Rebooking the worst Royal Rumble match in history
One of the big events on the wrestling calendar is the January tradition of the Royal Rumble. This Sunday the WWE starts the push towards the biggest event of the year, Wrestlemania, with this show. Now, The Royal Rumble event really is a unique one for the WWE and wrestling as a whole. Sure, it features title matches often times, but let’s face it, no one remembers that crap. This show is about the Royal Rumble match itself. It’s the match that determines one of the featured players for Wrestlemania. Barring injury, the winner of the 30 rumble will be the headliner for the event, especially now that they are down to one single world title to fight for.
Just for shits and giggles I went back and marathonned EVERY Royal Rumble match ever, from the first one in 1988, all the way to last year’s debacle showing just how out of touch the WWE has become. Looking them all over, there were some great Rumbles over the years, 1992 with Ric Flair going nearly an hour for the WWF Title being my pick for the all time best, but there have been some that were just outright dreadful, 1999’s Russoific version of the Rumble that played a back seat to Austin/McMahon, 1998 and 2000 where the outcomes were so certain that it was almost a waste to have them at all. But the all time dirt worst Royal Rumble match for me was 1995. So I’m breaking out the blank book and doing some Revisionist History for the 1995 Royal Rumble show.
Let’s take a look back to January 1995 in the WWF. Diesel (Kevin Nash) had won the WWF Title from Bob Backlund in November, crushing him in 8 seconds at a house show in Madison Square Garden. “Big Daddy Cool” had done a face turn after being Shawn Michaels running buddy since 1993. On the other side of the coin was Bret Hart. Bret had lost the title to Backlund at the 1994 Survivor Series thanks to Bret’s little brother Owen, continuing their feud that had started at the Rumble the year before.
You also had the ongoing feud of the Undertaker and his feud with Ted Dibiase’s stable of wrestlers. This played off the “Fake Undertaker” plot-line of the summer of 1994, and after Brian Lee (Fake Taker) had been let go, they just moved on to the other guys in the stable. Razor Ramon was the Intercontinental Champion and was facing the challenge of Jeff Jarrett, during his “Country Music Singer” phase of his career. The rest of the WWF though looked really bad. At the point of this show Vince had come off the infamous Steroid trial the summer before and was trying to revitalize the WWF with the “New Generation”. So your shows were mostly filled with Race car drivers, hog farmers, and whatever the hell Aldo Montoya was supposed to be.
So with that here is the card for the 1995 edition of the Royal Rumble:
Razor Ramon defending the IC Title against Jeff Jarrett
The Undertaker V/S I.R.S
WWF Champion Diesel V/S Bret Hart
The 1-2-3 Kid and Bob Holly V/S Tatanka and Bam Bam Bigelow in the finals of the WWF Tag Team Title Tournament.
The Royal Rumble match featuring: Bob Backlund, The Blu Brothers, Adam Bomb, British Bulldog, King Kong Bundy, The Bushwhackers, Crush, Doink, Duke Droese, The Headshrinkers, Henry Godwinn, Owen Hart, The Heavenly Bodies, Kwang, Lex Luger, Mantaur, Rick Martel, Shawn Michaels, Men on a Mission, Aldo Montoya, Dick Murdoch, The Smoking Gunns, and Well Dunn.
While the show looks decent (On paper anyway) This show was pretty much a dud. Jarrett/Ramon had a bunch of matches in 1995, so this one was largely forgotten, the Taker’s match with IRS was just serve to move the Taker to feud with King Kong Bundy, The world Title ended in a double DQ when Shawn Micahels, Owen Hart, and Bob Backlund interfered a bazillion times, and the tag title match was between two teams of thrown together singles guys. The rumble itself was a dud, First, the length of the match being cut in half (it was just over 38 minutes long instead of over an hour), so while the WWE to THIS DAY talk about how Shawn Michaels started and number 1 and won the whole thing, he wasn’t out there nearly as long as a lot of other guys have done. Considering it had 8 tag teams in it, that meant that over half the guys were tag team wrestlers, so no one really believed they were going to headline Wrestlemania, outside of Lex Luger, but Lex’s push had pretty much died at Survivor Series. With the title match being Bret V/s Diesel, that meant that the winner was most likely going to be Owen, Backlund, or Michaels, and both Owen and Backlund were beaten up by Bret Hart during their entrances and tossed out in 2 seconds, so it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out who was going to win.
So, looking things over, here is MY version of the 1995 Royal Rumble:
World Tag Team Title Tournament Final: Bam Bam Bigelow/King Kong Bundy V/S The new Headshrinkers:
I would have put the Smoking Gunns in this match, but one of the Gunns had a neck injury and wasn’t able to take part in the tournament. I don’t mind DiBiase’s stable having a team in the tournament, but putting Bigelow and Bundy together makes more sense to me. The finish would largely be the same with the ‘Shrinkers (Fatu and Sionne (The Barbarian)) upsetting the team and winning the belts, and for Bam Bam to get all mad and go after Lawrence Taylor. But having DiBiase having the unstoppable team going through the tournament would make the story for this match so much better. Winners: The new Headshrinkers
Intercontinental Title: Razor Ramon V/S Jeff Jarrett:
I’d keep the match the same but I’d change the outcome. In reality they restarted this match after a count out with the idea being that Jarrett was playing to Ramon’s ego until her finally won the belt. I would have gone a different route with this one. I’d have the match go back and forth, but have Razor nearly winning the match, only for Jarrett to intentionally take a count out, then claiming he had Ramon beat and could have won it. This would lead to a no DQ/Count out match at Wrestlemania where Jarrett would win the title with a lot of cheating. Winner: Razor Ramon (via Countout)
WWF Title: Diesel V/S Bob Backlund:
This make a hell of a lot more sense to me. Diesel squashed Backlund in 8 seconds to win the title. Backlund claims he wasn’t ready or some such and demands a rematch. Diesel easily accepts. The match would begin with Diesel trying the same thing again but Backlund dodging it. Backlund would keep working over Diesel’s leg for most of the match while the big guy keeps trying to use his power moves. Finally when it looks like Big D can’t finish off Backlund, he gets him in the Jackknife power bomb and wins. Winner: Diesel
The Royal Rumble Match: Obviously I’m going to change it from 1 minute between entrances to at least 90 seconds if not more.
The match would start with #1 Michaels and #2 Adam Bomb. Michaels would spend most of the 2 minutes acting like a pinball for Bomb until #3 Eli Blu came out. Shawn would slink into the corner having Eli do all the work but Bomb would dump Blu to eliminate him from the match and go back to Shawn. #4 would be Tatanka and he and Shawn would double team Bomb until #5 The British Bulldog would arrive. #6 Mo (from Men on a mission), #7 Henry Godwinn, and #8 Man Mountain Rock would enter the fray before a Michaels Superkick sends Bomb out of the match. #9 Jacob Blu and #10 Bushwacker Luke would then join the rumble as Tatanka tosses out Mo.
#11 comes out and it’s Rick Martel, followed by #12 Mantaur. The lights wold go out as The Undertaker is number 13. The deadman takes control of the ring as he throws out Jacob Blu, Luke, Martel, before tossing out Rock and Mantaur at the same time. He gets his hands on Tatanka as the buzzer goes off and #14 IRS enters the match. #15 Doink comes out, followed by Heavenly bodies at 16 and 17. The Taker gets a hold of a tired Tatanka and is about to eliminate him when Ted DiBiase himself grabs the Taker by the hair and eliminates him and then takes off. The Taker goes back into the ring and in one fail swoop to tosses both IRS and Tatanka from the match. #18 Lex Luger arrives into the match followed by #19 Dick Murdoch. Lex and Bulldog send the Bodies both out simultaneously.
We Cut to the back where the Taker and Paul are looking for DiBiase when King Kong Bundy attacks him from behind and lays him out for the entire DiBiase team runs for it.
#20 comes out and it’s Mabel, soon followed by #21 Owen Hart. Mabel belly flops Godwinn from the ring before all the other guys team up to send Mabel over the top rope as well. #22 Bushwacker Butch, #23 Crush, and #24 Aldo Montoya make their way to the ring before Michaels eliminates the Bulldog and Doink in a double elimination. Butch is tossed over the top rope as #25 Billy Gunn, #26 Kwang, and #27 Bart Gunn enter the match. Crush sends Aldo out on his ass, as Bret Hart arrives at #28 and goes right after Owen. This is followed by #29 Duke “The Dumpster” Drosse and #30 Hakushi to round out the numbers.
Murdoch is eliminated by Bret, and Kwang is tossed out by Luger. After starting to fight each other, both Gunns are eliminated by Owen. Crush sends the Dumpster out and Bret dropkicks Hakushi out of the match. Luger and Bret team up to send Crush out.
We are down to the final four with Bret Hart, Owen Hart, Lex Luger, and Shawn Michaels being the last ones remaining. They pair off with Bret and Owen squaring off again with Michaels and Luger fighting each other. After a collision spot in the ring Shawn falls against the ropes and Luger tries to clothesline him, but ducks sending Luger out of the match. Shawn stands back up just in time to see Bret hit a clothesline sending him over the top rope. Bret and Owen start fighting near the other ropes but Shawn wasn’t eliminated. He comes back in and tosses both Harts over the rope and wins the Royal Rumble Match. Winner: Shawn Michaels
*phew* You don’t know how much it was a bitch to write that all out.
Anyway, that’s my idea for the card. I focused on cutting down on the amount of tag teams and putting more firepower into the Rumble itself. The Undertaker already a star at this point, so put him in the rumble, have a DiBiase spot to continue the feud, and add to the rumble itself. The Final four plays out much better with both of last year’s winners in the match, and at least HINT that there could have been a winner other than Shawn before the match was over. Bret, Owen, and Luger were all muuuuch more believable Wrestlemania main eventers than the Bulldog ever was (His heel push wouldn’t happen until August). Not only that, but by cutting a singles match, you could space out the Rumble much better and actually makes Shawn’s first win a lot more memorable than the Shitfest it actually was.
Now, with that all written out. I might as well give my heads up for the Rumble match this year. While I would think that Daniel Bryan is the Audience choice, and after last year being a nightmare for Vince and Trips, I think they won’t learn from their lesson and have Roman Reigns win the match. And since the event is being held in Philly, they will get an even WORSE result at the end of the night.
We shall see.
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