WWF Royal Rumble 1988
The inaugural Royal Rumble show. There was a house show version in 1987 that had a terrible crowd and has been ignored harder than the pre 1993 King of the Rings.
Rick Rude vs Ricky Steamboat
Sounds like a pretty killer opening match. Rude goes to work right away with the fisticuffs. Steamboat comes back with some chops. Ricky skins the cat. These are two of the most attractive wrestlers of all time. Rude gets back dropped over the ropes and hits his lower back hard on the apron. Test of strength. Rude got the better of it, but Dragon gets out with some wacky Euro styled stuff. Dragon goes to work on Rude's left arm. Arm drag! More chops and another arm drag. Rude uses cheap tactics to get out and returns to the fisticuffs. I bet he's jelly of Ricky's quads. Arm drag! Rude seems to like hitting Ricky right in the eye. Vince doesn't like that one bit. Jesse has been getting boners over Rude the whole match. Rude slaps on a camel clutch. Steamboat has that weird spot where his arm would drop 3 times, but the ref would let the match continue. He's the only guy I saw do that more than once on a botch. It drove Jesse crazy and I'm not sure why he did it as often as he did. Ricky squats up with Rick on his shoulders. The comeback was short lived as we go back to the camel clutch. Jesse calls out Vince's hypocrisy. Bridge spot leads right into a series of near falls. Rude pulls the ref in the way of Steamboat's cross body. Canadian back breaker. The ref rings the bell. Rude's music played, so I guess Steamboat submitted. I figured it was a DQ. As it turns out, it was. Steamboat wins! Rude came back in the ring to argue with Dave Hebner. This was decent, but not a patch on their WCW matches.
TO THE MEAN GENE. Dino Bravo is attempting a bench press world record. Jesse Ventura is his spotter. Dino Bravo is going for 705 pounds. That Barney Rubble looking mother fucker. 415 is the warm up weight. He wants the crowd to be silent while he does this. Dino easily busts out a set. We move up to 505. No problem. 555. A bit of a struggle this time. 595. He gets it up 3 times, but he's doing half lifts. Not full extension. The kind you did in gym class. Still, 595 LEGIT is pretty gnarly. 655. Jesse is ALL OVER Vince for Vince trying to incite the crowd to make noise. He got it up, but it was wobbly. 715 is up next. But it is unofficial as the bar will have to be weighed later. Dino walks out because the crowd won't be silent. Jesse gets on the fans and is totally in the right. He just wants the fans to give Dino a chance even if they don't like him. DINO BRAVO HAS BROKEN THE WORLD RECORD! And he did it all by himself! He's the strongest man in the world!
Glamour Girls vs Jumping Bomb Angels WWF Women's Tag Team Championships
I don't really know the names of any of these dames, so I'll leave you with some gifs. "First of all, a person of your stature knows nothing about weight lifting." The Jumping Bomb Angels won 2 falls to 1 after a double missile dropkick. New champions! So bizarre to see a legit, no bullshit women having an actual wresting match before 2014. They didn't slow down at all. It was full speed the whole time. No rest holds or rest spots. At no point did Jesse or Vince refer to the looks of the women, there were no sexy spots. It was an actual wrestling match with women in the WWF.
We're shown highlights of Hogan/Andre. Vince and Jesse argued over the controversy in that match. We are then shown Ted DiBiase saying he's going to buy the WWF Championship. Hulk Hogan refused to sell the title. HELL NOOOOOOOOO!!!!! Highlights of Andre attacking Hogan after a match on SNME. Ted DiBiase bought Andre's contract with the purpose of buying the WWF Championship once Andre beats Hogan.
TO THE MEANBROTHERJACKDUDE. The official contract signing between Hogan and Andre for their rematch on 2/5/88 on SNME in Indianapolis. Jack Tunney is also in the ring. Andre looks like a cool fucker just lightly bouncing off the ropes, chill as can be. Andre takes his sweet time getting to the table. Giant mind games. Ted shit talks Hogan, getting in that giant cranium. Andre finally signs the contract after staring at it for a few minutes, making Hulk nervous. Hogan is attacked! Andre flips the table and Hogan over, then calmly leaves the ring.
There were only 20 men for this. Bret Hart (who was so gassed up) and Tito Santana were the first two entrants. A new man enters every 2 minutes. Butch Reed is the next entrant. It was more like 45 seconds, not 2 minutes. Jim Neidhart is entrant 4. Tito is in trouble. Jake is 5 and immediately eliminates Reed before dismantling the Hart Foundation. Dude is fucking over. Anvil saved Bret from a DDT. Piledriver to Chico. It's Harley Race! Jim Brunzell! He got a huge pop. Sam Houston is out next. He saves Jake right away. They are half brothers, after all. Tito is out by the Hart Foundation. Dangerous Danny Davis is out next. Harley does his teeter totter spot. Boris Zhukov. Gross. Vince keeps calling him Nikolai. Don Muraco and Nikolai Volkoff come out. They brawl and Muraco was the legal entrant. Out goes Zhukov. Lol, Jesse is tired of Vince's barbs and Vince is about to hear from Barry Bloom. Vince will be hearing from Barry a lot in a few years. Volkoff gets to enter now. Out goes Harley. It's Jim DOOGAN! He and Harley got into it on the floor. Duggan is as over as Hogan was earlier. Ron Bass is next. The Bee is out. Brian Blair is out to take his place. Hillbilly Jim! He tosses Anvil out right away. Here comes Dino Bravo. Houston is eliminated from the top of Bass' shoulders. It's the ULLLLLLTIMATE WARRRIORRR! He eliminates Bret, who lasted from 1 to 18. One Man Gang! Remember when he jobbed to Konnan? Out goes Blair. And Jake. The Junkyard Dog is the final entrant. Out goes Volkoff. Then Hillbilly. There goes the evil ref. It took 2 guys to get rid of the Warrior. Jesse wishes Bruno had been in there, just to see him take some lumps. Out goes JYD. Then Bass. Final four are Muraco, OMG, DOOGAN, and Bravo. Out goes Muraco. Gang accidentally eliminates Dino. Duggan wins!
Recap of the contract signing.
TO THE DeGEORGE. Hulk, who has changed shirts from earlier, has some words for Andre. You can't break Hogan or his Hulkamaniacs, brotherjackdude.
The Islanders vs The Young Stallions
Another 2/3 falls match? Interesting. This is the actual main event, which is weird. 80s house show booking for some reason. I believe there was a Jim Powers/Meng match in Thunder once. Jesse is about to put the boots to Vince. Vince claims Tama can hang upside down from his toes. Jesse thinks it was a racist remark. Islanders win the first fall via count out. In between falls, the recapped the contract signing again.
TO THE DeGEORGE. Andre and Ted respond to Hogan. Again, this is in between falls. That's a long rest break for those guys. Ted always gets what he wants. Andre is going to choke the life out of Hogan and Hulkamania.
The second fall begins. Really nothing of note in either fall except for the final moments of the second fall where Jim Powers started botching everything. The Islanders won 2 straight falls after Paul Roma tapped out to a half crab after injuring his leg in the first fall.
The show ends with Jesse and Vince arguing over the Bravo bench press and thoughts on Hogan/Andre.
DQ Count: 1 out of 4 matches.
Pretty decent show. Obviously there would be much better Rumbles to come, but it was a good enough proof of concept. Duggan was as over as anyone from 1987-1990ish. I had forgotten how unbelievably stiff the ring was in the 80s. Zero give. It's like a lucha ring. The women's match was probably the best actual wrestling match on the show.