Three Iconic Moments From Early 1990s Wrestling

The early 1990s were an amazing time to be a fan of the then-World Wrestling Federation (WWF). The sport was full of iconic, legendary characters who battled and fought across epic storylines. Back then, this writer was an impressionable young boy who fell in love with the magic of wrestling. Royal Rumbles, SummerSlams, Survivor Series, and WrestleManias were something to look forward to with so much anticipation that you tingled with excitement. These are just three memorable wrestling moments from that era.

Bushwacker Luke’s Lightning Fast Royal Rumble Elimination

The Bushwackers made their WWF debuts in December 1988, long before the best UFC betting sites came online, and became an instant hit with wrestling fans, particularly the younger crowd. A comedy act, Luke and Butch Bushwacker were always seen gurning, pulling faces, licking each other and opponents, and walking everywhere in their trademark Bushwacker walk. Therefore, it was fitting that one of the tag-team duo was involved in an iconic wrestling moment.

The 1991 Royal Rumble was held at the Miami Arena in Miami, Florida, on January 19, 1991. Hulk Hogan and Sgt. Slaughter’s long-running feud was the main storyline, not least because the United States was engaged with Operation Desert Storm, part of the first Gulf War, which started two days earlier. However, all eyes were on the Royal Rumble, which saw a number of firsts.

Hulk Hogan became the first man to win the Royal Rumble twice, Rick Martel set a longevity record with a time of 52:17, and one-third of the field lasted for 20 minutes or more. Bushwacker Luke was not one of those long-lasting wrestlers.

Bushwacker Luke was drawn 27th to enter the ring and marched down the aisle with his trademark silly walk. He climbed through the ropes, Earthquake picked him up and eliminated him, and embarked on his arm-swinging walk back to the locker room. His Royal Rumble lasted all of 3.9 seconds! It is hilariously funny to this day.

Luke and his tag-team partner Butch were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2015, deservedly so.

Earthquake Squashes Jake “The Snake” Roberts’ Snake, Damian

Jake “The Snake” Roberts was so-called because he took his snake, Damien, ringside in a sack with him. After defeating his opponent, Roberts often removed the snake from the bag and placed it on the unconscious opponent!

Roberts debuted in the World Wrestling Federation in March 1986 and entered WrestleMania 2 a month later. During his match with George Wells, Roberts wrapped his snake around Wells’ head, causing Wells to foam from the mouth.

Roberts was involved in many feuds over the year, including one with Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, The Honky Tonk Man, and Rick “The Model” Martel, the latter culminating with Martel spraying cologne in Roberts’ eyes, rendering him blind for a time. However, Roberts’ best-known feud was with the man mountain that was Earthquake.

Earthquake and Roberts faced off during the April 27 edition (1991) of WWF Superstars of Wrestling. Usually, Roberts kept Damien in a bag in his corner but was convinced to put the bag under the ring for the bout against Earthquake. Earthquake nailed Roberts from behind before tying him up in the ropes. He then took the bag containing Damien before hurling his 468-pound frame onto it with a trademark Earthquake splash.

No snakes were harmed in what was an alarming plot. Instead, ground beef and a small mechanical device were used to make it appear Damien was in the bag. Earthquake took the feud one step further by serving “Quakeburgers” to Vince McMahon and Lord Alfred Hayes during WWF Prime Time Wrestling, claiming the meat was Roberts’ deceased snake.

Roberts introduced a new snake, Lucifer, who he billed as Damien’s big brother. Roberts exacted revenge on Earthquake on July 1, giving Lucifer some time under the spotlight.

Earthquake, real name John Tenta, died in June 2006, aged only 42.

Sgt. Slaughter Launches a Fireball at Hulk Hogan

Hulk Hogan is widely regarded as the most recognizable wrestler ever, thanks partly to his achieving superstar status in the 1980s and 1990s. Hogan was billed as an all-American hero, adored by the masses. He was a hulk of a man, standing six-foot-seven inches tall, weighing more than 300 pounds, and possessing 24-inch biceps, which he called his pythons! Hogan had dozens of feuds during his career, but if he was an American hero, who better to be the anti-hero than Sgt. Slaughter?

Sgt Slaughter was a controversial wrestler whose storyline painted him as an American soldier who turned his back on his country and became an Iraqi sympathizer. He shot to prominence in the early 1990s, coinciding with the height of the Gulf War. Such was Slaughter’s apparent hatred for the United States, Slaughter never left home without a bulletproof vest and was flanked by security personnel at all times.

Hogan faced Slaughter for the world title at WrestleMania 7. Hogan defeated Slaughter by pinfall following his famous leg drop, earning Hogan his third WWF Championship only months after winning back-to-back Royal Rumbles.

Everyone thought the Hogan-Slaughter feud would end there, but they were wrong. Slaughter waited for Hogan to return to the locker room, where he hit Hogan in the face with a fireball! Hogan dropped to the floor screaming in agony while Slaughter stomped and kicked his fallen foe. If the wrestling-loving public did not hate Slaughter before, they did now.

Hogan and Slaughter faced each other in several matches after that, including some famous fights billed as Desert Storm matches where disqualifications were not possible. Hulk Hogan gave some fireball payback to Slaughter in one of the Desert Storm fights, all while wearing camo gear, much to the delight of the baying public.

Despite the public outcry about Slaughter’s antics, he remains legendary in WWE circles. He even served as the WWF Commissioner for a time before becoming part of the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2004.


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