Dedicated to Gordon Solie
January 29, 1929 - July 27, 2000
Part 1: 1988 - 1993
While this is considered by many to be the second most important card on the WWF calendar, it may actually be THE most important card. Why? Because even if you go back into the old days of the WWF when they were getting started with SuperCards and Pay Per Views, the set up for WrestleMania in the spring was often The Royal Rumble. Today, take a trip with me back to 1988 and let's look at the Royal Rumble from then until 1993.
In the second installment we will look at the Royal Rumble from 1994 until last year's event.
ROYAL RUMBLE 1988 - The event was in Canada at the Medicine Hat and was on free TV on USA Network. This card, while just two hours, provided a classic match between the late "Ravishing" Rick Rude & Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, a wild two out of three fall women's tag team match between Japan's Jump Bomb Angles & Lelani Kai/Judy Martin, a bout between Paul Roma/Jim Powers Vs. Tama (Rikishi Fatu)/Haku(Meng) and a bench press contest with the late Dino Bravo attempting to lift 710 lbs. As for the Rumble itself, it was an action packed affair which saw only 20 participants back then. It also saw "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan win the event after eliminating The One Man Gang. Most significant event from this was we saw the WWF career of Bret "The HitMan" Hart begin to rise as he turned in a stellar performance during the Rumble matchup.
ROYAL RUMBLE 1989 - This was the first PPV Rumble and it took place in Houston, TX at the AstroDome. This card saw the previous year's winner "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan team with The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart/Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart) defeat Dino Bravo/The Rougeaus Bros. in a six man match up, "King" Haku defeating "King" Harley Race for the WWF "King" Title, a pose down between "Ravishing" Rick Rude and then-WWF I-C titlist The Ultimate Warrior, and a ladies title match between Rockin' Robin and Judy Martin. The Rumble was won by "Big" John Stud but that wasn't the story here. At least two matches were set up as a result as well as the start of a traditional rule being broke. The Ultimate Warrior/Rick Rude bout was set up as well as a WWF Title Match between then champion "Macho Man" Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan. A traditional rule of having fan favorites face each other was also broken as they set up then WWF Tag Team Champions Demolition (who were faces at the time) to face each other in the first two minutes of the Rumble!
ROYAL RUMBLE 1990 - This one was in Orlando, Fl and it is one of my four favorite Rumble's of all time so far (the other three were from 1992, 1999, and 2000). This saw a crazy tag team bout between The Bushwackers and The Rougeaus, a nasty brawl between The Big Bossman and "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, Brutus Beefcake Vs. Lanny Poffo and a brutal submission bout between Greg "The Hammer" Valentine and "Rugged" Ron Garvin. Just a quick note, I will concede that The Rock Vs. Mick Foley(Mankind) "I Quit" bout was much more violent and exciting, check out the Valentine/Garvin bout sometime as this was a classic in its own right. This also saw a crazy interview segment between the late Saphire and Sherri Martel, which led to the first mixed tag bout at WrestleMania VI with Saphire teaming with Dusty Rhodes against Martel and "Macho Man" Randy Savage. As for the Rumble match itself, it was won by then WWF Champion Hulk Hogan but four bouts for WrestleMania came about as a result of it. "Rowdy" Roddy Piper Vs. Bad News Brown, Jake "The Snake" Roberts Vs. Ted Dibiase (the two were already working a program well before the Rumble), Demolition Vs. Andre The Giant/Haku and Hulk Hogan Vs. The Ultimate Warrior (who probably had the biggest hype up of the all).
ROYAL RUMBLE 1991 - This one took place during The Gulf War and the mood was somber at best during this time period. Only two matches of note really came about as a result of this card. Hulk Hogan won his second Royal Rumble in a row and Sgt. Slaughter (who was a major heel at this point) won the WWF title from then champion The Ultimate Warrior thanks to interference from "Macho Man" Randy Savage. This set up Hogan to face Slaughter while Warrior took on Savage in a brutal and memorable "Career Ending" Match.
ROYAL RUMBLE 1992 - I always love talking about this particular Rumble but I'll be brief. This one was different as the WWF World Title was put on the line to the winner of the Rumble match! But the undercard was pretty damn good too! While he had previously appeared in 1989 as The Blue Blazer, this was the late Owen Hart's first appearance under his own name as he teamed with Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart as The New Foundation as they defeated The Orient Express. The Legion Of Doom/The Road Warriors lost to The Natural Disasters (Earthquake/Typhoon) but kept their WWF Tag Team Titles while "Rowdy" Roddy Piper replaced a fever ridden Bret "HitMan" Hart and destroyed The Mountie to win the WWF Intercontinental strap. In the Rumble match itself, "Nature Boy" Ric Flair drew number 3 and lasted over an hour to win his first WWF World Title and his eight world singles title overall (at that time). This Rumble set up a WWF I-C bout between Hart and Piper at WrestleMania. Hogan and Flair was supposed to face off at WrestleMania as well but politics at the time caused Hogan to face Sid Vicious (who was known as Sid Justice at the time) and "Macho Man" Randy Savage to face Flair in their first ever one on one bout.
ROYAL RUMBLE 1993 - At this Rumble, we saw the debut of the WWF debut of The Steiner Brothers as they destroyed The Beverly Brothers (who really weren't brothers at all). This also saw Shawn "HBK" Michaels in his first PPV Intercontinental Title defense against former partner Marty Janetty. It should be interesting to note that Bret Hart was making his second PPV WWF World Title defense against Razor Ramon (Scott Hall). His first was two months earlier in November 1992 against Michaels at Survivor Series! In the Rumble itself, the late Yokozuna won the event by eliminating "Macho Man" Randy Savage from the event and earning a shot at the WWF World Title. A title that he would win on two separate occasions.
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 Articles section of the website. Check out Ervin's Pro-Wrestling Fan Fiction web site.
Earlier this week, on www.allprowrestling.com, APW President RolanAlexander released to the public, the first 10 shows scheduled for 2001. APW has signed a deal to do 5 shows at Vallejo's Pacific Sports Center, which fans are very excited about. Vallejo is a great APW town, as is Pacifica, which is where APW will be returning this spring. Here are the 10 shows announced so far for 2001. Mark them on your calendar, and don't miss when APW invades your hometown!
"Kamikaze Kid" Myaki Frantz (brother of Jardi Frantz), will be climbing back into the ring on February 17th in Vallejo to face the man who injured him, Tony Jones. Last time APW was in Vallejo, Frantz confronted Jones' challenge, and ended up on the short end of some suplexes and submission holds. "Shooters" ruthless attack landed Myaki in a Vallejo hospital bed. Now, after two months of rest and rehabilitation, Myaki Frantz has vowed to get revenge on Jones.
Myaki says his knee has been healing well and he's not waiting for Jones to come looking for him again. Frantz is going to confront the "Shooter" face-to-face in Vallejo. There will be an all out war on February 17th! Don't miss the return of one-half of the Kamikaze Kids, the exciting Myaki Frantz!
Considered by most, the best tag team in the country today, The Westside Playaz 2000 were undefeated for the entire year of 2000. On Saturday, February 17th in Vallejo, Ca. One-half of the Playaz has a special announcement to make. APW President Roland Alexander stated on www.allprowrestling.com, that LeGrande would like to talk to his fans after his match against Super Destroyer 2000 & Vinny Massaro. We aren't sure if the outcome of the match will play a factor in this, or if it involves his partner Robert Thompson. All we know is that LeGrande has requested Alexander remain quiet on this subject until Boyce himself can have a chance to tell his fans face to face.
February 17th 2001 at the Pacific Sports Center in Vallejo, Ca. 7:30pm
Donovan Morgan vs. Christopher Daniels
Tag Team Titles
Westside Playaz 2000 vs. Vinny Massaro & Super Destroyer 2000
Jardi Frantz vs. Kid Chrome
Tony Jones vs. Myaki Frantz
...More matches to be announced soon!
For more information on ticket prices be sure to check www.allprowrestling.com or call APW Headquarters at (510) 785-8396.
Isn't it odd to type 2001 at the end of the date? I am having a harder time this year than I was last year. After all, people only change the first digit once every thousand years. That pesky last digit changes too often.
I want to focus on the WCW (again) this week. With all the rumors floating around, it is hard to say what is going on with the purported sale of WCW. I want to assume, for the purposes of this article, that Eric Bischoff has purchased WCW, and that he will be assuming control within the next several weeks.
There will be one thing that Eric MUST avoid doing. It will tempt him like Lita in white lace and garters. It will woo him, cajole him, and beg him to enact this massive mistake. It will be worse of a temptation than Major Gunns asking for him to examine her maple leaves.
If he slips, it may spell the end of WCW. The WCW will split up into the smaller federations that spawned it, and Uncle Eric will be out of a job. All the success that they are able to achieve will blow away in the winds of wrestling history. What is worse is that he made this mistake before.
The temptation is to bring back Piper, Hogan, and all the 40+ wrestlers and push them to the top.
Listen to me, and take heed. This would be the biggest mistake Eric could make. It would be the easiest thing to do, though. Hey, these guys have name recognition, histories in the industry and with each other, and have been successful in derailing the WWF ratings before. Nash, DDP, Hogan, Piper, Flair, Duggan, Warrior, and that whole group are great performers, no doubt, and the urge to use them to fix what is broken in WCW will be strong.
However, it would doom WCW. There is a TON of young talent in the WCW right now. Stasiak, Palumbo, Sanders, Reno, and the rest of what was once known as the New Blood are raw, talented, eager, and ready. All they need is a push and older, more experienced and acknowledged wrestlers to put them over. See, that doesn't happen now. Nash and DDP are pushed over the NBT....in fact, the NBT is being used to put DDP and Nash over, and that is just not right. Granted, you have workers like Steiner, Sting, Bigalow, and Jarrett, who are willing to put the young guys over, but very few of the other mentioned veterans will. When did Hogan lay down clean for any of these guys?
There MUST be a re-building period, like there was in the WWF, where unknowns like Road Dogg, The Rock, and HHH were put over by Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, and other grizzled WWF veterans. The last time I saw this occur in the WCW was when Nash allowed Rey Jr. a clean pin a couple years ago. Ratings are down because of these older workers refusing to put young guys over. If I am not mistaken, the WWF streak began during the Hulk Hogan/Goldberg feud. People were already finding the younger guys in the WWF more enticing, with their Attitude and all. The Old Guard in the WCW had lost its luster by then, and it had became evident that the Band-Aid approach that the WCW had taken to their ratings was short term, and they had no backup plan.
The fans watched Hogan become a caricature of himself, watched Luger lose his talents and flexibility, and watched Flair lose his physique. They saw Nash start booking himself titles, watched Hall destroy himself, and watched the Warrior make an absolute fool of himself during his brief return. The age of their gimmicks passed away, and invincibility was replaced by gritty realism and "reality-based" characters. Piper was good, when he didn't wrestle. Flair worked to put people over, and DDP remained popular with his gritty persona, but the group, as a whole, let their egos draw all of WCW into their slide (and that is a FACT, not an opinion).
It is natural to want to remain at the top of the game, and keep the popularity you garnered in your time. However, it is wise to recognize that your time is over, and the needs of the industry dictate that you turn over the spotlight to the young up and comers. I remember Chief Jay Strongbow putting over young heel wrestlers in the very early 80's, and Pedro Morales getting pinned by young guys I don't even remember. This passing of the torch is mentioned in The Rock's and Mick Foley's book, and it seems to be lost on Nash, Hogan, Luger, and that ilk. The greater good of pro wrestling is served best by humility from it's older stars.
Eric Bischoff could bring all these guys back, push them into titles, and get a Nielsen point or two, but it would be short-lived and harmful. Now, if these guys returned to put over the young guys, it may be effective. However, they don't really have a good track record in this facet of their recent careers. Do they? They come back, they perform in a substandard way, fans are turned off, and they decide to watch the WWF. This happened 2 years ago, and it will happen again.
Don't give in, Eric. Push the young guys, and work to redefine the image of WCW, not look for a quick patch.
Come over to our site, bodyslam.cc, for the latest news, rumors, and results. The Crossface Canadian, a new column, will be unveiled Monday (so I've been told). Also, the Crossface Report, out signature column, is new every Sunday. The only thing you gain by exploring Solie's is the best historical info on the 'Net, as well as practically unlimited wrestling resources. See you next week for another Connection
Thunder was back this week and attempting to make up for lost time by throwing everyone into the mix. Jeff Jarrett was forced to face Sid Vicious in the main event in order to keep his spot in the Three-Way Dance main event at Sin, for instance. Jim Duggan got some revenge on Team Canada, while the latest member of that group (Mike Awesome) presented his bus with a new paint job. Later, Duggan faced Awesome in the ring and lost his edge while the Filthy Animals covered the bus with graffiti. Buff Bagwell and Lex Luger were on hand, conspiring with Kronic in their continuing war against Goldberg and his mentor, the Sarge. Chavo Guerrero was showing signs of re-aligning with MIA.
The Tag Team Champs stayed away until just before the end of the program when they ambushed the Natural Born Boobs as they were attempting to leave the arena.
In fact, the only wrestler who didn't show up was the World Champ...or so we thought. Steiner (disguised as the "mystery opponent?" - excuse me, but wasn't it obvious that was Steiner just because the outfit he was wearing completely diguised his unique physique?) did arrived just in time to save Jarrett's butt from Sid...or did he. As the show faded to black, we really weren't sure who had won that crucial match.
My feeling was that perhaps they are in a holding pattern at the moment, waiting for the return of Eric Bishoff...but I could be wrong... I hear different stories about that just about every day.
On SmackDown (recorded Saturday in San Antonio, TX), Steve Austin was the center of the action as usual. First he caught William (Steve) Regal in the garage area, threw him on the hood of a limo and then ran him into a dumpster! These automobile based stunts are getting crazier and crazier. I sincerely hope we're not going to see someone get seriously injured. Austin then hung around backstage waiting for Stephanie to show up. His wife showed up and warned him that he was looking to get fired or arrested if he didn't calm down. He ignored her, of course.
The Rock cut a promo early on challenging Kurt Angle to a match on the program because of Angle's interference in his title contender match on Monday night. Angle's response - "...stop whining...and just bring it!" Maivia ran to the ring but was met on the ramp and the fight was on. At one point, Angle ended up executing the Olympic slam onto the time keeper's table! It looked like the Rock was out of it, but he managed to get back to his feet and the fight continued. After laying out Angle, twice Maivia tried to use a chair in the ring but the referee kept taking it away from him - so he planted the ref with a Rock Bottom! Then he repeated the performance with a second official. With bodies lying all over the ring, the Rock grabbed the WWF Title belt and held it aloft as he celebrated with the crowd.
When Steph arrived at the end of the first hour, Austin met her as she stepped out of her car and chased her right to the ring. He ranted at her as she cowered in front of him, telling her that he warned her about what would happen if she messed with him. At that moment her father showed up and stalked to the ring with a scowl on his face. Vince put on his gravely voice as he demanded, "Who the hell do you think you are?!" Almost immediately, however, Vince became conciliatory, stating that he could reverse the decision on the match with Regal Monday, and put Austin into the Three-Way-Dance for the #1 contender spot on RAW next week...if Austin would agree to leave Steph alone. Austin agreed...then reminded Vince that he hadn't said anything about violence on himself - before he gut kicked him and laid on the Stunner. Vince later set himself up as the special "troubleshooting" referee for the main event (the afore mentioned Three-Way Dance featured the Scarey Brothers and Austin), but it didn't help his cause. Austin, dwarfed in the ring by his two monstrous opponents, won it anyway and will face Kurt Angle for the WWF Title on Monday.
Unfortunately, I was unable to get TNN on my hotel room TV here in Chicago, so there is no RAW report this week.
Nitro was back this week for the first time since before Christmas and the CEO took the ring right at the top of the program to pump up the hometown St. Paul, MN crowd. Right off the bat he questioned the legitimacy of "Barely Adequate" Mike Sanders in his position as Commissioner. In fact he set up a match between Sanders and the Cat at SIN to determine just who the Commissioner would be. A little later, Sanders sent out the Harris Twins to soften up the Cat.
Meanwhile, Flair invoked the name of Jeff Jarrett which brought "the Chosen One" to the platform. Jarrett tried to say that he was just protecting his buddy Steiner when he cheated to win the match with Sid the other night. Flair threatened to cancel the Three Way Dance, which brought Steiner out to protest. Clearly he expects to be teamed up with Jarrett against the mystery opponent - but Flair wasn't so sure, pointing out that Jarrett wants to be the the Champion as well. He clarified his position regarding SIN - stating that the title match would now be a Four-Way-Dance with Sid thrown into the mix. Then he booked a title match between Steiner and Jarrett for tonight! Meanwhile, Goldberg and Sarge arrived backstage looking for Kronic and Shane Douglas was booked for a match agaionst Sid. Clearly they were loadng up this installment to make up for their two week absence.
Chavo Guerrero entered to a slightly altered version of Eddie G's old music tonight. His opponent for tonight was Shannon Moore, who was set for a non-title match - but Chavo decided to make it a title contest just to spite his SIN opponent - Shannon's partner Sugar Shane. I like Chavo's intensity - always have actually, but with his uncle gone to the competition, Chavo now has a better chance to shine. After an initial strong showing, Moore blew a spot and fell off the ropes. Chavo had to hand the advantage back to him to finish the match as planned. BTW - Chavo retained his title.
Terry Funk was back and challanging Scott Steiner, Goldberg, DDP, whoever - to a hardcore match. Anybody but "...that nobody" Crowbar. This brought Crowbar out to declare that he would beat Funk from piller-to-post at SIN - and meanwhile he challenged Funk tonight. But Funk hightailes it out of the ring only to run into Meng, who proceeded to down both of them with a double google. Then he grabbed the Hardcore belt anmd split.
Somebody please shut Jimmy Hart up...puleeeease! The guy has always been annoying, but this DJ challenge thing is just stupid.
In the main event, Steiner tried one more time to get out of a match against his buddy Jarrett, but was ordered to wrestle or be stripped of the title. Of course nothing was settled because Sid and (apparently) the real mystery opponent ran in and started pounding on both of them. Pointless...
At least that's the way I see it...
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