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SPECIAL PREVIEW OF THE FIRST ELITE PRO WRESTLING INSIDER WEEKLY NEWSLETTER FOR ALL PWINSIDER.COM USERS

By PWINSIDER.COM STAFF on 2004-02-08 20:00:00

WWE NEWS

CLEARING UP THE RUMBLE LONGEVITY ISSUE

We received several emails concerning the longevity of Chris Benoit in the Royal Rumble. The first thing that needs to be clarified is that Ric Flair does NOT hold the record for longest time in the Royal Rumble. Ric Flair, who lasted 59 minutes and 26 seconds in 1992, held the record for longest time for the WINNER of the Rumble. The longest time in a Rumble actually belonged to Bob Backlund, who lasted 61 minutes and ten seconds in 1993 before being eliminated by the eventual winner, Yokozuna.

Now, we have timed the entrants in this years Rumble, and according to my clock (and this is not scientific, so your stopwatch or timer may be different than ours), Chris Benoit lasted 61 minutes and 34 seconds, breaking all of the old records.

Here is the unofficial list for longest time in a Rumble match, regardless if the person won or not.

Chris Benoit - 2004 - 61:34
Bob Backlund - 1993 - 61:10
Ric Flair - 1992 - 59:26
Vince McMahon - 1999 - 56:38*
Steve Austin - 1999 - 56:38*
Kane - 2001 - 53:46
Rick Martel - 1991 - 52:17
The Rock - 1998 - 51:33
Triple H - 1996 - 48:01
Steve Austin - 1997 - 45:07
Ted DiBiase - 1990 - 44:47
Greg Valentine - 1991 - 44:03
Chris Jericho - 2003 - 38:54
The Rock - 2001 - 39:42
Shawn Michaels - 1995 - 38:41
Davey Boy Smith - 1995 - 38:41
Hercules Hernandez - 1991 - 37:36
Davey Boy Smith - 1991 - 36:43
Jerry Lawler - 1996 - 36:02
Bradshaw - 1998 - 35:45
Roddy Piper - 1992 - 34:06
Randy Orton - 2004 - 33:46
Rob Van Dam - 2003 - 32:56
D'Lo Brown - 1998 - 32:21
8-Ball - 1998 - 30:43
Bam Bam Bigelow - 1994 - 30:12

* Although Vince McMahon and Steve Austin started and ended this Rumble, there was a long stretch of time in which they were not involved in the match.

Dave: The much talked about push of Chris Benoit was clearly on display last Sunday at the Rumble. It’s funny, in talking with people in the know in WWE a month or so ago, when I asked about the push of Benoit, there were a number of them who said things like, “Yeah, he’s going to get one, if you can call it that.” Obviously, the inference was that he would be working with HHH and would be fed to the McSon-in-law as if he were the proverbial grist for the mill. I don’t know how it will all shake out. Maybe he will just be there to have good matches and “make HHH look good”, though I think that given HHH’s recent work with Shawn Michaels that would be unfair to say since he has done a great job in those matches. Maybe it will lead to a three way with Shawn being involved. I don’t know at this point but I am not complaining. Benoit got a great push on Sunday and followed it up well on Monday. He did a great job in the Rumble and appears to be primed to make the best of his opportunity.

My other two stars of the Rumble were Randy Orton, who turned in a great performance, and Big Show, who delivered as a the big monster that no one can throw out.

Buck: More than the Ironman performance, I loved the last two eliminations in the Rumble.  Big Show used leverage to eliminate Angle, and Benoit did the same to eliminate Show.  Instead of the "fling him over the top" styles, they actually "wrestled" for the eliminations.  Being a huge Benoit mark, I hope "Mr. January Push" sees it last a little longer this time. He deserves it. 

INJURY UPDATES

Matt Morgan suffered what was thought to be a stinger last during his house show match in Reading, PA on Monday. After taking a clothesline from Bob Holly and landing awkwardly, he lost feeling and was prone on the mat. The match was stopped and he slowly regained feeling. He was taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure and from what we were told it appears he will be OK.

Dave: I have heard that Morgan will be OK and should be back in action soon.

Jess: The number of injuries in Reading, as Dave as pointed out, is kind of scary!

For those who have asked, Shane “Hurricane” Helms was fine backstage at the Rumble on Sunday. We are not sure if he actually hurt his leg when he was thrown out of the ring or if he was just selling, but we were told that he was OK backstage.

Dave: To me, the telling note of the night concerned the Hurricane. It appeared he was hurt when thrown out by Matt Morgan. He sold it like he was. I asked at least six people if he was OK and they all gave me the same answer, variations of “who cares”. Ouch. For the record, he was OK.

Buck: I thought Hurricane could fly? 

Also, John Cena’s knee is said to be OK as well. He twisted it when he was thrown from the ring during the Royal Rumble match.

Dave: John Cena will be OK, though it was initially feared he could have had a much worse injury. But luckily, he was up and around the next day and could have wrestled that night in Reading if it were a PPV. When he hit the mat after being tossed, he thought the injury was bad, from what I was told. By later in the night though, it was already feeling better.

Jess: Cena did a hell of an acting job or was a lucky individual.  Definitely looked like a nasty fall to me.

Scott Steiner was at Raw on Monday but didn’t work due to a groin pull or a leg injury. He is said to be day-to-day.

Buck: Sadly, Steiner seems to be a crapshoot to appear on Raw anyway.  Much like Lance Storm and Val Venis, he seems to be on the top of the list of wrestlers to have their TV time cut if something else goes long, or if a change needs to be made. 

JACK TUNNEY PASSES AWAY

Jack Tunney, who was the figurehead President of the World Wrestling Federation during the promotion's national expansion, passed away on Saturday from a heart attack. Tunney was 68.

Tunney hooked up with the WWF in 1984 after a long association promoting in Toronto using talent from the National Wrestling Alliance. When Tunney began to instead promote WWF events in the city, it was a major move for the promotion's international plans, giving them a foothold in Canada that has never truly been challenged.

Tunney was the on-air President for the promotion, often making major announcements and appearing as "Press conferences", including the announcement of a tournament at Wrestlemania IV after the WWF title was vacant following the Hulk Hogan vs. Andre The Giant match on NBC in February 1988. He also maintained responsibilities with promoting Toronto events locally, including Wrestlemania VI.

Tunney retired in the early 1990s to spend more time with his family.

On behalf of the entire PWInsider.com staff, we'd like to express our condolences to the family, friends, and fans of Jack Tunney.

To read the complete Toronto Sun article on Tunney, click here.

Dave: As any long time fan remembers, Jack Tunney was the figurehead president of the WWF. He often had to “make the rulings”, almost always from a studio from behind a desk. It’s interesting to note how much the role of authoritarian has changed since Tunney’s time.

Buck: Being reminded of Tunney, and also watching some of the "press conference" material on the Ric Flair DVD, reminded me of something that helped wrestling seem "real".  In those days, the President or Promoter didn't get in the ring and take abuse from the wrestlers.  They simply made decisions and rulings, and it seemed somehow legitimate.  When Magnum T.A. hit NWA President Bob Geigel, he was stripped of the U.S. Title.  When Dusty Rhodes accidentally hit Promoter Jim Crockett, he was suspended.  Now, wrestlers punch out the General Managers all the time, and nothing happens. 

RATINGS REPORT

This week’s edition of Raw did what I believe averages out to a 4.0 cable rating, with a 5.8 share, according to Nielsen Media Research. The show did hours of 3.8 and 4.1.

Dave: Given that we are heading into WWE’s most important time of the year, the Raw rating is a positive sign, for sure. They need to keep building momentum going into WrestleMania, their biggest show of the year, and with their best rating number in about four months, this is a great start. They need to continue this momentum through March and internally, they know that they need to really push the No Way Out PPV since it’s stuck in the middle of the Rumble and Mania. I think that they need the Raw brand to promote the show as well and build off of the cross-promotional aspects of the storylines currently in play. They don’t have to push it like a Raw PPV, but mention their characters’ involvement to build interest among Raw fans. By doing that, they can truly do an old style long-term push to Mania. As I have said before, the more you push something and the harder you promote it, the more special it will seem to the fans. The more special it seems, the more people are likely to plunk down their money on March 14.

Jess: They were probably doing jumping jacks at Titan Tower for a 4.0.  I would attribute that to a number of factors.  Obviously, the post Royal Rumble bounce.  Rumble has always been the second or third most viewed pay-per-view each year, and the intrigue of who is getting the Mania title shot is a compelling reason for that.  The return of Mick Foley was also important in this, although without a quarter hour breakdown it would be tough to know just exactly how important.

An overlooked factor in this bump is the jump of Benoit and the shake up to the title picture.  I really liked how they left the Benoit angle, with both Michaels and HHH having issues with him. One of the early factors in making Nitro a successful competitor to Raw was the "everybody feuding with everybody" booking approach of the first several months' of shows.  While I'm not advocating that level of craziness (because it did burn itself out after a while), it's nice to see them leave things a little unclear and not have all the parties in an angle on the same page, so to speak.

Buck: Foley is good, very good.  If you didn't see Raw (or Smackdown) this week, get a tape.  It is well worth it. 

In other weekend ratings news, the 1/24 edition of Velocity did a 0.8 cable rating, with a 1.3 share.

The 1/24 edition of Confidential did a 0.7 cable rating, with a 1.4 share.

The 1/25 edition of Heat did a 1.1 cable rating, with a 1.6 share.

Just to clarify the ratings report, this week’s edition of Raw definitely averaged out to a 4.0 cable rating, with a 5.8 share, according to Nielsen Media Research. The show did hours of 3.8 and 4.1. That is way up from last week’s 3.6 and is a nice sign for WWE as the build for WrestleMania begins. It’s also the show’s highest rating since September 1, 2003. The highest rated segments of the show came for the overrun, which did a 4.4.


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