The Spotlight on The History of The Royal Rumble 1992-1995

I’ll tell you Royal Rumble Season is the one time when everyone who I know who used to follow wrestling gets in touch with me to see what I’m doing for the show.  It’s just a fun show as it’s unpredictable and a great time to start watching if you haven’t in a long while.  Let’s continue with our look back at Royal Rumbles Past

1992- This was the first event I remember actually writing down all of my favorites to win it.  Looking back, this was probably the best Royal Rumble and as a fan today I can really appreciate it.  The amount of talent involved in the match from Undertaker to Ric Flair to Hulk Hogan to Roddy Piper, this rumble match is beyond stacked and it makes sense as this was the only rumble (until this year) that was for the WWE title.  I was actually really shocked when Flair won the title as back in the day heels rarely won to finish a WWF pay per view.  When Flair came out, we were so sure he’d be quickly tossed as he was the third entrant and back then Rumble marathon performances wouldn’t go all the way.  Being a straight up WWF fan (I was raised on WWF, we ordered one WCW show in 1991 and my family hated it), we all hated Flair and so him winning was just so out of left field as we didn’t take him seriously as a main eventer.  As a final aside, To this day, Bobby Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon’s commentary in this match is the best I’ve heard. 

1993- Royal Rumble 1993 was the first time that the classic Wrestlemania stipulation was added on for the Rumble winner.  Rumble 93 featured my favorite, non Rumble, Royal Rumble pay per view match as Shawn Michaels took on Marty Jannetty.  I was always a huge Jannetty fan and thought those two had great in ring chemistry.  In a case of when hokey 90’s stuff works for nostalgia purposes, I actually thought Caeser and Cleopatra arriving to read the scroll was great.  That was very “theme” Wrestlemania with all of the togas and it was WWF’s unofficial kickoff of WrestleMania.
Funny personal story here, I remember as a six year old being absolutely petrified when the Giant Gonzalez debuted in this match to attack the Undertaker.  I thought Taker was the guy in this match and would have won so it was shocking to me that he was beat down by the legitimate Giant.  My fear ran so far, mind you, that I actually ran upstairs and had my parents call me down when Gonzalez was gone.  On the tape, my dad even wrote “Royal Rumble 1993- Yoko Wins, Big Scary Guy, DO NOT WATCH” due to how afraid of Giant Gonzalez I was.  Looking back he looked a lot more silly then scary.

1994- This was the year in which both Lex and Bret won the match and I remember as a kid being so happy because they were my two favorite wrestlers.  I also remember my father being pretty upset that they didn’t restart the match as he paid for a pay per view to see one winner.  Looking back though, the two winners really set wrestlemania 10 up nicely.  This was also the Rumble that you could call a 900 hotline and find out who was going to be next.  I remember we called and it was Diesel saying he was ready to make his mark.  That cost us $1.49 and was the last call we made.

This was also the second straight Rumble in which I have a personal “scaredy cat” story and it occurred right before the Royal Rumble match itself, during the Casket match between the Undertaker and Yokozuna for the World title.  The idea of a casket match always made me a little uncomfortable as a kid but I was now seven and feeling a little better.  I was finally understanding that the person put in the casket would be back just a few weeks later.  but then Rumble 1994 and I was scarred for months!  See in this match undertaker was put in the casket and then suddenly a casket cam lit up and display live footage of the undertaker in the casket, looking eerily similar to any person you’ve seen at any wake.  I mean jeez look at him in that picture above and tell me you’re not a little spooked even today, 22 years later! But it got worse, Undertaker then turned completely holographic on the titan tron and began to raise to the heavens and literally fly around the arena.  That’s it I was done!  At seven years old, it was the scariest thing I had ever seen!  As an interesting footnote, it wasn’t actually the Undertaker flying around, but one Marty Jannetty!

1995-  This was the first show in which someone came over to watch other than my immediate family as my Uncle joined us. My Uncle wasn’t a fan at all but he was into it and got a kick out of the Rumble concept. I remember being really annoyed at the time between entrants in the rumble being cut down to one minute as it made the match fly by.  As an 8 year old, I also remember Pamela Anderson being my first crush and I thought for years that she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen.  This was also the match that made me a huge Shawn Michaels fan as he put on quite a show nearly being eliminated throughout the match but finding a way to get back in the ring.  The finish here is still one of my favorites with only one of Shawn’s feet touching the floor and him getting the win, such an iconic image in Royal Rumble history!

 Alright another side story and I have to come clean about something.  I’m petrified of mice.  I know this is quite the segue way but I hate everything about mice, they are the worse and I believe the reason for that was because of a scarring experience following the Royal Rumble 1995.  I went to bed that night and suddenly I nice a mouse come scampering across my bedroom floor and run under my bed.  I screamed as loud as my 8 year old self would allow me.  What was that?  How could it get in here?  My parents came running in to see what was wrong and my father convinced me that it was likely a dream.  We looked under my bed and saw nothing.  Still my mom agreed to run and buy mouse traps.  We set one under my bed and I went to sleep on the couch to get the heck out of my room. Well the next morning my dad call me up to my room and there it was fighting for its life stuck to the mouse trap!  Awful stuff!
Well that’s going to do it for now but I’ll be back later tonight as we finish off the 1990’s. We’ll look at the rise of Stone cold Steve Austin and the WWF in general!

The Spotlight On Wrestling Podcasts- WooNation with Bret Hart 

  

Last month the world of wrestling podcasts continued to grow with the birth of the latest wrestling podcast on the play.it network. Joining the ranks of wrestler turned podcast host along with Stone Cold Steve Austin, Chris Jericho & Colt Cabana is the Nature Boy himself, the 16 time world heavyweight champion, Ric Flair! Five episodes into Flair’s offering, WooNation, and I’ve found the podcasts an enjoyable addition to my weekly podcast listening. I’m actually going to be taking a look at two different Ric Flair podcasts in the upcoming weeks but I’m going to start with an episode of WooNation from two weeks ago when Flair had 5 Time WWE World Champion Bret Hart on the show.  Let’s get into some of the highlights from the show.

Highlights 

 History Between The Two–  Something really cool about the show is that the producer of the show, Conrad, is there to basically make sure that nothing goes uncovered.  Since Ric seems to really respect Conrad he never objects or gets upset over anything that Conrad suggests talking about. Ric reveals first how much respect he had for Bret after Summerslam 1992 when he had his classic match with the British Bulldog.  He goes on to say that he and Randy Savage watched the match in their hotel room the next day on closed circuit and went to Bret’s hotel to thank him for putting on such a great match.  From here, I found that the discussion about the match between Flair and Hart from Sasquactchawan where Hart won his first title to be very interesting.  Flair explains that he found out that he would be dropping the belt to Bret a few days beforehand.  He went on to say that prior to this happening, he wrestled to the Ultimate Warrior and Warrior dropped him on his head which caused Flair to be disoriented.  Due to this injury Flair felt that he could have done better in the match with Bret. Bret on the other hand recalls that when Vince McMahon told him that he was getting the title,  he barely responded because he felt that it probably wasn’t going to happen.  Towards the end of the show, Conrad asks Ric and Bret about the issues between the two stemming from comments Bret made about Flair basically saying that if you’ve seen one Ric Flair match, you’ve seen them all.  Bret didn’t really back off his comments saying that while he respected Flair, he did feel that wrestlers in Bret’s generation used much more creativity than wresters in Flair’s generation.  What was really interesting though was to hear Ric agree with Bret’s comments to a certain extent.  He explained that in his generation there were only so many Ricky Steamboats.  He continued that many of the wresters back then weren’t in the good shape that wrestlers in Bret’s were so they weren’t able to have different types of matches, it was easier for them to have basic matches.  Flair even went so far as to say as great as Harley Race was, he was never in the gym.
 Bret Really Hated WCW– One of the biggest things to come out of this interview was just how much Bret hated WCW, in particular Hulk Hogan.  Hart explains that Hogan was completely unprofessional with Bret during his time in WCW.  He continues that Hulk would cross Bret’s name off of any big spots or plans that WCW had planned for him.  He explains how Hogan really ran the show in WCW and Eric Bischoff, in his opinion, was more just a puppet being that he was so star struck by Hogan.  Hart also confirmed that any stories that Bischoff has been saying about Bret offering to come to WCW with the WWF world title was completely false.  

Bret on Owen’s New DVD– The third highlight for me was hearing Bret’s unwavering support for WWE’s plan to release an Owen Hart DVD set.  Bret explains that he understands why Martha (Owen’s widow) would be upset with WWE but feels that at this point she should understand that at the end of the day Owen was a great wrestler.  He strongl believes that Owen should be celebrated and that Owen’s fans shouldn’t remember him because of the horrible tragedy that ended his life but rather by the great body of work that he put out throughout this career.  I feel that Bret’s support of the Owen Hart DVD project should put to rest some of the controversy surrounding the project.  I agree with Bret that this project should have taken place years ago.

Closing Thoughts

 All in all I felt that this was an absolute must listen to podcast.  The hour plus long conversation flew by and it was really nice to hear how at peace Bret and Ric were with, not only each other, but also with life in general.  I also found their insight into the industry to be so in congruence such as both of their rather surprising criticism of Steve Austin, that at times he really had to slow down.  Other highlights of the show included a discussion of Stu Hart, a discussion about the time both Bret and Ric bled at Wrestlemania 8 after being told that bleeding wasn’t allowed and the response that followed, and a breakdown of Bret’s Wrestlemania 13 match with Steve Austin.  Thus, I strongly suggest you check this episode of WooNation out and if you do, I’d love to hear some of your feedback. Be sure to also check out some of my other spotlight on wrestling podcasts as they continue to get updated weekly.