Royal Rumble (1994)
|Royal Rumble (1994)|
|Promotion||World Wrestling Federation|
|Date||January 22, 1994|
|Venue||Providence Civic Center|
|City||Providence, Rhode Island|
|Royal Rumble chronology|
Royal Rumble (1994) was the seventh annual Royal Rumble professional wrestling pay-per-view event produced by the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). It took place on January 22, 1994 at the Providence Civic Center in Providence, Rhode Island. The main event was the Royal Rumble match, a battle royal in which wrestlers enter the ring at regular intervals. Lex Luger and Bret Hart were named co-winners after they simultaneously eliminated each other.
The undercard featured a Casket match for the WWF Championship, in which Yokozuna successfully defended the title against The Undertaker. In addition, The Quebecers beat Bret and Owen Hart to retain the WWF Tag Team Championship and Razor Ramon successfully defended his Intercontinental Championship.
The first televised match of the pay-per-view was supposed to be Ludvig Borga vs. Tatanka. The two were engaged in a feud that began prior to Survivor Series 1993. Tatanka was undefeated in the WWF since his debut in 1991. Borga ended this streak on the October 30, 1993 edition of WWF Superstars (taped on September 28, 1993), when he hit Tatanka with a steel chair while the referee was distracted. As a results of storyline injuries from this attack and the beating he suffered afterward at the hands of Borga and Yokozuna, Tatanka was forced to miss the main event match at Survivor Series. Although Tatanka defeated Borga by disqualification on the December 20, 1993 edition of Monday Night Raw, the bitterness between the two remained.
Borga suffered a legitimate ankle injury, however, and was replaced by Bam Bam Bigelow. Although the substitution took place shortly before the event, Bigelow and Tatanka also had a heated rivalry. In 1993, Bigelow cut Tatanka's dyed red hair as an insult to his Lumbee heritage. The two faced each other as part of a six-man match at SummerSlam 1993, but the feud continued even after Tatanka's team emerged victorious.
At Survivor Series 1993, Owen Hart was eliminated from the “Hart Brothers vs. Shawn Michaels and His Knights” elimination match due to miscommunication within the Hart team. Bret Hart was walking along the ring apron when Owen ran into him, causing Owen to lose his focus and be pinned by Michaels. After the match, Owen interrupted his brothers’ victory celebration to verbally attack Bret. He demanded a match with Bret to settle the dispute. Bret refused, and the brothers reunited over the Christmas holidays. They decided to focus their energy on taking the tag team title from the Quebecers. Their plan was temporarily put on hold when Marty Jannetty and the 1-2-3 Kid won the belts, but the Quebecers won a rematch the following week, guaranteeing that the Harts would get their title shot.
Razor Ramon and Irwin R. Schyster (I.R.S.) began feuding prior to SummerSlam 1993 because of an angle in which Money Inc. (Ted DiBiase and I.R.S.) teased Ramon about losing to the 1-2-3 Kid, a newcomer to the WWF. The rivalry heated up when I.R.S. stole Ramon's gold chains while Shawn Michaels had Ramon distracted. Ramon and I.R.S. agreed to settle the feud at Royal Rumble 1994 with Ramon's Intercontinental Championship on the line.
The rivalry between Yokozuna and The Undertaker began at Survivor Series 1993. Yokozuna, who was pushed as an unstoppable monster, was unable to inflict any serious damage on The Undertaker when the two faced each other in an elimination match. Yokozuna slammed The Undertaker’s head into the steel steps leading up to the ring, but The Undertaker was unharmed. Later, Yokozuna used his finishing move, the Banzai Drop, on The Undertaker. When he tried to repeat the move, however, The Undertaker became the first wrestler to sit up after the move, surprising Yokozuna and his managers. The Undertaker was granted a title shot, but Jim Cornette, Yokozuna’s American spokesperson, included a clause in the contract that The Undertaker would not get a rematch if he lost. Paul Bearer, The Undertaker’s manager, included a clause stating that the confrontation would take place in a Casket match. In the following weeks, it was revealed that Yokozuna had a fear of caskets. The Undertaker used this knowledge to gain a psychological advantage going into the match. On one occasion, Paul Bearer brought the casket to the ring to intimidate Yokozuna. When Yokozuna approached the casket to face his fear, the Undertaker popped out to scare Yokozuna.
Lex Luger wanted to participate in the Royal Rumble match, as the winner was scheduled to get a title shot for the WWF Championship at WrestleMania X. The contract he had signed for his title shot at SummerSlam 1993, however, stated that he would not receive a rematch if he failed to win the title. A compromise was reached, allowing Luger to compete. Yokozuna's manager, Mr. Fuji, was allowed to bring in two wrestlers, Genichiro Tenryu and The Great Kabuki to hurt Luger's chances of winning.
|Gorilla Monsoon (Radio WWF)|
|Jim Ross (Radio WWF)|
|Ring announcer||Howard Finkel|
In a dark match before the broadcast, the Brooklyn Brawler defeated Jim Powers. The Brawler used a swinging neckbreaker to get the victory. As the pay per view broadcast began, Vince McMahon announced that Ted DiBiase would be his commentary partner for the evening.
The first televised match was between Tatanka and Bam Bam Bigelow. Bigelow tried to attack Tatanka before the bell, but Tatanka moved. The two fought back and forth, and Bigelow gained momentum after Tatanka missed a crossbody from the top turnbuckle. Bigelow used his weight to keep the advantage, sitting on Tatanka and later using a bear hug to wear him down. After the two hit each other with simultaneous crossbodies, Tatanka began a war dance. Bigelow kicked Tatanka in the back of the head to regain the advantage but missed a moonsault attempt from the top rope, allowing Tatanka to perform a crossbody from the corner and get the victory.
This match was followed by the Tag Team Championship match. The match started slowly, but both teams soon began brawling in the ring. The Harts focused on Pierre, but Jacques was eventually able to tag in to rescue him. After Pierre regained the advantage, Owen tagged in and took control of the match. He applied the Sharpshooter to Jacques, but Pierre broke the hold. Bret tagged in but fell out of the ring and kayfabe hurt his knee when the Quebecers' manager pulled on the ropes. The Quebecers focused on Bret's knee until Bret regained the advantage and attempted to apply the Sharpshooter. He was not able to stand, however, so the referee stopped the match and awarded the victory to the Quebecers. After the match, Owen yelled at Bret for not tagging out of the match. He then turned on Bret by kicking his injured leg and leaving him lying in the ring.
Next came the match between Irwin R. Schyster and Razor Ramon for the Intercontinental Championship, for which Jim Ross and Gorilla Monsoon took over the commentary roles. The match began with a brawl between the two, and Ramon got the early advantage. Schyster eventually threw Ramon over the top rope and attacked him on the floor. I.R.S. kept control of the match for quite a while, applying a reverse chinlock while using the ring ropes for additional leverage. After Ramon escaped the hold, he was able to perform a fallaway slam on Schyster. He then used an Irish Whip to throw Schyster into the corner, but the match turned around with a ref bump when referee Joey Marella was in the way and was kayfabe knocked unconscious. Shawn Michaels ran to the ring with his fake Intercontinental belt and hit Ramon with it, and Schyster helped revive Marella to count the pinfall. I.R.S. appeared to win the title, but referee Earl Hebner came to the ring and explained the situation to Marella. When Michaels' belt was discovered in the ring, the match was restarted. Ramon simply grabbed Schyster, who was standing on the second turnbuckle celebrating, and performed the Razor's Edge for the victory.
Howard Finkel then announced that the Casket Match would be next. He explained that there would be not countouts or disqualifications, and that the first wrestler to get his opponent in the casket and close the lid would win the match. Yokozuna had great difficulty inflicting any serious damage on The Undertaker, but it was soon revealed that Mr. Fuji had arranged for several wrestlers to get involved on Yokozuna's behalf. Crush, The Great Kabuki, Genichiro Tenryu and Bam Bam Bigelow interfered, but The Undertaker was able to fight back until Mr. Fuji stole The Undertaker's urn from Paul Bearer. Yokozuna opened the urn, and smoke poured out. Meanwhile, Adam Bomb, Jeff Jarrett, The Headshrinkers (Samu and Fatu) and Diesel then came to the ring to help Yokozuna. Eventually, Yokozuna and his allies were able to shut The Undertaker in the casket to end the match. They locked the casket and pushed it down the aisle until smoke started coming out of the casket. The Undertaker appeared on the video screen at the end of the aisle, vowing to return. The casket was shown exploding on the screen, although the casket in the arena did not explode. After the explosion was shown, a person resembling The Undertaker was seen rising up to the ceiling of the Civic Center. This role is rumored to have been played by Marty Jannetty.
Before the Royal Rumble match began, commentator Vince McMahon announced that WWF President Jack Tunney had shortened the interval between entrances from the traditional two minutes to 90 seconds due to time constraints. Kamala was supposed to compete in the match, but he was replaced by Virgil. Ludvig Borga could not compete due to his ankle injury and was replaced by Kwang, a newcomer to the WWF. In addition, the 1-2-3 Kid was replaced by Thurman “Sparky” Plugg (later renamed Bob “Spark Plugg” Holly), who was also making his debut. Bastion Booger was scheduled to be the twenty-fifth participant, but he did not appear for unknown reasons; Vince McMahon stated that he did not appear because he did not "feel good".
As the Royal Rumble match began, it was revealed that Scott Steiner was the first participant and his former rival Samu had drawn the number two position. Early in the match, Diesel tied a WWF record by throwing out seven consecutive wrestlers. He was ultimately eliminated by a group of wrestlers. Shawn Michaels was involved in this elimination, although the inconclusive camera angle led to speculation as to whether he was helping eliminate Diesel or trying to save him. Although Diesel wrestled as a heel at the time, his performance earned him applause from the crowd.
Several ongoing feuds came into play during the match. Crush and his former friend, Randy Savage fought each other until Crush eliminated Savage. Bam Bam Bigelow and Doink the Clown also faced each other during the match. Doink had annoyed Bigelow with a series of pranks in late 1993, and the feud was supposed to be settled at Survivor Series 1993, but the team of “Doinks” that Bigelow fought was just The Bushwhackers and Men on a Mission dressed up as clowns. When they met in the Royal Rumble, Bigelow quickly eliminated Doink. The Royal Rumble match also saw an old feud rekindled. Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty, former tag team partners as The Rockers, traded a series of punches when Jannetty entered the match and Michaels ultimately eliminated Jannetty from the match.
The match ended when Lex Luger and Bret Hart simultaneously eliminated each other. Two referees argued about who had landed first while several inconclusive camera angles were broadcast. Eventually, WWF President Jack Tunney came to the ring and had Finkel announce that both men would be considered winners. The situation regarding the title shot at WrestleMania X, which was to be given to the winner, remained unresolved until the following week on Monday Night Raw.
Ludvig Borga did not return to the WWF after his ankle healed, so there was no closure to his feud with Tatanka. The feud between Tatanka and Bam Bam Bigelow was also soon forgotten. In the summer of 1994, both wrestlers joined Ted DiBiase’s Million Dollar Corporation. The two eventually formed a tag team and unsuccessfully challenged for the WWF Tag Team Championship.
The feud between Razor Ramon and I.R.S. ended shortly after the Royal Rumble. On the January 31, 1994 edition of Monday Night Raw, the 1-2-3 Kid stole Ramon's chains back from I.R.S., bringing the feud to an end. Shawn Michaels’ attack on Razor Ramon increased the hostility between the two. The debate over the true holder of the Intercontinental Championship was settled at WrestleMania X in a ladder match with both belts suspended above the ring. This ended the feud between Michaels and Ramon, although Ramon continued to feud with Michaels’ friend Diesel.
Owen Hart demanded a match against Bret Hart, which Bret repeatedly refused. This situation was complicated because of Bret co-winning the Royal Rumble. Jack Tunney decided that both Bret Hart and Lex Luger would get title shots at WrestleMania X, but that they would each wrestle two matches at the event. Lex Luger won a coin toss televised on Monday Night Raw and won the chance to face Yokozuna first. If he had lost the toss, he would have wrestled Crush before facing Yokozuna. Under the rules set forth by Tunney, Bret was required to wrestle Owen in the opening match at WrestleMania. Owen won the match, but Bret came out of WrestleMania with the WWF Championship after Yokozuna dropped the title to him. This led to an extended feud between the two that saw Jim Neidhart return to the WWF to side with Owen and Davey Boy Smith to make a comeback to take Bret’s side.
Several of the events during the Royal Rumble match led to feuds and pay-per-view matches later in 1994. The uncertainty surrounding Shawn Michaels’ assistance in eliminating Diesel from the Royal Rumble foreshadowed the split between the two at Survivor Series 1994. Diesel’s performance in the Royal Rumble, however, played a large role in helping him become the first wrestler to win the WWF’s Triple Crown in one calendar year. Meanwhile, Crush and Randy Savage faced each other in a Falls Count Anywhere match at WrestleMania X to settle their feud, and Doink and his midget sidekick Dink faced Bigelow and his kayfabe girlfriend Luna Vachon in a mixed tag match.
The Undertaker did not appear in the WWF for several months after his loss to Yokozuna. In reality, he was given time off to allow a back injury to heal. During his absence, the WWF promoted his return by showing video clips of people who claimed to have seen The Undertaker. Ted DiBiase claimed to have brought The Undertaker back to the WWF, but Paul Bearer informed him that DiBiase’s Undertaker was an impostor. Paul Bearer claimed to have located the true Undertaker, which led to a match at SummerSlam 1994 between DiBiase’s Undertaker (portrayed by Brian Lee) and Paul Bearer’s original Undertaker. After defeating the false Undertaker, Bearer's Undertaker got revenge against Yokozuna by winning a Casket match at Survivor Series 1994. To help prevent outside interference, Chuck Norris was brought in as a guest referee.
|Dark||The Brooklyn Brawler defeated Jim Powers||Singles match||Unknown|
|1||Tatanka defeated Bam Bam Bigelow (with Luna Vachon)||Singles match||08:12|
|2||The Quebecers (Jacques and Pierre) (c) (with Johnny Polo) defeated Bret Hart and Owen Hart||Tag team match for the WWF Tag Team Championship||16:48|
|3||Razor Ramon (c) defeated Irwin R. Schyster||Singles match for the WWF Intercontinental Championship||11:30|
|4||Yokozuna (c) (with Mr. Fuji and Jim Cornette) defeated The Undertaker (with Paul Bearer)||Casket match for the WWF Championship||14:20|
|5||Lex Luger and Bret Hart co-won the Royal Rumble||Royal Rumble match for a WWF Championship match at WrestleMania X||55:08|
(c) – refers to the champion(s) heading into the match
Royal Rumble entrances and eliminations
A new entrant came out approximately every 90 seconds.
|3||Rick Steiner||2||Owen Hart||03:57|
|7||Diesel||13||Bigelow, Mabel, Plugg, Michaels & Crush||17:41|
|13||Crush||16||Luger & Plugg||25:03|
|14||Doink the Clown||12||Bigelow||01:48|
|15||Bam Bam Bigelow||23||Luger||30:12|
|16||Mabel||14||Valentine, Tatanka, Kabuki, Crush, Bigelow, Plugg & Michaels||09:57|
|17||Sparky Plugg||17||Hart & Michaels||21:33|
|22||The Great Kabuki||15||Luger||02:46|
|24||Genichiro Tenryu||25||Bret Hart & Luger||17:21|
|25||Bastion Booger||-||Unable to compete||00:00|
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