It's been a while now since I wrote myself a wrestling review. For one, my life has been busy as all get-out the last few months, with a potential new job out of it. Another factor was that I was out of easy-to-get Rumbles without buying the massive Rumble set, which would be hard for a cheap guy like me to do considering I have more than half of them on DVD. That being said, one I didn't have, the '94 Royal Rumble, surprisingly popped up in my local video store, and I just couldn't let this one get away. After all, I love a good Rumble. So, since it's a review of a Rumble I don't have in my collection, why not spend a night watching some history from more than a decade before? Let's get to it.
WWF Royal Rumble '94 |
Posted by the Accelerator, June 1st, 2007
- The Coliseum Video box is a little faded, but you can still make out the wrestlers flying out of a tv (at least I think that's what it is). You've got Bret "The Hitman" Hart, Yokozuna, Lex Luger, Doink the Clown, the Undertaker, and possibly an upside-down Razor Ramon. Not completely sure on that last one. Really, I can understand the rest, but why Doink? Why not Owen Hart, or "Macho Man" Randy Savage? Oh, wait, I know why: because clowns appeal to kids. Gotcha.
- The intro is basically just shots of wrestlers on buildings. Not that impressive. Your announcers for the evening are a shouting Vince McMahon and, well, no one at first. Vince talks through the main matches of the evening, then starts to talk about his colleague for the night.
*"Million Dollar Man" music starts*
Vince McMahon: *with a confused look* "This guy? I didn't expect this! It's the "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase!"
Yep, we have Ted DiBiase as an announcer! Yes! DiBiase immediately talks about some deal that John Madden had made, and how DiBiase could buy and sell him. This should be an interesting night.
Tatanka vs. Bam-Bam Bigelow(RIP) w/ Luna Vachon:
It was supposed to be Tatanka vs. Ludvig Borga, but Borga had been announced as having an ankle injury, so instead Tatanka gets Bam-Bam. Bigelow tries to start things early with a charge, but Tatanka dodges out of the corner, then gets in some shots. The two exchange blows, with Bam-Bam immediately landing a dropkick. Tatanka comes back with a weak-looking clothesline, but then follows up with shoulderblocks and a dropkick of his own to get a pinfall attempt. With all that action, the wrestlers need a break, so we're into the rest holds within a minute or so. Tatanka locks onto Bigelow's arm, with Bigelow getting up and sending Tatanka into the ropes. Tatanka catches Bigelow dropping his head, though, and delivers a pretty nice looking DDT. Tatanka then climbs the ropes and goes for a bodypress, but Bigelow dodges, and both men are down. Bigelow stomps away, much to Luna's satisfaction. That's a weird woman, but I always loved her wrestling style, so I'm cool with her.
Bigelow destroys Tatanka in the corner with a running squash, and you know Tatanka's hurting. But Bigelow goes back to the well one too many times, and Tatanka gets a boot up. Tatanka climbs the ropes and goes for a Sunset Flip, but Bigelow drops his huge rear onto Tatanka, and we've got a flattened Indian. The crowd is hot for this one, btw. Bigelow keeps up the offense, stomping away, with Tatanka coming back with some punches. Bigelow answers with a jumping dropkick. Yowsa. The count on the pin only gets to 2. Bigelow next applies a bear hug, with even Vince McMahon pointing out that it's not a very good one. Bigelow's barely even gripping him. Then again, this was a different time, so I need to be more forgiving, right? Nah. That ain't me.
The bear hug lasts for quite a while, with Tatanka responding on the third arm drop to stay alive. He gets free with chops, but Bigelow puts him back down with a shoulder. Once again, though, Bigelow gets obsessed with a single move, and on a third shoulder block attempt try, Tatanka gives him a power slam! It gets two. Both men get up, and both try for a flying bodypress, colliding in mid-ring. Bigelow's up first, but he's too dazed to remember not to slam Tatanka's head into the corner. Tatanka awakes and starts his dance, which means he's impervious to pain! Oh, wait! Bigelow, after a few punch attempts, wises up and gives Tatanka an Enziguiri kick!! Bigelow starts dancing, and I'm enjoying it! Bigelow goes up top and goes for a Moonsault, yep, a Moonsault! But Tatanka moves, and both wrestlers are down again. This crowd is really sucking me in on this one. Tatanka gets up and goes off the top rope and connects with Bigelow, landing on top and getting the 1-2-3!
Ace Thoughts: Wow. When you think that this was a thrown-together match that wasn't even supposed to happen, you have to enjoy it. Of course, my favorite part is that Bam-Bam Bigelow, a 300+ pound wrestler, was pulling off dropkicks, enziguiri kicks, moonsaults, and other maneuvers. That just makes things fun. BTW, I believe that this was Ludvig Borga's last scheduled match with the WWF, as he would not return from the apparent ankle injury. Then again, he'd go on to be a member of the Finnish Parliament, so things weren't all bad.
- We get a commercial for Wrestlemania X.
- A video review talks about the recent problems between Bret and Owen Hart, starting at Survivor Series '93, where Bret inadvertantly caused Owen to be the only Hart eliminated in their match. Owen responded with bitterness. In a later interview, Owen said that he was in Bret's shadow and wanted a match with Bret. Bret declined, saying he wouldn't fight his brother. The two later made up, leading to tonight's match with the Quebecers. They also talk about Marty Jannetty & the 1-2-3 Kid winning the titles briefly, before the Quebecers won the belts back.
- Todd Pettengill gave a live interview to the Harts, who seem to be doing well together. They're laying it on a little thick, but that's ok. That's how things were, then.
The Quebecers (Jacques & Pierre)(c) w/ Johnny Polo vs. Bret Hart & Owen Hart(RIP), WWF World Tag-Team Titles Match:
It's still funny to look at Johnny Polo and try to picture the future Raven. Two very different personalities, that's for sure. The Harts give their glasses to lucky kids in the crowd. Pierre starts off against Bret, with the two delivering a nice back-and-forth exchange including a bodyslam to Bret and a knee to the gut to Pierre. Bret tags in Owen, who comes off the turnbuckle with an elbow. This action is pretty quick, I hope my typing skills are up to it. Just writing that sentence forces me to rewind a little bit. Another exchange ends with Owen giving Pierre a great-looking armdrag for a pin attempt. Pierre escapes another Owen move with a hair pull, then tags in Jacques, as Owen bounces to his feet. Jacques tries a handshake, but Owen won't go for it. A lock-up leads to Jacques raking the eyes, then tries a back bodydrop, but Owen counters with a suplex. Owen lands a dropkick that sends Jacques scurrying desperately to his corner to hug Pierre. Yep, hug him, but not tag him. Interesting. After a few seconds of conferring, Jacques comes back in. He catches Owen's leg on a kick attempt, but mouths off too long, allowing Owen to get the Enziguiri kick to land. Owen's only able to get a 2 count.
Owen tags in Bret, who lands an elbow drop from the top rope for another 2 count. A small package from Bret also only gets 2, as Johnny Polo paces on the outside. Bret gets a third, and then a fourth roll-up pinfall, which leads to Pierre coming in to attack. Owen comes in as well, and we've got a donnybrook. The Harts take control, sending the Quebecers to the outside. More hugs follow. Yikes. Jacques comes back in, with Bret waiting to deliver his usual inverted atomic drop and fist-punch to the gut. Jacques tags in Pierre, but Bret's on fire, yanking Pierre into the ring and taking him to his corner, slamming Pierre's face into Owen's boot. Owen then comes in and gets a huge clothesline for another pin attempt. Owen is still damn impressive to me. He stays in charge of Pierre for a while, with several pin attempts, before tagging Bret back in. Pierre is the heel in peril, at least until he catches Bret with a Powerslam for a close 2 count.
Bret's in trouble in the corner, as Jacques distracts the ref (and Owen) while Pierre chokes him out. The Quebecers double-team Bret repeatedly, as the crowd is almost deafening in their support for Bret. It's not helping, as Pierre crushes Bret with a running drop onto the ropes, which leads to another 2 count. Jacques and Pierre are tagging in and out, delivering shot after shot, but Bret comes back by getting his boot up and catching Pierre in mid-air! Jacques tags in, but Bret's able to get to Owen, who's going crazy on both Quebecers! Owen applies the Sharpshooter on Jacques as Bret goes to get rid of Pierre. But, of course, the ref favors the heels, as he goes after Bret and sends him back, even as Pierre takes out Owen to break the hold. The Quebecers double-team Owen, with an enormous drop onto the top rope throat-first! Damn, knowing how Owen went out, that was really hard to watch. Another double-team maneuver backfires, as Owen dodges a clothesline, then gets both men with a dropkick, allowing Owen to tag in Bret! The crowd goes wild!
Bret fights both Quebecers, with the ref not trying to get either man out. Sheesh, ref! Biased, are we? Then again, the ref must know that a DQ won't work, so maybe that's why he's not doing anything. In any case, back to the match. Bret slams the Quebecers' heads together, then gives Pierre an Atomic Drop to the outside. But as Owen holds Jacques' arms for a double-team maneuver, Bret goes to the ropes... and topples outside, as Johnny Polo grabs the ropes to send him out! The ref, of course, was preoccupied with Owen and didn't see a thing. Bret's obviously hurt, as he holds his knee. Owen comes around to check on him, but he can't keep the Quebecers off of him. The ref yells at Owen, as the Quebecers get a double-team drop onto that injured knee on the outside. Bret can't even walk, as the Quebecers can't get him up to get him into the ring. Jacques delivers a chairshot to Bret's leg, and I swear, the ref turns around in time to see it, then quickly turns back to Owen, trying to pretend he missed it. Polo bought him off! Or maybe DiBiase did, because he's sure loving this. I love the evil announcer. It's a lost art nowadays.
After a while, Bret finally gets back into the ring and takes a major beating, as he can't stand up. The Quebecers, unsurprisingly, concentrate on the knee. Jacques applies a half-Boston Crab, which Owen breaks up. DiBiase can't stop laughing. Quick tags by the Quebecers, as they chop and kick away at the knee. They try a huge top-rope maneuver, but Bret dodges. Owen desperately wants the tag, but Bret goes for a Sharpshooter-type maneuver instead. Predictably, Bret collapses in pain, and the ref, who is still owned by Polo, suddenly calls for the bell, stating that he was ending the match due to Bret's health! Yep, he was bought and paid for. Hey, he leaves with the Quebecers, isn't it obvious there? After the match, a furious Owen turns his anger towards Bret for not tagging, eventually sweeping Bret's injured leg and turning the crowd completely against him. Many people come to check on Bret, including, ironically, Ray Rougeau (the brother of Jacques).
Ace Thoughts: This match created a major legacy, as it started Owen's classic heel run, turning the Rocket into the King of Harts (and later the Nugget). The feud between Bret and Owen would lead to Owen becoming a major star in the WWF. The Quebecers, meanwhile, never really went to the same heights as the Harts, but at least they're remembered.
- Pettengill interviews the now-heel Owen in the back, who bashes Bret for being too selfish to tag. I have to admit, he has a point. Why didn't Bret crawl over there? As I've seen written time and time again, the best heels are the ones who have justification for what they've done, but they go about it in a way the fans feel is wrong.
Razor Ramon(c) vs. Irwin R. Schyster, WWF Intercontinental Heavyweight Title Match:
IRS immediately starts talking to the crowd about paying their taxes, as we have two new announcers for this match: a very young-sounding Jim Ross and an aging Gorilla Monsoon(RIP), who were previously on WWF radio. We start things with Razor getting slapped by IRS. Razor comes back with punches, sending IRS out of the ring. The announcers comment on IRS trying to get into Razor's head to throw him off. I'd say it's not working yet. Back in the ring, IRS takes control, getting Razor into the corner and punching at him. Ramon reverses a whip to the ropes, though, then lands a straight punch to IRS' face! Ramon lands a few more shots, before IRS again heads under the ropes. The fans get on IRS with chants, as things have slowed back down. Razor gets a headlock, with IRS sending him into the ropes. Razor gets a shoulder block, then grabs Irwin's leg and delivers an atomic drop and a clothesline for a 2 count. Razor reapplies the headlock, with IRS again using the ropes, and this time, IRS wins, throwing Razor to the outside!! Nice move. IRS dominates Razor on the outside, including a clothesline near the steel steps.
Razor eventually pulls himself up and starts to come back in, with IRS giving him some 'help'. IRS tries a turnbuckle maneuver, with Razor putting up his foot. But IRS surprisingly dodges the hit and drops a quick elbow drop, startling the crowd. IRS nearly gets the pin, but Razor escapes at the last second. IRS continues to take it to Razor, dropping a knee that Gorilla speculates went a little too low. IRS lands a few more shots, with a couple of close pinfalls. Irwin applies a reverse chin lock on "Da Bad Guy". IRS also uses the ropes for leverage, as we stay here for a while. Irwin is sweating up an ocean in there. Well, maybe just a small lake. Razor finally fights free, getting several punches in on the taxman. Razor then gets his infamous fallaway slam for a 2 count. IRS tries to plead for mercy, then manages to reverse Razor's whip, sending Razor into the referee! IRS immediately went for his briefcase, but Razor stops him, then delivers a steel briefcase shot of his own! The ref is still down, though, so there's no count.
Razor continues the assault, putting IRS on the second rope and gets the back suplex off the ropes! But the ref is still taking a nap. Razor doesn't fret, as he prepares for the Razor's Edge. As he starts to set Razor up, though, Shawn Michaels runs to the ring! Michaels nails Razor in the back of the head with his 'real' IC Title belt, and all three men in the ring are down! IRS slowly gets himself up, not realizing what happened but wanting to take advantage of it with a pinfall. He crawls over, as the ref starts to get up. IRS makes the pin, and the ref makes the count, making IRS the new Intercontinental Champion! The fans can't believe it. But then, head referee Earl Hebner (I think it's Earl, he and his brother look the same) runs out and explains to the ref what happened! Gorilla notes that two belts are in the ring. As IRS continues to celebrate, Razor comes over and gives him the Razor's Edge! The ref goes ahead and makes the count, reversing himself and giving Razor the victory, allowing him to keep his IC Title! Razor gets another win as well, as he's holding BOTH IC belts! IRS can't believe it.
Ace Thoughts: Wild ending that made the fans happy, although I personally think IRS was screwed. He had nothing to do with the interference, and very well might have gotten the win anyway if he hadn't been distracted with celebrating his 'victory'. I have a soft spot for IRS, what can I say. Good match, if a little out there. It'd lead to Ramon vs. Michaels at Wrestlemania in one of the most famous matches in Wrestlemania history, so it has that going for it.
- A clip show basically gives a lot of interview time to the Undertaker, who continually talks evilly to the WWF Champion, Yokozuna. Paul Bearer is his old freaky self, showing off the gigantic casket created to hold the sumo wrestler. Yokozuna looks terrified in most shots. Jim Cornette talks about how Paul Bearer added the "Casket" Match stipulation to the contract after he signed it. Yokozuna's other manager, Mr. Fuji, tells Yokozuna to squash the casket, but the Undertaker is inside to stop it. He's one bad mother.... ok, I'll shut my mouth.
Yokozuna(RIP)(c) w/ Jim Cornette & Mr. Fuji vs. the Undertaker w/ Paul Bearer, WWF World Heavyweight Title Casket Match:
DiBiase & McMahon are back as the announcers again. The Undertaker's got both the long locks and the beard going for him here. That's a lot of hair. Yokozuna and the Dead Man start with a face-to-face, with Yokozuna backing away with a bow to his corner. He then tries to run in, but the Undertaker catches him and attacks Yokozuna with clotheslines, including a high-flying one that laid out the champion. Yokozuna stumbles to the outside for a breather, with the Undertaker following him out. Yokozuna manages to bounce the Dead Man's head into the steps, but the Undertaker immediately comes back up and delivers his own shot to Yokozuna. Back in the ring, the Undertaker delivers his old-school rope-walk (which isn't old-school as of yet). The Undertaker missed another diving clothesline, though, heading to the outside.
Yokozuna tries to use a chair to get an edge, but the Undertaker blocks it, then smashes the champion twice with the foreign object! This is back when things like that kept men down, so this is already impressive. Yokozuna manages to get some salt from Fuji's bucket, though, and blinds the Dead Man. Smart, very smart. Blinding always works on monsters. Just look at Michael Myers. Yokozuna gets to use the chair now, smashing the Dead Man in the back of the head! The Undertaker, though, starts to come back up, only to get driven repeatedly into the stairs. Yokozuna sends the Undertaker back into the ring, then comes in and clotheslines him down. Yokozuna then makes the first attempt to get the Dead Man into the casket, as the fans chant "USA". The Undertaker goes into the casket, but doesn't let it close, as he grabs the champ's foot! He comes back in fired up, choping away at Yokozuna. The two exchange shots, with Yokozuna surprisingly winning out with a Belly-to-Belly Suplex. But the Undertaker sits up! He grabs Yokozuna by the throat and delivers a Chokeslam!
The Undertaker continues on his roll, getting one of his suicidal DDTs on the champ, then once again sitting up. DiBiase immediately talks about the power of the urn, as the Undertaker signals for the casket to be opened. He rolls Yokozuna towards the casket, dropping him in! But before the lid can be closed, the Undertaker is attacked by Crush!! DiBiase points out that anything goes in a casket match, meaning that Crush is legal! The Undertaker manages to start fighting off Crush, as Kabuki runs down as well! Tenryu soon joins his tag-team partner, and now the Undertaker is facing off against four men (although Yokozuna's still out of it). The Undertaker still continues to fight them off, but soon Bam-Bam Bigelow joins in, tipping the balance. The four men in the ring try to get the Dead Man into the casket, as Yokozuna slowly gets out of it. With Paul Bearer raising the urn, the Undertaker comes back to 'life', taking out everyone! Adam Bomb joins in, soon followed by Jeff Jarrett, but the Undertaker is STILL fighting, nailing everyone with Fuji's pot! Now Samu & Fatu come in, and the ring is full of heels! The Undertaker is down finally, but he sits up again, fighting against all 7 guys! Make that 8, as Diesel comes in. He goes into the casket, but they can't close it, as the Dead Man comes out yet again! The crowd is going insane!
The end is near, though, as Yokozuna takes the urn from Paul Bearer and knocks him down. Yokozuna smacks the Undertaker with his own urn, and green smoke starts to come out! Yokozuna quickly drops it, and the urn smokes away as the heels now dominate the Dead Man. Everyone takes a shot, including Bigelow taking flight with a headbutt. More splashes are added, and the Dead Man is, well, dead. The heels drag the Undertaker to the edge of the casket, then allow Yokozuna to do the final push into the casket, ending the match. Afterwards, the heels cart the casket down the aisle, where one of the strangest WWF events ever takes place: green smoke pours from the casket, the lights go out, and the Undertaker appears on the big screen, inside the casket, and talks about his future.
Lightning then flies around the screen, with the Undertaker, now as a light form, heads up through the screen and apparenly appears at the top of the screen, raising his arms. The fans go wild as the Undertaker levitates away, at least according to Vince McMahon. Ted DiBiase is spooked. Paul Bearer is then seen taking away the casket, complete with urn.
Ace Thoughts: This match is a real rollercoaster for me, pun unintended. On the one hand, I absolutely love how the Undertaker fought off so many guys before being subdued, as it really fit his character back then. To the common fan (as I was at the time), it WOULD take this many to put him down. So, great match. On the other hand, though, the supernatural ending is all anyone talks about these days, as it took things way out of reality. As I recall, many hardcore wrestling fans were ticked off about this one, and I can't really blame them. It was rather unbelievable. Still, not a bad match, and worth checking out, if only to see the Undertaker, in his prime, taking on eight men. He's a baaaaaddd man.
- We get the old series of interviews of Royal Rumble participants, including "Macho Man" Randy Savage, "Double J" Jeff Jarrett, Tatanka, Diesel, Doink the Clown (w/ Dink), "The Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels, and Lex Luger.
- DiBiase and McMahon discuss the different aspects of the Rumble, including Luger having already gotten his title shot (according to DiBiase) and how Bret Hart may not be able to return.
30-Man Royal Rumble Match (Winner gets World Title Shot at Wrestlemania):
The Fink does his normal reading of the rules. I miss that guy. #1 is Scott Steiner. #2 is Samu of the Islanders. So we start with tag-team wrestlers. The two pound on each other to start out with. I marvel again at how Scott Steiner used to look, long before Big Poppa Pump came along. Steiner tries to send out Samu, with no luck. Samu comes back with a clothesline to take control. #3 is "The Dog-Faced Gremlin" Rick Steiner. Gotta love the Rumble coincidences, don't ya? Rick saves Scott, then attacks Samu, and we've got a clear-cut double-team. They beat on Samu for a while, and right before the count, they dodge an attempted dive. Samu hangs himself on the ropes (he twists his head in them, ouch), then just gets pushed out by Scott and gets eliminated. #4 is Kwang (he would go on to be known more for his run as Savio Vega), and he's actually pretty smart, as he blinds Rick quickly with some green mist, making it one-on-one. Actually, it's worse, as Scott can't stop checking on Rick anytime he's got an advantage. #5 is Owen Hart(RIP), who gets roundly booed as he comes out. He attacks the 'visually-impaired' Rick Steiner, while Kwang goes after Scott some more. It doesn't take long before Owen lifts up Rick and manages to send him over the ropes, making it two-on-one, at least until the heels start fighting.
#6 is Bart Gunn of the Smoking Gunns (and later known for being ko'ed by Butterbean), and he joins Scott against the heels. Meanwhile, Vince announces that something's going down in the back. No more information yet, though. Bart and Owen go at it, while Scott and Kwang fight it out. Anytime Owen's in danger of being tossed, the fans get excited. #7 is Diesel, and he's walking strongly but slowly to the ring. He attacks everyone, hitting them all with some sharp blows. Within a minute, Diesel sends out Bart, soon followed by Scott. Seconds later, to the roar of the crowd, Owen's night is over. This leaves Kwang against Diesel. Yeah, as you probably expect, Kwang misses a kick and gets sent out, leaving Diesel as the only one in the right. #8 is Bob Backlund, another long-shot. He moves quick, actually, and nearly gets Diesel out on his own! But a poke to the eye stops that, and Diesel soon pounds on the older wrestler and sends him out. Diesel's alone again, and we're looking at one of the most impressive Rumble performances in WWF/E history. Diesel calls to the back, wanting more, and the crowd is starting to cheer for the big guy.
#9 is Billy Gunn, and he gets in some offense on Big Daddy Cool as well, but a big boot stuns him long enough for Diesel to toss him out! Gunn was barely in there 10 seconds by my watch. As Diesel celebrates, we go to the back for some footage (apparently what happened earlier), as we see Kabuki & Tenryu beating down Lex Luger, trying to take him out before the Rumble. This would mean that Luger could not face Yokozuna at Wrestlemania. #10 is Virgil, and I can't help but laugh. I'm not alone.
McMahon mentions that Virgil is an alternate, possibly replacing Kimala (not sure what happened to him here). Virgil gets in a few punches, but he's not fooling anyone, as Diesel just picks him up in the corner and throws him out. That's seven eliminations for Big Daddy Cool. He's got a busted lip (from Virgil's punches, maybe?), but he's ready for more. Enter "Macho Man" Randy Savage at #11, and he finally seems to have the momentum to contain Diesel. He punches away at Diesel, smashing him with clohteslines. But even the Macho Man can't get rid of Diesel on his own. #12 is "Double J" Jeff Jarrett, who comes to Diesel's aid, attacking Savage and keeping him down with several ariel maneuvers. Jarrett throws in the strut at one point, a subtle mock towards Ric Flair. Jarrett then tosses Savage over the ropes, but Savage doesn't go out, landing on the apron. Jarrett, meanwhile, heads towards Diesel, allowing Savage to come up behind, hit him into Diesel, then send Jarrett out! We're back to two, at least for a few seconds.
#13 is Crush, who has had lots of problems with Savage over the years. Savage manages to take control on Crush, throwing him down and climbing the ropes for an axehandle shot. But soon, Savage drops to the numbers of Crush and Diesel, two big men who are more than happy to beat on him. #14 is... is... is... Doink the Clown! It took a second for Doink (along with Dink) to appear. Meanwhile, in the ring, Crush & Diesel send out Savage. His night's over. Doink comes in and watches Crush and Diesel fight it out, laughing at both men. Of course, they notice this and start to head for the clown, but Doink blinds both men with his flower-water to get an advantage. HJowever, Doink decides, for some reason, to try to slam Diesel, which allows Crush to hammer him from behind. And now the clown's gonna cry. The two big men beat on him, and then things get worse for Doink, as #15 is Bam-Bam Bigelow(RIP). Crush and Diesel have no problems allowing Bam-Bam to go to town on the already-downed Doink. Bigelow bodily tosses Doink over the top rope to the floor, but then Crush and Diesel grab Bigelow from behind, nearly sending him out! Crush turns on Diesel, though, during the attempt, and we've got three big men going at it.
#16 just adds to the weight limit, as Mabel (known to modern fans as Viscera) stomps out. Diesel meets Mabel on the way in, catching him with knees, but Mabel reverses a toss into the corner, then squashes Diesel with all his beef. Mabel then smushes Crush and Bigelow as well. Sometimes it's good to be heavy, er, I mean, big-boned. #17 is Sparky Plugg (another one with a different name now, as he's known as Hardcore Holly now), and Vince says that he's taking the 1-2-3 Kid's place in the Rumble (the Kid has a bad knee). Plugg looks like a midget next to these other guys. We get everyone on one side of the ring, with Diesel trying to toss Mabel, Plugg trying to toss Bigelow, and Crush trying to get rid of everyone. No luck for anybody, though. #18 is "The Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels, and the speculation is, will he side with his bodyguard/partner, Diesel? Michaels backs off from Diesel when he comes into the ring, wanting to shake Diesel's hand. However, this distracts Diesel enough to allow Mabel & Bigelow to attack Diesel from behind. Seconds later, Bigelow, Mabel, Plugg, and, apparently, Michaels, shove Diesel out, ending his night. DiBiase is even surprised, as he thinks Michaels may later regret that move. He's right. The fans give Diesel an ovation as he leaves.
#19 is Mo from Men On A Mission, and he comes down to join his partner, Mabel. Mo nearly sends Michaels out, but can't manage it. We have everyone paired off. Michaels again almost goes out, but skins the cat and comes back in. #20 is Greg "The Hammer" Valentine, participating in his final Royal Rumble event. He goes after an old foe in Bam-Bam. Sparky's going against Mabel, and I have to say, looking at this, I'm a little amazed BOTH men are still with WWE to this day. Michaels makes three, but he's not quite as surprising. #21 is Tatanka, and Vince expects him to go after Bam-Bam, but Michaels gets there first. Mabel walks up behind Tatanka, and the camera angle really shows off his size. Valentine nearly sends out Michaels, but the guy has nine lives in this one. I think we've got 8 guys in there right now, with another one coming. #22 is the Great Kabuki, fresh from beating up Luger in the back. He and (Genichiro) Tenryu really didn't have a great run in the WWF. Good thing they were huge stars in Japan. Every wrestler except for Mo (who gets knocked down) teams up against Mabel, and the big man can't withstand a 6-man assault, dropping over the ropes. No earthquake when he hits, at least.
#23 causes an explosion, as Lex Luger comes in. He immediately targets Kabuki, and the guy's not even selling that assault in the back. C'mon, Luger, at least hold your back or something! Luger tosses out Kabuki, then dominates several men until Crush regains control on him. #24 is Tenryu, and he goes after Luger. For some reason, Crush walks away, not wanting to help. Luger and Tenryu go at it for a while, while everyone else fights it out. But we're focused on two guys right now. Well, that and Michaels nearly going out for the 50th time. #25 is... nobody. Vince and DiBiase assume that it must be Bret Hart's spot. Wait, so were we out of alternates? Actually, I guess we are, if the other alternates were Sparky Plugg and Virgil. The nine men in the ring continue to go at it, and I believe our longest member currently is Crush. #26 is Rick "The Model" Martel, and the announcers remind us of Martel's staying power in these Rumbles. Like he has a shot at winning, but oh well. Luger and Tatanka start going at it with abandon, exchanging repeated shots, but not much else is going on, other than brawling.
#27 is Bret "The Hitman" Hart, and DiBiase can't believe it. Hart is (miraculously) selling the knee injury, and thank god for that. Hart crawls in the ring and is immediately met by Crush, who attacks the knee. Big surprise. McMahon gives Hart credit for his guts, while DiBiase gives him credit for being stupid and risking his career. I kind of have to side with DiBiase on this one. #28 is Fatu (the future Rikishi), and he joins on the beating of Luger. The ring is absolutely full, as we have nearly half the participants of the Rumble in here. Crazy. No one's gone out in a really long time. After a quick count, I come up with a dozen wrestlers. This number goes down briefly, though, as, after a long struggle, Luger, Bigelow, Sparky, & Hart manage to get rid of Crush. #29 is Marty Jannetty, and we get the annual brawl between Jannetty and Michaels that causes the crowd to absolutely explode! Jannetty takes control..... and we cut to the back??? What the hell???
To make matters worse, right after this happens, just as the interviewer is working to get a word with Crush regarding his performance in the Rumble, the tape goes wonky and messes up. From what I can hear, Crush gets attacked in the back by Savage, continuing their feud. I still don't know why we needed to do this in the middle of the Rumble, though. After some work, I managed to get the tape working again (I guess there's a dirty spot at that point in the tape, because it happens again as soon as I try to rewind), so let's continue the Rumble. #30 is Adam Bomb w/ Harvey Whippleman, and Vince immediately claims that he'll be winning the Rumble. Silly Vince. The ring is still full, but the numbers are going down, as Bret comes up behind Sparky (who's trying to toss Michaels) and sends Sparky out instead. Twelve men left in the ring, which makes it almost impossible to call the action yet. Adam Bomb nearly sends out Martel, but Valentine makes the save. Strangely, despite all the talk of Fuji's men taking out Luger, none of them are attacking Lex right now. Instead, it's Luger vs. Michaels. BTW, the missing man (#25) is actually Bastion Booger. Not exactly need-to-know information, but there you have it.
A lot of time goes by without an elimination, which starts to kill the momentum for me, and, seemingly, the fans. Finally, Valentine goes out, although it almost looks like he just missed the apron, rather than getting tossed. We'll give the credit to Martel, anyway. Seconds later, Martel misses a punch on Tatanka and goes flying out himself, and the legends are falling. We're going fast now, with Adam Bomb charging Luger, only to go over the ropes as well. I think someone flashed the "Go Home" sign, because we're suddenly in overdrive. Mo's sent out by Samu's big foot (the announcers barely mention it), soon followed by Tatanka, who missed a shot on Bigelow. We've gone from 12 to 7 in a matter of minutes. McMahon mentions that Bigelow's been in the ring for 30 minutes now, after having lost a match earlier. Not long afterwards, though, Bigelow does a flop over the turnbuckle after missing a charge on Luger, then gets knocked off the apron and eliminated. Meanwhile, almost off-camera, Michaels gets rid of Jannetty, and we've got our final five: Fatu, Hart, Luger, Michaels, and Tenryu.
The heels knock down the faces, but don't try to eliminate them. Instead, Michaels and Fatu double-team Tenryu, but Tenryu turns it into a double-headbutt shot. It hurts Michaels, but not Fatu, who takes down Tenryu, then goes back to Hart. The faces come back, with Hart & Luger double-teaming Tenryu and tossing him out. Each man goes to a corner, resting for a second, with Michaels soon going after Hart, while Fatu and Luger go at it. Can you guess which pair is more entertaining? Hart and Michaels exchange near eliminations, to the cheers of the crowd, as Luger tries to take out Fatu with a faceplant. He's SAMOAN, people! It won't work! Luger gets planted by a sharp kick, then gets hammered by a top-rope shot from Fatu. Fatu & Michaels double-team Luger, putting him over the ropes, but Luger stays on the apron, fighting his way free. He lands a massive clothesline on Fatu that turns him inside-out. The faces get the heels in opposite corners and try to whip them together. Michaels, though, leap-frogs Fatu, and the two heels charge. That doesn't work, as Hart sends out Fatu and Luger sends out Michaels! We're down to Hart and Luger, and they start slugging it out. Luger seems to win, picking Hart up for a slam over the ropes, but Hart hangs on as they go, sending both men to the outside. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to controversy.
The Fink announces Luger as the winner first, but the first referee (a Hebner) disagrees. Seconds later, the Fink announces Hart as the winner, but that, too, is disputed by another ref (is that Danny Davis? Not sure). No winner can be chosen, as, supposedly, both men hit at the same time (I think Luger hit first, really, but that's me). It's definitely pretty close in the replays. WWF President Jack Tunney comes out to make a decision, and the fans aren't exactly happy to see him. The Fink even asks Tunney if he's sure. Fink, you're fired for questioning the Prez. Finally, the Fink makes the announcement.
Neither wrestler seems very happy about this, as it's up in the air about who will go to Wrestlemania. Unfortunately, that's the way things end up, as Hart and Luger both stand on different sides of the ring, eventually coming together for the obligatory handshake.
Ace Thoughts: First off, this was the match that made me a fan of Kevin "Diesel" Nash, as he looked completely unstoppable early on. He was really the shining moment of this Rumble. In a way, that's pretty sad, as he was an early entrant. The finish of the match has to rank as one of the worst ever in Rumble history, although I wouldn't put it above Vince McMahon's victory. This was the first time the Rumble was ever inconclusive, and it really took the fire out of the fans. That, plus the weird happenings in the Undertaker/Yokozuna match, make this tape very hard to recommend. There's certainly not a must-see match on the tape. Interestingly enough, the Rumble was really just a Wrestlemania gimmick this year, as the only match to end "cleanly" was Tatanka vs. Bigelow, the opening match! when you've got 5 matches, and only one ends without ref stoppage, interference, or controversy, you can't exactly tell someone to pick it up. If you see the '94 Rumble on sale for very cheap, like I did, and you're a true blue wrestling fan, like I am, then, hey, consider it. Otherwise, leave it sitting on the shelf.