Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan are broadcasting, continuing the long taping cycle in Corpus Christi, Texas. Heenan says that his hands are sweating in anticipation of the Royal Rumble.
Opening Contest: The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer) (1-0) pins Scott Bazo after the Tombstone at 2:06:
Monsoon hypes the Undertaker’s Rumble chances because of the preferential draw he will receive. In the split screen, Bearer adds to the hype about how a big crematorium is being prepared for the Undertaker’s 29 opponents in the match. Fans cheer for Hulk Hogan as the Undertaker chokes Bazo and finishes him with the Tombstone.
Lord Alfred Hayes’ Special Report replays Randy Savage and Elizabeth’s interview with Gene Okerlund on Superstars last week. More Rumble promos are given as well. Irwin R. Schyster says that the Big Bossman will hate to see him raise the WWF title, Repo Man discusses repossessing the WWF title, and the British Bulldog vows to power his way through the Rumble.
The New Foundation beats B.A. Dalton & Dusty Daze when Owen Hart pins Dalton after the Rocket Launcher at 2:49:
The New Foundation was composed of Owen Hart and Jim Neidhart, the second incarnation of the Hart Foundation. Its backstory was that Neidhart wanted backup for going after the Beverly Brothers, who attacked him after a match with Ric Flair, but Bret Hart was too busy wrestling as Intercontinental Champion. As a result, Neidhart got Bret’s brother Owen to help him. The team wrestled its first televised match on December 1 and got credibility by beating former WWF Tag Team Champions the Nasty Boys on Prime Time Wrestling on December 23.
As is usual for most Foundation matches, Owen gets to wrestle most of the bout. Dusty must be dazed because he never gets into the match, allowing his partner to be pulverized, slammed by Neidhart, and finished by Owen after the Rocket Launcher.
The Berzerker (w/Mr. Fuji) (1-0) defeats Rudi Gonzalez via count out at 2:45:
Gonzalez is stopped in his tracks in seconds when he runs into a Berzerker big boot. Lots of “Hus!” screams later, Gonzalez is thrown over the top rope and counted out. The Berzerker really needs a feud because all he has been doing is squashing jobbers in the same type of match for close to a year.
A replay of Chris Chavis’ vignette next to a river airs.
Roddy Piper (1-0) defeats Louie Spicolli after a sleeper hold at 1:39:
In the split screen, Virgil cautions Piper that he is willing to throw him out of the Royal Rumble to become WWF Champion. On the floor, Piper whips Spicolli into the ring post. Spicolli gets in some shots in the ring but Piper does not sell them, locks in a sleeper hold, and pins him.
In the most anticipated segment of the week, the Rockers are guests on the Barber Shop. This segment was not filmed in Corpus Christi, though. Instead, it was filmed at This Tuesday in Texas in Austin. In one sign of dissension, the Rockers are not wearing identical gear, with Marty Jannetty wearing a red shirt and jeans and Michaels wearing a black leather jacket and black pants. Michaels argues that he is the captain of the Rockers, saying there are no problems on the team. Jannetty says that is a lie as there are internal problems and no is the captain of the team. Jannetty blames Michaels for the Prime Time loss against the Nasty Boys, while Michaels blames Jannetty for his pinfall loss to Ric Flair. To end the segment, Jannetty says he is committed to making the team works but it depends on Michaels and turns his back. Instead of walking away, Michaels turns Jannetty around, shakes his hand, and the two hug. However, after raising Jannetty’s hand, Michaels blasts his longtime tag team partner with a superkick and then throws his head through the Barber Shop window. That leads to a hilarious bit from Heenan about how Jannetty tried to leap through the window to escape from Michaels. To drive home that the team is done, Michaels picks up a copy of WWF Magazine as medical personnel and Brutus Beefcake tend to Jannetty, opens it to a Rockers story, and rips it apart.
Gene Okerlund does The Royal Rumble Report. In new Rumble promos, the Warlord gives generic comments about destroying his competition, the Nasty Boys and Jimmy Hart promise that there will be a new nasty WWF Champion, Sid Justice argues he is the man everyone in the match everyone needs to look out for because is superior to all the rest, and the Big Bossman promises not to let his fans down. Okerlund cautions that Jannetty may not compete in the Royal Rumble because of the previous segment.
Jake Roberts pins Larry Ludden after the DDT at 2:28:
Of all the superstars on the roster, no one made as big of an impact in 1991 as Roberts. Starting the year as a babyface, he won his long running feud with Rick Martel, defeating his foe in a blindfold match at WrestleMania VII. After that he had a program with Earthquake after the big man squashed and killed Damien on Superstars. That incident sent Roberts into a dark place, playing a part in his decision to turn heel and align with the Undertaker in the Dead Man’s feud with the Ultimate Warrior. Unfortunately for Roberts, the Warrior was fired after SummerSlam, scuttling plans for a big program between the two. As a replacement, Roberts feuded with Sid Justice, but Sid suffered a tricep injury in a house show match between them early in their run. That quickly switched Roberts into a program with Randy Savage. Roberts did some of the best heel work in years to build the program, having a cobra bite Savage before Survivor Series and slapping Savage’s wife Elizabeth on This Tuesday in Texas. Their feud continued into 1992 but box office returns for it were disappointing, not helped by Savage beating Roberts clean in Texas early in the program.
As Roberts pounds away, Sergeant Slaughter does an insert promo about how Roberts is going to be his first target in the Rumble. Roberts decides not to win the match after a body slam, opting to stand Ludden up so he can tee off with punches. Fans chant for the DDT, so Roberts decides not to do the move until they quiet down.
Tune in next week to see Randy Savage face Hercules! Also, the British Bulldog, the Nasty Boys, and WWF Tag Team Champions the Legion of Doom! And an update will be given on Marty Jannetty’s condition!
The Last Word: The Rockers breakup angle was tremendous, immediately putting a lot of heat on Shawn Michaels for a singles run and positioning Marty Jannetty as the underdog in their feud. In retrospect, parts of the angle were dangerous as there was still some breakaway glass hanging over Jannetty when he went through the window. If that glass had dislodged, Jannetty could have suffered serious injuries. Since many fans were tuning in for that angle, it delivered in spades and made this episode must-see viewing at the time.
Here is a quick overview of the WWF’s house show action for this week in its history, courtesy of thehistoryofwwe.com:
Miami, Florida – Miami Arena – January 6, 1992 (6,000): Marty Jannetty beat the Brooklyn Brawler…El Matador wrestled Ted DiBiase to a time-limit draw…Roddy Piper defeated Skinner…The New Foundation beat the Beverly Brothers when Jim Neidhart pinned Blake…The Texas Tornado defeated Hercules…Intercontinental Champion Bret Hart beat the Mountie via submission to the Sharpshooter…Irwin R. Schyster beat the Big Bossman…Hulk Hogan defeated Ric Flair via count out.
Sarasota, Florida – Roberts Sports Arena – January 9, 1992 (2,500): Chris Walker defeated the Brooklyn Brawler…Sergeant Slaughter beat Colonel Mustafa…Repo Man defeated Virgil…Ted DiBiase beat El Matador…The Mountie defeated Greg Valentine…WWF Tag Team Champions the Legion of Doom beat the Natural Disasters…Intercontinental Champion Bret Hart defeated Ric Flair via disqualification when Flair poked the referee in the eyes at the 20-minute mark when he was trapped in the Sharpshooter.
Fairbanks, Alaska – Carlson Center – January 11, 1992: Chris Chavis beat Kato…Owen Hart (substituting for the British Bulldog) defeated the Berzerker…The New Foundation beat the Beverly Brothers…The Undertaker beat Sid Justice via disqualification…The Texas Tornado defeated Skinner…Irwin R. Schyster beat the Big Bossman with the Flair pin…Randy Savage pinned Jake Roberts after the flying elbow drop.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Philadelphia Spectrum – January 11, 1992 (12,842; matinee): Chris Walker beat the Brooklyn Brawler…Hercules pinned Jim Powers…Repo Man beat Virgil…Sergeant Slaughter pinned Colonel Mustafa…El Matador wrestled Ted DiBiase to a draw…The Legion of Doom & Bret Hart beat the Natural Disasters & the Mountie when Bret pinned the Mountie…Hulk Hogan defeated Ric Flair via count out.
Backstage News*: Former WWWF Champion Superstar Billy Graham has issued more controversial statements since the Inside Edition piece on January 3, alleging that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) wanted him to wear a wire and have a conversation with WWF owner Vince McMahon. Dave Meltzer writes that the FBI would not publicly confirm or deny that they are investing McMahon and/or the WWF. Thus far, there have been no suspensions from the WWF’s steroid testing program and it has been noted that medical experts see the tests as fallible and they do not try to detect the use of growth hormone, which is becoming more popular in the bodybuilding industry because no test for it is available yet. With the growing controversy, McMahon is in a tough spot in deciding who to push over the next few months, especially if they have a good physique; what to do if a good portion of the roster test positive; and what to do if top guys test positive. All of this could lead to revamping the roster, which could do immediate harm to the WWF’s booking and business model going forward into 1992, but doing nothing could bring greater media scrutiny. The WWF is also bracing for more negative news as 20/20 is preparing an investigative piece about steroids in wrestling that is set to air in late February.
*Ratings for Prime Time Wrestling are stabilizing with the panel format, reaching a 3.0 on December 30. The show is also benefitting from the lack of competition from the NFL on Monday nights.
*There are rumors that Sid Justice might be turning heel after The Royal Rumble.
*Charles Wright, who was wrestling as Soultaker in the USWA, will be debuting a voodoo gimmick called Papa Shango next month.
*Backstage news is provided courtesy of Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer for January 20.
Up Next: Prime Time Wrestling for January 13!