Royal Rumble time! This is the seventh pay per view I’ll be reviewing and the first Royal Rumble. Now I am a MASSIVE Royal Rumble fan so a pre warning that the rumble match will rate highly. It’ll be interesting to see how the rest of the show pans out. I have seen the Rumble match before but not the rest of the show. I am expecting that to be the main highlight of the show.
This show gives us the smallest gap between pay per views so far with the Survivor Series only being two months prior. Since then all the champions remain the same. The Jumping Bomb Angels having won their Survivor Series match get a womens tag team title shot against The Glamour Girls. The rest of the show doesn’t feature any new feuds unless you count Danny Davis and Sam Houston. Hogan and Andre continue their war with Ted Dibiase backing Andre ready to buy the title off him should he win it. There’s a contract signing between the two tonight. So let’s go to the show.
The show goes straight into it with Rick Rudes music playing in the background. From there Vince McMahon takes us through the card tonight which has a few good matches and a few throwaway ones by the look of it. The commentators then come into vision and for the first time there is no sign of Gorilla Monsoon! It’ll be McMahon and Jesse “The Body” Ventura calling it tonight and with that we go ringside.
“Ravishing” Rick Rude vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat
There’s no sign of Bobby Heenan at ringside which is interesting. I thought he was Rudes manager! Steamboat is very popular and has very cool theme music, very dramatic. Rick Rude is the first winner of the “Jesse The Body” award. Rude just in red and black tights tonight, nothing fancy. A lively start to the match with Steamboat nipping the cat and sending Rude over the top rope. A test of strength slows the match down and as Rude gets the advantage a “Steamboat” chant breaks out.
Ricky gets the advantage and we get to see one of those deep arm drags. He slows the match down with submissions though which I dislike. Rude finally takes control and gone are the submission holds. He uses very basic punches, kicks and slamming Steamboats head of the buckle. Sadly this doesn’t last for long and The Dragon locks on an armbar again. Somebody on the front row of the audience has a megaphone and although hilarious, I have to keep checking Jimmy Hart isn’t at ringside. The match is back and forth for a while and once again slows down as Steamboat falls to the outside. This gives Rude a bit of time to pose.
Rude locks in a camel clutch now. There hasn’t been enough action in this one for my liking. The crowd are lit up at this event unlike some of the older ones when they would be in darkness. It’s starting to look a bit more modern now. Rude locks in a camel clutch and the referee checks three times and Steamboat should technically be finished but the referee checks a fourth time and the hand stays up. A cock up from The Dragon. Ricky gets the advantage from this and a few near falls later and the match picks up a bit. Dragon points up to the heavens and goes up top. But as he jumps off, Rude pulls the referee in the way! He then locks in a submission hold and the referee calls for the bell. Rudes music hits and he poses in the ring but I have a feeling this is going to get changed. Yup, The Fink announces that Steamboat actually won the match. A match that could have been much better if not for all of the submissions.
Match Rating: 4.25/10
Well up next, Dino Bravo, accompanied by his manager Frenchie Martin, is going to break the world bench press record. Frenchie Matrin is actually a Vachon, the brother of Mad Dog. Bravo is French Canadian I guess, hence the partnership. Not sure what happened to his partnership with Valentine and Johnny Valiant. Ventura kindly spots him. A bit of self promotion here for Dino. The crowd boo but I’m not sure if they’re booing Bravo or this segment. The weights keep getting heavier and so do my eyes and we get through this. And he did it. Great, let’s move on.
The Glamour Girls (c) vs. The Jumping Bomb Angels – Two out of three falls match for the Woman’s Tag Team Title
The Angels come out to some 80’s rock music and the crowd seem to be into them. They looked very good at Survivor Series so you’d have to fancy them for the win in this one. The Glamour Girls look very dated. Jimmy Hart is in their corner. The Angels start quickly with a double dropkick but the Glamour Girls quickly gain the advantage. The commentators seem to know the Glamour Girls names but not the Jumping Bomb Angels names. Jesse asks Vince what their names are and McMahon doesn’t know because he “doesn’t speak Japanese”. Brilliant. So they get called the “Red Angel” and “Pink Angel”.
The Bomb Angels dominate for a while with quick moves. Judy Martin comes in and accidentally hits her own partner. Ventura just said that it’s two out of three falls, first I’ve heard. The Glamour Girls get the first fall after a modified powerbomb. Leilani Kai wrestled at the first Wrestlemania don’t you know. There have been a few good spots in this match. One of the Bomb Angels bodges a sunset flip but gets the fall in any case. It’s one all, next falls the winner. Some good heel moves from The Glamour Girls but it’s The Jumping bomb Angels with the advantage and a couple of near falls. I think a Womens tag division would work now. That would of course mean giving more time to the Divas. The Angels then hit a double dropkick from the top and get the third fall! New Womens tag team champion, The Jumping Bomb Angels.
Match Rating: 3.75/10
We go back to Wrestlemania III to see whether Andre pinned Hogan followed by a soundbite from Ted Dibiase saying he is going to buy the World title. Hogan refuses to sell it but Dibiase says he will buy it. Interesting that Dibiase is straight into the World title picture. Now we go to some Saturday Night Main Event footage of Andre strangling Hogan.
Next up is the contract signing for the Andre/Hogan rematch. Andre the Giant comes out with Ted Dibiase and Virgil. Jack Tunney is also present as Hulk Hogan makes his entrance. Andre is reluctant to sit down to sign the contract. The chair does look a little small for him though. Apparently Dibiase has bought Andre from Heenan. Both men sign the contract and the Andre puts his “stamp of approval on it” but slamming Hulk into the table and throwing him down to the floor. The match is signed but sadly won’t be tonight.
The 1988 Royal Rumble Match
I love a Royal Rumble, it’s definitely my favourite match of the year. And this is the first ever televised rumble. Entrance numbers one and two are in the ring in the form of Bret Hart and one half of the tag team champions Tito Santana. Champion versus former champion to start this off is great. “The Natural” Butch Reed is the next man out there and he doesn’t look as toned as the first time he was on PPV. He’s got a bit fatter. He obviously goes after Sanatana. It seems that an airhorn signifies the next entrant who in this case is Jim Neidhart. Not good for “Chico” at all. Butch Reed has very generic ring gear, blue trunks, blue kneepads, red boots. Next out is Jake “The Snake” Roberts and the crowd go mental. He comes in and eliminates Butch Reed straight away. Wow, Reed is building a reputation of being eliminated quickly.
DDT chants reign out as Roberts and Santana dominate The Hart Foundation. Jimmy Hart barks his orders from the outside to the Harts as Harley Race comes out to help the them. Interesting that Race is still “The King” even though Savage won the most recent King Of The Ring tournament. The airhorns seem to have gone as Jim Brunzell makes his way out to even up the odds. Next in is Sam Houston whilst The Hart Foundation eliminate Tito Santana. Seconds later “Dangerous” Danny Davis jogs out. Davis and Sam Houston get into it, apparently there’s no love loss there. All four heels out there are managed by Jimmy Hart. Boris Zhukov is the tenth entry in and he goes after Houston. McMahon has just said that Nikolai Volkoff is as smart as a skunk.
And this may be true as Don Muraco runs out next with Nikolai Volkoff. There seems to be some confusion as to who was next in. Volkoff just stands at ringside waiting and has to watch his tag partner Zhukov get chucked out. Muraco eliminates Harley Race next whos push seems to be a thing of the past. Race is still at ringside as the popular “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan makes his entrance. Race gets in a cheap shot then legs it to the back. “The Outlaw” Ron Bass is next out but the crowd break out in a “DDT” chant. Danny Davis manages to squirm away though. Volkoff throws out Jim Brunzell next and soon after his tag partner Brian Blair makes his way into the mix.
Hillbilly Jim who I didn’t even realise was still employed is out next and eliminates Jim Neidhart straight away. Sam Houston still in there, he looks a bit like The Texas Tornado. Jake Roberts also in there, he’s got to be one of the favourites. Dino Bravo is in next fresh from his record breaking bench press. Ron Boss chucks out Sam Houston next. Bret Hart and Jake Roberts look shattered as they slug it out in the corner. And here we go! Out next making his PPV debut is The Ultimate Warrior! He legs it in as Don Muraco eliminates Bret Hart. Definitely not two minutes later is One Man Gang. And he throws out Brian Blair and Jake Roberts. The last man in is The Junkyard Dog!
Half of the entrants are still in the ring of the 20 participants. McMahon predicts JYD or One Man Gang to win but it won’t be Nikolai Volkoff as Duggan throws him out. Ventura predicts One Man Gang to win just as he eliminates Hillbilly Jim. Duggan eliminates Danny Davis next with a three point stance. Then Bravo and Gang clothesline The Ultimate Warrior out. Eliminations are quick now and Junkyard Dog is next courtesy of Ron Bass. The Dog was in the match for the shortest amount of time. Bass is next out from a Don Muraco clothesline. Final four now with One Man Gang, Don Muraco, Dino Bravo and Jim Duggan. Frenchy Martin causes a distraction allowing Bravo and One Man Gang to double team and eliminate Muraco. The double teaming of Duggan doesn’t last long though as Gang accidentally eliminates Dino Bravo. Final two, Duggan and Gang. Gang goes for a clothesline but Duggan ducks and the big man goes flying over the top rope. The winner of the match: “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan!
Match Rating: 6.25/10* Match Of The Night
Next we go back to what happened earlier in the night with Andre and Hogan. The Hulkster is back out now for an interview. The is the first PPV ever he hasn’t wrestled on. Another intesnse interview from The Hulkster who says Andre has got to beat every Hulkamaniac to take the title from him. It wouldn’t be a WWE event without Hogan posing for the fans with the tones of “Real American” blasting out of the speakers.
The Islanders (Haku & Tama) vs. The Young Stallions (Paul Roma & Jim Powers) – Two out of three falls match
Well this has been announced as a two out of three falls match. The second one tonight. Last time on PPV, The Stallions were co-winners of their match whilst The Islanders were the final two of their team. In the bigger picture The Islanders have problems with The British Bulldogs but for now they take on the rising stars of the Young Stallions. Why this match is after the Rumble I don’t know. Tama has a bit more personality than Haku and is the real life twin brother of Rikishi. The match is back and forth for the early going with no team gaining the advantage for too long.
Paul Roma is the man that gets the hot tag to a mild reaction. He hits a good dropkick but Tama has impressed me in this one with his heel tactics. Tama throws Roma to the outside and Paul look in pain. The referee actually counts him out for the first fall and the Islanders have the advantage in this match. The Stallions actually retreat to the back.
Oddly, half way through this match we go to an interview with Ted Dibiase and Andre The Giant. Dibiase tells us that he always gets what he wants then Andre says something that I can barely understand. I think he said he’ll be winning the title though.
Back to the match at hand and Powers helps Roma back out. Probably best to keep Paul out of the ring. Roma has to start though, gutted. He manages to make the tag to Powers who is fresh and takes it to Haku. Powers looks a bit like Tito Santana. The Islanders have really taken over this match. Jim Powers is getting a battering and only has Paul Roma to tag and he’s injured. Not looking great for The Young Stallions. Paul Roma does get the tag but it’s not particularly hot and Haku takes him down from the knees. Tama hits a big splash from the top and Haku locks in a single leg crab for the win. An odd match that was ruined by the mid match interview. The crowd didn’t seem into it either.
Match Rating: 3.5/10
And that was the first ever Royal Rumble PPV. But I don’t think it was a PPV due to the amount of ad breaks in it. It was an interesting little pay per view with only four matches. The first match between Rude and Steamboat had the “big match appeal” but sadly was ruined by too many submission holds. The two tag matches were meh. Both seemed like a waste of space and took the place of matches that I’m sure the fans would have liked to see. Where was Randy Savage? And Honky Tonk Man? King Kong Bundy? Paul Orndorff? Bam Bam Bigelow? Brutus Beefcake? Rick Martel? The British Bulldogs? Interestingly The Bulldogs and Savage weren’t on the last PPV in Canada either. Maybe they were banned from being there. The Royal Rumble was the main match of the night and featured most of the Mid Card talent. It was easily the match of the night on a fairly disappointing show. It gives Duggan a lot of momentum moving forward despite being fired a few months before for carrying weed.
Overall Rating: 44/100 (#4 out of 7)