WWF Madison Square Garden – January 17th, 1994

January 17, 1994

From Madison Square Garden in New York City, NY

This is another fan-cam review. The show itself was billed as a Triple main event with three title matches: Yokozuna vs. Tatanka for the World Heavyweight Title, Razor Ramon vs. Jeff Jarrett for the Intercontinental Title, and Marty Jannetty & 1-2-3 Kid vs. The Quebecers for the Tag Team Titles. Plus, the show also featured a 30 Man Royal Rumble match that was billed as the “New York Royal Rumble.”

 

Ludvig Borga vs. Rick Steiner

Loud “USA” chants from the crowd as Borga tells them to kiss his ass. Borga throws a few punches then goes after Rick but misses as Rick takes a lap. Rick then grabs a side headlock but Borga turns that into a back suplex as Rick rolls out for a breather. Borga drags Rick back inside but this time Rick hits a back suplex. Rick then uses a flying bulldog for a two count but Borga cheap shots him then takes control of the match. Borga gets a nearfall with a flying shoulder tackle but Rick comes back and works the arm. Rick catches Borga with a back elbow smash and gets a few more nearfalls before going back to the arm. Borga comes back with a flying clothesline that gets two as Rick got his foot on the ropes. Borga knocks Rick through the ropes then heads out but Rick fights back then tosses a chair at Borga’s head as both men are down then counted out (7:05) *1/2. After the match, Borga beats on Rick and slams him to the ground. Rick then comes back with a low blow They head up the aisle with Borga slipping while trying to drive Rick back and I believe that is when he injured his ankle.

Thoughts: The match itself wasn’t terrible although the finish was dumb as Rick should have just been disqualified for using the chair. However, this was notable for being Borga’s final match in the WWF. According to Bruce Prichard in his “Something to Wrestle With” podcast it was a mutual agreement for Borga to leave the company. He would appear on TV a few times after the Rumble but they were matches filmed prior to this show.

 

WWF Intercontinental Title Match: Jeff Jarrett vs. Razor Ramon (c)

Jarrett does a lot of stalling by complaining to the ref to start things off. He then bails after getting punched and paces around the ring until he drags Razor outside and whips him into the post. Jarrett beats on Razor outside of the ring then and taunts the fans in the process before taking the action back into the ring. Jarrett stomps away after catching Razor with a punch then connects with a flying fist drop for a two count. Jarrett now puts Razor in a chin lock for a while then after Razor escapes, takes him down with a mat slam. Jarrett now chokes out Razor on the bottom rope then hits a dropkick for a two count. Razor rolls up Jarrett from behind for a two count but Jarrett quickly takes Razor back down. Jarrett connects with a punch from the middle rope then goes back up for another one then taunts the crowd. Jarrett now climbs to the top rope but this time Razor catches him with a punch in midair. Razor gets kicked after ducking his head again then Jarrett catches him with a sleeper. Jarrett jumps on top of Razor’s back then is able to bring him down but Razor eventually fights out. Razor blocks a hip toss then chokeslams Jarrett after a reversal sequence as both men are down. The ref counts then Razor is able to drape his arm over Jarrett but that only gets two. Razor fires away and knocks Jarrett down then ducks a crossbody that ends up taking out the referee. Razor signals for the Razor’s Edge and has Jarrett up but Shawn Michaels runs out and grabs Jarrett’s legs for the save. Razor then knocks Shawn off of the apron and hits Jarrett with the Razor’s Edge as the ref gets up. The ref counts but Shawn drags Razor outside and the match is then ruled a DQ (12:29) **. After the match, Shawn raises Jarrett’s hand then both me bail after Razor runs in with the belt.

Thoughts: Jarrett did a lot of Memphis heel shtick but this was shorter and had more action than his match against Bret Hart in San Jose a few days prior. The finish here was better too as it played into the Razor/Shawn feud.

 

We then see Harvey Whippleman come out and berate ring announcer Howard Finkel, calling him a “loser,” then proceeds to run down the New York sports teams before predicting Adam Bomb will win tonight’s “New York City” Royal Rumble. Whippleman continues to run down the crowd, Finkel, and even the WWF for not giving Bomb a title shot but Finkel grabs the mic and lets Whippleman know that his time has run out. Whippleman then threatens Finkel before leaving. They are back to playing up the Whippleman/Finkel beef and its only going to intensify in the future.

 

WWF World Heavyweight Title Match: Yokozuna (c) w/ Mr. Fuji vs. Tatanka

Tatanka immediately runs into the ring and starts firing away. He knocks Tatanka outside then heads out and gets attacked. Tatanka then smashes Yokozuna’s face off of the steps then they head back inside where Tatanka tries a few chops but gets knocked down with a throat thrust. Both men miss a few moves and after that Tatanka gets a two count with a flying body press. Both men now stare each other down but it looks like Tatanka is really just giving Yokozuna time to catch his breath then Yokozuna takes Tatanka down with a shoulder block. Yokozuna now works a nerve hold as Fuji waves the Japanese flag. Tatanka escapes but Yokozuna knocks him down then takes a breather near the ropes before going back to the nerve hold. The crowd grows restless as this match is already dragging then Tatanka escapes again and this time gets caught with a clothesline. After another breather, Yokozuna goes back to the nerve hold as we get more boos. Tatanka escapes and then hits a few clotheslines that stagger Yokozuna but comes off of the top with a flying chop and gets punched in the gut. Yokozuna once again is holding himself up on the ropes for a breather then drops an elbow. Yokozuna sets up for an avalanche but Tatanka is able to move out of the way as both men are now out on the mat. Tatanka drapes his arm across Yokozuna’s chest as that gets two but Yokozuna takes him over with a snapmare and chops the neck before going back to these painless-looking nerve holds. We get some “boring” chants then Tatanka escapes again and tries to chop Yokozuna down then finally does with a flying shoulder block that gets two. Yokozuna then sends Tatanka into the referee and takes another break on the ropes before going on the attack and gets dropped. Tatanka covers but the ref is out then he finally crawls over and only gets a one count. Tatanka heads back up top but Fuji whacks him with the flag post then Yokozuna comes over and uses a leg drop for the win (14:54) DUD. After the match, Yokozuna hits Tatanka with a pair of Bonzai Drops then beats him with the flag. Yokozuna & Fuji leave then the medics come out and load Tatanka onto the stretcher.

Thoughts: The crowd was into this more than I thought but Yokozuna was in such poor shape that he should not have even been allowed to perform. He was gassed about 90 seconds into the match and for your champion to be in this condition is inexcusable. Tatanka tried but this was awful to watch and he also did the stretcher job as his mystique has went away since losing to Borga.

 

WWF Tag Team Title Match: The Quebecers w/ Johnny Polo vs. Marty Jannetty & 1-2-3 Kid (c)

The crowd is into Marty & Kid. Match starts with The Quebecers attacking from behind but Marty & Kid avoid the double noggin-knocker and use mounted punches in the corner. Marty & Kid clear the ring as the crowd chants “1-2-3.” The Quebecers regroup outside with Polo and take their time before re-entering the ring. We now get Marty and Jacques but the latter starts taunting the fans. Jacques now wants a test-of-strength then boots Marty in the gut and hammers away. Marty floats over then outsmarts Jacques as the champs hit a few double team moves until Pierre takes them down with a double clothesline. The Quebecers now clear the ring and hug each other but Marty & Kid slide back inside through their legs and take the Quebecers outside. The Quebecers catch Marty’s pescado attempt but Kid flies out and takes them down. Back inside, Pierre low-bridges Kid and roughs him up before rolling him back inside. Jacques clotheslines Kid then distracts the ref so Pierre can choke out Kid in the corner. The Quebecers cut the ring in half until Pierre misses a flying leg drop then Marty tags in and runs wild. Polo jumps up onto the apron to distract the ref and the match breaks down after that with the champs hitting a Rocker Plex but again we see Polo distract the ref. Jacques sneaks in to whack Marty with Polo’s club then covers but that only gets two. Jacques grounds Marty with a chin lock before catching him with a knee smash. The Quebecers hit a few double-team moves of their own but Marty is still able to stay alive. Jacques now applies a chin lock then tries a sit-down splash but Marty got his knees up. Pierre tags in and is able to knock Kid off of the apron before Marty could tag out then starts hammering away. We then get an odd spot with Pierre apparently messing up a spot where he was supposed to miss the old Big Bossman attack where your opponent is hunched over the middle rope and you hit a running attack. Jacques tags in and beats on Marty before catching him in a bearhug. The Quebecers neutralize Marty in their corner then Jacques uses a reverse chin lock as Pierre runs interference to help his partner cheat. Marty now fights out of the Quebecers corner and slugs it out with Jacques but ends up getting backdropped to the floor. Polo tosses Marty back inside then Jacques covers but Marty was able to get his foot on the ropes. Jacques follows with a piledriver and tags Pierre but Marty avoids an assisted senton then rolls up Jacques for two. Jacques grounds Marty again then hits a side slam but eats boot on an attack from the middle rope. Marty is able to tag out as Kid runs Wild on The Quebecers. Kid then heads up top but the ref is distracted and Polo crotches Kid then Pierre hits a superplex and tags out. The ref then brings Marty back to his corner and the Quebecers hit the assisted senton for the win (22:13) ***1/4.

Thoughts: I liked this match and Marty did a great job in particular but given how much they played up the rematch on TV the result was predictable. According to Kid in the “1994 WWE Timeline” from Kayfabe Commentaries, Jerry Jarrett was the one who came up with the storyline of them winning the belts then losing them afterwards. And how, the Hart Brothers will have a chance at the gold on the PPV.

 

Finkel plugs WrestleMania X tickets going on sale January 24th. After that he explains the rules of the Rumble match.

 

30 Man Royal Rumble Match

#1 is Diesel and #2 is Mo from Men on a Mission. We are “treated” to a rap by Oscar. Diesel beats down Mo then cuts off a comeback attempt before dumping him over the top rope but not before Mo’s leg got stuck in the ropes. #3 is Bushwhacker Butch as Diesel quickly beats him down. Butch comes back and bites Diesel in the ass but plays to the crowd and gets attacked from behind. Diesel then slams Butch before eliminating him from the match. #4 is the 1-2-3 Kid as he is still selling from his match as Diesel beats on him in the corner. Diesel then tosses Kid halfway across of the ring and follows with a side slam. Kid comes back with a flying headscissors but hurts his ankle on the landing then lands some kicks in the corner but Diesel stops that and knocks him off the ropes for the elimination. #5 is Scott Steiner and Diesel boots him off of the apron then goes out to toss him into the guardrail before taunting the crowd. We see a few officials come out and go off camera as Diesel is beating on Scott. Diesel gets sent through the middle ropes then Scott heads out and runs him into the post before heading back inside. #6 Iron Mike Sharpe, who had wrestled Scott Putski in the opening match that was not shown on this tape. Sharpe beats on Scott but gets immediately tossed over the top rope after that. More officials come out now and go off camera where Kid was as Diesel is now trying to dump Scott. Kid is being helped backstage as Scott is now trying to eliminate Diesel. #7 is Samu and he helps Diesel attack Scott. Samu then locks up with Diesel but ends up getting beaten down in the corner. #8 is Bob Backlund and he mixes it up with Samu. Diesel saves Samu from elimination then tries to get rid of Backlund. #9 is Jeff Jarrett as he attacks Backlund then goes after Samu and gets knocked down. Diesel then clotheslines Jarrett and we get some more near eliminations before #10 is revealed as Virgil. He fires away on Jarrett but soon after that is beaten down by Diesel.

#11 is Bam Bam Bigelow as the ring is getting too crowded. He was accompanied by Luna Vachon and helps Samu beat on Scott before going after Virgil. We get some more slow brawling but still no eliminations. #12 is Randy Savage and he gets a strong reaction and starts going after all of the heels. He avoids a big boot from Diesel then tosses him over the top rope as the crowd cheers. Savage then eliminates Jarrett to more cheers but Scott drives him into the corner. #13 is Adam Bomb and he goes after Backlund then Savage. #14 is Sgt. Slaughter as he is certainly a surprise entrant in the match. Slaughter helps Backlund & Scott eliminate Bomb then goes after Savage. #15 is Crush and predictably he goes right after Savage. Crush then eliminates Scott and starts choking Savage on the mat. We now see Savage and Crush fight on the outside as #16 comes out and its Mabel. Crush catches Savage and drives him into the corner before eliminating him as there are a few referees blocking Savage from returning. Crush then eliminates Bigelow and sends Slaughter out with Slaughter doing his trademark bump in the corner. #17 is Jim Powers as the crowd is not impressed. Jim hammers away on Mabel but it has zero effect and he gets tossed over the top rope soon afterwards. #18 is Bastion Booger and he goes after Mabel. In fact, everyone gangs up on Mabel and eliminates him with Virgil and Backlund also going out with him in the process as we are down to Crush, Booger, and Samu in the ring. Booger dances then Crush eliminates him as its now just Crush and Samu. #19 is Bushwhacker Luke and he plays up to the crowd. Samu tries to eliminate him but ducks down and ends up getting his neck caught in the ropes and Luke eliminates him. The ref stops Samu from going back into the ring then Crush dumps Luke soon after that then taunts the crowd until the next participant comes out. #20 is Owen Hart and he goes after Crush. They mix it up with a power vs. speed sequence that came off well.

#21 is Rick Martel and he goes after Owen. Martel gets accidentally decked by Crush then Owen hits Crush with a missile dropkick before sending Martel through the middle rope. Martel & Crush hit Owen with a double clothesline and continue to beat him down. #22 is Bret Hart and he immediately helps out his brother. Martel and Owen go at it while Bret and Crush do the same. #23 is IRS but before he comes out, Bret eliminates Crush with a dropkick. IRS and Bret fight in the corner then #24 comes out and its Johnny Polo. Owen tries to eliminate him but Polo manages to hang on to the ropes. ##25 Scott Putski and he goes right after IRS. Putski is in fact wearing tassles here as the ring is once again starting to get crowded. #26 is Fatu and he goes after Putski. IRS tries to get rid of Bret but Owen makes the save. #27 is Marty Jannetty and he goes right after Polo. The action slows down at this point. #28 is Bart Gunn and he goes after Fatu then blends in with everyone else. #29 is Shawn Michaels and he immediately slugs it out with former partner Marty Jannetty as the fans are into them. Marty almost eliminates Shawn but Fatu makes the save. #30 is Doink the Clown as we see Shawn eliminate Marty. Owen then gets rid of Polo and right after that Fatu dumps Putski. Martel tries to get rid of IRS but that fails and IRS dumps him for the elimination. Shawn tries to eliminate Owen but Owen fell onto the apron then pulled Shawn over and tries to kick him off until IRS makes the save. Doink suplexes Bart over the top rope for an elimination then gets eliminated by Shawn. Fatu & Shawn beat on Owen in the corner but as that happens, Bret eliminates IRS with an atomic drop.

The final four are Bret, Owen, Shawn, and Fatu. Owen beats on Bret as Shawn takes some nice bumps. Bret tries to eliminate Fatu but Shawn sneaks up from behind to dump him then Fatu & Shawn stare down Owen. They beat on Owen in the corner but Owen comes back with a double clothesline. Owen fights off both men he tries a double noggin-knocker that has zero effect on Fatu and gets headbutted as a result. Fatu holds up Owen so Shawn could hit a super kick then we see Razor taunting Shawn from the aisle. Shawn is standing on the bottom rope yelling at Razor when Owen sends Fatu into him as Shawn gets eliminated. Shawn and Razor brawl in the aisle as we now see the middle rope collapsed. Fatu thinks he won but Owen landed on the apron. Owen fires away then tosses Fatu over as Samu is now at ringside. Bret comes down to even things up but Fatu is beating down his brother. Owen avoids a charge in the corner then hits a slam and heads up top for a flying fist drop. Fatu fights back and hits a side slam then goes up top but Owen gets up and cuts him off. Owen then turns Fatu inside out with a clothesline before sending him over the top rope with a dropkick for the elimination (72:29) **1/2. After the match, Bret joins Owen in the ring then the Headshrinkers act like they are the winners.

Thoughts: The match had its moments but it was way too long. I guess they had to extend this due to the fact a Rock ‘N’ Roll Express vs. Heavenly Bodies match was cancelled due to travel issues (there was a blizzard) but the middle portion was a slog. They built up Diesel nicely and played up the Crush/Savage feud a lot. Having Owen win was smart considering the fact they needed to hype him up given what would happen in the future at WrestleMania X (which was also in this same building) and there were no stakes to the match itself so it did not matter if a top guy lost. Also, the fact there were no stakes meant there was less investment in the actual match but even an average Rumble is entertaining and this was far from the worst I’ve ever seen. The end was good and Owen got a lot of shine. And, this also gives me one of my favorite shoot interview moments. Also in the 1994 WWE Timeline, Kid said when he got hurt in this match that he had to share an ambulance with Borga because the second ambulance at the arena was used to give Ivan Putski a ride back to his hotel room. Ivan accompanied his son to the ring in his match earlier against Iron Mike Sharpe.

 

Final Thoughts: An entertaining house show card, especially given the barren state of the roster. They loaded it up with three title matches and a PPV gimmick at the end but still could only draw 9,000 fans as it shows how business was really down at this point not just in the WWF but for the entire country. You can find this show on YouTube and for fans of the Rumble match I’d check it out. For a fancam show the picture quality is solid too.

 

Here is my schedule for the next several days:

Wednesday: WWF Superstars 1/22/94

Thursday: WWF 1994 Royal Rumble, WWF Wrestling Challenge 1/23/94

Friday: WWF Monday Night RAW 1/24/94

Saturday: WWF Superstars 1/29/94, WWF Wrestling Challenge 1/30/94

Sunday: WWF Monday Night RAW 1/31/94, Randy Savage vs. Crush from 2/1/94 White Plains, NY (WWE Unreleased 1986-1995 DVD).

Monday: WWF Superstars 2/5/94, WWF Wrestling Challenge 2/6/94

Tuesday: WWF Monday Night RAW  2/7/94