Much like many other shows from this period, Royal Rumble 1993 is one I’ve never watched, as I was never able to find it when I was younger nor did I think it was worth it to purchase a Royal Rumble DVD set. Now that the WWE Network exists, it’s time to finally watch this thing. The WWF was a strange place at this time, very much caught between two eras. We would get to the New Generation stuff soon, but there were still guys like the Big Boss Man, Earthquake, Typhoon, the Nasty Boys, Ted DiBiase, and many others in the WWF. So, getting from one point to the other, was the WWF. This show was supposed to demonstrate that in its own way.
– January 24th, 1993, from Arco Arena in Sacramento, California
WHERE IS MY ROYAL RUMBLE INTRO VIDEO??? Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan are on commentary.
The Beverly Brothers vs. The Steiner Brothers
Pre-Match Thoughts: Well, that sounds like one way to establish the Steiners in the WWF. This entrance aisle is very short, by the way. The one in Arco Arena has always been the smallest that I’ve seen in any bigger arena the WWF would use. The Steiners almost feel out of place here. This arena is full, by the way. No Genius at ringside with the Beverly Brothers anymore.
Match Review: Scott will start with Beau Beverly, and Scott goes for a trip, but Beau goes into the ropes. Scott then takes Beau down with a wristlock, but into the ropes he goes. Scott follows with a hip toss, but Beau then grabs his hair and takes him down. Scott gets up and takes Beau down with a tilt-a-whirl slam, sending him to the outside. Blake makes a tag in, and so does Rick Steiner. Rick knocks Beau off the apron, then Blake rams him into the buckle. Blake powerslams Rick, who returns the favor with his own! Scott tags in and takes Blake over with a great belly to belly throw, but when he goes for a tiger bomb, Beau runs in and clotheslines him. Blake gives Scott a backbreaker, then tags in Beau for a double axehandle from the second rope. Beau gives Scott his own backbreaker for 2, then tags back out. Blake hits Scott with a flying headbutt, then back out he goes to choke Scott with the tag rope. Beau gives Scott a butterfly suplex for 2, and Blake applies a Boston crab. Blake lets go and tries a suplex, but Scott suplexes him first. Beau cuts Scott off from the tag and kicks away at him, but Scott grabs him and drops him with that tiger bomb. Now Scott makes the tag out, and Rick gives Blake a huge backdrop. Rick follows that with a GERMAN SUPLEX that nearly kills Blake, then he picks him up, but Beau attacks Rick from behind. Rick comes back with STEINERLINES, but Beau breaks the cover on Blake. Scott makes a tag in and beats Beau up in the corner, but Blake puts Scott on his shoulders. Scott decides to victory roll Blake, dodging a flying clothesline, which gets 2. Scott then drops Blake with the FRANKENSTEINER, and picks up the pin at 10:45!
My Thoughts: This was a pretty good opener, which did a good job of establishing the Steiners. Their style was very different for the WWF, and they were a naturally good fit. The only concern is that the Steiners were nearly crippling their opponents in that ridiculously hard ring the WWF had. All four guys worked pretty hard, and the Beverlys were very willing bumpers for their very stiff opponents. Can’t complain about this at all. **3/4. They were doing things that I wasn’t used to seeing in the WWF at this particular point.
Marty Jannetty vs. Shawn Michaels for the WWF Intercontinental Championship
Pre-Match Thoughts: The question heading into this match was whose corner Sensational Sherri would be in. These two had a long history, which would finally culminate in this match. A video package showed the Barber Shop skit, of course. This was quite the important moment, even at the time. Sherri walked down to the ring first. Marty had interesting new attire that I don’t really know how to describe. Lots of white strings. They needed to do this match sooner, but it wasn’t possible due to Marty’s previously mentioned legal problems. Sherri hadn’t picked a corner by the time the match started.
Match Review: Michaels starts shoving Jannetty, so Marty pops him one. Jannetty then chases Michaels around the ring, leading to them getting in the ring and Jannetty giving Michaels a facebuster. Michaels then goes upside down into the corner, and he’s given an inverted atomic drop. A Jannetty knee lift knocks Michaels over the top, then Marty brings him back in the hard way. Jannetty then clotheslines Michaels over the top, and sloppily dives through the ropes to take him out again. Jannetty heads up top now, and comes down with a right hand to the head. He goes up top again, and this time, Michaels clocks him on his way down. Michaels then posts Jannetty, as the entire commentary of the match centers around Sherri. That’s a little frustrating. Michaels puts Jannetty back in the ring for a shoulder-breaker, centering on the arm that was driven into the post. Jannetty leaves the ring and Michaels attacks him in the aisle, then he slams him. Jannetty takes a long time to get back to the ring, and when he does, Michaels works on that arm and shoulder. Michaels heads up top, and down he comes with a double axehandle. Michaels puts an armbar on him, and follows with a single-arm DDT for 2. Michaels pokes Jannetty in the eye, then picks him up and slams him. Up to the second rope he goes, and down he comes with a flying nothing, getting booted in the face. Michaels then misses a charge to the corner, and a second one causes him to run into the post. Marty comes back with a clothesline, but Michaels dumps him out to the floor. Michaels tries to suplex him in, but he gets suplexed to the outside! Sherri now walks over to Michaels, and she SLAPS HIM! SO MUCH FOR THAT! Marty then back suplexes Michaels back into the ring, and Michaels kicks out at 2. Michaels then takes a crazy bump over the top after being thrown into the corner, and Jannetty puts him back in the ring. Jannetty follows that up with a powerslam, then heads up top! He lands on his feet when Michaels moves out of the way, and DDT’s him for 2. Very near fall there. Michaels dodges a charge to the corner and goes for the superkick, but Marty hits him instead for a 2 count. Michaels goes for a sunset flip, then they do a reversal sequence that leads to Jannetty catapulting Michaels into the corner for 2. Michaels then elbows the referee on purpose, and Jannetty goes for a full nelson. He asks Sherri to get in the ring, and she takes her shoe off. She accidentally hits Jannetty with it, then Michaels waffles him with the SUPERKICK for the victory at 14:20.
Sherri ran to the back throwing a fit, and when Michaels saw that, he made his way back there. Gene tried to tell Sherri to settle down, then Michaels shows up, and Marty jumps him from behind, leading to later matches that didn’t happen.
My Thoughts: This match was pretty good, until the finish got a bit silly. I know they could have a better match, but the rumor goes that Marty was drunk during this match. He denies that, but would it really be surprising? Anyway, the action was hot towards the end, just as you’d expect from these two. ***1/4, it was a really good match, but not at the absolute greatest heights that the pairing could do, in part because the finish stunk. Marty got fired after being found passed out at a taping the next day.
Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Big Boss Man
Pre-Match Thoughts: Bigelow’s gimmick was a perfect fit in the WWF at this particular time. They needed someone who could do exactly what he was able to do. Unlike their other fat guys like Earthquake and Typhoon, this one could work! It’s nice to see a WWF roster full of heels that could work as opposed to ones that couldn’t. Boss Man feels out of place here, and looks like he gained weight again.
Match Review: Bam Bam attacks from behind, so we’re underway. Bigelow splashes Boss Man in the corner, then throws him hard to the other side. Bigelow dumps Boss Man out to the floor, then rams him into the apron. Boss Man gets back in there, and he hits Bigelow with some clotheslines to put him down. Boss Man follows up with punches in the corner, but Bigelow gives him a back suplex. Bigelow goes for a diving headbutt, but misses, so Boss Man takes him down with the ol’ facebuster. Bigelow comes back by backdropping Boss Man over the top, hurting his back. Bigelow puts a waistlock on Boss Man, and when Boss Man breaks it, Bigelow drops him on the top rope with a HOT SHOT for 2. Back to the waistlock, which actually hurts somebody’s stomach more than their back. Bigelow goes for a suplex, but Boss Man blocks it and suplexes him. Bigelow gets up first and headbutts the back, and follows that with a shoulderblock. Bigelow misses a cross body, so Boss Man backdrops him. Boss Man then jumps on Bigelow’s back, pops him in the face, and misses a charge to the corner. Bigelow clotheslines Boss Man, heads up top, and comes down with a FLYING HEADBUTT. Obviously, that gets the pin at 10:09.
My Thoughts: This match was no good, and I don’t think Boss Man had any intention of making Bigelow look good. Really slow stuff here, and if this was the only Bigelow match you’d seen, you’d have no idea he was a good worker. I guess I’d give this 1/2* for the flying headbutt, but I’m probably being generous.
Razor Ramon vs. Bret Hart for the WWF Championship
Pre-Match Thoughts: They got a lot of mileage out of that clip where Razor Ramon beat up Owen Hart. Can’t blame them for that. Razor had a knee injury heading into this match, so any quality it may have would have to be provided by Bret essentially carrying him. They aired a promo from both guys before the match. It’s so odd to me that this was the only time Razor was given a title match on PPV. You’d think they could have shoehorned him into one somewhere. Stu and Helen Hart were at ringside, that’s odd.
Match Review: Bret beats Razor up to start the match, but Razor comes back with his own stuff. He shoots Bret hard into the corner, but Bret dodges a charge into it. Now Razor starts selling his knee, which is basically perfect for explaining why he’d limp and stuff. Bret jumps on that left knee, then puts a FIGURE-FOUR on him. Razor makes the ropes, but Bret kicks at him and keeps working the leg. Bret decides to wrap it around the post, but gets up and Razor shoots him into the corner in a way that makes him hit the post. Razor then gives Bret a backbreaker outside the ring, then rams his back into the post. Back on the inside, Razor drops an elbow on Bret’s back and throws him into the buckle. Razor gives Bret a FALLAWAY SLAM, which gets 2. Bret then takes his big bump in the corner, and Razor covers for 2 again. Razor then puts an abdominal stretch on Bret, working those bad ribs. Bret reverses, so Razor hip tosses him. Razor misses an elbow drop, but shoulders Bret down for 2. Bret comes back with a cross body, but Razor kicks out quick to send him to the apron. Bret tries to come in with a sunset flip, but Razor sits on him. Bret turns him over for 2, but Razor sits on him for a chinlock. The chinlock turns into a bear hug, but Bret goes to the eyes. Bret backdrops Razor over the top, then goes through the ropes torpedo style to take Razor out. Bret brings Razor back in, and tries to beat him up in the corner, only for Razor to keep shoving him off. Bret finally knocks Razor down again, then hits him with an inverted atomic drop and a clothesline for 2. Bret follows with a backbreaker, then hits Razor with a flying clothesline from the second rope for 2. Bret BULLDOGS Razor for 2, and a Russian leg sweep follows that for another 2 count. Bret goes for the SHARPSHOOTER, but Razor makes the ropes. Bret puts it on anyway, but Razor grabs the referee and trips him. The hold is then broken, and Razor punches Bret in the body again. Razor sets Bret up for his sick BACK SUPERPLEX, but Bret elbows him and flips out of that for his own back suplex. Bret goes up to the second rope, and eats Razor’s boot on the way down. Razor signals for the end, it’s time for the RAZOR’S EDGE! Razor picks Bret up, but Bret slides down his back for a backslide that gets 2. Great false finish. Razor throws Bret hard into the corner in response, and Bret ties his hands up for a silly pin that gets 2. Bret then locks on the SHARPSHOOTER as they sit on the ground, and stands up for the submission victory at 17:59.
My Thoughts: Razor’s lack of offense was quite interesting, as he was made to use a lot of punches and clubbing blows to the back rather than big spots. I have read before that Bret said he refused to take the Razor’s Edge because it would have hurt his neck. That could explain why Bret and Razor didn’t work together much. I thought the match was taking the tone of Bret working on Razor’s knee, but that didn’t work out. Instead, it was Bret beating the odds with injured ribs. Really simplistic match, but it was good. ***.
Bobby Heenan went straight out of the announce booth when that match finished, and it’s to introduce…NARCISSUS. IT’S LEX LUGER! They had a mirror setup and some classical music bullshit. Heenan was verbally jerking off to Luger’s body, it was a bit unsettling. This is one of the best things I’ve ever seen. If you don’t think Heenan is one of the best talents to ever work in wrestling, I don’t know. Can’t think of anyone other than Jim Cornette who could have gotten a thing over like this. Luger then cut a promo on Mr. Perfect which wasn’t anything special.
Before anything else, we get to see Caesar and Cleopatra. I guess that’s because WrestleMania IX was at Caesar’s Palace. This is quite corny. Caesar read a proclamation. If only Kane existed so he could walk out there and tombstone him.
ROYAL RUMBLE MATCH
Pre-Match Thoughts: I’m really excited to see this, in large part because I haven’t before. There were some interesting entrants, as well as the general WWF fare. Their roster was extremely weak at this particular time, so it was difficult to put together a Rumble match. The previously introduced Lex Luger wouldn’t be in this match. Of course, a title shot was on the line for the very first time.
Match Review: RIC FLAIR DREW #1! #2 is BOB BACKLUND. Some of the people in the crowd looked at Backlund like he was a goof. Flair refuses to shake Backlund’s hand, getting a big babyface reaction. Backlund shoulders Flair down, then leg trips him a few times. To say Backlund looked like a goof here would be an understatement. Flair pokes him in the eye, then chops him for a while. Backlund comes back with a backdrop, then gives Flair an atomic drop. #3 is here, and it’s PAPA SHANGO. Shango hits the ring and attacks Backlund, hitting him with headbutts. Flair walks up from behind on Shango, and decides to dump him out at 2:35. Haha. Flair throws Backlund out next, but Backlund winds up on the apron. Flair and Backlund beat each other up for a bit, until #4 walks out. That man is…TED DIBIASE. DiBiase goes to attack Backlund, hitting him with a back elbow. He and Flair put the boots to Backlund, but they can’t throw him out. Flair and DiBiase hit Backlund with a double elbow, but can’t get rid of him. This was quite boring. #5 is BRIAN KNOBBS, who runs in like a house of fire. He hits DiBiase and Flair with a double clothesline, getting the first pop of the match. He gives them a noggin-knocker, and nearly throws Flair out, only for Flair’s foot to snag the rope. That was neat. Backlund rams Flair into the buckle, as Knobbs works on DiBiase. #6 is Virgil, who gets attacked by DiBiase. That’s good booking there. Virgil comes back with an inverted atomic drop, and clotheslines DiBiase. Virgil and Knobbs give DiBiase a double backdrop, then Backlund ends up standing around doing nothing. Knobbs charges at DiBiase, misses, and goes out at 9:00.
Backlund’s offense is unbelievably 70’s. He winds up on the top rope, and Flair beats him up for a while, leading to a big pile or nothing. #7 is JERRY LAWLER! That’s awesome. Flair goes after him and chops away at the King, who fights back to knock him out of the ring. Flair teases leaving the match, but that would be dumb. Backlund gives DiBiase a piledriver or something like that, as Flair tries to eliminate Virgil. #8 is Max Moon, couldn’t care less about that one. Moon attacks Lawler and Flair, which seems like a bad idea. Moon dropkicks Lawler, but gets poked in the eye by Flair. Moon backdrops Flair in response, so Flair tries to throw him out. Moon skins the cat back in, as Lawler drops Virgil with a DDT. Moon hits Lawler with a spinning wheel kick in the corner, but Lawler eliminates him by backdropping him over the top. TENRYU is #9, who gives Flair the business. Virgil hip tosses Lawler, then Flair beats Virgil down. #10 is MR. PERFECT, who goes right after Flair of course. Flair pokes him in the eye, then Perfect chops the shit out of him. Perfect hits Flair with a knee lift, then when Flair goes up top, Perfect slams him down. Perfect follows with the neck snap, so Flair goes to the eyes when they stand up. Weird to see Monsoon plugging Monday Night Raw. #11 is Skinner, who I hadn’t seen in a while. He attacks Perfect, and helps Flair beat him up. Perfect then grabs Flair by the nose, and pushes him out of the ring for the elimination at 18:39! Lawler attacks Perfect from behind, a throwback to the mid-80’s. #12 is Koko B. Ware, who goes after Tenryu for some reason. Some of the outfits in this match are outlandish. He starts beating up Lawler in the corner, a nod to their ongoing Memphis issue. Perfect tries to toss Skinner out, but he skins the cat back in, only to get dropkicked out by Perfect. I liked that. Virgil hip tosses Backlund, as #13 walks out there. It’s SAMU! They had Afa throw him into the ring, and he goes on the attack. He headbutts everyone, so Koko stomps on his foot. Perfect leathers Lawler with a chop, then Backlund tries to trip Perfect and get rid of him. Lawler gives Perfect a DDT, and #14 is THE BERZERKER. HUSS HUSS HUSS. He tries to beat up everyone at the same time, then Lawler charges at Perfect and takes a huge bump out at 24:54. DiBiase tries to knock Perfect out too, kicking him from the apron, but he keeps holding onto the bottom rope. Eventually, they kick Perfect out at 25:28. Virgil got eliminated during all that too. This match desperately needs some star power now. #15 is the Undertaker, which takes care of that!
Taker was being billed as the favorite here and got the biggest pop of them all. Samu attacks him, and Backlund gets dumped through the ropes by the Berzerker. Interesting. Berzerker hits Backlund with a chair a few times, then Taker picks Samu up with a choke and throws him out of there. Koko hits DiBiase with a missile dropkick, as Berzerker tears the pad off the concrete and slams Backlund on the floor. Taker backdrops Tenryu over the top at 27:29, then Koko tries to get rid of the Berzerker. #16 was Terry Taylor, to no reaction whatsoever. Koko beats up Taylor, then DiBiase throws them both out. He was hardly in the match! Taker grabs DiBiase and CHOKESLAMS him, then clotheslines him out at 29:05. Berzerker and Taker are all that’s left. Berzerker headbutts him in the nuts, BUT BAH GAWD THERE’S A GIANT IN THE AISLE. YES. Taker backdrops Berzerker out, but this GIANT GONZALEZ IS IN THE RING. He’s a lot bigger than the Undertaker, that’s for sure. Damien Demento slowly walks to the ring as #17, but he’s steering clear. Gonzalez knocks Taker out of the match with some chops at 30:50, then stalks him around the ring beating him up. Taker takes a big bump over the stairs, then they get back in the ring, where Gonzalez CHOKESLAMS Taker. IRS is #18 and walks towards the ring, but he’s not messing with that. Gonzalez takes Taker’s knee and wraps it around the post, then finally leaves. Taker tries to sit up, but he can’t. Demento and IRS beat Backlund up for a while, until #19 gets out there. #19 is Tatanka, who goes right after IRS. HE’S TAKING HIS LAND BACK FROM THE GOVERNMENT. Paul Bearer walks down with the urn, and FINALLY TAKER SITS UP. He limps back to the locker room, but at least he made it there. The action in the ring is pretty boring, so I can’t think of much to say. #20 is Jerry Sags of the Nasty Boys, and he’s there to deal with IRS. He goes to the eyes, grabs him by the tie, and starts beating him up. Backlund is still in there! Demento thumbs Tatanka in the eye, and it’s time for #21. That guy is Typhoon, who rumbles his way down to the ring. He crushes Demento in the corner a few times, as Backlund is paired off with IRS, and Sags with Tatanka. This match needs…something. #22 is FATU! Some of these guys are just not over at all because they hadn’t been in the WWF long enough. Fatu kicks Typhoon in the face, and after more boring brawling, it’s time for #23. Earthquake is that man, and he hits Typhoon. WHAT? He starts beating him up, and Typhoon clotheslines him in response. I guess they didn’t partner up after this. Typhoon crushes Quake in the corner,then charges at him again and Quake dumps him out at 43:49.
Backlund and Demento take turns ramming each other into the corners, then Quake decides to beat up IRS and Fatu. #24 is Carlos Colon, who gets no reaction. Colon and IRS go to war, and Monsoon calls Colon a youngster. HAHA. Colon backdrops Demento out of the match, then Quake tries to get rid of Backlund. #25 is El Matador, who comes out to no reaction. This is somewhat sad. Backlund sends Fatu out as Santana enters the ring, and Santana tries to get rid of Backlund. IRS saves Backlund, who looks absolutely worn out. #26 is Rick Martel, who gets rammed into the buckle repeatedly by Santana. IRS charges at Quake, who ducks and causes IRS to fly over the top at 49:32. Earthquake and Sags start pushing each other like this is supposed to be a big deal, but it isn’t. Quake wrecks Colon with a clothesline, then tries to pick him up and dump him out. #27 is YOKOZUNA! He climbs in and goes on the attack, throwing Tatanka out at 52:06. Colon is next, getting knocked off the apron. Now Earthquake points at Yokozuna. Oh boy. The crowd is hyped for this. They do some collision spots, right as Owen Hart enters at #28. Quake clotheslines Yoko a few times, then splashes him in the corner. The second time, Yoko dodges him, and throws him over the top with a BELLY TO BELLY THROW at 53:53. Yoko then clotheslines Santana, and tries to throw him out only for Santana to wind up on the apron. #29 is REPO MAN, who looks WAY out of shape. No steroids will do that to you. Yoko knocks him down, then goes back for Santana. Everyone tries to eliminate Yoko, but they can’t push him over the top. Great pop for that, though. #30 is Randy Savage, the right guy to pop the crowd! He attacks Repo Man, keeping their feud from Raw going. That’s good continuity. Yokozuna tosses Santana out of there, then Owen Hart accidentally dropkicks Sags to the outside. Martel tries to throw Owen out, but he skins the cat back in and attacks Yokozuna. Yoko takes him out with a sick hip toss that nearly destroys Owen’s legs, then Savage throws Repo Man out at 58:59.
WE’RE DOWN TO FOUR! It’s Backlund, Martel, Savage, and Yokozuna in there. Martel tries to pick Backlund up and get rid of him, while Yoko chokes Savage with his foot. Backlund fights Martel off, then picks him up for a suplex and puts him on the top rope. He hits him with a forearm, and out Martel goes after 1:00:28! Backlund tries to dropkick Yoko out, but instead Yoko dodges a charge and tosses Backlund out at 1:01:10. Mr. Fuji walked to ringside, as Yoko beats Savage up a little more. No idea why Yoko would say SAMOA right there. My memory of him is that he was pushed as Japanese to the core. Yoko starts choking Savage again, but Savage starts fighting back. He clotheslines Yoko back into the ropes, then goes up top and hits him with a double axehandle. Savage hits him from behind with one, so down he goes! Savage charges at Yoko, but gets kicked in the face. Yoko follows that up with a belly to belly suplex, then drops a leg on Savage. Yoko squashes Savage in the corner, and Fuji wants one more. Yoko charges, but this time Savage moves and goes up top. Savage comes down with a FLYING ELBOW and tries to cover, which makes no sense to me. So, Yokozuna grabs him, presses him up, and throws him out over the top for the Royal Rumble win at 1:06:35! WE HAVE OUR TITLE CHALLENGER.
To close out the show, Bret Hart confronts Yokozuna in the back and puts his title belt in Yokozuna’s face.
My Thoughts: I can’t lie and say I was entertained by this as much as any other Rumble, because that wouldn’t be true. This had a lot of dead spots, but when things were moving well, it was really good. I don’t know why they took so long after the Undertaker’s exit to bring another star in, but I suppose they didn’t have very many stars. The composition of the roster was a lot different than the previous year. Backlund was in the match a really long time, but he didn’t do a whole lot. I don’t think the finish made any sense, but things picked up pretty well towards the end. The start was hot too. I can’t give this more than **1/2.
All in all, this was a pretty interesting show. Can definitely see that the WWF was heading in a different direction given all the strange talent they used on this show. I am surprised they didn’t use Doink in the Royal Rumble. The WWF got better at making sure their Rumble matches were stacked. The title match here was good, and it was unique given that the pairing didn’t happen again. Other than one match that wasn’t so hot, this was a fun watch. Good debut too with Lex Luger. Next, it’s time to watch the matches leading to SuperBrawl III. Can’t wait for that.
Wrestling Time: 1:59:48. That’s a lot for a WWF show.
Best: Lex Luger’s debut. The commentary was too much.
Worst: Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Big Boss Man. It sucked.
Card Rating: 6.5/10. Most of what was here was decent, some just a little bit over, and some not. I’ll take it.