Written by: Tom Hopkins
Vince McMahon, Roddy Piper and Honky Tonk Man call the action on this episode, which was a week before the Royal Rumble. Honky claims Slaughter will win the title next week.
-Big Boss Man vs. Kent Carlson-
Boss Man is getting ready for his Rumble match with the Barbarian and Boss Man has a ball and chain with him. Carlson really has no chance and he gets in no offense. Boss Man slaps him around for a bit, then a Boss Man slam ends this at 1:35. Boss Man covered Carlson with just one hand, then locks the ball and chain on him and drops the ball on Carlson’s chest. The fans cheer, too. I mean, Boss Man is supposed to be a good guy. He already won and now he’s using an illegal object to inflict more pain on his defeated foe? DUD.
UPDATE! We’re with Gene, who mentions something about the Middle East conflict and Slaughter has a message for the Ultimate Puke. Slaughter says Saddam will never leave Kuwait. Well, I would certainly never ask Slaughter for lotto numbers. The problem with this whole angle was that McMahon tried to play off the xenophobia of the American fans, something that worked well during the Cold War, but the whole conflict in the Middle East was done by the time of Slaughter’s reign and match at Wrestlemania.
-Rick Martel vs. Jim Evans-
Rick The Model Martel has the pin which says, “Yes, I’m A Model,” and his perfume, Arrogance, with him. Martel goes after the leg but is kicked off. Evans tries to monkey flip him but Martel somersaults out of the way. Martel has a pre-recorded comment for Jake Roberts, too. Evans almost gets a hiptoss, something Kent Carlson couldn’t do. Bodyslam, gut-wrench suplex, double-underhook suplex and a Boston Crab finishes this at 2:10. 1/2*.
-British Bulldog vs. Tom Bennett-
Bulldog backdrops Bennett early, and Bennett begs off. It doesn’t work, as Bulldog suplexes him. Bulldog works in a chinlock during the second minute of the match, as we get a pre-recorded comment from Bulldog. Bennett breaks the chinlock but misses a blind charge and a powerslam finishes things at 1:35. ½*
Mooney brings us to the event center where Royal Rumble is hyped with promos Earthquake, Bushwhacker Luke, Greg Valentine, Shane Douglas and Smash from Demolition.
-Undertaker vs. Ray Hammer-
Undertaker is still with Brother Love and still the coolest thing the WWE at the time. Poor Ray doesn’t have a chance. The fans were just in awe of this guy. Ray runs into a big boot and Taker controls as Brother Love and Taker give us their pre-recorded thoughts on the Royal Rumble. Undertaker hits a dropkick and follows with the ropewalk. Brother Love calls for the Tombstone and Taker obliges, putting Hammer out of his misery at 2:14. Squash matches like these were great to introduce new characters and show how unbeatable they were. I miss those nowadays. ½*.
We look at a clip from last week’s Wrestling Challenge where Okerlund interviewed the Ultimate Warrior. Warrior has words for the Macho King and for Sgt. Slaughter. Warrior tells Saddam to get out of Kuwait and tells Slaughter to get out of his country.
We follow with more Rumble hype with a rundown of the participants and the big title match.
-Ted DiBiase vs. Danny Brazil-
Ted DiBiase is prepping for his tag match with the Rhodes’. DiBiase’s partner is Virgil who DiBiase was treating more poorly by the week. DiBiase suplexes Brazil and clotheslines him down. A powerslam leads to the Million Dollar Dream and Brazil is done at 1:16. ¼*. DiBiase gets on the mic and tells Dusty that blood may be thicker than water, but money is thicker than blood. He also demeans Virgil some more by slapping him and telling him to pick up the money DiBiase threw on the floor. Virgil says no but DiBiase says something about his family and something else he whispered into his ears and Virgil picks up the money.
Add an ‘O’ to money and you get, MOONEY! Mooney runs down the Rumble matches, including The Orient Express taking on the Rockers. Both teams cut promos. Macho King also chimes in about winning the Rumble.
We then go to Gene with a Royal Rumble report. He runs down the card of the Rumble with promo’s from Dusty & Dustin, Tugboat, Hulk Hogan and the Hart Foundation.
-Power & Glory vs. Sonny Blaze & Scotty Williams-
Power and Glory may be one of the worst tag teams in WWE history. They had a cool finisher but they have the personality of a cucumber. Both were terrible in the ring, too. They are managed by Slick, who was the worst speaker of the managers at the time. Hercules and Roma give separate pre-recorded interviews which are both equally bad. Roma hits a dropkick and covers, but picks up his opponent’s head at two, then tosses him to the corner so he can tag in the other fresh meat jobber. The Hercules superplex/Roma frog splash combo finishes this at 2:12. ¼*.
We close with some more promos. You’ll hear from Texas Tornado, Warlord (who gives a terrible promo), Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Mr. Perfect and Jake Roberts (who always cuts an awesome promo). Vinnie Mac and crew close out the show with next week’s line-up, including Mr. Perfect and the Hart Foundation in action. Looks pretty good.
-The Bottom Line- The matches were generally enjoyable as squash matches, but all this Royal Rumble hype gets to you after a while. This is the week before so they are really going for the hard sell. I wonder what the next couple of episodes will be like when there is no Rumble to promote and Wrestlemania still months away. Personally, I love early Undertaker and any time I can see him I appreciate, plus the soap opera of Virgil and DiBiase is played up here. It’s a harmless episode to sit through if you have time.