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WWF Royal Rumble - January 19, 1992
by Scrooge McSuck
Originally broadcasted on January 19th, 1992, from the Knickerbocker Arena in Albany, NY, and with Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan calling all the action. This show marked the end of my wrestling viewership, missing out pretty much all of 1992, before being reintroduced through some program called "Monday Night Raw" a few weeks before the next years Royal Rumble. Being a youngster, I remember being quite upset that our VCR (remember those?) crapped itself hours before the PPV, so we couldn't record it for future vieiwings. Hey, we're spending $25 on these shows (remember those price tags?), might as well record a copy for ourselves.
This Rumble marks the first time the Rumble Match actually had a prize for the winner: In this year's case, the WWF Championship. After Hogan and Undertaker swapped the belt back and forth through questionable tactics (and a little help from newcomer Ric Flair), President Jack Tunney declared the title be vacated, and be up for grabs in the 30-Man Rumble. Hogan and Undertaker, being the recent former champions, were allowed to choose their number, with only entry 20 through 30 in their tumbler, while everyone else got the "everyone else" policy. With the Rumble match packed with star power, we'll see how weak the undercard turns out.
The New Foundation vs. The Orient Express (w/ Mr. Fuji):
(Jim Neidhart & Owen Hart vs. Tanaka & Kato)
First match in, and the filler is obvious. I didn't think the Express were even a team anymore at this point, Jim Neidhart's singles push was killed faster than you can say "Roddy Piper's daughter's purse is over there", and Owen Hart had only been back for about two months. Owen and Kato start, with Owen working the arm. Criss-cross, arm drag, and armbar by Owen, as Monsoon lists Rumble replacements: Marty Jannetty and Knobbs out, Haku and NIKOLAI VOLKOFF in. Yes, those two are now odds on favorites, I'm sure. Owen pops the crowd with some good athletic activities, takes Kato over with a hurricanrana, then goes back to the arm. Neidhart comes in, and does his usual. Tanaka tags in to offer what he can, but Neidhart is too strong. Spinebuster and elbow drop gets a two count. Owen with a back breaker for two, again. Owen with a back drop and enziguri. Whip to the corner, and Anvil charges in with a shoulder to the midsection. The Express try double teaming, but Anvil lays both out with clotheslines, and Owen comes off the top with a double cross body. Owen with a spinning heel kick on Kato for two. Tanaka with a cheap shot from the apron, and Fuji adds a cane shot, to finally give the Orient Express control of the match. Whip to the ropes, and Kato with a diving elbow for a two count. Whip to the corner, and Owen does the Bret bump for another two count. Tanaka with a thrust kick for two. Owen fights free of a chinlock, but Tanaka wipes him out with his twisting forearm smash for a two count. Whip to the corner, Owen with a boot to the face, followed by a bulldog. The cane gets involved again, and snapped in half in the process. I didn't really notice, but it seems like Owen has worked all but 45-seconds of this match (rough estimation). I guess that's a good thing. The double teaming finally backfires, as Owen comes off the ropes with a double dropkick. Neidhart gets the hot tag, and slingshots in with a shoulder tackle. Neidhart with slams and a back drop on Tanaka. Owen with a sucide dive on Kato, and the Rocket Launcher finishes Tanaka off at 17:18. Solid formula tag match, but a little long in the tooth for me. Served it's purpose to get the crowd going, but again, after the complete burial of the Express last year, it's hard to take them serious in matches this long.
- We see clips from January 17th in Springfield, MA, where the Mountie pinned Bret Hart for the Intercontinental Championship. I didn't remember this being shown, but it's pretty cool. Post-match, Mountie beats down Bret until Roddy Piper makes the save, and then the Mountie goes after Piper, but Piper no-sells it and lays Mountie out. We all know the story here, I believe: Bret was thinking about jumping to WCW, so they had to take the title off him ASAP.
WWF Intercontinental Championship Match:
The Mountie © (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. "Rowdy" Roddy Piper:
All you need to know about this one was just listed in the previous paragraph. Roddy Piper is making a Rumble first: Pulling double duty, competing here, and later tonight in the Rumble, which means he can leave with TWO Championship belts. Piper smothers Mountie with the kilt and quickly starts pounding away on him. Whip to the ropes, and Mountie takes a hike. Piper follows, and continues where he left off. Back in the ring, and Mountie chokes away. Mountie goes for a monkey flip, but Piper counters, dropping fist. Piper with a running bulldog for a two count. Piper with some trash talking and a Stooges poke of the eyes. Hart trips Piper up, allowing Mountie to attack from behind. Slugfest, and Piper misses a dropkick. Mountie with a half-nelson, and he rams Piper into the buckle. Whip to the ropes, and Mountie with a diving elbow for a two count. Mountie tosses Piper through the ropes, and Piper comes back in with a sunset flip for a two count. Whip to the ropes, and Piper with a back drop. Fist to the midsection and an atomic drop knocks Mountie over the top, but he skins the cat back in, accidentally nails Jimmy Hart, and Piper finishes Mountie off with the Sleeper for his only REAL Championship in the WWF at 5:19. Pretty cool moment. Piper was always someone who deserved a championship reign or two, but really didn't need it. Obviously, that "real" comment was a knock on that dumb tag title reign that lasted all of two weeks in 2005.
The Bushwhackers (w/ Jameson) vs. The Beverly Brothers (w/ The Genius):
(Butch & Luke vs. Blake & Beau Beverly)
Oh dear Lord... For those unfamiliar, and I'm sure you sure, Jameson was some pipsqueak dork that was mainly featured on occasional episodes of Primetime Wrestling, usually being physically harmed or made the butt of jokes. How he got involved in this is beyond me... I didn't watch Primetime, so I had no idea who Jameson was at the time, and I still don't get his involvment. Bobby Heenan spends practically the entire match making fun of him, and that's the highlight of this, because this match SUCKS. Jameson's parents never got a divorce because neither wanted custody of him. Jameson would come home from school everyday to find his parents left home. They would wrap his lunch in road maps. I'm not a big fan of Mike Enos and Wayne Bloom, but no one deserves being forced into a match this long, for the sake of bad comedy. It doesn't get them over, and the Bushwhackers act got old in 1989. Here's the formula of the match: Beverly Brothers control, Bushwhackers with goofy offense, stall, shot of Jameson being stupid, rinse, repeat. After about 10-minutes, the "comedy" finally ends and it's just a shitty, boring match, instead of a shitty comedy match. Genius punking Jameson out is the new highlight of the match. Butch gets the hot tag, and sadly dominates both Beverly Brothers single handedly. Most of the crowd is dead, but a few fans seem to pop for this garbage. Beau with a double axehandle, and Blake covers for three at 14:56. You end a match on THAT?! Wow, this was easily the worst match featured on a WWF Pay-Per-View in 1992, and that includes TWO matches featuring Nailz. Genius gets brought into the ring afterwards, allowing Jameson to get revenge with a kick to the shin. Pussy.
WWF Tag Team Championship Match:
(Hawk & Animal vs. Earthquake & Typhoon)
The Legion of Doom © vs. The Natural Disasters (w/ Jimmy Hart):
I've mentioned this already, but I really didn't care for the WWF's Tag Team Division around this time, so naturally, the entire undercard for this PPV were tag team matches (okay, majority of it). This is classic insta-feud, with no real issues other than one or two altercations, and bam: title match. Hawk and Typhoon start. It's a battle of muscle vs. bulk, won by Hawk's top rope clothesline. I guess high-flying > muscle > bulk. Earthquake tags in and no-sells a dropkick. HA! TAKE THAT, HAWK! Quake throws a dropkick, but Hawk side-steps it. Monsoon with a Sky Low Low reference, for you old timers out there. Animal tags in, and it's slugfest time. Criss-cross and a double clothesline puts both men down. Animal goes for a slam, but 'Quake lands on top for a two count. Typhoon with an avalanche, but a second is countered with a boot, and Animal takes him down with a clothesline. Double clothesline between Hawk and Typhoon, and neither budges. Typhoon catches a body press and connects on a back breaker. This isn't "bad", but REALLY dull, and the crowd seems uninterested too, for the most part. The Disasters work Hawk over, and Typhoon introduces the first bearhug of the match. Hawk fights free, but jumps into another one. Quake tags in and slaps on his version. Animal winds up getting the hot tag, and takes 'Quake off his feet with a diving shoulder tackle. The action spills outside, where Earthquake slaps on ANOTHER bearhug on Hawk. Everyone brawls, but Typhoon has enough common sense to roll back in the ring to win the match by Count-Out at 9:22. Post-match, Animal clears the ring with a chair. Nice sportsmanship. Total dog of a match. LOD's championship reign really sucked.
WWF Championship; 30-Man Royal Rumble Match:
We've been through this during the introduction of the recap. #1 is The British Bulldog
, and #2 is the Million Dollar Man, Ted Dibiase
. Heenan and Monsoon reference the Battle Royal at the Albert Hall as a way to build up Bulldog's chances. Dibiase works Bulldog over in the corner then takes him over with a suplex. Dibiase with a gutwrench suplex, followed by a fist drop. Dibiase with another suplex, but an elimination attempt fails. Bulldog surprises Dibiase with a clothesline, eliminating him at 1:22. #3 is Ric Flair
, and Heenan has a heart attack in the broadcast booth. Monsoon takes great pride in egging Heenan on the rest of the night. Bulldog with a press slam, but he DOESN'T throw him out... I hate that spot. Bulldog comes off the ropes with a clothesline, and Flair begs him off. #4 is Sags
of the Nasty Boys, and I'm sure he's going to win. Bulldog gets double teamed by an unlikely duo, which is always the fun of the Rumble. Bulldog tosses Sags over to the apron, then dropkicks him off at 5:26. #5 is Haku
, about 5-months removed since his last significant appearance. Haku works over Bulldog, then sets his sites on Flair, but Flair wisely rolls to the outside to avoid confrontation. That only delays the inevitable, but Haku is tossed shortly after by the Bulldog at 8:01. #6 is Shawn Michaels
, freshly turned and still working on establishing his heel character. Michaels goes for Flair and whiffs on a superkick, but Flair sells it anyway. Bulldog crotches Michaels across the top rope, but again doesn't take advantage of it. #7 is "El Matador" Tito Santana
, and he lays into Flair upon arrival. Flair goes low on the Bulldog, but can't quite toss him. Santana with the flying forearm on Flair, too bad you can't pin someone in this. #8 is The Barbarian
, and much like Haku, was he doing anything at this point? Barbarian goes after Bulldog, but can't quite toss him out. #9 is The Texas Tornado
, and this might be interesting... Flair anticipates his arrival, and Von Erich proceeds to wipe the floor with him. Michaels interrupts and takes a discuss punch for it. Flair with an inverted atomic drop on the Tornado, followed by boots to the face. #10 is the Repo Man
(formerly Smash of Demolition), and takes his time sneaking into the ring. In another "life", we've Strike Force, Powers of Pain, British Bulldogs, Rockers, and Demolition represented in the ring. Flair takes the skin off the chest of the Tornado with chops.
#11 is Greg "The Hammer" Valentine, and he goes right after... Repo Man?! Valentine vs. Flair happens moments later, with chops galore. Flair casually goes low on Repo Man and puts the boots to him. #12 is Nikolai Volkoff, and no one cares. It's been a year since he was last on television, and was never seen again. Valentine and Flair duke it out again. Flair misses a knee drop, and Valentine slaps on the Figure-Four! Repo Man backdrops Volkoff out at 21:26. #13 is the Big Boss Man, and he unloads on Flair. Repo Man tosses Valentine out at 22:29. Boss Man sends Repo packing at 22:56. Bulldog hammers Flair in the corner and gets thrown out at 23:35. Tornado falls victim the same way at 23:46. Moron! Santana and Michaels eliminate each other at 24:07. #14 is Hercules, another in the list of doing nothing. Flair suck chops Barbarian, and gets press slammed for it. Hercules tosses Barbarian at 26:16, and Boss Man tosses Barbarian at 26:20. Boss Man works over Flair, but misses the Koko dive, and eliminates himself at 25:52, leaving Flair by himself to fall fast first to the canvas. #15 is Roddy Piper, and shit just got real. Piper pounds away on Flair and knocks him out of the ring with a knee lift. Piper follows, rams Flair into the security rail, and brings it back in the ring. Flair goes for an atomic drop, but Piper blocks, pokes the eyes, and levels Flair with a clothesline. Piper goes 1964 on us with an Airplane spin, then slaps on the sleeper hold. #16 is Jake "The Snake" Roberts, as evil as ever. He waits in the corner until attacking Piper from behind. Roberts with a short-arm clothesline on Flair, but Piper breaks a DDT attempt, triggering Heenan to suck up to Piper... until Piper stomps on Flair after putting the Figure-Four on Roberts. #17 is Jim Duggan... meh. He goes after Flair and nails him with a clothesline. Flair with a back suplex on Piper, and Roberts with an inverted atomic drop to Duggan. #18 is Irwin R. Schyster, and he takes his sweet time. Duggan yanks I.R.S. by the tongue... I mean tie, and pounds away. #19 is "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka, and he was doing as much as Hercules or Barbarian at the time. Snuka joins the club of "Beat the crap out of Ric Flair." #20 is The Undertaker, and sucks for him to draw the lowest available number to him. He quickly disposes of the Superfly at 37:11, then chokes Flair out in the corner. Duggan makes the save, and takes a low blow for two points from the Undertaker.
#21 is "Macho Man" Randy Savage, and he SPRINTS to the ring, forcing Roberts to hide outside the ring. Roberts comes back in once Undertaker smothers Savage for a bit. Roberts misses the short-arm clothesline, and Savage hammers away with rights. Savage to the top rope with a double axehandle, and a knee to the back sends Roberts out at 39:49. Savage hops the ropes to continue the assault, but Undertaker throws him back in the ring, as if nothing happend. Me thinks he broke script and they had to cover their asses, but who knows. #22 is the Berzerker (HUSS HUSS!) and he takes shots at everyone. Piper doubles up with Undertaker to choke Flair, so Undertaker chokes him, too. #23 is Virgil, and damn, did he lose a lot of bulk... you know what the reference is. Without Dibiase, Virgil only has I.R.S. to target. #24 is Col. Mustafa, and to think, he would get even more out of shape by decade's end. We've finally reached another dead-spot of the match, but watching Flair take a beating the entire time makes it entertaining, still. #25 is The Model, Rick Martel, and my GOD, those are the brightest pink tights I've ever seen. Savage casually tosses Mustafa out at 48:46, then gets choked out again, by the Undertaker. #26 is Hulk Hogan, and it's time to clean house. Hogan goes right after Flair and the Undertaker. Hogan fights off double teams and eliminates Undertaker at 50:56. Berzerker goes next, at 51:03. Virgil and Duggan eliminate each other at 51:24 in a pretty lame looking spot. #27 is Skinner, and no one cares. Lots of hugging right now, but Hogan makes sure to continue to mop the floor with Flair. #28 is Sgt. Slaughter and I can't tell if the fans like him or not. Martel dumps Skinner out at 54:15. Hogan and Piper slug it out, then trade eye rakes. It's the War to Settle the Score all over again. Heenan continues to bargain with God or whoever that will listen about letting Flair win the match. #29 is Sid Justice, fresh of the D.L. Sid goes after I.R.S. and hammers away. Flair goes after Sid, but gets laid out with a clothesline for it. #30 is the Warlord, and we have the final field set...
Final Field: Ric Flair, Roddy Piper, I.R.S., Randy Savage, Rick Martel, Hulk Hogan, Sgt. Slaughter, Sid Justice, The Warlord. Talk about star power to end it on... at least 5 of these could've been considered for the victory. Hogan slams Flair off the top rope, and Flair rolls out of the ring afterwards. Hogan follows and takes him over with a suplex. Sid whips Slaughter to the corner for his signature bump, and that eliminates him at 58:54. Hogan casually KO's Flair with the big boot while we get faces of Sid making poop expressions. Piper pulls I.R.S. out by the tie at 59:47. Hogan and Sid double team Warlord and toss him at 1:00:13. Piper and Martel tangle near the ropes, allowing Sid to toss them both at 1:00:36, leaving a final four of Flair, Hogan, Savage, and Sid. Sid goes after the exhausted Savage, and casually throws him out at 1:00:59, with a little help from a Flair sneak attack. Hogan no-sells Flair's chops and unloads with his own. Hogan tries tossing Flair, but Sid comes from behind and tosses Hogan at 1:01:29. Mixed reaction to that one. Hogan grabs Sid by the arm, allowing Flair to come from behind and toss Sid out at 1:02:00 to become the NEW WWF Champion. What a sore loser Hogan was... Outside of the few necessary dead spots (the brief spans of filling the ring), non-stop action, with most of the focus being on Ric Flair and his marathon run of being in the ring for an hour to overcome all the opposition. Probably the best Rumble Match, with 2004's edition being a very strong challenger to the crown. After the match, Flair cuts a fantastic promo, celebrating his victory. As a kid, once it got really late, it just made sense Flair was winning, no matter how hard I was cheering for him to lose.
Final Thoughts: The Royal Rumble Match is fantastic and a must-see for all wrestling fans, but my God, is this undercard terrible. The opener was fine, but featured a scrub tag team and a bottom feeder babyface team in a 20-minute match, TERRIBLE comedy wrestling from the Bushwhackers for nearly another 20-minutes, and a tag title match that easily challenges watching grass grow and paint drying in terms of boredom. Piper/Mountie was pretty bad too, but is saved for the sake of watching Piper winning a title. Much like I typically do, just fast forward the entire undercard and go straight to the Rumble Match.
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