Vince McMahon moderates the evening’s panel, which features Gorilla Monsoon, Slick, Bobby Heenan, and Mr. Perfect. The production values for the first episode of 1992 are an upgrade over 1991 as the panel has a background set with the WWF logo lit up behind them.
Heenan continues to put over Ric Flair’s odds for the Royal Rumble.
Opening Contest: Virgil beats Skinner with a sunset flip at 6:02:
Virgil started 1991 as Ted DiBiase’s bodyguard, a role that he had played since 1987. The two had a falling out at The Royal Rumble and engaged in a year-long feud. Virgil won the feud’s big moment at SummerSlam, capturing the Million Dollar Championship, but he lost it back to DiBiase a few days before Survivor Series and was plugged into a new feud with Repo Man, who had cost him the title.
Skinner was a hunter gimmick given to former Memphis heartthrob Steve Keirn. He debuted in August the previous year and was plugged into a program with Ricky Steamboat. In the middle of the feud Steamboat quit and after that Skinner drifted aimlessly in the midcard. His most notable match of 1991 was losing an Intercontinental title match to Bret Hart to open the This Tuesday in Texas pay-per-view.
This match was filmed at Madison Square Garden on November 30. Virgil goes a good job keeping Skinner off balance but misses a blind charge and goes flying out of the ring. Skinner hits his inverted DDT finisher but Virgil gets his foot on the bottom rope to break. Skinner throws an elbow to break an O’Connor roll for a two count but then Virgil surprises him off the ropes moments later with a sunset flip to start 1992 off on a good note. Virgil carried this to something respectable and forced Skinner to step up his in-ring game. Rating: **
Monsoon says that Ric Flair should be forced to be number one in the Royal Rumble. Mr. Perfect responds that is fine with him because Flair would win anyway and prove he is the best in the company.
The Undertaker’s squash from Superstars is shown.
Lord Alfred Hayes’ Special Report from Wrestling Challenge airs.
Intercontinental Champion Bret Hart’s squash from Superstars is shown.
A replay of Chris Chavis’ vignette by a river airs.
The Berzerker (w/Mr. Fuji) beats the Barbarian via count out at 3:58:
The Berzerker, arrived in the WWF in February 1991, copying some of the same look and mannerisms as territory star Bruiser Brody. First billed as the Viking, he assembled an impressive win-loss record by throwing opponents over the top rope and winning via count out. Mr. Fuji eventually made the big newcomer part of his stable, but it did not lead to any long-term problems. After winning a short feud with Tugboat, the Berzerker spent time winning squashes until Survivor Series, where he was the last man eliminated on his team. He had yet to be pinned or submitted, with his only defeat in singles competition coming via disqualification against El Matador on the December 16 edition of Prime Time Wrestling.
The Barbarian had a rough 1991. He failed to stop the Big Bossman’s quest against the Heenan Family at The Royal Rumble and a tag team partnership with Haku, which showed promise, died after the duo lost to the Rockers at WrestleMania VII. When Bobby Heenan retired from the managerial ranks, no one stepped into the void and the Barbarian lost to Bret Hart in the Hitman’s first feud after entering the singles ranks. The Barbarian also lost televised matches to Greg Valentine, the Texas Tornado, Hercules, El Matador, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, and Randy Savage to end the year.
This unique heel vs. heel power matchup took place as a dark match at This Tuesday in Texas in San Antonio on December 3. The Berzerker gets a few near-falls from a big boot and flying shoulder block and then Fuji pulls down the top rope when the Barbarian runs the ropes, causing the Barbarian to fall to the floor. The Barbarian takes a long time to re-enter the ring and gets counted out, although Sean Mooney on commentary insists for a while that the Berzerker got disqualified because Fuji entered the ring. After the bell, the Barbarian breaks Fuji’s cane over his head to little crowd reaction. This could have been a fun hoss battle but the finish made it a mess. Rating: ½*
Heenan insists that Randy Savage will not win the Royal Rumble because his focus is on getting revenge on Jake Roberts for slapping Elizabeth last month. Heenan adds that Roberts should have slapped Elizabeth prior to SummerSlam so she would not have married Savage. Slick responds that the WWF superstar that can put personal vendettas aside will win the Royal Rumble.
Gene Okerlund’s interview with Savage and Elizabeth on Superstars is shown.
McMahon asks Mr. Perfect why he is not competing at the Royal Rumble. Perfect explains that he has a clause in his executive consultant contract with Ric Flair that prevents him from facing Flair in the ring. McMahon points out that Heenan put that contract together, causing Perfect to wonder why he signed such a deal. Heenan tries to talk up how Perfect could be the consultant for the WWF Champion and that should be good enough.
Repo Man’s squash from Wrestling Challenge airs.
Okerlund does The Royal Rumble Report.
Back in the studio, Heenan is still trying to calm Perfect down about a missed opportunity to compete in the Royal Rumble. Monsoon says dissension between the Rockers hurts their Rumble chances. Slick questions if the Nasty Boys have a strong enough bond to work together to get to the end of the Rumble.
The Nasty Boys defeat the Rockers when Jerry Sags pins Marty Jannetty with a small package at 17:49 shown:
The Nasty Boys, composed of Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags, captured the WWF Tag Team Championship at WrestleMania VII from the Hart Foundation and spent much of the rest of the year feuding with the Legion of Doom before SummerSlam. After dropping the belts there, the Nasties lost a series of return matches, the most notable of which took place on the Arsenio Hall Show a few days before Survivor Series. The Nasties also had a house show feud with the Rockers, which they ended in their favor by teaming with the Beverly Brothers to defeat the Rockers and Bushwhackers in an elimination match at Survivor Series. At the end of the year, they seemed headed for a feud with Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Sergeant Slaughter, although little in the way of an actual program was being constructed on television.
The Rockers, a team of Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty, seemed primed to win the WWF Tag Team Championship in early 1991. They won the opening matches of The Royal Rumble and WrestleMania VII pay-per-views, defeating the Orient Express and Haku and the Barbarian. However, their momentum stalled after WrestleMania as they lost to old foes Power & Glory, failed to win the tag team titles from the Nasties, and were plugged back into a feud with the Orient Express, which was a step backward for the team. Michaels also got injured in the summer, forcing Jannetty to work house shows with Shane Douglas and Jim Powers as partners. When Michaels returned, the Rockers struggled against name opponents. Michaels sent signals that he wanted to enter the singles division and after losing a tag team title match to the Legion of Doom on Superstars in late December, tensions boiled over as Michaels slapped Jannetty several times.
This bout also took place at Madison Square Garden on November 30. The Nasties stall a lot at the beginning of the bout, the Rockers land a few aerial maneuvers, and the Nasties gain the advantage when Knobbs knees Michaels in the back when he runs the ropes. The Nasties focus their attack on Michaels’ back, relying on a long chinlock and two long bear hugs, the last of which gets a few two counts when Sags takes the hold to the canvas. Michaels is finally able to escape and give Jannetty a hot tag, exciting the Garden crowd. After whipping the Nasties into each other, the Rocker seem headed for victory and Jannetty small packages Sags. Knobbs rolls that over in the Nasties favor behind the referee’s back and when the referee goes to get Knobbs out of the ring, Jannetty turns the pinning combination in his favor. However, Michaels does not notice this, rolling it back in the Nasties favor without actually looking to see who is getting pinned and that costs the team the match. That is another creative finish to continue the Rockers dissension. It was a great swan song for the team at MSG, where they had a lot of great battles during their run in the company. Rating: ***¼
After the bell, the Rockers argue again.
Perfect asks Heenan if he and Ric Flair looked over Perfect’s contract before he signed it. Heenan starts flipping out about how the stakes of the Royal Rumble are making everyone go crazy. He gets so discombobulated that he falls out of his chair.
The Warlord (1-0) beats Greg Valentine after reversing his weight on a slam attempt at 4:50 shown:
Valentine turned babyface in early 1991 but was a victim of circumstances on the storyline front. He was originally booked to feud with the Honky Tonk Man but Honky quit before The Royal Rumble, leading to Valentine winning a mini-feud with Dino Bravo instead. Valentine lost to Earthquake at WrestleMania VII, ending his quest to get revenge on former manager Jimmy Hart’s stable. His biggest achievement for the rest of the year was nearly winning a 20-man battle royal on the April Saturday Night’s Main Event, but he came up short against Mr. Perfect. A shot at the Intercontinental Championship followed, where Valentine put up a good fight but did not win the title because of Bobby Heenan’s interference. Afterward, he became fodder for building up other heels, losing to Irwin R. Schyster at SummerSlam and losing other televised bouts against the Berzerker, the Warlord, and the Undertaker.
This hard-hitting match, joined in progress, was taped in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada on November 30. The Warlord works over Valentine’s back with bearhugs, using a backbreaker in between for a near-fall. That works pays off when Valentine scoops the Warlord for a slam but cannot hold him up, crashing to the canvas and giving the Warlord a big win. This is a good example of how a cutting can hurt an overall rating. The crowd was into this but there was not enough action displayed to give it anything more than one star. Rating: *
Perfect calls the Hulk Hogan Hotline and wins the interactive game. Monsoon chides that the game is all Perfect will ever win because of his contractual relationship with Ric Flair.
Sid Justice’s appearance on the Barber Shop on Wrestling Challenge airs.
The Mountie’s squash from Superstars is shown.
A replay of Ted DiBiase’s visit to El Matador’s “old neighborhood” on Wrestling Challenge is shown. Afterward, Monsoon says in the studio that the visit shows that DiBiase is scared of El Matador. He pivots to asking Heenan to make an addendum to Perfect’s contract so that he could potentially face Ric Flair later. Heenan screams “No!” and Perfect asks why, causing Heenan to have a nervous breakdown over his Royal Rumble plan falling apart.
Roddy Piper’s squash win from Superstars airs.
Perfect ends the broadcast by saying that he will take care of any problems that happen with Ric Flair and Heenan. He tells McMahon, Monsoon, and Slick to stay out of their business. McMahon responds by telling Perfect he is not getting a cut of Heenan’s lucrative deal on USA Network to appear on Up All Night later this week.
Tune in next week to see the Texas Tornado face Rick Martel! Also, El Matador faces Colonel Mustafa!
The Last Word: The babyface panelists needling Bobby Heenan and Mr. Perfect was a good way to freshen up the stale Ric Flair hype for The Royal Rumble. It also gave a clue into a possible future program should Perfect ever return to the ring from a back injury. A lot of time was given to the Rockers-Nasty Boys match, which furthered the Rocker breakup angle. That angle is coming to a head on Wrestling Challenge later this week when the Rockers meet on the Barber Shop.
Up Next: WWF Superstars for January 11!