Royal Rumble Count-Up: 1993

Royal Rumble 1993
Date: January 24, 1993
Location: ARCO Arena, Sacramento, California
Attendance: 16,000
Commentators: Bobby Heenan, Gorilla Monsoon

Well, a bit has changed in the last year. For one thing, about two weeks before this, a show called Monday Night Raw debuted. This completely changed the world of wrestling forever. No longer did we have to watch Sunday morning Superstars to get wrestling. We now had it every Monday night in prime time. That really did change the world of wrestling forever. Other than that, Hogan is more or less gone at this point.

He would be back just in time for Mania to steal a title that he had no business being around after guys like Bret and Flair had worked so hard for the past year, but he’s Hulk Hogan and therefore awesome and can get away with stupid moves like that. Savage is on commentary for the most part now but he occasionally wrestles like he’s doing tonight. More on that later though.

Also tonight, we have the relatively rookie wrestler named Razor Ramon getting a world title shot. He was never actually in the Rumble. He always was in some kind of title match or injured. That’s saying a lot. Anyway, not a lot of people remember this show, which could be good or bad. Let’s see how it goes.

Oh and Narcissist debuts tonight.

Alfred Hayes does stupid stuff with fans as I need a revovlver.

Beverly Brothers vs. Steiner Brothers

I guess we can officially say we have a Rumble tradition as this is the fourth year running for a tag match opener. There is ZERO talking during the Beverly entrance. The Steiners get a traditional one though. Rick and Scott were there for little more than a year, but it worked very well I’ve always thought. They’ve been here about a month at this point though so this is their showcase match more or less. Wow that’s a bad draw for them as the Beverlies suck.

Heenan points out that the headgear Rick wears could be a weapon. Technically yes but it’s far better than cauliflower ear. Gorilla and Bobby are at it again, but Gorilla says the Beverlys have been successful. Did I miss something here? Scott gets an armbar and control according to Gorilla, which sounds like something on a game show. Also according to Gorilla, his taxicab driver said he could have sold his ticket for 50x its face value.

So in other words the driver admitted he might illegally scalp it. Yep that’s very smart there buddy. They reiterate that this is the first time where the winner of the Rumble is guaranteed a title shot at Mania, and thereby the tradition is born. Since it’s their first big match, let’s have them get beaten down for the most part. That’s perfectly logical isn’t it? The Steiners are getting beaten up here really badly and it’s just a poorly booked match.

If you’re going to have tag jobbers, then have them look like jobbers. By doing this it looks like Rick and Scott can’t beat a couple of horrible guys. We are LIVE! I always get a kick out of those. They come from nowhere and they don’t tell you anything at all. Also, what kind of an expression is getting a kick out of something? Wouldn’t that hurt instead of being amusing? The Beverlies are bad. Like, really bad.

We finally get to the hot tag but the fans are kind of bored here as it’s just taken too long to get to that. The tag looks awesome as Scott is on the ground and dives for Rick but he goes through the ropes and lands on the apron. That was sweet looking. Rick more or less beats them up by himself until Scott comes back in.

They set him up for a Doomsday Device move but in another SWEET counter, Scott rolls up one of them into a victory roll and the Frankensteiner ends it soon after. The ending two minutes were great but the rest was just bland.

Rating: C-. This is mainly for Rick’s beard and mustache which I think are alive. There’s no way those things aren’t at least creatures of some sort. As for the match, I don’t get why they would have the Beverlies, one of the most boring teams of all time, go in there and beat up Rick and Scott, one of the best of all time, for such a long time. It just made them look weak and while the dominated the end, I didn’t care by then, which defeats the purpose of the match as a whole.

We hit the recap of the Rockers as I’m surprised Okerlund is still with the company at this point. He and Heenan would definitely be gone by the end of the year. Anyway, the Rockers were awesome minus that whole winning anything. We have the Barbershop Incident and Marty was out for a long time.

Shawn started doing this thing where he would fix his hair in front of a mirror in the ring. Marty came from the crowd and Shawn saw his reflection in the mirror which was awesome. After the beatdown swung it at Shawn and hit Sherri who was Shawn’s manager. That led to this match.

Intercontinental Title: Marty Jannetty vs. Shawn Michaels

Sherri is here first as I think they’re trying to go with a Mega Powers Explode angle here. The aisle seems very short here for some reason. The arena is good sized so I don’t know why they would have to do that. Shawn’s belt is blue here for no apparent reason. Shawn is already selling like a mad man. In another unintentional funny moment, Gorilla answers the question of has a woman ever been in love with you by saying are you kidding me?

This is mainly about Sherri because she’s clearly more important than the title involved here. More or less we’ve had all Shawn beating on Marty here as we have this continuing theme of the faces getting beaten up. It’s mainly working on Marty’s left arm which confuses Gorilla for no apparent reason. Watch a string of matches and tell me how many times you see a guy working on the right arm. It simply doesn’t happen.

This is reminding me of the Hardy matches when they feuded as there’s just something odd about seeing these two fight. It’s just not working for me. I don’t get the need for the long pauses in commentary. It’s kind of annoying. Why does Shawn oversell everything? He hits the post shoulder first so both guys have bad wings at this point. In case you missed it the first time, WE ARE LIVE!

We apologize for taking you away from a decent match to let you know that, but we feel a shot of the crowd and a reminder that we’re LIVE is more important. For one of the only times that I can ever remember, the reverse suplex to the floor works for Marty. Sherri smacks Shawn on the floor and only Bobby and Gorilla seem to care. Wow Marty Jannetty can’t do a DDT to save his life.

They’ve picked up the pace a lot here and the crowd is suddenly alive. For reasons of it being required the referee goes down. Marty holds Shawn for a shoe shot from Sherri as my love for alliteration grows. Of course it misses and she’s completely distraught. Amazingly no one seems to care. Ok not really but I wanted to make it seem like it meant something. In a rather dumb ending, Shawn yells at Sherri, Marty gets up, Shawn kicks him and we have a pin. Sherri won’t talk to Gene in the back.

Rating: C. Well, the opening was just off for them but then they turned it up again. The ending was just odd all together though. The problem is these two had a far better match a few months later when Marty actually won the title, which for some reason didn’t happen until May which I’ve never gotten. The chemistry was there to an extent, but at the same time it just wasn’t clicking, which I know sounds weird but I can’t word it any other way.

In the back, Sherri is overreacting at an insane level as Gene even curses. Shawn runs back and looks like he’s going to hit her but Marty runs in for the save. For some reason an orange goes flying. This was just dumb.

Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Big Boss Man

My, that’s a lot of Bs. Boss Man is just about gone here and is a complete jobber to the stars at this point. Bigelow is freshly returned to the company here and this is I think his first non squash match. There’s zero story here, which just furthers the squash theory. We’re eight seconds in and Boss Man is looking destroyed already. This is all Bigelow here as the announcers aren’t even talking about the match but rather something about Gene and Bobby in Vegas or something.

You can clearly see the fans leaving to get food or whatever in droves. I don’t get why Boss Man was never pushed really hard in the midcard. He’s a jobber here and he’s getting solid pops. They go to the corner and Bigelow gets the traditional 10 punches to the neck. It’s also a fairly morbid match as both men are dead now. Bigelow’s submission here is just holding onto Boss Man from behind. Yep that’s it.

This is just not interesting at all and it’s going on for too long which seems to be a running theme tonight. FINALLY Boss Man does something and he gets a decent back drop on Bigelow. That’s pretty impressive. In another stupid ending, he just clotheslines Boss Man down and hits the headbutt to end it. What’s with that lately?

Rating: D+. It saddens me to see a guy that I always liked like the Boss Man reduced to this. This was a squash and not a very interesting one either. Bigelow completely destroyed him here in the IC Special. I just don’t get why Boss Man was pushed so far down. He wasn’t bad at all and apparently they saw something in him as they kept bringing him back. This was about 10% Boss Man if that, which really is a shame. Bigelow would have a strong initial run and then just fall completely flat.

We see a clip of Razor beating up Owen. Yep that’s not very interesting. Gorilla and Bobby sound odd here. We get a short promo from Razor saying he’ll beat Bret.

WWF Title: Razor Ramon vs. Bret Hart

This was allegedly supposed to have been Warrior instead of Razor. I’ve read that from multiple sources including Bret himself, so I think there might be some truth to it. Warrior had been in the title picture when Bret took it from Flair from out of nowhere. If nothing else it makes sense here for Warrior to have gotten the shot here. I think they went with the right choice in Razor though. Granted Warrior had been thrown out for steroids allegedly so there we go.

Anyway, Razor had been hanging with Flair as a top heel for no apparent reason and then he got a world title shot for no apparent reason. I think he was supposed to be this incredible tough guy but it never really was explained why he was so awesome. Granted he certainly was, but it would have helped a bit.

His character was more or less taken straight from Scarface, but he got incredibly lucky: at the meeting where he pitched the character, Vince and Pat Patterson thought he was improving it and thought he was brilliant. Even still it’s a great character, but DANG what a way to get over good with the boss. Bret, rocking the pink jacket, says that Razor has made it personal.

I guess that’s because of the Owen attack which is kind of a story so I’ll take that over nothing at all. Razor is really young in his WWF time here, having been there about five months at the time. In a very cool shot, we see Bret ready to come through the curtain and getting himself fired up. He stands there for a bit looking like he’s in a coma and at a high point of his music he snaps forward and turns into the Hitman. That was sweetness.

Stu and Helen are of course here as is their custom. Bret winning here is pretty much a given, but a title match is better than nothing at all. Before the bell, just a quick reminder that WE ARE LIVE! This is working pretty well at the start as it’s fairly clear that Razor has a limited but solid offense. He had nearly 10 years experience at this point, but he’s not a great worker yet.

Over the next few years he would just nail the character so well that it could be kind of overlooked. We have a not entirely short early beatdown by Bret which is fine as he’s making Razor look solid. Razor is helping himself as well with some good selling. Naturally we have Bret in trouble soon after this, as Razor works on the ribs. This goes on for awhile and again since the match is pretty good I can’t really comment on it that much.

It’s a very basic style with Bret being in trouble a lot but coming back with some basic offense here and there. Razor keeps him down though and avoids the Sharpshooter at all costs. Bret finally gets off the mat for a bit and we go at it some more. For no reason whatsoever, Ramon uses back to back Greco-Roman knuckle locks, more commonly known as a test of strength. Brain says this could help him work on the ribs. Am I missing something here?

Bret doesn’t get moving quickly that often but when he does it really does work. In a GREAT ending sequence, Bret rolls down the back of the Razor’s Edge and gets a sunset flip for two. Razor kicks out and Bret grabs the legs, locks the Sharpshooter on from the mat and turns Razor over for the tap. OH YES!

Now that is Bret just being awesome out there and using his natural skills to just flat out beat someone he’s in there with. That’s awesome. It’s almost the same ending he used against Perfect in 91 at Summerslam, but dang it’s still cool.

Rating: B. This was a solid enough match for sure, but it could have been just a hair better. I have no clue how, but I know it could have been. Bret was at his best out there, sort of showing Razor where to go without holding his hand. This is what they built the company on for a long while, until somehow Hogan managed to sneak in and take the world title despite not having been doing anything even remotely associated with it for about a year.

Heenan is ready to unveil Narcissus. He’s actually in the arena and not on satellite which surprises me. This was a big deal for the fans of WCW who didn’t know that Luger had jumped. Heenan is liking Luger’s body WAY too much here. It sounds like he wants to jump him or something. Also Luger is posing to some really bad pop/techno music.

I don’t know why Heenan wasn’t associated with him more than he was. I never got that. I feel like I’m watching some kind of gay porn intro from how much Heenan is saying. Bobby gets in a jab at Perfect before Luger talks. He doesn’t help the gay overtones by mentioning the people getting on their knees before him. It’s an over the top yet effective intro so I’ll give them that.

Caesar and Cleopatra are here for the foreshadowing the idiocy of the World’s Largest Toga Party at Mania. They look so bored out there and they actually try to make this sound serious. It’s just dumb so move on PLEASE.

With no big string of interviews this year, we’re ready for the Rumble.

Royal Rumble

Flair is out first as he wins the award for worst luck in Rumble history. He would get 30 about 14 years later so that’s all fine I guess. He would lose a loser leaves town match the next night on Raw, so guess how he does here. Anyway, we have a battle of the old guys as Bob Backlund is in at 2. He gets zero reaction which is a shame as he really was great. Both guys are wearing red which is interesting looking. HA I beat Heenan to pointing that out!

Wow actually Heenan would last until the end of the year. Sorry for referencing something I said a few pages ago but I just looked that up during a dead spot. Gene would be there until September. I had those dates way off. In at three is Papa Shango which is just about the oddest pick you could have to join these two. Surprisingly he lasts about 20 seconds as Flair sneaks up on him to put him out.

That’s not something I expected but it makes sense. Flair and Backlund are having what should be a pretty historic encounter here, but good night I just couldn’t care less. This would have been epic 10 years earlier, but geez this isn’t interesting at all. DiBiase comes in at 4 as the talent out there is insane. He and IRS are tag champions at this point.

Heenan is sharp here but he’s not up to what he was last year. Granted that’s nearly impossible to pull off. My goodness DiBiase and Flair would be an epic duo. I don’t think the feud would work though. Fifth is Brian Knobbs who was kind of feuding with DiBiase’s team at this time. Wow he just doesn’t fit the mold of the other three in there. DiBiase gets his face rubbed into Knobbs’ arm pit. And people wonder why he left doesn’t associate with wrestling much anymore.

Virgil is in the ring maybe 2 seconds after his buzzer goes off so I’m thinking he jumped early. Naturally he and DiBiase go at it. My goodness he was generic. Backlund is 43 years old by the way. DiBiase puts on Knobbs for a little retribution. At far less than two minutes after Virgil, Lawler comes in at seventh. Flair goes through the ropes to kill some time.

It’s just completely odd to hear Heenan talk about Lawler. We get another funny now line as Bobby says Lawler is Vince’s boss. Again less than two minutes go by and we have Max Moon who may or may not have been Konnan. We’re almost at 1/3 of the way through this and it’s not that interesting at all so far.

Lawler is wearing white/gray which looks like it has flowers on it. It’s really odd looking. Lawler puts out Moon as Genichiro Tenryu of all people is number nine. I can feel the smarks cheering from here. He goes for Flair as I request not to be soaked with semen until after 9pm. Heenan says that Tenryu must be the inspiration for chop suey with all those chops. No that would be Kobashi. Wow I spend too much time on WZ to know that.

Gorilla doesn’t have a running clock this year which I think is a first. Oh he’s told something. Apparently it’s been 20 minutes. Considering I’m watching this online and we’re at 18 minutes on the counter and the match didn’t start until about two minutes, we know that’s a lie. Not to mention he says this before #10 comes out, and with two minute intervals and considering that 1 and 2 are there together, math wise we could only be at about 16 minutes max.

Perfect is in at 10 as Heenan has a bigger heart attack than when Hogan came in last year. Naturally he goes straight at Flair which was a great rivalry that I wish we had gotten more of. For a recap, we currently have Flair, Backlund, DiBiase, Virgil, Lawler, Tenryu and Perfect in there. Perfect really was awesome at this time as this was the height of his face run. He would beat Flair clean the next night (or a week ago depending on how you look at it) in a great match. Bobby is FREAKING here.

You know I wonder what would happen if say Flair won the Rumble and then lost his career the next night. Would there not be a Mania title match? Literally as I finish typing that question, Gorilla says that should that happen there wouldn’t be a title match. It’s like we’re psychos or something! Anyway Skinner is 11th as this is just kind of looking bad so far. Perfect dumps Flair to a HUGE pop. That’s good to hear.

The Hall of Famer Koko B. Ware is in at 12, wearing but not rocking the bright green pants. Who did he sleep with to get a job for so long? I’d love to know. Perfect continues being awesome by putting out Skinner as Heenan challenges Monsoon to a fight. The Rumble is 13 years old now as it’s Samu. Nothing is happening here as we’re really just going through the motions.

Berserker comes in and we now have Backlund, DiBiase, Virgil, Lawler, Tenryu, Perfect, Ware, Samu and Berserker. Good night that’s a lot of jobbers. Perfect drops Lawler to get us down to 8. DiBiase, Ware and Lawler team up to take out Perfect after a long struggle, which disappoints me as he certainly could have gone on a lot longer as a bigger deal.

Virgil is gone too and we’re at 6. The first half ends with Taker who is allegedly the favorite in this match? Sure why not? Taker drops Samu with relative ease as hopefully he’s the guy that drops the jobbers.

Berserker and Backlund are on the floor fighting but are both still in it. Taker throws out Tenryu as I’m guessing that he didn’t get a fair break, he could outwrestle everyone in this match put together, and he had a five star tag match with some other Japanese legend about 4 days prior to this? He also should be going to Mania for some massive crossover show with another company being brought in to make it an international organization.

The fact that no one popped for his entrance, anything he did in the ring or his elimination is irrelevant as well because they just don’t get it and the in ring work is more important than ratings. Just thought I’d spare some morons some keystrokers of idiocy there. Taker vs. DiBiase is an interesting…oh blast it Terry Taylor is in this match. He’s on the Garvin scale of annoying wrestlers. THANK YOU TED DIBIASE! He put out Taylor and Ware in one shot!

Granted he got chokeslammed just after it but I’m happy now. There he goes though so we’re at Backlund, Berserker and Taker at the moment. Since we just had a cool moment, let’s have a stupid one here as Giant Gonzalez debuts. For those of you that don’t know it’s a guy that’s taller than Khali but with about ¼ of his wrestling ability.

The thing is they used the same exact storyline to introduce Khali: Daivari, or in the original case Harvey Whippleman, had managed a guy he had sent after Taker (Kamala and then Hassan/Henry) who Taker had destroyed. The monster appeared, beat up Taker a few times, leading to a major fight that Taker would win. See? It’s the same thing and the main reason why Khali was hated.

We old school guys knew what was coming step by step and it just didn’t work. Gonzalez, who isn’t named here, wears this weird suit that makes him look like a caveman. I can’t believe that at the time, people actually compared him to Andre the freaking Giant. Taker puts out Berserker to make it him alone with Gonzalez. In a standard camera shot, Gonzalez’s hips are above the top rope.

Taker comes up to his shoulders. Damien Demento comes in at I think 17 and Gonzalez throws Taker out, which for some reason counts. Yep that’s about it. Backlund and Demento aren’t in the ring but they’re still in the match so keep that in mind. Taker gets beaten down by Gonzalez which actually was a big deal at the time. This goes on WAY too long as IRS comes out at 18.

About a minute later Tatanka comes in as we realize that the Rumble more or less has started over, which is freaking stupid but whatever. Taker tried to sit up but fails so Paul Bearer has to help him. Sara, Michelle McCool, Paul Bearer, write your own joke. Taker limps after Gonzalez because the Giant worked on his leg. Yep, a monster worked on his leg in his debut. That’s just absurd. No actually it’s stupid.

They try to say Gonzalez was 8 feet tall. It was more like 7’7 but whatever. Jerry Sags is in next at 20 as we get the amazing coincidence again of having a member of the tag champions against a member of the challengers twice in the same Rumble for I think the third straight year. What a coincidence!

Typhoon comes in as Heenan says that they’re getting fresher. Well not really but since this Rumble has completely sucked I can understand his lack of good lines. Fatu is in at 22, more commonly known as Rikishi.

The problem with the reset earlier is beginning to show as we’ve got an army of nothing but jobbers out there that simply aren’t going to win. There’s also the issue of the roster here just flat out sucking. Earthquake is 23rd so we have the Disasters in there together. He goes right at Typhoon as their team was just about to split up. Quake dumps him out with relative ease as I really want this stupid match to end but we’ve got another 7 guys to come out.

Oh for the love of cheese Carlos freaking Colon is in next as Gorilla calls him a youngster. He’s 45 here and older than Backlund. To the majority of you his kids are more famous: Carlito and Primo, although they’re far less talented. He puts out Demento though so he’s already paying dividends. In next we have Tito Santana as we’re getting close to the end here.

VERY allegedly, he was supposed to win this at one point, but since he’s the only person to claim that I have a huge problem believing it. Fatu is out. To recap, we have Tito, IRS, Backlund, Sags, Earthquake, Colon and now Martel as I’m guessing he’ll fight Santana. Of course he does. DANG man they feuded for what, 4 years about a team that was together less than one. That’s even better than the Evolution feud. IRS is out.

Heenan redeems himself a bit by saying Backlund is like a spider monkey. GORILLA MONSOON SAID A BAD WORD! I have never once heard him curse and he did it like it was nothing. Actually there was a tiny little hesitation before he said it which makes me feel better. Yokozuna, who is a relative newcomer at this point, is number 27. He throws out Tatanka with more or less ease and does the same to Carlos. We get Yoko vs. Quake as Owen comes in at 28.

Heenan says he can’t hear Gorilla despite them being on headset together. Yoko actually belly to bellys Quake over the top. That was cool looking. Repo Man is 29th as I’ve made a counting error somewhere in here. Ah there we go it’s fixed now. Everybody gangs up on Yoko but amazingly he fights them all off.

The 30th guy is Savage, so the final list of guys is Backlund, Santana, Sags, Owen, Repo Man, Martel, Savage and Yokozuna. Ok, now in case you’re just an idiot when it comes to old school, you can pretty much guess who this comes down to in the final two. Yoko puts out Santana and then the same to Owen. Repo is gone and we’re down to four. Have to give it to Backlund: this is impressive. He knocks out Martel clean as Heenan is amazed.

Yoko puts him out to a chorus of boos. It amazes me that he was jobbing to Razor at Mania in a glorified squash match. He goes over an hour, setting a new Iron Man record to a great reaction and gets treated like that. If nothing else put him out there with Shawn or Santana and let them tear the house down old school style. So we’re down to Savage against Yoko as Backlund is getting a big ovation.

We get a short one on one match here as Savage gets his ask kicked for a good while. But then, there’s a comeback! Savage has Yoko in real trouble and does something no one else has ever done by knocking him off his feet! Then we get to the ending which I’m not sure if I like or not: Savage has Yoko down and goes up for the elbow. He covers Yoko, who powers out of it, throwing Savage over the top to win the Rumble.

At first I hated this, but the more I think about it the more it makes sense. Savage is as intense as anyone has ever been, so for him to get his mind clouded by being on such a role and go to what is his instinctual finish makes sense to me, even though it’s obvious that it’s scripted. I can live with this and it was a creative way to eliminate him and keep him looking strong at the same time. The Japanese flag waving for a Samoan wrestler takes us out.

Rating: D+. This was BAD. The Gonzalez thing divides the match in half and the first half is even more boring than the first. Backlund is the undisputed star of this match though as he went out there for over an hour and put on a great performance that never once was too farfetched to believe. As for the ending, this is something I wanted to address. I’m torn on whether or not this was the right ending to the Rumble.

I know that Vince wanted to push Yoko as the monster heel, but I think he was completely missing the boat here. What I would have done for my summer feud: Savage vs. Bret for the title. Now think about it. Those are two of the best workers of all time. Are you telling me that those two wouldn’t have put on a freaking classic at Mania? This is where my issues with Vince show up. No one, I repeat no one, can convince me that Yoko was a better choice for the huge push than Savage.

If you don’t believe me, watch Bret vs. Yoko from Mania 9. Yoko was just too fat to be in any real trouble and the match sucked as a result. This was Savage’s first real chance to shine with Warrior and Hogan gone. It’s not like he was incredibly old at the time (he turned 41 in November of that year) but he certainly would have worked for a feud over the summer.

He won multiple world titles down the line in WCW so he certainly still had the it factor. The fans were behind him and Bret hadn’t really gotten a big rub at all. Beating Savage clean certainly would have done that for him.

However, Vince continues his love affair with big huge men that can’t do a ton in the ring (by comparison to Savage that is) so he goes with the David vs. Goliath match, stupidly not realizing that the only thing that could make Yoko look credible for a full match was a power guy, which he got in Luger later in the year.

Either way, the Rumble sucked as once you got down to the final ten there was zero doubt who would win. The announcers were bored out of their minds too, which for Monsoon is saying a lot.

Overall Rating: D. Well let’s see. We have two ok matches, an ok one and a really boring main event. Yeah the D is a generous grade I think. The Ramon and Bret match is the only thing worth watching here as other than that the whole show is just flat out boring. Marty and Shawn is ok at its absolute best but it just falls flat on its face for the most part. The Rumble is just atrocious.

Nothing of note happens, Savage and Yoko are the only two that you think have a shot at winning, with Hogan gone there’s no real A-list star in the match, and it just doesn’t work. Gonzalez also kills the thing by eliminating Taker after about five minutes which isn’t good either.

This whole show was just awful other than a few moments, which certainly weren’t enough to validate this as one of the major, and at the time only, shows of the year. Don’t watch anything on here, not even the best match as it’s like saying someone is the best poster in the prison. Just a bad show all around.

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