January 24, 1993
Live from Sacramento, CA (ARCO Arena)
Announced attendance: 16 000 (capacity: 17 317)
PPV buys: 300 000 (up 50 000 from Survivor Series 1992’s 250 000 buys; up 40 000 from Royal Rumble 1992’s 260 000 buys)
It’s the first PPV of 1993. For the first time in history, there’s a WWF Championship shot in the main event of WrestleMania on the line in the annual Royal Rumble match. Who will make history and guarantee a title shot at ‘Mania IX? Plus, Bret Hart defends the WWF Championship against Razor Ramon. The former Rockers go to war as Shawn Michaels defends his IC Title against Marty Jannetty, with the returning Sensational Sherri standing in a neutral corner. All that and much more!
Here is the list of WWF champions heading into this PPV:
- WWF Champion: Bret Hart [104th day of his reign] – previous champion: Ric Flair
- WWF Intercontinental Champion: Shawn Michaels [89th day of his reign] – previous champion: The British Bulldog
- WWF World Tag Team Champions: Money Inc. (Ted DiBiase & Irwin R. Schyster) [103rd day of his reign] – previous champion: The Natural Disasters (Earthquake & Typhoon)
Note: in title matches, the defending champions are underlined
Enjoy the review!
Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Bobby Heenan
The Steiners Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner) vs. The Beverly Brothers (Beau & Blake Beverly)
The Steiners’ WWF theme is a huge downgrade from their previous WCW song. It sounds more like one of those Christmas sales adverts and it doesn’t really fit them at all. Scott goes for a single-leg takedown on Beau early, but the latter holds on to the ropes to stay on his feet. Scott takes him down aggressively into a hammerlock, but Beau makes it to the ropes. Scott throws Beau with a hiptoss out of the corner as Beau complains about some pulling of the tights. Tilt-a-whirl slam by Scott and Beau bails. He tags out to Blake back in the ring, who stops to shove Rick, who’s on the apron. Scott gladly makes the tag, but Blake throws Rick off his game and catches him with a powerslam. Leapfrog attempt by Blake, gets caught by Rick who powerslams him. Off to Scott for a belly to belly. He sets Blake up for the butterfly powerbomb, but the illegal Beau comes in to break it up with a clothesline.
Backbreaker by Beau gets two. The Beverlys proceed to use quick tags in and out of the ring, as they wear Scott Steiner down in their corner. Blake even uses the tag rope to choke Scott behind the ref’s back. Double-arm suplex by Beau gets two. Nice back-and-forth between Gorilla and Heenan on commentary – GM: “You’re not gonna beat the Steiners that way, forget about it.” BH: “They gotta hook the tights!” GM: “WHAT!?” BH: “Nothing wrong with hooking the tights… if you don’t get caught!” These two shared some great chemistry together! Meanwhile, Blake puts Scott in a Boston Crab, and then they take turns dropping elbows on Scott’s back. Suplex attempt by Beau, but Steiner easily reverses it into one of his own. Why would you even try to suplex a Steiner? Blake comes in off the tag to prevent Scott from making the hot tag, though. However, Scott explodes with the butterfly powerbomb on Blake. HOT TAG RICK! Backdrop to Blake, German suplex to Blake, running clothesline to Beau, running clothesline to Blake. He’s a house of fire, BY GAWD! He covers Blake but Beau breaks up the pin. Scott tags himself back in and the Beverlys try a Doomsday Device on him, but Scott uses a roll-up on Blake (who had him up on his shoulders) for a two count while Beau goes flying to the outside. Rick takes care of him on the floor, allowing Scott to put Blake away with the Frankensteiner in the ring at 10:34.
- Rating: It was a simple match to put The Steiners over in their WWF PPV debut. The Steiners started the match in control, The Beverlys then used some cheating to turn things around until The Steiners made the comeback to win in the end. It was good for what it was. Scott Steiner was amazing in the finishing sequence, reversing the Doomsday Device and hitting the Frankensteiner for the win. **3/4
We see a video package covering the HBK/Jannetty story narrated by Gene Okerlund. We see their run as The Rockers, Shawn’s heel turn in the famous Barber Shop window the previous year, and Marty’s return with Shawn “accidentally” throwing Sherri in the way of Jannetty’s shot with the mirror.
WWF Intercontinental Championship – Shawn Michaels vs. Marty Jannetty
Sherri is of course at ringside in a neutral corner, finally making her return after the attack with the mirror. Shawn gets in Marty’s face, who wastes no time and punches him in the face right away. Shawn takes a walk already. He tries to catch Jannetty back inside off the pursuit, but Marty faceplants him. Marty with an atomic drop followed by a knee lift that sends Shawn flying to the outside. Jannetty uses the ropes to pull Shawn back inside, only to then clothesline him back to the floor. Suicide dive by Jannetty. Marty comes flying off the apron with a fist to Shawn on the floor. Then he tries one off the top rope and Shawn finally catches him with a shot to the gut in mid-air. Michaels powers up Jannetty on his shoulders and rams his right shoulder into the post. Jannetty sells his left one instead, so Shawn rams his left shoulder into the post the second time around. Hm, that was weird. Back in, Shawn drops Jannetty on his knee with a shoulderbreaker. He slugs away on Marty’s shoulder in the corner, who has no choice but to bail. However, Shawn meets him there and leaves him lying on the floor. Jannetty breaks the count back in, only for Michaels to continue to work on the bad shoulder. Shawn rams Marty’s shoulder into the buckle, and follows it up with a flying double axehandle onto the bad shoulder. Armbar by Shawn. Jannetty fights his way out of the hold, but Shawn immediately takes him down by the left arm. Jannetty fights back but Shawn rakes the eyes to cut him off. Shawn with a powerslam, up top for the Vertical Jumping Move That Always Misses which SHOCKINGLY only finds Jannetty’s boot.
Jannetty finally makes his big comeback only for Shawn to dump him to the outside by the tights. Shawn tries to suplex him off the apron to the ring, but ends up getting suplexed off the ring to the floor by Jannetty instead. Sherri gets close to Shawn as if she’s worried about him, but then gives him a huge slap (when the ref wasn’t looking) to cement her face turn. Backdrop suplex by Jannetty gets two. Jannetty sends him to the outside for a trip to the steps, before bringing him back inside for a powerslam. Marty goes up, Shawn avoids the attack, but Jannetty lands on his feet and immediately DDTs him for two. Shawn tries a superkick, Marty avoids it and superkicks Shawn instead for a two count. Jannetty sits on top of Michaels to block a sunset flip and gets two, then avoids Shawn’s attempt at a pinfall reversal sequence and catapults Shawn into the post for a nearfall. Ref bump while Shawn went for a punch. That draws Sherri in, who takes her shoe off and takes a swing at Michaels, errantly hitting Jannetty instead to knock him down. Shawn adds the superkick as an exclamation point to stay IC Champ after 14:20, as Sherri runs to the back.
- Rating: I thought this was quite the fantastic match, although not a classic or even a MOTY contender or anything like that. The action was good as these two are very good athletes, but the psychology wasn’t always the greatest and some of the flip bumps that both guys took to sell normal moves at different points of the match looked pretty ridiculous. But outside of that, the in-ring action was mostly very good and the story was engaging. The finish left me interested in seeing the next chapter of this storyline, so props for that. ***3/4
– Mean Gene finds Sherri in the back and tells her to calm down, but Shawn Michaels walks in and finds her. Marty Jannetty goes to the back next and gets into a fight with Shawn there to extend their program.
That is until Jannetty got fired again due to drugs just a couple of days later, as Michaels moved on to an Intercontinental Title feud with Tatanka heading into WrestleMania. Jannetty would soon be rehired and they would resume their feud over the belt shortly after WrestleMania, though.
The Big Bossman vs. Bam Bam Bigelow
Usual nice reaction for Bossman, who would exit the WWF just a number of weeks after this event. Bam Bam starts off unloading on Bossman in the corner. Bigelow with a running splash in the corner. Bigelow follows it up with the CLUBBING BLOWS as Gorilla brings up that time when Heenan mocked Bossman’s mother. What a weird callback as that went nowhere due to Rick Rude’s departure. Bossman fights back with a clothesline and he slugs away on Bam Bam with ten punches. Ten more punches in the corner by Bossman. Bigelow catches him with a backdrop suplex to turn things around, but Bossman moves out of the way of a falling headbutt attempt by Bam Bam. Bossman charges but Bigelow backdrops him over the top rope to the floor. More CLUBBING BLOWS by Bigelow followed by a bearhug of sorts. Thrilling stuff.
Bossman escapes the hold and tries to fight back, but Bam Bam catches him with a stungun and gets two. Back to the bearhug goes Bam Bam. This time he keeps the hold on for about 2 minutes. Ugh. Bossman finally fights out and hits a suplex, but his back is too hurt from the DREADED BEARHUG OF DEATH and Bam Bam comes back with a headbutt to Bossman’s back. Bossman avoids a crossbody and backdrops Bam Bam. Running guillotine buttdrop as Bossman makes the comeback. However, Bossman ends up eating boot on a blind charge in the corner. Bigelow goes up and the flying headbutt finishes Bossman in one of his final matches of his first WWF run at 10:10.
- Rating: This wasn’t very good at all. About 25% of this midcard match was spent in a bearhug, which wasn’t necessary. Maybe it would’ve been better had it been 3-5 minutes shorter. At ten minutes, it was pretty tedious. *
We see a recap of Razor Ramon’s cheap attack on Owen Hart in the dressing room a number of weeks before this show.
They air a taped segment with Raymond Rougeau interviewing Razor Ramon. He promises to add more gold to his collection, similar to what he said on TV during the build-up to this title match.
– Mean Gene interviews WWF Champion Bret Hart in gorilla position while Razor Ramon makes his entrance. Bret says it’s beyond personal and way more than a title match at this point.
WWF Championship – Bret Hart vs. Razor Ramon
Razor Ramon throws his toothpick at the same kid that received Bret’s shades. Bret immediately goes after him leading to a big slugfest to start. It looks awesome because both guys throw great punches. Razor gets the upper hand with an Irish whip into the buckle, with Bret taking the classic Bret Hart bump. Razor charges with a high knee, but finds no water in the pool and his knee hits the turnbuckle. The champion immediately starts working on the leg like a shark smelling blood. Figure Four by Bret with Razor making the ropes to escape. Bret drops some elbows on the knee and rams his leg into the post. Razor cuts Bret off with a knee to the gut, though, and whips him gut-first into the post. Razor slams Bret onto the post on the outside. Back in, Razor goes to work on the midsection with a fallaway slam for two. The cameras catch Helen Hart (Bret’s mother) in the audience covering her eyes in a great shot. A brutal Irish whip featuring another Bret Hart bump, this time sternum-first, gets a nearfall. Abdominal stretch by Razor Ramon. Bret turns it around into his own abdominal stretch, Razor hiptosses his way out of it but misses an elbowdrop. Shoulderblock by Razor gets two.
Razor pounds away on The Hitman’s ribs while the crowd boos him. Bret ducks a clothesline and gets a crossbody for two. Springboard sunset flip attempt by Bret, Razor sits on top of him for two, but Bret completes the move and gets two of his own. Razor sits on Bret’s back and applies a chinlock, followed by a long bearhug. Difference between this and the previous match being that it actually makes sense here given the psychology and it’s not just time killing. Bret resorts to biting to escape the hold. He backdrops Razor to the outside and meets him there with a suicide dive. Bret lands on top of Razor on the floor and continues to slug away on the challenger. Into the steps goes Razor before Bret sends him back to the ring, where he unloads on Ramon aggressively. Bret with an atomic drop into a clothesline for two. Backbreaker into a flying clothesline get two more. Bulldog out of the corner gets two. Russian legsweep gets two. Bret sets him up for the Sharpshooter, Razor holds on to the ropes to prevent it, Bret pushes him to the middle of the ring so Razor “accidentally” shoves the referee on top of Bret to escape that predicament.
Razor takes him up top for what looks to be a backdrop superplex off the top rope, but Bret uses Razor’s back to roll through into a regular backdrop suplex of his own. Bret goes up for the middle rope elbow, but Razor gets his foot up. Razor’s Edge attempt, Bret perfectly turns it into a backslide for a nearfall. That was sweet. Razor takes back control with another whip into the buckle as Bret can barely stand anymore. Razor kicks at Bret’s midsection while in a test of strength, but Bret manages to wrestle him down into a pinning combination for another unique nearfall. While both guys are down, Bret locks Razor’s legs in Sharpshooter position and rolls over with the hold locked in. Wow! Razor Ramon gives it up as Bret retains at 17:52.
- Rating: Brilliant action. The match had a methodical pace for most of it as the cocky Razor Ramon took his time while he was in control, which made sense. Razor’s selling of the leg injury he suffered early on wasn’t always the greatest, as he was still a bit green at this point in time and early into his run as “Razor Ramon”, but it didn’t hurt the match in a major way. It just would’ve added to it like Bret’s selling of the midsection did. The reversals in the final couple of minutes were fantastic. Bret knew exactly how to fight from underneath against a big bully like Razor Ramon, using his wrestling ability to avoid Razor’s power moves. I enjoyed the finish with Bret locking in the Sharpshooter while both guys were down on the mat. ***3/4
Bobby Heenan unveils “Narcissus”
It’s obviously Lex Luger. He does some posing in front of a mirror and challenges Mr. Perfect in a promo afterwards.
“Julius Caesar” and “Cleopatra” invite everyone to the upcoming WrestleMania IX event. Yep. Welcome to 1993 WWF, people.
Royal Rumble 1993 Match: No. 1 Contender for the WWF Championship at WrestleMania IX
Ric Flair is #1 while Bob Backlund draws #2. Backlund wants a handshake before the match but gets a WOOO instead! Backlund fires away with a pair of takedowns and shoulderblocks. The crowd doesn’t react much to his in-ring stuff when he’s on offense. Flair takes Backlund to the corner for some chops, but Backlund gives him a backdrop out of the corner. Delayed atomic drop by Backlund leads to a Flair flop. The clock appears on the screen for the third entry. It’s Papa Shango at #3. Meeeh. Shango chokes Backlund on the ropes as soon as he enters the action, but Flair comes up from behind to toss Papa Shango to give us our first elimination already. Thanks, Flair! It’s back to him and Backlund all over again. Flair pounds away on Backlund for a while. Ted DiBiase comes in at #4, making what would be his final Rumble appearance as an active wrestler. Gorilla and Heenan remember all his previous Rumble performances, including that time he purchased the #30 spot from Slick, as well as that year he was the iron man of the whole match. Flair and DiBiase team up to get rid of Backlund, but the former WWF Champion keeps holding on to the ropes to stay in the match. The Nasty Boys’ Brian Knobbs is #5. He goes right after DiBiase since the Nasty Boys are in a feud with Money Inc over the tag team titles, finding himself at odds with Flair in the process as well. He runs wild on both guys and gives them a double noggin knocker. Knobbs tries to dump Flair over the top but Naitch holds on to the top rope. Knobbs with a Pit Stop to DiBiase. Virgil enters at #6. Atomic drop by Virgil on DiBiase. He runs wild on his former boss with a backdrop. DiBiase avoids a charge by Brian Knobbs, who goes flying over the top rope to the outside for an elimination. Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler is #7. He gets into a slugfest with Flair and gets the better of it, with Naitch taking a powder outside of the ring to stop it. He went under the bottom rope, of course. Max Moon comes in at #8 with a dropkick to Lawler. Backdrop to Flair. Moon rams Lawler’s face into the turnbuckle. Max Moon is a house of fire in this Rumble match! Lawler gets rid of him. Genichiro Tenryu is #9 to absolutely no reaction. He gets into a chopfest with Flair in the corner while Virgil slugs away on Lawler over in the other corner. Bunch of kicking, punching and lying around in the corners at this point in the match. Mr. Perfect is #10 to close the first third of the field. Time for a much needed paragraph break!
The crowd wakes up as Perfect goes after Naitch. Perfect slams him off the top. Perfect necksnap. Flair turns things around with a thumb to the eye and he chops away. Perfect fights back with punches in the corner. Gorilla finally addresses what would happen in case one of them won the Rumble and then lost the Loser Leaves Town match the following night on RAW. Apparently he would no longer be the no 1 contender. Would there have to be a second Royal Rumble match all over again, then? Skinner enters at #11 while Perfect tosses Flair out with a clothesline. Huge reaction for that! Bobby Heenan is beside himself on commentary. Koko B. Ware in his stupid pijama he wore around this time is #12. Perfect tosses Skinner, he skins the cat back inside to avoid elimination, but Perfect dumps him for good with a dropkick. There’s still way too many guys in there to follow the action. Samu is #13 with headbutts abound. Koko finally stops that flurry by stomping his barefoot. Lawler and Perfect go at it for a while. The Berzerker comes out next at #14. He does nothing of note and joins the kicking and punching in the corners. There goes Lawler courtesy of a backdrop by Perfect. DiBiase and Koko try to eliminate Perfect, who resists elimination. However, the already eliminated Lawler gives them a hand from the outside and Perfect is gone. That early?? Perfect and Lawler go at it on the outside. The Undertaker is #15. Apparently Virgil was tossed out by The Berzerker somewhere in the middle of all this, which I totally missed. Samu greets Undertaker in the ring with a pair of Samoan headbutts. Berzerker attacks Backlund with a chair on the outside, but neither guy is eliminated yet. There goes Samu at the hands of UT. Berzerker slams Backlund on the floor to leave him lying on the outside. UT eliminates Tenryu. ‘Terrific’ Terry Taylor is #16 but he quickly gets dumped along with Koko by DiBiase. Chokeslam by UT to DiBiase and a clothesline puts the Million Dollar Man out. Taker backdrops The Berzerker out. Here comes the debuting El Gigante (not officially in the match) cornered by Harvey Wippleman. He gets in Undertaker’s face inside the ring. Meanwhile, Damien Demento is #17. He waits outside while Gonzalez dumps UT with a sloppy chop. Gonzalez throws UT into the stairs on the outside. Gonzalez chokeslams UT before finally walking away. Irwin R. Schyster is #18. The action in the ring resumes with Demento and IRS going after Backlund, who just made his way back to the squared circle. Tatanka is #19 and he goes after the heels. Out comes Paul Bearer with the POWER OF THE URN to help Undertaker to the back. Tatanka with a powerslam to IRS. Jerry Sags from The Nasty Boys is #20.
The ring is filling up yet again after that flurry by Undertaker. Atomic drop by Sags to IRS. We’re back to kicking, punching and lying around. Typhoon comes out at #21 as Heenan accidentally calls him Tugboat, his previous ring name from 2 years before. Yes, that’s the highlight of this match at this particular point. Tatanka chops some people as I wait for an actual contender to come out. The crowd is dead after that attack by Giant Gonzalez on Undertaker. Fatu is #22 and he gets zero reaction as well. Fatu superkicks Typhoon. Heenan: “I knew it would be good, but nothing like this.” No, just no. Earthquake comes in at #23. At least he gets some kind of a reaction. Quake surprisingly goes after his own partner Typhoon right off the bat. He eliminates Typhoon with a backdrop of sorts. Too many people in there to follow any kind of action. Kicking, punching, kicking, punching, repeat. Carlos Colón is in at #24, whom Gorilla calls a youngster. What the f-ck? For the young readers who don’t know who Colón is, he’s the father of future WWE wrestlers Carlito and Primo. Colón dumps Demento with a backdrop. Backlund escapes elimination in the corner at the hands of Earthquake. ‘El Matador’ Tito Santana is #25. Backlund gets rid of Fatu. Tito tries to put Backlund out but he avoids elimination yet again. Rick Martel is #26 and he goes after Tito. Some things just never change! Tito rams his head into the buckle repeatedly while IRS gets tossed by Quake. Tito comes pretty close of eliminating Backlund once again. The crowd cheers Backlund for his performance thus far. Yokozuna is #27 and sh-t is about to get real. Tatanka goes after Yoko immediately like a geek. He gets casually eliminated in short order. Colón tries his luck next and he’s gone as well. Earthquake gets in Yokozuna’s face and gets a pretty good reaction for it. A number of clotheslines stagger Yoko but he doesn’t go down. However, Earthquake misses an Avalanche in the corner and Yoko puts him out. Owen Hart entered at #28 while the big guys were facing off. Yoko goes after Tito next. The cameras are pretty much following only Yokozuna and ignoring everything else. Tito somehow avoids elimination from Yokozuna. Repo Man is #29. Everyone stops to go after Yoko and try to put him out, but Yoko shoves each one of them away. Randy Savage comes out last at #30. He goes immediately after Repo Man, whom he was briefly feuding with on RAW. Yoko eliminates Tito. Owen dumps Sags with a dropkick. Martel tries to eliminate Owen, but he skins the cat back in and stays in it. Yoko sends Owen flying to the floor. Savage eliminates Repo Man. We’re down to the final four.
Final four: Bob Backlund, Yokozuna, Randy Savage, Rick Martel
Yokozuna crushes Savage in the corner. Martel tries to dump Backlund but somehow he stills holds on. Martel sets up Backlund for a suplex, Backlund blocks it, places Martel up on the top rope and shoves him out to eliminate him. We’re down to three. Yokozuna gets in Backlund’s face. Backlund tries to dropkick, but Yoko easily gets rid of him. The crowd boos that elimination. It all comes down to Savage v. Yokozuna. The big man slowly pounds away on Macho Man. Yoko chokes him in the corner and tries to dump him. Savage unloads with punches to stay in the match. A clothesline staggers Yokozuna. A flying double axehandle does the same. Another one to the back takes Yoko down to one knee. The crowd is finally coming alive for Savage’s comeback. However, Savage charges right into Yokozuna’s superkick. Belly to belly by Yoko. Legdrop follows, brother. Yoko with a running buttsplash in the corner. A second one only finds turnbuckle, though, with Yokozuna taking himself off his feet. Savage drops the Macho Elbow. He goes for a pinfall for some reason, as Yokozuna shoots him all the way to the outside. Yokozuna wins the Royal Rumble after 66:35, and the right to challenge Bret Hart for the WWF Championship in the main event of WrestleMania IX.
- Rating: What a boring Rumble match this was. It had some highlights, such as the interactions between Ric Flair and Mr. Perfect, the returning Bob Backlund breaking the longevity record set by Flair the previous year, Undertaker’s brief run in the Rumble before that stupid angle with the debuting Giant Gonzalez that totally killed the flow of the match for the next 20 minutes or so (and led to a terrible 8-month feud between them), and Yokozuna’s impressive run in the end. But that’s about it. Outside of those things I mentioned above, it was nothing but midcarders punching and kicking each other in the corners for over an hour. The ring was filled with too many people on a number of occasions, which didn’t allow many folks to stand out. Yokozuna was the right winner, although the finish with Savage going for a pin was beyond stupid. This Rumble is a recommendation to avoid for me. **
– WWF Champion Bret Hart gets in Yokozuna’s face in the dressing room to promote the main event of WrestleMania IX as the broadcast fades to black.
END OF THE SHOW
Final thoughts: I came into this show expecting that both title matches would deliver. They did, so that’s a pair of positives about this show. The Steiners’ debut on WWF PPV was good too, a basic opening match that put them over the Beverly Brothers. Outside of that, Bossman v. Bam Bam was not fun to watch and the Rumble turned out to be a huge disappointment, especially after the spectacle that the previous year’s Rumble match had been. Regardless of all that, I still think it’s an overall decent show, mostly because of Bret Hart v. Razor Ramon, which I think was the best match by a slight margin, and Shawn Michaels v. Marty Jannetty. It just ended on a bad note because of how soulless and boring the Rumble match was. 6/10
Considering this is a PPV with a very unique match, there will obviously be some changes to the point system. As far as all the regular preliminary matches go, I will use the regular point system, which you can see here. As far as the Rumble match itself goes, every elimination made will be worth 1 point. An elimination gives the wrestler a negative -1 point. Also, for every full minute alive in the match, the wrestler earns 0.1 points. As for winning the whole thing, it will earn the victorious wrestler three points.
For the participants in the regular wrestling matches:
For the participants in the Royal Rumble match:
That’s all for today’s post. Make sure you don’t miss any of the upcoming reviews of pay-per-views from both WWF and WCW, episodes of Monday Night RAW and other stuff like WCW Clash of the Champions. See you next time!
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