Each and every Thursday, I will look back at a different event pay-per-view event wrestling history via the WWE Network. Want to see a certain event covered here? Send your suggestions to @VaughnMJohnson on Twitter.
Last week, I looked back at Summerslam 2002.
WWE Royal Rumble 1992
Date: January 18, 1992
Venue: Knickerbocker Arena, Albany, N.Y.
- The New Foundation (Owen Hart & Jim Neidhart) def. The Orient Express
- Intercontinental Championship – Roddy Piper def. The Mountie
- The Beverly Brothers (Mike Enos & Wayne Bloom) def. The Bushwackers
- The Natural Disasters (Earthquake & Typhoon) def. Legion of Doom via countout
- Ric Flair wins Royal Rumble to become WWE Champion
- This event was the first and only time in that the Royal Rumble was used to determine a new WWE Champion. The reason why the title was decided in Royal Rumble match was because it was vacated after a number of controversial matches between Hulk Hogan and The Undertaker. The WWE hasn’t had a reason to put the title on the line in a Royal Rumble match since, but the next year the company added another incentive to winning the big match. Beginning in 1993, the winner of the Royal Rumble match earned a shot at the WWE Championship at WrestleMania, a tradition carries on until this day and makes the Royal Rumble one of the more anticipated events of the year.
- Because the WWE Championship was on the line, it made the Royal Rumble lineup a who’s who in the wrestling business at the time. All of the top stars in the WWE at the time were entered into the match, making it in my opinion, and many others, the greatest Royal Rumble match of all time. It probably won’t be topped anytime soon. There were 15 future WWE Hall of Famers in this match, including Col. Mustafa, who’s more known as The Iron Sheik, Kerry Von Erich, who was inducted into the Hall alongside his family and a young Shawn Michaels, who was only a week removed from turning on his longtime tag team partner Marty Jannetty. Not to mention all of the huge names, including Hogan, The Undertaker, Ric Flair, Jake Roberts and Roddy Piper.
- When counting the number of WWE Hall of Famers that participated in that match, I mistakenly counted Randy Savage multiple times. My instincts automatically lumped him in with the rest of the Hall of Famers because he was such a huge name that I completely forgot that he hasn’t been inducted yet, which is a crying shame. I don’t need to get on my soapbox and talk about how great Savage was. If you’re reading this, more than likely you are more than aware that Savage is one of the greatest characters and in-ring performers that ever lived.
- Adding to how great the Royal Rumble was, was the commentary of Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. These two were a fantastic pair that played off each other so well it’s crazy when you compare it to the potty humor we get today on commentary. The best part, however, was the emotional roller coaster Heenan went through during the Royal Rumble match, as he had his money behind Flair to win the title. Heenan spent the entire match worrying about Flair and how he was doing. It sounded like he was going to cry a certain points.
- Another historic happening occurred on this night, as Roddy Piper won his first championship title with the WWE when he defeated The Mountie for the Intercontinental Championship. Sounds strange, but it’s true. Although Piper had been with the WWE off and on since the middle of the 1980s, he had never won a title. He challenged Hogan for the WWE Championship numerous times, but never came out on top despite never being pinned. How does a star like Piper go years without winning a championship? Simple. He didn’t need one. Although the titles meant more back then, they could still be dwarfed by a larger-than-life personality. Piper was a prime example. Another example was Jake Roberts, who never held a WWE title. The characters of Piper and Roberts weren’t about winning titles anyway. They were more about fighting with a purpose far greater than winning championships. Piper fought Hogan so many times because he hated Hulkamania, not because he wanted to be champion. Roberts simply wanted to see people suffer, especially as a heel.
- As great as the Royal Rumble match was, the rest of the card was lackluster at best. Although the top stars being in the Royal Rumble match that specific match great, it hurt the rest of the card. I mean, The Bushwackers and The Beverly Brothers got extensive time in the ring. A ton of time was also given to The New Foundation and the Orient Express. It must have been tough for the fans in the building to have to sit through almost two hours of that before getting to the Royal Rumble.
- Speaking of the New Foundation, I completely forgot that team existed. Saying that I completely forgot something like that may make me look bad, but I’m only being honest and I couldn’t possibly be the only one that forgot. I’m sure there is someone else out that forgot or didn’t know that Jim Neidhart teamed with Owen Hart in ugly pajamas as The New Foundation. There’s no telling how much the WWE was paying Neidhart to wear those ugly, checkered pajamas. It would have taken me a lot of money to put them on.
- I noticed quite a few Coliseum Video exclusives on this show with Lord Alfred Hayes, including Flair talking about being the No. 3 entrant in the Royal Rumble. The Coliseum video wasn’t going to be released until months later, so no one watching the pay-per-views saw these and anyone watching the video already knew what happened more than likely. I found them interesting.