Royal Rumble Count-Up – 1992 (2023 Redo): Yeah This One
Royal Rumble 1992
Date: January 19, 1992
Location: Knickerbocker Arena, Albany, New York
Commentators: Gorilla Monsoon, Bobby Heenan
It’s time to get back to one of the classics as this one comes up on the request list pretty regularly. Since this is going to be my fourth time looking at it, odds are this is going to be the last time I look at it for a very good while. You probably know the big attraction by heart at this point and that should be more than enough to carry the whole thing. Let’s get to it.
We open with Vince McMahon narrating a list of Royal Rumble entrants, which does have a certain charm as he is SO into it.
Commentary runs down most of the card. There are only five matches, so a full list wouldn’t be too much to ask.
Orient Express vs. New Foundation
The Express (Kato/Tanaka) has Mr. Fuji with them. Owen and Kato start things off as Heenan ignores everything else to talk about Ric Flair in the Royal Rumble (fair enough in this case). Kato’s O’Connor roll is countered into an armbar, followed by a running hurricanrana to give Owen two. Neidhart comes in for an armbar of his own before it’s off to Tanaka for another showdown.
Tanaka bounces off of Neidhart as commentary talks about Neidhart’s questionable sanity. A spinebuster sets up Owen’s middle rope elbow as commentary finally starts talking about the match in front of them. That lasts all of ten seconds as we switch over to the Mountie winning the Intercontinental Title from a rather sick Bret Hart (not quite) at a recent house show. Heenan: “He had a 104 degree temperature. I’ve wrestled with an 113 degree temperature! It’s not that big of a deal!”
Neidhart hits a double clothesline to set up Owen’s high crossbody, followed by a spinwheel kick for two on Kato. Tanaka gets in a kick from the apron though and a Fuji cane shot lets the villains take over. Kato is back up with a jumping back elbow for two as Heenan tries to leave to consult with Flair before the Rumble. We get our first “fair to Flair” of the day as Owen does Breth’s chest first into the buckle bump. A superkick gives Tanaka two so he does it again, setting up a headbutt to the, ahem, lower abdomen (even commentary isn’t sure on that one).
Owen fights up and gets over for the tag but the referee doesn’t see it thanks to a well timed distraction (because the classics always work). Instead a belly to belly plants Tanaka for two, leaving them both down. Neidhart gets drawn in again, allowing a double clothesline for two on Owen. Another superkick drops Owen again but he gets back up with a double dropkick. The hot tag brings in Neidhart to clean house as everything breaks down. Owen hits a heck of a suicide dive on Kato, setting up the Rocket Launcher for the pin (Monsoon: “Sayonara baby!”) at 17:19.
Rating: C+. This is the kind of match that I miss in modern wrestling: take some talented people and put them in the ring together for a good while with little on the line. I get why it wouldn’t go over well today, but dang it is a nice flashback to a different era. The New Foundation wasn’t exactly as good as the Harts, but they were good enough to put in a nice effort like this one here.
We look at the Mountie defeating the sick Bret Hart to win the Intercontinental Title. Mountie kept the beatdown going after the match until Roddy Piper made the save. Another sneak attack from Mountie didn’t work, but now we have a title match.
Jimmy Hart is ECSTATIC over the Mountie winning the title. Mountie promises to beat Roddy Piper up, while taking his manhood AND his skirt.
Roddy Piper says we’re looking at one of the original Village People in the Mountie. First, Mountie wants to take Piper’s integrity, but Piper doesn’t have any! Then he’s coming for Piper’s manhood. Piper is here to wrestle, but he doesn’t know what Mountie is here to do. Tonight, Piper can win two titles and now he has to go win the first one.
Intercontinental Title: Roddy Piper vs. The Mountie
Mountie is defending and has Jimmy Hart in his corner. Piper unloads to start and Mountie bails outside fast. A Hart distraction lets Mountie get in a few shots, followed by some leapfrogs back inside. You can only do that to Piper for so long though as he sends Mountie into the buckle a few times. There’s a bulldog out of the corner as commentary bickers about how many rights Heenan has.
Hart’s distraction lets Mountie get in a few shots, including some face first rams into the buckle. A sunset flip gives Piper two as Heenan again claims the 113 degree temperature, which he survived thanks to half of a children’s Aspirin. Back up and Piper sends him over the top, only to have Mountie skin the cat. Piper sends him into an interfering Hart though, grabs the sleeper, and wins the title at 5:20.
Rating: D+. The match was nothing, but was anyone buying the Mountie as having a chance against Piper? The whole thing was a way to transition the title off of Bret to set up the eventual showdown with Piper at Wrestlemania. Piper winning a title after all those years as a star is great to see though and that was the other major point. Bad match, but a good result.
Post match Hart tries to come in with Mountie’s shock stick, which Piper takes and uses on the Mountie instead. We do get a classic Fink AND NEEEEW moment, with Piper getting to hold the title for a great moment.
Hulk Hogan is ready to win the Royal Rumble, where he won’t have any friends because he wants the WWF Title back.
The Bushwhackers and Jamison (a disturbingly nerdy guy with a bad suit and a sock sitting out of his pocket) are ready for the Beverly Sisters’ final fling. They’ll beat up the Genius too.
Bushwhackers vs. Beverly Brothers
Jamison and the Genius are here too. We hit the stall button to start, with two and a half minutes passing before the Brothers jump Luke to start the physicality. Luke fights up and bites the back of Blake’s tights, setting up a double forearm to put the Brothers outside. We settle down to Beau vs. Butch as commentary talks about Jack Tunney actually doing something lately.
Beau gets in a cheap shot to take over as commentary talks about 20,000 fans here (17,000 official, so at least it’s not that far off). Everything breaks down again and the Bushwhackers clear the ring for the second time as we are somehow almost seven minutes into this. The Beverlies both try sneaking up from behind to even less avail but this time Butch goes outside to beat up Beau. A cheap shot to Luke finally gets us into a more traditional match, with the Beverlys taking turns with the elbows. Jamison: “Stop cheating!”
A backbreaker puts Luke down again and there’s a headbutt to the back for two. Heenan rants about his tax money going to Jamison as this match just keeps going. Luke gets beaten up again as genius slaps Jamison. One shot is finally enough for Luke to get over for the tag to Butch so house can be cleaned. The Battering Ram hits Blake and a running headbutt gets two on Beau. The referee has to get Luke out though and Blake hits a top rope ax handle to pin Butch at 14:56.
Rating: D-. Yowza this was a horrible match, with nothing good in the way of wrestling, a bunch of repetitive stalling and a lame ending. This was one of the worst pay per view matches I’ve ever seen from the WWF and the time would have been better used by airing an old pinball tournament. Awful in every sense.
Post match the Bushwhackers clean house and hold Genius back so Jamison can kick him in the shin. Good for him I’m sure.
The Legion Of Doom is ready for the Natural Disasters because they’ll fight anyone. Hawk wants the Disasters’ tongues hanging out like dead deers’.
Tag Team Titles: Natural Disasters vs. Legion Of Doom
The Disasters, with Jimmy Hart, are challenging. Hawk wastes no time in swinging away at Typhoon and everything breaks down quickly. Earthquake comes in and shrugs off Hawk’s dropkick, only to miss a (decent actually) dropkick attempt of his own. Gorilla: “He wouldn’t have hit Sky Low Low with that one!” Well no, as it would have been two feet above Low Low’s head. Think Monsoon.
It’s off to Animal for a double clothesline and knockdown, followed by Animal’s failed slam attempt to put him in trouble again. That lasts all of three seconds as Typhoon comes back in and gets his arm cranked, allowing the tag back to Hawk. A backbreaker cuts Hawk down and Typhoon adds a running crotch attack to the back. The required bearhug goes on before Earthquake steps on Hawk’s ribs.
Another bearhug goes on as Heenan is trying to pay someone to go to the back to get Flair information. This one is broken up just as quickly as the other, leaving Earthquake to miss a splash in the corner. Hawk manages a middle rope elbow to the head and it’s finally off to Animal to pick up the pace. Everything breaks down and they fight to the floor, with only Typhoon beating the count back in for the win at 9:24.
Rating: D+. While it wasn’t good, this is just slightly better than the other tag match and that is what matters here. At the end of the day, the match was about setting up something in the future, even if that didn’t quite happen. The match wasn’t exactly fun to watch, as Earthquake and Typhoon are only going to be able to do so much in the ring. Throw in the LOD being a bit limited in their own right and this was about as good as it was going to get.
Post match the brawl is on and the Disasters are cleared out.
In the back, Jimmy Hart and the Disasters rant a lot.
Roddy Piper is very happy with his win and dedicates it to his son Colt.
After a clip of the famous Barber Shop split, Shawn Michaels doesn’t care that Marty Jannetty is out of the Rumble because Shawn is going to win it anyway.
Ric Flair has drawn #3 and doesn’t care, because he’s Ric Flair.
Randy Savage is ready to get back to the top of the mountain.
Sid Justice is ready to win the Royal Rumble.
Repo Man is ready to repossess the WWF Title.
British Bulldog is ready to win another battle royal, just like he won another one last year at Royal Albert Hall in London.
Jake Roberts is ready to get what he needs and beat up Randy Savage at the same time. Trust him.
Mr. Perfect and Ric Flair are ready for the latter to prove that he is the REAL World’s Champion.
Paul Bearer is ready for 29 caskets as the Undertaker is WWF Champion again.
Hulk Hogan is ready for it to be every man for himself in the Royal Rumble so he can get the title back. Hogan was sounding rather whiny and a bit paranoid here.
Jack Tunney gives us a brief welcome and says may the best man win.
WWF Title: Royal Rumble
For the vacant title (after Hulk Hogan cheated to take it back from Undertaker) with two minute intervals. British Bulldog is in at #1 and Ted DiBiase is in at #2 as Heenan is already calculating odds on Flair’s ring time. Bulldog hammers away but charges into an elbow in the corner. DiBiase grabs some suplexes as Heenan suggests going through the ropes and hiding to kill time.
Bulldog gets thrown over the top but hangs on and runs back in to toss DiBiase, leaving Heenan upset. Ric Flair is in at #3 (Heenan: “NO!” Monsoon: “YES!”), sending Monsoon into a statement about how no one from entrants #1-5 has ever made it to the end. Heenan apologizes for not being able to be objective as Bulldog grabs the gorilla press. Flair gets in a poke to the eye for a breather as Jerry Sags is in at #4.
Bulldog gets double teamed as Heenan wants Flair to go rest in the corner. A double clothesline gets Bulldog out of trouble and there’s a dropkick to get rid of Sags (Heenan: “OH NO!”). Haku is in at #5 and goes after Flair (Heenan: “WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU DOING HAKU??? HAVE YOU GONE NUTS???” You know, because HAKU is most well known for his calm, rational demeanor), who actually takes him down and drops a knee to the head. Bulldog gets rid of Flair and Shawn Michaels is in at #6.
A superkick drops Flair fast (not yet the big time finisher) and another….lands in the general vicinity of Bulldog’s head as Heenan wants a stiff drink. We also start the weird timing as Heenan says Flair has been in over ten minutes despite the match not even going for ten minutes yet. Tito Santana is in at #7 and has Flair upside down in the corner (Heenan: “PERFECT! GET OUT HERE!”).
Flair slips out and gives Santana a belly to back suplex, followed by a low blow to Bulldog (Heenan: “I’d do that to my grandmother if I had to!”). The Barbarian is in at #8 (Heenan: “When I managed him, he barely liked me!”) and everyone brawls around without much going on. The Texas Tornado is in at #9 and goes right after Flair as Heenan is sounding increasingly desperate. Things slow down even more (fair enough) as the Repo Man is in at #10, giving us Bulldog, Flair, Michaels, Santana Barbarian, Tornado and Repo Man.
Barbarian and Flair double team Tornado and it’s Greg Valentine (in his bizarre face run) at #11. Naturally he goes right for Flair as Heenan talks about how the Perfect Plan called for Flair to go no more than 30 minutes. Flair kicks Repo Man low and it’s Nikolai Volkoff (Heenan: “300 pound Lithuanian!”) in at #11. Valentine grabs the Figure Four on Flair (Heenan….well you can just imagine) as Volkoff is tossed out to clear some of the ring. The Big Boss Man is in at #12 to pick up the energy a bit.
There goes Valentine, with Repo Man and Bulldog following him. Tornado is out as well as Heenan is begging Flair to get away from Boss Man. Santana and Michaels are both out and it’s Hercules at #13. Flair chops at Barbarian (Heenan: “NO RIC!”) and gets gorilla pressed for his efforts. Hercules dumps Barbarian (saving Flair in the process) but gets tossed as well. Boss Man clotheslines Flair but misses a charge and gets low bridged out, leaving Flair alone in the ring.
It’s Roddy Piper in at #14 and Heenan is beside himself as Flair is in even bigger trouble. Piper beats him up and takes it to the floor to keep up the beating. Back in and it’s an airplane spin into the sleeper to knock Flair mostly out. Jake Roberts is in at #15 to sit in the corner as the sleeper continues. Roberts goes after Piper (Heenan: “Thank you Jake!”) before hitting the short arm clothesline (Heenan: “You no good….”). Piper makes the save (Heenan: “It’s not a skirt! It’s a kilt!”) and Flair puts the Figure Four on Roberts. That’s broken up by Piper (Heenan: “You no good skirt wearing…..”) and it’s Jim Duggan in at #16.
Even Monsoon is praising Flair’s conditioning at this point as Heenan thinks Hulk Hogan is behind the order of entrants. Duggan punches Flair into the corner as Roberts does the same to Piper. It’s IRS in at #17 and it’s a double noggin knocker from Duggan to Roberts/Flair, giving us a Flair Flop. Jimmy Snuka is in at #18 and he still looks weird in those long tights. Heenan: “He’s wasting time!” Monsoon: “He is not!” Heenan: “I don’t know what I’m saying anymore.”
Piper chops on Flair in the corner but hands him off to Roberts, who can’t get rid of him. The Undertaker is in at #20 and Heenan is….oddly kind of calm about it. That gives us Flair, Piper, Roberts, Duggan, IRS, Snuka and Undertaker, with Snuka being tossed almost immediately. Undertaker grabs Flair by the throat, with Heenan declaring that everything is over. Duggan saves Flair and gets kicked low by Undertaker (that’s a weird visual) as Randy Savage is in at #21, meaning Roberts bails straight to the floor (not out).
Undertaker jumps Savage from behind so Piper comes back in, only to get kneed over the top by Savage. Hold on though as Savage dives over the top to go after Roberts again….but Undertaker throws Savage back inside, apparently because he wasn’t THROWN over the top. Ignore that this goes against previously established rules, but since when has that mattered? Flair stomps on Savage in the corner and hits Undertaker low, the latter of which doesn’t seem to matter.
Berzerker is in at #22 and hammers on various people as Heenan panics at Flair going after Savage. Undertaker and Piper choke Flair until Virgil is in at #23. Flair survives an Undertaker elimination attempt and it’s Colonel Mustafa in at #24. Monsoon refers to Flair as “Martel” twice, even as Duggan punches Flair in the face. Piper beats on Flair in the corner and it’s Rick Martel in at #25.
Heenan thinks some of the bigger names have gotten some great luck in the drawing, again forgetting an announcement on Superstars that some of the bigger names were guaranteed later numbers. Mustafa is out and everyone brawls….until Hulk Hogan is in at #26 (Heenan: “OH MY GOD NO!”). The brawl is on again as Heenan starts bargaining with God to let Heenan win. Hogan gets rid of Undertaker and Berzerker back to back with Virgil and Duggan going out at the same time.
Skinner is in at #27 as Heenan thinks Flair should be the Real World’s Champion no matter what. Sgt. Slaughter is in at #28 as Skinner is out. Hogan and Piper go at it, with Monsoon sounding almost surprised because they’re friends, despite having one of the most famous rivalries in wrestling history. Flair officially sets the all time record as Sid Justice is in at #29 to quite the reaction.
More brawling ensues as Warlord is in at #30, giving us a final grouping of Flair, Piper, IRS, Savage, Martel, Hogan, Slaughter, Sid and Warlord. Hogan slams Flair at the top and they both roll outside (not eliminated) to fight some more outside. Sid dumps Slaughter as Monsoon can’t believe that Flair is still here. Granted he also thinks Flair has been here for an hour when we’re still coming up on an hour into the match.
Piper pulls IRS out by the tie and Sid dumps Warlord to get us down to six. Sid gets rid of Martel and Piper, leaving us with Savage, Sid, Hogan and Flair, which makes me want to play Super Wrestlemania. There goes Savage as well, leaving Hogan to punch Flair over the top. Hogan goes to dump him but Sid tosses Hogan instead. Ever the nice guy, Hogan grabs Sid’s arm because “you stole my belt”, allowing Flair to dump Sid (with Hogan’s help) for the win and the title at 1:02:02. Heenan: “YESx50!”
Rating: A. Yes it’s still great and it still works as well as probably any Rumble would for almost ten more years. Flair has a great performance in setting the record and never once seeming like he was laying around for any extended period of time. You also have a star studded lineup with all kinds of people feeling like dark horse candidates, meaning there was little down time. Then of course there’s Heenan, who has the call of a lifetime as you can picture him losing his mind at everything falling apart. Monsoon laughing at Heenan when Flair comes out early but then respecting Flair by the end is great too, making this a masterpiece.
Post match Hogan and Sid bicker a lot, setting up Wrestlemania. I remember watching this at around four years old and wondering why Hogan was upset when he was eliminated without breaking any rules. There was no reason for him to be angry over this and he was just whining.
In the back, Jack Tunney presents Ric Flair with the title, allowing Flair to give the incredible “with a tear in my eye” speech, talking about how this is the title that matters the most in the world. Flair, Perfect and Heenan all WOO in celebration. Perfect: “We’re not the kind of guys to say we told you so but….we told you so!” After Flair cracks up at that one (and Gene gets in the infamous “PUT THAT CIGARETTE OUT!”), Gene signs off and sends us to the highlight package to end the show.
Overall Rating: A-. This is a weird show as the main event is the ONLY thing that matters (though the Piper title win was a very nice moment) and everything else is pretty minor. The problem is one of those two matches is horrible and another is pretty bad, bringing the overall rating down a bit. That being said, this is the definition of a one match show and there is little reason to watch anything but the Intercontinental Title match and the main event. One is a feel good moment and the other is an all time classic, so we’ll call this quite the success.
WWF, 2022, 1992, Redo, Royal Rumble, New Foundation, Orient Express, Mountie, Roddy Piper, Jimmy Hart, Hulk Hogan, Bushwhackers, Beverly Brothers, Jamison, The Genius, Natural Disasters, Legion Of Doom, Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, Sid Justice, Randy Savage, Undertaker
New Foundation vs. Orient Express
2013 Redo: B-
2018 Redo: C
2023 Redo: C+
The Mountie vs. Roddy Piper
2013 Redo: D
2018 Redo: D
2023 Redo: D+
Beverly Brothers vs. Bushwhackers
2013 Redo: T (The Worst Match In Royal Rumble History)
2018 Redo: F
2023 Redo: D-
Legion of Doom vs. Natural Disasters
2013 Redo: D
2018 Redo: D
2023 Redo: D+
2013 Redo: A
2018 Redo: A-
2023 Redo: A
2013 Redo: B
2018 Redo: B
2023 Redo: A-
I’m pretty much done with this show after this one, though it’s still rather great.