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10 Things We Learned From WWE Royal Rumble 1991

Sgt. Slaughter beats Ultimate Warrior for the WWF Championship…

9. Casualties Of War

WWE

WWE knew exactly what they were doing when they sent the red, white, and blue-clad Ultimate Warrior out to drop the WWE Championship to the pro-Hussein Sgt. Slaughter, and there were reportedly many within WWE unhappy with the plan. Dave Meltzer of The Wrestling Observer noted that there were those in the locker room and office considering resigning due to the angle. Bret Hart noted in his memoirs that many in the locker room thought that wrestling was too cartoonish to be portraying something with the grave consequences of real-life war.

One person who washed their hands of WWE as a result of the storyline was veteran NBC sportscaster Bob Costas, who had previously guested on WWE events in the mid-eighties. Costas was set to take part in a light-hearted skit at WrestleMania 7, and would ultimately pull out of the event in early March, saying, “Under the circumstances, I don’t think (doing the show) would be in the best of taste.”

8. Protecting The Champ

WWE

The Seattle crowd getting hot at Elias for mocking their basketball misfortunes was mere child’s play compared to the atmosphere inside the Miami Arena after Slaughter pinned Warrior to capture the belt. Slaughter would tell stories of having his life threatened by irate and nutty fans during his time playing an Iraqi sympathizer, and there were concerns over his safety.

On the night of the Royal Rumble, Slaughter reportedly stayed inside the Miami Arena until three in the morning Sunday, more than four hours after the show had ended. The mood inside the building was such that there were fears that some angry wackjob could be waiting for Slaughter out in the parking lot. It was only then that it was deemed safe enough for Slaughter to leave the building.

7. Cutting Room Floor

WWE

The Mountie and Koko B. Ware had the unenviable task of trying to follow Slaughter vs. Warrior, but they really only needed to act as a time killer. Trying to move the action along from Slaughter’s maddening victory was a wise move, and the two had a nine-minute filler match that was mostly basic, a means of letting Jacques Rougeau flesh out his new gimmick a little bit more.

The match was basically a last-minute addition to the show, and didn’t even make the initial VHS release of the pay-per-view. There wasn’t anything memorable about it anyhow, but its exclusion probably irked a few completists out there. Later versions of the event, such as the 2007 DVD release and the WWE Network version, restored it as part of the complete version of the show.

Justin Henry

Written by Justin Henry

In addition to writing lists and commentaries for Cultaholic, Justin is also a features writer and interviewer for Fighting Spirit Magazine, and is co-author of the WWE-related book Titan Screwed: Lost Smiles, Stunners, and Screwjobs.

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