(All screen captures are the property of World Wrestling Entertainment)
January 19, 1992
Albany, New York
Jack Tunney finally had enough of the shenanigans between Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker, and Ric Flair, so he declared the WWF Title vacant after This Tuesday in Texas. He then decided that the 30-Man Royal Rumble Match would decide the new WWF Champion. It will be the first time that something is on the line in the Rumble and it certainly won’t be the last. Also, since both Hogan and Undertaker had claims to the title, Tunney allowed them to draw entry numbers for the Rumble between the numbers of 20 and 30. Ric Flair, on the other hand, probably won’t be so lucky. It’s just a hunch.
There are a couple of storyline developments that I want to discuss before I start. First, The Rockers are no more! Tensions built for months and the miscommunication at Survivor Series was one of the final straws. Shawn and Marty were invited to appear on Brutus Beefcake’s new interview segment, The Barber Shop. Brutus tried to play peacemaker between the two of them. Marty told Shawn that if he wanted to go solo, he could. He told Shawn that he would turn his back and Shawn could walk away, but if he turned around and Shawn was still there, they would shake hands and continue as a team. Marty turned and Shawn thought about it for a moment before turning him back around and shaking his hand. Brutus then left because he thought everything was fine, but Shawn superkicked Marty in the face. He then grabbed Marty and threw him through the window of the Barber Shop, while Bobby Heenan joked that Marty tried to dive through the window to escape. This was one of the most memorable tag team breakups in wrestling history because it was quite violent for the time period. You could hear fans screaming in the crowd. Marty even bled and they drew attention to it. This would begin Shawn Michaels storied solo career and soon he would rechristen himself as The Heart Break Kid or HBK.
The other development I want to discuss is the new Intercontinental Champion, the Mountie. He won the title from Bret Hart at a house show in Springfield, Massachusetts. It happened only a couple of days before the Royal Rumble. The excuse given was that Bret was wrestling with a fever, despite doctors telling him not to do it. The real reason for this change was because of the uncertainty of Bret’s future with the company. His contract was about to end and rumors had circulated that Bret might go to WCW. Vince was paranoid that WCW would want revenge for Flair appearing on WWF TV with the Big Gold Belt, so he took the Intercontinental Title off of Bret before his contract ended. I think we all know this won’t be the last time that Vince is paranoid about something like this, but at least this time he handled it better. Bret ended up signing a new contract with the WWF, but he would not appear on the Royal Rumble. He was originally scheduled to defend the title against the Mountie. Now, the Mountie will defend against Roddy Piper, who came to Bret’s aid at the house show.
I do have one last note before I begin. The WWE Network version of this show is the Coliseum Home Video release. WWE usually uploads the original PPV broadcast, but this one is different. My theory is they wanted to use the version with the edited audio at the end because even to this day they don’t want you to know fans cheered when Hogan was eliminated. Oh—spoiler alert.
The show opens with Vince McMahon listing the Rumble participants while headshots of each superstar appear on the screen. Some of them are quite amusing. Duggan looks particularly cross-eyed and Jimmy Snuka looks like he’s posing for a mug shot. There are a couple of substitutions in the Rumble this year. Marty Jannetty is out to sell the Barber Shop attack and Brian Knobbs is out of the match because he legitimately got stabbed in a fight. They give kayfabe reasons for the two absences and Nikolai Volkoff and Haku replace the two men. Vince’s introduction then ends with him telling us it’s time to Rumble!
Gorilla welcomes everyone to Albany and says that the most prestigious title in all of professional sports is on the line tonight. (I’m sure all those NFL, NBA, and MLB players are itching to get the WWF Title.) Bobby Heenan says he’s still banking on Ric Flair to win it all. Then, Gorilla talks about the new Intercontinental Champion and the Tag Team Title Match.
The New Foundation vs. The Orient Express (w/ Mr. Fuji)
Owen Hart has returned to the WWF after a run in Japan and a brief stint in WCW. I’m sure Jim Neidhart was thrilled because he hadn’t done much other than commentary since the Hart Foundation ended. Owen returned under his real name instead of the Blue Blazer gimmick and they paired him with Neidhart to form the New Foundation. Sadly, this team wouldn’t last long because Neidhart gets fired, but they’re memorable if only for their ridiculous ring gear. They look like MC Hammer if he worked as a taxi driver in a 90s cartoon.
The New Foundation make their way to the ring to what would later become the Heavenly Bodies’ theme. I knew it as their song first, so it’s weird for me to hear the New Foundation using it. I kept expecting Anvil to start gyrating. Bobby Heenan jokes that Anvil’s headband is too tight and Jim laughs at the camera, so Heenan says, “See! I’m right!” Bobby also says the New Foundation must have just gotten up because they’re still in their pajamas.
Owen and Kato start the match and it doesn’t take long for Owen to show off his high-flying ability. He flips out of an arm wringer twice. The second time, he even leaps to the top rope to do it. The New Foundation then work the arm for a bit and Anvil throws Kato around until he tags Tanaka. The Foundation maintains control with some nice double teaming and more high-flying from Owen until Fuji hits Owen with his cane while the ref is distracted. The Express keeps Owen down for a while with more double teaming and ref distractions. They even whip him into the corner for a chest-first bump. I guess that’s a Hart Family tradition. Owen finally makes a tag, but the ref is distracted and misses it. The Express use that opening to whip Owen into Fuji’s cane, which breaks in half on Owen’s shoulder. Kato and Tanaka start working that shoulder until Owen manages to hit a double dropkick and makes the hot tag to Anvil. He hits a slingshot shoulder tackle, slams both men, and back drops Tanaka. Then, Owen returns and Anvil Irish whips him into a suicide dive on Kato before the Foundation hit the Rocket Launcher for the win.
This was a great opener. It told a good story and had a good pace. Sometimes you forget how good of a high-flier Owen used to be because he switched to a more grounded style. Also, I was quite impressed with the New Foundation. They had some nice double team moves. That Irish whip into a suicide dive is something I haven’t seen before. Now, I wish they had lasted longer as a team.
Winners: The New Foundation (17:18)
Lord Alfred Hayes recaps Bret Hart losing the Intercontinental Title to the Mountie at a house show. He says that it sets up the Mountie for a match against Roddy Piper. They show clips of the end of the match and the Mountie attacking Bret with the title belt. Piper enters the ring to stop the attack and warns the Mountie to leave. He obliges, but when Piper turns his back, the Mountie attacks him. He then turns to celebrate, so Piper gets back up and knocks the Mountie out of the ring. This footage of this show looks so dark. Did they light it with some house lamps?
Then, Sean Mooney is backstage with the Mountie and Jimmy Hart, who keeps kissing the Intercontinental Title. Mooney says the events in Springfield were a shocking experience. (He’s trying to make a pun, but I don’t think he watched the footage. The Mountie never used his shock-stick.) Sean also brings up the fact that Bret was sick with the flu, but Jimmy Hart says Bret was sick from losing. Next, the Mountie questions Piper’s win/loss record and asks why Piper gets a title shot on two-days notice. He says he should have won tonight by forfeit. He also says he took Bret Hart’s pride, integrity, and belt and then threatens to take Piper’s skirt, manhood, and whatever is left because he’s the Mountie and he always gets his man! (Um—phrasing!)
Mean Gene is with Roddy Piper for a rebuttal. Gene says he can’t believe the Mountie can be so cocky and arrogant. (Aren’t those the same thing?) Piper responds by calling the Mountie one of the original Village People. He also says that Jimmy Hart is leaving lipstick all over the title when he kisses it. Piper then brings up the Mountie threatening to take his integrity, but Roddy says he doesn’t have any integrity. That’s how he made it as far as he has. Then, he talks about the Mountie trying to take his manhood. Piper says he came to fight but he doesn’t know what the Mountie is trying to do. He also says he came to win two titles but he can’t do that until he wins the first one. Finally, Piper says the Mountie must be dreaming and he thinks it’s been all wet too.
Intercontinental Title Match: Rowdy Roddy Piper vs. The Mountie (c) (w/ Jimmy Hart)
During the Mountie’s entrance and throughout this match, Heenan has some great jokes at the expense of Bret Hart’s situation. Bobby claims that he once wrestled with a 113-degree temperature and he was fine because he took some children’s Bayer. He even specifies that it was the orange flavored one. Everyone focuses on Heenan’s commentary during the Rumble Match, and rightfully so, but he was on fire this entire night. Also, Piper gets one of the loudest reactions of the night when he enters. He was really over with this crowd.
Piper warns the ref to get the Mountie’s shock-stick away from him and then tosses his kilt at the Mountie while he’s distracted. The two of them brawl to the floor and then back into the ring, where the Mountie chokes him. However, the Mountie telegraphs a monkey flip, so Piper hits a fist drop and then a bulldog. Roddy even pokes the eyes, for good measure, but he misses a dropkick and the Mountie rams him into the corner repeatedly. He then hits a jumping back elbow and throws Roddy out of the ring, but Piper catches him at the ropes with a slingshot sunset flip for 2. The two of them trade punches and Piper ends up biting him before hitting a back drop. Piper then attempts to throw the Mountie over the ropes, but he skins the cat back inside and charges Roddy. However, Piper sidesteps him and the Mountie crashes into Jimmy Hart, so Roddy locks him in a sleeper hold. The ref checks the arm and the Mountie is out cold, so Piper wins.
It was short, but they kept it fun and exciting. This is exactly what they should have done for a crowd that was already that hot for the match. I liked the frantic nature of Piper’s offense. It was good character work to show that he had no issues taking short cuts, despite being a face. It ties into his comments earlier about not having integrity. Plus, it was nice to see Piper finally win a title.
Winner: Roddy Piper (New Champion) (5:22)
After the match, Jimmy Hart tries to attack Piper with the shock-stick, but Piper sidesteps him and grabs the stick. He then uses it to zap the Mountie, while the ridiculous electricity sound effect plays over the speakers. The Fink then announces that Piper has won the belt and the crowd erupts. Piper looks genuinely ecstatic as he holds up the title.
Next, Lord Alfred Hayes is backstage for a Coliseum exclusive. He enters Hulk Hogan’s locker room without knocking, in true Lord Al fashion. He finds Hogan staring into a mirror. (I wonder if Hulk sees the Ultimate Warrior in it.) Al asks for a word about the Rumble and Hogan responds that he’s lucky that Coliseum Video are friends of his because he won’t have any friends in the Rumble. Hogan then claims he will get the WWF Title back around his waist before saying everyone knows they won’t be his friends if they get into the ring with him. (I feel like that’s almost a shoot comment.) He also says that the Rumble is his cup of tea, which Alfred knows all about, but he won’t be sipping tea in the Rumble. Finally, Hogan tells Alfred to leave so he can get ready.
Then, Mean Gene is with the Bushwhackers and—oh, no! It’s Jamison. Gene says he’s never seen these three this ready. Luke replies, “Mean Gene, I’ve never been excited in all my life!” (Oh, poor guy. I feel bad for him.) He then calls the Beverlys the Beverly Sisters and tells them this is their final fling. He also claims to have a surprise for the Genius. Butch then spoils the surprise by saying it’s millions of their Bushwhacker-roos. (I have a question. What are Bushwhacker-roos? Is it a cereal?) Then, Butch says that when they finish with the Beverly Sisters and the Genius, they’re going to feed them to their mate, Bloody Jamison! (They’re going to feed them to him!? What horror is this!?) Jamison stops chewing on his tie long enough to threaten to thrash the Genius. Gene responds by asking if Jamison has Mr. Blackwell’s phone number, but Jamison doesn’t know who that is. (He’s referring to the fashion critic, Richard Blackwell. It’s a statement about Jamison’s ratty clothes.)
The Beverly Brothers (w/ The Genius) vs. The Bushwhackers (w/ Jamison)
Jamison is an improv comic named John DiGiacomo. Vince saw his show in New York and loved it, so he hired John to play the character of Jamison on the short-lived Bobby Heenan Show. His character was that of a disheveled nerd that Heenan could mock for laughs. He was okay when he had Heenan to play off of, but without Heenan, he’s nearly insufferable. I imagine that Jamison is the epitome of what Vince thinks of his audience. He probably laughed his butt off at the character.
Before the match, the Genius reads a quick poem. He tells everyone to rejoice in the splendor of the Brothers Beverly as they fulfill his genius master plan. (Is his plan to manage a mediocre team that goes nowhere? If so, he’s doing a good job.) He also calls Jamison a waste of human tissue that calls himself a man. Then, the Bushwhackers make their entrance and lick a couple of kids on their heads. The parents seem oddly okay with this, but Heenan jokes that they shouldn’t do that because they don’t know where those kids have been. Heenan also jokes that Jamison’s parents didn’t get divorced because neither wanted custody of him and they were also known for running away from home when Jamison wasn’t there.
The first few minutes of this match are nothing but stalling, butt biting, and brawling. The Bushwhackers clear the ring twice with double clotheslines because apparently, they ran out of spot ideas within a couple of minutes. Then, the Beverlys do some stalling of their own because we didn’t have enough already. Finally, the Beverlys take control with double teaming and work over Luke’s back for a while. Jamison complains about their cheating while eating a biscuit and chewing on both his tie and a sock. At one point, the Genius walks over to Jamison and slaps him, so Jamison cries, “He hitted me!!” (Thank you, Genius, on behalf of everyone who had to watch this.) Luke gets worked over for a long time until he finally hits a clothesline out of the corner and tags Butch. The Bushwhackers clean house and hit some Battering Rams, but the Beverlys trip Butch and hit a double team flying axehandle for the win.
This was awful. It was 60% stalling and 40% was a long and uninteresting beat-down. They lost the fans’ interest by the end and this was a hot crowd. Even Heenan was practically begging for the ref to end the match. The Bushwhackers are okay in small doses, but this match went nearly 15-minutes. This did not need to be that long. Thankfully, this is the only low point of this show.
Winners: The Beverly Brothers (14:56)
Unfortunately, it’s not over. The Bushwhackers return and hit a double clothesline on the Beverlys before pulling the Genius into the ring. They hold him for Jamison, who winds up a punch for a long time before kicking the Genius in the shin. He then kicks him in the butt and sends him out of the ring, so the Bushwhackers place the Genius’ hat on Jamison’s head. They also lick Jamison. I can only imagine how awful that tasted.
Mean Gene is with the Legion of Doom and Hawk has a look on his face like he watched that last match. Gene says there’s another title match around the corner when the Natural Disasters face the Legion of Doom. Animal says they will never be closet champions because they’ll face all challengers. He also says he’s okay with facing the biggest team in WWF history because they ain’t gonna start losing now. Next, Hawk says, “You know what makes us sick, besides everything?” (If everything makes them sick, then does he need to finish that sentence?) He continues by saying, “They want to throw their weight around. Well, that’s okay. We want to throw your weight around too!” Then, he tells the Natural Disasters that when they’re through with them, their tongues will be sticking out like dead deers! (Deers?? I get the feeling that Hawk actually thinks that’s the plural of deer because no one was brave enough to correct him. Mean Gene certainly doesn’t do it.)
Tag Team Title Match: The Natural Disasters (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. Legion of Doom (c)
While the Disasters make their entrance, Gorilla talks about the champion’s advantage. He says the titles can’t change hands on a count out or DQ. It feels like they’re telegraphing the end of this match a little too much. The LOD enter next to their usual loud pop and Heenan says that Tunney should ban their spikes because they’re known for using them. I guess Bobby has been watching old NWA TV and saw what they did to Dusty.
Typhoon and Hawk start the match and take turns trying to knock each other off their feet. Hawk finally succeeds with a flying clothesline, so Quake tags into the match. Hawk hits an ineffective dropkick, so Quake tries one of his own!! He misses, but that’s still impressive. However, Gorilla doesn’t think so and mocks Quake for it. Then, Animal and Quake trade forearms and Animal attempts a slam, but Quake lands on him. Hawk then returns and trades clotheslines with Typhoon, but Phoon catches Hawk on a cross body and hits a couple of backbreakers. The Disasters then spend the next few minutes working over Hawk’s back with slams, bear hugs, and Quake walking on Hawk. This continues until Quake misses a corner splash and Hawk hits a flying axehandle. Animal tags in and takes out Quake with a shoulder tackle, but soon all four men brawl. It spills to the floor and Quake slams Hawk before ramming Animal into the post. Typhoon notices the ref’s count, so he slides into the ring just in time to get the count out win.
This was a solid match with a good pace until that finish. I get that they wanted to continue the feud, but sadly that doesn’t happen. It’s a shame because these two teams seem to have decent chemistry. Quite a lot will change for both teams before the next PPV and that prevents this feud from continuing, so it’s hard to like this finish.
Winners: The Natural Disasters (by Count Out) (9:24)
The Disasters try to collect the belts, so the LOD respond by grabbing a chair and whipping Quake into it. The Fink announces the winners, but he reminds everyone that the titles can’t change hands on a count out, so the Disasters are angry.
Sean Mooney is backstage and he talks about the previous match before an angry Jimmy Hart walks into frame. He says he’s going to call his lawyer because the Disasters should be the champions. Quake and Typhoon join him and echo his sentiments. (How long have they been wrestling? Do they not know the rules!?) Typhoon also threatens legal action and Quake says they beat them fair and square. He then says that if they get their hands on the Legion of Doom again, they will be champions. (This interview made the Disasters look like idiots. They both should know how the rules work.)
Next, Mean Gene welcomes the new Intercontinental Champion, Roddy Piper. He’s still giddy from his earlier win and says that only in America can a skinny 15-year-old kid come on down and become a champion. Now, he also has a shot at the world champion. (He pronounces it as, “Cham-peen.”) Piper claims that he will knock down all thirty men in the Rumble. (So, he’ll knock down himself too?) He says they’ll fall like President Bush, but he makes sure to say he’s happy that Bush got up again. However, he says the men in the Rumble won’t be so lucky. Finally, he says he has a dream and has his eye on the prize. He also dedicates his performance to his son, Colton, which was a nice gesture.
They go back to Sean Mooney, who talks about the WWF Title being on the line in the Rumble Match. While he’s talking, the Barbarian shoulder checks him, for no apparent reason. Then, Mooney sees Shawn Michaels on the other side of the room and says there’s a big opportunity coming Shawn’s way, but the same can’t be said for Shawn’s former partner, Marty Jannetty. He shows a clip of the Barber Shop incident and calls it heinous, but Michaels replies that he saved Jannetty from 29 other beatings. Michaels says they’re not as bad as the beating he gave him, but it’s 29 beatings none-the-less. Then, Shawn asks if there’s any doubt he’s walking home with the WWF Title before saying, “I don’t think so!” (It seems they were trying to make that his new catchphrase, but it doesn’t stick.) Finally, Shawn says he’s the hottest thing in the WWF.
Then, they show another Coliseum exclusive. Lord Al is with Ric Flair and he asks him how he fared in the Rumble drawing. Ric says he drew number three and people will say that’s a disadvantage. However, he says when you claim to be the real world champion, you gotta beat 29 other men to make everybody a believer. He then says it makes no difference that he will have to be there for over an hour because he will be the WWF Champion against all odds. (Since this is a Coliseum exclusive, Heenan didn’t see it and still doesn’t know what number Flair drew.)
The show then goes to intermission and comes back to Mean Gene. He says the winner of the Rumble will be the Undisputed WWF Champion and will defend that title at WrestleMania VIII in the Hoosier Dome. Then, he introduces some comments from Rumble participants.
First, Randy Savage says he’s been to the mountain top and he’s going back. He also says he’s going to get his hands on the snake man. Sid Justice asks everyone to open their eyes because it will hit them in the head like a shot that they’re looking at the next WWF Champion. Then, Repo Man says that taking things is the biggest thrill of his life, so he’s going to take the WWF Title. The British Bulldog talks about winning a battle royal at the Royal Albert Hall, but he says winning the Rumble will be a bigger thrill. Next, Jake Roberts says he doesn’t always get what he wants, but he makes sure he gets what he needs. He also says he will be waiting for Savage. Ric Flair is next and he says he’s been claiming to be the real world champion, so there’s no back door for him. To be the man, you have to beat the man, and he says he’s the man. Then, Paul Bearer says there are 29 caskets prepared and the Undertaker says he will be crowned WWF Champion again. Finally, Hulk Hogan says he will prove the power of Hulkamania to get back his WWF Title. He also claims he’s always getting cheap-shotted by so-called friends and that no-good Jack Tunney, but he’s got a special battle plan for the Rumble. He then asks what everyone is going to do when he rumbles all over them.
30-Man Royal Rumble Match for the Vacant WWF Title
Heenan already sounds nervous while the Fink explains the rules of the match. Then, Fink introduces Jack Tunney, who gets booed by the crowd. Heenan calls him, “Jack on the take Tunney.” Mr. On the Take then stumbles over his words as he talks about the winner becoming the Undisputed WWF Champion. When Tunney is done, Fink introduces the first participant, which is the British Bulldog. Number two is Ted DiBiase. (I like how since DiBiase bought the #30 spot a few years ago, he’s consistently drawn early numbers. It’s a nice subtle touch.)
DiBiase suplexes Bulldog a few times and throws him over the ropes, but he turns away and doesn’t see him land on the apron. Bulldog returns and clotheslines Ted out of the match before waiting for #3, which is Ric Flair! Heenan immediately panics, especially when Bulldog press slams Ric. #4 is Sags, who goes after Bulldog, but Davey eliminates him in short order. #5 is Haku. He ends up attacking Ric, so Heenan says, “That’s not fair to Flair!” However, Bobby can relax because Bulldog eliminates Haku right before Shawn Michaels enters at #6. #7 is El Matador and #8 is the Barbarian. Then, #9 is Texas Tornado and he goes after Flair like it’s 1984 again. #10 is Repo Man, who sneaks to the ring as if the camera isn’t focused on him.
#11 is Greg Valentine and he trades chops with Flair. #12 is Nikolai Volkoff, but he barely lasts a minute. Meanwhile, Valentine locks Flair in a Figure Four, much to Heenan’s chagrin. Then, #13 is Big Boss Man, who starts punching everyone while Valentine is eliminated. Boss Man then throws out Repo Man, who sneaks back to the locker room. Next, Flair back drops both Bulldog and Tornado over the ropes before Hercules enters at #14. As Herc makes his way to the ring, Santana and Michaels both tumble over the ropes. Herc and Barbarian are eliminated next and Flair almost dumps Boss Man, but he returns and wags his finger in Flair’s face. However, Boss Man misses a cross body attempt and spills over the ropes. He even catches his head on the bottom rope on the way, which looked nasty. Heenan celebrates like Flair won, but Gorilla reminds him it’s not over yet. Flair catches his breath, but unfortunately, Piper enters next at #15 and Heenan panics again.
Piper goes crazy on Flair and Ric tries to take a breather, but they end up back in the ring. Piper pokes Flair’s eyes and gives him an airplane spin before locking him in a sleeper hold. Flair starts to fade, as Jake Roberts enters at #16, but he sits in the corner and lets Piper do his thing. However, Jake attacks when Piper turns his back. He then feigns helping Flair but hits a short-arm clothesline instead. Jake goes for the DDT, but Piper stops him, so Heenan thanks Piper and says it’s a kilt, not a skirt! Flair follows up by locking Jake in a Figure Four, but Piper attacks him, so Heenan takes back his earlier statement and calls Piper a skirt wearing freak. #17 is Jim Duggan, #18 is IRS, and #19 is Jimmy Snuka. Then, The Undertaker enters at #20 and immediately throws out Snuka before choking Flair. #21 is Randy Savage, who sprints to the ring, but Jake Roberts slides outside and hides. Jake waits for an opening and attacks, but he misses a short-arm clothesline and Savage jumps him. Randy hits a flying axehandle and then knees Roberts out of the ring. However, Savage legitimately screws up and jumps over the top rope to get him. (Savage wasn’t supposed to be eliminated, so the commentators have to scramble to explain why he can continue.)
The Undertaker slides out of the ring and throws Savage inside, but he goes after Jake again. Taker is finally able to reign in Savage before the Berzerker enters at #22. Then, Virgil enters at #23 and he surprisingly gets into a fist fight with Piper. #24 is Col. Mustafa and #25 is Rick Martel. Mustafa is quickly eliminated before Hulk Hogan enters at #26. (I guess they were worried that Sheik would try to humble Hogan.) Hulk goes right after both Undertaker and Flair and Hogan manages to clothesline Taker out of the ring. He also back drops Berzerker to the floor before finally tearing his t-shirt. Heenan begins claiming he will never do anything bad again if Flair can win this match. (We’ll see how long that promise lasts.) Next, Virgil and Duggan tumble out of the ring before Skinner enters at #27. Heenan says he’s soaked with sweat and begs for a drink, as Sgt. Slaughter enters at #28 and Skinner is eliminated. #29 is Sid Justice, which makes Heenan even more nervous. Finally, #30 is the Warlord.
Hogan and Flair fight under the ropes and Hulk suplexes Ric on the floor, while Sid whips Sgt. Slaughter clear out of the ring. Then, Hogan and Flair return and Hogan hits a big boot on him. Meanwhile, Piper pulls IRS out of the ring by his tie, while Hogan and Sid team up to dump the Warlord. Hogan and Flair begin fighting again, so Sid turns his attention to Piper and Martel. They’re fighting at the ropes, so Sid pushes both of them out of the ring, which leaves only the final four.
(Final Four: Ric Flair, Sid Justice, Hulk Hogan, & Randy Savage) Sid places Savage on the top rope and Flair hits a running knee to eliminate him. Then, Hogan whips Flair into the corner. Ric almost takes his signature bump, but he doesn’t quite make it, so Hogan punches him to the apron. Sid stands by and watches this unfold until he sees an opening, so he dumps Hogan out from behind and the crowd erupts. They adjusted the audio, but you can still clearly see the fans cheering. Hogan is in shock, so he reaches out and grabs Sid by the arm. He holds him in place, which opens the door for Flair to dump Sid over the ropes for the win. This sends Heenan into overdrive. He turns into Daniel Bryan for a moment because he starts chanting, “Yes,” repeatedly.
This was easily the best Rumble Match I’ve covered so far and some would argue it’s still the best of all time. It’s refreshing to have something at stake in this match for the first time and it’s one of the most star-studded Rumble matches they’ve done. There were quite a few names that could have won the title and that’s exactly what they need in a Rumble Match with such high stakes. It also helped that Heenan’s commentary was at its all-time best. He made this match feel so much more special. It’s annoying that the WWF would edit the audio to make it seem like fans booed Hogan’s elimination, especially when they had Hogan acting like such a petulant child. You would think they were playing off the fact that people were booing Hogan, but then they go and edit the cheers.
Winner: Ric Flair (New Champion) (1:02:02)
After the match, Hogan runs off Flair, but Sid joins Hulk in the ring and shoves him. Officials arrive to prevent the two men from fighting, while they get in each other’s faces. You can still hear fans chanting Sid’s name, despite the audio editing. Sid even spots a sign that says, “Hulk who,” and points it out to Hogan. Then, Sid shoves some officials around, including Pat Patterson, and poses, but they’re still able to stop the two of them from fighting. Eventually, the officials convince Sid to leave, but he yells, “I’ll kill ya,” at Hogan.
Meanwhile, Mean Gene is backstage with Flair, Perfect, Heenan, and Jack Tunney, who is smiling. Tunney congratulates Flair on his win and Ric brings up the fact that Jack has gone from distorting his belt to presenting him with the WWF Title. Then, Flair says, “With a tear in my eye, this is the greatest moment in my life.” He says that the only way to stay number one is to be number one and this is the only title in the world that makes you number one. He also says that when you’re the king of the WWF, you rule the world. (He better hope Sid doesn’t hear him stealing his catchphrase.) Everyone lets out a loud, “Woo,” before Heenan sings Flair’s praises and Perfect says he told you so. Gene starts to ask another question, but he suddenly yells, “PUT THAT CIGARETTE OUT,” at someone off-screen. (I guess Gene really hates smoking.) Gene then continues by saying Flair made history tonight. Ric replies that he wants to party, but first, he has to tell Hogan, Savage, Piper, and Sid that they have to pay homage to the man!
Then, Gene wraps it up and says goodnight before introducing a highlight package of the show.
– The Rumble Match was amazing.
– Almost all the matches delivered.
– Heenan’s performance was top-notch.
– It was nice to see Piper win his first title. It made me smile to see him so happy over his win.
– It was also nice to see Flair win the WWF Title. People worried that the WWF would ruin him.
– That Bushwhackers/Beverlys match—and that’s pretty much it. Everything else was great.
Performer of the Night:
I have to give it to Ric Flair. He went over an hour in the Rumble Match and he was active for 99% of that time. He didn’t lay down on the mat like Mysterio or disappear from the match for a long time.
This was a great PPV. Almost everyone was on top form in their performances and the crowd was white hot. This is one of those shows that comes with a recommendation to watch but just skip the Bushwhackers/Beverlys match. It’s good to see the WWF return to form after a couple of lackluster shows.
My next review will be WCW’s SuperBrawl II. Look for it next Saturday!