WWF Battle Royal at the Albert Hall – October 3, 1991
by Scrooge McSuck
From the… well, Albert Hall in London , England , and one of those “special” UK exclusive PPV’s that would eventually surface on Coliseum Video (although to be fair, this show was also only released in the UK , I think). To soften the blow of the show being from England (we all know what that means), Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan are handling commentary for the entire show, with Lord Alfred Hayes popping in and out at times, as well.
1. The Rockers vs. The Nasty Boys (w/ Jimmy Hart):
(Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty vs. Brian Knobbs & Jerry Sags)
It seems like the Rockers pulled curtain jerker a lot for supercards in 1991, opening the show for the Royal Rumble, WrestleMania VII, and UK Rampage to go along with this show. Meaningless trivia is a good way to stretch out a match recap. The Rockers quickly send the Nasties running from the ring… and then we get the time honored tradition of the heels posing to a disapproving crowd, while the faces do the same to cheers. Jesus, did the Nasty Boys do this in EVERY match? All I know is it’s a good way to kill a couple of minutes of actually wrestling. Michaels and Sags finally start after the long stall-fest, and Sags nails Shawn good in the corner to my enjoyment. Criss-cross sequence leads to Shawn cleaning the clocks of both Nasties, and Jannetty comes in with a double clothesline to send the Nasty Boys running again. Now it’s time for Knobbs and Jannetty to go at it, and it’s more of the same. Knobbs does nothing but basic punchy-kicky crap (badly, I might add), and Jannetty mounts a quick comeback to take control. MORE stalling outside of the ring by the Nasty Boys. Marty takes control of Sags with a front facelock, killing more time, then switches to some kind of arm/surfboard move. After the Rockers trade off the move, Michaels FINALLY becomes the face-in-peril. Michaels takes a butt-whooping outside of the ring, long enough to be counted-out about a hundred times by now. Oh well, Michaels being stiffed by the Nasty Boys is always fun in my books. Just what the world needed… a BEAR HUG SPOT in a match not featuring a fat guy. Oh, and a fake hot tag, too. They certainly pulling out all the tricks for this match. Jannetty gets the real hot tag moments later, cleaning house with rights and dropkicks. Mounted punches to Knobbs in the corner, and more rights to Sags in the opposite end. DOUBLE NOGGIN-KNOCKER! The Rockers whip the Nasties into each other, and Jannetty covers Sags for a two count. Michaels press slams Marty omto Sags… BADLY, but Knobbs has the megaphone, nails Jannetty across the back of the head, and Sags covers for the three count at 17:21. *1/2 Wow, who in their right mind gave the green light for THE NASTY BOYS to go twenty minutes to open a show? There were a few “good” moments popping up here and there, but for the most part, this was about as dull as watching paint dry, and that can be pretty damn dull unless you’re one of those stoner kids.
2. Tito Santana vs. Ric Flair:
This has a chance to be good, depending on how much offense Santana gets. Remember, this was before he became “El Matador”, so he’s still basically on one of the lowest positions in the company, just barely ahead of Koko B. Ware on the babyface side. Flair had only debuted about three weeks earlier, so this is one of his first “high profile” matches since jumping ship. Flair still has his REAL World’s Championship belt, without the black blob covering it up. Gorilla and Heenan bickering during a Flair match is always entertaining, and it hasn’t even started. Lockup to start, and Flair gives a clean break and “Woo” in the corner. Lockup #2, and Santana gives a cheap shot. Never trust a Mexican! Santana with a standing side headlock and shoulder block, sending Flair out of the ring… wait, I just realized Flair is the SECOND MATCH FROM THE BOTTOM. Damn… Back inside, and the two fight over an over-head wristlock. Santana battles back with the constipated face, but Flair pulls him down and works the arm over. Flair with another pull of the hair to take Santana down, and the arm work continues. Santana fights back with some illegal punches and takes Flair over with a ba-a-a-ack body drop. Santana with a series of dropkicks, and Flair does his signature flop. Outside the ring we go, and Santana rams him into anything he can find. Flair no-sells for once and returns the favor. Santana comes back in with a sunset flip, but it only gets a two count. Flair with a side headlock. Santana escapes, takes Flair down with a drop toe hold, and applies a spinning toe hold. That would make Dory Funk Jr. proud. Santana goes to work on the left leg of Flair. Flair trips up Santana and rolls him up, but that only gets a two count. Flair with a chop, and Santana comes back with mounted punches. Flair no-sells and takes him down with an inverted atomic drop. Flair with a knee across the forehead of Santana for a two count. Irish whip to the corner, WITH AUTHORITY! Flair with a snapmare, and he covers for another two count. Santana mounts a mild comeback, winning a slugfest. Whip to the corner, and Flair lands on the apron, and is greeted with a clothesline from Santana. Suplex back into the ring, and now Flair is begging off. Irish whip, and Santana catches him in a back slide for a two count. Flair with a thumb to the eyes, and a series of short rights gets a two count. Back suplex by Flair, and he has the Figure-Four applied! He cheats, of course, but Santana won’t give up. Danny Davis, former heel-referee, catches Flair cheating, but doesn’t care. Santana finds the power of Arriba-derci (only one person will get that joke), and turns the momentum over. Flair kisses canvas again and Santana sends him flying over the top rope with a roundhouse right. Flair drags Santana out of the ring for more slugfests. Back in the ring, and Flair gets slammed off the top rope, to the surprise of no one. Santana misses an elbow drop. Whip to the corner, and Santana comes charging out with a clothesline for a two count. Flying Jalupeno connects, but Flair gets the foot on the rope at two. Irish whip, and Flair reverses a roll up (with a handful of tights) for the three count at 15:55. *** Overall a pretty good wrestling match, but nothing terrible exciting went down. It was just two guys having a match. Not a “dull” match, but it certainly isn’t going to make the highlight reel of either man’s career. Still much better than most of the stuff WWF was producing at the time, though.
3. Big Boss Man vs. Earthquake (w/ Jimmy Hart):
Well, there goes the streak of good matches, clocked in at a total of one. I have nothing against either man, but Boss Man’s ability declined at rapid speed around this time, and ‘Quake never out on a match where I went “damn, that was a fun match.” Add to the fact I’ve seen this pair wrestle before to poor success, and you can expect me not to pay too much attention to this one. Basically, this is a battle of the bulge, as Earthquake uses his fat to over-power the Boss Man, and the Boss Man tries to out-run and slug away on Earthquake. About as exciting as I make it out to be. One highspot of the match is Boss Man working a side headlock spot for about two-minutes. Bottom rope sledge by Boss Man, and he goes to the second buckle for another, knocking ‘Quake on his butt, King Hippo style. Boss Man to the top rope, but Earthquake catches him and plants the BBM with a powerslam. ‘Quake works over the Boss Man with boring big man offense, and of course, that includes a BEAR HUG. Oh great, now he goes to a reverse chinlock. My God, does this match suck. Boss Man eventually mounts a comeback, but that doesn’t last too long, being squashed in the corner. End this fucking garbage, already! Boss Man with another comeback, KO’ing ‘Quake with a enziguri. That only gets a two count after 50-seconds of laying around. Quake accidentally nails Jimmy off the apron, but the roll up attempt just gets two. Quake gets trapped in the ropes as the Mountie makes his way to ringside. Boss Man just beats on ‘Quake for a while, until being tripped up by the Mountie. ‘Quake with a big elbow drop across the back, and the three count ends this one at 15:47. DUD This match sucked on so many levels, I won’t bother going into much detail, but let me just say one thing. 16-minutes long, and I did pretty detailed PBP for the entire match. Not good, what-so-ever.
4. “ Texas Tornado” Kerry Von Erich vs. The Mountie (w/ Jimmy Hart):
Oh God, not this match again. I hate to recycle previous reviews of a match, but in this case, I’m going to have to do it. Sorry. From my crappy World Tour ’92 review: Pulled from the UK Exclusive event, the Battle Royale at the Albert Hall, which has to be the WORST name for an event this side of Taboo Tuesday. This match is going to be really fucking awful. Von Erich was WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY past the point of being useful in the ring, and Jacques Rougeau, while being a good tag wrestler, isn't a good singles wrestler, and the chances of him getting anything worth a damn out of Von Erich in 1991 is close to nothing. The good news here is that Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan have the call, so at least that can keep me awake. 5-minutes into the match, and we've had maybe 10 seconds of actual wrestling. The Mountie finally comes back in the ring, and we get a 3-minute sleeper hold. If you looked up boring in the dictionary, you're wasting your time, because that joke has been shit since 1962. Tornado FINALLY escapes and applies his own sleeper hold, and that lasts a couple of minutes too. Von Erich misses a charge to the corner, ramming his shoulder into the post. Mountie beats on him a bit, but nothing of note really happens, other than Tornado no-selling the injured shoulder. Oh wait, he missed the discuss punch against the ring post. At least he's selling that. Back in the ring, and about 50-seconds later, the Mountie sweeps the legs from under Von Erich, puts his feet up on the ropes, and that ends this mess at 13:17. After the "match", Von Erich beats up the Mountie to get his undercard heat back. The crowd goes kinda happy. Without going into a paragraph long rant, this match fucking sucked. Plain and simple. Giving this a DUD would be the most generous rating I've ever given, but I won't, because I'm not a nice guy. -*** It was that fucking bad.
5. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan vs. The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer):
In a somewhat cool touch, a Phantom of the Opera reject plays the Undertaker’s theme music live on an organ stationed somewhere off camera, the first time in a very LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG line of special and/or spectacular entrances he would make in his career. This match is going to suck, by the way, and I’ve never actually sat through it before now. Duggan somehow gets a decent face reaction with his Pro-USA shit in the United Kingdom . Weird. At WrestleMania VI, it was pretty funny when the crowd sided with Dino Bravo a bit. ‘Taker attacks before the bell, but Duggan controls with roundhouse rights. Duggan with a clothesline sending the Undertaker over the top, but he lands on his feet. Duggan pulls Undertaker up on the apron, and of course, gets hung up across the top rope for his trouble. It’s a signature ‘Taker spot, everyone should’ve seen it coming. Choking by Undertaker, and I bet we get a lot more of it. “ USA ” chant, for whatever fucking reason. Both men no-sell a lot, and Undertaker continues to control with choking. Undertaker goes to school before it got old, dropping a clothesline across the back of Duggan. Duggan barely sells it, of course. MORE CHOKING. Duggan fights back with an inverted atomic drop. Undertaker no-sells that, too. Duggan heads outside for Bearer, for whatever reason. Oh, he has the 2x4. Undertaker sneaks up from behind and clobbers Duggan. Back into the ring, and Undertaker remains in control. Irish whip, and the flying clothesline connects. Duggan returns to life and nails Undertaker with his 2x4, giving the dead man the win by Disqualification at 6:19. ¼* Well, at least it was kept short, but it still didn’t save the match from sucking. Pretty pathetic that a midcarder in limbo couldn’t do a semi-clean job to the next fucking World Champion.
Intermission time, as Mean Gene gets interviews out of Roddy Piper, Typhoon and Jimmy Hart, Power & Glory, and the Legion of Doom. Nothing much of note is said for the most part. Roddy Piper and the LOD surprise me, but then again, they weren’t as fucked up on drugs at this point in their careers, so that explains a lot.
6. WWF Tag Team Championship Match:
The Legion of Doom © vs. Power & Glory:
(Road Warrior Hawk & Animal vs. Hercules & Paul Roma)
I’m not too sure, but this might have been one of the last “major” appearances of Power & Glory as a team. Sometime around Survivor Series, Roma disappeared and Hercules became a heel JTTS. Hopefully this match will be a bit longer than their classic at WrestleMania VII, but not too long. No Slick for Power & Glory, and I won’t bother with any jokes regarding Paul Roma because of his comments on the Four Horsemen DVD. In a non-gay moment, Hercules helps Roma remove his shirt. Much like the opening match, nothing goes on for a good while. Hawk wants a test-of-strength, but Roma stalls. They finally lock-up, and Hawk wins that without much trouble. Roma cheats to escape and hammers away with rights. Irish whip is reversed, and Hawk sends Roma running following a dropkick. Cat-and-mouse game, and Roma pounds away again. Irish whip, and Hawk surprises Roma with a nasty neck breaker. Hawk with a snapmare, followed by a fist drop for a two count. Animal and Hercules go at it, now. Hercules floors Animal with a clothesline and pounds away in the corner. Animal comes bouncing back with a clothesline of his own, and Hawk tags back in to do a lot of punching. Hercules no-sells and takes control following an inverted atomic drop. Punch-punch-punch… Hawk no-sells and rams Herc’ into the buckle ten times. Roma tags back in, and Hawk looks drunk. He gets trapped in the heel corner and double teamed. Roma manages to get Hawk up for a piledriver, and a good looking one too. Hawk no sells though, no doubt making Jerry Lawler smile, and press slams Roma into the heavens before throwing him on top of Hercules. Hawk to the top rope, but he misses a clothesline. P&G work him over outside the ring for a while before taking it back into the ring. Hercules with some clubbering blows and drops Hawk throat-first across the top rope. Whip to the corner, and a collision puts both men down. Animal with the hot tag, and he nails Roma (barely) with his signature diving shoulder tackle. Whip to the corner, and Animal with a stiff clothesline, followed by a dropkick to Hercules. Irish whip, and Animal with a powerbomb to Roma for a two count. Pier-six brawl! Roma with a slam on Animal, but he jumps into a powerslam, and that’s enough for the LOD three count at 9:08. *1/2 Match could’ve been worse. Nothing really “bad” went down as in the opening tag match, but it wasn’t that good either. I sure am disappointed Roma didn’t get to eat a Doomsday Device like at WrestleMania VII.
7. “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith vs. The Barbarian:
Interesting match… for whatever reason, Lord Alfred Hayes takes over the ring announcer duties from Mel Phillips (the black ring announcer who had a foot fetish… with little kids) for this match. The Barbarian was just going through the motions at this point, so the out-come shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Monsoon accuses Heenan of robbing the Barbarian blind. I’ve never sat through this match either, but I bet the Barbarian loses by a roll up while posing over the Bulldog. Another one of those “power vs. power” matches that doesn’t lead to too much exciting action. The crowd is into it at least, but that’s not a fair assessment of the match, considering they like EVERYTHING. Bulldog works the arm for most of the early going, and the crowd still loves it. That’s what happens when you got a hometown boy wrestling. Bulldong continues working over the arm until the Barbarian sends him flying from the ring courtesy of a big boot. Barbarian follows him out to ram DBS into the ring post, and just bores the shit out of me, preventing the Bulldog from getting back in the ring. Snapmare and chinlock by the Barbarian to pick up the action. Bulldog fights back briefly, but Barbarian plants him with a piledriver. That only gets a two count. Barbarian with a scoop slam, then heads to the top rope to miss an elbow drop, just like he always does. Bulldog with a series of rights, and a clothesline sends Barbarian out of the ring. Barbarian accidentally clotheslines the ring post, and both men get back in the ring. Bulldog with a clothesline for a two count. Bulldog with a delay vertical suplex for another two count. Bulldog with mounted punches in the corner. Whip across the ring is reversed, and Barbarian misses a charge. Bulldog scoops him up, and the Powerslam ends it at 10:07. OK, for the first time ever, the Barbarian lost in a different manner. ¾* Match was still pretty bad. Don’t ask how I came up with the rating, I just randomly picked a fraction of a star and stuck it on here for good measure. We’re nearing the end of the show (thank God), and I don’t think anything can save this event from the toilet bowl.
8. 20-Man Over-The-Top-Rope Battle Royal:
(Participants: Kerry Von Erich, Typhoon, Earthquake, Tito Santana, The Mountie, Shawn Michaels, Marty Jannetty, The Barbarian, Big Boss Man, Hercules, Paul Roma, Jim Duggan, Brian Knobbs, Jerry Sags, Ric Flair, Road Warrior Hawk, Road Warrior Animal, The British Bulldog, The Undertaker, Roddy Piper)
Basically everyone is pulling double duty, plus Roddy Piper and Typhoon show up to fill out the 20-men part. Why not just so Roddy Piper vs. Ric Flair, instead of saving Piper exclusively for the Battle Royal, and then switching around the card a bit to get Santana in a match more suitable for his position in the company? As usual, I won’t bother with detailed PBP since it’ll be all punchy-kicky stuff. Piper heads right for Flair, of course, and everyone does some form of hugging. They brawl around the ring, and then Boss Man and Mountie follow their lead. Hercules is gone first at 2:29, jumping over the top rope for whatever reason, but he was standing near Hawk, so I guess he didn’t want to get killed or something. Von Erich is back dropped out by Knobbs at 2:40. What a bad night he had. Piper throws Knobbs onto the apron, then gently pushes him off with two fingers to get rid of him at 3:24. Typhoon throws Jannetty out at 3:39. Santana manages to eliminate the Barbarian at 4:15. Santana isn’t long for the world though, and is gone thanks to Earthquake at 4:39. Piper goes back to brawling with Flair as nothing else of note happens. Hawk gets sent packing by Sags at 5:13, and Sags is then dumped by Animal moments later at 5:18. Shawn Michaels is gone at the hands of the Mountie at 5:49. Jim Duggan is thrown out by Earthquake at 6:38. Duggan comes back though, and nails Quake with his 2x4, allowing Animal to send Quake out of the match at 7:09. Piper and Flair are brawling outside of the ring, again. Back inside, and Piper hammers on Flair before back dropping him out at 7:44. There goes the neighborhood! Roma saves the Mountie from danger, and in return is dumped out by Bulldog at 8:56. Animal is gone thanks to the Undertaker at 9:06. Undertaker unloads on Piper, but misses a clothesline and is dumped at 9:31. Undertaker climbs back on the apron and pulls Piper out at 9:36, much like Bad News Brown did to Piper at the 1990 Royal Rumble. That makes the final four a wonderful combination of Davey Boy Smith, the Big Boss Man, the Mountie, and Typhoon. I wonder who’s going to win! Boss Man works over the Mountie for a bit, but misses a charge, and goes flying over the top at 11:24, leaving the Bulldog against Jimmy Hart’s boys. They double team Bulldog in the corner, but Typhoon accidentally splashes the Mountie, and now Bulldog hammers on Typhoon (way to go with being impartial, Lord Alfred). The Mountie attacks from behind to make the save. Irish whip, and the Jimmy Hart Gang put Bulldog down with a double clothesline. Mountie holds Bulldog in place for a clothesline, and if you don't know what happens next, you have no business being a wrestling fan. Anyway, the Mountie is gone at 13:37. Bulldog with a series of shoulder blocks and dropkick to Typhoon. Irish whip to the corner, and Typhoon squashes him with an avalanche. Typhoon charges, but Bulldog back drops him out to win the Battle Royal at 14:40. After the match, Earthquake returns to the ring to lay a double team beating on the Bulldog… but here comes Andre The Giant to make the “save” as the tape comes to an end! N/R I hate rating Battle Royals because they all suck ass (with the rare case of a good one happening once a decader), so it’s obvious this one wasn’t very good.
Final Thoughts: Another in a long line of UK shows that WWF produced where everyone appears to be going in slow motion for the most part and not putting forth a 100% effort. The only good match on the show is Flair vs. Santana, and that alone is not worth tracking down this show. Unless you’re a fan of a lot of bad matches and a main event of a Battle Royal, then I recommend letting this show slip out of your mind incase you ever got curious and wanted to see it. Just get a copy of UK Rampage ’93 instead.