The SmarK Rant for WWF Royal Rumble 1993 – 01.24.93
Well we’ve hit that point in the Superstars rants anyway and I always enjoy a good Rumble.
Live from Sacramento, CA, doing a legit sellout of 16,000, but the lowest buyrate in WWF history to that point.
Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Bobby Heenan
The Beverly Brothers v. The Steiner Brothers
I suspect this another weird edit of the show because Gorilla and Bobby’s introduction is cut off by the Beverly entrance. Sadly the Genius has now disappeared from the Beverly Brother corner, which pretty much kills them off as any kind of serious threat. Scott tries for a takedown on Beau and takes him down with a wristlock, but Beau makes the ropes and claims hairpulling shenangians. Gorilla relates a totally true story about his cab driver claiming that he could sell his ticket for “50 times what he paid for it.” Man, they were selling tickets for 50 cents each to paper this show? That’s rough. I kid, the show sold out. Scott takes Beau down with a slam and the Beverlies bail and regroup as this one isn’t exactly leaping into high gear. Over to Blake, who runs away some more and gets a cheapshot on Rick in the corner to take over. Powerslam and he beats on Rick for a bit, but Rick gets his own powerslam to block a leapfrog. Scott comes in with a belly to belly, but Beau cuts him off from behind and the Bevs go to work in their corner. Beau gets a backbreaker for two and we get some double-teaming in the corner, and Beau follows with a butterfly suplex for two. Blake comes in with a Boston Crab, but Scott powers out of it, so Beau drops an elbow on him to cut him off again. Scott finally suplexes Blake but the Bevs cut off the hot tag. But then Scott suplexes Beau and makes it for real. Rick runs wild with suplexes and takes Blake to the top, but Beau breaks it up. So Rick hits them both with clotheslines and gets two on Beau. Back to Scott and the Bevs try a Doomsday Device, but Scott rolls up Blake for two and then hits the Frankensteiner to finish at 10:48. This should have been a major dunk on WCW, but the Steiners just looked like they didn’t give a crap. And they were STILL super over despite their apathy! Nothing really wrong with it, but it was just a standard tag team match with the Beverlies cutting off the Steiners every time they got anything going. **1/4
Intercontinental title: Shawn Michaels v. Marty Jannetty
Sherri makes her return here, with the mystery being which side she’d end up on. Marty’s gear looks like macramé and I don’t know what the hell he was thinking. Marty chases him around the ring to start and slugs away on the mat as Shawn flings himself all over the ring to will this one into a classic. He bumps over the top, then bumps back in off a slingshot, and then takes another massive bump out to the floor off a clothesline. Marty follows with a dive and nearly misses him, and then comes off the apron with a flying fist, but he dives a third time and gets caught. Shawn runs his shoulder into the post a couple of times to work on the arm, and we head back in for a shoulderbreaker. Marty bails off that and Shawn chases him down and slams him on the floor. Back in, Shawn works on the shoulder with an armbar as this is a drastically different type of match than we were expecting. Marty fights back, but Shawn pokes the eye and goes up, landing on the foot. Shawn misses a blind charge and hits the post, and Marty makes the comeback and slugs away on him. Gorilla: “He’s impervious to pain right now!” I guess the PCP was kicking in then. Shawn tosses him and tries a suplex back in, but Marty reverses to his own as Shawn takes another crazy bump. This brings Sherri over and she picks her side by slapping Shawn, and Marty suplexes him back in for two. Shawn takes ANOTHER crazy bump, flying over the ringpost on a corner bump, and Marty powerslams him and goes up with the flying fist, but Shawn moves. So Marty just lands on his feet and hits a DDT for two instead. Shawn tries the superkick, but Marty ducks and hits his own for two. They trade near-falls and Marty catapults Shawn into the post for two. Ref gets bumped and Sherri gets involved again, but she attacks with her shoe and hits Marty instead. Probably happens to Marty surprisingly often in real life as well. So Shawn picks him up, hits the superkick and pins him to retain at 14:24. “What a miscarriage of justice!” notes Gorilla. Um, why? Sherri interfered and it backfired. How is that Shawn’s fault? Marty was fired immediately after this for legal entanglements, but otherwise it would have led to a Wrestlemania match between them. Also, Marty was definitely in no condition to compete and it’s kind of a miracle they had a match that was as good as it was. ***1/4 Dave gave it **** in the Observer but the first half was just SO rough and boring that I can’t go much higher than I did.
Bam Bam Bigelow v. Big Bossman
Bam Bam attacks in the corner and hits the corner splash to start, then beats on Bossman’s back and puts him on the floor. Back in, Bossman comes back with clotheslines and slugs away in the corner, but Bigelow puts him down with a backdrop suplex. Bossman bulldogs him, but charges and lands on the floor. Back in, Bigelow stomps him down and works the back. Bossman fights up, but Bam Bam puts him down with a stungun for two. And we get a thrilling bearhug on the mat, until Bossman fights up with a suplex. But then Bigelow goes back to the back again and beats on him with headbutts. Bossman comes back and sleepwalks through his usual stuff, but runs into a clothesline out of the corner and the diving headbutt sends him back to Cobb County, via Atlanta, at 10:10. This was a complete yawn and Bossman was gone after one more Superstars match. ½*
WWF World title: Bret Hart v. Razor Ramon
They slug it out and Razor wins that and beats on Bret in the corner, but misses a charge and runs his knee into the turnbuckle. Bret quickly goes to work on it and gets a figure-four, but Razor makes the ropes. Bret goes to work on the knee again and beats on it in the corner, but Razor reverses a whip and sends him into the post to turn the tide. Razor drops elbows on the back and follows with the Sack of S--- slam for two. Razor whips him into the corner for the turnbuckle bump, and that gets two. Razor with the abdominal stretch to work the ribs, but Bret reverses it and dodges an elbow to come back. Razor cuts him off and stomps him down again, however, until Bret hits a crossbody for two. Bret tries a sunset flip, but Razor blocks for two and then Bret finishes the move for two. Razor goes to a rear chinlock and then switches to a bearhug, but Bret bites him to escape and then backdrops him to the floor. Bret runs him into the stairs and slugs away back in the ring. Atomic drop and clothesline get two. Backbreaker and middle rope clothesline get two. Bulldog gets two. Legsweep gets two. He goes for the Sharpshooter, but Razor grabs the ropes to block and then hauls down the ref to escape. So Razor hits Bret in the ribs to take over again, but Bret gets a back suplex and goes up for another middle rope elbow, which misses and hits boot. This sets up the Razor’s Edge, but Bret slips out and into a backslide for two. Razor kicks him in the ribs again and sends him into the corner to hurt the ribs further, but Bret takes him down with a pinning combo for two and then wraps him up with the Sharpshooter from underneath and Razor gives up at 17:30. It was a good match, but it never felt like Bret was in any serious peril of losing the title and it certainly wasn’t the heated feud blowoff that I wanted to see. It was just two fellas working each other over and then one of them winning. It was fine. ***
Bobby Heenan heads down to the entrance area, revealing Narcissus…Lex Luger. The graphic on the screen behind him has already been changed to “The Narcissist Lex Luger”. Crowd doesn’t really react much for him, but I think the pop would have been way bigger if he hadn’t lowered himself to being a part of the WBF. Bobby’s cheerleading here is a wee bit on the creepily sexual side. Anyway, Lex cuts a promo on Mr. Perfect to set up that feud. The idea of two rating narcissists feuding with each other was solid, but Luger didn’t have much passion for the business at this point.
Next up, we get a cameo from Caesar and Cleopatra, as Gorilla treats them they’re the real people who happen to still be alive in modern times.
Ric Flair is #1 and Bob Backlund is #2, and Bob gets no reaction. This would have been a hell of a match back in the day, but this not that day. Bob takes him down a few times, but Flair goes to the eyes and throws chops in the corner to set up an atomic drop and Flair Flop. Papa Shango is #3 at 2:00 and he beats on Bob and chokes him out on the ropes. But then Flair turns on Shango and dumps him at 2:40 for the first elimination. Bob goes out to the apron, but hangs on as Flair stomps him down. They slug it out and Bob tries to put him out on the ropes, as Ted Dibiase is #4 at 4:10. Poor Ted has had the worst luck for draws in his career. Flair and Dibiase double-team Backlund with chops on the ropes and there’s not much going on. Come on, it’s only 5:00 into the match, it’s way too early for this kind of lull. Brian Knobs is #5 at 6:00 and he cleans house on the heels for a bit, but can’t get Flair out. Everyone fights in the corners as it dies off again already. Virgil is #6 at 8:00 and he goes after Dibiase with an atomic drop and then helps out against Flair. Dibiase tosses Knobs at 9:00 while that’s going on. More punching in the corners and Jerry Lawler is #7 at 10:10. Flair goes right after him with chops and they do another fight that would have been awesome a few years prior. Flair bails to escape that, but goes after Virgil and Lawler pulls him off and slugs away on Flair in the corner. Max Moon is #8 at 12:00 and now we’ve got some star power! Because he’s from space. Flair throws him out and he skins the cat and comes back in, and everyone hangs out in the corners again for more lazy battle royale stuff.
Tenryu is #9 at 14:10 as Moon gets thrown out of the match by Lawler, and we get an amazing Flair v. Tenryu chop battle. And then Dibiase’s like “I want a piece of that action too!” and he jumps in there with Tenryu for some of that. That was fun. And then it ends right away and everyone’s just punching in the corners again. Mr. Perfect is #10 at 16:10 and Flair is in some trouble, as Perfect is all fired up and hits him with a kneelift. Flair tries to go to the top rope and gets slammed off, and Perfect follows with a necksnap to finally wake this thing up a bit. Flair pokes him in the eyes and they trade chops before Perfect slugs away. Skinner is #11 at 18:15 and he saves Flair, but Perfect clotheslines Ric to the floor at 18:48 to end his night. Big pop for that, but that doesn’t leave much in the ring for interesting stories. So this crew of curtain jerkers does this stuff and WWE Hall of Famer Koko B Ware is #12 at 20:10 with his ridiculous pants. He goes after Jerry Lawler in the corner for some fun Memphis callback action, and Perfect dropkicks Skinner out at 21:22. More punchy-kicky and Headshrinker Samu is #13 at 22:20. Lawler and Perfect continue renewing their hostilities from 5 years earlier as I wish they could talk about “real” history at this point because there’d be some cool storylines they could explore. And again, the match completely dies off until Berzerker is #14 at 24:15. Oh my god this match desperately needs someone to clear out the deadwood. So Berzerker does nothing, just walking around and randomly hitting people, and Perfect backdrops the King out at 25:00. Perfect follows on the momentum from the move, and hangs onto the bottom rope, but Lawler pulls him out to be a dick at 25:43. They have a slugfest off that, but it sadly didn’t go anywhere because it would have been fun. Unless they paid it off in Memphis at the time, in which case I take it back. Undertaker is #15 at 26:20, thank god, and that’s who I would have put money on winning at the time. Samu attacks him and gets tossed at 27:10. Tenryu comes to get some and hits an enzugiri, but Taker backdrops him out at 27:32. Berzerker and Backlund brawl on the floor, meanwhile, and Bob gets laid out and pulls a Roman Reigns as a result. Terry Taylor is #16 at 28:20 in his “blink and you missed it” comeback, but he immediately gets thrown out by Ted Dibiase at 28:56, along with Koko. You could say he flew the coop. Undertaker clotheslines Dibiase out at 29:15, leaving himself against Berzerker, but then Giant Gonzalez debuts (not actually a part of the match) and Taker backdrops Berzerker out at 30:00. He just stands there staring Undertaker down as Damian Demento is #17 at 30:34, and he chops Taker over and out at 30:55. Normally this wouldn’t count but in this case it does. Later precedent established that you have to be thrown out by someone in the match.
IRS is #18 at 32:35 as Demento hasn’t even made it into the ring yet. So finally Irwin and Demento are in there while Bob wakes up from his Sunday nap and joins them, and Undertaker sells in the corner. Tatanka is #19 at 34:35 while Paul Bearer uses the power of the urn to revive Undertaker after taking the beating from Gonzalez, and he finally leaves the ring. After he was gone, it was pretty slim pickings left for anyone who could possibly win this thing. Oh my god, we’re almost at #20 and we’ve already run through most of the star power, and there’s STILL another half-hour to go in this match!So we get the midcarders doing midcard stuff in the corners, and Jerry Sags is #20 at 36:39. So of course we get the epic Sags v. IRS showdown to continue that feud. Absolutely nothing going on as I guess Tatanka is supposed to be the big focus here but he’s just doing the usual punches. Typhoon is #21 at 38:41 and thankfully he doesn’t trip and fall on the way into the ring. More punching in the corners and the crowd is dead, even though we’re all supposed to be excited for Backlund’s epic run in the match. Fatu is #22 at 40:45 and I don’t see him making a difference. “A lot of big guns still to come!” notes Gorilla. Really? Because I’m not seeing it. Even at the time watching it I was thinking “Is this it?” Earthquake is #23 at 42:50 and he turns on his own partner to end that team for good in a neat twist, but Uncle Fred comes back with a corner splash before missing a charge and going out at 44:00. Well at least SOMEONE in this match was trying something interesting.
Carlos Colon is #24 at 45:00, and “there’s a lot of fire in that youngster” according to Gorilla. In a match with an “8 foot” giant in a Bigfoot cosplay suit taking on a zombie with magic powers, this is still the dumbest thing I’ve heard. That youngster Colon backdrops Demento out at 46:20. Tito Santana is #25 at 47:00 while Fatu gets thrown out by Tatanka. More stomps and punches until Rick Martel is #26 at 49:09. And of course he goes after Tito and they renew hostilities, as Quake tosses IRS at 49:39. It’s so funny that Strike Force had one of the longest-running feuds without ever having a proper PPV blowoff to settle things. They needed closure! No wonder Tito spent a decade with the same tights. Tito teases getting Backlund out, but Bob hangs onto the bottom rope. More nothing and Yokozuna is #27 at 51:05 and you might as well have just awarded him the match right there given that position and the complete lack of competition in the ring. He slugs it out with Tatanka and tosses him at 52:15. Colon is out at 52:29. Yoko has a showdown with Earthquake for SUMO SUPREMACY as Owen Hart is #28 at 53:23. Quake knocks Yoko into the corner, but charges and misses, and he’s out and soon gone from the WWF at 54:00.
Repo Man is #29 at 55:26 and he goes after Yokozuna and gets nowhere as Gorilla somehow confuses Rick Martel with Carlos Colon. Finally everyone wises up and gangs up on Yokozuna but it’s too little too late and he fights them off. And finally, Randy Savage is #30 at 57:22 as the crowd goes nuts for him, and he gets his s--- in and wakes up the crowd. Yoko tosses Tito over the border at 58:17. Owen dropkicks Sags out at 58:29. Martel tosses Owen, but he skins the cat back in and goes after future tag team partner Yoko, which results in him getting thrown out at 59:04. Yoko tosses Repo at 59:10.
Final Four: Randy Savage, Bob Backlund, Rick Martel and Yokozuna
Yeah. I know. Quite the batch of stars there to end this match. Martel has a nice battle with Backlund on the ropes as the crowd is finally getting into it, and Backlund puts him on the top and knocks him out at 60:39. Bob goes after Yoko like an idiot and tries throwing dropkicks, but then he charges and he’s out at 61:18. This was supposedly the new record, but Flair actually lasted longer and the real record wasn’t broken until Benoit and then Mysterio did it years later. So Yoko continues beating on Savage and chokes him out in the corner, but Savage fights back with kicks and punches while Yoko just absorbs it all. Double axehandle and Yoko won’t go down, so he does it again and that gets him to one knee. Yoko fights him off with a superkick and follows with the belly to belly and HULKBUSTER legdrop. He beats on Savage in the corner while the crowd goes nuts for Savage in sympathy, but the corner splash misses and Macho makes one more comeback with the flying elbow. But then he goes for the pin like an idiot and gets thrown out on the kickout at 66:46 like a complete geek. The match thankfully picked up a lot once it got down to the final four, but this was still one of the bottom of the barrel Rumbles overall. **
Can’t recommend this one. The Rumble was pretty bad and there was nothing notable on the undercard.