Date: 24th January, 1993
Venue: ARCO Arena
City: Sacramento, CA
Commentators: Gorilla Monsoon &
Bobby “The Brain” Heenan
The primary feud leading up to Royal Rumble 1993 was between WWF Champion Bret Hart and challenger Razor Ramon (a replacement for The Ultimate Warrior, who had left the previous November). Ramon formed an alliance in late 1992 with Ric Flair, who Hart defeated to win the title belt. During an interview in which Hart was talking about the upcoming match, Ramon and Flair came to the ring and attacked Hart. Ramon later escalated the feud by attacking Owen Hart, Bret’s brother.
Another major feud featured at the event was between Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty, who had teamed for several years as The Rockers. The team split up in December 1991, however, when Michaels attacked Jannetty during an episode of Brutus Beefcake’s interview segment, “The Barber Shop”. Michaels became a singles wrestler and won the WWF Intercontinental Championship on October 27, 1992 from Davey Boy Smith. On the October 31, 1992 episode of WWF Superstars of Wrestling, Jannetty returned to the WWF after a lengthy absence and confronted Michaels. He attempted to hit Michaels with a mirror, but Michaels pulled his valet, Sensational Sherri in front of him. Sherri was hit with the mirror, which caused friction between her and Michaels. Michaels and Jannetty were scheduled to face each other for the Intercontinental Championship at Royal Rumble 1993. Leading up to the match, Sherri announced that she would be in the corner of one of the men, but she refused to say which one.
In an undercard match, The Steiner Brothers (Rick and Scott), who made their WWF debut in late 1992, were scheduled to face the Beverly Brothers (Beau and Blake). There was little buildup for the match, but the Steiners and Beverlys had a rivalry over which was the best team of brothers in the WWF.
Several feuds also formed the background for the Royal Rumble match. Virgil had served as Ted DiBiase’s servant and bodyguard for several years. DiBiase treated Virgil poorly, which eventually led Virgil to turn against his employer. At Royal Rumble 1991, he attacked DiBiase after a match by hitting him with theMillion Dollar Championship, a title that DiBiase had awarded himself. Virgil defeated DiBiase for the belt at SummerSlam 1991, although DiBiase later regained the title. The Undertaker was feuding with manager Harvey Wippleman. He had a series of matches against Kamala in 1992 that included a bout at SummerSlam. The rivalry culminated in a coffin match at Survivor Series 1992. The Undertaker won the match, but Wippleman vowed revenge. Tito Santana and Rick Martel had formed a tag team known as Strike Force in 1987, and they held the World Tag Team Championship together for five months. Martel walked away during a match against the Brain Busters at WrestleMania V, leaving Santana to face both opponents alone. The team split up as a result and the former partners had a lengthy feud.
Mr. Perfect served as “executive consultant” to Ric Flair in 1992, but the relationship broke down toward the end of the year. The partnership split up when Perfect teamed with Randy Savage to face Flair and Razor Ramon at Survivor Series 1992. Flair legitimately requested a release from his contract, as he felt he would be more successful if he returned to World Championship Wrestling (WCW). WWF owner Vince McMahon agreed and set up a feud between Flair and Perfect to create a storyline for Flair’s departure from the company.
The event also featured the WWF debut of Lex Luger. Luger had previously wrestled in WCW, where he held the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. He had left the wrestling industry to join Vince McMahon’s World Bodybuilding Federation (WBF). After the WBF failed, Luger signed with McMahon’s WWF.
Doink The Clown defeated Jim Powers by submission (5:57)
Tag Team Match:
The Steiner Brothers defeated The Beverly Brothers (10:34)
Shawn Michaels (c) defeated Marty Jannetty (14:20)
Bam Bam Bigelow defeated Big Boss Man (10:10)
Bret “Hitman” Hart defeated Razor Ramon (17:52)
Royal Rumble Match:
Yokozuna won by last eliminating “Macho Man” Randy Savage (1:06:35)
At WrestleMania IX, Yokozuna defeated Bret Hart to win the WWF Championship. His title reign only lasted several minutes, however, as he dropped the belt to Hulk Hogan in an impromptu match. Yokozuna regained the title but dropped it to Hart the following year.
Shawn Michaels continued his feud with Sensational Sherri at WrestleMania IX. Sherri accompanied Tatanka, and Michaels countered this by introducing Luna Vachon, his new valet. After the match, Vachon attacked Sherri. The feud also continued between Michaels and Jannetty, as Jannetty defeated Michaels for the Intercontinental Championship on May 17, 1993. Michaels regained the belt in a rematch the following month to end the feud.
Razor Ramon continued to wrestle in high-profile matches but achieved little success until changing his persona to a face after losing to the underdog 1-2-3 Kid in May 1993. As a fan favorite, Ramon won his first of four Intercontinental Championships in September 1993.
The day after Royal Rumble, Flair faced Perfect in a loser leaves town match, in which the loser would be forced to leave the WWF forever. Because Flair had an agreement with McMahon to lose to Mr. Perfect before leaving the promotion, Perfect won the match and Flair did not appear in the WWF again until 2001. With Flair gone from the promotion, Luger continued Heenan’s feud and defeated Mr. Perfect at WrestleMania IX.
The Beverly Brothers were unable to win the World Tag Team Championship, but the Steiners won the belts on two occasions in 1993. They feuded with Money Inc. (DiBiase and Irwin R. Schyster), who had held the belts since the previous October, before winning their first championship on June 14.
Earthquake and Typhoon stopped teaming after their confrontation during the Royal Rumble match. No feud ever materialized, however, as Earthquake was released by the WWF and left to compete in Japan. The rivalry between Virgil and DiBiase was not mentioned again until the following year, when Virgil had a brief feud with Nikolai Volkoff, who was managed by DiBiase. DiBiase was reunited with Virgil, who had been renamed Vincent, when both men were members of WCW’s New World Order in 1996.
Luger’s status as a heel (villain) was short-lived. Yokozuna issued a challenge for any American athlete to try to bodyslam him on the deck of the USS Intrepid on Independence Day that year. Several athletes made the attempt, but nobody was able to lift Yokozuna until Luger arrived in a helicopter and bodyslammed Yokozuna. Luger received a push and was given a match for Yokozuna’s WWF Championship at SummerSlam 1993, but he was unable to win the belt.
The Undertaker’s feud with Harvey Wippleman escalated in the following months and was featured at two more pay-per-view events in 1993. The Undertaker faced Giant González at WrestleMania IX; González was disqualified after attacking The Undertaker with a chloroform-soaked rag provided by Wippleman. Wippleman and González recruited Mr. Hughes, and the three men attacked The Undertaker and Paul Bearer. They stole The Undertaker’s urn, which was said to be the source of his power. The feud culminated in a Rest in Peace match at SummerSlam 1993, which The Undertaker won to end the feud.
Royal Rumble Stats
|10||Mr. Perfect||8||DiBiase and Ware||09:15|
|12||Koko B. Ware||11||DiBiase||08:31|
|15||The Undertaker||15||Giant González*||04:14|
|18||Irwin R. Schyster||19||Earthquake||16:00|
* = Giant González was not an entrant in the Rumble. This was his WWF debut.