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OOLD SCHOOL    
Dayton RAWks, 1993-Style~!  
June 17, 2004

by Rick Scaia    
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

"Cute Naive Mark" Rick Scaia's  
On-Site WWF TV Reports 
 

Originally Published on RSPW in June, 1993

Part One: King of the Ring PPV, LIVE IN PERSON Published June 14, 1993

[Note from the Present Day: almost 11 years to the day before I enjoyed this past Monday's live RAW at Dayton's Nutter Center, I was a part of the first-ever King of the Ring PPV at the same building.  I was underage, and thus quite sober.  I was also, much like the Nutter Center was at the time, less than a year into my current existence... that is to say, I was still clearly more Mark than Smark after only six months of exposure to the internet underground.  I think the differences are pretty freaking obvious when you compare the following on-site TV report to the one I issued on Tuesday from RAW... not only do I write better now, but I'm clearly MUCH cooler. Or at least, smarter.  I hope you enjoy this just as much of a slice of Me When I Was Much Dorkier as you do as a Slice of 1993....  consider revealing my past wussiness to be my penance for the superiority complex I displayed following my visit to the Nutter Center this week!]

Well, Andrew beat me to the punch. But since I have a few differing viewpoints (guess what... I actually thought it was a pretty decent show), I thought I'd expound. Plus, me and the guys I was with were able to meet some of the wrestlers after the show, and since the wrestlers were totally wasted, some entertaining things went down. But first the card...

Imagine my surprise when the dark match is sanctioned by the USWA!!! Then imagine the immediate terror of realizing this meant being subjected to Papa Shango. Then imagine my disappointment when Owen Hart is his opponent. The thought of Owen jobbing for Shango is reprehensible. I say, let Virgil or Chico do it, they're professionals. Owen was wearing a huge knee brace, and only flew twice; I don't know if those two things are related or not. Owen got in a couple decent spots, and Shango did next to nothing and won with his usual finisher (shoulderbreaker). Damn.

Ramon/Hart was a small let down. The match fell short of their Rumble match. Still Bret put on a great show (his first of three), taking a lot of bumps. 

Perfect/Hughes was about what I expected: Hennig selling everything Hughes tries like hell. He made it entertaining; too bad the ending kind of sucked. There has to be a more imaginative way to prevent one of them from losing cleanly than blatantly using the urn in front of the ref. But I was incredibly happy with the ultimate result: a second round Hart/Hennig match.

Duggan/Bam Bam was also about as expected. Namely, it basically sucked as far as wrestling goes. But I give Duggan credit for jobbing cleanly. It made for a nice ending (better than Perfect/Hughes).

Tatanka/Luger was a really good match. First, Luger seemed back to his old self when he took the mic for his pre-match comments (i.e., for the first time, he had some charisma and wasn't using his pathetic "Narsissy" voice). Then, he and Tatanka work harder than they have in quite a while. I was really into this match. While I won't go so far as Andrew did in criticizing the time limit draw ending, I will say that I saw it coming. I think that it was a good booking decision (Luger still major heel, Tatanka still undefeated), and that the match itself was good enough to justify it.

Hart/Hennig was a great match. While the crowd wasn't nearly as pumped as they had been, they were not "dead." I think "confused" would be a better word. Hennig did such a great job of selling the quasi-heel bit that he lost a lot of the heat he normally would have gotten. I also cheered for both men, hoping for the match to last as long as possible. Hart took some great bumps; was the jump from the apron to the railing as impressive on TV as it looked in person?? Hennig was also in great form. But once again, the ending seemed hurried; did anyone else sense that when Perfect and Hart got back in the ring at the end, they both listened to something the ref said, then immediately went into the end game. Were they just running late, or did the ref think one of them was hurt and ask them to end it quick?? Or did I imagine this?

Hogan/Yokozuna... what can I say. I was stunned. I have a feeling that the Hulkster may have seen his last WWF Title reign. The loss just seemed so ignominious. It wasn't really a bad match, either. I think both men did what they were capable of, and that the booking made it really interesting. I was shocked, stunned, amazed, and anything else when Yoko kicked out after the Leg Drop of Doom. I was also surprised by the fake photographer angle; IMO, it was well-done, and original. Light years better than Fuji interfering with salt.

A couple of things related to the title match: first, I have a feeling that Tunney's congratulations to Yoko will be the start of a series of public miscues that he makes en route to being impeached. WWF Magazine has been hinting at it for some time now; this would be the way to kick off the beginning of the end for Tunney. Second, we think that the Evil Photographer was Harvey Whippleman in disguise. Now we have to wait and see if they publicize that fact to set up a Hogan/Gonzales feud, or if we weren't supposed to notice. Third, what the hell happened to Tiger Hatori??? Everything I was reading had him in the country ready to officiate the match, then he doesn't' show. Not that I mind... the screwjob that they used was a good one.

I completely missed the 8-man tag. I went up for beverages thinking, "There's eight of them, so this will take awhile. Plus, if Scott's still hurt, then we won't be seeing too many interesting spots." Well, I guess I was right on the second part, but badly off on the first; before I make it to the front of the concession line, the match is over, and the Gunns (!?!) music is playing. One of the Gunns makes the pin, and their music is played at the end?? And the Steiners have been jobbing all over the place for the Headshrinkers?? Sounds like the Steiners may not be seen much of in the WWF in the coming months. Too bad... they were just starting to really catch on. But hat's off to Vince for not just handing them the belts on a silver platter.... it took guts, and even though the Steiners may be leaving, it's probably better in the long run than just letting the Steiners go nuts before they're established.

Got back just in time to mock Shawn's bodyguard with a chant of "OZ... OZ.... OZ..." Did they introduce him as "Steel" or did the people behind me lie. I couldn't hear... it was to damn loud. Michaels/Crush was OK.  Crush ran through just about his entire aerial arsenal in the first couple  seconds (leap frog, standing dropkick), and he didn't do much for the rest of the match except his usual power moves. Shawn did another nice job carrying the match (a la Tatanka at WM9), and probably brought this up to a *** affair or better. And while I'm probably in a minority here, I was really pleased to see the Doinks arrive. If nothing else you should all be happy that his appearance facilitated Crush being pinned. Plus, I thought they're shtick was kind of funny. But mainly, I like seeing the "Big Man from Kona, Hawaii" made to look like a fool. Enjoyable.

The _REAL_ main event: Hart/Bam Bam. Another great job by Bret. Another solid match. Bam Bam should get pushed better than he is, IMO. He's big, he's got some agility, but mainly, he's scary. Too bad they're saddling him with Luna (who, BTW, put a great chair shot on Bret... I was impressed). I say match the women with women and give Bam Bam a push.  Anyway, more great bumps by Bret, a solid performance by Bigelow. The confused referee situation was a bit annoying after a while; it was a neat angle to have Bam Bam apparently win, but the execution was off. The reversal should have just happened. Afterall, I came to see the wrestlers fight, not the refs. But after it got underway again, there was a bit more good action, then Bret took it all. Realizing that satellite time was running short (we noticed that during the I-C Title match), Hart was _immediately_ scurried back to the platform for the coronation.

I, for one, thought that Lawler's run-in, while predictable, was well-done. He's a great heel, and drew some big time heat. He looked like he was really laying into Bret, and not pulling any punches. The stuff looked pretty real from our seats (immediately behind the platform), and even if Lawler's best wrestling days are behind him, he can still fight. He may not be up there with Funk, but he's a decent facsimile. Let's see if they build this one up for SummerSlam, or if Bret gets pushed right to the WWF Title. 

Final analysis: thumbs up from me. Out of 9 matches, 6 were *** or better (on my admittedly demented scale that includes the presentation and the angles in the mix), with 2 or 3 at **** (Hart/Bam Bam is a close call, but I thing Hart/Hennig and Luger/Tatanka are worthy). Plus  this crowd was really pumped. I wouldn't be surprised if the WWF brings the show back to the Nutter Center next year. It was fun to be part of the excitable crowd, and at the same time, have a decent "smart" contingent with you to chat with and make appropriately "smart" comments with. And great seats on the entrance aisle helped too. I think we may have gotten some decent TV time.

After the card on the way to our car, we got caught in the group of a couple hundred waiting for the wrestlers to exit the back door. Mainly we stopped since we saw a couple of the WWF Officials that we wanted to meet.  Tony Garea seemed like he was a bit mad, and didn't chat. But George Steele and Arnold Skaaland both seemed happy to be recognized, and acknowledged us. JJ Dillon even acknowledged us when we all gave him the Four Horseman salute. But as we were just about leaving, a photographer comes out and announces he missed his ride, and asked if anyone would give him a ride over to the hotel. One of the guy's with me says sure, and before we know it, we're all at the Holiday Inn bumping into wrestlers.  But since I'm about to get timed out of this connection, I'll get right back and continue with the next post.

Later...

Part Two: King of the Ring After-Party, Kind of Published June 14, 1993

[Note from the Present Day: I'm still not sure why we went...  Photographer Tom said he'd get us into the after-party at the hotel bar, but nobody stopped to think that WE WERE NOT 21, DID NOT APPEAR 21, AND DID NOT HAVE FAKE IDs!  So it ended up being a deal where we kind of hung out in the hall-way outside the bar with all the other loser wrestling fans.  At least some of the guys came out and chatted, as you'll see....]

First of all, I guess in the previous post I said out of _9_ matches, 6 were OK. With the dark match, make it 6 out of 10. How could I have forgotten that great match.

Anyway, among the guys seen after the card were Bryan Clark (Adam Bomb) and Mike Shaw (Friar Ferguson and Sebastian Booger). Even though they weren't on the card, I guess they had to be here. We saw them arriving at about 7:00 together, and then together again after the card. Also, Marty Jannetty was around and in good spirits (and with a girl who looked like she was still in high school). Maybe he won't be pulling the disappearing act just yet.

An interesting sub-plot developed at the Holiday Inn: Curt Hennig was in a pissed off mood the whole time. Then after a while he left the bar area, and was followed _immediately_ by a running Shawn Michaels. I don't know if Michaels was trying to catch Hennig, but it sure seemed that way. After a while Michaels came sprinting back to the bar, followed by a still sullen Curt Hennig. When asked for an autograph outside the bar, Hennig responded with something along the lines of, "If I sign one, I've got to sign them all." Which seemed a bit rude since it looked liked there may have been all of 10 people standing around out there waiting for autographs. I think Mr. Perfect may have been more interested of making the most of the 10 minutes that remained before the bar stopped serving. Anyway, I definitely got the impression that these two were still doing business of some sort rather than celebrating.

Howard Finkel turns out to be a great guy. He was open and friendly and honest with everyone. It turns out that the bit with him not being at RAW is all legit; he did have an operation, and he did just celebrate a birthday. He pretty much stuck around and chatted with the fans who were around rather than get smashed.

Terry Taylor was also cool. He was really nice to everyone, and was also willing to chat with folks. When I asked him if he was happy in his announcing role he said, "Not really, I'd rather be wrestling." When I asked if we'd be seeing him doing any of that in the near future, he said something like, "I doubt it. Vince is mad at me." But he did say that while his TV wrestling would be limited, he will continue working house shows.

Scott Hall (still sort of playing at being Razor Ramon) was there too (actually just about everyone was there except Hogan, who was across the street at another hotel... I'm just mentioning anyone I ran into). He also seemed like an OK guy. Slipping in and out of the Razor accent, he did say a few interesting things; first, somebody asked if he and Bret Hart really hated each other (I wanted to scream, "Mark!!!!" at the top of my lungs, but then I thought that Undertaker would look over and get pissed at me) and he squirmed a bit, toyed with the idea of saying he like Bret, and decided on, "How about if I say that I don't really like the guy, but he's pretty good?" The mark seemed satisfied. Also, when asked by a guy who had tried to stop the sprinting Shawn Michaels for an autograph if he thought Shawn would be willing to sign one later. Scott said that Shawn usually does sign, and probably would tonight too, but that he might be busy with other things. 

Kevin Nash (Vinnie Vegas, etc.) showed up with Razor, but was far less personable. He refused to sign autographs at all (I theorized this was because no one had told him his WWF name yet), and refused to acknowledge anyone who wasn't with the WWF (I theorized this was because he might be a bit of a dick). Johnny Polo gave the fans about the same treatment.

BTW, the WWF photographer's name was Tom. I don't know for sure, but he might have been Tom Buchanan. Either way, he's a nice guy. He paid my friend $10 for the quarter mile drive to the hotel, then invited us in. It was a good time.

Later...

Part Three: Free Tickets to More TV Tapings!  
Published June 15, 1993

[Note from the Present Day: And Tom was good to his word, leaving us free tickets for the Monday night TV tapings in Columbus, OH.  HEY!  It's like a perfect reversal of the PPV/Tapings jaunt they did this week!  Neato!  Or not really.  Anyway, we drove on up, got a surprise tag title change for our troubles, but not really much else.  For the sake of completion, I close today's three-pronged OOld School with the final leg of my first on-site TV Tapings Experience of my smarkness.  And with my utterly ricockulous 1993 .sig file.  Enjoy....]

Well, Andrew provided the bare facts... here's a few thoughts on what went down...

First, this was a disappointing taping. I make the special "taping" classification clear because I expect different things from tapings than out of a typical house show. I expect squashes out the ass (which I _did_ get), interviews that set up future angles, run-ins, and the introduction of new talent. We saw _none_ of the last three things. At past tapings, I've seen: the last Piper's Pit, the first ever Flair/Hogan match, the debuts of the LOD and Jim Duggan, the heel turn of Demolition, the face turn of Sgt. Slaughter, and lots of other (relatively) neat stuff. In Columbus, there was nothing interesting like that. Fortunately, a couple really solid _wrestling_ matches broke out to make it worth our drive. But I still thank God (and WWF cameraman extraordinaire, Tom) that I got comps.

Assorted other thoughts:

- When Money, Inc. hit the ring first thing, with Coliseum Video banners in the background, we were curious. When the Steiners were announced as the opponents, we knew the titles were switching hands. In a  good, but far from great, match, the Steiners make us look like Kreskin. OK, so there was _one_ interesting surprise...

- Doink and Randy Savage wrestled a pretty good match, IMO. Savage got a huge pop. Seeing double Doink made my night (for the 2nd night in a row).

- In a baffling match, Tito Santana pinned Virgil. Why??? For what it's worth, a Virgil heel turn isn't coming out of this match: both guys shook hands after the match.

- MOM, Men on a Mission... scary, yet fascinating. The big guy really impressed the marks with a decent display of agility. The smaller guy didn't impress anyone. I thought they were OK, but _not_ what the WWF needs cluttering up the tag team ranks. Frighteningly, the crowd was _very_ into the rapper and post-match celebration.

- The Gonzales-UT match was apparently taped for _Challenge_. And rumors of Paul Bearer's demise are unfounded. Whippleman taunted UT early in the match asking where PB was. He'll probably return as the zombie Paul Bearer who is also invincible. But I hope not.

- As noted, David Heath botched his tryout. If the Lestat gimmick was coming with him, then I don't care. But without that gimmick, I'd be willing to take another look at Heath; he looked like he could take some neat bumps. But then again, if he can't even kick out of a sunset flip, how good can he be? :)

- Andrew did miss the 'Shrinker & Bam Bam vs. Gunns & Tatanka match. Too bad... it was also decent. Man, can Samu and Fatu take bumps; 5 out of the six guys put on a good match. Tatanka was _not_ up to a KotR-like performance; he was back to his usual boring self.

- Since Kamala took Bastion Booger to a double count out, can we assume Shaw's latest gimmick won't be pushed either? Hopefully he will be jobbing for Owen for the summer... he _really_ sucked. Badly.

- The most embarrassing incident of the night was Yokozuna selling about 10 fast jabs in a row that Jim Duggan _completely_ missed. We're  talking a good six or eight inches. Even the super marks in front of us saw it. They theorized that the wind must have been snapping Yoko's head back. I don't know if they were serious.

- We saw a second Doink squash. I have no idea why. Maybe both Keirn and Bourne wanted to wrestle?? Nope, that's not it, since both times Doink used the Butt Splash... it was Bourne all the way. Either way, I'd had enough Doink; there's no more room. Bobby Heenan was wrong, and my .sig has been changed accordingly. BTW, if I've slightly misquoted Gordon Solie's _Slamboree_ flub, let me know so I can fix it.

- Mr. Hughes got a clean win over Marty Jannetty. Obviously, Marty's still around... but if he's going to be doing clean jobs for guys like Hughes, I have to wonder why. Come on, Dave S., spill it; what's the deal with Jannetty??

- Since Bret evidently _was_ hurt as badly as he looked at the post-KotR festivities, brother Owen got the honor of facing Lex Luger. As bad as Luger started in the WWF, I have to say he's looking better; both wrestling-wise, and charisma-wise. The crowd was pretty into this glorified squash match. And it was a good one; even though the result was obvious from the start, Luger and Owen really put on a good show. Herb, if you get to see this (which I doubt, since you don't get to see _Mania_ on USA Network), I think you'll willingly add this to the miniscule list of Owen's *** WWF matches.

- While Andrew said the "main event" of the MegaManiacs facing Money, Inc. was even worse than the Gonzales/UT match, I can't rate it that low. The really sad thing about the match is that Hogan and Beefcake were _obviously_ not even trying. They giggled like school girls (along with DiBiase, who should know better) while going through the initial "all-out-brawl" portion of the match. When things settled down, and all participants seemed more serious, things settled _way_ down. Pretty boring stuff. Of course, Slaughter as guest ref was made an important part of the match. He got in a couple shots at MI. The marks _Loved_ it. When the predictable melee and DQ finish came up, the marks loved it even more. They _Really_ loved the 10 minute posedown, as only about 20% of the crowd left right at the final bell. 

- About the crowd: the place was only about 60-70% full. Our comp seats were in the balcony; we were sitting in the tenth or twelfth row before long at the insistence of WWF personnel. I have to think Vince is disappointed with the turnout with Hogan on the top of the card.

- I mentioned that after KotR, Curt Hennig seemed mighty pissed, and  Shawn Michaels seemed somehow involved. Well, Hennig was nowhere to be seen at the taping. Could it be he's been denied his third I-C Title reign, and decided to walk?? Or was he at the West Virginia taping?

- If Razor's turning face any time soon, we saw no indication of it. In fact, we saw no indication of Razor at all. He didn't show. Whatever he's up to, I have a feeling it will be played out on RAW.

Later...

--  
Rick Scaia                            |   "Let us pay tribute to those 
Ex-WWF Ring Boy                  |    living legends who are no longer
cm775@cleveland.freenet.edu |     with us..." - Gordon Solie
---------------------------------------------------------------

E-MAIL RICK SCAIA    
BROWSE THE OO ARCHIVES

Rick Scaia is a wrestling fan from Dayton, OH.  He's been doing this since 1995, but enjoyed it best when the suckers from SportsLine were actually PAYING him to be a fan.


  
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