November 7, 2008
Matt Peddycord

WWF Royal Rumble
January 22, 1995
Tampa, FL
The Sundome

The current WWF Champs were as follows:
World Champion: Diesel (11/26/1994)
Intercontinental Champion: Razor Ramon (8/29/1994)
World Tag Team Champions: vacant (11/23/1994)
Women’s Champion: Bull Nakano (11/20/1994)

Your hosts are Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler.

Pamela Anderson is in the building! This might not be very interesting nowadays, but you’ve got to remember this is her before Tommy Lee, the sex tape, and hepatitis C!

WWF Intercontinental Champion Razor Ramon vs. Jeff Jarrett (w/The Roadie)

You’ve got to give it to Roadie working his butt off and getting some heel heat for himself and a little bit for Jarrett. Razor delivers a Fallaway Slam and a Chokeslam early on to send Jarrett rolling out to the floor. After some stalling with the humanoids, Jarrett gets back in and tries to embarrass Razor in front of his fellow Floridians by smacking him on the back of the head. Hey Jeff, that’s *his* thing. Ramon retaliates by clotheslining Jarrett out to the floor. Back in again, Jarrett catches Ramon with a dropkick and delivers the Bossman straddle. He whips Ramon from corner to corner. Razor gets a few hope spots that ultimately go nowhere and keep Jarrett in control. Ramon escapes from a sleeper, but gets caught with a swinging neckbreaker. Jarrett puts his feet on the ropes to try to gain the cheap pinfall, but ref Tim White catches him in the act. Ramon reverses a corner whip and slides underneath Jarrett to crotch him on the ringpost. OUCHHHH. Razor hits a flying clothesline for two, but then Jarrett tosses him over the top rope to the floor. Razor’s selling a knee injury or something. When he gets to his feet, Roadie comes by and clips him from behind to give Jarrett the countout win at 11:44. But Jarrett didn’t come here for a mere countout victory over Razor, he wants the strap! He calls Razor chicken. Hey buddy, them’s fighting words. Restart the match, ref. Ding ding ding. Well now Ramon has a knee injury which is quite convenient because Jarrett’s finisher just so happens to be the Figure Four Leglock! Jarrett can’t capitalize on that just yet. Ramon tries to get a quick pinfall on him first, but Jarrett keeps slipping away. Now he takes Ramon to school and applies the FIGURE-FOUR! Ramon is in the hold an awfully long time, but refuses to quit or be pinned. Pfft, typical good guy who calls himself the ‘bad guy’ behavior. Ramon starts punching Jarrett off him and mounts a comeback. He hoists Jarrett up in the RAZORS EDGE, but his knee gives out. Aww. Inside cradle by Jarrett gets him the easy three-count. (18:02) We’ve got a NEW Intercontinental champion! This sets up a rematch quite nicely and it makes Jarrett and Roadie as the new conniving duo who will stoop to any southern-style level to keep the IC belt. Good stuff. ***

The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer) vs. Irwin R. Schyster (w/Ted DiBiase)

Lawler keeps going on and on about why DiBiase’s druids aren’t at ringside until Vince tells him to SHUT UP! IRS can’t get anything going on the Undertaker, so he gets furious with DiBiase. To make things better, DiBiase finally calls out his druids to distract UT. One of the druids wiggle the ropes when he tries to go Old Skool on IRS until he’s flipped down to the mat. IRS clotheslines him out to goozles the druids, but IRS double-sledges him from the apron so the druids can beat him up a bit before tossing him back in the ring. IRS applies the mandatory rope-assisted Abdominal Stretch special. It wouldn’t be a Mike Rotunda match without it! IRS hits the WRITE-OFF and follows up with a series of elbow drops. Taker sits up to avoid a splash, but runs into a double-KO spot. While the ref is with DiBiase and Bearer, one of the druids hops in the ring and places IRS on top of Taker for 1-2-NO! Taker looks to finish with the TOMBSTONE as he kicks away the druids from the apron, but IRS slips away and hits another WRITE-OFF. IRS can’t make it over to Taker for the cover, so Taker sits up and gives him a CHOKESLAM for the win. (12:21) Afterwards, Taker fights off the druids and looks like a winner until King Kong Bundy comes down and flattens him. Plus, IRS and DiBiase run off with the urn! I vaguely remember seeing other people attempt this very thing to try and get rid of the Undertaker, which leads me to believe this won’t work either. But what do I know. I don’t have millions of theoretical dollars. Match was as good as you would imagine. Taker doesn’t sell and IRS does this usual stuff. *½

WWF World Champion Diesel vs. Bret Hart

The shoe is on the other foot now. Last time we saw these two square off at the King of the Ring, Bret was WWF champion and Diesel was the Intercontinental champion. That match ended with some crazy hijinks courtesy of Jim Neidhart costing Bret the match by DQ. Right before that happened, Diesel gave Bret the Jackknife Powerbomb, but was never able to pin him. What would have happened had Diesel been able to cover Bret? Ahh the suspense is killing me! Alright, let’s get to the match. Bret uses the most common sense method to take down Diesel: go after his legs. Bret doesn’t go right after the Sharpshooter. Oh no. He clamps on the Figure-Four to make him suffer. Diesel’s so long though that he can easily reach the ropes no matter which way Bret has him down on the mat. Bret meets Diesel on the floor with a suicide dive of sorts. When Bret goes to whip him into the steps, Diesel reverses and sends Bret to the steel instead. Back in the ring, Diesel whips him hard into the corner and follows up with a Side Slam for two. Diesel stays on the back for a while. He teases the Jackknife and gives Bret a Canadian backbreaker. Bret’s a master of slipping out of that though and turns it around into a sleeper. Diesel slings him off though. Big Boot and an elbow drop connects for two. Bret trips up Diesel while he’s out on the floor and ties his legs around the ringpost with his pink wrist tape so he can stomp Diesel without him moving. GENIUS! Ref Earl Hebner gets him loose, so Bret gives him a bulldog for two. Russian legsweep gets two. Backbreaker and a flying vertical elbow drop gets two. Diesel avoids the Sharpshooter, but then takes a clothesline out to the floor. Bret dives out on him, but gets caught and driven into the ringpost! Diesel takes Bret into the ring for the JACKKNIFE POWERBOMB! Cover, 1-2-NO! Shawn Michaels runs in to break up the pin! Well, kinda. He was a half second late. The crowd CHEERS as Shawn stomps the crap out of Diesel’s knee. Hebner sends Michaels to the back and declares that the match must continue. Bret kicks at the knee some more before taking Diesel to school and reapplying the Figure-Four. Diesel punches Bret in the ribs to get out of it. He drives some knees into Bret while he’s in the corner and then delivers a gutwrench suplex. Lawler ~ “Notice how Bret landed on his side and not his back.” Whoa Jerry. Be careful with that psychology stuff. Remember, this is sports entertainment! Bret avoids a boot in the corner and posts Diesel’s knee. He grabs a chair and WHACKS Diesel’s knee cap up against the ringpost. Supposedly. Still no DQ! The crowd starts to boo something. Bret applies the SHARPSHOOTER inside the ring with his back turned to an Owen Hart assault. Owen unties a top turnbuckle and whips Bret in for the chest-first bump. Hebner orders that Owen get out of the ring and that the match MUST continue. Diesel slow covers for 1-2-NO! Bret blocks an exposed turnbuckle smash and sends Diesel into the steel ring instead. Bret starts unloading on Diesel trying to knock him out. Diesel returns the favor with forearms and elbow strikes. As Bret gets hung out to dry on the ropes, Diesel grabs a chair. But by the time he gets over to nail Bret, he’s already untied himself from the ropes. Bret fakes a knee injury and surprises Diesel with a small package for 1-2-NO! Bret goes for a rollup off the ropes, but Hebner gets in the way and falls to the mat. Now Owen, Backlund, Jarrett, Roadie and Michaels all run down and attack people! Once Hebner wakes up, he finally has no choice but to throw the match out completely. (27:24) Great storytelling and more textbook psychology stuff in this match than usual. Plus I loved the heel/face roles being switched around so much in this match. Made it seem more real like both men were going to do whatever it took to win this match. ****¼

1-2-3 Kid & Bob “Spark Plugg” Holly vs. Bam Bam Bigelow & Tatanka (w/Ted DiBiase) – WWF Tag Team Championship Tournament Finals

The same Cinderella story that was used last year with the Kid and Jannetty is now in full effect with the Kid and Holly, although against much bigger opponents than the Quebecers. Kid and Holly were a random team put together to replace the Smokin’ Gunns in the tournament after Bart Gunn was injured “in some rodeo”. Bigelow and Tatanka defeated MOM and the New Headshrinkers to get here while the Kid and Holly beat Well Dunn (Timothy Well & Steven Dunn) and the Heavenly Bodies. Winner of this match meets the returning Smokin’ Gunns the next night on Raw. Tatanka abuses Holly to start until Holly snaps off a headscissors and comes at him with the dropkicks. Tag to Bigelow, and he clotheslines both guys down like they weren’t even there. The Kid gets launched into the air and takes Bigelow over with a rana. Bigelow puts him back down on the mat with an enziguri kick. Kid becomes face-in-peril for a while. Kid backdrops Bigelow over the top and wants to hit him with a cannonball plancha, but Tatanka nails him from behind. Kid flips out of back suplex and dropkicks Tatanka into Bigelow. Tag to Holly, both he and the Kid climb up top for STEREO FLYING BODYPRESSES, but they’re both caught. Bigelow and Tatanka want to ram them into each other, but Kid and Holly shove them off into one another. Rollup on Tatanka gets 1-2-NO! Bigelow pulls the top rope down on Holly to send him flying out to the floor. Back in, slams and clotheslines follow on Holly. While Bigelow holds Holly, Tatanka comes off the top with the FLYING JUDO CHOP and nails Bigelow inadvertently. Kid gets into an argument with Tatanka on the apron and misses the hot tag from Holly. Bigelow runs up and splashes Holly to keep him on his side of the ring. Holly gets dumped so Bigelow can do the universal “I’m winning the belt tonight” sign. Back in, Holly tries a sunset flip and gets squashed. Holly’s so out of it, he tags Tatanka. Guess he smelled happy water on him and thought it was Kid. ZING! Tatanka tags Bigelow and whips Holly from corner to corner. They both go for crossbody blocks, which causes them both to crash. HOT TAG TO THE 1-2-3 KID! Missile dropkick to Bigelow! Tatanka takes a dropkick off the apron and then eats a Cannonball Plancha. Back in, the Kid delivers a Flying Bodypress on Bigelow for 1-2-NO! Tatanka breaks up the pin. Bigelow then proceeds to guerilla press slam Kid over the top rope to the floor! Back in, Bigelow climbs to the top for a Moonsault, but then Tatanka runs off the ropes and causes Bigelow to fall to the mat landing on the back of his head. Holly gets rid of Tatanka with a hard forearm as Kid makes the slow cover on Bigelow for 1-2-3! (15:47) Kid and Holly are your NEW WWF tag team champions. Formula tag stuff, but way too long for what Tatanka and Bigelow can do. The good part is though that Holly and Kid could take the punishment RNR Express-style, but Tatanka and Bigelow weren’t the right ones to dish it out. A little overrated match in my book, but still watchable. The Gunns would bring this Cinderella story to a screeching halt the next night on Raw. **¾

My tape messes up right around here and cuts out the LT/Bigelow ringside confrontation. Anyways, what happens is Lawrence Taylor makes fun of Bigelow losing to a little white dude and Bigelow shoves him down. And there you have it, insta-WrestleMania main event and Bam Bam Bigelow’s biggest claim to fame. That is unless you don’t count having flames tattooed on your head as memorable.

The Rumble

Pamela Anderson comes out and greets the crowd before taking a seat at ringside. Shawn Michaels draws #1 and McMahon already dooms him to lose. The rules have been changed for this year’s Rumble match as a new guy will enter the ring every 60 seconds as compared to the traditional rule of every two minutes. This proved to be a failure and a one time only experiment. Davey Boy Smith enters in at #2. Smith beats the crap out of Shawn until Eli Blu comes in at #3. While you’d think that Shawn and Eli would team up since they’re both heels – that doesn’t happen and it’s every man for himself. Duke “The Dumpster” Droese is our #4 guy. Shawn and Duke pair off while Smith corners Eli. Jimmy Del Ray runs down at #5. He tries to eliminate Shawn, but no dice. #6 is Sionne. He takes his turn trying to get rid of Shawn as DBS clotheslines Del Ray out. Tom Pritchard draws #7 and goes after Eli. Doink the Clown is #8 and #9 is Kwang better known as the future Savio Vega. He’s a martial arts expert! Lots of punching follows from everybody. Rick Martel makes his seventh and final Royal Rumble match appearance as he enters in at #10. DBS and Kwang take turns trying to dump out Shawn.

Owen Hart is our #11 guy and he gets bum rushed by his big bro Bret for costing him the title match earlier. After Brisco and Patterson break up the fight and Owen makes it into the ring, he’s promptly thrown out by DBS. Timothy Well runs down to the ring at #12. You’d think he was getting a big pop, but it was just Owen being tossed that got them all excited. Shawn backdrops Duke out on top of Hebner. Haha. Timothy Well gets sent to the showers courtesy of Davey Boy Smith. Sionne dumps out Martel right before Shawn throws Pritchard to the floor. Doink takes a backdrop to the apron from Sionne, but Kwang superkicks him down for elimination. Just as Sionne and Eli Blu clothesline each other out of the ring leaving only Shawn and DBS alone in the ring, Bushwhacker Luke struts down at #13. Shawn gets rid of Luke pretty quickly, just not in Royal Rumble 1991 comedic fashion. Davey Boy hits a suplex on HBK as Jacob Blu comes down as the #14 guy. He trades off between DBS and HBK, but then charges at Shawn and gets dumped out to take it back to a one-on-one match. Shawn hooks and grabs and tangles himself in the ropes to avoid elimination. #15 is King Kong Bundy and everybody starts to worry. He takes turns attempting to toss the other two out. Oh no, it’s Mo. He’s #16 and charges right into a backdrop from Bundy to be eliminated. Bundy goes back to work until Mabel enters in at #17. They go nose-to-nose and exchange blows until Mabel slowly dumps Bundy out to the floor. Bushwhacker Butch comes out at #18. Much like his buddy Luke, he’s tossed out pretty quickly. Mabel and DBS join together to try and get rid of Shawn, but it ain’t happening. Lex Luger charges in at #19. He’s a HOUSE OF FIRE! Luger flips Mabel out over the top rope to the floor all by himself. He press slams Shawn and attempts to send Shawn to the floor along with DBS, but he refuses to touch the floor. Mantaur enters in at #20. He rams DBS in the corner and drops an elbow before trying to toss him out.

#21 is Aldo Montoya – better known as Justin Credible with hair and a mask! Shawn works over Montoya in the corner while Luger and DBS double-team Mantaur. Henry O. Godwinn is the #22 man. We take a look at the bored looking Pamela Anderson. To her, this would be the slowest-paced Royal Rumble ever. Billy Gunn makes his return at #23 by going after Mantaur. Montoya looks to throw out Shawn. Of course he fails to do so. Here comes Bart Gunn at #24. He gets blindsided by Mantaur. #25 is Mr. Bob Backlund. Bret runs down from the back and beats the crap out of Backlund just like he did to this brother Owen about ten entrants ago. Steven Dunn is #26. As soon as Backlund makes it into the ring, Luger runs up behind him and clotheslines him out. On Backlund’s way to the back, Bret attacks him AGAIN! Yay! Dick Murdoch is our #27 guy! He punches everybody a little bit before Adam Bomb enters in at #28. Mantaur avalanches Luger and attempts a toss out while Godwinn has Shawn teetering for like the billionth time in this match. #29 is Fatu. Luger finally dumps Mantaur out. Crush enters in at #30 and immediately Vince picks him as the winner. Everybody kind of does a freeze on being eliminated and they all just start to brawl. That is until Crush eliminates Adam Bomb with a backdrop. Right after Shawn throws out Montoya, Murdoch tries to sneak up behind him with a quick elimination, but Shawn holds on once again. Crush nails Fatu for the 360 degree clothesline sell and then dumps him out. Ha, Murdoch gives Godwinn an airplane spin and once he spins Godwinn around into Shawn’s face, Murdoch tumbles out to the floor while Godwinn manages to hold on to the ropes and slide back in the ring. Luger takes care of Godwinn and dumps him out to leave the final four.

Final Four: Shawn Michaels, Davey Boy Smith, Lex Luger and Crush. Once Luger tries for a ten-count corner punch on Crush, Shawn comes over and shoves him to the floor from behind with a little push from Crush. Now Davey Boy is in big trouble. Crush and Shawn form a temporary pact which is short-lived as Crush turns on Shawn. HBK rakes Crush in the face to avoid being pressed out to the floor. Shawn wisely ducks a DBS clothesline which nails Crush and sends him flying out to the floor. Now We’re down to #1 Shawn and #2 Davey Boy. DBS destroys Shawn and thinks he’s clotheslined Shawn out. The problem with that is only one of Shawn’s feet touched the floor and during Davey Boy’s celebration, he shoves Davey Boy from the middle rope to the floor to win the Rumble and the opportunity to go to WrestleMania to face Diesel for the WWF title. (38:45) The minute long intervals sure cut out a lot of nothing in between the entrants which is good considering the lack of star power within the roster at the time. What you’re left with wasn’t too bad. Pamela Anderson celebrates with Shawn and acts like she’s too good to be here. The only thing faker than her smile here are her sweater cows. ***¼

Final Thoughts: This was a surprisingly good wrestling show. Everything was given enough time to be as good as it could be – including another great Diesel/Bret match. Nothing too historically relevant, but if you’re a fan of the stars of the New WWF Generation like me, you’ll enjoy this show. Slight thumbs up for the Royal Rumble 1995.

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