The Write Off: Royal Rumble 1991


For those who are new to the column here is how matches are broken down: penalty (bad), audit (average), deduction (good), and return (excellent).

Event Details:
Location: Miami Arena in Miami, Florida
Hosts: Gorilla Monsoon and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper
Reported Attendance: 16,000

As an FYI before we begin, this is the pay-per-view broadcast version of this pay-per-view and not the Coliseum Video release. The only difference between the two is that this one has different Rumble interviews from the Coliseum Video version and includes a Mountie vs. Koko B. Ware match that was not put on the Coliseum video release.

Opening Contest: The Orient Express 2.0 (w/Mr. Fuji) vs. The Rockers:

This is the Kato and Pat Tanaka combination of the Orient Express and to make the distinction I am labeling them as Orient Express 2.0. Tanaka ambushes Marty Jannetty from behind when he’s perched on the second rope looking out on the crowd and knocks him to the floor. The Express double-backdrop Shawn Michaels before Jannetty returns to the ring and dropkicks Kato to the outside before thrust kicking Tanaka. The Rockers give Tanaka a double-bodyslam but Kato pulls his partner to the outside to avoid a double team move off of opposite corners by the Rockers. However, when the Express regroup on the floor they are greeted with a pair of suicide dives from the Rockers which wakes up the crowd. When we get back inside Kato and Jannetty start us off with Jannetty working on a headlock and getting a near-fall until Kato fights out. However, Kato fails to get a rollup on Jannetty and gets hiptossed to the canvas. On the mat Kato gets a rolling cradle for two but Jannety bridges out into a backslide for two. Kato unloads on Jannetty but when he tags in Tanaka, Jannetty leapfrogs over a running Kato and the Express collide. Jannetty armdrags Tanaka and locks in an armbar before tagging in Michaels who gives a double axehandle to the extended arm. Michaels continues the work on the arm and hits Tanaka with a shoulderblock but Tanaka catches Michaels with a beautiful spinning forearm off the ropes for two. Tanaka applies a chinlock.

Blind tag to Kato as Michaels whips out of the headlock and while the Express prevent themselves from running into each other Michaels comes from behind to give them a double-noggin knocker. Michaels gives Tanaka a running kneelift and then a snapmare for two before applying a chinlock of his own. However, Tanaka fights out only to get caught in a sleeperhold. Nevertheless, when Jannetty tries to intercept an interfering Kato he gets cut off by the referee and Kato uses the opportunity to deliver a chop off the second rope to the back of Michaels head. That gives us a double KO as Tanaka gets up first and gives Michaels a legsweep. Tanaka gives a martial arts beatdown to Michaels as Piper shows his usefulness on commentary in explaining how the martial arts blows are legal. Michaels is able to regain the edge in the corner by pounding on Tanaka and when Kato tries to sneak up behind him, Michaels gives him a moonsault off of the top rope. We get a four-way brawl as the Express go dose-doe on a whip but the Rockers somersault over them on a side suplex and then dropkick the Express out of the ring. The Rockers then do fake dives out to the floor and when the Express taunt the audience they are greeted by top rope bodypresses to the floor. This match is just insane right now in terms of action and crowd reaction.

Back in, Michaels gives Kato a snapmare for two and tags in Janetty. The Rockers hit a double-elbow off the ropes for two and Jannetty applies a chinlock as some idiot in the front row chants boring. Michaels gets tagged in and after a Jannetty punch delivers a vertical suplex for one before Tanaka breaks it up. Michaels whips Kato into the corner but a blind charge sees him get caught by Kato and Tanaka runs along the apron to grab Michaels by the hair and hot shot him across the top rope. Damn, that looked brutal. Kato stomps away on Michaels and proceeds to distract the referee as Tanaka drapes Michaels over the apron and Fuji hits him with the cane. Kato then holds Michaels in place over the ropes as Tanaka runs the ropes and jumps onto Michaels back and after some taunting Kato covers for two before Jannetty interrupts the count. Tanaka then comes in and applies a nerve hold but Michaels arm only drops twice.

However, Michaels is too exhausted to get to his feet and Tanaka covers for two. Michaels tries to make a comeback when Kato is tagged in but Kato reverses a whip into the corner and Michaels does the Flair flip which culminates in Tanaka thrust kicking Michaels back inside when he is standing on the apron. The Express then double-clothesline Michaels for two. We get a double KO when Michaels jams Tanaka’s head into the canvas when he puts his head down on a whip but before Michaels can go and tag Jannetty, Kato runs into the ring and cuts it off. The Express try to double-clothesline Michaels with part of their martial arts gear but Michaels does a very smart thing in ducking the clothesline and then splashing onto the outstretched gear on his return trip to force the Express to collide into each other for double KO #2.

Michaels then gives one of the loudest momentum swinging tags you will ever see to Jannetty and he unloads on the Express with fists, slams, and dropkicks. Jannetty hits a powerslam off the ropes on Kato for two. Jannetty hits a spinning elbow off the ropes on Kato for one until Tanaka interrupts and we get a four-way brawl with Michaels taking the battle with Tanaka to the outside. Inside the ring we see a battle over a backslide which goes Kato’s way after Tanaka comes back in and kicks Jannetty but that only gets a near-fall. Michaels then trips Kato when he runs the ropes and Jannetty covers for two. Another four-way brawl ensues as the Rockers double-thrust kick Kato and the Rockers try a Rocket launcher but Tanaka nails Jannetty and Michaels falls off the top rope and to the floor in a brutal bump. Kato slams Jannetty and then slingshots Jannetty into a Tanaka chop. The Express try to do the maneuver again but this time Michaels comes into the ring, hits Tanaka in the cut, and Kato unknowingly slingshots Jannetty into an injured Tanaka which allows Jannetty to get a sunset flip at 19:17.

MATCH RATING: RETURN. This is one of the best opening matches in WWF history and the Orient Express were always good for an opening match at the Royal Rumble as is evidenced by their match the next year with the New Foundation. Sure, there are some rest holds used in the match but they are very short spots and the action kept moving which was the important thing for me. Also, the finishing sequence was quite cool.

-Sensational “Queen” Sherri comes out looking rather attractive and invites/goads the WWF Champion The Ultimate Warrior to the interview platform with “Mean” Gene Okerlund and asks him if he will grant “Macho King” Randy Savage a title shot if he successfully defends the title against Sergeant Slaughter later in the evening. The whole story behind this is that Slaughter had already told Savage that if he beat the Warrior that he would give Savage a title match and Savage wanted the same assurance from the Warrior. Warrior eventually comes to ringside and Sherri tries to seduce him into saying yes but the Warrior resists and screams no in her face after he convulses uncontrollably. Meanwhile, Savage goes irate in his dressing room and races to the interview area but the Warrior is long gone. Keep this segment in mind because it is important later on.

-Funny ad urging people to get tickets for WrestleMania VII at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. We all know how well that turned out but it is pretty embarrassing that they hyped ticket sales for nearly a year in advance but they could not sell out the Coliseum. Then again, they did not really have a killer match that would have sold the card in an arena that size but that is another issue for another day.

The Barbarian (w/Bobby “the Brain” Heenan) vs. The Big Bossman:

This was in the waning stages of the Bossman versus Heenan family feud which would culminate in an Intercontinental Championship match with Mr. Perfect at WrestleMania VII. Barbarian waits for almost a minute and a half to enter the ring and when he does we see a lockup and the Barbarian gain the advantage with a knee to the mid-section. Barbarian unloads with fists but a whip into the ropes is reversed and the Bossman delivers a big boot and a running spinning forearm to knock the Barbarian out of the ring. Outside, Bossman throws Barbarian into the post and the Bossman pulls Barbarian onto the apron but that just gets him a poke in the eyes. The Barbarian tries to hit the Bossman with a top rope axehandle but gets a fist to the gut and a Cactus clothesline sends Barbarian to the floor. Bossman only hits the apron, though, and then leans over the ropes toward Heenan and spits at him. I am surprised the Bossman has not done something stupid like chase after Heenan yet.

Back in, the Barbarian blocks a hiptoss and hits a suplex giving us a double KO. Barbarian gets up first and nails the Bossman with a short-arm clothesline. Barbarian hits the Bossman with a right hand and the Bossman gets his foot caught in between the bottom and middle rope which allows the Barbarian to unload some more. Outside, the Barbarian rams the Bossman’s back into the ring post and when the Barbarian distracts the referee Heenan gets in a cheap kick to the Bossman’s stomach. Back in, the Barbarian continues to unload and gives the Bossman a backbreaker for two. Barbarian applies a bearhug which makes sense psychology wise due to the ring post and suplex bumps but the Bossman fights his way out only to get knocked back down to the canvas. Barbarian nails a series of elbowdrops for two before going back to the bearhug. You know, those elbowdrops should have been on the Bossman’s back instead but I digress. The Bossman’s hand only drops twice and he headbutts and bites his way out of the maneuver. I have always wondered why someone never tried that escape before.

Bossman hits an enzeguri for double KO #2 and the Bossman covers for two. Bossman unloads near the ropes and whips Barbarian in but a blind charge eats buckle and the Barbarian busts out a rollup for two. I guess the Barbarian decided to put on his working boots tonight and believe me it is a welcome change. Bossman catches the Barbarian in a lunge of the ropes and hot shots him for two before the Barbarian puts his hand on the rope to break. We then get a double shoulderblock spot for double KO #3. Barbarian gets up first and hits his top rope flying clothesline finisher but the Bossman puts his foot on the ropes to break at two. Bossman hits the Bossman slam but takes too long to cover and the Barbarian gets a FINGER on the ropes to break at two. It is like they borrowed a page out of Austin-Rock on that sequence. Barbarian hits a brutal pogo piledriver and tries a top rope crossbody but the Bossman rolls through and that finishes things at 14:13 as Heenan runs to the back.

MATCH RESULT: DEDUCTION. For a big man match this was pretty good. Bossman and Barbarian could have zoned it in and just traded rest holds or had endless tests of strength but had a solid back and forth match filled with an exciting finishing sequence that saw several near-falls off of brutal power moves. That kind of effort is always going to be rewarded and it is with a deduction rating.

-Sean Mooney is with Sergeant Slaughter and General Adnan and Slaughter tells The Ultimate Warrior that there will be turmoil when he wins the WWF Championship later on in the evening. Pretty good promo with Slaughter telling the Warrior that his months, weeks, and hours are no longer numbered but his seconds are.

-Okerlund is with WWF Champion The Ultimate Warrior and his promo is actually pretty coherent and he says he will be the ultimate victor in the upcoming title match.

WWF Championship Match: The Ultimate Warrior (Champion) vs. Sergeant Slaughter (w/General Adnan):

Warrior charges into the ring, ducks under a double-clothesline attempted by Slaughter and Adnan with the Iraqi flag and gives them a double-clothesline of his own. Warrior then clotheslines Adnan over the top rope and Adnan flees to the locker room as Warrior tears breaks the flag across his knee and rips it as the crowd goes apeshit. Warrior proceeds to beat Slaughter from pillar to post while sticking the pieces of the flag in his mouth and then choking him with other parts of the flag. Warrior whips Slaughter chest-first into the corner and then clotheslines him against the buckle. Slaughter then takes another chest-first turnbuckle bump and that sends him over the top rope and to the floor. Sensational “Queen” Sherri then comes to ringside as the Warrior continues to slaughter Slaughter on the outside. Back in, Warrior knocks Slaughter down with two shoulderblocks but when he runs the ropes for a third, Sherri grabs his ankle and he proceeds to leave the ring and chase Sherri down the aisle.

Just as the Warrior passes the length of the entrance guardrail, though, he is suddenly ambushed by “Macho King” Randy Savage and I mean the camera is PERFECT for this shot as the television audience does not even see Savage lying in wait until he blindsides Warrior with a clothesline. Savage then does one of the best hit and run beatdowns I have ever seen by taking the Warrior into the guardrail and hitting him with a LIGHTING STRUCTURE. Warrior is outside of the ring for quite a while as he crawls back to ringside but Slaughter continues to break the referee’s count because, of course, the title cannot change hands on a countout or disqualification. Slaughter throws Warrior back inside when he gets close to the ring and pounds on the back unmercifully. Slaughter gives the Warrior a backbreaker and then spits on him as the crowd is OUTRAGED and boos Slaughter like there is no tomorrow. Double clothesline spot gives us a double KO and Slaughter gets up first and applies a bearhug. Warrior fights out and gives Slaughter a slam but collapses because his back is too injured. Wow, we even have psychology in a Warrior match here! Slaughter delivers elbowdrops to the back, another backbreaker, and applies the Camel Clutch but the Warrior’s legs are under the bottom rope so the referee forces the hold to be broken.

Slaughter argues over the decision and the Warrior begins shaking the ropes to channel his Gods or whatever motivates him. Slaughter gets clotheslined three times and gets hit with a flying shoulderblock. Sherri returns to ringside and hops onto the apron carrying a royal septer which she sets on the apron and the Warrior grabs her by the hair and tosses her into the ring. Warrior gorilla presses Sherri and then dumps her on top of Savage who has also returned to ringside. However, Slaughter sneaks up behind the Warrior and gives him a running kneelift in the back and then chokes him on the middle rope and as the referee pulls Slaughter away, Savage picks up the septer and smashes it over Warrior’s head. Slaughter then pulls Warrior’s limp body off of the middle rope and an elbowdrop makes the pinfall a formality at 12:45. To say that the crowd is stunned by this is an understatement and Monsoon and Piper are yelling at the referee to disqualify Slaughter or for officials to return to ringside and void the decision. Piper’s reaction, though, when they announce Slaughter as the new WWF Champion is priceless, though.

MATCH RATING: DEDUCTION. Some might be surprised at that rating but I am going to explain it. The wrestling was not necessarily the best BUT the crowd heat and the ways that they utilized interference were exemplary. All of the run-ins were well timed and protected the Warrior’s invincible image while gaining even more heat for Slaughter. Additionally, the commentary from Monsoon and Piper was spot on in this match and that also helps out.

-ANOTHER “buy tickets for WrestleMania VII” promotional video airs.

“The Birdman” Koko B. Ware (w/Frankie) vs. The Mountie (w/Jimmy Hart):

The Mountie was a new gimmick and this was used as the filler match to calm the crowd down after the injustice they had to suffer through in the WWF Championship match. The Mountie is also not wearing his black hat and sunglasses which would become a staple of his character later on. Lockup starts this one off and Koko uses his speed to maneuver around the Mountie. Koko hits Mountie with a dropkick and Mountie bails as the crowd is using this match to relax and it stays quiet. Then again, when you have a jobber and a new gimmick in the ring your not going to get much of a reaction. Back inside, Koko takes the Mountie down and applies an armbar but when he later tries to run at the Mountie he gets backdropped to the arena floor. Hart then distracts the referee as the Mountie electrocutes Koko on the outside of the ring with the cattle prod and Piper makes the astute observation that he has never seen a Mountie carry a cattle prod.

Back inside, Mountie uses what Monsoon calls “control techniques” on Koko and as he takes Koko to the buckle Hart makes fun of Koko in front of Frankie in a nice Kodak moment. Mountie hits a spinning elbow off of the ropes and chokes away as I am just wishing for this match to go away. Koko gets a fluke sunset flip for two. Mountie throws Koko to the outside as Hart continues to get in Frankie’s face and Koko takes his time getting onto the apron. Mountie chokes Koko on the top rope and knocks Koko down with a knee. Back in, Mountie tries a piledriver but Koko backdrops out of it. However, he is too weak to capitalize and the Mountie snapmares him and gives him a field goal kick.

Koko gets a swinging neckbreaker, though, when the Mountie puts his head down on a whip, gets a headbutt, and then a flying headbutt off the ropes. Koko hits a slam and a missile dropkick for one until Hart distracts him and makes him abandon the cover. Koko gets a reverse bodypress off the second rope for two as he fails to hook the leg. However, when Koko runs the ropes further the Mountie hits him with a chokeslam and that finishes things at 9:11.

MATCH RATING: PENALTY. Typical jobber match here with the Mountie exhibiting his offense and Koko getting in a few token spots. The match might have been decent if a better heel had been working with Koko but the Mountie’s limited offensive set in this match was not conducive to making the crowd care or exhibiting an exciting contest.

-Mooney interviews Savage and Sherri and Savage says no one says no to the Macho King but before he can continue his interview, the Warrior starts pounding on the door and Savage and Sherri flee. Remember this because it also becomes important later on.

-Okerlund interviews the new WWF Champion Sgt. Slaughter with General Adnan and he says he did exactly what he said he was going to do.

-We get a five minute pay-per-view intermission (remember those?) and Lord Alfred Hayes describes the WWF’s Tour de Force throughout the United Kingdom.

-WWF fans tell the soldiers in the Gulf to kick butt and come home safe.

-Royal Rumble interviews!: Jake “The Snake” Roberts, The Earthquake (w/Jimmy Hart), Greg “the Hammer” Valentine, the Texas Tornado, the Legion of Doom, the Undertaker (w/Brother Love), Hacksaw Jim Duggan, “The Model” Rick Martel, the British Bulldog, Mr. Perfect (w/Bobby “the Brain” Heenan), and Tugboat.

-Mooney interviews “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase and Virgil and DiBiase says he has bought the best bodyguard and tag team partner money can buy and Dusty and Dustin Rhodes will find out that money is indeed thicker than blood.

“The American Dream” Dusty & Dustin Rhodes vs. “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase & Virgil:

This would be the culmination of the Rhodes-DiBiase feud that erupted out of the 1990 SummerSlam when DiBiase paid Rhodes’s valet Sapphire to leave him. This would also be Virgil’s wrestling debut after serving for years as DiBiase’s bodyguard and interfering in his matches. DiBiase and Virgil ambush the Rhodes’s to start but when they try to whip them into each other they are reversed and DiBiase and Virgil are whipped into each other and then beaten out of the ring. DiBiase orders Virgil into the ring to take out Dustin Rhodes and they start with Virgil nailing Dustin over the referee’s head when they are tied in the ropes but Dustin hits Virgil with a flying shoulderblock and a dropkick and Virgil bails where he is yelled at by DiBiase. Back in, Virgil unloads but is taken down by a Dustin shoulderblock. Dustin stomps on Virgil’s head when he tries a monkeyflip off of the ropes, delivers an elbow, and clotheslines Virgil out of the ring.

DiBiase tells Virgil that he is embarrassing him and when Virgil rolls back in DiBiase gets tagged in and tells Virgil that he will show him how it is done. DiBiase hits Dustin with a knee to the mid-section and a clothesline. DiBiase takes Dustin to the buckle and unloads in the corner. DiBiase hits a backdrop and a fistdrop while taunting Dusty. However, Dustin throws DiBiase’s head into the canvas when he ducks his head on a while and the Rhodes’s pinball DiBiase between them and that sends DiBiase to the floor. Dusty gets tagged in and he rolls DiBiase inside. Dusty hits some elbows in the corner and applies a sleeperhold but Virgil comes in to break off the maneuver.

Dustin gets tagged in and he hits a dropkick for two before Virgil interrupts the count. DiBiase rakes the eyes to regain the advantage and tags in Virgil who gets whipped into the corner but moves out of the way of the Dustin blind charge and Dustin’s knee eats the buckle. Virgil goes after the knee like a shark smelling blood in the water and then earns his paycheck by slamming Dustin’s knee into the ring post and he and DiBiase proceed to do that about ten times in front of and behind the referee’s back. Now THAT is how you take out a knee.

DiBiase holds Dustin in place for a Virgil punch off of the ropes but Dustin moves and DiBiase takes the blow. Virgin apologizes but DiBiase punks him out and tosses him to the arena floor. All of this enables Dusty to receive the momentum swinging tag and he throws DiBiase into the corner and hit him with a running elbow but when Dusty tries to do the move again in the opposite corner DiBiase moves and rolls up Dusty for the clean pin at 9:57.

After the match finishes DiBiase tells Virgin to go and get his Million Dollar belt and then get into the ring and fasten it around his waist. After a delay Virgil gets the belt and gets into the ring but he then drops the belt at DiBiase’s feet as a fan’s cup of liquid hits DiBiase right square in the back. After DiBiase berates Virgil some more, Virgil gets on his feet to pick up the belt and DiBiase turns to the crowd. However, after he finishes his line “everyone has a price for the Million Dollar Man” and turns around Virgil clocks him with the Million Dollar Belt to a LOUD reaction. I have to tell you, this crowd in Miami has been fantastic tonight.

MATCH RATING: AUDIT. Simple and formulaic tag team match here, nothing more and nothing less. The clean pin was a further way of burying the Rhodes family as both Dusty and Dustin would leave the WWF shortly after this and the DiBiase-Virgil feud wrote itself throughout 1991.

-Okerlund interviews “The Immortal” Hulk Hogan and he dedicates the Rumble match to all of the soldiers in the Persian Gulf who are fighting for the coalition forces against Saddam Hussein. He also tells Sgt. Slaughter that his reign as WWF Champion will only be temporary. OMG HOGAN’S SHOOTIN’!!!

Royal Rumble Match:

#1 is co-holder of the WWF Tag Team Championship Bret “the Hitman” Hart from the Hart Foundation as he draws his second #1 in four Rumbles. #2 is drawn by “Canadian Strongman” Dino Bravo. I guess this draw was rigged against Canadians. Lockup starts us off with Bravo pushing Bret into the corner. Another lockup sees Bravo push Bret into the ropes but he comes off the ropes with a forearm and then hits a dropkick, atomic drop, and clotheslines Bravo in the back of the head but cannot toss Bravo over the top rope. Bravo nails Bret with an inverted atomic drop and slam but an elbowdrop misses. However, Bravo nails Bret with his trademark sidewalk slam. #3 is Greg “the Hammer” Valentine and he attacks Bravo as the NEW DREAM TEAM EXPLODES! Jimmy Hart hops on the apron to ask Valentine what he thinks he is doing and as Valentine looks at him he gets attacked from behind by Bravo. However, Valentine takes Bravo to the buckle several times and then dumps him out of the ring and then pushes Hart off the apron when he continues to argue with him. Bret and Valentine then square off and Bret tries to toss out Valentine but fails. #4 is Paul Roma of Power & Glory and Roma and Valentine beat down Bret but Roma quickly turns on Valentine. We basically get a triple threat match for the next two minutes as everyone trades elimination attempts with the help of the odd man out and fights with each other. #5 is the Texas Tornado and he goes right after Roma. Tornado hits Roma with his discus punch finisher and Valentine flops after a Tornado blow. Basically you have Tornado and Bret acting as faces and not fighting, Valentine acting as a tweener who will fight anyone, and Roma going full blown heel at this point in the match.

#6 is “The Model” Rick Martel and he tries to dump out Bret but is stopped by a Roma kick to the gut. Martel then tries to dump out Roma in a fireman’s carry position as Valentine gets torn apart by Bret and Tornado. Roma and Martel put aside their differences to attack Bret until Roma decides to give Martel a stiff clothesline. #7 is Saba Simba as Monsoon and Piper remain silent wondering who in the hell he is as he runs down the entrance ramp and finally when he hits the ring Monsoon announces his name. Tornado comes close to eliminating Martel but no go. Martel then survives another elimination courtesy of Bret. The entry times are staggered at OVER two minutes at this point as #8 is Butch of the Bushwhackers and the crowd comes alive with the Bushwhacker dance. Butch stomps around the ring until Valentine hits him in the gut. Simba tries to dump Martel out but Martel falls onto the apron and Simba’s forward momentum carries him out of the match. #9 is Jake “the Snake” Roberts and he is attacked immediately by Martel because they had an issue. Jake unloads on Martel with some fists, a stomachbreaker, slams his face into the mat, and a short-arm clothesline as the crowd explodes. However, when Roberts signals for the DDT Martel bails and Roberts follows but they quickly return to the ring where Valentine cuts off Roberts and unloads on him. Martel tries to hide out on the apron and Jake tries to knock him off to eliminate him even going so far as to bite his fingers but that fails. #10 is Hercules from Power & Glory and he attacks Butch who is trying to eliminate his partner Roma in the far corner. Valentine nearly accomplishes a double-elimination with Bret and Martel but Roberts breaks that up. We have got quite a midcarder battle in the ring right now between good workers with the exception of Bushwhacker Butch.

#11 is Tito Santana and as soon as he renews the Strike Force feud that never quite ended between himself and Martel. Just let it go Tito! Meanwhile, Roma runs at Roberts with a clothesline but Roberts backdrops him out of the match. Valentine tries to get another double elimination with Martel and Santana but Bret breaks that up. #12 is The Undertaker and he immediately attacks Bret, lifts him up in a choke, and dumps Bret out of the match with ease ending Bret’s tenure in the match at a little over twenty minutes. This is a great match to showcase the Undertaker in as he takes blows from Roberts and Tornado and just shakes him off like T2000 in Terminator 2. #13 is “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka and he attacks Martel. The Undertaker hurls Butch to the floor to eliminate him. Tornado continues to go after the Undertaker and the Undertaker basically kicks his ass. #14 is the British Bulldog and he tangles with Valentine. Tornado and Santana try to desperately eliminate the Undertaker but that does not work out too well. Martel has serious damage done to his private region as Roberts gives him an inverted atomic drop and Bulldog gives him an atomic drop of his own. #15 is Smash of Demolition and he attacks Bulldog but eventually gets clotheslined for his efforts. Martel crawls along the apron on the outside, sneaks behind Roberts, and then snapmares him over the top rope and to the floor when he tussles with Hercules inside the ring. I have to give it to Martel, that was a pretty sneaky elimination.

#16 is Hawk of Legion of Doom and in a funny spot he hits anything that moves so all of the guys in the match team up and pound on Hawk at once. #17 is Shane Douglas and he attacks Smash. Tornado tries to give the Undertaker a discus punch near the ropes but the Undertaker ducks and backdrops Tornado to the floor. Seconds later Hawk hurls Snuka to the floor and sends him to the showers. Santana and Douglas increase Martel’s misery by giving him a double-clothesline and Santana and Valentine come close to eliminating Martel before Smash intervenes. #18 does not show up so you have to wait until the end of the Rumble to find out who that is. #19 is Animal of Legion of Doom and he also hits everything that moves. The Legion of Doom both unload on the Undertaker and when he tries to choke both of them they kick him in the gut and double-clothesline him to the floor to a big pop. However, when Hawk continues to look down at Undertaker on the floor he is double-clotheslined out of the match from behind by Hercules and Martel. Martel is nearly eliminated again by Santana but Smash breaks that up. #20 is Crush of Demolition and he helps Smash in beating up the Bulldog. I guess we just missed out on a Legion of Doom-Demolition showdown with Hawk’s elimination minutes earlier. Santana and Valentine both try to throw out Martel but Hawk saves him this time. Valentine and Martel clash over who can be in the match the longest but Martel rakes Valentine’s eyes to save himself from elimination.

#21 is former Rumble winner Hacksaw Jim Duggan and he tussles with Smash to a big crowd reaction. As much as I do not like Duggan I cannot deny the fact that he is not over with the crowd. #22 is Earthquake and you can hear the crowd groan as they know some of their favorites might be living on borrowed time in the ring. Earthquake slugs it out with Animal and Animal stuns Earthquake with two clotheslines but a third gets him backdropped to the floor. Bulldog nearly has Martel out of the match another time but Smash again aids Martel. Did Martel pay him off before the match or what? #23 is Intercontinental Champion Mr. Perfect and he is smart by WALKING down to ringside as opposed to running like the twenty-two participants before him in the match. When Perfect does get to the ring he fights it out with Duggan and bumps like a champ. Duggan tries to clothesline Perfect out and while that might have worked in 1988 this is 1991 and Perfect backdrops Duggan to the floor. #24 is Hulk Hogan who is introduced by a fan nearly the entranceway who screams “It’s Hulk Hogan!” Hogan is nailed by Smash and Perfect when he enters the ring but soon gives Smash a big boot and then hurls him to the arena floor. Hogan pounds on Earthquake in the corner and tries to eliminate him with the help of Bulldog but Perfect makes the save. Santana nearly eliminates Martel but fails again and Hercules and Earthquake almost eliminate Hogan but he saves himself. #25 is Haku and when he gets into the ring Hogan backdrops out Valentine to end Valentine’s time in the match at an amazing forty-three minutes, four shy of the Rumble record. Hogan nearly eliminates Martel but Haku saves him. Martel is like Harry Houdini in there tonight, you just cannot trap that guy long enough to eliminate him.

#26 is Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart of the Hart Foundation and he attacks Hercules. Perfect suffers a few scares from Earthquake and Hogan but stays alive. Earthquake throws Santana out and then hits Hogan in the gut when he tries to eliminate Perfect. I am surprised Martel did not throw out Santana since he basically dominated their entire feud. Nearly all of the heels in the ring try to eliminate Hogan but in a twist of irony Douglas saves him. #27 is Luke of the Bushwhackers and he does the Bushwhacker dance through one end of the ring and Earthquake throws him out on the other side in the shortest and possibly funniest elimination in Rumble history. Neidhart nearly throws out Martel but Hercules breaks that up and Earthquake gets close to tossing Hogan out until Douglas and Bulldog break it up. #28 is Brian Knobbs of the Nasty Boys and he does the LOD thing in hitting everyone so everyone gangs up on him. Knobbs is nearly eliminated by Neidhart and Hercules but he rakes their eyes and staves off elimination. Knobbs eventually backdrops Hercules to the floor after he had been in the match for over thirty minutes. #29 is the Warlord and he attacks Bulldog who he would feud with from the beginning to end of 1991. Crush tries to punch Hogan on the second rope but Hogan grabs his legs and tosses him out. Hogan then ducks under a Warlord clothesline and clotheslines the Warlord out. #30 is Tugboat meaning that #18 was “Macho King” Randy Savage who the announcers speculate was driven out of the arena by the Ultimate Warrior and Tugboat goes right after Earthquake.

Remaining participants: Perfect, Douglas, Knobbs, Neidhart, Bulldog, Martel, Tugboat, Earthquake, Haku, and Hogan. Neidhart nearly eliminates Perfect with a clothesline but he just hits the apron. Knobbs eliminates Douglas off camera. Tugboat nearly tosses out Martel but Martel rakes his eyes to save himself yet again. Tugboat and Hogan collide and Tugboat dumps Hogan out but Hogan lands on the apron and then backdrops Tugboat out when he battles with Martel in the opposite corner. The crowd boos Tugboat but I think Hogan attacked Tugboat first…Anyway, Bulldog crotches Perfect on the top rope and then dropkicks him to the arena floor to eliminate him and Heenan throws Perfect’s towel into the crowd in frustration. That would be a cool souvenir. Martel dumps out Neidhart. Bulldog dumps out Haku when Haku charges at him. Martel tries to eliminate Hogan but fails and he beats up Bulldog as Knobbs and Earthquake collide with Hogan. Martel hits the Bulldog in the back with a double axehandle off the second rope and slams him but in a STUPID move Martel goes to the top rope and Bulldog crotches him up there like he did Perfect and clotheslines Martel to the floor. I always HATE that elimination because Martel had generated more heat from this match than any of the other participants aside from Hogan and your telling me that after he had lasted FIFTY-FOUR MINUTES that he could not have gone to the final two BUT BRIAN FREAKIN’ KNOBBS had to be in the final four? Sorry, that just irritates me. As a bit of consolation Martel gets the new Rumble longevity record.

Final four: Bulldog, Knobbs, Hogan, and Earthquake. Bulldog saves Hogan from elimination by Knobbs and Earthquake but gets beaten down and eliminated quickly by the pair for his troubles. Knobbs and Earthquake give Hogan a double-clothesline and Knobbs drops a series of elbowdrops as Earthquake hits a splash. Earthquake delivers the Quake and he and Knobbs face the crowd to celebrate but Hogan hulks up. Hogan hits the heels with a double-clothesline of his own and gives a big boot to send Knobbs to the floor. Hogan and Earthquake finish off their rivalry with Hogan getting some fists and a big boot. Hogan knocks Jimmy Hart off the apron but when Hogan tries to slam him he fails because of Earthquake’s enormous girth. Earthquake hits two elbowdrops and a powerslam but then stupidly goes for a pin which does not exist in the match. Hogan hulks up a second time, fires away with fists, gives another big boot, successfully slams Earthquake this time, and clotheslines Earthquake out from behind to win the Rumble at 65:13. Afterward, Hogan takes an American flag out of the audience and waves it and poses as the crowd goes home happy.

MATCH RATING: DEDUCTION. This is one of my favorite Rumbles because it is the only one I have seen where all of the draw times were actually two minutes plus. It was not as star studded as the 1992 Rumble would end up being and was not as perfectly booked so it does not get a return rating. I still wish the final three had been Hogan, Earthquake, and Martel with Hogan eliminating Quake and then Martel for reasons I explained above. I mean I understand the need to blow off the Earthquake feud with Hogan and I do not dispute that Hogan should not have won because unlike 1990 there was no other way the show could have ended with the way the WWF put the title on Slaughter at this show. I just think Martel would have benefited immensely from being the final participant Hogan eliminated moreso than Earthquake but I rest my case. Good Rumble, though.

Logan Scisco has been writing wrestling reviews for Inside Pulse since 2005. He considers himself a pro wrestling traditionalist and reviews content from the 1980s-early 2000s. Most of his recaps center on wrestling television shows prior to 2001. His work is featured on his website ( and he has written three books, available on