WWF Royal Rumble 1988

WWE open, since this is the Anthology version.  We’re LIVE from Hamilton, Ontario!  Vince McMahon runs down the card for tonight.  Vince and Jesse Ventura are our hosts.  Howard Finkel is the ring announcer.

Rick Rude vs. Ricky Steamboat.  They lock up.  Rude throws punches.  Steamboat responds with chops.  Rude sends Steamboat over the top rope.  Steamboat skins the cat back in, then backdrops Rude out of the ring.  Rude wants a test of strength.  Steamboat obliges and is overpowered, but takes Rude over into an ARMBAR!  Rude escapes it.  Steamboat hits one of his gorgeous arm drags and gets him back in the armbar.  A fan in the front row has a megaphone, and is really annoying.  Rude finally manages to escape, but immediately gets taken back over.  Wow, armbar, that’s refreshing.  Rude’s tired of it too, and beats up Steamboat.  Steamboat goes BACK TO THE FUCKING ARMBAR.  Fuck, Steamer, I LOVE your arm drags, but you don’t have to follow each of them with a 3 minute armbar.  Rude elbows Steamboat in the eye, so he’s as annoyed as I am.  Rude catches Steamboat with a knee to the middle and Steamboat falls out of the ring.  Rude follows him outside and slams him, working over Steamboat’s back.  Rude gets back in the ring and goes his gay hip swiveling.  Steamboat makes it to the apron and Rude suplexes him into the ring for 2.  Rude applies a camel clutch for a while.  Steamboat finally manages to fight out and hit an electric chair drop.  Steamboat goes for a splash, but Rude gets his knees up.  Rude hits an atomic drop that looks botched.  Rude goes back to the camel clutch.  Joy.  Steamboat fights out and launches Rude into the turnbuckles, then rams his head into the top turnbuckle.  They do some wrestling, including the bridge up —> backslide spot I love.  Steamboat gets some quick pinning combinations, including reversing an inside cradle by Rude.  Rude hits a clothesline for 2.  Steamboat counters a suplex attempt into one of his own.  Steamboat comes off the top, but Rude pulls the referee in front of him to take the blow.  Rude locks in a Canadian backbreaker.  The referee wakes up and calls for the bell at 17:40.  Rude leaves, thinking he won, but Finkel announces that Steamboat wins by DQ.  Rude comes back to argue with the referee.  I didn’t enjoy this.  The opening match should be exciting, and this… wasn’t.  Insta-commercials.

Mean Gene Okerlund and Jesse Ventura are out for the weight lifting thing.  Dino Bravo comes out along with manager, Frenchy Martin.  He’s going to attempt to set the world bench press record.  They talk.  Bravo bench presses 415 lbs. as a warm up.  He lifts 505 lbs. next.  This is boring.  Bravo lifts 555 lbs.  I still don’t care.  Bravo lifts 595 lbs. after stalling forever.  655.  Please end.  Next is 715, 10 lbs. more than the world record.  Bravo starts to leave, then comes back.  Jesse helps him lift the weight.  This segment was fucking painful.

2/3 Falls Match for the WWF Women’s Tag Team Championship: The Glamour Girls (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. The Jumping Bomb Angels.  Ah, the two teams whose members I can’t tell apart.  Angels hit the Glamour Girls with a double dropkick.  Kai works over the angel in pink.  Martin tags in and beats her up too.  Pink bridges out of a cover.  The Angel in red tags in and hits a weird suplex for 1.  Pink tags in.  Jesse asks Vince what the Angels’ names are.  Vince replies that he doesn’t speak Japanese.  Leilani Kai tags in.  Red runs wild on her.  The Angels put the Glamour Girls in stereo figure-four leglocks.  The referee makes the illegal ladies leave the ring.  Red works the leg of Kai.  Pink tags in and works the leg too.  Martin tries to save her, but fails.  Red works the leg as Kai struggles to try to make the tag.  She finally gets the tag.  Martin pulls Red nastily off the turnbuckles.  Red runs the ropes, but Kai catches her with a knee from the apron.  Martin hits an alley oop on the Angel in red to win the first fall in 6:11.  Insta-commercials.  Martin continues working over Red.  Pink tags in and runs wild.  I really wish I knew which one was which.  They do a do si do spot that ends with the Glams clotheslining each other.  Red pins Kai(?) with a botched sunset flip to win fall 2 (8:20 shown).  Replay, insta-commercials.  Angels work over one of the Glams.  Martin tags in and red (Itsuki?) hits something on her that I already forget.  Pink tags in and wrestles with… Martin?  Yes, Martin.  Kai tags in and works over Tateno (I think pink is Tateno and red is Itsuki).  Stuff happens.  Sorry.  Itsuki plants Kai with a weird drop for 2.  Martin and Tateno tag in.  Tateno hits a diving knee drop for 2.  Itsuki tags in and hits a cross body for 2.  Itsuki misses a diving senton.  Noriyo Tateno (or Noreno, as Vince calls her) tags in.  Double missile dropkick to Martin (I think).  Tateno gets the pin (15:21 shown).  Sorry for the clusterfuck review and the lousy timing.  The Angels happily celebrate.  I love these girls.

They show a clip of the Hogan/Andre match from WrestleMania III where Andre almost got the 3 count.  Vince and Jesse talk about it.  Clips of the deal with Ted Dibiase trying to buy the WWF Championship from Hulk Hogan.  Vince and Jesse talk about that.  They show Andre attacking Hogan and choking him out on Saturday Night’s Main Event.  More talking.  They show Andre agreeing to win the title for Dibiase.  Insta-commercials.

Mean Gene Okerlund and WWF President Jack Tunney are in the ring for the contract signing for the Hogan/Andre rematch.  Andre the Giant is in the ring, along with Ted Dibiase and Virgil.  Okerlund introduces the WWF Champion, Hulk Hogan.  Tunney lays out the contract.  Andre doesn’t want to sit down.  He finally sits down.  Dibiase bitches at Hogan about not taking the money.  Hogan signs the contract.  Andre takes his sweet time, examining the contract.  Dibiase tells Okerlund off.  Andre finally signs.  Dibiase tells Andre to put his “stamp of approval” on it.  Hogan lunches at Dibiase.  Andre rams Hogan’s face into the table.  Andre leaves.  This went on too long.

Jesse and Vince explain how the Royal Rumble Match works.  I should mention that this Rumble only has 20 participants.

Finkel does the ring announcing for the first 2 guys, who are already in the ring.  He does the usual explanation of the rules.  Oh, they only specify that you have to be thrown over the top rope.  It doesn’t matter where your feet hit or how many feet hit yet.

Royal Rumble Match: #1 is Bret Hart (w/ Jimmy Hart).  #2 is WWF Tag Team Champion Tito Santana.  They lock up.  Bret beats up Tito.  Tito counters Bret and hammers him in kind.  Bret gets back on the advantage and works over Tito some more and tries to get him out.  #3 is Butch Reed.  Reed beats up Santana and tries to eliminate him.  Tito fights back and knocks Reed and Hart’s heads together.  Santana stomps on Reed’s head.  Hart attacks Tito again.  Hart holds Tito for Reed to come off the middle rope with a double axe handle.  #4 is Jim Neidhart.  Poor Tito.  Tito gets triple teamed by the heels.  They all try to get him over the top.  #5 is Jake “The Snake” Roberts, who immediately eliminates Reed, then runs wild on the Hart Foundation.  Tito get his second wind and helps.  They whip the Harts into each other.  Roberts goes for the DDT on Bret, but Neidhart clotheslines him.  Bret piledrives Tito.  #6 is King Harley Race.  Race helps Neidhart beats up Roberts.  The Hart Foundation double team Tito some more.  Roberts decks Bret, then gets cut off by Race.  #7 is Jim Brunzell.  Brunzell and Tito try to eliminate Bret.  It turns into a struggle involving everyone, but heels save Bret from being eliminated.  Everybody fights.  #8 is Sam Houston, who runs wild on Neidhart.  Santana kicks the shit out of Bret’s head.  Houston beats up Race as Roberts and Neidhart square off.  The Hart Foundation throws Santana out.  #9 is Danny Davis.  He brawls with Sam Houston.  Roberts punches Race, who is tied up in the ropes and keeps bouncing back up.  Roberts hits a backdrop suplex on Davis.  Roberts goes for the DDT, but Davis avoids it.  #10 is Boris Zhukov, who attacks Houston.  Everyone knows Russians hate pretty boys.  Everybody fights.  #11 is Don Muraco.  Nikolai Volkoff comes out too.  He thinks it’s his time.  The referees hold him back.  Zhukov gets eliminated.  Volkoff is overjoyed to finally be let in as #12.  Brunzell narrowly avoids getting eliminated.  Race isn’t so lucky.  He’s very unhappy at being eliminated.  Houston saves Roberts from being eliminated by Hart.  #13 is “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan.  Race attacks him in the aisle.  Duggan considers going after him, but marches to the ring and gets in the mix.  #14 is Ron Bass.  Volkoff eliminates Brunzell.  #15 is Brian Blair.  He goes after Hart.  Neidhart cuts him off.  Brunzell tries to eliminate Neidhart, but gets cut off by Bret.  Muraco saves him from being double teamed.  Crowd has been chanting “DDT!” intermittently.  #16 is Hillbilly Jim.  He immediately eliminates Neidhart, then beats up Davis.  Bass almost eliminates Blair.  Hey, he did go over the top rope and hit the apron, so under these rules, shouldn’t he be eliminated?  #17 is Dino Bravo (w/ Frenchy Martin).  Bass eliminates Sam Houston.  #18 is The Ultimate Warrior.  Muraco eliminates Hart, who was in the match for 25 minutes.  #19 is The One Man Gang.  Gang eliminates Blair and Roberts in short order.  The entrances are getting faster.  They must have been running long.  #20 is Junkyard Dog.  Everyone has entered, and the ring is full.  Duggan eliminates Volkoff.  Gang eliminates Hillbilly Jim.  Duggan tackle clotheslines Davis out of the ring.  Bravo and Gang eliminate Warrior.  Bass eliminates JYD.  Muraco eliminates Bass.  Final four are Muraco, Gang, Bravo, and Duggan.  Muraco evades being double teamed by the heels, dropkicks Gang, dropkicks Martin off the apron, then gets Bravo’s boots put to him.  Bravo holds Muraco for Gang to clothesline out of the ring.  Duggan is alone against 2 heels.  Duggan goes on the attack, but gets double teamed.  They try the same trick the did with Muraco, but Duggan ducks and Gang eliminates Bravo.  Duggan makes his comeback against Gang until Gang clobbers him.  Duggan low bridges a charging Gang out of the ring to win it in 33:27.  The Rumble is always fun.

Replays of the contract signing from earlier.

Craig DeGeorge interviews Hulk Hogan.  Hogan talks about Andre, then does his posing routine.

Main event time!

2/3 Falls Match: The Islanders vs. The Young Stallions.  There’s some convoluted storyline involving Matilda going on.  Tama beats on Powers.  Powers leapfrogs Tama, punches him, and slams him.  Tama bails for a moment.  Tama tauntingly offers a handshake.  Powers hits an atomic drop.  He and Roma punch Tama.  Powers takes a front bump into the turnbuckles.  Haku and Roma tag in and go at it.  Haku hits a nice arm drag.  Roma hits a cross body for 2.  Powers tags in and gets a 2 count on Haku after a double elbow smash.  Tag to Tama, who tosses Powers around.  Powers avoids an elbow drop.  The Islanders make quick tags and work over Powers.  Vince makes a kind of racist comment about Tama’s toes, and Jesse calls him on it.  Match goes on.  Roma gets some offense rolling on Tama.  Tama throws Roma out of the ring to eliminate him from the Royal Rum… nevermind.  Powers gets counted out to give the Islanders the first fall at 7:53.  Insta-commercials.

They show the Hogan/Andre shit again instead of going back to the match.

Craig DeGeorge interviews Andre and Dibiase, with Virgil.

The Stallions head back to the ring, with Roma selling the ribs.  Insta-commercials.  Fuck, this is an oddly structured show.

2/3 Falls Match: The Islanders vs. The Young Stallions, CONTINUED!  Roma is forced to start.  Tama kicks his ass.  Roma gets his knees up to counter a splash.  Haku and Powers tag in.  Powers dominates for a bit and gets a couple of near falls on Haku.  Haku gives Powers a chop to the gut and tags in Tama.  Haku quickly tags back in.  Powers inside cradles him for 2.  Haku hits a backbreaker for 2.  Tama tags in and beats up Powers.  Haku tags in and beats up Powers.  Haku hits a gutwrench suplex for 2, then locks Powers in an abdominal stretch.  Powers continues to take the beating.  Roma tags in and tries to fight, but gets hammered by Haku, who is a fucking beast of a man who I wish was currently on my TV every week.  Tama hits a diving splash on Roma, then Haku locks in a half crab for the pin in about 9 minutes.  They never bothered to ring the bell for the second fall.  The match was fine, but the way they structured the show was fucking stupid.

Vince and Jesse talk about stuff.  Mainly, Jesse helping Bravo lift the weight.  Jesse, awesome heel that he is, vehemently denies it.  They talk about the Hogan/Andre shit.  Of course, they have to replay it for the THIRD TIME.

Interesting show.  Some was bad, like the opener and the structure of the main event, and the bench press shit.  They spent too much time going back to the Hogan/Andre shit, too.  The Rumble was fun and I really enjoyed the Jumping Bomb Angel’s title win.  This was actually a TV special that aired on USA, and not a PPV, but I included it in the rotation anyway just because it’s the first Royal Rumble.

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2 Responses to “WWF Royal Rumble 1988”

  1. lmao at the weightlifting bit. Looking back, this was utter shit compared to all other rumbles(minus ’94 of course) but seeing as I was there, I’ll always love this show.

    Still though, they could have done so much more with this event.

  2. […] 1/24- NWA Bunkhouse Stampede / WWF Royal Rumble 1988 3/27- WWF WrestleMania IV 7/10- NWA Great American Bash 1988 8/29- WWF SummerSlam 1988 11/24- WWF […]

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