January 10, 2011
Steve Riddle

Royal Rumble 1994
January 22nd, 1994
Providence Civic Center
Providence, Rhode Island

Dark Match:
1. The Brooklyn Brawler defeats Jim Powers

Actual Show:

We see the opening video for the Royal Rumble.

Your hosts are Vince McMahon and “The Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase.

1. Tatanka pins Bam Bam Bigelow (w/ Luna Vachon) with a crossbody off the top at 8:12.

Substitution: Bam Bam is replacing Ludvig Borga, who was originally scheduled to face Tatanka, but suffered an injury at a house show and was pulled.

Analysis: A very solid match, considering there was a major last minute change. Tatanka was set to face Borga, but an injury ended his tenure and Bam Bam steps in, and these two face once again. These two have very good chemistry and work a good, hard match, which says a lot for both men as they were both competing in the Rumble match later in the night. Bigelow dominates most of the match, including hitting a sweet enzuiguri during Tatanka’s war dance. In the end, Tatanka surprises Bigelow with a crossbody and gets the win. A good match for both men, and their night is not over. Grade: 2.5

We see the buildup to the tag team title match.

Todd Pettengill interviews the Harts, who say that they will be united and will make the family proud by winning the titles.

2. The Quebecers (w/ Johnny Polo) defeat the Harts when the referee stops the match at 16:48 to retain the WWF Tag Team Championships.

Debut: Carl Ouelette began his career in 1987, working mostly on the independent circuit. He met Jacques Rougeau in Puerto Rico, who brought him into the WWF in 1993, forming the Quebecers, with Ouelette named Pierre.

Title Changes: The Quebecers were upset by the 1-2-3 Kid and Marty Jannetty on the 1/10 RAW and lost the tag titles. They regained the titles from Kid and Jannetty at an MSG house show on 1/17.

Analysis: What a fantastic match, as the story surronding the match made this that much better. Bret and Owen had seemingly put the differences aside, and the Quebecers have momentum from winning the belts back 5 days earlier. Both teams are very stiff with each other, as all four men give everything they got, which is great considering the Harts were also competing in the Royal Rumble. At one point, Bret takes a fall to the outside and hurts his knee. The Quebecers dissect that knee, until they miss their finisher. Owen wants the tag, but Bret tries for the Sharpshooter, but falls in pain. The ref then stops the match, which infuriates Owen, as he starts yelling at Bret for not tagging when he had the chance. Claiming Bret wanted to hog the spotlight, Owen then kicks Bret’s injured leg, cementing his heel turn. A great story coupled with a nice match, add in the great commentary by Ted Dibiase, and you got yourself a very nice encounter. Grade: 3.5

Ray Rougeau tries to interview Bret, but the officials won’t let him speak to Bret.

Todd Pettengill interviews Owen Hart, who says he is tired of Bret’s selfishness and is ready to break out on his own.

Gorilla Monsoon and Jim Ross take over commentary for the next match.

3. Razor Ramon pins Irwin R. Schyster with the Razor’s Edge at 11:30 to retain the WWF Intercontinental Championship.

The Buildup: IRS had taken possession of Razor’s gold chains, and was named the top contender for the belt.

Analysis: Our next title is an OK affair. IRS was still a pretty solid heel, while Ramon was gaining more support as the champ. This was just a sidebar for Ramon as he had other issues with Shawn Michaels. The match is decent, as both men trade momentum back and forth. The ref takes a bump, and HBK gets involved and whacks Ramon with the fake IC belt. The ref then counts 3 and IRS wins, or so he thinks. Another ref comes out, informes the first ref of what happened, and the match continues. One Razor’s Edge later, and Ramon retains the title and celebrates with both belts. IRS doesn’t sniff any more title shots, while Razor now looks to settle the undisputed issue with Michaels. Grade: 2.5

We see the buildup to the WWF Title match.

Vince and Ted take back over on commentary.

4. Yokozuna (w/ Mr. Fuji and James E. Cornette) defeats The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) in a Casket Match at 14:20 to retain the WWF Championship.

The Buildup: After their encounter at Survivor Series, a match was made between these two. It was then revealed that Bearer added the stipulation that this be a casket match, and it would be revealed that Yokozuna was scared of caskets.

Fun Fact: The “Undertaker” rising to the heavens was actually Marty Jannetty dressed as Taker.

Analysis: We come to our big title match. Taker gets a title shot after having to deal with two years of stiffs, and Yoko was being prepped for WM. Both men pound on each other, with both trying to get both men in the casket. Taker takes advantage and has the victory in hand, until nine heels come out and assist Yoko. Taker keeps coming back until Yoko takes the urn and opens it, and green smoke comes pouring out, draining Taker of his strength. After several big moves from the heels, Taker goes in the casket. After the match, Taker appears on the screen and promises to be reborn, and rises to the heavens. Many call it overbooking, I call it amazing storytelling. You expect Taker to have these supernatural addings to his character, and this also gets him off camera to take a break. Yoko survives the match and now looks to see who he will face at Wrestlemania. Grade: 2.

5. Bret “The Hitman” Hart and Lex Luger win the Royal Rumble match.

Order of entry and time lasted:
Scott Steiner (9:00)
Samu (3:13)
Rick Steiner (3:57)
Kwang (5:57)
Owen Hart (4:10)
Bart Gunn (2:30)
Diesel (17:41)
Bob Backlund (:41)
Billy Gunn (:14)
Virgil (:32)
“Macho Man” Randy Savage (4:38)
“Double J” Jeff Jarrett (1:19)
Crush (25:03)
Doink the Clown (1:48)
Bam Bam Bigelow (30:12) (Ironman)
Mabel (9:57)
Sparky Plugg (21:33)
Shawn Michaels (29:17)
Mo (22:46)
Greg “The Hammer” Valentine (20:39)
Tatanka (20:07)
The Great Kabuki (2:46)
Lex Luger (21:58) (CO-WINNER)
Tenryu (17:21)
no entrant – supposed to be Bastion Booger
“The Model” Rick Martel (11:22)
Bret “The Hitman” Hart (15:08) (CO-WINNER)
Fatu (13:04)
Marty Jannetty (8:18)
Adam Bomb (4:55)

Order of Elimination:
Samu by Scott (1)
Rick by Owen (1)
Bart by Diesel (1)
Scott by Diesel (2)
Owen by Diesel (3)
Kwang by Diesel (4)
Backlund by Diesel (5)
Billy by Diesel (6)
Virgil by Diesel (7)
Jarrett by Savage (1)
Savage by Crush (1)
Doink by Bigelow (1)
Diesel by Crush, Bigelow, Mabel, Sparky, and Michaels (2,2,1,1,1)
Mabel by Crush, Bigelow, Sparky, Valentine, Kabuki, Tatanka, and Michaels (3,3,2,1,1,1,2)
Kabuki by Luger (1)
Crush by Luger, Bigelow, Sparky, and Bret (2,4,3,1)
Sparky by Bret and Michaels (2,3)
Valentine by Martel (1)
Martel by Tatanka (2)
Bomb by Luger (3)
Mo by Fatu (1)
Tatanka by Bigelow (5)
Bigelow by Luger (4)
Jannetty by Michaels (4)
Tenryu by Luger and Bret (5,3)
Fatu by Bret (4)
Michaels by Luger (6)

Minor Debut: Juan Riveria began his career in his native Puerto Rico. He wrestled in the WWC as T.N.T. and came into the WWF in 1993. His new gimmick was that of Kwang, a masked martial artist known for spitting a mysterious green mist into his opponent’s face. After a big hyped debut, he became mostly a JTTS. He makes only one other PPV appearance as Kwang, and that’s the 1995 Royal Rumble. Riveria would be repackaged in 1995.

One-time Debut: The Great Kabuki began his career in Japan, and competed across the world. He gained fame during the 70s in World Class, being managed by Gary Hart. He also competed extensively in JCP. He makes his only PPV appearance here as a hired gun with Tenryu. Kabuki would retire in 1998.

Debut #1: Jeff Jarrett is the son of legendary promoter Jerry Jarrett. He would debut in his father’s promotion CWA and also had great success in the USWA before coming to the WWF in 1993. His gimmick was that of a country singer who saw wrestling as his stepping stone to superstardom in Nashville.

Debut #2/Substitution: Bob Howard began his career in 1990 after competing in the racing circuit prior to his wrestling career. He began in Alabama and also competed in Memphis and SMW. He came to the WWF in 1991 working as an enhancement talent, before being renamed Thurman “Sparky” Plugg, a take on his days as a racer. Sparky is replacing the 1-2-3 Kid.

Substitution: Virgil is replacing Kamala.

Farewell/Temp. Farewell: This is the Steiner Brothers’ last PPV as a team. This is Rick’s last PPV, and Scott’s last PPV until 2002.

Temp. Farewell: This is Marty Jannetty’s last PPV until 1995.

Analysis: We now come to the Royal Rumble. First, we almost get a dream match between the Steiners, but nothing happens. Damn shame because it would have been cool to see them go at it, a la Demolition from 1989. Owen comes back out and after getting cheered earlier, is now being booed out of the building, cementing his heel turn. The first third is best remembered for Diesel coming in and destorying everything in his path. He would take out 7 men on his own, and was bigger and bigger pops. He finally goes out by Shawn Michaels, though considering 4 men blocked his view and from the angle they showed, you can’t tell. But for now, Diesel has effectively saved his career and would be rewarded for it. Speaking of Michaels, he gets a nice run in the Rumble, lasting almost half and hour. Props also go to Crush, Sparky, Tatanka, Valentine, and Mo for getting over 20 minutes in the match. The ironman this year is Bam Bam who lasts over 30 minutes, after competing earlier in the night. Now to the meat and potatoes of the match. During Diesel’s run, they show footage backstage of Luger being assulted by Tenryu and Kabuki. When he came out, he gets a nice pop from the crowd. But that fails in comparison to the pop Bret Hart gets as he comes out on one good leg. In the end, it comes down to Bret and Luger, and they dump each other out at the same time. The crowd is not too pleased, and neither man gets a clear advantage in crowd support, though to me it seems like Bret got a bigger pop. For now, a decent Rumble best remember for the performance of Diesel, and the ending. Grade: N/A

Jack Tunney comes out to make a decision. During the discussion, we see the various replays. Ultimately, Tunney decides that Luger and Bret are co-winners of the Rumble.

We see the still photos of the event.

We see one last replay of the conclusion of the Rumble match as we go off the air.

Final Analysis: After 1993 ended on a whimper, we kick off 1994 with a pretty solid PPV. The undercard was solid, with 3 good title matches. The Rumble itself is decent, with the only bright spots being the tie at the end and Diesel’s dominance. I also have to say that I loved Ted Dibaise on commentary, as he brought a nice insight into the matches, almost like Jesse Ventura. It’s too bad he didn’t do commentary for any other PPV. The big story out of this event is the big turn of Owen Hart, as he gets set for a showdown with big brother Bret. Bret not only as that on his mind, but also if he will get the title shot at WM or will Lex Luger get one last shot. Elsewhere, Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon are also set for a showdown. Overall, this was a good event as the young stars get their shot to shine as we head to the 10th installment of WM, and we head back to where it began. Final Grade: B

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