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WWE ROYAL RUMBLE FLASHBACK 1995 (01-22-95): HBK wins Rumble from #1 spot, Diesel vs. Hart WWF Title, Razor vs. Jarrett IC Title

Jan 25, 2012 - 2:42:06 PM

Originally Printed: PWTorch Newsletter #318
When: January 22, 1995
Where: Tampa, Fla. at the USF Sundome
Report: Wade Keller, PWTorch editor

The dark opening match saw Buck Quartermaine defeat Brooklyn Brawler.

In a rather juvenile opening, Pamela Anderson got out of a limousine as many WWF wrestlers shouted at her as if their construction-worker catcalls would all of a sudden turn her on and she would jump into one of their arms. She went through a side door and all of the wrestlers, lead by Doink, complained that she chose not to walk through a crowd of circus characters.

Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler introduced the program from their broadcast booth in the stands. They sat next to the Spanish simulcast broadcast booth. McMahon pointed out that Rumble was being broadcast live in the United Kingdom.

(1) Jeff Jarrett (w/Roadie) pinned Razor Ramon to capture the Intercontinental Title at 20:57. As they were about to lock up, a "Razor, Razor" chant began. Ramon took a charging Jarrett to the mat three successive time with punches, then caught Jarrett in an overhead fallaway suplex. Jarrett retreated to ringside. At 2:09 Jarrett returned to the ring, armdragged Ramon, and strutted in the ring as Roadie strutted out of the ring. After exchanging some arm and wrist locks, Jarrett took Ramon to the mat and messed up his hair. At 4:28, after more posturing by Jarrett, Ramon clotheslined him over the top rope. When Jarrett returned to the ring be drank some bottled water. At 5:40 Ramon won a test of strength decisively and then messed up Jarrett's hair. McMahon acknowledged that Lawrence Taylor, former New York Giant, was at the event. Jarrett took over offense, sending Ramon to the mat with a flying clothesline at 6:49 for a two count.

At 7:12, Ramon caught Jarrett's leg and ducked out of an enzuigiri attempt by Jarrett. Ramon, though, missed an elbow drop and Jarrett scored a two count. Jarrett then moved to a front facelock at 7:30. At 8:10, Ramon slipped on a backslide for a near fall. Jarrett responded with another clothesline for a two count. At 8:33, Ramon punched out of a sunset flip and landed on Jarrett's shoulder for a near fall. Jarrett hooked Ramon's shoulders and took him down for a near fall. Jarrett then hit Ramon with a dropkick for a near fall at 8:42.

At 9:09 Jarrett locked on a sleeper. Ramon whipped Jarrett into the ropes but Jarrett executed a neckbreaker and scored a near fall with his feet on the ropes for leverage. He then scored two more near falls before the referee discovered his feet. At 10:13, Ramon yanked Jarrett's legs pulling his crotch into the ringpost. Ramon then hit a second rope clothesline for a two count. Ramon complained about the speed of the count. Jarrett then threw him over the top rope to the floor. Ramon grabbed his knee. Roadie then clipped Ramon from behind and Ramon was counted out at 11:48. Jarrett raised his arms, but then realized he wasn't going to win the title. He protested, telling Ramon he was a coward if he kept the belt in that manner. Ramon then agreed to restart the match. At 14:26 the match restarted. Ramon rolled up Jarrett for a quick two count at 15:00. Jarrett then began working over his knee. At 17:20 he locked on a figure-four. At 19:00 Ramon punched Jarrett twice and Jarrett relinquished the hold. Ramon caught Jarrett and set him on the top rope and fell backward with Jarrett, but Jarrett turned and landed on him for a near fall. At 20:26 he signalled for the Edge, but when he lifted him, he collapsed due to his damaged leg and Jarrett rolled him up for a three count at 20:57.

A very well plotted match strong because of drama and near falls, but weak in crowd heat, bumps, and overall athleticism, especially early. (**1/2)

Todd Pettengill interviewed Pamela Anderson who was surrounded by gifts from WWF wrestlers. Stephanie Wiand then interviewed Jarrett who was excited over his victory.

(2) Undertaker defeated I.R.S. (mgd. by Ted DiBiase) at 11:52. At 1:10, I.R.S. dropkicked Undertaker from behind, but when Undertaker was unaffected, I.R.S. fled to ringside. At 3:00, Undertaker chased I.R.S. into the ring. It wasn't until 3:10 that the second move of the night was executed as Undertaker kicked I.R.S. in the face. At 4:27 Undertaker walked the top rope and hit I.R.S. with a forearm. Undertaker threw I.R.S. over the top rope after he almost hit DiBiase. I.R.S. and DiBiase argued at ringside. Two Druids were then called to ringside (a Bruise Brother and Tom Prichard). At 6:32 when Undertaker walked the top rope again, a Druid shook the ropes so Undertaker fell, but quickly rose. Undertaker attacked both Druids at ringside for one of the bigger pops of the night. I.R.S. attacked him from behind and threw him into the stairs. At 11:52, out of nowhere, Undertaker chokeslammed and pinned I.R.S.

The Druids attacked Undertaker after the match, but Undertaker easily chokeslammed both of them. Neither were unmasked. King Kong Bundy then came to the ring and had a staredown with Undertaker. I.R.S. attacked Paul Bearer at ringside and took the turn. was Bundy splashed Undertaker and dropped an elbow and knee on him. As the fans stood and cheered, Undertaker staggered from the ring with Bearer.

Because I.R.S. is so ordinary combined with the routine-oriented Undertaker, this wasn't much of a match unless you're entertained merely by the mystique and spectacle of the Undertaker. (*)

Todd Pettengill interviewed Diesel and Bret Hart. Niether were talkable and both were tense.

(3) Diesel fought Bret Hart to a draw so Diesel retained the WWF Title. Diesel hugged and shook hands with L.T. before the match. During intros the crowd reacted much more to Bret than Diesel. Bret took Diesel into the ropes early and pushed off of him before breaking. They exchanged punches. Bret flew at Diesel, but Diesel caught him and took him to the mat. They rocked each other with clotheslines with Diesel sending Bret out of the ring. Before reentering the ring, Bret grabbed Diesel's legs and banged them into the ringpost. Bret worked over Diesel's legs and applied a figure-four, which Diesel broke by reaching the ropes at 4:20. Bret applied another figure-four. At 6:00 Diesel reached the ropes. Bret flew through the second and third ropes onto Diesel outside the ring with a bodypress. Diesel reverse whipped Bret into the ringpost. Diesel went on the offense for several minutes, including locking on an inverted bodyvice at 10:00. Bret escaped at 10:33. After missing a clothesline, Diesel flatted Bret with a boot to the face. At 11:12, Bret caught a charging Diesel with a knee and hit him with a clothesline. When Bret climbed to the top rope Diesel caught him and pressed him, but fell back. Bret scored a quick two count, but Diesel threw him off and out of the ring at 11:50.

Bret tied Diesel's legs together with his wrist tape as they were wrapped around the ringpost. The referee quickly removed the tape. Bret bulldogged Diesel at 12:56 for a two count. Bret scored another two count after a Russian leg sweep. At 14:17, Bret sent Diesel over the top rope with a clothesline. Bret sling shot himself over the top rope onto Diesel, but Diesel caught him and rammed him into the ringpost. At 15:23 Diesel powerbombed Bret for a slow two count ending when Shawn Michaels stormed the ring and attacked Diesel's left leg. Michaels was ordered back to the dressing room as Howard Finkle announced that the match would continue.

Bret picked up where Michaels left off by attacking Diesel's left leg. Diesel took over offense at 20:00, At 21:10, Bret went back to attacking Diesel's leg. Bret swung at Diesel's leg but hit the post only. As Lawler said it hit the kneecap, McMahon had the wherewithal to say, "No, it missed!" Bret clamped on the sharpshooter, but then Owen Hart ran to the ring and broke that up. Owen removed a turnbuckle pad and whipped Bret chest first into it. Just to be fair to Bret, the referee ruled that the match would continue so Bret had a chance to win the title.

At 23:38, Diesel was the first to his feet and he covered Bret with one arm for a two count. Both men appeared spent. The two exchanged blows with Diesel backing Bret to the ropes with eight elbows to the head. Diesel grabbed a chair from ringside, but Bret rolled into the ring before he could be hit. Bret saw Diesel and played possum by grabbing his knee. At 26:36 Bret surprised Diesel with a roll-up for a two count which got a pop. During an exchange, Bret shoved Diesel into the ropes but also into the referee. Then Shawn Michaels, Backlund, Owen, Jarrett, and Roadie began attacking both wrestlers. At 27:17 the referee called for a no contest. After the brawl broke up, Bob then ran back in the ring and applied the cross face chicken wing. Diesel cleared the ring of the other heels and ripped Bob off of Bret. Diesel and Bret then shook hands and raised each other's arms as Diesel's music played.

A good, dramatic match with both men playing their roles well, although at times it was a bit too methodical to qualify as exciting. (***1/4)

Pamela Anderson asked Todd Pettengill for her bag of clothes as she was dressing behind a wall. Pettengill had trouble controlling himself. Wiand then interviewed 1-2-3 Kid & Bob Holly.

(4) 1-2-3 Kid & Bob Holly defeated Bam Bam Bigelow & Tatanka when Kid pinned Bigelow at 15:40. Holly's music played for the team this night. In recounting the last two weeks of main events on Action Zone, Lawler said "today" Tatanka beat Kid and McMahon said Bigelow pinned Holly. It was in fact Tatanka vs. Holly and Bigelow vs. Kid, which they corrected later. Otherwise, a good job was done by McMahon in terms of background and painting Kid & Holly as underdogs.

Tatanka dominated early offense against Holly. Kid and Holly attempted a double elbow block against a charging Bigelow, but he flew through them and took them to the mat on the rebound. In one of the best moves of the night, Bigelow went to throw Kid in the air so he would land hard one the mat, but Kid turned it into a head scissors take over in mid-air. Tatanka threw Kid into the corner and Kid took the shots fast and hard. Against Bigelow, Kid mounted several unsuccessful attempts to gain offense, but eventually backdropped Bigelow over the top rope. At 5:22, both Kid and Holly came off the top rope and each was caught by Bigelow and Tatanka. They slid off and rammed the heels into each other and Holly rolled Tatanka up for a near fall. Bigelow pulled the top rope down so Holly flew over the ropes on his rebound.

At 8:15, after a powerslam by Tatanka on Holly, Kid went for the save, but hit Holly when Tatanka moved. Tatanka then did the same to Bigelow a moment later. After taking a beating, Holly crawled to the wrong corner for a tag and was double teamed. At 13:04, Holly and Tatanka collided in mid-air with a double bodyblock. Both tagged out and Kid hit Bigelow with a jump spin wheel kick and then potatoed him with a dropkick causing a bloody nose. Kid then sling shot himself over the top rope with a flipping legbomb on Tatanka in the move of the night. Kid returned to the ring via the top rope landing on Bigelow. Tatanka made the save.

Bigelow pressed Kid and dropped him over the top rope to the floor. Tatanka rolled Kid into the ring. Bigelow slammed him and climbed to the top rope. Tatanka then came in and rebounded off the ropes. The rebound knocked Bigelow off the ropes. Holly bodyblocked Tatanka out of the ring. Kid then crawled slowly to Bigelow, draped his arm over him, and scored a three count for the title victory.

This was the most inventive and athletic match of the night. The underdog storyline was also well-developed. The crowd reacted more to this match than anything other than the ring entrances during the Rumble. (***3/4)

After the match, Bigelow paced around ringside alone shouting at fans, who McMahon said was laughing at him for losing to Kid. McMahon was about to shoot back to the locker room for an interview when Bigelow began to argue with Taylor, who was laughing at him at ringside. L.T. stood up for a handshake. Bigelow then shoved Taylor, who flew backwards knocking over a few fans on his way. L.T. got up charging toward the railing as his posse held him back. McMahon didn't say another word. After several seconds of the camera focusing on L.T. with no commentary, Lawler softly said, "McMahon's not here. He's off headset." Then, without introduction, they went to footage of last year's Rumble where Michaels, then an ally of Diesel, helped eliminate Diesel from the Rumble. Upon returning from Rumble highlights, McMahon sat and solemnly said, "Ladies and gentlemen we apologize for and regret that unfortunate incident that happened earlier. We apologize to Lawrence Taylor for that incident." He rolled in his chair toward the ring as he said that without introducing the Rumble.

Pamela Anderson was then introduced and made her way to ringside. Shawn Michaels then made his ring entrance as the number one draw and it's the early favorite for ring entrance of the year. Who needs pyrotechnics and rampways when you are willing to be as outgoing, if not self-absorbed, as Michaels was in his minute long dance. Anderson appeared genuinely amused at ringside. British Bulldog then made his way to the ring as the number two draw. Both favorites were in the ring for the start.

(5) Shawn Michaels won the Royal Rumble by eliminating British Bulldog. The order of entrances (and exits) were as follows: Michaels, Bulldog, Eli (Bruise Brother), Duke Droese, Jimmy Del Rey, Seonne (Del Rey), Tom Prichard, Doink, Kwang, Rick Martel, Owen Hart, Timothy Well (Owen, Droese, Well, Martel, Prichard, and Doink), Bushwacker Luke (Eli, Seonne, and Luke, leaving just Michaels and Bulldog), Jacob (Jacob), King Kong Bundy, Mo (Mo), Mabel, Bushwacker Butch (Bundy, Butch), Luger (Mabel), Mantaur, Aldo Montoya, Godwinn, Billy Gunn, Bart Gunn, Bob Backlund, Steven Dunn (Backlund), Dick Murdoch, Adam Bomb, Fatu (Mantaur), Crush (Bart, Billy, Dunn, Bomb, Montoya, Fatu, Murdoch, Godwinn, Luger, Crush, Bulldog).

Bret Hart attacked Owen Hart before Owen even made it to the ring. Then Bret did the same to Backlund, paying both back for their attacks on him in the WWF Title match.

The final four men in the ring were Crush, Michaels, Luger, and Bulldog. At 36:05, Crush backdropped Luger over the top rope. Michaels talked Crush into working with him at eliminating Bulldog. After double clotheslining Luger, Crush attacked Michaels and pressed him. Michaels raked Crush's eyes and Bulldog clotheslined Crush over the top rope. Michaels and Bulldog then exchanged some blows and Michaels took some great bumps. Bulldog dropped Michaels crotch first over the top rope and then clotheslined him over the top rope. Michaels swung from the top rope as a woman in the front row pointed to the ground excitedly because Michaels's foot touched. Bulldog's music began to play. As Bulldog celebrated his victory, Michaels hammered him off the ropes and to the floor. On slow-mo replay, Michaels did a fantastic job of keeping one of his feet from touching the mat while swinging his other foot on the floor.

Michaels then celebrated his victory by dancing next to Anderson in the ring. As Michaels came close to rubbing up against her, she ran toward the ropes laughing. As Pat Patterson escorted her from the ring, Michaels continued his celebration.

The Rumble this year lacked any continuity as a result of the quick entrances. Before anything could really be established, the crowd's attention turned to who was coming to the ring next. Some of the elimination sequences went too quickly to comprehend. Such oddities as Luger aiding Michaels late in the match after trying to eliminate him earlier never really played out. Michaels and Bulldog lasting throughout the whole match didn't seem nearly as noteworthy as Ric Flair's 60 minute marathon. The competition also seemed to be below past years, or at least the number of wrestlers who would conceivably have a chance at winning. The Rumble went from a novel gimmick match to a glorified battle royal with a bunch of people standing around punching each other and hanging on ropes. (**)



Wade Keller, Torch editor (7.0)

Some events that rate a seven rate that because some elements were fantastics and memorable while other parts of the event dragged or were embarrassing. This event was a seven from start to finish. The weak point was the slow start of the Jarrett-Ramon match and the ordinary at best Undertaker-I.R.S. battle. Otherwise, the event was strong.

I didn't think any of the matches reached four stars, though. The tag title match came just short. It had a strong storyline and innovative exchanges, but was a victim of its one- sidedness as the heels sold for only short spells. Kid continues to be only second to Shawn Michaels when it comes to entertainment level as a performer. Hart vs. Diesel also fell short of four stars because there was too much walking around and not enough running, if that makes sense. It was paced from the beginning to be a long match and so while if you were into the storyline you were on the edge of your seat at times, you never were tempted to jump out of your seat.

The Rumble clearly suffered from the one minute entrances. A 90 second interval standard might be a happy medium next year. Michaels was great, but no one else stood out. Murdoch was somewhat entertaining, but stood out as fat, old, and slow. His crawling headbutt should be outlawed.

The biggest disappointment for many was the lack of finish in the Hart-Diesel match. I, too, would have preferred one do a job for the other. At first, it might seem to do too much damage to one or the other in terms of establishing one as the better wrestler. But just because Steve Williams did the job to Toshiaki Kawada or because Kobashi did one for Williams, fans of All Japan don't think one is necessarily superior to the other. Granted, when stars first start doing clean jobs to other stars, the one who jobs will lose stature until it becomes common practice in the U.S. for stars to do jobs for one another. Once stars start doing clean jobs at times when bookers otherwise would have defaulted to a screwjob ending, wrestling will be more like the NBA where if a team loses to another, fans anticipate a rematch rather than write off the loser.

That said, the draw finish still didn't bother me a great deal. Had there been a clean finish, I probably would have gone to a 7.5 on the score.

Bruce Mitchell, Torch columnist (7.0)

For 24 hours I thought the first real shoot of the year was in the WWF. Some decent ringwork, some desperate booking, and a Shawn Michaels showcase add up to a pretty good pay-per-view. Too bad Jeff Jarrett's gimmick and personality ruin his good work or he might actually be over with the fans. They could start with shaving that mop and buying some ring outfits that match. The Undertaker match wasn't much and poor King Kong Bundy can't get off his feet at all anymore so the "Taker will probably sink further. Bret Hart and Diesel was a surprisingly good match, but they obviously had no idea how to end it, so they just said screw it...

And the Kid and Bigelow put on one state of the art move with that amazing toss/flip. The match was carried by those two. And Bret Hart Gone Nutzo was fun. The Rumble was weakened by that collection of has-beens and never-will-bes, and I had forgotten that Crush even existed, but Michaels did a great job.

This show made no progress toward addressing the Whiff's real problems but it made for an entertaining evening.

Chris Zavisa, Torch columnist (4.5)

The WWF made some progress on this year's Rumble. The workrate seemed to be up and there were even two good bouts - Ramon vs. Jarrett and the tag title bout were actually entertaining contests. 1-2-3 Kid seemed to be the best worker outside of Shawn Michaels on the card, Michaels stole the show outworking the other 29 participants combined. His tight-rope act preventing his foot from reaching the mat was unbelievable. It should be obvious to everyone who raved about just how over Diesel was a few months ago that he just cannot work a good match. He literally contributed nothing. The downside of this card was the WWF Title bout which should have been called the Royal Run-In. How can you allow two major attacks on both competitors and not rule a DQ. They didn't even try to explain that. I.R.S. vs. Undertaker was predictably bad. Too much of the Rumble itself seemed like guys who meant nothing doing nothing.

Overall, not too bad of a show which at times was good. I give it a proverbial sitting on the fence in the middle - 4.5.

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PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.

He has conducted "Torch Talk" insider interviews with Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Eric Bischoff, Jesse Ventura, Lou Thesz, Jerry Lawler, Mick Foley, Jim Ross, Paul Heyman, Bruno Sammartino, Goldberg, more.

He has interviewed big-name players in person incluiding Vince McMahon (at WWE Headquarters), Dana White (in Las Vegas), Eric Bischoff (at the first Nitro at Mall of America), Brock Lesnar (after his first UFC win).

He hosted the weekly Pro Wrestling Focus radio show on KFAN in the early 1990s and hosted the Ultimate Insiders DVD series distributed in retail stories internationally in the mid-2000s including interviews filmed in Los Angeles with Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara and Matt & Jeff Hardy. He currently hosts the most listened to pro wrestling audio show in the world, (the PWTorch Livecast, top ranked in iTunes)


Wade Keller, editor

James Caldwell, assistant editor

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