Hello everyone and welcome back to the Hidden Gems series. This week we’re heading back to 1993, the debut year of Monday Night RAW. WWF was the first wrestling company to capitalize on having a prime time Monday night TV spot for their programming, and with the show being filmed from the Manhattan Center, they used it to feature the likes of Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, and Mr. Perfect.
Mr. Perfect in particular was used a lot in the beginning of RAW, with him being the one to “retire” Ric Flair from the WWF in what could be considered RAW’s first truly “big” match. That match served its purpose of writing Flair out of the storylines in the WWF, as he was headed back to WCW. It was a fitting end to Flair’s first run in the company, as he and Mr. Perfect spent a good portion of it together as a wrestler/manager combo. Though Ric Flair was leaving, the same could not be said for Mr. Perfect. In fact, he was back in the ring, and he was back in a big way. He stuck around throughout 1993, even having an Intercontinental Championship match against Shawn Michaels at SummerSlam that year. That’s not even taking into account the classic match he had with Bret Hart at King of the Ring (which I personally prefer over their SummerSlam 1991 match), as well as this hidden gem match we’re gonna be reviewing today, where he took on Doink The Clown on RAW.
Doink The Clown was an interesting character, at an interesting time in the WWF’s history. Those who never watched Doink before would assume he was the quintessential character in the steroid-trial-cartoony-world WWF had become in the early 90s. While that may be true of Doink eventually, that was certainly not the case in the beginning of the character’s run. Doink initially was an evil clown played by Matt Osborne, who would play mean tricks on wrestlers as well as fans. That doesn’t sound very promising on paper, but once The Clown got in the ring and wrestled, he was a threat to everyone, whether he was facing a local jobber, or a main event star like Bret Hart. Doink debuted in 1993 and feuded with Crush right away, which lead to a famous match at WrestleMania IX where there were “two Doinks.” From there, Doink would attempt to qualify for the King of the Ring tournament in 1993, where he would have to face Mr. Perfect not just once, but three times, in order to gain entry. Doink and Mr. Perfect were the (no pun intended) perfect match for one another. They were on an even playing field, and they were out to show that Doink The Clown specifically was not a joke character.
That leads us to this Hidden Gem, the finale in a three match series. Let’s get right into it.
Right off the bat, we get the RAW intro from Vince, Bobby Heenan, and Macho Man. Considering how much WCW I’ve been watching over the past few months, this feels quite weird, seeing those two guys with Vince McMahon. It also reminds me of how Vince was kind of trying to keep Macho Man out of the ring, despite him being (to my knowledge) perfectly fine health wise. Was it an attempt from Vince to really show that the WWF was focusing on their “new generation”? Or was something else going on here? ‘Cause really… I mean…. they brought back Jake The Snake Roberts in 1996. That’s all I’m saying. Nonetheless, Doink makes his entrance first, coming out to very evil sounding music. He immediately goes under the ring once he gets down to ringside. Welp. Vince says that Lord Alfred Hayes is outside with someone, so we go and take a look. Turns out it’s Doink that’s out there with him. The Lord asks him how he got there, and Doink says he was never by the ring, it was all an illusion. Then he squirts Hayes with water and leaves. This is already amazing. When we get back to the arena, we see the referee go out and pull up the ring skirt, which then leads to Doink coming out and laughing. Pro wrestling is amazing and I love it.
Out next comes Mr. Perfect to a big pop. Or at least, as big as you’re gonna get in the Manhattan Center, considering it’s a small crowd. He does his usual gum spitting and towel throwing shtick. He also hilariously denied a fan a high five, after staring at him for a good while. Perfect jumps into the ring and immediately gets attacked by Doink. The bell sound follows, and this one is now officially underway. I’ve gotta say, this match is a great way to kick off WCW Monday Nitro. Insert eye roll. WCW Etiquette. The Clown is aggressive early on, choking out Mr. Perfect with his own towel. If this had happened in 2010, Doink would have been released from his contract. Doink throws Mr. Perfect by the neck with the help of the towel, then pretends to dry himself off before discarding it. What a heel. Those actions from Doink allowed time for Mr. Perfect to recover, as he starts fighting back with right hands to the midsection of the The Clown. He then shoots Doink off the ropes and connects with a clothesline (I guess?) using the towel across Doink’s neck. Finally the towel gets thrown away, as we get strikes from Mr. Perfect. Once The Clown gets back to his feet, he engages in a slapfest with Mr. Perfect. Eat your hearts out Sami Zayn/Kevin Owens. I feel dirty even mentioning Sami’s name after what he did at Hell in a Cell.
Doink attempts to kick Mr. Perfect, but he gets caught, and taken down, which leads to Perfect dropping a knee onto the leg. More leg work from Perfect follows, including the famous Terry Funk spinning-toe-hold-of-doom from SmackDown vs. RAW 2011. Doink is struggling to get to his feet now as Mr. Perfect stomps away at his leg. All the while commentary is putting over The Evil Clown as a serious competitor, which is nice. You’d never get that these days. They couldn’t even bring themselves to put over The Ascension as a serious threat when they first debuted on the main roster. Mr. Perfect slides to the outside and wraps Doink’s leg across the steel ring post. I imagine that doesn’t feel very nice. Doink The Clown is shown regretting his life decisions as we head into a commercial break. When we come back, Mr. Perfect is still in control, with Doink sitting in the corner getting pounded on. Perfect seems to have gotten cocky, and it costs him, as Doink manages to kick him away. The Clown is control now, with varying strikes and kicks, although he is struggling to maintain his balance. This selling from The Clown truly is phenomenal. Doink effortlessly throws Mr. Perfect to the outside of the ring, which is funny. He then contemplates a top rope maneuver, but decides against it due to his leg being in bad shape. He instead opts for a double axe handle off of the apron onto a kneeling Mr. Perfect.
We get a “WHAT A MANEUVER” from Vince McMahon on commentary after Doink sends Mr. Perfect’s shoulder into the steel ring post. I was waiting for that. Mr. Perfect struggles to get back into the ring as a very young Mike Chioda continues his count towards ten. Chioda, by the way, has a mullet, which just further supports my suspicion that every referee in the early to mid 90s had one. Perfect attempts to get back in, however he gets hit with a forearm to the chest a la Sheamus by Doink. Perfect manages to land a right hand despite this, but in the end gets knocked back down to the arena floor. Mr. Perfect gets back in and gets caught by Doink, who targets the arm. He then takes down the Perfect one, only to get trapped in a headscissors, while commentary says things like “uncut,” “uncensored,” and “underachieving.” Right. Of course…? Anyways, Perfect manages to get some two counts while holding Doink in this position. The Clown soon breaks free and gets to stomping on a downed Mr. Perfect, while Bobby Heenan says “Doink is like Jell-O, there’s always room for more.” The Brain truly was hilarious. Doink gets carried away with his kicks, and has to take a minute to sit back and relax his leg. During this, he takes the time to laugh and then look directly into the camera with disgust. I love everything about this.
Vince and Macho Man on commentary call Doink a “sick puppy” which is funny. Sick Puppies is (or, I guess, was) one of my favorite bands. The Clown gets Mr. Perfect into an armbar here, and despite Mr. Perfect’s best attempts to escape, Doink keeps it locked in, effectively out-wrestling Curt Hennig. Eventually the Perfect one is able to escape the hold, and then stomp on the hurt leg of The Clown. Perfect is on fire here, snapping Doink’s leg back. Doink then attempts to beg for mercy, but Perfect is having none of that. He lays in with right hands to The Clown, as well as chops, and then finally he locks in a Figure Four-esque maneuver. Perfect gets four different two counts from this hold before Doink pokes him in the eyes to break it. What a genius move. Doink rakes the eyes again, which sends Mr. Perfect down to the outside. Doink chases after him like a wild dog, and ends up slamming Perfect’s shoulder into the ring post once again, while Mr. McMahon has a fit on commentary. Mr. Perfect goes for a double leg take-down, which I guess technically connects, although Doink was still in a better position to take advantage. That doesn’t happen however, as Perfect stomps on the leg of Doink, before both men get back into the ring.
Back on the outside for Doink, as he sends Perfect’s arm around the ring post, much like Perfect did to Doink’s leg earlier in the match. Hey, it’s what happens. Now inside the ring, Doink locks in some kind of arm hold. I don’t know the name of it, but I imagine it doesn’t feel good. The crowd is chanting something that I can’t make out. Maybe I could if Vince would stop talking for two seconds, but, I digress. Doink eventually breaks the hold to stomp right on the point of the elbow of Mr. Perfect. Ouch. He then scoops him up and traps that bad arm to slam him down on it with a suplex. Doink is now taking the time to mock Mr. Perfect and his bad times. He then goes for a cover, which I believe is the first proper one of the match, however he only gets a two count. That then leads us into our second commercial break. This is a pretty long match, considering RAW was only what, an hour back then? Goes to show how much the company trusted these two guys to have a good match that would hook the TV viewers.
When we come back from the break, we see Doink and Mr. Perfect engaged in a back-and-forth punching battle, which Mr. Perfect comes out on top of. He then connects with an atomic drop, and a big running clothesline. Business is picking up my friends! Perfect’s momentum gets abruptly stopped though, as Doink grabs hold of Perfect’s singlet and sends him face first into the middle turnbuckle. Doink tries to take advantage but he can’t, as Mr. Perfect nails a huge clothesline, and sends Doink crashing to the ground outside the ring. A second Doink is shown arriving and going under the ring, where he eventually pulls the original Doink to take his spot in the match. Perfect pulls Doink V2 into the ring, where he attempts a snapmare, to no avail. Doink goes to work with punches, and even delivers a monkey flip. Vince McMahon is now calling out Doink V2, as he can see that the makeup on his face is once again fully intact after it’d nearly all came off of the original Doink. The Clown shoots Perfect off the ropes, however Mr. Perfect is able to grab the leg and nail a Perfect Plex for the one, two, three! This match is over, ladies and gentlemen.
The two Doinks attack Mr. Perfect after the match, which I don’t remember seeing before. That’s Twin Magic for you though. We get more choking from the Doinks, which makes Daniel Bryan cringe somewhere. Eventually Hawaiian Crush shows up and he takes out the two clowns.
After the match Vince McMahon says Mean Gene is standing by with Hulk Hogan and Jimmy Hart. Wow. Okay, that’s enough WCW for today.
Match Rating: 4 gems
That match was fantastic in every way. It had amazing psychology, some brawling here and there, vicious maneuvers, outside shenanigans, it had it all. I highly recommend viewing this one, especially if you’ve never taken the Doink character seriously. I completely believe this’ll change your view to be favorable of him. If not, then you still got to see a great match. It’s just a shame we couldn’t get more mileage out of this specific version of Doink, as he’d pretty soon after this turn babyface, and he was just never the same. He became the fun loving comedy character that everybody remembers. Not to say that that wasn’t good too (I’d say the pop he got at WrestleMania X7 made the face run worthwhile), but it wasn’t nearly as good as heel Doink.
That’s it for this week, but don’t forget to tune in next week for another Hidden Gem. Since we’re in the spooky month with Halloween coming up, I figured this would be a fun time to kind of detour from the usual definition of “Hidden Gem” and instead take a look at something that was odd and forgotten, rather than good and forgotten.
Until then, I am JeriKane, and this is the Hidden Gems series.