WWE Vintage Collection Report: 17th January 2010
By Shaun Best-Rajah.com Reporter
Hosted by: Mean Gene Okerlund
Welcome aboard. This week, 30 man over-the-top rope fun. We travel back to January 24th 1993 at the Arco Arena in Sacramento, California. The legendary duo of Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan are calling what would be their last PPV together as a duo.
This was the first year that the Rumble winner was guaranteed a WWF Title match at WrestleMania. Bill Alfonso is the referee stationed on the floor to confirm eliminations and prevent any shenanigans. Managers are allowed to lead their protégés to ringside, but aren’t permitted to stay.
We pick things up with two former champions, #1 Ric Flair and #2 (the returning) Bob Backlund squaring off. Monsoon makes a big deal of Backlund returning at 43, forgetting that Flair is 18 months older, before predicting neither will be there at the end. Backlund gets the upper hand, scoring with tackles, a backbodydrop and atomic drop. #3 Papa Shango enters (with his shoulder padded up after suffering an injury at a pre-taped TV show) and chokes Backlund in the ropes, but Flair quickly dumps him from behind with an assist by Backlund. #4 is Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase who works with Flair to double team Backlund and take us into our first commercial break.
When we return #5 Nasty Boy Knobbs has come and gone courtesy of DiBiase, with #6 Virgil and #7 Jerry “The King” Lawler (making his PPV debut) now in the ring. #8 is Max Moon (the Paul Diamond version) complete with neon blue suit. Moon dropkicks Lawler, which Heenan calls “dangerous in a match like this.” Flair tosses Moon who skins the cat back in to deliver an enziguiri kick to Lawler in the corner. Lawler counters a second kick by sending Moon out. #9 is WAR promoter Genichiro Tenryu, who makes his way out to crowd silence. Tenryu wins a chop exchange with Flair prompting Heenan to make a chop suey joke. In a dumb move, Flair slingshots Virgil back into the ring from the apron when it was easier to just punch him off. The crowd give their first big reaction as #10 Mr Perfect runs out to attack Flair. Perfect throws his nemesis from the top rope, delivers a rolling neck snap and ten mounted punches in the corner. Monsoon hypes a career ending match between the two (which had already been taped) for the next night on Raw, stating if either won the Rumble then lost the career match, they’d lose their title shot. #11 Skinner is next in. Perfect ducks under a Flair chop to shove the Naitch out. Flair throws a strop as Perfect celebrates. Wooooooo! This was Flair’s penultimate WWF appearance. He went back to WCW after losing the career match to Perfect, resurfacing in the WWF after the 2001 Survivor Series.
Perfect eliminates Skinner during a break, as #12 Koko B. Ware has now entered followed by #13 Headshrinker Samu, who is dragged by the hair then thrown into the ring by manager Afa.
#14 The Berzerker is next, with Heenan dubbing this as “his type of match.” (Berzerker liked to finish his matches by throwing opponents over the top rope). Lawler tangles with Perfect until Perfect counters a charge by tossing the King out. From behind, DiBiase immediately tips Perfect onto the apron. As Perfect desperately clings to the top rope, DiBiase and Koko try to push him out with their feet. Lawler lends a hand, with DiBiase getting the decisive kick that eliminates Perfect. Out of camera shot, during this, Berzerker eliminates Virgil with a big boot to the head. Referees quickly break-up a Perfect/Lawler brawl. Lawler comes face-to-face with #15 The Undertaker as he slowly walks to the ring with Paul Bearer. Lawler wisely moves out of the way. The crowd quickly get over the disappointment of Perfect’s exit to get behind the Deadman as he chokeslams Samu over the top rope, then absorbs a Tenryu enziguiri kick to backdrop him out. At the same time Berzerker sends Backlund through the ropes to jam a chair into his chest and back then slam him on the concrete floor.
#16 Terrific Terry Taylor (don’t call me the Red Rooster) doesn’t last long as DiBiase pushes him and Koko out from behind as they tussle in the ropes. DiBiase laughs, turns into an Undertaker chokeslam, before being clotheslined out himself. He who laughs last eh Ted? As Undertaker clears the ring by backdropping out a charging Berzerker, Harvey Wippleman makes his way out with (an unidentified) Giant Gonzalez, complete with an airbrushed body suit and stuck on hair. Monsoon and Heenan put Gonzalez over big time as he dwarfs Undertaker during a face-to-face standoff. Despite being an unofficial entrant, Gonzalez chops Undertaker over the top rope to the floor and the elimination counts. Heenan resolves this was Wippleman’s pre-advertised bombshell and revenge for Undertaker putting former charge Kamala in a casket at Survivor Series. Gonzalez sends Undertaker into the ringsteps, then chokeslams him in the ring, drags him to the corner and rams his leg into the ringpost several times, before leaving. Entrants #17 Damian Demento and #18 IRS enter during this, but cower on the outside wanting no part of Gonzalez. Undertaker tries and fails to sit up as #19 Tatanka runs in to save Backlund from Demento and IRS. Paul Bearer revives Undertaker with the urn and he limps to the back, selling Gonzalez’s attack, with Heenan claiming it as the first time the Undertaker has shown any sign of a weakness.
Another round of commercials skips a big portion of action. Entrants #20 Nasty Boy Sags, #21 Typhoon, #22 Headshrinker Fatu, #23 Earthquake, #24 Carlos Colon, (Carlito and Primo’s daddy) #25 El Matador and #26 The Model Rick Martel have all entered. Typhoon has been eliminated by his own tag team partner Earthquake, while Demento has been ousted by Colon, and Backlund has got rid of Fatu. Earthquake has also sent IRS packing. We rejoin just in time to see #27 Yokozuna enter. Monsoon calls him the odds on favourite after drawing a high number. Yoko quickly disposes of Tatanka and Colon, before coming face-to-face with Earthquake. The crowd come alive for this faceoff between two former sumo wrestlers and miss #28 “The Rocket” Owen Hart run in. Quake staggers Yoko into the corner with tackles and clotheslines, then hits an avalanche. Yoko avoids a second avalanche and eliminates the Natural Disaster with a belly-to-belly. Heenan goes on record to predict Yoko will win the Rumble and the title at WrestleMania. Does he have a crystal ball or something?
The final two entrants #29 Repo Man and #30 Macho Man Randy Savage (to a standing ovation) complete the field. El Matador runs into the brick wall that is Yokozuna and is tossed out. Sags holds Martel for an Owen dropkick, Martel ducks and Sags gets eliminated. Martel throws Owen over, but Owen skins the cat back in, charges full speed ahead at Yoko, who hiptosses the Rocket out onto his knee. The commentators speculate on Owen blowing out a knee. Savage throws Repo out, making the final four Savage, Yoko, Martel and Backlund. Martel struggles to hoist Backlund into a firemans lift. Backlund reverses a suplex to place Martel on the top turnbuckle before punching him out. A spent Backlund staggers Yoko with two dropkicks. Backlund slowly charges, but Yoko puts him out with ease and the crowd boo. Backlund has broken Ric Flair’s one hour record from the year before by setting a new time of one hour, one minute and ten seconds. (This record would last until 2004 when Chris Benoit won and lasted twenty seconds longer). Fuji makes his way out waving a Japanese flag to cheer on Yoko who chokes Savage in the corner. Savage brings Yoko to one knee after two top rope double axehandles, but runs into a superkick. Yoko gives Savage a belly-to-belly, drops a leg and squashes him in the corner. Savage avoids a second charge, Yoko teeters before falling to the mat (for the first time). Savage lands his patented top rope elbow and instinctively covers, but Yoko presses him off with the momentum taking Savage over the top rope. Winner: YOKOZUNA. Caesar and Cleopatra clones make their way out to congratulate Yoko on his win to build towards WrestleMania IX at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas.
The lack of starpower hurt this Rumble. The untimely firings of Davey Boy Smith and Ultimate Warrior at the back end of 1992 likely had an effect on this. Other established acts such as The Mountie and Big Boss Man were being phased out, while Shawn Michaels, Razor Ramon and Bam Bam Bigelow were being built up in singles matches elsewhere on the card. The crowd were dead in parts. This was a Rumble to forget.
See you next week. Shaun.
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