Vince McMahon hosts tonight’s panel, made up of the regular guests of Gorilla Monsoon, Slick, Bobby Heenan, and Mr. Perfect. This is the last Prime Time episode before The Royal Rumble.
The British Bulldog-Warlord match from This Tuesday in Texas airs.
A replay of the Rockers’ breakup segment on Wrestling Challenge is shown. Afterward, Heenan and Perfect laugh about the Rockers having a “breakthrough” on the Barber Shop. McMahon posits that Shawn Michaels wanted to take Marty Jannetty out of the Royal Rumble because he saw him as a threat.
Hacksaw Jim Duggan & Sergeant Slaughter’s squash from Superstars airs.
Gene Okerlund’s Update segment replays Sid Justice’s interview on the Barber Shop two weeks ago. The Warlord and Harvey Wippleman discuss how he will be a great champion, the Big Bossman argues that the support of the fans will make him WWF Champion, and Rick Martel promises to prove the power of Arrogance when he wins the Rumble.
Call 1-900-454-HULK to hear Hulk Hogan’s comments about the Royal Rumble! It will cost you $1.49 for the first minute and 99 cents for every minute thereafter!
The Bushwhackers defeat the Executioners when Butch pins Executioner #2 after the double stomachbreaker at 5:19:
The Bushwhackers, who came to the WWF from the NWA in 1988, started to lose momentum in 1991. Although they defeated Power & Glory in a spring house show feud, they lost their next program against the Natural Disasters, which culminated at SummerSlam. After that, the Bushwhackers started fighting with the newly debuted Beverly Brothers, losing an elimination match against the team at Survivor Series. Despite that, the program continued into 1992 when the Bushwhackers rescued Jamison, a nerdy fan, from the Beverlys and the Genius on a December episode of Superstars. And at this point the Bushwhackers were never portrayed as threats to win the tag team titles, simply occupying an opening match role to engage crowds or put over other teams to make them championship contenders.
The Executioners were Duane Gill and Barry Hardy under masks. They worked together on in the independent circuit as the Lords of Darkness and held the Mid-Eastern Wrestling Federation tag team titles a year prior. Gill would achieve better fame that his partner later when he became Gillberg in the WWF’s Attitude Era.
Butch loves yelling at the crowd during the squash, which sees the Executioners get in a healthy amount of offense. That shocks Sean Mooney and Lord Alfred Hayes, who praise the effort that the Executioners are giving. The masked duo gets a near-fall on Luke after a double clothesline and place him in peril until Butch gets the hot tag. A Battering Ram and double stomachbreaker follow as one Executioner cannot save the other from being pinned. It was refreshing to see a somewhat competitive match that forced the Bushwhackers to depart from their formula, but this makes them look weak going into their match with the Beverlys at The Royal Rumble. Rating: *
Jake Roberts’ squash from Wrestling Challenge is shown.
Okerlund does The Royal Rumble Report.
When asked by McMahon who might win the Royal Rumble if not for Ric Flair, Heenan suggests that the Texas Tornado could through dumb luck.
The Texas Tornado defeats Rick Martel via disqualification after Martel sprays Arrogance in the Tornado’s eyes at 5:57:
After getting a strong push upon his arrival in 1990, the Tornado (Kerry Von Erich) fell into a directionless midcard role in 1991. Although he defeated Dino Bravo at WrestleMania VII, won a six-man tag team match with the British Bulldog and the Dragon at SummerSlam, and was part of Hacksaw Jim Duggan’s victorious Survivor Series team, he was not part of a hot television feud. An early program with Ted DiBiase went nowhere when DiBiase got transitioned into a feud with Virgil and a house show program with the Warlord was littered with non-finishes. Reports also surfaced of the Tornado not showing up to shows in condition to perform and he took time off in the fall when his younger brother Chris committed suicide. At the end of the year, the Undertaker ended the Tornado’s year-long unbeaten streak in less than three minutes on Wrestling Challenge, a sign that the Tornado was no longer an upper midcard talent.
Martel also saw his momentum stall in 1991, although that was due to a personal leave of absence. He started 1991 in an entertaining midcard feud with Jake Roberts and went on to set the ironman mark in that year’s Royal Rumble. At WrestleMania VII, Martel lost a blindfold match to Roberts in the blowoff of their program and proceeded to lose televised feature matches in April and May to the Ultimate Warrior and Roddy Piper. After that, Martel, who was grieving the loss of his sister and wished to establish a real estate business, took a leave of absence from the WWF. He returned to the company on the final Superstars of 1991 but was not seen as a significant contender to win the Royal Rumble.
This bout was filmed in Austin, Texas on December 4 as part of a Superstars taping. One cause of the Tornado’s falling position was terrible matches. In many cases the Tornado would go into his own world and could not produce a bout with a coherent storyline. This is no exception. Early on, the Tornado runs too quickly into the corner and runs into Martel’s rear end when Martel tries to do a float over spot from a blind charge. Martel gets control with some generic blows until the Tornado locks in a long Claw. The Model escapes but decides to blind the Tornado with Arrogance in view of the referee and gets disqualified. The Tornado’s eyes are stronger than Jake Roberts’ were in 1990, as he is able to recover without the aid of medical personnel. Rating: ½*
Non-Title Match: The Legion of Doom (WWF Tag Team Champions) defeat Brian Costello & Rudy Romero when Hawk pins Romero after the Doomsday Device at 2:39:
The Legion had a great 1991, pulverizing most of the WWF’s heel teams en route to an undefeated mark at the end of the year. They decimated the Orient Express and Mr. Fuji in handicap matches to start the year, crushed Power & Glory to win their feud at WrestleMania VII, and captured the tag team titles from the Nasty Boys at SummerSlam in a no disqualification match. That victory made the Legion the only team to ever win the AWA, NWA, and WWF tag team titles. After SummerSlam, the Legion won a set of return matches with the Nasties, one of which took place on The Arsenio Hall Show, and started feuding with the Natural Disasters on house shows. The two teams were still battling it out by early 1992. However, the Legion’s dominance disguised some backstage problems as Hawk was on the shelf with injuries at various points of the year – forcing Animal to wrestle singles matches against a member of the team the Legion was feuding with at the time – and the team was not happy with their payoffs, looking for ways to go to Japan.
Costello started his wrestling career in 1982, trained by Bobby Golden and Tom Lynch. He was known as “The Crippler” on the Indiana independent circuit and he had done enhancement work for the WWF since 1986. He also did enhancement work for the AWA between 1984-1987.
Both jobbers get a major beating from the tag team champions. Animal gives Costello a powerslam and then blasts Romero with a stiff clothesline against the buckles before hoisting him up for the Doomsday Device.
Monsoon predicts that the Natural Disasters have the power and guidance to win the tag team titles.
A replay of Ric Flair and Perfect’s appearance on the Funeral Parlor on Superstars airs.
Perfect hypes the danger of the Royal Rumble match.
El Matador (1-0) defeats Colonel Mustafa (w/General Adnan) after a schoolboy roll up at 6:47:
Mustafa was the old Iron Sheik, a former WWF champion and tag team champion, brought back to the WWF as an ally of Sergeant Slaughter’s Triangle of Terror stable. He got many televised squashes to build him up for SummerSlam and handed the British Bulldog his first singles defeat since the Bulldog returned to the company in late 1990. After SummerSlam, though, Mustafa’s fortunes declined. He lost a feud to Hacksaw Jim Duggan when his Survivor Series squad was swept by Duggan’s team at that event. Mustafa and Adnan were also feuding with Slaughter after Slaughter’s babyface turn, losing to him in handicap matches on house shows.
This bout took place as a dark match at This Tuesday in Texas in early December. Fans are not into it, which is not helped by Mustafa being so broken down physically that he moves slowly between moves. To compensate there is a long chinlock segment in the middle and slow parts where Mustafa keeps knocking Santana to the floor. This does lead to a funny bit, though, where Mustafa gets on the middle rope and yells “Arriba!” to the crowd. El Matador sunset flips back into the ring for a near-fall, prompting Adnan to get on the ring apron for some reason. El Matador does a standing switch, rams Mustafa into his manager, and rolls him up for the win. Calling this terrible is an understatement. Rating: ¼*
Slick discusses how he has offered to take Jamison to get a new set of clothes. When Heenan and Perfect laugh, Monsoon chides their choice of attire by pointing out that all they did to spice up their look was exchange ties from last week’s show.
Greg Valentine (0-1) beats Kato via submission to the figure-four leg lock at 5:39:
Kato was Paul Diamond under a mask. A former professional soccer player, Diamond transitioned into working with Pat Tanaka as part of the Orient Express in 1990, reforming a team that went by Badd Company in the AWA. The Express lost all their feuds in 1991, dropping programs against the Legion of Doom and the Rockers. They were the WWF’s weakest tag team, making only one pay-per-view appearance. When Tanaka’s father, Martin Tanaka, who wrestled as Duke Keomuka passed away in June, Tanaka made fewer appearances for the WWF and Diamond wrestled in singles matches, used as fodder for other midcard competitors in feature matches.
This is an old match, recorded all the way back on October 21 as part of a Superstars taping. Hayes is a massive Kato supporter, ragging on Valentine early, arguing that all he has is power and stamina and lacks skills. He goes as far as to predict a quick victory for the Orient Express member, which Mooney chides him about as the match goes longer. The pacing is stilted as Kato throws some chops, Valentine responds, and then not much happens of note following that. The crowd is hot for everything Valentine is does after Kato crotches himself on the second rope, popping big for some elbow drops that lead to a figure-four leg lock. The funny commentary and crowd reaction enhanced this. Rating: *
A replay of Chris Chavis’ vignette at a powwow is shown.
Irwin R. Schyster’s squash from Superstars airs.
In final Royal Rumble predictions, Heenan stands up and screams about how Ric Flair is going to win the Rumble. In response, Monsoon stands up and yells that Hulk Hogan is going to win the WWF Championship. Perfect stands up and argues for Flair and then Slick stands up and tells everyone to stop picking their favorites.
The Last Word: This was a dreadful show and if the point was to hype The Royal Rumble then it failed. The feature matches were terrible, illustrating that there were some big weaknesses in the WWF’s midcard, and there was nothing that had not already been said before in the studio segments.
Up Next: WWF Superstars for January 18!