Royal Rumble 1992
January 19, 1992
Albany, New York
Announcers: Gorilla Monsoon & Bobby "The Brain" Heenan
This year the winner of the Royal Rumble will win the vacant WWF Title, and right from the get go, already Heenan is banking on Flair.
New Foundation vs. Orient Express
Owen and Anvil are undefeated at this point. Hennan makes some good jokes about Niedhart not being all there. Owen starts off with some awesome stuff, including flipping off the ropes to reverse a wristlock. Then he pulls off a huricanranna, thus wowing the 1992 crowd. This was awesome stuff back then. Hell, it's awesome now. Owen throws in an Enziguri as well. Gorilla talks about how Owenís brother, Bret Hart, lost the Intercontinental Title this weekend while wrestling against doctors orders with a 104 degree fever. Heenan makes light of this and says he shouldnít whine because 104 degrees isnít that high. "I once wrestled with a 113 degree temperature and you didnít hear me complaining." Gorilla of course rationalizes that at 113 youíd be dead. Gorilla and Heenan were hitting their absolute prime as a team here, and with shows like this one and Wrestlemania VIII, it shows. Owen crossbodies both Express members, but a Fuji caneshot turns the tide. Owen tries a few comebacks, but the Express thwarts him every time. He finally makes the tag, but the ref missed it thanks to Fuji, and Niedhart has to be restrained. Meanwhile, Fuji sets up the cane in the corner and the heels whip Owenís shoulder into it, breaking it in two. The cane, not the shoulder. The evil Japanese tandem work the injured shoulder and use an arm bar slam. Now thereís a move you just donít see anymore. Owen catches Tanaka with the incredible Owen belly-to-belly, but canít reach Niedhart. Finally, Owen double dropkicks Tanaka and Kaito and makes the hot tag. The crowd goes nuts as Owen slingshots Anvil in. Niedhart cleans house, and Owen hits an awesome dive through the ropes to the floor on Kaito. Back in, the New Foundation finishes it off with the Rocket Launcher (Anvil launches Owen off the top for a splash) for the win at 17:18. ***1/4
Lord Alfred Hayes recaps what went down in Springfield, Massachusetts on Friday night. Bret, high fever and all, wrestled the Mountie in an ill-advised match, and The Mountie took the win and the Intercontinental Title over a weakened Bret with a small package. Afterwards, he beat down Bret with the cattleprod, prompting Rowdy Roddy Piper to make the save. The Mountie backed off, but then jumped Piper as well. Since Bret is still sick, Piper has been named number one contender for the Title, and will take Bretís spot in the scheduled Bret/Mountie match for the Rumble.
Sean Mooney interviews The Mountie and Jimmy Hart.
Piper, on the other hand, is with Mean Gene. Typical great Piper promo, which he finishes off by talking about how the Mountie is dreaming... and he "thinks itís all wet too." Okay then...
Intercontinental Title: Rowdy Roddy Piper vs. The Mountie (Champion)
For some reason, Jimmy carries the belt to the ring for The Mountie. What the hell? Let Rougeau wear the damn thing! Piper comes out second and is crazy over. Gorilla teases the fact that Roddy has the rare opportunity to win two Titles in one day since heís also competing in the Royal Rumble Match for the World Title later on. Heenan takes the other perspective which is that he can also BLOW two Titles in one day. Gorilla confuses him by citing that, "He doesnít HAVE two Titles; how can he BLOW two Titles?" Brain counters with, "Well then he canít win two Titles." "Oh yes he can," finishes Gorilla. Way to perplex the Brain. The match is almost all Piper, and the Mountie does some nice bumping for him. The Mountie accidentally collides with Jimmy on the apron, and Piper slaps on the sleeper to put him away and win the Intercontinental Title at 5:21. This would be the only WWF gold Roddyís would ever win. The pop from the crowd is enormus. Only *1/4, but it was a great moment.
Lord Alfred is in the dressing room of Hulk Hogan.
Gene is with the Bushwackers and Jamison. As stupid as the Jamison character was, the guy did play the role to perfection.
Hey, itís a sign that says, "On The 8th Day God Created Gorilla Monsoon".
Bushwackers vs. Beverly Brothers
The only highlight here is Heenan making fun of Jamison. MUCH stalling. Luke bites Blake in the ass. Oh dear. Usual Bushwacker crap. More stalling. I was watching this in the evening, and at this point I actually fell asleep. The next morning the Beverlys get the pin with a double axehandle and Jamison slaps the Genius. 14:57, which makes for one long and boring DUD. Next.
Gene is with the Legion Of Doom, Hawk and Animal.
Tag Team Titles: Legion Of Doom (Champions) vs. Natural Disasters
The awesome Rumble match is coming up next, so let's make a short story even shorter with this one, shall we? The Disasters get the countout win at 9:23 after they work over Hawk the whole match. Nothing terribly noteworthy happens. They celebrate with the Titles despite the fact that they didnít win them, so LOD cleans house with a steel chair, forcing Earthquake to take a nice head on bump into the thing. LOD reclaims their Belts, but theyíd end up losing them about two weeks later anyway, to another Jimmy Hart team, Money Inc. Match was a boring *1/4, which was why I didnít feel like recapping it in vast detail. Donít worry, though. The Rumble Match is coming up shortly...
Mooney is with The Disasters and Jimmy gives a pretty good ranting interview about how his men should be the Champions despite the fact that he has no logic whatsoever to back it up.
Gorilla and the Brain give their opinions on what we've seen thus far.
Piper, the new IC Champion, cuts another great promo with Gene. Will he make history? Will he win two Titles in one day? Stay tuned.
Mooney is with Shawn Michaels, who is coming off the famous Barbershop incident in which he slammed Marty Jannettyís face through a window.
Hayes is with Ric Flair in a stupid Coliseum Video exclusive where he reveals his number in the Rumble and guarantees his win despite it... "and thatís the bottom line."
Gene sets up pre-recorded interviews from Randy Savage, Sid Justice, the British Bulldog, Jake Roberts, The Undertaker, and the favorite and winner of the Rumble the last two years, Hulk Hogan.
WWF Title, Royal Rumble Match
This one is for all the marbles. There are many top contenders this year, all worthy of the WWF Title. Thereís Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker, Sgt. Slaughter, and Randy Savage, all former WWF Champions. Then there are veterans like Jimmy Snuka, Ted DiBiase, Jake Roberts, Greg Valentine, Rick Martel, Tito Santana, The British Bulldog, The Big Boss Man, Jim Duggan, Kerry Von Erich, and the cinderella story, Piper. Then there are monsters like Sid, The Warlord, The Berzerker, and Hercules. Plus any of the underdogs like Virgil and Nikolai Volkoff, who just have to win this one time to become WWF Champion. This was by far the best field of any Rumble, and the prize was the highest itís ever been.
#1 and #2 are the British Bulldog and Ted DiBiase, despite Gorilla calling for it to be Flair. They do a nice sequence as Gorilla mentions the endurance records for the Rumble. The longest is 53 minutes by Rick Martel while Bushwakcer Luke holds the distinction of the shortest with an epic 4.8 second effort. Hey, look, itís the fan that was also at Wrestlemania VIII. You know, the guy that held up six one dollar bills when Money Inc. came out? Heenan would make fun of him in Indianapolis, but he goes unnoticed here. DiBiase is clotheslined over the top and eliminated all too quickly about ninety seconds in. Well that sucked. We wait for number #3 and it turns out to be Ric Flair. Bobby is PISSED. Gorilla rubs it in, and theyíre cracking me up. Flair seems calm despite his poor luck in the draw. Nasty Boy Jerry Sags is #4. The timer seems to be accelerated a little bit. Sags lasts about a minute before getting tossed. Haku is #5 and he goes after fellow heel Flair. Heenan canít believe it. Ric bails under the bottom rope and Bulldog dumps Haku as number #6 enters. Itís Shawn Michaels, out to huge boos. Bulldog, Michaels, and Flair are in the same ring! Flair and Michaels battle, and now Shawn and Davey Boy go at it. Then Michaels goes back to Flair. Yeah, Shawn, go blow all your heel heat by targeting Flair and getting popped. A pir of Heartbreak Kid crescent kicks put both Flair and Bulldog on the mat. Tito Santana is #7 and now there are four great wrestlers in there. Slick Ric hits a vicious low blow on Bulldog, but Tito hits the Flying Jalepeno on him shortly thereafter.
The Barbarian is in at #8, and The Texas Tornado follows at #9 to a huge pop. This would be his last WWF PPV. Von Erich, of course, goes right after Flair to the delight of the crowd. Repo Man sneaks into the ring at #10, and Greg Valentine is #11. The ring is filling up. Valentine and Flair, of course, chop it out with each other. Gorilla reminds us that Valentine lasted 44 minutes in 1991. #12 is Nikolai Volkoff. Please hold your applause; the Albany crowd certainly did. Valentine hooks the Figure Four on Flair much to the dismay of Heenan. Repo dumps Volkoff, and Flair breaks the Figure Four with a thumb to the eye. #13 is The Big Boss Man, who goes nuts on everyone, especially Flair and Michaels. Hey, why not bring the nightstick? Itís legal in this match. Valentine gets tossed. Boss Man eliminates Repo, and Flair gets rid of Tornado, and the Bulldog, who lasted a strong twenty-four minutes. Time to clear things out. Santana and Michaels spill over the top rope with each other. Hercules comes out at #14 and goes for Flair. Flair makes an alliance with the Barbarian, but then crosses him, so Barbarian press slams him. Herc dumps the Barbarian, and Boss Man, in turn, dumps Herc. Now itís down to just Boss Man and Flair. Ric ducks a charge and Boss Man goes flying over the top rope. Flair is the only one left in the ring, and Bobby goes nuts, declaring him the winner, though there are still obviously many more participants to come. Flair, fatigued, falls flat on his face as the crowd anxiously anticipates #15.
Piper! The place absolutely loses it. This is great booking. Piper dominates and they go through the middle rope to the floor to brawl. Flair sells everything like crazy. Inside the ring, Piper gives him an airplane spin and a sleeper. #16 is the EVIL Jake "The Snake" Roberts, who first lets Piper continue to do his thing, but then jumps him. Flair thanks Jake and gets short clotheslined for his trouble. That mustíve been the last face pop Jake ever got before leaving. He tries for the DDT, but Piper breaks it up, and Heenan thanks him, acknowledging that Piperís choice of garnment is "a kilt, not a skirt". Flair locks the Figure Four on Jake, and Piper beats on both of them. The heels double team Piper until "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan comes out at #17. IRS is #18, and Piper grabs him by the "tongue". Woops, itís his tie. Jimmy Snuka is #19. Flair has welts on his back and red marks on his chest from all the abuse heís taken. Former WWF Champion, The Undertaker turns out to be number #20, and takes Snuka out in short order before choking out Flair in the corner. The Dead Man would turn face soon after this. Duggan approaches Taker from behind, but Taker swings his leg back and kicks Hacksaw right in the nuts. Ouch.
#21 is Randy Savage, and he hits the ring like a house of fire. Jake bails through the ropes as Savage looks around for him. Taker nails him, which lets Jake come back and take control. The short clothesline misses, and Savage goes nuts again with an elbow and a double axe handle off the top. Another minute and Jake is gone. Savage then hops over the top rope to the floor to attack him. Juh? Macho obviously got a little too excited there. Taker climbs through the ropes and he and Jake double team Savage. Taker finally tosses Savage back in, and the announcers cover Savageís mistake by saying that he wasnít eliminated because you have to be propelled over the top rope by someone else in order to be eliminated. Yeah, OK. Flair pounds on Savage, and then has the balls to go low blow the Undertaker. #22 is the Berzerker, and he heads straight for the Undertaker. A cool triple choke segment occurs when Piper and Flair choke each other and Taker comes over to choke them both. Virgil is #23. No DiBiase for him to go after, so he focuses on IRS instead. I think I just heard Heenan make a very racist joke about Virgil, but Iím not sure. Colonel Mustafa is #24, and Rick Martel follows at #25. Hogan is #26, and the place goes wild. Hogan nails everybody, from Flair, to Taker, to IRS. After fighting off a brief triple team, Hogan tosses the Undertaker, then dumps the Berzerker as well. He rips his Hulkster shirt off and chokes Martel with it. Duggan and Virgil dump each other. Skinner is #27. Hogan tries to get rid of Flair, but IRS makes the save. Heenan is praying to God at this point. Slaughter is #28. Martel dumps Skinner. Hogan and Piper trade punches. Sid is #29 and the place goes crazy again. The Warlord is #30.
Flair and Hogan go under the bottom rope and Hogan suplexes him on the floor. Sid whips Slaughter into the corner, and Sarge takes his awesome bump straight over the buckle to the floor. Bye bye, Slaughter. Hogan with the big boot to Flair back inside the ring. Piper takes care of IRS while Sid and Hogan team up to dump the Warlord, leaving six particpants remaining. Piper, Flair, Hogan, Savage, Sid, and Martel; one will be Champion. Sid dumps Piper and Martel to cut it to four. Flair knees Sid in the back, causing him to crash into Savage, who spills over the top. Hogan mandhandles Flair, and Sid sneaks up on Hogan from behind and eliminates him to huge cheers. Hogan canít believe it even though itís been clearly stated that it's every man for himself. Hogan, class human being that he is, grabs Sid from the floor, and pulls him over the top rope (with Flairís help from inside the ring), thus eliminating him and giving the match and the WWF Title to Ric Flair at 61:59. Heenan creams his pants. Flair is the Champion! Bobby leaves the booth, preparing to congratulate Ric. ***** Royal Rumble. A great field of participants, a great finish, but most importantly, it was booked perfectly. I love Pat Patterson. This is easily the best Rumble of all time.
Hogan and Sid confront each other in the ring while many officials separate them. The crowd is clearly behind Sid here, as they eat it up when he taunts Hogan, but Gorilla and the Hulkster pretend that everything is as pro-Hogan as itís ever been so that the production crew can later pipe in canned jeers for replay purposes.
Backstage, Mean Gene Okerlund has a word with the new WWF Champion, Ric Flair, to close the show. WWF President Jack Tunney presents Ric with the Belt. Heenan and Mr. Perfect gloat in the background, and deliver their classic line: "Weíre not the type of guys to say we told you so, but WE TOLD YOU SO!" Flair delivers a great, calm interview, and calls this the greatest moment of his life. He makes sure to put over the WWF Title as the only Title in the world that really makes you number one.
The thing thatís so great about Flairís win is that he did this when the Rumble was much more important than it is nowadays. He was also the first to go the distance like this. Every other winner in the past had entered late in the match, but Flair stuck it out from #3 and lasted one hour in the ring. Today itís a clichť to say that a wrestler "went through 29 other men to win the Rumble", but Flair actually did go through everyone else, with the exception of DiBiase, who was eliminated before Flair entered the match. Flair got punished by 28 other guys for an hour to win that Title, and it couldnít have happened to a better wrestler. For the record, a heel winning the final match at a PPV was a big deal in 1992; in fact, it had never happened in the WWF before. Leave it to Flair to shock the world. Before this match, WWF fans had heard of Flair's accomplishments and his legendary status in the NWA. But they still hadn't seen it themselves. This match made Flair in the WWF.
In short, it can be summed up with just three words. Best Rumble Ever.
And it was.
Royal Rumble 1992 Key Stats
Total Wrestling: 108:57
Average Match: 21:47
Average Match Rating: **1/4
Top Moments: Piper's IC Title win, the brilliant commentary, Flair's unbelievable performance, and various spots in the perfectly booked Royal Rumble
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