Cleat Geeks

This Month In Wrestling History: January and Febuary

We are on the road to WrestleMania! And because of this we will focus on two months as opposed to one with my next article focusing on WrestleMania history.

 

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WWF In MSG, January 23rd 1984

Hulk Hogan becomes the first wrestler to escape the “camel clutch” and defeats the Iron Sheik to win his first WWF title, at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

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WWF Royal Rumble, January 24th 1988

The First Royal Rumble wasn’t originally a PPV. At the start of 1988, it appeared that Jim Crockett Promotions would run their first unopposed pay-per-view event. However, Vince McMahon and the WWE created the Royal Rumble and ran that event for free against the Bunkhouse Stampede. The Rumble match itself was a concept thought up by Pat Paterson(the first IC champ).Taking place in Hamilton,Ontario it only featured 20 men as opposed to the 30 it became. Won by Jim Duggan and featuring stars Ultimate Warrior,Bret Hart and Harley Race it maybe wasn’t the fast paced affair many fans are accustomed to now. It holds up just as well and would pave the way for the other Rumbles. Elsewhere on the card Ricky Steamboat beat Rick Rude by count out. Also there was a contract signing between Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant leading to..

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The Main Event, February 5, 1988

The most watched event in wrestling history. 33 million people tuned in to watch the rematch from WrestleMania 3 between Andre the Giant and Hulk Hogan. In a match featuring chops and punches, the crowd ate everything up regardless of in ring quality. Hogan defending the WWE Championship he had won in 84 he looked to be in complete control. Andre finally got a slam in on the Hulkster and the referee counted three even though Hogan’s shoulders were up. It was revealed post-match that the referee was not the assigned referee, Dave Hebner, but rather his twin brother, Earl Hebner, who was hired by Ted Dibiase as part of a storyline screwjob. After winning, André the Giant surrendered the title to DiBiase; the transaction was declared invalid by then WWF President Jack Tunney and the title was declared vacant.

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WWF Royal Rumble, January 19th 1992

The first Royal Rumble where the winner would become WWE champion. Step up the Nature Boy and undoubtedly his greatest performance in the WWF. Entering at number three Flair showed just how good he was. One of the most star-studded Rumble’s it featured Piper, Macho Man and Undertaker to name but three. Bobby Heenan stole the show on commentary shouting it’s not fair to Flair.The final 3 saw Hogan get eliminated by Sid Justice fairly only for the Hulkster to moan and pull Sid over the tope rope. Just like that Slick Ric was the new WWE Champion. Arguably the greatest Rumble of all time.

 

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WCW SuperBrawl, February 20th 1994

Speaking of Flair, his return to WCW in early 93 was met by great relief by the WCW faithfull. Having Lex Luger as the main babyface in Ric’s absence had led to chants of we want Flair. Vader had lost the world title to the Nature Boy at the 93 Starrcade and this was the big rematch. It was a very entertaining card and featured so many future WWE main eventers. Booker T, Mick Foley and  “Stunning” Steve Austin were all in separate matches. The main event was inside a Thunderdome. Long before Hell in a Cell the Dome was near enough exactly the same. Vader beat up Flair for the majority of the match but Flair managed to mount a comeback and retain the WCW Championship.

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WWF In Your House: The Final Four, February 16th 1997

The Rumble match in 97 ended in controversy. Stone Cold had been eliminated by Bret Hart but due to the fact the referees were distracted it was never seen. Austin re-entered the match and eliminated Vader and Undertaker before finally throwing the Hitman over the top rope. The acting president Gorilla Monsoon declared that Austin won the match but wouldn’t get the title shot. He would have to face the three men at the Final Four PPV to decide who was the number one contender. That was the plan then Shawn Michaels gave his famous “Lost his Smile” speech, vacating the WWF championship. This meant the fatal four way match was for the title. In my opinion an underrated gem, the four men fought tooth and nail for the opportunity to be champ. Bret Hart was the last man standing eliminating the Undertaker to become WWE champion for the fourth time.

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WWF Royal Rumble , January 20th 2002

A really underrated Rumble the undercard featured a brutal brawl between Ric Flair and Vince McMahon. The WWE Championship was on the line with Chris Jericho successfully defending his newly one Undisputed Championship against The Rock. The Rumble match itself had one of the most shocking eliminations in history. Maven, the Tough Enough winner in 2001, caught the Undertaker unawares and dropkicked him out the Rumble. The dead man got revenge with a vicious beat down afterwards. Back to the match and two of the biggest stars in history shared the stage. Stone Cold had been in complete control until Triple H entered and both men formed an unnatural alliance and started taking out the competition. Kurt Angle was one of the favourites and showed why eliminating the Texas Rattlesnake but he was destined for runner-up. The Game threw Angle over the top to claim his first Rumble win.

 

 

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WWE No Way Out , February 15th 2009

One of personal favourites NWO 09 featured two Elimination Chamber Matches. The first one was for the WWE Championship and featured the champion Edge defending against Big Show,Jeff Hardy,Kozlov,Undertaker and Triple H. Edge was surprised in just under three minutes by Jeff Hardy. It meant a new champion would be crowned and the other five combatants put everything on the line. Triple H again came out on top by finally eliminating the Undertaker with a pedigree.The second Chamber match was for the World Championship and John Cena defended against Jericho,Mysterio,Knox,Kane and Kingston. Unfortunately for Kofi as he was making his way to the ring he was taking out by Edge who entered himself in the match instead. Edge entered number five and at that point the ultimate opportunist took advantage. A spirited fight by Mysterio it wasn’t enough to deter Edge. Taking him out with the spear the Rated R Superstar made history. Starting the night as WWE Champion he ended the night with the World title.

 

 

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WWE Royal Rumble , January 26th 2014

This event now has become famous for one thing. It wasn’t the complete rejection of John Cena and Randy Orton by the WWE Universe as they faced off for the uptenith time on PPV. It wasn’t the fact that the same Universe only wanted one man to win the Rumble and it wasn’t Batista. No it was the fact that at this point in time it was CM Punk’s last WWE appearance. The UFC star at that time was one of the biggest stars in the WWE. As we have found out later on Punk just had enough and walked out the company the very next night. I’m sure McMahon is happy now that they booked Kane to chokeslam Punk through the announce table. On the undercard Daniel Bryan had a fantastic match with Bray Wyatt. So over was Bryan that during the entire Rumble match they continued to cheer for him and booed Mysterio when he entered at number 30 and the fans realised Bryan wasn’t in the match. Batista got his second Rumble win but would be hurt by the reaction and hasn’t been back since. WWE got so many things wrong this night but made exactly the same mistakes the following year.

 

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WWE FastLane , February 22nd 2015

Like I said WWE got it wrong again at the 2015 Rumble. The Universe wanted Bryan to win and this year he was entered. Things didn’t go to plan for anyone as he entered at number 12 but only lasted 10 minutes. The fans were furious and wouldn’t except Roman’s Rumble win. Not even the Rock could help. So the WWE decided at FastLane to have a Bryan vs Reigns match to see who was going to main event Wrestlemania. Not WWE’s best move the fans solely behind Bryan gave Roman a horrible time. The match itself was quality and easily Reigns best match at that point. Roman won and would go on to face the beast at Mania. I bring this event up now because of recent events. Daniel Bryan’s retirement means this was his last single PPV appearance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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