Royal Rumble (1991)
|Royal Rumble (1991)|
|Tagline(s)||"Friend vs. Friend, Foe vs. Foe. It's Every Man for Himself!"|
|Promotion||World Wrestling Federation|
|Date||January 19, 1991|
|Royal Rumble chronology|
Royal Rumble (1991) was the fourth annual Royal Rumble professional wrestling pay-per-view event produced by the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). It took place on January 19, 1991, at the Miami Arena in Miami, Florida.
The main event was the 1991 Royal Rumble match won by Hulk Hogan, who last eliminated Earthquake to win the match. Featured matches on the undercard were The Ultimate Warrior versus Sgt. Slaughter for the WWF Championship, Ted DiBiase and Virgil versus Dusty Rhodes and Dustin Rhodes and The Mountie versus Koko B. Ware.
Royal Rumble featured professional wrestling matches involving different wrestlers from pre-existing scripted feuds, plots, and storylines that were played out on Superstars, Wrestling Challenge and Prime Time Wrestling — the World Wrestling Federation's (WWF) television programs. Wrestlers portrayed a villain or a hero as they followed a series of events that built tension, and culminated into a wrestling match or series of matches.
The pay-per-view featured the annual Royal Rumble match, which has been featured at every Royal Rumble event since its inception. It features 30 wrestlers, and the match ends when one wrestler remains in the ring, after all 29 other wrestlers have been eliminated via being tossed over the top ring rope and having both feet touch the floor.
The main feud heading into the Royal Rumble was between the WWF Champion The Ultimate Warrior, who had been champion since defeating Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania VI on April 1, 1990, and Sgt. Slaughter, who had returned to the WWF in 1990 and became a villainous (heel) sympathizer of the Iraqi government. Their feud began building during a time when the United States was engaged in Operation Desert Shield (which became Operation Desert Storm on January 17, two days before the Royal Rumble). During the build-up to their match, Slaughter and his manager, General Adnan, cut several anti-American promos to build heat for the event; at one point, Slaughter unwrapped a present and revealed a pair of boots purportedly sent to him by Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussien. In the meantime, Randy Savage challenged Warrior to his own series of matches, which Warrior successfully answered.
Main event matches
The tag team match pitting Ted DiBiase and Virgil against Dusty Rhodes and Rhodes' son, Dustin Rhodes was most notable for Virgil's split from DiBiase. Tensions that had been building between the two in the previous weeks exploded when – after the match – Virgil struck DiBiase in the head with his Million Dollar Championship to turn fan favorite character (face). DiBiase had verbally abused Virgil throughout the match, and at one point attacked him and threw him from the ring after he was being dominated by the Rhodes' team. DiBiase went on to pin Dusty Rhodes with a roll-up.
Prior to the Warrior-Slaughter match at the Royal Rumble, Sensational Sherri (Savage's valet) attempted to seduce Warrior into granting Savage a title shot. Warrior refused, enraging Savage. During the match itself, Warrior easily fought off a double-team attack by Adnan and Slaughter, running Adnan off before shredding the Iraqi flag and stuffing it into Slaughter's mouth. As Warrior was attempting to finish off Slaughter, Sherri interfered by grabbing Warrior's leg; Warrior chased Sherri down the aisle before he was attacked by Savage near the platform area. Savage struck Warrior with a spotlight as Slaughter regained his senses and distracted the referee. After several minutes of Slaughter holding the advantage, Warrior rallied and set up Slaughter for the gorilla press slam (Warrior's finishing move). However, Warrior grabbed Sherri (who had returned to ringside) and press slammed her onto Savage, who had also appeared at ringside. This gave Slaughter time to hit a knee strike to Warrior's back. Savage then struck Warrior in the head with the scepter, allowing Slaughter to pin the champion. After Warrior came to his senses, he ran backstage to find Savage.
The Royal Rumble marked the continuation of an ongoing feud between Hulk Hogan and Earthquake, whose roots dated to mid-1990 when Earthquake injured Hogan in a sneak attack during "The Brother Love Show". Hogan and Earthquake were the final two competitors in the Royal Rumble, and Hogan eliminated Earthquake to win the Royal Rumble.
The pay-per-view broadcast also included featured pre-taped comments from fans outside the arena, wishing United States troops a quick and safe return from the Middle East, and an announcement that Hogan would tour military bases across the country to support the troops.
Following his WWF Championship loss, Warrior focused on revenge against Savage, with their first encounter being a steel cage match January 21 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, which Savage won (with help from Sensational Sherri); Warrior was enraged and – despite being restrained by several referees and other wrestlers – attacked Sherri after the match by slamming her in the ring. Meanwhile, Warrior was unsuccessful in regaining the title, losing a series of steel cage matches to Slaughter, usually thanks to interference from Sensational Sherri. Warrior and Savage eventually agreed to a "career vs. career match" at WrestleMania VII, which Warrior won.
Hogan, meanwhile, was named the number one contender for Slaughter's WWF Championship. During a promo that took place right after the Slaughter-Warrior match, Gene Okerlund "received word" that Slaughter was defacing the American flag, to which Hogan vowed that Slaughter's reign as World Champion would be short-lived. At WrestleMania VII, Hogan defeated Slaughter to become World Champion for the third time. (Prior to WrestleMania VII, Hogan defeated Earthquake in a series of "stretcher matches" to finish their feud.)
|1D||Jerry Sags defeated Sam Houston||Singles match||05:25|
|2||The Rockers (Marty Jannetty and Shawn Michaels) defeated The Orient Express (Tanaka and Kato) (with Mr. Fuji)||Tag team match||19:15|
|3||Big Boss Man defeated The Barbarian (with Bobby Heenan)||Singles match||14:15|
|4||Sgt. Slaughter (with General Adnan) defeated The Ultimate Warrior (c)||Singles match for the WWF Championship||12:47|
|5||The Mountie (with Jimmy Hart) defeated Koko B. Ware||Singles match||09:12|
|6||Ted DiBiase and Virgil defeated Dusty Rhodes and Dustin Rhodes||Tag team match||09:57|
|7||Hulk Hogan won by last eliminating Earthquake||Royal Rumble match||1:05:17|
Royal Rumble entrances and eliminations
A new entrant came out approximately every 2 minutes.
|5||The Texas Tornado||7||Undertaker||24:17|
|12||The Undertaker||9||Hawk & Animal||14:16|
|14||Davey Boy Smith||26||Earthquake & Knobs||36:43|
|18||Randy Savage||-||No-showed the match||00:00|
- Hulk Hogan became the first man to win the Royal Rumble twice.
- Rick Martel set a new longevity record with a time of 52:17.
- "Live & Televised Entertainment of World Wrestling Entertainment". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved 2009-10-25.
- "Royal Rumble: See the Royal Rumble, live on pay-per-view – January 31". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved 2010-08-23.
-  The History of WWE – 1991. Accessed 08-23-2010.
- "Hulk Hogan (spot No. 24) wins the Royal Rumble Match". WWE. Retrieved January 31, 2014.