DATE: January 22, 1995
VENUE: USF Sun Dome (Tampa, FL)
COMMENTATORS: Vince McMahon & Jerry “The King” Lawler
The 1995 edition of the Royal Rumble features a much quicker namesake, as the Rumble match cuts the intervals between participants down to one minute. Was this done to be more exciting or was it done to get it over with as quickly as possible? We shall find out! Also on the show Diesel defends the WWF Championship against Bret Hart, Razor Ramon puts his Intercontinental Championship on the line against Jeff Jarrett, new Tag Team Champions are crowned, and the seeds are sewn for what is sure to be a massive hit main event at WrestleMania XI, no sir can’t foresee anyone thinking this is a bad idea.
- WWF CHAMPION: “Big Daddy Cool” Diesel
- WWF INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION: “The Bad Guy” Razor Ramon
- WWF WOMEN’S CHAMPION: Alundra Blayze
- WWF TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: Vacant
- Razor Ramon [c] vs. Jeff Jarrett for the WWF INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP (***)
- The Undertaker vs. Irwin R. Schyster (*1/4)
- Diesel [c] vs. Bret Hart for the WWF CHAMPIONSHIP (**3/4)
- The 1-2-3 Kid & Bob Holly vs. Bam Bam Bigelow & Tatanka for the vacant WWF TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP (***1/2)
- The 1995 Royal Rumble (***)
–Pamela Anderson arrives backstage via limo and is greeted by all manner of sketchy WWF Superstars. She shuns them all and goes right to her dressing room, as she should.
-McMahon and Lawler run down tonight’s card.
“The Bad Guy” Razor Ramon [c] vs. “Double J” Jeff Jarrett [w/ The Roadie] for the WWF INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Ramon throws a toothpick at the Roadie, Jarrett tries to attack from behind but is met with right hands. Jarrett floats over in the corner and tries a crossbody, Ramon catches and counters with a fallaway slam. Ramon follows up with a chokeslam, forcing Jarrett to bail from the ring to catch his bearings. Jarrett with an armdrag and strut, then outwrestles the Bad Guy a bit for ANOTHER strut which Roadie mimics on the floor. A young Damien Sandow has taken note. Ramon controls Jarrett with a hammerlock, standing witch by Jarrett into a drop toehold and some slaps to the back of the head. JARRETT STOLE HIS TAUNT, WCW/NWO REVENGE-STYLE. Ramon counters a side headlock with a right hand and follows up by clotheslining his challenger back to the floor. Jarrett asks for a test of strength, Ramon locks knuckles and works the left arm over. Jarrett ducks a clothesline and connects with a trio of dropkicks followed by a seated splash against the ropes and a clothesline for a two-count. Solid string of offense. Jarrett with corner Irish whips, Ramon catches a kick and ducks the enzuigiri but misses an elbowdrop and Jarrett covers for another two-count. Ramon escapes a reverse chinlock and rolls Jarrett up with a backslide for the 1…2…Jarrett kicks out and connects with a clothesline for the 1…2…Ramon kicks out. Ramon reverses an Irish whip and counters a sunset flip with a right, sitting down for the 1…2…Jarrett rolls Ramon up for the 1…2…Ramon kicks out and Jarrett connects with another dropkick for the 1…2…not yet. Ramon escapes a backpack sleeper, Jarrett counters a backdrop with a swinging neckbreaker and tries to repeatedly win with his feet on his ropes until the ref finally catches him.
Ramon sends Jarrett into the corner, then grabs the legs and sends him jewels-first into the post. Ramon follows up with a reverse bulldog for the 1…2…Jarrett gets the shoulder up. Jarrett sidesteps Ramon and sends him crashing to the floor, Ramon tweaking his left knee. IF ONLY JARRETT HAD A FINISHER THAT FOCUSES ON THE LEGS. Roadie makes it worse by clipping said knee, then does his roadie duties by giving Jarrett some water. The bell rings and Jarrett is announced as the victor by count-out, but Jarrett protests because it doesn’t give him the Intercontinental Title. Jarrett calls Ramon a coward for taking the “easy” way out. Jarrett starts a “CHICKEN” chant, and Ramon goes full Marty McFly about it, so the match is BACK ON.
Ramon sends Jarrett into the buckles and rolls him up for the 1…2…Jarrett kicks out and immediately targets the injured knee. Ramon counters a slam with an inside cradle for the 1…2…Jarrett kicks out and damages the knee some more. Ramon kicks Jarrett out to the floor, Jarrett rebounds and rams the knee across the apron (the hardest part of the ring). Jarrett locks in the Figure Four in the center of the ring. Ramon repeatedly tries to reverse the hold, but Jarrett holds on and Ramon passes out for the 1…2…Ramon gets his shoulders off the mat. Ramon breaks the hold with repeated slaps and mounts a comeback. Ramon crotches Jarrett on the top turnbuckle. He goes for the avalanche belly-to-back but Jarrett lands on top for the 1…Ramon reverses for the 1…2…Jarrett kicks out! Ramon goes for the Razor’s Edge but Ramon’s knee buckles and Jarrett rolls him up with an inside cradle for the 1…2…3!
Jeff Jarrett defeated Razor Ramon [c] via pinfall to win the WWF INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP (18:09)
- A good match that went just a hair too long for my attention span. The amount of nearfalls kept the drama up and would not be out of place in current-era pro wrestling. Ramon injuring his knee and letting his pride get the best of him gives him somewhat of an out for losing the title while also making Jarrett look like a brilliant tactician for baiting the injured champ into losing the belt. (***)
–Stephanie Wiand is standing by waiting for post-match comments from Jarrett. She takes it over to Todd Pettengill who is with Pamela Anderson in her dressing room. Various wrestlers have given her gifts, including sardines from The Bushwhackers which is obviously the best gift of all. Pettengill tries to offer her a piece of candy but she doesn’t trust it. Of course she doesn’t. Back to Wiand, who’s now with Jarrett and The Roadie. Jarrett says he doesn’t have time for interviews, he needs to celebrate.
The Undertaker [w/ Paul Bearer] vs. Irwin R. Schyster [w/ “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase]
IRS does not have his tax druids with him during his entrance, McMahon and Lawler saying President Jack Tunney has banned them from ringside. Right on. I thought the whole feud was druid-based from the clips I saw from Monday Night Raw but whatever. Maybe they’ll show up later.
Bearer tries to start an “IRWIN” chant, but it doesn’t really take. Taker turns and IRS makes first contact 90 seconds in with a dropkick that has no effect, so he bails to the floor. IRS dodges Taker to cement his speed advantage, bails to the floor AGAIN for heat/to bore me to death. IRS stalks Bearer, Taker follows from behind and IRS slides back into the ring. IRS stomps Taker when he re-enters. Taker counters an Irish whip, drops IRS with a big boot, then throws him into opposite ends of the corner. Taker grabs the tie and flings IRS across the ring, following up with the rope walk forearm (ain’t “Old School” yet). DiBiase climbs the apron, IRS almost nails him accidentally and gets clotheslined from behind out to the floor. IRS gets heated at his former tag team partner turned manager, DiBiase calls out a pair of CORPORATE DRUIDS. Finally! One druid climbs the apron but IRS’ attempt at a cheap shot is countered with a back elbow. Taker goes for another rope walk but a druid shakes the ropes and IRS flings him to the canvas.
Taker sits right back up, IRS counters a backdrop with a kick and clotheslines him to the floor. Taker lands on his feet and goozles both druids, but gets dropped from behind with a double axhandle and sent into the steps. Druids pummel Taker while IRS distracts the ref and throw him back into the ring. IRS with an abdominal stretch, using the ropes for leverage, Taker escapes with a slam but misses an elbowdrop. Taker sits up and gets dropped with a running clothesline, following up with elbowdrops and legdrops but misses a splash. Taker back to his feet, they crack heads and go back down. DiBiase distracts the ref, a druid puts IRS’ arm across Taker for the 1…2…Taker sits right up and goozles said Druid. IRS tries to charge but hits Druid instead and Taker picks IRS up for the Tombstone. He gets too distracted with the Druids though and drops him, allowing IRS to hit another leaping clothesline. Taker ducks a clothesline and drills IRS with a chokeslam for the 1…2…3.
The Undertaker defeated Irwin R. Schyster via pinfall (12:22)
- Undertaker’s match quality varied until he got to be less dead, and this was on the lower end of the spectrum but I can’t really blame him for all of it; some of that fault goes to IRS who was just SO DAMN BORING in the ring. His use of stalling did a good job riling up fans but watching it nowadays is like paint drying. Undertaker winning via chokeslam instead of the Tombstone was also strange too, did IRS not want to take the move or something? Either way a dull match that felt way too long, and the Druids didn’t do sh*t. (*1/4)
The Druids attack Undertaker after the match, one of whom appears to be a Heavenly Body judging by the tights. Undertaker fights them off and in comes King Kong Bundy. They go eye to eye, IRS attacks Bearer from behind and steals the urn. Bundy attacks Taker, squashing him with the Avalanche. The urn has been repossessed! Oh man how great would have been an Undertaker/Repo Man feud been? The answer is not that great but I would have enjoyed watching it decades later. Undertaker stumbles to the back, led by Bearer.
-EARLIER TODAY: Todd Pettengill is with “Big Daddy Cool” Diesel. Diesel says it’s a very important match, and now’s not the time for words.
-EARLIER TODAY: Pettengill is now with Bret “The Hitman” Hart. Hart has been non-stop thinking about winning back the WWF Championship and while he likes Diesel, this is business. Hart shoos Pettengill so he can think.
“Big Daddy Cool” Diesel vs. Bret “The Hitman” Hart for the WWF CHAMPIONSHIP
Diesel stops by to hug Lawrence Taylor at ringside, as he’s his personal guest to the PPV. That’s probably the last time we’ll ever see LT on WWF TV though. Battle between two Grand Slam champs here, and a rematch from their King of the Ring ’94 matchup.
Diesel with a slam, Hart dodges the follow-up elbowdrop and connects with a clothesline. He runs into a back elbow and Diesel sends him to the floor with a clothesline. Hart back to the apron but loses the slugfest and crashes back to the protective mats. Hart trips Diesel up and repeatedly rams his knee into the steel post, showing his “more aggressive” persona. Hart continues on the left leg, softening it up and trying to take the big man down to size. Figure Four time, Diesel almost passes out from the pain but grabs the bottom rope; Hart takes his time letting go, subtly playing the heel in this one despite both being good guys. Hart drags Diesel back to the middle of the ring and reapplies the Figure Four. Diesel gets back to the rope, Hart once again keeps it applied until forced to release or risk DQ. Diesel slides to the floor, Hart belts him with a crossbody through the ropes, Diesel reverses an Irish whip and sends Hart into the steps. Diesel works Hart over in the corner with a series of elbows and a sidewalk slam for the 1…2…Hart kicks out. Diesel chokes Hart against the middle ropes and connects with a seated splash, his knee apparently fine now (“adrenaline and whatnot). Diesel connects with a backbreaker and bends Hart across his knee. Hart fires rights, Diesel rakes the eyes and pummels him with right hooks of his own and sends him crashing into the corner, shifting the ring.
Diesel looks like he’s going to hit a Jackknife but instead applies an over the shoulder backbreaker Sammartino-style. Hart escapes and counters into a sleeperhold, Diesel easily tosses him off. Hart ducks a clothesline but does not duck the big boot, Diesel following up with elbowdrop for the 1…2…Hart kicks out. Hart catches a charging Diesel with a boot and follows up with a flying clothesline from the middle buckle. Hart heads to the top, Diesel pulls him off but Hart lands on top of him for the 1…2…Diesel kicks out so emphatically he sends his challenger rolling to the floor. Hart trips up Diesel again and uses his wrist tape to tie his legs together! YESSSSS. Hart doesn’t get to enjoy the advantage long but gets his licks in before the ref frees the champ. Hart shows off some strength connecting with a backbreaker, following up with the middle buckle forearm smash for the 1…2…Diesel kicks out. Hart clotheslines Diesel to the floor who lands on his feet, Hart tries a slingshot splash but Diesel CATCHES HIM and rams him into the steel post. Diesel rolls Hart in and connects with the Jackknife Powerbomb for the 1…2…Shawn Michaels shows up and beats the hell out of Diesel, stomping the previously injured left knee. Ref yells at Michaels to get out but the ref doesn’t call for the bell? What the heck? Ref tells Howard Finkel that the match will CONTINUE.
Hart goes to work on the left knee once more, Lawler thinking there might be a conspiracy between the Hitman and the Heartbreak Kid. Yeah they’re super best friends, history shows that. We’ve now got a THIRD Figure Four as this match is determined to go on longer than it needs to. Hart wraps the leg around the middle rope and wrenches it, forced off by the ref. Diesel fights back, focusing on the ribs of the Hitman with a series of knees and a gutwrench suplex for the 1…2…Hart kicks out once more. Diesel charges with a big boot, Hart dodges so he ends up crotching himself. Hart uses the ring post once more to hurt the knee, then GRABS A DAMN STEEL CHAIR to do the same. Ref STILL doesn’t call for the bell, McMahon covers by saying that he missed (maybe he did miss, I don’t know). Hart locks in the Sharpshooter but out comes Owen Hart to attack his big brother. Owen removes the top turnbuckle and sends Bret chest-first into the steel. Ref tells Owen to shoo, but THE MATCH WILL CONTINUE.
Diesel inches over to Hart and drapes an arm over for the 1…2…Hart gets his shoulder up. Hart kicks at the knee and sends Diesel into the unprotected steel in theory (he missed). Hart connects with a whole lot of right until Diesel finally falls to the mat. Diesel gets right back up and buries a series of forearms to the jaw, Hart falls out of the ring and hangs upside down as his leg is caught in the middle and bottom rope. Diesel grabs a steel chair of his own but Hart frees himself and escapes to prevent it. Hart plays possum and rolls Diesel up with a small package for the 1…2…Diesel kicks out. Hart tries for an O’Connor Roll but runs Diesel right into the ref. Out comes Shawn Michaels, Owen Hart, Bob Backlund, Jeff Jarrett, and The Roadie who attack both men. Bell finally rings.
Diesel [c] and Bret Hart fought to a no-contest; Diesel retains the WWF CHAMPIONSHIP (27:22)
- WWF really backed themselves into the corner with this one and decided to end this one in a non-finish as opposed to either ending Diesel’s title reign or letting Hart take another big loss. I didn’t like it initially but I still don’t, but I appreciate the WWF at least building to it throughout the contest instead of having just one bout of interference ruin the whole thing. The ref tried to let them do their thing but it just became too much. The match itself was good, both men straddling that face/heel line in a good way, but it was just SO DAMN LONG. This had like 20 minutes of meat, tops, and way too many repeated spots. (**3/4)
A whole lot of officials come out to separate the heels from attacking Hart and Diesel. Fink announces the match as a draw, which the Florida fans DO NOT LIKE. Backlund re-enters the ring and locks in the Cross Face Chicken Wing while the others attack Diesel. Diesel fights them off and saves Hart by stomping Backlund’s face. Diesel and Hart hug, the former raising the latter’s hand in victory. Cuuuute.
-Todd Pettengill is still in Pam Anderson’s dressing room. Pam is getting dressed behind a screen, and asks for her fuzzy purse. Pettengill is a total geek and trips over himself to bring it to her.
-Stephanie Wiand is with The 1-2-3 Kid and Bob Holly. Kid says they’re excited and nervous, Holly compares themselves to the San Diego Chargers who are in the Super Bowl. SPORTS.
-Lawler draws a picture of himself kissing Pam Anderson. Did no one tell him she’s over 18?
The 1-2-3 Kid & Bob “Spark Plugg” Holly vs. Bam Bam Bigelow & Tatanka [w/ “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase] for the vacant WWF TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
Kid and Holly replaced the then-injured Smokin’ Gunns in the title tournament and have had a Cinderella run to the finals. Cool to see Bob Holly get that boost; he and Kid were two of my favorites as a kid and I was ALL ABOUT THIS TEAM. They even come out to Holly’s theme! Bigelow and Tatanka hold singles wins over their opponents, to the surprise of absolutely no one reading this, so they’ve got the edge going into this one. Well that and they’re HUGE in comparison.
Holly with a side headlock, Tatanka easily throws him off. Tatanka goes aggro on Holly, Holly ducks a back elbow but gets dropped with a sidewalk slam. Holly catches Tatanka with a headscissors out of nowhere, following up with a pair of excellent dropkicks. Bigelow tags in, Holly takes him down with a drop toehold; Kid tags in and Bigelow drops them both with a double clothesline. BEAST EM, BAM BAM. Bigelow hurls Kid across the ring, King counters a pop-up power bomb with a hurricanrana but Bigelow quickly bounces back and the Million Dollar Corporation are in control. Kid with a flurry of offense, Bigelow sends him crashing to the mat followed by a vertical suplex. Bigelow charges, Kid backdrops him to the floor but Tatanka attacks him before he can do anything. Kid dropkicks Tatanka into Bigelow, Holly tags in and they try crossbodies, but Bigelow and Tatanka catch them both. Kid and Holly send the Corporation into one another and Holly rolls Tatanka up for the 1…2…Tatanka barely kicks out. Holly with a dropkick and another two-count. Holly misses a clothesline, Bigelow pulls the top rope down and Holly spills to the floor.
Bigelow works Holly over behind the ref’s back, and Tatanka continues the offense inside the ring. Tatanka connects with a powerslam, Kid tries to break it up but splashes Holly instead. WHOOPSIE. Bigelow holds Holly but Holly slips out and Tatanka accidentally lays him out with a flying Tomahawk chop. Tatanka looks at DiBiase in disgust, apparently blaming Bigelow for this. Kid is too busy yelling at Tatanka, Holly lunges into the corner trying to make a tag and Bigelow splashes him from behind. Bigelow tosses Holly and HE’S BEEN ELIMINATED FROM THE ROYAL RU-wait, getting ahead of myself. Holly attempts a sunset flip, Bigelow hangs onto the ropes and sits down to counter. Holly tries to make a tag but tags a bemused Tatanka instead, Spark Plugg too out of it to understand what’s happening. Kid runs in and accidentally distracts the ref so the Million Dollar Corporation can double team. Bigelow offers his head and Tatanka rams Holly into it. TREMENDOUS. Holly connects with a series of kicks and right hands, Tatanka rakes the eyes to stop the momentum. Both men try a crossbody and knock one another down. Kid gets the hot tag and immediately drops the now-legal Bigelow with a spinning heel kick followed by a missile dropkick. He dropkicks Tatanka off the apron and follows up with a moonsault, then hits a flying crossbody on Bigelow for the 1…2…Tatanka breaks it up. Holly clears Tatanka with a dropkick, DiBiase distracts the ref for some reason and Bigelow throws Kid to the floor with a military press. DAYUM. Bigelow heads to the top, Tatanka is an idiot and tries to run the ropes, knocking Bigelow off the ropes and to the canvas. Tatanka is cleared from the ring, Kid slowly moves over and drapes an arm over for the 1…2…3! YEEEEEEEEEAH!
The 1-2-3 Kid & Bob Holly defeated Bam Bam Bigelow & Tatanka via pinfall to win the WWF TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP (15:46)
- Maybe I’m crazy but I loved this match. Kid and Holly were great underdogs and both dished out some good punishment and took a great beating. I enjoyed Bigelow and Tatanka’s hubris towards the end there, toying with their opponents instead of going for the win and it ending up costing them in the hand. Tatanka knocking Bigelow off the ropes was a bit goofy though, as he had FULL VIEW of what Bigelow was doing and yet did it anyway. Felt way too telegraphed. Still, you gotta love an underdog team. It’s my Kryptonite, plus SPARKY PLUGG IS A CHAMPION! (***1/2)
Bigelow regains consciousness, but Tatanka and DiBiase have left him alone in disgust. His mouth is busted open, gross. Bigelow trash talks the ringside fans laughing at him, landing on Lawrence Taylor. A smiling Taylor offers a handshake, Bigelow shoves him down and walks off. Taylor is held back by his dork friends, one of them saying “HE’S CRAZY, THAT GUY!”. Loud “LT” chant from the Florida crowd. Was he really that big of a celebrity? I really only know him from his wrestling appearances.
-VIDEO: Diesel beats the record of eliminations at the 1994 Royal Rumble, then gets eliminated thanks to his best friend at the time Shawn Michaels. Cut to Michaels who says tonight will be easy as it’s his year.
-VIDEO: Bret Hart and Lex Luger eliminate each other, and become co-winners of the 1994 Royal Rumble. Cut to Lex Luger, who says he’s sick and tired of being a contender and it’s time for him to become a champion. He will not be denied.
-McMahon apologies for Bigelow’s actions, then Fink introduces Pamela Anderson to the ring. Surrounded by security guards of course so no one gets a handful of tiddy.
THE 1995 ROYAL RUMBLE
#1 is “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels and #2 is “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith, the only two who actually have a chance at winning this thing. Sixty-second intervals for this one as opposed to the usual two-minutes, so this is going to FLY. Michaels attacks Smith during his entrance, Smith counters an Irish whip and sends him to the mat with a backdrop. Smith with a military press, but he slams him on the mat instead of throwing him out to the floor. He has already failed. Michaels gets tied up in the ropes, but gets a boot up when Smith charges.
#3 is Eli Blu (or Jacob Blu)? One of the Blu Brothers. So weird to see a Harris Twin with SO MUCH HAIR. Blu goes right at Smith, but Michaels decides to attack him as well. Smith and Michaels attempt to eliminate Eli as the countdown starts.
#4 is Duke “The Dumpster” Droese, who runs right into a big boot from Eli Blu. Droese puts Michaels in a bearhug, Eli stomps on Smith then drops Michaels with a right hand.
#5 is Jimmy Del Ray of The Heavenly Bodies. Del Ray goes right at Droese, Eli belts him with a right but he no sells it. He does sell the double ax to the back. Michaels holds Droese so Del Ray can belt him with rights, then he and Del Ray go at it as well. Michaels ends up on the buckles, Del Ray tries to eliminate him to no avail.
#6 is Sionne of The Headshrinkers, aka The Barbarian, joined by Afa and Captain Lou Albano. JIMMY DEL RAY HAS BEEN ELIMINATED (by Davey Boy Smith). Sionne tries to eliminate Michaels but can’t do it. Buckle shots don’t work because Sionne’s head is thick.
#7 is Dr. Tom Prichard of The Heavenly Bodies, just missing his partner. Eli beats on him, Michaels manages to escape elimination from Sionne. Droese and Sionne try to eliminate Smith in the corner. Michaels takes a breather.
#8 is Doink The Clown [w/ Dink]. Only Doink is in the match though, unfortunately. Doink goes after Sionne, Michaels belts Droese with a right hand, Prichard tries to eliminate Smith to no avail. Sionne and Eli Blu team up to beat Doink.
#9 is Kwang, making his one and only PPV appearance. He gets a much better and more appropriate gimmick in a few months. Droese and Kwang battle, Doink peels Michaels off Smith to prevent his elimination. DUMB.
#10 is Rick “The Model” Martel, making his 7th (and final) Rumble appearance. Martel used to hold the record till Bob Backlund beat it in 1993. There’s a lot going on here. Security messes with two guys on the camera side and they seem PISSED.
#11 is Owen Hart…who is attacked from behind by Bret Hart! Hart pummels him until officials force him to the back. He doesn’t get in the ring until the next entrant is being counted down.
#12 is Timothy Well of Well Dunn. OWEN HART HAS BEEN ELIMINATED. DUKE DROESE HAS BEEN ELIMINATED (and landed right on an official). RICK MARTEL HAS BEEN ELIMINATED, TIMOTHY WELL HAS BEEN ELIMINATED, DR. TOM PRICHARD HAS BEEN ELIMINATED. Doink charges at Sionne and ends up on the apron, Kwang superkicks him off. DOINK THE CLOWN HAS BEEN ELIMINATED.
#13 is Bushwhacker Luke of The Bushwhackers. SIONNE, KWANG, AND ELI BLUE HAVE BEEN ELIMINATED. Down to Michaels, Smith, and Luke…until Michaels tosses Luke out. BUSHWHACKER LUKE HAS BEEN ELIMINATED. Smith with a delayed vertical suplex on Michaels.
#14 is Jacob Blu, who immediately belts Michaels with a clothesline. Jacob charges, Michaels backdrops him. JACOB BLU HAS BEEN ELIMINATED. Smith picks Michaels up and tries to eliminate him, but Michaels wraps himself around the turnbuckle struts.
#15 is King Kong Bundy. Y’ALL DEAD NOW. We get a replay of Owen Hart’s elimination: he ran in and was backdropped out super quick by the Bulldog. Bundy tries to eliminate Smith but Michaels attacks him from behind. WHY? Bundy drops him with one hit.
#16 is Mo of Men on a Mission. He charges at Bundy who tosses him out. MO HAS BEEN ELIMINATED. Hahahaha. He apparently has broken Luke’s record from 1991. Tremendous. Michaels takes a breather and lets Bundy/Smith do their thing.
#17 is Mabel of Men on a Mission. He a much bigger boy than his tag team partner. Mabel and Bundy immediately go after each other, the bad blood starting last Monday on Raw. Mabel tries to eliminate Bundy, getting him out to the apron.
#18 is Bushwhacker Butch. Mabel finally gets Bundy out, so KING KONG BUNDY IS ELIMINATED. Michaels tosses Butch out, so BUSHWHACKER BUTCH HAS BEEN ELIMINATED. Mabel and Smith team up to eliminate Michaels, but he continues to hang on.
#19 is Lex Luger, the co-winner of last year’s event. Luger goes after everybody, and sends Mabel out with absolutely no effort. MABEL HAS BEEN ELIMINATED. Luger and Smith, tag team partners, work on getting Michaels out but he refuses.
#20 is Mantaur and he gets absolutely NO reaction from the FL crowd. Hilarious. Also depressing. Mantaur works Smith over in the corner, while Michaels works Luger over in the opposite corner. Mantaur drops an elbow and tries to eliminate Smith, Luger breaks it up.
#21 is “The Portuguese Man-o-War” Aldo Montoya. YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS. Big Aldo mark as a kid, jockstrap mask and all. I think it was mostly the bright colors and the theme song.
#22 is Henry Godwinn and he pummels the sh*t out of Smith. Luger attacks Godwinn, Michaels belts Godwinn, Pamela Anderson looks BORED AS F*CK AND IT’S AMAZING.
#23 is Billy Gunn of the Smokin’ Gunns! Not quite Bad Ass, but does have a cool mullet and mustache. Montoya gets a near-elimination on Michaels for Kliq reasons. Montoya holds Godwinn so Luger can get some kicks in.
#24 is Bart Gunn of The Smokin’ Gunns. He immediately tries to eliminate Mantaur, but he BIGH so Montoya joins him.
#25 is Bob Backlund…who is also beaten up by Bret Hart during his entrance. Hell yeah. REVAAAAAAANGE.
#26 is Steven Dunn of Well Dunn to the silence of the crowd. Officials break things up, Backlund enters the ring and gets clotheslined out. BOB BACKLUND HAS BEEN ELIMINATED…AND IS GETTING BEATEN UP BY BRET HART AGAIN.
#27 is “Dirty” Dick Murdoch, former WWF Tag Team Champion. F*ck yeah. Dick Murdoch should have won this.
#28 is Adam Bomb, who’s a babyface at this point. I have one of those weird footballs he used to throw into the crowd. I didn’t catch it, my Dad bought it. I’m not that cool. Godwinn almost gets Michaels out but nah.
#29 is Fatu of The Headshrinkers. He and Billy Gunn pummel one another, Fatu sends him to the apron but he rolls back in. Mantaur, however, is gone. MANTAUR HAS BEEN ELIMINATED. Pretty good showing for a goofy gimmick if I say so.
#30 is Crush, the final entrant. Heel Crush 94-95 is my favorite variant. THE SMOKIN’ GUNNS HAVE BOTH BEEN ELIMINATED. Montoya with a backdrop and STEVEN DUNN HAS BEEN ELIMINATED. Camera focuses on Pamela Anderson, she tells them to pay attention to the match. Pam Anderson understands wrestling fans better than the WWF does. Montoya stomps Luger down in the corner, Godwinn works over Bomb then focuses on Fatu. Murdoch almost eliminates Michaels but Luger stops him (WHYYYYYY). Murdoch sends Fatu to the apron and tries some headbutts, but Fatu feels NOTHIN’. Thick Samoan skulls and sh*t. Bomb charges, Crush backdrops and ADAM BOMB HAS BEEN ELIMINATED. Crush thinks he’s eliminated Fatu, but Fatu sneaks back in and drops him with a superkick. ALDO MONTOYA HAS BEEN ELIMINATED, Luger saves Michaels from elimination again for some reason. Crush turns Fatu inside out with a clothesline and tosses him out. FATU HAS BEEN ELIMINATED. Murdoch with an airplane spin on Godwinn, tries to toss him but Godwinn pulls him out instead. DICK MURDOCH HAS BEEN ELIMINATED.
Final five are Luger, Smith, Michaels, Crush, and Godwinn. Godwinn and Michaels work Luger over, Smith tries to send Crush out. Luger with a big boot and lariat on Godwinn, and a final backdrop. HENRY GODWINN HAS BEEN ELIMINATED. Luger works over both Crush and Michaels but THE DAMNED NUMBERS GAME and whatnot. Smith wants to help but gets belted with a forearm. Luger with count-a-long rights on Crush…till Michaels shoves him out! LEX LUGER HAS BEEN ELIMINATED. Michaels negotiates a truce with Crush to get Smith out. Crush and Michaels beat on Smith, and high five each other…until Crush kicks him. Crush with a military press, Michaels rakes the eyes and ducks Smith who sends Crush out. CRUSH HAS BEEN ELIMINATED.
Michaels and Smith, the two that started, are the two that will finish it. Crowd is HOT for it. Michaels rakes the eyes, Smith counters a backdrop with a friggin’ penalty kick. Smith with a gorilla press, dropping Michaels on the top rope, Smith with a clothesline and Michaels goes out…but keeps dangling. Smith’s music hits and he starts celebrating, climbing the buckles, but in comes Michaels who knocks him out. DAVEY BOY SMITH HAS BEEN ELIMINATED!
Shawn Michaels wins the 1995 Royal Rumble, last eliminating Davey Boy Smith (38:45)
- One of the weakest Rumbles in history when it comes to star power; anyone who didn’t expect Michaels to win was a FOOL. That aside I enjoyed this one more than I expected; the quicker pace was hard to get used to but I appreciated the crash TV style of it, and the arching story of Michaels and Smith surviving till the end was cool. I also liked Bret Hart getting revenge on the folks who attacked him by causing them to lose the Rumble. Michaels gets his first Rumble win and his first WWF Championship shot at a WrestleMania. (***)
Michaels celebrates with an amused Pamela Anderson, who has to be wishing the show would just end already. Which it does.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The 1995 Royal Rumble is nowhere near the best Rumble PPV of all-time, but it was still an enjoyable show with a decent undercard and a breakneck Rumble match that didn’t give you time to realize how shallow the roster was at the time. I might have enjoyed it more now than I did back then, to be honest. Nostalgia is a helluva thing. And props to the WWF for building like four WrestleMania matches on the show (Diesel/HBK, Bret/Backlund, Taker/King Kong, LT/Bigelow), that’s some solid forward thinking we barely get any of nowadays.