The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences got it all wrong when it came to determining the nominees for the 64th Academy Awards in 1992. How Ric Flair and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan were not nominated for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, respectively, confounds me. Their performances in the 1992 Royal Rumble match are among the greatest in the history of not just professional wrestling, but within any medium, period.
The 1992 Rumble match was to fill the WWE World Title vacancy, and it was to be Flair’s day. Entering from the number three position, Flair lasted seconds past the one hour mark, capturing the gold in what most hail as the best Rumble match that there’s ever been. Complementing Flair’s physical toil and drama was the commentary of Flair adviser Heenan, who lived and died on every Flair near-elimination while maintaining his razor-sharp comic rapport with Gorilla Monsoon. It is the greatest 60 minutes of commentary in wrestling you will ever hear.
The 1992 Royal Rumble is remembered as one of the top events of its day, and is still among the greatest Rumble events of all time, mostly carried by the titular match itself. If you’ve never seen it, you’ve been deprived of seeing one of wrestling’s (literal) finest hours.
10. Stiff Reaction For Jack
Heenan got in some especially funny digs (par for the course for The Brain) at WWE President Jack Tunney, who gave a brief speech before the actual Rumble match, first calling him, “Jack ‘On the Take’ Tunney”, and then saying he was, “The best President since Noriega.” Tunney was booed lustily by the fans in Albany before, during, and after his brief benediction, something that WWE tried to head off at the pass.
Tunney actually appeared before the PPV broadcast, reversing the decision in a dark match to allow “Conan” Chris Walker a victory over The Brooklyn Brawler, who had cheated to defeat him initially. The plan was for fans to appreciate Tunney’s just mediation, and hopefully give him a favourable reaction when he appeared later in the show. Didn’t take, sadly.