February 25, 2010
Steve Riddle

Royal Rumble 1991
January 19, 1991
Miami Arena
Miami, Florida

Dark Match:

1. Jerry Sags pins Sam Houston at 5:25.

Actual Show:

We open with the playing of the national anthem. We see the opening montage for the Royal Rumble. Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper.

1. The Rockers defeat the Orient Express (w/ Mr. Fuji) when Jannetty pins Tanaka at 19:14.

Debut #1: Kato is Paul Diamond under a mask. Diamond started in Texas and Memphis before first teaming with Tanaka as Badd Company. The team was very successful in the AWA, winning the tag titles and feuding with many teams. When the team jumped to the WWF, Diamond was made a jobber until Sato left, and Diamond was re-teamed with Tanaka.

Analysis: In the rematch from Wrestlemania VI, the Rockers and the Orient Express do it again, only with a few changes. Kato replaces Sato, which is good because Diamond and Tanaka are a great team. Michaels is now fully recovered from a bum knee and is back at full speed. Not to mention these two teams are familiar with each other from the AWA. Add an excited crowd and you got a recipe for a great match. These two teams went balls to the wall for 20 minutes and the pace was fun, exciting, and crisp. The Rockers get their win back and are on the fast track to an unpredictable 1991. The Express continued their run as jobbers. Grade: 4

Sean Mooney interviews Randy Savage, who wants the Ultimate Warrior to give him a title shot if he defeats Sgt. Slaughter, and he mentions Slaughter has promised him a title shot. Mean Gene Okerlund interviews Sherri and Ultimate Warrior, and despite Sherri’s pleas and seductions, Warrior flat out refuses to give Savage a title shot.

2. The Big Bossman pins the Barbarian (w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan) by reversing a crossbody at 10:06.

Analysis: A suprisingly good power match. Bossman was still in his feud with Heenan, who sent the Barbarian after him. Barbarian is a solid power wrestler who was forever mired in the tag scene, while Bossman was on the biggest roll of his career. Bossman gets the win and has his sights set on Heenan’s last charge, the IC champion Mr. Perfect. Grade: 3

Sean Mooney interviews Sgt. Slaughter and Gen. Adnan, who guarantees to walk out of the PPV the WWF Champion and vows to be a leader with integrity.

Debut: Gen. Adnan got his start back in the 1960s. He found success in the WWWF in the 70s as a tag team champion with Chief Jay Strongbow. He would play on his Muslim roots in the 80s in the AWA before coming here shortly before this event as Slaughter’s manager.

Mean Gene Okerlund interviews Ultimate Warrior, who claims to take orders only from his warriors and will defeat Slaughter and become the ultimate victor.

3. Sgt. Slaughter pins the Ultimate Warrior with an elbow drop at 12:46 to win the WWF Championship.

Fun Fact: This is the first time the WWF Title is defended at this event.

Analysis: A good match with a very shocking ending. Warrior dominates the early part of the match until Savage interferes. Slaughter takes the advantage until Warrior made his comeback. Savage would return and use the secpter and cost Warrior the title. And so ended what many considered one of the biggest flops in history. What started with so much promise ended with a thud. As for Slaughter, it was certainly right place, right time for him. With the Gulf War going on, he was a good choice for a short cowardly run. He moves on while Warrior has the Macho King in his sights. Grade: 3

4. The Mountie (w/ “Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart) pins Koko B. Ware with a sidewalk slam at 9:12.

Repackaging: The Mountie is Jacques Rougeau. After the Rougeaus’ run ended, Raymond retired and Jacques left briefly before returning shortly before this event as the Mountie.

Farewell: This is Koko’s last PPV until 1992.

Fun Fact: This match is not included on the Colesium Video release, but is on the Royal Rumble Anthology DVD box set.

Analysis: A solid affair to establish a new heel. Rougeau had just returned and was set to be pushed as a nice mid card heel as this new character. Koko continues his run of putting guys over, although his “Birdman” gimmick was about to run its course. Mountie gets the win and moves on, as does Koko. Nice to see this match on the DVD box set. Grade: 2

Sean Mooney interviews Randy Savage, who is pleased with himself and will face Slaughter, until the Warrior attempts to get in his dressing room. Gorilla and Piper recap the WWF title match, who still can’t believe Warrior lost and Slaughter is the champion.

Mean Gene Okerlund interviews Sgt. Slaughter and Gen. Adnan, who says he gives the orders and he will rule the WWF with a new set of rules. Gorilla and Piper respond to Slaughter’s interview, who both sound like they want to give Slaughter a beating.

We see messages from the fans for the armed forces in the Persian Gulf.
Gorilla and Piper talk about Hulk Hogan’s USA military bases tour.
We hear comments from Royal Rumble participants, who all promise to win the Royal Rumble.
Gorilla and Piper hype the Rumble and the next match, as Piper mentions he had dinner with Virgil.
Sean Mooney interviews Ted Dibiase and Virgil, who says that money can buy anything and they will defeat the Rhodes’s.

5. “The Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase and Virgil defeat “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes and Dustin Rhodes when Dibiase pins Dusty at 9:58.

Debut: Dustin Rhodes is the son of Dusty Rhodes. Dustin got his start in the NWA briefly and was a tag champion in Florida. He makes his only PPV appearance here during this run and won’t be seen again until 1995.

Farewell: Aside from his most recent appearances, this is Dusty Rhodes’ last PPV. He would jump back to WCW for the rest of it’s tenure, aside from a brief appearance in ECW in 2000. He would go to NWA-TNA for a while before returning to the WWE in 2005. He currently works at FCW and is a writer on ECW. “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2007 by Dustin and Cody Rhodes.

The buildups: After Dibiase bought Sapphire, Dustin started popping up in crowds. Dibiase fought Dustin in a 10-minute exhibition, which Dustin lasted. The two continued to trade jabs when this match was made. During all this, relations between Dibiase and Virgil turned bad. Dibiase began to mistreat Virgil and Virgil started becoming defiant. They put their differences aside for this match.

Analysis: This was a pretty decent tag match. Dustin is not bad in this match as there were high hopes for him, but he would not last long as he jumped to WCW with his dad. Dusty had a good run, but his time has ended. Dibiase gets the last laugh on the Rhodes family, but he now has new problems, them being with Virgil. After months of abuse and encouragement from Piper, Virgil finally leaves Dibiase and breaks out on his own. Now these two are on a collision course. Grade: 2

Mean Gene Okerlund interviews Hulk Hogan, who promises to win the Royal Rumble and sends a message to Sgt. Slaughter.

6. Hulk Hogan wins the Royal Rumble match.

Order of entry and time lasted:
1. Bret “The Hitman” Hart (20:33)
2. Dino Bravo (3:06)
3. Greg “The Hammer” Valentine (44:03)
4. Paul Roma (14:05)
5. “The Texas Tornado” Kerry Von Erich (24:17)
6. “The Model” Rick Martel (52:17) (Ironman) (New Record)
7. Saba Simba (2:27)
8. Butch (10:07)
9. Jake “The Snake” Roberts (12:58)
10. Hercules (37:36)
11. Tito Santana (30:23)
12. The Undertaker (14:16)
13. “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka (8:06)
14. The British Bulldog (36:43)
15. Smash (18:22)
16. Hawk (6:37)
17. Shane Douglas (26:23)
18. no entrant – supposed to be “Macho King” Randy Savage
19. Animal (6:39)
20. Crush (18:34)
21. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan (4:44)
22. Earthquake (24:42)
23. Mr. Perfect (16:14)
24. Huk Hogan (19:55) (WINNER)
25. Haku (13:24)
26. Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart (11:11)
27. Luke (:04)
28. Brian Knobbs (10:07)
29. The Warlord (1:35)
30. Tugboat (2:32)

Order of Elimination:
1. Bravo by Valentine (1)
2. Simba by Martel (1)
3. Roma by Roberts (1)
4. Hart by Undertaker (1)
5. Butch by Undertaker (2)
6. Roberts by Martel (2)
7. Von Erich by Undertaker (3)
8. Snuka by Hawk (1)
9. Undertaker by LOD (1,2)
10. Hawk by Hercules and Martel (1,3)
11. Animal by Earthquake (1)
12. Duggan by Perfect (1)
13. Smash by Hogan (1)
14. Valentine by Hogan (2)
15. Santana by Earthquake (2)
16. Luke by Earthquake (3)
17. Hercules by Knobbs (1)
18. Crush by Hogan (3)
19. Warlord by Hogan (4)
20. Douglas by Knobbs (2)
21. Tugboat by Hogan (5)
22. Perfect by Bulldog (1)
23. Neidhart by Martel (4)
24. Haku by Bulldog (2)
25. Martel by Bulldog (3)
26. Bulldog by Earthquake and Knobbs (4,3)
27. Knobbs by Hogan (6)
28. Earthquake by Hogan (7)

Return #1/Repackaging: Saba Simba is Tony Atlas. After his appearance at WM II, Atlas toiled around the independents while battling a drug addiction. Once he got clean, he came back as Simba, a member of the Ugandan tribe, but the gimmick never got over. He would make his only PPV appearance here. He jumped to WCW in 1992 and 1994, but his stays were both brief. He also wrestled in WWC in Puerto Rico, where he witnessed Bruiser Brody murdered. He currently works for WWE as the announcer of the Abraham Washington Show on ECW after managing Mark Henry. “Mr. USA” Tony Atlas was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006 by S.D. Jones.

Return #2: Also returning is Davey Boy Smith. After the Bulldogs left in 1988, they wrestled in Stampede and Japan until the team broke due to personal problems between Davey Boy and Dynamite. Smith returned to WWF and Dynamite retired due to his back and is confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

Debuts #1 and 2: Shane Douglas was trained by Dominic DeNucci and debuted in the NWA as a tag wrestler before coming to the WWF in 1990. He replaced Shawn Michaels on the house show circuit during 1990 teaming with Marty Jannetty. He makes his only PPV appearance here and won’t be seen again until 1995. The other debut is Brian Knobbs. We will go into him and his teammate at the next review.

Fun Fact: Hulk Hogan becomes the first Superstar to win back-to-back Rumbles.

Analysis: A pretty exciting Rumble to cap off a hot night. There are rarely many slow spots even though the number of participants in the ring exceeds double digits at times. It was nice to see many guys get a lot of ring time in this match. Big props go to Valentine, Santana, Hercules, Bulldog, Von Erich, Douglas, and Earthquake who all lasted over 25 minutes, the first four lasted over half an hour. But the big props go to Rick Martel. He spent the first part against Jake Roberts, continuing their feud, then spent the rest of the match avoiding eliminations. However when it came to the winner, the choice was easy. With Slaughter cheating his way to the title, it was evident that he and Hogan were heading for a showdown. So Hulk wins by last eliminating Quake, ending that feud. While there still was no prize, this Rumble was still every entertaining. Hulk gets the win and is headed for a match with the Sarge. Grade: N/A

Hulk poses with the American flag as we go off the air.

Final Analysis: After a very bland 1990, the year of 1991 is kicked off with this show. The crowd is hot throughout the night. We had several good matches, storyline advancements, and a shocking title change. With patriotism at an all time high, and with Slaughter at the top of the USA’s most hated list, Hogan was the perfect choice to win, although the Rumble did showcase many of the young stars. It’s been said that the more things change, the more they stay the same, and that rings true here. Overall, the show is very solid and wil kick off an unpredictable 1991. Final Grade: B+

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