January 23, 2011
Steve Riddle

Royal Rumble 1995
January 22nd, 1995
University of South Florida Sun Dome
Tampa Bay, Florida
Celebrity Appearance: Pamela Anderson

Dark Match:
1. Buck Quartermaine defeats the Brooklyn Brawler.

Actual Show:

We see a clip of Pamela Anderson arriving at the arena and the locker room there to greet her.

We see the opening video for the Royal Rumble.

Your hosts are Vince McMahon and Jerry “The King” Lawler.

1. “Double J” Jeff Jarrett (w/ The Roadie) pins Razor Ramon with a roll up at 18:03 to win the WWF Intercontinetal Championship.

Debut: Brian James is the son of “Bullet” Bob Armstrong and brother to wrestler Brad Armstrong. After serving his country in the Marine Corps during Operation Desert Storm, James was trained by his father to be a wrestler. He would get his start in SMW as The Dark Secret and also compete in WCW before debuting for the WWF in late 1994 as Jarrett’s assistant.

Analysis: Our opening contest pits a hot face against a rising midcarder. Jarrett had been under the radar since debuting a year ago and was growing in heat and status, along with his Roadie, who was making his debut. Ramon was as over as ever, and was rolling as IC Champ. Both men are stiff and work a good match, then the turning point is when Roadie clips the knee of Razor and he gets counted out. Jarrett then goads him into restarting the match, and then works over Razor’s knee. Ramon fights back and tries for the Razor’s Edge, but his knee gives out. A roll-up later, and Jarrett is your new champion. A solid match to get things going on this event, and these two would tangle again for most of the first part of this year. Grade: 3

Stephanie Wiand is waiting to talk to the new IC Champion, Jeff Jarrett.

Todd Pettengill interviews Pamela Anderson, who says she is excited to be there and is flattered by all the gifts she got.

Stephanie Wiand interviews Jeff Jarrett, who says this is the biggest night of his life and will be the biggest celebration of his career.

2. The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) pins Irwin R. Schyster (w/ “The Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase) with the chokeslam at 12:20.

The Buildup: This match was set up after IRS interfered in the Taker/Yokozuna casket match at Survivor Series. Dibiase was still furious after Taker defeated his Undertaker, and tried to play mind games by having two druids with him.

Farewell: This is IRS’s last PPV. He would stick around until July. He would hop back to WCW as Michael Wallstreet and V.K. Wallstreet, as a lackey for the New World Order. After competing in Japan, Rotunda retired in 2004. He currently works as an agent with WWE and reprises IRS on occasion while tutoring his sons Windham and Taylor. Windham is currently seen in WWE as Nexus member Husky Harris.

Analysis: After a terrible 1993 and recovering a little bit in 1994, Taker begins his worst stretch of wrestling here in 1995 with bad opponents. Although IRS is not a slouch, this match just isn’t that great. Taker controls most of the match, with IRS only getting the advantage through stalling and cheating with the druids. In the end, Taker hits the chokeslam and puts IRS away. Post match, the druids attack but are overpowered. Then, King Kong Bundy comes out and distracts Taker while IRS repossesses the urn. That would set up a match at WM as IRS is out the door and Taker begins a slow year that will test him. Grade: 1.5

We see pre-recorded interviews with Diesel and Bret Hart, who are both focused on the match and are in no mood to talk.

3. Bret “The Hitman” Hart wrestles Diesel to a draw at 27:18. Diesel retains the WWF Championship.

Title Change/Face Turn: On November 26th, 1994, 3 days after Survivor Series, Diesel, now a face, defeated Bob Backlund at an MSG house show in 8 seconds to become the WWF Champion. He then granted Bret Hart a title match.

Analysis: We come to our big title match. Diesel is fresh off winning the title after turning face and Bret is just as hot as ever as he gets a chance at the strap. These two work a great match and have good chemistry. What’s strange is considering the personal problems Bret had with Shawn, you never heard of him having problems with Kevin or Scott or other Kliq members. Also, some of Bret’s best matches came against Kliq members, just a little thing to think about. Back to the match, Bret and Diesel are very stiff, as Bret goes after the leg and Diesel just uses his power to wear Bret down. Diesel goes for the win, but Michaels comes out and attacks him, although it would make more sense to attack Bret so Diesel came keep the belt. The match is restarted, and Bret almost gets the win with the Sharpshooter, but Owen Hart comes out and attacks him. The match is again restarted and these two just lay it all on the line, then HBK, Hart, Bob Backlund, Jeff Jarrett, and Roadie come out and the match is stopped. Diesel fights off the attackers and helps Bret against Backlund. They then embrace out of respect, but due to the draw, Diesel is still the champ. Bret, sadly won’t sniff a title shot until late in the year, while Diesel waits to see who he will face at WM. Great match that could have had a better finish, but it’s good for what it’s worth. Grade: 4

Todd Pettengill is in Pamela Anderson’s dressing room while she is getting changed for the evening.

Stephanie Wiand interviews 1-2-3 Kid and Bob Holly, who say that even though they are the underdogs, they will win the Tag Team Titles.

4. The 1-2-3 Kid and Bob “Spark Plugg” Holly defeat Bam Bam Bigelow and Tatanka (w/ “The Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase) when Kid pins Bigelow at 15:45 to win the vacant WWF Tag Team Championships.

The Buildup/Vacancy: The Tag Team Titles were declared vacant after Shawn Michaels threw his belt in the trash at Survivor Series, ending his run with Diesel. A tournament was then held to declare new champions.

Tournament Matches: Quarterfinals: Bam Bam/Tatanka defeat Men on a Mission, The Headshrinkers defeat Owen Hart and Jim Neidhart, The Heavenly Bodies defeat the Bushwhackers, and Kid/Holly (sub. for the Smoking Gunns) defeat Well Dunn. Semifinals: Bam Bam/Tatanka defeat The Headshrinkers and Kid/Holly defeat the Heavenly Bodies.

Fun Fact: Due to the injury, the Smoking Gunns would face the new champions the next night on Monday Night Raw.

Analysis: We come to our 3rd title match and last match before the Rumble. Kid and Holly have been on a roll since taking the place of the Smoking Gunns and Bigelow and Tatanka are the heavy favorites. Bigelow and Tatanka dominate Kid and Holly for the majority of the match with the underdogs using their speed to their advantage. Bigelow goes for the win, but a miscommunication with Tatanka causing them to lose in a huge upset. A very solid match as Kid and Holly win the belts, but would not hold them for long. As for Bigelow, he moves on to a feud that would put him in the mainstream news. Grade: 3.5

After the match, Bam Bam Bigelow confronts Lawrence Taylor, thinking he was laughing at him. Bigelow then shoves Taylor to the floor and walks away.

We see highlights from the 1994 Royal Rumble of Diesel’s dominance until he is eliminated, made to show it was done by Shawn Michaels.

We then go to an interview with HBK, who says that he will win the Royal Rumble very easily.

We see more highlights from 1994, specifically the end with Lex Luger and Bret Hart.

We go to an interview with Lex Luger, who says he’s tired of being a contender and will fulfill his destiny.

Vince McMahon apologizes for the incident with Bam Bam Bigelow and Lawrence Taylor.

5. Shawn Michaels wins the Royal Rumble match.

Order of entry and time lasted:
Shawn Michaels (38:41) (Ironman) (WINNER)
The British Bulldog (38:41) (Ironman)
Eli Blu (10:00)
Duke “The Dumpster” Droese (8:13)
“Gigolo” Jimmy Del Ray (1:25)
Sionne (6:50)
Dr. Tom Pritchard (5:30)
Doink the Clown (4:50)
Kwang (4:01)
“The Model” Rick Martel (2:29)
Owen Hart (:03)
Timothy Well (:23)
Luke (:12)
Jacob Blu (:17)
King Kong Bundy (3:00)
Mo (:03)
Mabel (1:58)
Butch (:19)
Lex Luger (18:51)
Mantaur (:33)
“Portuguese Man Of War” Aldo Montoya (13:21)
Henry Godwinn (14:40)
Billy Gunn (7:25)
Bart Gunn (6:19)
Bob Backlund (:16)
Steven Dunn (4:29)
Dick Murdock (5:08)
Adam Bomb (5:20)
Fatu (5:32)
Crush (8:51)

Order of Elimination:
Del Ray by Bulldog (1)
Hart by Bulldog (2)
Droese by Michaels (1)
Well by Bulldog (3)
Martel by Sionne (1)
Pritchard by Michaels (2)
Doink by Kwang (1)
Kwang by Sionne (2)
Sionne by Eli (1)
Eli by Sionne (3)
Luke by Michaels (3)
Jacob by Michaels (4)
Mo by Bundy (1)
Bundy by Mabel (1)
Butch by Michaels (5)
Mabel by Luger (1)
Backlund by Luger (2)
Mantaur by Luger (3)
Bart by Crush and Murdoch (1,1)
Billy by Crush and Murdoch (2,2)
Dunn by Montoya (1)
Bomb by Crush (3)
Montoya by Michaels (6)
Fatu by Crush (4)
Murdoch by Godwinn (1)
Godwinn by Luger (4)
Luger by Michaels and Crush (7,5)
Crush by Bulldog (4)
Bulldog by Michaels (8)

One-time Debuts: Well Dunn consists of Timothy Well and Steven Dunn. They started in PNW as the Southern Rockers, winning the tag team titles 4 times. They would move to USWA in 1990, winning the tag titles there 4 times as well. They would debut in the WWF in 1993 and mainly put teams over, and they make their only PPV appearance here. They would leave later in the year and split up. Steve Doll would sadly pass away on March 23rd, 2009 from a blood clot at the age of 48. Mike Hallick began his career in Catch Wrestling Association in 1991. He debuted earlier in the month as Mantaur and was slightly pushed, but makes his only PPV appearance aside from two In Your Houses. He would bounce around the different promotions before retiring in 2005. Dick Murdoch began his career in Texas and formed a successful tag team with a young Dusty Rhodes as the Texas Outlaws, and they had a nice run in the AWA. Murdoch spent the early 80s in Mid-South before coming to the WWF in 1984, winning the tag titles with Adrian Adonis. He would compete around WCW aside from this appearance. Dick Murdoch would sadly pass away on June 15th, 1996 from a heart attack at the age of 49.

Debuts #1 and 2: The Harris brothers began in 1988 in CWA as the Bruise Brothers. The would have a short run in SMW before moving to ECW, helping usher in the era of extreme in that promotion. They came to the WWF prior to this event as the Blu Brothers.

Debut #3: Mike Droese began his career in Florida, known as the Garbage Man. He was ranked on PWI’s Top 500 superstars in 1992 at number 500. He came to the WWF in 1994 as Duke “The Dumpster”, a garbage man who brought garbage can to the ring.

Debut #4: Peter Polaco was trained by Stu Hart in the Dungeon with his future partner Lance Storm. He made is WWF debut in 1993 as P.J. Walker and was mainly a jobber, with his biggest win coming against IRS on an episode of RAW. He makes his PPV ebut here as Aldo Montoya, a play off his Portuguese ethnicity, though he is best remembered for wearing a yellow jock strap on his head.

Debut #5: Mark Canterbury began wrestling in 1989 in OCW as “Mean” Mark Canterbury, teaming with Dennis Knight who was known as Tex Slazenger. The duo came to WCW in 1992, with Canterbury becoming Shanghai Pierce and the team became the Texas Hangmen. Canterbury came to the WWF in mid-1994 as Henry Godwinn, a pig farmer from Arkansas who carried a bucket of slop to the ring.

Temp. Farewell: This is Crush’s last PPV until 1996.

Farewells: This is the last PPV for Jimmy Del Ray, Sionne, and Doink. Del Ray would compete with Pritchard in ECW, and also compete for WCW briefly before retiring in 1997 and becoming a trainer. Sionne would return to WCW where he competed there in the Dungeon of Doom and First Family until he was released in 1999. He continues to wrestle on the independent circuit. The Doink character would bounce around the inependent circuit with several wrestlers, including Matt Borne, portrayed the character. Doink would appear at a few more WWF PPVs, including WM X-7’s Gimmick Battle Royal.

Fun Facts: This marks the first time the number one entrant won the Royal Rumble. It also marks the first time the first two entrants survived until the end.

Analysis: A very interesting Rumble match, just because of the array of characters that were in the company at the time. Looking at the field, there are only three legit choices to win (Shawn, Bulldog,and Luger) while the rest had a snowball’s chance in hell of winning and main eventing Wrestlemania. It’s so bad that only 3 men last over 15 minutes, and that being the three favorites of the match. Even worse is that Owen Hart and Bob Backlund, who also would have been favorites, are taken out in short order, partially thanks to Bret Hart getting revenge for what happened earlier. Lex gets a nice run and seems primed for another run at the main events, but is eliminated and his days up there are now over. Michaels and Bulldog have a great run and survive all the way until the end. Both men deserve a lot of credit for this run, especially Bulldog since his performance always gets overlooked. Of course, HBK gets the big win and becomes the first man to start at number one and win, and will now face off with his former bodyguard at Wrestlemania. As a side prize, he also gets escorted by Pamela Anderson. Overall, a big win for Michaels in a fairly weak Rumble match. Grade: N/A

Shawn Michaels poses for the crowd and Pamela Anderson as we go off the air.

Final Analysis: This show sometimes gets a bad rap because it is the start of one of the worse years in WWF history, but it is actually not bad. The three title matches deliver, as Jeff Jarrett is king of the midcard, Diesel and Bret Hart put on a clinic, and Kid and Holly are kings of the tag division, if only for a day. The only real letdown is Taker/IRS and the Rumble is pretty weak, although HBK’s win is well deserved and a moment in history. In terms of historical rememberence, it’s simply HBK’s run and nothing else. It’s not a show that high on the recommendation list, but it is a fun 3-hour time killer. Enjoy it, because the rest of 1995 is pretty bad. Final Grade: B-

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