WWF Royal Rumble 1993
by Scrooge McSuck
- Originally broadcasted on Pay-Per-View, on January 24th, from the Arco Arena in Sacramento, CA. The 1993 Royal Rumble marked the first time the match guaranteed a title shot in the WrestleMania main event, although through "coincidental" booking, Hogan won it in 1991 and challenged at WrestleMania VII. It seems weird seeing the PPV without the opening running down the participants, but if you see the list, you would understand why. Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan are calling all the action, by the way, and that's always a plus.
The Steiner Brothers vs. The Beverly Brothers:
(Rick & Scott Steiner vs. Beau & Blake Beverly)
The Steiners were fresh off their run in Crocket Promotions/WCW, and any brain-dead moron would think "push this team to the moon". The Beverly Brothers had a very brief stint as a useful heel tag team, but by this point, they were the bottom feeder of heel teams. When the division only consists of two other heels, though, that isn't saying much for how strong it is. Scott starts with a single leg trip on Beau, then works the arm. Lockup into the corner, and Scott with a hip toss. Beau with a boot to the midsection and a yank of the hair. Irish whip, and Scott with a tilt-o-whirl slam, sending Beau out of the ring for a breather. Rick and Blake have their turn, now. Lockup, and Blake with some cheap shots. Irish whip, and Blake with a powerslam. They do it again, and this time Rick catches Blake in a leap-frog with his own slam. Scott tags back in and connects with a belly-to-belly suplex. Scott with a double underhook, but Beau runs in and nails him with a clothesline. Beau with a back breaker for a two count. Blake tags in and comes off the ropes with a headbutt. They take it to the corner, and use the tag rope to choke Scott out, while the referee is distracted. Beau dips into the Steiners move set, and takes Scott over with a double underhook for a two count. Blake with a snapmare, and applies the Boston Crab. Way to see Rick Martel's finisher for a bottom-card heat segment. Blake goes for a suplex, but Scott counters with his own. Beau cuts off the tag, and gets planted with a underhook slam for his efforts. Rick finally gets the hot tag, and cleans house. Sick with a sick release German suplex on Blake, then Steinerlines to both men. Scott comes back in and gets pounded on, but escapes a Electric Chair position with a victory roll. Scott reverses an Irish whip, and the Frankensteiner on Blake finishes things off at 10:46. A little long considering this was supposed to establish the Steiners as the hot new babyface tag team, but it was a solid match, for the most part, and allowed the Steiners to showcase some of their offense on non-scrubs.
- We get a video package recapping the feud between Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty. At the turn of the new year (1992), Michaels turned his back on Jannetty, and threw him through the Barber Shop Window. Jannetty took some time off (released/suspended for house arrest), but returned in October, and during the confrontation, accidentally struck Sherri with the heart-shaped mirror, thanks to Michaels using her as an unwanted shield. Sherri returns tonight, but who's side will she be on? Take one guess, stupid...
WWF Intercontinental Championship Match:
According to various sources, this match was supposed to blow the house down like they were doing across the country, but this is the first time inserting Sherri into the formula... oh, and Jannetty was wasted beyond belief. Let's see how that affects the match. Michaels with some trash talking, so Jannetty sucker punches him. They do a game of Tom & Jerry until Jannetty slams Michaels face-first into the canvas. Jannetty with an inverted atomic drop, followed by a knee lift, knocking Michaels out of the ring. Jannetty brings Michaels back into the ring, and clotheslines him back out. Jannetty with a sucide dive and mounted punches, and anyone else ever notice the hookers in the front row? Jannetty comes off the top with a fist drop, but his second attempt is countered, and then Michaels rams Jannetty into the ring post, shoulder first... but Jannetty sells the WRONG arm, so Michaels does it again, complete with wise-ass remark from the Brain. Back in the ring, and Michaels connects with a shoulder breaker. Back outside the ring again, and Michaels slams Jannetty on the arena floor. Michaels continues working the arrm, then comes off the top rope with a double axehandle. Jannetty fights free, but gets taken down with a single-arm DDT for a two count. Michaels continues to work the arm, then haults a comeback attempt with a thumb to the eyes. Michaels with a scoop slam, but something off the top rope ends up with him eating boot. Whip to the corner, and a charge from Michaels ends with his shoulder feeling the cold steel. Jannetty with the real comeback, but Michaels tosses him through the ropes. Jannetty blocks a suplex, and brings Michaels over the top, to the floor, instead. Sherri FINALLY makes his presence felt, and NAILS Michaels... to a mild pop. Jannetty brings Michaels back into the ring with a back suplex for a two count. Whip to the corner, and Michaels does the Harley Race bump. Jannetty follows, and rams Michaels into the steps. Back in the ring, Jannetty with a powerslam. Jannetty comes off the top rope, but fakes out Michaels attempt to roll away, then nails him with a DDT for a two count. Whip to the corner, Michaels misses a superkick, and Jannetty connects with his own for another two count. Jannetty counters a sunset flip, and slingshots Michaels into the post for two, again. We get a referee bump, allowing Sherri to climb into the ring. She tries to hit Michaels with her shoe, but it's BABYFACE miscommunication! Michaels tells Sherri off, casually nails Jannetty with the superkick (complete with over-sell), and retains the IC title at 14:18. It wasn't an all-time classic, but it was a VERY solid performance, somewhere in the 3-4 star range, if I were to hand out snowflakes, anymore. Including Sherri was pointless, as she barely factored in, and Jannetty's condition was obvious at times, especially when he started selling the wrong limb.
Shawn Michaels © vs. Marty Jannetty:
But wait... it's not over. Sherri runs backstage, where Okerlund tries to get a word with her, but she's too hysterical. Michaels makes his way back as well, and starts getting in her face, but Jannetty comes back to life and they brawl around the backstage area until the gaggle of WWF officials break it up. This was supposed to keep the program going, but Jannetty was fired the next day for blowing what was supposed to be a classic, and Michaels was hot-shot into a lame program with Tatanka, instead. Jannetty/Michaels doing a blowoff at WrestleMania IX would've been a hell of a lot better.
- The Reverend Slick is standing by, promoting the WWF's Headlock on Hunger, a special charity drive for the Somolian Hunger Relief. They're going to have a special ceremony at Madison Square Garden next week, and donations are accepted at the address given out... too bad Gorilla Monsoon reads the wrong information somehow, before correcting himself later in the next match. The WWF ended up donating $100,000, on top of whatever donations were contributed through their advertisement campaign throughout the month of January. I'm pretty sure the WWF Magazine even ran promotions for it.
Big Bossman vs. Bam Bam Bigelow:
No backstory for this one... Bigelow made his return to the WWF sometime after Survivor Series, and Bossman was put on Job Duty once the program with Nailz came to a close. This is one of the Bossman's last major appearances, so Heenan makes plenty of Bossman Momma jokes, for old times sake. Bigelow attacks from behind, and quickly pounds the lower back. Whip to the corner, and Bigelow with an avalanche. Bigelow continues working the back, as Heenan compares Bossman's goatee to his mothers. Bossman with a pair of clotheslines, followed by some mounted punches. Bossman with a side headlock, but Bigelow counters with a back suplex. Bigelow misses a headbutt, allowing Bossman to punch some more. Bossman with a face-buster, but a charge has Bigelow back drop him over the top rope. Too bad this isn't the Rumble Match... Back in the ring, and Bigelow works the back with a bearhug. Bossman escapes, but gets dropped across the top rope for a two count. Bigelow works the bearhug some more... ugh. Suplex attempt is countered by Bossman with a half-assed version of his own. Bossman takes Bigelow over with a back drop (smart move, moron) and does the Popeye Punch. Bossman chokes Bigelow across the middle rope and does the splash across the back. Bossman charges into a boot, and eats a clothesline for desert. Bigelow to the top rope, and the diving headbutt finishes this snorefest at 10:09. Total punch-kick match, with a few rare exceptions. We wouldn't see Bossman on another WWF PPV until Survivor Series... 1998.
WWF Championship Match:
Not much build up to this, other than Ramon beating the crap out of Owen on an episode of Mania, and the usual back-and-forth "special interviews" on Superstars. We throw it to a pre-taped promo from the Kings game earlier in the week. Okerlund gets words from Bret just as he's about to make his entrance, so it's drowned out by the music and crowd. Blink and you'll miss Stu and Helen sitting in the front row. Ramon tosses his toothpick at the kid who got the Hitman glasses, so Bret whoops his ass for it. Ramon comes back with rights, and drives a pair of knees into the midsection. Whip to the corner, and Bret with the over-sell. Ramon charges, but rams his own knee into the buckle. Bret sweeps the legs, and drops his weight across the knee. Hart slaps on the Figure-Four, but Ramon manages to break. Hart sweeps the legs again, and drops an elbow across the knee. Hart wraps the leg around the ring post, then continues working the leg. Whip to the corner is reversed, and Bret somehow slides down and wraps his ribs around the post. Ouch. Ramon with a pair of back breakers, then rams Bret into the post once more. Back inside, and Ramon's leg has magically healed, and slowed the match down, as well. Ramon with his fallaway slam for a two count. Whip to the corner, and Bret does his traditional chest bump. Ramon with the abdominal stretch, then a hip toss as Bret counters. Ramon misses an elbow drop, but manages to put Bret down with a shoulder block for a two count. Irish whip, and Bret comes off the ropes with a cross body for a two count. Bret with a sunset flip for another two count. Ramon slows things down again with a chinlock, then switches to a bearhug. Bret escapes with biting, then back drops Ramon over the top rope. Bret with a suicide dive, then rams Ramon into the ring steps, because it's PERSONAL! Back in the ring, and Bret with mounted punches in the corner. Bret with an inverted atomic drop and clothesline for a two count. Bret with a side back breaker, and second rope clothesline for another two count. Running bulldog from the corner for another two count. Russian leg sweep for another near fall. Bret goes for the sharpshooter, but Ramon somehow gets the referee tangled in the mess. Ramon takes control again, pounding the ribs. Ramon sets up for the top rope back suplex, but Bret counters with elbows and a back suplex. Hart comes off with an elbow, but eats boot, taking it like a champion the whole way. Ramon goes for the Razor's Edge, but Bret counters into a back slide for a two count. Ramon forcefully applies a knuckle-lock, but Bret rolls through with a sunset flip for another two count. Somehow, from a grounded position, Bret slaps on the Sharpshooter, and turns it over for the submission at 17:58, retaining the WWF Championship. Pretty good match, but seemed a bit all over the place at times, typically when Ramon was in control of the pace. trim it down by about 4-5 minutes, and it might've been more enjoyable. I like the fact Bret could do the Sharpshooter from something other than a standard position.
Bret "Hitman" Hart © vs. Razor Ramon:
- It's time for PPV Time Wasting 101, with Bobby "The Brain" Heenan. This PPV's example is the debut of the man known as "The Narcissist", Lex Luger, who promptly spends the next five minutes posing in front of a trio of mirrors, all while Heenan gives him the Verbal BJ of 1993. After all that, Luger cuts a promo, running down Mr. Perfect, and no doubt setting up a feud between the two. I know you have to kill the crowd a bit between big matches, but this REALLY dragged on.
- More time wasting, as JULIUS CAESAR and CLEOPATRA come out, to hype WrestleMania IX coming to Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, NV. The crowd is completely dead for this segment. Remember, WrestleMania IX is going to take place on April 4th, at 4 p.m. EDT. Tickets will be available soon. Don't miss out on the greatest spectacle in the history of wrestling.
30 Man Royal Rumble Match:
As mentioned earlier, winner of this match gets the WWF Title shot at WrestleMania IX. Adding that stipulation kind of limits the possibilities of who will win the match, and considering the lack of star power included, it really comes down to about 4-5 people. Two "big" names, Crush and "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, were removed from the match the week of the show, Crush because of (kayfabe) injury, and Duggan for no real reason. I'm assuming their replacements were Max Moon and Terry Taylor, who were never announced as being part of the card, but were included in the OFFICIAL WWF Royal Rumble Program as having a match against each other. Much like all of my Rumble Match reviews, I'm not going into Super-Detailed PBP, just because it's too much, but it will be a bit long for the fact it's an hour long match with over 30 people to talk about.
#1 is Ric Flair, and #2 is the recently returned Bob Backlund. Flair was shuttled down the card, and would depart a few weeks later after one last house show tour, so we know he's not going to win, and Backlund is hyped as "making a comeback at his age (43?)". Backlund offers a handshake, but Flair Woo's him in his face. Backlund with a headlock, followed by a shoulder block. Backlund sweeps the legs, frustrating Flair. Irish whip is reversed, and Backlund with a back drop. Backlund with an atomic drop, and Flair does his first flop. #3 is Papa Shango, psorting a pretty big bandage on his arm. He goes after Backlund and pounds away, but Flair sneaks up behind and tosses him with ease at 2:36. They go back to their mini-match, and exchange chops and slaps. Backlund tries tossing him again, and #4 is Ted Dibiase. Dibiase lays Backlund out with an elbow, and joins forces with Flair to double team Backlund (Heenan: Can you get arrested for beating up the elderly?"). #5 is Brian Knobbs, and he has issues with Money Inc., and quickly goes after Dibiase. Knobbs with a double clothesline and noggin-knocker to the heels. Backlund and Flair pair up, while Knobbs gives Dibiase the pit stop. #6 is Virgil, and he goes for the obvious, too. Dibiase attacks him, but Virgil fights back with an atomic drop, followed by a clothesline. Virgil turns his attention to Flair, allowing Knobbs to miss a clothesline on Dibiase, and go flying over and eliminated at 9:01. #7 is Jerry "The King" Lawler, making his first in-ring appearance in the WWF. What a collection of talent: Dibiase, Flair, Backlund, Lawler... well, 4 out of 5 ain't bad. Lawler and Flair pair up briefly, but nothing much is going on. #8 is Max Moon, and that's really going to change things. Moon goes after Lawler and connects with a dropkick, then pairs up with Flair. Moon sends Lawler to the corner and hits a spinning heel kick, but a second attempt misses, and he's gone at 14:03. #9 is the GREAT Tenryu, and he chops away on Flair for his second flop. Tenryu and Dibiase exchange blows, but the crowd doesn't care, and everyone else is just hugging.
#10 is Mr. Perfect, and the crowd finally wakes up. Flair thumbs him in the eyes, then they exchange blows. Flair goes to the top, only for the purpose of being slammed over. Perfect with his signature float-over neck snap and mounted punches, and Tenryu is just standing around watching... do something! #11 is Skinner, but he's a JTTS, so it's filler. Perfect and Flair continue to do battle, in the mean time. Perfect ducks a chop, then clotheslines Flair out at 18:39. Perfect pairs up with Lawler now, and there's still little else going on. #12 is Koko B Ware and his pajamas of doom. Ware and Lawler go at it, a minor nod to their brief program in USWA in the month or so leading up to this PPV. Skinner skins the cat on an elimination attempt, but Perfect ends up knocking him out with a dropkick at 21:23. #13 is Samu, and it's just another body to fill space. Samu headbutts random people, and Lawler plants Perfect with a DDT. #14 is the Berzerker (HUSS! HUSS!) and he pounds on everyone. Perfect back drops Dibiase out at 24:54, but then gets tossed over by Dibiase and Ware, and eventually knocked off the apron at 25:29. In the mean time, Virgil was booted over the top rope by the Berzerker, practically off-camera. It was a nice bump, too. Perfect and Lawler brawl more, but it's pointless, since Perfect was already set to feud with Luger. #15 is the Undertaker, and it's time to clean house. Samu tries his luck and gets choke tossed out at 27:07. Tenryu hits Undertaker with an enziguri, but gets back dropped out at 27:29. #16 is Terrific Terry Taylor, and he goes at it with Koko until both men get dumped by Dibiase at 28:47. Undertaker chokeslams Dibiase, and tosses him out at 29:06. Berzerker works Undertaker over, but gets sent packing at 29:41, leacing Undertaker alone... until Harvey Wippleman brings the Giant Gonzales out, looking for revenge for Undertaker attempting to murder Kamala. Gonzales manhandles Undertaker and ILLEGALLY eliminates him at 30:50, then continues beating on him. In the mean time, Bob Backlund comes back to life after being demolished outside the ring by the Berzerker, #17 is Damian Demento, #18 is Irwin R. Schyster, and #19 is Tatanka, and the action finally resumes. Bearer returns to ringside to bring the Undertaker back to the locker room.
#20 is Jerry Saggs, and no one cares, but how much of a coincidence he's in the ring with I.R.S. #21 is Typhoon, and Heenan slips up by calling him "Tugboat", but then runs with it to cover up his error. Typhoon crushes Demento in the corner, and there's NOTHING going on. #22 is Fatu, and it's like the Tag Team Edition of Royal Rumble, with half of the Disasters, Money Inc., Headshrinkers, and Nasty Boys all in there right now. #23 is Earthquake, quite a bit removed from the monster heel main eventer he used to be, and he quickly attacks his own partner. They do a boring mini-match of fat man stuff until Quake back drops Typhoon out at 43:50. Carlos Colon is #24, allowing Monsoon the GREATEST line in history, explaining that, and I quote, "There's a lot of fire in this YOUNGSTER." Colon works over Demento, and tosses him out at 45:59... ouch, that's got to suck for a WWF guy. #25 is El Matador, Tito Santana, and he just kind of does stuff. Backlund sends Fatu out at 47:18, his first elimination of the match. The camera kind of missed it, allowing Heenan to claim Fatu threw himself out. Santana and Backlund have an odd pair-up, next. Earthquake uses his beefy build to dominate Colon, as we're running out of star power. #26 is the Model, Rick Martel, and it's the Strike Force Feud that never ends! Earthquake ducks a clothesline, and I.R.S. is gone at 49:33. #27 is Yokozuna, and might as well call it a night. Tatanka takes a shot, but gets tossed out at 52:06. Colon is next, and he's smiling wide as he's tossed out at 52:25. Quake and Yokozuna have a staredown, as Owen Hart enters to ZERO fanfare at #28. They do their fat man match, until Quake misses a charge, and gets belly-to-belly suplex'ed over the top and out at 53:53. It looked worse than it sounds. #29 is the Repo Man, and he quickly gets knocked on his ass by Yokozuna. Everyone in the ring FINALLY has the right idea to gang up on Yokozuna, but only Backlund is smart enough to go for a leg, while everyone else just pushes him. Yokozuna fights free, and #30 is the Macho Man Randy Savage!
Savage pounds away on everyone, then focuses his attention on the man who stole his hat on Monday Night Raw. In the mean time, Yokozuna roughs up Santana and sends him packing at 58:05. Owen has face miscommuncation with Saggs, and dropkicks him out at 58:23. Owen goes for Yokozuna, but takes a nasty bump over the top rope, and is gone at 58:53. Savage tosses Repo out, moments later, at 58:59. Yokozuna/Savage and Martel/Backlund pair off. Backlund manages to pick Martel up onto the top turnbuckle, and knocks him out at 1:00:29. Backlund goes after Yokozuna, and manages to throw a pair of dropkicks, but unwisely charges, and gets tossed out at 1:01:13 to a chorus of boos. I remember cheering for Backlund to win by this point, and his record time would stand until Benoit broke it in 2004. Yokozuna pounds on Savage, as Fuji makes his way to ringside to encourage his Japanese Samoan. Savage attempts a comeback and nails a series of clotheslines, followed by a double axehandle. Savage comes off the ropes, and eats a crescent kick for his troubles. Yokozuna with a belly-to-belly suplex and fat-ass leg drop for added damage. Whip to the corner, and Yokozuna with his avalanche. He tries a second time, but misses, and goes down like a tree. Savage heads to the top and comes off with his signature elbow, but COVERS him, and Yokozuna gorilla presses Savage off, over the top rope, and to the floor for the victory at 1:06:36. That might've been the worst Royal Rumble Match of the 90's, with 1995 and 1999 also contending for that title. Unlike the other two, this had NOTHING. 1999 was awful, but had the Austin/McMahon storyline to keep it going. 1995 had HBK/Bulldog going the distance. 1993 had a lot of jobbers and a dead crowd. Yokozuna was clearly going to win, especially after every possible winner, sans Savage, was eliminated before his appearance.
Final Thoughts: The Rumble Match disappoints on practically every level, but the undercard was mostly enjoyable. The two title matches delivered, although both could've been better, probably, and the opening tag team match was good enough for what it was. The only negative would be the crapfest between the Bossman and Bigelow. I'd say give the undercard a look and pass on the Rumble. I think I used to say the opposite for some of the earlier Rumble shows, but this one really fell apart for the Rumble match.
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