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.
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. Ramon and I.R.S. agreed to settle the feud at Royal Rumble 1994 with Ramon's Intercontinental Championship on the line.
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.
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.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Dark Match: The Brooklyn Brawler defeated Jim Powers
- Tatanka defeated Bam Bam Bigelow (w/ Luna Vachon) (8:12)
- The Quebecers (Jacques & Pierre) (c) defeated Bret Hart & Owen Hart to retain the WWF Tag Team Championship (16:48)
- Razor Ramon (c) defeated Irwin R. Schyster to retain the WWF Intercontinental Championship (11:30)
- Yokozuna (c) (w/ James E. Cornette & Mr. Fuji) defeated The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) in a Casket match to retain the WWF Championship (14:20)
- Bret Hart & Lex Luger co-won the Royal Rumble (55:04)
Royal Rumble entrances and eliminations
A new entrant came out approximately every 90 seconds.
|3||Rick Steiner||2||Owen Hart||3:57|
|7||Diesel||13||Bigelow, Mabel, Plugg & Crush||17:41|
|13||Crush||16||Luger, Plugg & Bret Hart||25:03|
|14||Doink the Clown||12||Bigelow||1:48|
|15||Bam Bam Bigelow||23||Luger||30:12|
|16||Mabel||14||Valentine, Tatanka, Kabuki, Crush,|
Bigelow, Plugg & Michaels
|17||Sparky Plugg||17||Bret Hart & Michaels||21:33|
|22||The Great Kabuki||15||Luger||2:46|
|24||Genichiro Tenryu||25||Bret Hart & Luger||17:21|
|25||Bastion Booger||-||Unable to compete||0:00|
Other on-screen talent
- This was the first Royal Rumble to have 90 second entrance intervals rather than the previously traditional 2 minute intervals. It was announced by commentator Vince McMahon that WWF President Jack Tunney reduced the interval times for timing constraints. The following year would go one step further and reduce the time intervals to one minute each.
- Ludvig Borga was scheduled to be Tatanka's opponent (as well as compete in the Rumble match), but was unable to due to (legit) injury (Borga was never seen on WWF TV again).
- Thurman "Sparky" Plugg, who later went on to prominence under his own name of Bob Holly, made his first televised WWF appearance in the Royal Rumble match, replacing an injured 1-2-3 Kid.
DVD and video releases
- Royal Rumble 1994 Official Website
- Royal Rumble 1994 on WWE Network
- Royal Rumble 1994 at CAGEMATCH.net
- Royal Rumble 1994 at Online World of Wrestling
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