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Classic Review - Royal Rumble 1992

Posted in In My Head by Jack at 04:08, Jul 25 2011

by "Playboy" Don Douglas

Royal Rumble 1992

This is a show that will always hold significance to me. It is now one of my all time favorite shows. Ric Flair, my all time favorite wrestler, turns in a great performance in the Rumble itself, while my all time favorite wrestling personality (and one of the only ones I would call a personal hero) Bobby "The Brain" Heenan gives a classic performance on commentary. But I didn't always hold the show in such high regard.
I watched the show live on PPV, ultimately not sure who would win the Rumble and the vacant WWF title. The 9-year old me wasn't too picky. I actually hoped Hogan would win it again (yes, I was a Hulkamaniac as a child) but would pretty much settle for anyone other than Flair (who I knew well as a lifelong NWA viewer) and maybe the Undertaker. The ending of the Rumble left me incredibly pissed off, feeling somewhat betrayed, and as odd as it may sound, forced me out of the "cheer all the faces, boo all the heels" mark mentality. It also marked the end of time as a Hulkamaniac. Hogan never recovered in my eyes. When I read about him resurfacing in the WWF around Wrestlemania IX, I didn't care. When I heard about him jumping to WCW, part of me wanted to be excited for the big news, but I just couldn't do it. And with all that has came after, the nWo, the rumors of backstage power plays & politics, returning to the red & yellow, returning to New York, and eventually joining TNA, I've not been into the guy for more than a match or two.
Anyway, on to the show.

We get an intro featuring Gene Okerlund giving us the list of Rumble participants.
From the Knickerbocker Arena in Albany, NY, Gorilla Monsoon quickly informs us that the Mountie has defeated Bret Hart for the IC title and will be defending it against Roddy Piper. After a few words, we get our opening match.

The Orient Express (w/Mr.Fuji) vs the New Foundation (Jim Neidhart & Owen Hart)
Heenan theorizes that Neidhart's headband is on too tight, and Jim promptly laughs into the camera. He also states that they must have just got out of bed, because they're still in their pajamas. Bobby has no idea what number Flair drew because he's been stuck with Gorilla all day. Also, Marty Janetty and Brian Knobbs are out of the Rumble, replaced by Volkoff & Haku. Owen & Kato start the match. Some fairly basic action until Owen bridges up from a knuckle lock, then springs off the ropes and catches him with an arm drag. Tag to the Anvil, and as Bobby says, "You're not going to see him doing that." Anvil overpowers Kato, who tags in Tanaka. Anvil stands in place and lets Tanaka bounce off him a few times. Again, as Bobby says, "The man is nuts." Owen tags in for a quick double team, but Tanaka takes over. Owen regains the advantage with some quick moves and tags Anvil back in. Heenan blows off Bret Hart wrestling with a 104 degree fever, stating that he had wrestled with a 113 degree fever. No big deal. Quick tags from the Foundation and Owen slows the pace for a bit. Heel shenanigans from Tanaka and Fuji on the outside allows Tanaka to take over. Heenan wants to take off and find out what number Flair has, claiming he wants to "let the public know." If we want to be fair to Flair, he shouldn't be in the Rumble. Tanaka continues to work over Owen. The crowd encourages him on while Fuji laughs. Gorilla says, "Just like the Midnight Express, the Orient Express will be tough to derail." As a kid, the only Midnight Express I knew was Cornette's guys, and I wondered why Gorilla was talking about them. Owen tries to fight back but gets cut off. Owen tags, but the ref doesn't see it. While he argues with Anvil, Fuji hooks his cane over the top in the opposite corner and Owen gets Irish whipped into it, breaking the cane. That's some poor sportsmanship from Hart, Fuji obviously needs that cane. How's the poor guy going to get to the back? More double teaming on Owen, including the wheelbarrow/leapfrog bit later done much better by Haas & Benjamin. Owen finally makes the tag and Anvil slams everybody. Owen dives through the ropes and takes out Kato on the floor. Rocket Launcher on Tanaka, and the Foundation takes it. Good opener, the live crowd seemed to like it.

Lord Alfred Hayes shows us clips of the Mountie winning the IC title from Bret Hart in Springfield, Mass and beating him down after the match until Piper shows up and tells him to leave.Piper checks on Bret, and Mountie whacks him with the belt. Piper pretty much no-sells it and decks Mountie. Sean Mooney (Who?) is standing by with Mountie & Jimmy Hart.

Jimmy laughs at Bret's illness, and Mountie questions why Piper is getting a shot on such short notice. He's taking Piper's skirt and his manhood. That doesn't sound odd at all. Gene is with Piper, who's his usual wired self. Piper claims he has no integrity to take. As for the manhood, "I came here to wrestle, I don't know what you came here to do." Mountie, he decides, has been dreaming, "and it sounds all wet, too." The nine year old me had no idea what that was supposed to mean. Now I'm just kind of surprised that Piper said it. The match is up next.

IC title match - The Mountie (c.) vs Roddy Piper. Mountie is out first, with Jimmy Hart. At least he got an entrance. This is a chance for Piper to win his first title in the WWF, and he also has a chance to win the WWF title in the Rumble. Mountie talks smack about the kilt, so Piper puts it over his face and goes to work. Mountie takes a powder, but Piper comes after him. Jimmy Hart gets used as a human shield, allowing Mountie to take over. That doesn't last long. A discussion on rights leads to Gorilla telling Brain, "As long as you're sitting next to me you don't have any rights." Pretty sure I have an ex-girlfriend with that same policy. Bobby still wants to check on Flair's number, but Gorilla's not letting him go anywhere. Some brawling leads to Piper missing a dropkick and Mountie taking over. Heenan calls Bret Hart a wuss and an idiot, and theorizes that Roddy will have an excuse when he doesn't win. Mountie runs into Jimmy and Roddy locks on the sleeper for the win. Jimmy comes in and gets tossed. Roddy has the shock stick and makes a show out of zapping Mountie. Fink makes the announcement of a new IC champ while Roddy and the crowd go nuts. Brain wonders what the odds are of him walking out with both belts.

Coliseum exclusive of Lord Alfred getting a word with Hogan about the Rumble. Standard stuff, he's throwing out 29 guys and winning the Rumble.

Gene is joined by the Bushwhackers and Jamison. Oh shit. Luke talks and I don't understand everything he says. Butch talks and I understand even less. Jamison threatens the Genius. Boy, there's a fight for the ages. Bobby claims Jamison reeked of sardines earlier.

Beverly Brothers (w/the Genius) vs the Bushwhackers (w/Jamison). The Genius has a poem for us. Not a particularly good one, but them's the breaks. Here come the Marching Morons, licking random children. I guess it was a more innocent time. Gorilla says they've been licking and whacking their way through the competition. That doesn't sound odd at all. They lick another kid and Gorilla says he'll remember it for the rest of his life. Bobby says he'll probably smell like it for the next 6 months. He also informs us that Jamison's parents never got a divorce because no one wanted custody of him. They used to wrap his lunch in a road map. Bobby still wants to go check with Flair. The Bushwhackers got a good reaction but now they're basically stalling until one of the Beverly's smacks one in the back of the head. Then they march around trying to get a chant started, but no one can understand what the hell they're saying, so it doesn't work. "The worst part of wrestling the Bushwhackers is that win, lose, or draw, you have to have everything you wore fumigated." Ass biting by the Bushwhackers, and the Beverly bail. Hey, if I just saw some guy licking children and then he bit my ass, I'd be notifying the proper authorities. Someone would be going on the sex offender registry. We've still had almost nothing happen in the ring as Jamison blows his nose on a sock. Butch Whacks up and they clear the ring. "Are those tattoos or do they just draw on themselves?" More ass biting. The Bushwhackers seem to be psychic, as they always know where the Beverlys are and what they're going to do. Gorilla threatens to have Bobby taken out of here. He also claims that Bobby is angry because he retired and can't manage the Bushwhackers. He says something about them being in the electric chair. "Can you imagine the smell of sardines frying in Ol' Sparky?" He's busting on Jamison non-stop, I can't keep up with it. If you've noticed, I'm talking much more about the commentary than I am the match. That's because there's more action in the commentary. Luke kicks a Beverly (I don't know which is which) going for a back body drop and promptly falls over. Bobby keeps cracking jokes and Gorilla threatens him. The Genius slaps Jamison and Bobby immediately tells him to wash his hands. "He didn't hit you hard enough, you're still breathing." Several minutes later and Jamison is still pouting about being slapped. Hot tag, clotheslines, battering ram, but the other Beverly breaks the pin. Damn man, do us all a favor and let it end. Double team and the Beverlys get the pin. Bushwhackers from behind take out the Beverlys and bring in the Genius. Jamison winds up the right hand with a stupid look on his face. He does this for about half a minute then kicks him the shin. As he hops away, Jamison kicks him in the ass. He puts on the Genius's hat while the Bushwhackers lick him. Bobby's still having fun.

Mean Gene is with the Legion of Doom, who defend the tag belts against the Natural Disasters. Animal does a basic promo. Hawks says, "You know what makes me sick, besides everything?" I'll have to remember that for future reference. He does his usual slightly psychotic promo, but as usual, it kind of works for him.

Tag Title Match - Legion of Doom (c.) vs Natural Disasters (w/ Jimmy Hart). Disasters out first. As usual, LOD gets a good pop. Bobby bags on their haircuts a bit, but I imagine even the Brain needs a moment to recover from all the barbs he fired in that last match. Hawk and Typhoon start it off. Bobby challenges him to pick up Typhoon and throw him around. Shoulderblocks don't move the big man, so Hawk clocks him in the head, then quickly nails him with a top rop clothesline to knock him down. Quake tags in and absorbs a dropkick, then goes for one of his own, but Hawk dodges it. Animal tags in, and he and Quake size each other up before trading some shots. Double clothesline takes them both down. One of my best friends despises that spot. Typhoon comes in but gets dropped. Double clothesline from these 2 has no effect on either guy. Quake comes back in and Hawk is actually selling a bit. He won't be confused for Ricky Morton here, but considering he usually pops straight up from a piledriver, he's busting his ass tonight. Quake goes back to the bearhug as Bobby tries to get someone to go to the back and find out Flair's number. Gorilla tells somebody to get him out of here. Hawk makes the tag and Animal cleans house before all 4 men start brawling on the floor. Typhoon rolls back into the ring just in time to get a count out win. Hart brings in the belts as if he doesn't know the rules. LOD back in to reclaim their belts and Hawk Irish whips Quake into a chairshot from Animal.

Gorilla sends it to Sean Mooney (Bobby: "Who?" Sean is joined by Jimmy Hart who says he's going to call his attorney. The Disasters come in and are upset that they didn't get to keep the belts. Even Mooney tries to remind them about the count out rule. You know, when Sean Mooney knows the rules better than the wrestlers, you've got a sad situation. It would be like Michael Cole correcting Jim Ross on an anecdote from the territory days.

Gene is standing by with the new IC champ Roddy Piper. Piper is hyper, of course. He references President Bush falling down and Martin Luther King's "I Have Dream" speach in the same sentence, which has to be a first. Back to Sean Mooney (Who?) who is with Sean Michaels. We go back a week to the set of the Barber Shop, where Michaels kicks Jannetty and throws him through the plate glass window. He addresses Marty and says he will be the champion.

Lord Alfred is with Flair in a Coliseum exclusive. Flair tells us he drew #3, but tells us it makes no difference, he will walk out the champion, against all odds. I see what they left this off the original broadcast, since it spoils the Rumble match a bit.

Gene throws us to some pre-taped words from the Rumble participants. Randy Savage tells us that he will get his hands on Jake Roberts and win the title. Sid Justice is next, but he's talking through his teeth and I don't retain much of it. Repo Man is next, and the goofy bastard is certainly different in his promo style than he was in his days as Smash. British Bulldog tells us about winning a battle royal in England, but somewhat awkwardly. Jake talks about disappointment, and how 29 other men will be, but he never disappoints himself. He pledges to save something for Savage. Flair and Mr. Perfect are next. Flair says there's no backdoor for him after claiming to be the real champ. Paul Bearer tells us there's 29 hearses & 29 caskets, and Undertaker says he will once again be WWF champion. Hogan says he'll prove the power of Hulkamania by winning the match. He says, "WWF" several times, and since this DVD came out after the wildlife crap, the F is silent. BOLLOCKS. Hogan mentions that it's every man for himself in the Rumble, but we don't have to worry about someone like Taker or Roberts stealing the title. Remember that.

Fink tells us it's time for the Rumble and reminds us that it's every man for himself. Remember that. Bobby is getting nervous. Fink introduces WWF President Jack Tunney, who Bobby refers to as Jack "On the Take" Tunney. Bobby gets impatient with him and says, "He's the best president since Noriega," which gets the classic response from Gorilla. #1 is out, and it's the British Bulldog. #2 is introduced by Fink, and it's Ted Dibiase with Sensational Sherri. They waste no time getting to it. Bobby says he would roll to the outside and take it easy. They point out Ted's success at lasting in previous Rumble matches as he works over Bulldog. Ted tosses him, but doesn't notice he held on. He turns back in time to be clotheslined out. The Million Dollar Man is out, and Bulldog hypes the crowd. The buzzer hits for #3, and it's Ric Flair, who walks to the ring looking rather focused. He gets on the apron, talks a little smack to Bulldog, and gives Curt a high five. Gorilla points out that no one has ever drawn 1-5 and won the match. Bobby apologizes for not being able to be objective, prompting Gorilla to ask him when he's ever been objective. I like the booking there. Bulldog, a popular guy, quickly dumps Ted, a guy who still has some good heat but is pretty much at the end of his singles run. The crowd is pumped, and Bulldog looks great. Then Flair comes out at #3. Bulldog does well until Jerry Sags comes in at #4, but comes back to toss Sags. He lands on the apron, but stops to jaw at the fans, so Bulldog dropkicks him to the floor. With Flair in a bit of trouble, Haku comes in at #5. Bobby reminds us that it's every man for himself. Remember that. Flair and Haku briefly double team Bulldog, then Haku and Flair mix it up while Gorilla and Bobby once again remind us that it's every man for himself and there are no friends, only enemies. Haku works over Flair, but gets dumped by Bulldog just as Shawn Michaels comes in at #6. Bobby once again says it's every man for himself. Gorilla says it still matters who comes in because some guys hate Flair more than others. Shawn takes charge until nearly getting tossed by Bulldog. Flair then takes a shot, but Shawn goes to the eyes to save himself. Bulldog crotches Shawn on the top rope and bounces him a bit. "El Matador" Tito Santana comes in at #7 as Bobby reminds us that he's a former IC champion and former tag champ. "Shawn Michaels is making guacamole out of El Matador!" Flair whacks Bulldog in the nuts. Bobby says he'd do that to his grandmother if he had to. El Matador his the Flying Jalapeno on Flair. Barbarian in at #8, as Bobby says they only get bigger and tougher. "Why do you think they call him the Barbarian? He's not a hairdresser on his day off, you know." Despite the jokes, Bobby's putting over everybody as they come out, either naming past accomplishments or just generally putting them over as a threat. "Texas Tornado" Kerry Von Erich is next, and they mention he's a former IC champion. He goes straight for Flair, which is awesome for the old school fans. With several relatives who were fans and regularly reading the magazines, I knew about a lot of the history between guys that happened in the territories. That made the match seems extra special to me somehow. Bobby says he'd bring a big crescent wrench to the ring. Repo Man is out. Gorilla makes fun of him, saying he doesn't know which way he's going and he's wasting time. Bobby disagrees, saying he has a plan and knows what he's doing. Not jumping right in is smart. When you're putting over the Repo Man in a match for the belt, you're working over time. Flair chops the hell out of Kerry and they continue to work together. Bobby says they didn't want Flair to have to go any longer than 30 minutes. Greg Valentine is in, and goes straight to Flair as they point out he's a former IC and tag champ. Again, I knew about his history with Flair in Mid-Atlantic. Gorilla tells Bobby to forget about it and Bobby tells him to shut up. They talk about how long Valentine lasted the previous year. Bulldog almost goes, and Nikolai Volkoff is in to practically no response. That sucks, Nikolai's a good guy. Maybe that's the problem here. Gorilla says, "Things are pretty rough for those Russians right now," and Bobby replies, "Too bad." Valentine locks Flair in the figure four as Volkoff is quickly eliminated. Repo Man gives Flair an assist. Unfortunately, there's probably a joke to be made there somewhere. Bossman is in next, going after everyone. Valentine gets dumped, with Repo Man following close behind. Kerry and Shawn mix it up in on corner, while Bulldog works over Flair. That doesn't last long, as Davey and Kerry both get dumped. Tito and Shawn go out at the same time. They would go on to face each other at Wrestlemania. Hercules is next, and he too goes straight for Flair. Barbarian manhandles Flair as Bobby pleads with him to go under the bottom rope. Flair almost goes, but Barbarian and Hercules get dumped instead. Bossman takes over on Flair, but Ric ducks a lunge and Bossman's momentum carries himself over. Bobby declares Flair the winner. Ric takes a few breaths, but the buzzer sounds and Roddy Piper is next. Flair's reaction is classic. Piper goes straight to work, and this is another one where I knew about their prior history. Piper works him over with eye pokes, an airplane spin, and locks in the sleeper as the countdown begins. Jake Roberts is in next and Gorilla and Bobby ominously say his name. Jake motions for Piper to have at it and takes a seat. Bobby says you can't trust Jake, and Gorilla says you can't trust anyone in the Rumble. Remember that. Jake grabs Flair for the DDT, but Piper clotheslines him. "I never thought I'd say this, but thank you, Roddy. It's not a skirt, it's a kilt." Flair puts the figure four on Jake, but Piper puts the boots to both of them. "You no-good creep. You skirt-wearing freak!" "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan is in next. Gorilla puts over Flair's performance, but says it's too bad he drew #3. Bobby says they were jobbed and figures Hulk Hogan is behind it. Piper & Flair trade chops while Bobby says it's not fair to Flair. Countdown and.....IRS. He walks so slow that, as some of my relatives would say, "you can see the dead lice falling off him." He's not as slow as Iron Sheik in the Gimmick Battle Royal, but who is? Gorilla points out that Jake is making it a point to look whenever the buzzer sounds in case it's Randy Savage. Buzzer sounds and it's "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka. Bobby criticizes him for jogging, saying he's wasting energy and time. Gorilla correctly points out that he's not wasting time. "I don't know what I'm saying anymore!" Gorilla mentions that Hogan and Undertaker received preferential treatment in drawing their numbers since they were the last 2 champions. Flair takes a beating from Piper and almost goes out. Buzzer sounds, and Paul Bearer leads the Undertaker to the ring. Flair looks a little apprehensive, but goes on fighting Snuka. Undertaker enters the ring and immediately clotheslines the Superfly out. Flair attacks him, but Taker just chokes the hell out of him. Gorilla tells Bobby he should show some mercy and go down and throw in the towel. Duggan gets Taker away from Flair, but Ric doesn't rest long before going after Taker again. Countdown, buzzer, the Macho Man. When we cut back to the ring, there's no sign of Jake. After Savage has been smacked around a bit, Jake resurfaces. Savage comes back on him and eliminates Jake. He leaps over the top after him as Gorilla and Bobby wonder if he's eliminated himself. Undertaker rolls out after Savage. In the end, they decide that you have to be thrown out. Didn't they have someone eliminate himself from the Rumble a few years later? Flair's still going after people. Bobby points out that Roddy already wrestled once tonight and he's still going. We get the countdown, and the Berzerker marches down, doing his Bruiser Brody bit. Bobby points out that he specializes in throwing guys over the top rope. He then calls Flair nuts for still going after guys. "I never thought I'd say this, but weasel your way out if you have to." Countdown again, that one seemed to fly by. Virgil runs out and goes right after IRS. Bobby points out that he had the Million Dollar Belt. "Of course, he stole it, but he had it." "He just came out, right? Who knows how many bags he's gone through in the back." Undertaker tries to dump Flair and you can hear Bobby's blood pressure rising. Gorilla points out that he's been in for 47 minutes. He notes that Piper and Virgil are fighting, further proof that friendships do not matter in the match. The buzzer sounds again and Col. Mustafa (a.k.a. the Iron Sheik) is next. He goes after Virgil, so I guess that means the stuff he says on Twitter is true and he doesn't like the guy. He finally goes after Duggan instead, and there are comments you can make there involving kayfabe or behind the scenes stuff. He gets eliminated though, so we won't get to see him break Hogan's leg or make anyone humble. Hogan is in next. I would have loved to have been standing there when he and Sheik passed each other. Bobby basically starts praying for Flair to win, promising to be a different person if he does. Hogan clotheslines Undertaker out, and Berzerker goes soon after. Virgil and Hacksaw go out next. Sounds like the setup to a joke. Skinner comes in next, and Bobby says all he has to do is spit his tobacco in someone's mouth. Flair almost gets dumped, and Bobby's about to cry. He starts praying again. "I need something to drink. Hey, stupid! Get me something to drink!" Bobby says that regardless of how the match ends, you have to acknowledge Flair as the real world champion based on his performance. "You know what's not fair to Flair? That he's still in there!" Sgt. Slaughter comes in, and Skinner goes out soon after. Slaughter, as is the theme, goes straight for Flair. Rick Martel, who had the record for longest run coming into the match, is still in as Flair overtakes the record. Bobby says that's good enough and they should give him the belt. The countdown brings us Sid Justice. After a bit, Sid goes after Flair and the crowd pops. Sid actually nips up. How did I not remember that? The Warlord is out at #30. Flair and Hogan head outside, and Hogan gives him a suplex on the floor. Slaughter flies over the top courtesy of Sid. Hogan rolls Flair back in and gives him the big boot. Flair's officially been in over an hour. IRS tries to dump Piper, but he lands on the apron, grabs Irwin's tie, and pulls him out by it. Hogan and Sid dump the Warlord. I'm surprised Vince didn't push him more. Sid dumps Piper and Martel, and we're down to the final four: Flair, Savage, Hogan, and Sid. Savage goes out quickly, and Hogan and Flair rip into each other as Sid watches. He comes up and dumps Hogan as Bobby points out there are no friends. Hogan says, "You stole my belt!" and grabs Sid's arm. Flair comes up and they dump Sid. Bobby goes into coniption fits. Hogan enters the ring and chases off Flair like the sore loser he is. Sid gets his attention with a shove to the back of the head. They jaw at each other as officials come in to separate them. Hogan does the hand to the ear bit but doesn't get the usual reaction. Sid gets a bit of support and plays to it. He says a few more words to Hogan and finally leaves.

We go to Mean Gene who is with Jack Tunney, who's here to present the belt to Flair, who is joined by Bobby and Perfect. "I'm gonna tell ya ALL...with a tear in my eye: this is the greatest moment of my life." Bobby leads a group "Wooo!" before putting over Ric's performance. Perfect says, "We're not the kind of guys to say we told ya so, but we...TOLD YA SO!" Gene infamously pauses mid-sentence to yell at someone to "Put that cigarette out!" Well, at least he didn't yell, "Fuck it!" again. Flair puts everyone on notice, and that's the show.

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