By 1995 the WWF was all-in on the man who had broken out at the previous Royal Rumble: Diesel. He won the WWF Championship from Bob Backlund at Madison Square Garden in a match that lasted eight seconds. Vince McMahon had huge plans for the big man from Detroit. He wanted to make him the new Hulk Hogan, have him reign as champion for years to come.
Diesel retained the WWF Championship on the undercard when his match against Bret Hart ended in a no contest due to outside interference. So the Rumble would determine Diesel’s challenger for Wrestlemania. And honestly, it seemed like a pretty open field.
Also on the Card:
-Jeff Jarrett defeated Razor Ramon to win the Intercontinental Championship
-The Undertaker defeated IRS
-Diesel and Bret Hart fought to a No Contest (Diesel retained the WWF Championship)
-The 1-2-3 Kid and Bob Holly defeated Bam Bam Bigelow and Tatanka to win the World Tag Team Championship
As an aside, this is one of the better undercards in Rumble history.
Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler are on commentary tonight.
Shawn Michaels is the #1 entrant. #2 is the British Bulldog. This is the Rumble where the cut the intervals down to one minute, so guys are really going to be coming out fast and furious. #3 is Eli Blu. Duke “The Dumpster” Droese is #4. There’s not nearly enough time between these. Guys are getting to the ring and the countdown clock is coming up almost right away. #5 is Jimmy Del Ray of the Heavenly Bodies. #6 is Seone of the Headshrinkers. Bulldog throws out Del Ray. #7 is Dr. Tom Prichard, the other member of the Heavenly Bodies.
#8 is Doink the Clown. Big pop for him, actually. Kwang is #9. Everyone is just sort of standing around. Not a lot of energy in there even though the match is going to be shorter. Rick Martel is #10. This is seventh Royal Rumble, which was the record at this point. #11 is Owen Hart. Tons of boos for him and he gets jumped by Bret in the aisle and beaten down. He interfered in Bret’s match earlier in the night, costing him the title.
Owen gets to the ring and immediately gets eliminated. #12 is Timothy Well of Well Dunn. Someone tossed Prichard. Kwang kicks Doink off the apron. Bushwhacker Luke enters #13 as whoever else was in the ring gets tossed. Luke is gone quickly too and we’re back down to Shawn and Bulldog. Jacob Blu is #14 and lasts about ten seconds before HBK eliminates him with a Back Drop. King Kong Bundy is #15. He is absolutely enormous here. #16 is Mo, who is gone in like a second courtesy of Bundy. Never hear about him when they talk about shortest time in the ring though.
#17 is Mabel. #18 is Bushwhacker Butch. Mabel manages to leverage Bundy over the top rope. Shawn eliminates Butch. The Bushwhackers never did well in Rumbles. #19 is Lex Luger to a decent reaction. He immediately eliminates Mabel. #20 is Mantaur! All-time terrible gimmick here. Unfortunately he doesn’t have the massive head here. #21 is Aldo Montoya, the Portuguese Man O’ War. That’s Justin Credible under a mask and with a Portuguese gimmick. #22 is Henry Godwinn.
#23 is Billy Gunn. Vince mentions that the Smoking Gunns are getting a tag title shot on Raw tomorrow. They would win that match to become champions. #24 is Bart Gunn. #25 is Bob Backlund, who gets jumped by Bret in the aisle. Bret Hart is just out of control. #26 is Steve Dunn of Well Dunn. They were really stretching to get to 30 this time. Luger eliminates Backlund as soon as he steps in the ring. Bret attacks him again and they brawl to the back.
Dick Murdoch is #27. He was in his late 40s here and died a year later in 1996. Adam Bomb is out #27 and Vince says he’s going to win. Just like he did last year. #29 is Headshrinker Fatu. Luger eliminates Mantaur. #30 is Crush. Thirtieth spot always seems to go to a midcard heel. He immediately eliminates both Smoking Gunns. Montoya tosses Dunn. Crush and Adam Bomb are slugging it out in the corner. They would go on to form the tag team Kronik in WCW and briefly in the WWF.
Vince says we’ll never have a controversial finish in the Rumble like we did last year. We’ll see about that. Crush Back Drops Adam Bomb over the top. It’s really getting to be time to start cleaning things out, there’s still a lot of filler in there. Murdoch Airplane Spins Godwinn, tries to dump him, but falls over himself. Luger dumps Godwinn.
Final four: Shawn, Bulldog, Luger, and Crush. That’s a more typical final four, no one feels out of place here. Crush Back Drops Luger out. Bulldog goes to Clothesline Michaels, who ducks. Bulldog hits Crush instead and Crush is gone. So we’re down to Michaels and Bulldog. First two men in the ring are the last two men. Bulldog dominates Michaels and Clotheslines him over the top. Bulldog thinks he’s won, but Michaels holds on. They play Bulldog’s music and he celebrates. Shawn sneaks back in and throws Bulldog out to win.
Rating: ***. Not that bad, but on the weaker end. It was the second shortest Rumble in history at just 48 minutes, but given the lack of stars in the match that’s understandable. They overloaded the undercard with Razor, Undertaker, and Bret and as a result didn’t have much for the Rumble.
Shawn cashed in his title shot in a losing effort against Diesel at Wrestlemania XI. The Diesel experiment would continue for almost the entire year until Survivor Series, where he would fall to Bret Hart.