History of the Royal Rumble with KB
We have arrived at the last of the Big Four PPVs, the Royal Rumble. This is one of the true unique matches in wrestling as there isn’t another match like this. Yes it’s a battle royal, but it’s distinct from others are we have the time intervals. In case you’ve never seen one of these, the rules are simple. You have 30 men (twenty in the first one) in total with two starting it off.
Every two minutes thereafter (with a few exceptions in some years) another person comes in. The only way to be eliminated is to be thrown over the top rope with both feet touching the floor. The last man standing wins, and beginning with the 1993 match, the winner received the world title shot at Wrestlemania, making this in a way something like the semifinals of a season with the finals being at Mania.
As usual, this has a backstory attached to it involving Vince vs. Crockett. The NWA had a show called Bunkhouse Stampede, which was somehow worse than it sounds. Vince decided to give away a PPV level card (in his head at least) for free. The Royal Rumble was that show.
In something that amuses me greatly, Vince would be PISSED when the NWA did the exact same thing on March 27, airing the first Clash of the Champions, which really was a PPV caliber show at the same time as Wrestlemania 4, which this is the buildup show for. Anyway, the series has produced some great moments, primarily due to the idea of the iron man record, which is how long people can last in the match.
It’s something that’s just cool to think about while really having no significance at all. The record is over an hour by a few people but we’ll get to that later on. Other than that, it’s really just a great novelty act that only comes once a year and never gets old to me. That’s very hard to do, but it works. I have no idea how the reviews of these matches are going to go, but I’m looking forward to it. Let’s get to it.
As always, I hope you guys call me out on anything you disagree with. Keep in mind that these are simply my thoughts as I watch the shows. I very well may be wrong about every opinion I have on them, so if you think I am, then bring it up. That’s what these are for at the end of the day: getting people talking, which I’ve done enough of now, so let’s get to…more of me talking.
Royal Rumble 1988
Date: January 24, 1988
Location: Copps Coliseum, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Commentators: Vince McMahon, Jesse Ventura
Here we go with the first ever Rumble. This wasn’t actually on PPV but rather a special on USA, similar to Saturday Night’s Main Event in a way. The idea was invented by Pat Patterson, and that’s about all there is to say on that aspect of it. Since this was a TV special, it only has four matches on it, which to be fair is the same amount on the first Survivor Series. The Rumble here has twenty men in it, most of which are midcard guys.
There are two other things going on with this show other than the matches. First of all we have a contract signing for Hogan and Andre II, which took place two days after my birthday. Also, Dino Bravo is going to try to bench press 715lbs, which would be a world’s record. With all that said, let’s get to the first ever Royal Rumble, which certainly is a historic thing when you think about it.
Vince and Jesse talk about the show, which sounds ok at best, but that doesn’t really mean a lot.
Rick Rude vs. Ricky Steamboat
This was a great feud in WCW in about four years, but it never took off in the WWF for some reason. Ricky, not Rick mind you, would be gone very soon. He wanted time off to be with his newborn son, but it didn’t happen so he went to WCW and had some of the best matches of all time with Ric Flair. So Ricky and Rick are fighting here before Ricky leaves to go fight Ric. I’m glad we’ve got that cleared up.
Rude just got here recently, so there’s very little known about him. I’ll never get tired of seeing Steamboat skin the cat. It just looks awesome every single time. Ventura always seemed like he had a man crush on Rude, which was just funny to me. There’s really no point to this match other than just having a match for the sake of having a match, which isn’t something I agree with but it’s fine I suppose.
You have two great wrestlers so it means the match should be good. It’s classic 80s heel vs. face stuff, so what more do you want. That being said, this is fairly boring to start. It’s fine from a technical standpoint, but it’s a bit bland. Dragon’s armdrags help that out though, as I could watch him do those all day. Granted I’d be bored out of my mind doing so, but I could do it. Steamboat is really good at being able to keep the crowd into a very standard match.
That’s a talent that very few people ever could have, and Steamboat is one of the best ever at it. I mean, he’s working on the arm of Rude, which is some of the most standard stuff you can do and he’s making it interesting looking at least. He’s doing mainly arm work and the crowd is reacting to it. That’s all you can ask for. During this first part of the match we keep hearing a woman’s voice over and over again.
It’s not something that’s supposed to be there either. Jimmy Hart never managed Rude, at least not that I can remember, and Steamboat’s wife who occasionally came to the ring with him, so I have no clue who that is. However, once a camera swings around, we see that a woman has brought a bullhorn with her, more commonly known as a megaphone. Oh this is going to be a long match isn’t it?
And now this is just getting boring. It’s going on way too long here and Steamboat just botched taking an elbow BADLY. I mean it looked horrid, which isn’t something I can ever remember saying about him. I want to hurt that woman with the megaphone. Oh look, it’s ANOTHER armbar, but the fans are cheering it to an extent. At least there’s some psychology being used and he’s adding in more stuff to the arm to switch it up a bit. That’s nice to see.
Now if only the arm plays into the finish later on, we’ll have an actual story being told instead of just most of one which is what happens far more and far too often. Rude can’t pose because of the arm, and the woman thinks it’s just SO funny. The fans really do love Steamboat. They’re cheering wildly for simple punches and chops. That’s saying a lot. Rude goes to the really bad version of a camel clutch.
It’s the kind where he just sits on Steamboat’s back and puts his hands on his face which is supposed to be effective somehow. Thankfully that lasts about ten seconds. Oh never mind it’s back on. Damn I can’t stand cock teases like that. Steamboat slaps the mat which would be considered a tap out today, but obviously this is way too early for that. Rude really wasn’t that good at this time in his career.
He’s rather young and doesn’t have a lot of stuff in his arsenal and it’s rather boring. Somehow we’re discussing Vince putting his fingers up people’s nostrils. You can tell the announcers are rather bored at this point. This match is relying on rest holds such as this chin lock far too much. Yeah they’re actually still in it. At least with Steamboat he worked on the arm which makes sense.
It takes away the Rude Awakening and while you can argue that the clutch takes away Steamboat’s movement, it’s just boring looking. Ricky (again, not Rick but Ricky) mixed up his offense and used strikes and holds on the arm to at least keep it moving. That’s a major perk if nothing else. To their credit, the crowd has stayed rather hot the whole time. They really did love Steamboat. DAMN that bridge was pretty from Dragon.
They speed it up all of a sudden and now it’s good. Steamboat goes up for the cross body but Rude pulls the referee in the way of it. I’m not sure if Rude was using the Rude Awakening yet, as he gets Steamboat up in an Argentinean Body Vice, which is where you put a guy on your shoulder and pull down. Jesse says Steamboat just got a Rude Awakening, so there’s your finisher name.
Rude would be with Heenan by the time Mania rolled around and would be somewhat better. He leaves celebrating but Vince gives away the DQ ending by mistake just before it happens. Nice going BOSS. Rude is a bit angry to say the least as we go to commercial. That’s just weird to say.
Rating: C+. This was something that didn’t need nearly twenty minutes. The problem was in all the rest holds and Rude simply wasn’t ready for a seventeen minute match yet. Steamboat didn’t help things with the arm work, but to be fair Rude forgot about it maybe two minutes after he was done. The crowd was into it, but it was just barely ok. The ending sucked too.
It’s time for the bench press attempt. Ventura talks about what we’re about to see while insulting Gene at the same time. Bravo, the Canadian, gets an interesting reception. We get a promo from his manager, Frenchy Martin. It’s in French naturally so I have no clue what he said and I can’t make fun of him. Since we only have four matches, we have time for a warm up of 415lbs first. Wait, Bravo wants it to be silent.
I’ll give you two guesses as to how that goes. He does the 415 ten times as we set up another 90 to make it 505 as Frenchy talks some more. There’s no angle or comedy angle or anything like that going on here. Bravo is just lifting weights. The fans, shockingly, are booing. He speeds this set up a bit by only doing eight reps of it. Gene is despately trying to make this seem epic and is failing completely.
We’re up to 555 now, and it’s just the same thing: Bravo wants the people to be quiet, he stalls, he lifts it, and more weight is added. What’s the point of this damn thing? Gene is trying to do like a commentary thing here and it’s dull to no end. Bravo can’t do it because there’s too much noise. Ventura waists more time by saying be quiet and Gene asks for silence. Bravo does about six reps here (they should all be red) and again asks for silence.
This is just idiotic as we’re at about ten minutes. Yes, ten minutes is being wasted on this. Were there no jobbers available for people to squash? It’s 595 this time as Bravo hates noise. Wouldn’t the time here have been better spent in like, a match for Bravo? This is obviously supposed to be used to get him over but it’s not working. I’d assume it would work better with actual wrestling, but I don’t know enough about the finer points of the game I guess.
Again, the same formula is used but this time we have another French promo. He does three reps as Gene says how awesome Bravo is. Who really thought this would be a good idea? Remember there’s no Titantron or anything, so the people can see a spotlight on something, but for the most part they can’t see a damn thing. We’re at 655 pounds now so at least we’re close to being done.
I love also how there’s no judge or official to determine that this would be a record or anything like that also. The booing is ridiculous now so Ventura and Bravo bitch at McMahon, who allegedly was just a commentator at this time so that was odd. Hey he got 655 up! We’re over seventeen minutes now as Jesse says that this is unofficial because the bar will have to be weighed later. So wait, this might not count anyway? Give me a break guys.
This is beyond moronic and has been from the start, but supposed someone hit their head and thinks this is interesting. We don’t even get to know the results until later on? WOW and you people wonder why people popped so huge for Hogan and Savage. They were the only interesting things on these shows. Again: be quiet. He lays down but gets back up once again demanding silence. Oh come on now. He’s walking away now and Martin is trying to calm him down.
Jesse asks the people if they want to see a world record. Crowd: NO! Jesse ignores this of course. They waste a minute getting Bravo calmed down and we’re hopefully at the end of this. Jesse helps him do it by grabbing the bar. He would claim to have gotten it clean with Jesse saying he only put two pounds of finger pressure in it. This went on over twenty minutes, as in longer than the opening match. If anyone can explain the mindset of Vince for doing this, I’ll get you a ham sandwich.
Women’s Tag Titles: Jumping Bomb Angels vs. Glamour Girls
This is 2/3 falls. The Women’s Tag Titles did indeed exist. Much like he did with Moolah’s Title, Vince bought them from the NWA and gave them to the Glamour Girls who allegedly won them in Egypt. I think it was billed as a double main event and shown on a split screen with Patterson winning the Intercontinental Title in Rio. It happened damn it! Anyway, the Glamour Girls are old and annoying, but the Bomb Angles are freaking AWESOME.
At Survivor Series when they kicked the asses of the Glamour Girls, Jesse said they were like watching Savage or Steamboat or Dynamite Kid and he couldn’t be more correct. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m not a fan of women’s wrestling, but I’ve been looking forward to this match as I’ve never seen it, so you’ll be getting a legitimate fresh review here from me.
More or less this is just housekeeping at this point, as everyone knows the Angels are winning here. I’m not going to try to spell the Angels’ last names properly time after time, but the Glamour Girls are Judy Martin and Lelani Kai. Only the Angels get entrances. These belts were defended maybe twice or so in the six and a half years they were around and no one noticed when they were retired.
These two are like Lita vs. Moolah or something like that. For the sake of simplicity, the Angels will be named Red and Pink based on their attire. All four are wearing what would be described as one piece swimsuits for attire which aren’t flattering at all. Jesse and Vince are arguing about weightlifting and Jesse implies that Vince has never lifted one. That’s another of those moments that are ironic given what we know now.
Vince doesn’t know the names of the Angels either. OH MY GOODNESS! Vince says for lack of anything better, let’s call one Pink and one Red. I called that first Vince! I don’t care if I wouldn’t be born for another ten days. That was MY idea. That’s either awesome or scary as I’m thinking the same way Vince does. The Angels are just flat out destroying the Glamour Girls here as they look about as worthless as Vince is on commentary.
Damn man at least know the names of your talent. His excuse is he doesn’t speak Japanese. What difference does that make? If I walk into an Italian restaurant I can order spaghetti and I don’t speak Italian. It’s a word and you match it with a color. How hard is that?
Pink using the split legged move that Jeff Hardy used a lot. The Angels remind me of the Hardys actually with their continuity. In a very cool spot, both have a leg of one of the Glamour Girls and pull on her as the other Girl pulls from the other side. The Angels win and the Glamour Girl that’s standing more or less winds up doing a headbutt onto her partner. It looked cool.
The Angels are embarrassing the champions at this point as the Girls more or less can only do bare bones level stuff while the Angels, although a bit sloppy at times, are all over the place with varieties of offense that look very great. Like I said they’re not perfect, but DAMN they’re fun to watch. They’re not boring like most of the women wrestlers around this time period. It’s like the situation in the Winter Olympics a few years ago with the French judge.
One of the teams did a very basic routine perfectly and the other team did a ridiculously hard routine nearly perfectly. As far as execution goes here, the Glamour Girls are likely better, but they’re nowhere near the level the Angels are at here. Jimmy Hart rubbing one of the Glamour Girls’ calves to get the circulation back into it is funny stuff. Oh I almost forgot: the woman with the bullhorn has had it taken away or has been told to stop using it THANK GOODNESS!
The Girls win the first fall using a fairly cool looking move. Martin sets for a powerbomb but instead shoves Red over her head. Big Show used this for awhile which he called the Alley-Oop. We take a quick commercial break between falls and when we come back we ring the bell. I like that. All of a sudden Vince knows the name of the Pink Angel. Well thanks for getting it seven minutes into the match buddy.
She goes for the same finishing move again after a big brawl but Red gets a sunset flip out of it instead to tie us up. We hit another commercial and upon returning we run down the Andre/Hogan contract signing and the Rumble very quickly before the bell rings. I’m most impressed here as the announcers actually talk about the match once the bell rings instead of hyping up the bigger stuff later on.
That’s showing the girls respect which is something you rarely see in today’s product. When the Angels are on offense, this match is interesting. When the Girls are on offense, I want a sharp object to do bad things with. Ah there now it’s interesting again. The Angels hit a double dropkick from the top to win the belts in a cool looking finish. That was nice.
On replay, Jesse is proven correct as he claims that when the Angel went for the cover she hooked the arm of Martin, raising it off the mat so there shouldn’t have been a pin. Vince says that since the shoulder blade was down it counts. I don’t know what to say to that.
Rating: B-. I was expecting to be bored out of my mind here, but they carried this quite well in my eyes. It was fairly clear that these belts were a joke, but if nothing else they gave us something that we very rarely if ever get to see in this era, with that being a fast paced and well done women’s match. This was fun. It was sloppy, but fun.
We hit the recap button on Hogan vs. Andre which I’m sure you all know. In case you’re brand new to wrestling (if you are you’ve picked a most interesting place to start), Hogan and Andre had the biggest match of all time at Wrestlemania 3 in front of 93,173 people, with Hogan successfully defending the title. At one point very early in the match though, Hogan tried to slam Andre but his back gave out and Andre landed on him.
There was a lot of controversy to the count because Hogan literally couldn’t kick out and it looked like Andre had won in 15 seconds. That’s the driving force behind this rematch. McMahon says that he thinks the third mat slap was “the referee shoving himself up to signal that it was a two.” I get that Vince is the face commentator, but THAT’S the best he can come up with? No wonder he was on the verge of bankruptcy so often.
Anyway, DiBiase came into the picture and tried to buy the belt, but Hogan wasn’t interested. Since Hogan said no, DiBiase paid Andre to take out Hogan. DiBiase was so great on the mic and in general it’s terrifying. How did he not get a short run with it? Depending on if you want to believe it, there’s a story out there that says he was supposed to, but due to Honky Tonk Man throwing a monkey wrench into things, that never happened.
The full story of that is in my Mania 4 review if you’re interested, but in essence, the original plan called for DiBiase to hold the belt over the summer of 88, but it would have involved Savage beating Honky for the IC belt. He said no, so Savage got the world title four months ahead of schedule. Basically we recap the entire feud up to this point in a series of videos that take about seven minutes. This feels more like a show for people that are new to the company at this point, which is rather interesting.
After another commercial, we’re in the ring and for some reason they ring the bell for this. I guess it was to get attention, but it was still odd. Gene says what this is for and introduces Hogan for the contract signing for this match which will take place a week from Friday. It was taking place on a live show on NBC on a Friday night. Live TV was a very new idea back then and being on prime time during the week was unheard of.
You can tell it’s a very different wrestling world than it is now. Hogan is wearing jeans. That just looks odd. Jesse makes a great point that Hogan should be booed for coming out to Real American in Canada, but of course he’s worshipped even more. Gene mistakenly says that Andre weighs 425 which confuses Vince for a bit. Jack Tunney is here and gets a very mixed reaction (he was a big time promoter in Canada and had a lifetime job for selling to Vince.
This same deal was in place for Monsoon who owned the Puerto Rico territory of all places) as he should. Andre just looks awesome in his suit where you can see the suspenders holding up his pants. It sounds stupid but for Andre it looks sweet. Heenan has sold his contract for a million dollars and then later in I think 1989 bought it back for a hundred grand. That’s a very sweet deal when you think about it.
There’s a ton of mind games from Andre which has Hogan looking flat out scared. That’s something you hardly ever see. Hogan signs as DiBiase cuts a promo talking down to Hogan which is just awesome. Andre just stares at Hogan before signing which is scary as hell. Andre signs and then beats up Hogan of course, because it wouldn’t be wrestling without it. This was a new idea so the cliché isn’t there yet, making it much cooler.
Buy Wrestlemania 4.
We talk about the Rumble, which sounds really weak. There’s not a lot of huge names in it, which kind of hurt things. Let’s do it.
Bret Hart is #1 and Tito Santana is 2, so if nothing else we’re guaranteed a solid opening. This was the hot feud for the tag belts at the time, so I’m quite shocked that these are the two opening guys. Bear with me on this, as I have no idea how this is going to go. And we’re off. Vince is bitching about Andre and DiBiase’s conduct, saying that if Andre wins the title it’ll be a dark time for the company. I agree.
Those 45 seconds were indeed hell comes to Stamford. Thankfully Jesse gets Vince talking about the match and mentions how ironic it is that these two are starting, which amuses me. Something I noticed here: Vince mentions that hopefully 3 will be one of Tito’s friends. This was a lot more of a standard battle royal as there’s no concept mentioned of every man for themselves.
The idea of say Neidhart throwing out Bret would be a split of the team instead of just a regular thing in a battle royal. That’s very interesting. 3 is Butch “I was supposed to be a Horsemen” Reed. Tito hits the forearm just as Butch comes in to make it one on one again. Jesse says that Reed is virtually rested. Why wouldn’t he be all rested? Also if you’ve been resting, doesn’t it imply you had been doing something before? Why am I examining this?
After about a minute and a half (the space between people always changed through the match. According to Wikipedia this match runs 33 minutes even. Now I’m bad at math, but with 19 different entrances considering that two start and two minutes between each, wouldn’t there be a minimum of 38 minutes, which would also assume that the last person out was eliminated more or less immediately and didn’t have to run to the ring) Neidhart is 4, making it three on one against Tito.
Naturally just before Jim gets in, Bret and Butch mess up a double team spot which I think was going to be called the Convenient Plot Twist of Doom, but I could be wrong. The Harts kind of steal Demolition’s finisher to beat on Santana a bit more. Vince finally points out the idea that Reed could double cross them, but naturally he doesn’t.
After about 75 seconds we have the fifth entrant of Jake Roberts who was rapidly becoming a huge name. He’s by far the biggest star in the match at this point and immediately eliminates Reed and then hammers on Neidhart. Jim would be his opponent at the infamous Heroes of Wrestling issue which I’m sure you’ve heard of.
Jake and Tito clean house for a bit as it will never cease to amaze me how a guy can get a beating that would put most people in a hospital and be up fresh and fighting just seconds later. The crowd is WAY into this. The DDT doesn’t hit and the heels are in control again. Bret hits a piledriver on Tito as number six is Harley Race who needed to retire about five years prior to this.
At seven we have Jim Brunzell as we’re in full on battle royal mode of very little happening. This is a white hot crowd which is helping the boredom a lot. All six guys try to get each other out in a big pile which is either very cool or very stupid. Sam Houston, Jake’s tiny and untalented brother in law is eighth. The commentary here has to be limited as it’s really just punching and kicking and a random attempt at an elimination that doesn’t do anything.
That’s the nature of the beast though as you have to fill in a lot of time out there. We have seven people in the ring right now which is far too high of a number. As I type that, the Harts throw out Tito. Danny Davis is ninth. He was a referee turned wrestler and about as effective as Santino. Sam Houston beats him up if that tells you anything. Race gets caught in the slingshot position which is where he sits on the middle rope and gets punched down but his feet save him and bring him back in.
I’ve always liked that one. More random punching follows. These fans REALLY want a DDT. Boris Zhukov is the tenth entrant and eighth currently in the ring. How are we already halfway done with this? He goes for Houston, which makes sense as he’s the tiny guy in the match, but it’s getting a bit repetitive. Race and Boris go at it, and the term every man for himself is first used on a Rumble broadcast. I love me some hot heel on heel action. It had to be said.
Davis tries to get rid of Sam Houston to become mayor of Jobber Town USA, or would it be Jobber Town Canada in the Horowitz province? We start the second half with Don Muraco (incorrectly called #10 by Vince) and Nikolai Volkoff who run down at the same time. Uh oh we have an uninteresting problem here. Muraco hits him and climbs in, making that whole segment completely pointless.
We have WAY too many people in there until Boris is eliminated to take us down to just eight in the ring. That’s still far too many people laying on the ropes and punching each other. I wonder if they ever get bored doing that for so long. Brunzell hits a sweet dropkick on Hart. That was nice. Apparently Nikolai will be 12th when we finally get to him.
After Vince mentions that he has the list of all twenty names, more or less ending any feeling of suspense at least for me, Nikolai comes in, again making the time where he stood at ringside completely pointless. Race does his traditional back flip bump to be eliminated which always looks good.
Jim Duggan comes out 13th to a MASSIVE pop. He and Roberts were likely the second and third biggest faces in the company at this point. He and Race have a short incident in the aisle which I guess is the setup for the hilarious fight they had at the Slammys. Find that show as it’s hilarious stuff all night long.
There are WAY too many people in there with I think nine at this point and for some reason they’re all on one side of the ring. That looks very odd indeed. Ron “Don’t Call Me Lance” Bass comes in and I promise that’s the last of my Chris Berman moments. I can’t stand that guy. I like the way Duggan punches. It just looks cool. The ring is too full but Brunzell being thrown out helps a bit.
Brian Blair is 15 to get us down to just five people to go. These fans sound like they’re heroin addicts given how much they want the DDT. After even more stalling and bad punching we have Hillbilly Jim at sixteen. He takes out Anvil in about four seconds to keep us at that ten person equilibrium. Dino Bravo gets us to 11 as number 17 which I think is a new record for most people in the match’s long standing twenty minute history.
That’s the problem here. Considering the whole match is thirty three minutes, Bravo should be coming in at thirty two I believe, yet we’ve got three more to be entered. Bass gets rid of the twat waffle known as Sam Houston. The match becomes legal when some rookie that hasn’t done anything yet known as the Ultimate Warrior comes in. He’s a jobber killer at this point and barely even that high up.
Bret finally goes out as I guess he couldn’t stand to be in there with someone as bad as Warrior. He was in there twenty five minutes which is the record at the time. About forty seconds after Warrior comes in we have One Man Gang who would win the Slammy for Best Group. He knocks out Roberts and Blair in about a minute to finally start clearing the ring up a bit. The final man comes out after about a minute and it’s the Junkyard Dog. Well that’s pretty anticlimactic.
For the life of me I will never understand what was so great about this guy. He was supposed to be a big deal but I’ve always found him to be a complete waste of air. Anyway, this is the final field of about nine or ten so let’s do it. Yeah it’s ten. Vince shows off his brilliant wrestling mind by picking the Dog to win it. The 300lb Lithuanian Nikolai Volkoff is the first of the ten out thanks to Duggan.
Gang backdrops Jim out to take up to eight. Gang is also the I think fourth person that Jesse says this is his type of match. We get it: brawlers should do well in this. Davis gets clotheslined out to finish eighth. Gang and Bravo eliminate Warrior about five seconds later with relative ease. Dog is out a bit later to take us to five. Bass’ elimination takes us down to four.
I know that was just listing eliminations but they all came rather quickly with nothing at all between them. The final four are Gang, Bravo, Duggan and Muraco. The announcers pick the Gang for the win. Muraco beats up the Achilles enthusiasts while Duggan is down. Bravo holds Muraco up so Gang can clothesline him out, and naturally…it works. What? Of course it works.
Those are finely trained professionals. Did you expect them to make a mistake or something like that? They try the same spot on Duggan and it fails to take us to Gang and Duggan as the last two. Gang beats on Duggan on the ropes and charges at him, but Duggan of all things uses his head and pulls the rope down for the win.
Jesse is annoyed which is funny. We almost immediately go to commercial. One thing I really liked there was that there were no commercial breaks which would have messed up a lot of stuff for me. I’m glad they did it right.
Rating: C-. This match gets a pass, but it wasn’t that good. To be fair, it’s the very first one and they had no clue what they were doing, so given the information and knowledge they had, this was good. The roster wasn’t huge here as Hogan, Andre and DiBiase were the biggest stars in the company at the time, so there was only so much they could do, but it was certainly watchable. Next year they would iron out a lot of the kinks to improve it greatly, but for a first try this was fine.
We recap the real thing of the show by talking about Hogan and Andre. Hogan comes out again to talk about the title match on the fifth and says exactly what you would expect him to say. This was just window dressing.
Islanders vs. Young Stallions
Yes we actually have another match on this show and oddly enough it’s also 2/3 falls. The Islanders had dognapped Matilda recently in a somewhat well known angle. In short, they stole the dog and then gave it back. It was a big deal at the time for no apparent reason. Vince plays Sherlock Holmes here which is idiotic sounding. Heenan is apparently in Barbados for no given reason. Tama and Jim Powers start.
Tama was a guy I’ve always liked but he never got anything going for him. Vince admits that he was bored out of him mind during the Bravo segment which is great. It’s always good to hear Vince admit the he fucked up. They more or less ignore the match for the beginning because the show is more or less over at this point. Vince says that Tama has a devastating leap.
He doesn’t say into a splash or anything like that, but just a devastating leap. Wait, so he has a painful jump? Is he a jump rope master or something? Does Heenan turn the ropes? The man that would somehow become a Horseman named Paul Roma gets a tag and then it’s his turn to get beaten up. Oh dear Roma hurt his knee. No one seems to care. He gets counted out to end the first fall.
We go to commercial and as we come back, the Stallions are in the back getting Roma’s knee looked at. As stupid as that sounds, we get another recap of the contract signing and while a match is going on, we go to Andre and DiBiase for a promo in the arena. That’s just painfully stupid looking.
The commercial is let’s say three minutes long. In three minutes a guy with a bad knee got to the back and DiBiase and the Giant got word to the production team that they wanted to say something and got to the stage in time? That’s a BIG stretch. Andre says exactly what you would expect him to say. He does use the term Giant-a-Mania which is kind of awesome.
After another commercial we’re back in the second fall. Roma’s knee is dead here but we keep going anyway. I’ll give them credit as that’s actually a rather creative way to get in a match and a promo in the final part of the show. It’s kind of plausible but not really. It’s close enough though. Naturally they talk about the promo. You have to give it to Vince: he managed to get a promo in so that he wouldn’t have to talk about this match very much at all.
I’ll give him credit for something up with good ideas like that. That’s not bad at all. Jesse says that the Hogan vs. Andre match will be bigger than the Indy 500. Vince says he’d like to see Jesse dragged behind an indy car. Damn that’s rather violent.
This is just rather generic stuff for the most part as Powers can’t tag out because his partner is hurt. He finally does and Roma is destroyed, giving up to a half crab pretty quickly. Jesse somewhat sarcastically calls it a valiant effort which is I guess his attempt at being nice?
Rating: C-. This booking made little sense as I don’t get why this went on last. It was pretty boring but it’s not bad. It’s standard 80s stuff but it’s little more than a squash. It closed the show on an odd note, but this was ok I guess.
Vince and Jesse recap the show for about three minutes with a very long talk about the Bravo thing. For the love of goodness it wasn’t a big deal! They desperately try to make it a big deal, but damn man it’s just a failure. They of course recap Hogan and Andre and in a funny close, Jesse goes through the information for the match time and location etc., which disgusts the marketing freak known as Vince. That’s just great.
Overall Rating: C+. There’s a major factor to remember when watching this show: it was completely free. As a pay per view, this would have been lower than an F. However, given that this was pretty much thrown together and was given away free, how much can you complain? You got four matches and six segments total.
The first match was ok I guess, the second was exciting, the third was a new gimmick which is always worth a look and the fourth…well I’m not sure why it was where it was but it’s not bad. The two segments were the epitome of hit and miss as the first was just a waste of time, but to be fair you could just change the channel for this one. The Hogan/Andre was nothing but a build up for next week which is also fine. The one thing I don’t get is where a lot of guys were.
I mean, there’s no IC Champion in Honky. There’s no Savage who would go on to win the world title at Mania. No Demolition who would win the tag titles. Beefcake wasn’t there either and he would get the title shot at Mania. Martel, the other tag champion wasn’t there.
It certainly would have helped the battle royal out, but I guess that’s neither here nor there. The show is fine all things considered, but it’s really more of a historical thing than a good thing. It’s not bad at all, but don’t expect a great show because it isn’t one.
I've been waiting awhile for you to start a Royal Rumble history thread.
I've never watched the 1988 Rumble, but it seems weird. What a very strange card to have set around the Rumble. It almost made this PPV a gimmick PPV w/o any reason to have Championship matches? What's the point of having a Women's tag match as one of the 4 matches on the card? It just seems very erratic.
Was this the initial reasoning behind the Rumble? A gimmick PPV w/o big implications on the main title scene? What was the vibe you had watching the first one?
Last edited by cole924 : 01-02-2010 at 06:17 PM.
Well to begin with, this wasn't a PPV. It aired free on USA.
I don't think the Rumble was meant to become what it did. It was designed to more or less bitch slap Crockett in the face again and it worked very well as Bunkhouse Stampede bombed, which given that show might have been better in the long run as it was flat out awful but that's beside the point. As for my vibe it's hard to answer that because I knew what the RUmble would become. The match itself is pretty weak, but it was big and new and exciting and obviously people liked it as we're coming up on the 23rd edition of it. The one thing you have to keep in mind though: it was free. Can you imagine the Royal Rumble airing on Raw completely for free? What would you watch: that or a TNA PPV? That was Vince's mentality and it worked like a charm.
Royal Rumble 1989
Date: January 15, 1989
Location: The Summit, Houston, Texas
Commentators: Gorilla Monsoon, Jesse Ventura
We have arrived at Pay Per View for this one and just looking at the card you can tell things are…about the same actually. Again there are just four matches and a segment, although this one is an improvement. The matches not called the Rumble aren’t exactly jumping off the page at me, but looking at a few names in the Rumble it’s a massive improvement with guys like Hogan, Savage, Andre, and DiBiase in it.
The segment is also better as it’s a posedown between Ultimate Warrior and Rick Rude who were kind of feuding at the time. You can just tell that the show has a much higher production value and has had more time put into it which likely will mean a much better product. Granted that’s just on paper.
I wonder how the show itself would turn out. I wish there was a way I could find out. Oh. I guess I could just watch it. I think I’ll do that, and I might as well write about it too, so why don’t you come along? If I get hungry I can always eat your leg.
Our opening video is Vince listing off all of the participants in the match. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not because it keeps surprises from occurring which is one of the highlights of the match. I get what they’re going for here but at the same time it’s just a bit odd.
Jesse’s shirt has a big shark on it. That’s most odd. He and Gorilla run down the card and we’re ready to go.
A bunch of guys take WAY too long to say they’ll win.
Dino Bravo/Rougeaus vs. Hart Foundation/Jim Duggan
What is with the Rumble and 2/3 fall matches? This makes three in two years. Isn’t that a bit of overkill guys? This is really just about two feuds being lumped into one match which is fine. They say it’s international rules to justify the 2/3 falls which is fine, but the choice is just odd indeed. It’s not necessarily good or bad but just odd. The heels have Frenchie Martin and Jimmy Hart with them.
Monsoon says that the 2x4 is a mascot and not a foreign object. That’s just odd indeed. The Harts do this weird thing of taking Bret’s glasses off and make it a spectacle. I don’t remember them doing that ever before. We start with power vs. power in Bravo vs. Neidhart. They reference the weightlifting thing from last year which makes me want to rip my hair out. The USA chant goes up for an American and two Canadians (Neidhart has dual citizenship).
They’re going really slowly here and I’m not sure if I like that. They talk about Bret’s awesome in ring ability which is completely true. It’s good to know that they saw the talent that far back. Bret then takes the side suplex from Bravo and the elevated seated senton from the Rougeaus (both of their finishers) to make it 1-0 for the heels. Bret has to start the next fall as we are LIVE IN HOUSTON!
Gorilla once again botches the use of the term literally as no one is hanging from the rafters. I don’t know why but I will never stop marking out for the jumping reverse elbow from anyone. That move is just awesome. Once again Bravo does his stupid little dance before he makes a tag. I’ve never gotten what the deal was with that. Bret is still in there by the way. Again, it never ceases to amaze me when fans chant USA for two Canadian wrestlers.
Monsoon tries to cover for them by saying it’s for Duggan, but why chant for him when he’s not even in the match at the moment? Either way it’s just stupid. We hit a rest hold with Bret getting beaten on even more than usual in this match. Not sure why he’s been in there so long but it’s probably the best thing they could do. The Rougeaus do a switch and for the life of me I don’t get how people couldn’t tell them apart.
They look nothing alike. The abdominal stretch is hooked and Gorilla bitches. Good thing that some things never change. FINALLY Bret tags out and Duggan is in. After a lot of double teaming Duggan pins one of the Rougeaus to tie us up at one. For some reason Hacksaw is over and by far and away the biggest star in this match. I don’t get that and never will.
The heels take over for a very short time as Bravo idiotically (at least he’s living up to his reputation) tries to ram Duggan’s head into the turnbuckle. The face comeback lasts all of a second though as Duggan is beaten on even more. After the luke warm tag to Bret, we have a big thing of calamity and Duggan pops Bravo with the board to let Bret pin him. I love faces getting away with everything they want to.
Rating: C+. Nothing bad at all here, but I just don’t get the 2/3 falls aspect. I mean really, why do that? Do these six guys need an extra ten minutes or so? I get that there’s a lot of time to fill and a ton of the roster is taken, but I don’t get it. To be fair though, the match was fine and there’s nothing to complain about from an in ring perspective. It wasn’t anything great but perfectly fine.
We see some people picking their numbers.
DiBiase doesn’t like his number but pulls in Slick and offers him a deal.
Luke and Butch both get theirs and trade them.
Honky hates his.
Bad News likes his.
Demolition and Jake are indifferent.
The Rockers wish each other good luck.
This is more or less a body contest between Warrior and Rude. Well that’s more interesting than Bravo’s weightlifting I suppose. Warrior is IC Champion here. Monsoon says Warrior is pumped up all the time. Make your own steroids joke. Rude is rocking the porn stache here. The first pose is the double bicep. Popular support wins this so take a guess as to who is going to win. This is really quite boring.
Jesse and Heenan try to make this seem legit which is helping things out a lot. We move to the abdominal pose for which Heenan has to oil up Rude. That’s just creepy to an extent. The third is just called most muscular. If nothing else they’re keeping this moving fast. That’s the best part about it unlike last year when it took 20 minutes. Also, this is actually in the ring. We go through the third pose and still no one cares. The fourth is a medley which takes up even more time.
Was there supposed to be a point to this? In a shocking development, Rude jumps Warrior and beats the hell out of him with an exercise bar. That was the whole point of this thing and it took too long. Again though, it was far better than the weightlifting thing last year. Warrior gets up and destroys all of the referees and suits that try to help him up and chases after Rude. This was all to set up Rude vs. Warrior at Mania.
Women’s Title: Rockin Robin vs. Judy Martin
Robin was this random chick they put the belt on and since she was the epitome of the bathroom break match, they kept the belt on her for over a year. It was retired in 1990 because no one gave a damn and remained that way until Alundra Blayze came along and held it for about a year, then after about another year of various feuds and champions it was dropped (into the trashcan on Nitro) and didn’t come back until the Sable era.
She was just flat out boring, plain and simple, yet of course Vince stuck with her because no one really gave a damn about women’s wrestling anyway and it was based on wrestling rather than athleticism or looks. Sherri, the woman that Robin took the title from, challenges the winner for a title shot. She wouldn’t win. Just after the start of the match she jumps on commentary. There’s something that even the commentators aren’t sure about but they think it was a DDT.
Again I want to know what the point of hooking the head on a slam is. I don’t recall any man other than Earthquake doing that. Sherri sounds like Michelangelo from TMNT 2. This is really short and a relief that Wikipedia has an error. They claim this is about sixteen minutes when it barely breaks five.
I thought this might have been clipped but I can’t find a single instance where it goes sixteen, so we’ll say that’s an error, which is a relief. Robin wins with a second rope cross body after faking one then getting the second. Robin’s music is really annoying.
Rating: C. I have to go with average here because other than the ending I don’t remember anything about this match. I know that doesn’t sound good, but the time in this match and everything in it are complete blanks to me. Nothing at all of note happened in it other than the ending, which was kind of cool as the fake out isn’t something that you see that often. I think I get why the division was dropped in about a year.
Sean Mooney is with Slick and the Twin Towers, Akeem and Big Boss Man. Akeem might be the funniest character in wrestling history. Slick denies the deal with DiBiase from earlier. Sean shows the footage of them talking about a deal earlier, which Slick tries to play off as something about a shoe shine. That was just odd.
Harley Race vs. Haku
A few notes about this match: first of all, it wasn’t on the home video release at first so quite a few of you have likely never seen it. It’s only been released on the Rumble Anthologies and the original broadcast plus online. Second, this is a one night only return for Race who got really badly hurt against Hogan and had to drop the crown. Haku took it but never beat Race, so Race is back to take his crown.
Before the match, Jesse is sitting on the throne and says he likes it. Thanks for that Jess. I’ve actually never seen this match all the way through so these will be my legit first thoughts on seeing this in its entirety. When I say not all the way through, I mean I’ve seen a few stills of it and never any actual video so here we go. Heenan manages both guys so he’s set no matter what. I’ve always liked the throne entrance the king got, but DAMN that jobber needs a shirt.
He must weigh about 320 and he’s in just regular tights. That’s not right. Both guys come out to the same music and in a funny bit, Race is introduced as “The Former King, Harley Race!” That just sounds funny. Race, the king of the heels, jumps Haku early. Both guys have the regal purple on which is amusing as well. I think Race is somehow the face here, which just makes me feel dirty.
The tattoos on Race always looked odd to me as he seems too clean for them I guess you would say. This was a very rare thing here as we have heel vs. heel with Race being the less heelish guy. Race is just old here and is being asked to carry this because he’s the only one of the two that knows how to work a good match. Jesse says that he has to give the experience advantage to Race. Well DUH Jess. How can it be something that’s debatable?
One guy has wrestled longer than the other. It’s not really subjective. The fans are cheering Harley. This just isn’t right. They do one of the all time worst collision spots with Race going to the floor. It looked like they were in slow motion on that one. Heenan is his usual masterful self cheering for both guys at various times. This is called the Battle For the Crown because this is a match that was dying for extra billing.
Speaking of dying, Gorilla tries to say that the crowd is hushed in anticipation for the Rumble. You have to give it to Gorilla: he never gave up. Race gets a bad piledriver on the floor as it seems like this is in slow motion again. They’re just both so slow that it’s almost painful to watch. Race simply had no business being in a ring at this point and it wasn’t even his fault. He was just old and injured which certainly isn’t something you can pin on him.
He was broke due to a bad business thing (that wasn’t his fault) in Kansas City so he had to keep wrestling to pay the bills. He was good for stuff like this: putting over guys that can’t wrestle well enough on their own. I love how you can have a guy do some chops at an angle and all of a sudden he’s a martial arts master. Damn that was a lot of A’s in a row. After Race dominates for a bit, he misses a punch and gets caught by what we would call Sweet Chin Music to get pinned.
Rating: C-. I feel sorry here because the wrestling and the in ring stuff isn’t actually that bad at all. The problem is that it feels like this is in slow motion like I’ve said a few times. That’s really the best way to put it. Race was just so old out there that I’m very glad he went to WCW and became a manager which was what he was far better suited for at this point.
He just was too old here and it was showing bad. Haku was someone that had to be carried and this was his night to be put over and while he wasn’t bad, he certainly wasn’t good. The match was bad but the wrestling was ok if that makes any sense at all.
More people say they’ll win.
Gene talks to Rude and Heenan about the pose down where Rude says he won. They bail quickly, I’m assuming afraid of the Warrior.
I’ll spare you from another rule explanation because I’m sure you know it and I already listed them off once. This year they point out the everyman for themselves rule though, which is a change from last year. That opens a big door though as it implies face vs. face and heel vs. heel. Number one is Ax of Demolition. The interval is set at two minutes again and this year they actually make it possible as the match goes over an hour, so sit back because this is going to be a long review.
Actually don’t sit back because you might not be able to see the screen. Sit in the middle I guess. Number two is Smash, so we have Demolition going at it to start us off. I love how random of a thing this is, and it’s happened at least one other time that I remember with the Steiners I think, and then the Hardys came in at 1 and 3 in 2001. They’re the tag team champions here, in the middle of their epic year and a half or so run.
To their credit they beat on each other. It just doesn’t look right though. This is like Bubba and D-Von fighting. They’re just not good at fighting on their own. There’s something about seeing partners fight that just doesn’t work. Matt and Jeff were complete failures in their feud, and I think a lot of it is people would rather have them be partners rather than opponents. They just didn’t click as opponents and that’s a shame.
Andre comes in at three and this is an historic moment, as Demolition immediately beat him to the ground with what looks like ease. Andre looks like Rey Mysterio getting beaten on like this which is something you’ll never hear again. Mr. Perfect is 4 which sucks because I wanted more Andre vs. Demolition. Think about this for a minute. Demolition did in about ten seconds what it took Hogan fifteen minutes to do. That’s insane.
No wonder those three plus Jake were the best Survivor Series team of all time. All three of them go after the Giant and Andre just shoves Smash out after Perfect distracts him a bit. Perfect is a very young guy here in the company and is rocking just regular tights. Being the Rhodes scholar that Axe is he goes after Perfect and gets beaten up by Andre for his trouble. Number five is the best possible advertisement for murdering something I’ve ever seen: Ronnie Garvin.
He is easily the most worthless wrestler this side of the Junkyard dog in wrestling history. How in the world did they ever decide to put him over RIC FUCKING FLAIR for the world title? I just do not get that and never will. Everyone goes after Andre but he just sits on Axe, literally. Greg Valentine is in at six, hopefully willing to use a hammer to crush the cockroach known as Garvin.
We have four against one here with literally everyone that’s been in the match so far attacking Andre. Gorilla calls everyone that’s beating on Andre a star. That’s just amusing. ANDRE GETS RID OF GARVIN!!! I officially love this man. Get him a cow and a vineyard of wine right now!
Jake Roberts is seventh to a huge pop. He was probably the second third biggest face at the time as Warrior wasn’t quite there yet and Hogan and Savage were untouchable. Andre just chokes the hell out of Jake in the corner which is sweet. That’s what I love about Andre: after being quadruple teamed he just grabs someone and chokes them. There’s something completely awesome about that.
He beats anyone that tries to stop him from beating on Jake. That’s just sweet. He’s protecting Jake so he can have the honor of hurting him. Ron Bass is here now as we get closer to reaching our jobber quota. Just after Bass comes in Andre throws Jake out. Bass is freshly bald thanks to a bad comedy angle with Beefcake. Andre is the white elephant in there at the moment as it’s really just about trying to get him out with various incredibly short term alliances.
That right there is why there needs to be at least one giant in every battle royal. They offer the main source of a story in one of these, because traditionally these matches are void of any kind of a story because it’s a complete free for all, which is fine because that’s the point.
Having someone like Andre in there for about fifteen to twenty minutes gives you a way to have something running through a large part of the match and hold it together, which is the main weakness of all battle royals not known as the Royal Rumble. The next guy in is HBK, who at this time is next to nothing. Perfect throws Axe out.
Shawn and Perfect go at it in what would eventually be one of the most overhyped feuds in wrestling history as the build was awesome but the match kind of sucked, which to be fair was what likely was inevitable. Perfect shows off his brains early by staying in after going over the top. Andre keeps choking people as that was the essence of his offense around this time. I really miss the old school stone looking Rumble logo. The thing was just cool looking.
Jesse says if he were in there he’d go to a neutral corner. Gorilla says if Jesse were in there he’d be out of there. And people wonder why Monsoon got some strange looks at times. After about a minute and a half of waiting, Butch of the Bushwackers gets us into double digits. As he’s coming to the ring, Jake runs back out with Damien and Andre eliminates himself. That’s a smart way to keep the feud hot, keep Andre looking credible and get rid of him to keep the match going.
The five jobbers lumber around the ring for a bit because there’s no big name in there for them to do anything with, which is the issue with a lot of these things. The timing is getting shorter and shorter here as Honky comes in at 11. Honky had recently lost the IC belt and was in desperate need of a reason to keep his job. He was worthless without the title so until they put him in Rhythm and Blues there was little for him to do.
Of the six guys in there, Shawn is the only face according to Gorilla in some slightly different words. Oh Butch is there too. Yep, Shawn is the only face in there worth anything. Tito balances things out a bit at 12 to a solid pop. I don’t get why he never got another big push. He was still great in the ring and was getting big reactions, but of course he was made a jobber to the stars for guys like Barbarian and Warlord.
Gorilla and Jesse discuss some theory about what is considered a good number as not a lot is going on at the moment. To be fair though the crowd is staying hot so there we are. Bad News comes in at 13 as he should have been a far bigger star than he was. Brown vs. Hogan could have been awesome if they had some guts and did it right. Honky is eliminated pretty fast to a decent pop. That’s a good sign if nothing else: he’s still getting reactions.
This has really slowed down a lot and we need some big names to come in and clear out some of these jobbers. Naturally the next guy in is Marty Jannetty, so if nothing else we have a tag team in there now. A double dropkick that was NOT stolen from the Rock N Roll Express (really, we promise we’ve never heard of those guys that we stole half our name from. Honest) takes out Bass to get us back down to seven people. I think Tito’s knee is hurt.
Thankfully Savage, the WWF Champion and on the brink of a heel turn for the ages, comes in to get the crowd WAY into this. He freaking mugs Bad News who he was having a short but damn intense feud with. Arn Anderson comes out next as Savage knocks out Valentine. In the epitome of an IWC wet dream team, Anderson and Savage team up to eliminate Shawn. Damn that was just flat out odd to type. Tully Blanchard is in at 17 as this is slowing down again.
The Brainbusters beat the hell out of Jannetty and prove why they’re awesome. They dump him and heeeeeeere’s Hulk at possibly his lowest number ever: 18. I would have loved to have this be a legit draw and see him get like 4. Let’s see, how many people does Hogan get rid of to make him look like Superman. Perfect is the first victim as Hogan saves his handshake buddy Savage from him. He beats up the Brainbusters but doesn’t eliminate them, which allows them to get rid of Tito.
Since it’s gotten a bit crazy, for a recap we have Butch, Hogan, Anderson, Savage, Brown and Blanchard in at the moment. Amazingly, Butch has been in there about fifteen minutes which has to be his biggest accomplishment in the WWF. That’s actually quite surprising. At 19 we have the other Marching Moron who licked me at a house show once. Brown puts out Butch to keep us at six guys.
Anderson beats on Hogan which makes me flash back to Nitro just before the NWO showed up. Anderson beat him two weeks straight on Nitro which was a series I always liked. It gave Arn the spotlight that he never really got and definitely was qualified to have. In at 20 is the Hall of Famer Koko B. Ware. That just flat out doesn’t work no matter how many times you write it. How in the world is that thing in the HOF but Savage isn’t?
I don’t care how many times he fucked Stephanie, enshrine him already! Hogan dumps Koko to a pop. Even the fans didn’t like him. There goes Luke and Hogan’s total is at I think three. With three clotheslines inside of 30 seconds he adds both Brainbusters and the Warlord who sets the shortness record at 2 seconds. He stepped in and got a running clothesline to put him out.
To get the record to eight, Hogan runs over and puts out Brown and Savage, the later being by mistake. This would be a major point in the heel turn in about two weeks. Savage is PISSED! Liz comes down to try to straighten things out as Savage offers the handshake to fix things for now. Savage and Liz leave as Boss Man gets in.
He’s about 100lbs heavier than his traditional weight. This began another Rumble tradition of the one on one showdown. These two had been the big feud for a good while and the showdown hadn’t really come yet so this was a pretty big deal. Not surprisingly Boss Man takes over and Gorilla defends Hogan with the somewhat legitimate argument that Boss Man is fresh.
Hogan takes a decent piledriver and eventually gets back to even as the buzzer rings about three and a half minutes after Boss Man came out. And in a SHOCKING, yes SHOCKING I say, turn of events, it’s Boss Man’s partner Akeem. Now here’s something amusing to me where the bias towards the main event is as evident as ever.
Gorilla starts bitching and complaining about how DiBiase must have had something to do with this because there’s no way that tag partners could have consecutive numbers and wind up in this position against Hogan. He’s completely backwards there. First of all, this is the third time in this Rumble where partners have come in back to back (Rockers and Brainbusters, which more or less gives away that this isn’t a random draw).
On top of that, how could DiBiase have known that Hogan would have been in there at this moment all by himself? If nothing else, this would prove that DiBiase had nothing to do with it as there is no reason for him to assume that Hogan would have A, been in there already when the Twin Towers came in, and B, that Hogan would be alone.
In order to do that, DiBiase would have had to find out what Hogan’s number was, and the only ways he could have done that would be to find out Hogan’s number directly from Hulk which is unlikely or to have found out all 29 other spots AND managed to spread enough deals around to make sure that Akeem and Boss Man had consecutive numbers after Hogan.
I’m supposed to believe that he managed to pull all this off in less than two hours with the help of just Virgil? Give us some credit there Gorilla. Granted I don’t think he put that much thought into what he said, but that’s the point of these reviews: to break down things like that and show how stupid some stories can be. In a quite anticlimactic moment, Hogan is hit with a double splash and thrown out. Really, that’s all there is to it.
That just came out of nowhere and all of a sudden the fact of how stupid that may have been kicks in. Tell me oh great and mighty Vince: why should I care about the rest of the match? Your top faces are all gone now with about ten entries to go. This wasn’t smart booking at all as they backed themselves into a corner for what is likely going to be a weak finish. Hogan of course pulls Boss Man to the floor and beats on him as Beefcake comes out. It’s a big tag team brawl minus the tagging.
Hogan says he’s going back in and the referees finally do their jobs and keep him from doing so. Hogan pulls Boss Man out AGAIN because this is all about him again, despite him not being world champion or even in the title picture. He and Boss Man fight to the back and they’re going to say Boss Man is out because Hogan pulled him over the ropes. In at 25 we have someone that might even be less useful than Garvin in the Red Rooster.
I finally got the joke/idea behind the name of his finisher the Five Arm. It’s one better than the forearm. Get it? That lowered my IQ a good bit. The announcers try to figure out who the final five guys will be and naturally they know them inside of 4 seconds. The two faces do the generic beating on the heel because that’s Rumble Theory 101. Gorilla actually agrees that Hogan cheated. I never thought I’d hear that.
Barbarian is in next to make what should be a completely one sided match. Barbarian, the genius that he is, beats up the faces and then goes after Akeem on his own. I love idiotic heels. Despite this being 1989, Big John Studd is somehow still a relic here. He goes straight for Akeem in what would become a running theme for the end of this match which I’ll get to in a minute. John is a face here on one last hurrah I guess you would call it.
Basically John keeps throwing people out of his way so it’s just him and Akeem, which can be translated into the guy that he can do the least with while still looking like he’s doing something. Hercules comes in at 28. Just like I thought it would, this has REALLY slowed down since Hogan left and it just doesn’t feel right at all. The next to last entrant is Rick Martel, the returned face who is just about to become a heel and a model.
The final guy is DiBiase to few people’s shock. If he was supposed to be the big heel, two things: one, he should win, and two he should go on to something big after this. At Mania 5 he had a throwaway match with Brutus. Studd is just a complete waste of time out there as he hasn’t actually beaten on anyone other than Akeem. The final eight, all in the ring, are DiBiase, Akeem, Studd, Martel, Red Rooster, Beefcake, Hercules and Barbarian. What a motley crew that is.
Rooster is finally gone and we’re at seven. Studd finally fights someone else in the Barbarian. I don’t believe it. DiBiase and Barbarian put out Beefcake and Hercules to bring us down to DiBiase, Barbarian, Studd, Akeem and Martel. Martel puts out Barbarian and then gets knocked out maybe four seconds later to get us down to three.
The heels double team Studd as I can’t wait for this to end. Akeem is put out after a mistake and we’re down to Studd and DiBiase. He offers money and Studd isn’t interested. After a few power moves, Studd causally throws DiBiase over for the most lackluster ending in the history of the Rumble. Virgil comes in and gets beaten up as well. Wow that was dumb.
Rating: C+. This is the first of its kind in a way so you have to take it with a grain of salt. They didn’t know what they were doing with the thirty man formula, but I just don’t get the point in having Studd win it. I suppose the issue was that they didn’t think it was a big deal yet so they gave it to a random guy like they did last year. That’s the only thing I can think of at least.
The match really suffers at the end though because once Hogan is gone, there’s just no drama or anything at all. Studd winning was almost obvious but not quite. Also, Akeem has been in the final three in both of the first two Rumbles. How insane is that? This was a big improvement over last year, but they still had a lot of bugs to work out. Not bad, but it would be massively improved in the coming years.
In the locker room, Savage goes on a rather long rant about how it was a misunderstanding, but you can see the heel just dying to get out. Liz says that it wasn’t a fight or anything like that. The Mania main event was coming and would be obvious today, but back then it was built up so well that it was shocking.
Gorilla and Jesse say some basic stuff before we get a highlight package to end it.
Overall Rating: C-. Average. That’s the only way to put this. There’s nothing at all here that is going to be considered great by any means, but nothing at all is really all that bad. You’re not going to see anything that rivals Steamboat vs. Savage but there’s nothing here that wouldn’t hold your attention for the most part. This is where the Rumble is still being fleshed out but you can see the elements there that made it such a great concept for a show.
It’s not great and it’s not bad, but a lot of work was needed. For once though you could clearly tell that they had the right idea though and things would be much better next year where they would really get it right. I’d say this show is worth seeing once maybe, but you won’t be missing anything if you don’t see it. If you catch it and have some time to kill you won’t think it was a waste of time but you won’t be thrilled either. Not bad, but nothing great at all.
Great Review as usual klunderbunker, but I have one queston. What was the point of winning the royal rumble back then? Did the wrestler that won it get any reward or was it for bragging rights? What is all pointless?
It was just bragging rights at first. Battle royals were far more common back then whereas today there might be one or two a year other than the Rumble so the novelty wasn't there at all. Duggan more or less just looked a but better because of it and Studd was more or less gone in like three months. It wasn't until 1990 that things really started to mean something as Hogan and Warrior had their first showdown and the fans went freaking apeshit. Vince and his guys looked at each other and collectively knew they had something huge.
Also, due to the main page messing me up on the date of this year's Rumble, I'm going to have to postpone the next review for a week so the countdown works. I'll be doing normal ones and the KOTR though. All of them are written, but I want to do the countdown aspect.
Yeah, good question about those early Rumbles. Always felt that from the 92 one onwards there was always a lot more prestige and importance attached as there was something on the line, although I think in 1991 there may have been unofficial #1 contender status attached to it a bit like there was with the pre-02 KOTR tournaments; certainly the winner went on to Mania to fight for the title anyhow.
They were still enjoyable back then mind you but I much prefer them when there's something on the line and the drama that is involved.
I can't wait for the 1992 review, that Rumble is just amazing
Royal Rumble 1988
This is a very strange event for me. It’s strange because for some reason I didn’t even know this took place until around 1996. Although I was young I was watching WWF at this time, but I have no memory of this event at the time. I didn’t have cable so I didn’t get to see this on USA. Thanks to classics on demand I know they hyped it on Prime Time, but you would think they would have hyped it on Superstars or Challenge. Maybe they did and I just don’t remember. Anyway on to the show.
I like the opening match. I can see why people wouldn’t, but I like those 80’s style matches. It wasn’t great, but it was good enough for me. I saw house show match between these two from around this time on classics on demand that was better. It would have been nice if they had that match here. By the way I am 99% sure Heenan was already with Rude at this time. He just wasn’t at this event.
It’s a good thing this was on free tv instead of ppv because the Dino Bravo segment was one of the most boring things I’ve ever seen. The idea was fine, but it went on WAY too long. This would have been ok if it was only half as long. I’ll take a shot at the ham sandwich. Maybe Vince was trying to make Bravo so hated by the fans by having him go out there and bore us for as long as possible.
The women’s division was a lot worse in 1988 than it is today. Not that it’s great today, but it was becoming extinct in 1988. The Jumping Bomb Angels were a bright spot and they were fun to watch. Like all women’s matches this was a little sloppy, but still ok. Even though The Angels won the titles I don’t remember ever seeing them again. Oh well.
You could argue that the real main event of this show was the Hogan vs. Andre contract signing even though it wasn’t even a match. I bet more people tuned in to see that more than anything else on the card. I suppose the segment did its job as their match on February 5th generated the highest rating for any wrestling program ever. That’s a record that will likely never be broken.
By today’s standards the Royal Rumble match wasn’t very good. First off there were only twenty guys instead of thirty. Secondly there weren’t many big names. Not that there were no names in there by any means, just not the top guys. Also most of the rumble matches have at least one big story that advances or starts going into WrestleMania. This one didn’t have that. That’s all excusable since this was the first one on free tv and was basically a trial. One thing that’s interesting to me is that this would be the one and only rumble match for half the participants. 1988 was a year of out with the old and in with the new with regards to a lot of superstars.
It doesn’t surprise me the Stallions and Islanders went on last. Not that it was a worthy main event; it’s just how things were done back then. Remember this was tv not ppv. If you look back at all the Saturday Night’s Main Event specials the true main event never went on last. This was just a standard tag match. It was good enough, but the Stallions were basically glorified jobbers. They were good enough to give a team a tough match but never seemed to pick up any significant victories.
If I saw this for the first time as a kid in 1988 I probably would have loved it. I didn’t actually see it until 2000 so overall I was under whelmed by the event.
Royal Rumble 1989
Well for years I thought this was the first Rumble. To me it’s the first true Rumble as it was the first on ppv and the first with thirty participants. 1988 deserves an asterisk. The rumble match is the main focus here as the other three matches are mostly filler. I am going to try to reply to all of these in a timely manner, but I should point out that it’s been years since I’ve seen some of these. Therefore I may not remember specific match details, but I do have a pretty good memory of the storylines.
Filler is ok with me and I didn’t mind the six man tag to open things. Looking back it seems strange that this would be two out of three falls, but those matches were pretty common back then for tag teams. During their heel turn in 1988 the Rougeaus were insincerely declaring their love for America and did not like be compared to Dino Bravo (they were all from Montreal). Here they were teaming with Bravo, managed by Jimmy Hart, and stealing part of the Hart’s contract. Throw in the patriotic Hacksaw Jim Duggan, who was feuding with Bravo, and we have a decent story. I don’t remember much about the match so I’ll assume the C+ grade is appropriate.
Like the weightlifting display from 1988 the super posedown took up a lot of time. This was much more acceptable because it served a much bigger purpose. The Ultimate Warrior vs. Rick Rude was one of the biggest feuds in 1989 and this is where it started. Although it could have been a few minutes shorter this was a very good start to the feud.
I don’t really have much to say about the women’s match. This is the last women’s match I remember until late 1993. The division was obviously dying and this was pretty much the last hurrah. I thought the match where Rockin Robin won the title from Sherri a few months earlier was actually very good. I would have actually enjoyed seeing a rematch here.
I didn’t see Harley Race vs. Haku until about three years ago. I watched it right away when I got the dvd box set. It’s not that I was overly anxious to see it. It’s just that I felt so incomplete not seeing every ppv match. Sometimes I have a little ocd thing going on. The match was about what I expected. Race was well past his prime and I think this was his last ever match in the WWF. I could be wrong, but remember Race being the face going into this. I think Heenan was insisting he was still on good terms with Race in case he ended up winning. Race wanted nothing to do with Heenan after he just gave the crown to Haku after the injury. I’m not totally confident in that, but that’s the way I remember it.
The rumble was ok, but you’re 100% right KB about the booking. Hogan should have lasted longer. There was too much time after Hogan and Savage went out. The ending was very anticlimactic. Although I do kind of like how a random guy ended up winning. Since the stipulation in 1993 it’s been pretty obvious who was going to win every year. You can usually narrow it down to one or two guys; three if you’re lucky. I liked the confrontation between the Mega Powers during the match. There have been many times where a big mania feud began during the rumble match and this was the first. Every year I hope to see a moment like this in the rumble.
Overall I’m satisfied with this event. It was a new unique event and set up the two biggest matches for WrestleMania V. I could watch any rumble at any given time and be entertained. It’s amazing how it’s always pretty much the same but never gets old.
Royal Rumble 1990
Date: January 21, 1990
Location: Orlando Arena, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Jesse Ventura, Tony Schiavone
Yes, that Tony Schiavone, not the other Tony Schiavone. He was around for a cup of coffee around this time and it’s more or less completely forgotten. Anyway, we’re at the third Rumble now and the look of the show has completely changed. It’s not the old and for lack of a better term tired looking ring and logo, but rather the bright and colorful one that is more commonly known. Naturally Hogan is world champion here and is looking for an opponent at Mania 6.
At this time, no one knew who that was going to be. There were rumors ranging from Warrior to Mr. Perfect (more on that later) to Zeus of all people. There were even rumors that Vince was going to have Hogan drop the belt back to Savage to have Savage vs. Warrior for the main event.
Vince was in real financial trouble at this time and Mania absolutely had to be huge or he very well could have gone bankrupt. Other than the Rumble, there’s not a lot here. Correction: there’s nothing else here. On that note, let’s get to the drivel that is the non main event matches before we get to the real reason this show exists.
The opening is just Vince listing the card and a lot of people in the Rumble. Oh and there’s a Brother Love show tonight. Jesse is wearing Mickey Mouse ears. That’s just awesome. There needs to be another character like Jesse on commentary. He’s just so awesome at it.
Fabulous Rougeaus vs. Bushwackers
All American Boys is just an awesome song. Jimmy Hart was awesome. This whole era just completely rocks. I love me some Marching Morons. Jacques has a big old beard here so maybe Jesse can finally tell their unsimilar faces apart. Jesse says that Mickey and Goofy didn’t have tickets. That’s so stupid yet Jesse makes me chuckle with it. It’s good because they’re killing time in the ring so Jesse at least gives us something to enjoy.
This is I guess you would say a rematch from Wrestlemania 5. We’re a minute in and Ramon uses a sleeper. Butch bites the referee’s ass. There was just something slightly homosexual about these teams. Watch their matches and you’ll sense it too. Ladies and gentlemen, I regret to inform you that we have a comedy match here. After about 4-5 instances of the same exact stuff over and over again, the Bushwackers are in trouble.
Luke gets beaten on for a good while as this is running too long. Naturally Luke gets the tag to Butch. If nothing else the crowd is on fire here. If they’re like this for Luke and Butch, what are they going to be like for Hogan? Anyway, after some interference by Jimmy, the Battering Ram ends this.
Rating: D+. This just went on too long. If they cut about 3 minutes in the middle of it, this would have gone much better. It was a comedy match which is ok, but not for nearly 15 minutes. That’s just way too long. These two had some shall we say interesting matches over the years and this was no exception. There’s not a lot going on here, but the crowd liked it so take that for what it’s worth.
DiBiase and Virgil are with Gene, who suggests that DiBiase rigged last year’s drawing. Either way, he has #1 this year. DiBiase was just a masterful heel. His line of “Let me tell you something little man” is just awesome stuff.
Genius vs. Brutus Beefcake
Genius’ brother is the far more famous but possibly less talented Randy Savage. Yeah I said it. Beefcake’s music is just sweet as hell and always has been. For like the 12th time tonight we see the capacity crowd. We get it already. Genius offers a left-handed handshake. Why don’t more people do that? Genius is doing a semi-gay gimmick here, complete with cartwheels and various things that apparently equate to homosexuality.
Sorry if that comes off as derogatory, but it’s simply the case. An atomic drop by Brutus makes Genius roll around the ring three full times. That’s quite impressive. This is really a glorified squash, despite Genius being the lackey of one of the bigger heels in the company in Mr. Perfect. He also beat Hogan (count out) on SNME a few weeks prior to this. Brutus is a power guy, but you very rarely see him portrayed as such.
For such a long match (run time of about 12 minutes) not a lot is happening here. It’s not really bad and it’s kind of interesting, but nothing of note is really happening. After the sleeper doesn’t get put on, the referee is bumped and the lack of a clean ending becomes obvious. WOW. The crowd popped like a cherry for the sleeper. That’s saying a lot. Somehow inside of about 12 seconds the Genius is sound asleep.
That never ceases to amaze me. Here’s a haircut for the Genius because the referee is still out cold. Perfect runs in and beats up Beefcake though. It’s thrown out in case you were wondering. Oh and in this beatdown, Perfect uses a Perfectplex. I won’t even touch on why that’s stupid. Perfect hits a few chair shots to the ribs as it’s announced as a double DQ, I guess for the haircut. Or some reason we have a slow motion replay of basic strikes.
Rating: C+. Like I said, for such a long match, nothing really happened. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad though. It wasn’t bad at all, but it just kind of came and went. Beefcake had a very short feud with Perfect and then got injured I think, putting his career on the shelf for a good many years. Perfect would become IC Champion after Warrior had to vacate it, and the rest of his career is well known. Either way, this wasn’t bad at all, but certainly not memorable.
Mooney is with the Heenan Family. He mentions that they might wind up fighting each other. Hilarity ensues.
Mania 6 will be in Toronto.
DAMN IT DAMN IT DAMN IT! Ronnie fucking Garvin is on this show. In case I haven’t mentioned it, I want him to be shot.
Submission Match: Ronnie Garvin vs. Greg Valentine
Let’s get this over with. Both guys use submissions occasionally, so that’s validation of a gimmick match. Since this is a submission match, they both take boxing stances and pound on each other. Well if nothing else it’s physical. The boxing makes a bit of sense as it’s wearing the other guy down. That at least makes some sense. They keep going for pins here, which makes sense as it’s instinct to go for a pin in a wrestling match for these guys.
If that’s fake or legit, I’m fine either way. If it’s legit, that’s just instinct. If it’s fake, it’s a nice addition to a match. Jesse implies these two are top level talent. Not in the WWF at least they’re not. They’re really building this slowly which is something good. It’s not done anymore and it should be. Oh I forgot: both guys have shin guards on which allegedly stops the submissions from hurting.
To further my hatred of him, Ronnie Garvin is in the figure four and makes “funny” faces at Valentine. Who in the world thought that would be a good idea? No wonder Vince was running out of money. He spent a ton of it on high quality cocaine apparently. Garvin uses an Indian Deathlock. Other than Terry Funk losing to Harley Race with it, I don’t think anyone has ever won anything with it.
If nothing else, these guys are beating the hell out of each other. That’s not bad at all. After a double collision, Hart steals Garvin’s leg brace which is called the Hammer Jammer. Now the figure four works. I think that almost comes close to making sense, but it’s just overdone. After reversing the figure four, we slug it out some more. This has been a very Attitude Era style match. Garvin steals the Valentine leg brace. Hart gets beaten up and a bad Sharpshooter from Garvin gets him the win.
Rating: F. Any match that Ronnie Garvin is featured in automatically is awful, no questions asked. For an unbiased grade let’s go with a B-. This was very intense and all kinds of brutal without weapons use. I still hate Garvin, but this was his best match to date that I’ve seen.
Sean is with Hacksaw, who says that Boss Man won’t be a problem for him. Duggan just looks WEIRD here. His eyes are mostly closed so I’m guessing stoned and or drunk. The end of his board is green for some reason too.
Big Bossman vs. Jim Duggan
Duggan still has no music here. Oh and Slick is Boss Man’s manager. Surprising no one, this starts as a big brawl. Almost immediately we’re on the floor. Boss Man misses a charge and his arm hits the post, and in something that stuns me, Duggan actually follows up on it! That lasts all of 3 seconds as Boss Man goes back on offense, with a FREAKING ENZIGURI! What in the hell??? Where did he learn that?
Tony says the Boss Man shouldn’t have the nightstick. Jesse counters with why should Duggen have the 2x4? Tony says it’s his trademark. Wow and I thought Vince was biased towards faces. From a wrestling standpoint, this is crap. From a brawling standpoint it’s pretty good. I’m not sure what Duggan has done other than punch, but that’s ok I suppose. No actually it isn’t. I know he’s a brawler but there’s other stuff you can do too.
Clotheslines, shoulders, maybe a suplex or something? That would at least add some variety. There’s a real similarity in styles here which means that it’s going to be very hard to have a good match between these two. It can work with guys like Bret and Shawn, but with guys like Duggan who are kind of limited in their offense, this isn’t going to go well. Also, this isn’t the Boss Man that you’re familiar with. He’s about 40-50 pounds heavier at this stage of his career.
He’s not nearly as fat as he was last year, but he’s still a big old guy. You can really tell here by the end that they’re both just completely spent. Considering we’re about eight minutes in, that’s not saying a lot. For some reason that I’ll never get, Boss Man goes for a top rope splash that naturally misses.
It’s a shame that two guys are this spent this fast. Ok maybe not fast but it shouldn’t be this bad period. Boss Man nails Duggan with the stick but gets caught for the very cheap DQ. Damn many can we please get a clean pin in a match tonight? Is that too much to ask for? The 2x4 doesn’t hit anyone but it gets rid of the heels.
Rating: C+. This was fine for what it was, which is a big brawl. Neither guy is going to light the world on fire or anything like that, so this was about as good as it was ever going to get. Boss Man had slimmed down a bit here and was getting close to the weight that he would be most famous at. That enziguri was kind of preview of the great stuff that was coming from him in the next year or so. Anyway, this was good enough and they kept it kind of short which was the best thing possible.
Nothing has change in the last half hour as Mania 6 is STILL in Toronto!
Perfect is proud of what he did, and that he got #30.
Brother Love Show
Love is talking about the definition of a lady. He brings out the definition of a lady: Sensational Sherri. Jesse actually says she looks hot. I don’t remember hearing that term in 1990. In what takes about 10 minutes, they say that Sapphire is the definition of a peasant which brings her out.
Love keeps cutting her off over and over again which gets her more and more angry. She hits Sherri, leading to Savage coming out. Dusty of course comes out and the faces run off the heels and beat up Love. That took 12 minutes somehow. What was the point of Sapphire? Does anyone have an answer to that for me? That was long and rather pointless.
A lot of people say their thoughts on their Rumble numbers.
Dino Bravo wants his to be close to Warrior’s.
Earthquake will crush everyone.
Demolition say they won’t have to fight each other this year, so they’re lucky.
Bad News Brown says that people will be crying when their favorite wrestlers lose.
Dusty says that he wants to get his hands on Savage. Sapphire joins him to incomprehensibly yell.
The Rockers say they’ll be fine and they want the Powers of Pain.
Hercules says that he’s ready.
Rick Martel says no one will touch his beautiful face.
Tito Santana says he has no friends today. ARRIBA!
Jimmy Snuka says something about sharks.
Slick and Akeem (who over the last two years has had by far the best run in the two Rumbles) is the baddest guy in there.
Warrior is his general insane self, saying something about a virus, then mentioning Hogan’s name.
Tony and Jesse say some generic stuff before the next batch talk. This must have been an intermission.
Savage says he’s the person you shouldn’t bet against.
The Powers of Pain say they’ll win, which makes no sense but whatever.
Jake says the man that will do anything will win, which is him.
The Harts say they’re ready to go the distance. Those two had scary chemistry together.
Honky says he’s going to play 29 hits.
Finally, Hogan says that he’s ready.
We already know that DiBiase got #1, so the big question is who got #2? The answer would be none other than the joke of the Hall of Fame, Koko B. Ware. Seriously, what’s wrong with this picture? DiBiase, who still doesn’t have music here but would get it by Mania, isn’t in the Hall of Fame but Ware is. That’s just inexcusable. Ted jumps him on the way into the ring which is smart.
Koko is blonde here for no apparent reason. He gets slammed head first into the buckle and for some reason that wakes him up. Koko goes into jobber offense 101 but a charge at the ropes leaves DiBiase alone in the ring. 3 is Marty Jannetty, who I’m currently debating about in the spam zones. After some more jobber offense including that signature punch of his, Jannetty tries a cross body near the ropes and goes out to leave DiBiase alone again.
Jake Roberts is in fourth. These two would go at it again at Mania. DiBiase jumps to the floor to go after him including putting on the Million Dollar Dream. Back in the ring Jake naturally takes over and goes for the DDT, which fails. Sorry for the play by play aspect here, but this early on it’s really just one liners until we get something significant going on, which may take a little time.
They beat on each other for awhile until Savage comes in at 5. He’s rocking bright blue tights trimmed with black and nearly pink gloves. I’ll give him this: he was unique. They double team Jake as we’re finally getting something going here. Far less than two minutes later, Roddy freaking Piper is in at 6. The fans pop loudly for him too. That’s a pretty damn good collection of talent in there, but very few titles in the company.
Savage had three, DiBiase had three, Piper had one and Roberts had zero. That’s quite surprising. That’s quite a tag match also. There are some insane feuds in there, some of which never happened. Savage vs. Piper anyone? Can you imagine the promos those two would have on each other? All four of these guys could work and talk with the best of them. We mess that up with the Warlord coming in at seven.
He’s still a Power of Pain here so he’s about as generic of a monster heel as you could imagine. In something that’s both surprising and cool, Piper just flat out beats Warlord up. That’s awesome. Piper can really fight when he has to. Sherri shouting to break Jake’s neck is creepy. The eighth guy is Bret Hart. DAMN there’s some talent out there! You have Bret, Savage, Roberts, Piper and DiBiase out there.
Just how awesome of a collection of talent is that? Bret got a very good pop by the way, so people knew that he was something special. Since he’s Bret Hart he goes after the biggest man in the match. This is a smark’s dream match here. Piper and Hart work together. Is there a bad combination in there that doesn’t include Warlord? With this many great guys in there, nine has to suck.
It’s Bad News Brown, who somehow is the sixth most talented guy in the ring out of seven? That can’t be something that would happen a lot. Brown was so far ahead of his time it’s scary. Think of Brown and then think of Austin. How many similarities are there in there? Jake sets for the DDT but Savage knocks him out instead. Damn I guess it couldn’t last forever. Piper almost puts DiBiase out but Savage makes the save.
Tony suggests that Savage has been paid off. That’s an interesting thought. We hit double digits with Dusty, who skips to the ring. That was just a wrong image. Naturally he goes after Savage with a bunch of elbows that miss by about two or three inches each. Dusty takes out Savage in what might have been the only thing Dusty ever got over Savage in their very long feud. There’s a fan in a red shirt in the front row that is as energetic of a fan as I’ve ever seen at a wrestling show.
Andre is eleven, moving so slowly that it’s flat out sad to watch. He can’t even stand up straight since his back is so messed up. Within seconds he tosses the Warlord as Heenan and Fuji are going at it on the floor. I’d pay to not have to see that. Dusty gets crushed by the epic ass of Andre in the corner. There’s some great comedy there that a guy as lazy as Dusty is getting crushed by the biggest guy in the company.
Speaking of annoying wrestlers, Red Rooster is 12. I know I wasn’t talking about annoying wrestlers but I had nothing better for a transition there. Piper throws out Brown but Brown comes back and pulls Piper out. They fight to the back with a huge Roddy chant accompanying them. This led to the weird as hell match where Piper was painted half black.
According to his DVD, Andre and someone else ribbed him by getting rid of the stuff that got the paint off of him so he was stuck like that for 2-3 weeks afterwards. That’s just amusing. Just to recap, in the ring we have Andre, Rooster, Hart, DiBiase, Rhodes, and at 13 we have Axe of Demolition. As he gets in, Andre throws out Rooster, thank goodness. Dusty and Axe get Andre tied in the ropes but before they can try to throw him out, Haku, Andre’s partner, comes in at 14 to make the save.
DiBiase looks spent one second and the next he looks great. That’s impressive. Dusty does his weird Hulking Up thing with the dancing that I always got annoyed with. His Twinkie reserves get low though and he gets knocked back down. We get to halfway with Smash, putting the tag champions and the former champions in there at the same time. What a coincidence!
Akeem the African Dream and by far the most successful Rumble guy ever starts the second half by going after Andre of all people. Demolition take out Andre with a simple double clothesline. That gets a massive pop. Bret is thrown out during the hullabaloo over Andre. Your current lineup is Demolition, DiBiase, Rhodes, Akeem and Haku. Snuka is in at 17. Damn this thing is going by quickly.
He and Akeem go at it in the house show match from hell. Snuka wins, putting Akeem out early, at least by his standards. Schiavone says the battle rages on, which he used to say all the time in the World War 3 matches. Bravo gets up to 18. You can tell that the guys are starting to get a bit tired out there. There’s a ton of power guys in there also. Earthquake is 19 and he nearly immediately puts out Dusty.
He tosses Axe as well so you can see how big of a deal they were going to make this guy, at least in the short term. Neidhart is 20, giving us him, Earthquake, Haku, DiBiase, Smash, Bravo and Snuka. All of them other than Bravo combine to get rid of Earthquake. Hart is panicking over this of course. Granted I think he panics ordering dinner. I mean think about it: chicken or pasta. HE CAN’T TAKE THAT KIND OF PRESSURE!!!
We start the final ten with Ultimate Warrior who is the IC Champion at the time. He takes out Bravo, who is as pale as humanly possible while still being alive. Only DiBiase and Snuka aren’t power guys out there, and Jimmy is debatable.
Martel is 22nd, and somehow he’s the only former world champion in this match at the moment. How creepy does that sound? Haku takes out Smash with a backdrop and a superkick that was always awesome. We get a Strike Force reunion as Tito Santana is in at Michael Jordan’s number.
We’re in need of some fresh jobbers in there to replace the tired ones that we have. Hey it’s Honky at 24. He certainly fits that description at this time period. Warrior and Martel take out Anvil followed by Warrior putting out DiBiase to a big pop. That man has earned a ham sandwich if anyone ever has. We’ve got Warrior, Snuka, Honky, Haku, Santana and Martel in there at the moment and they’re joined by Hogan at 25.
He stumbles coming to the ring. That’s just funny. He takes out Snuka and Haku before taking the shirt off. Warrior gets rid of Tito and you can see it coming a mile away, but the awesomeness of it isn’t diminished at all. As if there wasn’t enough ego in the ring, Shawn Michaels is out next, 26th to be exact. There goes Honky so we have Hogan, Warrior…and as I was typing the other names they were thrown out, leaving us with the showdown of showdowns.
To say the crowd popped hard is an understatement. Heenan, who has no one in the ring at the moment, is standing out there watching. That’s just cool. They hit some shoulders and no one goes back that far. A criss cross leads to a double clothesline. From an unbiased perspective, that was really boring. From a pure 80s mark, the world just exploded from the sheer levels of awesome in those few seconds.
Both guys stay down for about 15 seconds until Barbarian is out at 27. That guy has been around forever with very little change to his gimmick, but he kept getting work. That’s quite interesting. Think about it. He was in WWF in the late 80s through early 90s, then in WCW for a bit then a quick run in WWF again and then was in WCW forever. That’s saying a lot. Rude I guess jumps the gun as he’s in maybe 20 seconds after Barbarian.
Even Jesse makes a point about it. Rude hits a pretty good dropkick to put Warrior down. For some reason Warrior saves Hogan. Jesse of course hates it but Tony has no issue with it. Rude and Warrior just always had scary good chemistry together. I’ve never gotten that. Hogan tries to return the favor and save Warrior but knocks Warrior out instead. Warrior of course jumps back in and then more or less dances out.
29 is Hercules leaving just Perfect for 30. What is the deal with pale guys wearing powder blue? Both Hercules and Bravo do that. If what’s said about Hogan and Big Show is true, Hogan has bigger boots than Show. I find that unlikely. I love how Jesse and Heenan were right about Hogan being crooked for years. I wonder if those were semi-shoot comments. Perfect finishes us at 30.
He was actually more or less set in stone to win this thing, but Hogan said no, giving us this ending. Barbarian is put out by Hercules. Yeah Perfect was supposed to be the top heel to challenge Hogan, probably even fighting him at Mania but due to Hogan saying no and Perfect vs. Hogan tanking house shows, Vince went with Warrior. That explains the big showdown from earlier.
We get down to Rude and Perfect against Hogan, which was the original ending but with Perfect winning though. Perfect accidently puts out Rude, leaving us with Perfect and Hogan. Can you imagine if Perfect had actually won this? How awesome would that have been? It’s not like Hogan would have been crushed by it or anything. Perfect gets the suplex on Hogan but Hogan pops up.
You mean he got up from a generic not exactly snapping suplex? NO WAY! Even I have to give that one to Hogan. After smacking the post, Perfect is gone and Hogan wins…of course. I would have loved to see Perfect win there to set up that match on SNME or something. It wouldn’t have worked at Mania, but it would have rocketed Perfect to the top heel spot which was vacant at the time. I guess it was him, but not by much at all. Massive posing ends the show.
Rating: A-. This was good all around. It had cool moments like Demolition beating Andre and the showdown, but it also had the great battle royal stuff like odd alliances and interesting matchups. This was the Rumble getting it right for the first time. Earthquake looked like a big deal because of this which was the main point. This certainly was a success and went by FAST, which to me says it was interesting.
Overall Rating: C-. Let’s see: first match sucked, second match was a long glorified squash, third was a Garvin match, and fourth was a decent brawl. You add in a good Rumble and to me that’s right in the middle. It’s not a terrible show, but once again this is all about the main event with a horrible midcard. This was all about setting up Mania though and it did just that. Hogan vs. Warrior was the dream match that people wanted to see and they got a preview here.
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