Triple H, October 2011:

“When I grew up, I hated Hogan. I thought he was terrible and didn’t like to watch him. I was like Punk in a way. I liked the Steamboats and Flairs and the ones that could go. Would I be right in saying that Hogan was the wrong guy to go with, and they should’ve changed directions and gone with Steamboat because he was the better wrestler? Ludicrous.” - Triple H. October, 2011.

Royal Rumble 1992

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Survivor Series is here.
Royal Rumble – 1992 Albany
(Dark – Jake d. Marty )

Gorilla and Bobby.

Show opens with Bret’s music. Bret. Bret, crutches, cast on ankle, hobbles to the ring. Bret tells us that he’s been here for every WWF PPV, he’s heard Jesse, he’s heard Piper, he’s heard Bobby – and he thinks it’s time for some balance in the booth – and he’s going to join the announce tonight.

1. Beverly Brothers d. Orient Express
-Beau! Blake!

2. Sid d. Powers of Pain
-See what they did there? Not a 3 way – Sid beats ‘em both. Handicap match. Sid’s a face, remember, after the match, the lights go out – BONG – lights back on – Undertaker, still an unbeaten (year and a half) heel, in the ring. Nose to nose. Fans squeal, if you like this kinda thing, lights off – Undertaker gone. Sid does that Sid laugh, “Wrestlemania – Dead Man – Wrestlemania – 2 men enter…1 man leaves…I am the Master…and the Ruler….of the World….”

You know, Sid.

3. The Mountie Jacques Rougeau d. KVE
- Jacques is the Mountie! Bret, on the announce, works to put Jacques over as an elite wrestler. Talks about he Rougeaus, says he doesn’t like Jacques, but he think he’s not given enough respect, that kinda thing.

I think this is it for Von Erich; ideally, he'd let Jacques pull off or otherwise expose whatever it was that passed for his fake foot. Whatever needed to get some Jacques heat. If we can't do that, he injures KVE in some significant way that doesn't involve a taser.

4. Tito Santana d. The Male Model Rick Martel
After the pin, they continue fighting – Bret hops back in the ring – tells them maybe they didn’t notice, but guys like the three of them, who have been around for almost a decade, are growing scarce in the locker room, and maybe it’s time they stopped fighting each other. The world keeps turning, children grow up, flowers die, all of that - and they've wasted their lives fighting each other. And Rick - you're Canadian, stop acting like a West Hollywood Hairdresser.

The value here is that it continues to establish Bret as locker room leader, as the conscience of the WWF - we saw it with Savage, we see it here, it's Bret's show. Weight of the world on his shoulders.

Martel and Tito make up. Shake hands. Strike Force reunites! Arriba!

5. Shawn Michaels d. Owen Hart
- Best match of the night. Owen and Shawn are presented as equals, it’s Owen’s first PPV match since WM V, but he hops in right at Shawn’s level, as the two young guys who are right on the cusp of greatness, the future of the business, that kinda thing. In 2006, WWF would tell this story with Orton and Cena, this story is a little better.

Shawn wins clean – Bret doesn’t attempt to interfere, saying Owen isn’t a kid anymore, he can fight his own battles – but tonight, Shawn’s got a little more. Shawn taunts Bret at every opportunity, maybe handing him his crazy sunglasses before the match. Superkick pinfall.

6. Tags: Money Inc: DiBiase/Rotundo (w/Virgil) d. Road Warriors
-Whoa. After 14 unbeaten squash filled months – the Warriors drop clean to the newly formed Money Inc. Ted’s second strap – Rotundo’s second tag strap, but his first in 8 years. The people are rightfully surprised. Frustrated Road Warriors hit the Device on Virgil postmatch, which gives the fans something to cheer for, which gives a heelish edge to the Roadies, which writes Virgil out, as he's done now. Bret puts the heels over as the better workers, which helps both them and Bret.

7. IC No DQ: Randy Savage d. Roddy Piper
Switch. It’s a rematch, note from the IC Title match at WM II, six years earlier, when heel Savage won his first WWF strap from face Piper. Here, it’s Savage’s return to the ring after losing the retirement match to Hennig 10 months earlier at VII. They go full out for an old school brawl, lots of blood and broken things. Piper tries to use the bell – Savage uses the fork – which hopefully draws the Abdullah pop, given how much time they spent getting it over. Bloody Elbowdrop pinfall. Savage adds a 2nd IC title to his WWF title run. Bret stands and applauds along with the people. Garbage Savage can still be a super hot act in 1992. But he's done working straight matches unless he's with a much superior worker.

8. WWF Title: Flair (w/Hennig) d. Davey Boy
Flair keeps. During the match, Hennig aids Flair more than is acceptable to Bret, who leaves the announce to fight him off. Hennig and Bret brawl into the back. Flair wins clean again with the figure four submission. Wooooo. Following, in the back, with Heenan and Hennig in tow, Flair crows about his accomplishment, saying that tonight he proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is the finest WWF champion of all time. Heenan noticeably applauds in agreement.

Hennig noticeably doesn't, but says nothing. That's the new dynamic, as we move forward to Mania. Remember, this isn’t just Curt Hennig longtime IC champion, in this world, Hennig is the longest running WWF champion since Backlund, and now he’s carrying Flair’s robe. Now that Hennig was used to give Flair the WWF rub, it's time to step back and consider this relationship. Why is it that Mr. Perfect, one considers, so willingly accepts this role as valet?

Perhaps he wonders the same thing.

The week after the Rumble is the NWA show. Page and Bagwell get another win, Taylor gets a win going over a departing Scott Hall (huh, wonder where he’s going) AA goes over Ron Simmons (a sidenote, Simmons never wins the big title – nor does Maivia in the WWF – nor does Booker T in either company, unless I’m missing someone…in my world, no black world champions. Racist.) Foley gets a win over Lex, Austin beats Sting, the Steiners keep, Steamboat keeps the US – going over Rick Rude, Rude’s first NWA title shot since ’86 – and the new NWA Champion is Flyin’ Brian Pillman, beating Jushin Liger in an all time classic match.

In February, the NWA is back, Page and Bagwell winners again, Terry Taylor gets another singles win (he’s on fire!) AA wins, Marc Mero gets a win over a pre-Raven, pre-Johnny Polo Scott Levy, Foley beats Sting (Bang, Bang!), the Steiners drop to Dustin and Barry Windham. It’s Dustin’s 2nd title with two different partners – it’s Windham’s first…and see what’s happened – he has the NWA tag – and Rotundo has the WWF tag.

Windham and Rotundo live! 7 years later! Windham and Rotundo!

Rude takes the US from Steamboat. And Pillman keeps against Austin. Man these are good shows. NWA!

Superbrawl – 1992 Milwaukee
NWA Title: Brian Pillman d. Jushin Liger
US Title: Ricky Steamboat d. Rick Rude
Tags: Steiners d. Eaton/Dustin
Steve Austin d. Sting

Cactus Jack d. Lex Luger
Arn Anderson d. Ron Simmons
Terry Taylor d. Scott Hall
DDP/Bagwell d. Morton/Zenk

Wrestlewar – 1992 Jacksonville
NWA Title: Brian Pillman d. Steve Austin
US Title: Rick Rude d. Ricky Steamboat
Tags: Dustin/Windham d. Steiners
Cactus Jack d. Sting

Marc Mero d. Scott Levy
Arn Anderson d. Tracey Smothers
Terry Taylor d. Bobby Eaton
DDP/Bagwell d. Freebirds

Also in February is the last Saturday Night’s Main Event ever (until 2006)– it was on FOX.

They open with old tape from Stampede – as much as necessary to show young Bret, Owen, Davey Boy, Neidhart, Dynamite, and we’ll get some Pillman in there too, you know, ‘cause he has the belt in the other company and Counterfactual Vince enjoys that.

Back to live, Bret music. Bret. Owen. Davey Boy. And hey look - a returning Anvil, carrying the Canadian flag.

Big pop.

Bret talks. They’re the Hart Foundation, trained in the dungeon, trained by Stu, and since Wrestlemania II, when the Dynamite Kid won the WWF Title, and he and Davey Boy won the tag titles - this group has been the one true constant in professional wrestling.

"We don't just work for the World Wrestling Federation - we live, breathe, sleep, and eat the World Wrestling Federation. That Hart Foundation...we Are the World Wrestling Federation."

– And tonight the fans of the WWF will be reminded what that means, when Davey Boy and the Anvil team up to beat the Beverly Brothers – and Owen and Bret team up to beat Shawn and Flair in a 2 out of 3 falls match.

Yeah, that's right, the last ever Sat Night Main Event is freaking Bret/Owen against Shawn/Flair. Feel me, daddy? Let the tape trading begin. Literally.

And, Bret says, the WWF will be reminded at WM VIII in Indianapolis (buy your tickets now) when Owen gets revenge on that punk Michaels and Bret gets his first WWF Title shot in 3 years – and will prove he’s the best there is…best there was…best there ever will be…against Ric Flair.

Michaels enters. "You are the WWF? You four? Ever considered maybe that's what's wrong with the WWF? Hey censors, Hey Fox TV - get your fingers on the button - hey Bret - ever consider that's why we're not on NBC tonight?

Shawn's shooting. 'Cause, you know, he's Shawn.

"I didn't become a wrestler to wear a suit and tie and to know my place in your locker room, Hit Man. You sit out on the announce at the Rumble and annoint your chosen wrestlers - just like you do in the back -- there are guys like me who can't get a break because we're not your chosen wrestlers -- because we're not (here's your money line) in your clique."

See what they did there?

Shawn's in the ring, surrounded by all four Harts, seemingly fearless as he stands in Bret's face.

"But you know what, know what...maybe it's time there's another clique around here...maybe one day you'll know what it's like to have the numbers against you...maybe one day the real power around here won't be the Hit'll be the Heart Break Kid...

Shawn turns to Owen.

...and maybe one day, Rocket, you'll actually beat somebody.

Neidhart and Davey Boy grab Michaels - handing Bret the Canadian flag - telling him to blast him. Michaels yells at Bret - tells him to go ahead, to use his numbers, to take him out.

The rage passes through Bret's face. He hands the flag back to the Anvil. Owen goes to hold the ropes open for Shawn. And Bret - in a line that some will remember from the Dynamite Kid when Steamboat lost his Loser Leaves Town several years before, says, "I don't need the numbers, Boy Toy, Owen and I will beat you and Flair tonight....Now get the hell out of my ring."

They do an Undertaker squash and another nose to nose with Sid. They bring back Jake (hi, Jake!) gone since VII, and Hogan, gone since Survivor Series (hi, Hogan!) and set up the legend’s match. They do a parking lot thing where Piper runs his car into Savage (Randy's in streetclothes) and then slams his head repeatedly in a car door. They do three tag matches. Davey Boy and Neidhart whip the Beverly Brothers.

In a match to decide who will go onto WM to face Money Inc., a reunited Strike Force shocks the Road Warriors. Warriors go more heelish during the match, continuing the thing from the Rumble. But it's Tito and the non Model Martel, back together for the first time in years, who get the shocking pinfall.


And they give half an hour to the main event – Flair and Bret are seen as the same, important to Bret, and the company, as you see they're moving him fully into Randy’s spot as the top face, like Randy moved into Steamboat’s – and Flair is Flair – and again, just underneath them are the kids, Owen and Shawn, seen as right about to make that next step. It’s excellent symmetry.

Heels go over. Flair gets the first fall on Owen. Owen wins the second fall on Shawn. Shawn wins the third fall on Bret. Superkick, pinfall. Which should be another surprise and serve, as the whole night should, to get Shawn over.

And that’s how it goes. Show ends with the big 8 man brawl as they add Hennig and Heenan (don’t forget the Flair/Hennig stuff) add Davey Boy and Neidhart – and that’s it for the Main Event.

Go buy your tickets for VIII. Go now. Lots of seats at the Hoosierdome. It's Flair defending against Bret. Savage and Piper in a Streetfight. Money Inc defending against Strike Force. Shawn and Owen in a rematch. Hogan and Jake in the Legends and the Undertaker finally squares off against Sid - two monsters going head up! Wrestlemania VIII - it's gonna be a happening!

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