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WWF @ Providence, Rhode Island
by Scrooge McSuck
January 30, 1992
- Taped from the Civic Center in Providence, RI, a little more than a week removed from the 1992 Royal Rumble, featuring the first (and to date, only) time the WWE Championship was on the line in the Royal Rumble Match itself. To say the direction of the product was constantly shuffling throughout the year would be an under-statement, but let’s find out what we have to look forward to. Side Note: As usual with shows recorded from the Providence Civic Center, the VQ isn’t the greatest, but watchable. Also, there’s quite a bit missing from the show (in the form of worthless undercard matches): Chris Walker defeated Kato, Repo Man defeated Kerry Von Erich, and Rick Martel defeated Virgil.
“Superfly” Jimmy Snuka vs. Shawn Michaels:
I’m not too sure about this one. Michaels is in the early stages of his first solo heel run, and Snuka is so far passed his prime that Michaels might as well be wrestling an invisible bear if you’re holding out hope for a good match. I could’ve sworn Snuka was already out of the picture. After some quick research, Snuka was gone from the company around the time of Survivor Series, came back for the Rumble and the following TV taping, and was gone a couple of weeks later. Michaels tries punking him out, unsuccessfully. Lockup, and they trade arm-bars. Snuka goes for a sunset flip, but Michaels blocks. He ends up hurting his hand missing a punch and gets chased to the floor for some good old fashion stalling. Back inside, and Michaels quickly tosses Snuka out of the ring. He brings Snuka back in with a suplex, but it only gets a two count. Michaels unwisely goes for a headbutt, but recovers with a thumb to the eye. Snuka with a surprise inside cradle for a near fall. Michaels regains control with a snapmare and chin-lock, a staple of any mid-level heel in 1992. Snuka escapes with elbows to the midsection, but runs into a knee lift. He fights out of another chin-lock and hits the usual chops and headbutts. Criss-cross sequence ends with Snuka going for a shitty roll up in spectacular botched fashion, and Michaels reversing it and hooking a handful of tights for the three count at 9:31. * Not much to this one, as it felt more like a chance for Michaels to work on his heel antics rather than trying to carry someone to a good match.
Bret “Hitman” Hart vs. The Mountie:
Two weeks earlier, Bret Hart dropped the IC Title to the Mountie (in an incident that gained traction as a big deal, but really was just part of the story being told after all despite other circumstances), who would go on to reign for all of a couple of days before jobbing it to Roddy Piper. Mountie immediately leaves the ring after the bell and talks trash on the microphone about Bret’s alleged 104 fever (worked). Lockup to the corner, and Bret unloads with rights. Whip to the ropes, fist to the midsection, and Russian leg sweep sends Mountie running for cover. I guess this will be short, since that sequence usually telegraphs the match coming to a close. Bret catches him trying to run again, hits an atomic drop and a clothesline. He teases the Sharpshooter, but just stomps the midsection. Mountie with a rake of the eyes to escape a back breaker, followed by biting. Bret surprises him with a mule kick and returns the favor. Whip is reversed, and Bret drops an elbow to counter a monkey-flip attempt. He introduces Mountie to the turnbuckle approximately 10-times. Mountie reverses a whip to the corner, sending Bret chest-first to the turnbuckle. Mountie with a diving back elbow for two. He sends Bret to the floor and nails him in the midsection with a chair, in full view of the referee. Where’s the Disqualification!? Back inside, he puts Bret in a tree of woe and stomps away. Mountie with a seated chin-lock, since he ran out of offense. Bret makes his comeback, unloading with rights and connecting with an inverted atomic drop and back breaker. He comes off the ropes with his signature elbow drop, and the Sharpshooter finishes at 9:30. **1/4 About as good of a match you’ll get out of the Mountie, and you can tell Bret was slightly more motivated than usual for a house show.
Sid Justice vs. The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer):
Both men were in the books for a turn by the next week (with Sid going heel to feud with Hulk Hogan, and Undertaker face to feud with Jake Roberts). Sid’s turn was supposed to kick-off at the Royal Rumble, but the crowd reacted wrong and cheered him double-crossing Hogan. They trade blows before the bell, automatically making it a harder worked match than the previous tag team encounter. Undertaker takes control of a choke in the corner. Whip across the ring, Sid avoids a charge, and unloads with rights before sending ‘Taker to the floor via a clothesline. ‘Taker pulls him out but gets sent into the post. Sid with a chair across the back, BEHIND the view of the referee, but it barely staggers him. Back inside, Undertaker regains control and does some more choking. Good thing he didn’t come around during the PG-Era. Sid slips out of the ring for the sake of giving Paul Bearer a dirty look, allowing ‘Taker to attack from behind. Sid with an inverted atomic drop, but a charge to the corner meets boot. ‘Taker lays him out with a clothesline and CHOKES SOME FRIGGIN’ MORE! Sid fights free and takes Undertaker down with a one-handed Choke-Slam! He scoops him up for a slam, but knocks out the referee in the process. Paul Bearer hops on the apron to get beat on. Sid blocks a shot with the urn and KO’s Undertaker with it, but the bell ring at 6:51, and it’s a DQ win for the Undertaker. * As good of a match as you’re going to get out of 1992 Undertaker and any year you want to pick of Sid.
“Hacksaw” Jim Duggan & Sgt. Slaughter vs. The Nasty Boys:
Oh God, please be short. The WWF Tag Division was definitely weak on high quality matches in 1992. Weird that Jimmy Hart wasn’t there, so I’m assuming they ran another tour with the Natural Disasters. Lots of stalling, and the bell hasn’t even rung. Then tons of stalling after the bell. After what feels like an eternity of nothing happening, Duggan and Sags lock-up. Sags with shoulders to the midsection, Duggan with a series of rights. Duggan with an atomic drop, followed by a pair of clotheslines. Knobbs comes in and gets to play pinball between the All-Americans. Sags continues taking a beating until Slaughter becomes our Patriot-in-Peril. Slaughter ducks under a double clothesline, lays out both Nasty Boys, and hot tags to Duggan. He cleans house with the usual punching and noggin-knockers. Big clothesline to Sags, but Knobbs breaks the cover. Double clothesline to Knobbs, and they just take the Count-Out at 13:10. -** Absolutely terrible.
“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. Jake “The Snake” Roberts:
We’re nearing the end of the Savage/Roberts program, which consisted of Savage going over Roberts, usually clean via pinfall in short matches, at almost every stop (and yes, the trend continued for the following night at MSG and the episode of SNME on FOX a week later). They brawl on the floor, with Roberts getting his left-arm rammed repeatedly into the ring posts. Savage throws a chair in the ring, but the referee intercepts. Roberts tries to catch a breather by tossing Savage out of the ring, but he’s right back in. Roberts dumps him again, this time with a bit more force. He follows, and returns the favor from earlier by sending Savage to the post. Savage teases a comeback, but is quickly taken down with an inverted atomic drop. Roberts with a snapmare and raking of the eyes. Savage keeps trying to fight, but gets thrown through the ropes. Back inside, Roberts unloads with jabs and a right uppercut. He toys with Savage a bit, constantly pushing him back with a foot to the face. Whip to the ropes, Savage surprises him with a boot, but can’t capitalize. Roberts misses the short-arm clothesline. Savage comes off the ropes with an elbow, followed by a flurry of offense in the corner. He heads to the top rope and connects with a double axehandle. Whip to the corner, Roberts gets a knee up to counter a charge. Roberts hits the short-arm clothesline on the second attempt, but a DDT is countered by holding the ropes… and then we cut to Savage getting the pinfall at 7:30. What the hell!?! Yeah, we know the match was ending within seconds, but how do you miss recording the last 30-seconds of a match? Match was alright, but I can't give it a star rating since I'm assuming what happened. Felt like it was in ** territory.
Final Thoughts: I’m just going to say Strongest Recommendation to avoid getting a copy of this show. First, the Main Event cuts out and misses the closing moments, but comes back in time to record the pin itself. On top of that, the copy I received is oddly formatted, so I had to rely on the Wrestling Observer archives to figure out the most likely placements. As for the actual wrestling, most of it sucked. Savage and Roberts worked the same match every night for 2-3 months, Undertaker vs. Sid will never be a good match, Michaels wasn’t getting anything out of Snuka, and the Nasty Boys and Jim Duggan set a record for most effort into not breaking a sweat. Bret Hart getting a good match out of Jacques Rougeau is the only true positive, but it isn’t enough to warrant tracking down a copy.
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