The start on the Road To WrestleMania VII is signaled the moment the calendar flips and we move into 1992. Only about six weeks removed from the Christmas spectacular which was quite eventful, we get The Royal Rumble.
WWF World Title
After taking a week to help Sgt. Slaughter recover from the injuries he sustained at the hands of Ric Flair and The Undertaker, Hulk Hogan came back and demanded to see The Undertaker! When Paul Bearer showed up alone and gave an eerie speech about how The Undertaker was a force unlike anything Hulk Hogan was prepared to face, Hulk Hogan grabbed Bearer by the shirt and told him to summon The Undertaker as soon as possible. The lights dimmed and smoke started appearing from the end of the walkway, right near the ring. Hogan glared down at the WWF Champion, The Undertaker having appeared like a ghastly figure amid the smoke, and after we heard the gong a couple times, the lights flickered, went out, and then Bearer and The Undertaker were gone.
In the weeks that followed, The Undertaker cut a couple promos about Hogan, building a casket. Hulk said that he was prepared for his rematch, and even showed up at ringside to one of the exhibition matches The Undertaker had in the weeks leading up to The Royal Rumble. The two brawled, Hogan got the better of the offense, and sent The Undertaker tumbling backwards over the top rope, only to land on his feet. Paul Bearer lifted The Urn, smoke started filling in next to them. The lights flickered, the gong sounded, the lights went out, and they were gone.
The Intercontinental Championship
The first two weeks after This Christmas In Texas, The Mountie was gloating about how he had beaten Bret Hart to become the Intercontinental Champion, and when The Hitman wasn’t in attendance to show up for the second week in a row, Roddy Piper made it known that he didn’t appreciate that The Mountie was calling Bret a coward. Jimmy Hart said that they had sent out word to Bret Hart saying he should come get his rematch if he wanted it, but to this point Bret wasn’t able to show up to answer the challenge. Piper then stepped up and said he’d take on The Mountie at The Royal Rumble if Bret Hart couldn’t. As Piper was leaving the ring after the confrontation, The Mountie hit him in the back with the cattleprod, knocking him to the ground. The Mountie stomped on him a few times and then tried to shock him, but Piper rolled out of the ring to safety before he could get shocked.
Bret Hart then showed up the following week and during an interview, Roddy Piper told Bret that he wasn’t trying to get in the way of things with The Mountie. On the contrary, Bret said that he was happy to see Roddy stand up for him, and that Piper should get a shot at The Mountie for that attack the previous week. Bret said that he’ll look forward to getting the Intercontinental Title back, but that while he was champion, he didn’t get to always pick his opponents, and he had someone he wanted to deal with first.
Bret called out “The Tornado” Kerry Von Erich, who didn’t “have the guts to show up” that evening. He mentioned the cheap shots from Von Erich back at the Survivor Series, and how Hart tried to get a match with him for This Christmas In Texas, but how “The Tornado” was reportedly avoiding top contenders matches, opting for lower level opponents. The week prior to The Rumble, Kerry Von Erich let Bret Hart know that although he was going to participate in The Royal Rumble, that he would also take Hart up on his challenge for a one-on-one match, showing that he’s not afraid of any opponent.
The Tag Team Division
The Nasty Boys and Natural Disasters showed up the week after This Christmas In Texas and both said they were vying for a tag title shot. Jack Tunney sent word that the two teams would be brought together the following week for a special announcement. On that show, Tunney said that those two teams were supposed to prove something at the previous pay per view, and all they proved was that they hated each other, so Tunney set in place a top tag titles contendership match for The Royal Rumble between the two teams. Upon hearing that, the two teams brawled. The next week, it was announced that there was a restraining order between the two weeks.
Following the announcement that neither of those two teams were getting tag title shots, The Legion Of Doom were interviewed and they stated that they don’t care who they face at Royal Rumble in a title defense, that they’ll beat anybody. “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase and I.R.S. showed up and said that they had “convinced” someone to give them a shot at the tag team champions at the event. They played up the fact that they had likely paid someone off for the opportunity, but wouldn’t say who. Leading up to the event, Money Inc, as the team was calling itself, looked like a decent tag team, defeating Owen Hart and Jim Neidhart, The New Foundation, albeit by cheating. After that match, The Beverly Brothers approached Owen and Anvil during an interview and said they didn’t appreciate how The New Foundation were scouting their match back at This Christmas In Texas, and they demanded a match at The Royal Rumble. Before Owen could answer, Beau and Blake attacked the two. Tired from having just competed, The New Foundation didn’t put up as much of a fight as the blonde brothers, but didn’t stay down long. The four men brawled to the back.
Other Royal Rumble Storylines
Jake The Snake Roberts made it known that although he believed in the power of The Undertaker, that if Hulk Hogan was the one who came out of The Royal Rumble event with the belt, he planned to make Hogan the next big name on his list… whether Hogan liked it or not, because he would be winning The Rumble. He also planned to celebrate a Rumble victory with “a Rumble of a different kind” with Miss Elizabeth, who he hoped would be in attendance.
Ric Flair talked about how he shouldn’t even have to compete in The Royal Rumble, since he is “The Real World’s Champion”, but that nothing was going to stop him from main eventing WrestleMania and winning the WWF belt.
Week after week, Sid Justice destroyed lower level talent, often waiting for EMTs to put them on a stretcher and then wheeling them back towards the ring and having them crash down when they got to the apron. He called himself “The Master… And The Ruler… Of the WOOOOORLD”. His sanity was questionable, but the destruction of opponents was undeniable.
Still on his apology tour, Sgt. Slaughter talked to the fans about how he was going to cross paths in The Royal Rumble with a number of guys who he crossed one way or another, and that he was going to stand on the side of the fans, but he was trying to work his way back into a title shot at WrestleMania so he could win back the title for an American favorite, if somehow Hogan couldn’t.
The British Bulldog seemingly performed feats of strength week after week, continuing on his winning streak in singles matches. The only person of note that he crossed paths with was The Tornado, but that was simply a backstage encounter whether they bumped into each other and neither man was willing to back down.
After destroying his former tag team partner in The Barber Shop segment at the past event, Shawn Michaels started showing off a more flamboyant side. When Brutus Beefcake told Shawn he didn’t appreciate how he destroyed his Barber Shop and didn’t respect the interview time he had given him to air grievances, Michaels simply turned away, then Superkick’ed Beefcake in the jaw, knocking him out.
A Native American competitor appeared on the scene, known as Tatanka. In the few weeks he was around leading up to The Royal Rumble, he built up an undefeated streak.
The Big Boss Man said he planned to continue on enforcing the ways of justice around the WWF, and that The Royal Rumble was a great time to make sure that everyone who deserved to serve Hard Time, especially one man who was making a mockery of the term.
Now that you’ve read what the card looks like… check out the results!