I think it’s fair to say that the 1992 Royal Rumble match is the most celebrated by wrestling fans. If you’ve seen it then you know. If you haven’t, you’re missing out.
This is the Royal Rumble that many consider to be the best ever. The World Wrestling Federation Title was up for grabs due to controversial results in title matches involving Hulk Hogan and The Undertaker in the months leading up to this. The title was vacated while Hogan and Undertaker were promised spots anywhere from number 20 to 30. The winner of this match got to be the WWF Champion at the time. In terms of star power it was one of the most stacked Rumbles ever.
This was one of PPVs where I watched it live, had it on a tape and still bought the official WWF Coliseum Video tape because it was such a fun Rumble match. I don’t know how often I watched the whole PPV, though, so re-watching the undercard matches will feel fresh and new to me again.
WWF Royal Rumble
January 19, 1992
Knickerbocker Arena in Albany, New York
The opening video package featured images of the WWF superstars in the Royal Rumble with Vince McMahon doing some voiceover YELLING about who is in the Rumble match. Seriously Vince, stop yelling at me! I’m watching the show. Settle down! Vince: “It’s time to Rumble! It’s time for the Royal Rumble!”
The announcers are Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, who are the best announce pairing from this era. They welcomed us to the show with Heenan saying that he’s banking on Ric Flair becoming the champion. They also spoke about the other matches.
The Orient Express entered to work the opening match for the second Royal Rumble in a row. The New Foundation were up next as the babyface challengers.
The New Foundation (Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart and Owen Hart) vs. The Orient Express (Tanaka and Kato) w/Mr. Fuji
Pre-match notes: The New Foundation were the faces. Neidhart was married to one of Owen’s sisters, so they were brothers in law. Kato was really a wrestler named Paul Diamond, who was not actually from the Orient, so that’s why he wore a mask.
Hart with an arm drag on Kato followed by a knee drop to the arm. Kato grabbed Owen’s arms in order to pin him down, but then Owen bridged out of it and hit a backflip off the ropes into an armdrag followed by a hurricanrana by Owen for two. Neidhart grabbed an armbar followed by a hiptoss across the ring, a whip into the ropes and Neidhart shoved Kato to the mat. Tanaka tagged in, a body slam attempt failed, Neidhart with a shoulder tackle and another shoulder tackle. Hart tagged in, Neidhart with a spinebuster and Hart with an elbow drop off the middle ropes for two. Backbreaker by Hart, then a back body drop and an enziguri kick to the head that Owen did many times in his career. Neidhart tagged in and hit a running shoulder tackle on Tanaka. Neidhart with a double clothesline on the two heels, Hart up top and a cross body block on both heels got a two count. Hart with a spinning heel kick on Kato followed by a suplex. Tanaka got in a cheap shot kick to the back of Hart and Fuji with the dreaded cane to the throat gave the heels the advantage. Kato with a side kick to Hart followed by a jumping back elbow. The heels did some double teaming behind the ref’s back as well. Tanaka whipped Owen into the turnbuckle leading to a sternum bump by Owen, which was followed by a superkick by Tanaka for two. Kato grounded Owen with a chinlock, Owen got out of it and did a crucifix pin attempt for a two count. Tanaka with a headbutt to the lower abdomen area of Owen, which drew laughs from Fuji. Tanaka grabbed another chinlock, Hart with a shoulder tackle, but Tanaka came back with a jumping forearm to the head for a two count. Hart with a boot to the face followed by a bulldog. Kato went into the ring, so the referee didn’t see Neidhart getting the tag. The heels whipped Hart into the turnbuckle where the cane was, so Hart bumped into the cane. Kato with a body slam on the left arm of Hart and Tanaka with a headbutt to the left arm of Hart. Tanaka with a shoulder block and Hart came back with a snap belly to belly suplex. Double team clothesline by the heels. Tanaka with a jumping attack on the back of Hart against the ropes. Hart finally got some momentum going with a double dropkick on both heels.
Neidhart got the hot tag with a slingshot shoulder tackle. Neidhart with body slams for both opponents, a back body drop on Tanaka and a leftly clothesline on Tanaka. Neidhart ran over Kato to send him out of the ring. Hart with a suicide dive on Kato. Neidhart with a body slam on Tanaka. Hart up top and Neidhart launched him off the top for the Rocket Launcher for the pinfall win at 17:18.
Winners by pinfall: The New Foundation (Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart and Owen Hart)
Analysis: ***1/4 This was a pretty good tag team match that was given a lot of time, Owen sold everything really well and they built up to a hot finish. It’s also nice to see them get a lot of time because they were able to do several false tag spots to build up the drama so when Neidhart got the hot tag, the fans popped huge for it. The match was put together very well. This match wasn’t as good as Rockers/Orient Express one year earlier, but it’s still a wise choice for a PPV opener.
They showed a replay of The Mountie beating Bret Hart for the Intercontinental Title two days before the Royal Rumble. Mountie won with an inside cradle. Roddy Piper made the save for Hart, Mountie hit Piper in the back with the IC Title, so that set up Mountie vs. Piper. The storyline was that Hart had a high fever.
Analysis: The behind the scenes story here was that Bret was rumored to be talking to WCW about signing a contract there. That’s why WWE took the title off Bret when they did. Bret ended up staying, though, so whether he really wanted to go to WCW isn’t known. Bret has never really talked about that situation in detail, not even in his book.
The Mountie did a promo with manager Jimmy Hart. Meanwhile, Roddy Piper was interviewed by Mean Gene Okerlund.
The Mountie made his entrance with manager Jimmy Hart, who was carrying the Intercontinental Title. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper got a big pop for his entrance. The fans loved Hot Rod by this point in his career.
Intercontinental Championship: The Mountie (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper
Pre-match notes: The Mountie was the heel Intercontinental Champion that only won the title two days before the match. Piper was the babyface challenger. Piper had never won a title in the WWF prior to this match.
Piper was aggressive with punches, so Mountie bailed to the floor. Piper went after him with a running punch to the face. Mountie took control with some choking in the ring. Mountie with two leap frogs, but then Piper hit him with a fist drop. Piper with a running bulldog out of the corner. When Piper went for a dropkick, Mountie held onto the ropes and Piper hit the mat hard. Mountie sent Piper into the turnbuckle a few times followed by a running back elbow. Mountie sent Piper out of the ring, Piper back in with a sunset flip for two. Mountie sent Piper to the apron again, but Piper was relentless because he came back with punches. Piper with a back body drop. Piper with an atomic drop, Mountie skinned the cat back in the ring, Mountie accidentally knocked Hart off the apron and Piper slapped on the Sleeper hold submission. The referee checked on Mountie, who was out of it, so Piper won the match at 5:22.
Winner by submission AND NEW Intercontinental Champion: “Rowdy” Roddy Piper
Analysis: *3/4 The match is short and largely forgettable, but as a moment this was so cool seeing Piper win the title. I thought they could have had a better match if Mountie got more offense. They probably booked it this way to show that Mountie was a joke as a champion because this came off as a dominant win for Piper.
Post match, Jimmy Hart tried to attack with the cattle prod, but Piper took it away from him. Piper zapped Mountie with the cattle prod, which drew cheers. Piper was announced as the winner. Piper had a big celebration as he was handed the IC Title. The smile on Piper’s face was enormous while Heenan noted that Piper had never held a title in the WWF before this. The fans popped huge for this, of course.
Analysis: It was an awesome sight as a lifelong WWF fan that watched Piper in this company for about a decade before this. We all knew Piper hadn’t won a championship before, so to see the moment with him holding the title was special. When fans see a guy in a ring for as many years as we saw Piper, they earn our respect, so this is what I would call a genuinely happy moment for WWF fans that respected all that Piper did in his career. The win set up Piper vs. Bret at WrestleMania 8 in what was a great match.
Hulk Hogan was interviewed by Lord Alfred Hayes in a Coliseum Video exclusive. There wasn’t much to this other than Hogan was ready for the Rumble where it’s every man for himself.
The Bushwhackers and manager Jamison were interviewed by Mean Gene Okerlund. Jamison wanted to get his hands on The Genius because he’s going to thrash him.
The Beverly Brothers entered with their manager The Genius. That led to a poem from The Genius. The Bushwhackers got a nice pop from the crowd as usual and Jamison looked awkward as their nerd friend.
The Beverly Brothers (Beau and Blake Beverly) w/The Genius vs. The Bushwhackers (Luke and Butch) w/Jamison
Pre-match notes: The Beverly Brothers were the heels that were not really brothers. Blake had a mustache while Beau did not. The Bushwhackers were always popular as the faces.
The Beverlys worked over Luke by choking him against the ropes. Luke bit Beau’s ass and then the Bushwhackers cleared the ring. The camera was zoomed in on Jamison wiping his nose with a sock and then looking at the sock to check out the boogers in it. Why we need to see this, I don’t know. Blake knocked down Butch from behind and kicked him in the back to keep him down. Butch hit a bulldog on Blake. Both Bushwhackers went into the ring with double clotheslines to clear the ring again. Bushwhackers chased both heels out of the ring leading to an eye poke, but then Beau knocked down Luke from behind. Beau jumped off the top with a double axehandle on Luke as the heels took control. The heels double teamed Luke by sending him into the turnbuckle repeatedly. Blake with a backbreaker followed by a headbutt to the back. Beau with a jumping splash onto the back of Luke followed by a knee drop to the face. Luke stumbled around the ring selling, he kicked Beau and then Blake tagged in to send Luke into the top rope. Blake with a running clothesline. Luke was sent out of the ring. Genius went over to Jamison and slapped him across the face. Beau with a hard whip that sent Luke into the turnbuckle followed by a double axehandle for two with Butch making the save. Blake with a neckbreaker followed by a neckbreaker. Beau sent Luke into the turnbuckle, but Luke came back with a running clothesline out of the corner. Butch got the hot tag to a mild reaction, then a clothesline on both of the heels. Butch drove Blake’s head into Beau and Butch with a running forearm for two. Luke knocked Beau out of the ring. Beau tripped up Butch when he was running the ropes and Luke went after Blake to break up the pin. Beau with a double axe off the top on Butch while Blake held him, then Luke was too slow to break it up, so that was the pinfall win. The match went 14:56.
Winners by pinfall: The Beverly Brothers (Beau and Blake Beverly)
Analysis: -* This was awful and I don’t know if minus one star is being too mean or just right, but it’s 15 minutes of my life I wish I could have back. Terrible finish. It was so flat. Who decided to give them that much time? And why? It went too long. It was so boring. They could have had a better match in half the time. The Beverly Brothers were the better team, so at least a positive thing is the right team got the win here. This was painful to watch.
After the match was over, Bushwhackers hit the Battering Ram on both Beverly Brothers to knock them out of the ring. The Genius was brought into the ring and the Bushwhackers brought Jamison into the ring. Luke held Genius and Jamison kicked him in the shins followed by a kick to the back that led to Genius bumping to the floor. Jamison celebrated with the Genius’ hat in the ring as the Bushwhackers celebrated.
Analysis: There were some cheers for this, but it wasn’t that interesting. My favorite part was when it was finished.
The Legion of Doom were interviewed by Mean Gene Okerlund ahead of their Tag Team Title defense. Animal said they’re not going to start losing now. Hawk said Typhoon and Earthquake make them real sick. Hawk said when they’re done with the Natural Disasters, their tongues will be hanging out like dead deer.
The Natural Disasters entered with manager Jimmy Hart as the challengers. Legion of Doom aka LOD got a huge reaction from the crowd as the champions in the match.
WWF Tag Team Championships: Legion of Doom (Hawk and Animal) vs. Natural Disasters (Earthquake and Typhoon) w/Jimmy Hart
Pre-match notes: LOD were the face champions that had the titles for about five months before this because they won them at SummerSlam 1991. This was their first WWF Tag Team Title reign. The Natural Disasters were the heel challengers and they were not champions by this point although that would come later in their run as a team.
Hawk started with Typhoon including a knockdown after a clothesline off the top rope. Earthquake tried a dropkick, Hawk moved and brought in Animal. Earthquake and Animal exchanged punches, then Animal ran the ropes leading to a double clothesline that knocked both guys. Animal went for a body slam, but Earthquake was too fat and landed on top for a two count. Typhoon with a running splash on Animal, then Animal blocked a second attempt with a boot to the face and a running clothesline. Hawk worked over Typhoon with punches, they exchanged clotheslines and then Typhoon hit three backbreakers in a row. Typhoon whipped Hawk into the turnbuckle. Earthquake with an elbow drop to the back of Hawk for a two count. The heels worked over Hawk on their half of the ring as Typhoon hit a running splash to the back. Typhoon slapped on a bearhug on Hawk. Earthquake with a headbutt to the back of Hawk, then a corner splash and Earthquake with a stomp to the chest. Earthquake stomped on the chest again, then a bearhug by Earthquake on Hawk and when Hawk broke free, Earthquake missed a corner splash. Hawk with an elbow smash to knock Earthquake. Animal got the hot tag with a running shoulder tackle on Earthquake, Typhoon into the ring, Animal avoided both guys and hit a running double clothesline that drew a nice pop from the crowd. Hawk hit a diving clothesline on Typhoon on the floor. Animal and Earthquake were brawling on the floor. Earthquake with a body slam on Animal on the floor. The referee was counting them out, legal man Typhoon went back in the ring and that was a countout win for the Natural Disasters at 9:24.
Winners by countout: Natural Disasters (Earthquake and Typhoon) but LOD keeps their titles
Analysis: *3/4 They were two power teams that didn’t really work well together, but they got through the match okay. It was booked in the right way the Natural Disaster heels dominating most of it and the crowd firing up for the LOD comeback. The finish was lame although it was done that way to keep ND strong and set up more matches.
Post match, Natural Disasters celebrated with the titles even though they didn’t win the titles. That led to LOD going back in the ring to beat up Natural Disasters to clear them from the ring. LOD celebrated with the titles while their music played even though they lost the match.
Analysis: It ended up being Money Inc. that took the titles from LOD and Natural Disasters won the titles in July as a face team.
The Natural Disasters duo of Earthquake and Typhoon with Jimmy Hart were interviewed by Sean Mooney in the locker room. They complained about how they should be the champions. Hart said they aren’t going to let these guys get away with it.
Roddy Piper was interviewed by Mean Gene Okerlund with Piper holding the Intercontinental Championship. Piper said that now he has a shot at becoming the WWF Champion as well. Piper said he has his eye on the prize.
Shawn Michaels was about to be interviewed by Sean Mooney in the locker room. They showed a replay of Michaels turning on tag team partner Marty Jannetty a few weeks earlier during their famous Barber Shop interview segment. Michaels said everybody will find out he’s the hottest thing the WWF has ever laid their eyes on.
Ric Flair did an exclusive interview with Lord Alfred Hayes for Coliseum Home Video. Flair said he’s going in at #3 and he’ll walk out as the WWF Champion.
Analysis: This wasn’t shown on the live broadcast, which is why they said it was a Coliseum Home Video exclusive.
The Royal Rumble promo medley was next with promos from: “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Sid Justice, Repo Man (“what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine too!”), British Bulldog, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Ric Flair joined by Mr. Perfect, The Undertaker joined by Paul Bearer and Hulk Hogan was last.
30-Man Royal Rumble Match
The Fink went over the rules. For the first time ever, the WWF Title is on the line in a Royal Rumble match. It makes this match even more important. The WWF President Jack Tunney did a promo wit the WWF Title in his hands to remind us that the winner of this match will become the new WWF Champion. Let’s roll.
The #1 entrant is the British Bulldog, a babyface, and #2 is Ted Dibiase, a heel, who is managed by Sensational Sherri here. Dibiase dominated early, he went to throw Bulldog out, but then Bulldog hung on and then he clotheslined Dibiase out. That was about 90 seconds of Dibiase. Not enough of him. In at #3 is Ric Flair and Bobby Heenan goes “No! Damnit!” This was Flair’s first Rumble since he came to the WWF late in 1991. He was a heel of course. Gorilla tells Heenan to kiss him goodbye. Gorilla points out that nobody that drew numbers 1-5 have ever won the Rumble. Brain freaks out. Mr. Perfect is with Flair. Heenan was an associate of Flair. “I’m going to apologize to the people, I don’t think I can be objective,” says Heenan. Gorilla fires back: “When have you ever been objective?” Haha, I love these two. Press slam by Bulldog. He hits him with a couple of clotheslines. It’s Jerry Saggs of the Nasty Boys at #4. They double team Bulldog. Saggs almost gets thrown out, then he celebrates on the apron and Bulldog dropkicks him out. “This is not fair to Flair!” yells Heenan. He says that many times. It’s Haku at #5 as the announcers go over the “every man for himself” decree once again. The heels double team Bulldog again. So far it’s been four heels with just Bulldog as a babyface. The crowd hates Flair so much that they cheer Haku for attacking him. Flair bails and Haku piledrives Bulldog. Heenan’s awesome here, telling Flair to stay down. Bulldog eliminates Haku just as the next entrant is about to come in.
The #6 entry? Shawn Michaels. He was newly turned heel after throwing Marty Jannetty through the Barber Shop window. He even hits a superkick on Flair about 10 seconds in. It wasn’t his finisher, though. Bulldog clotheslines Michaels, but he hangs on and superkicks Bulldog in a sloppy way. Did I just criticize HBK? I think I might get hit by a bolt of lightning now. Michaels is so great at the over the top bumps. Some say it’s bad, but I always enjoyed it and made him stand out to me as a superior athlete. It’s Tito Santana at #7. He goes right for Flair as Heenan freaks out. Ha, Flair did a double uppercut to Bulldog’s nuts. Classic Nature Boy. Wooooo! Flying forearm by Tito on Flair. Michaels would make that move even more famous. The #8 man is The Barbarian, who Heenan freaks out about because he’s big. By this point Michaels has nearly been eliminated four or five times. He’s showing off. Why? Because he can. The #9 competitor is The Texas Tornado, who would leave the WWF soon after this. And he’d die a year later. He does the Tornado punch and Flair does the Flair flop. Michaels does a spinning bump as well as a face first flop too. Two of the best ever right there. Prior to this, Flair and Tornado (Kerry Von Erich) had some classic matches in other companies. Flair had classic matches with everybody, though. Hey it’s one of my favorite bad gimmicks ever in at #10: The Repo Man. You might remember him from previous Rumbles as Demolition member Smash. He’s sneaky about getting in the ring. What a gimmick. Vince probably thought it was genius and then blamed the wrestler for not getting it over. We’ve got 7 men in the ring now.
The #11 man is Greg “The Hammer” Valentine. He goes after Flair too. There’s not a whole lot going on at this point. Not a threat at #12 with Nikolai Volkoff as the announcers make mention of the fall of the Soviet Empire. Valentine puts the Figure Four on Flair. The crowd loves it while Heenan freaks out. Repo Man eliminates Volkoff. Yep, Repo Man is a threat to win! The Big Boss Man comes in at #13. He’s a babyface here. He threw some of the best punches ever. Repo Man eliminates Valentine. Repo Man is on fire! Michaels nearly flies over the top after a bunch from Boss Man. And Boss Man throws out Repo Man. Why watch from this point? The top guy is out. I’ll keep on going for you, reader, but my heart has left the match with Repo Man out. Flair eliminates Bulldog with a backdrop. He also eliminates Tornado with a backdrop. Michaels and Santana eliminate eachother. The ring has just three people in with Flair, Barbarian and Boss Man with Hercules entering at #14. Barbarian drops Flair with a press slam. He goes to eliminate Flair, but Hercules dumps Barbarian. Boss Man throws out Hercules leaving us with just Flair and Boss Man. Boss Man charges in, Flair ducks and Boss Man goes out. Brain freaks out: “YES! Flair wins it! Flair’s the champion of the world!” Haha that’s awesome. Gorilla explains there are still 16 more entrants. Wow, Flair does the face first flop as the clock counts down from ten. Joining Flair at #15 is Roddy Piper, who is a babyface here. “This isn’t fair to Flair” says Heenan again. Flair bails to the floor, so Roddy chases him and clotheslines him. Eye poke by Piper! Airplane spin. Classic stuff that the crowd loves. Sleeper hold.
The second half of the Rumble begins with #16 Jake Roberts. He lets Piper keep the sleeper on Flair for a bit, but he breaks it up. Roberts was a heel, doing his “trust me” gimmick that I absolutely loved. He was such a great heel. Short arm clothesline on Flair after Ric tried to get him to help. “This is definitely not flair to Flair,” yells Heenan. Flair puts the Figure Four on Roberts, but Roddy kicks both of them. HHHHHOOOOOOO! time with #17 “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, who was the winner of the first Rumble in 1988. Pay your taxes because #18 is Irwin R. Schyster aka IRS. Hacksaw does the double noggin knocker on Flair & Roberts leading to another Flair flop. Flair’s been in for 36 minutes by this point. It’s “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka at #19. He’s got the boots on again. That’s just not right. There hasn’t been much going on in the last few minutes. It’s because there are a lot of big names coming up. Real talk time with #20, The Undertaker. He’s so cool walking down the aisle. By the time he gets there the next man might have to come out. One punch and Snuka is eliminated by Undertaker. He chokes Flair as Heenan freaks out. Piper with the eye poke on Roberts. I mark out for those Piper eye pokes!
There’s a huge pop for #21, Randy Savage. He was a babyface here. His feud was with Jake Roberts. He looks for Jake, but he bailed to the floor. Undertaker grabs him, so Roberts takes some shots on him. He misses the clothesline as Savage freaks out on him. Double axe off the top by Savage and then he knees him in the back to eliminate Roberts. Then Savage leaps over the top to the floor. Undertaker goes outside the ring to punch Savage. He throws him back in. Is he eliminated? I guess not. Savage goes after Jake again. The announcers say nobody threw him out, so he’s able to go back in. My guess is Savage wasn’t supposed to get out of the ring over the top and he just did it out of instincts. They wanted him in the match longer, so in he goes. The rule in later years was if you go over the top to the floor you’re out even if you do it yourself. Undertaker’s offense in this era was really just choking people out since he was a young wrestler at this point. Flair with a low blow to Undertaker. He barely sells it. The Berzerker at #22! His specialty is throwing people over the top. YES! My favorite bad gimmick ever. HUSS! HUSS! Mark out! Heenan’s yelling at Flair to take it easy instead of fighting Savage. Savage hits a suplex on Flair. Undertaker and Piper choke Flair. Then Undertaker chokes Piper. Great offense, big man. It’s Virgil at #23, who is clearly not a threat to win. He’s a babyface wrestler at this point in his career. Come on Berzerker. Let’s go! More choking by Undertaker on Flair. It’s Colonel Mustafa at #24, who is the Iron Sheik. I always thought it was ridiculous that they would turn a former World Champion like Sheik into another gimmick. You can do it with lesser name, but not former top guys. Piper’s pounding on Flair in the corner, so Undertaker punches Piper in the ribs just for fun. The Berzerker is still in there, folks! The current endurance record holder Rick Martel is #25. Get out the Arrogance, folks. What’s great is that everybody goes after Flair when they get in there, including Martel here. Flair’s been in for 50 minutes now. There goes Mustafa at the hands of Savage. Flair hangs on again.
The #26 spot belongs to Hulk Hogan to a huge pop. He goes after Undertaker and Flair. Heenan is freaking out about it. Heenan: “Just let Flair win, I’ll be a different person. I promise you!” Classic! Hogan clotheslines Undertaker out. He lands on his feet, staring at Hulk. Hogan with a backdrop on The Berzerker. My heart hurts. How can I continue now? Duggan and Virgil get eliminated at the same time after a Virgil cross body. That was a very entertaining two minutes. And here comes another bad gimmick, Skinner, at #27. “The alligator man is fresh and ready to go,” says Gorilla. I think that says it all. We’ve got 7 men in the ring with another 3 guys due to enter it. This two minute stretch was pretty slow. It’s Sergeant Slaughter at #28, who a year earlier won the WWF Title as a heel Iraqi sympathizer. He was a babyface here, having turned back soon after the loss to Hogan at WrestleMania VII. Skinner gets eliminated. Slaughter follows suit with everybody else by going right after Flair. We’ve got Sid Justice at #29. He’s a babyface at this point in his career although that would soon change. He doesn’t go after Flair like everybody else does right away, but he does soon after. The last man at #30 is The Warlord.
There are 9 men left in the match as Flair pulls Hogan out on the floor with him. Hogan suplexes him on the floor. Sid eliminates Slaughter by whipping him hard into the turnbuckle and Slaughter went over stomach first. That looked painful. Hogan hits the big boot on Flair. Hogan and Sid eliminate Warlord together. “What a surprise!” says Gorilla. See, Warlord was always a threat to win even though he sucked. Sid eliminates Piper and Martel at the same time.
The final four are Hogan, Flair, Sid and Savage. That’s a good group to end the match in terms of star power. Not like the year before with Knobbs being in the final three. Sid’s got Savage close, so Flair runs over, delivers a knee and Savage is out. It’s Flair against two bigger babyfaces. Flair does the Flair bump in the corner. Hogan kicks away at him. Sid looks over and flips Hogan out of the ring. The crowd cheers that! Yep, they are cheering against Hogan. Sid was a babyface at this point and was popular, but it was shocking that they’d boo Hogan at all. Hogan’s pissed off, saying they were working together. Sid tells him it’s every man for himself. Hogan, while on the floor, grabs Sid’s right arm and Flair dumps Sid. “YES YES YES YES YES YES YES!” That’s Heenan’s reaction. Flair wins the match and the WWF Championship.
Winner and the NEW WWF Champion: Ric Flair
The match ended at 62:02.
After the match, Flair left with Mr. Perfect. Meanwhile, back in the ring, Hogan and Sid argued with eachother. That would set up a match at WrestleMania VIII between them. A match that was terrible, by the way. Not a shocker there.
FIVE RANDOM THOUGHTS on the Royal Rumble match
– The booking for this Rumble was so good. They really featured Flair as the guy to carry the match. That’s exactly what he did. A lot of the guys attacked him when they got in the ring whether they were heel or face. He did so many Flair flops and had so many moments where it looked like he was going to get eliminated. He always found a way to hang on, though. He’s one of the best wrestlers ever. A lot of people say he is the best ever. He showed it here. It was Flair at his absolute best.
– The star power was really strong with a lot of legitimate top guys with Hogan, Flair, Savage, Sid, Dibiase, Piper, Slaughter and Undertaker to name a few. Then they had a good mix of young, up & comers and rounded it out with the bad gimmicks. The star power really helped though. I think it had more star power than any Rumble in the 1990s.
– The spot with Randy Savage eliminating himself was memorable because it didn’t count. I’m sure if he could do it over he wouldn’t have jumped over the top to the floor the way that he did. That’s just Savage living in the moment. He was awesome in this match.
– Undertaker wasn’t very impactful here. He was in the WWF Title picture to end the year, but they really limited his involvement here. I thought he should have lasted a lot longer.
– No more Hulk Hogan in Royal Rumbles after this. Like I wrote in previous recaps he really did a good job in the Rumbles because they focused on his strengths, which are the power moves and comebacks.
FACTS & OPINIONS on the Royal Rumble match
Person that lasted the longest: Ric Flair at 59:26
Most Eliminations: Sid Justice with 6.
Best Performers (3): Ric Flair – Very easy call. He was the story of the match with everybody going after him and he was able to survive them all.
British Bulldog – I really liked his interaction with Flair early on. It would have been better if the had him last longer because he performed well.
Bobby Heenan – It’s rare to stick an announcer in this spot, but he deserves it. Honestly, it might be the best announcing performance in any one match in wrestling history. I absolutely love The Brain here. It’s Heenan at his best.
Best Elimination: Tie for the last two eliminations with Sid flipping out Hogan and then Flair flipping out Sid. I remember it as a kid so well. I thought Hogan was winning again, so I was so shocked (and happy) when Flair won. Yep, I liked the heels.
Match Rating: ****1/2 Best Rumble ever? A lot of people would say that and I think it was clearly the best among the early Royal Rumble matches. The story of Flair lasting nearly the whole match, being a target for almost everybody else in the match and finding a way to win was tremendous. The last few minutes were very dramatic as well. It was booked very well. I’m not going go five stars for it, but I thought it was an excellent Rumble match that never gets old.
Ric Flair Presented the WWF Title
There was a backstage interview scene where Ric Flair was presented the WWF Title by Jack Tunney with Mean Gene Okerlund conducting the interviews. Flair delivered this legendary line: “With a tear in my eye, this is the greatest moment of my life.” Flair said that the only way that you can stay number one is to be number one and this is the only title that makes you number one. Heenan said he was never so impressed by anything in his life and put over Flair’s performance for one hour. Perfect said “we told you so” as they laughed. Mean Gene had a classic line too: “Put that cigarette out!” So random, but it always made me laugh.
Flair repeated that it was the greatest moment of his life. Flair said for guys like Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Roddy Piper and Sid Justice, now it’s Ric Flair, so you all have to pay homage to The Man! Woo! Flair left with his buddies. Gene signed off to end the show.
Analysis: This is such a legendary promo. It is one of my favorite promos in wrestling history, to be honest. The “tear in my eye” part is what I remember most, but then I always laugh at Mean Gene yelling about putting a cigarette out too. This was so great. I’ll never forget it and it never gets old watching it.
They showed some images from the show to end it.
This event had a runtime of 2:39:24 on WWE Network.
Show rating (out of 10): 7
It’s a tough show to rate because there were only two good matches, but one of them is arguably the greatest Rumble match ever. That carries a lot of weight when figuring out the score because that match was way more important than anything else on the show. I think a 7 out of 10 is a fair rating overall. I’d recommend checking out the Rumble match of course, while New Foundation over Orient Express was pretty good and if you’re a Piper fan then his win over The Mountie is a fun babyface moment too.
Best Match: Royal Rumble match won by Ric Flair (****1/2 out of 5)
Worst Match: The Beverly Brothers vs. The Bushwhackers (-*)
Five Stars Of The Show
- Ric Flair – No doubt about it.
- British Bulldog
- Bobby Heenan
- Randy Savage
- Hulk Hogan
The previous WWE Royal Rumble PPV reviews are here:
1991 Royal Rumble (Won by Hulk Hogan)
1990 Royal Rumble (Won by Hulk Hogan)
1989 Royal Rumble (Won by Big John Studd)
1988 Royal Rumble (Won by Hacksaw Jim Duggan)
Check out the WWE Royal Rumble review archive right here.
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