DATE: January 19, 1991
VENUE: Miami Arena (Miami, FL)
COMMENTATORS: Gorilla Monsoon & “Rowdy” Roddy Piper
The 1991 Royal Rumble features a WWF Championship match for the first time on its card as The Ultimate Warrior defends against the traitorous Sgt. Slaughter. Also on the show The Big Boss Man slaps meat with The Barbarian, The Mountie makes his WWF PPV debut, and oh right there’s a Royal Rumble match too. How silly of me.
- WWF CHAMPION: The Ultimate Warrior
- WWF INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION: Mr. Perfect
- WWF TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: The Hart Foundation (Bret “Hitman” Hart & Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart)
- The Rockers vs. The Orient Express (****)
- Big Boss Man vs. The Barbarian (***1/2)
- Ultimate Warrior [c] vs. Sgt. Slaughter for the WWF CHAMPIONSHIP (*3/4)
- Koko B. Ware vs. The Mountie (*)
- Dusty & Dustin Rhodes vs. Ted DiBiase & Virgil (*1/2)
- THE 1991 ROYAL RUMBLE (***)
–Howard Finkel introduces the National Anthem, which is played over the PA instead of being sung live. FOR THE TROOPS.
–Vince McMahon narrates the opening video, listing participants for tonight’s Rumble and major undercard matches. It rules because Commentary Vince voice is the best.
-Monsoon and Piper welcome the home audience to continue the hype, Piper giving a special shout out to the troops watching overseas via the Armed Forces Network.
The Rockers (Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty) vs. The Orient Express (Kato & Tanaka) [w/ Mr. Fuji]
This is version 2 of The Orient Express, original member Sato having been replaced by the masked Kato. Kato is better known under the hood as Paul Diamond, who was Tanaka’s Bad Company partner in the AWA so it’s a low-key reunion for more eagle-eyed viewers. Rockers have my favorite of their confetti outfits. This is also a WrestleMania VI rematch of sorts (Sato was still there), which the Express won via countout.
Orient Express attack before the bell, sending Jannetty to the floor and putting Michaels in the lights with a double backdrop. Jannetty saves Michaels from a further double team, sending Kato to the floor with a superkick and a double slam on Tanaka. Tanaka pulls Kato out, hoping to save him, but instead it leaves them open to double crossbodies. Things settle into an actual match, Jannetty keeping a hold of a side headlock through Kato’s attempts to escape, first with a whip then with a slam. Jannetty blocks an O’Connor Roll, Kato connects with a hip toss, Jannetty quickly traps him in a headscissors. Kato flips over into a pin, Jannetty bridges out and rolls him up with a backslide for a two-count. Tanaka tags in, Kato accidentally runs into him and Jannetty wrestles him to the mat with an armbar. Michaels tags in, Tanaka takes him down with a flying forearm. Michaels double noggin knocks the Express and locks a chinlock in on Tanaka. Jannetty accidentally distracts the ref, Kato clobbers Michaels from behind to break a sleeperhold and give his team offensive control.
Tanaka catches a kick and sweeps the legs, following up with a series of karate strikes. Michaels fights back with rights and connects with a moonsault on a charging Kato, peppering him with rights as well. Rockers escape double atomic drop attempts and connect with a double dropkick that sends them to the floor, following up with top rope crossbodies on opposite sides of the ring. The Rockers are SO MUCH FUN, especially for 1991. Jannetty tags in, Kato escapes a chinlock but Michaels tags in and connects with a delayed vertical suplex for the 1…2…Tanaka breaks it up. Michaels goes for a monkey flip on Kato, Tanaka connects with a right and he gets dropped throat-first across the top rope. Fuji gets involved as well, cracking Michaels in the throat with his DEVIOUS CANE. Orient Express wear Michaels down, Kato hanging him across the rope as Tanaka connects with a leapfrog splash for the 1…2…Jannetty breaks it up. Michaels almost fades from a nerve hold but finds his second wind, Tanaka tries to turn it into a lateral press but Michaels kicks out. Express connect with a double clothesline, Tanaka covers for the 1…2…Michaels kicks out.
Michaels counters a backdrop with a faceslam, Kato clears Jannetty from the ring. Michaels ducks a belt clothesline attempt and tosses himself onto it, sending the Express into one another. Jannetty finally gets the tag and he goes wild on both members of the Express with slams and dropkicks (the one to Tanaka a glancing blow). Jannetty connects with a powerslam for the 1…2…Kato kicks out. Jannetty connects with a back elbow, Tanaka breaks it up and Michaels sends him to the floor. Jannetty and Kato fight over a backslide, Tanaka kicks Jannetty and Kato gets him over for the 1…2…not yet. Michaels trips Kato, Jannetty covers for the 1…2…nope! Rockers connect with a double superkick, Tanaka stops a Rocket Launcher attempt and Michaels spills to the floor. Kato slings Jannetty into a chop from Tanaka; they go for it again but Michaels bowls over Tanaka and Jannetty get slung right into a sunset flip for the 1…2…3!
The Rockers defeated The Orient Express via pinfall (19:16)
- Want a PPV to start off on the right foot? You get The Rockers. Great opening match, perfect way to start the show. The Rumble having a smaller undercard really allowed them to have some time here too and it’s a credit to both teams that I didn’t lose interest halfway through. Mostly The Rockers though, if I’m being honest with myself. One of the greatest teams in wrestling history, absolute travesty their Tag Team Title win was null and voided thanks to a broken ring. (****)
–Sean Mooney is in the locker room with “The Macho King” Randy Savage. Savage doesn’t care who wins the WWF Championship tonight, but also says if Sgt. Slaughter wins he’ll be the number one contender. Kinda sounds like he does care. Mooney asks if Savage has the same commitment from Warrior, Savage says he’ll get in a couple seconds, Queen Sherri heading to the interview stage.
-Cut to the stage where Sherri is with “Mean” Gene Okerlund. Sherri reiterates Slaughter’s promise and has no doubt that the “honorable” Sgt. Slaughter will keep his promise. Sherri calls The Ultimate Warrior to the stage, Savage intermittently shown watching from the locker room, trying to bait him by calling him yellow and without honor. Warrior finally answers the call in a kickass ‘MERICA leather jacket. Sherri asks Warrior if he’ll grant Savage a title shot if he retains tonight. Warrior doesn’t respond, so Sherri tries the seductive route instead, rubbing on his chest and getting on one knee. Warrior spits on the ground, shakes violently, and yells “NOOOOOOOOO!” right in her face.
-We go back to Savage, who throws a chair in anger and charges out to the stage, he and Sherri LIVID about Warrior’s denial.
The Big Boss Man vs. The Barbarian [w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan]
Boss Man began feuding with The Heenan Family towards the end of 1990, initially focusing on Rick Rude but his ire being more focused on Heenan himself after Rude left the WWF. Boss Man gets possession of Barbarian’s fur cape but the ref doesn’t let him do anything with it, boo.
Barbarian makes first contact but gets sent to the floor courtesy of a big boot and running back elbow. Boss Man meets him out there, connecting with a series of rights and sending Barb shoulder-first into the post, Heenan hiding in the adjacent corner. Boss Man sends himself and Barbarian to the floor with a clothesline, Boss Man rolls back in and spits at Heenan as the crowd goes wild. Barbarian regroups and connects with a vertical suplex with such velocity he stuns himself as well. Barbarian clubs Boss Man to the canvas with a clothesline, and rams him back-first into the steel post, Heenan getting in a cheap shot behind the ref’s back. Barbarian continues working the spine, connecting with a backbreaker and applying a standing bearhug in the center of the ring. Boss Man manages to escape, Barbarian immediately drops him with a thrust strike under the jaw. Barbarian can’t get the pin so he goes back to the bearhug, Boss Man tries to rake the back to get out but the ref puts a stop to that. A cop using illegal tactics to inflict punishment? Nah that doesn’t sound like something a cop would do.
Boss Man finally breaks out by biting the bridge of Barbarian’s nose and connects with an enzuigiri, both men crashing to the canvas. Boss Man misses a corner splash, Barbarian rolls him up for the 1…2…Boss Man kicks out. Boss Man drops Barbarian across the top rope for the 1…2…Barb gets his hand on the rope. Barbarian connects with a flying clothesline from the top for the 1…2…Boss Man gets his foot on the rope! Boss Man reverses a whip, drives Barbarian into the canvas for the 1…2…BARB TOUCHES THE ROPE. Barbarian drills Boss Man with a piledriver and comes off the top with a flying crossbody but BOSS MAN ROLLS THROUGH FOR THE 1…2…3!
The Big Boss Man defeated The Barbarian via pinfall (14:15)
- Two big boys throwing bombs, feels like this match was made for me. Damn good match here, nice mix of power moves and athleticism that felt like a real war by the end as neither could get the advantage. I always forget how good this match is until I watch it again. (***1/2)
-Sean Mooney is in the locker room with Sgt. Slaughter and his commanding officer, General Adnan. Adnan speaks in Farsi (I think, I apologize if I got the language wrong please correct me), Slaughter threatens turmoil like people have never seen before once he beats “The Ultimate Puke” for the WWF Championship. Slaughter says the people need a real leader, one with integrity like him, and tells “The Ultimate Puke” that he’s dismissed.
- Slaughter absolutely HAMMED IT UP for this one, making his Iraqi sympathizer character as cartoonish as possible. Was he trying to soften the blow of what was a disrespectful gimmick at the time? Maybe. Or maybe Sgt. Slaughter is a walking ham. Either way good promo and facial mannerisms.
–”Mean” Gene Okerlund is standing by with The Ultimate Warrior. Warrior says he only takes orders from the Warriors that ride up on his back. Okerlund asks what kind of leader Slaughter would be, Warrior says the only ones who would follow Slaughter are ones that are demented, and vows to leave the match at the ULTIMATE VICTOR.
- This is either the most lucid promo of The Ultimate Warrior’s career or I’ve heard him talk so many times that I have also gone crazy and now his gibberish makes sense to me. I really hope it’s the former, therapy is expensive.
The Ultimate Warrior [c] vs. Sgt. Slaughter [w/ General Adnan] for the WWF CHAMPIONSHIP
Slaughter made his return to the WWF in 1990, but not as the GI Joe American Hero he had been presented as in the early-80s; this Slaughter was a turncoat to the American people, siding with Saddam Hussein in the Middle East and taking on Adnan as his commanding officer. WWF created the gimmick to play off the real-life events of Desert Storm, the company going back to its EVIL FOREIGN MENACE trope, to the joy of…no one, really. Warrior won the WWF Championship at WrestleMania VI in my favorite match of all-time and has defeated all comers, which consisted mostly of Rick Rude on PPV and Mr. Perfect on the house show circuit. His win was supposed to signal a changing of the guard, but it wasn’t working out as well as the WWF was hoping.
Warrior rushes the ring and ducks a double clothesline attempt with the Iraqi flag, sending Slaughter and Adnan to the floor and destroying the flag. Adnan retreats to the back as Warrior continues his assault, shoving the flag down Slaughter’s throat and sending him over the buckle and into the post. Queen Sherri shows up at ringside, Warrior chases her up the aisle and into a sneak attack from Randy Savage, who drills him with one of the lighting fixtures. Ref tries to count Warrior out but Slaughter keeps stopping it because he wants the title. Warrior crawls to ringside, Slaughter rolls him in and puts the pointy-toed boots to him. Slaughter connects with a backbreaker and spits on Warrior, yelling at him to get up. Warrior connects with a clothesline, Slaughter recovers and applies a standing bearhug. Warrior fights out and connects with a slam but hurts his back in the process and Slaughter softens it up further with a series of elbowdrops and a backbreaker. Slaughter locks in a Camel Clutch, but Warrior’s feet are hanging OUT of the ring; takes the ref a second to actually realize it and Slaughter thinks he has it won. Warrior revs up and mounts a comeback with a host of clotheslines and a running shoulderblock. Sherri returns to ringside, scepter in hand, and hops the apron. Warrior pulls Sherri into the ring and throws her into the arms of Savage, who’s now also at ringside. Slaughter knees Warrior in the back and distracts the ref, Savage BREAKS the scepter across Warrior’s skull and Slaughter covers for the 1…2…3!
Sgt. Slaughter defeated The Ultimate Warrior [c] via pinfall to win the WWF CHAMPIONSHIP (12:45)
- Outside of the Randy Savage attack/finish this match was pretty bad. Just a whole lot of nothing. Slaughter winning landed with a thud too, crowd went completely silent. I’m sure they want to play it off as shock but I think it was more of a “THIS GUY?” reaction. Or maybe I’m projecting. Anyway Slaughter is now WWF Champion, about seven years too late. I hope there’s a REAL AMERICAN who can challenge him on behalf of our country. One that fights for the rights of every man. (*3/4)
A dazed Warrior exits the ring and immediately charges to the back, revenge on his mind. Slaughter celebrates with the WWF Championship, boos all around.
-Video hypes WrestleMania VII, which is slated to be held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum which can hold 100,000 people. Don’t get married to that happening is all I’m saying.
“The Birdman” Koko B. Ware [w/ Frankie] vs. The Mountie [w/ “The Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart]
The Mountie is a repackaged Jacques Rougeau making his PPV debut under the new gimmick. He’s handsome, he’s brave, he’s strong, he…doesn’t have that entrance theme yet. Aw man.
Ware ducks a back elbow and sends Mountie scurrying to the floor after a dropkick. Mountie tries a leap frog, Ware connects with a right and takes him to the mat with an armbar. Ware makes a mistake, Mountie tosses him over the top and onto the floor. KOKO B. WARE HAS BEEN ELIMI-oh wait I’m getting ahead of myself, sorry. Mountie “pacifies” Ware with an Iron Claw, Piper has a flashback to his days as a wayward Canadian youth. Mountie uses another pacification technique, chicken winging the arm and slamming Ware’s head in the buckles. Ware surprises Mountie with a sunset flip but can’t get the win. Mountie ties up Ware’s arm and dumps him back to the floor with no way to protect himself. Ware counters a backdrop attempt with a swinging neckbreaker and mounts a comeback with a flying headbutt and scoop slam. Ware comes off the top with a missile dropkick, LANDING ON HIS FEET, but Hart distracts him from making the pin. Ware connects with a springboard crossbody from the middle buckle for the 1…2..Mountie kicks out. Ware leapfrogs Mountie, Mountie drives him to the mat with a claw for the 1…2…3.
The Mountie defeated Koko B. Ware via pinfall (9:11)
- I love DA MOUNTIE as a character but oh boy could his matches be boring, and this was one of those. Did NOT need to go almost ten minutes, cut a few of those bad boys out and you would’ve had a tight and effective squash. I’ve been watching wrestling going on thirty years now and I don’t think I’ve ever seen Koko B. Ware win a match. I need to go dig up a Superstars or something so I can see what his finishing move would even be. (*)
–Sean Mooney is back in the locker room with “The Macho King” Randy Savage and Queen Sherri. Savage has absolutely no regrets about what happened, but hightails it out of there as soon as he hears thumping coming from the locker room door.
–”Mean” Gene Okerlund is with new WWF Champion Sgt. Slaughter and General Adnan. Okerlund is absolutely disgusted, Slaughter says he’s a man of his word and will take whatever he wants as he gives the orders around here. Slaughter has no boundaries and when he says he’s going to defeat someone, he does it.
-Piper LOSES it at the announce table, telling Slaughter to stick it in his ear.
-We get some pre-recorded comments from various fans with well-wishes for our brave Armed Forces, plus an announcement that Hulk Hogan will be touring Army bases in the U.S. to raise morale.
–Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Earthquake [w/ “The Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart], Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, “Texas Tornado” Kerry Von Erich, The Legion of Doom (Hawk & Animal), The Undertaker [w/ Brother Love], “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, Rick “The Model” Martel, The British Bulldog, Mr. Perfect [w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan], & Tugboat all proclaim victory for the Royal Rumble. That’s a lot of winners!
–Sean Mooney interviews “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase & Virgil in the locker room. DiBiase says everyone wants to know why Virgil absorbs any treatment he feels like giving him; it’s money, obviously. The bond of money is thicker than the bond of blood HAHAHAHAHAHA.
“The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes & Dustin Rhodes vs. “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase & Virgil
DiBiase began feuding with Dusty back at SummerSlam ‘90, stealing Sapphire away with his fat stacks of cash. Dusty’s son Dustin was soon introduced and the feud got even more personal, leading to this tag team match. DiBiase’s abuse of Virgil also became much more pronounced, his demeaning job brought more to the forefront, but I’m sure that’s not going to factor into anything don’t worry.
DiBiase and Virgil attack the Rhodes’, Dusty & Dustin clear the ring with stereo Bionic Elbows. DiBiase orders Virgil into the ring, telling him to take Dustin out. Virgil cheap shots Dustin as the ref tries to separate them, Dustin ducks a clothesline and connects with one of his own followed by a dropkick. An angry DiBiase slaps Virgil and orders him around some more. Virgil leapfrogs Dustin and drops down, Dustin stomps him and sends him back to the floor with a clothesline, Dusty entering the ring to pose with his son. DiBiase helps Virgil up and continues his order barking, saying he’s embarrassing him. DiBiase tags in to show Virgil how it’s done, dropping Dustin with a clothesline and working him over in the corner. Dustin rams DiBiase’s head into the canvas, he and Dusty turn him into a pinball with Bionic Elbows and out goes The Million Dollar Man. Dusty gets the tag and rolls DiBiase back in, unloading Bionic Elbows and applying a sleeperhold in the center of the ring. Virgil does his job and helps break it up, Piper defending him as he’s a man doing the job he was paid for. Dustin tags in and connects with a dropkick, Virgil once again makes the save by breaking the pinfall attempt. Monsoon calls DiBiase Virgil’s “master” and QUICKLY tries to backtrack it when he realizes what he said. Oh boooooy. Virgil tags in and dodges Dustin in the corner, who goes knee-first into the buckles. Virgil goes to work on the knee, ramming it into the steel post. DiBiase tags in and uses the post as well. Virgil accidentally clotheslines DiBiase and helps him back up, apologizing. DiBiase lays into Virgil with a series of blows, tossing him out to the floor, but this allows Dusty to get the hot tag. Dusty misses a corner splash, DiBiase rolls him up for the 1…2…3!
Ted DiBiase & Virgil defeated Dusty & Dustin Rhodes via pinfall (9:57)
- Focus was mostly on DiBiase & Virgil, with Dusty & Dustin just sorta being there to finish up the storyline. Both would leave for WCW pretty much right after, with Dusty appearing on WrestleWar ‘91 later in the month as commentator (and also as the booker, but that was behind the scenes). Match was fine, it did what it needed to do. ONTO THE GOOD STUFF. (*1/2)
DiBiase gets on the mic and says nobody crosses him without paying the price, which Dusty & Dustin found out the hard way. DiBiase calls Virgil an idiot and tells him to get his Million Dollar Belt and put it around his waist. Virgil slowly grabs the title, DiBiase dressing him down the entire time, and enters the ring. DiBiase demands the title be wrapped around his waist, Virgil drops the title! DiBiase reminds Virgil about his family and his mother, Virgil picks the title back up…AND CRACKS DIBIASE IN THE SKULL WITH IT AS THE CROWD LOSES THEIR DAMN MIND INCLUDING RODDY PIPER ON COMMENTARY.
- What a great moment. Virgil took DiBiase’s sh*t for three years and when he finally turned on his employer the crowd understandably went nuts! Loved this so much, one of the best storylines WWF has ever done. Can’t wait to get to SummerSlam.
–”Mean” Gene Okerlund interviews Hulk Hogan, who dedicates the Royal Rumble to their boys in the Persian Gulf as well as their allies. Hogan will prove that truth, justice, and the American Way will win. Okerlund interrupts and announces that Sgt. Slaughter has DEFACED the American Flag. Hogan loses his mind, saying if that’s true it will seal Slaughter’s fate and his reign as champion will only be temporary.
- I like Hogan subtly sneaking in the fact that defacing the American Flag is legal, it’s just a dickhead thing to do. Meanwhile Warrior RIPPED the Iraqi flag up earlier in the show but that’s fine because they’re not America. RAH RAH and sh*t.
THE 1991 ROYAL RUMBLE
Bret “Hitman” Hart and Dino Bravo [w/ “The Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart] start the match off. We’re just going right into it, no Fink explanation from the rules or anything, though Monsoon and Piper explain it for the folks at home. Honestly that feels like a breath of fresh air. Hart connects with an atomic drop and clotheslines Bravo from behind, but Bravo hangs on and avoids elimination. Monsoon has no faith in Hart or Bravo winning the match, so I guess we can just ignore the match until everyone’s in. Bravo goes on offense with an inverted atomic drop, Hart dodges an elbowdrop and connects with a series of rights. #3 is Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, fellow Jimmy Hart disciple, but instead of helping Bravo he ATTACKS HIM. Every man for himself, bro. Hart climbs the apron and gets in Valentine’s face, Bravo attacks from behind. Valentine fights Bravo off and tosses him out. DINO BRAVO HAS BEEN ELIMINATED. Hart climbs the apron again, Valentine tosses him off. Hammer’s a good guy now! Hart connects with an inverted atomic drop and goes for the elimination, Valentine deadweights him to prevent it. #4 is Paul Roma of Power & Glory [w/ Slick], and he immediately joins Valentine in attacking Hart. Hart noggin knocks the duo, Valentine clobbers him and he and Roma try to toss Hart out but he falls to the mat to avoid it. Valentine and Roma tee off on one another, Hart takes a minute to catch his breath before joining in. #5 is “The Texas Tornado” Kerry Von Erich, who levels both Valentine and Roma with Discus Punches. Hart misses an elbowdrop on Roma and Von Erich & Valentine lay into each other, then partner up to try and eliminate Roma. Roma dropkicks Von Erich and attacks Hart from behind, saving Valentine from elimination. #6 is Rick “The Model” Martel and he immediately goes after Hart, who has been in the match the longest so far. Roma for some reason clobbers them and stops it. Martel picks Roma up in a fireman’s carry and tries to eliminate him, Roma hooks the top rope to stop it. Roma and Martel work over Hart, then Roma stops a prancing Martel in his tracks with a clothesline.
#7 is Saba Simba, better known as Tony Atlas before the WWF decided to repackage him with one of the most racist gimmicks in WWF history. This is his only PPV appearance, thankfully. Von Erich almost sends Martel out with an atomic drop but he hangs on. Von Erich gets the Claw on Roma in the corner. #8 is Butch of The Bushwhackers, Piper’s favorite team. Butch marches around the ring, Valnetine greets him with a chop, Simba and Martel spill over the top but only the latter hits the floor. SABA SIMBA HAS BEEN ELIMINATED. Hart and Von Erich work on Martel, Valentine and Butch try to eliminate Roma. #9 is Jake “The Snake” Roberts, who goes right after his hated rival Martel with a series of jabs and a gutbuster. Roberts signals for the DDT, Martel slides under the bottom rope to escape but Roberts chases him back in…and he’s met with clubbing elbows from Valentine. Roberts has Martel teetering on the apron, Martel fights back with rights and avoids getting eliminated. #10 is Hercules of Power & Glory and he joins his partner Roma in attacking Butch. Hart, Valentine, and Roberts are all in the corner doing…something. I think elimination attempts but they could just be hanging out, shooting the sh*t. Martel ties Roberts up in the ropes and chokes him, Von Erich helps out The Snake. #11 is Tito Santana and naturally he goes right after his former Strike Force partner Martel. PAUL ROMA HAS BEEN ELIMINATED but i didn’t see who did it. The brawl continues, Santana trying to dump Martel but Valentine comes from behind and tries to eliminate Santana. Hart attacks Valentine, everybody gets saved. BAD STRATEGY. #12 is revealed to be The Undertaker [w/ Brother Love]. Undertaker goes right at Hart, and out he goes. BRET HART HAS BEEN ELIMINATED. Undertaker chokes Von Erich but doesn’t try to eliminate him. Von Erich hits Undertaker with a discus punch but it doesn’t faze him and he drops Tornado with a right hand. #13 is “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka, now wrestling in boots and it’ll never not be weird. BUTCH HAS BEEN ELIMINATED by Undertaker. Von Erich climbs on Undertaker’s back with a sleeper, Valentine comes off the middle buckle with an elbow but it merely dazes him a bit. Santana joins in on the attack until Snuka attacks him from behind. #14 is “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith and he’s immediately met by Valentine. Santana and Von Erich try to eliminate Undertaker to no avail, Roberts almost gets tossed out but Von Erich makes the save. Smith and Roberts punish Martel, Snuka headbutts Undertaker and connects with chops.
#15 is Smash of Demolition [w/ Mr. Fuji], and we’ve hit the halfway mark. Smith escapes a slam attempt and bowls Smash over with a clothesline, Santana connects with buckle shots on Valentine but no one counts a long because there’s too much going on. Fair. Martel hangs out on the apron and pulls Roberts out! JAKE ROBERTS HAS BEEN ELIMINATED. Snuka noggin knocks Martel and Hercules. #16 is Hawk of The Legion of Doom and he’s a house of fire on everybody. He quickly gets ganged up on though by Smash, Hercules, and Undertaker. MORE NOGGIN KNOCKING. I think everyone is running out of ideas. Piper keeps calling Smash “Demolition” which is pretty great. #17 is Shane Douglas, a year removed from his Dynamic Dudes days in WCW. Did you also forget Douglas was in the WWF in 1991? Same. Oh also JIMMY SNUKA AND KERRY VON ERICH HAVE BEEN ELIMINATED. Douglas and Santana connect with a double clothesline on Martel. Smash helps him from being eliminated. #18 is…no one. Huh okay, back to the ring I guess. Monsoon & Piper have no idea what to do with it, but here comes #19 Animal of The Legion of Doom. LOD double up on Undertaker, Taker goozles them both but they break through and clothesline him out to the floor. THE UNDERTAKER HAS BEEN ELIMINATED. Hawk takes too much time to gloat and Martel clotheslines him from behind so HAWK HAS BEEN ELIMINATED. #20 is Crush of Demolition, just in time to help his partner beat down Smith. Santana tries to backdrop Martel but once again he escapes elimination. Crowd has gotten a little quiet, waiting for a bigger star to emerge and bring ‘em back in.
#21 is “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan and THE CROWD IS BACK IN. Duggan focuses on Martel, Smash, and Crush. Animal catches Martel in a bearhug, Martel thumbs him in the eye to escape. Hercules sweeps the legs of Douglas and lays into him with rights, sick of his bullsh*t. #22 is Earthquake [w/ Jimmy Hart] and business continues to pick up. Ignore the fact he hasn’t won the other Rumbles he’s been in though. Animal charges, Quake backdrops him out. ANIMAL HAS BEEN ELIMINATED. Duggan and Douglas work together to war Quake down but it doesn’t do much damage. #23 is Mr. Perfect [w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan], taking his time to the ring because he’s a smart man. Duggan attacks Perfect, who oversells his offense…and then backdrops him to the floor. JIM DUGGAN HAS BEEN ELIMINATED. Perfect and Santana do battle, the latter dropping the former with a clothesline. #24 is Hulk Hogan and the crowd goes NUTS. Hogan goes to work, tossing Smash to the floor and going right after Quake. SMASH HAS BEEN ELIMINATED. Hogan tries to eliminate Quake, Perfect attacks him from behind. #25 is Haku, also a member of the Heenan Family and out goes the Hammer! GREG VALENTINE HAS BEEN ELIMINATED. Martel goes after Hogan, Haku attacks Hercules (former WrestleMania V rivals). Hogan goozles Martel into the corner then goes after Crush along with Douglas.
Crush chokes Hogan with his own t-shirt, #26 is Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart and he runs to the ring quicker than I’ve ever seen him move. Santana tries to attack Quake, Quake brushes it off and tosses him out. TITO SANTANA HAS BEEN ELIMINATED. Perfect almost has Hogan out but Haku attacks Perfect for REASONS. #27 is Luke of The Bushwhackers. He marches to the ring, enters, then gets tossed to the floor immediately in one of the best eliminations in Royal Rumble history. He’s not even bothered, he marches back out like nothing happened. LUKE HAS BEEN ELIMINATED. I love it. Neidhart almost gets Martel out but is saved once again, this time by Hercules. #28 is Brian Knobbs of The Nasty Boys, making his WWF PPV debut. Neidhart almost eliminates him but Quake grabs him from behind by the beard and buries an elbow to the top of the skull. HERCULES HAS BEEN ELIMINATED by Knobbs. Eyyy good for him. #29 is The Warlord who goes right after his arch-nemesis Davey Boy Smith. Crush tries some corner mount rights, Hogan dumps him out. CRUSH HAS BEEN ELIMINATED. Haku stuns Douglas with an inverted atomic drop. Rick Martel now has the record for longest Rumble appearance. Hogan ducks a clothesline and sends Warlord out to the floor. THE WARLORD HAS BEEN ELIMINATED. #30 is Tugboat, revealing that Randy Savage was supposed to be #18 but booked it out there to avoid The Ultimate Warrior. Neidhart almost eliminates Perfect, Perfect clutches the bottom rope and also SHANE DOUGLAS HAS BEEN ELIMINATED apparently. Good showing from him on paper but he did absolutely nothing and sorta blended in, though Monsoon tries to sell it as him getting an ovation when he left. Highly unlikely, sir. Smith and Tugboat somehow can’t eliminate Martel. Hogan and Tugboat, normally bffs, start battling and Tugboat almost dumps him out. Hogan gets back in and eliminates Tugboat from behind! WHAT A JERK. TUGBOAT HAS BEEN ELIMINATED and also MR. PERFECT HAS BEEN ELIMINATED. Martel reverses a whip and JIM NEIDHART HAS BEEN ELIMINATED. Smith with a backdrop and HAKU HAS BEEN ELIMINATED. Martel slams Smith and heads to the top LIKE AN IDIOT, Smith shakes the ropes and he gets crotched before clotheslined to the floor. RICK MARTEL HAS BEEN ELIMINATED.
Final four are Hogan, Smith, Earthquake, and Knobbs. Well only for a second as Quake and Knobbs work together to toss the Bulldog out. DAVEY BOY SMITH HAS BEEN ELIMINATED. Quake and Knobbs double-team Hogan, Quake connecting with a splash and high-fiving his partner in crime. EARTHQUAKE SPLASH ON HOGAN. Knobbs helps him up and they raise their hands in victory, HOGAN HULKS UP and connects with a double clothesline. Big boot to Knobbs and BRIAN KNOBBS HAS BEEN ELIMINATED. Hogan unloads on Quake, Big Boot brings him to one knee. Jimmy Hart gets knocked off the apron, Hogan goes for a slam but Quake lands on top. Oops. Quake follows up with a pair of elbowdrops and a powerslam. Hogan pushes Quake off and we get another HULK UP. Right hand, right hand, right hand, big boot, scoop slam, clotheslining from behind and EARTHQUAKE HAS BEEN ELIMINATED.
Hulk Hogan won the 1991 Royal Rumble, last eliminating Earthquake (65:17)
- There is absolutely no way you read all of that and I don’t blame you, but welcome to the review portion! This was a fun Rumble, with a great lineup (plus Saba Simba) and some good continuation of storylines (Roberts/Martel, Valentine turning face, etc). I dug this a lot and I was entertained even through the middle match lull. Hogan gets the victory and becomes the first man to repeat win the Royal Rumble, and although it’s not yet established that the winner gets a WWF Championship shot at WrestleMania that’s where he’s headed. TIME TO DEFEND AMERICA. (***)
Hogan celebrates his win with a fan-made sign and an American Flag, waving it high and proud.
FINAL THOUGHTS: A couple of great matches in the undercard, an all-time GREAT storyline moment with Virgil turning on DiBiase, and an entertaining as hell Rumble. I’m happy with the three hours I just spent on this show. It’s not on the level of the 92 Rumble, nothing ever will be, but this well-worth your time. WWF started 1991 on a somewhat decent foot and set up their big WrestleMania main event right at the outset.
- MATCH OF THE NIGHT: The Rockers vs. Orient Express
- MOMENT OF THE NIGHT: Virgil finally turns on Ted DiBiase, becoming his own man.