From the WWE Network: Battle at the Royal Albert Hall

Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby the Brain call the action! They plug the big battle royal main event, with the winner getting a trophy of some regard.

This arena was over 120 years old at this point. It has such a unique look that this almost feels like an ECW show…with a royal flare.

The Rockers vs. The Nasty Boys

Which of these teams are carrying the most disease? The Rockers clear the ring in a hurry, leading to the Nasties stalling and posing.

Once things get rolling the Rockers use their speed to rattle the heels and clear the ring once more. The Nasties give it another go, but they are bumbling fools and the Rockers clean their clocks again.  This is easy, house show opening match heat spots I can appreciate, even if it’s mostly stalling.

Monsoon annoys me by trolling Heenan on why Ric Flair flew to the U.K. “just to be in the battle royal”.  YOU OPENED THE SHOW SCREAMING HOW PRESTIGIOUS THE TROPHY IS!

The Rockers control with arm work, trading off without tags to rile up the heels and thrill the fans. Not bumping while getting the crowd to eat your act up = smart wrestling.

The heels finally cheat to take over as Knobbs yanks down the ropes (way too early) while on the apron, causing Shawn to take a fall to the floor. The heels use rest holds and clubberin’ for a few minutes before Marty makes the hot tag.

Things break down into a four-way brawl. Monsoon says it’s okay to ignore the 5-second tag rule because all four men are in, so no one has an advantage. His run as WWF president must have seen sweeping rule changes as Gorilla’s commentary often cites things outside of the reality of the actual WWF rule of law.

Shawn winds up getting distracted by Jimmy Hart, allowing Jannetty to get bonked from behind and pinned. The finish may have been part of the Rockers split angle, but they don’t play it up at all. Perfectly acceptable wrestling and a pitch perfect fun opening match.

Tito Santana vs. “The Real World’s Champion” Ric Flair

Tito is not in his matador gear yet. These two had a humdinger of a match at the “Summerslam Spectacular” in 1992, so maybe they can deliver big here as well.

Santana gets the advantage during the feeling out process, but Flair uses hair pulls to take over with a wrist lock. Santana fires up with a series of dropkicks, forcing Flair to flop and retreat. The men exchange shots into the ringside railing.

Back in the ring, Santana does a single-leg trip which Flair wasn’t ready for, leading to an awkward bump. Santana works over Flair’s leg for a bit, but Flair fights his way back into control. The Nature Boy cheats at will to try to obtain any advantage.

Santana survives and begins mounting a comeback, but Flair thumbs him in the eye. Flair locks on the figure-four. The ropes are used to add to the pain as Santana fights the move for several minutes. Tito ultimately fights his way out.

The men take their struggle to the floor. Flair tries to take to the turnbuckles when the match returns inside the ring. Shockingly, Santana slams him from the top. The near fall off of that had many in the crowd humming. Flair is blasted with the flying forearm but is able to use the ropes as a break. Santana tries to score a cradle, but Flair uses the tights to reverse the move and steal the win to retain his NWA/WWF/WCW Real World’s Title. This was a solid effort from two pros, but it did not tickle me as much as the match from 1992 did.

“Mean” Gene interviews Earthquake and Jimmy Hart. Where’s Typhoon? Quake opens…with a joke? “Do you know how long a trip from the U.S. over the pond to the U.K.?  A long time, that’s why we took a plane!!”   Quake is going to wipe out the Bossman, then find Typhoon and dominate the battle royal.

Big Bossman vs. Earthquake

Quake tosses the Bossman around with ease in the early minutes of this bout. Bossman manages to avoid an elbow and a charge in order to gain the momentum in his favor. Quake is so big that Bossman has to use a headlock in lieu of much of his usual offense. Monsoon screams at Quake for sitting in the hold instead of fighting for position. Amen! Work the hold and a “rest” hold becomes part of the story!

Bossman uses several axe handles to rattle and finally drop the Quake off his feet. Quake doesn’t stay down for long as he catches the Bossman trying a top rope crossbody and powerslams him to the mat. Quake methodically smashes Bossman with forearms, bear hugs and ass squashes. Quake moves on to a headlock. The crowd is restless and starts to chant in response to someone in the audience playing an instrument.

Bossman starts to try and fire up, so Quake smashes him with a corner splash. Bossman survives and manages to deliver an enziguri, leaving both men splayed out on the mat. Bossman begins to rally, so the Mountie heads to ringside. He trips the Bossman, who had been smashing into Quake with belly splashes. Quake squashes Bossman one more time and scores the pin.

The heels celebrate until Bossman chases the Mountie to the locker room. This was long and not very entertaining considering two good big men were in the bout.

“Texas Tornado” Kerry Von Erich vs. The Mountie

Knowing Kerry’s habits for indulging in excessive amounts of drugs, I was a bit worried as I watched him twirling like a twister during his entrance as there were stairs on the way to the ring.

The Mountie stalls, eats a punch and then stalls again..this time excessively. He moves onto a sleeper/headlock to keep this thing idiot proof. Tornado locks on a sleeper of his own to up the excitement. Von Erich is knocked to the floor to eat up more time.

The men fight on the floor, where Von Erich punches the ring post by accident. Kerry rolls in the ring, but the Mountie fails to take advantage of the Tornado’s injured hand. The Mountie cradles Von Erich and puts his own feet on the ropes to steal the win. THEY DID NOTHING. The crowd was dead. It was a bore. Augh!

Undertaker and Paul Bearer do a promo at their funeral parlor.  Jim Duggan will be murdered by the Undertaker in the next match, and rigor mortis will set in before the battle royal can even begin. Good line. The battle royal will provide Taker with a chance for a mass burial of the WWF talent.

“Hacksaw” Jim Duggan vs. The Undertaker

Someone dressed like the Phantom of the Opera plays the Undertaker’s theme live on an organ in the building. I love the uniqueness of it all.

Duggan knocks Taker to the floor right away. Taker stares at the urn in order to draw his strength back to full force. Taker chokes away at Duggan, who tries to fight back with fists that do not take much out of the Dead man.

Taker does the rope walk before Duggan has been really worked over. Hacksaw goes along with it anyway, which hurts the realism a bit. Yes, I am critiquing realism in a match with a zombie as one of the participants.

Duggan fires off more punches, but Bearer steals the 2×4 in order to distract Duggan and give Taker a chance to pounce. Taker unloads with an AWESOME looking flying clothesline. Duggan says screw this and cracks Taker with the 2×4 for the DQ. Taker does not sell the shots. The Dead Man is knocked to the floor. Duggan celebrates like he just won the World title. This one had potential but never got in gear.

Roddy Piper rambles and screams about Boy George being gay, Bobby Heenan dyeing his hair, Ric Flair being a sissy covered in feathers, the crazy men in the back prepping for the battle royal and more.

Road Warrior Hawk promises to injure the moist sacs that surround the brains of Hercules and Paul Roma.

WWF World tag team champions The Legion of Doom vs. Power and Glory

Hercules cutting his beard is a look I can never get over. His hairline was receding and his steroid bloat was setting in.

A kid in the front row jumps from his feet from Hawk winning the opening test of strength over Roma. Everybody tags off a few times as the LOD dominate the opening minutes.
Hawk works in his piledriver no sell spot. Hawk misses a flying clothesline to finally give the heels an opening to get in some offense.

After a brief bit of Hawk being dominated, Animal gets the hot tag. Animal totally whiffs on a flying shoulder block, which almost misses Roma, who sells it huge anyway. Roma tries a flying attack but is power slammed and pinned instead. Roma seemed to narrowly miss getting slammed on his neck there. This was just generic punchy kicky stuff.

“British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith vs. The Barbarian
Smith gets a huge reaction, as one would expect. Barbarian can’t budge the Bulldog, so he takes to roughhouse tactics to try and garner control. Smith controls the pace with a lazy armbar. The way he holds the move doesn’t put any stress on the wrist or elbow as he is just clinging to the bicep with his lower forearm.
Barbarian hacks and kicks away at Davey Boy. Bulldog winds up with a bloody nose from a live round. Barbarian locks in a headlock to waste some time. Barbarian misses an elbow to open Smith up to make a comeback. A suplex and powerslam end the Barbarian’s night. The fans go bonkers for their hero.

The match was pretty paint by numbers for a couple of power guys. These two probably had a great match in them, but Smith didn’t go balls to the wall for his showcase match.

Battle Royal: Kerry Von Erich, Typhoon, Earthquake, Tito Santana, the Mountie, Marty Jannetty, Shawn Michaels, Barbarian, Big Boss Man, Hercules, Paul Roma, Hawk, Animal, “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, Knobbs, Saggs, Ric Flair, the Undertaker, Roddy Piper and Davey Boy Smith
Piper attacks Flair to kick off the match. Flair and Piper takes their fight to the floor as everyone else chokes and slugs away at one another. Animal gets his mitts on Flair, press slamming him to earn a nice pop from the audience.

After a few minutes of brawling, the eliminations start to fire off quickly.  Duggan is tossed by Earthquake, leading to him grabbing his 2×4 and whacking Quake across the back. Quake flies over the top and actually hangs on for a bit, giving us a wonderful up-close angle of the butt that killed so many rib cages (and at least one snake).

Piper and Flair continue to brawl in and out of the ring before Flair is tossed. I actually expected him to make it to the end. Bossman chokes the Mountie to play off their recent feud.
Piper and Undertaker have a little mini match, Piper drops Taker on his nuts and bounces him on the ropes. Taker no sells that since his Zombie scrotum has no tingling sensations.  Piper tosses the Taker to a good reaction!  Taker responds by yanking Piper out to the floor.

This sets up Typhoon and the Mountie being left with Bulldog and the Bossman. Jimmy Hart tries to strategize, but Mountie abandons the plan and runs for his life. Bossman chases after the Mountie, who is acting totally shot. Bossman batters the Mountie, and slides to the floor to give Hart a cheap shot. Taking his eyes off the prize comes back to haunt the Bossman as the Mountie manages to dump him when the battle ensues in the ring.

Now with a 2-on-1 advantage, Mountie tries to hold the Bulldog in the corner for a Typhoon splash, but the Bulldog yanks the Mountie in the way. Davey can’t take advantage as Typhoon is TOO FAT.  The heels regain control until Typhoon clotheslines the Mountie to the floor on accident in a contrived (albeit common) spot where the Mountie was holding Smith up for his stable partner to smack.

They play up the moment of Bulldog and the big man being the last two left as the fans roar. Typhoon charges Smith like a schmuck and is back dropped to the floor for a BIG pop. The Bulldog is dead tired and lays on the mat. Earthquake returns and he and Typhoon lay a beating on Smith. I was seriously baffled at this point, as it seemed Smith’s big moment was spoiled. The battering goes to the ringside area. Suddenly ANDRE THE GIANT comes down the aisle, using a cane, but walking faster than you’d expect. He uses his cane to scare off the heels and he and Smith celebrate! I marked out big time for Andre showing up, I won’t lie.

Final thoughts: An absolutely nothing show, with quite a few mediocre efforts from most of the jet lagged and road weary roster.



Written by Andrew Lutzke

The grumpy old man of, lover of wrasslin' and true crimes.