October 11, 2008
WWF Royal Rumble 1994
January 22, 1994
Providence Civic Center
The current WWF Champs were as follows:
World Champion: Yokozuna (6/13/1993)
Intercontinental Champion: Razor Ramon (9/27/1993)
World Tag Team Champions: The Quebecers (1/17/1994)
Your hosts are Vince McMahon and Ted DiBiase. Thus begins the year to find the right wrestler-turned-color-commentator to accompany Vince on the PPVs.
Bam Bam Bigelow (w/Luna Vachon) vs. Tatanka
Ludvig Borga was supposed to face Tatanka here, but a legit ankle injury kept him away from this match. He would never return to the WWF. It’s okay because these two hate each other too. Tatanka avoids a charge to start and hits a crossbody before going to work on the arm. He hits a DDT, but Bigelow moves away from a flying bodypress to take over. Bigelow splashes Tatanka in the corner and sits down on a Flying Sunset Flip attempt – crushing the poor guy. Bigelow wins a slugfest with a dropkick and grabs a bearhug. Once Tatanka escapes, he hits a powerslam for 1-2-NO! Oops, they crossbody each other. Tatanka NO-SELLS a turnbuckle smash and starts up the WAR DANCE, so Bigelow stops all that nonsense with an enziguri. I love it when he does that! The crowd loves it too. Bigelow sets up for a moonsault (!), but Tatanka moves out of the way. Flying Bodypress from Tatanka gets the 1-2-3. (8:12) Solid if unspectacular opener. **
WWF Tag Team Champions The Quebecers (w/Johnny Polo) vs. Bret & Owen Hart
They show a lengthy Bret/Owen/Quebecers video package covering the last two months starting with Survivor Series when Owen got all pissy with Bret for causing him to be eliminated from the Hart family match. Owen made a challenge to Bret, but Bret said he would never wrestle his brother under any circumstances. They patched things up and decided to go after tag team gold. The Quebecers lost the tag belts to the 1-2-3 Kid and Marty Jannetty on Monday Night Raw two weeks prior to the Rumble [review is at the bottom], but won them back in MSG the following Monday. So here we are. Bret and Pierre start the match. Pierre catches Bret coming off the ropes for a slam, but runs into a kitchen sink. Owen tags and hits a beautiful hiptoss into a pin for two. Tag to Jacques, he wants a handshake. Owen’s not falling for such! Jacques ducks low off a whip and takes a suplex. Jacques takes a dropkick and retreats to his corner for some hugs. Owen hits an enziguri on Jacques for two. Bret tags in for some Demolition Decapitation treatment on Jacques for 1-2-NO! Small package gets two. Sunset flip gets two. Rollup gets two. Pierre comes in and pummels both Bret and Owen. The Quebecers look to whip the brothers into each other, but Bret hits the mat and Owen shoots over and rolls Jacques up for two. The Quebecers head out to Johnny Polo, which is Raven in a loud Hawaiian shirt. Back in, Bret delivers an atomic drop to Jacques. Pierre tags and gets flung into the ring from the apron. Owen tags and hits a jumping clothesline for two. Gutwrench suplex gets two. Bret is back in and runs right into a powerslam for two. Owen gets drawn into the ring as Pierre chokes Bret with the tag rope. The Quebecers double-team some more as once again Owen comes in to protest. Jacques hits a back elbow (no jumping back elbow?) and Pierre comes off the middle rope and takes a boot to the face. HOT TAG TO OWEN! He goes dropkick crazy on the Quebecers! Belly-to-Belly Suplex on Pierre! Spinning Heel Kick on Jacques! He goes for the SHARPSHOOTER, but Pierre breaks it up. The Quebecers take over on Owen with a double-team hotshot. Cover, 1-2-NO! Owen comes back and dropkicks them both for a tag out to Bret. Russian Legsweep to Jacques and a backbreaker to Pierre! DOUBLE NOGGIN KNOCKER! Owen grabs Jacques for Bret to come off the ropes to nail him, but Johnny Polo separates the ropes and causes Bret to fall out to the floor and crash his knee on the guardrail. The Quebecers start kicking at the knee, slamming the knee with chairs, and beating the knee with Polo’s golf putter. Owen’s doing all he can to stop this, but the damage has been done. Back in the ring, the Quebecers deliver the Quebec Crab/Flying Leg Drop combo. The Quebecers go for the SLINGSHOT SENTON on the knee, but Bret moves. Instead of tagging Owen like he SHOULD have done, Bret tries to apply the SHARPSHOOTER. Oops, he can’t get it applied right because his knee hurts too bad. The ref is pretty sure Bret can’t continue and calls for the bell. (16:47) After the match, Owen kicks Bret’s leg out from under…his leg. This had good action and an even greater story told here. It’s where the feud begins and you can actually pick a side. At first, you’re thinking Owen’s just being a jerk, but now Bret’s looking a little selfish. He wanted to try and win on his own and look what it cost his brother and himself as well. Don’t forget that later on, both Owen and Bret must compete in the Rumble match. As for the Quebecers, it makes them look awesome by beating one of the WWF’s biggest stars to the point he couldn’t continue. Everybody wins! ***½
WWF Intercontinental Champion Razor Ramon vs. Irwin R. Schyster
JR & Monsoon take over commentary duties for this match so Vince and DiBiase can call the action on WWF Radio. This winds up being the biggest match in the singles career of IRS, set up by him stealing Razor’s gold necklaces. IRS would hang around for another year, work for Ted DiBiase, and then jump ship back to WCW to pick up where he left off in 1991 as Michael Wallstreet sans Alexandra York and the computer. IRS pisses Razor off to start and pays for it with punches and an atomic drop for two. Razor gets dumped and IRS takes over. IRS avoids a boot as he comes off the top and drops an elbow for two. Razor elbows out of a chinlock, but runs directly into a kitchen sink. A knee to the gut, not an actual kitchen sink. IRS legdrops the groin and reverts to the chinlock with his feet on the bottom rope for leverage. Oh, he’s a crafty sonuvagun. Guess that means no rope-assisted abdominal stretches this time. Razor battles out and hits the Fallaway Slam for 1-2-NO! The ref gets bumped. Razor avoids the briefcase shot and nails IRS with it instead. He covers, but DUH the ref is down. Razor hits the Belly-to-Back Superplex and calls for the RAZORS EDGE. Out comes Shawn Michaels to hit him with his fake IC belt. IRS covers as the ref wakes up for the count of three. IRS celebrates with the fake belt as ref Earl Hebner runs down to fill ref Joey Marella in on what just happened while he was presumably dead. With IRS up in the corner with his arms raised in jubilation of his title win, Razor comes by and delivers the RAZORS EDGE for 1-2-3! (11:47) Call me crazy, but I liked this match. It sets up what we already know is inevitable: Razor vs. HBK. **½
WWF World Champion Yokozuna (w/Mr. Fuji & Jim Cornette) vs. The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer) – Casket Match
So Undertaker has been freaking Yokozuna the crap out with caskets lately, which leads to this match. Pretty much everyone at least on the internet world assumed Taker was walking out of this show as champ since this is *his* specialty match, but I don’t think anybody had any clue what they were about to witness. They presumably have a staredown contest to start, which Yoko loses! Yoko then storms at Taker, but he sidesteps and hits a pair of jumping lariats. They head to the floor where Yoko stumbles right into the ringpost. Wow, never seen that before. Taker heads out and gets slammed on the steps, but he NO-SELLS! Back in, Taker delivers OLD SKOOL on Yoko. Taker misses a third jumping lariat and rolls out to the floor. Yoko follows and grabs a chair, but Taker blocks and nails Yoko instead. Yoko grabs some salt from his wooden pail and throws it in Taker’s face. Guess his face is like a snail or something. You smash his face into STEEL steps, you get nothing. But salt? That’s a whole other story. Taker gets hit in the head with a chair. Back in again, Yoko clotheslines Taker and puts him in the casket. Taker’s head and arms are sticking out though. He’s not done yet. He punches his way back into the ring, but takes a Belly-to-Belly Suplex. ZOMBIE SIT-UP! Chokeslam to Yoko! Wow, Yoko took the chokeslam better than Hogan at Judgment Day ‘02. Taker hits the Jumping DDT! Now he rolls Yoko into the casket and tries to close the door, but Crush runs down and stops him just in time. Oh, here we go. He gets rid of Crush momentarily, but now the Great Kabuki and Genichiro Tenryu storm the ring. They do nothing. Bam Bam Bigelow is out here now. Together, he and Crush corner Taker to make it four-on-one. Meanwhile, Fuji has taken the urn away from Paul Bearer. While the foursome try to put Taker in the casket, Bearer comes over and avenges the urn by taking out both Fuji and Cornette. Bearer raises the urn in the air and HERE COMES THE UNDERTAKER! Out comes Adam Bomb. Taker starts destroying people again until Bigelow nails him with that wooden salt pail. Now Jeff Jarrett is out here looking like a Power Ranger. The Headshrinkers are here! It’s NINE-on-one now including Yokozuna. They continue to ravage the Undertaker until he’s placed in the casket. OH WAIT! He’s up again before they can close the door. People are being punched all over the place. Uh oh, Diesel’s here. That’ll stop the Undertaker for sure. In hope of finishing Taker off once and for all, Yokozuna hits Taker with the urn! The urn gets dropped and GREEN SMOKE starts to come out of the urn! Is Barbara Eden’s evil twin sister here? After the Headshrinkers both splash the Taker, its time to roll him into the casket for good. Everyone dogpiles the casket door so that the Undertaker will just go away. (14:25) The group of mid-card heels wheel the casket up the aisleway until smoke starts to exude from it! An overhead camera shot of the Undertaker supposedly from inside the casket shows up on the video wall. BONG! He’s alive! That’s right. He will not rest in peace. After his message of hope, he goes back to sleep as apparently his body explodes and then an inverted Undertaker floats up the screen. As he goes off the screen, his body or “soul” is levitating up to the heavens, I can only suppose. An absolute “What the %&@# did I just watch?” moment. In reality, which this whole post-match segment was the opposite of, Taker needed some time off because of a back injury. He’ll back though. Don’t you worry. ¼*
The Rumble Match
To ensure more non-stop action, they change the rules to where we have a new entrant every ninety seconds instead of every two minutes like in every other Rumble before. In other words, their talent roster pretty much sucks. Scott Steiner is #1 and Samu is #2. We have some back and forth stuff from these two, culminating with a double underhook slam by Scott. They try and throw each other out as #3 Rick Steiner walks down to the ring. It becomes a 2-on-1 affair with the Steiners in control. Bottom line, Samu gets eliminated. Kwang, better known as Savio Vega, is #4. Rick Steiner takes some GREEN MIST~! in the face from Kwang to put him down for a while. Scott tries to keep Kwang at bay while he checks on his big bro. Owen Hart draws #5. He gets rid of Rick. Bart Gunn enters in at #6. Nothing really happens until our #7 guy Diesel comes down to the ring. Out goes Bart and Scott. In kind of a surprise if only to me, Owen gets tossed out! Kwang misses the SPINNING HEEL KICK and takes a clothesline out to the floor. Bob Backlund is our #8 entrant. He wisely goes after Diesel’s legs and almost gets him out. His failure is Diesel’s success, as Backlund gets tossed out pretty quickly. He stands alone in the ring as #9 Billy Gunn comes down to face Diesel. Billy gets in a few licks, but runs into a boot and he’s outta there. And once again, Diesel stands alone. Meanwhile in the back, Lex Luger is being attacked by Great Kabuki and Genichiro Tenryu! Mr. Fuji’s a genius! There’s no way Lex Luger can make it to the Rumble match now! #10 is Virgil – subbing for Kamala. It’s because Kamala’s black, isn’t it? Anyways, Virgil is in and Virgil is out just like that.
Randy Savage enters in at #11. He’s the first guy to last more than a minute alone with Diesel. Savage nearly gets Diesel sent out as #12 Jeff Jarrett storms the ring to save Diesel. Those heels sure do stick together. Jarrett levels Savage with a dropkick and I sit and wonder why those two never really met in the ring. It could’ve been a decent match, I think. Jarrett tosses Savage, but he avoids elimination by grabbing the top rope. Jarrett walks away and does his little strut, so Savage runs up from behind and tosses him like there’s no tomorrow. Crush is #13 and Savage directs all his attention to his “former” friend. Savage delivers a pair of double-sledges and decides to work on Diesel some more. That gives Crush the chance to nail him from behind and give Savage the Tilt-a-Whirl Backbreaker. As Savage gets eliminated by Crush, Doink the Clown walks down to the ring at #14. Crush and Diesel stop trying to get rid of each other and look over at the freakin clown behind them. Doink sprays them with his “flower” and pounds away, but Diesel and Crush are just too big for him. To make things worse for Doink, Bam Bam Bigelow drew #15. Bigelow walks in and presses Doink and drops him on the floor! Diesel and Crush continue to stick together and double-team Bigelow. Here comes Mabel at #16. Diesel takes a pair of Mabel avalanches. “Sparky Plugg” Bob Holly is our #17 guy. Oh yes, what a wonderful gimmick. At one point, all five guys start trying to throw one another out at the same time. And nobody goes out. Shawn Michaels enters the ring at #18. Diesel looks over at Shawn like he wants to throw him out of here. Shawn begs off in the corner. Ahh, Diesel’s just joking with you, HBK! Everything’s going to be alright. Bigelow, Crush and Mabel gang up on Diesel and with a little help from Shawn, Diesel gets tossed out. Mo draws #19 and helps out his partner Mabel. He nearly eliminates Shawn Michaels, but Crush makes the save. Bigelow takes a Mabel avalanche while Shawn skins-the-cat back in after Sparky Plugg tries to throw him out. Greg FN Valentine enters in at #20. He elbows a bunch of people and then blends in with everybody.
#21 is Tatanka. To emphasize the “every man for himself” principle, Mabel holds onto Tatanka while Shawn hammers away. Tatanka moves and Mabel gets rocked. Nothing comes of it though. He just goes and stands on the other side of the ring instead of doing something about it. The Great Kabuki enters in at #22. Aside from the storyline with Luger, I’m not sure, out of all of Tenryu’s buddies, why he’s here exactly. This is his one and only WWF match as far as I know. Everybody but Mo throws out Mabel. We needed somebody eliminated, so it might as well be Mabel. Valentine REALLY tries hard to get rid of Michaels, but the guy just won’t go out. And what do you know, #23 is Mr. America himself – Lex Luger. First order of business is to get rid of Kabuki. Done. Next order of business? Do nothing. Genichiro Tenryu draws #24. He chops the crap out of Luger for a good while. Nobody shows up to be #25. It was supposed to be Bastion Booger, but apparently Vince says he got sick? Alright, there’s nine guys in the ring and only six of them are actually doing anything. #26 is Rick Martel. Just a lot of brawling ensues with no real drama at all. Bret Hart limps out at #27. He sells the knee VERY well, by the way. Immediately, Crush starts stomping on his knee. There’s just way too many people in the ring right now. Fatu enters in at #28. After a long battle with Crush, Luger finally gets rid of him. Marty Jannetty draws #29 and goes right after Shawn. Marty beats the crap out of him and connects with a superkick. Adam Bomb enters the ring to our final Royal Rumble entrant. He’s big, he’s bad, but doesn’t have a snowballs chance in hell of winning. Bret Hart flips Sparky Plugg over the top to the floor. The mindless brawling continues with nothing of note happening for way too long of a period of time. Finally, Martel rids the ring of Valentine. Tatanka sends Martel over the top to the floor. Luger ducks a charge from Adam Bomb and he goes flying out to the floor. Fatu eliminates Mo with a superkick. Bigelow tosses out Tatanka. Bam Bam misses a corner charge on Luger and Flair Flips out to the apron as Luger clotheslines him down to the floor. While Marty was trying to toss out Shawn, Shawn managed to flip Marty out to the floor. Tenryu goes back to chopping Luger and gets tossed out from behind by Bret AND Luger.
Final Four: HBK, Luger, Bret and Fatu. Bret and Shawn square off while Luger concentrates on Fatu. Bret and Shawn go through a couple near-eliminations, but Bret’s knee gives out. Meanwhile, Fatu NO-SELLS a faceslam from Luger and answers with a superkick. Fatu and Shawn look to suplex Luger out to the floor, but he lands on the apron and fights them back. Bret and Luger do the cross-corner double-whip. Shawn leaps over Fatu and charges into a backdrop to the floor by Luger while Fatu charges into a backdrop from Bret that puts him out on the floor! Now it’s just one on one. Luger and Bret tie-up and tumble out to the floor at the exact same time! (55:08) Both refs Joey Marella and Earl Hebner are confused as to who is the winner. Ironically enough, Hebner says Bret. Joey sticks with Luger. The replays show horrible angles that tell us nothing, rendering them completely pointless. President Jack Tunney comes down and makes the decision – BOTH guys have won the Rumble match. After the decision, they shake hands and go their separate ways. This showed a lot of the same problems that the ‘93 Rumble match had – limited star power and nothing happened that really mattered. The Rumble can be used in a lot of ways and one of them is to continue or enhance feuds. Instead of trying to rekindle something that was dead already with HBK and Jannetty, why not have Razor come out and cost Shawn the Rumble match? Apart from that, you have to hand it to a few guys like Shawn and Bret who really shined in this match. Shawn was always good with those dramatic near-elimination spots. As for Bret, he put on one of the best performances throughout the whole show by selling the knee all the way to the end. Fantastic stuff from these two greats. **½
Final Thoughts: I wouldn’t call this a necessity to go along with WrestleMania at all. Sure, you have the all important moment where Owen kicks Bret’s leg out from under his leg. Plus, you have the controversial Rumble match finish. All of those moments are wrapped up in some nice video packages at WrestleMania though, so there’s no real need to see this unless you’re a big Bret Hart mark, a Bret/Owen feud completist, or if you just can’t live without seeing the Undertaker levitating. From my vantage point though, I give the Royal Rumble 1994 a thumbs down all the way.
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