Friday, 13 February 2015

Random WWE Network Day #3

Royal Rumble 1992 (WWF Royal Rumble, 1/19/92)

I've been watching a bunch of Rumble matches on the Network recently. Well, most of the other ones have largely been on as background noise until something catches my attention and I end up watching for a while (until something shinier catches my attention), but I sat and actually watched this the whole way. If it isn't the best Rumble ever then it probably has the most memorable performance from someone IN a Rumble. Flair was everywhere in this. He's worked probably a billion broadways by this point in his career, but this one is totally different in that he's literally working twenty nine (well, twenty eight -- DiBiase gets bounced before he comes in) different guys over the course of the hour. He's still doing "his" match, but he does it with everyone, and the most impressive thing is that he just does not stop. He picks fights with everybody, begs off, gets gorilla pressed or backdropped out the corner or Flair Flops or does any other spot you've seen a hundred times, then he finds someone else to play with and he goes again. Regardless of whether or not you actually enjoy what he's doing, it's hard not to be impressed with his engine. It's also cool to see him match up again with guys like Kerry, Piper, Sid, Jake, Valentine, etc. who he has plenty of history with (even if it's never specifically mentioned on commentary), as well as guys like Hogan and Savage on a big stage (I'm assuming he wouldn't have done much of anything with Savage or Hogan before the WWF). Whole match is basically biggest star in NWA history running the gauntlet against the whole WWF, with the first half primarily revolving around Flair and Davey Boy and the second half picking up with all the big names hitting the ring. It's booked pretty awesome in that regard. Heenan was incredible during this. It's been said before, but it's an amazing commentary job; probably one of the best ever. His energy and enthusiasm makes everything feel bigger, like when Hogan or Sid comes out and he sounds petrified at what it might mean for Flair. "No, no, no, no, no, not him!" Flair strikes up a partnership with Barbarian then tries to blindside him. Heenan: "Aw, don't turn on HIM, Ric!" Piper effectively comes to Flair's aid at one point and Heenan apologizes for every time he said Piper wore a skirt. Then Piper goes after Flair thirty seconds later. Heenan: "You creep, Piper! You skirt-wearin' freak!" He really added a ton to the match. Piper ruled in this as well. His two minute spell alone with Flair was probably my favourite part of the match, and I've said it before and I'll say it again -- his eye poke might be the best ever. Loved Jake in this, even if he wasn't in all that long. Any time the buzzer went he'd stop whatever he was doing and look up the ramp to see if it was Savage, then when it finally was he snuck right out the bottom rope and waited until Undertaker got a hold of Savage for him. Savage eliminating himself by jumping over the top to get to Jake is total Randy Savage craziness and why that guy is the perfect hate feud wrestler. Heenan and Monsoon actually do a pretty great job of coming up with an excuse for him being allowed back in, saying you have to physically be thrown out by someone else in order to be eliminated (even though Andre eliminated himself to get away from Damian in '89 and wasn't allowed back in). I guess they must've introduced the Mil Mascaras rule after 1992. Hogan comes across as such a salty bitch at the end. He gets eliminated more or less the same way he dumped out Warrior in '90, but of course he can't take it and throws a hissy fit. Crowd audibly boo him and cheer Sid post-match, and you can't really blame them for it. Sid played the game and Hogan cried about it, so fuck him (gotta love Sid pointing to the 'Hulk Who?' sign in the crowd). Flair's victory promo is honestly one of the most vivid memories of my childhood. The close up of his peroxide blond hair and crooked teeth as Heenan and Perfect woo in the background has stuck with me ever since I first watched the PPV as a kid. And of course, "Y'all better pay homage...to the man!"

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