Live from Fresno, CA

Airdate: January 21, 1996

Attendance: 9,600

Hosted by Vince McMahon and Mr. Perfect

On the “Free for All” (not shown on the WWE Network) Duke “The Dumpster” Droese beat Hunter Hearst Helmsley to become the 30th entrant in the Royal Rumble match. By default Helmsley will be the 1st entrant.

Still in the tub from last Monday Sunny provides a viewer discretionary warning. I hope she didn’t wrinkle up like a prune.

Prior to the match we see the THUD heard ‘round the world yet again.

Match 1: Ahmed Johnson versus “Double J” Jeff Jarrett


Rating: **1/2

Summary: Crappy finish to a decent match. While I understand that Johnson required a ring general with him at this point in his career he should have had one that would actually lay down for him.

After the match Johnson echoes everyone’s sentiment to the finish of the match and sprints backstage to locate Jarrett.

Backstage Todd Pettengill interviews Diesel.

Match 2 for the WWF tag team titles: The Smoking Gunns (champions) versus the Body Donnas (w/ Sunny)


Rating: ***1/2

Summary: Great tag team encounter that followed the formula and got its intended crowd reaction. The double-team maneuvers in the match helped me to enjoy it as well.

Compilation of Billionaire Ted skits in case you either missed them or needed more pot-shots in your PPV enjoyment.

Recap of Goldust’s temptations to Razor Ramon including parts that must have been shown on Superstars because they didn’t transpire on RAW.

Match 3 for the WWF Intercontinental title: Razor Ramon (champion) versus Goldust (w/ his director and usher)


Rating: **

Summary: As a wrestling match this wasn’t much. Conversely, as a social experiment with respect to homosexuality and homophobia, this worked. Depending on your preference for either technique or entertainment your mileage may vary.

After the match Goldust and his director share a tongue kiss in celebration.

Dr. Jeffrey Unger gives Shawn Michaels a clean bill of health in a complete 180° turn from just a couple of months ago. Following that were quick promos by Owen, Jake Roberts, Jerry Lawler, Barry Horowitz, Vader (w/ Jim Cornette), and finally Shawn Michaels who coined the nickname “Kliq” for his fan base.

Match 4 (Royal Rumble):

Participants (in alphabetical order):

  1. 1-2-3 Kid
  2. Aldo Montoya
  3. Barry Horowitz
  4. Bob Backlund
  5. “Sparkplug” Bob Holly
  6. “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith
  7. Diesel
  8. Doug Gilbert
  9. Dory Funk, Jr.
  10. Duke “The Dumpster” Droese
  11. Fatu
  12. Hakushi
  13. Henry Godwinn
  14. Hunter Hearst Helmsley
  15. Isaac Yankem
  16. Jake “The Snake” Roberts
  17. Jerry “The King” Lawler
  18. Kama
  19. King Mabel
  20. Marty Jannetty
  21. Owen Hart
  22. Ringmaster
  23. Savio Vega
  24. Shawn Michaels
  25. Squat Team #1 and #2
  26. Takao Omori
  27. Tatanka
  28. Vader
  29. Yokozuna



Summary: While entertaining, the crop of wrestlers involved wasn’t on par with previous Rumbles. With that being said there were times when there were too many wrestlers in the ring to enjoy mini-feuds or create instant ones. Back in ’96 it was a foregone conclusion that Michaels would win the Rumble in order to be in the main event at WrestleMania.

After the match Diesel drilled Smith from behind as Dok Hendrix attempted to interview him. As Shawn is basically stripping Diesel re-enters the ring, stares down Michaels, but then they give high-fives to one another.

As the Undertaker makes his entrance for the title match another stare down between Diesel and the Undertaker occurs. Diesel then shoves Paul Bearer down causing a pull-apart brawl. While Diesel notifies the Undertaker that he’s “not afraid of the dark” Bearer has metamorphosed the urn back into the shape of an urn. As you can recall from RAW last Monday the “urn” was still in the shape of Kama’s golden necklace.

Match 5 for the WWF World title: Bret “Hitman” Hart (champion) versus the Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer)


Rating: ***

Summary: While slow at times this match was carried by Bret with a more violent tone. It would seem the WWF was trying to get a better, stronger attitude.

After the match Diesel flipped the Undertaker off. There will definitely be more to this story upcoming.

Back in the locker room Todd interviews Monsoon. At In Your House VI Bret will defend the WWF title against Diesel due to Monsoon’s decree.

In another locker room Dok interviews Michaels.

We return to the locker room with Todd and Monsoon. The Undertaker interrupts and states that Diesel will never win the WWF title again. Truer words were never spoken. To protect the match (and potentially boost the buyrate) Monsoon places the steel cage stipulation upon the title match.

Dok interviews Diesel who borrows “the best thing going today” line from Ric Flair.

Todd then interviews Jim Cornette with Vader.

Conclusion: Flipping birds, sexual mind games, and more violent matches were tell-tale signs that the WWF was going in a more adult direction in response to WCW. Having said that unless you are a huge Shawn Michaels (or Goldust) fan, this show doesn’t hold much value.

See you next time for the Monday Night War week 20!

Buyrate: 1.10 (Wow!)

Comments? Suggestions? Send them to me at rsg@rockstargary.com and follow me on Twitter (@rockstargary202).

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