3. We’ll Fix It In Post
Watching the actual Rumble match itself, you’ll nice quite a sizable cheer when, once it’s down to the final three, Justice sneaks up behind Hogan and tosses him out. Fans had grown weary of Hogan, partially due to his being on top for eight long years, but also the crushing blows dealt to his public image, as a result of the catastrophic Arsenio Hall Show interview in 1991.
WWE would actually edit that reaction in post-production, airing replays on their ensuing broadcasts (including the February edition of Saturday Night’s Main Event) to have the ‘crowd’ loudly (and artificially) boo Sid for his apparent ‘treachery’. Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan were even made to record a new commentary track, with Monsoon emphasizing how Sid was a “thief in the night” for sneaking up on Hogan, even though what Sid had done was standard battle royal protocol. And you thought WWE explaining away the boos for Roman Reigns was something.
2. On Top Of The World
For lasting sixty minutes inside the greatest Royal Rumble of all time, Ric Flair was awarded two things: an orgasmically joyful reaction from Bobby Heenan (Daniel Bryan never YESed that much), and his ninth recognized World title. Flair was already in a league of his own with so many reigns, and the win put him in some special company.
By virtue of his victory, Flair became the second man to hold both the NWA/WCW and WWE World Heavyweight titles, joining the original “Nature Boy”, Buddy Rogers. And technically, Flair was the first man to *win* both belts, as Rogers was simply declared the first WWE Champion in 1963, having won a purported tournament in Rio de Janeiro. Now where have I heard that before…
1. Whittling Down
Despite the fact that the 1992 Royal Rumble is hailed as one of the most memorable shows of the time, the fact is that time wasn’t a particularly-great one for WWE, whose popularity was dwindling. The wrestling boom had been long dead, and as mentioned, Hogan’s public image had taken some stiff shots to the vital organs.
The 1992 Rumble did 260,000 buys, which was down 41 percent from the 440,000 done one year earlier. Other recent PPVs had seen one-year drops, as SummerSlam 1991 fell 20 percent from the prior year, while Survivor Series fell 25 percent. It was WWE’s least-bought major PPV since the Royal Rumble two years earlier, and a harbinger of things to come – both SummerSlam and Survivor Series in 1992 would dip below 300,000 buys, as the new norm crept lower and lower.