The World Wrestling Federation presented a live pay-per-view three-and-a-half-hour event from Miami, Fla. at Miami Arena on January 19, 1991 - "Royal Rumble."
The show opened with a playing of "America the Beautiful" and shots of the crowd staring patriotically at the flag. Then, Gorilla Monsoon and Roddy Piper welcomed viewers to the show. After a rundown of the matches and Rumble participants, the matches began.
(1) The Rockers (Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty) beat The Orient Express (Paul Diamond & Pat Tanaka) in 20:00. The ending series saw Diamond slam Jannetty. Then, Diamond slingshot Jannetty into a Tanaka chop. They attempted to do the same again, but Michaels hit Diamond while he slingshot Jannetty so Jannetty shot himself over Tanaka and sunset flipped Tanaka into a three count. This match introduced a new series of highspots and bumps into the sport and was fun to watch. There was a balance between action and rest. This was arguably the best match on a Titan PPV since Ricky Steamboat defeated Randy Savage for the Intercontinental Title (at WrestleMania III in 1987). (****)
Sean Mooney then interviewed Randy Savage in the locker room. He said Sgt. Slaughter had promised him a title shot if he won the WWF Title. Savage claimed to be the greatest WWF champion of all-time and said Sherri was on her way to convincing Ultimate Warrior to promise Savage the first title shot if he retained the belt.
Sherri then was on the stage with Mean Gene and asked Warrior to come on the stage. Warrior did and Sherri blatantly flaunted herself at Warrior, talking of how much she dreamed of someone like Warrior. After a few minutes of Sherri somewhat erotically asking Warrior to grant Savage the first title shot, she kissed him, knelt down so her face was nearly buried in his crotch, and Warrior shook and screamed, "No!!!" Sherri cried while Savage destroyed a locker room and ran to the stage looking for the departed Warrior.
(2) Big Bossman pinned The Barbarian in 15:00 to gain a measure of revenge for Heenan's comments about his mother. At 11:00, there was an impressive enziguiri by Bossman and at 13:00, a flying clothesline by Barbarian that caught Bossman for a two-and-three-fourths count. At 15:00, Barbarian came off the top rope with a bodyblock, but Bossman used the momentum to roll on top of Barbarian for a three count. (**)
(3) Sgt. Slaughter defeated WWF champion Ultimate Warrior in 12:00 to become the new WWF champion. Slaughter was accompanied to ringside by General Adnon, who was waving the Iraqi flag. The heels tried to clothesline Warrior with the flag pole, but Warrior double clotheslined both men, breaking the flag pole. Then, he ripped up the Iraqi flag to the cheers of Roddy Piper. Slaughter took some good bumps, including one over the top rope. Slaughter may be in the running for most improved wrestler. Sherri came to ringside and distracted Warrior, who pressed her over his head and threw her out of the ring and into the arms of Randy Savage. Slaughter kneed Warrior from behind. Savage soon blasted Warrior with his scepter as Warrior was draped over the first rope. Slaughter rolled him over, dropped an elbow, and pinned him. Warrior recovered and ran to the locker room looking for Savage. (**1/2)
(4) "The Mountie" Jacques Rougeau pinned Koko B. Ware in 8:00 of basically a squash. Neither man was impressive in any way and fans were still shell-shocked over the previous match's events. (1/2*)
Clips were shown of fans wishing the U.S. troops in the Middle East good luck. Then, Gorilla announced that Hulk Hogan had a tour set up for the Middle East to visit the troops, but because of recent events, that was turned down, so now he will visit families of the troops.
(5) Ted DiBiase & Vigil defeated Dusty & Dustin Rhodes in 11:00 when Ted rolled up Dusty for a quick three count. The match featured the usual Dusty Rhodes moves and Ted DiBiase bumps. Virgil clotheslined DiBiase near the end of the match when Dustin ducked. DiBiase then attacked Virgil and threw him out of the ring. Dustin tagged in Rhodes, who had a flurry of moves, but missed a corner splash and was quickly rolled up for the three count.
After the match, DiBiase demanded Virgil strap the Million Dollar Belt around his waste. Virgil slowly and reluctantly got the belt, but ended up dropping it at DiBiase's feet. DiBiase then demanded Virgil pick it up and wrap it around his waist. Virgil picked it up, and as DiBiase turned around and laughed in glory at his power, Virgil hit him in the back of the head with the belt. The fans popped big for the turn. Virgil walked back to the dressing room as DiBiase laid in the ring.
(6) Hulk Hogan won the Royal Rumble by eliminating Nasty Boy Saggs and Earthquake. There was really nothing noteworthy about the hour-and-five-minute match. There was never a time where there was a focus on any two men and basically it was an extended period of random punches and struggles to get people over the top rope.
Order of Elimination was as follows: Bravo, Atlas, Roma, Hart, Butch, Jake, Tornado, Crush, Undertaker, Hawk, Animal, Duggan, Smash, Valentine, Santana, Luke, Hercules, Warlord, Douglas, Tugboat, Perfect, Neidhart, Snuka, Haku, Martel, Davey Boy, Saggs, and Earthquake.
PRO WRESTLING TORCH NEWSLETTER COVER STORY
HEADLINE: SLAUGHTER WINS WWF TITLE
Miami, Fla.: Sgt. Slaughter, a character played by Bob Remus, defeated Ultimate Warrior for the World Wrestling Federation Title on January 19 at the Royal Rumble.
Slaughter, accompanied to the ring by General Adnon and an Iraqi flag, stirred controversy within and outside of the WWF. This week's National Sports Daily "Grunt and Grin" column by Dave Meltzer reports that top WWF management vehemently disagreed with Vince McMahon and at least one other top official over the decision to continue to push the Slaughter angle around the (Gulf) war theme.
Ultimate Warrior was pinned after Randy Savage smashed a scepter over his head. Slaughter rolled Warrior on his back, dropped an elbow on him, and pinned him. The fans in the sold-out Miami Arena were shell-shocked and expected a DQ due to the interference. No decision reversal occurred and Slaughter, who a year ago was a floating free-agent challenging Larry Zbyszko for the AWA World Title, now holds one of the top two belts in the sport.
Warrior's loss marks the official end to the 1990 experiment of Ultimate Warrior and Sting as leaders of their respective promotions. It is expected that Hulk Hogan will defeat Sgt. Slaughter at WrestleMania VII in Los Angeles to regain the title he held for much of the eighties.
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