Royal Rumble 1993
January 24, 1993
Announcers: Gorilla Monsoon & Bobby "The Brain" Heenan
We begin with Lord Alfred Hayes talking with the Steiner Brothers, Rick and Scott, who are getting ready for their WWF PPV debut.
The Beverly Brothers vs. The Steiner Brothers
Hey, it's two brother teams kicking it off, though the Steiners are real brothers and the Beverlys are not. This is here for one reason and one reason only: to put the Steiners over. This was pretty much the end of the line for the Beverlys as any sort of serious team. After some moderate success in late 1991 and 1992, they were turned into major jobbers before leaving the company shortly after this. The Steiners dominate the start of the match with their wide array of suplexes, thus impressing the WWF fans that weren't familiar with them. The Beverlys grab control and work on Scotty for awhile, but Rick eventually gets the hot tag and goes nuts. The Beverlys go for a Doomsday Device type move on Scott, but as one Beau jumps off the top to clothesline Steiner off Blake's shoulders, Scott turns it into a victory roll to get a close two count. That was an awesome spot. He gets up and catches a Beverly with the Frankensteiner (a hurricanrana) to finish at 10:45. Average match, but it did help establish the Steiners as a force. **
Lord Alfred Hayes has a word with Sensational Sherri in her locker room. Sherri had been Shawn Michaels' valet for much of 1992, but when Marty Jannetty came back and attacked Shawn, he used Sherri as a human shield and ended up pulling her in the way of a mirror (wielded by an enraged Jannetty) to save himself. As a result, Sherri was out of action for a few months and no one knew if she'd side with Shawn or Marty when she returned at the Royal Rumble. Alfred has no luck in getting her to reveal her decision, but does prove to be a dirty old man by asking if he can stick around while she changes. Eww...
A video package of the Marty/Shawn feud is shown. A year earlier, Shawn officially ended the Rockers' relationship by throwing Jannetty through a glass window, putting Marty out of action for several months. When he finally returned (decked out in a Guns N Roses t-shirt), the aforementioned mirror incident occurred.
Intercontinental Title: Marty Jannetty vs. Shawn Michaels (Champion)
Jannetty enters first, then Shawn comes out wearing a cool gold outfit. He has a puke light blue colored Title belt around his waist though. Kind of like UCLA colors. Gorilla calls Shawn the "wrestler of the 90's". What the hell?! It's only January '93, Gorilla. He's only been the IC Champion for two months. How can you possibly even consi... oh wait, that was just Shawn's little tag line. Oops. Before we get to the match, I should mention that there's a sign in the audience (and there were a lot less signs back then so it stands out easily) that says "No Mercy". Six years later that would become the Title of a WWF PPV. Eerie, huh?
Jannetty starts off on fire, dominating Shawn to start. Her sends him flying all over the place, and Shawn bumps like a madman. Jannetty takes him out with a dive through the ropes to the floor, then nails him with a fistdrop off the apron. Shawn catches Marty coming off the top however, and Heenan becomes amused. Shawn rams Marty's right shoulder into the post... so Jannetty grabs his left shoulder in agony. Shawn, seeing Marty sell the left shoulder, decides to ram the left shoulder into the post "again". To the untrained eye it would appear that Marty screwed up there, but it's actually hard to tell who's at fault because it's common knowledge that 99% of the time, wrestlers are supposed to work only on the left body part of their opponent, whether it be an arm or a leg. So it may have actually been that Jannetty was covering for Michaels' mistake and not vice versa. No one notices and the match continues, so maybe it's all a moot point anyway. Michaels connects with a shoulderbreaker inside, but the action soon spills to the floor again. Shawn bodyslams him on the unpadded aisleway, and works on the arm some more. Jannetty curses within earshot of the camera. Inside, Michaels goes off the second rope, but eats Marty's boot on the way down. Shawn catches an elbow in the corner, then goes for a headfirst charge, but Marty moves and Shawn's left shoulder smacks into the post, much like Jannetty's did earlier. Cool stuff. Marty wins a slugfest and makes the comeback, but Shawn tosses him to the floor by his tights. Michaels tries to suplex Jannetty back into the ring, but it's Marty that suplexes Shawn to the floor in a nice bump. Sherri confronts Shawn and slaps him. Jannetty scores a back suplex in the ring, but it only gets a two count. Jannetty whips him into the corner, and Michaels goes flying out of the ring. Jannetty follows, takes his head to the steps, then rolls back in and hits a powerslam. He goes up top for a fistdrop. Shawn moves out of the way, but Jannetty counters that, lands on his feet, and hits a huge DDT for two. Marty ducks a Shawn crescent kick and hits one of his own for two again. Shawn tries a sunset flip, but Marty counters it for another two count. Shawn tries another pinning combination, but Marty rolls through and slingshots him to the post. Close two count. The crowd is really hot by this point. The ref is bumped and Sherri comes into the ring. Marty holds Shawn in place and Sherri prepares to hit him with her trademark loaded shoe, but Shawn ducks out of the way and she accidentally hits Marty instead. Shawn now calms down, knowing that Jannetty is ripe for the pickings. He badmouths Sherri, then picks up Jannetty and casually puts him back down with the crescent kick, complete with Marty's 360 spinning selljob. Shawn covers for three to retain the Intercontinental Title at 14:23. **** for a hell of a match. They would actually have a better match on Raw in May that year that many consider the match of the year for 1993, in which Jannetty finally went over Shawn and won the Intercontinental Championship.
Sherri comes through the curtain in tears and is confronted by Mean Gene Okerlund. Shawn goes to the back to give Sherri a piece of his mind, and Marty quickly follows to start a wild brawl that is quickly broken up by officials.
Lord Alfred Hays talks to the Undertaker.
Big Boss Man vs. Bam Bam Bigelow
Boss Man would be out of the WWF in a month and Bigelow had just returned to the company as a solid midcard heel. You guess who's going over. Boss Man gets a big pop from the crowd, but his contract was almost up and that wasn't enough to save him. A decent big man match develops before Bigelow ends it with the top rope headbutt at 10:01. Certainly not painful to sit through or anything. *1/2
This morning on WWF Mania, Ray Rougeau interviewed Owen Hart and Razor Ramon attacked him and beat the crap out of him just to piss off Bret before their WWF Title Match tonight.
WWF Title: Bret "Hitman" Hart (Champion) vs. Razor Ramon
Four months after his debut, Razor is in the WWF Title Match. Three years and four Intercontinental Titles later, and he'd never reach this high on the card again. If this was a perfect world, we could have seen Ric Flair against Bret here, but Flair was on his way out of the company and he wasn't about to be put in such a high profile match right before returning to WCW. Yokozuna would take over as the next top heel in the company, but this was before his big push, so Flair's buddy Razor gets the honor of being fed to Bret here. Stu and Helen Hart are in attendance tonight just so Heenan can crack on them. Bret comes out to an unbelievable ovation, and goes through his customary routine of giving his pink sunglasses to a young ringsider. Razor throws his toothpick at the same kid just to be a dick. The match starts and they go hard from the beginning, with Bret bumping hard, then applying a Figure Four Leglock to Razor two minutes in. Bret works the leg until Razor takes over with a cool spot where he reverses a whip to the buckle and sends Bret sliding across the mat until his ribs smack into the steel post. He's hurt badly, and Razor takes advantage by ramming him into the post again. Wow, that post is seeing a lot of action tonight. A Razor fallaway slam gets two, as does Bret's sternum first bump into the corner. Razor goes to an abdominal stretch in one of the few instances where it actually makes sense. Bret eventually reverses it, and Ramon breaks the hold. Gorilla snaps on Heenan on commentary. After a pin reversal sequence, Razor goes to a rear chinlock, then a bearhug. The transition is about as smooth as it sounds: not very. Bret bites out of the hold, then backdrops Ramon to the floor. Air Hart hits a flying dive through the second and third ropes. Bret takes his head to the steps, and rolls him back in where he just punches the tar out of him. An inverted atomic drop and a clothesline gets two for Bret. He hits his backbreaker and a second rope clothesline for another two. A bulldog and a russian leg sweep get two more. Bret goes for the Sharpshooter, but Ramon grabs the ref and takes him down with him. The distraction allows Razor to escape and slug away at Bret. Razor sets him up for his pattened back suplex off the top rope, but Bret rolls out of it and hits a back suplex on Ramon instead. Hart goes for the second rope elbow, but Razor gets his boot up. The Bad Guy goes for the Razor's Edge, but Bret somehow turns it into a backslide for two. Razor whips him hard to the corner and plays mercy with him, just so Bret can turn it into an awesome pinning combination. Hebner, out of position, counts only two, but Bret holds onto Razor's legs and applies the Sharpshooter out of nowhere. Razor submits at 17:59, and Bret retains the WWF Title. Wow, Bret Hart rules. ***3/4 Really good match.
Ray Rougeau talks to "Macho Man" Randy Savage, who will be competing in the Royal Rumble match later tonight.
Bobby Heenan makes his way down to the interview stage where he "unveils" "The Narcissist" Lex Luger. Luger poses while Bobby drools over him. Taken out of context, some of his comments would sound really gay. After five minutes, we get the point: Luger is obsessed with himself and is in great shape.
Ray Rougeau catches up with Razor Ramon. Razor says that Bret may be the WWF Champion, but Razor Ramon is the People's Champion. See that, Razor is the People's Champ, not that Rocky guy.
"Julius Caesar" and "Cleopatra" come to the ring to hype Wrestlemania IX which will be Sunday April 4 at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada. By placing their names in quotes I'm attempting to convey to you, the reader, that they obviously are not the real Caesar and Cleopatra, but rather just actors and not very good actors at that. You know, I really like the whole Wrestlemania IX Caesar's Palace concept, but this is taking it a bit too far. The characters, dressed in complete costumes, read off a scroll and ask everyone to join them for Wrestlemania. Heh, everyone in the background his heading to the concession stands for some nachos. Well, at least the speech was relatively short.
30 Man Royal Rumble Match
Hey, no pre-taped interviews before the match? What gives? And Finkel didn't even explain the rules to boot. I feel cheated. This is the first Royal Rumble where the winner gets a guaranteed Title shot at Wrestlemania, though Hulk Hogan did win the Rumble in 1991 and go on to Wrestlemania VII to get a Title shot. That was coincidental though. It wasn't stipulated as such. #1 this year is Ric Flair, mainly to tease another epic victory. #2 is Bob Backlund, making his comeback to the WWF at the age of 43. Backlund's age and his "comeback" were part of the way he was packaged, though really, Flair himself wasn't too far from that number at this point. Both are former WWF Champions. Ten years ago they'd wrestled to a twenty minute draw down south as the NWA and WWF Heavyweight Champions respectively, though the announcers don't mention that. Papa Shango, voodoo preist extraordinaire, currently known as The Goodfather, is #3 and gets dumped by Flair after about thrity seconds. Looks like his push is over. Ted DiBiase, one half of reigning Tag Team Champions, Money Incorporated, is #4. Flair, DiBiase, and Backlund in the same ring? Sounds good to me. Heenan makes age jokes about Backlund, and calls him "Opie" which is just plain funny. #5 is Brian Knobbs of the Nasty Boys and he goes straight after DiBiase. Their respective teams were in the midst of a feud. Knobbs pit stops DiBiase (rubs his sweaty disgusting armpit into DiBiase's face). You know, that thing really was the precursor to the stinkface. I'm not sure which is worse. Virgil enters at #6 and goes crazy on former foe, DiBiase. Teddy ducks a Knobbs charge, and the Nasty contingent of the match is history. Just goes to show that brains will always beat... well, a lack of brains. WWF newcomer, and announcer of WWF Superstars, Jerry "The King" Lawler is #7. He and Flair go at it. Cool. Flair bails under the bottom rope to take a breather in typical Flair fashion.
Max Moon comes in at #8 in his ridiculous spaceman costume or whatever it was supposed to be. Lawler dumps him as #9 enters. It's Japanese sensation Tenryu, and the CROWD GOES... to sleep? I swear, there was no crowd reaction, good or bad. That's the kiss of death in wrestling. Tenryu goes after Ric Flair. They all do. #10 is Flair's former Executive Consultant, Mr. Perfect, and the CROWD GOES NUTS. He has a heated exchange with Flair. They trade chops, then Perfect slams him off the top rope and neck snaps him. Gorilla hypes their match the next night on Raw, which would of course be a Career Match. Skinner is #11, and Perfect eliminates Flair with a sloppy clothesline. Hey, he still lasted twenty minutes. The crowd waves bye bye to Slick Ric and Perfect taunts him from the ring. Koko B. Ware is #12. Perfect dropkicks Skinner out. Samu of the Headshrinkers is #13, and The Berzerker is #14. Perfect dropkicks Lawler out, so Lawler, with the help of DiBiase (still inside the ring) eliminates Perfect. A scuffle results, but a Perfect/Lawler angle never really went anywhere. Virgil is tossed on the other side of the ring while all this is going on.
The Undertaker comes out at #15 and makes his way out as Lawler flips off the crowd on his way to the back. The Berzerker hits Backlund with a chair on the floor; Backlund went through the ropes however, so he's still in. Taker clears away some of the dead weight in Tenryu and Samu. #16 is "Terrific" Terry Taylor, whose career never recovered from the Red Rooster gimmick (though he would persevere and become one of the most important and respected backstage figures in both WWF and WCW in the late 90's and 2000). DiBiase dumps Koko and Taylor at once. Taker chokeslams DiBiase and eliminates him after an impressive twenty-nine minute performance. Now it's down to the Berzerker and The Undertaker, and Taker easily dumps him. Backlund is still in the match but is on the floor. Taker is alone in the ring. Suddenly, Harvey Wippleman comes through the curtain with a giant beast of a man who looks to be about eight feet tall. He is not a scheduled Royal Rumble participant. Damian Demento is #17, but wisely keeps his distance from the ring. The crowd is in a quiet awe of this monster. The man who would go on to become known as the Giant Gonzalez confronts the Undertaker in the middle of the ring and chops him out right over the top rope to the floor. He manhandles him on the outside, as it becomes apparent that this is Harvey's revenge for Undie taking out Kamala every night for the past six months. Gonzalez chokeslams the Undertaker in the ring and leaves him laid out. IRS is #18, as the Giant finally leaves. Taker is left laying in the corner, already eliminated. Demento and IRS beat on Backlund as the Rumble resumes again. #19 is Tatanka. Paul Bearer comes out with the urn to revive the Undertaker and help him limp to the back.
Nasty Boy Jerry Sags, is #20 and goes after Irwin. #21 is Typhoon and #22 is Headshrinker Fatu, as the ring fills up again. #23 is Typhoon's tag team partner, Earthquake. There's way too many tag wrestlers in there this late in this match. The Natural Disasters go at it, as Quake ducks a charge and tosses his buddy Typhoon. #24 is Carlos Colon, brought in by the WWF for this appearance only. More apathy from the crowd. Colon dumps Damien Demento, who actually lasted fifteen minutes, something I never thought I'd say about him. #25 is "El Matador" Tito Santana. Fatu gets eliminated by someone. Backlund, still in there, is very fatigued. #26 is Rick Martel, so he and Tito go at it for old time's sake. IRS is gone, courtesy of Earthquake. #27 is the 505 pound Yokozuna. He tosses Tatanka, then Colon. "The Rocket" Owen Hart enters at #28. Earthquake wants Yoko, but misses a charge and Yoko belly to bellies him out. Gorilla likes Owen's chances, but this is before he leapt out of the shadow, so sadly it's not going to happen. Repo Man is #29. Everyone gangs up on Yoko to try to toss him. Six or seven guys are there and the ropes are seriously leaning, but Yoko powers out and the attempt fails. The final entrant is "Macho Man" Randy Savage at #30.
Yokozuna tosses Santana. Owen dropkicks Sags out. Martel dries dumping Owen, but Owen skins the cat back in. He charges at Yoko and goes flying out of the ring. Savage dumps Repo, and a shot of Owen reveals that his knee is gone. He landed on it the wrong way when he hit the floor. I believe that injury would keep him out of action for several months. Martel, Backlund, Yokozuna, and Savage are the final four. Backlund gets rid of Martel to cut it to three. Backlund takes it to Yoko and gets eliminated. At 43 years of age, he lasted an incredible 61 minutes which is actually more than Flair's feat in 1992. Now it's down to Savage and Yoko. Can you imagine a Savage/Bret Wrestlemania Title match? Awesome. Savage hits the axe-handle off the top twice to knock Yoko down to one knee. The crowd is loving it, but then Savage runs right into a Yokozuna thrust kick. Yoko controls with a belly to belly suplex and a big leg drop. Yoko avalanches the Macho Man in the corner. He tries it again, but this time Savage moves. Yoko is knocked off his feet for the first time, and Savage quickly climbs to the top rope. He hits the Flying Elbow drop, but instinctively (and stupidly) covers him for the pinfall. You IDIOT. Yoko tosses him off and right over the top rope to the floor to eliminate him and win the match. Yokozuna wins the 1993 Royal Rumble at 66:40. The Roman-themed music plays to signify that he's going on to the main event at Wrestlemania IX at Caesar's Palace. Good Rumble. It was booked perfectly, though it definitely did lack star power and big names, especially at the end. Still, a good effort. ***1/2
In the back, Bret confronts Yokozuna with the WWF Title. The stage for Wrestlemania IX is set.
Royal Rumble 1993 Key Stats
Total Wrestling: 119:48
Average Match: 23:58
Average Match Rating: ***
Top Moments: Steiner's debut, the Rockers explode, Bret's defense, Luger's debut, Gonzalez's surprise debut, the Flair/Perfect exchange, Yokozuna's dominance
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