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The Rockers vs Orient Express (WWF Royal Rumble 01/19/91)

WWF WWE Royal Rumble January 19 1991 Miami 3.75* Rockers Orient Express Shawn Michaels Marty Jannetty Paul Diamond Pat Tanaka Kato

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#1 Loss

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 10:05 PM

Talk about it here.

#2 Loss

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 06:40 PM

Excellent match. One of the better WWF tags. There were some really clever spots in this. I love the slingshot/sunset flip combo finish, and Shawn's counter to the belt clothesline. There are a few things that I noticed during the match that were minor flaws, but I forgot what they were as the match progressed, which makes them pretty meaningless. Give them credit for thinking outside the box and coming up with something creative that tore the house down.

#3 shoe

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 01:38 AM

This really was a show case match for the Rockers and they looked great. The dives to the outside , their double team spots, their energy in general. I thought the Orient Express were real good in their stooging. Now the heat segment was rather pedestrian with the nerve holds and such. Now the end stretch was great with the cross up finish spots. You can hear someone yelling Paul toward the finish. The crowd ate this up with a spoon.

#4 soup23

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 04:53 PM

What a great match and only my #5 match of the month. High octane opener but they spaced it out and had some down times making the fast paced intricate segments all that much better. I have been slacking on my Rockers project but this is the best match I have seen of them so far.

#5 PeteF3

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 11:24 PM

Hey, it's a Rockers tag in January that's a WWF MOTYC, maybe the winner. Where have we heard this story before? Except the OX are a lot more capable than the Powers of Pain. I remember being absolutely blown away by the stereo move sequence at around the halfway point, especially the first time I saw a Tiger Feint. The only time this comes close to dragging is the OX's heat segment on Shawn, but that also went a lot longer than I recalled as I remember this being a very heel-in-peril match and it was more even than I gave it credit for. January's greatness continues.

#6 Kevin Ridge

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 08:35 PM

Tanaka throws a sweet flying forearm smash. Rockers double team timing is excellent. Express really play to the crowd more than I remembered. Michaels took a big bump off the turnbuckle to the floor. Nice little finish playing off the Express double teaming. Have always enjoyed this match and this time around I thought it was excellent. Better than anything WWF did in 1990. Express could have done more in WWF though I expect there weren't the proper face teams for them to go up against outside the Rockers.

#7 garretta

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Posted 12 April 2015 - 07:59 PM

I don't know who came up with this match, but Vince should have had him fired. Didn't he know that WWF tag matches are only supposed to have a handful of recognizable spots, with the rest of the time filled by restholds and managerial interference? Didn't he know that no WWF superstar is supposed to work this hard to entertain a crowd in the curtain jerker, even on pay-per-view? Didn't he know that most of the spots in this match are too complex for WWF superstars to execute, that they belong in Atlanta or Japan where wrasslers actually have to wrassle for a living?


In all seriousness, this might just be the best match in terms of in-ring action that I've ever seen from the WWF. The sheer number of fresh spots these guys did alone would qualify them for that distinction, but more important than that, we got a five-star performance from an unexpected source. Everyone who's seen the Rockers knows that they had a match like this in them somewhere, but what about the OX? Neither version ever looked this good before or since, and that also goes for Tanaka and Diamond's days as Badd Company in the AWA. It's like these guys got together beforehand and mutually agreed to show the waiting world everything they could do, and they certainly did that.


I can't even point to one spot that thrilled me more than any of the others, because almost everything each team did was not only well done, but unexpected, especially from the OX, who up to this time had been the stereotypical three-nerveholds-and-a-pinch-of-salt Japanese heel team regardless of whether Tanaka was teaming with Diamond or Akio Sato. The OX does use a nervehold briefly to slow things down, and we get an interference spot from Fuji, but these are well-placed and advance the story of the match rather than becoming the story


Gino and Piper were probably blown away by what they were seeing just like the audience was, and they managed to keep up as well as could be expected on commentary. Piper comes through as well as he usually does on the big matches, delving into strategy and the effects of each move as it's being done, while Gino actually gets to call moves instead of just shilling or bantering and does it solidly. I don't like that he's shouting at the top of his lungs so much; he only used to do that for the really big moments back in his heyday, but I guess Vince wanted him to join the goofball brigade that the WWF announcing crew's starting to become now that Jesse's been gone for a while. I even started liking Monsoon/Heenan less around this time because instead of setting up the Brain and reacting afterward, Gino started to shout him down and ignore him, which effectively killed that team's edge and made Heenan into just another annoying heel color man that's stopping the play-by-play man from calling the match.


At any rate, this is my Match of the Year so far as January starts to wind down. and I don't think any other WWF tags will top it for a good long time. As deep as the tag division was at one time in the eighties, matches like this simply didn't happen then, which is a shame because it's teams like the Bulldogs and the Harts that got a reputation for putting on matches like this when they never really did. I just hope that fans who say things like that see this match, because then they'll realize what a WWF tag team classic really is.

#8 Migs

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Posted 08 February 2016 - 08:35 PM

I think this might be a top 5 Rockers WWF match (if you don't separately count all the very similar Rockers-Brainbusters matches). 

#9 JKWebb

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Posted 05 May 2017 - 01:01 PM

Jan. of 1991 has to be one of the best month's in wrestling history as far as MOTYC/Classic matches go.  It's just incredible.  Another MOTYC candidate here in the first month of my 1991YB journey.  I guess I'm more in line with garretta and PeteF3 on this match, that is I seem to be a little bit higher than some of the others who saw at is really good (but, maybe not GREAT).  A lot has been said, but it just doesn't get much better than this in a WWF Tag setting.  I absolutely LOVED the creativity and freshness of this match (especially thinking of the finish).  At this point, this is in my top two for the month, and it's going to be hard to choose. 

#10 dawho5

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 08:34 PM

This match was absolutely shocking for me.  I loved it, but one thing kept going through my head.  Did they plan all of this?  Did they let anyone KNOW they planned any of it?  Did Vince chew their ass afterwards for all of that...wrestling?!? that was going on?  All told, great tag match and I wish there were more of these in the WWF.

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: WWF, WWE, Royal Rumble, January 19, 1991, Miami, 3.75*, Rockers, Orient Express, Shawn Michaels, Marty Jannetty, Paul Diamond, Pat Tanaka, Kato

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