Thursday, January 16, 2014

This Week in Sid History: The '92 Rumble

For this edition of This Week In Sid History, it seems only fitting that with the Royal Rumble soon approaching, we go through some memories with Sid.

We head all the way back to the 1992 Royal Rumble on January 19, 1992. The Rumble match itself is considered one of the greatest in WWE/WWF History (I’d argue ‘97, but that was also the first Rumble I saw).

Sid was one of the 30 entrants in the Royal Rumble. The stakes for this match would be higher than in the years prior (nobody was a special guest referee at Wrestlemania).

The vacated World Wrestling Federation Championship would be up for grabs in this match. It had been vacated just weeks prior by then-WWF President Jack Tunney. The title had been vacated after the Tuesday in Texas Pay-Per-View match between Hulk Hogan and the Undertaker.

Because they were both top contenders for the title, Hogan and Undertaker received more favorable entry numbers, according to Tunney.

Sid Justice, as he was known during his tenure in the WWF, made the jump from WCW in the summer of 1991. The Wrestling Observer in the June 10, 1991 issue noted that Sid Justice would be a babyface, which rules out the possibility of Hogan and Sid for Wrestlemania 8 (my how things change).

Sid made his Pay-Per-View debut at Summerslam ‘91, when he served as guest referee for the three-on-two handicap match between Sergeant Slaughter, Colonel Mustafa and General Adnan against Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior.

Sid continued to work until October when he was injured, according to the Observer. (As a side note, the October 21, 1991 Wrestling Observer edition has the Sid-Pillman squeegee story).

He would be back in time for the Royal Rumble, which took place at the Knickerbocker Arena (Now the Times Union Center) in Albany, New York.

There were only five matches (not including the dark match) on the card. In addition to the WWF title being on the line, the Intercontinental and Tag Team Titles also were on the line.

Rowdy Roddy Piper won the IC title from the Mountie, while the Legion of Doom retained their tag titles in a countout against the Natural Disasters.

Ultimately, the 1992 Royal Rumble was all about Ric Flair. Anybody who tells you differently doesn’t believe in being fair to Flair.

Flair put together an incredible performance in the Royal Rumble, entering at the No. 3 slot. He had to fend off the British Bulldog, Tito Santana, the Texas Tornado, Big Bossman, Piper and so many others.

(But this isn’t the Chronicles of Flair, this is about Sid, so let’s fast forward, yes even through the Macho Man jumping over the top rope part.)

Our hero entered at No. 29. (NOTE: Edge entered the Rumble in the 29th spot in 2010 and won.) Sid entered to a pop from the folks in the Knickerbocker Arena. Bobby Heenan, who was on fire the entire match with his commentary, quipped “Oh no... I forgot about him.”

In the ring at the time were Hogan, Piper, Slaughter, Savage Rick Martel and IRS. Sid went after IRS, presumably because TAXES. He worked to eliminate IRS, but wasn’t able to do so, immediately charging at Martel, who had been attacking Piper.

After battling both Martel and Piper, Sid went after Flair in the corner, working to eliminate the Nature Boy.

They got out of the corner and did a spot where Flair took Sid down, only for Sid to kip up and clothesline Flair.

A minute later, the 30th entrant of the Rumble, the Warlord, entered the match. Of course, the Warlord didn’t last very long as the 30th entrant.

During this time, Sid was caught in the corner with Slaughter. It wouldn’t last long though as Sid irish whipped Slaughter to the other corner, sending Slaughter airborne and out of the ring.

With much of the focus on Flair and Hogan going at it, Sid went back to work on IRS, leveling some tough shots against the Tax Man. Piper pulled him off and starting fighting, before Martel raked his back, leaving Sid free for a second.

A few seconds later, as Piper was eliminating IRS, Sid got a hold of Martel and tried to wear down the Model.

Sid and Hogan worked together and dumped the Warlord over the top rope, thus crushing Harvey Whippleman’s hopes and dreams of managing a WWF Champion.

With the elimination of IRS and Warlord, it was down to Hogan, Flair, Sid, Savage, Piper and Martel. It wouldn’t last long as Sid pushed both Piper and Martel, who were fighting to eliminate each other over the top rope.

The final four would feature three world champions and Sid. Hogan still focused his attention on Flair, leaving Sid with Savage. Sid hoisted Savage onto the turnbuckle, working to eliminate him.

Flair freed himself the corner with an eyepoke to Hogan, rushing over to the other corner and assisting with the elimination of Savage. Soon it was Flair, Hogan and Sid. Hogan and Flair went back at each other again.

Hogan fought and got Flair over the top rope, but only on the apron. As Hogan tried to push Flair off the apron, Sid did what any wrestler would do in a “Every Man For Himself” type of battle royal, he eliminated someone. That someone was Hogan.

Sid pushed Hogan over the top rope, much to the dismay of Hogan. The two argued briefly as Hogan grabbed onto Sid’s arm, tugging him. Flair used this to his advantage as he grabbed Sid’s left leg and tossed him over (with the assist from Hogan). Flair wins, Heenan celebrates, society is denied a Sid Justice WWF Title reign (for now).

Hogan chased Flair out of the ring, who was joined by Executive Consultant Mr. Perfect in celebration. As Hogan stared at the newly crowned champion, leaving ringside to claim what was rightfully his, Sid approached Hogan and immediately got his attention.

The two argued as officials everywhere ran in to try and keep the two from destroying each other.

Sid’s elimination of Hogan helped set up a potential Wrestlemania match just a couple months later (like I said, things change). It also meant that Sid was on his way to being a heel again. Although, according to an Observer recap from after the Rumble, those in attendance had given Sid a pop when he eliminated Hogan.

This wasn’t the last time Sid and Hogan faced each other. In fact, it would end up happening in another promotion…