running blah blah thingamajig in made up television history.
Everyone remembers him right? Not sure I ever inducted the guy, but he was pretty atrocious.
Let me put it to you this way: when the thing I most remember about you is that you were on a Coliseum video wherein you played Captain Kirk to Lord Alfred Hayes’ Scotty, well sir, that’s a bad sign.
Oh and that tape?
Something else I’ve never inducted.
If you ever wanted to know how I’ve been running this site for 12 years and am still able to find old stuff to induct, the fact that I’ve failed to induct Mooney or that abysmal tape would give you an idea of the absolute dump truck full of junk that we’ve all been subjected to over the years.
One thing that is decidedly NOT junk, however, would be the first Raw intro and theme song, the ultimate mishmash of eras.
It sounds like someone went to Jim Johnston or whoever was doing music for the company at the time and said, “Ok, take the Wrestling Challenge theme and try to hard rockify it. But don’t make it TOO hard rockified, just slightly rockified. And isn’t it cool that I just made up the word rockify?”
Maybe, just maybe, this show wasn’t as horrible as I remember it being.
No, wait, it may have even been worse.
Seriously, kids, this was the first Raw announce team: Randy Savage, Vince, and Rob Bartlett.
So that crap about Jerry Lawler being there since day one? Completely fabricatd. You are shocked, I know. He wasn’t even on the show.
That out of the way, let’s look at this announcing crew.
Randy Savage was great in the ring, and one of my favorite promos ever. His stuff between his arrival in the WWF and his babyface turn he was just completely out of his skull are my current favorite promos ever.
But he was…umm…not so good as a color commentator. His nonsensical ramblings (wherein he was not talking about himself) weren’t good over an hour long show.
Vince as a good guy commentator was fine. He was a goofball with his constant “Whatamaneuver!“, but the dude always had oodles of charisma. Unfortunately as a lead commentator, his natural heel charisma was all bottled up. Suffice to say that was corrected in the late 90’s.
Rob Bartlett, on the other hand, was a comedian that Vince found on a New York radio station and he was all kinds of horrible. No redeeming qualities whatsoever. I have inducted him, but it was in the early days and I probably wrote all of 100 words about him.
Suffice to say we’ll be visiting him throughout the night.
And a real quick recap for you younger viewers.
In a very short period, we went from Bobby Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon, my favorite commentary team ever…
Speaking of Heenan, he is outside the building, unable to get in.
And really, I guess he was unneeded. Why would you need the Brain when you had the comedy stylings of Rob Bartlett?
Raw historical fun fact: the first superstar ever to enter a Monday Night Raw ring would be one Koko B. Ware.
Yes, Koko B. Ware in his horrible, horrible High Energy (inducted!) outfit.
This was the man to introduce Raw to the masses, to get people to watch not only this show, but 999 more after it.
Him being a Hall of Famer all makes sense to me now.
Oh, and Rob Bartlett thinks Koko is Gary Coleman.
And Vince McMahon agrees.
Jeez, I thought it was bad when Jesse just to call the poor guy Buckwheat.
The somewhat non-politically correct insults weren’t just reserved for The Birdman, but also dished out to his opponent, Yokozuna, whom Randy Savage called “the world’s biggest eggroll.”
I somehow doubt such commentary would fly these days.
As you would suspect, Yoko flattens poor Mr. Ware.
What you may not expect, well, at least in 1993, was for Vince to show just how RAW this show was going to be, as less than five minutes in we get our first SWEAR WORD (followed by the early Raw catchphrase).
Yes, kids, back in the day, the word “ass” on television was indeed considered edgy.
I guess it is today as well as Road Dogg couldn’t even say it on Raw 1000.
Oh, and you know, they bust on Yoko being fat here, but he is downright svelte compared to what he would become.
I mean, seriously:
If that dropping of the A-word had viewers uneasy, one can only imagine what the early Raw ring girls had folks thinking.
I bet it would be something like, “Man, these girls look not only skanky, but almost annoyed to be here.
Still, her hair is pretty cool. I sure hope girls still wear their hair like that in 2012.
That would totally rule.”
Now if you were like me and hating this lack of Bobby Heenan on the show, rest assured we do get some Brain throughout the show. Here we get a pre-tape of him talking about his newest charge, Narcissus.
This would eventually morph into The Narcissist, likely because those backstage quickly realized how ridiculous having a wrestler named Narcissus sounded.
Still, that was a bad gimmick, and eventually was inducted here at the Crap as well. So there’s THREE inductions already from this show, with more to come.
I mean, seriously, I almost want to induct Rick Steiner’s outfit here.
That giant mall hair the ring card skank had may have been cool to maintain its popularity to our present time, but this outfit, not so much.
And this guy?
This would be Scott Steiner.
Yes, THIS Scott Steiner.
To this day I still watch old Steiner Bros. matches totally mystified, constantly trying to convince myself that this is the same man.
Oh, and the Steiners’ opponents (well, victims) for this epic night would be the legendary Executioners, who would be legendary in absolutely no sense of the word.
The Steiners make short work of the Executioners, in large part due to the fact that the masked men are so clumsy that they can’t even run across the ring without falling down.
999 more episodes followed this.
Have I mentioned that yet?
If the Steiners squashing a pair of jobbers isn’t enthralling enough for you, here comes Dork the Clown.
That’s not a typo.
Bartlett literally calls him Dork, and Vince confirms that name, until Randy Savage corrects him.
For the record, I’ve never inducted Doink the Clown as a character. I thought the original evil clown bit was actually pretty great, and Matt Borne was brilliant in the role.
Had he been named DORK THE CLOWN, however, I am pretty sure I would have had no choice.
Outside, The Brain attempts to sneak in under the guise of being Rob Bartlett’s mom.
Going out on a limb and guessing that Pat Patterson wrote this bit.
Back in the ring, we get a Razor Ramon interview, with Scott Hall looking at least 19 years younger and more sober than he does today.
I’d make further tired jokes at Hall’s expense, but seriously…look at Vince.
I love this image so much that that I propose it be the cover of his autobiography, and that it should be the title: Bow Ties and Bug Eyes: The Vince McMahon Story.
I’ll even offer to ghost write it.
Max Moon, in the outfit I have long described as being ‘ribbed for her pleasure’, enters the ring following that, upping the WrestleCrap inductee list yet again. In fact, I am going to go out on a limb and guess that we’ll have more WrestleCrap inductees than we do WWE Hall of Famers on this program.
But hey, here comes Shawn Michaels to try to stem the tide. He’s great.
But hey, this is WrestleCrap, and I am RD Reynolds, so let’s nitpick, shall we?
HIs entrance music is the absolute dirt worst version ever, as it is the one where Sherri Martel does the vocals.
Not just the “Oh Shawn” at the beginning; the entire thing.
The only thing more aburd than that is the image that I found while attempting to locate this theme.
Anyway, as you’d expect, the two have a pretty good match, with Shawn getting the duke.
But not before we get more hahalarity from Mr. Bartlett including a Mike Tyson impersonation that makes Blade Braxton’s sound stellar in comparison and him telling us about the WWF version of the Amy Fisher Story, with Vince McMahon starring as Joey Buttafuco.
I can’t lie – I’d watch that.
Main event time, and as you’d expect, err, hope at this point, we do get another all-time legend in the form of the Undertaker.
His opponent for this first ever Raw main event?
Yes – Damian Demento!
But before we get to that, we go back outside where Bobby is still trying to sneak in, this time as Morty Feldman, Bartlett’s Jewish uncle, as Mooney give a fart-smell face.
I love this image so much that that I propose it be the cover of his autobiography, and that it should be the title: Fart Smell Face: The Sean Mooney Story.
I won’t offer to ghost write it, but maybe his brother Ian will.
So to the main event we go…wait, no.
First we get a recap of Kamala turning babyface.
And for those of you keeping score, that’s ANOTHER inductee here at the Crap. I’d knock it some more, but it did give us Kamala bowling with Slick, which is a good thing.
Because if you pay close attention, you’ll note that all wrestling and bowling segments are great.
See also, Perfect, Mister.
Ok, so to the main even we go, finally, and yep, there’s our old buddy, our old pal, Damian Demento.
You know what was one of the weirdest, most fun things we did during the whole run of WrestleCrap Radio? The stuff with him. Because he just showed up one day blasting us, we blasted him back, and all of a sudden, he took over the show out of the blue.
None of that was planned. Just happened. And he was a great guy to work with once we stopped shooting on each other and actually talked to him.
Still, we inducted Damian Demento. Because, you know, we’re jerks like that.
I’ve lost count of how many inductees are on this show. In hindisght, it may have been the inspiration for me to start WrestleCrap.com.
So Undertaker shows up, only to be greeted with what is, without question, the worst intro the guy has ever been given.
Care to guess who is at fault for that one?
(Hint: you may be noticing a trend.)
(Hint: it’s Rob Bartlett, you numbskull.)
So as you’d expect, Taker finishes off Demento quickly.
And that’s the end.
Except for another segment where Bobby Heenan was still locked out…
…and an interview with Doink, who would promptly be chased around and around the ring by Crush.
So I know what you are thinking: yeah, this first show had a lot of crap on it, but it would soon get better.
Considering Vince promised us both El Matador and Papa Shango on Raw Episode 2, it actually took quite a while for that to happen!