Rock Star Gary reflects on WWF Royal Rumble ’91

Live from Miami, FL

Airdate: January 19, 1991

Attendance:  unknown

Hosted by Gorilla Monsoon & “Rowdy” Roddy Piper

Patriotism! Xenophobia! Hypocrisy! Get it all here!

Ring announcer Howard Finkel asks the Miami faithful to please stand for the national anthem.

Match 1: The Rockers versus the Orient Express (w/ Mr. Fuji)

Highlights:

  • Kato, portrayed by Paul Diamond, replaced Sato on the Orient Express. I’m surprised Vince didn’t rename him Poirot.
  • After the Orient Express gave Michaels a double back drop, Jannetty dropkicked Kato out of the ring.
  • He then gave Tanaka a superkick to send him scurrying.
  • When he couldn’t escape, the Rockers gave him a double slam.
  • They then mounted opposite top turnbuckles, but Tanaka sought refuge outside the ring.
  • Next, the Rockers hit stereo tope suicidas. Holy flying party animals, Batman!
  • While the Miami faithful chanted “U-S-A,” Kato leap-frogged and hip-tossed Jannetty.
  • Jannetty then hooked a backslide for 2.
  • As Tanaka tagged in, heel miscommunication transpired.
  • Michaels tagged in, mounted the top turnbuckle, and lowered the boom on Tanaka.
  • After Tanaka hit a flying forearm to Michaels, he got 2.
  • Kato tagged in, but Michaels gave the Orient Express a double noggin knocker.
  • When Michaels delivered a high knee, he got 2.
  • He then hooked a sleeper on Tanaka, but Jannetty distracted referee Joey Marella. That allowed Kato to mount the second turnbuckle and hit an axe handle to the back of Michaels’ neck.
  • While Michaels gave Tanaka the ten-punch count-along, he hit a moonsault onto Kato. Impressive!
  • The Rockers then tried to whip the Orient Express into one another, but a do-si-do by the Orient Express resulted in their nailing the Rockers.
  • Following that, they tried to whip the Rockers, but Michaels leap-frogged Jannetty.
  • The Rockers then hit stereo dropkicks.
  • After the heels sought refuge outside the ring, the Rockers hit stereo topes onto them. Woohoo!
  • Jannetty tagged in, and the Rockers gave Kato a double back elbow.
  • When Michaels tagged in, he gave Kato a delayed vertical suplex for 2.
  • He then attempted a monkey flip, but Tanaka guillotined him using the top rope. As usual, Marella got distracted. This time by Jannetty.
  • While Jannetty and Kato occupied Marella’s attention, Tanaka held Michaels so that Fuji could nail him with the cane. How dastardly!
  • Kato tagged in, and the Orient Express executed an aided leap frog body guillotine to Michaels for 2.
  • Shortly after, Kato reversed a cross corner whip resulting in a Michaels flip to the apron. Tanaka then kicked him back in over the top rope.
  • Tanaka tagged in, and the Orient Express gave Michaels a double clothesline with a 360° sell by Michaels. That got 2.
  • After Michaels came back with a face plant of Tanaka, the Orient Express attempted a clothesline with a karate belt. Michaels subsequently ducked and dove upon it ramming the Orient Express together.
  • Hot tag Jannetty who hit a powerslam on Kato for 2.
  • Upon giving Kato a flying back elbow, all four wrestlers were in the ring.
  • Jannetty then attempted a backslide, but Tanaka kicked him to shift the momentum.
  • As Kato came off the ropes, Michaels tripped him. That got 2 for Jannetty.
  • Michaels entered, and the Rockers gave Kato a double superkick.
  • When they attempted a Rocket Launcher, Tanaka stopped them sending Michaels from the top turnbuckle down to the floor.
  • Kato then slammed Jannetty and catapulted him into a chop by Tanaka.
  • As they made another attempt, Michaels nailed Tanaka.
  • Kato’s catapult then became a sunset flip for Jannetty on Tanaka.
  • 1-2-3.
  • The Rockers won.

Rating: ****1/2

Summary:  Fantastic tag match that showcased all four wrestlers’ abilities. If Tanaka hadn’t used an extended rest hold to fill time, this could have been rated higher.

From the locker room, Sean Mooney interviews “Macho King” Randy Savage. Supposedly, Slaughter offered him the #1 contender slot should he win the title tonight. With a poster of the L.A. Coliseum in the background, Savage takes exception to Mooney’s question about a potential offer from Warrior.

Queen Sherri then drags “Mean” Gene Okerlund to the podium to “make a public challenge to the Ultimate Warrior.” As Savage watches on a monitor, Queen Sherri runs down Warrior. Speaking of Warrior, he comes out wearing an American flag jacket. As Queen Sherri seduces him while getting on her knees, Warrior denies her challenge with a vociferous “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” Maniacally, Savage flips out and runs to the podium to a chorus of boos.

Match 2: The Big Bossman versus the Barbarian (w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan)

Highlights:

  • Bossman reversed an Irish whip and gave Barbarian the big boot followed by a back elbow.
  • When Barbarian sought refuge outside the ring, Bossman joined and made him HIT THE POLE.
  • Barbarian then mounted the top turnbuckle, leaped, but ate a shot to the midsection.
  • As Bossman clotheslined Barbarian, both wrestlers spilled over the top rope to the floor.
  • Barbarian then delivered a vertical suplex and hit a clothesline.
  • After Barbarian nailed him, Bossman got his foot caught between the second and bottom ropes.
  • Barbarian then released and rammed him back-first into the ring post.
  • While Barbarian distracted referee Mike Chioda, Heenan put the shoes to Bossman. SNEAKY!
  • Barbarian then delivered a backbreaker for 2.
  • Next, he applied a bear hug until Bossman escaped with shots to the trapezius muscles.
  • Barbarian then gave Bossman a series of elbow drops for another 2.
  • Following that, he reapplied the bear hug, but Bossman bit him to escape.
  • Bossman then hit an enziguri for 2.
  • Upon giving Barbarian a cross corner whip, Bossman came up empty on his follow-through.
  • Barbarian then rolled him up for 2.
  • As Bossman caught Barbarian coming off the ropes, he delivered a stungun for 2.
  • A double shoulder block then put both wrestlers down on the mat.
  • When Barbarian mounted the top turnbuckle, he hit a lariat for only 2 because Bossman put his foot on the bottom rope.
  • Bossman then gave Barbarian the Bossman slam but only got 2.
  • After Barbarian hit a piledriver, he mounted the top turnbuckle and hit a cross body block.
  • Bossman then used momentum to land on top.
  • 1-2-3.
  • Bossman won.

Rating: **

Summary: While this was standard WCW Saturday Night fare a few years later, Bossman’s transformation from his Twin Towers days was inconceivable. I bet he was under 300lbs.

Back in the pink locker room, Mooney interviews Slaughter with Adnan. Who actually thought it was a good idea for Adnan to speak Arabic?

No, unfortunately, it wasn’t Ole this time around.

Slaughter then refers to Warrior as the “Ultimate Puke” and notifies him that his “seconds” are numbered.

Backstage, Okerlund interviews Warrior.

Match 3 for the WWF title: Ultimate Warrior (champion) versus Sergeant Slaughter

Highlights:

  • While Slaughter made his entrance, Monsoon swore that Slaughter’s beliefs are his own and don’t represent the opinions of the WWF. For further inquiries, contact Jerry McDevitt.
  • Slaughter and Adnan attempted to clothesline Warrior with the flag pole, but Warrior double-clotheslined them instead.
  • Upon sending Slaughter over the top rope to the floor, he nailed Adnan who went over an adjacent top rope to the floor. Like a coward, Adnan fled backstage and didn’t return.
  • Warrior then broke the flag pole and tore up the Iraqi flag. Feel the xenophobia!
  • As Warrior gave Slaughter a cross corner whip, he followed with a clothesline using the remnants of the flag pole.
  • He then made Slaughter eat the flag while the Miami faithful chanted “U-S-A.”
  • Next, he gave Slaughter another cross corner whip followed by a knee lift.
  • He then delivered a third cross corner whip and a back drop.
  • Upon receiving a fourth cross corner whip, Slaughter took a sternum-first bump in the corner.
  • Cross corner whip #5 sent Slaughter over the top turnbuckle to the floor.
  • Suddenly, Queen Sherri came to the ring wearing a different dress than earlier in the show.
  • As Warrior came off the ropes, Queen Sherri grabbed his ankle.
  • Warrior then chased her from the ring, but Savage ambushed him at the entrance.
  • Following that, he made Warrior taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the Drunken Goat burger at American Social.
  • He then took a lighting fixture and CLOBBERED Warrior with it before scampering away.
  • While the Miami faithful loudly chanted “U-S-A,” Warrior slowly returned to the ring.
  • Back in the ring, Slaughter delivered a backbreaker and spat on Warrior to a chorus of boos.
  • Not THAT kind of boos.
  • Regardless, a double clothesline put both wrestlers down on the mat.
  • Upon returning to his feet, Slaughter applied a bear hug until Warrior nailed his trapezius muscles.
  • He then slammed Slaughter hurting his back further.
  • As Slaughter dropped a series of elbows, he delivered another backbreaker.
  • He then applied the camel clutch with Warrior’s legs under the bottom rope.
  • When referee Earl Hebner ultimately recognized it, he made Slaughter release the hold.
  • Slaughter then argued with Hebner, and Warrior made his comeback.
  • After a series of clotheslines, Warrior hit the flying shoulder block.
  • Again, Queen Sherri came to the ring and got up on the apron.
  • Warrior then grabbed and spilled her into the ring.
  • Upon gorilla-pressing Queen Sherri, he tossed her onto Savage on the floor.
  • With Warrior distracted by Savage, Slaughter put a knee into his back.
  • Slaughter then choked Warrior who was straddled across the second rope.
  • While Slaughter distracted Hebner, Savage DEMOLISHED Warrior with the scepter. OUCH!
  • Slaughter then hit an elbow drop.
  • 1-2-3.
  • WE HAVE A NEW CHAMPION!

Rating: ***

Summary:  Historical title change as the Warrior era comes to a crashing halt. With the Persian Gulf conflict in full force, the heat for Slaughter’s upset victory is NUCLEAR.

As the Miami faithful chants “Ho-gan,” Warrior exits the ring and chases after Savage. A proud Slaughter then holds the WWF title belt while gloating to the jeering Miami faithful.

Promo airs for WrestleMania VII LIVE from the L.A. Coliseum. Call for tickets now!

Match 4: The Mountie (w/ Jimmy Hart) versus Koko B. Ware

Highlights:

  • After Ware ducked a shot from the Mountie, he delivered a dropkick.
  • The Mountie then leap-frogged Ware twice before getting nailed.
  • When Ware attempted a cross body block, the Mountie sent him flying over the top rope to the floor.
  • Hart then got up on the apron to distract referee Joey Marella. In the meantime, the Mountie exited the ring and WALLOPED Ware with the cattle prod.
  • As Hart taunted Frankie, the Mountie hit a flying back elbow.
  • Ware came back with a sunset flip for 2.
  • With Ware on the apron, the Mountie gave him a knee lift.
  • He then attempted a piledriver, but Ware countered with a back drop.
  • Next, Ware delivered a swinging neckbreaker followed by a flying head butt.
  • He then slammed the Mountie, mounted the top turnbuckle, and hit a missile dropkick.
  • When he attempted a cover, Hart got up on the apron to distract him.
  • The Mountie then reversed a cross corner whip, but Ware leaped to the second turnbuckle.
  • Upon hitting a cross body block, Ware got 2.
  • The Mountie then delivered a two-handed chokeslam.
  • 1-2-3.
  • The Mountie won.

Rating: **

Summary: Showcase match for the Mountie, but a bathroom/popcorn match for the Miami faithful.

Back in the locker room, Mooney interviews a delusional Savage, but a loud knock on the door sends the King and Queen frantically scurrying.

Backstage, Okerlund interviews the NEW WWF champion Slaughter with Adnan. Obviously, they’re ecstatic over the victory.

Next, some of the Miami faithful send their wishes to the troops from outside the Miami Arena.

Afterward, we get a series of promos. First, Roberts wants a piece of Martel. Second, Earthquake’s ready for Undertaker and Hogan. Third, Valentine, who’s already broken a sweat, cuts a generic promo. As does Texas Tornado. Fifth, the Road Warriors act tough. Sixth, Brother Love speaks on behalf of Undertaker. Seventh, Duggan claims to be #30, but he’s WRONG. Eighth, Martel hasn’t forgotten about Roberts. Ninth, Smith cuts a crappy promo. Tenth, Heenan and Perfect don’t want to be second banana again this year. Finally, Tugboat obviously needs a new gimmick based on his lackluster promo.

Back in the pink locker room, Mooney interviews DiBiase with Virgil. While DiBiase states he “bought” a partner, Virgil has a disdainful look on his face. DiBiase should have probably read the 13th Amendment before he said that.

Match 5: The “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase & Virgil versus the “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes & Dustin Rhodes

Highlights:

  • A four-way brawl broke out at the onset.
  • Next, the Rhodes whipped DiBiase and Virgil into one another.
  • As Dustin sent Virgil outside the ring, Dusty delivered a series of bionic elbows to DiBiase.
  • DiBiase then ordered Virgil to start the match.
  • After Virgil missed a clothesline, Dustin hit a lariat and followed with a dropkick.
  • Dustin then gave Virgil a bionic elbow and clotheslined him over the top rope to the floor.
  • When DiBiase tagged in, he clotheslined Dustin.
  • He then gave Dustin a back drop and taunted Dusty.
  • As DiBiase hit a fist drop, Dustin came back with a face plant.
  • DiBiase then got pinballed between the Rhodes with bionic elbows.
  • To finish the flurry, Dustin gave him the Flip, Flop, and Fly. Phenomenal alliteration, no?
  • Dusty tagged in and hooked a sleeper on DiBiase.
  • When Virgil entered, Dusty released the hold.
  • Dustin tagged in and dropkicked DiBiase for 2.
  • While Virgil tagged in, Dustin reversed a cross corner whip but came up empty on his follow-through injuring his left knee.
  • Virgil then clotheslined Dustin and rammed his left leg into the ring post.
  • As Rhodes distracted referee Jon Bonello, DiBiase rammed it again.
  • Dusty continued to distract Bonello as Virgil accidentally nailed DiBiase during a double-team.
  • When DiBiase confronted him, he repeatedly nailed Virgil and tossed him out of the ring.
  • Dusty tagged in, gave DiBiase a cross corner whip, and followed with a back elbow.
  • Upon giving DiBiase a second cross corner whip, Dusty came up empty on his follow-through.
  • DiBiase then rolled up and pinned Dusty.

Rating: *

Summary:  Awful match that ended up being the swan song for Dusty as an active wrestler. Following this match, he took a front-office position with WCW.

After the match, DiBiase gets on the microphone while the Miami faithful chants “Vir-gil.” He then demands that Virgil grab the Million Dollar belt and place it around his waist. When Virgil enters the ring, he throws down the belt in disgust. DiBiase then berates and instructs Virgil to pick it up. As he retrieves the belt, Virgil WALLOPS DiBiase with it to a raucous ovation. He then spits on the belt and tosses it atop the fallen DiBiase. Excellent face turn!

Backstage, Okerlund interviews Hogan who dedicates his impending victory in the Rumble match to the troops before getting infuriated over Slaughter. During the interview, Okerlund mentioned that Hogan will travel around the American military bases to offer moral support.

Match 6 (Royal Rumble):

Participants:

Animal, Dino Bravo, Bushwhacker Butch, Demolition Crush, Shane Douglas, “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, Earthquake, Haku, Bret “Hitman” Hart, Hawk, Hercules, Hulk Hogan, Brian Knobbs, Bushwhacker Luke,  “The Model” Rick Martel, Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart, WWF Intercontinental champion Mr. Perfect, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Paul Roma, Tito Santana, “Macho King” Randy Savage, Saba Simba, Demolition Smash, the “British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith, Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, Texas Tornado, Tugboat, Undertaker, Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, Warlord

Highlights:

  • Bret drew #1 while Bravo got #2.
  • Upon hitting Bravo with a forearm, Bret dropkicked him.
  • He then delivered an atomic drop but couldn’t eliminate Bravo.
  • As Bravo came back with an inverted atomic drop, he slammed Bret.
  • He then missed an elbow drop as Valentine entered at #3.
  • When Valentine nailed Bravo, Jimmy Hart got up on the apron to distract him.
  • Valentine then eliminated Bravo and disposed of Hart.
  • Having recovered from Bravo’s attack, Bret gave Valentine an inverted atomic drop.
  • He then delivered a clothesline but couldn’t eliminate Valentine.
  • Next, Roma entered at #4.
  • After they double-teamed Bret, Roma nailed Valentine.
  • Bret came back with an inverted atomic drop to Roma.
  • Upon giving them a double noggin knocker, Bret almost got eliminated.
  • Texas Tornado entered at #5 and gave Roma a discus punch.
  • As he gave Valentine a discus punch, Bret slammed Roma.
  • He then mounted the second turnbuckle but missed an elbow drop.
  • While Roma dropkicked Tornado, Martel entered at #6.
  • Bret and Tornado then double-teamed Valentine who fell like a giant redwood.
  • When Valentine mounted the second turnbuckle, he delivered the hammer to Tornado.
  • Martel then leaped from the second turnbuckle and hit a double axe handle to Bret’s back.
  • Sensing opportunity, Roma then clotheslined Martel.
  • Saba Simba entered at #7, yet Piper didn’t call him Tony Atlas this time.
  • As Tornado gave Martel a discus punch, he followed with an atomic drop.
  • He then applied the Iron claw while Bushwhacker Butch was #8.
  • When Simba tried to eliminate Martel, both wrestlers spilled over the top rope. Only Simba was eliminated.
  • Butch then gave Roma and Valentine a double noggin knocker as Roberts entered at #9.
  • While Martel and Roberts brawled, Roberts gave him a gutbuster.
  • He then delivered a short-arm clothesline and signaled for the DDT.
  • Shortly after, Hercules entered at #10.
  • Bret then gave Martel a backbreaker.
  • As Santana entered at #11, Roma charged at Roberts and eliminated himself.
  • Santana then fought Martel but couldn’t eliminate him.
  • When Undertaker entered at #12, he eliminated Bret.
  • Tornado then gave him a discus punch as Snuka entered at #13.
  • After Undertaker eliminated Butch, he gave Tornado an inverted atomic drop.
  • Tornado then hooked a sleeper on Undertaker while Valentine mounted the top turnbuckle and lowered the boom.
  • As Smith entered at #14, Martel mounted the second turnbuckle and delivered a double axe handle to Roberts.
  • When Roberts gave Martel an inverted atomic drop, Smith followed with a standard one. Martel’s plans for South Beach have been revoked.
  • Smash was #15 as Piper reminded us how “fresh” he was.
  • With Roberts in the corner, Martel charged but ate knee.
  • Smith then clotheslined Smash as Martel eliminated Roberts.
  • After Snuka gave Martel and Hercules a double noggin knocker, Hawk entered at #16.
  • Santana then gave Undertaker the ten-punch count-along, but Undertaker countered with an inverted atomic drop.
  • Sans skateboard, Douglas entered at #17.
  • Hawk then mounted the second turnbuckle and delivered a double axe handle to Snuka.
  • While Undertaker eliminated Tornado, Hawk disposed of Snuka.
  • Douglas then mounted the second turnbuckle, leaped, but Smash caught him.
  • After Douglas and Santana double-clotheslined Martel, Hawk clotheslined Hercules.
  • No one came out at #18. Methinks this was Savage’s spot.
  • While Undertaker choked Hawk, Brother Love also bad-mouthed him.
  • Animal entered at #19, and the Road Warriors double-clotheslined Undertaker to eliminate him.
  • Immediately, Martel and Hercules eliminated Hawk.
  • After Douglas gave Valentine the ten-punch count-along, Undertaker scared the bejeezus out of referee Shane McMahon before leaving.
  • Crush entered as #20 while Demolition double-teamed Smith.
  • As Demolition double-clotheslined him, Smith gave Crush a swinging neckbreaker.
  • Santana then mounted the second turnbuckle and nailed Hercules.
  • After Martel lowered the boom on Valentine from the second turnbuckle, Duggan entered at #21.
  • Martel remounted the second turnbuckle, leaped, but Animal caught him in a bear hug.
  • When Earthquake entered at #22, Santana gave Martel the ten-top-turnbuckle count-along.
  • Animal tried to eliminate him, but Earthquake got rid of him instead.
  • After Perfect entered at #23, Duggan gave him a cross corner whip. Perfect celebrated with a 360° sell. Woohoo!
  • Duggan then charged, and Perfect backdropped him to the floor.
  • As Perfect gave Smash a dropkick, Santana clotheslined him.
  • Hogan entered at #24 and gave Smash the big boot.
  • Upon eliminating Smash, Hogan gave Earthquake the ten-punch count-along.
  • Earthquake then tried to eliminate Hogan, but Smith dropkicked him.
  • When Haku entered at #25, Hogan eliminated Valentine who lasted 44 minutes.
  • The Miami faithful chanted “Ho-gan,” while Martel mounted the second turnbuckle and hit Haku with a double axe handle.
  • As Neidhart entered at #26, Earthquake eliminated Santana.
  • Perfect tried to eliminate Hogan as revenge for last year, but Haku nailed him.
  • After Earthquake SQUISHED Douglas, Luke entered at #27.
  • Earthquake immediately eliminated him.
  • When Knobbs entered at #28, Hogan gave Perfect the ten-turnbuckle count-along.
  • Knobbs then eliminated Hercules while Warlord entered at #29.
  • With Crush on the second turnbuckle, Hogan eliminated him.
  • Warlord then reversed an Irish whip, but Hogan clotheslined him out of the ring.
  • As Tugboat entered at #30, Neidhart almost eliminated Perfect.
  • Knobbs then eliminated Douglas before Smith gave him a back elbow.
  • While Tugboat almost eliminated him, Hogan dumped him out of the ring.
  • Perfect then mounted the top turnbuckle, but Smith crotched and dropkicked him to the floor.
  • With seven wrestlers remaining, Martel eliminated Neidhart.
  • Smith then eliminated Haku, but Martel mounted the second turnbuckle and gave him a double axe handle.
  • Upon slamming Smith, he mounted the top turnbuckle.
  • Smith then crotched and clotheslined Martel to the floor. Martel set the endurance record at 52 minutes. Wow!
  • Final Four: Hogan, Earthquake, Smith, and Knobbs.
  • Earthquake and Knobbs then eliminated Smith.
  • As they double-clotheslined Hogan, Knobbs delivered a series of elbow drops.
  • Earthquake then hit a splash while Knobbs dropped more elbows.
  • After Earthquake delivered the Earthquake splash, Hogan no-sold it.
  • He then double-clotheslined them and booted Knobbs out of the ring.
  • Upon giving Earthquake the big boot, Hart got up on the apron.
  • Hogan then nailed him back to the floor.
  • As Hogan failed to slam him, Earthquake delivered a pair of elbow drops.
  • He then gave Hogan a powerslam, but it’s Hulk-up time!
  • After he gave Earthquake another big boot, Hogan slammed him.
  • He then eliminated Earthquake.
  • Hogan won.

Rating: ***

Summary:  Worst Rumble match thus far in its short history. There were far too many dead spots and wrestlers in the ring to tell a good story. Having said that, Hogan won for the second consecutive year sending the Miami faithful home happy.

After the match, Hogan holds up a sign that reads “Peace in the Middle East.” Good luck with that, Hulkster. He then grabs a sign that states “Saddam and Slaughter will surrender.” Following that, he grabs the American flag, waves it, and poses for the Miami faithful.

Conclusion:  With the Persian Gulf conflict happening overseas, the WWF milked patriotism as far as it could and also exploited the conflict with Slaughter’s turncoat character. While it’s one thing for a character to say certain things, it’s another to publicly deny you wrote them for him.

Although the antagonist (Slaughter) won the title via nefarious means, the protagonist (Hogan) overcame tremendous obstacles by winning the Rumble match. Methinks our WrestleMania VII main event has materialized.

As far as my recommendation goes, the opener is worthwhile plus the title match has an historical and memorable finish. On the other hand, if you’re not a fan of Hogan, don’t watch the Rumble match as it may cause indigestion.

Stay tuned for WCW Clash XIV!

Buyrate: 2.40

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