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Royal Rumble 1996 Dumbest Ass Award: Diesel

The Royal Rumble match is a 30 man over the top rope battle royal, and it's every man for himself. That invites strategy. It's a tactical war as much as a test of physical strength and endurance. Too often, wrestlers either forget this fact or ignore it completely. They do so by engaging in such ridiculously dumb behavior like outright stopping eliminations from occurring. There are exceptions, of course, like tag teams or factions attempting to work together to give themselves the best chance to win but generally, it's a really stupid idea to stop an elimination.

In each Royal Rumble, there are always wrestlers who stop multiple eliminations. In some cases, a wrestler will stop an elimination that has a monumental effect on the match and is detrimental to his chances of winning in a way he ultimately cannot overcome. I like to refer to such a wrestler as the "Dumbest Ass."

Here, we'll hand out the award for "Dumbest Ass" in each of the Royal Rumble matches that have taken place so far.

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1996

The Kliq!

Dumbasses

Henry O. Godwinn

  1. This was funny, if only for Vince McMahon's commentary. Bob Backlund is trying to get Godwinn gone when Triple H comes up and uses that to try to eliminate Backlund. That's good strategy. Godwinn is then able to escape and Vince starts talking about how there are no friends in this match. Godwinn then gets up and kicks Jerry Lawler, stopping him from tossing Bob Holly. Vince: "No allegiances and... uh, alright."

Bob Backlund

  1. Triple H was working on him and he literally lifted his right leg up and onto the top rope to make it easier on Trips. Just throw yourself out next time, Bob.

Triple H

  1. As was just mentioned, he was working Bob Backlund in the ropes and ol' Bob, just dumb as hell, actually gives him an assist by tossing his right leg up and over the top rope. How does Triple H capitalize on this? By letting him go to advance on Henry O. Godwinn in the middle of the ring. He was promptly punched twice and laid out.
  2. Bob Holly was working on a fresh Shawn Michaels and had him in a bad position when Triple H went full idiot and punched him in the gut. After Holly went to the mat, guess what he did? Yep! Triple Dumbass then immediately put Michaels in the EXACT same position Holly had him in.
  3. I just can't comprehend this. He stumbles across the ring to see Hakushi loading up to throw Shawn Michaels out. HBK doesn't go all the way over, so Hakushi follows up, naturally. Triple H follows behind and instead of trying to help him out, yanks his head back and pokes him in the eye. After Shawn skinned the cat, Triple H started brawling with him.

Jake Roberts

  1. So Roberts enters at number 7 and at that point, no one has been eliminated from the match. He walks down to the ring and when he climbs in, lets his snake out of his bag. I mean that literally. He had a big ass snake in his bag and he let it out in the ring. I'm not sure the strategy here, considering everyone just ran the hell out of there as soon as the snake came out. The only guy who didn't was Jerry Lawler, because he couldn't see it. Jake then pulls Jerry over and puts the snake on top of him, scaring the shit out of him for the few seconds it took for The King to buck the snake off and tuck tail like the others. Roberts then got out of the ring and helped someone put the snake back in a bag and, apparently, to the back. What the hell was the point of all this? This man was allowed to bring a real live snake into the ring and eliminated no one.
  2. Very shortly after this whole thing, Roberts is walking around looking for someone to engage with. So he goes over to Triple H, who has Bob Backlund up on the top turnbuckle, and pokes him in the eye. The beauty of this is Mr. Perfect was on commentary calling him "smart" and saying he "knows when to pick his spots." I'm not sure what match Perfect was watching but it damn sure wasn't this one.

King Mabel

  1. This man had 1-2-3 Kid, who weighed all of 78 pounds, maybe 79 soaking wet with concrete in his shoes, by the neck up in the air and completely vulnerable. What's more, he was right next to the ropes. It would have been so easy to just toss him over the top and that been that. Instead he threw Kid into the turnbuckle. That's a strategy winners employ!

Dory Funk Jr

  1. The old man saw King Mabel trying to toss Takao Omori out and pulled him off so Omori could hit a dropkick. Ganging up on the big guy to get him out isn't a bad strategy but Funk immediately peeled off and went after the smallest guy in the match, 1-2-3 Kid. Amazing.

Vader

  1. Having just tossed one of the Squat Teamer's out, the big man walked across the ring to stop Savio Vega from his quest to get Triple H out of the ring. Vega got the upper hand shortly thereafter and Triple H helped him beat on Vader in the corner.
  2. This time Vega was trying to eliminate 1-2-3 Kid and had him close but Vader again pulled Savio away. The best part? This time he laid a couple of punches in before just walking off to engage with Yokozuna. Vega, of course, came up from behind and kicked him. It should be noted that Vader did eventually eliminate Vega.

Bob Holly

  1. Earlier, I told you about Triple H stopping Holly from attempting to elimination Shawn Michaels before doing the exact same thing. Well, Holly got up after taking that punch and did EXACTLY what Triple H had just done, punching Helmsley away and going back to Michaels. Neither of the two ever succeeded in their goal, of course. Because they're dumb.
  2. Not long after Holly had failed to get Michaels out, he pulled Tatanka away from Owen Hart just as he was lifting him over the top rope.

Diesel

  1. Triple H gets Shawn Michaels all the way up spread across the top turnbuckle and as he's kicking him over, Diesel shows up to punch him away.
  2. But don't worry, Bob Holly is right there to clean up and OH NO, Diesel pulled him off too. Shawn rode stupidity to back-to-back Rumble wins.
  3. British Bulldog was fresh into the match. He manages to get Shawn Michaels up and over and onto the apron but before he can get his legs into an attempt to push him the rest of the way out, Diesel walks his big ass over to make the save. You know exactly what this is all setting up for.

Barry Horowitz

  1. Owen Hart is in the process of skinning the cat with Horowitz right there next to him. Instead of just grabbing his legs and throwing him over, he decides to kick Shawn Michaels, who was laying down next to all this.

The Dumbest Ass

Diesel

Honorable mention to Triple H, who was incredibly dumb for his various saves of Shawn Michaels, but Diesel is even worse because he saved the eventual winner of the match on three separate occasions. It all led to his being in the final two with Michaels and Shawn hitting some Sweet Chin Music to send his former partner over. If nothing else, we've seen multiple times now that The Dumbest Ass usually gets what he deserves. Also, watching with an eye toward dumbassery shows that it wasn't about Michaels being dominant, it was about Michaels having friends who were constantly saving his ass. I have no idea why. It's like they forgot it was a work anytime they saw their friend near elimination. You would think they'd know better. Actually, watching this, you'd think we would.

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Previous "Dumbest Ass" award winners:

1989: Bad News Brown
1990: Ultimate Warrior
1991: British Bulldog
1992: Hulk Hogan
1993: Randy Savage
1994: Lex Luger
1995: Lex Luger