By Ervin Griffin, Jr. and Matt Benaka
Part 27: A Year In The WWF, pt. 2: The Royal Rumble And Randy Savage
After the WWF World Championship was held up, then-WWF President Jack Tunney declared that the winner of the Royal Rumble 1992 would be the new champion!!! Also, Hulk Hogan and The Undertaker were given numbers 20-30 as their choices which made them two of the odds on favorites to win!!! Now, IMO, this was possibly the best Royal Rumble match ever since the concept was introduced in 1988.
Then came January 19, 1992. The Royal Rumble match saw Ric Flair draw number 3 in the line up!!! That meant that Flair would have to wrestle for over an hour to win the match!!! Now, to a casual fan, Flair had no chance but to a follower of the sport, this actually worked to Flair's advantage because he was (and still is) a slow starter and the longer you let him stay in a match, the tougher he gets!!! Remember when he used to call himself the "60 Minute Man"? Well, that phrase was proven to be fact on this day as Flair survived one hell of an a**-whippin' from everyone!!! From new enemies (at that time) like Davey Boy Smith, Shawn Michaels, Haku, and The Big Bossman to old enemies like the late Kerry Von Erich, Jake "The Snake" Roberts, Greg "The Hammer" Valentine, "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka and "Rowdy" Roddy Piper!!!
In this bout, he also had his first in-ring encounters with The Undertaker and Randy "Macho Man" Savage!!! Flair, despite the odds, survived for over an hour. The last three men left inside the ring were Flair, Hulk Hogan and Sid Justice (now known as Sycho Sid)!!! As Hogan tried to eliminate Flair, Justice took advantage and threw him over the top rope to eliminate Hogan!!! Hogan screamed, "You stoled my belt!!" at Justice (a dubious statement since the match was "every man for himself" and Hogan himself has done that several times in his career in battle royal type matches)!!! Hogan then tried to pull Justice out by his arm but Justice held fast!!! He was also a bit off balance!!! Flair, seeing his opening, grabbed Justice's legs and dumped him over to win the match and the WWF title!!!
Later, in February, it was announced that Flair would have to defend the title against Hogan at WrestleMania VIII in Indianapolis, IN. Hogan, however, opted to take on Sid Justice instead so Randy "Macho Man" Savage (by virtue of being one of the last men eliminated and because of his name value and the only major superstar that hadn't been signed to a match yet) got the title shot!!!
When that was announced, Flair and Curt Hennig (then known as "Mr. Perfect") began their psychological warfare in earnest!!! They claimed that Flair had an elicit affair with Savage's (then) wife Elizabeth. Granted, he hinted a past relationship but this was enough to occur Savage's wrath despite the fact that it was probably not true. Going into WrestleMania, Flair and Co. felt very confident that the mental stress would take its toll on Savage and that he wouldn't perform well in the match. Well, truth be told, they were nearly right as Flair dominated most of the contest!!! Still, Flair couldn't put Savage away and the "Macho Man" kept coming back for more action!!! Even the interference of Hennig late in the match on Savage's knee didn't help too much as Savage rolled up Flair and (with the help of some trunks) pinned him for a second WWF title!!! Hennig and Bobby Hennan cried foul play (again a dubious statement considering the records of all three of those men) but Flair accepted the loss and swore to regain the belt!!!
NEXT: A Year In The WWF, pt. 3: The Ultimate Con Game
If you have a question, comments, criticism, or just want to talk pro wrestling, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Ervin Griffin Jr. is Solie's resident historian and also contributes to the Ringside Insider on a regular basis. Many of his previous articles are available in the
Thunder is coming to us on tape tonight. The Giant vs. Raven will be the main event.
Van Hammer vs. Wrath - Hammer has been doing pretty well lately but I can't imagine him winning this one. Hammer complains of a hair pull as he is bulled into the corner during the first lock-up. Wrath ignores the referee's admonishment. Hammer does better then some have lately against this opponent, actually gets a cover and a two-count at one point. In fact on several occasions he manages to stop Wrath in his tracks. During one extended flurry, he drops Wrath with a back elbow then gets a powerslam and another cover. Inevitably it seems, Wrath comes out on top with his Meltdown finish. Cut to commercial.
Footage from Halloween Havoc - Alex Wright defeats Fit Finley which leads to...
Fit Finley vs. Alex Wright - rematch from the PPV - Wright clearly has some trepidation about this match. Finley considers Wright's win the other night as a fluke and is bound to try and even the score. Wright comes on aggressively once the match gets underway and the contest is a see-saw affair. Of course, aggression is Finley's middle name and he is more then holding his own throughout the match. He starts to work on Wright's long legs, taking his opponent out to the floor to continue his assault. Back in the ring he applies a standing figure four variation which he claims is the way he broke Alex's father's leg. When Wright finally gets loose he hits a flying forearm but then flings himself over the top to the floor. He comes right back with a missle drop-kick to which both Finley and the referee fall victim. Wright has the pin but the referee is out of it. He goes to help Nick Patrick and stumbles right into Finley's piledriver. 'Nuff said. Cut to commercial.
Scenes from Nitro - JJ Dillon gets punked by Bagwell and Scott Steiner.
The Disciple vs. Tough Tom (w/Mean Mike) - the Disciple reminds me of the Booty Man these days. He's out there wrestling, winning matches...and nobody cares. In this one he has to contend with the non-combatant on the floor through most of the match. That puts him at a disadvantage but barely. Tough Tom is trying too hard to sell his opponent's moves, at one point he propells himself into a scoop slam a little too obviously. In the end, The Disciple takes both members of Disorderly Conduct out with his Apocolypse jaw breaker. Cut to commercial.
Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko - this has to be a good match - these two are very evenly matched and the so the contest is largely in see-saw mode. The match is barely underway when we step out to sell something.
The two are thwarting each other's moves as we return.Malenko gets in a powwerbomb to take the advantage. He grabs a reverse chinlock but Eddie escapes quickly and springs cat-like to the top and comes back with a Frankensteiner. Now it is Malenko who springs right back to his feet and gets a suplex. Back to the reverse chinlock. This time Guerrero uses a belly-to-back suplex to escape. Malenko is down for a moment then back on his feet - they criss cross then Malenko elevates Guerrero and drops him on his face. He goes for the Texas Cloverleaf but Eddie rolls away and out of the ring. He comes back and wants to shake hands. He gets a boot to the midsection, a suplex and a return to the reverse chinlock. The ropes are right there and Malenko is forced to break. Moments later, Eddie trips his opponent rolls to the apron and springboards back in to splash Malenko on the abdomen. He tries to follow up but Malenko is right back into it - a whip and they collide and both are down. Now the match goes out to the floor where Guerrero is flung into the guard rail. Back inside Guerrero gets airborn to turn the tables then applies a surfboard. Malenko turns it into a backslide then the LWO hits the ring followed by the Horsemen (Benoit and McMichael) - the match is thrown out. Cut to commercial.
Disco Inferno vs. Chris Jericho - TV Title match - I'm glad to see this guy (Disco) on his own again - I never liked that Dancin' Fools team - to contrived for one thing. Disco makes a speech before the match about respect then invites Jericho to just go ahead and put the belt around his waist. Jericho complies then clotheslines Disco out of his boots. Jericho then goes to hit him with the belt but the referee intervenes. This gives Disco a chance to come back with a neck breaker. Jericho is levered to the outside then misses a somersault splash coming back in. Jericho is at a disadvantage for about 10 seconds then drops Disco onto the top rope and turns the tables. He showboats with a cavelier cover then comes back with a reverse chinlock. He then releases the hold and delivers a headbutt. Back on his feet, Disco manages to slam Jericho piller to post but then gets reversed and bealed. Jericho scoop slams his opponent then mounts to the top only to meet Disco's upraised boot. Now it is all Disco until he loses concentration. In the midst of a piledriver set-up - he pauses to macerena - and gets reversed and put into the Liontamer. Cut to commercial.
Kidman vs. Chavo Guerrero, Jr. - Cruiserweight Title match - Chavo goes through some shenanegans with his hobby horse before the match then we are underway. He has a huge experience advantage over the Champ, who is still a relative rookie with about two years in the sport. Kidman is a formidable talent however, and a high flyer extraordinaire. He takes control of the match after about two minutes. He seems content to simply ground his opponent for a while then Chavo comes flying back with a back round kick. Now he grabs a reverse chinlock and does some gounding of his own. Kidman escapes momentarily but Guerrero comes back with a German suplex and takes over again. The first time Kidman gets loose, he flies into a body block that gets him a two count. A powerbomb gets him another cover attempt, still no cigar. Chavo takes a page out of Kidman's playbook and hits a springboard plancha - then goes over to caress his horse! Kidman takes advantage of his distraction but Guerrero still gets a sunset flip - which Kidman reverses and gets the pin. After the match the LWO confronts Chavo in the ring. Eddie badmouths him which starts a little set-too. Eddie then tells him he has to earn his LWO colors if he wants to be part of the gang. Chavo is explaining it to the horse as we cut to commercial.
More scenes from Monday night. The Warrior fights Horace then gets swarmed on by the nWo.
Ernest (Bigmouth) Miller vs. Villano V - the Villanos have been big stars all over the world and it's kind of sad the way they've been portrayed in WCW. Miller puts out his usual warning which doesn't phase Villano V a whit. He starts the match with a knock down but Miller comes right back with a back kick. A few martial arts blows later and Villano is reeling. Then Miller stops to threaten the referee. Thus distracted, he falls prey to Villano's aerial attack for a few moments, but then the spinning roundhouse kick reverses the field and proves decisive. Miller next asks if there's anyone else who wants some. Sonny Oono strolls down to ringside. Miller warns him away but Oono climbs right into the ring. He wants to do business, of course. Miller isn't buying until Oono starts flashing C-notes around. Miller says, "Let's talk about it..." and they leave together. Cut to commercial.
Scott Hall vs. Steve Armstrong - Hall arrives sans drink for a change. He playfully ruffles a crewman's hair as he strolls down the aisle. I guess Hall doesn't feel that he needs to be drunk to face this opponent. He looks sober tonight. Armstrong is a good technical wrestler and he manages to out maneuver his opponent during the early moments. But Hall steamrolls over him and then it's all downhill. The assault ends in an Outsider's Edge, and then a second one before he takes the pin. Cut to commercial.
Scenes from Nitro - DDP vs. Hart. Page wins the US Title for the second time then gets creamed. Cut to commercial.
The Giant vs. Raven - the only thing Raven has going for him here is Raven's Rules - but then that means that the Giant isn't restrained either. Kanyon definitely has misgivings about this match - he seems to be trying to stop Raven from going to the ring. Raven tries several points of attack and gets shoved off repeatedly. He almost gets a break when the Giant rams the corner but then he rushes into a big boot. He rolls out to the floor followed by the big guy, then runs back in. He gets a baseball slide then throws a suicide dive and gets caught. The Giant tries to ram him into the post but Raven reverses the move. He then waffles him with a chair. He and Kanyon set up a table in the ring then Raven tries in vain to get the Giant onto it. Instead he gets chokeslammed through it. Oh well... fade to black.
I'll be back for the Monday Night War Edition. Until then...
At least that's the way I see it...
Editor, Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
This page is a personal tribute and is in no way connected to any of the wrestling promotions mentioned on it. It is dedicated to the Dean of Wrestling announcers, Gordon Solie. Copyright 1998 - Jump City Productions