October 25, 2008
WWF Royal Rumble 1992
January 19, 1992
The current WWF Champs were as follows:
World Champion: vacant (12/4/1991)
Intercontinental Champion: The Mountie (1/17/1992)
World Tag Team Champions: The Legion of Doom (8/26/1991)
Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Bobby Heenan!
The New Foundation vs. The Orient Express (w/Mr. Fuji)
Owen Hart & Jim Neidhart are the New Foundation. What’s different about them from the original Hart Foundation is that they wear MC Hammer pants to the ring instead of the pink and black tights. Owen works on Kato’s arm to start, flipping and flopping all around the ring and wowing the crowd. Hurracanrana gets two. Neidhart comes in and shoves the Orient Express around. Neidhart gives Tanaka a spinebuster to set up a flying elbow drop from Owen for 1-2-NO! Owen backflips over Tanaka in the corner and nails him with an enziguri before he tags Neidhart and whips him into Tanaka. Double-team from the Orient Express fails and they wind up taking a flying bodypress from Owen. Awesome! Owen hits the spinning heel kick on Kato for two. The Express have a conference and soon after, Tanaka kicks Owen in the back of the head as he comes off the ropes to change the momentum. Fuji even jabs his cane into his throat to slow him down. The Express do a great job of cutting the ring off and keeping Owen on their side of town. Tanaka gets REAL cocky with Owen too and I love that. He comes back with a crucifix on Kato, but only gets two. Tanaka slows Owen down again with the jumping forearm move. False tag spot follows and Owen gets sent crashing into the cane in the corner. Owen gets a Belly-to-Belly Suplex out of nowhere for 1-2-NO! Kato draws Neidhart in just before Owen reaches him. The Express deliver a leapfrog-backbreaker combo, but Owen comes back with a double dropkick. HOT TAG TO NEIDHART! Owen slingshots for a double-shoulderblock. Kato gets knocked out to the floor to set up a SUICIDE DIVE from Owen! That does it for him. ROCKET LAUNCHER connects on Tanaka for the 1-2-3. (17:17) Great match and another standout Orient Express tag match at the Royal Rumble. ***½
WWF Intercontinental Champion The Mountie (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Roddy Piper
Bret dropped the IC belt to Mountie two days earlier at Springfield, Massachusetts when he decided to compete against doctor’s orders with a 104 temperature. Apparently, that’s kayfabe code for contractual issues, because that’s the real reason Bret lost. During the post-match celebration, Mountie beat up Bret with the belt and Roddy Piper came to his rescue. When Piper got beat with the belt as well, Piper challenged Mountie for a title shot at the Royal Rumble, so here we are. Piper pretty much squashes Mountie and after some heel miscommunication, Piper slaps on the SLEEPER and uncles Mountie right in the middle of the ring. (5:20) Piper’s first title win in nine years. Afterwards, Piper gets the cattle prod and shocks Mountie’s rear end. ¾*
The Bushwhackers (w/Jamison) vs. The Beverly Brothers (w/The Genius)
Voted worst match of the year by pretty much everyone in ‘92. Jamison is some nerdy guy who hangs out with the ‘Whackers. I don’t really know too much about him and don’t really want to, honestly. All I know is, he has some beef with the Genius. Usual Bushwhacker crap with biting butts and strutting around like a couple idiots. Blake and Beau work on Luke for a LONG while. Butch gets the hot tag, but he’s cooled down with a double-ax handle for the 1-2-3. (14:56) The match makes no sense. The Beverlys can beat on Luke for ten minutes, but Butch gets hit with a double-ax handle and it’s all over? ½*
WWF World Tag Team Champions The Legion of Doom vs. The Natural Disasters (w/Jimmy Hart)
Hawk stands up to the Disasters to start. Quake attempts a dropkick, but Hawk just moves out of the way and lets Quake splat on the mat. Monsoon ~ “That was disastrous !” Animal tags in and goes for a slam on Quake, but that’s not going to happen. Quake lands on top of Animal and tags Typhoon. He gets whipped into Animal for a corner splash. He tries another, but Animal gets a boot up to block and nails him with a clothesline. Hawk comes in and can’t put him down with a clothesline, so Typhoon catches him with multiple backbreakers. Quake tags in for an elbow drop, then Typhoon tags for a Bossman Straddle. The Disasters trade off on bearhugs, but then Quake misses a splash and Hawk puts him down with a flying elbow. HOT TAG TO ANIMAL! Big brawl leads to all four guys fighting on the floor, but Typhoon who happens to be the legal guy, rolls back in just before the ten-count to give them the win. (9:22) The Disasters win the match, but not the titles. Jimmy Hart gives up on Earthquake and Typhoon within a few weeks to manage a team who CAN beat LOD for the titles: Ted DiBiase and IRS. *
The Rumble – for the Vacant WWF World Championship
To this day sixteen years later, there has never been more on the line in a Rumble match. There has been WrestleMania main event spots, but never the most prized possession in wrestling: the WWF title. Because of all the Hogan/Taker shenanigans at “This Tuesday In Texas” PPV, WWF (kayfabe) president Jack Tunney vacated the belt and announced the winner of the Royal Rumble would be named the undisputed WWF world champion. Now Ric Flair had been prancing around the WWF for months, calling himself the real world’s champion after leaving Jim Herd and WCW in the dust over a contract/creative dispute and taking with him the NWA’s Big Gold belt that he owned and never received his money for. By this point though, Herd and WCW settled the title dispute and the belt was returned, but Flair still called himself the real world’s champion and instead carried some other WWF belt with him that was blurred out on TV. Tonight is Flair’s biggest opportunity to date. It’s put up or shut up. If he wins tonight, then this victory will back up everything he’s been ranting about for the past few months. I think that sets the stage quite nicely.
Flair calls this match on his DVD set the “who’s who” match. Pretty much anybody that was somebody during the boom period in the ’80s was in this match. With Heenan on commentary and in Flair’s back pocket, he’s hoping and praying that Flair didn’t draw #1 or #2. Ted DiBiase draws #1, Davey Boy Smith draws #2. Heenan’s able to relax for the opening two minutes of the match. DiBiase hits his signature moves (vertical suplex, gutwrench suplex). He tries to toss Bulldog out, but DBS falls on the apron and clotheslines DiBiase out on the other side of the ring. It’s time for #3 to appear, and it’s Ric Flair. Heenan’s heart sinks to the ground. Monsoon makes it worse by mentioning that no one has ever won the Rumble match after drawing numbers this low. What a Negative Nancy. DBS kills Flair with press slams and clotheslines and dumps Flair out to the apron as Jerry Sags comes in at #4. Davey Boy gets double-teamed for a bit because heels stick together. DBS ducks on a double-clothesline and returns the favor. Sags gets dumped out to the apron and then poses to congratulate himself on not losing, and then DBS dropkicks him off the apron. We’re back to Davey Boy Smith vs. Ric Flair. Haku is our #5 entrant. The heels do more double-teaming, but then Haku turns on Flair! Heenan is irate! Flair tries to turn Haku over in the corner for some chopping, but he NO-SELLS and Flair bails out under the bottom rope. Back in, after Haku gives DBS a piledriver, Flair grabs Haku and starts up some eye-gouging. Haku chops back, but then takes a backdrop out to the floor from Davey Boy. The recently turned heel Shawn Michaels enters in #6. Like, he just gave Marty Jannetty the superkick a week before this. Shawn immediately goes after his boyhood hero, Ric Flair. Seems odd that he would do that since he’s a fresh heel and everything, but whatever. Flair bumps around for Shawn, then Shawn bumps around for Davey Boy. Shawn ALMOST gets eliminated by DBS, but he slips back in and superkicks Davey Boy down. Flair rests in the corner and lets the other two battle it out. He sneak attacks Davey Boy and tosses Shawn out to the apron, as Tito Santana comes in #7. Excuse me, he’s the EL MATADOR! It turns into a two faces vs. two heels matchup. Flair nearly eliminates DBS, but Santana saves and hits Flair with the FLYING JALAPENO! The Barbarian is #8, putting the babyfaces at a disadvantage. Barb and Flair try their hardest to get DBS over the ropes. Kerry Von Erich enters in at #9. He goes after Flair, which brings back some old memories. Repo Man is our #10 entrant. He sneaks in the ring and then makes no impact whatsoever. Lots of punching and kicking ensues.
Greg Valentine runs down as the #11 guy. Valentine had finally broke away from Jimmy Hart to start a face run, but that was short-lived as he returns to WCW in a few weeks. Heenan tries to think positively about Flair’s condition, but Monsoon tells him to just forget about it. Nikolai Volkoff draws #12 and gets booed on his way to the ring. Alright, something’s got to give. The ring is getting too full here. There’s nine guys in there right now. Big Bossman is our #13 guy. The crowd erupts as Bossman starts wailing on everybody. Valentine gets dumped out by Repo Man. Shawn gets stuck in a near-elimination spot with Bossman and Von Erich. Repo makes the save, so Bossman throws him out. Heenan’s getting paranoid and begs Monsoon to let him go to ringside. DBS places Flair up against the ropes and gets dumped out. WOO! Von Erich goes for a TORNADO PUNCH on Flair, but he ducks and sends Von Erich to the floor. Santana and Michaels dump each other out, setting up their match at WrestleMania. That gets rid of everyone but Flair, Bossman and Barbarian. Hercules, who looks SO tired, comes in at #14. Flair and Barbarian high-five each other because heels stick together. What Barbarian doesn’t realize is he just made a deal with the devil himself, and Flair immediately turns on the big guy and chops away. Barb NO-SELLS and oh boy is Flair in danger. Barbarian gives Flair a press slam and tries to send him out, but Hercules comes over and dumps Barbarian out from behind as Flair lands on the apron and slides back in the ring. Meanwhile, Bossman clotheslines Barbarian out. Flair begs off Bossman and then pokes him in the eyes, but Bossman comes back with a clothesline. Bossman’s fired up and winds up missing a charge and flying over the top rope. WOO! Now that Flair’s all alone, he finally fall on his face and rest. Surely the next guy will be some other brainless muscle-bound punk, right? Wrong! Roddy Piper is our #15 guy and boy does he want him some of Flair. This isn’t fair to Flair at all. Flair bails out, but Piper follows him and brings him back in for the ten-count corner punch. Piper slips away from the atomic drop out of the corner and pokes Flair in the eyes. Piper gives Flair an airplane spin, which is just an awesome move to do if you want to torture someone in a battle royal. He puts on the SLEEPER as Jake Roberts enters in at #16. Jake just sits in the corner while Piper punishes Flair until he turns his back on Jake and then gets stomped. Jake punches Piper down in the corner and then gives Flair the Short-Arm Clothesline to set up the DDT, but Piper stops that with a clothesline. Flair applies the FIGURE-FOUR and grabs the top rope for leverage just because he can and gets away with it here. Piper breaks that up and all three guys take turns punching on each other. Hacksaw Jim Duggan comes in at #17. We get into another hot two faces vs. two heels sequence . IRS enters in at #18. A bunch of near-eliminations follow for the faces. Jimmy Snuka, who is only here for one night to replace Marty Jannetty, is our #19 entrant. Flair and Piper go through a pretty fun exchange. Flair is just taking a beating here. #20 is Undertaker. Jake Roberts welcomes him to the match. Taker walks right in and dumps Snuka out. Nobody can hurt Undertaker here. NOBODY.
Randy Savage SPRINTS to the ring as our #21 guy. He wants Jake, but Jake’s slithered out and hiding down at ringside so that Savage can’t find him. Taker nails him from behind and chokes him down so that Jake can come after him with no problem. Savage wakes up and a Running High Knee puts Jake out on the floor. Savage jumps over the top rope to get at Jake some more. Taker grabs Savage and throws him back in the ring. According to the rules in this match, the only way to lose is to be thrown out by someone else. You can’t just eliminate yourself. Flair and Savage go for a bit. The Bezerker is #22. Flair tries to suplex Savage out from the apron, but Savage gives Flair a suplex back in the ring instead. Taker then chokes Flair and Piper at the same time, as Virgil runs down at #23. He goes right after IRS. Flair suffers through another near-elimination spot with the Undertaker. Col. Mustafa enters in at #24. You know, the Iron Sheik. More punching and kicking follows. Rick Martel held the record of the longest time spent in a Rumble match at 52:17, and he’s our #25 guy. Flair goes right after Martel. Instead of trying to eliminate somebody, Duggan starts up the USA chants. Uh oh, Hulk Hogan is our next entrant at #26. He goes after Taker and finally the guy sells something. Hogan clotheslines him out, backdrops out Bezerker, and then takes time to rip off the t-shirt. Meanwhile, Virgil charges at Duggan and they both fly out to the floor. Flair chops on Hulk, but that doesn’t affect him whatsoever. He tries to eliminate Flair , but IRS saves him at the last second. Skinner is #27. He goes from being a pretty boy Fabulous One to a gator man. Only in showbiz, folks! During Flair’s last minute before breaking the time spent in a Rumble match record, he and Martel try to get Piper out of the ring. Once that fails, Flair goes back after Hogan and then takes a clothesline. #28 is Sgt. Slaughter. He’s back to being a face again, but it’s hard to bounce back after saying you love hanging out with Saddam Hussein. Martel dumps Skinner out. Hogan and Piper exchange eyerakes. Then, Piper slams Martel’s head into Hogan. What was that all about? Hogan and Flair square off once again, as Sid Justice runs down at #29. Sid goes after Flair, but gets nailed from behind by Slaughter. #30 is Warlord. Hogan and Flair go under the bottom rope to fight on the floor. Flair wants a suplex, but Hogan reverses for one of his own. In the ring, Sid tosses Slaughter into the corner for his head-first bump to the ringpost, which sends him sailing out to the floor. Back in, Hogan hits the Big Boot on Flair. IRS tosses Piper out to the apron, but then gets pulled out over the top rope to the floor by his tie. That darn tie cost him the WWF title! Should’ve wore a clip-on. Hulk and Sid work together long enough to throw Warlord out. While Piper and Martel try to eliminate one another, Sid dumps them both out from behind. That brings us to the final four.
We’re down to Hogan, Flair, Savage and Sid. Flair gouges Hogan in the eyes to get away from him so he can help Sid throw Savage out to the floor. Hogan then punches Flair out to the apron and tries to kick Flair to the floor, but then Sid comes along and flips Hogan over the top rope to the floor. The crowd goes crazy! Sid and Hogan get into an argument. Then Hogan acts like a jerk and tries to pull Sid over the top rope himself. That is, until Flair comes along and dumps Sid out over the top rope to the floor to win the Royal Rumble AND the WWF world title belt. (62:02) Flair’s record stands at 59:26. Sadly, the record was eclipsed the next year by Bob Backlund who remained in the Rumble match for 61:10. Another sad note is that Flair couldn’t even really celebrate the win in the ring, because he had to make room for the Hogan/Sid confrontation. When you try and judge a match like this, you have to look at the whole picture. You can’t divide it up and say that certain parts were better than others. In my honest opinion, you have to pay attention to the entire story being told, and that goes back to the start of Flair’s WWF tenure in August with him gloating about being the real world’s champion and making everyone hate him for that. When he finally got his opportunity to shine and show the world that what he was talking about wasn’t just him talking a big talk. He was for REAL. Some people give this the full monty for the star power and the great booking throughout. All those things I agree with, but the Ric Flair story to me is what makes this so great and so important to wrestling history at the time because not only had this guy been to the top of the mountain for ten years in the NWA, but now he was the king of the rival WWF. *****
And then, the famous Ric Flair post-match interview: Heenan and Perfect are right there to celebrate with THE man. Flair - “I’m going to tell you all with a tear in my eye, this is the greatest moment of my life.” WOO!
Final Thoughts: The only reason to buy this show is for the undercard because the Rumble match is on the Flair DVD (if you haven’t bought that by now, I don’t know what to tell you), and the IC title match is on the Piper DVD (another excellent DVD set). I’ll go with thumbs in the middle because you’ve got Owen Hart and if you don’t have the Flair DVD for whatever reason, then you’ve got the classic Rumble match. Yeah, thumbs in the middle for Royal Rumble ‘92.
Check out the blog! Let’s get this thing rolling!