Netcop Retro Rant for the Royal Rumble 1993.
(2012 Scott sez: First ever Royal Rumble available on PPV in Edmonton back in the day! And man what a disappointment! It’s funny because PPV didn’t launch until Summerslam 92 in my neck of the woods, and we bought pretty much everything offered, and they all sucked. Survivor Series 92, Halloween Havoc 92, Starrcade 92, Rumble 93, Wrestlemania 9…thanks a lot, PPV.)
– Live from the Arco Arena in Sacramento, CA, home of some basketball team.
– Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan.
– Opening match: The Beverly Brothers v. The Steiner Brothers. This is essentially the Steiners’ debut. Big pop for Rick and Scott on their way in. Mucho stalling to start. Very sloppy tiltawhirl slam by Scott, who proceeds to play Ricky Morton for some very slow and boring offense from the Beverlys. Fonzie is the ref. Hot tag Rick, who clotheslines everything in sight, Scott back in, pier-six, frankensteiner, see ya. 1/2* Very disappointing debut.
– Review of the Rocker feud.
– I-C title match: Shawn Michaels v. Marty Jannetty.
This is not the match from 1993 between the two that won Match of the Year. That came later on an episode of RAW. The big storyline here is “Which corner will Sherri be in?” For those that care about this sort of thing, Marty was well over the legal blood alcohol limit for this match. (2012 Scott sez: He was the Matt Hardy of his generation!) A few of the spots look odd as a result, but it doesn’t mess up the match too much. A pretty good match, actually, with lots of moves that called “Just like that!” (single-arm DDT), or “I’ve never seen that before!” (hanging vertical suplex off the apron to the floor). Shawn controls, Marty comes back and do a pretty series of spots and reversals. Marty hits the superkick for two. Ref bump, and then a massive stalling session breaks out as Marty holds Shawn for Sherri to hit, but Shawn ducks and Marty gets clocked with the shoe. (2012 Scott sez: Shawn pulled off a miracle getting Tipsy McStagger to *** here.) Shawn and Sherri enact a little pathos play in the ring for a couple of minutes, then Marty floats back into consciousness, along with the ref. Shawn casually turns around and nails Marty with the superkick and gets the easy pin. Very anticlimactic. ***1/4
– Big Bossman v. Bam Bam Bigelow.
Bossman was definitely on the way down the talent ladder by this point. Slooooooooow kick and punch fest. No wonder Bigelow didn’t get over. Bossman fights back the Bigelow offense, does a couple of the usual moves, then gets caught with a clothesline and Bigelow drops the big headbutt for the win. DUD. Bossman was being actively jobbed out at this point, in preparation for a WCW entrance. (2012 Scott sez: I have to wonder if Bossman would have been better off just sticking around. Anything that WCW paid him over WWF would have been made up by lost merchandise money, you’d think.)
– WWF World title match: Bret Hart v. Razor Ramon.
The review package highlights just how many times Scott Hall has seen “Scarface.” (2012 Scott sez: At least he had a gimmick and an awesome wrestling name, unlike all the generic goofs today in black trunks.) Bret works on the knee early. About two minutes later, Ramon promptly forgets about that and decides not to sell the leg injury anymore. Ramon works on the ribs. Then it gets really boring, until Bret comes back with (all together now…) THE FIVE MOVES OF DOOM! (2012 Scott sez: Still waiting for that royalty cheque from John Cena.) Ramon blocks the Sharpshooter. They do a neat top-rope backdrop sequence, and Ramon tries the Razor’s Edge. Bret reverses to a backslide for two. Ramon tries a bow-and-arrow and Hart reverses to a pin for two. They collapse in a heap and Bret casually ties up the legs and turns over for the Sharpshooter. Not bad, all in all. *** (2012 Scott sez: And that, ladies and gentlemen, was Scott Hall’s one and only shot at the WWF title.)
– Bobby Heenan unveils…The Narcissist, Lex Luger. Lex poses a lot.
– Caesar and Cleopatra are introduced to hype WRESTLEMANIA 9, which is generally regarded as #1034 in the list of God’s Greatest Mistakes. Louie Spicoli is a centurion. I didn’t know Cleopatra was black… (2012 Scott sez: The Cleopatra comment actually set off a bit of a firestorm on RSPW at the time, with a contingent of people basically saying “She lived in Egypt, dumbass, of course she was black”, although the prevailing wisdom is that Cleopatra was Greek and just moved there. People focus on strange stuff when they’re looking for controversy, I guess.)
– The Royal Rumble:
Ric Flair draws #1 and Bob Backlund draws #2. This was well before Mr. Bob Backlund was born. Papa Shango (the Godfather as he’s known today) gets #3 and gets bounced by the old guys pretty quick. Dibiase is #4 and this is probably the only time you’ll see these three in the same ring. They gang up on Backlund until Knobbs (#5) makes the save. They pair off until Virgil is in at #6. Guess who he goes right after. Knobbs gets tossed. Jerry Lawler is #7 and moves pretty quick. He goes after Flair. Max Moon is #8 and his entrance lasts longer than his participation. Tenryu (as the token Japanese contingent) is #9 and of course goes after Flair. Curt Hennig is #10 and he absolutely destroys Flair in the hottest segment of the whole match. Skinner is #11 and makes the save, but Hennig tosses Flair anyway. Koko B. Ware and the big-ass pants from hell are #12. He goes after Lawler, which would have JR spewing wrestling history were it to happen today. (2012 Scott sez: And then if it were to happen TODAY, Michael Cole would yell over JR’s history lesson and make fun of him for dragging up the past.) Hennig tosses Skinner. Samu of the Headshrinkers is #13.
Slow period as guys wander around waiting for the next booking period to kick in. Berzerker husses in at #14. Lawler charges Hennig and goes bye-bye. Everyone then gets sick of Hennig and gangs up on him to knock *him* out (with help from Lawler) to start a feud that didn’t actually go anywhere. The talent pool is really getting thin. Undertaker is in at #15 to clear out the deadwood. (2012 Scott sez: My favorite subplot of Royal Rumble matches is generally the deadwood-clearing monster, because it speeds up the match and makes someone look awesome.) Samu? Gone. Tenryu? Back to Japan. Terry Taylor is #16, and both he and Koko’s pants get dumped right away. Dibiase? Gone. Berzerker? Gone. Backlund is passed out on the outside and is probably the next target, when suddenly (as suddenly as he moves), Giant Gonzalez plods down in the goofy muscle suit and stares down the Undertaker. They fight and UT goes over the top to the shock of the crowd. (2012 Scott sez: To the shock of me as well. I was betting on him to win it at the time.) Damien Demento is #17 and is smart enough to stay back. IRS is #18 and he too is smart enough to stay back. Finally, GG leaves and the legal men are IRS, Demento and Bob Backlund. T-t-t-t-t-t-tanka is #19, and Sags is #20 and jack shit is happening. Typhoon is #21 and Fatu is #22 and the crowd is getting actively restless at the lack of action. Guys lie on the ropes and yell at the camera in lieu of actual wrestling. (2012 Scott sez: And this differs from a normal battle royale how…?)
Earthquake is #23 and he goes right after Typhoon, which wakes up the crowd somewhat. Typhoon charges and goes over the top. Carlos Colon is #24 and Gorilla has the balls to call him a “youngster”. He dumps Demento. Tito Santana is #25 as Backlund dumps Fatu. Bob starts to get some serious face heat, as the crowd realizes he’s about 10 minutes away from breaking Ric Flair’s record. The crowd screams with every elimination tease. If Yokozuna wasn’t in this thing, I’d have pegged Bobby as the winner at this point. Rick Martel is #26 and with the lack of interesting talent the winner is becoming rapidly apparent. IRS charges Quake and goes out. Yokozuna is #27 and you can almost see the guys lining up as cannon fodder. Tatanka? Gone. Colon? Gone. Quake and Yoko do the big face-off. Owen Hart is #28. Quake? Gone. Repo Man is #29 and unless Hulk Hogan is behind that curtain, the crowd knows Yoko’s taking it. Everyone gangs up on Yoko in one last-ditch attempt, but no go. Randy Savage is #30. Santana? Gone. Sags? Gone. Owen? Gone. Repo Man? Gone. Backlund is still there and he dumps Martel to boot. We’re down to three, but then Backlund makes the stupid mistake of charging Yoko and goes flying. HUGE heel reaction for that one. But Backlund gets the longevity record. (2012 Scott sez: Not to be broken until Chris Benoit and then Rey Mysterio after that.) Yoko beats the living hell out of Savage, who then comes back with a couple of axehandles. Yoko with a savate kick, belly-to-belly and Hulkbuster legdrop. Savage is a big quivering mass of jelly. Yoko misses the avalanche, Savage with the big elbow and then he COVERS. What a fucking idiot. Yoko casually tosses him off and over the top rope in the process to win without really breaking a sweat. ***
The Bottom Line:
Pretty innocuous Rumble. A couple of good matches, but the Rumble itself was one of the worst. Bret-Razor seems more important in retrospect because Ramon actually gained credibility much later, when in fact his chances at the time were slim and none. Shawn-Marty was carried by Shawn, of course, and again seems more important in retrospective because Shawn didn’t gain credibility until 1994.
Mildly recommended. (2012 Scott sez: I don’t really see a recommendation here.)