25 Years of Rumble Winners – 1992 Ric Flair

I will admit that while it will be nice to look back at a time that Ric Flair was a great performer and had every right to be in the ring, my feelings are tainted and I’m very biased by his most recent work in TNA/IW. Much of the time I have troubles remembering just how great Flair really was for some of the schlock he’s been involved with. I will do my best to keep my disposition cheerful as I write this and feel free to call me on it if I get too cranky about Flair.

The 1992 Royal Rumble Match was of the typical thirty entrants who entered about every two minutes. The match started with ‘The British Bulldog’ Davey Boy Smith and ‘The Million Dollar Man’ Ted DiBiase as numbers one and two. DiBiase was quickly eliminated by Smith in barely over a minute. Smith waited for the #3 entrant, Ric Flair to join him in the ring. Flair broke DiBiase’s longevity record from the year before by staying in the match for 59:26! It seems as though every year there was someone new breaking the longevity record, but there’s only so many times that could happen from this point as Flair started so early in the match and lasted thought to the end, though I do find it humorous that it was broken every year for the first couple Rumbles. Flair eliminated four entrants while Sid Justice (aka Sid Eudy or Sycho Sid or Sid Vicious) eliminated five. Actually, Justice was the last eliminated and it was with the help of Hogan who had just previously been eliminated. This started a feud between Justice and Hogan.

Prior to the Royal Rumble it was announced that the winner of the Royal Rumble Match would win the vacant WWF Title. If you remember what I wrote in my previous article about Royal Rumble 1991, Hogan lost the WWF Title to Taker at Survivor Series due to Flair’s involvement for Taker’s behalf. Just six days later Hogan won the Title back from Taker at This Tuesday in Texas, but Flair was involved with that match, so the Title was vacated. Very interesting turn of events that Flair’s the one who ended up winning the Title at Royal Rumble. Also, Flair is the second of only two men who won the NWA and WWF World Championships in their careers. The other man to do so was ‘Nature Boy’ Buddy Rogers.

I had been writing about what happened to the Royal Rumble Match winner in the year after they won the Royal Rumble, but the six months leading up to Flair’s Royal Rumble win is just too interesting to not talk about. In July of 1991 Flair was in the WCW and held the NWA Championship. Flair was having issues with WCW management. They wanted Flair to take a cut in pay and remove him from the top spot in the company. For obvious reasons Flair wasn’t happy about this and didn’t want to do it. They asked Flair to drop the strap to Lex Luger at the Great American Bash, but Flair said no. They asked Flair to drop the strap to Barry Windham, but Flair said no. Because of this Flair was fired. The problem with all of this is that Flair held the NWA Championship and had put the cash deposit down on the belt that NWA required of their Champion as a kind of insurance bond. So Flair took the belt to the WWF and declared himself the ‘Real World’s Champion!’ Basically Flair owned the belt and the WCW had no say in the matter. The WCW ended up having to pay Flair $75,000 to get the belt back and they stated (storyline) that Flair had been stripped of the belt! To me that story shows just how crazy things were during the Monday Night War!

On February 8, 1992, at Saturday Night Main Event, Flair tagged with Taker against Hogan and Justice. Justice turned on Hogan completing his turn and cementing his feud with Hogan. Hogan might have been alone out there, but he managed to win by DQ. Flair went on to WrestleMania VIII to try to defend his WWF Championship from Macho Man Randy Savage, but Flair lost and Savage was the new WWF Champion. Flair and Savage feuded through the spring and summer, but it was Ultimate Warrior who was #1 contender going into SummerSlam. Flair and Mr. Perfect attacked both Warrior and Savage during the match. Savage lost by countout, but retained the Title. On September 14th episode of Prime Time Wrestling (taped Sept.1) Flair reclaimed the WWF Championship from Savage through interference by Razon Ramon (Scott Hall). Flair quickly lost the WWF Championship on October 12th to Bret Hart.

At Survivor Series Flair and Ramon faced Mr. Perfect and Savage. After chair shots, a ref being knocked out and other shenanigans but both Flair and Ramon, the match ended in DQ with Mr. Perfect and Savage getting the win. On January 24, 1993 Flair was eliminated from the Royal Rumble Match by Mr. Perfect. The following night on RAW they faced off in a Loser Leaves The WWF Match. Mr. Perfect defeated Flair who then left the WWF. The funniest thing about this was that the match had been taped the week prior. In truth, Flair had given his notice prior to Survivor Series that he was going back to the WCW. Flair promised to put Mr. Perfect over before he left. In The Ultimate Ric Flair Collection DVD Flair stated that this was “the greatest year and a half of my career, outside the time I spent with Arn Anderson and The Four Horsemen.”, but if it was so great, why did he leave to go back to WCW where he’d had so much trouble in the first place? Was it money or something else? I haven’t found an answer to that other than the WWE is the one who put out the series.

I have to thank everyone for your reaction to this series. I will try to get caught up and will possibly do two this week to get a bit ahead. After this series is done I’m thinking of possibly a King of The Ring Series? Either way, I will continue with Hogan’s career history as well as possibly Flair’s history if anyone’s interested. I am learning so much as I research and write these. Thanks for being so receptive and reading all I write as I’m having such fun.
KB

Connect With WNW

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn!

  • kevin

    If you do king of the ring you have to start it from 1985 even though it wasn’t a ppv till 1993

  • Shin Blade

    In 1991, Rick Martel Beat DiBiase’s Record…

    • kbunyon

      I thought I mentioned that in the 1991 article.

      KB

  • http://thebadgersden.co.uk sdunne87

    These series are like travelling in the Tardis for the more geekiest amongst us. I was 11 then this Rumble aired and Flair was on of those heels who I hated at the time, also being a kid I had no clue as to what made a good wrestler so Flair's brilliance as a heel was completely lost on me as I was probably cheering on Hogan (cringe)

    It wasn't until late in his career that I understood and appreciated what Flair did for the business and how excellent he was at working the crowd. I just checked a few moments from this Rumble on Youtube and there was a back and forth moment followed by a superkick from Shawn Michaels to Flair that just made me shiver from what it would one day foreshadow.

    Wrestling retirements haven't really effected me too much, I felt for Edge & would miss him, HBK retired on his own terms and you could tell it was right for him, Flair's was different.

    I'm a big Guy who probably hasn't cried since the birth of my Daughter but I can honestly say that when Flair went down for the 3 count at Mania in his last ever (as far as I see it) wrestling match, the following 10 minutes of appreciation that the crowd shown and the way Flair said goodbye, I admit… I got a lump in my throat.

    I've since forgotten my misguided ways and spent time looking over past Flair matches and he was pure genius, yes a little questionable in his personal life at times but overall the greatest dirtiest player in the game and a hell of a deserved winner of the 1992 Royal Rumble.

    On a side note: The phrase "The dirtiest player in the game." Did Flair ever use this when in evolution with "The Game" Triple H?

    • kbunyon

      Yes, I'm sure he did use it at that point, but I don't have proof. I'll do some research on it when I have a chance. I'll throw that in my list of wrestling questions that I have to find the answers to.

      KB

      • http://thebadgersden.co.uk sdunne87

        I just think that Rick saying he's "The dirtiest Player in the Game" and hanging around with "The Game" it could have come across as Broke Back Mountain… :)

  • TruHeel

    Nice work Kendra just one mistake I noticed, the Monday night wars started in 1995. Flair brought the strap to the WW(F)E just over a year before Raw was even on the air! :)

  • Jim

    It was just written on here a few days ago that WCW wanted Flair to shave his head and take on some Gladiator gimmick. Which is why he quit and bolted north. Could you even imagine them trying to make RIC FLAIR take on a gimmick like that? Unbelievable. I loved WCW back then as I watched it way more than I ever watched the cartoony WWF. So I remember Flair leaving like it was yesterday. I’m so glad that only lasted a year and he was back in WCW before you knew it. But just the simple fact that they wanted to change the single greatest performer in the history of the business is insane to me. Good thing Flair had the intestinal fortitude to stand up to them and not allow that to happen. WCW was in a dark place under that regime. Glad it didn’t last long.

  • Nature boy

    A hard chop in the corner and a big WOOOOOO!

  • TNA@@WWE

    To me that story shows just how crazy things were during the Monday Night War! – Monday Night Wars were still a few years away.

  • Andrew_Howie@Hotmail.co.uk

    Still to this day the best Rumble ever. Flair’s performance was epic and Monsoon and Heenans commentary still shows the rest how it’s done. It’s not fair to Flair! Superb promo at the end too.

  • Chris_Storm

    Great work. I've seen this one and loved it.

  • kevin

    That rumble had so many past and future world champions then any other.