Royal Rumble Week: Day 2

January 20th, 2009 by | Tags: , , , , , , ,

You may have noticed that there are 22 spots on this list and – at the time of this writing – 21 Royal Rumble shows. That’s because there was an extra Rumble match that was so good that I couldn’t help but include it.

I was going to include the Corporate Royal Rumble for the hell of it, but that would have been #23 and that would’ve been pointless. There was a Royal Rumble match in ECW back in late 1996 that I remember, but unfortunately I’m unable to track down footage of it for my rewatching pleasure. The same could be said for a Rumble match they had on WCW Nitro years back, but that one was an epic failure. I recall intervals of about 30 seconds with order that didn’t come close to looking random.

Back to the list.

19) Royal Rumble 1993

Heh. Ultimate Warrior and Nailz were long gone by the time this show happened. Kamala wasn’t at the show either.

The set-up: For the first time, it was decided that the winner of the Rumble would face the champion at Wrestlemania. As the night progressed, Bret Hart retained his title against Razor Ramon. The hype of the event belonged to the newcomer Yokozuna, who had been dominating the ranks since setting foot into the federation. The 500 pound sumo was not only undefeated, but nobody had been able to knock him off his feet by this point.

The roster: It’s jobber central here, with the exception of Yokozuna, Randy Savage, the Undertaker, Mr. Perfect (who seemed to get the biggest pop) and Ric Flair. The latter two had their own weird little scenario going on that I’ll get to in just a second.

Guest entrants: Tenryu and Carlos Colon were in this, but I can’t imagine a single fan really caring back then. Terry Taylor was there too but I only list him as a guest entrant because I don’t even recall him being around during this era. Maybe I’m wrong.

The match: The first two guys are Ric Flair and Bob Backlund (with no theme song). It’s actually rather fun watching these two work with each other. I kind of wish we got some real Flair/Backlund matches during Flair’s initial WWF run. What’s worth mentioning here is that Ric Flair was one day away from leaving the WWF. He and Mr. Perfect were to have a Loser Leaves Match the next day on Monday Night Raw. Part of me was hopeful that one of them would win the Rumble and then lose the match, causing some kind of interesting angle.

That obviously didn’t happen. They both lost and Flair was gone the next night. In the segment before this Rumble, they had Bobby “The Brain” Heenan reveal the “Narcissist” Lex Luger, which was one of the most embarrassing things I’ve ever seen Heenan do. Look it up. He loudly responds to Luger’s flexing like he has both hands down his pants.

A couple months after all this, the SNES game WWF Royal Rumble was released, featuring “Narcissist” Lex Luger and Ric Flair. I always found that very odd, considering the two guys were only in the company together for one whole day.

Then again, it’s no surprise Flair wanted out considering he had to sell Max Moon’s punches. On the flipside, seeing Flair eye-poking Max Moon is an awesome sight.

There are enough mix-ups between wrestlers who would never regularly meet up to keep things interesting. This suffices up until the Undertaker shows up and starts clearing the ring. As he looks to have everything under control, Harvey Wippleman walks out with the 8-foot-tall Giant Gonzales. Gonzales is known as one of the worst wrestlers in the history of the profession, but at least his debut added a huge sense of “What the fucking fuck?”

I mean, this huge dude just storms out in a muscle suit with huge patches of hair all over it. He then goes on to dominate the Undertaker and eliminate him, spending a couple minutes working him over before leaving. Damien Demento, a crazy guy who speaks to mysterious voices, came out next. I remember when I originally saw this, my explanation was that Demento was the herald to whatever Giant Gonzales was and that Gonzales was behind the voices Demento was always talking to. I was a strange child, but at least my booking was more creative that “he’s just some angry big guy.”

Jobbers fill the ring for a while. When tag partners Earthquake and Typhoon are both in the ring, they decide not to team up but to fight each other. It’s pretty fun. Earthquake ends up tossing Typhoon out around the time that Yokozuna enters at the late #27. There’s a really cool showdown between Earthquake and Yokozuna that ends with Yokozuna heaving out the lesser monster.

As things wind down, everyone in the ring tries to team up against Yokozuna to push him out. Yokozuna recovers enough to knock each one off of him. This is when things get stupid. Randy Savage runs out and ruins things for everyone. Rather than help tip the scales against Yokozuna, Savage instead eliminates Repo Man as Yokozuna throws everyone around like rag dolls.

This leads to one of the stranger final fours of Bob Backlund, Randy Savage, Rick Martel and Yokozuna. Backlund, who has been in there since the beginning, gets rid of Martel, only to be tossed out easily by Yokozuna. Yokozuna then crushes Savage for a while until missing a splash in the corner and falling over. The commentators, who had been making a huge deal about how Yokozuna had never been knocked down, always refused to give Savage credit for this.

Savage gets his second wind and goes to the top rope, where he delivers his elbow drop. Great! Only then he tries to go for the pin. Because he’s stupid. On his back, Yokozuna presses up and flings Savage over the top rope. The moral of the story? Randy Savage is Worthless in the Royal Rumble!

In the end, it was just an hour-long squash match that introduced Giant Gonzales. Yay.

Longest time: Bob Backlund (61:10)
Shortest time: Terry Taylor (0:24)
Most eliminations: Yokozuna (7)

Best elimination: Mr. Perfect throws out Jerry “The King” Lawler and ends up on the outside ring apron because of it. He tries his damndest to get back into the ring with all his might, but Ted Dibiase and Koko B. Ware won’t allow it. They keep blocking him again and again until they catch him with their boots. They work together, forcing him out by shoving him with their legs as Lawler assists in pulling Perfect onto the mat. Cheap but dramatic.

18) Royal Rumble 1995

The set-up: Shawn Michaels and his bodyguard Diesel threw their friendship out the window days before Diesel became the WWF champion out of nowhere. The night of the Rumble would have Diesel defend against Bret Hart. Due to the constant interference of their enemies Shawn Michaels, Bob Backlund and Owen Hart, the match was declared a draw. Oh, and not only would the winner of the Rumble get a title shot at Wrestlemania, but Baywatch’s Pamela Anderson would be in their corner. To go with this, Pamela was forced to sit at ringside and pretend to be intrigued.

The roster: The less said, the better. This was obviously Michaels’ show. Sure, they had Lex Luger, Mabel, King Kong Bundy, the British Bulldog, Bob Backlund and Owen Hart, but nobody was taking any of them seriously at this time. Other than that, you have guys in there like Timothy Well, Aldo Montoya and Mantaur. Mantaur, people!

Guest entrants: The 93 Rumble had Carlos Colon, who we didn’t care about then but do now because his sons are well-known wrestlers. In similar fashion, the 95 Rumble had Dick Murdoch, father of Trevor (edit: okay, apparently he isn’t). He’d go on to eliminate himself by giving someone the Airplane Spin, getting dizzy and falling over the top rope.

The match: Shawn Michaels and the British Bulldog are #1 and #2 respectively. They are both the last two in the ring when all is said and done. This would be really impressive except that they gave this Rumble one minute intervals. Way to kill the fun.

And listen, I think Vince McMahon has a cool voice and speaks well enough when he needs to, but sometimes he just out and about sucks. Not only does he talk over the dramatic, “Let’s see who drew number one!” intro sequence, but he basically spells out what’s going to happen by being intentionally wrong. You could have a Royal Rumble where the first 29 entrants have no arms and the guy who drew #30 is Hulk Hogan and Vince would go on and on about how Hogan has absolutely zero chance to win this and that OH MY GOD HE’S ELIMINATED wait no he isn’t.

At least Jerry Lawler’s there to keep it fun. Like when “Gigolo” Jimmy Del Ray runs to the ring.

“I like this guy! I like him!”

“You like him?”


“Well, is he gonna win the Rumble?”

“I don’t like him that much!”

Rick Martel is in this Rumble. By this point, the Rumble match was only a reminder that he was somehow still with the company. It doesn’t matter, since despite all the boasting about that time he lasted over 50 minutes, he’s gone in about two.

At one point in there they have Mabel vs. King Kong Bundy. Usually these big man vs. big man showdowns are pretty cool because they only last a moment. This one is horrid. Mabel punches Bundy about three times, walks him over to the ropes, spends about half a minute trying to hoist him over and eventually gets him out. Not very exciting.

Towards the end, Crush and Adam Bomb go at it with Crush getting the elimination out of it. It’s neat to look back on, just for the fact that it’s Kronik exploding.

They try to make us think that Lex Luger winning is both a possibility and something to get excited about, but by this point he’s damaged goods. By the time he’s eliminated, the crowd actually pops at his loss. It’s deserved. When Henry Godwin is meant to be tossed out, Luger shows zero effort, making it look like Henry soars over Luger and out of the ring for no reason. Maybe his bladder was acting up.

The ending is fantastic and is one of the more iconic Royal Rumble moments. Bulldog rules the ring and has no trouble hurting Michaels. He clotheslines him out of the ring and seems to have won the match. As Bulldog stands on the corner and celebrates his win with his theme song blaring, Michaels slides back into the ring, shoves him out and takes the win. Only one of Shawn’s feet had hit the mat.

Hey, you know who would have been unbeatable in a Royal Rumble? Zach Gowen. Think about it.

Longest time: Shawn Michaels and the British Bulldog (38:41)
Shortest time: Owen Hart and Mo (0:03)
Most eliminations: Shawn Michaels (8)

Best elimination: Owen Hart walks out and is immediately attacked by his brother Bret, angry about his interference earlier in the night. Bret stomps a mudhole in Owen and has to be restrained by officials. Finally, Owen gets away and takes sanctuary in the ring where he runs straight for the British Bulldog. The Bulldog ducks and backdrops him out of the ring in almost record time.

17) Royal Rumble 1989

The set-up: The Mega-Powers, Hulk Hogan and WWF champion Randy Savage, had proven to be an unstoppable force in the WWF. The two were able to defeat the Mega-Bucks, but were now in the midst of a feud against the Twin Towers, Big Boss Man and Akeem the African Dream. Also, “The Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase drew an early number for the Rumble. Tossing around his excessive cash, he was able to feng shui the Rumble entries in his favor, as well as the manager Slick’s.

The roster: After the lacking star power in the 88 Rumble, we get a great roster to work with in 89. Hogan, Savage, Andre, Dibiase, Big John Studd, Boss Man, Akeem and Bad News Brown truly beefed up the match. Again, no title shots were up for grabs (they only mentioned money), so it was anybody’s game.

The match: You know how I said Michaels vs. Bulldog was one of the most iconic Rumble endings? The 89 Rumble has THE iconic Rumble beginning. As Howard Finkel asks to see who drew #1, the Demolition theme starts rocking over the arena. Ax walks out, looking apathetic to the situation.

Finkel asks to see who drew #2. The same theme blares once more as Demolition’s Smash joins his partner in the ring. The crowd seems confused, not knowing what these two friends are going to do. Then, right as the bell rings, the two start pounding on each other and everyone goes nuts. This continues until #3 comes out. It’s Andre the Giant. Thanks to the lack of theme music, you can hear the crowd audibly groan at this development.

Say what you will about Andre’s in-ring style in his later days, he at least kept the match interesting as he lasted. He was this big ominous cloud, manhandling anyone that got in his way. You have to keep watching just to wonder how they’re possibly supposed to eliminate this juggernaut in black Tarzan tights.

Andre’s rival of the time Jake “The Snake” Roberts comes in. There’s no time for any DDT Blueballs this time around, as Andre makes him his bitch for a while before discarding him to the outside. Jake returns the favor by coming back a few minutes later and throwing his snake Damien into the ring. As everyone leaves between the ropes, Andre steps over the top and runs away. Good bye, Andre.

Without him, things become very boring. There is a part where Shawn Michaels is defeated by Arn Anderson that I find funny only because I like to imagine Michaels was thinking, “Laugh while you can, Anderson. In 19 years, I’m going to end your best friend’s career!”

Eventually, it becomes the Mega-Powers vs. everyone else. Or at least, Savage vs. Bad News Brown and Hogan vs. everyone else. Despite being champion at the time, Savage doesn’t get any high profile eliminations. Hogan eliminates Savage and Brown at the same time, making himself the only man left for the moment. Once again, Randy Savage is Worthless in the Royal Rumble!

Savage rushes back in and starts an altercation with Hogan. Their manager Elizabeth does her best to calm the two down and gets Savage to leave the ring, but the first chink in their friendship’s armor has let itself be known, setting up the main event of Wrestlemania V.

The next guy out is Big Boss Man, followed soon after by Akeem. They decimate Hogan and eliminate him just as Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake runs in. Hogan, being a sore loser, illegally helps Beefcake eliminate Boss Man. Watching this, I don’t get why Hogan is supposed to be the big hero in all of this. He stabs his best friend in the back and then loses cleanly in response to it. His response to losing fair and square is to ruin things for the man who bested him. What a role model!

You might notice by now that our two top faces are gone from the match. It’s all good, as Big John Studd enters at #27. The big man goes straight for Akeem and tosses aside anyone who tries to join in on the fight. Ted Dibiase comes in at #30 thanks to his ability to buy his advantages and has Virgil accompanying him.

By the way, if you do watch this match, keep an eye out for Tito Santana vs. Barbarian for one of the ugliest elimination sequences ever.

The last three are Ted Dibiase, Akeem and Studd. Dibiase has Akeem work Studd over. This backfires when Studd tricks Akeem into crushing Dibiase in the corner. As Akeem’s distracted by his folly, Studd clobbers him in the back and sends him over the ropes. This leaves one of the more satisfying endings as Studd stares down the horrified Dibiase. This is a great example of a heel getting his just desserts.

Studd not only beats Dibiase from pillar to post, but he breaks out suplexes that the commentators claim to have never seen him perform. With Dibiase humbled, Studd picks him up and sends him flying out to get the win. Virgil pops in to avenge his boss, only to get a similar type of beating at the hands of Big John.

From what I understand, the WWF knew that Studd had very little time left in the business (and in life, sad to say) and gave him this victory as something of a sendoff. I’ve always liked that he won despite not being involved in the title picture and being buried under the likes of Hogan, Savage and Andre.

Unfortunately, a lot of this match is just dull. That’s why it ranks into this spot.

Longest time: Mr. Perfect (27:58)
Shortest time: The Warlord (0:02)
Most eliminations: Hulk Hogan (9)

Best elimination: How can you not love the Warlord’s elimination? As Hogan is clearing the ring of nearly everyone, Warlord steps onto the apron, roars to the crowd, steps in and is hit with a clothesline off the bat. Only the second Royal Rumble and he’s already made a record that has never been broken. It did shoot the WWF in the foot slightly. How do you make this big guy out to be a threat in future Rumbles when he has the record for being the worst of all the losers? I’m sure that’s why they made themselves forget this and instead focus on the time Bushwacker Luke was in and out within seconds.

Tomorrow’s edition will start off with a Rumble that I dare say is overrated. Some of you aren’t going to like this.

Day 3!
Day 4!
Day 5!
Day 6!
Day 7!

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6 comments to “Royal Rumble Week: Day 2”

  1. Actually, Trevor Murdoch isn’t Dick’s son – they just look alike and he got the name that way.

  2. I miss the old days of wrestling. seems like a damn soap opera for men now days. the only plus side is that the women got a hell of a lot hotter

  3. I love Vince McMahon’s announcing, and his voice. He is the most famous alumni of my university, and I’ve always thought there should be a giant cast-iron statue of him in the center of campus with an iconic quote like “Screw you, Austin, you’re fired!” or “Whoever said you can’t fool all the people all of the time was a damn fool!”

    That being said, this is a great series Gavok.

  4. @BringTheNoise: No shit? Huh. My bad.

  5. Narcissist only lasted a day? I really thought that he had somewhat of a decent run. Cutting promos here and there…using those mirrors for his ring entrance.

  6. No, I mean that he and Flair only coexisted for a day. Luger debuts at the Royal Rumble and one day later, Flair loses a Loser Leaves match against Mr. Perfect.