Royal Rumble 1990
The first few years of the Royal Rumble tended to have a few lackluster matches and then the rumble match. This year was probably the worst for that. It’s not that the matches were all that bad. It’s just they had no story so no one really cared. We just wanted to get to the rumble. One positive thing was the crowd. Back in the early ppv days the crowd was always hot. People would go crazy over anyone; not just the main eventers. I miss that. Overexposure of the product has killed that today.
The Bushwhackers vs. The Rougeau Brothers was ok, but I think we saw enough of that match in 1989. They not only wrestled at WrestleMania V, but I remember seeing them against each other at more than one house show. They wrestled a couple times on tv too. So the match was fine, but no one really cared about this one. I think this was the last time we saw the Rougeaus together as a team.
I know the point of Beefcake vs. the Genius was to set up Beefcake vs. Perfect at WrestleMania, but there was no set up that I can remember to this match. Whatever. I’m ok sacrificing a rumble match if it helps set up angles for mania.
I actually thought the submission match was pretty decent. Nothing great, but better than expected. After all it was the only match to have any kind of build.
I don’t have much to say about Duggan vs. Bossman. Here we had a match between two brawlers that had no story. This was as expected. Bossman would be face within a couple weeks.
The Brother Love segment went a little long, but I was ok with it. It was so obvious what was going on here. They may as well have come out and said “we’re starting an angle between Randy Savage and Dusty Rhodes.” Despite its predictability I’m ok with this because again it sets up a big match for mania.
I definitely like this rumble match the best of the first three. This one seemed to flow a little more smoothly. I’m not crazy about Hogan getting the win, but I don’t hate it either. The showdown between Hogan and Warrior was awesome. It was short and simple and did a great job of wetting our appetite for a match against the two most popular stars.
Even though there wasn’t much to the undercard I like this event. The Royal Rumble is the beginning of the road to WrestleMania. Coming out of this show we knew to expect an epic main event between Hogan and Warrior, Beefcake vs. Perfect, Savage vs. Rhodes, and Piper vs. Badnews. I’d say they did a good job with the rumble that year.
Royal Rumble 1991
Date: January 19, 1991
Location: Miami Arena, Miami, Florida
Commentators: Gorilla Monsoon, Roddy Piper
Well, there’s a few big things, but a lot is still the same. Warrior is champion here, defending against Sgt. Slaughter who is in the heel turn from hell as the Iraqi sympathizer. Who cares if the war was already over? The other thing is that about two months ago, Undertaker debuted. This really is about the same as last year’s, but you can see a lot of the stuff that would shape the new era coming.
For one thing, Bret is featured at the opening of the Rumble, as his singles push was just around the corner. This show really is more designed to set up Mania, as the Rumble itself really didn’t know its purpose yet. The title shot at Mania wouldn’t become official until 1993. The card is considered underrated, so let’s see if it lives….up, I guess would be the right term.
We open with a shot of the American flag as it’s apparently one of those shows. It’s always cool to hear the Anthem though. The problem here though is simple: the war was less than a month from being over and that was fairly obvious. The angle should have ended here with Slaughter coming in as champion, maybe having won it at Summerslam or something like that. Three months later when Hogan beat him for it the war was already over.
That was just kind of pointless. Anyway, the regular intro is just that: regular. It’s the same old thing of the participants being listed, although this time it’s by Gene. I almost didn’t recognize his voice though. The first name: Hogan. The second: Bret. That’s saying a lot. Piper always ranted with the best of them.
Rockers vs. Orient Express
This apparently is an encounter, not a match. That’s the Fink for you. I’m still waiting on the explanation of how they’re tag team specialists, yet they had far more success as singles wrestlers. They start immediately when they hit the ring which says that this should be good. Oh and it’s Tanaka and Kato the masked man here as this is the NEW Orient Express despite them having been a team in the AWA and half of the NEW Orient Express being the same as the old Orient Express.
Marty is knocked out to the floor and therefore worthless about 4 seconds in. Well it’s good to know he’s improving. He redeems himself by throwing a superkick at Tanaka that misses by about 4 inches or so. Hey Marty’s ON tonight. The Rockers hit stereo suicide dives on the Express. That’s completely unheard of at this time as Gorilla doesn’t even have a name for it here, calling them cross bodies.
We get a HUGE USA chant as we’re finally in the corners for a regular tag match. To say the crowd is hot is like saying Norcal is a bit popular around here. They are moving ridiculously fast out there with some great chain wrestling. I feel sorry for Marty as he really was talented. His partner just happens to be one of the best of all time. Speaking of which, Shawn is in now and beating on Tanaka.
They’re never staying in one spot for long at all. The crowd is insane here too so that’s a major plus. This was around the time where you realized the Rockers really were good and not just two pretty boys. Their stuff was getting to a level that was just below the Harts and could even be compared to them. That’s appropriate too because the Harts would split after Mania of this year. Shawn uses a HHH leaping knee to the face. That’s gimmick infringement bitch.
They use a decent amount of rest holds, but they’re moving out of them quickly which is all I ask for. To be fair they’re all over the place in this. A We Will Rock You sing a long starts up. That’s actually something I’ve never thought of.
A sleeper gets a pop. That’s just not something you see often at all. Piper goes into a weird discussion about what is a legal vs. illegal punch/strike. Good night this is fun. Shawn goes up for ten punches in the corner and comes off with a moonsault to take out Kato. Again, that doesn’t even have a name. We’re about ten minutes into this and they’re still all over the place.
Naturally the announcers say that it’s been fifteen or so but whatever. Shawn does a freaking 610! Ok so it was sloppy as hell but it was the same move. They follow that up with stereo cross bodies from the top to the floor. This is AWESOME stuff. Double teaming and Fuji gets control for the Express. We get the inevitable “this is the first match!” line, which is wrestling speak for “we know the rest of this is going to suck and we’re sorry.”
The Express are using moves that were considered great when the World’s Greatest Tag Team was using them. On no. It’s a NERVE HOLD! This is the epitome of a weak rest hold as all you do is grab the other person’s neck. It allegedly cuts off the flow of blood or something and you lose feeling in your arm. Oh good it’s now a less bad chinlock. The crowd is still going nuts.
As per the Rockers’ formula, Shawn gets beaten up to set up the Jannetty tag. In a very cool and smart spot, the Express pull off their sash to use for a clothesline but Shawn avoids it. Instead he dives on it, pulling the Express together so they crash. That’s very smart. Marty comes in to get a paycheck so he can….uh…buy model trains. Yeah, that works.
He’s going to buy model trains with the money he makes tonight. Lots of them, in a dark alley. Yeah, that’s right. His dropkicks aren’t that good, mainly because at least one foot misses. He makes up for it with a jumping back elbow though so I’m fine. The Rockers “hit” a double superkick to put Kato down and go to the top.
They set for what I think was going to be a rocket launcher but it doesn’t get to launch thanks to Tanaka. The Express set for a move where Kato slingshots Marty into Tanaka for a chop. It works so naturally they do it again. This time though, Shawn hits Tanaka, allowing Marty to jump over him for a sunset flip to win it! That was SWEET looking.
Rating: A. This was greatness plain and simple. It was a bit sloppy, but this was one of the most fun matches I’ve ever seen. They were all over the place and doing stuff that wouldn’t become popular until WCW’s Cruiserweight days. The Rockers truly were greatness in tag wrestling. They would split in less than a year though, which might have been a shame. Excellent match here though and well worth going out of your way to see.
Randy Savage has a statement to make. He more or less declares himself the number one contender for the world title. He and Sean watch on the screen as Gene and Sherri come into the arena. She calls Warrior out, saying how honorable he is. More or less she tries to seduce him into giving Savage the next title shot. Naturally since he’s the Warrior and well past certifiable, he turns her down despite her being on her knees in front of him.
We do find out that Warrior’s eyes are hazel. This is just amusing to see as the acting is painfully bad. Warrior is the better of the two as the only thing he says is NO one time at the very end. To be fair though, I think this was meant to be awful. The pop for her getting down on her knees is WAY bigger than it should be.
Warrior looks odd in his gear, the belt and a leather jacket with a flag on the back. The belt is purple by the way. In the back, Savage is PISSED, destroying his locker room and sprinting off after Warrior.
Big Boss Man vs. Barbarian
This was during what was likely Boss Man’s biggest storyline as a face, as he was feuding with the Heenan Family one by one over comments that Rick Rude had made about Boss Man’s mother. It would culminate with Boss Man vs. Perfect at Mania, where for some reason that absolutely no one gets, Boss Man didn’t win the Intercontinental Title, which more or less ended him being an important character.
This is just another match so it’s likely going to be a glorified squash. Piper says Heenan is intelligent. I’m blown away. This is power vs. power obviously but they’re doing the right thing here and having them go back and forth with big shots. That’s the best way to do these if there is such a thing I guess. Bossman really was talented. Somehow this is probably the best Barbarian match ever.
Boss Man at least made you want to care about a match, which is a lot more than most characters from this time were able to do. After a decent display of back and forth stuff, we naturally hit the bearhug because it wouldn’t be a Barbarian match without one I guess. The crowd is staying in this one so I have to hand it to them. They do some more slow stuff but for some reason this is holding my interest very well.
Both hit their finishers but both opponents get the ropes. Or at least Barbarian was supposed to, but he never actually reached it. He goes for a piledriver and I think Boss Man slipped out of it or something but it looked pretty bad. Crowd is quiet now. Scratch that. I like Boss Man’s shirt coming open like it does. It gives him that working man look that I think was part of what they were going for with him. Little things like that can make a character so points for it.
In one of the weirdest endings I can ever remember, Barbarian goes up for a freaking cross body from the top but Boss Man rolls through it for the pin. Well that was odd. During the celebration they go slow motion on Boss Man on the ropes raising his arms which looks really cool.
Rating: B. This was a lot better than I expected. They took two guys of the same style and got a solid match out of them. That’s just flat out impressive. This could have been far worse but it really was entertaining. Boss Man had that it factor around this time that made you care about him and that’s exactly what happened here. For some reason all that got him was a Mania match with Perfect where he didn’t get the belt or a rematch but whatever. This was a lot better than I expected it to be.
Iron Sheik and Slaughter have a bit to say. Slaughter’s chin puts Jay Leno’s to shame. He’s just flat out creepy actually which is a good thing. He says that he’ll be the new leader and you haven’t even begun to see turmoil yet. So is he saying he’ll be an awful leader that causes turmoil? Apparently that’s an order.
Gene is with Warrior, who he calls orier. That just came out as odd. Speaking of odd, Gene tries his best to walk Warrior through a coherent promo but the guy whispers almost everything he says and it’s just hard to understand. He says he’ll win I think.
WWF Title: Sgt. Slaughter vs. Ultimate Warrior
Gorilla has to give a disclaimer about Slaughter’s views, saying they don’t reflect Arab Americans or the WWF. Piper goes nuts as a patriot, talking about how the troops are fighting for freedom. There’s a complete argument there that I’ll stay out of. Piper says we ain’t talking skim milk here. I love Piper’s complete insanity. How exactly does one go bananas? Warrior really was WAY over. How did he manage to screw this up?
Warrior beats up the likely senior citizen Sheik and rips up the Iraqi flag. You have to be interested in how war validates things that would otherwise never be allowed. Warrior hits a knee lift, which I’ve never seen him do otherwise. The commentators are so unbelievably biased here it’s unreal. Slaughter really was good as a bumper. For no apparent reason, here’s Sherri with her fine ass. That thing really is impressive.
Warrior’s isn’t bad either, but that could be because his tights are white which I have a bit of a thing for. She gets Warrior’s attention and he chases her back to the entrance where Savage is waiting on him. He beats Warrior up for a bit which of course the referee sees none of, despite Savage wearing BRIGHT PINK clothing against a black backdrop. Yeah that just blends in perfectly.
Ah but there’s the USA chants and the power of patriotism gets Warrior up again. Wisely, Slaughter keeps stopping the count. Roddy, being a decent analyst, points out that very thing. In a bit of forshaddowing, Slaughter does a version of the Hogan ear bit. It’s all Slaughter right now as he spits on Warrior. Yep that’s some great offense. He’s also rocking the curled up boots which are a fashion risk but I’d wear them.
A double clothesline takes both guys down. In a dumb looking spot, Slaughter follows Warrior around with his arms up for a double axe and then puts on a bear hug. You would have to see it to get why it was stupid. Ah, the powers of patriotism are rising up again! Apparently that only works for the yellow and red though as Warrior is still in trouble. Gorilla says Warrior is only half conscious right now.
Wow he’s in better shape than usual. Warrior gets out of the bear hug with a double axe that I don’t think actually hit. The comeback lasts just a bit though as Warrior obviously doesn’t love America enough. He must be a commie or something. Oh wait. He’s from Parts Unknown. Everything is explained now. The Cobra Clutch, which in this case means a camel clutch, is on put Warrior’s legs are hanging out. In a weird camera angle the referee is blocked by the guys so it looks like there’s no one there.
Why is the camel clutch used primarily by Arab themed wrestlers? Think about it: Sheik, Sultan, Muhammad Hassan, Slaughter in this gimmick. What’s the deal with that? Vince may not be racist but he tends to have a lot of racial stereotypes to his characters. Here comes Warrior’s Hulk impression as he can’t feel pain. Warrior hits a flying shoulder which Gorilla calls a heabutt. Well that wasn’t even close.
That’s by far the biggest mistake Gorilla has made that I can remember. Sherri is back again as you can see the screwjob coming. Being the genius that he is, Warrior does the same thing he did earlier which resulted in him getting beaten up. This time though he press slams Sherri as Savage runs out. Slaughter knees Warrior in the back to put him in position for a 619, but Savage blasts him with the scepter.
An elbow drop of all things gives Slaughter the title in a move that really should have come four months earlier to get maximum heat. Piper is FURIOUS. I love how the madder he got the higher pitched his voice got. Warrior runs to the back presumably to get Savage as Slaughter is awarded the title. Everyone is PISSED, with Piper being the most of them all. Slaughter the solider holding a purple belt is rather amusing looking.
Rating: D. This was all about the angle. As for the match: it was awful. Granted given the two guys out there, what were you really expecting? This was all about setting up Mania though, and it did a great job of that.
Still though, the timing of the war ending really hurt them, which is why having Hogan get it back here and then doing something else at Mania would have worked better. What that something else would have been is beyond me though. Maybe Hogan vs. Savage again or something like that, but as it turned out the moment was good, but not in the real world terms. As for this, the match was bad but the angle was good, simple as that.
Savage and Sherri are with Sean and say that this was because Warrior said no to Savage. Randy says that he’s the best ever as someone is trying to get in, presumably the Warrior.
Piper and Gorilla are mad. Monsoon is rocking some purple glasses.
Gene is with the new champion and Sheik. They cut him off as Slaughter says I told you so. That belt looks odd indeed.
Gorilla calls Slaughter the Ultimate Puke. WOW. Piper rips his own headset off so he can curse for a bit. That was one of the funniest bits I’ve ever seen and it was completely unintentional.
Mountie vs. Koko B. Ware
This is cut from the Coliseum Video version and incredibly rare, but I got lucky and found an original recording of the show. I’ll go with a very condensed version here though as it’s a ten minute squash. This is the debut of the Mountie character who was either a bad comedy bit or the results of a Vince coke binge. For those that have noticed I make a lot of cocaine references, think about it.
For one thing, it was the 80s when cocaine was running rampant. Second, there are a ton of stories of Vince being a coke head at times. Third, is there any way that he could come up with half of his ideas without drug use? I mean really, Repo Man? Anyway, let’s get to the Hall of Famer Koko’s latest masterpiece. WOW this is boring.
It’s a squash, but it’s the kind that’s supposed to let Mountie show off all of his stuff, but the problem is it’s just putting the people to sleep. I have a feeling I know how this is going to end, which makes it all the more stupid to have to go this long just to get to that one moment. Yep there it is: Mountie shocks him. That’s the whole point of this match: getting that into the Mountie’s system. Wow that was brutal.
Rating: D. This was pretty bad. It was a waste of 10 minutes in what should have been a 4-5 minute match. Why did we need to see all of Mountie’s stuff? Better yet, why did we need Koko’s? This was about the Mountie, but they gave Koko all of that offense. It makes him look like he has trouble beating a simple jobber which is the last thing you want to do with a heel character. I don’t get this.
Some people talk about their relatives in the war. Ok, we get it: the WWF supports the troops. Holy throat crammage Vince let it go. Note: saying guys and gals sounds fucking stupid. They’re girls or women, not gals. It’s not the freaking 50s anymore.
Children attempting to be sentimental should be dragged through the streets attached to a chariot and then set on fire as goats eat their flesh. Or even worse: be forced to listen to how annoying they sound. I don’t like kids on camera in case you couldn’t tell. Now regular kids I love spending time with as they’re cool, but not kids on a camera that are “so adorable.” No, they’re really not.
Apparently Hulk wanted to go to the Middle East and visit the troops but the Department of Defense stopped him so he’s going to bases in America. Not sure if that’s true, but if it is, that’s pretty cool even if it was the company’s idea and not Hulk’s.
Jake Roberts says he wants Martel.
Earthquake says a lot of people are going to come after him and he’s ready. He calls out some guys, including Hogan and Taker. Yeah that’s brilliant buddy.
Greg Valentine, sweating profusely for some reason, says bring them on.
Texas Tornado says he’ll win. I always liked him.
The LOD say that if life is a roller coaster you wouldn’t want to ride them. Um, ok?
Brother Love speaks for Taker, saying that he’ll bury 29 men. I love how so many people assume that there will be no eliminations by the time they get there.
Duggan says he’ll win. He punches his board for no reason.
Martel says he’ll look good while he wins. He’s ripped here.
Davey Boy Smith says he’s glad he’s a bulldog. Ok then.
Perfect and Heenan say that Perfect will be the last man standing.
Tugboat says he’ll jump right in the middle of things and if it comes down to him and Hulk, TOOT! That made less than zero sense.
Piper has been working with Virgil. Oh dear.
DiBiase says Virgil is more or less his slave. That looks like a face’s face to me on Virgil. Nah that could never happen though. Perish the thought!
Dustin/Dusty Rhodes vs. Ted DiBiase/Virgil
Dusty and Ted had been feuding since Summerslam and Dustin had been in the crowd at SNME watching his dad when Ted went after him. The rest is about what you would expect. Dusty was gone less than a month after this, heading back to WCW though so there we are. No polka dots either. Damn. Apparently they’re Americana. Oh great. If nothing else here the two theme songs kick so much ass words can’t describe it.
They’re really building up the Virgil face turn here as they have been lately. My goodness Dusty is fat. Dustin is a complete rookie here with very little experience. He was naturally talented though so he’s not bad. A big brawl starts us out here as it occurs to me how little experience Virgil has in the ring. Dustin is WAY taller than Virgil and it looks quite funny.
It’s also amusing that of these four, Dustin would have by far the most successful WWF career. The future gold enthusiast has to duck under Virgil’s leapfrog. It never really occurred to me how tall Dustin is. DiBiase says Virgil is embarrassing him and Virgil is frustrated. You can feel the turn coming and you know it’s going to be awesome. We’re about five minutes in and Dusty hasn’t been in yet.
You know what, I’m not even going to bother typing the joke here. You all know what’s coming. Dusty, I’m begging you, either put a shirt on, hit a gym, or invest in blow away. You need it. After Virgil and Dustin come in, Dustin hits his knee on the buckle and is down. Naturally (oh I kill myself sometimes) the heels work it over. Just like Jesse used to, Piper gets a bit annoyed with Gorilla’s babbling about what body part is hurt.
He says Dustin’s leg is hurt, end of discussion, and that’s why Piper is awesome. Virgil accidently hits DiBiase and gets punched and chopped for his efforts. Dustin and Dusty are really just placeholders for DiBiase and Virgil here. As I type this Dusty goes from being dominant to getting rolled up and pinned. Well that was pretty weak. However, we have a post match angle here. Roddy says that the father and son can come back.
Granted they both did but a good many years later. Ted says that Virgil has his price and that he needs to put the belt around his waist. Oh and he insults Dusty and Dustin. The Virgil chant is massive here and the countdown is on. Virgil really is built. Piper is disgusted by Virgil giving in again and washes his hands of him. That lasts all of about 20 seconds though as Virgil throws the belt down. He eventually gets on his knees after DiBiase orders him around even more.
DiBiase turns around and Virgil blasts him in the face with the belt. The crowd E-FREAKING-RUPTS over this. For years and years DiBiase had ordered him around and made him look pathetic and finally Virgil had enough. The payoff was completely worth it here in a very cool moment that had me smiling.
Rating: B. I’m going B here because this wasn’t as much of a match rather than an angle. The angle after the match was just flat out awesome. That needed to happen and they built it up beautifully. They had a match at Mania which Virgil won by count out. The problem was simple though: what in the world do you do with Virgil now? He had no gimmick and he just kind of floundered after this, but damn it was a great moment.
Time for more Rumble promos.
Tugboat uses a bunch of boat analogies which make me think Shockmaster was the better of his gimmicks.
Smash reminds me of the Joker for some reason.
Dino Bravo says he’s not afraid of Earthquake.
Crush says no one will be safe, not even Smash.
Perfect says he’s the only perfect athlete and he’ll win.
Hogan of course gets his own special interview where he says exactly what you would expect him to say. He dedicates the match to the troops. Say it with me: Hulk will win. In between the promo, Gene gets a message saying that Slaughter has just defaced the American flag. Yeah that’s not foreshadowing Mania at all.
In one of the absolute funniest things I can ever remember, Hogan forgets the name of the Iraqi leader (Sadaam Hussein). That was PRICELESS. He dedicates the match to the troops and freaks out over the flag issue, but wait, who are they fighting again? That was great.
It never ceases to amaze me how great the pops are for the Rumble. Bret is number one. That’s saying a lot for what they knew he had. Two is Bravo as we go over the rules. His hair is dark blond here and it looks bad. Naturally Bret looks great out there. This right here is why you need to keep an eye on your midcard and tag guys (the few that are left): you never know what kind of greatness you’ll be seeing.
The tag line of OVW is Tomorrow’s Superstars Today. Considering at a WWE house show in 2002 I saw two guys named Prototype and Leviathan go at it, truer words have never been spoken. Those two would later be known as John Cena and Batista, so there you are. Bret almost immediately gets Bravo out but not quite. They discuss the Iron Man record which is a by comparison pathetic 44 minutes at the moment.
Three is Greg Valentine. He goes after Bravo despite his being a heel at the time. Hammer puts him out, and Piper starts writing stuff down just as he did at Survivor Series. It was funny then and it’s still kind of funny now. In at four is Paul Roma. For the life of me, this guy was a Horsemen? I will never understand that no matter how long I think about it. Maybe I shouldn’t try to. Maybe that’s the secret to it.
Bret is really being pushed as a big deal here which is certainly a good thing. In a smart move, Bret just sits back and lets Hammer and Roma fight. See, that’s something almost no one does but Bret is smart enough to do it. Kerry Von Erich is fifth, giving us two faces and two heels. Piper apparently has issues with calling so much action at once. There’s two fights. How is that hard? Martel is in next, which is pretty lackluster.
I guess we’re setting up the jobbers for the big name to come in and clean house. We get some heel on heel violence as this is just boring. Saba Simba comes in at seven to dead silence. Even Gorilla isn’t sure of his name. He’s cut as hell though. You guys know him better as Tony Atlas. In a dumb thing, all six guys are in one corner. That’s just not right. Tornado has the claw on Roma for no apparent reason.
In at 8 is Butch to up the level of talent out there. Simba and Model both go over but Martel saves himself so we’re still at 6. In case you’re wondering, it’s Hart, Valentine, Von Erich, Martel, Butch and Roma. Despite commentating on it a second ago, Gorilla has forgotten about Saba being tossed. These matches go a lot faster when I’m reviewing them.
Jake comes in at 9 and of course goes right for Martel who had tried to blind him recently. This led to the blindfold match at Mania which just gets dumber and dumber every time I see it.
In a funny spot, Martel tries to eliminate himself but isn’t allowed to. We hit double digits with Hercules. The ring is WAY too full right now as we need someone to come in and clear out some of these guys. This is a lot of punching and kicking and bad attempts to throw someone out. There are eight guys out there at the moment and there’s the clock.
The eleventh entrant is Tito Santana to even further overfill the ring. Roma goes out to get us back down to eight. After about a minute the clock is up again for number twelve, which is THANK GOODNESS the Undertaker. We needed a monster to clear out some of these guys, so let’s see what he’s got. He dumps Hart in about four seconds. Taker no sells the Tornado Punch as Von Erich is a pure jobber at this point despite being IC Champion very recently.
About a minute and a half after Taker gets in, Snuka comes in at 13. Ring is WAY too full. Butch is thrown out by Taker as well to get us to eight guys out there. To recap, it’s Taker, Valentine, Martel, Hercules, Von Erich, Snuka, Santana and Roberts. Valentine and Von Erich are trying to get rid of Taker. The huge amount of people in the ring is just killing this thing. Again with the shortchanging of the clock! It’s British Bulldog to get us to 9 people in the ring. That’s just absurd.
Snuka just doesn’t look right with an afro and long tights. That’s just odd. It’s the soon to be gone Smash in at 15. Well if nothing else the ending should be good. Jake goes out to get us back down to nine in there as that just sounds stupid. Martel has a freaking scary look on his face. Hawk is the first of the second half as this match is just bad. There are too many people and there’s been more or less no story at all.
All we have here is a bunch of people leaning on the ropes and punching each other. To make this even BETTER, Shane freaking Douglas is in at 17. Damn what were they thinking on this show? It’s awful. Yes he was in WWF for awhile. We finally get rid of a bit of the crap out there as Von Erich and Superfly both go out within about 5 seconds of each other. Note: I don’t think they’re bad wrestlers, but they’re just filler here and everyone knows it.
There’s no 18, and Gorilla speculates that someone was afraid to come in. It was supposed to be Savage but he was running from the Warrior so there’s your explanation that comes at the end of the match. Piper says that the 18th entrant has until the clock starts to still come in. Doesn’t the clock always run but we just don’t see it? Why am I trying to make sense of him? 19 is Animal so we have the LOD in there together.
Apparently 18 has forfeited his spot according to the great and mighty Gorilla. Hawk and Animal put out Taker and then Hercules and Martel put out Hawk just afterwards. At least the numbers are going down a bit. There’s only eight in there now with 11 more to come. Crush of Demolition cracks the twenties.
At the moment we have Crush, Smash, Martel, Valentine, Animal, Santana, Davey Boy, Shane and Hercules and all of them are joined by Duggan at 21. He throws the board down and I guess we’ll call it runs to the ring.
Twenty two is Earthquake. Please, I beg of you, get rid of some of these guys! He takes out Animal pretty quickly. About maybe 80 seconds after Quake comes out, the Perfect entrant is in at 23. Even Piper thinks something is wrong with the clock. Perfect is more or less crawling to the ring. It took about 30 seconds to get there. That’s saying a lot. He does take out Duggan so that’s better than nothing I guess.
Wow we’re running low on people left to come in. They’re talkinga bout how long some of the people have been in there and it really is impressive. The twenty fourth is HOGAN! Yep, he should get a few people out. He gets a massive pop, so naturally he gets beaten on by Smash and Perfect. Never mind as Smash is gone almost immediately. He’s on Earthquake now as I don’t remember seeing a crowd freak out that fast after being dead for so long before.
The twenty fifth is Haku as we’re really getting close here. Hogan puts out Valentine who was in there for forty four minutes, just shy of DiBiase’s record. Martel just looks dead out there. Neidhart comes in next to get us down to four to go. Tito punches the hell out of Earthquake and is then thrown over with ease. Oh look. It’s Luke in at 27. Bets on how bad this will go anyone? He steps in, Quake grabs him and takes him to the other side of the ring and he’s gone in four seconds.
Well then there you go. To his credit he never stopped marching. Quake actually uses a full nelson on Hogan. Wow that’s like, a real wrestling move. That’s surprising. Nasty Boy Knobbs is the first of the final three. Damn was the Brawler busy or something tonight? The penultimate spot goes to Warlord as absolutely nothing of note is going on here. Hercules is dumped out. Hogan tosses Crush as I just want to get to the end of this now.
Martel has the Iron Man record. Hogan knocks out Warlord as we’re at the last countdown of the match, and number 30 is Tugboat, thereby confirming that Savage no showed. Ok, so remaining in the match we have Hogan, Earthquake, Tugboat, Martel, Perfect, Douglas, Knobbs, Bulldog, Haku and Neidhart. See what I mean when I say this isn’t much of a Rumble? They figure out that Warrior ran Savage off. Knobbs throws out Douglas.
Wow that kind of shows where his career was at. Tugboat picks up Hogan and dumps him to the apron, so Hogan throws him out. He would turn heel in a few months based mainly on this, becoming Typhoon and more or less saving his career, before a good bit of electrocution ended that. Bulldog hits an amazing dropkick on Perfect to put him out. Perfect was sitting on the top rope and Smith caught him with at least one foot square in the face. That was impressive.
Martel actually puts Neidhart out clean. That’s very surprising. Smith puts Haku out with a backdrop as we’re trying to get rid of the jobbers. Smith follows that up with a clothesline to put Martel out to a pop. That’s saying a lot that the fans noticed that. I’m proud of them for that one. That gets us to the final four of Smith, Hogan (there’s a pairing that could have been interesting to say the least), Earthquake and…..Brian Knobbs?
And people say Hogan didn’t do good stuff for his friends. The heels team up and knock out Smith to get us to three. Hmm, I never thought I’d see this: Hogan stuck against two heels. I mean, this could never happen! How could he possibly get out of this one??? To further secure the Hogan victory, Earthquake hits the Earthquake and of course pops up. Piper cheering Hogan is just flat out wrong on so many levels. A boot takes out Knobbs and it’s Hogan vs. Earthquake.
Surprisingly they go at it for awhile with Quake dominating. And of course Hogan winds up winning it. After another Hulk Up, Hogan knocks out Quake with a clothesline. A HUGE celebration ends with Hogan waving the flag to emphasize America is Great angle of the show.
Rating: D+. This was just bad. It was boring as hell for the most part with Hogan’s winning being about as obvious as you could possibly imagine. Martel was the only running story and you knew he wouldn’t stand a chance at all. Seriously, Brian freaking Knobbs was in the final three. How does that make a good match? It felt like a bunch of jobbers just killing time for Hogan, which is exactly what it was. That doesn’t make a good Rumble at all.
Overall Rating: C-. We have a kick ass opening match, a decent match, a bad squash, a very bad title match that was all about building up Mania, another bad match and a very lackluster Rumble. My goodness that Rockers/Express match carried a lot of this show, and that’s just not a good thing.
It’s just not that good overall and while it has some moments, it’s just not there. I think Vince started realizing that this formula wasn’t working and he needed to change a thing or two, and DAMN did he ever for next year. This show isn’t worth seeing, but the Rockers vs. Express match is must see stuff.
Royal Rumble 1991
By 1991 the Royal Rumble still hadn’t hit the right format, but it was getting closer. For the first time there was a world championship match at the event. Even though it wasn’t the greatest of matches at least something besides the rumble match itself had some meaning.
I love the opener. This really was a fun match and is one of my all time favorite tag matches. It was fast paced, exciting, and the perfect way to start the show.
The B for Big Bossman vs. Barbarian surprises me. Not that I disagree as I don’t remember much of this match. It just seems that on paper this matchup has C- written all over it. You said this was a lot better than you expected and I suspect I would feel the same way if I watched it again.
The title match was definitely more about an angle than a match. This was all about setting up WrestleMania which is ok with me. The match really wasn’t any good, but I really liked WrestleMania VII and this set up the two biggest matches.
Like Harley Race vs. Haku from 1989 I didn’t see The Mountie vs. Koko B. Ware until the box set came out. This was obviously meant to introduce us to the Mountie by having him beat a somewhat credible opponent. Pretty typical although too long.
In case you couldn’t tell by now, I’m all about the rumble setting up WrestleMania. It should come as no surprise that I like the next match. This actually had a story going in and a bigger story coming out. I think this might have been Dusty and Dustin’s last appearance in the WWF. Virgil’s face turn was awesome. What made it awesome is that Virgil had been with Dibiase since his debut three and a half years ago. This was a long time coming. These kinds of pairings don’t last that long anymore. This is the kind of thing that would last maybe a year nowadays. Had they done this turn sooner no one would have cared. The timing was right and of course another match was set up for mania.
This wasn’t one of the better rumble matches, but I liked it better than you did KB. Keep in mind I was a kid and already a fan at this time. I remember the hype of these early ppvs and since there were so few they were all special. That’s probably why I like this more than you do. It was still cool to see all the guys on one night and here we had so many in one match. By comparison this rumble is weak, but I still enjoy it.
The opening match was awesome. Three big matches were set up for WrestleMania. The rumble, although anticlimactic, was still enjoyable for me. If I was making a list ranking the rumble matches this would probably be pretty low, but one of the worse rumbles is still a fun show.
Royal Rumble 1992
Date: January 19, 1992
Location: Knickerbocker Arena, Albany, New York
Commentators: Gorilla Monsoon, Bobby Heenan
Oh yes. OH HELL YES. This right here is in mine and several other people’s opinion, the best Rumble of all time, and there is one man to thank for that: Ric Flair. Yes, the Nature Boy himself has arrived to save the company after WCW did the absolute dumbest thing of all time and allowed him to just walk into the open arms of Vince. Without going into the whole rant which is in my Survivor Series 1991 review, Flair was more or less told that he would become a completely new character or be fired.
Flair actually had a brain and realized he could be a main event star in WWF at a moment’s notice and that’s exactly what he did. The icing on the pizza (delicious, you should try it someday) was that he had legal possession of the NWA World Title belt, the one that is currently known as the World Heavyweight Championship. That led to this moment, which is still the coolest thing I can remember seeing on WWF Television:
The look on Gorilla and Neidhart’s faces here are so priceless I don’t even know where to start. That would be like John Cena showing up on Impact. To say it was huge was an understatement as it rocked the wrestling world. Anyway, Flair claimed that he was the real world’s champion and helped Taker steal the world title at Survivor Series. Hogan threw the urn’s ashes at Taker and rolled him up to steal the title back.
Based on all that insanity, Jack Tunney vacated the title. We’ve had no champion in about two months here, and there just happens to be a huge battle royal coming up. So therefore, in one of the only things that Tunney EVER got right, he makes the 1992 Royal Rumble for the WWF Title. OH HELL YES! Tell me that doesn’t sound completely awesome. For the entire build up to this, Heenan kept saying this is Flair’s chance to show that he’s the best.
Remember that, as it’s one of the most important things to the show. The only bad thing about this is that we have to put up with the rest of the card before we get to the Rumble. Damn I’m looking forward to this. Let’s go.
Naturally we go over half the entrants to the Rumble first. I like being surprised better though, but whatever. We hear that the Mountie took the IC Title from Hart over the weekend, which was simply done so we could save Hart vs. Piper for Mania.
Orient Express vs. New Foundation
The New Foundation is comprised of Owen and Neidhart. We get our first WILL YOU BE SERIOUS from Gorilla so I’m happy. This is the era of the baggy pants which were just flat out odd in my eyes. We hear about the substitutions. Brian Knobbs has a bad shoulder so he’s replaced by Haku. Jannetty is out as well. Something about a bad haircut I believe, and he’s replaced by Nikolai Volkoff. My goodness what a terrifying concept of a match that is.
Something tells me that this isn’t going to be as good as the other version of this match that had the Rockers in it last year. So far I’m right. We’re already doing far too much mat work here. In something you don’t see that often, the faces dominate the at least opening half of this thing. Ok, they’ve dominated most of this. The ending must be coming soon right? I mean it hasn’t been a bad match but they’ve had ten minutes already.
With guys like the Rockers going a long time is fine, but Anvil? Something doesn’t connect there. Tanaka is wearing a black shirt in here for no apparent reason. Naturally the commentators won’t shut up about the Rumble, which at least makes sense here. It does guarantee a new world champion, so at least there’s a reason to talk about it nonstop. After some interference (shocking I say, SHOCKING!) from Fuji, the Express take over.
This match is running long, and they’re in the deadly territory of being long for the sake of being long. That is never a good thing. The match is ok, but I don’t think it needs this much time. Finally we have the hot tag to Anvil, and the Rocket Launcher ends this one.
Rating: C+. This was a decent match, but there was no way this should have gone on this long. Last year’s stuff was great as they just went out there and went insane, but here it was Owen against two other guys and then a hot tag to Anvil. That’s fine for something like a ten minute match, but this didn’t do it for me. Again, not a bad match by any means, but it just didn’t work, at least in my eyes.
Alfred Hayes talks about Bret’s loss at a house show where he (kayfabe) had a 100+ degree fever. This was I think two or three days prior to the Rumble. Somehow this sets up Piper against Mountie. We get a long clip from the show. They really need to show more stuff from house shows as they’re a great way to save some TV time and still advance the shows. Oh apparently Piper came in for the save for Hart and Mountie beat him up, setting the match up. That makes sense at least.
Mountie says he’ll win.
Piper says he’ll win, but in a much funnier way.
Intercontinental Title: Mountie vs. Roddy Piper
The idea here is that Piper has never won a title, but can win two tonight. This is really just a formality as I don’t think anyone believed there was a chance in Mountie retaining. This is more or less the height of Piper’s face run as he’s been feuding with Flair for awhile. He’s living proof that you don’t need a title to be a major star. The pop is great here as he’s just massively over. Piper stars off hot here, beating Mountie up with relative ease.
Heenan is hilarious, plain and simple. He’s panicking over what number Flair has and is desparate to get to the back and find out, coming up with great ways to have to go check. He offers to go get a diet drink for Monsoon. It’s a lot funnier than it sounds. Why do I love the jumping back elbow so much? It just looks awesome. Hart interferes but Piper is FAR too smart for that. He hooks a sleeper about as casually as you can imagine and gets his first title.
He uses the shock stick afterwards which still sounds like a doorbell. The celebration is great here, as Piper really was over to say the least. He didn’t win another belt until a few years ago with Flair, but this was great. He deserved a belt, even though he didn’t need one. It’s a cool moment though.
Rating: B. The match was a complete squash but it was never about the match. This was giving Piper something for his years of work and that’s just fine. He would go on to have a great match with Bret at Mania, so there we go. This was a cool moment and that’s all it was supposed to be.
Hayes completely barges into Hogan’s locker room and asks for an interview. To be fair, at least he gives him one. He says he has no friends in the Rumble today. He’s off steroids here as his look is completely changing.
The Bushwackers say they have a surprise for the Beverly Sisters. Apparently they’re going to feed them to Jameson. Jameson was this nerd character that was just bad.
Beverly Brothers vs. Bushwackers
Still I wonder how these guys had jobs. My guess for this is a comedy match. That scares me to death. The Genius is managing the Beverlies here. Gorilla says that the Bushwackers have been licking their way through the competition. That line speaks for itself. The match gets going as Jameson has a sandwich. No one has ever gotten the point of this guy, so naturally he kept going on and on. This just goes on and on.
It wouldn’t be so bad if Luke and Butch actually did something. All they’re doing is going to the ropes after some bare bones offense and shouting to the crowd. The heels aren’t much help either as they’re just not that good. We are LIVE! I guess even the camera guy couldn’t take watching this for such a long time. I can’t say I blame him. This is just going on FAR too long here and nothing at all of note is happening.
It’s just generic stuff that isn’t interesting at all. They’re just beating on each other with no rhyme or reason. Oh and Jameson is nervous. That’s all there is here but it just keeps going. The fans are more or less dead here too. After literally almost 15 minutes, the Beverlies win it. Oh but wait! Jameson has to do something stupid! Apparently he doesn’t like the Genius so he kicks him in the shin. Yep, that’s about it.
Rating: F-. Do I even need to explain this?
Gene is with the LOD, who are the tag champions here. They just say they’re not afraid of the Natural Disasters. Hawk does have a good line where he says the Disasters want to throw their weight around. That’s ok, because the LOD want to throw the Natural Disasters’ weight around too.
Tag Titles: Legion of Doom vs. Natural Disasters
Damn this is tag match #3 out of 4 matches. The Rumble is next, thank goodness. This undercard has been crap in every sense of the word. The matches aren’t interesting and other than Piper vs. Mountie, nothing of note has happened. I mean really, Owen and Neidhart vs. two jobbers and jobbers fighting jobbers. How interesting does that sound? At least this should be kind of fun at least. LOD’s pop is great.
Naturally this is mainly just a strength contest to begin with. Damn it with the stupid formula stuff all night long. I can almost call out the match as it goes. It’s just generic stuff that power guys do with the Disasters taking control for most of the match. Why should I be interested in this? In short, I’m not, and I like these teams. Here’s the comeback. Yeah, I really don’t care about this. That’s the problem with a huge match like the Rumble for the title closing the show.
Also the talent is all in the main event so no one is interested in something like this. The good thing is that the Rumble should be pretty star studded. Oh come on. A freaking COUNT OUT??? That’s how we end this? We don’t event get a solid ending after having to sit through that? I’m already annoyed and that’s what I get for it? Freaking bad booking there and it got no reaction at all. When the LOD get no reaction, you can tell there’s no interest at all. The Disasters won by the way.
Rating: D. This just feels like a bad house show so far. I mean really, the IC Title changing hands is the only thing on the whole show so far worth mentioning and that was a five minute squash. As for this match, it was just boring as hell. This was like a trailer for a future match. It didn’t work at all and I wasn’t interested in it. Factor in that I’m a big fan of the LOD and the Disasters so this was a great sounding match to me, yet it falls flat. This show has sucked so far, and it has sucked HARD.
Sean is with the Natural Disasters. Damn he must have been wearing Eau de Twinkie or something to get them back there that fast. They say they should be champions because they won. That’s actually a good argument: they beat the champions in a title match. That sounds to me like a title change. All it means is the feud continues. Thanks for that.
Piper is FIRED UP over winning the IC Title. He’s even more insane than usual. If you don’t believe that wrestlers use cocaine, find a copy of this interview and I guarantee your view will change. He dedicates it to Colt, without saying who that is. It’s his son. I like that. It was really quick and didn’t come off as cheesy at all. Roddy Piper being quick and simple. You’ll never hear that again.
Sean is with Shawn Michaels who is freshly heel turned. It’s a week after the Barber Shop, which we recap so this is the first televised Shawn appearance as a heel. We get a replay of it, and Heenan saying that Shawn doesn’t need Jannetty is awesome. Shawn is about the level of Chris Masters if he’s lucky here, so this is the epitome of filler.
Back then, the implication that Shawn could win the world title was absurd. Now it’s a legit possibility if he’s every wrestling for it. He’s a textbook example of someone rising through the ranks, so keep an eye on people you see. You’ll never know what they could become.
Hayes is with Flair in what must be an intermission. That makes sense. With the Rumble coming up, you want to give the people a chance to get popcorn or a burger or a Coke or something like that. For once, I agree with that idea. Flair says he was #3. This was for the home video release as no one ever said what number they had.
Flair cuts a generic promo with a chipped tooth. That looks odd. You can tell he is excited though despite how calm he looks. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise: Flair in his prime was as good as anyone else, plain and simple.
Savage says that he’s won the title before and he can do it again.
Sid, who was rapidly becoming a major force in the company a la Batista in 2005, says that he’ll be champion.
Repo “Smash” Man says that he could take the title. If you ever want to see someone that has gone from one gimmick to another with such smoothness, look right here.
British Bulldog, who was the real dark horse for the title here, won a battle royal in London so he’s got some recent experience in these matches. It sucks that he never got the title because I think he could have been a solid transitional guy. He certainly had the power for it and that powerslam could beat anyone.
As Jake and I discussed once though, there was never really a time for him to do that, other than maybe beating Diesel at Great White North, but even then I don’t know if it would have worked. He was really awesome though.
Jake says he’ll get what he wants. He would be gone by Spring.
Flair and Perfect say Flair will win. Perfect comes off like a television pitch man here and it works really well in a weird way. Flair’s promo here is in his over the top style and it works like an absolute charm. This was a combination that was so awesome it’s unreal.
The just about to turn face Undertaker says he’ll win the title again atop a pile of carnage.
Hogan says that today he gets to prove a point. Amazingly, there are the slightest heel tones here. That could never happen, could it? More on that later.
And now it’s FINALLY time for the Rumble. Heenan is nearly hyperventilating. This has me hyped despite how bad the earlier stuff was. Shut up Howard! I want my Rumble! Oh there we go. OH DAMN IT it’s freaking Jack Tunney. The booing is about as audible as you could imagine. This guy is just annoying.
I think he forgets the name of the match. He tries to say it and then calls it this event. Even Heenan is shouting to get this going. Tunney was annoying as hall. After another request for Heenan to be serious, it’s time to get going at last.
Bulldog is in at #1. Heenan is absolutely hilarious here with how worried he is. DiBiase is in second and someone actually has a Sherri shirt. I didn’t know they even made those. This isn’t a bad way to start: a pair of guys that should be in the Hall of Fame. DiBiase hits the ring and we’re off immediately. The beauty of the format they have this year is that there’s automatically a story in there with the title on the line.
Gorilla says that DiBiase has been very successful in Rumbles as of late. As of late? There’s one a year, so as of late equals the last two years I guess. Not to mention DiBiase didn’t even wrestle in the 91 Rumble but rather in a tag match. So in other words, doing well as of late now means that two years ago he got about two thirds of the way through. Heenan points out that someone should just hit the floor and kill time, which is actually a very smart thing to do and perfectly legal.
They establish early on that Martel holds the Iron Man record, so that more or less guarantees that it’ll be broken or heavily challenged. They mention that Luke has the record for shortest time, which is incorrect as he was in there nearly twice as long as Warlord. My goodness I’m a geek. DiBiase is out in less than two minutes as Bulldog hits a dropkick to be all alone. Flair is third and I have to rewind it a few times to get Bobby’s reaction again. He PANICS.
Gorilla says Brain can kiss it goodbye. This sets the stage for the rest of the match as we all know that it’s going to be the Flair Show here, so let’s see what we’ve got. For one thing he’s rocking the black robe that’s always been my favorite. He’s strutting early so you know this is going to be good. The atmosphere here is off the charts. Heenan and Gorilla are stealing the show though with their commentary as Heenan is panicking and Monsoon is needling him for all he’s worth.
Smith gets Flair to the apron but doesn’t watch him hit the floor. Damn he’s got to stop doing that. Jerry Sags of the Nasty Boys is 4. Sags jumps Smith, and in the words of Dusty Rhodes, “HE BE CLUBBERIN! AND HE’S GOT A BICYCLE!” Smith puts Sags out with the same move he used on DiBiase so we’re back down to Flair and Smith. Gorilla says that all’s fair in the Rumble. I need to mark that down as I’m sure he’ll contradict that later on.
Out fifth is Haku, Heenan’s old client. He goes right for Smith, which leads to a brief double team. Flair goes for Haku and gets chased to the floor. You can see Flair planning everything he does as he’s being the sneaky master and playing it to the hilt. He goes to Haku’s head with a knee drop which as I’m coming up with a joke Heenan points out that it won’t hurt Haku. He’s a damn proud Samoan stereotype.
After Haku beats on Flair even more, Smith dumps him with relative ease. HBK is in at 6, as Gorilla gets in another great line with “Some guys hate Flair more than others.” HBK has connections with both guys in there so that’s actually rather interesting. Michaels hits a crescent kick to Flair as it’s years away from having a name yet. Flair pops up almost, but to be fair it looked like he got his hands up.
Smith puts Shawn to the apron and DOESN’T MAKE SURE HE HITS THE FLOOR! My goodness you would think he would have learned his lesson for three years later. Shawn goes for the kick on Smith but it literally doesn’t make contact with his head at all. The way the camera is set up couldn’t have been worse as you can clearly see the foot going over Smith’s shoulder.
He sells it more than Flair did though so there we are. Heenan is looking for a drink with a kick. He’s really the highlight of this match not named Flair. Shawn gets crotched on the top rope in a spot that never gets old. Santana is in at seven in his El Matador gimmick.
He goes for Flair as Bobby is screaming for Perfect to get out here. So far, seven guys and seven champions. That’s pretty damn good. Actually, all seven guys were at one time in their WWF/E careers, tag team champions. That’s quite impressive I’d say.
Flair gets his first low blow in of the match on Smith which Heenan doesn’t even deny. You know this is a big match based on that alone. Heenan says he’d do that to his grandmother if he had to. That’s just hilarious. The Flying Jalapeno puts Flair down as Barbarian comes in to break the tag champions streak. How did he still have a job at this point? Gorilla points out in a near creepy tone that Barbarian doesn’t like Flair either. He’s the jobber I guess.
Texas Tornado, who beat Flair for the world title back in I think 84 is in at number 9. Damn those white tights. Flair goes right after him to renew their rivalry. Von Erich was pure jobber here as he hadn’t meant a damn thing in about a year and a half at this point. Heenan points out his old strategy of bringing in a big wrench and beating people with it to win. That’s either brilliant or cause for a citizen’s arrest. At number ten, stealing the single digit monopoly is the Repo Man. WOW that joke sucked.
His comedy here is impressive, especially considering at one time he eliminated Andre the Freaking Giant from the Rumble. Heenan points out an interesting thing: why should Repo run to the ring? Why not avoid some punishment? That’s actually really smart. I’d do it. Slide in the ring then slide back out and go out into the crowd or something then climb in at the end. Damn kayfabe fucking stuff up.
Greg the Jobber Valentine is in at 11. He and Flair know each other pretty well too. It amazes me how many people Flair has interacted with over the years. That’s very impressive. Think of it like this: Taker has been around forever right? He needs another ten years to be around as long as Flair, and he’ll likely be gone in five years. Michaels is literally holding on by a single foot which would become his trademark.
In at 12 is the 320lb Lithuanian Nikolai Volkoff! For some reason that’s a popular line that I’ve just never gotten but it originated here. Still, only Barbarian has never been WWF/E tag champion of the entrants so far. For no reason whatsoever, Valentine puts Flair in the Figure Four as Volkoff is thrown out. Gee thanks for coming Nicky. Boss Man, rapidly approaching jobberville, breaks the Rumble into its teen angst years by being number 13.
He just punches the hell out of everyone, namely Flair. Valentine is tossed pretty easily. Repo is thrown with ease as Boss Man is clearing the ring which was desperately needed. Flair surprisingly back drops both Smith and Von Erich out with relative ease. Those came out of nowhere. That leaves us with Flair, Santana, Shawn, Boss Man and Barbarian in case you were wondering.
Shawn and Santana eliminate each other to set up their forgettable Mania match as Hercules is in at 14 and hammers on Flair. Flair high fives Barbarian and then chops him to send Heenan to his 10th heart attack of the match. Barbarian tries to dump Flair, but Hercules dumps Barbarian and gets dumped by Boss Man, leaving us with the cop and Flair. Well I’ll give them this: there haven’t been any dead spots.
Flair hits nearly 30 minutes as Boss Man does some weird martial arts thing. Flair throws him out with ease again as Heenan says that’s enough and Flair should be world champion. We get to the end of the first half with Roddy freaking Piper! The fans are freaking here as they hit the floor through the middle rope. Piper is hammering him. Flair hits an atomic drop but gets the Three Stooges eye poke for his troubles.
Piper goes WAY old school with the Airplane Spin, the finisher of Gorilla Monsoon himself to set up a sleeper. Now this strikes me as odd. Piper beat Mountie with a sleeper after beating on him for about four minutes and Mountie was out like a light. Flair has been out there for about 30 minutes and he can stand a longer sleeper than Mountie who was 5 minutes removed from being fresh? Does that just sound odd to you?
In another weird looking thing, Piper knocks Flair out with it and then picks him up and puts it back on him. Well ok then. Jake is in at 16 but wisely just sits back and lets Piper beat on Flair. That’s really smart when you think about it. Why should he risk getting thrown out or use any energy? That’s what people mean when they talk about wrestling psychology. Anyway he jumps Piper from behind as Heenan is all of a sudden a Jake fan. Damn I love Heenan.
Jake starts the DDT sequence on Flair and Heenan actually thanks Piper for the save. Literally seconds later, he’s calling Piper a no good skirt wearing freak. Bobby really is cracking me up here. Seventeenth is Jim Duggan who gets a pop and a half. What is the appeal of this guy? I’ve yet to see him not get a huge ovation. Gorilla admits that he’s impressed by Flair.
With Flair on his stomach, Heenan says he’s on his feet. I guess you can’t always be awesome. IRS is in at 18th as this match is going really fast for some reason. He more or less beats on everyone and gets his tie pulled. Now that’s just not that neighborly. Nineteenth is Snuka who is about as much of a jobber as you could ask for at this point. He just had been passed by and it’s a shame considering how innovative he really was.
Also he needs to wear the short tights as they just work better for him. Gorilla and Heenan go over the big names remaining and Heenan panics some more to give me yet another great laugh. Gorilla slips up though and says that the big names get preferential treatment. Oh that’s not going to go over well with Vince at all. I can picture the screaming he’ll be doing. Granted I’d need to turn up the volume to hear but the visual is awesome.
We crack the top 20 with the Deadman who is just about to go face as I mentioned above. He’s also got Paul Bearer now so things look as normal as they can with him. There goes Snuka and he’s on Flair now. Heenan is just gone at this point, screaming that it’s over and he has nothing left. Taker actually goes low to stop Duggan. That’s not something you see very often at all. The twenty first guy is Savage to a solid pop.
There is some amazing talent in there. Jake runs for his life of course as he continues to has such a mastery of the psychology. A high knee from Savage takes him out though and in a moment of insanity he jumps over the top and takes out Roberts. They make a last second save though and say that he jumped himself so he’s still in, which contradicts everything they’ve ever said as far as rules go so there we go.
I’ve always wondered what would happen if someone screwed up that was supposed to win and got thrown out by mistake. It would be interesting if nothing else. Taker and Savage are going at it. That’s a very interesting match indeed. Piper and Duggan are kind of hard to tell apart. It’s annoying. Gorilla is surprised that Flair is fighting, which means low blows and punches but whatever.
Berserker is in at 22 as we’re really getting close to the ending here. You can tell Heenan is nervous as he says that Flair should weasel his way out. That’s amusing on many levels. 23 is…Virgil. Well I guess they had to have a few jobbers in there. We get the old standard of jokes as Brain says that Virgil took the gold belt and had it bronzed. Granted that’s a smart idea considering it would be very rare.
Taker is choking Flair. There’s really not a lot going on here as it’s just a lot of basic stuff. However they’re managing to keep it interesting which is hard to do. Piper beats on Virgil, his former student. Twenty four is Colonel Mustafa, who has a job despite the war having been over for a year now.
Vince, learn how to drop a gimmick when you need to. That’s a very important life lesson. For some reason Monsoon calls Flair Martel twice in a row and isn’t corrected. WE ARE LIVE! To make things even more confusing, Martel is #25. He’s naturally a heel here and goes right for Flair for no apparent reason other than logic. Savage throws Mustafa out to no reaction at all.
It’s Hogan in at 26 to set the arena on fire. He grabs Taker and Flair so there we go. Hogan takes out Taker with a clothesline and then backdrops Berserker out about three seconds later to clear the ring out a bit. That’s good too as it was really needed at that point. Virgil and Duggan eliminate each other so we’re four men lighter than we were a second ago.
Make that three as Skinner is here at 27. Hogan has Flair up and Bobby starts crying in perhaps the funniest part of the match yet which is saying a lot. He starts praying which has me cracking up despite having watched this match at least 10 times. He again pleads for a drink as he sounds like an AA dropout. Quick recap: Flair, Hogan, Skinner, Piper, Martel, IRS and Savage and they’re joined by Sgt. Slaughter.
That means there are ten guys possible that can win. Martel puts Skinner out to a yawn from most people. Hogan and Piper go at it and all things are right with the world again. Flair has set the Iron Man record, which Bobby says is good enough to make him champion. 29th is Sid Justice who is a major face at this time. That means that thirty will be Warlord for no reason at all. Flair is still on offense which is pretty cool.
There’s Warlord and for some bad reason, Flair goes to the top. I wish Heenan noticed it too as it would be great. He and Hogan are on the floor now and Flair takes a suplex. Ok, so the final guys are Flair, Hogan, Piper, Martel, IRS, Savage, Slaughter, Sid and Warlord. There goes Slaughter so we’re doing to 8. Since I just reviewed Wrestling Classic an hour or so ago, I smell a bad tournament! In a very funny moment, Piper is in trouble from IRS but he grabs the tie and eliminates him with it.
That’s great stuff. Hogan Hulks Up after a chop and Flair is scared to death. Hogan and Sid easily dump Warlord, which for some reason surprises Gorilla. Ok then. Sid dumps Martel and Piper to get us down to Hogan, Flair, Sid and Savage. That’s a pretty good final four. Savage is gone and we’re at three. Hulk Hulks Up again. Flair can’t do the Flair Flip which is impressive since he’s worked this long.
Hogan is dumped from out of nowhere by Sid and the ending is clear now. Hogan screams that Sid stole his belt and grabs his arm. Flair sneaks up behind him and throws him out to win the title. Bobby’s orgasm could flood the whole state of New York. Hogan keeps going after Sid on the floor to make sure that no one but him gets the spotlight. Heenan says yes 32 times inside of a minute. That’s impressive.
Rating: A+. This is the greatest Rumble of all time, hands down. The emotion, the action, the ending, and the talent were all top level and it worked perfectly. Watch this Rumble right now as it’s worth every minute of it.
Now for the interesting part. As Flair and Perfect leave, we have Sid and Hogan fighting in the ring, and you can hear the fans booing Hogan and cheering for Sid. This of course had NOTHING to do with Hogan thinking it was time to retire and it was all his idea.
In the back, Tunney presents the title to Flair in front of the “press”. Flair cuts one of my all time favorite promos as he talks about what it means to be a champion. He’s just dripping with emotion here and he gets a nice little jab in at the NWA and WCW by saying that it’s just the WWF Title that means anything in wrestling.
This was a very novel idea at the time as other than the inaugural Survivor Series, no heel had ever won the main event on PPV before in the WWF (Taker vs. Hogan wasn’t the main event technically). That’s simply amazing and Flair says that it’s his time now and he just proved it. He’s absolutely right.
Overall Rating: B. That’s how good the Rumble is. Other than that and the moment of Piper winning, this show is horrible. Look at it. It’s just random stuff thrown on there with zero rhyme or reason. That’s the problem with having such a great Rumble: you take away the rest of the card.
Now to be fair, they were really betting the farm on the main event working and to say it paid off is an understatement. The main event is incredible stuff that will not get old to me no matter how many times I see it. I think the recommendation here is pretty easy: watch the Rumble and then watch it again. That’s more interesting than the first half of the show.
I share your feelings on that Rumble, and to be honest if we had two hours of Santina Marella V Vickie Guerrero before the Rumble I'd still score the event an A because I jsut feel great after watching it. I once read that it was the last great performance of Flair's career (I don't agree for the record and at the very least his performance against Savage at WM 8 should be considered) and he was fantastic alright.
Heenan gives the best ever commentary performance in this match. The amount of times he said, "it's not fair to Flair!" must have been off the charts, and I love the bit you mentioned when Piper saved Flair.
"It's a kilt, all those times I said it was a skirt, no, it's a kilt."
Piper attacks Flair.
"It's a skirt! You skirt wearing freak!"
Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. May have to watch this tomorrow night.
Thanks to BC for the sig!
Yes, this was the best Rumble ever. The talent, the hofer's everything was just epic. I like that the Rumble was divided into 2 matches pretty much, right in the middle, so that was different. Another part I really liked that happened on many ppv's that you have never mentioned to my knowledge, was the stills from the ppv with music. I like the music they did with this 1, esp when they had stills with Piper holding the belt, and Flair looking scared and beaten. Great Match.
Royal Rumble 1993
Date: January 24, 1993
Location: ARCO Arena, Sacramento, California
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 bad ass 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 DAMN 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 HELL 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 damn 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 fucking dumb. Move on PLEASE.
With no big string of interviews this year, we’re ready for the 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 damn 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 as hell. 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 damn 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 damn 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 ass is 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. DAMN 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 HELL! 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.
Royal Rumble 1992
It seems that this is a lot of people’s favorite rumble and I can see why. While it’s hard for me to pick a favorite 1992 is definitely near the top. Obviously the title being on the line added an element to this show that no previous rumble even came close to matching. The undercard was tough to sit through, but the rumble match made it worth it. I agree with everything in this review pretty much dead on so I’ll try to be brief with my comments but I probably wont’ be.
I agree with the review on the opener. This was a decent match but I remember it being long. Even though the match was fine I was just thinking get it over with already so we can move on.
The IC match was a squash but it was a fun moment. Piper never needed a title but it was nice to see him get one after so many years. This was originally scheduled to be Bret Hart defending against The Mountie. That was changed to set up the angle between Piper and Hart for mania. As a result The Mountie got himself a two day title reign. I’ve always found it somewhat ironic that Bret Hart wasn’t involved in this show. Everyone always talks about all the talent at this event. Bret Hart wrestled at every ppv from WrestleMania 2 through WrestleMania 12 except this one. So even though there was a lot of talent here, the WWF’s most consistent and arguably most talented performer wasn’t there.
Do I have to say anything about The Bushwhackers vs. The Beverly Brothers? I never understood Jameson. This was crap. All the talent was in the rumble so this was here to fill time.
LOD vs. The Natural Disasters was a perfectly fine match to have at this event. They were two big teams feuding over the title at the time. The only problem was the match wasn’t very good and the end was crap. By this point I was just begging to get the undercard over with and just get on to the rumble.
Finally the big moment had arrived. There was a feeling of electricity in the air. Since the title was on the line the winner was narrowed down to only a few guys, but this was a lot of fun anyway. I wonder how we would look at this if Heenan wasn’t on commentary. I’m not saying he made the match but he definitely added to it. This rumble flowed smoothly and always had some top talent in the ring. There was never a dull moment. I hate to nitpick at such a great event, but there are a couple things. One disappointment was Dibiase. I never understood why he was in and out so quickly. He was always hovering around the world title picture and did well in his last rumble. Why was he out in the first two minutes? I think him coming in around number 10 and lasting until the end could have added a little more to this. I also think Taker should have lasted longer. The top six guys going into this were Taker, Hogan, Flair, Savage, Piper, and Sid. I think it should have come down to those six for a little while at the end. Also shouldn’t Hogan and Sid have been in opposite positions? Hogan came off as a total heel. He was eliminated fair and square by Sid and was a sore loser about it by pulling Sid out and helping the heel Flair win. Sid was the one who went heel. Shouldn’t Hogan have eliminated Sid and Sid being the one who was the sore loser?
One thing I want to point out to you KB is Monsoon didn’t slip saying that the big names get preferential treatment in the drawing. It was stated before the rumble that Hogan and Undertaker would draw first choosing only between numbers 20 and 30. They got this advantage due to being the last two champions before the title was vacated. This was just like Hogan and Andre getting a first round by at WrestleMania IV.
Overall this was a great event thanks to the rumble match. The undercard is just something you have to sit through to get to the main event. The main event made the show worthwhile and changed the rumble match forever.
Royal Rumble 1993
What a difference a year makes. While 1992 is considered to be one of the best rumbles I would say 1993 was probably one of the worst. Earlier in this thread I mentioned that 1988 was a year of out with the old and in with the new. The same was the case for 1992. Some key differences from last year to this were no more Hogan, Piper, Sid, or Jake among several other lesser stars that had been around for years. Also Flair was on his way out immediately after this and Savage had become irrelevant. I didn’t notice the drastic changes as much as I followed as a kid, but just looking at the 1992 rumble compared to 1993 shows a world of difference.
The opening match was pretty standard. The Steiners had recently debuted and this was their first big match. I didn’t follow WCW too much back then, but I knew who the Steiners were and was happy to see them in the WWF.
I was kind of surprised to see Michaels vs. Jannetty at the rumble. I thought they would do this at mania instead. This match was a disappointment. It wasn’t bad, but I expected much better out of these two. I don’t know that involving Sherri so much was necessary. These two certainly had enough history between them that they didn’t need any extra element to this feud.
Bam Bam vs. Bossman looks pretty good on paper. Both guys were big but both were quick and agile too. Like the IC title match this was disappointing. These two should have been able to deliver a better match. I believe this was the Bossman’s last match in the WWF. I know Bigelow was being showcased here as he was new, but I think I would have preferred to see these two in the rumble match. With guys like Terry Taylor, Max Moon, Tenryu, and Carlos Colon, Bigelow and Bossman would have made for a better rumble.
I thought the title match was pretty good. Bret Hart has had so many classic matches over the years this is easy to overlook. This is not on the level as a lot of Bret’s matches but it is solid nonetheless. I liked the matchup. Razor was a new fresh heel at the time and I was intrigued by him.
I was pleased to see Luger had arrived. I was never a very big fan of him, but he was a big name coming into the company at a time where they needed big names. Of course I like how we had a mania match being set up. We knew right away that Luger vs. Perfect was going to mania.
The Royal Rumble can usually overcome a weak undercard by delivering a good rumble match. Unfortunately that did not happen in 1993. There just wasn’t enough star power here. The big stars that were involved like Flair, Perfect, and Taker did not last long enough. I knew when it was time to post about 1993 that I would go on a long rant about how Savage should have won and gone on to face Hart at mania. You took care of that for me KB so I’ll just say I 100% agree. One thing I will disagree on is Giant Gonzalez. I know he’s a laughing stock in the wrestling world. I know he doesn’t have any talent. Despite that at the time (I was 13) seeing him come in and destroy the Undertaker was pretty cool. I just couldn’t believe this monster I was seeing. For the past several years anytime someone delivers a beating to the Undertaker the announcers declare “no one has ever manhandled the Undertaker this way” despite it happening many many times before. This was actually the first. At the time they could honestly make that claim. I figured Gonzalez wouldn’t be able to do much but I was intrigued to see this match a WrestleMania anyway. Overall the rumble was filled with too many mediocre guys with the bigger stars being eliminated too quickly.
I believe there is a difference having watched something live as a kid compared to seeing it years later. If I were to watch this show tonight I would transform into my 13 year old self. I enjoyed anything back then. It would be another couple years before my standards would be raised and I would become more critical of shows. Even though this was a bad show I could put in the tape right now and still be entertained by it.
Royal Rumble 1994
Date: January 22, 1994
Location: Providence Civic Center, Providence, Rhode Island
Commentators: Vince McMahon, Ted DiBiase
A year later, and while the roster hasn’t changed a ton, it’s matured a lot. Yoko has dominated the title scene since winning the title from Hogan in June after the mess that was Mania 9. He’s taking on Taker tonight in their first of the two casket matches that they had. Yes, it’s that match. We also have Razor in another title match and not in the Rumble as he’s now a face and fighting IRS for the IC Title.
The Rumble is more or less Yokozuna and his cronies against Luger with Hart on the side. Yoko had been feuding with Luger but Luger can’t have another title shot. Since the Rumble winner gets a title shot, Luger and Cornette who also worked for Yoko made a deal: Luger can fight in the Rumble but Cornette gets to bring in some guys that will represent Yoko.
That would have been nice to have been told to us on the PPV, but why waste time with that when we can remind you that WE ARE LIVE! Also, we have the next chapter in the brother war, which will be nothing but awesome so let’s get to it.
The crowd is hot if nothing else. Vince on commentary just works better for some reason, despite me loving Monsoon and Heenan. DiBiase I think was a surprise on the mic here as he just kind of pops up after Vince does the main intro. You have to give him this: he’s absolutely insane about his product. I defy you to find someone more dedicated to his company. There’s a reason why he’s the most successful promoter of all time.
DiBiase gets insane heat and it’s a shame he broke his neck and was pushed down the card so far over the years. He says he was in every Rumble to date, which just isn’t true, so at least he’s got the theory behind being a commentator down already: lie about stuff and hope no one remembers.
Note: this is important for one major reason: Brooklyn Brawler actually WON A MATCH in the dark match, beating Jim Powers. He is officially the joke of the company.
Tatanka vs. Bam Bam Bigelow
This was supposed to be Ludvig Borga but Borga hurt his ankle and never came back. Tatanka starts out fast and this could be a solid match, on this LIVE SHOW! He gets a nice jumping DDT on Bigelow as I can’t believe it but Tatanka is actually impressing me. Luna is with Bigelow here in one of the strangest concepts in wrestling history that worked beautifully. For the first time ever, guys in the earlier matches are going to be in the Rumble as well which is something long overdue at this point.
Both announcers have a small orgasm over a running splash. God bless overhyping. Why does Vince always suggest stuff? I don’t get that at all. This isn’t bad at all, but the bear hug isn’t helping it. Vince says that only in the WWF will you ever see a man of Bigelow’s size use a moonsault. That is of course until he went to both WCW and ECW and did it there too. It misses though, and Tatanka hits a basic cross body off the top for the win. Wow that came from out of less than nowhere.
Rating: B. This was actually good for what it was: an 8 minute opener. Tatanka won clean and the fans were into him so it got a good reaction. That’s what an opener is supposed to do: get the crowd built up a little bit. This wasn’t anything great but I’ve certainly seen worse matches. I liked this one a lot though, so there we are.
We hit the recap button on Bret and Owen’s issues and their teaming up. This stems from the Survivor Series match where Owen was the only member of his team eliminated, which for some reason ticked him the hell off. I guess it was because Bret was in a way the cause of him getting eliminated, but at the same time you could argue that it was only Owen’s fault.
Bret said that he would love to help Owen forge a path and legacy in the company, and his way of doing this was helping Owen get his first championship: the tag team titles. How that helps Owen get out of Bret’s shadow was never explained but whatever.
We see clips of the Quebecers losing the belts and then getting them back a week later. That was really pointless as it kind of makes them look weak but we can overlook that. We go to Bret and Owen with Todd as Owen is behind Bret in some great symbolism.
Tag Titles: Bret/Owen Hart vs. Quebecers
Quebecers are managed by one Johnny Polo, who in less than a year would be in ECW as a character called Raven. So I’ve watched about 15 minutes of this so far and I have no complaints. It really is a great tag match. I’m not going to go into the discussion of this match as it’s really good and there’s nothing I can poke fun at other than DiBiase and Vince trying to sound cool which fails epically. Anyway, after about 13 minutes, we get to the point.
The point of the first 13 minutes: Bret and Owen are awesome. Eventually, Bret has the ropes pulled apart and hits the floor, injuring his knee. Following an overblown sequence in which his knee is hit by a chair, the post, the guard rail and a golf club, his knee is a bit hurt. We hit the ring again and Bret is just getting destroyed. His knee is gone and he can barely stand up. He does however dodge the Quebecers finisher and looks for Owen.
However, there’s no tag. Why isn’t there a tag? There isn’t one because Bret goes for the Sharpshooter but his knee gives out and the referee calls for the bell due to injury. Owen is PISSED and I can’t blame him. As Bret limps to his feet, Owen kicks him in the bad knee, sending him to the mat in agony and turning Owen heel, setting up the EPIC feud for the rest of the year.
On his way to the back Owen says that Bret was selfish and all he had to do was tag Owen and they would be champions. Bret is still holding Owen down and Owen has had enough of it. Despite Bret being in agony, Vince sends Ray Rougeau to the ring to find out about him. Well isn’t that nice. As Bret is being stretchered out we go to the back with Todd and Owen.
Owen, with Bret watching him on the stretcher, goes into a great angry rant about Bret’s ego and never having a title because of Bret. This is a great promo by Owen here as he just lets out a ton of anger and yells at Bret, although we do get the famous botched line as he says it felt so good when he kicked Bret’s leg out of his leg, instead of out from under him. Anyway, this was awesome. DiBiase applauds him.
Rating: A+. It’s a great match and a better angle that set up one of the best matches and feuds of all time. What kind of a grade do you expect me to give it? Go find this segment as it’s just excellent all around.
IC Title: Razor Ramon vs. IRS
Fink is very excited to announce this match. IRS is really solid on the mic to say the least. JR and Gorilla do commentary here as the other guys do Radio WWF I guess. Razor is insanely over. My goodness the quality of commentary just shot up. The battle royal that Razor kind of won the IC Title in has jumped from 20 people to 30 people in just a few months. Razor is rocking the baby blue tonight.
IRS apparently stole the necklaces and jewelry from Razor and has it in his briefcase, which Gorilla calls a briefer for no apparent reason. The crowd is on fire for this. That’s making up for it being just above average as a match. IRS takes over here and we’re in a formula based match here and there’s not a thing wrong with that. We hear talk of issues with Michaels and Razor. Oh yes. Also, Razor cost IRS a loss to a man named PJ Walker. He’s more commonly known to you as Justin Credible.
We’ve got a ref bump and Razor prevents the briefcase shot and knocks IRS out with it. Razor sets for the edge but here’s Shawn with his IC belt to nail Razor with. Why can’t we watch the ladder match now? IRS…gets the three count? Wait what? Ah there’s the other referee to explain things here. They did the same thing with a Borga match on a tape I think. We’ll ignore the referee’s decision being final too. The Edge ends this about 8 seconds later.
Rating: C+. This was about Shawn and Razor, but that’s fine. IRS is a fine choice for a midcard heel to keep Razor busy until he gets the major feud going. The match itself was probably about the level of something you would see on Raw or a house show, which doesn’t mean that it’s bad. This was adequate, that’s the best thing I’ve got for it.
Paul Bearer says nothing out of the ordinary.
WWF Title: Undertaker vs. Yokozuna
This is a casket match. For your backstory here, it’s pretty simple: Taker is the only top face that hasn’t fought Yoko yet, so this is his shot. Oh and of course Yoko is scared. Yoko comes out first with Cornette, who looks like his twerpy best from the 80s and Fuji. In something that I wish I was making up, Vince cuts off DiBiase to say we are LIVE! I know I make fun of that a lot, but come on now Vinny.
Anyway, this is considered an epic battle, but Taker is just beating the hell out of him. They’re trying to make Taker look like a god here and they’re doing a pretty epic job. However, despite being slammed into the steps and being fine, salt to the eyes apparently is his kryptonite as all of a sudden the same move has him messed up. Back in the ring, Yoko’s offense that has killed the likes of mere Hogans has no effect here.
Taker beats down Yoko with relative ease and after maybe 6 minutes has him in the casket ready to close the lid when we get to the real part of the match: the run-ins. Crush is first, fighting Taker back but naturally getting beaten down. Kabuki of WCCW fame and Tenryu run in next but are also stopped by Taker. Bigelow comes out as Crush and the others are back up. It’s 4-1 now and Fuji has stolen the urn.
Yoko is back up now too, but Paul Bearer actually takes out Cornette and Fuji to get it back! Here he comes again! Taker is fighting them off again, but a shot from the salt bucket apparently does nothing at all. Adam Bomb is here now. Here’s Jeff Jarrett to make it 7-1. The Headshrinkers make that number 9 but Bearer holds up the urn and TAKER COMES BACK AGAIN!
Ok, now wait a minute. I can get him coming back 4-1, considering Tenryu and Kabuki were just henchmen and he’s shown that he can beat the tar out of Yoko on his own. Crush is tough but Taker is better, so that’s actually plausible. But come on: NINE guys?
Oh if that’s not enough, Diesel is here too and finally they get him in the casket. Just remember the match is still going on here. Something occurs to me. These guys are coming down presumably because they hate Taker or they’ve been bought off I’m assuming.
A question rises from this: WHERE ARE THE OTHER FACES??? I mean DAMN. Savage hates Crush, Luger hates half the guys in there, Tatanka had a match with Bigelow earlier tonight, it’s the mid 90s so I’m sure Razor has beaten half these guys for the IC Title already. The Steiners can’t stand the Headshrinkers, and yet not a single one of them come down. I don’t think that was ever addressed but it makes no sense.
If nothing else, Taker could have been turned heel when he got back over that, but I guess it wouldn’t fit witht he character. Damn it has a big logic hole in it though. Anyway, Taker AGAIN fights back, this time from in the casket but Yoko steals the urn and hits him with it, which apparently is more powerful than 9 guys beating on him but whatever. The top comes off the urn, and green smoke comes pouring out of it.
Taker stops getting up, and after a ton of finishers and big moves, FINALLY they close the casket. Bigelow jumping on top of it as soon as it’s shut made me chuckle for some reason. However, we’re not done yet. The heels, all 12 of them, start wheeling the casket back, and the gong is heard. Smoke similar to the kind from the urn starts coming out of the casket as the lights go out.
On the screen, we see a shot of Taker lying on his back (despite being thrown in on his stomach/side) and his eyes pop open. He gives a ridiculously over the top speech, which amazingly can be heard throughout the arena, more or less saying that he’ll be back. Oh also, we’re led to believe this is inside the casket, despite seeing the bottom of the lid of the casket is plain wood. We hear electrical sounds and the screen looks like it’s being electrocuted, until the image of Taker actually explodes.
I don’t mean that in a figurative sense. I mean it looks like the damn Death Star blowing up, but all that’s left is a negative picture of Taker, as in his body and clothes are all white and his skin is black if you know what kind of picture I’m talking about. Oh we’re not done yet. That image is then changed so that it looks like he’s rising up out of the screen, and then to top it off, a man (allegedly Marty Jannetty) is on top of the screen and raised up on visible strings into the rafters.
There’s just one problem: On PPV, YOU CAN’T SEE ANY OF THIS! I’ve seen this show about 10 times and until I read about it, I had zero idea what was going on that Vince and DiBiase were freaking out about. This time I knew what to look for and I could see it, but DAMN I had no idea that’s what was going on for years.
Vince and Ted scream about how supernatural that was. After the heels run off, Bearer has the now smokeless urn and is pointing up while pushing the casket away. That was just…uh yeah.
Rating: F. This is an F for one reason: they have just completely fucked up Undertaker’s character. This match, and more importantly the smoke from the urn being the source of Taker’s power reminded me of the Midi-Chlorians from Phantom Menace. You don’t explain the Force. You just know what it is and what it’s capable of, but you never question it.
That’s why Taker worked so well. We just knew he had powers and abilities, but by trying to explain them or show what they were was just a waste of time. This was insane and just didn’t work at all. Taker would be out for about 7 months until LESLIE FREAKING NIELSEN was brought in to “solve” the case in a horrible comedy bit at Summerslam. Yeah, Vince really didn’t have a damn clue how Taker’s character worked. This was horrible. Oh and the “match” sucked too.
Savage says he’ll win the Rumble and get Crush.
Jarrett says he’ll win too.
Tatanka says there’s no friends and he’ll win.
Diesel says he’s going to Mania. Well I’d hope so. I’d hate for Vince to keep his own employees from going.
Doink is excited.
Shawn says he’ll be the new champion at Mania.
Luger says this is his big chance.
Vince and DiBiase says anything can happen and keep talking about Taker.
After Howard goes over the rules, we’re ready to go. Oh and it’s 90 seconds this year instead of 2 minutes. Number one is Scott Steiner and he gets Samu of the Headshrinkers. What a coincidence AGAIN! They punch the hell out of each other and again, the idiocy of power vs. power is shown. Also considering this is Samu this isn’t going to go well at all. The clock is sponsored now. I give up.
Rick is #3, so shockingly a team has gotten almost consecutive numbers. How do people not catch this time after time? As the Casio clock, so at least it’s a watch company, gets us to zero, Kwang is 4th. He’s more commonly known as Savio Vega in case you’ve never heard of him. As he comes out, Samu misses a cross body and gets his head caught between the top and middle ropes to be eliminated soon after.
Kwang hits the Muta mist to Rick to get it to one on one. DiBiase points out how easy it would be to just have the Steiners beat on everyone as they came at them which is true, but what does he know? Vince says Rick is smarting from the mist still. I think he said that so that it can be said that Rick is smart for the only time in his career. Scott is rocking the Triforce on his singlet so if nothing else he looks cool.
Owen Hart is fifth to some HUGE boos. He takes out the visually impaired Rick without much trouble and the double team on Scott begins until Bart Gunn is in at 6th. This is going too fast. Apparently something has happened in the back. Well it’s good to know that everyone isn’t just sitting around doing nothing. Diesel comes in at 7 to apparently clear out some of these guys.
At this time he’s just a body guard with zero character to him at all. In about 40 seconds he drops all four guys and we have Backlund in at 8 and it’s one on one. Well at least we have something close to a story going here with the dominant giant. He hits the ring and starts crawling on his stomach. It looks dumb at first but DiBiase does his job and points out that Bob is going after Diesel’s legs.
People on Raw and Smackdown: PAY ATTENTION! That is what an analyst is supposed to do. He explained something that might have been a bit confusing otherwise and he’s got the resume and experience to be believable. See what I mean? It looked a bit odd, so the analyst said what’s going on. That wasn’t complicated at all, but some clarification is always a good thing. They can do more than make stupid jokes you know.
Bob actually gets Diesel close to out but just can’t do it which is fine. A few seconds later Diesel is on his own again, which for some reason surprises DiBiase. And Ted, you haven’t been in every Rumble. You’ve been at them all, just not in them all. Get your facts straight.
Billy Gunn is next, and apparently you can find out the order of the wrestlers by calling the WWF Hotline. WOW. Ok, where to begin with why that’s stupid. #1, it ruins the mystique of knowing who is in the match. 2, that’s the first time we’ve heard about that all night long so nice job of advertising. 3, who in the hell thought that was a good idea? Never mind, it’s a Vince McMahon show and there’s money to be made. All is explained.
Anyway, mullet man is victim #6 of Big D, lasting maybe 15 seconds. What’s up with the way he punches? It’s like he hits people with the wrist. We see a clip from earlier to Tenryu and Kabuki jumping Luger in the back. Yeah you can tell it’s been a dominant performance if we have time for a segment during the match. The power of Shane Stevens stops them though.
Virgil is #10 as an alternate for Kamala and despite DiBiase laughing his ass off over it, Diesel drops him in about a minute. Wow we’re already a third done with this. We have a story here though so I’m very proud. This is a new approach to the match that really is working. Also we don’t have to worry about the ring filling up with jobbers. Ah here we go: Randy Savage is number 11 and he hammers the big man.
See this is a smart way of doing the Rumble: they had all those guys like the Gunns and Virgil and Kwang that weren’t going to mean a damn thing and got them in and out so the bigger names can be around later on. That’s very smart and it gives you a bonus of making Diesel look amazing. I’ve always been a bit surprised that DiBiase and Savage’s feud from 88 was really never mentioned on WWF TV after it ended.
There was never any mention of them having any issues or of DiBiase main eventing a Wrestlemania or anything like that. It’s like it was forgotten, and it’s not like DiBiase is on bad terms with the company or something like that as far as I know. He’s made a ton of appearances over the years yet you never hear about it. Anyway, Jarrett is 12th as I have visions of WCW dancing in my head.
I kind of liked the Jarrett story of using wrestling as a springboard to country music. That’s very original if nothing else. Savage takes him out with relative ease so we’re back to him and Diesel again. It’s Crush to a huge reaction from the audience. He and Savage were in the middle of a mega feud at this point which was just purely awesome. For the life of me I don’t get why Crush never got a huge push.
Him against Hart would have been very interesting at least to me. Doink comes in because I guess there wasn’t enough stupid comedy to meet the quota. Savage is gone and we’re at two monsters against a clown. He actually is smart though as he just watches the big men fight. He actually sprays water from a flower and steps on their toes. Thankfully they wake up and beat the tar out of him as Bigelow comes in at fifteen.
This is going really fast but there’s a bit of a flow to it here and it’s not as bad as I expected it to be. Bigelow puts Doink out with the same thing he did to I think Spike Dudley in ECW, which had just started to be booked by Heyman two months prior to this show.
Since he’s an idiot, Crush hits Diesel when they have Bigelow an inch away from being out. Mabel is 16th as the smallest person out there is Crush as 6’9 and about 310lbs. Diesel goes right for him as I’m digging this planning of the Rumble. There’s been distinct segments here and that’s a major plus. And here’s Bob Holly to screw that up. He’s subbing for 1-2-3 Kid. WOW that’s not a good way either way.
WE ARE LIVE! WE GET IT ALREADY VINCE! What’s the damn point in showing wide shots of the crowd and saying how live we are? I didn’t buy this PPV to be shown the fucking audience. I bought it for the matches, so quit showing big wide shots of the fucking crowd and emphasizing that you’re live. It means jack shit and no one cares but you. WOW how many things could that be said about that he’s come up with?
Shawn is in at 18. All of the big guys get on Diesel and Shawn gives the final shove to put him out. That gets no reaction at all. He gets some applause on his way out though, and you can hear the wheels turning in Vince’s mind. Mo, the most worthless wrestler of all time is in next. Greg Valentine (seriously???) is in at 20 to a decent pop (seriously???). 21 is Tatanka to a short but loud pop.
To recap, we’ve got Crush, Bigelow, Mabel, Holly, Shawn, Mo, Valentine and Tatanka in there at the moment. Kabuki is in next as someone else that no one knows. A bunch of people jump Mabel and he’s out, which surprises Vince for no apparent reason. Luger sprints out with apparently no damage at all to him from the earlier attack and naturally goes straight after Kabuki, and there he goes.
In a STUNING, yes STUNNING I say, turn of events, Tenryu is next at 24. The buzzer rings for 25 but no one comes out, which was apparently Bret Hart. To recap, we have Crush, Bigelow, Holly, Michaels, Mo, Valentine, Tatanka, Luger and Tenryu. Luger and Michaels could have been an interesting feud. Martel, more commonly known as he who will not go away, is 26th and it amazes me that we’re this close to being done.
At 27, in the words of Vince, IT’S BRET HART!!! He’s limping like hell so of course everyone goes for his knee. He’s barely in there when Fatu is out at 28. We’ve got WAY too many people in there at the moment with something like 11 or so. A ton of people get together to eliminate Crush as Marty Jannetty comes in and goes right for Shawn. Now, since we have 10 guys in the ring, what’ the best thing to do? Why, go to the back to hear from Crush!!!
Yep, they actually cut from the ring to Ray Rougeau in the back with Crush for an interview. Savage jumps him and they brawl. This would have been stupid if it went on for 20 seconds, but it lasts over a minute! Also you can see Adam Bomb clearly standing there getting ready to come out so it also gives away #30. We get back to the ring and apparently nothing has happened, but geez how freaking stupid was that? They hate each other, we get it already.
Ok, so with Bomb, who Vince says will win the Rumble, gives us a final group of Bomb, Bigelow, Holly, Shawn, Mo, Valentine, Tatanka, Luger, Tenryu, Martel, Fatu and Jannetty. Oh and they figure out that the guy that didn’t show was Bastian Booger.
Bret and Shawn eliminate Holly. They work very well together. I hope those two do more in the future. With such great teamwork they could really do some great things. Ok bad jokes are mostly over as we have 11 people left. Damn that’s just too many at the end. Bret Hart beats on Mo which has to be the highlight of Mo’s career. Bret is limping everywhere, so he wins salesman of the year already. Valentine is out.
They’re just kind of mulling around at this point. Martel is out by Tatanka. Bomb is out as we’ve rapidly picked up the pace. Mo is out and gets no recognition by name. I love that. Bam Bam just throws Tatanka out like a jobber. Are these guys all double parked or something? Bigelow does a Flair Flip and goes out by Luger. Jannetty goes out and we’re down to five with Luger, Hart, Tenryu, Michaels and Fatu. Hart and Luger get rid of Tenryu to take us down to four.
Bret and Shawn go at it, as I’m completely unstunned. Shawn and Fatu go out on stereo backdrops and we’ve got Luger vs. Bret. They go right at it and dump each other out at the same time. Both men are announced as the winner individually and since Hart gets a bigger pop I guess he wins. My goodness the things I want to do to Luger. I have a thing for muscle guys and damn.
They’re named co-winners, even though later on we would see video where Luger clearly hit the ground first. Tunney comes out and makes the official co-winner decision. This led to a coin toss where the winner would get the first title shot at Mania and the other guy had to fight someone “of an equal level”, which led to Bret vs. Owen. Had Bret won the toss, Luger would have fought Crush.
No matter what, the person that didn’t get the shot would get the title shot later in the night against whoever had the belt after the first title match. I like that system a lot better than the triple threat which wasn’t around in the WWF yet. Granted that could be because we’ve seen so many triple threats that they’ve lost their luster. Anyway, that ends our show.
Rating: B. This was a good Rumble. I was quite surprised that the intervals worked as well as they did here, since the shorter ones usually don’t work that well. This had a lot of segments in it and you could tell that it was well planned. 92’s was better simply because of star power, but this is easily the 2nd best so far.
I really liked this match and it did a lot of good things, including advancing stories and making you interested in seeing how they would fix the issues brought up in the match. That to me makes it a success. It’s not great, but it’s very good.
Overall Rating: B. This was a mostly solid show. If you factor out the Taker/Yoko debacle this is an instant A. Razor vs. IRS is probably the weakest match but it works very well and certainly isn’t bad at all. The Rumble itself is a good one and the tag titles is must see stuff.
You factor in all those things and this was a very good show. There’s more here than just the Rumble, but that’s the centerpiece. Overall definitely a good show and well worth checking out, as long as you’re not a diehard Taker fan because you might want to shoot your TV.
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