Royal Rumble Count-Up: 1988

I know a lot of sites do this but I’m a site so why not me too?  Every day I’ll be posting a review of a Rumble all the way up until the 2011 show.  Hope you like them.

We have arrived at the first 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
Attendance: 18,000
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. Dang 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. DANG 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 freaking 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 stupid 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 yell 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 blast it! Anyway, the Glamour Girls are old and annoying, but the Bomb Angles are freaking AWESOME.

At Survivor Series when they destroyed 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.

Dang 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 man 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 rather intimidating. 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.

Royal Rumble

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 complaining 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 a nightmare come 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 pest 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 screwed 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. Dang 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 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.

5 comments

  1. Steve says:

    Great review.

    I reckon martel was supposed to be in it – Santana wouldn’t be involved without him. Maybe an injury took him out and he was replaced, possibly by Bravo as double duty at the rumble didn’t occur again until Piper in 92. Vince does mention Martels name during the rumble too, forgetting that he wasn’t in it

    As for the rest of the roster. No idea were Hercules or The Bulldogs were but most of the rest of them were doing a house show in Halifax, Nova Scotia – Honky, Savage, Patera, Demolition, Koko, Sika, Valentine, Beefcake and The Rougeaus who in surprised would miss a Canadian show.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    Thanks. I’d recommend you check out the redone versions. They have a lower level of suck.

  2. Steve says:

    Reading that now. But this review didn’t suck at all

    klunderbunker Reply:

    I appreciate that but the old ones are terrible as I had no idea what I was doing yet. I still don’t now but I can hide it better.

  3. Steve says:

    You’re doing yourself no justice. The reviews are engaging enough for me to want to read them and I don’t read crap. The important thing is you know who the true greats are and I like to read anyone heaping praise on them