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wrestling / Video Reviews

Dunn’s Countdown To The Rumble: Royal Rumble (1995)

January 19, 2005 | Posted by J.D. Dunn

  • Royal Rumble (1995) — January 22, 1995
  • Live from Tampa, Fla.
  • Your hosts are Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler.
  • We start with comments from the participants in a Coliseum Home Video exclusive.
  • Speaking of home video exclusives…Pamela Anderson arrives in a limo and heads to her locker room.
  • WWF Intercontinental Championship: Razor Ramon vs. Jeff Jarrett (w/the Roadie).

    Odd stat: Razor appeared in four straight Royal Rumble PPVs, but never in the actual Royal Rumble event. Of course, Razor Ramon would participate in 1997, but you can hardly count that. Razor catches Jarrett in the fallaway slam early. A chokeslam sends Jarrett to the outside to seek amnesty in the arms of the Roadie. Back in, Jarrett armdrags Ramon and struts. Jarrett takes Razor down and slaps him in the back of the head. This pisses Ramon off, and he sends Jarrett over the top with a clothesline. Razor baits Jarrett into a test of strength and then delivers a series of shoulderbreakers. Jarrett comes back with dropkicks. An enzuigiri from Jarrett misses, but Razor misses an elbowdrop. Jarrett sunset flips him, but Ramon sits down on him for two. Jarrett completes the move for two more. Jarrett hits a swinging neckbreaker and puts his feet on the ropes for a series of two counts. Ramon crotches Jarrett on the ringpost and comes off the second rope with a flying neckbreaker drop. ONE, TWO, THR-NO! Jarrett gets his shoulder up. Ramon charges and gets thrown to the outside. Roadie clips Ramon for good measure. Ramon gets counted out at 11:46 to save his title. Jarrett gets on the mic and calls Ramon yellow for not finishing the match. It helps his point that Razor is actually bathed in yellow light. Ramon limps back to the ring and agrees to fight. **

  • WWF Intercontinental Championship: Razor Ramon vs. Jeff Jarrett (w/the Roadie).

    Ramon is willing, so we restart the match. Jarrett charges, but Razor avoids and sloppily schoolboys him for two. Jarrett targets the leg. Razor schoolboys him for two. Jarrett hits a kneebreaker. Jarrett starts splashing the leg against the ropes. Razor pushes him out, but Jarrett comes back in and slaps on the figure-four. It gets a series of two counts before Razor punches out of it. Jarrett reverses a super backdrop, but Razor rolls through anyway for two. Razor goes for the Razor’s Edge, but the knee buckles, and he collapses. Jarrett rolls him up for the win and the title at 6:19. **

  • Todd Pettingill sucks up to Pamela Anderson. Unfortunately, she didn’t get his gift. Damn, there goes the Pettingill/Anderson sex tape.
  • Stephanie Wyand interviews Double J and the Roadie.
  • Irwin R. Shyster (w/Ted Dibiase) vs. The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer).

    One year ago at this event, Undertaker was put in a casket and apparently “died,” in spirit if not body. About six months later, Ted Dibiase started claiming he’d found the Undertaker. Of course, it wasn’t the Undertaker. The real Taker didn’t like that at all and decided to run through Dibiase’s entire corporation. IRS is part of that path of destruction. IRS hits a dropkick from behind and does what he does best…stall. Taker manhandles him after that. Dibiase senses the end is near, so he climbs up on the railing for a distraction. IRS tries to sneak attack Taker but accidentally clocks Dibiase. Dibiase decides to bring in the Druids (Jimmy Backlund and Ron Harris under black robes). They distract the Taker long enough for Irwin to gain the advantage. Back in, Irwin grabs an abdominal stretch. Taker hiptosses out of it but misses an elbow drop. Finally, Taker avoids a splash, and they collide for a double KO. The Druids get involved again, forcing Taker to fight them off. IRS attacks but gets chokeslammed and pinned at 12:22. King Kong Bundy attacks, allowing IRS to steal the urn and set up Wrestlemania XI. *

  • Diesel is a man of few words as he prepares for his title defense against Bret Hart.
  • Bret Hart says there’s nothing to talk aboot. Todd Pettingill – interviewer extraordinaire.
  • WWF Heavyweight Title: Diesel vs. Bret Hart.

    Bret lost the title to Bob Backlund at Survivor Series after an eight month reign. Diesel would defeat Backlund in :08 to win his first title. Diesel shoves him aside to start. Bret goes after the legs, but Diesel makes the ropes. They slug it out. Diesel wins that, of course. Diesel slams him but misses an elbow. Diesel clotheslines Bret over the top. Bret loses another slugfest on the apron. See what happens when you have a great storyteller in the ring? Just in case people couldn’t tell just by looking at them, now they know Bret can’t go toe-to-toe in a power match. He’ll have to outsmart Diesel. Bret wraps Diesel’s leg around the ringpost. Back in, Bret just dives into the legwork, trying to immobilize the big man. Figure-four follows. Diesel makes the ropes. Bret pulls him back to the middle and goes back to the figure-four. Diesel makes the ropes again and crawls to the outside. Bret follows him out with a tope. It proves to be a mistake, as Diesel whips him into the stairs. Back in, Diesel whips Bret into the turnbuckles and drops him with a sideslam to work the back even further. Diesel locks in a Canadian Backbreaker. Bret gets his boot up on a charge and takes Diesel down with a flying clothesline. Diesel tries to come back with a press slam, but collapses. Bret unwraps the tape from his wrist and ties Diesel’s legs to the ringpost. That gives Bret an advantage, so he goes with the usual (bulldog, backbreaker, second-rope elbow…). Bret clotheslines Diesel out and tries to follow with a pescado. Diesel catches him and rams Bret into the ringpost. Back in, Diesel drops Bret with the Jackknife. Shawn Michaels runs down and breaks up the count. He attacks Diesel’s knee. The ref rules that the match will continue once they get Shawn out of there. Bret attacks Diesel’s injured leg and locks in the figure-four again. Diesel breaks again, so Bret wraps the leg around the ropes. Diesel counters by hitting Bret in the ribs. Gutwrench gets two. Diesel misses a charge into the corner, injuring his own knee even further. Bret hits Diesel in the knee with a chairshot drawing big BOOS from the crowd. Bret finally locks in the Sharpshooter, but now Owen Hart runs down and breaks it up. He uncovers the turnbuckle and whips Bret face-first into it. The match must continue, though. Diesel attacks, but Bret rams him into the bare turnbuckle. Bret rocks him with a series of roundhouse punches as the match starts to resemble a heavyweight boxing match. Diesel comes back with some of his own and grabs a chair. Bret scrambles into the ring and plays possum as the ref gets the chair away from Diesel. Bret pops up and small packages Diesel! ONE, TWO, THRE-NO!!! Diesel kicks out. Bret tries a reverse rollup, but they bump the referee. Michaels, Jeff Jarrett and the Roadie run in to attack Diesel. Owen and Bob Backlund attack Bret. That’s just too much chaos, so the ref throws the whole thing out at 27:18. Diesel winds up clearing the ring and saving Bret from a beating. They shake hands and hug. Unsung match that was no carry job by the Hitman either. Diesel more than held up his end. ****1/4

  • Elsewhere, Todd helps Pamela Anderson get dressed.
  • Stephanie interviews the Cinderella team of the tag tournament — Bob “Spark Plugg” Holly and the 1,2,3 Kid. The Smoking Gunns were injured in a **snicker** “rodeo accident”, so Pluggy Kid substituted and made it into the finals.
  • Tag Tournament Finals: Bam Bam Bigelow & Tatanka vs. Bob “Spark Plugg” Holly & the 1,2,3 Kid.

    Tatanka overpowers Holly to start. Tatanka hits a sideslam. He tries another, but Holly counters to a headscissors. Holly nails a pair of dropkicks. Bigelow comes in and clotheslines both of the little guys. Kid nearly kills himself trying to huracanrana Bigelow. Bigelow stays on him with an enzuigiri. Tatanka comes back in and methodically wears down the kid, whipping him into the turnbuckles over and over. Vince steps on one of Lawler’s lines, forcing him to explain it, thus taking any humor out of the line. Not that it was that funny. Bigelow dismantles the Kid. I got chunks of guys like you in my stool. The heels try a doubleteam, but it backfires. Kid and Holly go for crossbodies off the top, but Tatanka and Bigelow catch them both. Holly and the Kid slip off their shoulders and send the heels into one another. Holly dominates until Bigelow yanks the ropes, sending Holly to the outside. Kid tries to break up a pin, but hits his own partner. Tatanka and Bigelow try something but it backfires. Tatanka distracts Kid so there’s no one there when Holly makes it to his corner. Bigelow avalanches Holly in the corner. Holly struggles to the corner…the wrong corner. D’oh! Holly and Tatanka collide, enabling Kid to get the HOT TAG! Kid kicks the crap out of the heels and hits his cannonball pescado onto Tatanka. Dibiase climbs up to the apron, allowing Bigelow to press slam Kid all the way to the floor. Sick. Bigelow goes up for the moonsault, but Tatanka springs off the ropes while going for a move. Bigelow loses his footing and falls to the mat. Kid rolls over into the cover for the pin and the titles at 15:46. Good match with a great story. The young upstarts beat a team with more physical skill and cohesion. ***3/4

  • Dibiase and Tatanka leave Bigelow alone in the ring. Bigelow takes exception to the people at ringside laughing at him…especially Lawrence Taylor. Bigelow shoves LT down, setting up their match at Wrestlemania. Nice touch by McMahon and Lawler doing a worked-shoot where Vince leaves the announce position.
  • Highlights of last year’s Royal Rumble.
  • Royal Rumble.

    Thirty-minute intervals this year. That’s a GREAT idea!. Shawn Michaels is #1, which would normally mean something, but with these intervals, Greg Valentine and Rick Martel would be former winners. Davey Boy Smith is #2. Michaels jumps him as he gets in the ring. The Bulldog press slams him…in the ring. Oy. Shawn does the Shawn flip on a whip to the corner. Davey Boy ties up Shawn in the ropes, but Shawn blocks a charge. Eli Blu is #3. I don’t know how Vince can tell the difference. He goes after Bulldog, saving Michaels’ bacon. Mmmm…bacon. Duke Droese is #4. He runs right into Eli’s boot. Bulldog pairs off with Eli, setting up the Wrestlemania opener. Droese bearhugs Michaels. “Gigilo” Jimmy Del Rey is #5. He targets the garbage man.

    Seonne (the Barbarian) is #6. Michaels goes to the apron, but comes back in. Seonne tries to get him back out as Jimmy Del Rey goes flying. Seonne and Blu go at it. Tom Prichard is #7, replacing his partner Del Rey. Seonne presses Michaels, but Michaels slips off to avoid elimination. Doink is #8. Face Doink sucks, so he gets a mixed reaction. A big mixed reaction, though. Kwang (Savio Vega) is #9. Rick Martel is #10, getting no reaction. Kwang nearly gets Michaels out. Doink and Martel go at it.

    Owen Hart is #11. Bret jumps him on the way down to the ring and leaves him laying. Timothy Well of Well Dunn is #12. Bodies suddenly start flying out in one of those ridiculous coincidences. Owen goes via the Bulldog. There goes Droese. There goes Well. Martel gets backdropped out. Michaels tosses Dr. Tom. Seonne backdrops Doink to the apron, and Kwang eliminates him. We cut away to Bushwhacker Luke coming in at #13, and when we come back, everyone is eliminated but Shawn and the Bulldog. They send Luke packing pretty quickly. Jacob Blu is #14. He attacks Michaels with a clothesline but gets backdropped over the top and eliminated. Bulldog gets Shawn over the ropes, but Shawn grabs the ropes and pulls himself back in. King Kong Bundy is #15. He tries to eliminate the Bulldog. They all just lean against the ropes until the next guy comes down.

    Mo is #16 and goes out as quickly as he came in, breaking Luke’s “record.” Mabel is #17. Hmm…Mo and Mabel getting consecutive numbers. Bundy and Mabel trade blows as Bushwhacker Butch comes down at #18. Mabel manages to push Bundy over the top (although with both of them leaning against it, the rope was about a foot lower than usual). Shawn tosses Butch out. Lex Luger is #19. He upends Mabel, sending him packing. Luger press slams Michaels…in the ring. Oy. Mantaur is #20. See, he’s half man-half minotaur. I guess that actually makes him 3/4 man and 1/4 bull. Or, more accurately, all bull.

    Aldo Montoya (Justin Credible) is #21. Henry Godwinn is #22. Montoya and Mantaur trade blows. Billy Gunn is #23. He also goes after Mantaur. Well, he’s a cowboy, and Mantaur is part bull. I guess they’re natural enemies. Luger nearly nails his partner, the British Bulldog. Lawler ruins his own line for a change. Bart Gunn is #24. Hmm…Billy and Bart getting consecutive numbers. Bob Backlund is #25. Bret returns and attacks him too.

    Steven Dunn (no relation) of Well Dunn is #26. He looks like Sammy Hagar. Luger clotheslines Backlund out, allowing Bret to get at him again. Dick Murdoch is #27. No one cares because he hasn’t been seen in years. He still looks tough, though. Adam Bomb is #28, giving him another opportunity to squander a late number. Mantaur avalanches Luger in the corner. Fatu (Rikishi) is #29. He nearly eliminates Billy Gunn. Luger tosses Mantaur. MOO MOTHERFUCKER!!! Crush is #30. As he did last year, McMahon awards the Rumble to Crush. The Smoking Gunns get eliminated. There goes Steven Dunn. McMahon makes his infamous comment about there never being two men to touch at the exact same time again. Uh, Mr. McMahon, there’s a Mr. Benoit on line one and a Mr. Copeland on line two. Murdoch nearly gets Shawn out. Luger and Montoya doubleteam Shawn. Fatu no-sells some headbutts from Murdoch. Crush ends Adam Bomb’s night. Fatu thrust kicks Crush. Michaels tosses Montoya. Murdoch picks HOG up in an airplane spin. He gets so dizzy that he falls out, eliminating himself. HOG grabs the ropes to stay in. Luger and Bulldog team up, but it’s 3-on-2. Godwinn and Michaels team up against Luger. Bulldog and Crush duke it out. Luger dips his shoulder and sends the hog farmer out.

    And now we’re down to Luger, Crush, Michaels and the Bulldog as the final four. Bulldog is out cold, so HBK and Crush doubleteam Luger. Luger mounts Crush for some punches, so Michaels sends him over the top. Michaels and Crush make a deal to eliminate the Bulldog. Interesting, given that they feuded for much of early 1993. Crush turns on Shawn and is about to press slam him out, but Michaels slips out of it, and the Bulldog sends Crush out with a clothesline. So we’re back to one and two. Davey Boy kicks the ever-loving crap out of Shawn. He sends Shawn over with a clothesline, but Shawn holds on and knocks the celebrating Bulldog to the floor. Replays show Shawn’s second foot precariously dangling above the floor before he pulls himself back in. Probably the second worst 30-man Rumble ever, with way too much jobber action. The time constraints didn’t leave much opportunity to get anything going (in fact nearly a third of the participants were still in when the last number was called). **1/4

    Final Thoughts: The WWF was sinking rapidly, both creatively and financially, but this show winds up being pretty good despite all of that. In spite of the new Rumble rules, Shawn’s performance is pretty impressive and the only “must-see” of the PPV. The World Title and Tag Title matches are really good too, making this an easy winner.

    Solid Recommendation for the 1995 Royal Rumble.

    J.D. Dunn

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