It's time for my favorite Rumble of all time, still ahead of '04 and '90, among others. In 1992, the big news was that, after two controversial matches between Hulk Hogan and the Undertaker, WWF President Jack Tunney(kayfabe) vacated the WWF World Title. This made the '92 Rumble the first and only time a major title was decided in the 30-Man main event. Let's get to it.
WWF Royal Rumble '92 |
Posted by the Accelerator, February 17th, 2007
- This one starts out a little plainer than other Rumbles, only showing still close-ups of each wrestler competing in the main event. How that's better than the moving shots of each wrestler is beyond me. My favorite announcers are in charge tonight: Gorilla Monsoon(RIP) and Bobby "The Brain" Heenan. Heenan starts things off quickly on his theme of the night, talking about how his man, Ric Flair, is going to win the title.
The New Foundation ("The Rocket" Owen Hart(RIP) & Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart) vs. the Orient Express (Kato & Tanaka) w/ Mr. Fuji:
This is where Hart really first started catching my eye (as I remember), as he has a great opening back-and-forth moveset with Kato. Things aren't quite as pretty with Neidhart and Tanaka, but Neidhart's power is still impressive, as he beat down Tanaka. Why would Tanaka think a shoulder block would be a good idea against the Anvil? Neidhart tags Hart back in, who promptly drops an elbow for a 2 count. Hart also gets to show off more offense, backflipping off of the turnbuckle and getting a great-looking Enziguiri. Both Foundation members continue to dominate for a while, really making things one-sided. The heels finally come back with some dirty tactics, as Tanaka kicks Hart from the outside. As Hart, inexperienced, tried to go after Tanaka, he took a caneshot to the throat courtesy of Mr. Fuji, putting him down.
The heels kept Hart isolated for a while, constantly double-teaming him. Hart did manage to get the tag at one point, but the ref missed it. As the ref kept the enraged Neidhart from coming in, the Express sent Hart into the corner shoulder-first into the cane, breaking it. As the match continues, Neidhart keeps coming back into the ring, with the ref stopping him, of course allowing for more heel double-teams. Well, nobody talks about the Anvil's intelligence, I suppose. Kayfabe, I mean. For all I know, he's a genius in real life. Anyhow, Hart finally managed to escape the heels, tagging in Neidhart, who quickly pounded on both men. Actually, he barely sold anything in this one. In the end, Neidhart threw Hart from the top turnbuckle for the Rocket Launcher, a high-flying splash, on Tanaka, leading to the victory for the faces.
Ace Thoughts: Certainly not a bad opening match. I still can't believe that the Orient Express never really went anywhere. I guess they'd be a hard team to get the fans behind, though. Lousy stereotypes. We had three very good high-flying technicians, and then, of course, the power of the Anvil. I see nothing to complain about.
- Lord Alfred Hayes(RIP) reviews the surprising upset of Bret "The Hit Man" Hart earlier in the week by the Mountie, who won the Intercontinental Heavyweight Title. Hart was supposed to face the Mountie at the Rumble, but Hart's illness allowed the Mountie to beat him early. The Mountie tried to get a little more damage on Hart afterwards, with "Rowdy" Roddy Piper coming to Hart's aid. This, of course, led to Jack Tunney nominating Piper to get Hart's title shot at the Rumble.
- The Mountie & Jimmy Hart gave an interview, with the Mountie saying that he should have won by forfeit, also mentioning that he was going to take Piper's integrity, his manhood, and whatever else was left.
- "Mean Gene" Okerlund interviewed Piper, who talked about the Mountie's comments, going down the list one by one.
(Piper does a double-take towards Okerlund)
"Rowdy" Roddy Piper: Eh, I came here to fight! I don't know what you came here to do!
That Roddy, he sure could give entertaining interviews. Wild, but entertaining.
The Mountie(c) w/ Jimmy "Mouth of the South" Hart vs. "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, Intercontinental Title Match:
The crowd's hot for Piper, who has the chance to win both major WWF titles tonight. Ironically, despite years in the WWF, Piper had not held any gold up to this point. He simply didn't need it to get over. A lot of taunting to start with, as Piper wisely stays away from the Mountie's shockstick. But when the Mountie turned his back, Piper throws his kilt into the Mountie's face and attacks, punching and kicking the champion until the Mountie runs to the outside. Not surprisingly, Roddy quickly follows, with the Mountie using Hart as a shield to enable him to get back in control... for about 5 seconds. Piper's then back in control until he misses a dropkick. The Mountie gets to get in some licks for a while, even coming back into the ring via the Shawn Michaels' "Skin The Cat" Maneuver. But Piper's too strong today, avoiding a charge from the Mountie (who collided with Hart), then put on the Sleeper, knocking out the Mountie and becoming the Intercontinental Champion.
Post-Match, Piper got the dropped cattleprod and zaps the Mountie a couple of times with it (along with zapping sound effects). Piper celebrates as the Fink announces him as the new Intercontinental Champion, right before the fans go bananas. You can tell the crowd knew how special it was for the Rowdy One to get himself a title, even if it WAS spur of the moment!
Ace Thoughts: Some matches you critique because of blown maneuvers or slow action. Some matches you just have to enjoy the moment. Piper's title victory, with the crowd going crazy, is one of the best moments in Rumble history. It would also lead to another historic moment, as Piper and Bret Hart would meet for the IC Title at Wrestlemania, friend vs. friend.
- Lord Alfred Hayes(RIP) went into Hulk Hogan's dressing room to get a few words about the Rumble. It wasn't one of Hogan's best interviews, mainly because Hogan had little to no emotion for once as he talked about having no friends in the Rumble.
- Gene Okerlund interviewed the Bushwhackers, along with Jamison. Damn, I completely forgot about the travesty known as Jamison, who was a complete geek (similar to Eddie Deezan in "Grease") who had a problem with the Genius at the time.
The Beverly Brothers (Beau Beverly & Blake Beverly) w/ the Genius vs. the Bushwhackers (Luke & Butch) w/ Jamison:
Complete joke of a match, although the crowd really did love the Bushwhackers. If you want to have a major shock, check out some old footage of the Sheepherders (what the Bushwhackers were known as before they came to the WWF) and see the blood flow. The Bushwhackers mostly clown around at first with licks, chasing the Beverlys out of the ring. Typical tag-team back-and-forth action, albeit with the Bushwhackers biting the Beverlys on the behind. Tongue-twister alert! Really slow going to begin, with a lot of Bushwhacker pandering to the audience (who, admittedly, is eating it up). Eventually, the Beverlys get through the clowning around and get some abuse on one of the Bushwhackers. I'm trying to figure out who it is, but the announcers seem unsure as well, as they never mention the man in the ring, simply saying the Bushwhackers are having trouble. I sympathize.
On the outside, the Genius gets a cheap shot on Jamison, causing some boos from the crowd. Most, I feel, probably could care less. At least, that's how I feel. More domination of the 'Whacker continues, until he manages a clothesline out of the corner and got his partner tagged in, who dominated, delivering a Battering Ram by using one Beverly Brother against the other. We broke down into various types of four-way battles, until Beau got a double-axehandle off the top to Luke, allowing Blake to get the pin for the victory. After the match, though, the fans got what they wanted, as the Bushwhackers took out the Beverlys, then grabbed the Genius, allowing Jamison to come in and land a few weak kicks. Jamison then donned the hat of the Genius and celebrated with the 'Whackers, getting a few licks. Yuch.
Ace Thoughts: I recognize that, when I was younger, I probably would have liked this match more. That being said, if you're a fan of great wrestling matches and compelling storylines, this would be the part that you would fast-forward. It's built mainly for the kids in the audience, especially the cartoonish Jamison. I probably would have skipped this match if I wasn't doing this review. See, guys & gals? I take my job seriously.
- Mean Gene Okerlund interviewed the Legion of Doom, which featured a lot of yelling from Hawk(RIP) and Animal. I love the spider make-up on Animal's face.
The Legion of Doom (Hawk(RIP) & Animal)(c) vs. the Natural Disasters (Earthquake(RIP) & Typhoon) w/ Jimmy "Mouth of the South" Hart, WWF World Tag-Team Titles Match:
Typhoon is the former Tugboat, creating one of the largest tag-teams in wrestling history. This match was sold on the fact that the LOD usually used brute strength to win their matches, but for once, they were having to rely on speed and agility.
This match takes a while to get going, with Hawk throwing stuff against Earthquake with not much success. Earthquake then tried a dropkick (yikes) that missed, allowing Hawk to get in a fist drop. Animal tagged in, matching power against bulk, which led to a double clothesline. Animal then tried a bodyslam, but got squashed, putting him in jeopardy for a few minutes before he got a boot up on Typhoon. Hawk then came in, but got caught and painfully gets broken by Typhoon, who routinely gives him multiple backbreakers on his knee. Seriously, Typhoon made him look like a baby in there. Hawk gets destroyed for a while, before finally getting a turnbuckle flying shot on 'Quake to enable the hot tag to Animal. Animal takes on both men (while blowing a backflip out of a backdrop, but then, when does Animal ever have to do that, anyway?). the four men soon are battling on the outside, with Typhoon diving back inside just in time to get the Countout win. The crowd is NOT happy. Hawk & Animal attacked the big men after the match with chairshots, getting their heat back while still holding the belts.
Ace Thoughts: Honestly, I would have liked to see a little more here. I really don't think it made the LOD look very strong, considering that, as the faces, they only kept the belts through a technicality. I realize that it was building towards a future angle and kept the Natural Disasters looking good, but it still was a rough ending for a major PPV.
- Sean Mooney interviewed a very excitable Jimmy Hart, who is going to call his lawyers about the 'travesty'. The Disasters join in, with Mooney trying to explain that a countout victory doesn't mean you get the belts.
- Mean Gene Okerlund then talks to "Rowdy" Roddy Piper again. Piper's in a very good mood, and is planning to add the WWF World Title to his IC Title. He's got a dream, and he's got his eye on the prize!
- Back to Mooney (tag-team interviewing!), who talks about the tension in the locker room as the Barbarian walks by, showing Mooney with his shoulder. Mooney then walks over to an 'underdog', Shawn Michaels, who only recently took out his partner, Marty Jannetty, by Superkicking him and tossing him through the Barber Shop window. That one act put Michaels on the road to greatness, and set up the Rockers analogy that everyone uses (as in, when the team breaks up, who will be Shawn and who will be Marty?). Michaels is ready to win the Rumble; no surprise there.
- As a Coliseum video exclusive, Lord Alfred Hayes talks to "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair, who admits that he drew #3. Flair's ready to go an hour and become the champion.
- Back to Mean Gene Okerlund, who introduces another series of interview segments. We have "Macho Man" Randy Savage, Sid Justice (who barely lets space between his teeth as he talks), "The British Bulldog" Davey Boy Smith(RIP), Jake "The Snake" Roberts, the Undertaker w/ Paul Bearer, and Hulk Hogan (a lot more excitement in this interview, which is twice as long as anyone elses).
Bobby Heenan is hyperventilating at the beginning of this one. Really, you can't say enough about how much Heenan & Monsoon added to this match, making it the best-called Rumble in history. President Jack Tunney(RIP) started things off by repeating what Howard Finkle had just said, to the boos of the crowd. Nobody liked Tunney at the time, especially since he had stripped Hogan. #1 is "the British Bulldog" Davey Boy Smith, as they talk about him winning the Battle Royal in the Royal Albert Hall not too long before. #2 is "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase, along with Sensational Sherri. DiBiase got in a few good moves and made it seem like it was going to be like the '90 Rumble (where DiBiase dominated for a while). But a toss didn't work out, as the Bulldog came back and threw out DiBiase instead! Short night for the Million Dollar Man, but hey, he got paid, so there's nothing to complain about. #3 is, of course, "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair (w/ Mr. Perfect), which causes Heenan to immediately go into hysterics.
Flair & the Bulldog go at it for a while, with the Bulldog really dominating "the Real World Champion". #4 is "Nasty Boy" Jerry Sags (w/ Jimmy Hart), who comes to the air of Flair. But the Bulldog fights off the double-team, then dropkicks Sags off the apron, eliminating him. The Bulldog is looking good early on. #5 is Haku, leading to another double-team on the Bulldog. But Haku quickly turns on Flair, causing Heenan to freak out at his former ally. Heenan also keeps saying for Flair to take a breather, but Flair doesn't seem to be going that way, going right into the fights. The Bulldog tosses out Haku with a shoulder just before #6, Shawn Michaels, makes his way down. Michaels and Flair go at it almost immediately, with Michaels getting some good moves on Flair, including the Crescent Kick (later known as Sweet Chin Music, but doesn't mean as much here). #7 is "El Matador" Tito Santana, who, yep, goes after Flair, trying to toss him out.
Gorilla Monsoon: "Kiss your meal ticket goodbye!"
Of course, Flair gets back in and fights back, delivering a low blow to the Bulldog. #8 is the Barbarian, making it 5 men in the ring. Several near eliminations, but not much going on. #9 is "The Texas Tornado" Kerry von Erich(RIP), who has a lot of history with Flair, just not in the WWF. The two go at it, with it ending in a Flair Flop. #10 is the Repo Man, the terrible gimmick thought up for Barry Darsow (instead of his great alter-ego, Demolition Smash). Greg "The Hammer" Valentine is #11, getting a pretty good cheer from the crowd for the legendary wrestler. He starts nailing Flair, who has already taken a hell of a beating. The ring is rapidly filling up. More is added with #12, Nikolai Volkoff, who I believe was a kayfabe substitute for the 'injured' Marty Jannetty. Valentine gets the Figure Four on Flair, to the cheers of the crowd. They don't cheer as much, though, when the Repo Man tosses out Nikolai. Short night for the big Russian.
#13 is the Big Bossman(RIP), who, of course, goes after Flair. The Repo Man, meanwhile, surprisingly gets another elimination, sending out Valentine, then goes after the fresh Bossman. It doesn't pay off, as the Bossman sends Repo over the ropes and out of the match. Flair tosses out the Bulldog (after 26 minutes), then throws out the Tornado a few seconds later. People are flying out all over the place. Santana and Michaels both fall over the ropes, eliminating each other. #14 is Hercules(RIP), who attacks the Boss Man as Flair cheap-shots the Barbarian, which didn't pay off, leading to a beatdown. But as the Barbarian tried to toss Flair, Hercules catches him from behind, throwing out the big man. Seconds later, Hercules goes out as well, thanks to the Boss Man, and we're suddenly down to two men. The Boss Man dominates Flair, but takes a common Rumble mistake and tries a Crossbody, flying over Flair and out of the ring, eliminating himself. Flair's the only one left for a few seconds, leading Heenan to start saying he had won.
#15 is "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, and the facial expression on Flair is priceless. Piper dominates the tired Flair, even blocking a Reverse Atomic Drop with an eyepoke. The crowd is going crazy, as Piper gets the Sleeper on Flair, choking him out. #16 is Jake "The Snake" Roberts, who at first sits in the corner, apparently content to watch Piper put Flair to sleep. But when Piper turns his back, the Snake strikes, attacking Piper from behind. Roberts also tricks Flair into thinking they could ally together, giving Flair the Short Clothesline. But Piper saves Flair from the DDT. Flair then gets the Figure Four on Roberts, but Piper breaks it up. Heenan's comments, meanwhile, continue to add to the match.
Bobby "The Brain" Heenan: (After Piper attacks Flair again) "Why you no good freak, you skirt-wearing freak! It's not a kilt, it's a skirt!">
#17 is "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, who opts to drop the 2x4 just before entering the ring. Can you guess you he attacks? There, I knew that you could. Flair takes ANOTHER beating, as the "USA" chants break out. Ironically, the only guy this could be against is the Hot Scot, Piper. #18 is Irwin R. Schyster, who walks calmly to the ring. The tie soon proves to be a hinderance, as the men fight it out. #19 is "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka, appearing in his last Rumble (and his last WWF PPV match until a brief run in '96. We've got six men in the ring, and are in need of some clearing out. Enter the Undertaker at #20, who had preferential treatment thanks to the title controversy. About three seconds after entering the ring, the Undertaker launches Superfly out of the ring. The Dead Man then chokes out Flair, as Heenan starts cracking up.
#21 is "The Macho Man" Randy Savage, as the Snake runs to the outside to hide. Savage then gets attacked from behind by the Undertaker, allowing Roberts to come back in and get some free shots in. But Savage soon wakes up, dodging a short clothesline and punching Roberts like crazy, getting some revenge for the Snake's 'wedding present' to Elizabeth. Savage knees Roberts out of the ring, eliminating him, then jumps over the top rope to continue the assault. However, it's soon ruled that, since no one actually tossed out Savage, he can go back in. Ummm, so why didn't that go for the Boss Man? Or are we counting Flair dodging as him eliminating the lawman? Hmmm. The Undertaker beats on Savage outside the ring and brings him back in, as Roberts is forced to leave. #22 is the Berzerker (w/ Mr. Fuji), a short-lived gimmick for John Nord. The Berzerker and the Undertaker go at it, with Heenan looking frantically for Flair.
The Undertaker and Piper both choke out Flair, with the Undertaker then adding a choke for Piper, which Piper returns. All three choke each other, as the clock runs down again. #23 is Virgil, who attacks IRS. The fighting continues with no eliminations for a while. #24 is Col. Mustafa (formerly known as the Iron Sheik) w/ General Adnan. People still weren't happy about the Iraqis at this point, although Sgt. Slaughter had returned from the dark side. It just feels like we're building up the ring for the inevitable Hogan run. #25 is "The Model" Rick Martel, getting a late draw for a long-lasting Rumble wrestler. Savage gets himself another elimination, sending out Mustafa. #26 is Hulk Hogan, causing the crowd to explode. Hogan goes after everyone, including Flair and the Undertaker. Hogan clotheslines the Undertaker out, then seconds later sends out the Berzerker, then FINALLY gets to tear his shirt off.
In the background, Hacksaw and Virgil eliminate each other, bringing us down to 5. It goes up to six, as "The Alligator Man" Skinner runs in as #27. Poor Steve Keirn. He deserved better. Hogan lifts up Flair to the ropes, and Heenan literally cries. As IRS saves Flair, Heenan starts to bargain with God, saying that he'll be good if He lets Flair win. Monsoon shows some admiration for Flair, mentioning his comment early on that #1-5 have never been there at the end, but we're quickly approaching the end. #28 is Sgt. Slaughter, another former WWF World Champion. In fact, of the 30 participants, I believe we had 8 former-and-future World Champs appear. That's a pretty good ratio. Skinner listens to the tricky Martel and tries a double-team on Piper, but Martel just slips up behind Skinner and dumps him out. Meanwhile, Piper and Hogan go at it, renewing their battles from early Wrestlemanias. Flair is now the all-time Rumble record holder, as he's been in the ring for almost an hour.
#29 is big Sid Justice (known as Sid Vicious early/later on). He surprisingly goes after the taxman, rather than Flair. Heenan's begging for a wide shot, since he can't see Flair. We focus on Flair, who's punching away at Hogan and earning Monsoon's respect. Justice finally gets his hands on Flair, to the roar of the crowd. #30 is the Warlord w/ Harvey Whippleman. The Warlord walks slowly to the ring, as Hogan and Flair start fighting on the outside. Flair takes an outside suplex, continuing to get beat down. Justice throws Slaughter hard enough into the corner to send Slaughter head over heels to the outside, a painful maneuver for an older wrestler. Eight men left, with at least five major favorites in Flair, Hogan, Justice, Piper, and Savage.
Piper eliminates IRS thanks to Schyster's tie. The Rowdy One's been in there a long time as well, especially since he had a match earlier in the night. Hogan & Justice work together to send out the Warlord, who clearly didn't have a chance anyway. Justice then catches Martel & Piper while they were fighting, dumping both men out. We're down to Flair, Hogan, Justice, & Savage. Justice puts Savage up on the ropes, and a running knee from Flair to Justice helps Savage go out. Hogan then attacks Flair, trying to toss him out, but Justice sneaks up behind him and tosses Hogan out! The crowd can't believe it! Justice and Hogan have words, with Hogan grabbing Justice's arm from the outside, yanking on it. What a sore loser. Flair takes the opportunity and tosses Justice out from behind, getting the amazing victory as Heenan goes ballistic with screams of "Yes!" Flair leaves with Heenan & Perfect, as Hogan and Justice get into it in the ring. Surprisingly, the fans are against Hogan, as they seem to realize that Hogan was eliminated cleanly, then cheated to cost Justice. Officials run to the ring to separate the two men, setting up a Wrestlemania feud.
Ace Thoughts: No doubt, this is the best Royal Rumble I've ever seen. It still means a lot to me, sitting here watching it again. I still wonder, though, was it great because of Flair's efforts? Or was it simply great because Hogan didn't win? Hard to say. So many greats were in this one, and as I said earlier, 8 of them were former or future WWF World Champions. And that's not counting the Tornado (NWA World Champ), Santana (ECW Champ), and Snuka (ECW Champ). It's possibly the greatest combination of wrestlers in one ring in wrestling history. Sure, nowadays a lot of wrestling fans don't recognize a lot of the greats. But then, this site is all about wrestling history, and it doesn't get any better than this.
- After the match, President Tunney gives Flair the Undisputed WWF World Heavyweight Title. Flair then gives a magnificent speech.
Flair, Heenan, & Perfect continue to celebrate, as Mean Gene tells everyone goodbye for his broadcast colleagues. We end with still shots of different events during the night.
One of the only issues I have with this Rumble, is that, while it was a TREMENDOUS spectacle, it may have had too much talent, as most of the other matches weren't exactly classics. In fact, other than the opener and the Piper/Mountie match (purely for its historical significance), there's not much else on this tape that I get that excited about. If you happen to pick up Ric Flair's WWE 3-Disc Set, then you'll get to see Flair's Rumble antics without worrying about the rest of this PPV. I definitely recommend that set. I only partially recommend this PPV, almost completely for the Rumble itself.