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IT'S TIME TO RUMBLE: A Look Back At Royal Rumbles' Past (Part II)


Welcome back!  Today we are going to look at Royal Rumbles 1992-1995.  This is a transition from the Golden Age into the leanest of lean periods for the WWF.  Stick with it though, because there's plenty interesting stuff to still be found within.


  
1992


Winner: "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair
(Entered: 3rd | Lasted: 60:22 | Eliminations: 4)


Bridesmaid: Sid Justice
(Entered: 29th | Lasted: 5:55 | Eliminations: 4)



Iron Man: Ric Flair (60:22)


Eliminator: Sid Justice (4)
(Technically a three-way tie between Sid, Hogan & Flair, but Sid is the only one of the three that did all four eliminations by himself.)



First To Fall: "Million Dollar Man" Ted Dibiassi
(Entered: 2nd | Lasted: 1:18)



Loser: Hercules
(Entered: 14th | Lasted: 0:56 | Eliminations: 1 | Dumped: 12th)

NOTES:

Total Match Time: 62:04
Billed Interval between Entries: 2 min.

  • This is the only time (until this year) that the winner of the Royal Rumble would get the World Heavyweight Championship by winning the Royal Rumble match.  The title was declared vacant after two quick title changes between Hulk Hogan and The Undertaker, where lots of weapons and interference ensued.
  • Ric Flair becomes the first (of four) to go one hour in a Royal Rumble match.
  • Flair was also the first heel to win a Rumble.
  • This is my favorite Royal Rumble of all time.  Flair's promo at the end, the collection of talent, the nostalgia factor, Heenan and Monsoon on commentary...in my opinion this Rumble has it all.

Who Walked Out Of The Event As Champion?

Ric Flair, baby.  WOOOO!!!

Did The Winner Go On To Win The Championship?

No.  Ric Flair lost the title to Randy Savage at Wrestlemania VIII.  That match was the first time the world title match did not go on last at a Wrestlemania.  (And it SHOULD have been Hogan VS Flair, but...reasons, I guess.)



1993




Winner: Yokozuna
(Entry: 27th | Lasted: 14:53 | Eliminations: 7)



Bridesmaid: "Macho Man" Randy Savage
(Entry: 30th | Lasted: 9:01 | Eliminations: 1)


Iron Man: Bob Backlund
(Entry: 2nd | Lasted: 61:10 | Eliminations: 2 | Dumped: 28th)


Eliminator: Yokozuna (7)


First To Fall: Papa Shango
(Entry: 3rd | Lasted: 0:28)


Loser: Terry Taylor
(Entry: 16th | Lasted: 0:24 | Dumped: 12th)

NOTES:

Total Match Time: 66:40
Billed Interval between Entries: 2 min.

  • Bob Backlund is the only man to go more than 60 minutes in a Royal Rumble match and not win.
  • Backlund's endurance record of 61:10 would stand until 2004.
  • Giant Gonzales is the first person to make his debut during the Royal Rumble match.  (He was not an official participant, so...)
  • Giant Gonzales is also the first person not participating in the Rumble match to eliminate someone from the match.  (In this case, being The Undertaker.)
  • This was the first time the winner of the Rumble was guaranteed a WWF title match at Wrestlemania.
  • This is the longest 30 man Rumble in history.
  • Macho Man was eliminated by Yokozuna when he did his top rope elbow drop and went for a pinfall.  Yoko benched him straight over the top rope to the floor.

Who Walked Out Of The Event As Champion?

Bret "The Hitman" Hart.  He wrestled an underrated gem against Razor Ramon, and went to Wrestlemania to do battle with Yokozuna.

Did The Winner Go On To Win The Championship?

Yes, but not for long.  Yokozuna became the first ever bad guy to win the WWF Championship at Wrestlemania.  Notice I didn't say "walk out of Wrestlemania with the WWF Championship" because Hulk Fucking Hogan demanded he get the title back on himself, so after the match, Yoko's manager Mr. Fuji issues a challenge to Hogan, they fight for like 30 seconds, and in one of the most hated finishes in Wrestlemania history, Hulk Hogan swoops in for his (then record) Fifth WWF Title reign.  (A reign where he didn't defend the damn thing once until he dropped it at King Of The Ring in June to Yokozuna, because he refused to lose to Bret Hart and pass the torch, going so far as to call The Hitman "a vanilla midget".  So...they could've really just kept the belt on Yoko an entire year, since Bret ended up beating him for it at WMX and saved themselves the headache of having to deal with Terry Primadonna Bollea.



1994



Winner: Clusterfuck.
(I'll explain in the notes.)



Bridesmaid: See above.


Iron Man: Bam Bam Bigelow
(Entered: 15th | Lasted: 30:12 | Eliminations: 3 | Dumped: 23rd)



Eliminator: Diesel (aka Kevin Nash) (7)



First To Fall: Samu
(Entered: 2nd | Lasted: 3:13)



Loser: Billy Gunn
(Entered: 9th | Lasted: 0:14 | Dumped: 8th)

NOTES:

Total Match Time: 55:18
Billed Interval between Entries: 90 seconds

  • This was the year when they had the crazy idea of having co-winners (mainly because they were gun shy about trusting the company's future to Lex Luger, and were dead-set against, yet unable to deny the popularity of Bret Hart).  If you go back and look at the footage, they did a really good job of obscuring who really hit (which is something you couldn't do now; there'd be footage online before they went off the air).  And that's the thing...you can't really tell.  Common sense says Luger hit first because his legs are longer, but Bret was beneath him.  I don't have a copy of Bret's book handy, so I can't get his word on the situation.  (I read it five years ago and can't remember for the life of me.)  So here are the stats for your co-Winners:



Lex Luger
(Entered: 23rd | Lasted: 21:58 | Eliminations: 6)


Bret "The Hitman" Hart
(Entered: 27th | Lasted: 15:08 | Eliminations: 3)

  • 1994 is the first year they toyed with the length of the intervals.  I think the Undertaker beatdown took way longer than they planned and maybe they had to compensate.
  • Bastion Booger did not compete because "he ate too much".  For realz.  (???!?!?)  (This was actually done to set up a spot to make the crowd think Bret Hart missed his entry because his brother Owen had injured his knee earlier in the evening, only to have him come out later to a huge pop.)
  • This is the first time two faces faced off against each other at the end of a Royal Rumble.  (Though you could tell the crowd was solidly behind Bret.)

Who Walked Out Of The Event As Champion?

Yokozuna, with the help of ten other heels.  That number is not an exaggeration.  It took eleven men to put Undertaker into a casket, then the whole Undertaker going up to Heaven thing happened, and...Look, wrestling is weird sometimes, alright?

Did The Winner Go On To Win The Championship?

Sort of?  Bret Hart did, so let's just say Yes.  The way Wrestlemania X went was like so: Luger and Bret both had ongoing feuds leading up to WMX, so they flipped a coin.  The winner of the flip got the first crack at Yokozuna, and the loser would have to face their rival.  Luger won the flip, so he wound up facing Yokozuna first, and Bret opened up Wrestlemania with his brother Owen.  (Which is good, because the alternative was Luger Vs Crush.)  Whoever walked out as champion would face Bret in the second match.  Funny thing is, Owen beat Bret in the opener, which set up their feud nicely all the way through Summerslam in August.  Bret beat a VERY exhausted Yokozuna (who's bright idea was it to make a 600lb man wrestle twice?) and the rest is history.


 

1995



Winner: Shawn Michaels
(Entry: 1st | Lasted: 38:41 | Eliminations: 8)



Bridesmaid: "The British Bulldog" Davey Boy Smith
(Entry: 2nd | Lasted: 38:41 | Eliminations: 4)



Iron Man: Shawn Michaels (38:41)




Eliminator: Shawn Michaels (8)



First To Fall: "Gigolo" Jimmy Del Ray
(Entry: 5th | Lasted: 1:25)



Loser: TIED
Mo (from Men On a Mission)
(Entry: 16th | Lasted: 0:03 | Dumped: 13th)

Owen Hart
(Entry 11th | Lasted: 0:03 | Dumped: 2nd)

NOTES:

Total Match Time: 38:41
Billed Interval between Entries: 60 seconds

  • This is the shortest 30-man Rumble.  1988 was only 33 minutes and change, but it had 10 less competitors.
  • Shawn Michaels is the first man to win the Rumble from the #1 position.  
  • This was the first time (of two ever) that #1 and #2 were the last two men in the match.
  • Seven competitors did not last a full 30 seconds.  Nine did not last two minutes.  That's almost a third of the field that wouldn't have lasted the usual time it takes for the next guy to schlub it down to the ring.  (Though in this Rumble, which has one minute intervals, it's a different story.)  As is Royal Rumble tradition, this includes both Bushwhackers.
  • Shawn Michaels is the first to rack up Winner, Iron Man and Eliminator.  (Kind of.  Ric Flair did the same thing, but lost a tie-breaker to Sid.)  The fact he did all three in the same Rumble (so did Ric) is just frosting.

Who Walked Out Of The Event As Champion?

Diesel.  There was a World Title match against Bret Hart that had about half as much interference as the previous year's Casket Match debacle, but that's still twice what you need.

Did The Winner Go On To Win The Championship?

No.  Though Shawn VS Diesel was one of the few sparks in an otherwise dim Wrestlemania, Kevin Nash held onto the belt for a week shy of a full year, dropping it back to The Hitman at Survivor Series.


Tune in tomorrow for the next installment of It's Time To Rumble!

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