25 Years of Rumble Winners – 1994 Bret Hart & Lex Luger

This is one Royal Rumble I’ve been looking forward to writing about. Both winners of this Royal Rumble Match are wrestlers I enjoyed, and sometimes loathed early on. In my mind, this is when the Royal Rumble really started getting good and the winners were seriously pushed due to their wins. Yes, both of these guys were big names, but this started the controversy and intrigue that seems to go hand in hand with the Royal Rumble. Okay, I’m babbling, onto the match.

This Royal Rumble took place on January 22, 1994 at the Providence Civic Center in Providence, Rhode Island. So much for the big four taking place in huge arenas! The undercard included (as I previously wrote) Yokozuna vs Taker in a Casket Match, Owen and Bret Hart were defeated by The Quebecers for the WWF Tag Team Championship, and Bam Bam Bigelow with Luna Vachon was defeated by Tatanka. While it wasn’t a stacked card, there were some solid and interesting matches leading up to the main event Royal Rumble Match.

The Royal Rumble Match started with Scotty Steiner and Samu – who had, as half of The Headshrinkers, helped Yokozuna defeat Taker in the Casket Match. Samu was the first to be eliminated from the Royal Rumble Match and it was by Steiner. Steiner was the fourth eliminated and that was by Diesel. Diesel, #7, and Luger, #23 tied Hogan and Yokozuna for most eliminated in one Royal Rumble Match at seven. But Diesel eliminated all seven of those in a row – eliminations 3-9 – and holds the Title for doing so. While Bigelow was in an earlier match, he was also in the Royal Rumble Match as the 15th entrant. He was the entrant to last the longest at 30:12, but that doesn’t come anywhere near breaking the record set by Backlund the year before. There were only 29 wrestlers in this Royal Rumble Match as Bastion Booger was unable to compete and no one filled in his spot. It took seven wrestler to eliminate Mabel from this Royal Rumble, the most to eliminate one wrestler to this point. He later broke this record as his alter ego Viscera. Lex Luger entered the Royal Rumble Match at #23 and Bret Hart entered at #27. Luger’s last elimination was HBK. That left hard and Luger in the ring together. They both eliminated each other at the same time. Refs argued and different camera angles were analyzed, but WWF President Jack Tunney came out and declared them both co-winners of the 1994 Royal Rumble.

The next night on Monday Night RAW it was decided that both would get Title shots at WMX. At WMX Bret Hart faced his brother Owen in a Singles Match that lasted just over twenty minutes. The match went back and forth, including a kayfabe knee injury on Bret, until finally Owen reversed a victory roll and pinned his older brother for three. Luger faced Yokozuna with Mr. Fuji & Jim Cornette with Special Guest Ref Mr. Perfect, and Special Guest Ring Announcer Donnie Wahlberg (New Kids On The Block was his claim to fame at this point), and Special Guest Timekeeper, Rhonda Shear (actress and comedienne). Luger lost via DQ. Basically Yokozuna’s managers distracted Perfect while Luger pinned Yokozuna after his running forearm (with the kayfabe metal plate from his motorcycle accident). When Perfect turned back Luger pushed him for not being there to count and Perfect called for the bell. After Hart’s twenty minute match with his brother he went on to face Yokozuna with Rowdy Roddy Piper as Special Guest Ref, Burt Reynolds as Special Guest Ring Announcer, and Jennie Garth as Special Guest Timekeeper. This match went back and forth. The participants in this match weren’t the only ones taking bumps as Cornette took a punch from Piper when he tried to distract Piper from the match. Late in the match Yokozuna attempted a Banzai drop, but lost his balance and fell. He landed on the mat so Bret rolled him up for three. Bret celebrated his win of the WWF Championship with Luger, Piper, Razor Ramon, Savage, Burt Reynolds, Donnie Wahlberg, Gorilla Monsoon, then announcer VKM, and other faces available. Owen stood on the ramp and glared before stomping off in a huff.

Almost every match on the WMX card had a Special Guest something, right down to Sy Sperling – President of Hair Club For Men ‘I’m not just the President, I’m also a client’ (who’s old enough to remember him without looking him up online?) – announcing his newest client, Howard Finkel came down to the ring wearing a toupee. We complain about how the WWE books as many stars from mainstream media as possible now, back then it was much worse. Honestly, I had forgotten how bad it was until I started the research for this article.

After WMX Hart continued to feud with his brother Owen and with Diesel. At King of The Ring Hart defended his WWF Championship against Diesel. HBK interfered to help his friend Diesel, but just after Diesel his his jackknife powerbomb Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart interfered causing Diesel to win by DQ, Hart retained his Title. Neidhart didn’t stay to help Hart when HBK and Diesel beat up on Hart after the match. Everyone figured out what Neidhart was up to when he later helped Owen win KOTR. At SummerSlam Hart retained the WWF Title after defeating his brother in a Steel Cage Match (which is a match that I love). Many people thought this was a top notch match, the fans of PWI voted it the feud of the year, Bret was also voted wrestler of the year Actually, I remember hearing a story about Bret and Owen being booked on the same flight during that feud, but they were in different rows as they couldn’t be seen fraternizing. A stewardess caught them passing notes between them and got all excited. She was so worried that the brothers might actually hate each other as they weren’t sitting together and she knew what was going on between them kayfabe. They both told her to stay quiet and not say anything. She was so excited and happy about it all.

Hart ended up losing the WWF Championship at Survivor Series in a Submission Match with Bob Backlund. Davey Boy Smith acted as Hart’s manager, Owen acted as Backlund’s. It was the manager’s job to throw in the towel for the wrestler they represented. Smith was knocked out, so when Backlund locked on his signature crossface chickenwing, Owen convinced his mother to throw in the towel for Bret.

Luger and Tatanka were aligned through 1993. After WMX tensions grew between the two. Tatanka was sure Luger was going to join Ted DiBiase’s Million Dollar Corporation. The trust between them became a huge issue and they faced off at SummerSlam. Tatanka won and immediately joined the Million Dollar Corporation. Luger feuded with DiBiase and his MDC. At Survivor Series Luger’s team Guts & Glory was defeated by the MDC team.

Obviously Hart’s post-Rumble push was better than Luger’s, but they both did pretty well in that following year. Honestly I think having two Royal Rumble winners made it hard as both couldn’t be pushed to the same level. That Hart held the WWF Championship for a big part of the year further showed how much bigger his push was than Luger’s. Luger ended up leaving the WWF for WCW that following summer and he had considerable success there.

I’m sorry that this one was a little late and a little long, but with two winners, it had to be. I hope to get snowed in tomorrow and get some serious writing done. I’ll get ahead and make sure I get one up each day, including the day after the 2012 Royal Rumble. I’m so excited!

KB

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  • Jay

    I’d forgotten all about this royal rumble (I was only 7 at the time) I must watch it again. These articles have been great so far. Keep it up

  • kevin

    Bret and Owen never one the tag team titles together. Owen won his with Yokozuna, and the British Bulldog. Bret won his with Jim Niedhart.

  • gibbons08

    I agree I also like these Royal Rumble articles!

  • sethpac_00

    Didn’t the Quebecers win? Brets knee “giving out”.

  • Mike

    "Owen and Bret Hart defeated The Quebecers for the WWF Tag Team Championship." Either you are on crack or I missed something very significant! This is where Owen turned on Bret Hart, setting the stage for Wrestlemania X. Next time, do your research before writing an article you obviously have no knowledge about!!!

    • kbunyon

      It was a typo which I fixed. Rather than being nasty about it, why not nicely point it out rather than be a jackass? My work speaks for itself and I always check if someone brings up a mistake I've made.

      Next time – you will get more flies with honey than vinegar. You don't have to be a jackass online just because you cannot be held accountable for your nastiness.

      KB

  • Ditzy

    I appreciate your effort with the articles but I think you should have researched to explain why Luger didn’t get a push like what the original plan was.

    • kbunyon

      I'll see what I can find out, but from what I read it seemed as though it's a good thing they didn't push Luger as much as Bret as he left for WCW not long after.

      KB

  • Funk Under Fire

    Your wrong again! The Quebecers beat the Harts! I’m pretty sure this is when Owen blamed Bret for staying in the ring too long when he was injuried and kicked his leg out from under him.

    Then Bret went on to win the Rumble lol

  • Carlos Jr

    I am enjoying this scroll down memory lane. The first Royal Rumble I watched was the 1991 RR which Hulk Hogan won. I like how you're writing about the year each RR winner had following their big win. Good job with your research.

  • Dave Barton

    Love your RR reviews, but Bret & Owen never held the tag titles together.

  • Dave L

    I was such a mark for this watching it live, trying to get better angles, arguing at the rumble party I was at with my friends, determined to prove there was really just one winner.

  • Jeremy

    Okay for one, if your doing all this research into all the Royal Rumble winners enough to know where the event was held and the date and everything, you should know the results of the event and the Quebecers retained there titles against the Harts not the other way around. You should try and do all your research and make sure you have all the information accurate before posting it. And for such a big wrestling fan as you claim to be how can you not know who you will be writing about. In your report about Yokozuna you said that you were going into these reports not knowing who you would be writing about which sounds like a very big lack of knowledge for a wrestling fan as yourself. I can tell you every single winner and every single title match that happened on every ppv held by WWE, NWA/WCW, ECW, TNA, and ROH, because I actually do research in wanting to find out things. I dont' start a report about something like the Royal Rumble without knowing before hand what I was writing about. Sorry to sound like an asshole, but it is a pet peeve when someone, especially someone who writes for a site such as this, who doesn't know something about what they are writing about or posts something inaccurate.

    • Funk Under Fire

      Watch out, next time they’ll charge you to view this! Lol

  • sforester

    Now now guys, let's cut Kendra some slack. I think she knows by now (the posting of this comment) that the Quebecers thing was an honest mistake anyone could make. Besides that, everything else has been factual and entertaining. Chillax, guys!

    • kbunyon

      Thanks Shawn.

      It was a typo at some crazy hour of the night. While I appreciate it being brought to my attention and I fixed it, I don't understand why people have to be such jerks. I have been working hard on these articles, learning a lot as I go and people don't have to be such BLEEPS about it.

      KB

  • Dave L

    Anyone who can say they know every win/loss is just lying, Its impossible and not realistic. I love the new addition to the website, its very nostalgic, and so what about Lex's push or who really won the match..the real reason people watch the rumble is FOR THE RUMBLE!

  • Chris_Storm

    This was my favorite rumble.

  • Ditzy

    Didn’t mean to be negative about your effort. It is great and the whole look back on each rumble is a great idea. I suppose for fans of wrestling in the 80s and 90s names like John Studd and Yokozuna are fairly big and fondly rememberred. Studd and his buddy King kong Bundy were real monsters in their day and were heavily involved in early Wrestlemanias. Anyway keep going with it I am looking forward to reminiscing some more. The effort is much appreciated.

  • http://www.theriotclub.com Rich

    Keep up the good work Kendra, it’s an honest mistake, don’t let the morons rubbish you! Great to read!

  • Eloy Tijerina

    Wow! What a bunch of jack asses! If you don’t like what you read- then stop reading!! Good article with just enough insight. We don’t need to know what Lugers original plan was- it’s a Royal Rumble Review, not a backstage blog!!