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I love everything about the Royal Rumble. It’s an event I look forward to year every year. I love the trill and the excitement of guessing who will be the next entrant or who is lucky enough to draw number thirty. Whenever I get asked which is the greatest Rumble match ever I always say 1992. It’s one of the top 10 greatest matches in the company’s history. That’s how strongly I feel about it. I’ll be reviewing the Rumble match itself (the undercard was pretty lame it must be said) and sharing my thoughts on it too.
To fully understand how the events surrounding the 1992 Royal Rumble came about, I need to take you back to Survivor Series ’91. The Undertaker defeated Hulk Hogan for the WWF Championship after interference from the self-professed “Real World’s Champion” Ric Flair. The then WWF President, Jack Tunney declared that a re-match will take place at the one off event “This Tuesday in Texas” and to make sure no outside interference will take place, Jack Tunney himself will be at ringside.
After yet another controversial finish which saw a failed interference attempt by Flair and Hogan throwing ashes in Undertaker’s face, President Tunney announced that the title was vacant and the winner of the 1992 Royal Rumble will become the new World Wrestling Federation Champion. Tunney also announced that Undertaker and Hulk Hogan will receive an advantage in the random drawing by promising them a number between 20 to 30. Having the WWF title on the line made this match even more important, I like that!
So that’s it for the background because it’s now time for the Royal Rumble! Just hope I’ve done Howard Finkel proud with that impression, huh.
The Royal Rumble Match
Prior to the match, Howard Finkel goes though the rules and he introduces Jack Tunney who wishes luck to everyone involved in the match. Now it’s time for the Rumble! The first two entrants in this year’s Rumble are #1 The British Bulldog and #2 Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase. DiBiase has had such rotten luck since he bought #30 back in 1989. DiBiase dominated early and he threw Davey Boy out of the ring but unknowingly to Ted, Davey managed to hold on. DiBiase seems pleased with himself but he turns around and Davey Boy clotheslines him over the top rope. Ted DiBiase is eliminated by British Bulldog. Huge pop for DiBiase’s elimination. Shame he only lasted just under 90 seconds though. The buzzer rings and out comes #3 Ric Flair. Bobby Heenan, who is providing commentary, is on the verge of having a heart attack! “This isn’t fair to Flair!” Monsoon rubs it in a bit and reminds Heenan that no one who has won the Royal Rumble from drawing a number between 1 to 5. Bit of a spoiler huh Gorilla? Davey Boy is all over Flair. He catches him with a gorilla press and knocks him down with a few clotheslines. One half of the Nasty Boys, #4 Jerry Saggs has entered the match. His tag team partner, Brian Knobbs, was originally included in the match but had to pull out due to injury. Flair and Saggs double team but Davey battles back. He throws Saggs over the top rope but Saggs manages to hold on. Jerry celebrates on the ring apron and Bulldog dropkicks him off the apron. Jerry Saggs is eliminated by British Bulldog. Its back to Davey Boy and Flair as #5 Haku makes his way into the match. Haku & Flair double team Bulldog. So far, only one babyface has appeared in the Royal Rumble, the other 4 are heels. Luck of the draw, huh? Haku suddenly turns his attacks towards Flair. Flair is so hated by the crowd that they start cheering for Haku! Flair bails out of the ring as Haku connects with a piledriver on Davey Boy. Haku is eliminated from the match just as #6. Shawn Michaels enters the frame. Haku is eliminated by British Bulldog. Shawn had recently turned heel after a memorable split from former Rocker team mate, Marty Jannetty. He looks so young here. Ha Ha, that mullet man! Straight away, he knocks Flair and Bulldog down with a Superkick. It wasn’t his finisher just yet; he was still using the Backbody Drop. How times have changed when a Backbody was considered a worthy finisher.
#7 El Matador makes his 5th Royal Rumble appearance. He was coming towards the end of career at the time but he could still go in the ring. Straight away he goes after Flair as Heenan freaks out on commentary. Flair hits Davey Boy with a low blow. He is the “dirtiest player in the game” for a reason you know. A former member of the Heenan Family #8 The Barbarian causes Heenan to worry even more because he’s a big man. By this point, Shawn Michaels has nearly been eliminated five times. Even at this stage in his career you could see the potential Shawn Michaels had. Here comes #9 “The Texas Tornado” Kerry Von Erich, he would be released from the WWF not long after this and he would end up taking his own life the following year. That’s sad because Kerry Von Erich was a talented boy. Kerry hits Flair with the Tornado Punch and Flair does his trademark “flair flop”, Shawn also does his own version of the flop too. Two of the best right there. Flair and Kerry had classic matches in other companies. One of my guilty pleasure gimmicks, #10 Repo Man joins the Rumble. Repo Man is no stranger to Royal Rumble matches. He competed in previous Rumble matches as Demolition member, Smash. Repo Man takes his time getting to the ring. He sneaks around and looks for an opening. What a gimmick! 7 guys are in the ring right now. That total goes up to 8 as former Intercontinental Champion, #11 Greg “The Hammer” Valentine enters. He goes after Flair. They used to be a tag team a few years ago. They have a chopping fest which Valentine wins. Not much else is happening here as #12 Nikolai Volkoff appears. The announcers make mention of the fall of the Soviet Empire. Volkoff is replacing Marty Jannetty after what Shawn Michaels did to him on the Barber Shop. Speaking about Shawn, he’s hanging on for dear life! Valentine has a figure four locked on Flair and Heenan is going nuts! Elsewhere, Repo Man manages to eliminate Volkoff after pulling down the top rope. Nikolai Volkoff is eliminated by Repo Man. It’s time for the next entrant and its #13 The Big Boss Man! He sprints down to the ring and goes after everyone. He threw some of the best punches ever. Repo Man makes his second elimination of the night by deposing the former Intercontinental Champion, Greg Valentine. The guy’s on fire! Greg “The Hammer” Valentine is eliminated by Repo Man. Boss Man connects with an uppercut on Shawn Michaels which causes him to go over the top but the future hall of famer hangs on. Feeling confident after two successive eliminations, Repo Man attacks Boss Man but Boss Man catches him and eliminates him. Repo Man is eliminated by Big Boss Man. More eliminations as Ric Flair backdrops Davey Boy out of the match and he does the same to Kerry Von Erich. British Bulldog is eliminated by Ric Flair & The Texas Tornado is eliminated by Ric Flair. Shawn Michaels and El Matador are out and that plants the seeds for their match at WrestleMania VIII. Shawn Michaels & El Matador eliminate each other. Here comes #14 Hercules and goes after Flair for revenge of how Bobby Heenan treated him back in ’88. After a double team attempt on Boss Man, Flair and Barbarian share a high five and then Flair chops him! Not a smart move, Natch! Barbarian slams Flair around and attempts to eliminate him. He gets him over the top but Hercules sneaks in to get the big guy out. The Barbarian is eliminated by Hercules. Flair rolls back under the bottom rope as Boss Man throws out Hercules leaving us down to Flair and Boss Man to slug it out! Hercules is eliminated by The Big Boss Man. Boss Man hits a flying clothesline on Flair. He’s feeling confident and goes for another one but Flair is too close to the ropes! He ducks out of the way and there goes the Boss Man. The Big Boss Man is eliminated by Ric Flair. Flair is all alone in the ring. Heenan: “YES! Flair wins it! Flair’s the champion of the World”. Monsoon explains that the match isn’t over yet as Flair does the face first flop.
It’s the halfway point of the match and here comes #15 Rowdy Roddy Piper and the crowd go wild. Flair’s facial expressions are great. “This isn’t fair to Flair “says Heenan again. Piper dives in with a million punches and a backbody drop which causes Flair to roll out of the ring. Piper follows after him. Piper clotheslines him and throws him back into the ring. Back in the ring, Piper avoids an inverted atomic drop and pokes Flair in the eyes. Piper spins Flair with the airplane spin and segues into a sleeper. Great sequence. #16 Jake “The Snake” Roberts kicks off the second half of the Royal Rumble. He was a heel at the time and was doing an awesome job with his “trust me” heel gimmick. He attacks Piper and chokes him with his boot in the corner of the ring. He helps Flair up only to knock him down with a short arm clothesline. Piper breaks up a DDT attempt and Flair locks in a figure four on Roberts. Heenan is thanking Piper and promises to never call his Kilt a Skirt again but it was short lived as Piper turned on Flair. #17 Hacksaw Jim Duggan is on the scene. HOOOOO USA USA! Not much happens here as each man goes down with various moves. Whiles all four men are down here comes #18 Irwin R Schyster. He gets huge heat upon his arrival. Not surprised. Who likes paying their taxes anyway? He takes his time getting to the ring. When he finally gets in the ring, IRS and Duggan slug it out whiles Piper, Flair and Jake brawl amongst themselves. Flair has been in the ring for 36 minutes now. #19 “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka jogs to the ring. Superfly was a former WWF Champion and coming towards the end of his career. He gives Flair a few head-butts upon arrival. Nothing noteworthy here but a lot of the big names are coming up soon. We start off the twenties with #20 The Undertaker who slowly walks down the aisle with Paul Bearer. He gets a loud babyface reception despite being a heel. I guess people just loved the gimmick too much. He gets in the ring and quickly eliminates the Superfly with an uppercut. “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka is eliminated by The Undertaker. Flair attacks Undertaker but the Deadman chokes him out. Jim Duggan joins in the assault but he receives a low blow. Flair chops ‘Taker and Duggan joins in but Undertaker grabs them both by the throat and chokes them. In the early days, Undertaker’s matches involved a lot of choking.
The buzzer goes off and it’s the former WWF Champion, #21 Macho Man Randy Savage! He sprints down the aisle and goes straight after Jake Roberts. Savage and Roberts were involved in a bitter feud which saw Savage getting bitten off a Snake! Savage had big balls for doing that! Check it out on YouTube, Kids. Undertaker and IRS cut Savage off before he managed to get to Roberts. Seeing the opportunity, Roberts sneaked back into the ring and attacked Savage. Savage ducks the short arm clothesline by Roberts and returns with some punches to the face. This knocks Roberts down. Savage goes to the top and hits a double ax handle onto Roberts. Roberts gets up and is thrown out by Savage! Jake “The Snake” Roberts is eliminated by Macho Man Randy Savage. In moment of madness, Savage jumps over the top rope and goes after Jake Roberts. Undertaker goes after Savage and throws him back into the ring. The commentators tell the viewers that Savage wasn’t thrown out of the ring so he’s able to re-enter the match. Piper rocks Flair some more and attempts to throw him out in the corner whiles Flair works away on Savage’s knee. HUSS HUSS HUSS!!! That only means on thing. #22 The Berzerker is up next. Another guilty pleasure gimmick right there! He goes for the Undertaker, then Piper, and then Duggan. Flair works on Savage’s back and drapes his back over the rope as he and IRS attack him. IRS leaves and Flair, who was on the apron, is suplexed into the ring by Savage. The Undertaker then chokes the fallen Flair; Piper joins in on the choking, and after about 3 seconds Undertaker chokes Piper with his other hand. A whole lot of choking going on here. #23 Virgil is up next. Where’s Virgil now? Last I heard, he was in a New York Subway Station selling 8×10 glossy photos for $5. That’s just sad. I wish there were other means for him to earn money. I wish him well for the future. He goes to work on Irwin but Berzerker helps the taxman. Not much is happening here as our next entrant, #24 Colonel Mustafa (aka The Iron Sheik) appears. I always thought it was stupid to give him a different gimmick. I understand if it were a lower card guy but not a former WWF Champion like Sheik! Piper is pounding away on Flair in the far corner but is cut off by the Undertaker who surprisingly doesn’t choke him! The current endurance record holder #25 Rick Martel is here. He attacks a prone Virgil but is stopped by Ric Flair. Flair has been in the ring for almost 50 minutes now. Flair avoids another eliminated attempt by Martel and Irwin but Mustafa isn’t as lucky as he’s eliminated by the Macho Man. Colonel Mustafa is eliminated by Macho Man Randy Savage. The buzzer goes off and here comes the former WWF Champion, #26 Hulk Hogan and the crowd goes ape! Double noggin-knocker to Undertaker and Flair by Hogan. Yet another DNK to Undertaker and IRS this time. A few eye rakes by Hogan but he’s stopped the Berzerker. Undertaker, IRS and Berzerker triple team Hogan in the corner but since this is Hulk Hogan we’re talking about, he overcomes the odds like he normally does. Undertaker is the first to go after Hogan clotheslines him to the outside. Undertaker lands on his feet and stares daggers at the Hulkster! Undertaker is eliminated by Hulk Hogan. Hogan follows up by eliminating Berzerker with a backdrop. The Berzerker is eliminated by Hulk Hogan. Hogan focuses his attacks on Rick Martel and chokes him with his vest. More eliminates as Virgil and Jim Duggan both go over at the same time after a crossbody attempt by Virgil. Virgil and Hacksaw Jim Duggan eliminated each other. That was a very entertaining two minutes!
Another terrible gimmick makes his way to the ring, #27 Skinner. 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. Another former WWF Champion, #28 Sgt Slaughter enters the Rumble. He was a patriotic face this time round. Flair and Hogan are squaring off against each other whiles Martel eliminates the alligator man! Skinner is eliminated by Rick Martel. Piper and Hogan attack each other which punches and eye rakes. Monsoon announces that Flair has broken Martel’s longevity record, in which Heenan announces “Give him the title. That’s good enough for me.” Savage is beating on IRS, but Flair tries to get Savage out instead; he doesn’t. Hogan back rakes Flair. #29 Sid Justice receives a decent pop upon his arrival. He was a babyface at the time. He lands a haymaker on IRS and attempts to eliminate him. Flair baits Hogan enough to chop him a bit. He then punches him in the gut for a bit. He snapmares Hogan, but Sid breaks it up. Flair grabs Sid’s hair and pulls him down, but, impressively, Sid kips up and clotheslines Flair down. Martel pounds on Piper. Flair eye rakes Sid. The final participant in the 1992 Royal Rumble is here, #30 The Warlord. He would never pass a wellness policy test if he were in the WWE today! So with all the participants now entered, only one of these guys can become the new WWF Champion! 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. Sgt Slaughter is eliminated by Sid Justice. Hogan brings Flair back in and hits the big boot. Flair gets slowly up and eye pokes Hogan. Piper tries to eliminate IRS by his tie, and he succeeds. Irwin R Schyster is eliminated by Rowdy Roddy Piper. Hogan and Sid team up to eliminate Warlord. “What a surprise!” says Gorilla. See, Warlord was always a threat to win even though he sucked. The Warlord is eliminated by Hulk Hogan and Sid Justice. Sid also eliminates Piper & Martel at the same time. Rick Martel and Rowdy Roddy Piper are eliminated by Sid Justice.
We are down to the final four; Hulk Hogan, Sid Justice, Macho Man Randy Savage and Ric Flair. That’s a good final four in terms of star-power. Hogan lifts up Flair, but Flair eye pokes him to save himself. Sid lifts up Savage and while he’s hanging in the corner, Flair flies in with a high knee that knocks Sid into the hanging Savage, and Savage tumbles to the outside. Macho Man Randy Savage is eliminated by Sid Justice & Ric Flair. 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. Hulk Hogan is eliminated by Sid Justice. The crowd actually cheers. I’m watching the DVD version and it’s so obvious it’s been dubbed to have boos instead of the cheers. Hogan is surprised about it. Hogan tells Sid that they were working together but Sid reminds him that it’s “everyman for himself”. Hogan then grabs hold of Sid’s arm which made no sense since both guys were faces. I’d understand if it were Sid pulling Hogan out of the ring but not the other way round! Whiles all of that is happening, Ric Flair recovers and flips Sid out of the ring.
Winner: Ric Flair
“YES YES YES YES YES” That was Heenan’s reaction when Howard Finkel rewarded Flair the title. Whiles Flair is halfway up the ramp, Hogan and Sid are having an argument in the ring which is quickly filling up with officials. Nice “Hulk Who” sign! That confrontation would eventually turn Sid heel and lead up to a match at WrestleMania VIII. It was a terrible match it must be said!
“And with a tear in my eye, this is the greatest moment of my life” proclaimed the new undisputed WWF Champion, Ric Flair. This will be one of his career highlights that’s for sure. Flair’s performance was off the charts. He carried the match throughout. According to Flair, he mentioned in his book that he was told on the day that he was going to win the Rumble and according to Bobby Heenan, he was the one who suggested that Flair should enter as the 3rd entrant. Having Flair entering as number 3 made the victory that much sweeter. This was done in a time where the 3rd entrant of a Royal Rumble match had no chance of winning plus Flair was capable of lasting 60 minutes + like what he done here. Booking him so early on allowed him to showcase his abilities with pretty much every major star in the WWF at the time. This truly was an all-star Rumble match. Aside from Flair, you had Hogan, Savage, Undertaker, Piper, Davey Boy, DiBiase, Slaughter, Michaels and more competing. It was an excellent mixture of veterans and youngsters. The Gorilla Monsoon & Bobby Heenan commentary team was fantastic. Heenan was on top form as always rooting for Flair all the way! If you haven’t seen this match I strongly urge you to check it out. This is a must see match.
Overall Match Rating (Out of 10): 10