Writer’s Note: The “Lost” Royal Rumble ’94 Review below was one of the earliest shows I Audited back on January 19th, 2014. With Rumble season upon us I decided to go back and update this old review to coincide with the new Rumble reviews I’ve been adding this month. I fixed a few typos and added a sentence or two as needed. Hopefully you enjoy this NEW ‘director’s cut’ edition of the NYC Rumble ’94 Audit. Thanks for reading, feedback is welcome.
Royal Rumble: The Lost Episode, The Rumble that Time Forgot, The Unknown Rumble, The NYC Rumble, call it what you will, but it happened, and I know it happened. You can’t get anything by Ian R. Singletary! Yours truly, I.R.S., has found the footage and now it’s time for THE AUDIT!
It was only 5 days before the actual 1994 Royal Rumble PPV, you know the one, where the Undertaker ascends into the heavens (or at least gets fork lifted to the ceiling), Bret Hart & Lex Luger become the first and only “co-winners” (Thank God), and the night Owen Hart’s big heel push got it’s start. We go back 5 days prior to the Rumble PPV for a special card held at Madison Square Garden on January 17, 1994. What makes this card more special than the average MSG event? The Main Event of the evening would feature an untelevised 30-Man Royal Rumble match! Not since the WWF had a trial run match to test the waters in late 1987 had their been an untelevised Rumble match. What makes this event all the more special is that someone was able to get into the Garden and film the match, God bless’em. And thanks to the wonderful world of technology, it’s been uploaded to the internet for our viewing pleasure!
This will be my first time ever watching this event, so I really don’t know what to expect. You’ll be the first to read my initial thoughts on each and every match that took place in the Garden that night. Well, every match except “Iron” Mike Sharpe vs. Scott Putski which apparently didn’t make the cut. It’s probably best. For those who care, I looked it up and Scott Putski pinned Sharpe with the Polish Hammer. Sounds spectacular. Anywayz…
(Borga vs. Rick Steiner, Notes Going In: Borga showed up on WWF TV in the summer of 1993 via the ever popular vignette way of debuting. After weeks of running down the WWF and the United States verbally, Borga debuted and in short fashion left a trail of bodies behind him. With Borga doing the anti-American shtick, it was pretty obvious he would cross paths with those that represented the USA. Guys like Tatanka, whom Borga ended the undefeated streak of. Guys like Lex Luger, who Borga was working on the house show loops with as well as their notable finish at Survivor Series 1993. And of course, guys like the All American Steiner Brothers. I’d prefer Scott in this era, but Rick will do.)
Rick Steiner vs. Ludvig Borga
Borga with stalling and taunting of the fan for the first couple of minutes. Rick grabs a headlock and is immediately dumped with a back suplex. Steiner actually rolls out of the ring to sell the move. Borga drags Rick back in and grabs a headlock of his own, and this time Rick counters with the BACK SUPLEX! Crowd goes nuts, good spot. As Borga gets up, RICK STEINER OFF THE TOP WITH THE BULLDOG! AND HE GETS ONE! ONLY ONE? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? He hits his finisher 2 minutes into the match, and then it gets a 1 count? And barely a 1 at that! Sloppy communication, neither guy looks like they want to sell to the other. Borga comes at Rick with a clothesline, but Rick throws a Steinerline and Borga is forced to bump. Borga gets his revenge with a nice stiff clothesline, and then a second clothesline off the top rope! Steiner kicks out. Rick comes back with a powerslam for 2 and works the arm of Borga. Steiner with a few near falls and Borga comes back with a Lariat. Noticing a pattern here. I think Borga has hit every type of clothesline possible at this point. The match spills to the floor, the two guys brawl. Steiner smashes Borga with a chair. Referee Tim White counts both men out in about 7:00. The fight continues after the match with Borga slamming Rick on the floor and Steiner retaliating with a low blow. As the two men begin to fight their way backstage, Borga’s leg visibly gives out on him repeatedly. Sadly, this ankle injury would lead to the end of Ludvig Borga’s short, but somewhat impactful WWF career.
Final Result is a Double Count Out
(Post Match Thoughts: Not much of a match by most standards. Just two guys taking turns hitting each other with solid looking shots. I’ll give it a *, because when the guys cooperated the action looked stiff and resembled two main eventers coming at each other. The shitty finish and the lack of any type of continuity makes it hard to rate it any higher. As mentioned above, this was the end of Borga’s WWF career.)
(Razor vs. Jarrett, Notes Going In: Jarrett had just recently debuted in the ring for the WWF after a series of Nashville promos with sparkling teeth. My first memories of Jarrett were around 1989/1990 when watching him on ESPN as part of the Legends of World Class/USWA program Tuesdays – Fridays. I had been a big fan of Jarrett from those days, as well as his Memphis stuff but I had feared for years he’d never get a break in the WWF due to his small size. By 1993, Jarrett had put on a little weight and “filled out” as he finally got the break thanks to the WWF/USWA cross-promoting that was going on at the time. As I stated, Jarrett hadn’t been here long at all at this point, but the fact that they have him an IC Title shot at the Garden is pretty cool. Razor is currently in the middle of a long, boring feud with that imposter I.R.S. (that’s not his real name by the way) that he would be facing at the Rumble PPV, with Shawn Michaels looming near. There’s no real story to support this match other than it should be a solid IC Title defense.)
WWF Intercontinental Champion Razor Ramon vs. “Double J” Jeff Jarrett
Razor gets the best of Jarrett to start, showing that he has the power advantage. Jarrett stalls on the floor, luring Razor out to chase him. Jeff gets the advantage on the floor and gets some good heat on Ramon, throwing him into post before taking it back inside. Jarrett with the old Lawler Fistdrop from the middle rope for 2. Double J works Razor over and hits a standing dropkick for 2. When Jeff argues with referee Earl Hebner, Razor school boys him for 2. Jeff goes right back on the offense, landing a pair of flying punches from the middle rope. Jarrett goes to the top rope for a third one, and Razor counters with a punch to the breadbasket! Ramon telegraphs a backdrop, and Jarrett turns things into a Sleeper Hold. Razor goes down for the count, but keeps his arms raised on the third attempt and fights his way out of the hold with a CHOKESLAM on Double J. The ref counts both men down on the mat, Ramon rolls over and covers for 2. It’s Razor on the offense as he fires up on Jarrett. Jeff tries a Flying Forearm, but Razor ducks and Jarrett hits Earl Hebner! Ramon grabs Jarrett and picks him up in the Razor’s Edge! BUT IT’S SHAWN MICHAELS! With Hebner down, Shawn grabs Jarrett by his feet and pulls him out of the Edge. Razor decks Shawn, and Michaels takes a fun bump on the apron. Razor grabs Jarrett again and HITS THE RAZOR’S EDGE! Ramon for the cover! ONE!!! TWO!!! SHAWN MICHAELS YANKS RAMON OUT OF THE RING AND RIGHT INTO A SUPERKICK ON THE FLOOR! Hebner immediately calls for the DQ after about 12:30. Shawn Michaels checks on Jarrett after the match. Jeff celebrates as if he’s won. Razor returns and sends Jarrett out of the ring. Shawn exits before Ramon can get to him.
Winner is Razor Ramon via DQ
(Post match Thoughts: A decent match, your regular paint-by-the-numbers house show match, but they’ve had better. For a first time, it was good, but the entire finishing sequence really elevated things for me. Of course we’d relive some of this finish at the PPV during the Ramon vs. IRS match, though I really liked this finish better. A good enough match, with a better than average finish for a house show. I’ll go **1/4, that’s ** for the match and an extra 1/4 star for the creative finish.)
(Yoko vs. Tatanka, Notes Going In: I saw these two work a match on a local house show right around this time so I know what to expect here. At the time it was a big deal watching Tatanka get pinned. After all, only Ludvig Borga had pinned Tatanka up until this point, and he had to cheat to get it done. When you’ve got a Royal Rumble match on your card, Tatanka is a perfectly acceptable challenger for a semi-main event championship match. Too bad this was the main event on the show I attended.)
WWF Heavyweight Champion Yokozuna (w/Mr. Fuji) vs. Tatanka
Tatanka hits the ring fast and Yoko tries to attack. Tatanka retaliates and goes on the war path (pun intended), nailing Yoko repeatedly until he knocks him out of the ring. The fight goes to the floor and into the steel steps. In a LOL moment, Yoko tries to roll back into the ring, but can’t jump up high enough to get on the apron. It looked like a fish out of water. Tatanka goes nuts with more punches and tomahawk chops in the ring. Yoko comes back with a single back elbow, but misses a Legdrop, then misses an elbowdrop. Tatanka goes to the top rope FLYING BODY BLOCK for ONE, TWO, THREE. No, Yoko kicked out at the last second. All of this and we’re not even 2 minutes into the frickin match! Yoko looks blown up now though, and he goes on the offense with a more slow and methodical pace, introducing the deadly nerve hold to the traps. Tatanka finally fights his way out with a series of chops, and Yoko takes him right back down with a clothesline and RIGHT BACK INTO THE NERVE HOLD. Dear God, he works the nerve hold another 3 and a half minutes!!! Tatanka fights free again with chops and clotheslines. Tatanka goes to the top, but Yoko catches him on the way down with a punch. Yoko MISSES the Ass Splash in the corner and both men go down. You’ll NEVER guess what happens next! Yoko goes BACK to the nerve hold, AGAIN! Tatanka escapes a third time, with more chops, and a flying Tomahawk from the top rope that gets a near fall! Yoko blocks an Irish whip, and Tatanka clearly has a conversation with Yoko in the corner. Next thing you know, Yoko reverses the whip and throws Tatanka into the referee! Two ref bumps in 2 straight matches? Mr. Fuji hands Yoko the salt bucket, but Tatanka blocks the shot and Tatanka nails Yoko with the bucket!!!! The crowd erupts as Tatanka makes the cover. ONE, TWO, YOKO BARELY KICKS OUT. Tatanka goes to the top rope, and Fuji knocks him off with the Japanese Flag Pole behind the officials back. Yoko hits a running ass drop, or leg drop or something in between. At the house show I was at, it was a legdrop, but given the position Tatanka was in (laying in the corner) it looked like Yoko had to hit sort of a hybrid legdrop/ass splash. Needless to say, Yoko gets the win in about 15:00. Following the match, Yoko hit a Banzai drop on Tatanka and he was helped out of the ring.
(Post Match Thoughts: The first 2 minutes of this match are probably better than anything else I’ve ever seen Tatanka or Yoko do. The crowd was hot for all of Tatanka’s comebacks and honestly Tatanka looked good throughout the entire match. Maybe after having his undefeated streak ended, he decided to kick things up a notch. The match slows down when Yoko gets control, but all of his matches did that. If you take out the 7 minutes worth of nerve holds, you still get more physical action from Yoko than I ever recall seeing in one of his title matches. Given the guys involved, and the time they were forced to be out there, this match was surprising decent. This match gets **1/2 . I’ll admit, I did fast forward the nerve holds, so my rating may be skewed a little higher since I avoided the boredom.)
(Quebecers vs. Jannetty/Kid Notes, Going In: I had always been a Jannetty fan, so any time they threw him a bone I was happy for him. I had also been a Lightning Kid fan going back to the GWF on ESPN. Both guys worked a different style than your average WWF superstar and you were usually guaranteed a good match out of them. So when they randomly won the WWF Tag Team Titles from the Quebecers on the Live Raw from the week before, it was a huge shock and really came out of nowhere. Given the great match the two teams had on Raw, I expect something similar here.)
WWF Tag Team Champions Marty Jannetty & The 1-2-3 Kid vs. The Quebecers (w/Johnny Polo)
The match starts with dueling cheers. The Quebecers would go up on the ropes and get boo’d, followed by the champs who would get cheered. The Quebecers attack the champs and try and throw them into each other. The Kid leapfrogs Jannetty and the champs climb up for stereo “10 Punches” before they whip the Quebecers into each other. The Quebecers get cute and do a dosey-doe but run into dropkicks, and the champs clothesline the challengers to the floor! Nice opening sequence. Polo comforts his boys on the floor before we return to action. Jacques fakes a test of strength to lower the boom on Marty, but the champs come back with some Rocker type double team spots, before they nip up and run right into a double clothesline from Pierre. The Quebecers toss the champs out onto the floor, and the Kid & Marty both slide back in through the legs of the Quebecers and hit stereo Superkicks that send the challengers to the floor. Marty tries a dive onto both opponents, but they catch him. The Kid then hits a flying dive over the top rope onto everyone, including Polo, and every falls to the floor. The guys were so close to the ring, the Kid couldn’t really launch himself as high as he needed to on that dive and he catches his knee on the top rope and basically falls onto everyone. It was still a great spot by all. The Quebecers finally get some heat on the Kid, until Jacques misses a flying legdrop. Kid makes the hot tag to Jannetty. Jannetty with a spinning elbow, and knocks Polo off the apron. Polo distracts the referee and Pierre grabs Marty from behind. Jacques charges but Marty moves, and Jacques nails Pierre off the apron! Jannetty with the rolling cradle on Jacques, but Pierre clotheslines him out of his boots! Damn, great match so far. Jacques slows things down with a chinlock. Pierre with a neckbreaker on Marty. Pierre lays Marty’s throat across the middle rope and charges with a Big Boss Man style leg straddle. I think Marty was supposed to move, but he doesn’t, and Pierre almost falls over the top rope. Then Pierre just jumps up and down twice and falls on his ass and holds his balls. IT MADE NOOOO SENSE. I have NO FUCKING CLUE what he was thinking. A phantom crotch shot? He just took a bump out of nowhere and started grabbing himself. It was BAAAAD. The Quebecers lure the Kid in repeatedly and switch out illegally behind the ref’s back. Quebecers with a lot of illegal double teaming. Jannetty fights off both challengers in their corner, but gets backdropped to the floor by Jacques. After they get Marty back inside, Jacques hits a piledriver and tries to backdrop Pierre onto Jannetty, but Marty moves. Pierre takes the bump and Marty tries a sneaky school boy for 2. Side Suplex by Pierre, but Pierre comes off the middle rope right into the boot of Jannetty, and Marty makes the hot tag to the Kid, and does the crowd ever explode! Kid works the Quebecers over with his “educated feet”. Jumping spin kicks, spinning heel kicks, he’s all over the place. Kid goes to the top rope, but gets crotches by Johnny Polo. Pierre Superplexes the Kid off the ropes and tags to Jacques. Jacques comes in and assists Pierre in hitting the top rope somersault senton. The Quebecers win back their WWF Tag Team Titles in around 20:00.
Winners & New Tag Team Champions The Quebecers
(Post Match Thoughts: This match had the hints of Midnight Express vs. Rock & Roll Express, and Rockers vs. Rougeaus. I’m not saying it was at the level of either of those matches, but it certainly followed their patterns. Lots of double team Rocker spots, and Rougeau style heel spots involved as you’d expect. The opening sequence with the baby faces getting an extended period of offense for nearly the first half of the match was more of a MX/R&R type thing, with the heels taking over and getting an extended beat down on Jannetty. The pieces were there, the pattern was there, these guys aren’t any of the aforementioned teams, but a couple of the guys in this match were a part of those teams. For a house show, for WWF 1994, it was good stuff so long as you ignore that odd Pierre phantom crotch shot thing. As boring as the Mountie gimmick was, the Quebecers breathed life back into Jacques and put him back to where he excelled, in tag team matches. Everyone worked hard, the hot tag seemed oddly short, but this was a good match. ***1/4)
(Royal Rumble, Notes Going In: I’ve known about this Rumble since the late 1990’s so I already know the winner going in. That said, I have no idea of anything else about this specific match, so it should be fun. I always like watching things for the first time, and it’s hard to find many things I haven’t seen from this era, so this is double exciting for me.)
30-Man Royal Rumble
We’ve got Howard Finkel doing the intros, so this feels like the real thing. #1 is Diesel. Keep in mind this is 5 days BEFORE his breakout performance at the Rumble 94 PPV. Up to this point Diesel was just the bodyguard of Shawn Michaels and really never stood out as a major player. Mo from Men on a Mission is #2. Oscar is in the house, WHOOMP, THERE IT IS! I’m no Nostradamus, but I think I can see what’s coming. Diesel beats the crap out of Mo. “Whoomp, There it is” chants begin and Mo makes a short comeback. Diesel nails a big punch and flings Mo out. Mo’s leg gets caught in the ropes, lmao, so Diesel has to free him in order for him to fall out of the ring, lol. Thanks for coming Mo. The only thing that sucks is we have no countdown clock on the screen, but we can hear the fans counting so that’s a plus. Here comes #3 and it’s Bushwhacker Butch. Diesel goes after Butch, but we get some good old Bushwhacker eye gouging and ass biting. Butch celebrates and Diesel makes him pay for it. Diesel eliminates Butch quickly. While Butch whacks his way to the back, #4 is The 1-2-3 Kid, who is no doubt still beat from the prior match. The Kid sells big time for everything Diesel does, including taking a biel bump about 12 feet into the air. Kid counters a side slam with a flying headscissors. The Kid goes to town with kicks in the corner, but falls onto the ropes and hangs on the top rope, Diesel punches the Kid out of the match. (Trvia: The Kid actually ended up hurting his leg during the spot and sitting out several weeks because of it.) #5 is Scott Steiner! Scott rushes to the ring and Diesel knees him off the apron immediately. Diesel posts Steiner outside. Diesel works Steiner over, but he can’t seem to eliminate him. Scott Steiner battles back and throws Diesel through the MIDDLE rope, and the two men fight on the floor. Steiner smashes Diesel with a chair. SCOTT HITS A DOUBLE UNDERHOOK POWERBOMB BUT DIESEL DAMN NEAR BREAKS HIS NECK! HOLY SHIT WAS THAT SCARY LOOKING!
Meanwhile, we count down to #6 who is “Iron” Mike Sharpe! Now business is going to pick up! He’s a hoss by gawd. Sharpe goes to town on Scott with his legendary loaded forearm pad. Sharpe goes to throw Scott out of the ring but Steiner puts on the brakes and sends Sharpe flying out only seconds after his arrival. Back to the showers for Iron Mike, hopefully he makes it out of the arena this time before they lock the doors. Diesel and Scott go back and forth, Scott hits a suplex and Diesel almost gets dumped on his head again. Scott has Diesel teetering as #7 Headshrinker Samu enters. Diesel & Samu team up on Scott briefly before going after each other. The three men cluster up in the corner as #8 Bob Backlund makes his way down. Backlund hits the ring like a goofy nut, and this is BEFORE he went crazy. You can hear fans near the camera laughing at how goofy Bob was acting here. Backlund goes for the Atomic Spine Crusher on Samu, but Samu sandbags him and the move gets screwed up. Can you imagine what a team Backlund & Scott Steiner could have made? The Loose Cannons. Not much going on, guys on the ropes and on the mat. Steiner suplexes Samu as #9 Jeff Jarrett makes his way down. Jarrett tries to pick a fight with everyone, and loses them all. Samu with a gut wrench on Jarrett. Steiner hits a big military press slam on Double J. #10 is Virgil, who has just returned to fill in as a substitution on some shows. Virgil goes to work on Jarrett with some punches before the heels outnumber him. Diesel spends the next 2 minutes beating the crap out of Virgil in the battle of the bodyguards.
#11 is Bam Bam Bigelow, Luna leads him down, and the ring is starting to fill up now with 7 guys in the ring. Diesel & Bam Bam have some fun with Virgil. Lots of guys teetering over the ropes now as the ring is more cluttered and less spots can be done. Here we go with #12, and it’s “THE MACHO MAN” RANDY SAVAGE! The fans go nuts! Savage hits just about everyone as he hits the ring. Diesel gets Macho in the corner, but misses a Big Boot. Diesel fights to stay in but Savage tosses him out and the crowd goes crazy, Diesel was in for 21:00 plus and you can tell the crowd bought his dominance based on the way they popped for his elimination. Diesel may not have dumped as many guys in this match, but he was certainly made the focal point of the first 12 minutes of the match. Seconds later, Savage sends Jarrett flying out of the ring (same bump he takes at the PPV). Backlund escapes near elimination from Bigelow. #13 is Adam Bomb w/Harvey. Damn, did Bryan Clark have the look and the agility to go with his size. Bigelow military presses Virgil, but takes a bump for whatever reason and Virgil falls on top. #14 is Sgt. Slaughter! There’s a surprise entry. Crowd pops for the surprise. This may be the first surprise entrant ever! Steiner has Adam Bomb teetering, Slaughter comes in and Sarge & Steiner eliminate Bomb. Wow, that was fast. Slaughter takes the signature chest bump into the corner. Macho goes at it hard with Samu, Samu hits Savage with a standing dropkick! Nice! Here comes #15 CRUSH! And you just know he and Savage are gonna get it on. Crush with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker on Macho. Crush then tosses Scott Steiner out. Macho & Crush fight to the floor and back inside. Savage comes off the top but is caught by Crush. Crush tosses Savage out of the match like nothing. Very anticlimactic elimination there.
#16 is Mabel, who enters the ring as Macho exits. Savage tries to reenter with a steel chair, but is held back by officials. Crush & Mabel work over Bam Bam Bigelow. Bam Bam tries to eliminate Crush, but Crush holds on and pulls Bam Bam out instead. Crush Irish whips Slaughter into the corner, and Slaughter takes his THIRD chest bump into the corner during this match, only this time the Sarge is eliminated from the momentum. Crush is on a bit of a tear. #17 is Jimmy Powers. Blah. Backlund tries to go after Powers, but Jim just completely ignores Backlund because he already has a spot planned. Powers goes right after Mabel. Mabel no sells Powers and picks him up in a lifted double handed choke before tossing him down. Mabel with a big avalanche on Powers in the corner and Jimmy Powers is eliminated! Mabel SQUASHES VIRGIL. Wait, Virgil’s still in this thing??? #18 is Bastion Booger, I guess no tummy ache tonight. Booger’s my pick! As soon as Booger comes in, everyone goes after Mabel. It’s like it was scripted that way or something. 😉 As Mabel is teetering he’s eliminated, but ends up taking Bob Backlund & Virgil with him. Three guys out at once! Whoomp, there it was. Well, at least that takes care of the Virgil issue.
Moments later, Crush clotheslines Booger out from behind. The ring’s clearing now, just Crush and Samu remain. What an odd choice. Not for long, #19 is on his way, Bushwhacker Luke!!!! Samu charges Luke, Luke ducks and Samu gets his head caught in the ropes (one of his favorite spots, he does the same thing at the PPV). Luke kindly helps him get loose, then just pushes Samu off the apron for the elimination. Crush attacks Luke and misses a clothesline which Luke sells anyway. Luke comes back with some Bushwhacker comedy. Crush has none of it and Superkicks Luke out of the match. If Diesel dominated early, Crush was made a monster here. Crush is all alone in the ring as #20 Owen Hart heads in. Owen is still a face here, he turns at the PPV though the seeds were planted back at Survivor Series ’93.
Owen tackles Crush and goes to work on him. Standing dropkick and spinning heel kick by Owen. Owen tries for something and Crush launches him 10 feet straight up in the air and onto his stomach. Crush works on Owen as #21 is “The Model” Rick Martel enters. The Model & Crush double team Owen until Hart ducks and Crush nails Martel. Owen clotheslines Martel out of the ring THROUGH the ropes. The two heels regroup and go after Owen, until #22 Bret “Hitman” Hart makes the save. What timing! Owen pairs off with Martel while Bret works with Crush. Lots of security rush to the right of the screen, must be a drunken fan. Crush thinks he’s eliminated the Hitman and turns his back on him. Hart comes back in and dropkicks Crush out of the match! That was huge.
And #23 Irwin R. Schyster (the other IRS) makes his way down. #24 is Johnny Polo. Never did understand why Vince saw him as a manager rather than a full time worker, he was decent in the ring. The Harts take turns working over Polo. IRS & Martel almost dump Bret, but Owen makes the save. #25 is Scott Putski. This is like Putski’s only appearance in the WWF in 1994. I’ve heard rumors that Scott was only given this spot to replace his father (“Polish Power” Ivan Putski) who was supposed to get a surprise spot. Not a whole lot going on, lots of pairing off in corners as #26 Headshrinker Fatu heads in. IRS tries to eliminate Bret Hart, as Owen pulls his brother back in. Fatu beats on Scott Putski. #27 is Marty Jannetty. #28 is Bart Gunn. For some reason, the version I’m viewing cuts out and there’s 3 minutes or so missing between Marty’s and Gunn’s entrances. Couldn’t have missed much, nobody was eliminated and the ring is building up.
#29 is Shawn Michaels, and as soon as he gets in the ring, he and Marty go at it. Crowd eats it up as Marty beats the piss out of Shawn in the corner. Shawn takes over with an inverted atomic drop, but Marty comes right back with a Superkick. Marty almost has Shawn eliminated when Fatu & IRS make the save. Shawn tries to suplex Jannetty out, but Marty reverses the suplex. Jannetty takes a big swing at Michaels, but Shawn ducks and backdrops Jannetty out. And out comes the final entrant, DOINK THE CLOWN IS #30!
The ring has built up now. There’s 9 guys in there. Owen sends Polo over the top rope but he holds on. Johnny Polo climbs to the top rope from the apron, but Owen knocks him off with a flying headbutt, or forearm, or something. Polo is gone. Fatu backdrops Putski out next. IRS dips his shoulder and dumps out Martel. Now they’re dropping like flies. Shawn & Owen teeter together, but both hang on. Doink plays a prank on Bart Gunn and rakes his eyes. Gunn tries to suplex Doink, but Doink counters and SUPLEXES BART backwards over the top rope and out of the ring! Great spot! Shocked to see it given the guys involved. IRS stuns Doink and Shawn rushes in with a clothesline to eliminate the Clown. IRS works over Bret, but the Hitman counters with an atomic drop that eliminates Iiirrrrrwin.
We’re down to the final 4. It’s Bret, Owen, Shawn, and Fatu. Look familiar? Replace Owen with Luger… You see where I’m going? 😉
It’s Bret vs. Fatu, and Owen vs. HBK. Shawn sells big for Owen. Fatu nails a superkick on Bret. Michaels puts Owen in the tree of woe and works him over. As Bret has Fatu almost eliminated, Shawn sneaks up from behind and dumps the Hitman! That was HUGE! Shawn wants to work something out with Fatu to take out Owen. Fatu & Shawn try a double clothesline, but Owen hits one on them. The heels take back over, try a double backdrop, Owen slams their heads together and Shawn takes a big bump off a Fatu headbutt. Shawn & Fatu team up again, this time Fatu holds Owen in a bearhug while Shawn lands the Superkick, actually a SWEET spot. As Shawn stands over Owen, RAZOR RAMON comes back to ringside! Ramon wants some revenge for earlier in the IC Title match. Shawn leans over the ropes to argue with Ramon, and with Michaels distracted by Razor, Owen nails Fatu with a spinning heel kick that sends Fatu into HBK, and Shawn falls out of the ring! The crowd goes nuts! Razor & Shawn battle to the back! They should have used this spot at the PPV.
Down to two, and it’s Fatu & Owen Hart. The middle rope breaks! I mean literally, the rope itself breaks off from the turnbuckle. HAH! Fatu beats down Owen and thinks he has him eliminated, but Owen hangs on and battles back. Samu returns to ringside to help Fatu. Bret Hart sees enough and he too returns to ringside to cheer on his brother. Fatu misses a shoulder into the corner and Owen comes off the top rope with a diving headbutt. Somehow Fatu regains control and goes to the top rope, but Owen crotches him off and hits a big clothesline. Owen then goes to throw Fatu out, and looks like he tries to dropkick him at the same time, it was weird, but Fatu went out either way, and this thing is done at 1 Hour and 10 Minutes.
Winner: Owen Hart
Bret celebrates with the winner, his brother Owen as the Headshrinkers contemplate an attack, but think the wiser.
(Post Match Thoughts: This Rumble had it’s ups and downs. We saw the precursor to the “Diesel Show” on PPV. They were definitely priming Nash for a run, and it worked. Just as things started to get a little slow in the match, guys like Bigelow & Savage came in to pick things back up. Things started slowing down again around the time Adam Bomb came in, and besides a few nice pops on the way to the ring, the match felt a little stale for the next ten minutes until Owen came in. If Diesel was the show in the first half, Crush was definitely the show in the second half, eliminating several men himself and looking unstoppable. Crush certainly fit the bill and had the look for a top heel. Lots of filler in this match, Sharpe, Powers, Slaughter, Putski, Virgil, Polo, Bushwhackers, etc., but it was a house show and you work with what you have. I felt the ending with Fatu & Owen dragged out longer than it needed to, but it was a nice set up to get Owen going for the PPV. The match dragged at times, but all in all, it was a ROYAL RUMBLE for crying out loud! I’ll go **3/4 because it was just below par of what I’d want from a Rumble, but I took into consideration that this was a house show and they had a different level of talent to work with. For what they had it was fine, and things like the Shawn/Razor angle, and Bret & Samu cheering on their partners only enhanced the match.)
THE FINAL AUDIT
For a Rumble, this wasn’t the best by any standards, though it was still better than a couple of the PPV Rumbles I’ve seen. But, for a house show, this was more than you could ask for. The fans got to see 3 title matches, one of which featured a title change, Borga vs. Steiner in a short but stiff fight, and then a Royal Rumble. Not many people can say they were treated to all of this on a house show. Actually, nobody can say this except those who were in attendance for this card.
For a house show I’d have to go and give this thing an 8 out of 10, but as an event based on match quality I’ll take it down to a 6 (only one match reached ***). We’ll meet somewhere in the middle and I’ll give this show a 6.5, that’s a “C” grade and a MILD Recommendation. Based on the rarity of it all, the Rumble, and the Tag Title match, I still recommend checking out portions of the show. GOOGLE IT…
You can also always shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or make a request right here in the comments section. I entertain all requests. Until next time, this is the REAL I.R.S. saying catchya later, tax cheats!