We probably all have that unforgettable event, that unique day when we became a true WWE or pro wrestling fan. That's what I always wanted to write about; so, here we go.
It was a magical evening for me. In the weeks before the Royal Rumble, I was caught by the impressive promos The Undertaker made on Raw. The Deadman was scheduled to face the 600-pound monster Yokozuna and the many weeks showdown really started to get under my skin.
I was a casual fan before, but I became a die hard fan from the 1994 Royal Rumble fan. I grew up watching Hulk Hogan, Macho Man, The Ultimate Warrior, Andre The Giant and all the other '80s icons. But, when I fell on an Undertaker promo by accident, it all begun for me.
The weird thing about this Royal Rumble is I did not exactly watch it. I only heard the sound because my parents were not able to pay for a wrestling show. So, I turned on the pay-per-view channel and all I got was the sound with scrambled images.
But, as I said, it was magical. I remember I heard Vince McMahon and Ted DiBiase commentating the events, particularly the match between The Undertaker and Yokozuna. The big man was dominated like never before and nothing seemed to stop The Phenom who was undoubtedly on his way to win the WWF Championship.
Then, an infamous plan organized by Mr. Fuji unfolded while Yokozuna was laying unconscious in the casket. Crush, The Great Kabuki, Genichiro Tenryu and Bam Bam Bigelow came to the ring and attacked The Undertaker who managed to clear the ring. This outside interference was enough to prevent The Undertaker to close the lid of the casket for the victory.
Yokozuna came back on his feet while Adam Bomb came to the ring while McMahon reminded the viewers it was "No Disqualification - Anything Goes!"
Jeff Jarrett, Samu, Fatu and Diesel joined the group. It was still not enough to keep The Phenom down who kept fighting until Yokozuna stole the urn. When he opened it, a green smoke went out and The Undertaker lost all his powers.
The Deadman suffered multiple finishing moves and it was over; he was stuffed into the casket and the lid was closed. After a short celebration, the group pushed the casket backstage, but underway, the famous gong was heard and the lights turned off. When the casket was surrounded by green smoke, all wrestlers ran backstage.
At this moment, The Undertaker appeared on the titantron and pronounced words that still echoes in my memory:
"Be not proud! The Spirit of The Undertaker lives withing the soul of all mankind. The eternal flame of life that cannot be extinguished. The origin of which cannot be explained. The answer lies in the everlasting spirit. Soon all mankind will witness the rebirth of The Undertaker. I will not Rest In Peace."
The arena was plunged in complete darkness and the casket "exploded" on the titantron. The Undertaker "rose up" out of the giant screen and "disappeared" in the ceiling.
From that very moment, I became an unconditional fan of The Undertaker despite only hearing the summary description of the events with scrambled images. And, most important, it was the night I truly became a true WWE fan. Since then, I never missed a Raw episode or a syndicated program until life forced me to a wrestling extended break of six long years, from 2001 to 2007.
I always had my Monday nights booked since that 1994 Royal Rumble until 2001. No matter if I had school or work on Tuesday morning, I watched my two-hour Monday Night Raw at midnight because, in Montreal, the show was not live.
Few weeks after the 1994 Royal Rumble was presented live on pay-per-view, the VHS of the show hit the video store and I finally saw the events with my eyes. And it was so amazing to watch the images I imagined some time ago. I was not disappointed.
In fact, I witnessed one of the greatest pay-per-views I have ever seen without even realizing it. The creative team was actually creative.
Many storylines were born from that particular Royal Rumble and caught my attention for good.
Of course, there was the mystical first death of The Undertaker and all the the events that followed. For months, there were vignettes in which random people claimed to have seen The Undertaker. Then, a false Undertaker was introduced by Ted DiBiase, and Paul Bearer warned everyone that The Million Dollar Man's Undertaker was an impostor. All that led to a not so memorable match between the real and the false Undertakers, but the showdown became my favorite ever.
In addition to The Undertaker storyline, another angle took a complete new turn. On that night, Owen Hart snapped and attacked his brother Bret after they lost a tag team match. It officially started the greatest feud ever, between Owen and Bret, an intense rivalry I once wrote about.
If it was not enough, the Royal Rumble match itself ended in controversy. It was the first and only time the Rumble match had two co-winners. Bret Hart and Lex Luger both touched the floor with their two feet at the exact same moment. The strange outcome led to WrestleMania X with probably the greatest WrestleMania opening match ever, between Bret and Owen. Lex Luger failed to put the hand on the WWF Championship, but Bret, also rewarded by a Title shot, ended the show with the belt around his waist.
The Royal Rumble match was also the starting point of some feuds that culminated at WrestleMania: Crush vs. Randy Savage and Doink vs. Bam Bam Bigelow. Right after that night, the IRS vs. Razor Ramon feud came to an end. Then, the Shawn Michaels vs. Ramon angle around the dual Intercontinental Champions started to culminate in that legendary ladder match.
I don't know if it was because I got the "revelation" in 1994, but I still consider this year as one of the greatest in WWE history. Bret Hart became the top face of the company and Shawn Michaels started his legendary ascension to the icon status. The Undertaker shown he was The Phenom with his first death and rebirth. It was also one of the last time there was no pay-per-view between the Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania. Owen Hart won the King Of The Ring tournament. Alundra Blayze and Bull Nakano, two of the greatest female wrestlers ever started a spectacular feud that lasted several months. Finally, 1994 was the year Shawn Michaels and Diesel split.