November 8, 2006
Scott Criscuolo & Justin Rozzero

Royal Rumble
January 24, 1993
Arco Arena
Sacramento, California
Attendance: 16,000
Buy Rate: 1.25
Announcers: Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan

Dark Match

1) Doink (Matt Osborne) beat Jim Powers (Robert Mooneyham) in 5:57.

Actual Show

1) The Steiner Brothers defeat the Beverly Brothers when Scott Steiner (Scott Rechsteiner) pins Beau Beverly (Wayne Bloom) with a Frankensteiner at 10:43

Fun Fact: A big debut here as the much-heralded brothers from Michigan make their debuts. Scott Steiner and his brother Rick started in WCW in 1989 and quickly moved up the tag team ranks, winning their first of 3 WCW Tag Team titles in November of that year over the Freebirds. Even though both men were talented grapplers, promoters seemed to think Scott had what it took to be a solo star, but he was hesitant to leave his brother behind, something that would happen more than once during his career. Scott won the WCW Television Title in late-1992, but vacated it when both he and Rick left for the WWF.

Scott: This wasn't a bad match to start the show, as we see the pay-per-view debut of the Steiners, a very hot tag team in WCW. The tag team scene in WWF was not looking good, with very few good heel teams, and even fewer face teams. They were invigorating to watch at the time, but it is evident even with this first match, that Scott Steiner is losing mobility fast. He almost impales Beau Beverly with the Frankensteiner because he just can't jump high enough. The crowd, which over history doesn’t get its just due, is energetic and loud from the get-go and doesn’t let up. The Beverlys are jobbed again, and by the end of the year, Bloom is gone and Enos becomes a jobber. The Steiners are a breath of fresh air and their year gets better. Grade: 2

Justin: A decent opening tag match, with solid action throughout. The Steiners were so heralded upon their arrival, but this match did nothing for their legend, as they struggle to keep up with the Beverlys and, as Scott said, Scott Steiner is starting to get so sloppy at this point that he almost kills Beau with the Frankensteiner, a common theme for him over the next 3 years before he finally gives up the move for good. This is the last PPV appearance for the Beverlys, as Beau would leave shortly after this and Blake would stick around through the end of 1993 as a jobber to the stars. It is a shame, because I thought the Beverlys had so much talent and could have been a really solid heel tag team that could have been credible champs as well. Anyway, a decent start to the WWF career of the Steiners, but not the bang they were looking for to kick things off. As Scott said, though, the often underrated crowd is hot and would remain so throughout the whole show. Grade: 2

2) Shawn Michaels (Michael Hickenbottom) defeats Marty Jannetty (Marty Oaks) with a Superkick at 14:20 to retain WWF Intercontinental Title

Fun Fact: Jannetty made his big surprise return on the October 31, 1992 edition of Superstars when he jumped out of the crowd, grabbed Michaels’ mirror from Sherri and lined up to whack HBK with it, however, when Michaels turned around and pulled Sherri in front as Marty swung the mirror, crushing Sherri in the face and knocking her out cold. Sherri would be off TV for a month and a half, and her return was teased for the Rumble with the question of whose side she would be on. Sherri stayed neutral for most of the match, but eventually turned on Shawn by slapping him. At the end of the match, she went to hit Michaels with her shoe, but hit Marty instead, giving HBK the win. Jannetty would leave again right after the match, not returning until later in the year, and Sherri would jump and manage whoever feuded with Michaels until she left in the summer of 1993.

Scott: It was a matter of time before this feud would re-start. Over a year since the memorable throwing though the barber shop glass of Marty Jannetty by the Heartbreak Kid. They would wrestle a few times on TV. This was the first one, but over time Jannetty’s fate would be a little better. There’s also a great cage match between the two that’s on the Bloodbath DVD (which includes classic commentary by Gorilla Monsoon and Johnny Polo). I wasn’t crazy about this match when I first watched it, but over time the hot crowd makes an average match good. Sherri was still involved in the storyline, but it was starting to lose its luster. Sherri hits Jannetty with her shoe by accident, and HBK gets the Superkick and the win. One of many IC title matches he would wrestle in the next 2-plus years, some OK, others not that great. This one was average. Grade: 2

Justin: A pretty solid match that is marred by a bad, anticlimactic ending. Jannetty was pretty over heading into this match, but by the end of it he was pretty much done, as he was made to look weak (being knocked out with a women’s shoe). These two would have better matches in the future, so I’m not sure what the deal was here. Maybe because it was the first time they fought, they weren’t prepared or comfortable with each other yet. Michaels also starts his lengthy run of PPV I-C defenses here, as he would battle quite the array of talent throughout the year. I’ve also come to appreciate this match more as time has gone on, as I had always held the ending against it, it is a fun little match and if Jannetty didn’t get axed it could have led to a hot rematch at Wrestlemania. Grade: 2.5

3) Bam Bam Bigelow (Scott Charles Bigelow) defeats Big Boss Man (Ray Traylor) with a Flying Headbutt at 9:09

Fun Fact: This was a real transition match, as Bigelow makes his first PPV appearance since Wrestlemania IV and Boss Man makes his last for almost 6 years. The funny thing is, these two man criss-crossed career paths from 1988 on. Bigelow left WWF in the summer of 1988, right when Boss Man made his debut. Bigelow then returned to the WWF in 1993 right as the Boss Man was leaving for WCW. Then, when Boss Man left WCW for WWF in 1998, Bigelow was getting ready to return in late-1998. Weird stuff. Anyway, this is Boss Man’s last PPV, as he would be gone just weeks after this match. His final match was on Superstars against Doink in late January. The match was Boss Man’s final one, but was Doink’s first official TV match. The match happened because a few weeks earlier, Doink set up a trip wire in the aisle sending Boss Man flying into the aisle. Needless to say, Boss Man was pissed and the match was made. At the end of the match, Doink sprayed ink in the Boss Man’s eyes, causing him to be sidelined. After a few weeks, the health updates stopped coming, Doink started feuding with Crush and Boss Man was headed to Atlanta.

Scott: This was the end of the line for one of the most popular superstars in WWF History. Say what you want about his limited wrestling ability, but Big Boss Man was one of the more cheered faces in history, and always did what was asked of him. Vince finally had to cut him loose, as younger guys were taking over. Boss Man has spent the past 5 years either being a corrupt cop bullying faces or a torch-bearer of law and order in the WWF. A great character that was always over (even without many title shots), and will always be remembered as one of the greatest characters in history. Time, however has passed him by. Bigelow comes back as a big time heel, and after some decent, but not great action, Bigelow wins with the flying head butt. Grade: 1.5

Justin: A decent, yet sluggish brawl here, as these two just didn’t mesh well. You can tell Boss Man is on his way out the door, as he puts very little effort into making the Bammer look good in this match. The crowd, as we have been stating, remains pretty hot and behind the Boss Man in this match. This is another match that has gotten a little better with age, but is still nothing to write home about. Boss Man bids adieu for now, but would stay in the spotlight down South until making his return to the WWF in the Attitude era. Bigelow would gain steam and put on better matches as the year progressed, so this match is just a wash. Grade: 1.5

4) Bret Hart defeats Razor Ramon (Scott Hall) with the Sharpshooter at 17:56 to retain WWF World Title

Fun Fact: Right before this match, Razor Ramon ambushed Owen Hart during the first episode of WWF Mania. The shot of Razor clotheslining Owen out of his chair was replayed numerous times heading into the match, and was even put into the opening credits of Mania.

Scott: In his second title defense on PPV, the Hitman defeats the Bad Guy with the patented Sharpshooter, the first of two PPV matches the pair would have in 1993. Hart is easing into the role as the top face in the company, which of course would be temporarily squashed at Wrestlemania, but we'll save that for later. Razor puts in a nice performance, but he will also be the victim of a shoddy Wrestlemania booking. Razor is really working his way up the ladder with the fans, and eventually a few cheers sprinkled here and there start to surface. Razor's heel run doesn't last very long, and by the summer is one of the WWF's most popular superstars. This match is really a hidden gem in both of these men’s catalogs, particularly Razor. When he had a clear head and was on his game he put on a great power match. Bret is of course Bret, and is having a pretty good run as rookie WWF Champion. Solid match that time has treated well. Grade: 3

Justin: A pretty good showing by both men here, giving everyone more hope for the new main event crop, but of course all of that good will built up was DESTROYED in the ensuing months, as both of these guys were jettisoned to the mid-card. Bret and Razor put on an efficient, exciting match that actually had people guessing at the ending, as Razor winning seemed more and more plausible as the match went on. This match is a truly forgotten classic, as Bret just works a beautiful old school formula match with the Bad Guy. Ramon works his methodical offense and pummels the Hitman for the majority of the match, but it works beautifully as the crowd spends the whole match rallying Hart. Bret makes his usual false comebacks to really get the fans cranking before pulling out the victory at the end. A really fun match that put Razor on the map as a guy who could have a great match with the right opponent, and once again showed the growth and maturity of Bret Hart as a major singles player. Grade: 3

*** Bobby Heenan comes out and introduces his newest find: Lex Luger, the Narcissist. Luger had been sitting in the WBF for over a year while his no compete clause from NWA/WCW was running out. In our next review we’ll go over the career to this point of the Total Package. ***

5) Yokozuna (Rodney Anoia) wins the Royal Rumble at 66:35

ORDER OF ENTRY (Followed by Elimination)

1) Ric Flair (Richard Fliehr): Mr. Perfect
2) Bob Backlund: Yokozuna
3) Papa Shango (Charles Wright): Ric Flair
4) Ted DiBiase: Undertaker
5) Brian Knobbs (Brian Yandrisovitz): Ted DiBiase
6) Virgil (Michael Jones): Berzerker
7) Jerry Lawler: Mr. Perfect
8) Max Moon (Pat Tanaka): Jerry Lawler
9) Tenryu (Genichiro Shimade): Undertaker
10) Mr. Perfect (Curt Hennig): DiBiase/Yokozuna/Lawler
11) Skinner (Steve Keirn): Mr. Perfect
12) Koko B. Ware (James Ware): Ted DiBiase
13) Samu (Samula Anoia): Undertaker
14) Berzerker (John Nord): Undertaker
15) Undertaker (Mark Callaway): No One (Is taken out by Giant Gonzalez)
16) Terry Taylor: Ted DiBiase
17) Damien Demento (Phillip Theis): Carlos Colon
18) IRS (Mike Rotundo): Earthquake
19) Tatanka (Chris Chavis): Yokozuna
20) Jerry Sags (Jerome Sagonovich): Owen Hart
21) Typhoon (Fred Ottman): Earthquake
22) Fatu (Solofa Fatu): Bob Backlund
23) Earthquake (John Tenta): Yokozuna
24) Carlos Colon: Yokozuna
25) Tito Santana (Mercedes Solis): Yokozuna
26) Rick Martel (Richard Vigneault): Bob Backlund
27) Yokozuna: Winner
28) Owen Hart: Yokozuna
29) Repo Man (Barry Darsow): Randy Savage
30) Randy Savage (Randy Poffo): Yokozuna

Longest Time: Bob Backlund (61:10)
Shortest Time: Terry Taylor (:24)
Most Eliminated: Yokozuna (8)

Fun Fact: This is the first Royal Rumble where the winner got a World Title shot at Wrestlemania, adding some excitement and meaning to the match that had been lacking from 1988-1991.

Fun Fact II: Yokozuna tied the record for latest entry in the Rumble to win (#27). He tied Big John Studd, who entered #27 and won the 1989 Rumble.

Fun Fact III: It took just one year for Ric Flair’s longevity record of 59:26 to be broken. Bob Backlund outlasted Flair, starting at number 2 and lasting 61:10. The record has since been broken twice (Chris Benoit in 2004 and Rey Mysterio in 2006).

Fun Fact IV: This show marks the first WWF PPV match for Jerry Lawler, otherwise known as “The King.” Lawler cut his wrestling teeth in Memphis in the early 1970s, training with the great Jackie Fargo. By the late 70s Lawler was the man in Memphis, winning its top title numerous times. He also wrestled Ric Flair for the NWA World Title, and in fact won the AWA World Title from Curt Hennig in 1988. He was involved in a convoluted merger of titles involving the USWA, World Class and the AWA in 1988, which included Lawler holding all 3 of those world titles at once. His most high-profile feud was with comedian Andy Kaufman in 1982, which also included a memorable profanity-laced episode of “Late Night with David Letterman.” It was revealed in Kaufman’s bio-pic “Man on the Moon” that Lawler and Kaufman had pre-planned the entire feud. Lawler debuted on Prime Time Wrestling as Bobby Heenan’s replacement anchor for Mr. Perfect. Lawler would take up commentary duties on Superstars and also dabble in the ring from time to time. He also continued to book and wrestle in the Memphis-based USWA, which he owned.

Fun Fact V: Let’s just take a moment to mention some other new faces in this match. Max Moon debuted on Superstars in October of 1992 and was basically supposed to be some sort of outer space type guy. He had a funky blue suit and wore a jet pack on his back. He was actually on the first episode of Monday Night Raw, as he battled Shawn Michaels for the Intercontinental Title. The role was originally supposed to be played by Konnan, who was part of the Mexican AAA promotion, but he bailed on the gimmick early on. Shortly thereafter, perennial jobber Paul Diamond donned the costume and played Max Moon until he disappeared back to outer space in late March. Also back on the scene is Terry Taylor, who we last saw clucking his way into the 1990 Royal Rumble as the Red Rooster. This time he is back under his real name, with the “Terrific” moniker. He wouldn’t make much progress as an active competitor, and would be relegated to interviewing duties by the summer while still popping up on house shows through August. One more debut is Carlos Colon, the Puerto Rican legend who was brought in as a one time shot to participate in the Rumble. He was a big deal in his home land, but doesn’t get to much of a pop here, and is actually called “youngster” by Gorilla Monsoon. A final debut is the insane Damien Demento, who makes his one and only PPV appearance here. He, like Max Moon, also wrestled on the first Monday Night Raw, as he battled the Undertaker in the main event of that show. Demento was best known as Mondo Kleen in Memphis, and would stick around as a jobber to the stars until September.

Fun Fact VI: Well, we had some debuts, but we also have some farewells. This would be the last time we see Ric Flair on a WWF PPV for the next 9 years, as he would lose a Loser Leaves Town to Mr. Perfect match the next night on Raw. He would return home to WCW and stay there until they closed up shop in 2001. This also marks the end of Papa Shango’s run. He had been around for a year or so, but this is the first, and only, time he wrestles on PPV. Don’t fret, however, for he would be back soon under a whole new persona. This is also the end of the road for Skinner who put on some solid performances over the past year, with his best bout coming at Tuesday in Texas against Bret Hart. Also making a quiet exit into the night is Koko B. Ware. Koko debuted in 1987 and has been a PPV mainstay throughout his career. We mentioned his record in our last review, but I thought he warranted a mention here. Another mid-carder who debuted in late 1991 will make his final appearance in this Rumble as well, and that is the Berzerker. Best known for his brief feud with the Undertaker, where he tried to impale him with a sword, the Berzerker would disappear back to the Indies and wouldn’t be seen until the late 1990s, when he popped back up in WCW as a jobber under his real name, John Nord. Also, on a more high profile level, this the final PPV appearance of Knobbs and Sags, the Nasty Boys. The Nasties debuted in late 1990 and had a pretty damn good run with the WWF, picking up a Tag Title reign along the way. Their final record was 3-5 with wins coming at Wrestlemania VII, Survivor Series 1991 and 1992. Finally, also making his final PPV appearance is the Repo Man, otherwise known as Barry Darsow or Smash of Demolition. Repo would hang on a little bit longer and actually have a brief 2-week feud with Randy Savage, culminating with a match on the 1/25 Raw. His final appearance was on March 28 and he would be in WCW by the following year, where he would spend the rest of career under a variety of gimmicks.

Scott: What a difference a year makes. In 1992, we had one of the most star-studded Rumbles in history, with complete mystery as to who was going to win. Here, I would say at least 18 or 19 participants had a snowball's chance in hell of winning the match. Quality-wise, this Rumble wasn't terrible, in fact in any other year it would be fine. However any Rumble since would pale in comparison to 1992. It was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Yokozuna's 8 eliminations breaks the record set by Sid the year before (7). The massive heel now moves on to Wrestlemania to face Bret Hart for the title, which ends in a....well, let's just say it wasn't conventional. Other points to make include Lawler’s WWF debut, but he doesn't really make an impact until June, and with the loud pop for Macho Man at #30, many thought he would win his first Rumble. He didn't. Giant Gonzales, one of the most useless pieces of shit in wrestling history, comes out to cost Undertaker the Rumble, which leads to 2 VERY forgettable PPV matches between the men, but more on him in our next review. Right now Yokozuna is the man and on a one way ticket to the “Showcase of Champions.”

Justin: A fun, yet bland Rumble. Heading in there were 4 possibilities who could win: Perfect, Yokozuna, Undertaker and Macho Man. You couldn’t add Flair really because his leaving for WCW just weeks later was common knowledge. In fact, they are pumping up the Perfect-Flair Loser Leaves Town Match for the next night through the whole Rumble. Add that to Heenan’s calm nature when Flair is number 1 and is eliminated, and you know Flair didn’t have the juice he had just one year ago. Then, when Taker is tossed halfway through by Gonzalez and Perfect goes out early by Lawler, you are left with two REAL possibilities out of the last 15 guys. I remember a lot of people (myself included) thinking Hulk Hogan was going to make his triumphant return as a mystery guy and win the thing, but he did not, thus providing us with the most predictable winner ever. The crowd, as we keep saying stays alive through the match and as they realize history was being made, really start rallying behind the recently returned Bob Backlund, as he attempts to break Ric Flair’s longevity record that had been set one year earlier. The Rumble is good, but not spectacular, but gets the major points and feud story plots across just fine. Everyone puts out a good effort and the crowd seemed to enjoy it, so you can’t ask for too much more, really.

Final Analysis

Scott: This was a very average PPV, with an OK undercard, and a perfectly acceptable Rumble match. We all thought that Wrestlemania would be a great PPV to showcase the new, young WWF talent, right? WRONG! I will hold my angst for the next review. The I-C Title match was OK, but that feud will get better. The Steiners make a lukewarm debut, but better days were ahead for them also. Bret Hart continues to be a credible, different, WWF Champ, but that hits the shitter in our next review. The memorable moments include Luger debuting, a great World Title match, another loser for Undertaker to carry, and a Rumble showcasing a new big, powerful heel. Final Grade: C

Justin: Scott summed it up perfectly: this was a very AVERAGE PPV. The Bret-Ramon match carried the undercard and, while acceptable by general match standards, the Rumble is FAR below most Rumbles, so it couldn’t carry the mediocre undercard like other years. I can’t blame Vince for this show, because he was still fleshing out his mid-card and establishing his new Main Eventers. Luger’s debut is big, and if he would have been kept a heel longer than 6 months, he would have been a good Main Event heel for years to come, but we will get into all that as we move along. I have said it relentlessly, and I will say it again: this Sacramento crowd is very underrated, as they are red hot throughout this whole show and really help make it that much more interesting. I really enjoyed the World Title match, and I suggest everyone try and hunt it down for a look, as it is a perfect formulae power vs. technical match worked by two of the greats as they were on the cusp of hitting their prime. This was a solid Rumble that ranks towards the bottom when it comes to ranking Rumbles, but was a good showcase for Yokozuna and set up our next PPV beautifully. Final Grade: C+

MVP: Bret Hart/Razor Ramon
Runner Up: Bob Backlund
Non MVP: Big Boss Man
Runner Up: Giant Gonzalez

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