The year 1993 meant changes in WWE. A lot of changes. After the 1992 steroid trial took place, Vince McMahon decided to get rid of a lot of the talent that he had and they brought in some different people.
If you read my 1992 Royal Rumble review, I noted how it was an all-time great roster of wrestlers in the 1992 Royal Rumble match. A year later, the talent pool had diminished significantly. They got rid of guys that were obvious steroid users due to the trial, so that really depleted the roster in a lot of ways.
The Hogan era was pretty much finished by the time 1993 came around. Of course, he found a way into the WWF Title match at WrestleMania IX, but he wasn’t a full-timer anymore. The company was moving on without him and the new face of the company, at least in January, was Bret Hart. He was the WWF Champion heading into this show after beating Ric Flair for the WWF Title a few months earlier.
For the first time (and for nearly every Rumble since), it was announced that the winner of the Royal Rumble match got to face the WWE Champion at WrestleMania. It’s the stipulation that made the Rumble feel that much more special. Who went on to win? Let’s find out.
This was originally written a few years ago. My additional thoughts are in blue font as well because there’s always more to say.
WWF Royal Rumble
January 24, 1993
ARCO Arena in Sacramento, California
The show began with a shot of the crowd in Sacramento and the announcers welcomed us to the show. The announcers were Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. They bickered about what was coming up, Heenan wanted to talk about The Narcissist and Gorilla said nobody cares. They might be my favorite wrestling announce team ever. It was their last Royal Rumble together, which makes me sad thinking about it.
The Beverly Brothers entered for the opening tag team. The Steiner Brothers were the opponents and they got a big pop from the crowd.
The Steiner Brothers (Rick and Scott Steiner) vs. The Beverly Brothers (Beau and Blake Beverly)
Pre-match notes: The Steiners were the faces that are legit brothers while Beverlys were heels that were fake brothers. Blake had a mustache while Beau did not. This was the Steiners first WWF PPV match.
Scott took down Beau with an armbar, then Beau complained that there was a hair grab, but heels lie. Scott with a hiptoss that sent Beau across the ring. Scott gave Beau a gutwrench suplex leading to the Beverly Brothers stalling more. Blake tagged in, shoved Rick and that led to Rick tagging by shoving Beau off the apron to the floor. Blake with a kick to the ribs of Rick followed by a powerslam. Rick ran the ropes, caught Blake doing a leapfrog and hitting a powerslam of his own. Scott tagged in with an overhead belly to belly suplex on Blake, so Beau went into the ring and hit a cheap clothesline. Blake with a backbreaker to Scott, then Beau tagged in with a double axe to the body. Beau with a backbreaker on Scott for a two count. Blake back in with a headbutt, forearm to the back and Beau back in against Scott with punches. Blake did some choking with the tag rope while Beau hit a suplex on Scott for two. Blake slapped on a Boston Crab submission on Scott, who powered out, so Beau hit him with an elbow drop. Scott with a suplex on Blake. Beau back in as he whipped Scott into the turnbuckle. Scott came back with a double underhook suplex, which led to Rick getting the hot tag against Blake. Rick with a back body drop and a German Suplex sent Blake onto his head/neck across the ring. Beau hit Rick in the back, but then Rick hit clotheslines on each Beverly guy. Scott got the tag, he punched Beau a few times, Blake put Scott on his shoulders and Scott rolled through for a pin attempt for two. Rick took care of Beau outside the ring. Scott sent Blake into the ropes and hit a Frankensteiner with Blake landing right on his head and Scott covered Blake for the pinfall win at 10:34.
Winners by pinfall: The Steiner Brothers (Rick and Scott Steiner)
Analysis: **1/2 It was a solid opening tag team match that was competitive with the heels in control until the faces made the big comeback. It made sense to put over The Steiner Brothers since it was their WWF PPV debut. Scott hitting the Frankensteiner looked very impressive there. The Beverly Brothers had some mild success in their WWF careers, but they didn’t get pushed to the top of the division.
(The Steiners were new in the company, so putting them over was the obvious result. A lot of us knew them from NWA/WCW and I’m sure most people would have expected a long run in the WWF for the Steiners, but it wasn’t that long or successful. This was fine as an opener, though.)
They showed a video package about Shawn Michaels and former tag team partner Marty Jannetty going into their match. They were The Rockers with a lot of success as a team, but then Michaels turned on Jannetty one year earlier in January 1992. Michaels had a lot of success as a singles heel with Sensational Sherri as his manager. They went further in the story showing Marty attacking Shawn, Marty grabbed the mirror held by Sensational Sherri, then Michaels pulled Sherri in front of him and Marty hit Sherri in the head with the mirror.
Analysis: The date wasn’t listed in the video, so I looked it up and it was October 31, 1992 on WWF Superstars when Marty hit Sherri with the mirror by accident. That set up this match at the 1993 Royal Rumble.
(That was a big angle. Not as big as Shawn turning on Marty, but smashing a mirror right onto Sherri looked devastating. She sold it so well.)
Sensational Sherri was introduced to watch the match at ringside. This was her return after the mirror incident. Sherri was wearing a low cut red dress. It was probably one of the best looks of her career. Heenan thought she was there to support Michaels while Monsoon mentioned that Michaels never even checked on her when she was in the hospital. Marty Jannetty entered as the challenger and got a nice ovation from the crowd. Shawn Michaels was up last as the heel champion looking cocky. Michaels wanted Sherri to join him in the ring, but she did not.
Intercontinental Championship: Shawn Michaels vs. Marty Jannetty
Pre-match notes: Michaels was the heel Intercontinental Champion while Jannetty was the babyface challenger. This was about three months into Shawn’s first IC Title reign.
Jannetty was aggressive early after a corner whip, atomic drop and a knee lift that led to Michaels bumping over the top to the floor. You don’t see that often when a guy bumps over the top on a knee lift, but that’s a special athlete like Shawn is. Michaels was brought back in by Marty, who then hit him with a clothesline. Jannetty with a suicide dive to take down Michaels on the floor. Jannetty with a jumping fist off the apron onto Michaels. Jannetty went up top, he jumped off and Michaels punched him to stop that attack. Michaels drove Jannetty shoulder first into the steel ring post. It was the right shoulder that hit the ring post, but Marty sold the left shoulder because in wrestling they usually work over the left body parts. Michaels drove the left shoulder into the ring post, which led to Heenan claiming that Sherri winked at Michaels, which wasn’t true, but Bobby was the best. Michaels with a shoulderbreaker to the left shoulder of Jannetty, Marty to the floor and Michaels knocked him down with a double axehandle to the shoulder. Michaels with a body slam on the floor. Back in the ring, Michaels sent Jannetty’s left arm into the turnbuckle. Michaels went up top with a double axehandle to the left shoulder of Jannetty. Michaels slapped on an armbar, Marty slapped the mat repeatedly to get the crowd going and it’s not a tapout – that would be a few years later. When they got back up, Michaels hit a single arm takedown for a two count. Michaels with an arm wringer, Jannetty with punches, but Michaels came back with an eye poke and a body slam. Michaels went to the middle ropes, took way too long and Jannetty got the foot up to block it. Michaels charged at Jannetty, who moved and Michaels went shoulder first into the turnbuckle. Jannetty got some momentum going with several punches, so Michaels grabbed the tights and sent Jannetty out of the ring. They battled on the apron with Jannetty hitting a suplex that brought Michaels over the top rope and onto the floor. Sherri went over to check on Michaels, but then she slapped him in the face. That drew a big pop from the crowd. Heenan: “What a backstabbing, no good lying cheat she turned out to be!”
Jannetty hit a back suplex on Michaels for a two count. Jannetty with a corner whip leading to Michaels bumping over the top to the floor. Jannetty sent Michaels into the top of the steel steps. Jannetty with a powerslam, he jumped off the top, Michaels got back up to avoid it and Jannetty hit a weak looking DDT for a two count. Michaels went for a superkick, Jannetty ducked it and Jannetty hit a superkick for two. The Rockers did the double superkick a lot during their run as a team. Jannetty with a slingshot that sent Michaels into the ring post (or close to it) and Jannetty got a two count. Michaels went for a punch, the referee was too close and took a back elbow to the head to knock the referee down by accident. Jannetty held Michaels, called for Sherri, who bounced into the ring (her boobs sure did bounce), she took her high heel shoe off, Michaels ducked her shoe strike attempt and Sherri hit Jannetty by accident. Marty sold it like he was knocked out. Michaels got in her face, he looked frustrated about it and Michaels turned around to Marty to tell him some instructions. Michaels picked up Jannetty and hit him with a superkick. Marty did a flip bump to sell it, the referee woke up and Michaels covered for the pinfall win at 14:20.
Winner by pinfall: Shawn Michaels
Analysis: ***3/4 A very good match with a cheap ending that was fitting for the heel champion. The pacing was slow early on with Michaels working over the shoulder, but when Jannetty made the comeback the fans really got into it. The story with Sherri at ringside played a major factor into the finish of the match, which was expected considering the storyline going into the match. The superkick was not Shawn’s finisher during this initial heel run and he did not do the kick as well as he would do it in the years that followed when it became “Sweet Chin Music,” but it got the job done here.
(It was a controversial finish that was fitting for a heel champion like Michaels. I thought it was booked well. Marty doing the flip bump to sell the superkick was ridiculous, but that’s what wrestlers do sometimes.)
After the match, Sherri went running to the back with Michaels holding up his IC Title as the champion. Gene Okerlund was trying to interview Sherri, so Shawn went to the back and so did Mary as well.
It was backstage to Sherri with Mean Gene, who tried to calm her down for being hysterical. When Michaels went up to Sherri he said she was in the gutter, she yelled “you said you loved me” at Shawn and then Marty showed up to attack Shawn. That was broken up by referees and officials in the backstage area.
Analysis: The plan was to continue to the feud, but Marty was fired the next day due to the usual drug/alcohol issues that he had during his life. They brought back Marty in May 1993, which led to a terrific IC Title match on Raw on May 17, 1993 when Marty beat Shawn for the title. Shawn won the title back at a house show a few weeks later. That Raw match was better than this match. I’d say it was over four stars out of five. It was one of the best WWF matches in 1993 for sure. As for Sherri, she continued being against Shawn for a few months, got into a feud with Luna as well and then she was off to WCW where she managed Ric Flair and later Harlem Heat as well.
(The rivalry lost some steam since Marty was fired briefly. I’ve seen that May 1993 match fairly recent and the crowd was really into the match. Cool Raw moment.)
Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Big Boss Man
Pre-match notes: Bigelow was a heel while Boss Man was a face. I don’t remember a storyline here. Bigelow returned to the WWF a few months before this. Boss Man had his right wrist taped. They were both bigger dudes in terms of their weight.
Bigelow with a running splash against the turnbuckle. Bigelow continued the offense by sending Boss Man out of the ring and then whipping him into the side of the ring apron. Boss Man got some momentum with a clothesline followed by repeated punches to the face. Boss Man with ten punches against the turnbuckle. It was funny because they zoomed in on a few punches, you could see he wasn’t close to touching Bam Bam and then they zoomed out. Bigelow came back with a belly to back suplexes. Bigelow tried a headbutt off the ropes, but Boss Man moved. Boss Man with a running bulldog that sent Bigelow into the mat. Bigelow with a back body drop over the top to the floor. The crowd was dead as Boss Man rolled back in the ring and Bigelow worked over the lower back with punches, kicks, headbutts and so on. Bigelow slapped on a bearhug to put me to sleep. When the match woke up again, Boss Man blocked a suplex and hit a sloppy looking suplex of his own. Bigelow followed up with a headbutt to the lower back. Bigelow missed a running cross body and Boss Man came back with a back body drop. Boss Man with a running splash to the back of Bigelow followed by a punch to the jaw. Boss Man charged, Bigelow with a boot to the face followed by a running clothesline. Bigelow up top and he hit a flying headbutt off the top for the pinfall win at 10:10.
Winner by pinfall: Bam Bam Bigelow
Analysis: *1/4 This was a poor match that was boring for most of it. They didn’t seem to have a lot of chemistry. The finish wasn’t done well either. It was a meaningful win for the heel Bigelow, who was a bigger guy that moved around the ring well. This was the last PPV match during Boss Man’s first run with the WWF. He was in WCW by the end of the year.
(Bad match that was done to try to build up Bigelow as a midcard heel.)
A clip was shown from two weeks earlier on WWF Mania when Razor Ramon attacked Owen Hart since he was Bret Hart’s younger brother. Ramon hit him with a trash can.
They showed a promo from one night earlier during a Sacramento Kings game saying he was going to have gold around his waist just like the gold he had around his neck and his fingers.
Razor Ramon entered as the challenger for the WWF Title match. He debuted in the WWF in mid-1992 as a heel doing the Tony Montana “Scarface” gimmick. I was only 12 years old and had not seen Scarface yet. A few years later when I saw Scarface, I immediately thought of Razor.
Bret Hart was interviewed backstage by Mean Gene Okerlund. Bret said this has become a personal thing and Razor is going to pay for everything. Bret said he was going to make his family proud.
Bret “The Hitman” Hart got a huge ovation as the WWF Champion. Bret was about three months into his first WWF Title reign after he beat Ric Flair to win the title in October 1992. They showed Bret’s parents Stu and Helen Hart sitting ringside to watch the match.
Analysis: Bret was very popular at this point as the main babyface of the company. Even though I’m Canadian like Bret, he wasn’t my favorite because I used to like Shawn Michaels more. It wasn’t a knock on Bret, though. I liked Bret and always have. He just wasn’t flashy as Shawn or my other favorites before him like Randy Savage and Mr. Perfect. As I got older, I appreciated Bret’s technical skills more. As for Razor, it was easy to like a guy like him even though he was a heel because he looked cool. Plus, we got to say phrases like “oozing machismo” because of him. That’s unique.
(Razor didn’t get too many WWF Title matches on TV/PPV in his career. He was always a level below that, so this was a bit of a rare match with Razor getting to be in the spotlight as Bret Hart’s challenger.)
WWF Championship: Bret Hart vs. Razor Ramon
Pre-match notes: Bret was the babyface champion while Ramon was the heel challenger. This was Ramon’s only WWF Title match on PPV.
When Bret put his sunglasses on a kid at ringside, Razor threw his toothpick at the same kid. That was funny. Ramon with a hard whip that sent Hart into the turnbuckle, then he charged, but Hart moved and Ramon hit his knee against the turnbuckle. Hart worked over the left knee of Ramon by jumping on it along with a Figure Four Leglock that led to Razor reaching the bottom rope. Hart worked over the left leg some more by kicking the back of it and then whipping the left leg into the ring post. Ramon came back with a corner whip, which Hart sold by sliding ribs first into the ring post. Ramon with two backbreakers on the floor followed by Ramon sending Bret back first into the ring post. Ramon kept working over the lower back of Hart by kicking at his back repeatedly. Ramon hit a fallaway slam, which was one of his patented moves in his career. Ramon with a hard whip into the turnbuckle, which Bret took sternum first in what became one of Bret’s patented bumps in his career. Ramon slapped on the abdominal stretch submission, then after about a minute of that, Bret countered it and then Ramon took him down with a hip toss. Ramon missed an elbow drop, then he hit a shoulder tackle and got a two count from it. Hart with a cross body block, but Ramon powered out of it. Ramon and Hart each got a nearfall. Ramon slapped on a bearhug to wear down the back of Hart some more. Hart bit Ramon’s head to get out of that hold. Hart with a back body drop over the top to the floor. Hart followed up with a suicide dive to take out Ramon on the floor.
They went back into the ring with Hart punching Ramon repeatedly to knock him down. Hart with an atomic drop followed by a running clothesline for two. Hart with a backbreaker, then he went to the middle ropes for a clothesline. Hart with a running bulldog for two as Heenan claimed Hart couldn’t do the Sharpshooter on a bigger guy like Ramon. Hart with a side Russian legsweep for two. Hart set up for the Sharpshooter, Ramon got to the ropes during the first attempt and then Ramon grabbed referee Earl Hebner to stop it. Ramon came back with punches to the ribs, which is what he was going for earlier in the match. Ramon set up Hart on the top rope, Hart with a back elbow and a belly to back suplex. Hart to the middle ropes, he jumped off and Ramon hit him with a boot to the face to block it. Ramon wanted the Razor’s Edge, but Hart powered out of it and got a backslide pin for two. That was a great nearfall for two as Ramon got back into it with kicks to the ribs. Ramon with a hard whip into the turnbuckle. Hart managed to hook the legs into a pinning attempt. While they were laying on the mat, Hart hooked Razor’s legs, turned him over and slapped on the Sharpshooter! The fans popped big when they realized it was happening. Ramon gave up quickly to give Hart the submission win at 17:52.
Winner by submission: Bret Hart
Analysis: ***1/4 A good match with the champion finding a way to retain. They needed to do more for me to consider this a great title match. It would have been nice if Razor got more offense, got more believable nearfalls and had more moments where it looked like he might win. Hart retaining was the obvious result here because the company was going with him as the top guy. A title change didn’t make sense. I remember the finish well because I don’t think I ever saw Bret put the Sharpshooter on where he was laying on his back before he did it. That made that ending memorable, but the rest of the match was just average stuff for the most part.
(Just an average match. I think Razor should have got some more nearfalls and maybe acted more like the heel in the match. Bret winning was not a surprise at all.)
The Introduction of The Narcissist
This was the WWF debut of Lex Luger under the name of The Narcissist although they did bill him as “The Narcissist” Lex Luger so they weren’t hiding the Luger name. They used Bobby Heenan to introduce him. Luger flexed his muscles and posed in front of mirrors. This went on for a few minutes. The Narcissist did a promo that bored everybody, he also trashed Mr. Perfect a bit to tease his first feud.
Analysis: The Narcissist gimmick failed miserably. In July 1993, Lex Luger was an American hero as the WWF tried to make him into a Hulk Hogan-like babyface. It didn’t work.
(This was terrible. Enough said.)
There was an introduction for a man dressed as Julius Caesar and a woman dressed as Cleopatra because WrestleMania 9 was in Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. The guy dressed like Caesar read some words about how they are ready to host WrestleMania 9. Caesar set up the Royal Rumble match by saying: “Let the game begin!” That was the end of it.
Gorilla Monsoon went over the rules for the Royal Rumble match while Bobby Heenan celebrated the introduction of The Narcissist.
30-Man Royal Rumble Match
The #1 entrant was Ric Flair. He won the WWF Title a year earlier from the #3 spot, so Heenan theorized he can do it again. It’s Bob Backlund at #2. He was a very plain and often times boring wrestler who was in a babyface role. He also looked very young. They were both former World Champions and they’re both wearing red trunks. There was not much action with these two as Flair chopped him a bunch and Backlund hit him with an atomic drop. It was Papa Shango at #3. That’s Charles Wright aka Kama, The Godfather, The Goodfather and probably some other gimmicks I can’t remember. He went to eliminate Backlund, but Flair dumped him in just 28 seconds. Gorilla loved to talk about Backlund’s “intestinal fortitude.” The #4 spot was Ted Dibiase, who always got booked early in these matches because he’s a good worker. That’s how you use the quality guys. Most of the two minutes were spent double-teaming Backlund. Brian Knobbs of the Nasty Boys was #5. They’re a babyface team and the Nastys were feuding with Dibiase & IRS (Money Inc.) at this point. Knobbs goes to eliminate Flair, but Ric held on as Heenan freaks out again. They paired off with Backlund going after Flair while Knobbs went after Dibiase. Knobbs gave the Pit Stop to Dibiase, which is when he sticks his armpit in the guy’s face.
The #6 entrant was Virgil, who of course worked for Dibiase in the past. Virgil with a clothesline. Knobbs charged in at Dibiase, but Ted ducked and Knobbs was eliminated from the match. I’m not sad about that. Flair continued to beat on Backlund while Dibiase worked over Virgil. In at #7 is Jerry “The King” Lawler, who wasn’t a full-time announcer at this point. Flair went after him and then bailed to the floor. He got back in and tried to dump Virgil, but Lawler ended up saving him. There was not a lot going on as #8 Max Moon entered. He was a threat to win! Not really. The Max Moon gimmick was awful and predictably didn’t last too long. Moon charged at Lawler, Jerry ducked and there goes Moon. We’ll miss you. It’s #9 Genichiro Tenryu, who was a famous wrestler in Japan that didn’t have a great WWF career. Their roster was really thin at this point. There were six guys out there as #10 buzzes in and it’s Mr. Perfect, fresh off a babyface turn. Perfect went right after Ric Flair as Heenan freaked out because they used to be allies. Flair bumped like crazy for everything. Flair did his signature top rope bump. Heenan was freaking out, asking for water. Flair came back with chops. They would have a “career-ending match” on Raw the next night that was already taped with Flair losing.
We’ve got another Rumble threat at #11…Skinner. Okay, so he’s not a threat. He’s just a really bad gimmick. Flair whipped Perfect in, Flair ducked and Perfect knocked him out after nearly 20 minutes. Heenan went nuts saying “That’s not fair to Flair” like he did the year before. The crowd loved it. And that’s the last PPV appearance we’d see of Flair in the WWF for 8 years. Now that there aren’t any personal issues in the ring there was not much excitement in there. It was Koko B. Ware at #12. Koko was one-half of the High Energy team with Owen Hart. Perfect dropkicked Skinner out of there. One half of the Headshrinkers, Samu, was #13. Samu was thrown in there by his manager Afa, who is also his father. YES! My guy, the HUSS man The Berzerker is #14. A huge threat to win! I loved how much Monsoon and Heenan argue with eachother. Lawler charged in at Perfect and Mr. Perfect backdropped him out of there. Dibiase went to dump Perfect out. He hangs on for a while, but Koko helps and Lawler pulls him out while he’s standing on the floor. Hey, one of those refs is ECW’s Bill Alfonso! The Berzerker was the tallest man in the match, which makes him an immediate threat. It was The Undertaker at #15, who was in his first run as a babyface. Heenan: “By the time he gets to the ring it’ll be time for WrestleMania.” Berzerker beat on Backlund on the floor with a chair. Undertaker eliminated Samu. Berzerker slammed Backlund on the cement floor. He’s so damn berserk. Undertaker eliminated Tenryu. Berzerker almost gets thrown out by Koko, but he holds on. He’s so crazy!
It’s Terry Taylor at #16. He’s no longer the Red Rooster here. Dibiase dumped Koko and Taylor at the same time. Undertaker went after Dibiase, who was the one that brought him into the WWF. Taker gave him a chokeslam and then clotheslines him out of the ring, so Dibiase was gone.
“WHAT IS THAT?!” Suddenly this giant man walks down the aisle. He’s not in the match, but here he is anyway. It’s Giant Gonzalez. Undertaker eliminated The Berzerker with a backdrop. Gonzalez was tall, but he was thin, so he was wearing a full bodysuit to hide that fact. Heenan said he’s the biggest man he’s ever seen. It’s Damien Demento, another terrible gimmick, at #17. They didn’t even show him. The big man chopped Undertaker and he went over the top to the floor. Undertaker was out of the match. Undertaker was whipped into the steps. They went back in the ring and he gave Undertaker a chokeslam. The announcers said they had never seen anybody do this to Undertaker. IRS is #18, but he was in no rush. Gonzalez worked over Undertaker’s knee, ramming it against the ring post. All the refs come out to break it up. He finally leaves. Undertaker tried to sit up, but he couldn’t do it. They would go on to have one of the worst feuds and matches ever at WrestleMania. It’s Tatanka at #19, who was a babyface. Bearer came out with the urn to get The Undertaker up. He stumbled down. Gorilla said the guy that attacked Undertaker was 8 feet tall and that Brain’s assertion that he was 20 feet tall wasn’t realistic. Yeah because 8 feet tall is realistic. Undertaker’s about 6’10” and he was about 7’4″ or so. Not exactly 8 feet. It was the other half of the babyface Nasty Boys, Jerry Saggs at #20.
Here’s another threat to win, Typhoon at #21. Heenan called him Tugboat, which was his old name. He was a very fat man, needless to say. It’s Fatu at #22, who we would later know as Rikishi. It’s Earthquake at #22, who were a part of the Natural Disasters team with Typhoon. Earthquake went after Typhoon right away for some reason. They smash bellies in the corner. I don’t know how else to say it. Typhoon charged into Earthquake, the Quake moved and there goes Typhoon all the way to the floor. “Every man for yourself, don’t be a sissy!” Good advice, Heenan. It’s Carlos Colon, the Caribbean Champion, at #23. His sons are Carlito and Primo. Monsoon called him a youngster even though he was 45 years old at this point in his career. Colon eliminated Demento via backdrop. Go back to the Outer Reaches of Your Mind, Damien. Monsoon mentioned that Backlund’s been in there for over 46 minutes. It’s El Matador Tito Santana in the #24 spot. He can win it all, says Heenan. Backlund dumped Fatu. Tito tried to get rid of Backlund, but the untanned one hung on. Wow, that was a very sloppy clothesline by Backlund on IRS. He was really tired, I think. Rick Martel was in at #25 and he went right after Santana. They were tag partners years earlier. IRS charged in at Earthquake, who ducked and IRS was eliminated. The crowd cheered wildly for Backlund hanging on from the near elimination.
We have a legit threat coming in at #26…Yokozuna. He weighed well over 500 pounds according to Monsoon. That is one giant diaper. He no-sold everything from Tatanka and threw him out of there. Colon went after him and he was knocked down with a punch. Earthquake pointed at Yoko as we have a battle of the fat men. Rest in Peace for both of them. The crowd enjoyed this showdown. They did a couple of shoulderblocks, but nobody really moved. The Rocket Owen Hart was #27. He was in the tag team High Energy with Koko B. Ware. Quake worked on Yoko in the corner. Earthquake missed a charge, so Yoko flipped him over with a belly to belly to eliminate Earthquake. Heenan said Yoko’s going to win the Rumble and the title at WrestleMania. YES! Repo Man at #26. I mark out for Berzerker and Repo Man. I can’t help it. They are legends to me. Don’t question it. Embrace it. “Backlund is still out there,” says Monsoon. He said it many times throughout the match. Everybody ganged up on Yoko. The crowd loved that, but they were unable to get rid of him. It was 6 on 1. Yoko fought them off. Finally some star power with a babyface Randy Savage at #30. This would be his second last Rumble. Owen dropkicked Sags out of there. Owen charged in and Yokozuna whipped him out with a rough hip toss. Wow, Owen took a hard bump there. That had to have hurt. They were future tag team partners too. Macho Man eliminated Repo Man.
The final four were Backlund, Martel, Savage and Yokozuna. Backlund fought off Martel and put him on the top rope. Backlund eliminated him with a forearm, sending Martel to the floor. Backlund hit Yoko in the back and then had this “oh shit what did I do?” type of look on his face. Backlund hit him with a couple of dropkicks. Then Backlund charged in like a dumbass, so Yoko sidestepped him and hiptossed him out. You were in there for an hour. Don’t you know that charging in at people gets you eliminated? Come on Bob!
It’s Savage with Yoko. The big man worked him over in the corner. Savage fought back with kicks. Yoko has yet to go down. Savage went up top and hit him with a double axhandle. The crowd was going nuts with Yoko teetering. Yoko went down to one knee. Savage charged in and Yoko dropped him with a superkick. Yoko dropped Savage with a belly to belly and legdrop. Yoko charged at him in the corner and hits a backsplash. Yoko went for another one, Savage moved, Yoko hit the buckle and fell down. Savage to the top with the elbow! The crowd was going nuts. Savage covers him? WHAT THE HELL? Yoko pressed Savage over the top to the floor. I didn’t like that as a finish although they wanted to do it to show off his power. It’s just silly that Savage would go for a pinfall in a match that has no pinfalls. The match ended at 66:35.
FIVE RANDOM THOUGHTS on the Royal Rumble
– The talent in this Rumble is horrible. It might be the worst ever. That’s partly because of the roster overhaul that happened due to the steroid trial. It was one year after the 1992 Rumble, which is arguably the most star-studded Rumble ever. The problem with this match was it really lacked heated feuds. The crowd couldn’t get too excited for anything because of the lack of build for a lot of the interactions in the ring.
– The Perfect-Flair stuff was excellent. The crowd was hot for all of it. I loved their chemistry together and they had some very good matches as well. I remember the Raw match that followed this as being very solid. It’s a shame Flair only stayed in the WWF for a year and a half at this point in his career, though.
– The Undertaker getting attacked by Giant Gonzalez set up a long-term feud between them. It sucked and it was probably the worst feud of The Undertaker’s career. So bad.
– Even though Backlund lasted over one hour his involvement was pretty limited. He was there, but what did he really do? Not a whole lot. He did okay with the near eliminations. His style isn’t exciting, though.
– Every time I see the “Icopro” banner at the top of arenas I chuckle. What a great business move that was, Vince. What? I had nothing else to talk about.
FACTS & OPINIONS about the Royal Rumble match
Person that lasted the longest: Bob Backlund at 61:10.
Most Eliminations: Yokozuna with 7.
Best Performers (3): Bob Backlund – He lasted the longest by far, so you have to give him props. He wasn’t outstanding, though, which summarizes the match.
Mr. Perfect – His energy was fantastic. I wish he was booked to last into the final four, though. They needed his talent in there longer.
Yokozuna – He was put over huge here. If Savage was in longer he’d get this spot. Yoko did great in the monster role.
Best Elimination: Yokozuna throwing out Owen Hart was the best-looking elimination in the match. It looked painful. I liked Perfect eliminating Flair too.
Match Rating: **1/4 This came across as a very average Royal Rumble match that was severely lacking in terms of star power. As I wrote above, they didn’t have enough exciting moments in the match as well as not enough long-term feuds. The fans got into some of the match, but there were a lot of dead spots. To the credit of the WWF, they did put over Yokozuna in a huge way because it was a dominant performance. The finish will always be weird to me because Savage going for a pin was so silly, but that’s what they did to try show off how powerful Yokozuna was. I think that could have been done a lot better.
(The roster didn’t have a lot of threats to win, so Yokozuna going over made a lot of sense. He was new, fresh and the heaviest guy on the show. It’s not a surprise that WWE wanted to push him.)
After the Royal Rumble match, Julius Caesar and Cleopatra showed up at ringside. They walked to the back with Yokozuna and Mr. Fuji following them because the story was they were headed to WrestleMania.
They showed some images of the matches during the event. That was the end of the show.
This event had a runtime of 2:37:13 on WWE Network.
Show rating (out of 10): 5
This was an average show that was saved from being an all-time bad show because the non-Rumble matches were better than what we got most years. I liked Michaels/Jannetty while Hart/Ramon was pretty good too. Even the Steiners match was decent enough. I think the Rumble match was booked in a way that made it passable, but the lack of star power really hurt it. Also the Giant Gonzalez debut was awful back then and even worse watching it again. Poor Undertaker. They did an excellent job of making Yokozuna look like a huge star, though, so I guess it accomplished that goal. It was a breakout match for him. Hey Macho Man, what was with the pin attempt? Strange finish to the Rumble match.
Best Match: Shawn Michaels vs. Marty Jannetty (***3/4 out of 5)
Worst Match: Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Big Boss Man (*1/4)
Five Stars Of The Show
- Shawn Michaels
- Bret Hart
- Marty Jannetty
- Bob Backlund
That’s all for me. Check out the full list of my WWE PPV Review archive right here. Thanks for reading.
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